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Title: Memoirs of the life, exile, and conversations of the Emperor Napoleon. (Vol. II)
Author: Cases, Emmanuel-Auguste-Dieudonné Las
Language: English
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                          Transcriber’s Note:

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This is the second 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. II.


                      PUBLISHED FOR HENRY COLBURN,
                          AND ALL BOOKSELLERS.







                         THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON.


                        EFFUSION OF THE EMPEROR.

On another of these evenings, the Emperor was holding forth against the
caprice of women: “Nothing,” said he, “more clearly indicates rank,
education, and good breeding among them, than evenness of temper and the
constant desire to please.” He added that they were bound by
circumstances to appear at all times mistresses of themselves, and to be
always attending to their part on the stage. His two wives, he observed,
had always been so: they certainly differed greatly in their qualities
and dispositions; but they always agreed in this point. Never had he
witnessed ill-humour in either the one or the other: to please him had
been the constant object with both of them.

Some one ventured to observe, however, that Maria-Louisa had boasted
that, whenever she desired any thing, no matter how difficult, she had
only to weep. The Emperor laughed, and said, this was new to him. He
might have suspected it of Josephine, but he had no idea of it in
Maria-Louisa. And then, addressing himself to Mesdames Bertrand and
Montholon: “Thus it is with you all, ladies,” said he: “in some points
you all agree.”

He continued for a long time to talk about the two Empresses, and
repeated, as usual, that one was Innocence, and the other the Graces. He
passed from them to his sisters, and dwelt particularly on the charms of
the Princess Pauline. It was admitted that she was, without dispute, the
handsomest woman in Paris. The Emperor said that the artists were
unanimous in considering her a perfect Venus de Medicis. A little
pleasantry was hazarded on the influence which the Princess Pauline had
exercised, at the Island of Elba, over General Drouot, whose assiduous
attentions she attracted in spite of the difference of their ages and
the harshness of his countenance. The Princess, it was said, had drawn
from him the secret of the intended departure, eight days before it took
place. He had repeated the fault of Turenne; and upon this the Emperor
said, “Such are women, and such is their dangerous power!” Here Madame
Bertrand declared that the Grand Marshal, to a certainty, had not done
as much. “Madame,” retorted the Emperor with a smile, “he was only your
husband.” Some one having remarked that the Princess Pauline, when at
Nice, had set up a post-waggon on the road, by which dresses and
fashions arrived from Paris every day, the Emperor said: “If I had been
aware of it, that should not have lasted long, she should have been well
scolded. But thus it happens: while one is Emperor one knows nothing of
these matters.”

After this conversation the Emperor enquired what was the day of the
month: it was the 11th of March. “Well!” said he, “it is a year ago
to-day, it was a brilliant day; I was at Lyons, I reviewed some troops,
I had the Mayor to dine with me, who, by the way, has boasted since that
it was the worst dinner he ever made in his life.” The Emperor became
animated; he paced the chamber quickly. “I was again become a great
power,” he continued: and a sigh escaped him, which he immediately
checked with these words, in an accent and with a warmth which it is
difficult to describe: “I had founded the finest empire in the world,
and I was so necessary to it that, in spite of all the last reverses,
here, upon my rock, I seem still to remain the master of France. Look at
what is going on there, read the papers, you will find it so in every
line. Let me once more set my foot there, they will see what France is,
and what I can do!” And then what ideas, what projects, he developed for
the glory and happiness of the country! He spoke for a long time, with
so much interest, and so unreservedly, that we could have forgotten
time, place, and seasons. A part of what he said follows:

“What a fatality,” he said, "that my return from the Island of Elba was
not acquiesced in, that every one did not perceive that my reign was
desirable and necessary for the balance and repose of Europe! But kings
and people both feared me; they were wrong, and may pay dearly for it. I
returned a new man; they could not believe it; they could not imagine
that a man might have sufficient strength of mind to alter his
character, or to bend to the power of circumstances. I had, however,
given proofs of this, and some pledges to the same effect. Who is
ignorant that I am not a man for half-measures? I should have been as
sincerely the monarch of the constitution and of peace, as I had been of
absolute sway and great enterprises.

"Let us reason a little upon the fears of kings and people on my
account. What could the kings apprehend? Did they still dread my
ambition, my conquests, my universal monarchy? But my power and my
resources were no longer the same; and, besides, I had only defeated and
conquered in my own defence: this is a truth which time will more fully
develop every day. Europe never ceased to make war upon France, her
principles, and me; and we were compelled to destroy, to save ourselves
from destruction. The coalition always existed openly or secretly,
avowed or denied; it was permanent; it only rested with the Allies to
give us peace; for ourselves, we were worn out; the French dreaded
making new conquests. As to myself, is it supposed that I am insensible
to the charms of repose and security, when glory and honour do not
require it otherwise? With our two Chambers, they might have forbidden
me in future to pass the Rhine; and why should I have wished it? For my
universal monarchy? But I never gave any convincing proof of insanity;
and what is its chief characteristic, but a disproportion between our
object and the means of attaining it. If I have been on the point of
accomplishing this universal monarchy, it was without any original
design, and because I was led on to it step by step. The last efforts
wanting to arrive at it seemed so trifling, was it very unreasonable to
attempt them? But, on my return from Elba, could a similar idea, a
thought so mad, a purpose so unattainable, enter the head of the
silliest man in the world? The Sovereigns, then, had nothing to fear
from my arms.

"Did they apprehend that I might overwhelm them with anarchical
principles? But they knew by experience my opinions on that point. They
have all seen me occupy their territories: how often have I been urged
to revolutionize their states, give municipal functions to their cities,
and excite insurrection among their subjects! However I may have been
stigmatized, in their names, as _the modern Attila, Robespierre on
horseback_, &c. they all know better at the bottom of their hearts—let
them look there! Had I been so, I might perhaps still have reigned; but
they most certainly would have long since ceased to reign. In the great
cause of which I saw myself the chief and the arbiter, one of two
systems was to be followed: to make kings listen to reason from the
people; or to conduct the people to happiness by means of their kings.
But it is well known to be no easy matter to check the people when they
are once set on: it was more rational to reckon a little upon the wisdom
and intelligence of rulers. I had a right always to suppose them
possessed of sufficient intellect to see such obvious interests: I was
deceived; they never calculated at all, and in their blind fury, they
let loose against me that which I withheld when opposed to them. They
will see!!!

"Lastly, did the Sovereigns take umbrage at seeing a mere soldier attain
a crown? Did they fear the example? The solemnities, the circumstances,
that accompanied my elevation, my eagerness to conform to their habits,
to identify myself with their existence, to become allied to them by
blood and by policy, closed the door sufficiently against new comers.
Besides, if there must needs have been the spectacle of an interrupted
legitimacy, I maintain that it was much more to their interest that it
should take place in my person, one risen from the ranks, than in that
of a prince, one of their own family: for thousands of ages will elapse
before the circumstances accumulated in my case draw forth another from
among the crowd to reproduce the same spectacle; while there is not a
Sovereign who has not, at a few paces distance in his palace, cousins,
nephews, brothers, and relations, to whom it would be easy to follow
such an example if once set.

"On the other side, what was there to alarm the people? Did they fear
that I should come to plunder and to impose chains on them?—On the
contrary, I came the Messiah of peace and of their rights: this new
maxim was my whole strength—to violate it would have been ruin. But even
the French mistrusted me; they had the insanity to discuss, when there
was nothing to do but to fight; to divide, when they should have united
on any terms. And was it not better to run the risk of having me again
for master than to expose themselves to that of being subjected to a
foreign yoke? Would it not have been easier to rid themselves of a
single despot, of one tyrant, than to shake off the chains of all the
nations united? And moreover, whence arose this mistrust of me? Because
they had already seen me concentrate all efforts in myself, and direct
them with a vigorous hand? But do they not learn at the present day, to
their cost, how necessary that was? Well! the danger was in any case the
same: the contest terrible, and the crisis imminent. In this state of
things, was not absolute power necessary, indispensable? The welfare of
the country obliged me even to declare it openly on my return from
Leipsic. I should have done so again on my return from Elba. I was
wanting in consistency, or rather in confidence in the French, because
many of them no longer placed any in me, and it was doing me a great
wrong. If narrow and vulgar minds only saw, in all my efforts, a care
for my own power, ought not those of greater scope to have shewn that,
under the circumstances in which we were placed, my power and the
country were but one! Did it require such great and incurable mischiefs
to enable them to comprehend me? History will do me more justice: it
will signalize me as the man of self-denials and disinterestedness. To
what temptations was I not exposed in the army of Italy? England offered
me the Crown of France at the time of the treaty of Amiens.—I refused
peace at Châtillon: I disdained all personal stipulations at
Waterloo;—and why? Because all this had no reference to my country, and
I had no ambition distinct from her’s—that of her glory, her ascendancy,
her majesty. And there is the reason that, in spite of so many
calamities, I am still so popular among the French. It is a sort of
instinct of after-justice on their part.

"Who in the world ever had greater treasures at his disposal? I have had
many hundred millions in my vaults; many other hundreds composed my
_domaine de l’extraordinaire_: all these were my own. What is become of
them?—They were poured out in the distresses of the country. Let them
contemplate me here: I live destitute upon my rock. My fortune was
wholly in that of France. In the extraordinary situation to which fate
had raised me, my treasures were her’s: I had identified myself
completely with her destinies. What other calculation was consistent
with the height to which I had risen? Was I ever seen occupied about my
personal interests? I never knew any other enjoyment, any other riches,
than those of the public;—so much so, that when Josephine, who had a
taste for the Arts, succeeded under the sanction of my name in acquiring
some master-pieces, though they were in my palace, under my eyes, in my
family apartments, they offended me, I thought myself robbed: _they were
not in the Museum_.

“Ah! the French people undoubtedly did much for me! more than was ever
done before for man! But, at the same time, who ever did so much for
them? who ever identified himself with them in the same manner? But to
return.—After all, what could be their fears? Were not the Chambers and
the new Constitution sufficient guarantees for the future? Those
additional Acts, against which so much indignation was expressed, did
they not carry in themselves their own corrective—remedies that were
infallible? How could I have violated them? I had not myself millions of
arms; I was but one man. Public opinion raised me up once more; public
opinion might equally put me down again; and, compared with this risk,
what had I to gain?”

"But as to surrounding States (I speak particularly as regards England),
what could be her fears, her motives, her jealousies? We enquire in
vain. With our new Constitution, our two Chambers, had we not adopted
her creed for the future? Was not that the sure means of coming to a
mutual understanding, to establish in future a community of interest?
The caprice, the passions of their rulers, once fettered, the interests
of the people move on, without obstacle, in their natural course: look
at the merchants of hostile nations; they continue their intercourse,
and pursue their business however their governments may wage war. The
two nations had arrived at that point.—Thanks to their respective
parliaments, each would have become the guarantee for the other: and who
can ever tell to what extent the union of the two nations and of their
interests might have been carried; what new combinations might have been
set to work? It is certain that, on the establishment of our two
Chambers and our Constitution, the Ministers of England had in their
hands the glory and prosperity of their country, the destinies and the
welfare of the world. Had I beaten the English army and won my last
battle, I should have caused a great and happy astonishment; the
following day I would have proposed peace, and, for once, it would have
been I who scattered benefits with a prodigal hand. Instead of this,
perhaps, the English will one day have to lament that they were
victorious at Waterloo.

"I repeat it, the people and the sovereigns were wrong: I had restored
thrones and an inoffensive nobility; and thrones and nobility may again
find themselves in danger. I had fixed and consecrated the reasonable
limits of the people’s rights; vague, peremptory and undefined claims
may again arise.

“Had my return, my establishment on the throne, my adoption, been freely
acquiesced in by the sovereigns, the cause of kings and the people would
have been settled; both would have gained. Now they are again to try it;
both may lose. They might have concluded every thing; they may have
every thing to begin again: they might have secured a long and certain
calm, and already begun to enjoy it: and, instead of that, a spark may
now be sufficient to re-produce a general conflagration! Poor, weak

Attached, as I am, to the words and the opinions which I gathered from
Napoleon on his rock of exile, and however perfectly persuaded and
convinced of their entire sincerity, I do not the less experience an
extreme gratification, whenever a testimony from another quarter
confirms the truth of them; and I am bound to say that I have that
gratification as often as opportunity occurs of obtaining other

The reader has just perused the foregoing remarkable passage, in which
Napoleon expresses his ideas, his intentions, his sentiments. What a
value do not these expressions collected at St. Helena acquire, when we
find them re-echoed in Europe, at the distance of 2000 leagues, by a
celebrated writer, who, with a shade of difference in his opinions, and
at a very different time, had himself received them from the same lips!
What a fortunate circumstance for history! I cannot, indeed, forbear
bringing forward here this extract from M. Benjamin Constant, as well on
account of the intrinsic merit of the expressions, as from the weight
they acquire from the distinguished writer who records them; and also
from the pleasure I feel in seeing them coincide so exactly with what I
have collected myself in another hemisphere. There are the same
intentions, the same depth of thought, the same sentiments.

“I went to the Tuileries,” says M. Benjamin Constant in his account; "I
found Bonaparte alone. He began the conversation: it was long: I will
only give an analysis of it; for I do not propose to make an exhibition
of an unfortunate man. I will not amuse my readers at the expense of
fallen greatness; I will not give up to malevolent curiosity him whom I
have served, whatever might be my motive; and I will not transcribe more
of his discourse than is indispensable: but in what I shall transcribe,
I will use his own words.

“He did not attempt to deceive me either as to his views, or the state
of affairs. He did not present himself as one corrected by the lessons
of adversity: he did not desire to take the merit of returning to
liberty from inclination; he investigated coolly, as regarded his
interest, and, with an impartiality too nearly allied to indifference,
what was possible and what was preferable.

“‘The nation,’ said he, ‘has rested for twelve years from all political
agitation, and for a year it has been undisturbed by war: this double
repose has begotten a necessity for motion. It desires, or fancies it
desires, a public rostrum and assemblies; it has not always desired
them. It cast itself at my feet when I came to the government; you must
remember, you who made trial of its opinion. Where was your support,
your power? No where. I took less authority than I was invited to take.
Now all is changed. A weak government, opposed to the interests of the
nation, has given these interests the habit of taking up the defensive,
and of cavilling at authority. The taste for constitutions, debates,
harangues, seems to return.... However, it is only the minority that
desires it, do not deceive yourself. The people, or if you like it
better, the mob, desire me alone; you have not seen them, this mob,
crowding after me, rushing from the tops of the mountains, calling me,
seeking me, saluting me.[1] On my return hither from Cannes, I did not
conquer—I administered.... I am not only, as it has been said, the
Emperor of the soldiers; I am the Emperor of the peasants, of the lower
ranks in France.... Thus, in spite of all that is past, you see the
people return to me—there is a sympathy between us. It is not so with
the privileged classes; the nobility have served me, have rushed in
crowds into my ante-chambers, there are no offices that they have not
accepted, solicited, pressed for. I have had my _Montmorencies_, my
_Noailles_, my _Rohans_, my _Beauveaus_, my _Mortemarts_. But there was
no analogy between us. The steed curvetted, he was well trained, but I
felt him quivering under me. With the people it is another thing; the
popular fibre responds to mine: I am come from the ranks of the people,
my voice has influence over them. Observe these conscripts, these sons
of peasants, I did not flatter them, I treated them with severity; they
did not the less surround me, they did not the less shout ‘_The Emperor
for ever!_’ It is because between them and me there is an identity of
nature; they look to me as their support, their defender against the
nobles.... I have but to make a sign, or rather to turn away my eyes,
and the nobles will be massacred in all the departments. They have
carried on such fine intrigues for these six months!... But I will not
be the King of a _Jacquerie_. If there are any means of governing with a
Constitution, well and good..... I wished for the empire of the world;
and, to insure it, unlimited power was necessary to me. To govern France
only, a Constitution may be better.... I wished for the empire of the
world, and who in my situation would not have wished for it? The world
invited me to govern it: sovereigns and subjects vied with each other in
hastening beneath my sceptre. I have rarely found any opposition in
France; but I have, however, met with more from some obscure unarmed
Frenchmen, than from all those kings, so vain at present of no longer
having a popular man for their equal.... Consider, then, what seems to
you to be possible. Give me your ideas. Free elections, public
discussions, responsible ministers, liberty, all this is my wish.... The
liberty of the press in particular: to stifle it is absurd—I am
satisfied upon this point.... I am the man of the people, if the people
sincerely wish for liberty: I owe it to them. I have recognised their
sovereignty; I am bound to lend an ear to their desires, even to their
caprices. I never desired to oppress them for my own gratification. I
had great designs, fate has decided them; I am no longer a conqueror, I
can no more become so. I know what is possible and what is not; I have
now but once charge—to relieve France, and to give her a government that
is suited to her.... I am not inimical to liberty: I set it aside when
it obstructed my road; but I comprehend it, I have been educated in its
principles.... At the same time, the work of fifteen years is destroyed;
it cannot begin again. It would require twenty years, and the sacrifice
of two millions of men.... Besides I am desirous of peace, and I shall
obtain it only by dint of victories. I will not hold out false hopes to
you; I cause reports to be circulated that negotiations are on foot; but
there are none. I foresee a difficult contest, a long war. To maintain
it, the nation must support me; but in return, it will require
liberty,—and it shall have it.... The situation is new. I desire no
better than to receive information; I grow old; a man is no longer at
forty-five what he was at thirty. The repose of a constitutional monarch
may be well suited to me. It will assuredly be still more suitable to my

Footnote 1:

  _Note by M.B.C._—Bonaparte attached a high value to the proofs that
  his return was not effected by military manœuvres. I am sorry that I
  have not by me six pages which he had written or dictated on this
  subject, and which he had carefully corrected. He put them into my
  hands at the time of the communication referred to here. He desired
  that I would reply to Lord Castlereagh, who, in a speech in
  parliament, had attributed all his success to the army.

  Not choosing to write at all, till I had ascertained that it was not a
  despot that I was restoring to France, I declined this task; and, in
  1815, I entrusted the sketch which Napoleon had given me to one of my
  friends, who set out for England, and from whom I have hitherto
  neglected to get it back again. It was written with much warmth; it
  contained expressions singular, but powerful, a great rapidity of
  thought, and some strokes of real eloquence.

13th.—The Emperor sent instructions to the Grand Marshal to write to the
Admiral to enquire if a letter which he, Napoleon, should write to the
Prince Regent would be sent to him. Towards four o’clock, the Deputy
Governor Skelton and his lady desired to pay their respects to the
Emperor. He received them, took them to walk in the garden, and
afterwards out with him in his carriage. The weather had been extremely
foggy all day. Upon its clearing up for a short time we saw, on a
sudden, a corvette or frigate very near, and coming in with all sails

                      OF NEY.—ESCAPE OF LAVALETTE.

14th—15th. We received the Admiral’s answer. After beginning, according
to his established form, by saying that he knew no person by the title
of ‘Emperor’ at St. Helena, he stated, that he would undoubtedly send
the Emperor’s letter to the Prince Regent: but that he should adhere to
the tenor of his instructions, which directed him not to allow any paper
to be despatched to England, without having first opened it.

This communication, it must be acknowledged, gave us great astonishment:
the part of the instructions cited by the Admiral had two objects in
view, both of them foreign to the interpretation put upon them by this

The first was, in the case of our making any complaints, that the local
authorities might add their observations, and that the government, in
England, might do us justice more speedily, without being obliged to
send again to the island for farther information. This precaution, then,
was entirely for our interest. The second object of this measure was
that our correspondence might not be prejudicial to the interests of the
government or the policy of England. But we were writing to the
Sovereign, to the chief, to the individual in whom these interests and
this government centered: and if there was any conspiracy here, it was
not on the part of us, who were writing to him, but rather on his who
intercepted our letter, or resolved to violate the privacy of it. That
they should place jailors about us with all their equipage, though we
did not consider it just, still it seemed possible. But that these
jailors should cause their functions to react, even upon their
Sovereign, was a thing for which we could not find a name! It was to
attach to him completely the idea of a King without faculties, or of a
Sultan buried in the recesses of his Seraglio! It was really a monstrous
phenomenon in our European manners!

For a long time, we had little or no intercourse with the Admiral. One
thought that ill humour had perhaps dictated his answer; another
supposed that he was fearful the letter might contain some complaints
against him. But the Admiral knew the Emperor too well, not to be aware
that he would never appeal to any other tribunal than to that of
nations. I, who knew what would have been the subject of the letter,
felt the most lively indignation at it! The sole intention of the
Emperor had been to employ this method, the only one that seemed
compatible with his dignity, to write to his wife, and obtain tidings of
his son. However, the Grand Marshal replied to the Admiral that he
either over-stepped, or misinterpreted his instructions; that his
determination could only be regarded as another instance of flagrant
vexation; that the condition imposed was too much beneath the dignity of
the Emperor, as well as of the Prince Regent, for him to retain any
intention of writing.

The frigate that had just arrived was the Spey, bringing the European
papers to the 31st December: they contained the execution of the
unfortunate Marshal Ney, and the escape of Lavalette.

“Ney,” said the Emperor, “as ill attacked as defended, had been
condemned by the Chamber of Peers, in the teeth of a formal
capitulation. His execution had been allowed to take place; that was
another error—from that moment he became a martyr. That Labedoyere
should not have been pardoned, because the clemency extended to him
would have seemed only a predilection in favour of the old Aristocracy,
might be conceived; but the pardon of Ney would only have been a proof
of the strength of the government, and the moderation of the Prince. It
will be said, perhaps, that an example was necessary! But the Marshal
would become so, much more certainly, by a pardon, after being degraded
by a sentence: it was, to him, in fact, a moral death that deprived him
of all influence; and nevertheless the object of authority would be
obtained, the Sovereign satisfied, the example complete. The refusal of
pardon to Lavalette, and his escape, were new grievances equally
unpopular,” said the Emperor.

“But the saloons of Paris,” he observed, “exhibited the same passions as
the clubs; the nobility were a new version of the Jacobins. Europe,
moreover, was in a state of complete anarchy; the code of political
immorality was openly followed; whatever fell into the hands of the
Sovereigns was turned to the advantage of each of them. At least in my
time I was the butt of all the accusations of this kind. The Sovereigns
then talked of nothing but principles and virtue; but now,” added he,
“that they are victorious and without control, they practise
unblushingly all the wrongs which they themselves then reprobated. What
resource and what hope were there then left for nations and for
morality? Our countrywomen at least,” he observed, “have rendered their
sentiments illustrious: Madame Labedoyere was on the point of dying from
grief, and these papers shew us that Madame Ney has displayed the most
courageous and determined devotion. Madame Lavalette is become the
heroine of Europe.”

                     MESSAGE FOR THE PRINCE REGENT.

16th.—The Emperor had quitted the Encyclopedia Britannica, to take his
lessons in English in the _Annual Register_. He read there the adventure
of a Mr. Spencer Smith, arrested at Venice, ordered to be sent to
Valenciennes, and who made his escape on the road. “This must be a very
simple affair,” said the Emperor, “which the narrator has converted into
a statement of importance.” The circumstance was totally unknown to him;
it was a police affair of too little consequence, he observed, to have
found its way up to him.

About four o’clock the captain of the Spey, just arrived from Europe,
and the captain of the Ceylon, about to sail for England, were presented
to the Emperor. He was in low spirits—he was unwell: the audience of the
first was very short; that of the second would have been the same, had
he not roused the Emperor by asking if we had any letters to send to
Europe. The Emperor then desired me to ask him if he should see the
Prince Regent; on his answering in the affirmative, I was charged to
inform him that the Emperor was desirous of writing to the Prince
Regent, but that in consequence of the observation of the Admiral, that
he would open the letter, he had abstained from it, as being
inconsistent with his dignity and with that of the Prince Regent
himself: that he had, indeed, heard the laws of England much boasted of,
but that he could not discover their benefits anywhere; that he had only
now to expect, indeed to desire, an executioner; that the torture they
made him endure was inhuman, savage; that it would have been more open
and energetic to put him to death. The Emperor made me request of the
captain that he would take upon him to deliver these words, and
dismissed him: he looked very red and was much embarrassed.


17th.—An English Colonel, arrived from the Cape on his return from the
Isle of France, came in the morning and addressed himself to me, to try
to get an introduction to the Emperor. The Admiral had only allowed his
vessel to remain two or three hours in the road. Having prevailed on the
Emperor to receive him at four o’clock, he assured me that he would
rather miss his vessel than lose such an opportunity. The Emperor was
not very well, he had passed several hours in his bath; at four he
received the Colonel.

The Emperor put many questions to him concerning the Isle of France,
lately ceded to the English; it seems that its prosperity and its
commerce suffer from its change of sovereignty.

After the departure of the Colonel, being alone with the Emperor in the
garden, I told him that his person seemed to have remained very dear to
the inhabitants of the Isle of France; that the Colonel had informed me
that the name of Napoleon was never pronounced there but with
commiseration. It was precisely on the day of a great festival in the
colony, that they learned his departure from France and his arrival at
Plymouth; the theatre was to be particularly attractive: the news having
arrived during the day, in the evening there was not a single colonist,
either white or of colour, in the house: there were only some English,
who were exceedingly confused and irritated at the circumstance. The
Emperor listened to me. “It is quite plain,” said he, after some
moments’ silence; “this proves that the inhabitants of the Isle of
France have continued French. I am the country; they love it: it has
been wounded in my person, they are grieved at it.” I added that the
change of dominion restraining their expressions, they durst not propose
his health publicly; but that the Colonel said they never neglected it
notwithstanding; they drank to _him_, this word had become consecrated
to Napoleon. These details touched him. “Poor Frenchmen!” he said with
emphasis—"Poor People! Poor Nation! I deserved all that, I loved thee!
But thou, thou surely didst not deserve all the ills that press upon
thee! Ah! thou didst merit well that one should devote himself to thee!
But what infamy, what baseness, what degradation, it must be confessed,
I had about me!" And, addressing himself to me, he added: “I do not
speak here of your friends of the Fauxbourg-Saint-Germain; for with
respect to them it is another matter.”

There frequently reached us incidents and expressions which, like those
from the Isle of France, were calculated to excite emotion in the heart.
The Island of Ascension, in our neighbourhood, had always been desert
and abandoned; since we have been here, the English have thought proper
to form an establishment there. The captain who went to take possession
of it told us, on his return, that he was much astonished on landing to
find upon the beach, _May the great Napoleon live for ever!_

In the last papers that reached us, among many good-natured sallies, it
was remarked, in several languages, that _Paris_ would never be happy
till his _Helen_ should be restored to him: these were a few drops of
honey in our cup of wormwood.


18th—19th. The Emperor was on horseback by eight o’clock. He had
abstained from it for a long time: want of space to ride over was the
cause. His health suffers visibly in consequence, and it is astonishing
that the want of exercise is not still more hurtful to him, who was in
the daily habit of taking it to a violent degree. On our return, the
Emperor breakfasted out of doors; he detained us all. After breakfast,
the conversation fell on Herculaneum and Pompeii; the phenomenon and
epoch of their destruction, the time and the accident of their modern
discovery, the monuments and the curiosities, which they have since
afforded us. The Emperor said that if Rome had remained under his
dominion, she would have risen again from her ruins: he intended to have
cleared away all the rubbish; to have restored as much as possible. He
did not doubt that, the same spirit extending through all the vicinity,
it might have been in some degree the same with Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Breakfast being concluded, the Emperor sent my son to bring the volume
of Crevier which contains this event; and he read it to us, as well as
the death and character of Pliny. He retired about noon to take some
rest. Towards six o’clock we took our usual round in the carriage. The
Emperor took with him Mr. and Mrs. Skelton, who were come to visit him.

On our return, the Emperor, driven from the garden by the damp, went to
see General Gourgaud, who was recovering rapidly. After dinner, on
leaving the table and returning to the drawing-room, we could not help
reverting to the meal we had just made;—literally nothing was fit to
eat: the bread bad, the wine not drinkable, the meat disgusting and
unwholesome: we are frequently obliged to send it back again. They
continue in spite of our remonstrances, to send it to us dead, because
by that method they can put us off with such animals as have died

The Emperor, shocked at this representation, could not refrain from
saying, with warmth: “No doubt there are people whose physical situation
is still worse; but that circumstance does not deprive us of the right
of giving an opinion on our own condition, or on the infamous manner in
which we are treated. The injustice of the English government, not
content with sending us hither, has extended to the selection of the
individuals to whom our persons and the supply of our wants are
intrusted! For my part, I should suffer less if I were sure that it
would one day be divulged to the whole world in such a way as to brand
with infamy those who are guilty of it. But let us talk of something
else,” said he—“what is the day of the month?” He was told it was the
19th of March: “What!” he exclaimed, “the eve of the 20th of March!” And
a few seconds afterwards: “But let us talk of something else.” He sent
for a volume of Racine, and at first began to read the comedy of the
_Plaideurs_: but, after a scene or two, he turned to _Britannicus_,
which he read to us. When the reading was concluded, and the due tribute
of admiration had been paid, he said that Racine was censured for making
the _dénouement_ of this piece too sudden, that the poisoning of
Britannicus was not expected so early in the play as it ought to have
been. He highly praised the truth of the character of Narcissus,
observing that it was always by wounding the self-love of princes that
their determinations were most influenced.


20th.—After dinner one of us observed to the Emperor that he had been
less solitary, less quiet, that day twelve-month at the same hour. “I
was sitting down to table at the Tuileries,” said the Emperor. “I had
found it difficult to get thither: the dangers I went through in that
attempt were at least equal to those of a battle.” In fact he had been
seized, on his arrival, by thousands of officers and citizens; one party
had snatched him from another; he had been carried to the palace, and,
amidst a tumult like that of a mob about to tear a man to pieces,
instead of the orderly and respectful attendance of a multitude intent
on shewing their veneration for an individual. But we ought to look at
the sentiment and intention in this case: it was enthusiasm, and love,
carried to a pitch that resembled rage or madness.

The Emperor added that in all probability more than one person in Europe
would talk of him that evening; and that, in spite of all observation,
many a bottle would be emptied on his account.

The conversation then turned on the King of Rome; that day was the
anniversary of his birth; the Emperor reckoned that he must be five
years old. He then spoke of the accouchement of the Empress, and seemed
to take some pleasure in boasting that he had proved himself, on that
occasion, as good a husband as any in the world. He assisted the Empress
to walk about all night. We who were of the household knew something of
the matter; we had all been called together at the palace at ten in the
evening; we passed the night there; and the cries of the Empress
sometimes reached our ears. Towards morning the accoucheur having told
the Emperor that the pains had ceased, and that the labour might yet be
tedious, the Emperor went to the bath, and sent us away, desiring us,
however, not to go from home. The Emperor had not been long in the bath,
when the pains came on again; and the accoucheur ran to him, almost out
of his wits, saying he was the most unfortunate of men; that out of a
thousand labours in Paris there was not one more difficult. The Emperor,
dressing himself again as fast as he could, encouraged him, saying that
a man who understood his business ought never to lose his presence of
mind; that there was nothing in this case that he ought to be uneasy
about; that he had only to fancy he was delivering a citizen’s wife of
the Rue Saint-Denis: that nature had but one law; that he was sure he
would act for the best; and, above all, that he need not fear any
reproach. It was then represented to the Emperor that there was great
danger either for the mother or the child. “If the mother lives,” said
he, without hesitation, "I shall have another child. Act in this case as
if you were attending the birth of a cobbler’s son."

When he reached the Empress she really was in danger; the child
presented itself in an unfavourable posture, and there was every reason
to fear that it would be stifled.[2]

Footnote 2:

  This event took place in the presence of twenty-two persons:—The
  Emperor.—Dubois, Corvisart, Bourdier and Ivan.—Madames de Montebello,
  de Lucay, and de Montesquiou. The six first ladies:—Ballant,
  Deschamps, Durant, Hureau, Nabusson, and Gerard. Five ladies of the
  bed-chamber.—Mademoiselles Honoré, Edouard, Barbier, Aubert, and
  Geoffroy. The Keeper;—Madame Blaise, and two maids of the wardrobe.

The Emperor asked Dubois why he did not deliver her. He excused himself,
being unwilling to do it, he said, except in the presence of Corvisart,
who had not yet arrived. “But what can he tell you?” said the Emperor.
“If it is a witness, or a justification, you want to secure, here am I.”
Then Dubois, taking off his coat, commenced the operation. When the
Empress saw the instruments, she cried out in a piteous manner,
exclaiming that they were going to kill her. She was firmly held by the
Emperor, Madame de Montesquiou, Corvisart, who had just come in, &c.
Madame de Montesquiou dexterously took an opportunity to encourage her,
by declaring that she herself had more than once been in the same

The Empress, however, still persuaded herself that she was treated
differently from other women, and often repeated, “Am I to be sacrificed
because I am an Empress?” She declared, afterwards, to the Emperor, that
she really had entertained this fear. At length she was delivered. The
danger had been so imminent, said the Emperor, that all the etiquette
which had been studied and ordered was disregarded, and the child put on
one side, on the floor, whilst every one was occupied about the mother
only. The infant remained some moments in this situation, and it was
thought he was dead: it was Corvisart who took him up, chafed him, and
brought him to utter a cry.[3]

Footnote 3:

  In an interesting work published some years since relative to the
  return from Elba, there is this passage: “When young Napoleon came
  into the world, he was supposed to be dead; he had neither warmth,
  motion, nor respiration. Repeated efforts were made to produce signs
  of life, when the hundred guns destined to proclaim his birth were
  successively fired. The commotion and shock which they occasioned
  acted so powerfully on the organs of the royal infant as to bring him
  to his senses.”


21st—22nd. The Emperor rode out very early: we made the tour of our
limits in several directions. It is during these rides that the Emperor
now takes his lessons in English. I walk by his side; he speaks a few
sentences in English, which I translate, word by word, as he pronounces
them; by which method he perceives when he is understood, or is enabled
to correct his mistakes. When he has finished a sentence, I repeat it to
him in English, so that he may understand it well himself: this helps to
form his ear.

The Emperor was reading to-day, in the Roman History, of Catiline’s
conspiracy; he could not comprehend it in the way in which it is
described. “However great a villain Catiline might be,” observed he, “he
must have had some object in view: it could not be that of governing in
Rome, since he is accused of having intended to set fire to the four
quarters of the city.” The Emperor conceived it to be much more probable
that it was some new faction similar to those of Marius and Sylla, which
having failed, all the accusations calculated to excite the horror of
patriots, were, as usual in such cases, heaped on the head of its
leader. It was then observed to the Emperor that the same thing would
infallibly have happened to himself, had he been overpowered in
Vendemiaire, Fructidor, or Brumaire, before he had illumined with such
radiant brilliancy an horizon cleared of clouds.

The Gracchi gave rise to doubts and suspicions of a very different sort
in his mind, which, he said, became almost certainties to those who had
been engaged in the politics of our times. “History,” said he, "presents
these Gracchi, in the aggregate, as seditious people, revolutionists,
criminals; and, nevertheless, allows it to appear, in detail, that they
had virtues; that they were gentle, disinterested, moral men; and,
besides, they were the sons of the illustrious Cornelia, which, to great
minds, ought to be a strong primary presumption in their favour. How
then can such a contrast be accounted for? It is thus: the Gracchi
generously devoted themselves in behalf of the rights of the oppressed
people, against a tyrannical senate; and their great talents and noble
character endangered a ferocious aristocracy, which triumphed, murdered,
and calumniated them. The historians of a party have transmitted their
characters in the same spirit. Under the Emperors it was necessary to
continue in the same manner; the bare mention of the rights of the
people, under a despotic master, was a blasphemy, a downright crime.
Afterwards, the case was the same under the feudal system, which was so
fruitful in petty despots. Such, no doubt, is the fatality which has
attended the memory of the Gracchi. Throughout succeeding ages their
virtues have never ceased to be considered crimes; but at this day,
when, possessed of better information, we have thought it expedient to
reason, the Gracchi may and ought to find favour in our eyes.

“In that terrible struggle between the aristocracy and democracy, which
has been renewed in our times—in that exasperation of ancient landed
property against modern industry, which still ferments throughout
Europe, there is no doubt that if the aristocracy should triumph by
force, it would point out many Gracchi in all directions, and treat them
as mercifully as its predecessors did the Gracchi of Rome.”

The Emperor added that it was, moreover, easy to see that there was a
hiatus in the ancient authors at this period of history; that all which
the moderns now presented to us on this subject was mere gleaning. He
then reverted to the charges already made against honest Rollin and his
pupil Crevier: they were both devoid of talent, system, or colouring. It
was to be allowed that the ancients were far superior to us in this
point; and that because, amongst them, statesmen were literary men, and
men of letters statesmen; they combined professions, whilst we divide
them in an absolute manner. This famous division of labour, which in our
times produces such a perfection in mechanical arts, is quite fatal to
excellence in mental productions: every work of genius is superior in
proportion to the universality of the mind whence it emanates. We owe to
the Emperor the attempt to establish this principle by frequently
employing on various objects men wholly unconnected with each other;—it
was his system. He once appointed, of his own accord, one of his
chamberlains to go into Illyria to liquidate the Austrian debt: this was
a matter of importance, and extremely complicated. The chamberlain, who
had previously been a total stranger to public business, was alarmed;
and the minister, who had been deprived of this appointment, being
dissatisfied with it, ventured to represent to the Emperor that, his
nomination having fallen on a man entirely new to such matters, it might
be feared that he would not acquit himself satisfactorily. “I have a
lucky hand, sir,” was his answer: “those on whom I lay it are fit for
every thing.”

The Emperor, proceeding in his criticism, also censured severely what he
called historical fooleries, ridiculously exalted by translators and
commentators. “Such things prove, in the first place,” said he, “that
the historians formed erroneous judgments of men and circumstances. They
are wrong, for instance,” said Napoleon, “when they applaud so highly
the _continence of Scipio_, and fall into ecstasies at the calmness of
Alexander, Cæsar, and others, for having been able to sleep on the eve
of a battle. It could only be a monk, debarred from women, whose face
brightens up at the very name—who neighs behind his bars at their
approach, who could give Scipio much credit for forbearing to violate
the female whom chance threw into his power, while he had so many others
entirely at his disposal. A famished man might as well praise the hero
for having quietly passed by a table covered with victuals, without
greedily snatching at them.” As to sleeping just before a battle, there
was not, he assured us, one of our soldiers or generals who had not
twenty times performed that miracle; their heroism was chiefly produced
by the fatigue of the day before.

Here the Grand Marshal added that he could safely say he had seen
Napoleon sleep, not only on the eve of an engagement, but even during
the battle. “I was obliged to do so,” said Napoleon, “when I fought
battles that lasted three days; Nature was also to have her due: I took
advantage of the smallest intervals, and slept where and when I could.”
He slept on the field of battle at Wagram, and at Bautzen, even during
the action, and completely within the range of the enemy’s balls. On
this subject, he said that, independently of the necessity of obeying
nature, these slumbers afforded a general, commanding a very large army,
the important advantage of enabling him to await, calmly, the reports
and combinations of all his divisions, instead of, perhaps, being
hurried away by the only event which he himself could witness.

The Emperor farther said that he found in Rollin, and even Cæsar,
circumstances of the Gallic war which he could not understand. He could
not by any means comprehend the invasion of the Helvetii; the road they
took; the object ascribed to them; the time they spent in crossing the
Saone; the diligence of Cæsar, who found time to go into Italy, as far
as Aquileia, in quest of reinforcements, and who overtook the invaders
before they had passed the Saone, &c.; that it was equally difficult to
comprehend what was meant by establishing winter-quarters that extended
from Treves to Vannes. And as we expressed our surprise at the immense
works which the generals got performed by their soldiers, the ditches,
walls, great towers, galleries, &c., the Emperor observed that in those
times all efforts were directed to construction on the spot, whereas in
ours they were employed in conveyance. He also thought the ancient
soldiers laboured, in fact, more than ours. He had thoughts of dictating
something on that subject. “Ancient history, however,” said he,
“embraces a long period, and the system of war often changed. In our
days it was no longer that of the times of Turenne and Vauban:
field-works were growing useless; even the system of our fortresses had
become problematical or inefficient; the enormous quantity of bombs and
howitzers changed every thing. It was no longer against the horizontal
attack that defence was requisite, but also against the curve and the
reflected lines. None of the ancient fortresses were henceforth safe;
they ceased to be tenable; no country was rich enough to maintain them.
The revenue of France would be insufficient for her lines in Flanders,
for the exterior fortifications were now not above a fourth or fifth of
the necessary expense. Casements, magazines, places of shelter secure
from the effects of bombs, were now indispensably requisite, and these
were too expensive.” The Emperor complained particularly of the weakness
of modern masonry: the engineer department is radically defective in
this point; it had cost him immense sums, wholly thrown away.

Struck with these novel truths, the Emperor had invented a system
altogether at variance with the axioms hitherto established; it was to
have metal of an extraordinary calibre, to advance beyond the principal
line towards the enemy; and to have that principal line itself, on the
contrary, defended by a great quantity of small moveable artillery:
hence the enemy would be stopped short in his sudden advance; he would
have only weak pieces to attack powerful ones with; he would be
commanded by this superior calibre, round which the resources of the
fortress, the small pieces, would form in groups, or even advance to a
distance, as skirmishers, and might follow all the movements of the
enemy by means of their lightness and mobility. The enemy would then
stand in need of battering-cannon; he would be obliged to open trenches:
time would be gained, and the true object of fortification accomplished.
The Emperor employed this method with great success, and to the great
astonishment of the engineers, in the defence of Vienna, and in that of
Dresden; he intended to use it in that of Paris, which city could not,
he thought, be defended by any other means; but of the success of this
method he had no doubt.


23rd—26th. The weather was very unfavourable during the greater part of
these mornings, on account of the heavy rains, which scarcely allowed us
to stir out of doors. The Emperor read a work by a Miss Williams, on the
return from the Isle of Elba; it had just reached us from England. He
was much disgusted with it, and with good reason: this production is
quite calumnious and false; it is the echo and collection of all the
reports invented at the time in certain malevolent Parisian societies.

As to our evenings, the weather was almost indifferent to us; whether it
rained, or the moon shone brightly, we literally made ourselves
prisoners. Towards nine o’clock we were surrounded by sentinels; to meet
them would have been painful. It is true that both the Emperor and
ourselves might have gone out at a later hour, accompanied by an
officer; but this would have been rather a punishment than a pleasure to
us, although the officer never could conceive this feeling. He gave us
reason to conclude, at first, that he imagined this seclusion to be
merely the effect of ill-humour, and thought it would not last long. I
know not what he may subsequently have thought of our perseverance.

The Emperor, as I believe I have already mentioned, sat down to table
pretty regularly at eight o’clock; he never remained there above half an
hour; sometimes scarcely a quarter of an hour. When he returned to the
drawing-room, if he happened to be unwell or taciturn, we had the
greatest difficulty in the world to get on till half-past nine or ten
o’clock; indeed, we could not effect it without the assistance of
reading. But when he was cheerful, and entered into conversation with
spirit, we were presently surprised to find it eleven o’clock, and
later: these were our pleasant evenings. He would then retire, with a
kind of satisfaction, at having, as he expressed it, conquered time. And
it was precisely on those days, when the remark applied with least
force, that he used to observe that it must require our utmost courage
to endure such a life.

On one of these evenings, the conversation turned upon the military
trials, which are now taking place in France. The Emperor thought that
General Drouot could not be condemned for coming in the suite of one
acknowledged sovereign to make war upon another. On this it was remarked
that what was now mentioned as his justification would be his greatest
danger at the tribunal of legitimacy.

The Emperor acknowledged, in fact, that there was nothing to be said to
the doctrines brought forward at this day: but, on the other hand, that,
in condemning General Drouot, they would condemn emigration, and
legitimize the condemnation of the emigrants. Whomsoever was found in
arms against France, the Republican doctrines punished with death; it
was not so with the Royal doctrine. If they should in this instance
adopt the Republican doctrine, the emigrant and royal party would
condemn themselves.

The case of Drouot, however, in a general point of view, was very
different even from that of Ney; and besides, Ney had evinced an
unfortunate vacillation of which Drouot had never been guilty. Thus the
interest which Ney had excited was wholly founded on opinion; whilst
that which was felt for Drouot was personal.

The Emperor dilated on the dangers and difficulties which the tribunals
and ministers of justice must experience, throughout the affairs
connected with his return from the Isle of Elba. Above all, he was
extremely struck by a particular circumstance relating to Soult, who, we
were told, was to be brought to trial. He (Napoleon) knew, he said, how
innocent Soult was; and yet, were it not for that circumstance, and were
he an individual and juror in Soult’s case, he had no doubt he should
declare him guilty, so strongly were appearances combined against him.
Ney, in the course of his defence, through some sentiment which it is
difficult to account for, stated, contrary to the truth, that the
Emperor had said Soult was in intelligence with him. Now, every
circumstance of Soult’s conduct during his administration, the
confidence which the Emperor placed in him after his return, &c., agreed
with that deposition: who, then, would not have condemned him? “Yet
Soult is innocent,” said the Emperor, “he even acknowledged to me that
he had taken a real liking to the King. The authority he enjoyed under
him,” he said, “so different from that of my ministers, was a very
agreeable thing, and had quite gained him over.”

Massena (whose proscription was also announced to us by the papers) was,
the Emperor said, another person whom they would perhaps condemn as
guilty of treason. All Marseilles was against him; appearances were
overwhelming; and yet he had fulfilled his duty up to the very moment of
declaring himself openly. On his return to Paris, he had even been far
from claiming any credit with the Emperor, when the latter asked him
whether he might have reckoned upon him. “The truth is,” continued the
Emperor, "that all the commanders did their duty; but they could not
withstand the torrent of opinion, and no one had sufficiently calculated
the sentiments of the mass of the people and the national impetuosity.
Carnot, Fouché, Maret, and Cambaceres, confessed to me, at Paris, that
they had been greatly deceived on this point. And no one understands it
well; even now.

“Had the King remained longer in France,” continued he, “he would
probably have lost his life in some insurrection; but, had he fallen
into my hands, I should have thought myself strong enough to have
allowed him every enjoyment in some retreat of his own selection; as
Ferdinand was treated at Valency.”

Immediately before this conversation, the Emperor was playing at chess,
and his king having fallen, he cried out—"Ah! my poor king, you are
down!" Some one having picked it up, and restored it to him in a
mutilated state—"Horrid!" he exclaimed; “I certainly do not accept the
omen, and I am far from wishing any such thing: my enmity does not
extend so far.”

I would not, on any account, have omitted this circumstance, trifling as
it may appear, because it is in many respects characteristic. We
ourselves, when the Emperor had retired, reverted to the incident. What
cheerfulness, what freedom of mind in such dreadful circumstances! we
said. What serenity in the heart! what absence of malice, irritation, or
hatred! Who could discover in him the man whom enmity and falsehood have
depicted as such a monster! Even amongst his own followers, who is there
that has well understood him, or taken sufficient pains to make him

On another evening, the Emperor was speaking of his early years, when he
was in the artillery, and of his companions at the mess: he always
delighted in reverting to those days. One of his messmates was
mentioned, who, having been Prefect of the same department under
Napoleon and under the King, had not been able to retain his place on
the return of Napoleon. The Emperor, when he recollected him, said that
this person had, at a certain period, missed the opportunity of making
his fortune through him. When Napoleon obtained the command of the army
of the Interior, he loaded this person with favours, made him his
aide-de-camp, and intended to place great confidence in him; but this
favoured aide-de-camp had behaved very ill to him at the time of his
departure for the Army of Italy: he then abandoned his General for the
Directory. “Nevertheless,” said the Emperor, "when once I was seated on
the throne, he might have done much with me, if he had known how to set
about it. He had the claim of early friendship, which never loses its
influence; I should certainly never have withstood an unexpected
overture in a hunting-party, for instance, or half an hour’s
conversation on old times at any other opportunity. I should have
forgotten his conduct: it was no longer important whether he had been on
my side or not: I had united all parties. Those who had an insight into
my character were well aware of this: they knew that, with me, however I
might have felt disposed towards them, it was like the game of
prison-bars; when once the point was touched, the game was won. In fact,
if I wished to withstand them, I had no resource but that of refusing to
see them."

He mentioned another old comrade, who, with intelligence and the
requisite qualifications, might have done any thing with him. He also
said that a third would never have been removed from him, had he been
less rapacious.

We disputed amongst ourselves whether these people ever suspected the
secret, or their own chances; and whether the elevated station and the
Imperial splendour of Napoleon, had fairly allowed them to avail
themselves of his favourable disposition towards them.

With respect to the splendour of the Imperial power, the Grand Marshal
said that, however great and magnificent the Emperor had appeared to him
on the throne, he had never made on him a superior, perhaps an equal,
impression, to that which his situation at the head of the Army of Italy
had stamped on his memory. He explained and justified this idea very
successfully, and the Emperor heard him with some complacency.—But, we
observed, what great events took place afterwards! what elevation! what
grandeur! what renown throughout the world! The Emperor had listened.
“For all that,” said he, “Paris is so extensive, and contains so many
people of all sorts, and some so eccentric, that I can conceive there
may be some who never saw me, and others who never even heard my name
mentioned. Do not you think so?” And it was curious to see with what
whimsical ingenuity he himself maintained this assertion, which he knew
to be untenable. We all insisted loudly that, as to his name, there was
not a town or village in Europe, perhaps even in the world, where it had
not been pronounced. One person in company added—"Sire, before I
returned to France at the treaty of Amiens, your Majesty being then only
FIRST Consul, I determined to make a tour in Wales, as one of the most
extraordinary parts of Great Britain. I climbed the wildest mountains,
some of which are of prodigious height; I visited cabins that seemed to
me to belong to another world. As I entered one of these secluded
dwellings, I observed, to my fellow-traveller, that, in this spot, one
would expect to find repose, and escape the din of revolution. The
cottager, suspecting us to be French, on account of our accent,
immediately enquired the news from France, and what _Bonaparte_, the
First Consul, was about."

“Sire,” said another, "we had the curiosity to ask the Chinese officers
whether our European affairs had been heard of in their Empire.
‘Certainly,’ they replied; ‘in a confused manner, to be sure, because we
are totally uninterested in those matters; but the name of your Emperor
is famous there, and connected with grand ideas of conquest and
revolution:’ exactly as the names of those who have changed the face of
that part of the world have arrived in ours, such as Gengis Khan,
Tamerlane," &c.



  _Published for Henry Colburn, March, 1836._


27th.—This day the Emperor was walking in the garden with the Grand
Marshal and me. The conversation led us to make our political

The Emperor said that he had been very warm and sincere at the
commencement of the Revolution; that he had cooled by degrees, in
proportion as he acquired more just and solid ideas. His patriotism had
sunk under the political absurdities and monstrous domestic excesses of
our legislatures. Finally, his republican faith had vanished on the
violation of the choice of the people, by the Directory, at the time of
the battle of Aboukir.

The Grand Marshal said that, for his part, he had never been a
republican; but a very warm constitutionalist until the 10th of August,
the horrors of which day had cured him of all illusion. He had very
nearly been massacred in defending the King at the Tuileries.

As for me, it was notorious that I had begun my career as a pure and
most ardent royalist. “Why, then, it seems, gentlemen,” humorously
observed the Emperor, “that I am the only one amongst us who has been a
republican.”—"And something more, Sire," Bertrand and I both
replied.—"Yes," repeated the Emperor, “republican and patriot.”—"And I
have been a patriot, Sire," replied one of us, “notwithstanding my
royalism; but, what is still more extraordinary, I did not become so
till the period of the Imperial reign.”—"How! rogue!—are you compelled
to own that you did not always love your country?"—"Sire, we are making
our political self-examination, are we not? I confess my sins. When I
returned to Paris, by virtue of your amnesty, could I at first look upon
myself as a Frenchman, when every law, every decree, every ordinance
that covered the walls, constantly added the most opprobrious epithets
to my unlucky denomination of Emigrant. Nor did I think of remaining,
when I first arrived. I had been attracted by curiosity, yielding to the
invincible influence of one’s native land, and the desire of breathing
the air of one’s country. I now possessed nothing there: in order to be
allowed only to see France once more, I had been compelled, at the
frontier, to swear to the relinquishment of my patrimony, to accede to
the laws which decreed its loss; and I looked on myself as a mere
traveller in that country once mine. I was a true foreigner,
discontented and even malevolent. The empire came; it was a great event.
Now," said I, “my manners, prejudices, and principles triumph; the only
difference is in the person of the sovereign. When the campaign of
Austerlitz opened, my heart, with surprise, found itself once more
French. My situation was painful; I felt as if torn limb from limb; I
was divided between blind passion and national sentiment: the triumphs
of the French army and their general displeased me; yet their defeat
would have humbled me. At length, the prodigies of Ulm, and the
splendour of Austerlitz, put an end to my embarrassment. I was
vanquished by glory.—I admired, I acknowledged, I loved Napoleon; and
from that moment I became French to enthusiasm. Henceforth I have had no
other thoughts, spoken no other language, felt no other sentiments; and
here I am by your side.”

The Emperor then asked innumerable questions relative to the Emigrants,
their numbers, and disposition. I related many curious facts respecting
our princes, the Duke of Brunswick, and the King of Prussia. I made him
laugh at the extravagance of our presumption, our unbounded confidence
of success, the disorder of our affairs, the incapacity of our leaders.
“Men,” said I, “really were not at that time what they have since been.
Fortunately, those with whom we had to contend were, at first, only our
equals in strength. Above all, we thought, and repeated to one another,
that an immense majority of the French nation was on our side; and, for
my part, I firmly believed it. I soon had, however, an opportunity of
being undeceived; when our parties having arrived at Verdun, and beyond
it, not a single person came to join us; on the contrary, every one fled
at our approach. Nevertheless I still believed it, even after my return
from England; so greatly did we deceive ourselves afterwards with the
absurdities that we related to each other. We said that the government
was vested in a handful of people; that it was maintained by force
alone; that it was detested by the nation; and there must be some who
have never ceased to think so. I am persuaded that, amongst those who
now talk in that manner in the Legislative Body, there are some who
speak as they think; so perfectly do I recognise the spirit, the ideas,
and the expressions of Coblentz.”—“But at what period were you
undeceived?” said the Emperor.—“Very late, Sire. Even when I rallied,
and came to your Court, I was led much more by admiration and sentiment,
than by conviction of your strength and stability. However, when I came
into your Council of State, seeing the freedom with which the most
decisive decrees were voted, without a single thought of the slightest
resistance; seeing around me nothing but conviction and entire
persuasion, it then appeared to me that your power, and the state of
affairs, gained strength with a rapidity that I could not account for.
By pondering on the cause of this change, I at length made a great and
important discovery; namely, that matters had long stood thus, but that
I had neither known, nor been willing to perceive, it; I had hid my head
under the bushel, lest the light should reach my eyes. Now that I found
myself forced into the midst of its brightness, I was dazzled by it.
From that moment, all my prejudices fell to the ground; the film was
taken from my eyes.

“Being afterwards sent by your Majesty on a mission, and having
traversed more than sixty departments, I employed the most scrupulous
attention and the most perfect sincerity in ascertaining the truth of
which I had so long doubted. I interrogated the prefects, the inferior
authorities; I caused documents and registers to be produced to me; I
questioned private individuals without being known to them; I employed
all possible means of trying the truth of my conclusions, and I remained
fully convinced that the government was completely national, and founded
in the will of the people; that France had, at no period of her history,
been more powerful, more flourishing, better governed, or more happy;
the roads had never been better maintained; agriculture had increased by
a tenth, a ninth, perhaps an eighth in its productions.[4] A
restlessness, a general ardour animated all minds to exertion, and
inspired them to aim at a daily personal improvement. Indigo was gained;
sugar would inevitably be so. Never, at any period, had internal
commerce and industry of every species, been carried to such a pitch;
instead of four millions of livres in cotton, which were used at the
Revolution, more than thirty millions were now manufactured, although we
could obtain none by sea, and received it over-land from the distance of
Constantinople. Rouen was become quite a prodigy in production. The
taxes were everywhere paid; the Conscription was nationalized; France,
instead of being exhausted, contained a more numerous population than
before, and was daily increasing.

Footnote 4:

  It is a singular fact that the person from whom I had this information
  on agriculture, in Languedoc, was the identical M. de Villèle, who has
  since become celebrated.

“When I again appeared amongst my former acquaintance with these data,
there was an absolute insurrection against me. They laughed in my face,
and almost hooted me. Yet there were some sensible people amongst them,
and I now possessed strong grounds of argument; I staggered many, and
convinced a few; thus I too have had my victories.”

The Emperor said it must be agreed that our being assembled at St.
Helena from political causes was certainly a most extraordinary
circumstance: that we had come to a common centre by roads originally
leading in very different directions. However, we had travelled through
them with sincerity. Nothing more clearly proved the sort of chance, the
uncertainty, and the fatality which usually, in the labyrinth of
revolutions, direct upright and honest hearts.

Nor can any thing more clearly prove, continued he, how necessary
indulgence and intelligent views are to recompose society after long
disorders. It was these dispositions and these principles which had made
him, he said, the most fit man for the circumstances of the month of
_Brumaire_; and it was those which still rendered him without doubt the
fittest in the actual state of France. On this point he had neither
mistrust, nor prejudice, nor passion; he had constantly employed men of
all classes, of all parties, without ever looking back, without
enquiring what they had done, what they had said, what they had thought;
only requiring, he said, that they should pursue in future and with
sincerity the common object—the welfare and the glory of all—that they
should shew themselves true and good Frenchmen. Above all, he had never
made overtures to leaders in order to gain over parties; but, on the
contrary, he had attacked the mass of the parties, that he might be in a
situation to despise their leaders. Such had ever been the uniform
system of his internal policy; and, in spite of the last events, he was
far from repenting it; if he had to begin again he should pursue the
same course. “It is totally without reason,” he said, “that I have been
reproached with employing nobles and emigrants—a perfectly trite and
vulgar imputation! The fact is that under me there only existed
individual opinions and sentiments. It is not the nobles and the
emigrants who have brought about the restoration, but rather the
restoration that has again raised the nobles and the emigrants. They
have not contributed more particularly to our ruin than others: those
really in fault are the intriguers of all parties and all opinions.
Fouché was not a noble; Talleyrand was not an emigrant; Augereau and
Marmont were neither. To conclude, do you desire a final proof of the
injustice of blaming whole classes, when a revolution like ours has
operated in the midst of them? Reckon yourselves here: among four, you
find two nobles, one of whom was even an emigrant. The excellent M. de
Ségur, in spite of his age, at my departure, offered to follow me. I
could multiply examples without end.—It is with as little reason,” he
continued, "that I have been blamed for having neglected certain persons
of influence; I was too powerful not to despise with impunity the
intrigues, and the known immorality, of the greater part of them. None
of these causes have therefore contributed to my downfall; but only
unforeseen and unheard-of catastrophes; compulsory circumstances;
500,000 men at the gates of the capital; a revolution still recent; a
crisis too powerful for French heads; and, above all, a dynasty not
sufficiently ancient. I should have risen again even from the foot of
the Pyrenees, could I but have been my own grandson.

"And, moreover, what a fascination there is respecting past times! It is
most certain that I was chosen by the French: their new worship was
their own work. Well! immediately upon the return of their old forms,
see with what facility they have returned to their idols.

"And, after all, how could another line of policy have prevented that
which ruined me? I have been betrayed by M—— whom I might call my son,
my offspring, my own work; him to whom I had committed my destinies, by
sending him to Paris, at the very moment that he was putting the
finishing hand to his treason and my ruin. I have been betrayed by
Murat, whom I had raised from a soldier to a king; who was my sister’s
husband. I have been betrayed by Berthier, a mere goose, whom I had
converted into a kind of eagle. I have been betrayed in the senate, by
those very men of the national party who owe every thing to me. All
that, then, did not in any way depend upon my system of internal policy.
Undoubtedly I should have been exposed to the charge of too readily
employing old enemies, whether nobles or emigrants, if a Macdonald, a
Valence,[5] a Montesquiou had betrayed me; but they were faithful: let
them object to me the stupidity of Murat, I can oppose to it the
intelligence of Marmont. I have, then, no cause to repent of my system
of internal policy."

Footnote 5:

  One day at Longwood running over the list of the senators who had
  signed the deposition, one of us pointed out the name of M. de
  Valence, signed as secretary. But another explained that this
  signature was false, that M. de Valence had complained of it, and
  protested against it. “It is very true,” said the Emperor, “I know it;
  he has behaved well; Valence was true to the nation.”


  —of the—

  _Drawn for the

  _By an Engineer formerly of
  Napoleon’s Cabinet from the information
  contained in the work itself, and from
  particulars furnished by
  Mess^{rs}. Marchand, S^t Denis, Pierron,
  and others in Napoleon’s service._



28th.—The Emperor during dinner was speaking of the probability of
danger in the Chinese ships, of which one in thirty perished, according
to the accounts he had received from some captains. This led him to the
chances of danger in battle, which he said were less than that. Wagram
was pointed out to him as a destructive battle; he did not estimate the
killed at more than 3,000, which was only a fiftieth: we were there
160,000. At Essling they were about 4000, we were 40,000: this was a
tenth; but it was one of the most severe battles. The others were
incomparably lower.

This brought on a conversation on the bulletins. The Emperor declared
them to be very correct: assured us that, excepting what the proximity
of the enemy compelled him to disguise, that when they came into their
hands they might not derive any information prejudicial to him from
them, all the remainder was very exact. At Vienna and throughout Germany
they did them more justice than among us. If they had acquired a bad
character in our armies—if it was a common saying, _as false as a
bulletin_, it was personal rivalships, party spirit, that had
established it: it was the wounded self-love of those who were not
mentioned in them, and who had, or fancied they had, a right to a place
there: and still more than all, our ridiculous national defect of having
no greater enemies to our successes and our glory than ourselves.

The Emperor after dinner played some games at chess. The day had been
very rainy: he was unwell and retired early.

                      UNHEALTHINESS OF THE ISLAND.

26th. The weather was still bad; it was impossible to set foot out of
doors. The rain and the damp invaded our pasteboard apartments. Every
one of us suffered in his health in consequence. The temperature here is
certainly mild, but the climate is among the most unwholesome. It is a
thing ascertained in the island, that few there attain the age of fifty;
hardly any that of sixty. Add to this, exclusion from the rest of the
world, physical privations, bad moral treatment, and it will result that
prisons in Europe are far preferable to liberty in St. Helena.

About four o’clock several Captains from China were brought to me, who
were to be presented to the Emperor. They had an opportunity of seeing
the smallness, the dampness, and bad state of my habitation. They
enquired how the Emperor found himself in point of health. It declined
visibly, I told them. Never did we hear a complaint from him: his great
soul suffered nothing to overcome it, and even contributed to deceive
him with respect to his own state: but we could see him decay very
perceptibly. I led them shortly after to the Emperor who was walking in
the garden. He seemed to me at that moment more disordered than usual.
He dismissed them in half an hour. He went in again, and took a bath.

Before and after dinner he seemed in low spirits and in pain. He began
to read to us _Les Femmes Savantes_; but at the second act he handed the
book to the Grand Marshal, and dozed upon the sofa during the reading of
the remainder.

                              IN THE EAST.

30th–31st. This day the weather has continued very bad; we all suffered
from it: besides, we are absolutely eaten up with rats, fleas, and bugs:
our sleep is disturbed by them, so that the troubles by night are in
perfect harmony with those by day.

The weather changed entirely to fair on the 31st; we went out in the
carriage. The Emperor, in the course of conversation, observed, speaking
of Egypt and Syria, that if he had taken St. Jean d’Acre, as ought to
have been the case, he should have wrought a revolution in the East.
“The most trivial circumstances,” said he, "lead to the greatest events.
The weakness of the captain of a frigate, who stood out to sea instead
of forcing a passage into the harbour, some trifling impediments with
respect to some sloops or light vessels, prevented the face of the world
from being changed. Possessed of St. Jean d’Acre, the French army would
have flown to Damascus and Aleppo; in a twinkling it would have been on
the Euphrates; the Christians of Syria, the Druses, the Christians of
Armenia, would have joined it: nations were on the point of being
shaken." One of us having said that they would have speedily been
re-inforced with 100,000 men—"Say 600,000," replied the Emperor; “who
can calculate what it might have been? I should have reached
Constantinople and the Indies; I should have changed the face of the

                    SUMMARY OF THE LAST NINE MONTHS.

Nine months have already elapsed from the commencement of my Journal;
and I fear that, amid the heterogeneous matters that succeed without
order in it, I may have often lost sight of my principal, my only,
object—that which concerns Napoleon, and may serve to characterize him.
It is to make up for this, where necessary, that I here attempt a
summary in a few words; a summary which I propose, moreover, on the same
account, to repeat, in future, at intervals of three months.

On quitting France, we remained for a month at the disposal of the
brutal and ferocious English Ministry; then our passage to St. Helena
occupied three months.

On our landing we occupied Briars nearly two months.

Lastly, we have been three months at Longwood.

Now, these nine months would have formed four very distinct epochs, with
one who had taken the pains to observe Napoleon.

All the time of our stay at Plymouth, Napoleon remained thoughtful, and
merely passive, exerting no power but that of patience. His misfortunes
were so great, and so incapable of remedy, that he suffered events to
take their course with stoic indifference.

During the whole of our passage, he constantly possessed a perfect
equanimity, and, above all, the most complete indifference; he expressed
no wish, shewed no disappointment. It is true, the greatest respect was
paid him; he received it without perceiving it; he spoke little, and the
subject was always foreign to himself. Any one who, coming suddenly on
board, had witnessed his conversation, would undoubtedly have been far
from guessing with whom they were in company: it was not the Emperor. I
cannot better picture him in this situation than by comparing him to
those passengers of high distinction who are conveyed with great respect
to their destination.

Our abode at Briars presented another shade of difference. Napoleon,
left almost entirely to himself, receiving nobody, constantly employed,
seeming to forget events and men, enjoyed, apparently, the calm and the
peace of a profound solitude; either from abstraction or contempt, not
condescending to notice the inconveniences or privations with which he
was surrounded. If he now and then dropped an expression relative to
them, it was only when roused by the importunity of some Englishman, or
excited by the recital of the outrages suffered by his attendants. His
whole day was occupied in dictation; the rest of the time dedicated to
the relaxation of familiar conversation. He never mentioned the affairs
of Europe; spoke rarely of the Empire, very little of the Consulate; but
much of his situation as General in Italy; still more, and almost
constantly, of the minutest details of his childhood and his early
youth. The latter subjects, especially, seemed at this time to have a
peculiar charm for him. One would have said that they afforded him a
perfect oblivion; they excited him even to gaiety. It was almost
exclusively with these objects that he employed the many hours of his
nightly walks by moonlight.

Finally, our establishment at Longwood was a fourth and last change. All
our situations hitherto had been but short and transitory. This was
fixed, and threatened to be lasting. There, in reality, were to commence
our exile and our new destinies. History will take them up there; there
the eyes of the world were to be directed to consider us. The Emperor,
seeming to make this calculation, regulates all about him, and takes the
attitude of dignity oppressed by power; he traces around him a moral
boundary, behind which he defends himself, inch by inch, against
indignity and insult. He no longer gives way on any point to his
persecutors; he shews himself sensibly jealous in respect to forms, and
hostile to all encroachment. The English never doubted that habit would,
in the end, produce formality. The Emperor brings them to it from the
first day, and the most profound respect is manifested.

It was no small surprise to us, and no slight satisfaction to have to
observe among ourselves, that, without knowing how or why, it was
nevertheless perceptible that the Emperor now stood higher in the
opinion and the respect of the English than he had hitherto done: we
could even perceive that this sentiment was every day increasing. With
us the Emperor resumed entirely, in his conversations, the examination
of the affairs of Europe. He analyzed the projects and the conduct of
the Sovereigns: he compared them with his own; weighed, decided, spoke
of his reign, of his deeds; in a word, we once more found him the
Emperor, and _all_ Napoleon. Not that he had ever ceased to be so for an
instant, as regarded our devotion and our attentions; neither had we, on
our side, had any thing to endure from him in any respect.

Never did we experience a more even temper, a more constant kindness, a
more unaltered affection. It was, in fact, among us, as in the midst of
his family, that he concerted his attacks upon the common enemy; and
those which appear the most vigorous, and seem to be dictated by anger,
were, however, almost always accompanied with some laughter or

The Emperor’s health, during the six months preceding our establishment
at Longwood, did not seem to undergo any change; though his regimen was
so completely altered. His hours, his food, were no longer the same; his
habits were completely deranged. He who had been accustomed to so much
exercise had been confined all this time to a room. Bathing had become
part of his existence, and he was constantly deprived of it. It was not
till after his arrival at Longwood, and when he was again supplied with
some of these things, when he rode on horseback, and returned to the use
of the bath, that we began to perceive a sensible alteration.

It is a singular circumstance that, so long as he was uncomfortably
situated he suffered nothing; it was not till he was better off that he
was seen to be in pain. May it not be that, in the moral as in the
physical system, there is often a long interval between causes and their


April 1st—2nd. All that is in any way connected with the Emperor
Napoleon must be worthy of observation, and will be held valuable by
thousands. With this conviction, I shall proceed minutely to describe
his apartment, its furniture, the details of his toilet, &c. And, in
course of time, may not his son one day take pleasure in re-producing
these details, picturing to himself the appearance of distant objects,
and seizing fleeting shadows, which to him will perhaps supply the place
of reality?

The Emperor’s own apartments consist of two chambers _A_ and _B_,[6]
each 45 feet long and 42 broad, and about 7 feet high. A very
indifferent carpet covers the floor, and pieces of nankin, instead of
paper, line the walls of both rooms.

Footnote 6:

  See the plan of Longwood.

The bed-chamber _A_ contains the little camp-bed _a_, in which the
Emperor sleeps, and the couch _b_, on which he reclines the greater part
of the day. This couch is covered with books, which seem to dispute with
the Emperor the right of possession to it. Beside this couch stands a
small table _c_, on which the Emperor breakfasts and dines, when he
takes his meals in his own chamber, and which, in the evening, bears a
candlestick with three branches, surmounted by a large ornament. Between
the two windows, and opposite to the door, stands a chest of drawers
_d_, containing the Emperor’s linen, and on the top of which is his
large dressing-case.

Over the fire-place _e_, hangs a very small glass, together with several
pictures. On the right is a portrait of the King of Rome sitting on a
sheep, by Aimée Thiebault—and on the left hangs, as a pendant to it,
another portrait of the young Prince, sitting on a cushion and putting
on a slipper. This picture is also the production of Thiebault. Lower
down is a small marble bust of the King of Rome. Two candlesticks, two
scent-bottles, and two cups of silver gilt, taken from the Emperor’s
cabinet, complete the arrangement and decoration of the chimney-piece.
Lastly, at the foot of the couch, and directly in view of the Emperor
when he reposes on it, which he does the greater part of the day, hangs
Isabey’s portrait of Maria Louisa, holding her son in her arms. This
wretched little closet has thus become a family sanctuary. I must not
omit to mention Frederick the Great’s large silver watch, which is a
sort of alarum. It was taken at Potsdam and it hangs on the left of the
chimney-piece, beyond the portraits. The Emperor’s own watch, which
hangs on the right of the chimney, is the same that he used in the
Campaigns of Italy; it is enclosed in a gold case, marked with his
cipher B:[7] These are the contents of the first chamber.

Footnote 7:

  I have since learned that this watch, the faithful companion of his
  wonderful achievements during the Campaigns in Italy and Egypt, has
  passed into the hands of the Grand Marshal.—The Emperor complained
  that his watch did not go, or that it went ill; and we had in vain
  endeavoured to get it set to rights: when one day, looking at a watch
  which General Bertrand had just received from the Cape, he said: “I
  shall keep this and give you mine: it does not go now, but it struck
  two on the _plateau_ of Rivoli, when I gave orders for the operations
  of the day.”

In the second room _B_, which serves as a sort of study, along the walls
next the windows are several rough boards, supported by trestles, on
which are scattered a great number of books, and the manuscripts that
have been written from the Emperor’s dictation. Between the two windows
is a book-case _g_; and on the opposite side stands another
camp-bedstead _h_, similar to the one already mentioned. On this bed the
Emperor sometimes reposes in the day-time; and he occasionally lies down
on it, when he rises from the other bed during his frequent sleepless
nights, or when fatigued with dictating, or walking about alone in his
chamber. Lastly, in the middle of the room stands the writing-table _i_,
with marks indicating the places usually occupied by the Emperor and
each of us during his dictations.

The Emperor dresses in his bed-room. When he takes off his clothes,
which he does without assistance, he throws them all upon the floor if
one of his valets happens not to be at hand to take them from him. How
many times have I stooped to pick up the cordon of the Legion of Honour,
when I have seen it thrown carelessly on the ground!

Shaving, which is almost the last business of the Emperor’s toilet, is
not commenced until he has put on his stockings, shoes, &c. He shaves
himself: first taking off his shirt, and retaining only his flannel
waistcoat, which he had laid aside during the excessive heat we
experienced in crossing the Line, but which he was obliged to resume at
Longwood, in consequence of a severe attack of the cholic; from this,
however, the use of his flannel waistcoat speedily relieved him.

The Emperor shaves in the recess of the window nearest to the
fire-place. His first valet de chambre hands him the soap and razor: and
the second holds before him the looking-glass of his dressing-case, so
that the Emperor may turn to the light the side that he is shaving. It
is the business of the second valet de chambre to tell him whether or
not he shaves clean. Having shaved one side, he turns completely round
to shave the other, and the valets change sides.

The Emperor then washes his face, and very frequently his head, in a
large silver basin _f_, which is fixed in a corner of the room, and
which was brought from the Elysée. The Emperor is very lusty; his skin
is white, with but few hairs; and he has a certain plumpness which is
unusual in the male sex, and to which he sometimes jokingly alludes. He
rubs his chest and arms with a tolerably hard brush. He afterwards gives
the brush to his valet de chambre, who rubs his back and shoulders, and
when in good humour he often says, “Come, brush hard—as hard as if you
were scrubbing an ass.”

He used almost to drown himself in _eau de Cologne_, at least, so long
as he had any at his disposal: but his store of this article was
speedily exhausted, and as none could be procured on the island, he was
reduced to the necessity of using lavender water; the want of _eau de
Cologne_ he felt as a severe privation.

After he has had his back rubbed, or after he has finished shaving each
side of his beard, he sometimes good-humouredly looks his valet in the
face for a few seconds, and then gives him a smart box on the ear,
accompanied by some jocular expressions. This has been construed by
libelists and pamphleteers into the habit of cruelly beating those who
were about him. We all in our turns occasionally received a pinch or a
box on the ear; but from the expressions which always accompanied the
action, we thought ourselves very happy in receiving such favours during
the period of his power.

This calls to my recollection, and explains to me certain observations
which I once heard from the Duke Decrès, one of the Emperor’s ministers.
The Duke, when in the height of his glory and power, wished to obtain a
certain favour from the Emperor. He was conversing with me on the
subject, and after adverting to all his chances of success, he said: “I
shall have it after all, the first time I get roughly treated.” And,
remarking that my countenance expressed surprise, he added with a
significant smile: "But, my dear fellow, after all ’tis not so terrible
a thing as you imagine; many would be happy to receive such usage, I
assure you." ...

The Emperor does not leave his chamber until he is completely dressed.
He wears shoes in the morning, and does not put on his boots until he
rides out on horseback. When he first came to Longwood, he laid aside
his green uniform of the Guard, and wore a hunting coat the lace of
which had been taken off. This coat soon began to look shabby, and his
attendants were at a loss what to substitute for it. This, however, was
not the only inconvenience of the kind to which he was exposed. For
instance, we were much distressed to see him reduced to the necessity of
wearing one pair of silk stockings for several days in succession; but
he laughed whenever we expressed our regret on this subject, or remarked
that it was easy to count the number of days the stockings had been
worn, by the marks which the shoes had left on them. In other respects
he retained his usual dress; namely, waistcoat and small clothes of
white kerseymere, and a black cravat. When he was going out, any one of
the gentlemen who happened to be in the room handed to him his hat; that
little hat which has in some measure become identified with his person.
Several of the Emperor’s hats have been carried off since we have been
on the island; for every individual who approaches him is anxious to
obtain some token of remembrance of him. How often have we been
tormented even by persons of distinguished rank, to procure for them
even a button of his coat or any other trifle belonging to him.

I was almost always present at the Emperor’s toilet: sometimes I
remained after having finished my writing, and sometimes the Emperor
desired me to come and chat with him. One day I was looking steadfastly
at him as he put on his flannel waistcoat. My countenance I suppose
expressed something particular, for he said in his good humoured way of
addressing me: “Well, what does _your Excellency_ smile at? What are you
thinking of at this moment.”—"Sire, in a pamphlet which I lately read, I
found it stated that your Majesty was shielded by a coat of mail for the
security of your person. A report of the same kind was circulated among
certain classes in Paris; and in support of the assertion, allusion was
made to your Majesty’s sudden _embonpoint_, which was said to be quite
unnatural. I was just now thinking that I could bear positive evidence
to the contrary, and that at St. Helena, at least, all precautions for
personal safety have been laid aside."—"This is one of the thousand
absurdities that have been published respecting me," said he. "But the
story you have just mentioned is the more ridiculous, since every person
about me well knows how careless I am in regard to self-preservation.
Accustomed from the age of eighteen to be exposed to cannon-balls, and
knowing the inutility of precautions, I abandoned myself to my fate.
When I came to the head of affairs, I might still have fancied myself
surrounded by the danger of the field of battle: and I might have
regarded the conspiracies that were formed against me as so many
bomb-shells. But I followed my old course; I trusted to my lucky star;
and left all precautions to the police. I was perhaps the only sovereign
in Europe who dispensed with a body guard. Every one could freely
approach me without having, as it were, to pass through military
barracks; the sentinels at the outer gates being passed, all had free
access to every part of my palace. Maria Louisa was much astonished to
see me so poorly guarded; and she often remarked that her father was
surrounded by bayonets. For my part, I had no better defence at the
Tuileries than I have here: I don’t even know where to find my sword; do
you see it?" said he, looking about for it.... “I have, to be sure,” he
continued, "incurred great dangers. Upwards of thirty plots were formed
against me: these have been proved by authentic testimony, without
mentioning many that never came to light. Some sovereigns invent
conspiracies against themselves; for my part, I made it a rule carefully
to conceal them whenever I could. The crisis most serious to me was
during the interval between the battle of Marengo and the attempt of
Georges, and the affair of the Duke d’Enghien."

Napoleon related that about a week before the arrest of Georges, a
petition had been delivered into his own hands, on the parade, by one of
the most determined of the conspirators. Others insinuated themselves
among the household at St. Cloud or Malmaison; finally Georges himself
seems to have been so near his person as to have been in the same
apartment with him.

Independently of good luck, the Emperor attributes his safety, in a
great measure, to certain circumstances which were peculiar to himself.
That which had doubtless, he said, contributed to preserve him was his
having lived after his own fancy; without any regular habits or fixed
plan. His close occupations kept him much at home, and almost constantly
confined him to his closet. He never dined abroad, seldom visited the
theatres, and never appeared but at those times and places at which he
was not expected.

As we were descending to the garden after the Emperor had finished
dressing, he observed to me that the two designs on his life which had
placed him in the most imminent danger were those of Cerachi the
sculptor, and the fanatic of Schönbrunn. Cerachi, and some other
desperate wretches, had laid a plan for assassinating the First Consul.
They agreed to carry their design into execution at the moment of his
withdrawing from his box at the theatre. Napoleon, who received
intimation of the plot nevertheless proceeded to the theatre, and
fearlessly passed by the conspirators, who had shown themselves most
eager to occupy their respective stations. They were not arrested until
about the middle or near the close of the performance.

Cerachi, said the Emperor, had formerly adored the First Consul; but he
vowed to sacrifice him, when, as he pretended, he proved himself a
tyrant. This artist had been loaded with favours by General Bonaparte,
whose bust he had executed; and, when he entered into the plot against
his benefactor, he endeavoured by every possible means to procure
another sitting, under pretence of making an essential improvement on
the bust. Fortunately, at that time, the Consul had not a single
moment’s leisure, and, thinking that want was the real cause of the
urgent solicitations of the sculptor, he sent him six thousand francs.
But how was he mistaken! Cerachi’s real motive was to stab him during
the sitting.

The conspiracy was disclosed by a captain of the line, who was himself
an accomplice. “This,” said Napoleon, “was a proof of the strange
modifications of which the human mind is susceptible, and shows to what
lengths the combinations of folly and stupidity may be carried! This
officer regarded me with horror as First Consul, though he had adored me
as a General. He wished to see me driven from my post, but he rejected
the idea of any attempt upon my life. He wished that I should be
secured, but would not have me injured in any way; and he proposed that
I should be sent back to the army to face the enemy and defend the glory
of France. The rest of the conspirators laughed at these notions; but,
when he found that they were distributing poniards and going far beyond
his intentions, he then came and disclosed the whole to the Consul.”

As we were discoursing on this subject, some one present mentioned
having witnessed at the Theatre Feydeau, a circumstance which threw a
part of the audience into the greatest consternation. The Emperor
entered the Empress Josephine’s box, and had scarcely taken his seat,
when a young man hastily jumped upon the bench immediately below the
Box, and placed his hand on the Emperor’s breast. The spectators on the
opposite side were filled with alarm. Fortunately, however, the young
man was merely presenting a petition, which the Emperor received and
read with the utmost coolness.

The Emperor described the _Fanatic of Schönbrunn_, as the son of a
protestant minister of Erfurt, who, about the time of the battle of
Wagram, had laid a plan for the assassination of Napoleon, with all due
parade. He had passed the sentinels at some distance from the Emperor,
and had twice or thrice been driven back, when General Rapp, in the act
of pushing him aside with his hand, felt something concealed under his
coat. This proved to be a knife about a foot and a half long, pointed,
and sharp at both edges. “I shuddered to look at it,” said the Emperor;
“it was merely rolled up in a piece of newspaper.”

Napoleon ordered the assassin to be brought into his closet. He called
Corvisart, and directed him to feel the criminal’s pulse while he spoke
to him. The assassin stood unmoved, confessing his intended crime, and
frequently making quotations from the Bible. “What was your purpose
here?” enquired the Emperor. “To kill you.” “What have I done to offend
you? By whose authority do you constitute yourself my Judge?”—"I wish to
put an end to the war." “And why not address yourself to the Emperor
Francis?” “To him!” said the assassin, “and wherefore? he is a mere
cipher. And besides, if he were dead, another would succeed him; but,
when you are gone, the French will immediately retire from Germany.” The
Emperor vainly endeavoured to move him. “Do you repent?” said he. “No.”
“Would you again attempt the perpetration of your intended crime?”
“Yes.” “What, if I were to pardon you?” Here, said the Emperor, nature
for an instant resumed her sway; the man’s countenance and voice
underwent a momentary change. “Even though you do,” said he, “God will
not forgive me.” But he immediately resumed his ferocious expression. He
was kept in solitary confinement and without food for four-and-twenty
hours. The Doctor examined him once more. He was again questioned, but
all was unavailing; he still remained the same man, or, to speak more
properly, the same ferocious brute. He was at length abandoned to his

                        THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO.

3rd.—In the morning the Emperor dictated in the shady part of the
garden. The day was delightfully clear and serene. He had been reading
the account of Alexander’s expedition in Rollin’s History; and had
several maps spread out before him. He complained that the narrative was
destitute of taste, and without any proper plan. He observed that it
afforded no just idea of the grand views of Alexander; and he expressed
a wish himself to write an account of the expedition.

About five o’clock, I joined him in the garden, where he was walking,
attended by all the gentlemen. As soon as he perceived me, he said:
“Come, we must have your opinion on a point which we have been
discussing for the last hour. On my return from Waterloo, do you think I
could have dismissed the Legislative Body, and have saved France without
it?”—"No," I replied, “it would not have been dissolved voluntarily. You
would have found it necessary to employ force; which would have excited
protestations, and would have been regarded as scandalous. The
dissatisfaction excited in the Legislative Body would have spread
through the whole nation. Meanwhile the enemy would have arrived; and
your Majesty must have succumbed, accused by all Europe, accused by
foreigners, and even by Frenchmen; perhaps loaded with universal
maledictions, regarded merely as an adventurer carrying every thing by
violence. But as it was, your Majesty issued pure and unsullied from the
conflict, and your memory will be everlastingly cherished in the hearts
of those who respect the cause of the people. Your Majesty has, by your
moderation, ensured to yourself the brightest character in history,
while, by a different line of conduct, you might have incurred the risk
of reprobation. You have lost your power, it is true; but you have
attained the summit of your glory.”

“Well, this is partly my own opinion,” said the Emperor. "But after all,
am I certain that the French people will do me justice? Will they not
accuse me of having abandoned them? History will decide! Instead of
dreading, I invoke, its decree!—I have often asked myself whether I have
done for the French people all that they could expect of me; for that
people did much for me. Will they ever know all that I suffered during
the night that preceded my final decision?

"In that night of anguish and uncertainty, I had to choose between two
great courses: the one was to endeavour to save France by violence; and
the other was to yield to the general impulse. The measure which I
pursued was, I think, most advisable. Friends and enemies, the good and
the evil disposed, all were against me, and I stood alone. I could not
but yield, and my decision being once adopted, could not be revoked. I
am not one who takes half measures; and, besides, sovereignty is not to
be thrown off and on like one’s cloak. The other course demanded
extraordinary severity. It would have been necessary to arraign great
criminals and to decree great punishments. Blood must have been shed;
and then who can tell where we should have stopped! What scenes of
horror might not have been renewed! By pursuing this line of conduct,
should I not have drowned my memory in the deluge of blood, crimes, and
abominations of every kind, with which libellers have already
overwhelmed me? Should I not thereby have seemed to justify all that
they have been pleased to invent? Posterity and History would have
viewed me as a second Nero or Tiberius. If, after all, I could have
saved France at such a price!... I had energy sufficient to carry me
through every difficulty!... But, is it certain that I should have
succeeded? All our dangers did not come from without; the worst existed
in our internal discord. Did not a party of mad fools dispute about
shades, before they had ensured the triumph of the colour? How would it
have been possible to persuade them that I was not labouring for myself
alone, for my own personal advantage? How could I convince them of my
disinterestedness, or prove that all my efforts were directed to save
the country? To whom could I point out the dangers and miseries from
which I sought to rescue the French people? They were evident to me, but
the vulgar mass will ever remain in ignorance of them until they are
crushed beneath their weight.

“What answer could be given to those who exclaimed: Behold the despot,
the tyrant! again violating the oaths which he took but yesterday! and
who knows whether amidst this tumult, this inextricable complication of
difficulties, I might not have perished by the hand of a Frenchman, in
the civil conflict! Then how would France have appeared in the eyes of
the universe, in the estimation of future generations? The glory of
France is to identify herself with me. I could not have achieved so many
great deeds for her honour and glory without the nation, and in spite of
the nation. France was inclined to elevate me to too high a point!... As
I said before, History will decide!...”

He then adverted to the plan and details of the Campaign, dwelling with
pleasure on its glorious commencement, and with regret on the terrible
disaster that marked its close.

“Still,” continued he, "I should have considered the state of affairs as
by no means desperate, had I obtained the aid I expected. All our
resources rested in the Chambers. I hastened to convince them of this;
but they immediately rose against me, under pretence that I was come to
dissolve them. What an absurdity! From that moment all was lost.[8]

Footnote 8:

  Time, which explains all things, has shewn the little springs which
  brought about one of our greatest catastrophes. I received the
  following particulars from one who acted a part in the events of the

  On hearing that Napoleon had arrived at the Elysée from Waterloo,
  Fouché flew to the dissatisfied and suspicious Members of the Chambers
  exclaiming, “To arms! He has returned desperate, and is about to
  dissolve the Chambers and seize the dictatorship. We cannot endure the
  restoration of tyranny.” He then hastened to the best friends of
  Napoleon. “Are you aware,” said he, “what a terrible fermentation has
  risen up against the Emperor among certain deputies? We can only save
  Napoleon by facing them boldly, by showing them the full power of our
  party, and how easily the Chambers may be dissolved.”

  The friends of Napoleon, easily duped in this sudden crisis, failed
  not to follow, perhaps even to overstep, the suggestions of Fouché,
  who now returned to the distrustful party and said, “You see his best
  friends are agreed on this point: the danger is urgent: and in a few
  hours there will be no remedy. The Chambers will be no more, and we
  shall be very culpable in letting slip the only opportunity of
  opposing him.” Thus the permanence of the Chambers, the forced
  abdication of the Emperor, and the downfall of a great empire, were
  brought about by petty intrigue, by ante-chamber report and gossip.
  Ah, Fouché! how well the Emperor knew you, when he said, that your
  ugly foot was sure to be thrust into every body’s shoes.

“It would perhaps be unjust,” added the Emperor, "to accuse the majority
of the Members of the Chambers; but such is the nature of all numerous
bodies that they must perish, if disunited. Like armies, they must have
leaders. The chiefs of armies are appointed; but, in constituted bodies,
men of eminent talent and genius rise up and rule them. We wanted all
this, and, therefore, in spite of the good spirit which might have
animated the majority, all were, in an instant, plunged into confusion
and tumult. The Legislative Body had perfidy and corruption stationed at
its doors, while incapacity, disorder, and perversity prevailed in its
bosom; and thus France became the prey of foreigners.

"For a moment, I entertained the idea of resistance. I was on the point
of declaring myself permanently at the Tuileries, along with my
Ministers and Councillors of State. I had thoughts of rallying round me
the six thousand guards who were in Paris, augmenting them with the best
disposed portion of the National Guard, who were very numerous, and the
federate troops of the Faubourgs; of adjourning the Legislative Body to
Tours or Blois; re-organizing before the walls of Paris, the wrecks of
the army, and thus exerting my efforts singly, as a Dictator, for the
welfare of the country. But would the Legislative Body have obeyed? I
might have enforced obedience, it is true; but this would have been a
new cause of scandal, and a fresh source of difficulties. Would the
people have made common cause with me? Would even the army have
continued constantly faithful to me? In the succession of events, might
not both the people and the army have been separated from me? Might not
plans have been arranged to my prejudice? The idea that so many dangers
were caused by me alone might have served as a plausible pretext, and
the facilities which every one had experienced during the preceding year
in gaining favour with the Bourbons, might to many have become decisive

“Yes,” continued the Emperor, "I hesitated long, I weighed every
argument on both sides; and I at length concluded that I could not make
head against the coalition without and the royalists within: that I
should be unable to oppose the numerous sects which would have been
created by the violence committed on the Legislative Body, to control
that portion of the multitude which must be driven by force, or to
resist that moral condemnation which imputes to him who is unfortunate
every evil that ensues. Abdication was therefore absolutely the only
step I could adopt. All was lost in spite of me. I foresaw and foretold
this: but still I had no other alternative.

“The Allies always pursued the same system against me. They began it at
Prague, continued it at Frankfort, at Chatillon, at Paris, and at
Fontainbleau. Their conduct displayed considerable judgment. The French
might have been duped in 1814; but it is difficult to conceive how they
could have been deceived in 1815. History will for ever tarnish the
memory of those who suffered themselves to be misled. I foretold their
fate when I was departing to join the army: _Let us not resemble_, I
said, _the Greeks of the Lower Empire, who amused themselves in debating
while the battering-ram was levelling the walls of their city_. And,
when forced to abdicate, I said, _Our enemies wish to separate me from
the army; when they shall have succeeded, they will separate the army
from you. You will then be merely a wretched flock, the prey of wild

We asked the Emperor whether he thought that, with the concurrence of
the Legislative Body, he could have saved France? He replied, without
hesitation, that he would confidently have undertaken to do so, and that
he would have answered for his success.

“In less than a fortnight,” continued he, "that is to say, before any
considerable mass of the allied force could have assembled before Paris,
I should have completed my fortifications, and have collected before the
walls of the city, and out of the wrecks of the army, upwards of eighty
thousand good troops, and three hundred pieces of horse artillery. After
a few days’ firing, the national guard, the federal troops, and the
inhabitants of Paris, would have sufficed to defend the entrenchments. I
should have had eighty thousand disposable troops at my command. It is
well known how advantageously I was capable of employing this force.—The
achievements of 1814 were still fresh in remembrance. Champaubert,
Montmirail, Craon, Montereau, were still present in the imagination of
our enemies; the same scenes would have revived the recollection of the
prodigies of the preceding year. I was then surnamed the _hundred
thousand men_.

"The rapidity and decision of our successes gave rise to this name. The
conduct of the French troops was most admirable. Never did a handful of
brave men accomplish so many miracles. If their high achievements have
never been publicly known, owing to the circumstances which attended our
disasters, they have at least been duly appreciated by our enemies, who
counted the number of our attacks by our victories. We were truly the
heroes of fable!

“Paris,” said he, "would in a few days have become impregnable. The
appeal to the nation, the magnitude of the danger, the excitement of the
public mind, the grandeur of the spectacle, would have drawn multitudes
to the capital. I could undoubtedly have assembled upwards of four
hundred thousand men, and I imagine the allied force did not exceed five
hundred thousand. Thus the affair would have been brought to a single
combat, in which the enemy would have had as much to fear as ourselves.
He would have hesitated, and thus I should have regained the confidence
of the majority.

“Meanwhile I should have surrounded myself with a national senate or
junta selected from among the members of the Legislative Body—men
distinguished by national names, and worthy of general confidence. I
should have fortified my military Dictatorship with all the strength of
civil opinion. I should have had my tribune, which would have
promulgated the talisman of my principles through Europe. The Sovereigns
would have trembled to behold the contagion spread among their subjects.
They must have treated with me, or have surrendered....”

“But, Sire,” we exclaimed, “why did you not attempt what would
infallibly have succeeded?—Why are we here?”

“Now,” resumed the Emperor, “you are blaming and condemning me! But, if
you were to take a view of the contrary chances, you would change your
tone. Besides, you forget that we reasoned on the hypothesis that the
Legislative Body would have joined me; but you know what line of conduct
it pursued. I might have dissolved it, to be sure. France and Europe
perhaps blame me, and posterity will doubtless censure my weakness, in
not breaking up the Legislative Body after its insurrection. It will be
said, that I ought not to have separated myself from the destinies of a
people who had done all for me. But by dissolving the Assembly, I could
at most have obtained only a capitulation from the enemy. In that case,
I again repeat, blood must have been shed, and I must have proved myself
a tyrant. I had however arranged a plan on the night of the 20th, and on
the 21st measures of the most rigid severity were to have been adopted;
but before the return of day, the dictates of humanity and prudence
warned me that such a course was not to be thought of, that I should
miss my aim, and that every one was merely seeking blindly to
accommodate himself to circumstances. But I must not begin again. I have
already said too much on a subject which always revives painful
recollections. I repeat once more that History will decide.”—The Emperor
returned to his chamber desiring me to follow him. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4th. At 5 o’clock I went to meet the Emperor in the garden. He had taken
too warm a bath, and in consequence found himself ill. We rode out in
the calash, the weather was delightful: for several days it had been
very warm and dry. Before dinner the Emperor dictated to the Grand
Marshal. Madame Bertrand dined at the Admiral’s. The Emperor withdrew to
his chamber immediately after dinner.

                         CHARACTERISTIC TRAITS.

5th—8th. During these four days, the Emperor invariably rode out on
horseback about six or seven in the morning, accompanied only by me and
my son.

I am enabled to affirm that I never saw Napoleon swayed either by
passion or prejudice, that is to say, I never knew him to pronounce a
judgment on men and things that was not dictated by reason. Even when he
displays what perhaps may be called anger, it is merely the effect of
transitory feeling, and never influences his actions; but I can truly
say that, during the eighteen years in which I have had the opportunity
of observing his character, I never knew him to act in contradiction to

Another fact which has come to my knowledge, and which I note down here
because it recurs to my memory at this moment, is that, either from
nature, calculation, or the habit of preserving dignity, he for the most
part represses and conceals the painful sensations which he experiences,
and still more, perhaps, the kind emotions of his heart. I have
frequently observed him repressing feelings of sensibility, as if he
thought that they compromised his character. Of this I shall hereafter
adduce proofs. Meanwhile, the following characteristic trait so
perfectly corresponds with the object of this journal, namely, that of
showing the man as he really is, and seizing nature in the fact, that I
cannot refrain from mentioning it.

For some days past, Napoleon seemed to have something deeply at heart. A
domestic circumstance which had occurred vexed and ruffled him
exceedingly. During the last three days, in our rides about the park, he
several times alluded to this circumstance with considerable warmth,
desiring me to keep close by his side, and ordering my son to ride on
before. On one of these occasions the following observation escaped
him:—"I know I am fallen. But to feel this among you!"... These words,
the gesture, the tone that accompanied them, pierced my very heart. I
was ready to throw myself at his feet, and embrace his knees. “I know,”
continued he, “that man is frequently unreasonable and susceptible.
Thus, when I am mistrustful of myself, I asked, should I have been
treated so at the Tuileries? This is my sure test.”

He then spoke of himself, of us, of our reciprocal relations, of our
situation in the island, and the influence which our individual
circumstances might enable us to exercise. His reflections on these
subjects were numerous, powerful, and just. In the emotion with which
this conversation inspired me, I exclaimed: “Sire, permit me to take
this affair upon myself. It certainly never could have been viewed in
this light. If the matter were explained, I am sure it would excite deep
sorrow and repentance! I only ask permission to say a single word.” The
Emperor replied with dignity:—"No, sir; I forbid it. I have opened my
heart to you. Nature has had her course. I shall forget it; and you must
seem never to have known it."

On our return, we breakfasted all together in the garden, and the
Emperor was more than usually cheerful. In the evening he dined in his
own apartment.


9th-10th. On the 9th a ship arrived from England, bringing papers to the
21st of January. The Emperor continued his morning rides on horseback,
and passed the rest of the day in examining the newspapers in his own
chamber. The contents of these late papers were not less interesting
than those which we had already examined. The agitation in France
continued to increase; the King of Prussia had issued proclamations
respecting secret societies; a misunderstanding had arisen between
Austria and Bavaria; in England the persecution of the French
Protestants, and the violence of the party which was gaining the
ascendancy, agitated the public mind, and gave arms to the Opposition.
Europe never presented a more violent fermentation.

On perusing the account of the deluge of evils and sanguinary events
which overwhelmed all the French departments, the Emperor rose from his
couch, and, stamping his foot violently on the ground, he exclaimed!
“How unfortunate was I in not proceeding to America! From the other
hemisphere I might have protected France against re-action! The dread of
my re-appearance would have been a check on their violence and folly. My
name would have sufficed to bridle their excesses, and to fill them with

Then, continuing the same subject, he said with a degree of warmth,
bordering on inspiration, "the counter-revolution, even had it been
suffered to proceed, must inevitably have been lost in the grand
revolution. The atmosphere of modern ideas is sufficient to stifle the
old feudalists; for henceforth nothing can destroy or efface the grand
principles of our revolution. Those great and excellent truths can never
cease to exist, so completely are they blended with our fame, our
monuments, and our prodigies. We have washed away their first stains in
the flood of glory, and they will henceforth be immortal. Created in the
French tribune, cemented with the blood of battles, adorned with the
laurels of victory, saluted with the acclamations of the people,
sanctioned by the treaties and alliances of Sovereigns, and having
become familiar to the ears as well as in the mouths of Kings, these
principles can never again retrograde!

“Liberal ideas flourish in Great Britain, they enlighten America, and
they are nationalized in France; and this may be called the tripod
whence issues the light of the world! Liberal opinions will rule the
universe. They will become the faith, the religion, the morality of all
nations; and, in spite of all that may be advanced to the contrary, this
memorable era will be inseparably connected with my name; for, after
all, it cannot be denied that I kindled the torch and consecrated the
principles; and now persecution renders me quite their Messiah. Friends
and foes, all must acknowledge me to be their first soldier, their grand
representative. Thus even when I shall be no more, I shall still
continue to be the leading star of the nations....”


11th—12th. The Emperor took advantage of every fine morning to ride on
horseback. He breakfasted in the garden; and the conversation was
afterwards maintained with great freedom and interest on the events of
his own private life, on public affairs, on the individuals who
surrounded his person, and those who have played a conspicuous part in
the other Courts of Europe.

The English lessons were no longer thought of; they were continued only
in our rides or walks during the day time. What the Emperor thus lost in
grammatical accuracy he gained in facility of expression.

About five o’clock on the 11th, we took our usual airing in the calash.
In the evening we resumed our ministerial anecdotes and conversations on
celebrated persons. Napoleon gave us the history of M. Pozzo di Borgo,
his countryman, who had been a Member of the Legislative Body. It was
he, it is said, who advised the Emperor Alexander to march upon Paris,
even though Napoleon should have attacked his rear. “And thus,” said the
Emperor, “he decided the fate of France, of European civilization, and
the destinies of the whole world. He had acquired great influence in the
Russian Cabinet."

He also gave us the history of M. Capo d’Istria. He then spoke of M. de

The Emperor next spoke of his own Ministers; of Bassano, whom he
believed to have been sincerely attached to him; Clarke, to whose
character Time, he said, would do ample justice; C.... whom late events
had shewn to have been worth but little. The Emperor had successively
appointed him Ambassador to Vienna, Minister of the interior, and
Minister for foreign affairs. Talleyrand, observed the Emperor,
described his character in a word, when he said of him, with his usual
point and ill-natured spirit, that he was a man who could make himself
fit for any place on the day before his appointment to it.

The conversation next turned on M. Cambacérès, whom Napoleon called the
man of abuses; observing that he had a decided inclination for the old
regime. Lebrun, on the contrary, had a predilection to the opposite
extreme. He, said the Emperor, was the man of idealisms. These two men,
he observed, were the counterpoises between which the First Consul had
placed himself, and he in his turn was humourously called _the
consolidated third_.

Messrs. de T.... and Fouché were next spoken of. After saying a great
deal respecting both, the Emperor proceeded to make some energetic
remarks on the morality of individuals connected with the ministry in
France, and generally of all functionaries or men in office; on their
want of political faith, or national feeling, which led them to serve
indifferently one person to-day, and another to-morrow. “This levity,
this inconsistency,” said he, “has descended to us from antiquity. We
still remain Gauls, and our character will never be complete, until we
learn to substitute principles for turbulence, pride for vanity, and,
above all, the love of institutions for the love of place.”

The Emperor concluded that, at the close of our late events, the
Monarchs of Europe must necessarily have retained a retrospective
feeling of scorn and contempt for the great people who had thus sported
with Sovereignty. “But,” said he, “the excuse may perhaps be found in
the nature of things, and in the power of circumstances. Democracy
raises up Sovereignty, aristocracy preserves it. Mine had neither taken
a root deep enough, nor acquired sufficient spirit. At the moment of the
crisis it was still connected with democracy; and it mingled with the
multitude instead of becoming the sheet-anchor to secure the people from
the fury of the tempest, and to guide them in their blindness.”

The following are some fresh particulars respecting M. de T—— and M.
Fouché, whose names have so frequently been mentioned. I endeavour as
much as possible to avoid repetitions.

“M. de T——” said the Emperor, “waited two days and nights at Vienna for
full powers to treat for peace in my name; but I should have been
ashamed to have thus prostituted my policy; and yet, perhaps, my conduct
in this instance has purchased my exile to St. Helena; for I cannot but
allow that T—— is a man of singular talent, and capable at all times of
throwing great weight into the scale.

“T——” continued he, “was always in a state treason; but it was in
partnership with fortune. His circumspection was extreme; he treated his
friends as if they might in future become his enemies; and he behaved to
his enemies as if they might some time or other become his friends. M.
de T—— had always been, in my opinion, hostile to the Faubourg St.
Germain. In the affair of the divorce, he was for the Empress Josephine.
It was he who urged the war with Spain, though in public he had the art
to appear averse to it.” Thus it was from a kind of spite that Napoleon
made choice of Valencey as the residence of Ferdinand. “In short,” said
the Emperor, “T—— was the principal instrument and the active cause of
the death of the Duke d’Enghien.”


  Ch. Maurice de Talleyrand

  Engraved by Thomson, from the Original Painting by F. Gérard

Napoleon observed that a celebrated actress (Mademoiselle Raucourt) had
described him with great truth. “If you ask him a question,” said she,
“he is an iron chest, whence you cannot extract a syllable; but if you
ask him nothing, you will soon be unable to stop his mouth—he will
become a regular gossip.”

This was a foible which, at the outset, destroyed the confidence of the
Emperor, and made him waver in his opinion of T——. “I had entrusted
him,” said Napoleon, "with a very important affair, and, a few hours
afterwards, Josephine related it to me word for word. I instantly sent
for the Minister, to inform him that I had just learned from the Empress
a circumstance which I had told in confidence to himself alone. The
story had already passed through four or five intermediate channels.

"T——’s countenance," added the Emperor, “is so immoveable that nothing
can ever be read in it. Lannes and Murat used jokingly to say of him
that if, while he was speaking to you, some one should come behind him
and give him a kick, his countenance would betray no indication of the

M. de T—— is mild and even endearing in his domestic habits. His
servants, and the persons in his employment, are attached and devoted to
him. Among his intimate friends he willingly and good-humouredly speaks
of his ecclesiastical profession. He one day expressed his dislike of a
tune which was hummed in his hearing. He said he had a great horror of
it; it reminded him of the time when he was obliged to practise
church-music, and to sing at the desk. On another occasion, one of his
intimate friends was telling a story during supper, while M. de T—— was
engaged in thought, and seemed inattentive to the conversation. In the
course of the story, the speaker happened to say in a lively manner of
some one whom he had named, “That fellow is a comical rogue; he is a
married priest.” T——, roused by these words, seized a spoon, plunged it
hastily into the dish before him, and with a threatening aspect called
out to him, “Mr. Such-a-one, will you have some spinach?” The person who
was telling the story was confounded, and all the party burst into a fit
of laughter, M. de T—— as well as the rest.

The Emperor, at the time of the Concordat, wished to have made M. de
T.... a Cardinal, and to have placed him at the head of ecclesiastical
affairs. He told him that his proper destiny was to return to the bosom
of the Church, to refresh his memory, and to stop the mouths of the
declaimers. T——, however, would never agree to this; his aversion to the
ecclesiastical profession was insurmountable.

Napoleon was very near appointing him Ambassador to Warsaw, a dignity
which he subsequently conferred on the Abbé de Pradt; but his dirty
stock-jobbing tricks, as the Emperor called them, occasioned this
intention to be abandoned. The Emperor was induced by the same reasons,
and at the instance of several sovereigns of Germany, to deprive him of
the portfolio of Foreign Affairs.

The Emperor remarked that Fouché was the T—— of the clubs, and that T——
was the Fouché of the drawing-rooms. “Intrigue,” he said, "was to Fouché
a necessary of life. He intrigued at all times, in all places, in all
ways, and with all persons. Nothing ever came to light but he was found
to have had a hand in it. He made it his sole business to look out for
something that he might be meddling with. His mania was to wish to be
concerned in every thing...! Always in every body’s shoes." This the
Emperor would often repeat.

At the time of the conspiracy of Georges, when Moreau was arrested,
Fouché was no longer at the head of the Police, and he endeavoured to
make himself very much regretted. “What stupidity!” said he, “they have
arrested Moreau when he was returning to Paris from his country
residence, a circumstance which at least appeared like the confidence of
innocence. On the contrary, he should have been seized when he went to
Gros-Bois, for then he was evidently running away.”

The remark which he made, or which is attributed to him on the affair of
the Duke d’Enghien, is well known; “It is more than a crime, it is a
fault,” said he. Such traits as these paint the character of a man
better than whole volumes.

The Emperor knew Fouché well, and never became his dupe. He has been
much blamed for having employed him in 1815, when indeed Fouché basely
betrayed him. Napoleon was not ignorant of his disposition; but he also
knew that the danger depended more on the circumstances than on the
individual. “If I had been victorious,” said he, “Fouché would have been
faithful. He took great care, it is true, to hold himself in readiness
for whatever might happen. I ought to have conquered!”

The Emperor, however, was acquainted with his underhand dealings, and he
did not spare him. After Napoleon’s return in 1815, one of the first
bankers of Paris presented himself at the Elysée, to inform him that, a
few days previously, a person just arrived from Vienna had waited upon
him with letters of credit, and had made enquiries respecting the means
by which he could meet with Fouché. Whether from reflection or
presentiment, the banker conceived some doubts respecting this
individual, and accordingly came to communicate them in person to the
Emperor, who was astonished that Fouché had concealed the matter from
his knowledge. In the course of a few hours Réal found the person in
question, and immediately brought him to the Elysée, where he was shut
up in a small room by himself. The Emperor ordered him to be brought
into the garden. “Do you know me?” said he to the man. This
commencement, and the feelings which the Emperor’s presence inspired,
greatly startled the stranger. “I am acquainted with all your
proceedings,” continued Napoleon, in a tone of severity: “if you this
moment confess all you know, I may pardon you; if not, you will be taken
from this garden to be shot.”—"I will tell all," said the man. “I am
sent hither by M. de Metternich to the Duke of Otranto, to propose that
he will despatch a messenger to Bâle, who will there meet the messenger
sent by M. de Metternich from Vienna. These,” continued he, delivering
some papers, “are the marks of recognition which they are to
possess.”—"Have you executed your mission to Fouché?" enquired the
Emperor.—"Yes."—"Has he despatched his messenger?"—"I do not know." The
man was put under confinement, and within an hour a confidential person
(M. F——) was on the road to Bâle. He introduced himself to the Austrian
messenger, and even held four conferences with him.

Meanwhile Fouché, who was uneasy at the non-appearance of his Vienna
messenger, one day waited on the Emperor, and attempted with an air of
gaiety and cheerfulness to conceal his extreme embarrassment. “There
were several looking-glasses,” said the Emperor, “in the apartment, and
I was much amused in studying him by stealth; the expression of his
countenance was hideous; he did not know how to enter upon the subject
which interested him so deeply.”—"Sire," said he at length, "a
circumstance occurred to me four or five days ago, which I fear I was
wrong in not communicating to your Majesty.... But I have so much
business on my hands——I am surrounded with so many reports, so many
intrigues——. A man came to me from Vienna with most ridiculous
propositions,——and he is now no where to be found!"—"M. Fouché," said
the Emperor, “you may injure yourself, if you take me for a fool. I have
secured the man you speak of, and I have known the whole intrigue for
several days. Have you sent to Bâle?”—"No, Sire."—"That is fortunate for
you. If it be otherwise, and I obtain proofs of it, it may cost you your

Subsequent events have proved that this would have been but justice. It
appears, however, that Fouché had not sent, and here the business ended.


13th.—The Emperor breakfasted in the garden, and sent for us all to
attend him. He resumed the reading of the papers which we had glanced at
in the morning, and then proceeded to expatiate on political affairs.
The following observations are those which most forcibly struck me.

“On the 13th Vendemiaire, the inhabitants of Paris were completely
disgusted with the Government,” said the Emperor; "but the whole of the
army, the great majority of the population of the departments, the lower
class of citizens, and the peasantry, remained attached to it. Thus the
Revolution triumphed over this grand attack of the counter-revolution,
though it was only four or five years since the new principles had been
promulgated. The most frightful and calamitous scenes had been
witnessed; and a happier future was anticipated.

"But now how altered is the case!... If the soldier in his barracks
seeks to while away the tedious hours in talking of battles, he cannot
speak of Fontenoy or Prague, which he did not witness; he must speak of
the victories of Marengo, Austerlitz, and Jena; of him who gained them;
in short, of me, whose fame fills every mouth, and lives in every heart.

"Such a situation is unexampled in history. On whichever side it is
viewed, nothing but misfortunes present themselves. What will be the
result of this?... Two classes of people, inhabitants of the same soil,
will become mortal, irreconcileable enemies, will be incessantly
quarrelling, and will, perhaps, finally exterminate each other.

“The same fury will soon spread through Europe. The whole Continent will
be composed of two hostile parties; it will be no longer divided by
nations and territories, but by party-colours and opinions. Who can
foresee the crisis, the duration, the details of so many troubles! The
event cannot be doubtful. The present enlightened age will not
retrograde in knowledge!... How unfortunate was my fall!... I had
imprisoned the winds; but bayonets have released them. I could have
proceeded tranquilly in the universal regeneration, which can henceforth
be effected only amidst storms! My object was to amalgamate; others,
perhaps, will extirpate!”

                        THE GOVERNOR’S ARRIVAL.

14th.—The rainy weather had returned; for two days it had been miserably
wet. Some vessels appeared in sight; and we learnt by signals that they
brought the new Governor, Sir Hudson Lowe.

The Emperor was silent and melancholy during dinner. He was not well,
and he retired very early.


15th.—About 12 o’clock this morning I received four letters from Europe,
which rendered me as happy as I could possibly be in this place.

I saw the Emperor at five o’clock in the garden. He had taken advantage
of an interval of fine weather; the rain had been pouring the whole day.
I communicated to him the contents of my letters. All our party had
received communications from Europe. They were delivered to us open, and
they contained no news; but they proved that our friends still
remembered us, and in our situation such an assurance was peculiarly

During dinner, the Emperor described to us the contents of some French
papers which he had by him, and which, he said, gave an account of the
shipwreck of La Perouse, his different adventures; his death, and his
journal. The narrative consisted of the most curious, striking, and
romantic details, and interested us exceedingly. The Emperor observed
how highly our curiosity was excited, and then burst into a fit of
laughter. This story was nothing but an impromptu of his own, which he
said he had invented merely to show us the progress he had made in

                           REQUIRED FROM US.

16th.—The new Governor arrived at Longwood about ten o’clock,
notwithstanding the rain which still continued. He was accompanied by
the Admiral, who was to introduce him, and who had, no doubt, told him
that this was the most suitable hour for his visit. The Emperor did not
receive him; he was indisposed, and even had he been well, he would not
have seen him. The Governor, in this abrupt visit, neglected the usual
forms of decorum. It was easy to perceive that this was a trick of the
Admiral’s. The Governor, who probably had no intention to render himself
at all disagreeable, appeared very much disconcerted. We laughed in our
sleeves. As for the Admiral, he was quite triumphant.

The Governor, after long hesitation and very evident marks of
ill-humour, took his leave rather abruptly. We doubted not that this
visit had been planned by the Admiral, with the view of prepossessing us
against each other at the very outset. But whether the Governor himself
had any concern in it, or entertained any suspicion of its design, is a
question which time will decide.

About half-past five, the Emperor sent for me to attend him in the
garden. He was alone. He told me that a circumstance had arisen which
regarded us all individually. It had been determined to require a
declaration from each of us, stating whether we chose rather to unite
our fate with that of the Emperor, or to be removed from St. Helena and
set at liberty.

We could not guess the motive of this determination. Was it adopted by
the English Ministry for the sake of procuring regular documents? But at
the time of our departure from Plymouth, this preliminary condition was
perfectly understood. Was it hoped by this means to separate the Emperor
more completely from the world? But could it ever be supposed that we
would forsake him?

He asked what would be my determination on this point. I replied that it
could not be for a moment doubtful; that if I ever felt a pang, it must
have been at the moment of my first determination; that from that
instant my fate had been irrevocably fixed. I had at first obeyed only
the dictates of glory and honour; but in every succeeding day I had
indulged my natural affection and feelings. The Emperor’s voice assumed
a milder tone; and this was the mode in which he expressed his thanks. I
knew his heart, and the full extent of his gratitude.

I added that there was but little merit in my resolution. No change
could take place in our situations. The day after having signed the
document, we should be the same as we had been the day before. Our fate
depended not on human combinations, but on the course of events. It
would be very unwise to add to our troubles by calculations beyond the
reach of human foresight. It is our duty calmly to resign ourselves to
the mysterious decrees of Fate; and, in the depth of our misfortune, to
comfort ourselves with the reflection that our minds are free from
self-reproach. This is a consolation which it is beyond the power of man
to enfeeble or to destroy.


17th.—The Emperor sent for me at nine o’clock. He read to me an article
in the Portsmouth Courier, which gave a very long and faithful
description of his residence at Briars.

He sent for me again in the middle of the day to converse with him. One
part of the conversation affords so valuable a development of Napoleon’s
character that I cannot refrain from noting down some passages of it.

There occasionally arose among us transient misunderstandings and
disputes, which vexed and annoyed the Emperor. He adverted to this
topic. He analysed our situation with his usual train of reasoning. He
calculated the miseries and horrors of our exile, and pointed out the
best mode of alleviating them. He said that we ought to make mutual
sacrifices, and overlook many grievances; that man can only enjoy life
by controlling the character given to him by nature, or by creating to
himself a new one by education, and learning to modify it according to
the obstacles which he may encounter.

“You should endeavour to form but one family,” said he. “You have
followed me only with the view of assuaging my sorrow. Ought not this
feeling to subdue every other consideration? If sympathy alone is not
sufficiently powerful, let reason be your guide. You should learn to
calculate your sorrows, your sacrifices, and your enjoyments, in order
to arrive at a result, just as we make additions or subtractions in
every kind of calculation. All the circumstances of our lives should be
submitted to this rule.... We must learn to conquer ill temper. It is
natural enough that little misunderstandings should arise among you; but
they should be followed by explanation, and not succeeded by ill-humour;
the former will produce a result, the latter will only render the affair
more complicated. Reason and logical inference should, in this world, be
our constant guides.” He then proceeded to show how he had sometimes
acted up to these principles, and sometimes departed from them. He added
that we ought to learn to forgive, and to avoid that hostility and
acrimony which must be offensive to our neighbours and prejudicial to
our own happiness; that we ought to make allowance for human frailties,
and humour, rather than oppose, them.

“What would have become of me,” said he, "had I not followed these
maxims? It has often been said that I have been too good-natured, and
not sufficiently cautious; but it would have been much worse for me had
my disposition been the reverse of what it is. I have been twice
betrayed, it is true; and I may be betrayed a third time. But it was my
knowledge of human character, and the spirit of reasonable indulgence
which I had adopted, that enabled me to govern France; and which still
perhaps render me the fittest person to rule that nation, under existing
circumstances. On my departure from Fontainebleau, did I not say to all
who requested me to point out the line of conduct they should pursue,
‘Go, and serve the King!’ I wished to grant them lawful authority for
doing what many would not have hesitated to do of their own accord. I
would not allow the fidelity of some to be the cause of their ruin; and
finally, above all, I did not wish to have any one to censure on my

I here ventured, contrary to my constant custom, to call the Emperor, in
some measure, to account. “How, Sire,” I exclaimed, “had your Majesty
any idea of returning when you left Fontainbleau?”—"Yes, certainly, and
by the simplest reasoning. If the Bourbons, said I, intend to commence a
fifth dynasty, I have nothing more to do here; I have acted my part.
But, if they should obstinately attempt to re-continue the third, I
shall soon appear again. It may be said that the Bourbons then had my
fame and conduct at their own disposal. It was in their power still to
represent me in the eyes of the common mass of mankind as an upstart, a
tyrant, a fire-brand, and a scourge. How much good sense and calm
reflection would have been necessary to appreciate my real character,
and render me justice!... But the men by whom the Bourbons were
surrounded, and the erroneous line of conduct they pursued, rendered my
presence desirable; they restored my popularity and decreed my return. I
should otherwise have ended my days on the Island of Elba, and this
would doubtless have proved most to the interest of all parties. I
returned to discharge a great debt, and not for the sake of resuming
possession of a throne. Perhaps few will comprehend the motive by which
I was actuated; no matter. I took upon myself a heavy charge, but it was
a duty I owed to the French people. Their complaints reached me; and how
could I turn a deaf ear to them?

"Upon the whole, my situation in the Island of Elba was sufficiently
enviable and agreeable. I should soon have created to myself a new kind
of sovereignty. All that was most distinguished in Europe began to pass
in review before me. I should have presented a spectacle unknown in
history: that of a monarch who had descended from his throne, beholding
the civilized world thronging to file off before him.

“It may indeed be objected that the Allies would have removed me from my
Island; and I admit that this circumstance hastened my return. But had
France been wisely governed, had the French people been content my
influence would have ended; I should henceforth have belonged only to
history, and the cabinet of Vienna would have entertained no idea of
deposing me. It was the agitation created and maintained in France that
first gave rise to the thought of my removal.”

Here the Grand Marshal entered the Emperor’s apartment. He came to
announce the arrival of the Governor, who was escorted by the Admiral,
and followed by the whole of his staff.

After some further conversation, Bertrand was left alone with the
Emperor, and I proceeded to the antechamber; here all the suite was
assembled. We endeavoured to exchange a few words with each other; but
we were rather bent on observing than conversing.

In about half an hour, the Emperor entered the drawing-room. The
valet-de-chambre on duty, who was stationed at the door within the
apartment, then summoned the Governor, and he was introduced. The
Admiral was following close behind him. The valet who had heard only the
Governor’s name mentioned, suddenly closed the door without admitting
the Admiral, who was shut out in spite of his remonstrance; and he
withdrew quite disconcerted into the recess of one of the windows. The
valet de chambre who was the cause of this affront, was Noverraz, a
Swiss, a good and faithful servant, of whom the Emperor frequently said
that his whole understanding was absorbed in his attachment to his

We were astonished at this unexpected occurrence; and we at first
concluded that Noverraz had acted in obedience to the Emperor’s wishes.
Though we had ample reason to complain of the Admiral, yet we did all in
our power to relieve him from his embarrassment; his awkward situation
distressed us. Meanwhile the Governor’s staff was summoned and
introduced; and this circumstance served only to increase the Admiral’s
confusion. In about a quarter of an hour the Emperor took leave of his
visitors. The Governor came out of the drawing-room, and the Admiral
eagerly advanced to meet him. They said a few words to each other with
some degree of warmth, then took leave of us and departed.

We joined the Emperor in the garden, and our conversation turned on the
Admiral’s discomfiture. The Emperor knew nothing of the matter. The
whole circumstance was solely the effect of chance. The Emperor declared
himself delighted with the joke. He burst into a fit of laughter, rubbed
his hands, and exhibited the joy of a child, of a school-boy, who had
successfully played off a trick on his master. “Ah! my good Noverraz,”
said he, “you have done a clever thing for once in your life. He had
heard me say that I would not see the Admiral again, and he thought he
was bound to shut the door in his face. But this honest Swiss may
perhaps carry the joke too far; if I were unfortunately to say we must
get rid of the Governor, he would be for assassinating him before my
eyes. After all,” said the Emperor, assuming a more serious tone, "it
was entirely the Governor’s fault. He should have requested that the
Admiral might be admitted, particularly as he had informed me that he
could be presented only by him. Why, again, did he not request the
Admiral’s admission when he presented his officers to me? He is solely
to blame. But," continued he, “the Admiral has lost nothing by the
mistake. I should without hesitation have apostrophized him in the
presence of his countrymen. I should have told him that by the sentiment
attached to the honourable uniform which we had both worn for forty
years, I accused him of having, in the eyes of the world, degraded his
nation and his Sovereign by wantonly and stupidly failing in respect to
one of the oldest soldiers in Europe. I should have reproached him with
landing me at St. Helena just as he would have landed a convict at
Botany-Bay. I should have assured him that a man of true honour would
shew me more respect on my rock than if I were still on my throne and
surrounded by my armies.” The force and spirit of these remarks put a
period to our gaiety, and closed the conversation.

As I have thus alluded to the Admiral, and as he is now about to quit
us, I will once for all sum up the insults with which we have to
reproach him, with as much impartiality as our situation and the state
of our feelings will admit of.

We cannot pardon the affected familiarity with which he treated us,
though our conduct afforded but little encouragement to it. Still less
can we forgive him for having endeavoured to extend this familiarity to
the Emperor. We can never forget the haughty and self-complacent air
with which he addressed Napoleon by the title of _General_. The Emperor,
it is true, has immortalized that title; but the tone and the intention
with which it was applied were sufficiently insulting.

On our arrival at St. Helena, he lodged the Emperor in a little room, a
few feet square, where he kept him for two months, though other
residences could have been procured, and there was one which the Admiral
had himself fixed upon. He indirectly prohibited the Emperor from riding
on horseback, even in the grounds surrounding the Briars; and the
individuals of the Emperor’s suite were loaded with embarrassments and
humiliations, when they came to pay their daily visits to him in his
little cell.

On our removal to Longwood, he stationed sentinels under the very
windows of the Emperor; and then, by an evasion, which savoured of the
bitterest irony, he alleged that this step had been taken only with a
view to the _General’s_ own advantage and protection. He suffered no one
to come near us without a note from him, and, having thus placed us in
close confinement, he declared that these arrangements had been made
solely to secure the Emperor against importunity, and that he (the
Admiral) was merely acting the part of _Grand Marshal_. He gave a ball,
and sent a written invitation to _General Buonaparte_, in the same
manner as he did to every individual in the suite. He replied with the
most unbecoming jeers to the notes of the Grand Marshal, who used the
title of _Emperor_, saying that he knew no _Emperor_ at the Island of
St. Helena, nor any such Sovereign in Europe, or elsewhere, who was not
in his own dominions. He refused to forward a letter from the Emperor to
the Prince Regent, unless it were delivered to him open, or he were
permitted to read it. He even stifled the sentiments and expressions of
respect which other individuals manifested for Napoleon. We were assured
that he had put persons in inferior situations under arrest, merely for
having used the title of Emperor or other similar expressions; which,
however, were frequently employed in the 53rd regiment, doubtless, as
the Emperor observed, through an irresistible sentiment with which these
brave men were inspired.

The Admiral, from his own personal caprice, had limited the extent of
our rides and walks. On this subject he had even broken his word to the
Emperor. At a moment when he appeared somewhat inclined to make
concessions, he had assured Napoleon that he was free to ride in all
parts of the Island, without being annoyed even by the sight of the
English officer appointed to guard him. But a few days after this, just
as Napoleon was on the point of mounting his horse to ride out to
breakfast in a shady spot at some distance from our residence, he found
himself under the necessity of renouncing this little enjoyment. The
officer declared that he must henceforth form one of the party and ride
close to him. From that moment the Emperor refused to see the Admiral.
The latter had moreover neglected the most ordinary forms of decorum,
always fixing upon unsuitable hours for his own visits, and directing
strangers who arrived at the Island to select the same unseasonable
periods for visiting the Emperor. This was no doubt done with a view of
preventing people from gaining access to Napoleon, who constantly
refused to be seen on these occasions. It has already been stated that
the Admiral acted thus when the Governor paid his first visit to
Longwood; and the satisfaction he evinced at the Governor’s ill
reception but too plainly betrayed his design.

However, if we were required to pronounce an impartial opinion on him,
making allowance for the irritability of our own feelings and the
delicacy of his situation, we should not hesitate to declare that our
grievances rested in forms rather than facts. We should say, with the
Emperor, who had after all a natural predilection for him, that Admiral
Cockburn is far from being an ill-disposed man, that he is even
susceptible of generous and delicate sentiment; but that he is
capricious, irascible, vain, and overbearing: that he is a man who is
accustomed to authority, and who exercises it ungraciously; frequently
substituting energy for dignity. To express in a few words the nature of
our relations with respect to him, we should say, that, as a jailor, he
was mild, humane, and generous, and that we have reason to be grateful
to him; but that, as a host, he was generally unpolite, often something
worse, and that in this character we have cause to be displeased with

About two or three o’clock, the Emperor took his usual airing. During
our walk in the garden and our ride in the calash, he said a good deal
about the events of the morning; and the conversation on this subject
was resumed after dinner. Some one jokingly observed that the two first
days of the Governor’s arrival had been like days of battle, and were
calculated to make us appear very untractable, though we were naturally
most patient and accommodating. At these last words, the Emperor smiled
and pinched the ear of the individual who made the remark.

The conversation then turned on Sir Hudson Lowe. He was described as
being a man about forty-five years of age; of the ordinary height, and
of slender make, with red hair, a ruddy complexion, and freckled. His
eyes were said to have an oblique kind of expression; glancing askance,
seldom fixed full in a person’s face; surmounted by fair, bushy, and
very prominent eyebrows. “He is hideous,” said the Emperor, "he has a
most villainous countenance. But we must not decide too hastily; the
man’s disposition may perhaps make amends for the unfavorable impression
which his face produces; this is not impossible."


18th. The weather had been horrible for some days past, but it cleared
up a little to-day. The Emperor went out early to take his walk in the
garden; about 4 o’clock he got into the calash and took rather a longer
airing than usual. Before dinner the Emperor desired me to translate to
him the Convention of the Allied Sovereigns relative to his captivity.
It was as follows:—

  at Paris, August 20th, 1815._

"Napoleon Bonaparte being in the power of the Allied Sovereigns, their
Majesties the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,
the Emperor of Austria, the Emperor of Russia, and the King of Prussia,
have agreed, by virtue of the stipulations of the treaty of the 25th of
March, 1815, on the measures best calculated to preclude the possibility
of his making any attempt to disturb the peace of Europe.

"Art. I.—Napoleon Bonaparte is considered by the Powers who signed the
treaty of the 20th of March last, as their prisoner.

"Art. II.—His safeguard is specially intrusted to the British

"The choice of the place and the measures which may best ensure the
object of the present stipulation, are reserved to his Britannic

"Art. III.—The imperial courts of Austria and Russia and the Royal court
of Prussia shall appoint Commissioners to reside in the place which his
Britannic Majesty’s Government shall assign as the residence of Napoleon
Bonaparte, and who, without being responsible for his security, shall
assure themselves of his presence.

"Art. IV.—His most Christian Majesty is invited in the name of the four
Courts above mentioned, also to send a French commissioner to the place
of Napoleon Bonaparte’s detention.

"Art. V. —His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland pledges himself to fulfil the engagements assigned to him by
the present convention.

"Art. VI.—The present convention shall be ratified, and the ratification
shall be exchanged in the space of a fortnight, or sooner if possible.

"In virtue of which the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the
present convention, and have affixed their seals thereto.

“Given at Paris on the 20th of August, in the year of our Lord 1815.”

When I had finished translating this document, the Emperor asked me what
I thought of it.

“Sire,” I replied, "in the situation in which we are placed, I would
rather depend on the interests of a single one, than on the complicated
decision of four. England has evidently dictated this treaty. You see
how carefully she stipulates that she alone shall answer for and dispose
of the prisoner. She has been labouring to provide herself with the
lever of Archimedes, and therefore it is not probable that she w¡ll
entertain any idea of breaking it."

The Emperor, without explaining his ideas on this subject, adverted to
the different chances which might bring about his liberation from St.
Helena, and he made the following remarkable observations: “If the
Sovereigns of Europe act wisely, and should succeed in completely
restoring order, we shall not be worth the money and the trouble which
it must cost to keep us here, and they will get rid of us. But our
captivity may still be prolonged for some years, perhaps three, four, or
five. Otherwise, setting aside the fortuitous events which are beyond
the reach of human foresight, I calculate only on two uncertain chances
of our liberation: first, that the Sovereigns may stand in need of me to
assist in putting down rebellion among their subjects; and secondly, the
people of Europe may require my aid in the contest that may arise
between them and their monarchs. I am the natural arbiter and mediator
in the immense conflict between the present and the past. I have always
aspired to be the supreme judge in this cause. My administration at home
and my diplomacy abroad all tended to this great end. The issue might
have been brought about more easily and promptly; but fate ordained
otherwise. Finally, there is a last chance, which perhaps is the most
probable of all; I may be wanted to check the power of the Russians;
for, in less than ten years, all Europe may perhaps be overrun with
Cossacks, or subject to republican government. Such however are the
statesmen who brought about my overthrow.” Then, reverting to the
decision of the Sovereigns respecting him, he observed that it was
difficult to account for the style of the document, and the malignant
spirit which pervaded it.

“The Emperor Francis,” said he, “is a pious sovereign, and I am his
son-in-law.—As for Alexander, we once loved each other. With regard to
the King of Prussia, I doubtless did him much harm, but I might have
done him much more; and after all, might he not have found real glory
and self-satisfaction in distinguishing himself by generosity? As to
England, it is to the animosity of her Ministers that I am indebted for
all. But it remained for the Prince Regent to observe and interfere, or
to be branded as a fool, and a protector of vulgar malignity.—One thing
however is certain, namely: that the Allied Sovereigns have compromised,
degraded, and lost themselves, by their treatment of me.”


19th.—This morning the Grand Marshal and Madame Bertrand came into the
garden, in consequence of the Emperor having expressed an intention of
breakfasting there; but as he had passed a very restless night, and had
had no sleep, he breakfasted in his chamber.

The Governor gave us official notice that we must each send him a
declaration, expressing our voluntary determination to remain at
Longwood, and to submit to all the restrictions which Napoleon’s
captivity might require. Mine was as follows:—

_Declaration._—"I, the undersigned, repeat the declaration which I made
when in Plymouth-roads; namely, that I wish to devote myself to the fate
of the Emperor Napoleon, to accompany him, to follow him, and to
alleviate, as far as lies in my power, the unjust treatment he
experiences, through the most unheard-of violation of the law of
nations, of which I am the more particularly sensible as it was I who
conveyed to him the offer and assurance of Captain Maitland of the
Bellerophon, purporting that he had orders to receive the Emperor and
his suite under the protection of the British flag, if agreeable to him,
and to convey him to England.

"The Emperor Napoleon’s letter to the Prince Regent, which is known to
all England, and which I had previously communicated to Captain
Maitland, without his having made the slightest observation on it,
explains to the world much better than any thing I can say how frankly
the Emperor met this offer of hospitality, and, consequently, how much
he has been the dupe of his sincerity and confidence.

"Notwithstanding the experience I have had of the horrors of a residence
on the Island of St. Helena, which is so prejudicial to the Emperor’s
health, and to that of every European, and though, during the six months
which we have passed on the island, I have been subjected to every
species of privation, which I myself daily multiply, in order to avoid,
as much as possible, the violation of that respect which my rank and
habits demand, yet, constant to my first sentiments, and resolved that
for the future no fear of misfortune, or hope of advantage, shall
separate me from the Emperor Napoleon, I repeat my desire to remain with
him, and to submit to whatever restrictions may be arbitrarily imposed
on him."


20th.—Colonel Wilks, being on the eve of his departure for Europe,
called with his daughter to take leave of the Emperor. The young lady
was presented by Madame Bertrand. I have already mentioned that Colonel
Wilks had formerly been Governor of the Colony, for the East India
Company; he was succeeded by the Admiral, in the King’s name, when, in
consequence of our removal to St. Helena, the island was transferred
from the possession of the Company to that of the Government.

The Emperor was in a remarkably cheerful humour. He conversed for some
time with the ladies, and then took Colonel Wilks aside to the recess of
one of the windows, whither I followed to serve as interpreter.

Col. Wilks, as I have probably mentioned before, was for a long time the
diplomatic agent of the Company in the Indian Peninsula; he has written
a history of that country. He is a man of extensive information, and
possesses great knowledge of chemistry. Thus he was at once a soldier,
an author, a diplomatist, and a chemist. The Emperor put questions to
him relative to all these subjects, and treated them himself with great
fluency and spirit. The conversation was lively and varied; and it was
maintained for upwards of two hours. The following are the principal
particulars which I noted down. I shall probably in some measure repeat
what I have said before, for the Emperor and Colonel Wilks had, some
months ago, a long conversation on precisely the same topics; but that
is of no importance; these subjects are so interesting that I would
rather incur the risk of repeating than of losing any thing connected
with them.

The Emperor began by speaking of the English army, its organization, and
particularly its system of promotion. He compared it with the French
army, and repeated what I have formerly stated with regard to the
excellent composition of our military force, the advantage of the
Conscription, and the bravery of our troops. Then, turning to the
subject of politics, he said, “You lost America by liberation: you will
lose India by invasion. The first loss was perfectly natural; as
children advance in years, they break the parental bonds. But, for the
Hindoos, they are not advancing at all. They still remain children. The
catastrophe, therefore, can only proceed from without. You are not aware
of all the dangers with which you were threatened by my arms or my
negotiations. As for my Continental system, you perhaps laughed at it?”
“Sire,” replied the Colonel, “we affected to do so, but all men of
judgment felt the full force of it.”—"Well," continued the Emperor, "I
stood alone in my opinion on the Continent; and I was forced for the
moment to employ violence every where. At length my plan began to be
understood. The tree already bears its fruit. I made the beginning; time
will do the rest.... Had I maintained my power, I would have changed the
course of trade, and the direction of industry. I had naturalized sugar
and indigo in France, and I should have naturalized cotton, and many
other articles of foreign produce. I should have knocked up the
Colonies, if we had continued to be denied a share of them.

“With us the impulse was most powerful. National prosperity and science
advanced beyond measure. Yet your Ministers proclaimed through all
Europe that the French were overwhelmed with misery, and were
retrograding to a state of barbarism. Thus the view of our internal
prosperity strangely surprised the vulgar mass, and even disconcerted
the more thinking portion of the European public. The strides of
knowledge in France were gigantic. The ideas of the French people were
every where properly directed and extended. We took pains to render
science popular. I was informed that your countrymen were distinguished
for their knowledge of chemistry; and yet I will not decide on which
side of the water the most able chemist will be found.”—"In France,"
said the Colonel immediately.

“It is of little importance,” continued the Emperor; “but I maintain
that in the mass of the French people there is ten, and perhaps a
hundred, times more chemical knowledge than in England; because the
manufacturing classes now employ that science in their daily labour.
This was one of the characteristics of my school. Had I been allowed
sufficient time, there would soon have been no such thing as trades in
France; they would all have been converted into arts.”

The Emperor concluded with these remarkable observations: "England and
France held in their hands the fate of the world; and particularly that
of European civilization. What injury have we not done to each
other!——What good might we not have done! Under Pitt’s system, we
desolated the world; and what has been the result? You imposed on France
a tax of fifteen hundred millions of francs, and raised it by means of
Cossacks. I laid a tax of seven thousand millions on you, and made you
raise it with your own hands, by your Parliament. Even now, after the
victory you have obtained, who can tell whether you may not sooner or
later sink under the weight of such a burden?——With Fox’s system, we
should have understood each other; we should have accomplished and
preserved the emancipation of nations, the dominion of principles.
Europe would have presented but a single fleet and a single army. We
might have ruled the world. We might every where have established peace
and prosperity, either by dint of force or persuasion. Yes, I repeat it,
what mischief have we not done! What good might we not have effected!"

Never was Napoleon in a more talkative humour. He laughed more than once
at the endeavours I made to keep up with the volubility with which he
uttered his observations. As for the Colonel, he took his leave, amazed
and confounded by what he had heard.

When he was gone, the Emperor continued to converse for a long time in
the drawing-room. He afterwards went into the garden, in spite of the
bad weather, and sent for us all to join him. He was desirous of reading
the declarations which we had made; they became the subject of

Four ships arrived here to-day from Europe. They had on board the 66th
regiment, and had left England before the Phaëton, which brought the new
Governor, Sir Hudson Lowe.

After dinner, the Emperor good-humouredly related the remark made by an
old soldier of the 53rd, who, having seen him yesterday for the first
time, went back to his comrades and said,—"What lies they told me about
Napoleon’s age; he is not old at all; the fellow is still young enough
for at least sixty campaigns." We thought this expression savoured very
much of the Frenchman, and we laid claim to it as having proceeded from
one of our grenadiers. We then related to him a number of _bons-mots_
made by our soldiers during his absence and on his return, with which he
was much entertained. But what particularly excited his risibility was
the answer made by a grenadier at Lyons. A grand review was held there,
just after the Emperor had landed on his return from Elba. The
Commanding Officer remarked to his soldiers that they were well clothed
and well fed, that their pay might be seen upon their persons:—"Yes,
certainly," replied the grenadier to whom he addressed himself.—"Well!"
continued the officer, with a confident air, “it was not so under
Bonaparte. Your pay was in arrear, he was in your debt?”—"And what did
that signify," said the grenadier smartly, “if we chose to give him


21st.—The Emperor sent for me to attend him in the garden, about four
o’clock, to act as interpreter. Captain Hamilton, the Commander of the
Havannah frigate, was to sail next day for Europe, and, with his
officers, had come to take leave of the Emperor. Captain Hamilton spoke
French. When I joined the party in the garden, the Emperor was
expressing himself with warmth.

“They wish to know what I desire?” said he; “I demand my liberty or
death. Report these words to your Prince Regent. I no longer ask to hear
from my son, since they have had the barbarity to leave my first request
unanswered.... I was not your prisoner. Savages would have had more
respect for my situation. Your Ministers have basely violated in my
person the sacred rights of hospitality; they have for ever dishonoured

Captain Hamilton having ventured to observe that Napoleon was not the
prisoner of England alone, but of all the Allied Powers, the Emperor
warmly resumed; “I did not deliver myself up to Russia, there I should
doubtless have been well received; I did not surrender myself to
Austria, there I should have been equally well treated; but I delivered
myself up, of my own free will and choice, to England, because I had
confidence in her laws and her public morals. I have been cruelly
deceived! But Heaven will avenge my wrongs; and, sooner or later you
will meet the punishment of a deed for which mankind already reproaches
you!——Repeat all this to the Prince Regent, sir.” He accompanied these
last words with a motion of his hand, and dismissed the Captain.

We walked about for a few minutes, and on the return of the Grand
Marshal, who had accompanied Captain Hamilton a short distance, we
thought that it would be proper to leave him alone with the Emperor; but
I had scarcely entered my room when he sent for me. He was alone, in his
own apartment; he asked me whether I had not had enough of retirement
during the day. I told him that a feeling of respect and discretion had
alone induced me to leave him. To this he answered that there was no
occasion for it, as nothing had passed that he wished to make a secret
of. “Besides,” added he, “a certain degree of freedom and ease is not
without its charm.” These words, which fell carelessly from Napoleon’s
lips, may better serve to show his character than hundreds of pages.

We then perused an English publication, containing the official
documents found in his portfolio, which was taken at Waterloo. The
Emperor was astonished himself at the number of orders which he had
issued almost at the same moment, and the countless details which he had
directed in every quarter of the empire. “This publication,” said he,
“can do me no harm, after all. It will at least satisfy every one that
its contents are not the production of a sluggard. They will compare me
with the legitimate Sovereigns, and I shall not suffer by the

After dinner, the Emperor conversed on several unconnected subjects. In
speaking of his Ambassadors, he said that he considered M. de Narbonne
as the only one who had fully deserved that title, and had really
fulfilled the duties of his office. “And that,” said he, “by the
peculiar advantages, not only of his talents, but of his old-fashioned
morals, his manners, and his name. When an Ambassador has merely to
prescribe, any one may fill the post; one person is just as good as
another; perhaps an aide-de-camp is the best man that can be chosen. But
when it is necessary to negotiate, the affair is widely different. In
that case it is indispensable to present to the old aristocracy of the
Courts of Europe, only the elements of that aristocracy, which, in fact,
constitutes a sort of free-masonry. If an Otto or an Andreossi were to
enter the saloons of Vienna, there would be a stop to the interchange of
opinion; habitual manners would cease. They would be regarded as
intruders and profaners, and the mysteries of diplomacy would be
suspended. But how different would it be with a Narbonne, possessing the
advantages of affinity, sympathy, and identity! A lady of the old
nobility would perhaps resign her person to a plebeian, though she would
not discover to him the secrets of the aristocracy.”

The Emperor was much attached to M. de Narbonne, and regretted him
deeply. He had made him his aide-de-camp, he observed, only because
Maria Louisa, through the intrigues of the persons composing her suite,
had refused to let him be appointed her gentleman of honour; a post for
which he was perfectly adapted. “Until the period of his embassy,”
continued the Emperor, “we had been duped by Austria. In less than a
fortnight, M. de Narbonne penetrated all the secrets of the cabinet of
Vienna, and M. de Metternich was deeply mortified at the appointment.
However, by a singular fatality, perhaps, even the success of M. de
Narbonne thwarted my views. I found that his talent was no less fatal
than useful. Austria, supposing that her designs were guessed, threw
aside the mask, and took precipitate steps. Had less penetration been
shewn on our part, she would have acted with greater reserve and
deliberation. She would have prolonged her natural indecision, and in
the interim other chances might have risen up.”

Some one present having alluded to the embassies of Dresden and Berlin,
and being apparently inclined to attach blame to our diplomatic agents
in those courts, at the period of the return from Moscow, the Emperor
replied that, at that period, the fault was not to be attributed to
persons, but to things; that with a single glance any one might have
foreseen what would happen; and that, for his part, he had not been
deceived for a moment. He added that if he had not in person conducted
the army back to Wilna, and into Germany, it was through the fear of not
being able himself to reach France. He wished, he said, to obviate this
imminent danger by the boldness of his movements in crossing Germany
rapidly and alone. He was, however, on the point of being taken in
Silesia: “but luckily,” said he, "the Prussians were deliberating at the
moment when they ought to have been acting. Their conduct in this
respect was like that which the Saxons observed towards Charles XII.,
who said, when he quitted Dresden on a similar occasion;—‘You will see
that they will hold a consultation to-morrow upon the expediency of
having detained me to-day.’”

Before dinner the Emperor called me into his closet to go over some
English exercises with him. He told me that he had just been calculating
the expenses of his toilet, and that it cost him about four napoleons
per month. We laughed at the immensity of the budget. He talked of
ordering some clothes, shoes, boots, &c. from the tradesmen in Europe
who had his measures. I thought that this would be attended with serious
inconvenience, and, after some consideration, we were convinced that it
would never be permitted.

“It is, however,” observed the Emperor, “extremely vexatious to be thus
deprived of money; and I wish to come to some settlement on this point.
As soon as the bill, which is to determine our situation here, shall be
notified to me, I intend to make arrangements for receiving an annual
loan of seven or eight millions of napoleons from Eugene. He cannot
refuse me. He has received from me perhaps upwards of forty-millions;
and it would be an insult to his sentiments to doubt his readiness to
serve me. Besides, we have long accounts to settle together. I am sure,
if I had appointed a committee of my Councillors of State to draw up a
report on this subject, they would have presented me with a balance of
at least ten or twelve millions against Eugene.”

At dinner the Emperor asked us some questions respecting the sum
necessary to enable a bachelor to live in a European capital, or for the
support of a plain family establishment, or the maintenance of a family
in a style of elegance. He is fond of these questions and calculations;
he treats them with great shrewdness, and enters into the most curious

We each presented our budgets, and agreed that a residence in Paris
would cost 15,000, 40,000, and 100,000 francs. The Emperor dwelt much on
the prices of various articles, and even on the prices of the same
articles, as they are charged to different persons, and under different

“When I was about to leave the army of Italy,” said he, “to return to
Paris, Madame Bonaparte wrote to inform me that she had furnished, in
the best possible style, a small house that we had in the _Rue de la
Victoire_. The house was not worth more than 40,000 francs. What was my
surprise and vexation to find that the drawing-room furniture, which,
after all, appeared to me nothing out of the way, was charged at the
enormous rate of between 120 and 130,000 francs. In vain did I
remonstrate; I was obliged to pay the amount. The upholsterer showed me
the directions he had received, and which required that every article
should be the very best in its kind. Every thing had been made after new
designs, and the designs themselves had been invented expressly for the
fitting up of my house. Any judge of the case must have condemned me.”

The Emperor then adverted to the extravagant charges made for furnishing
the imperial Palaces, and the vast saving which he had made on this
point. He told us the price of the throne, the imperial ornaments, &c.
Nothing could be more curious than to hear him detail these charges,
together with his own plans of economy. How much I regret not having
noted them down at the time! The following particulars will serve to
show some of the methods which he adopted for ascertaining the
correctness of the accounts that were presented to him:—

On one occasion, when he returned to the Tuileries, which had been
magnificently fitted up during his absence, those about him were anxious
to direct his attention to all the new furniture and decorations. After
expressing his satisfaction at every thing he saw, he walked up to a
window overhung with a rich curtain, and, asking for a pair of scissars,
cut off a superb gold acorn which was suspended from the drapery, and
coolly putting it into his pocket, he continued his inspection to the
great astonishment of all present, who were unable to guess his motive.
Some days afterwards, at his levee, he drew the acorn from his pocket
and gave it to the person who superintended the furnishing of the
palace. “Here,” said he, “Heaven forbid that I should think you rob me;
but some one has doubtless robbed you. You have paid for this at the
rate of one-third above its value. They have dealt with you as though
you had been the steward of a great nobleman. You would have made a
better bargain if you had not been known.” The fact was that Napoleon,
having walked out one morning in disguise (as he was often in the habit
of doing), called at some of the shops in the Rue Saint Denis, where he
enquired the price of ornaments similar to that which he had cut from
the curtain, and enquired the value of various articles of furniture
like those provided for the palace, and thus, as he said, he arrived at
the result in its simplest form. Every one knew his habits in this
respect. These, he said, were his grand plans for ensuring domestic
economy, which, notwithstanding his extreme magnificence, was carried to
the utmost degree of precision and regularity.

In spite of his numerous occupations he himself revised all his
accounts; but he had his own method of doing this, and they were always
presented to him in their details. He would cast his eye on the first
article, sugar for example, and, finding some thousands of pounds set
down, he would take a pen, and say to the person who drew up the
accounts: “How many persons are there in my household?”—"Sire, so many:"
(and it was necessary to give the answer immediately.)—"And how many
pounds of sugar do you suppose they consume per day on an
average?"—"Sire, so many."—He immediately made his calculation, and,
having satisfied himself, he would give back the paper, saying, “Sir, I
have doubled your estimate of the daily consumption, and yet you are
enormously beyond the mark. Your account is erroneous. Make it out
again, and let me have greater correctness.” This reproof would be
sufficient to establish the strictest regularity. Thus he sometimes said
of his private, as of his public, administration, “I have introduced
such order, and employed so many checks, that I cannot be much imposed
on. If I am wronged at all, I leave the guilty person to settle the
matter with his own conscience. He will not sink under the weight of his
crime, for it cannot be very heavy.”


22nd—25th. The weather has been very bad for several days past. The
Emperor discontinued his morning walks, and applied himself with greater
regularity to his different occupations. He dictated every morning on
the events of 1814.

Sir Hudson Lowe came to visit our establishment. He entered my apartment
and remained there for a quarter of an hour. He expressed his regret for
the inconveniences to which we were exposed; and observed that we were
lodged in bivouacs rather than in apartments. He was right; the pitched
paper which had been used for the rooms was already beginning to yield
to the effect of the hot climate; when the sun shone I was stifled; and
when it rained I was inundated. Sir Hudson Lowe said that he would give
directions for having these evils remedied as far as possible, and
politely added that he had brought with him about 1500 or 2000 French
volumes, which, as soon as they were arranged, he should feel great
pleasure in placing at our service.

Racine and Voltaire occupied us for these two or three evenings. Phedre
and Athalie, which were read to us by the Emperor, afforded us
delightful entertainment; for his observations and commentaries gave
twofold interest to what he read.

Mahomet was the subject of deep criticism. “Voltaire,” said the Emperor,
"in the character and conduct of his hero, has departed both from nature
and history. He has degraded Mahomet, by making him descend to the
lowest intrigues. He has represented a great man, who changed the face
of the world, acting like a scoundrel, worthy of the gallows. He has no
less absurdly travestied the character of Omar, which he has drawn like
that of a cut-throat in a melo-drama.

“Voltaire committed a fundamental error in attributing to intrigue that
which was solely the result of opinion. Those who have wrought great
changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs, but always
by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue, and
produces only secondary results: the second is the resort of genius, and
transforms the face of the universe!”

The Emperor, adverting to the truth of history, expressed his disbelief
of all that was attributed to Mahomet. “He must doubtless have been like
all chiefs of sects,” said he. “The Koran, having been written thirty
years after his death, may have recorded many falsehoods. The Empire of
the Prophet, his doctrine and his mission, being established and
fulfilled, people might and must have spoken accordingly. Still it
remains to be explained how the mighty event which we are certain did
take place, namely, the conquest of the world, could have been effected
in the short space of fifty or sixty years. By whom was it brought
about? By the hordes of the desert, who, as we are informed, were few in
number, ignorant, unwarlike, undisciplined, and destitute of system. And
yet they opposed the civilized world, abounding in resources. Fanaticism
could not have accomplished this miracle, for fanaticism must have had
time to establish her dominion, and the career of Mahomet lasted only
thirteen years.”—The Emperor conceived that, independently of the
fortuitous events by which prodigies are sometimes brought about, there
must have been in this case some hidden circumstance which has not
reached our knowledge. He was of opinion, that Europe had doubtless sunk
beneath the results of some primary cause, of which we are
ignorant;—that the different races of people, who suddenly issued from
the deserts, had perhaps been engaged in long civil wars, in which men
of heroic character and great talent might have risen up, and
irresistible impulses have been created.

In all that relates to oriental affairs, Napoleon departed materially
from the common opinions which are derived from the books usually
regarded as authorities. He said that on this subject he entertained
ideas peculiar to himself, though perhaps they were not very well
defined; and that his expedition to Egypt had brought about this result
in his mind.

“But to return to Voltaire,” said he, “it is astonishing how ill his
dramas are adapted for reading.—When criticism and good taste are not
cheated by pomp of diction and scenic illusion, he immediately loses a
thousand per cent. It will scarcely be believed,” continued he, “that,
at the time of the Revolution, Voltaire had superseded Corneille and
Racine. The beauties of these two great dramatists lay dormant, until
the First Consul again brought them into notice.”

The Emperor spoke truly. It is very certain that when he brought us back
to civilization, he at the same time restored us to good taste. He
revived our national dramatic and lyric master-pieces—even those which
had been proscribed for political reasons. Thus Richard Cœur-de-Lion
was again brought upon the stage, though a tender interest had as it
were consecrated it to the Bourbons.

“Poor Gretry,” said the Emperor, “had long urged me to permit the
performance of the opera. It was rather a dangerous experiment, and a
violent uproar was predicted. The representation however went off
without any unpleasant circumstances, and I ordered it to be repeated
for a week or a fortnight in succession, until the public were
completely tired of it. The charm being broken, Richard continued to be
played like any ordinary piece, until the time when the Bourbons in
their turn prohibited it, because it excited an interest in my favour.”

This strange vicissitude has, it is said, since been renewed with regard
to the drama of Prince Edward the Pretender. The Emperor prohibited the
piece on account of the Bourbons, and the Bourbons have recently
proscribed it on account of the Emperor.


26th.—I went to pay my first visit to Plantation-House. I thought Lady
Lowe a pretty and amiable woman, though there was something of the
actress about her. Sir Hudson Lowe married a short time before his
departure from Europe, for the express purpose, it is said, of having
his wife to assist him in doing the honours of the colony. I understand
that this lady was the widow of an officer of the regiment which Sir
Hudson Lowe formerly commanded, and the sister of a colonel killed at

The Governor showed me the most marked politeness and attention. He
remarked that we were old acquaintances, though I was not aware of the
fact. He said he had been much gratified by the perusal of M. Lesage’s
Atlas, though he had never dreamed that he should one day be introduced
to the author. He had first seen the work in Sicily, where he got it
smuggled from Naples; and he was inexhaustible in his praises of it. He
had frequently read the account of the battle of Jena, with General
Blucher, at the head-quarters where he was English commissioner, during
the campaign of 1814. He said that he had always admired the liberal
expressions and the spirit of moderation and impartiality which were
observed towards England; but that at the period when he first examined
the work, he had been forcibly struck by some equivocal passages which
seemed to breathe hostility to, or censure of, him who then governed us.
He added that he had accounted for these passages at the time, by my
character and doctrines as an emigrant; but that now he thought it a
singular contradiction, to find me here in the suite of that person.

Now we had just been informed that Sir Hudson Lowe was, when in Italy, a
kind of Head Police Officer, and an active agent of the system of
_espionage_. I could not help suspecting that a certain insinuation was
intended to be conveyed in these remarks. If this were really the fact
(and the Emperor entertained no doubt of it), then, at least, the
business was cleverly managed on his part; and had I felt less
self-respect than I did I could have given a smart retort, and the
matter might have been carried to some length. I, however, merely
replied that he had totally misunderstood the application of the
equivocal passages in question, and that they could not have any
reference to Napoleon, since I was now attached to his person.

On my return home, I found two French works which Sir H. Lowe had sent
to me in the morning, accompanied by a note, in which he expressed a
hope that their perusal would gratify the Emperor. Will it be credited?
One of these works was the Abbé de Pradt’s Embassy to Warsaw. This I may
note down as Sir Hudson Lowe’s _first ill-natured trick_. The work was a
novelty, it is true; but it was a libel solely directed against

As to the other book, when I first saw it, I thought I had found a
treasure. I imagined it would indemnify us for the want of the Moniteur,
and furnish us with the materials which we stood so much in need of. Its
title described it to be a collection of all the proclamations and
official documents of Napoleon, as General, First Consul, and Emperor.
But it was published by Goldsmith the libeller, and was very incomplete,
the most striking bulletins being suppressed, the addresses to the
Legislative Body mutilated, &c. But, even in this imperfect state, the
collection still remains the noblest monument that any man ever left
behind him.

After dinner the Emperor amused himself by reading, in Goldsmith’s
publications, some of his own proclamations to the army of Italy. They
produced a powerful impression on himself; they interested and excited
him. “And yet,” said he, “they had the impudence to say that I could not

He then turned to his proclamation to the army of Egypt, and joked much
about that in which he represented himself as inspired and sent by God.
“This was quackery,” said he; “but it was quackery of the highest order.
Besides, the proclamation was composed only for the purpose of being
translated into high-flown Arabic verse by one of the cleverest of the
Sheiks. My French troops,” continued he, “merely laughed at it; and such
was their disposition in this respect that, in order to induce them to
listen to the bare mention of religion, I was myself obliged to speak
very lightly on the subject, to place Jews beside Christians, and Rabbis
beside Bishops, &c.”

The assertion made by Goldsmith of Napoleon’s having assumed the
Mussulman dress, is totally false. If ever he entered a mosque, he said,
it was always as a conqueror, and not as a worshipper. He was of too
serious a turn, and had too much self-respect, to act in an equivocal
way on this point.

“After all,” continued he, gaily, “it would not have been so very
extraordinary, even though circumstances had induced me to embrace
Islamism; and, as a good Queen of France once said, ‘_You will talk to
me so much about it!_’... But I must have had good reasons for my
conversion. I must have had possession of all as far as the Euphrates,
at least. Change of religion for private interest is inexcusable; but it
may be pardoned in consideration of immense political results. Henry IV.
said, ‘_Paris is well worth a mass_.’ Will it then be said that the
dominion of the East, and perhaps the subjugation of all Asia, were not
worth a turban and a pair of trousers? And, in truth, the whole matter
was reduced to this; for the grand Sheiks had studied how to render it
easy to us. They had smoothed down the greatest obstacles; allowed us
the use of wine, and dispensed with all corporeal formalities. We should
therefore have lost only our small-clothes and hats. I say we; for the
army, in the disposition in which it then was, would have entertained
but few scruples on the subject, and would have made it a mere matter of
jest and laughter. But what would have been the consequence? I should
have turned my back on Europe, and the old civilization of the continent
would have been bound up. And who would then have troubled themselves
about the course of Fate in France, or the regeneration of the age!...
Who would have attempted it! Who could have succeeded!”

Continuing his examination of Goldsmith’s book, the Emperor by chance
cast his eyes on the Act of the Consuls, by which General Latour Foissac
was cashiered for the surrender of Mantua. “This,” said the Emperor,
“was, without doubt, an illegal and tyrannical act, but it was a
necessary evil; it was the fault of the laws. The general was a hundred
and a thousand times guilty, and yet it was doubtful whether we ought to
have condemned him. His acquittal would have produced the most fatal
effect. We therefore struck the blow with the combined arms of honour
and opinion. But I say again, it was a tyrannical act, one of those
severe strokes which are sometimes indispensably necessary in a great
nation, and under important circumstances.”


27th.—About two o’clock, the Governor came to Longwood, and asked the
Emperor’s leave to summon all the domestics before him. This was the
first insult received from the Governor.

He probably wished to ascertain whether their declarations had been
spontaneously made. M. de Montholon, who had the superintendence of the
servants, informed Sir Hudson Lowe, in the Emperor’s name, that his
Majesty had not imagined there could have been any pretence for
interference between him and his valet de chambre; that, if his
permission were asked, he decidedly refused it; that, if the Governor’s
instructions required the adoption of this measure, the power was in his
own hands, and he might use it: this would only be adding another
outrage to those which the English Ministers had already accumulated
upon him.

At this moment I joined M. de Montholon and the Governor. I could easily
perceive that the two interlocutors were by no means pleased with each
other. After a few moments’ silence and evident dissatisfaction, the
Governor turned to me, and remarked that pains seemed to be taken to
create difficulties and embarrassments in all that regarded the Emperor.
I observed that Napoleon’s household having been appointed for him, and
not being one of his choice, it was perfectly natural that he should
object to any interference with his servants; that, if the Governor had
any doubts to clear up relative to the domestics, two courses were open
to him. He might resort to indirect and underhand means, which at least
would not wound our feelings; or he might employ force and authority;
that he possessed these, and there was nothing to restrain him from
resorting to them. But I added that the method he was pursuing was quite
hostile to our habits. I assured him that the Emperor was desirous of
being as accommodating as possible, in the new situation in which he was
placed: that he wished to retire within himself, asking for nothing but
to be left unannoyed: that fortune had indeed robbed him of his power,
but that nothing could deprive him of his self-respect: and, finally,
that the consciousness and the delicacy of his dignity were the only
things that remained to him of which he could call himself the master.

Meanwhile the servants were assembled, and M. de Montholon and I
withdrew, that we might not sanction such a measure by our presence. The
Governor spoke to the domestics, and afterwards joined us, saying:—"I am
now satisfied. I can inform the English Government that they all signed
it freely and voluntarily."

But his ill-humour was not yet fully spent; for he began most
inopportunely to extol the beautiful situation of Longwood, observing
that, after all, we were not so very badly off. And when we remarked
that we felt most severely the want of shade in this burning climate,
and that there was scarcely a single tree on the Island. “Oh! we will
plant some!” said he. Could any thing have been more cutting?... This
may be recorded as the first trait of brutality on the part of the
Governor. After this he took his leave.

About five o’clock the Emperor got into the carriage to take an airing.
As we were going out, he said, “Gentlemen, but for one man I should have
been master of the world! And who do you think this one man was?” We
were all eagerness to know.... “The Abbé de Pradt,” continued the
Emperor, “the Almoner of the God of War.” On hearing this we could not
repress our laughter. “I am serious,” continued he, “the Abbé thus
expresses himself in his Embassy to Warsaw; you may read it yourselves.
The work is altogether a wicked attack on me, an absolute libel,
overwhelming me with insults and calumnies. Whether I happened to be in
a particularly good-humour at the time, or whether it was because only
truth offends, I know not; but, at all events, I laughed heartily when I
read the work, and it afforded me abundant entertainment.”

Misunderstandings occasionally occurred between two individuals of the
Emperor’s suite. This circumstance would not have been mentioned here,
but that it serves to introduce some characteristic traits of the mind
and heart of him to whom we are devoted. The newspapers of the time, and
the return of one of the parties to Europe, in consequence of these
misunderstandings, however, have already given publicity to the affair.

When I entered the drawing-room, to wait until the announcement of
dinner, I found the Emperor speaking with the utmost warmth on this
subject, which vexed him exceedingly. His language was energetic and

“You followed me,” said he, “with the view of cheering my captivity! Be
brothers, then! otherwise you but annoy me. If you wish to render me
happy, be brothers, or you are but a torment to me! You talk of
fighting, and that before my face. I am no longer then the object of
your attention. You forget that the observation of foreigners is fixed
on you.... I wish you all to be animated by my spirit.... I wish that
every one around me should be happy, and share the few enjoyments that
yet remain to us. Even down to little Emmanuel there, I would wish you
all to have your due share....”

The announcement of dinner put an end to the reprimand. The Emperor was
silent during the repast; at the dessert he ordered Voltaire to be
brought to him, and began to read some of his dramas; but he soon laid
aside the books. We daily became more and more tired of Voltaire.

The Emperor retired very early, and soon after desired me to attend him
in his bed-chamber, where I remained with him until a late hour.

                      THE RUSSIAN WAR.—ITS ORIGIN.

28th.—The Emperor again recurred to the Abbé de Pradt and his work,
which he reduced to merely the first and last pages. “In the first,”
said he, "he states himself to be the only man who arrested Napoleon’s
career; in the last, he shows that the Emperor, in his way back from
Moscow, dismissed him from the embassy, which is true; and this fact his
self-love would fain misrepresent or revenge. This is the whole work....

“But the Abbé,” continued the Emperor, “did not fulfil at Warsaw any of
the objects which had been intended; on the contrary, he did a great
deal of mischief. Reports against him poured in upon me from every
quarter. Even the young men, the clerks attached to the embassy, were
surprised at his conduct, and went so far as to accuse him of
maintaining an understanding with the enemy; which, however, I by no
means believed. But he certainly had a long conversation with me, which
he misrepresents, as might be expected; and it was at the very moment
when he was delivering a long prosing speech, which appeared to me a
mere string of absurdity and impertinence, that I scrawled on the corner
of the chimney-piece the order to withdraw him from his embassy, and to
send him as soon as possible to France; a circumstance which was the
cause of a good deal of merriment at the time, and which the Abbé seems
very desirous of concealing.”

I cannot refrain from transcribing from the Embassy to Warsaw, M. de
Pradt’s account of the Emperor Napoleon’s court at Dresden. His remarks
on this subject are striking, and afford a faithful picture both of men
and things at that period.

“You,” he says, "who wish to form a just idea of the omnipotence
exercised in Europe by the Emperor Napoleon, who wish to fathom the
depths of terror into which almost every European sovereign has fallen,
transport yourselves in imagination to Dresden, and there contemplate
that superb Prince, at the period of his highest glory, so nearly
bordering on his fall!

"The Emperor occupied the state apartments of the palace whither he had
transferred a considerable portion of his household. Here he gave grand
dinner parties; and, with the exception of the first Sunday, when the
King of Saxony had a gala, Napoleon’s parties were always attended by
the Sovereigns and different members of their families, according to the
invitations issued by the Grand Marshal of the Palace. Some private
individuals were admitted on these occasions. I enjoyed that honour on
the day of my appointment to the embassy of Warsaw.

"The Emperor’s levees were held here, as at the Tuileries, at nine
o’clock. Then with what timid submission did a crowd of Princes,
mingling with the courtiers, and often scarcely perceived among them,
anxiously await the moment for presenting themselves before the new
arbiter of their destinies!"

These passages, and some others of equal truth and beauty of diction,
are lost amidst a heap of details full of misrepresentation and malice.
“They are distorted facts and mutilated conversations,” said the
Emperor: and, adverting to the accounts of the Empress of Austria, which
were filled with adulation, and of the Emperor Alexander, whose amiable
virtues and brilliant qualities are extolled by the author, to the
detriment of Napoleon. “Surely,” exclaimed the Emperor, “this is not a
French bishop, but one of the eastern magi—a worshipper of the rising
sun.” I shall both now and henceforward suppress, from a feeling of
justice, several other articles and many details. The following
observations may however be noted down, in opposition to the Abbé de
Pradt’s endeavours to prove that the French were the unjust aggressors
in the contest with Russia.

The Emperor, speaking of the Russian war, said: "No events are trifling
with regard to nations and sovereigns; for it is such that govern their
destinies. For some time a misunderstanding had sprung up between France
and Russia. France reproached Russia with the violation of the
continental system, and Russia required an indemnification for the Duke
of Oldenburg, and raised other pretensions. Russian troops were
approaching the duchy of Warsaw, and a French army was forming in the
north of Germany. Yet we were far from being determined on war, when,
all on a sudden, a new Russian army commenced its march towards the
Duchy; and, as an ultimatum, an insolent note was presented at Paris by
the Russian Ambassador, who, in the event of its nonacceptance,
threatened to quit Paris in eight days. I considered this as a
declaration of war. It was long since I had been accustomed to this sort
of tone. I was not in the habit of allowing myself to be anticipated. I
could march to Russia at the head of the rest of Europe; the enterprise
was popular; the cause was one which interested Europe. It was the last
effort that remained to France. Her fate, and that of the new European
system, depended on the struggle. Russia was the last resource of
England. The peace of the whole world rested with Russia. The event
could not be doubtful. I commenced my march; but when I reached the
frontier I, to whom Russia had declared war by withdrawing her
Ambassador, still considered it my duty to send mine (Lauriston) to the
Emperor Alexander at Wilna: he was rejected, and the war commenced!

"Yet, who would credit it? Alexander and myself were in the situation of
two bullies, who, without wishing to fight, were endeavouring to terrify
each other. I would most willingly have maintained peace; I was
surrounded and overwhelmed with unfavourable circumstances, and all that
I have since learned convinces me that Alexander was still less eager
for war than myself.

"M. de Romanzoff, who had maintained communications at Paris, and who
some time afterwards, when the Russians experienced reverses, was very
severely treated by Alexander for the course he had induced him to
pursue, had assured the Russian Emperor, that the moment was come when
Napoleon, in his embarrassments, would readily make some sacrifices to
avoid war; that the favourable opportunity should not be allowed to
escape; that it was only necessary to assume a bold attitude, and a tone
of firmness; that indemnity would be obtained for the Duke of Oldenburg;
that Dantzick might be gained, and that Russia would thus acquire
immense weight in Europe.

"Such was the cause of the movement of the Russian troops, and of the
insolent note of Prince Kourakin, who, doubtless, was not in the secret,
and who had been foolish enough to execute his instructions in too
literal a way. The same mistaken notions, and the same system also,
occasioned the refusal to receive Lauriston at Wilna. This was an
instance of the errors and misfortunes which attended my new diplomacy.
It stood insulated, without affinity or contact, in the midst of the
objects which it had to direct. Had my Minister for Foreign affairs been
a member of the old aristocracy, and a man of superior ability, no doubt
he would have observed the cloud that was gathering, and might have
prevented our going to war.

“Talleyrand, perhaps, might have done this: but it was above the powers
of the new school. I could not make the discovery myself; my dignity
precluded personal explanations. I could form my judgment only from
documents, and in vain did I turn them over and over, for I was sure at
last to arrive at a point where they could make no reply to my

"Scarcely had I opened the campaign, when the mask fell, and the real
sentiments of the enemy were developed. In the course of two or three
days Alexander, alarmed at our first successes, despatched a messenger
to me, to say that if I would evacuate the invaded territory, and fall
back as far as the Niemen, he would enter upon negotiations. But I in my
turn took this for a stratagem. I was elated with success; I had taken
the Russian army in the very fact, in the critical moment; I had cut off
Bagration, and I had reason to hope that I should destroy him. I
thought, however, that the enemy merely wanted to gain time for the
purpose of rallying his forces. Had I been convinced of Alexander’s
sincerity, I should doubtless have acceded to his proposition of falling
back to the Niemen. In that case, he would not have passed the Dwina;
Wilna would have been neutralized: and there Alexander and myself,
accompanied by a few battalions of our guards, would have negotiated in
person. How many arrangements should I not have proposed!... Alexander
would have had only to take his choice, and we should have separated
good friends.

"Yet, in spite of the events which succeeded, and which left my enemy
triumphant, is it quite certain that the measures I have just hinted at
would have been less advantageous than those which have since been
pursued? Alexander marched to Paris, it is true, but he came accompanied
by the forces of all Europe. He has gained Poland: but what will be the
result of the shock given to the whole European system; of the agitation
into which every nation has been thrown; of the increase of European
influence over the rest of Russia through the accumulation of new
acquisitions: the expeditions in which the Russian troops are engaged in
remote quarters; and the influence of the incongruous mass of men and
knowledge which have taken refuge in Russia from foreign parts?

“Will the Russian sovereigns be content to consolidate what they have
acquired? If, on the contrary, they should be influenced by ambition,
what extravagant enterprises may they not attempt! And yet they have
lost Moscow, her wealth and resources, and those of many other cities!
These are wounds which will bleed for half a century. But at Wilna we
might have entered into arrangements for the advantage of all, subjects
as well as sovereigns!”

On another occasion, the Emperor said, "I might have shared with Russia
the possession of the Turkish empire. We had oftener than once
contemplated the idea, but Constantinople was always the obstacle that
opposed its execution. The Turkish capital was the grand stumbling-block
between us. Russia wanted it, and I could not resign it. Constantinople
is worth an empire of itself. It is the real keystone of power; for he
who possesses it may rule the world.

“What then?” said the Emperor, resuming the former question, “what has
Alexander gained, which he might not have secured to better advantage at
Wilna?”—Some one present replied, “Sire, he has conquered, and he
remains triumphant.”—"That may be the vulgar opinion," exclaimed the
Emperor, "but no Sovereign should entertain such an idea. A monarch, if
he himself governs, or his councillors, if they govern for him, must, in
vast enterprises of this nature, attach less importance to the victory
than to its results. And even though the case be limited to vulgar
considerations, still I maintain that the wished-for object has not been
attained. Even here the palm must be awarded to the vanquished party.
Who will pretend that my victories in Germany were equalled by the
successes of the Allies in France? Will any thinking man, will any
historian pronounce such an opinion?

"The Allies advanced with all Europe in their train, against a force
which might be almost counted as nothing. They had 600,000 men in the
line, and nearly an equal number in reserve. If they had been beaten,
they had nothing to fear, they could have fallen back. I, on the
contrary, in Germany, 500 leagues from home, had hardly a force equal to
my enemy’s. I was surrounded by sovereigns and people repressed only by
fear, and who, on the first disaster, were ready to rise against me. But
I triumphed amidst dangers constantly increasing; I was incessantly
compelled to exercise an equal degree of address and energy. In all
these enterprises I found it necessary to display a strange character,
strange views and a strange confidence in my own plans, which were
disapproved perhaps by every one around me.

"What deeds on the part of the Allies can be compared with these? If I
had not conquered at Austerlitz, I should have had all Prussia on me. If
I had not proved victorious at Jena, Austria and Spain would have
assailed me in my rear. If I had not triumphed at Wagram, which by the
by, was a less decisive victory, I had to fear that Russia would abandon
me, that Prussia would rise against me; and meanwhile the English were
already before Antwerp.

"Yet what was my conduct after the victory? At Austerlitz, I gave
Alexander his liberty, though I might have made him my prisoner.[9]
After Jena I left the House of Prussia in possession of a throne which I
had conquered: after Wagram, I neglected to parcel out the Austrian

Footnote 9:

  Since my return to Europe, I have been assured that there exist two
  notes, written in pencil by the Emperor Alexander, urgently soliciting
  that he might be allowed to pass. If this be true, what a singular
  vicissitude of fortune presents itself! The magnanimous Conqueror was
  doomed to perish in captivity, far from Europe, and separated from his
  family; and this too, in the name of the conquered party, to whose
  prayers he had so generously listened.

“If all this be attributed merely to magnanimity, cold and calculating
politicians will doubtless blame me. But, without rejecting that
sentiment, to which I am not a stranger, I had higher aims in view. I
wished to bring about the amalgamation of the great European interests,
in the same manner as I had effected the union of parties in France. My
ambition was one day to become the arbiter in the great cause of nations
and kings; it was therefore necessary that I should secure to myself
claims on their gratitude, and seek to render myself popular among them.
This I could not do without losing something in the estimation of the
people. I was aware of this. But I was powerful and fearless. I
concerned myself but little about transient popular murmurs, being very
sure that the result would infallibly bring the people over to my side.

“I committed a great fault after the battle of Wagram, in not reducing
the power of Austria still more. She remained too strong for our safety,
and to her we must attribute our ruin. The day after the battle, I
should have made known, by proclamation, that I would treat with Austria
only on condition of the preliminary separation of the three crowns of
Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia. Will it be credited? A Prince of the
House of Austria several times hinted to me the idea of transferring one
of the two last-mentioned crowns to himself, or even raising him to the
throne occupied by his own family, on pretence that it was only thus
that Austria could be induced to act sincerely with me. He even proposed
to give me, by way of hostage, ——— and moreover, every possible

The Emperor said, that he had even turned this idea over in his own
mind. He had hesitated about it for some time previously to his marriage
with Maria Louisa; but after that event, continued he, it became
impracticable. He observed that on the subject of marriage his notions
were too citizen-like:—"Austria," said he, “had become a portion of my
own family; and yet my marriage ruined me. If I had not thought myself
safe and protected by this alliance, I should have delayed for three
years the resurrection of Poland; I should have waited until Spain was
subdued and tranquil. I stepped upon an abyss, covered by flowers.”


29th.—About five o’clock the Grand Marshal visited me in my chamber. He
had not been permitted to see the Emperor, who through indisposition had
been confined to his own apartment all day, and refused to see any one.
Towards evening I went out to take a stroll in those paths in which the
Emperor usually walked about this time. I felt dull, being alone. We had
dined without the Emperor.

About nine o’clock, just as I was regretting that the day had passed
over without my seeing him, he sent for me. I expressed my concern for
his indisposition. He replied that he was perfectly well, but that he
had taken a fancy to remain alone; that he had been reading all day, and
that the time had passed away swiftly and agreeably.

He however appeared low-spirited and languid. He took my Atlas, which
happened to be lying beside him, and, opening it at the map of the
world, he cast his eye on Persia. “I had some excellent plans, with
regard to that country,” said he. “What a capital point of support would
it have been for my lever, whether I wished to disturb Russia, or to
invade India. I had set on foot relations with Persia, and I hoped to
bring them to the point of intimacy, as well as those with Turkey. It
might have been supposed that the animals would have understood their
own interests sufficiently well to have acceded to my propositions; but
both Persians and Turks evaded me at the decisive moment. English gold
proved more powerful than my plans. Some treacherous ministers, for a
few guineas, sacrificed the prosperity of their country: which is
usually the case under seraglio monarchs or imbecile kings.”

The Emperor then, abandoning politics, began to relate some anecdotes of
the seraglio, and adverted to the Persians of Montesquiou, and his
letters, which he said were distinguished for wit, delicate
observations, and above all, for bitter satire on the time. He
afterwards spoke of the Turkish and Persian Ambassadors who were in
Paris during his reign. He asked me what impression they produced in the
French capital; whether they paid visits, and received company, &c.

I replied that, during their stay in Paris, they engrossed public
attention, and formed a kind of raree-show at Court. The Persian in
particular attracted curiosity. On his arrival, he willingly received
visitors, and as he made presents of perfumes and even shawls, he was a
great favourite with the ladies. But the great number of those who paid
their court to him soon forced him to set bounds to his liberality, and,
thenceforward, the rage being over, he was no longer thought of. I
added, that at Court, when the Emperor was not present, we sometimes
ventured, very inconsiderately to be sure, to play off tricks at the
expense of the oriental Ambassadors. At a concert given one day by the
Empress Josephine, Asker-Kan, with his long painted beard, was one of
the company. He seemed to be heartily tired of the music, and fell
asleep standing with his back against a wall, his feet thrust forward
and resting against an arm chair which stood in the corner by the
fire-place. Some one, by way of joke, drew the chair away softly, so
that his Excellency had well nigh fallen down at full length on the
floor, and being thus roused from his slumber, he roared out lustily.
Asker-Kan could more readily enter into a joke than the Turkish
Ambassador; but, on this occasion he was in a great passion, and as we
could only understand each other by gestures, the scene was most
ludicrous. In the evening, the Empress enquired the cause of the noise
which she had heard during the concert; and when the circumstance was
explained to her, she laughed a good deal and scolded us still more. “It
was very wrong, certainly,” observed the Emperor; “but what business had
he at the concert?”—"Sire," I replied, “both he and the Turkish
Ambassador went thither with the view of paying court to you. They hoped
that your Majesty would be apprized of the circumstance, though you were
at that time five hundred leagues off.” I added that on other occasions
they had both proved themselves accomplished courtiers, and that their
wish to ingratiate themselves with the Emperor carried them to the most
extravagant lengths. “We have often seen them,” said I, “at the close of
the grand diplomatic audiences on Sunday, follow your Majesty to mass,
and occupy the pews in the chapel along with Cardinals of the Holy
Catholic Church.”—"What a monstrous spectacle!" exclaimed the Emperor.
“What a subversion of their principles and habits!—What extraordinary
things I brought about; and yet all this was neither ordered nor

The conversation continuing on the two orientals, I mentioned that I had
been informed the Arch-chancellor Cambacérès once gave them a grand
dinner. Though both from the same quarter, and members of the same
religion, yet they nevertheless evinced shades of character totally
different. The Turk, who was a disciple of Omar, was the Jansenist, and
the Persian, who was a sectary of Ali, was the Jesuit. It was said that,
at Cambacérès’ dinner, they scrupulously watched each other with regard
to the wine, just as two Catholic Bishops seated at the same table might
be expected to keep a vigilant look out, lest either should be tempted
to eat meat on a Friday.

The Turk was gloomy and ignorant, and was looked upon as little better
than a brute; but the Persian possessed literary information, was very
talkative, and had the reputation of being a clever man. It was observed
that he made no use of a knife and fork, either in eating or helping
himself to any dish at table; and he probably would not have hesitated
to help his neighbours in the same unceremonious way. One of our customs
particularly attracted his notice; this was our practice of eating bread
with every dish. He said he could not conceive why we were obliged
always to eat the same article with every thing.

I believe I have already remarked that nothing amuses the Emperor so
much as accounts of the fashionable world in Paris, anecdotes of our
drawing-rooms, &c.

The Emigrants and the Faubourg St. Germain were subjects on which he was
always fond of conversing with me when we were alone, and he accounted
for this by saying to me once, “I was well acquainted with every thing
that had relation to myself, but I never knew any thing of those
affairs.” He observed, that he had nevertheless a natural desire to
learn every thing that was passing near him, and to hear the chit-chat
of little towns, &c. “I heard a great deal on these subjects,” added he,
“during the period of my power; but whenever any thing favourable was
said, I put myself on my guard—I was fearful of insinuations; and if, on
the contrary, any thing unfavourable was reported to me, I mistrusted
the accusation, and had enough to do to guard against a feeling of
contempt. Here, my dear Las Cases, none of these disadvantages exist;
you and I already belong to the other world; we are conversing in the
Elysian fields: you are without interested views, and I am without
suspicion.” I therefore eagerly seized every opportunity that offered
itself to entertain the Emperor in this way. He perceived this, and gave
me credit for my intentions; for, at the conclusion of one of my
stories, he pinched my ear, and said, in a tone of voice which delighted
me: “I read a story in your Atlas of a Northern Monarch who was immured
in a prison, and one of his soldiers solicited and obtained permission
to be imprisoned with him, in order that he might cheer his spirits,
either by inducing him to converse, or by relating amusing stories to
him. My dear Las Cases, you are that soldier.”...

On the present occasion I described to the Emperor the hoax which had
been played upon M. de Marbois, and which he had not heard of before. It
was as follows: one day, as the story goes, Asker-Kan, who was
indisposed, and tired of his Persian treatment, gave orders to send for
M. Bourdois, one of the first physicians in Paris. The messenger made a
mistake, and went to M. de Marbois, Ex-minister of the Treasury, and at
that time President of the Court of Accounts.—"His Excellency the
Persian Ambassador," said he, “is very ill, and wishes to see you.” M.
de Marbois could not conceive what business the Persian Ambassador could
possibly have with him: but Asker-Kan was the envoy of a great Prince,
and there is nothing which vanity will not contrive to reconcile. He
proceeded with great pomp to the Ambassador’s residence; and it must be
allowed that there was nothing in his dress, physiognomy, or deportment,
at all likely to undeceive the Persian, who, as soon as he saw him,
thrust out his tongue, and stretching forth his arm, motioned him to
feel his pulse. These extraordinary gestures astonished M. de Marbois,
but he thought they might be some oriental fashion. He took the hand
which was offered, and pressed it cordially, when four attendants
entered with solemnity, and presented to the Ex-minister a vessel of a
very unequivocal nature, for his better information on the state of the
patient. At this spectacle, the grave M. de Marbois flew into a violent
passion, and asked what was the meaning of this extraordinary behaviour.
The mistake was explained; it was M. Bourdois who had been wanted, and
the similarity in the sound of the two names had alone occasioned the
error. Poor M. de Marbois was the laughing-stock of Paris, and for a
long time he could not show his face any where without exciting

“The drawing-rooms of Paris are indeed tremendous with their jokes!”
said the Emperor, “for it cannot be denied that they are for the most
part pointed and witty. They always assail the enemy at the breach, and
a total defeat is the usual consequence.”—"It is true," said I, “nothing
was spared. Even religion was not held sacred, and your Majesty may well
suppose that neither you nor the Empress escaped.”—"I dare say not,"
replied the Emperor, “but no matter; what was said of us?”—“It was
reported. Sire, that one day your Majesty, being much dissatisfied at
the perusal of a despatch from Vienna, said to the Empress, in a moment
of ill-humour, Your father is a blockhead (_votre père est une
ganache_). Maria Louisa, who was unacquainted with many French phrases,
turned to the person nearest her, and, observing that the Emperor had
called her Father a _ganache_, asked what the term meant. The courtier,
embarrassed at this unexpected interrogatory, stammered out that the
word signified a clever man, a man of judgment, and extraordinary
talent. Some time afterwards, the Empress, with her newly learnt term
fresh in her memory, was present at the Council of State, and the
discussion, becoming somewhat warm, in order to put a stop to it, she
called on M. Cambacérès, who was yawning by her side....—‘You must set
us right on this important point,’ said she, ‘you shall be our oracle;
for I consider you as the greatest _ganache_ in the Empire.’” At these
words the Emperor held his sides with laughter. “What a pity,” said he,
“that this anecdote is not true! Only imagine the scene. The offended
dignity of Cambacérès, the merriment of the whole council, and the
embarrassment of poor Maria Louisa, alarmed at the success of her
unconscious joke.”

The conversation continued for a long time in this way, and I spent
about two hours with the Emperor; I had exerted myself to talk as much
as I possibly could to divert him, and I had succeeded. The Emperor felt
his spirits revived, he even enjoyed a hearty laugh. When he dismissed
me, he felt much better, and I was happy at the change.


30th.—To-day I and my son were engaged to dine at Mr. Balcombe’s at the
Briars. About half past three, I went to receive the Emperor’s commands:
he was the same as yesterday, and did not intend to go out.

Just before I had reached Hut’s Gate, the residence of Madame Bertrand,
I met the Governor on his way to Longwood. He asked me how the Emperor
was. I told him that I felt uneasy about him, and that he had not seen
any of us yesterday. I added that though he had told me this morning he
was well, yet from his countenance I should have expected a different

About half past nine, we set out from the Briars on our return to
Longwood; it was very dark. A heavy rain had come on, which was as sharp
and cutting as hail. We had a most disagreeable, troublesome, and
dangerous ride, being every moment on the point of being precipitated
into some abyss or other, for we were obliged to gallop on at random
without seeing where we were going. We arrived at Longwood drenched to
the skin.

The Emperor had given orders that I should attend him on my return. He
was well, but he had stayed at home as he had done yesterday. He said he
had been waiting for me, and had many things to tell me.

On learning that the Governor had arrived, he admitted him into his
chamber, though he was not dressed, and was unable to rise from his
couch. He said he had discussed with him, in perfect composure, all the
points which naturally presented themselves to his mind. He spoke of
protesting against the treaty of the second of August, in which the
Allied Sovereigns declared him an exile and a prisoner. He asked what
right these Sovereigns had to dispose of him, without his consent, him
who was their equal, and had sometimes been their master. He said, if he
had thought proper to withdraw to Russia, Alexander, who styled himself
his friend, and who never had any but political disputes with him, would
if he had not upheld him as a king, at least have treated him as one.
This the Governor could not deny. He said, had he thought proper to take
refuge in Austria, the Emperor Francis could not, without disgracing
himself, have denied him admission not only to his empire, but even to
his house and his family, of which he, Napoleon, was a member. This the
Governor also admitted.

“Lastly,” said the Emperor, “if, relying on my own individual interests,
I had persisted in defending them in France by force of arms, there is
no doubt that the Allies would have formally granted me immense
advantages, perhaps even territory.” The Governor, who hesitated for
some time on this point, at length agreed that there was no doubt the
Emperor might with ease have obtained a Sovereignty. “I did not wish
it,” continued the Emperor: “I determined on abandoning public affairs;
indignant at beholding the leading men in France betraying their
country, or at least committing the grossest errors with regard to her
interests; indignant at finding that the mass of the representatives
preferred disgrace to death, and stooped to traffic with that sacred
independence, which, like honour, should be _a rocky and inaccessible
island_. In this state of things what did I determine on? What
resolution did I adopt? I sought an asylum in a country which was
supposed to be governed by laws: among a people, of whom for twenty
years I had been the bitterest enemy! But what did you do?... Your
conduct will be recorded in history to your eternal disgrace. Yet there
is an avenging Providence; sooner or later you will receive your
punishment! It will not be long before your posterity, your laws, will
expiate your crime!... Your ministers have sufficiently proved, by their
instructions, that they wish to get rid of me! Why did not the Kings who
proscribed me openly decree my death? One act would have been as legal
as the other! A speedy termination to my sufferings would have shown
more energy than the lingering death to which they have doomed me. The
Calabrians have been more humane, more generous than the Allied
Sovereigns or your Ministers. I will not die by my own hands. That would
be an act of cowardice. To overcome misfortune is a proof of a noble and
courageous mind! We mortals are bound to fulfil our destinies. But if it
be intended to keep me here, I feel that you would be doing me a
kindness in depriving me of life; for here I daily suffer the agonies of
death! The limits of St. Helena are too narrow for me, who was every day
accustomed to ride, ten, fifteen, or twenty leagues on horseback. The
climate is not like ours: neither the sun nor the seasons are like what
we have been accustomed to. Every thing here is hostile to happiness and
comfort. The situation is disagreeable and unwholesome, and is destitute
of water. This part of the island is totally barren and has been
deserted by the inhabitants.”

The Governor stated that his instructions required that the Emperor
should be restricted to certain limits in his rides, and that an officer
should always accompany him. “If they had been thus enforced,” replied
the Emperor, “I should never have left my chamber. If your instructions
will not admit of greater latitude, you can henceforth do nothing for
us. However, I neither ask nor wish for any thing. Convey these
sentiments to the English Government.”

“This,” said the Governor, “is the consequence of transmitting
instructions from so great a distance, and with regard to a person of
whom those who draw up the instructions know so little.” He then
endeavoured to shift the question by intimating that, on the arrival of
the wooden house or palace, which was on its way to St. Helena, better
plans might perhaps be adopted: that a vessel was expected, bringing
furniture and stores of provisions, which it was supposed would be
agreeable to the Emperor; that the English Government was exerting every
effort to alleviate his situation, &c.

The Emperor replied that all their efforts amounted to little; that he
had requested to be furnished with the Morning Chronicle and the
Statesman, that he might read what related to himself under the least
disagreeable forms: but his request had never been complied with. He had
asked for books, which were his only consolation; but nine months had
passed away, and he had not received any. He had desired to obtain
intelligence of his wife and son; but this had been withheld from him.

“As to the provisions, the furniture, and the house, that are intended
for me,” continued he, “you and I, Sir, are soldiers; we know how to
value these things. You have been in my native city, perhaps in the very
house occupied by my family. Though it was not the worst on the
island—though I have no reason to be ashamed of my family circumstances,
yet you know what they were. But though I have occupied a throne, and
have disposed of crowns, I have not forgotten my first condition; my
couch and my camp-bed, you see, are still sufficient for me.”

The Governor observed that the wooden palace and all its accompaniments
were at least an attention. “For your own satisfaction, in the eyes of
Europe,” replied the Emperor, “but to me they are matters of perfect
indifference. It is not a house, nor furniture, that should have been
sent to me: but an executioner and a coffin. The former are a mockery,
the latter would be a favour. I say, again, the instructions of your
ministers tend to this result, and I invoke it. The Admiral, who is not
an ill-disposed man, appears to me now to have softened these
instructions; I do not complain of his acts: his forms alone offended
me.” Here the Governor asked whether he had unconsciously committed any
faults. “No, Sir, we complain of nothing since your arrival. Yet one act
has offended us, and that is your inspection of our domestics. It was
insulting to M. de Montholon, by appearing to throw suspicion on his
integrity; and it was petty, disagreeable, and insulting towards me, and
perhaps degrading to the English General himself, who thus came to
interfere between me and my valet de chambre.”

The Governor was seated in an arm-chair on one side of the Emperor, who
had remained stretched on his couch. It was dark, the evening was
drawing in, and it was not easy to distinguish objects. “Therefore,”
observed the Emperor, “it was in vain that I endeavoured to watch the
play of his features, and to observe the impression which my words made
on him.”

In the course of the conversation the Emperor, who in the morning had
been reading the Campaign of 1814, by Alphonse de Beauchamp, in which
all the English bulletins bore the signature Lowe, asked the Governor if
he was the individual who had signed them. Sir Hudson Lowe, with marked
embarrassment, replied in the affirmative, and added that the bulletins
represented his views and opinions. The Governor, who had several times
proposed that the Emperor should be attended by his physician, who he
said was a very skilful man, on taking his leave again proposed to send
his Doctor to Longwood. But the Emperor saw his motives, and constantly
resisted his offer.

Having related all these particulars to me, the Emperor remained silent
for some minutes. Then resuming, apparently after some reflection, he
said: "How mean and disagreeable is the expression of the Governor’s
countenance! I never saw any thing like it in my life!... I should be
unable to drink my coffee if this man were left for a moment alone
beside me.... My dear Las Cases, they have sent me worse than a

                            OF HIS HISTORY.

May 1st.—The Emperor kept his room to-day as he had done yesterday. I
felt ill from my ride from the Briars; I had a slight fever, accompanied
by great lassitude. The Emperor sent for me about seven o’clock in the
evening. I went to his chamber and found him reading Rollin, whom he
accused, as usual, of being too indulgent an historian. He did not
appear to have been indisposed, and even said he was very well; but this
only rendered me the more uneasy at his seclusion and his calmness of
manner. He put off dinner to a later hour than usual, and detained me
with him. He called for a glass of Constantia some time before dinner;
this he generally does when he feels the want of excitement.

After dinner, he looked over a few of the addresses, proclamations, or
acts, in Goldsmith’s imperfect collection. The perusal of some of these
documents seemed to interest him; then, laying down the book, he began
to walk about, and said, "After all, let them abridge, suppress, and
mutilate as much as they please, they will find it very difficult to
throw me entirely into the shade. The historian of France cannot pass
over the Empire, and if he has any honesty, he will not fail to render
me my share of justice. His task will be easy; for the facts speak for
themselves: they shine like the sun.

“I closed the gulf of anarchy and cleared the chaos. I purified the
Revolution, dignified Nations and established Kings. I excited every
kind of emulation, rewarded every kind of merit, and extended the limits
of glory! This is at least something! And on what point can I be
assailed on which an historian could not defend me? Can it be for my
intentions? But even here I can find absolution. Can it be for my
despotism? It may be demonstrated that the Dictatorship was absolutely
necessary. Will it be said that I restrained liberty? It can be proved
that licentiousness, anarchy, and the greatest irregularities, still
haunted the threshold of freedom. Shall I be accused of having been too
fond of war? It can be shown that I always received the first attack.
Will it be said that I aimed at universal monarchy? It can be proved
that this was merely the result of fortuitous circumstances, and that
our enemies themselves led me step by step to this determination.
Lastly, shall I be blamed for my ambition? This passion I must doubtless
be allowed to have possessed, and that in no small degree; but, at the
same time, my ambition was of the highest and noblest kind that ever,
perhaps, existed—that of establishing and of consecrating the empire of
reason, and the full exercise and complete enjoyment of all the human
faculties! And here the historian will probably feel compelled to regret
that such ambition should not have been fulfilled and gratified!” ...
Then after a few moments of silent reflection: “This,” said the Emperor,
“is my whole history in a few words.”

                       FAVOURABLE TO THE EMPEROR.

2nd.—The Emperor still kept his room as on the preceding days. He sent
for me about nine o’clock in the evening, after I had dined. He had seen
no one during the day; I remained with him till eleven o’clock; he was
in good spirits, and appeared to be well. I assured him that the days
which we passed without seeing him seemed very tedious; and that we
feared his health would suffer from close confinement and the want of
fresh air. For my own part, this seclusion caused me great uneasiness
and affliction. He went to bed half an hour before he dismissed me: he
said his legs refused to support him. He felt fatigued with walking,
though he had only taken a few turns with me in his chamber.

He spoke a great deal of the Legion of Honour, of Goldsmith’s
Collection, and of the Moniteur. Respecting the latter, he said that it
was certainly a very remarkable circumstance, and one of which few
besides himself could boast, that he had made his way through the
Revolution at so early an age, and with so much notoriety, without
having to dread the Moniteur. “There is not a sentence in it,” said he,
“which I could wish to obliterate. On the contrary, the Moniteur will
infallibly serve me as a justification, whenever I may have occasion for

                         FIFTH DAY’S SECLUSION.

3rd.—The Emperor still continued within doors, and saw no one; this was
his fifth day of retirement. The different individuals of his
establishment knew not how he occupied himself in his chamber. He sent
for me, as it were, by stealth, and I went to him about six o’clock in
the evening.

I again expressed to him the anxiety and pain we felt at seeing him thus
secluded. He told me that he bore the confinement very well, but that he
found the days long and the nights still longer. He had been unoccupied
during the whole day: he said he had felt himself out of humour; and,
indeed, he still continued silent and dull. He took the bath, and I
attended him. He concluded the evening by conversing on subjects of
great importance.

                        SIXTH DAY OF SECLUSION.

4th.—The Emperor still remained within doors. He had, however, expressed
his intention to ride on horseback about four o’clock; but the rain
prevented him from stirring out. He received the Grand Marshal in his

He sent for me about eight o’clock to dine with him. He said that the
Governor had called on the Grand Marshal, and had remained with him
above an hour. His conversation had been frequently disagreeable and
sometimes even offensive. He had spoken on a variety of topics in a tone
of ill-humour and disrespect, and in a very vague and indeterminate
manner: reproaching us, particularly, as it appeared, with being very
loud and unreasonable in our complaints. He maintained that we were very
well provided for and ought to be content; that we seemed to be
strangely mistaken with regard to what was due to our persons and our
situations. He added, at least so he was understood, that he was
desirous of being assured every day, by ocular testimony, of the
existence and presence of the Emperor.

There is no doubt that this point was the real cause of his ill-humour
and agitation. Several days had passed without his having been able to
receive any report from his officer or spies, as the Emperor had not
gone out, and no one had been admitted to his presence.

But what measures would he adopt? This consideration occupied us all in
our turns. The Emperor would never submit, even at the peril of his
life, to a regular visit, which might be capriciously renewed at any
hour of the day or night. Would the Governor employ force and violence
to dispute with the Emperor a last asylum of a few square feet and a few
hours’ repose? His instructions must have been drawn up in anticipation
of the case that had now occurred. No outrage, no want of respect, no
barbarity, could surprise me.

As to the Governor’s remark that we entertained mistaken ideas with
regard to ourselves and our situation, we are very conscious that,
instead of being at the Tuileries, we are at St. Helena, and that,
instead of being masters, we are captives: how then can we be mistaken?


5th.—About ten o’clock in the morning, the Emperor went to ride for the
first time. While he was mounting his horse, he was informed that the
Resident of the East India Company in China had come to Longwood, and
solicited the honour of being presented to him. He sent for him, and put
some questions to him with great condescension. We then rode out to call
on Madame Bertrand. The Emperor remained there above an hour; he was
weak and altered in his appearance: his conversation was languid. We
returned to Longwood. The Emperor wished to breakfast out of doors.

He sent for our host at Briars, the worthy Mr. Balcombe, and the
Resident from China, who was still at Longwood. The whole time of
breakfast was occupied in questions relating to China, its population,
laws, customs, and trade.

The Resident stated that a circumstance occurred a few years back
between the Russians and the Chinese, which might have been attended
with important results, had not Russia been entirely absorbed by the
affairs of Europe.

The Russian traveller, Krusenstern, in his voyage round the world,
anchored at Canton with his two vessels. He was received provisionally,
and was permitted, until the orders of the Court should arrive, to
dispose of the furs with which his ships were laden, and to take on
board a cargo of tea in their stead. The orders from the Chinese court
were delayed for more than a month, and M. de Krusenstern had set sail
two days before they arrived. They directed that the two vessels should
quit the port immediately: that all trade with the Russians in that
quarter was prohibited; that enough had been conceded to their Emperor
by land in the North of the Empire; that it was monstrous in him to
attempt to extend his intercourse in the South by sea; and that strong
displeasure would he manifested towards those who had suggested to them
that course. The order further decreed that, in the event of the ships
having sailed before the arrival of the answer from Pekin, the English
Factory should be charged to communicate it, through Europe, to the
Emperor of Russia.

Napoleon felt very much fatigued with his short ride; he had not left
his chamber for seven days before; this was the first time that he had
re-appeared among us. We remarked an evident change in his countenance.

He sent for me about five o’clock; the Grand Marshal was with him. The
Emperor was undressed; he had tried in vain to enjoy a little rest; he
thought he was feverish; the sensation proceeded from extreme lassitude.
The Emperor had a fire lighted, but would not have candles in his room.
We passed the time in desultory conversation in the dark, till eight
o’clock, when the Emperor sent us to dinner.

In the course of the day, the conversation had turned on the similarity
of the two great revolutions of England and France. “There are many
points, both of resemblance and difference, between these two great
events,” said the Emperor; “they afford inexhaustible subjects for
reflection.” He then made some very curious and remarkable observations.
I shall here note down his remarks on this occasion, as well as at other
intervals during the day.

"Both in France and England the storm gathered during the two feeble and
indolent reigns of James I. and Louis XV., and burst over the heads of
the unfortunate Charles I. and Louis XVI.

"Both these Sovereigns fell victims: both perished on the scaffold, and
their families were proscribed and banished.

"Both monarchies became republics, and, during that period, both nations
plunged into every excess which can degrade the human heart and
understanding. They were disgraced by scenes of madness, blood, and
outrage. Every tie of humanity was broken, and every principle

"Both in England and France, at this period, two men vigorously stemmed
the torrent, and reigned with splendour. After these, the two hereditary
families were restored; but both pursued an erroneous course. They
committed faults; a fresh storm suddenly burst forth in both countries,
and expelled the two restored dynasties, without their being able to
offer the least resistance to the adversaries who overthrew them.

"In this singular parallel, Napoleon appears to have been in France at
once the Cromwell and the Wm. III. of England. But as every comparison
with Cromwell is in some degree odious, I must add that, if these two
celebrated men coincided in one single circumstance of their lives, it
was scarcely possible for two beings to differ more in every other

"Cromwell appeared on the theatre of the world at the age of maturity.
He attained supreme rank only by dint of address, duplicity, and

"Napoleon distinguished himself at the very dawn of manhood, and his
first steps were attended by the purest glory.

"Cromwell attained supreme power, opposed and hated by all parties, and
by affixing an everlasting stain on the English revolution.

"Napoleon, on the contrary, ascended the throne by obliterating the
stains of the French revolution, and through the concurrence of all
parties, who in turn sought to gain him as their chief.

"All the glory of Cromwell was bought by English blood; his triumphs
were all so many causes of national mourning; but Napoleon’s victories
were gained over the foreign foe, and they filled the French nation with

"Finally, the death of Cromwell was a source of joy to all England: the
event was regarded as a public deliverance. The same cannot exactly be
said of Napoleon’s fall.

"In England the revolution was the rising of the whole nation against
the King. The King had violated the laws, and usurped absolute power;
and the nation wished to resume her rights.

"In France, the revolution was the rising of one portion of the nation
against another; that of the third estate against the nobility; it was
the re-action of the Gauls against the Franks. The King was attacked not
so much in his character of monarch as in his quality of chief of the
feudal system. He was not reproached with having violated the laws; but
the nation wished to emancipate and re-constitute itself.

"In England, if Charles I. had yielded voluntarily, if he had possessed
the moderate and undecided character of Louis XVI. he would have

"In France, on the contrary, if Louis XVI. had openly resisted, if he
had had the courage, activity, and ardour of Charles I. he would have

"During the whole conflict, Charles I., isolated in his kingdom, was
surrounded only by partisans and friends, and was never connected with
any constitutional branch of his subjects.

"Louis XVI. was supported by a regular army, by foreign aid, and two
constitutional portions of the nation—the nobility and the clergy.
Besides, there remained to Louis XVI. a second decisive resolution,
which Charles I. had it not in his power to adopt, namely, that of
ceasing to be a _feudal Chief_, in order to become a _national Chief_.
Unfortunately he could not decide on either the one or the other.

"Charles I. therefore perished because he resisted, and Louis XVI.
because he did not resist. The one had a perfect conviction of the
privileges of his prerogative; but it is doubtful whether the other had
any such conviction, any more than he felt the necessity of exercising
its privileges.

"In England, the death of Charles I. was the result of the artful and
atrocious ambition of a single man.

"In France, it was the work of the blind multitude, of a disorderly
popular assembly.

"In England, the representatives of the people evinced a slight shade of
decorum, by abstaining from being the judges and actors in the murder
which they decreed; they appointed a tribunal to try the King.

"In France, the representatives of the people presumed to be at once
accusers, judges, and executioners.

"In England, the affair was managed by an invisible hand: it assumed an
appearance of reflection and calmness. In France, it was managed by the
multitude, whose fury was without bounds.

"In England, the death of the King gave birth to the Republic. In
France, on the contrary, the birth of the Republic caused the death of
the King.

"In England the political explosion was produced by the efforts of the
most ardent religious fanaticism. In France, it was brought about amidst
the acclamations of cynical impiety; each according to different ages
and manners.

"The English Revolution was ushered in by the excesses of the gloomy
school of Calvin. The loose doctrines of the modern school conjured up
the storm in France.

"In England, the Revolution was mingled with civil war. In France, it
was attended by foreign war; and to the efforts and opposition of
foreigners the French may justly attribute their excesses. The English
can advance no such excuse for theirs.

"In England, the army proved itself capable of every act of outrage and
fury; it was the scourge of the citizens.

"In France, on the contrary, we owed every benefit to the army. Its
triumphs abroad either diminished, or caused us to forget, our horrors
at home. The army secured independence and glory to France.

"In England, the Restoration was the work of the English people, who
hailed the event with the most lively enthusiasm. The nation escaped
slavery, and seemed to have recovered freedom. It was not precisely thus
in France.

"In England, a son-in-law hurled his father-in-law from the throne. He
was supported by all Europe; and the memory of the act is revered and

“In France, on the contrary, the chosen sovereign of the people, who had
reigned for the space of fifteen years, with the assent of his subjects
and foreigners, re-appeared on the theatre of the world, to seize a
sceptre which he regarded as his own. Europe rose in a mass, and
outlawed him. Eleven hundred thousand men marched against him; he
yielded; he was thrown into captivity, and now efforts are making to
tarnish the lustre of his memory!”


6th.—The Emperor sent for me at nine o’clock. He was vexed at the
conduct of the new Governor, and particularly at the intention that
seemed to be entertained of violating his last humble sanctuary. He
preferred death to this last outrage; and he was resolved to run every
risk in opposing it. A catastrophe seemed inevitable. The Emperor indeed
concluded that there was a determination to bring it about, and that
only some plausible pretence was sought for. He was resolved not to
evade it. “I am prepared for every thing,” said he, in a certain moment
of confidence. “They will kill me here, it is certain....”

The Emperor sent for Dr. O’Meara, in order that he might learn his
personal opinion. He desired me to express to him, in English, that he
had hitherto no cause of complaint against him: on the contrary, that he
considered him to be an honest man, and as a proof of this, he would
rely implicitly on the answers he might receive to the questions which
he was about to put to him. It was necessary, he said, to come to an
understanding. Was he to consider him as his own physician personally,
or merely as a prison doctor, appointed by the English Government? Was
he his confessor or his inspector? Had he made reports respecting him,
or was it his intention so to do, if called upon? In the one case, the
Emperor said he would readily continue to receive his attendance, and
was grateful for the services he had already received; in the other
case, he thanked him and begged him to discontinue his visits.

The doctor replied with great firmness, and in a tone of feeling. He
said that his appointment was entirely professional, and had no
connection with politics; he conceived himself to be the Emperor’s
personal medical attendant, and was a stranger to every other
consideration; that he had made no report respecting the Emperor, and
that none had yet been demanded of him; that he could not imagine any
circumstance which should induce him to make a report, except in case of
serious illness, when it might be necessary to call in the aid of other
professional men.

About three o’clock, the Emperor went into the garden with the intention
of mounting his horse. He had been dictating for a considerable time to
General Gourgaud, and had nearly got through the events of 1815. He was
very well satisfied with the result of his labour.

I recommended to him next to commence the history of the Consulate; that
brilliant period in which a nation in a state of dissolution was in a
few moments magically re-composed, with respect to its laws, religion,
morality, true principles, and honest prejudices; and all this amidst
the universal applause and admiration of astonished Europe.

I was in England at this time. I told the Emperor that the mass of the
emigrants were forcibly struck by these acts. The recal of the priests
and of the emigrants was received as a blessing; and the great majority
profited by it.

The Emperor asked me whether we had not been shocked at the word
amnesty?—"No," I replied, “we knew all the difficulties which the First
Consul had experienced in this respect. We knew that all the advantages
of the measure were due to him, that he alone was our protector, and
that every evil originated with those with whom he had been obliged to
contend in our favour. Subsequently,” added I, “on our return to France,
we found indeed that the Consul might have treated us better with
respect to our property, and this without much difficulty, merely by
assuming a silent and passive attitude. This we conceived would have
sufficed in every case to have produced amicable arrangements between
the old proprietors and the purchasers.”

“Doubtless, I might have done so,” said the Emperor, “but could I have
trusted sufficiently to the emigrants?—Answer me this question.”

“Sire,” I replied, “now that I have more knowledge of public affairs,
and take a more comprehensive view of things, I can readily conceive
that policy required you to act as you did. Recent circumstances have
proved how wise was the course which you pursued. It would have been bad
policy to have dissatisfied the nation. The question of national
property is one of the first bulwarks of public spirit and of the
national party.”

“You are right,” observed the Emperor; "but I might nevertheless have
granted all that was wished. For a moment I cherished the idea of doing
so, and I committed a fault in not fulfilling this idea. I intended to
form a mass, or a _syndicate_, of all the unsold property of the
emigrants, and, on their return, to distribute it in a proportional
ratio among them. But when I came to grant property to individuals, I
soon found that I was creating too many wealthy men, and that they
repaid my favours with insolence. Those who, by dint of petitioning and
cringing, had perhaps obtained an annual income of 50 or 100,000 crowns,
no longer lifted their hats to me; and far from evincing the least
gratitude, they had the impertinence to pretend that they had paid
secretly for the favours they enjoyed. This was the conduct of the whole
Faubourg Saint-Germain. I restored the fortunes of these people, and
they still remained no less hostile and anti-national. Then, in spite of
the act of amnesty, I prohibited the restitution of the unsold forests,
whenever they should exceed a certain value. This was doubtless an act
of injustice, according to the letter of the law; but policy
imperatively called for it: the fault was in the drawing up of the law,
and the improvidence which dictated it. This re-action on my part,
destroyed all the good effect of the recal of the emigrants, and robbed
me of the attachment of all the great families. I might have guarded
against this evil, or I might have neutralized its effects by my
syndicate. For one great family alienated, I might have secured the
attachment of a hundred provincial nobles, and thus I should in reality
have strictly conformed with justice, which required that the emigrants,
who had all run the same risk, embarked their fortunes in common on
board the same ship, suffered the same wreck, and incurred the same
punishment, should all receive the same indemnification. Here I
committed an error,” said the Emperor, “which the more unpardonable as I
entertained an idea of the plan which I have just mentioned. But I stood
alone, and was surrounded by opposition and difficulty. All parties were
hostile to the emigrants: and meanwhile I was pressed by important
affairs, time was running on, and I was compelled to direct my attention
to other matters.

“Even so late as my return from Elba,” continued the Emperor, “I was on
the point of executing a project of the same sort. If I had had time, I
should have turned my attention to the poor emigrants from the provinces
who were neglected by the Court. It is rather a singular circumstance
that this idea was suggested to me by an old ex-minister of Louis XVI.,
whose services had been but ill requited by the Princes, and who pointed
out to me various plans by which evils of the same kind might have been
advantageously remedied.”

“Sire,” observed I, “the reasonable portion of the emigrants well knew
that the few generous and liberal ideas that were cherished with respect
to them originated only with you; they were aware that all who
surrounded you wished for their destruction. They knew that the very
idea of nobility was hateful to them; and they gave you credit for not
being of that opinion. Would you believe it, their self-love
occasionally found a certain degree of consolation in the reflection
that you were one of their own class?”

The Emperor then asked me what was the opinion of the emigrants
respecting his birth, the incidents of his life, &c. I replied that we
beheld him for the first time at the head of the army of Italy; and that
we were totally ignorant of all his previous history. We never could
call him _de Buonaparte_. At this the Emperor laughed. The turn of our
conversation then led him to observe that he had frequently reflected on
the singular concurrence of secondary circumstances which had brought
about his wonderful career.

1st, “If,” said he, “my father, who died before he attained the age of
forty, had survived some time longer, he would have been appointed
deputy from the Corsican nobility to the Constituent Assembly. He was
much attached to the nobility and the aristocracy; on the other hand, he
was a warm partisan of generous and liberal ideas. He would, therefore,
either have been entirely on the right side, or at least in the minority
of the nobility. At any rate, whatever might have been my own personal
opinions, I should have followed my father’s footsteps, and thus my
career would have been entirely deranged and lost.

2ndly, “If I had been older at the time of the revolution, I should
perhaps myself have been appointed deputy. Being of an enthusiastic
disposition, I should infallibly have adopted some opinion, and ardently
followed it up. But at all events I should have shut myself out from the
military service, and thus again my career would have been changed.

3rdly, “Had my family been better known, more wealthy, or more
distinguished, my rank of nobility, even though I had followed the
course of the revolution, would have made a cipher of me and proscribed
me. I could never have obtained confidence; I could never have commanded
an army; or, if I had attained such a command, I could not have ventured
to do all that I did. Had my family circumstances been different from
what they actually were, I could not, with all my success, have followed
the bent of my liberal ideas with regard to the priests and nobles, and
I should never have arrived at the head of the Government.

4thly, “The number of my sisters and brothers is also a circumstance
which proved of great use to me, by multiplying my connections and means
of influence.

5thly, “My marriage with Madame de Beauharnois brought me in contact
with a party, whose aid was necessary in my system of amalgamations,
which was one of the chief principles of my government, and that by
which it was especially characterized. But for my wife, I should not
have obtained any natural connection with this party.

6thly, “Even my foreign origin, though in France an endeavour was made
to raise an outcry against it, was not unattended by advantage. The
Italians regarded me as their countryman, and this circumstance greatly
facilitated my success in Italy. This success being once obtained,
inquiries were set on foot respecting our family history, which had long
been buried in obscurity. My family was acknowledged by the Italians to
have acted a distinguished part in the events of their country. It was
viewed by them as an Italian family. Thus when the question of my sister
Pauline’s marriage with the Prince Borghese was agitated, there was but
one voice in Rome and Tuscany among the members of that family and their
adherents: ‘Well,’ said they, ‘the union is among ourselves; they are
our own connections.’ Subsequently, when it was proposed that the
Emperor should be crowned by the Pope at Paris, great obstacles were, as
circumstances have since proved, thrown in the way of that important
event. The Austrian party in the conclave violently opposed the measure;
but the Italian party decided in its favour, by adding to political
considerations a little consideration of national self-love. ‘We are
placing,’ said they, ‘an Italian family on the throne, to govern these
barbarians: we shall thus be revenged on the Gauls.’”

These remarks naturally led the Emperor to speak of the Pope, who he
said was rather favourably disposed towards him. The Pope did not accuse
Napoleon of having ordered his removal to France. He was very indignant
at reading in certain publications that the Emperor treated him with
disrespect. He had received at Fontainebleau every mark of consideration
that he could wish. When he learned the Emperor’s return from Elba to
France, he said to Lucien, in a tone expressive of his confidence and
impartiality, _’E sbarcato e arrivato_ (he has landed, he has arrived.)
He afterwards said: “You are going to Paris; make my peace with him. I
am in Rome; no cause of difference shall arise between us.”

“It is certain,” said the Emperor, “that Rome will afford a natural and
favourable asylum for my family: there they may find themselves at home.
Finally,” added he, smiling, “even my name, Napoleon, which in Italy is
uncommon, poetic, and sonorous, contributed its share in the great
circumstances of my life.”

I mentioned to the Emperor, what I had already remarked, namely, that
the great mass of the emigrants were far from being unjust to him. The
sensible part of the old aristocracy disliked him, it is true, but only
because he proved an obstacle to their views. They knew how to
appreciate his achievements and his talents, which they admired in spite
of their inclination. Even the fanatics acknowledged that he had but one
fault: “Why is he not legitimate?” they were frequently heard to say.
Austerlitz staggered us, though it did not subdue us; but Tilsit
prostrated every thing. “Your Majesty,” said I, “might yourself have
judged of this, and have enjoyed on your return the unanimity of homage,
acclamation, and good wishes.”

“That is to say,” observed the Emperor, smiling, “if, at that time, I
could or would have indulged in repose and pleasure; if I had resigned
myself to indolence, if every thing had resumed its old course, you
would have adored me? But if such had been my taste and inclination, and
certainly nothing was more opposite to my natural disposition,
circumstances would not have permitted me to act as I pleased.”

The Emperor then adverted to the numerous difficulties by which he had
been incessantly surrounded and controlled; and, alluding to the Spanish
war, he said, “That unlucky war ruined me; it divided my forces, obliged
me to multiply my efforts, and caused my principles to be assailed: and
yet it was impossible to leave the Peninsula a prey to the machinations
of the English, the intrigues, the hopes, and the pretensions of the
Bourbons. Besides, the Spanish Bourbons were not calculated to inspire
much fear. Nationally they were foreign to us, and we to them. At the
castle of Marrach, and at the Bayonne, I observed that Charles IV. the
Queen knew no difference between Madame de Montmorency and the new
ladies: the names of the latter were indeed rendered more familiar to
them by the newspapers and public documents. The Empress Josephine, who
had the most delicate tact on matters of this sort, never ceased
alluding to the circumstance. The Spanish Royal Family implored me to
adopt a daughter, and to create her a Princess of the Asturias. They
pointed out Mademoiselle de Tascher, afterwards Duchess of Aremberg; but
I had personal reasons for objecting to this choice. For a moment I
decided on Mademoiselle de la Rochefoucault, afterwards Princess
Aldobrandini; but I wanted some one sincerely devoted to my interests, a
true Frenchwoman, possessing talent and information, and I could not fix
on one endowed with all the qualities I wished for.”

Then returning to the war in Spain, the Emperor resumed:—"This
combination ruined me. All the circumstances of my disasters are
connected with that fatal knot: it destroyed my moral power in Europe,
rendered my embarrassments more complicated, and opened a school for the
English soldiers. It was I who trained the English army in the

"Events have proved that I committed a great fault in the choice of my
means; for the fault lies in the means much more than in the principles.
It cannot be doubted that, in the crisis in which France then was, in
the struggle of new ideas, in the great cause of the age against the
rest of Europe, we could not leave Spain behind, at the disposal of our
enemies: it was absolutely necessary to enchain her, voluntarily, or by
force, in our system. The destiny of France required this: and the code
of the welfare of nations is not always that of individuals. Besides, to
political necessity was here superadded for me the force of right.
Spain, when she saw me in danger, Spain, when she knew that my hands
were full at Jena, had almost declared war against me. The insult ought
not to pass unpunished: I could declare war in my turn, and assuredly
the success could not be doubtful. It was this very facility that misled
me. The nation despised its government: it called loudly for a
regeneration. From the height to which Fortune had raised me, I
considered myself called, I considered it worthy of me to accomplish in
peace so great an event. I was solicitous to spare blood, that not a
drop should stain the Castilian emancipation. I therefore delivered the
Spaniards from their abominable institutions; I gave them a liberal
constitution; I deemed it necessary, perhaps too lightly, to change
their dynasty. I placed one of my brothers at their head; but he was the
only foreigner among them. I respected the integrity of their territory,
their independence, their manners, the remnant of their laws. The new
monarch gained the capital, having no other ministers, no other
councillors, no other courtiers, but those of the late Court. My troops
were about to withdraw: I had done the greatest benefit that ever was
conferred on a nation—so I said to myself, and so I still say. The
Spaniards themselves, as I have been assured, thought so in their
hearts, and never complained of any thing but the forms. I expected
their blessings, but I was disappointed: disdaining interest, they
thought only of the insult: they were indignant at the idea of an
affront, enraged at the sight of force, and all flew to arms. The
Spaniards, collectively, behaved like men of honour. I have nothing to
say on that head: but, if they triumphed, they have been cruelly
punished for it. Perhaps they are to be pitied.... They deserved

The Emperor dined with us to-day; it was long since we had enjoyed his
company. After dinner he read to us Florian’s novel of Claudine, and
some extracts from Paul and Virginia, a work which he says he is very
fond of, on account of early recollections.

The Adamant transport has arrived. This vessel a short time ago missed
the island. She formed part of a convoy, the remainder of which arrived
nearly a month back. These ships brought the famous wooden palace,
accounts of which have filled all the newspapers in England, and
probably in Europe; and also the furniture, about which the papers have
also made a great parade. The wooden palace proved to be nothing more
than a number of rough planks, which no one knows how to put together at
St. Helena, and which it would require several years to fit up. The
splendour of the other articles was of course well suited to our
situation. Ostentation, pomp, and luxury, were for Europe; truth and
wretchedness for St. Helena.

                           THE ILIAD.—HOMER.

7th.—The Governor came to Longwood about four o’clock, and went over the
establishment without asking to see any one. His ill-humour was visibly
increased, his manners had become fierce and brutal.

About five o’clock the Emperor sent for me; the Grand Marshal had been
with him for some time. When he went away, the Emperor began to talk
with me upon literature; and we reviewed almost every epic poem, ancient
and modern. When conversing on the Iliad, he took up an edition of
Homer, and read aloud several cantos. The Emperor greatly admired the
Iliad. “It was,” he said, "like the Books of Moses, the token and the
pledge of the age in which it was produced. Homer, in his epic poem, has
proved himself a poet, an orator, an historian, a legislator, a
geographer, and a theologist. He may be justly called the encyclopedist
of the period in which he flourished.”

The Emperor considered Homer inimitable. Father Hardouin had ventured to
question the authenticity of of the Iliad, and to attribute that sacred
monument of antiquity to a monk of the tenth century. This the Emperor
said was perfect absurdity. He added that he had never been so struck
with the beauties of the Iliad as at that very moment; and that the
sensations with which it then inspired him fully convinced him of the
justice of the universal approbation bestowed on it. One thing which
particularly struck him, he observed, was the combination of rudeness of
manners with refinement of ideas. Heroes were described killing animals
for their food, cooking their meat with their own hands, and yet
delivering speeches distinguished for singular eloquence and denoting a
high degree of civilization.

The Emperor desired me to stay and dine with him. “Yet,” said he, “you
would probably fare better at the table of the household; you will be
starved with me.” “Sire,” I replied, “I know that you are ill provided;
but I prefer privation shared with you to luxury enjoyed elsewhere.”

During the day, the Emperor was ill with the head-ache, of which some
individuals of his suite also complained. I regretted that he was unable
to go out, for the weather was very fine. After dinner, the Emperor
summoned the whole of his suite into his own chamber, and we remained
with him until ten o’clock.

8th.—About five o’clock the Emperor took an airing in the calash. On his
return he was visited by several English gentlemen, of whom, according
to custom, he asked a multitude of questions. These gentlemen had
arrived by the Cornwall: they were proceeding to China, and were
expected to touch at St. Helena in the following January on their
passage back to Europe.

After dinner one of the suite remarked to the Emperor that his feelings
had been painfully excited in the morning when writing out a fair copy
of his dictation respecting the battle of Waterloo, to find that the
result had depended, as it were, on a hair. The Emperor made no reply,
but, turning to Emmanuel, said, in a tone expressing deep emotion: “_My
son_ (which was his usual mode of addressing him) go and get Iphigenia
in Aulis, it will be a more pleasing subject.” He then read to us that
beautiful drama, which he admires exceedingly.


9th.—I went to dine at Briars with my son and General Gourgaud; and we
staid to a little ball. I met the Admiral there, and I never found him
in a more agreeable humour. This was the first time I had seen him since
the adventure of Noverraz; I was aware how much the circumstance had
hurt him. He was on the point of departing for Europe, and I knew the
Emperor’s sentiments. I was twenty times almost tempted freely to enter
upon the subject, and thus to be the means of reconciling him with
Napoleon. Truth, justice, and our own interest, demanded this; but I was
deterred by considerations that were doubtless trivial. How often have I
blamed myself since!... But I had not received this delicate mission,
and I could not venture to take it upon myself. The admiral might have
given publicity to the affair, and perhaps have represented it in a way
that would have highly displeased the Emperor, and possibly have exposed
him to fresh vexations. On this subject I will note down the following
remarks which were made by the Emperor, and which characterize him too
well to be omitted.

He was one day describing to me evils attendant on weakness and
credulity in a sovereign; the intrigues which they engender in the
interior of the palace; and the fickleness which they create. He
demonstrated very clearly that a sovereign distinguished for these
qualities must inevitably become the dupe of courtiers and the victim of
calumny. “Of this I will give you a proof,” said he. “You yourself, who
have sacrificed every thing to follow me; you, who have evinced such
noble and affecting devotedness, how do you think your conduct is
viewed? How do you imagine your character is estimated? You are regarded
merely as one of the old nobility, an emigrant, an agent of the
Bourbons, maintaining correspondence with the English. It is said that
you concurred in betraying me to them, and that you followed me hither
only to be a spy upon me and to sell me to my enemies. The aversion and
animosity which you evince towards the Governor are affirmed to be only
false appearances agreed upon between you for the purpose of disguising
your treachery.” When I smiled at the lively turn of his fancy, and the
volubility with which he expressed himself: “You may laugh,” resumed he
“but I assure you that I am not inventing, I am merely echoing the
reports that have reached my ears. And can you imagine,” continued he,
“that a silly, feeble, and credulous being would not be influenced by
such stories and contrivances? My dear Las Cases, if I had not been
superior to the majority of legitimates, I might already have been
deprived of your services here, and your upright heart would perhaps
have been doomed to suffer the cruel stings of ingratitude.” He
concluded by saying: “how wretched is the lot of man! He is the same
every where: on the summit of a rock or within the walls of a palace!
Man is always man!...”


10th.—The weather was very bad, and the Emperor, finding it impossible
to go out, walked up and down in the dining-room. He afterwards ordered
a fire to be kindled in the drawing-room, and sat down to play at chess
with the Grand Marshal. After dinner he read to us the history of Joseph
from the Bible, and the Andromache of Racine.

The Bengal fleet arrived yesterday evening. The Countess of Loudon and
Moira, the wife of the Governor-General of India, was among the

To-day, in the course of conversation, the name of Hoche having been
mentioned, some one observed that at a very early age he had inspired
great hope. “And what is still better,” said the Emperor, “you may add
that he fulfilled that hope.” Hoche and Napoleon had seen each other,
and had conversed twice or thrice together. Hoche esteemed him even to
admiration. Napoleon did not hesitate to say that he possessed over
Hoche the advantages of extensive information and the principles of a
good education. There was, he said, in other respects a great difference
between them. “Hoche,” said he, “endeavoured to raise a party for
himself, and gained only servile adherents. For my part, I had created
for myself an immense number of partisans, without in any way seeking
popularity. Hoche possessed a hostile provoking kind of ambition; he was
the sort of man who could conceive the idea of coming from Strasburg,
with 25,000 men, to seize the reins of government by force. But my
policy was always of a patient kind, led on by the spirit of the age,
and the circumstances of the moment.”

The Emperor added that Hoche would ultimately either have yielded to
him, or must have subdued him, and, as he was fond of money and
pleasure, he doubted not that he would have yielded to him. Moreau,
observed he, in similar circumstances, knew not how to decide. Thus
Napoleon attached but little importance to him, and regarded him as
totally wanting in ability; without however extending this opinion to
his military talent. “But he was a weak man,” said the Emperor, "guided
by those who surrounded him, and slavishly subject to the control of his
wife: he was a general of the old monarchy.

“Hoche,” continued the Emperor, "died suddenly and under singular
circumstances; and as there existed a party who seemed to think that all
crimes belonged to me of right, endeavours were made to circulate a
report that I had poisoned him. There was a time when no mischief could
happen that was not imputed to me; thus, when in Paris, I caused Kleber
to be assassinated in Egypt; I blew out Desaix’s brains at Marengo: I
strangled and cut the throats of persons who were confined in prisons; I
seized the Pope by the hair of his head: and a hundred similar
absurdities were affirmed. However, as I paid not the least attention to
all this, the fashion passed away, and I do not see that my successors
have been very eager to revive it; and yet, if any of the crimes imputed
to me had had any real existence, the documents, the perpetrators, the
accomplices, &c. might have been brought forward.

“However, such is the influence of report that these stories, however
absurd, were credited by the vulgar, and are perhaps still believed by a
numerous class of persons. Happily the statements of the historian who
reasons are divested of this pernicious effect.”

Then, returning to the former topic of conversation, he said, "What a
number of great Generals arose suddenly during the revolution: Pichegru,
Kleber, Massena, Marceau, Desaix, Hoche, &c., and almost all were
originally private soldiers. But here the efforts of nature seem to have
been exhausted; for she has produced nothing since, or at least nothing
so great. At that period every thing was submitted to competition among
thirty millions of men, and nature necessarily asserted her rights:
whereas, subsequently, we were again confined within the narrower limits
of order and the forms of society. I was even accused of having
surrounded myself, in military and civil posts, with men of inferior
ability, the better to display my own superiority. But now, when the
competition will not certainly be renewed, it remains for those who are
in power to make a better selection. We shall see what they will do.

"Another circumstance, not less remarkable, was the extreme youth of
some of these Generals, who seemed to have started ready made from the
hands of nature. Their characters were perfectly suited to the
circumstances in which they were placed, with the exception of Hoche,
whose morals were by no means pure. The others had no object in view
save _glory_ and _patriotism_, which formed their whole circle. They
were men after the antique model.

"Desaix was surnamed by the Arabs the _Just Sultan_; at the funeral of
Marceau, the Austrians observed an armistice, on account of the respect
they entertained for him: and young Duphot was the emblem of perfect

"But the same commendations cannot be bestowed on those who were farther
advanced in life: for they belonged in some measure to the era that had
just passed away. Massena, Augereau, Brune, and many others, were merely
intrepid plunderers. Massena was, moreover, distinguished for the most
sordid avarice. It was asserted that I played him a trick which might
have proved a hanging matter; that, being one day indignant at his last
depredations, I drew on his banker for 2 or 3,000,000. Great
embarrassment ensued: for my name was not without its weight. The banker
wrote to intimate that he could not pay the sum without the authority of
Massena. On the other hand, he was urged to pay it without hesitation,
as Massena, if he were wronged, could appeal to the courts of law for
justice. Massena however resorted to no legal measures, and suffered the
money to be paid.

"O ——, Murat, and Ney, were common-place Generals, having no
recommendation but personal courage.

"Moncey was an honest man: Macdonald was distinguished for firm
integrity; I was deceived with respect to the character of B——.

"S—— also had his faults as well as his merits. The whole of his
campaign in the south of France was admirably conducted. It will
scarcely be credited that this man, whose deportment and manners denoted
a lofty character, was the slave of his wife. When I learned at Dresden
our defeat at Vittoria, and the loss of all Spain through the
mismanagement of poor Joseph, whose plans and measures were not suited
to the present age, and seemed rather to belong to a Soubise than to me,
I looked about for some one capable of repairing these disasters, and I
cast my eyes on S—— who was near me. He said that he was ready to
undertake what I wished; but entreated that I would speak to his wife,
by whom, he said, he expected to be reproached. I desired him to send
her to me. She assumed an air of hostility, and decidedly told me that
her husband should certainly not return to Spain; that he had already
performed important services, and was now entitled to a little repose.
‘Madam,’ said I to her: ‘I did not send for you with the view of
enduring your scolding. I am not your husband, and if I were I should
not be the more inclined to bear with you.’ These few words confounded
her; she became as pliant as a glove, turned quite obsequious, and was
only eager to obtain a few conditions. To these, however, I by no means
acceded, and merely contented myself with congratulating her on her
willingness to listen to reason. In critical circumstances, Madam, said
I, it is a wife’s duty to endeavour to smooth difficulties; go home to
your husband, and do not torment him by your opposition."


11th.—At four o’clock I attended the Emperor. The Grand Marshal entered
the room, and gave him a note. The Emperor, after glancing it over,
returned it, shrugging up his shoulders and saying: “This is too absurd!
There is no answer; give it to Las Cases.”

Will it be credited? This was a note from the Governor to the Grand
Marshal, inviting _General Bonaparte_ to dine at Plantation House to
meet Lady Loudon, the wife of Lord Moria. I blushed at the indecorum.
Could any thing be more ridiculous. Sir Hudson Lowe doubtless thought
the thing perfectly natural; and yet he had resided for a long time at
the head-quarters of armies on the Continent; and taken part in the
diplomatic transactions of the time!!...

Mr. Skelton, the Deputy-Governor of the island, who was about to depart
for Europe, came accompanied by his wife, to take leave of the Emperor.
They staid to dine at Longwood.

This worthy family, whom, contrary to our inclination, we had removed
from Longwood, whose prospects we had overthrown by the suppression of
the post of Deputy-Governor on our arrival—this excellent family, to
whom we had been the occasion of real personal injury, is, however, the
only one in the island from whom we have experienced invariable respect
and politeness. We therefore bade them adieu with sincere wishes for
their welfare. We shall always remember them with sentiments of the
deepest interest.


12th.—The Emperor, while walking in the garden and discoursing on
various subjects, spoke of the Institute, the manner in which it was
composed, the spirit of its members, &c. When he took his place in the
Institute, on his return from the army of Italy, he said that he might
consider himself as the tenth member in his class, which consisted of
about fifty.

Lagrange, Laplace, and Monge, were at the head of this class. It was
rather a remarkable circumstance, and one which attracted considerable
notice at the time, to see the young General of the army of Italy take
his place in the Institute, and publicly discuss profound metaphysical
subjects with his colleagues. He was then called the _Geometrician_ of
battles, and _Mechanician_ of victory, &c.

On becoming First Consul, Napoleon caused no less sensation in the
Council of State. He constantly presided at the sittings for drawing up
the civil code. “Tronchet,” he said, “was the soul of this code, and he,
Napoleon, was its demonstrator.” Tronchet was gifted with a singularly
profound and correct understanding; but he could not descend to
developments. He spoke badly, and could not defend what he proposed.
“The whole council,” said the Emperor, “at first opposed his
suggestions;” but Napoleon, with his shrewdness and facility of seizing
and creating luminous and new relations, arose, and without any other
knowledge of the subject than the correct basis furnished by Tronchet,
developed his ideas, set aside objections, and brought every one over to
his opinions.

The Minutes of the Council of State have transmitted to us the extempore
speeches of the First Consul on most of the articles of the civil code.
At every line, we are struck with the correctness of his observations,
the depth of his views, and in particular the liberality of his

Thus, in spite of the opposition that was set up to it, we are indebted
to him for that article of the Code which enacts that every individual
born in France is a Frenchman. “I should like to know,” said he, "what
inconvenience can possibly arise from acknowledging every man born in
France to be a Frenchman? The extension of the French civil laws can
only be attended by advantageous consequences; thus instead of ordaining
that individuals born in France of a foreign father shall obtain civil
privileges only when they declare themselves willing to enjoy them, it
may be decreed that they will be deprived of those privileges only when
they formally renounce them.

"If individuals born in France of a foreign father were not to be
considered as enjoying the full privileges of Frenchmen, we cannot
subject to the conscription and other public duties the sons of those
foreigners who have married in France through the events of the war.

“I am of opinion that the question should be considered only with
reference to the interests of France. Though individuals born in France
possess no property, they are at least animated by French spirit, and
they follow French customs. They cherish that attachment which every one
naturally feels for the country that gave him birth; finally, they help
to maintain the public burthens.”

The First Consul distinguished himself no less by his support of the
article which preserves the privileges of Frenchmen to children born of
Frenchmen settled in foreign countries, and this law he extended in
spite of powerful opposition. “The French people,” said he, "who are a
numerous and industrious people, are scattered over every part of the
world; and in course of time they will be scattered about in still
greater numbers. But the French visit foreign countries only to make
their fortunes. The acts by which they seem momentarily to attach
themselves to foreign governments have for their object only to obtain
the protection necessary for their various speculations. If they should
intend to return to France, after realizing a fortune, would it be
proper to exclude them?

“If it should happen that a country in the possession of France were to
be invaded by the enemy, and afterwards ceded to him by a treaty, would
it be just to say to those of the inhabitants who might come to settle
on the territory of the republic, that they had forfeited their rights
as Frenchmen, for not having quitted their former country at the moment
it was ceded; and because they had sworn temporary allegiance to a new
Sovereign, in order to gain time to dispose of their property and
transfer their wealth to France?”

In another debate on the decease of soldiers, some difficulties having
arisen relative to those who might die in a foreign country, the First
Consul exclaimed with vivacity;—"The soldier is never abroad when he is
under the national banner. The spot where the standard of France is
unfurled becomes French ground!"

On the subject of divorce, the First Consul was for the adoption of the
principle, and spoke at great length on the ground of incompatibility,
which it was attempted to repel.

“It is pretended,” said he, "that divorce is contrary to the interests
of women and children, and to the spirit of families; but nothing is
more at variance with the interests of married persons, when their
humours are incompatible, than to reduce them to the alternative of
either living together, or of separating with publicity. Nothing is more
opposite to domestic happiness than a divided family. Separation had
formerly, with regard to the wife, the husband, and the children, nearly
the same effect as divorce, and yet it was not so frequent as divorce
now is. It was only attended with this additional inconvenience, that a
woman of bad character might continue to dishonour her husband’s name
because she was permitted to retain it."

When opposing the drawing up of an article to specify the causes for
which divorce would be admissible, he said; "But is it not a great
misfortune to be compelled to expose these causes, and reveal even the
most minute and private family details?

“Besides, will these causes, even in the event of their real existence,
be always sufficient to obtain divorce? That of adultery, for instance,
can only be successfully maintained by proofs, which it is always very
difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to produce. Yet the husband,
who should not be able to bring forward these proofs, would be compelled
to live with a woman whom he abhors and despises, and who introduces
illegitimate children into his family. His only resource would be
separation from bed and board; but this would not shield his name from

Resuming the support of the principle of divorce, and opposing certain
restrictions, he continued; "Marriage is not always, as is supposed, the
result of affection. A young female consents to marry for the sake of
conforming to the fashion, and obtaining independence and an
establishment of her own. She accepts a husband of a disproportionate
age, and whose tastes and habits do not accord with hers. The law then
should provide for her a resource against the moment when, the illusion
having ceased, she finds that she is united in ill-assorted bonds, and
that her expectations have been disappointed.

"Marriage takes its form from the manners, customs, and religion, of
every people. Thus its forms are not everywhere alike. In some
countries, wives and concubines live under the same roof; and slaves are
treated like children: the organization of families is therefore not
deduced from the law of nature. The marriages of the Romans were not
like those of the French.

"The precautions established by law for preventing persons from
contracting unthinkingly at the age of fifteen or eighteen an engagement
which extends to the whole of their lives, are certainly wise. But are
they sufficient?

"That after ten years passed in wedlock, divorce should not be admitted
but for very weighty reasons, is also a proper regulation. Since,
however, marriages contracted in early youth are rarely the choice of
the parties themselves, but are brought about by their families for
interested views, it is proper that, if the parties themselves perceive
that they are not formed for one another, they should be enabled to
dissolve a union on which they had no opportunity of reflecting. The
facility thus afforded them, however, should not tend to favour either
levity or passion. It should be surrounded by every precaution and every
form calculated to prevent its abuse. The parties, for example, might be
heard by a secret family council, held under the presidency of the
magistrate. In addition to this, it might, if thought necessary, be
determined that a woman should only once be allowed to procure divorce,
and that she should not be suffered to re-marry in less than five years,
lest the idea of a second marriage should induce her to dissolve the
first; that, after married persons have lived together for ten years,
the dissolution should be rendered very difficult, &c.

“To grant divorce only on account of adultery publicly proved, is to
proscribe it completely; for, on the one hand, few cases of adultery can
be proved, and, on the other, there are few men shameless enough to
expose the infamy of their wives. Besides, it would be scandalous, and
contrary to the honour of the nation, to reveal the scenes that pass in
some families; it might be concluded, though erroneously, that they
afford a picture of our French manners.”

The first lawyers of the council were of opinion that civil death should
carry along with it the dissolution of the civil contract of marriage.
The question was warmly discussed. The First Consul, with great
animation, opposed it in these terms; "A woman is then to be forbidden,
though fully convinced of her husband’s innocence, to follow in exile
the man to whom she is most tenderly united; or, if she should yield to
her conviction, and to her duty, she is to be regarded only as a
concubine! Why deprive an unfortunate married couple of the right of
living together under the honourable title of lawful husband and wife?

"If the law permits a woman to follow her husband, without allowing her
the title of wife, it permits adultery.

"Society is sufficiently avenged by the sentence of condemnation, when
the criminal is deprived of his property and torn from his friends and
his connections. Is there any need to extend the punishment to the wife,
and violently to dissolve a union which identifies her existence with
that of her husband? Would she not say:—‘You had better have taken his
life, I should then have been permitted at least to cherish his memory;
but you ordain that he shall live, and you will not allow me to console
him in his misery.’ Alas! how many men have been led into guilt only
through their attachment to their wives! Those therefore who have caused
their misfortunes should at least be permitted to share them. If a woman
fulfils this duty, you esteem her virtue, and yet you are allowing her
no greater indulgence than would be extended to the infamous wretch who
prostitutes herself!" Volumes might be filled with quotations of this

In 1815, after the restoration, as I was conversing with M. Bertrand de
Molleville, formerly Minister of the Marine under Louis XVI., a man of
great abilities, and who has distinguished himself in more ways than
one, he said:—"Your Bonaparte, your Napoleon, was a very extraordinary
man, it must be confessed. How little did we know him on the other side
of the water! We could not but yield to the conviction of his victories
and his invasions, it is true; but Genseric, Attila, and Alaric, were as
victorious as he. Thus he produced on me an impression of terror rather
than of admiration. But, since I have been here, I have taken the
trouble to look over the debates on the civil code, and I have ever
since been filled with profound veneration for him. But where in the
world did he collect all his knowledge?... I discover something new
every day. Ah! Sir, what a man you had at the head of your government.
Really, he was nothing less than a prodigy!..."

About five o’clock the Emperor received Captain Bowen, of the Salsette
frigate, which is to sail to-morrow. He behaved very condescendingly to
him. In the course of conversation the name of Lord St. Vincent, who the
Captain said was his patron, happened to be mentioned, on which the
Emperor remarked: “You will see him on your return to England, and I
commission you to present my compliments to him, as to a good sailor, a
brave and worthy veteran.”

About 7 o’clock the Emperor took a bath. He sent for me, and we
conversed for a long time, first on the events of the day, then on
literary subjects, and lastly on geography. He expressed his
astonishment that we possessed no certain knowledge of the interior of
Africa. I told him that I had entertained the idea, some years ago, of
presenting to his Minister of Marine a plan of a journey into the
interior of Africa; not a secret and adventurous excursion, but a
regular military expedition, in every respect worthy of the age and of
the Emperor. The Minister laughed in my face when I first conversed with
him on the subject, and looked upon the idea as an absurdity.

My plan was to have entered Africa at once on the north, south, east,
and west, and to have formed a junction in the centre; or, if starting
only from the east and west, I proposed that the two divisions of the
expedition should meet in the centre, separate again and proceed, one to
the north, the other to the south. I thought it probable that, after
obtaining from the Court of Portugal all the information that could be
procured, it would be found that there already existed a communication
from east to west, or that at all events very little was wanting to
effect it. The state of public feeling at the time, our enthusiasm, our
enterprizes, our prodigies, would have rendered it easy to procure 5 or
600 good soldiers, with the requisite number of surgeons, physicians,
botanists, chymists, astronomers, and naturalists, all willing to embark
in the enterprize, and we should undoubtedly have accomplished something
worthy of the age.

The necessary supply of beasts of burthen, small leathern boats for
crossing rivers, skins for conveying water through the deserts, and
light manageable field-pieces, would have rendered the execution of the
enterprize easy and complete.

“No doubt,” said the Emperor, “your idea would have pleased me. I should
have taken it up, submitted it to the consideration of a committee, and
brought it to a result.”

He said that he very much regretted his not having had time, during his
stay in Egypt, to accomplish something of this sort. He had troops
suited in every respect to brave the dangers of the desert. He had
received presents from the Queen of Darfour, and had sent her some in
return. Had he remained longer, he intended to have carried to a great
extent our geographical investigations in the northern district of
Africa, and that too by the simplest means, merely by placing in each
caravan some intelligent officers, for whom he would have procured

The conversation then turned on the marine department. The Emperor
entered very deeply into the subject. He could not say that he was
satisfied with Decrès; and he even thought that the confidence he
reposed in him was not altogether irreproachable. The difficulty of
finding persons better qualified maintained him in his post; for, after
all, the Emperor said, Decrès was the best he could find. Ganteaume was
merely a sailor, and destitute of every other talent. Cafarelli, he
said, had forfeited his good opinion, because he had been informed that
his wife intrigued in political affairs, which he regarded as an
unpardonable offence. Missiessi was not a man to be depended on; for his
family had been one of those who surrendered Toulon. The Emperor had,
for a moment, cast his eye on Emériau; but, on consideration, he did not
think that he possessed adequate capabilities. He had asked himself
whether T...... might not have filled the post; but he decided that he
was not qualified for it. He was a good man of business, it is true; but
he had plunged very deeply into the affairs of the revolution; and what
had confirmed the Emperor in his disapproval of him was that he had
subsequently seen some of his private letters, by which it was evident
that he still adhered to his old jacobinical sentiments.

“I had,” observed the Emperor, “rendered the duties of all my
ministerial posts so easy that almost any one was capable of discharging
them, if he possessed only fidelity, zeal, and activity. I must however
except the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs, in which it was
frequently necessary to exercise a ready talent for persuasion. In
fact,” continued he, “in the marine department but little was required,
and Decrès was perhaps, after all, the best man I could have found. He
possessed authority; and he discharged the business of his office
scrupulously and honestly. He was endowed with a good share of
understanding, but this was evinced only in his conversation and private
conduct. He never conceived any plan of his own, and was incapable of
executing the ideas of others on a grand scale; he could walk, but he
could never be made to run. He ought to have passed one-half of his time
in the sea-ports, or on board the exercising squadrons. He would have
lost none of my favour by so doing. But, as a courtier, he was afraid to
quit his portfolio. This shews how little he knew me. He would not have
been the less protected by removing from my Court: his absence would
have been a powerful circumstance in his favour.”

The Emperor said he very much regretted Latouche-Tréville, whom he
regarded as a man of real talent. He was of opinion that that Admiral
would have given a different impulse to affairs. The attack on India and
the invasion of England would by him have been at least attempted, and
perhaps accomplished.

The Emperor blamed himself for having employed the pinnaces at Bologne.
He said it would have been better had he employed real ships at
Cherbourg. He was of opinion that had Villeneuve manifested more vigour
at Cape Finistèrre, the attack might have been rendered practicable. “I
had made arrangements for the arrival of Villeneuve, with considerable
art and calculation, and in defiance of the opinions and the routine of
the naval officers by whom I was surrounded. Every thing happened as I
had foreseen; when the inactivity of Villeneuve ruined all. But,” added
the Emperor, "Heaven knows what instructions he might have received from
Decrès,[10] or what letters might have been privately written to him
which never came to my knowledge; for, though I was very powerful and
fond of searching into every thing, yet I am convinced that I was far
from knowing all that was passing around me.

Footnote 10:

  On reading this reflection of Napoleon’s, an officer in the confidence
  of Admiral Villeneuve wrote to me that the letter of Decrès to that
  Admiral before the arrival of M. de Rosilly, appointed to supersede
  him, concluded thus;—"Sail as soon as you find a favourable
  opportunity: do not shun the enemy; on the contrary attack him
  wherever you fall in with him, since the Emperor cares little about
  losing ships, so he loses them with honour." This letter was the only
  one which the officer in question saved from the Admiral’s portfolio,
  before he threw it into the sea, at the moment of striking the flag.

"The Grand Marshal said, the other day, that it used to be remarked in
the saloon of the household that I was never accessible to any one after
I had given audience to the Minister of the Marine. The reason was,
because he never had any but bad news to communicate to me. For my part
I gave up every thing after the disaster of Trafalgar; I could not be
every where, and I had enough to occupy my attention with the armies of
the continent.

"I had long meditated a decisive expedition to India; but my plans had
been constantly frustrated. I intended to have fitted out a force of
16,000 troops, on board ships of the line; each 74 to have taken 500
troops on board, which would of course have required thirty-two ships. I
proposed that they should take in a supply of water for four months;
which supply might have been renewed at the Isle of France, or in any
habitable spot of the desert of Africa, Brazil, or the Indian Ocean. In
case of need, they might have taken in water wherever they chose to
anchor. On reaching the place of their destination, the troops were to
be put ashore, and the ships were immediately to depart, making up the
number of their crews by the sacrifice of seven or eight of the vessels
which might be condemned as unserviceable; so that an English squadron
arriving from Europe immediately afterwards would have found no trace of

“As for the army, when abandoned to itself and placed under the command
of a clever and confidential chief, it would have renewed the prodigies
that were familiar to us, and Europe would have beheld the conquest of
India as she had already seen the conquest of Egypt.”

I knew Decrès well; we had both commenced our career together in the
marine. I think he entertained for me all the friendship of which he was
susceptible, and I, on my part, was tenderly attached to him. It was an
unfortunate passion, as I used to say when I was rallied on the subject,
which was frequently the case, for Decrès was very much disliked, and I
have often thought that, from some motive or other, he took pleasure in
his own unpopularity. At St. Helena, as elsewhere, I found myself almost
his only defender. I saw a great deal of him while the Emperor was at
the island of Elba, and he was occasionally favourable to Napoleon. We
conversed candidly on the subject, and I have every reason to believe
that he observed full and entire confidence with respect to me.

“No sooner had your Majesty returned to the Tuileries,” said I to the
Emperor, "than Decrès and I ran to embrace each other, exclaiming, ‘He
has returned! we have him again!’ His eyes were suffused with tears; I
must bear this testimony to his feelings. ‘Well,’ said he to me, in the
presence of his wife, ‘I am now convinced that I have often done you
wrong, and I owe you reparation; but your old habits and connections so
naturally brought you in contact with those who are now about to quit us
that I doubted not but you would sooner or later be perfectly reconciled
with them, though you were perhaps often offended at the expression of
my real sentiments.’”—“And did you believe this, you simpleton?"
exclaimed the Emperor, bursting into a fit of laughter. “This was an
excellent piece of courtier-like art; a touch for La Bruyère. It was
really a good idea on the part of Decrès; for if, during my absence, any
thing offensive to me had chanced to escape him, he would, you see, by
this means, have atoned for it once for all.”—"Well, Sire," continued I,
"what I have just told you is perhaps only amusing; but what I will now
communicate is of a more important nature:—During the crisis of 1814,
before the taking of Paris, Decrès was sounded in a very artful way as
to his inclination to conspire against your Majesty, and he honestly
repelled the suggestion. Decrès was easily and often roused to
discontent; and he possessed a certain air of authority in his language
and manners which rendered him a useful acquisition to any party he
might espouse. He happened, at the unhappy period I have just mentioned,
to visit a person of celebrity; the hero of the machinations of the day.
The latter advanced to Decrès, and, drawing him aside to the fire-place,
took up a book, saying, I have just now been reading something that
struck me forcibly,—you shall hear it. Montesquiou, in such and such a
chapter and page, says,—When the Prince rises above the laws, when
tyranny becomes insupportable, the oppressed have no alternative
but....—‘Enough,’ exclaimed Decrès, putting his hand over the mouth of
the reader; ‘I will hear no more; close the book.’ And the other coolly
laid down the volume, as though nothing particular had occurred, and
began to talk on a totally different subject."

On another occasion, a certain Marshal, after his fatal defection,
alarmed at the unfavourable impression which his conduct was calculated
to produce on the public mind, and vainly seeking the approbation and
support of those who surrounded him, endeavoured to interest Decrès in
his favour. “I have always borne in mind,” said he to Decrès, “one of
our conversations in which you so energetically painted the evils and
perplexities that weighed upon the country. The force of your arguments
greatly influenced me in the step which I took with the view of
alleviating our misfortunes.”—"Yes, my dear fellow," replied Decrès;
“but did it not also occur to you that you overshot your mark?”

“In order that these anecdotes may be appreciated as they deserve,” said
I to the Emperor, “I must inform your Majesty that they were related to
me by Decrès himself during your absence, and when he certainly
entertained no idea of your return.”

The Emperor kept up the conversation for nearly two hours in the bath.
He did not dine till nine o’clock, and he desired me to stay with him.
We discoursed about the military school at Paris. I left the school only
a year before Napoleon entered it, and therefore the same officers,
tutors, and comrades were common to us both. He took particular pleasure
in reverting with me to this period of our youth: in reviving the
recollection of our occupations, our boyish tricks, our games, &c.

In this cheerful humour, he called for a glass of Champagne, which was
rather an unusual thing; for such is his habitual abstinence that a
single glass of wine is sufficient to flush his face, and to render him
very talkative. It is well known that he seldom sits longer than a
quarter of an hour, or half an hour, at table; but to-day we sat upwards
of two hours. He was very much surprised when Marchand informed him that
it was eleven o’clock. “How rapidly the time has slipped away,” said he,
with an expression of satisfaction. “Why can I not always pass my hours
thus agreeably! My dear Las Cases,” said he, as he dismissed me, “you
leave me happy.”


13th. Dr. Warden and two other medical gentlemen came to hold a
consultation on my son, whose indisposition alarmed me.

The Emperor, at my request, consented to receive Dr. Warden, our old
acquaintance of the Northumberland. He conversed for upwards of two
hours, familiarly taking a review of those acts of his government which
had drawn upon him the greatest share of enmity, falsehood, and calumny.
As the Doctor afterwards observed to me, nothing could be more correct,
clear, simple, curious, and satisfactory, than these details.

The Emperor concluded with the following remarkable observations: “I
concern myself but little about the libels that have been written
against me. My acts and the events of my reign refute them more
completely than the most skilful arguments that could be employed. I
seated myself on a vacant throne. I arrived at supreme power unsullied
by the crimes that have usually disgraced the chiefs of dynasties. Let
history be consulted, let me be compared with others! If I have to fear
the reproaches of posterity and history, it is not for having been too
severe but perhaps for having been too indulgent!”

After dinner, the Emperor looked at the _Dictionnaire des Girouettes_
(Dictionary of Weathercocks) which is humourously conceived, though not
so well executed. It is an alphabetic collection of the living
characters who have figured on the stage of public events since the
Revolution, and whose language, opinions, and conduct have followed the
changes of the wind. Weathercocks are affixed to their names, with an
abstract of the speeches or a description of the acts which have
procured for them the distinction. On opening the work, the Emperor
inquired whether any of us were mentioned in it. “No Sire,” some one
present jokingly replied, “none save your Majesty.” The name of Napoleon
was indeed recorded in the work, because, as it was affirmed, he had
first sanctioned the republic and then assumed the prerogative of

The Emperor read to us several articles from the Dictionary. The
contrast exhibited at different times in the language and conduct of
certain individuals was truly curious; and the transition was in some
instances performed with so much coolness and effrontery that the
Emperor several times suspended his reading and burst into a hearty fit
of laughter. However, after going through a few pages, he closed the
book, with an expression of disgust and regret, observing that, after
all, the publication was a disgrace to society, a code of turpitude, and
a record of our dishonour. One article seemed to affect him deeply,
namely, that concerning Bertholet, whom he had so loaded with favour,
and on whom, he said, he had every reason to rely.

The following charming trait in the Emperor’s character may be mentioned
here, though it is pretty generally known. Bertholet had sustained
losses which involved him in difficulties, when, the circumstance having
come to the Emperor’s knowledge, he sent him 100,000 crowns, adding,
that he had reason to complain of him, since he seemed to have forgotten
that he, Napoleon, was always ready to serve his friends. Bertholet,
however, behaved very ungratefully to the Emperor, at the period of his
disasters. His conduct deeply affected Napoleon at the time, and he was
often heard to exclaim: “What Bertholet, on whom I thought I could rely
with such confidence!...”

On the Emperor’s return from Elba, Bertholet seemed again inclined to
manifest his former sentiments of attachment to his benefactor. He
ventured to show himself at the Tuileries, and desired Monge to inform
the Emperor that, if he did not obtain a sight of him, he would put a
period to his existence the moment he left the palace. The Emperor could
not refuse his request, and saluted him with a smile as he passed by.

During his reign, the Emperor had conferred repeated favours on several
great manufacturers, among others on Oberkamp, Richard Lenoir, &c. He
wished to look for their names in the Dictionary, but every voice was
raised to bear witness to their good conduct.


14th.—About four o’clock a great number of visitors came to Longwood,
They were passengers who had arrived by the East India Fleet, and the
Emperor had signified his willingness to receive them. The party
consisted of Mr. Strange, the brother-in-law of Lord Melville, First
Lord of the English Admiralty; a Mr. Arbuthnot; and Sir William
Burroughs, one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Calcutta; two of
Lord Moira’s Aides-de-camp; and some others, together with several
ladies. We were all conversing together in the ante-chamber, when the
Emperor left his own room to proceed to the garden. This circumstance
excited the curiosity of our visitors, who eagerly flew to the windows
to see him pass by:—the scene reminded us of Plymouth. The Grand Marshal
conducted our visitors to the presence of the Emperor, who received them
with the most perfect grace, and with that captivating smile which has
exercised such irresistible power. Curiosity and lively emotion were
painted in the countenances of all.

The Emperor conversed with each individual, and, according to custom,
instantly seized any circumstance that happened to be connected with
their names, as he heard them announced. He discoursed with the Supreme
Judge on legislation and the administration of justice; with the
Company’s officers on trade and the internal Government of India. He
questioned the military gentlemen as to how many years they had served
and how many wounds they had received; he paid many flattering
compliments to the ladies, and remarked, that the climate of Bengal had
not spoiled the delicacy of their complexions, &c. Then, addressing
himself to one of Lord Moira’s aides-de-camp, he observed that the Grand
Marshal had informed him that Lady Loudon was on the Island, and that,
had she been within his limits, he should have had great pleasure in
paying his respects to her; but that, as she happened to reside beyond
the boundaries which had been prescribed to him, he had no more
opportunity of seeing her than if she were still in Bengal.

During these conversations, in which I acted as interpreter, Mr.
Strange, with whom I had previously been talking, drew me aside by the
flap of my coat, and in a tone of surprise and satisfaction said:—"What
grace and dignity of manner the Emperor displays!—he shows that he has
been accustomed to the etiquette of holding a levee!"

We conducted the company to the drawing-room, and curiosity led them to
take a peep at the Emperor’s apartments. Sir William Burroughs, who,
from the post he holds, may be supposed to have some connection with the
English ministry, on entering the drawing-room asked me whether it was
our dining-room. I informed him that it was the drawing-room, or that we
might more properly say, it was the only room in the house; at this he
was much astonished. I then pointed out to him through the window, the
two little chambers which are all the Emperor has for his own use. His
countenance expressed regret, and he seemed, in his own mind to be
drawing comparisons between the present and the past. Remarking the
wretchedness of the furniture and the narrow limits of our abode, he
said, with an air of concern—"You will be better provided for
soon."—"How," said I, “is there any intention of removing us from the
Island?”—"No, but some elegant furniture and a commodious house are to
be sent to you."—"We do not," I replied, “complain of the furniture, or
the house; but of the rock to which we have been banished, and the
latitude in which it is situated. This latitude cannot be changed and we
can never be well here.”

I repeated to him literally what the Emperor had, a few days previously
said to the Governor on the same subject. Sir William was amazed, and,
pressing my hand, he said with a degree of warmth:—"My dear Sir, he is
too great and too gifted a man; we have too much cause to dread and fear
him."—"But," said I, in my turn, “why not have driven the car of glory
together, instead of mutually destroying each other by dragging it
different ways? What might not then have been its course?” He looked at
me, and again pressing my hand, he said with a pensive air:—"Yes, that
would doubtless have been better; but...."

All were particularly struck with the Emperor’s freedom of manner, and
his tranquil expression of countenance. I know not what they had
expected to see. One remarked that he could scarcely form a conception
of the strength of mind necessary to enable Napoleon to endure such
wonderful reverses. “That is,” replied I, "because nobody yet well knows
the Emperor’s character. He told us the other day that he had been like
a block of marble during all the great events of his life; that they had
slipped over him without producing any impression either on his moral or
physical faculties."

After dinner, the Emperor asked us, as he often does, what we should
like to read. Some one proposed that we should resume the Dictionary of
Weathercocks; but this the Emperor objected to, on the ground that it
served but to render his evenings the more unpleasant. “Rather let us
amuse ourselves with fiction,” said he; and, asking for Jerusalem
Delivered, he read aloud several cantos of that poem, occasionally
translating passages into French. He then read the chief part both of
Phedre and Athalie, always expressing his great admiration of the
writings of Racine.


15th.—The Emperor, during his walk, conversed on various subjects, and
at length happened to light on that of crimes and punishments. He
observed that the greatest jurists, even those who had been influenced
by the spirit of the age, were divided as to the principle of the
equalization of capital punishments. At the establishment of the Code,
he should have been averse to equalization, had not circumstances
obliged him to adopt a contrary course. He asked my opinion: “I am,”
said I, "decidedly favourable to the inequality of punishments. Our
notions demand a gradation in punishments, analogous to that which we
conceive in crimes. The harmony of our sensations seems to require this.
I can never bring myself to rank on a level with each other the wretch
who has murdered his father and him who has merely committed a slight
robbery accompanied by violence. Should these two criminals be visited
by the same punishment?

“In this question the criminal himself is least of all to be considered.
The punishment is his business; and humanity discovers many hidden modes
of relieving his physical suffering. His ideas previously to the
commission of the crime, the feelings which his punishment creates in
the minds of the spectators, and the effect it produces on society in
general:—these are the points which must claim the attention of the
legislator in deciding the question of the equalization of punishments.
It is erroneous to suppose that death alone is sufficient, and that the
kind of death has no influence on the mind of the criminal in the
premeditation of his crime; for if there be inequality of punishment,
there is no culprit who would not make his choice if he were permitted
so to do. Let any member of society consult his own feelings: he would
shudder at the very idea of certain punishments, while perhaps he would
be totally indifferent to certain modes of death. The inequality of
punishments and the solemnity of executions belong therefore to the
justice and policy of civilization. Yet I conceive that it would now be
impossible to subdue public opinion on this point.”[11]

Footnote 11:

  I must however confess that my opinion is likely to be erroneous, if,
  as I have been informed, the statements of the registers in France,
  since the introduction of the equalization of punishments, when
  compared with those drawn up during a similar interval under the old
  penal laws, present a diminution in the number of criminals.

The Emperor entirely concurred in these ideas. Having mentioned the
crime of regicide, he observed that it might truly be said to be the
greatest of all crimes, owing to the consequences which it produced.
“The man,” said he, “who should have murdered me in France would have
subverted all Europe; and how many times have I not been exposed to

Lady Loudon, wife of Lord Moira, the Governor-General of India, has been
for several days at St. Helena, where she attracts general attention.
She is a lady of high rank, corresponding nearly with a French Duchess
under the old regime. The English officers treat her with the utmost
respect. To-day the Admiral invited her to a little entertainment on
board the Northumberland. He sent a messenger on horseback to request me
to lend him my Atlas for the evening, in order that he might shew it to
Lady Loudon, whose husband was described in it as the first
representative of the Plantagenets, and consequently as the legitimate
heir to the throne of England.

The Admiral and I were on a footing of perfect indifference; indeed we
had been nearly strangers to each other since the moment he put me
ashore. The request was not so much a mark of politeness to me, as a
compliment to the work itself. The Atlas had been the subject of
conversation, the lady had expressed a wish to see it, and the Admiral
felt a desire to shew it to her. However, I was unable to satisfy this
desire. The book was in the Emperor’s chamber, and such was the answer I

The Emperor smiled at the honour which the Admiral had intended for me;
and I could not help pitying the amusement that had been prepared for
the lady. This circumstance led the Emperor himself to speak of the
Atlas, and to repeat some observations which had fallen from him before.
He remarked that he heard my work spoken of at all times and in all
places; that he found it sought after by foreigners as well as
Frenchmen. He had heard it mentioned on board the Bellerophon and the
Northumberland, at the Island of St. Helena, and, in short, every where,
persons of information and rank either knew the work, or expressed a
wish to become acquainted with it. “This,” said he, in a lively strain,
“is what I call enjoying a real triumph, a great reputation in the
literary world. I wish you would give me the history of this Atlas. Tell
me when and how you conceived the idea of it, the manner in which it was
executed, and its results: why you first of all published it under a
fictitious name, and why you did not afterwards affix your real name to
it: in short, give me a true and particular account; you understand, Mr.
Councillor of State?”

I replied that it would be a long story; though to me the recital would
not be devoid of pleasure; for, I added, that my Atlas was the history
of a great portion of my life, and that, above all, I was indebted to it
for the happiness of being now near the person of the Emperor.

The following is the narrative, such as it appeared when corrected after
my first hasty notes. Its length, doubtless, requires indulgence; but
this I trust the reader will be inclined to grant, on consideration that
the details which I here enter into revive the recollection of my
happiest years, of the period of my youth, my health and strength, in a
word, of the dear but brief interval of the plenitude of life. I once
more entreat the reader to pardon the prolixity in which I have
indulged; but this statement so forcibly revives my recollections of
past happiness that even now, on reading it over, I cannot find it in my
heart to cancel any part of it.

"This Work was partly the fruit of chance; but above all, of necessity,
which, as the common proverb says, is the mother of industry.... At the
time of the first reverses of the French emigrants, I was cast by the
political hurricane in the streets of London, without friends, without
money, and without resources; but possessing the requisite courage and
willingness for exertion. To a man animated by such a spirit, London, at
that time, afforded certain sources of emolument.

"After having unsuccessfully made several applications, I determined to
rely on myself alone, and, like Figaro, I decided on turning author. For
a moment, I had thoughts of becoming a romance writer: this idea was
suggested to me by the proposals of a bookseller; but he required too
much and was inclined to pay too little. I then turned my thoughts to
writing history, which, at all events, was calculated to procure for me
a certain moral advantage, by storing my mind with positive knowledge.
It was then I conceived the first idea of my Atlas, which I may truly
regard as an inspiration from Heaven, for to it I owed my life. The work
was at first a simple sketch, a mere nomenclature, very different from
the form in which it now appears. However, it sufficed immediately to
relieve me from embarrassment, and to secure to me what might be called
a little fortune, in comparison with the miseries endured by the other
emigrants. Then, Sire, came the Peace of Amiens, and the benefits
conferred on us by your amnesty. I was enabled to make a journey to
France, merely as a traveller, having no other object in view than to
breathe my native air and to see the French capital. There I found
myself at liberty to express my sentiments without restraint;
investigation was easy; my ideas and my judgment were enlarged; I was
master of my time, and I undertook to arrange my Atlas in the form in
which it now appears. I proposed publishing regularly four sheets per
quarter. I was now vastly improved both in my mind and circumstances.
Interest, attention, good offers, money and connexions, poured in upon
me; and I may confidently affirm that this was the happiest period of my

"In England, I had published my Work under a feigned name, in order to
avoid compromising the honour of my own. I happened to fix upon Le Sage,
just as I might have decided on Leblanc, Legris, or Lenoir. But I could
not have made a more unlucky choice, or, at least, I could not have
assumed a more general appellation. Sometime afterwards, a letter
intended for me passed through all the different colonies of French
emigrants in London, and was delivered by turns to twenty-two priests,
who all bore the name of Le Sage. At length one, who had apparently
discovered that the name did not belong to me, sent me the letter in a
violent rage, observing that, when people thought proper to change their
names, they should at least avoid taking those that belonged to other

"In France I still preserved the name of Le Sage, which had now become
identified with my Atlas. To have published it under a new name might
have led to the supposition that it was a new work. Besides, I did not
wish to expose my own name to the chance of failure, to the attacks of
the Journals, or to the bickerings of criticism. Even though I had been
assured of the complete success of the work, I should not probably have
felt the more inclined to affix my real name to it, owing to a remnant
of my old prejudices, of which I could not easily divest myself.

"Certainly this literary fame flattered me not a little; but I had
sprung from a warlike race, and I conceived that I was in duty bound to
pursue fame of another kind. However, circumstances rendered this
impossible, and I think it proper to mention that at least I was not
unconscious of the duty. I never had cause to repent of my double
appellation. Independently of my real motive for assuming it, it
diffused around me an air of adventure and romance which was by no means
disagreeable, and which was moreover in unison with my temper and
character. It occasioned many mistakes and humourous scenes which
afforded me considerable amusement. In England, for example, I have
often, when in company, been questioned in the most innocent way
imaginable respecting the merits of M. Le Sage’s work; and at a
boarding-school I was once addressed in very discourteous language,
because I obstinately persisted in condemning my own Atlas.

"So long as I continued myself to manage the publication of the work, my
method was to treat in person with all who offered to set their names
down as subscribers. I had now no favours to solicit; I rather found it
necessary in some instances to guard against receiving those that were
offered. In France particularly I was overwhelmed with acts of kindness
and flattering compliments. Some paid me these attentions because they
knew me, others precisely because they did not know me; and all because
I conducted myself alike to each. For my part, I enjoyed the curious
spectacle that now presented itself to me. As every one who wished to
become a subscriber was obliged to give in his own name, I took a review
of many characters, whom I well knew, and observed them in silence. I
was thus enabled to meditate at my ease on the curious diversity of
opinion, judgment, and taste. The point which one condemned was
precisely that which another most admired, which a third declared to be
indispensable, and which a fourth pronounced to be inadmissible. Each
according to custom failed not to set forth his own opinion as the
prevailing one: it was the sentiment of all Paris and of every body.

"I had now an opportunity of being convinced of the great advantage that
a man derives from superintending his own business himself, and of the
important influence of politeness and good manners in all the affairs of
life. I acceded to every thing that was proposed, I received every hint
that was suggested, and I was repaid a hundred-fold for my complaisance.
It frequently happened that a person who had called on me, without any
intention of purchasing the work, was not only induced to carry it away
with him, but brought me ten, twenty, or even a hundred, additional

"One described my Atlas as a classic work to the Minister of the
Interior; another recommended it to the Minister for Foreign Affairs; a
third promised to procure for me the decoration of the Legion of Honour,
and a fourth wrote a flattering critique on the work, and got it
inserted in the public journals. Some carried their interest and
attachment for me even to a degree of enthusiasm. Of this the following
are instances. One of my provincial subscribers, who was unacquainted
with me, wrote to request, as a particular favour, that I would get my
portrait engraved to embellish the work, offering, in case I acceded to
the proposition, to defray half the expenses of the engraving. Another,
who was the owner of the Chateau de Montmorency, paid me a visit every
week under pretence of enquiring whether I had got a new sheet of my
Atlas ready for publication, but in reality, as he himself assured me,
to pass his happiest hours in my society. He added that, if ever I
should take a fancy to sell my conversation as I did the sheets of my
work, it was in my power, if I chose, to ruin him. I afterwards learned
that this was a man of a very eccentric turn; one of La Bruyere’s
characters; quite after the manner of Jean-Jacques. For a considerable
time he seemed to rack his invention to make me offers of service in the
most delicate way imaginable: he even went so far as to throw out
paternal suggestions to me. ‘M. Le Sage,’ said he, oftener than once
‘you ought to marry. You possess qualities that are calculated to insure
the happiness of a wife, and still more that of a father-in-law.’ I must
not omit to mention that the old gentleman had but one daughter, and she
was a rich heiress. However, the warmth of our intimacy gradually
abated, till at length I entirely lost the acquaintance. It was not
until a considerable time afterwards that, being on a country excursion
with a party of ladies, the sight of the Chateau de Montmorency revived
the recollection of my old friend. I related the history of his
eccentricities to the ladies who accompanied me: their curiosity was
excited, and we determined to visit the chateau. The porter refused to
admit us. On my enquiring whether the gentleman was at his country
residence, I received for answer that he was there, and that this was
precisely the reason why we could not be admitted. I thought it very
extraordinary that he should thus immure himself and render himself
totally inaccessible. With considerable difficulty I prevailed on the
servant to announce M. Le Sage. The sound of the name operated like
enchantment; the affront offered to an elegant calash and rich liveries
was immediately repaired. The gates were thrown open, apparently to the
no small astonishment of the porter. The servants received orders to
show us over the building and to offer us every kind of refreshment. We
had brought with us in the carriage provisions for a little rural
repast; but a sumptuous dinner was laid out for us in one of the best
apartments; and we could not, with any thing like a good grace, decline
accepting what was so politely offered. All this hospitality was
perfectly disinterested on the part of the worthy old gentleman, who was
confined to his chamber by the gout. He was overjoyed at seeing me; and
he seemed to regard my visit as the return of the prodigal son. He
insisted on seeing the ladies who accompanied me, and was carried into
the dining-room to do the honours of the dessert. One thing that amused
us infinitely was that he seemed to have no idea of the rank of the
friends by whom I was accompanied; and he treated them like persons of
inferior rank, though they were in reality ladies of distinction. The
old gentleman would now scarcely allow me to depart; he insisted on my
repeating my visit, and said, that I and all my friends should ever be
welcome to his residence. But alas! I could not avail myself of his
kindness; for a few days afterwards I read in the papers an account of
the death of this kind and sincere friend.

"From the commencement of my greatness, I may, under every point of
view, date the termination of the golden age of my Atlas. When I was
transplanted to Court and permitted to approach your Majesty’s person, I
conceived that I could not with propriety descend to the details that
had hitherto occupied me. I confided the management of the copyright to
one of my old college companions, who had been an emigrant like myself,
but who did not turn the publication to so good an account as I had

"On entering upon my new post at Court, I was loaded with compliments on
my production; but to these I replied indifferently, and just as one
would do at a ball, after dropping one’s mask. When it was found that I
never alluded to my work, that I never quoted from it, and that I
avoided all discussion on it, I was never spoken to on the subject; and
at length people began to wonder how I had ever written it, and indeed
to doubt whether I had any right at all to be considered as its author.

"On hearing these words, the Emperor said to me, ‘My dear Las Cases,
even this doubt has found its way to St. Helena. I have heard it
affirmed that the work was not written by you, that you purchased the
manuscript from the real author; and in support of this assertion it has
been remarked that you know nothing at all about the book, because you
never speak of it. To these observations,’ continued he, ‘I have merely
contented myself with saying, Did you never know any question to remain
without a complete answer? Besides I recognise throughout the whole work
the style, the very expressions, of Las Cases.’

“Many,” said I, resuming my narrative, "will think I injured myself by
this denial; but I preferred good taste to quackery, and I was only
acting according to the dictates of my natural disposition. Your Majesty
was the other day describing how Syees used to present himself loaded
with written plans, and at the very first word of contradiction, as soon
as he found it necessary to act on the defensive, he would gather up his
papers and be off in a moment. This was precisely my feeling. I never
could stand up publicly to support my opinions. Before I could do this,
I must enjoy the authority of rank or the freedom of intimate
friendship: otherwise I prefer dooming myself to silence, that is to
say, when I am not interrogated and urged to the point. But to return to
my subject.

"So long as I remained in obscurity I enjoyed the good-will of every
one; but my elevation rendered me an object of enmity, and I felt the
influence of that vague feeling of envy and malevolence which ever
follows the footsteps of fortune. The public journals, which for a
length of time had overflowed with flattery and agreeable expressions in
favour of the Historical Atlas, now inserted some very ill-natured
articles respecting the work, and when these were traced to their
source, the writers frankly avowed that they had been occasioned solely
by changes that had taken place in political opinions and public

"A report was delivered to the Institute of all the works that had
appeared for several years past; and in this report the Atlas was very
severely treated. Happening to be one day in company with the writer of
this report, to whom I was known only by the name of Le Sage, I
expressed to him my dissatisfaction at what he had said of the Atlas. He
candidly confessed that the work and its author were alike unknown to
him; that, having found the labour of writing the report too much for
him, he had divided the task among several other persons. He informed me
that the article on Le Sage’s Atlas was infinitely more severe when
delivered to him than it appeared as inserted in the report. He had
softened it down considerably. ‘I can easily perceive,’ continued he,
‘that you have enemies in the literary world, and for these you are
indebted to your habits and your situation. You have connected yourself
with a Count somebody, who holds places at Court; but courtiers and
authors never agree well together. Those gentlemen are, for the most
part, very unlike us. It is said that, in this curious partnership, you
supply the talent and he provides the money. What is the use of that?
The Count is only making his profit of you; your work is good, and your
bookseller would have remunerated you for it. However, I am only
repeating what I have heard, and I advise you to what I conceive to be
your interest. If you wish to enjoy our suffrage, you must connect
yourself with us, you must identify yourself with our doctrines, and
leave the great folks to themselves.’

"I replied, with all possible civility, that I was certainly indebted to
him for his kind advice, though it was not just then in my power to
follow it. I assured him that he had formed an unfair opinion of my
friend; that our purses and our very lives were common to each other;
that our friendship and intimacy were indissoluble; that we had vowed to
live and die together, and that nothing could induce us to break that
vow. It was altogether a truly comic scene.

"Some time afterwards I was dining at the table of a Prince: I was
seated beside my illustrious host, and wore a uniform covered with lace.
The member of the Institute was one of the guests. Surprise and
embarrassment were portrayed in his countenance. I spoke to him several
times; but he always drew close to his neighbours, whispering to them,
and apparently making enquiries. After dinner, he came up to me, and
very good-humouredly begged me to relieve him from his perplexity. He
said that he perfectly recollected having had the honour of meeting me
before, but that he was quite at a loss to comprehend the trick that I
had played upon him. I disclaimed any intention of hoaxing him. ‘All
that you have seen,’ said I, ‘and all that I have told you, is nothing
but reality and truth. The mystery is easily solved. You then saw M. Le
Sage who supplies the talent, and you now see M. Le Comte who provides
the funds. You now understand how histories are written, and I have
learned how reports are made out.’

“An equally ridiculous mistake procured for M. Le Sage in the famous
Yellow Dwarf, the honour of being set down as a Weathercock, in quality
of genealogist of the order under the humorous name of _Parvulus
Sapiens_ (Little Le Sage). For this favour, as I afterwards learned, I
was indebted to the suppression that was made during the King’s reign of
the genealogy of your Majesty, whose descent I was supposed to have
traced from Æneas and Ascanuis. It is difficult to conceive what could
have been meant by all this, as there was nothing in the Atlas that
could either directly or indirectly have suggested such an idea.
However, at all the various times at which the Atlas and its author were
assailed, numerous zealous and fervent partisans enquired whether I
would be pleased to permit them to take up my defence. I invariably
desired that the subject might be dropped; I conceived that, by thus
occupying public attention, I should surely endanger my own
tranquillity. I smiled at the ill-natured attacks that were made on poor
M. Le Sage; but I should have been very sorry to have seen them extended
to his _alias_.

“If however my Atlas enjoyed this general and extensive success, it
certainly deserved it. The work is indeed adapted to every age, to every
country, to every period; it is suited to all opinions, classes and
plans of education. It is an assistant to him who wishes to learn, and a
remembrancer to him who has learned. It is a guide to the scholar and an
illustrator to the master. It embraces chronology, history, geography,
politics, &c. To those who understand it, and know how to use it, it may
be truly said to compose a whole library in itself. It is the _vade
mecum_ of the pupil and the tutor, of the scholar and the man of

“Thus it had an immediate sale, and never, I imagine, did any literary
work prove so productive to its author. On its first appearance, the
daily subscriptions frequently amounted to 2 or 300 louis. During the
period when I personally superintended the publication, I calculated
that the receipts constituted a yearly income of at least 60 or 80,000
francs. It procured me a fortune. I had no other, for the Revolution had
deprived me of my patrimony, which I had afterwards no hope of
recovering; for I had been obliged to renounce it upon oath, before I
could be permitted to set foot on the French territory.

“There have been published 8 or 10,000 copies of my Atlas in various
editions; and their sale has thrown into circulation 8 or 900,000,
perhaps a million of francs, out of which there has been a clear profit
of 300,000 francs now in my hands. This constitutes my whole fortune,
for I possess nothing that has not arisen out of my Atlas, and that may
not be included in its accounts. On my departure from Europe, the sum of
150,000 francs was due to me in outstanding debts, either good or bad;
and I possessed a collection of books obtained by exchange, worth
200,000 francs; which being divided into lots of 1000 crowns each, and
exported to foreign countries, seemed to promise certain returns. But,
unfortunately, out of all this brilliant produce, I can now only reckon
upon what I have already in my hands; the rest is involved in so many
chances that I cannot but consider it as lost. I have no agent in Europe
to manage my affairs, for I had not time to make arrangements for that
purpose; and the details are so numerous, scattered, and diversified,
that I could not possibly give any one a clue to follow. The outstanding
debts are growing old; some of my debtors are dead, some have left the
country, and as for the books, they are mostly scattered about, spoiled,
and lost.

“At one time my work was on the point of ensuring to me the possession
of a brilliant fortune; but my prospects were defeated by the vilest
shuffling. The details of this case are so curious that I cannot forbear
mentioning them to your Majesty.

“At the commencement of the year 1813, two merchants, who had discovered
that I was the author of Le Sage’s Historical Atlas, called on me, and
offered, if I would supply them with two millions’ worth of copies, to
pay me immediately at the rate of 20 per cent. in ready money, and to
convey the books gratis to London, where they should still be my
property and should remain at my disposal. I stared at this—I could not
conceive what was meant, and suspected that the merchants were hoaxing
me. They, on the other hand, sought to explain themselves, by saying
that the offer was made for the sake of procuring licences, an affair
with which they found I was totally unacquainted. On repeating this
conversation to a friend, I afterwards learned that the vessels which
were licensed to sail to England, to bring home colonial goods, could
not leave France without exporting goods equal in nominal value to their
intended importation. Books were included among the allowable objects of
exportation, and the merchants sought to obtain a light freight and a
high price, which, at little expense, would entitle them to a
considerable importation. My Atlas was admirably calculated for this
kind of speculation. However, before I entered into any agreement, I
consulted the Director General of Customs, and the President of the
Committee of Exportation, by whom I was informed that the thing was
perfectly legal. With this assurance I immediately set to work. I
entered upon one of the most curious speculations that can possibly be
conceived. Only a brief interval was allowed me for making the necessary
preparations. One hundred forms in folio were distributed among thirty
of the principal printing offices in Paris; and from that moment the
presses were kept at work without intermission. All the vellum paper of
a certain size was bought up, and it daily increased in price until it
reached upwards of 100 per cent. Such a general bustle prevailed among
all the printers in Paris as to alarm the police, until the affair was
fully investigated and explained. I afforded employment either directly
or indirectly to between 300 and 400 hands. At the expiration of
one-and-twenty days I was to be ready with the two millions worth of
copies of the Atlas, and was to receive 400,000 francs in ready money. I
was perhaps the only individual in the world who could have engaged in
such a speculation; for by a singular chance, I had kept all my forms
ready composed by purchasing the types at a vast expense. I was now
reaping the fruits of ten years’ industry and expenditure. This was
truly a prize in the lottery. I was mad with joy at my unexpected good
fortune. But alas! I was building on a sandy foundation, and I was
doomed to pay dearly for the few happy moments of my illusion.

“The cynical M. de P——, the Director General of the bookselling trade,
who was my colleague in the Council of State, seemed bent on my ruin,
though I was unable to divine the cause of his animosity. While he was
giving me every assurance of his readiness to serve me, he was, in an
underhand way straining every nerve to injure me; and was exciting
against me all the most active booksellers, whom he had induced to
become the agents of his operations. Of these facts I can entertain no
doubt; for the letters secretly written on this subject by P.... were
confidentially communicated to me; but motives of delicacy forbid my
taking the satisfaction of reproaching him with his baseness.

“He first of all intimated to me that the sheets of my Atlas could not
be carried out of France, because the law permitted the exportation of
books only. I then enquired whether books in sheets were suffered to be
exported; and, on receiving an answer in the affirmative, I observed
that my sheets must be considered merely as unbound books. M. de P....
then declared that the favour granted by the Emperor could be extended
only to booksellers and not to authors; but M. de Montalivet, the
Minister of the Interior, objected to this partiality and silenced M. de
P..... The latter then asserted that the price of my sheets had been
considerably encreased; but it was proved by reference to two hundred
advertisements inserted in the Journals during the last ten years, that
the price had never varied. He next alluded to the intrinsic value of
the work, and affirmed that what I sold for 100 sous did not cost me
more than five or six, and started many other difficulties of an equally
absurd kind. Meanwhile time was flying; the ships were taking in their
freights, the advantages offered by the owners were diminishing, the
arbitrary valuations of the committees arrived, and I, who had
persevered in my operations in spite of every difficulty, now found
myself involved in a thousand anxieties and vexations, and thought
myself happy in escaping absolute ruin, and being able to recover my
expenses, which exceeded 80,000 francs.”

“But,” said the Emperor, “this seems almost incredible; I can scarcely
conceive how all this happened. Your speculation was exactly suited to
my taste; it would have advanced you in my good opinion; I should have
been delighted with your activity and the method of your details.
Nothing afforded me greater pleasure than to enable those around me to
make their fortunes by honest means. Why did you not appeal to me? Why
did you not expose the conduct of P....? You should have seen how I
would have treated him.”—"Sire," I replied, "such an idea never entered
my mind, the moment was critical: your time was precious. How could I
hope that your Majesty would listen to me, or that I could
satisfactorily explain an affair so complicated and delicate? How could
I convince you that I was the author of a work that bore the name of
another? What would have been thought of one so near your Majesty’s
person meddling with commercial licenses and bookselling speculations? I
felt that I was so little known to your Majesty that I dreaded the
thought of the affair reaching your ear. Thus, though I was actively
engaged in this affair, yet I exerted every endeavour to prevent its
gaining publicity, and I made up my mind to suffer the worst."

“You were very wrong,” said the Emperor. “You behaved rather awkwardly
towards me and perhaps also towards P....; I cannot otherwise explain
the unnatural malignity which he evinced towards you.”


16th.—The breach between the Governor and ourselves had been decided
ever since the occurrence of what I have already set down as his first
ill-natured trick, his first insult, &c. Our reserve and mutual dislike
encreased every day; in short, we were on very bad terms with each

He appeared at Longwood about three o’clock, accompanied by his military
secretary, and desired to see the Emperor, as he wished to speak with
him on business. The Emperor was rather unwell and was not yet dressed;
however, he said he would see the Governor as soon as he had finished
dressing. In the course of a few minutes, he entered the drawing-room,
and I introduced Sir Hudson Lowe.

As I was waiting in the ante-chamber with the military secretary, I
could hear, from the Emperor’s tone of voice, that he was irritated, and
that the conversation was maintained with great warmth. The interview
was very long, and very clamorous. On the Governor’s departure, I went
to the garden, whither the Emperor had sent for me. He had not been well
for the last two days, and this affair completely upset him.

“Well, Las Cases,” said he, on perceiving me, “we have had a violent
scene. I have been thrown quite out of temper! They have now sent me
worse than a gaoler! Sir Hudson Lowe is a downright executioner! I
received him to-day with my stormy countenance, my head inclined, and my
ears pricked up. We looked most furiously at each other. My anger must
have been powerfully excited, for I felt a vibration in the calf of my
left leg. This is always a sure sign with me; and I have not felt it for
a long time before.”

The Governor had opened the conversation with an air of embarrassment,
and in broken sentences. He said, some planks of wood had arrived....
The newspapers must have made Napoleon acquainted with this
circumstance.... They were intended for the construction of a residence
for him.... He should be glad to know what he thought of it ... &c. To
this the Emperor replied only by a very significant look. Then adverting
hastily to other subjects, he told the Governor with warmth, that he
asked him for nothing, and that he would receive nothing at his hands;
and that he merely desired to be left undisturbed. He added that, though
he had much cause to complain of the Admiral, he had never had reason to
think him totally destitute of feeling; that, though he found fault with
him, he had nevertheless always received him in perfect confidence; but
that, during the month that Sir Hudson Lowe had been on the island, he
had experienced more causes of irritation than during the six preceding

The Governor having observed that he did not come to receive a lesson,
the Emperor replied, "But that is no proof that you do not need one. You
tell me, Sir, that your instructions are much more rigid than those that
were given to the Admiral. Do they direct that I should suffer death by
the sword or by poison? No act of atrocity would surprise me on the part
of your ministers! If my death is determined on, execute your orders. I
know not how you will administer the poison; but, as for putting me to
death by the sword, you have already found the means of doing that. If
you should attempt, as you have threatened, to violate the sanctuary of
my abode, I give you fair warning that the brave 53rd shall enter only
by trampling over my corse.

“On hearing of your arrival, I congratulated myself in the hope of
meeting with a general who, having spent some portion of his life on the
Continent, and having taken part in important public affairs, would know
how to act in a becoming way to me; but I was grossly deceived.” The
Governor here said that, as a soldier, his conduct had been conformable
with the interests and forms of his country. On which the Emperor
replied, “Your country, your government, and yourself, will be
overwhelmed with disgrace for your conduct to me; and this disgrace will
extend to your posterity. Was there ever an act of more refined cruelty
than yours, Sir, when, a few days ago, you invited me to your table by
the title of _General Bonaparte_, with the view of rendering me an
object of ridicule or amusement to your guests? Would you have
proportioned the extent of your respect to the title you were pleased to
give me? I am not General Bonaparte to you. It is not for you or any one
in the world to deprive me of dignities which are fairly my own. If Lady
Loudon had been within my boundaries, I should undoubtedly have visited
her, because I do not stand upon strict etiquette with a woman; but I
should nevertheless have considered that I was conferring an honour upon
her. I have been told, you propose that some of the officers of your
staff should accompany me in my rides about the Island, instead of the
officer established at Longwood. Sir, when soldiers have been christened
by the fire of the battle-field, they have all one rank in my eyes. It
is not the sight of any particular uniform that offends me here, but the
obligation of seeing soldiers at all; since this must be regarded as a
tacit concession of the point which I dispute. I am not a prisoner of
war; and I cannot, therefore, submit to the regulations required in such
a situation. I am placed in your power only by the most horrible breach
of confidence.”

The Governor, on taking leave, requested to be allowed to present his
Military Secretary to the Emperor; but the latter replied that that was
very unnecessary, and that if the officer had any delicacy of feeling he
could not wish it; for his own part he would rather decline it. He added
that no social relationship could exist between gaolers and prisoners;
and that the presentation was therefore perfectly useless. He then
dismissed the Governor.

The Grand Marshal joined us; he came from his own house, where the
Governor had alighted both before and after his visit to the Emperor. He
gave a detailed account of both his calls.

He said that the Governor on his return had shown great ill-humour, and
had complained very much of the Emperor’s temper. Not relying
sufficiently on his own wit, he had recourse to that of the Abbé de
Pradt, whose work had just then passed through our hands. He had said,
“that Napoleon was not content with having created to himself an
imaginary France, an imaginary Spain, and an imaginary Poland, but that
he now wished to create _an imaginary St. Helena_.” On hearing this, the
Emperor could not refrain from laughing.

We then drove out in the calash, and on our return the Emperor took a
bath. He sent for me, and having intimated that he would not dine till
nine o’clock, kept me with him. He talked over the affairs of the day,
and dwelt on the abominable treatment he suffered, the atrocious
malignity by which it was dictated, and the brutality with which it was
executed. After a few moments of silence and reflection, he exclaimed,
as he frequently does, “My dear Las Cases, they will kill me here! It is
certain!” What a horrible prophecy!...

He dismissed me at half-past ten.

17th.—I was very ill the whole of the night; the Emperor breakfasted in
the garden, and sent for me to attend him there. He was himself dull and
melancholy, and was not at all well. After breakfast we walked for a
long time in the garden; he uttered not a word. The heat obliged him to
return in-doors about ten o’clock. He regretted excessively the want of

About four o’clock he sent to know how I was. He had just returned from
taking a drive in the calash, in which I had not been able to join him.
I walked with him and the Grand Marshal until half past five. He still
had a melancholy and abstracted air. He desired Bertrand to give us an
account of his residence at Constantinople in 1796, his journey to
Athens, and his return across Albania. A great deal was said relative to
Selim III. and his improvements, the Baron de Tott, &c. The conversation
was very interesting, but unfortunately I find in my manuscript only a
few imperfect notes, which my memory cannot now assist me in filling up.

After dinner the Emperor, who had scarcely eaten any thing, attempted to
read to us the meeting of the academy from Anacharsis. His voice and his
whole frame had lost their wonted vigour and spirit. Contrary to his
custom, he ended without analysis or observation. He retired to rest as
soon as the chapter was concluded.

                        MADAME MARSHAL LEFEVRE.

18th.—The Emperor continued indisposed. On his return from a drive in
the calash, he took a bath, and sent for me. He shewed a cheerfulness of
manner; and we conversed till half-past eight o’clock. He ordered dinner
in his own study; and he desired me to stay and dine with him. The
place, the tête-a-tête, the elegance of the dinner service, and the
neatness with which the table was laid out, gave me, I said, an idea of
comfort; the Emperor smiled at my observation. He asked me many
questions relative to London, my emigration, the French Princes, and the
Bishop of Arras. He himself recurred to the principal events of his
Consulship, and gave me some curious details and anecdotes on these
subjects. We then began to talk about the old and new courts of France,
&c. Many of the observations that were made would, if stated here, only
be repetitions, for I believe I have mentioned them before. Other
remarks that fell from the Emperor, and which are merely hinted at in my
manuscript, must remain for ever lost.

I will transcribe only the following particulars as new. I was
entertaining the Emperor with the anecdotes and ridiculous stories, that
were related gratuitously, no doubt, of Madame Lefèvre, who long enjoyed
the privilege of furnishing the drawing-rooms of Paris, and even the
drawing-room of the Tuileries, with a subject for quizzing. “I joined in
the ridicule,” said I, "like every body else, until one day I renounced
it for ever, on hearing an anecdote which proved her nobleness of
sentiment and goodness of heart.

"Madame Lefèvre, whose husband was once a private in the guards, and who
consequently filled a humble station in life, seemed to take pleasure in
reviving the recollection of circumstances connected with her former
station, and even in alluding to the laborious occupations which she had
been obliged to pursue. During their poverty, she and her husband had
been engaged in a domestic capacity in the family of the Marquis de
Valady, the Captain of the corps in which Lefèvre served. The Marquis,
who stood godfather to Lefèvre’s child, played a conspicuous part in the
desertion of the guards, nor was he less celebrated for his fanatical
zeal in favour of republican liberty; he was nevertheless a man of
generous sentiments. He was a member of the Convention, and he perished
because he opposed the execution of Louis XVI., publicly declaring that
he considered it as absolute murder, adding, that Louis had already been
too unfortunate as a King to render the infliction of any additional
punishment necessary.

"The wife of the Marquis on her return to France after her emigration,
immediately received the kindest offers and attentions from the family
of Lefèvre, who were then living in a style of considerable splendour.

"One day, Madame Lefèvre called upon her, and, in her usual strain of
language, said, ‘How little kindness and goodness of heart there is
among you people of quality. We, who have risen from the ranks, know our
duty better. We have just heard that M——, one of our old officers, and
your husband’s comrade, has returned from his emigration, and that he is
dying for want! How shameful this is. We were fearful of offending him
by offering him assistance; but the case is quite different with you. An
act of service on your part will be gratifying to him. Pray give him
this as coming from yourself.’ With these words, she presented to her
friend a rouleau of 100 louis, or 1000 crowns. From that moment, Sire,"
said I, “I felt no inclination to join in the jokes against Madame
Lefèvre; I no longer entertained towards her any other feeling than that
of profound respect. I eagerly advanced to take her hand whenever I met
her at the Tuileries, and I felt proud in escorting her through the
drawing-room, in spite of the sneers that were buzzing around me.”

We then related a number of traits of generosity exercised by the new
favourites of fortune towards the old ruined families. Among others, we
adverted to an instance of courtesy, perhaps somewhat far-fetched, in a
certain individual, who, being originally a private soldier, attained
the rank of Marshal, or General-in-chief, I forget which. One day,
during his newly acquired splendour, he assembled together at a family
dinner his former colonel, and four or five officers of the regiment,
whom he received in his original uniform of a private, and he addressed
his guests in the same terms which he had been in the habit of employing
before he attained his elevated rank.

“And this,” observed the Emperor, “was the only way to soften down the
fury of the times; for such acts as these must necessarily have created
mutual feelings of kindness between the opposite parties; and we may
naturally suppose that, during recent events, the persons thus obliged
will have returned the obligations they received, were it only for the
sake of being _quits_.”

This word _quits_ reminds me of a characteristic trait of the Emperor,
which must be noticed here.

A General had been guilty of irregularities in his department, which,
had they been brought before the tribunals, must have cost him his
honour, and perhaps his life. Now, this general had rendered the most
important services to Napoleon on the day of Brumaire. The Emperor sent
for, and reproached him with his misconduct. “However,” said he, “you
have laid me under obligations, which I have not forgotten. I am perhaps
about to transgress the laws, and to fail in my duty. I pardon you, Sir;
begone; but know that from this day forward we are _quits_. Take care of
yourself for the future, I shall look sharply after you.”


19th.—Doctor Warden breakfasted with me to-day. The Governor of Java
(Sir Stamford Raffles) and his staff, who had touched at St. Helena on
their way to Europe, arrived at Longwood while we were at breakfast.
Governor Raffles was well acquainted with all the Dutch gentlemen, whom
I had seen in 1810, during my mission to Amsterdam. The Emperor told me
that he would probably receive his visitors about three or four o’clock.
In the mean time, I conversed for several hours with Doctor Warden, whom
I furnished with some explanations on historical facts relating to the
Emperor, about which I supposed he intended to write.[12]

Footnote 12:

  I was sorry to find, on perusing the Doctor’s work, that he has
  totally neglected the observations and corrections with which I
  furnished him; and has strangely misrepresented the particulars which
  I communicated.

About three o’clock the Emperor received in the garden the English
gentlemen who had come from Java. He afterwards took a drive in the

On his return, about six o’clock, he desired me to follow him to his
study. He sent for the Grand Marshal and his Lady, and conversed
familiarly, until dinner time, on various subjects relating to his
family and his minutest domestic affairs during the period of his power.
He dwelt particularly on the Empress Josephine. “They lived together,”
he said, “like a private citizen and his wife. They were most
affectionate and united, having for a long period occupied but one
chamber and one bed. These are circumstances,” said the Emperor, “which
exercise great influence over the happiness of a family, securing the
reputation of the wife and the confidence of the husband, and preserving
union and good conduct on both sides. A married couple,” continued he,
“may be said never to lose sight of one another, when they pass the
night together; otherwise they soon become estranged. Thus, as long as
this practice was continued, none of my thoughts or actions escaped the
notice of Josephine. She observed, seized, and comprehended every thing.
This circumstance was sometimes not altogether without its inconvenience
to myself and to public affairs: but, while we were at the camp of
Boulogne, a moment of ill-humour put an end to this state of things.”
Certain political events which had occurred at Vienna, together with the
report of the coalition which took place in 1805, had occupied the
attention of the First Consul throughout the whole of the day, and a
great part of the night. He retired to bed not in very good spirits, and
he found Josephine in a violent rage at his long absence. Jealousy was
the real or pretended cause of this ill-humour. Napoleon grew angry in
his turn, threw off the yoke of subjection, and could never be brought
to submit to it again. At the time of his second marriage, the Emperor
was fearful, he said, “lest Maria Louisa might exact similar obedience,
for in that case he must have yielded. It is the true right and
privilege of a wife,” he observed.

“A son by Josephine,” continued the Emperor, "would have completed my
happiness, not only in a political point of view, but as a source of
domestic felicity.

"As a political result, it would have secured to me the possession of
the throne; the French people would have been as much attached to the
son of Josephine as they were to the King of Rome; and I should not have
set my foot on an abyss covered with flowers. But how vain are all human
calculations! Who can pretend to decide what may lead to happiness or
unhappiness in this life!

"Still I cannot help believing that such a pledge of our union would
have proved a source of domestic felicity; it would have put an end to
the jealousy of Josephine, by which I was continually harassed, and
which after all was the offspring of policy rather than of sentiment.
Josephine despaired of having a child, and she in consequence looked
forward with dread to the future. She was well aware that no marriage is
perfect without children; and at the period of her second nuptials there
was no longer any probability of her becoming a mother. In proportion as
her fortunes advanced, her alarm increased. She availed herself of every
resource of medicine; and sometimes almost persuaded herself that her
remedies had proved successful. When, at length, she was compelled to
renounce all hope, she suggested to her husband the expediency of
resorting to a great political deception; and she even went so far as
directly to propose the adoption of such a measure.

"Josephine possessed in an eminent degree the taste for luxury, gaiety,
and extravagance, natural to Creoles. It was impossible to regulate her
expenditure; she was constantly in debt; and thus there was always a
grand dispute when the day of payment arrived. She was frequently known
to direct her tradesmen to send in only half their accounts. Even at the
Island of Elba, Josephine’s bills came pouring in upon me from all parts
of Italy."

Some one who knew the Empress Josephine at Martinique communicated to
the Emperor many particulars relative to her family and her youthful
days. During her childhood, it was several times predicted that she
would wear a crown. Another circumstance not less curious and remarkable
is that the phial, containing the holy oil used at the coronation of the
Kings of France, is said to have been broken by Josephine’s first
husband, General Beauharnais, who, at a moment when the tide of popular
favour was running against him, hoped by this act to gain

Footnote 13:

  This story is positively contradicted. It appears that a fondness for
  the marvellous produced this fable.

A thousand stories have been told and written respecting the marriage of
Napoleon and Josephine. The campaigns of Italy explain the circumstance
that first brought about their acquaintance and their union. After
Vendemiaire, Eugène, who was yet a child, presented himself to General
Bonaparte, then General-in-chief of the army of the Interior, to request
that his father’s sword might be restored to him. Lemarrois, one of
Napoleon’s aides-de-camp, introduced the boy, who, the moment he beheld
the sword, burst into tears. The General-in-chief was moved by this
incident, and loaded the boy with caresses. When Eugène described the
manners of the young General to his mother, she lost no time in
introducing herself to him. “It is well known,” said the Emperor, "that
she put faith in presentiments and prophecies. In her childhood, some
fortuneteller had predicted that she would attain splendid rank, and
would even ascend a throne. She moreover possessed a considerable share
of art; and, after we became acquainted, she frequently assured me that
her heart beat when she first heard Eugène describe me, and that she
then caught a glimpse of her future greatness and the accomplishment of
the prophecies respecting her fate.

“Another peculiar shade in the character of Josephine,” said the
Emperor, “was her constant habit of negation. At all times, and whatever
question I put to her, her first movement was negative, her first answer
_No_; and this _no_,” continued the Emperor, “was not precisely a
falsehood, but merely a precaution, or a defence.”—"This," observed
Madame Bertrand, “is a characteristic distinction between our sex and
yours.”—"But, after all, Madam," resumed the Emperor, "this distinction
arises only from the difference of education. You love, and you are
taught to say _no_; we, on the contrary, take a pride in declaring that
we love, whether we really do or not. This is the whole course of the
opposite conduct of the two sexes. We are not, and never can be,



  London: Published for HENRY COLBURN, February, 1836.

“During the reign of terror,” said the Emperor, “Josephine was thrown
into prison, while her husband perished on the scaffold. Her son Eugène
was bound apprentice to a joiner, which trade he actually learned.
Hortense had no better prospects. She was, if I mistake not, sent to
learn the business of a sempstress.”[14]

Footnote 14:

  I have been assured that this circumstance is erroneous, and that
  relative to Prince Eugène inaccurate.

Fouché was the first who ventured to touch the fatal string of the
Imperial divorce. He took upon himself, without any instructions, to
advise Josephine to dissolve her marriage for the welfare of France.
Napoleon, however, conceived that the proper moment had not yet arrived.
The step taken by Fouché was a source of great vexation and trouble: it
very much displeased the Emperor, and if, at the earnest solicitation of
Josephine, he did not dismiss Fouché, it was because he had himself
secretly determined on the divorce, and he did not wish, by thus
punishing his minister, to give any check to public opinion on the

However, it is but justice to observe that, as soon as the Emperor
shewed himself resolved on the divorce, Josephine consented to it. It
cost her, it is true, a severe sacrifice: but she submitted without
murmuring, and without attempting to avail herself of those obstacles
which she might, however uselessly, have opposed to the measure.[15] She
conducted herself with the utmost grace and address. She desired that
the Viceroy might be put at the head of this affair, and she herself
made offers of service to the house of Austria.

Footnote 15:

  I received from the mouth of the Prince Primate some curious details
  concerning Josephine’s marriage and divorce. Madame de Beauharnais was
  married to General Buonaparte, by a non-juring priest, who, by mere
  accident, had neglected to procure the requisite authority from the
  curate of the parish. This, or some other informality in the marriage,
  afterwards occupied the attention of Cardinal Fesch; and, whether from
  his own scruples or otherwise, he succeeded at the time of the
  coronation in persuading the Emperor and Empress to be married over
  again by him, privately; or at least to go over as much of the
  ceremony as he thought necessary. At the divorce, the civil separation
  was pronounced by the Senate. With regard to the religious separation,
  the Emperor would not apply to the Pope, and there was no necessity
  for so doing. Cardinal Fesch having re-married the parties without
  witnesses, the Officiality of Paris declared that no marriage had
  taken place. On this judgment being delivered, the Empress Josephine
  summoned Cardinal Fesch to Malmaison, and asked him whether he could
  bear witness and sign a declaration that she had been married and
  lawfully married. “Doubtless,” replied the Cardinal, “I can bear
  testimony to the fact, and will sign the declaration,” which he
  accordingly did.

  “But,” said I to the Prince Primate, “what judgment was pronounced by
  the Officiality of Paris?”—"The only proper one," replied the
  Prince.—"What then became of the declaration of Cardinal Fesch? was it
  false?"—"Not in his opinion," said the Prince. “He had acted upon the
  Italian doctrine, by which Cardinals assume the right of marrying
  without witnesses, which however is not recognised in France, where a
  marriage is thereby rendered null.”

  It appears, however, that Josephine required this declaration only for
  her own satisfaction, and that she never made any other use of it.

Josephine would willingly have seen Maria Louisa. She frequently spoke
of her with great interest, as well as of the young King of Rome. Maria
Louisa, on her part, behaved wonderfully well to Eugène and Hortense;
but she manifested the utmost dislike and even jealousy of Josephine. “I
wished one day to take her to Malmaison,” said the Emperor; “but she
burst into tears when I made the proposal. She said she did not object
to my visiting Josephine, only she did not wish to know it. But whenever
she suspected my intention of going to Malmaison, there was no stratagem
which she did not employ for the sake of annoying me. She never left me;
and, as these visits seemed to vex her exceedingly, I did violence to my
own feelings and scarcely ever went to Malmaison. Still, however, when I
did happen to go, I was sure to encounter a flood of tears and a
multitude of contrivances of every kind. Josephine always kept in view
the example of the wife of Henry IV., who, as she observed, lived in
Paris, visited the Court, and attended the coronation after her divorce.
But she remarked that her own situation was still preferable, for she
already had children of her own, and could not hope to have more.”

Josephine possessed a perfect knowledge of all the different shades of
the Emperor’s character, and she evinced the most exquisite tact in
turning this knowledge to the best account. “For example,” said the
Emperor, “she never solicited any favour for Eugène, or thanked me for
any that I conferred on him. She never even shewed any additional
complaisance or assiduity, at the moment when the greatest honours were
lavished on him. Her grand aim was to prove that all this was my affair,
and not hers, and that it tended to my advantage. Doubtless she
entertained the idea that one day or other I should adopt Eugène as my

The Emperor said he was well convinced that he was the individual whom
Josephine loved best in all the world: and he added, with a smile, that
he was sure she would have relinquished any assignation to attend him.
She never failed to accompany him on all his journeys. Neither fatigue
nor privation could daunt her; and she employed importunity and even
artifice to gain her point. "If I stepped into my carriage at midnight,
to set out on the longest journey, to my surprise I found Josephine all
ready prepared, though I had had no idea of her accompanying me. ‘But,’
I would say to her, ‘You cannot possibly go, the journey is too long and
will be too fatiguing for you.’—‘Not at all,’ Josephine would reply.
‘Besides, I must set out instantly.’—‘Well, I am quite ready.’—‘But you
must take a great deal of luggage.’—‘Oh, no! every thing is packed up;‘
and I was generally obliged to yield. In a word, Josephine rendered her
husband happy, and constantly proved herself his sincerest friend. At
all times and on all occasions, she manifested the most perfect
submission and attachment; and thus I shall never cease to remember her
with tenderness and gratitude.

“Josephine,” continued the Emperor, “placed the qualities of submission,
obedience, and complaisance in her sex on a level with political
address; and she often condemned the conduct of her daughter Hortense
and her relation Stephanie, who lived on very bad terms with their
husbands, frequently indulging in caprice, and pretending to assert
their independence.

“Louis,” said the Emperor, “had been spoiled by reading the works of
Rousseau. He contrived to agree with his wife only for a few months.
There were faults on both sides. On the one hand, Louis was too teazing
in his temper, and on the other Hortense was too volatile. They were
attached to each other at the time of their marriage, which was
agreeable to their mutual wishes. The union was, however, contrived by
Josephine, who had her own views in promoting it. I, on the contrary,
would rather have extended my connection with other families, and for a
moment I had an idea of forming a union between Louis and a niece of M.
de Talleyrand’s, who was afterwards Madame Juste de Noailles.”

The most ridiculous reports were circulated respecting an improper
intercourse between Napoleon and Hortense, and it was even affirmed that
the latter had had a child by the Emperor. “Such a connection,” said he,
"would have been wholly repugnant to my ideas; and those who knew
anything of the morality of the Tuileries must be aware that I need not
have been reduced to so unnatural and revolting a choice. Louis knew
perfectly well the value to which these reports were entitled; but his
vanity and irritability of temper were nevertheless offended by them,
and he frequently alluded to them as a ground for reproaching his wife.

“But Hortense,” continued the Emperor, "the virtuous, the generous, the
devoted Hortense, was not entirely faultless in her conduct towards her
husband. This I must acknowledge, in spite of all the affection I bore
her, and the sincere attachment which I am sure she entertained for me.
Though Louis’ whimsical humours were in all probability sufficiently
teasing, yet he loved Hortense; and in such a case a woman should learn
to subdue her own temper, and endeavour to return her husband’s
attachment. Had she known how to repress her temper she would have
spared herself the vexation of her late lawsuit; she would have passed a
happier life; she would have accompanied her husband to Holland, and
would have staid there. Louis would not then have fled from Amsterdam;
and I should not have been compelled to unite his kingdom to mine, a
measure which contributed to ruin my credit in Europe. Many other events
might also have taken a different turn.

“The Princess of Baden,” continued the Emperor, "pursued a wiser course.
On witnessing Josephine’s divorce, she recollected her own situation,
and used every endeavour to gain her husband’s affections. They were
afterwards a most happy couple.

"Pauline was too careless and extravagant. She might have been immensely
rich, considering all that I gave her; but she gave all away in her
turn. Her mother frequently lectured her on this subject, and told her
that she would die in a hospital. _Madame_, however, carried her
parsimony to a most ridiculous extreme. I offered to furnish her with a
very considerable monthly income, on condition that she would spend it.
She, on the other hand, was very willing to receive the money provided
she were permitted to hoard it up. This arose not so much from
covetousness as excess of foresight; all her fear was that she might one
day be reduced to beggary. She had known the horrors of want, and they
now constantly haunted her imagination. It is, however, but just to
acknowledge that she gave a great deal to her children in secret. She is
indeed a kind mother.

“Nevertheless,” continued the Emperor, “this woman, who was so reluctant
to part with a single crown, would willingly have given me her all, on
my return from the Island of Elba; and after the battle of Waterloo, she
would have surrendered to me all she possessed in the world, to assist
me in re-establishing my affairs. This she offered to do; and would,
without a murmur, have doomed herself to live on brown bread.[16]
Loftiness of sentiment still reigned paramount in her heart: pride and
noble ambition were not yet subdued by avarice.”

Footnote 16:

  How justly did the Emperor paint his mother’s character! On my return
  to Europe I was delighted to witness the literal confirmation of all
  that he had said respecting her.

  As soon as I disclosed to Madame Mère the Emperor’s real situation,
  and declared my resolution to exert all my efforts to alleviate his
  misery, the answer returned to me by the courier was, that her whole
  fortune was at her son’s disposal, and that she would earn her
  livelihood if necessary by going to service. She at the same time,
  authorised me, though I was not personally known to her, to draw
  immediately in her name for any sum that I might think necessary for
  the Emperor’s use. Cardinal Fesch also tendered his services in the
  most affectionate way; and I must take this opportunity of mentioning
  that all the different members of the Emperor’s family evinced equal
  love, zeal, and devotedness. So long as my health permitted me to keep
  up a correspondence with them, I received a multitude of letters,
  which form altogether a most interesting collection. They reflect
  honour on the hearts of the writers, and they would have proved a
  source of consolation to the Emperor, had the restrictions of the
  English government permitted me to submit them to his perusal.

Here the Emperor observed that he had still present in his memory the
lessons of pride which he had received from his mother in his childhood,
and which had influenced his conduct through life. The naturally
powerful mind of Madame Mère had been exalted by the great events of
which she had been a witness; she had seen five or six revolutions; and
her house had been thrice burnt to the ground by factions in Corsica.

“Joseph,” said the Emperor, "rendered me no assistance; but he is a very
good man. His wife, Queen Julia, is the most amiable creature that ever
existed. Joseph and I were always attached to each other, and kept on
very good terms. He loves me sincerely, and I doubt not that he would do
every thing in the world to serve me. But his qualities are only suited
to private life. He is of a gentle and kind disposition, possesses
talent and information, and is altogether a very amiable man. In the
discharge of the high duties which I confided to him, he did the best he
could. His intentions were good; and therefore the principal fault
rested not so much with him as with me, who raised him above his proper
sphere. When placed in important circumstances, he found his strength
unequal to the task imposed on him.

“The Queen of Naples had chiefly formed herself amidst great events. She
had solid sense, strength of character, and boundless ambition.... She
must naturally suffer severely from her reverses, more particularly as
she may be said to have been born a Queen. She had not, like the rest of
us,” observed the Emperor, "moved in the sphere of private life.
Caroline, Pauline, and Jerome, were still in their childhood when I had
attained supreme rank in France; thus they never knew any other state
than that which they enjoyed during the period of my power.

“Jerome was an absolute prodigal. He plunged into boundless
extravagance, and the most odious libertinism. His excuse perhaps may be
his youth, and the temptations by which he was surrounded. On my return
from the Isle of Elba, he appeared to be much improved, and to afford
great promise. One remarkable testimony in his favour was the love with
which he had inspired his wife, whose conduct was admirable, when, after
my fall, her father, the despotic and harsh King of Wurtemberg, wished
to procure her divorce. The Princess then, with her own hands,
honourably inscribed her name in history.”

To our great regret, dinner was announced; but the Emperor continued to
be very talkative during the whole of the evening. He took a familiar
retrospect of various subjects, principally alluding to the conduct of
many persons of note during his absence and at the time of his return.
He did not retire until midnight, and he closed the evening’s
conversation with the following words:—"What is doing at this moment in
France and in Paris? and what shall we ourselves be doing on this day


20th.—Mr. Balcombe had intimated to me that he was appointed to supply
us with what we wanted at the expense of the English Government; but I
wrote to inform him that, as my own pecuniary circumstances enabled me
to dispense with this favour, I was resolved not to avail myself of it.
I therefore begged that he would obtain permission from the Governor, to
receive from me a bill drawn on some person in England, which could not
be transmitted without special permission. I wished to remain free from
all obligations, so that nothing might impede me in freely exercising
the just and sad privilege of venting my reproaches and imprecations.

The Emperor rode out in the calash very early. On his return, about
three o’clock, he desired me to follow him to his chamber. “I am
low-spirited, unwell, and fatigued,” said he, “sit down in that
arm-chair, and bear me company.” He then threw himself on his couch and
fell asleep, while I watched beside him. I sat within a few paces of
him. His head was uncovered, and I gazed on his brow,—that brow on which
were inscribed Marengo, Austerlitz, and a hundred other immortal
victories. What were my thoughts and sensations at that moment? They may
be imagined; but I cannot attempt to describe them!

In about three quarters of an hour, the Emperor awoke. He took a few
turns in his chamber, and he then took a fancy to visit the apartments
of all the individuals of his suite. When he had minutely considered all
the inconveniences of mine, he said with a smile of indignation:—"Well,
I do not think that any christian on earth can be worse lodged than you

After dinner, the Emperor attempted to read a part of the _Caravansêrail
de Sarrazin_. After glancing over a few of the tales, and reading a page
from one of them, he said:—"The moral of this story doubtless is that
men never change. This is not true; they change both for better and
worse. A thousand other maxims which authors attempt to establish are
all equally false. They affirm that men are ungrateful; but no, they are
not so ungrateful as is supposed: and if ingratitude be frequently a
subject of complaint, it is because the benefactor requires more than he

"It is also said that when you know a man’s character, you have a key to
his whole conduct. This is a mistaken notion. A man may commit a bad
action, though he be fundamentally good; he may be led into an act of
wickedness, without being himself wicked. This is because man is usually
actuated not by the natural bent of his character, but by a secret
momentary passion, which has lain dormant and concealed in the inmost
recesses of his heart. Another error is to suppose that the face is the
mirror of the mind. The truth is that it is very difficult to know a
man’s character. To avoid being deceived on this point, it is necessary
to judge a person by his actions only; and it must be by his actions of
the moment, and merely for that moment.

“In truth, men have their virtues and their vices, their heroism and
their perversity; men are neither generally good nor generally bad; but
they possess and practise all that is good and bad in this world. This
is the principle: natural disposition, education and accidental
circumstances produce the applications. I have always been guided by
this opinion, and I have generally found it correct. However, I was
deceived in 1814, when I believed that France, at the sight of her
dangers, would make common cause with me; but I was not deceived in
1815, on my return from Waterloo.”

The Emperor felt unwell, and retired very early.


21st.—The Emperor continued indisposed; we nevertheless took our usual
airing in the calash. On our return, we were informed that the Governor
had been to Longwood and had himself arrested one of our domestics, who
had recently quitted the service of Deputy-Governor Skelton, and who had
a few days since been engaged by General Montholon. On hearing this, the
Emperor exclaimed: “What turpitude! what meanness! A Governor ... an
English Lieutenant-General himself to arrest a servant! Really this
conduct is too disgusting!”

The Grand Marshal joined us, and announced the arrival of a store ship,
which had left England on the 8th of March.

After dinner, the Emperor asked what we would read, and we all decided
for the Bible. “This is certainly very edifying,” said the Emperor; “it
would never be guessed in Europe.” He read to us the book of Joshua,
observing at almost every town or village that he named: “I encamped
there; I carried that place by assault; I gave battle here, &c.”

                        STEPHANIE OF BADEN, &C.

22nd.—In the course of this day a great deal was said about the sailors
of the Northumberland, who had been given to us as domestics, and who,
we now understood, were to be withdrawn from our service. They had,
however, been engaged by a reciprocal contract, by which both parties
were bound for the space of a year. But we are without the pale of
ordinary law. The Governor affirmed that the Admiral wanted the men; and
the Admiral said that he would allow them to remain with us if the
Governor pleased. The sailors were taken away, and soldiers were sent in
their stead; but these were also removed and sent back again, ordered
away a second time and again sent back to us. We were unable to guess
the meaning of all these changes.

While I was in the Emperor’s apartment, waiting for the announcement of
dinner, the conversation fell on Madame Campan’s establishment, the
young persons who had been educated in it, and the fortunes which the
Emperor had conferred on some of them. He particularly alluded to
Stephanie de Beauharnais, afterwards Princess of Baden, to whom he said
he was much attached. He entered into many details respecting her.

Princess Stephanie of Baden lost her mother in her childhood. She was
left in the care of an English lady, her mother’s intimate friend, who
was very rich and without children, and who confided the education of
her _protegée_ to some old nuns in the south of France, I believe at

Napoleon, during his Consulship, one day heard Josephine mention this
circumstance, while alluding to her young relation Stephanie. “How can
you permit this?” said he. “How can you suffer one of your name to be
supported by a foreigner, an Englishwoman, who must at this moment be
regarded as our enemy? Are you not afraid that your memory will one day
suffer for this?” A courier, was immediately despatched to bring the
young lady to the Tuileries; but the nuns refused to part with her.
Napoleon, however, instituted the necessary legal forms, and a second
courier was speedily sent to the Prefect of the district, with orders
instantly to seize the person of the young lady in the name of the law.

Owing to the circumstances of the times, such was the influence of
certain systems of education, and of the opinions which they inspired,
that Stephanie’s removal was to herself a source of deep regret; and she
beheld not without terror him who declared himself her relative, and who
was about to become her benefactor. She was placed in the establishment
of Madame Campan, at St. Germain; all sorts of masters were appointed to
superintend her education, and, on her introduction to the world, her
beauty, wit, accomplishments, and virtues, rendered her an object of
universal admiration.

The Emperor adopted her as his daughter, and gave her in marriage to the
hereditary Prince of Baden. This union was for several years far from
being happy. In course of time, however, the causes of difference
gradually vanished; the Prince and Princess became attached to each
other, and from that moment they had only to regret the happiness of
which they had deprived themselves during the early years of their

At the conferences of Erfurt, the Princess of Baden received the most
marked attentions from her brother-in-law, the Emperor Alexander. During
our disasters, in 1813, persons who were at the head of political
affairs, dreading the result of an interview between Alexander and the
Princess of Baden, at Manheim, succeeded in depriving the Princess of
the regard of her august relative, by circulating false reports to the
prejudice of her character. When therefore Alexander arrived at Manheim,
on his triumphal march to Paris, he by no means treated Princess
Stephanie with due respect. His conduct was calculated to wound her
feelings; but it could not humble her pride. On this occasion, the
conduct pursued by the Prince of Baden reflected true glory on his
character. The most august personages surrounded him, and urged him to
repudiate the wife whom he had received from the hands of Napoleon. But
the Prince, with true nobleness of sentiment, rejected the idea,
observing that he would never commit an act of baseness, which would be
as repugnant to his affections as to his honour. This generous Prince,
to whom we did not render sufficient justice in Paris, afterwards fell a
victim to a tedious and painful illness. The Princess personally
attended her husband throughout the whole of his sufferings, performing
with her own hands all the minute services that his situation required:
her devoted attachment gained for her the admiration of her relatives
and subjects.

Princess Stephanie of Baden shed a lustre over her exalted station. She
conferred honour on her character as a wife and a daughter. She at all
times professed the highest veneration for him, who, when in the
enjoyment of boundless power, had benevolently adopted her as his child.


23rd.—The Emperor desired me to attend him in his chamber, about two
o’clock. He remarked that I did not look well. He was himself ill, and
had had but little sleep during the preceding night. He began to dress,
saying that he should probably feel better when he had finished his
toilet. We then went out to walk in the garden. The turn of the
conversation led the Emperor to remark that our manners required that a
sovereign should be regarded only as a blessing to his people; his acts
of severity must be overlooked in consideration of his acts of clemency;
mercy must still be held to be his chief attribute. In Paris, he
observed, he had sometimes been reproached for conversations and words
which, in truth, ought not to have escaped him. But he added that his
personal situation, his extreme activity, and most of his acts, which
really proceeded from himself, ought to have made amends for many
things. He rendered justice to the delicate tact which distinguished the
inhabitants of the French capital; no where, he said, could be found so
much wit or more taste. He reproached himself for the expulsion of
Portalis from the Council of State. I, who was present at the scene,
told him that I thought his manner was somewhat paternal. “I was perhaps
too severe,” resumed he; “I should have checked myself before I ordered
him to be gone. He attempted no justification, and therefore the scene
should have ended, merely by my saying _It is well_. His punishment
should have awaited him at home. Anger is always unbecoming in a
sovereign. But perhaps I was excusable in my council, where I might
consider myself in the bosom of my own family; or perhaps, after all, I
may be justly condemned for this act. Every one has his fault; nature
will exert her sway over us all.”

He said he also reproached himself for his conduct to M. de G—— at the
Tuileries, during one of the grand Sunday audiences, and in presence of
all the Court.—"But in this instance," said he, “I was provoked to the
utmost extreme. My anger burst forth against my inclination. I had given
G—— the command of a legion of the capital, which I was about to defend.
I afterwards learned that he rejoiced in our disasters, and invoked
them, though I did not know this at the period to which I am now
alluding. The enemy was advancing upon us, and G—— coolly wrote to
inform me that his health would not permit him to take the command;
though, as a courtier, he presented himself to me in perfect activity
and good spirits. I was very indignant at his conduct; but I repressed
my anger, and resolved to take no notice of him. He, however, on three
or four occasions sought an opportunity of throwing himself in my way. I
could no longer stifle my rage, and the bomb exploded.

“But,” concluded the Emperor, "what distressed me most of all, was the
situation of G....’s son, who was my chamberlain, and of whom I had no
reason to complain."

The Emperor then spoke of the Faubourg St. Germain, and questioned me
respecting many families and individuals belonging to it. He happened to
mention the name of Madame de S....; I observed that she had constantly
evinced great attachment to the Emperor, for which she was now doubtless
severely punished. The Emperor was not aware of the extent and sincerity
of her zeal and devotedness; though he had been very much moved by her
generous resolution of remaining with the Empress Josephine. He had, he
said, to reproach himself for not having done any thing for Madame de
S..... She must have been unfortunate in the choice of the moment at
which she solicited her husband’s nomination to the Senate.

I had, from my childhood, been intimately acquainted with Madame de
S....; and she made me her confidential friend. I related to the Emperor
the anecdote of her nomination to the post of _dame du palais_. Her
husband one morning introduced her to the Empress Josephine, who
returned her thanks for having made an application to enter her service.
This was a thunderbolt to Madame de S...., who had never dreamed of
making such a solicitation; and who, in the natural timidity of her
disposition, preserved silence. At that time I was certainly far from
approving or advising her acceptance of the post: I nevertheless
rendered her a real act of service by withholding a letter of refusal
which she had confided to me, without the knowledge of her friends, and
which might have proved fatal to the intrigues of those by whom the
affair had been brought about.

The Emperor asked me what could have given rise to this repugnance on
the part of Madame de S.... to enter the service of the Empress? I
replied that it was occasioned by the connection she had had with the
royal family. “She was right,” said he, "how could her husband think of
placing her in a situation so hostile to her feelings? A similar case
occurred in one of my nominations of Chamberlains. One individual begged
that I would be pleased to allow him to decline the honour, because, as
he said, he had been first Gentleman of the Chamber to Louis XVI. and
Louis XVIII. This was perfectly reasonable on his part; but how could I
possibly listen to such a solicitation? It was a proof of want of
delicacy in those who proposed his nomination; but what had I to do with
that? Could I enter into details of this kind? The important affairs
that claimed my attention would not permit me to descend to matters of
this sort.

“However,” continued the Emperor, "if Madame de S.... had gone the right
way to work, she might have obtained all she asked for. But she never
evinced any particular interest in what she solicited, and made
applications only in favour of individuals who had not proved themselves
very deserving; among others she recommended to my notice a man who,
after being one of the King’s Peers, wished to be made one of mine. On
my return from Elba, his daughter came to assure me that, if I would
confer this favour upon him, he would pledge himself to act with zeal in
my service, acknowledging, as he said, no interests but those of the
nation. All this was of course fair enough."

About four o’clock the Emperor got into the calash; during our usual
ride, he mentioned several serious accidents by which, at one time or
other, his life had been endangered.

At St. Cloud, he once attempted to drive his calash six-in-hand. The
horses were startled by Aide-de-camp Cafarelli inadvertently crossing
the road in front of them. Before the Emperor had time to recover the
reins, the horses set off at full speed, and the calash, which rolled
along with extreme velocity, struck against a railing. The Emperor was
thrown out to the distance of eight or ten feet, and lay stretched on
the ground upon his face. He was, he said, dead for a few seconds. He
felt the moment at which life became extinct, which he called the
_negative moment_. The first person who touched him, on alighting from
his horse, immediately revived him. He observed that the mere contact
suddenly called him to life, as, in the night-mare, the sufferer is
relieved as soon as he can cry out.

On another occasion the Emperor said he had nearly been drowned. When in
garrison at Auxonne, in 1786, while he was one day amusing himself with
swimming, a sudden numbness came over him; he lost his self-possession,
and, being alone, he was carried along by the current in a senseless
state. He felt life escape him, and even heard his comrades on the shore
call out that he was drowned, and hasten in quest of boats to recover
his body. In this case a sudden shock restored him to life. His breast
struck against a sand-bank; and, by a miracle, his head, being above the
water, he recovered himself sufficiently to swim ashore. The water was
discharged from his stomach; he regained the spot where he had left his
clothes, and, having dressed himself, he got home, while his friends
were still in search of his body.

Another time, while hunting the wild boar at Marly, all his suite was
put to flight; it was like the rout of an army. The Emperor, with Soult
and Berthier, maintained their ground against three enormous boars. “We
killed all three; but I received a hurt from my adversary, and nearly
lost this finger,” said the Emperor, pointing to the third finger of his
left hand, which indeed bore the mark of a severe wound. "But the most
laughable circumstance of all was to see the multitude of men,
surrounded by their dogs, screening themselves behind the three heroes,
and calling out lustily:—‘_Save the Emperor! Save the Emperor!_’ while
not one advanced to my assistance."

                         POLITICAL REFLECTIONS.

24th.—The Emperor went out only to take an airing in the calash. We
drove for nearly an hour and a half, proceeding at a slow pace, and
lengthened our airing by going twice over the limits of our usual ride.
The Emperor conversed on politics. The newspapers, which we had received
three days ago, furnished the subject of discussion.

In France, he observed, the patriots were emigrating rapidly; and there
seemed to be a wish to encourage their emigration, from the circumstance
of their property not having been confiscated, &c.

The Emperor thought he could perceive from the debates in the English
Parliament, that there was a reserved idea respecting the partition of
France; this was a severe shock to his feelings. “Every one possessing a
true French heart,” said he, “must now be overwhelmed with despair. An
immense majority of the population of France must be plunged in the
deepest sorrow. Ah!” he exclaimed, “why am I not placed in some remote
sphere, on a soil truly free and independent, where no external
influence could be dreaded! how would I astonish the universe! I would
address a proclamation to the French; I would say to them;—You are lost
if you are not united. The odious, the insolent foreigner is about to
parcel you out and to annihilate you. Frenchmen arise; make common
cause, at all hazards,—rally, if it must be so, even around the
Bourbons! Let the existence, the safety of France, take place of every
other consideration!...”

He thought, however, that Russia must oppose this division, as she would
thereby have to fear the growing strength and consolidation of Germany
against her. Some one present remarked that Austria must oppose it also,
from the apprehension of wanting the necessary support in case of any
attempts on the part of Russia. It was moreover observed that, in such a
case, Austria might probably serve the cause of the King of Rome, by
putting him forward. “Yes,” replied the Emperor, "as an instrument of
menace, perhaps; but never as the object of her good wishes. Austria
must have too much cause to dread him. The King of Rome will be the man
of the people; he will be the champion of Italy. Thus it will be the
policy of Austria to take his life. This will not probably be attempted
during the reign of his grandfather, who is a good man;—but the Emperor
Francis cannot live for ever. If, however, the manners of the present
age should preclude the possibility of an attempt to murder him, they
will endeavour to brutalize his faculties. Or finally, if he should
escape both physical and moral assassination,—if his mother’s cares and
his own natural endowments should rescue him from all those dangers,
then—then—" (he repeated several times, as if absorbed in reflection)
“why then—But who can calculate on the destinies of any one here below!”

The Emperor then turned the conversation to England, by remarking that
she alone was interested in the destruction of France; and in the
plenitude and versatility of his fancy, he touched on all the various
plans which she was likely to adopt for that purpose. She could not
increase the power of Belgium, he said, otherwise Antwerp would become
as formidable to her as it had been under his reign. She must, he
observed, leave the Bourbons in the centre, with only eight or ten
millions of inhabitants, and surround them with Princes, Dukes, or Kings
of Normandy, Brittany, Aquitaine, and Provence; so that Cherbourg,
Brest, the Garonne, and the Mediterranean would be in the possession of
different sovereigns. This, he said, would make the French monarchy
retrograde several ages, would restore it to its situation under the
first Capets, and would provide for the Bourbons a few centuries of new
and laborious efforts.—"But, fortunately," observed the Emperor, "before
England can arrive at this point, she will have to surmount almost
invincible obstacles,—the uniformity of the division of the territory
into departments, the similitude of language, the identity of manners,
the universality of the code, the generality of my lyceums, and the
glory and splendour which I have left behind me; these are so many
indissoluble knots and truly national institutions.

"A great nation like France cannot easily be parcelled out, or, if it
should, it will be constantly re-uniting and seeking to recover its
importance; like Ariosto’s giant, who runs after his limbs and even his
head, as they are lopped off, and after putting them on begins to fight
again." “But Sire,” said some one present, “the power of the giant
depended on the plucking out of a single hair; and, in like manner,
Napoleon may be said to be the hair on which depended the existence of
France.” “No,” resumed the Emperor, “my memory and my ideas would still
survive.—But,” continued he, “England, on the contrary, would in course
of time have become a mere appendage to France, had the latter continued
under my dominion. England was by nature intended to be one of our
Islands, as well as Oleron or Corsica. On what trifles does the fate of
Empires depend! How petty and insignificant are our revolutions in the
grand organization of the universe! If, instead of entering upon the
Egyptian expedition, I had invaded Ireland; if some slight derangement
of my plans had not thrown obstacles in the way of my Boulogne
enterprise; what would England have been to-day? What would have been
the situation of the continent and of the whole political world?”

                           VOLTAIRE’S BRUTUS.

25th.—After dinner the Emperor read Œdipus, which he admired
exceedingly. He next took up Brutus, of which he gave us a very
remarkable analysis. He observed that Voltaire seemed not to have
entered into the right feeling for his subject. “The Romans,” said he,
“were guided by patriotism, as we are by honour. Voltaire has not
portrayed the real sublimity of Brutus, sacrificing his sons for the
welfare of his country, and in spite of the pangs of paternal affection.
He has made him a monster of pride, decreeing the death of his children
for the sake of preserving his power, his name, and his celebrity. The
other characters of the tragedy, he added, are equally misconceived.
Tullia is described as a fury who takes advantage of her situation; and
not as a woman of tender sentiment, who might be led into crime by
seduction and dangerous influence.”


26th.—The Emperor sent for me about two o’clock. He was not well and was
much fatigued. We looked over a few newspapers.

In these papers it was stated that Joseph Bonaparte had made extensive
purchases of land on the north of the State of New York, on the river
St. Lawrence, and that a great number of French families had grouped
round him and were soon likely to form a numerous colony. It was
remarked that the spot seemed to have been fixed on with a view to the
interests of the United States, and in opposition to the policy of
England. In the south, in Louisiana, for example, the refugees could
have looked forward only to the enjoyment of repose and domestic
happiness; but in their present situation they must soon become a
natural attraction to the population of Canada, which was already
French, and they must ultimately form a strong barrier, or even a
hostile point against the English, who yet possess the dominion of that
part of America. The Emperor said that the establishment would in a few
years present a numerous population, distinguished for all sorts of
useful knowledge. If they do their duty, said he, they will transmit
from their colony excellent writings, victorious refutations of the
system which now triumphs in Europe. When at the Island of Elba, the
Emperor had entertained a similar idea.

He then proceeded to calculate all that he had given to the different
members of his family; and observed that they might have amassed
considerable sums of money. For his part, he said, he had nothing; if in
the course of time, he should find himself in possession of any property
in Europe, he should be wholly indebted for it to the foresight and
contrivance of some of his friends.

If the Emperor had gone to America, he intended to have collected all
his relatives around him; and he supposed that they might have realized
at least forty millions of francs. This point would have become the
nucleus of a national union, a second France. Before the conclusion of a
year, the events of Europe would have collected around him a hundred
millions of francs and sixty thousand individuals, most of them
possessing wealth, talent, and information. The Emperor said that he
should have liked to realize that dream; it would have been a renewal of
his glory.

“America,” continued he, “was in all respects our proper asylum. It is
an immense continent, possessing the advantages of a peculiar system of
freedom. If a man is troubled with melancholy, he may get into a coach,
and drive a thousand leagues, enjoying all the way the pleasure of a
common traveller. In America you may be on a footing of equality with
every one; you may, if you please, mingle with the crowd, without
inconvenience, retaining your own manners, your own language, your own
religion, &c.”

He said it was impossible that he could henceforth consider himself as a
private man in Europe; his name was too popular throughout the
continent. He was in some way or other connected with every people, and
belonged to every country.

“As for you,” said he to me smiling, “your fate seemed naturally to lead
you to the shores of the Oronooko or to Mexico, where the recollection
of the good Las Cases is not yet obliterated. You would there have
enjoyed all you could have wished. The destinies of some men seem to be
marked out. Gregoire, for instance, has only to go to Hayti, and he
would immediately be made a Pope.”

At the time of the Emperor’s second abdication, an American in Paris
wrote to him as follows:—"While you were at the head of a nation, you
could perform any miracle, you might conceive any hopes; but now you can
do nothing more in Europe. Fly to the United States! I know the hearts
of the leading men and the sentiments of the people of America. You will
there find a second country and every source of consolation." The
Emperor would not listen to such a suggestion. He might, doubtless, by
dint of speed or disguise, have gained Brest, Nantes, Bordeaux, or
Toulon, and in all probability have reached America; but he conceived
that either disguise or flight would be derogatory from his dignity. He
thought himself bound to prove to all Europe his full confidence in the
French people, and their extreme attachment to him, by passing through
his dominions at such a crisis, merely in the quality of a private man,
and unattended by any escort. But what above all influenced him at that
critical moment was the hope that impending dangers would open the eyes
of his subjects, that they would rally around him, and that he might
save the country. This hope caused him to linger at Malmaison, and to
postpone his departure, after he had reached Rochefort. If he is now at
St. Helena, he owes his captivity to this sentiment, of which he was
unable to divest himself. Subsequently, when he had no other resource
than to accept the hospitality of the Bellerophon, it was not perhaps
without a feeling of inward satisfaction that he found himself, by the
force of circumstances, irresistibly led to fix his abode in England,
where he might enjoy the happiness of being still but little removed
from France. He was well aware that he could not be free in England; but
he hoped to be heard, and then a chance would at least have been open to
the impressions which he might create. “The English Ministers,” said he,
“who are the enemies of their country, and who have sold her to
foreigners, thought they had too much cause to dread my presence. They
conceived that my opinion in London would be more powerful than the
whole Opposition: that it would have compelled them either to change
their system or resign their places; and, to keep themselves in place,
they basely sacrificed the true interests of their country, the triumph,
the glory of her laws, the peace of the world, the welfare of Europe,
the happiness and the benedictions of posterity.”

In the course of conversation during the evening, the Emperor once more
adverted to Waterloo, and described his anxiety and indecision before he
came to a final resolution respecting his abdication. I pass over a
multitude of details, lest I should be led into repetition; I note down
only the following:—

The Emperor’s speech to his ministers was the literal prophecy of all
that subsequently took place. Carnot was the only one who seemed to take
a right view of the case. He opposed the abdication, which he said was a
death-blow to France; and he wished that we should defend ourselves even
to annihilation. Carnot was the only one who maintained this opinion;
all the rest were for the abdication. That measure was determined, and
Carnot, covering his face with his hands, burst into tears.

At another moment the Emperor said, “I am not a God: I cannot do all by
my own single efforts: I cannot save the nation without the help of the
nation. I am certain that the people then entertained these sentiments,
and that they are now suffering undeservedly. It was the host of
intriguers, and men possessing titles and offices, who were really
guilty. That which misled them, and which ruined me, was the mild system
of 1814, the benignity of the restoration; they looked for a repetition
of this lenity. The change of the Sovereign had become a mere joke. They
all calculated on remaining just as they had been before, whether I
should be succeeded by Louis XVIII. or any other. These stupid, selfish,
and egotistical men looked upon the great event as merely a competition,
about which they cared but little; and they thought only of their
individual interests, when a deadly war of principles was about to be
commenced. And why should I disguise the truth? There were among the
individuals whom I had elevated, and by whom I was surrounded, a number
of proud ...!” Then, turning to me, he added, “I am not alluding to your
Faubourg St. Germain, with respect to which the matter was totally
different, and for which some excuse may be found. During my first
reverses in 1814, the greatest traitors were not the persons connected
with that party, of whom I had no great cause to complain; and, who,
therefore, on my return, were not bound to me by any particular ties of
gratitude. I had abdicated, the King was restored. They had but returned
to their old attachments, and had only renewed their allegiance.”


27th.—The Emperor went out about 2 o’clock; the weather was very fine.
The season is sensibly different from that which we had on our arrival;
the air is infinitely more pure. The Emperor was, however, very ill, and
very low-spirited. He walked to the extremity of the wood, while we were
waiting for the calash. We took our usual drive.

The conversation turned on the state of manufactures in France. The
Emperor said he had raised them to a degree of prosperity hitherto
unknown; and which was scarcely credited in Europe, or even in France.
This was a subject of wonder to foreigners on their arrival. The Abbé de
Montesquiou, he said, was constantly expressing his astonishment at this
circumstance, the proofs of which he had in his own hands, when he
became Minister of the Interior.

The Emperor was the first individual in France who said: Agriculture,
first; industry, that is to say, manufactures, next; and, finally,
trade, which must arise out of the superabundance of the two first. He
also defined and put into practice, in a clear and connected way, the
systems most conducive to the interests of our manufacturers and
merchants. To him we were indebted for the cultivation of sugar, indigo,
and cotton. He offered a reward of a million francs to the person who
should discover a method of spinning flax like cotton; and he doubted
not that this discovery would have been made. The fatality of
circumstances alone prevented this grand idea from being carried into

“The old aristocracy, those enemies to our prosperity,” said the
Emperor, “exhausted all their wit in stupid jokes and frivolous
caricatures on these subjects. But the English had no cause to laugh;
they felt the blow, and have not yet recovered from it.”

A short time before dinner, the Emperor sent for me to attend him in his
chamber. He was very unwell; he tried to converse, but he had not
strength. He attributed his indisposition to his having drunk some bad
wine, which had newly arrived. He said that Corvisart, Bertholet, and
other physicians and chemists, had frequently said that if he
experienced the least unpleasant flavour, on first tasting his wine, he
must by no means swallow it.

The turn of the conversation led him to express his surprise at the
contrast between the character of the mind and the expression of the
countenance, which was observable in some individuals. “This proves,”
said he, "that we must not judge of a man by his face; we can know him
only by his conduct. What countenances have I had to judge of in the
course of my life! What odd samples of physiognomy have come under my
observation! And what rash opinions have I heard on this subject! Thus I
invariably made it a rule never to be influenced either by features or
by words. Still, however, it must be confessed that we sometimes find
curious resemblances between the countenance and the character. For
instance, on looking at the face of our _Monseigneur_ (meaning the
Governor), who would not recognise the features of a tiger-cat! I will
mention another instance. There was a man in my service, who was
employed about my person. I liked him very much; but I was obliged to
dismiss him because I several times caught him with his hands in my
pockets. He committed his thefts too impudently: let any one look at
this man, and they must admit that he has a magpie’s eye."

While we were conversing on the subject of physiognomy, some one
remarked, that Mirabeau, speaking of Pastoret’s face, said: “it is a
compound of the tiger and the calf; but the calf predominates.” At this
the Emperor laughed heartily, and said it was strictly true.

The Emperor wished to dine alone in his chamber. He sent for me about
ten o’clock. He was then better; and he looked over several of the books
which lay scattered upon his couch. He began to read Racine’s Alexander,
of which he expressed his dislike; and he afterwards took up Andromache,
which is one of his favourite pieces.

                           ENGLISH SOLDIERS.

28th.—The Emperor went out about two o’clock. The weather was
exceedingly pleasant. We took nearly an hour’s drive in the calash. It
had been at first proposed that the Emperor should ride on horseback;
for his health was suffering from the want of that exercise. But he
would not consent to go out on horseback; he said that to ride backward
and forward within the limits marked out for him was like being confined
in a riding-school, and he could not endure it. However, on our return
home, we succeeded in changing his determination. We all attended him,
and we reached the summit of that part of Goat Hill which separates the
horizon of the town from that of Longwood. On our way back, we passed in
front of the English camp; this was the first time we had passed it
since our residence at Longwood. The soldiers immediately quitted their
various occupations, and eagerly formed themselves in a line as we
passed along. “What European soldier,” said the Emperor, “would not be
inspired with respect at my approach!” He knew this, and therefore
carefully avoided passing the English camp, lest he should be accused of
wishing to excite this sentiment. We all very much enjoyed the ride, and
returned home about five o’clock. The Emperor was a little fatigued.

For some time past, he has relinquished his regular dictations. He saw
some skittles which had been made by the servants for their own
amusement. He ordered them to be brought to us, and we played several
games with them. The Emperor won a napoleon and a half from me. He made
me pay the debt, and then threw the money to the servant who had
attended us for the purpose of running after the ball.


29th.—For some time past, at our urgent solicitation, the Emperor every
evening made a promise that he would ride on horseback early on the
following morning; but whenever the appointed hour arrived he invariably
changed his determination. This morning, he was in the garden by
half-past eight o’clock, and he sent for me. The conversation turned on
Corsica, and was maintained for upwards of an hour.

"One’s native country," said he, “is always dear. Even St. Helena may
have charms to those who were born here.” To the Emperor, therefore,
Corsica presented a thousand attractions. He described the grand scenery
of the country, and remarked that islanders always display originality
of character, because their situation tends to protect them against
invasion, and precludes that perpetual intercourse with foreigners which
is experienced in continental states. The inhabitants of mountainous
regions, he said, always possess a degree of energy, and a turn of mind
peculiar to themselves. He dwelt much on the charms of his native
country, which, from his early recollections, was to him superior to any
other spot in the world. He thought that the very smell of the earth
would enable him to distinguish his native land, even were he conducted
blindfold to her shores; there was in it something peculiar, which he
had never perceived elsewhere. Corsica was the scene of all his early
attachments; he had there passed the happy years of his childhood,
freely roaming among the hills and valleys, enjoying the honours and
pleasures of hospitality. He traced different lines of family
connections, who, he said, extended the spirit of animosity and revenge,
even to the seventh degree; and he observed that a young woman in
Corsica thought she enhanced the value of her dowry by enumerating the
list of her cousins. He recollected with pride that, when only twenty
years of age, he had accompanied Paoli on a grand excursion to Porte di
Nuovo. Paoli’s retinue was numerous; he was escorted by upwards of 500
of his followers on horseback. Napoleon rode by his side, and, as they
went along, Paoli pointed out to him the different positions and the
places which had been the scenes of resistance or triumph during the war
for Corsican liberty. He related to him all the particulars of that
glorious conflict; and, on hearing the remarks and opinions which fell
from his young companion, he said, "Oh Napoleon! there is nothing modern
in your character! you are formed entirely on Plutarch’s model."

When Paoli manifested his determination to surrender the island to the
English, the Bonaparte family continued to head the French party, and
had the fatal honour of being the object of _a march_ of the inhabitants
of the island, that is to say, they were attacked by a levy in mass: 12
or 15,000 peasants made a descent from the mountains on Ajaccio. The
house occupied by Napoleon’s family was pillaged and burnt, and the
vines and flocks were destroyed. Madame, surrounded by a few faithful
friends, wandered for some time on the sea-shore, and was at length
obliged to fly to France. The Bonaparte family had always been much
attached to Paoli, and he in his turn had professed particular respect
towards Madame. It is, however, but just to remark that he employed
persuasion before he resorted to force. “Renounce this opposition,” said
he, “it will prove the ruin of yourself, your family, and your fortune;
you will bring irreparable misery on yourself.” The Emperor, indeed,
affirmed that, but for the chance of the revolution, the family could
never have recovered from their misfortunes. Madame, like another
Cornelia, heroically replied, “that she, her children, and her relatives
would only obey two laws, namely, those of duty and honour. Had old
Archdeacon Lucien been living at that time, his heart would have bled at
the idea of the danger of his sheep, goats, and cattle, and his prudence
would not have failed to allay the storm.”

Madame Bonaparte, the victim of her patriotism and her attachment to
France, expected to be received at Marseilles as an emigrant of
distinction; but there she scarcely found herself in safety; and, to her
astonishment, discovered that the spirit of patriotism existed only
among the very lowest classes of the people.

Napoleon, in his youth wrote a history of Corsica, which he dedicated to
the Abbé Raynal. This production gained for him some flattering
compliments and letters from the Abbé, who was the fashionable author of
the day. This history has been lost.

The Emperor remarked that, during the war in Corsica, all the French who
came to the island formed some decided opinion on the character of the
mountaineers. Some said that they were full of enthusiasm, others
regarded them as mere banditti.

It was said in the Senate at Paris, that France had chosen a ruler from
among a people whom the Romans would not take for their slaves. “The
Senator intended this remark as an insult to me,” said the Emperor; “but
he forgot how high a compliment he was thus paying to the Corsicans. He
spoke truly: the Romans never purchased Corsican slaves: they knew that
it was impossible to reduce the Corsicans under the yoke of slavery.”

During the war for liberty in Corsica, some one proposed the singular
plan of cutting down and burning all the chesnut-trees, the fruit of
which furnishes sustenance to the mountaineers. By this means it was
hoped they would be compelled to descend to the plains to sue for food
and peace. Happily, said the Emperor, this was one of those
impracticable plans which can be realized only on paper. From very
different motives, Napoleon, during the early period of his life, had
constantly declaimed against the goats, which are very numerous in the
island, and commit great ravages among the trees. He wished them to be
entirely extirpated. On this subject he had some terrible disputes with
his uncle, Archdeacon Lucien, who possessed numerous herds of goats, and
who defended them like a patriarch. In his rage, he reproached his
nephew with being an _innovator_, and inveighed against _philosophic
ideas_, as the cause of the danger with which his goats were threatened.

Paoli died in London at a very old age: he lived to see Napoleon First
Consul and Emperor. The Emperor expressed his regret at not having
recalled him. “That,” said he, “would have been highly gratifying to me.
Such an act would have been a real trophy of honour. But my mind was
absorbed in important affairs; I rarely had time to indulge my personal

After the Emperor’s return in 1815, when Lucien arrived in Paris, Joseph
advised the Emperor to appoint him Governor General of Corsica. This
measure was even determined on; the importance and hurry of passing
events alone prevented its execution. “If Lucien had gone to Corsica,”
said the Emperor, “he would still have remained master of the Island,
and what resources would it not have presented to our persecuted
patriots?—To how many unfortunate families would not Corsica have
afforded an asylum? He repeated that he had perhaps committed a fault,
at the time of his abdication, in not reserving to himself the
sovereignty of Corsica, together with the possession of some millions of
the civil list; and in not having conveyed all his valuables to Toulon,
whence nothing could have impeded his passage. In Corsica, he would have
found himself at home; the whole population would have been, as it were,
his own family. He might have disposed of every arm and every heart.
Thirty thousand or even 50,000 allied troops could not have subdued
him.” No sovereign in Europe would have undertaken such a task. But it
was precisely the happy security of the situation that deterred him from
availing himself of it. He would not have it said that, amidst the wreck
of the French people, which he plainly foresaw, he alone had been artful
enough to gain the port.

Some one here observed that, according to the general opinion, he might,
in 1814, have secured the possession of Corsica instead of the Island of
Elba. “Certainly I might,” replied the Emperor, “and those who are well
acquainted with the affairs of Fontainebleau will be surprised that I
did not. I might then have reserved to myself whatever I pleased. The
humour of the moment led me to decide in favour of Elba. Had I possessed
Corsica, it is probable that my return in 1815 would never have been
thought of. Even at Elba, those whose interest it was to keep me there
decreed my return by their own misgovernment and the non-fulfilment of
the engagements which they had entered into with me.”

We now reminded the Emperor of his intention of riding on horseback; but
he said that he would rather walk and chat. He ordered his breakfast,
after which we conversed for some time on the old Court, the nobility
who composed it, their pretensions, the King’s equipages, &c.; and all
this was compared with what the Emperor had himself introduced.

The Emperor then reverted to the period of his Consulship, and described
the difficulties which he had experienced in forming the kind of Court
which was then kept up at the Tuileries. On his arrival there, he was
resolved to obliterate the recollection of the manners and conflicts of
the period to which he had just succeeded. But he had hitherto passed
his life in camps: he had just returned from Egypt, and had quitted
France when young and inexperienced. He was a stranger to every one, and
he at first found this a source of great embarrassment. Lebrun acted as
his guide during the first years of his Consulship. Bankers and
money-speculators were at that time persons of the first consequence. No
sooner did the Consul enter upon his functions, than a host of these
individuals crowded round him, and eagerly offered to advance him
considerable sums of money. This conduct, though seemingly dictated only
by generosity, was not however without interested views. They were for
the most part men of bad character; and their offers were rejected. The
First Consul had a natural dislike of men of this profession. He said
that he had taken the firm determination to act upon different
principles from those of Scherer, Barras, and the Directory. He was
anxious that probity should become the main spring and feature of his
new government. The Consul was also immediately surrounded by the wives
of these money-lenders, who were all beautiful and elegant women. Indeed
a money-lender at that time seemed to regard it as indispensably
necessary that his wife should be a woman of fascinating manners: it was
a circumstance that tended materially to assist his speculations. But
the prudent Lebrun was at hand to direct the young Telemachus. He
resolved to exclude this sort of society from the Tuileries. It was,
however, no such easy matter to assemble a suitable circle around the
Consul: nobles were rejected, in order to avoid giving offence to public
opinion; and contractors were excluded, with the view of purifying the
morals of the new era. These two classes being thus shut out, of course
no very distinguished society remained; and the Tuileries for some time
presented a sort of magic-lantern, very varied and changeable.

At Moscow, the Viceroy happened to meet with some letters written by
Princess Dolgoruki, who had been at Paris at the period here alluded to.
This correspondence gave a very favourable picture of the Tuileries. The
Princess observed that it was not precisely a Court, nor yet exactly a
camp; but something perfectly new in its kind. She added that the First
Consul did not carry his hat under his arm, nor wear a dress-sword by
his side; but that he was nevertheless a swordsman. “However,” continued
the Emperor, “such is the effect of evil report that, owing to some such
expressions as these having been misrepresented to me, Princess
Dolgoruki was very unjustly treated. I ordered her, at that time, to
quit France. We thought her hostile to the principles of our government;
but we were, as it may be seen, mistaken. Madame G...., the mistress of
M. de T...., for he had not yet made her his wife, greatly contributed
to alienate from us the regard of the Russians.”

The Emperor observed that, on his return from Elba, he had experienced
far less embarrassment in composing his Court. “It was, indeed,” said
he, “all ready formed, by the ladies whom I termed _my widows_. These
were Madame Duroc, the Duchess of Istria, Mesdames Regnier, Lagrand, and
all the other widows of my first generals. I told the Princesses, who
consulted me on the method of recomposing their Courts, to follow my
example. Nothing was more natural and proper. These ladies, though still
young, were already experienced in the world; and among them were
several beautiful and fascinating women. Most of them have now lost
their fortunes; some, I have been told, are re-married, and have changed
their names;[17] so that, of all the wealth and rank founded by me, no
traces will perhaps remain; even names will disappear. If this should
really be the case, will it not afford ground for saying that, after
all, there must have been a radical error in the selections I made. But
it will be the worse for the parties themselves; they will by this means
only furnish a triumph and a ground of insolence to the old

Footnote 17:

  The Emperor had been informed that two or three of the widows of his
  most distinguished generals had lately re-married. This, however, is

We again reminded the Emperor of his intended ride on horseback: we
urged him not to neglect it, because we knew it to be absolutely
necessary for his health. But we could not prevail on him to leave the
garden. “We are very well here,” said he; “we will have some tents
pitched on this spot.” We began to talk about the Faubourg St. Germain,
and the Hotel de Luynes, which the Emperor termed its metropolis. He
described to us the cause of the banishment of Madame de Chevreuse. He
said, he had frequently threatened to visit her with this punishment,
and for conduct of the most mischievous and insolent nature. One day,
when urged to the utmost extremity, he addressed her as follows:—"Madam,
according to the feudal notions and doctrines, entertained by you and
your friends, you pretend to be the sovereigns of your estates! Now, on
the same principles, I may style myself the Sovereign Lord of France. I
may claim Paris as my village, and may banish from it every individual
who is obnoxious to me. I judge you by your own laws. Begone! and never
venture to return!" On decreeing her exile, the Emperor was firmly
resolved never to be prevailed on to recal her; because, he said, he had
endured much before he had decreed her punishment, and he found himself
compelled to set an example of severity to spare the necessity of
repeating it on others. This was one of his grand principles.

I told the Emperor that I had frequently visited the Hotel de Luynes,
and that I had been well acquainted with Madame de Chevreuse and her
mother-in-law, for whom I had always entertained a great regard. The
latter had evinced singular and constant affection for her
daughter-in-law, having shared her exile, and accompanied her in her
different journeys from place to place. When proceeding on my mission to
Illyria, I one night met them both in an inn at the foot of the Simplon.
To be thus able to procure in the desert the most trivial details
relating to Paris and the Court, was to them a source of unfeigned joy,
and a most unexpected instance of good fortune. They listened to me with
no less eagerness than that evinced by Fouquet on hearing the accounts
of Lauzun. Their banishment from the capital had been to them an
absolute sentence of death; it had overwhelmed them with despair!

Finally, I assured the Emperor that, for a considerable period, I had
observed the Hotel de Luynes, if not subdued, at least calmed and
reduced to something less than indifference; but our unexpected
disasters had revived its former spirit.

As to Madame de Chevreuse, who was a handsome, intelligent, and amiable
woman, with a somewhat romantic turn of mind, she had doubtless been
seduced by the charms of notoriety, or urged on by her numerous
flatterers and admirers, some of whom were very unworthy of her regard.
“I know it,” observed the Emperor; “she hoped to recommence _the
Fronde_; but I was not a minor Sovereign.”

The Musquito brig which left England on the 23rd of March, arrived with
files of the Journal des Debats down to the 5th of March, and London
papers to the 21st. On retiring to his closet, the Emperor desired me to
follow him. He began to peruse the Journal des Debats; and, meanwhile, a
letter was delivered to me from the Grand Marshal. It had just arrived
from Europe, and was addressed to the Emperor. I handed it to him. He
read it over once and sighed; and, then, having read it a second time,
he tore it, and threw the fragments beneath the table. This letter was
delivered open! The Emperor then resumed his perusal of the Journals,
and, suddenly stopping, he said, after a few moments’ silence:—"That
letter was from poor Madame: she is well, and wishes to come to reside
with me at St. Helena!" After this he continued his reading. This, which
was the first letter that the Emperor had received from any individual
of his family, was in the handwriting of Cardinal Fesch. The Emperor was
evidently much hurt by its having been delivered to him open.


30th.—The Emperor went out about two o’clock, and we all attended him.
He began to converse about the intelligence contained in the French
papers which he had just received, and alluded to the statues which, it
was stated, were to be erected to the memory of Moreau and Pichegru. “A
statue to Moreau,” said he, “whose conspiracy in 1803 is now so well
proved! Moreau, who, in 1813, died fighting under the Russian standard!
A monument to the memory of Pichegru, who was guilty of one of the most
heinous of crimes! who purposely suffered himself to be defeated, and
who connived with the enemy in the slaughter of his own troops! And
after all,” continued he, “history is only made up of reports which gain
credit by repetition. Because it has been repeatedly affirmed that these
were great men, who deserved well of their country, they will at length
pass for such, and their adversaries will be despised.”

Some one present remarked that it might have been thus in the dark ages
of ignorance; but that now the multitude of monuments and public
documents, the arts of printing and engraving, and the general diffusion
of knowledge, must always render truth accessible to those who wish to
come at it; and, as each party has its own historians, the thinking
reader will always be enabled to form an impartial opinion.

The Emperor then described at length the affairs of Moreau, Georges, and
Pichegru, to which I have before alluded, and of which I promised
further details. He now informed us that the man who made the first
confessions indicated, though without naming him, a person to whom
Georges and the other leaders of the conspiracy never spoke without
taking off their hats, and whom they treated with the utmost
consideration and respect. It was at first supposed that this individual
must have been the Duke de Berri; and some concluded him to have been
the Duke d’Enghien, during his momentary appearance. Charles d’Hosier,
one of the conspirators, unexpectedly drew aside the veil. A few days
after his arrest, he was seized with a fit of melancholy and hanged
himself in prison. The alarm was however given, and he was cut down.
Stretched on his bed, and while yet struggling between life and death,
he vented repeated imprecations against Moreau, and accused him of
having treacherously seduced many well-disposed men, and held out to
them promises of assistance which he never realized. He likewise
mentioned the names of Georges and Pichegru. This was the first
circumstance that excited suspicion against Georges and Pichegru; there
was previously no idea of either the one or the other having been
engaged in the conspiracy. Real, who had hastened to this sort of
death-bed confession of d’Hosier, proposed to the Consul that he should
order the arrest of Moreau.

“This event created a great sensation,” said the Emperor. “The public
mind was wrought up to a high pitch of fermentation. Doubts were
entertained of the truth of the statements made by the Government
respecting the extent of the conspiracy and the number of the
conspirators. Of the latter it was affirmed there were about forty in
Paris. Their names were published, and the First Consul pledged his
honour to secure them. He summoned Bassières, and gave orders that he,
with his corps, should surround and guard the walls of Paris. For the
space of six weeks, nobody was suffered to quit the capital without
special permission. A general gloom prevailed through Paris; but every
day the Moniteur announced the arrest of one or two of the individuals
who it was alleged were concerned in the conspiracy. Public opinion took
a turn in my favour; and indignation against the conspirators increased
in proportion as they were secured. Not one escaped.”

The public papers of the period detail the particulars of the arrest of
Georges, who killed two men before he could be secured. It appears that
he was betrayed by his comrade, who drove the cabriolet in which they
were both riding together.

As to Pichegru, he was the victim of the basest treachery. “This
circumstance,” said the Emperor, “was truly a disgrace to human nature.
He was sold by his intimate friend; by a man whom I will not name, on
account of the horror and disgust which his conduct is calculated to
excite.” We informed the Emperor that the name of this individual had
been mentioned in the Moniteur, at which he expressed surprise. “This
man,” continued he, "who was formerly a military officer, and who has
since followed the business of a merchant at Lyons, offered to deliver
up Pichegru for 100,000 crowns. On the day on which he made this
proposal, he stated that they had, on the preceding evening, supped
together, and that Pichegru, finding himself every day alluded to in the
Moniteur, and being aware that the critical moment was fast approaching,
said, ‘If I and a few other Generals were boldly to present ourselves to
the troops, should we not gain them over?’—‘No,’ replied the friend,
‘you form a wrong idea of the state of feeling in France; you would not
gain over a single soldier.’—He spoke truly. At night, the faithless
friend conducted the officers of the police to Pichegru’s door; and he
gave them a minute description of his chamber and his means of defending
himself. Pichegru had pistols on his bed-room table, and he kept a light
burning while he slept. The officers gently unlocked the door by means
of false keys, which the treacherous friend had procured for them. The
table was overturned, the candle was extinguished, and the officers
seized Pichegru, who immediately jumped out of bed. He was a very
powerful man; he struggled desperately, and it was found necessary to
bind him and convey him to prison, without waiting till he could be

On being placed at the head of the government, the First Consul was
extremely anxious to tranquillize the western departments. He summoned
nearly all the leading men of those districts, and succeeded in rousing
several of them to a sense of the interests and glory of their country;
he added that he even drew tears from the eyes of some. Georges had his
turn among the rest. The Emperor said that he had endeavoured to touch
every individual string of his heart; but in vain, he could produce no
vibration. He found him lost to every generous feeling, and coldly
intent on his own ambitious calculations. He persisted in his
determination to command his Cantons. The Consul, having exhausted every
conciliatory argument, at length assumed the language of the first
Magistrate of France. He dismissed him, and recommended him to go home
and live quietly and submissively; and above all, not to mistake the
nature of the course he had that moment adopted, nor to attribute to
weakness what was only the result of his moderation and the
consciousness of his power. He desired him to repeat to himself, and to
all who were connected with him, that, so long as the First Consul
should hold the reins of authority, there would be no chance of safety
for any who might dare to engage in conspiracy. Georges took his leave;
but, as the event proved, not without having imbibed from this
conference a feeling of respect for Napoleon, on whose destruction,
however, he still continued bent.

Moreau was the rallying point and the centre of attraction to the
conspirators, who came from London to attack Paris. It appeared that
Lajollais, his Aide-de-camp, had deceived these men, by addressing them
in the name of Moreau, and telling them that that General was secure of
popular favour throughout the whole of France, and could dispose of the
whole army. Moreau constantly assured them that he could command no one,
not even his Aide-de-camp; but that if they killed the First Consul,
they might do any thing.

Moreau, when left to himself, was a very good sort of man. He was easily
led, and this accounts for his inconsistencies. He left the palace in
raptures, and returned to it full of spleen and malice;—having in the
interim seen his mother-in-law and his wife. The First Consul, who would
have been very glad to have gained him over to his side, once made it up
with him completely; but their friendship lasted only four days. The
Consul then vowed that he would never renew it. In fact, attempts were
afterwards frequently made to reconcile them; but Napoleon never would
agree to it. He foresaw that Moreau would commit some fault, that he
would lose himself; and certainly he could not have done so in a way
more advantageous to the First Consul.

Some days previous to the battle of Leipsic, some carriages containing
property and papers belonging to Moreau, which were on their way to his
widow in England, were intercepted at Wittemberg. Among those papers,
there was a letter from Madame Moreau herself, in which she advised her
husband to lay aside his silly wavering conduct, and to come boldly to a
determination. She urged him to assist in the triumph of the legitimate
cause, that of the Bourbons. In answer to this, Moreau wrote a few days
before his death, begging her not to trouble him with her chimeras. “I
have come near enough to France,” said he, "to learn all that is going
forward there. I have got into a real hornet’s nest."

The Emperor was on the point of publishing these intercepted papers in
the Moniteur; but there still existed in France some persons blindly
tenacious of the opinion they had always maintained respecting Moreau,
and who persisted in regarding him as a victim of tyranny. The
counter-revolution had not yet afforded an opportunity of making known
those acts hitherto disavowed, and of claiming their recompense. The
circumstance of personal enmity prevented the Emperor from executing his
intention. He thought that it would not be becoming to revive this
enmity for his own advantage, and to tarnish the memory of a man who had
just fallen on the field of battle.

The trial of Moreau and Pichegru, which was protracted for such a length
of time, violently agitated the public mind. What added to the notoriety
and interest of this trial was its connection with the affair of the
Duke d’Enghien, with which it became interwoven. “I have,” said the
Emperor, “been reproached with having committed a great fault in that
trial. It has been compared with the affair of the necklace, in the
reign of Louis XVI., which that Monarch put into the hands of
Parliament, instead of having it judged by a Commission. Politicians
have affirmed that I should have contented myself with consigning the
criminals to the judgment of a Military Commission. It would have been
ended in eight and forty hours. I could have done it; it was legal, and
nothing more would have been required of me; I should have avoided the
risks to which I was exposed. But I felt my power so unlimited, and I
was at the same time so strong in the justice of my cause, that I was
determined the affair should be open to the observation of the whole
world. For this reason the ambassadors and agents of Foreign powers were
present during the proceedings!”

One of the company present here observed to the Emperor that the course
he then adopted had proved advantageous to history and honourable to his
own character. It had furnished three volumes of authentic documents
relating to the trial.

Another individual of the Emperor’s suite, who, at the time of this
celebrated trial, was with the army at Boulogne, said that all these
events, even the affair of the Duke d’Enghien, had there excited but
little interest, and that, on his return to Paris, some time afterwards,
he was astonished to observe the sensation which they had created in the

The Emperor remarked that the public mind had indeed been highly
excited, particularly on the occasion of the death of the Duke
d’Enghien, which event, he said, still appeared to be judged of in
Europe with blindness and prejudice. He maintained his right of adopting
the step he had taken, and enumerated the reasons which had urged him to
it. He then adverted to the many attempts that had been made to
assassinate him, and observed that he was bound in justice to say that
he had never detected Louis XVIII. in any direct conspiracy against his
life, though such plots had been incessantly renewed in other quarters.
With regard to that Prince he had heard only of his systematic plans,
ideal operations, &c.

“If,” continued he, “I had continued in France in 1815, I intended to
have given publicity to some of the later attempts that were made
against me. The Maubreuil affair, in particular, should have been
solemnly investigated by the first Court of the Empire, and Europe would
have shuddered to see to what an extent the crime of secret
assassination could be carried.”


31st.—At five o’clock, I went to join the Emperor in the garden; we were
all assembled there. The conversation turned on politics. He described
the melancholy situation of England, amidst her triumphs. He alluded to
the immensity of her debt, the madness, the impossibility of her
becoming a continental power, the dangers which assailed her
constitution, the embarrassment of her ministers, and the just clamour
of the people. England with her 150 or 200 thousand men, made as many
efforts as he, the Emperor, had ever made during the period of his great
power, and perhaps even more. He had never employed beyond 500 thousand
French troops. The traces of his Continental system were followed by all
the powers on the Continent, and would be pursued still further in
proportion as those powers became more settled. He did not hesitate to
say, and he proved it, that England would have gained by adhering to the
treaty of Amiens; that such a line of conduct would have been to the
advantage of all Europe, but that Napoleon himself, and his glory would
have suffered by it. Yet it was England, and not he, who broke the

There was only one course, he continued, for England to pursue; namely,
to return to her constitution and abandon the military system; to
interfere with the Continent only through her maritime influence, in
which she was pre-eminent. It was, he said, easy to foresee that great
calamities would assail her should she adopt any other course, and this
she would inevitably do, because all her aristocracy urged her to it,
and because the folly, pride, or venality of her present ministry caused
her to persist in the system she was pursuing.

The conversation being concluded, the Emperor returned to his study, and
desired me to follow him. He told me that a letter which had been sent
to him from England by post was said to have been kept back by the
Governor, because it was not addressed to him officially; and it was
said that a letter for the Grand Marshal had been detained for the same
reason. The Emperor observed that, if this were true, there was
something peculiarly cruel in the conduct of the Governor, in having
sent back the letters without even mentioning them to us, and without
affording us the consolation of knowing from whom they came.... A
neglect of form, he said, might easily be corrected in the Island; but
it could not so easily be observed at 2000 leagues’ distance. I told the
Emperor that a circumstance nearly similar to that which he had just
mentioned had occurred to me eight or ten days back. “A person who was
on his way to Europe had tormented me with his offers of service. I
yielded to his solicitations, and commissioned him to order me some
shoes and to get a watch changed for me, for there is no person here who
knows how to repair a watch. The Governor had forbidden the execution of
those commissions, because they had not been addressed to himself. I
have said nothing on the subject to any one, Sire, because it is a
principle with me to conceal an insult for which I cannot obtain
redress; but I shall find an opportunity to tell the Governor my mind.
In the mean time, neither he nor the person to whom I gave the
commission, has been able to draw from me a line, or a single word,
though the latter has made several attempts to do so.”

After dinner the Emperor, conversing on our situation and the conduct of
the Governor, who came to-day and took a rapid circuit round Longwood,
reverted to the subject of the last interview they had had together, and
made some striking observations respecting it. “I behaved very ill to
him, no doubt,” said he, “and nothing but my present situation could
excuse me; but I was out of humour, and could not help it; I should
blush for it in any other situation. Had such a scene taken place at the
Tuileries, I should have felt myself bound in conscience to make some
atonement. Never, during the period of my power, did I speak harshly to
any one without afterwards saying something to make amends for it. But
here I uttered not a syllable of conciliation, and I had no wish to do
so. However, the Governor proved himself very insensible to my severity;
his delicacy did not seem wounded by it. I should have liked, for his
sake, to have seen him shew a little anger, or bang the door after him
when he went away. This would at least have shown that there was some
spring and elasticity about him; but I found nothing of the kind.”

The Emperor then again resumed his conversation on political affairs,
which he maintained with so much spirit and interest, that I could have
forgotten for a time what part of the world I was in. I could have
believed myself still at the Tuileries or in the Rue de Bourgogne.


Saturday, 1st of June.—The Emperor sent for me. He had just come out of
his bath, where he had remained three hours, and he asked me to guess
what book he had been engaged in reading whilst in the water; it was
Rousseau’s New Eloise. He had expressed himself quite charmed with this
work when he first perused it at the Briars; but in analysing it again,
he now criticised it with unsparing severity. The rock of _la Meillerie_
being mentioned, he said he thought it had been destroyed when he caused
a road to be made over the Simplon; but I assured him that enough
remained to preserve a perfect recollection of it: it projects over the
road, and, like Leucate of old, offers a fine leap to despairing lovers.

To the noble character given by Rousseau to Lord Edward in his New
Eloise, and to the impression produced by some of Voltaire’s plays, the
Emperor ascribed, in a great measure, the high estimate which had been
formed in France of the English character. The facility with which
public opinion was governed in those days excited his surprise; Voltaire
and Rousseau, who had _then_ directed it as they pleased, would not, he
thought, be able to do so at the present time; and Voltaire, in
particular, had only exercised so powerful an influence over his
contemporaries, and been considered the great man of his age, because
all around him were pigmies.

The Emperor then proceeded to compare the character of the English and
French nations. “The higher classes among the English,” said he, "are
proud; with us unfortunately they are only vain; in that consists the
great characteristic distinction between the two nations. The mass of
the people in France certainly possess a greater share of national
feeling than any other now existing in Europe; they have profited by the
experience of their twenty-five years’ revolution; but unfortunately
that class which the revolution has advanced have not been found equal
to the station of life to which they have been elevated; they have shown
themselves corrupt and unstable: in the last struggles they have not
been distinguished either by talents, firmness, or virtue; in short,
they have degraded the honour of the nation."

A speech of M. de Chateaubriand’s has been read to the Emperor, on the
propriety of allowing the clergy to inherit. The Emperor observed that
it was rather an Academical oration than the opinion of a legislator—it
had wit, but showed little judgment, and contained no views
whatever.—"Allow the clergy to inherit," said he, “and nobody will die
without being obliged to purchase absolution: for, whatever our opinions
may be, we none of us know whither we go on leaving this world. Then
must we remember our last and final account, and no one can pronounce
what his feelings will be at his last hour, nor answer for the strength
of his mind at that awful moment. Who can affirm that I shall not die in
the arms of a confessor? and that he will not make me acknowledge myself
guilty of the evil I shall not have done, and implore forgiveness for
it?”—In the present instance, however, as somebody has observed, M. de
Chateaubriand may be said to uphold an opinion, rather than express a
sentiment of his own; and there are strong grounds for believing that,
in religion, as well as in politics, he has often been known to set
forth doctrines which had failed to carry conviction to his own mind.

On the article of religion, for instance, it is well known that before
he wrote his _Beauties of Christianity_, he had published in London
another work, of a tendency decidedly anti-religious.[18] The bookseller
to whom he entrusted the sale of this work, was Dulau, formerly a
benedictine monk of Soreze, who had sought refuge in London at the time
of the revolution. Being a man of intelligent mind and sound judgment,
he took the liberty of giving M. de Chateaubriand some good advice. He
represented to him that both the place and the time were ill chosen for
indulging in declamations against religion; that the moment had gone by
when they were favourably received; that they had become common-place
and in bad taste; and that the surest way to engage the attention of the
public would be to take up the other side of the question, and advocate,
on the contrary, the cause of religion. M. de Chateaubriand listened to
this advice, and wrote his _Beauties of Christianity_; and the event
proved that Dulau had not been mistaken in his choice of the moment, for
it is very doubtful, if the work were to appear now, whether it would
obtain the brilliant success it then met with, notwithstanding the great
merit which it undoubtedly possesses.

Footnote 18:

  Essai sur les Revolutions Anciennes et Modérnes.

The appointment of the author of _The Beauties of Christianity_ to the
embassy of Rome, was considered, at the time, as a very delicate
attention on the part of the First Consul to M. de Chateaubriand, who,
in his turn, hailed it as a first triumph, and the presage of still
greater triumphs which awaited him in the capital of the Christian
world, amongst the rulers of the church. But he was soon doomed to find
himself greatly mistaken, for people at Rome were highly scandalized at
seeing religion transformed into romance, and the Divines condemned
without hesitation _The Beauties of Christianity_, which they pronounced
to abound in heresies.

However, M. de Chateaubriand, thoroughly convinced of his own merit,
consoled himself by affecting to laugh with pity at such puerilities;
and, happening to be about this time godfather to a little girl, he gave
her the name of Atala; by this name, however, the priest positively
refused to christen her, whilst M. de Chateaubriand, in his turn,
insisted with all the obstinacy of an author and all the pride of an
ambassador. This affair made a noise, and M. de Chateaubriand laid a
complaint before the Cardinal-governor; who decided in favour of the
priest; and moreover, felt highly offended on the occasion: for M. de
Chateaubriand, fancying that his services in the cause of religion had
given him a right to assume the tone of one initiated in the secrets of
the church, concluded his argument with the Cardinal by saying: “That it
was very ridiculous that such obstacles should be thrown in _his_ way;
for,” added he, “_between ourselves_, your Eminence must know that
between Atala and any other Saint, there is no great difference.”

The Emperor was highly entertained by these anecdotes, which, he said,
were quite new to him, and the person who related them observed that,
although he could not vouch for their authenticity, yet he had no doubt
of it in his own mind, having heard them from one of the persons who
succeeded M. de Chateaubriand at the court of Rome.

In politics M. de Chateaubriand has been alternately seen amongst the
adherents and opponents of Napoleon; and the Emperor charges him, when
in his service, with malevolence and want of integrity, particularly at
the time of his embassy to the old King of Sardinia at Rome.

During the disastrous event of 1814, he made himself conspicuous by
writing pamphlets so outrageously violent and virulent, and disgraced by
such barefaced calumnies, that they excited feelings of disgust. He no
doubt must regret having been the author of them, and would not now
degrade his talents by such writings.

Some years before our disasters, the Emperor, reading one day some
fragments of this author’s works, expressed his surprise that he was not
a member of the Institute. These words acted as a powerful
recommendation in favour of M. de Chateaubriand, who hastened to put
himself in the list as a candidate, and was almost unanimously chosen.

According to one of the invariable rules of the Institute, the candidate
newly chosen was to make a speech in praise of the member to whom he was
then succeeding; but M. de Chateaubriand, persuaded, that for a man who
had once occupied the attention of the public, the surest way to acquire
celebrity was to leave the beaten track, and strike into a new path to
fame, reversed this custom by devoting part of his speech to stigmatise
the political principles of M. Chenier his predecessor, and proscribe
him as a regicide. His speech was a complete political argument,
discussing the restoration of monarchy and the judgment and death of
Louis XVI.; the whole Institute was in an uproar, some of the members
refusing to listen to a speech which appeared to them indecorous, and
others, on the contrary, insisting upon its being read. From the
Institute the dispute spread rapidly through the different circles of
Paris, which were full of the debate, and divided in opinion on the
subject; and at last reached the ears of the Emperor, to whom every
thing was carried, and who wished to be informed of every thing. He
ordered the speech to be shown to him, pronounced it to be extravagant
in the extreme, and instantly forbade its publication. It so happened
that one of the members of the Institute, who had taken a lively part in
the discussion, and voted for the reading of the speech, was also one of
the great officers of the Emperor’s household; and the Emperor took
advantage of this circumstance to manifest his opinion, by addressing
him in the following manner at one of his _couchers_:—"How long is it,
sir," said he, with the utmost severity, "since the Institute has
presumed to take the character of a political assembly? The province of
the Institute is to produce poetry and to censure faults of language;
let it beware how it forsakes the domain of literature, or I shall take
measures to bring it back within its proper limits. And is it possible
that _you_, sir, have sanctioned such an intemperate harangue by your
approbation? If M. de Chateaubriand is insane, or disposed to
malevolence, a mad-house may cure him, or punishment correct him; yet it
may be that the opinions he has pronounced are conscientiously his own,
and he is not obliged to surrender them to my policy, which is unknown
to him; but with you the case is totally different—_you_ are constantly
near my person, you are acquainted with all my acts, you know my will;
there _may_ be an excuse in M. de Chateaubriand’s favour, there _can_ be
none in yours. Sir, I hold you guilty, I consider your conduct as
criminal: it tends to bring us back to the days of disorder and
confusion, anarchy and bloodshed. Are we then banditti? And am I but an
usurper? Sir, I did not ascend the throne by hurling another from it; I
found the crown; I picked it up out of the kennel, and the nation placed
it on my head: respect the nation’s act. To submit facts that have so
recently occurred to public discussion in the present circumstances, is
to court fresh convulsions, and be an enemy to the public tranquillity.
The restoration of monarchy is veiled in mystery, and must remain so;
wherefore then, I pray, this new proposed proscription of
conventionalists and regicides? Why are subjects of so delicate a nature
again brought to light? To God alone it must belong to pronounce upon
what is no longer within the reach of the judgment of men! Are you to be
more scrupulous than the Empress? Her interests are as dear as yours can
be in this question, and much more direct, yet she has asked no
questions, she has made no enquiries; take example from her moderation.

"Have I then lost the fruit of all my labours? have all my efforts been
of so little avail that, as soon as my presence no longer restrains you,
you are ready to cut one another’s throats?" And, in speaking thus, he
paced the room with rapid strides, and, striking his forehead with his
hand, exclaimed: "Alas! poor France, long yet must thou need the care of
a guardian.

“I have done all in my power,” continued he, "to quell all your
dissensions; to unite all parties has been the constant object of my
solicitude. I have made all meet under the same roof, sit at the same
board, and drink of the same cup. I have a right to expect that you will
second my endeavours.

"Since I have taken the reins of government, have I ever inquired into
the lives, actions, opinions, or writings of any one?—Imitate my

“I have never had but one aim, never asked but this one question; will
you sincerely assist me in promoting the true interest of France? and
all those who have answered affirmatively have been placed by me in a
defile of granite and without outlet on either side, through which I
have urged them on to the other extremity, where my finger pointed to
the honour, the glory, and the splendour of France.”

This reprimand was so severe that the person to whom it was addressed, a
man of honour and delicate feelings, determined upon asking an audience
the next day, in order to tender his resignation. He was admitted to the
presence of the Emperor, who immediately said to him: “My dear sir, you
are come on account of the conversation of yesterday; you felt hurt on
the occasion, and I have felt not less so; but it was a piece of advice
which I thought it right to give to more than one person; if it has the
desired effect of producing some public good, we must neither of us
regret the circumstance; think no more about it.” And he spoke of
something else.

Thus would the Emperor often censure whole bodies in the person of one
single individual; and, in order to strike with greater awe, he did it
in a most solemn and imposing manner. But the anger which he sometimes
shewed in public, and of which so much has been said, was only feigned,
and put on for the moment. The Emperor affirmed that by such means he
had often deterred many from the commission of a fault, and spared
himself the necessity of punishing.

One day, at one of his grand audiences, he attacked a Colonel with the
utmost vehemence, and quite in a tone of anger, upon some slight
disorders of which his regiment had been guilty towards the inhabitants
of the countries they had passed through, in returning to France. During
the reprimand, the Colonel, thinking the punishment out of all
proportion to the fault of which he was accused, repeatedly endeavoured
to excuse himself; but the Emperor, without interrupting his speech,
said to him in an under-tone, “Very well, but hold your tongue; I
believe you: but say nothing:” and when he afterwards saw him in
private, he said to him: “When I thus addressed you, I was chastising,
in your person, certain Generals whom I saw near you, and who, had I
spoken to them direct, would have been found deserving of the lowest
degradation, and perhaps of something worse.”

But it sometimes happened, also, that the Emperor was publicly appealed
to: I have witnessed several instances of this kind.

One day at St. Cloud, at the grand audience which was held every Sunday,
a Sub-prefect, or some other public officer of Piedmont, who was
standing by my side, addressed the Emperor in a loud tone of voice and
with the utmost emotion, calling for justice, asserting that he had been
falsely accused, and unjustly condemned and dismissed from the service.
“Apply to my ministers,” answered the Emperor. “No, Sire, I wish to be
judged by you.” “That is impossible, my time is wholly absorbed with the
general interests of the Empire, and my ministers are appointed to take
into consideration the particular cases of individuals.” “But they will
condemn me.” “For what reason?” “Because every body is against me.”
“Why?” “Because I love you—to love you, Sire, is a sufficient motive to
inspire every one with hatred.” All the bystanders were disconcerted at
this answer, and red with confusion; but the Emperor replied, with the
utmost calmness, “This is rather a strange assertion, sir, but I am
willing to hope that you are mistaken,” and he passed on to the next
person. On another occasion also, on the parade, a young officer stepped
out of the ranks, in extreme agitation, to complain that he had been
ill-used, slighted, and passed over, and that he had been five years a
Lieutenant, without being able to obtain promotion. “Calm yourself,”
said the Emperor, “I was _seven_ years a Lieutenant, and yet you see
that a man may push himself forward for all that.” Every body laughed,
and the young officer, suddenly cooled by those few words, returned to
his place. Nothing was more common than to see private individuals
attack the Emperor, and hold out against him, and I have often seen him
thus sharply and warmly disputed with, and unable to silence his
opponent, give up the contest by addressing another person, or by
turning the conversation to another subject.

It may be observed, as a general principle, that, however violent the
Emperor’s actions might appear, they were always the result of
calculation. “When one of my ministers,” said he, “or some other great
personage had been guilty of a fault of so grave a nature that it became
absolutely necessary for me to be very angry, I always took care in that
case to have a third person present to witness the scene that was to
ensue; for it was a general maxim, with me, that when I resolved to
strike a blow it must be felt by many at the same time; the immediate
object of my resentment did not feel more incensed against me on that
account, and the bystander, whose embarrassed appearance was highly
ludicrous, did not fail to run and circulate, most discreetly, as far as
he could, all that he had seen and heard. A salutary terror ran thus
from vein to vein through the body social: a new impulse was given to
the march of affairs; I had less to punish, and a great deal of public
good was obtained without inflicting much private hardship.”


Sunday, 2nd.—The Emperor rode out on horseback at about eight o’clock;
he had long since abstained from enjoying that exercise. In returning
through the valley of the Company’s garden, he went into the house of
one of the Company’s Adjutants, whose wife is a Catholic; he remained
there a few minutes only, and was in high spirits. We next went to the
house of Madame Bertrand, to whom the Emperor paid a long visit. He
alluded, in the strongest terms, and with infinite humour, to the
behaviour of the Governor towards us; to his paltry measures, his total
want of consideration, the absurd manner in which he conducted the
affairs of the government of the island, and his total ignorance of the
business and manners of life. “We had certainly some reason to complain
of the Admiral,” said the Emperor; “but _he_ at least was an Englishman,
and this man is nothing but an Italian _Sbire_. We have not the same
manners,” added he, “we cannot understand each other; our feelings do
not speak the same language. He probably cannot conceive, for instance,
that heaps of diamonds would be insufficient to atone for the affront he
has offered in causing one of my domestics to be arrested almost in my
presence. Since that day all my household are in consternation.”

On returning from our ride, we breakfasted in the garden. In the
evening, whilst we were taking an airing in the calash, and making what
we called the double round, we beguiled the time in making an estimate
of the expenses of a man possessing an income of 150,000 livres in
Paris. The Emperor said that a sixth of that sum should go for the
stables, a fourth for the table, &c. I have already said that he was
fond of making such calculations, which he always had the art of placing
in a new and unexpected light.

The conversation led us to some details worthy of remark on the civil
list and the expenses of the Emperor’s household. The following are
amongst those I have remembered:

One million was allowed for the table, and yet the expense of the
Emperor’s own dinner did not exceed one hundred francs a day. It had
never been found possible to manage to give him his dinner hot; for,
when once engaged in his closet, it was impossible to know when he would
leave it. Therefore, when the hour of dinner arrived, a fowl was put on
the spit for him every half hour; and it has sometimes happened that
dozens have been roasted before that which has finally been set before

The conversation now turned upon the advantages of a good administration
of finances. The Emperor spoke highly of the talents of Messrs. de
Mollien and Labouillerie, in that branch. M. de Mollien, in particular,
had put the treasury on the footing of a simple banking-house; and the
Emperor had continually under his eyes, in a small book for that
purpose, a complete statement of the revenue, the receipt, expenditure,
arrears, resources, &c.

The Emperor had in his cellars at the Tuileries, he added, as much as
400 millions in gold, which were entirely his own property; so much so
indeed that no other account of it existed but in a small book in the
hands of his private Treasurer. All this treasure disappeared by
degrees, and was applied to the expenses of the Empire, particularly at
the time of our disasters. “How could I think,” said he, “of keeping
anything for myself! I had identified myself with the nation.” He
further added that _he_ had sent 2000 millions in specie into France,
without reckoning what private individuals might have brought on their
own account.

The Emperor said that he had been much hurt at the conduct of M. de
Labouillerie, who, being at Orleans in 1814, in charge of several
millions belonging to him (Napoleon), his own private property, had
taken them to the Count d’Artois in Paris instead of carrying them to
Fontainbleau, as he was in duty and in conscience bound to do. “And yet
Labouillerie was not a bad man,” said the Emperor. “I had both loved him
and esteemed him. On my return in 1815 he earnestly entreated me to see
him and hear what he had to say in his own defence; he no doubt would
have proved that his fault arose from his ignorance, and not from his
heart. He knew me; he was aware that, if he could approach me, the
affair would be settled with a few angry expressions on my part; but I
also knew my own weakness, I was resolved not to take him into my
service again, and therefore refused to admit him. It was the only way
in which I could hope at that moment to hold out against him and several
others. Esteve, the predecessor of Labouillerie, would not have acted in
that manner; he was entirely devoted to my person; he would have brought
my treasure to Fontainbleau at all hazards; or if he had failed in the
attempt, he would have thrown it into a river, or distributed it in
various places, rather than give it up.”

                        ON WOMEN, &C.—POLYGAMY.

Monday, 3rd.—The Emperor, after having been three hours in his bath,
went out at about five o’clock, to take a walk in the garden. He was
taciturn and dejected, and wore the appearance of suffering. We
afterwards drove out in the calash, and by degrees he became more
cheerful and talkative.

On our return, he continued to walk for some time; and in order to
engage in a playful warfare with one of the ladies present, he affected
to declaim against women. “We men of the West,” said he, winking aside
to us at the same time, to let us know that he was jesting, “know
nothing at all about the matter, we have acted most unwisely in treating
women too well; we have imprudently allowed them to rank almost as our
equals. In the East they have more sense and judgment; _there_ women are
pronounced to be the actual property of man; and so indeed they are.
Nature has made them our slaves, and it is only by presuming upon our
folly that they can aspire to govern us, and by abusing the advantages
which they possess, that they succeed in fascinating us and establishing
their dominion over us. For one woman that inspires us with proper
sentiments, there are a hundred who lead us into errors.” He then went
on to express his approbation of the maxims of the oriental nations,
highly commended the practice of polygamy, which he considered to be
that pointed out by nature, and displayed considerable ingenuity and
fertility of invention in the choice and number of arguments which he
adduced in support of his opinion. “Woman,” said he, "is given to man to
bear children to him; but one woman cannot suffice to one man for that
purpose, for a woman cannot fulfil the duties of a wife during the
period of her gestation, whilst she suckles her child, or when she is
ill: and she ceases altogether to be a wife when she is no longer able
to bear children. To man, on the contrary, nature has opposed no such
obstacles at any period of his existence; a man should therefore have
several wives.

“After all,” continued he, smiling significantly, “what have you to
complain of, ladies? have we not acknowledged that you possess a soul?
though certain philosophers, you know, have entertained doubts on this
point. You aim at equality, but _that_ is madness: woman is our
property, we are not hers; for it is she that gives us children, and not
we to her; she is therefore the property of man, in the same manner as
the fruit-tree is the property of the gardener. If the husband is
unfaithful to his wife, and he confesses his fault and repents of it,
there is an end of the matter; no trace of it is left: the wife is
angry, forgives, or becomes reconciled; and not unfrequently is a gainer
on the occasion. But the case is widely different when the wife is
unmindful of the marriage vow; it is of no avail for her to repent; the
consequences of her guilt are incalculable, the mischief irreparable,
she must never, she can never, confess it. You will therefore agree with
me, Ladies, that it can only be an error of judgment, the want of
education, or the preponderance of vulgar notions, that can prompt a
wife to believe herself the equal, in every respect, of her husband.
There is, however, nothing disparaging in the inequality; each sex has
its attributes and its duties; your attributes, Ladies, are beauty,
grace, fascination; your duties, submission, and dependance, &c.”

After dinner, the Emperor desired my son to bring him the Memoirs of the
Chevalier de Grammont and a volume of Voltaire’s plays. Having, as he
said, imposed on himself the task of remaining up till eleven o’clock,
the Emperor read for some time the Memoirs, observing that a very little
could be rendered amusing when seasoned with genuine wit. He afterwards
turned over Mahomet, Semiramis, and other plays of Voltaire’s, pointing
out their faults and blemishes, and concluding, as he generally did,
that Voltaire had no knowledge either of affairs, men, or the real
passions of human nature.

                              MEMOIRS, &C.

Tuesday, 4th.—The Emperor sent for me at about four o’clock to take a
ride in the calash. He told me he had at last been dictating again, and
that what had been done would not be found devoid of interest. He added
that he had been during the whole morning very much out of humour: that
he had at first attempted to go out at about one o’clock, but that he
had found himself compelled to return into the house, pursued by disgust
and ennui; and that, not knowing what to do with himself, he had thought
of resuming his dictations.

The Emperor had long since ceased to apply himself regularly to this
occupation. Several months had already elapsed since my Campaigns of
Italy were finished; the Campaign of Egypt which he had dictated to
General Bertrand, was also completed; and General Gourgaud had been very
ill. All these circumstances had concurred to cause interruptions, which
had engendered disgust; the Emperor had not proceeded further, and could
not summon courage to begin again.

I took advantage of what he had just said, to represent to him that to
dictate was, for him, the surest, the only remedy against _ennui_, the
only way in which he could beguile the tedious hours: and for us, the
means of obtaining the inestimable advantage of being put in possession
of treasures, in the existence of which the honour and glory of France
were equally interested. I urged, that it was of paramount importance
that he should continue to write his own history. “Each of us,” said I,
"would willingly give his life to obtain it; it was due to his memory,
to his family, to us. Where would his son find the events of his
father’s life faithfully recorded? What pen could be found equal to the
task of retracing them in a manner worthy of the subject? and yet,
without such invaluable documents, how many events would be buried with
Napoleon, and remain for ever unknown! We who surrounded him formerly,
what did we _then_ know? how much had we not learnt here," &c. &c. The
Emperor replied that he would continue his Memoirs, and consulted me as
to the plan to be followed in digesting them; should they appear as a
history? or as annals? He discussed the point for a long time, but
without coming to any conclusion.

At dinner he said, “I have to-day been severely reprimanded on account
of my idleness; I am therefore going to take to my task again, and
embrace several periods at the same time: each of you shall have his
share. Did not Herodotus,” said he, looking at me, “give to his books
the names of the muses? I intend that each of mine shall bear the name
of one of you. Even little Emmanuel shall give his to one of them. I
will begin the history of the Consulate with Montholon, Gourgaud shall
record the events of some other period, or detached battles; and little
Emmanuel shall prepare the documents and materials of the epoch of the


Wednesday, 5th.—The Emperor went out at about four o’clock; he had been
three hours in his bath, and did not feel well. Yet the weather was
delightful; it was like a fine afternoon in Europe. We walked until we
came up to the calash, and then took our usual drive. Our conversation
turned upon the military school of Paris before the Revolution, and we
contrasted the footing of luxury upon which we were placed at that
school with the severe discipline introduced by the Emperor in these
establishments during his reign.

At the military school of Paris we were treated in every respect like
officers of fortune, boarded and waited upon in a style of great
magnificence, greater indeed than the circumstances of most of our
families warranted, and greater than most of us could hope to be able to
keep up in after-life. The Emperor had been anxious, he said, to avoid
falling into this error; he had wished, above all, that his young
officers, who were one day to command soldiers, should begin by being
soldiers themselves, and learn by experience all the technical details
of the service: a system of education, he added, which must ever prove
an immense advantage to an officer in the course of his future career,
by enabling him to follow them and to enforce the observance of those
details in others who are placed under his orders. It was on this
principle that, at St. Germain, the young students were obliged to groom
their own horses, taught to shoe them, &c. The same spirit presided over
the regulations at St. Cyr: there several pupils were lodged together in
one large apartment, a common mess was provided for all
indiscriminately, &c.: yet the attention paid to these particulars was
not suffered to interfere with the care bestowed upon the instruction
necessary to qualify them for their future career: in short, they did
not leave St. Cyr before they had really earned the rank of officers,
and were found capable of leading and commanding soldiers. “And it must
be admitted,” the Emperor observed, “that if the young men who passed
from that institution, at its origin, into different corps of the army,
were at first viewed with jealousy, ample justice was soon rendered to
their discipline and to their abilities.”

The establishments of Ecouen, St. Denis and others, which the benevolent
solicitude of Napoleon had created for the daughters of members of the
legion of honour, were conducted upon principles of a similar nature.
Some of the rules, made by the Emperor himself, ordered that every
article for the use of the institution should be made in the house and
by the hands of the pupils themselves, and forbade every species of
luxury, extravagance in dress, and plays; the object being, he said, to
form good housewives and respectable women.

Public opinion had given to Napoleon, at the time of his elevation, the
reputation of a man of a harsh disposition and void of sensibility; yet
it is certain that no sovereign ever acted more from the impulse of
genuine feelings than he did; but, from a peculiar turn of mind, he
concealed all emotions of the heart with as much care as others take to
display them.

He had adopted all the children of the soldiers and officers killed at
Austerlitz, and with him such an act was not one of mere form; he had
provided for them all.

I heard the following anecdote from a young man who has related it to me
since my return to Europe, with tears of gratitude. Having been
fortunate enough, when yet very young, to attract the Emperor’s notice
by some signal proof of his attachment; Napoleon asked him what
profession he would wish to embrace; and, without waiting for his
answer, pointed out one himself. The young man observed that his
father’s fortune was not sufficient to allow him to follow it. “What
signifies that?” replied the Emperor hastily: “Am I not also your
father?” Those persons who have known Napoleon in his private life, who
have lived near his person, can relate a thousand traits of the same

He had done much for the army and the veterans, and proposed to do much
more: every day some new thought tending to that object occupied his
mind. The plan of a decree was one day laid before us in the Council of
State, proposing that in future all vacant situations in the customs,
the collection of the revenue, and the excise, should be given to
wounded soldiers, or to veterans capable of filling them, from the
private up to the highest ranks in the army. This plan being coldly
received, the Emperor addressed one of those who opposed it in his usual
manner, urging him to discuss the question freely, and state his opinion
without reserve. “Sire,” answered M. Malouet, “my objection is that I
fear the other classes of the nation will feel themselves aggrieved in
seeing the army preferred to them.” “Sir,” replied the Emperor warmly,
“you make a distinction which does not exist; the army no longer forms a
separate class of the nation. In the situation in which we are now
placed no member of the state is exempt from being a soldier; to follow
a military career is no longer a matter of choice, it is one of
necessity. The greatest number of those who are engaged in that career
have been compelled to abandon their own profession against their will,
it is therefore but justice that they should receive some kind of
compensation for it.”—"But," again observes the member who opposed the
plan, “will it not be inferred that your majesty intends that in future
almost all vacant situations shall be given to soldiers?”—

“And such is indeed my intention,” said the Emperor. “Sir, the only
question is, whether I have the right to do so, and whether I thereby
commit an act of injustice? Now the constitution gives me the nomination
to all places, and I think it a principle of strict equity that those
who have suffered most have the greatest claims to be indemnified.”
Then, raising his voice, he added, “Gentlemen, war is not a profession
of ease and comfort: quietly seated on your benches here you know it
only by reading our bulletins, or by hearing of our triumphs. You know
nothing of our nightly watches, our forced marches, the sufferings and
privations of every kind to which we are exposed: but I do know them,
because I witness them, and sometimes share in them.”

This plan, however, like many others, was at last abandoned, after
having been several times under discussion and variously modified; and
the beneficent intentions of the Emperor were, I believe, not even known
to the public, though he had appeared to take a lively interest in the
passing of this decree, and had defended it in its most minute details.

Amongst the objections started against this plan, at the commencement of
the discussion, and the arguments to which they gave rise, were the
following:—"Would your majesty, for instance, give such situations to a
soldier who could not read?"—"Why not?"—"But how would he be able to
discharge his duties? how could he keep his accounts?"—"Sir, he would
apply to his neighbour, he would send for his relations, and the benefit
intended for one would be felt by many. Besides, I do not hold your
objection to be valid; we have only to stipulate that the man appointed
shall be qualified to fill the situation," &c.

Towards evening, the Emperor sent for me to his own room. I found him
alone, near a small fire, but almost in the dark, the lights being
placed in the next apartment. This obscurity, he said, was in harmony
with his melancholy. He was silent and dejected.

After dinner the Emperor took up the Memoirs of the Chevalier de
Grammont, but found himself unable to continue to read them.

A discussion then arose upon the manner in which time was spent in
Paris. The habits of society in former times and the present were
reviewed. The Emperor said he had thought much and often upon the means
of introducing variety into the pleasures of society. He had had
assemblies at Court, plays, excursions to Fontainbleau, but they had
only produced the effect, he said, of inconveniencing the people at
Court without influencing the circles of the metropolis. There was not
yet a sufficient degree of cohesion in those heterogeneous parts for
them to re-act upon each other with due effect: but this, he affirmed,
would have been brought about in the course of time. It was observed to
him that he had much contributed to shorten the evenings at Paris, as
all persons employed by government, having a great deal to do, and being
obliged to rise very early, were under the necessity of retiring early.
“It caused, however, great surprise in Paris,” said the Emperor,
“produced quite a revolution in manners, and almost stirred up a
sedition in the circles of the metropolis, when the First Consul
required that boots should be relinquished for shoes, and that some
little attention should be bestowed upon dress to appear in company.”

The Emperor dwelt with great pleasure upon the causes of the
good-breeding and amiable manners which distinguished society in our
younger days. He defined particularly those points which contributed to
render intimacy agreeable, such as a slight tinge of flattery on both
sides, or, at least, an opposition seasoned with delicacy and
politeness, &c.


Thursday, 6th.—I did not see the Emperor before six o’clock; being
indisposed, he had remained in his room, and had not eaten any thing the
whole day. He said that he found himself unwell, and was amusing himself
by looking over some prints of London which the Doctor had lent him. The
Doctor had had the honour of seeing the Emperor in the course of the
day, and had made him laugh. “Hearing that I was not well,” said
Napoleon, “he claimed me as his prey, by immediately advising me to take
some medicine; medicine to me, who, to the best of my recollection,
never took any in the whole course of my life!”

It was now past seven: the Emperor said that a man who felt hungry was
not very ill. He called for something to eat, and a chicken was brought
to him, which he highly relished. This revived his spirits a little, he
became more talkative, and made remarks on several French novels. He had
been employed the greater part of the day in reading Gil Blas, which he
thought full of wit; but the hero and all his companions, he said, had
deserved to be sent to the galleys. He then turned over a chronological
register, and stopped at the brilliant affair of Bergenopzoom, commanded
by General Bizanet.

“How many gallant actions,” said the Emperor, “have been either
forgotten in the confusion of our disasters, or overlooked in the number
of our exploits. The affair of Bergenopzoom is one of these. A competent
garrison for that town would have been probably from eight to ten
thousand men, but it did not then contain more than two thousand seven
hundred. An English General, favoured by the darkness of the night, and
by the intelligence which he kept up with the inhabitants, had succeeded
in penetrating into it, at the head of four thousand eight hundred
chosen men. They are in the town, the inhabitants are on their side, but
nothing can triumph over French valour! A desperate engagement takes
place in the streets, and nearly the whole of the English troops are
killed or remain prisoners. That is undoubtedly, exclaimed the Emperor,
a gallant action! General Bizanet is a gallant officer!”

It is certain, as Napoleon had observed, that, in the last moments of
the Empire, numberless heroic deeds and historical traits have been
overlooked in the confusion of our disasters, or have disappeared in the
abyss of our misfortunes. Such are the extraordinary and singular
defence of Huningen, by the intrepid Barbanegre; and the gallant
resistance of General Teste at Namur, where, in an open town, with a
handful of brave fellows, he stopped short the rapid advance of the
Prussians, and facilitated the re-entry of Grouchy, without suffering
any loss. Such was the brilliant expedition of the brave Excelmans in
Versailles, which might have produced most important results, if it had
been supported as it had been decided that it should be; and several

At any rate, these noble deeds at that critical period, have shed lustre
on the ranks of the army rather than on its principal leaders. It would
have been well, if, at the moment of that terrible catastrophe, during
that fatal crisis, some of our first generals had again exhibited some
of those noble acts of courage, those signal efforts, which marked our
first triumphs, and which, under Napoleon’s reign, had become almost a
national habit; whatever the result might have been, the attempt would
have been a source of consolation to our glory, and France would have
contemplated with satisfaction the heroic convulsions of her agony. We
ought not to have terminated our career by common actions.

At that calamitous period, we had more troops abroad than at home:
Dresden contained an army: a second army was shut up in Hamburg; a third
in Dantzick; and a fourth might have been easily collected by bringing
together the immense number of our soldiers, which formed several other
intermediate garrisons. All the efforts of our enemies tended only to
keep these brave troops separated from France, and to cut off their
return. Oh! that some one of their leaders had been inspired with the
thought to take advantage of those circumstances to liberate the sacred
soil, by attacking boldly that of the enemy, and obliging him thus to
retrace his steps! Would it have been impossible to unite those
different corps?

Would not the union of the garrisons of Dresden, Torgau, Magdeburg,
Hamburg, have produced a formidable army in the rear of the enemy,
capable of breaking through his line, or of placing him in a most
critical situation? Might not such an army have taken possession of
Berlin, liberated the garrisons on the Oder, gone to the assistance of
Dantzick, raised an insurrection in Poland, so well prepared for it, or,
in short, done something bold, striking, unexpected, in a word, worthy
of us?

What then was required to give a favourable turn to our destinies? the
most trifling event, before the Allies entered France, would have
sufficed to enable us to conclude a peace on reasonable terms at
Francfort; and, at a later period, when the enemy was already in our own
territory, the slightest cause of uneasiness in his rear at the time of
the heroic actions of Champaubert, Montmirail, Vauchamp, Craon,
Monterau, would probably have determined the hasty retreat of the
Allies, and insured our triumph, and perhaps their destruction. And, if
the general who had thus dared to devote himself had failed in the
attempt, it would not have been the worse for us, since we have
ultimately fallen; and he, in the spirit of our national character,
would have gained the reputation of a hero and rendered his name

Instead of this, about one hundred thousand men were lost to France, by
tamely adhering to the letter of their instructions; a system which we
had long since abandoned. But perhaps I speak inconsiderately and
without due knowledge of the subject; perhaps local circumstances and
objections of which I am totally ignorant might be adduced as conclusive
answers against me; such as the health of the troops, the state of
destitution in which they were; the non-reception of orders from the
Emperor, who did endeavour to give some orders of that kind; the fear of
deranging the main plan; the dread of incurring too great a
responsibility, &c. But is it not rather that the source of these high
conceptions, and the cause of their heroic execution, were to be found
in Napoleon alone, and that where _he_ was not, as it may have been
often observed, affairs were suffered to sink to the level of their
ordinary course? Be that as it may, something of the kind was however
suggested to the General commanding the army in Dantzick, at the time of
the capitulation of that town. The idea came from an officer of inferior
rank, it is true, but from one whose courage and intrepidity, and the
success with which they had been crowned, entitled him perhaps to give
such an opinion: it was Captain de Chambure, the leader of that renowned
company of partisans which covered itself with glory during the siege.
This company had been formed for that particular service, of one hundred
picked men chosen out of the most notoriously intrepid, throughout all
the corps of the army; it fulfilled, and even exceeded, all the
expectations which it had raised; and the besiegers, struck with terror
at its exploits, honoured it with the epithet of _infernal_. It would
sometimes land at night in the rear of the Russian army, slaughter their
sentinels, spike their guns, burn their magazines, destroy their parks,
threaten the lives even of the generals, and return to the town through
the enemies’ camp over the bodies of all who opposed its passage. These
facts and several others are recorded in the general orders of that

It cannot be denied that, in ordinary times, in the days that preceded
ours, every one of these actions would have been sufficient to
immortalize every individual who had a share in them, and that even
amidst the wonders of our age they are deserving of particular notice.
On his return from Elba, Napoleon was desirous of seeing the brave
Chambure, who was covered with wounds: he was accordingly introduced to
the Emperor by the Minister of War, and was immediately appointed to the
command of a partisan corps on the eastern frontiers of France, where he
again shewed himself worthy of his fame. Two English officers fell into
his hands in the very heart of France, and at the moment of the violent
exasperation produced by the recent disasters which had again befallen
us. De Chambure protected these officers from the fury of his own
soldiers, and preserved their equipages and even their baggage. Will it
be believed? Some time afterwards, this officer, whose courage, loyalty,
and above all, whose noble conduct were deserving of the highest
recompense, was by a French tribunal condemned to the galleys for life,
and to be branded and exposed in the pillory, for having, it was said,
stopped and robbed two officers of the enemy’s army on the highway! Such
is the justice of party-spirit! Such the monstrous aberrations to which
the judgment and the consciences of men can be reconciled by the
effervescence of civil commotions!

Under these circumstances, no alternative was left to Colonel de
Chambure but a speedy retreat from his own country: it was in vain that
from his exile he endeavoured to make the truth known; it was in vain
that the two English officers gave the most extensive publicity to the
testimonials of their gratitude: a considerable time elapsed before
Colonel de Chambure could seize the opportunity of a moment of political
calm, to deliver up his person to the tribunals, and call for a revision
of his trial.—That revision took place, and this time the result was a
declaration that there were not even any grounds of accusation against
him! This is indeed one of the peculiar signs of the times!


From Friday 7th to Saturday 8th.—During a long private conversation,
this morning, the Emperor reverted to all the horrors of our present
situation, and enumerated all the chances which hope suggested of better

After his remarks on these topics, which I cannot repeat here, he gave
the rein to his imagination, and said that the only countries in which
he could reside for the future were England and America. His
inclination, he added, prompted for America, because _there_ he should
be really free, and independence and repose were all he now sighed for:
then followed an imaginary plan of life: he fancied himself with his
brother Joseph, in the midst of a little France, &c. Yet policy, he
observed, might decide for England. He was bound perhaps to remain a
slave to events—he owed the sacrifice of himself to a nation which had
done more for him than he had done for it in return; and then followed
another imaginary plan for the future.

In the course of our subsequent conversation, the Emperor could not
sufficiently express his surprise at the conviction, which he had
obtained, that several of those who surrounded him and formed his Court,
believed the greatest part of the many absurdities and idle reports
which had been circulated respecting himself, and that they even went so
far as to doubt the falsehood of the enormities with which his
reputation had been stained.—Thus we believed that he wore armour in the
midst of us—was addicted to the superstition of presentiments and
fatality—subject to fits of madness or of epilepsy—that he had strangled
Pichegru—caused a poor English captain’s throat to be cut, &c. We could
not but admit that his invective against us on the occasion was merited;
all we could allege in our defence was that many circumstances had
concurred to leave those who formerly surrounded his person as much in
ignorance on the subject as the bulk of the nation could be. We
frequently saw him, I said, but we never held any communication with
him: every thing remained a mystery for us. Not a voice was raised to
refute, whilst many in secret, and some that were nearest to his person,
either through perverseness, or with bad intentions, seemed ever busy in
dealing out insinuations. As for myself, I candidly confessed that I had
not formed a just idea of his disposition before I came here, although I
could congratulate myself that I had certainly guessed him in part. “And
yet,” he observed in reply, “_you_ have often seen me and heard me in
the Council of State.”

In the evening, after dinner, the conversation turned upon religion. The
Emperor dwelt on the subject at length. The following is a faithful
summary of his arguments; I give it as being quite characteristic upon a
point which has probably often excited the curiosity of many.

The Emperor, after having spoken for some time with warmth and
animation, said: “Every thing proclaims the existence of a God, _that_
cannot be questioned; but all our religions are evidently the work of
men. Why are there so many?—Why has ours not always existed?—Why does it
consider itself exclusively the right one?—What becomes in that case of
all the virtuous men who have gone before us?—Why do these religions
revile, oppose, exterminate one another?—Why has this been the case ever
and every where?—Because men are ever men; because priests have ever and
every where introduced fraud and falsehood. However, as soon as I had
power, I immediately re-established religion. I made it the ground-work
and foundation upon which I built. I considered it as the support of
sound principles and good morality, both in doctrine and in practice.
Besides, such is the restlessness of man, that his mind requires that
something undefined and marvellous which religion offers; and it is
better for him to find it there, than to seek it of Cagliostro, of
Mademoiselle Lenormand, or of the fortune-tellers and impostors.”
Somebody having ventured to say to him that he might possibly in the end
become devout, the Emperor answered, with an air of conviction, that he
feared not, and that it was with regret he said it; for it was no doubt
a great source of consolation; but that his incredulity did not proceed
from perverseness or from licentiousness of mind, but from the strength
of his reason. “Yet,” added he, “no man can answer for what will happen,
particularly in his last moments. At present I certainly believe that I
shall die without a confessor; and yet there is one (pointing to one of
us) who will perhaps receive my confession. I am assuredly very far from
being an atheist, but I cannot believe all that I am taught in spite of
my reason, without being false and a hypocrite. When I became Emperor,
and particularly after my marriage with Maria Louisa, every effort was
made to induce me to go with great pomp, according to the custom of the
Kings of France, to take the sacrament at the church of Notre Dame; but
this I positively refused to do: I did not believe in the act
sufficiently to derive any benefit from it, and yet I believed too much
in it to run the risk of committing a profanation.” On this occasion a
certain person was alluded to, who had boasted, as it were, that he had
never taken the sacrament. “That is very wrong,” said the Emperor;
“either he has not fulfilled the intention of his education, or his
education was neglected.” Then, resuming the subject, he said, “To
explain where I come from, what I am, and whither I go, is above my
comprehension; and yet all that is. I am like the watch that exists,
without possessing the consciousness of existence. However, the
sentiment of religion is so consolatory that it must be considered as a
gift of Heaven: what a resource would it not be for us here to possess
it! What influence could men and events exercise over me, if, bearing my
misfortunes as if inflicted by God, I expected to be compensated by him
with happiness hereafter! What rewards have _I_ not a right to expect
who have run a career so extraordinary, so tempestuous, without
committing a single crime, and yet how many might I not have been guilty
of? I can appear before the tribunal of God, I can await his judgment
without fear. He will not find my conscience stained with the thoughts
of murder and poisonings, with the infliction of violent and
premeditated death, events so common in the history of those whose lives
have resembled mine. I have striven only for the glory, the power, the
greatness of France. All my faculties, all my efforts, all my moments,
were directed to the attainment of that object. These cannot be crimes;
to me they appeared acts of virtue. What then would be my happiness, if
the bright prospect of futurity presented itself to crown the last
moments of my existence!”

After a pause, he resumed. "How is it possible that conviction can find
its way to our hearts, when we hear the absurd language, and witness the
acts of iniquity, of the greatest number of those whose business it is
to preach to us? I am surrounded by priests, who repeat incessantly that
their reign is not of this world, and yet they lay hands upon every
thing that they can get. The Pope is the head of that religion from
heaven, and he thinks only of this world. What did the present Chief
Pontiff, who is undoubtedly a good, and a holy man, not offer to be
allowed to return to Rome! The surrender of the government of the
church, of the institution of bishops, was not too high a price for him
to give, to become once more a secular prince. Even now, he is the
friend of all the Protestants, who grant him every thing, because they
do not fear him. He is only the enemy of catholic Austria, because her
territory surrounds his own.

“Nevertheless,” he observed again, “it cannot be doubted that, as
Emperor, the species of incredulity which I felt was favourable to the
nations I had to govern. How could I have favoured equally sects so
opposed to one another, if I had been under the influence of any one of
them? How could I have preserved the independence of my thoughts, and of
my actions, under the controul of a confessor, who would have governed
me by the dread of hell? What power cannot a wicked man, the most stupid
of mankind, thus exercise over those by whom whole nations are governed?
Is it not the scene-shifter at the opera, who from behind the scenes,
moves Hercules at his will? Who can doubt that the last years of Louis
XIV. would have been very different, had he been directed by another
confessor? I was so deeply impressed with the truth of these opinions
that I promised to do all in my power to bring up my son in the same
religious persuasion which I myself entertain.”

The Emperor ended the conversation by desiring my son to bring him the
New Testament; and, taking it from the beginning, he read as far as the
conclusion of the discourse of Jesus on the mount. He expressed himself
struck with the highest admiration, of the purity, the sublimity, the
beauty of the morality which it contained; and we all experienced the
same feeling.


Sunday, 9th.—The Emperor spoke much of the creation of the Directory; he
had installed it, being then Commander-in-chief of the Army of the
Interior. This led him to review the five Directors, whose portraits and
characters he drew. He gave a lively picture of their follies and their
faults, and this led him to the events of Fructidor, and furnished many
curious particulars. I have collected the following, partly, from some
of his desultory conversations, and, partly, from his dictation of the
campaigns of Italy.

“Barras,” said the Emperor, "of a good family in Provence, was an
officer in the regiment of the Isle of France; at the revolution, he was
chosen Deputy to the National Convention for the department of the Var.
He had no talent for oratory, and no habits of business. After the 31st
of May, he was, together with Freron, appointed Commissioner to the army
of Italy, and to Provence, which was then the seat of civil war. On his
return to Paris, he threw himself into the Thermidorian party;
threatened by Robespierre, as well as Tallien and the remainder of
Danton’s party, they united, and brought about the events of the 9th
Thermidor. At the moment of the crisis, the Convention named him to
march against the _commune_, which had risen in favour of Robespierre;
he succeeded.

"This event gave him great celebrity. After the downfall of Robespierre,
all the Thermidorians became the leading men of France.

"At the critical period of the 12th Vendemiaire, it was determined, in
order to get rid at once of the three Commissioners to the Army of the
Interior, to unite in the person of Barras the power of Commissioner and
Commander of that army. But the circumstances in which he was placed
were too much for him; they were above his powers. Barras had no
experience in war, he had quitted the service when only a captain; he
had no knowledge of military affairs.

"The events of Thermidor and of Vendemiaire brought him into the
Directory; he did not possess the qualifications requisite to fill that
situation, but he acted better than was expected from him by those who
knew him.

"He kept up a splendid establishment, had a pack of hounds, and his
expenses were considerable. When he quitted the Directory, on the 18th
Brumaire, he had still a large fortune, and he did not attempt to
conceal it. That fortune was not large enough to have contributed in the
least to the derangement of the finances, but the manner in which it had
been acquired, by favouring the contractors, impaired the public morals.

"Barras was tall; he spoke sometimes in moments of agitation, and his
voice filled the house. His intellectual capacity did not allow him to
go beyond a few sentences, but the animation with which he spoke would
have produced the impression that he was a man of resolution; this
however he was not; and he had no opinion of his own upon any part of
the administration of public affairs.

"In Fructidor, he formed with Rewbel and La Reveillere Lepaux, the
majority against Carnot and Barthelemy; after that event he became to
all appearance the most important member of the Directory, but, in
reality, it was Rewbel who possessed the greatest influence. Barras
always appeared in public the warm friend of Napoleon. At the time of
the 30th Prairial, he had the art to conciliate the preponderating party
in the assembly, and he did not share the disgrace of his colleagues.

“La Reveillere Lepaux, born at Angers, belonged to the lower ranks of
the middling class of society. He was short, and his person was as
unprepossessing as can well be imagined; he was a true Æsop. He wrote
tolerably well, but his mind was narrow, and he had neither habits of
business nor knowledge of mankind. He was alternately governed,
according to circumstances, by Carnot or Rewbel. The _Jardin des
Plantes_, and the Theophilanthropy, a new religion of which he had the
folly to become the founder, occupied all his time. In other respects,
he was a patriot, warm and sincere, an honest man, and a citizen full of
probity and of learning; he was poor when he became a member of the
Directory, and poor when he left it. Nature had not qualified him to
occupy any higher station than that of an inferior magistrate.”

Napoleon, after his return from the army of Italy, found himself,
without knowing why, the object of the particular assiduity, the marked
attentions and flatteries of the Director La Reveillere, who asked him
one day to dine with him, strictly _en famille_, in order, he said, that
they might be more at liberty to converse together. The young General
accepted the invitation, and found, as he had promised, nobody present
but the Director, his wife, and his daughter, “who, by the way,” added
the Emperor, “were three paragons of ugliness.” After the dessert, the
two ladies retired, and the conversation took a serious turn. La
Reveillere descanted at length upon the disadvantages of our religion,
upon the necessity, however, of having one, and extolled and enumerated
the advantages of the religion which he wanted to establish, the
Theophilanthropy. “I was beginning to find the conversation rather
tedious and dull,” said the Emperor, “when, on a sudden, La Reveillere,
rubbing his hands with an air of satisfaction, said to me affectedly,
and with an arch look: ‘How valuable the acquisition of a man like you
would be to us!—what advantage, what weight would be derived from your
name!—and how glorious that circumstance would be to you!—Now what do
you think of it?’”—The young General was far from expecting to receive
such a proposal; however, he replied with humility, that he did not
think himself worthy of such an honour; and his principles being, when
treading an obscure path, to follow the track of those who had preceded
him in it, he was resolved to act, in the article of religion, as his
father and mother had done. This positive answer convinced the
high-priest that nothing was to be done; he did not insist, but from
that moment there was an end of all his attentions and flatteries
towards the young General.

“Rewbel,” said the Emperor, "born in Alsace, was one of the best lawyers
in the town of Colmar. He possessed that kind of intelligence which
denotes a man skilled in the practice of the bar,—his influence was
always felt in deliberations,—he was easily inspired with prejudices—did
not believe much in the existence of virtue—and his patriotism was
tinged with a degree of enthusiasm. It is problematical whether he did
or did not amass a fortune, during the time he was in the Directory; he
was surrounded by contractors, it is true,—but, with his turn of mind,
it is possible that he only amused himself by conversing with men of
activity and enterprise, and that he enjoyed their flatteries, without
making them pay for the complaisance which he shewed them. He bore a
particular hatred to the Germanic system—he displayed great energy in
the assemblies, both before and after the period of his being a
magistrate, and was fond of a life of application and activity. He had
been a member of the Constituent Assembly, and of the Convention; by the
latter he was appointed Commissioner at Mentz, where he gave no proofs
of firmness or of military talent; he contributed to the surrender of
the city, which might have held out longer. Like all lawyers, he had
imbibed from his profession a prejudice against the army.

"Carnot, born in Burgundy, had entered when very young the corps of
engineers, and shewed himself an advocate of the system of Montalembert.
He was considered by his companions as an eccentric character, and was
already a knight of the order of St. Louis at the commencement of the
revolution, the principles of which he warmly espoused. He became a
member of the Convention, and was one of the committee of public welfare
with Robespierre, Barrère, Couthon, Saint-Juste, Billaud-Varennes,
Collot-d’Herbois, &c. He was particularly inveterate against the
nobility, and found himself, in consequence, frequently engaged in
quarrels with Robespierre, who, towards the close of his life, had taken
a great many nobles under his protection.

"Carnot was laborious, sincere on every occasion, but unaccustomed to
intrigue and easily deceived. He was attached to Jourdan, as
Commissioner from the Convention, at the time when Jourdan was employed
in relieving the town of Mentz, which was besieged; and he rendered some
services on the occasion. In the Committee of Public Welfare, he
directed the operations of the war, and was found useful, but he had
neither experience nor practice in the military matters. He displayed on
every occasion great moral courage.

"After the events of Thermidor, when the Convention caused all the
members of the committee of Public Welfare to be arrested, with the
exception of himself, Carnot insisted upon sharing their fate. This
conduct was the more noble, inasmuch as public opinion had pronounced
itself violently against the Committee. He was nominated a member of the
Directory after Vendemiaire; but after the 9th Thermidor his mind was
deeply affected by the reproaches of public opinion, which attributed to
the committee all the blood which had flowed on the scaffold. He felt
the necessity of gaining esteem, and, believing that he took the lead,
he suffered himself to be led by some of those who directed the party
from abroad. His merit was then extolled to the skies, but he did not
deserve the praises of the enemies of France; he found himself placed in
a critical situation, and fell in Fructidor.

"After the 18th Brumaire, Carnot was recalled by the First Consul and
placed in the department of war; he had several quarrels with the
Minister of the Finances and Dufrenes the Director of the Treasury, in
which it is but fair to say that he was always in the wrong. At last, he
left the department, persuaded that it could no longer go on for want of

"When a member of the Tribunate, he spoke and voted against the
establishment of the Empire; but his conduct, open and manly, gave no
uneasiness to the administration. At a later period, he was appointed
Chief Inspector of Reviews, and received from the Emperor, on his
retiring from the service, a pension of twenty thousand francs. As long
as things went on prosperously, the Emperor heard nothing of him: but,
after the campaign of Russia, at the time of the disasters of France,
Carnot solicited to be employed: he was appointed to command the town of
Antwerp, and he behaved well at his post. On his return in 1815, the
Emperor, after a little hesitation, appointed him to be Minister of the
Interior, and had no cause to repent of having done so; he found him
faithful, laborious, full of probity, and always sincere. In the month
of June, Carnot was named one of the Commission of the Provisional
Government, but being unfit for the place, he was duped.

“Le Tourneur de la Manche was born in Normandy; he had been an officer
of engineers before the revolution. It is difficult to explain how he
came to be appointed to the Directory; it can only be from one of those
unaccountable caprices of which large assemblies so often furnish
examples. He was a man of narrow capacity, little learning, and of a
weak mind. There were in the Convention five hundred deputies better
qualified for the situation; he was however a man of strict probity, and
left the Directory without any fortune.”

Le Tourneur made himself the talk and the laughing-stock of Paris; it
was said that he came from his department to take possession at the
Directory in a cart, with his house-keeper, his kitchen utensils, and
his poultry. The wags of the capital marked him, and he was overwhelmed
with ridicule. He was made, for instance, to return from the _Jardin des
Plantes_, whither he had run immediately on his arrival in Paris, and to
give an account of the rare things he had found there; and, on being
asked whether he had seen Lacepede,[19] he was surprised that he should
have passed it unobserved, declaring that _la Giraffe_ (the camelopard)
was the only thing that had been pointed out to him.[20]

Footnote 19:

  Professor of Natural History.

Footnote 20:

  I have been since told that part of these jokes had nothing to do with
  Le Tourneur, but related to a man of the name of Letourneux, who was a
  Minister about that time.

"The Directory was hardly established before it began to lower itself in
public estimation by caprices, bad morals, and false measures. The
faults and absurdities which it committed daily completed its discredit,
and it was lost in reputation almost at the very moment of its
formation. Intoxicated with their elevation, the Directors thought it
became them to adopt a certain air, and sought to acquire the appearance
and manners of _bon ton_. In order the better to succeed, they formed
each a little Court, where they received and welcomed the higher
classes, hitherto in disgrace, and who were naturally their enemies, and
from which they excluded the greatest part of their old acquaintances
and former companions, as thenceforward too vulgar. All those who during
the Revolution had shown more energy than the members of the Directory,
or who had trodden in the same path with them, became odious to them and
were immediately kept aloof; and the Directory thus rendered itself
ridiculous to one party, and alienated the affections of the other.
These five little Courts exacted a greater degree of servility in
proportion as they were inferior and ridiculous; but numbers of men were
found who could not bring themselves to bend and submit to formalities
which the recollection of recent circumstances, the nature of the
government and the character of the governors, rendered inadmissible.

"However, all the Directory could do to gain over the saloons of Paris
proved of no avail: it did not succeed in acquiring any influence over
them, and the Bourbon party was gaining ground. No sooner did the
Directors perceive this than they hastily retraced their steps; but it
was too late to recover the good-will of the republicans, whom they had
estranged by their conduct. This led to a system of wavering, which
looked like caprice; no course was laid down to steer by, no object was
kept in view, no unity prevailed. The reigns of terror and of royalty
were equally objected to; but in the mean time the road which was to
lead to the goal was left untried. The Directory thought to put an end
to this state of uncertainty and to avoid these perpetual waverings, by
striking at one blow the two extreme parties, whether they had deserved
it or not: if therefore a royalist, who had conspired or disturbed the
public tranquillity, was arrested by their orders, they caused a
republican, innocent or guilty, to be arrested at the same moment. This
system was nicknamed _The Political Seesaw_, but the injustice and fraud
which characterized it entirely discredited the government; every heart
was closed; it was a government of lead. Every true and generous feeling
was against the Directory.

"Men of business, jobbers and intriguers, by possessing themselves of
the springs of government, acquired the greatest influence; all places
were given to worthless individuals, to _protégés_, or to
relations—corruption crept into every branch of the administration. This
was soon perceived, and those who had it in their power to waste the
public money could act without fear; the foreign relations, the armies,
the finances, the department of the Interior, all felt the pernicious
effects of so vicious a system. This state of things soon gathered a
storm on the political horizon, and we proceeded with rapid strides to
the crisis of Fructidor.

"At that period the measures of the Directory were weak, capricious, and
uncertain; emigrants returned to France, and newspapers, paid by
foreigners, dared openly to stigmatize the most deserving of our
patriots. The fury of the enemies of our national glory exasperated the
soldiers of the army of Italy, which declared itself loudly against
them; whilst the Councils, in their turn, acting the parts of real
counter-revolutionists, spoke of nothing but priests, bells, and
emigrants. All the officers of the army, who had distinguished
themselves more or less in the departments, in the battalions of
volunteers, or even in the regiments of the line, finding themselves
thus attacked in their dearest interests, inflamed more and more the
anger of their soldiers; the minds of all parties were in a state of
effervescence. In a moment of such violent agitation, what measures
could the General of the army of Italy adopt? He had the choice of

“1st. To side with the preponderating party in the Councils—but it was
too late; the army had declared itself, and the leaders of that party,
the orators of the Council, by attacking incessantly both the General
and his army, had not left him the possibility of adopting that

2dly. “To embrace the party of the Directory and of the Republic. That
was the plainest course, that which duty pointed out, which the army
inclined to, and in which he was already engaged; for all the writers
who had remained faithful to the cause of the Revolution had declared
themselves, of their own accord, the ardent defenders and warm advocates
of the army and its commanders.

3dly. “To overpower both factions, by stepping forward boldly and
appearing openly in the contest as regulator of the Republic. But
notwithstanding the strength which Napoleon felt that he derived from
the support of the army, although his character was highly esteemed in
France, he did not think that the spirit of the times and public opinion
were such as to allow him to take so daring a step. And besides, if this
third measure had been that to which he secretly inclined, he could not
have adopted it immediately, and without having previously sided with
one of the two parties, which appeared at that moment in the political
lists. It was absolutely necessary, even in order to form a third party,
to side first either with the Councils or with the Directory.

“Thus, of the three measures to be adopted, the third in its execution
merged into the two first, and he was entirely debarred from adopting
the first of these two by the new formation of the Councils, and by the
attacks already made upon him by them.

“These considerations and conclusions,” the Emperor observed, “were the
natural result of a deep meditation upon the then existing state of
affairs in France. The General had therefore nothing to do but to let
events take their course, and second the impulse of his troops. And this
view of the subject produced the proclamation to the army of Italy, and
the far-famed order of the day of its General.

“‘Soldiers!’ he said, ‘I know that your hearts are full of grief at the
calamities of our country; but, if it were possible that foreign armies
should triumph, we would fly from the summit of the Alps with the
rapidity of the eagle, to defend once more that cause which has already
cost us so much blood.’

“These words decided the question; the soldiers, in ecstasy, were for
marching at once upon Paris. The rumour of the event spread immediately
to the capital, and produced a most powerful sensation. The Directory,
which every body considered as lost, which the moment before was
tottering alone and abandoned, found itself at once supported by public
opinion; it immediately assumed the attitude, and followed the course of
a triumphant party, and defeated all its enemies.

“The General of the army of Italy had sent the proclamation to his
soldiers to the Directory by Augereau, because he was a Parisian and
strongly in favour of the prevailing notions of the day.

“Nevertheless, the politicians of the day made the following surmises:
What would Napoleon have done if the Councils had triumphed; if that
faction, instead of being overthrown, had, on the contrary, overthrown
the Directory? In that case, it appears, that he was determined to march
upon Lyons and Mirbel with fifteen thousand men, where he would have
been joined by all the republicans from the south and from Burgundy. The
victorious Council would not have been more than three or four days
without coming to some violent rupture and division: for it is known
that, if the numbers of these Councils were unanimous in their
proceedings against the Directory, they were far from being so as to the
further course they meant to pursue. The leaders, such as Pichegru,
Imbert-Colonnes, and others, sold to foreign powers, exerted all their
influence to restore royalty and bring about a counter-revolution;
whilst Carnot and others sought to produce results quite opposite to
these. France would therefore have become immediately a prey to
confusion and anarchy, and in that case, all factions would have seen,
with satisfaction, Napoleon appear as a rallying point, an anchor of
safety, capable of saving them at the same time from the terror of
royalty and from the terror of demagogues. Napoleon would then naturally
have repaired to Paris, and found himself placed at the head of affairs
by the unanimous wish and consent of all parties. The majority of the
Councils was strong and positive, it is true, but it was only against
the Directors; it would have been divided _ad infinitum_ as soon as they
were overturned.

“The choice of three new Directors having openly exposed the true
intention of the measures of the counter-revolution, the greatest number
of the citizens, in their alarm, were ready to fly to meet Napoleon with
the national oriflamme[21] unfurled; for the true counter-revolutionists
were after all few in number, and their pretensions were too ridiculous
and absurd. Every thing would have given way before Napoleon. Had they
called him Cæsar or Cromwell, still he would have marched with a
religion, a party, whose ideas were settled and popular; he was master
of his soldiers, the coffers of the army were full, and he was in
possession of every other means calculated to ensure their constancy and
their fidelity. If the question were now to be asked whether Napoleon,
in the recesses of his own mind, would or would not have wished affairs
to take this turn, we should give our opinion in the affirmative; and we
are led to believe from the following fact, that his wishes and his
hopes were in favour of the triumph of the majority of the Councils. At
the moment of the crisis between the two factions, a secret decree,
signed by the three members composing the party of the Directory, asked
him for three millions to resist the attack of the Councils, but
Napoleon, under various pretences, did not send them, although it would
have been easy for him to do so; yet it is well known that it is not
consistent with his character to hesitate in money matters.

Footnote 21:

  The _oriflamme_ was a flag which was carried before the kings of

“Therefore, when the struggle was over, and the Directory took pleasure
in acknowledging openly that it owed its existence to Napoleon, it still
entertained some vague suspicions that Napoleon had only espoused its
cause in the hopes of seeing it overthrown, and of taking its place.

“Be that as it may, after the 18th Fructidor, the enthusiasm of the army
was at its height, and the triumph of Napoleon complete. But the
Directory, notwithstanding its apparent gratitude, surrounded Napoleon
from that moment with numerous agents, who watched his motions and
endeavoured to penetrate his thoughts.

"The situation of Napoleon was one of extreme delicacy, although his
conduct was so well regulated, and so admirable, that even at this
period we can only form mere conjectures on the subject; but to the
delicacy of his situation it is that we think we can trace the principal
reasons which led to the conclusion of the peace at Campo Formio, to his
refusal to remain at the Congress of Rastadt, and finally, to the
undertaking of the expedition to Egypt.

“As it always happens in France, immediately after the 18th Fructidor,
the party that had been overthrown disappeared on a sudden, and the
majority of the Directory triumphed without moderation. It became every
thing, and reduced the Councils to nothing.

“Napoleon then felt the necessity of peace, which, putting an end to the
present state of affairs, would increase his popularity: he had every
thing to fear from the prolongation of war; it might furnish those who
should have suspected him ready pretexts for injuring him; or the
intention might be to expose him in situations of difficulty, and unite
the other generals against him.

“Two of the generals, who enjoyed the greatest reputation at that time,
manifested openly their sentiments with respect to the great affair of
Fructidor: these were Moreau and Hoche.

“Moreau had declared himself positively against the Directory, and by a
line of conduct at once pusillanimous and culpable, he failed in his
duty and compromised his honour.

“Hoche was entirely in favour of the Directory, impelled by the
impetuosity of his disposition, he marched part of his army upon Paris,
and failed by acting with too much precipitation. His troops were
countermanded by the influence of the Councils, and he himself was
obliged to leave Paris, to avoid being arrested by order of these
Councils. Hoche had therefore done nothing to contribute to the success
of the 18th Fructidor; on the contrary he had injured the cause by
excess of zeal. But he had shown himself a man entirely devoted to the
Directory, and the majority of them could rely on him without reserve,
although his imprudence had nearly been the cause of their ruin.

“That same majority of the Directory entertained doubts, on the
contrary, with respect to Napoleon, who had been the cause of their
triumph; they still thought it possible that the General of the army of
Italy had calculated that the Directory would fall in the contest with
the Councils, and that he might then rise upon its ruins.

“But how could the Directory reconcile that supposition with the acts of
the General, who had done every thing to ensure its triumph? for it is
evident that without the order of the day of Napoleon, and the address
to his army, the Directory would have been undone.

“Some persons, well informed on the subject, seem to think that Napoleon
had really not formed a due estimate of the influence which he exercised
in France—that he had suffered himself to be misled by the libels and
the newspapers in which he was attacked,—and that he had considered the
measures which he adopted calculated not to ensure the complete triumph
of the Directory, but to produce precisely the effect of rendering him
the deliverer and the true support of the republic. The same persons add
that when the officers whom Napoleon had at Paris, and letters from
every part of France, had informed him that his proclamation had in one
moment changed altogether the state of public feeling in the interior,
then, and then only, he saw that he had done too much. We are the more
ready to adopt this opinion as we cannot understand why Napoleon should
have thought of preserving three Directors whom he did not care about.
The only one he esteemed (Carnot) was of the opposite party, and we know
that he felt indignant at the corruptness and the weakness of the

“A man named Bottot, a private agent of Barras, was sent to Napoleon
with secret instructions, to endeavour to penetrate his views and to
ascertain why he had not sent the three millions of which the Directory
had stood so much in need. Bottot found the French General at
Passeriano, and began to intrigue right and left with those who
surrounded Napoleon; but he found every one warmly attached to the party
that had triumphed; and, having some concerns of his own to arrange, he
at last, in the course of some private conversations, confessed the
secret of his mission and the vague suspicions entertained by the
Directory. He had been soon undeceived by the appearance of simplicity
which distinguished Napoleon’s establishment, by the frankness of
Napoleon himself; and above all by the enthusiasm of the army, and of
the whole of Italy in favour of the General. But, even if the suspicion
of the Directory had been well founded, it would not have been
difficult, with a few marks of attention, and some frank and unaffected
conversations, to remove from Bottot’s mind, surrounded as he then was,
all cause of umbrage.

“He wrote to Paris that the fears which had been entertained were
altogether groundless, and much less to be dreaded than the perverseness
of those who wished to excite them. But the three millions, it was
objected to him, why were they refused? Napoleon had proved that the
order sent by the Directory was mysterious and irregular, and that,
encompassed as it was by such rogues as F—— and others, who had already
robbed the public exchequer, he had thought it prudent to ascertain the
truth; that he had immediately dispatched Lavalette, his confidential
aid-de-camp, to Paris, and that, as soon as Lavalette had informed him
of the true state of affairs, he was on the point of sending off the
three millions, when the fate of the day was decided.”

                        ENGLISH DIPLOMACY.—LORD

Monday, 10th—The course of our conversation to-day led the Emperor to
observe that nothing was so dangerous and so treacherous as official
conversations with diplomatic agents of Great Britain. “The English
Ministers,” said he, “never represent an affair from their nation to
another, but as from themselves to their own nation. They care little
what their adversaries have said or say; they boldly put forward what
their diplomatic agents have said, or what they make them say, on the
ground that, those agents having a public and acknowledged character,
faith must be placed in their reports. It is in pursuance of this
principle, Napoleon added, that the English Ministers published at the
time, under the name of Lord Whitworth, a long conversation between me
and Whitworth, the account of which was entirely false.”[22]

Footnote 22:

  We who have been at St. Helena, we who have seen and been concerned in
  the facts alleged by Lord Bathurst, before the parliament of Great
  Britain, we all can affirm, before God and man, that the British
  Ministers have on that occasion fully deserved the just reproaches
  which they incurred at the time of Lord Whitworth. Many Englishmen,
  who were then at St. Helena, have acknowledged it to us, and have
  confessed that they blushed for their country!!

That ambassador had solicited an audience of the First Consul, and
personal communications. The First Consul, who was himself fond of
treating affairs directly, willingly assented. “But this proved for me,”
said the Emperor, “a lesson which altered my method for ever. From this
moment, I never treated officially of political affairs, but through the
intervention of my minister for Foreign affairs. He at any rate could
give a positive and formal denial; which the sovereign could not do.

“It is utterly false,” added the Emperor, "that any thing occurred in
the course of our personal interview, which was not in conformity with
the common rules of decorum. Lord Whitworth himself, after our
conference, being in company with other Ambassadors, expressed himself
perfectly satisfied, and added that he had no doubt all things would be
satisfactorily settled. But what was the surprise of those same
Ambassadors, when they read a short time afterwards in the English
newspapers the report of Lord Whitworth, in which he charged me with
having behaved in the interview with unbecoming violence! We had some
warm friends amongst these Ambassadors, and some of them went so far as
to express their surprise to the English diplomatist, observing to him
that his report was very different from what he had said to them
immediately after the conference. Lord Whitworth made the best excuse he
could, but persisted in maintaining the assertions of the official

“The fact is,” said the Emperor, “that every political agent of Great
Britain is in the habit of making two reports on the same subject; one
public and false for the ministerial archives, the other confidential
and true for the Ministers themselves, and for them alone; and when the
responsibility of Ministers is at stake, they produce the first of these
documents, which, although false, answers every purpose, and serves to
exonerate them. And thus it is,” added the Emperor, "that the best
institutions become vicious, when they are no longer founded on
morality, and when their agents are only actuated by selfishness, pride,
and insolence. Absolute power has no need of disguise; it is silent:
responsible governments, being obliged to speak, have recourse to
artifice, and lie with effrontery.

"It is, however, a circumstance worthy of remark, that, in my great
struggle with England, the government of that country has constantly
contrived to attach so much odium to my person and actions; and that
they have so impudently exclaimed against my despotism, my selfishness,
my ambition, and my perfidy, when they alone were guilty of all they
dared to lay to my charge. A very strong prejudice must have existed
against me, I must have been indeed very much to be feared, since people
could suffer themselves to be thus deceived. I can understand it from
Kings and Cabinets, their existence was at stake; but from the

"The British Ministers spoke incessantly of my duplicity; but could any
thing be compared to their Machiavelism, their selfishness, during the
existence of disorders and convulsions, which were kept alive by them?

"They sacrificed unfortunate Austria in 1805, merely to escape the
invasion with which I threatened them.

"They sacrificed her again in 1809, to be more at liberty to act in the

"They sacrificed Prussia in 1806, in the hopes of recovering Hanover.

"They did not assist Russia in 1807, because they chose rather to seize
distant colonies, and because they were attempting to take possession of

"They gave to the world the infamous spectacle of bombarding Copenhagen
in time of peace, and lying in ambush to steal the Danish fleet. They
had already once before exhibited a similar spectacle by seizing, like
highway robbers, also in time of peace, four Spanish frigates laden with
rich treasures.

"Lastly, during the war in the Peninsula, where they endeavoured to
prolong the existence of anarchy and confusion, their principal object
was to traffic with the wants and the blood of the Spanish nation, by
obliging it to purchase their services and their supplies at the expense
of gold and concessions.

"Whilst all Europe, through their intrigues and their subsidies, was
bathed in blood, they were only intent upon providing for their own
safety, gaining advantages for their trade, and obtaining the
sovereignty of the sea and the monopoly of the world. As for myself, I
had never done any thing of the kind, and, until the unfortunate
business with Spain, which after all is not to be compared with the
affair of Copenhagen, I can say that my morality was unimpeachable. My
actions had perhaps been dictatorial and peremptory, but never disgraced
by perfidy. Who can be surprised, after all this, if, in 1814, although
England had really been the deliverer of Europe, not a single Englishman
could show himself on the Continent without meeting at every step with
maledictions, hatred, and execrations? Who can ask how this happened?
Every tree bears its own fruit; we reap only what we have sown; and such
was necessarily the infallible result of the misdeeds of the English
Government, the tyranny and the insolence of the Ministers in London,
and of their agents all over the globe.

"For the last fifty years the administrations of Great Britain have
gradually declined in consideration and in public estimation. Formerly,
the struggle for power was between great national parties, characterised
by grand and distinct systems; but now we see only the bickerings of one
and the same oligarchy, having constantly the same object in view, and
whose discordant members adjust their differences by compromise and
concessions: they have turned the Cabinet of St. James’s into a shop.

"The policy of Lord Chatham was marked by acts of injustice, no doubt;
but at least he proclaimed them with boldness and energy; they had a
certain air of grandeur. Pitt introduced into the Cabinet a system of
hypocrisy and dissimulation. Lord Castlereagh, the self-styled heir of
Pitt, has brought into it the extreme of every kind of turpitude and
immorality. Chatham gloried in being a merchant; Lord Castlereagh, to
the serious injury of his nation, has indulged himself in the
satisfaction of acting the _fine gentleman_; he has sacrificed his
country to fraternise with the great people of the continent, and from
that moment has united in his person the vices of the saloon with the
cupidity of the counting-house; the duplicity and obsequiousness of the
courtier with the haughtiness and insolence of the upstart. The poor
English constitution is in imminent danger. What a difference between
such men and the Foxes, the Sheridans, and the Greys, those splendid
talents, those noble characters of the Opposition, who have been the
objects of the ridicule of a victorious oligarchy!

“Lord Cornwallis,” said the Emperor, "is the first Englishman who gave
me, in good earnest, a favourable opinion of his nation; after him Fox,
and I might add to these, if it were necessary, our present Admiral

"Cornwallis was, in every sense of the word, a worthy, good, and honest
man. At the time of the treaty of Amiens, the terms having been agreed
upon, he had promised to sign the next day at a certain hour; something
of consequence detained him at home, but he pledged his word. The
evening of that same day, a courier arrived from London proscribing
certain articles of the treaty, but he answered that he had signed, and
immediately came and actually signed. We understood each other perfectly
well; I had placed a regiment at his disposal, and he took pleasure in
seeing its manœuvres. I have preserved an agreeable recollection of
him in every respect, and it is certain that a request from him would
have had more weight with me, perhaps, than one from a crowned head. His
family appears to have guessed this to be the case; some requests have
been made to me in its name, which have all been granted.

"Fox came to France immediately after the peace of Amiens. He was
employed in writing a history of the Stuarts, and asked my permission to
search our diplomatic archives. I gave orders that every thing should be
placed at his disposal. I received him often. Fame had informed me of
his talents, and I soon found that he possessed a noble character, a
good heart, liberal, generous, and enlightened views. I considered him
an ornament to mankind, and was very much attached to him. We often
conversed together upon various topics, without the least prejudice;
when I wished to engage in a little controversy, I turned the
conversation upon the subject of the infernal machine; and told him that
his ministers had attempted to murder me; he would then oppose my
opinion with warmth, and invariably ended the conversation by saying, in
his bad French, ‘First Consul, pray take that out of your head.’ But he
was not convinced of the truth of the cause he undertook to advocate,
and there is every reason to believe that he argued more in defence of
his country, than of the morality of its ministers."

The Emperor ended the conversation, by saying: “Half a dozen such men as
Fox and Cornwallis would be sufficient to establish the moral character
of a nation.... With such men I should always have agreed; we should
soon have settled our differences, and not only France would have been
at peace with a nation at bottom most worthy of esteem, but we should
have done great things together.”


Tuesday, 11th.—This has been one of those days of wind and rain so
common here. The Emperor, about three o’clock, took advantage of a short
interval to visit the garden. He sent for me; he had just been reading
the history of the Convention by Lacretelle. It is, he observed,
certainly not ill-written; but it is ill-digested, and makes no
impression on the memory; the whole is a smooth surface without a single
asperity to arrest attention. He does not thoroughly examine his
subject: he has not done justice to many celebrated characters; he gives
no adequate colouring to the crimes of several others, &c.

The rain obliged us to return, and we walked alone for a long time in
the saloon and the dining room.

We had been informed, that there were four thousand oxen in the island,
and that the annual consumption consisted of five hundred, of which
number one hundred and fifty were appropriated to us, fifty to the
colony, and three hundred to the shipping. It was added, that four years
were requisite for the reproduction of the stock, and this formed a
subject for our calculations; an employment for which the Emperor’s
peculiar taste is well known.

The subsistence and consumption of these oxen are an important affair in
the island. A single beast cannot be killed without the previous order
of the governor, and it was stated by one of our people, that the owner
of one of the houses or huts of the island, speaking to him on the
subject, said: “It is reported, that you complain up yonder, and
consider yourselves badly off; (he spoke of Longwood) but we are at a
loss to make it out; for it is said that you have beef every day, while
we cannot get it but three or four times a year, and even then we pay
for it at the rate of fifteen or twenty pence a pound.” The Emperor, who
laughed heartily at the story, observed, “You ought to have assured him,
that it cost us more than a crown.”

I observed some time afterwards, that it was the only pun I had till
then heard from the Emperor’s mouth, but the person to whom I made the
remark, said he had heard of his having made a similar one, and on the
same subject, in the isle of Elba. A mason employed in some buildings,
which were to be constructed by the Emperor’s order, had fallen and hurt
himself; the Emperor wishing to encourage him, assured him, that it
would be of no consequence. “I have had,” said he, “a much worse fall
than yours; but look at me, I am on my legs, and hearty, for all that.”

The Emperor’s attention was for a moment directed to political
statistics. He highly extolled the progress and utility of that new
science, so well adapted, he observed, to point out the path of truth,
to establish and confirm opinions. He called it the _budget of things_,
and “without budget,” said he gaily, “there is no safety.”

The singular application of the science by an Englishman or German, who
had the patience and resolution to ascertain the number of times each
letter of the alphabet occurred in the Bible, was then noticed by a
person present. He also mentioned another application of it, less dull,
but not less singular. It was that made by a German, eighty years of
age, who amused himself with calculating what he might have eaten,
during his life, in beef, mutton, poultry, vegetables, &c. as well as
what he had drunk. The estimate comprehended immense droves, flocks, and
accumulations of all sorts. The public market-place was incapable of
containing all he had devoured. This minute applicant of the science did
not stop there. He had the curiosity to inquire how often he might have
again swallowed the same things. For, he judiciously observed, their
transmutation in his person ought necessarily to have contributed to
their reproduction. The Emperor laughed much at the calculation, and
more particularly at the whimsical repetition of the same eatables.


June 12th.—We have had three days of horrible weather, when a moment
that promised to continue fine, induced the Emperor to take an airing in
his carriage. He had just finished reading the History of the
Constituent Assembly, by Rabeau de St. Etienne. He entertained very
nearly the same opinion of this writer as of Lacretelle. He then took
occasion to notice several characters.

“Bailli,” he said, “was not a bad man, but unquestionably a miserable
politician. Lafayette was another simpleton, and by no means formed for
the eminent character he wished to represent. His political simplicity
was such, that he could not avoid being the constant dupe of men and
things. His breaking up of the chambers on my return from Waterloo, was
my ruin. Who could have persuaded him, that I had arrived merely for the
purpose of dissolving them;—I, whose only safety was centred in them?”

One of the party saying, by way of excuse or extenuation; “It was,
however, sire, the same man, who, treating afterwards with the allies,
was filled with indignation at their proposal of delivering up your
Majesty, and eagerly asked, if it was to the prisoner of Olmutz they
dared to address themselves?”—"But, sir," replied the Emperor, “you run
from one subject to another, or rather, you concur with, instead of
opposing, my opinion. I have not attacked the sentiments or intentions
of M. de Lafayette; I have only complained of their fatal results.”

The Emperor then continued, in the same way, to review the leading men
of that period. He dwelt at considerable length on the affair of Favras,

“For the rest,” observed the Emperor, "nothing was more common than to
find men of that epoch quite the reverse in character of that which
their words and actions seemed to establish. Monges, for instance, might
be considered a terrible man. When war was resolved upon, he declared
from the tribune of the Jacobins, that he would give his two daughters
in marriage to the two first soldiers who might be wounded by the enemy.
This he was at liberty to do, in the strict sense of the gift, as far as
it respected himself; but he maintained, that others should be compelled
to follow his example, and that all the nobility should be put to death,
&c. Yet Monges was one of the mildest and weakest men living, and would
not have suffered a chicken to be killed, if he had been obliged to do
it himself or to see it done. This furious republican, as he believed
himself, cherished, however, a kind of worship for me, which he pushed
to adoration. He loved me, as a man loves his mistress.

"Grégoire, whose animosity to the clergy, whom he wished to bring back
to their original simplicity, was so great that he might have passed for
a champion of irreligion, may be mentioned as another instance; yet
Grégoire, when the revolutionists were denying their God, and abolishing
the priesthood, was very near being massacred in mounting the tribune,
for the purpose of boldly declaring his religious sentiments, and
protesting that he would die a priest. At the very moment when the work
of destruction was going on in all the churches against the altars,
Grégoire erected one in his own apartment, and said mass there every
day. This man’s lot, however, is decidedly cast. If he be driven from
France, he must take refuge in St. Domingo. The friend, the advocate,
the eulogist of the negroes will be a god, or a saint, among them."

St. Domingo naturally became the next subject of our conversation. I
had, in my younger days, seen that colony in its most flourishing state.
The Emperor put many questions to me, and made himself acquainted with
all the circumstances relating to that remote period. When his enquiries
were over, he said, “I shall, no doubt, astonish you: but I am
convinced, even from your own statements, that the island has not, at
this moment, lost a third, certainly not one half of its value, and
that, in a short time, it will recover all its former prosperity.”

I should not, in reality, be surprised at it; for all the absurd
stories, circulated in Europe respecting France, ought to put us on our
guard against those which might be safely told with regard to St.

The Emperor said that, after the restoration, the French government had
sent out emissaries and proposals which were laughed at by the negroes.
“As to myself,” he added, “on my return from Elba, I would have settled
all differences with them; I would have recognized their independence,
contented myself with some factories, like those on the coast of Africa,
endeavoured to draw them closer to the mother country, and to establish
a kind of family intercourse with them, which might, in my opinion, have
been easily accomplished.”

“I have to reproach myself with the attempt made upon the colony during
the consulship. The design of reducing it by force was a great error. I
ought to have been satisfied with governing it through the medium of
Toussaint. Peace with England was not sufficiently consolidated, and the
territorial wealth I should have acquired by its reduction would have
served but to enrich our enemies.” He had, he observed, the greater
reason to reproach himself with this fault, because he had foreseen its
failure, and it was executed against his inclination. He had solely
yielded to the opinion of the council of state and his ministers,
hurried along, as they were by the clamours of the colonists, who formed
a considerable party at Paris, and were, besides, he said, either nearly
all royalists or in the pay of the English faction.

The Emperor assured us, that the army which had been sent out consisted
but of sixteen thousand men, and was quite sufficient. The failure of
the expedition was solely to be attributed to accidental circumstances,
such as the yellow fever, the death of the Commander-in-chief, but above
all to his blunders, a new war, &c.

“The arrival of the Captain General Leclere,” said the Emperor, "was
followed by complete success, but he had not the skill to ensure its
continuance. Had he followed the secret instructions which I drew up for
him myself, he would have saved many lives and spared himself great
mortifications. I ordered him, among other things, to associate with
himself men of colour, that he might the better keep the Blacks in
subjection; and, as soon as he had reduced the Colony, to send to France
all the black Generals and superior officers, to be placed at the
disposal of the minister at war, who would have employed them in their
respective ranks. This measure, which would have deprived the Negro
population of its chiefs and its leaders, would have been a decisive
stroke, without wounding in their persons the military laws and
regulations. But Leclere did just the contrary: he kept down the people
of colour, and bestowed his confidence on the black Generals. In
consequence, as it might naturally be expected, he was duped by the
latter, found himself beset with difficulties, and the Colony was lost.
At first, he would not send to France Toussaint, who had filled a
distinguished post there; but after some time he found himself obliged
to order his apprehension and to send him prisoner to us. Malevolence
did not fail to paint this act under the odious colours of tyranny and
perfidy, representing Toussaint as an innocent victim deserving of the
deepest interest; and yet he was eminently criminal.

"Toussaint was not a man destitute of merit; though certainly he was not
what people attempted to describe him at the time. His character,
besides, was ill calculated to inspire real confidence; he had given us
serious causes of complaint. We must always have distrusted him.[23] He
was chiefly guided by an officer of engineers or artillery, director of
the fortifications of St. Domingo. (Colonel Vincent). That officer had
come to France before Leclere’s expedition, and conferences were, for a
long time, held with him. He exerted himself very much to prevent the
attempt, and described with great precision, all its difficulties,
without pretending, however, that it was impossible." The Emperor
thought that the Bourbons might succeed in reducing St. Domingo if they
employed force; but on that subject the result of arms was not to be
calculated upon; it was rather the result of commerce and of grand
political views. Three or four hundred millions of capital transferred
from France to a remote country; an indefinite period for reaping the
fruits of such a sacrifice; the very great certainty of seeing them
engrossed by the English, or swallowed up by revolutions, &c.: those
were the points for consideration. The Emperor concluded with saying,
"The colonial system, which we have witnessed, is closed for us, as well
as for the whole continent of Europe; we must give it up, and henceforth
confine ourselves to the free navigation of the seas, and the complete
liberty of universal exchange.”

Footnote 23:

  The “Memoires de Napoleon” (published at Paris by Bossange, in 1823)
  contain notes by the Emperor on a history of St. Domingo, which
  furnish precise and curious particulars respecting the expedition
  against that colony, the causes which led to the undertaking, to its
  failure, &c.

The History of the Convention, of which Napoleon had already expressed
his disapprobation, again presented itself to his thoughts; he was far
from being satisfied with Lacretelle. “Sentences in abundance,” he
repeated, “and but little colouring, no depth: he is an academician, but
in no respect a historian.” He made me call my son, and dictated the two
following notes, of which I give a literal copy, however imperfect they
may be, for he never read them a second time. Every thing that comes
from him is, in my opinion, valuable.

                                NOTE I.

"The Convention, called by a law of the Legislative Assembly to give a
new constitution to France, decreed the Republic; not that the most
enlightened did not think the republican system incompatible with the
existing state of manners in France, but because the Monarchy could not
be continued without placing the Duke of Orleans on the throne, which
would have alienated a great part of the nation.

"An executive power, consisting of five ministers, was established by
the Convention for conducting the affairs of the republic.

"Two parties contended for the ascendancy in the National Convention:
that of the _Girondists_, composed of men who had influenced the
Legislative Assembly, and that of the _Mountain_, formed by the Commune
of Paris, which had directed the atrocities of the 10th of August and
the 2d of September, and commanded the population of the capital.

"Vergniaud, Brissot, Condorcet, Guadet, and Roland, were the leaders of
the Girondists; Danton, Robespierre, Marat, Collot d’Herbois, and
Billaud-Varennes, headed the Mountain. These two parties were alike
indebted for their rise to the principles of the revolution. Their
conductors sprang out of the popular societies which they had
successively rendered subservient to their views.

"The party of the Girondists was more powerful in talents, and was
eminently popular in the great provincial towns, particularly at
Bourdeaux, Montpellier, Marseilles, Caen, Lyons, &:c.

"The party of the Mountain possessed more energy and enthusiasm, and was
not less popular in the capital and among the clubs of the departments.

"The Girondist party, which, in the Legislative Assembly, had been the
most ardent for the Revolution, became, in the Convention, the most
moderate; because it had to contend there with a faction much more
violent than itself, which had not found its way into the Assembly.

"The Girondists called their adversaries the faction of September, and
constantly reproached them with the horrible massacre of which they were
guilty. They accused them of being hostile to a national assembly, and
of endeavouring to transfer the government of France to the Commune of
Paris; but by these means the Girondists only excited against themselves
the Jacobins of all the departments.

"On its side, the Commune of Paris (the Mountaineers) stigmatized the
Girondists by the name of the federalists, and charged them with the
design of establishing a federative system in France similar to that of
Switzerland. They also accused them of endeavouring to stir up the
provinces against the capital, and thus held them up to the detestation
of the people of Paris, which could maintain its splendour only by the
union and unity of the whole of the territory. When the Girondists
inveighed against the Mountaineers for the massacres of the 2nd of
September, the latter reproached the former with having, during the
Legislative Assembly, rashly and without cause, declared war against all

"The Girondists, at first, appeared to have the upper hand in the
Convention, and they directed that Marat should be brought to trial, and
that proceedings should be instituted against the assassins of
September. But Marat, supported by the Jacobins and the Commune of
Paris, was acquitted by the revolutionary tribunal, and returned in
triumph to the bosom of the assembly.

"The trial of the King had been another apple of discord. The two
parties seemed to proceed in unison, and voted, it is true, for his
death; but the greater part of the Girondists also voted for an appeal
to the people; and here it is difficult to comprehend the reason of
their conduct during that crisis. If they wished to save the king, they
were at liberty to do so; they had only to vote for deportation, exile,
or the adjournment of the question; but to sentence him to death and
make his fate depend upon the will of the people, was, in the highest
degree, absurd and impolitic. They seemed to be desirous, that after the
extinction of the monarchy, France should be torn to pieces by civil

"The general opinion ever since the commencement of the revolution, that
the most audacious and unreasonable faction would always predominate,
was from that moment verified. The Girondists, however, maintained the
contest with courage, and very often had majorities in the assembly
during all the months of March, April, and May. But the party of the
Mountaineers had recourse, in these circumstances, to an expedient which
it had constantly employed. On the 31st of May, the fate of the
Girondists was decided by an insurrection of the sections of Paris.
Twenty-seven were arrested, brought before the revolutionary tribunal,
and sentenced to death; seventy-three were thrown into prison, and from
that period the triumphant Mountain had no obstacles to encounter in the
Convention. Several Girondist deputies took refuge, however, at Caen,
and there raised the standard of insurrection. Lyons, Marseilles,
Bordeaux, Montpellier, and several towns of Brittany, embraced cause of
this party, and also took up arms against the the Convention.

"All these unconnected efforts were of no avail against the capital, and
the Mountain remained in tranquil possession of the national tribune. A
circumstance altogether singular contributed to confirm the
preponderance of Paris. It was the assignats, then the only resource for
supplying the treasury; not a single tax was then paid.

"The provinces learnt with considerable emotion the event of the 31st of
May, and the death of the most celebrated of the Girondist party. The
armies were not agitated by these results; they took no share in the
insurrections of some provinces, and remained all attached to the
Convention and the dominant party at Paris.

"When the partial insurrection of certain towns in favour of the
Girondists was known, all the armies had already taken the oath and
testified their adhesion to the Mountain; besides, in the eyes of
Frenchmen, Paris was France. Neither did the departments of Alsace, la
Moselle, Flanders, Franche Comté, and Dauphiné, where the principal
forces of the republic were quartered, sympathize in the feelings of the
federalist towns.

“The 31st of May deprived France of men of great talents, zealously
attached to liberty, and the principles of the revolution. The
catastrophe might afflict the well disposed, but could not surprise
them. It was impossible for an assembly, which had extricated France
from the critical situation to which she was reduced, to carry on public
business with two parties so inveterately and irreconcileably opposed.
It was necessary for the safety of the republic that one should
extinguish the other, and there can be no doubt that, had the Girondists
obtained the victory, they would have consigned their adversaries to the

Here the Emperor, who had dictated in his usual way, from memory alone,
without any research, whether he was dissatisfied with the task he had
executed, or for some other reason, stopped short, for the purpose, as
he said, of recommencing a new dictation on the same subject.

                                NOTE II.

"The Convention was established in September, 1792, and terminated in
October, 1795, Its reign, which lasted nearly three years, presents four

"The 1st, from its commencement to the 31st of May 1793—epoch of the
destruction of the Girondists.

"The 2nd, to March 1794—overthrow of the Commune of Paris.

"The 3rd, to July, 1794—fall of Robespierre.

"The 4th to the 14th Vendémiaire (4th October, 1795)—installation of the
Government of the Directory.

"Its _first era_ consisted of eight months, its second of ten, its third
of four, its fourth of fourteen. Total, three years.

"During its first era the Convention was constantly divided between the
parties of the Mountain and the Gironde.

"Danton, Robespierre, Marat, Collot-d’Herbois, Billaud-Varennes, Carnot,
Heraut de Sechelles, were the leaders of the party of the Mountain.

"Brissot, Condorcet, Vergniaud, Gaudet, Gensonnè, Péthion, Lasource,
Barbaroux, headed the party of the Gironde.

"The two parties were equally hostile to the Bourbons and the royalists.

"The men of the first were distinguished for superior energy, those of
the second for superior talents. They were both the partisans of a
republican establishment. The Mountaineers were desirous of a Republic,
for the purpose of destroying what was in existence before the
Revolution, both men and things. The Girondists were animated by the
infatuation of youthful feeling, which presented at once Athens and Rome
to their view, and revived recollections of sublime antiquity.

"The existence of the mountaineers may be dated from the time of the
Constituent Assembly. They were the firebrands of the clubs so generally
known by the name of Jacobin. The insurrection of the Field of Mars was
planned by them.

"This party did not obtain admission into the Constituent and
Legislative Assemblies.

"The Girondists, who predominated in the legislative, were hostile to
the Constitution of 1794 and to the King. They would not undertake his
defence, and suffered him to be sacrificed to the efforts of the
Mountain, which, however, was also their enemy. It was the Mountaineers
who caused the atrocities of the 20th of June, of the 10th of August,
and of the 2nd of September; they had then no party in the assembly; but
they compelled the Girondists to join them after their victory.

"The _first era_ of the Convention presents the struggle of the
Girondists and Mountaineers; the Girondists prevailed at that time in
consequence of their superior talents, their eloquence, and their
already acquired reputation. The presidents were nearly all Girondists;
they charged the Mountain with the design of destroying the National
Assembly, and substituting in its place a Parisian Dictatorship. They
also reproached it with the massacre of September.

"The Mountain, in its turn, charged them with wishing for a federative
republic like Switzerland, with being hostile to the capital, and with
having, without cause, placed the republic in a state of warfare with
the whole of Europe.

"The Mountain had at its command the Jacobins of Paris, and the greatest
part of the popular societies of the republic; the commune of Paris, the
sections, the revolutionary tribunal, and the lower classes of the
people of the capital were devoted to its interests.

"The Girondists possessed great influence over the departments in
general and the enlightened part of the nation; their partizans were
more numerous among the upper class of society. The Girondists, who had
occupied the left side in the Legislative Assembly, and had shewn such
animosity against the King, the ministers, and the right side, or
moderate party, were forced to shift places, and become in their turn
the right side or moderate party, opposed to the vehement and
overbearing Mountain, which henceforth formed the left side.

"The Mountaineers, working on the plan they had adopted under the
Constituent Assembly, enlisted all the passions in their service, and
demanded, with loud cries, the death of the King. The Girondists might,
by openly defending him, have preserved his life; they had recourse to
the singular system of condemning him, and, after having thus destroyed
the monarchy, they wished the sentence to be confirmed by an appeal to
the people: in other words, they wished to destroy France by the horrors
of a civil war. This false combination ruined them.—Vergniaud, one of
the pillars of their party, proclaimed the sentence of death passed upon
the King.

"The Girondists were so powerful in the Assembly, that several months’
labour and several days’ insurrection were necessary to destroy their
influence in the Convention.

"This party would have governed the Convention and crushed the Mountain,
had its system of conduct been more direct and candid. The
metaphysicians had too weighty a preponderance in it.

"The _second era_ of the Convention is the reign of the Mountain.
Twenty-two of the principal Girondists perished on the scaffold, or fell
by their own hands; seventy-three were thrown into prison. The Mountain,
ruled with absolute power; it created the revolutionary government, and
the Convention in a mass placed itself, of its own accord, under the
yoke of the Committee of Public Safety and of the Revolutionary

"In this second era, the sittings of the Convention no longer resembled
those of the first; there was an end of discussion and of liberty; it
was the despotism of the Decemvirs. Some of the Deputies governed the
Committees of General Security, of Finance, &c. Others were dispatched
by the Committee of Public Safety to the Armies and the Departments, and
became real Pro-consuls.

"Every month, every week, every day, the government became more
ferocious and sanguinary. All those, in the higher classes of society
who had not emigrated were crowded together in the prisons, as objects
of suspicion, and sent by hundreds to the scaffold.

"After treating in this way every one who was of a noble family, a
priest, a merchant, or a considerable proprietor, the excesses of the
party recoiling upon itself, it ruled the Jacobins and the Commune of
Paris with an iron hand: it enslaved the Convention, and threatened it
with absolute annihilation; it preached up Atheism, and proscribed the
arts, the sciences, and every species of talent. The artists and men of
science were thrown into prison, as objects of suspicion, and there was
a time when the National Library and the Garden of Plants were on the
point of being burnt and laid waste.

"Robespierre and Danton, filled with indignation at these outrages,
united their efforts to put a stop to the frightful progress of the
popular madness. The capuchin Chabot, Bazire, Fabre d’Eglantine, Hebert,
Chaumet, Vincent, and all their associates perished on the scaffold.

"For the first time since the commencement of the Revolution, the people
saw persons put to death as ultra-revolutionary, and no longer as having
wished to stop the Revolution. Their ideas were turned up-side down, and
underwent a real revolution.

"The prisons were filled with sans-culottes, and with all that was
basest in society. It was remarked, that the apostate priests were
numerous in that class.

"The people beheld, without surprise and with joy, the punishment of
those who had until then governed them, and that feeling was a
revolution, which escaped the observation of Robespierre and Danton, and
which they knew not how to convert to their advantage.

"The _third era_ presents a spectacle different from the other two.
Danton and Robespierre had without effort stopped the Revolution, and
put a period to the power of the Commune of Paris; but after their
success they fell out between themselves.

"Danton, Camille des Moulins, Heraut de Sechelles, and Lacroix, were
desirous of going a step farther, and putting an end to the
assassinations of the Revolutionary Tribunal. Danton and Lacroix had
enriched themselves in their mission to Belgium. Camille des Moulins,
who, from the beginning of the Revolution had given himself the title of
the Attorney-General of the Lantern, was captivated and softened down by
a young wife. They had the boldness to demand, that the blow which had
been just struck against Hebert, or the rest of Marat’s party, should be
turned to the benefit of the whole Republic—that no innocent person
should in future be condemned—that the system of terror should be
abolished—and that a Committee of Clemency should be established.

"Billaud-Varennes and Collot-d’Herbois, who took the lead in the
Committee of Public Safety and among the great body of Jacobins,
rejected these demands with indignation and fury; and Robespierre, after
some hesitation, did not dare to support Danton, and made a sacrifice of
him. Danton, Camille des Moulins, Heraut de Sechelles, &c. perished on
the scaffold, to which they were dragged by the whole Committee of
Public Safety, and by the enraged Jacobins. The people were struck with
consternation, and for the first time expressed no sign of satisfaction.

"What Robespierre, however, had not dared to do, and what he could have
easily effected had he supported Danton, he had the presumption to
undertake after the death of Danton. In order to put a period to
Atheism, he caused the existence of God to be proclaimed, and he
endeavoured to reinstate the virtues, the sciences, and the arts.
Billaud-Varennes, Collot-d’Herbois, and Barrere, were struck with horror
at seeing the termination of the revolutionary government. They formed a
coalition with all the representatives, who, in their missions, had
caused the effusion of human blood, and with all the numerous friends
whom Danton had in the Convention, such as Tallien, Fréron, Legendre;
and when Robespierre was bold enough to give a glimpse of his plan for
suppressing the administration of the pro-consuls, and for the necessity
of bringing to justice the base characters, who had rendered the
Revolution odious in the provinces, he was consigned to the scaffold.

"The transactions of the 9th Thermidor constituted, in reality, the
triumph of Collot-d’Herbois and Billaud-Varennes, men more horrible and
bloodthirsty than Robespierre; but that victory could not be obtained
over the Jacobins and the commune, without calling into action the whole
of the citizens; so that, with respect to the middling classes and the
people, the death of Robespierre was the death of the revolutionary
government; and after various oscillations, those who wished to continue
the system of terror and had sacrificed Robespierre, as he had
sacrificed Danton, because he was desirous of softening down and
moderating the revolution, found themselves drawn along with, and
overpowered by, the public opinion.

“During the last ten months, Robespierre frequently complained that he
was rendered odious by having all the massacres, which were perpetrated,
attributed to him. The men who caused his destruction were more
sanguinary and dreadful than he, but the whole nation, which had for a
long time imputed all the assassinations to Robespierre, exclaimed that
it was a triumph over tyranny, and that belief put an end to it.”

Here the dictation ended; the Emperor joined in common conversation, and
as he never resumed it, we are deprived of the fourth era.


June 13th.—The Emperor had just run over a great many numbers of the
Moniteur. “These Moniteurs,” said he, “so terrible and dangerous to so
many reputations, are uniformly useful and favourable to me alone. It is
with official documents that men of sense and real talents will write
history; now, these documents are full of the spirit of my government,
and to them I make an earnest and solemn appeal.” He added, that he had
made the Moniteur the soul and life-blood of his government, and that it
was the intermediate instrument of his communications with public
opinion, both abroad and at home. Every government had since followed
his example more or less in that respect.

“Whatever serious fault might be committed by any of the high
functionaries employed in the interior, immediately,” said the Emperor,
"an enquiry was set on foot by three Councillors of State. They made
their report to me, confirmed the facts and discussed the principles.
For my own part, I had nothing more to do than to write at the
bottom—‘_Dispatched for execution according to the laws of the republic,
or of the empire._’ My interference was at an end, the public result
accomplished, and popular opinion did justice to the transaction. It was
the most formidable and dreadful of my tribunals. Did any question arise
abroad respecting certain grand political combinations or some delicate
points of diplomacy? The objects were indirectly hinted at in the
Moniteur. They instantly attracted universal attention and became the
topics of general investigation. This conduct was at once the orderly
signal for the adherents of the throne, and at the same time an appeal
to the opinion of all. The Moniteur has been reproached for the acrimony
and virulence of its notes against the enemy. But before we condemn
them, we are bound to take into consideration the benefits they may have
produced, the anxiety with which they occasionally gave the enemy, the
terror with which they struck a hesitating cabinet, the stimulus which
they imparted to our allies, the confidence and audacity with which they
inspired our troops," &c.

The conversation next turned upon the liberty of the press, and the
Emperor asked our opinions. We talked for a long time very idly on the
subject, and threw out a great number of common-place ideas. Some were
hostile to it. “Nothing,” said they, “can resist the liberty of the
press. It is capable of overthrowing every government, of agitating
every society, of destroying every reputation.” “It is only,” observed
others, “its prohibition that is dangerous. If it be restricted, it
becomes a mine that must explode, but if left to itself it is merely an
unbent bow, that can inflict no wound.” Here the Emperor observed, that
he was far from being convinced with regard to that point, but that it
was no longer the question for consideration; that there were
institutions at present, and the liberty of the press was among the
number, on the excellence of which we were no longer called upon to
decide, but solely to determine the possibility of withholding them from
the overbearing influence of popular opinion. He declared, that the
prohibition under a representative government was a gross anachronism, a
downright absurdity. He had, therefore, on his return from the Isle of
Elba, abandoned the press to all its excesses, and he was well assured,
that they had, in no respect, contributed to his recent downfall. When
it was proposed in council, in his presence, to discuss the means of
sheltering the authority of the State from its attacks, he jocosely
remarked, “Gentlemen, it is probably yourselves you wish to protect,
for, with respect to me, I shall henceforth continue a stranger to all
such proceedings. The press has exhausted itself upon me during my
absence, and I now defy it to produce any thing new or provoking against


June 14th.—The Emperor had been ill the whole of the night, and
continued so during the day; he had a foot-bath, and was not inclined to
go out; he dined alone in his apartment, and sent for me towards the

The Emperor began the conversation, of which the constant subject was
the Spanish war. It has been seen in the notice which I have already
taken of it, that the Emperor took upon himself the whole blame of the
measure. I wish to avoid repetitions as much as possible, and shall,
therefore, allude to those topics only which appeared new to me.

“The old King and Queen,” said the Emperor, "at the moment of the event,
were the objects of the hatred and contempt of their subjects. The
Prince of Asturias conspired against them, forced them to abdicate, and
at once united in his own person the love and hopes of the nation. That
nation was, however, ripe for great changes and demanded them with
energy. I enjoyed vast popularity in the country, and it was in that
state of things that all these personages met at Bayonne; the old king
calling upon me for vengeance against his son, and the young prince
soliciting my protection against his father, and imploring a wife at my
hands. I resolved to convert this singular occasion to my advantage,
with the view of delivering myself from that branch of the Bourbons, of
continuing in my own dynasty the family system of Louis XIV. and of
binding Spain to the destinies of France. Ferdinand was sent to
Valencey, the old king to Marseilles, as he wished, and my brother
Joseph went to reign at Madrid with a liberal constitution, adopted by a
junta of the Spanish nation, which had come to receive it at Bayonne.

“It seems to me,” continued he, "that Europe, and even France, has never
had a just idea of Ferdinand’s situation at Valencey. There is a strange
misunderstanding in the world with respect to the treatment he
experienced, and still more so, with respect to his wishes and personal
opinions as to that situation. The fact is, that he was scarcely guarded
at Valencey, and that he did not wish to escape. If any plots were
contrived to favour his evasion, he was the first to make them known. An
Irishman (Baron de Colli) gained access to his person, and offered, in
the name of George the Third, to carry him off; but Ferdinand, so far
from embracing the offer, instantly communicated it to the proper

“His applications to me for a wife at my hands were incessant. He
spontaneously wrote to me letters of congratulation upon every event
that occurred in my favour. He had addressed proclamations to the
Spaniards recommending their submission; he had recognized Joseph. All
these were circumstances which might, indeed, have been considered as
forced upon him; but he requested from him the insignia of his grand
order; he tendered to me the services of his brother, Don Carlos, to
take the command of the Spanish regiments, which were marching to
Russia,—proceedings to which he was, in no respect, obliged. To sum up
all, he earnestly solicited my permission to visit my court at Paris,
and if I did not lend myself to a spectacle, which would have astonished
Europe, by displaying the full consolidation of my power, it was because
the important circumstances which called me abroad, and my frequent
absence from the capital, deprived me of the proper opportunity.”

About the beginning of a year, at one of the Emperor’s levees, I
happened to be next to the Chamberlain, Count d’Arberg, who had been
doing duty at Valencey, near the persons of the princes of Spain. When
the Emperor approached, he enquired if these princes conducted
themselves with propriety, and added; “You have brought me a very pretty
letter; but between ourselves, it was you who wrote it for them.”
D’Arberg assured him, that he was altogether unacquainted even with the
nature of its contents. “Well,” said the Emperor, “a son could not write
more cordially to his father.”

“When our situation in Spain,” observed the Emperor, “proved dangerous,
I more than once proposed to Ferdinand to return and reign over his
people; that we should openly carry on war against each other: and that
the contest should be decided by the fate of arms.” “No,” answered the
prince, who seems to have been well advised, and never deviated from
that way of thinking. “My country is agitated by political disturbances;
I should but multiply its embarrassments: I might become their victim,
and lose my head upon the scaffold. I remain; but, if you will choose a
wife for me, if you will grant me your protection and the support of
your arms, I shall set out and prove a faithful ally.”

"At a later period, during our disasters, and towards the end of 1813, I
yielded to that proposal, and Ferdinand’s marriage with Joseph’s eldest
daughter was decided; but circumstances were then no longer the same,
and Ferdinand was desirous that the marriage should be deferred. “You
can no longer,” he observed, support me with your arms, and I ought not
to make my wife a title of exclusion in the eyes of my people." “He left
me,” continued the Emperor, “as it seemed, with every intention of good
faith, for he adhered to the principles which he avowed on his
departure, until the events of Fontainebleau.”

The Emperor declared that, had the affairs of 1814 turned out
differently, he would unquestionably have accomplished his marriage with
Joseph’s daughter.

The Emperor, in reverting to these affairs, said, that the impolicy of
his own conduct was irrevocably decided by the results; but that
independently of this kind of proof, depending upon consequences, he had
to reproach himself with serious faults in the execution of his plans.
One of the greatest was that of considering the dethronement of the
dynasty of the Bourbons as a matter of importance, and of maintaining as
the basis of this system, for its successor, precisely that man, who
from his qualities and character, was certain to cause its failure.

During the meeting at Bayonne, Ferdinand’s former preceptor and his
principal counsellor (Escoiquiz) at once perceiving the vast projects
entertained by the Emperor, and pleading the cause of his master, said
to him: "You wish to create for yourself a kind of Herculean labour,
when you have but child’s play in hand. You wish to rid yourselves of
the Bourbons of Spain; why should you be apprehensive of them? They have
ceased to exist; they are no longer French. You have nothing to fear
from them; they are altogether aliens with respect to your nation and
your manners. You have here Madame de Montmorency, and some new ladies
of your Court; they are not more acquainted with the one than with the
other, and view them all with equal indifference." The Emperor
unfortunately formed a different resolution.

I took the liberty of telling him, I had been assured by some Spaniards,
that, if the national pride had been respected, and the Spanish junta
held at Madrid instead of Bayonne, or even, if Charles IV. had been sent
off and Ferdinand retained, the revolution would have been popular, and
affairs would have taken another turn. The Emperor entertained no doubt
of it, and agreed that the enterprize had been imprudently undertaken,
and that many circumstances might have been better conducted. “Charles
IV.,” said he, "was, however, too stale for the Spaniards. Ferdinand
should have been considered in the same light. The plan most worthy of
me, and the best suited to my project, would have been a kind of
mediation like that of Switzerland. I ought to have given a liberal
constitution to the Spanish nation, and charged Ferdinand with its
execution. If he had acted with good faith, Spain must have prospered
and harmonized with our new manners. The great object would have been
obtained, and France would have acquired an intimate ally and an
addition of power truly formidable. Had Ferdinand, on the contrary,
proved faithless to his new engagements, the Spaniards themselves would
not have failed to dismiss him, and would have applied to me for a ruler
in his place.

“At all events,” concluded the Emperor, "that unfortunate war in Spain
was a real affliction, and the first cause of the calamities of France.
After my conferences at Erfurt with Alexander, England ought to have
been compelled to make peace by the force of arms or of reason. She had
lost the esteem of the continent; her attack upon Copenhagen had
disgusted the public mind, while I distinguished myself at that moment
by every contrary advantage, when that disastrous affair of Spain
presented itself to effect a sudden change against me and reinstate
England in the public estimation. She was enabled, from that moment, to
continue the war; the trade with South America was thrown open to her;
she formed an army for herself in the peninsula, and next became the
victorious agent, the main point, of all the plots which were hatched on
the continent. All this effected my ruin.

"I was then assailed with imputations, for which, however, I had given
no cause. History will do me justice. I was charged in that affair with
perfidy, with laying snares, and with bad faith, and yet I was
completely innocent. Whatever may have been said to the contrary, never
have I broken any engagement, or violated my promise, either with regard
to Spain or any other power.

"The world will one day be convinced, that in the principal transactions
relative to Spain I was completely a stranger to all the domestic
intrigues of its Court: that I broke no promise made either to Charles
IV. or to Ferdinand VII.: that I violated no engagement with the father
or the son: that I made use of no falsehoods to entice them both to
Bayonne, but that they both strove which should be the first there. When
I saw them at my feet and was enabled to form a correct opinion of their
total incapacity, I beheld with compassion the fate of a great people; I
eagerly seized the singular opportunity, held out to me by fortune, for
regenerating Spain, rescuing her from the yoke of England, and
intimately uniting her with our system. It was, in my conception, laying
the fundamental basis of the tranquillity, and security of Europe. But I
was far from employing for that purpose, as it has been reported, any
base and paltry stratagems. If I erred, it was, on the contrary, by
daring openness and extraordinary energy. Bayonne was not the scene of
premeditated ambush, but of a vast master-stroke of state policy. I
could have preserved myself from these imputations by a little
hypocrisy, or by giving up the Prince of the Peace to the fury of the
people; but the idea appeared horrible to me, and struck me as if I was
to receive the price of blood. Besides, it must also be acknowledged
that Murat did me a great deal of mischief in the whole affair.

"Be that as it may, I disdained having recourse to crooked and
common-place expedients—I found myself so powerful!—I dared to strike
from a situation too exalted. I wished to act like Providence, which, of
its own accord, applies remedies to the wretchedness of mankind, by
means occasionally violent, but for which it is unaccountable to human

“I candidly confess, however, that I engaged very inconsiderately in the
whole affair; its immorality must have shewn itself too openly, its
injustice too glaringly, and the transactions taken altogether, present
a disgusting aspect, more particularly since my failure; for the outrage
is no longer seen but in its hideous nakedness, stripped of all
loftiness of idea, and of the numerous benefits which it was my
intention to confer. Posterity, however, would have extolled it had I
succeeded, and perhaps with reason, on account of its vast and happy
results. Such is our lot, and such our judgment in this world!... But I
once more declare, that, in no instance was there any breach of faith,
any perfidy or falsehood, and, what is more, there was no occasion for
them.” Here the Emperor resumed, in its totality and in its origin, the
history of the affair of Spain, repeating many things which have been
already noticed.

“The Court and the reigning family,” said the Emperor, "were split into
two parties. The one was that of the monarch, blindly governed by his
favourite, the Prince of the Peace, who had constituted himself the real
king; the other was that of the heir presumptive, headed by his
preceptor, Escoiquiz, who aspired to the government. These two parties
were equally desirous of my support, and made me the most flattering
promises. I was, no doubt, determined to derive every possible advantage
from their situation.

"The favourite, in order to continue in office, as well as to shelter
himself from the vengeance of the son, in case of the father’s death,
offered me, in the name of Charles IV. to effect, in concert, the
conquest of Portugal, reserving as an asylum for himself, the
sovereignty of the Algarves.

"On the other hand, the prince of the Asturias wrote to me privately,
without his father’s knowledge, soliciting a wife of my choice, and
imploring my protection.

"I concluded an agreement with the former, and returned no answer to the
latter. My troops were already admitted into the Peninsula, when the son
took advantage of a commotion to make his father abdicate and to reign
in his place.

"It has been foolishly imputed to me, that I took part in all these
intrigues, but so far was I from having any knowledge of them, that the
last event, in particular, disconcerted all my projects with the father,
in consequence of which my troops were already in the heart of Spain.
The two parties were aware, from that moment, that I could and ought to
be the arbiter between them. The dethroned monarch and the son had
recourse to me, the one for the purpose of obtaining vengeance, and the
other, for the purpose of being recognised. They both hastened to plead
their cause before me, and they were urged on by their respective
councillors, those very persons who absolutely governed them, and who
saw no means of preserving their own lives but by throwing themselves
into my arms.

"The Prince of the Peace, who had narrowly escaped being murdered,
easily persuaded Charles IV. and his queen to undertake the journey, as
they had themselves been in danger of falling victims to the fury of the

“On his part, the preceptor Escoiquiz, the real author of all the
calamities of Spain, alarmed at seeing Charles IV. protest against his
abdication, and in dread of the scaffold, unless his pupil triumphed,
exerted every means to influence the young King. This Canon, who had
besides a very high opinion of his own talents, did not despair of
making an impression on my decisions by his arguments, and of inducing
me to acknowledge Ferdinand, making me a tender, on his own account, of
his services to govern, altogether under my control, as effectually as
the Prince of the Peace could, in the name of Charles IV. And it must be
owned,” said the Emperor, "that, had I listened to several of his
reasons, and adopted some of his ideas, it had been much better for me.

"When I had them all assembled at Bayonne, I felt a confidence in my
political system, to which I never before had the presumption to aspire.
I had not made my combinations, but I took advantage of the moment. I
here found the Gordian knot before me, and I cut it. I proposed to
Charles IV. and the Queen, to resign the crown of Spain to me, and to
live quietly in France. They agreed, I may say, almost with joy, to the
proposal, so inveterately were they exasperated against their son, and
so earnestly did they and their favourite wish to enjoy, for the future,
tranquillity and safety. The Prince of the Asturias made no
extraordinary resistance to the plan, but neither violence nor threats
were employed against him; and if he was influenced by fear, which I am
very willing to believe, that could only be his concern.

"There you have in very few words, the complete historical sketch of the
affair of Spain; whatever may be said, or written on it must amount to
that; and you see that there could be no occasion for me to have
recourse to paltry tricks, to falsehoods, to breaches of faith, or
violation of engagements. In order to establish my guilt, it would be
necessary to shew my inclination to degrade myself gratuitously; but of
that propensity I have never furnished an instance.

"For the rest, the instant my decision was known, the crowd of
intriguers who swarm in every court, and even those among them who had
been the most active in producing the misfortunes of their country,
strove to curry favour with Joseph, as they had done with Charles IV.
and Ferdinand VII. They watched, with extraordinary diligence, the
progress of events, and changed sides at a later period, in proportion
as difficulties encreased, and our disasters approached. They pursued
the plan so successfully, that they are the persons, who, at this
moment, govern Ferdinand. And, what is truly horrible, the better to
secure their influence, they did not hesitate to impute whatever was
odious and criminal in past calamities, to the mass of _simpletons_,
whom they proscribed and banished;—of those men naturally well-disposed,
and who, in principle, decidedly blamed Ferdinand’s journey. Of this
latter class, several who opposed the journey afterwards took the oath
of allegiance to Joseph, who seemed then to be identified with the
happiness and tranquillity of their country, and continued faithful to
him, until the grand catastrophe that drove him from the throne.

“It would be difficult to accumulate a greater mass of impudence and
baseness than that exhibited by all those intriguers, the principal
performers in that grand scene, which, by the way, extenuates the
degradation to which similar acts of vileness have reduced France in the
eyes of Europe. It is evident, that they do not belong to her
exclusively. Intriguing, ambitious, rapacious men, are every where to be
found, and are every where the same. Individuals alone are guilty;
nations cannot incur the responsibility. Their only disadvantage arises
from their being forced to witness these misdeeds. Unhappy the country
which becomes the scene of them!”

At present, the affair of Spain is perfectly known, thanks to the
writings of the principal actors, the canon Escoiquiz, the minister
Cevallos, and others, but above all, to those of the worthy and
respectable M. Llorente, who, under the anagrammatic signature of
Nellerto, has published the Memoirs of that time, sanctioned by all the
official documents. The opposite contradictions of the two first, their
mutual disputes, the assertions and denials of their contemporaries,
have reduced their writings to their real value, by stripping them of
whatever was erroneous, false, or even fabricated. The result is, that
in the opinion of every cool and impartial judge, they all concur, even
involuntarily, in confirming the justificatory assertions advanced by
Napoleon; not but that they display that difference which must
inevitably arise from the diversity of party-interests; but solely
because neither of them actually establishes the grounds of positive
crimination, nor furnishes any official document by which it can be
proved, while all those which exist attest and establish the contrary.

It may also be remarked in the history of those transactions, which must
now be considered as genuine, that England herself was altogether a
stranger to them, at least with respect to their origin, a fact which
was far from Napoleon’s way of thinking, who charged the English at the
time with being the first cause of all the intrigues, and who still
persevered in the accusation at St. Helena: so accustomed was he to
discover them at the bottom of every plot formed against him.

With respect to this affair of Spain, I have further to notice a letter
from the Emperor, which throws more light upon the subject than volumes.
It is admirable, and the events which followed stamp it as a
masterpiece. It exhibits the rapidity, the eagle-eyed view, with which
Napoleon formed his opinion of men and things.

Unfortunately, it also shews how much the execution of the inferiors,
employed during the greater part of the time, destroyed the finest and
most exalted conceptions; and in that point of view this letter remains
a very precious document for history. Its date renders it prophetic.

                                                  “29th March, 1808.

“Monsieur le Grand Duc de Berg—I am afraid lest you should deceive me
with respect to the situation of Spain, and lest you should also deceive
yourself. Events have been singularly complicated by the transaction of
the 20th of March. I find myself very much perplexed.

“_Do not believe that you are about to attack a disarmed nation, and
that you can, by a mere parade of your troops, effect the subjugation of
Spain._ The revolution of the 20th of March proves, that the Spaniards
possess energy. You have to contend with a new people; it has all the
courage, and will display all the enthusiasm shewn by men, who are not
worn out by political passions.

“The aristocracy and the clergy are the masters of Spain. If their
privileges and existence be threatened, they will bring into the field
against us levies en masse, that may perpetuate the war. I am not
without my partisans; but if I shew myself as a conqueror they will
abandon me.

“The Prince of the Peace is detested, because he is accused of having
betrayed Spain to France. This is the grievance which has assisted
Ferdinand’s usurpation. The popular is the weakest party.

“The Prince of the Asturias does not possess a single quality requisite
for the head of a nation. That will not prevent his being ranked as a
hero, in order that he may be opposed to us. I will have no violence
employed against the personages of this family. It can never answer any
purpose to excite hatred and inflame animosity. Spain has a hundred
thousand men under arms, more than are necessary to carry on an internal
war with advantage. Scattered over several parts of the country, they
may serve as rallying points for a total insurrection of the monarchy.

“I lay before you all the obstacles which must inevitably happen. There
are others of which you must be aware. England will not allow the
opportunity to escape her without multiplying our embarrassments. She
daily sends packet-boats to the forces, which she maintains on the
coasts of Portugal and in the Mediterranean; and she enlists in her
service Sicilians and Portuguese.

“The Royal Family not having left Spain for the purpose of establishing
itself in its American colonies, the state of the country can be changed
only by a revolution. It is, perhaps, of all others in Europe, that
which is the least prepared for one. Those who perceive the monstrous
defects of that government, and the anarchy which has been substituted
for the legitimate authority, are the fewest in number. Those defects
and that anarchy are converted to their own advantage by the greatest

“I can, consistently with the interests of my empire, do a great deal of
good to Spain. What are the best means to be adopted?

“Shall I go to Madrid? Shall I take upon myself the office of Grand
Protector in deciding between the father and the son? It seems to me a
matter of difficulty to support Charles IV. on the throne. His
government and his favourite are so very unpopular, that they could not
maintain themselves for three months.

“Ferdinand is the enemy of France, and to that consideration he has been
indebted for the crown. His elevation to the throne would be favourable
to the factions, which for five-and-twenty years have longed for the
destruction of France. A family alliance would be but a feeble tie.
_Queen Elizabeth and other French princesses_ perished miserably when
they could be immolated with impunity to the atrocious spirit of
vengeance. My opinion is, that nothing should be hurried on, and that
our measures ought to be regulated by events as they occur. It will be
necessary to strengthen the _corps d’armée_ which will be stationed on
the frontiers of Portugal, and wait....

“I do not approve of your Imperial Highness’s conduct in so
precipitately making yourself master of Madrid. The army ought to have
been kept ten leagues from the capital. You had no assurance that the
people and the magistracy were about to recognise Ferdinand, without a
struggle. The Prince of the Peace must, of course, have partisans among
those employed in the public service; there is also an habitual
attachment to the old King, which might lead to unpleasant consequences.
Your entrance into Madrid, by alarming the Spaniards, has powerfully
assisted Ferdinand. I have ordered Savary to attend the new King, and
observe what passes. He will concert matters with your Imperial
Highness. I shall hereafter decide upon the measures necessary to be
pursued. In the mean time, I think it proper to prescribe the following
line of conduct to you:

“You will not pledge me to an interview, _in Spain_, with Ferdinand,
unless you consider the state of things to be such that I ought to
recognise him King of Spain. You will behave with attention and respect
to the King, the Queen, and Prince Godoy. You will require for them, and
pay them, the same honours as formerly. You will manage matters so as to
prevent the Spaniards from entertaining any suspicions of the course I
shall pursue. You will find no difficulty in this, as I know nothing
about it myself.

“You will make the nobility and clergy understand that, if the
interference of France be requisite in the affairs of Spain, their
privileges and immunities shall be respected. You will assure them that
the Emperor wishes for the improvement of the political institutions of
Spain, in order to place her in a relative state to that of civilized
Europe, and to deliver her from the administration of favouritism. You
will tell the magistrates and the inhabitants of the towns and the
enlightened classes, that the machine of the government needs
reconstructing, that Spain wants a system of laws calculated for the
protection of the people against the tyranny and usurpations of
feudality, and of establishments which may revive industry, agriculture,
and the arts. You will describe to them the state of tranquillity and
ease enjoyed by France, notwithstanding the wars in which she has been
constantly involved, and the splendour of religion, which owes its
establishment to the Concordat I have signed with the Pope. You will
explain to them the advantages which they may derive from political
regeneration—order and peace at home, respect and influence abroad. Such
should be the spirit of your conversation and your letters. Do not
hazard any thing hastily. I can wait at Bayonne, I can cross the
Pyrenees, and, strengthening myself towards Portugal, I can go and
conduct the war in that quarter.

“I shall take care of your particular interests, do not think of them
yourself. Portugal will be at my disposal. Let no powerful object engage
you and influence your conduct; that would be injurious to me, and would
be still more hurtful to yourself.

“You are too hasty in your instructions of the 14th; the march you order
General Dupont to take is too rapid, on account of the event of the 19th
of March. They must be altered; you will make new arrangements; you will
receive instructions from my Minister for Foreign Affairs.

“I enjoin the maintenance of the strictest discipline; the slightest
faults must not go unpunished. The inhabitants must be treated with the
greatest attention. Above all, the churches and convents must be

“The army must avoid all misunderstanding with the corps and detachments
of the Spanish army; there must not be a single flash in the pan on
either side.

“Let Solano march beyond Badajos, but watch his movements. Do you
yourself trace out the marches of my army, that it may be always kept at
a distance of several leagues from the Spanish corps. Should hostilities
take place, all would be lost.

“The fate of Spain can alone be decided by political views and by
negociation. I charge you to avoid all explanation with Solano, as well
as with the other Spanish generals and governors. You will send me two
expresses daily. In case of events of superior interest, you will
despatch orderly officers. You will immediately send back the
Chamberlain de T——, the bearer of this despatch, and give him a detailed

                               “I pray God, M. le Grand Duc de Berg, &c.

                                        (Signed)         "NAPOLEON.”

June 15th.—The weather was superb; we took an airing in our calash, and
observed very near the shore a large vessel, which seemed to manœuvre
in a singular manner. We took her from her appearance to be the
Newcastle, which had been for some time expected to relieve the
Northumberland; but she was only one of the Company’s ships.

During part of the day, the Emperor, after running over a great number
of topics, came at length to mention several persons who, were they at
liberty, he said, would join him at St. Helena, and he undertook to
explain the motives by which they might be influenced. From this
subject, he was led to touch upon the motives of those who were about
him. “Bertrand,” said he, "is henceforth identified with my fate. It is
an historical fact. Gourgaud was my first orderly officer, he is my own
work, he is my child. Montholon is Semonville’s son, brother-in-law to
Joubert, a child of the revolution and of camps. But you, my good
friend," said he to the fourth, “you,” and after a moment’s thought, he
resumed; “you, my good friend, let us know by what extraordinary chance
you find yourself here?” The answer was, “Sire, by the influence of my
happy stars, and for the honour of the emigrants.”


June 16th.—The weather was delightful; the Emperor entered my apartment
about ten o’clock. I was employed in dressing myself, and also in
dictating my Journal to my son. The Emperor cast his eye over it for a
few instants, and said nothing; he left it to look at some drawings.
They were topographical sketches, executed with the pen, of some of the
battles in Italy, by my son, and we felt pleasure in reserving them as
an agreeable surprise for the Emperor. We had, until then, been employed
upon them in secret.

I followed the Emperor to the garden; he talked a great deal on the
articles that had been just sent to us from England, and which chiefly
consisted of furniture. He exposed the ill-grace and awkwardness of
those who had been employed to deliver them to us. He observed that, in
presenting even what would have been most agreeable to us, they found
means to hurt our feelings. He was on that account determined not to
make use of them, and he declined accepting two fowling-pieces, which
were particularly intended for him. The Emperor breakfasted in the open
air, and we were all invited to his table.

The conversation turning on fashions and dress, the Emperor said that,
at one period, he had resolved to prohibit the use of cotton in France,
for the more effectual encouragement of the lawn and cambric trade of
our towns in Flanders. The Empress Josephine was shocked at the idea,
which she decidedly opposed, and it was given up.

The Emperor was in a happy humour for conversation, and the weather was
very mild and tolerably pleasant. He began walking in the kind of alley
which runs perpendicularly in front of the house. The conversation
turned on the celebrated epoch of Tilsit, and the following are the
interesting particulars which I collected.

The Emperor remarked, that, had the Queen of Prussia arrived at the
commencement of the negociations, she might have exercised considerable
influence with respect to the result. Happily, she arrived when they
were sufficiently advanced to enable the Emperor to decide upon their
conclusion four-and-twenty hours afterwards. The King, it was thought,
had prevented her early appearance, in consequence of a rising jealousy
against a great personage, which was confidently stated, said the
Emperor, “not to have been destitute of some slight ground.”

The moment of her arrival, the Emperor paid her a visit. “The Queen of
Prussia,” said he, “had been very beautiful, but she was beginning to
lose some of the charms of her youth.”

The Emperor declared, that the Queen received him like Mademoiselle
Duchesnois in the character of Chimene, thrown back into a grand
attitude, demanding, calling aloud for, _justice_. In short, it was
altogether a theatrical scene: the representation was truly tragic. He
was unable to speak for an instant, and thought the only way of
extricating himself was that of bringing back the business to the tone
of regular comedy, which he attempted by presenting her with a chair,
and gently forcing her to be seated. She proceeded, nevertheless, in the
most pathetic tone. “Prussia,” she exclaimed, “had been blinded with
respect to her power;—she had dared to contend with a hero, to oppose
herself to the destinies of France, to neglect his auspicious
friendship; she was deservedly punished for it. The glory of the great
Frederic, his memory, and his inheritance had puffed up the pride of
Prussia, and had caused her ruin!” She solicited, supplicated, implored.
Magdeburg, in particular, was the object of her efforts and wishes. The
Emperor kept his ground as well as he could. Fortunately, the husband
made his appearance. The Queen reproved, with an expressive look, the
unseasonable interruption, and shewed some pettishness. In fact, the
King attempted to take part in the conversation, spoiled the whole
affair, “and I was,” said the Emperor, “set at liberty.”

The Emperor entertained the Queen at dinner. She played off, said he,
all her wit against me; she had a great deal; all her manners, which
were very fascinating; all her coquetry; she was not without charms.
“But I was determined not to yield. I found it necessary, however, to
keep a great command over myself, that I might continue exempt from all
kind of engagement, and every expression, which might be taken in a
doubtful sense, and the more so, because I was carefully watched, and
particularly by Alexander.” Just before sitting down to dinner Napoleon
took from a flower-stand a very beautiful rose, which he presented to
the Queen. She at first expressed by the motion of her hand a kind of
prepared refusal; but suddenly recollecting herself, she said; _Yes, but
at least with Magdeburg_. The Emperor replied, “But ... I must observe
to your Majesty, that it is I who present, and you, who are about to
receive it.” The dinner and the remainder of the time passed over in
that manner.

The Queen was seated at table between the two Emperors, who rivalled
each other in gallantry. She was placed near Alexander’s best ear; with
one he can scarcely hear at all. The evening came, and, the Queen having
retired, the Emperor, who had shown the most engaging attentions to his
guests, but, who had at the same time, been often driven to an
extremity, resolved to come to a point. He sent for M. de Talleyrand,
and Prince Kourakin, talked big to them, and letting fly, continued he,
some hard words, observed, that, after all, a woman and a piece of
gallantry ought not to alter a system conceived for the destiny of a
great people, and that he insisted upon the immediate conclusion of the
negociations, and the signing of the treaty; which took place according
to his orders. “Thus,” said he, "the Queen of Prussia’s conversation
advanced the treaty by a week or a fortnight."

The Queen was preparing to renew her attacks the next day, and was
indignant when she heard that the treaty was signed. She wept a great
deal, and determined to see the Emperor Napoleon no more. She would not
accept a second invitation to dinner. Alexander was himself obliged to
prevail upon her. She complained most bitterly, and maintained, that
Napoleon had broken his word. But Alexander had been always present. He
had even been a dangerous witness, ready to give evidence of the
slightest action or word on the part of Napoleon in her favour. “He has
made you no promise,” was his observation to her; “if you can prove the
contrary, I here pledge myself, as between man and man, to make him keep
his promise, and he will do so, I am convinced.”—"But he has given me to
understand," said she, ... “No,” replied Alexander, “and you have
nothing to reproach him with.” She came at length. Napoleon, who had no
longer any occasion to be on his guard against her, redoubled his
attentions. She played off, for a few moments, the airs of an offended
coquette, and when the dinner was over, and she was about to retire,
Napoleon presented his hand, and conducted her to the middle of the
staircase, where he stopped. She squeezed his hand, and said with a kind
of tenderness; “Is it possible, that after having had the honour of
being so near to the hero of the century and of history, he will not
leave me the power and satisfaction of being enabled to assure him, that
he has attached me to him for life?”—"Madam," replied the Emperor in a
serious tone, “I am to be pitied; it is the result of my unhappy stars.”
He then took leave of her. When she reached her carriage, she threw
herself into it in tears; sent for Duroc, whom she highly esteemed,
renewed all her complaints to him, and said, pointing to the palace;
“There is a place in which I have been cruelly deceived!”

“The Queen of Prussia,” said the Emperor, “was unquestionably gifted
with many happy resources; she possessed a great deal of information and
had many excellent capabilities. It was she who really reigned for more
than fifteen years. She also, in spite of my dexterity and all my
exertions, took the lead in conversation, and constantly maintained the
ascendancy. She touched, perhaps, too often upon her favourite topic,
but she did so, however, with great plausibility and without giving the
slightest cause of uneasiness. It must be confessed that she had an
important object in view, and that the time was short and precious.”

“One of the high contracting parties,” said the Emperor, “had frequently
assured her, that she ought to have come in the beginning or not at all,
and observed that, for his part, he had done every thing in his power to
induce her to come at once. It was suspected,” continued the Emperor,
“that he had a personal motive to gratify by her coming; but, on the
other hand, the husband had a motive equally personal in opposing it.”
Napoleon believed him to have been very kind and a sincere friend in the

“The king of Prussia,” said the Emperor, "had requested his audience of
leave on that very day, but I postponed it for four-and-twenty hours, at
the secret entreaty of Alexander. The king of Prussia never forgave me
for putting off that audience; so clearly did it seem to him, that Royal
Majesty was insulted by my refusal.

“Another heavy charge against me, and of which he has never been able to
divest his feelings, was that of having violated, as he said, his
territory of Anspach in our campaign of Austerlitz. In all our
subsequent interviews, however important the subjects of our discussion,
he laid them all aside for the purpose of proving that I had really
violated his territory of Anspach. He was wrong; but in short, it was
his conviction, and his resentment was that of an honest man. His wife,
however, was vexed at it, and wished him to pursue a higher system of

Napoleon reproached himself with a real fault, in allowing the king of
Prussia’s presence at Tilsit. His first determination was to prevent his
coming. He would then have been less bound to shew any attention to his
interests. He might have kept Silesia, he might have aggrandized Saxony
with it, and have probably reserved for himself a different kind of
destiny. He further remarked: “I learn, that the politicians of the
present day find great fault with my treaty of Tilsit; they have
discovered, that I had, by that means, placed Europe at the mercy of the
Russians; but if I had succeeded at Moscow, and it is now known how very
near I was, they would, no doubt, have admired us for having, on the
contrary, by that treaty, placed the Russians at the mercy of Europe. I
entertained great designs with respect to the Germans.... But I failed,
and therefore I was wrong. This is according to every rule of

Almost every day, at Tilsit, the two Emperors and the King rode out on
horseback together, but, said Napoleon, “the latter was always awkward
and unlucky.” The Prussians were visibly mortified by it. Napoleon was
constantly between the two sovereigns; but either the King fell behind,
or jostled and incommoded Napoleon. He shewed the same awkwardness on
their return: the two Emperors dismounted in an instant, and took each
other by the hand to go up stairs together. But, as the honours were
done by Napoleon, he could not enter without first seeing the King pass.
It was sometimes necessary to wait for him a long time, and, as the
weather was often rainy, it happened that the two Emperors got wet on
the king’s account, to the great dissatisfaction of all the spectators.

“This awkwardness,” said the Emperor, “was the more glaring, as
Alexander possesses all the graces, and is equal, in elegance of
manners, to the most polished and amiable ornaments of our Parisian
drawing-rooms. The latter was at times so tired of his companion, who
seemed lost in his own vexations, or in something else, that we mutually
agreed on breaking up our common meeting to get rid of him. We separated
immediately after dinner, under the pretence of some particular
business; but Alexander and I met shortly afterwards, to take tea with
one another, and we then continued in conversation until midnight, and
even beyond it.”

Alexander and Napoleon met again some time after at Erfurt, and
exchanged the most striking testimonies of affection. Alexander
expressed with earnestness the sentiments of tender friendship and real
admiration which he entertained for Napoleon. They passed some days
together in the enjoyment of the charms of perfect intimacy and of the
most familiar communications of private life. “We were,” said the
Emperor, “two young men of quality, who, in their common pleasures, had
no secret from each other.”

Napoleon had sent for the most distinguished performers of the French
Theatre. A celebrated actress, Mademoiselle B——, attracted the attention
of his guest, who had a momentary fancy to get acquainted with her. He
asked his companion whether any inconvenience was likely to be the
result. “None,” answered the latter; “only,” added he, intentionally,
“it is a certain and rapid mode of making yourself known to all Paris.
After to-morrow, post-day, the most minute details will be dispatched,
and in a short time, not a statuary at Paris but will be qualified to
give a model of your person from head to foot.” The danger of such a
kind of publicity appeased the monarch’s rising passion; “for,” observed
Napoleon, “he was very circumspect with regard to that point, and he
recollected no doubt the old adage, When the mask falls, the hero

The Emperor assured us that, had it been his wish, Alexander would
certainly have given him his sister in marriage; his politics would have
dictated the match, even had his inclination been against it. He was
petrified when he heard of the marriage with Austria, and
exclaimed—"This consigns me to my native forests." If he seemed to
shuffle at first, it was because some time was necessary to enable him
to come to a decision. His sister was very young, and the consent of his
mother was requisite. This was settled by Paul’s will, and the
Empress-mother was one of Napoleon’s bitterest enemies. She believed all
the absurdities, all the ridiculous stories, which had been circulated
concerning him. “How,” she exclaimed, "can I give my daughter to a man
who is unfit to be any woman’s husband? Shall another man take
possession of my daughter’s bed, if it be necessary, that she should
have children? She is not formed for such a fate."—"Mother," said
Alexander, “can you be so credulous as to believe the calumnies of
London and the insinuations of the saloons of Paris? If that be the only
difficulty, if it be that alone which gives you pain, I answer for him,
and many others have it in their power to answer for him with me.”

"If Alexander’s affection for me was sincere," said the Emperor, “it was
alienated from me by the force of intrigue. Certain persons, M——, or
others, at the instigation of T——, lost no seasonable opportunity of
mentioning instances of my turning him into ridicule, and they assured
him, that at Tilsit and Erfurt, he no sooner turned his back than I took
the opportunity of laughing at his expense. Alexander is very
susceptible, and they must have easily soured his mind. It is certain,
that he made bitter complaints of it at Vienna during the congress, and
yet nothing was more false; he pleased me, and I loved him.”

S——, one of Napoleon’s aides-de-camp, was sent immediately after the
treaty of Tilsit to Alexander at Petersburg, and was loaded with
favours. The efforts and liberality of Alexander were inexhaustible to
render himself agreeable to his new ally.

This same aide-de-camp became afterwards minister of the police, and in
1814, soon after the restoration, he is said to have made a striking
allusion to his mission in Russia. A person deeply in the confidence of
the King, addressing him at the Tuileries, in a manner altogether
careless and unreserved, said, “Now that all is over, you may speak out;
pray, who was your agent at Hartwell?” (This was, as every one knows,
the residence of Louis XVIII. in England.) S——, astonished at the want
of delicacy evinced by M. de B——, answered with dignity:—"M. le Comte,
the Emperor considered the asylum of kings as an inviolable sanctuary.
It was a principle which he impressed upon his police and we adhered to
it. We have since learnt, that the same conduct was not observed with
respect to him. But you, Sir, should entertain less doubt upon the
subject than any other person. When I arrived at Petersburg, you were
there on the part of the king. The Emperor Alexander, in the first
warmth of his reconciliation, acquainted me with every thing that
concerned you, and asked me whether it was the wish of my government
that you should be ordered to leave his dominions. I had received no
instructions upon that head. I wrote for them to the Emperor. His answer
was, by return of courier, that he was satisfied with the sincere
friendship of Alexander; that he would never interfere in his private
arrangements; that he entertained no personal hatred against the
Bourbons; and that, if he believed it were possible for them to accept
it, he would offer them an asylum in France, and any royal residence,
which might be agreeable to them. If you were then ignorant of these
instructions, you will, no doubt, find them among the papers of the
foreign office."


17th of June.—The Emperor went out early in the morning. He ordered his
calash for the purpose of taking a ride before breakfast. When he was
stepping into it, we were informed, that the Newcastle man of war and
the Orontes frigate were tacking to enter the port. These two vessels
had overshot the island in the night, and were obliged to work to
windward. They sailed from England on the 23rd of April and brought the
bill respecting the Emperor’s detention. The English legislature had
sanctioned by law the determination of ministers on that subject. The
Commissioners of Austria, France and Russia were on board these vessels.

In the course of the day, the Emperor, speaking of the forms and
costumes which he had established, and of the etiquette which he had
introduced, said, “I found it a very difficult thing to give myself up
to my own inclinations. I started into public notice from the multitude.
Necessity compelled me to observe a degree of state; to adopt a certain
system of solemnity; in a word, to establish an etiquette. I should
otherwise have been every day liable to be slapped upon the shoulder. In
France, we are naturally inclined to a misplaced familiarity, and I had
to guard myself particularly against those who had at once, without any
preparatory study, become men of education. We become courtiers very
easily; we are very obsequious in the outset, and addicted to flattery
and adulation: but unless it be repressed, a certain familiarity soon
takes place, which might with great facility be carried as far as
influence. It is well known that our kings were not exempt from this
inconvenience.” Here the Emperor alluded to a very characteristic
anecdote of the time of Louis XIV.—that of the courtier, of the number
of whose children that prince enquired at his levee. “Four, Sire,” was
the reply. The king, having occasion to speak to him two or three times
in public during the day, put precisely the same question to him, “Pray,
Sir, how many children have you?” The answer was uniformly the same;
“Four, Sire.” At length, as the King was at play in the evening, he
repeated the usual question. “How many children have you?”—“Six, Sire.”
“How the plague can that be?” said the king, “for if I recollect right,
you told me you had but four.”—“Really, Sire, I was afraid of fatiguing
you with the constant repetition of the same thing.”

"“Sire,” observed one of the company to the Emperor, "I can mention an
anecdote of a neighbouring country, worthy of that which we have just
heard, and which may enable us to compare the gratuitous insolence of an
absolute monarch’s courtier with the open resentment of a man, who has
nothing to fear from his constitutional sovereign.

"A person moving in the circles of high life in London, had to complain
of a great personage, by whom he had been very ill-used, and pledged
himself to his friends to have ostensible satisfaction. Having learnt
that the great personage was to honour a very brilliant party with his
presence, he attended himself at an early hour and placed himself near
the lady of the house. The great personage had paid his respects to the
lady, and, after the customary compliments, being about to join the rest
of the company, he had scarcely turned round, before the offended
person, leaning carelessly towards her, said, with a loud voice, “Who is
your fat friend?” The lady reddened, touched him with her elbow, and
whispered; "Hold your tongue, I beg, don’t you see it is the Prince?"
The gentleman replied, in a higher tone than before;—"How, the
Prince!—Well, upon my honour, he is grown as fat as a pig."

Every one is at liberty to decide upon the relative demerits of these
two insolent characters. Both are, no doubt, very blameable, and if
there be less coarseness in the conduct of our countryman, it must also
be allowed, that his impertinence is altogether without an object and
purely gratuitous.

During another part of the day, the Emperor conversed at great length on
the sittings of the Council of State. I had pointed out some, and of
others we had but a doubtful recollection; or they had altogether
slipped our memory. “Well,” said he, “in a short time, scarcely a trace
of them will be left behind.” Being unable to sleep that night, I
thought of these words, and endeavoured to recollect, as minutely as I
could, every thing I was acquainted with respecting the Council of
State;—the seat of its meetings, its usages, forms, &c.; and I do not
think I can better employ the leisure of our solitude at St. Helena,
than by giving an account of them here. I shall occasionally add what I
may recollect of the sittings at which I was present. There are persons
to whom these details will not be destitute of interest.

The hall of the Council of State, in the Tuileries, the place where the
sittings were usually held, was on the same side with, and of the entire
length of, the chapel. In the partition wall were several large doors,
which being thrown open on Sundays, formed passages to the chapel. It
was a fine oblong apartment. At one of its extremities, towards the
interior of the palace, was a large and beautiful door, by which the
Emperor entered, when, attended by his Court, he proceeded on Sunday to
hear mass. It was only opened the rest of the week for the Emperor, when
he went to his Council of State. The members of the Council entered only
by two small doors, contrived for that purpose in the opposite

A row of tables, which occupied the whole length of the hall, on the
right and left, was arranged there only when the council assembled, and
the space left was sufficient to admit of seats within near the wall,
and of a free passage without. There sat the Councillors of State, in
their respective order of precedence; their places were, besides,
designated by portfolios, bearing their names, and containing their
papers. At the extremity of the hall, towards the grand entrance, and
across the two rows, were placed similar tables for the Masters of
Requests. The Auditors were seated on stools or chairs, behind the
Councillors of State.

At the upper extremity of the hall, opposite to the grand entrance, was
the Emperor’s place on an elevation of one or two steps. There was his
arm chair, and a small table covered with a piece of rich tapestry, and
furnished with all the necessary articles, with paper, pens, ink,
penknives, and which were also laid before the Members of the Council.

At the right of the Emperor, but below, and on a level with us, was the
Prince Arch-chancellor, with a separate small table; on his left, the
Prince Arch-treasurer, who attended very seldom; and finally, at the
left of the latter, M. Locre, who drew up the official account of the

When any princes of the family happened to be present, a similar table
was placed for them on the same line, and according to their respective
rank. If any of the ministers were present, and they were all at liberty
to attend whenever they pleased, they took their places at the side
tables, at the head of the councillors of state. The enclosed space was
vacant, and none ever passed through it, but the Emperor, or the Members
of the Council, when proceeding to take the oath of allegiance to him.

The ushers moved silently about the hall, for the service of the
members, even during the deliberations of the Council. The members left
their places whenever they pleased, to obtain from their colleagues any
particular documents of which they might be in want, or for any other

The upper compartments of the hall displayed allegorical paintings,
relative to the functions of the Council of State, such as Justice,
Commerce, Industry, &c. and the ceiling was decorated with the beautiful
picture of the battle of Austerlitz, by Gros. Thus, under one of the
most glorious laurels with which he ennobled France, did Napoleon
preside over its internal administration.

It was in that place that for nearly eighteen months I enjoyed the
inestimable advantage, the unparalleled satisfaction, of attending twice
a week sittings so interesting by their special objects, and rendered
still more so by the constant presence of the Emperor, who seemed to be
the soul and life of the deliberations. It was there that I have seen
him protract the discussions from eleven in the morning until nine at
night, and display at the conclusion as much activity, copiousness, and
freshness of mind and understanding as he did in the beginning, while we
were ready to sink with weariness and fatigue.

While the court was at St. Cloud the council was held there, but when
the sitting was to take place at too early an hour, or it was likely to
last long, the Emperor adjourned the proceedings until the members could
take some refreshment, which was served up in the adjacent apartment, on
small tables most magnificently supplied, as if by enchantment. I may
truly say, that it would be impossible to give a just idea of the
fascinations we witnessed in every thing belonging to the Imperial

The hour of the Council’s sitting was regularly noticed in our letters
of convocation, but the hour was generally eleven.

When a sufficient number of members was present, the
Arch-Chancellor[note previously in text Arch-chancellor p2], who was
always there the first, and who presided in the Emperor’s absence,
opened the sitting, and called the attention of the Council to what was
then called the _little order of the day_, and which solely embraced
simple matters of a local nature and of mere form.

About an hour later, in general, the beating of the drum in the interior
of the Palace announced the Emperor’s arrival. The grand entrance was
thrown open; his Majesty was announced; all the Council rose, and the
Emperor appeared, preceded by his Chamberlain and his Aide-de-Camp on
duty, who presented his chair, received his hat, and continued behind
him during the sitting, ready to receive and execute his orders.

The Arch-Chancellor then presented to the Emperor the _great order of
the day_, which contained the series of objects under deliberation. The
Emperor read them over, and pointed out in a distinct tone that which he
wished to have discussed. The Councillor of State, nominated for the
purpose, read his report, and the deliberations commenced.

Every member was at liberty to speak; if several rose at the same time,
the order of precedence was regulated by the Emperor. The members spoke
from their places sitting. No written speeches were allowed to be read;
it was requisite that they should be made extemporaneously. When the
Emperor thought the question, in which he usually took no inconsiderable
share himself, sufficiently discussed, he made a summary of the
arguments, which was always luminous, and frequently marked with novelty
and point, came to a conclusion, and put it to the vote.

I have already noticed the freedom enjoyed in these debates. The
animation of the speakers, increasing by degrees, became sometimes
excessive, and the discussion was often protracted beyond measure,
particularly when the Emperor, occupied probably with some other
subject, seemed, either from distraction or something else, to be
altogether ignorant of what was going on. He then commonly cast a vacant
look over the hall, cut pencils with his penknife, pricked the cover of
his table or the arm of his chair with the point of it, or employed his
pencil or pen in scrawling whimsical marks or sketches, which, after he
was gone, excited the covetous attention of the young members, who made
a kind of scramble for them; and it was curious to observe, when he
happened to have traced the name of some country or capital, the
hyperbolical inferences that were sought to be extracted from it.

Sometimes too, when the Emperor entered the Council, as soon as his
dinner was ended, and after having undergone great fatigue during the
morning, he would fold his arms upon the table, lay down his head and
fall asleep. The Arch-Chancellor proceeded with the deliberations, which
were continued without interruption, and the Emperor, on awaking,
immediately caught up the thread of the discussion, though the previous
subject might have been ended and another introduced. The Emperor often
asked for a glass of water and sugar; and a table in the adjoining room
was always laid out with refreshments for his use, without any
precautions being adopted as to the individuals who were permitted to
approach it.

The Emperor, it is well known, was in the habit of taking snuff almost
every minute: this was a sort of mania which seized him chiefly during
intervals of abstraction. His snuff-box was speedily emptied; but he
still continued to thrust his fingers into it, or to raise it to his
nose, particularly when he was himself speaking. Those Chamberlains, who
proved themselves most expert and assiduous in the discharge of their
duties, would frequently endeavour, unobserved by the Emperor, to take
away the empty box and substitute a full one in its stead; for there
existed a great competition of attention and courtesy among the
Chamberlains who were habitually employed in services about the
Emperor’s person; an honour which was very much envied. These persons
were, however, seldom changed, either because they intrigued to retain
their places, or because it was naturally most agreeable to the Emperor
to continue them in posts, with the duties of which they were
acquainted. It was the business of the Grand Marshal (Duroc) to make all
these arrangements. The following is an instance of the attentions paid
by the Emperor’s Chamberlains. One of them, having observed that the
Emperor on going to the theatre frequently forgot his opera-glass, of
which he made constant use, got one made exactly like it, so that the
first time he saw the Emperor without his glass, he presented his own to
him, and the difference was not observed. On his return from the
theatre, the Emperor was not a little surprised to find that he had two
glasses exactly alike. Next day, he inquired how the new opera-glass had
made its appearance, and the Chamberlain replied that it was one which
he kept in reserve in case it might be wanted.

The Emperor always shewed himself very sensible of these attentions,
which were innocent in themselves, and which were calculated to make an
impression on the feelings, when dictated only by love and respect; for
then the individual was not acting the part of a slavish courtier, but
that of an affectionate and devoted servant. Napoleon, on his part,
whatever may have been reported to the contrary in the saloons of Paris,
shewed sincere regard for the persons of his household. When he quitted
Paris for St. Cloud, Malmaison, or any other of his country residences,
he usually invited the individuals of his household to his private
evening parties; and thus was formed a pleasant family circle,
admittance to which was held to be a very high honour. When in the
country, he also admitted his Chamberlains to dine at his table. One
day, while at dinner at Trianon, being troubled with a severe cold in
his head, a complaint to which he was very subject, he found himself in
want of a handkerchief; the servants immediately ran to fetch one, but
meanwhile the Chamberlain on duty, who was a relation of Maria Louisa’s,
drew a clean one unfolded from his pocket, and wished to take the other
from the Emperor. “I thank you,” said Napoleon; “but I will never have
it said that I allowed M—— to touch a handkerchief which I had used;”
and he threw it on the ground.

Such was the man who in certain circles was described as being coarse
and brutal, ill treating all his household, and even behaving rudely to
the ladies of the palace! The Emperor, on the contrary, was a scrupulous
observer of decorum. He was very sensible to all the little attentions
he received; and though it was a sort of system with him to suffer no
manifestation of gratitude to escape him, yet the expression of his eye
or the tone of his voice sufficiently denoted what he really felt.
Unlike those whose lips overflow with the expression of sentiments which
their hearts never feel, Napoleon seemed to make it a rule to repress or
disguise the kind emotions by which he was frequently inspired. I
believe I have already mentioned this fact; but the following are some
fresh proofs of it, which recur to me at this moment. These
circumstances are the more characteristic, since they occurred at
Longwood, where Napoleon might have been expected to indulge his natural
feelings with less restraint than during the possession of his power.

I usually sat beside my son, while he wrote from the Emperor’s
dictation. The Emperor always walked about the room when dictating, and
he frequently stood for a moment behind my chair, to look over the
writing, so that he might know where to take up the thread of his
dictation. When in this situation, how many times has my head been
enclosed between his arms, and even slightly pressed to his bosom! Then,
immediately checking himself, he seemed to have been merely leaning with
his elbows upon my shoulders, or playfully bearing all his weight upon
me, as if to try my strength.

The Emperor was very fond of my son, and I have often seen him bestow a
sort of manual caress on him; and then, as it were, to do away with the
effect of this motion, he would immediately accompany it by some words
uttered in a loud and somewhat sharp tone of voice. One day, as he was
entering the drawing-room, in a moment of good-humour and forgetfulness,
I saw him take Madame Bertrand’s hand and affectionately raise it to his
lips; but, suddenly recollecting himself, he turned away, in a manner
that would have had a very awkward effect, had not Madame Bertrand, with
that exquisite grace for which she is so peculiarly distinguished,
removed all embarrassment, by impressing a kiss on the hand that had
been extended to her. But these stories have carried me very far from my
subject. I must return to the Council of State.

All the reports, plans of resolutions, and decrees, which we had to
discuss, were printed and distributed to us at our own houses. There was
one subject, for example, relating to the University, which was perhaps
twenty times drawn up. Others lingered for a length of time in the
portfolios, or were at length totally dropped, without any cause being

On my return from my mission to Holland, just after I had been created a
member of the Council of State, I rose to speak on the subject of the
Conscription. I was naturally interested in all that related to naval
affairs; my mind was full of enthusiasm, and was stored with the
observations which I had just collected in Holland. I proposed that all
the Dutch conscripts, in consideration of their natural predilections,
should be permitted, if they chose, to enter the naval service; and
moreover, that the privilege of this choice should be extended to all
the French conscripts. I pointed out the inconveniences which such an
arrangement was calculated to obviate, and developed the advantages
which it was likely to ensure. I observed that it was impossible to
render our seamen too numerous. Our ships’ crews, I said, would thus
become regiments: the same men would at once be sailors and soldiers,
gunners and pontooners; we should obtain double service at the same rate
of pay. My speech had, up to this point, been as favourably received as
I could wish: and in my own mind I congratulated myself on my success;
when on a sudden I lost all power of utterance. The train of my ideas
immediately became disconnected, and I stood mute and confounded,
without knowing where I was or what I was doing. This was the first time
I had ventured to speak; and I had made an extraordinary effort to
surmount my natural diffidence. Profound silence reigned in the
assembly, a hundred eyes were fixed upon me, and I was ready to sink
under the weight of my embarrassment. I had no alternative but to
confess my painful situation, to tell the Emperor, frankly, that I would
rather be in a battle; and finally to ask permission to conclude my
address by reading a few lines from a written paper which I had brought
with me. From that moment, however, I never felt any wish to speak in
the Council of State; I was completely cured of all desire to exert my
eloquence in future. But, in spite of this unfortunate circumstance, my
brief address had attracted the notice of the Emperor; for, a few days
afterwards, the Aid-de-Camp on duty (Count Bertrand), informed me that
the Emperor, while playing at billiards, seeing the Minister of the
Marine enter, said to him:—"Well, Sir, Las Cases read to us, at the
Council, a very good memorial on the composition of the navy; he was not
at all of your opinion respecting the age at which seamen should be
allowed to enter the service."

Every sitting of the Council, at which the Emperor presided, presented
the highest degree of interest, for he never failed to deliver a speech
himself, and all the observations that fell from him were important. I
was always delighted with his speeches: but a circumstance that both
surprised and vexed me was to hear some of the remarks which had fallen
from the Emperor in the course of the day at the Council of State,
repeated and often ill-naturedly perverted in the saloons of Paris in
the evening. How could this happen? Was it owing to the inaccuracy of
the individual who had reported what he heard, or to the malignity of
him to whom it had been reported? Be this as it may, the fact was as I
have stated.

I often entertained the idea of writing out the speeches which I had
heard the Emperor deliver, and I now very deeply regret having neglected
to do so. The following are a few reminiscences which occur to me at
this moment:

One day, the Emperor, speaking on the political rights which it was
proper to concede to persons of French origin born in foreign countries,
said, “The noblest title in the world is that of being born a Frenchman;
it is a title conferred by Heaven, and which no individual on earth
should have the power to withdraw. For my part, I wish that every man of
French origin, though he were a foreigner in the tenth generation,
should still be a Frenchman, if he wishes to claim the title. Were he to
present himself on the other bank of the Rhine, saying, I wish to be a
Frenchman, I would have his voice to be more powerful than the law; the
barriers should fall before him, and he should return triumphant to the
bosom of our common mother.”

On another occasion, he said, though I do not now recollect on what
subject he was speaking: “The Constituent Assembly acted very unwisely
in abolishing purely titular nobility; a measure which was calculated to
humble so many individuals. I do better. I confer on all Frenchmen
titles, of which every one has reason to be proud.”

At another time, he used the following words, which perhaps, I have
already quoted:—"I wish to raise the glory of the French name to such a
pitch as to make it the envy of all nations. I will, with God’s help,
bring it to pass, that in whatever part of Europe a Frenchman may
travel, he shall always find himself at home."

In the Council of State a discussion once arose respecting the plan of a
decree. The result of this discussion has now escaped my recollection,
but I know the subject was to determine that the kings of the Imperial
Families, occupying foreign thrones, should leave their titles and all
the etiquette of royalty on the frontier, and only resume them on
quitting France. The Emperor replying to some one who had started
objections to this, and at the same time explaining the motives for the
measure, said: “But for these monarchs I reserve in France a still
higher title; they shall be more than kings: they shall be French

I might multiply quotations of this kind to an endless length: they must
be engraven in the recollection of all the members of the Council, as
well as in mine. It will perhaps be a matter of surprise that, having
seen the Emperor so frequently, and having heard him deliver sentiments
such as these, I should have said, I did not know him at the period when
I followed him to St. Helena. My answer is that at that time I felt,
with regard to the Emperor, more of admiration and enthusiasm than of
real love, arising from an intimate knowledge of his character. Even in
the palace, we were assailed by so many absurd reports respecting the
private character and conduct of Napoleon, and we had so little direct
communication with him, that, by dint of hearing the same stories
repeated over and over, I imbibed, in spite of myself, a certain degree
of doubt and distrust. He was described to be of a dissembling and
cunning disposition, and it was affirmed that he could, when in public,
make a parade of fine sentiment, which he was totally incapable of
feeling; in short, that he possessed an eloquent tongue and an
insensible heart. Thus it was not until I became thoroughly acquainted
with his character that I was convinced how really and truly he was what
he appeared to be. Never perhaps was any man in the world so devotedly
attached to France, and there was no sacrifice which he would not
readily have made to preserve her glory. This is sufficiently evident
from his conduct at Chatillon, and after his return from Waterloo. He
expressed himself truly and energetically on his rock, when he used
these remarkable words, which I have before quoted: “No, my real
sufferings are not here!”

The following anecdotes have reference to other subjects, partly grave
and partly humourous. One day the Councillor of State, General Gassendi,
taking part in the discussion of the moment, dwelt much upon the
doctrines of economists. The Emperor, who was much attached to his old
artillery comrade, stopped him, saying: “My dear General, where did you
gain all this knowledge? Where did you imbibe these principles?”
Gassendi, who very seldom spoke in the Council, after defending himself
in the best way he could, finding himself driven into his last
entrenchments, replied that he had, after all, borrowed his opinions
from Napoleon himself. “How?” exclaimed the Emperor, with warmth, “What
do you say? Is it possible? From me, who have always thought that if
there existed a monarchy of granite, the chimeras of political
economists would reduce it to powder!” And after some other remarks,
partly ironical and partly serious, he concluded;—"Go, General! you must
have fallen asleep in your office, and have dreamed all this." Gassendi,
who was rather irascible, replied, “Oh! as for falling asleep in our
offices, Sire, I defy any one to do that with you, you plague us too
much for that.” All the Council burst into a fit of laughter, and the
Emperor laughed louder than any one.

Another time a question arose respecting the organization of the
Illyrian provinces, just after they had fallen into the power of France.
Those provinces, bordering on Turkey, were occupied by regiments of
Croatian troops, organized on a peculiar plan. They were, in short,
military colonies, the idea of which was conceived upwards of a century
ago by the great Prince Eugene, for the purpose of establishing a
barrier against the incursions and ravages of the Turks, and had well
fulfilled the purpose for which they were destined. The committee
appointed to draw up a plan for the organization of the Provinces,
proposed that the Croatian regiments should be disbanded, and replaced
by a national guard similar to ours. “Are you mad?” exclaimed the
Emperor, on hearing the report read; “are the Croatians Frenchmen? or
have you understood the excellence, utility, and importance of the
institution?”—"Sire," replied the person, who conceived himself bound to
defend the report, “the Turks will not now venture to resume their
transgressions.”—"And why not?"—"Sire, because your majesty is become
their neighbour."—"Well, and what of that?"—"Sire, they will be too much
awed by your power."—"Oh yes, Sire, Sire," replied the Emperor sharply,
“a truce to compliments at present, or, if you like, go and present them
to the Turks, who will answer you by a discharge of musquetry, and you
can return and give me an account of the affair.” The Emperor
immediately decided that the Croatian regiments should be preserved.

One day, the plan of a decree respecting ambassadors was submitted to
the consideration of the Council of State. This plan, though very
remarkable, was, I believe, never published to the world. The coolness
which the Council evinced on this subject caused the matter to be
dropped; many other plans also experienced the same fate; which, it may
be observed, affords an additional proof of the independence of the
Council, and shews that Napoleon possessed more moderation than is
generally believed.

The Emperor, who appeared to be the only individual to support the
decree, and who adhered to it very firmly, made some very curious
remarks in its defence. He wished that ambassadors should enjoy no
prerogatives or privileges which might place them above the laws of the
country. At most, he was only willing to grant that they should be
subject to a higher kind of jurisdiction. “For example,” said he, "I
have no objection that they should be brought to trial only after a
preliminary decision of an assemblage of the ministers and high
dignitaries of the empire; that they should be tried only by a special
tribunal, composed of the first magistrates and functionaries of the
state. It will perhaps be said that sovereigns, finding their own
dignity compromised in the persons of their representatives, will not
send ambassadors to my Court. Well, where will be the harm of that? I
can withdraw mine from foreign Courts, and thus the country will be
relieved from the burden of enormous and very frequently useless
salaries. Why should ambassadors be exempt from the law? They are sent
with the view of being agreeable, and for the purpose of maintaining an
interchange of friendship and favour between their respective
sovereigns. If they overstep the limits of their duty they should be
reduced to the class of common offenders, and placed within the pale of
the general law. I cannot tacitly permit ambassadors at my Court to act
the part of hired spies: if I do, I must be content to be regarded as a
fool, and to submit to all the mischief to which I may be exposed. It is
only necessary to have the matter well understood before-hand, so as to
obviate the impropriety of violating received customs, and what has
hitherto been regarded as the law of nations.

“During the height of a celebrated crisis,” continued the Emperor, “I
received information that a great personage had taken refuge in the
house of M. de Cobentzel, conceiving that he should be protected under
the immunities of the Austrian ambassador. I summoned the ambassador to
my presence, in order to enquire into the truth of the fact, and to
inform him that it would be most unfortunate if it were really such as
it had been reported to me. I observed that custom would be nothing in
my eyes when compared with the safety of a nation; and that I would
without hesitation order the arrest of the criminal and his privileged
protector, deliver them both up to a tribunal, and subject them to the
full penalties of the law. And this I would have done, gentlemen,” added
he, raising his voice. “The ambassador was aware of my determination,
and therefore my wishes were obeyed without further opposition.”

Long before the expedition to Russia, perhaps a year or two before it
was undertaken, the Emperor wished to establish a military
classification of the Empire. At the Council of State, there were read
fifteen or twenty plans for the organization of the three classes of the
French national guard. The first, which was to consist of young men, was
to march as far as the frontiers; the second, which was to be composed
of middle-aged and married men, was not to quit the department to which
it belonged; and the third, consisting of men in years, was to be kept
solely for the defence of the town in which it had been raised. The
Emperor, who was well convinced of the utility of this plan, frequently
recurred to it, and made many patriotic remarks on the subject; but it
constantly received marked disapproval from the Council, and experienced
a kind of passive and silent opposition. Meanwhile, amidst the multitude
of public affairs which claimed the attention of the Emperor, he lost
sight of this plan, which his foresight had doubtless calculated for the
safety of France, and which was likely to have ensured that result.
Upwards of two millions of men would have been classed and armed at the
period of our disasters. Who then would have ventured to assail us?

During a discussion on the above subject, the Emperor spoke in a very
emphatic and remarkable strain. A member (M. Malouet), in a very
circumlocutory style, expressed his disapproval of this plan of
organization. The Emperor addressing him in his usual way, said: “Speak
boldly, sir, do not mutilate your ideas: say what you have to say,
freely; we are here by ourselves.” The speaker then declared “that the
measure was calculated to excite general alarm; that every one trembled
to find himself classed in the national guard, being persuaded that,
under the pretext of internal defence, the object was to remove the
guard from the country.” “Very good!” said the Emperor, “I now
understand you. But, gentlemen,” continued he, addressing himself to the
members of the Council, "you are all fathers of families, possessing
ample fortunes, and filling important posts, you must necessarily have
numerous dependents; and you must either be very awkward, or very
indifferent, if, with all these advantages, you do not exercise a great
influence on public opinion. Now, how happens it that you, who know me
so well, should suffer me to be so little known by others? When did you
ever know me to employ deception and fraud in my system of government? I
am not timid, and I therefore am not accustomed to resort to indirect
measures. My fault is, perhaps, to express myself too abruptly, too
laconically. I merely pronounce the word, I order, and, with regard to
forms and details, I trust to the intermediate agent who executes my
intentions; and heaven knows, whether, on this point, I have any great
reason to congratulate myself. If, therefore, I wanted troops, I should
boldly demand them of the Senate, who would levy them for me; or if I
could not obtain them from the Senate, I should address myself to the
people, and you would see them eagerly march to join my ranks. Perhaps
you are astonished to hear me say this, for sometimes you appear not to
have a correct idea of the real state of things. Know, then, that, my
popularity is immense, and incalculable; for, whatever may be alleged to
the contrary, the whole of the French people love and respect me: their
good sense is superior to the malignant reports of my enemies and the
metaphysical speculations of fools. They would follow me in defiance of
all. You are surprised at these declarations, but they are nevertheless
true. The French people know no benefactor but me. Through me they
fearlessly enjoy all that they have acquired; through me they behold
their brothers and sons indiscriminately promoted, honoured, and
enriched; through me they find their hands constantly employed, and
their labour accompanied by its due reward. They have never had reason
to accuse me of injustice or prepossession. Now, the people see, feel
and comprehend all this; but they understand nothing of metaphysics. Not
that I am inclined to repel true and great principles; heaven forbid
that I should. On the contrary, I act upon them as much as our present
extraordinary circumstances will permit; but I only mean to say, that
the people do not yet understand them; while they perfectly understand
me, and place implicit trust in me. Be assured, then, that the people of
France will always conform to the plans which we propose for their

“Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the supposed opposition which
has just been alluded to; it exists only in the saloons of Paris, and by
no means in the great body of the nation. In this plan, I solemnly
declare I have no ulterior view of sending the national guard abroad; my
thoughts, at this moment, are solely occupied in adopting measures at
home, for the safety, repose, and stability of France. Proceed then to
organize the national guard; that each citizen may know his post in the
hour of need; that even M. Cambaceres, yonder, may shoulder a musket,
should our danger require him so to do. We shall thus have a nation
built of stone and mortar, capable of resisting the attacks both of time
and men. I will moreover raise the national guard to a level with the
regiments of the line: the old retired officers shall be the chiefs and
the fathers of the corps. I shall have promotion in the national guard
solicited as ardently as Court favours.”

All this must be contained in the registers of M. Locré, partly in
discussions relative to the national guard, and partly, as well as I can
recollect, on the subject of one of the annual conscriptions. I remember
that one day, in particular, there was a long debate respecting the
University. The Emperor had expressed himself dissatisfied with the
little advancement that was observable in the institution, and the bad
system on which it was conducted. M. Segur was directed to present a
report on this subject, which he did with his usual candour and
sincerity. He set on foot the necessary inquiries, and found that the
Emperor’s plans were ill understood and badly executed. Napoleon had
wished that erudition should be only a secondary object, that national
principles and doctrines should take place of every thing; and yet these
principles and doctrines were the subjects to which least attention was

The Emperor was not present at this sitting—a circumstance which very
much mortified the friends of the person principally interested in the
question. We were guilty of sacrificing too much to the spirit of
_coteries_. The report was never again brought forward; it was withdrawn
from our portfolios, and it was made a point of some importance to get
it returned from those members of the Council who had carried it home
with them.

However, some time after this, the great dignitaries of the University
were summoned to the bar of the Council of State. The Emperor expressed
his displeasure at the bad management and the bad spirit which seemed to
preside over this important institution. He observed that all his
intentions were frustrated, that his plans were never properly carried
into effect, &c. M. de F—— bent before the storm, and nevertheless
pursued his accustomed course. The Emperor said, on his return from the
Island of Elba, that he had been assured that the Grand Master of the
University had made a boast to the government, which succeeded the
Empire, of having done all in his power to thwart and misdirect the
impulse which Napoleon wished to impart to the rising generation.

                       RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERLOO.

18th.—The Emperor sent for me to his study before dinner; he was busy in
reading the newspapers which had just arrived. M. de Montholon solicited
permission to wait on him. He informed the Emperor that Madame de
Montholon had just been delivered of a daughter, and requested his
Majesty to do him the honour to stand godfather to the child.

After dinner, the Emperor again looked over the papers which he had
already perused, and remarked that France still remained in a state of
agitation and uncertainty: he observed that the latest English papers
used the most indecorous language with regard to the royal family....
One article led him to say: “Present circumstances, the necessities of
the moment, and sympathies of old date, concur in favouring the return
of the monks to France. This is a characteristic circumstance in France,
as in the territories of the Pope.” Then, dwelling on the subject of the
latter, he continued, “as for the Pope, it is his special affair, and is
calculated to restore his power. Would any one believe that, while he
was himself a prisoner at Fontainebleau, and while the question of his
own existence was under consideration, he argued with me seriously on
the existence of the monks, and endeavoured to induce me to re-establish
them! That was truly like the Court of Rome!”

This day was the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo. The
circumstance was mentioned by some one present, and the recollection
of it produced a visible impression on the Emperor. “Incomprehensible
day!” said he in a tone of sorrow—"Concurrence of unheard of
fatalities!—Grouchy!—Ney!—D’Erlon!—Was there treachery, or only
misfortune!—Alas! poor France!—" Here he covered his eyes with his
hands. “And yet,” said he, “all that human skill could do was
accomplished! All was not lost until the moment when all had

A short time afterwards, alluding to the same subject, he exclaimed; "in
that extraordinary campaign, thrice, in less than a week’s space, I saw
the certain triumph of France, and the decision of her fate slip through
my fingers.

“But for the desertion of a traitor, I should have annihilated the enemy
at the opening of the campaign. I should have destroyed him at Ligny, if
my left had done its duty.—I should have destroyed him again at
Waterloo, if my right had not failed me. Singular defeat, by which,
notwithstanding the most fatal catastrophe, the glory of the conquered
has not suffered, nor the fame of the conqueror been encreased: the
memory of the one will survive his destruction; the memory of the other
will perhaps be buried in his triumph!”


19th.—To-day the Northumberland sailed for Europe.

This vessel had conveyed us to St. Helena; we had in the course of our
voyage maintained a friendly intercourse with the officers; the crew had
shewn us great kindness, and we had received attentions from Admiral
Cockburn himself, towards whom we entertained more of ill-humour than
absolute dislike, and whose conduct, after all, had not been of a nature
to wound our feelings. Whether from all these circumstances combined, or
some others which had escaped our notice, or whether owing to that
powerful and natural inclination which leads us to attach ourselves to
our fellow creatures, and to cherish social feelings with regard to each
other, I know not; but it is certain that we did not feel indifferent to
the departure of the Northumberland. It seemed as though we had lost
something in thus bidding adieu to our old shipmates.

The Emperor had passed a very bad night; he bathed his feet to relieve a
violent head-ache.

About one o’clock he went to take a walk in the garden, having in his
hand the first volume of an English work, respecting his own life. He
turned it over as he walked about. This work had evidently been written
in a less malignant spirit than Goldsmith’s. It certainly exhibited less
grossness; but it contained the same inventions, the same false
statements, and displayed the same ignorance. The Emperor read the
article relative to his childhood, and that period of his early life
which he spent at College. The whole was a tissue of misrepresentation;
and this led him to remark that I had been very right in suggesting that
a narrative of the events of his early career should be prefixed to the
campaign of Italy; and he added that what he had just read had fully
confirmed him in favour of this idea.

I ought before to have mentioned that, after the dictation of the
campaigns of Italy was concluded, and after it had all been arranged in
chapters, the Emperor was still undecided as to the manner in which he
should form an introduction to it. He had changed his mind frequently on
this subject, and had conceived many different ideas, which he by turns
abandoned and resumed. Sometimes he was inclined to commence with a few
unimportant enterprises in which he had been engaged before the siege of
Toulon; such as an expedition to Sardinia, which had failed, &c. At
other times he determined to open the subject by describing the first
events of the French revolution, the state of Europe and the movements
of our armies. I always disapproved these ideas, which, I conceived,
would carry him back to too remote a period. He had begun by dictating
to me the siege of Toulon, and this I maintained to be the proper point
of departure, and the most natural arrangement, since he had not
undertaken to write a history, but only his private Memoirs. In this
grand episode of the history of ages, he ought, I said, to appear all at
once on the theatre of the world, and to occupy the fore-ground which he
was destined never afterwards to quit. It was my place, as editor, to
record, in any introduction which I might think proper to make, all the
details of Napoleon’s early life, and of the events anterior to the
period to which his own dictations referred. The Emperor approved this
idea; and after discussing it one day at dinner, he decided on its
adoption. The form that has been given to the campaigns of Italy was
determined on by the above considerations, and to this subject the
Emperor alluded in his remark just mentioned, respecting the
introduction to the campaigns.

At three o’clock, the governor and the new admiral, Sir Pulteney
Malcolm, were presented to the Emperor, who, though labouring under
indisposition, was nevertheless very gracious and talkative.

Both before and after dinner, the Emperor amused himself by looking over
a work on the Russian campaign, written by an officer who had formerly
been one of the Viceroy’s aides-de-camp. The Emperor had heard it
described as a most odious production; but he has been so accustomed to
the attacks of libellers that declamation has but little effect upon
him. In works of this kind he looks to facts only; and under this point
of view he did not find the publication in question so bad as it had
been represented to him. “An historian,” said he, “would select from it
only what is good; he would take the facts and omit the declamation,
which is only calculated to please fools. The author of this work proves
that the Russians themselves burnt Moscow, Smolensko, &c.; he describes
the French as having been victorious in every engagement. The facts that
are to be found in this work,” continued the Emperor, "have evidently
been described for the purpose of being published during my reign, in
the period of my power. The declamatory passages have been interpolated
since my fall. The author could not easily pervert the ground-work of
his subject, though he has interspersed it with abusive remarks after
the fashion of the day.

“As to the disasters of my retreat, I left him nothing to say any more
than other libellers. My 29th bulletin plunged them into despair. In
their rage they accused me of exaggeration. They were provoked to a
pitch of madness. I thus deprived them of an excellent subject, I
carried off their prey.”

The Emperor quoted several passages from the works of this and some
other French authors, all of whom declaimed against their countrymen,
and gave a false picture of their achievements. He could not refrain
from observing that it was a circumstance unexampled in history to see a
nation strive to depreciate her own glory, to see her own sons thus
intent on destroying her trophies. “But from the bosom of France
avengers will doubtless arise. Posterity will brand with disgrace the
madness of the present day. Can these be Frenchmen,” he exclaimed, “who
speak and write in this strain? Are their hearts dead to every spark of
patriotism?—But no, they cannot be Frenchmen! They speak our language,
it is true; they were born on the same soil with us; but they are not
animated by the feelings and principles of Frenchmen!”


21st.—The Emperor took a walk in the garden attended by his suite. The
conversation turned on the possibility of our returning to Europe and
seeing France once more. “My dear friends,” said he, in a tone of
sincere feeling, and with an expression which it is impossible to
describe, “you will return!”—"Not without you," we all exclaimed with
one voice. This led us once more to analyze the probable chances of our
quitting St. Helena, and all yielded to the necessity of admitting that
our removal could only take place through the intervention of the
English. But the Emperor could not imagine how this intervention was
likely to be brought about. “The impression is made,” said he; “it has
taken too deep a root; they will everlastingly fear me. Pitt told them,
There can be no safety for you, with a man who has a whole invasion in
his single head.” “But,” observed some one present, “suppose new
interests should arise in England; suppose a truly constitutional and
liberal ministry should be established, would the English government
find no advantage in fixing through you, Sire, liberal principles in
France, and thereby propagating them throughout Europe?” “Certainly,”
replied the Emperor, “I admit all this.” “Well then,” continued the
individual who had first spoken, “would not this constitutional
administration find a guarantee in these liberal principles and in your
own interests?” “I admit this also,” replied the Emperor. "I can suppose
Lord Holland, as Prime Minister of England, writing to me at Paris: If
you do so and so I shall be ruined; or the Princess Charlotte of Wales,
whom we will suppose to have removed me hence, saying to me: If you act
thus, I shall be hated and shall be looked upon as the scourge of my
country. At these words I should stop short:—they would arrest me in my
career more effectually than armies.

“And after all, what is there to fear? That I should wage war? I am now
too old for that. Is it feared that I should resume my pursuit of glory?
I have enjoyed glory even to satiety. I have wallowed in it; and it may
be said to be a thing which I have henceforth rendered at once common
and difficult. Is it supposed that I would recommence my conquests? I
did not persevere in them through mania; they were the result of a great
plan, and I may even say that I was urged to them by necessity. They
were reasonable at the moment when I pursued them; but they would now be
impossible. They were practicable once; but now it would be madness to
attempt them. And besides, the convulsions and misfortunes to which
France has been subjected will henceforth produce so many difficulties,
that to remove them will be a sufficient source of glory without seeking
for any other.”

Two of the gentlemen of the Emperor’s suite had been to the town to see
the persons who had newly arrived at the Island, and to hear the news of
the day. The account which they delivered on their return occupied the
Emperor’s attention for some minutes in the garden. About six o’clock he
proceeded to his closet, desiring me to follow him; and by chance a
conversation was introduced, which to me was in the highest degree
interesting and valuable. Though the subject of this conversation
relates to myself personally, yet I cannot pass it over in silence; it
develops so many characteristic traits of the Emperor, that these would
furnish a sufficient apology for my laying it before the reader, were
any apology necessary.

The persons who had arrived by the Newcastle had spoken much of my
Historical Atlas, which led the Emperor again to remark on the
extraordinary celebrity of the work, and to express his surprise that he
should not sooner have become thoroughly acquainted with it.

“How happened it,” said he, “that none of your friends should have given
me a correct idea of it? I never saw it until I was on board the
Northumberland, and now I find it is known to every body. How came you
never to call my attention to it yourself? I should have appreciated
your merits, and should have made your fortune. I had formed a confused
and indifferent idea of your work, which perhaps influenced my mind
unfavourably with respect to yourself. Such is the misfortune of
Sovereigns; for doubtless no one entertained better intentions than
myself. Those who filled posts about my person might easily have brought
me to render full justice to the merit of your work; for it was a thing
that I could myself judge of, and I asked nothing more. Since I have
become acquainted with your tables, and am enabled to form a correct
notion of their valuable classification, and the indelible impression
which they are calculated to make on the memory, with regard to dates,
places, and collateral relations, I regret not having established a kind
of Normal School, in which the students should have been uniformly
instructed by the help of the Historical Atlas. Our Lyceums would have
been inundated with your work, or parts of it, and I would have ensured
to it the utmost degree of celebrity. Why, I say again, did you not call
my attention to it? It is painful to confess the secret; but it is
nevertheless true, that a little intrigue is indispensable to those who
wish to gain the favour of Sovereigns; modest merit is almost always
neglected. But, perhaps, after all, Clarke, Decrès, Montalivet, M. de
Montesquiou, or even Barbier, my librarian, might have withheld the
hints which you intended they should throw out to me; for it is another
mortifying truth, that favours are sometimes more attainable through the
medium of the _valet-de-chambre_ than by a higher channel! And how
happened it, that your friend Madame de S.... did not speak to me of
your work? We frequently rode in the same carriage together; and she
might have secured to you all the advantages she could have wished, by
describing your real merits to me.”—"Yes, Sire," I replied, “but at that
time I....” “I understand you. You did not then perhaps seek favours?”
“Sire, my hour had not yet arrived.” Then ensued a very long explanation
respecting my first introduction to the Emperor, the missions to which
he had appointed me, the opinion which he had formed of me, and which,
according to custom, had remained permanently fixed in his mind.

All this time I was standing near the writing-table in the second
chamber, while the Emperor walked backward and forward through the whole
length of both rooms. The subject of the conversation was to me most
interesting. But, to form a just conception of my feelings at this
moment, it would be necessary to look back to the time of Napoleon’s
power, to that period when no one dared hope to know his thoughts, or
ever to suppose the possibility of conversing familiarly and
confidentially with him. Such a happy circumstance would then have
appeared to me a dream: and now I almost regard it as a conversation in
the Elysian Fields.

“I had no correct idea of you,” said the Emperor, "I had no precise
knowledge of anything that concerned you. You had no friend near me to
commend you to my notice, and you neglected to put yourself forward.
Some of those persons on whom perhaps you thought you could rely even
acted in a way prejudicial to your interest. I knew nothing of your
work; if I had, it would have been a powerful circumstance in your
favour. I was not aware that you had, like myself, attended the military
school at Paris; that would have been another claim to my notice.

“You had been an emigrant, you would therefore never have enjoyed my
full confidence. I knew that you had been much attached to the Bourbons;
you would therefore never have been initiated in the great secrets of my
government.”—"But Sire," I replied, “your Majesty permitted me to
approach your person, you made me a Councillor of State, and entrusted
me with various missions.”—"That was because I conceived you to be an
honest man; and besides, I am not of a distrustful disposition. Without
knowing why, I considered you to be a man of pure integrity in all that
regarded pecuniary matters. If you had only mentioned a single word to
me about your affair of the commercial licenses with P....[——?], I would
have instantly rendered you justice. But, I say again, I should never
have employed you in any political affair."—"Then, Sire," said I, “what
risk did I not run, when in Paris and Holland! The English were then
situated with respect to us, as we now are with respect to them, and,
influenced by my old connections, I ventured in spite of your
regulations to forward their letters, when they appeared to me to
contain nothing objectionable. To what danger should I not have been
exposed had my conduct led to any accusation on the part of the Minister
of Police! And yet I conceived that I was only making a very natural and
discretionary use of the powers with which Your Majesty had entrusted
me, and the confidence which you had reposed in me. I felt so satisfied
in my own conscience, and was so convinced of the propriety of my
intentions, that I thought myself exempt from the observance of
regulations which seemed not to have been made for me.”—"Well," observed
the Emperor, “I could have conceived all this, I should readily have
given you credit for such an explanation of your conduct; for no one is
more ready to listen to reason than I. This was precisely the manner in
which I wished duty to be performed; and yet it is certain that you
would have been condemned had your conduct been the subject of enquiry,
because all would have raised their voices against you. Such was the
fatality of circumstances and the misfortune of my situation. Besides,
when once I conceived a prejudice, I retained it: this again was the
misfortune of my situation and my circumstances. But how could it be
otherwise? I had no time for details. I could only take into
consideration summaries and abstracts. I was very sure that I might
sometimes be deceived; but where was my alternative? Few sovereigns have
done better than I.”

“Sire,” said I, “I experienced deep mortification, at finding that your
Majesty never addressed a word to me at your Court circles and levees.
And yet you never failed to speak of me to my wife when I happened to be
absent: I sometimes thought that I was not well known to you, or feared,
particularly during later times, that your Majesty had some cause to be
displeased with me.”—"By no means," resumed the Emperor; “if I spoke of
you when absent, it was because I made it a rule always to speak to
ladies about their husbands when the latter were sent on missions. If I
neglected you when present, it was because I attached too little value
to you. It was the same with many other individuals; you were confounded
with the mass, you held only an ordinary rank in my regard. You were
permitted to approach me, and yet you did not turn this privilege to
good account; you were sent on missions, and yet you neglected to reap
the benefit of these appointments on your return home. It is a great
fault to keep in the back-ground at court. To my eyes you were in fact a
mere blank. Nevertheless, I recollect that I sometimes entertained
thoughts of employing you. The person connected with the ministry, on
whom you in some measure depended, who declared himself to be your
friend, and who had it in his power to serve you, diverted my attention
from you, and contributed to keep up my indifference towards you. He
knew you well, and perhaps feared you; and it is well known that in all
cases I went rapidly to work.”—"Sire," I replied, “my situation was the
more painful, since my friends were constantly congratulating me on the
favours which I received at Court, and predicting the brilliant fortune
that awaited me. Reports were continually raised of my having been
appointed to all sorts of posts:—sometimes it was asserted that I had
been created Maritime Prefect of Brest, Toulon, or Antwerp; that I had
been made Minister of the Interior or of the Marine; or that I had
received an important trust connected with the education of the King of
Rome, &c.”—"Well," said the Emperor, “now that you call the matter to my
recollection, some of these reports were not entirely destitute of
foundation. I certainly did entertain the idea of employing you to
assist in the education of the King of Rome; and I also intended, on
your return to Holland, to appoint you to be Maritime Prefect of Toulon,
which at that time I regarded as a sort of ministry. There were
five-and-twenty ships of the line in the roads, and I wished to augment
their number. In this instance, your friend, the Minister, turned my
attention from you. You belonged to the old navy, he observed; your
prejudices and those of the new officers must inevitably clash together.
This appeared to me a decided objection to your appointment, and I
thought no more about you; but now, since I have come to know you, I
find that you were precisely the man I wanted. I think, too, that I
entertained some other ideas respecting your advancement; but I must
again repeat that you neglected your own interests. You retreated when
you ought to have advanced. Need I tell you that, with the best
intentions on my part, the chance against procuring an appointment to an
important post was as great as that of winning a prize in the lottery.
An idea occurred to me, and I formed my decision; but if that decision
were not immediately carried into effect, it escaped my recollection;
for I had so much business on my hands. A luckier candidate was then
proposed, and he was installed in office.—But I interrupt you....”

“Sire,” continued I, "being ignorant of your Majesty’s kind intentions
respecting me, I was placed in a situation truly ridiculous, amidst the
numerous congratulations that I received. I endeavoured to extricate
myself from all this embarrassment with the best possible grace; but the
more efforts I made for this purpose, the more I was blamed for my
modesty. I never asked your Majesty for more than one thing, and that
was the situation of Master of Requests, which was immediately granted
to me. Clarke reproached me with having lowered my dignity by making
such a solicitation. He said that I should have asked to be made a
Councillor of State; and that your Majesty would have granted my
request."—"No," replied the Emperor, “I did not know you well enough for
that. I should have looked upon such a request as the result of silly
ambition.”—" Sire," I observed, “I had sufficient tact to guess what
your opinion would be.”—"Well,“ continued the Emperor, that was odd
enough. But perhaps Clarke was right after all. The solicitation of the
inferior post of Master of Requests might have injured you in my
opinion; that is to say, it might have tended to fix you in the rank in
which I had classed you. I was very well pleased to see my chamberlains
have something to do; but Master of Requests was too trivial a post. It
is curious,” continued he, “how my memory revives, now that I am
speaking on this subject. You had performed detached services, which had
rapidly escaped my recollection, because my attention had never been
directed to them. If they had been presented to my notice all in a mass,
they must have given me a very different opinion of you. You served as a
volunteer at Flushing. I knew this; and what I should have regarded as a
mere matter of course in any other individual, forcibly struck me in an
emigrant, who had for this purpose quitted his family, and who was not
without fortune.”—"Sire, I received the most gratifying reward on my
return. Your Majesty spoke to me on the subject."—"But," said he, “you
suffered this to be lost in the flood of oblivion. You addressed several
written communications to me. All these things occur to my recollection
by degrees. You transmitted to me some plans respecting the Adriatic
Sea, with which I was much pleased. The suggestion was to get possession
of the Adriatic, and to establish a fleet there. Ships could have been
built at no vast expense, with the wood produced in the immense forests
of Croatia. I submitted the whole to the Minister, who never more
mentioned the subject to me. But you presented some other things to my
notice.”—"Sire, you probably allude to the ideas respecting the system
of maritime warfare to be adopted against England, accompanied by an
explanatory map."—"Yes, I recollect. The map lay for several days on the
desk in my closet. I expressed a wish to see you; but you were absent on
a mission."

“Sire, about the same time I had the honour to address to you a plan for
transforming the Champ-de-Mars into a _Naumachia_, which would have been
an ornament to the palace of the King of Rome. I proposed that the basin
should be dug sufficiently deep to admit the launching of small
corvettes, which might have been built, rigged, manned and worked by the
pupils of the naval school, which, according to my plan, was to be
established at the military school. All the Princes of the Imperial
house might have been required to devote themselves to these naval
exercises for the space of two years, whatever might have been their
ultimate destination. Your Majesty might have induced the distinguished
families of the empire thus to procure for their sons a knowledge of
naval affairs. I doubted not that all these circumstances combined, and
the spectacle presented to the capital, would infallibly have rendered
the navy at once popular and national in France.”—"Ah! I was not aware
of the extent of your plan," said the Emperor, in whose mind every idea
immediately became magnified. “This design would have pleased me. It
might have produced immense results. From this plan there was but a step
to that of rendering the Seine navigable, and cutting a canal from Paris
to the sea. This could not have been regarded as too stupendous an
enterprise; for more was done by the Romans in ancient times, and more
has already been effected by the Chinese of the present day. It would
have afforded a pastime to the army in time of peace. I had conceived
many plans of the same kind. But our enemies kept me chained to war. Of
what glory have they robbed me!... But continue.”—

"Sire, I also submitted to your Majesty’s consideration some ideas
respecting the completion of the naval schools."—"Did I adopt them in
the schools which I established?" inquired the Emperor. “Did your
opinions coincide with mine?” “Sire, the plans for your schools were
already determined on; I merely suggested a few hints for their
completion.”—"Oh, now I recollect something of the matter. But I think
your ideas were a little too democratic; were they not?"—"No, Sire, I
set out from the principle that your Majesty had provided for the
exclusive competition of the intermediate class, and I proposed to add
below it all the chances that might be presented by the competition of
seamen; and above it, all the chances that might arise out of the
competition of individuals connected with the Court."—"Yes, I
recollect," said the Emperor, "your ideas were novel and singular, and
they attracted my attention. I submitted the plan to the Minister, who
either kept it for his own use, or turned it into ridicule. I also
remember that, in the correspondence relative to your mission to
Holland, which I ordered to be laid before me, there was mentioned a
plan for removing our ships from the German Ocean to the Baltic, by
means of canals, which should unite the Elbe, the Oder, and the Vistula.
This idea pleased me; it was after my own taste. And on your return,
seeing you at my levee, I was about to propose to you some measure for
the execution of your plan. But you did not seem to comprehend my
questions, or you gave me unsatisfactory and undecided answers. I
concluded that the ideas had probably been suggested by some one else,
and that you were taking credit for them. I therefore left you, and
turned to speak to your neighbour. I was to blame for acting thus
precipitately; but I could not help it.

"When I call to mind all these circumstances, I find that I had so many
motives for bestowing attention on you, that I am astonished I should
have neglected you: and I cannot help thinking that you must have
manœuvred admirably, before you could have succeeded in withdrawing
yourself so completely from my notice. It is very certain that all these
facts have but just now occurred to me: and at the period of our
departure, and some time afterwards, you were, with the exception of
your name and person, a stranger to me. I looked upon you as one of whom
I knew nothing. How do you account for this? You cannot perhaps explain
it; but it is nevertheless true.

“I ask again, why you did not avail yourself of the good offices of your
friends; or why you did not appeal to me in person?”—"Sire, those who
enjoyed the privilege of approaching nearest to your person were intent
only on advancing their own interests. Their friendship did not extend
beyond mere good wishes. To speak a word for another was what they
called using their influence; and that was reserved solely for their own
advantage. Besides, even though I had had the opportunity of speaking
for myself, I should always have preferred others to speak for me. You,
Sire, had but little leisure, your arrangements were very uncertain, it
was necessary to explain every thing to you in few words. At the same
time, I had so little confidence in myself, and was so fearful of
creating an unfavourable impression, that I preferred withdrawing myself
from your notice. For it was not sufficient to enter into intrigue; it
was necessary that the intrigue should be brought to a result."—"Perhaps
it was as well after all," said the Emperor. “You have judged the matter
rightly; for, even had I known as much of you as I now do, your reserve
and timidity would perhaps have ruined you. I now recollect a
circumstance, which probably operated to your prejudice. When M. de
Montesquiou proposed you as Chamberlain, he represented you as being
possessed of vast fortune; but I soon learned the contrary. I do not
mean to say that this circumstance was in any way injurious to you, or
that it afforded any ground of objection to you personally; but other
individuals, who wished to be appointed Chamberlains, complained of not
having been preferred on account of their superior fortune, or quoted
your example, if they thought themselves neglected on the score of their
poverty. This is the way at Court.”

“It appears evident, Sire, that, with my character, I was destined never
to be known to your Majesty.”—"Yes,“ said the Emperor and it had nearly
happened so. But yet, on my return, did I not appoint you a Chamberlain?
and their number was very limited. Did I not immediately create you a
Councillor of State? You had been a member of the old aristocracy, you
had been an emigrant, and you had undergone great trials; all these were
powerful recommendations to me. Besides, at that time, so many voices
were raised in praise of your conduct that, sooner or later, I must have
known you thoroughly.”


22nd.—To-day the weather was very bad. The Emperor sent for me about
three o’clock. He was in the topographical cabinet, surrounded by all
the persons of his suite, who were engaged in unpacking some boxes of
books which had arrived by the Newcastle. The Emperor himself helped to
unpack, and seemed to be highly amused with the occupation. Men
naturally adapt themselves to their circumstances: their enjoyments are
trivial in proportion as their sufferings are severe. On seeing the file
of Moniteurs, which had been so long expected, he expressed unfeigned
delight: he took it up and began eagerly to peruse it.

After dinner the Emperor looked over Park’s and Hornemann’s Travels in
Africa, and he traced their course on my Atlas. In these narratives,
Hornemann, and the African Society of London, bore ample testimony to
the generous assistance they had received from the General-in-chief of
the army of Egypt (Napoleon), who had seized every opportunity of
promoting their discoveries. The polite and handsome manner in which
these facts were mentioned was very gratifying to the Emperor, who had
been long accustomed to find his name connected with insulting epithets.


23rd.—I attended the Emperor about three o’clock. He had been so
delighted at the receipt of his new books that he had passed the whole
night in reading and dictating notes to Marchand. He was very much
fatigued; but my visit afforded him a little respite. He dressed and
went out to walk in the garden.

During dinner the Emperor alluded to his immense reading in his youth;
and he found, from all the books he had perused relative to Egypt, that
he had scarcely any thing to correct in what he had dictated on Egypt:
he had stated many facts which he had not read, but which, on reference
to these books, he found to be correct.

The conversation turned on the subject of memory. The Emperor remarked
that a head without memory was like a garrison without fortifications.
His he said was a useful kind of memory. It was not general and
absolute; but relative, faithful, and only retentive of what was
necessary. Some one present observed that his own memory was like his
sight, that it became confused by the distance of places and objects, as
he removed from one situation to another; upon which the Emperor replied
that, for his part, his memory was like his heart, that it preserved a
faithful impression of all that ever had been dear to him.

A-propos of good memory and fond recollections, I must here note down a
remark of the Emperor’s, which I omitted to mention at the time it was
made. One day at dinner, while describing one of his engagements in
Egypt, he named numerically the eight or ten demi-brigades which had
been engaged. On hearing this, Madame Bertrand could not refrain from
asking how, after so long a time, he could possibly recollect all these
numbers. "Madame, this is a lover’s recollection of his former
mistresses," was Napoleon’s reply.

After dinner, the Emperor ordered my Atlas to be brought to him, for the
purpose of verifying the particulars which he had collected in his books
on Africa, and he was astonished to find every thing correspond so

He then began to converse on trade, and the principles and systems which
he had introduced. He opposed the principles of economists, which he
said were correct in theory, though erroneous in their application. The
political constitution of different states, continued he, must render
these principles defective; local circumstances continually call for
deviations from their uniformity. Duties, he said, which were so
severely condemned by political economists, should not, it is true, be
an object to the exchequer: they should be the guarantee and protection
of a nation, and should correspond with the nature and the objects of
its trade. Holland, which is destitute of productions and manufactures,
and which has a trade only of transit and commission, should be free
from all fetters and barriers. France, on the contrary, which is rich in
every sort of production and manufactures, should incessantly guard
against the importations of a rival, who might still continue superior
to her, and also against the cupidity, egotism, and indifference of mere

“I have not fallen into the error of modern systematizers,” said the
Emperor, "who imagine that all the wisdom of nations is centered in
themselves. Experience is the true wisdom of nations. And what does all
the reasoning of economists amount to? They incessantly extol the
prosperity of England, and hold her up as our model; but the
Custom-House system is more burthensome and arbitrary in England than in
any other country. They also condemn prohibitions; yet it was England
that set the example of prohibitions, and they are in fact necessary
with regard to certain objects. Duties cannot adequately supply the
place of prohibitions: there will always be found means to defeat the
object of the legislator. In France we are still very far behind on
these delicate points, which are still unperceived or ill-understood by
the mass of society. Yet what advancement have we not made! What
correctness of ideas has been introduced by my gradual classification of
agriculture, industry, and trade; objects so distinct in themselves, and
which present so great and positive a graduation!

"1st.—_Agriculture_; the soul, the first basis of the empire.

"2nd.—_Industry_; the comfort and happiness of the population.

"3rd.—_Foreign trade_; the superabundance, the proper application of the
surplus of agriculture and industry.

"Agriculture was continually improving during the whole course of the
Revolution. Foreigners thought it ruined in France. In 1814, however,
the English were compelled to admit that we had little or nothing to
learn from them.

"Industry or manufactures, and internal trade, made immense progress
during my reign. The application of chemistry to the manufactures caused
them to advance with giant strides. I gave an impulse, the effects of
which extended throughout Europe.

"Foreign trade, which in its results is infinitely inferior to
agriculture, was an object of subordinate importance in my mind. Foreign
trade is made for agriculture and home industry, and not the two latter
for the former. The interests of these three fundamental bases are
diverging and frequently conflicting. I always promoted them in their
natural gradation; but I could not, and ought not to have ranked them
all on an equality. Time will unfold what I have done, the national
resources which I created, and the emancipation from the English which I
brought about. We have now the secret of the commercial treaty of 1783.
France still exclaims against its author; but the English demanded it on
pain of resuming the war. They wished to do the same after the treaty of
Amiens; but I was then all-powerful; I was a hundred cubits high. I
replied that if they were in possession of the heights of Montmartre I
would still refuse to sign the treaty. These words were echoed through

The English will now impose some such treaty on France, at least if
popular clamour, and the opposition of the mass of the nation, do not
force them to draw back. This thraldom would be an additional disgrace
in the eyes of that nation, which is now beginning to acquire a just
perception of her own interests.

"When I came to the head of the government, the American ships, which
were permitted to enter our ports on the score of their neutrality,
brought us raw materials, and had the impudence to sail from France
without freight, for the purpose of taking in cargoes of English goods
in London. They moreover had the insolence to make their payments, when
they had any to make, by giving bills on persons in London. Hence the
vast profits reaped by the English manufacturers and brokers, entirely
to our prejudice. I made a law that no American should import goods to
any amount, without immediately exporting their exact equivalent. A loud
outcry was raised against this: it was said that I had ruined trade. But
what was the consequence? Notwithstanding the closing of my ports, and
in spite of the English who ruled the seas, the Americans returned and
submitted to my regulations. What might I not have done under more
favourable circumstances?

"Thus I naturalized in France the manufacture of cotton, which

"1st. _Spun-cotton._—We did not previously spin it ourselves; the
English supplied us with it as a sort of favour.

"2nd. _The woven-stuff._—We did not yet make it; it came to us from

"3rd. _The printing._—This was the only part of the manufacture that we
performed ourselves. I wished to naturalize the two first branches; and
I proposed to the Council of State that their importation should be
prohibited. This excited great alarm. I sent for Oberkamp, and I
conversed with him a long time. I learned from him that this prohibition
would doubtless produce a shock, but that, after a year or two of
perseverance, it would prove a triumph, from which we should derive
immense advantages. Then I issued my decree in spite of all; this was a
true piece of statesmanship.

"I at first confined myself merely to prohibiting wove-cottons; then I
extended the prohibition to spun cotton; and we now possess within
ourselves the three branches of the cotton manufacture, to the great
benefit of our population, and the injury and regret of the
English:—which proves that, in civil government as well as in war,
decision of character is often indispensable to success. I offered a
million of francs as a reward for the discovery of a method of spinning
flax like cotton, and this discovery would undoubtedly have been
made,[24] but for our unfortunate circumstances. I should then have
prohibited cotton, if I could not have naturalized it on the continent.

Footnote 24:

  Flax is actually now spun like cotton at Verviers and Liege.

"The encouragement of the production of silk was an object that equally
claimed my attention. As Emperor of France and King of Italy I
calculated on receiving an annual revenue of 120 millions from the
production of silk.

"The system of commercial licenses was no doubt mischievous! Heaven
forbid that I should have laid it down as a principle. It was the
invention of the English; with me it was only a momentary resource. Even
the continental system, in its extent and rigour, was by me regarded
merely as a measure occasioned by the war and temporary circumstances.

“The difficulties, and even the total stagnation, of foreign trade
during my reign arose out of the force of circumstances and the
accidents of the time. One brief interval of peace would immediately
have restored it to its natural level.”


24th.—The Emperor informed us that he had spent full four-and-twenty
hours in reading the Moniteur on the subject of the Constituent
Assembly. He said that he had found these accounts as amusing as a
romance; they mark the first rise of those men who had, at a later
period, played so distinguished a part. However, he said, it was
necessary to have an idea of the external springs of action, otherwise
the reports of the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly lost much of
their interest, and were frequently unintelligible. The spirit of the
first moments, the first interests, of the Revolution remained entirely

After dinner the Emperor conversed on the subject of Artillery. He had
wished for more uniformity and less of subdivision in the pieces. The
general was often unable to judge of the best mode of employing them,
and nothing could be superior to the advantages of uniformity in all the
instruments and accessories of war.

The Emperor observed that in general the artillery did not fire
sufficiently in a battle. The principal consideration in war is that
there should be no want of ammunition. When there is an actual scarcity,
of course, that forms an exception; but, in every other case, it is
necessary to fire incessantly. The Emperor, who had himself often been
nearly killed by spent balls, and who knew how important such an event
would have been to the fate of the battle or the campaign, maintained
the propriety of firing continually, without calculating expense.
Moreover, he said, that if he wished to avoid the post of danger, he
would station himself at the distance of 300 toises, rather than at 600.
At the first-mentioned point, the balls frequently pass over the head;
but at the latter they must fall somewhere or other.

He remarked, that it was impossible to make artillery fire on masses of
infantry, when they were themselves assailed by an opposite battery.
This arises from natural cowardice, said he, good-humouredly, from the
irresistible instinct of self-preservation. An artillery-officer who was
among us protested against this observation.—"It is nevertheless true,"
continued the Emperor; “you immediately stand on your guard against the
enemy who attacks you. You seek to destroy him, lest he should destroy
you. You often desist from firing, that he may cease to harass you, and
direct his charge against the masses of infantry, who are of much
greater importance to the fate of the battle.”

The Emperor frequently adverted to the corps of artillery, in which he
had served in his youth. He said that it was the best constituted corps
in Europe. It was a sort of family service. The officers were quite of a
paternal turn, the bravest and worthiest men in the world, pure as gold.
They were somewhat too far advanced in life, because the peace had
continued too long. The young men laughed at them, because sarcasm and
irony were the fashion of the day; but they adored them, and never
failed to render justice to their merits.[25]

Footnote 25:

  Napoleon, in his will, has given proof of this sentiment by a bequest
  in favour of Baron Duthiel, his old chief of artillery, or his
  children, “as a token of gratitude,” so he wrote with his own hand,
  “for the attention which that brave general paid to us, when, as
  lieutenant and captain, we were under his command.”

25th.—We have received the third and last package of books brought by
the frigate. The Emperor has greatly fatigued himself by assisting to
unpack and arrange them.

About three o’clock, several persons were presented to the Emperor;
among others, the Admiral and his lady. The Emperor was indisposed, and
he dined in his own chamber, attended by the Grand Marshal.



26th.—The Emperor sent for me and my son, and set us to look over the
Moniteur, for the purpose of comparing and completing the manuscript of
the Campaigns of Italy.

The Emperor, though he had announced his intention of doing so, had not
yet resumed his dictations, and I rejoiced at a circumstance which
promised at length to excite renewed interest.

Our business was to select from the Moniteur all the reports and
official letters, for the purpose of vouchers. The Emperor wished them
to be properly classed, and desired us to make an estimate of their
extent, in order that he might be able to calculate at once the space
they would occupy when printed, reminding me at the same time that these
were henceforth my own affairs; that I should only be serving myself for
the future. Delightful words, to which the tone of his voice, his
familiar air, and his whole expression, imparted even more value than
was conveyed in their meaning!

To-day, during dinner, the Emperor again reviewed the character of his
Generals. He passed an eulogium on several of them, the greater number
of whom are now no more. He bestowed the highest praise on the talents
of General Drouot. Every thing in life is a problem, said he; it is only
by what is known that we can come at what is unknown. He observed that
he knew to a certainty that General Drouot possessed every quality
necessary to make a great General. He had sufficient reasons for
supposing him superior to many of his Marshals. He had no hesitation in
believing him capable of commanding 100,000 men. “And perhaps,” added
he, “he was far from thinking so himself, which, after all, can only be
regarded as an additional good quality.”

He again alluded to the prodigious valour of Murat and Ney, whose
courage, he said, so often outstripped their judgment. Such is the
enigma, said he, of certain actions in certain individuals: the
inequality between disposition and understanding explains all.

The conversation turned on the battle of Hohenlinden. The Emperor
remarked that “it was one of those great triumphs that are brought about
by chance, and obtained without plan. Moreau, he repeated, was destitute
of invention; he was not sufficiently decided; and, therefore, he was
most fit to be employed on the defensive. Hohenlinden was a confused
sort of affair; the enemy had been unexpectedly attacked amidst his own
operations, and was conquered by troops whom he had already broken and
nearly destroyed. The merit rested chiefly with the troops and generals
of the partial corps, who had been most exposed to danger, and who had
fought like heroes.”

When speaking of the campaigns of Italy, we observed to the Emperor that
the rapid succession of his daily victories, which filled the mouth of
fame, must have been a source of great delight to him.—"By no means,"
replied he. “At least they were supposed to have been so by those who
were at a distance from the scene of conflict.”—"That may be; those who
were at a distance knew only our success; they knew nothing of our
situation. If those victories could have procured me pleasure, I should
have enjoyed repose. But I had always the aspect of danger before me,
and the victory of to-day was speedily forgotten through the obligation
of gaining another to-morrow."

I recollect having heard a distinguished General (Lamarque) deliver a
very characteristic opinion of Moreau. Lamarque had been much attached
to Moreau, and had for a long time served under him. He was endeavouring
to make me understand the different tactics of Moreau and Napoleon. He
said:—"Had their two armies been in presence, and there had been
sufficient time to move, I would have entered the ranks of Moreau, which
were sure to be managed with the utmost regularity, precision, and
calculation. On these points, it was impossible to excel, or even to
equal, Moreau. But if the two armies had to approach from points a
hundred leagues distant from each other, the Emperor would have routed
his adversary three, four, or five times over, before the latter could
have had time to look about him."


Thursday, 27th.—We had nearly gone without our breakfast: an incursion
of the rats, which had entered our kitchen from several points, during
the night, had deprived us of every thing eatable. We are much infested
with these vermin; they are of enormous size, and very daring and
mischievous; it took them very little time to penetrate our walls and
floors. Attracted by the smell of the victuals, they even made their way
into our drawing-room whilst we were at dinner. We were several times
obliged to give them battle after the dessert; and one evening, when the
Emperor wished to retire, and his hat was handed to him, a rat of the
largest size jumped out of it. Our grooms had tried to rear some
poultry, but they were compelled to abandon the attempt, because the
rats devoured all the fowls. They would even seize them in the night on
their perches.

The Emperor was this day translating some review or journal, in which it
was mentioned that Lord Castlereagh had asserted at a public meeting
that Napoleon, even since his fall, had not hesitated to declare that,
so long as he should have reigned, he would have continued to make war
against England, having never had any object but that of her

The Emperor could not help feeling provoked by these words. “Lord
Castlereagh,” said he, with indignation, “must be much accustomed to
lying, and must place great dependence on the credulity of his auditors.
Can their own good sense allow them to believe that I could ever make
such a foolish speech, even if I had had such intentions!”

It was afterwards stated that Lord Castlereagh had said, in parliament,
that the reason why the French army was so much attached to Bonaparte
was that he made a kind of conscription of all the heiresses of the
empire, and then distributed them amongst his generals. “Here again,”
observed the Emperor, “Lord Castlereagh tells a wilful falsehood. He
came amongst us; he had an opportunity of seeing our manners and laws,
and of knowing the truth; he must be certain that such a thing was quite
impracticable and out of my power. What does he take our nation for? The
French were never capable of submitting to such tyranny. I have, no
doubt, made a great number of matches; and I would gladly have made
thousands more; it was one of the most effectual methods of amalgamating
and uniting irreconcileable factions. If I had had more time to myself,
I would have taken great pains to extend these unions to the provinces,
and even to the Confederation of the Rhine, in order to strengthen the
connection of those distant portions of the empire with France; but in
such proceedings, I exerted only my influence, and never my authority.
Lord Castlereagh disregards such distinctions; it is important to his
policy to render me odious; he is not scrupulous about the means; he
does not shrink from any calumny; he has every advantage over me. I am
in chains; he has taken all possible precautions for keeping my mouth
shut, and preventing the possibility of my making any reply, and I am a
thousand leagues from the scene of action; his position is commanding;
nothing stands in his way. But certainly this conduct is the _ne plus
ultra_ of impudence, baseness, and cowardice.”

I shall now introduce an instance which may serve to prove the truth of
the foregoing assertion of Napoleon with respect to French heiresses. I
had the account from the lips of the person chiefly interested.

M. d’Aligre had a daughter who was heiress to immense property: the
Emperor conceived the idea of marrying her to M. de Caulaincourt, Duke
of Vicenza, for whom he had such a particular regard that he was looked
upon as a kind of favourite. His personal qualities, not less than his
high official employment, rendered him one of the first personages in
the empire. The Emperor, therefore, never imagined that there could be
the slightest impediment to this union. He sent for M. d’Aligre, who
often came to Court, and made his request; but M. d’Aligre had other
views, and declined the alliance. Napoleon urged it in every possible
way, but M. d’Aligre remained immoveable. From his manner of relating
the affair to me, it was evident that he thought he had shewn great
courage, and, in fact, he deserved the credit of having done so, for he
imagined, like all of us, that it was very dangerous to thwart the
Emperor’s inclinations. We were, however, all mistaken; we did not know
Napoleon. I am now convinced that the justice due to individuals, and to
family rights in particular, are sacred to him; and I never heard that
M. d’Aligre suffered any inconvenience whatever through his refusal.

After dinner, the Emperor tried some of Pigault Le Brun’s romances and
others of the same kind, but in vain: after turning over a few pages of
each, he rejected them all, saying that they were all in very bad taste.

                       EXPENSES AT LONGWOOD, &C.

Friday, 28th.—Towards one o’clock, the Emperor sent for me and my son.
We carried him the first chapter of the Campaigns of Italy, with our
last work completing it. He detained us until almost six o’clock.

The Governor had paid a visit to the Grand Marshal, and in a vague
manner given him reason to expect some reductions at Longwood. He had
stated, with some simplicity, that it had been expected at London that
the permission which had been offered us to return to Europe would have
greatly diminished the Emperor’s domestic circle. He had also said,
without being well understood by the Grand Marshal, that, if we had any
private property, we might avail ourselves of our own money, by drawing
upon our own funds, as I had already done. His government, he said, had
never intended to allow the Emperor more than a table for four persons
daily at most, and company to dine once a-week. What a statement! Is it
possible that he meant to insinuate that, with respect to us, we ought
to pay for our maintenance, and contribute, for the future, to the
expenses of the establishment? Let it not be thought incredible: we
daily learn here to believe that there is nothing impossible.

The Emperor, afterwards, reverting to a book which he had been reading,
and in which there was a story of an Irish lady, respecting whom
Goldsmith had abused him violently, recollected well, he said, that,
being at Bayonne at the chateau de Marrach, when the city of Bourdeaux
gave him a _fête_, he saw, by the side of the Empress Josephine, a
charming face of the most perfect beauty, with which he was forcibly
struck. The impression she had made did not pass unperceived. It had
been anticipated and brought about designedly. “God knows,” said the
Emperor, “with what intention. She was a Miss ——, afterwards Madame ——,
a new reader to the Empress Josephine, whom she attended to the chateau
de Marrach, and might very possibly have had great success. She already
occupied my thoughts, when M. de Lavalette, who was at the head of the
secret department of the post-office, destroyed the charm. He sent,
direct to me, a letter addressed to this young lady. It was from her
mother, or her aunt, an Irishwoman, and contained minute directions for
the part she was to play, and particularly urged her by all means to
contrive to secure such a living pledge as might prolong her empire, or
at least secure her great influence. On reading this,” said the Emperor,
“all illusion vanished. The coarseness of the intrigue, the turpitude of
the details, the style, the hand which had written the letter; but,
above all, her being a foreigner, produced immediate disgust; and the
pretty little Irish girl was, in fact, as Goldsmith says, put into a
post-chaise and suddenly packed off to Paris. And here I find,”
continued Napoleon, “a libel imputing this to me as a crime, when, in
fact, it was much rather a virtue in me; an act of continence, of which
I might, perhaps, boast with much more reason than the famous Scipio.
But this is the way in which history is written.”

After dinner, when we were debating what we should read, the Emperor
said that, since we confessed we had not wit enough to relate each his
tale or story, we ought at least to be condemned to choose, by turns,
our evening’s reading; and he began by naming for his part, the poem _De
la Pitié_, by the Abbé Delille. He thought the verses good, the language
pure, the ideas pleasing; nevertheless, he observed, it was destitute of
imagination or warmth. It was, undoubtedly, superior in versification to
Voltaire; but still far beneath our other great masters.

Saturday, 29th.—The Emperor breakfasted in the garden, and invited us
all. After breakfast he took an airing in the calash. He was in good
spirits, and rallied us all in our turns. One he complimented on the
beauty and elegance of his apartments, another on the sums which the
Governor had paid for him, and which would soon be increased by a
handsome stock of child-bed linen; me he congratulated on the taste
which the Governor seemed to have for my bills of exchange, which had
induced his Excellency to wish the rest to draw bills likewise. He
laughed, and was highly amused with our remarks on each other. The
weather suddenly changed and obliged him to return home.

After dinner, the Emperor read some passages of Milton, translated by
the Abbé Delille. He thought the versification very inferior to the poem
_De la Pitié_; and, in fact, it was a work prescribed to the author,
written during his emigration, whilst at London, and published by

During the whole of our morning’s ride, the conversation turned on our
kings and their mistresses: Mesdames de Montespan, de Pompadour,
Dubarry, &c. The principle was warmly discussed, opinions differed, and
were obstinately defended. The Emperor amused himself with fluctuating
alternately from one opinion to another. He concluded, however, by
deciding in favour of morality.


Sunday, 30th.—The Emperor desired me to be called early in the morning
to breakfast with him; he was sad, gloomy, and unable to converse; he
could not find words. Chance having produced the mention of London and
of my emigration, the Emperor said, by way of fixing on a subject, and
finding something to occupy his attention, “You must have seen in
London, the Court, the King, the Prince of Wales, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Fox, and
other great personages who figured at that time? Tell me what you know
of them. What did people think of them? Give me an historical
sketch.”—"Sire, your Majesty forgets, or perhaps was never precisely
informed of the situation of an emigrant in London. I doubt whether we
should have been received at Court; the good old George III. was deeply
concerned for our personal misfortunes, but he was extremely reluctant
to avow us in a political sense. And if we could have been received
there, our means would not have enabled us to appear. I did not
therefore go to Court. I have, however, seen most of those whom your
Majesty mentions, and I have also heard much said of them.

"I have seen and heard the King several times in the House of Lords, and
been very near him; the Prince of Wales in the same place, and also in
company in the metropolis. Besides, it is not in London as in France; we
do not find there that immense distance between the Court and the mass
of the nation; the country is so crowded, information so general,
education so equal, affluence so common, and the sphere of activity so
rapid, that the whole nation seems to be in the same place and on the
same plane; whilst, in looking at this assemblage, which might deserve
to be called distinguished, one is tempted to ask, _Where is the
people?_ which is, in fact, the question that Alexander is said to have
asked at the time of his visit to London. It follows then, that having
seen many people of all classes, conditions, and opinions, I must have
imbibed some notions approaching in all probability very near the truth.
Unluckily, I was then little solicitous about observing and collecting
information; and I am likewise fearful that the lapse of so much time
may now confuse my memory.

"George the Third was the honestest man in his dominions; his personal
virtues made him an object of profound veneration; an extreme morality,
and great respect for the laws, were the principal characteristics of
his whole life. He came to the throne at twenty years of age, deeply
enamoured of a charming young Scotch lady, of one of the first families
in the country, it was much feared that he would marry her; but it was
sufficient to remind him that it was contrary to law, and he instantly
consented to marry the person who should be chosen for him. This was a
princess of Mecklenburg. In his grief, he thought her very ordinary, and
in fact she was so; nevertheless George III. remained all his life an
exemplary husband; he was never known to be guilty of the least

"The accession of George III. was an actual political revolution in
England: the days of the Pretenders were over; the house of Hanover was
established; the Whigs, who had placed that family on the throne, were
dismissed from administration: they were troublesome observers, who were
no longer wanted. The government was again seized by the Tories, those
friends of power, who have ever since kept it, to the great detriment of
public liberty.

"The King, however, was personally free from prejudice in this respect:
he sincerely loved the laws, justice, and the welfare and prosperity of
his country. The violent part taken by England against our French
revolution was much less the fault of George III. than of Mr. Pitt, who
was the real firebrand. The latter was instigated by the extreme hatred
to France which he inherited from his father, the great Chatham, and
also by a strong predilection for power and the oligarchy. At the
commencement of our revolution, Mr. Pitt was the man of the people: he
governed England; he drew in the King, who was always to be worked on by
facts; and it must be acknowledged that the excesses and crimes of our
outset afforded very favourable opportunities to the measures and the
eloquence of Mr. Pitt. It is probable, Sire, that if the unfortunate
George III. had retained his reason, your Majesty would eventually have
found it greatly to your advantage, because your reign would have
presented new facts to his observation, to which he would have yielded.
George III. had his own species and degree of character: it was in
harmony with his intellectual conceptions: he wished to know things, to
be convinced. When once his resolution was taken, it was difficult to
make him alter it; yet it was not impossible: his good sense afforded
great opportunities.

"His illness was, on this account, a curse to us, a curse to Europe, and
to the English themselves, who begin now to give up the high opinion
they once professed of Mr. Pitt, of whose fatal errors they now feel the

"It was the first attack of the King’s illness which established the
reputation and credit of Mr. Pitt. That minister was little more than
twenty-five years of age, when he ventured alone to encounter the mass
of those who deserted the King and considered him lost; and who were
eager to proclaim the monarch’s incapacity, in order to possess
themselves of power under his youthful successor. This conduct rendered
Mr. Pitt the idol of the nation. This was the most glorious period of
his life; and his noblest triumph was, undoubtedly, that of conducting
George III. to St. Paul’s, to return thanks to God for his restoration
to health, amidst an immense concourse of people intoxicated with joy
and satisfaction.

"There was no doubt that Mr. Pitt was on this occasion the saviour of
the King as well as of the public peace; for experience proved that
George III. had not become incapable of reigning again; and it was
strongly suspected that, had the regency been organized, as the
Opposition wished to have it, this capability would not have been very
readily acknowledged at a subsequent period; and thus a civil war might
have been occasioned.

"I have often heard it said that the mental derangement of George III.
was not a common kind of madness: that his alienation did not exactly
arise from a local affection of the brain, but from the repletion of the
vessels leading to it; a derangement produced by a malady which had long
been peculiar to this family. His disorder, it was said, was rather
delirium than insanity. When the cause was removed, the sovereign
instantly recovered all his faculties, in as great perfection as if they
had sustained no interruption; this circumstance explains his numerous
relapses and restorations. As a proof of this, people used to mention
the strength of mind he must have possessed, to be able, immediately on
his first convalescence, to support the pomp of the procession, attended
by the assembled population of London, filling the air with

"After his second relapse, he gave another not less remarkable proof of
this nature, by the calmness and composure which he displayed, when
fired at by an assassin, as he entered his box at the theatre. He was so
little disturbed that he instantly turned to the Queen, who had just
reached the door of the box, to tell her not to be alarmed, for that it
was only a squib which had been let off in the theatre: he remained
during the whole performance apparently unmoved. Here was certainly no
proof of weakness. The permanence of the complaint in his latter years
might indeed be opposed to these facts, if it be certain that he had not
long lucid intervals.

"George III., although so worthy and well-meaning a monarch, was several
times very near falling a victim to assassins. Several instances of this
kind occur in his history; and I do not believe any of the persons
implicated suffered death, because they all appeared to be insane—all
religious or political fanatics. The last and most famous attempt
occurred, I think, in 1800.[26] The King went to the theatre, as he did
from time to time at that critical period, to keep up his popularity. As
he entered his box, a man in the pit took aim at him with a horse
pistol, and the ball only missed through the King’s bowing at the moment
to salute the public. The dreadful tumult that ensued may easily be
conceived! The man did not attempt to deny his crime; he was precisely
such another as the fanatic at Schoenbrun, who would have sacrificed
your Majesty, and always maintained that he had no other object in view
than peace and the happiness of his country. A jury pronounced this man
insane, and he was condemned to confinement.

Footnote 26:

  The author seems not to be aware that this is the very attempt to
  which he had just adverted.—_Translator._

"During my excursion to London in 1814, a singular chance procured me a
sight of this very assassin. My mind being still occupied with the
mission which your Majesty had confided to me the preceding year,
concerning the depôts of mendicity and houses of correction, I wished to
see the English establishments of this kind. Whilst I was taking a
minute survey of Newgate, I entered an apartment in which I found a
great number of condemned persons enjoying a certain degree of liberty.
The first on whom my conductor fixed his eyes happened to be Hatfield,
whom he pointed out to me, and whose name I immediately recollected, and
asked if he was the man who had attempted to assassinate George III. It
was the same, he said, and he was undergoing the confinement to which he
had been condemned, as insane, in Newgate. I observed that, at the time,
his insanity had been much doubted and contested by the public, as it
always happens in such cases. I was assured, however, that Hatfield was
indisputably mad, but only by fits; that his madness was, however, so
mild that he was suffered to go about the town, on his word; and that he
was the first to request he might be attended to, when he felt that his
disorder was coming on. My conductor then called him. Having ventured to
ask him some questions, he immediately discovered me to be French by my
accent, and told me he had often fought against my countrymen in
Flanders. (He had served in the light-horse, or dragoons, under the Duke
of York.) He bore their marks, he said, shewing me several scars; and
yet, he added, he was far from hating them, for they were brave, and
were not to blame in that affair; people had insisted on meddling in
their disputes, which concerned themselves only. He began to grow very
warm, which induced my conductor to make me a sign, and to send him
away. We had touched the chord of his derangement, my conductor
observed, and had we continued, he would have become outrageous.

"But I return to George III. The predominant sentiment of that prince
was the love of the public good and the welfare of his country. To these
he always sacrificed every consideration: this alone induced him to
retain Mr. Pitt so long, towards whom he felt a strong repugnance,
because he was very ill-treated by that minister.

"The crisis was of the most vital importance to England; the danger most
imminent; the talents of the Prime Minister of a superior kind. He was,
therefore, necessary. Presuming on the omnipotence of this circumstance
over the King’s mind, Mr. Pitt ruled him tyrannically, and without the
least delicacy; he scarcely allowed him the disposal of the most
trifling place. If there was a vacancy, and the King wished to reward a
private servant of his own, he was always too late; Mr. Pitt had already
disposed of it, and for the good of the state, he would say—for the sake
of parliamentary services. If the King shewed too much dissatisfaction,
Mr. Pitt had one invariable answer constantly ready—he would resign and
give up his place to another. At length a circumstance occurred of the
most delicate kind, as it concerned the King’s conscience, who was very
religious; that is to say, the question of the emancipation of the
Catholics of Ireland, to which he obstinately refused to consent. Mr.
Pitt insisted with equal perseverance; he was pledged to this measure,
he said, and resorted to his usual threat. But the King this time took
him at his word, and, overjoyed at his deliverance, repeated the same
day, to several persons, that he had now got rid of a man who had for
twenty years been kicking at him. And it may not, perhaps, be useless to
observe here, as a remarkable singularity, in contrast to Mr. Pitt’s ill
usage of the King, that George III. has been heard to say that, of all
his ministers, Mr. Fox (so much accused of republicanism, and perhaps
not without foundation) was the person who, when at the head of affairs,
had constantly shewn him the greatest delicacy, deference, respect, and

"Nevertheless, such was the influence of the public interest over the
King’s mind that, notwithstanding all his aversion, he reinstated Mr.
Pitt a year afterwards. It was thought, at the time, that when Mr. Pitt
retired he had had the address to fix Mr. Addington, a creature of his
own, in the ministry, in order to be able to replace himself there in a
short time without difficulty: but it has since been proved that Mr.
Pitt himself was obliged to have recourse to intrigues to overthrow his
successor and obtain his second administration, which, however, was by
no means worthy of him: it was filled with disasters which he himself
had occasioned. The ball that decided the victory of Austerlitz killed
him in London.

"Time daily undermines the great reputation of Mr. Pitt, not with
respect to his eminent talents, but their fatal employment. England
groans under the calamities with which he overwhelmed her, the most
fatal of which are the school and the doctrines he bequeathed to her. He
introduced the police into England, accustomed the nation to an armed
force, and commenced that system of informations, snares, and
demoralization of every kind so completely perfected by his successors.

“His great system of tactics was constantly to excite our excesses on
the Continent, and then to hold them up as a scarecrow to England,
which immediately granted him all he wanted.” “But what did you all
say to that?” asked the Emperor: “What was the opinion of the
emigrants?”—"Sire," I replied, “we all constantly saw through the same
glass; what we said the first day of our emigration we still repeated
on the last day of our exile. We had not advanced one step; we had
become and remained a people by ourselves. Mr. Pitt was our oracle;
whatever was said by him, by Burke, Windham, or any of the most
violent on that side of the question, appeared to us to be delicious;
all that their adversaries objected, abominable. Fox, Sheridan, and
Grey, were in our eyes nothing but infamous Jacobins; we never called
them by any other name.” “Very well,” said the Emperor; “now return to
George III.”

"This virtuous prince was excessively partial to private life and rural
occupations; he devoted all the time he could spare from the business of
the state to the cultivation of a farm a few miles from London; he never
returned to the capital except for his regular levées, or extraordinary
councils required by circumstances; and he immediately returned to his
fields, where he lived without pomp, and like an honest farmer, as he
said himself. All intrigues were left in town, about the ministers, and
amongst them.

"George III. had many domestic troubles. His sister was Matilda Queen of
Denmark, whose story forms so melancholy a romance; his two brothers
caused him many vexations by their marriages; and he had not reason to
be perfectly satisfied with his eldest son.

“The two brothers of George III. were the Duke of Cumberland and the
Duke of Gloucester. I often saw the latter in private society; he was
the worthiest, most polite, and honourable gentleman in England. Both
these illustrious individuals, according to the spirit of the British
constitution, were entirely strangers to public business. The King heard
that one of them had married or was about to marry a private individual.
This was a great crime in his estimation; he had himself made a great
sacrifice to avoid committing it. He was extremely angry; and whilst he
was sending a message to Parliament against the brother who had thus
given offence, he was informed that the other had eloped to Calais for a
similar purpose. It was like a fatality, an absolute epidemic, for it
was at the same time reported on all sides, that the heir-apparent
himself was also secretly married.”—"What," said the Emperor, “the
Prince of Wales!”—"Yes, Sire, himself: his marriage was every where
talked of, but with circumstances not sufficiently certain for me to
venture to repeat them; the fact, however, seemed generally
acknowledged. But, as the Prince afterwards caused it to be contradicted
in Parliament, through the medium of the opposition, we are bound after
that to believe him.

"I have it, however, from the mouth of a very near relation of his
pretended wife, that the matter was positively so. I heard this person
give way to the most violent rage on the solemn marriage of the prince,
and threaten to resort to personal violence. It might, therefore, be
considered a contested point, which was unavoidably represented
according to party-spirit; some obstinately maintaining the reality of
the marriage, whilst others denied it in the most violent manner.
Perhaps this contradiction might be reconciled by the consideration that
the person he was said to have married, Mrs. Fitzherbert, was a
Catholic. This circumstance rendered the marriage impossible in the eyes
of the law, and perfectly void with respect to the heir to the throne.
However this may be, I have often met Mrs. Fitzherbert in company: her
carriage bore the Prince’s arms, and her servants wore his livery. This
lady was much older than himself; but beautiful, agreeable, of a
powerful mind, and haughty, impatient temper, which often involved her
in disputes with the Prince, and gave rise, it was said, to scenes of
violence not very becoming such elevated rank. It was during one of the
last quarrels of this kind, when, they say, Mrs. Fitzherbert had
obstinately kept the door shut against the Prince, that Mr. Pitt
dexterously took the opportunity of persuading him to consent to a
marriage with the Princess of Brunswick."—"But stay," said the Emperor,
“you go too fast; you pass over what chiefly interests me. Under what
auspices did the Prince of Wales enter into life? What was there
peculiar in his political conduct, his situation with regard to the
Opposition, and so forth?”—"This Prince, Sire, came before the public
with all the advantages of face, person, and mind. He was greeted with
universal enthusiasm; but he soon evinced those inclinations, and began
to act that part, which seemed necessarily imposed on great personages
in the middle of the last century. Such were the infatuation of gaming,
and its consequent embarrassments; table and other excesses; and, above
all, a set of companions disapproved of by the public. Then it was that
all generous hearts were grieved; hope was blighted, and the middling
class, which in every country really constitutes the nation, and which,
it must be confessed, is in England the most moral population of all
Europe, despaired of the future. It was a received adage in England,
amongst the lower classes in particular, that the Prince of Wales would
never reign; the fortune-tellers and conjurors, it was said, had
foretold it to himself.

“The opposition, into whose arms he had thrown himself, as heirs
presumptive too frequently do; the opposition, whose stay and hope he
was, perhaps trying to deceive themselves, when this misconduct was
mentioned to them, used to get over it by saying that he would be
another Henry V.; that Henry V. had been extremely dissipated when
Prince of Wales; but that he became the greatest King the monarchy had
produced; and thence they concluded that the Prince of Wales would make
one of their greatest kings.”—"But did he adopt the revolutionary party
and defend our modern ideas?" said the Emperor. "No, Sire; as the fever
of revolutionary principles increased, decency compelled him to withdraw
by degrees from the opposition which defended them. He relinquished all
ostensible alliance, and filled up the void of his life by giving
himself up to pleasure and its attendant difficulties. He was constantly
overwhelmed with debts, although parliament had already paid them
several times. By these encumbrances he was greatly embarrassed, and his
character and popularity were endangered. It was whilst thus involved,
and during a quarrel with Mrs. Fitzherbert, that Mr. Pitt got hold of
him, offering to pay his debts again, if he would adopt his father’s
views and consent to marry. He was obliged to submit to all that was
prescribed, and the hand of the Princess of Brunswick was asked and
obtained. But, during the short interval of the negotiation, a
celebrated woman who had long aspired to govern the prince, finding the
place vacant, took possession of it herself. It is pretended that she
has said she had sought this connection for twenty years; for she was
much older than himself, a circumstance which seemed to indicate a
peculiar taste in this family, having also been remarked in several of
his brothers. This person was immediately appointed Lady of the
Bed-chamber to the future Princess of Wales; she even went to meet her
and bring her to England. It was under such auspices, such malignant
influence, that the bride landed on the British shore. Accordingly, it
is positively asserted that this unhappy princess had not even so much
as twenty-four hours’ enjoyment, out of that privileged period
emphatically called by the English the honey-moon. From the very day
after her marriage, ridicule, neglect, and contempt were her portion.

"All who possessed the least spark of generosity or morality in England
took her part, and loudly exclaimed against the manner in which she was
treated. The greater share of the odium, however, fell on Lady Jersey,
who was accused of having bewitched the prince. She became the object of
public execration; yet the Prince, it was declared could not plead the
excuse of illusion or blindness; for it is said that, after a very gay
entertainment amongst his jovial companions, one of them was led, in the
course of conversation, to say that he knew the Madame de Merteuil of
the Liaisons Dangereuses. Many of the others immediately cried out that
they also knew one: upon this, it is said, the Prince proposed, for a
frolic, that each should write his secret separately. All the notes were
thrown into a vase; and the name of Lady Jersey was found written on
every one of them: the Prince himself, not having looked for such
unanimity, or expected to be discovered, had written this name as well
as the rest.

"I knew this Lady Jersey, and it must be confessed that her face and
whole appearance were so little indicative of her age, that it could not
easily have been suspected. She had all the charms of early youth,
heightened by all the grace of the most elegant manners; and I am bound
to say, that, in the circles in which I saw her, she even possessed a
sort of attractive kindness; whether the manners of her class render the
disposition indulgent, or whether she did not in fact deserve all the
reproaches with which she was loaded.

“The Prince of Wales seems to have possessed a peculiar faculty, a gift,
which the English call the power of fascination. He is endowed with it
in the highest degree; one would think that his will was sufficient to
reclaim the attachment of the multitude, and as it were to corrupt
public opinion. His history is full of those losses and returns of
popularity; and, perhaps, it is the certainty of being able to command
this sort of success that has so often led him, as his detractors say,
to disregard public opinion. His enemies have asserted that he has
carried this species of courage to absolute heroism. They have censured
him for his hardihood in persisting, whilst lying himself under the
reproach of an irregular life, in accusing his wife of that conduct of
which he set the example; an inconsistency which ought, undoubtedly, to
be attributed to the fatal suggestions of pernicious counsellors,
inimical to his glory and tranquillity. It is at least certain, that the
basest corruption, the aid of the laws, and the influence of the heir to
the throne, were all employed against the Princess, and all in vain: a
circumstance which, it is said, used to torment the Prince and expose
him to ridicule. People laughed at his unprecedented ill-luck, in being
unable to prove, with all his endeavours, what so many husbands would
give so much to conceal. Hatred increased on every new defeat, and with
it the sufferings of the victim. She was reduced, at last, to a sort of
banishment, to a place a few miles from London; she was deprived of her
daughter; she was insulted in the sight of the allied Sovereigns when
they visited London. But the expression of the feelings of the multitude
was always ready to avenge her, and it became necessary to get her to
quit England; which she was induced to do voluntarily, by the aid,
perhaps, of the perfidious insinuations of some pretended friend.”

Here the Emperor again interrupted me, saying that I was leaving out a
very essential point. “When and how had the Prince attained the Royal
authority? How had he arranged matters with the opposition? What had he
done with those old friends?” “Sire,” I replied, "my information ends
here. There was a time when political events induced your Majesty to cut
off all intercourse between England and France. We no longer obtained
the papers; we were prevented from receiving letters; the two nations
had no longer any thing in common. There is, therefore, an actual blank
in my intelligence, which I should be unwilling to fill up with mere
conjectures. I understand, however, that after several recoveries and
relapses of the old King, all parties at length agreed to consign the
regency to the Prince of Wales, and place him in full possession of the
sovereign authority. The long expected period of changes and of hopes
was at length arrived. The gates of heaven were now to open, at length,
to that opposition which had so long eulogised the Prince; to those old
friends who had seemed from infancy to unite their fate with his. But,
to the great and universal surprise of the nation, and through I know
not what contrivance of Lord Castlereagh’s, nothing was altered. Those
old ministers, who had so long been the objects of the Prince’s dislike
and censure, kept their places, and those intimate and dearly beloved
friends, who had so long been caressed, remained out of office.

"The opposition complained loudly; but they were laughed at, and told
that when the wild Prince of Wales became a great King, his first care
was to get rid of his old companions. The jest might be a very good one,
but it was by no means applicable; for the greatest characters in the
empire were at the head of this opposition; and they were far from being
Falstaffs or profligates of that kind. From that instant they evinced a
marked coolness towards the Prince: some would no longer see him; others
refused his invitations, or repelled the advances which he made to them.
It is said, however, that one of them suffered himself to be persuaded
to go to dine in private with the Prince. The latter, recurring to his
usual victorious weapons, endeavoured to prove to him, with his
accustomed grace, that he could not have acted differently; and at
length desired to be told of what his old friends could justly accuse
him. The guest, whose heart was still swelling with indignation, seized
the opportunity, and freely told him all his faults, with such warmth,
that the Princess Charlotte, who was at table, and was perhaps secretly
inclined towards the guest’s opinion, burst into tears. Lord Byron heard
of this scene the next day, and consecrated the event in these
celebrated verses:—

             "Weep, daughter of a royal line,
               A Sire’s disgrace, a realm’s decay;
             Ah happy! if each tear of thine
               Could wash a father’s fault away!
             Weep, for thy tears are virtue’s tears,
               Auspicious to these suff’ring isles;
             And be each drop, in future years,
               Repaid thee by thy people’s smiles."
                                               March, 1812.

“In 1814, at the time of my visit to London, I had the honour of being
presented to the Prince of Wales at Carlton House.”—“And what the devil
did you want there?” said the Emperor. “I do not wonder that your
Majesty is surprised; but I was induced by a sort of point of honour: I
thought I could do no other. There were many French in London at that
time; I was the only one who had been near your Majesty’s person, worn
your colours, and followed the line of conduct which seemed to be
censured at that period. Some one having told me that the others would
certainly not endure my presence, that circumstance determined me to go.
We were, in fact, twenty-two Frenchmen, presented at the same time, at
one of the Prince’s grand levees; and I must say that I never saw more
graceful manners, more pleasing expression, more harmony in the
_tout-ensemble_; I thought him the _beau-ideal_ of elegance. I
comprehended the full power, the whole truth of that magic fascination
which I had so often heard attributed to him; and even at this moment,
Sire, when I recollect that fine countenance, on which I thought I
perceived elevation of mind, and the love and desire of glory, I cannot
help asking myself how your Majesty comes to be here, how those
atrocious ministers could induce him to declare himself the gaoler,
the...?” “My dear Sir,” said the Emperor, “perhaps you were no
physiognomist; you took the halo of coquetry for that of greatness; the
study to please for the love of glory; and, besides, the love of glory
is not exactly in the face; it is in the recesses of the heart, and you
did not search there.[27]

Footnote 27:

  Since this was said, the great victim has fallen. I, his servant, saw
  his torments begin; others have communicated to me his last sufferings
  and protracted agonies. He expired! His enemies never ceased to strike
  him, in the name of the Prince! This immortal victim accordingly left
  with his own hand, these dreadful words: “_I bequeath the infamy of my
  death to the reigning family of England!_”

“But were you not translating to me, the other day,” said the Emperor,
"some journal or work, in which it was stated that the Prince Regent had
made a great display of sympathy towards the last Stuarts; that he had
paid the most extravagant prices for things which had belonged to, and
been left by them; that he had talked of raising a monument to the last
of them? There is much more calculation than magnanimity in all that; it
is because he is anxious to establish and consecrate their extinction.
From that event his legitimacy and security date; and he is in the
right. If, in my time, and under the circumstances into which the
English Ministers had plunged the nation, there had been some young
Stuart, of a brave and enterprising character, equal to the present age,
he would have been landed in Ireland, escorted by the modern doctrines;
and then we should undoubtedly have seen the regenerate Stuarts driving
out the degenerate Brunswicks. England would have had its 20th of March.
Such are thrones and their contagious influence; scarcely is one seated
there when the poison begins to operate. These Brunswicks, brought in by
liberal ideas, raised by the will of the people, have no sooner ascended
the throne, than they grasp at arbitrary and despotic power; they must
absolutely drive their wheels in the track which overturned their
predecessors; and this because they are become Kings! And it should seem
that this is the inevitable course! That fine stem of the Nassaus, for
instance, those patrons of noble independence in Europe, whose
liberalism ought to be in the blood, and even in the marrow of their
bones; those Nassaus, who, as far as regards their dominions, would be
only at the tail, and who might by their doctrines, place themselves at
the head,—they have just been placed on a throne; well, you will
infallibly see them concern themselves about nothing but becoming what
they call legitimates; and adopt the principles, the proceedings, and
the errors of that class.

“Nay, after all, my dear Sir, has not the same thing been said of me,
myself? and perhaps not without some appearance of reason; for probably
many circumstances may have escaped my observation. Nevertheless I
declared, on a solemn occasion, that in my estimation the sovereign
power was not in the title, nor the throne in its splendour. It has been
said of me, that scarcely had I attained power, when I exercised a
despotic and arbitrary sway; but it was rather a Dictatorship; and the
circumstances of the times will be a sufficient excuse for me. I have
also been reproached with having suffered myself to be intoxicated with
pride at my alliance with the house of Austria, and having thought
myself more truly a sovereign after my marriage; in fact, of having
considered myself from that time as Alexander, become the son of a god!
But can all this be just? Did I really fall into such errors? A young,
handsome, agreeable, woman fell to my lot; was it inadmissible for me to
testify some satisfaction? Could I not devote a few moments to her
without incurring blame? Was I not to be allowed to abandon myself to a
few hours of happiness? Was I required to use my wife ill from the very
first night, like your Prince ——? Or was I, like the Sultan we have read
of, to have her head struck off, in order to escape the reproaches of
the multitude? No! my only fault in that alliance was that of carrying
too plebeian a heart with me. How often have I said that the heart of a
statesman ought only to be in his head. Mine, unfortunately, in this
instance, remained in its place, subject to family feelings, and this
marriage ruined me; because I believed, above all things, in the
religion, the piety, the morality, and the honour of Francis I. He has
cruelly deceived me. I am willing to believe that he was himself
deceived; and I forgive him with all my heart. But will history spare
him? If, however,...”

Here Napoleon was silent for a few moments, resting his head on one of
his hands; then resuming, “But what a romance is my life!” said he,
rising. “Open the door, and let us walk.” And we walked up and down the
adjoining rooms, for some time.


Monday July 1st to Thursday 4th.—Yesterday, my son’s horse ran away with
him, whilst he was taking a ride; and, being fearful that the horse
might dash him against the trees, he thought it best to throw himself
off his back. He had sprained his ancle sufficiently to condemn him to
the sofa for a month.

The Emperor condescended to come into my room, about 11 o’clock, to
learn the state of my son, whom he rated well for his awkwardness. I
followed him into the garden, where he breakfasted, which he had not
done there for some time previously.

The conversation turned on pillage by armies, and the horrors occasioned
by it.

Pavia, the Emperor said, was the only place that he had ever given up to
pillage; he had promised it to his soldiers for 24 hours; “but after
three hours,” said he, “I could bear it no longer, and I put an end to
it. I had but 1200 men;” said he, “the cries of the populace which
reached my ears prevailed. If there had been 20,000 soldiers, their
numbers would have drowned the complaints of the people, and I should
have heard nothing of it. Happily, however, policy and morality are
equally opposed to the system of pillage. I have meditated much on this
subject: and have often been urged to gratify my soldiers in this
manner. But nothing is so certain to disorganize and completely ruin an
army. A soldier loses all discipline as soon as he gets an opportunity
to pillage; and, if by pillage he enriches himself, he immediately
becomes a bad soldier, and will not fight. Besides,” continued he,
“pillage is incompatible with our French manners; the hearts of our
soldiers are not bad; when the first transport of fury is over, they
come to themselves again. It would be impossible for French soldiers to
pillage for twenty-four hours; many of them would employ the latter part
of the time in repairing the mischief they had done in the beginning.
They afterwards reproach each other, in their quarters, with the
excesses they have committed, and load with reprobation and contempt
those whose conduct has been particularly odious.”

About three o’clock, the new Admiral, Sir Pulteney Malcolm, and all his
officers, were presented to the Emperor. The Admiral first conversed
with the Emperor alone, for nearly two hours. He must have been much
impressed with this conversation, for he said, as he came out, that he
had been taking a very fine and valuable lesson on the history of

The Emperor was understood to have said to him, towards the close of the
interview, what I believe I have already introduced elsewhere on this
subject. “You have levied a contribution of 700 millions on France; I
have imposed one of more than 10,000 millions on your country. You
raised yours by your bayonets: I caused mine to be raised by your
parliament.” “And that is the true summary of the matter,” replied the

The Admiral was bringing from America some old troops consisting of
12,000 men, without the least suspicion of the new state of Europe. At
sea, a vessel informed him of the return of the Emperor from the isle of
Elba, and the consequent revolution; it seemed to him so magical that he
could scarcely believe it. But when he arrived in sight of Plymouth, he
received orders to proceed, with all possible expedition, to Ostend; he
reached it in time, and 4000 of the men on board his ships were enabled
to take part in the battle, and they were unquestionably amongst the
best troops in the whole line, as the Admiral declared. Who can
determine what degree of influence they may have had? The English
thought the battle lost, during the whole day, and they acknowledge that
it would have been so, but for Grouchy’s error.



After walking some time in the garden, the Emperor got into his calash.
The weather was delightful: we made two turns at full gallop. I was
alone with him. He spoke much of my son, and his future prospects, with
a degree of interest and kindness which went to my heart. He said that,
considering his age, the circumstance of being sent to St. Helena was of
inestimable value to his future life; that it must be like a hot-house
for bringing forward his character.

After dinner, the Emperor resumed the subject of the 18th Brumaire, and
related it to us with an infinite number of minor details. As he has
long since dictated it to General Gourgaud, I shall refer to his
publication for the mass of the particulars of that event. I shall only
give here some little anecdotes or accessories which possibly may not be
found there.

Napoleon’s situation on his return from Egypt was unprecedented. He had
found himself immediately applied to by all parties, and had been
entrusted with all their secrets. There were three which were
particularly distinct; the _Manege_, of which General J. was one of the
leaders; the _Moderates_, directed by Sieyes; and the _Rotten_ party,
with Barras at their head.

The determination which Napoleon formed to ally himself with the
Moderates, exposed him, he said, to great danger. With the Jacobins he
would have risked nothing; they offered to name him Dictator. “But,
after conquering with them,” observed the Emperor, “it would have been
necessary, almost immediately, to conquer against them. A club cannot
endure a permanent chief; it wants one for every successive passion. Now
to make use of a party one day, in order to attack it the next, under
whatever pretext it is done, is still a piece of treachery; it was
inconsistent with my principles.”

“My dear Sir,” said the Emperor to me, at another moment, after having
again run over the events of the 18th of Brumaire, "that is a far
different thing, you will allow, from the conspiracy of St. Real, in
which there is much more plotting, and much less result; ours was struck
at a single blow. It is certain that there never was a great revolution
which caused less inconvenience; it was so generally desired; it was
accordingly crowned with universal applause.

"For my own part, all my share in the plot, for effecting this change,
was confined to the assembling the whole crowd of my visitors at the
same hour in the morning, and marching at their head to seize on power.
It was from the threshold of my door, from the top of my own steps, and
without my friends having any previous knowledge of my intentions, that
I led them to this conquest; it was amidst the brilliant escort they
formed, their lively joy, and unanimous ardour, that I presented myself
at the bar of the ancients, to thank them for the Dictatorship with
which they invested me.

“Metaphysicians have disputed, and will long dispute, whether we did not
violate the laws, and whether we were not criminal; but these are mere
abstractions, at best fit for books and tribunes, and which ought to
disappear before imperative necessity: one might as well blame a sailor
for waste and destruction, when he cuts away his masts to avoid being
upset. The fact is that, had it not been for us the country must have
been lost: and we saved it. The authors and chief agents of that
memorable state transaction may and ought, instead of attempting denials
or justifications, to answer their accusers proudly, like the Roman, _We
protest that we have saved our country; come with us and return thanks
to the gods_.”

On the completion of the Revolution of the 18th Brumaire, three
provisional consuls were appointed; Napoleon, Sieyes, and Ducos. A
president was to be chosen, the moment was critical, and rendered the
General highly necessary; he accordingly seized the arm-chair, and his
two acolytes did not venture to dispute it with him. Besides, Ducos
declared himself that moment, once for all. The General alone could save
them, he said: and thenceforth he was of his opinion in every thing.
Sieyes was greatly mortified, but he was obliged to do the same.

Sieyes was a man of a very selfish disposition. On the first meeting of
the three Consuls in Council, and as soon as they were alone, Sieyes
went in a mysterious manner to the doors of the apartment, to see
whether any person was within hearing; then, returning to Napoleon, he
said to him with complacency, and in an under-tone, shewing him, at the
same time, a sort of cabinet. “Do you see that pretty piece of
furniture? You do not, perhaps, suspect how valuable it is?” Napoleon
thought he was directing his attention to some appendage of the crown,
which had, perhaps, been used by Louis XVI. “That is not the matter;"
said Sieyes, seeing his mistake, “I am going to let you into the secret;
it contains 800,000 francs!” and his eyes opened wide. “In our
Directorial magistracy, we reflected that a Director going out of office
might very possibly go back to his family without a denier; a very
unbecoming thing: we therefore invented this little chest from which we
drew a sum for every Director going out of office. There are now no more
Directors; we are therefore the possessors of the remainder. What shall
we do with it?” Napoleon, who had paid great attention, and began, at
length, to understand, said: “If it comes to my knowledge, the sum shall
go to the public treasury; but if I should not hear of it (and I know
nothing of it yet), you and Ducos, being two old Directors, can divide
it between you: only make haste, for to-morrow it may perhaps, be too
late. The colleagues did not wait to be told twice,” observed the
Emperor. "Sieyes hastily undertook the operation, and divided the spoil
like the lion in the fable. He made several lots; he took one as the
eldest Director; another, because he was to have continued in office
longer than his colleague; a third, because he had suggested the idea of
this happy change, &c. In short he adjudged 600,000 francs to himself,
and only sent 200,000 to poor Ducos, who, when his first emotions had
subsided, insisted on revising this calculation, and seemed bent on
quarrelling with Sieyes. Both of them reverted to the subject every
moment, wishing their third colleague to arbitrate between them; but the
latter always replied—Settle it between yourselves. Above all, be quiet,
for if the matter should come to my ears, you would have to give up the

“When we were about to fix on a constitution,” said the Emperor, “Sieyes
treated us with another very entertaining scene. Circumstances and
public opinion had made him a sort of oracle in these matters; he
accordingly unfolded his various propositions in the committees of the
two councils, with great mystery, importance and method; they were all
adopted, good, bad, and indifferent. Finally, he crowned the work by
displaying the upshot which had been expected with lively and anxious
impatience: he proposed a Grand Elector, who was to reside at
Versailles, to enjoy six millions per annum, to represent the national
dignity, and to have no other duty than the nomination of two Consuls,
one for peace and the other for war; entirely independent in their
functions. Moreover, if this Elector should make a bad choice, the
Senate was to _absorb_ him himself. This was the technical expression,
meaning, to remove him, by replacing him, as a punishment, in the crowd
of private citizens.”

Napoleon, for want of experience in assemblies, and also through a
degree of circumspection which the circumstances of the moment required,
had taken little or no share in what had preceded; but now, at this
decisive point, he began, he said, to laugh in Sieyes’s face, and to cut
up all his metaphysical nonsense without mercy. Sieyes did not like to
defend himself, said the Emperor, nor did he know how to do it. He made
the attempt, however, saying that, after all, a king was nothing more.
Napoleon replied, “But you take the abuse for the principle, the shadow
for the body. And how can you imagine, M. Sieyes, that a man of any
talent or the least honour, will make up his mind to act the part of a
pig fattening on a few millions?” After this sally, which, said the
Emperor, made those who were present laugh immoderately, Sieyes remained
overwhelmed; it was no longer in his power to resume the subject of his
Grand Elector; and a First Consul was determined on, who was to have the
supreme decision and the nomination of all offices: with two accessory
Consuls, who were to have deliberate voices only. It was in fact, from
that moment, a unity of power. The First Consul was precisely the
President of America, veiled under the forms which the irritable spirit
of the times still rendered necessary. The Emperor accordingly said that
his reign began in reality from that day.

The Emperor in some measure regretted that Sieyes had not been nominated
one of the consuls. Sieyes, who at first refused the appointment,
afterwards regretted it himself, but not until it was too late. “He had
fallen into a mistake respecting the nature of these Consuls,” said
Napoleon; “he was fearful of mortification, and of having the First
Consul to contend with at every step; which would have been the case, if
all the Consuls had been equal; we should then have all been enemies:
but, the constitution having made them subordinate, there was no room
for the struggles of obstinacy, no cause of enmity, but a thousand
reasons for a genuine unanimity. Sieyes discovered this, but too late.”
The Emperor said he might have been very useful in council—better,
perhaps, than the others, because he had occasionally novel and most
luminous ideas; but that, in other respects, he was wholly unfit to
govern. “After all,” said the Emperor, “in order to govern it is
necessary to be a military man; one can only rule in boots and spurs.
Sieyes, without being fearful, was always in fear; his police spies
disturbed his rest.”

At the Luxembourg, during the provisional consulate, he often awakened
his colleague Napoleon, and harassed him about the new plots which he
heard of every moment from his private police. “But have they corrupted
our guard?” Napoleon used to say. “No.” “Then go to bed.—In war, as in
love, my dear Sir, we must come to close quarters to conclude matters.
It will be time enough to be alarmed when our 600 men are attacked.”

The Emperor said that, for the permanent government, he had chosen, in
Cambacérès and Lebrun, two distinguished characters; both prudent,
moderate, and able, but of completely opposite principles—the one the
advocate of abuses, prejudices, old institutions, the revival of honours
and distinctions, &c.—the other cold, austere, insensible, contending
against all these ideas, yielding to them without illusion, and
naturally falling into ideology.

In resuming, he observed that Sieyes might perhaps have contributed to
give a different colour, another characteristic, to the imperial
administration; but it was observed to him that this variation could not
have been otherwise than injurious, for Napoleon’s choice had been much
approved of at the time. The men he had selected, it was said, were not
liable to be objected to by Europe. They had greatly contributed to
conciliate public opinion in France, which ran wholly against Sieyes.
His name and the recollections attending it would, in the eyes of many
people, have disgraced the acts in which he might have taken part; and
there was an anecdote eagerly repeated at the time, which shews all the
ill-will that was borne towards him. It was said that, whilst he was
talking with the Emperor, at the Tuileries, about Louis XIV. he had
suffered the word _tyrant_ to escape him. "M. l’Abbé," the Emperor was
said to have replied, “if Louis XVI. had been a tyrant, you would now be
saying mass, and I should not be here.” The Emperor smiled at this
anecdote, without confirming or denying it. It will hereafter appear
that it was false.


Saturday 6th to Monday 8th.—I have not mentioned the Governor for some
time. We endeavour to keep him as much as possible out of our thoughts;
we now scarcely ever adverted to him. His ill-manners, and the vexations
we endure from him oblige me to notice him to-day: they seem to have
increased. He has just withheld from us some letters from Europe,
although they came open, and in the most ostensible manner—merely
because they had not passed through the hands of the Secretary of State;
without considering that a want of formality can easily be rectified in
England, but that it is irremediable at a distance of two thousand
leagues. If, however, in thus rigorously and literally fulfilling his
instructions, he had only had the humanity to let us know that he has
received these letters, and from whom they come, he might set our minds
at ease with regard to those respecting whose health, or whose attention
to ourselves, we suffer so much anxiety: but he has the barbarity to
make a mystery of the affair. It is not many days since, the Countess
Bertrand having written to town, he had the note seized, and sent it
back to her as having been written without his permission. He
accompanied this insult with an official letter, by which he prohibited
us, for the future, from all written or even verbal communication with
the inhabitants, without submitting it to his approbation; and what is
particularly absurd and incredible is, that he imposed this restriction
on our intercourse with people whom he nevertheless permits us to visit
at our own pleasure. He accompanied the publication of the act relating
to us with commentaries which spread terror amongst the inhabitants; he
complains of the excessive expense of the Emperor’s table, and insists
on great reductions.—It had not been understood that General Bonaparte
would have so many people about him. Ministers, he told us ingenuously,
had never doubted that the permission they had sent us to go away would
have induced us to quit the Emperor. All this shuffling produced an
exchange of pretty sharp notes. To one of the Governor’s communications,
in which he said, that if the restrictions imposed on us seemed too
hard, we might relieve ourselves from them by going away, the Emperor
himself dictated the following addition to the answer we had already
written:—"That, having been honoured by him during his prosperity, we
considered it our chief pleasure to serve him, now that he could do
nothing for us; and if there were persons to whom this conduct was
incomprehensible, so much the worse for them."


Tuesday 9th to Thursday 11th.—The Governor continues to annoy us, and is
incessantly aggravating the misery of our situation. He seems resolved
to place us in close confinement. He has published a proclamation in the
town, ordering that all letters and notes addressed by us to the
inhabitants, on any occasion whatever, shall be sent to him within
twenty-four hours. He has also forbidden them to visit the Grand Marshal
and his wife, who live at the entrance of our enclosure. In the
beginning of this blockade of Madame Bertrand, it was so rigorously
enforced that some medicines sent hence by the doctor for one of the
Grand Marshal’s people, who was dying, could not be delivered; and it
was only as an accommodation that the officer at last took upon him to
let them pass over the wall.

The Governor, having read in a letter, sent by one of us to Europe, that
the writer wanted several articles of clothing, linen, &c., came and
told him that he might have most of those articles out of the stores
sent by Government for Napoleon: and the individual replying that he
preferred purchasing them, being unwilling to incur any obligation, the
Governor drily answered that he might pay for them if he had a fancy to
do so. To which the other replied, “Excuse me, Sir, I like to choose my
shops myself.” In consequence of this, the Governor afterwards sent him
word, by the Doctor, that he should complain of him, for having
_contemptuously_ refused the gifts of Government. The other instantly
replied that he should be much obliged to him; being much happier to
give him an opportunity of transmitting refusals than requests, to the
ministers he served.

All these petty tricks, the length and interest of our readings, and the
continuance of the bad weather, which is dreadful, confine the Emperor
more closely than ever to the house, and overwhelm him with melancholy:
he now never stirs abroad. His amusement is now limited to going
occasionally, about five o’clock, to visit Madame de Montholon, who has
not yet gone abroad since her lying-in. We all meet there, and the
Emperor converses for half an hour, or three-quarters, before he returns
to his own apartment.

To-day he met little Tristan, the eldest son of M. de Montholon, who is
only seven or eight years old, and runs about all day. The Emperor
placed him between his knees, and tried to make him recite some fables,
of which the poor child did not understand two words out of ten. The
Emperor laughed heartily, blaming the practice of putting La Fontaine
into the hands of children who cannot understand him; and began to
explain these fables to Tristan; endeavouring to render their meaning
more palpable to him; nor could any thing be more curious than the
simplicity, justice, and logic of his illustrations.

Whilst he was explaining the fable of the Wolf and the Lamb, it was
extremely laughable to hear the poor child say _Sire_, and _your
Majesty_, and in speaking of the wolf, and to the Emperor, confuse all
his expressions; whilst his ideas were probably in still greater

The Emperor thought this fable had far too much irony in it to be within
the comprehension of children. It was likewise defective, he observed,
in its principle and its moral; and this was the first time that he had
been struck with these defects. It was false that the argument of the
stronger was always the best; and if it sometimes happened so, in fact,
that, he said, was the very evil, the abuse, which was to be condemned.
The wolf, ought, therefore, to have been strangled in devouring the

Tristan is very idle. He confessed to the Emperor that he did not work
every day. “Do you not eat every day?” said the Emperor to him, “Yes,
Sire.” “Well, then, you ought to work every day; no one should eat who
does not work.” “Oh! if that be the case, I will work every day,” said
the child, quickly. “Such is the influence of the belly,” said the
Emperor, patting that of little Tristan. "It is hunger that makes the
world move. Come, my little man, if you are a good boy, we’ll make a
page of you." "But I won’t be one," said Tristan, pouting and looking

Our afternoons were occupied in reading something selected in hopes of
enabling us to kill time for an hour or two. At this period we were
reading a voyage to Spitzbergen; the shipwreck of the Dutch at Nova
Zembla; the _Causes celébres_, the trial of Calas; those of Martinguerre
and the Marchioness of Brinvilliers. The author observed, in some part
of the work, that the face often gave a false idea of the character. The
Emperor paused, laid down the book, and said, with a look and tone that
denoted conviction: “It is most true, and it is also true that no study
will enable us to avoid this deception. How many proofs of this kind
have I had! For instance, I had a person about me; his countenance
undoubtedly.... But after all he had a mischievous eye; I ought to have
guessed something from that.” He then went into some particulars of the
character of the person in question. They had known each other from
infancy, he said; he had long placed his entire confidence in this
individual, who had talent and resources; the Emperor even thought that
he had been attached and faithful—"But he was much too covetous," said
he, “he was too fond of money. When I was dictating to him, and he
sometimes had to write _millions_, it was never without a peculiar
change of countenance, a smacking of his lips, and restlessness on his
chair, which several times induced me to ask what ailed him.”

The Emperor said this vice was too glaring to allow of his retaining
this person about him; but that, considering his other qualities, he
ought, perhaps, to have contented himself with removing him into a
different situation.


Friday, 12th.—The conversation to-day led us to speak of the Iron Mask,
and we took a review of what has been said on the subject by Voltaire,
Dutens, and others; and of what is found respecting him in Richelieu’s
Memoirs. In these it is well known that he is said to have been the
twin-brother of Louis XIV., and the elder of the two. On this occasion,
some one added that, being employed in making out a pedigree, a person
had come to him to demonstrate seriously to him that Napoleon was a
lineal descendant from this Iron Mask, and consequently the legitimate
heir of Louis XIII. and Henry IV., in preference to Louis XIV. and all
his issue. The Emperor also said that he had heard something about it,
and added that the credulity of mankind and their love of the marvellous
are so great that it would not have been difficult to make out and
substantiate something of the kind for the multitude, and that there
would not have been wanting certain persons in the Senate to sanction
it; probably, he observed, the very men who at a later period were so
eager to revile him, as soon as they saw him in adversity.

We then went on to trace the foundation and the progress of this story.
The name of the Governor of the Island of St. Marguerite, to whom the
custody of the Iron Mask was entrusted, was M. de Bonpart, a
circumstance, to begin with, very singular. This man, it was asserted,
was aware of the origin of his prisoner. He had a daughter: she and the
prisoner were both young; they saw each other and loved. The Governor,
having informed the Court of this circumstance, it was decided that
there was no great objection to allowing the unfortunate captive to seek
in love an alleviation of his misery, and they were married.

The person who was speaking at this moment said that, at the time the
above particulars were related to him, he had been very much entertained
by them, and had happened to say that he thought the story very
ingeniously imagined; upon which the narrator of it became excessively
angry, maintaining that the marriage could very easily be verified by
the registers of one of the parishes of Marseilles, which he named. He
added that the children born of this marriage were silently and secretly
conveyed to Corsica, where the difference of language, chance, or
perhaps intention had, changed the name of Bonpart into Bonaparte and
Buonaparte, which, after all, has the same meaning, and is in fact the
same thing.

After this anecdote, it was added that, at the time of the revolution, a
similar story had been made in favour of the Orleans branch. It was
founded in a document found in the Bastille, and surmised that Anne of
Austria, who was brought to bed after twenty-three years of sterility,
had been delivered of a girl, and that Louis XIII. fearing she might
have no more children, had been induced to put away that girl and
falsely to substitute in her stead a boy, which was Louis XIV.; that the
following year, however, the Queen had been again brought to bed, and
this time really of a boy, which boy was Philip, the head of the house
of Orleans, who thus turned out to be with his descendants the
legitimate heirs to the throne, whilst Louis XIV. and his issue were
only intruders and usurpers. According to that story the Iron Mask was a
girl. A pamphlet on this subject was circulated in the provinces at the
time the Bastille was taken, but the story did not gain credit, and very
quietly disappeared, without having, it seems, engaged the attention of
the capital even for a moment.


Saturday, 13th.—The conversation again fell upon Junot. Of the
considerable fortunes which the Emperor had bestowed, that of Junot, he
said, was one of the most extravagant. The sums he had given him almost
exceeded belief, and yet he was always in debt; he had squandered
treasures, without credit to himself, without discernment or taste, and,
too frequently, the Emperor added, in gross debauchery.

He has been known more than once, after having taken a most copious and
substantial breakfast, in his magnificent _hotel_ at Paris, fired with
anger at the most trifling demand made by the most insignificant
creditor, to threaten to pay the debt with his sword. Every time he saw
the Emperor, said Napoleon, it was to hint at some fresh embarrassment,
be reprimanded and assisted. In the campaign of Austerlitz, he came to
the Emperor at Schönbrun; but this time, said Napoleon, it was not to
intercede precisely for himself. He took at this period a most lively
interest in the beautiful Madame Recamier. He had just arrived from
Paris, and began his conversation with the Emperor by a most virulent
philippic against M. de Marbois, then Minister of the Treasury, who had
been base enough, he said, to refuse M. Recamier a loan of only two
millions, to save him from bankruptcy. All Paris was indignant. This
Marbois, he added, was a wicked man, an unworthy servant, who did not
love the Emperor. He, Junot, had gone to him and had used every
endeavour to persuade him, but to no purpose. He had represented to him
the enormity of his conduct, and had assured him (and such added Junot
was the general opinion in Paris,) that if the Emperor had been in the
capital he would have immediately ordered the money to be given to M.
Recamier. “He was on a wrong scent,” said the Emperor, "for I coolly
replied to this passionate lover who was almost out of his senses: ‘You
and Paris are both mistaken, I should not have ordered even two thousand
_sous_ to be given; and I should have been very much displeased with De
Marbois if he had acted otherwise than he has done. _I_ am not Madame
Recamier’s lover, and I do not come forward to the assistance of
merchants who keep up an establishment of six hundred thousands francs
per annum. Know that, M. Junot, and learn also that the Treasury does
not lend money to those whom it knows to have been long since on the
road to bankruptcy; it has other claims to satisfy.’ Junot," added the
Emperor, “was obliged to calm his emotion, thinking probably that there
were hard-hearted people at Vienna as well as at Paris.”

Junot travelled as fast as the Emperor himself; he had his relays, said
Napoleon, hundreds of horses, and other extravagances of the kind.

The Emperor added that, not so much in his capacity as sovereign, but as
being fond of Junot, and actuated also by a sort of feeling derived from
the similarity of birth-place, he being also originally from Corsica, he
had one day sent for Madame Junot, in order to give her some paternal
admonitions on the subject of the extravagance of her husband’s
expenditure, the profusion of diamonds which she herself had
inconsiderately displayed after her return from Portugal, and her
intimate connections with a certain foreigner, which might give umbrage
in a political point of view. But she rejected this advice, dictated
alone by concern for her interest. “She grew angry,” said the Emperor,
“and treated me like a child; nothing then remained for me to do but to
send her about her business, and abandon her to her fate. She fancied
herself a princess of the family of the Comnenes; and Junot had been
made to believe it when he was induced to marry her. Her family was from
Corsica, and resided in the neighbourhood of mine; they were under great
obligations to my mother, not merely for her benevolence towards them,
but for services of a more positive nature.” The Emperor then gave the
following explanation:

"The Genoese, in evacuating the Morea, had formerly carried a colony of
Maniotes to Corsica and settled them in the neighbourhood of Ajaccio. M.
de Vergennes, while he was ambassador at Constantinople, married a Greek
woman; and, on his return to France, being greatly in favour with Louis
XVI. he took it into his head that he must have married a princess. It
so happened that some political circumstances occurred to favour his
wish; the downfall of Constantinople was believed in at that moment, and
it would have suited France to advance some pretensions to a portion of
that empire. A man of the name of Comnene, a relation of Madame de
Vergennes, was therefore sent for from the Greek colony near Ajaccio,
and, having been brought to Versailles, was soon after, by virtue of
letters-patent of Louis XVI., acknowledged a descendant from the
Emperors of Constantinople. This said Comnene was a large farmer, whose
sister had unexpectedly married, some years before, a Frenchman, a clerk
in the victualling department named P—. After the elevation of the
family, and through the interest of M, de Vergennes, this P—, clerk in
the victualling department, had become a man of great consequence,
having had the contract for supplying the whole army of Rochambeau. The
daughter of the clerk was this very Madame Junot, duchess of Abrantes.

“Junot, in the campaign of Russia, gave me great cause of
dissatisfaction;” said the Emperor, “he was no longer the same man, and
committed some gross blunders which cost us dear.”

After the return from Moscow, Junot, in consequence of the
dissatisfaction he had given, lost the governorship of Paris; and the
Emperor sent him to Venice. However that species of disgrace was almost
immediately softened, by his appointment as Governor-general of Illyria;
but the blow was struck. The frequent incoherences which had been
observed in Junot’s behaviour for some time past, and which had arisen
from the excesses in which he had indulged, broke out at last into
complete insanity. It was necessary to secure him, and to convey him
home to his paternal mansion, where he died miserably shortly
afterwards, having mutilated his person with his own hands. . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Sunday, 14th.—During the dinner, speaking of dress, it was said that,
amongst the number of great personages of that time, none had carried
extravagance in that point further than Murat, and yet, some one
observed, his dress was for the most part so singular and fantastic that
the public called him King Franconi.[28]

Footnote 28:

  Director of a theatre at Paris, similar to Astley’s here.

The Emperor laughed very heartily, and confessed that certain costumes
and manners sometimes gave to Murat the appearance of a quack operator
or a mountebank. It was added that Bernadotte also took infinite pains
with his dress, and that Lannes bestowed much time upon his. The Emperor
expressed himself much surprised at what he had heard respecting the two
latter, and this led him to repeat how sincerely he regretted the loss
of Marshal Lannes. “Poor Lannes,” said he, "had passed the night which
preceded the battle, in Vienna, and not alone. He appeared on the field
without having taken any food, and fought the whole day. The physician
said that this triple concurrence of circumstances caused his death, he
required a great deal of strength after the wound to enable him to bear
it, and unfortunately nature was almost exhausted before.

“It is generally said,” the Emperor observed, “that there are certain
wounds, to which death seems preferable; but this is very seldom the
case, I assure you. It is at the moment we are going to part with
existence that we cling to it with all our might. Lannes, the most
courageous of men, deprived of both his legs, would not hear of death,
and was irritated to such a degree as to declare that the two surgeons
who attended him deserved to be hanged for behaving so brutally towards
a Marshal. He had unfortunately overheard them whisper to each other, as
they thought without being heard, that it was impossible he could
recover. Every moment the unfortunate Lannes called for the Emperor; he
twined himself round me,” said Napoleon, “with all he had left of life;
he would hear of no one but me, he thought but of me; it was a kind of
instinct! Undoubtedly he loved his wife and children better than me; yet
he did not speak of them: it was he that protected them, whilst I on the
contrary was his protector. I was for him something vague and undefined,
a superior being, his Providence, which he implored!”

Somebody then observed that the world had spoken very differently on the
subject; that it had been reported that Lannes had died like a maniac,
vociferating imprecations against the Emperor, at whom he seemed
enraged; and it was added that he had always an aversion to the Emperor,
and had often manifested it to him with insolence. “What an absurdity,”
said the Emperor, “Lannes, on the contrary, adored me. He was assuredly
one of the men on whom I could most implicitly rely. It is very true
that, in the impetuosity of his disposition, he has sometimes suffered
some hasty expressions against me to escape his lips, but he would
probably have broken the head of any person who had chanced to hear

Returning to Murat, some one observed that he had greatly influenced the
unfortunate events of 1814. “He determined them,” said the Emperor, “he
is one of the principal causes of our being here. But the fault is
originally mine. There were several men whom I had made too great; I had
raised them above the sphere of their intelligence. I was reading, some
days since, his proclamation on abandoning the Viceroy, which I had not
seen before. It is difficult to conceive any thing disgraced by a
greater degree of turpitude: he says in that document that the moment is
come to choose between two banners, that of crime and that of virtue. It
is my banner which he calls the banner of crime! and it is Murat, my
creature, the husband of my sister, the man who owed every thing to me,
who would have been nothing without me, who exists by me, and is known
through me alone—it is Murat who writes this! It is impossible to desert
the cause of misfortune with more unfeeling brutality; and to run with
more unblushing baseness to hail a new destiny.”

From that moment, Madame (mother of the Emperor) refused to have any
thing more to do with either Murat or his wife; to all their entreaties
she invariably answered that she held traitors and treachery in
abhorrence. As soon as she was at Rome, after the disasters of 1814,
Murat hastened to send her eight magnificent horses out of his stables
at Naples; but Madame would not accept them. She resisted, in like
manner, every effort of her daughter Caroline, who constantly repeated
that, after all, the fault was not hers; that she had no share in it;
that she could not command her husband. But Madame answered, like
Clytemnestra—"If you could not command him, you ought at least to have
opposed him:—but what struggles have you made? what blood has flowed? At
the expense of your own life, you ought to have defended your brother,
your benefactor, your master, against the sanguinary attempts of your

“On my return from Elba,” said the Emperor, "Murat’s head was turned, on
hearing that I had landed in France. The first intelligence he received
of this event informed him that I was at Lyons. He was accustomed to my
great returns of fortune; he had more than once seen me placed in most
extraordinary circumstances. On this occasion, he thought me already
master of all Europe, and determined to endeavour to wrest Italy from
me; for that was his object, the aim of all his hopes. It was in vain
that some men, of the greatest influence amongst the nations which he
attempted to excite to rebellion, threw themselves at his feet and
assured him that he was mistaken; that the Italians had a king on whom
alone they had bestowed their love and their esteem. Nothing could stop
him; he ruined himself, and contributed to ruin us a second time; for
Austria, supposing that he was acting at my instigation, would not
believe my professions, and mistrusted me. Murat’s unfortunate end
corresponds with his conduct. Murat was endowed with extraordinary
courage and little intelligence. The too great disproportion between
those two qualities explains the man entirely. It was difficult, even
impossible, to be more courageous than Murat and Lannes; but Murat had
remained courageous and nothing more. The mind of Lannes, on the
contrary, had risen to the level of his courage; he had become a giant.
However," said the Emperor, in ending the conversation, “the execution
of Murat is nevertheless horrible. It is an event in the history of the
morals of Europe; an infraction of the rules of public decorum.—A king
has caused another king, acknowledged by all the others, to be shot!
What a spell he has broken!” . . . . . . . . .

                     SUMMARY OF THE THREE MONTHS OF
                         APRIL, MAY, AND JUNE.

I have already observed that, in a work like the present, it is
impossible to keep up in any point a unity of interest and of object; I
shall, therefore, now attempt to supply this defect by retracing, in a
very few words, and uninterruptedly, the circumstances of aggravation
which have occurred in the Emperor’s situation during these three
months; the repeated instances of ill-treatment to which he has been
subjected; the visible decline of his health; the general tenor of his
habits; the principal topics of his conversation:—in a word, the
bulletin, both physical and moral, of his person, during that short
space of time.

1st. A new Governor arrives, who turns out to be a man of either very
narrow views, or very bad intentions—a corporal with his watch-word,
instead of a general with his instructions.

2dly. A declaration is required from every one of the captives that he
submits beforehand to all the restrictions that may be imposed on
Napoleon, and this in the hopes of detaching them from his person.

3dly. An official communication is made to us of the convention of the
allied Sovereigns, who, without further ceremony, proclaim and sanction
the banishment of Napoleon.

4thly. We receive the bill of the British Parliament, which converts
into a law the act of oppression of the English ministers towards the
person of Napoleon.

5thly. Lastly, Commissioners come in the name of their Sovereigns, to
watch over the fetters, and contemplate the sufferings of the victim.
Thus our horizon grows darker and darker, our chains are shortened, all
hopes of amelioration vanish, and the most gloomy prospects are all that
the future presents.

The arrival of the new Governor is the signal for the infliction of
greater hardships. For the person of the Emperor it is the commencement
of a new series of torments; every day he is wounded by the recurrence
of some petty vexation.

The first step of Sir Hudson Lowe is an insult; his first word one of
cruelty; one of his first acts, an act of inhumanity.

After that, he seems to have no other occupation, to have received no
other instruction, than to torment us and make us suffer under every
shape, on every occasion, and in every way.

The Emperor, who had at first resolved to adopt a system of strict
stoicism, is nevertheless moved with indignation at this conduct, and
expresses himself in strong terms. Conversations grow warm; the breach
is made; it will grow wider every day.

The Emperor’s health is visibly affected, and we can observe a rapid
alteration. Contrary to his natural temperament, he very frequently
feels indisposed; on one occasion he is confined to his room for six
days running, without going out at all. A secret melancholy, which
endeavours to conceal itself from every eye, and perhaps from his own,
begins to take possession of him; the latent seeds of disease appear
already to be lurking in his system. He contracts every day the circle,
already so confined, of his movements and his diversions. He gives up
riding on horseback; he no longer invites any English to dinner,—he even
abandons his daily occupations. The dictations in which he had hitherto
seemed to take pleasure, are suspended. Disgust had seized him, he would
sometimes say to me, and he could not muster courage enough to resume
them. The greatest part of his days is passed in turning over books in
his own apartment, or in conversing with us either publicly or in
private; and in the evening, after dinner, he reads to us some plays of
our great poets, or any other work which chance or the choice of the
moment brings to his hand.

Yet the serenity of his mind, the equanimity of his disposition towards
us, are not in the least impaired; on the contrary, we seem more united
like one family. He is more ours, and we belong more to him; his
conversations offer a greater degree of confidence, freedom, and

He would now often send for me into his room, to converse with him; and
these private conversations would sometimes lead him to subjects of
great importance,—such as the war in Russia, that of Spain, the
conferences of Tilsit and Erfurth, which will be found in this portion
of my Memoirs.

                            END OF VOL. II.





                           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. But errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been
corrected, and are noted here.

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. The paragraph beginning at the foot of p. 294 was particularly
obscure and has been left to the reader to decipher.

The issues tabulated below should be noted, along with the resolutions.
The references below are to the page and line in the original.

  9.26     the glory and prosperity of their [‘/,]        Inverted.
  9.40     my establis[h]ment on the throne               Added.
  21.32    you were attending the birth of a cob[b]ler’s  Added.
  30.13    they had been greatly deceived on [t]his       Added.
  36.33    leading in very different d[i]rections.        Added.
  45.40    [“]I shall keep this and give you mine         Added.
  55.15    We wanted all this, and, ther[e]fore], in      Added.
           spite of
  55.17    plunged into confusion and t[mulu/umul]t       Transposed.
  55.36    and said, [“]You see his best friends          Added.
  62.21    the leading star of the nations....[”]         Added.
  63.4     said the Emperor, “[h]e decided the fate of    Added.
  67.17    he did not spare him[.]                        Added.
  68.19    “Sire,” said he at length, [“]a circumstance   Added.
           occurred to me
  80.31    "Art. V.[—]His Majesty the King                Added.
  89.7     an aide-de-camp is the best man that can be    Added.
  90.20    [“/‘]You will see that they will hold          Replaced.
  90.22    detained me to-day.[’]”                        Added.
  101.13   Abb[e/é] de Pradt," continued the Emperor      Replaced.
  105.33   [“]Talleyrand, perhaps, might have done this:  Added.
  106.16   How many arra[n]gements should I not have      Added.
  108.20   [“]If all this be attributed                   Added.
  120.30   It can be proved [t]hat this was merely the    Restored.
  131.11   Here I committed an error,[”] said the         Added.
  131.12   [“]which the more unpardonable                 Added.
  133.28   [“/‘]We are placing,[”/’]                      Replaced
  133.29   said they, [“/‘]an Italian                     Replaced.
  133.31   on the Gauls.[’”]                              Added.
  136.10   I placed one [one] of my brothers at their     Removed.
  137.25   the period in which he flourished.[”]          Added.
  149.23   [“/‘]You had better have taken his life, I     Replaced.
  149.26   me to console him in his misery.[’]            Added.
  167.38   ‘M. L[a/e] Sage,’ said he,                     Replaced.
  168.4    a considerable time afterwar[d]s               Added.
  172.41   [“]There have been published                   Added.
  174.27   two millions[,] worth of copies                Removed.
  180.28   till half-past eight o’clock[,/.]              Replaced.
  199.16   [“]I was provoked to the utmost extreme        Added.
  226.2    the Duke [D/d]’Enghien,                        Replaced.
  231.19   on the part of the First Co[u]nsul to M. de    Removed.
  241.10   your duties, submission, and dependance,       Added.
  267.37   [“]Two of the generals,                        Added.
  270.22   [“]But this proved for me," said the Emperor   Added.
  276.30   who amused himself with calcu[l]ating          Added.
  281.15   complete liberty of universal exchange.[”]     Added.
  285.24   Brissot, Condorcet, Vergn[i]aud>, Gaudet       Added.
  288.1    All thos[e], in the higher classes of society  Added.
  300.38   acts of vileness have reduced France[’] in the Removed.
  303.38   the _corps [d]’armée_                          Added.
  315.22   said[,] “I found it a very difficult thing     Added.
  316.8    “Six, Sire.” [“]How the plague can that be?”   Added.
  317.7    “Well,[”] said he                              Added.
  317.13   I can bet[t]er employ the leisure              Added.
  318.4    the Emperor’s place on an eleva[va]tion of one Removed.
           or two steps.
  326.3    a discussion once arose respec[t]ing the plan  Added.
           of a decree
  334.29   19th.—To[ /-]day the Northumberland sailed     Added.
  354.5    in all the instruments and access[a/o]ries of  Replaced.
  382.21   [“]That is not the matter;”                    Added.
  385.6    he had chosen, in Cambac[èré/érè]s and Lebrun, Transposed.
  387.16   of this blockade of Madame Bert[r]and          Added.
  397.26   [“]However,” said the Emperor                  Removed.

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