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Title: The Memoirs of François René Vicomte de Chateaubriand sometime Ambassador to England. volume 3 (of 6) - Mémoires d'outre-tombe volume 3
Author: Chateaubriand, François René
Language: English
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The years 1807, 1808, 1809 and 1810--Article in the Mercure of
July 1807--I purchase the Vallée-aux-Loups and retire to it--The
_Martyrs_--Armand de Chateaubriand--The years 1811, 1812, 1813,
1814--Publication of the _Itinéraire_--Letter from the Cardinal de
Bausset--Death of Chénier--I become a member of the Institute--The
affair of my speech--The decennial prizes--The _Essai sur les
Révolutions_--The _Natchez._




The last days of the Empire


Entry of the Allies into Paris--Bonaparte at Fontainebleau--The
Regency at Blois--Publication of my pamphlet _De Bonaparte et des
Bourbons_--The Senate issues the decree of dethronement--The house
in the Rue Saint-Florentin--M. de Talleyrand--Addresses of the
Provisional Government--Constitution proposed by the Senate--Arrival of
the Comte d'Artois--Bonaparte abdicates at Fontainebleau--Napoleon's
itinerary to the island of Elba--Louis XVIII. at Compiègne--His entry
into Paris--The Old Guard--An irreparable mistake--The Declaration
of Saint-Ouen--Treaty of Paris--The Charter--Departure of the
Allies--First year of the Restoration--First ministry--I publish my
_Réflexions Politiques_--Madame la Duchesse de Duras--I am appointed
Ambassador to Sweden--Exhumation of the remains of Louis XVI.--The
first 21st of January at Saint-Denis


Napoleon at Elba--Commencement of the Hundred Days--The return from
Elba--Torpor of the Legitimacy--Article by Benjamin Constant--Order
of the day of Marshal Soult--A royal session--Petition of
the School of Law to the Chamber of Deputies--Plan for the
defense of Paris--Flight of the King--I leave with Madame de
Chateaubriand--Confusion on the road--The Duc d'Orléans and the Prince
de Condé--Tournai--Brussels--Memories--The Duc de Richelieu--The
King summons me to join him at Ghent--The Hundred Days at
Ghent--Continuation of the Hundred Days at Ghent--Affairs in Vienna


The Hundred Days in Paris--Effect of the passage of the Legitimacy
in France--Bonaparte's astonishment--He is obliged to capitulate
to ideas which he thought smothered--His new system--Three
enormous gamblers remain--Illusions of the Liberals--Clubs
and Federates--Juggling away of the Republic: the Additional
Act--Convocation of the Chamber of Representatives--A useless
Champ de Mai--Cares and bitterness of Bonaparte--Resolution in
Vienna--Movement in Paris--What we were doing at Ghent--M. de
Blacas--The Battle of Waterloo--Confusion at Ghent--What the
Battle of Waterloo was--Return of the Emperor--Reappearance of La
Fayette--Renewed abdication of Bonaparte--Stormy scenes in the House
of Peers--Threatening portents for the Second Restoration--The
departure from Ghent--Arrival at Mons--I miss the first opportunity
of fortune in my political career--M. de Talleyrand at Mons--His
scene with the King--I stupidly interest myself on M. de Talleyrand's
behalf--Mons to Gonesse--With M. le Comte Beugnot I oppose Fouché's
nomination as minister: my reasons--The Duke of Wellington gains the
day--Arnouville--Saint-Denis--Last conversation with the King


Bonaparte at the Malmaison--General abandonment--Departure from the
Malmaison--Rambouillet--Rochefort--Bonaparte takes refuge on the
English fleet--He writes to the Prince Regent--Bonaparte on the
_Bellerophon_--Torbay--Act confining Bonaparte in St Helena--He
passes over to the Northumberland and sets sail--Judgment on
Bonaparte--Character of Bonaparte--Has Bonaparte left us in
renown what he has lost us in strength?--Futility of the truths
set forth above--The Island of St. Helena--Bonaparte crosses the
Atlantic--Napoleon lands at St. Helena--His establishment at
Longwood--Precautions--Life at Longwood--Visits--Manzoni--Illness of
Bonaparte--Ossian--Reveries of Napoleon in sight of the sea--Projects
of evasion--Last occupation of Bonaparte--He lies down to rise no
more--He dictates his will--Napoleon's religious sentiments--The
chaplain Vignale--Napoleon's speech to Antomarchi, his doctor--He
receives the last sacraments--He expires--His funeral--Destruction of
the Napoleonic world--My last relations with Bonaparte--St. Helena
after the death of Napoleon--Exhumation of Bonaparte--My visit to


    Louis XVIII
    Charles X. (as Comte D'artois)
    La Fayette
    Fouché, Duc d'Otrante
    Pius VII

[Illustration: Louis XVIII.]




The years 1807, 1808, 1809 and 1810--Article in the Mercure of
July 1807--I purchase the Vallée-aux-Loups and retire to it--The
_Martyrs_--Armand de Chateaubriand--The years 1811, 1812, 1813,
1814--Publication of the _Itinéraire_--Letter from the Cardinal de
Bausset--Death of Chénier--I become a member of the Institute--The
affair of my speech--The decennial prizes--The _Essai sur les
Révolutions_--The _Natchez._

Madame de Chateaubriand had been very ill during my travels; her
friends had often given her up for lost. In some notes which M. de
Clausel has written for his children, and which he has been good enough
to permit me to look through, I find this passage:

    "M. de Chateaubriand left on his journey to Jerusalem in the
    month of July 1806: during his absence I went every day to
    Madame de Chateaubriand. Our traveller did me the kindness to
    write me a letter of several pages from Constantinople, which
    you will find in the drawer in our library at Coussergues.
    During the winter of 1806 to 1807, we knew that M. de
    Chateaubriand was at sea, on his way back to Europe; one day
    I had gone for a walk in the garden of the Tuileries with M.
    de Fontanes, in a terrible west wind; we had taken shelter on
    the terrace by the water-side. M. de Fontanes said to me:

    "Perhaps, at this minute, a blast of this horrible storm will
    wreck his ship.'

    "We learnt since that this presentiment was very nearly
    realized. I make a note of this to express the lively
    friendship; the interest in M. de Chateaubriand's literary
    fame, which was to increase by this voyage; the noble, the
    deep and rare sentiments which animated M. de Fontanes, an
    excellent man whom I, too, have to thank for great services,
    and whom I urge you to remember in your prayers to God."

If I were destined to live, and if I could cause to live in my works
all the persons who are dear to me, how gladly would I take with me all
my friends!

Full of hope, I brought home my handful of gleanings my period of
repose did not last long.

By a series of arrangements, I had become the sole proprietor of the
_Mercure._[2] Towards the end of June 1807, M. Alexandre de Laborde
published his _Journey in Spain_; in July I wrote the article in the
_Mercure_ from which I have quoted certain passages when speaking of
the death of the Duc d'Enghien: "When in the silence of abjection,"
etc. Bonaparte's successes, far from subduing me, had revolted me; I
had gathered fresh energy in my opinions and in the storms. I did not
in vain carry a face bronzed by the sun, nor had I exposed myself to
the wrath of the heavens to tremble with darkened brow before a man's
anger. If Napoleon had done with the kings, he had not done with me.
My article, falling in the midst of his successes and of his wonders,
stirred France: copies in manuscript were distributed broadcast;
several subscribers to the _Mercure_ cut out the article and had it
bound separately; it was read in the drawing-rooms and hawked about
from house to house. One must have lived at that time to form an idea
of the effect produced by a voice resounding alone amid the silence
of the world. The noble sentiments thrust down at the bottom of men's
hearts revived. Napoleon flew out: one is less irritated by reason of
the offense received than by reason of the idea one has formed of one's
self. What! To despise his very glory; to brave for a second time the
man at whose feet the universe lay prostrate!

"Does Chateaubriand think that I am an idiot, that I don't understand
him! I will have him cut down on the Steps of the Tuileries!"

He gave the order to suppress the _Mercure_ and to arrest me. My
property perished; my person escaped by a miracle: Bonaparte had to
occupy himself with the world; he forgot me, but I remained under the
burden of the threat.

My position was a deplorable one: when I felt bound to act according to
the inspiration of my sense of honour, I found myself burdened with my
personal responsibility and with the trouble which I caused my wife.
Her courage was great, but she suffered none the less for it, and
those storms successively called down upon my head disturbed her life.
She had suffered so much for me during the Revolution; it was natural
that she should long for a little rest. The more so in that Madame de
Chateaubriand admired Bonaparte unreservedly; she had no illusions as
to the Legitimacy: she never ceased predicting what would happen to me
on the return of the Bourbons.


[Sidenote: The Vallée-aux-Loups.]

The first book of these Memoirs is dated from the Vallée-aux-Loups,
on the 4th of October 1811: I there give a description of the little
retreat which I bought to hide me at that time[3]. Leaving our
apartment at Madame de Coislin's, we went first to live in the Rue des
Saints-Perès, in the Hôtel de Lavalette, which took its name from the
master and mistress[4] of the hotel.

M. de Lavalette was thick-set, wore a plum-coloured coat, and carried a
gold-headed cane: he became my man of business, if I have ever had any
business. He had been an officer of the buttery to the King, and what I
did not eat up[5] he drank.

At the end of November, seeing that the repairs to my cottage were not
progressing, I determined to go and superintend them. We arrived at
the Vallée in the evening. We did not take the ordinary road, but went
in through the gate at the foot of the garden. The soil of the drives,
soaked through with rain, prevented the horses from going; the carriage
upset. A plaster bust of Homer, placed beside Madame de Chateaubriand,
dashed through the window and broke its neck: a bad omen for the
_Martyrs_, at which I was then working.

The house, full of workmen laughing, singing, and hammering, was
warmed by blazing shavings and lighted by candle-ends; it looked like
a hermitage illuminated at night by pilgrims, in the woods. Delighted
to find two rooms made fairly comfortable, in one of which supper had
been laid, we sat down to table. The next morning, awakened by the
sound of the hammers and the songs of the husbandmen, I saw the sun
rise with less anxiety than the master of the Tuileries.

I was in an endless enchantment; without being Madame de Sévigné, I
went, provided with a pair of wooden clogs, to plant my trees in the
mud, to pass up and down the same walks, to look again and again at
every smallest corner, to hide wherever there was a tuft of brushwood,
saying to myself that this would be my park in the future: for then
the future was not lacking. When striving, to-day, by force of memory
to re-open the closed horizon, I no longer find the same, but I meet
with others. I lose myself in my vanished thoughts; the illusions into
which I fall are perhaps as fair as their predecessors; only they are
no longer so young: what I used to see in the splendour of the south,
I now perceive by the light of the sunset. If, nevertheless, I could
cease to be harassed by dreams! Bayard, summoned to surrender a place,

"Wait till I have made a bridge of dead bodies, to pass over with my

I fear that, to go out, I shall need to pass over the bodies of my

My trees, being as yet small, did not gather the sounds of the autumn
winds; but, in spring, the breezes which inhaled the breath of the
flowers of the neighbouring fields retained it and poured it over my

I made some additions to my cottage; I improved the appearance of its
brick walls with a portico supported by two black marble columns and
two white marble caryatides: I remembered that I had been to Athens.
My plan was to add a tower to the end of my pavilion; meantime I made
counterfeit battlements on the wall separating me from the road: I thus
anticipated the mediæval mania which is stupefying us at present. The
Vallée-aux-Loups is the only thing that I regret of all that I have
lost; it is written that nothing shall remain to me. After the loss of
my Valley, I planted the Infirmerie de Marie-Thérèse[6], which also I
have lately left. I defy fate now to fix me to the smallest morsel
of earth; henceforth I shall have for a garden only those avenues,
honoured with such fine names, around the Invalides, along which I
stroll with my one-armed or limping colleagues. Not far from those
walks, Madame de Beaumont's cypress lifts its head; in those deserted
spaces, the great and frivolous Duchesse de Châtillon once leant upon
my arm. Now I give my arm only to time: it is very heavy!

I worked with delight at my Memoirs, and the _Martyrs_ made progress;
I had already read some books to M. de Fontanes. I had settled down in
the midst of my memories as in a large library; I consulted this and
then that, and next closed the register with a sigh, for I perceived
that the light, in penetrating into it, destroyed its mystery. Light up
the days of life, and they will no longer be what they are.

In the month of July, I fell ill and was obliged to return to Paris.
The doctors rendered the illness dangerous. In the time of Hippocrates,
there was a dearth of dead in the lower regions, says the epigram:
thanks to our modern Hippocrates, there is an abundance to-day.

This was perhaps the only moment at which, when near death, I felt a
desire to live. When I felt myself lapsing into faintness, which often
happened, I used to say to Madame de Chateaubriand:

"Do not be alarmed; I shall come to."

I lost consciousness, but with great inward impatience, for I clung to
God knows what. I also passionately longed to complete what I believed
and still believe to be my most correct work. I was paying the price of
the fatigue which I had undergone during my journey to the Levant.

[Sidenote: Bonaparte and my portrait.]

Girodet[7] had put the finishing touches to my portrait. He made
me dark, as I then was; but he put all his genius into the work.
M. Denon[8] received the master-piece for the Salon[9]; like a
noble-hearted courtier, he prudently put it out of sight. When
Bonaparte took his view of the gallery, after examining the pictures,
he asked:

"Where is the portrait of Chateaubriand?"

He knew that it must be there: they were obliged to bring the outlaw
from his hiding-place. Bonaparte, whose fit of generosity had
evaporated, said, on inspecting the portrait:

"He looks like a conspirator coming down the chimney."

One day, on returning alone to the Vallée, I was told by Benjamin, the
gardener, that a fat strange gentleman had come and asked for me; that,
finding me out, he had said he would wait for me; that he had had an
omelette made for him; and that, afterwards, he had flung himself on
my bed. I went upstairs, entered my room, and saw something enormous
asleep; shaking that mass, I cried:

"Hi! Hi! Who are you?"

The mass gave a start and sat up. Its head was covered with a woollen
cap; it wore a smock and trousers of spotted wool, all in one piece;
its face was smeared with snuff, and its tongue hung out. It was my
cousin Moreau! I had not seen him since the camp at Thionville. He was
back from Russia and wanted to enter the excise. My old _cicerone_
in Paris went to die at Nantes. Thus disappeared one of the early
characters of these Memoirs. I hope that, stretched on a couch of
daffodils, he still talks of my verses to Madame de Chastenay, if that
agreeable shade has descended to the Elysian Fields.


[Sidenote: The _Martyrs._]

The _Martyrs_ appeared in the spring of 1809. It was a conscientious
piece of work. I had consulted critics of taste and knowledge:
Messieurs de Fontanes, Bertin, Boissonade[10], Malte-Brun[11]; and
I had accepted their judgment. Hundreds and hundreds of times I had
written, unwritten and rewritten the same page. Of all my writings,
this is the most noted for the correctness of the language.

I had made no mistake in the scheme of the book: at present, when my
ideas have become general, no one denies that the struggles of two
religions, one ending, the other commencing, afford one of the richest,
most fruitful and most dramatic subjects for the Muses. I thought,
therefore, that I might venture to cherish some all too foolish hopes;
but I was forgetting the success of my first book: in this country
you must never reckon on two close successes; one destroys the other.
If you have some sort of talent for prose, beware of showing any
for poetry; if you are distinguished in literature, lay no claim to
politics: such is the French spirit and its poverty. The self-loves
alarmed, the jealousies surprised by an author's good fortune at the
outset combine and lie in wait for the poet's second publication, to
take a signal vengeance:

    Tous, la main dans l'encre, jurent de se venger[12].

I must pay for the silly admiration which I had obtained by trickery at
the time of the appearance of the _Génie du Christianisme_; I must be
made to restore what I had stolen! Alas, they need not have taken such
pains to rob me of that which I myself did not think that I deserved!
If I had delivered Christian Rome, I asked only for an obsidional
crown[13], a plait of grass culled in the Eternal City.

The executioner of the justice of the vanities was M. Hoffmann[14],
to whom may God grant peace! The _Journal des Débats_ was no longer
free; its proprietors had no power in it, and the censors registered
my condemnation in its pages. M. Hoffmann, however, forgave the Battle
of the Franks and some other pieces in the work; but, if he thought
Cymodocée attractive, he was too excellent a Catholic not to grow
indignant at the profane conjunction of the truths of Christianity and
the fables of mythology. Velléda did not save me. It was imputed to me
as a crime that I had changed Tacitus' German druidess into a Gallic
woman, as though I had wanted to borrow anything beyond an harmonious
name! And behold, we see the Christians of France, to whom I had
rendered such great services by setting up their altars again, stupidly
taking it into their heads to be scandalized on the gospel word of M.
Hoffmann! The title of the _Martyrs_ had misled them: they expected to
read a martyrology, and the tiger who tore only a daughter of Homer to
pieces seemed to them a sacrilege.

The real martyrdom of Pope Pius VII., whom Bonaparte had brought as a
prisoner to Paris, did not scandalize them, but they were quite roused
by my un-Christian fictions, as they called them. And it was M. the
Bishop of Chartres[15] who undertook to punish the horrible impieties
of the author of the _Génie du Christianisme._ Alas, he must realize
that to-day his zeal is wanted for very different contests!

M. the Bishop of Chartres is the brother of my excellent friend M.
de Clausel, a very great Christian, who did not allow himself to be
carried away by so sublime a virtue as the critic, his brother.

I thought it my duty to reply to my censors, as I had done in the
matter of the _Génie du Christianisme_. Montesquieu[16], with his
defense of the _Esprit des lois_, encouraged me. I was wrong. Authors
who are attacked might say the finest things in the world, and yet
excite merely the smiles of impartial minds and the ridicule of the
crowd. They place themselves on a bad ground: the defensive position
is antipathetic to the French character. When, in reply to objections,
I pointed out that, in stigmatizing this or that passage, they had
attacked some fine relic of antiquity, beaten on the facts, they
extricated themselves by next saying that the _Martyrs_ was a mere
"patchwork." When I justified the simultaneous presence of the two
religions by the authority of the Fathers of the Church themselves,
the reply was that, at the period in which I placed the action of the
_Martyrs_, paganism no longer existed among great minds.

I believed in good faith that the work had fallen flat; the violence of
the attack had shaken my conviction as an author. Some of my friends
consoled me; they maintained that the proscription was unjustified,
that sooner or later the public would pronounce another verdict: M.
de Fontanes especially was firm; I was no Racine, but he might be a
Boileau, and he never ceased saying to me:

"They'll come back to it."

His persuasion in this regard was so deep-rooted that it inspired him
with some charming stanzas:

    Le Tasse, errant de ville en ville, etc.[17],

without fear of compromising his taste or the authority of his judgment.

The _Martyrs_ has, in fact, retrieved itself, has obtained the honour
of four consecutive editions, and has even enjoyed particular favour
with men of letters: appreciation has been shown me of a work which
bears evidence of serious study, of some pains towards style, of a
great reverence for language and taste.

[Sidenote: Its reception.]

Criticism of the subject-matter was promptly abandoned. To say that I
had mixed profane with sacred things, because I had depicted two cults
which existed side by side and which had each its beliefs, its altars,
its priests, its ceremonies, was equivalent to saying that I ought to
have renounced history. For whom did the martyrs die? For Jesus Christ.
To whom were they immolated? To the gods of the Empire. Therefore there
were two religions.

The philosophical question, namely, whether, under Diocletian[18], the
Greeks and Romans believed in the gods of Homer, and whether public
worship had undergone any changes, was a question that did not concern
me as a poet; as an _historian_, I might have had many things to say.

All this no longer matters. The _Martyrs_ has lived, contrary to my
first expectation, and I have had to occupy myself only with the care
of revising its text.

The fault of the _Martyrs_ has to do with the wonderful "directness"
which, owing to what remained of my classical prejudices, I had
unadvisedly employed. Startled at my own innovations, I thought it
impossible to dispense with a "Heaven" and a "Hell." Yet the good and
bad angels sufficed to carry on the action, without delivering it to
worn-out machinery. If the Battle of the Franks, Velléda, Jérôme,
Augustin, Eudore, Cymodocée; if all these, and the descriptions of
Naples and Greece, are unable to obtain pardon for the _Martyrs_, Hell
and Heaven will not save it.

One of the passages which most pleased M. de Fontanes was the following:

    "Cymodocée sat down at the window of the prison and, resting
    her head, adorned with the martyr's veil, on her hand, sighed
    forth these harmonious words:

    "'Cleave the calm and dazzling sea, O swift vessels of
    Ausonia; release the sail, O slaves of Neptune, to the
    amorous breath of the winds, and bend over the agile oars.
    Bring me back to the care of my husband and my father, on
    the happy shores of the Pamisus! Fly, O birds of Lybia,
    whose supple necks so gracefully bend, fly to the summit of
    Ithomus and say that the daughter of Homer shall see again
    the laurels of Messenia! When shall I see once more my bed
    of ivory, the light of day so dear to mortals, the meadows
    studded with flowers which a clear water bathes, which
    modesty adorns with her breath[19]!'"

The _Génie du Christianisme_ will remain my great work, because it
produced, or decided, a revolution and commenced the new era of the
literary age. The case is different with the _Martyrs_: it came after
the revolution had been worked, and was only a superabundant proof of
my doctrines; my style was no longer a new thing, and, except in the
episode of Velléda and the picture of the manners of the Franks, my
poem even feels the influence of the places which it has frequented: in
it the classical dominates the romantic.

Lastly, the circumstances no longer existed which contributed to the
success of the _Génie du Christianisme_; the Government, far from
being favourable to me, had become hostile. The _Martyrs_ meant to me
a redoubling of persecution: the frequent allusions in the portrait
of Galerius[20] and in the picture of the Court of Diocletian could
not fail to arouse the attention of the imperial police, the more so
inasmuch as the English translator, who had no reason to observe any
circumspection, and who cared not at all whether he compromised me or
not, had called attention to the allusions in his preface.

The publication of the _Martyrs_ was coincident with a fatal
occurrence. This did not disarm the aristarchs, thanks to the ardour
with which we are animated for the powers that be; they felt that a
literary criticism which tended to diminish the interest attached to my
name might be agreeable to Bonaparte. The latter, like the millionaire
bankers who give splendid banquets and charge their customers postage,
did not disdain small profits.


Armand de Chateaubriand, whom you have seen as the companion of my
childhood, who appeared before you again in the Princes' Army with the
deaf and dumb Libba, had remained in England. He married in Jersey[21],
and was charged with the correspondence of the Princes. Setting sail
on the 25th of September 1808, he was landed, at eleven o'clock in the
same evening, on the coast of Brittany, near Saint-Cast. The boat's
crew consisted of eleven men; two only were Frenchmen: Roussel and

[Sidenote: Armand de Chateaubriand.]

Armand proceeded to the house of M. Delaunay-Boisé-Lucas the Elder,
who lived in the village of Saint-Gast, where the English had once
been driven back to their ships: his host advised him to go back[22];
but the boat had already taken its homeward course to Jersey. Armand,
having come to an arrangement with M. Boisé-Lucas' son, handed him the
despatches with which he had been entrusted by M. Henry-Larivière[23],
the Princes' agent.

    "I went to the coast on the 29th of September," he says, in
    answer to an interrogatory, "and waited there two nights,
    without seeing my boat. As the moon was very bright, I
    withdrew, and returned on the 14th or 15th of the month. I
    remained till the 24th of the said month. I spent every night
    in the rocks, but to no purpose; my boat did not come, and
    by day I went to the Boisé-Lucas'. The same boat, with the
    same crew, to which Roussel and Quintal belonged, was to
    come to fetch me. With regard to the precautions taken with
    Boisé-Lucas the Elder, there were none besides those which I
    have already enumerated."

The dauntless Armand, landed at a few steps from his paternal fields,
as though on the inhospitable coast of Taurida, in vain turned his
eyes over the billows, by the light of the moon, in search of the bark
which could have saved him. In former days, after I had already left
Combourg, with the intention of going to India, I had cast my mournful
gaze over the same billows. From the rocks of Saint-Cast where Armand
lay, from the cape of the Varde where I had sat, a few leagues of the
sea, over which our eyes have wandered in opposite directions, have
witnessed the cares and divided the destinies of two men joined by ties
of name and blood. It was also in the midst of the same waves that
I met Gesril for the last time. Often, in my dreams, I see Gesril
and Armand washing the wound in their foreheads in the deep, while,
reddened to my very feet, stretches the sea with which we used to play
in our childhood[24].

Armand succeeded in embarking in a boat purchased at Saint-Malo, but,
driven back by the north-west wind, he was again obliged to put back.
At last, on the 6th of January, assisted by a sailor called Jean Brien,
he launched a little stranded boat, and got hold of another which was
afloat. He thus describes his voyage, which bears an affinity to my
star and my adventures, in his examination on the 18th of March:

    "From nine o'clock in the evening, when we started, till two
    o'clock in the morning, the weather favoured us. Judging then
    that we were not far from the rocks called the 'Mainquiers,'
    we lay-to on our anchor, intending to wait for daylight;
    but, the wind having freshened, and fearing that it would
    grow still stronger, we continued our course. A few minutes
    later, the sea became very heavy and, our compass having been
    broken by a wave, we remained uncertain as to the course we
    were taking. The first land that came into sight on the 7th
    (it might then be mid-day), was the coast of Normandy, which
    obliged us to tack about, and we again returned and lay-to
    near the rocks called 'Écreho,' situated between the coast
    of Normandy and Jersey. Strong and contrary winds obliged
    us to remain in that position the whole of the rest of that
    day and of the next, the 8th. On the morning of the 9th, as
    soon as it was light, I said to Despagne that it appeared to
    me that the wind had decreased, seeing that our boat was not
    working much, and to look which way the wind was blowing. He
    told me that he no longer saw the rocks near which we had
    dropped the anchor. I then decided that we were drifting, and
    that we had lost our anchor. The violence of the storm left
    us no alternative but to make for the coast. As we saw no
    land, I did not know at what distance we were from it. It was
    then that I flung my papers into the sea, having taken the
    precaution to fasten a stone to them. We then scudded before
    the wind and made the coast, at about nine o'clock in the
    morning, at Bretteville-sur-Ay, in Normandy.

    "We were received on the coast by the customs officers, who
    took me out of my boat almost dead; my feet and legs were
    frozen. We were both lodged with the lieutenant of the
    brigade of Bretteville. Two days later, Despagne was taken to
    the prison at Coutances, and I have not seen him since that
    day. A few days after, I myself was transferred to the gaol
    at that town; the next day, I was taken by the quarter-master
    to Saint-Lô, and remained for eight days with the said
    quarter-master. I appeared once before M. the Prefect of
    the department, and, on the 26th of January, I left with
    the captain and quarter-master of the gendarmes to be taken
    to Paris, where I arrived on the 28th. They took me to the
    office of M. Desmarets at the ministry of the general police,
    and from there to the prison of the Grande-Force."

Armand had the wind, the waves and the imperial police against him;
Bonaparte was in connivance with the storms. The gods made a very great
expenditure of wrath against a paltry existence.

The packet flung into the sea was cast back by it on the beach of
Notre-Dame-d'Alloue, near Valognes. The papers contained in this packet
served as documents for the conviction: there were thirty-two of them.
Quintal, returning to the sands of Brittany with his boat to fetch
Armand, had also, through an obstinate fatality, been shipwrecked in
Norman waters a few days before my cousin. The crew of Quintal's boat
had spoken; the Prefect of Saint-Lô had learnt that M. de Chateaubriand
was the leader of the Princes' enterprises. When he heard that a cutter
manned with only two men had run ashore, he had no doubt that Armand
was one of the two shipwrecked men, for all the fishermen spoke of him
as the most fearless man at sea that had ever been known.

[Sidenote: Arrest of Armand.]

On the 20th of January 1809, the Prefect of the Manche reported
Armand's arrest to the general police. His letter commences:

    "My conjectures have been completely verified: Chateaubriand
    is arrested; it was he who landed on the coast at Bretteville
    and who had taken the name of 'John Fall.'

    "Uneasy at finding that, in spite of the very precise orders
    which I had given, John Fall did not arrive at Saint-Lô,
    I instructed Quarter-master Mauduit of the gendarmes, a
    trustworthy and extremely active man, to go to fetch this
    John Fall, wherever he might be, and bring him before me,
    in whatever condition he was. He found him at Coutances, at
    the moment when they were arranging to transfer him to the
    hospital, to treat him for his legs, which were frozen.

    "Fall appeared before me to-day. I had had Lelièvre put in
    a separate room, from which he could see John Fall arrive
    without being observed. When Lelièvre saw him come up a
    flight of steps placed near this apartment, he cried,
    striking his hands together and changing colour:

    "'It's Chateaubriand! However did they catch him?'

    "Lelièvre was in no way forewarned. This exclamation was
    drawn from him by surprise. He asked me afterwards not to say
    that he had mentioned Chateaubriand's name, because he would
    be lost.

    "I did not let John Fall see that I knew who he was."

Armand, carried to Paris and lodged at the Force, underwent a secret
interrogation at the military gaol of the Abbaye. General Hulin, who
was now Military Commander of Paris, appointed Bertrand, a captain in
the first demi-brigade of veterans, judge-advocate of the military
commission instructed, by a decree of the 25th of February, to inquire
into Armand's case.

The persons implicated were M. de Goyon[25], who had been sent by
Armand to Brest, and M. de Boisé-Lucas the Younger, charged to hand
letters from Henry-Larivière to Messieurs Laya[26] and Sicard[27] in

In a letter of the 13th of March, addressed to Fouché, Armand said:

    "Let the Emperor deign to restore to liberty men now
    languishing in prison for having shown me too much interest.
    Whatever happens, let their liberty be restored to all
    of them alike. I recommend my unfortunate family to the
    Emperor's generosity."

These mistakes of a man with human bowels addressing himself to an
hyena are painful to see. Bonaparte, besides, was not the lion of
Florence: he did not give up the child on observing the tears of the
mother. I had written to ask Fouché for an audience; he granted me
one, and assured me, with all the self-possession of revolutionary
frivolity, "that he had seen Armand, that I could be easy: that Armand
had told him that he would die well, and that in fact he wore a very
resolute air." Had I proposed to Fouché that he should die, would he
have preserved that deliberate tone and that superb indifference with
regard to himself?

I applied to Madame de Rémusat, begging her to remit to the Empress a
letter containing a request for justice, or for mercy, to the Emperor.
Madame la Duchesse de Saint-Leu[28] told me, at Arenberg, of the fate
of my letter: Joséphine gave it to the Emperor; he seemed to hesitate,
on reading it; and then, coming upon some words which offended him, he
impatiently flung it into the fire. I had forgotten that one should
show pride only on one's own behalf.

[Sidenote: His execution.]

M. de Goyon, condemned with Armand, underwent his sentence. Yet Madame
la Baronne-Duchesse de Montmorency had been induced to interest herself
in his favour: she was the daughter of Madame de Matignon, with whom
the Goyons were allied. A Montmorency in service ought to have obtained
anything, if the prostitution of a name were enough to win over an old
monarchy to a new power. Madame de Goyon, though unable to save her
husband, saved young Boisé-Lucas. Everything combined towards this
misfortune, which struck only unknown persons; one would have thought
that the downfall of a world was in question: storms upon the waves,
ambushes on land, Bonaparte, the sea, the murderers of Louis XVI., and
perhaps some "passion," the mysterious soul of mundane catastrophes.
People have not even perceived all these things; it all struck me alone
and lived in my memory only. What mattered to Napoleon the insects
crushed by his hand upon his diadem?

On the day of execution, I wished to accompany my comrade on his last
battle-field; I found no carriage, and hastened on foot to the Plaine
de Grenelle. I arrived, all perspiring, a second too late: Armand
had been shot against the surrounding wall of Paris. His skull was
fractured; a butcher's dog was licking up his blood and his brains.
I followed the cart which took the bodies of Armand and his two
companions, plebeian and noble, Quintal and Goyon, to the Vaugirard
Cemetery, where I had buried M. de La Harpe. I saw my cousin for the
last time without being able to recognise him: the lead had disfigured
him, he had no face left; I could not remark the ravages of years
in it, nor even see death within its shapeless and bleeding orb; he
remained young in my memory as at the time of the Siege of Thionville.
He was shot on Good Friday: the crucifix appears to me at the extremity
of all my misfortunes. When I walk on the rampart of the Plaine de
Grenelle, I stop to look at the imprint of the firing, still marked
upon the wall. If Bonaparte's bullets had left no other traces, he
would no longer be spoken of.

Strange concatenation of destinies! General Hulin, the Military
Commander of Paris, appointed the commission which ordered Armand's
brains to be blown out; he had, in former days, been appointed
president of the commission which shattered the head of the Duc
d'Enghien. Ought he not to have abstained, after his first misfortune,
from all connection with courts-martial? And I have spoken of the death
of the descendant of the Great Condé, without reminding General Hulin
of the part which he played in the execution of the humble soldier, my
kinsman. No doubt I, in my turn, had received from Heaven my commission
to judge the judges of the tribunal of Vincennes.


The year 1811 was one of the most remarkable in my literary career[29].
I published the _Itinéraire de Paris à Jerusalem_[30], I accepted M.
de Chénier's place at the Institute, and I began to write the Memoirs
which I am now finishing.

[Sidenote: The _Itinéraire._]

The success of the _Itinéraire_ was as complete as that of the
_Martyrs_ had been disputed. There is no scribbler, however
inconsiderable, but receives letters of congratulation on the
appearance of his _farrago._ Among the new compliments which were
addressed to me, I do not feel at liberty to suppress the letter of
a man of virtue and merit who has produced two works of recognised
authority, leaving hardly anything to be said on Bossuet and Fénelon.
The Bishop of Alais, Cardinal de Bausset[31], is the biographer of
those two great prelates. He goes beyond all praise with reference
to me: that is the accepted usage in writing to an author, and does
not count; but the cardinal at least shows the general opinion of the
moment on the _Itinéraire_: he foresees, with respect to Carthage, the
objections of which my geographical feeling might be the object; in
any case, that feeling has prevailed, and I have set Dido's ports in
their places. My readers will be interested to recognise in this letter
the diction of a select society, a style rendered grave and sweet by
politeness, religion and manner: an excellence of tone from which we
are so far removed to-day.


    "25 _March_ 1811.

    "You should, Sir, have received, and you have received, the
    just tribute of the public gratitude and satisfaction; but
    I can assure you that not one of your readers has enjoyed
    your interesting work with a truer sentiment than myself. You
    are the first and only traveller who has had no need of the
    aid of engraving and drawing to place before the eyes of his
    readers the places and monuments which recall fine memories
    and great images. Your soul has felt all, your imagination
    depicted all, and the reader feels with your soul and sees
    with your eyes.

    "I could convey to you but very feebly the impression which
    I received from the very first pages, when skirting in your
    company the coast of Corfu, and when witnessing the landing
    of all those 'eternal' men whom opposite destinies have
    successively driven thither. A few lines have sufficed you to
    engrave the traces of their footsteps for all time; they will
    always be found in your _Itinéraire_, which will preserve
    them more faithfully than so many marbles which have been
    incapable of keeping the great names confided to them.

    "I now know the monuments of Athens in the way in which one
    likes to know them. I had already seen them in beautiful
    engravings, I had admired them, but I had not felt them.
    One too often forgets that, if architects need exact
    descriptions, measurements and proportions, men need to
    recognise the mind and the genius which have conceived the
    idea of those great monuments.

    "You have restored to the Pyramids that noble and profound
    intention which frivolous declaimers had not even perceived.

    "How thankful I am to you, Sir, for delivering to the just
    execration of all time that stupid and ferocious people
    which, since twelve hundred years, has afflicted the fairest
    countries of the earth! One smiles with you at the hope of
    seeing it return to the desert whence it came.

    "You have inspired me with a passing feeling of indulgence
    for the Arabs, for the sake of the fine comparison which you
    have drawn between them and the savages of North America.

    "Providence seems to have led you to Jerusalem to assist at
    the last representation of the first scene of Christianity.
    If it be no longer granted to the eyes of men to behold that
    Tomb, 'the only one which will have nothing to give up on
    the Last Day,' Christians will always find it again in the
    Gospels, and meditative and sensitive minds in the pictures
    which you have drawn.

    "The critics will not fail to reproach you with the men and
    incidents with which you have covered the ruins of Carthage
    and which you could not have seen, since they no longer
    exist. But I implore you, Sir, confine yourself to asking
    them if they themselves would not have been very sorry not to
    find them in those engaging pictures.

    "You have the right, Sir, to enjoy a form of glory which
    belongs to you exclusively by a sort of creation; but there
    is an enjoyment still more satisfying to a character like
    yours, that is, to have endowed the creations of your genius
    with the nobility of your soul and the elevation of your
    sentiments. It is this which, at all times, will ensure to
    your name and memory the esteem, the admiration and the
    respect of all friends of religion, virtue and honour.

    "It is on this score that I beg you, Sir, to accept the
    homage of all my sentiments.

    "L. F. DE BAUSSET, _ex-Bishop of Alais._"

M. de Chénier[32] died on the 10th of January 1811. My friends had the
fatal idea of pressing me to take his place in the Institute. They
urged that, exposed as I was to the hostilities of the head of the
Government, to the suspicions and annoyances of the police, it was
necessary that I should enter a body then powerful through its fame and
through the men composing it; that, sheltered behind that buckler, I
should be able to work in peace.

I had an invincible repugnance to occupying a place, even outside the
Government; I had too clear a recollection of what the first had cost
me. Chénier's inheritance seemed fraught with peril; I should not be
able to say all, save by exposing myself; I did not wish to pass over
regicide in silence, although Cambacérès was the second person in the
State; I was determined to make my demands heard in favour of liberty
and to raise my voice against tyranny; I wanted to have my say on the
horrors of 1793, to express my regrets for the fallen family of our
kings, to bemoan the misfortunes of those who had remained faithful
to them. My friends replied that I was deceiving myself; that a few
praises of the head of the Government, obligatory in the academical
speech, praises of which, in one respect, I thought Bonaparte worthy,
would make him swallow all the truths I might wish to utter; and that
I should at the same time enjoy the honour of having maintained my
opinions and the happiness of putting an end to the terrors of Madame
de Chateaubriand. By dint of their besetting me, I yielded, weary of
resistance: but I assured them that they were mistaken; that Bonaparte
would not be taken in by common-places on his son, his wife and his
glory; that he would feel the lesson but the more keenly for them;
that he would recognise the man who resigned on the death of the Duc
d'Enghien and the writer of the article that caused the suppression of
the _Mercure_; that, lastly, instead of ensuring my repose, I should
revive the persecutions directed against me. They were soon obliged to
recognise the truth of my words: true it is that they had not foreseen
the audacity of my speech.

I went to pay the customary visits to the members of the Academy[33].
Madame de Vintimille took me to the Abbé Morellet. We found him
sitting in an arm-chair before his fire; he had fallen asleep, and the
_Itinéraire_, which he was reading, had dropped from his hands. Waking
with a start at the sound of my name announced by his man-servant, he
raised his head and exclaimed:

"There are passages so long, so long!"

I told him, laughing, that I saw that, and that I would abridge the new
edition. He was a good-natured man and promised me his vote, in spite
of _Atala._ When, later, the _Monarchie selon la Charte_ appeared, he
could not recover from his astonishment that such a political work
should have the singer of "the daughter of the Floridas" for its
author. Had Grotius[34] not written the tragedy of _Adam and Eve_ and
Montesquieu the _Temple de Guide?_ True, I was neither Grotius nor

The election took place; I was elected by ballot with a fairly large
majority[35]. I at once set to work on my speech; I wrote and rewrote
it a score of times, never feeling satisfied with myself: at one time,
wishing to make it possible for me to read, I thought it too strong;
at another, my anger returning, I thought it too weak. I did not know
how to measure out the dose of academic praise. If, in spite of my
antipathy for Napoleon, I had tried to render the admiration which I
felt for the public portion of his life, I should have gone far beyond
the peroration. Milton, whom I quote at the commencement of the speech,
furnished me with a model; in his _Second defense of the People of
England_, he made a pompous eulogy of Cromwell:

    "Not only the actions of our kings," he says, "but the fabled
    exploits of our heroes, are overcome by your achievements.
    Reflect, then, frequently (how dear alike the trust, and the
    parent from you have received it!) that to your hands your
    country has commended and confided her freedom: that what she
    lately expected from her choicest representatives she now
    expects, now hopes, from you alone. O reverence this high
    expectation, this hope of your country relying exclusively
    upon yourself! Reverence the glances and the gashes of those
    brave men who have so nobly struggled for liberty under your
    auspices, as well as the shades of those who perished in
    the conflict! Reverence, finally, yourself, and suffer not
    that liberty, for the attainment of which you have endured
    so many hardships and encountered so many perils, to sustain
    any violation from your own hands, or any encroachment from
    those of others. Without our freedom, in fact, you cannot
    yourself be free: for it is justly ordained by nature that he
    who invades the liberty of others shall in the very outset
    lose his own, and be the first to feel the servitude which he
    has induced[36]."

Johnson quoted only the praises given to the Protector[37], in order
to place the Republican in contradiction with himself; the fine
passage which I have just translated contains its own qualification of
those praises. Johnson's criticism is forgotten, Milton's defense has
remained: all that belongs to the strife of parties and the passions of
the moment dies like them and with them.

[Sidenote: I am elected.]

When my speech was ready, I was sent for to read it to the committee
appointed to hear it: it was rejected by the committee, with the
exception of two or three members[38]. It was a sight to see the
terror of the bold Republicans who listened to me and who were alarmed
by the independence of my opinions; they shuddered with indignation
and fright at the mere word of liberty. M. Daru[39] took the speech
to Saint-Cloud. Bonaparte declared that, if it had been delivered,
he would have closed the doors of the Institute and flung me into a
subterranean dungeon for the rest of my life.

I received the following note from M. Daru:

    "SAINT-CLOUD, 28 _April_ 1811.

    "I have the honour to inform Monsieur de Chateaubriand that,
    when he has the time or occasion to come to Saint-Cloud, I
    shall be able to return to him the speech which he was good
    enough to entrust to me. I take this opportunity to repeat to
    him the assurance of the high consideration with which I have
    the honour to salute him.


I went to Saint-Cloud. M. Daru returned me the manuscript, crossed
out in places, and scored _ab irato_ with parentheses and pencil
marks by Bonaparte: the lion's claw had been dug in everywhere, and I
experienced a sort of pleasure of irritation in imagining that I felt
it in my side. M. Daru did not conceal Napoleon's anger from me; but he
told me, that, if I kept the peroration, with the exception of a few
words, and changed almost the whole of the rest, I should be received
with great applause. The speech had been copied out at the palace; some
passages had been suppressed and others interpolated. Not long after,
it appeared in the provinces printed in that fashion.

This speech is one of the best proofs of the independence of my
opinions and the consistency of my principles. M. Suard, who was free
and firm, said that, if it had been read in the open Academy, it would
have brought down the rafters of the hall with applause. Can you,
indeed, imagine the warm praises of liberty uttered in the midst of the
servility of the Empire?

I had kept the scored manuscript with religious care; ill-fortune
willed that, when I left the Infirmerie de Marie-Thérèse, it was burnt
with a heap of papers. Nevertheless the readers of these Memoirs shall
not be deprived of it: one of my colleagues had the generosity to take
a copy of it; here it is:

[Sidenote: My inaugural speech.]

    "When Milton published _Paradise Lost_, not a voice was
    raised in the three kingdoms of Great Britain to praise
    a work which, in spite of its numerous defects, remains
    nevertheless one of the noblest monuments of the human mind.
    The English Homer died forgotten, and his contemporaries left
    to futurity the task of immortalizing the singer of Eden.
    Have we here one of the great instances of literary injustice
    of which examples are presented by nearly every century? No,
    gentlemen; the English, but recently escaped from the Civil
    Wars, were unable to bring themselves to celebrate the memory
    of a man who was remarked for the ardour of his opinions in a
    time of calamity. What shall we reserve, they asked, for the
    tomb of the citizen who devotes himself to the safety of his
    country, if we lavish honours upon the ashes of him who, at
    most, is entitled to claim our generous indulgence? Posterity
    will do justice to Milton's memory, but we owe a lesson to
    our sons: we must teach them, by our silence, that talents
    are a baleful gift when allied with the passions, and that it
    is better to condemn one's self to obscurity than to achieve
    celebrity through one's country's misfortunes.

    "Shall I, gentlemen, imitate this memorable example, or shall
    I speak to you of the person and works of M. Chénier? To
    reconcile your usages and my opinions, I feel it my duty to
    adopt a middle course between absolute silence and a thorough
    consideration. But, whatever the words I may utter, no
    rancour will poison this address. Should you find in me the
    frankness of my fellow-countryman Duclos[40], I hope also to
    prove to you that I possess the same loyalty.

    "Doubtless it would have been curious to see what a man in
    my position, holding my principles and my opinions, could
    have to say of the man whose place I occupy to-day. It would
    be interesting to examine the influence of revolutions upon
    literature, to show how systems can mislead talent and
    direct it into fallacious ways which seem to lead to fame
    and only end in oblivion. If Milton, despite his political
    aberrations, has left works which posterity admires, it is
    because Milton, without repenting his errors, withdrew from;
    a society which was withdrawing from him, to seek in religion
    the assuagement of his ills and the source of his glory.
    Deprived of the light of heaven, he created for himself a new
    earth, a new sun, and quitted, so to speak, a world where he
    had seen nought save misery and crime; he set in the bowers
    of Eden that primitive innocence, that blessed felicity which
    reigned beneath the tents of Jacob and Rachel; and he placed
    in the lower regions the torments, passions and remorse of
    the men whose furies he had shared.

    "Unfortunately, the works of M. Chénier, though they show
    the germ of a remarkable talent, glow with neither that
    antique simplicity nor that sublime majesty. The author was
    distinguished for an eminently classical mind. None better
    understood the principles of ancient and modern literature;
    the stage, eloquence, history, criticism, satire: he
    embraced all these; but his writings bear the impress of the
    disastrous days that witnessed his birth. Too often dictated
    by the spirit of party, they have been applauded by factions.
    Shall I, in discussing my predecessor's works, separate what
    has already passed away, like our discords, and what will
    perhaps survive, like our glory? Here we find the interests
    of society and the interests of literature confounded. I
    cannot forget the first sufficiently to occupy myself solely
    with the second; wherefore, gentlemen, I am obliged either to
    keep silence or to raise political questions.

    "There are persons who would make of literature an abstract
    thing and isolate it in the midst of human affairs. Such
    persons will say to me, 'Why keep silence? Treat M. Chénier's
    works only from the literary point of view.' That is to say,
    gentlemen, that I must abuse your patience and my own by
    repeating commonplaces which you can find anywhere and which
    you know better than I. Manners change with the times: heirs
    to a long series of peaceful years, our forerunners were able
    to indulge in purely academic discussions which were even
    less a proof of their talent than of their happiness. But we,
    who remain the victims of a great shipwreck, no longer have
    what is needed to relish so perfect a calm. Our ideas, our
    minds have taken a different direction. The man has in us
    taken the place of the academician: by divesting literature
    of all its futility, we now behold it only in the light of
    our mighty memories and of the experience of our adversity.
    What! After a revolution which has caused us, in a few
    years, to live through the events of many centuries, shall
    the writer be forbidden all lofty considerations, shall he
    be denied the right to examine the serious side of objects?
    Shall he spend a trivial life occupied with grammatical
    quibbles, rules of taste, petty literary judgments? Shall
    he grow old, bound in the swaddling-clothes of his cradle?
    Shall he not show, at the end of his days, a brow furrowed
    by his long labours, by his grave reflections, and often by
    those manly sufferings which add to the greatness of mankind?
    What important cares, then, will have whitened his hair? The
    miserable sorrows of self-love and the puerile sports of the

    "Surely, gentlemen, that would be treating ourselves with a
    very strange contempt! Speaking for myself, I cannot thus
    belittle myself, nor reduce myself to the condition of
    childhood at the age of strength and reason. I cannot confine
    myself within the narrow circle which they would trace around
    the writer. For instance, gentlemen, if I wished to pass a
    eulogy on the man of letters, on the man of the Court who
    presides over this meeting[41], do you believe that I would
    content myself with praising in him the light and ingenious
    French wit which he received from his mother[42], and of
    which he displays to us the last model? No, assuredly: I
    should wish to make glow once more in all its brilliancy
    the noble name which he bears. I should mention the Duc de
    Boufflers[43] who forced the Austrians to raise the blockade
    of Genoa. I should speak of the marshal, his father[44],
    of the governor who held the ramparts of Lille against the
    enemies of France, and who, by that memorable defense,
    consoled a great king's unhappy old age. It was of that
    companion of Turenne that Madame de Maintenon said:

    "'In him the heart was the last to die.'

    [Sidenote: My speech continued.]

    "Lastly, I should go back to that Louis de Boufflers[45],
    called the Robust, who displayed in combat the vigour and
    valour of Hercules. Thus, at the two extremities of this
    family, I should find force and grace, the knight and the
    troubadour. They say that the French are sons of Hector: I
    would rather believe that they descend from Achilles, for
    like that hero they wield both the lyre and the sword.

    "If I wished, gentlemen, to talk to you of the celebrated
    poet[46] who sang the charms of nature in such brilliant
    tones, do you think that I would confine myself to pointing
    out to you the admirable flexibility of a talent which
    succeeded in rendering with equal distinction the regular
    beauties of Virgil and the less correct beauties of Milton?
    No: I would also show you the poet refusing to part from
    his unfortunate countrymen, accompanying them with his
    lyre to foreign shores, singing their sorrows to console
    them; an illustrious exile among that crowd of banished men
    whose number I increased. It is true that his age and his
    infirmities, his talents and his glory had not protected him
    against persecution in his own country. Men tried to make him
    purchase peace with verses unworthy of his muse, and his muse
    could sing only the redoubtable immortality of crime and the
    reassuring immortality of virtue:

    "Rassurez-vous, vous êtes immortels[47]!

    "If, again, I wished to speak to you of a friend very dear
    to my heart[48], one of those friends who, according to
    Cicero, render prosperity more brilliant and adversity less
    irksome, I should extol the refinement and purity of his
    taste, the exquisite elegance of his prose, the beauty, the
    strength, the harmony of his verses, which, while formed
    after the great models, are nevertheless distinguished by
    their original character. I should extol that superior talent
    which has never known the feelings of envy, that talent made
    happy by every success other than its own, that talent which,
    for ten years, has felt all that has happened to me of an
    honourable nature with the deep and simple joy known only to
    the most generous characters and the liveliest friendship.
    But I should not omit my friend's political side. I should
    depict him at the head of one of the principal bodies of the
    State, delivering those speeches which are master-pieces of
    propriety, moderation and exaltedness. I should represent him
    sacrificing the gentle commerce of the Muses to occupations
    which would no doubt be without charm, if one did not abandon
    one's self to them in the hope of forming children capable of
    one day following the example of their fathers and avoiding
    their errors.

    "In speaking of the men of talent of whom this meeting
    is composed, I could not therefore prevent myself from
    considering them from the point of view of morality and
    society. One is distinguished among you by a refined,
    delicate and sagacious wit, by an urbanity nowadays so
    rare, and by the most honourable constancy in his moderate
    opinions[49]. Another, under the ice of age, found the
    warmth of youth wherewith to plead the cause of the
    unfortunate[50]. A third[51], an elegant historian and
    agreeable poet, becomes more venerable and more dear to us
    by the memory of a father[52] and a son[53], both mutilated
    in the service of the country. Yet another, by restoring
    their hearing to the deaf, their speech to the dumb, recalls
    to us the miracles of the Gospels, to the cult of which he
    has devoted himself[54]. Are there not, gentlemen, among
    you some witnesses of your former triumphs who can tell the
    worthy heir[55] of the Chancelier d'Aguesseau[56] how his
    grandsire's name was once applauded in this assembly? I pass
    to the favourite nurselings of the nine Sisters, and I see
    the venerable author of Œdipe[57] retired in his solitude
    and Sophocles forgetting at Colonos the glory that calls
    him back to Athens. How greatly must we cherish the other
    sons of Melpomene who have interested us in the misfortunes
    of our fathers! Every French heart has throbbed anew at
    the presentiment of the death of Henry IV[58]. The tragic
    muse has re-established the honour of those gallant knights
    dastardly betrayed by history, and nobly revenged by one of
    our modern Euripides[59].

    [Sidenote: My speech continued.]

    "Coming to the successors of Anacreon, I would pause at the
    amiable man[60] who, similar to the veteran of Teos[61],
    still re-tells, after fifteen lustra, those love-songs
    which one begins to write at fifteen years. I would also,
    gentlemen, go to seek your renown on the stormy seas which
    were formerly guarded by the giant Adamastor[62], and which
    became appeased by the charming names of Éléonore[63] and
    Virginie[64]. _Tibi rident æquora._

    "Alas, too many of the talents in our midst have been
    wandering and restless! Has poetry not sung in harmonious
    verse of the art of Neptune[65], that so fatal art which
    transported it to distant shores? And has not French
    eloquence, after defending the altar and the State,
    withdrawn, as though into its source, to the land where St.
    Ambrose[66] first saw the light[67]? Why can I not here place
    all the members of this assembly in a picture the colours of
    which have not been embellished by flattery! For, if it be
    true that envy sometimes obscures the estimable qualities
    of men of letters, it is still more true that this class of
    men is distinguished by lofty sentiments, by disinterested
    virtues, by the hatred of oppression, devotion to friendship,
    and fidelity to misfortune. It is thus, gentlemen, that I
    love to consider a subject from all its aspects, and that I
    love especially to give a serious character to literature
    by applying it to the most exalted subjects of morality,
    philosophy and history. With this independence of mind, I
    must needs abstain from touching upon works which it is
    impossible to examine without irritating the passions. Were
    I to speak of the tragedy of _Charles IX_, could I refrain
    from avenging the memory of the Cardinal de Lorraine and
    discussing the strange lesson there given to Kings? _Caius
    Gracchus, Calas, Henri VIII, Fénelon_[68] would in many
    respects present sent to me a distortion of history upon
    which to rest the same doctrines. When I read the satires,
    I there find immolated men occupying places in the first
    ranks of this assembly; nevertheless, written as they are
    in a pure, elegant and easy style, they agreeably recall
    the school of Voltaire, and I should take the more pleasure
    in praising them inasmuch as my own name has not escaped
    the author's malice[69]. But let us leave on one side works
    which would give rise only to painful recriminations: I will
    not disturb the memory of a writer who was your colleague
    and who still numbers friends and admirers among you; he
    will owe to religion, which appeared to him so contemptible
    in the writings of those who defend it, the peace which I
    wish to his tomb. But even here, gentlemen, shall I not have
    the misfortune to strike upon a rock? For, in offering to
    M. Chénier this tribute of respect which is due to all the
    dead, I fear to meet beneath my steps ashes very differently
    illustrious. If ungenerous interpretations would impute this
    involuntary emotion to me as a crime, I should take refuge at
    the foot of those expiatory altars which a powerful monarch
    erects to the manes of outraged dynasties. Ah, how much
    happier would it have been for M. Chénier not to have taken
    part in those public calamities which at last fell back upon
    his head! He has known, like myself, what it means to lose
    in the storms a fondly cherished brother[70]. What would our
    unhappy brothers have said, had God summoned them on the
    same day before His tribunal? If they had met at the hour of
    death, before mingling their blood they would doubtless have
    cried to us, 'Cease your intestine wars, return to thoughts
    of love and peace; death strikes all parties alike, and your
    cruel divisions cost us our youth and our life.' That would
    have been their fraternal cry.

    [Sidenote: My speech continued.]

    "If my predecessor could hear these words, which now
    console only his shade, he would appreciate the tribute
    which I am here paying to his brother, for he was by nature
    generous: it was even this generosity of character which
    drew him into new ideas, very seductive no doubt, since they
    promised to restore to us the virtues of Fabricius[71]. But,
    soon deceived in his hopes, he found his mood becoming
    embittered, his talent changing its nature. Removed from the
    poet's solitude into the midst of factions, how could he have
    abandoned himself to those sentiments which make the charm of
    life? Happy had he seen no sky save the sky of Greece under
    which he was born[72], had he set eyes upon no ruins save
    those of Sparta and Athens! I should perhaps have met him
    in his mother's beautiful country, and we would have sworn
    mutual friendship on the banks of the Permessus; or else,
    since he was to return to his paternal fields, why did he
    not follow me to the deserts upon which I was flung by our
    tempests! The silence of the forests would have calmed that
    troubled soul, and the huts of the savages would perhaps have
    reconciled him to the palaces of kings. Vain wish! M. Chénier
    remained upon the stage of our excitements and our sorrows.
    Attacked while still in his youth by a mortal malady, you
    have seen him, gentlemen, droop slowly towards the tomb and
    leave for ever.... I have not been told of his last moments.

    "None of us, who have lived through the troubles and
    excitements, shall escape the eyes of history. Who can
    flatter himself that he shall be found stainless in a time
    of frenzy when none has the entire use of his reason? Let
    us then be full of indulgence for others; let us excuse
    that of which we cannot approve. Such is human weakness,
    that talent, genius, virtue itself are sometimes able to
    overstep the limits of duty. M. Chénier worshipped liberty:
    can we ascribe it to him as a crime? The knights themselves,
    were they to issue from their tombs, would follow the light
    of our century. We should see that illustrious alliance
    formed between honour and liberty, as under the reign of
    the Valois, upon our monuments. Gothic battlements crowned
    with infinite grace the orders borrowed from the Greeks.
    Is not liberty the greatest of benefits and the first of
    man's needs? It kindles genius, it elevates the heart, it
    is as necessary to the friend of the Muses as the air he
    breathes. The arts are, to a certain point, able to live in
    dependence, because they make use of a language apart, which
    is not understood by the crowd; but letters, which speak an
    universal language, pine and perish in irons. How shall one
    compose pages worthy of the future, if one must forbid one's
    self, in writing, every magnanimous sentiment, every great
    and powerful thought? Liberty is so naturally the friend
    of science and literature, that she takes refuge with them
    when she is banished from the midst of the peoples; and it
    is we, gentlemen, whom she charges to write her annals and
    to revenge her on her enemies, to hand down her name and her
    cult to posterity for all time. To prevent any mistake in
    the interpretation of my thought, I declare that I am here
    speaking only of the liberty which is born of order and gives
    birth to laws, and not of that liberty which is the daughter
    of license and the mother of slavery. The wrong of the author
    of Charles IX did not, therefore, lie in offering his incense
    to the former of these divinities, but in believing that the
    rights which she gives us are incompatible with a monarchical
    form of government. A Frenchman displays in his opinions that
    independence which other nations show in their laws. Liberty
    is for him a sentiment rather than a principle, and he is a
    citizen by instinct and a subject by choice. If the writer
    whose loss you are mourning had made this reflection, he
    would not have embraced in one and the same love the liberty
    that creates and the liberty that destroys.

    [Sidenote: My speech concluded.]

    "Gentlemen, I have finished the task which the customs of
    the Academy have laid upon me. On the point of ending this
    speech, I am struck with an idea which saddens me: it is
    not long since M. Chénier pronounced upon my writings some
    findings which he was preparing to publish; and to-day it is
    I who am judging my judge. I say, in all the sincerity of my
    heart, that I would rather continue exposed to the satire of
    an enemy, and live peacefully in solitude, than bring home
    to you, by my presence in your midst, the rapid succession
    of men upon earth, the sudden apparition of that death which
    overthrows our projects and our hopes, which snatches us away
    at a stroke, and which sometimes hands over our memory to
    men entirely opposed to us in sentiment and principle. This
    platform is a sort of battle-field in which talents come by
    turns to shine and die. What diverse geniuses has it not seen
    pass! Corneille, Racine, Boileau, La Bruyère[73], Bossuet,
    Fénelon, Voltaire, Buffon[74], Montesquieu.... Who would not
    be afraid, gentlemen, to think that he is about to form a
    link in the chain of that illustrious lineage? Overcome by
    the weight of those immortal names, and unable to make myself
    recognised through my talents as the lawful heir, I will at
    least try to prove my descent by my sentiments.

    "When my turn shall have come to yield my place to the orator
    who is to speak on my tomb, he may treat my works severely,
    but he will be obliged to say that I loved my mother-land
    passionately, that I would have endured a thousand ills
    rather than cost my country a single tear, that I would
    without hesitation have made the sacrifice of my days to
    those noble sentiments which alone give value to life and
    dignity to death.

    "But what a moment have I chosen, gentlemen, to speak to you
    of mourning and obsequies! Are we not surrounded by scenes
    of festivity? A solitary traveller, I was meditating a few
    days since on the ruin of the destroyed empires: and now I
    see a new empire arise. Scarce have I quitted the graves in
    which the buried nations sleep, and I perceive a cradle laden
    with the destinies of the future. The acclamations of the
    soldier resound on every hand. Cæsar mounts to the Capitol;
    the nations tell of marvels, of monuments upraised, cities
    beautified, the frontiers of the country bathed by those
    distant seas which bore the ships of Scipio, and by those
    remote waters which Germanicus did not see.

    "While the triumpher advances surrounded by his legions, what
    shall the tranquil children of the Muses do? They will go
    before the car to add the olive-branch of peace to the palms
    of victory, to mingle with the warlike recitals the touching
    images which caused Æmilius Paulus[75] to weep over the
    misfortunes of Perseus[76].

    "And you, daughter of the Cæsars[77], come forth from your
    palace with your young son[78] in your arms; come, to add
    mercy to greatness; come, to soften victory and to temper
    the glitter of arms by the gentle majesty of a queen and a

In the manuscript which was handed back to me, the commencement of
the speech, which relates to the opinions of Milton, was struck out
from one end to the other by Bonaparte's hand. A part of my protest
against the isolation from affairs of State, in which it was desired
to keep literature, was also stigmatized with the pencil. The eulogy
of the Abbé Delille, which recalled the Emigration and the fidelity of
the poet to the misfortunes of the Royal Family and to the sufferings
of his companions in exile, was placed between brackets; the eulogy of
M. de Fontanes had a cross set against it. Almost all that I said of
M. Chénier, of his brother, of my own, of the expiatory altars which
were being prepared at Saint-Denis was slashed with pencil marks. The
paragraph commencing with the words, "M. Chénier worshipped liberty,"
etc., had a double longitudinal line drawn through it. Nevertheless,
the agents of the Empire, when publishing the speech, kept this
paragraph pretty correctly.

All was not ended when they had handed me back my speech; they wanted
to force me to write a second. I declared that I stood by the first,
and that I would write no other. The committee then declared to me that
I should not be received into the Academy.

Gracious, generous and courageous persons, unknown to myself,
interested themselves in me. Mrs. Lindsay, who at the time of my
return to France, in 1800, had brought me from Calais to Paris, talked
to Madame Gay[79]; the latter addressed herself to Madame Regnaud de
Saint-Jean-d'Angély, who asked the Duc de Rovigo to leave me alone. The
women of that time interposed their beauty between power and misfortune.

[Sidenote: Bonaparte's comments.]

All this perturbation was prolonged, by the decennial prizes, until
the year 1812. Bonaparte, who was persecuting me, sent to the Academy
to ask, in the matter of those prizes, why they had not put the _Génie
du Christianisme_ on their list. The Academy explained; several of my
colleagues wrote their unfavourable judgment of my work. I might have
said what a Greek poet said to a bird:

    "Daughter of Attica, nurtured on honey, thou who singest so
    well, thou snatchest a grasshopper, a fine songstress like
    thyself, and carriest her for food to thy young ones. Both of
    you have wings, both inhabit these regions, both celebrate
    the birth of spring: wilt thou not restore to her her
    liberty? It is not just that a songstress should die by the
    beak of one of her fellows[80]."

This mixture of anger against and attraction for me displayed by
Bonaparte is constant and strange: but now he threatens, and suddenly
he asks the Institute why it has not mentioned me on the occasion of
the decennial prizes. He goes further, he declares to Fontanes that,
since the Institute does not think me worthy to compete for the prizes,
he will give me one, that he will appoint me superintendent-general of
all the libraries of France: a superintendence with the salary attached
to a first-class embassy. Bonaparte's original idea of employing me in
a diplomatic career did not leave him: he would not admit, for a reason
well known to himself, that I had ceased to form part of the Ministry
of External Relations. And yet, in spite of this proposed munificence,
his Prefect of Police invited me, some time later[81], to remove myself
from Paris, and I went to continue my Memoirs at Dieppe.

Bonaparte stooped to play the part of a teasing school-boy; he
disinterred the _Essai sur les Révolutions_ and delighted in the war
which he brought down upon me on this subject. A certain M. Damaze de
Raymond constituted himself my champion[82]: I went to thank him in
the Rue Vivienne. He had a death's-head on his mantel-piece among his
knick-knacks; some time later he was killed in a duel[83], and his
charming features went to join the frightful face that seemed to call
to him. Everyone fought in those days: one of the police-spies charged
with the arrest of Georges received a bullet in the head from him.

To cut short my powerful adversary's unfair attack, I applied to that
M. de Pommereul of whom I spoke to you at the time of my first arrival
in Paris: he had become director-general of the State printing works
and of the department of books. I asked him for leave to reprint the
_Essai_ in its entirety. My correspondence and the result of that
correspondence can be seen in the preface to the 1826 edition of the
_Essai sur les Révolutions_, vol. II. of the Complete Works. Moreover,
the Imperial Government was exceedingly right to refuse its assent to
the reprinting of the work in its entirety: the _Essai_ was not, having
regard both to the liberties and to the Legitimate Monarchy, a book
which should be published while despotism and usurpation held sway.
The police gave itself airs of impartiality by allowing something to
be said in my favour, and it laughed while preventing me from doing
the only thing capable of defending me. On the return of Louis XVIII.,
the _Essai_ was exhumed anew: as, in the time of the Empire, they had
wished to make use of it against me in a political respect, so, in
the days of the Restoration, they tried to plead it against me in a
religious respect. I have made so complete an apology for my errors in
the notes to the new edition of the _Essai historique_, that there is
nothing left wherewith to reproach me. Posterity will come and will
pronounce on both book and commentary, if such old trash is still able
to interest it. I venture to hope that it will judge the _Essai_ as my
grey head has judged it; for, as one advances in life, one assumes the
equity of the future towards which one approaches. The book and the
notes place me before the eyes of men such as I was at the commencement
of my career and such as I am at the close of that career.

[Sidenote: The _Essai_ reprinted.]

Moreover, this work which I have treated with pitiless rigour offers
the compendium of my existence as a poet, a moralist and a future
politician. The pith of the work is overflowing, the boldness of the
opinions urged as far as it will go. It must needs be admitted that, in
the various roads upon which I have embarked, I have never been guided
by prejudice, that I have never been blind in whatsoever cause, that no
interest has led me on, that the sides which I have taken have always
been those of my choice.

In the _Essai_, my independence in matters of religion and politics is
complete; I examine everything: a _Republican_, I serve the Monarchy;
a _philosopher_, I honour religion. These are not contradictions: they
are forced consequences of the uncertainty of theory and the certainty
of practice among men. My mind, constructed to believe in nothing,
not even in myself, constructed to despise everything, splendours
and miseries, peoples and kings, has nevertheless been dominated by
an instinct of reason which commanded it to submit to all that is
recognised as fine: religion, justice, humanity, equality, liberty,
glory. That which people to-day dream concerning the future, that which
the present generation imagines itself to have discovered concerning a
society yet to be born, founded upon principles quite different from
those of the old society, is announced positively in the _Essai._
I have anticipated by thirty years those who call themselves the
proclaimers of an unknown world. My acts have belonged to the ancient
city, my thoughts to the new; the former to my duty, the latter to my

The _Essai_ was not an impious book; it was a book of doubt and sorrow.
I have already said so[84].

For the rest, I have had to exaggerate my fault to myself, and to
redeem with ideas of order so many passionate ideas strewn over my
works. I fear lest, at the commencement of my career, I may have
done harm to youth; I owe it a reparation, and at least I owe it
other lessons. Let it learn that one can struggle successfully with a
troubled nature; I have seen moral beauty, the divine beauty, superior
to every earthly dream: it needs but a little courage to reach it and
keep to it.

In order to finish what I have to say touching my literary career,
I must mention the work which commenced it, and which remained in
manuscript until the year in which I inserted it in my Complete Works.

At the beginning of the _Natchez_, the preface described how the work
was recovered in England, thanks to the trouble and the obliging
research of Messieurs de Thuisy.

A manuscript from which I have been able to extract _Atala, René_, and
several descriptions included in the _Génie du Christianisme_, is not
absolutely barren. This first manuscript was written in one piece,
without sections; all the subjects were confused in it: journeys,
natural history, the dramatic portion, etc.; but, besides this
manuscript, composed in one stroke, there existed another, divided into
books. In this second work, I had not only proceeded to the separation
of the matter, but I had also changed the character of the composition,
by altering it from the romantic to the idyllic.

A young man who promiscuously heaps up his ideas, his inventions, his
studies, die results of his reading, is bound to produce chaos; but
also in this chaos there is a certain fecundity which belongs to the
potency of his age.

To me happened that which has perhaps happened to no other author: I
read again, after a lapse of thirty years, a manuscript which I had
totally forgotten.

I had one danger to fear. In repassing the brush over the picture, I
might wipe out the colours; a surer but less rapid hand ran the risk,
while obliterating some incorrect features, of causing the liveliest
touches of youth to disappear: it was necessary to preserve the
independence and, so to speak, the passion of the composition; the foam
must be left on the bit of the youthful courser. If in the _Natchez_
there are things which I would hazard only in trembling to-day, there
are also things which I would no longer write, especially René's letter
in the second volume. It is in my first manner, and reproduces all
René. I do not know that the Renés who followed in my steps can have
said anything more nearly approaching folly.

[Sidenote: The _Natchez._]

The _Natchez_ opens with an invocation to the desert and to the star of
the night, the supreme divinities of my youth:

    "In the shade of the American forests I will sing airs of
    solitude such as mortal ears have not yet heard; I will
    relate your adversities, O Natchez, O nation of Louisiana, of
    whom naught save the memories remain! Should the misfortunes
    of an obscure dweller in the woods have less claim upon our
    tears than those of other men? And are the mausoleums of the
    kings in our temples more touching than the tomb of an Indian
    under his native oak?

    "And thou, torch of meditation, star of the night, be for me
    the star of Pindus! Go before my steps across the unknown
    regions of the New World, to reveal to me by thy light the
    enchanting secrets of those deserts!"

My two natures lie mingled in this singular work, particularly in the
primitive original. In it are found political incidents and romantic
intrigues; but, across the narrative, there is heard, throughout, a
voice that sings and that seems to come from an unknown region.


From 1812 to 1814, but two years are wanting to end the Empire[85], and
those two years, of which we have seen something by anticipation, were
employed by me in researches into French history, and in the writing
of some books of these Memoirs; but I did not print anything more. My
life of poetry and erudition was really closed by the publication of
my three great works, the _Génie du Christianisme_, the _Martyrs_ and
the _Itinéraire._ My political writings began with the Restoration;
with those writings also began my active political existence. Here,
therefore, ends my literary career properly so-called; carried away by
the flood of years, I had omitted it; not until this year, 1839, have I
recalled the bygone times of 1800 to 1814.

This literary career, as you have been free to convince yourselves, was
no less disturbed than my career as a traveller and a soldier; there
were also labours, encounters, and blood in the arena; all was not
Muses and Castalian spring. My political career was even stormier.

Perhaps some remains may mark the spot where stood my gardens of
Academus. The _Génie du Christianisme_ commences the religious
revolution against the philosophism of the eighteenth century. I was at
the same time preparing the revolution which threatens our language,
for there can be no renewal of ideas without an accompanying renewal of
style. Will there be other forms of art, at present unknown, when I am
gone? Will it be possible to start from our studies of to-day in order
to make progress, as we ourselves have taken a step forward by starting
from past studies? Are there limits which one could not overstep,
because one would then run against the nature of things? Do not those
limits lie in the division of the modern languages, in the decay of
those same languages, in human vanity such as modern society has made
it? Languages do not follow the movement of civilization until they
are on the point of attaining the period of their perfection; having
reached this zenith, they remain stationary for a moment, and then
descend, without being able to ascend again.

[Sidenote: Youth and age.]

Now, the story which I am finishing joins the first books of my
political life, written previously at different dates. I feel a little
more courage on returning to the finished portions of my edifice. When
I resumed my work, I trembled lest the old son of Cœlus should see
the golden trowel of the builder of Troy turn into a trowel of lead.
And yet it seems to me that my memory, when bidden to pour me out my
recollections, has not failed me too greatly. Have you felt the ice
of winter to a great extent in my narrative? Do you find an enormous
difference between the extinct ashes which I have striven to revive
and the living persons whom I have shown you in telling you of my early
youth? My years are my secretaries: when one of them comes to die, he
passes the pen to his younger brother, and I continue to dictate. As
they are of one family, they write very nearly the same hand.

[1] This book was written in Paris in 1839, and revised in June

[2] Chateaubriand bought it from M. de Fontanes for 20,000 francs.--B.

[3] Chateaubriand bought the Vallée-aux-Loups in August 1807, for the
sum of 30,000 francs.--B.

[4] Madame de Lavalette was the widow of the Marquis de Béville.--B.

[5] _Manger_, to eat; also, to run through, to squander.--T.

[6] The Infirmary, situated at No. 86, Rue d'Enfer (now 92, Rue
Denfert-Rochereau), was founded by M. and Madame de Chateaubriand at a
considerable cost. Madame de Chateaubriand was buried beneath the altar
of the chapel.--B.

[7] Anne Louis Girodet Trioson, originally Girodet de Roussy
(1767-1824), a pupil of David, and not only a fine painter, but also a
poet of some merit.--T.

[8] Dominique Vivant Baron Denon (1747-1825), Director-General of
Museums under the Empire.--T.

[9] Chateaubriand's portrait was exhibited in the Salon of 1808.--B.

[10] Jean François Boissonade (1774-1857), a member of the Academy of
Inscriptions, and a distinguished and indefatigable Hellenist.--T.

[11] Conrad Malte-Brun (1775-1826), the eminent Danish geographer.--T.

[12] "Each, his hand in _th' ink-pot_, swears to be revenged."--T.

[13] The crown of grass granted to a general who raised the siege of a
beleaguered place.--T.

[14] François Bénoît Hoffmann (1760-1828), author of several comic
operas, and a successful writer in the _Journal des Débats._--T.

[15] Claude Hippolyte Clausel de Montais (1769-1857) became Bishop of
Chartres in 1824. He was the first to engage, in March 1841, in the
struggle of the bishops in favour of liberty of instruction, which
led to the law of 25 March 1850. Thanks to his writings during this
contest, Monseigneur Clausel de Montais is one of the most imposing
figures in the nineteenth-century episcopate.--B.

[16] Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755). In the
_Esprit des lois_ (1748) he treats religion respectfully, but the book
was condemned for its deistic tendency.--T.

[17] "Tasso wandering from town to town," etc.--T.

[18] Caius Valerius Jovius Aurelius Diocletianus, Roman Emperor
(245-313), in 303 commenced a persecution of the Christians which
lasted for ten years, or eight years after his abdication in 305.--T.

[19] _Martyrs_, XXIII.--B.

[20] Caius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, Roman Emperor (_d._ 311),
adopted son and son-in-law of Diocletian, and associated with the
latter in his persecution of the Christians.--T.

[21] Armand de Chateaubriand married in Jersey, in 1795, Jeanne Le Brun
d'Anneville, who died in the island in 1857.--B.

[22] The English attempted a descent on Saint-Cast in 1758 and were
defeated by the Duc d'Aiguillon.--T.

[23] Pierre François Joachim Henry-Larivière (1761-1838) worked
ardently for the restoration of the Monarchy from the date of his
proscription by the Convention, of which he was a member, in 1797.
Louis XVIII. made him Advocate-General and a councillor of the Court of
Appeal. He refused to take the oath to Louis-Philippe on the latter's
usurpation in 1830.--B.

[24] The original documents of Armand's trial have been sent me by an
unknown and generous hand.--_Author's Note._

[25] M. de Goyon-Vaurouault.--B.

[26] Jean Louis Laya (1761-1833), author of some poetical plays and
of the _Ami des lois_, a stirring protest against the murder of Louis
XVI. He was flung into prison, where he remained until the 9 Thermidor.
Under the Empire, he became a professor at the Lycée Napoléon and
eventually obtained the chair of poetry at the Faculté des Lettres.--T.

[27] The Abbé Roch Ambroise Cucurron Sicard (1742-1822), the great
teacher and benefactor of the deaf and dumb, and a fervent Royalist.--T.

[28] Hortense Queen of Holland (1783-1837), daughter of the Empress
Joséphine by her first husband, Alexandre Vicomte de Beauharnais, and
wife of Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland. She retired to Switzerland
after the Restoration, with the title of Duchesse de Saint-Leu.--T.

[29] Chateaubriand says nothing of the time which elapsed between April
1809 and January 1811. These twenty months, in fact, were marked by no
political or literary event that in any way affected him.--B.

[30] The _Itinéraire_ appeared in the month of March 1811.--B.

[31] Louis François Cardinal Duc de Bausset, Bishop of Alais
(1748-1824), was appointed to the see of Alais in 1784. He was
dispossessed and imprisoned under the Terror. On the return of the
Bourbons, he was created a peer of France in 1815, a cardinal in 1817,
and a duke in the same year. He had published his successful _Histoire
de Fénelon_ in 1808; his _Histoire de Bossuet_, which was less well
received, appeared in 1814.--T.

[32] Marie Joseph de Chénier (1764-1811).--T.

[33] A contemporary, M. Auguis, thus describes the cavalier manner in
which Chateaubriand paid his visits (he quotes from the unpublished
Diary of Ferdinand Denis, author of _Scènes de la nature sous les
tropiques_ and of _André le voyageur_):

"When Chateaubriand went to pay his French-Academy visits, he called
upon his future colleagues on horseback. To the famous and powerful he
paid a complete visit; to the small fry he sent in his card, without
alighting from his mettlesome steed. When they came to discuss the
election, M. ---- voted for the horse of his new colleague, saying
that, in all conscience, it was the former alone that had paid him a

[34] Hugo de Groot (1583-1645), known as Hugo Grotius, the celebrated
Dutch jurist and writer on international law, author of _De Jure belli
et pacis_ (1624), by which the system of international law was created,
etc., etc., and for some years Ambassador of Christina Queen of Sweden
to France.--T.

[35] The election took place on Wednesday 20 February 1811, forty days
after Marie Joseph Chenier's death. Only twenty-five members were
present, and Chateaubriand was elected almost unanimously.--B.

[36] MILTON, _Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio secunda_: Archdeacon
Wrangham's translation.--T.

[37] Cf. JOHNSON, _Lives of the English Poets: Milton_, in which the
poet is very roughly handled.--T.

[38] The committee consisted of Messieurs François de Neufchâteau,
Regnaud de Saint-Jean d'Angély, Lacretelle the Elder, Laujon and

[39] Pierre Antoine Noël Brunot, Comte Daru (1760-1829), a moderate
revolutionary, had been imprisoned under the Terror. He was sent to
Berlin as Minister Plenipotentiary in 1806 and entered the Institute in
the same year. In 1811, he became Secretary of State, in which capacity
he opposed the Russian War. He was created a peer by the Restoration.
His works include a metrical translation of the Works of Horace (1804),
a History of the Republic of Venice (1819), a History of Brittany
(1826), etc.--T.

[40] Charles Pineau Duclos (1704-1772), author of the _Considération
des mœurs_, etc., was a native of Dinan, in Brittany, and was noted
for the independence of his opinions. Louis XV. pronounced the
_Considération_ to be "the work of an honest man."--T.

[41] Stanislas Chevalier de Boufflers (1737-1815) became a member of
the Academy in 1788, on his return from the Governorship of Senegal. He
is best known for his light erotic verse.--T.

[42] The Marquise de Boufflers, _née_ de Beauvais-Craon, a beautiful
and witty woman who had done the honours of the Court of King

[43] Joseph Marie Duc de Boufflers (1706-1747) relieved Genoa, besieged
by the Imperial forces and by the King of Sardinia, in 1747, and died
there in the same year of the small-pox.--T.

[44] Louis François Maréchal Duc de Boufflers (1644-1711), a pupil of
Condé and the Turennes, became famous through his defense of Lille
in 1708, for which service he was created a duke and a peer. He also
conducted the retreat and saved the French Army after the defeat of
Malplaquet in 1709.--T.

[45] Louis de Boufflers (1534-1553), a guidon to the Duc d'Enghien, and
noted for his superhuman feats of strength and agility. He was killed,
at the age of nineteen, at the siege of Pont-sur-Yonne.--T.

[46] The Abbé Delille.--B.

[47] "Be reassured, immortality's yours:" a line from Delille's
_Dithyrambe sur l'immortalité de l'âme_, written during the Terror.--T.

[48] M. de Fontanes.--B.

[49] M. Suard.--B.

[50] The Abbé Morellet, who, in 1795, had published two eloquent
appeals in favour of the victims of the Revolution, the _Cri des
familles_ and the _Cause des pères._--B.

[51] Lieutenant-General Louis Philippe Comte de Ségur (1753-1830), a
very intelligent writer. After going through the American War with
Lafayette, he was sent as Ambassador to Russia, while still a very
young man, returned to France on the outbreak of the Revolution, lived
on his pen and was admitted to the Academy. Napoleon made him his
Grand-Master of Ceremonies and a senator; under the Restoration, he was
created a peer of France.--T.

[52] Philippe Henri Maréchal Marquis de Ségur (1724-1801) was badly
wounded at the battle of Klosterkamp, in 1760.-T.

[53] Philippe Paul Comte de Ségur, author of the _Campagne de Russie_,
was riddled with bullets at the Battle of Sommo-Sierra (1808),
and refused to cease fighting until he swooned in the arms of his

[54] The Abbé Sicard.--B.

[55] Henri Cardin Jean Baptiste Comte d'Aguesseau (1746-1826).--B.

[56] Henri François d'Aguesseau (1668-1751), thrice Chancellor of

[57] Jean Francois Ducis (1733-1816), the tragic poet, author of
_Œdipe chez Admète_, imitated from Sophocles and Euripides, and of
imitations of many of Shakespeare's tragedies. His only original play
was _Abufar, ou La Famille arabe_, which obtained a great success. He
received Voltaire's seat in the Academy in 1778. Ducis refused the many
advantages offered him by Bonaparte, preferring to live in poor and
honourable retirement.--T.

[58] Gabriel Marie Jean Baptiste Legouvé (1764-1812), the poet, author
of the _Mort d'Abel_, the _Mort d'Henri IV_ and other tragedies, and of
some didactic poetry which is better than the plays.--T.

[59] François Juste Marie Raynouard (1761-1836), author of the tragedy
of the _Templiers_, entered the Academy in 1807 and became its
perpetual secretary in 1817.--T.

[60] Pierre Laujon (1727-1811), author of some comic operas and of a
collection of sportive verse entitled _À-propos de société_ (1771). He
had been secretary to the Prince de Condé.--T.

[61] Anacreon was born at Teos.--T.

[62] Cf. CAMOËNS, _Luciad_, where Adamastor is represented as the giant
spirit of storms, warning Vasco de Gama off the Cape of Storms, now the
Cape of Good Hope.--T.

[63] The Chevalier de Parny, author of _Éléonore_, was born in the Île

[64] Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, author of _Paul et Virginie_, lived
three years in the Mauritius.--T.

[65] Joseph Alphonse Esménard (1770-1811) accompanied General Leclerc
to San Domingo, and on his return wrote his poem of the _Navigation._
Napoleon made him Theatrical Censor. In 1810, he entered the Institute.
He was exiled, in 1811, for writing against the Emperor Alexander,
returned to France after three months, and was immediately killed by a
fall from his carriage.--T.

[66] St. Ambrose (_circa_ 340-397), one of the Fathers of the Church,
was Governor of Liguria when he was elected bishop by the people,
although himself but recently converted to Christianity and as yet
unbaptized. He was ordained priest and consecrated Bishop of Milan
within a few days (374). St. Ambrose is honoured on the 7th of

[67] Jean Siffrein Cardinal Maury (1746-1817) had been appointed to the
See of Montefiascone by Pope Pius VI. in 1794. In 1810, Napoleon had
nominated him Archbishop of Paris, a fact which Chateaubriand purposely

[68] Chénier's tragedy of _Charles IX_ was produced in 1789, _Henri
VIII_ and the _Mort de Calas_ in 1791, _Gracchus_ in 1792, _Fénelon_ in

[69] A reference to an attack in Chénier's satire entitled the
_Nouveaux Saints_, which commences thus:

    Ah! vous parlez du diable? il est bien poétique,
    Dit le dévot Chactas, ce sauvage érotique.

[70] André de Chénier, guillotined in 1794.--T.

[71] Caius Fabricius Luscinus (_fl._ 282 B.C.), the type of the ancient
Roman virtue.--T.

[72] Marie Joseph Chénier was born in Constantinople in 1764.--T.

[73] Jean de La Bruyère (1644-1696), author of the _Caractères._--T.

[74] Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788), the great

[75] Lucius Æmilius Paulus Macedonicus (228-160 B.C.), elected Consul
in 182 and 168, defeated Perseus in 167 B.C., and subdued Macedonia.--T.

[76] Perseus, the last King of Macedon (_d._ 167 B.C.), adorned his
conqueror's triumph and allowed himself to die of starvation in his
prison in Rome.--T.

[77] Marie-Louise Empress of the French (1791-1847), daughter of the
Emperor Francis I., had been married to Napoleon on the 1st of April

[78] Francis Charles Joseph Napoleon Duc de Reichstadt (1811-1832),
created King of Rome on his birth (20 March).--T.

[79] Marie Françoise Sophie Gay (1776-1852), _née_ Nichault de
Lavalette, author of _Léonie de Montbreuse, Anatolie_, the _Salons
célèbres_ and other successful and distinguished works, and mother of
Madame Émile de Girardin.--T.

[80] An epigram from the Anthology. The bird to which the Greek poet
addressed it is the nightingale, "too great a friend of the author's,"
as M. de Marcellus very neatly observes, "for him to dare to call it by
its name when about to speak ill of it."--B.

[81] 4 September 1812.--B.

[82] In a pamphlet entitled, _Réponse aux attaques dirigées contre M.
de Chateaubriand._--B.

[83] Damaze de Raymond died on the 27th of February 1813, in a duel
resulting from a quarrel at the gaming-table.--B.

[84] _Cf._ Vol. II. p. 116.--T.

[85] Except in so far as concerns the incidents of his literary
life, Chateaubriand's Memoirs give us hardly any details on the two
years elapsing between 1812 and 1814. They were spent between the
Vallée-aux-Loups and an apartment in the Rue de Rivoli which M. and
Madame de Chateaubriand had hired from M. Alexandre de Laborde.--B.




The last days of the Empire

Youth is a charming thing: it sets out at life's commencement crowned
with flowers, as did the Athenian fleet going to conquer Sicily and the
delightful plains of Enna. The prayer is offered aloud by the priest
of Neptune, libations are made from goblets of gold, the crowd lining
the coast unites its invocations to those of the pilot, the pæan is
sung while the sail is unfurled to the rays and to the breath of dawn.
Alcibiades[86], arrayed in purple and beautiful as Love, is noticeable
on the triremes, proud of the seven chariots which he has launched
on the Olympian race-course. But, scarce is the isle of Alcinous[87]
passed, when the illusion vanishes: Alcibiades, banished, goes to
grow old far away from his country and to die pierced with arrows
on Timandra's bosom. The companions of his early hopes, enslaved at
Syracuse, have nothing to alleviate the weight of their chains but a
few verses of Euripides.

You have seen my youth quitting the shore: it had not the beauty of the
pupil of Pericles[88], educated upon the knees of Aspasia[89] but it
had the same morning hours--and longings and dreams, God knows! I have
described those dreams to you: to-day, returning to land after many
an exile, I have nothing more to tell you but truths sad as my age.
If at times I still sound the chords of the lyre, these are the last
harmonies of the poet seeking to cure himself of the wounds caused by
the arrows of time, or to console himself for the slavery of years.

You know how changeable was my life during my condition as a traveller
and a soldier; you know of my literary existence from 1800 to 1813,
the year in which you left me at the Vallée-aux-Loups, which still
belonged to me when my political career opened. We are about to enter
into that career: before penetrating into it, I must needs revert to
the general facts which I have overlooked while occupying myself solely
with my works and my personal adventures. Those facts are of Napoleon's
making. Let us therefore pass to him; let us speak of the huge edifice
which was being built outside my dreams. I now turn historian without
ceasing to be an autobiographer; a public interest is about to support
my private confidences; my own smaller recitals will group themselves
around my narrative.

When the war of the Revolution broke out, the kings did not understand
it; they saw a revolt where they ought to have seen the changing of
the nations, the end and the commencement of a world: they flattered
themselves that for them there was a question only of enlarging their
States with a few provinces taken from France; they believed in
bygone military tactics, in bygone diplomatic treaties, in cabinet
negociations: and conscripts were about to set Frederic's grenadiers to
flight; monarchs were about to come to sue for peace in the ante-rooms
of a few obscure demagogues; and awful revolutionary opinion was about
to unravel the intrigues of old Europe upon the scaffolds. That old
Europe thought it was fighting only France; it did not perceive that a
new age was marching upon it.

Bonaparte, in the course of his ever-increasing successes, seemed
called upon to change the royal dynasties, to make his own the oldest
of them all. He had made Kings of the Electors of Bavaria, Wurtemberg
and Saxony; he had given the crown of Naples to Murat, that of Spain
to Joseph, that of Holland to Louis, that of Westphalia to Jerome; his
sister, Élisa Bacciochi, was Princess of Lucca; he, on his own account,
was Emperor of the French, King of Italy, in which kingdom were
included Venice, Tuscany, Parma and Piacenza; Piedmont was united to
France; he had consented to allow one of his captains, Bernadotte[90],
to reign in Sweden; by the Treaty of the Confederation of the Rhine
he exercised the rights of the House of Austria over Germany; he had
declared himself the mediator of the Helvetian Confederation; he had
laid Prussia low; without possessing a bark, he had declared the
British Isles in a state of blockade. England, in spite of her fleets,
was on the point of not having a port in Europe in which to discharge a
bale of merchandise or post a letter.

[Sidenote: Napoleon's position in 1813.]

The Papal States formed part of the French Empire; the Tiber was
a French department. In the streets of Paris, one saw cardinals,
half-prisoners, who, putting their heads through the window of their
cab, asked:

"Is this where the King of ---- lives?"

"No," replied the porter to whom the question was put, "it's higher up."

Austria had redeemed herself only by handing over her daughter: the
"raider" of the South[91] demanded Honoria[92] from Valentinian[93],
with half of the provinces of the Empire.

How had those miracles been worked? What qualities were possessed by
the man who gave birth to them? What qualities did he lack for their
achievement? I will trace the immense fortune of Bonaparte, who,
notwithstanding, passed so quickly that his days fill but a short
period of the time covered by these Memoirs. Fastidious productions of
genealogies, cold disquisitions upon facts, insipid verifications of
dates are the burdens and servitudes of the writer.[94]

. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .

In the Second Book of these Memoirs you have read (I had then returned
from my first exile to Dieppe):

"I have been permitted to return to my valley. The soil trembles
beneath the steps of the foreign soldier: I am writing, like the last
of the Romans, to the sound of the Barbarian invasion. By day I compose
pages as agitated as the events of the day; at night, while the rolling
of the distant cannon dies away in my solitary woods, I return to the
silence of the years that sleep in the grave and to the peace of my
youngest memories."


Those agitated pages which I composed by day were notes relating to
the events of the moment which, when collected, formed my pamphlet _De
Bonaparte et des Bourbons._ I had so high an opinion of the genius of
Napoleon and the gallantry of our soldiers that an invasion by the
foreigner which should be successful in its ultimate result could not
enter into my head; but I thought that this invasion, by making France
realize the danger to which Napoleon's ambition had brought her, would
lead to a movement from within and that the enfranchisement of the
French would be worked by their own hands. It was with this idea that
I was writing my notes, so that, if our political assemblies should
stay the march of the Allies and resolve to sever from a great man who
had become a scourge, they should know to whom to resort; the shelter
seemed to me to lie in the authority, modified in accordance with the
times, under which our ancestors had lived during eight centuries:
when, in a storm, one finds nothing within reach but an old edifice,
all in ruins though it be, one retires to it.

In the winter of 1813 to 1814, I took an apartment in the Rue de
Rivoli, opposite the first gate of the garden of the Tuileries, before
which I had heard the death of the Duc d'Enghien cried. As yet there
was nothing to be seen in that street except the arcades built by the
Government and a few houses rising here and there with their lateral
denticulation of projecting stones.

It needed nothing less than the spectacle of the calamities weighing
on France to maintain the aversion which Napoleon inspired and at the
same time to protect one's self against the admiration which he caused
to revive so soon as he acted: he was the proudest genius of action
that ever existed; his first campaign in Italy and his last campaign in
France (I am not speaking of Waterloo) are his two finest campaigns: he
was Condé in the first, Turenne in the second, a great warrior in the
former, a great man in the latter; but they differed in their results:
by the one he gained the Empire, by the other he lost it. His last
hours of power, all uprooted, all barefoot as they were, could not be
drawn from him, like a lion's tooth, save by the efforts of the arms of
Europe. The name of Napoleon was still so formidable that the hostile
armies crossed the Rhine in terror; they unceasingly looked behind
them, in order well to assure themselves that their retreat would be
possible; masters of Paris, they trembled yet. Alexander[95], casting
his eyes towards Russia while entering France, congratulated the
persons who were able to go away, and wrote his anxieties and regrets
to his mother[96].

[Sidenote: His campaign in France.]

Napoleon beat the Russians at Saint-Dizier[97], the Prussians and
Russians at Brienne[98], as though to do honour to the fields in which
he had been brought up. He routed the Army of Silesia at Montmirail[99]
and Champaubert[100] and a portion of the main army at Montereau[101].
He made head everywhere; went and returned on his steps; repelled the
columns by which he was surrounded. The Allies proposed an armistice;
Bonaparte tore up the proffered preliminaries and exclaimed:

"I am nearer to Vienna than the Emperor of Austria is to Paris!"

Russia, Austria, Prussia and England, for their mutual consolation,
concluded a new treaty of alliance at Chaumont[102]; but in reality
they were alarmed at Bonaparte's resistance and were thinking of
retreat. At Lyons an army[103] was forming on the Austrian flank;
Marshal Soult was checking the English; the Congress of Châtillon[104],
which was not dissolved until the 18th of March, was still negociating.
Bonaparte drove Blücher[105] from the heights of Craonne[106]. The main
allied army had triumphed on the 26th of February, at Bar-sur-Aube,
thanks only to superiority in numbers. Bonaparte, multiplying himself,
had recovered Troyes[107], which the Allies reoccupied[108]. From
Craonne he had moved upon Rheims[109].

"To-night," he said, "I shall go to take my father-in-law at Troyes."

On the 20th of March, an affair took place near Arcis-sur-Aube[110].
Amid a rolling fire of artillery, a shell having fallen in front of a
square of the guards, the square appeared to make a slight movement:
Bonaparte dashed towards the projectile, the fuse of which was smoking,
and made his horse sniff at it; the shell burst, and the Emperor came
safe and sound from the midst of the shattered bolt.

The battle was to recommence the following day, but Bonaparte,
yielding to the inspiration of genius, an inspiration which was
none the less fatal, retired in order to bear upon the rear of the
confederate troops, separate them from their stores, and swell his
own army with the garrisons of the frontier places. The foreigners
were preparing to fall back upon the Rhine, when Alexander, by one of
these Heaven-inspired impulses which change a whole world, took the
resolve to march upon Paris, the road to which was becoming free[111].
Napoleon thought he would draw the mass of the enemy after him, and he
was followed, by only ten thousand men of the cavalry, whom he believed
to be the advance-guard of the main troops, whereas they masked the
real movement of the Prussians and Muscovites. He dispersed those ten
thousand horse at Saint-Dizier and Vitry, and then perceived that the
great allied army was not behind them: that army, which was flinging
itself upon the capital, had before it only Marshals Marmont[112] and
Mortier[113], with about twelve thousand conscripts.

[Sidenote: He retires to Fontainebleau.]

Napoleon hurriedly made for Fontainebleau[114]: there a sainted
victim[115], retiring, had left the requiter and the avenger. Two
things in history always go side by side: let a man enter upon a path
of injustice, and he at the same time opens for himself a path of
perdition in which, at a given distance, the first road will converge
into the second.


Men's minds were greatly agitated: the hope of at all costs seeing
brought to a close a cruel war which, since twenty years, had been
weighing down upon France sated with misfortune and glory, this hope
carried the day, among the masses, over the feeling of nationality.
Each one thought of the part he would have to take in the approaching
catastrophe. Every evening my friends came to talk at Madame de
Chateaubriand's, to tell and comment upon the events of the day.
Messieurs de Fontanes, de Clausel, Joubert gathered with the crowd
of those transient friends whom events bring and events withdraw.
Madame la Duchesse de Lévis, beautiful, peaceable and devoted, whom
we shall meet again at Ghent, kept Madame de Chateaubriand faithful
company. Madame la Duchesse de Duras was also in Paris, and I often
went to see Madame la Marquise de Montcalm[116], sister to the Duc de

I continued to be persuaded, despite the near approach of the
battle-fields, that the Allies would not enter Paris and that a
national insurrection would put an end to our fears. The obsession
of this idea prevented me from feeling the presence of the foreign
armies as keenly as I might have done: but I could not keep myself from
reflecting upon the calamities to which we had subjected Europe, when I
saw Europe bring them back to us.

I never ceased working at my pamphlet; I was preparing it as a remedy
when the moment of anarchy should come to burst forth. It is not thus
that we write nowadays, when we live at our ease, with only a war of
broadsheets to fear: at night, I turned the key in my lock; I placed
my papers under my pillow, with two loaded revolvers on my table: I
slept between these two muses. My text was in duplicate: I had written
it in the form of a pamphlet, which it retained, and in the shape of a
speech, differing in some respects from the pamphlet; I thought that,
when France rose, they might assemble at the Hôtel de Ville, and I had
prepared myself on two topics.

Madame de Chateaubriand wrote a few notes at various periods of our
common life; among those notes I find the following paragraph:

    "M. de Chateaubriand was writing his pamphlet _De Bonaparte
    et des Bourbons._ If that pamphlet had been seized, the
    result was not doubtful: the sentence was the scaffold.
    Nevertheless the author displayed incredible negligence in
    concealing it. Often he would go out and leave it on the
    table; his prudence never went beyond placing it under his
    pillow, which he used to do before his valet, a very honest
    fellow, but liable to temptation. As for me, I was in a
    mortal fright: and, so soon as M. de Chateaubriand had gone
    out, I used to take the manuscript and place it about my
    person. One day, while crossing the Tuileries, I noticed that
    I no longer had it, and, being sure that I had felt it on
    leaving the house, I had no doubt that I had lost it on the
    way. Already I saw the fatal work in the hands of the police
    and M. de Chateaubriand arrested: I fell unconscious in the
    middle of the garden; some kind people assisted me, and
    afterwards took me home, which was not far off. What torture
    when, on climbing the stairs, I hovered between a fear which
    was almost a certainty and a slight hope that I had forgotten
    to take the pamphlet! As I approached my husband's bedroom,
    I felt myself fainting once more; I went in at last; nothing
    on the table; I went up to the bed; I first felt the pillow,
    I perceived nothing; I lifted it up, and saw the roll of
    papers! My heart beats whenever I think of it. I have never
    experienced such a moment of joy in my life. Certainly, I can
    truthfully say that it would not have been so great had I
    seen myself released at the foot of the scaffold; for, after
    all, it was some one dearer to me than myself whom I saw
    released from it."

How unhappy should I be if I could have caused a moment of trouble to
Madame de Chateaubriand!

I had nevertheless been obliged to entrust a printer[118] with my
secret: he had consented to risk the business; according to the news of
the hour, he used to return the half-composed proofs to me, or come to
fetch them back, as the sound of the cannon approached or drew farther
from Paris: I played pitch-and-toss with my life, in this way, for
nearly a fortnight.

[Sidenote: War at the gates of Paris.]

The circle was drawing closer around the capital: at every moment we
heard of some progress on the part of the enemy. Russian prisoners and
French wounded entered promiscuously through the barriers, drawn in
carts: some, half-dead, fell beneath the wheels, which they stained
with their blood. Conscripts called up from the interior crossed the
capital in a long file on their way to the armies. At night, one heard
trains of artillery pass along the outer boulevards, and one did not
know whether the distant detonations announced the decisive victory or
the final defeat.

The war at last came and fixed itself outside the barriers of Paris.
From the top of the towers of Notre-Dame, one could see the head of
the Russian columns appear, like the first undulations of the tide of
the sea upon a beach. I felt what a Roman must have experienced when,
from the ridge of the Capitol, he beheld the soldiers of Alaric[119]
and the old city of the Latins at his feet, as I beheld the Russian
soldiers and, at my feet, the old city of the Gauls. Farewell, then,
paternal gods, hearths which preserved the traditions of the country,
roofs beneath which had breathed both Virginia[120], sacrificed by
her father to modesty and liberty, and Héloïse, consecrated by love to
letters and religion.

Paris had not since centuries seen the smoke of an enemy's camp, and it
was Bonaparte who, from triumph to triumph, brought the Thebans within
sight of the women of Sparta. Paris was the bourn from which he had
started to conquer the earth: he returned to it leaving behind him the
huge conflagration of his useless conquests.

The people rushed to the Jardin des Plantes, which, in olden times,
the fortified Abbey of St. Victor might have been able to protect:
the small world of swans and plantain-trees, to which our power had
promised an eternal peace, was perturbed. From the summit of the
labyrinth, looking over the great cedar, over the public granaries
which Bonaparte had not had time to complete, beyond the site of the
Bastille and the keep of Vincennes (spots which told the tale of our
successive history), the crowd watched the infantry-fire in the combat
of Belleville. Montmartre was carried: the cannon-balls fell as far as
the Boulevard du Temple. A few companies of the National Guard made a
sortie and lost three hundred men in the fields around the tomb of the
"martyrs." Never did military France, in the midst of her reverses,
shine with a brighter glory; the last heroes were the one hundred
and fifty lads of the Polytechnic School, transformed into gunners
in the redoubts on the Vincennes Road. Surrounded by the enemy, they
refused to surrender; they had to be tom from their pieces: the Russian
grenadier seized them, blackened with gun-powder and covered with
wounds; while they struggled in his arms, he lifted those young French
palm-branches in the air with cries of victory and admiration and
restored them all bleeding to their mothers.

During that time Cambacérès was fleeing with Marie-Louise, the King of
Rome and the Regency. The following proclamation was read on the walls:



    "The Council of Regency has provided for the safety of the
    Empress and the King of Rome: I remain with you. Let us arm
    ourselves to defend this town, its monuments, its riches, our
    wives, our children, all that is dear to us. Let this vast
    city become a camp for a short while, and let the enemy meet
    with his disgrace under its walls, which he hopes to surmount
    in triumph."

Rostopschin[122] did not pretend to defend Moscow; he burnt it down.
Joseph announced that he would never leave the Parisians, and privately
decamped, leaving his courage placarded at the street-corners.

[Sidenote: M. de Talleyrand.]

M. de Talleyrand made one of the Regency appointed by Napoleon. Since
the day on which the Bishop of Autun, under the Empire, ceased to
be Minister of Foreign Affairs, he had dreamt of but one thing, the
disappearance of Bonaparte followed by the regency of Marie-Louise, a
regency of which he, the Prince de Bénévent, would have been the head.
Bonaparte, in appointing him a member of a provisional regency in
1814, seemed to have favoured his secret wishes. The Napoleonic death
had not occurred; there remained for M. de Talleyrand but to hobble
at the feet of the colossus whom he was unable to overthrow, and to
turn the moment to account on his own behalf: the genius of that man
of bargains and compromises lay in contriving. The position presented
difficulties: to remain in the capital was the obvious course; but, if
Bonaparte returned, the prince, separated from the fugitive Regency,
the prince, lagging behind, ran the risk of being shot: on the other
hand, how to abandon Paris at the moment when the Allies might be
entering it? Would it not be to forego the profits of success, to
betray that morrow of events for which M. de Talleyrand was made? So
far from leaning towards the Bourbons, he feared them by reason of his
various apostacies. However, since there was some sort of chance for
them, M. de Vitrolles[123], with the assent of the married prelate,
had stealthily repaired to the Congress of Châtillon, as the unavowed
whisperer of the Legitimacy. Having taken this precaution, the prince,
in order to get clear of his difficulties in Paris, had recourse to one
of those tricks of which he was a past master.

M. de Laborie, who, soon after, became confidential secretary to the
Provisional Government under M. Dupont de Nemours[124], went to M. de
Laborde, who was attached to the National Guard, and revealed the fact
of M. de Talleyrand's departure:

"He is preparing," said he, "to follow the Regency; it will perhaps
appear necessary to you to arrest him, in order to be in a position to
negociate with the Allies if need be."

The comedy was played to perfection. The prince's carriages were
ostentatiously got ready; he started at broad noon-day, on the 30th of
March: on reaching the Barrière d'Enfer, he was inexorably sent back
home, in spite of his protestations. In case of a miraculous return,
the proofs were there showing that the ex-minister had tried to join
Marie-Louise and that the armed force had prevented his passage.

Meantime, on the advent of the Allies, the Comte Alexandre de Laborde
and M. Tourton, superior officers of the National Guard, had been
sent to the Generalissimo, Prince von Schwarzenberg[125], who had
been one of Bonaparte's generals during the Russian campaign. The
Generalissimo's proclamation was made known in Paris on the evening of
the 30th of March. It said:

    "For twenty years Europe has been inundated with blood
    and tears: the attempts made to put an end to all these
    sufferings have been useless, because the very principle
    of the government by which you are oppressed contains an
    insurmountable obstacle to peace. Parisians, you know the
    situation in which your country is placed: the preservation
    and the tranquillity of your city will be the object of the
    cares of the Allies. It is with these sentiments that Europe,
    in arms before your walls, addresses herself to you!"

What a magnificent acknowledgment of France's greatness:

"Europe, in arms before your walls, addresses herself to you!"

[Sidenote: Capitulation of Paris.]

We, who had respected nothing, were respected by those whose towns
we had ravaged and who, in their turn, had become the stronger. We
appeared as a sacred nation in their eyes; our lands were to them
as a field of Elis upon which, by order of the gods, no battalion
dared trample. If, notwithstanding, Paris had thought fit to offer a
resistance, very easily made, of four-and-twenty hours, the results
would have been changed; but nobody, except the soldiers intoxicated
with fire and glory, wanted any more of Bonaparte, and, dreading lest
they should keep him, the people hastened to open the gates.

Paris capitulated on the 31st of March: the military capitulation is
signed, in the names of Marshals Mortier; and Marmont, by Colonels
Denys[126] and Fabvier[127]; the civil capitulation was made in the
names of the mayors of Paris. The Municipal and Departmental Council
sent a deputation to the Russian head-quarters to arrange the several
clauses: my companion in exile, Christian de Lamoignon, was one of the
delegates. Alexander said to them:

"Your Emperor, who was my ally, came into the very heart of my States
to bring with him evils of which the traces will long remain: a just
defense has brought me here. I am far from wishing to return to France
the wrongs which she has done me. I am just, and I know that the
French: are not to blame. The French are my friends, and I wish to
prove to them that I have come to return good for evil. Napoleon is my
only enemy. I promise my special protection to the city of Paris; I
shall protect and preserve all public institutions; I shall let only
picked troops remain there; I shall preserve your National Guard,
which is composed of the pick of your citizens. It is for yourselves
to ensure your happiness in the future; you must give yourselves a
government which will procure your repose and that of Europe. It is for
you to express your wish: you will always find me ready to second your

These words were punctually fulfilled: the joy of victory surmounted
every other interest in the eyes of the Allies. What must have been
Alexander's feelings when he caught sight of the domes of the buildings
of that town where no foreigner had ever entered except to admire us,
to revel in the marvels of our civilization and our intelligence;
of that inviolable city, defended by its great men during twelve
Centuries; of that glorious capital which Louis XIV. seemed still to
protect with his shade and Bonaparte with his return!

[86] Alcibiades (450-404 B.C.) started on his ill-fated expedition to
Sicily in 416 B.C.--T.

[87] Alcinous King of the Phæacians, who welcomed Ulysses in the island
of Corcyra.--T.

[88] Pericles (_circa_ 494-429 B.C.) was Alcibiades' uncle and

[89] Aspasia had married Pericles after having been his mistress.--T.

[90] Charles XIV. King of Sweden (1764-1844), as General Bernadotte,
was adopted by Charles XIII., abjured Catholicism, fought against
France in 1813, and succeeded in 1818.--T.

[91] Attila, King of the Huns (_d._ 453). He claimed half the Western
Empire as the betrothed husband of Honoria.--T.

[92] Justa Grata Honoria (_b. circa_ 418), a Roman princess, daughter
of Constantius III., Emperor of the West. She was disgraced and kept
guarded because of her intrigue with Eugenius, and is said to have sent
to Attila to claim her as his bride.--T.

[93] Valentinian III. (419-455), Honoria's brother. The losses of his
reign included Africa (to the Vandals), Britain, and large parts of
Gaul and Spain.--T.

[94] Here I omit Chateaubriand's long history of the career of Napoleon
Bonaparte, extending over two books of these Memoirs. The publishers
propose to issue it as a supplementary volume when the publication of
the Memoirs proper has been completed.--T.

[95] Alexander I. Paulowitch, Emperor of Russia (1777-1825).--T.

[96] The Dowager-Empress Maria Sophia Dorothea Augusta (1759-1828),
widow of Paul I., and daughter of Frederic Eugene Duke of

[97] 27 January 1814.--T.

[98] 29 January 1814. Napoleon had been educated at the military school
at Brienne.--T.

[99] 10 February 1814.--T.

[100] 11 February.--T.

[101] 18 February.--T.

[102] 1 March 1814.--B.

[103] Under the command of Marshal Augereau, Duc de Castiglione.--B.

[104] The Congress of Châtillon, between the four allied Powers and
France, had opened on the 5th of February 1814. France was represented
by the Duc de Vicence; Austria by Count von Stadion; Prussia by Baron
von Humboldt; Russia by Count Razumowsky; England by Sir Charles
Stuart, with Lord Cathcart and the Earl of Aberdeen.--T.

[105] Field-Marshal Gebhart Lebrecht von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstadt
(1743-1819), who played a prominent part in command of the Prussian
forces in the Waterloo campaign.--T.

[106] 7 March 1814.--T.

[107] 27 February.--T.

[108] 4 March.--T.

[109] Napoleon drove a Russian corps out of Rheims on the 13th of March

[110] The Battle of Arcis-Sur-Aube lasted two days (20 and 21 March).
It was the last battle which Napoleon delivered in person in this
campaign. He had to abandon the field to the enemy; but the two
days were none the less most glorious for the French soldiers and
their leader. Napoleon's 20,000 men had resisted a mass which rose
successively from 40,000 to 90,000.--B.

[111] I have heard General Pozzo tell that it was he who persuaded the
Emperor Alexander to march forward.--_Author's Note._

The resolution to march on Paris was taken on the 24th of March, at

[112] Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont, Maréchal Duc de Raguse
(1774-1852), one of Napoleon's most distinguished commanders. Under the
Restoration, he became a peer of France and Major-General of the Royal
Guard, and he clung to the Elder Line after the usurpation of the Duc
d'Orléans. Marmont was elected an honorary member of the Academy of
Science in 1816.--T.

[113] Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier, Maréchal Duc de Trévise
(1768-1835), played a prominent part in the Republic and the Empire. He
was created a peer of France under the First Restoration, but rallied
to Napoleon during the Hundred Days, and was deprived of his peerage in
1815, on refusing to try Marshal Ney. He sat in the Chamber of Deputies
from 1816 to 1819, when his peerage was restored to him; accepted the
office of Minister for War under the Usurpation; and was killed, in
July 1835, by Fieschi's infernal machine, while riding by the side of

[114] He arrived at Fontainebleau in the night of the 30th of March.
The Capitulation of Paris was signed at two o'clock on the morning of
the 31st.--B.

[115] Pope Pius VII., who had been released from his captivity at
Fontainebleau early in the year.--T.

[116] The Marquise de Montcalm was the half-sister of the Duc de
Richelieu. Their father, the Duc de Fronsac, had married twice, first,
Mademoiselle d'Hautefort, by whom he had a son, the future minister of
the Restoration; secondly, Mademoiselle de Gallifet, by whom he had two
daughters, Armande and Simplicie, who became Marquise de Montcalm and
Marquise de Jumilhac respectively.--B.

[117] Armand Emmanuel du Plessis, Duc de Richelieu (1766-1822),
emigrated in 1789 and served with distinction in the Russian Army. He
returned to France in 1814 and in the following year was appointed
President of the Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He used his
great influence with the Emperor of Russia in order to reduce the
period of the foreign occupation, at the end of which, in 1818, he
retired from office, the Chambers voting him a reward of 50,000 francs
a year, the whole of which he devoted to the endowment of a hospital
at Bordeaux. In 1820, he was again appointed Prime Minister, after
the assassination of the Duc de Berry, and set himself to repress the
spirit of independence and discontent which was being displayed. His
consequent loss of popularity caused him to resign in 1821, and he died
a few months later, in 1822, universally esteemed.--T.

[118] M. Mame, the founder of the great Tours publishing-house.--T.

[119] Alaric I. King of the Visigoths (382-412) besieged Rome three
times in 409 and 410, and took the city by assault in the latter

[120] Virginia was killed by her father, Virginius, in 449 B.C., to
save her from the lust of Appius Claudius, one of the Decemvirs of
Rome. The people rose after this event, which led to the abolition of
the Decemvirate.--T.

[121] Joseph Bonaparte (1768-1844), Napoleon's elder brother, was King
of Naples from 1806 to 1808, and King of Spain from 1808 to 1813.
After Waterloo, he took refuge in the United States, where he lived
for eleven years as Comte de Survilliers, returning to Europe in 1826,
when he resided successively in England and Italy until his death in

[122] General Feodor Count Rostopschin (1765-1826) was Governor of
Moscow in 1812 at the time of the French invasion, when he set fire to
the town in order to deprive the enemy of all resources.--T.

[123] Eugène François Auguste d'Armand, Baron de Vitrolles (1774-1854),
had fought in the Army of Condé, but was created a baron of the
Empire in 1812. He took up the cause of the Bourbons in 1814, and
was imprisoned by Bonaparte during the Hundred Days. Under the
Second Restoration, he became principal agent of the personal
policy of Monsieur (the Comte d'Artois). He was appointed Minister
Plenipotentiary to Florence in 1827 and created a peer in 1830. The
fall of the Elder Branch drove him back into private life.--B.

[124] Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours (1739-1817), author of a number
of works on economy, politics, physiology, natural history and general
physics, had remained loyal to Louis XVI. under the Revolution, and
fled to America during the Terror. He returned to France under the
Consulate. In 1814, he was appointed Secretary to the Provisional
Government; but, after the return of Napoleon, he went back to America,
where he died two years later. Dupont de Nemours was one of the
original members of the Institute.--T.

[125] Karl Philipp Field-Marshal Prince von Schwarzenberg (1771-1819),
the Austrian Commander-in-Chief, had distinguished himself at
Hohenlinden in 1800 and during the campaign of 1805. He negotiated the
marriage between Napoleon and Marie-Louise, and commanded the Austrian
auxiliaries in the French campaign against Russia.--T.

[126] Charles Marie Denys, Comte de Damrémont (1783-1837). He espoused
the King's cause in 1814. In 1830, he was given a brigade in the
Algerian Expedition, was created a peer of France in 1830, and Governor
of the French North-African Possessions in 1837, but was killed on the
13th of October of the same year at the taking of Constantine.--T.

[127] Charles Nicolas Baron Fabvier (1782-1855). General Fabvier got
himself into trouble in 1820, and was obliged to leave France. In 1823
he offered his services to the Greeks in their War of Independence,
and defended the Acropolis of Athens in 1826. He returned to France
in 1830, on the outbreak of the Revolution. Louis-Philippe made him a
lieutenant-general and a peer (1845). In 1848 he was sent as Ambassador
of the Republic to Constantinople, and later to Denmark. He retired
into private life after the _coup d'État_ of 1851.--T.


Entry of the Allies into Paris--Bonaparte at Fontainebleau--The
Regency at Blois--Publication of my pamphlet _De Bonaparte et des
Bourbons_--The Senate issues the decree of dethronement--The house
in the Rue Saint-Florentin--M. de Talleyrand--Addresses of the
Provisional Government--Constitution proposed by the Senate--Arrival of
the Comte d'Artois--Bonaparte abdicates at Fontainebleau--Napoleon's
itinerary to the island of Elba--Louis XVIII. at Compiègne--His entry
into Paris--The Old Guard--An irreparable mistake--The Declaration
of Saint-Ouen--Treaty of Paris--The Charter--Departure of the
Allies--First year of the Restoration--First ministry--I publish my
_Réflexions Politiques_-Madame la Duchesse de Duras--I am appointed
Ambassador to Sweden--Exhumation of the remains of Louis XVI.--The
first 21st of January at Saint-Denis.

God had pronounced one of those words by which the silence of eternity
is at rare intervals interrupted. Then, in the midst of the present
generation, rose the hammer that struck the hour which Paris had only
once heard sound: on the 25th of December 496, Rheims announced the
baptism of Clovis, and the gates of Lutetia opened to the Franks; on
the 30th of March 1814, after the baptism of blood of Louis XVI., the
old hammer, which had so long remained motionless, rose once more in
the belfry of the ancient monarchy: a second stroke resounded, the
Tartars penetrated into Paris. In the interval of thirteen hundred and
eighteen years, the foreigner had insulted the walls of the capital of
our empire without ever being able to enter it, except when he glided
in, summoned by our own divisions. The Normans besieged the city of the
_Parisii_; the _Parisii_ gave flight to the hawks which they carried
on their wrists; Odo[128], child of Paris and future King, "_rex
futurus_," Abbon[129] says, drove back the pirates of the North: the
Parisians let fly their eagles in 1814; the Allies entered the Louvre.

Bonaparte had waged an unjust war against Alexander, his admirer, who
had begged on his knees for peace; Bonaparte had ordered the carnage
of the Moskowa; he had forced the Russians themselves to bum Moscow;
Bonaparte had plundered Berlin, humiliated its King, insulted its
Queen[130]: what reprisals were we, then, to expect? You shall see.

I had wandered in the Floridas round unknown monuments, devastated of
old by conquerors of whom no trace remains, and I was saved for the
sight of the Caucasian hordes encamped in the court-yard of the Louvre.
In those events of history which, according to Montaigne, "are but
weake testimonies of our worth and capacity[131]," my tongue cleaves to
my palate: _adhæret lingua mea faucibus meis._[132]

The Allied Army entered Paris on the 31st of March 1814, at mid-day,
ten days only after the anniversary of the death of the Duc d'Enghien,
21 March 1804. Was it worth Bonaparte's while to commit an action of
such long remembrance for a reign which was to last so short a time?
The Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia rode at the head of their
troops. I saw them defile along the boulevards. Feeling stupefied and
dumfoundered within myself, as though my name as a Frenchman had been
tom from me to substitute for it the name by which I was thenceforth
to be known in the mines of Siberia, I felt, at the same time, my
exasperation increase against the man whose glory had reduced us to
that disgrace.

Nevertheless, this first invasion of the Allies has remained
unparalleled in the annals of the world: order, peace and moderation
reigned on every hand; the shops were re-opened; Russian guardsmen, six
feet tall, were piloted through the streets by little French rogues
who made fun of them, as of jumping-jacks and carnival maskers. The
conquered might be taken for the conquerors; the latter, trembling
at their successes, looked as though they were excusing themselves.
The National Guard alone garrisoned the interior of Paris, with the
exception of the houses in which the foreign Kings and Princes were
lodged[133]. On the 31st of March 1814, countless armies were occupying
France; a few months later all those troops passed back across our
frontiers, without firing a musket-shot, without shedding a drop of
blood after the return of the Bourbons. Old France found herself
enlarged on some of her frontiers; the ships and stores of Antwerp were
divided with her; three hundred thousand prisoners, scattered over
the countries where victory or defeat had left them, were restored to
her. After five and twenty years of fighting, the clash of arms ceased
from one end of Europe to the other. Alexander departed, leaving us
the master-pieces which we had conquered and the liberty lodged in the
Charter, a liberty which we owed as much to his enlightenment as to his
influence. The head of two supreme authorities, twice an autocrat by
the sword and by religion, he alone, of all the sovereigns of Europe,
had understood that, at the age of civilization which France had
attained, she could be governed only by virtue of a free constitution.

In our very natural hostility to the foreigners, we have confused the
invasion of 1814 and that of 1815, which were in no sense alike.

[Sidenote: The Emperor Alexander.]

Alexander looked upon himself merely as an instrument of Providence,
and took no credit to himself. When Madame de Staël complimented him
upon the happiness which his subjects, lacking a constitution, enjoyed
of being governed by him, he made his well-known reply:

"I am only a 'fortunate accident.'"

A young man in the streets of Paris expressed to him his admiration at
the affability with which he received the least of the citizens; he

"For what else are sovereigns made?"

He refused to inhabit the Tuileries, remembering that Bonaparte had
taken his ease in the palaces of Vienna, Berlin and Moscow.

Looking at the statue of Napoleon on the column in the Place Vendôme,
he said:

"If I were so high up, I should be afraid of becoming giddy."

As he was going over the Palace of the Tuileries, they showed him the
Salon de la Paix:

"Of what use," he asked, laughing, "was this room to Bonaparte?"

On the day of Louis XVIII.'s entry into Paris, Alexander hid himself
behind a window, wearing no mark of distinction, to watch the
procession as it passed.

Alexander sometimes had elegantly affectionate manners. Visiting a
mad-house, he asked a woman if there were many women "mad through love":

"Not at present," replied she; "but it is to be feared that the number
has increased since the moment of Your Majesty's entry into Paris."

One of Napoleon's great dignitaries said to the Tsar:

"Your arrival has long been expected and wished for, Sire."

"I should have come sooner," he replied; "you must blame only French
valour for my delay."

It is certain that, when crossing the Rhine, he had regretted that he
was not able to retire in peace to the midst of his family.

At the Hôtel des Invalides, he found the maimed soldiers who had
defeated him at Austerlitz: they were silent and gloomy; one heard
nothing save the noise of their wooden legs in their deserted yard and
their denuded church. Alexander was touched by this noise of brave men:
he ordered that twelve Russian guns should be given back to them.

A proposal was made to him to change the name of the Pont d'Austerlitz:

"No," he said, "it is enough for me to have crossed the bridge with my

Alexander had something calm and sad about him. He went about Paris,
on horse-back or on foot, without a suite and without affectation. He
appeared astonished at his triumph; his almost melting gaze wandered
over a population whom he seemed to regard as superior to himself: one
would have said that he thought himself a Barbarian among us, even
as a Roman felt shame-faced in Athens. Perhaps, also, he reflected
that these same Frenchmen had appeared in his fired capital; that his
soldiers, in their turn, were masters of Paris, in which he might
have been able to find again some of those now extinguished torches
by which Moscow was freed and consumed. This destiny, these changing
fortunes, this common misery of peoples and of kings were bound to make
a profound impression upon a mind so religious as his.


What was the victor of the Borodino doing? So soon as he had heard
of Alexander's resolution, he had sent orders to Major Maillard de
Lescourt of the Artillery to blow up the Grenelle powder-magazine:
Rostopschin had set fire to Moscow, but he had first sent away the
inhabitants. From Fontainebleau, to which he had returned, Napoleon
marched to Villejuif; thence he threw a glance over Paris: foreign
soldiers were guarding its gates; the conqueror remembered the days in
which his grenadiers kept watch on the ramparts of Berlin, Moscow, and

Events destroy other events; how poor a thing to-day appears to us the
grief of Henry IV. learning of the death of Gabrielle at Villejuif, and
returning to Fontainebleau! Bonaparte also returned to that solitude;
he was awaited there only by the memory of his august prisoner: the
captive of peace[134] had gone from the palace in order to leave it
free for the captive of war, so swiftly does "misfortune" fill up its

[Sidenote: Flight of the Empire.]

The Regency had retired to Blois. Bonaparte had given orders for the
Empress and the King of Rome to leave Paris, saying that he would
rather see them at the bottom of the Seine than led back in triumph
to Vienna; but, at the same time, he had enjoined Joseph to remain in
the capital. His brother's retreat made him furious, and he accused
the ex-King of Spain of ruining all. The ministers, the members of the
Regency, Napoleon's brothers, his wife and his son arrived in disorder
at Blois, swept away in the downfall; military waggons, baggage-vans,
carriages, everything was there; the King's own coaches were there
and were dragged through the mud of the Beauce to Chambord, the only
morsel of France left to the heir of Louis XIV. Some of the ministers
did not stop here, but proceeded as far as Brittany to hide themselves,
while Cambacérès lolled in a sedan-chair in the steep streets of Blois.
Various rumours were current: there was talk of two camps and of a
general requisition. During several days, they were ignorant of what
was happening in Paris; the uncertainty did not cease until the arrival
of a waggoner whose pass was signed "Sacken[135]." Soon the Russian
General Schouvaloff[136] alighted at the Auberge de la Galère: he was
suddenly besieged by the grandees, and entreated to obtain a visa
for their stampede. However, before leaving Blois, all drew upon the
funds of the Regency for their travelling-expenses and their arrears
of salary; they held their passports in one hand and their money in
the other, taking care at the same time to send in their adhesion to
the Provisional Government, for they did not lose their heads. Madame
Mère[137] and her brother, Cardinal Fesch[138], left for Rome. Prince
Esterhazy[139] came on behalf of Francis II. to fetch Marie-Louise
and her son. Joseph and Jerome[140] withdrew to Switzerland, after
vainly trying to compel the Empress to attach herself to their fate.
Marie-Louise hastened to join her father: indifferently attached to
Bonaparte, she found means to console herself and rejoiced at being
delivered from the double tyranny of a husband and a master. When, in
the following year, Bonaparte revisited that confusion of flight on the
Bourbons, the latter, but lately rescued from their long tribulations,
had not enjoyed fourteen years of unequalled prosperity in which to
accustom themselves to the comforts of the throne.


However, Napoleon was not yet dethroned; more than forty thousand of
the best soldiers in the world were around him; he was able to retire
behind the Loire; the French armies which had arrived from Spain were
growling in the South; the military population might bubble over and
distribute its lava; even among the foreign leaders, there was still
a question of Napoleon or his son reigning over France: for two days,
Alexander hesitated. M. de Talleyrand, as I have said, secretly leant
towards the policy which tended to crown the King of Rome, for he
dreaded the Bourbons; if he did not then accept entirely the plan of
the Regency of Marie-Louise, it was because, since Napoleon had not
perished, he, the Prince de Bénévent, feared that he would not be able
to retain the mastery during a minority threatened by the existence
of a restless, erratic, enterprising man, still in the vigour of his

[Sidenote: _De Bonaparte et des Bourbons._]

It was in those critical days that I threw down my pamphlet _De
Bonaparte et des Bourbons_[142] to turn the scale: its result is well
known. I flung myself headlong into the fray to serve as a shield to
liberty reviving against tyranny still subsisting, with its strength
increased threefold by despair. I spoke in the name of the Legitimacy,
in order to add to my words the authority of positive affairs. I taught
France what the old Royal Family was; I told her how many members of
that Family existed, what their names were, and their character: it
was as though I had drawn up a fist of the children of the Emperor of
China, to so great an extent had the Republic and the Empire encroached
upon the present and relegated the Bourbons to the past. Louis XVIII.
declared, as I have already often mentioned, that my pamphlet was of
greater profit to him than an army of one hundred thousand men; he
might have added that it was a certificate of existence to him. I
assisted in giving him the crown a second time by the fortunate issue
of the Spanish War.

From the commencement of my political career, I became popular with the
crowd; but, from that time also, I failed to make my way with powerful
men. All who had been slaves under Bonaparte abhorred me; on the other
side, I was an object of suspicion to all who wished to place France in
a state of vassalage. At the first moment, among the sovereigns, I had
none on my side except Bonaparte himself. He looked through my pamphlet
at Fontainebleau: the Duc de Bassano[143] had brought it to him; he
discussed it impartially, saying:

"This is true; that is not true. I have nothing to reproach
Chateaubriand with: he resisted me when I was in power; but those
scoundrels, so and so!" and he named them.

My admiration for Bonaparte was always great and sincere, even at the
time when I was attacking Napoleon with the greatest eagerness.

Posterity is not so fair in its judgments as has been held; there are
passions, infatuations, errors of distance even as there are passions
and errors of proximity. When posterity admires without reserve, it
is scandalized that the contemporaries of the man admired should not
have had the same idea of that man as itself. This can be explained,
however: the things which offended one in that person are past;
his infirmities have died with him; all that remains of him is his
imperishable life; but the evil which he caused is none the less real:
evil in itself and in its essence, and especially for those who endured

It is the style of the day to magnify Bonaparte's victories: the
sufferers have disappeared; we no longer hear the imprecations, the
cries of pain and distress of the victims; we no longer see France
exhausted, with only women to till her soil; we no longer see parents
arrested as a pledge for their sons, the inhabitants of the villages
made jointly and severally responsible for the penalties applicable
to a rebellious recruit; we no longer see those conscription placards
posted at the street-corners, the passers-by gathered before those
enormous lists of dead, seeking in consternation the names of their
children, their brothers, their friends, their neighbours. We forget
that the whole population bewailed the triumphs; we forget that the
slightest allusion against Bonaparte on the stage which had escaped
the censors was hailed with rapture; we forget that the people, the
Court, the generals, the ministers, Napoleon's relations were weary of
his oppressions and his conquests, weary of that game always being won
and always being played, of that existence brought into question each
morning anew, thanks to the impossibility of repose.

The reality of our sufferings is demonstrated by the catastrophe
itself: if France had been infatuated with Bonaparte, would she twice
have abandoned him, abruptly, completely, without making one last
effort to keep him? If France owed all to Bonaparte: glory, liberty,
order, prosperity, industry, commerce, manufactures, monuments,
literature, fine arts; if, before his time, the nation had done nothing
itself; if the Republic, destitute of genius and courage, had neither
defended nor enlarged the territory: then France must have been very
ungrateful, very cowardly, to allow Napoleon to fall into the hands of
his enemies, or, at least, not to protest against the captivity of so
great a benefactor?

[Sidenote: Feeling against Napoleon.]

This reproach, which might justly be made against us, is not made
against us, however: and why? Because it is evident that, at the moment
of his fall, France did not desire to defend Napoleon; in our bitter
mortification, we beheld in him only the author and the contemner of
our wretchedness. The Allies did not defeat us: we ourselves, choosing
between two scourges, renounced shedding our blood, which had ceased to
flow for our liberties.

The Republic had been very cruel, doubtless, but every one hoped that
it would pass, that sooner or later we should recover our rights, while
retaining the preservatory conquests which it had given us on the Alps
and the Rhine. All the victories which it gained were won in our name;
with the Republic, there was no question save of France; it was always
France that had triumphed, that had conquered; it was our soldiers who
had done all and for whom triumphal or funeral feasts were organized;
the generals, and some were very great, obtained an honourable but
modest place in the public memory: such were Marceau[144], Moreau,
Hoche[145], Joubert[146]; the two last seemed destined to replace
Bonaparte, who, in the dawn of his glory, suddenly crossed the path of
General Hoche and, by his jealousy, rendered illustrious that warlike
pacificator who died unexpectedly after his triumphs of Altkirchen,
Neuwied and Kleinnister.

Under the Empire, we disappeared; we were no longer mentioned,
everything belonged to Bonaparte: "_I_ have ordered, _I_ have
conquered, _I_ have spoken; _my_ eagles, _my_ crown, _my_ family, _my_

What happened, however, in those two positions, at the same time
similar and opposite? We did not abandon the Republic in its reverses;
it killed us, but it honoured us; we had not the disgrace of being
the property of a man; thanks to our efforts, it was never invaded;
the Russians, defeated beyond the mountains, met with their end at

As for Bonaparte, he, despite his enormous acquisitions, succumbed, not
because he was conquered, but because France would have no more of him.
How great a lesson! May it ever make us remember that there is cause of
death in all that offends the dignity of man.

Independent minds of every shade and opinion were employing uniform
language at the time of the publication of my pamphlet. La Fayette,
Camille Jordan[148], Ducis, Lemercier[149], Lanjuinais[150], Madame de
Staël, Chénier, Benjamin Constant, Le Brun[151] thought and wrote as I

God, in His patient eternity, brings justice sooner or later: at
moments when Heaven seems to slumber, it is always a fine thing that
the disapproval of an honest man should keep watch and remain as a
curb upon the absolute power. France will not disown the noble souls
which protested against her servitude, when all lay prostrate, when
there were so many advantages in so lying, so many favours to receive
in return for flattery, so many persecutions to undergo in return
for sincerity. Honour then to the La Fayettes, the de Staëls, the
Benjamin Constants, the Camille Jordans, the Ducis, the Lemerciers, the
Lanjuinais, the Chéniers, who, standing erect amidst the grovelling
crowd of peoples and of kings, dared to despise victory and protest
against tyranny!


[Sidenote: Napoleon deposed.]

On the 2nd of April, the Senators, to whom we owe one clause only of
the Charter of 1814, the contemptible clause preserving their pensions,
decreed the deposition of Bonaparte. If this decree, which emancipated
France but brought infamy upon those who issued it, offers an affront
to the human race, at the same time it teaches posterity the price of
grandeurs and fortune, when these have disdained to take their stand
upon bases of morality, justice and liberty.


    "The Conservative Senate, taking into consideration that in a
    constitutional monarchy the monarch exists only by virtue of
    the constitution or the social compact;

    "That Napoleon Bonaparte, for some time maintaining a firm
    and prudent government, had given the nation cause to reckon,
    in the future, upon acts of wisdom and justice; but that
    subsequently he destroyed the compact which united him to the
    French people, notably by levying imports and establishing
    taxes, otherwise than by virtue of the law, against the
    express tenor of the oath which he took on his accession to
    the throne, in conformity with Clause 53 of the Constitutions
    of the 28 Floréal Year XII.;

    "That he was guilty of this attempt upon the rights of
    the people at the very time when he had without necessity
    adjourned the Legislative Body, and caused a report made by
    that body, whose title and whose relation to the national
    representation he contested, to be suppressed as criminal;

    "That he undertook a series of wars in violation of Clause
    50 of the Act settling the Constitution of the Year VIII.,
    which lays down that any declaration of war shall be
    proposed, discussed, decreed and promulgated like the laws;

    "That he has unconstitutionally issued several decrees
    bearing the penalty of death, namely, the two decrees of the
    5th of March last, tending to cause a war to be considered as
    national which was undertaken only in the interest of his own
    unmeasured ambition;

    "That he has violated the laws of the Constitution by his
    decrees concerning the State prisons;

    "That he has annihilated the responsibility of the ministers,
    put down all the powers and destroyed the independence of the
    courts of jurisdiction;

    "Taking into consideration that the liberty of the press,
    established and perpetuated as one of the rights of the
    nation, has been constantly subjected to the arbitrary
    censorship of his police, and that, at the same time, he
    has always made use of the press to fill France and Europe
    with fabricated facts, with false maxims, with doctrines
    favourable to despotism and with outrages against foreign

    "That acts and reports, passed by the Senate, have undergone
    alterations when made public;

    "Taking into consideration that, instead of reigning with a
    sole view to the interest, the happiness and the glory of the
    French people, according to the terms of his oath, Napoleon
    has completed the misfortunes of the country by his refusal
    to treat on conditions which the national interest obliged
    him to accept and which did not compromise the honour of
    France; by his abuse of all the means entrusted to him in men
    and money; by his abandonment of the wounded without aid,
    medical requisites, or supplies; by various measures which
    resulted in the ruin of the towns, the depopulation of the
    rural districts, famine and infectious disease;

    "Taking into consideration that, owing to all these causes,
    the Imperial Government established by the Senatus-Consultum
    of the 28 Floréal Year XII., or 18 May 1804, has ceased to
    exist, and that the manifest desires of all Frenchmen call
    into being an order of things of which the first result would
    be the restoration of general peace, and which would also
    mark the epoch of a solemn reconciliation between all the
    States of the great family of Europe, the Senate declares
    and decrees as follows: Napoleon deposed from the throne;
    hereditary right abolished in his family; the French people
    and the army released from their oath of fidelity to him."

The Roman Senate was less harsh when it declared Nero a public enemy:
history is but a repetition of the same facts applied to varying men
and times.

Can one picture to one's self the Emperor reading this official
document at Fontainebleau? What must he have thought of what he had
done, and of the men whom he had summoned to be his accomplices in
his oppression of our liberties? When I published my pamphlet _De
Bonaparte et des Bourbons_, could I have expected to see it amplified
and converted into a decree of deposition by the Senate? What prevented
those legislators, in the days of prosperity, from discovering the
evils of which they reproached Bonaparte with being the author, from
perceiving that the Constitution had been violated? What zeal suddenly
seized these mutes for "the liberty of the press"? How did they, who
had overwhelmed Napoleon with adulation upon his return from each of
his wars, now come to find that he had undertaken those wars "only in
the interest of his own unmeasured ambition"? How did they, who had
flung him so many conscripts to devour, suddenly melt at the thought
of the wounded soldiers "abandoned without aid, medical requisites, or
supplies"? There are times at which contempt should be but frugally
dispensed, because of the large number of those in need of it: I pity
them for this moment, because they will need it again during and after
the Hundred Days.

[Sidenote: By the Decree of the Senate.]

When I ask what Napoleon at Fontainebleau thought of the acts of the
Senate, his answer was made: an Order of the Day of 5 April 1814, not
published officially, but printed in different newspapers outside the
capital, thanked the army for its fidelity, adding:

    "The Senate has allowed itself to dispose of the government
    of France; it has forgotten that it owes to the Emperor the
    power which it is now abusing; that it was he who saved one
    part of its members from the storms of the Revolution, drew
    the other from obscurity and protected it against the hatred
    of the nation. The Senate relies upon the clauses of the
    Constitution to overthrow it; it is not ashamed to utter
    reproaches against the Emperor, without remarking that, in
    its capacity as the first body of the State, it took part in
    all the events. The Senate is not ashamed to speak of the
    libels published against the foreign governments: it forgets
    that these were drawn up in its midst. So long as fortune
    remained faithful to their Sovereign, these men remained
    faithful, and no complaint was heard of the abuses of power.
    If the Emperor had despised men, as he has been reproached
    with doing, then the world would recognise to-day that he has
    had reasons which justified his contempt."

This was a homage rendered by Bonaparte himself to the liberty of the
press: he must have believed that there was some good in it, since it
offered him a last shelter and a last aid.

And I, who am struggling with time, I, who am striving to make it give
an account of what it has seen, I, who am writing this so long after
the events that are past, under the reign of Philip, the counterfeit
heir of so great an inheritance, what am I in the hands of that time,
that great devourer of the centuries which I thought fixed, of that
time which makes me whirl with itself through space?


Alexander had taken up his residence at M. de Talleyrand's[153]. I was
not present at the cabals: you can read about them in the narratives
of the Abbé de Pradt[154] and of the various intriguers who handled
in their dirty and paltry paws the fate of one of the greatest men
in history and the destiny of the world. I counted for nothing in
politics, outside the masses; there was no plotting understrapper but
enjoyed far more right and favour in the ante-chambers than I: a coming
figure in the possible Restoration, I waited beneath the windows, in
the street.

Through the machinations of the house in the Rue Saint-Florentin,
the Conservative Senate appointed a Provisional Government composed
of General Beurnonville[155], Senator Jaucourt[156], the Duc de
Dalberg[157], the Abbé de Montesquiou[158] and Dupont de Nemours[159];
the Prince de Bénévent helped himself to the presidency.

[Sidenote: The provisional government.]

On meeting this name for the first time, I ought to speak of the
personage who took a remarkable part in the affairs of that time; but I
reserve his portrait for the end of my Memoirs.

The intrigue which kept M. de Talleyrand in Paris, at the time of the
entry of the Allies, was the cause of his successes at the commencement
of the Restoration. The Emperor of Russia knew him from having seen him
at Tilsit[160]. In the absence of the French authorities, Alexander
took up his quarters in the Hôtel de l'Infantado[161], which the owner
hastened to offer him.

From that time forth, M. de Talleyrand passed for the arbiter of the
world; his apartments became the centre of the negociations. Composing
the Provisional Government to his own liking, he there placed the
partners of his rubber: the Abbé de Montesquiou figured in it only as
an advertisement of the Legitimacy.

To the Bishop of Autun's sterility were confided the first labours of
the Restoration: he infected that Restoration with barrenness, and
communicated to it a germ of blight and death.


The first acts of the Provisional Government, placed under the
dictatorship of its chairman, were proclamations addressed to the
soldiers and to the people:

    "Soldiers," they said to the former, "France has shattered
    the yoke under which she and you had been groaning for so
    many years. See all that you have suffered at the hands
    of tyranny. Soldiers, the time has come to put an end to
    the ills of the country. You are her noblest children; you
    cannot belong to him who has ravaged her, who tried to make
    your name hated by all the nations, who might perhaps have
    compromised your glory, were it possible for a man WHO IS NOT
    EVEN A FRENCHMAN ever to impair the honour of our arms and
    the generosity of our soldiers[162]."

And so, in the eyes of his most servile slaves, he who had won so many
victories was no longer "even a Frenchman"! When, in the days of the
League, Du Bourg surrendered the Bastille to Henry IV., he refused
to doff the black scarf and to take the money which was offered him
for the surrender of the stronghold. Urged to recognise the King, he
replied that "he was no doubt a very good Prince, but that he had
pledged his faith to M. de Mayenne[163]; that, moreover, Brissac[164]
was a traitor, and that, to prove it to him, he would fight him between
four pikes, in the King's presence, and would eat the heart out of his

A difference of times and men!

[Sidenote: Its first acts.]

On the 4th of April, appeared a new address of the Provisional
Government to the People of France; it said:

    "On emerging from your civil discords, you chose as your
    leader a man who appeared upon the world's stage endowed with
    the characteristics of greatness. On the ruins of anarchy he
    founded only despotism; he ought at least out of gratitude to
    have _become a Frenchman_ like yourselves: he has never been
    one. Without aim or object, he has never ceased to undertake
    unjust wars, like an adventurer seeking fame. Perhaps he is
    still dreaming of his gigantic designs, even while unequalled
    reverses are inflicting such striking punishment upon the
    pride and abuse of victory. He has not known how to reign
    either in the national interest or even in the interest of
    his own despotism. He has destroyed all that he wished to
    create, and re-created all that he wished to destroy. He
    believed in force alone; to-day force overwhelms him: a just
    retribution for an insensate ambition."

Incontestable truths and well-earned curses; but who was it that
uttered those curses? What became of my poor little pamphlet, squeezed
in between those virulent addresses? Did it not disappear entirely? On
the same day, the 4th of April, the Provisional Government proscribed
the signs and emblems of the Imperial Government: if the Arc de
Triomphe had existed, it would have been pulled down. Mailhe[165], who
was the first to vote for the death of Louis XVI., Cambacérès, who was
the first to greet Napoleon by the title of Emperor, eagerly recognised
the acts of the Provisional Government.

On the 6th, the Senate drafted a constitution: it rested nearly
on the bases of the future Charter; the Senate was preserved as an
Upper Chamber; the senatorial dignity was declared permanent and
hereditary; to the title to their property was attached the endowment
of the senatorships; the Constitution made those titles and properties
transmissible to the descendants of the holder: fortunately, those
ignoble hereditary rights bore the Fates within themselves, as the
ancients used to say.

The sordid effrontery of those senators, who, in the midst of the
invasion of their country, did not for a moment lose sight of
themselves, strikes one even in the immensity of public events.

Would it not have been more convenient for the Bourbons, on attaining
power, to adopt the established government, a dumb Legislative Body, a
secret and servile Senate, a fettered press? On reflexion, one finds
the thing to be impossible: the natural liberties, righting themselves
in the absence of the arm that bent them, would have resumed their
vertical line under the weakness of the compression. If the legitimate
Princes had disbanded Bonaparte's army, as they ought to have done
(this was Napoleon's opinion in the island of Elba), and if, at the
same time, they had retained the Imperial Government, to break the
instrument of glory in order to keep only the instrument of tyranny
would have been too much: the Charter was the ransom of Louis XVIII.


On the 12th of April, the Comte d'Artois arrived in the quality of
Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom. Three or four hundred men went on
horseback to meet him: I was one of the band. He charmed one with his
kindly grace, different from the manners of the Empire. The French
recognised with pleasure in his person their old manners, their old
politeness and their old language; the crowd pressed round him, a
consoling apparition of the past, a twofold protection as he was
against the conquering foreigner and against the still threatening
Bonaparte. Alas, the Prince was setting his foot again on French soil
only to see his son assassinated there and to go back to die in the
land of exile whence he was returning: there are men round whose necks
life has been flung like a chain!

[Illustration: Charles X. (as Comte D'Artois.)]

I had been presented to the King's brother; he had been given my
pamphlet to read, otherwise he would not have known my name: he
remembered to have seen me neither at the Court of Louis XVI. nor at
the Camp of Thionville, and he had doubtless never heard speak of the
_Génie du Christianisme._ That was very simple. When one has suffered
much and long, he remembers only himself: personal misfortune is a
somewhat cold, yet exacting companion; it possesses you; it leaves no
room for any other feeling, never quits you, seizes hold of your knees
and your couch.

[Sidenote: Napoleon's abdication.]

The day before the entry of the Comte d'Artois, Napoleon, after some
useless negociations with Alexander through the intermediary of M. de
Caulaincourt, had published his act of abdication:

    "The Allied Powers having proclaimed that the Emperor
    Napoleon was the sole obstacle to the restoration of peace in
    Europe, the Emperor Napoleon, true to his oath, declares that
    he renounces for himself and his heirs the throne of France
    and Italy, because there is no personal sacrifice, even that
    of his life, which he is not ready to make to the interests
    of the French."

To these sensational words the Emperor did not delay, by his return, to
give a no less sensational contradiction: he needed only the time to go
to Elba. He remained at Fontainebleau till the 20th of April.

The 20th of April having arrived, Napoleon went down the double flight
of steps leading to the peristyle of the deserted palace of the
monarchy of the Capets. A few grenadiers, the remnants of the soldiers
who conquered Europe, drew up in line in the great court-yard, as
though on their last field of battle; they were surrounded by those old
trees, the mutilated companions of Francis I. and Henry IV. Bonaparte
addressed the last witnesses of his fights in these words:

"Generals, officers, non-commissioned officers and men of my Old Guard,
I take my leave of you: for twenty years I have been satisfied with
you; I have always found you on the road of glory.

"The Allied Powers have armed all Europe against me, a part of the army
has betrayed its duty, and France herself has desired other destinies.

"With you and the brave men who have remained faithful to me, I could
have kept up civil war for three years; but France would have been
unhappy, which was contrary to the end which I proposed to myself.

"Be faithful to the new King whom France has chosen; do not abandon
our dear country, too long unhappy! Love her always, love her well,
that dear country!

"Do not pity my lot; I shall always be happy when I know you to be so.

"I could have died; nothing would have been easier to me; but I shall
never cease to follow the path of honour. I have yet to write what we
have done.

"I cannot embrace you all; but I will embrace your general.... Come,

He pressed General Petit[166] in his arms.

"Bring me the eagle!"

He kissed it.

"Dear eagle! May these kisses resound in the heart of all brave men!...
Farewell, my lads!... My good wishes will always accompany you; keep me
in remembrance."

These words spoken, Napoleon raised his tent, which covered the world.


Bonaparte had applied to the Allies for commissaries, so that he
might be protected by them on his journey to the island which the
sovereigns granted him as his absolute property and as an installment
on the future. Count Schouvaloff was appointed for Russia, General
Roller[167] for Austria, Colonel Campbell[168] for England, and Count
Waldburg-Truchsess[169] for Prussia: the latter wrote the _Itinerary
of Napoleon from Fontainebleau to Elba._ This pamphlet and the Abbé de
Pradt's on the Polish Embassy are the two reports by which Napoleon
was most pained. No doubt he then regretted the time of his liberal
censorship, when he had poor Palm[170], the German bookseller, shot for
distributing, at Nuremberg, Herr von Gentz's[171] work, _Deutschland
in seiner tiefsten Erniedrigung._ Nuremberg, at the time of the
publication of this work, was still a free city, and did not belong to
France: ought not Palm to have been able to foresee that conquest?

Count Waldburg begins by relating several conversations that took place
at Fontainebleau previous to the departure. He states that Bonaparte
awarded the greatest praise to Lord Wellington[172] and inquired as to
his character and habits. He excused himself for not having made peace
at Prague, Dresden and Frankfort; he agreed that he had been wrong, but
that at that time he had had other views.

"I was no usurper," he added, "because I accepted the crown only in
compliance with the unanimous wish of the whole nation, whereas Louis
XVIII. has usurped it, being called to the throne only by a vile
Senate, more than ten of whose members voted for the death of Louis

[Sidenote: He leaves for Elba.]

Count Waldburg pursues his narrative as follows:

    "The Emperor started, with his four carriages, about twelve
    o'clock on the 21st, not till after he had held a long
    conversation with General Roller, which he commenced with
    these words:

    "'Well, you heard my speech to the Old Guard yesterday; it
    pleased you, and you have seen the effect it produced. That
    is the way to speak and act with them, and if Louis XVIII.
    does not follow this example, he will never make anything of
    the French soldier.'...

    "From the spot where the French troops ceased, the cries of
    'Long live the Emperor!' also had an end. Already in Moulins
    we saw the white cockades, and the inhabitants saluted us with
    'Long live the Allies!' In Lyons, which we passed through at
    about eleven o'clock at night, a few people collected who
    received the Emperor with 'Long live Napoleon!' As he had
    expressed a wish to be escorted by an English frigate to the
    island of Elba, Colonel Campbell left us at Lyons for the
    purpose of procuring one either from Toulon or Marseilles.

    "About mid-day on the 24th, on this side Valence, Napoleon
    met Marshal Augereau[173]. Both alighted from their
    carriages. The Emperor saluted the marshal, embraced him,
    and took off his hat to him. Augereau returned none of these
    civilities. The Emperor, as he asked him, 'Where are you off
    to? Are you going to the Court?' took the marshal by the arm
    and led him forwards. Augereau replied, his present journey
    extended only to Lyons. They walked together for a quarter
    of a league on the road towards Valence, and, according to
    authentic information, the Emperor reproached the marshal for
    his proclamation. Among other things he observed:

    "'Your proclamation is very silly; why those insults against
    myself? All you need have said was, "The Nation having
    pronounced its wish in favour of a new sovereign, the duty of
    the Army is to conform to it. God save the King! Long live
    Louis XVIII.!'"

    "Augereau, who now likewise thou'd him, reproached him, on
    the other hand, with his insatiate love of conquest, to which
    he had sacrificed the happiness of France. At length, tired
    of the discourse, the Emperor turned suddenly towards the
    marshal, embraced him, again took off his hat to him, and got
    into the carriage. Augereau, who stood with his hands behind
    him, did not move his cap from his head, and as Napoleon
    was already in the carriage, drew one hand forwards in
    order to wave, with a mien bordering on contempt, a kind of

    "On the 25th, as we arrived at Orange, we were received with
    'Long live the King! Long live Louis XVIII.!'

    "On the same morning, close to Avignon, where the relays of
    horses awaited us, the Emperor found a crowd assembled, whose
    tumultuous cries saluted him with 'Long live the King! Long
    live the Allies! Down with Nicolas! Down with the tyrant, the
    scoundrel, the wretched beggar!' and still coarser abuse. In
    compliance with our instructions, we did everything in our
    power to lighten the evil, but could only partially effect
    it.... The people ... likewise conceived that we should not
    deny them the liberty of venting their indignation against
    the man who had made them so unhappy, and even had the
    intention of rendering them still more miserable.... In
    Orgon, the next place where we changed horses, the conduct
    of the populace was most outrageous. Exactly on the spot
    where the horses were taken out, a gallows was erected, on
    which a figure in French uniform, sprinkled with blood,
    was suspended. On its breast it bore a paper with this

    [Sidenote: Napoleon insulted.]

    "'Sooner or later this will be the Tyrant's fate.'

    "The rabble pressed around his carriage, and elevated
    themselves on both sides in order to look and cast in their
    abuse. The Emperor pressed into a corner behind General
    Bertrand[174], and looked pale and disfigured; but at length,
    through our assistance, he was happily brought off.

    "Count Schouwaloff harangued the people from the side of
    Buonaparte's carriage.

    "'Are you not ashamed,' said he, 'to insult an unfortunate
    who has not the means of defending himself? His situation
    is sufficiently humiliating for one who, expecting to give
    laws to the world, now finds himself at the mercy of your
    generosity. Leave him to himself; behold him: you see
    contempt is the only weapon you ought to employ against this
    man, who is no longer dangerous. It would be unworthy of the
    French nation to take any other vengeance.'

    "The crowd applauded this harangue, and Buonaparte, seeing
    the effect it produced, made signs of approbation to Count
    Schouwaloff, and afterwards thanked him for the service he
    had rendered him.

    "When he had proceeded about a quarter of a league from Orgon
    he changed his dress in his carriage, put on a plain blue
    great-coat and a round hat with a white cockade, mounted a
    post-horse, and rode on before as a courier. As it was some
    time ere we overtook him, we were perfectly ignorant of his
    being no longer in the carriage and in Saint Cannat, where
    the horses were again changed. We still believed him to be
    in the greatest danger, for the people attempted to break
    open the doors, which, however, were fortunately locked. Had
    they succeeded, they would certainly have destroyed General
    Bertrand, who sat there alone.... Characteristic is the
    prayer with which some of the women assailed me:

    "'For the love of God, deliver him up as a pillage to us! He
    has so well deserved it, both from you and us, that nothing
    can be more just than our request!'

    "Having overtaken the Emperor's carriage about half a league
    on the other side of Orgon, it shortly afterwards entered
    into a miserable public-house, lying on the roadside,
    called the Calade. We followed it, and here first learnt
    Buonaparte's disguise, who in this attire had arrived
    here, accompanied by one courier only. His suite, from
    the generals to the scullions, were decorated with white
    cockades, which he appeared previously to have provided
    himself with. His valet-de-chambre, who came to meet us,
    begged we would conduct ourselves towards the Emperor as if
    he were Colonel Campbell, for whom on his arrival he had
    given himself out. We entered and found in a kind of chamber
    this former ruler of the world buried in thought, sitting
    with his head supported by his hand. I did not immediately
    recognise him, and walked towards him. He started up as he
    heard somebody approaching, and pointed to his countenance
    bedewed with tears. He made a sign that I might not discover
    him, requested me to sit down beside him, and as long as the
    landlady was in the room, conversed on indifferent subjects.
    As soon, however, as she was gone out he resumed his former
    position. We left him alone; he sent, however, to request we
    would pass backwards and forwards, to prevent any suspicion
    of his being there. We informed him it was known Colonel
    Campbell had passed through here the day before on his way
    to Toulon; on which he determined upon assuming the name
    of Lord Burghersh. Here we dined, but as the dinner had
    not been prepared by his own cooks, he had not courage to
    partake of it, for fear of being poisoned. He felt ashamed,
    however, at seeing us all eat, both with good appetites and
    good conscience, and therefore helped himself from every
    dish, but without swallowing the least morsel. He spat
    everything out upon his plate or behind his chair. A little
    bread and a bottle of wine taken from his carriage, and which
    he divided with us, constituted his whole repast. In other
    respects he was conversible and extremely friendly towards
    us. Whenever the landlady, who waited upon us at table, left
    the room, and he perceived we were alone, he repeated to us
    his apprehensions for his life, and assured us the French
    Government had indisputably determined to destroy or arrest
    him here. A thousand plans passed through his brain how he
    might escape, and what arrangements ought to be made to
    deceive the people of Aix, whom he had learnt awaited him
    by thousands at the post-house. The most eligible plan in
    his estimation would be to go back again to Lyons, and from
    thence strike into another road by way of Italy to the island
    of Elba. This, however, we should on no account have allowed,
    and we therefore endeavoured to persuade him to proceed
    either directly to Toulon, or by way of Digne to Fréjus. We
    assured him that, without our knowledge, it was impossible
    the French Government would entertain such insidious
    intentions against him, and although the people allowed
    themselves the greatest improprieties, they would never
    charge themselves with a crime of the nature he feared. In
    order to inform us better, and to convince us the inhabitants
    of that part of the country meditated his destruction, he
    related to us what had happened to him as he arrived here
    alone. The landlady, who did not recognise him, asked him:

    "'Well, have you met Buonaparte?'

    "He replied in the negative.

    "'I am curious,' she answered, 'to see how he will save
    himself. I do believe the people will murder him: and it must
    be confessed he has well deserved it, the scoundrel! Tell me,
    are they going to put him on board ship for his island?'

    "'Yes, of course.'

    "'They will drown him, I hope?'

    "'Oh, no doubt,' returned the Emperor. 'And so you see,' he
    added, turning towards us, 'the danger I am exposed to.'

    [Sidenote: His fears and apprehensions.]

    "And now again, with all his apprehensions and indecision,
    he renewed his solicitations of counsel. He even begged us
    to look around and see if we could not anywhere discover
    a private door through which he might slip out, or if the
    window, whose shutters upon entering he had half-closed at
    the bottom, was too high for him to jump out in case of
    need. On examination I found the window was provided with an
    iron trellis-work on the outside, and threw him into evident
    consternation as I communicated to him the discovery. At the
    least noise he started up in terror, and changed colour.
    After dinner we left him alone, and as we went in and out
    found him frequently weeping....

    "As... General Schouwaloff's Adjutant had... announced
    that the major part of the populace assembled on the road
    were dispersed, the Emperor towards midnight determined
    on proceeding. For greater precaution, however, another
    disguise was assumed. General Schouwaloff's Adjutant was
    obliged to put on the blue great-coat and round hat in which
    the Emperor had reached the inn, that in case of necessity he
    might be regarded, insulted, or even murdered for him.

    "Napoleon, who now pretended to be an Austrian colonel,
    dressed himself in the uniform of General Roller, with
    the Order of Theresa, wore my camp cap, and cast over his
    shoulders General Schouwaloff's mantle. After the Allies
    had thus equipped him, the carriages drove up, and we were
    obliged to march them through the other rooms of the inn in
    a certain order, which had been previously tried in our own
    chamber. The procession was headed by General Drouot[175];
    then came, as Emperor, General Schouwaloff's Adjutant; upon
    this General-Roller, the Emperor, General Schouwaloff, and
    lastly, myself, to whom the honour of forming the rear-guard
    was assigned. The remainder of the Imperial suite united
    themselves with us as we passed by, and thus we walked
    through the gaping multitude, who vainly endeavoured to
    distinguish their Tyrant amongst us. Schouwaloff's Adjutant
    (Major Olewieff) placed himself in Napoleon's carriage, and
    the latter sat beside General Roller in his calash....

    "Still, however, the Emperor was constantly in alarm. He not
    only remained in General Roller's calash, but even begged he
    would allow the servant to smoke who sat before, and asked
    the General himself if he could sing, in order that he might
    dissipate, through such familiar conduct, any suspicion in
    the places where we stopped, that the Emperor sat with him in
    the carriage. As the General could not sing, Napoleon begged
    him to whistle, and with this singular music we made our
    entry into every place; whilst the Emperor, fumigated with
    the incense of the tobacco-pipe, pressed himself into the
    corner of the calash, and pretended to be fast asleep....

    "At Saint-Maximin he breakfasted with us, and having learnt
    that the sub-prefect of Aix was there, he ordered him into
    his presence, and received him with these words:

    "'You ought to blush to see me in an Austrian uniform, which
    I have been obliged to assume to protect myself against
    the insults of the Provençals. I came among you in full
    confidence, whilst I might have brought with me six thousand
    of my guard, and I find nothing but a band of maniacs who put
    my life in danger. The Provençals are a disgraceful race;
    they committed every kind of crime and enormity during the
    Revolution, and are quite ready to begin over again: but when
    it is a question of fighting bravely, then they are cowards.
    Provence has never supplied me with a single regiment with
    which I could be satisfied. But to-morrow they will be as
    much against Louis XVIII. as to-day they appear to be against
    me,' etc....

    [Sidenote: His protests.]

    "To us he again spoke of Louis XVIII., and said he would
    never effect anything with the French nation if he treated
    them with too much forbearance. He would, from necessity,
    be obliged to lay large imposts upon them, and hence cause
    himself to be immediately hated. He likewise told us that
    'eighteen years before, he had marched through this place
    with some thousand men to liberate two Royalists who were
    to have been executed for wearing the white cockade. In
    spite, however, of the fury of the populace with which he
    had to contend, he fortunately saved them, and to-day, he
    continued, would that man be murdered by this same populace,
    who should refuse to wear a white cockade,--so contradictory
    and vacillating are they in everything they do.'

    "Having learnt that two squadrons of Austrian hussars were
    stationed at Luc, an order was sent at his request to the
    commanders to await our arrival there, in order to escort the
    Emperor to Fréjus[176]."

Here ends Count Waldburg's narrative: those accounts are painful to
read. What! Were the commissaries unable to afford better protection
to him for whom they had the honour to be responsible? Who were they,
to affect these airs of superiority with such a man? Bonaparte truly
said that, if he had wished, he might have travelled accompanied by
a portion of his guard. It is evident that men were indifferent to
his fate; they enjoyed his degradation; they gladly acquiesced in the
marks of indignity which the victim demanded for his safety: it is so
sweet to hold beneath one's feet the destiny of him who walked over the
highest heads, to avenge pride with insult! Therefore the commissaries
do not expend a word, not even a word of philosophic sensibility, on
such a change of fortune, to remind man of his nothingness and of the
greatness of the judgments of God! In the ranks of the Allies, Napoleon
had had numerous adulators: he who has gone on his knees before brute
force is not entitled to triumph over misfortune. Prussia, I admit, had
need of an effort of virtue to forget what she had suffered, herself,
her King and her Queen; but that effort should have been made. Alas!
Bonaparte had taken pity on nothing; all hearts had cooled towards him.
The moment in which he showed himself most cruel was at Jaffa[177]; the
smallest, on the way to Elba: in the first case, military necessity
served as his excuse; in the second, the harshness of the foreign
commissaries changes the course of the reader's feelings and lessens
his own abasement.

The Provisional Government of France does not itself seem to me
quite without reproach: I reject the calumnies of Maubreuil[178];
nevertheless, amid the terror with which Napoleon still inspired his
former servants, a fortuitous catastrophe might have presented itself
in their eyes in the light only of a misfortune.

One would gladly doubt the truth of the facts reported by Count
Waldburg-Truchsess, but General Koller, in a _Sequel to Waldburgs
Itinerary_, has confirmed a part of his colleague's narrative;
General Schouvaloff, on his part, has certified, in conversation with
myself, the exactness of the facts: his measured words said more than
Waldburg's expansive recital. Lastly, Fabry's[179] _Itinéraire_ is
composed of authentic French documents furnished by eye-witnesses.

[Sidenote: His humiliation.]

Now that I have done justice on the commissaries and the Allies, is
it really the conqueror of the world whom one sees in Waldburg's
_Itinerary?_ The hero reduced to disguises and tears, weeping under a
post-boy's jacket in the corner of a back-room at an inn! Was it thus
that Marius bore himself on the ruins of Carthage, that Hannibal died
in Bithynia, Cæsar in the Senate? How did Pompey disguise himself? By
covering his head with his toga! He who had donned the purple taking
shelter beneath the white cockade, uttering the cry of safety: "God
save the King!"--that King, one of whose heirs he had had shot! The
master of the nations encouraging the commissaries in the humiliations
which they heaped upon him in order the better to hide him, delighted
to have General Koller whistling before him and a coachman smoking in
his face, compelling General Schouwaloff's aide-de-camp to enact the
part of the Emperor, while he, Bonaparte, wore the dress of an Austrian
colonel and wrapped himself in the cloak of a Russian general. He must
have loved life cruelly: those immortals cannot consent to die.

Moreau said of Bonaparte:

"His chief characteristics are falsehood and the love of life: let me
beat him, and I should see him at my feet begging me for mercy."

Moreau thought thus, being unable to grasp Bonaparte's nature; he fell
into the same error as Lord Byron. At least, at St. Helena, Napoleon,
dignified by the Muses, although petty in his quarrels with the English
Governor, had to support only the weight of his own immensity. In
France, the evil which he had done appeared to him personified by the
widows and orphans, and constrained him to tremble before the hands of
a few women.

This is too true; but Bonaparte should not be judged by the rules
applied to great geniuses, because he was lacking in magnanimity. There
are men who have the faculty of rising, and who have not the faculty
of descending. Napoleon possessed both faculties: like the rebellious
angel, he was able to contract his incommensurable stature, so as to
enclose it within a measured space; his ductility furnished him with
means of safety and regeneration: with him, all was not finished when
he seemed to have finished. Changing his manners and costume at will,
as perfect in comedy as in tragedy, this actor knew how to appear
natural in the slave's tunic as in the king's mantle, in the part of
Attalus or in the part of Cæsar. Another moment and you shall see, from
the depth of his degradation, the dwarf raising his Briarean head;
Asmodeus will come forth in a huge column of smoke from the flask into
which he had compressed himself. Napoleon valued life for what it
brought him; he had the instinct of that which yet remained to him to
paint; he did not wish his canvas to fail him before he had completed
his pictures.

[Sidenote: Scott's _Life of Napoleon._]

Writing of Napoleon's fears, Sir Walter Scott[180], less unfair than
the commissaries, frankly remarks that the unkindness of the people
made much impression on Bonaparte, that he even shed tears, that
he showed more fear of assassination than seemed consistent with
his approved courage; "but," he adds, "it must be recollected that
the danger was of a new and particularly horrible description, and
calculated to appall many to whom the terrors of a field of battle were
familiar. The bravest soldier might shudder at a death like that of the
de Witts." Napoleon was made to undergo this revolutionary anguish in
the same places where he commenced his career with the Terror.

The Prussian General, once interrupting his recital, thought himself
obliged to reveal a disorder which the Emperor did not conceal: Count
Waldburg may have confused what he saw with the sufferings which M. de
Ségur[181] witnessed in the Russian campaign, when Bonaparte, compelled
to alight from his horse, leant his head against the guns. Among the
number of the infirmities of illustrious warriors, true history reckons
only the dagger which pierced the heart of Henry IV., or the ball which
killed Turenne.

After describing Bonaparte's arrival at Fréjus, Sir Walter Scott, rid
of the great scenes, joyfully falls back upon his talent; he "goes
his way gossiping," as Madame de Sévigné says; he chats of Napoleon's
passage to Elba, of the seduction exercised by Napoleon over the
English sailors, excepting Hinton[182], who could not hear the praises
given to the Emperor without muttering the word "humbug." When Napoleon
left the ship, Hinton wished "His Honour" good health and better luck
the next time. Napoleon typified all the littlenesses and all the
greatnesses of mankind.


While Bonaparte, known to the universe, was escaping amid curses from
France, Louis XVIII., everywhere forgotten, was leaving London under a
canopy of white banners and crowns. Napoleon, on landing in the island
of Elba, found back his strength there. Louis XVIII., on landing at
Calais[183], might have seen Louvel[184]; he met General Maison[185],
commissioned, sixteen years after, to put Charles X. on board at
Cherbourg. Charles X., apparently to render him worthy of his future
mission, later gave M. Maison the baton of a marshal of France, even as
a knight, before fighting, conferred knighthood upon the man of lower
rank with whom he deigned to measure swords.

I dreaded the effect of Louis XVIII.'s appearance. I hastened to go
ahead of him to the residence whence Joan of Arc[186] fell into the
hands of the English and where I was shown a volume struck by one of
the cannon-balls hurled against Bonaparte. What would people think at
the sight of the royal invalid replacing the horseman who might have
said with Attila:

"The grass no longer grows wherever my horse has passed."

With no mission or taste for it, I undertook (I was clearly under a
spell) a somewhat difficult task, that of describing the arrival at
Compiègne, of causing the son of St. Louis to be seen as I idealized
him by the aid of the Muses. I expressed myself thus:

    "The King's coach was preceded by the generals and the
    marshals of France who had gone to meet his Majesty. There
    were no more cries of 'God save the King!' but confused
    clamours amid which one distinguished only accents of tender
    emotion and joy. The King wore a blue coat, marked only by a
    star and a pair of epaulettes; his legs were encased in wide
    gaiters of red velvet, edged with a narrow gold braid. Seated
    in his arm-chair, with his old-fashioned gaiters, holding
    his cane between his knees, he suggests Louis XIV.[187] at
    fifty years of age.... Marshals Macdonald[188], Ney[189],
    Moncey[190], Sérurier[191], Brune[192], the Prince de
    Neuchâtel[193], all the generals, all the persons present
    alike received the most affectionate words from the King. So
    great in France is the power of the legitimate Sovereign, the
    magic attached to the name of the King. A man arrives alone
    from exile, despoiled of everything, without a following,
    guards, or riches; he has nothing to give, almost nothing to
    promise. He alights from his carriage, leaning on the arm of
    a young woman; he shows himself to captains who have never
    seen him, to grenadiers who hardly know his name. Who is that
    man? Tis the King! Every one falls at his feet[194]!"

[Sidenote: Return of Louis XVIII.]

What I said above of the warriors, with the object which I was
proposing to attain, was true as regards the leaders; but I lied with
respect to the soldiers. I have present in my memory, as though I saw
it still, the spectacle which I witnessed when Louis XVIII., entering
Paris on the 3rd of May, went to visit Notre-Dame: they had wished
to spare the King the sight of the foreign troops; a regiment of the
old foot-guards kept the line from the Pont-Neuf to Notre-Dame, along
the Quai des Orfèvres. I do not believe that human faces ever wore so
threatening and so terrible an expression. Those grenadiers, covered
with wounds, the conquerors of Europe, who had seen so many thousands
of cannon-balls pass over their heads, who smelt of fire and powder;
those same men, robbed of their captain, were forced to salute an old
king, disabled by time, not war, watched as they were by an army of
Russians, Austrians and Prussians, in Napoleon's invaded capital. Some,
moving the skin of their foreheads, brought down their great bear-skin
busbies over their eyes, as though to keep them from seeing; others
lowered the corners of their mouth in angry scorn; others again showed
their teeth through their mustachios, like tigers. When they presented
arms, it was with a furious movement, and the sound of those arms made
one tremble. Never, we must admit, have men been put to so great a
test and suffered so dire a torment. If, at that moment, they had been
summoned to vengeance, it would have been necessary to exterminate them
to the last, or they would have swallowed the earth.

At the end of the line was a young hussar, on horse-back; he held a
drawn sword, and made it leap and as it were dance with a convulsive
movement of anger. His face was pale; his eyes rolled in their sockets;
he opened and shut his mouth by turns, clashing his teeth together,
and stifling cries of which one heard only the first sound. He caught
sight of a Russian officer: the look which he darted at him cannot be
described. When the King's carriage passed before him, he made his
horse spring, and certainly he had the temptation to fling himself upon
the King.

The Restoration committed an irreparable mistake at its outset: it
ought to have disbanded the army, while retaining the marshals,
generals, military governors and officers in their pensions, honours
and rank; the soldiers would afterwards have successively returned
into the reconstituted army, as they have since done into the Royal
Guard: the Legitimate Monarchy would not then have had against it,
from the first, those soldiers of the Empire, organized, divided into
brigades, denominated as they had been in the days of their victories,
unceasingly talking together of the time that was past, nourishing
regrets and feelings hostile to their new master.

The miserable resurrection of the Maison Rouge[195], that mixture
of soldiers of the old Monarchy and fighting men of the new Empire,
augmented the evil: to believe that veterans distinguished on a
thousand battle-fields would not be offended at seeing young men, very
brave no doubt, but for the most part new to the calling of arms,
wearing symbols of high military rank without having earned them, was
to betray a want of knowledge of human nature.

[Sidenote: Declaration of Saint-Ouen.]

Alexander had been to visit Louis XVIII. during the stay which the
latter made at Compiègne. Louis XVIII. offended him by his haughtiness:
this interview led to the Declaration of Saint-Ouen of the 2nd of May.
The King said in this that he had resolved to give, as the basis of the
Constitution which he proposed to award to his people, the following
guarantees: representative government divided into two bodies,
taxes freely granted, public and individual liberty, liberty of the
press, liberty of public worship, sacred inviolability of property,
irrevocability of the sale of national goods, irremovable judges and
an independent judicial bench, every Frenchman admissible to every
employment, etc., etc.

This declaration, although it was in keeping with Louis XVIII.'s
intelligence, nevertheless pertained neither to him nor to his
advisers; it was simply the time which was issuing from its rest: its
wings had been folded, its soaring suspended since 1792; it was now
resuming its flight, or its course. The excesses of the Terror, the
despotism of Bonaparte had caused ideas to turn back again; but, so
soon as the obstacles that had been opposed to them were destroyed,
they flowed into the bed which they were at the at same time to follow
and to dig. Matters were taken up at the point at which they had been
stopped; all that had passed was as though it had not happened: the
human race, thrust back to the commencement of the Revolution, had only
lost forty years[196] of its life; well, what is forty years in the
general life of society? That gap disappears when the cut fragments of
time have been joined together.

The Treaty of Paris, between the Allies and France, was concluded
on the 30th of May 1814. It was agreed that, within two months, all
the Powers engaged on either side in the present war should send
plenipotentiaries to Vienna to settle the final arrangements in a
general congress.

On the 4th of June, Louis XVIII. appeared in royal session in a
collective assembly of the Legislative Body and a fraction of the
Senate. He delivered a noble speech: old, by-gone, worn-out, these
wearisome details now serve only as an historic thread.

To the greater part of the nation, the Charter possessed the drawback
of being "granted:" this most useless word stirred up the burning
question of royal or popular sovereignty. Louis XVIII. also dated
his boon from the nineteenth year of his reign, considering that of
Bonaparte as null and void, in the same way as Charles II[197]. had
taken a clean leap over Cromwell's head: it was a kind of insult to
the sovereigns, who had all recognised Napoleon and who were at that
very moment in Paris. That obsolete language and those pretensions of
the ancient monarchies added nothing to the lawfulness of the right
and were mere puerile anachronisms[198]. That apart, the Charter,
replacing despotism, bringing us legal liberty, was calculated to
satisfy conscientious men. Nevertheless, the Royalists, who gained
so many advantages by it, who, issuing from their village, or their
paltry fireside, or the obscure posts on which they had lived under
the Empire, were called to a lofty and public existence, received the
boon only in a grudging spirit; the Liberals, who had accommodated
themselves whole-heartedly to the tyranny of Bonaparte, thought the
Charter a regular slave-code. We have returned to the time of Babel,
but we no longer work at a common monument of confusion: each builds
his tower to his own height, according to his strength and stature.
For the rest, if the Charter appeared defective, it was because the
Revolution had not run its course; the principles of equality and
democracy lay at the bottom of men's minds and worked in a contrary
direction to the monarchical order.

The Allied Princes lost no time in leaving Paris. Alexander, when
going away, had a religious sacrifice celebrated on the Place de la
Concorde[199]. An altar was erected where the scaffold of Louis XVI.
had stood. Seven Muscovite priests performed the service, and the
foreign troops defiled before the altar. The _Te Deum_ was sung to one
of the beautiful airs of the old Greek music. The soldiers and the
sovereigns bent their knee to the ground to receive the benediction.
The thoughts of the French were carried back to 1793 and 1794, when
the oxen refused to go over pavements which the smell of blood made
hateful to them. What hand had led to the expiatory festival those men
of all countries, those sons of the ancient barbarian invasions, those
Tartars, some of whom dwelt in sheep-skin tents beneath the Great Wall
of China? Those are spectacles which the feeble generations that will
follow my century shall no longer see.

[Sidenote: The first Restoration.]

In the first year of the Restoration, I assisted at the third
transformation of society: I had seen the old Monarchy turn into
the Constitutional Monarchy, and the latter into the Republic; I
had seen the Republic change into military despotism; I had seen
military despotism turn back into a free Monarchy, the new ideas and
the new generations return to the old principles and the old men. The
marshals of the Empire become marshals of France; with the uniforms
of Napoleon's Guard were mingled the uniforms of the bodyguards and
the Maison Rouge, cut precisely after the old patterns; the old
Duc d'Havré[200], with his powdered wig and his black cane, ambled
along with shaking head, as Captain of the Body-guards, near Marshal
Victor[201], limping in the Bonaparte style; the Duc de Mouchy[202],
who had never seen a shot fired, went in to Mass near Marshal
Oudinot[203], riddled with wounds; the Palace of the Tuileries, so
proper and soldierly under Napoleon, became filled, instead of the
smell of powder, with the odours of the breakfasts which ascended
on every side: under messieurs the lords of the Bed-chamber, with
messieurs the officers of the Mouth and the Wardrobe, everything
resumed an air of domesticity. In the streets, one saw decrepit
Emigrants wearing the airs and clothes of former days, most respectable
men no doubt, but appearing as outlandish among the modern crowd
as did the Republican captains among the soldiers of Napoleon. The
ladies of the Imperial Court introduced the dowagers of the Faubourg
Saint-Germain and taught them "their way about" the palace. There
arrived deputations from Bordeaux, adorned with armlets; parish
captains from the Vendée, wearing La Rochejacquelein hats. These
different persons retained the expression of the feelings, thoughts,
habits, manners familiar to them. Liberty, which lay at the root
of that period, made things exist together which, at first sight,
appeared as though they ought not to exist; but one had difficulty in
recognising that liberty, because it wore the colours of the Ancient
Monarchy and of the Imperial Despotism. Everyone, too, was badly
acquainted with the language of the Constitution: the Royalists made
glaring errors when talking Charter; the Imperialists were still less
well-informed; the Conventionals, who had become, in turn, counts,
barons, senators of Napoleon and peers of Louis XVIII., lapsed at one
time into the Republican dialect which they had almost forgotten, at
another into the Absolutist idiom which they had learned thoroughly.
Lieutenant-generals had been promoted to game-keepers. Aides-de-camp of
the last military tyrant were heard to prate of the inviolable liberty
of the peoples, and regicides to sustain the sacred dogma of the

These metamorphoses would be hateful, if they did not in part belong
to the flexibility of the French genius. The people of Athens governed
itself; orators appealed to its passions in the public places; the
sovereign crowd was composed of sculptors, painters, artizans, "who
are wont to be spectators of speeches and hearers of deeds[204]," as
Thucydides says. But when, good or bad, the decree had been delivered,
who issued to execute it from amid that incoherent and inexpert mass?
Socrates, Phocion, Pericles, Alcibiades.


Is it the Royalists who are "to blame for the Restoration," as is
urged to-day? Not in the least: it was as though one should say that
thirty millions of men had stood aghast, while a handful of Legitimists
accomplished a detested restoration, against the wish of all, by
waving a few handkerchiefs and putting a ribbon of their wives' in
their hats! The vast majority of Frenchmen was, it is true, full of
joy; but that majority was not a _Legitimist_ one in the limited
sense of the word, applicable only to the rigid partisans of the old
Monarchy. The majority was a mass composed of every shade of opinion,
happy at being delivered, and violently incensed against the man whom
it accused of all its misfortunes: hence the success of my pamphlet.
How many avowed aristocrats were numbered among those who proclaimed
the King's name? Messieurs Mathieu and Adrien de Montmorency; the
Messieurs de Polignac, escaped from their jail; M. Alexis de Noailles;
M. Sosthène de La Rochefoucauld. Did those seven or eight men, whom the
people neither recognised nor followed, lay down the law to a whole

Madame de Montcalm had sent me a bag containing twelve hundred francs
to distribute among the pure Legitimist race: I sent it back to her,
not having succeeded in placing a crown-piece. An ignominious cord
was fastened round the neck of the statue which surmounted the column
in the Place Vendôme; there were so few Royalists to raise a hubbub
around glory and to pull at the rope that the authorities themselves,
Bonapartists all, had to lower their master's image with the aid of
a scaffold; the colossus was forced to bow his head: he fell at the
feet of the sovereigns of Europe, who had so often lain prostrate
before him. It was the men of the Republic and of the Empire who
enthusiastically greeted the Restoration. The conduct and ingratitude
of the persons raised by the Revolution were abominable towards him
whom they affect to-day to regret and admire.

[Sidenote: Its supporters.]

Imperialists and Liberals, it is you into whose hands the power fell,
you who knelt down before the sons of Henry IV. It was quite natural
that the Royalists should be happy to recover their Princes and to see
the end of the reign of him whom they regarded as an usurper; but you,
the creatures of that usurper, surpassed the feelings of the Royalists
in exaggeration. The ministers, the high dignitaries vied with each
other in taking the oath to the Legitimacy; all the civil and judicial
authorities crowded on each other's heels to swear hatred against the
proscribed new dynasty and love to the ancient race whom they had a
hundred and a hundred times condemned. Who drew up those proclamations,
those adulatory addresses, so insulting to Napoleon, with which France
was flooded? The Royalists? No: the ministers, the generals, the
authorities chosen and maintained in office by Bonaparte. Where was
the jobbing of the Restoration done? At the Royalists'? No: at M. de
Talleyrand's. With whom? With M. de Pradt, almoner to "the God Mars"
and mitred mountebank. Where and with whom did the Lieutenant-General
of the Kingdom dine on his arrival? At the Royalists' and with
Royalists? No: at the Bishop of Autun's, with M. de Caulaincourt.
Where were entertainments given to "the infamous foreign princes?" At
the country-houses of the Royalists? No: at Malmaison, at the Empress
Joséphine's. To whom did Napoleon's dearest friends, Berthier, for
instance, carry their ardent devotion? To the Legitimacy. Who spent
their existences with the Emperor Alexander, with that brutal Tartar?
The classes of the Institute, the scholars, the men of letters, the
philosophers, philanthropists, theophilanthropists and others; they
returned enchanted, laden with praises and snuff-boxes. As for us poor
devils of Legitimists, we were admitted nowhere; we went for nothing.
Sometimes we were told, in the streets, to go home to bed; sometimes
we were recommended not to shout "God Save the King!" too loud,
others having undertaken that responsibility. So far from compelling
anyone to be a Legitimist, those in power declared that nobody would
be obliged to change his conduct or his language, that the Bishop of
Autun would be no more compelled to say Mass under the Royalty than
he had been compelled to attend it under the Empire. I saw no lady of
the castle-keep, no Joan of Arc proclaim the rightful sovereign with
falcon on wrist or lance in hand; but Madame de Talleyrand[205], whom
Bonaparte had fastened to her husband like a sign-board, drove through
the streets in a calash, singing hymns on the pious Family of the
Bourbons. A few sheets fluttering from the windows of the familiars
of the Imperial Court made the good Cossacks believe that there were
as many lilies in the hearts of the converted Bonapartists as white
rags at their casements. It is wonderful how far contagion will go
in France, and a man would cry, "Off with my head!" if he heard his
neighbour cry the same. The Imperialists went so far as to enter our
houses and make us Bourbonists put out, by way of spotless flags, such
white remnants as our presses contained. This happened at my house; but
Madame de Chateaubriand would have none of it, and valiantly defended
her muslins.


[Sidenote: The Restoration ministry.]

The Legislative Body, transformed into a Chamber of Deputies, and
the House of Peers, composed of 154 members, appointed for life, and
including over 60 senators, formed the two first Legislative Chambers.
M. de Talleyrand, installed at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, left
for the Congress of Vienna, the opening of which was fixed for the 3rd
of November, in execution of Clause 32 of the Treaty of the 30th of
May; M. de Jaucourt held the portfolio during an interim which lasted
until the Battle of Waterloo. The Abbé de Montesquiou became Minister
of the Interior, having M. Guizot[206] as his secretary-general; M.
Malouet[207] entered the Admiralty: he died, and was succeeded by M.
Beugnot[208]; General Dupont[209] obtained the War Office; he was
replaced by Marshal Soult[210], who distinguished himself through the
erection of the funeral monument at Quiberon; the Duc de Blacas[211]
was Minister of the Royal Household; M. Anglès[212], Prefect of Police;
Councillor Dambray[213], Minister of Justice; the Abbé Louis[214],
Minister of Finance.

On the 21st of October, the Abbé de Montesquiou introduced the first
law on the subject of the press; it submitted every writing of less
than twenty pages of print to the censorship: M. Guizot worked out this
first law of liberty.

Carnot[215] addressed a letter to the King; he admitted that the
Bourbons "had been joyfully received;" but, taking no account of the
shortness of the time, nor of all that the Charter granted, he gave
haughty lessons together with risky advice: all this is worth nothing
when one has to accept the rank of minister and the title of count
of the Empire; it is not becoming to show one's self proud towards a
weak and liberal Prince when one has been submissive towards a violent
and despotic Prince, when, a worn-out machine of the Terror, one has
found one's self unequal to the calculation of the proportions of
Napoleonic warfare. I sent to the press, in reply, my _Réflexions
politiques_[216]; they contain the substance of the _Monarchie selon
la Charte._ M. Lainé[217], the President of the Chamber of Deputies,
spoke of this work to the King with praise. The King always seemed
charmed with the services which I had the happiness to render him;
Heaven seemed to have thrown over my shoulders the mantle of herald of
the Legitimacy: but the greater the success of the work, the less did
its author please His Majesty. The _Réflexions politiques_ divulged my
Constitutional doctrines: the Court received an impression from them
which my fidelity to the Bourbons has been unable to wipe out. Louis
XVIII. used to say to his intimates:

"Beware of ever admitting a poet into your affairs: he will ruin all.
Those people are good for nothing."

[Sidenote: The Duchesse de Duras.]

A powerful and lively friendship at that time filled my heart: the
Duchesse de Duras[218] had imaginative powers, and even some of the
facial expression of Madame de Staël: she has given a proof of her
talent as an author in _Ourika._ On her return from the Emigration,
she led a secluded life, for many years, in her Château d'Ussé, on the
banks of the Loire, and I first heard speak of her in the beautiful
gardens at Méréville, after having passed near her in London without
meeting her. She came to Paris for the education of her charming
daughters, Félicie[219] and Clara[220]. Relations of family, province,
literary and political opinion opened the door of her company to
me. Her warmth of soul, her nobility of character, her loftiness of
mind, her generosity of sentiment made her a superior woman. At the
commencement of the Restoration, she took me under her protection; for,
in spite of all that I had done for the Legitimate Monarchy and the
services which Louis XVIII. confessed that he had received from me, I
had been placed so far on one side that I was thinking of retiring to
Switzerland. Perhaps I should have done well: in those solitudes which
Napoleon had intended for me as his ambassador to the mountains, might
I not have been happier than in the Palace of the Tuileries? When I
entered those halls on the return of the Legitimacy, they made upon
me an impression almost as painful as on the day when I saw Bonaparte
there prepared to kill the Duc d'Enghien. Madame de Duras spoke of
me to M. de Blacas. He replied that I was quite free to go I where I
would. Madame de Duras was so tempestuous, so courageous on behalf of
her friends, that a vacant embassy was dug up, the Embassy to Sweden.
Louis XVIII., already wearied of my noise, was happy to make a present
of me to his good brother, King Bernadotte. Did the latter imagine that
I was being sent to Stockholm to dethrone him? By the Lord, ye princes
of the earth, I dethrone nobody; keep your crowns, if you can, and
above all do not give them to me, for I "will none of them."

Madame de Duras, an excellent woman, who allowed me to call her my
sister, and whom I had the happiness of seeing in Paris during many
years, went to Nice to die[221]: one more wound re-opened. The Duchesse
de Duras saw much of Madame de Staël. I cannot conceive how I did
not come across Madame Récamier[222], who had returned from Italy to
France; I should have greeted the succour which came in aid of my
life. Already I no longer belonged to those mornings which console
themselves; I was on the verge of those evening hours which stand in
need of consolation.


On the 30th of December of the year 1814, the Legislative Chambers were
prorogued to the 1st of May 1815, as though they had been convoked for
the assembly of Bonaparte's _champ-de-mai._ On the 18th of January, the
remains were exhumed of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI. I was present
at this exhumation in the cemetery[223] in which Fontaine[224] and
Percier[225] have since, at the pious call of Madame la Dauphine,
and in imitation of a sepulchral church at Rimini, raised what is
perhaps the most remarkable monument in Paris. This cloister, formed
of a concatenation of tombs, strikes the imagination and fills it
with sadness. I have spoken, in Book IV. of these Memoirs, of the
exhumations of 1815[226]. In the midst of the bones, I recognised the
Queen's head by the smile which that head had given me at Versailles.

[Sidenote: The 21st of January.]

On the 21st of January, was laid the first stone of the ground-work
of the statue which was to be erected on the Place Louis XV., and
which was never erected. I wrote the funeral splendour of the 21st of
January; I said:

    "The monks who came with the Oriflamme[227] to meet the
    shrine of St. Louis will not receive the descendant of the
    Sainted King. In the subterraneous abodes where dwelt those
    annihilated kings and princes, Louis XVI. will lie alone!...
    How is it that so many dead have risen? Why is Saint-Denis
    deserted? Let us rather ask why its roof has been restored,
    why its altar is left standing. What hand has reconstructed
    the vault of those caverns and prepared those empty tombs?
    The hand of that same man who was seated on the throne of the
    Bourbons[228]! O Providence, he thought that he was preparing
    sepulchres for his race, and he was but building the tomb of
    Louis XVI.[229]!"

I long wished that the image of Louis XVI. might be set up on the
spot where the martyr shed his blood: I should no longer be of that
opinion. The Bourbons must be praised for thinking of Louis XVI. at
the first moment of their return. They were bound to touch their
foreheads with his ashes, before placing his crown on their heads.
Now I think that they ought not to have gone further. It was not in
Paris, as in London, a committee which tried the monarch: it was the
whole Convention; thence the annual reproach which a repeated funeral
ceremony seemed to make to the nation, apparently represented by
a complete assembly. Every people has fixed anniversaries for the
celebration of its triumphs, its disorders, or its misfortunes, for
all have, in an equal measure, desired to keep up the memory of one
and the other: we have had solemnities for the barricades, songs for
St. Bartholomew's Night, feasts for the death of Capet; but is it not
remarkable that the law is powerless to create days of remembrance,
whereas religion has made the obscurest saint live on from age to
age? If the fasts and prayers instituted for the sacrifice of Charles
I. still survive[230], it is because, in England, the State unites
religious to political supremacy and because, by virtue of that
supremacy, the 30th of January 1649 has become a _feria._ In France
things go differently: Rome alone has the right to command in religion;
thenceforth, of what value is an order published by a prince, a decree
promulgated by a political assembly, if another prince, another
assembly have the right to expunge them? I therefore think to-day that
the symbol of a feast which may be abolished, or the evidence of a
tragic catastrophe not consecrated by religion, is not fitly placed on
the road of the crowd carelessly and heedlessly pursuing its pleasures.
At the time in which we live, it is to be feared lest a monument raised
with the object of impressing horror of popular excesses might prompt
the longing to imitate them: evil tempts more than good; when wishing
to perpetuate the sorrow, one often perpetuates only the example. The
centuries do not adopt the bequests of mourning: they have present
cause enough for weeping, without undertaking to shed hereditary tears
as well.

[Sidenote: Reflections at Saint-Denis.]

On beholding the catafalque leaving the Cemetière de Desclozeaux[230b],
laden with the remains of the Queen and King, I felt a strong emotion;
I followed it with my eyes with a fatal presentiment. At last Louis
XVI. resumed his couch at Saint-Denis; Louis XVIII., on his side, slept
at the Louvre. The two brothers were together commencing a new era of
legitimate kings and sceptres: vain restoration of the throne and the
tomb, of which time has already swept away the dual dust.

Since I have spoken of those funeral ceremonies, which were so often
repeated, I will tell you of the incubus with which I used to be
oppressed when, after the ceremony, I walked in the evening in the
half-undraped basilica: that I dreamt of the vanity of human greatness
among those devasted tombs follows as the vulgar moral issuing from
the spectacle itself; but the workings of my mind did not stop at
that: I penetrated into the very nature of man. Is all emptiness and
absence in the region of the sepulchres? Is there nothing in that
nothingness? Are there no existences of nihility, no thoughts of dust?
Have those bones no modes of life with which we are unacquainted? Who
knows of the passions, the pleasures, the embraces of those dead? Are
the things which they have dreamt, thought, expected like themselves
idealities, engulfed pell-mell with themselves? Dreams, futures, joys,
sorrows, liberties and slaveries, powers and weaknesses, crimes and
virtues, honours and infamies, riches and miseries, talents, geniuses,
intelligences, glories, illusions, loves: are you but perceptions of
a moment, perceptions that pass with the destruction of the skulls in
which they take birth, with the extinction of the bosom in which once
beat a heart? In your eternal silence, O tombs, if tombs you be, is
nought heard but a mocking and eternal laughter? Is that laughter the
God, the sole derisive reality, which will survive the imposture of
this universe? Let us close our eyes; let us fill up life's despairing
abyss with those great and mysterious words of the martyr:

"I am a Christian!"

[128] Odo King of France (_d._ 898), the first king of the Capet

[129] Abbon (_d._ 923), nicknamed the Crooked, author of a Latin poem
on the siege of Paris by the Normans.

[130] Louisa Augusta Wilhelmina Amelia Queen of Prussia (1776-1810),
the beautiful wife of Frederic William III., and daughter of the Duke
of Mecklemburg-Strelitz. Napoleon was said to be enamoured of Louisa of

[131] Florio's MONTAIGNE, Booke III. chap. VIII.--T.

[132] _Ps._ XXI. 16. In the Vulgate: _Et lingua mea adhasit faucibus

[133] The Emperor Alexander had expressed a wish to say, not at the
Tuileries, but at the Élysée; he remained there only a few hours, and
accepted the offer of the Prince of Talleyrand, who hastened to place
at his disposal his house in the Rue Saint-Florentin.--B.

[134] Pope Pius VII.--T.

[135] Fabian Wilhelm Prince von der Osten-Sacken (1752-1837) had fought
in all the campaigns against Turkey, Poland and France, and been taken
prisoner by Masséna at Zurich. Alexander appointed him Governor of
Paris in 1814.--T.

[136] Paul Count Schouvaloff (_circa_ 1775-1823), a distinguished
Russian general, the same who later escorted Napoleon to Fréjus.--T.

[137] Madame Charles Bonaparte (1750-1836), _née_ Ramolino, Napoleon's
mother. When Bonaparte assumed the title of Emperor, he bestowed upon
his mother that of Madame Mère and Imperial Highness.--T.

[138] Cardinal Fesch, Archbishop of Lyons, was Madame Mère's

[139] Nikolaus Field-Marshal Prince Esterhazy von Galantha (1765-1833),
the Hungarian magnate who, in 1797, had organized an army in Hungary to
repel the French invasion.--T.

[140] Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia (1784-1860), Napoleon's
youngest and most worthless brother, distinguished for little save his
personal courage. From Jerome the present Bonapartist pretenders are
descended. He had married a daughter of the King of Wurtemberg, who,
after Waterloo, gave him the title of Comte de Montfort. He returned
to France in 1848, and prepared the way for the election to the
Presidency of his nephew, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, afterwards Napoleon
III. Jerome, who resumed his royal title under the Second Empire, was
successively appointed Governor of the Invalides (1848), a marshal of
France (1850), and President of the Senate (1851).--T.

[141] _Cf._ my description of the Hundred Days at Ghent, _infra,_
and the portrait of M. de Talleyrand given at the end of these
Memoirs.--_Author's Note_ (Paris, 1839).

[142] The full title of Chateaubriand's work was _De Bonaparte, des
Bourbons et de la nécessité de se rallier à nos princes légitimes pour
le bonheur de la France et celui de l'Europe._ Extracts from the famous
pamphlet were published in the _Journal des Débats_ on the 4th of April
1814, and the work itself was placed on sale the next day, Wednesday
the 5th of April.--B.

[143] Hugues Maret, Duc de Bassano (1763-1839), was the editor of
the bulletins of the National Assembly in 1789, and thus laid the
foundations of the _Moniteur universel._ In 1792, he was sent as
Ambassador to Naples, was captured by the Austrians on the road, and
was kept in confinement until 1795, when he was exchanged for the
daughter of Louis XVI. Bonaparte appointed Maret Secretary-General to
the Consuls and later, in 1804, made him Secretary of State. In this
capacity Maret accompanied Napoleon on all his campaigns, drawing up
most of the instructions and bulletins. He was in 1811 created Duc
de Bassano, and was appointed Foreign Minister and Minister of War
in 1813. He was exiled in 1815, not returning to France until 1820.
The Duc de Bassano was a minister of Louis-Philippe for the space of
one week only (10 to 18 November 1834). To Napoleon he had been an
invaluable and indefatigable servant.--T.

[144] François Séverin Desgraviers-Marceau (1769-1796) enlisted at
the age of sixteen, became a captain in the Vendée in 1793 and, in
the same year, when only twenty-four years old, was, upon Kléber's
recommendation, appointed General-in-Chief of the Western Army. On the
12th of December, he won the bloody battle of Mans over the Vendeans.
In 1794, he was employed as a general of division in the Army of
Sambre-et-Meuse, and contributed to the victory of Fleurus. In 1796,
he protected the retreat of Jourdan's Army, and had several times
repelled the enemy when he fell mortally wounded near Altkirchen, at
the age of twenty-seven years. Marceau was noted for his humanity and
disinterestedness, as much as for his courage and strategic talent His
native city of Chartres erected a monument to him in 1850.--T.

[145] Lazare Hoche (1768-1797) received the command of the Army of
the Moselle at the age of twenty-five. In 1793-94, he cleared the
Austrians out of Alsace. He was thrown into prison for a short time,
at the instance of Pichegru, over whose head he had been promoted, but
recovered his liberty on the 9 Thermidor, and was placed at the head
of the Army of the Vendée. He defeated the Emigrants at Quiberon and
succeeded in pacifying the whole district. In 1796, he commanded the
army which was intended to effect a landing in Ireland, but was driven
back by storms. He was next, in February 1797, placed in command of the
Army of Sambre-et-Meuse, consisting of 80,000 men, and defeated the
Austrians in three engagements, but died, in September, of a complaint
of the bowels. Hoche has a statue at Versailles, where he was born.--T.

[146] Barthélemy Cathérine Joubert (1769-1799) served with great
distinction in Italy, as second to Bonaparte, in 1795 and 1796; in
1798, he himself commanded the Army of Italy and at first obtained
great successes. On the 15th of August 1799, however, he was
unexpectedly attacked by the Russians at Novi, saw his army routed, and
was mortally wounded while attempting to effect a rally. The Directory
were considering whether they should place Joubert in the supreme
power, when his death occurred.--T.

[147] Masséna routed the Russians at Zurich on the 26th of August

[148] Camille Jordan (1771-1821), a moderate French citizen of liberal
opinions, and author of some wise and temperate works.--T.

[149] Louis Jean Népomucène Lemercier (1771-1840), a notable playwright
and a member of the French Academy.--T.

[150] Jean Denis Comte Lanjuinais (1753-1827), a moderate member of the
Convention, of which, after escaping from arrest, he was made President
in 1795. In 1800, he was made a senator, and, although he voted against
the life consulship, he was later created a count of the Empire. In
1814, he voted for the deposition of Napoleon and was made a peer by
Louis XVIII.--T.

[151] Charles François Lebrun, Duc de Plaisance (1739-1824), the third
of the three Consuls. Under the Empire, Bonaparte created him Duc de
Plaisance, High Treasurer, and Administrator-General of Holland. He
gave in his adhesion to the recall of the Bourbons in 1814, and was
created a peer under the Restoration.--T.

[152] Here I omit quotations from Marie Joseph de Chénier, Madame de
Staël, Benjamin Constant, Béranger, Courier, Victor Hugo, Sheridan and
Lord Byron.--T.

[153] M. de Talleyrand occupied the house which forms the corner of the
Place de la Concorde and the Rue Saint-Florentin. After the death of
the Prince de Talleyrand, it was taken by the Princesse de Lieven. It
is now the property of M. Alphonse de Rothschild.--B.

[154] The Abbé Dominique Dufour de Pradt (1759-1837), was Grand Vicar
at Rouen on the outbreak of the Revolution. He emigrated in 1791,
returned in 1801, and became successively almoner to the Emperor, a
baron, Bishop of Poitiers and Archbishop of Mechlin. In 1812, he was
sent as Ambassador to Warsaw, but acquitted himself very badly in this
capacity, and was deprived of his almoner-ship and sent back to his
diocese. He thereupon became a violent enemy of Napoleon, and was one
of the first to declare against him when the Allies entered Paris.
Nevertheless, he was coldly received by the Bourbons and obliged to
resign his archbishopric, receiving a pension of 12,000 francs by way
of indemnity. He wrote a mass of occasional matter, including a History
of his Polish Embassy. The publication referred to above is his _Récit
historique sur la restauration de la royauté en France le 31 mars_

[155] Pierre de Ruel, Maréchal Marquis de Beurnonville (1752-1821), had
served in the Republican armies, was made Minister of War in 1792, but
was captured by Dumouriez and delivered to the Austrians: he was one of
the French officers exchanged in 1795 for Louis XVI.'s daughter, who
became Duchesse d'Angoulême. Under the Consulate and Empire, he was
sent as Ambassador to Berlin and Madrid. He became a senator in 1805, a
count of the Empire in 1808. Louis XVIII. created him a peer of France
in 1814, a marshal of France in 1816, gave him his marquisate in 1817
and the Order of the Holy Ghost in 1820.--T.

[156] Arnail François Marquis de Jaucourt (1757-1852) was a colonel in
the royal service at the age of twenty-five. Under the Revolution, he
pronounced for the Constitutional Monarchy and was obliged to emigrate.
Napoleon made him a senator in 1803, First Chamberlain to King Joseph
in 1804, a count in 1808; and Jaucourt remained faithful until the
flight of Joseph and Marie-Louise, when he consented to join the
Provisional Government. Louis XVIII. made him a minister of State and
a peer of France; but he held office for only short periods, devoting
himself mainly to the interests of Protestantism, a form of worship to
which he belonged.--T.

[157] Emmerich Joseph Wolfgang Heribert Duc de Dalberg (1773-1833) left
the service of the Grand-duke of Baden for that of Napoleon and was
naturalized a Frenchman. He was created a duke of the Empire in 1810
and, for the rest, clung to the fortunes of Talleyrand.--T.

[158] François Xavier Marc Antoine Abbé Duc de Montesquiou-Fezensac
(1757-1832) had followed the Comte de Provence (Louis XVIII.) to
England after the Revolution. He returned to France after the 9
Thermidor to serve the interests of the Bourbons, but was exiled
by Bonaparte. Louis XVIII. made him his Minister of the Interior
(1814-1815), and he was for some time at the head of affairs. After the
Second Restoration, he was created a peer of France (1815), a count
(1817) and a duke (1821) but took no further part in politics. In 1816,
he was admitted to the French Academy, although he had no literary
qualifications. He died in retirement and poor.--T.

[159] Dupont de Nemours (_vide_ note, _supra_, p. 56) was Secretary to
the Provisional Government, rather than a member of it.--B.

[160] The Treaty of Tilsit, between Russia and Prussia on the one hand
and France on the other, took place in 1807.--T.

[161] At the commencement of the reign of Louis XVI., the house in the
Rue Saint-Florentin belonged to the Duc de Fitz-James, who sold it,
in 1787, to the Duchesse de l'Infantado. Hence the name of Hôtel de
l'Infantado by which it was generally designated under the Empire and
in the early years of the Restoration.--B.

[162] Adresse du Gouvernement provisoire aux armées françaises (2 April

[163] Charles de Lorraine, Duc de Mayenne (1544-1611), brother to the
Duc de Guise and the Cardinal de Lorraine, on whose death he proclaimed
himself the Head of the League and Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom,
and made war upon Henry III. and the King of Navarre (Henry IV.),
but was defeated by the latter at Arques and Ivry. He kept up his
resistance after the death of Henry III., and proclaimed a phantom king
in the person of the Cardinal de Bourbon. On the death of that Prince,
in 1590, he convoked the States-General in the hope of securing his own
election, but failed, ended by submitting and, in 1596, made his peace
with Henry IV., who made him Governor of the Isle of France.--T.

[164] Charles Comte, later Duc de Cossé-Brissac was appointed Governor
of Paris by the Duc de Mayenne in 1594. A few months later, he
surrendered the capital to Henry IV., who made him a marshal.--T.

[165] Jean Baptiste Mailhe (1754-1834), member of the Convention for
the Haute-Garonne. As the result of the drawing which took place among
the departments, he was the first called upon to vote in the trial of
the King. In 1814, he sent an address to the Senate to congratulate it
on pronouncing the deposition of Napoleon.--B.

[166] Baron Petit (1772-1856) had been Brigadier-General of the
Imperial Guard since the 23rd of June 1813. The day after the
leave-taking at Fontainebleau, he swore allegiance to Louis XVIII.,
who made him a knight of St. Louis; but he fought at Cambronne's side
at Waterloo, and protected the flight of the Emperor. Louis-Philippe
created him a peer of France in 1837, and made him Commander of the
Invalides. Napoleon III. appointed him a Senator in 1852.--T.

[167] Franz Baron von Koller (1767-1826), Adjutant-General to Prince
von Schwarzenberg, and an Austrian general of the first merit.--T.

[168] Colonel, later General Sir Neil Campbell (1776-1827). Colonel
Campbell stayed in Elba at Napoleon's request, and it was during one
of his absences in Italy that Napoleon escaped, Campbell's supposed
residence having put the English naval captains off their guard.--T.

[169] Friedrich Ludwig Count Truchsess von Waldburg (1776-1844), author
of the _Reise von Fontainebleau nach Fréjus_ (1815), from which the
following extracts are taken.--T.

[170] Johann Philipp Palm (1766-1806), the victim of this judicial
murder. A book was published at Nuremberg, in 1814, by the unfortunate
publisher's family, giving a full and touching account of his trial and

[171] Friedrich von Gentz (1764-1832), a noted German publicist,
author of the Prussian manifesto against France in 1806, the Austrian
manifestoes of 1809 and 1813, the protocols of the Conferences of
Vienna (1814) and Paris (1815), and of several remarkable political

[172] Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), did not receive
his duchy until the 11th of May 1814. The earlier steps are: Baron
Douro and Viscount Wellington (4 September 1809), Earl of Wellington
(28 February 1812), and Marquess of Wellington (3 October 1812).--T.

[173] Paul François Charles Augereau, Maréchal Duc de Castiglione
(1757-1816), a brilliant, dashing and courageous soldier. He was one of
the first to recognise the Bourbons.--T.

[174] Henri Gratien Comte Bertrand (1773-1844), Napoleon's intimate
and confidant, accompanied him to Elba and St. Helena, and never left
his side until his death. He had been sentenced to death by contumacy
in 1816. On his return from St. Helena, in 1821, Louis XVIII. remitted
his penalty and restored him to his rank. In 1840, he accompanied the
Prince de Joinville to St. Helena and, with him, brought back the
remains of Napoleon to France. He is buried at the Invalides by the
Emperor's side.--T.

[175] Comte Drouot (1774-1847), the great artillery general. Napoleon
made him Governor of Elba. He returned to France with the Emperor at
Waterloo, and fought with extraordinary gallantry. He was proscribed by
Louis XVIII. and tried by court-martial, but acquitted. He ended his
days in retirement, and lost his sight some years before his death.
Napoleon left him 100,000 francs in his will.--T.

[176] TRUCHSESS-WALDBURG, _A Narrative of Napoleon Buonaparte's Journey
from Fontainebleau to Fréjus in April 1814_ (London: John Murray,

[177] In 1799, after the capture of Jaffa, Bonaparte had the garrison
murdered in cold blood, as well as some thousands of prisoners of whom
he had a difficulty in disposing.--T

[178] According to several historians, the Marquis de Maubreuil was a
needy adventurer, as destitute of scruples as of money, who is supposed
to have been charged by Talleyrand, in April 1814, to assassinate
Napoleon. Dupont, the Minister for War, Anglès, the Minister for
Police, and Bourrienne, the Postmaster-General, the commanders of the
Russian and Austrian troops, the Emperor of Russia, the Emperor of
Austria himself are said to have approved of the mission entrusted to
Maubreuil. All this is an abominable calumny.

The royalist zeal of which Maubreuil had given signs, after the entry
of the Allies into Paris, had earned for him the good graces of M.
Laborie, the assistant-secretary to the Provisional Government; but his
protector, failing to procure him a post, he invented a stroke of the
boldest character.

Under the pretext that he was going in search of a portion of the Crown
diamonds, which had been removed from Paris and were not to be found,
on the 21st of April, at the village of Fossard, near Montereau, he
waylaid the Queen of Westphalia, who was returning to Germany, and
seized eleven cases containing the Queen's jewelry and diamonds and
80,000 francs in gold. When the news of this great stroke reached
Paris, the Sovereigns, and the Emperor Alexander in particular,
displayed the liveliest annoyance and demanded the punishment of the
culprits. Maubreuil, meantime, had returned to Paris, on the night
of the 23rd of April; he carried to the Tuileries the cases which he
had taken, one of them, according to him, having been broken and its
contents scattered on the road. At the same time, he handed over four
sacks, containing gold, he said. The next day, when the cases were
opened by the locksmith who had made the keys, they were found to be
almost empty; the sacks contained silver pieces of twenty sous, instead
of gold pieces of twenty francs. The police, before long, had proofs
that the broken case, which was just that which had contained the
most precious objects, had been opened at Versailles, in a room at an
inn, by Maubreuil and his accomplice, a certain Dasies. Moreover, in
one of the apartments occupied by Maubreuil in Paris--he had three or
four--they found on the bed a magnificent diamond which had belonged to
the Queen of Westphalia. The evidences of the theft were incontestable.
Maubreuil put a bold face upon it. He declared that he had left Paris
with the mission to assassinate the Emperor; that this mission had
been given him by M. de Talleyrand; that, in spite of the horror with
which it inspired him, he had accepted it for fear lest it should be
given to another. "He had," he continued, "arranged everything to
deceive the criminal intentions of those who had employed him, and he
had sought, by bringing them a treasure and contenting their greed, to
appease their dissatisfaction." This could not stand proof; but, in the
then circumstances, those lies might have produced the most deplorable
and baleful effects among the public, particularly the soldiers. The
Government thought it the wisest course to hurry nothing, to keep the
accused in prison, and to await aid and counsel from time and the
progress of events. _Cf._ the _Souvenirs du comte de Semallé_ and Vol.
II. of the _Mémoires du chancelier Pasquier._--B.

[179] Jean Baptiste Germain Fabry (1780-1821), author of the
_Itinéraire de Buonaparte de Doulevent à Fréjus_ (1821) and of numerous
publications, written with talent and animated with a profoundly
religious and royalist spirit.--B.

[180] Sir Walter Scott, Bart (1771-1832). The above extract is taken
from his _Life of Napoleon Buonaparte_ (1827), chap, lxxxi.--T.

[181] Philippe Paul Comte de Ségur (1786-1873), author of the _Histoire
de Napoléon et de la grande armée en 1812_ (1824), from which the above
incident is quoted.--T.

[182] Hinton was boatswain on board the _Undaunted_, which conveyed
Napoleon to Elba.--T.

[183] Louis XVIII. landed at Calais on the 24th of April 1814. He had
left France on the 22nd of June 1791.--B.

[184] Louis Pierre Louvel (1753-1820), the assassin of the Duc de Berry
(13 February 1820). He declared in one of his interrogatories that,
on the first day of the Restoration, he had sworn to exterminate all
the Bourbons and that, in April 1814, he had gone on foot from Metz to
Calais with the object of stabbing Louis XVIII.--T.

[185] Nicolas Joseph Maréchal Comte Maison (1771-1840) rallied to the
new Government and was made Governor of Paris and a peer of France
(1814). He refused to accept any post from Napoleon on the return of
the latter from Elba, and in 1817 was created a marquis. He commanded
the Morean Expedition in 1828, and was made a marshal of France in
the following year. Maison was one of the commissaries appointed to
accompany Charles X. to Cherbourg in 1830. Under Louis-Philippe he was
Ambassador to Vienna (1831-1833), to St. Petersburg (1833-1835), and
Minister of War (1835-1836).--T.

[186] Joan of Arc (1410-1430) was captured by the English on the 24th
of May 1430, on attempting a sortie from Compiègne, besieged by the
English and Burgundians. Louis XVIII. arrived at Compiègne on the 29th
of April 1814.--T.

[187] Louis XIV. (1638-1715) was the direct ancestor of Louis XVIII. in
the fifth generation (great-great-great-grandfather).--T.

[188] Étienne Jacques Joseph Alexandre Macdonald, Maréchal Duc de
Tarente (1765-1840), a fine soldier, of Irish descent. He was made a
peer of France, after Napoleon's abdication, and Grand Chancellor of
the Legion of Honour, a dignity which he retained until 1831.--T.

[189] Michel Ney, Maréchal Duc d'Elchingen, Prince de la Moskowa
(1769-1815), was, at the end of the next year, sentenced to be shot for
his treachery to the King, the sentence being executed on the 7th of
December 1815.--T.

[190] Bon Adrien Jeannot Moncey, Maréchal Duc de Conégliano
(1754-1842), was imprisoned for three months in 1815 at Ham for
refusing to try Marshal Ney, and excluded from the House of Peers,
to which he was not readmitted until 1819. In 1823 he was given a
command in Spain in the war of French intervention. He ended his
life as Governor of the Invalides, where he received the remains of

[191] Jean Marie Philippe Maréchal Comte Sérurier (1742-1819) was
Governor of the Invalides, in 1814, and burnt the flags captured from
the enemy in the court-yard to save them from being restored to the
Allies. Louis made him a peer of France and Grand Cross of St. Louis,
but he resigned all his functions in December 1815.--T.

[192] Marshal Guillaume Marie Anne Brune (1763-1815) rejoined Napoleon
on his return from Elba, and was killed by the Royalist mob at Avignon
shortly after the Battle of Waterloo.--T.

[193] Alexandre Berthier, Maréchal Prince de Wagram, Prince de
Neuchâtel (1753-1815), committed suicide on the return of Napoleon,
from the balcony of his mother-in-law, the Duke of Birkenfeld's palace
at Bamberg, during a fit of fever (1 June 1815).--T.

[194] _Cf. Compiègne, avril_ 1814 (Paris: Le Normant, 1814).--B.

[195] The musketeers of the King's Military Household, so called
because of their red uniform.--B.

[196] The manuscript of the Memoirs says forty years. Is this simply
a _lapsus calami_, or did Chateaubriand, who, it is true, was an
indifferent calculator, really reckon forty years between 1792 and

[197] Charles II. King of England (1630-1685) dated his reign from
1649, the year of the execution of Charles I., and not from 1660, the
year of his restoration.--T.

[198] In spite of what Chateaubriand says, it is only just to recognise
that Louis XVIII. had given proof of a truly royal dignity in not
consenting to accept the crown at the hands of the senators, and in
proclaiming that he held it in his own right. The Comte de Lille, the
exile of Hartwell, had, in fact, no other title to occupy the throne
than as the descendant of Louis XIV., the brother of Louis XVI., and
the successor of Louis XVII.--B.

[199] Chateaubriand here commits a slight error of date. The Emperor
Alexander left Paris on the 2nd of June 1814. It was not then, nor on
the eve of his departure, that he had a religious service celebrated on
the Place Louis XV. This ceremony had taken place almost immediately
after the entry of the Allies, before either the Comte d'Artois or
Louis XVIII. had arrived in Paris, on Sunday the 10th of April. On
that day, the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia and Prince von
Schwarzenberg, representing the Emperor of Austria, reviewed their
respective troops, drawn up in line, to the number of 80,000 men, from
the Boulevard de l'Arsenal to the Boulevard de la Madeleine. At one
o'clock, a mass was said on the Place Louis XV. by a bishop and six
priests of the Greek rite. A _Te Deum_ was sung to thank God for giving
peace to France and the world. The Allied troops defiled before the
altar, which was surrounded by the National Guard of Paris, under the
orders of its commandant, General Dessolle.--B.

[200] Joseph Anne Auguste Maximilien de Croy, Duc d'Havré (1744-1839).
He was a brigadier-general, in 1789, when elected a deputy to the
States-General by the nobles of the bailiwick of Amiens and Ham. In
1814, Louis XVIII. made him a peer of France, a lieutenant-general and
a captain of the Body-guards. He was then seventy years of age.--B.

[201] Victor Perrin, Maréchal Duc de Bellune (1766-1841), known as
Marshal Victor, had been seriously wounded in the campaign of 1814.
He remained faithful to Louis XVIII. during the Hundred Days, and was
created a peer of France in 1815. He was Minister for War for a few
days under the Bourbons.--T.

[202] Philippe Louis Marie Antoine de Noailles, Prince de Poix, Duc
de Mouchy (1752-1819). His career resembled that of the Duc d'Havré
in every particular. He was sent to the States-General in 1789 by the
nobles of the bailiwick of Amiens and Ham, and was created a peer, a
lieutenant-general and a captain of the Body-guards in 1814.--B.

[203] Nicolas Charles Oudinot, Maréchal Duc de Reggio (1767-1847),
one of the bravest of Napoleon's generals, was wounded no less than
thirty-two times. Under the Restoration, to which he continued faithful
in 1815, he became a peer of France, Major-General of the Royal Guard
and Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard of Paris. Louis-Philippe
appointed Oudinot Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour (1839) and
Governor of the Invalides (1842).--T.

[204] THUC. III. 38.--T.

[205] Madame de Talleyrand-Périgord, _née_ Worley, was born at
Pondichéry, where her father was harbour-master. At sixteen years of
age, she married a Swiss, Mr. Grant, who lived with her successively at
Chandernagor and Calcutta; she allowed herself to be eloped with and
carried to Europe. After numerous adventures, she became Talleyrand's
mistress under the Directory and lived with him publicly. The First
Consul ordered his minister to marry her, which was done, after
Talleyrand had received a brief from the Court of Rome releasing him
from his vows, and after Mr. Grant, then in Paris, had agreed to a
divorce, in consideration of a large sum of money and a good place...
at the Cape of Good Hope. The marriage of the ex-Bishop of Autun was,
for that matter, a purely civil one. When the Restoration came, he
settled a pension of 60,000 francs on his wife, on condition that she
went to live in England.--B.

[206] François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (1787-1874) became Minister
of the Interior in 1830, under Louis-Philippe, was French Ambassador
to England for a few months in 1840, and Prime Minister from 1840 to

[207] Pierre Victor Baron Malouet (1740-1814) served in the Admiralty
all his life: under Louis XVI.; as Commissary-general of Marine under
Bonaparte; and as Minister of Marine under the Restoration.--T.

[208] Jacques Claude Comte Beugnot (1761-1835) had, under the Empire,
been Prefect of Rouen, a councillor of State, Minister of Finance to
King Jerome, and Prefect of Lille. Louis XVIII. made him Minister of
Marine in December 1814. He accompanied the King to Ghent and, on the
return, became Postmaster-general. He was made a peer of France in

[209] Pierre Antoine Comte Dupont de L'Étang (1765-1840), had been one
of the most brilliant generals of the Empire, but was cashiered for
his capitulation at Baylen (1808), and kept in prison until 1814. He
remained only a few months at the War Office. In 1836, Dupont published
a translation in verse of the Odes of Horace and, in 1839, the _Art de
la guerre_, a poem in ten cantos.--T.

[210] Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult, Maréchal Duc de Dalmatie (1769-1852),
Napoleon's greatest tactician. He became Major-general of Napoleon's
army during the Hundred Days, and was exiled by the Bourbons at the
Second Restoration; returned to France in 1819, and was raised to
the peerage, in 1827, by Charles X. But, in 1830, he devoted himself
to Louis-Philippe; became Minister of War and President of the
Council; reorganized the French Army in 1832; represented France at
the coronation of Victoria in 1838, and received a veritable ovation
in England. In 1839 and again in 1840, Soult resumed the office of
Minister of War, together with the Presidency of the Council; but was
obliged by the state of his health to resign, in 1847, and received the
quite exceptional title of Marshal-General, which only Turenne, Villars
and Saxe had borne before him.--T.

[211] Pierre Louis Casimir Duc de Blacas d'Aulps (1770-1839)
accompanied Louis XVIII. to Ghent, was created a peer under the Second
Restoration, and Ambassador to Naples and later to Rome. In 1823,
he was reappointed to Naples, where he remained till 1830, when he
followed the Bourbons into exile, dying at Prague in 1839.--T.

[212] Jules Jean Baptiste Comte Anglès (1778-1828). He again became
Prefect of Police in 1818, and retained that post until 1821.--B.

[213] Charles Dambray (1760-1829) was made Chancellor, Minister of
Justice and President of the Chamber in 1814. He took refuge in England
during the Hundred Days, and resumed the presidency of the Chamber on
his return.--T.

[214] Joseph Dominique Baron Louis (1755-1837) had taken orders
and assisted as deacon to the Bishop of Autun at the Feast of the
Federation in 1790. He emigrated, nevertheless, and employed his exile
in studying the financial system of England. He was several times
Minister of Finance: in 1814, 1816, 1818 and 1831.--T.

[215] Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot (1753-1823), the famous
"Organizer of Victory." He became Minister of the Interior during the
Hundred Days, and was exiled during the Second Restoration, retiring
first to Warsaw and next to Magdeburg, where he died. He was the author
of several works, including the _Mémoire adressé au roi en juillet
1814_, the letter in question.--T.

[216] _Réflexions politiques sur quelques écrits du jour et sur
les intérêts de tous les Français_ (December 1814). This is one of
Chateaubriand's finest writings.--B.

[217] Jean Henri Joachim Hostein, Vicomte Lainé (1767-1835), became
Minister of the Interior in 1816, a member of the French Academy in the
same year, and a viscount and peer of France in 1823.--T.

[218] Claire Duchesse de Duras (1777-1829), _née_ de Coëtnempren de
Kersaint, married in 1797, in England, Amédée Bretagne Malo de Durfort,
who, three years later, on the death of his father, became Duc de
Duras. On the return of the Bourbons, the Duc de Duras was made a peer
of France and First Lord of the Bed-chamber. The duchess at that time
had one of the most popular salons in Paris. She wrote several little
novels: _Édouard, Ourika, Frère Ange, Olivier_, and the _Mémoires
de Sophie_, of which the two first were published in 1820 and 1824
respectively; the other three are still in manuscript. Towards the
end of her life, the Duchesse de Duras wrote some eminently Christian
pages, which were published, ten years after her death, in 1839, under
the title of _Réflexions et prières inédites._--B.

[219] Claire Louise Augustine Félicité Magloire de Durfort (_b._
1798), known as Félicie, married, first (1813), Charles Léopold Henri
de La Trémoille, Prince de Talmont (_d._ 1815), and, secondly (1819),
Brigadier-general Auguste du Vergier, Comte de La Rochejacquelein.--B.

[220] Claire Henriette Philippine Benjamine de Durfort (1799-1863),
known as Clara, married (1819) Henri Louis Comte de Chastellux, created
Duc de Rauzan on the occasion of his marriage.--B.

[221] In January 1829.--B.

[222] Madame Julie Récamier (1777-1849), _née_ Bernard, of whom much
will be read in the sequel, was very intimate with Madame de Staël,
and had been banished from Paris by Napoleon for the frequency of her
visits to Madame de Staël at Coppet.--T.

[223] The old Cemetière de la Madeleine, at No. 48, Rue

[224] Pierre François Fontaine (1762-1865), an eminent modern French
architect and member of the Academy of Arts, who, together with
Percier, _quem vide infra_, constructed the Expiatory Chapel at the
corner of the Rue d'Anjou and the Boulevard Haussmann, mentioned below,
and a number of other public works, including the great staircase at
the Louvre, the restorations at Versailles, etc.--T

[225] Charles Percier (1764-1840), member of the Institute, and
Fontaine's friend and collaborator.--T.

[226] _Vide_ Vol. I. p. 157.--T.

[227] The Oriflamme, which, under the Capets, became the standard
of France, was originally the private banner of the Abbey of

[228] The tombs of the Kings at Saint-Denis were opened in 1793, by
order of the Convention (6 August), and restored, together with the
church, by Napoleon, in 1806.--T.

[229] Chateaubriand: _Le Vingt-et-un janvier_ (Paris: Le Normant,

[230] The service in memory of the martyrdom of King Charles I. was
struck out of the Prayer-book in the year 1859.--T.

[230b] M. Descloseaux (not Ducluzeau, as the previous editions of the
Memoirs have it) was a faithful Royalist, who had become the proprietor
of the old Cemetière de la Madeleine to save the remains of the King
and Queen from profanation.--B.


Napoleon at Elba--Commencement of the Hundred Days--The return from
Elba--Torpor of the Legitimacy--Article by Benjamin Constant--Order
of the day of Marshal Soult--A royal session--Petition of
the School of Law to the Chamber of Deputies--Plan for the
defense of Paris--Flight of the King--I leave with Madame de
Chateaubriand--Confusion on the road--The Duc d'Orléans and the Prince
de Condé--Tournai--Brussels--Memories--The Duc de Richelieu--The
King summons me to join him at Ghent--The Hundred Days at
Ghent--Continuation of the Hundred Days at Ghent--Affairs in Vienna.

Bonaparte had refused to embark in a French ship, setting value at
that time only on the English Navy, because it was victorious; he had
forgotten his hatred, the calumnies, the outrages with which he had
overwhelmed perfidious Albion; he saw none now worthy of his admiration
save the triumphant party, and it was the _Undaunted_ that conveyed
him to the harbour of his first exile. He was not without anxiety as
to the manner in which he would be received. Would the French garrison
hand over to him the territory which it was guarding? Of the Italian
islanders, some wished to call in the English, others to remain free of
all masters; the Tricolour and the White Flag waved on near headlands.
All was arranged nevertheless. When it became known that Bonaparte was
bringing millions with him, opinions generously decided to receive
"the august victim." The civil and religious authorities were brought
round to the same conviction. Joseph Philip Arrighi, the Vicar-General,
issued a charge:

    "Divine Providence," said the pious injunction, "has decreed
    that in future we shall be the subjects of Napoleon the
    Great. The island of Elba, raised to so sublime an honour,
    receives the Lord's Anointed in its bosom. We order that a
    solemn _Te Deum_ be sung by way of thanksgiving," etc.

[Sidenote: Napoleon in Elba.]

The Emperor had written to General Dalesme[231], commanding the
French garrison, that he must make known to the people of Elba that
"he had selected" their island for his residence in consideration of
the gentleness of their manners and of their climate. He set foot
on land at Porto-Ferrajo[232], amid the dual salute of the English
frigate which had brought him and the batteries on shore. Thence he
was taken under the parish canopy to the church, where the _Te Deum_
was sung. The beadle, the master of ceremonies, was a short, fat man,
who was unable to join his hands across his person. Napoleon was next
conducted to the mayor's, where his lodging was prepared. They unfurled
the new Imperial Standard, a white ground intersected by a red stripe
strewn with three gold bees. Three violins and two basses followed him
with scrapings of delight The throne, hastily erected in the public
ball-room, was decorated with gilt paper and pieces of scarlet cloth.
The actor's side of the prisoner's nature accommodated itself to these
displays: Napoleon made a serious business of trifles, even as he
used to amuse his Court with little old-time games inside his palace
at the Tuileries, going out afterwards to kill men by way of pastime.
He formed his Household: it consisted of four chamberlains, three
orderly-officers, and two harbingers of the palace. He stated that he
would receive the ladies twice a-week, at eight o'clock in the evening.
He gave a ball. He took possession, for his own residence, of the
pavilion intended for the engineers. Bonaparte was constantly meeting
in his life the two sources from which it had issued: democracy and the
royal power; his strength was derived from the citizen masses, his rank
from his genius; and therefore you see him pass without effort from
the market-square to the throne, from the kings and queens who crowded
round him at Erfurt[233] to the bakers and oilmen who danced in his
barn at Porto-Ferrajo. He had something of the people among princes,
and of the prince among the people. At five o'clock in the morning, in
silk stockings and buckled shoes, he presided over his masons in the
island of Elba.

Established in his Empire, inexhaustible in iron since the days of

Insula inexhaustis Chalybum generosa metallis[234],

Bonaparte had not forgotten the outrages to which he had lately
been subjected; he had not renounced his intention of tearing off
his winding-sheet; but it suited him to seem buried, only to make
some appearance of a phantom around his monument. That is why he
was eager, as though thinking of nothing else, to go down into his
quarries of specular iron and adamant; one would have taken him for
the ex-inspector of Mines of his former States. He repented of having
once appropriated the revenue of the forges of "Ilva" to the Legion of
Honour: 500,000 francs now seemed to him worth more than a blood-bathed
cross on the breast of his grenadiers.

"What was I thinking of?" he said. "But I have issued many stupid
decrees of that nature."

He made a commercial treaty with Leghorn and proposed to make another
with Genoa. At all hazards, he began to make five or six furlongs of
high-road and designed the sites of four large towns, just as Dido laid
out the boundaries of Carthage. A philosopher who had seen too much of
human greatness, he declared that he intended thenceforth to live like
a justice of the peace in an English county: and notwithstanding, on
climbing a height which overlooks Porto-Ferrajo, these words escaped
him at the sight of the sea which flowed up on every side at the foot
of the cliffs:

"The devil! It must be owned that my island is very small!"

He had visited his domain within a few hours; he wished to join to it a
rock called Pianosa.

"Europe will accuse me," he said, laughing, "of already having made a

The Allied Powers made merry over the fact that they had in derision
left him four hundred soldiers: he needed no more to bring them all
back to the flag.

Napoleon's presence on the coast of Italy, which had witnessed the
commencement of his glory and which retains his memory, agitated
everybody. Murat was his neighbour; his friends, strangers secretly or
publicly landed at his retreat; his mother and his sister, the Princess
Pauline, visited him; they expected soon to see Marie-Louise and her
son arriving. A woman[235] did in fact appear, with a child[236]; she
was received with great mystery, and went to live in a secluded villa
in the most remote corner of the island: on the shores of Ogygia,
Calypso spoke of her love to Ulysses, who, instead of listening to her,
thought of how to defend himself against the suitors. After a two days'
repose, the Swan of the North put out to sea again, to land among the
myrtles of Baja, carrying away her little one in her white yawl.

[Sidenote: Madame Walewska.]

If we had been less trustful, it would have been easy for us to
perceive an approaching catastrophe. Bonaparte was too near his cradle
and his conquests: his funeral island should have been more distant
and surrounded by more waves. It is inexplicable how the Allies had
come to think of banishing Napoleon to the rocks where he was to serve
his apprenticeship in exile: was it possible to believe that at the
sight of the Apennines, that when smelling the powder of the fields
of Montenotte, Areola and Marengo, that on discovering Venice, Rome
and Naples, his three fair slaves, his heart would not be seized with
irresistible temptations? Had they forgotten that he had stirred up
the earth and that he had admirers and debtors everywhere, all of whom
were his accomplices? His ambition was deceived, not extinguished;
misfortune and revenge rekindled its flames: when the Prince of
Darkness from the verge of the created universe looked upon man and the
world, he resolved to destroy them.

Before bursting forth, the terrible captive restrained himself for
some weeks. In the huge public bank at faro which he was holding, his
genius negociated a fortune or a kingdom. The Fouchés, the Guzmans
d'Alfarache swarmed. The great actor had long made his police the home
of melodrama and had reserved the upper stage for himself; he amused
himself with the vulgar victims who disappeared through the trap-doors
of his theatre.

Bonapartism, in the first year of the Restoration, passed on from
simple desire to action in the measure as its hopes increased and as
it became better acquainted with the weak character of the Bourbons.
When the intrigue had been hatched without, it was hatched within, and
the conspiracy became flagrant. Under the able administration of M.
Ferrand[237], M. de Lavallette[238] undertook the correspondence: the
mails of the Monarchy carried the despatches of the Empire. Concealment
was abandoned; the caricatures foretold a desired return: one saw
eagles entering by the windows of the Palace of the Tuileries, through
the doors of which issued a flock of turkeys; the _Nain jaune_[239]
or _vert_ spoke of "_plumes de cane._" Warnings came from every side,
and were disbelieved. The Swiss Government had gone out of its way
to no purpose to inform His Majesty's Government of the intrigues
of Joseph Bonaparte, who had retreated to the Pays de Vaud. A woman
arriving from Elba gave the most circumstantial details of what was
happening at Porto-Ferrajo, and the police sent her to prison. People
held for certain that Napoleon would not venture any attempt before
the dissolution of the Congress and that, in any case, his views would
turn upon Italy. Others, still better advised, prayed that the "Little
Corporal," the "Ogre," the "Prisoner," might land on the French coast;
that would be too great a stroke of luck; they would settle him at one
blow! M. Pozzo di Borgo[240] declared at Vienna that the delinquent
would be strung up to the nearest tree. Were it possible to have
certain papers, one would there find the proof that, as early as 1814,
a military conspiracy was contrived and went side by side with the
political conspiracy which the Prince de Talleyrand was conducting at
Vienna, at Fouché's instigation. Napoleon's friends wrote to him that,
if he did not hasten his return, he would find his place taken at the
Tuileries by the Duc d'Orléans[241]: they imagine that this revelation
served to hurry the Emperor's return. I am convinced of the existence
of these plottings, but I also believe that the determinative cause
which decided Bonaparte was simply the nature of his genius.

[Sidenote: Bonapartist intrigues.]

The conspiracy of Drouet d'Erlon[242] and Lefebvre-Desnoëttes had
broken out. A few days before those generals rose in arms, I was dining
with M. le Maréchal Soult, who had been appointed Minister of War on
the 3rd of December 1814: a simpleton was describing Louis XVIII.'s
time of exile at Hartwell; the marshal listened; to each detail he
answered with the words:

"That's historical."

They used to bring His Majesty's slippers:

"That's historical!"

On days of abstinence the King used to take three new-laid eggs before
commencing his dinner:

"That's historical!"

This reply struck me. When a government is not solidly established,
every man whose conscience goes for nothing becomes, according to the
greater or lesser amount of energy in his character, a quarter, or a
half, or three-quarters of a conspirator; he awaits the decision of
fortune: more traitors are made by events than by opinions.

Suddenly the telegraph announced to Napoleon's braves and to the
doubters that the man had landed[243]: Monsieur[244] hurried to Lyons,
with the Duc d'Orléans and Marshal Macdonald, and returned forthwith.
Marshal Soult, denounced in the Chamber of Deputies, gave up his office
on the 11th of March to the Duc de Feltre[245]. Bonaparte found facing
him, as Minister of War of Louis XVIII. in 1815, the general who had
been his last Minister of War in 1814.

The boldness of the enterprise was unprecedented. From the political
point of view, this enterprise might be regarded as the irremissible
crime and capital fault of Napoleon. He knew that the Princes still
assembled at the Congress, that Europe still under arms would not
suffer him to be reinstated; his judgment must have warned him that a
success, if he obtained one, would be only for a day: he was offering
up to his passion for reappearing on the scene the repose of a people
which had lavished its blood and its treasures upon him; he was laying
open to dismemberment the country from which he derived all that he
had been in the past and all that he will be in the future. In this
fantastic conception lay a ferocious egoism and a terrible absence of
gratitude and generosity towards France.

All this is true according to practical reason, for a man with a heart
rather than brains; but, for beings of Napoleon's nature, there exists
a reason of another sort; those creatures of lofty renown have ways
of their own: comets describe curves which evade calculation; they
belong to nothing, they seem good for nothing; if a globe finds itself
on their passage, they shatter it and return into the abysses of the
sky; their laws are known to God alone. Extraordinary individuals are
monuments of human intelligence; they are not its rule.

Bonaparte, therefore, was persuaded to his enterprise less by the
false reports of his friends than by the needs of his genius: he
took up the cross by virtue of the faith that was in him. To a great
man, to be born is not everything: he must die. Was Elba an end for
Napoleon? Could he accept the sovereignty of a vegetable-patch, like
Diocletian[246] at Salona? If he had waited till later, would he have
had more chances of success, at a time when his memory would have
aroused less emotion, when his old soldiers would have left the army,
when new social positions would have been adopted?

Well, then, he committed a fool-hardy act against the world: at the
commencement he must have believed that he had not deceived himself as
to the spell of his power.

[Sidenote: The return from Elba.]

One night, that of the 25th of February, at the end of a ball of which
the Princess Borghese was doing the honours, he made his escape with
victory, long his comrade and accomplice; he crossed a sea covered with
our fleets, met two frigates, a ship of 74 guns and the man-of-war
brig _Zéphyr_, which spoke and questioned him; he himself replied to
the captain's questions; the sea and the waves saluted him, and he
pursued his course. The deck of the _Inconstant_, his little ship,
served him as a room for exercise and as a writing-closet; he dictated
amid the winds and had copies made, on that shifting table, of three
proclamations to the army and to France; some feluccas, carrying his
companions in adventure, flew the white flag strewn with stars around
his admiral bark. On the 1st of March, at three o'clock in the morning,
he struck the coast of France between Cannes and Antibes, in the Golfe
Jouan; he landed, strolled along the _riviera_, gathered violets, and
bivouacked in a plantation of olive-trees. The dumfoundered population
retired. He avoided Antibes and threw himself into the mountains of
Grasse, passing through Sernon, Barrème, Digne and Gap. At Sisteron,
twenty men could have stopped him, and he found nobody. He went on,
meeting no obstacle among those inhabitants who, a few months earlier,
had wished to cut his throat. Whenever a few soldiers entered the void
which formed around his gigantic shadow, they were invincibly drawn on
by the attraction of his eagles. His fascinated enemies sought him and
did not see him; he hid himself in his glory, as the lion of the Sahara
hides himself in the rays of the sun to avoid the sight of the dazzled
hunters. Enveloped in a fiery cyclone, the bloody phantoms of Areola,
Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena, Friedland, Eylau, the Moskowa, Lützen,
Bautzen formed his retinue with a million of dead. From the midst of
this column of fire and smoke, there issued, at the entrance to the
towns, a few trumpet-blasts mingled with the signals of the tricoloured
_labarum_: and the gates of the town fell. When Napoleon crossed
the Niemen, at the head of four-hundred thousand foot and a hundred
thousand horse, to blow up the palace of the Tsars in Moscow, he was
less astonished than when, breaking his ban and flinging his irons in
the faces of the kings, he came alone, from Cannes to Paris, to sleep
peacefully at the Tuileries.

Beside the prodigy of the invasion of one man must be placed another
which was the consequence of the first: the Legitimacy was seized with
a fainting-fit; the failure of the heart of the State attacked the
members and rendered France motionless. For twenty days, Bonaparte
marched on by stages; his eagles flew from steeple to steeple and,
along a road of two hundred leagues the Government, masters of
everything, disposing of money and men, found neither the time nor the
means to cut a bridge, to throw down a tree, so as to delay, at least
by an hour, the progress of a man to whom the populations offered no
opposition, but whom also they did not follow.

This torpor on the part of the Government seemed the more deplorable
inasmuch as public opinion in Paris was greatly excited; it would have
countenanced anything, despite the defection of Marshal Ney. Benjamin
Constant wrote in the newspapers:

    "After visiting our country with every plague, he left the
    soil of France. Who would not have thought that he was
    leaving it for ever? Suddenly he appears, and again promises
    Frenchmen liberty, victory and peace. The author of the most
    tyrannical Constitution that ever ruled France, he speaks
    to-day of liberty! But it was he who, during fourteen years,
    undermined and destroyed liberty. He had not the excuse of
    memory, the habit of power; he was not born in the purple. It
    was his fellow-citizens whom he enslaved, his equals whom he
    loaded with chains. He had not inherited power; he desired
    and meditated tyranny: what liberty is he able to promise?
    Are we not a thousand times more free than under his empire?
    He promises victory, and three times he forsook his troops,
    in Egypt, in Spain and in Russia, abandoning his companions
    in arms to the triple agony of cold, destitution and despair.
    He brought upon France the humiliation of invasion; he lost
    the conquests which we had made before him. He promises
    peace, and his name alone is a signal for war. The nation
    unhappy enough to serve him would again become the object
    of European hatred; his triumph would be the commencement
    of a combat to the death against the civilized world.... He
    has therefore nothing to claim, nor to offer. Whom could he
    convince, or whom seduce? War at home, war abroad: those are
    the gifts which he brings us."

[Sidenote: Soult's order of the day.]

Marshal Soult's Order of the Day, dated 8 March 1815, repeats very
nearly the ideas of Benjamin Constant, with an effusion of loyalty:


"The man who lately, before the eyes of Europe, abdicated the power
which he had usurped, and which he had so fatally abused, has landed on
French soil, which he was never to see again.

"What does he want? Civil war. What does he seek? Traitors. Where will
he find them? Shall it be among those soldiers whom he has so often
deceived and sacrificed by misleading their valour? Shall it be in the
heart of those families which the mere sound of his name still fills
with terror?

"Bonaparte despises us enough to believe us capable of abandoning a
lawful and dearly-beloved Sovereign to share the fate of a man who is
no longer more than an adventurer. He believes this, the madman, and
his last act of insanity reveals him to us as he is!

"Soldiers, the French Army is the bravest army in Europe; it will also
be the most faithful.

"Let us rally round the banner of the lilies, at the voice of the
father of the people, the worthy heir of the virtues of Henry the
Great. He himself has traced for you the duties which you have to
fulfil. He places at your head that Prince, the model of French
knighthood, who, by his happy return to our country, has already once
driven out the usurper, and who to-day, by his presence among us, will
destroy his sole and last hope."

Louis XVIII. appeared on the 16th of March in the Chamber of Deputies;
the destinies of France and of the world were at stake. When His
Majesty entered, the deputies and the strangers in the galleries
uncovered and rose; cheers shook the walls of the house. Louis XVIII.
slowly mounted the steps of his throne; the Princes, the marshals and
the captains of the guards ranged themselves on either side of the
King. The cheers ceased; none spoke: in that interval of silence, one
seemed to hear the distant footsteps of Napoleon. His Majesty, seated,
cast his eyes over the assembly, and in a firm voice delivered this

[Sidenote: The King's speech.]


    "At this critical moment, when the public enemy has
    penetrated into a part of my kingdom and threatens the
    liberty of all the remainder, I come into your midst to knit
    yet more closely the ties which, uniting you to myself,
    constitute the strength of the State; I come, by addressing
    you, to make manifest my feelings and my wishes to the whole
    of France.

    "I have seen my country again; I have reconciled it with
    foreign Powers, who will, you may be sure, be faithful to the
    treaties which have restored peace to us; I have laboured
    for the good of my people; I have received, I continue daily
    to receive the most touching marks of its love; could I, at
    sixty years of age, better end my career than by dying in its

    "I fear nothing, therefore, for myself; but I fear for
    France: he who comes to kindle among us the torches of civil
    war brings with him also the scourge of foreign war; he
    comes to put back our country under his iron yoke; he comes,
    lastly, to destroy the Constitutional Charter which I have
    given you, that Charter which will be my proudest title in
    the eyes of posterity, that Charter which all Frenchmen
    cherish and which I here swear to maintain: let us then rally
    round it."

The King was still speaking, when a fog spread darkness through the
house; eyes were turned towards the ceiling to ascertain the cause of
that sudden gloom. When the King-Lawgiver ceased to speak, the cries of
"Long live the King!" were renewed, amid tears.

    "The assembly," the _Moniteur_ truly says, "electrified by
    the King's sublime words, stood up, its hands stretched
    towards the throne. One heard only the words: 'Long live the
    King! We will die for the King! The King in life and death!'
    repeated with an enthusiasm which will be shared by every
    French heart"

It was, in fact, a pathetic sight: an old, infirm King who, in reward
for the murder of his family and twenty-three years of exile, had
brought France peace, liberty, forgiveness of all outrages and all
misfortunes; this patriarch of sovereigns coming to declare to the
deputies of the nation that, at his age, after seeing his country
again, he could not better end his career than by dying in defense of
his people! The Princes swore fidelity to the Charter; those tardy
oaths were closed with that of the Prince de Condé and with the
adhesion of the father of the Duc d'Enghien. This heroic race on the
verge of extinction, this race of the patrician sword seeking behind
liberty a shield against a younger, longer and more cruel plebeian
sword offered, by reason of a multitude of memories, a spectacle that
was extremely sad.

When Louis XVIII.'s speech became known outside, it aroused unspeakable
enthusiasm. Paris was wholly Royalist, and remained so during the
Hundred Days. The women in particular were Bourbonists.

The youth of to-day worships the memory of Bonaparte, because it is
humiliated by the part which the present Government makes France play
in Europe; the youth of 1814 hailed the Restoration, because the latter
had thrown down despotism and set up liberty. In the ranks of the
Royal Volunteers were included M. Odilon Barrot[247], a large number
of pupils of the School of Medicine and the whole of the School of
Law[248]; the last, on the 13th of March, addressed this petition to
the Chamber of Deputies:


    "We offer our services to our King and country; the whole
    School of Law asks to go to the front. We will abandon
    neither our King nor our Constitution. Faithful to French
    honour, we ask you for arms. The feeling of love which we
    bear to Louis XVIII. is answerable to you for the constancy
    of our devotion. We want no more irons, we want liberty.
    We have it, and they come to snatch it from us. We will
    defend it to the death. Long live the King! Long live the

In this energetic, natural and sincere language, one feels the
generosity of youth and the love of liberty. They who come to tell us
to-day that the Restoration was received by France with dislike and
sorrow are ambitious men who are playing a game, or new-comers who have
never known Bonaparte's oppression, or old imperialized revolutionary
liars who, after applauding the return of the Bourbons with the rest,
now, according to their habit, insult the fallen and return to their
instincts of murder, police and servitude.


The King's Speech had filled me with hope. Conferences were held at
the house of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, M. Lainé. I
there met M. de La Fayette: I had never seen him except at a distance,
at another period, under the Constituent Assembly. The proposals were
various and for the most part weak, as happens in peril: some wished
the King to leave Paris and fall back upon the Havre; others spoke
of moving him to the Vendée; one stammered out unfinished sentences;
another said that we must wait and see what was coming: what was coming
was very visible, for all that. I expressed a very different opinion:
oddly enough, M. de La Fayette supported it, and warmly[249]. M. Lainé
and Marshal Marmont were also of my opinion. I said:

[Illustration: La Fayette.]

[Sidenote: My advice to the government.]

    "Let the King keep his word; let him stay in his capital.
    The National Guard is on our side. Let us make sure of
    Vincennes. We have the arms and the money; with the money
    we shall overcome weakness and cupidity. If the King leaves
    Paris, Paris will admit Bonaparte; Bonaparte master of
    Paris is master of France. The army has not gone over to
    the enemy as a whole; several regiments, many generals and
    officers have not yet betrayed their oaths: if we hold
    firm, they will remain faithful. Let us disperse the Royal
    Family, let us keep only the King. Let Monsieur go to the
    Havre, the Duc de Berry[250] to Lille, the Duc de Bourbon to
    the Vendée, the Duc d'Orléans to Metz; Madame la Duchesse
    and M. le Duc d'Angoulême[251] are already in the South.
    Our different points of resistance will prevent Bonaparte
    from concentrating his forces. Let us barricade ourselves
    in Paris. Already the national guards of the neighbouring
    departments are coming to our aid. Amid this movement, our
    old Monarch, protected by the will of Louis XVI., will remain
    peacefully seated on his throne at the Tuileries, with the
    Charter in his hand; the diplomatic body will range itself
    round him; the two Chambers will meet in the two wings of the
    Palace; the King's Household will encamp in the Carrousel
    and in the Tuileries Gardens. We shall line the quays and
    the water-terrace with guns: let Bonaparte attack us in this
    position; let him carry our barricades one by one; let him
    bombard Paris, if he please and if he have mortars; let him
    make himself odious to the whole population, and we shall see
    the result of his enterprise! Let us resist for but three
    days, and victory is ours. The King, defending himself in
    his palace, will arouse universal enthusiasm. Lastly, if he
    must die, let him die worthy of his rank; let Napoleon's
    last exploit be to cut an old man's throat. Louis XVIII., in
    sacrificing his life, will win the only battle he will have
    fought; he will win it for the benefit of the freedom of the
    human race."

Thus I spoke: one is never entitled to say that all is lost so long as
one has attempted nothing. What could have been finer than an old son
of St. Louis overthrowing, with Frenchmen, in a few moments, a man whom
all the confederate kings of Europe had taken so many years to lay low?

This resolution, desperate in appearance, was very reasonable at bottom
and offered not the smallest danger. I shall always remain convinced
that, had Bonaparte found Paris hostile and the King present, he
would not have tried to force them. Without artillery, provisions,
or money, he had with him only troops collected at random, still
wavering, astonished at their sudden change of cockade, at their oaths
taken headlong on the roads: they would promptly have become divided.
A few hours' delay and Napoleon was lost; it but needed a little
heart. Already, even, we could rely on a portion of the army; the two
Swiss regiments were keeping their faith: did not Marshal Gouvion
Saint-Cyr make the Orleans garrison resume the white cockade two days
after Bonaparte's entry into Paris? From Marseilles to Bordeaux, all
recognised the King's authority during the whole month of March: at
Bordeaux, the troops were hesitating; they would have remained with
Madame la Duchesse d'Angoulême, if the news had come that the King was
at the Tuileries and that Paris was being defended. The provincial
towns would have imitated Paris. The loth Regiment of the line fought
very well under the Duc d'Angoulême; Masséna was proving himself crafty
and uncertain; at Lille, the garrison responded to Marshal Mortier's
stirring proclamation. If all those proofs of a possible fidelity took
place in spite of a flight, what would they not have been in the case
of a resistance?

Had my plan been adopted, the foreigners would not have ravaged France
afresh; our Princes would not have returned with the hostile armies;
the Legitimacy would have been saved through itself. One thing alone
would have to be feared after success: the too great confidence of the
Royalty in its strength, and, consequently, attempts upon the rights of
the nation.

Why did I arrive at a period in which I was so ill-placed? Why have I
been a Royalist against my instinct, at a time when a miserable race
of courtiers was unable either to hear or to understand me? Why was I
flung into that troop of mediocrities, who took me for a raver when I
spoke of courage, for a revolutionary when I spoke of liberty?

A fine question of defense, indeed! The King had no fear, and my plan
rather pleased him through a certain "Louis-Quatorzian" grandeur;
but other faces had lengthened. They packed up the Crown diamonds
(formerly purchased out of the privy-purse of the Sovereigns), leaving
thirty-three million crowns in the treasury and forty-two millions in
securities. Those sixty-five millions were the produce of taxation: why
was it not returned to the people, rather than left to tyranny!

A dual procession passed up and down the stair-cases of the Pavillon
de Flore; people were asking what they were to do: no answer. They
applied to the captain of the guards; they questioned the chaplains,
the precentors, the almoners: nothing. Vain talk, vain retailing of
news. I saw young men weep with rage when uselessly asking for orders
and arms; I saw women faint with anger and contempt. Access to the King
was impossible; etiquette closed the door.

[Sidenote: A Royal order: "Hunt him down."]

The great measure decreed against Bonaparte was an order to "hunt him
down[252]:" Louis XVIII., with no legs, "hunting down" the conqueror
who bestrode the earth! This form of the ancient laws, renewed for
the occasion, is enough to show the compass of mind of the statesmen
of that period. "To hunt down" in 1815! "Hunt down!" And "hunt" whom?
"Hunt" a wolf? "Hunt" a brigand chieftain? "Hunt" a felon lord? No:
"hunt" Napoleon, who had "hunted down" kings, who had seized and
branded them for all time on the shoulder with his indelible "N"!

From this order, when considered more closely, sprang a political truth
which no one saw: the Legitimate House, estranged from the nation for
three-and-twenty years, had remained at the day and place at which the
Revolution had caught it, whereas the nation had progressed in point of
time and space. Hence the impossibility of understanding and meeting
one another; religion, ideas, interests, language, earth and heaven,
all were different for the people and for the King, because they were
separated by a quarter of a century equivalent to centuries.

But if the order "to hunt down" appears strange, owing to the
preservation of the old idiom of the law, had Bonaparte originally
the intention of acting better, although employing a newer language?
Papers of M. d'Hauterive[253], catalogued by M. Artaud[254], prove
that it cost great difficulty to prevent Napoleon from having the Duc
d'Angoulême shot, in spite of the official document in the _Moniteur_,
a show document which remains to us: he thought it wrong of the Prince
to have defended himself. And yet the fugitive from Elba, when leaving
Fontainebleau, had recommended the soldiers to be "faithful to the
monarch" whom France had chosen. Bonaparte's family had been respected;
Queen Hortense had accepted from Louis XVIII. the title of Duchesse de
Saint-Leu; Murat, who still reigned in Naples, saw his kingdom sold by
M. de Talleyrand only during the Congress of Vienna.

This period, in which all are lacking in frankness, oppresses the
heart: every one threw out a profession of faith as it were a
foot-bridge to cross the difficulty of the day, free to change his
direction, the difficulty once passed; youth alone was sincere, because
it was near its cradle. Bonaparte solemnly declared that he renounced
the crown; he departed, and returned after nine months. Benjamin
Constant printed his vehement protest against the tyrant, and he
changed in twenty-four hours. It will be seen later, in another book
of these Memoirs, who inspired him with the noble impulse to which the
fickleness of his nature did not permit him to remain faithful. Marshal
Soult excited the troops against their old leader; a few days later he
was roaring with laughter at his own proclamation in Napoleon's closet
at the Tuileries, and became Major-general of the army at Waterloo;
Marshal Ney kissed the King's hands, swore to bring him Bonaparte
locked up in an iron cage, and handed over to the latter all the corps
under his command. And the King of France, alas? He declared that, at
the age of sixty years, he could not better end his career than by
dying in defense of his people ... and fled to Ghent! At sight of this
incapacity for truth in men's feelings, at the want of harmony between
their words and their deeds, one feels seized with disgust for the
human kind.

Louis XVIII., on the 16th of March, was declaring his intention of
dying in the midst of France; had he kept his word, the Legitimacy
might have lasted another century; nature herself seemed to have taken
from the old King the power of retreating by chaining him about with
wholesome infirmities; but the future destinies of the human race would
have been trammelled by the accomplishment of the resolution of the
author of the Charter. Bonaparte hastened to the assistance of the
future; that Christ of the power for evil took the new man sick of the
palsy by the hand, and said to him:

"Arise, take up thy bed, and walk[255]."


It was evident that a scamper was being contemplated: for fear of being
detained, they did not even warn those who, like myself, would have
been shot within an hour after Napoleon's entry into Paris. I met the
Duc de Richelieu in the Champs-Élysées:

"They are deceiving us," he said; "I am keeping watch here, for I do
not propose to await the Emperor at the Tuileries all by myself."

[Sidenote: Flight of Louis XVIII.]

On the evening of the 19th, Madame de Chateaubriand had sent a servant
to the Carrousel, with instructions not to return until he had the
certainty of the flight of the King. At midnight, as the man had not
come in, I went to my room. I had just gone to bed, when M. Clausel de
Coussergues entered. He told us that His Majesty had left and had gone
in the direction of Lille. He brought me this news on the part of the
Chancellor, who, knowing me to be in danger, was violating secrecy on
my behalf and sent me twelve thousand francs recoverable on my salary
as Minister to Sweden. I was obstinately bent on remaining, not wishing
to leave Paris until I should be physically certain of the royal
removal. The servant who had been sent to reconnoitre returned: he had
seen the Court carriages go by. Madame de Chateaubriand pushed me into
her carriage, at four o'clock in the morning on the 20th of March. I
was in such a fit of fury that I knew neither where I was going nor
what I was doing.

We passed out through the Barrière Saint-Martin. At dawn, I saw crows
coming down peacefully from the elms on the high-road where they had
spent the night, to take their first meal in the fields, without
troubling their heads about Louis XVIII. and Napoleon: they were not
obliged to leave their country and, thanks to their wings, they were
able to laugh at the bad road along which I was being jolted. Old
friends of Combourg, we were more alike in the old days when, at break
of day, we used to breakfast on mulberries from the brambles in the
thickets of Brittany!

The roadway was broken up, the weather rainy, Madame de Chateaubriand
poorly: she looked every moment through the little window at the
back of the carnage to see if we were not being pursued. We slept at
Amiens, where Du Cange[256] was born; next at Arras, the birth-place of
Robespierre[257]: there I was recognised. When we sent for horses, on
the morning of the 22nd, the postmaster said that they had been engaged
for a general who was taking to Lille the news of "the triumphal entry
of the Emperor-King into Paris;" Madame de Chateaubriand was dying
of fright, not for herself, but for me. I ran to the post-office and
removed the difficulty with money.

On arriving under the ramparts of Lille, at two in the morning of the
23rd, we found the gates closed; the orders were not to open them to
any one whomsoever. They could not, or would not, tell us if the King
had entered the town. I induced the postillion for a few louis to make
for the other side of the place, outside the glacis, and to drive us
to Tournay; in 1792, I had covered the same road on foot, during the
night, with my brother. On arriving at Tournay, I learnt that Louis
XVIII. had certainly entered Lille with Marshal Mortier, and that
he meant to defend himself there. I despatched a courier to M. de
Blacas, asking him to send me a permit to be received into the place.
My courier returned with a permit from the commandant, but not a word
from M. de Blacas. Leaving Madame de Chateaubriand at Tournay, I was
getting into the carriage again to go to Lille, when the Prince de
Condé arrived. We learnt through him that the King had gone and that
Marshal Mortier had had him accompanied to the frontier. From these
explanations it became clear that Louis XVIII. was no longer at Lille
when my letter arrived there.

The Duc d'Orléans followed close after the Prince de Condé. Under an
apparent dissatisfaction, he was glad, at bottom, to find himself out
of the hurly-burly; the ambiguousness of his declaration and of his
behaviour bore the stamp of his character. As to the old Prince de
Condé, the Emigration was his household god. He had no fear of Monsieur
de Bonaparte, not he; he fought if they liked or went away if they
liked: things were a little muddled in his brain; he was none too clear
as to whether he should stop at Rocroi to give battle there or go to
dine at the White Hart. He struck his tents a few hours before us,
telling me to recommend the coffee at the inn to the members of his
Household whom he had left behind him. He did not know that I had sent
in my resignation on the death of his grandson; he was not very sure
that he had had a grandson; he only felt a certain increase of glory in
his name, which might come from some Condé whom he had forgotten.

Do you remember my first passing through Tournay with my brother, at
the time of my first emigration? Do you remember, in that connection,
the man transformed into a donkey, the girl from whose ears grew
corn-spikes, the rain of ravens that set everything on fire[258]? In
1815, indeed, we ourselves were a rain of ravens; but we set nothing on
fire. Alas, I was no longer with my unfortunate brother! Between 1792
and 1815, the Republic and the Empire had passed: what revolutions had
also been accomplished in my life! Time had ravaged me like the rest.
And you, the young generations of the moment, let twenty-three years
come, and then tell me in my tomb what has become of your loves and
your illusions of to-day.

The two brothers Bertin had arrived at Tournay: M. Bertin de Vaux[259]
returned from there to Paris; the other Bertin, Bertin the Elder, was
my friend. You know through these Memoirs what it was that attached me
to him.

[Sidenote: I follow the King to Ghent.]

From Tournay we went to Brussels: there I found no Baron de Breteuil,
nor Rivarol, nor all those young aides-de-camp who had become dead or
old, which is the same thing. No news of the barber who had given me
shelter. I did not take up the musket, but the pen; from a soldier
I had become a paper-stainer. I was looking for Louis XVIII.; he
was at Ghent, where he had been taken by Messieurs de Blacas and
de Duras[260]: their first intention had been to ship the King to
England. If the King had consented to this plan, he would never have
reascended the throne.

Having gone into a lodging-house to look at an apartment, I perceived
the Duc de Richelieu smoking, half-outstretched on a sofa, at the
back of a dark room. He spoke to me of the Princes in the most brutal
manner, declaring that he was going to Russia and that he would not
hear another word about those people. Madame la Duchesse de Duras, on
arriving in Brussels, had the sorrow to lose her niece there.

I loathe the Brabant capital; it has never served me except as a
passage to my exiles; it has always brought sorrow upon myself or my

An order of the King summoned me to Ghent. The Royal Volunteers and
the Duc de Berry's little army had been disbanded at Béthune, in the
middle of the mud and of the accidents of a military breaking-up:
touching farewells had been exchanged. Two hundred men of the King's
Household remained and were quartered at Alost; my two nephews, Louis
and Christian de Chateaubriand, formed part of that corps.

I had been given a billet of which I did not avail myself; a baroness
whose name I have forgotten came to see Madame de Chateaubriand at the
inn and offered us an apartment in her house: she implored us with so
good a grace!

"You must pay no attention," she said, "to anything my husband says:
his head is a little... you understand? My daughter also is a trifle
eccentric; she has terrible moments, poor child! But the rest of the
time she is as gentle as a lamb. Alas, it is not she who causes me
the greatest trouble, but my son Louis, the youngest of my children:
without God's help, he will be worse than his father!"

Madame de Chateaubriand politely refused to go and live with such
rational people.

The King, well-lodged, having his service and his guards, formed his
council. The empire of that great monarch consisted of a house in the
Kingdom of the Netherlands, which house was situated in a town which,
although the birthplace of Charles V.[261], had been the chief town
of a prefecture of Bonaparte's: those names comprise between them a
goodly number of centuries and events.

[Sidenote: And join his Ministry.]

The Abbé de Montesquiou being in London, Louis XVIII. appointed
me Minister of the Interior _ad interim._[262] My correspondence
with the "departments" did not give me much to do; I easily kept
up my correspondence with the prefects, sub-prefects, mayors and
deputy-mayors of our good towns, on the inner side of our frontiers;
I did not repair the roads much, and I let the steeples tumble down;
my budget hardly enriched me; I had no secret funds; only, by a
crying abuse, I was a "pluralist:" I was still His Majesty's Minister
Plenipotentiary to the King of Sweden, who, like his fellow-townsman
Henry IV.[263], reigned by right of conquest, if not by right of birth.
We discoursed round a table covered with a green cloth in the King's
closet. M. de Lally-Tolendal, who was, I think, Minister of Public
Instruction, delivered speeches even more voluminous and more inflated
than his cheeks: he quoted his illustrious ancestors the Kings of
Ireland and muddled up his father's[264] trial with those of Charles I.
and Louis XVI. He refreshed himself in the evening, after the tears,
the sweat and the words which he had shed at the council, with a lady
who had come all the way from Paris out of enthusiasm for his genius;
he virtuously strove to cure her, but his eloquence betrayed his virtue
and drove the dart more deeply.

Madame la Duchesse de Duras had come to join M. le Duc de Duras among
the exiles. I will speak no more ill of misfortune, because I have
spent three months with that admirable woman, talking of all that
upright minds and hearts can find in a conformity of tastes, ideas,
principles and feelings. Madame de Duras was ambitious for me: she
alone saw at once what I might be worth in political life; she always
deplored the envy and short-sightedness which kept me removed from the
King's counsels; but she even much more deplored the obstacles which my
character placed in the way of my fortune: she scolded me, she wanted
to correct me of my indifference, my candour, my ingenuousness, and to
make me adopt habits of courtierism which she herself could not endure.
Nothing, perhaps, leads to greater attachment and gratitude than to
feel one's self under the patronage of a superior friendship which,
by virtue of its ascendancy over society, passes off your defects as
good qualities, your imperfections as an attraction. A man protects you
through his worth, a woman through your worth: that is why, of those
two empires, one is so hateful, the other so sweet.

Since I have lost that great-hearted person, gifted with a soul so
noble, with an intelligence which combined something of the strength
of the thought of Madame de Staël with the grace of the talent of
Madame de La Fayette[265], I have never ceased, while mourning her,
to reproach myself with any unevenness of temper with which I may
sometimes have wounded hearts that were devoted to me. Let us keep a
close watch upon our character! Let us remember that, with a profound
attachment, we can nevertheless poison days which we would buy back
again at the price of all our blood. When our friends have sunk into
the grave, what means have we to repair our trespasses? Our useless
regrets, our vain repentings, are those a remedy for the pain that we
have given them? They would have preferred one smile from us during
their life than all our tears after their death.

The charming Clara[266] was at Ghent with her mother. We two made up
bad couplets to the air of the _Tyrolienne._ I have held many pretty
little girls on my knees who are young grandmothers to-day. When you
have left a woman, married in your presence at sixteen years of age,
if you return sixteen years later, you find her of the same age still:

"Ah, madame, you have not put on a day!"

No doubt: but it is the daughter to whom you are saying so, the
daughter whom you will also lead up to the altar. But you, a sad
witness to both hymens, you treasure up the sixteen years which you
received at each union: a wedding-present which will hasten your own
marriage with a white-haired lady, rather thin.

[Sidenote: Marshal Victor.]

Marshal Victor had come to join us, at Ghent, with an admirable
simplicity: he asked for nothing, never teased the King with his
assiduity; one scarcely saw him; I do not know whether he ever had
the honour and the favour of being invited on a single occasion to
His Majesty's dinner-party. I have met Marshal Victor since; I have
been his colleague in office, and I have always perceived the same
excellent nature. In Paris, in 1823, M. le Dauphin was very harsh to
that honest soldier: it was very good of this Duc de Bellune to repay
such easy ingratitude with such modest devotion[267]! Candour carries
me away and touches me, even when, on certain occasions, it attains the
final expression of its ingenuousness. For instance, the marshal told
me of his wife's[268] death in the language of a soldier, and he made
me weep: he pronounced coarse words so quickly, and changed them so
chastely, that one might even have written them.

M. de Vaublanc[269] and M. Capelle[270] joined us. The former used to
say that he had some of everything in his portfolio. Do you want some
Montesquieu? Here you are. Some Bossuet? Here it is! In proportion
as the game seemed about to take a different turn, more travellers
arrived. The Abbé Louis and M. le Comte Beugnot alighted at the inn
where I was lodging. Madame de Chateaubriand was suffering from
terrible fits of choking, and I was sitting up with her. The two
new-comers installed themselves in a room separated from my wife's only
by a thin partition; it was impossible not to hear, unless by stopping
one's ears: between eleven and twelve at night the new arrivals raised
their voices. The Abbé Louis, who spoke like a wolf and in jerks, was
saying to M. Beugnot:

"You, a minister? You'll never be one again! You have committed one
stupidity after the other!"

I could not clearly hear M. le Comte Beugnot's answer, but he spoke
of thirty-three millions left behind in the Royal Treasury. The abbé,
apparently in anger, pushed a chair, which fell down. Through the
uproar I caught these words:

"The Duc d'Angoulême? He'll have to buy his national property at the
gates of Paris. I shall sell what remains of the State forests. I shall
cut down everything. The elms on the highroads, the Bois de Boulogne,
the Champs-Élysées: what's the use of all that, eh?"

Brutality formed M. Louis' principal merit; his talent lay in a stupid
love of material interests. If the Minister of Finance drew the forests
after him, he had doubtless a different secret from that of Orpheus,
who "made the woods go after him with his fail; fiddling." In the slang
of the time, M. Louis was known as a "special" man; his speciality of
finance had led him to accumulate the tax-payers' money in the Treasury
in order to let it be taken by Bonaparte. Napoleon had had no use for
this special man, who was in no sense an unique man, and who was at the
most good enough for the Directory.

The Abbé Louis had gone to Ghent to claim his office; he was in very
good favour with M. de Talleyrand, with whom he had solemnly officiated
at the first federation in the Champ de Mars: the bishop was the
celebrant, the Abbé Louis the deacon, and the Abbé Desrenaudes[271] the
sub-deacon. M. de Talleyrand, recollecting this admirable profanation,
used to say to the Baron Louis:

"Abbé, you were very fine as the deacon in the Champ de Mars!"

We endured this shame under the great tyranny of Bonaparte: ought we to
have endured it later?

The "Most Christian" King had screened himself from any reproach of
bigotry: he owned in his Council a married bishop, M. de Talleyrand; a
priest living in concubinage, M. Louis; a non-practising abbé, M. de

The last-named, a man as feverish as a consumptive, gifted with a
certain glibness of speech, had a narrow and disparaging mind, a
malignant heart, a sour character. One day, when I had made a speech at
the Luxembourg on behalf of the liberty of the press, the descendant
of Clovis, passing in front of me, who went back only to the Breton
Mormoran, caught me a great blow with his knee in my thigh, which was
not in good taste; I gave him one back, which was not polite: we played
at the Duc de La Rochefoucauld and the Coadjutor[272]. The Abbé de
Montesquiou humorously called M. de Lally-Tolendal "an English beast."

[Sidenote: The fish dinners at Ghent.]

In the rivers at Ghent they catch a very dainty white fish: we used,
_tutti quanti_, to go to eat this good fish in a suburban road-side
inn, while waiting for the battles and the end of empires. M. Laborie
never failed us at our meetings: I had first met him at Savigny when,
fleeing from Bonaparte, he came in at Madame de Beaumont's by one
window and made his way out by another. Indefatigable at work, renewing
his errands as often as his bills, as fond of doing services as others
are of receiving them, he has been calumniated: calumny is not the
impeachment of the calumniated, but the excuse of the calumniator. I
have seen men grow tired of the promises in which M. Laborie was so
rich; but why? Illusions are like torture: they always help to pass an
hour or two[273]. I have often led by the head, with a golden bridle,
old hacks of memory unable to stand on their legs, which I took for
young and frisky hopes.

I also met M. Mounier[274] at the white-fish dinners, a sensible and
upright man. M. Guizot deigned to honour us with his presence[275].

A _Moniteur_[276] had been started at Ghent: my report to the King of
the 12th of May[277], inserted in that journal, proves that my feelings
on the liberty of the press and on foreign domination have at all times
been the same. I can quote the following passages to-day; they in no
way belie my life:


    "You were preparing to crown the institutions of which you
    had laid the foundation-stone.... You had fixed a period for
    the commencement of the hereditary peerage; the ministry
    would have gained greater unity; the ministers I would have
    become members of the two Chambers, according to the true
    spirit of the Charter; a law would have been brought in to
    allow the election of a member of the Chamber of Deputies
    before the age of forty, so that citizens might have had a
    real political career. It was proposed to discuss a penal
    code for press offenses, after the adoption of which law the
    press would have been entirely free, for that freedom is
    inseparable from all representative government....

    "Sire, and this is the occasion solemnly to protest it:
    all your ministers, all the members of your Council, are
    inviolably attached to the principles of a wise liberty; they
    derive from you that love of laws, of order and of justice
    without which there can be no happiness for a people. Sire,
    let us be permitted to say that we are ready to shed the
    last drop of our blood for you, to follow you to the ends
    of the earth, to share with you the tribulations which it
    will please the Almighty to send you, because we believe
    before God that you will maintain the Constitution which you
    have given to your people, and that the sincerest wish of
    your royal heart is the liberty of Frenchmen. Had it been
    otherwise, Sire, we would all have died at your feet in
    defense of your sacred person; but we would have been only
    your soldiers, we would have ceased to be your councillors
    and your ministers....

    "Sire, at this moment we share your royal sadness; there is
    not one of your councillors and ministers who would not give
    up his life to prevent the invasion of France. You, Sire,
    are a Frenchman, we are Frenchmen! Alive to the honour of
    our country, proud of the glory of our arms, admirers of the
    courage of our soldiers, we would be willing, in the midst of
    your battalions, to shed the last drop of our blood to bring
    them back to their duty or to share lawful triumphs with
    them. We can only look with the deepest sorrow upon the ills
    that are ready to break over our country."

Thus, at Ghent, did I propose to add to the Charter that which it
still lacked, while displaying my sorrow at the new invasion which was
threatening France: nevertheless, I was only an exile whose wishes were
in contradiction with the facts which could again open the gates of my
country to me. Those pages were written in the States of the allied
sovereigns, among kings and Emigrants who detested the liberty of the
press, in the midst of armies marching to conquest of whom we were, so
to speak, the prisoners: these circumstances perhaps add some strength
to the feelings which I venture to express.

[Sidenote: The _Rapport au Roi._]

My report on reaching Paris made a great noise; it was reprinted by
M. Le Normant the Younger, who risked his life upon this occasion,
and for whom I had all the difficulty in the world to obtain a barren
warrant of printer to the King. Bonaparte acted, or allowed others to
act, in a manner unworthy of him: on the occasion of my report, they
did what the Directory had done on the appearance of Cléry's Memoirs;
they falsified fragments of it: I was made to propose to Louis XVIII.
stupid ideas for the revival of feudal rights, for the tithes of the
clergy, for the recovery of the national property, as though the
printing of the original piece in the _Moniteur de Gand_ at a fixed and
known date, did not confound the imposture. The pseudonymous writer
entrusted with the production of an insincere pamphlet was a soldier
fairly high up in rank: he was dismissed after the Hundred Days; his
dismissal was ascribed to his conduct towards me; he sent his friends
to me; they begged me to intervene, lest a man of merit should lose his
sole means of existence: I wrote to the Minister of War and obtained
a retiring-pension for this officer[278]. He is dead: his wife has
remained attached to Madame de Chateaubriand by a feeling of gratitude
to which I was far from having any claim. Certain proceedings are
too highly prized; the most ordinary persons are susceptible to such
feelings of generosity. A name for virtue is cheaply acquired: the
superior mind is not that which pardons, but that which has no need of

I do not know where Bonaparte, at St. Helena, discovered that I had
"rendered essential services at Ghent:" if he judged the part I played
too favourably, at least there lay behind his opinion an appreciation
of my political value.


I avoided at Ghent, as far as I could, intrigues, which were opposed to
my character and contemptible in my eyes; for, at bottom, I perceived
in our paltry catastrophe the catastrophe of society. My refuge against
the idlers and rogues was the Enclos du Béguinage. I used to walk round
that little world of veiled or tuckered women, consecrated to different
Christian works: a calm region, placed like the African quicksands
on the edge of the tempests. There no incongruity shocked my ideas,
for the sentiment of religion is so lofty that it is never irrelevant
to the gravest revolutions: the solitaries of the Thebaid and the
Barbarians, destroyers of the Roman world, are in no way discordant
facts or mutually exclusive existences.

I was graciously received in the close as the author of the _Génie du
Christianisme_: wherever I go, among Christians, the curates flock
round me; next come the mothers bringing me their children: the latter
recite to me my chapter on the First Communion. Then appear unhappy
persons who tell me of the good I have had the happiness to do them. My
passage through a Catholic town is announced like that of a missionary
or a physician. I am touched by this dual reputation: it is the only
agreeable memory of myself that I retain; I dislike myself in all the
rest of my personality and my reputation.

I was pretty often invited to festive dinners in the family of M. and
Madame d'Ops, a venerable father and mother surrounded by some thirty
children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At M. Coppens', a
banquet which I was obliged to accept was prolonged from one in the
afternoon to eight in the evening. I counted nine courses: they began
with the preserves and finished with the cutlets. The French alone know
how to dine methodically, just as they alone know how to compose a

[Sidenote: Diversions at Ghent.]

My "ministry" kept me at Ghent; Madame de Chateaubriand, less busy,
went to see Ostend, where I had embarked for Jersey in 1792. I had
travelled, a dying exile, down the same canals along whose banks I now
walked, still an exile, but in perfect health: there has always been
something fabulous in my career! The miseries and joys of my first
emigration revived in my thoughts; I saw England again, my companions
in misfortune, and Charlotte, whom I was to meet once more. There is
no one like myself to create a real society by calling up shadows; it
goes so far that the life of my memories absorbs the feeling of my
real life. Even persons with whom I have never occupied myself, if
they come to die, invade my memory: one would say that none can become
my companion if he has not passed through the tomb, which leads me to
think that I am a dead man. Where others find an eternal separation, I
find an eternal union; when one of my friends departs this earth, it
is as though he had come to make my home his own; he never leaves me
again. According as the present world retires, the past world returns
to me. If the actual generations scorn the generations that have grown
old, they waste their disdain where I am concerned: I am not even aware
of their existence.

My Golden Fleece had not yet reached Bruges[279], Madame de
Chateaubriand did not bring it to me. At Bruges, in 1426, "there was
a man whose name was John[280]," who invented or perfected the art
of painting in oils: let us be grateful to John of Bruges[281]; but
for the propagation of his method, Raphael's master-pieces would be
obliterated to-day. Where did the Flemish painters steal the light with
which they illumined their pictures? What ray from Greece strayed to
Batavia's shore?

After her journey to Ostend, Madame de Chateaubriand took a trip to
Antwerp. There she saw, in a cemetery, plaster souls in purgatory,
smeared all over with fire and black. At Louvain, she recruited a
stammerer, a learned professor, who came expressly to Ghent to gaze
upon a man so out of the ordinary as my wife's husband. He said to me,
"Illus... ttt... rr...;" his speech fell short of his admiration, and
I asked him to dinner. When the hellenist had drunk some curaçao, his
tongue became loosened. We got upon the merits of Thucydides, whom the
wine made us find clear as water. By dint of keeping up with my guest,
I ended, I believe, by talking Dutch; at least, I no longer understood
what I was saying.

Madame de Chateaubriand spent a bad night at the inn at Antwerp: a
young Englishwoman, recently confined, lay dying; during two hours she
made her groans heard; then her voice weakened, and her last moan,
which the stranger's ear could scarcely catch, was lost in an eternal
silence. The cries of this traveller, solitary and forsaken, might be
taken as a prelude to the thousand voices of death about to rise at

The customary solitude of Ghent was rendered more striking by the
foreign crowd which was then enlivening it and which was soon to
disperse. Belgian and English recruits were learning their drill
on the squares and under the trees of the public walks; gunners,
contractors, dragoons were landing trains of artillery, herds of oxen,
horses which struggled in the air while they were being let down in
straps; canteen-women came on shore carrying the sacks, the children,
the muskets of their husbands: all these were going, without knowing
why and without having the smallest interest in it, to the great
_rendez-vous_ of destruction which Bonaparte had given them. One saw
politicians gesticulating along a canal, near a motionless angler,
Emigrants trotting from the King's to "Monsieur's," from "Monsieur's"
to the King's. The Chancellor of France, M. Dambray, in a green coat
and a round hat, with an old novel under his arm, walked to the Council
to amend the Charter; the Duc de Lévis[282] went to pay his court in a
pair of old loose shoes, which dropped from his feet, because, brave
man and new Achilles that he was, he had been wounded in the heel. He
was very witty, as can be judged by the selection from his Reflexions.

The Duke of Wellington used to come occasionally to hold a review.
Louis XVIII. went out every afternoon in a coach and six, with his
First Lord of the Bed-chamber and his guards, to drive round Ghent,
just as though he had been in Paris. If he met the Duke of Wellington
on his road, he would give him a little patronizing nod in passing.

[Sidenote: The dignity of Louis XVIII.]

Louis XVIII. never lost sight of the pre-eminence of his cradle; he
was a king everywhere, as God is God everywhere, in a manger or in a
temple, on an altar of gold or of clay. Never did his misfortune wring
the smallest concession from him; his loftiness increased in the ratio
of his depression; his diadem was his name; he seemed to say, "Kill
me, you will not kill the centuries inscribed upon my brow." If they
had scraped his arms off the Louvre, it signified little to him: were
they not engraved on the globe? Had commissioners been sent to scratch
them off in every corner of the universe? Had they been erased in
India, at Pondichéry; in America, at Lima and Mexico; in the East, at
Antioch, Jerusalem, Acre, Cairo, Constantinople, Rhodes, in the Morea;
in the West, on the walls of Rome, on the ceilings of Caserta and the
Escurial, on the arches of the halls of Ratisbon and Westminster, in
the escutcheon of all the kings? Had they been torn from the needle of
the compass, where they seemed to proclaim the reign of the lilies to
the several regions of the earth?

The fixed idea of the grandeur, the antiquity, the dignity, the
majesty of his House gave Louis XVIII. a real empire. One felt its
dominion: even Bonaparte's generals confessed it; they stood more
intimidated before that impotent old man than before the terrible
master who had commanded them in a hundred battles. In Paris, when
Louis XVIII. accorded to the triumphing monarchs the honour of dining
at his table, he passed without ceremony before those princes whose
soldiers were camping in the court-yard of the Louvre; he treated them
like vassals who had only done their duty in bringing men-at-arms to
their liege-lord. In Europe there is but one monarchy, that of France;
the destiny of the other monarchies is bound up in the fate of that
one. All the Royal Houses are of yesterday beside the House of Hugh
Capet[283], and almost all are its daughters. Our old royal power was
the old royalty of the world: from the banishment of the Capets will
date the era of the expulsion of the kings.

The more impolitic that haughtiness on the part of the descendant of
St. Louis (it became fatal to his heirs), the more pleasing was it to
the national pride: the French rejoiced at seeing sovereigns who, when
conquered, had borne the chains of a man, bear, as conquerors, the yoke
of a dynasty.

The unshaken faith of Louis XVIII. in his blood is the real might that
restored his sceptre; it was that faith which twice let fall upon
his head a crown for which Europe certainly did not believe, did not
pretend that she was exhausting her populations and her treasures. The
soldier-less exile was to be found at the issue of all the battles
which he had not delivered. Louis XVIII. was the Legitimacy incarnate;
it ceased to be visible when he disappeared.


At Ghent, I took walks by myself, as I do wherever I go. The barges
gliding along narrow canals, obliged to cross ten or twelve leagues of
pasture-land to reach the sea, appeared to be sailing over the grass;
they reminded me of the canoes of the savages in the wild-oat marshes
of Missouri. Standing at the edge of the water, while they were dipping
lengths of brown holland, I let my eyes wander over the steeples of
the town; its history appeared to me on the clouds in the sky: the
citizens of Ghent revolting against Henri de Châtillon, the French
governor; the wife[284] of Edward III.[285] bringing forth John of
Gaunt[286], the stock of the House of Lancaster; the popular reign of
van Artevelde[287]:

"Good people, who moves you? Why are you so incensed against me? In
what can I have angered you?"

"You must die!" cried the people: it is what Time cries to all of
us. Later, I saw the Dukes of Burgundy; the Spaniards came. Then the
pacification, the sieges and the captures of Ghent.

When I had done musing among the centuries, the sound of a little bugle
or a Scotch bagpipe would rouse me. I saw living soldiers hastening
to join the buried battalions of Batavia: ever destructions, powers
overthrown; and, at last, a few faded shadows and some names that had

Sea-board Flanders was one of the first cantonments of the companions
of Clodion[288] and Clovis. Ghent, Bruges and the surrounding country
furnished nearly a tenth of the grenadiers of the Old Guard: that
terrible army was in part drawn from the cradle of our fathers, and
came in its turn to be exterminated beside that cradle. Did the
Lys[289] give its flower to the arms of our Kings?

Spanish manners leave the impress of their character: the buildings
of Ghent retraced for me those of Granada, less the sky of the Vega.
A large town almost bereft of inhabitants, deserted streets, canals
as deserted as the streets.... twenty-six islands formed by those
canals, which were not the canals of Venice, a huge piece of ordnance
of the middle ages: that is what replaced at Ghent the city of the
Zegris[290], the Duero and the Xenil[291] the Generalife and the
Alhambra; old dreams of mine, shall I ever see you more?


[Sidenote: The Duchesse de Lévis.]

Madame la Duchesse d'Angoulême, who had taken ship on the Gironde, came
to us by way of England with General Donnadieu[292] and M. Desèze[293],
of whom the latter had crossed the ocean wearing his blue ribbon
across his waistcoat. The Duc and Duchesse de Lévis[294] followed in
the Princess' suite: they had flung themselves into the diligence and
escaped from Paris by the Bordeaux road. Their fellow-travellers talked

"That scoundrel of a Chateaubriand," said one of them, "is no such
fool! He had his carriage waiting packed in his court-yard for three
days: the bird has flown. They would have made short work of him, if
Napoleon had caught him!"

Madame la Duchesse de Lévis was a very handsome, very kind woman, and
as calm as Madame la Duchesse de Duras was restless. She never left
Madame de Chateaubriand's side; she was our assiduous companion at
Ghent. No one has diffused more quietude in my life, a thing of which
I have great need. The least troubled moments of my existence are
those which I spent at Noisiel, in the house of that woman whose words
and sentiments entered into your soul only to restore its serenity. I
recall with regret those moments passed under the great chestnut-trees
of Noisiel! With a soothed spirit, a convalescent heart, I used to look
upon the ruins of Chelles Abbey and the little lights of the boats
loitering among the willows on the Marne.

The remembrance of Madame de Lévis is for me that of a silent autumn
evening. She passed away in a few hours; she mingled with death as with
the source of all rest I saw her sink noiselessly into her grave in
the Cemetery of Père-Lachaise; she is laid above M. de Fontanes, and
the latter sleeps beside his son Saint-Marcellin, killed in a duel.
Thus, bowing before the monument of Madame de Lévis, have I come into
contact with two other sepulchres: man cannot awaken one sorrow without
reawakening another; during the night, the different flowers which open
only in the shade expand.

To Madame de Lévis' affectionate kindness for me was added the
friendship of M. le Duc de Lévis, the father: I may now reckon only by
generations. M. de Lévis wrote well; he had a versatile and fertile
imagination which betrayed his noble race, as it had already displayed
itself in his blood shed on the beach at Quiberon.

Nor was that to be the end of all: it was the impulse of a friendship
which passed on to the second generation. M. le Duc de Lévis, the
son[295], attached at present to M. le Comte de Chambord, has drawn
near to me; my hereditary affection will fail him no more than will
my fidelity to his august master. The new and charming Duchesse de
Lévis[296], his wife, joins to the great name of d'Aubusson the
brightest qualities of heart and mind: life is worth something, when
the graces borrow unwearied wings from history!


The Pavillon Marsan[297] existed at Ghent as in Paris. Every day
brought Monsieur news from France which was the offspring of
self-interest or imagination.

[Sidenote: Fouché, Duc D'Otrante.]

M. Gaillard[298], an ex-Oratorian, a counsel in the royal courts, an
intimate friend of Fouché's, alighted in our midst; he made himself
known, and was brought into touch with M. Capelle.

When I waited upon Monsieur, which was rarely, those around him used to
talk to me in covert words, and with many sighs, of "a man who (it must
be admitted) was behaving admirably: he was impeding all the Emperor's
operations; he was defending the Faubourg Saint-Germain, etc.,
etc." The faithful Marshal Soult was also the object of Monsieur's
predilection and, after Fouché, the most loyal man in France.

One day a carriage stopped at the door of my inn, and I saw Madame la
Baronne de Vitrolles step out of it: she had arrived bearing powers
from the Duc d'Otrante. She took away with her a note, written in
Monsieur's hand, in which the Prince declared that he would retain
an eternal gratitude to him who saved M. de Vitrolles. Fouché wanted
no more; armed with this note, he was sure of his future in case of
a restoration. Thenceforward, there was no question at Ghent save of
the immense obligations due to the excellent M. Fouché de Nantes[299],
save of the impossibility of returning to France otherwise than by
that just man's good pleasure: the difficulty was how to make the King
relish this new redeemer of the Monarchy.

After the Hundred Days, Madame de Custine compelled me to meet Fouché
at dinner at her house. I had seen him once, five years before,
in connection with the condemnation of my poor Cousin Armand. The
ex-minister knew that I had opposed his nomination at Roye, at Gonesse,
at Arnouville; and, as he suspected me of being powerful, he wished
to make his peace with me. The death of Louis XVI. was the best
thing about him: regicide was his innocence. A prater, like all the
revolutionaries, beating the air with empty phrases, he retailed a
heap of commonplaces stuffed with "destiny," with "necessity," with
"the right of things," mingling with this philosophic nonsense further
nonsense on the march and progress of society, and shameless maxims in
favour of the strong as against the weak; and he was free in his use of
impudent avowals on the justice of success, the little worth of a head
which falls, the equity of that which prospers, the iniquity of that
which suffers, affecting to speak of the most horrid disasters with
airy indifference, as though he were a genius above all such fooleries.
Not a choice idea escaped him, not a remarkable thought, on any subject
whatsoever. I went away shrugging my shoulders at crime.

M. Fouché never forgave me my dryness and the small effect he produced
on me. He had thought he would fascinate me by causing the blade of the
fatal instrument to rise and fall before my eyes, like a glory of Mount
Sinai; he had imagined that I would look up, as to a colossus, to the
ranter who, speaking of the soil of Lyons, had said:

"That soil shall be overturned; on the ruins of that proud and
rebellious city shall rise scattered cottages which the friends of
liberty will hasten to come and inhabit.... We shall have the energetic
courage to walk through the vast tombs of the conspirators.... Their
blood-stained corpses, hurled into the Rhône, give on both banks and at
its mouth the impression of terror and the image of the omnipotence of
the people. . . . . . . .

"We shall celebrate the victory of Toulon; we shall this evening send
two hundred and fifty rebels under the lead of the thunder."

Those horrible trimmings did not impose upon me: because M. "de
Nantes" had diluted republican crimes with imperial mire; because the
_sans-culotte_, transformed into a duke, had wrapped the cord of the
lantern in the ribbon of the Legion of Honour, he appeared neither the
abler nor the greater for it in my eyes. The Jacobins detest men who
make no account of their atrocities and who despise their murders;
their pride is provoked, like that of authors whose talent one disputes.


[Sidenote: His underhand negotiations.]

At the same time that Fouché was sending M. Gaillard to Ghent to
negociate with the brother of Louis XVI., his agents at Bâle were
parleying with those of Prince Metternich[300] on the subject of
Napoleon II., and M. de Saint-Léon, dispatched by this same Fouché,
was arriving in Vienna to treat of the crown as a "possibility" for
M. le Duc d'Orléans. The friends of the Duc d'Otrante could rely upon
him no more than his enemies: on the return of the legitimate Princes,
he maintained his old colleague, M. Thibaudeau[301], on the list of
exiles, while M. de Talleyrand struck this or that outlaw off the list,
or added that other to the catalogue, according to his whim. Had not
the Faubourg Saint-Germain reason indeed to believe in M. Fouché?

M. de Saint-Léon carried three notes to Vienna, of which one was
addressed to M. de Talleyrand: the Duc d'Otrante proposed that the
ambassador of Louis XVIII. should push the son of Égalité on to the
throne, if he saw his way! What probity in those negociations! How
fortunate they were to have to do with such honest persons! Yet we have
admired, censed, blessed those highway robbers; we have paid court to
them; we have called them _monseigneur!_ That explains the world as it
stands. M. de Montrond came in addition, after M. de Saint-Léon.

M. le Duc d'Orléans did not conspire in fact but by consent; he let
the revolutionary affinities intrigue: a sweet society! In this dark
lane, the plenipotentiary of the King of France lent an ear to Fouché's

Speaking of M. de Talleyrand's detention at the Barrière d'Enfer, I
said what had, till then, been M. de Talleyrand's fixed idea as to the
regency of Marie-Louise: he was obliged by the emergency to embrace
the eventuality of the Bourbons; but he was always ill at ease: it
seemed to him that, under the heirs of St. Louis, a married bishop
would never be sure of his place. The idea of substituting the Younger
Branch for the Elder Branch pleased him, therefore, so much so the more
in that he had had former relations with the Palais Royal.

Taking that side, without however exposing himself entirely, he
hazarded a few words of Fouché's project to Alexander. The Tsar had
ceased to interest himself in Louis XVIII.: the latter had hurt him,
in Paris, by his affectation of superiority of race; he had hurt him
again by refusing to consent to the marriage of the Duc de Berry with
a sister of the Emperor; the Princess was rejected for three reasons:
she was a schismatic; she was not of an old enough stock; she came of
a family of madmen: these reasons were not put forward upright but
aslant, and, when seen through, gave Alexander treble offense. As a
last subject of complaint against the old sovereign of exile, the
Tsar brought up the projected alliance between England, France and
Austria. For the rest, it seemed as though the succession were open;
all the world claimed to succeed to the estate of the sons of Louis
XIV.: Benjamin Constantin the name of Madame Murat[302], was pleading
the rights which Napoleon's sister believed herself to possess over
the Kingdom of Naples; Bernadotte was casting a distant glance upon
Versailles, apparently because the King of Sweden came from Pau.

La Besnardière[303], head of a department at the Foreign Office,
went over to M. de Caulaincourt; he drew up a hurried report on "the
complaints and rejoinders of France" to the Legitimacy. After this
kick had been let fly, M. de Talleyrand found means of communicating
the report to Alexander: discontented and fickle, the Autocrat was
struck with La Besnardière's pamphlet. Suddenly, in the middle of the
Congress, the Tsar asked, to the general stupefaction, if it would not
be a matter for deliberation to examine in how far M. le Duc d'Orléans
might suit France and Europe as King. This is perhaps one of the most
surprising things in those extraordinary times, and perhaps it is
still more extraordinary that it has been so little discussed[304].
Lord Clancarty[305] made the Russian proposal fall through; His
Lordship declared that he had no powers to treat so grave a question:

"As for myself," he said, "giving my opinion as a private individual, I
think that to put M. le Duc d'Orléans on the throne of France would be
to replace a military usurpation by a family usurpation, which is more
dangerous to the sovereigns than any other usurpation."

[Sidenote: At the Congress of Vienna.]

The members of the Congress went to dinner, using the sceptre of St.
Louis as a rush with which to mark the folio at which they had left off
in their protocols.

Upon the obstacles encountered by the Tsar, M. de Talleyrand faced
about: foreseeing that the stroke would resound, he sent a report to
Louis XVIII. (in a despatch which I have seen and which was numbered 25
or 27) of this strange session of the Congress[306]; he thought himself
obliged to inform His Majesty of so exorbitant a proceeding, because
this news, said he, would not long delay in reaching the King's ears: a
singular ingenuousness for M. le Prince de Talleyrand.

There had been a question of a declaration on the part of the Alliance,
in order to make it quite clear to the world that there was no quarrel
except with Napoleon, that there was no pretension to impose upon
France either an obligatory form of government or a sovereign who
should not be of her own choice. This latter part of the declaration
was suppressed, but it was positively announced in the official journal
of Frankfort. England, in her negociations with the Cabinets, always
employs that Liberal language, which is only a precaution against the
parliamentary tribune.

We see that the Allies were troubling themselves no more about the
re-establishment of the Legitimacy at the Second than at the First
Restoration: the event alone did all. What mattered it to such
short-sighted sovereigns whether the mother of European monarchies had
her throat cut? Would that prevent them from giving entertainments and
keeping guards? The monarchs are so solidly seated to-day, the globe in
one hand, the sword in the other!

M. de Talleyrand, whose interests were at that time in Vienna, feared
lest the English, whose opinion was no longer so favourable to him,
should begin the military game before all the armies were drawn up
in line, and lest the Cabinet of St. James should thus acquire the
predominance: that is why he wished to induce the King to re-enter
by the south-eastern provinces, in order that he might find himself
under the protection of the Austrian Empire and Cabinet. The Duke of
Wellington had given a precise order not to commence hostilities; it
was Napoleon who wanted the Battle of Waterloo: the destinies of such a
nature are not to be arrested.

Those historic facts, the most curious in the world, have remained
generally unknown; in the same way, also, a confused opinion has been
formed of the Treaties of Vienna relating to France: they have been
thought the iniquitous work of a troop of victorious sovereigns,
implacably bent upon our ruin; unfortunately, if they are harsh, they
have been envenomed by a French hand: when M. de Talleyrand is not
conspiring, he is trafficking.

Prussia desired to have Saxony, which will sooner or later be her prey;
France ought to have countenanced this wish, for, Saxony obtaining
an indemnification within the sphere of the Rhine, Landau would have
remained to us with our surrounding territories; Coblentz and other
fortresses would have passed to a small friendly State, which, placed
between ourselves and Prussia, prevented any point of contact; the keys
of France would not have been handed over to the shade of Frederic.
For three millions which Saxony paid him, M. de Talleyrand opposed the
combinations of the Cabinet of Berlin; but, in order to obtain the
assent of Alexander to the existence of Old Saxony, our Ambassador was
obliged to abandon Poland to the Tsar, notwithstanding that the other
Powers desired that a Poland of some kind should restrict the freedom
of the Muscovite's movements in the North. The Bourbons of Naples
redeemed themselves, like the sovereign of Dresden, with money[307].
M. de Talleyrand claimed that he was entitled to a subvention, in
exchange for his Duchy of Benevento: he was selling his livery on
leaving his master. When France was losing so much, could not M. de.
Talleyrand also have lost something? Benevento, moreover, did not
belong to the High Chamberlain: by virtue of the revival of the ancient
treaties, that principality was a dependency of the States of the

[Illustration: Talleyrand.]

[Sidenote: A letter from Talleyrand.]

Such were the diplomatic transactions which were being completed in
Vienna while we were stopping at Ghent. In this latter residence, I
received the following letter from M. de Talleyrand:

    "VIENNA, 4 _April._

    "I learnt, monsieur, with much pleasure that you were at
    Ghent, for circumstances require that the King should be
    surrounded with strong and independent men.

    "You will certainly have thought that it was useful to
    refute, by means of strenuously-reasoned publications, the
    whole of the new doctrine which they are trying to establish
    in the official documents now appearing in France.

    "It would be useful if something could appear of which the
    object would be to establish that the Declaration of the
    31st of March, made in Paris by the Allies, that the Act of
    Deposition, that the Act of Abdication, that the Treaty of
    the 11th of April, which resulted from them, are so many
    preliminary, indispensable and absolute conditions of the
    Treaty of the 30th of May; that is to say that, without those
    previous conditions, the treaty would not have been made.
    This admitted, the man who violates the said conditions or
    seconds their violation breaks the peace which that treaty
    established. It is, therefore, he and his accomplices who are
    declaring war against Europe.

    "An argument taken in this sense would do good abroad as
    well as at home; only it must be well done, so make it your

    "Accept, monsieur, the homage of my sincere attachment and of
    my high regard.


    "I hope to have the honour of seeing you at the end of the

Our Minister in Vienna was faithful to his hatred of the great chimera
escaped from the shades: he dreaded a blow from its wing. This letter
shows, for the rest, all that M. de Talleyrand was capable of doing
when he wrote alone: he had the kindness to teach me the "movement,"
leaving the "graces" to me. It was a question indeed of a few
diplomatic phrases on the deposition, on the abdication, on the Treaty
of the 11th of April and of the 30th of May, to stop Napoleon! I was
very grateful for the instructions given me by virtue of my patent as
"a strong man," but I did not follow them: an ambassador _in petto_ I
was not at that moment meddling with foreign affairs; I busied myself
only with my Ministry of the Interior _ad interim._

But what was taking place in Paris?

[231] Jean Baptiste Baron Dalesme (1763-1832) was a brigadier-general
under Napoleon, sat in the Legislative Body as Deputy for the
Haute-Vienne from 1802 to 1809, and was created a baron of the
Empire in 1810. He rallied to the Restoration, which made him a
lieutenant-general in October 1814. He was Governor of Elba during the
Hundred Days, and left the service on the Second Restoration. He was
reinstated in 1830, and died Governor of the Invalides.--B.

[232] 4 May 1814.--B.

[233] At the celebrated Congress of Erfurt, held in 1808, were present
the Emperors Alexander and Napoleon and almost all the sovereigns of
Germany. The King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria were the only
crowned heads not invited to it.--T.

[234] Æneid, X. 174.--B.

[235] Marie Countess Walewice-Walewska (circa 1787-1817), _née_
Laczinska, married, first (_circa_ 1804), to Anastasius Colonna,
Count Walewice-Walewski, who died in 1814, at the age of eighty-four;
secondly, to General Philippe Antoine Comte d'Omano. She visited
Napoleon at Elba on the 1st of September 1814, accompanied by a child
of four or five years of age. She stayed about fifty hours; during this
time the Emperor received no one, not even Madame Mère, who was then
in Elba, at Marciana. But, after those fifty hours, Madame Walewska
went to Longone to embark for the Continent in a gale so severe that
the very sailors feared for her safety. She refused to listen to all
representations. The Emperor sent an officer to delay her departure;
but she was already out at sea, and Napoleon knew no peace of mind
until he had received from the Countess Walewska herself news of her
safe arrival. (_Cf._ PONS DE L'HÉRAULT, _Souvenirs et anecdotes de
l'île d'Elbe_).--T.

[236] Alexandre Florian Joseph de Colonna, Comte, later Duc de Walewski
(1810-1868), the reputed illegitimate son of Napoleon I., Minister of
Foreign Affairs and, later, President of the Legislative Body under
Napoleon III.--T.

[237] Antoine Francois Claude Comte Ferrand (1758-1825) was
Postmaster-general. In 1816, he was created a peer of France and became
a member of the French Academy. His best-known literary work is the
Esprit de l'histoire in four volumes (1802), which has been many times

[238] Antoine Marie Chamans, Comte de Lavallette (1769-1830), was
married to a Mademoiselle de Beauharnais, a niece of the Empress
Joséphine. He had been Postmaster-general in 1814; lost that office
on the return of the Bourbons, and resumed it, in 1816, on the flight
of the Princes. He was tried for seconding the return of Bonaparte
and sentenced to death, but made his escape from prison by the aid
of his wife. Three English officers, Messrs. Hutchinson, Wilson and
Bruce, assisted him across the frontier, and he took refuge in Bavaria.
Lavallette was permitted to return to France in 1820, when he retired
into private life.--T.

[239] The _Nain jaune_ was a satirical Bonapartist journal, inspired by
the circle of the ex-Queen Hortense, which adopted a guise of extreme
Royalism. The number for the 28th of February 1815 contains a letter
from a correspondent who says:

"I have worn out ten goose-quills in writing to you, without receiving
a reply; perhaps I shall be luckier if I try a duck-quill" (_plume de

On the next day, the 1st of March, Napoleon landed at Cannes on his
return from Elba.--B.

[240] Carlo Andrea Count Pozzo di Borgo (1764-1842), a native of
Corsica, entered the Russian diplomatic service and took part in all
the congresses of the Holy Alliance. Pozzo acted as Russian Ambassador
to France from 1814 to 1835, and to England from 1835 to 1839. He spent
his last years in Paris.--T.

[241] Louis-Philippe Duc d'Orléans (1773-1850), afterwards "King of the
French," and son (some say a changeling) of Louis Philippe Joseph Duc
d'Orléans (Philippe Égalité).--T.

[242] General Drouet d'Erlon (1765-1844) was placed in command of
the 1st Army Corps during the Hundred Days. He was condemned to
death by contumacy in 1816, fled to Prussia, and returned to France
in 1825, but did not resume service till 1830. In 1834, he was
appointed Governor-General of Algeria, but was recalled in 1835 for
not displaying sufficient vigour against Abd-el-Kader; nevertheless
Drouet was made a marshal in 1843. The military conspiracy in which
he engaged with General Lefebvre-Desnoëttes and Lallemand was of a
semi-Imperialist, semi-Revolutionary character, and broke out on the
9th of March 1815, but was immediately suppressed.--T.

[243] Marshal Masséna, on the evening of the 3rd of March, sent to the
Minister of War, from Marseilles, the dispatch announcing Bonaparte's
landing at the Golfe Jouan. In 1815, the aerial telegraph stopped at
Lyons. The message was therefore carried by a courier as far as Lyons,
and did not reach Paris until mid-day on the 5th of March. Impressed by
the gravity of the news, M. Chappe, the Director-General of Telegraphs
(brother of the inventor), took upon himself to take the message to
M. de Vitrolles, in the King's closet, instead of transmitting it to
Marshal Soult. Vitrolles handed the despatch, sealed as it was, to
Louis XVIII., who read it several times over and threw it on the table,
saying with the greatest calm:

"It is to say that Bonaparte has landed on the coast of Provence. This
letter must be taken to the Minister of War. He will see what is to be

The Government kept the news secret for two days, and it was only on
the 7th of March that it was officially announced in the _Moniteur._--B.

[244] The Comte d'Artois, the King's brother, became "Monsieur" on the
latter's accession.--T.

[245] Henri Jacques Guillaume Clarke, Maréchal Comte d'Hunebourg, Duc
de Feltre (1765-1818), descended from an Irish family, had been one
of Napoleon's generals, and Minister of War from 1807. After rallying
to the Bourbons, he managed the War Office at a time of the greatest
difficulty, and was created a marshal of France after the Second
Restoration, in 1816. The Duc de Feltre retired in 1817, a year before
his death.--T.

[246] Caius Valerius Jovius Aulerius Diocletianus (245-313), Roman
Emperor, was born at Dioclea, near Salona. Diocletian's mind became
weakened in 304, and in 305 he abdicated and retired to Salona, where
he cultivated his garden with his own hands.--T.

[247] Camille Hyacinthe Odilon Barrot (1791-1873) became a prominent
leader of the Opposition under Louis-Philippe, and was Prime Minister
and Minister of Justice in 1848 to 1849.--T.

[248] The battalion of the pupils of the School of Law was formed on
the 14th of March 1815; its effective force amounted to 1200 men. After
being drilled at Vincennes, the Volunteers, to the number of about
700, joined the Body-guards at Beauvais on Easter Sunday, the 26th of
March; they crossed the frontier and were cantoned at Ypres. On the
30th of July, the battalion returned to Paris, amid the cheers of an
immense multitude which had come out to greet it. The professors of the
school, prevented by their age from leaving France, at least refused to
wait upon Napoleon, and it was only at the express invitation of the
Minister of the Interior that they went so far as to send an address in
which they expressed their gratitude at seeing the Emperor renounce all
spirit of conquest.--B.

[249] M. de La Fayette, in some Memoirs published since his death
and valuable for their facts, confirms the singular conjunction of
his opinion and mine on the occasion of Bonaparte's return. M. de La
Fayette was a sincere lover of honour and liberty.--_Author's Note_
(Paris, 1840).

[250] Charles Ferdinand Duc de Berry (1778-1820), second son of the
Comte d'Artois, assassinated by the fanatic Louvel on leaving the
Opera, 13 February 1820.--T.

[251] Louis Antoine Duc d'Angoulême (1775-1844), eldest son of the
Comte d'Artois, was Dauphin of France during the reign of the latter as
Charles X. He abdicated his right to the throne immediately after his
father, and was thus for only a few minutes King of France, with the
title of Louis XIX. He was succeeded by his nephew, the Duc de Bordeaux
(the Comte de Chambord), as Henry V. The Duc d'Angoulême died at
Goritz, where he lived under the style of Comte de Marnes. He possessed
many solid qualities and conciliatory intentions, without being gifted
with any hyper-eminent faculties.--T.

[252] A Royal order of the 6th of March, declaring Bonaparte a traitor
and rebel, and enjoining all soldiers, national guards, or private
citizens "to hunt him down" (_de lui courir sus_), appears in the
_Moniteur_ of the 7th of March.--B.

[253] Alexandre Maurice Blanc de La Nautte, Comte d'Hauterive
(1754-1830), commenced life as a professor in the Oratorian College at
Tours (1779), accompanied the Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier on his embassy
to Constantinople (1784), became French _Chargé d'affaires_ in Moldavia
(1785), and Consul in New York (1792). In America he grew intimate with
Talleyrand, who made him head of a department at the Foreign Office so
soon as he obtained his ministry, and later had him appointed Keeper of
the Archives (1807).--T.

[254] Alfred Frédéric Chevalier Artaud de Montor (1772-1849), after a
long diplomatic career, wrote or edited a large number of historical
works, including the _Vie et travaux du comte d'Hauterive_, published
at a later date than that at which Chateaubriand wrote the above

[255] MARK ii. II.--T.

[256] Charles Du Fresne, Seigneur Du Cange (1610-1688), the noted
historian and philologist, born at Amiens, 18 December 1610.--T.

[257] Robespierre was born at Arras on the 6th of May 1758.--T.

[258] _Cf._ Vol. II. p. 30.--T.

[259] Pierre Louis Bertin de Vaux (1771-1842), younger brother of Louis
François Bertin, known as Bertin the Elder, assisted him in founding
the _Journal des Débats_ (1799), and in editing that paper, while
directing a banking-house which he had established in 1801. Bertin de
Vaux was sent as Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1830 and raised to
the peerage in 1832.--T.

[260] Amédée Bretagne Malo de Durfort, Duc de Duras (1771-1838), First
Lord of the Bed-chamber to the King. He accompanied Louis XVIII. to
Ghent and returned with him. He had been created a Peer of France in
1814. After the Revolution of 1830, he retired into private life.--B.

[261] Charles V. Emperor of Germany, King of Spain and of the Two
Sicilies (1500-1558), born at Ghent, son of the Archduke Philip of
Austria and of Joan, heiress of Castile, daughter of Ferdinand and
Isabella. He was proclaimed King of Spain in 1516, during his mother's
life-time, and elected to the Empire three years later. Charles V.
abdicated in 1556, two years before his death.--T.

[262] The other ministers were: M. Louis, Finance; the Duc de Feltre,
War; M. Beugnot, Navy; M. Dambray, Chancellor of France; M. de
Jaucourt, Foreign Affairs _ad interim_, the Prince de Talleyrand being
in Vienna. M. de Blacas was Minister of the King's Household. M. de
Lally-Tolendal was _ad interim_ Minister of Public Instruction.--B.

[263] Bernadotte and Henry IV. were both born at Pau.--T.

[264] Thomas Arthur Comte de Lally, Baron Tolendal in Ireland
(1702-1766), after contributing to the victory of Fontenoy (1745),
was in 1756 appointed Governor of the French possessions in India and
drove the English from the Coromandel Coast. He failed, however, before
Madras, was himself besieged in Pondichéry, and obliged to surrender
with a garrison of 700 men: he had resisted for several months against
an army of 22,000 men and a fleet of 14 ships (1761). Nevertheless, he
was accused of betraying the King's interests, sent to the Bastille
and, after eighteen months' imprisonment and an informal trial,
sentenced to death. He was executed on the 9th of May 1766. Voltaire
published an eloquent _factum_ in the condemned man's favour and,
in 1778, Louis XVI., at the instance of Lally's son, the Marquis de
Lally-Tolendal mentioned above, had the iniquitous verdict revised. The
sentence was unanimously quashed by a new set of judges, and Lally's
memory entirely rehabilitated.--T.

[265] Marie Madeleine Comtesse de La Fayette (1634-1693), _née_ Pioche
de La Vergne, daughter of the Governor of the Havre, and the intimate
friend of La Rochefoucauld. She made a name in letters by her novels,
_Zaïde_ the _Princesse de Clèves_, etc., and also wrote an _Histoire et
Henriette d'Angleterre._--T.

[266] Madame La Duchesse de Rauzan.--_Author's Note._

[267] The Duc de Bellune remained absolutely faithful to the Elder
Branch after the usurpation of 1830.--T.

[268] Julie Maréchale Duchesse de Bellune, _née_ Vosch van Avesaat,
married to the Maréchal Duc de Bellune in 1801. He had previously
divorced his first wife, _née_ Muguet, to whom he had been married in

[269] Vincent Marie Viennot, Comte de Vaublanc (1756-1845), an eager
supporter of the Royalist cause and Minister of the Interior from
September 1815 to May 1816. He published some political works, a few
indifferent tragedies and an epic poem, the _Dernier des Césars_

[270] Guillaume Antoine Bénoît Baron Capelle (1775-1843) held various
prefectures under Napoleon and Louis XVIII., and was created a baron
of the Empire by the former. In May 1830, he became Minister of Public
Works in M. de Polignac's Cabinet and, as a signatory of the Ordinances
of July, was condemned by contumacy to perpetual imprisonment. He
returned to France in 1836, after the amnesty.--B.

[271] The Abbé Martial Borye Desrenaudes (1755-1825), not d'Ernaud as
the preceding editions of the Memoirs have it, was grand-vicar to the
Bishop of Autun at the time of the Revolution. He had a remarkable
talent as a writer, and was of the greatest use to Talleyrand as a
literary assistant. After the 18 Brumaire, Desrenaudes became a member
of the Tribunate, and later a councillor of the University and Imperial
Censor. He retained his censorship under the Restoration.--B.

[272] Jean Francois Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz (1614-1679), was in
1643 appointed Coadjutor to his uncle, Henri de Gondi, Archbishop of
Paris, before himself succeeding to the archbishopric.--T.

[273] _Cf._ RACINE, _Les Plaideurs_, Act III. sc. IV.--T.

[274] Claude Philibert Édouard Baron Mounier (1784-1843), son of
Joseph Mounier, the celebrated Constituent. Under the Empire, he had
been Superintendent of the Crown Lands, in which post he was confirmed
by Louis XVIII., and he continued to hold various political and
administrative offices. He was created a peer of France in 1819.--B.

[275] Louis XVIII. himself was a great epicure of this fish, and
sometimes allowed himself to be taken to this inn, which was called the
Halter. (Cf. ROMBERG, _Louis XVIII. à Gand._)--B.

[276] Early in April, under the management of the two Bertins. Upon the
objection of the Netherlands Government, which saw difficulties in the
way of the co-existence of two _Moniteurs_ in the kingdom, the original
title was changed to the _Journal universel_, which continued to be the
official organ of Louis XVIII.--B.

[277] _Rapport sur l'état de la France, fait au roi dans son conseil_,
May 1815.--B.

[278] A certain M. Bail, an inspector of reviews. Chateaubriand's
letter to the Duc de Feltre is dated "Paris, 22 August 1826," and runs:

    "A Monsieur Bail, inspector of reviews, wrote a pamphlet
    against me. He says that he has lost his place for this act.
    May I venture, monsieur le duc, to hope from your indulgence
    that you will be so good as to restore him to your kindness?
    The King's person was respected in the pamphlet. Pray forget,
    monsieur le maréchal, all that concerns only myself.--B."

[279] The Order of the Golden Fleece was instituted at Bruges, in 1429,
by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy.--T.

[280] JOHN i. 6.--T.

[281] Jan van Eyck (_circa_ 1380-1450) was born at Maaseyk near
Maastricht, but settled at Bruges, with his brother Hubert, at an early
age. He is usually known as Jean de Bruges in France.--T.

[282] Gaston Pierre Marc Duc de Levis (1764-1830) had been wounded at
Quiberon in 1795. Between 1808 and 1814 he published his _Maximes et
réflexions sur différents sujets_, the _Suite des quatre Facardins_,
imitated from Hamilton's Tales, _Voyage de Khani, ou Nouvelles lettres
chinoises, Souvenirs et Portraits_, and L'_Angleterre au commencement
du XIXe siècle._ He became a peer of France in 1814, a privy
councillor in 1815 and a member of the French Academy in 1816.--B.

[283] Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris (_d._ 996), was
proclaimed King of France in 987 on the death of Louis V., the last of
the Second or Carlovingian Dynasty, thus founding the Third or Capetian
Dynasty of Kings of France. The House of Capet proper reigned from 987
to 1328; its two branches, the Houses of Valois and Bourbon from 1328
to 1589 and 1589 to 1830 respectively. The usurpation of Louis-Philippe
gives a reign of 18 years (1830 to 1848) to the House of Orleans, or
Younger Branch of Bourbon.--T.

[284] Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England (_circa_ 1314-1369).--T.

[285] Edward III. King of England (1212-1377).--T.

[286] John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (1349-1399), fourth son of
Edward III. and father of Henry IV., who founded the House of Lancaster
after procuring the murder of Richard II., by usurping the throne to
the prejudice of the descendants of Lionel Duke of Clarence, second son
of Edward III.--T.

[287] Jacob van Artevelde (_d._ 1345) headed a revolt of his
fellow-citizens against the Count of Flanders (1336) and became for
some time absolute master of Flanders. Finding himself, however, on the
point of being reduced, he proposed to offer the sovereignty to Edward
the Black Prince, but failed in his project, and was murdered by the
populace of Ghent in 1345.--T.

[288] Clodion (_d. circa_ 448) is accepted as the second King of France
(Merovingian Dynasty).--T.

[289] The Lys, or Lily, rises a little below Béthune and flows into the
Scheldt at Ghent.--B.

[290] A Moorish tribe which had a violent quarrel with the

[291] Granada stands near the junction of the Rivers Duero and

[292] Gabriel Vicomte Donnadieu (1777-1849), an inveterate enemy of
Napoleon and later of Louis-Philippe, and a fervent, although somewhat
discredited Royalist.--T.

[293] Raymond Comte Desèze (1748-1828), the famous advocate. He
distinguished himself early in his career by his defense of the
daughters of Helvétius. In 1789 he obtained the acquittal of the Baron
de Bésenval, accused of high treason; and he assisted Malesherbes and
Tronchet in their defense of King Louis XVI. before the Convention.
Desèze had been made a knight of the Holy Ghost by Louis XVI., which
explains the allusion to the blue ribbon. Louis XVIII. made him
President of the Court of Appeal and a peer of France in 1815, and a
count in 1817. Desèze was, in 1816, elected a member of the French

[294] Pauline Louise Françoise de Paule Duchesse de Lévis (_d._ 1819),
_née_ Charpentier d'Ennery, married to the Duc de Lévis in 1785.--B.

[295] Gaston François Christophe Victor Duc de Ventadour and de Lévis
(1794-1863), became aide-de-camp to the Duc d'Angoulême in 1814, and
took part in the Spanish War of 1823 and the expedition to Morocco in
1828. He succeeded his father in the peerage in 1830, but refused to
sit after the Revolution of July and followed the Royal Family into
exile. He was for many years one of the Comte de Chambord's chief
councillors, and died at Venice in 1863.--B.

[296] Marie Cathérine Amanda Duchesse de Lévis (1798-1854), daughter of
Pierre Raymond Hector d'Aubusson, Comte de La Feuillade, and married to
the Duc de Lévis in 1821.--B.

[297] The Pavillon Marsan formed the corner of the Tuileries bounded by
the garden and the Rue de Rivoli, and was occupied under Louis XVIII.
by the Comte d'Artois.--T.

At Ghent, the Comte d'Artois had his Pavillon Marsan in the Hôtel des
Pays Bas, where he was lodged with his suite and his carriages and paid
1000 francs a day. Louis XVIII. lived in the house which the Comte
d'Hane de Steenhuyse had placed at his disposal.-B.

[298] Gaillard had been Fouché's secretary.--B.

[299] The Duc d'Otrante was born at the Martinière, near Nantes.--T.

[300] Clemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar Prince von Metternich-Winneburg
(1773-1859), the great Austrian statesman, was at this time presiding
over the Congress of Vienna.--T.

[301] Auguste Clair Thibaudeau (1765-1854) had voted for the death of
the King in the Convention, and became one of the most ardent servants
of Napoleon, who made him a councillor of State, a prefect, and a count
of the Empire (31 December 1809). He was exiled in 1815 and did not
return to France until after the Revolution of July. Napoleon III. made
him a senator and a grand officer of the Legion of Honour. Thibaudeau
left a large number of historical works.--B.

[302] Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples (1782-1839), _née_ Bonaparte,
married to Murat in 1800.--T.

[303] Jean Baptiste de Gouy, Comte de La Besnardière (_d._ 1843), had
been employed at the Foreign Office since 1795, where he had become the
intimate fellow-worker of Talleyrand, who liked both him and his work.
He accompanied the prince to the Congress of Vienna; on his return, the
King made him a count and director of Public Works. He retired into
private life in 1819.--B.

[304] A recently-published pamphlet entitled _Lettres de l'Étranger_,
written apparently by an able and well-informed diplomatist, points to
this strange Russian negociation in Vienna.--_Author's Note_ (Paris,

[305] Richard Le Poer Trench, second Earl of Clancarty, later Marquis
of Heusden in the Netherlands (1767-1837), British Plenipotentiary
to the Congress of Vienna, and later Ambassador to the Netherlands

[306] It is stated that, in 1830, M. de Talleyrand had his private
correspondence with Louis XVIII. removed from the Archives of the
Crown, even as he had had removed from the Archives of the Empire all
that he, M. de Talleyrand, had written respecting the death of the Duc
d'Enghien and the affairs of Spain.--_Author's Note_ (Paris, 1840).

[307] Talleyrand was paid six million francs by the Neapolitan Bourbons
for favouring their restoration. (_Cf._ SAINTE-BEUVE, _Nouveaux
Lundis_, vol. XII.).--B.


The Hundred Days in Paris--Effect of the passage of the Legitimacy
in France--Bonaparte's astonishment--He is obliged to capitulate
to ideas which he thought smothered--His new system--Three
enormous gamblers remain--Illusions of the Liberals--Clubs
and Federates--Juggling away of the Republic: the Additional
Act--Convocation of the Chamber of Representatives--A useless
Champ de Mai--Cares and bitterness of Bonaparte--Resolution in
Vienna--Movement in Paris--What we were doing at Ghent--M. de
Blacas--The Battle of Waterloo--Confusion at Ghent--What the
Battle of Waterloo was--Return of the Emperor--Reappearance of La
Fayette--Renewed abdication of Bonaparte--Stormy scenes in the House
of Peers--Threatening portents for the Second Restoration--The
departure from Ghent--Arrival at Mons--I miss the first opportunity
of fortune in my political career--M. de Talleyrand at Mons--His
scene with the King--I stupidly interest myself on M. de Talleyrand's
behalf--Mons to Gonesse--With M. le Comte Beugnot I oppose Fouché's
nomination as minister: my reasons--The Duke of Wellington gains the
day--Arnouville--Saint-Denis--Last conversation with the King.

I show you the wrong side of events which history does not display:
history exhibits only the right side. Memoirs have the advantage of
presenting both surfaces of the texture: in this respect they depict
the whole complexion of humanity better, by exposing, as in the
tragedies of Shakespeare, low and exalted scenes. There is everywhere
a cottage beside a palace, a man who weeps beside a man who laughs, a
ragman carrying his basket beside a king losing his throne: what was
the fall of Darius[308] to the slave present at the Battle of Arbela?

Ghent, then, was only a tiring-room behind the slips of the spectacle
opened in Paris. Some famous personages still remained in Europe. I
had, in 1800, commenced my career with Alexander and Napoleon; why had
I not followed those leading actors, my contemporaries, on the great
stage? Why only at Ghent? Because Heaven casts you where it wills. From
the "little Hundred Days" at Ghent let us pass to the "great Hundred
Days" in Paris.

I have told you the reasons which ought to have stopped Bonaparte in
Elba and the urgent reasons, or rather the necessity drawn from his
nature, which compelled him to issue from exile. But the march from
Cannes to Paris exhausted all that remained of the old man. In Paris,
the talisman was shattered.

The few moments for which the reign of lawfulness had reappeared had
sufficed to render impossible the re-establishment of arbitrariness.
Despotism muzzles the masses and enfranchises individuals, within a
certain limit; anarchy lets loose the masses and enslaves individual
independence. Hence, despotism resembles liberty, when it follows
after anarchy; it remains what it really is when it replaces liberty:
Bonaparte, a liberator after the Constitution of the Directory, was
an oppressor after the Charter. He felt this so well that he thought
himself obliged to go further than Louis XVIII. and to return to the
sources of national sovereignty. He, who had trodden the people under
foot as its master, was reduced to create himself anew a tribune of the
people, to court the favour of the suburbs, to parody the revolutionary
infancy, to lisp an old language of liberty which forced his lips into
a grimace, while each syllable angered his sword.

His destiny as a power was, in fact, so well accomplished that the
genius of Napoleon was no longer recognised during the Hundred Days.
That genius was the genius of success and order, not that of defeat
and liberty: now he could do nothing through victory, which had
betrayed him, nothing for order, since it existed without him. In his
astonishment he said:

"To what a condition have the Bourbons reduced France for me, in a few
months! It will take me years to restore her."

It was not the work of the Legitimacy which the conqueror saw, but the
work of the Charter; he had left France dumb and prostrate, he found
her erect and speaking: in the ingenuousness of his absolute mind, he
took liberty for disorder.

And yet Bonaparte was obliged to capitulate with the ideas which he
was unable to conquer at first sight. In the absence of any real
popularity, workmen hired at forty sous a head came, at the end of
their day's work, to howl, "Long live the Emperor!" in the Carrousel.
That was called "going to the crying." Proclamations at first announced
marvels of forgetting and forgiving; individuals were declared
free, the nation free, the press free; nothing was wanted but the
peace, independence and happiness of the people; the whole imperial
system was changed; the golden age was about to return. In order to
conform practice with theory, France was divided into seven great
police sections; the seven lieutenants were invested with the same
powers which were enjoyed under the Consulate and the Empire by the
directors-general: it is well-known what those protectors of individual
liberty were at Lyons, Bordeaux, Milan, Florence, Lisbon, Hamburg,
Amsterdam. Over these lieutenants, in a hierarchy "more and more
favourable to liberty," Bonaparte placed commissaries-extraordinary,
after the fashion of the representatives of the people under the

[Sidenote: The hundred days.]

The police, directed by Fouché, informed the world, by means of
solemn proclamations, that it would thenceforward serve only to
spread philosophy, that it would act only in accordance with virtuous

Bonaparte re-established, by decree, the National Guard of the Kingdom,
the mere name of which used formerly to make his head swim. He found
himself compelled to annul the divorce pronounced under the Empire
between despotism and demagogy and to favour their renewed alliance:
from this hymen was to spring, on the Champ de Mai, a liberty wearing
the red cap and the turban on its head, the mameluke's sabre in its
belt and the revolutionary axe in its hand, a liberty surrounded by
the shades of those thousands of victims sacrificed on the scaffolds
or in the burning campaigns of Spain and the icy deserts of Russia.
Before success, the mamelukes were Jacobins; after success, the
Jacobins were to become mamelukes: Sparta was for the moment of danger,
Constantinople for that of triumph.

Bonaparte would, indeed, have liked to recover possession for himself
alone, but that was impossible for him; he found men prepared to
dispute it with him: first, the earnest Republicans, delivered from
the chains of despotism and the laws of the Monarchy, desired to
retain an independence which is, perhaps, but a noble error; next, the
madmen of the old faction of the Mountain: these latter, humiliated at
having been nothing more under the Empire than the police-spies of a
despot, seemed resolved to resume on their own account that liberty of
doing everything of which, during fifteen years, they had yielded the
privilege to a master.

But not the Republicans, nor the Revolutionaries, nor the satellites
of Bonaparte were strong enough to establish their separate power,
or mutually to subjugate each other. Threatened from without by an
invasion, pursued from within by public opinion, they understood that,
if they became divided, they were lost: in order to escape the danger,
they adjourned their quarrel; some brought their systems and illusions
to the common defense, others their terror and perversity. None was in
earnest in this compact; each, once the crisis passed, resolved to turn
it to his profit; all sought beforehand to make sure of the results of
victory. In that awful _trente-et-un_ three enormous gamblers kept the
bank by turns: liberty, anarchy and despotism, all three cheating and
striving to win a game which was lost for all.

Full of that thought, they did not proceed rigorously against a
forlorn hope which was urging on revolutionary measures: federates
had been formed in the _faubourgs_ and federations were being
organized under stem oaths in Brittany, Anjou, Lyonnais and Burgundy;
the _Marseillaise_ and the _Carmagnole_ were heard sung; a club,
established in Paris, corresponded with other clubs in the provinces;
the resurrection of the _Journal des Patriotes_ was announced. But
on that side what confidence were the resuscitated of 1793 able to
inspire? Was it not known how they explained liberty, equality,
the rights of man? Were they more moral, more wise, more sincere,
after their enormities than before? Was it because they had tainted
themselves with all the vices that they had become capable of all the
virtues? One cannot abdicate crime as easily as a crown: the brow once
girt with the hideous circlet retains ineffaceable marks from its

The idea of reducing an ambitious man of genius from the rank of
Emperor to that of Generalissimo or President of the Republic was a
chimera: the red cap which they had fixed on the head of his busts
during the Hundred Days would only have foreboded to Bonaparte the
resumption of the diadem, were it given to the athletes who race
through the world to run the same course twice.

Still, some Liberals of the better sort promised themselves the
victory: mistaken men, like Benjamin Constant, dolts, like M.
Simonde-Sismondi[309], spoke of placing the Prince of Canino[310] at
the Ministry of the Interior, Lieutenant-general Comte Carnot at
the War Office, the Comte Merlin[311] at the Ministry of Justice. In
appearance despondent, Bonaparte made no opposition to democratic
movements which, in the last result, supplied his army with conscripts.
He allowed himself to be attacked in pamphlets; caricatures repeated
"Elba" to him as parrots cried "Péronne" to Louis XI[312]. They
preached liberty and equality to the man escaped from prison,
addressing him in the second person singular; he listened to these
remonstrances with an air of compunction. Suddenly, bursting the
shackles in which they had pretended to bind him, he proclaimed, by
his own authority, not a plebeian Constitution, but an aristocratic
Constitution, an "Additional Act" to the Constitutions of the

[Sidenote: The "Additional Act."]

The contemplated Republic was changed by this adroit piece of juggling
into the old Imperial Government, rejuvenated with feudality. The
"Additional Act" lost Bonaparte the Republican Party and made
malcontents in almost all the other parties. License reigned in
Paris, anarchy in the provinces; the civil and military authorities
contended with each other; here men threatened to burn the manors and
murder the priests; there they hoisted the White Flag and shouted,
"Long live the King!" Finding himself attacked, Bonaparte retreated;
he withdrew the nomination of the mayors of communes from his
commissaries-extraordinary and restored that nomination to the people.
Alarmed at the multiplicity of negative votes against the "Additional
Act," he abandoned his _de facto_ dictatorship and convened the Chamber
of Representatives by virtue of that Act which was not yet accepted.
Blundering from rock to rock, he was scarcely delivered from one danger
before stumbling against another: the sovereign of a day, how was he to
establish an hereditary peerage which the spirit of equality repelled?
How to govern the two Chambers? Would they yield a passive obedience?
What would be the relations of the Chambers with the proposed assembly
of the Champ de Mai, which had no real object, since the "Additional
Act" was brought into operation before the suffrages had been counted?
Would that assembly, consisting of thirty thousand electors, not
believe itself to be the representatives of the nation?

This Champ de Mai, so pompously announced and celebrated on the 1st
of June, resolved itself into a simple march-past of troops and a
distribution of colours before a despised altar. Napoleon, surrounded
by his brothers, the State dignitaries, the marshals, the civil and
judicial bodies, proclaimed the sovereignty of the people in which he
did not believe. The citizens had imagined that they themselves would
frame a Constitution on that solemn day, the peaceful middle class
expected that then would be declared Napoleon's abdication in favour
of his son, an abdication concocted at Bâle between the agents of
Fouché and of Prince Metternich: and there was nothing but a ridiculous
political trap! The "Additional Act," for the rest, stood forth as
an act of homage to the Legitimacy; save for a few differences, and,
in particular, excluding "the abolition of confiscation," it was the


Those sudden changes, that confounding of all things, announced the
last struggles of despotism. Nevertheless, the Emperor could not
receive the death-stroke from within, for the power which was combating
him was as debilitated as himself; the revolutionary Titan, whom
Napoleon had floored of old, had not recovered his native energy; the
two giants were now aiming useless blows at one another; it was nothing
more than the contest of two shadows.

To these general impossibilities were added, for Bonaparte, domestic
tribulations and palace cares; he announced to France the return of the
Empress and the King of Rome, and neither one nor the other came back.
Speaking of the Queen of Holland, who, thanks to Louis XVIII., had
become Duchesse de Saint-Leu, he said:

"When one has accepted the prosperity of a family, one must embrace its

Joseph, who had hastened from Switzerland, only asked him for money;
Lucien alarmed him through his Liberal connections; Murat, after first
conspiring against his brother-in-law, had been in too great a hurry,
on returning to him, to attack the Austrians: stripped of the Kingdom
of Naples, a runaway of ill-omen, he was awaiting, under arrest, near
Marseilles, the catastrophe which I will describe to you later[314].

[Sidenote: Twofold traitors.]

And then, was the Emperor able to trust his former partisans and his
self-styled friends? Had they not infamously abandoned him at the
moment of his fall? That Senate which formerly crawled at his feet,
now ensconced in the peerage, had it not decreed its benefactor's
deposition? Could he believe those men, when they came and said to him:

"The interests of France are inseparable from your own. If fortune
betrays your efforts, reverses, Sire, would not impair our perseverance
and would redouble our attachment to your person."

Your perseverance! Your attachment redoubled by misfortune! You said
this on the 11th of June 1815: what had you said on the 2nd of April
1814? What will you say a few weeks later, on the 19th of July 1815?

The Ministry of the Imperial Police was in correspondence, as you have
seen, with Ghent, Vienna and Bâle; the marshals to whom Bonaparte was
compelled to give the command of his soldiers had but now taken the
oath to Louis XVIII.; they had issued the most violent proclamations
against him, Bonaparte[315]: since that time, it is true, they had
re-espoused their sultan; but, if he had been arrested at Grenoble,
what would they have done with him? Is it enough to break an oath to
restore its whole strength to another violated oath? Are two perjuries
equivalent to one fidelity?

A few days more, and those swearers of the Champ de Mai will carry
back their devotion to Louis XVIII. in the halls of the Tuileries;
they will approach the sacred table of the God of Peace, in order
to have themselves appointed ministers at the banquets of war[316];
heralds-at-arms and brandishers of the royal insignia at the coronation
of Bonaparte, they will fulfil the same functions at the coronation of
Charles X.[317]; then, as the commissaries of another power[318], they
will lead that King a prisoner to Cherbourg, scarce finding a little
corner free in their consciences to hang up in it the badge of their
new oath. It is hard to be born in times of improbity, in those days
when two men talking together study how to keep back words from their
tongue, for fear of offending each other and of mutually making one
another blush.

Those who had not been able to tie themselves to Napoleon by his glory,
who had not been able to adhere from gratitude to the benefactor from
whom they had received their riches, their honours and their very
names, were they likely to sacrifice themselves now to his needy hopes?
Would they link themselves to a precarious and reincipient fortune, the
ingrates whom a fortune consolidated by unexampled successes and by a
possession of sixteen years of victories had failed to fix? So many
chrysalides who, between two spring-times, had put off and put on, shed
and resumed the skin of the Legitimist and the Revolutionary, of the
Napoleonist and the Bourbonist; so many words given and broken; so many
crosses moved from the knight's breast to the horse's tail and from the
horse's tail to the knight's breast; so many doughty warriors changing
their banners and strewing the lists with their pledges of perjured
faith; so many noble dames, the attendants by turns of Marie-Louise
and Marie-Caroline[319], were calculated to leave in the depths of
Napoleon's heart naught but distrust, horror and contempt; that great
man grown old stood alone among all those traitors, men and fortune, on
a tottering earth, under a hostile sky, in front of his accomplished
destiny and the judgment of God.


Napoleon had found no faithful friends, but the phantoms of his past
glory; these escorted him, as I have told you, from the spot at which
he landed to the capital of France. But the eagles which had "flown
from steeple to steeple" from Cannes to Paris alighted wearily upon the
chimneys of the Tuileries, able to go no further.

Napoleon did not hurl himself at the head of the roused populace
upon Belgium, before an Anglo-Prussian army had assembled there: he
stopped; he tried to negociate with Europe and humbly to maintain the
treaties of the Legitimacy. The Congress of Vienna urged against M.
le Duc de Vicence the abdication of the 11th of April 1814: by that
abdication, Bonaparte "recognised that he was the sole obstacle to
the restoration of peace in Europe" and consequently "renounced, for
himself and his heirs, the thrones of France and Italy." Now, since he
had come to restore his power, he was manifestly violating the Treaty
of Paris and placing himself again in the political situation anterior
to the 31st of March 1814: therefore it was he, Bonaparte, who was
declaring war against Europe, and not Europe against Bonaparte. These
logical quibbles of diplomatic attorneys, as I remarked in connection
with M. de Talleyrand's letter, were worth what they might be before
the battle.

[Sidenote: Napoleon's last campaign.]

The news of Bonaparte's landing at Cannes had reached Vienna on the 6th
of March, in the middle of an entertainment at which was represented
the assembly of the divinities of Olympus and Parnassus. Alexander had
just received the proposal for an alliance between France, Austria and
England; he hesitated a moment between the two pieces of intelligence,
and then said:

"The question is not of myself, but of the safety of the world."

And an estafette carried orders to St. Petersburg to dispatch the
Guards. The withdrawing armies stopped short; their long line faced
about, and eight hundred thousand enemies turned their eyes towards
France. Bonaparte prepared for war; he was expected in new Catalaunian
Fields[320]: God had summoned him to the battle which was to put an end
to the reign of battles.

The heat of the wings of the renown of Marengo and Austerlitz had
sufficed to hatch armies in that France which is one great nest of
soldiers. Bonaparte had restored to his legions their epithets of
"invincible," "terrible" and "incomparable;" seven armies resumed
the titles of Armies of the Pyrenees, of the Alps, of the Jura, the
Moselle, the Rhine: great memories which served as a frame for supposed
troops, for expected triumphs. A real army was mustered in Paris
and at Laon: one hundred and fifty mounted batteries, ten thousand
picked soldiers entered into the guards; eighteen thousand sailors
distinguished at Lützen and Bautzen; thirty thousand veterans, officers
and non-commissioned officers, in garrison in the fortified towns;
seven departments in the North and East ready to rise in a body; one
hundred and eighty thousand men of the National Guard mobilized;
volunteer corps in Lorraine, Alsace and Franche-Comté; federates
offering their pikes and their strength; Paris turning out three
thousand muskets a day: those were the Emperor's resources. Perhaps
he might yet once more have overturned the world, had he been able to
resolve, while liberating the country, to summon the foreign nations
to independence. The moment was propitious: the kings, after promising
their subjects constitutional government, had shamefully gone from
their word. But liberty was distasteful to Napoleon, since he had drunk
of the cup of power; he preferred to be vanquished with soldiers rather
than to vanquish with peoples. The army corps which he successively
sent towards the Netherlands amounted to seventy thousand men.


We Emigrants, in the city of Charles V., were like the women of that
city: seated behind their windows, they watch the soldiers, in a little
slanting mirror, passing down the street. Louis XVIII. was there in
a corner, completely forgotten: scarcely did he from time to time
receive a note from the Prince de Talleyrand returning from Vienna,
a few lines from the members of the diplomatic body resident about
the Duke of Wellington as commissaries, Messieurs Pozzo di Borgo, de
Vincent[321], etc., etc. They had plenty to do besides thinking of
us! A man unacquainted with politics would never have believed that
an impotent hidden on the banks of the Lys would be flung back upon
the throne by the collision of thousands of soldiers ready to cut each
other's throats: soldiers of whom he was neither the King nor the
general, who were not thinking of him, who knew of neither his name nor
his existence. Of two such close spots as Ghent and Waterloo, never did
one appear so dim, the other so dazzling: the Legitimacy lay in the
store-house, like an old broken waggon.

We knew that Bonaparte's troops were approaching; to cover us we had
only two little companies under the orders of the Duc de Berry, a
Prince whose blood could not avail us, for it was already demanded
elsewhere. One thousand horse, detached from the French army, would
have carried us off in a few hours. The fortifications of Ghent were
demolished; the enceinte which remained would have been the more easily
carried in that the Belgian population was not in our favour. The scene
which I had witnessed at the Tuileries was repeated: His Majesty's
carriages were secretly got ready; the horses were ordered. We faithful
ministers would have splashed after by God's grace. Monsieur left for
Brussels, charged to watch the movements from near at hand.

M. de Blacas had become anxious and melancholy; I, poor man, consoled
him. People in Vienna were not favourably disposed to him; M. de
Talleyrand laughed at him; the Royalists accused him of being the cause
of Napoleon's return. Thus, whatever happened, no further honoured
exile for him in England, no further possibility of first places in
France: I was his only support. I used to meet him pretty often in the
Horse-market, where he trotted about alone; harnessing myself to his
side, I fell in with "his sad thought." This man whom I have defended
at Ghent and in England, whom I defended in France after the Hundred
Days and even in the preface to the _Monarchie selon la Charte_, has
always been adverse to me: that would be nothing, if he had not been
an evil for the Monarchy. I do not repent my past simplicity; but I
am bound, in these Memoirs, to rectify the surprises sprung upon my
judgment and my good heart.


[Sidenote: Excitement at Ghent.]

On the 18th of June 1815, I left Ghent at noon by the Brussels gate;
I was going to finish my walk alone on the high-road. I had taken
Cæsar's _Commentaries_ with me, and I strolled slowly along, immersed
in my reading. I was more than a league from the town, when I thought
I heard a dull rumbling: I stopped, looked up at the sky, which was
fairly laden with clouds, taking counsel with myself whether I should
continue to walk on, or go back towards Ghent for fear of a storm.
I listened; I heard nothing more save the cry of a moor-hen in the
rushes and the sound of a village-clock. I pursued my way: I had not
taken thirty steps before the rumbling began again, now short, now
long and at irregular intervals; sometimes it was perceptible only
through a trembling of the air, which communicated itself to the ground
over those immense plains, so distant was it. Those detonations, less
extensive, less undulating, less connected than those of thunder,
gave rise in my mind to the idea of a battle. I found myself in front
of a poplar planted at the corner of a hop-field. I crossed the road
and leant erect against the trunk of the tree, my face turned in the
direction of Brussels. A southerly wind springing up carried to me more
distinctly the sound of artillery. That great battle, nameless as yet,
of which I listened to the echoes at the foot of a poplar, and of which
a village clock had just rung out the unknown funerals, was the Battle
of Waterloo!

A silent and solitary hearer of the formidable judgment of the
destinies, I should have been less moved if I had found myself in
the fray: the peril, the fire, the press of Death would have left me
no time for meditation; but, alone under a tree, in the fields of
Ghent, like the shepherd of the flocks which passed around me, I was
overwhelmed by the weight of my reflexions: what was that battle?
Was it decisive? Was Napoleon there in person? Were lots being cast
upon the world, as upon Christ's vesture? In the event of success or
reverse for one side or the other, what would be the consequence for
the nations: liberty or slavery? But what blood was flowing! Was not
each sound that reached my ear the last sigh of a Frenchman? Was it
a new Crécy, a new Poitiers, a new Agincourt, in which France's most
implacable enemies were about to revel? If they triumphed, was not
our glory lost? If Napoleon won the day, what became of our liberty?
Although a success on Napoleon's side opened up to me an eternal exile,
the mother-land at that moment gained the mastery in my heart; my
prayers were for the oppressor of France, if, while saving our honour,
he was to snatch us from foreign domination.

Was Wellington triumphing? Then the Legitimacy would re-enter Paris
behind those red uniforms which had just renewed their die in the
blood of the French! Then the royalty would have as state-carriages
at its coronation the ambulance-waggons filled with our maimed
grenadiers! What manner of restoration would it be, accomplished under
such auspices?... That is but a very small portion of the ideas that
tormented me. Each gun-shot gave me a shock and doubled the beating
of my heart. At a few leagues from an immense catastrophe, I did not
see it, I could not touch the huge funeral monument growing minute by
minute at Waterloo, even as from the shore of Bulak, on the bank of the
Nile, I had vainly stretched out my hands towards the Pyramids.

No traveller appeared; a few women in the fields, peacefully weeding
rows of vegetables, did not seem to hear the noise to which I was
listening. But see, a courier came riding up: I left the foot of my
tree and placed myself in the middle of the road; I stopped the courier
and questioned him. He belonged to the Duc de Berry and came from

"Bonaparte entered Brussels yesterday (17 June), after a sanguinary
combat. The battle was to have recommenced to-day (18 June). They think
the Allies have suffered a decisive defeat, and the order is given to

The courier continued his road.

I followed him, hastening my steps: I was passed by the carriage of
a merchant who was fleeing post with his family; he confirmed the
courier's story.

[Sidenote: Confusion at Ghent.]

All was in confusion when I returned to Ghent: they were closing the
gates of the city; only the wickets remained half-open; ill-armed
civilians and a few soldiers in depot were keeping sentry. I went to
the King's.

Monsieur had just arrived by a circuitous route: he had left Brussels
upon the false news that Bonaparte was about to enter it and that a
first lost battle left no hope of winning a second. They were saying
that, as the Prussians had not formed their lines, the English had been

At these bulletins, the stampede became general: the possessors of some
resources left; I, who am accustomed never to have anything, was always
ready and prepared. I wanted to let Madame de Chateaubriand move out
before me; she was a great Bonapartist, but did not like cannon-shots:
she refused to leave me.

In the evening, council at His Majesty's: we heard Monsieur's reports
over again, as well as the _on dits_ picked up at the military
commandant's or at the Baron d'Eckstein's[322]. The waggon to contain
the Crown diamonds was put to: I had no need of a waggon to remove my
treasure. I put the black-silk handkerchief in which I wrap my head at
night into my flaccid minister-of-the-interior's portfolio, and placed
myself at the Sovereign's disposal, with that important document of the
affairs of the Legitimacy. I was richer in my first emigration, when
my knapsack did duty as my pillow and served as a swaddling-band for
_Atala_: but, in 1815, _Atala_ was a big gawky little girl of thirteen
or fourteen, who was going about alone in the world and who, to her
father's honour, had got herself too much talked about.

On the 19th of June, at one o'clock in the morning, a letter from M.
Pozzo, brought to the King by express, reestablished the truth of the
facts. Bonaparte had never entered Brussels; he had decidedly lost
the Battle of Waterloo. Leaving Paris on the 12th of June, he joined
his army on the 14th. On the 15th, he forced the enemy's lines on
the Sambre. On the 16th, he beat the Prussians in those plains of
Fleurus[323] where victory seems to be always faithful to the French.
The villages of Ligny and Saint-Amand were carried. At Quatre-Bras, a
further success: the Duke of Brunswick[324] remained among the dead.
Blücher[325], in full retreat, fell back upon a reserve of thirty
thousand men under the orders of General Bülow[326]; the Duke of
Wellington, with the English and Dutch, set his back against Brussels.

On the morning of the 18th, before the first gun had been fired, the
Duke of Wellington declared that he would be able to hold out until
three o'clock; but that, at that time, if the Prussians did not come
into sight, he would necessarily be destroyed: driven back upon
Planchenois and Brussels, he was shut out from all retreat. He had been
surprised by Napoleon, his strategic position was detestable; he had
accepted it and had not chosen it.

The French, at first, on the left wing of the enemy, took the
heights commanding the Château d'Hougoumont as far as the farms of
the Haye-Sainte and Papelotte; on the right wing, they attacked the
village of Mont Saint-Jean; the farm of the Haye-Sainte was carried
in the centre by Prince Jerome. But the Prussian reserves appeared in
the direction of Saint-Lambert at six o'clock in the evening: a new
and furious attack was delivered upon the village of the Haye-Sainte;
Blücher arrived with fresh troops and cut off the squares of the
Imperial Guard from the rest of our forces. Around this immortal
phalanx, the torrent of fugitives carried all with it among waves
of dust, fiery smoke and grape-shot, in darkness ploughed with
congreve-rockets, amid the roar of three hundred pieces of artillery
and the headlong gallop of five-and-twenty thousand horses: it was
as it were the summary of all the battles of the Empire. Twice the
French shouted, "Victory!" and twice their shouts were stifled under
the pressure of the enemy's columns. The fire from our lines died out;
the cartridges were exhausted; some wounded grenadiers, amid thirty
thousand slain and a hundred thousand blood-stained cannon-balls,
cooled and conglomerated at their feet, remained erect, leaning on
their muskets, with broken bayonets and empty barrels. Not far from
them, the man of battles listened, with a fixed stare, to the last
cannon-shot he was to hear in his life. In that field of carnage,
his brother Jerome was still fighting with his expiring battalions
overwhelmed by numbers; but his courage was unable to retrieve the

[Sidenote: The battle of Waterloo.]

The number of killed on the side of the Allies was estimated at
eighteen thousand men, on the side of the French at twenty-five
thousand; twelve hundred British officers had perished; almost all
the Duke of Wellington's aides-de-camp were killed or wounded; there
was not a family in England but went into mourning. The Prince of
Orange[327] was hit by a bullet in the shoulder; the Baron de Vincent,
the Austrian Ambassador, was shot through the hand. The English were
beholden for the success to the Irish and to the Highland Brigade, whom
our cavalry charges were unable to break. General Grouchy's[328] corps,
not having advanced, was not present in the action. The two armies
crossed steel and fire with a valour and desperation inspired by a
national enmity of ten centuries. Lord Castlereagh, giving an account
of the battle in the House of Lords[329], said:

"The British and French soldiers, after the action, washed their
blood-stained hands in the same stream, and from opposite banks
congratulated each other on their courage."

Wellington had always been baleful to Bonaparte, or rather the rival
genius to France, the English genius, barred the road to victory.
To-day, the Prussians lay claim to the honour of this decisive battle,
as against the English; but in war it is not the action accomplished
but the name that makes the triumpher: it was not Bonaparte who won the
real Battle of Jena[330].

The blunders of the French were important: they made mistakes as to
friendly or hostile bodies; they occupied the position of Quatre-Bras
too late; Marshal Grouchy, whose instructions were to hold the
Prussians in check with his thirty-six thousand men, allowed them to
pass without seeing them: hence the reproaches which our generals cast
at one another. Bonaparte attacked in front, according to his custom,
instead of turning the English, and, with a master's presumption,
occupied himself in cutting off the retreat of an enemy who was not

Many falsehoods and some rather curious truths have been retailed
concerning this catastrophe. The phrase, "The Guard dies but does
not surrender," is an invention which no one dares now to defend. It
appears to be certain that, at the commencement of the action, Soult
made some strategic observations to the Emperor, and that Napoleon
replied, drily:

"Because Wellington defeated you, you persist in thinking him a great

At the end of the fighting, M. de Turenne[331] urged Bonaparte to
retire, to avoid falling into the hands of the enemy: Bonaparte,
emerging from his thoughts as from a dream, at first flew into a
passion; then, suddenly, in the midst of his rage, he flung himself
upon his horse and fled.


On the 19th of June, a salute of a hundred guns at the Invalides
announced the successes of Ligny, Charleroi and Quatre-Bras; they
were celebrating victories that had died the day before at Waterloo.
The first messenger to bring to Paris the news of this defeat, one
of the greatest in history in its results, was Napoleon himself. He
re-entered the barriers on the night of the 21st: as who should say
returning from his shades to inform his friends that he was no more. He
stayed at the Élysée-Bourbon; when he arrived from Elba, he had stayed
at the Tuileries: those refuges, instinctively chosen, revealed the
change in his destiny.

[Sidenote: Flight of Napoleon.]

Fallen in a noble fight abroad, Napoleon had, in Paris, to endure the
assaults of the advocates who wished to exploit his misfortunes: he
regretted that he had not dissolved the Chamber before his departure
for the army; he often also repented that he had not had Fouché and
Talleyrand shot. But it is certain that Bonaparte, after Waterloo,
forbade himself any kind of violence, whether because he obeyed the
natural calm of his temperament, or because he was daunted by fate; he
no longer said, as before his first abdication:

"They shall see what the death of a great man is."

The time for that spirited language was past. Opposed as he was to
liberty, he thought of breaking up the Chamber of Representatives,
presided over by Lanjuinais, who from a citizen became a senator, from
a senator a peer, who since became a citizen again, and who from a
citizen was about again to become a peer. General La Fayette, deputy,
read from the tribune a motion declaring "the Chamber in permanent
session, any attempt to dissolve it a crime of high treason, whosoever
should be guilty of it a traitor to the country and to be tried as
such" (21 June 1815).

The general's speech began with these words:

    "Gentlemen, now when, for the first time since many years,
    I raise a voice which the old friends of liberty will still
    recognise, I feel called upon to speak to you of the danger
    of the country. . . . . .

    . . . . . . . . .

    . . . . This is the time to rally round the Tricolour Flag,
    the flag of '89, the flag of liberty, equality and public

The anachronism of this speech caused a momentary illusion; people
thought they saw the Revolution, personified by La Fayette, rise from
the tomb and stand pale and wrinkled in the tribune. But those motions
of order, revived after Mirabeau, were now no more than worn-out
weapons taken from an old arsenal. If La Fayette nobly united the end
and the commencement of his life, it was not in his power to weld
together the two ends of the broken chain of time. Benjamin Constant
waited on the Emperor at the Élysée-Bourbon; he found him in his
garden. The crowd was filling the Avenue de Marigny and shouting, "Long
live the Emperor!" a touching cry coming from the popular heart: it was
addressed to the vanquished! Bonaparte said to Benjamin Constant:

"What duty do these owe me? I found them and left them poor."

This is perhaps the only speech that came from his heart, if,
nevertheless, the deputy's emotion did not deceive his hearing.
Bonaparte, foreseeing the event, anticipated the summons they were
preparing to serve on him. He abdicated so as not to be compelled to

"My political life is ended," he said; "I declare my son Emperor of the
French, under the name of Napoleon II."

A useless disposition, like that of Charles X. in favour of Henry V.:
one gives crowns only when one possesses them, and men upset the will
of adversity. Moreover, the Emperor was no more sincere on descending
the throne a second time than he had been in his first retirement; when
the French commissaries went to inform the Duke of Wellington that
Napoleon had abdicated, he replied:

"I knew that a year ago."

The Chamber of Representatives, after some debates in which Manuel[332]
addressed the House, accepted its Sovereign's new abdication, but
vaguely and without appointing a Regency.

An Executive Commission was created[333]: the Duc d'Otrante presided
over it; three ministers, a councillor of State and a general of the
Emperor's composed it, and stripped their master once more: these were
Fouché, Caulaincourt, Carnot, Quinette[334] and Grenier[335].

During these transactions, Bonaparte was turning over his ideas in his

"I have no army left," he said; "I have nothing but fugitives. The
majority of the Chamber of Deputies are good; I have only La Fayette,
Lanjuinais and a few others against me. If the nation rises, the enemy
will be crushed; if, instead of rising, they quarrel, all will be lost.
The nation has not sent deputies to overthrow me, but to support me.
I am not afraid of them, whatever they may do; I shall always be the
idol of the people and the army: if I were to say a word, they would be
beaten to death. But if we quarrel, instead of acting in concert, we
shall meet with the fate of the Lower Empire."

[Sidenote: His second abdication.]

A deputation from the Chamber of Representatives having come to
congratulate him on his new abdication, he replied:

"I thank you: I wish that my abdication may bring happiness to France;
but I am not hopeful."

He repented soon after, when he heard that the Chamber of
Representatives had appointed a Commission of Government composed of
five members. He said to the ministers:

"I have not abdicated in favour of a new Directory; I have abdicated
in favour of my son: if they do not proclaim him, my abdication is
null and void. It is not by appearing before the Allies with hang-dog
looks and bent knee that the Chambers will force them to recognise the
national independence."

He complained that La Fayette, Sébastian[336], Pontécoulant[337],
Benjamin Constant had conspired against him, that, besides, the
Chambers had not enough energy. He said that he alone could repair all,
but that the leaders would never consent, that they would rather be
swallowed up in the abyss than unite with him, Napoleon, to close it.

On the 27th of June, at the Malmaison, he wrote this sublime letter:

    "In abdicating the power, I did not renounce the citizen's
    noblest right, the right of defending my country. In these
    grave circumstances, I offer my services as a general,
    regarding myself still as the first soldier of the

The Duc de Bassano having represented to him that the Chambers would
not be for him:

"Then I see," he said, "one must always give in. That infamous Fouché
is deceiving you: only Caulaincourt and Carnot are worth anything; but
what can they do, with a traitor, Fouché, and two simpletons, Quinette
and Grenier, and two Chambers which do not know what they want? You
all believe, like fools, in the fine promises of the foreigners; you
believe they will set the pot boiling, and that they will give you a
prince of their making, do you not? You are wrong[338]."

Plenipotentiaries were sent to the Allies. On the 29th of June,
Napoleon demanded two frigates, stationed at Rochefort, to take him out
of France. Meanwhile he had retired to the Malmaison.

The debates in the House of Peers were lively. Long an enemy of
Bonaparte, Carnot, who signed the order for the massacres of Avignon
without having time to read it, had found time during the Hundred
Days to immolate his republicanism to the title of count. On the 22nd
of June, he had read, in the Luxembourg, a letter from the Minister
of War containing an exaggerated report on the military resources
of France. Ney, newly arrived, was unable to hear this report
unangered. Napoleon, in his bulletins, had spoken of the marshal with
ill-disguised dissatisfaction, and Gourgaud accused Ney of being the
chief cause of the loss of the Battle of Waterloo. Ney rose and said:

"The report is untrue, untrue in every respect: Grouchy can have only
twenty to twenty-five thousand men under his orders, at the most. There
is not a single soldier of the Guard left to be rallied: I commanded
it; I saw it slaughtered bodily before leaving the battle-field. The
enemy is at Nivelle with eighty thousand men; he can be in Paris in
six days: you have no other means of saving the country than to open

[Sidenote: Debates in the peers.]

The Aide-de-camp Flahaut[339] endeavoured to support the report of the
Minister of War. Ney replied, with fresh vehemence:

"I repeat, you have no other way of safety except negociation. You
must recall the Bourbons. As for myself, I shall retire to the United

At these words, Lavallette and Carnot overwhelmed the marshal with
reproaches; Ney replied, with disdain:

"I am not one of those men to whom their own interest is everything.
What have I to gain by the return of Louis XVIII.? To be shot for the
crime of desertion. But I owe the truth to my country."

In the sitting of the Peers of the 23rd, General Drouot, recalling this
scene, said:

"I heard with regret what was said yesterday to disparage the glory
of our arms, to exaggerate our disasters and disparage our resources.
My astonishment was so much the greater because those speeches were
delivered by a distinguished general who, through his great valour and
his military attainments, has so often deserved the gratitude of the

In the sitting of the 22nd, a second storm had burst out at the heel
of the first: the question was Bonaparte's abdication; Lucien was
insisting that his nephew should be recognized as Emperor. M. de
Pontécoulant interrupted the speaker, and asked by what right Lucien, a
foreigner and a Roman prince, permitted himself to give a sovereign to

"How," he added, "can we recognise a child living in a foreign country?"

At this question, La Bédoyère[340], speaking excitedly from his seat:

"I have heard voices around the throne of the fortunate sovereign; they
withdraw from it to-day when he is unfortunate. There are people who
do not want to recognise Napoleon II., because they want to receive
the law from the foreigner, to whom they give the name of Allies....
Napoleon's abdication is indivisible. If you refuse to recognise his
son, he must remain sword in hand, surrounded by Frenchmen who have
shed their blood for him and who are still all covered with wounds....
He will be abandoned by base generals who have already betrayed him....
But if you declare that every Frenchman who deserts his flag shall
be covered with infamy, his house razed to the ground, his family
outlawed, then there will be no more traitors, no more intrigues such
as have occasioned the late catastrophes, some of whose authors are
perhaps sitting among us."

The House rose in an uproar:

"Order! Order! Order!" they bellowed, feeling the thrust.

"Young man, you forget yourself!" cried Masséna[341].

"Do you think you are still in the guard-room?" asked Lameth.

All the portents of the Second Restoration were threatening: Bonaparte
had returned at the head of four hundred Frenchmen, Louis XVIII. was
returning behind four hundred thousand foreigners; he passed near the
bloody pool of Waterloo to go to Saint-Denis as though to his funeral.

It was while the Legitimacy was thus advancing that the interpellations
of the House of Peers resounded; they contained something, I know not
what, of those terrible revolutionary scenes of the great days of our
troubles, when the dagger was passed round on the bench from hand to
hand among the victims. A few soldiers whose baleful fascination had
brought about the ruin of France, by producing the second foreign
invasion, struggled on the threshold of the palace; their prophetic
despair, their gestures, their words from the tomb, seemed to announce
a treble death: death to themselves, death to the man whom they had
blessed, death to the man whom they had proscribed.


While Bonaparte was retiring to the Malmaison with the finished Empire,
we were leaving Ghent with the recommencing Monarchy. Pozzo, who
knew how little question of the Legitimacy there was in high places,
hastened to write to Louis XVIII. to set out and arrive in good time,
if he wished to reign before the place was taken: it was to that note
that Louis XVIII. owed his crown in 1815.

At Mons, I missed the first occasion of fortune in my political career;
I was my own obstacle, and I found myself incessantly in my way. This
time my "good qualities" played me the ill turn which my faults might
have done me.

[Sidenote: Talleyrand again.]

M. de Talleyrand, in all the pride of a negociation which had enriched
him, claimed that he had rendered the greatest services to the
Legitimacy, and was returning as the master. Astonished that they
had not already followed, for the return to Paris, the road which he
had traced out, he was much more dissatisfied to find M. de Blacas
still with the King. He looked upon M. de Blacas as the scourge of
the Monarchy; but this was not the real motive of his aversion: he
beheld in M. de Blacas the favourite, and consequently the rival; he
also feared Monsieur, and had flown into a passion when, a fortnight
earlier, Monsieur had made him an offer of his hotel on the Lys. To
ask for M. de Blacas' removal was most natural; to demand it was too
reminiscent of Bonaparte.

M. de Talleyrand drove into Mons at six o'clock in the evening,
accompanied by the Abbé Louis: M. de Ricé, M. de Jaucourt and a few
other boon companions flew to him. Full of an ill-humour such as he
had never yet displayed, the ill-humour of a king who believes his
authority to have been slighted, he refused at first to go to Louis
XVIII., replying to those who urged him to do so with his ostentatious

"I am never in a hurry; it will be time enough tomorrow."

I went to see him; he tried upon me all those wheedling tricks
with which he used to seduce small ambitious men and important
nincompoops. He took me by the arm, leant upon me while he spoke to
me: familiarities denoting high favour and calculated to turn my head,
although with me they were quite lost; I did not even understand. I
invited him to come to the King's, where I was going.

Louis XVIII. was in one of his great sorrows: it was a question of
parting with M. de Blacas; the latter could not return to France;
opinion had risen against him. Although I had had reason to complain
of the favourite in Paris, I had displayed no resentment towards him
at Ghent. The King had been pleased with my conduct; in his emotion he
treated me marvellously well. M. de Talleyrand's remarks had already
been repeated to him:

"He boasts," he said to me, "of having a second time put back the crown
on my head, and he threatens to go back again to Germany: what do you
think of that, Monsieur de Chateaubriand?"

I replied:

"Your Majesty must have been misinformed; M. de Talleyrand is only
tired. If the King consents, I will return to see the minister."

The King appeared gratified; what he liked least was worries; he longed
for his repose, even at the expense of his affections.

M. de Talleyrand, in the midst of his flatterers, was more arrogant
than ever. I represented to him that, at so critical a moment, he could
not dream of going away. Pozzo preached at him in the same sense:
although he had not the slightest inclination for him, he liked, at
that moment, to see him at the head of affairs, as an old acquaintance;
besides, he believed him to be in favour with the Tsar. I made no
headway on M. de Talleyrand's mind, the prince's familiars fought
against me; even M. Mounier thought that M. de Talleyrand ought to
retire. The Abbé Louis, who snapped at everybody, said to me, shaking
his jaw three times: "If I were the prince, I should not remain a
quarter of an hour at Mons."

I answered:

"Monsieur l'abbé, you and I can go where we please, no one will notice
us; it is different with M. de Talleyrand."

I insisted again and said to the prince:

"Do you know that the King is continuing his journey?"

M. de Talleyrand appeared surprised, and then said to me, loftily, as
did the Balafré to those who wished to put him on his guard against the
designs of Henry III.:

"He will not dare!"

I returned to the King's, where I found M. de Blacas. I told His
Majesty, to excuse his minister, that he was ill, but that he would
most certainly have the honour of paying his court to the King the next

"As he pleases," replied Louis XVIII.: "I leave at three o'clock;" and
then he added these words, in an affectionate tone: "I am going to part
with M. de Blacas; the place will be vacant, Monsieur de Chateaubriand."

[Sidenote: The great man snubbed.]

It was the Royal Household laid at my feet A wary politician would
have ceased to trouble his head about M. de Talleyrand and would have
had the horses put to his carriage to follow or precede the King: I
remained stupidly at my inn.

M. de Talleyrand, unable to persuade himself that the King would go,
had gone to bed: at three o'clock they woke him to tell him that the
King was starting; he could not believe his ears:

"Tricked! Betrayed!" he cried.

They got him out of bed, and there he was, for the first time in his
life, in the street at three o'clock in the morning, leaning on M. de
Ricé's arm. He reached the King's house; the two leaders of the team
had already half their bodies through the gate-way. The people motioned
to the postillion to pull up; the King asked what was the matter; they

"Sire, it is M. de Talleyrand."

"He's asleep," said Louis XVIII.

"He is here, Sire."

"Come on!" replied the King.

The horses moved backward with the carriage; the door was opened, the
King got down and dragged himself back to his apartment, followed
by the limping minister. There M. de Talleyrand began an angry
explanation. His Majesty listened to him, and answered:

"Prince de Bénévent, so you're leaving us? The waters will do you good:
you must send us your news."

The King left the prince open-mouthed, had himself taken back to his
berlin, and drove away.

M. de Talleyrand was foaming with rage; Louis XVIII.'s composure had
staggered him: he, M. de Talleyrand, who prided himself so greatly on
his composure, to be beaten on his own ground, given the slip, on a
square at Mons, like the most insignificant of men: he could not get
over it! He remained dumb, watched the coach moving off, and then,
seizing the Duc de Lévis by a button of his spencer:

"Go, monsieur le duc, go and say how I am treated! I have put back
the crown on the King's head"--he was always harking back to that
crown--"and I am going back to Germany to begin the new Emigration."

M. de Lévis, listening absent-mindedly, lifting himself on his toes,

"Prince, I am going; the King must have at least one great lord with

M. de Lévis flung himself into a hired cariole which was conveying the
Chancellor of France: the two grandees of the Capetian Monarchy were
going, side by side, to catch it up, sharing expenses, in a Merovingian

I had asked M. de Duras to endeavour to effect a reconciliation, and to
send me the first news of it:

"What!" said M. de Duras. "You are remaining behind, after what the
King said to you?"

M. de Blacas, when leaving Mons in his turn, thanked me for the
interest I had shown him.

I went back and found M. de Talleyrand embarrassed; he was now
regretting that he had not followed my advice and that, like a
wrong-headed subaltern, he had refused to go to the King in the
evening; he feared that arrangements would be made without him, that he
would not be able to participate in the political power and to profit
by the financial jobbing which was preparing. I told him that, although
I differed from his opinion, I remained none the less attached to him,
as an ambassador to his minister; that, besides, I had friends with the
King, and that I hoped soon to hear something good. M. de Talleyrand
was all tenderness; he leant upon my shoulder: certainly, at that
moment, he thought me a very great man.

It was not long before I received a note from M. de Duras; he wrote to
me from Cambrai that the affair was arranged and that M. de Talleyrand
would receive orders to start: this time the prince did not fail to

What devil was prompting me? I had not followed the King, who had, so
to speak, offered or rather given me the ministry of his Household and
who was offended at my obstinacy in remaining at Mons: I was breaking
my neck on behalf of M. de Talleyrand whom I hardly knew, whom I did
not esteem, whom I did not admire; for M. de Talleyrand who was about
to enter into combinations quite different from mine, who lived in an
atmosphere of corruption in which I could not breathe!

[Sidenote: I neglect fortune.]

It was from Mons itself, amid all his worries, that the Prince de
Bénévent sent M. de Perray to Naples to receive the millions of one of
his Viennese bargains. M. de Blacas was at the same time travelling
with the Naples Embassy in his pocket, and some other millions which
the generous exile of Ghent had given him at Mons. I had kept on good
terms with M. de Blacas, precisely because everybody detested him; I
had incurred M. de Talleyrand's friendship for my fidelity to a whim of
his mood; Louis XVIII. had positively called me about his person, and I
preferred the baseness of a faithless man to the King's favour: it was
only too just that I should receive the reward of my stupidity, that I
should be abandoned by all for having tried to serve all. I returned
to France without the wherewithal to pay my journey, while treasures
poured down upon those in disgrace: I deserved that correction. It is
very well to fence one's way as a poor knight when the whole world is
cased in gold; but still one must not make enormous mistakes: had I
remained with the King, the combination of the Talleyrand and Fouché
Ministry would have become almost impossible; had the Restoration
commenced with a moral and honourable ministry, all the combinations of
the future might have been different. My carelessness of my own person
deceived me as to the importance of facts: the majority of men have
the fault of reckoning themselves too high; I have the fault of not
reckoning myself high enough: I wrapped myself in my habitual disdain
of my fortune; I ought to have seen that the fortune of France was at
that moment linked with that of my small destinies: such entanglements
are very common in history.


Leaving Mons at last, I arrived at Cateau-Cambrésis; M. de Talleyrand
joined me there: we seemed as though we had come to remake the treaty
of peace of 1559 between Henry II. of France[342] and Philip II. of

At Cambrai it appeared that the Marquis de La Suze, a quarter-master of
the time of Fénelon, had disposed of the billets of Madame de Lévis,
Madame de Chateaubriand and myself. We remained in the street, in the
midst of the bon-fires, of the crowd circulating around us, and of the
inhabitants crying, "Long live the King!" A student, hearing that I was
there, took us to his mother's house.

The friends of the different monarchies of France were beginning to
make their appearance; they were not coming to Cambrai for the league
against Venice[344], but to combine against the new Constitutions; they
were hastening to lay at the King's feet their successive loyalties and
their hatred of the Charter: a passport which they considered necessary
with Monsieur; I and two or three reasonable Gileses already smelt of

On the 28th of June, appeared the Declaration of Cambrai. In it the
King said:

"I wish to remove from my person only those men whose reputation is a
subject of grief to France and of dismay to Europe."

Now behold, the name of Fouché was pronounced with gratitude by the
Pavillon Marsan! The King laughed at his brother's new passion, and

"He has not received it by divine inspiration."

I have already told you that, when passing through Cambrai after the
Hundred Days, I vainly sought my lodging of the time of the Navarre
Regiment and the coffee-house which I frequented with La Martinière:
all had vanished with my youth.

From Cambrai, we went to sleep at Roye: the mistress of the inn took
Madame de Chateaubriand for Madame la Dauphine; she was carried in
triumph to a large room in which stood a table laid for thirty persons:
the room, lighted by wax-candles, tallow-candles and a great fire, was
stifling. The hostess did not wish to receive payment, and said:

"I look askance at myself for not having got myself guillotined for our

Last spark of a fire which had animated the French for so many

General Lamothe, brother-in-law to M. Laborie, came, despatched by the
authorities of the capital, to tell us that it would be impossible
for us to appear in Paris without the tricolour cockade. M. de La
Fayette and other commissaries, very ill received, for the rest, by the
Allies, went fawning from one staff-office to the other, begging from
the foreigners for a master of some sort for France: any king, at the
Cossack's own option, would do excellently, provided that he did not
descend from St. Louis and Louis XIV.

[Sidenote: The journey to Paris.]

At Roye we held a council: M. de Talleyrand had a pair of hacks put to
his carriage and went to the King's. His equipage took up the width
of the square, from the minister's inn to the Kings door. He stepped
out of his car with a memorandum, which he read to us: he considered
the course we should have to follow on our arrival; he ventured a few
words on the necessity of admitting all, without distinction, to the
distribution of places; he hinted that we might extend our generosity
as far as the judges of Louis XVI. His Majesty coloured and, striking
the two arms of his chair, with both hands, cried:


A "never" of twenty-four hours!

At Senlis we called at a canon's: his servant-maid received us like
dogs; as to the canon, who was not St. Regulus[345], the patron saint
of the town, he would not so much as look at us. His maid had orders
to show us no other service than to buy us something to eat, for our
own money: the _Génie du Christianisme_ availed me nothing. Yet Senlis
ought to have been of good omen to us, since it was in that town that
Henry IV. escaped from the hands of his gaolers in 1576:

"I have no regret," exclaimed the King who was Montaigne's
fellow-countryman, as he made his escape, "save for two things which I
have left in Paris: the Mass and my wife."

From Senlis we went to the birth-place of Philip Augustus, otherwise
Gonesse. On approaching the village we saw two persons coming
towards us: it was Marshal Macdonald and my faithful friend Hyde de
Neuville[346]. They stopped our carriage and asked us where M. de
Talleyrand was; they made no difficulties about telling me that they
were looking for him in order to inform the King that His Majesty
must not think of passing the gates before he had taken Fouché as his
minister. Anxiety came over me, for, in spite of the manner in which
Louis XVIII. had pronounced himself at Roye, I did not feel greatly
reassured. I questioned the marshal:

"What, monsieur le maréchal!" I asked. "Is it certain that we cannot
return except on such harsh conditions?"

"Faith, monsieur le vicomte," replied the marshal, "I am not quite
convinced of it."

The King stopped two hours at Gonesse. I left Madame de Chateaubriand
in her carriage in the middle of the highroad, and went to the council
at the mayor's offices. There a measure was brought under deliberation
upon which depended the future fate of the monarchy. The discussion
began: I, alone with M. Beugnot, maintained that in no case ought Louis
XVIII. to admit M. Fouché to his counsels. The King listened: I saw
that he would have liked to keep his word given at Roye; but he was
absorbed by Monsieur and driven by the Duke of Wellington.

[Sidenote: Fouché.]

In a chapter of the _Monarchie selon la Charte_, I have recapitulated
the reasons upon which I laid stress at Gonesse. I was excited; the
spoken word has a strength which becomes weaker in the written word:

    "Wherever an open tribune exists," I said, in this chapter,
    "no one liable to be exposed to reproaches of a certain
    kind can be placed at the head of the government There are
    certain speeches, certain phrases, which would oblige such a
    minister to resign on leaving the Chamber. This impossibility
    resulting from the free principle of representative
    government was not felt at a time when all illusions united
    to place a famous man in office, notwithstanding the too
    well-founded repugnance of the Crown. The rise of that man
    was bound to produce one of these two things: either the
    abolition of the Charter or the fall of the ministry at the
    opening of the session. Can one picture the minister to
    whom I refer listening in the Chamber of Deputies to the
    discussion concerning the 21st of January, liable every
    moment to be apostrophized by some deputy from Lyons, and
    always threatened with the terrible _Tu es ille vir!_ Men
    of that kind cannot be employed ostensibly, except with
    the mutes of the seraglio of Bajazet or the mutes of the
    Legislative Body of Bonaparte. What will become of the
    minister if a deputy, ascending the tribune with a _Moniteur_
    in his hand, reads the report of the Convention of the 9th
    of August 1795; if he demands the expulsion of Fouché,
    as unworthy by virtue of that report which 'ejected him,
    Fouché'--I am quoting literally--'as a thief and a terrorist,
    whose atrocious and criminal conduct conferred dishonour and
    opprobrium upon any assembly whatever of which he became a

Those are the things which have been forgotten!

After all, supposing they had had the misfortune to think that a man
of that kind could ever be useful: they ought to have kept him behind
the scenes, consulted his deplorable experience; but to do violence to
the Crown and to public opinion, in a barefaced manner to summon such a
minister as that to affairs, a man whom Bonaparte, at that very moment,
treated as infamous: was that not to declare that they disclaimed
liberty and virtue? Is a crown worth so great a sacrifice? It left them
powerless to remove anybody: whom could they exclude, after accepting

Parties acted without thinking of the form of government which they had
adopted; every one spoke of the Constitution, of liberty, of equality,
of the right of peoples, and no one wanted them; fashionable verbiage:
one asked, without thinking, for news of the Charter, hoping all the
time that it would soon die the death. Liberals and Royalists leant
towards absolute government, modified by our habits: such is the temper
and trend of France. Material interests prevailed: they did not want,
they said, to disown what had been done during the Revolution; each was
burdened with his own life and claimed the right to load his neighbour
with it: evil, they asserted, had become an element in public life
which must thenceforth combine with the governments and enter as a
vital principle into society.

My crotchet, relative to a Charter set in motion by religious and
moral action, was the cause of the ill-will which certain parties
have borne me: for the Royalists, I was too much attached to liberty;
for the Revolutionaries, I had too great a scorn for crimes. Had I not
been there, to my great detriment, to make myself the school-master of
constitutionalism, the Ultras and the Jacobins would from the earliest
days have put the Charter into the pocket of their fleury dress-coats
or their carmagnoles _à la Cassius._

M. de Talleyrand had no liking for M. Fouché; M. Fouché detested and,
strangest of all, despised M. de Talleyrand: it was difficult to
achieve that success. M. de Talleyrand, who at first would have been
pleased not to be coupled to M. Fouché, feeling that the latter was
inevitable, consented to the proposal; he did not perceive that, with
the Charter (especially when he was united with the man of the Lyons
grape-shot), he was hardly more possible than Fouché.

Promptly what I had declared was verified: they obtained no profit
from the admission of the Duc d'Otrante, they obtained nothing but
opprobrium; the approaching shadow of the Chambers was enough to cause
the disappearance of ministers too much exposed to the plain-speaking
of the tribune.

My opposition was of no avail: according to the custom of weak
characters, the King closed the sitting without deciding anything; the
Order in Council was to be settled at the Château d'Arnouville.

No council, strictly speaking, was held at this last residence: only
the intimates and those associated with the secret were assembled. M.
de Talleyrand, having distanced us, entered into intelligence with his
friends. The Duke of Wellington arrived: I saw him drive past in a
calash; the plumes of his hat waved in the air; he had come to confer
with M. Fouché and M. de Talleyrand upon France, as a twofold present
which the Battle of Waterloo was making to our country. When it was
represented to him that the regicide of M. le Duc d'Otrante was perhaps
a drawback, he replied:

"That's a trifle!"

An Irish Protestant, an English general unacquainted with our manners
and our history, a mind seeing in the French year 1793 only the
English precedent of the year 1649 was charged to shape our destinies!
Bonaparte's ambition had reduced us to this state of wretchedness.

I rambled by myself in the gardens which the Comptroller-general
Machault[348] left, at the age of ninety-three years, to go and die
at the Madelonnettes; for Death, in his great review, passed none
over then. I was no longer sent for; the familiarities of a common
misfortune had ceased between the Sovereign and the subject: the King
was getting ready to return to his palace, I to my retreat. The vacuum
forms anew round monarchs so soon as they recover their power. I have
rarely passed, without making serious reflexions, through the silent
and uninhabited rooms of the Tuileries which led me to the King's
closet: for me, deserts of another kind, infinite solitudes in which
the very worlds vanished before God, the only real Being.

Bread was scarce at Arnouville; but for an officer named Dubourg[349],
who was hurrying away from Ghent like ourselves, we should have fasted.
M. Dubourg went marauding; he brought us back half a sheep to the house
of the mayor, who had run away. If the servant of the mayor, a Heroine
of Beauvais left alone, had had any arms, she would have received us
like Jeanne Hachette[350].

[Sidenote: Saint-Denis.]

We proceeded to Saint-Denis: along both sides of the road-way stretched
the bivouacs of the Prussians and English; in the distance, the eye
met the spires of the abbey: into its foundations Dagobert[351] threw
his jewels, in its vaults the successive dynasties buried their kings
and their great men; four months since, we had laid the bones of Louis
XVI. there to replace the other dust. When I returned from my first
exile in 1800, I had crossed this same plain of Saint-Denis: then only
Napoleon's soldiers were encamped there; Frenchmen still took the place
of the old bands of the Constable de Montmorency[352].

A baker harboured us. In the evening, at nine o'clock, I went to pay
my court to the King. His Majesty was lodged in the abbey buildings:
they had all the difficulty in the world to prevent the little girls of
the Legion of Honour[353] from crying, "Long live Napoleon!" I first
entered the church: a piece of wall adjoining the cloister had fallen;
the old abbey church was lit only by a lamp. I said my prayer at the
entrance to the vault where I had seen Louis XVI. lowered: full of
dread as to the future, I do not know that I ever felt my heart drowned
in a more profound and more religious melancholy. Next I went to His
Majesty's: shown into one of the rooms which preceded the King's, I
found no one there; I sat down in a corner and waited. Suddenly, a
door opened: silently vice entered leaning on the arm of crime, M. de
Talleyrand walking supported by M. Fouché; the infernal vision passed
slowly before me, penetrated into the King's closet, and vanished.
Fouché was coming to swear fealty and homage to his lord; the trusty
regicide on his knees laid the hands which caused the head to fall of
Louis XVI. between the hands of the brother of the Royal Martyr; the
apostate bishop was surety for the oath.

On the next day, the Faubourg Saint-Germain arrived; everything
concerned itself with the nomination, already obtained, of Fouché:
religion as well as impiety, virtue as well as vice, the Royalist as
well as the Revolutionary, the foreigner as well as the Frenchman; on
every hand the cry was heard:

"No safety for the King without Fouché; no salvation for France without
Fouché: he alone has saved the country, he alone can complete his

[Illustration: Fouché, Duc D'Otrante.]

The old Duchesse de Duras was one of the noble dames who joined most
eagerly in the pæan; the Bailli de Crussol[354], a survivor of Malta,
chimed in: he declared that, if his head was still on his shoulders,
it was because M. Fouché had permitted it. The timorous ones had stood
in such terror of Bonaparte that they had taken the butcher of Lyons
for a Titus[355]. During more than three months, the drawing-rooms of
the Faubourg Saint-Germain looked upon me as a miscreant, because I
disapproved of the nomination of their ministers. Poor people, they
had prostrated themselves at the feet of the "upstarts;" they none
the less made a great noise about their nobility, their hatred of the
Revolutionaries, their unshaken fidelity, the inflexibility of their
principles: and they adored Fouché.

Fouché had seen the incompatibility of his ministerial existence with
the game of the Representative Monarchy: as he could not amalgamate
with the elements of a legal government, he endeavoured to make the
political elements homogeneous to his own nature. He had created a
factitious terror: inventing imaginary dangers, he made pretensions to
oblige the Crown to recognise Bonaparte's two Chambers and to receive
the Declaration of Rights which had been hurriedly completed; a few
words even were murmured as to the necessity of exiling Monsieur and
his sons: to isolate the King would have been the masterpiece.

[Sidenote: State of Paris.]

People continued to be gulled: in vain the National Guard climbed over
the walls of Paris and came to protest its devotion; it was asserted
that this guard was ill-disposed. The faction had had the gates closed
in order to prevent the population, which had remained Royalist
during the Hundred Days, from hurrying up, and it was said that this
population was threatening to butcher Louis XVIII. on his way. The
blindness was marvellous, for the French Army was falling back upon
the Loire, one hundred and fifty thousand allies occupied the outposts
of the capital, and they continued to pretend that the King was not
strong enough to penetrate into a city where not a soldier remained,
where none was left but civilians, quite capable of restraining a
handful of federates, if these had taken it into their heads to stir.
Unfortunately, the King, through a series of fatal coincidences,
seemed to be the leader of the English and Prussians; he thought
himself surrounded with liberators, and he was accompanied by enemies;
he appeared environed by an escort of honour, and this escort was in
reality only the gendarmes taking him out of his kingdom: he was merely
crossing Paris in the company of the foreigners whose memory would one
day serve as a pretext for the banishment of his House.

The Provisional Government formed after the abdication of Bonaparte
was dissolved by means of a kind of indictment of the Crown: a
stepping-stone upon which it was hoped one day to build a new

At the First Restoration, I was of opinion that the tricolour cockade
should be kept: it was resplendent in all its glory; the white cockade
was forgotten; by retaining colours warranted by so many triumphs, men
were not preparing a rallying-token for a coming revolution. Not to
adopt the white cockade would have been wise; to abandon it after it
had been worn by Bonaparte's own Grenadiers was an act of cowardice:
one cannot pass with impunity under the Caudine Forks; that which
dishonours is fatal: a slap in the face does you no harm physically,
and yet it kills you.

Before leaving Saint-Denis, I was received by the King and had the
following conversation with him:

"Well?" said Louis XVIII., opening the dialogue with this exclamation.

"Well, Sire, you are taking the Duc d'Otrante?"

"I needs had to: from my brother down to the Bailli de Crussol (and the
latter is not suspect), every one said that we could not do otherwise.
What do you think?"

"Sire, the thing is done: I beg your Majesty's permission to say

"No, no, speak: you know how I resisted since Ghent."

"Sire, I only obey your orders; pardon my loyalty: I think the Monarchy
is finished."

The King kept silence; I was beginning to tremble at my boldness, when
His Majesty resumed:

"Well, Monsieur de Chateaubriand, I am of your opinion."

This conversation concludes my story of the Hundred Days.

[308] Darius III., the last King of Persia (_d._ 331 B.C.), defeated by
Alexander at Arbela and assassinated by Bessus Satrap of Bactriana in
his flight.--T.

[309] Jean Charles Léonard Simonde de Sismondi (1773-1842), the
Swiss Calvinist historian and economist, author of, among many other
voluminous works, the _Histoire des Français_, in 29 volumes, an
erudite but prejudiced compilation.--T.

[310] Lucien Bonaparte.--T.

[311] Philippe Antoine Comte Merlin (1754-1838), known as Merlin de
Douay, to distinguish him from Merlin de Thionville, a jurisconsult
of the highest eminence and the lowest principles. He had sat in
the Constituent Assembly and the Convention, held office under
the Directory and the Empire, gave in his adhesion to the First
Restoration, accepted office again from Napoleon in 1814, and was
exiled in 1815 as a regicide who had held functions during the Hundred
Days. He retired to Brussels, returning to France after the Usurpation
of 1830.--T.

[312] Louis XI. King of France (1423-1479) was held as a prisoner at
Péronne by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, in 1468, and compelled
to sign the treaty known by the name of that town.--T.

[313] The "Additional Act" was published in the _Moniteur_ of 23 April

[314] Murat had placed himself at the Emperor's disposal on landing at
Cannes. Napoleon, dreading the contagion of ill-fortune, did not reply
to the dethroned King, and had him forbidden the access to Paris by

[315] _Vide_ the proclamation by Marshal Soult, _supra.--Author's Note._

[316] An allusion to Marshal Soult.--B.

[317] Marshal Moncey carried the constable's sword at the coronation of
Charles X.; Marshals Soult, Mortier and Jourdan the sceptre, the hand
of justice and the crown respectively.--B.

[318] Louis-Philippe.--T.

[319] Marie Caroline Ferdinande Louise Duchesse de Berry (1798-1870),
daughter of Ferdinand I. King of Naples, and married to the Duc de
Berry in 1816. She followed Charles X. into exile after the Revolution
of 1830, and in 1832 made a descent, first upon Marseilles and secondly
upon the Vendée, where she tried in vain to effect a general rising.
She sought refuge at Nantes, where she lay hidden for five months,
until sold to the police of M. Thiers by a Jewish convert called Deutz,
and imprisoned at Blaze. Here, in 1833, she gave birth to a child, the
offspring of her secret marriage with the Comte Lucchesi-Palli. She was
shortly afterwards released, and spent the remainder of her days in

[320] The term applied to the vast plain near Châlons-sur-Marne where
Attila's immense army was destroyed, in 451, by the combined forces of
the Franks, Burgundians and Goths.--T.

[321] The Baron de Vincent, Austrian Ambassador to the Court of

[322] Ferdinand Baron d'Eckstein (1790-1861) was a native of Denmark,
of Jewish parentage. He became a Catholic in 1806, fought as a
volunteer in the French ranks in 1813, and on the fall of the Empire
entered the Dutch service and was appointed Governor of Ghent, where he
gained the favour of Louis XVIII. He followed the King to France, and
was made a baron and given various offices in succession. He spent the
last thirty years of his life writing in favour of religion in his own
paper, the _Catholique_, and others.--B.

[323] On the 1st of July 1690, the Duc de Luxembourg defeated the
Prince of Waldeck at Fleurus; on the 26th of June 1794, General Jourdan
defeated the Imperials under Coburg; and, on the 16th of June 1815,
Napoleon routed Blücher. This last battle is more generally known as
that of Ligny.--T.

[324] Frederic William Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1771-1815), son
of the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg mortally wounded at Auerstädt in

[325] Field-Marshal Gebhardt Leberecht von Blücher, Count and Prince
Blücher von Wahlstadt (1742-1819).--T.

[326] Friedrich Wilhelm von Billow, Count von Dennewitz (1765-1816).--T.

[327] William I. King of the Netherlands (1772-1843), then Prince
of Orange and Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands, commanding an
army-corps at Waterloo. His son, William Prince of Orange (1792-1848),
later King William II. of the Netherlands, was also present at the
battle and also wounded.--T.

[328] Emmanuel Maréchal Marquis de Grouchy (1766-1847) received his
marshal's baton during the Hundred Days. The Restoration refused to
recognise the general's new dignity, which was not confirmed to him
until 1831. The Marquis de Grouchy was made a peer by Louis-Philippe in

[329] Lord Castlereagh was leader of the House of Commons. He moved
the vote of thanks to the Duke of Wellington, giving an account of the
Battle of Waterloo, on the 23rd of June 1815.--T.

[330] Of the two battles that took place on the 14th of October 1806,
the more important was that of Auerstädt, where Marshal Davout had on
his hands the greater part of the Prussian Army, commanded by the King
of Prussia in person and the Duke of Brunswick; at Jena, Napoleon,
with superior forces, had to do with the weaker portion of the enemy's
army. Davout had 60,000 men in front of him and Napoleon only 40,000.
The Emperor, in his 5th Bulletin, completely inverted the state of
things. While reducing the numbers of the army which Davout had to
fight against from sixty to forty thousand, he raised those to which he
himself was opposed from forty to eighty thousand, making of the Battle
of Auerstädt only a very secondary episode in the Battle of Jena,
whereas it was really a capital and decisive event. It was thus that
the admirable victory of Auerstädt came to be effaced and eclipsed by
that of Jena.--B.

[331] Henri Amédée Mercure Comte de Turenne (1776-1852) was an officer
in the King's Regiment, when the Revolution broke out. He refused
to emigrate and wished to continue his military service, but was
imprisoned as a suspect under the Terror and not released until the
9 Thermidor, when he served in the Army of the Western Pyrenees. The
decree of 1794 against the nobles obliged him to leave the army; he
remained in private life until the proclamation of the Empire, when he
was one of the first to rally to the new power. He held various offices
in Napoleon's Civil and Military Households, and was created a count of
the Empire in 1813. Turenne was present at Napoleon's leave-taking at
Fontainebleau, but failed to obtain leave to accompany the Emperor to
Elba. Louis XVIII. made him a knight of St. Louis and a sub-lieutenant
in the Grey Musketeers. Under the Hundred Days, he resumed his service
with Napoleon, who made him a peer, and fought at Ligny and Waterloo,
where he made desperate efforts against the English Guards. The Second
Restoration deprived him of his titles and functions, but received
him into favour in 1829. Turenne, however, sided with the Monarchy of
July, and was again created a peer of France by Louis-Philippe. He
was smitten with blindness a few years later, and ended his days in

[332] Jacques Antoine Manuel (1775-1827), a noted orator and advocate.
He opposed the monarchy throughout the Restoration, and in 1823
was expelled by force from the Chamber of Deputies. Manuel was not
re-elected. He remained a popular hero, and his body was followed to
the grave by over 100,000 persons.--T.

[333] 22 June 1815.--B.

[334] Nicolas Marie Baron Quinette (1762-1821) had been a member of
the Convention voting for the death of the King, and Minister of the
Interior to Napoleon (1799), who made him a baron of the Empire. In
1814, he adhered to the Restoration, and was created a peer of France,
but returned to the Emperor during the Hundred Days, and at the Second
Restoration was banished as a relapsed regicide.--T.

[335] General Paul Comte Grenier (1768-1827) served with distinction in
the wars of the Revolution and the Empire. He was vice-president of the
Chamber in 1815 and, under the Second Restoration, sat as a deputy from
1813 to 1822.--B.

[336] General Horace François Bastien Comte Sébastiani de La Porta
(1775-1851), one of Napoleon's most intrepid cavalry generals. He
accepted the Restoration in 1814, but returned to Napoleon during
the Hundred Days, and was left without employment under the Second
Restoration. He sat as a Corsican deputy from 1816 to 1824 and 1826 to
1830, sitting in the Extreme Left and maintaining an active opposition
to the Government Under Louis-Philippe, he was Minister of Foreign
Affairs from 1830 to 1833, and subsequently Ambassador to Naples
(1834) and London (1835-1840). On his return from the latter embassy
he was created a marshal. His last years were clouded over by the
assassination of his daughter, the Duchesse de Praslin, by her husband
(17 August 1847).--T.

[337] Louis Gustave Le Doulcet, Comte de Pontécoulant (1764-1853), had,
as a member of the Convention, resisted the excesses of 1793 and was
outlawed and fled to Zurich. He returned after the Terror and filled
various military and diplomatic offices under Napoleon, who created
him a count (1808). Louis XVIII. made him a peer of France, and for
over thirty years he took a prominent part in the work of the House of

[338] _Vide_ the Works of Napoleon, vol. I., the last pages.--_Author's

[339] Auguste Charles Joseph Comte de Flahaut de La Billarderie
(1785-1870), a peer of the Hundred Days, a peer of France from 1831 to
1848, a senator of the Second Empire, Ambassador to London from 1860
to 1862, Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour from 1861 to 1870.
Flahaut was a general of division in 1813, at the age of twenty-eight.
He died on the 1st of September 1870, on the day of the disaster of
Sedan, and did not behold the fall of the dynasty to which he was
attached by intimate and secret affections. The Duc de Moray, natural
brother to Napoleon III., was his son.--B.

[340] Charles Angélique François Huchet, Comte de La Bédoyère
(1786-1815), served with distinction under Napoleon and became a
colonel at the age of 26. After the first abdication, his family
obtained for him the Cross of St. Louis and the command of the 7th
Regiment of the Line. Nevertheless he was the first colonel to join
Napoleon with his regiment after the return from Elba. The Emperor made
him a general and raised him to the peerage (2 June 1815). After the
second abdication, La Bédoyère was arrested, tried by court-martial
for treason, and shot (19 August 1815) in the twenty-ninth year of his

[341] André Masséna, Maréchal Prince d'Essling, Duc de Rivoli
(1758-1817), one of Napoleon's earlier and greatest generals, of
Italian Jewish origin. Louis XVIII. created him a peer of France in
December 1814.--T.

[342] Henry II. King of France (1518-1559) signed the famous "Unhappy
Peace" of Cateau-Cambrésis after the Battle of Saint-Quentin, a peace
by which France lost a large portion of her conquests.--T.

[343] Philip II. King of Spain, England, Naples and Sicily

[344] The League of Cambrai was formed in 1508 by the Emperor
Maximilian I., King Louis XII. of France, King Ferdinand the Catholic
of Spain and Pope Julius II. against the Republic of Venice.--T.

[345] St Regulus, first Bishop of Senlis (_fl._ 1300), honoured on the
30th of March.--T.

[346] Jean Guillaume Baron Hyde de Neuville (1776-1857) was an agent of
the Emigrant Princes before he was seventeen years of age, and served
their cause throughout. He was French Minister to the United States
(1816), later to Portugal, later Minister of Marine (1828). In 1830,
Hyde de Neuville refused to accept the Government of Louis-Philippe and
defended the cause of the Duc de Bordeaux in the Lower Chamber, almost

[347] Sitting of the Convention on the 22 Thermidor Year III. (9 August
1795) _Moniteur_, (14 August 1795).--B.

[348] Jean Baptiste Machault d'Arnouville (1701-1794) was
appointed Comptroller-general of Finance under Louis XV. in 1745.
In 1750, he became Keeper of the Seals, while retaining his
Comptroller-generalship; but he was disgraced in 1754, owing to the
efforts of the clergy, whose privileges he had attacked, and the
intrigues of Madame de Pompadour. Machault retired to his property at
Arnouville, where he lived for forty years, until, in 1794, he was
flung into the Madelonnettes prison, as a suspect, where he died.--T.

[349] We shall meet with my friend General Dubourg again in the Days of
July.--_Author's Note._

Frédéric Dubourg-Butler (1778-1850) fought in the Royalist Army in the
Vendée, in the Republican Army under Bernadotte, in the Russian Army
in 1812. He returned to France after the fell of the Empire. In 1815,
as an officer on the staff of the Duc de Feltre, Minister of War, he
followed the King to Ghent, and received the command of the Artois
Regiment, but almost immediately fell into disgrace. He disappeared for
fifteen years, and sprang up, on the 29th of July 1830, at the Hôtel de
Ville, improvised himself into a general, and for a moment played the
part of head of the "military section of the Provisional Government,"
whereupon he disappeared afresh. We do not find him again until the
24th of February 1848, when the new Provisional Government awarded him
the retiring pension of a brigadier-general. This pension was no doubt
very irregularly paid, for in 1850 the poor devil put an end to the
romance of his life by swallowing an over-dose of opium.--B.

[350] Jeanne Hachette (_b. circa_ 1454) of Beauvais defended that place
in 1472, at the head of a regiment of women, against the Burgundians
under Charles the Bold. Her real name is uncertain: historians vary
between Fouquet, Fourquet and Lainé; she was called Hachette after the
axe which she bore during the siege.--T.

[351] Dagobert I. King of France (602-638) founded the Abbey of
Saint-Denis in 632.--T.

[352] Anne Maréchal Connétable de Montmorency (1493-1567) was slain at
the Battle of Saint-Denis, in which he defeated the Protestants.--T.

[353] An imperial educational establishment for the daughters of
members of the Legion of Honour had been founded in the buildings of
the old abbey in 1809.--T.

[354] Alexandre Charles Emmanuel Bailli de Crussol (1743-1815). Louis
XVIII. had created him a peer of France in 1814.--T.

[355] Titus Flavius Savinus Vespasianus, Roman Emperor (40-81), "the
delight of the human race."--T.


Bonaparte at the Malmaison--General abandonment--Departure from the
Malmaison--Rambouillet--Rochefort--Bonaparte takes refuge on the
English fleet--He writes to the Prince Regent--Bonaparte on the
_Bellerophon_--Torbay--Act confining Bonaparte in St Helena--He
passes over to the Northumberland and sets sail--Judgment on
Bonaparte--Character of Bonaparte--Has Bonaparte left us in
renown what he has lost us in strength?--Futility of the truths
set forth above--The Island of St. Helena--Bonaparte crosses the
Atlantic--Napoleon lands at St. Helena--His establishment at
Longwood--Precautions--Life at Longwood--Visits--Manzoni--Illness of
Bonaparte--Ossian--Reveries of Napoleon in sight of the sea--Projects
of evasion--Last occupation of Bonaparte--He lies down to rise no
more--He dictates his will--Napoleon's religious sentiments--The
chaplain Vignale--Napoleon's speech to Antomarchi, his doctor--He
receives the last sacraments--He expires--His funeral--Destruction of
the Napoleonic world--My last relations with Bonaparte--St. Helena
after the death of Napoleon--Exhumation of Bonaparte--My visit to

If a man were unexpectedly transported from life's most clamorous
scenes to the silent shores of the Arctic Ocean, he would feel what
I feel beside the tomb of Napoleon, for we find ourselves suddenly
standing by the edge of that tomb.

Leaving Paris on the 25th of June, Napoleon awaited at the Malmaison
the moment of his departure from France. I return to him: coming back
to past days, anticipating future times, I shall not leave him again
until after his death.

The Malmaison, where the Emperor rested, was empty. Joséphine was
dead[356]; Bonaparte found himself alone in that retreat. There he had
commenced his fortune; there he had been happy; there he had become
intoxicated with the incense of the world; there, from the heart of
his tomb, issued orders that shook the world. In those gardens where
formerly the feet of the crowd raked up the sanded walks, the grass
and brambles grew green; I had ascertained this when walking there.
Already, for want of tending, the exotic trees were pining away; on the
canals the black Australian swans no longer floated; the cage no longer
held the tropical birds prisoners: they had flown away to await their
host in their own country.

Bonaparte might, however, have found a subject of consolation by
turning his eyes upon his early days: fallen kings are afflicted above
all because, looking upwards from their fall, they see only a splendid
inheritance and the pomps of their cradle: but what did Napoleon
discern prior to his prosperity? The manger of his birth in a Corsican
village. Higher-minded, when flinging off the purple mantle, he would
have proudly resumed the goat-herd's sayon; but men do not place
themselves back at their origin when it was humble; it seems that an
unjust Heaven deprives them of their patrimony when, in fate's lottery,
they do naught but lose what they have won; and nevertheless Napoleon's
greatness arises from the fact that he had started from himself: none
of his blood had gone before him and prepared his power.

At the sight of those abandoned gardens, of those untenanted
apartments, of those galleries faded by the routs, of those rooms
in which song and music had ceased, Napoleon was able to go over
his career: he was able to ask himself whether, with a little more
moderation, he might not have preserved his delights. Foreigners,
enemies, were not banishing him now; he was not departing as a _quasi_
victor, leaving the nations in admiration of his passage, after the
prodigious campaign of 1814: he was retiring beaten. Frenchmen,
friends, were demanding his immediate abdication, urging his departure,
refusing even to have him as a general, sending him messenger after
messenger, to oblige him to quit the soil over which he had shed as
much glory as scourges.

Added to this harsh lesson, came other warnings: the Prussians were
prowling around the neighbourhood of the Malmaison; Blücher, full of
wine, staggering, ordered them to seize, to "hang" the conqueror who
had "put his foot on the neck of Kings." The rapidity of the fortunes,
the vulgarity of the manners, the promptness of the elevation and
degradation of the personages of to-day will, I fear, take away a part
of the nobility of history: Rome and Greece did not speak of "hanging"
Alexander and Cæsar.

The scenes which had taken place in 1814 were renewed in 1815, but
with something more offensive, because the ingrates were stimulated
by fear; it was necessary to get rid of Napoleon quickly: the Allies
were arriving; Alexander was not there, at first, to temper the triumph
and curb the insolence of fortune; Paris was no more adorned with its
lustral inviolability; a first invasion had profaned the sanctuary; it
was no longer God's anger that fell upon us, it was the contempt of
Heaven: the human thunder-bolt was spent.

All the cowardly characters had acquired a new degree of malignity
through the Hundred Days; affecting to raise themselves, through love
of the country, above personal attachments, they exclaimed that it was
really too criminal of Bonaparte to have violated the treaties of 1814.
But were not the true culprits those who had countenanced his designs?
Suppose that, in 1815, instead of getting new armies for him, after
forsaking him once only to forsake him again, they had said to him,
when he came to sleep at the Tuileries:

"You have been deceived by your genius, opinion is no longer with you;
take pity on France. Retire after this last visit to the country; go
and live in the land of Washington. Who knows that the Bourbons will
not make mistakes? Who knows that, one day, France will not turn her
eyes towards you, when, in the school of liberty, you shall have learnt
to respect the laws? You will then return, not as a ravisher swooping
on his prey, but as a great citizen, the pacificator of his country!"

They did not hold that language to them: they humoured the passions of
their returned leader; they contributed to blinding him, sure as they
were of benefiting by either his victory or his defeat. The soldier
alone died for Napoleon, with admirable sincerity; the rest was but a
grazing herd, growing fat to right and left. If, at least, the viziers
of the despoiled caliph had been satisfied to turn their backs on him!
But no: they reaped profit from his last moments; they overwhelmed him
with their sordid demands; all wanted to make money out of his poverty.

[Sidenote: Abandonment of Napoleon.]

Never was a more complete abandonment; Bonaparte had given cause for
it: he was insensible to the troubles of others; the world paid him
with indifference for indifference. Like most despots, he was on good
terms with his domestics; at bottom he cared for nobody: a solitary
man, he sufficed unto himself; misfortune did nothing except to restore
him to the desert which was his life.

When I gather up my memories, when I recollect having seen Washington
in his little house at Philadelphia and Bonaparte in his palaces, it
seems to me that Washington, retiring to his field in Virginia, cannot
have experienced the searchings of conscience of Bonaparte awaiting
exile in his gardens at the Malmaison. Nothing was altered in the life
of the first; he relapsed into his modest habits; he had not raised
himself above the happiness of the husbandman whom he had freed: all
was subverted in the life of the second.


Napoleon left the Malmaison[357] accompanied by Generals Bertrand,
Rovigo and Beker[358], the latter in the quality of inspector
or commissary. On the way, he was seized with a wish to stop at
Rambouillet. He left it to take ship at Rochefort, as did Charles X.
to take ship at Cherbourg; Rambouillet, the inglorious retreat where
all that was greatest in men or dynasties was eclipsed: the fatal spot
where Francis I. died; where Henry III., escaping from the barricades,
slept booted and spurred in passing; where Louis XVI. left his
shadow[359]! How happy would Louis, Napoleon and Charles have been, had
they been only the humble keepers of the herds of Rambouillet!

On arriving at Rochefort[360], Napoleon hesitated: the Executive
Commission were sending imperative orders:

"The garrisons of Rochefort and the Rochelle," said the dispatches,
"must use main force to make Napoleon take ship.... Employ force...
make him go... his services cannot be accepted."

Napoleon's services could not be accepted! And had you not accepted his
bounties and his chains? Napoleon did not go away; he was driven out:
and by whom?

Bonaparte had believed only in fortune; he banned misfortune _ab
igne et aquâ_; he had acquitted the ungrateful in advance: a just
retaliation made him appear before his own system. When success,
ceasing to animate his person, became incarnate in another individual,
the disciples abandoned the master for the school. I, who believe in
the legitimacy of benefits and the sovereignty of misfortune, had
I served Bonaparte, I would not have left him; I would have proved
to him, by my fidelity, the falseness of his political principles;
sharing his disgrace, I would have remained by his side as a living
contradiction of his barren doctrines and of the worthlessness of the
right of prosperity.

Frigates had been waiting for him in the Rochefort road-stead stead
since the first of July: hopes which never die, memories inseparable
from a last farewell kept him back. How he must have regretted the
days of his childhood, when his clear eyes had not yet known the first
rain-drops! He left time for the English fleet to approach. He was
still able to embark on two luggers which were to join a Danish ship at
sea (this was the course which his brother Joseph took); but decision
failed him when he looked at the coast of France. He felt an aversion
for a republic; the liberty and equality of the United States were
repugnant to him. He inclined towards asking shelter of the English:

"What disadvantage do you see in that course?" he asked of those whom
he consulted.

"The disadvantage of dishonouring yourself," answered a naval officer;
"you must not fall, even dead, into the hands of the English. They will
have you stuffed and show you at a shilling a head."


[Sidenote: The letter to the Regent.]

Notwithstanding these observations, the Emperor resolved to give
himself up to his conquerors. On the 13th of July, when Louis XVIII.
had already been five days in Paris, Napoleon sent the captain[361]
of the English ship _Bellerophon_ the following letter for the Prince


    "A victim to the factions which distract my country
    and to the enmity of the greatest powers in Europe, I
    have terminated my political career, and I come, like
    Themistocles[362], to throw myself upon the hospitality of
    the British people. I put myself under the protection of
    their laws; which I claim from Your Royal Highness as the
    most powerful, the most constant and the most generous of my

    "ROCHEFORT, 13 _July_ 1815."

If Bonaparte had not, during twenty years, overwhelmed with outrages
the British people, its government, its King, and the heir of that
King, one might find a certain propriety of tone in this letter; but
how had this "Royal Highness," so long despised, so long insulted by
Napoleon, suddenly become "the most powerful, the most constant and the
most generous" of enemies by the mere fact that he was victorious?
Napoleon could not be persuaded of what he was saying; and that which
is not true is not eloquent. The phrase setting forth the fact of a
fallen greatness addressing itself to an enemy is fine; the well-worn
instance of Themistocles is superfluous.

The step taken by Napoleon shows something worse than a lack of
sincerity; it shows neglect of France: the Emperor busied himself only
with his individual catastrophe; when the fall came, we no longer
counted for anything in his eyes. Without reflecting that, by giving
the preference to England over America, his choice became an outrage
to the mourning of the country, he begged a shelter of the government
which, for twenty years, had kept Europe in its pay against ourselves,
of the government whose commissary with the Russian Army, General
Wilson[363], urged Kutuzoff[364], in the retreat from Moscow, to
exterminate us completely: the English, successful in the final battle,
were encamped in the Bois de Boulogne. Go then, O Themistocles, to
seat yourself quietly by the British hearth, while the soil has not
yet finished drinking in the French blood shed for you at Waterloo!
What part would the fugitive, feasted may-be, have played on the banks
of the Thames, in the face of France invaded, of Wellington become
dictator at the Louvre? Napoleon's high fortunes served him better:
the English, allowing themselves to be carried towards a narrow and
spiteful policy, missed their final triumph; instead of undoing their
supplicant by admitting him to their fortresses or their banquets, they
rendered more brilliant for posterity the crown which they believed
they had snatched from him. He grew greater in his captivity through
the enormous affright of the Powers; the Ocean enchained him in vain:
Europe in arms camped on the shore, her eyes fixed upon the sea.


On the 15th of July, the _Épervier_ conveyed Bonaparte to the
_Bellerophon._ The French craft was so small that, from the deck of the
English ship, they did not see the giant on the waves. The Emperor,
accosting Captain Maitland, said to him:

"I come to place myself under the protection of the laws of England"

Once at least the contemner of the laws confessed their authority.

The fleet set sail for Torbay: a multitude of shipping cruised around
the _Bellerophon_; the same eagerness was shown at Plymouth. On the
30th of July, Lord Keith[365] handed the applicant the Act confining
him at St. Helena.

"It is worse than Tamerlane's[366] cage," said Napoleon.

[Sidenote: Ordered to St. Helena.]

This violation of the Law of Nations and of the respect due to
hospitality was revolting. If you see the light on board of any ship,
provided it be _under sail_, you are _English born_; by virtue of the
old London customs, the _waves_ are considered _soil of Albion._ And an
English ship was not an inviolable altar for a supplicant, it did not
place the great man who embraced the poop of the _Bellerophon_ under
the protection of the British trident! Bonaparte protested; he argued
about laws, talked of treachery and perfidy, appealed to the future:
did that become him? Had he not laughed at justice? Had he not, in his
might, trampled under foot the sacred things whose guarantee he now
invoked? Had he not carried off Toussaint-Louverture[367] and the King
of Spain[368]? Had he not had English travellers arrested who happened
to be in France at the time of the rupture of the Peace of Amiens,
and kept them prisoners for years? Allowable therefore to mercantile
England to imitate what he had done himself, and to use ignoble
reprisals; but they might have acted differently.

With Napoleon, the size of the heart did not correspond with the width
of the head: his quarrels with the English are deplorable; they revolt
Lord Byron. How could he condescend to honour his gaolers with a word?
One suffers at seeing him stoop to wordy conflicts with Lord Keith at
Torbay, with Sir Hudson Lowe[369] at St. Helena, publish statements
because they break faith with him, cavil about a title, about a little
more, or a little less, gold or honours. Bonaparte, reduced to himself,
was reduced to his glory, and that ought to suffice him: he had nothing
to ask of men; he did not treat adversity despotically enough; one
would have pardoned him for making of misfortune his last slave. I find
nothing remarkable in his protest against the violation of hospitality,
save the date and signature of that protest:

    "On board the _Bellerophon_, at sea.


There are harmonies of immensity.

From the _Bellerophon_ Bonaparte crossed on to the Northumberland. Two
frigates laden with the future garrison of St. Helena escorted him.
Some of the officers of that garrison had fought at Waterloo. They
permitted that explorer of the globe to keep with him M. and Madame
Bertrand, Messieurs de Montholon[370], Gourgaud and de Las Cases[371],
voluntary and generous passengers on the submerged plank. By one
clause in the captain's instructions, "Bonaparte must be disarmed:"
Napoleon alone, a prisoner on board ship, in the midst of the Ocean,
"disarmed[372]!" What a magnificent terror of his power! But what a
lesson from Heaven to men who abuse the sword! The stupid Admiralty
treated the great convict of the human race as a Botany-Bay felon: did
the Black Prince "disarm" King John?

The squadron weighed anchor. Since the bark which carried Cæsar, no
ship had been laden with so great a destiny. Bonaparte was approaching
that sea of miracles upon which the Arab of Mount Sinai had seen
him pass. The last French land that Napoleon discerned was Cape la
Hogue[373]: another trophy of the English.

The Emperor had been mistaken in the interest of his memory, when he
wished to remain in Europe; he would soon have been only a vulgar or
faded prisoner: his old rôle was ended. But, beyond that rôle, a new
position revivified him with a new renown. No man of universal fame has
had an end similar to Napoleon's. He was not, as after his first fall,
proclaimed autocrat of a few quarries of iron and marble, the first to
furnish him with a sword, the second with a statue; an eagle, he was
given a rock on the point of which he remained in the sun-light till
his death, in full view of the whole world.


At the moment when Bonaparte is quitting Europe, in which he is giving
up his life to go in search of the destinies of his death, it is well
to examine this man of two existences, to depict the false and the true
Napoleon: they blend and form a whole from the mixture of their reality
and their falsehood.

[Sidenote: Napoleon as statesman.]

From the conjunction of these remarks it results that Bonaparte was
a poet in action, an immense genius in war, an indefatigable, able
and intelligent spirit in administration, a laborious and rational
legislator. That is why he has so great a hold on the imagination of
peoples and so much authority over the judgment of practical men.
But, as a politician, he will always appear deficient in the eyes of
statesmen. This observation, which has escaped the majority of his
panegyrists, will, I am convinced, become the definite opinion that
will survive concerning him; it will explain the contrast between his
prodigious actions and their pitiful results. At St. Helena, he himself
severely condemned his political conduct on two points: the Spanish War
and the Russian War; he might have extended his confession to other
delinquencies. His enthusiasts will perhaps not maintain that, when
blaming himself, he was mistaken in himself.

Let us recapitulate:

Bonaparte acted contrary to all prudence, not to speak again of the
hatefulness of the action, in killing the Duc d'Enghien: he attached
a weight to his life. Notwithstanding the puerile apologists, this
death, as we have seen, was the secret leaven of the discords that
subsequently burst out between Alexander and Napoleon, as also between
Prussia and France.

The attempt upon Spain was completely improper: the Peninsula was the
Emperor's; he could turn it to the most advantageous account: instead
of that, he turned it into a school for the English soldiers and into
the cause of his own destruction through the rising of a people.

The detention of the Pope and the annexation of the States of the
Church to France were but the caprice of tyranny through which he lost
the advantage of passing for the restorer of religion.

Bonaparte did not stop, as he should have done, when he had married the
daughter of the Cæsars: Russia and England were crying mercy to him.

He did not revive Poland, when the safety of Europe depended on the
restoration of that kingdom.

Madness having once set in, he went on from Smolensk[374]; everything
told him that he must not go further at his first step, that his first
Northern Campaign was finished, and that the second, as he himself
felt, would make him master of the Empire of the Tsars.

[Illustration: Pope Pius VII.]

He was able neither to compute the days nor to foresee the effect
of the climatic changes, which every one at Moscow computed and
foresaw. See above what I have said of the Continental Blockade and
the Confederation of the Rhine[375]: the first, a gigantic conception,
but a questionable act; the second, an important work, but spoilt in
the execution by the camp instinct and the fiscal spirit Napoleon
inherited the old French monarchy as the centuries and an uninterrupted
succession of great men had made it, as the majesty of Louis XIV. and
the alliances of Louis XV. had left it, as the Republic had enlarged
it. He seated himself on that magnificent pedestal, stretched out
his arms, laid hold of the peoples, and gathered them around him;
but he lost Europe with as much suddenness as he had taken it; he
twice brought the Allies to Paris, notwithstanding the marvels of his
military intelligence. He had the world under his feet, and all he got
from it was a prison for himself, exile for his family, the loss of all
his conquests and of a portion of the old French soil.

[Sidenote: Where Napoleon failed.]

Here is history proved by facts and deniable by none. Whence arose
the faults which I have just pointed out, followed by so quick and so
fatal a catastrophe? They arose from Bonaparte's imperfectness as a

In his alliances, he enchained the governments only with concessions
of territory, of which he soon altered the boundaries, constantly
displaying the reservation to take back what he had given, ever making
the oppressor felt; in his invasions, he reorganized nothing, Italy
excepted. Instead of stopping at every step to raise up again, under
another shape, what he had overthrown, he did not discontinue his
movement of progression among ruins: he went so fast that he scarce had
the time to breathe where he passed through. If, by a sort of Treaty
of Westphalia, he had settled and assured the existence of the States
in Germany, in Prussia, in Poland, at his first retrograde march he
would have leant his back against contented populations and have found
shelters. But his poetic edifice of victories, lacking a base and
suspended in mid-air only by his genius, fell when his genius came to
retire. The Macedonian founded empires in his course: Bonaparte, in his
course, knew only how to destroy them; his sole aim was to be, in his
own person, the master of the globe, without troubling his head about
the means of preserving it.

Men have tried to make of Bonaparte a perfect being, a type of
sentiment, of delicacy, of morality and of justice, a writer like
Cæsar and Thucydides, an orator and an historian like Demosthenes
and Tacitus. Napoleon's public speeches, his phrases in the tent or
the council-chamber are so much the less inspired with the breath of
prophecy in that what they foretell by way of catastrophes has not been
accomplished, while the Isaias of the sword has himself disappeared:
writings on the wall which pursue States, without catching and
destroying them, remain puerile, instead of being sublime. Bonaparte
was truly Destiny during sixteen years: Destiny is mute, and Bonaparte
ought to have been so. Bonaparte was not Cæsar; his education was
neither learned nor select; half a foreigner, he was ignorant of the
first words of our language: what mattered, after all, that his speech
was faulty? He gave the pass-word to the universe. His bulletins have
the eloquence of victory. Sometimes, in the intoxication of success,
they made a show of drafting them on a drum-head; from amid the most
mournful accents arose fatal bursts of laughter. I have read with
attention all that Bonaparte has written: the early manuscripts of his
childhood, his novels; next, his letters to Buttafuoco, the _Souper
de Beaucaire_, his private letters to Joséphine; the five volumes
of his speeches, his orders and his bulletins, his dispatches left
unpublished and spoilt by the editing in M. de Talleyrand's offices.
I know something of these matters; I have found scarcely any thoughts
resembling the great islander's nature, except in a scrap of autograph
left behind at Elba:

    "My heart denies itself to common joys as to ordinary pain."

    "Not having given myself life, I shall not rob myself of it,
    so long as it will have me."

    "My evil genius appeared to me and foretold my end, which I
    found at Leipzig."

    "I have laid the terrible spirit of innovation which was
    overrunning the world."

That most certainly is genuine Bonaparte.

If the bulletins, the dispatches, the allocutions, the proclamations
of Bonaparte are distinguished for energy, this energy did not
belong to him in his own right: it was of his time, it came from the
revolutionary inspiration which grew weaker in Bonaparte, because he
marched counter to that inspiration. Danton said:

"The metal is boiling over; if you do not watch the furnace, you will
all be scalded."

Saint-Just said:


That word contains the whole policy of our Revolution; they who make
revolutions by halves only dig a grave.

Do Bonaparte's bulletins rise above that pride of speech?

[Sidenote: Napoleon as writer.]

As for the numerous volumes published under the title of _Mémoires de
Sainte-Hélène, Napoléon dans l'exil._, etc., those documents, gathered
from Bonaparte's mouth or dictated by him to different persons, contain
a few fine passages on actions of war, a few remarkable appreciations
of certain men; but, in the upshot, Napoleon is occupied only in making
his apology, in justifying his past, in basing on commonplace ideas
accomplished events and things of which he had never dreamt during
the course of those events. In this compilation, in which _pros_ and
_cons_ succeed one another, in which every opinion finds a favourable
authority and a peremptory refutation, it is difficult to separate that
which belongs to Napoleon from that which belongs to his secretaries.
It is probable that he had a different version for each of them, in
order that readers might choose according to their taste and, in the
future, create for themselves Napoleons to their liking. He dictated
his history as he wished to leave it; he was an author writing articles
on his own work. Nothing therefore could be more absurd than to go
into ecstasies over chronicles by different hands which are not, like
Cæsar's _Commentaries_, a short work, springing from a great head,
written by a superior writer; and yet those brief commentaries, Asinius
Pollio[376] thought, were neither faithful nor exact. The _Mémorial
de Sainte-Hélène_ is good, allowing liberally for the candour and
simplicity of the admiration.

One of the things that contributed most to render Napoleon hateful
during his life was his inclination for debasing everything: in a fired
city, he would couple decrees on the re-establishing of a few comedians
with fiats which suppressed monarchs; a parody of the omnipotence of
God, who rules the lot of the world and of an ant. With the fall of
empires he mingled insults to women; he delighted in the humiliation
of what he had overthrown; he calumniated and wounded particularly all
that had dared to resist him. His arrogance was equal to his luck;
the more he lowered others the greater he believed himself to appear.
Jealous of his generals, he accused them of his own mistakes, for, as
for himself, he was infallible. Despising all merits, he reproached
them harshly with their errors. He would never have said, after the
disaster of Ramillies, as Louis XIV.[377] said to the Maréchal de

"Monsieur le maréchal, at our age one is not lucky."

A touching magnanimity of which Napoleon knew nothing. The century of
Louis XIV. was made by Louis the Great: Bonaparte made his century.

The history of the Empire, changed by false traditions, will be yet
further falsified by the state of society during the imperial Epoch.
Any revolution written in the presence of the liberty of the press
can allow the eye to probe to the bottom of facts, because each one
reports them as he has seen them: the reign of Cromwell is known,
because it was customary to say to the Protector what one thought of
his acts and his person. In France, even under the Revolution, despite
the inexorable censorship of the executioner, the truth came out; the
triumphing faction was not always the same; it soon succumbed, and the
faction which succeeded it taught you what its predecessor had hidden
from you: there was liberty from one scaffold to the other, between the
cutting off of two heads. But when Bonaparte seized upon the power,
when thought was gagged, when one heard nothing but the voice of a
despotism which spoke only to praise itself and allowed only itself to
be spoken of, truth disappeared.

The would-be authentic documents of that time are tainted; nothing
was published, books or newspapers, save by the master's order:
Bonaparte saw to the articles in the _Moniteur_; his prefects sent back
from the various departments the recitals, the congratulations, the
felicitations, in the form in which the Paris authorities had dictated
and forwarded them, in which form they expressed a conventional public
opinion, quite different from the real opinion. Write history from
such documents as those! In proof of your impartial studies, quote the
authentic sources to which you have gone: you will only be quoting a
lie in support of a lie.

If it were possible to call this universal imposture into question,
if men who have not seen the days of the Empire were to insist upon
regarding as sincere all that they come upon in printed documents, or
even all that they might dig up in certain boxes at the public offices,
it would be enough to appeal to an unexceptionable witness, to the
"Conservative" Senate; there, in the decree which I have quoted above,
you have seen its own words:


"Taking into consideration that the liberty of the press has been
constantly submitted to the arbitrary censorship of his police, and
that, at the same time, he has always made use of the press to fill
France and Europe with fabricated facts and false maxims; that acts and
reports, passed by the Senate, have undergone alterations when made
public, etc."

Is there any reply possible to this declaration?

The life of Bonaparte was an incontestable truth, which imposture had
taken upon itself to write.


[Sidenote: Pride and affectation.]

A monstrous pride and an incessant affectation spoil Napoleon's
character. At the time of his dominion, what need had he to exaggerate
his stature, when the God of Armies had furnished him with the war
chariot "whose wheels are living"?

He took after the Italian blood; his nature was complex: great men,
a very small family upon earth, unhappily find only themselves to
imitate them. At once a model and a copy, a real personage and an
actor representing that personage, Napoleon was his own mime; he would
not have believed himself a hero, if he had not dressed himself up
in a hero's costume. This curious weakness gives something false and
equivocal to his astonishing realities: one is afraid of taking the
king of kings for Roscius, or Roscius for the king of kings.

Napoleon's qualities are so much adulterated in the gazettes, the
pamphlets, the poems and even in the songs overrun with imperialism,
that those qualities are completely unrecognisable. All the touching
things ascribed to Bonaparte in the _ana_ about the "prisoners," the
"dead," the "soldiers," are idle trash to which the actions of his life
give the lie.

The _Grand-mère_ of my illustrious friend Béranger is only an admirable
ballad: Bonaparte had nothing of the good fellow about him. Dominion
personified, he was hard; that coldness formed the antidote to his
fiery imagination; he found in himself no word, he found only a deed,
and a deed ready to chafe at the smallest independence: a gnat that
flew without his orders was a rebellious insect in his eyes.

It was not enough to lie to the ears, it was necessary to lie to the
eyes: here, in an engraving, we see Bonaparte taking off his hat to
the Austrian wounded; there, we have a little _tourlourou_[379] who
prevents the Emperor from passing; further on, Napoleon touches the
plague-stricken of Jaffa, and he never touched them; he crosses Mount
St. Bernard on a spirited horse amid a whirl of snow-flakes, and it
was the finest weather in the world.

Are they not now trying to transform the Emperor into a Roman of
the early days of the Aventine, into a missionary of liberty, into
a citizen who instituted slavery only for love of the opposite
virtue? Draw your conclusions from two features of the great founder
of equality: he ordered his brother Jerome's marriage with Miss
Patterson[380] to be annulled, because the brother of Napoleon could
ally himself only with the blood of Princes; later, after returning
from the isle of Elba, he invested the new "democratic" constitution
with a peerage and crowned it with the "Additional Act."

That Bonaparte, following up the successes of the Revolution,
everywhere disseminated principles of independence; that his victories
helped to relax the bonds between the peoples and the kings, and
snatched those peoples from the power of the old customs and the
ancient ideas; that, in this sense, he contributed to the social
enfranchisement: these are facts which I do not pretend to contest; but
that, of his own will, he laboured scientifically for the political and
civil deliverance of the nations; that he established the narrowest
despotism with the idea of giving to Europe and to France in particular
the widest Constitution; that he was only a tribune disguised as a
tyrant: all this is a supposition which I cannot possibly adopt.

Bonaparte, like the race of princes, desired nothing and sought nothing
save power, attaining it, however, through liberty, because he made
his first appearance on the world's stage in 1793. The Revolution,
which was Napoleon's wet-nurse, did not long delay in appearing to
him as an enemy; he never ceased beating her. The Emperor, for the
rest, knew evil very well, when the evil did not come directly from
the Emperor; for he was not destitute of moral sense. The sophism
put forward concerning Bonaparte's love for liberty proves only one
thing, the abuse which can be made of reason; nowadays it lends
itself to everything. Is it not established that the Terror was a
time of humanity? In fact, were they not demanding the abolition of
the death-penalty while they were killing everybody? Have not great
civilizers, as they are "called," always immolated men, and is it
not therefore, as far as has been "proved," that Robespierre was the
continuer of Jesus Christ?

[Sidenote: Napoleon's popularity.]

The Emperor meddled with everything; his intelligence never rested; he
had a sort of perpetual agitation of ideas. In the impetuousness of his
nature, instead of a free and continuous train, he advanced by leaps
and bounds, he flung himself upon the universe and shook it; he would
have none of it, of that universe, if he was obliged to wait for it:
an incomprehensible being, who found the secret of debasing his most
towering actions by despising them, and who raised his least elevated
actions to his own level. Impatient of will, patient of character,
incomplete and as though unfinished, Napoleon had gaps in his genius:
his understanding resembled the sky of that other hemisphere under
which he was to go to die, the sky whose stars are separated by empty

One asks one's self by what spell Bonaparte, so aristocratic, so
hostile to the people, came to achieve the popularity which he enjoyed:
for that forger of yokes has most certainly remained popular with
a nation whose pretension was to raise altars to independence and
equality; here is the solution of the enigma:

Daily experience makes us recognise that the French are instinctively
drawn towards power; they do not love liberty; equality alone is their
idol. Now equality and despotism have secret connections. In those
two respects, Napoleon had his fount in the hearts of the French,
militarily inclined towards dominion, democratically enamoured of
the level. Once on the throne, he made the people sit down beside
him: a proletarian king, he humbled the kings and nobles in his
ante-chambers; he levelled the ranks, not by lowering but by raising
them: the descending level would have charmed the plebeian envy more,
the ascending level was more flattering to its pride. French vanity
was puffed up also by the superiority which Bonaparte gave us over the
rest of Europe; another cause of Napoleon's popularity has to do with
the affliction of his last days. After his death, as men became better
acquainted with what he had suffered at St. Helena, they began to be
moved; they forgot his tyranny to remember that, after conquering our
enemies, after subsequently drawing them into France, he had defended
us against them; we imagine that he might save us to-day from the
disgrace into which we have sunk: his fame was recalled to us by his
misfortune; his glory profited by his adversity.

Lastly, the marvels of his arms have bewitched the young, while
teaching us to worship brute force. His unexampled fortune has left to
the overweening conceit of every ambition the hope of arriving at the
point which he attained.

And yet this man, so popular through the roller which he had passed
over France, was the mortal enemy of equality and the greatest
organizer of aristocracy within democracy.

I cannot acquiesce in the false praises with which men have insulted
Bonaparte, while trying to justify everything in his conduct; I cannot
surrender my reason nor go into ecstasies before that which arouses my
horror or my pity.

If I have succeeded in conveying what I have felt, there will remain
of my portrait one of the leading figures in history; but I have
adopted no part of the fantastic creature composed of lies: lies which
I saw born, lies which, taken at first for what they were, passed in
time to the state of truth through the infatuation and the imbecile
credulity of mankind. I refuse to be a gull and to fall into a fit with
admiration. I strive to paint persons conscientiously, without taking
from them what they have, without giving them what they have not. If
success were esteemed as innocence; if, debauching even posterity, it
loaded it with its chains; if, a future slave, begotten by a slavish
past, that suborned posterity became the accomplice of whosoever should
have triumphed: where would be the right, where would be the reward
of sacrifices? Good and evil becoming only relative qualities, all
morality would be blotted out from human actions.

That is the difficulty which is caused to the impartial writer by a
brilliant renown; he keeps it on one side as much as he can, in order
to lay bare the truth; but the glory returns like a golden haze and
instantly covers the picture.


In order not to admit the diminution of territory and power which we
owe to Bonaparte, the present generation consoles itself by imagining
that he has given back to us in illustriousness what he has taken from
us in strength:

"Are we not from this time forward," it asks, "famed in the four
quarters of the earth? Is not a Frenchman feared, remarked, sought out,
known on every shore?"

But were we placed between those two conditions: either immortality
without power, or power without immortality? Alexander made the Greek
name known to the universe; none the less he left them four empires
in Asia; the language and civilization of the Hellenes extended from
the Nile to Babylon and from Babylon to the Indus. At his death,
his ancestral Kingdom of Macedon, far from being diminished, had
increased a hundred-fold in force. Bonaparte made us known on every
shore; commanded by him, the French threw Europe so low at their
feet that France still prevails by her name, and that the Arc de
l'Étoile can rise up without appearing a puerile trophy; but, before
our reverses, that monument would have stood as a witness, instead of
being only a record. And yet, had not Dumouriez, with raw recruits,
given the foreigner his first lessons[381], Jourdan won the Battle
of Fleurus[382], Pichegru conquered Belgium and Holland[383], Hoche
crossed the Rhine[384], Masséna triumphed at Zurich[385], Moreau at
Hohenlinden[386]: all exploits most difficult to obtain and preliminary
to others? Bonaparte made a corporate whole of these scattered
successes; he continued them, he caused those victories to shine forth:
but without those first wonders, would he have obtained the last? He
was raised above all things only when reason with him was executing the
inspirations of the poet.

[Sidenote A true appreciation.]

Our sovereign's illustriousness cost us merely two or three hundred
thousand men a year; we paid for it with merely three millions of our
soldiers; our fellow-citizens bought it merely at the cost of their
sufferings and their liberties during fifteen years: can such trifles
count? Are the generations that have come after us not resplendent? So
much the worse for those who have disappeared! The calamities under the
Republic served for the safety of all; our misfortunes under the Empire
did much more: they deified Bonaparte! That is enough for us.

That is not enough for me: I will not stoop so low as to hide my nation
behind Bonaparte; he did not make France: France made him. No talent,
no superiority will ever bring me to consent to the power which can,
with one word, deprive me of my independence, my home, my friends: if
I do not say of my fortune and my honour, it is because one's fortune
does not appear to me to be worth the trouble of defending it; as
for honour, it escapes tyranny: it is the soul of the martyrs; bonds
encompass and do not enchain it; it pierces the vault of prisons and
carries the whole man away with it.

The wrong which true philosophy will never forgive Bonaparte is that
he accustomed society to passive obedience, thrust back humanity
towards the times of moral degradation, and perhaps corrupted
characters in such a way that it would be impossible to say when men's
hearts will begin to throb with generous sentiments. The weakness in
which we are plunged as regards Europe, our actual abasement are the
result of the Napoleonic slavery: all that remains to us is the faculty
to bear the yoke. Bonaparte unsettled even the future: 'twould not
surprise me if, in the discomfort of our impotence, we were seen to
grow smaller, to barricade ourselves against Europe instead of going to
seek it out, to give up our freedom within to deliver ourselves from an
illusory terror without, to lose ourselves in ignoble provident cares,
contrary to our genius and to the fourteen centuries which compose our
national manners. The despotism which Bonaparte left in the air will
descend upon us in the shape of fortresses.

The fashion nowadays is to greet liberty with a sardonic smile, to look
upon it as a piece of old lumber, fallen into disuse with honour. I am
not in the fashion: I think that there is nothing in the world without
liberty; it gives a price to life; were I to remain the last to defend
it, I would never cease to proclaim its rights. To attack Napoleon in
the name of things that are past, to assail him with ideas that are
dead is to prepare fresh triumphs for him. He is to be fought only with
something greater than himself, liberty: he was guilty towards it and
consequently towards the human race.


Vain words! Better than any do I feel their uselessness. Henceforth any
observation, however moderate it may be, is reputed profane: it needs
courage to dare brave the cries of the vulgar, not to be afraid of
being treated as a narrow intelligence, incapable of understanding and
feeling the genius of Napoleon, for the sole reason that, in the midst
of the lively and real admiration which one professes for him, one
is nevertheless not able to worship all his imperfections. The world
belongs to Bonaparte: that of which the ravisher was unable to complete
the conquest, his fame usurps; living he missed the world, dead he
possesses it. It is vain for you to protest: the generations pass by
without listening to you. Antiquity makes the son of Priam say to the

"Judge not Hector from his little tomb; the _Iliad_, Homer, the Greeks
in flight, see there my sepulchre: I am buried under all those great

[Sidenote: The Napoleonic legend.]

Bonaparte is no longer the real Bonaparte, but a legendary figure put
together from the vagaries of the poet, the talk of the soldier and the
tales of the people; it is the Charlemagne and the Alexander of the
idylls of the middle ages that we behold to-day. That fantastic hero
will remain the real personage; the other portraits will disappear.
Bonaparte is so strongly connected with absolute dominion that,
after undergoing the despotism of his person, we have to undergo the
despotism of his memory. This latter despotism is more overbearing than
the former; for, though men fought against Napoleon when he was on the
throne, there is an universal agreement to accept the irons which he
flings to us now that he is dead. He is an obstacle to future events:
how could a power issuing from the camps establish itself after him?
Has he not killed all military glory by surpassing it? How could a free
government come into being, when he has corrupted the principles of all
liberty in men's hearts? No legitimate power is now able to drive the
usurping spectre from the mind of man: the soldier and the citizen,
the Republican and the Monarchist, the rich and the poor alike place
busts and portraits of Napoleon in their homes, in their palaces or in
their cottages; the former conquered are in agreement with the former
conquerors; one cannot take a step in Italy without coming across him;
one cannot enter Germany without meeting him, for in that country the
young generation which rejected him is past. Generally, the centuries
sit down before the portrait of a great man, they finish it by means of
a long and successive work. This time, the human race has declined to
wait: perhaps it was in too great a hurry to stump a crayon drawing. It
is time to place the completed side of the idol in juxtaposition with
the defective side.

Bonaparte is not great through his words, his speeches, his writings,
through the love of liberty which he never possessed and which he never
pretended to establish; he is great in that he created a regular and
powerful government, a code of laws adopted in different countries,
courts of law, schools, a strong, active, intelligent administration,
which still lasts us; he is great in that he revived, enlightened and
governed Italy superlatively well; he is great in that, in France,
he restored order from the midst of chaos, in that he built up the
altars, in that he reduced furious demagogues, vainglorious scholars,
anarchical men of letters, Voltairean atheists, open-air orators,
cut-throats of the prisons and streets, starvelings of the tribune,
the clubs and the scaffolds, in that he reduced them to serve under
him; he is great in that he curbed an anarchical mob; he is great in
that he put an end to the familiarities of a common fortune, in that he
forced soldiers, his equals, and captains, his chiefs or his rivals,
to bend before his will; he is great above all in that he was born of
himself alone, in that he was able, with no other authority than that
of his genius, able, he, to make himself obeyed by thirty-six million
subjects, at a time when no illusion surrounds the thrones; he is great
in that he overthrew all the kings his opponents, in that he defeated
all the armies, whatever the difference in their discipline and valour,
in that he taught his name to savage as well as to civilized peoples,
in that he surpassed all the conquerors who preceded him, in that he
filled ten years with prodigies so great that we have difficulty to-day
in understanding them.

The famous offender in triumphal matter is no more; the few men who
still understand noble sentiments can do justice to glory without
fearing it, but without repenting of having proclaimed what that
glory had that was baleful, without recognising the destroyer of
independences as the father of emancipations: Napoleon does not need
that one should ascribe merits to him; he was richly enough endowed at
his birth.

Now, therefore, that, severed from his time, his history is ended and
his idyll commencing, let us go to see him die: let us leave Europe;
let us follow him beneath the sky of his apotheosis! The hissing of the
seas where his ships have struck sail will point out to us the spot of
his disappearance:

"At the extremity of our hemisphere," says Tacitus, "is heard the sound
made by the dipping sun: _sonum insuper immergentis audiri._"


João de Nova[387], a Portuguese navigator, had lost his bearings in
the waters separating Africa and America. In 1502, on the 18th of
August, the feast of St. Helen[388], mother of the first Christian
Emperor[389], he came upon an island at the 16th degree of latitude
and 11th of longitude; he landed and gave it the name of the day upon
which it was discovered.

After frequenting the island for some years, the Portuguese
relinquished it; the Dutch established themselves there, and
subsequently abandoned it for the Cape of Good Hope; the British East
Indian Company seized it; the Dutch retook it in 1672; the British
occupied it anew and settled there.

[Sidenote: St. Helena.]

When João de Nova landed at St. Helena, the interior of the uninhabited
country was mere forest land. Fernando Lopez, a Portuguese renegado,
transported to that oasis, stocked it with cows, goats, hens,
guinea-fowls and birds from the four corners of the earth. On to the
island were taken successively, as on to the deck of the Ark, animals
of the whole creation.

Five hundred whites, fifteen hundred negroes, mingled with mulattoes,
Javanese and Chinese, compose the population of the island. Jamestown
is its town and its harbour. Before the English were masters of the
Cape of Good Hope, the Company's fleets, returning from India, put in
at Jamestown. The sailors spread their slop-goods at the foot of the
cabbage-trees: the mute and solitary forest changed once a year into a
noisy and populous market.

The climate of the island is healthy but rainy: that dungeon of
Neptune, which is only seven or eight leagues in circumference,
attracts the ocean vapours. The equatorial sun drives away every
breathing thing at noon-day, forces the very gnats into silence and
rest, obliges men and beasts to hide themselves. The billows are
illumined at night by what is called "the phosphorescent light," a
light produced by myriads of insects whose loves, electrified by the
storms, kindle upon the surface of the deep the illuminations of an
universal wedding. The shadow of the island, dark and motionless,
reposes amid a moving plain of diamonds. The spectacle of the heavens
is similarly magnificent, according to my learned and famous friend, M.
de Humboldt[390]:

"We feel," he says, "an indescribable sensation when, on approaching
the Equator, and particularly when passing from one hemisphere to
the other, we see these stars, which we have contemplated from our
infancy, progressively sink and finally disappear.... One feels that he
is not in Europe, when he sees the immense constellation of the Ship or
the phosphorescent Clouds of Magellan arise on the horizon....

"We saw distinctly," he continues, "for the first time the Southern
Cross only on the night of the 4th of July, in the sixteenth degree of

"I recalled the sublime passage of Dante, which the most celebrated
commentators have applied to that constellation:

     "Io mi volsi a man destra, etc.[391]"

"Among the Portuguese and Spaniards, a religious feeling attaches them
to a constellation whose form reminds them of that sign of the faith
planted by their ancestors in the deserts of the New World."


The poets of France and of Lusitania have placed elegiac scenes on the
shores of Melinda and the neighbouring isles. It is a far cry from
those fictitious sorrows to the real torments of Napoleon under the
stars foretold by the singer of Beatrice and in those seas of Eleonora
and Virginia. Did the great men of Rome, banished to the isles of
Greece, concern themselves with the charms of those shores and the
divinities of Crete and Naxos? That which enraptured Vasco de Gama and
Camoëns could not move Bonaparte: prone on the poop of the vessel, he
did not perceive that above his head glittered unknown constellations
whose rays met his eyes for the first time. What cared he for those
stars which he had never seen from his bivouacs, which had not shone
upon his empire? And yet no star was wanting to his destiny: one half
of the firmament lighted up his cradle; the other was reserved for the
pomp of his tomb.

The sea which Napoleon was crossing was not the friendly sea which
carried him from the harbours of Corsica, from the sands of Abukir,
from the rocks of Elba, to the shores of Provence; it was that hostile
ocean which, after enclosing him in Germany, France, Portugal and
Spain, opened out before his course only to close up again behind him.
Probably, when he saw the waves urge on his ship, the trade-winds drive
it ever further with a constant blast, he did not make the reflections
upon his catastrophe with which it inspires me: each man feels his
life in his own manner; he who affords a great spectacle to the world
is less touched and less instructed than the spectator. Occupied with
the past as though it could be reborn, hoping still in his memories,
Bonaparte scarce perceived that he was crossing the line, nor asked
what hand traced the circles in which the globes are compelled to
imprison their eternal progress.

On the 15th of August, the wandering colony kept St. Napoleon's
Day[392] on board the vessel which was taking Napoleon to his last
halting-place. On the 15th of October, the _Northumberland_ was abreast
of St. Helena. The passenger mounted on deck: he had a difficulty in
discovering an imperceptible black speck in the bluish immensity;
he took a spy-glass: he surveyed that particle of earth as he might
formerly have surveyed a fortress in the middle of a lake. He saw the
market-town of St. James enchased in scarped rocks; not a wrinkle in
that barren face but a gun hung from it: they seemed to wish to receive
the captive according to his genius.

[Sidenote: Arrival at St. Helena.]

On the 16th of October 1815, Bonaparte touched the rock, his mausoleum,
even as, on the 12th of October 1492, Christopher Columbus touched the
New World, his monument:

"There," says Walter Scott, "at the entrance to the Indian Ocean,
Bonaparte was deprived of the means of making a second _avatar_ or
incarnation on earth."

Before being moved to the residence of Longwood, Bonaparte occupied
a hut at Briars, near Balcomb's Cottage. On the 9th of December,
Longwood, hurriedly enlarged by the carpenters of the English fleet,
received its guest. The house, situated on a mountain upland, consisted
of a drawing-room, a dining-room, a library, a study and a bed-room.
It was not much: those who inhabited the tower of the Temple and the
donjon of Vincennes were still worse lodged; true, one paid them the
attention of shortening their stay. General Gourgaud, M. and Madame de
Montholon with their children, M. de Las Cases and his son camped out
provisionally in tents; M. and Madame Bertrand installed themselves at
Hut's Gate, a cottage placed on the boundary of the grounds of Longwood.

Bonaparte had a stretch of sand, twelve miles long, as his
exercise-ground; sentries surrounded that space and look-out men were
posted on the highest peaks. The lion could extend his walks further,
but in that case he had to consent to allow himself to be watched by an
English _bestiarius._ Two camps defended the excommunicated enclosure:
at night, the circle of the sentries was drawn in round Longwood. At
nine o'clock, Napoleon, confined, could no longer go out; the patrols
went the round; horsemen on vedette, foot-soldiers placed here and
there kept watch in the creeks and in the ravines which ran down to the
sea. Two armed brigs cruised, one to leeward, the other to wind-ward
of the island. What precautions to guard one man in the midst of
the seas! After sunset, no boat could put to sea; the fishing-boats
were numbered, and at night they remained in harbour under the
responsibility of a lieutenant in the Navy. The Sovereign Generalissimo
who had summoned the world to his stirrup was called upon to appear
twice a day before a military collar. Bonaparte did not submit to that
call; when, by good luck, he was able to avoid the sight of the officer
on duty, that officer would not have dared to say where and how he had
seen him of whom it was more difficult to establish the absence than to
prove the presence to the universe.

Sir George Cockburn[393], the author of those severe regulations, was
replaced by Sir Hudson Lowe. Then began the bickerings about which all
the Memoirs have told us. If one were to believe those Memoirs, the
new Governor must have been of the family of the enormous spiders of
St. Helena and the reptile of those woods in which snakes are unknown.
England was lacking in elevation, Napoleon in dignity. To put an end to
his requirements of etiquette, Bonaparte sometimes seemed determined
to conceal himself behind an assumed name, like a monarch travelling
in a foreign country; he had the touching idea of taking the name
of one of his aides-de-camp, killed at the Battle of Areola[394].
France, Austria, Russia appointed commissaries to the residence of St.
Helena[395]: the captive was accustomed to receive the ambassadors
of the two latter Powers; the Legitimacy, which had not recognised
Napoleon as Emperor, would have acted more nobly by not recognising
Napoleon as a prisoner.

[Sidenote: Life at Longwood.]

A large wooden house, constructed in London, was sent to St Helena; but
Napoleon did not feel well enough to inhabit it. His life at Longwood
was regulated in this way: he rose at uncertain hours; M. Marchand, his
valet, read to him when he was in bed; after rising, in the morning,
he dictated to Generals Montholon and Gourgaud and to the son of M. de
Las Cases. He breakfasted at ten o'clock, rode on horseback or drove
until about three, returned indoors at six and went to bed at eleven.
He affected to dress as he is painted in his portrait by Isabey[396]:
in the morning, he wrapped himself in a caftan and wound a Madras
handkerchief round his head.

St. Helena lies between the two Poles. The navigators who pass from one
spot to the other salute this first station where the land refreshes
eyes wearied with the spectacle of the Ocean and offers fruits and the
coolness of sweet water to mouths chafed with salt. The presence of
Bonaparte changed this isle of promise into a plague-stricken rock:
foreign ships no longer touched there; so soon as they were signalled
at twenty leagues' distance, a cruiser went to challenge them and
charged them to keep off: none were allowed into port, except in case
of stormy weather, but the ships of the British Navy alone.

Some of the English travellers who had lately admired or who were on
their way to see the marvels of the Ganges visited another marvel on
their road: India, accustomed to conquerors, had one chained at her

Napoleon allowed these visits with reluctance. He consented to receive
Lord Amherst[397] on the latter's return from his Chinese embassy.
Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm[398] he liked:

"Does your Government mean," he asked him one day, "to detain me upon
this rock until my death's day?"

The admiral replied that he feared so.

"Then the term of my life will soon arrive."

"I hope not, _monsieur_; I hope that you will survive to record your
great actions; they are so numerous that the task will ensure you a
term of long life."

Napoleon did not take offense at this simple appellation of _monsieur_;
he revealed himself at that moment through his real greatness.
Fortunately for himself, he never wrote his life; he would have
lessened it: men of that nature must leave their Memoirs to be told by
the unknown voice which belongs to nobody and which issues from the
nations and the centuries. To us every-day people alone is it permitted
to talk of ourselves, because nobody would talk of us.

Captain Basil Hall[399] called at Longwood; Bonaparte remembered having
seen the captain's father at Brienne:

"Your father," he said, "was the first Englishman that I ever saw; and
I have recollected him all my life on that account."

He talked with the captain about the recent discovery of the island of

"The inhabitants have no arms," said the captain.

"No arms!" exclaimed Bonaparte. "That is to say no guns: they have

"Not even muskets."

"Well, then, spears, or at least, bows and arrows?"

"Neither one nor other."

"Nor daggers?"

"No, none."

"But, without arms, how can one fight?"

Captain Hall illustrated their ignorance with respect to all the world,
by saying they knew nothing of France and England, and never had even
heard of His Majesty.

Bonaparte smiled in a way which struck the captain: the more serious
the countenance, the more beautiful the smile. Those different
travellers remarked that not the least trace of colour appeared in
Bonaparte's cheeks: his head resembled a marble bust whose whiteness
had been slightly yellowed by time. Not the smallest trace of a wrinkle
was discernible on his brow, nor an approach to a furrow on any part of
his countenance; his mind seemed at ease. This apparent calm gave rise
to the belief that the flame of his genius had taken flight. His manner
of speaking was slow; his expression was benignant and almost kindly;
sometimes he would dart forth dazzling glances, but that state soon
passed: his eyes became veiled and sad.

[Sidenote: Napoleon at St. Helena.]

Ah, other travellers known to Napoleon had, in former days, appeared
upon those shores!

After the explosion of the infernal machine[400], a senatus-consultus
of the 4th of January 1801 decreed, without trial, by a simple
police-order, the exile beyond-seas of one hundred and thirty
Republicans: put on board the frigate _Chiffonne_ and the corvette
_Flèche_, they were taken to the Seychelle Islands and dispersed
shortly afterwards in the archipelago of the Comores, between Africa
and Madagascar: they nearly all died there. Two of the men transported,
Lefranc and Saunois, having succeeded in escaping on board an American
ship, touched at St. Helena in 1803: there, twelve years later,
Providence was to imprison their great oppressor.

The too-famous General Rossignol[401], their companion in misfortune, a
quarter of an hour before uttering his last breath, exclaimed:

"I die harassed by the most horrible pains; but I should die content
if I could hear that the tyrant of my country was enduring the same

Thus did freedom's imprecations await him who betrayed her, even in the
other hemisphere.

Italy, roused from her long sleep by Napoleon, turned her eyes towards
the illustrious offspring who wished to restore her to her glory, and
with whom she had re-fallen beneath the yoke. The sons of the Muses,
the noblest and most grateful of men, when they are not the vilest and
most unthankful, looked on St. Helena. The last poet of the land of
Virgil sang the last warrior of the land of Cæsar:

     Tutto ei provò, la gloria
     Maggior dopo il periglio,
     La fuga e la vittoria,
     La reggia e il triste esiglio:
     Due volte nella polvere,
     Due volte sull'altar.

     Ei si nomo: due secoli,
     L'un contro l'altro armato,
     Sommessi a lui si volsero,
     Come aspettando il fato;
     Ei fè silenzio, ed arbitro
     S'assise in mezzo a lor.

"He felt all," says Manzoni[403], "the greatest glory after peril,
flight and victory, royalty and sad banishment: twice in the dust,
twice on the altar.

"He stated his name: two centuries, one against the other armed, turned
towards him, as though awaiting their fate; he was silent and seated
himself as arbiter between them."


Bonaparte was approaching his end; devoured by an internal wound
envenomed by sorrow, he had borne that wound in the thick of
prosperity: it was the only legacy which he had received from his
father; the rest came to him from God's munificence.

Already he reckoned six years of exile; he had needed less time to
conquer Europe. He remained almost always indoors, and read Ossian in
Cesarotti's[404] Italian translation. Everything saddened him under a
sky beneath which life seemed shorter, the sun remaining three days
less in that hemisphere than in ours. When Bonaparte went out, he
passed along rugged paths lined with aloes and sweet-scented broom.
He walked among gum-trees with sparse flowers, which the generous
winds made lean to the same side, or hid himself in the thick mists
which rolled low. He was seen seated at the feet of Diana's Peak,
Flag Staff, or Leader Hill, gazing on the sea through the gaps in the
mountains. Before him, the Ocean unfolded itself, which on the one side
bathes the coasts of Africa, on the other the American shores, and
which goes, like a marginless stream, to lose itself in the southern
seas. No civilized land nearer than the Cape of Storms. Who shall tell
the thoughts of that Prometheus torn alive by death, when, his hand
pressed to his smarting breast, he turned his gaze over the billows!
Christ was led into a high mountain whence he saw the kingdoms of the
world; but for Christ it was written to the tempter of mankind:

    "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God[405]."

[Sidenote: Napoleon's sufferings.]

Bonaparte, forgetting a thought of his which I have quoted ("not
having given myself life, I shall not rob myself of it"), spoke of
killing himself; he also did not remember his "order of the day" with
regard to the suicide of one of his soldiers. He believed sufficiently
in the attachment of his companions in captivity to hope that they
would consent to suffocate themselves with him in the smoke from a
brazier: the illusion was great. Such are the intoxications of a
long domination; but, in the case of Napoleon's impatiences, we must
consider only the degree of suffering to which he had attained. M.
de Las Cases, having written to Lucien on a piece of white silk, in
contravention of the regulations, received the order to leave St.
Helena[406]: his absence increased the void around the exile.

On the 18th of March 1817, Lord Holland[407], in the House of Lords,
made a motion on the subject of the complaints forwarded to England by
General Montholon:

"It will not be considered by posterity," he said, "whether Bonaparte
has been justly punished for his crimes, but whether Great Britain has
acted in that generous manner which becomes a great country."

Lord Bathurst[408] opposed the motion.

Cardinal Fesch sent two priests[409] from Italy to his nephew. The
Princess Borghese begged the favour of being allowed to join her

"No," said Napoleon, "I would not have her witness the degrading state
to which I am reduced and the insults to which I am subjected."

That beloved sister, _germana Jovis_, did not cross the seas: she died
in the regions where Napoleon had left his reputation.

Schemes of abduction were formed: a Colonel Latapie, at the head of
a band of American adventurers, designed a descent on St. Helena.
Johnson[410], a resolute smuggler, meditated an attempt to carry off
Bonaparte by means of a submarine vessel. Young lords entered into
these plans; people plotted to break the chains of the oppressor:
they would have left the liberator of the human race to die in irons
without a thought Bonaparte hoped for his delivery from the political
movements of Europe. If he had lived till 1830, perhaps he would have
returned to us; but what would he have done among us? He would have
seemed infirm and out of date in the midst of the new ideas. Formerly
his tyranny appeared liberty to our slavery; now his greatness would
appear despotism to our littleness. At the present period, everything
is decrepit in a day; who lives too long dies alive. As we advance in
life, we leave three or four images of ourselves, different one from
the other: we see them next in the haze of the past, like portraits of
our different ages.

Bonaparte, in his feebleness, no longer occupied himself except like a
child: he amused himself by digging a little basin in his garden; he
put a few fish into it: the mastick employed in cementing the basin
contained copperas, and the fish died. Bonaparte said:

"Everything I love, everything that belongs to me is immediately

About the end of February 1821, Napoleon was obliged to take to his bed
and did not rise again.

"How low am I fallen!" he murmured. "I stirred the world, and I cannot
raise my eyelid."

He did not believe in medicine and objected to a consultation of
Antomarchi[411] with the Jamestown doctors. Nevertheless, he admitted
Dr. Arnott beside his death-bed. He dictated his will from the 13th
to the 27th of April; on the 28th, he ordered his heart to be sent to
Marie-Louise; he forbade any English surgeon to lay a hand upon him
after his decease. Persuaded that he was succumbing to the malady by
which his father had been attacked, he requested that the report of the
autopsy should be transmitted to the Duc de Reichstadt: the paternal
direction has become useless; Napoleon II. has joined Napoleon I.

[Sidenote: Napoleon's death-bed.]

At this last hour, the religious sentiment with which Bonaparte was
always imbued awoke. Thibaudeau, in his _Mémoires sur le Consulat_,
tells us, with reference to the restoration of public worship, that the
First Consul said to him:

    "'On Sunday last, in the midst of the silence of nature, I
    was walking in these gardens[412]; the sound of the bell of
    Ruel suddenly came and struck my ear and renewed all the
    impressions of my youth; I was moved, so powerful is the
    force of early habit, and said to myself:

    "'If it is thus for me, what effect must similar memories not
    produce on simple and credulous men? Let your philosophers
    reply to that!'"...

    "And, raising his hands to the sky:

    "'Who is He that made all that?'"

In 1797, by his Proclamation of Macerata, Bonaparte authorized the
residence of the French refugee priests in the Papal States, forbade
them to be molested, ordered the convents to support them, and allotted
them a salary in money.

His variations in Egypt, his rages against the Church, of which he was
the restorer, show that an instinct of spirituality predominated in the
very midst of his errors; for his lapses and his irritations are not of
a philosophical nature and bear the impress of the religious character.

Bonaparte, when giving Vignale the details of the funeral lights by
which he wished his remains to be surrounded, thought he saw signs that
his instructions were displeasing to Antomarchi; he entered into an
explanation with the doctor and said to him:

"You are above those weaknesses: but how can it be helped? I am neither
a philosopher nor a doctor; I believe in God; I am of my father's
religion. We cannot all be atheists.... Are you able not to believe
in God? For, after all, everything proclaims His existence, and the
greatest geniuses have believed it.... You are a doctor.... Those
people only tackle matter: they never believe anything."

You strong minds of the day, give up your admiration for Napoleon; you
have nothing to do with that poor man: did he not imagine that a comet
had come to fetch him, as it had carried off Cæsar of old? Moreover,
he "believed in God;" he "was of his father's religion;" he was not a
"philosopher;" he was not an "atheist;" he had not, like you, given
battle to the Almighty, although he had defeated a good many kings;
he found that "everything proclaimed the existence" of the Supreme
Being; he declared that "the greatest geniuses had believed in that
existence," and he wished to believe as his fathers did. Lastly, O
monstrous thing, this foremost man of modern times, this man of all the
centuries, was a Christian in the nineteenth century! His will begins
with this clause:


In the third paragraph of the will of Louis XVI., we read:


The Revolution has given us many a lesson; but is there any one of
them to be compared with this? Napoleon and Louis XVI. making the
same profession of faith! Would you know the value of the Cross? Seek
through the whole world for what best suits virtue in misfortune or the
man of genius dying.

[Sidenote: Death of Napoleon.]

On the 3rd of May, Napoleon was administered the sacrament of Extreme
Unction and received the Blessed Viaticum. The silence of the
bed-chamber was interrupted only by the death-sob, mingled with the
regular sound of the pendulum of a clock: the shadow, before stopping
on the dial, did a few more rounds; the luminary that outlined it
had a difficulty in dying out. On the 4th, the tempest of Cromwell's
death-pangs arose: almost all the trees at Longwood were uprooted. At
last, on the 5th, at eleven minutes to six in the evening, amid the
wind, the rain and the crash of the waves, Bonaparte gave up to God
the mightiest breath of life that ever quickened human clay. The last
words caught upon the conqueror's lips were, "_Tête... armée_," or
"_Tête d'armée._" His thoughts were still wandering in the midst of
combats. When he closed his eyes for ever, his sword, dead with him,
was laid by his side, a crucifix rested on his breast: the symbol of
peace, applied to the heart of Napoleon, calmed the throbbing of that
heart even as a ray from Heaven makes the wave to fall.


Bonaparte first desired to be interred in the Cathedral of Ajaccio;
then, by a codicil dated 16 April 1821, he bequeathed his bones
to France: Heaven had served him better; his real mausoleum is
the rock on which he expired: turn back to my story of the death
of the Duc d'Enghien. Napoleon, foreseeing the opposition of the
British Government to his last wishes, eventually made choice of a
burying-place in St. Helena.

In a narrow valley known as Slane's or Geranium Valley, now Tomb
Valley, rises a fountain; Napoleon's Chinese servants, faithful as
Camoëns' Javanese, used to fill their pitchers there: weeping willows
overhang the spring; green grass, studded with tchampas, grows all

"The tchampas, despite its brilliancy and its perfume, is not a flower
that one seeks after, because it flourishes on the tombs," say the
Sanskrit poems.

In the declivities of the bare rocks, bitter lemon-trees thrive ill,
with cocoanut-trees, larches and cone-trees of which men collect the
gum which sticks to the beards of the goats.

Napoleon, booted, spurred, dressed in the uniform of a colonel of the
Guard, decorated with the Legion of Honour, was laid in state on his
little iron bedstead; upon that visage which was never astonished the
soul, as it fled, had left a sublime stupor. The planishers and joiners
soldered and nailed Bonaparte into a four-fold coffin of mahogany, of
lead, of mahogany again, and of tin: they seemed to fear that he would
never be imprisoned enough. The cloak which the erstwhile victor had
worn at the vast funeral of Marengo served as a pall to the coffin.

Napoleon delighted in the willows of the spring; he asked for peace of
the Slane Valley even as banished Dante asked for peace of the Convent
of Corvo. In gratitude for the transient repose which he tasted there
during the last days of his life, he appointed that valley as the
shelter of his eternal rest. Speaking of the source, he said:

"If God were willing that I should recover, I would raise a monument in
the spot where it springs."

That monument was his tomb. In Plutarch's time, in a place consecrated
to the nymphs on the banks of the Strymon, one still saw a stone bench
on which Alexander had sat

The obsequies were held on the 28th of May. The weather was fine: four
horses, led by grooms on foot, drew the hearse; four-and-twenty English
grenadiers, carrying no arms, surrounded it; Napoleon's horse followed.
The garrison of the island lined the precipices of the road. Three
squadrons of dragoons went before the procession; the 20th Regiment of
Infantry, the marines, the St. Helena Volunteers, the Royal Artillery,
with fifteen pieces of cannon, brought up the rear. Bands of musicians,
stationed at distances on the rocks, exchanged mournful tunes. On
reaching a pass, the hearse stopped; the twenty-four unarmed grenadiers
lifted up the corpse and had the honour of carrying it on their
shoulders to the burying-place. Three volleys of artillery saluted the
remains of Napoleon at the moment when he sank into the earth: all
the noise which he had made on that earth did not penetrate six feet
beneath it.

A stone which was to have been employed in the building of a new house
for the exile was lowered upon his coffin, as it were the trap-door of
his last cell.

They recited the verses from Psalm 87:

    "I am poor, and in labours from my youth: and being exalted
    have been humbled and troubled.

    "Thy wrath hath come upon me.... [413]"

The flag-ship fired minute-guns. This warlike harmony, lost in the
immensity of the Ocean, made response to the _Requiescat in pace._
The Emperor, buried by his victors of Waterloo, had heard the last
cannon-shot of that battle; he did not hear the last detonation
with which England disturbed and honoured his sleep at St. Helena.
All withdrew, holding in their hands a branch of willow, as though
returning from the Feast of Palms.

Lord Byron thought that the dictator of kings had abdicated his renown
with his blade, that he was going to die forgotten. The poet ought to
have known that Napoleon's destiny was a muse, like all high destinies.
That muse was able to change an abortive issue into a catastrophe
which revived its hero. The solitude of Napoleon's exile and tomb has
spread over a brilliant memory a spell of a different kind. Alexander
did not die under the eyes of Greece; he disappeared in the proud
perspectives of Babylon. Bonaparte has not died under the eyes of
France; he has vanished in the gorgeous horizons of the torrid zone.
He sleeps like a hermit or like a pariah in a valley, at the end of a
deserted pathway. The magnitude of the silence which presses upon him
equals the vastness of the noise that once surrounded him. The nations
are absent, their crowd has withdrawn; the tropic bird "harnessed,"
says Buffon, "to the chariot of the sun," precipitates itself from the
orb of light; where does it rest to-day? It rests upon ashes whose
weight tilted the globe.

    "They all put crowns upon themselves after his death ... and
    evils were multiplied in the earth[414]."

[Sidenote: Influence of Napoleon.]

This summing up of the Machabees on Alexander seems made for Napoleon:
"They have put crowns _upon themselves_, and evils have been multiplied
in the earth." Scarce twenty years have passed since Bonaparte's death,
and already the French Monarchy and the Spanish Monarchy[415] are no
more. The map of the world has changed; we have had to learn a new
geography: parted from their lawful sovereigns, nations have been flung
to sovereigns taken at haphazard; famous actors have stepped down from
the stage to which nameless actors have climbed; the eagles have taken
flight from the crest of the tall pine, fallen into the sea, while
frail shell-fish have fastened on to the sides of the still protecting

As, in the final result, all runs to its end, "the terrible spirit of
novelty which was passing over the world," as the Emperor said, to
which he had opposed the cross-bar of his genius, resumes its course;
the conqueror's institutions decay; he will be the last of the great
individual existences; nothing henceforth will predominate in low and
levelled societies; the shade of Napoleon will tower alone at the
extremity of the destroyed old world, like the phantom of the deluge
at the edge of its abyss: a distant posterity will discern that shade
across the gulf into which unknown centuries will fall, until the
appointed day of the social re-birth.


Since it is my own life which I am writing while busying myself with
others, great and small, I am obliged to mix this life with men and
things, when it happens to be recalled. Did I, in one flight, without
ever stopping, pass through the memory of the transported one who, in
his ocean prison, awaited the execution of God's decree? No.

The peace which Napoleon had not concluded with the kings his gaolers
he had made with me: I was a son of the sea like himself; my nativity
was one of the rock like his. I flatter myself to have known Napoleon
better than they who saw him oftener and approached him more closely.

Napoleon at St. Helena, ceasing to have occasion to maintain his anger
with me, had abandoned his hostility; I, becoming more just in my turn,
wrote the following article in the _Conservateur_:

    "The nations have called Bonaparte a scourge; but the
    scourges of God retain something of the eternity and grandeur
    of the divine wrath whence they emanate: 'Ye dry bones ...
    I will send spirit into you, and you shall live[416].' Born
    in an island to go and die in an island, on the boundaries
    of three continents; cast in the midst of the seas in which
    Camoëns seemed to foretell him by placing there the genius of
    the tempests, Bonaparte cannot stir on his rock but we are
    apprized of it by a concussion; a step of the new Adamastor
    at the other Pole makes itself felt at this. If Napoleon,
    escaping from the hands of his gaolers, were to retire to the
    United States, his looks fixed upon the Ocean would be enough
    to disturb the nations of the Old World; his mere presence
    on the American shore of the Atlantic would oblige Europe to
    camp on the opposite shore[417]."

This article reached Bonaparte at St. Helena; a hand which he thought
hostile poured the last balsam on his wounds; he said to M. de

"If, in 1814 and 1815, the royal confidence had not been placed in
men whose souls were enervated by circumstances too strong for them,
or who, renegades to their country, saw safety and glory for their
master's throne only in the yoke of the Holy Alliance; if the Duc
de Richelieu, whose ambition it was to deliver his country from the
presence of the foreign bayonets, if Chateaubriand, who had just
rendered such eminent services at Ghent, had had the direction of
affairs, France would have issued powerful and dreaded from those two
great national crises. Chateaubriand has been gifted by nature with
the Promethean fire: his works witness it. His style is not that of
Racine, it is that of the prophet. If ever he arrives at the helm
of State, it is possible that Chateaubriand may go astray: so many
others have found their ruin there! But what is certain is that all
that is great and national must be fitting to his genius, and that
he would have indignantly rejected the ignominious acts of the then

[Sidenote: Napoleon's verdict on myself.]

Such were my last relations with Bonaparte. Why should I not admit that
that opinion "tickles my heart's proud weakness"? Many little men to
whom I have rendered great services have not judged me so favourably as
the giant whose might I had dared to attack.


While the Napoleonic world was becoming obliterated, I inquired into
the places where Napoleon himself had passed from view. The tomb at
St. Helena has already worn out one of the willows his contemporaries:
the decrepit and fallen tree is daily mutilated by the pilgrims. The
sepulchre is surrounded by a cast-iron grating; three flag-stones are
laid cross-wise over the grave; a few irises grow at the head and feet;
the spring of the valley still flows in the spot where prodigious days
dried up. Travellers brought by the tempest think it the proper thing
to chronicle their obscurity on the brilliant sepulchre. An old woman
has established herself close by, and lives on the shadow of a memory;
a pensioner stands sentry in a sentry-box.

The old Longwood, at two hundred steps from the new, is abandoned.
Across an enclosure filled with dung, one arrives at a stable; it used
to serve Bonaparte as a bed-room. A negro shows you a sort of passage
occupied by a hand-mill and says:

"Here he died."

The room in which Napoleon first saw the light was probably neither
larger nor more luxurious.

At the new Longwood, Plantation House, inhabited by the Governor, one
sees the Duke of Wellington in portraiture and the pictures of his
battles. A glass-doored cupboard contains a piece of the tree near
which the English general stood at Waterloo; this relic is placed
between an olive-branch gathered in the Garden of Olives and some
ornaments worn by South-Sea savages: a curious association on the part
of the abusers of the waves. It is useless for the victor here to try
to substitute himself for the vanquished, under the protection of a
branch from the Holy Land and the memory of Cook; it is enough that, at
St. Helena, one finds solitude, the Ocean and Napoleon.

If one were to search into the history of the transformation of the
shores made illustrious by tombs, cradles, palaces, what variety
of things and destinies would one not see, since such strange
metamorphoses are worked even in the obscure dwellings to which our
puny lives are attached! In what hut was Clovis born? In what chariot
did Attila see the light? What torrent covers Alaric's burying-place?
What jackal stands where stood Alexander's coffin of gold or crystal?
How many times have those ashes changed their place? And all those
mausoleums in Egypt and India: to whom do they belong? God alone knows
the cause of those changes linked with the mystery of the future:
for men there are truths hidden in the depths of time; they manifest
themselves only with the help of the ages, even as there are stars so
far removed from the earth that their light has not yet reached us.


But while I was writing this, time has progressed: it has produced an
event which would partake of greatness, if events did not nowadays
tumble into the mud. We have asked in London to have Bonaparte's
remains restored; the request has been entertained: what does England
care for old bones? She will make us as many presents of that sort as
we like. Napoleon's remains have come back to us at the moment of our
humiliation; they might have undergone the right of search; but the
foreigner showed himself compliant: he gave a pass to the ashes.

The translation of Napoleon's relics is an offense against fame. No
burial in Paris will ever be as good as Slane Valley: who would wish
to see Pompey elsewhere than in the furrow of sand thrown up by a poor
freedman, assisted by an old legionary? What shall we do with those
magnificent relics in the midst of our miseries? Will the hardest
granite represent the perpetuity of Bonaparte's works? If even we
possessed a Michael Angelo to carve the funeral statue?--How would one
fashion the monument? To little men mausoleums, to great men a stone
and a name. If, at least, they had suspended the coffin on the coping
of the Arc de Triomphe, if the nations had seen their master from afar
borne on the shoulders of his victories? Was not Trajan's urn in Rome
set at the top of his column? Napoleon, among us, will be lost in the
mob of those tatterdemalions of dead who steal away in silence. God
grant that he may not be exposed to the vicissitudes of our political
changes, protected though he may be by Louis XIV., Vauban and Turenne!
Beware of those violations of tombs so common in our country! Let a
certain side of the Revolution triumph, and the conqueror's dust may go
to join the dusts which our passions have scattered: men will forget
the vanquisher of the nations to remember only the oppressor of their
liberties. The bones of Napoleon will not reproduce his genius: they
will teach his despotism to second-rate soldiers.

[Sidenote: Napoleon's home-coming.]

Be this as it may, a frigate was supplied to a son[419] of
Louis-Philippe: a name dear to our ancient naval victories protected
it on the waves. Sailing from Toulon, where Bonaparte had embarked in
his might for the conquest of Egypt, the new Argo came to St. Helena
to claim what no longer existed. The sepulchre, with its silence,
continued to rise motionless in Slane or Geranium Valley. Of the two
weeping willows, one had fallen; Lady Dallas, the wife of a governor
of the island, had planted, to replace the decayed tree, eighteen
young willows and four-and-thirty cypresses; the spring, still there,
flowed as when Napoleon drank its water. During a whole night, under
the direction of an English captain named Alexander, the men worked at
opening the monument. The four coffins fitted one within the other, the
mahogany coffin, the lead coffin, the second mahogany or West-Indian
wood coffin, and the tin coffin, were discovered intact. They proceeded
to the inspection of those mummified moulds in a tent, in the centre of
a circle of officers, some of whom had known Bonaparte.

"When the last coffin was opened," says the Abbé Coquereau[420],
"our looks plunged in. They met a whitish mass which covered the
whole length of the body. Dr. Gaillard, touching it, distinguished a
white satin cushion which lined the inside of the upper plank of the
coffin: it had become unfastened and lay about the remains like a

"The whole body seemed as though covered with a light foam; one would
have said that we were looking at it through a transparent cloud. It
was certainly his head: a pillow raised it slightly; his wide forehead,
his eyes, the sockets of which were outlined beneath the eye-lids,
still fringed with a few lashes; his cheeks were swollen, his nose
alone had suffered, his mouth, half-open, displayed three teeth of
great whiteness; on his chin the mark of the beard was perfectly
clear; his two hands especially seemed to belong to some one who still
breathed, so quick were they in tone and colouring; one of them, the
left hand, was raised a little higher than the right; his nails had
grown after death: they were long and white; one of his boots had come
unsewn and let through four of his toes of a dull white."


What was it that struck the disinterrers? The inanity of earthly
things? Man's vanity? No, the beauty of the dead man; his nails only
had lengthened, to tear, I presume, what remained of liberty in the
world. His feet, restored to humility, no longer rested on crown
cushions; they lay bare in their dust. The son of Condé also was
dressed in the moat at Vincennes; yet Napoleon, so well preserved, had
been reduced to exactly those "three teeth" which the bullets had left
in the jaw of the Duc d'Enghien.

The eclipsed star of St. Helena has reappeared to the great joy of
the peoples: the world has seen Napoleon again; Napoleon has not seen
the world again. The conqueror's vagrant ashes have been looked down
upon by the same stars that guided him to his exile: Bonaparte passed
through the tomb, as he passed through everything, without stopping.
Landed at the Havre, the corpse arrived at the Arc de Triomphe, a
canopy beneath which the sun shows its face on certain days of the
year. From that arch to the Invalides, one saw nothing but wooden
columns, plaster busts, a statue of the Great Condé (a hideous pulp
which ran), deal obelisks commemorative of the victor's indestructible
life. A sharp cold made the generals drop around the funeral car, as
in the retreat from Moscow. Nothing was beautiful, except the mourning
barge which had carried Napoleon in silence on the Seine, and a

Robbed of his catafalque of rocks, Napoleon has come to be buried
in the dirt of Paris. Instead of ships which used to salute the new
Hercules, consumed upon Mount Œta, the washerwomen of Vaugirard will
roam around him with pensioners unknown to the Grande Armée. By way of
prelude to this feebleness, little men were able to imagine nothing
better than an open-air wax-work show. After a few days' rain, nothing
remained of these decorations but squalid odds and ends. Whatever we
may do, the real sepulchre of the triumpher will always be seen in the
midst of the seas: the body is with us, the life immortal at St. Helena.

Napoleon has closed the era of the past: he made war too great for it
to return in a manner to interest mankind. He slammed the doors of the
Temple of Janus violently after him; and behind those doors he heaped
up piles of dead bodies, to prevent them from ever opening again.


[Sidenote: A visit to the Golfe Juan.]

In Europe I have been to visit the parts where Bonaparte landed after
breaking his ban at Elba. I alighted at the inn at Cannes[421] at the
very moment when the guns were firing in commemoration of the 29th of
July[422]: one of the results of the Emperor's incursion, doubtless
unforeseen by him. Night had fallen when I arrived at the Golfe Juan; I
got down at a lonely house alongside the high-road. Jacquemin, potter
and inn-keeper, the owner of the house, led me to the sea. We went by
sunk roads between olive-trees under which Bonaparte had bivouacked:
Jacquemin himself had received him and guided me. To the left of the
cross-path stood a sort of covered shed: Napoleon, invading France
alone, had deposited the luggage with which he had landed in that shed.

On reaching the beach, I saw a calm sea wrinkled by not the slightest
breath; the surge, thin as gauze, unrolled itself over the sand
noiselessly and foamlessly. An astonishing sky, all resplendent with
constellations, crowned my head. The crescent of the moon soon sank and
hid itself behind a mountain. In the gulf lay only one bark at anchor,
and two boats: to the left appeared the Antibes light-house, to the
right the Lérins Isles; before me, the main sea opened out to the South
in the direction of Rome, to which Bonaparte had first sent me.

The Lérins Isles, now called the Sainte-Marguerite Isles, of old
received a few Christians fleeing before the Barbarians. St.
Honoratus[423], coming from Hungary, landed on one of those rocks: he
climbed a palm-tree, made the sign of the Cross, and all the serpents
died, that is to say, paganism disappeared and the new civilization was
born in the West.

Fourteen hundred years later, Bonaparte came to end that civilization
in the parts in which the saint had commenced it. The last solitary
of those hermitages was the Man in the Iron Mask, if the Iron Mask is
a reality. From the silence of the Golfe Juan, from the peace of the
islands of the anchorites of old, issued the noise of Waterloo, which
crossed the Atlantic to die out at St Helena.

[Sidenote: In praise of indifference.]

One can imagine what I felt, between the memories of two societies,
between a world extinct and a world ready to become extinct, at night,
on that deserted sea-board. I left the beach in a sort of religious
consternation, leaving the billows to pass and pass again, without
obliterating them, over the traces of Napoleon's last step but one.

At the end of each great epoch of time, one hears some voice, doleful
with regrets of the past, sound the curfew: thus moaned they who saw
vanish Charlemagne, St. Louis, Francis I., Henry IV. and Louis XIV.
What could I not say, in my turn, eye-witness that I am of two or three
lapsed worlds? When one has met, as I have, Washington and Bonaparte,
what remains there to look at behind the plough of the American
Cincinnatus and the tomb at St Helena? Why have I survived the age
and the men to whom I belonged by the date of my birth? Why did I not
fall with my contemporaries, the last of an exhausted race? Why have I
remained alone to seek their bones in the dust and darkness of a full
catacomb? I am disheartened at lasting. Ah, if only I possessed the
indifference of one of those old long-shore Arabs whom I met in Africa!
Seated cross-legged on a little rope mat, their head wrapped in their
burnoose, they while away their last hours in following with their
eyes, in the azure of the sky, the beautiful flamingo flying along the
ruins of Carthage; lulled by the murmuring of the waves, they half
forget their existence and, in a low voice, sing a song of the sea:
they are going to die.

[356] The Empress Joséphine died at the Malmaison on the 29th of May

[357] 29 June 1815.--B.

[358] Nicolas Léonard Comte Beker (1770-1840), a general of division,
count of the Empire, and grand officer of the Legion of Honour.
He fell out of favour with Napoleon, and was sent in disgrace to
Belle-Isle-en-Mer, where he remained in command till 1814. He was a
member of the Chamber of Representatives during the Hundred Days. Louis
XVIII. raised him to the peerage in 1819.--B.

[359] Louis XVI. purchased Rambouillet from the Penthièvre Family in

[360] 3 July 1815.--B.

[361] Captain, later Admiral Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland

[362] Themistocles (_circa_ 535 B.C.--470 B.C.) took refuge, when
exiled from Athens, first with Admetes King of the Molossians,
and secondly with Artaxerxes I. King of Persia, who showed him a
magnificent hospitality, but wished to make him bear arms against
Greece. Themistocles took poison to avoid being forced to obey.--T.

[363] General Sir Robert Thomas Wilson (1777-1849) accompanied the
Russian army in the campaign of 1812 and took a prominent part in the
fighting. He was appointed Governor of Gibraltar in 1842. Wilson was
one of the three Englishmen instrumental in the escape of the Comte de
Lavallette from Paris in 1816.--T.

[364] Mikhail Kutuzoff, Field-marshal Prince of Smolensk (1745-1813),
commanded the Russian forces at Borodino and Smolensk in 1812.--T.

[365] Admiral George Keith Elphinstone, Viscount Keith (1746-1823),
Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet, was at Plymouth when the
news reached him of Bonaparte's surrender, and was, throughout, the
intermediary between the Government and Napoleon relative to his being
sent to St. Helena.--T.

[366] Tamerlane Khan of Tartary (1336-1405), the famous Oriental

[367] Dominique Francois Toussaint-Louverture (1743-1803), a coloured
native of San Domingo, assisted the French to drive out the Spaniards
and English and to repress a rising of mulattoes, and was successively
appointed general of brigade, general of division, and finally
Commander-in-Chief of the armies of San Domingo. But, in 1800, he
proclaimed himself President for life. He refused to recognise General
Leclerc, sent out to restore French authority (1802), but found himself
obliged to capitulate, and was arrested as a conspirator, transported
to France, and imprisoned in the fort of Joux, where he died.--T.

[368] Charles IV. King of Spain (1748-1819) was sent as a prisoner, by
Napoleon, to Compiègne and to Marseilles.--T.

[369] Colonel Sir Hudson Lowe (1770-1844), Napoleon's keeper at St.
Helena. He was promoted on his return, in 1823, and richly rewarded
for his services, but lost the greater portion of his fortune in

[370] Charles Tristan Comte de Montholon (1782-1853) remained with
Bonaparte until his death. He published his _Mémoires pour servir_
in collaboration with General Gourgaud, and, in 1840, took part in
Louis-Napoleon's expedition to Boulogne, subsequently sharing his
imprisonment at Ham.--T.

[371] Marie Joseph Emmanuel Auguste Dieudonné Comte de Las Cases
(1766-1842) was expelled by Lowe from St. Helena in 1816 and sent to
the Cape of Good Hope; later he was sent to Europe and detained as
a prisoner. He was permitted to return to France after the death of
Napoleon, and published his famous _Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène_ in

[372] Napoleon was not disarmed. According to M. Thiers, "as he was
crossing from the _Bellerophon_ to the _Northumberland_, Admiral Keith,
with visible pain and in the most respectful tone, addressed these
words to the Emperor:

"'General, England commands me to ask for your sword.'

"To these words Napoleon replied with a look which showed to what
extremities it would be necessary to stoop to disarm him. Lord Keith
did not insist, and Napoleon kept his glorious sword."

This scene is pure fiction; it is even contradicted by the Comte de Las
Cases in his _Mémorial_, where he says:

"I asked if it would be really possible that they should go so far as
to take the Emperor's sword from him. The admiral replied that they
would respect it, but that Napoleon would be the only one, and that all
the rest would be disarmed."

Napoleon therefore kept his sword, and his companions recovered theirs
on their arrival at St. Helena.--B.

[373] The combined Dutch and English fleets defeated the French fleet
off Cape la Hogue on the 29th of May 1692.--T.

[374] The French gained a bloody victory over the Russians at Smolensk
in 1812.--T.

[375] These references, occurring in Books II. and III., form part of
the portion excised from the Memoirs for separate publication.--T.

[376] Caius Asinius Pollio (B.C. 77--A.D. 3): _cf._ the Letters to

[377] Louis XIV. King of France (1638-1715) was 68 years of age at the
date of the Battle of Ramillies.--T.

[378] François de Neufville, Maréchal Duc de Villeroi (1643-1730), was
defeated at Ramillies by the Duke of Marlborough in 1706.--T.

[379] As who, in these days, should say "Tommy."--T.

[380] Elizabeth Patterson (1785-1879) married Jerome Bonaparte, at
Philadelphia, in 1803. He divorced her, in 1807, at Napoleon's bidding,
in order to marry the Princess Catherine of Wurtemberg.--T.

[381] Dumouriez defeated the Austrians at Jemappes on the 6th of
October 1792.--T.

[382] 27 Tune 1794.--T.

[383] April to November 1794.--T.

[384] February 1797.--T.

[385] 25 and 26 September 1799.--T.

[386] 3 December 1800.--T.

[387] João de Nova (_fl._ 1500) was a Spanish navigator in Portuguese
service. He had discovered the island of Concepcion in the previous

[388] St. Helen (_d._ 328), first wife of Constantius I. Chlorus and
mother of Constantine. Her husband repudiated her when he was created
Emperor, to marry the daughter of Maximian. When Constantine became
Emperor, he gave his mother the title of Empress, and she embraced
Christianity with her son. St. Helen visited Jerusalem in 325, built a
church on Mount Calvary, and discovered the remains of the True Cross
in 326.--T.

[389] Constantine I. the Great (274-337) became Emperor in 306 and
embraced Christianity in 312.--T.

[390] Baron Friedrich Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), the
Prussian explorer, author of several geographical works including the
_Voyage aux régions équinoxiales du nouveau continent_ (Paris, 1799 _et
seq._), from which the above extract is taken.--T.


    Io mi volsi a man destra, e posi mente
    All'astro polo, e vidi quattro stelle
    Non viste mai fuor ch'alla prima gente.
    (_Il Purgatorio_, I. 22-24).--B.

[392] St Napoleon (_fl._ 13th century), of Rome, canonized by Pope
Pius VII. to be honoured on the 15th of August, the date of Napoleon
Bonaparte's birthday in 1769.--T.

[393] Admiral Sir George Cockburn (1772-1853) conveyed Bonaparte to
St. Helena on board the _Northumberland_ and remained at St. Helena as
Governor from October 1815 to the summer of 1816.--T.

[394] M. Muiron (_d._ 1796).--B.

[395] The French commissary was the Marquis de Montchenu; the Austrian,
Baron von Stürmer; the Russian, the Comte de Balmaine.--B.

[396] Jean Baptiste Isabey (1764-1855), a pupil of David, and a famous
miniature painter. He was successively appointed first painter to the
Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, Court Painter to the Emperor and, later,
to King Louis XVIII., Organizer of Court Festivities, and Assistant
Keeper of the Royal Museums (1827). Isabey painted the portraits in
miniature of all the principal persons in Europe, from Napoleon to

[397] William Pitt second Lord, later first Earl Amherst (1773-1857)
was sent, in 1816, as Ambassador to China, where he met with but small
success. Lord Amherst was appointed Governor-General of India in

[398] Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm (1768-1838), Commander-in-Chief of
the St. Helena Station in 1816 and 1817.--T.

[399] Captain Basil Hall (1788-1844), author of a number of volumes
of Voyages, the best-known of which was published in 1815, after his
return from St. Helena, entitled, _An Account of a Voyage of Discovery
to the West Coast of Corea and the great Loo-Choo Islands._--B.

[400] The explosion, directed against Bonaparte while First Consul,
took place on the 24th of December 1800, in the Rue Saint-Nicaise in
Paris, a few moments after the Consul had passed by. Eight persons were
killed and twenty-eight grievously wounded.--T.

[401] Jean Antoine Rossignol (1759-1802), a famous and shifty
demagogue, had been General Commanding-in-Chief in the Vendée of the
army known as that of the Côtes de La Rochelle. He displayed the
grossest incapacity and was guilty of the greatest atrocities. He had
been constantly imprisoned by various governments or parties, and,
after the explosion of the infernal machine, was transported to the
Island of Anjuan or Johanna, in the Comores, where he died on the 28th
of April 1802.--T.

[402] _Cf._ VICTOR BARRUCAND, _La Vie véritable de Jean Rossignol_
(Paris, 1896).--B.

[403] Alessandro Conte Manzoni (1784-1873), the Italian poet, from
whose ode, _Il Cinque Maggio_, the above lines are taken.--T.

[404] Melchiore Cesarotti (1730-1808), professor of Greek and Hebrew
at the University of Padua, had received many kindnesses at Napoleon's
hands. He published valuable translations in Italian of Ossian,
Demosthenes and Homer, in addition to several original works on
literature and philosophy.--T.

[405] LU. IV, 5-12.--T.

[406] 27 November 1816.--B.

[407] Henry Richard Vassall Fox, third Lord Holland (1773-1840), nephew
and follower of Charles James Fox, and noted for his generous conduct
towards France.--T.

[408] Henry third Earl Bathurst (1762-1834), Secretary for War and the
Colonies in Lord Liverpool's Ministry.--T.

[409] The Abbé Buonavita and the Abbé Vignale. They arrived at St.
Helena on the 20th of September 1819.--B.

[410] Thomas Johnson (1772-1839), alternately a smuggler and a pilot
to the Royal Navy, twice broke jail and ended as the recipient of a
pension of £100 a year.--T.

[411] Francesco Antomarchi (1780-1830), a native of Corsica, was a
professor of anatomy at Florence, when Cardinal Fesch selected him to
go to St. Helena to attend Napoleon, from whose side Dr. O'Meara had
been removed. He arrived in the same ship as the Abbés Buonavita and
Vignale and remained with the Emperor till his death.--B.

[412] At the Malmaison.--_Author's Note._

[413] _Ps._ LXXXVII. 16, 17.--T.

[414] _Machab._ I. 10.--T.

[415] On the death of Ferdinand VII., in 1833, the crown was usurped
on behalf of Isabella II., to the prejudice of Charles V., the _de
jure_ King, with the Dowager Queen Christina as Regent. The latter
was forced, in 1840, to abdicate the Regency in favour of General
Espartero, the revolutionary leader, who remained in power until

[416] EZE. 37, 4-5.--T.

[417] _Conservateur_, 17 November 1818 (vol. I. p. 333).--B.

[418] MONTHOLON: _Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de France sous
Napoléon_, vol. IV. p. 243.--_Author's Note._

[419] François Ferdinand Philippe Louis Marie Prince de Joinville
(1818-1900), fourth son of Louis Philippe, commanded the frigate
_Belle-Poule_ sent to convey Napoleon's remains to France in 1840.--T.

[420] The Abbé Félix Coquereau (1808-1866) was chaplain of the frigate
_Belle-Poule_, and author of _Souvenirs de Sainte-Hélène_ from which
the above quotation is taken. In 1850, Louis Napoleon appointed him
Chaplain-in-Chief to the fleet.--B.

[421] Chateaubriand visited Cannes and the Golfe Juan in the month of
July 1838.--B.

[422] The 29th of July 1830 was the date of the abdication of Charles
X., the last reigning sovereign of the Elder Branch of the House of

[423] St. Honoratus, Bishop of Arles (_d._ 429) founded the monastery
of Lerins, _circa_ 400. He is honoured on the 16th of January.--T.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Memoirs of François René Vicomte de Chateaubriand sometime Ambassador to England. volume 3 (of 6) - Mémoires d'outre-tombe volume 3" ***

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