Optimisé pour
Espace de téléchargement





L'EMPEREUR NAPOLEON 1ER SUR LA TERRASSE DU CHATEAU DE SAINT-CLOUD
ENTOURE DES ENFANTS DE SA FAMILLE par Louis DUCIS - 1810
Versailles ; musée national du château et des Trianons
©Gérard Blot ; Réunion des Musées Nationaux. Reproduction interdite. Base Joconde.




RETOUR A LA PAGE D'ACCUEIL / HOME PAGE
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE I : BIOGRAPHIE
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE II : ECRITS
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE III : TRAITES
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE IV : TEXTES, MEMOIRES ET OPINIONS
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE V : REPRESENTATIONS
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE VI : COLLECTION COMBALUZIER
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE VII : DOCUMENTS ET CARTES POSTALES
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE VIII : EVENEMENTS CONTEMPORAINS










THE SECRET HISTORY

OF THE COURT AND CABINET OF ST. CLOUD

IN A SERIES OF LETTERS FROM A GENTLEMAN

AT PARIS TO A NOBLEMAN IN LONDON

WRITTEN DURING THE MONTHS OF AUGUST, SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, 1805


BY STEWARTON (*)


H. S. NICHOLS & CO - LONDON


1895





(*) - Stewarton est un nom d'emprunt. On attribue ce texte au publiciste anglais d'origine juive Lewis Goldsmith, fondateur à Londres en 1809 de l'Anti-Gallican Monitor. Collaborateur officieux de Talleyrand, il se retourna contre le prince. L'Histoire Secrète fut publiée à Londres et à Paris en 1814.





PUBLISHERS' NOTE.



The present work contains particulars of the great Napoleon not to be found in any other publication, and forms an interesting addition to the information generally known about him.

The writer of the Letters (whose name is said to have been Stewarton, and who had been a friend of the Empress Josephine in her happier, if less brilliant days) gives full accounts of the lives of nearly all Napoleon's Ministers and Generals, in addition to those of a great number of other characters, and an insight into the inner life of those who formed Napoleon's Court.

All sorts and conditions of men are dealt with adherents who have come over from the Royalist camp, as well as those who have won their way upwards as soldiers, as did Napoleon himself. In fact, the work abounds with anecdotes of Napoleon, Talleyrand, Fouché, and a host of others, and astounding particulars are given of the mysterious disappearance of those persons who were unfortunate enough to incur the displeasure of Napoleon.



BOOK I.


INTRODUCTORY LETTER.


PARIS, November 10th, 1805


MY LORD : - The Letters I have written to you were intended for the private entertainment of a liberal friend, and not for the general perusal of a severe public. Had I imagined that their contents would have penetrated beyond your closet or the circle of your intimate acquaintance, several of the narratives would have been extended, while others would have been compressed ; the anecdotes would have been more numerous, and my own remarks fewer ; some portraits would have been left out, others drawn, and all better finished. I should then have attempted more frequently to expose meanness to contempt, and treachery to abhorrence ; should have lashed more severely incorrigible vice, and oftener held out to ridicule puerile vanity and outrageous ambition. In short, I should then have studied more to please than to instruct, by addressing myself seldomer to the reason than to the passions.

I subscribe, nevertheless, to your observation, " that the late long war and short peace, with the enslaved state of the Press on the Continent, would occasion a chasm in the most interesting period of modern history, did not independent and judicious travellers or visitors abroad collect and forward to Great Britain (the last refuge of freedom) some materials which, though scanty and insufficient upon the whole, may, in part, rend the veil of destructive politics, and enable future ages to penetrate into mysteries which crime in power has interest to render impenetrable to the just reprobation of honour and of virtue. " If, therefore, my humble labours can preserve loyal subjects from the seduction of traitors, or warn lawful sovereigns and civilized society of the alarming conspiracy against them, I shall not think either my time thrown away, or fear the dangers to which publicity might expose me were I only suspected here of being an Anglican author. Before the Letters are sent to the press I trust, however, to your discretion the removal of everything that might produce a discovery, or indicate the source from which you have derived your information.

Although it is not usual in private correspondence to quote authorities, I have sometimes done so ; but satisfied, as I hope you are, with my veracity, I should have thought the frequent productions of any better pledge than the word of a man of honour an insult to your feelings. I have, besides, not related a fact that is not recent and well known in our fashionable and political societies ; and of ALL the portraits I have delineated, the originals not only exist, but are yet occupied in the present busy scene of the Continent, and figuring either at Courts, in camps, or in Cabinets.



LETTER I


PARIS, August, 1805.


MY LORD : - I promised you not to pronounce in haste on persons and events passing under my eyes ; thirty-one months have quickly passed away since I became an attentive spectator of the extraordinary transactions, and of the extraordinary characters of the extraordinary Court and Cabinet of St. Cloud. If my talents to delineate equal my zeal to inquire and my industry to examine ; if I am as able a painter as I have been an indefatigable observer, you will be satisfied, and with your approbation at once sanction and reward my labours.

With most Princes, the supple courtier and the fawning favourite have greater influence than the profound statesman and subtle Minister ; and the determinations of Cabinets are, therefore, frequently prepared in drawing-rooms, and discussed in the closet. The politician and the counsellor are frequently applauded or censured for transactions which the intrigues of antechambers conceived, and which cupidity and favour gave power to promulgate.

It is very generally imagined, but falsely, that Napoleon Bonaparte governs, or rather tyrannizes, by himself, according to his own capacity, caprices, or interest ; that all his acts, all his changes, are the sole consequence of his own exclusive, unprejudiced will, as well as unlimited authority ; that both his greatness and his littleness, his successes and his crimes, originate entirely with himself ; that the fortunate hero who marched triumphant over the Alps, and the dastardly murderer that disgraced human nature at Jaffa, because the same person, owed victory to himself alone, and by himself alone commanded massacre ; that the same genius, unbiased and unsupported, crushed factions, erected a throne, and reconstructed racks ; that the same mind restored and protected Christianity, and proscribed and assassinated a D'Enghien.

All these contradictions, all these virtues and vices, may be found in the same person ; but Bonaparte, individually or isolated, has no claim to them. Except on some sudden occasions that call for immediate decision, no Sovereign rules less by himself than Bonaparte ; because no Sovereign is more surrounded by favourites and counsellors, by needy adventurers and crafty intriguers.

What Sovereign has more relatives to enrich, or services to recompense ; more evils to repair, more jealousies to dread, more dangers to fear, more clamours to silence ; or stands more in need of information and advice ? Let it be remembered that he, who now governs empires and nations, ten years ago commanded only a battery ; and five years ago was only a military chieftain. The difference is as immense, indeed, between the sceptre of a Monarch and the sword of a general, as between the wise legislator who protects the lives and property of his contemporaries, and the hireling robber who wades through rivers of blood to obtain plunder at the expense and misery of generations. The lower classes of all countries have produced persons who have distinguished themselves as warriors ; but what subject has yet usurped a throne, and by his eminence and achievements, without infringing on the laws and liberties of his country, proved himself worthy to reign ? Besides, the education which Bonaparte received was entirely military ; and a man (let his innate abilities be ever so surprising or excellent) who, during the first thirty years of his life, has made either military or political tactics or exploits his only study, certainly cannot excel equally in the Cabinet and in the camp. It would be as foolish to believe, as absurd to expect, a perfection almost beyond the reach of any man ; and of Bonaparte more than of any one else. A man who, like him, is the continual slave of his own passions, can neither be a good nor a just, an independent nor immaculate master.

Among the courtiers who, ever since Bonaparte was made First Consul, have maintained a great ascendency over him, is the present Grand Marshal of his Court, the general of division, Duroc. With some parts, but greater presumption, this young man is destined by his master to occupy the most confidential places near his person ; and to his care are entrusted the most difficult and secret missions at foreign Courts. When he is absent from France, the liberty of the Continent is in danger ; and when in the Tuileries, or at St. Cloud, Bonaparte thinks himself always safe.

Gerard Christophe Michel Duroc was born at Pont-à-Mousson, in the department of Meurthe, on the 25th of October, 1772, of poor but honest parents. His father kept a petty chandler's shop ; but by the interest and generosity of Abbe Duroc, a distant relation, he was so well educated that, in March, 1792, he became a sub-lieutenant of the artillery. In 1796 he served in Italy, as a captain, under General Andreossy, by whom he was recommended to General l'Espinasse, then commander of the artillery of the army of Italy, who made him an aide-de-camp. In that situation Bonaparte remarked his activity, and was pleased with his manners, and therefore attached him as an aide-de-camp to himself. Duroc soon became a favourite with his chief, and, not with standing the intrigues of his rivals, he has continued to be so to this day.

It has been asserted, by his enemies no doubt, that by implicit obedience to his general's orders, by an unresisting complacency, and by executing, without hesitation, the most cruel mandates of his superior, he has fixed himself so firmly in his good opinion that he is irremovable. It has also been stated that it was Duroc who commanded the drowning and burying alive of the wounded French soldiers in Italy, in 1797 ; and that it was he who inspected their poisoning in Syria, in 1799, where he was wounded during the siege of St. Jean d'Acre. He was among the few officers whom Bonaparte selected for his companions when he quitted the army of Egypt, and landed with him in France in October, 1799.

Hitherto Duroc had only shown himself as a brave soldier and obedient officer ; but after the revolution which made Bonaparte a First Consul, he entered upon another career. He was then, for the first time, employed in a diplomatic mission to Berlin, where he so far insinuated himself into the good graces of their Prussian Majesties that the King admitted him to the royal table, and on the parade at Potsdam presented him to his generals and officers as an aide-de-camp du plus grand homme que je connais ; whilst the Queen gave him a scarf knitted by her own fair hands.

The fortunate result of Duroc's intrigues in Prussia, in 1799, encouraged Bonaparte to despatch him, in 1801, to Russia ; where Alexander I received him with that noble condescension so natural, to this great and good Prince. He succeeded at St. Petersburg in arranging the political and commercial difficulties and disagreements between France and Russia ; but his proposal for a defensive alliance was declined.

An anecdote is related of his political campaign in the North, upon the barren banks of the Neva, which, in causing much entertainment to the inhabitants of the fertile banks of the Seine, has not a little displeased the military diplomatist.

Among Talleyrand's female agents sent to cajole Paul I during the latter part of his reign, was a Madame Bonoeil, whose real name is De F…. When this unfortunate Prince was no more, most of the French male and female intriguers in Russia thought it necessary to shift their quarters, and to expect, on the territory of neutral Prussia, farther instructions from Paris, where and how to proceed. Madame Bonoeil had removed to Koenigsberg. In the second week of May, 1801, when Duroc passed through that town for St. Petersburg, he visited this lady, according to the orders of Bonaparte, and obtained from her a list of the names of the principal persons who were inclined to be serviceable to France, and might be trusted by him upon the present occasion. By inattention or mistake she had misspelled the name of one of the most trusty and active adherents of Bonaparte ; and Duroc, therefore, instead of addressing himself to the Polish Count de S…lz, went to the Polish Count de S…tz. This latter was as much flattered as surprised, upon seeing an aide-de-camp and envoy of the First Consul of France enter his apartments, seldom visited before but by usurers, gamesters, and creditors ; and, on hearing the object of this visit, began to think either the envoy mad or himself dreaming. Understanding, however, that money would be of little consideration, if the point desired by the First Consul could be carried, he determined to take advantage of this fortunate hit, and invited Duroc to sup with him the same evening ; when he promised him he should meet with persons who could do his business, provided his pecuniary resources were as ample as he had stated.

This Count de S…tz was one of the most extravagant and profligate subjects that Russia had acquired by the partition of Poland. After squandering away his own patrimony, he had ruined his mother and two sisters, and subsisted now entirely by gambling and borrowing. Among his associates, in similar circumstances with himself, was a Chevalier de Gausac, a French adventurer, pretending to be an emigrant from the vicinity of Toulouse. To him was communicated what had happened in the morning, and his advice was asked how to act in the evening. It was soon settled that De Gausac should be transformed into a Russian Count de W…., a nephew and confidential secretary of the Chancellor of the same name ; and that one Caumartin, another French adventurer, who taught fencing at St. Petersburg, should act the part of Prince de M…, an aide-de-camp of the Emperor ; and that all three together should strip Duroc, and share the spoil. At the appointed hour Bonaparte's agent arrived, and was completely the dupe of these adventurers, who plundered him of twelve hundred thousand livres. Though not many days passed before he discovered the imposition, prudence prevented him from denouncing the impostors ; and this blunder would have remained a secret between himself, Bonaparte, and Talleyrand, had not the unusual expenses of Caumartin excited the suspicion of the Russian Police Minister, who soon discovered the source from which they had flowed. De Gausac had the imprudence to return to this capital last spring, and is now shut up in the Temple, where he probably will be forgotten.

As this loss was more ascribed to the negligence of Madame Bonoeil than to the mismanagement of Duroc, or his want of penetration, his reception at the Tuileries, though not so gracious as on his return from Berlin, nineteen months before, was, however, such as convinced him that if he had not increased, he had at the same time not lessened, the confidence of his master ; and, indeed, shortly afterwards, Bonaparte created him first prefect of his palace, and procured him for a wife the only daughter of a rich Spanish banker. Rumour, however, says that Bonaparte was not quite disinterested when he commanded and concluded this match, and that the fortune of Madame Duroc has paid for the expensive supper of her husband with Count de S……tz at St. Petersburg.



LETTER II


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Though the Treaty of Luneville will probably soon be buried in the rubbish of the Treaty of Amiens, the influence of their parents in the Cabinet of St. Cloud is as great as ever : I say their parents, because the crafty ex-Bishop, Talleyrand, foreseeing the short existence of these bastard diplomatic acts, took care to compliment the innocent Joseph Bonaparte with a share in the parentage, although they were his own exclusive offspring.

Joseph Bonaparte, who in 1797, from an attorney's clerk at Ajaccio, in Corsica, was at once transformed into an Ambassador to the Court of Rome, had hardly read a treaty, or seen a despatch written, before he was himself to conclude the one, and to dictate the other. Had he not been supported by able secretaries, Government would soon have been convinced that it is as impossible to confer talents as it is easy to give places to men to whom Nature has refused parts, and on whom a scanty or neglected education has bestowed no improvements. Deep and reserved, like a true Italian, but vain and ambitious, like his brothers, under the character of a statesman, he has only been the political puppet of Talleyrand. If he has sometimes been applauded upon the stages where he has been placed, he is also exposed to the hooting and hisses of the suffering multitude ; while the Minister pockets undisturbed all the entrance-money, and conceals his wickedness and art under the cloak of Joseph ; which protects him besides against the anger and fury of Napoleon. No negotiation of any consequence is undertaken, no diplomatic arrangements are under consideration, but Joseph is always consulted, and Napoleon informed of the consultation. Hence none of Bonaparte's Ministers have suffered less from his violence and resentment than Talleyrand, who, in the political department, governs him who governs France and Italy.

As early as 1800, Talleyrand determined to throw the odium of his own outrages against the law of nations upon the brother of his master. Lucien Bonaparte was that year sent Ambassador to Spain, but not sharing with the Minister the large profits of his appointment, his diplomatic career was but short. Joseph is as greedy and as ravenous as Lucien, but not so frank or indiscreet. Whether he knew or not of Talleyrand's immense gain by the pacification at Luneville in February, 1801, he did not neglect his own individual interest. The day previous to the signature of this treaty, he despatched a courier to the rich army contractor, Collot, acquainting him in secret of the issue of the negotiation, and ordering him at the same time to purchase six millions of livres ; L 250,000 ; in the stocks on his account. On Joseph's arrival at Paris, Collot sent him the State bonds for the sum ordered, together with a very polite letter ; but though he waited on the grand pacificator several times afterwards, all admittance was refused, until a douceur of one million of livres ; nearly L 42,000 ; of Collot's private profit opened the door. In return, during the discussions between France and England in the summer of 1801, and in the spring of 1802, Collot was continued Joseph's private agent, and shared with his patron, within twelve months, a clear gain of thirty-two millions of livres.

Some of the secret articles of the Treaty of Luneville gave Austria, during the insurrection in Switzerland, in the autumn of 1802, an opportunity and a right to make representations against the interference of France ; a circumstance which greatly displeased Bonaparte, who reproached Talleyrand for his want of foresight, and of having been outwitted by the Cabinet of Vienna. The Minister, on the very next day, laid before his master the correspondence that had passed between him and Joseph Bonaparte, during the negotiation concerning these secret articles, which were found to have been entirely proposed and settled by Joseph ; who had been induced by his secretary and factotum (a creature of Talleyrand) to adopt sentiments for which that Minister had been paid, according to report, six hundred thousand livres ; L25,000. Several other tricks have in the same manner been played upon Joseph, who, notwithstanding, has the modesty to consider himself (much to the advantage and satisfaction of Talleyrand) the first statesman in Europe, and the good fortune to be thought so by his brother Napoleon.

When a rupture with England was apprehended, in the spring of 1803, Talleyrand never signed a despatch that was not previously communicated to, and approved by Joseph, before its contents were sanctioned by Napoleon. This precaution chiefly continued him in place when Lord Whitworth left this capital ; a departure that incensed Napoleon to such a degree that he entirely forgot the dignity of his rank amidst his generals, a becoming deportment to the members of the diplomatic corps, and his duty to his mother and brothers, who all more or less experienced the effects of his violent passions. He thus accosted Talleyrand, who purposely arrived late at his circle :

Well ! the English Ambassador is gone ; and we must again go to war. Were my generals as great fools as some of my Ministers, I should despair indeed of the issue of my contest with these insolent islanders. Many believe that had I been more ably supported in my Cabinet, I should not have been under the necessity of taking the field, as a rupture might have been prevented.

Such, Citizen First Consul answered the trembling and bowing Minister, is not the opinion of the Counsellor of State, Citizen Joseph Bonaparte.

Well, then, said Napoleon, as recollecting himself, England wishes for war, and she shall suffer for it. This shall be a war of extermination, depend upon it.

The name of Joseph alone moderated Napoleon's fury, and changed its object. It is with him what the harp of David was with Saul. Talleyrand knows it, and is no loser by that knowledge. I must, however, in justice, say that, had Bonaparte followed his Minister's advice, and suffered himself to be entirely guided by his counsel, all hostilities with England at that time might have been avoided ; her Government would have been lulled into security by the cession of Malta, and some commercial regulations, and her future conquest, during a time of peace, have been attempted upon plans duly organized, that might have ensured success. He never ceased to repeat, Citizen First Consul ! some few years longer peace with Great Britain, and the 'Te Deums' of modern Britons for the conquest and possession of Malta, will be considered by their children as the funeral hymns of their liberty and independence.

It was upon this memorable occasion of Lord Whitworth's departure, that Bonaparte is known to have betrayed the most outrageous acts of passion ; he rudely forced his mother from his closet, and forbade his own sisters to approach his person ; he confined Madame Bonaparte for several hours to her chamber ; he dismissed favourite generals ; treated with ignominy members of his Council of State ; and towards his physician, secretaries, and principal attendants, he committed unbecoming and disgraceful marks of personal outrage. I have heard it affirmed that, though her husband, when shutting her up in her dressing-room, put the key in his pocket, Madame Napoleon found means to resent the ungallant behaviour of her spouse, with the assistance of Madame Remusat.



LETTER III


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - No act of Bonaparte's government has occasioned so many, so opposite, and so violent debates, among the remnants of revolutionary factions comprising his Senate and Council of State, as the introduction and execution of the religious concordat signed with the Pope. Joseph was here again the ostensible negotiator, though he, on this as well as on former occasions, concluded nothing that had not been prepared and digested by Talleyrand.

Bonaparte does not in general pay much attention to the opinions of others when they do not agree with his own views and interests, or coincide with his plans of reform or innovation ; but having in his public career professed himself by turns an atheist and an infidel, the worshipper of Christ and of Mahomet, he could not decently silence those who, after deserting or denying the God of their forefathers and of their youth, continued constant and firm in their apostasy. Of those who deliberated concerning the restoration or exclusion of Christianity, and the acceptance or rejection of the concordat, Fouche, Francois de Nantes, Roederer, and Sieyès were for the religion of Nature ; Volney, Real, Chaptal, Bourrienne, and Lucien Bonaparte for atheism ; and Portalis, Gregoire, Cambaceres, Lebrun, Talleyrand, Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte for Christianity. Besides the sentiments of these confidential counsellors, upwards of two hundred memoirs, for or against the Christian religion, were presented to the First Consul by uninvited and volunteer counsellors, all differing as much from one another as the members of his own Privy Council.

Many persons do Madame Bonaparte, the mother, the honour of supposing that to her assiduous representations is principally owing the recall of the priests, and the restoration of the altars of Christ. She certainly is the most devout, or rather the most superstitious of her family, and of her name ; but had not Talleyrand and Portalis previously convinced Napoleon of the policy of reestablishing a religion which, for fourteen centuries, had preserved the throne of the Bourbons from the machinations of republicans and other conspirators against monarchy, it is very probable that her representations would have been as ineffective as her piety or her prayers. So long ago as 1796 she implored the mercy of Napoleon for the Roman Catholics in Italy ; and entreated him to spare the Pope and the papal territory, at the very time that his soldiers were laying waste and ravaging the legacy of Bologna and of Ravenna, both incorporated with his new-formed Cisalpine Republic ; where one of his first acts of sovereignty, in the name of the then sovereign people, was the confiscation of Church lands and the sale of the estates of the clergy.

Of the prelates who with Joseph Bonaparte signed the concordat, the Cardinal Gonsalvi and the Bishop Bernier have, by their labours and intrigues, not a little contributed to the present Church establishment, in this country ; and to them Napoleon is much indebted for the intrusion of the Bonaparte, dynasty, among the houses of sovereign Princes. The former, intended from his youth for the Church, sees neither honour in this world, nor hopes for any blessing in the next, but exclusively from its bosom and its doctrine. With capacity to figure as a country curate, he occupies the post of the chief Secretary of State to the Pope ; and though nearly of the same age, but of a much weaker constitution than his Sovereign, he was ambitious enough to demand Bonaparte's promise of succeeding to the Papal See, and weak and wicked enough to wish and expect to survive a benefactor of a calmer mind and better health than himself. It was he who encouraged Bonaparte to require the presence of Pius VII in France, and who persuaded this weak pontiff to undertake a journey that has caused so much scandal among the truly faithful ; and which, should ever Austria regain its former supremacy in Italy, will send the present Pope to end his days in a convent, and make the successors of St. Peter what this Apostle was himself, a Bishop of Rome, and nothing more.

Bernier was a curate in La Vendee before the Revolution, and one of those priests who lighted the torch of civil war in that unfortunate country, under pretence of defending the throne of his King and the altars of his God. He not only possessed great popularity among the lower classes, but acquired so far the confidence of the Vendean chiefs that he was appointed one of the supreme and directing Council of the Royalists and Chouans. Even so late as the summer of 1799 he continued not only unsuspected, but trusted by the insurgents in the Western departments. In the winter, however, of the same year he had been gained over by Bonaparte's emissaries, and was seen at his levies in the Tuileries. It is stated that General Brune made him renounce his former principles, desert his former companions, and betray to the then First Consul of the French Republic the secrets of the friends of lawful monarchy, of the faithful subjects of Louis XVIII. His perfidy has been rewarded with one hundred and fifty thousand livres in ready money, with the see of Orleans, and with a promise of a cardinal's hat. He has also, with the Cardinals Gonsalvi, Caprara, Fesch, Cambaceres, and Mauri, Bonaparte's promise, and, of course, the expectation of the Roman tiara. He was one of the prelates who officiated at the late coronation, and is now confided in as a person who has too far committed himself with his legitimate Prince, and whose past treachery, therefore, answers for his future fidelity.

This religious concordat of the 10th September, 1801, as well as all other constitutional codes emating from revolutionary authorities, proscribes even in protecting. The professors and protectors of the religion of universal peace, benevolence, and forgiveness banish in this concordat from France forever the Cardinals Rohan and Montmorency, and the Bishop of Arras, whose dutiful attachment to their unfortunate Prince would, in better times and in a more just and generous nation, have been recompensed with distinctions, and honoured even by magnanimous foes.

When Madame Napoleon was informed by her husband of the necessity of choosing her almoner and chaplain, and of attending regularly the Mass, she first fell a-laughing, taking it merely for a joke ; the serious and severe looks, and the harsh and threatening expressions of the First Consul soon, however, convinced her how much she was mistaken. To evince her repentance, she on the very next day attended her mother-in-law to church, who was highly edified by the sudden and religious turn of her daughter, and did not fail to ascribe to the efficacious interference of one of her favourite saints this conversion of a profane sinner. But Napoleon was not the dupe of this church-going mummery of his wife, whom he ordered his spies to watch ; these were unfortunate enough to discover that she went to the Mass more to fill her appointments with her lovers than to pray to her Saviour ; and that even by the side of her mother she read billets-doux and love-letters when that pious lady supposed that she read her prayers, because her eyes were fixed upon her breviary. Without relating to any one this discovery of his Josephine's frailties, Napoleon, after a violent connubial fracas and reprimand, and after a solitary confinement of her for six days, gave immediate orders to have the chapels of the Tuileries and of St. Cloud repaired ; and until these were ready, Cardinal Cambaceres and Bernier, by turns, said the Mass, in her private apartments ; where none but selected favourites or favoured courtiers were admitted. Madame Napoleon now never neglects the Mass, but if not accompanied by her husband is escorted by a guard of honour, among whom she knows that he has several agents watching her motions and her very looks.

In the month of June,1803 ; I dined with Viscomte de Segur, and Joseph and Lucien Bonaparte were among the guests. The latter jocosely remarked with what facility the French Christians had suffered themselves to be hunted in and out of their temples, according to the fanaticism or policy of their rulers ; which he adduced as a proof of the great progress of philosophy and toleration in France. A young officer of the party, Jacquemont, a relation of the former husband of the present Madame Lucien, observed that he thought it rather an evidence of the indifference of the French people to all religion ; the consequence of the great havoc the tenets of infidelity and of atheism had made among the flocks of the faithful. This was again denied by Bonaparte's aide-de-camp, Savary, who observed that, had this been the case, the First Consul (who certainly was as well acquainted with the religious spirit of Frenchmen as anybody else) would not have taken the trouble to conclude a religious concordat, nor have been at the expense of providing for the clergy. To this assertion Joseph nodded an assent.

When the dinner was over, De Segur took me to a window, expressing his uneasiness at what he called the imprudence of Jacquemont, who, he apprehended, from Joseph's silence and manner, would not escape punishment for having indirectly blamed both the restorer of religion and his plenipotentiary. These apprehensions were justified. On the next day Jacquemont received orders to join the colonial depot at Havre ; but refusing to obey, by giving in his resignation as a captain, he was arrested, shut up in the Temple, and afterwards transported to Cayenne or Madagascar. His relatives and friends are still ignorant whether he is dead or alive, and what is or has been his place of exile. To a petition presented by Jacquemont's sister, Madame de Veaux, Joseph answered that " he never interfered with the acts of the haute police of his brother Napoleon's Government, being well convinced both of its justice and moderation. "



LETTER IV


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - That Bonaparte had, as far back as February, 1803 (when the King of Prussia proposed to Louis XVIII the formal renunciation of his hereditary rights in favour of the First Consul), determined to assume the rank and title, with the power of a Sovereign, nobody can doubt. Had it not been for the war with England, he would, in the spring of that year, or twelve months earlier, have proclaimed himself Emperor of the French, and probably would have been acknowledged as such by all other Princes. To a man so vain and so impatient, so accustomed to command and to intimidate, this suspension of his favourite plan was a considerable disappointment, and not a little increased his bitter and irreconcilable hatred of Great Britain.

Here, as well as in foreign countries, the multitude pay homage only to Napoleon's uninterrupted prosperity ; without penetrating or considering whether it be the consequence of chance or of well-digested plans ; whether he owes his successes to his own merit or to a blind fortune. He asserted in his speech to the constitutional authorities, immediately after hostilities had commenced with England, that the war would be of short duration, and he firmly believed what he said. Had he by his gunboats, or by his intrigues or threats, been enabled to extort a second edition of the Peace of Amiens, after a warfare of some few months, all mouths would have been ready to exclaim, " Oh, the illustrious warrior ! Oh, the profound politician ! ". Now, after three ineffectual campaigns on the coast, when the extravagance and ambition of our Government have extended the contagion of war over the Continent ; when both our direct offers of peace, and the negotiations and mediations of our allies, have been declined by, or proved unavailing with, the Cabinet of St. James, the inconsistency, the ignorance, and the littleness of the fortunate great man seem to be not more remembered than the outrages and encroachments that have provoked Austria and Russia to take the field. Should he continue victorious, and be in a position to dictate another Peace of Luneville, which probably would be followed by another pacific overture to or from England, mankind will again be ready to call out, " Oh, the illustrious warrior ! Oh, the profound politician ! ". He foresaw, in his wisdom, that a Continental war was necessary to terrify or to subdue his maritime foe ; that a peace with England could be obtained only in Germany ; and that this war must be excited by extending the power of France on the other side of the Alps. Hence his coronation as a King of Italy ; hence his incorporation of Parma and Genoa with France ; and hence his donation of Piombino and Lucca to his brother-in-law, Bacchiochi ! ". Nowhere in history have I read of men of sense being so easily led astray as in our times, by confounding fortuitous events with consequences resulting from pre-concerted plans and well-organized designs.

Only rogues can disseminate and fools believe that the disgrace of Moreau, and the execution of the Duc d'Enghien, of Pichegru, and Georges, were necessary as footsteps to Bonaparte's Imperial throne ; and that without the treachery of Mehee de la Touche, and the conspiracy he pretended to have discovered, France would still have been ruled by a First Consul. It is indeed true, that this plot is to be counted (as the imbecility of Melas, which lost the battle of Marengo) among those accidents presenting themselves apropos to serve the favourite of fortune in his ambitious views ; but without it, he would equally have been hailed an Emperor of the French in May, 1804. When he came from the coast, in the preceding winter, and was convinced of the impossibility of making any impression on the British Islands with his flotilla, he convoked his confidential Senators, who then, with Talleyrand, settled the Senatus Consultum which appeared five months afterwards. Mehee's correspondence with Mr. Drake was then known to him ; but he and the Minister of Police were both unacquainted with the residence and arrival of Pichegru and Georges in France, and of their connection with Moreau ; the particulars of which were first disclosed to them in the February following, when Bonaparte had been absent from his army of England six weeks. The assumption of the Imperial dignity procured him another decent opportunity of offering his olive-branch to those who had caused his laurels to wither, and by whom, notwithstanding his abuse, calumnies, and menaces, he would have been more proud to be saluted Emperor than by all the nations upon the Continent. His vanity, interest, and policy, all required this last degree of supremacy and elevation at that period.

Bonaparte had so well penetrated the weak side of Moreau's character that, although he could not avoid doing justice to this general's military talents and exploits, he neither esteemed him as a citizen nor dreaded him as a rival. Moreau possessed great popularity ; but so did Dumourier and Pichegru before him ; and yet neither of them had found adherents enough to shake those republican governments with which they avowed themselves openly discontented, and against which they secretly plotted. I heard Talleyrand say, at Madame de Montlausier's, in the presence of fifty persons : " Napoleon Bonaparte had never anything to apprehend from General Moreau, and from his popularity, even at the head of an army. Dumourier, too, was at the head of an army when he revolted against the National Convention ; but had he not saved himself by flight his own troops would have delivered him up to be punished as a traitor. Moreau, and his popularity, could only be dangerous to the Bonaparte dynasty were he to survive Napoleon, had not this Emperor wisely averted this danger. " From this official declaration of Napoleon's confidential Minister, in a society of known anti-imperialists, I draw the conclusion that Moreau will never more, during the present reign, return to France. How very feeble, and how badly advised must this general have been, when, after his condemnation to two years' imprisonment, he accepted a perpetual exile, and renounced all hopes of ever again entering his own country. In the Temple, or in any other prison, if he had submitted to the sentence pronounced against him, he would have caused Bonaparte more uneasiness than when at liberty, and been more a point of rally to his adherents and friends than when at his palace of Grosbois, because compassion and pity must have invigorated and sharpened their feelings.

If report be true, however, he did not voluntarily exchange imprisonment for exile ; racks were shown him ; and by the act of banishment was placed a poisonous draught. This report gains considerable credit when it is remembered that, immediately after his condemnation, Moreau furnished his apartments in the Temple in a handsome manner, so as to be lodged well, if not comfortably, with his wife and child, whom, it is said, he was not permitted to see before he had accepted Bonaparte's proposal of transportation.

It may be objected to this supposition that the man in power, who did not care about the barefaced murder of the Duc d'Enghien, and the secret destruction of Pichegru, could neither much hesitate, nor be very conscientious about adding Moreau to the number of his victims. True, but the assassin in authority is also generally a politician. The untimely end of the Duc d'Enghien and of Pichegru was certainly lamented and deplored by the great majority of the French people ; but though they had many who pitied their fate, but few had any relative interest to avenge it ; whilst in the assassination of Moreau, every general, every officer, and every soldier of his former army, might have read the destiny reserved for himself by that chieftain, who did not conceal his preference of those who had fought under him in Italy and Egypt, and his mistrust and jealousy of those who had vanquished under Moreau in Germany ; numbers of whom had already perished at St. Domingo, or in the other colonies, or were dispersed in separate and distant garrisons of the mother country. It has been calculated that of eighty-four generals who made, under Moreau, the campaign of 1800, and who survived the Peace of Lundville, sixteen had been killed or died at St. Domingo, four at Guadeloupe, ten in Cayenne, nine at Ile de France, and eleven at l'Ile Reunion and in Madagascar. The mortality among the officers and men has been in proportion.

An anecdote is related of Pichegru, which does honour to the memory of that unfortunate general. Fouche paid him a visit in prison the day before his death, and offered him " Bonaparte's commission as a Field-marshal, and a diploma as a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, provided he would turn informer against Moreau, of whose treachery against himself in 1797 he was reminded. On the other hand, he was informed that, in consequence of his former denials, if he persisted in his refractory conduct, he should never more appear before any judge, but that the affairs of State and the safety of the country required that he should be privately despatched in his gaol. "

" So ", answered this virtuous and indignant warrior, " you will spare my life only upon condition that I prove myself unworthy to live. As this is the case, my choice is made without hesitation ; I am prepared to become your victim, but I will never be numbered among your accomplices. Call in your executioners ; I am ready to die as I have lived, a man of honour, and an irreproachable citizen ".

Within twenty-four hours after this answer, Pichegru was no more.

That the Duc d'Enghien was shot on the night of the 21st of March, 1804, in the wood or in the ditch of the castle at Vincennes, is admitted even by Government ; but who really were his assassins is still unknown. Some assert that he was shot by the grenadiers of Bonaparte's Italian guard ; others say, by a detachment of the Gendarmes d'Elite ; and others again, that the men of both these corps refused to fire, and that General Murat, hearing the troops murmur, and fearing their mutiny, was himself the executioner of this young and innocent Prince of the House of Bourbon, by riding up to him and blowing out his brains with a pistol. Certain it is that Murat was the first, and Louis Bonaparte the second in command, on this dreadful occasion.



LETTER V


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Thanks to Talleyrand's political emigration, our Government has never been in ignorance of the characters and foibles of the leading members among the emigrants in England. Otto, however, finished their picture, but added, some new groups to those delineated by his predecessor. It was according to his plan that the expedition of Mehee de la Touche was undertaken, and it was in following his instructions that the campaign of this traitor succeeded so well in Great Britain.

Under the Ministry of Vergennes, of Montmorin, and of Delessart, Mehee had been employed as a spy in Russia, Sweden, and Poland, and acquitted himself perfectly to the satisfaction of his masters. By some accident or other, Delessart discovered, however, in December, 1791, that he had, while pocketing the money of the Cabinet of Versailles, sold its secrets to the Cabinet of St. Petersburg. He, of course, was no longer trusted as a spy, and therefore turned a Jacobin, and announced himself to Brissot as a persecuted patriot. All the calumnies against this Minister in Brissot's daily paper, Le Patriote Francois, during January, February, and March, 1792, were the productions of Mehee's malicious heart and able pen. Even after they had sent Delessart a State prisoner to Orleans, his inveteracy continued, and in September the same year he went to Versailles to enjoy the sight of the murder of his former master. Some go so far as to say that the assassins were headed by this monster, who aggravated cruelty by insult, and informed the dying Minister of the hands that stabbed him, and to whom he was indebted for a premature death.

To these and other infamous and barbarous deeds, Talleyrand was not a stranger when he made Mehee his secret agent, and entrusted him with the mission to England. He took, therefore, such steps that neither his confidence could be betrayed, nor his money squandered. Mehee had instructions how to proceed in Great Britain, but he was ignorant of the object Government had in view by his mission ; and though large sums were promised if successful, and if he gave satisfaction by his zeal and discretion, the money advanced him was a mere trifle, and barely sufficient to keep him from want. He was, therefore, really distressed, when he fixed upon some necessitous and greedy emigrants for his instruments to play on the credulity of the English Ministers in some of their unguarded moments. Their generosity in forbearing to avenge upon the deluded French exiles the slur attempted to be thrown upon their official capacity, and the ridicule intended to be cast on their private characters, has been much approved and admired here by all liberal-minded persons ; but it has also much disappointed Bonaparte and Talleyrand, who expected to see these emigrants driven from the only asylum which hospitality has not refused to their misfortunes and misery.

Mehee had been promised by Talleyrand double the amount of the sums which he could swindle from your Government ; but though he did more mischief to your country than was expected in this, and though he proved that he had pocketed upwards of ten thousand English guineas, the wages of his infamy, when he hinted about the recompense he expected here, Durant, Talleyrand's chef du bureau, advised him, as a friend, not to remind the Minister of his presence in France, as Bonaparte never pardoned a Septembrizer, and the English guineas he possessed might be claimed and seized as national property, to compensate some of the sufferers by the unprovoked war with England. In vain did he address himself to his fellow labourer in revolutionary plots, the Counsellor of State, Real, who had been the intermedium between him and Talleyrand, when he was first enlisted among the secret agents ; instead of receiving money he heard threats ; and, therefore, with as good grace as he could, he made the best of his disappointment; he sported a carriage, kept a mistress, went to gambling-houses, and is now in a fair way to be reduced to the status quo before his brilliant exploits in Great Britain.

Real, besides the place of a Counsellor of State, occupies also the office of a director of the internal police. Having some difference with my landlord, I was summoned to appear before him at the prefecture of the police. My friend, M. de Sab...r, formerly a counsellor of the Parliament at Rouen, happened to be with me when the summons was delivered, and offered to accompany me, being acquainted with Real. Though thirty persons were waiting in the antechamber at our arrival, no sooner was my friend's name announced than we were admitted, and I obtained not only more justice than I expected, or dared to claim, but an invitation to Madame Real's tea-party the same evening. This justice and this politeness surprised me, until my friend showed me an act of forgery in his possession, committed by Real in 1788, when an advocate of the Parliament, and for which the humanity of my friend alone prevented him from being struck off the rolls, and otherwise punished.

As I conceived my usual societies and coteries could not approve my attendance at the house of such a personage, I was intent upon sending an apology to Madame Real. My friend, however, assured me that I should meet in her salon persons of all classes and of all ranks, and many I little expected to see associating together. I went late, and found the assembly very numerous ; at the upper part of the hall were seated Princesses Joseph and Louis Bonaparte, with Madame Fouche, Madame Roederer, the cidevant Duchesse de Fleury, and Marquise de Clermont. They were conversing with M. Mathew de Montmorency, the contractor (a ci-devant lackey) Collot, the ci-devant Duc de Fitz-James, and the legislator Martin, a ci-devant porter : several groups in the several apartments were composed of a similar heterogeneous mixture of ci-devant nobles and ci-devant valets, of ci-devant Princesses, Marchionesses, Countesses and Baronesses, and of ci-devant chambermaids, mistresses and poissardes. Round a gambling-table, by the side of the ci-devant Bishop of Autun, Talleyrand, sat Madame Hounguenin, whose husband, a ci-devant shoeblack, has, by the purchase of national property, made a fortune of nine millions of livres -- L 375,000--. Opposite them were seated the ci-devant Prince de Chalais, and the present Prince Cambaceres with the ci-devant Comtesse de Beauvais, and Madame Fauve, the daughter of a fishwoman, and the wife of a tribune, a ci-devant barber. In another room, the Bavarian Minister Cetto was conferring with the spy Mehee de la Touche ; but observed at a distance by Fouche's secretary, Desmarets, the son of a tailor at Fontainebleau, and for years a known spy. When I was just going to retire, the handsome Madame Gillot, and her sister, Madame de Soubray, joined me. You have perhaps known them in England, where, before their marriage, they resided for five years with their parents, the Marquis and Marquise de Courtin ; and were often admired by the loungers in Bond Street. The one married for money, Gillot, a ci-devant drummer in the French Guard, but who, since the Revolution, has, as a general, made a large fortune ; and the other united herself to a ci-devant Abbe, from love ; but both are now divorced from their husbands, who passed them without any notice while they were chatting with me. I was handing Madame Gillot to her carriage, when, from the staircase, Madame de Soubray called to us not to quit her, as she was pursued by a man whom she detested, and wished to avoid. We had hardly turned round, when Mehee offered her his arm, and she exclaimed with indignation, " How dare you, infamous wretch, approach me, when I have forbidden you ever to speak to me ? Had you been reduced to become a highwayman, or a housebreaker, I might have pitied your infamy ; but a spy is a villain who aggravates guilt by cowardice and baseness, and can inspire no noble soul with any other sentiment but abhorrence, and the most sovereign contempt. " Without being disconcerted, Mehee silently returned to the company, amidst bursts of laughter from fifty servants, and as many masters, waiting for their carriages. M. de Cetto was among the latter, but, though we all fixed our eyes steadfastly upon him, no alteration could be seen on his diplomatic countenance : his face must surely be made of brass or his heart of marble.



LETTER VI


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - The day on which Madame Napoleon Bonaparte was elected an Empress of the French, by the constitutional authorities of her husband's Empire, was, contradictory as it may seem, one of the most uncomfortable in her life. After the show and ceremony of the audience and of the drawing-room were over, she passed it entirely in tears, in her library, where her husband shut her up and confined her.

The discipline of the Court of St. Cloud is as singular as its composition is unique. It is, by the regulation of Napoleon, entirely military. From the Empress to her lowest chambermaid, from the Emperor's first aide-de-camp down to his youngest page, any slight offence or negligence is punished with confinement, either public or private. In the former case the culprits are shut up in their own apartments, but in the latter they are ordered into one of the small rooms, constructed in the dark galleries at the Tuileries and St. Cloud, near the kitchens, where they are guarded day and night by sentries, who answer for their persons, and that nobody visits them.

When, on the 28th of March, 1804, the Senate had determined on offering Bonaparte the Imperial dignity, he immediately gave his wife full powers, with order to form her household of persons who, from birth and from their principles, might be worthy, and could be trusted to encompass the Imperial couple. She consulted Madame Remusat, who, in her turn, consulted her friend De Segur, who also consulted his bonne amie, Madame de Montbrune. This lady determined that if Bonaparte and his wife were desirous to be served, or waited on, by persons above them by ancestry and honour, they should pay liberally for such sacrifices. She was not therefore idle, but wishing to profit herself by the pride of upstart vanity, she had at first merely reconnoitred the ground, or made distant overtures to those families of the ancient French nobility who had been ruined by the Revolution, and whose minds she expected to have found on a level with their circumstances. These, however, either suspecting her intent and her views, or preferring honest poverty to degrading and disgraceful splendour, had started objections which she was not prepared to encounter. Thus the time passed away ; and when, on the 18th of the following May, the Senate proclaimed Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor of the French, not a Chamberlain was ready to attend him, nor a Maid of Honour to wait on his wife.

On the morning of the 20th May, the day fixed for the constitutional republican authorities to present their homage as subjects, Napoleon asked his Josephine who were the persons, of both sexes, she had engaged, according to his carte blanche given her, as necessary and as unavoidable decorations of the drawing-room of an Emperor and Empress, as thrones and as canopies of State. She referred him to Madame Remusat, who, though but half-dressed, was instantly ordered to appear before him. This lady avowed that his grand master of the ceremonies, De Segur, had been entrusted by her with the whole arrangement, but that she feared that he had not yet been able to complete the full establishment of the Imperial Court. The aide-de-camp Rapp was then despatched after De Segur, who, as usual, presented himself smiling and cringing.

" Give me the list " said Napoleon, " of the ladies and gentlemen you have no doubt engaged for our household. "

" May it please Your Majesty " answered De Segur, trembling with fear, " I humbly supposed that they were not requisite before the day of Your Majesty's coronation "

" You supposed ! " retorted Napoleon. " How dare you suppose differently from our commands ? Is the Emperor of the Great Nation not to be encompassed with a more numerous retinue, or with more lustre, than a First Consul ? Do you not see the immense difference between the Sovereign Monarch of an Empire, and the citizen chief magistrate of a commonwealth ? Are there not starving nobles in my empire enough to furnish all the Courts in Europe with attendants, courtiers, and valets ? Do you not believe that with a nod, with a single nod, I might have them all prostrated before my throne ? What can, then, have occasioned this impertinent delay ? "

" Sire ! " answered De Segur, " it is not the want of numbers, but the difficulty of the choice among them. I will never recommend a single individual upon whom I cannot depend ; or who, on some future day, may expose me to the greatest of all evils, the displeasure of my Prince "

" But " continued Napoleon, " what is to be done to-day that I may augment the number of my suite, and by it impose upon the gaping multitude and the attending deputations ? " – " Command, " said De Segur, " all the officers of Your Majesty's staff, and of the staff of the Governor of Paris, General Murat, to surround Your Majesty's sacred person, and order them to accoutre themselves in the most shining and splendid manner possible. The presence of so many military men will also, in a political point of view, be useful. It will lessen the pretensions of the constituted authorities, by telling them indirectly, " It is not to your Senatus Consultum, to your decrees, or to your votes, that I am indebted for my present Sovereignty ; I owe it exclusively to my own merit and valour, and to the valour of my brave officers and men, to whose arms I trust more than to your counsels. "

This advice obtained Napoleon's entire approbation, and was followed. De Segur was permitted to retire, but when Madame Remusat made a curtsey also to leave the room, she was stopped with his terrible 'aux arrets' and left under the care and responsibility of his aide-de-camp, Lebrun, who saw her safe into her room, at the door of which he placed two grenadiers. Napoleon then went out, ordering his wife, at her peril, to be in time, ready and brilliantly dressed, for the drawing-room.

Dreading the consequences of her husband's wrath, Madame Napoleon was not only punctual, but so elegantly and tastefully decorated with jewels and ornaments that even those of her enemies or rivals who refused her beauty, honour, and virtue, allowed her taste and dignity.

She thought that even in the regards of Napoleon she read a tacit approbation. When all the troublesome bustle of the morning was gone through, and when Senators, legislators, tribunes, and prefects had complimented her as a model of female perfection, on a signal from her husband she accompanied him in silence through six different apartments before he came to her library, where he surlily ordered her to enter and to remain until further orders.

" What have I done, Sire ! to deserve such treatment ? " exclaimed Josephine, trembling.

" If, " answered Napoleon, " Madame Remusat, your favourite, has made a fool of you, this is only to teach you that you shall not make a fool of me : Had not De Segur fortunately for him - had the ingenuity to extricate us from the dilemma into which my confidence and dependence on you had brought me, I should have made a fine figure indeed on the first day of my emperorship. Have patience, Madame ; you have plenty of books to divert you, but you must remain where you are until I am inclined to release you. " So saying, Napoleon locked the door and put the key in his pocket.

It was near two o'clock in the afternoon when she was thus shut up. Remembering the recent flattery of her courtiers, and comparing it with the unfeeling treatment of her husband, she found herself so much the more unfortunate, as the expressions of the former were regarded by her as praise due to her merit, while the unkindness of the latter was unavailingly resented as the undeserved oppression of a capricious despot.

Business, or perhaps malice, made Napoleon forget to send her any dinner ; and when, at eight o'clock, his brothers and sisters came, according to invitation, to take tea, he said coldly :

" A propos, I forgot it. My wife has not dined yet ; she is busy, I suppose, in her philosophical meditations in her study. "

Madame Louis Bonaparte, her daughter, flew directly towards the study, and her mother could scarcely, for her tears, inform her that ; - she was a prisoner, and that her husband was her gaoler.

" Oh, Sire ! " said Madame Louis, returning, " even this remarkable day is a day of mourning for my poor mother ! "

" She deserves worse, " answered Napoleon, " but, for your sake, she shall be released ; here is the key, let her out. "

Madame Napoleon was, however, not in a situation to wish to appear before her envious brothers and sisters-in-law. Her eyes were so swollen with crying that she could hardly see ; and her tears had stained those Imperial robes which the unthinking and inconsiderate no doubt believed a certain preservative against sorrow and affliction. At nine o'clock, however, another aide-de-camp of her husband presented himself, and gave her the choice either to accompany him back to the study or to join the family party of the Bonapartes.

In deploring her mother's situation, Madame Louis Bonaparte informed her former governess, Madame Cam…n, of these particulars, which I heard her relate at Madame de M…r's, almost verbatim as I report them to you. Such, and other scenes, nearly of the same description, are neither rare nor singular, in the most singular Court that ever existed in civilized Europe.



LETTER VII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Though Government suffer a religious, or, rather, anti-religious liberty of the Press, the authors who libel or ridicule the Christian, particularly the Roman Catholic, religion, are excluded from all prospect of advancement, or if in place, are not trusted or liked. Cardinal Caprara, the nuncio of the Pope, proposed last year, in a long memorial, the same severe restrictions on the discussions or publications in religious matters as were already ordered in those concerning politics. But both Bonaparte and his Minister in the affairs of the Church, Portalis, refused the introduction of what they called a tyranny on the conscience. Caprara then addressed himself to the ex-Bishop Talleyrand, who, on this occasion, was more explicit than he generally is.

" Bonaparte, " said he, " rules not only over a fickle, but a gossiping (bavard) people, whom he has prudently forbidden all conversation and writing concerning government of the State. They would soon (accustomed as they are, since the Revolution, to verbal and written debates) be tired of talking about fine weather or about the opera. To occupy them and their attention, some ample subject of diversion was necessary, and religion was surrendered to them at discretion; because, enlightened as the world now is, even athiests or Christian fanatics can do but little harm to society. They may spend rivers of ink, but they will be unable to shed a drop of blood. "

" True, " answered the Cardinal, " but only to a certain degree. The licentiousness of the Press, with regard to religious matters, does it not also furnish infidelity with new arms to injure the faith ? And have not the horrors from which France has just escaped proved the danger and evil consequences of irreligion, and the necessity of encouraging and protecting Christianity ? By the recall of the clergy, and by the religious concordat, Bonaparte has shown himself convinced of this truth. "

" So he is, " interrupted Talleyrand ; " but he abhors intoleration and persecution " (not in politics). " I shall, however, to please Your Eminence, lay the particulars of your conversation before him. " Some time afterwards, when Talleyrand and Bonaparte must have agreed about some new measure to indirectly chastise impious writers, the Senators Garat, Jaucourt, Roederer, and Demeunier, four of the members of the senatorial commission of the liberty of the Press, were sent for, and remained closeted with Napoleon, his Minister Portalis, and Cardinal Caprara for two hours. What was determined on this occasion has not transpired, as even the Cardinal, who is not the most discreet person when provoked, and his religious zeal gets the better of his political prudence, has remained silent, though seemingly contented.

Two rather insignificant authors, of the name of Varennes and Beaujou, who published some scandalous libels on Christianity, have since been taken up, and after some months' imprisonment in the Temple been condemned to transportation to Cayenne for life, - not as infidels or atheists, but as conspirators against the State, in consequence of some unguarded expressions which prejudice or ill-will alone would judge connected with politics. Nothing is now permitted to be printed against religion but with the author's name ; but on affixing his name, he may abuse the worship and Gospel as much as he pleases. Since the example of severity alluded to above, however, this practice is on the decline. Even Pigault-Lebrun, a popular but immoral novel writer, narrowly escaped lately a trip to Cayenne for one of his blasphemous publications, and owes to the protection of Madame Murat exclusively that he was not sent to keep Varennes and Beaujou company. Some years ago, when Madame Murat was neither so great nor so rich as at present, he presented her with a copy of his works, and she had been unfashionable enough not only to remember the compliment, but wished to return it by nominating him her private secretary ; which, however, the veto of Napoleon prevented.

Of Napoleon Bonaparte's religious sentiments, opinions are not divided in France. The influence over him of the petty, superstitious Cardinal Caprara is, therefore, inexplicable. This prelate has forced from him assent to transactions which had been refused both to his mother and his brother Joseph, who now often employ the Cardinal with success, where they either dare not or will not show themselves. It is true His Eminence is not easily rebuked, but returns to the charge unabashed by new repulses ; and be obtains by teasing more than by persuasion ; but a man by whom Bonaparte suffers, himself to be teased with impunity is no insignificant favourite, particularly when, like this Cardinal, he unites cunning with devotion, craft with superstition ; and is as accessible to corruption as tormented by ambition.

As most ecclesiastical promotions passed through his pure and disinterested hands, Madame Napoleon, Talleyrand, and Portalis, who also wanted some douceurs for their extraordinary expenses, united together last spring to remove him from France. Napoleon was cajoled to nominate him a grand almoner of the Kingdom of Italy, and the Cardinal set out for Milan. He was, however, artful enough to convince his Sovereign of the propriety of having his grand almoner by his side ; and he is, therefore, obliged to this intrigue of his enemies that he now disposes of the benefices in the Kingdom of Italy, as well as those of the French Empire.

During the Pope's residence in this capital, His Holiness often made use of Cardinal Caprara in his secret negotiations with Bonaparte ; and whatever advantages were obtained by the Roman Pontiff for the Gallican Church His Eminence almost extorted ; for he never desisted, where his interest or pride were concerned, till he had succeeded. It is said that one day last January, after having been for hours exceedingly teasing and troublesome, Bonaparte lost his patience, and was going to treat His Eminence as he frequently does his relatives, his Ministers, and counsellors, - that is to say, to kick him from his presence ; but suddenly recollecting himself, he said: " Cardinal, remain here in my closet until my return, when I shall have more time to listen to what you have to relate. " It was at ten o'clock in the morning, and a day of great military audience and grand review. In going out he put the key in his pocket, and told the guards in his antechamber to pay no attention if they should hear any noise in his closet.

It was dark before the review was over, and Bonaparte had a large party to dinner. When his guests retired, he went into his wife's drawing-room, where one of the Pope's chamberlains waited on him with the information that His Holiness was much alarmed about the safety of Cardinal Caprara, of whom no account could be obtained, even with the assistance of the police, to whom application had been made, since His Eminence had so suddenly disappeared.

" Oh ! how absent I am, " answered Napoleon, as with surprise ; " I entirely forgot that I left the Cardinal in my closet this morning. I will go myself and make an apology for my blunder. "

His Eminence, quite exhausted, was found fast asleep ; but no sooner was he a little recovered than he interrupted Bonaparte's affected apology with the repetition of the demand he had made in the morning ; and so well was Napoleon pleased with him, for neglecting his personal inconvenience only to occupy himself with the affairs of his Sovereign, that he consented to what was asked, and in laying his hand upon the shoulders of the prelate, said : " Faithful Minister ! were every Prince as well served as your Sovereign is by you, many evils might be prevented, and much good effected. "

The same evening Duroc brought him, as a present, a snuffbox with Bonaparte's portrait, set round with diamonds, worth one thousand louis d'or. The adventures of this day certainly did not lessen His Eminence in the favour of Napoleon or of Pius VII.

Last November, some not entirely unknown persons intended to amuse themselves at the Cardinal's expense. At seven o'clock one evening, a young Abbe presented himself at the Cardinal's house, Hotel de Montmorin, Rue Plumet, as by appointment of His Eminence, and was, by his secretary, ushered into the study and asked to wait there. Hardly half an hour afterwards, two persons, pretending to be agents of the police, arrived just as the Cardinal's carriage had stopped. They informed him that the woman introduced into his house in the dress of an Abby was connected with a gang of thieves and housebreakers, and demanded his permission to arrest her. He protested that, except the wife of his porter, no woman in any dress whatever could be in his house, and that, to convince themselves, they were very welcome to accompany his valet-de-chambre into every room they wished to see. To the great surprise of his servant, a very pretty girl was found in the bed of His Eminence's bed-chamber, which joined his study, who, though the pretended police agents insisted on her getting up, refused, under pretence that she was there waiting for her 'bon ami', the Cardinal.

His Eminence was no sooner told of this than he shut the gate of his house, after sending his secretary to the commissary of police of the section. In the meantime, both the police agents and the girl entreated him to let them out, as the whole was merely a badinage ; but he remained inflexible, and they were all three carried by the real police commissary to prison.

Upon a complaint made by His Eminence to Bonaparte, the Police Minister, Fouche, received orders to have those who had dared thus to violate the sacred character of the representative of the Holy Pontiff immediately, and without further ceremony, transported to Cayenne. The Cardinal demanded, and obtained, a process verbal of what had occurred, and of the sentence on the culprits, to be laid before his Sovereign. As Eugene de Beauharnais interested himself so much for the individuals involved in this affair as both to implore Bonaparte's pardon and the Cardinal's interference for them, many were inclined to believe that he was in the secret, if not the contriver of this unfortunate joke. This supposition gained credit when, after all his endeavours to save them proved vain, he sent them seventy-two livres L 3,000 - to Rochefort, that they might, on their arrival at Cayenne, be able to buy a plantation. He procured them also letters to the Governor, Victor Hughes, recommending that they should be treated differently from other transported persons.



LETTER VIII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - I was particularly attentive in observing the countenances and demeanour of the company at the last levee which Madame Napoleon Bonaparte held, previous to her departure with her husband to meet the Pope at Fontainebleau. I had heard from good authority that " to those whose propensities were known, Duroc's information that the Empress was visible was accompanied with a kind of admonitory or courtly hint, that the strictest decency in dress and manners, and a conversation chaste, and rather of an unusually modest turn, would be highly agreeable to their Sovereigns, in consideration of the solemn occasion of a Sovereign Pontiff's arrival in France, - an occurrence that had not happened for centuries, and probably would not happen for centuries to come. " I went early, and was well rewarded for my punctuality.

There came the Senator Fouche, handing his amiable and chaste spouse, walking with as much gravity as formerly, when a friar, he marched in a procession. Then presented themselves the Senators Sieyes and Roederer, with an air as composed as if the former had still been an Abbe and the confessor of the latter. Next came Madame Murat, whom three hours before I had seen in the Bois de Boulogne in all the disgusting display of fashionable nakedness, now clothed and covered to her chin. She was followed by the pious Madame Le Clerc, now Princesse Borghese, who was sighing deeply and loudly. After her came limping the godly Talleyrand, dragging his pure moiety by his side, both with downcast and edifying looks. The Christian patriots, Gravina and Lima, Dreyer and Beust, Dalberg and Cetto, Malsburgh and Pappenheim, with the Catholic Schimmelpenninck and Mohammed Said Halel Effendi, - all presented themselves as penitent sinners imploring absolutions, after undergoing mortifications.

But it would become tedious and merely a repetition, were I to depict separately the figures and characters of all the personages at this politico-comical masquerade. Their conversation was, however, more uniform, more contemptible, and more laughable, than their accoutrements and grimaces were ridiculous. To judge from what they said, they belonged no longer to this world ; all their thoughts were in heaven, and they considered themselves either on the borders of eternity or on the eve of the day of the Last Judgment. The truly devout Madame Napoleon spoke with rapture of martyrs and miracles, of the Mass and of the vespers, of Agnuses and relics of Christ her Saviour, and of Pius VII, His vicar. Had not her enthusiasm been interrupted by the enthusiastic commentaries of her mother-in-law, I saw every mouth open ready to cry out, as soon as she had finished, " Amen ! Amen ! Amen ! "

Napoleon had placed himself between the old Cardinal de Bellois and the not young Cardinal Bernier, so as to prevent the approach of any profane sinner or unrepentant infidel. Round him and their clerical chiefs, all the curates and grand vicars, almoners and chaplains of the Court, and the capitals of the Princess, Princesses, and grand officers of State, had formed a kind of cordon. " Had, " said the young General Kellerman to me, " Bonaparte always been encompassed by troops of this description, he might now have sung hymns as a saint in heaven, but he would never have reigned as an Emperor upon earth. " This indiscreet remark was heard by Louis Bonaparte, and on the next morning Kellerman received orders to join the army in Hanover, where he was put under the command of a general younger than himself. He would have been still more severely punished, had not his father, the Senator (General Kellerman), been in so great favour at the Court of St. Cloud, and so much protected by Duroc, who had made, in 1792, his first campaign under this officer, then commander-in-chief of the army of the Ardennes.

When this devout assembly separated, which was by courtesy an hour earlier than usual, I expected every moment to hear a chorus of horse-laughs, because I clearly perceived that all of them were tired of their assumed parts, and, with me, inclined to be gay at the expense of their neighbours. But they all remembered also that they were watched by spies, and that an imprudent look or an indiscreet word, gaiety instead of gravity, noise when silence was commanded, might be followed by an airing in the wilderness of Cayenne. They, therefore, all called out, " Coachman, to our hotel ! " as if to say, " We will to-day, in compliment to the new-born Christian zeal of our Sovereigns, finish our evening as piously as we have begun it. " But no sooner were they out of sight of the palace than they hurried to the scenes of dissipation, all endeavouring, in the debauchery and excesses so natural to them, to forget their unnatural affectation and hypocrisy.

Well you know the standard of the faith even of the members of the Bonaparte family. Two days before this Christian circle at Madame Napoleon's, Madame de Chateaureine, with three other ladies, visited the Princesse Borghese. Not seeing a favourite parrot they had often previously admired, they inquired what was become of it.

" Oh, the poor creature ! " answered the Princess ; " I have disposed of it, as well as of two of my monkeys. The Emperor has obliged me to engage an almoner and two chaplains, and it would be too extravagant in me to keep six useless animals in my hotel. I must now submit to hearing the disgusting howlings of my almoner instead of the entertaining chat of my parrot, and to see the awkward bows and kneelings of my chaplains instead of the amusing capering of my monkeys. Add to this, that I am forced to transform into a chapel my elegant and tasty boudoir, on the ground-floor, where I have passed so many delicious tete-a-tetes. Alas ! what a change ! what a shocking fashion, that we are now all again to be Christians ! "



LETTER IX


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Notwithstanding what was inserted in our public prints to the contrary, the reception Bonaparte experienced from his army of England in June last year, the first time he presented himself to them as an Emperor, was far from such as flattered either his vanity or views. For the first days, some few solitary voices alone accompanied the " Vive l'Empereur ! " of his generals, and of his aides-de-camp. This indifference, or, as he called it, mutinous spirit, was so much the more provoking as it was unexpected. He did not, as usual, ascribe it to the emissaries or gold of England, but to the secret adherents of Pichegru and Moreau amongst the brigades or divisions that had served under these unfortunate generals. He ordered, in consequence, his Minister Berthier to make out a list of all these corps. Having obtained this, he separated them by ordering some to Italy, others to Holland, and the rest to the frontiers of Spain and Germany. This act of revenge or jealousy was regarded, both by the officers and men, as a disgrace and as a doubt thrown out against their fidelity, and the murmur was loud and general. In consequence of this, some men were shot, and many more arrested.

Observing, however, that severity had not the desired effect, Bonaparte suddenly changed his conduct, released the imprisoned, and rewarded with the crosses of his Legion of Honour every member of the so lately suspected troops who had ever performed any brilliant or valorous exploits under the proscribed generals. He even incorporated among his own bodyguards and guides men who had served in the same capacity under these rival commanders, and numbers of their children were received in the Prytanees and military free schools. The enthusiastic exclamation that soon greeted his ears convinced him that he had struck upon the right string of his soldiers' hearts. Men who, some few days before, wanted only the signal of a leader to cut an Emperor they hated to pieces, would now have contended who should be foremost to shed their last drop of blood for a chief they adored.

This affected liberality towards the troops who had served under his rivals roused some slight discontent among those to whom he was chiefly indebted for his own laurels. But if he knew the danger of reducing to despair slighted men with arms in their hands, he also was well aware of the equal danger of enduring licentiousness or audacity among troops who had, on all occasions, experienced his preference and partiality ; and he gave a sanguinary proof of his opinion on this subject at the grand parade of the 12th of July, 1804, preparatory to the grand fete of the 14th.

A grenadier of the 21st Regiment (which was known in Italy under the name of the Terrible), in presetting arms to him, said: " Sire ! I have served under you four campaigns, fought under you in ten battles or engagements ; have received in your service seven wounds, and am not a member of your Legion of Honour ; whilst many who served under Moreau, and are not able to show a scratch from an enemy, have that distinction. "

Bonaparte instantly ordered this man to be shot by his own comrades in the front of the regiment. The six grenadiers selected to fire, seeming to hesitate, he commanded the whole corps to lay down their arms, and after being disbanded, to be sent to the different colonial depots. To humiliate them still more, the mutinous grenadier was shot by the gendarmes. When the review was over, " Vive l'Empereur ! " resounded from all parts, and his popularity among the troops has since rather increased than diminished. Nobody can deny that Bonaparte possesses a great presence of mind, an undaunted firmness, and a perfect knowledge of the character of the people over whom he reigns. Could but justice and humanity be added to his other qualities, but, unfortunately for my nation, I fear that the answer of General Mortier to a remark of a friend of mine on this subject is not problematical : " Had, " said this Imperial favourite, " Napoleon Bonaparte been just and humane, he would neither have vanquished nor reigned."

All these scenes occurred before Bonaparte, seated on a throne, received the homage, as a Sovereign, of one hundred and fifty thousand warriors, who now bowed as subjects, after having for years fought for liberty and equality, and sworn hatred to all monarchical institutions ; and who hitherto had saluted and obeyed him only as the first among equals. What an inconsistency ! The splendour and show that accompanied him everywhere, the pageantry and courtly pomp that surrounded him, and the decorations of the stars and ribands of the Legion of Honour, which he distributed with bombastic speeches among troops - to whom those political impositions and social cajoleries were novelties - made such an impression upon them, that had a bridge been then fixed between Calais and Dover, brave as your countrymen are, I should have trembled for the liberty and independence of your country. The heads and imagination of the soldiers, I know from the best authority, were then so exalted that, though they might have been cut to pieces, they could never have been defeated or routed. I pity our children when I reflect that their tranquillity and happiness will, perhaps, depend upon such a corrupt and unprincipled people of soldiers, - easy tools in the hands of every impostor or mountebank.

The lively satisfaction which Bonaparte must have felt at the pinnacle of grandeur where fortune had placed him was not, however, entirely unmixed with uneasiness and vexation. Except at Berlin, in all the other great Courts the Emperor of the French was still Monsieur Bonaparte ; and your country, of the subjugation of which he had spoken with such lightness and such inconsideration, instead of dreading, despised his boasts and defied his threats. Indeed, never before did the Cabinet of St. James more opportunely expose the reality of his impotency, the impertinence of his menaces, and the folly of his parade for the invasion of your country, than by declaring all the ports containing his invincible armada in a state of blockade. I have heard from an officer who witnessed his fury when in May, 1799, he was compelled to retreat from before St. Jean d'Acre, and who was by his side in the camp at Boulogne when a despatch informed him of this circumstance, that it was nothing compared to the violent rage into which he flew upon reading it. For an hour afterwards not even his brother Joseph dared approach him ; and his passion got so far the better of his policy, that what might still have long been concealed from the troops was known within the evening to the whole camp. He dictated to his secretary orders for his Ministers at Vienna, Berlin, Lisbon, and Madrid, and couriers were sent away with them ; but half an hour afterwards other couriers were despatched after them with other orders, which were revoked in their turn, when at last Joseph had succeeded in calming him a little. He passed, however, the whole following night full dressed and agitated ; lying down only for an instant, but having always in his room Joseph and Duroc, and deliberating on a thousand methods of destroying the insolent islanders ; all equally violent, but all equally impracticable.

The next morning, when, as usual, he went to see the manoeuvres of his flotilla, and the embarkation and landing of his troops, he looked so pale that he almost excited pity. Your cruisers, however, as if they had been informed of the situation of our hero, approached unusually near, to evince, as it were, their contempt and, derision. He ordered instantly all the batteries to fire, and went himself to that which carried its shot farthest ; but that moment six of your vessels, after taking down their sails, cast anchors, with the greatest sang-froid, just without the reach of our shot. In an unavailing anger he broke upon the spot six officers of artillery, and pushed one, Captain d' Ablincourt, down the precipice under the battery, where he narrowly escaped breaking his neck as well as his legs ; for which injury he was compensated by being made an officer of the Legion of Honour. Bonaparte then convoked upon the spot a council of his generals of artillery and of the engineers, and, within an hour's time, some guns and mortars of still heavier metal and greater calibre were carried up to replace the others ; but, fortunately for the generals, before a trial could be made of them the tide changed, and your cruisers sailed.

In returning to breakfast at General Soult's, he observed the countenances of his soldiers rather inclined to laughter than to wrath ; and he heard some jests, significant enough in the vocabulary of encampments, and which informed him that contempt was not the sentiment with which your navy had inspired his troops. The occurrences of these two days hastened his departure from the coast for Aix-la-Chapelle, where the cringing of his courtiers consoled him, in part, for the want of respect or gallantry in your English tars.



LETTER X


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - According to a general belief in our diplomatic circles, it was the Austrian Ambassador in France, Count von Cobenzl, who principally influenced the determination of Francis II. to assume the hereditary title of Emperor of Austria, and to acknowledge Napoleon Emperor of the French.

Johann Philipp, Count von Cobenzl, enjoys, not only in his own country, but through all Europe, a great reputation as a statesman, and has for a number of years been employed by his Court in the most intricate and delicate political transactions. In 1790 he was sent to Brabant to treat with the Belgian insurgents ; but the States of Brabant refusing to receive him, he retired to Luxembourg, where he published a proclamation, in which Leopold II revoked all those edicts of his predecessor, Joseph II, which had been the principal cause of the troubles ; and reestablished everything upon the same footing as during the reign of Maria Theresa. In 1791 he was appointed Ambassador to the Court of St. Petersburg, where his conduct obtained the approbation of his own Prince and of the Empress of Russia.

In 1793 the Committee of Public Safety nominated the intriguer, De Semonville, Ambassador to the Ottoman Porte. His mission was to excite the Turks against Austria and Russia, and it became of great consequence to the two Imperial Courts to seize this incendiary of regicides. He was therefore stopped, on the 25th of July, in the village of Novate, near the lake of Chiavenne. A rumour was very prevalent at this time that some papers were found in De Semonville's portfolio implicating Count von Cobenzl as a correspondent with the revolutionary French generals. The continued confidence of his Sovereign contradicts, however, this inculpation, which seems to have been merely the invention of rivalry or jealousy.

In October, 1795, Count von Cobenzl signed, in the name of the Emperor, a treaty with England and Russia ; and in 1797 he was one of the Imperial plenipotentiaries sent to Udine to negotiate with Bonaparte, with whom, on the 17th of October, he signed the Treaty of Campo Formio. In the same capacity he went afterwards to Rastadt, and when this congress broke up, he returned again as an Ambassador to St. Petersburg.

After the Peace of Lunwille, when it required to have a man of experience and talents to oppose to our so deeply able Minister, Talleyrand, the Cabinet of Vienna removed him from Russia to France, where, with all other representatives of Princes, he has experienced more of the frowns and rebukes, than of the dignity and good grace, of our present Sovereign.

Count von Cobenzl's foible is said to be a passion for women ; and it is reported that our worthy Minister, Talleyrand, has been kind enough to assist him frequently in his amours. Some adventures of this sort, which occurred at Rastadt, afforded much amusement at the Count's expense. Talleyrand, from envy, no doubt, does not allow him the same political merit as his other political contemporaries, having frequently repeated that " the official dinners of Count von Cobenzl were greatly preferable to his official notes. "

So well pleased was Bonaparte with this Ambassador when at Aix-la-Chapelle last year, that, as a singular favour, he permitted him, with the Marquis de Gallo (the Neapolitan Minister and another plenipotentiary at Udine), to visit the camps of his army of England on the coast. It is true that this condescension was, perhaps, as much a boast, or a threat, as a compliment.

The famous diplomatic note of Talleyrand, which, at Aix-la-Chapelle proscribed en masse all your diplomatic agents, was only a slight revenge of Bonaparte's for your mandate of blockade. Rumour states that this measure was not approved of by Talleyrand, as it would not exclude any of your Ambassadors from those Courts not immediately under the whip of our Napoleon. For fear, however, of some more extravagant determination, Joseph Bonaparte dissuaded him from laying before his brother any objections or representations. " But what absurdities do I not sign ! " exclaimed the pliant Minister.

Bonaparte, on his arrival at Aix-la-Chapelle, found there, according to command, most of the members of the foreign diplomatic corps in France, waiting to present their new credentials to him as Emperor. Charlemagne had been saluted as such, in the same place, about one thousand years before, - an inducement for the modern Charlemagne to set all these Ambassadors travelling some hundred miles, without any other object but to gratify his impertinent vanity. Every spot where Charlemagne had walked, sat, slept, talked, eaten or prayed, was visited by him with great ostentation ; always dragging behind him the foreign representatives, and by his side his wife. To a peasant who presented him a stone upon which Charlemagne was said to have once kneeled, he gave nearly half its weight in gold ; on a priest who offered him a small crucifix, before which that Prince was reported to have prayed, he bestowed an episcopal see ; to a manufacturer he ordered one thousand louis for a portrait of Charlemagne, said to be drawn by his daughter, but which, in fact, was from the pencil of the daughter of the manufacturer ; a German savant was made a member of the National Institute for an old diploma, supposed to have been signed by Charlemagne, who many believed was not able to write; and a German Baron, Krigge, was registered in the Legion of Honour for a ring presented by this Emperor to one of his ancestors, though his nobility is well known not to be of sixty years' standing. But woe to him who dared to suggest any doubt about what Napoleon believed, or seemed to believe ! A German professor, Richter, more a pedant than a courtier, and more sincere than wise, addressed a short memorial to Bonaparte, in which he proved, from his intimacy with antiquity, that most of the pretended relics of Charlemagne were impositions on the credulous ; that the portrait was a drawing of this century, the diploma written in the last ; the crucifix manufactured within fifty, and the ring, perhaps, within ten years. The night after Bonaparte had perused this memorial, a police commissary, accompanied by four gendarmes, entered the professor's bedroom, forced him to dress, and ushered him into a covered cart, which carried him under escort to the left bank of the Rhine ; where he was left with orders, under pain of death, never more to enter the territory of the French Empire. This expeditious and summary justice silenced all other connoisseurs and antiquarians ; and relics of Charlemagne have since poured in such numbers from all parts of France, Italy, Germany, and even Denmark, that we are here in hope to see one day established a Museum Charlemagne, by the side of the museums Napoleon and Josephine. A ballad, written in monkish Latin, said to be sung by the daughters and maids of Charlemagne at his Court on great festivities, was addressed to Duroc, by a Danish professor, Cranener, who in return was presented, on the part of Bonaparte, with a diamond ring worth twelve thousand livres - L 500. This ballad may, perhaps, be the foundation of future Bibliotheque or Lyceum Charlemagne.



LETTER XI


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - On the arrival of her husband at Aix-la-Chapelle, Madame Napoleon had lost her money by gambling, without recovering her health by using the baths and drinking the waters ; she was, therefore, as poor as low-spirited, and as ill-tempered as dissatisfied. Napoleon himself was neither much in humour to supply her present wants, provide for her extravagances, or to forgive her ill-nature ; he ascribed the inefficacy of the waters to her excesses, and reproached her for her too great condescension to many persons who presented themselves at her drawing-room and in her circle, but who, from their rank in life, were only fit to be seen as supplicants in her antechambers, and as associates with her valets or chambermaids.

The fact was that Madame Napoleon knew as well as her husband that these gentry were not in their place in the company of an Empress ; but they were her creditors, some of them even Jews ; and as long as she continued debtor to them she could not decently - or rather, she dared not prevent them from being visitors to her. By confiding her situation to her old friend, Talleyrand, she was, however, soon released from those troublesome personages. When the Minister was informed of the occasion of the attendance of these impertinent intruders, he humbly proposed to Bonaparte not to pay their demands and their due, but to make them examples of severe justice in transporting them to Cayenne, as the only sure means to prevent, for the future, people of the same description from being familiar or audacious.

When, thanks to Talleyrand's interference, these family arrangements were settled, Madame Napoleon recovered her health with her good-humour ; and her husband, who had begun to forget the English blockade, only to think of the papal accolade (dubbing), was more tender than ever. I am assured that, during the fortnight he continued with his wife at Aix-la-Chapelle, he only shut her up or confined her twice, kicked her three times, and abused her once a day.

It was during their residence in that capital that Comte de Segur at last completed the composition of their household, and laid before them the list of the ladies and gentlemen who had consented to put on their livery. This De Segur is a kind of amphibious animal, neither a royalist nor a republican, neither a democrat nor an aristocrat, but a disaffected subject under a King, a dangerous citizen of a Commonwealth, ridiculing both the friend of equality and the defender of prerogatives; no exact definition can be given, from his past conduct and avowed professions, of his real moral and political character. One thing only is certain ; - he was an ungrateful traitor to Louis XVI, and is a submissive slave under Napoleon the First.

Though not of an ancient family, Comte de Segur was a nobleman by birth, and ranked among the ancient French nobility because one of his ancestors had been a Field-marshal. Being early introduced at Court, he acquired, with the common corruption, also the pleasing manners of a courtier ; and by his assiduities about the Ministers, Comte de Maurepas and Comte de Vergennes, he procured from the latter the place of an Ambassador to the Court of St. Petersburg. With some reading and genius, but with more boasting and presumption, he classed himself among French men of letters, and was therefore as such received with distinction by Catharine II, on whom, and on whose Government, he in return published a libel. He was a valet under La Fayette, in 1789, as he has since been under every succeeding King of faction. The partisans of the Revolution pointed him out as a fit Ambassador from Louis XVI. to the late King of Prussia ; and he went in 1791 to Berlin, in that capacity ; but Frederick William II. refused him admittance to his person, and, after some ineffectual intrigues with the Illuminati and philosophers at Berlin, he returned to Paris as he left it ; provided, however, with materials for another libel on the Prussian Monarch, and on the House of Brandenburgh, which he printed in 1796. Ruined by the Revolution which he had so much admired, he was imprisoned under Robespierre, and was near starving under the Directory, having nothing but his literary productions to subsist on. In 1799, Bonaparte made him a legislator, and in 1803, a Counsellor of State, - a place which he resigned last year for that of a grand master of the ceremonies at the present Imperial Court. His ancient inveteracy against your country has made him a favourite with Bonaparte. The indelicate and scandalous attacks, in 1796 and 1797, against Lord Malmesbury, in the then official journal, Le Redacteur, were the offspring of his malignity and pen ; and the philippics and abusive notes in our present official Moniteur, against your Government and country, are frequently his patriotic progeny, or rather, he often shares with Talleyrand and Hauterive their paternity.

The Revolution has not made Comte de Segur more happy with regard to his family, than in his circumstances, which, notwithstanding his brilliant grand-mastership, are far from being affluent. His amiable wife died of terror, and brokenhearted from the sufferings she had experienced, and the atrocities she had witnessed; and when he had enticed his eldest son to accept the place of a sub-prefect under Bonaparte, his youngest son, who never approved our present regeneration, challenged his brother to fight, and, after killing him in a duel, destroyed himself. Comte de Segur is therefore, at present, neither a husband nor a father, but only a grand master of ceremonies ! What an indemnification !

Madame Napoleon and her husband are both certainly under much obligation to this nobleman for his care to procure them comparatively decent persons to decorate their levees and drawing-rooms, who, though they have no claim either to morality or virtue, either to honour or chastity, are undoubtedly a great acquisition at the Court of St. Cloud, because none of them has either been accused of murder, or convicted of plunder ; which is the case with some of the Ministers, and most of the generals, Senators and counsellors. It is true that they are a mixture of beggared nobles and enriched valets, of married courtesans and divorced wives, but, for all that, they can with justice demand the places of honour of all other Imperial courtiers of both sexes.

When Bonaparte had read over the names of these Court recruits, engaged and enlisted by De Segur, he said, " Well, this lumber must do until we can exchange it for better furniture. " At that time, young Comte d'Arberg (of a German family, on the right bank of the Rhine), but whose mother is one of Madame Bonaparte's Maids of Honour, was travelling for him in Germany and in Prussia, where, among other negotiations, he was charged to procure some persons of both sexes, of the most ancient nobility, to augment Napoleon's suite, and to figure in his livery. More individuals presented themselves for this honour than he wanted, but they were all without education and without address : ignorant of the world as of books ; not speaking well their own language, much less understanding French or Italian ; vain of their birth, but not ashamed of their ignorance, and as proud as poor. This project was therefore relinquished for the time; but a number of the children of the principal ci-devant German nobles, who, by the Treaty of Luneville and Ratisbon, had become subjects of Bonaparte, were, by the advice of Talleyrand, offered places in French Prytanees, where the Emperor promised to take care of their future advancement. Madame Bonaparte, at the same time, selected twenty-five young girls of the same families, whom she also offered to educate at her expense. Their parents understood too well the meaning of these generous offers to dare decline their acceptance. These children are the plants of the Imperial nursery, intended to produce future pages, chamberlains, equerries, Maids of Honour and ladies in waiting, who for ancestry may bid defiance to all their equals of every Court in Christendom. This act of benevolence, as it was called in some German papers, is also an indirect chastisement of the refractory French nobility, who either demanded too high prices for their degradation, or abruptly refused to disgrace the names of their forefathers.



BOOK II.


LETTER XII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Bonaparte has been as profuse in his disposal of the Imperial diadem of Germany, as in his promises of the papal tiara of Rome. The Houses of Austria and Brandenburgh, the Electors of Bavaria and Baden, have by turns been cajoled into a belief of his exclusive support towards obtaining it at the first vacancy. Those, however, who have paid attention to his machinations, and studied his actions ; who remember his pedantic affectation of being considered a modern, or rather a second Charlemagne ; and who have traced his steps through the labyrinth of folly and wickedness, of meanness and greatness, of art, corruption, and policy, which have seated him on the present throne, can entertain little doubt but that he is seriously bent on seizing and adding the sceptre of Germany to the crowns of France and Italy.

During his stay last autumn at Mentz, all those German Electors who had spirit and dignity enough to refuse to attend on him there in person were obliged to send Extraordinary Ambassadors to wait on him, and to compliment him on their part. Though hardly one corner of the veil that covered the intrigues going forward there is yet lifted up, enough is already seen to warn Europe and alarm the world. The secret treaties he concluded there with most of the petty Princes of Germany, against the Chief of the German Empire which not only entirely detached them from their country and its legitimate Sovereign, but made their individual interests hostile and totally opposite to that of the German Commonwealth, transforming them also from independent Princes into vassals of France), both directly increased has already gigantic power, and indirectly encouraged him to extend it beyond what his most sanguine expectation had induced him to hope. I do not make this assertion from a mere supposition in consequence of ulterior occurrences. At a supper with Madame Talleyrand last March, I heard her husband, in a gay, unguarded, or perhaps premeditated moment, say, when mentioning his proposed journey to Italy :

" I prepared myself to pass the Alps last October at Mentz. The first ground-stone of the throne of Italy was, strange as it may seem, laid on the banks of the Rhine : with such an extensive foundation, it must be difficult to shake, and impossible to overturn it. "

We were, in the whole, twenty-five persons at table when he spoke thus, many of whom, he well knew, were intimately acquainted both with the Austrian and Prussian Ambassadors, who by the bye, both on the next day sent couriers to their respective Courts.

The French Revolution is neither seen in Germany in that dangerous light which might naturally be expected from the sufferings in which it has involved both Princes and subjects, nor are its future effects dreaded from its past enormities. The cause of this impolitic and anti-patriotic apathy is to be looked for in the palaces of Sovereigns, and not in the dwellings of their people. There exists hardly a single German Prince whose Ministers, courtiers and counsellors are not numbered, and have long been notorious among the anti-social conspirators, the Illuminati : most of them are knaves of abilities, who have usurped the easy direction of ignorance, or forced themselves as guides on weakness or folly, which bow to their charlatanism as if it was sublimity, and hail their sophistry and imposture as inspiration.

Among Princes thus encompassed, the Elector of Bavaria must be allowed the first place. A younger brother of a younger branch, and a colonel in the service of Louis XVI, he neither acquired by education, nor inherited from nature, any talent to reign, nor possessed any one quality that fitted him for a higher situation than the head of a regiment or a lady's drawing-room. He made himself justly suspected of a moral corruption, as well as of a natural incapacity, when he announced his approbation of the Revolution against his benefactor, the late King of France, who, besides a regiment, had also given him a yearly pension of one hundred thousand livres. Immediately after his unexpected accession to the Electorate of Bavaria, he concluded a subsidiary treaty with your country, and his troops were ordered to combat rebellion, under the standard of Austrian loyalty. For some months it was believed that the Elector wished by his conduct to obliterate the memory of the errors, vices, and principles of the Duc de Deux-Ponts (his former title). But placing all his confidence in a political adventurer and revolutionary fanatic, Montgelas, without either consistency or firmness, without being either bent upon information or anxious about popularity, he threw the whole burden of State on the shoulders of this dangerous man, who soon showed the world that his master, by his first treaties, intended only to pocket your money without serving your cause or interest.

This Montgelas is, on account of his cunning and long standing among them, worshipped by the gang of German Illuminati as an idol rather than revered as an apostle. He is their Baal, before whom they hope to oblige all nations upon earth to prostrate themselves as soon as infidelity has entirely banished Christianity ; for the Illuminati do not expect to reign till the last Christian is buried under the rubbish of the last altar of Christ. It is not the fault of Montgelas if such an event has not already occurred in the Electorate of Bavaria.

Within six months after the Treaty of Luneville, Montgelas began in that country his political and religious innovations. The nobility and the clergy were equally attacked ; the privileges of the former were invaded, and the property of the latter confiscated ; and had not his zeal carried him too far, so as to alarm our new nobles, our new men of property, and new Christians, it is very probable that atheism would have already, without opposition, reared its head in the midst of Germany, and proclaimed there the rights of man, and the code of liberty and equality.

The inhabitants of Bavaria are, as you know, all Roman Catholics, and the most superstitious and ignorant Catholics of Germany. The step is but short from superstition to infidelity ; and ignorance has furnished in France more sectaries of atheism than perversity. The Illuminati, brothers and friends of Montgelas, have not been idle in that country. Their writings have perverted those who had no opportunity to hear their speeches, or to witness their example ; and I am assured by Count von Beust, who travelled in Bavaria last year, that their progress among the lower classes is astonishing, considering the short period these emissaries have laboured. To any one looking on the map of the Continent, and acquainted with the spirit of our times, this impious focus of illumination must be ominous.

Among the members of the foreign diplomatic corps, there exists not the least doubt but that this Montgelas, as well as Bonaparte's Minister at Munich, Otto, was acquainted with the treacherous part Mehee de la Touche played against your Minister, Drake ; and that it was planned between him and Talleyrand as the surest means to break off all political connections between your country and Bavaria. Mr. Drake was personally liked by the Elector, and was not inattentive either to the plans and views of Montgelas or to the intrigues of Otto. They were, therefore, both doubly interested to remove such a troublesome witness.

M. de Montgelas is now a grand officer of Bonaparte's Legion of Honour, and he is one of the few foreigners nominated the most worthy of such a distinction. In France he would have been an acquisition either to the factions of a Murat, of a Brissot, or of a Robespierre ; and the Goddess of Reason, as well as the God of the Theophilanthropists, might have been sure of counting him among their adorers. At the clubs of the Jacobins or Cordeliers, in the fraternal societies, or in a revolutionary tribunal ; in the Committee of Public Safety, or in the council chamber of the Directory, he would equally have made himself notorious and been equally in his place. A stoic sans-culotte under Du Clots, a stanch republican under Robespierre, he would now have been the most pliant and brilliant courtier of Bonaparte.



LETTER XIII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - No Queen of France ever saw so many foreign Princes and Princesses in her drawing-rooms as the first Empress of the French did last year at Mentz ; and no Sovereign was ever before so well paid, or accepted with less difficulty donations and presents for her gracious protection. Madame Napoleon herself, on her return to this capital last October, boasted that she was ten millions of livres - richer in diamonds ; two millions of livres richer in pearls, and three million of livres richer in plate and china, than in the June before, when she quitted it. She acknowledged that she left behind her some creditors and some money at Aix-la-Chapelle ; but at Mentz she did not want to borrow, nor had she time to gamble. The gallant ultra Romans provided everything, even to the utmost extent of her wishes; and she, on her part, could not but honour those with her company as much as possible, particularly as they required nothing else for their civilities. Such was the Empress's expression to her lady in waiting, the handsome Madame Seran, with whom no confidence, no tale, no story, and no scandal expires ; and who was in a great hurry to inform, the same evening, the tea-party at Madame de Beauvais's of this good news, complaining at the same time of not having had the least share in this rich harvest.

Nowhere, indeed, were bribery and corruption carried to a greater extent, or practised with more effrontery, than at Mentz. Madame Napoleon had as much her fixed price for every favourable word she spoke, as Talleyrand had for every line he wrote. Even the attendants of the former, and the clerks of the latter, demanded, or rather extorted, douceurs from the exhausted and almost ruined German petitioners ; who in the end were rewarded for all their meanness and for all their expenses with promises at best ; as the new plan of supplementary indemnities was, on the very day proposed for its final arrangement, postponed by the desire of the Emperor of the French, until further orders. This provoking delay could no more be foreseen by the Empress than by the Minister, who, in return for their presents and money almost overpowered the German Princes with his protestations of regret at their disappointments. Nor was Madame Bonaparte less sorry or less civil. She sent her chamberlain, Daubusson la Feuillade, with regular compliments of condolence to every Prince who had enjoyed her protection. They returned to their homes, therefore, if not wealthier, at least happier ; flattered by assurances and condescensions, confiding in hope as in certainties. Within three months, however, it is supposed that they would willingly have disposed both of promises and expectations at a loss of fifty per cent.

By the cupidity and selfishness of these and other German Princes, and their want of patriotism, Talleyrand was become perfectly acquainted with the value and production of every principality, bishopric, county, abbey, barony, convent, and even village in the German Empire ; and though most national property in France was disposed of at one or two years' purchase, he required five years' purchase-money for all the estates and lands on the other side of the Rhine, of which, under the name of indemnities, he stripped the lawful owners to gratify the ambition or avidity of intruders. This high price has cooled the claims of the bidders, and the plan of the supplementary indemnities is still suspended, and probably will continue so until our Minister lowers his terms. A combination is supposed to have been entered into by the chief demanders of indemnities, by which they have bound themselves to resist all farther extortions. They do not, however, know the man they have to deal with; he will, perhaps, find out some to lay claim to their own private and hereditary property whom he will produce and support, and who certainly will have the same right to pillage them as they had to the spoils of others.

It was reported in our fashionable circles last autumn, and smiled at by Talleyrand, that he promised the Comtesse de L... an abbey, and the Baroness de S…z a convent, for certain personal favours, and that he offered a bishopric to the Princesse of Hon… - the same terms, but this lady answered that " she would think of his offers after he had put her husband in possession of the bishopric." It is not necessary to observe that both the Countess and the Baroness are yet waiting to enjoy his liberal donations, and to be indemnified for their prostitution.

Napoleon Bonaparte was attacked by a fit of jealousy at Mentz. The young nephew of the Elector Arch-Chancellor, Comte de L…ge, was very assiduous about the Empress, who, herself, at first mistook the motive. Her confidential secretary, Deschamps, however, afterwards informed her that this nobleman wanted to purchase the place of a coadjutor to his uncle, so as to be certain of succeeding him. He obtained, therefore, several private audiences, no doubt to regulate the price, when Napoleon put a stop to this secret negotiation by having the Count carried by gendarmes, with great politeness, to the other side of the Rhine. When convinced of his error, Bonaparte asked his wife what sum had been promised for her protection, and immediately gave her an order on his Minister of the Treasury (Marbois) for the amount. This was an act of justice, and a reparation worthy of a good and tender husband ; but when, the very next day, he recalled this order, threw it into the fire before her eyes, and confined her for six hours in her bedroom; because she was not dressed in time to take a walk with him on the ramparts, one is apt to believe that military despotism has erased from his bosom all connubial affection, and that a momentary effusion of kindness and generosity can but little alleviate the frequent pangs caused by repeated insults and oppression. Fortunately, Madame Napoleon's disposition is proof against rudeness as well as against brutality. If what her friend and consoler, Madame Delucay, reports of her is not exaggerated, her tranquillity is not much disturbed nor her happiness affected by these explosions of passionate authority, and she prefers admiring, in undisturbed solitude, her diamond box to the most beautiful prospects in the most agreeable company ; and she inspects with more pleasure in confinement, her rich wardrobe, her beautiful china, and her heavy plate, than she would find satisfaction, surrounded with crowds, in comtemplating Nature, even in its utmost perfection. " The paradise of Madame Napoleon, " says her friend, " must be of metal, and lighted by the lustre of brilliants, else she would decline it for a hell and accept Lucifer himself for a spouse, provided gold flowed in his infernal domains, though she were even to be scorched by its heat. "



LETTER XIV


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - I believe that I have mentioned to you, when in England, that I was an old acquaintance of Madame Napoleon, and a visitor at the house of her first husband. When introduced to her after some years' absence, during which fortune had treated us very differently, she received me with more civility than I was prepared to expect, and would, perhaps, have spoken to me more than she did, had not a look of her husband silenced her. Madame Louis Bonaparte was still more condescending, and recalled to my memory what I had not forgotten how often she had been seated, when a child, on my lap, and played on my knees with her doll. Thus they behaved to me when I saw them for the first time in their present elevation; I found them afterwards, in their drawing-rooms or at their routs and parties, more shy and distant. This change did not much surprise me, as I hardly knew any one that had the slightest pretension to their acquaintance who had not troubled them for employment or borrowed their money, at the same time that they complained of their neglect and their breach of promises. I continued, however, as much as etiquette and decency required, assiduous, but never familiar : if they addressed me, I answered with respect, but not with servility ; if not, I bowed in silence when they passed. They might easily perceive that I did not intend to become an intruder, nor to make the remembrance of what was past an apology or a reason for applying for present favours. A lady, on intimate terms with Madame Napoleon, and once our common friend, informed me, shortly after the untimely end of the lamented Duc d' Enghien, that she had been asked whether she knew anything that could be done for me, or whether I would not be flattered by obtaining a place in the Legislative Body or in the Tribunate ? I answered as I thought, that were I fit for a public life nothing could be more agreeable or suit me better ; but, having hitherto declined all employments that might restrain that independence to which I had accustomed myself from my youth, I was now too old to enter upon a new career. I added that, though the Revolution had reduced my circumstances, it had not entirely ruined me. I was still independent, because my means were the boundaries of my wants.

A week after this conversation General Murat, the governor of this capital, and Bonaparte's favourite brother-in-law, invited me to a conversation in a note delivered to me by an aide-de-camp, who told me that he was ordered to wait for my company, or, which was the same, he had orders not to lose sight of me, as I was his prisoner. Having nothing with which to reproach myself, and all my written remarks being deposited with a friend, whom none of the Imperial functionaries could suspect, I entered a hackney coach without any fear or apprehension; and we drove to the governor's hotel.

From the manner in which Murat addressed me, I was soon convinced that if I had been accused of any error or indiscretion, the accusation could not be very grave in his eyes. He entered with me into his closet and inquired whether I had any enemies at the police office. I told him not to my knowledge.

" Is the Police Minister and Senator, Fouche, your friend ? " continued he.

" Fouche, " said I, " has bought an estate that formerly belonged to me ; may he enjoy it with the same peace of mind as I have lost it. I have never spoken to him in my life. "

" Have you not complained at Madame de la Force's of the execution of the ci-devant Duc d'Enghien, and agreed with the other members of her coterie to put on mourning for him ? "

" I have never been at the house of that lady since the death of the Prince, nor more than once in my life. "

" Where did you pass the evening last Saturday ? " - " At the hotel, and in the assembly of Princesse Louis Bonaparte. "

" Did she see you ? "

" I believe that she did, because she returned my salute. "

" You have known Her Imperial Highness a long time ? "

" From her infancy. "

" Well, I congratulate you. You have in her a generous protectress. But for her you would now have been on the way to Cayenne. Here you see the list of persons condemned yesterday, upon the report of Fouche, to transportation. Your name is at the head of them. You were not only accused of being an agent of the Bourbons, but of having intrigued to become a member of the Legislature, or the Tribunate, that you might have so much the better opportunity to serve them. Fortunately for you, the Emperor remembered that the Princesse Louis had demanded such a favour for you, and he informed her of the character of her protege. This brought forward your innocence, because it was discovered that, instead of asking for, you had declined the offer she had made you through the Empress. Write the Princess a letter of thanks. You have, indeed, had a narrow escape, but it has been so far useful to you, that Government is now aware of your having some secret enemy in power, who is not delicate about the means of injuring you."

In quitting General Murat, I could not help deploring the fate of a despot, even while I abhorred his unnatural power. The curses, the complaints, and reproaches for all the crimes, all the violence, all the oppression perpetrated in his name, are entirely thrown upon him, while his situation and occupation do not admit the seeing and hearing everything and everybody himself. He is often forced, therefore, to judge according to the report of an impostor ; to sanction with his name the hatred, malignity, or vengeance of culpable individuals ; and to sacrifice innocence to gratify the vile passions of his vilest slave. I have not so bad an opinion of Bonaparte as to think him capable of wilfully condemning any person to death or transportation, of whose innocence he was convinced, provided that person stood not in the way of his interest and ambition ; but suspicion and tyranny are inseparable companions, and injustice their common progeny. The unfortunate beings on the long list General Murat showed me were, I dare say, most of them as innocent as myself, and all certainly condemned unheard. But suppose, even, that they had been indiscreet enough to put on mourning for a Prince of the blood of their former Kings, did their imprudence deserve the same punishment as the deed of the robber, the forger, or the housebreaker ? and, indeed, it was more severe than what our laws inflict on such criminals, who are only condemned to transportation for some few years, after a public trial and conviction ; while the exile of these unconvicted, untried, and most probably innocent persons is continued for life, on charges as unknown to themselves as their destiny and residence remain to their families and friends. Happy England ! where no one is condemned unheard, and no one dares attempt to make the laws subservient to his passions or caprice.

As to Fouche's enmity, at which General Murat so plainly hinted, I had long apprehended it from what others, in similar circumstances with myself, had suffered. He has, since the Revolution, bought no less, than sixteen national estates, seven of the former proprietors of which have suddenly disappeared since his Ministry, probably in the manner he intended to remove me. This man is one of the most immoral characters the Revolution has dragged forward from obscurity. It is more difficult to mention a crime that he has not perpetrated than to discover a good or just action that he ever performed. He is so notorious a villain that even the infamous National Convention expelled him from its bosom, and since his Ministry no man has been found base enough, in my debased country, to extenuate, much less to defend, his past enormities. In a nation so greatly corrupted and immoral, this alone is more than negative evidence.

As a friar before the Revolution he has avowed, in his correspondence with the National Convention, that he never believed in a God ; and as one of the first public functionaries of a Republic he has officially denied the existence of virtue. He is, therefore, as unmoved by tears as by reproaches, and as inaccessible to remorse as hardened against repentance. With him interest and bribes are everything, and honour and honesty nothing. The supplicant or the pleader who appears before him with no other support than the justice of his cause is fortunate indeed if, after being cast, he is not also confined or ruined, and perhaps both ; while a line from one of the Bonapartes, or a purse of gold, changes black to white, guilt to innocence, removes the scaffold waiting for the assassin, and extinguishes the faggots lighted for the parricide. His authority is so extensive that on the least signal, with one blow, from the extremities of France to her centre, it crushes the cot and the palace; and his decisions, against which there is no appeal, are so destructive that they never leave any traces behind them, and Bonaparte, Bonaparte alone, can prevent or arrest their effect.

Though a traitor to his former benefactor, the ex-Director Barras, he possesses now the unlimited confidence of Napoleon Bonaparte, and, as far as is known, has not yet done anything to forfeit it, - if private acts of cruelty cannot, in the agent of a tyrant, be called breach of trust or infidelity. He shares with Talleyrand the fraternity of the vigilant, immoral, and tormenting secret police; and with Real, and Dubois, the prefect of police, the reproduction, or rather the invention, of new tortures and improved racks ; the oubliettes, which are wells or pits dug under the Temple and most other prisons, are the works of his own infernal genius. They are covered with trap-doors, and any person whom the rack has mutilated, or not obliged to speak out ; whose return to society is thought dangerous, or whose discretion is suspected ; who has been imprisoned by mistake, or discovered to be innocent ; who is disagreeable to the Bonapartes, their favourites, or the mistresses of their favourites; who has displeased Fouche, or offended some other placeman ; any who have refused to part with their property for the recovery of their liberty, are all precipitated into these artificial abysses there to be forgotten ; or worse, to be starved to death, if they have not been fortunate enough to break their necks and be killed by the fall.

The property Fouche has acquired by his robberies within these last twelve years is at the lowest rate valued at fifty million livres - which must increase yearly ; as a man who disposes of the liberty of fifty millions of people is also, in a great part, master of their wealth. Except the chiefs of the Governments and their officers of State, there exists not an inhabitant of France, Italy, Holland, or Switzerland who can consider himself secure for an instant of not being seized, imprisoned, plundered, tortured, or exterminated by the orders of Fouche and by the hands of his agents.

You will no doubt exclaim, " How can Bonaparte employ, how dares he confide, in such a man ? " Fouche is as able as unprincipled, and, with the most unfeeling and perverse heart, possesses great talents. There is no infamy he will not stoop to, and no crime, however execrable, that he will hesitate to commit, if his Sovereign orders it. He is, therefore, a most useful instrument in the hand of a despot who, notwithstanding what is said to the contrary in France, and believed abroad, would cease to rule the day he became just, and the reign of laws and of humanity banished terror and tyranny.

It is reported that some person, pious or revengeful, presented some time ago to the devout mother of Napoleon a long memorial containing some particulars of the crimes and vices of Fouche and Talleyrand, and required of her, if she wished to prevent the curses of Heaven from falling on her son, to inform him of them, that he might cease to employ men so unworthy of him, and so repugnant to a Divinity. Napoleon, after reading through the memorial, is stated to have answered his mother, who was always pressing him to dismiss these Ministers : The memorial, Madame, contains nothing of what I was not previously informed. Louis XVI. did not select any but those whom he thought the most virtuous and moral of men for his Ministers and counsellors ; and where did their virtues and morality bring him ? If the writer of the memorial will mention two honest and irreproachable characters, with equal talents and zeal to serve me, neither Fouche nor Talleyrand shall again be admitted into my presence. "



LETTER XV


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD: - You have with some reason in England complained of the conduct of the members of the foreign diplomatic corps in France, when the pretended correspondence between Mr. Drake and Mehee de la Touche was published in our official gazette. Had you, however, like myself, been in a situation to study the characters and appreciate the worth of most of them, this conduct would have excited no surprise, and pity would have taken the place both of accusation and reproach. Hardly one of them, except Count Philipp von Cobenzl, the Austrian Ambassador (and even he is considerably involved), possesses any property, or has anything else but his salary to depend upon for subsistence. The least offence to Bonaparte or Talleyrand would instantly deprive them of their places ; and, unless they were fortunate enough to obtain some other appointment, reduce them to live in obscurity, and perhaps in want, upon a trifling pension in their own country.

The day before Mr. Drake's correspondence appeared in the Moniteur, in March, 1804, Talleyrand gave a grand diplomatic dinner ; in the midst of which, as was previously agreed with Bonaparte, Duroc called him out on the part of the First Consul. After an absence of near an hour, which excited great curiosity and some alarm among the diplomatists, he returned, very thoughtful and seemingly very low-spirited.

" Excuse me, gentlemen, " said he, " I have been impolite against my inclination. The First Consul knew that you honoured me with your company today, and would therefore not have interrupted me by his orders had not a discovery of a most extraordinary nature against the law of nations just been made ; a discovery which calls for the immediate indignation against the Cabinet of St. James, not only of France, but of every nation that wishes for the preservation of civilized society. After dinner I shall do myself the honour of communicating to you the particulars, well convinced that you will all enter with warmth into the just resentment of the First Consul. "

During the repast the bottle went freely round, and as soon as they had drunk their coffee and liqueurs, Talleyrand rang a bell, and Hauterive presented himself with a large bundle of papers. The pretended original letters of Mr. Drake were handed about with the commentaries of the Minister and his secretary. Their heads heated with wine, it was not difficult to influence their minds, or to mislead their judgment, and they exclaimed, as in a chorus, " C'est abominable ! Cela fait fremir ! "

Talleyrand took advantage of their situation, as well as of their indiscretion. " I am glad, gentlemen, " said he, " and shall not fail to inform the First Consul of your unanimous sentiments on this disagreeable subject ; but verbal expressions are not sufficient in an affair of such great consequence. I have orders to demand your written declarations, which, after what you have already expressed, you cannot hesitate about sending to me to-night, that they may accompany the denunciation which the First Consul despatches, within some few hours, to all the Courts on the Continent. You would much please the First Consul were you to write as near as possible according to the formula which my secretary has drawn up. It states nothing either against convenance, or against the customs of Sovereigns, or etiquettes of Courts, and I am certain is also perfectly congenial with your individual feelings. "

A silence of some moments now followed (as all the diplomatists were rather taken by surprise with regard to a written declaration), which the Swedish Ambassador, Baron Ehrensward, interrupted by saying that, " though he personally might have no objection to sign such a declaration, he must demand some time to consider whether he had a right to, write in the name of his Sovereign, without his orders, on a subject still unknown to him. " This remark made the Austrian Ambassador, Count von Cobenzl, propose a private consultation among the members of the foreign diplomatic corps at one of their hotels, at which the Russian charge d'affaires, D'Oubril, who was not at the dinner-party, was invited to assist. They met accordingly, at the Hotel de Montmorency, Rue de Lille, occupied by Count von Cobenzl; but they came to no other unanimous determination than that of answering a written communication of Talleyrand by a written note, according as every one judged most proper and prudent, and corresponding with the supposed sentiments of his Sovereign.

As all this official correspondence has been published in England, you may, upon reading the notes presented by Baron de Dreyer, and Mr. Livingstone,

[In consequence of this conduct, Livingstone was recalled by his Government, and lives now in obscurity and disgrace in America. To console him, however, in his misfortune, Bonaparte, on his departure, presented him with his portrait, enamelled on the lid of a snuff-box, set round with diamonds, and valued at one thousand louis d'or.]

the neutral Ambassadors of Denmark and America, form some tolerably just idea of Talleyrand's formula. Their impolitic servility was blamed even by the other members of the diplomatic corps.

Livingstone you know, and perhaps have not to learn that, though a stanch republican in America, he was the most abject courtier in France; and though a violent defender of liberty and equality on the other side of the Atlantic, no man bowed lower to usurpation, or revered despotism more, in Europe. Without talents, and almost without education, he thinks intrigues negotiations, and conceives that policy and duplicity are synonymous. He was called here " the courier of Talleyrand, " on account of his voyages to England, and his journeys to Holland, where this Minister sent him to intrigue, with less ceremony than one of his secret agents. He acknowledged that no Government was more liberal, and no nation more free, than the British ; but he hated the one as much as he abused the other ; and he did not conceal sentiments that made him always so welcome to Bonaparte and Talleyrand. Never over nice in the choice of his companions, Arthur O'Connor, and other Irish traitors and vagabonds, used his house as their own ; so much so that, when he invited other Ambassadors to dine with him, they, before they accepted the invitation, made a condition that no outlaws or adventurers should be of the party.

In your youth, Baron de Dreyer was an Ambassador from the Court of Copenhagen to that of St. James. He has since been in the same capacity to the Courts of St. Petersburg and Madrid. Born a Norwegian, of a poor and obscure family, he owes his advancement to his own talents ; but these, though they have procured him rank, have left him without a fortune. When he came here, in June, 1797, from Spain, he brought a mistress with him, and several children he had had by her during his residence in that country. He also kept an English mistress some thirty years ago in London, by whom he had a son, M. Guillaumeau, who is now his secretary. Thus encumbered, and thus situated at the age of seventy, it is no surprise if he strives to die at his post, and that fear to offend Bonaparte and Talleyrand sometimes gets the better of his prudence.

In Denmark, as well as in all other Continental States, the pensions of diplomatic invalids are more scanty than those of military ones, and totally insufficient for a man who, during half a century nearly, has accustomed himself to a certain style of life, and to expenses requisite to represent his Prince with dignity. No wonder, therefore, that Baron de Dreyer prefers Paris to Copenhagen, and that the cunning Talleyrand takes advantage of this preference.

It was reported here among our foreign diplomatists, that the English Minister in Denmark complained of the contents of Baron de Dreyer's note concerning Mr. Drake's correspondence; and that the Danish Prime Minister, Count von Bernstorff, wrote to him in consequence, by the order of the Prince Royal, a severe reprimand. This act of political justice is, however, denied by him, under pretence that the Cabinet of Copenhagen has laid it down as an invariable rule, never to reprimand, but always to displace those of its agents with whom it has reason to be discontented. Should this be the case, no Sovereign in Europe is better served by his representatives than his Danish Majesty, because no one seldomer changes or removes them.

While I am speaking of diplomatists, I cannot forbear giving you a short sketch of one whose weight in the scale of politics entitles him to particular notice : I mean the Count von Haugwitz, insidiously complimented by Talleyrand with the title of " The Prince of Neutrality, the Sully of Prussia. " Christian Henry Curce, Count von Haugwitz, who, until lately, has been the chief director of the political conscience of His Prussian Majesty, as his Minister of the Foreign Department, was born in Silesia, and is the son of a nobleman who was a General in the Austrian service when Frederick the Great made the conquest of that country. At the death of this King in 1786, Count von Haugwitz occupied an inferior place in the foreign office, where Count von Herzburg observed his zeal and assiduity, and recommended him to the notice of the late King Frederick William II. By the interest of the celebrated Bishopswerder, he procured, in 1792, the appointment of an Ambassador to the Court of Vienna, where he succeeded Baron von Jacobi, the present Prussian Minister in your country. In the autumn of the same year he went to Ratisbon, to cooperate with the Austrian Ambassador, and to persuade the Princes of the German Empire to join the coalition against France. In the month of March, 1794, he was sent to the Hague, where he negotiated with Lord Malmesbury concerning the affairs of France ; shortly afterwards his nomination as a Minister of State took place, and from that time his political sentiments seem to have undergone a revolution, for which it is not easy to account ; but, whatever were the causes of his change of opinions, the Treaty of Basle, concluded between France and Prussia in 1795, was certainly negotiated under his auspices ; and in August, 1796, he signed, with the French Minister at Berlin, Citizen Caillard, the first and famous Treaty of Neutrality; and a Prussian cordon was accordingly drawn, to cause the neutrality of the North to be observed and protected. Had the Count von Haugwitz of 1795 been the same as the Count von Haugwitz of 1792, it is probable we should no longer have heard of either a French Republic or a French Empire ; but a legitimate Monarch of the kingdom of France would have ensured that security to all other legitimate Sovereigns, the want of which they themselves, or their children, will feel and mourn in vain, as long as unlimited usurpations tyrannize over my wretched country. It is to be hoped, however, that the good sense of the Count will point out to him, before it is too late, the impolicy of his present connections; and that he will use his interest with his Prince to persuade him to adopt a line of conduct suited to the grandeur and dignity of the Prussian Monarchy, and favourable to the independence of insulted Europe.

When his present Prussian Majesty succeeded to the throne, Count von Haugwitz continued in office, with increased influence ; but he some time since resigned, in consequence, it is said, of a difference of opinion with the other Prussian Ministers on the subject of a family alliance, which Bonaparte had the modesty to propose, between the illustrious house of Napoleon the First and the royal line of Brandenburgh.

On this occasion his King, to evince his satisfaction with his past conduct, bestowed on him not only a large pension, but an estate in Silesia, where he before possessed some property. Bonaparte also, to express his regret at his retreat, proclaimed His Excellency a grand officer of the Legion of Honour.

Talleyrand insolently calls the several cordons, or ribands, distributed by Bonaparte among the Prussian Ministers and Generals, " his leading- strings. " It is to be hoped that Frederick William III. is sufficiently upon his guard to prevent these strings from strangling the Prussian Monarchy and the Brandenburgh dynasty.



LETTER XVI


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Upwards of two months after my visit to General Murat, I was surprised at the appearance of M. Darjuson, the chamberlain of Princesse Louis Bonaparte. He told me that he came on the part of Prince Louis, who honoured me with an invitation to dine with him the day after. Upon my inquiry whether he knew if the party would be very numerous, he answered, between forty and fifty ; and that it was a kind of farewell dinner, because the Prince intended shortly to set out for Compiegne to assume the command of the camp, formed in its vicinity, of the dragoons and other light troops of the army of England.

The principal personages present at this dinner were Joseph Bonaparte and his wife, General and Madame Murat, the Ministers Berthier, Talleyrand, Fouche, Chaptal, and Portalis. The conversation was entirely military, and chiefly related to the probable conquest or subjugation of Great Britain, and the probable consequence to mankind in general of such a great event. No difference of opinion was heard with regard to its immediate benefit to France and gradual utility to all other nations; but Berthier seemed to apprehend that, before France could have time to organize this valuable conquest, she would be obliged to support another war, with a formidable league, perhaps, of all other European nations. The issue, however, he said, would be glorious to France, who, by her achievements, would force all people to acknowledge her their mother country ; and then, first, Europe would constitute but one family.

Chaptal was as certain as everybody else of the destruction of the tyrants of the seas ; but he thought France would never be secure against the treachery of modern Carthage until she followed the example of Rome towards ancient Carthage ; and therefore, after reducing London to ashes, it would be proper to disperse round the universe all the inhabitants of the British Islands, and to re-people them with nations less evil-disposed and less corrupted. Portalis observed that it was more easy to conceive than to execute such a vast plan. It would not be an undertaking of five, of ten, nor of twenty years, to transplant these nations ; that misfortunes and proscription would not only inspire courage and obstinacy, but desperation.

" No people, " continued he, " are more attached to their customs and countries than islanders in general ; and though British subjects are the greatest travellers, and found everywhere, they all suppose their country the best, and always wish to return to it and finish their days amidst their native fogs and smoke. Neither the Saxons, nor the Danes, nor Norman conquerors transplanted them, but, after reducing them, incorporated themselves by marriages among the vanquished, and in some few generations were but one people. It is asserted by all persons who have lately visited Great Britain, that, though the civilization of the lower classes is much behind that of the same description in France, the higher orders, the rich and the fashionable, are, with regard to their, manners, more French than English, and might easily be cajoled into obedience and subjection to the sovereignty of a nation whose customs, by free choice, they have adopted in preference to their own, and whose language forms a necessary part of their education, and, indeed, of the education of almost every class in the British Empire. The universality of the French language is the best ally France has in assisting her to conquer a universal dominion. He wished, therefore, that when we were in a situation to dictate in England, instead of proscribing Englishmen we should proscribe the English language, and advance and reward, in preference, all those parents whose children were sent to be educated in France, and all those families who voluntarily adopted in their houses and societies exclusively the French language. "

Murat was afraid that if France did not transplant the most stubborn Britons, and settle among them French colonies, when once their military and commercial navy was annihilated, they would turn pirates, and, perhaps, within half a century, lay all other nations as much under contribution by their piracies as they now do by their industry ; and that, like the pirates on the coast of Barbary, the instant they had no connections with other civilized nations, cut the throats of each other, and agree in nothing but in plundering, and considering all other people in the, world their natural enemies and purveyors.

To this opinion Talleyrand, by nodding assent, seemed to adhere ; but he added : " Earthquakes are generally dreaded as destructive ; but such a convulsion of nature as would swallow up the British Islands, with all their inhabitants, would be the greatest blessing Providence ever conferred on mankind. "

Louis Bonaparte then addressed himself to me and to the Marquis de F…. " Gentlemen, " said he, " you have been in England ; what is your opinion of the character of these islanders, and of the probability of their subjugation ? "

I answered that, during the fifteen months I resided in London I was too much occupied to prevent myself from starving, to meditate about anything else ; that my stomach was my sole meditation as well as anxiety. That, however, I believed that in England, as everywhere else, a mixture of good and bad qualities was to be found ; but which prevailed, it would be presumption in me, from my position, to decide. But I did not doubt that if we cordially hated the English they returned us the compliment with interest, and, therefore, the contest with them would be a severe one. The Marquis de F… imprudently attempted to convince the company that it was difficult, if not impossible, for our army to land in England, much more to conquer it, until we were masters of the seas by a superior navy. He would, perhaps, have been still more indiscreet, had not Madame Louis interrupted him, and given another turn to the conversation by inquiring about the fair sex in England, and if it was true that handsome women were more numerous there than in France ? Here again the Marquis, instead of paying her a compliment, as she perhaps expected, roundly assured her that for one beauty in France, hundreds might be counted in England, where gentlemen were, therefore, not so easily satisfied; and that a woman regarded by them only as an ordinary person would pass for a first-rate beauty among French beaux, on account of the great scarcity of them here.

" You must excuse the Marquis, ladies, " said I, in my turn ; " he has not been in love in England. There, perhaps, he found the belles less cruel than in France, where, for the cruelty of one lady, or for her insensibility of his merit, he revenges himself on the whole sex :

" I apply to M. de Talleyrand, " answered the Marquis; " he has been longer in England than myself. "

" I am not a competent judge, " retorted the Minister ; " Madame de Talleyrand is here, and has not the honour of being a Frenchwoman ; but I dare say the Marquis will agree with me that in no society in the British Islands, among a dozen of ladies, has he counted more beauties, or admired greater accomplishments or more perfection. "

To this the Marquis bowed assent, saying that in all his general remarks the party present, of course, was not included. All the ladies, who were well acquainted with his absent and blundering conversation, very good - humouredly laughed, and Madame Murat assured him that if he would give her the address of the belle in France who had transformed a gallant Frenchman into a chevalier of British beauty, she would attempt to make up their difference. " She is no more, Madame, " said the Marquis ; " she was, unfortunately, guillotined two days before -- " the father of Madame Louis, he was going to say, when Talleyrand interrupted him with a significant look, and said, " Before the fall of Robespierre, you mean. "

From these and other traits of the Marquis's character, you may see that he erred more from absence of mind than any premeditation to give offence. He received, however, the next morning, a lettre de cachet from Fouche, which exiled him to Blois, and forbade him to return to Paris without further orders from the Minister of Police. I know, from high authority, that to the interference of Princesse Louis alone is he indebted for not being shut up in the Temple, and, perhaps, transported to our colonies, for having depreciated the power and means of France to invade England. I am perfectly convinced that none of those who spoke on the subject of the invasion expressed anything but what they really thought ; and that, of the whole party, none, except Talleyrand, the Marquis, and myself, entertained the least doubt of the success of the expedition ; so firmly did they rely on the former fortune of Bonaparte, his boastings, and his assurance.

After dinner I had an opportunity of conversing for ten minutes with Madame Louis Bonaparte, whom I found extremely amiable, but I fear that she is not happy. Her husband, though the most stupid, is, however, the best tempered of the Bonapartes, and seemed very attentive and attached to her. She was far advanced in her pregnancy, and looked, notwithstanding, uncommonly well. I have heard that Louis is inclined to inebriation, and when in that situation is very brutal to his wife, and very indelicate with other women before her eyes. He intrigues with her own servants and the number of his illegitimate children is said to be as many as his years. She asked General Murat to present me and recommend me to Fouche, which he did with great politeness ; and the Minister assured me that he should be glad to see me at his hotel, which I much doubt. The last words Madame Louis said to me, in showing me a princely crown, richly set with diamonds, and given her by her brother-in-law, Napoleon, were, " Alas ! grandeur is not always happiness, nor the most elevated the most fortunate lot. "



LETTER XVII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - The arrival of the Pope in this country was certainly a grand epoch, not only in the history of the Revolution, but in the annals of Europe. The debates in the Sacred College for and against this journey, and for and against his coronation of Bonaparte, are said to have been long as well as violent, and arranged according to the desires of Cardinal Fesch only by the means of four millions of livres distributed apropos among its pious members. Of this money the Cardinals Mattei, Pamphili, Dugnani, Maury, Pignatelli, Roverella, Somaglia, Pacca, Brancadoro, Litta, Gabrielli, Spina, Despuig, and Galefli, are said to have shared the greatest part; and from the most violent anti-Bonapartists, they instantly became the strenuous adherents of Napoleon the First, who, of course, cannot be ignorant of their real worth.

The person entrusted by Bonaparte and Talleyrand to carry on at Rome the intrigue which sent Pius VII. to cross the Alps was Cardinal Fesch, brother of Madame Letitia Bonaparte by the side of her mother, who, in a second marriage, chose a pedlar of the name of Nicolo Fesch, for her husband.

Joseph, Cardinal Fesch, was born at Ajaccio, in Corsica, on the 8th of March, 1763, and was in his infancy received as a singing boy (enfant de choeur) in a convent of his native place. In 1782, whilst he was on a visit to some of his relations in the Island of Sardinia, being on a fishing party some distance from shore, he was, with his companions, captured by an Algerine felucca, and carried a captive to Algiers. Here he turned Mussulman, and, until 1790, was a zealous believer in, and professor of, the Alcoran. In that year he found an opportunity to escape from Algiers, and to return to Ajaccio, when he abjured his renegacy, exchanged the Alcoran for the Bible, and, in 1791, was made a constitutional curate, that is to say, a revolutionary Christian priest. In 1793, when even those were proscribed, he renounced the sacristy of his Church for the bar of a tavern, where, during 1794 and 1795, he gained a small capital by the number and liberality of his English customers. After the victories of his nephew Napoleon in Italy during the following year, he was advised to reassume the clerical habit, and after Napoleon's proclamation of a First Consul, he was made Archbishop of Lyons. In 1802, Pius VII decorated him with the Roman purple, and he is now a pillar of the Roman faith, in a fair way of seizing the Roman tiara. If letters from Rome can be depended upon, Cardinal Fesch, in the name of the Emperor of the French, informed His Holiness the Pope that he must either retire to a convent or travel to France, either abdicate his own sovereignty, or inaugurate Napoleon the First a Sovereign of France. Without the decision of the Sacred College, effected in the manner already stated, the majority of the faithful believe that this pontiff would have preferred obscurity to disgrace.

While Joseph Fesch was a master of a tavern he married the daughter of a tinker, by whom he had three children. This marriage, according to the republican regulations, had only been celebrated by the municipality at Ajaccio ; Fesch, therefore, upon again entering the bosom of the Church, left his municipal wife and children to shift for themselves, considering himself still, according to the canonical laws, a bachelor. But Madame Fesch, hearing, in 1801, of her ci-devant husband's promotion to the Archbishopric of Lyons, wrote to him for some succours, being with her children reduced to great misery. Madame Letitia Bonaparte answered her letter, enclosing a draft for six hundred livres - informing her that the same sum would be paid her every six months, as long as she continued with her children to reside at Corsica, but that it would cease the instant she left that island. Either thinking herself not sufficiently paid for her discretion, or enticed by some enemy of the Bonaparte family, she arrived secretly at Lyons in October last year, where she remained unknown until the arrival of the Pope. On the first day His Holiness gave there his public benediction, she found means to pierce the crowd, and to approach his person, when Cardinal Fesch was by his side. Profiting by a moment's silence, she called out loudly, throwing herself at his feet : " Holy Father ! I am the lawful wife of Cardinal Fesch, and these are our children ; he cannot, he dares not, deny this truth. Had he behaved liberally to me, I should not have disturbed him in his present grandeur; I supplicate you, Holy Father, not to restore me my husband, but to force him to provide for his wife and children, according to his present circumstances. " - " Matta - ella e matta, santissimo padre ! She is mad - she is mad, Holy Father, " said the Cardinal ; and the good pontiff ordered her to be taken care of, to prevent her from doing herself or the children any mischief. She was, indeed, taken care of, because nobody ever since heard what has become either of her or her children ; and as they have not returned to Corsica, probably some snug retreat has been allotted them in France.

The purple was never disgraced by a greater libertine than Cardinal Fesch : his amours are numerous, and have often involved him in disagreeable scrapes. He had, in 1803, an unpleasant adventure at Lyons, which has since made his stay in that city but short. Having thrown his handkerchief at the wife of a manufacturer of the name of Girot, she accepted it, and gave him an appointment at her house, at a time in the evening when her husband usually went to the play. His Eminence arrived in disguise, and was received with open arms. But he was hardly seated by her side before the door of a closet was burst open, and his shoulders smarted from the lashes inflicted by an offended husband. In vain did he mention his name and rank ; they rather increased than decreased the fury of Girot, who pretended it was utterly impossible for a Cardinal and Archbishop to be thus overtaken with the wife of one of his flock; at last Madame Girot proposed a pecuniary accommodation, which, after some opposition, was acceded to ; and His Eminence signed a bond for one hundred thousand livres - upon condition that nothing should transpire of this intrigue - a high price enough for a sound drubbing. On the day when the bond was due, Girot and his wife were both arrested by the police commissary, Dubois (a brother of the prefect of police at Paris), accused of being connected with the coiners, a capital crime at present in this country. In a search made in their house, bad money to the amount of three thousand livres was discovered; which they had received the day before from a man who called himself a merchant from Paris, but who was a police spy sent to entrap them. After giving up the bond of the Cardinal, the Emperor graciously remitted the capital punishment, upon condition that they should be transported for life to Cayenne.

This is the prelate on whom Bonaparte intends to confer the Roman tiara, and to constitute a successor of St. Peter. It would not be the least remarkable event in the beginning of the remarkable nineteenth century were we to witness the papal throne occupied by a man who from a singing boy became a renegade slave, from a Mussulman a constitutional curate, from a tavern-keeper an archbishop, from the son of a pedlar the uncle of an Emperor, and from the husband of the daughter of a tinker, a member of the Sacred College.

His sister, Madame Letitia Bonaparte, presented him, in 1802, with an elegant library, for which she had paid six hundred thousand livres - and his nephew, Napoleon, allows him a yearly pension double that amount. Besides his dignity as a prelate, His Eminence is Ambassador from France at Rome, a Knight of the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece, a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, and a grand almoner of the Emperor of the French.

The Archbishop of Paris is now in his ninety-sixth year, and at his death Cardinal Fesch is to be transferred to the see of this capital, in expectation of the triple crown and the keys of St. Peter.



LETTER XVIII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - The amiable and accomplished Amelia Frederique, Princess Dowager of the late Electoral Prince, Charles Louis of Baden, born a Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt, has procured the Electoral House of Baden the singular honour of giving consorts to three reigning and Sovereign Princes, - to an Emperor of Russia, to a King of Sweden, and to the Elector of Bavaria. Such a distinction, and such alliances, called the attention of those at the head of our Revolution ; who, after attempting in vain to blow up hereditary thrones by the aid of sans-culotte incendiaries, seated sans-culottes upon thrones, that they might degrade what was not yet ripe for destruction.

Charles Frederick, the reigning Elector of Baden, is now near fourscore years of age. At this period of life if any passions remain, avarice is more common than ambition ; because treasures may be hoarded without bustle, while activity is absolutely necessary to push forward to the goal of distinction. Having bestowed a new King on Tuscany, Bonaparte and Talleyrand also resolved to confer new Electors on Germany. A more advantageous fraternity could not be established between the innovators here and their opposers in other countries, than by incorporating the grandfather-in-law of so many Sovereigns with their own revolutionary brotherhood ; to humble him by a new rank, and to disgrace him by indemnities obtained from their hands. An intrigue between our Minister, Talleyrand, and the Baden Minister, Edelsheim, transformed the oldest Margrave of Germany into its youngest Elector, and extended his dominions by the spoils obtained at the expense of the rightful owners. The invasion of the Baden territory in time of peace, and the seizure of the Duc d'Enghien, though under the protection of the laws of nations and hospitality, must have soon convinced Baron Edelsheim what return his friend Talleyrand expected, and that Bonaparte thought he had a natural right to insult by his attacks those he had dishonoured by his connections.

The Minister, Baron Edelsheim, is half an illuminato, half a philosopher, half a politician, and half a revolutionist. He was, long before he was admitted into the council chamber of his Prince, half an atheist, half an intriguer, and half a spy, in the pay of Frederick the Great of Prussia. His entry upon the stage at Berlin, and particularly the first parts he was destined to act, was curious and extraordinary; whether he acquitted himself better in this capacity than he has since in his political one is not known. He was afterwards sent to this capital to execute a commission, of which he acquitted himself very ill ; exposing himself rashly, without profit or service to his employer. Frederick II, dreading the tediousness of a proposed congress at Augsburg, wished to send a private emissary to sound the King of France. For this purpose he chose Edelsheim as a person least liable to suspicion. The project of Frederick was to idemnify the King of Poland for his first losses by robbing the ecclesiastical Princes of Germany. This, Louis XV totally rejected ; and Edelsheim returned with his answer to the Prussian Monarch, then at Freyburg. From thence he afterwards departed for London, made his communications, and was once again sent back to Paris, on pretence that he had left some of his travelling trunks there; and the Bailli de Foulay, the Ambassador of the Knights of Malta, being persuaded that the Cabinet of Versailles was effectually desirous of peace, was, as he had been before, the mediator. The Bailli was deceived. The Duc de Choiseul, the then Prime Minister, indecently enough threw Edelsheim into the Bastille, in order to search or seize his papers, which, however, were secured elsewhere. Edelsheim was released on the morrow, but obliged to depart the kingdom by the way of Turin, as related by Frederick II in his " History of the Seven Years' War. " On his return he was disgraced, and continued so until 1778 ; when he again was used as emissary to various Courts of Germany. In 1786 the Elector of Baden sent him to Berlin, on the ascension of Frederick William II, as a complimentary envoy. This Monarch, when he saw him, could not forbear laughing at the high wisdom of the Court that selected such a personage for such an embassy, and of his own sagacity in accepting it. He quitted the capital of Prussia as he came there, with an opinion of himself that the royal smiles of contempt had neither altered nor diminished.

You see, by this account, that Edelsheim has long been a partisan of the pillage of Germany called indemnities ; and long habituated to affronts, as well as to plots. To all his other half qualities, half modesty can hardly be added, when he calls himself, or suffers himself to be called, " the Talleyrand of Carlsrhue. " He accompanied his Prince last year to Mentz; where this old Sovereign was not treated by Bonaparte in the most decorous or decent manner, being obliged to wait for hours in his antechamber, and afterwards stand during the levees, or in the drawing-rooms of Napoleon or of his wife, without the offer of a chair, or an invitation to sit down. It was here where, by a secret treaty, Bonaparte became the Sovereign of Baden, if sovereignty consists in the disposal of the financial and military resources of a State; and they were agreed to be assigned over to him whenever he should deem it proper or necessary to invade the German Empire, in return for his protection against the Emperor of Germany, who can have no more interest than intent to attack a country so distant from his hereditary dominions, and whose Sovereign is, besides, the grandfather of the consort of his nearest and best ally.

Talleyrand often amused himself at Mentz with playing on the vanity and affected consequence of Edelsheim, who was delighted if at any time our Minister took him aside, or whispered to him as in confidence. One morning, at the assembly of the Elector Arch-Chancellor, where Edelsheim was creeping and cringing about him as usual, he laid hold of his arm and walked with him to the upper part of the room. In a quarter of an hour they both joined the company, Edelsheim unusually puffed up with vanity.

" I will lay and bet, gentlemen, " said Talleyrand, " that you cannot, with all your united wits, guess the grand subject of my conversation with the good Baron Edelsheim. " Without waiting for an answer, he continued : " As the Baron is a much older and more experienced traveller than myself, I asked him which, of all the countries he had visited, could boast the prettiest and kindest women. His reply was really very instructive, and it would be a great pity if justice were not done to his merit by its publicity. "

Here the Baron, red as a turkey-cock and trembling with anger, interrupted. " His Excellency, " said he, " is to-night in a humour to joke ; what we spoke of had nothing to do with women. "

" Nor with men, either, " retorted Talleyrand, going away.

This anecdote, Baron Dahlberg, the Minister of the Elector of Baden to our Court, had the ingenuity to relate at Madame Chapui's as an evidence of Edelsheim's intimacy with Talleyrand ; only he left out the latter part, and forgot to mention the bad grace with which this impertinence of Talleyrand was received ; but this defect of memory Count von Beust, the envoy of the Elector Arch-Chancellor, kindly supplied.

Baron Edelsheim is a great amateur of knighthoods. On days of great festivities his face is, as it were, illuminated with the lustre of his stars; and the crosses on his coat conceal almost its original colour. Every petty Prince of Germany has dubbed him a chevalier ; but Emperors and Kings have not been so unanimous in distinguishing his desert, or in satisfying his desires.

At Mentz no Prince or Minister fawned more assiduously upon Bonaparte than this hero of chivalry. It could not escape notice, but need not have alarmed our great man, as was the case. The prefect of the palace was ordered to give authentic information concerning Edelsheim's moral and political character. He applied to the police commissary, who, within twenty hours, signed a declaration affirming that Edelsheim was the most inoffensive and least dangerous of all imbecile creatures that ever entered the Cabinet of a Prince ; that he had never drawn a sword, worn a dagger, or fired a pistol in his life; that the inquiries about his real character were sneered at in every part of the Electorate, as nowhere they allowed him common sense, much less a character; all blamed his presumption, but none defended his capacity.

After the perusal of this report, Bonaparte asked Talleyrand : " What can Edelsheim mean by his troublesome assiduities ? Does he want any indemnities, or does he wish me to make him a German Prince ? Can he have the impudence to hope that I shall appoint him a tribune, a legislator, or a Senator in France, or that I shall give him a place in my Council of State ? "

" No such thing, " answered the Minister ; " did not Your Majesty condescend to notice at the last fete that this eclipsed moon was encompassed in a firmanent of stars. You would, Sire, make him the happiest of mortals were you to nominate him a member of your Legion of Honour. "

" Does he want nothing else ? " said Napoleon, as if relieved at once of an oppressive burden. " Write to my chancellor of the Legion of Honour, Lacepede, to send him a patent, and do you inform him of this favour. "

It is reported at Carlsruhe, the capital of Baden, that Baron Edelsheim has composed his own epitaph, in which he claims immortality, because under his Ministry the Margravate of Baden was elevated into an Electorate !!!



LETTER XIX


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - The sensation that the arrival of the Pope in this country caused among the lower classes of people cannot be expressed, and if expressed, would not be believed. I am sorry, however, to say that, instead of improving their morals or increasing their faith, this journey has shaken both morality and religion to their foundation.

According to our religious notions, as you must know, the Roman pontiff is the vicar of Christ, and infallible ; he can never err. The atheists of the National Convention and the Theophilanthropists of the Directory not only denied his demi-divinity, but transformed him into a satyr ; and in pretending to tear the veil of superstition, annihilated all belief in a God. The ignorant part of our nation, which, as everywhere else, constitutes the majority, witnessing the impunity and prosperity of crime, and bestowing on the Almighty the passions of mortals, first doubted of His omnipotence in not crushing guilt, and afterwards of His existence in not exterminating the blasphemous from among the living. Feeling, however, the want of consolation in their misfortunes here, and hope of a reward hereafter for unmerited sufferings upon earth, they all hailed as a blessing the restoration of Christianity; and by this political act Bonaparte gained more adherents than by all his victories he had procured admirers.

Bonaparte's character, his good and his bad qualities, his talents and his crimes, are too recent and too notorious to require description. Should he continue successful, and be attended by fortune to his grave, future ages may perhaps hail him a hero and a great man ; but by his contemporaries it will always be doubtful whether mankind has not suffered more from his ambition and cruelties than benefited by his services. Had he satisfied himself by continuing the Chief Magistrate of a Commonwealth ; or, if he judged that a monarchical Government alone was suitable to the spirit of this country, had he recalled our legitimate King, he would have occupied a principal, if not the first, place in the history of France, - a place much more exalted than he can ever expect to fill as an Emperor of the French. Let his prosperity be ever so uninterrupted, he cannot be mentioned but as an usurper, an appellation never exciting esteem, frequently inspiring contempt, and always odious.

The crime of usurpation is the greatest and most enormous a subject can perpetrate ; but what epithet can there be given to him who, to preserve an authority unlawfully acquired, asssociates in his guilt a Supreme Pontiff, whom the multitude is accustomed to reverence as the representative of their God, but who, by this act of scandal and sacrilege, descends to a level with the most culpable of men ? I have heard, not only in this city but in villages, where sincerity is more frequent than corruption, and where hypocrites are as little known as infidels, these remarks made by the people :

" Can the real vicar of Christ, by his inauguration, commit the double injustice of depriving the legitimate owner of his rights, and of bestowing as a sacred donation what belongs to another ; and what he has no power, no authority, to dispose of ? Can Pius VII confer on Napoleon the First what belongs to Louis XVIII ? Would Jesus Christ, if upon earth, have acted thus ? Would his immediate successors, the Apostles, not have preferred the suffering of martyrdom to the commission of any injury ? If the present Roman pontiff acts differently from what his Master and predecessors would have done, can he be the vicar of our Saviour ? "

These and many similar reflections the common people have made, and make yet. The step from doubt to disbelief is but short, and those brought up in the Roman Catholic religion, who hesitate about believing Pius VII to be the vicar of Christ, will soon remember the precepts of atheists and freethinkers, and believe that Christ is not the Son of God, and that God is only the invention of fear.

The fact is, that by the Pope's performance of the coronation of an Emperor of the French, a religious as well as a political revolution was effected ; and the usurper in power, whatever his creed may be, will hereafter, without much difficulty, force it on his slaves. You may, perhaps, object that Pius VII, in his official account to the Sacred College of his journey to France, speaks with enthusiasm of the Catholicism of the French people. But did not the Goddess of Reason, did not Robespierre as a high priest of a Supreme Being, speak as highly of their sectaries ? Read the Moniteur of 1793 and 1794, and you will be convinced of the truth of this assertion. They, like the Pope, spoke of what they saw, and they, like him, did not see an individual who was not instructed how to perform his part, so as to give satisfaction to him whom he was to please, and to those who employed him. As you have attended to the history of our Revolution, you have found it in great part a cruel masquerade, where none but the unfortunate Louis XVI. appeared in his native and natural character and without a mask.

The countenance of Pius VII is placid and benign, and a kind of calmness and tranquillity pervades his address and manners, which are, however, far from being easy or elegant. The crowds that he must have been accustomed to see since his present elevation have not lessened a timidity the consequence of early seclusion. Nothing troubled him more than the numerous deputations of our Senate, Legislative Body, Tribunate, National Institute, Tribunals, etc., that teased him on every occasion. He never was suspected of any vices, but all his virtues are negative; and his best quality is, not to do good, but to prevent evil. His piety is sincere and unaffected, and it is not difficult to perceive that he has been more accustomed to address his God than to converse with men. He is nowhere so well in his place as before the altar ; when imploring the blessings of Providence on his audience he speaks with confidence, as to a friend to whom his purity is known, and who is accustomed to listen favourably to his prayers. He is zealous but not fanatical, but equally superstitious as devout. His closet was crowded with relics, rosaries, etc., but there he passed generally eight hours of the twenty-four upon his knees in prayer and meditation. He often inflicted on himself mortifications, observed fast-days, and kept his vows with religious strictness.

None of the promises made him by Cardinal Fesch, in the name of Napoleon the First, were performed, but all were put off until a general pacification. He was promised indemnity for Avignon, Bologna, Ferrara, and Ravenna ; the ancient supremacy and pecuniary contributions of the Gallican Church, and the restoration of certain religious orders, both in France and Italy ; but notwithstanding his own representations, and the activity of his Cardinal, Caprara, nothing was decided, though nothing was refused.

By some means or other he was made perfectly acquainted with the crimes and vices of most of our public functionaries. Talleyrand was surprised when Cardinal Caprara explained to him the reason why the Pope refused to admit some persons to his presence, and why he wished others even not to be of the party when he accepted the invitations of Bonaparte and his wife to their private societies. Many are, however, of opinion that Talleyrand, from malignity or revenge, often heightened and confirmed His Holiness's aversion. This was at least once the case with regard to De Lalande. When Duroc inquired the cause of the Pope's displeasure against this astronomer, and hinted that it would be very agreeable to the Emperor were His Holiness to permit him the honour of prostrating himself, he was answered that men of talents and learning would always be welcome to approach his person ; that he pitied the errors and prayed for the conversion of this savant, but was neither displeased nor offended with him. Talleyrand, when informed of the Pope's answer, accused Cardinal Caprara of having misinterpreted his master's communications ; and this prelate, in his turn, censured our Minister's bad memory.

You must have read that this De Lalande is regarded in France as the first astronomer of Europe, and hailed as the high priest of atheists ; he is said to be the author of a shockingly blasphemous work called " The Bible of a People who acknowledge no God. " He implored the ferocious Robespierre to honour the heavens by bestowing, on a new planet pretended to be discovered, his ci-devant Christian-name, Maximilian. In a letter of congratulation to Bonaparte, on the occasion of his present elevation, he also implored him to honour the God of the Christians by styling himself Jesus Christ the First, Emperor of the French, instead of Napoleon the First. But it was not his known impiety that made Talleyrand wish to exclude him from insulting with his presence a Christian pontiff. In the summer of 1799, when the Minister was in a momentary disgrace, De Lalande was at the head of those who imputed to his treachery, corruptions, and machinations all the evils France then suffered, both from external enemies and internal factions. If Talleyrand has justly been reproached for soon forgetting good offices and services done him, nobody ever denied that he has the best recollection in the world of offences or attacks, and that he is as revengeful as unforgiving.

The only one of our great men whom Pius VII remained obstinate and inflexible in not receiving, was the Senator and Minister of Police, Fouche. As His Holiness was not so particular with regard to other persons who, like Fouche, were both apostate priests and regicide subjects, the following is reported to be the cause of his aversion and obduracy :

In November, 1793, the remains of a wretch of the name of Challiers - justly called, for his atrocities, the Murat of Lyons - were ordered by Fouche, then a representative of the people in that city, to be produced and publicly worshipped; and, under his particular auspices, a grand fete was performed to the memory of this republican martyr, who had been executed as an assassin. As part of this impious ceremony, an ass, covered with a Bishop's vestments, having on his head a mitre, and the volumes of Holy Writ tied to his tail, paraded the streets. The remains of Challiers were then burnt, and the ashes distributed among his adorers; while the books were also consumed, and the ashes scattered in the wind. Fouche proposed, after giving the ass some water to drink in a sacred chalice, to terminate the festivity of the day by murdering all the prisoners, amounting to seven thousand five hundred; but a sudden storm prevented the execution of this diabolical proposition, and dispersed the sacrilegious congregation.



LETTER XX


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Though all the Bonapartes were great favourites with Pius VII, Madame Letitia, their mother, had a visible preference. In her apartments he seemed most pleased to meet the family parties, as they were called, because to them, except the Bonapartes, none but a few select favourites were invited, - a distinction as much wished for and envied as any other Court honour. After the Pope had fixed the evening he would appear among them, Duroc made out a list, under the dictates of Napoleon, of the chosen few destined to partake of the blessing of His Holiness's presence ; this list was merely pro form, or as a compliment, laid before him; and after his tacit approbation, the individuals were informed, from the first chamberlain's office, that they would be honoured with admittance at such an hour, to such a company, and in such an apartment. The dress in which they were to appear was also prescribed. The parties usually met at six o'clock in the evening. On the Pope's entrance all persons, of both sexes, kneeled to receive his blessing. Tea, ice, liqueurs, and confectionery were then served. In the place of honour were three elevated elbow-chairs, and His Holiness was seated between the Emperor and Empress, and seldom spoke to any one to whom Napoleon did not previously address the word. The exploits of Bonaparte, particularly his campaigns in Egypt, were the chief subjects of conversation. Before eight o'clock the Pope always retired, distributing his blessing to the kneeling audience, as on his entry. When he was gone, card-tables were brought in, and play was permitted. Duroc received his master's orders how to distribute the places at the different tables, what games were to be played, and the amount of the sums to be staked. These were usually trifling and small compared to what is daily risked in our fashionable circles.

Often, after the Pope had returned to his own rooms, Madame Letitia Bonaparte was admitted to assist at his private prayers. This lady, whose intrigues and gallantry are proverbial in Corsica, has, now that she is old (as is generally the case), turned devotee, and is surrounded by hypocrites and impostors, who, under the mask of sanctity, deceive and plunder her. Her antechambers are always full of priests ; and her closet and bedroom are crowded with relics, which she collected during her journey to Italy last year. She might, if she chose, establish a Catholic museum, and furnish it with a more curious collection, in its sort, than any of our other museums contain. Of all the saints in our calendar, there is not one of any notoriety who has not supplied her with a finger, a toe, or some other part; or with a piece of a shirt, a handkerchief, a sandal, or a winding-sheet. Even a bit of a pair of breeches, said to have belonged to Saint Mathurin, whom many think was a sans-cullotte, obtains her adoration on certain occasions. As none of her children have yet arrived at the same height of faith as herself, she has, in her will, bequeathed to the Pope all her relics, together with eight hundred and seventy-nine Prayer-books, and four hundred and forty-six Bibles, either in manuscript or of different editions. Her favourite breviary, used only on great solemnities, was presented to her by Cardinal Maury at Rome, and belonged, as it is said, formerly to Saint Francois, whose commentary, written with his own hand, fills the margins ; though many, who with me adore him as a saint, doubt whether he could either read or write.

Not long ago she made, as she thought, an exceedingly valuable acquisition. A priest arrived direct from the Holy City of Jerusalem, well recommended by the inhabitants of the convents there, with whom he pretended to have passed his youth. After prostrating himself before the Pope, he waited on Madame Letitia Bonaparte. He told her that he had brought with him from Syria the famous relic, the shoulder-bone of Saint John the Baptist ; but that, being in want of money for his voyage, he borrowed upon it from a Grecian Bishop in Montenegro two hundred louis d'or. This sum, and one hundred louis d'or besides, was immediately given him ; and within three months, for a large sum in addition to those advanced, this precious relic was in Madame Letitia's possession.

Notwithstanding this lady's care not to engage in her service any person of either sex who cannot produce, not a certificate of civism from the municipality as was formerly the case, but a certificate of Christianity, and a billet of confession signed by the curate of the parish, she had often been robbed, and the robbers had made particularly free with those relics which were set in gold or in diamonds. She accused her daughter, the Princesse Borghese, who often rallies the devotion of her mamma, and who is more an amateur of the living than of the dead, of having played her these tricks. The Princess informed Napoleon of her mother's losses, as well as of her own innocence, and asked him to apply to the police to find out the thief, who no doubt was one of the pious rogues who almost devoured their mother.

On the next day Napoleon invited Madame Letitia to dinner, and Fouche had orders to make a strict search, during her absence, among the persons composing her household. Though he, on this occasion, did not find what he was looking for, he made a discovery which very much mortified Madame Letitia.

Her first chambermaid, Rosina Gaglini, possessed both her esteem and confidence, and had been sent for purposely from Ajaccio, in Corsica, on account of her general renown for great piety, and a report that she was an exclusive favourite with the Virgin Mary, by whose interference she had even performed, it was said, some miracles ; such as restoring stolen goods, runaway cattle, lost children, and procuring prizes in the lottery. Rosina was as relic-mad as her mistress ; and as she had no means to procure them otherwise, she determined to partake of her lady's by cutting off a small part of each relic of Madame Letitia's principal saints. These precious 'morceaux' she placed in a box upon which she kneeled to say her prayers during the day; and which, for a mortification, served her as a pillow during the night. Upon each of the sacred bits she had affixed a label with the name of the saint it belonged to, which occasioned the disclosure. When Madame Letitia heard of this pious theft, she insisted on having the culprit immediately and severely punished ; and though the Princesse Borghese, as the innocent cause of poor Rosina's misfortune, interfered, and Rosina herself promised never more to plunder saints, she was without mercy turned away, and even denied money sufficient to carry her back to Corsica. Had she made free with Madame Letitia's plate or wardrobe, there is no doubt but that she had been forgiven ; but to presume to share with her those sacred supports on her way to Paradise was a more unpardonable act with a devotee than to steal from a lover the portrait of an adored mistress.

In the meantime the police were upon the alert to discover the person whom they suspected of having stolen the relics for the diamonds, and not the diamonds for the relics. Among our fashionable and new saints, surprising as you may think it, Madame de Genlis holds a distinguished place ; and she, too, is an amateur and collector of relics in proportion to her means ; and with her were found those missed by Madame Letitia. Being asked to give up the name of him from whom she had purchased them, she mentioned Abbe Saladin, the pretended priest from Jerusalem. He, in his turn, was questioned, and by his answers gave rise to suspicion that he himself was the thief. The person of whom he pretended to have bought them was not to be found, nor was any one of such a description remembered to have been seen anywhere. On being carried to prison, he claimed the protection of Madame Letitia, and produced a letter in which this lady had promised him a bishopric either in France or in Italy. When she was informed of his situation, she applied to her son Napoleon for his liberty, urging that a priest who from Jerusalem had brought with him to Europe such an extraordinary relic as the shoulder of Saint John, could not be culpable.

Abbe Saladin had been examined by Real, who concluded, from the accent and perfection with which he spoke the French language, that he was some French adventurer who had imposed on the credulity and superstition of Madame Letitia; and, therefore, threatened him with the rack if he did not confess the truth. He continued, however, in his story, and was going to be released upon an order from the Emperor, when a gendarme recognized him as a person who, eight years before, had, under the name of Lanoue, been condemned for theft and forgery to the galleys, whence he had made his escape. Finding himself discovered, he avowed everything. He said he had served in Egypt, in the guides of Bonaparte, but deserted to the Turks and turned Mussulman, but afterwards returned to the bosom of the Church at Jerusalem. There he persuaded the friars that he had been a priest, and obtained the certificates which introduced him to the Pope and to the Emperor's mother ; from whom he had received twelve thousand livres for part of the jaw bone of a whale, which he had sold her for the shoulder-bone of a saint. As the police believe the certificates he has produced to be also forged, he is detained in prison until an answer arrives from our Consul in Syria.

Madame Letitia did not resign without tears the relic he had sold her; and there is reason to believe that many other pieces of her collections, worshipped by her as remains of saints, are equally genuine as this shoulder-bone of Saint John.



LETTER XXI


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - That the population of this capital has, since the Revolution, decreased near two hundred thousand souls, is not to be lamented. This focus of corruption and profligacy is still too populous, though the inhabitants do not amount to six hundred thousand ; for I am well persuaded that more crimes and excesses of every description are committed here in one year than are perpetrated in the same period of time in all other European capitals put together. From not reading in our newspapers, as we do in yours, of the robberies, murders, and frauds discovered and punished, you may, perhaps, be inclined to suppose my assertion erroneous or exaggerated ; but it is the policy of our present Government to labour as much as possible in the dark; that is to say, to prevent, where it can be done, all publicity of anything directly or indirectly tending to inculpate it of oppression, tyranny, or even negligence ; and to conceal the immorality of the people so nearly connected with its own immoral power. It is true that many vices and crimes here, as well as everywhere else, are unavoidable, and the natural consequences of corruption, and might be promulgated, therefore, without attaching any reproach to our rulers ; but they are so accustomed to the mystery adherent to tyranny, that even the most unimportant lawsuit, uninteresting intrigue, elopement, or divorce, are never allowed to be mentioned in our journals, without a previous permission from the prefect of police, who very seldom grants it.

Most of the enormities now deplored in this country are the consequence of moral and religious licentiousness, that have succeeded to political anarchy, or rather were produced by it, and survive it. Add to this the numerous examples of the impunity of guilt, prosperity of infamy, misery of honesty, and sufferings of virtue, and you will not think it surprising that, notwithstanding half a million of spies, our roads and streets are covered with robbers and assassins, and our scaffolds with victims.

The undeniable TRUTH that this city alone is watched by one hundred thousand spies (so that, when in company with six persons, one has reason to dread the presence of one spy), proclaims at once the morality of the governors and that of the governed : were the former just, and the latter good, this mass of vileness would never be employed ; or, if employed, wickedness would expire for want of fuel, and the hydra of tyranny perish by its own pestilential breath.

According to the official registers published by Manuel in 1792, the number of spies all over France during the reign of Louis XVI was nineteen thousand three hundred (five thousand less than under Louis XV) ; and of this number six thousand were distributed in Paris, and in a circle of four leagues around it, including Versailles. You will undoubtedly ask me, even allowing for our extension of territory, what can be the cause of this disproportionate increase of distrust and depravity ? I will explain it as far as my abilities admit, according to the opinions of others compared with my own remarks.

When factions usurped the supremacy of the Kings, vigilance augmented with insecurity; and almost everybody who was not an opposer, who refused being an accomplice, or feared to be a victim, was obliged to serve as an informer and vilify himself by becoming a spy. The rapidity with which parties followed and destroyed each other made the criminals as numerous as the sufferings of honour and loyalty innumerable ; and I am sorry to say few persons exist in my degraded country, whose firmness and constancy were proof against repeated torments and trials, and who, to preserve their lives, did not renounce their principles and probity.

Under the reign of Robespierre and of the Committee of Public Safety, every member of Government, of the clubs, of the tribunals, and of the communes, had his private spies ; but no regular register was kept of their exact number. Under the Directory a Police Minister was nominated, and a police office established. According to the declaration of the Police Minister, Cochon, in 1797, the spies, who were then regularly paid, amounted to one hundred and fifty thousand ; and of these, thirty thousand did duty in this capital. How many there were in 1799, when Fouche, for the first time, was appointed a chief of the department of police, is not known, but suppose them doubled within two years ; their increase since is nevertheless immense, considering that France has enjoyed upwards of four years' uninterrupted Continental peace, and has not been exposed to any internal convulsions during the same period.

You may, perhaps, object that France is not rich enough to keep up as numerous an army of spies as of soldiers ; because the expense of the former must be triple the amount of the latter. Were all these spies, now called police agents, or agents of the secret police, paid regular salaries, your objection would stand, but most of them have no other reward than the protection of the police; being employed in gambling - houses, in coffee-houses, in taverns, at the theatres, in the public gardens, in the hotels, in lottery offices, at pawnbrokers', in brothels, and in bathing-houses, where the proprietors or masters of these establishments pay them. They receive nothing from the police, but when they are enabled to make any great discoveries, those who have been robbed or defrauded, and to whom they have been serviceable, are, indeed, obliged to present them with some douceur, fixed by the police at the rate of the value recovered ; but such occurrences are merely accidental. To these are to be added all individuals of either sex who by the law are obliged to obtain from the police licenses to exercise their trade, as pedlars, tinkers, masters of puppet-shows, wild beasts, etc. These, on receiving their passes, inscribe themselves, and take the oaths as spies ; and are forced to send in their regular reports of what they hear or see. Prostitutes, who, all over this country, are under the necessity of paying for regular licenses, are obliged also to give information, from time to time, to the nearest police commissary of what they observe or what they know respecting their visitors, neighbours, etc. The number of unfortunate women of this description who had taken out licenses during the year 12, or from September, 1803, to September, 1804, is officially known to have amounted to two hundred and twenty thousand, of whom forty thousand were employed by the armies.

It is no secret that Napoleon Bonaparte has his secret spies upon his wife, his brothers, his sisters, his Ministers, Senators, and other public functionaries, and also upon his public spies. These are all under his own immediate control and that of Duroc, who does the duty of his private Police Minister, and in whom he confides more than even in the members of his own family. In imitation of their master, each of the other Bonapartes, and each of the Ministers, have their individual spies, and are watched in their turn by the spies of their secretaries, clerks, etc. This infamous custom of espionage goes ad infinitum, and appertains almost to the establishment and to the suite of each man in place, who does not think himself secure a moment if he remains in ignorance of the transactions of his rivals, as well as of those of his equals and superiors.

Fouche and Talleyrand are reported to have disagreed before Bonaparte on some subject or other, which is frequently the case. The former, offended at some doubts thrown out about his intelligence, said to the latter :

" I am so well served that I can tell you the name of every man or woman you have conversed with, both yesterday and today; where you saw them, and how long you remained with them or they with you. "

" If such commonplace espionage evinces any merit, " retorted Talleyrand, " I am even here your superior ; because I know not only what has already passed with you and in your house, but what is to pass hereafter. I can inform you of every dish you had for your dinners this week, who provided these dinners, and who is expected to provide your meats to-morrow and the day after. I can whisper you, in confidence, who slept with Madame Fouche last night, and who has an appointment with her to-night. "

Here Bonaparte interrupted them, in his usual dignified language: " Hold both your tongues ; you are both great rogues, but I am at a loss to decide which is the greatest. "

Without uttering a single syllable, Talleyrand made a profound reverence to Fouche. Bonaparte smiled, and advised them to live upon good terms if they were desirous of keeping their places.

A man of the name of Ducroux, who, under Robespierre, had from a barber been made a general, and afterwards broken for his ignorance, was engaged by Bonaparte as a private spy upon Fouche, who employed him in the same capacity upon Bonaparte. His reports were always written, and delivered in person into the hands both of the Emperor and of his Minister. One morning he, by mistake, gave to Bonaparte the report of him instead of that intended for him. Bonaparte began to read : " Yesterday, at nine o'clock, the Emperor acted the complete part of a madman ; he swore, stamped, kicked, foamed, roared - ", here poor Ducroux threw himself at Bonaparte's feet, and called for mercy for the terrible blunder he had committed.

" For whom, " asked Bonaparte, " did you intend this treasonable correspondence ? I suppose it is composed for some English or Russian agent, for Pitt or for Marcoff. How long have you conspired with my enemies, and where are your accomplices ? "

" For God's sake, hear me, Sire, " prayed Ducroux. " Your Majesty's enemies have always been mine. The report is for one of your best friends ; but were I to mention his name, he will ruin me. "

" Speak out, or you die ! " vociferated Bonaparte.

" Well, Sire, it is for Fouche - for nobody else but Fouche."

Bonaparte then rang the bell for Duroc, whom he ordered to see Ducroux shut up in a dungeon, and afterwards to send for Fouche. The Minister denied all knowledge of Ducroux, who, after undergoing several tortures, expiated his blunder upon the rack.



LETTER XXII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - The Pope, during his stay here, rose regularly every morning at five o'clock, and went to bed every night before ten. The first hours of the day he passed in prayers, breakfasted after the Mass was over, transacted business till one, and dined at two. Between three and four he took - his siesta, or nap ; afterwards he attended the vespers, and when they were over he passed an hour with the Bonapartes, or admitted to his presence some members of the clergy. The day was concluded, as it was begun, with some hours of devotion.

Had Pius VII possessed the character of a Pius VI, he would never have crossed the Alps ; or had he been gifted with the spirit and talents of Sextus V or Leo X, he would never have entered France to crown Bonaparte, without previously stipulating for himself that he should be put in possession of the sovereignty of Italy. You can form no idea what great stress was laid on this act of His Holiness by the Bonaparte family, and what sacrifices were destined to be made had any serious and obstinate resistance been apprehended. Threats were, indeed, employed personally against the Pope, and bribes distributed to the refractory members of the Sacred College ; but it was no secret, either here or at Milan, that Cardinal Fesch had carte blanche with regard to the restoration of all provinces seized, since the war, from the Holy See, or full territorial indemnities in their place, at the expense of Naples and Tuscany; and, indeed, whatever the Roman pontiff has lost in Italy has been taken from him by Bonaparte alone, and the apparent generosity which policy and ambition required would, therefore, have merely been an act of justice. Confiding foolishly in the honour and rectitude of Napoleon, without any other security than the assertion of Fesch, Pius VII, within a fortnight's stay in France, found the great difference between the promises held out to him when residing as a Sovereign at Rome, and their accomplishment when he had so far forgotten himself and his sacred dignity as to inhabit as a guest the castle of the Tuileries.

Pius VII mentioned, the day after his arrival at Fontainebleau, that it would be a gratification to his own subjects were he enabled to communicate to them the restoration of the former ecclesiastical domains, as a free gift of the Emperor of the French, at their first conference, as they would then be as well convinced of Napoleon's good faith as he was himself. In answer, His Holiness was informed that the Emperor was unprepared to discuss political subjects, being totally occupied with the thoughts how to entertain worthily his high visitor, and to acknowledge becomingly the great honour done and the great happiness conferred on him by such a visit. As soon as the ceremony of the coronation was over, everything, he hoped, would be arranged to the reciprocal satisfaction of both parties.

About the middle of last December, Bonaparte was again asked to fix a day when the points of negotiation between him and the Pope could be discussed and settled. Cardinal Caprara, who made this demand, was referred to Talleyrand, who denied having yet any instructions, though in daily expectation of them. Thus the time went on until February, when Bonaparte informed the Pope of his determination to assume the crown of Italy, and of some new changes necessary, in consequence on the other side of the Alps.

Either seduced by caresses, or blinded by his unaccountable partiality for Bonaparte, Pius VII, if left to himself, would not only have renounced all his former claims, but probably have made new sacrifices to this idol of his infatuation. Fortunately, his counsellors were wiser and less deluded, otherwise the remaining patrimony of Saint Peter might now have constituted a part of Napoleon's inheritance, in Italy. " Am I not, Holy Father ! " exclaimed the Emperor frequently, " your son, the work of your hand ? And if the pages of history assign me any glory, must it not be shared with you - or rather, do you not share it with me ? Anything that impedes my successes, or makes the continuance of my power uncertain or hazardous, reflects on you and is dangerous to you. With me you will shine or be obscured, rise or fall. Could you, therefore, hesitate (were I to demonstrate to you the necessity of such a measure) to remove the Papal See to Avignon, where it formerly was and continued for centuries, and to enlarge the limits of my kingdom of Italy with the Ecclesiastical States ? Can you believe my throne at Milan safe as long as it is not the sole throne of Italy ? Do you expect to govern at Rome when I cease to reign at Milan ? No, Holy Father ! the pontiff who placed the crown on my head, should it be shaken, will fall to rise no more. " If what Cardinal Caprara said can be depended upon, Bonaparte frequently used to intimidate or flatter the Pope in this manner.

The representations of Cardinal Caprara changed Napoleon's first intention of being again crowned by the Pope as a King of Italy. His crafty Eminence observed that, according to the Emperor's own declaration, it was not intended that the crowns of France and Italy should continue united. But were he to cede one supremacy confirmed by the sacred hands of a pontiff, the partisans of the Bourbons, or the factions in France, would then take advantage to diminish in the opinion of the people his right and the sacredness of His Holiness, and perhaps make even the crown of the French Empire unstable. He did not deny that Charlemagne was crowned by a pontiff in Italy, but this ceremony was performed at Rome, where that Prince was proclaimed an Emperor of the Holy Roman and German Empires, as well as a King of Lombardy and Italy. Might not circumstances turn out so favourably for Napoleon the First that he also might be inaugurated an Emperor of the Germans as well as of the French ? This last compliment, or prophecy, as Bonaparte's courtiers call it (what a prophet a Caprara !), had the desired effect, as it flattered equally Napoleon's ambition and vanity. For fear, however, of Talleyrand and other anti-Catholic counsellors, who wanted him to consider the Pope merely as his first almoner, and to treat him as all other persons of his household, His Eminence sent His Holiness as soon as possible packing for Rome. Though I am neither a cardinal nor a prophet, should you and I live twenty years longer, and the other Continental Sovereigns not alter their present incomprehensible conduct, I can, without any risk, predict that we shall see Rome salute the second Charlemagne an Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, if before that time death does not put a period to his encroachments and gigantic plans.



BOOK III.


LETTER XXIII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - No Sovereigns have, since the Revolution, displayed more grandeur of soul, and evinced more firmness of character, than the present King and Queen of Naples. Encompassed by a revolutionary volcano more dangerous than the physical one, though disturbed at home and defeated abroad, they have neither been disgraced nor dishonoured. They have, indeed, with all other Italian Princes, suffered territorial and pecuniary losses ; but these were not yielded through cowardice or treachery, but enforced by an absolute necessity, the consequence of the desertion or inefficacy of allies.

But Their Sicilian Majesties have been careful, as much as they were able, to exclude from their councils both German Illuminati and Italian philosophers. Their principal Minister, Chevalier Acton, has proved himself worthy of the confidence with which his Sovereigns have honoured him, and of the hatred with which he has been honoured by all revolutionists - the natural and irreconcilable enemies of all legitimate sovereignty.

Chevalier Acton is the son of an Irish physician, who first was established at Besançon in France, and afterwards at Leghorn in Italy. He is indebted for his present elevation to his own merit and to the penetration of the Queen of Sardinia, who discovered in him, when young, those qualities which have since distinguished him as a faithful counsellor and an able Minister. As loyal as wise, he was, from 1789, an enemy to the French Revolution. He easily foresaw that the specious promise of regeneration held out by impostors or fools to delude the ignorant, the credulous and the weak, would end in that universal corruption and general overthrow which we since have witnessed, and the effects of which our grandchildren will mourn.

When our Republic, in April, 1792, declared war against Austria, and when, in the September following, the dominions of His Sardinian Majesty were invaded by our troops, the neutrality of Naples continued, and was acknowledged by our Government. On the 16th of December following, our fleet from Toulon, however, cast anchor in the Bay of Naples, and a grenadier of the name of Belleville was landed as an Ambassador of the French Republic, and threatened a bombardment in case the demands he presented in a note were not acceded to within twenty-four hours. Being attacked in time of peace, and taken by surprise, the Court of Naples was unable to make any resistance, and Chevalier Acton informed our grenadier Ambassador that this note had been laid before his Sovereign, who had ordered him to sign an agreement in consequence.

When in February, 1793, the King of Naples was obliged, for his own safety, to join the league against France, Acton concluded a treaty with your country, and informed the Sublime Porte of the machinations of our Committee of Public Safety in sending De Semonville as an Ambassador to Constantinople, which, perhaps, prevented the Divan from attacking Austria, and occasioned the capture and imprisonment of our emissary.

Whenever our Government has, by the success of our arms, been enabled to dictate to Naples, the removal of Acton has been insisted upon; but though he has ceased to transact business ostensibly as a Minister, his influence has always, and deservedly, continued unimpaired, and he still enjoys the just confidence and esteem of his Prince.

But is His Sicilian Majesty equally well represented at the Cabinet of St. Cloud as served in his own capital ? I have told you before that Bonaparte is extremely particular in his acceptance of foreign diplomatic agents, and admits none near his person whom he does not believe to be well inclined to him.

Marquis de Gallo, the Ambassador of the King of the Two Sicilies to the Emperor of the French, is no novice in the diplomatic career. His Sovereign has employed him for these fifteen years in the most delicate negotiations, and nominated him in May, 1795, a Minister of the Foreign Department, and a successor of Chevalier Acton, an honour which he declined. In the summer and autumn, 1797, Marquis de Gallo assisted at the conferences at Udine, and signed, with the Austrian plenipotentiaries, the Peace of Campo Formio, on the 17th of October, 1797.

During 1798, 1799, and 1800 he resided as Neapolitan Ambassador at Vienna, and was again entrusted by his Sovereign with several important transactions with Austria and Russia. After a peace had been agreed to between France and the Two Sicilies, in March, 1801, and the Court of Naples had every reason to fear, and of course to please, the Court of St. Cloud, he obtained his present appointment, and is one of the few foreign Ambassadors here who has escaped both Bonaparte's private admonitions in the diplomatic circle and public lectures in Madame Bonaparte's drawing-room.

This escape is so much the more fortunate and singular as our Government is far from being content with the mutinous spirit (as Bonaparte calls it) of the Government of Naples, which, considering its precarious and enfeebled state, with a French army in the heart of the kingdom, has resisted our attempts and insults with a courage and dignity that demand our admiration.

It is said that the Marquis de Gallo is not entirely free from some taints of modern philosophy, and that he, therefore, does not consider the consequences of our innovations so fatal as most loyal men judge them ; nor thinks a sans-culotte Emperor more dangerous to civilized society than a sans-culotte sovereign people.

It is evident from the names and rank of its partisans that the Revolution of Naples in 1799 was different in many respects from that of every other country in Europe ; for, although the political convulsions seem to have originated among the middle classes of the community, the extremes of society were everywhere else made to act against each other ; the rabble being the first to triumph, and the nobles to succumb. But here, on the contrary, the lazzaroni, composed of the lowest portion of the population of a luxurious capital, appear to have been the most strenuous, and, indeed, almost the only supporters of royalty; while the great families, instead of being indignant at novelties which levelled them, in point of political rights, with the meanest subject, eagerly embraced the opportunity of altering that form of Government which alone made them great. It is, however, but justice to say that, though Marquis de Gallo gained the good graces of Bonaparte and of France in 1797, he was never, directly or indirectly, inculpated in the revolutionary transactions of his countrymen in 1799, when he resided at Vienna; and indeed, after all, it is not improbable that he disguises his real sentiments the better to, serve his country, and by that means has imposed on Bonaparte and acquired his favour.

The address and manners of a courtier are allowed Marquis de Gallo by all who know him, though few admit that he possesses any talents as a statesman. He is said to have read a great deal, to possess a good memory and no bad judgment ; but that, notwithstanding this, all his knowledge is superficial.



LETTER XXIV


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - You have perhaps heard that Napoleon Bonaparte, with all his brothers and sisters, was last Christmas married by the Pope according to the Roman Catholic rite, being previously only united according to the municipal laws of the French Republic, which consider marriage only as a civil contract. During the last two months of His Holiness's residence here, hardly a day passed that he was not petitioned to perform the same ceremony for our conscientious grand functionaries and courtiers, which he, however, according to the Emperor's desire, declined. But his Cardinals were not under the same restrictions, and to an attentive observer who has watched the progress of the Revolution and not lost sight of its actors, nothing could appear more ridiculous, nothing could inspire more contempt of our versatility and inconsistency, than to remark among the foremost to demand the nuptial benediction, a Talleyrand, a Fouche, a Real, an Augereau, a Chaptal, a Reubel, a Lasnes, a Bessieres, a Thuriot, a Treilhard, a Merlin, with a hundred other equally notorious revolutionists, who were, twelve or fifteen years ago, not only the first to declaim against religious ceremonies as ridiculous, but against religion itself as useless, whose motives produced, and whose votes sanctioned, those decrees of the legislature which proscribed the worship, together with its priests and sectaries. But then the fashion of barefaced infidelity was as much the order of the day as that of external sanctity is at present. I leave to casuists the decision whether to the morals of the people, naked atheism, exposed with all its deformities, is more or less hurtful than concealed atheism, covered with the garb of piety ; but for my part I think the noonday murderer less guilty and much less detestable than the midnight assassin who stabs in the dark.

A hundred anecdotes are daily related of our new saints and fashionable devotees. They would be laughable were they not scandalous, and contemptible did they not add duplicity to our other vices.

Bonaparte and his wife go now every morning to hear Mass, and on every Sunday or holiday they regularly attend at vespers, when, of course, all those who wish to be distinguished for their piety or rewarded for their flattery never neglect to be present. In the evening of last Christmas Day, the Imperial chapel was, as usual, early crowded in expectation of Their Majesties, when the chamberlain, Salmatoris, entered, and said to the captain of the guard, loud enough to be heard by the audience, " The Emperor and the Empress have just resolved not to come here to-night, His Majesty being engaged by some unexpected business, and the Empress not wishing to come without her consort. " In ten minutes the chapel was emptied of every person but the guards, the priests, and three old women who had nowhere else to pass an hour. At the arrival of our Sovereigns, they were astonished at the unusual vacancy, and indignantly regarded each other. After vespers were over, one of Bonaparte's spies informed him of the cause, when, instead of punishing the despicable and hypocritical courtiers, or showing them any signs of his displeasure, he ordered Salmatoris under arrest, who would have experienced a complete disgrace had not his friend Duroc interfered and made his peace.

At another time, on a Sunday, Fouche entered the chapel in the midst of the service, and whispered to Bonaparte, who immediately beckoned to his lord-in-waiting and to Duroc. These both left the Imperial chapel, and returning in a few minutes at the head of five grenadiers, entered the grand gallery, generally frequented by the most scrupulous devotees, and seized every book. The cause of this domiciliary visit was an anonymous communication received by the Minister of Police, stating that libels against the Imperial family, bound in the form of Prayer-books, had been placed there. No such libels were, however, found; but of one hundred and sixty pretended breviaries, twenty-eight were volumes of novels, sixteen were poems, and eleven were indecent books. It is not necessary to add that the proprietors of these edifying works never reclaimed them. The opinions are divided here, whether this curious discovery originated in the malice of Fouche, or whether Talleyrand took this method of duping his rival, and at the same time of gratifying his own malignity. Certain it is that Fouche was severely reprimanded for the transaction, and that Bonaparte was highly offended at the disclosure.

The common people, and the middle classes, are neither so ostentatiously devout, nor so basely perverse. They go to church as to the play, to gape at others, or to be stared at themselves ; to pass the time, and to admire the show; and they do not conceal that such is the object of their attendance. Their indifference about futurity equals their ignorance of religious duties. Our revolutionary charlatans have as much brutalized their understanding as corrupted their hearts. They heard the Grand Mass said by the Pope with the same feelings as they formerly heard Robespierre proclaim himself a high priest of a Supreme Being ; and they looked at the Imperial processions with the same insensibility as they once saw the daily caravans of victims passing for execution.

Even in Bonaparte's own guard, and among the officers of his household troops, several examples of rigour were necessary before they would go to any place of worship, or suffer in their corps any almoners ; but now, after being drilled into a belief of Christianity, they march to the Mass as to a parade or to a review. With any other people, Bonaparte would not so easily have changed in two years the customs of twelve, and forced military men to kneel before priests, whom they but the other day were encouraged to hunt and massacre like wild beasts.

On the day of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin, a company of gendarmes d'Elite, headed by their officers, received publicly, and by orders, the sacrament; when the Abbe Frelaud approached Lieutenant Ledoux, he fell into convulsions, and was carried into the sacristy. After being a little recovered, he looked round him, as if afraid that some one would injure him, and said to the Grand Vicar Clauset, who inquired the cause of his accident and terror: " Good God ! that man who gave me, on the 2d of September, 1792, in the convent of the Carenes, the five wounds from which I still suffer, is now an officer, and was about to receive the sacrament from my hands. " When this occurrence was reported to Bonaparte, Ledoux was dismissed; but Abbe Frelaud was transported, and the Grand Vicar Clauset sent to the Temple, for the scandal their indiscretion had caused. This act was certainly as unjust towards him who was bayoneted at the altar, as towards those who served the altar under the protection of the bayonets.



LETTER XXV


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Although the seizure of Sir George Rumbold might in your country, as well as everywhere else, inspire indignation, it could nowhere justly excite surprise. We had crossed the Rhine seven months before to seize the Duc d'Enghien; and when any prey invited, the passing of the Elbe was only a natural consequence of the former outrage, of audacity on our part, and of endurance or indifference on the part of other Continental States. Talleyrand's note at Aix-la-Chapelle had also informed Europe that we had adopted a new and military diplomacy, and, in confounding power with right, would respect no privileges at variance with our ambition, interest or, suspicions, nor any independence it was thought useful or convenient for us to invade.

It was reported here, at the time, that Bonaparte was much offended with General Frere, who commanded this political expedition, for permitting Sir George's servant to accompany his master, as Fouche and Real had already tortures prepared and racks waiting, and after forcing your agent to speak out, would have announced his sudden death, either by his own hands or by a coup-de-sang, before any Prussian note could require his release. The known morality of our Government must have removed all doubts of the veracity of this assertion ; a man might, besides, from the fatigues of a long journey, or from other causes, expire suddenly; but the exit of two, in the same circumstances, would have been thought at least extraordinary, even by our friends, and suspicious by our enemies.

The official declaration of Rheinhard (our Minister to the Circle of Lower Saxony) to the Senate at Hamburg, in which he disavowed all knowledge on the subject of the capture of Sir George Rumbold, occasioned his disgrace. This man, a subject of the Elector of Wurtemberg by birth, is one of the negative accomplices of the criminals of France who, since the Revolution, have desolated Europe. He began in 1792 his diplomatic career, under Chauvelin and Talleyrand, in London, and has since been the tool of every faction in power. In 1796 he was appointed a Minister to the Hanse Towns, and, without knowing why, he was hailed as the point of rally to all the philosophers, philanthropists, Illuminati and other revolutionary amateurs, with which the North of Germany, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden then abounded.

A citizen of Hamburg - or rather, of the world - of the name of Seveking, bestowed on him the hand of a sister ; and though he is not accused of avarice, some of the contributions extorted by our Government from the neutral Hanse Towns are said to have been left behind in his coffers instead of being forwarded to this capital. Either on this account, or for some other reason, he was recalled from Hamburg in January, 1797, and remained unemployed until the latter part of 1798, when he was sent as Minister to Tuscany.

When, in the summer of 1799, Talleyrand was forced by the Jacobins to resign his place as a Minister of the Foreign Department, he had the adroitness to procure Rheinhard to be nominated his successor, so that, though no longer nominally the Minister, he still continued to influence the decisions of our Government as much as if still in office, because, though not without parts, Rheinhard has neither energy of character nor consistency of conduct. He is so much accustomed, and wants so much to be governed, that in 1796, at Hamburg, even the then emigrants, Madame de Genlis and General Valence, directed him, when he was not ruled or dictated to by his wife or brother-in-law.

In 1800 Bonaparte sent him as a representative to the Helvetian Republic, and in 1802, again to Hamburg, where he was last winter superseded by Bourrienne, and ordered to an inferior station at the: Electoral Court at Dresden. Rheinhard will never become one of those daring diplomatic banditti whom revolutionary Governments always employ in preference. He has some moral principles, and, though not religious, is rather scrupulous. He would certainly sooner resign than undertake to remove by poison, or by the steel of a bravo, a rival of his own or a person obnoxious to his employers. He would never, indeed, betray the secrets of his Government if he understood they intended to rob a despatch or to atop a messenger ; but no allurements whatever would induce him to head the parties perpetrating these acts of our modern diplomacy.

Our present Minister at Hamburg (Bourrienne) is far from being so nice. A revolutionist from the beginning of the Revolution, he shared, with the partisans of La Fayette, imprisonment under Robespierre, and escaped death only by emigration. Recalled afterwards by his friend, the late Director (Barras), he acted as a kind of secretary to him until 1796, when Bonaparte demanded him, having known him at the military college. During all Bonaparte's campaigns in Italy, Egypt, and Syria, he was his sole and confidential secretary - a situation which he lost in 1802, when Talleyrand denounced his corruption and cupidity because he had rivalled him in speculating in the funds and profiting by the information which his place afforded him. He was then made a Counsellor of State, but in 1803 he was involved in the fraudulent bankruptcy of one of our principal houses to the amount of a million of livres - and, from his correspondence with it, some reasons appeared for the suspicion that he frequently had committed a breach of confidence against his master, who, after erasing his name from among the Counsellors of State, had him conveyed a prisoner to the Temple, where he remained six months. A small volume, called Le Livre Rouge of the Consular Court, made its appearance about that time, and contained some articles which gave Bonaparte reason to suppose that Bourrienne was its author. On being questioned by the Grand Judge Regnier and the Minister Fouce, before whom he was carried, he avowed that he had written it, but denied that he had any intention of making it public. As to its having found its way to the press during his confinement, that could only be ascribed to the ill-will or treachery of those police agents who inspected his papers and put their seals upon them. " Tell Bonaparte, " said he, " that, had I been inclined to injure him in the public opinion, I should not have stooped to such trifles as Le Livre Rouge, while I have deposited with a friend his original orders, letters, and other curious documents as materials for an edifying history of our military hospitals during the campaigns of Italy and Syria all authentic testimonies of his humanity for the wounded and dying French soldiers. "

After the answers of this interrogatory had been laid before Bonaparte, his brother Joseph was sent to the Temple to negotiate with Bourrienne, who was offered his liberty and a prefecture if he would give up all the original papers that, as a private secretary, he had had opportunity to collect.

" These papers, " answered Bourrienne, " are my only security against your brother's wrath and his assassins. Were I weak enough to deliver them up to-day, to-morrow, probably, I should no longer be counted among the living ; but I have now taken my measures so effectually that, were I murdered to-day, these originals would be printed to-morrow. If Napoleon does not confide in my word of honour, he may trust to an assurance of discretion, with which my own interest is nearly connected. If he suspects me of having wronged him, he is convinced also of the eminent services I have rendered him, sufficient surely to outweigh his present suspicion. Let him again employ me in any post worthy of him and of me, and he shall soon see how much I will endeavour to regain his confidence. "

Shortly afterwards Bourrienne was released, and a pension, equal to the salary of a Counsellor of State; was granted him until some suitable place became vacant. On Champagny's being appointed a Minister of the Home Department, the embassy at Vienna was demanded by Bourrienne, but refused, as previously promised to La Rochefoucauld, our late Minister at Dresden. When Rheinhard, in a kind of disgrace, was transferred to that relatively insignificant post, Bourrienne was ordered, with extensive instructions, to Hamburg. The Senate soon found the difference between a timid and honest Minister, and an unprincipled and crafty intriguer. New loans were immediately required from Hanover; but hardly were these acquitted, than fresh extortions were insisted on. In some secret conferences Bourrienne is, however, said to have hinted that some douceurs were expected for alleviating the rigour of his instructions. This hint has, no doubt, been taken, because he suddenly altered his conduct, and instead of hunting the purses of the Germans, pursued the persons of his emigrated countrymen ; and, in a memorial, demanded the expulsion of all Frenchmen who were not registered and protected by him, under pretence that every one of them who declined the honour of being a subject of Bonaparte, must be a traitor against the French Government and his country.

Bourrienne is now stated to have connected himself with several stock-jobbers, both in Germany, Holland, and England ; and already to have pocketed considerable sums by such connections. It is, however, not to be forgotten that several houses have been ruined in this capital by the profits allowed him, who always refused to share their losses, but, whatever were the consequences, enforced to its full amount the payment of that value which he chose to set on his communications.

A place in France would, no doubt, have been preferable to Bourrienne, particularly one near the person of Bonaparte. But if nothing else prevented the accomplishment of his wishes, his long familiarity with all the Bonapartes, whom he always treated as equals, and even now (with the exception of Napoleon) does not think his superiors, will long remain an insurmountable barrier.

I cannot comprehend how Bonaparte (who is certainly no bad judge of men) could so long confide in Bourrienne, who, with the usual presumption of my countrymen, is continually boasting, to a degree that borders on indiscretion, and, by an artful questioner, may easily be lead to overstep those bounds. Most of the particulars of his quarrel with Napoleon I heard him relate himself, as a proof of his great consequence, in a company of forty individuals, many of whom were unknown to him. On the first discovery which Bonaparte made of Bourrienne's infidelity, Talleyrand complimented him upon not having suffered from it. " Do you not see, " answered Bonaparte, " that it is also one of the extraordinary gifts of my extraordinary good fortune ?

Even traitors are unable to betray me. Plots respect me as much as bullets. " I need not tell you that Fortune is the sole divinity sincerely worshipped by Napoleon.



LETTER XXVI


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Joseph Bonaparte leads a much more retired life, and sees less company, than any of his brothers or sisters. Except the members of his own family, he but seldom invites any guests, nor has Madame Joseph those regular assemblies and circles which Madame Napoleon and Madame Louis Bonaparte have. His hospitality is, however, greater at his countryseat Morfontaine than at his hotel here. Those whom he likes, or does not mistrust (who, by the bye, are very few), may visit him without much formality in the country, and prolong their stay, according to their own inclination or discretion ; but they must come without their servants, or send them away on their arrival.

As soon as an agreeable visitor presents himself, it is the etiquette of the house to consider him as an inmate ; but to allow him at the same time a perfect liberty to dispose of his hours and his person as suits his convenience or caprice. In this extensive and superb mansion a suite of apartments is assigned him, with a valet-de-chambre, a lackey, a coachman, a groom, and a jockey, all under his own exclusive command. He has allotted him a chariot, a gig, and riding horses, if he prefers such an exercise. A catalogue is given him of the library of the chateau; and every morning he is informed what persons compose the company at breakfast, dinner, and supper, and of the hours of these different repasts. A bill of fare is at the same time presented to him, and he is asked to point out those dishes to which he gives the preference, and to declare whether he chooses to join the company or to be served in his own rooms.

During the summer season, players from the different theatres of Paris are paid to perform three times in the week ; and each guest, according to the period of his arrival, is asked, in his turn, to command either a comedy or a tragedy, a farce or a ballet. Twice in the week concerts are executed by the first performers of the opera-bouffe; and twice in the week invitations to tea-parties are sent to some of the neighbours, or accepted from them.

Besides four billiard-tables, there are other gambling-tables for Rouge et Noir, Trente et Quarante, Faro, La Roulette, Birribi, and other games of hazard. The bankers are young men from Corsica, to whom Joseph, who advances the money, allows all the gain, while he alone suffers the loss. Those who are inclined may play from morning till night, and from night till morning, without interruption, as no one interferes. Should Joseph hear that any person has been too severely treated by Fortune, or suspects that he has not much cash remaining, some rouleaux of napoleons d'or are placed on the table of his dressing-room, which he may use or leave untouched, as he judges proper.

The hours of Joseph Bonaparte are neither so late as yours in England, nor so early as they were formerly in France. Breakfast is ready served at ten o'clock, dinner at four, and supper at nine. Before midnight he retires to bed with his family, but visitors do as they like and follow their own usual hours, and their servants are obliged to wait for them.

When any business calls Joseph away, either to preside in the Senate here, or to travel in the provinces, he notifies the visitors, telling them at the same time not to displace themselves on account of his absence, but wait till his return, as they would not observe any difference in the economy of his house, of which Madame Joseph always does the honours, or, in her absence, some lady appointed by her.

Last year, when Joseph first assumed a military rank, he passed nearly four months with the army of England on the coast or in Brabant. On his return, all his visitors were gone, except a young poet of the name of Montaigne, who does not want genius, but who is rather too fond of the bottle. Joseph is considered the best gourmet or connoisseur in liquors and wines of this capital, and Montaigne found his Champagne and burgundy so excellent that he never once went to bed that he was not heartily intoxicated. But the best of the story is that he employed his mornings in composing a poem holding out to abhorrence the disgusting vice of drunkenness, and presented it to Joseph, requesting permission to dedicate it to him when published. To those who have read it, or only seen extracts from it, the compilation appears far from being contemptible, but Joseph still keeps the copy, though he has made the author a present of one hundred napoleons d'or, and procured him a place of an amanuensis in the chancellory of the Senate, having resolved never to accept any dedication, but wishing also not to hurt the feelings of the author by a refusal.

In a chateau where so many visitors of licentious and depraved morals meet, of both sexes, and where such an unlimited liberty reigns, intrigues must occur, and have of course not seldom furnished materials for the scandalous chronicle. Even Madame Joseph herself has either been gallant or calumniated. Report says that to the nocturnal assiduities of Eugene de Beauharnais and of Colonel la Fond-Blaniac she is exclusively indebted to the honour of maternity, and that these two rivals even fought a duel concerning the right of paternity. Eugene de Beauharnais never was a great favourite with Joseph Bonaparte, whose reserved manners and prudence form too great a contrast to his noisy and blundering way to accord with each other. Before he set out for Italy, it was well known in our fashionable circles that he had been interdicted the house of his uncle, and that no reconciliation took place, notwithstanding the endeavours of Madame Napoleon. To humble him still more, Joseph even nominated la Fond-Blaniac an equerry to his wife, who, therefore, easily consoled herself for the departure of her dear nephew.

The husband of Madame Miot (one of Madame Joseph's ladies-in-waiting) was not so patient, nor such a philosopher as Joseph Bonaparte. Some charitable person having reported in the company of a 'bonne amie' of Miot, that his wife did not pass her nights in solitude, but that she sought consolation among the many gallants and disengaged visitors at Morfontaine, he determined to surprise her. It was past eleven o'clock at night when his arrival was announced to Joseph, who had just retired to his closet. Madame Miot had been in bed ever since nine, ill of a migraine, and her husband was too affectionate not to be the first to inform her of his presence, without permitting anybody previously to disturb her. With great reluctance, Madame Miot's maid delivered the key of her rooms, while she accompanied him with a light. In the antechamber he found a hat and a greatcoat, and in the closet adjoining the bedroom, a coat, a waistcoat, and a pair of breeches, with drawers, stockings, and slippers. Though the maid kept coughing all the time, Madame Miot and her gallant did not awake from their slumber, till the enraged husband began to use the bludgeon of the lover, which had also been left in the closet. A battle then ensued, in which the lover retaliated so vigorously, that the husband called out " Murder ! murder ! " with all his might. The chateau was instantly in an uproar, and the apartments crowded with half-dressed and half-naked lovers. Joseph Bonaparte alone was able to separate the combatants; and inquiring the cause of the riot, assured them that he would suffer no scandal and no intrigues in his house, without seriously resenting it. An explanation being made, Madame Miot was looked for but in vain; and the maid declared that, being warned by a letter from Paris of her husband's jealousy and determination to surprise her, her mistress had reposed herself in her room ; while, to punish the ungenerous suspicions of her husband, she had persuaded Captain d' Horteuil to occupy her place in her own bed. The maid had no sooner finished her deposition, than her mistress made her appearance and upbraided her husband severely, in which she was cordially joined by the spectators. She inquired if, on seeing the dress of a gentleman, he had also discovered the attire of a female ; and she appealed to Captain d' Horteuil whether he had not the two preceding nights also slept in her bed. To this he, of course, assented; adding that, had M. Miot attacked him the first night, he would not then perhaps have been so roughly handled as now; for then he was prepared for a visit, which this night was rather unexpected. This connubial farce ended by Miot begging pardon of his wife and her gallant; the former of whom, after much entreaty by Joseph, at last consented to share with him her bed. But being disfigured with two black eyes and suffering from several bruises, and also ashamed of his unfashionable behaviour, he continued invisible for ten days afterwards, and returned to this city as he had left it, by stealth.

This Miot was a spy under Robespierre, and is a Counsellor of State under Bonaparte. Without bread, as well as without a home, he was, from the beginning of the Revolution, one of the most ardent patriots, and the first republican Minister in Tuscany. After the Sovereign of that country had, in 1793, joined the League, Miot returned to France, and was, for his want of address to negotiate as a Minister, shut up to perform the part of a spy in the Luxembourg, then transformed into a prison for suspected persons. Thanks to his patriotism, upwards of two hundred individuals of both sexes were denounced, transferred to the Conciergerie prison, and afterwards guillotined. After that, until 1799, he continued so despised that no faction would accept him for an accomplice; but in the November of that year, after Bonaparte had declared himself a First Consul, Miot was appointed a tribune, an office from which he was advanced, in 1802, to be a Counsellor of State. As Miot squanders away his salary with harlots and in gambling-houses, and is pursued by creditors he neither will nor can pay, it was merely from charity that his wife was received among the other ladies of Madame Joseph Bonaparte's household.



LETTER XXVII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Notwithstanding the ties of consanguinity, honour, duty, interest, and gratitude, which bound the Spanish Bourbons to the cause of the Bourbons of France, no monarch has rendered more service to the cause of rebellion, and done more harm to the cause of royalty, than the King of Spain.

But here, again, you must understand me. When I speak of Princes whose talents are known not to be brilliant, whose intellects are known to be feeble, and whose good intentions are rendered null by a want of firmness of character or consistency of conduct; while I deplore their weakness and the consequent misfortunes of their contemporaries, I lay all the blame on their wicked or ignorant counsellors ; because, if no Ministers were fools or traitors, no Sovereigns would tremble on their thrones, and no subjects dare to shake their foundation. Had Providence blessed Charles IV of Spain with the judgment in selecting his Ministers, and the constancy of persevering in his choice, possessed by your George III ; had the helm of Spain been in the firm and able hands of a Grenville, a Windham, and a Pitt, the Cabinet of Madrid would never have been oppressed by the yoke of the Cabinet of St. Cloud, nor paid a heavy tribute for its bondage, degrading as well as ruinous.

" This is the age of upstarts, " said Talleyrand to his cousin, Prince de Chalais, who reproached him for an unbecoming servility to low and vile personages " and I prefer bowing to them to being trampled upon and crushed by them. " Indeed, as far as I remember, nowhere in history are hitherto recorded so many low persons who, from obscurity and meanness, have suddenly and at once attained rank and notoriety. Where do we read of such a numerous crew of upstart Emperors, Kings, grand pensionaries, directors, Imperial Highnesses, Princes, Field-marshals, generals, Senators, Ministers, governors, Cardinals, etc., as we now witness figuring upon the theatre of Europe, and who chiefly decide on the destiny of nations ? Among these, several are certainly to be found whose superior parts have made them worthy to pierce the crowd and to shake off their native mud; but others again, and by far the greatest number of these 'novi homines', owe their present elevation to shameless intrigues or atrocious crimes.

The Prime Minister - or rather, the viceroy of Spain, the Prince of Peace - belongs to the latter class. From a man in the ranks of the guards he was promoted to a general-in-chief, and from a harp player in antechambers to a president of the councils of a Prince; and that within the short period of six years. Such a fortune is not common; but to be absolutely without capacity as well as virtue, genius as well as good breeding, and, nevertheless, to continue in an elevation so little merited, and in a place formerly so subject to changes and so unstable, is a fortune that no upstart ever before experienced in Spain.

An intrigue of his elder brother with the present Queen, then Princess of Asturia, which was discovered by the King, introduced him first at Court as a harp player, and, when his brother was exiled, he was entrusted with the correspondence of the Princess with her gallant. After she had ascended the throne, he thought it more profitable to be the lover than the messenger, and contrived, therefore, to supplant his brother in the royal favour. Promotions and riches were consequently heaped upon him, and, what is surprising, the more undisguised the partiality of the Queen was, the greater the attachment of the King displayed itself ; and it has ever since been an emulation between the royal couple who should the most forget and vilify birth and supremacy by associating this man not only in the courtly pleasures, but in the functions of Sovereignty. Had he been gifted with sound understanding, or possessed any share of delicacy, generosity, or discretion, he would, while he profited by their imprudent condescension, have prevented them from exposing their weaknesses and frailties to a discussion and ridicule among courtiers, and from becoming objects of humiliation and scandal among the people. He would have warned them of the danger which at all times attends the publicity of foibles and vices of Princes, but particularly in the present times of trouble and innovations. He would have told them : " Make me great and wealthy, but not at the expense of your own grandeur or of the loyalty of your people. Do not treat an humble subject as an equal, nor suffer Your Majesties, whom Providence destined to govern a high-spirited nation, to be openly ruled by one born to obey. I am too dutiful not to lay aside my private vanity when the happiness of my King and the tranquillity of my fellow subjects are at stake. I am already too high. In descending a little, I shall not only rise in the eyes of my contemporaries, but in the opinion of posterity. Every step I am advancing undermines your throne. In retreating a little, if I do not strengthen, I can never injure it. " But I beg your pardon for this digression, and for putting the language of dignified reason into the mouth of a man as corrupt as he is imbecile.

Do not suppose, because the Prince of Peace is no friend of my nation, that I am his enemy. No ! Had he shown himself a true patriot, a friend of his own country, and of his too liberal Prince, or even of monarchy in general, or of anybody else but himself - although I might have disapproved of his policy, if he has any - I would never have lashed the individual for the acts of the Minister. But you must have observed, with me, that never before his administration was the Cabinet of Madrid worse conducted at home or more despised abroad ; the Spanish Monarch more humbled or Spanish subjects more wretched; the Spanish power more dishonoured or the Spanish resources worse employed. Never, before the treaty with France of 1796, concluded by this wiseacre (which made him a Prince of Peace, and our Government the Sovereign of Spain), was the Spanish monarchy reduced to such a lamentable dilemma as to be forced into an expensive war without a cause, and into a disgraceful peace, not only unprofitable, but absolutely disadvantageous. Never before were its treasures distributed among its oppressors to support their tyranny, nor its military and naval forces employed to fight the battles of rebellion. The loyal subjects of Spain have only one hope left. The delicate state of his present Majesty's health does not promise a much longer continuance of his reign, and the Prince of Asturia is too well informed to endure the guidance of the most ignorant Minister that ever was admitted into the Cabinet and confidence of a Sovereign. It is more than probable that under a new reign the misfortunes of the Prince of Peace will inspire as much compassion as his rapid advancement has excited astonishment and indignation.

A Cabinet thus badly directed cannot be expected to have representatives abroad either of abilities or patriotism. The Admiral and General Gravina, who but lately left this capital as an Ambassador from the Court of Spain to assume the command of a Spanish fleet, is more valiant than wise, and more an enemy of your country than a friend of his own. He is a profound admirer of Bonaparte's virtues and successes, and was, during his residence, one of the most ostentatiously awkward courtiers of Napoleon the First. It is said that he has the modesty and loyalty to wish to become a Spanish Bonaparte, and that he promises to restore by his genius and exploits the lost lustre of the Spanish monarchy. When this was reported to Talleyrand, he smiled with contempt ; but when it was told to Bonaparte, he stamped with rage at the impudence of the Spaniard in daring to associate his name of acquired and established greatness with his own impertinent schemes of absurdities and impossibilities.

In the summer of 1793, Gravina commanded a division of the Spanish fleet in the Mediterranean, of which Admiral Langara was the commander-in-chief. At the capitulation of Toulon, after the combined English and Spanish forces had taken possession of it, when Rear-Admiral Goodall was declared governor, Gravina was made the commandant of the troops. At the head of these he often fought bravely in different sorties, and on the 1st of October was wounded at the re-capture of Fort Pharon. He complains still of having suffered insults or neglect from the English, and even of having been exposed unnecessarily to the fire and sword of the enemy merely because he was a patriot as well as an envied or suspected ally. His inveteracy against your country takes its date, no doubt, from the siege of Toulon, or perhaps, from its evacuation.

When, in May, 1794, our troops were advancing towards Collioure, he was sent with a squadron to bring it succours, but he arrived too late, and could not save that important place. He was not more successful at the beginning of the campaign of 1795 at Rosa, where he had only time to carry away the artillery before the enemy entered. In August, that year, during the absence of Admiral Massaredo, he assumed ad interim the command of the Spanish fleet in the Mediterranean; but in the December following he was disgraced, arrested, and shut up as a State prisoner.

During the embassy of Lucien Bonaparte to the Court of Madrid, in the autumn of 1800, Gravina was by his influence restored to favour ; and after the death of the late Spanish Ambassador to the Cabinet of St. Cloud, Chevalier d' Azara, by the special desire of Napoleon, was nominated both his successor and a representative of the King of Etruria. Among the members of our diplomatic corps, he was considered somewhat of a Spanish gasconader and a bully. He more frequently boasted of his wounds and battles than of his negotiations or conferences, though he pretended, indeed, to shine as much in the Cabinet as in the field.

In his suite were two Spanish women, one about forty, and the other about twenty years of age. Nobody knew what to make of them, as they were treated neither as wives, mistresses, nor servants ; and they avowed themselves to be no relations. After a residence here of some weeks, he was, by superior orders, waylaid one night at the opera, by a young and beautiful dancing girl of the name of Barrois, who engaged him to take her into keeping. He hesitated, indeed, for some time ; at last, however, love got the better of his scruples, and he furnished for her an elegant apartment on the new Boulevard. On the day he carried her there, he was accompanied by the chaplain of the Spanish Legation ; and told her that, previous to any further intimacy, she must be married to him, as his religious principles did not permit him to cohabit with a woman who was not his wife. At the same time he laid before her an agreement to sign, by which she bound herself never to claim him as a husband before her turn - that is to say, until sixteen other women, to whom he had been previously married, were dead. She made no opposition, either to the marriage or to the conditions annexed to it. This girl had a sweetheart of the name of Valere, an actor at one of the little theatres on the Boulevards, to whom she communicated her adventure. He advised her to be scrupulous in her turn, and to ask a copy of the agreement. After some difficulty this was obtained. In it no mention was made of her maintenance, nor in what manner her children were to be regarded, should she have any. Valere had, therefore, another agreement drawn up, in which all these points were arranged, according to his own interested views. Gravina refused to subscribe to what he plainly perceived were only extortions ; and the girl, in her turn, not only declined any further connection with him, but threatened to publish the act of polygamy. Before they had done discussing this subject, the door was suddenly opened and the two Spanish ladies presented themselves. After severely upbraiding Gravina, who was struck mute by surprise, they announced to the girl that whatever promise or contract of marriage she had obtained from him was of no value, as, before they came with him to France, he had bound himself, before a public notary at Madrid, not to form any more connections, nor to marry any other woman, without their written consent. One of these ladies declared that she had been married to Gravina twenty-two years, and was his oldest wife but one; the other said that she had been married to him six years. They insisted upon his following them, which he did, after putting a purse of gold into Barrois's hand.

When Valere heard from his mistress this occurrence, he advised her to make the most money she could of the Spaniard's curious scruples. A letter was, therefore, written to him, demanding one hundred thousand livres - as the price of secrecy and withholding the particulars of this business from the knowledge of the tribunals and the police ; and an answer was required within twenty-four hours. The same night Gravina offered one thousand Louis, which were accepted, and the papers returned; but the next day Valere went to his hotel, Rue de Provence, where he presented himself as a brother of Barrois. He stated that he still possessed authenticated copies of the papers returned, and that he must have either the full sum first asked by his sister, or an annuity of twelve thousand livres settled upon her. Instead of an answer, Gravina ordered him to be turned out of the house. An attorney then waited on His Excellency, on the part of the brother and the sister, and repeated their threats and their demands, adding that he would write a memorial both to the Emperor of the French and to the King of Spain, were justice refused to his principals any longer.

Gravina was well aware that this affair, though more laughable than criminal, would hurt both his character and credit if it were known in France ; he therefore consented to pay seventy-six thousand livres more, upon a formal renunciation by the party of all future claims. Not having money sufficient by him, he went to borrow it from a banker, whose clerk was one of Talleyrand's secret agents. Our Minister, therefore, ordered every step of Gravina to be watched; but he soon discovered that, instead of wanting this money for a political intrigue, it was necessary to extricate him out of an amorous scrape. Hearing, however, in what a scandalous manner the Ambassador had been duped and imposed upon, he reported it to Bonaparte, who gave Fouche orders to have Valere, Barrois, and the attorney immediately transported to Cayenne, and to restore Gravina his money. The former part of this order the Minister of Police executed the more willingly, as it was according to his plan that Barrois had pitched upon Gravina for a lover. She had been intended by him as a spy on His Excellency, but had deceived him by her reports - a crime for which transportation was a usual punishment.

Notwithstanding the care of our Government to conceal and bury this affair in oblivion, it furnished matter both for conversation in our fashionable circles, and subjects for our caricaturists. But these artists were soon seized by the police, who found it more easy to chastise genius than to silence tongues. The declaration of war by Spain against your country was a lucky opportunity for Gravina to quit with honour a Court where he was an object of ridicule, to assume the command of a fleet which might one day make him an object of terror. When he took leave of Bonaparte, he was told to return to France victorious, or never to return any more ; and Talleyrand warned him as a friend, " whenever he returned to his post in France to leave his marriage mania behind him in Spain. Here, " said he, " you may, without ridicule, intrigue with a hundred women, but you run a great risk by marrying even one. "

I have been in company with Gravina, and after what I heard him say, so far from judging him superstitious, I thought him really impious. But infidelity and bigotry are frequently next-door neighbours.



LETTER XXVIII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - It cannot have escaped the observation of the most superficial traveller of rank, that, at the Court of St. Cloud, want of morals is not atoned for by good breeding or good manners. The hideousness of vice, the pretensions of ambition, the vanity of rank, the pride of favour, and the shame of venality do not wear here that delicate veil, that gloss of virtue, which, in other Courts, lessens the deformity of corruption and the scandal of depravity. Duplicity and hypocrisy are here very common indeed, more so than dissimulation anywhere else; but barefaced knaves and impostors must always make indifferent courtiers. Here the Minister tells you, I must have such a sum for a place; and the chamberlain tells you, Count down so much for my protection. The Princess requires a necklace of such a value for interesting herself for your advancement; and the lady-in-waiting demands a diamond of such worth on the day of your promotion. This tariff of favours and of infamy descends 'ad infinitum'. The secretary for signing, and the clerk for writing your commission; the cashier for delivering it, and the messenger for informing you of it, have all their fixed prices. Have you a lawsuit, the judge announces to you that so much has been offered by your opponent, and so much is expected from you, if you desire to win your cause. When you are the defendant against the Crown, the attorney or solicitor-general lets you know that such a douceur is requisite to procure such an issue. Even in criminal proceedings, not only honour, but life, may be saved by pecuniary sacrifices.

A man of the name of Martin, by profession a stock-jobber, killed, in 1803, his own wife ; and for twelve thousand livres - he was acquitted, and recovered his liberty. In November last year, in a quarrel with his own brother, he stabbed him through the heart, and for another sum of twelve thousand livres he was acquitted, and released before last Christmas. This wretch is now in prison again, on suspicion of having poisoned his own daughter, with whom he had an incestuous intercourse, and he boasts publicly of soon being liberated. Another person, Louis de Saurac, the younger son of Baron de Saurac, who together with his eldest son had emigrated, forged a will in the name of his parent, whom he pretended to be dead, which left him the sole heir of all the disposable property, to the exclusion of two sisters. After the nation had shared its part as heir of all emigrants, Louis took possession of the remainder. In 1802, both his father and brother accepted the general amnesty, and returned to France. To their great surprise, they heard that this Louis had, by his ill-treatment, forced his sisters into servitude, refusing them even the common necessaries of life. After upbraiding him for his want of duty, the father desired, according to the law, the restitution of the unsold part of his estates. On the day fixed for settling the accounts and entering into his rights, Baron de Saurac was arrested as a conspirator and imprisoned in the Temple. He had been denounced as having served in the army of Conde, and as being a secret agent of Louis XVIII. To disprove the first part of the charge, he produced certificates from America, where he had passed the time of his emigration, and even upon the rack he denied the latter. During his arrest, the eldest son discovered that Louis had become the owner of their possessions, by means of the will he had forged in the name of his father; and that it was he who had been unnatural enough to denounce the author of his days. With the wreck of their fortune in St. Domingo, he procured his father's release; who, being acquainted with the perversity of his younger son, addressed himself to the department to be reinstated in his property. This was opposed by Louis, who defended his title to the estate by the revolutionary maxim which had passed into a law, enacting that all emigrants should be considered as politically dead. Hitherto Baron de Saurac had, from affection, declined to mention the forged will ; but shocked by his son's obduracy, and being reduced to distress, his counsellor produced this document, which not only went to deprive Louis of his property, but exposed him to a criminal prosecution.

This unnatural son, who was not yet twenty-five, had imbibed all the revolutionary morals of his contemporaries, and was well acquainted with the moral characters of his revolutionary countrymen. He addressed himself, therefore, to Merlin of Douai, Bonaparte's Imperial attorney-general and commander of his Legion of Honour ; who, for a bribe of fifty thousand livres - obtained for him, after he had been defeated in every other court, a judgment in his favour, in the tribunal of cassation, under the sophistical conclusion that all emigrants, being, according to law, considered as politically dead, a will in the name of any one of them was merely a pious fraud to preserve the property in the family.

This Merlin is the son of a labourer of Anchin, and was a servant of the Abbey of the same name. One of the monks, observing in him some application, charitably sent him to be educated at Douai, after having bestowed on him some previous education. Not satisfied with this generous act, he engaged the other monks, as well as the chapter of Cambray, to subscribe for his expenses of admission as an attorney by the Parliament of Douai, in which situation the Revolution found him. By his dissimulation and assumed modesty, he continued to dupe his benefactors; who, by their influence, obtained for him the nomination as representative of the people to our First National Assembly. They soon, however, had reason to repent of their generosity. He joined the Orleans faction and became one of the most persevering, violent, and cruel persecutors of the privileged classes, particularly of the clergy, to whom he was indebted for everything. In 1792 he was elected a member of the National Convention, where he voted for the death of his King. It was he who proposed a law (justly called, by Prudhomme, the production of the deliberate homicide Merlin) against suspected persons; which was decreed on the 17th of September, 1793, and caused the imprisonment or proscription of two hundred thousand families. This decree procured him the appellation of Merlin Suspects and of Merlin Potence. In 1795 he was appointed a Minister of Police, and soon afterwards a Minister of Justice. After the revolution in favour of the Jacobins of the 4th of September, 1797, he was made a director, a place which he was obliged by the same Jacobins to resign, in June, 1799. Bonaparte expressed, at first, the most sovereign contempt for this Merlin, but on account of one of his sons, who was his aide-de-camp, he was appointed by him, when First Consul, his attorney-general.

As nothing paints better the true features of a Government than the morality or vices of its functionaries, I will finish this man's portrait with the following characteristic touches.

Merlin de Douai has been successively the counsel of the late Duc d' Orleans, the friend of Danton, of Chabot, and of Hebert, the admirer of Murat, and the servant of Robespierre. An accomplice of Rewbell, Barras, and la Reveilliere, an author of the law of suspected persons, an advocate of the Septembrizers, and an ardent apostle of the St. Guillotine. Cunning as a fog and ferocious as a tiger, he has outlived all the factions with which he has been connected. It has been his policy to keep in continual fermentation rivalships, jealousies, inquietudes, revenge and all other odious passions; establishing, by such means, his influence on the terror of some, the ambition of others, and the credulity of them all. Had I, when Merlin proposed his law concerning suspected persons, in the name of liberty and equality, been free and his equal, I should have said to him, " Monster, this, your atrocious law, is your sentence of death ; it has brought thousands of innocent persons to an untimely end; you shall die by my hands as a victim, if the tribunals do not condemn you to the scaffold as an executioner or as a criminal. "

Merlin has bought national property to the amount of fifteen million of livress - and he is supposed to possess money nearly to the same amount, in your or our funds. For a man born a beggar, and educated by charity, this fortune, together with the liberal salaries he enjoys, might seem sufficient without selling justice, protecting guilt, and oppressing or persecuting innocence.



LETTER XXIX


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - The household troops of Napoleon the First are by thousands more numerous than those even of Louis XIV were. Grenadiers on foot and on horseback, riflemen on foot and on horseback, heavy and light artillery, dragoons and hussars, mamelukes and sailors, artificers and pontoneers, gendarmes, gendarmes d'Elite, Velites and veterans, with Italian grenadiers, riflemen, dragoons, etc., etc., compose all together a not inconsiderable army.

Though it frequently happens that the pay of the other troops is in arrears, those appertaining to Bonaparte's household are as regularly paid as his Senators, Counsellors of State, and other public functionaries. All the men are picked, and all the officers as much as possible of birth, or at least of education. In the midst of this voluptuous and seductive capital, they are kept very strict, and the least negligence or infraction of military discipline is more severely punished than if committed in garrison or in an encampment. They are both better clothed, accoutred, and paid, than the troops of the line, and have everywhere the precedency of them. All the officers, and many of the soldiers, are members of Bonaparte's Legion of Honour, and carry arms of honour distributed to them by Imperial favour, or for military exploits. None of them are quartered upon the citizens ; each corps has its own spacious barracks, hospitals, drilling-ground, riding or fencing-houses, gardens, bathing-houses, billiard-table, and even libraries. A chapel has lately been constructed near each barrack, and almoners are already appointed. In the meantime, they attend regularly at Mass, either in the Imperial Chapel or in the parish churches. Bonaparte discourages much all marriages among the military in general, but particularly among those of his household troops. That they may not, however, be entirely deprived of the society of women, he allows five to each company, with the same salaries as the men, under the name of washerwomen.

With a vain and fickle people, fond of shows and innovations, nothing in a military despotism has a greater political utility, gives greater satisfaction, and leaves behind a more useful terror and awe, than Bonaparte's grand military reviews. In the beginning of his consulate, they regularly occurred three times in the month; after his victory of Marengo, they were reduced to once in a fortnight, and since he has been proclaimed Emperor, to once only in the month. This ostentatious exhibition of usurped power is always closed with a diplomatic review of the representatives of lawful Princes, who introduce on those occasions their fellow-subjects to another subject, who successfully has seized, and continues to usurp, the authority of his own Sovereign. What an example for ambition ! what a lesson to treachery !

Besides the household troops, this capital and its vicinity have, for these three years past, never contained less than from fifteen to twenty thousand men of the regiments of the line, belonging to what is called the first military division of the Army of the Interior. These troops are selected from among the brigades that served under Bonaparte in Italy and Egypt with the greatest eclat, and constitute a kind of depot for recruiting his household troops with tried and trusty men. They are also regularly paid, and generally better accoutred than their comrades encamped on the coast, or quartered in Italy or Holland.

But a standing army, upon which all revolutionary rulers can depend, and that always will continue their faithful support, unique in its sort and composition, exists in the bosom as well as in the extremities of this country. I mean, one hundred and twenty thousand invalids, mostly young men under thirty, forced by conscription against their will into the field, quartered and taken care of by our Government, and all possessed with the absurd prejudice that, as they have been maimed in fighting the battles of rebellion, the restoration of legitimate sovereignty would to them be an epoch of destruction, or at least of misery and want; and this prejudice is kept alive by emissaries employed on purpose to mislead them. Of these, eight thousand are lodged and provided for in this city; ten thousand at Versailles, and the remainder in Piedmont, Brabant, and in the conquered departments on the left bank of the Abine ; countries where the inhabitants are discontented and disaffected, and require, therefore, to be watched, and to have a better spirit infused.

Those whose wounds permit it are also employed to do garrison duty in fortified places not exposed to an attack by enemies, and to assist in the different arsenals and laboratories, foundries, and depots of military or naval stores. Others are attached to the police offices, and some as gendarmes, to arrest suspected or guilty individuals; or as janissaires, to enforce the payment of contributions from the unwilling or distressed. When the period for the payment of taxes is expired, two of these janissaires present themselves at the house of the persons in arrears, with a billet signed by the director of the contributions and countersigned by the police commissary. If the money is not immediately paid, with half a crown to each of them besides, they remain quartered in the house, where they are to be boarded and to receive half a crown a day each until an order from those who sent them informs them that what was due to the state has been acquitted. After their entrance into a house, and during their stay, no furniture or effects whatever can be removed or disposed of, nor can the master or mistress go out-of-doors without being accompanied by one of them.

In the houses appropriated to our invalids, the inmates are very well treated, and Government takes great care to make them satisfied with their lot. The officers have large halls, billiards, and reading-room to meet in ; and the common men are admitted into apartments adjoining libraries, from-which they can borrow what books they contain, and read them at leisure. This is certainly a very good and even a humane institution, though these libraries chiefly contain military histories or novels.

As to the morals of these young invalids, they may be well conceived when you remember the morality of our Revolution; and that they, without any religious notions or restraints, were not only permitted, but encouraged to partake of the debauchery and licentiousness which were carried to such an extreme in our armies and encampments. In an age when the passions are strongest, and often blind reason and silence conscience, they have not the means nor the permission to marry; in their vicinity it is, therefore, more difficult to discover one honest woman or a dutiful wife, than hundreds of harlots and of adulteresses. Notwithstanding that many of them have been accused before the tribunals of seductions, rape, and violence against the sex, not one has been punished for what the morality of our Government consider merely as bagatelles. Even in cases where husbands, brothers, and lovers have been killed by them while defending or avenging the honour of their wives, sisters, and mistresses, our tribunals have been ordered by our grand judge, according to the commands of the Emperor, not to proceed. As most of them have no occupation, the vice of idleness augments the mass of their corruption; for men of their principles, when they have nothing to do, never do anything good.

I do not know if my countrywomen feel themselves honoured by or obliged to Bonaparte, for leaving their virtue and honour unprotected, except by their own prudence and strength ; but of this I am certain, that all our other troops, as well as the invalids, may live on free quarters with the sex without fearing the consequences; provided they keep at a distance from the females of our Imperial Family, and of those of our grand officers of State and principal functionaries. The wives and the daughters of the latter have, however, sometimes declined the advantage of these exclusive privileges.

A horse grenadier of Bonaparte's Imperial Guard, of the name of Rabais, notorious for his amours and debauchery, was accused before the Imperial Judge Thuriot, at one and the same time by several husbands and fathers, of having seduced the affections of their wives and of their daughters. As usual, Thuriot refused to listen to their complaints ; at the same time insultingly advising them to retake their wives and children, and for the future to be more careful of them. Triumphing, as it were, in his injustice, he inconsiderately mentioned the circumstance to his own wife, observing that he never knew so many charges of the same sort exhibited against one man.

Madame Thuriot, who had been a servant-maid to her husband before he made her his wife, instead of being disgusted at the recital, secretly determined to see this Rabais. An intrigue was then begun, and carried on for four months, if not with discretion, at least without discovery; but the lady's own imprudence at last betrayed her, or I should say, rather, her jealousy. But for this she might still have been admired among our modest women, and Thuriot among fortunate husbands and happy fathers ; for the lady, for the first time since her marriage, proved, to the great joy and pride of her husband, in the family way. Suspecting, however, the fidelity of her paramour, she watched his motions so closely that she discovered an intrigue between him and the chaste spouse of a rich banker ; but the consequence of this discovery was the detection of her own crime.

On the discovery of this disgrace, Thuriot obtained an audience of Bonaparte, in which he exposed his misfortune, and demanded punishment on his wife's gallant. As, however, he also acknowledged that his own indiscretion was an indirect cause of their connection, he received the same advice which he had given to other unfortunate husbands: to retake, and for the future guard better, his dear moiety.

Thuriot had, however, an early opportunity of wreaking his vengeance on this gallant Rabais. It seems his prowess had reached the ears of Madame Baciocchi, the eldest sister of Bonaparte. This lady has a children mania, which is very troublesome to her husband, disagreeable to her relations, and injurious to herself. She never beholds any lady, particularly any of her family, in the way which women wish to be who love their lords, but she is absolutely frantic. Now, Thuriot's worthy friend Fouche had discovered, by his spies, that Rabais paid frequent and secret visits to the hotel Baciocchi, and that Madame Baciocchi was the object of these visits. Thuriot, on this discovery, instantly denounced him to Bonaparte.

Had Rabais ruined all the women of this capital, he would not only have been forgiven, but applauded by Napoleon, and his counsellors and courtiers ; but to dare to approach, or only to cast his eyes on one of our Imperial Highnesses, was a crime nothing could extenuate or avenge, but the most exemplary punishment. He was therefore arrested, sent to the Temple, and has never since been heard of; so that his female friends are still in the cruel uncertainty whether he has died on the rack, been buried alive in the oubliettes, or is wandering an exile in the wilds of Cayenne.

In examining his trunk, among the curious effects discovered by the police were eighteen portraits and one hundred billets-doux, with medallions, rings, bracelets, tresses of hair, etc., as numerous. Two of the portraits occasioned much scandal, and more gossiping. They were those of two of our most devout and most respectable Court ladies, Maids of Honour to our Empress, Madame Ney and Madame Lasnes ; who never miss an opportunity of going to church, who have received the private blessing of the Pope, and who regularly confess to some Bishop or other once in a fortnight. Madame Napoleon cleared them, however, of all suspicion, by declaring publicly in her drawing-room that these portraits had come into the possession of Rabais by the infidelity of their maids; who had confessed their faults, and, therefore, had been charitably pardoned. Whether the opinions of Generals Ney and Lasnes coincide with Madame Napoleon's assertion is uncertain; but Lasnes has been often heard to say that, from the instant his wife began to confess, he was convinced she was inclined to dishonour him; so that nothing surprised him.

One of the medallions in Rabais's collection contained on one side the portrait of Thuriot, and on the other that of his wife ; both set with diamonds, and presented to her by him on their last wedding day. For the supposed theft of this medallion, two of Thuriot's servants were in prison, when the arrest of Rabais explained the manner in which it had been lost. This so enraged him that he beat and kicked his wife so heartily that for some time even her life was in danger, and Thuriot lost all hopes of being a father.

Before the Revolution, Thuriot had been, for fraud and forgery, struck off the roll as an advocate, and therefore joined it as a patriot. In 1791, he was chosen a deputy to the National Assembly, and in 1792 to the National Convention. He always showed himself one of the most ungenerous enemies of the clergy, of monarchy, and of his King, for whose death he voted. On the 25th of May, 1792, in declaiming against Christianity and priesthood, he wished them both, for the welfare of mankind, at the bottom of the sea; and on the 18th of December the same year, he declared in the Jacobin Club that, if the National Convention evinced any signs of clemency towards Louis XVI, he would go himself to the Temple and blow out the brains of this unfortunate King. He defended in the tribune the massacres of the prisoners, affirming that the tree of liberty could never flourish without being inundated with the blood of aristocrats and other enemies of the Revolution. He has been convicted by rival factions of the most shameful robberies, and his infamy and depravity were so notorious that neither Murat, Brissot, Robespierre, nor the Directory would or could employ him. After the Revolution of the 9th of November, 1799, Bonaparte gave him the office of judge of the criminal tribunal, and in 1804 made him a Commander of his Legion of Honour. He is now one of our Emperor's most faithful subjects and most sincere Christians. Such is now his tender conscientiousness, that he was among those who were the first to be married again by some Cardinal to their present wives, to whom they had formerly been united only by the municipality. This new marriage, however, took place before Madame Thuriot had introduced herself to the acquaintance of the Imperial Grenadier Rabais.



LETTER XXX


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Regarding me as a connoisseur, though I have no pretensions but that of being an amateur, Lucien Bonaparte, shortly before his disgrace, invited me to pass some days with him in the country, and to assist him in arranging his very valuable collection of pictures - next our public ones, the most curious and most valuable in Europe, and, of course, in the world. I found here, as at Joseph Bonaparte's, the same splendour, the same etiquette, and the same liberty, which latter was much enhanced by the really engaging and unassuming manners and conversation of the host. At Joseph's, even in the midst of abundance and of liberty, in seeing the person or meditating on the character of the host, you feel both your inferiority of fortune and the humiliation of dependence, and that you visit a master instead of a friend, who indirectly tells you, " Eat, drink, and rejoice as long and as much as you like ; but remember that if you are happy, it is to my generosity you are indebted, and if unhappy, that I do not care a pin about you. " With Lucien it is the very reverse. His conduct seems to indicate that by your company you confer an obligation on him, and he is studious to remove, on all occasions, that distance which fortune has placed between him and his guests; and as he cannot compliment them upon being wealthier than himself, he seizes with delicacy every opportunity to chew that he acknowledges their superiority in talents and in genius as more than an equivalent for the absence of riches.

He is, nevertheless, himself a young man of uncommon parts, and, as far as I could judge from my short intercourse with the reserved Joseph and with the haughty Napoleon, he is abler and better informed than either, and much more open and sincere. His manners are also more elegant, and his language more polished, which is the more creditable to him when it is remembered how much his education has been neglected, how vitiated the Revolution made him, and that but lately his principal associates were, like himself, from among the vilest and most vulgar of the rabble. It is not necessary to be a keen observer to remark in Napoleon the upstart soldier, and in Joseph the former low member of the law; but I defy the most refined courtier to see in Lucien anything indicating a ci-devant sans-culotte. He has, besides, other qualities (and those more estimable) which will place him much above his elder brothers in the opinion of posterity. He is extremely compassionate and liberal to the truly distressed, serviceable to those whom he knows are not his friends, and forgiving and obliging even to those who have proved and avowed themselves his enemies. These are virtues commonly very scarce, and hitherto never displayed by any other member of the Bonaparte family.

An acquaintance of yours, and - a friend of mine, Count de T…, at his return here from emigration, found, of his whole former fortune, producing once eighty thousand livres - in the year, only four farms unsold, and these were advertised for sale. A man who had once been his servant, but was then a groom to Lucien, offered to present a memorial for him to his master, to prevent the disposal of the only support which remained to subsist himself, with a wife and four children. Lucien asked Napoleon to prohibit the sale, and to restore the Count the farms, and obtained his consent; but Fouche, whose cousin wanted them, having purchased other national property in the neighbourhood, prevailed upon Napoleon to forget his promise, and the farms were sold. As soon as Lucien heard of it he sent for the Count, delivered into his hands an annuity of six thousand livres - for the life of himself, his wife, and his children, as an indemnity for the inefficacy of his endeavours to serve him, as he expressed himself. Had the Count recovered the farms, they would not have given him a clear profit of half the amount, all taxes paid.

A young author of the name of Gauvan, irritated by the loss of parents and fortune by the Revolution, attacked, during 1799, in the public prints, as well as in pamphlets, every Revolutionist who had obtained notoriety or popularity. He was particularly vehement against Lucien, and laid before the public all his crimes and all his errors, and asserted, as facts, atrocities which were either calumnies or merely rumours. When, after Napoleon's assumption of the Consulate, Lucien was appointed a Minister of the Interior, he sent for Gauvan, and said to him, " Great misfortunes have early made you wretched and unjust, and you have frequently revenged yourself on those who could not prevent them, among whom I am one. You do not want capacity, nor, I believe, probity. Here is a commission which makes you a Director of Contributions in the Departments of the Rhine and Moselle, an office with a salary of twelve thousand livres but producing double that sum. If you meet with any difficulties, write to me; I am your friend. Take those one hundred louis d'or for the expenses of your journey. Adieu ! " This anecdote I have read in Gauvan's own handwriting, in a letter to his sister. He died in 1802 ; but Mademoiselle Gauvan, who is not yet fifteen, has a pension of three thousand livres a year - from Lucien, who, has never seen her.

Lucien Bonaparte has another good quality: he is consistent in his political principles. Either from conviction or delusion he is still a Republican, and does not conceal that, had he suspected Napoleon of any intent to reestablish monarchy, much less tyranny, he would have joined those deputies who, on the 9th of November, 1799, in the sitting at St. Cloud, demanded a decree of outlawry against him. If the present quarrel between these two brothers were sifted to the bottom, perhaps it would be found to originate more from Lucien's Republicanism than from his marriage.

I know, with all France and Europe, that Lucien's youth has been very culpable ; that he has committed many indiscretions, much injustice, many imprudences, many errors, and, I fear, even some crimes. I know that he has been the most profligate among the profligate, the most debauched among libertines, the most merciless among the plunderers, and the most perverse among rebels. I know that he is accused of being a Septembrizer; of having murdered one wife and poisoned another ; of having been a spy, a denouncer, a persecutor of innocent persons in the Reign of Terror. I know that he is accused of having fought his brothers-in-law; of having ill-used his mother, and of an incestuous commerce with his own sisters. I have read and heard of these and other enormous accusations, and far be it from me to defend, extenuate, or even deny them. But suppose all this infamy to be real, to be proved, to be authenticated, which it never has been, and, to its whole extent, I am persuaded, never can be - what are the cruel and depraved acts of which Lucien has been accused to the enormities and barbarities of which Napoleon is convicted ? Is the poisoning a wife more criminal than the poisoning a whole hospital of wounded soldiers; or the assisting to kill some confined persons, suspected of being enemies, more atrocious than the massacre in cold blood of thousands of disarmed prisoners ? Is incest with a sister more shocking to humanity than the well-known unnatural pathic but I will not continue the disgusting comparison. As long as Napoleon is unable to acquit himself of such barbarities and monstrous crimes, he has no right to pronounce Lucien unworthy to be called his brother ; nor have Frenchmen, as long as they obey the former as a Sovereign, or the Continent, as long as it salutes him as such, any reason to despise the latter for crimes which lose their enormity when compared to the horrid perpetrations of his Imperial brother.

An elderly lady, a relation of Lucien's wife, and a person in whose veracity and morality I have the greatest confidence, and for whom he always had evinced more regard than even for his own mother, has repeated to me many of their conversations. She assures me that Lucien deplores frequently the want of a good and religious education, and the tempting examples of perversity he met with almost at his entrance upon the revolutionary scene. He says that he determined to get rich 'per fas aut nefas', because he observed that money was everything, and that most persons plotted and laboured for power merely to be enabled to gather treasure, though, after they had obtained both, much above their desert and expectation, instead of being satiated or even satisfied, they bustled and intrigued for more, until success made them unguarded and prosperity indiscreet, and they became with their wealth the easy prey of rival factions. Such was the case of Danton, of Fabre d'Eglantine, of Chabot, of Chaumette, of Stebert, and other contemptible wretches, butchered by Robespierre and his partisans - victims in their turn to men as unjust and sanguinary as themselves. He had, therefore, laid out a different plan of conduct for himself. He had fixed upon fifty millions of livres - as the maximum he should wish for, and when that sum was in his possession, he resolved to resign all pretensions to rank and employment, and to enjoy 'otium cum dignitate'. He had kept to his determination, and so regulated his income that; with the expenses, pomp, and retinue of a Prince, he is enabled to make more persons happy and comfortable than his extortions have ruined or even embarrassed. He now lives like a philosopher, and endeavours to forget the past, to delight in the present, and to be indifferent about futurity. He chose, therefore, for a wife, a lady whom he loved and esteemed, in preference to one whose birth would have been a continual reproach to the meanness of his own origin.

You must, with me, admire the modesty of a citizen sans-culotte, who, without a shilling in the world, fixes upon fifty millions as a reward for his revolutionary achievements, and with which he would be satisfied to sit down and begin his singular course of singular philosophy. But his success is more extraordinary that his pretensions were extravagant. This immense sum was amassed by him in the short period of four years, chiefly by bribes from foreign Courts, and by selling his protections in France.

But most of the other Bonapartes have made as great and as rapid fortunes as Lucien, and yet, instead of being generous, contented, or even philosophers, they are still profiting by every occasion to increase their ill-gotten treasures, and no distress was ever relieved, no talents encouraged, or virtues recompensed by them. The mind of their garrets lodges with them in their palaces, while Lucien seems to ascend as near as possible to a level with his circumstances. I have myself found him beneficent without ostentation.

Among his numerous pictures, I observed four that had formerly belonged to my father's, and afterwards to my own cabinet. I inquired how much he had paid for them, without giving the least hint that they had been my property, and were plundered from me by the nation. He had, indeed, paid their full value. In a fortnight after I had quitted him, these, with six other pictures, were deposited in my room, with a very polite note, begging my acceptance of them, and assuring me that he had but the day before heard from his picture dealer that they had belonged to me. He added that he would never retake them, unless he received an assurance from me that I parted with them without reluctance, and at the same time affixed their price. I returned them, as I knew they were desired by him for his collection, but he continued obstinate. I told him, therefore, that, as I was acquainted with his inclination to perform a generous action, I would, instead of payment for the pictures, indicate a person deserving his assistance. I mentioned the old Duchesse de …, who is seventy-four years of age and blind; and, after possessing in her youth an income of eight hundred thousand livres - is now, in her old age, almost destitute. He did for this worthy lady more than I expected; but happening, in his visits to relieve my friend, to cast his eye on the daughter of the landlady where she lodged, he found means to prevail on the simplicity of the poor girl, and seduced her. So much do I know personally of Lucien Bonaparte, who certainly is a composition of good and bad qualities, but which of them predominate I will not take upon me to decide. This I can affirm - Lucien is not the worst member of the Bonaparte family.



LETTER XXXI


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - As long as Austria ranks among independent nations, Bonaparte will take care not to offend or alarm the ambition and interest of Prussia by incorporating the Batavian Republic with the other provinces of his Empire. Until that period, the Dutch must continue (as they have been these last ten years) under the appellation of allies, oppressed like subjects and plundered like foes. Their mock sovereignty will continue to weigh heavier on them than real servitude does on their Belgic and Flemish neighbours, because Frederick the Great pointed out to his successors the Elbe and the Tegel as the natural borders of the Prussian monarchy, whenever the right bank of the Rhine should form the natural frontiers of the kingdom of France.

That during the present summer a project for a partition treaty of Holland has by the Cabinet of St. Cloud been laid before the Cabinet of Berlin is a fact, though disseminated only as a rumour by the secret agents of Talleyrand. Their object was on this, as on all previous occasions when any names, rights, or liberties of people were intended to be erased from among the annals of independence, to sound the ground, and to prepare by such rumours the mind of the public for another outrage and another overthrow. But Prussia, as well as France, knows the value of a military and commercial navy, and that to obtain it good harbours and navigable rivers are necessary, and therefore, as well as from principles of justice, perhaps, declined the acceptance of a plunder, which, though tempting, was contrary to the policy of the House of Brandenburgh.

.

According to a copy circulated among the members of our diplomatic corps, this partition treaty excluded Prussia from all the Batavian seaports except Delfzig, and those of the river Ems, but gave her extensive territories on the side of Guelderland, and a rich country in Friesland. Had it been acceded to by the Court of Berlin, with the annexed condition of a defensive and offensive alliance with the Court of St. Cloud, the Prussian monarchy would, within half a century, have been swallowed up in the same gulf with the Batavian Commonwealth and the Republic of Poland; and by some future scheme of some future Bonaparte or Talleyrand, be divided in its turn, and serve as a pledge of reconciliation or inducement of connection between some future rulers of the French and Russian Empires.

Talleyrand must, indeed, have a very mean opinion of the capacity of the Prussian Ministers, or a high notion of his own influence over them, if he was serious in this overture. For my part, I am rather inclined to think that it was merely thrown out to discover whether Frederick William III had entered into any engagement contrary to the interest of Napoleon the First; or to allure His Prussian Majesty into a negotiation which would suspend, or at least interfere with, those supposed to be then on the carpet with Austria, Russia, or perhaps even with England.

The late Batavian Government had, ever since the beginning of the present war with England, incurred the displeasure of Bonaparte. When it apprehended a rupture from the turn which the discussion respecting the occupation of Malta assumed, the Dutch Ambassadors at St. Petersburg and Berlin were ordered to demand the interference of these two Cabinets for the preservation of the neutrality of Holland, which your country had promised to acknowledge, if respected by France. No sooner was Bonaparte informed of this step, than he marched troops into the heart of the Batavian Republic, and occupied its principal forts, ports, and arsenals. When, some time afterwards, Count Markof received instructions from his Court, according to the desire of the Batavian Directory, and demanded, in consequence, an audience from Bonaparte, a map was laid before him, indicating the position of the French troops in Holland, and plans of the intended encampment of our army of England on the coast of Flanders and France; and he was asked whether he thought it probable that our Government would assent to a neutrality so injurious to its offensive operations against Great Britain.

" But, " said the Russian Ambassador, " the independence of Holland has been admitted by you in formal treaties. "

" So has the cession of Malta by England, " interrupted Bonaparte, with impatience.

" True, " replied Markof, " but you are now at war with England for this point ; while Holland, against which you have no complaint, has not only been invaded by your troops, but, contrary both to its inclination and interest, involved in a war with you, by which it has much to lose and nothing to gain. "

" I have no account to render to anybody for my transactions, and I desire to hear nothing more on this subject, " said Bonaparte, retiring furious, and leaving Markof to meditate on our Sovereign's singular principles of political justice and of 'jus pentium'.

From that period Bonaparte resolved on another change of the executive power of the Batavian Republic. But it was more easy to displace one set of men for another than to find proper ones to occupy a situation in which, if they do their duty as patriots, they must offend France; and if they are our tools, instead of the independent governors of their country, they must excite a discontent among their fellow citizens, disgracing themselves as individuals, and exposing themselves as chief magistrates to the fate of the De Witts, should ever fortune forsake our arms or desert Bonaparte.

No country has of late been less productive of great men than Holland. The Van Tromps, the Russel, and the William III all died without leaving any posterity behind them ; and the race of Batavian heroes seems to have expired with them, as that of patriots with the De Witts and Barneveldt. Since the beginning of the last century we read, indeed, of some able statesmen, as most, if not all, the former grand pensionaries have been ; but the name of no warrior of any great eminence is recorded. This scarcity, of native genius and valour has not a little contributed to the present humbled, disgraced, and oppressed state of wretched Batavia.

Admiral de Winter certainly neither wants courage nor genius, but his private character has a great resemblance to that of General Moreau. Nature has destined him to obey, and not to govern. He may direct as ably and as valiantly the manoeuvres of a fleet as Moreau does those of an army, but neither the one nor the other at the head of his nation would render himself respected, his country flourishing, or his countrymen happy and tranquil.

Destined from his youth for the navy, Admiral de Winter entered into the naval service of his country before he was fourteen, and was a second lieutenant when the Batavian patriots, in rebellion against the Stadtholder, were, in 1787, reduced to submission by the Duke of Brunswick, the commander of the Prussian army that invaded Holland. His parents and family being of the anti-Orange party, he emigrated to France, where he was made an officer in the legion of Batavian refugees. During the campaign of 1793 and 1794, he so much distinguished himself under that competent judge of merit, Pichegru, that this commander obtained for him the commission of a general of brigade in the service of the French; which, after the conquest of Holland in January, 1795, was exchanged for the rank of a vice-admiral of the Batavian Republic. His exploits as commander of the Dutch fleet, during the battle of the 11th of October, 1797, with your fleet, under Lord Duncan, I have heard applauded even in your presence, when in your country. Too honest to be seduced, and too brave to be intimidated, he is said to have incurred Bonaparte's hatred by resisting both his offers and his threats, and declining to sell his own liberty as well as to betray the liberty of his fellow subjects. When, in 1800, Bonaparte proposed to him the presidency and consulate of the United States, for life, on condition that he should sign a treaty, which made him a vassal of France, he refused, with dignity and with firmness, and preferred retirement to a supremacy so dishonestly acquired, and so dishonourably occupied.

General Daendels, another Batavian revolutionist of some notoriety, from an attorney became a lieutenant-colonel, and served as a spy under Dumouriez in the winter of 1792 and in the spring of 1793. Under Pichegru he was made a general, and exhibited those talents in the field which are said to have before been displayed in the forum. In June, 1795, he was made a lieutenant-general of the Batavian Republic, and he was the commander-in-chief of the Dutch troops combating in 1799 your army under the Duke of York. In this place he did not much distinguish himself, and the issue of the contest was entirely owing to our troops and to our generals.

After the Peace of Amiens, observing that Bonaparte intended to annihilate instead of establishing universal liberty, Daendels gave in his resignation and retired to obscurity, not wishing to be an instrument of tyranny, after having so long fought for freedom. Had he possessed the patriotism of a Brutus or a Cato, he would have bled or died for his cause and country sooner than have deserted them both ; or had the ambition and love of glory of a Caesar held a place in his bosom, he would have attempted to be the chief of his country, and by generosity and clemency atone, if possible, for the loss of liberty. Upon the line of baseness, - the deserter is placed next to the traitor.

Dumonceau, another Batavian general of some publicity, is not by birth a citizen of the United States, but was born at Brussels in 1758, and was by profession a stonemason when, in 1789, he joined, as a volunteer, the Belgian insurgents. After their dispersion in 1790 he took refuge and served in France, and was made an officer in the corps of Belgians, formed after the declaration of war against Austria in 1792. Here he frequently distinguished himself, and was, therefore, advanced to the rank of a general; but the Dutch general officers being better paid than those of the French Republic, he was, with the permission of our Directory, received, in 1795, as a lieutenant-general of the Batavian Republic. He has often evinced bravery, but seldom great capacity. His natural talents are considered as but indifferent, and his education is worse.

These are the only three military characters who might, with any prospect of success, have tried to play the part of a Napoleon Bonaparte in Holland.



LETTER XXXII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - Not to give umbrage to the Cabinet of Berlin, Bonaparte communicated to it the necessity he was under of altering the form of Government in Holland, and, if report be true, even condescended to ask advice concerning a chief magistrate for that country. The young Prince of Orange, brother-in-law of His Prussian Majesty, naturally presented himself ; but, after some time, Talleyrand's agents discovered that great pecuniary sacrifices could not be expected from that quarter, and perhaps less submission to France experienced than from the former governors. An eye was then cast on the Elector of Bavaria, whose past patriotism, as well as that of his Ministers, was a full guarantee for future obedience. Had he consented to such an arrangement, Austria might have aggrandized herself on the Inn, Prussia in Franconia, and France in Italy ; and the present bone of contest would have been chiefly removed.

This intrigue, for it was nothing else, was carried, on by the Cabinet of St. Cloud in March, 1804, about the time that Germany was invaded and the Duc d'Enghien seized. This explains to you the reason why the Russian note, delivered to the Diet of Ratisbon on the 8th of the following May, was left without any support, except the ineffectual one from the King of Sweden. How any Cabinet could be dupe enough to think Bonaparte serious, or the Elector of Bavaria so weak as to enter into his schemes, is difficult to be conceived, had not Europe witnessed still greater credulity on one side, and still greater effrontery on the other.

In the meantime Bonaparte grew every day more discontented with the Batavian Directory, and more irritated against the members who composed it. Against his regulations for excluding the commerce and productions of your country, they resented with spirit instead of obeying them without murmur as was required. He is said to have discovered, after his own soldiers had forced the custom-house officers to obey his orders, that, while in their proclamations the directors publicly prohibited the introduction of British goods, some of them were secret insurers of this forbidden merchandise, introduced by fraud and by smuggling ; and that while they officially wished for the success of the French arms and destruction of England, they withdrew by stealth what property they had in the French funds, to place it in the English. This refractory and, as Bonaparte called it, mercantile spirit, so enraged him, that he had already signed an order for arresting and transferring en masse his high allies, the Batavian directors, to his Temple, when the representations of Talleyrand moderated his fury, and caused the order to be recalled, which Fouche was ready to execute.

Had Jerome Bonaparte not offended his brother by his transatlantic marriage, he would long ago have been the Prince Stadtholder of Holland; but his disobedience was so far useful to the Cabinet of St. Cloud as it gave it an opportunity of intriguing with, or deluding, other Cabinets that might have any pretensions to interfere in the regulation of the Batavian Government. By the choice finally made, you may judge how difficult it was to find a suitable subject to represent it, and that this representation is intended only to be temporary.

Schimmelpenninck, the present grand pensionary of the Batavian Republic, was destined by his education for the bar, but by his natural parts to await in quiet obscurity the end of a dull existence. With some property, little information, and a tolerably good share of common sense, he might have lived and died respected, and even regretted, without any pretension, or perhaps even ambition, to shine. The anti-Orange faction, to which his parents and family appertained, pushed him forward, and elected him, in 1795, a member of the First Batavian National Convention, where, according to the spirit of the times, his speeches were rather those of a demagogue than those of a Republican. Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity were the constant themes of his political declamations, infidelity his religious profession, and the examples of immorality, his social lessons; so rapid and dangerous are the strides with which seduction frequently advances on weak minds.

In 1800 he was appointed an Ambassador to Napoleon Bonaparte and Charles Maurice Talleyrand. The latter used him as a stockbroker, and the former for anything he thought proper ; and he was the humble and submissive valet of both. More ignorant than malicious, and a greater fool than a rogue, he was more laughed at and despised than trusted or abused.

His patience being equal to his phlegm, nothing either moved or confounded him; and he was, as Talleyrand remarked, " a model of an Ambassador, according to which he and Bonaparte wished that all other independent Princes and States would choose their representatives to the French Government. "

When our Minister and his Sovereign were discussing the difficulty of properly filling up the vacancy, of the Dutch Government, judged necessary by both, the former mentioned Schimmelpenninck with a smile; and serious as Bonaparte commonly is, he could not help laughing. " I should have been less astonished, " said he, " had you proposed my Mameluke, Rostan. "

This rebuke did not deter Talleyrand (who had settled his terms with Schimmelpenninck) from continuing to point out the advantage which France would derive from this nomination. " Because no man could easier be directed when in office, and no man easier turned out of office when disagreeable or unnecessary. Both as a Batavian plenipotentiary at Amiens, and as Batavian Ambassador in England, he had proved himself as obedient and submissive to France as when in the same capacity at Paris. "

By returning often to the charge, with these and other remarks, Talleyrand at last accustomed Bonaparte to the idea, which had once appeared so humiliating, of writing to a man so much inferior in everything, "Great and dear Friend!" and therefore said to the Minister :

" Well ! let us then make him a grand pensionary and a locum tenens for five years; or until Jerome, when he repents, returns to his duty, and is pardoned. "

" Is he, then, not to be a grand pensionary for life ? " asked Talleyrand ; " whether for one month or for life, he would be equally obedient to resign when, commanded ; but the latter would be more popular in Holland, where they were tired of so many changes. "

" Let them complain, if they dare, " replied Bonaparte. " Schimmelpenninck is their chief magistrate only for five years, if so long; but you may add that they may reelect him. "

It was not before Talleyrand had compared the pecuniary proposal made to his agents by foreign Princes with those of Schimmelpenninck to himself, that the latter obtained the preference. The exact amount of the purchase-money for the supreme magistracy in Holland is not well known to any but the contracting parties. Some pretended that the whole was paid down beforehand, being advanced by a society of merchants at Amsterdam, the friends or relatives of the grand pensionary; others, that it is to be paid by annual instalments of two millions of livres - for a certain number of years. Certain it is, that this high office was sold and bought; and that, had it been given for life, its value would have been proportionately enhanced ; which was the reason that Talleyrand endeavoured to have it thus established.

Talleyrand well knew the precarious state of Schimmelpenninck's grandeur ; that it not only depended upon the whim of Napoleon, but had long been intended as an hereditary sovereignty for Jerome. Another Dutchman asked him not to ruin his friend and his family for what he was well aware could never be called a sinecure place, and was so precarious in its tenure. " Foolish vanity, " answered the Minister, " can never pay enough for the gratification of its desires. All the Schimmelpennincks in the world do not possess property enough to recompense me for the sovereign honours which I have procured for one of their name and family, were he deposed within twenty-four hours. What treasures can indemnify me for connecting such a name and such a personage with the great name of the First Emperor of the French ? "

I have only twice in my life been in Schimmelpenninck's company, and I thought him both timid and reserved; but from what little he said, I could not possibly judge of his character and capacity. His portrait and its accompaniments have been presented to me ; such as delivered to you by one of his countrymen, a Mr. M… (formerly an Ambassador also), who was both his schoolfellow and his comrade at the university. I shall add the following traits, in his own words as near as possible :

" More vain than ambitious, Schimmelpenninck from his youth, and, particularly, from his entrance into public life, tried every means to make a noise, but found none to make a reputation. He caressed in succession all the systems of the French Revolution, without adopting one for himself. All the Kings of faction received in their turns his homage and felicitations. It was impossible to mention to him a man of any notoriety, of whom he did not become immediately a partisan. The virtues or the vices, the merit or defects, of the individual were of no consideration ; according to his judgment it was sufficient to be famous. Yet with all the extravagances of a head filled with paradoxes, and of a heart spoiled by modern philosophy, added to a habit of licentiousness, he had no idea of becoming an instrument for the destruction of liberty in his own country, much less of becoming its tyrant, in submitting to be the slave of France. It was but lately that he took the fancy, after so long admiring all other great men of our age, to be at any rate one of their number, and of being admired as a great man in his turn. On this account many accuse him of hypocrisy, but no one deserves that appellation less, his vanity and exaltation never permitting him to dissimulate ; and no presumption, therefore, was less disguised than his, to those who studied the man. Without acquired ability, without natural genius, or political capacity, destitute of discretion and address, as confident and obstinate as ignorant, he is only elevated to fall and to rise no more. "

Madame Schimmelpenninck, I was informed, is as amiable and accomplished as her husband is awkward and deficient ; though well acquainted with his infidelities and profligacy, she is too virtuous to listen to revenge, and too generous not to forgive. She is, besides, said to be a lady of uncommon abilities, and of greater information than she chooses to display. She has never been the worshipper of Bonaparte, or the friend of Talleyrand; she loved her country, and detested its tyrants. Had she been created a grand pensionary, she would certainly have swayed with more glory than her husband ; and been hailed by contemporaries, as well as posterity, if not a heroine, at least a patriot, - a title which in our times, though often prostituted, so few have any claim to, and which, therefore, is so much the more valuable.

When it was known at Paris that Schimmelpenninck had set out for his new sovereignty, no less than sixteen girls of the Palais Royal demanded passes for Holland. Being questioned by Fouche as to their business in that country, they answered that they intended to visit their friend, the grand pensionary, in his new dominions. Fouche communicated to Talleyrand both their demands and their business, and asked his advice. He replied :

" Send two, and those of whose vigilance and intelligence you are sure. Refuse, by all means, the other fourteen. Schimmelpenninck's time is precious, and were they at the Hague, he would neglect everything for them. If they are fond of travelling, and are handsome and adroit, advise them to set out for London or for St. Petersburg ; and if they consent, order them to my office, and they shall be supplied, if approved of, both with instructions, and with their travelling expenses. "

Fouche answered his colleague that " they were in every respect the very reverse of his description ; they seemed to have passed their lives in the lowest stage of infamy, and they could neither read nor write. " You have therefore, no reason to fear that these belles will be sent to disseminate corruption in your happy island.



BOOK IV.


LETTER XXXIII


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - The Italian subjects of Napoleon the First were far from displaying the same zeal and the same gratitude for his paternal care and kindness in taking upon himself the trouble of governing them, as we good Parisians have done. Notwithstanding that a brigade of our police agents and spies, drilled for years to applaud and to excite enthusiasm, proceeded as his advanced guard to raise the public spirit, the reception at Milan was cold and everything else but cordial and pleasing. The absence of duty did not escape his observation and resentment. Convinced, in his own mind, of the great blessing, prosperity, and liberty his victories and sovereignty have conferred on the inhabitants of the other side of the Alps, he ascribed their present passive or mutinous behaviour to the effect of foreign emissaries from Courts envious of his glory and jealous of his authority.

He suspected particularly England and Russia of having selected this occasion of a solemnity that would complete his grandeur to humble his just pride. He also had some idea within himself that even Austria might indirectly have dared to influence the sentiments and conduct of her ci-devant subjects of Lombardy ; but his own high opinion of the awe which his very name inspired at Vienna dispersed these thoughts, and his wrath fell entirely on the audacity of Pitt and Markof. Strict orders were therefore issued to the prefects and commissaries of police to watch vigilantly all foreigners and strangers, who might have arrived, or who should arrive, to witness the ceremony of the coronation, and to arrest instantly any one who should give the least reason to suppose that he was an enemy instead of an admirer of His Imperial and Royal Majesty. He also commanded the prefects of his palace not to permit any persons to approach his sacred person, of whose morality and politics they had not previously obtained a good account.

These great measures of security were not entirely unnecessary. Individual vengeance and individual patriotism sharpened their daggers, and, to use Senator Roederer's language, " were near transforming the most glorious day of rejoicing into a day of universal mourning. "

All our writers on the Revolution agree that in France, within the first twelve years after we had reconquered our lost liberty, more conspiracies have been denounced than during the six centuries of the most brilliant epoch of ancient and free Rome. These facts and avowals are speaking evidences of the eternal tranquillity of our unfortunate country, of our affection to our rulers, and of the unanimity with which all the changes of Government have been, notwithstanding our printed votes, received and approved.

The frequency of conspiracies not only shows the discontent of the governed, but the insecurity and instability of the governors. This truth has not escaped Napoleon, who has, therefore, ordered an expeditious and secret justice to despatch instantly the conspirators, and to bury the conspiracy in oblivion, except when any grand coup d'etat is to be struck ; or, to excite the passions of hatred, any proofs can be found, or must be fabricated, involving an inimical or rival foreign Government in an odious plot. Since the farce which Mehee de la Touche exhibited, you have, therefore, not read in the Moniteur either of the danger our Emperor has incurred several times since from the machinations of implacable or fanatical foes, or of the alarm these have caused his partisans. They have, indeed, been hinted at in some speeches of our public functionaries, and in some paragraphs of our public prints, but their particulars will remain concealed from historians, unless some one of those composing our Court, our fashionable, or our political circles, has taken the trouble of noting them down; but even to these they are but imperfectly or incorrectly known.

Could the veracity of a Fouche, a Real, a Talleyrand, or a Duroc (the only members of this new secret and invisible tribunal for expediting conspirators) be depended upon, they would be the most authentic annalists of these and other interesting secret occurrences.

What I intend relating to you on this subject are circumstances such as they have been reported in our best informed societies by our most inquisitive companions. Truth is certainly the foundation of these anecdotes ; but their parts may be extenuated, diminished, altered, or exaggerated. Defective or incomplete as they are, I hope you will not judge them unworthy of a page in a letter, considering the grand personage they concern, and the mystery with which he and his Government encompass themselves, or in which they wrap up everything not agreeable concerning them.

A woman is said to have been at the head of the first plot against Napoleon since his proclamation as an Emperor of the French. She called herself Charlotte Encore ; but her real name is not known. In 1803 she lived and had furnished a house at Abbeville, where she passed for a young widow of property, subsisting on her rents. About the same time several other strangers settled there ; but though she visited the principal inhabitants, she never publicly had any connection with the newcomers.

In the summer of 1803, a girl at Amiens - some say a real enthusiast of Bonaparte's, but, according to others, engaged by Madame Bonaparte to perform the part she did demanded, upon her knees, in a kind of paroxysm of joy, the happiness of embracing him, in doing which she fainted, or pretended to faint away, and a pension of three thousand livres - was settled on her for her affection.

Madame Encore, at Abbeville, to judge of her discourse and conversation, was also an ardent friend and well-wisher of the Emperor ; and when, in July, 1804, he passed through Abbeville, on his journey to the coast, she, also, threw herself at his feet, and declared that she would die content if allowed the honour of embracing him. To this he was going to assent, when Duroc stepped between them, seized her by the arm, and dragged her to an adjoining room, whither Bonaparte, near fainting from the sudden alarm his friend's interference had occasioned, followed him, trembling. In the right sleeve of Madame Encore's gown was found a stiletto, the point of which was poisoned. She was the same day transported to this capital, under the inspection of Duroc, and imprisoned in the Temple. In her examination she denied having accomplices, and she expired on the rack without telling even her name. The sub-prefect at Abbeville, the once famous Andre Dumont, was ordered to disseminate a report that she was shut up as insane in a madhouse.

In the strict search made by the police in the house occupied by her, no papers or any, other indications were discovered that involved other persons, or disclosed who she was, or what induced her to attempt such a rash action. Before the secret tribunal she is reported to have said, " that being convinced of Bonaparte's being one of the greatest criminals that ever breathed upon the earth, she took upon herself the office of a volunteer executioner ; having, with every other good or loyal person, a right to punish him whom the law could not, or dared not, reach. " When, however, some repairs were made in the house at Abbeville by a new tenant, a bundle of papers was found, which proved that a M. Franquonville, and about thirty, other individuals (many, of whom were the late newcomers there), had for six months been watching an opportunity to seize Bonaparte in his journeys between Abbeville and Montreuil, and to carry him to some part of the coast, where a vessel was ready to sail for England with him. Had he, however, made resistance, he would have been shot in France, and his assassins have saved themselves in the vessel.

The numerous escort that always, since he was an Emperor, accompanied him, and particularly his concealment of the days of his journeys, prevented the execution of this plot ; and Madame Encore, therefore, took upon her to sacrifice herself for what she thought the welfare of her country. How Duroc suspected or discovered her intent is not known ; some say that an anonymous letter informed him of it, while others assert that, in throwing herself at Bonaparte's feet, this prefect observed the steel through the sleeve of her muslin gown. Most of her associates were secretly executed ; some, however, were carried to Boulogne and shot at the head of the army of England as English spies.



LETTER XXXIV


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - After the discovery of Charlotte Encore's attempt, Bonaparte, who hitherto had flattered himself that he possessed the good wishes, if not the affection, of his female subjects, made a regulation according to which no women who had not previously given in their names to the prefects of his palaces, and obtained previous permission, can approach his person or throw themselves at his feet, without incurring his displeasure, and even arrest. Of this Imperial decree, ladies, both of the capital and of the provinces, when he travels, are officially informed. Notwithstanding this precaution, he was a second time last spring, at Lyons, near falling the victim of the vengeance or malice of a woman.

In his journey to be crowned King of Italy, he occupied his uncle's episcopal palace at Lyons during the forty-eight hours he remained there. Most of the persons of both sexes composing the household of Cardinal Fesch were from his own country, Corsica ; among these was one of the name of Pauline Riotti, who inspected the economy of the kitchens. It is Bonaparte's custom to take a dish of chocolate in the forenoon, which she, on the morning of his departure, against her custom, but under pretence of knowing the taste of the family, desired to prepare. One of the cooks observed that she mixed it with something from her pocket, but, without saying a word to her that indicated suspicion, he warned Bonaparte, in a note, delivered to a page, to be upon his guard. When the chamberlain carried in the chocolate, Napoleon ordered the person who had prepared it to be brought before him. This being told Pauline, she fainted away, after having first drunk the remaining contents of the chocolate pot. Her convulsions soon indicated that she was poisoned, and, notwithstanding the endeavours of Bonaparte's physician, Corvisart, she expired within an hour; protesting that her crime was an act of revenge against Napoleon, who had seduced her, when young, under a promise of marriage ; but who, since his elevation, had not only neglected her, but reduced her to despair by refusing an honest support for herself and her child, sufficient to preserve her from the degradation of servitude. Cardinal Fesch received a severe reprimand for admitting among his domestics individuals with whose former lives he was not better acquainted, and the same day he dismissed every Corsican in his service. The cook was, with the reward of a pension, made a member of the Legion of Honour, and it was given out by Corvisart that Pauline died insane.

Within three weeks after this occurrence, Bonaparte was, at Milan, again exposed to an imminent danger. According to his commands, the vigilance of the police had been very strict, and even severe. All strangers who could not give the most satisfactory account of themselves, had either been sent out of the country, or were imprisoned. He never went out unless strongly attended, and during his audiences the most trusty officers always surrounded him ; these precautions increased in proportion as the day of his coronation approached. On the morning of that day, about nine o'clock, when full dressed in his Imperial and royal robes, and all the grand officers of State by his side, a paper was delivered to him by his chamberlain, Talleyrand, a nephew of the Minister. The instant he had read it, he flew into the arms of Berthier, exclaiming : " My friend, I am betrayed ; are you among the number of conspirators ? Jourdan, Lasnes, Mortier, Bessieres, St. Cyr, are you also forsaking your friend and benefactor ? " They all instantly encompassed him, begging that be would calm himself ; that they all were what they always had been, dutiful and faithful subjects. " But read this paper from my prefect, Salmatoris ; he says that if I move a step I may cease to live, as the assassins are near me, as well as before me. "

The commander of his guard then entered with fifty grenadiers, their bayonets fixed, carrying with them a prisoner, who pointed out four individuals not far from Bonaparte's person, two of whom were Italian officers of the Royal Italian Guard, and two were dressed in Swiss uniforms. They were all immediately seized, and at their feet were found three daggers. One of those in Swiss regimentals exclaimed, before he was taken : " Tremble, tyrant of my country ! Thousands of the descendants of William Tell have, with me, sworn your destruction. You, escape this day, but the just vengeance of outraged humanity follows you like your shade. Depend upon it an untimely end is irremediably reserved you. " So saying, he pierced his heart and fell a corpse into the arms of the grenadiers who came to arrest him.

This incident suspended the procession to the cathedral for an hour, when Berthier announced that the conspirators were punished. Bonaparte evinced on this occasion the same absence of mind and of courage as on the 9th of November, 1799, when Arena and other deputies drew their daggers against him at St. Cloud. As this scene did not redound much to the honour of the Emperor and King, all mention of the conspiracy was severely prohibited, and the deputations ready to congratulate him on his escape were dispersed to attend their other duties.

The conspirators are stated to have been four young men, who had lost their parents and fortunes by the Revolutions effected by Bonaparte in Italy and Switzerland, and who had sworn fidelity to each other, and to avenge their individual wrongs with the injuries of their countries at the same time. They were all prepared and resigned to die, expecting to be cut to pieces the moment Bonaparte fell by their hands ; but one of the Italians, rather superstitious, had, before he went to the drawing-room, confessed and received absolution from a priest, whom he knew to be an enemy of Bonaparte ; but the priest, in hope of reward, disclosed the conspiracy to the master of ceremonies, Salmatoris. The three surviving conspirators are said to have been literally torn to pieces by the engines of torture, and the priest was shot for having given absolution to an assassin, and for having concealed his knowledge of the plot an hour after he was acquainted with it. Even Salmatoris had some difficulty to avoid being disgraced for having written a terrifying note, which had exposed the Emperor's weakness, and shown that his life was dearer to him at the head of Empires than when only at the head of armies.

My narrative of this event I have from an officer present, whose veracity I can guarantee. He also informed me that, in consequence of it, all the officers of the Swiss brigades in the French service that were quartered or encamped in Italy were, to the number of near fifty, dismissed at once. Of the Italian guards, every officer who was known to have suffered any losses by the new order of things in his country, was ordered to resign, if he would not enter into the regiments of the line.

Whatever the police agents did to prevent it, and in spite of some unjust and cruel chastisement, Bonaparte continued, during his stay in Italy, an object of ridicule in conversation, as well as in pamphlets and caricatures. One of these represented him in the ragged garb of a sans-culotte, pale and trembling on his knees, with bewildered looks and his hair standing upright on his head like pointed horns, tearing the map of the world to pieces, and, to save his life, offering each of his generals a slice, who in return regarded him with looks of contempt mixed with pity.

I have just heard of a new plot, or rather a league against Bonaparte's ambition. At its head the Generals Jourdan, Macdonald, Le Courbe, and Dessolles are placed, though many less victorious generals and officers, civil as well as military, are reported to be its members. Their object is not to remove or displace Bonaparte as an Emperor of the French ; on the contrary, they offer their lives to strengthen his authority and to resist his enemies ; but they ask and advise him to renounce, for himself, for his relations, and for France, all possessions on the Italian side of the Alps, as the only means to establish a permanent peace, and to avoid a war with other States, whose safety is endangered by our great encroachments. A mutinous kind of address to this effect has been sent to the camp of Boulogne and to all other encampments of our troops, that those generals and other military persons there, who chose, might both see the object and the intent of the associates. It is reported that Bonaparte ordered it to be burnt by the hands of the common executioner at Boulogne; that sixteen officers there who had subscribed their names in appropriation of the address were broken, and dismissed with disgrace; that Jourdan is deprived of his command in Italy, and ordered to render an account of his conduct to the Emperor. Dessolles is also said to be dismissed, and with Macdonald, Le Courbe, and eighty-four others of His Majesty's subjects, whose names appeared under the remonstrance (or petition, as some call it), exiled to different departments of this country, where they are to expect their Sovereign's further determination, and, in the meantime, remain under the inspection and responsibility of his constituted authorities and commissaries of police. As it is as dangerous to inquire as to converse on this and other subjects, which the mysterious policy of our Government condemns to silence or oblivion, I have not yet been able to gather any more or better information concerning this league, or unconstitutional opposition to the executive power ; but as I am intimate with one of the actors, should he have an opportunity, he will certainly write to me at full length, and be very explicit.



LETTER XXXV


PARIS, August 1805

MY LORD : - I believe I have before remarked that, under the Government of Bonaparte, causes relatively the most insignificant have frequently produced effects of the greatest consequence. A capricious or whimsical character, swaying with unlimited power, is certainly the most dangerous guardian of the prerogatives of sovereignty, as well as of the rights and liberties of the people. That Bonaparte is as vain and fickle as a coquette, as obstinate as a mule, and equally audacious and unrelenting, every one who has witnessed his actions or meditated on his transactions must be convinced. The least opposition irritates his pride, and he determines and commands, in a moment of impatience or vivacity, what may cause the misery of millions for ages, and, perhaps, his own repentance for years.

When Bonaparte was officially informed by his Ambassador at Vienna, the young La Rochefoucauld, that the Emperor of Germany had declined being one of his grand officers of the Legion of Honour, he flew into a rage, and used against this Prince the most gross, vulgar, and unbecoming language. I have heard it said that he went so far as to say, " Well, Francis II is tired of reigning. I hope to have strength enough to carry a third crown. He who dares refuse to be and continue my equal, shall soon, as a vassal, think himself honoured with the regard which, as a master, I may condescend, from compassion, to bestow on him. " Though forty-eight hours had elapsed after this furious sally before he met with the Austrian Ambassador, Count Von Cobenzl, his passion was still so furious, that, observing his grossness and violence, all the members of the diplomatic corps trembled, both for this their respected member, and for the honour of our nation thus represented.

When the diplomatic audience was over, he said to Talleyrand, in a commanding and harsh tone of voice, in the presence of all his aides-de-camp and generals :

" Write this afternoon, by an extraordinary courier, to my Minister at Genoa, Salicetti, to prepare the Doge and the people for the immediate incorporation of the Ligurian Republic with my Empire. Should Austria dare to murmur, I shall, within three months, also incorporate the ci-devant Republic of Venice with my Kingdom of Italy ! "

" But – but – Sire ! " uttered the Minister, trembling.

" There exists no 'but,' and I will listen to no 'but,' " interrupted His Majesty. " Obey my orders without further discussions. Should Austria dare to arm, I shall, before next Christmas, make Vienna the headquarters of a fiftieth military division. In an hour I expect you with the despatches ready for Salicetti. "

This Salicetti is a Corsican of a respectable family, born at Bastia, in 1758, and it was he who, during the siege of Toulon in 1793, introduced his countryman, Napoleon Bonaparte, his present Sovereign, to the acquaintance of Barras, an occurrence which has since produced consequences so terribly notorious.

Before the Revolution an advocate of the superior council of Corsica, he was elected a member to the First National Assembly, where, on the 30th of November, 1789, he pressed the decree which declared the Island of Corsica an integral part of the French monarchy. In 1792, he was sent by his fellow citizens as a deputy to the National Convention, where he joined the terrorist faction, and voted for the death of his King. In May, 1793, he was in Corsica, and violently opposed the partisans of General Paoli. Obliged to make his escape in August from that island, to save himself, he joined the army of General Carteaux, then marching against the Marseilles insurgents, whence he was sent by the National Convention with Barras, Gasparin, Robespierre the younger, and Ricrod, as a representative of the people, to the army before Toulon, where, as well as at Marseilles, he shared in all the atrocities committed by his colleagues and by Bonaparte ; for which, after the death of the Robespierres, he was arrested with him as a terrorist.

He had not known Bonaparte much in Corsica, but, finding him and his family in great distress, with all other Corsican refugees, and observing his adroitness as a captain of artillery, he recommended him to Barras, and upon their representation to the Committee of Public Safety, he was promoted to a chef de brigade, or colonel. In 1796, when Barras gave Bonaparte the command of the army of Italy, Salicetti was appointed a Commissary of Government to the same army, and in that capacity behaved with the greatest insolence towards all the Princes of Italy, and most so towards the Duke of Modena, with whom he and Bonaparte signed a treaty of neutrality, for which they received a large sum in ready money; but shortly afterwards the duchy was again invaded, and an attempt made to surprise and seize the Duke. In 1797 he was chosen a member of the Council of Five Hundred, where he always continued a supporter of violent measures.

When, in 1799, his former protege, Bonaparte, was proclaimed a First Consul, Salicetti desired to be placed in the Conservative Senate ; but his familiarity displeased Napoleon, who made him first a commercial agent, and afterwards a Minister to the Ligurian Republic, so as to keep him at a distance. During his several missions, he has amassed a fortune, calculated, at the lowest, of six millions of livres.

The order Salicetti received to prepare the incorporation of Genoa with France, would not, without the presence of our troops, have been very easy to execute, particularly as he, six months before, had prevailed on the Doge and the Senate to resign all sovereignty to Lucien Bonaparte, under the title of a Grand Duke of Genoa.

The cause of Napoleon's change of opinion with regard to his brother Lucien, was that the latter would not separate from a wife he loved, but preferred domestic happiness to external splendour frequently accompanied with internal misery. So that this act of incorporation of the Ligurian Republic, in fact, originated, notwithstanding the great and deep calculations of our profound politicians and political schemers, in nothing else but in the keeping of a wife, and in the refusal of a riband.

That corruption, seduction, and menaces seconded the intrigues and bayonets which convinced the Ligurian Government of the honour and advantage of becoming subjects of Bonaparte, I have not the least doubt; but that the Doge, Girolamo Durazzo, and the senators Morchio, Maglione, Travega, Maghella, Roggieri, Taddei, Balby, and Langlade sold the independence of their country for ten millions of livres - though it has been positively asserted, I can hardly believe; and, indeed, money was as little necessary as resistance would have been unavailing, all the forts and strong positions being in the occupation of our troops. A general officer present when the Doge of Genoa, at the head of the Ligurian deputation, offered Bonaparte their homage at Milan, and exchanged liberty for bondage, assured me that this ci-devant chief magistrate spoke with a faltering voice and with tears in his eyes, and that indignation was read on the countenance of every member of the deputation thus forced to prostitute their rights as citizens, and to vilify their sentiments as patriots.

When Salicetti, with his secretary, Milhaud, had arranged this honourable affair, they set out from Genoa to announce to Bonaparte, at Milan, their success. Not above a league from the former city their carriage was stopped, their persons stripped, and their papers and effects seized by a gang, called in the country the gang of PATRIOTIC ROBBERS, commanded by Mulieno. This chief is a descendant of a good Genoese family, proscribed by France, and the men under him are all above the common class of people. They never commit any murders, nor do they rob any but Frenchmen, or Italians known to be adherents of the French party. Their spoils they distribute among those of their countrymen who, like themselves, have suffered from the revolutions in Italy within these last nine years. They usually send the amount destined to relieve these persons to the curates of the several parishes, signifying in what manner it is to be employed. Their conduct has procured them many friends among the low and the poor, and, though frequently pursued by our gendarmes, they have hitherto always escaped. The papers captured by them on this occasion from Salicetti are said to be of a most curious nature, and throw great light on Bonaparte's future views of Italy. The original act of consent of the Ligurian Government to the incorporation with France was also in this number. It is reported that they were deposited with the Austrian Minister at Genoa, who found means to forward them to his Court; and it is supposed that their contents did not a little to hasten the present movements of the Emperor of Germany.

Another gang, known under the appellation of the PATRIOTIC AVENGERS, also desolates the Ligurian Republic. They never rob, but always murder those whom they consider as enemies of their country. Many of our officers, and even our sentries on duty, have been wounded or killed by them ; and, after dark, therefore, no Frenchman dares walk out unattended. Their chief is supposed to be a ci-devant Abbe, Sagati, considered a political as well as a religious fanatic. In consequence of the deeds of these patriotic avengers, Bonaparte's first act, as a Sovereign of Liguria, was the establishment of special military commissions, and a law prohibiting, under pain of death, every person from carrying arms who could not show a written permission of our commissary of police. Robbers and assassins are, unfortunately, common to all nations, and all people of all ages ; but those of the above description are only the production and progeny of revolutionary and troublesome times. They pride themselves, instead of violating the laws, on supplying their inefficacy and counteracting their partiality.



LETTER XXXVI


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Bonaparte is now the knight of more Royal Orders than any other Sovereign in Europe, and were he to put them on all at once, their ribands would form stuff enough for a light summer coat of as many different colours as the rainbow. The Kings of Spain, of Naples, of Prussia, of Portugal, and of Etruria have admitted him a knight- companion, as well as the Electors of Bavaria, Hesse, and Baden, and the Pope of Rome. In return he has appointed these Princes his grand officers of HIS Legion of Honour, the highest rank of his newly instituted Imperial Order. It is even said that some of these Sovereigns have been honoured by him with the grand star and broad riband of the Order of His Iron Crown of the Kingdom of Italy.

Before Napoleon's departure for Milan last spring, Talleyrand intimated to the members of the foreign diplomatic corps here, that their presence would be agreeable to the Emperor of the French at his coronation at Milan as a King of Italy. In the preceding summer a similar hint, or order, had been given by him for a diplomatic trip to Aix-la-Chapelle, and all Their Excellencies set a-packing instantly ; but some legitimate Sovereigns, having since discovered that it was indecent for their representatives to be crowding the suite of an insolently and proudly travelling usurper, under different pretences declined the honour of an invitation and journey to Italy. It would, besides, have been pleasant enough to have witnessed the Ambassadors of Austria and Prussia, whose Sovereigns had not acknowledged Bonaparte's right to his assumed title of King of Italy, indirectly approving it by figuring at the solemnity which inaugurated him as such. Of this inconsistency and impropriety Talleyrand was well aware ; but audacity on one side, and endurance and submission on the other, had so often disregarded these considerations before, that he saw no indelicacy or impertinence in the proposal. His master had, however, the gratification to see at his levee, and in his wife's drawing-room, the Ambassadors of Spain, Naples, Portugal, and Bavaria, who laid at the Imperial and royal feet the Order decorations of their own Princes, to the nor little entertainment of His Imperial and Royal Majesty, and to the great edification of his dutiful subjects on the other side of the Alps.

The expenses of Bonaparte's journey to Milan, and his coronation there (including also those of his attendants from France), amounted to no less a sum than fifteen millions of livres - of which one hundred and fifty thousand livres - was laid out in fireworks, double that sum in decorations of the Royal Palace and the cathedral, and three millions of livres - in presents to different generals, grand officers, deputations, etc. The poor also shared his bounty; medals to the value of fifty thousand livres - were thrown out among them on the day of the ceremony, besides an equal sum given by Madame Napoleon to the hospitals and orphan-houses. These last have a kind of hereditary or family claim on the purse of our Sovereign ; their parents were the victims of the Emperor's first step towards glory and grandeur.

Another three millions of livres was expended for the march of troops from France to form pleasure camps in Italy, and four millions more was requisite for the forming and support of these encampments during two months, and the Emperor distributed among the officers and men composing them two million livres' worth of rings, watches, snuff-boxes, portraits set with diamonds, stars, and other trinkets, as evidences of His Majesty's satisfaction with their behaviour, presence, and performances.

These troops were under the command of Bonaparte's Field-marshal, Jourdan, a general often mentioned in the military annals of our revolutionary war. During the latter part of the American war, he served under General Rochambeau as a common soldier, and obtained in 1783, after the peace, his discharge. He then turned a pedlar, in which situation the Revolution found him. He had also married, for her fortune, a lame daughter of a tailor, who brought him a fortune of two thousand livres - from whom he has since been divorced, leaving her to shift for herself as she can, in a small milliner's shop at Limoges, where her husband was born in 1763.

Jourdan was among the first members and pillars of the Jacobin Club organized in his native town, which procured him rapid promotion in the National Guards, of whom, in 1792, he was already a colonel. His known love of liberty and equality induced the Committee of Public Safety, in 1793, to appoint him to the chief command of the armies of Ardennes and of the North, instead of Lamarche and Houchard. On the 17th of October the same year, he gained the victory of Wattignies, which obliged the united forces of Austria, Prussia, and Germany to raise the siege of Maubeuge. The jealous Republican Government, in reward, deposed him and appointed Pichegru his successor, which was the origin of that enmity and malignity with which Jourdan pursued this unfortunate general, even to his grave. He never forgave Pichegru the acceptance of a command which he could not decline without risking his life ; and when he should have avenged his disgrace on the real causes of it, he chose to resent it on him who, like himself, was merely an instrument, or a slave, in the hands and under the whip of a tyrannical power.

After the imprisonment of General Hoche, in March, 1794, Jourdan succeeded him as chief of the army of the Moselle. In June he joined, with thirty thousand men, the right wing of the army of the North, forming a new one, under the name of the army of the Sambre and Meuse. On the 16th of the same month he gained a complete victory over the Prince of Coburg, who tried to raise the siege of Charleroy. This battle, which was fought near Trasegnies, is, nevertheless, commonly called the battle of Fleurus. After Charleroy had surrendered on the 25th, Jourdan and his army were ordered to act under the direction of General Pichegru, who had drawn the plan of that brilliant campaign. Always envious of this general, Jourdan did everything to retard his progress, and at last intrigued so well that the army of the Sambre and the Meuse was separated from that of the North.

With the former of these armies Jourdan pursued the retreating confederates, and, after driving them from different stands and positions, he repulsed them to the banks of the Rhine, which river they were obliged to pass. Here ended his successes this year, successes that were not obtained without great loss on our side.

Jourdan began the campaigns of 1795 and 1796 with equal brilliancy, and ended them with equal disgrace. After penetrating into Germany with troops as numerous as well-disciplined, he was defeated at the end of them by Archduke Charles, and retreated always with such precipitation, and in such confusion, that it looked more like the flight of a disorderly rabble than the retreat of regular troops ; and had not Moreau, in 1796, kept the enemy in awe, few of Jourdan's officers or men would again have seen France; for the inhabitants of Franconia rose on these marauders, and cut them to pieces, wherever they could surprise or waylay them.

In 1797, as a member of the Council of Five Hundred, he headed the Jacobin faction against the moderate party, of which Pichegru was a chief ; and he had the cowardly vengeance of base rivalry to pride himself upon having procured the transportation of that patriotic general to Cayenne. In 1799, he again assumed the command of the army of Alsace and of Switzerland; but he crossed the Rhine and penetrated into Suabia only to be again routed by the Archduke Charles, and to repass this river in disorder. Under the necessity of resigning as a general-in-chief, he returned to the Council of Five Hundred, more violent than ever, and provoked there the most oppressive measures against his fellow citizens. Previous to the revolution effected by Bonaparte in November of that year, he had entered with Garreau and Santerre into a conspiracy, the object of which was to restore the Reign of Terror, and to prevent which Bonaparte said he made those changes which placed him at the head of Government. The words were even printed in the papers of that period, which Bonaparte on the 10th of November addressed to the then deputy of Mayenne, Prevost: " If the plot entered into by Jourdan and others, and of which they have not blushed to propose to me the execution, had not been defeated, they would have surrounded the place of your sitting, and to crush all future opposition, ordered a number of deputies to be massacred. That done, they were to establish the sanguinary despotism of the Reign of Terror. " But whether such was Jourdan's project, or whether it was merely given out to be such by the consular faction, to extenuate their own usurpation, he certainly had connected himself with the most guilty and contemptible of the former terrorists, and drew upon himself by such conduct the hatred and blame even of those whose opinion had long been suspended on his account.

General Jourdan was among those terrorists whom the Consular Government condemned to transportation; but after several interviews with Bonaparte he was not only pardoned, but made a Counsellor of State of the military section; and afterwards, in 1801, an administrator-general of Piedmont, where he was replaced by General Menou in 1803, being himself entrusted with the command in Italy. This place he has preserved until last month, when he was ordered to resign it to Massena, with whom he had a quarrel, and would have fought him in a duel, had not the Viceroy, Eugene de Beauharnais, put him under arrest and ordered him back hither, where he is daily expected. If Massena's report to Bonaparte be true, the army of Italy was very far from being as orderly and numerous as Jourdan's assertions would have induced us to believe. But this accusation of a rival must be listened to with caution ; because, should Massena meet with repulse, he will no doubt make use of it as an apology; and should he be victorious, hold it out as a claim for more honour and praise.

The same doubts which still continue of Jourdan's political opinions remain also with regard to his military capacity. But the unanimous declaration of those who have served under his orders as a general must silence both his blind admirers and unjust slanderers. They all allow him some military ability ; he combines and prepares in the Cabinet a plan of defence and attack, with method and intelligence, but he does not possess the quick coup d'oeil, and that promptitude which perceives, and rectifies accordingly, an error on the field of battle. If, on the day of action, some accident, or some manoeuvre, occurs, which has not been foreseen by him, his dull and heavy genius does not enable him to alter instantly his dispositions, or to remedy errors, misfortunes, or improvidences. This kind of talent, and this kind of absence of talent, explain equally the causes of his advantages, as well as the origin of his frequent disasters. Nobody denies him courage, but, with most of our other republican generals, he has never been careful of the lives of the troops under him. I have heard an officer of superior talents and rank assert, in the presence of Carnot, that the number of wounded and killed under Jourdan, when victorious, frequently surpassed the number of enemies he had defeated. I fear it is too true that we are as much, if not more, indebted for our successes to the superior number as to the superior valour of our troops.

Jourdan is, with regard to fortune, one of our poorest republican generals who have headed armies. He has not, during all his campaigns, collected more than a capital of eight millions of livres - a mere trifle compared to the fifty millions of Massena, the sixty millions of Le Clerc, the forty millions of Murat, and the thirty-six millions of Augereau; not to mention the hundred millions of Bonaparte. It is also true that Jourdan is a gambler and a debauchee, fond of cards, dice, and women; and that in Italy, except two hours in twenty-four allotted to business, he passed the remainder of his time either at the gaming-tables, or in the boudoirs of his seraglio - I say seraglio, because he kept, in the extensive house joining his palace as governor and commander, ten women-three French, three Italians, two Germans, two Irish or English girls. He supported them all in style ; but they were his slaves, and he was their sultan, whose official mutes (his aides-de-camp) both watched them, and, if necessary, chastised them.



LETTER XXXVII


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - I can truly defy the world to produce a corps of such a heterogeneous composition as our Conservative Senate, when I except the members composing Bonaparte's Legion of Honour. Some of our Senators have been tailors, apothecaries, merchants, chemists, quacks, physicians, barbers, bankers, soldiers, drummers, dukes, shopkeepers, mountebanks, Abbes, generals, savans, friars, Ambassadors, counsellors, or presidents of Parliament, admirals, barristers, Bishops, sailors, attorneys, authors, Barons, spies, painters, professors, Ministers, sans-culottes, atheists, stonemasons, robbers, mathematicians, philosophers, regicides, and a long et cetera. Any person reading through the official list of the members of the Senate, and who is acquainted with their former situations in life, may be convinced of this truth. Should he even be ignorant of them, let him but inquire, with the list in his hand, in any of our fashionable or political circles ; he will meet with but few persons who are not able or willing to remove his doubts, or to gratify his curiosity. There are not many of them whom it is possible to elevate, but those are still more numerous whom it is impossible to degrade. Their past lives, vices, errors, or crimes, have settled their characters and reputation ; and they must live and die in 'statu quo', either as fools or as knaves, and perhaps as both.

I do not mean to say that they are all criminals or all equally criminal, if insurrection against lawful authority and obedience to usurped tyranny are not to be considered as crimes ; but there are few indeed who can lay their hands on their bosoms and say, 'vitam expendere vero'. Some of them, as a Lagrange, Berthollet, Chaptal, Laplace, Francois de Neuf-Chateau, Tronchet, Monge, Lacepede, and Bougainville, are certainly men of talents ; but others, as a Porcher, Resnier, Vimar, Auber, Perk, Sera, Vernier, Vien, Villetard, Tascher, Rigal, Baciocchi, Beviere, Beauharnais, De Luynea (a ci-devant duke, known under the name of Le Gros Cochon), nature never destined but to figure among those half-idiots and half-imbeciles who are, as it were, intermedial between the brute and human creation.

Sieyes, Cabanis, Garron Coulon, Lecouteul, Canteleu, Lenoin Laroche, Volney, Gregoire, Emmery, Joucourt, Boissy d'Anglas, Fouche, and Roederer form another class, - some of them regicides, others assassins and plunderers, but all intriguers whose machinations date from the beginning of the Revolution. They are all men of parts, of more or less knowledge, and of great presumption. As to their morality, it is on a level with their religion and loyalty. They betrayed their King, and had denied their God already in 1789.

After these come some others, who again have neither talents to boast of nor crimes of which they have to be ashamed. They have but little pretension to genius, none to consistency, and their honesty equals their capacity. They joined our political revolution as they might have done a religious procession. It was at that time a fashion; and they applauded our revolutionary innovations as they would have done the introduction of a new opera, of a new tragedy, of a new comedy, or of a new farce. To this fraternity appertain a ci-devant Comte de Stult-Tracy, Dubois - Dubay, Kellerman, Lambrechts, Lemercier, Pleville - Le Pelley, Clement de Ris, Peregeaux, Berthelemy, Vaubois, Nrignon, D'Agier, Abrial, De Belloy, Delannoy, Aboville, and St. Martin La Motte.<:p>

Such are the characteristics of men whose 'senatus consultum' bestows an Emperor on France, a King on Italy, makes of principalities departments of a Republic, and transforms Republics into provinces or principalities. To show the absurdly fickle and ridiculously absurd appellations of our shamefully perverted institutions, this Senate was called the Conservative Senate ; that is to say, it was to preserve the republican consular constitution in its integrity, both against the encroachments of the executive and legislative power, both against the manoeuvres of the factions, the plots of the royalists or monarchists, and the clamours of a populace of levellers. But during the five years that these honest wiseacres have been preserving, everything has perished - the Republic, the Consuls, free discussions, free election, the political liberty, and the liberty of the Press; all - all are found nowhere but in old, useless, and rejected codes. They have, however, in a truly patriotic manner taken care of their own dear selves. Their salaries are more than doubled since 1799.

Besides mock Senators, mock praetors, mock quaestors, other 'nomina libertatis' are revived, so as to make the loss of the reality so much the more galling. We have also two curious commissions ; one called " the Senatorial Commission of Personal Liberty, " and the other " the Senatorial Commission of the Liberty of the Press. " The imprisonment without cause, and transportation without trial, of thousands of persons of both sexes weekly, show the grand advantages which arise from the former of these commissions ; and the contents of our new books and daily prints evince the utility and liberality of the latter.

But from the past conduct of these our Senators, members of these commissions, one may easily conclude what is to be expected in future from their justice and patriotism. Lenoin Laroche, at the head of the one, was formerly an advocate of some practice, but attended more to politics than to the business of his clients, and was, therefore, at the end of the session of the first assembly (of which he was a member), forced, for subsistence, to become the editor of an insignificant journal. Here he preached licentiousness, under the name of Liberty, and the agrarian law in recommending Equality. A prudent courtier of all systems in fashion, and of all factions in power, he escaped proscription, though not accusation of having shared in the national robberies. A short time in the summer of 1797, after the dismissal of Cochon, he acted as a Minister of Police; and in 1798 the Jacobins elected him a member of the Council of Ancients, where he, with other deputies, sold himself to Bonaparte, and was, in return, rewarded with a place in the Senate. Under monarchy he was a republican, and under a Republic he extolled monarchical institutions. He wished to be singular, and to be rich. Among so many shocking originals, however, he was not distinguished; and among so many philosophical marauders, he had no opportunity to pillage above two millions of livres. This friend of liberty is now one of the most despotic Senators, and this lover of equality never answers when spoken to, if not addressed as " His Excellency, " or " Monseigneur. "

Boissy d' Anglas, another member of this commission, was before the Revolution a steward to Louis XVIII when Monsieur; and, in 1789, was chosen a deputy of the first assembly, where he joined the factions, and in his speeches and writings defended all the enormities that dishonoured the beginning as well as the end of the Revolution. A member afterwards of the National Convention, he was sent in mission to Lyons, where, instead of healing the wounds of the inhabitants, he inflicted new ones. When, on the 15th of March, 1796, in the Council of Five Hundred, he pronounced the oath of hatred to royalty, he added, that this oath was in his heart, otherwise no power upon earth could have forced him to take it; and he is now a sworn subject of Napoleon the First! He pronounced the panegyric of Robespierre, and the apotheosis of Marat. " The soul, " said he, " was moved and elevated in hearing Robespierre speak of the Supreme Being with philosophical ideas, embellished by eloquence; " and he signed the removal of the ashes of Marat to the temple consecrated to humanity ! In September, 1797, he was, as a royalist, condemned to transportation by the Directory ; but in 1799 Bonaparte recalled him, made him first a tribune and afterwards a Senator.

Boissy d' Anglas, though an apologist of robbers and assassins, has neither murdered nor plundered ; but, though he has not enriched himself, he has assisted in ruining all his former protectors, benefactors, and friends.

Sers, a third member of this commission, was, before the Revolution, a bankrupt merchant at Bordeaux, but in 1791 was a municipal officer of the same city, and sent as a deputy to the National Assembly, where he attempted to rise from the clouds that encompassed his heavy genius by a motion for pulling down all the statues of Kings all over France. He seconded another motion of Bonaparte's prefect, Jean Debrie, to decree a corps of tyrannicides, destined to murder all Emperors, Kings, and Princes. At the club of the Jacobins, at Bordeaux, he prided himself on having caused the arrest and death of three hundred aristocrats ; and boasted that he never went out without a dagger to despatch, by a summary justice, those who had escaped the laws. After meeting with well-merited contempt, and living for some time in the greatest obscurity, by a handsome present to Madame Bonaparte, in 1799, he obtained the favour of Napoleon, who dragged him forward to be placed among other ornaments of his Senate. Sers has just cunning enough to be taken for a man of sense when with fools ; when with men of sense, he reassumes the place allotted him by Nature. Without education, as well as without parts, he for a long time confounded brutal scurrility with oratory, and thought himself eloquent when he was only insolent or impertinent. His ideas of liberty are such that, when he was a municipal officer, he signed a mandate of arrest against sixty-four individuals of both sexes, who were at a ball, because they had refused to invite to it one of his nieces.

Abrial, Emmery, Vernier, and Lemercier are the other four members of that commission ; of these, two are old intriguers, two are nullities, and all four are slaves.

Of the seven members of the senatorial commission for preserving the liberty of the Press, Garat and Roederer are the principal. The former is a pedant, while pretending to be a philosopher; and he signed the sentence of his good King's death, while declaring himself a royalist. A mere valet to Robespierre, his fawning procured him opportunities to enrich himself with the spoil of those whom his calumnies and plots caused to be massacred or guillotined. When, as a Minister of Justice, he informed Louis XVI of his condemnation, he did it with such an affected and atrocious indifference that he even shocked his accomplices, whose nature had not much of tenderness. As a member of the first assembly, as a Minister under the convention, and as a deputy of the Council of Five Hundred, he always opposed the liberty of the Press. " The laws, you say " (exclaimed he, in the Council), " punish libellers ; so they do thieves and housebreakers; but would you, therefore, leave your doors unbolted ? Is not the character, the honour, and the tranquillity of a citizen preferable to his treasures ? and, by the liberty of the Press, you leave them at the mercy of every scribbler who can write or think. The wound inflicted may heal, but the scar will always remain. Were you, therefore, determined to decree the motion for this dangerous and impolitic liberty, I make this amendment, that conviction of having written a libel carries with it capital punishment, and that a label be fastened on the breast of the libeller, when carried to execution, with this inscription : 'A social murderer,' or 'A murderer of characters ! ' "

Roederer has belonged to all religious or antireligious sects, and to all political or anti-social factions, these last twenty years ; but, after approving, applauding, and serving them, he has deserted them, sold them, or betrayed them. Before the Revolution, a Counseller of Parliament at Metz, he was a spy of the Court on his colleagues; and, since the Revolution, he served the Jacobins as a spy on the Court. Immoral and unprincipled to the highest degree, his profligacy and duplicity are only equalled by his perversity and cruelty. It was he who, on the 10th of August, 1792, betrayed the King and the Royal Family into the hands of their assassins, and who himself made a merit of this infamous act. After he had been repulsed by all, even by the most sanguinary of our parties and partisans, by a Brissot, a Marat, a Robespierre, a Tallien, and a Barras, Bonaparte adopted him first as a Counsellor of State, and afterwards as a Senator. His own and only daughter died in a miscarriage, the consequence of an incestuous commerce with her unnatural parent; and his only, son is disinherited by him for resenting his father's baseness in debauching a young girl whom the son had engaged to marry.

With the usual consistency of my revolutionary countrymen, he has, at one period, asserted that the liberty of the Press was necessary for the preservation both of men and things, for the protection of governors as well as of the governed, and that it was the best support of a constitutional Government. At another time he wrote that, as it was impossible to fix the limits between the liberty and the licentiousness of the Press, the latter destroyed the benefits of the former ; that the liberty of the Press was useful only against a Government which one wished to overturn, but dangerous to a Government which one wished to preserve. To show his indifference about his own character, as well as about the opinion of the public, these opposite declarations were inserted in one of our daily papers, and both were signed " Roederer. "

In 1789, he was indebted above one million two hundred thousand livres - and he now possesses national property purchased for seven millions of livres - and he avows himself to be worth three millions more in money placed in our public funds. He often says, laughingly, that he is under great obligations to Robespierre, whose guillotine acquitted in one day all his debts. All his creditors, after being denounced for their aristocracy, were murdered en masse by this instrument of death.

Of all the old beaux and superannuated libertines whose company I have had the misfortune of not being able to avoid, Roederer is the most affected, silly, and disgusting. His wrinkled face, and effeminate and childish air; his assiduities about every woman of beauty or fashion ; his confidence in his own merit, and his presumption in his own power, wear such a curious contrast with his trembling hands, running eyes, and enervated person, that I have frequently been ready to laugh at him in his face, had not indignation silenced all other feeling. A light-coloured wig covers a bald head; his cheeks and eyelids are painted, and his teeth false ; and I have seen a woman faint away from the effect of his breath, notwithstanding that he infects with his musk and perfumes a whole house only with his presence. When on the ground floor you may smell him in the attic.



LETTER XXXVIII


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - The reciprocal jealousy and even interest of Austria, France, and Russia have hitherto prevented the tottering Turkish Empire from being partitioned, like Poland, or seized, like Italy ; to serve as indemnities, like the German empire ; or to be shared, as reward to the allies, like the Empire of Mysore.

When we consider the anarchy that prevails, both in the Government and among the subjects, as well in the capital as in the provinces of the Ottoman Porte ; when we reflect on the mutiny and cowardice of its armies and navy, the ignorance and incapacity of its officers and military and naval commanders, it is surprising, indeed, as I have heard Talleyrand often declare, that more foreign political intrigues should be carried on at Constantinople alone than in all other capitals of Europe taken together. These intrigues, however, instead of doing honour to the, sagacity and patriotism of the members of the Divan, expose only their corruption and imbecility ; and, instead of indicating a dread of the strength of the Sublime Sultan, show a knowledge of his weakness, of which the gold of the most wealthy, and the craft of the most subtle, by turns are striving to profit.

Beyond a doubt the enmity of the Ottoman Porte can do more mischief than its friendship can do service. Its neutrality is always useful, while its alliance becomes frequently a burden, and its support of no advantage. It is, therefore, more from a view of preventing evils than from expectation of profit, that all other Powers plot, cabal, and bribe. The map of the Turkish Empire explains what maybe though absurd or nugatory in this assertion.

As soon as a war with Austria was resolved on by the Brissot faction in 1792, emissaries were despatched to Constantinople to engage the Divan to invade the provinces of Austria and Russia, thereby to create a diversion in favour of this country. Our Ambassador in Turkey at that time, Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier, though an admirer of the Revolution, was not a republican, and, therefore, secretly counteracted what he officially seemed to wish to effect. The Imperial Court succeeded, therefore, in establishing a neutrality of the Ottoman Porte, but Comte de Choiseul was proscribed by the Convention. As academician, he was, however, at St. Petersburg, liberally recompensed by Catherine II. for the services the Ambassador had performed at Constantinople.

In May, 1793, the Committee of Public Safety determined to expedite another embassy to the Grand. Seignior, at the head of which was the famous intriguer, De Semonville, whose revolutionary diplomacy had, within three years, alarmed the Courts of Madrid, Naples, and Turin, as well as the republican Government of Genoa. His career towards Turkey was stopped in the Grisons Republic, on the 25th of July following, where he, with sixteen other persons of his suite, was arrested, and sent a prisoner, first to Milan, and afterwards to Mantua. He carried with him presents of immense value, which were all seized by the Austrians. Among them were four superb coaches, highly finished, varnished, and gilt ; what is iron or brass in common carriages was here gold or silver-gilt. Two large chests were filled with stuff of gold brocade, India gold muslins, and shawls and laces of very great value. Eighty thousand louis d'or in ready money; a service of gold plate of twenty covers, which formerly belonged to the Kings of France ; two small boxes full of diamonds and brilliants, the intrinsic worth of which was estimated at forty-eight millions of livres - and a great number of jewels ; among others, the crown diamond, called here the Regents', and in your country the Pitt Diamond, fell, with other riches, into the hands of the captors. Notwithstanding this loss and this disappointment, we contrived in vain to purchase the hostility of the Turks against our enemies, though with the sacrifice of no less a sum (according to the report of Saint Just, in June, 1794,) than seventy millions of livres : These official statements prove the means which our so often extolled economical and moral republican Governments have employed in their negotiations.

After the invasion of Egypt, in time of peace, by Bonaparte, the Sultan became at last convinced of the sincerity of our professions of friendship, which he returned with a declaration of war. The preliminaries of peace with your country, in October, 1801, were, however, soon followed with a renewal of our former friendly intercourse with the Ottoman Porte. The voyage of Sebastiani into Egypt and Syria, in the autumn of 1802, showed that our tenderness for the inhabitants of these countries had not diminished, and that we soon intended to bestow on them new hugs of fraternity. Your pretensions to Malta impeded our prospects in the East, and your obstinacy obliged us to postpone our so well planned schemes of encroachments. It was then that Bonaparte first selected for his representative to the Grand Seignior, General Brune, commonly called by Moreau, Macdonald, and other competent judges of military merit, an intriguer at the head of armies, and a warrior in time of peace when seated in the Council chamber.

This Brune was, before the Revolution, a journeyman printer, and married to a washerwoman, whose industry and labour alone prevented him from starving, for he was as vicious as idle. The money he gained when he chose to work was generally squandered away in brothels, among prostitutes. To supply his excesses he had even recourse to dishonest means, and was shut up in the prison of Bicetre for robbing his master of types and of paper.

In the beginning of the Revolution, his very crimes made him an acceptable associate of Marat, who, with the money advanced by the Orleans faction, bought him a printing-office, and he printed the so dreadfully well-known journal, called 'L'Amie du Peuple'. From the principles of this atrocious paper, and from those of his sanguinary patron, he formed his own political creed. He distinguished himself frequently at the clubs of the Cordeliers, and of the Jacobins, by his extravagant motions, and by provoking laws of proscription against a wealth he did not possess, and against a rank he would have dishonoured, but did not see without envy. On the 30th of June, 1791, he said, in the former of these clubs :

" We hear everywhere complaints of poverty ; were not our eyes so often disgusted with the sight of unnatural riches, our hearts would not so often be shocked at the unnatural sufferings of humanity. The blessings of our Revolution will never be felt by the world, until we in France are on a level, with regard to rank as well as to fortune. I, for my part, know too well the dignity of human nature ever to bow to a superior; but, brothers and friends, it is not enough that we are all politically equal, we must also be all equally rich or equally poor - we must either all strive to become men of property, or reduce men of property to become sans-culottes. Believe me, the aristocracy of property is more dangerous than the aristocracy of prerogative or fanaticism, because it is more common. Here is a list sent to 'L' Amie du People', but of which prudence yet prohibits the publication. It contains the names of all the men of property of Paris, and of the Department of the Seine, the amount of their fortunes, and a proposal how to reduce and divide it among our patriots. Of its great utility in the moment when we have been striking our grand blows, nobody dares doubt ; I, therefore, move that a brotherly letter be sent to every society of our brothers and friends in the provinces, inviting each of them to compose one of similar contents and of similar tendency, in their own districts, with what remarks they think proper to affix, and to forward them to us, to be deposited, in the mother club, after taking copies of them for the archives of their own society. "

His motion was decreed.

Two days afterwards, he again ascended the tribune. " You approved, " said he, " of the measures I lately proposed against the aristocracy of property ; I will now tell you of another aristocracy which we must also crush - I mean that of religion, and of the clergy. Their supports are folly, cowardice, and ignorance. All priests are to be proscribed as criminals, and despised as impostors or idiots ; and all altars must be reduced to dust as unnecessary. To prepare the public mind for such events, we must enlighten it; which can only be done by disseminating extracts from 'L' Amie du People', and other philosophical publications. I have here some ballads of my own composition, which have been sung in my quarter ; where all superstitious persons have already trembled, and all fanatics are raving. If you think proper, I will, for a mere trifle, print twenty thousand copies of them, to be distributed and disseminated gratis all over France. "

After some discussion, the treasurer of the club was ordered to advance Citizen Brune the sum required, and the secretary to transmit the ballads to the fraternal societies in the provinces.

Brune put on his first regimentals as an aide-decamp to General Santerre in December, 1792, after having given proofs of his military prowess the preceding September, in the massacre of the prisoners in the Abbey. In 1793 he was appointed a colonel in the revolutionary army, which, during the Reign of Terror, laid waste the departments of the Gironde, where he was often seen commanding his corps, with a human head fixed on his sword. On the day when he entered Bordeaux with his troops, a new-born child occupied the same place, to the great horror of the inhabitants. During this brilliant expedition he laid the first foundation of his present fortune, having pillaged in a most unmerciful manner, and arrested or shot every suspected person who could not, or would not, exchange property for life. On his return to Paris, his patriotism was recompensed with a commission of a general of brigade. On the death of Robespierre, he was arrested as a terrorist, but, after some months' imprisonment, again released.

In October, 1795, he assisted Napoleon Bonaparte in the massacre of the Parisians, and obtained for it, from the director Barras, the rank of a general of division. Though occupying, in time of war, such a high military rank, he had hitherto never seen an enemy, or witnessed an engagement.

After Bonaparte had planned the invasion and pillage of Switzerland, Brune was charged to execute this unjust outrage against the law of nations. His capacity to intrigue procured him this distinction, and he did honour to the choice of his employers. You have no doubt read that, after lulling the Government of Berne into security by repeated proposals of accommodation, he attacked the Swiss and Bernese troops during a truce, and obtained by treachery successes which his valour did not promise him. The pillage, robberies, and devastations in Helvetia added several more millions to his previously great riches.

It was after his campaign in Holland, during the autumn of 1799, that he first began to claim some military glory. He owed, however, his successes to the superior number of his troops, and to the talents of the generals and officers serving under him. Being made a Counsellor of State by Bonaparte, he was entrusted with the command of the army against the Chouans. Here he again seduced by his promises, and duped by his intrigues, acted infamously - but was successful.



LETTER XXXIX


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Three months before Brune set out on his embassy to Constantinople, Talleyrand and Fouche were collecting together all the desperadoes of our Revolution, and all the Italian, Corsican, Greek, and Arabian renegadoes and vagabonds in our country, to form him a set of attendants agreeable to the real object of his mission.

You know too much of our national character and of my own veracity to think it improbable, when I assure you that most of our great men in place are as vain as presumptuous, and that sometimes vanity and presumption get the better of their discretion and prudence. What I am going to tell you I did not hear myself, but it was reported to me by a female friend, as estimable for her virtues as admired for her accomplishments. She is often honoured with invitations to Talleyrand's familiar parties, composed chiefly of persons whose fortunes are as independent as their principles, who, though not approving the Revolution, neither joined its opposers nor opposed its adherents, preferring tranquillity and obscurity to agitation and celebrity. Their number is not much above half a dozen, and the Minister calls them the only honest people in France with whom he thinks himself safe.

When it was reported here that two hundred persons of Brune's suite had embarked at Marseilles and eighty-four at Genoa, and when it was besides known that nearly fifty individuals accompanied him in his outset, this unusual occurrence caused much conversation and many speculations in all our coteries and fashionable circles. About that time my friend dined with Talleyrand, and, by chance, also mentioned this grand embassy, observing, at the same time, that it was too much honour done to the Ottoman Porte, and too much money thrown away upon splendour, to honour such an imbecile and tottering Government.

" How people talk, " interrupted Talleyrand, " about what they do not comprehend. Generous as Bonaparte is, he does not throw away his expenses ; perhaps within twelve months all these renegadoes or adventurers, whom you all consider as valets of Brune, will be three-tailed Pachas or Beys, leading friends of liberty, who shall have gloriously broken their fetters as slaves of a Selim to become the subjects of a Napoleon. The Eastern Empire has, indeed, long expired, but it may suddenly be revived. "

" Austria and Russia, " replied my friend, " would never suffer it, and England would sooner ruin her navy and exhaust her Treasury than permit such a revolution. "

" So they have tried to do, " retorted Talleyrand, " to bring about a counter revolution in France. But though only a moment is requisite to erect the standard of revolt, ages often are necessary to conquer and seize it. Turkey has long been ripe for a revolution. It wanted only chiefs and directors. In time of war, ten thousand Frenchmen landed in the Dardanelles would be masters of Constantinople, and perhaps of the Empire. In time of peace, four hundred bold and well-informed men may produce the same effect. Besides, with some temporary cession of a couple of provinces to each of the Imperial Courts, and with the temporary present of an island to Great Britain, everything may be settled 'pro tempore', and a Joseph Bonaparte be permitted to reign at Constantinople, as a Napoleon does at Paris. "

That the Minister made use of this language I can take upon me to affirm ; but whether purposely or unintentionally, whether to give a high opinion of his plans or to impose upon his company, I will not and cannot assert.

On the subject of this numerous suite of Brune, Markof is said to have obtained several conferences with Talleyrand and several audiences of Bonaparte, in which representations, as just as energetic, were made, which, however, did not alter the intent of our Government or increase the favour of the Russian Ambassador at the Court of St. Cloud. But it proved that our schemes of subversion are suspected, and that our agents of overthrow would be watched and their manoeuvres inspected.

Count Italinski, the Russian Ambassador to the Ottoman Porte, is one of those noblemen who unite rank and fortune, talents and modesty, honour and patriotism, wealth and liberality. His personal character and his individual virtues made him, therefore, more esteemed and revered by the members of the Divan, than the high station he occupied, and the powerful Prince he represented, made him feared or respected. His warnings had created prejudices against Brune which he found difficult to remove. To revenge himself in his old way, our Ambassador inserted several paragraphs in the Moniteur and in our other papers, in which Count Italinski was libelled, and his transactions or views calumniated.

After his first audience with the Grand Seignior, Brune complained bitterly, of not having learned the Turkish language, and of being under the necessity, therefore, of using interpreters, to whom he ascribed the renewed obstacles he encountered in every step he took, while his hotel was continually surrounded with spies, and the persons of his suite followed everywhere like criminals when they went out. Even the valuable presents he carried with him, amounting in value to twenty-four millions of livres - were but indifferently received, the acceptors, seeming to suspect the object and the honesty of the donor.

In proportion as our politics became embroiled with those of Russia, the post of Brune became of more importance; but the obstacles thrown in his way augmented daily, and he was forced to avow that Russia and England had greater influence and more credit than the French Republic and its chief. When Bonaparte was proclaimed an Emperor of the French, Brune expected that his acknowledgment as such at Constantinople would be a mere matter of course and announced officially on the day he presented a copy of his new credentials. Here again he was disappointed, and therefore demanded his recall from a place where there was no probability, under the present circumstances, of either exciting the subjects to revolt, of deluding the Prince into submission, or seducing Ministers who, in pocketing his bribes, forgot for what they were given.

It was then that Bonaparte sent Joubert with a letter in his own handwriting, to be delivered into the hands of the Grand Seignior himself. This Joubert is a foundling, and, was from his youth destined and educated to be one of the secret agents of our secret diplomacy. You already, perhaps, have heard that our Government selects yearly a number of young foundlings or orphans, whom it causes to be brought up in foreign countries at its expense, so as to learn the language as natives of the nation, where, when grown up, they are chiefly to be employed. Joubert had been educated under the inspection of our consuls at Smyrna, and, when he assumes the dress of a Turk, from his accent and manners even the Mussulmans mistake him for one of their own creed and of their country. He was introduced to Bonaparte in 1797, and accompanied him to Egypt, where his services were of the greatest utility to the army. He is now a kind of undersecretary in the office of our secret diplomacy, and a member of the Legion of Honour. Should ever Joseph Bonaparte be an Emperor or Sultan of the East, Joubert will certainly be his Grand Vizier. There is another Joubert (with whom you must not confound him), who was ; also a kind of Dragoman at Constantinople some years ago, and who is still somewhere on a secret mission in the East Indies.

Joubert's arrival at Constantinople excited both curiosity among the people and suspicion among the Ministry. There is no example in the Ottoman history of a chief of a Christian nation having written to the Sultan by a private messenger, or of His Highness having condescended to receive the letter from the bearer, or to converse with him. The Grand Vizier demanded a copy of Bonaparte's letter, before an audience could be granted. This was refused by Joubert; and as Brune threatened to quit the capital of Turkey if any longer delay were experienced, the letter was delivered in a garden near Constantinople, where the Sultan met Bonaparte's agent, as if by chance, who, it seems, lost all courage and presence of mind, and did not utter four words, to which no answer was given.

This impertinent intrigue, and this novel diplomacy, therefore, totally miscarried, to the great shame and greater disappointment of the schemers and contrivers. I must, however, do Talleyrand the justice to say that he never approved of it, and even foretold the issue to his intimate friends. It was entirely the whim and invention of Bonaparte himself, upon a suggestion of Brune, who was far from being so well acquainted with the spirit and policy of the Divan as he had been with the genius and plots of Jacobinism. Not rebuked, however, Joubert was ordered away a second time with a second letter, and, after an absence of four months, returned again as he went, less satisfied with the second than with his first journey.

In these trips to Turkey, he had always for travelling companions some of our emissaries to Austria, Hungary, and in particular to Serbia, where the insurgents were assisted by our councils, and even guided by some of our officers. The principal aide-de-camp of Czerni George, the Serbian chieftain, is one Saint Martin, formerly a captain in our artillery, afterwards an officer of engineers in the Russian service, and finally a volunteer in the army of Conde. He and three other officers of artillery were, under fictitious names, sent by our Government, during the spring of last year, to the camp of the insurgents. They pretended to be of the Grecian religion, and formerly Russian officers, and were immediately employed. Saint Martin has gained great influence over Czerni George, and directs both his political councils and military operations. Besides the individuals left behind by Joubert ; it is said that upwards of one hundred persons of Brune's suite have been ordered for the same destination. You see how great the activity of our Government is, and that nothing is thought unworthy of its vigilance or its machinations. In the staff of Paswan Oglou, six of my countrymen have been serving ever since 1796, always in the pay of our Government.

It was much against the inclination and interest of our Emperor that his Ambassador at Constantinople should leave the field of battle there to the representatives of Russia, Austria, and England. But his dignity was at stake. After many threats to deprive the Sultan of the honour of his presence, and even after setting out once for some leagues on his return, Brune, observing that these marches and countermarches excited more mirth than terror, at last fixed a day, when, finally, either Bonaparte must be acknowledged by the Divan as an Emperor of the French, or his departure would take place. On that day he, indeed, began his retreat, but, under different pretexts, be again stopped, sent couriers to his secretaries, waited for their return, and sent new couriers again, - but all in vain, the Divan continued refractory.

At his first audience after his return, the reception Bonaparte gave him was not very cordial. He demanded active employment, in case of a continental war, either in Italy or in Germany, but received neither. When our army of England was already on its march towards the Rhine, and Bonaparte returned here, Brune was ordered to take command on the coast, and to organize there an army of observation, destined to succour Holland in case of an invasion, or to invade England should a favourable occasion present itself. The fact is, he was charged to intrigue rather than to fight; and were Napoleon able to force upon Austria another Peace of Luneville, Brune would probably be the plenipotentiary that would ask your acceptance of another Peace of Amiens. It is here a general belief that his present command signifies another pacific overture from Bonaparte before your Parliament meets, or, at least, before the New Year. Remember that our hero is more to be dreaded as a Philip than as an Alexander.

General Brune has bought landed property for nine millions of livres - and has, in different funds, placed ready money to the same amount. His own and his wife's diamonds are valued by him at three millions ; and when he has any parties to dinner, he exhibits them with great complaisance as presents forced upon him during his campaign in Switzerland and Holland, for the protection he gave the inhabitants. He is now so vain of his wealth and proud of his rank, that he not only disregards all former acquaintances, but denies his own brothers and sisters, - telling them frankly that the Fieldmarshal Brune can have no shoemaker for a brother, nor a sister married to a chandler ; that he knows of no parents, and of no relatives, being the maker of his own fortune, and of what he is; that his children will look no further back for ancestry than their father. One of his first cousins, a postilion, who insisted, rather obstinately, on his family alliance, was recommended by Brune to his friend Fouche, who sent him on a voyage of discovery to Cayenne, from which he probably will not return very soon.



LETTER XL


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Madame de C…n is now one of our most fashionable ladies. Once in the week she has a grand tea-party; once in a fortnight a grand dinner ; and once in the month a grand ball. Foreign gentlemen are particularly well received at her house, which, of course, is much frequented by them. As you intend to visit this country after a peace, it may be of some service to you not to be unacquainted with the portrait of a lady whose invitation to see the original you may depend upon the day after your arrival.

Madame de C…n is the widow of the great and useless traveller, Comte de C…n, to whom his relatives pretend that she was never married. Upon his death-bed he acknowledged her, however, for his wife, and left her mistress of a fortune of three hundred thousand livres a year. The first four years of her widowhood she passed in lawsuits before the tribunals, where the plaintiffs could not prove that she was unmarried, nor she herself that she was married. But Madame Napoleon Bonaparte, for a small douceur, speaking in her favour, the consciences of the juries, and the understanding of the judges, were all convinced at once that she had been the lawful wife, and was the lawful heiress, of Comte de C…n, who had no children, or nearer relatives than third cousins.

Comte de C…n was travelling in the East Indies when the Revolution broke out. His occupation there was a very innocent one; he drew countenances, being one of the most enthusiastic sectaries of Lavater, and modestly called himself the first physiognomist in the world. Indeed, he had been at least the most laborious one; for he left behind him a collection of six thousand two hundred portraits, drawn by himself in the four quarters of the world, during a period of thirty years.

He never engaged a servant, nor dealt with a tradesman, whose physiognomy had not been examined by him. In his travels he preferred the worst accommodation in a house where he approved of the countenance of the host, to the best where the traits or lines of the landlord's face were irregular, or did not coincide with his ideas of physiognomical propriety. The cut of a face, its expression, the length of the nose, the width or smallness of the mouth, the form of the eyelids or of the ears, the colour or thickness of the hair, with the shape and tout ensemble of the head, were always minutely considered and discussed before he entered into any agreement, on any subject, with any individual whatever. Whatever recommendations, or whatever attestations were produced, if they did not correspond with his own physiognomical remarks and calculations, they were disregarded; while a person whose physiognomy pleased him required no other introduction to obtain his confidence. Whether he thought himself wiser than his forefathers, he certainly did not grow richer than they were. Charlatans who imposed upon his credulity and impostors who flattered his mania, servants who robbed him and mistresses who deceived him, proved that if his knowledge of physiognomy was great, it was by no means infallible. At his death, of the fortune left him by his parents only the half remained.

His friends often amused themselves at the expense of his foibles. When he prepared for a journey to the East, one of them recommended him a servant, upon whose fidelity he could depend. After examining with minute scrupulosity the head of the person, he wrote : " My friend, I accept your valuable present. From calculations, which never deceive me, Manville (the servant's name) possesses, with the fidelity of a dog, the intrepidity of the lion. Chastity itself is painted on his front, modesty in his looks, temperance on his cheek, and his mouth and nose bespeak honesty itself. " Shortly after the Count had landed at Pondicherry, Mauville, who was a girl, died, in a condition which showed that chastity had not been the divinity to whom she had chiefly sacrificed. In her trunk were found several trinkets belonging to her master, which she honestly had appropriated to herself. His miscalculation on this subject the Count could not but avow ; he added, however, that it was the entire fault of his friend, who had duped him with regard to the sex.

Madame de C…n was, on account of her physiognomy, purchased by her late husband, then travelling in Turkey, from a merchant of Circassian slaves, when she was under seven years of age, and sent for her education to a relative of the Count, an Abbess of a convent in Languedoc. On his return from Turkey, some years afterwards, he took her under his own care, and she accompanied him all over Asia, and returned first to France in 1796, where her husband's name was upon the list of emigrants, though he had not been in Europe for ten years before the Revolution.

However, by some pecuniary arrangements with Barras, he recovered his property, which he did not long enjoy, for he died in 1798. The suitors of Madame de C…n, mistress of a large fortune, with some remnants of beauty and elegance of manners, have been numerous, and among them several Senators and generals, and even the Minister Chaptal. But she has politely declined all their offers, preferring her liberty and the undisturbed right of following her own inclination to the inconvenient ties of Hymen. A gentleman, whom she calls, and who passes for, her brother, Chevalier de M de T…, a Knight of Malta, assists her in doing the honours of her house, and is considered as her favourite lover; though report and the scandalous chronicle say that she bestows her favours on every person who wishes to bestow on her his name, and that, therefore, her gallants are at least as numerous as her suitors.

Such is the true statement of the past, as well as the present, with regard to Madame de C…n. She relates, however, a different story. She says that she is the daughter of the Marquis de M de T…, of a Languedoc family; that she sailed, when a child, with her mother in a felucca from Nice to Malta, there to visit her brother; was captured by an Algerine pilot, separated from her mother, and carried to Constantinople by a merchant of slaves ; there she was purchased by Comte de C…n, who restored her to her family, and whom, therefore, notwithstanding the difference of their ages, she married from gratitude. This pretty, romantic story is ordered in our Court circles to be officially believed; and, of course, is believed by nobody, not even by the Emperor and Empress themselves, who would not give her the place of a lady-in-waiting, though her request was accompanied with a valuable diamond to the latter. The present was kept, but the offer declined.

All the members of the Bonaparte family, female as well as male, honour her house with their visits and with the acceptance of her invitations; and it is, therefore, among our fashionables, the 'haut ton' to be of the society and circle of Madame de C…n.

Last February, Madame de P…t (the wife of Comte de P…t, a relative, by her husband's side, of Madame de C…n, and who by the Revolution lost all their property, and now live with her as companions) was brought to bed of a son; the child was baptized by the Cardinal de Belloy, and Madame Joseph and Prince Louis Bonaparte stood sponsors. This occurrence was celebrated with great pomp, and a fete was given to nearly one hundred and fifty per sons of both sexes, - as usual, a mixture of ci-devant nobles and of ci-devant sans-culottes ; of rank and meanness ; of upstart wealth and beggared dignity.

What that day struck me most was the audacity of the Senator Villetard in teasing and insulting the old Cardinal de Belloy with his impertinent conversation and affected piety. This Villetard was, before the Revolution, a journeyman barber, and was released in 1789 by the mob from the prison of the Chatelet, where he was confined for theft. In 1791 his patriotism was so well known in the Department of Yonne, that he was deputed by the Jacobins there to the Jacobins of the capital with an address, encouraging and advising the deposition of Louis XVI ; and in 1792 he was chosen a member of the National Convention, where the most sanguinary and most violent of the factions were always certain to reckon him in the number of their adherents.

In December, 1797, when an insurrection, prepared by Joseph Bonaparte at Rome, deprived the late revered pontiff both of his sovereignty and liberty, Villetard was sent by the Jacobin and atheistical party of the Directory to Loretto, to seize and carry off the celebrated Madonna. In the execution of this commission he displayed a conduct worthy the littleness of his genius and the criminality of his mind. The wooden image of the Holy Virgin, a black gown said to have appertained to her, together with three broken china plates, which the Roman Catholic faithful have for ages believed to have been used by her, were presented by him to the Directory, with a cruelly scandalous show, accompanied by a horribly blasphemous letter. He passed the next night, after he had perpetrated this sacrilege, with two prostitutes, in the chapel of the Holy Virgin ; and, on the next morning, placed one of them, naked, on the pedestal where the statue of the Virgin had formerly stood, and ordered all the devotees at Loretto, and two leagues round, to prostrate themselves before her. This shocking command occasioned the premature death of fifteen ladies, two of whom, who were nuns, died on the spot on beholding the horrid outrage ; and many more were deprived of their reason. How barbarously unfeeling must that wretch be who, in bereaving the religious, the pious, and the conscientious of their consolation and hope, adds the tormenting reproach of apostasy, by forcing virtue upon its knees to bow before what it knows to be guilt and infamy.

A traitor to his associates as to his God, it was he who, in November, 1799, presented at St. Cloud the decree which excluded all those who opposed Bonaparte's authority from the Council of Five Hundred, and appointed the two committees which made him a First Consul. In reward for this act of treachery, he was nominated to a place in the Conservative Senate. He has now ranked himself among our modern saints, goes regularly to Mass and confesses ; has made a brother of his, who was a drummer, an Abbe ; and his assiduity about the Cardinal was probably with a view to obtain advancement for this edifying priest.

The Cardinal de Belloy is now ninety-six years of age, being born in 1709, and has been a Bishop for fifty-three years, but, during the Revolution, was proscribed, with all other prelates. He remained, however, in France, where his age saved him from the guillotine, but not from being reduced to the greatest want. A descendant of a noble family, and possessing an unpolluted character, Bonaparte fixed upon him as one of the pillars for the reestablishment of the Catholic worship, made him an Archbishop of Paris, and procured him the rank of a Cardinal from Rome. But he is now in his second childhood, entirely directed by his grand vicaries, Malaret, De Mons, and Legeas, who are in the pay of, and absolutely devoted to, Bonaparte. An innocent instrument in their hands, of those impious compliments pronounced by him to the Emperor and the Empress, he did not, perhaps, even understand the meaning. From such a man the vile and artful Villetard might extort any promise. I observed, however, with pleasure, that he was watched by the grand vicar, Malaret, who seldom loses sight of His Eminence.

These two so opposite characters - I mean De Belloy and Villetard - are already speaking evidences of the composition of the society at Madame de C…n's. But I will tell you something still more striking. This lady is famous for her elegant services of plate, as much as for her delicate taste in entertaining her parties. After the supper on this night, eleven silver and four gold plates, besides numerous silver and gold spoons, forks, etc., were missed. She informed Fouche of her loss, who had her house surrounded by spies, with orders not to let any servant pass without undergoing a strict search. The first gentleman who called for his carriage was His Excellency the Counsellor of State and grand officer of the Legion of Honour, Treilhard. His servants were stopped and the cause explained. They willingly, and against the protest of their master, suffered themselves to be searched. Nothing was found upon them; but the police agents, observing the full-dress hat of their master rather bulky under his arm, took the liberty to look into it, where they found one of Madame de C…n's gold plates and two of her spoons. His Excellency immediately ordered his servants to be arrested, for having concealed their theft there. Fouche, however, when called out, advised his friend to forgive them for misplacing them, as the less said on the subject the better. When Madame de C…n heard of this discovery, she asked Fouche to recall his order or to alter it. " A repetition of such misplacings in the hats or in the pockets of the masters, " said she, " would injure the reputation of my house and company. " She never recovered the remainder of her loss, and that she might not be exposed in future to the same occurrences, she bought two services of china the following day, to be used when she had mixed society.

Treilhard had, before the Revolution, the reputation of being an honest man and an able advocate ; but has since joined the criminals of all factions, being an accomplice in their guilt and a sharer of their spoils. In the convention, he voted for the death of Louis XVI. and pursued without mercy the unfortunate Marie Antoinette to the scaffold. During his missions in the departments, wherever he went the guillotine was erected and blood flowed in streams. He was, nevertheless, accused by Robespierre of moderatism. At Lille, in 1797, and at Rastadt, in 1798, he negotiated as a plenipotentiary with the representatives of Princes, and in 1799 corresponded as a director with Emperors and Kings, to whom he wrote as his great and dear friends. He is now a Counsellor of State, in the section of legislation, and enjoys a fortune of several millions of livres, arising from estates in the country, and from leases in the capital. As this accident at Madame de C…n's soon became public, his friends gave out that he had of late been exceedingly absent, and, from absence of mind, puts everything he can lay hold of into his pocket. He is not a favourite with Madame Bonaparte, and she asked her husband to dismiss and disgrace him for an act so disgraceful to a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, but was answered, " Were I to turn away all the thieves and rogues that encompass me I should soon cease to reign. I despise them, but I must employ them. "

It is whispered that the police have discovered another of Madame de C…n's lost gold plates at a pawnbroker's, where it had been pledged by the wife of another Counsellor of State, Francois de Nantes.

This I give you merely as a report ! though the fact is, that Madame Francois is very fond of gambling, but very unfortunate ; and she, with other of our fashionable ladies, has more than once resorted to her charms for the payment of her gambling debts.



BOOK V.


LETTER I


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Since my return here, I have never neglected to present myself before our Sovereign, on his days of grand reviews and grand diplomatic audiences. I never saw him more condescending, more agreeable, or, at least, less offensive, than on the day of his last levee, before he set out to be inaugurated a King of Italy; nor worse tempered, more petulant, agitated, abrupt, and rude than at his first grand audience after his arrival from Milan, when this ceremony had been performed. I am not the only one who has made this remark ; he did not disguise either his good or ill-humour ; and it was only requisite to have eyes and ears to see and be disgusted at the difference of behaviour.

I have heard a female friend of Madame Bonaparte explain, in part, the cause of this alteration. Just before he set out for Italy, the agreeable news of the success of the first Rochefort squadron in the West Indies, and the escape of our Toulon fleet from the vigilance of your Lord Nelson, highly elevated his spirits, as it was the first naval enterprise of any consequence since his reign. I am certain that one grand naval victory would flatter his vanity and ambition more than all the glory of one of his most brilliant Continental campaigns. He had also, at that time, great expectations that another negotiation with Russia would keep the Continent submissive under his dictature, until he should find an opportunity of crushing your power. You may be sure that he had no small hopes of striking a blow in your country, after the junction of our fleet with the Spanish, not by any engagement between our Brest fleet and your Channel fleet, but under a supposition that you would detach squadrons to the East and West Indies in search of the combined fleet, which, by an unexpected return, according to orders, would have then left us masters of the Channel, and, if joined with the Batavian fleet, perhaps even of the North Sea. By the incomprehensible activity of Lord Nelson, and by the defeat (or as we call it here, the negative victory) of Villeneuve and Gravina, all this first prospect had vanished. Our vengeance against a nation of shopkeepers we were not only under the necessity of postponing, but, from the unpolite threats and treaties of the Cabinet of St. Petersburg with those of Vienna and St. James, we were on the eve of a Continental war, and our gunboats, instead of being useful in carrying an army to the destruction of the tyrants of the seas, were burdensome, as an army was necessary to guard them, and to prevent these tyrants from capturing or destroying them. Such changes, in so short a period of time as three months, might irritate a temper less patient than that of Napoleon the First.

At his grand audience here, even after the army, of England had moved towards Germany, when the die was cast, and his mind should, therefore, have been made up, he was almost insupportable. The low bows, and the still humbler expressions of the Prussian Ambassador, the Marquis da Lucchesini, were hardly noticed; and the Saxon Ambassador, Count von Buneau, was addressed in a language that no well-bred master ever uses in speaking to a menial servant. He did not cast a look, or utter a word, that was not an insult to the audience and a disgrace to his rank. I never before saw him vent his rage and disappointment so indiscriminately. We were, indeed (if I may use the term), humbled and trampled upon en masse. Some he put out of countenance by staring angrily at them ; others he shocked by his hoarse voice and harsh words; and all - all of us - were afraid, in our turn, of experiencing something worse than our neighbours. I observed more than one Minister, and more than one general, change colour, and even perspire, at His Majesty's approach.

I believe the members of the foreign diplomatic corps here will all agree with me that, at a future congress, the restoration of the ancient and becoming etiquette of the Kings of France would be as desirable a point to demand from the Emperor of the French as the restoration of the balance of power.

Before his army of England quitted its old quarters on the coast, the officers and men often felt the effects of his ungovernable temper. When several regiments of grenadiers, of the division of Oudinot, were defiling before him on the 25th of last month, he frequently and severely, though without cause, reprobated their manner of marching, and once rode up to Captain Fournois, pushed him forwards with the point of a small cane, calling out, " Sacre Dieu ! Advance ; you walk like a turkey. " In the first moment of indignation, the captain, striking at the cane with his sword, made a push, or a gesture, as if threatening the person of Bonaparte, who called out to his aide-de-camp, Savary :

" Disarm the villain, and arrest him ! "

" It is unnecessary, " the captain replied, " I have served a tyrant, and merit my fate ! " So saying, he passed his sword through his heart.

His whole company stopped instantly, as at a word of command, and a general murmur was heard.

" Lay down your arms, and march out of the file instantly, " commanded Bonaparte, " or you shall be cut down for your mutiny by my guides. "

They hesitated for a moment, but the guides advancing to surround them, they obeyed, and were disarmed. On the following afternoon, by a special military commission, each tenth man was condemned to be shot ; but Bonaparte pardoned them upon condition of serving for life in the colonies ; and the whole company was ordered to the colonial depots. The widow and five children of Captain Fournois the next morning threw themselves at the Emperor's feet, presenting a petition, in which they stated that the pay of the captain had been their only support.

" Well, " replied Bonaparte to the kneeling petitioners, " Fournois was both a fool and a traitor ; but, nevertheless, I will take care of you : ' Indeed, they have been so well taken care of that nobody knows what has become of them.

I am almost certain that I am not telling you what you did not know beforehand in informing you that the spirit of our troops is greatly different from that of the Germans, and even from that of your own country. Every, one of our soldiers would prefer being shot to being beaten or caned. Flogging, with us, is out of the question. It may, perhaps, be national vanity, but I am doubtful whether any other army is, or can be, governed, with regard to discipline, in a less violent and more delicate manner, and, nevertheless, be kept in subordination, and perform the most brilliant exploits. Remember, I speak of our spirit of subordination and discipline, and not of our character as citizens, as patriots, or as subjects. I have often hinted it, but I believe I have not explained myself so fully before; but my firm opinion and persuasion is that, with regard to our loyalty, our duty, and our moral and political principles, another equally inconsistent and despicable people does not exist in the universe.

The condition of the slave is certainly in itself that of vileness ; but is that slave a vile being who, for a blow, pierces his bosom because he is unable to avenge it ? And what epithet can be given him who braves voluntarily a death seemingly certain, not from the love of his country, but from a principle of honour, almost incompatible with the dishonour of bondage ?

During the siege of Yorktown, in America, we had, during one night, erected a battery, with intent to blow up a place which, according to the report of our spies, was your magazine of ammunition, etc. We had not time to finish it before daylight ; but one loaded twenty-four pounder was mounted, and our cannoneer, the moment he was about to fire it, was killed. Six more of our men, in the same attempt, experienced the same fate. My regiment constituted the advanced guard nearest to the spot, and La Fayette brought me the order from the commander-in-chief to engage some of my men upon that desperate undertaking. I spoke to them, and two advanced, but were both instantly shot by your sharpshooters. I then looked at my grenadiers, without uttering anything, when, to my sorrow, one of my best and most orderly men advanced, saying, " My colonel, permit me to try my fortune ! " I assented, and he went coldly amidst hundreds of bullets whistling around his ears, set fire to the cannon, which blew up a depot of powder, as was expected, and in the confusion returned unhurt. La Fayette then presented him with his purse. " No, monsieur, " replied he, " money did not make me venture upon such a perilous undertaking. " I understood my man, promoted him to a sergeant, and recommended him to Rochambeau, who, in some months, procured him the commission of a sub-lieutenant. He is now one of Bonaparte's Field-marshals, and the only one of that rank who has no crimes to reproach himself with. This man was the soldier of a despot ; but was not his action that of a man of honour, which a stanch republican of ancient Rome would have been proud of ? Who can explain this contradiction ?

This anecdote about Fournois I heard General Savary relate at Madame Duchatel's, as a proof of Bonaparte's generosity and clemency, which, he affirmed, excited the admiration of the whole camp at Boulogne. I do not suppose this officer to be above thirty years of age, of which he has passed the first twenty-five in orphan-houses or in watch-houses ; but no tyrant ever had a more cringing slave, or a more abject courtier. His affectation to extol everything that Bonaparte does, right or wrong, is at last become so habitual that it is naturalized, and you may mistake for sincerity that which is nothing but imposture or flattery. This son of a Swiss porter is now one of Bonaparte's adjutants-general, a colonel of the Gendarmes d'Elite, a general of brigade in the army, and a commander of the Legion of Honour; all these places he owes, not to valour or merit, but to abjectness, immorality, and servility. When an aide-de-camp with Bonaparte in Egypt, he served him as a spy on his comrades and on the officers of the staff, and was so much detested that, near Aboukir, several shots were fired at him in his tent by his own countrymen. He is supposed still to continue the same espionage; and as a colonel of the Gendarmes d'Elite, he is charged with the secret execution of all proscribed persons or State prisoners, who have been secretly condemned, - a commission that a despot gives to a man he trusts, but dares not offer to a man he esteems. He is so well known that the instant he enters a society silence follows, and he has the whole conversation to himself. This he is stupid enough to take for a compliment, or for a mark of respect, or an acknowledgment of his superior parts and intelligence, when, in fact, it is a direct reproach with which prudence arms itself against suspected or known dishonesty. Besides his wife, he has to support six other women whom he has seduced and ruined; and, notwithstanding the numerous opportunities his master has procured him of pillaging and enriching himself, he is still much in debt; but woe to his creditors were they indiscreet enough to ask for their payments ! The Secret Tribunal would soon seize them and transport them, or deliver them over to the hands of their debtor, to be shot as traitors or conspirators.



LETTER II


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - I am told that it was the want of pecuniary resources that made Bonaparte so ill-tempered on his last levee day. He would not have come here at all, but preceded his army to Strasburg, had his Minister of Finances, Gaudin, and his Minister of the Public Treasury, Marbois, been able to procure forty-four millions of livres - to pay a part of the arrears of the troops ; and for the speedy conveyance of ammunition and artillery towards the Rhine.

Immediately after his arrival here, Bonaparte sent for the directors of the Bank of France, informing them that within twenty-four hours they must advance him thirty-six millions of livres - upon the revenue of the last quarter of 1808. The president of the bank, Senator Garrat, demanded two hours to lay before the Emperor the situation of the bank, that His Majesty might judge what sum it was possible to spare without ruining the credit of an establishment hitherto so useful to the commerce of the Empire. To this Bonaparte replied that he was not ignorant of the resources, or of the credit of the bank, any more than of its public utility ; but that the affairs of State suffered from every hour's delay, and that, therefore, he insisted upon having the sum demanded even within two hours, partly in paper and partly in cash ; and were they to show any more opposition, he would order the bank and all its effects to be seized that moment. The directors bowed and returned to the bank; whither they were followed by four waggons escorted by hussars, and belonging to the financial department of the army of England. In these were placed eight millions of livres in cash; and twenty-eight millions in bank-notes were delivered to M. Lefevre, the Secretary-General of Marbois, who presented, in exchange, Bonaparte's bond and security for the amount, bearing an interest of five per cent. yearly.

When this money transaction was known to the public, the alarm became general, and long before the hour the bank usually opens the adjoining streets were crowded with persons desiring to exchange their notes for cash. During the night the directors had taken care to pay themselves for the banknotes in their own possession with silver or gold, and, as they expected a run, they ordered all persons to be paid in copper coin, as long as any money of this metal remained. It required a long time to count those halfpennies and centimes (five of which make a sou, or halfpenny), but the people were not tired with waiting until towards three o'clock in the afternoon, when the bank is shut up. They then became so clamorous that a company of gendarmes was placed for protection at the entrance of the bank; but, as the tumult increased, the street was surrounded by the police guards, and above six hundred individuals, many of them women, were carried, under an escort, to different police commissaries, and to the prefecture of the police. There most of them, after being examined, were reprimanded and released. The same night, the police spies reported in the coffee-houses of the Palais Royal, and on the Boulevards, that this run on the bank was encouraged, and paid for, by English emissaries, some of whom were already taken, and would be executed on the next day. In the morning, however, the streets adjoining the bank were still more crowded, and the crowd still more tumultuous, because payment was refused for all notes but those of five hundred livres. The activity of the police agents, supported by the gendarmes and police soldiers, again restored order, after several hundred persons had been again taken up for their mutinous conduct. Of these many were, on the same evening, loaded with chains, and, placed in carts under military escort, paraded about near the bank and the Palais Royal; the police having, as a measure of safety, under suspicion that they were influenced by British gold, condemned them to be transported to Cayenne ; and the carts set out on the same night for Rochefort, the place of their embarkation.

On the following day, not an individual approached the bank, but all trade and all payments were at a stand; nobody would sell but for ready money, and nobody who had bank-notes would part with cash. Some Jews and money-brokers in the Palais Royal offered cash for these bills, at a discount of from ten to twenty per cent. But these usurers were, in their turn, taken up and transported, as agents of Pitt. An interview was then demanded by the directors and principal bankers with the Ministers of Finance and of the Public Treasury. In this conference it was settled that, as soon as the two millions of dollars on their way from Spain had arrived at Paris, the bank should reassume its payments. These dollars Government would lend the bank for three months, and take in return its notes, but the bank was, nevertheless, to pay an interest of six per cent. during that period. All the bankers agreed not to press unnecessarily for any exchange of bills into cash, and to keep up the credit of the bank even by the individual credit of their own houses.

You know, I suppose, that the Bank of France has never issued but two sorts of notes ; those of one thousand livres - and those of five hundred livres. At the day of its stoppage, sixty millions of livres - of the former, and fifteen millions of livres - of the latter, were in circulation ; and I have heard a banker assert that the bank had not then six millions of livres - in money and bullion, to satisfy the claims of its creditors, or to honour its bills.

The shock given to the credit of the bank by this last requisition of Bonaparte will be felt for a long time, and will with difficulty ever be repaired under his despotic government. Even now, when the bank pays in cash, our merchants make a difference from five to ten per cent between purchasing for specie or paying in bank-notes ; and this mistrust will not be lessened hereafter. You may, perhaps, object that, as long as the bank pays, it is absurd for any one possessing its bills to pay dearer than with cash, which might so easily be obtained. This objection would stand with regard to your, or any other free country, but here, where no payments are made in gold, but always in silver or copper, it requires a cart to carry away forty, thirty, or twenty thousand livres, in coin of these metals, and would immediately excite suspicion that a bearer of these bills was an emissary of our enemies, or an enemy of our Government. With us, unfortunately, suspicion is the same as conviction, and chastisement follows it as its shadow.

A manufacturer of the name of Debrais, established in the Rue St. Martin, where he had for years carried on business in the woollen line, went to the bank two days after it had begun to pay. He demanded, and obtained, exchange for twenty-four thousand livres - in notes, necessary for him to pay what was due by him to his workmen. The same afternoon six of our custom-house officers, accompanied by police agents and gendarmes, paid him a domiciliary visit under pretence of searching for English goods. Several bales were seized as being of that description, and Debrais was carried a prisoner to La Force. On being examined by Fouche, he offered to prove, by the very men who had fabricated the suspected goods, that they were not English. The Minister silenced him by saying that Government had not only evidence of the contrary, but was convinced that he was employed as an English agent to hurt the credit of the bank, and therefore, if he did not give up his accomplices or employers, had condemned him to transportation. In vain did his wife and daughters petition to Madame Bonaparte; Debrais is now at Rochefort, if not already embarked for our colonies.

When he was arrested, a seal, as usual, was put on his house, from which his wife and family were turned out, until the police should have time to take an inventory of his effects, and had decided on his fate. When Madame Debrais, after much trouble and many pecuniary sacrifices, at last obtained permission to have the seals removed, and reenter her house, she found that all her plate and more than half her goods and furniture had been stolen and carried away. Upon her complaint of this theft she was thrown into prison for not being able to support her complaint with proofs, and for attempting to vilify the characters of the agents of our Government. She is still in prison, but her daughters are by her orders disposing of the remainder of their parents' property, and intend to join their father as soon as their mother has recovered her liberty.

The same tyranny that supports the credit of our bank also keeps up the price of our stocks. Any of our great stockholders who sell out to any large amount, if they are unable to account for, or unwilling to declare the manner in which they intend to employ, their money, are immediately arrested, sometimes transported to the colonies, but more frequently exiled into the country, to remain under the inspection of some police agent, and are not allowed to return here without the previous permission of our Government. Those of them who are upstarts, and have made their fortune since the Revolution by plunder or as contractors, are still more severely treated, and are often obliged to renounce part of their ill-gotten wealth to save the remainder, or to preserve their liberty or lives. A revisal of their former accounts, or an inspection of their past transactions, is a certain and efficacious threat to keep them in silent submission, as they all well understand the meaning of them.

Even foreigners, whom our numerous national bankruptcies have not yet disheartened, are subject to these measures of rigour or vigour requisite to preserve our public credit. In the autumn of last year a Dutchman of the name of Van der Winkle sold out by his agent for three millions of livres - in our stock on one day, for which he bought up bills upon Hamburg and London. He lodged in the Hotel des Quatre Nations, Rue Grenelle, where the landlord, who is a patriot, introduced some police agents into his apartments during his absence. These broke open all his trunks, drawers, and even his writing-desk, and when he entered, seized his person, and carried him to the Temple. By his correspondence it was discovered that all this money was to be brought over to England; a reason more than sufficient to incur the suspicion of our Government. Van der Winkle spoke very little French, and he continued, therefore, in confinement three weeks before he was examined, as our secret police had not at Paris any of its agents who spoke Dutch. Carried before Fouche, he avowed that the money was destined for England, there to pay for some plantations which he desired to purchase in Surinam and Barbice. His interpreter advised him, by the orders of Fouchd, to alter his mind, and, as he was fond of colonial property, lay out his money in plantations at Cayenne, which was in the vicinity of Surinam, and where Government would recommend him advantageous purchases. It was hinted to him, also, that this was a particular favour, and a proof of the generosity of our Government, as his papers contained many matters that might easily be construed to be of a treasonable nature. After consulting with Schimmelpenninck, the Ambassador of his country, he wrote for his wife and children, and was seen safe with them to Bordeaux by our police agents, who had hired an American vessel to carry them all to Cayenne. This certainly is a new method to populate our colonies with capitalists.



LETTER III


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Hanover has been a mine of gold to our Government, to its generals, to its commissaries, and to its favourites. According to the boasts of Talleyrand, and the avowal of Berthier, we have drawn from it within two years more wealth than has been paid in contributions to the Electors of Hanover for this century past, and more than half a century of peace can restore to that unfortunate country. It is reported here that each person employed in a situation to make his fortune in the Continental States of the King of England (a name given here to Hanover in courtesy to Bonaparte) was laid under contribution, and expected to make certain douceurs to Madame Bonaparte; and it is said that she has received from Mortier three hundred thousand livres, and from Bernadotte two hundred and fifty thousand livres, besides other large sums from our military commissaries, treasurers, and other agents in the Electorate.

General Mortier is one of the few favourite officers of Bonaparte who have distinguished themselves under his rivals, Pichegru and Moreau, without ever serving under him. Edward Adolph Casimer Mortier is the son of a shopkeeper, and was born at Cambray in 1768. He was a shopman with his father until 1791, when he obtained a commission, first as a lieutenant of carabiniers, and afterwards as captain of the first battalion of volunteers of the Department of the North. His first sight of an enemy was on the 30th of April, 1792, near Quievrain, where he had a horse killed under him. He was present in the battles of Jemappes, of Nerwinde, and of Pellenberg. At the battle of Houdscoote he distinguished himself so much as to be promoted to an adjutant general. He was wounded at the battle of Fleures, and again at the passage of the Rhine, in 1795, under General Moreau. During 1796 and 1797 he continued to serve in Germany, but in 1798 and 1799 he headed a division in Switzerland from which Bonaparte recalled him in 1800, to command the troops in the capital and its environs. His address to Bonaparte, announcing the votes of the troops under him respecting the consulate for life and the elevation to the Imperial throne, contain such mean and abject flattery that, for a true soldier, it must have required more self-command and more courage to pronounce them than to brave the fire of a hundred cannons ; but these very addresses, contemptible as their contents are, procured him the Field-marshal's staff. Mortier well knew his man, and that his cringing in antechambers would be better rewarded than his services in the field. I was not present when Mortier spoke so shamefully, but I have heard from persons who witnessed this farce, that he had his eyes fixed on the ground the whole time, as if to say, " I grant that I speak as a despicable being, and I grant that I am so; but what shall I do, tormented as I am by ambition to figure among the great, and to riot among the wealthy ? Have compassion on my weakness, or, if you have not, I will console myself with the idea that my meanness is only of the duration of half an hour, while its recompense-my rank-will be permanent. "

Mortier married, in 1799, the daughter of the landlord of the Belle Sauvage inn at Coblentz, who was pregnant by him, or by some other guest of her father. She is pretty, but not handsome, and she takes advantage of her husband's complaisance to console herself both for his absence and infidelities. When she was delivered of her last child, Mortier positively declared that he had not slept with her for twelve months, and the babe has, indeed, less resemblance to him than to his valet de chambre. The child was baptised with great splendour; the Emperor and the Empress were the sponsors, and it was christened by Cardinal Fesch. Bonaparte presented Madame Mortier on this occasion with a diamond necklace valued at one hundred and fifty thousand livres.

During his different campaigns, and particularly during his glorious campaign in Hanover, he has collected property to the amount of seven millions of livres, laid out in estates and lands. He is considered by other generals as a brave captain, but an indifferent chief ; and among our fashionables and our courtiers he is held up as a model of connubial fidelity - satisfying himself with keeping three mistresses only.

There was no truth in the report that his recall from Hanover was in consequence of any disgrace ; on the contrary, it was a new proof of Bonaparte's confidence and attachment. He was recalled to take the command of the artillery of Bonaparte's, household troops the moment Pichegru, George, and Moreau were arrested, and when the Imperial tide had been resolved on. More resistance against this innovation was at that time expected than experienced.

Bernadotte, who succeeded Mortier in the command of our army in Hanover, is a man of a different stamp. His father was a chair-man, and he was born at Paris in 1763. In 1779 he enlisted in the regiment called La Vieille Harine, where the Revolution found him a sergeant. This regiment was then quartered at Toulon, and the emissaries of anarchy and licentiousness engaged him as one of their agents. His activity soon destroyed all discipline, and the troops, instead of attending to their military duty, followed him to the debates and discussions of the Jacobin clubs. Being arrested and ordered to be tried for his mutinous, scandalous behaviour, an insurrection liberated him, and forced his accusers to save their lives by flight. In April, 1790, he headed the banditti who murdered the Governor of the Fort St. Jean at Marseilles, and who afterwards occasioned the Civil War in Comtat Venaissin, where he served under Jourdan, known by the name of Coup-tell, or cut-throat, who made him a colonel and his aide-de-camp. In 1794, he was employed, as a general of brigade, in the army of the Sambre and Meuse ; and during the campaigns of 1795 and 1796, he served under another Jourdan, the general, without much distinction, - except that he was accused by him of being the cause of all the disasters of the last campaign, by the complete rout he suffered near Neumark on the 23d of August, 1796. His division was ordered to Italy in 1797, where, against the laws of nations, he arrested M. d' Antraigues, who was attached to the Russian legation. When the Russian Ambassador tried to dissuade him from committing this injustice, and this violation of the rights of privileged persons, he replied : " There is no question here of any other right or justice than the right and justice of power, and I am here the strongest. M. d'Antraigues is our enemy ; were he victorious, he would cause us all to be shot. I repeat, I am here the strongest, 'et nous verrons'. "

After the Peace of Campo Formio, Bernadotte was sent as an Ambassador to the Court of Vienna, accompanied by a numerous escort of Jacobin propagators. Having procured the liberty of Austrian patriots, whose lives, forfeit to the law, the lenity of the Cabinet of Vienna had spared, he thought that he might attempt anything ; and, therefore, on the anniversary day of the fete for the levy en masse of the inhabitants of the capital, he insulted the feelings of the loyal, and excited the discontented to rebellion, by placing over the door and in the windows of his house the tri-coloured flag. This outrage the Emperor was unable to prevent his subjects from resenting. Bernadotte's house was invaded, his furniture broken to pieces, and he was forced to save himself at the house of the Spanish Ambassador. As a satisfaction for this attack, provoked by his own insolence, he demanded the immediate dismissal of the Austrian Minister, Baron Thugut, and threatened, in case of refusal, to leave Vienna, which he did on the next day. So disgraceful was his conduct regarded, even by the Directory, that this event made but little impression, and no alteration in the continuance of their intercourse with the Austrian Government.

In 1799, he was for some weeks a Minister of the war department, from which his incapacity caused him to be dismissed. When Bonaparte intended to seize the reins of State, he consulted Bernadotte, who spoke as an implacable Jacobin until a douceur of three hundred thousand livres - calmed him a little, and convinced him that the Jacobins were not infallible or their government the best of all possible governments. In 1801, he was made the commander-in-chief in the Western Department, where he exercised the greatest barbarities against the inhabitants, whom he accused of being still chouans and royalists.

With Augereau and Massena, Bernadotte is a merciless plunderer. In the summer, 1796, he summoned the magistrates of the free and neutral city of Nuremberg to bring him, under pain of military execution, within twenty-four hours, two millions of livres. With much difficulty this sum was collected. The day after he had received it, he insisted upon another sum to the same amount within another twenty-four hours, menacing in case of disobedience to give the city up to a general pillage by his troops. Fortunately, a column of Austrians advanced and delivered them from the execution of his threats. The troops under him were, both in Italy and in Germany, the terror of the inhabitants, and when defeated were, from their pillage and murder, hunted like wild beasts. Bernadotte has by these means within ten years become master of a fortune of ten millions of livres.

Many have considered Bernadotte a revolutionary fanatic, but they are in the wrong. Money engaged him in the cause of the Revolution, where the first crimes he had perpetrated fixed him. The many massacres under Jourdan the cut-throat, committed by him in the Court at Venaissin, no doubt display a most sanguinary character. A lady, however, in whose house in La Vendee he was quartered six months, has assured me that, to judge from his conversation, he is not naturally cruel, but that his imagination is continually tormented with the fear of gibbets which he knows that his crimes have merited, and that, therefore, when he stabs others, he thinks it commanded by the necessity of preventing others from stabbing him. Were he sure of impunity, he would, perhaps, show humanity as well as justice. Bernadotte is not, only a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, but a knight of the Royal Prussian Order of the Black Eagle.



LETTER IV


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Bonaparte has taken advantage of the remark of Voltaire, in his " Life of Louis XIV, " that this Prince owed much of his celebrity to the well - distributed pensions among men of letters in France and in foreign countries. According to a list shown me by Fontanes, the president of the legislative corps and a director of literary pensions, even in your country and in Ireland he has nine literary pensioners. Though the names of your principal authors and men of letters are not unknown to me, I have never read nor heard of any of those I saw in the list, except two or three as editors of some newspapers, magazines, or trifling and scurrilous party pamphlets. I made this observation to Fontanes, who replied that these men, though obscure, had, during the last peace, been very useful, and would be still more so after another pacification ; and that Bonaparte must be satisfied with these until he could gain over men of greater talents. He granted also that men of true genius and literary eminence were, in England, more careful of the dignity of their character than those of Germany and Italy, and more difficult to be bought over. He added that, as soon as the war ceased, he should cross the Channel on a literary mission, from which he hoped to derive more success than from that which was undertaken three years ago by Fievee.

To these men of letters, who are themselves, with their writings, devoted to Bonaparte, he certainly is very liberal. Some he has made tribunes, prefects, or legislators; others he has appointed his Ministers in foreign countries, and on those to whom he has not yet been able to given places, he bestows much greater pensions than any former Sovereign of this country allowed to a Corneille, a Racine, a Boileau, a Voltaire, a De Crebillon, a D' Alembert, a Marmontel, and other heroes of our literature and honours to our nation. This liberality is often carried too far, and thrown away upon worthless subjects, whose very flattery displays absence of taste and genius, as well as of modesty and shame. To a fellow of the name of Dagee, who sang the coronation of Napoleon the First in two hundred of the most disgusting and ill-digested lines that ever were written, containing neither metre nor sense, was assigned a place in the administration of the forest department, worth twelve thousand livres in the year - besides a present, in ready money, of one hundred napoleons d'or. Another poetaster, Barre, who has served and sung the chiefs of all former factions, received, for an ode of forty lines on Bonaparte's birthday, an office at Milan, worth twenty thousand livres in the year - and one hundred napoleons d'or for his travelling expenses.

The sums of money distributed yearly by Bonaparte's agents for dedications to him by French and foreign authors, are still greater than those fixed for regular literary pensions. Instead of discouraging these foolish and impertinent contributions, which genius, ingenuity, necessity, or intrusion, lay on his vanity, he rather encourages them. His name is, therefore, found in more dedications published within these last five years than those of all other Sovereign Princes in Europe taken together for the last century. In a man whose name, unfortunately for humanity, must always live in history, it is a childish and unpardonable weakness to pay so profusely for the short and uncertain immortality which some dull or obscure scribbler or poetaster confers on him.

During the last Christmas holidays I dined at Madame Remisatu's, in company with Duroc. The question turned upon literary productions and the comparative merit of the compositions of modern French and foreign authors. " As to the merits or the quality, " said Duroc, " I will not take upon me to judge, as I profess myself totally incompetent; but as to their size and quantity I have tolerably good information, and it will not, therefore, be very improper in me to deliver my opinion. I am convinced that the German and Italian authors are more numerous than those of my own country, for the following reasons : I suppose, from what I have witnessed and experienced for some years past, that of every book or publication printed in France, Italy, and Germany, each tenth is dedicated to the Emperor. Now, since last Christmas ninety-six German and seventy-one Italian authors have inscribed their works to His Majesty, and been rewarded for it; while during the same period only sixty-six Frenchmen have presented their offerings to their Sovereign. " For my part I think Duroc's conclusion tolerably just.

Among all the numerous hordes of authors who have been paid, recompensed, or encouraged by Bonaparte, none have experienced his munificence more than the Italian Spanicetti and the German Ritterstein. The former presented him a genealogical table in which he proved that the Bonaparte family, before their emigration from Tuscany to Corsica, four hundred years ago, were allied to the most ancient Tuscany families, even to that of the House of Medicis ; and as this house has given two queens to the Bourbons when Sovereigns of France, the Bonapartes are, therefore, relatives of the Bourbons ; and the sceptre of the French Empire is still in the same family, though in a more worthy branch. Spanicetti received one thousand louis - in gold, a pension of six thousand livres - for life, and the place of a chef du bureau in the ministry of the home department of the Kingdom of Italy, producing eighteen thousand livres yearly.

Ritterstein, a Bavarian genealogist, proved the pedigree of the Bonapartes as far back as the first crusades, and that the name of the friend of Richard Coeur de Lion was not Blondel, but Bonaparte ; that he exchanged the latter for the former only to marry into the Plantagenet family, the last branch of which has since been extinguished by its intermarriage and incorporation with the House of Stuart, and that, therefore, Napoleon Bonaparte is not only related to most Sovereign Princes of Europe, but has more right to the throne of Great Britain than George the Third, being descended from the male branch of the Stuarts; while this Prince is only descended from the female branch of the same royal house. Ritterstein was presented with a snuff-box with Bonaparte's portrait set with diamonds, valued at twelve thousand livres, and received twenty-four thousand livres ready money, together with a pension of nine thousand livres - in the year, until he could be better provided for. He was, besides, nominated a Knight of the Legion of Honour. It cannot be denied but that Bonaparte rewards like a real Emperor.

But artists as well as authors obtain from him the same encouragement, and experience the same liberality. In our different museums we, therefore, already, see and admire upwards of two hundred pictures, representing the different actions, scenes, and achievements of Bonaparte's public life. It is true they are not all highly finished or well composed or delineated, but they all strike the spectators more or less with surprise or admiration ; and it is with us, as, I suppose, with you, and everywhere else, the multitude decide : for one competent judge or real connoisseur, hundreds pass, who stare, gape, are charmed, and inspire thousands of their acquaintance, friends, and neighbours with their own satisfaction. Believe me, Napoleon the First well knows the age, his contemporaries, and, I fear, even posterity.

That statuaries and sculptors consider him also as a generous patron, the numerous productions of their chisels in France, Italy, and Germany, having him for their object, seem to evince. Ten sculptors have already represented his passage over the Mount St. Bernard, eighteen his passage over Pont de Lodi, and twenty-two that over Pont d' Arcole. At Rome, Milan, Turin, Lyons, and Paris are statues of him representing his natural size; and our ten thousand municipalities have each one of his busts ; without mentioning the thousands of busts all over Europe, not excepting even your own country. When Bonaparte sees under the windows of the Tuileries the statue of Caesar placed in the garden of that palace, he cannot help saying to himself: " Marble lives longer than man. " Have you any doubt that his ambition and vanity extend beyond the grave ?

The only artist I ever heard of who was disappointed and unrewarded for his labour in attempting to eternize the memory of Napoleon Bonaparte, was a German of the name of Schumacher. It is, indeed, allowed that he was more industrious, able, and well-meaning than ingenious or considerate. He did not consider that it would be no compliment to give the immortal hero a hint of being a mortal man. Schumacher had employed near three years in planning and executing in marble the prettiest model of a sepulchral monument I have ever seen, read or heard of. He had inscribed it: " The Future Tomb of Bonaparte the Great. " Under the patronage of Count von Beast, he arrived here; and I saw the model in the house of this Minister of the German Elector Arch-Chancellor, where also many French artists went to inspect it. Count von Beast asked De Segur, the grand master of the ceremonies, to request the Emperor to grant Schumacher the honour of showing him his performance. De Segur advised him to address himself to Duroc, who referred him to Devon, who, after looking at it, could not help paying a just tribute to the execution and to the talents of the artist, though he disapproved of the subject, and declined mentioning it to the Emperor. After three months' attendance in this capital, and all petitions and memorials to our great folks remaining unanswered, Schumacher obtained an audience of Fouche, in which he asked permission to exhibit his model of Bonaparte's tomb to the public for money, so as to be enabled to return to his country.

" Where is it now ? " asked Fouche.

" At the Minister's of the Elector Arch-Chancellor, " answered the artist.

" But where do you intend to show it for money ? " continued Fouche.

" In the Palais Royal. "

" Well, bring it there, " replied Fouche.

The same evening that it was brought there, Schumacher was arrested by a police commissary, his model packed up, and, with himself, put under the care of two gendarmes, who carried them both to the other side of the Rhine. Here the Elector of Baden gave him some money to return to his home, near Aschaffenburg, where he has since exposed for money the model of a grand tomb for a little man. I have just heard that one of your countrymen has purchased it for one hundred and fifty louis d'or.



LETTER V


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Those who only are informed of the pageantry of our Court, of the expenses of our courtiers, of the profusion of our Emperor, and of the immense wealth of his family and favourites, may easily be led to believe that France is one of the happiest and moat prosperous countries in Europe. But for those who walk in our streets, who visit our hospitals, who count the number of beggars and of suicides, of orphans and of criminals, of prisoners and of executioners, it is a painful necessity to reverse the picture, and to avow that nowhere, comparatively, can there be found so much collective misery. And it is not here, as in other States, that these unfortunate, reduced, or guilty are persons of the lowest classes of society; on the contrary, many, and, I fear, the far greater part, appertain to the ci-devant privileged classes, descended from ancestors noble, respectable, and wealthy, but who by the Revolution have been degraded to misery or infamy, and perhaps to both.

When you stop but for a moment in our streets to look at something exposed for sale in a shop-window, or for any other cause of curiosity or want, persons of both sexes, decently dressed, approach you, and whisper to you : " Monsieur, bestow your charity on the Marquis, or Marquise - on the Baron or Baroness, such a one, ruined by the Revolution ; " and you sometimes hear names on which history has shed so brilliant a lustre that, while you contemplate the deplorable reverses of human greatness, you are not a little surprised to find that it is in your power to relieve with a trifle the wants of the grandson of an illustrious warrior, before whom nations trembled, or of the granddaughter of that eminent statesman who often had in his hands the destiny of Empires. Some few solitary walks, incognito, by Bonaparte, in the streets of his capital, would perhaps be the best preservative against unbounded ambition and confident success that philosophy could present to unfeeling tyranny.

Some author has written that " want is the parent of industry, and wretchedness the mother of ingenuity. " I know that you have often approved and rewarded the ingenious productions of my emigrated countrymen in England ; but here their labours and their endeavours are disregarded; and if they cannot or will not produce anything to flatter the pride or appetite of the powerful or rich upstarts, they have no other choice left but beggary or crime, meanness or suicide. How many have I heard repent of ever returning to a country where they have no expectation of justice in their claims, no hope of relief in their necessities, where death by hunger, or by their own hands, is the final prospect of all their sufferings. Many of our ballad-singers are disguised emigrants ; and I know a ci-devant Marquis who is, incognito, a groom to a contractor, the son of his uncle's porter. Our old pedlars complain that their trade is ruined by the Counts, by the Barons and Chevaliers who have monopolized all their business. Those who pretend to more dignity, but who have in fact less honesty, are employed in our billiard and gambling-houses. I have seen two music-grinders, one of whom was formerly a captain of infantry, and the other a Counsellor of Parliament. Every day you may bestow your penny or halfpenny on two veiled girls playing on the guitar or harp - the one the daughter of a ci-devant Duke, and the other of a ci-devant Marquis, a general under Louis XVI. They, are usually placed, the one on the Boulevards, and the other in the Elysian Fields ; each with an old woman by her side, holding a begging-box in her hand. I am told one of the women has been the nurse of one of those ladies. What a recollection, if she thinks of the past, in contemplating the present !

On the day of Bonaparte's coronation, and a little before he set out with his Pope and other splendid retinue, an old man was walking slowly on the Quai de Voltaire, without saying a word, but a label was pinned to his hat with this inscription: " I had sixty thousand livres rent - I am eighty years of age, and I request alms. " Many individuals, even some of Bonaparte's soldiers, gave him their mite ; but as soon as he was observed he was seized by the police agents, and has not since been heard of. I am told his name is De la Roche, a ci-devant Chevalier de St. Louis, whose property was sold in 1793 as belonging to an emigrant, though at the time he was shut up here as a prisoner, suspected of aristocracy. He has since for some years been a water-carrier ; but his strength failing, he supported himself lately entirely by begging. The value of the dress of one of Bonaparte's running footmen might have been sufficient to relieve him for the probably short remainder of his days. But it is more easy and agreeable in this country to bury undeserved want in dungeons than to renounce unnecessary and useless show to relieve it. In the evening the remembrance of these sixty thousand livres of the poor Chevalier deprived me of all pleasure in beholding the sixty thousand lamps decorating and illuminating Bonaparte's palace of the Tuileries.

Some of the emigrants, whose strength of body age has not impaired, or whose vigour of mind misfortunes have not depressed, are now serving as officers or soldiers under the Emperor of the French, after having for years fought in vain for the cause of a King of France in the brave army of Conde. Several are even doing duty in Bonaparte's household troops, where I know one who is a captain, and who, for distinguishing himself in combating the republicans, received the Order of St. Louis, but is now made a knight of Napoleon's Republican Order, the Legion of Honour, for bowing gracefully to Her Imperial Majesty the Empress. As he is a man of real honour, this favour is not quite in its place ; but I am convinced that should one day an opportunity present itself, he will not miss it, but prove that he has never been misplaced. Another emigrant who, after being a page to the Duc d'Angouleme, made four campaigns as an officer of the Uhlans in the service of the Emperor of Germany, and was rewarded with the Military Order of Maria Theresa, is now a knight of the Legion of Honour, and an officer of the Mamelukes of the Emperor of the French. Four more emigrants have engaged themselves in the same corps as common Mamelukes, after being for seven years volunteers in the legion of Mirabeau, under the Prince de Conde. It were to be wished that the whole of this favourite corps were composed of returned emigrants. I am sure they would never betray the confidence of Napoleon, but they would also never swear allegiance to another Bonaparte.

While the humbled remnants of one sex of the ci-devant privileged classes are thus or worse employed, many persons of the other sex have preferred domestic servitude to courtly splendour, and are chambermaids or governesses, when they might have been Maids of Honour or ladies-in- waiting. Mademoiselle de R…, daughter of Marquis de R…, was offered a place as a Maid of Honour to Princesse Murat, which she declined, but accepted at the same time the offer of being a companion of the rich Madame Moulin, whose husband is a ci-devant valet of Comte de Brienne. Her father and brother suffered for this choice and preference, which highly offended Bonaparte, who ordered them both to be transported to Guadeloupe, under pretence that the latter had said in a coffee-house that his sister would rather have been the housemaid of the wife of a ci-devant valet, than the friend of the wife of a ci-devant assassin and Septembrizer. It was only by a valuable present to Madame Bonaparte from Madame Moulin, that Mademoiselle de B… was not included in the act of proscription against her father and brother.

I am sorry to say that returned emigrants have also been arrested for frauds and debts, and even tried and convicted of crimes. But they are proportionally few, compared with those who, without support, and perhaps without hope, and from want of resignation and submission to the will of Providence, have, in despair, had recourse to the pistol or dagger, or in the River Seine buried their remembrance both of what they have been and of what they were. The suicides of the vicious capital are reckoned upon an average to amount to one hundred in the month; and for these last three years, one-tenth, at least, have been emigrants of both sexes !



LETTER VI


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Nobody here, except his courtiers, denies that Bonaparte is vain, cruel, and ambitious ; but as to his private, personal, or domestic vices, opinions are various, and even opposite. Most persons, who have long known him, assert that women are his aversion ; and many anecdotes have been told of his unnatural and horrid propensities. On the other hand, his seeming attachment to his wife is contradictory to these rumours, which certainly are exaggerated. It is true, indeed, that it was to oblige Barras, and to obtain her fortune, that he accepted of her hand ten years ago ; though insinuating, she was far from being handsome, and had long passed the period of inspiring love by her charms. Her husband's conduct towards her may, therefore, be construed, perhaps, into a proof of indifference towards the whole sex as much as into an evidence of his affection towards her. As he knew who she was when he received her from the chaste arms of Barras, and is not unacquainted with her subsequent intrigues particularly during his stay in Egypt - policy may influence a behaviour which has some resemblance to esteem. He may choose to live with her, but it is impossible he can love her.

A lady, very intimate with Princesse Louis Bonaparte, has assured me that, had it not been for Napoleon's singular inclination for his youthful stepdaughter, he would have divorced his wife the first year of his consulate, and that indirect proposals on that subject had already been made her by Talleyrand. It was then reported that Bonaparte had his eyes fixed upon a Russian Princess, and that from the friendship which the late Emperor Paul professed for him, no obstacles to the match were expected to be encountered at St. Petersburg. The untimely end of this Prince, and the supplications of his wife and daughter, have since altered his intent, and Madame Napoleon and her children are now, if I may use the expression, incorporated and naturalized with the Bonaparte family.

But what has lately occurred here will better serve to show that Bonaparte is neither averse nor indifferent to the sex. You read last summer in the public prints of the then Minister of the Interior (Chaptal) being made a Senator ; and that he was succeeded by our Ambassador at Vienna Champagny. This promotion was the consequence of a disgrace, occasioned by his jealousy of his mistress, a popular actress, Mademoiselle George, one of the handsomest women of this capital. He was informed by his spies that this lady frequently, in the dusk of the evening, or when she thought him employed in his office, went to the house of a famous milliner in the Rue St. Honore, where, through a door in an adjoining passage, a person, who carefully avoided showing his face, always entered immediately before or after her, and remained as long as she continued there. The house was then by his orders beset with spies, who were to inform him the next time she went to the milliner. To be near at hand, he had hired an apartment in the neighbourhood, where the very next day her visit to the milliner's was announced to him. While his secretary, with four other persons, entered the milliner's house through the street door, Chaptal, with four of his spies, forced the door of the passage open, which was no sooner done than the disguised gallant was found, and threatened in the most rude manner by the Minister and his companions. He would have been still worse used had not the unexpected appearance of Duroc and a whisper to Chaptal put a stop to the fury of this enraged lover. The incognito is said to have been Bonaparte himself, who, the same evening, deprived Chaptal of his ministerial portfolio, and would have sent him to Cayenne, instead of to the Senate, had not Duroc dissuaded his Sovereign from giving an eclat to an affair which it, would be best to bury in oblivion.

Chaptal has never from that day approached Mademoiselle George, and, according to report, Napoleon has also renounced this conquest in favour of Duroc, who is at least her nominal gallant. The quantity of jewels with which she has recently been decorated, and displayed with so much ostentation in the new tragedy, 'The Templars', indicate, however, a Sovereign rather than a subject for a lover. And, indeed, she already treats the directors of the theatre, her comrades, and even the public, more as a real than a theatrical Princess. Without any cause whatever, but from a mere caprice to see the camp on the coast, she set out, without leave of absence, and without any previous notice, on the very day she was to play ; and this popular and interesting tragedy was put off for three weeks, until she chose to return to her duty.

When complaint was made to the prefects of the palace, now the governors of our theatres, Duroc said that the orders of the Emperor were that no notice should be taken of this 'etourderie', which should not occur again.

Chaptal was, before the Revolution, a bankrupt chemist at Montpellier, having ruined himself in search after the philosopher's stone. To persons in such circumstances, with great presumption, some talents, but no principles, the Revolution could not, with all its anarchy, confusion, and crime, but be a real blessing, as Chaptal called it in his first speech at the Jacobin Club. Wishing to mimic, at Montpellier, the taking of the Bastille at Paris, he, in May, 1790, seduced the lower classes and the suburbs to an insurrection, and to an attack on the citadel, which the governor, to avoid all effusion of blood, surrendered without resistance. He was denounced by the municipality to the National Assembly, for these and other plots and attempts, but Robespierre and other Jacobins defended him, and he escaped even imprisonment. During 1793 and 1794, he monopolized the contract for making and providing the armies with gunpowder ; a favour for which he paid Barrere, Carnot, and other members of the Committee of Public Safety, six millions of livres - but by which he pocketed thirty-six millions of livres - himself. He was, under the Directory, menaced with a prosecution for his pillage, but bought it off by a douceur to Rewbel, Barras, and Sieyes. In 1799, he advanced Bonaparte twelve millions of livres - to bribe adherents for the new Revolution he meditated, and was, in recompense, instead of interest, appointed first Counsellor of State ; and when Lucien Bonaparte, in September, 1800, was sent on an embassy to Spain, Chaptal succeeded him in the Ministry of the Interior. You may see by this short account that the chemist Chaptal has, in the Revolution, found the true philosophical stone. He now lives in great style, and has, besides three wives alive (from two of whom he has been divorced), five mistresses, with each a separate establishment. This Chaptal is regarded here as the most moral character that has figured in our Revolution, having yet neither committed a single murder nor headed any of our massacres.



LETTER VII


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - I have read a copy of a letter from Madrid, circulated among the members of our foreign diplomatic corps, which draws a most deplorable picture of the Court and Kingdom of Spain. Forced into an unprofitable and expensive war, famine ravaging some, and disease other provinces, experiencing from allies the treatment of tyrannical foes, disunion in his family and among his Ministers, His Spanish Majesty totters on a throne exposed to the combined attacks of internal disaffection and external plots, with no other support than the advice of a favourite, who is either a fool or a traitor, and perhaps both.

As the Spanish monarchy has been more humbled and reduced during the twelve years' administration of the Prince of Peace than during the whole period that it has been governed by Princes of the House of Bourbon, the heir of the throne, the young Prince of Asturias, has, with all the moderation consistent with duty, rank, and consanguinity, tried to remove an upstart, universally despised for his immorality as, well as for his incapacity ; and who, should he continue some years longer to rule in the name of Charles IV, will certainly involve his King and his country in one common ruin. Ignorant and presumptuous, even beyond upstarts in general, the Prince of Peace treats with insolence all persons raised above him by birth or talents, who refuse to be his accomplices or valets. Proud and certain of the protection of the Queen, and of the weakness of the King, the Spanish nobility is not only humbled, provoked, and wronged by him, but openly defied and insulted.

You know the nice principles of honour and loyalty that have always formerly distinguished the ancient families of Spain. Believe me that, notwithstanding what appearances indicate to the contrary, the Spanish grandee who ordered his house to be pulled down because the rebel constable had slept in it, has still many descendants, but loyal men always decline to use that violence to which rebels always resort. Soon after the marriage of the Prince of Asturias, in October, 1801, to his cousin, the amiable Maria Theresa, Princess Royal of Naples, the ancient Spanish families sent some deputies to Their Royal Highnesses, not for the purpose of intriguing, but to lay before them the situation of the kingdom, and to inform them of the real cause of all disasters. They were received as faithful subjects and true patriots, and Their Royal Highnesses promised every support in their power towards remedying the evil complained of, and preventing, if possible, the growth of others.

The Princess of Asturias is a worthy granddaughter of Maria Theresa of Austria, and seems to inherit her character as well as her virtues. She agreed with her royal consort that, after having gained the affection of the Queen by degrees, it would be advisable for her to insinuate some hints of the danger that threatened their country and the discontent that agitated the people. The Prince of Asturias was to act the same part with his father as the Princess did with his mother. As there is no one about the person of Their Spanish Majesties, from the highest lord to the lowest servant, who is not placed there by the favourite, and act as his spies, he was soon aware that he had no friend in the heir to the throne. His conversation with Their Majesties confirmed him in this supposition, and that some secret measures were going on to deprive him of the place he occupied, if not of the royal favour. All visitors to the Prince and Princess of Asturias were, therefore, watched by his emissaries; and all the letters or memorials sent to them by the post were opened, read, and; if contrary to his interest, destroyed, and their writers imprisoned in Spain or banished to the colonies. These measures of injustice created suspicion, disunion, and, perhaps, fear, among the members of the Asturian cabal, as it was called ; all farther pursuit, therefore, was deferred until more propitious times, and the Prince of Peace remained undisturbed and in perfect security until the rupture with your country last autumn.

It is to be lamented that, with all their valuable qualities and feelings of patriotism, the Prince and Princess of Asturias do not possess a little dissimulation and more knowledge of the world. The favourite tried by all means to gain their good opinion, but his advances met with that repulse they morally deserved, but which, from policy, should have been suspended or softened, with the hope of future accommodation.

Beurnonville, the Ambassador of our Court to the Court of Madrid, was here upon leave of absence when war was declared by Spain against your country, and his first secretary, Herman, acted as charge d'affaires. This Herman has been brought up in Talleyrand's office, and is both abler and more artful than Beurnonville ; he possesses also the full confidence of our Minister, who, in several secret and pecuniary transactions, has obtained many proofs of this secretary's fidelity as well as capacity. The views of the Cabinet of St. Cloud were, therefore, not lost sight of, nor its interest neglected at Madrid.

I suppose you have heard that the Prince of Peace, like all other ignorant and illiberal people, believes no one can be a good or clever man who is not also his countryman, and that all the ability and probity of the world is confined within the limits of Spain. On this principle he equally detests France and England, Germany and Russia, and is, therefore, not much liked by our Government, except for his imbecility, which makes him its tool and dupe. His disgrace would not be much regretted here, where we have it in our power to place or displace Ministers in certain States, whenever and as often as we like. On this occasion, however, we supported him, and helped to dissolve the cabal formed against him; and that for the following reasons :

By the assurances of Beurnonville, Bonaparte and Talleyrand had been led to believe that the Prince and Princess of Asturias were well affected to France, and to them personally ; and conceiving themselves much more certain of this than of the good disposition of the favourite, though they did not take a direct part against him, at the same time they did not disclose what they knew was determined on to remove him from the helm of affairs. During Beurnonville's absence, however, Herman had formed an intrigue with a Neapolitan girl, in the suite of Asturias, who, influenced by love or bribes, introduced him into the Cabinet where her mistress kept her correspondence with her royal parents. With a pick-lock key he opened all the drawers, and even the writing-desk, in which he is said to have discovered written evidence that, though the Princess was not prejudiced against France, she had but an indifferent opinion of the morality and honesty of our present Government and of our present governors. One of these original papers Herman appropriated to himself, and despatched to this capital by an extraordinary courier, whose despatches, more than the rupture with your country, forced Beurnonville away in a hurry from the agreeable society of gamesters and prostitutes, chiefly frequented by him in this capital.

It is not and cannot be known yet what was the exact plan of the Prince and Princess of Asturias and their adherents ; but a diplomatic gentleman, who has just arrived from Madrid, and who can have no reason to impose upon me, has informed me of the following particulars :

Their Royal Highnesses succeeded perfectly in their endeavours to gain the well-merited tenderness and approbation of their Sovereigns in everything else but when the favourite was mentioned with any slight, or when any insinuations were thrown out concerning the mischief arising from his tenacity of power, and incapacity of exercising it with advantage to the State. The Queen was especially irritated when such was the subject of conversation or of remark ; and she finally prohibited it under pain of her displeasure. A report even reached Their Royal Highnesses, that the Prince of Peace had demanded their separation and separate confinement. Nothing could, therefore, be effected to impede the progress of wickedness and calamity, but by some temporary measure of severity. In this disagreeable dilemma, it was resolved by the cabal to send the Queen to a convent, until her favourite had been arrested and imprisoned ; to declare the Prince of Asturias Regent during the King's illness (His Majesty then still suffered from several paralytic strokes), and to place men of talents and patriotism in the place of the creatures of the Prince of Peace. As soon as this revolution was organized, the Queen would have been restored to full liberty and to that respect due to her rank.

This plan had been communicated to our Ambassador, and approved of by our Government ; but when Herman in such an honest manner had inspected the confidential correspondence of the Princess of Asturias, Beurnonville was instructed by Talleyrand to, warn the favourite of the impending danger, and to advise him to be beforehand with his enemies. Instead of telling the truth, the Prince of Peace alarmed the King and Queen with the most absurd fabrications; and assured Their Majesties that their son and their daughter-in-law had determined not only to dethrone them, but to keep them prisoners for life, after they had been forced to witness his execution.

Indolence and weakness are often more fearful than guilt. Everything he said was at once believed ; the Prince and Princess were ordered under arrest in their own apartments, without permission to see or correspond with anybody; and so certain was the Prince of Peace of a complete and satisfactory revenge for the attempt against his tyranny, that a frigate at Cadiz was ready waiting to carry the Princess of Asturias back to Naples. All Spaniards who had the honour of their Sovereigns and of their country at heart lamented these rash proceedings ; but no one dared to take any measures to counteract them. At last, however, the Duke of Montemar, grand officer to the Prince of Asturias, demanded an audience of Their Majesties, in the presence of the favourite. He began by begging his Sovereign to recollect that for the place he occupied he was indebted to the Prince of Peace ; and he called upon him to declare whether he had ever had reason to suspect him either of ingratitude or disloyalty. Being answered in the negative, he said that, though his present situation and office near the heir to the throne was the pride and desire of his life, he would have thrown it up the instant that he had the least ground to suppose that this Prince ceased to be a dutiful son and subject ; but so far from this being the case, he had observed him in his most unguarded moments - in moments of conviviality had heard him speak of his royal parents with as much submission and respect as if he had been in their presence. " If, " continued he, " the Prince of Peace has said otherwise, he has misled his King and his Queen, being, no doubt, deceived himself. To overthrow a throne and to seize it cannot be done without accomplices, without arms, without money. Who are the conspirators hailing the Prince as their chief ? I have heard no name but that of the lovely Princess, his consort, the partaker of his sentiments as well as of his heart. And his arms ? They are in the hands of those guards his royal parent has given to augment the necessary splendour of his rank. And as to his money ? He has none but what is received from royal and paternal munificence and bounty. You, my Prince, " said he to the favourite (who seemed much offended at the impression the speech made on Their Majesties), " will one day thank me, if I am happy enough to dissuade dishonourable, impolitic, or unjust sentiments. Of the approbation of posterity I am certain - "

" If, " interrupted the favourite, " the Prince of Asturias and his consort will give up their bad counsellors, I hope Their Majesties will forget and forgive everything with myself. "

" Whether Their Royal Highnesses, " replied the Duke of Montemar, " have done anything that deserves forgiveness, or whether they have any counsellors, I do not know, and am incompetent to judge ; but I am much mistaken in the character of Their Royal Highnesses if they wish to purchase favour at the expense of confidence and honour. An order from His Majesty may immediately clear up this doubt. "

The Prince of Peace was then ordered to write, in the name of the King, to his children in the manner he proposed, and to command an answer by the messenger. In half an hour the messenger returned with a letter addressed to the favourite, containing only these lines :

" A King of Spain is well aware that a Prince and Princess of Asturias can have no answer to give to such proposals or to such questions. "

After six days' arrest, and after the Prince of Peace had in vain endeavoured to discover something to inculpate Their Royal Highnesses, they were invited to Court, and reconciled both to him and their royal parents.



LETTER VIII


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - I will add in this letter, to the communication of the gentlemen mentioned in my last, what I remember myself of the letter which was circulated among our diplomatists, concerning the intrigues at Madrid.

The Prince of Peace, before he listened to the advice of Duke of Montemar, had consulted Beurnonville, who dissuaded all violence, and as much as possible all noise. This accounts for the favourite's pretended moderation on this occasion. But though he was externally reconciled, and, as was reported at Madrid, had sworn his reconciliation even by taking the sacrament, all the undertakings of the Prince and Princess of Asturias were strictly observed and reported by the spies whom he had placed round Their Royal Highnesses. Vain of his success and victory, he even lost that respectful demeanour which a good, nay, a well-bred subject always shows to the heir to the throne, and the Princes related to his Sovereign. He sometimes behaved with a premeditated familiarity, and with an insolence provoking or defying resentment. It was on the days of great festivities, when the Court was most brilliant, and the courtiers most numerous, that he took occasion to be most arrogant to those whom he traitorously and audaciously dared to call his rivals. On the 9th of last December, at the celebration of the Queen's birthday, his conduct towards Their Royal Highnesses excited such general indignation that the remembrance of the occasion of the fete, and the presence of their Sovereigns, could not repress a murmur, which made the favourite tremble. A signal from the Prince of Asturias would then have been sufficient to have caused the insolent upstart to be seized and thrown out of the window. I am told that some of the Spanish grandees even laid their hands on their swords, fixing their eyes on the heir to the throne, as if to say : " Command, and your unworthy enemy shall exist no more. "

To prepare, perhaps, the royal and paternal mind for deeds which contemporaries always condemn, and posterity will always reprobate, the Prince of Peace procured a history to be written in his own way and manner, of Don Carlos, the unfortunate son of the barbarous and unnatural Philip II ; but the Queen's confessor, though, like all her other domestics, a tool of the favourite, threw it into the fire with reproof, saying that Spain did not remember in Philip II the grand and powerful Monarch, but abhorred in him the royal assassin ; adding that no laws, human or divine, no institutions, no supremacy whatever, could authorize a parent to stain his hands in the blood of his children. These anecdotes are sufficient both to elucidate the inveteracy of the favourite, the abject state of the heir to the throne, and the incomprehensible infatuation of the King and Queen.

Our Ambassador, in the meantime, dissembled always with the Prince and Princess of Asturias ; and even made them understand that he disapproved of those occurrences so disagreeable to them ; but he neither offered to put an end to them nor to be a mediator for a perfect reconciliation with their Sovereigns. He was guided by no other motive but to keep the favourite in subjection and alarm by preserving a correspondence with his rivals. That this was the case and the motive cannot be doubted from the financial intrigue he carried on in the beginning of last month.

Foreigners have but an imperfect or erroneous idea of the amount of the immense sums Spain has paid to our Government in loans, in contributions, in donations, and in subsidies. Since the reign of Bonaparte, or for these last five years, upwards of half the revenue of the Spanish monarchy has either been brought into our National Treasury or into the privy purse of the Bonaparte family. Without the aid of Spanish money, neither would our gunboats have been built, our fleets equipped, nor our armies paid. The dreadful situation of the Spanish finances is, therefore, not surprising - it is, indeed, still more surprising that a general bankruptcy has not already involved the Spanish nation in a general ruin.

When, on his return from Italy, the recall of the Russian negotiator and the preparations of Austria convinced Bonaparte of the probability of a Continental war, our troops on the coast had not been paid for two months, and his Imperial Ministers of Finances had no funds either to discharge the arrears or to provide for future payments until the beginning of the year 14, or the 22d instant. Beurnonville was, therefore, ordered to demand peremptorily from the Cabinet of Madrid forty millions of livres - in advance upon future subsidies. Half of that sum had, indeed, shortly before arrived at Cadiz from America, but much more was due by the Spanish Government to its own creditors, and promised them in payment of old debts. The Prince of Peace, in consequence, declared that, however much he wished to oblige the French Government, it was utterly impossible to procure, much less to advance such sums. Beurnonville then became more assiduous than ever about the Prince and Princess of Asturias ; and he had the impudence to assert that they had promised, if their friends were at the head of affairs, to satisfy the wishes and expectation of the Emperor of the French, by seizing the treasury at Cadiz, and paying the State creditors in vales deinero ; notes hitherto payable in cash, and never at a discount. The stupid favourite swallowed the palpable bait ; four millions in dollars were sent under an escort to this country, while the Spanish notes instantly fell to a discount at first of four and afterwards of six per cent, and probably will fall lower still, as no treasures are expected from America this autumn. It was with two millions of these dollars that the credit of the Bank of France was restored, or at least for some time enabled to resume its payments in specie. Thus wretched Spain pays abroad for the forging of those disgraceful fetters which oppress her at home ; and supports a foreign tyranny, which finally must produce domestic misery as well as slavery.

When the Prince and Princess of Asturias were informed of the scandalous and false assertion of Beurnonville, they and their adherents not only publicly, and in all societies, contradicted it, but affirmed that, rather than obtain authority or influence on such ruinous terms, they would have consented to remain discarded and neglected during their lives. They took the more care to have their sentiments known on this subject, as our Ambassador's calumny had hurt their popularity. It was then first that, to revenge the shame with which his duplicity had covered him, Beurnonville permitted and persuaded the Prince of Peace to begin the chastisement of Their Royal Highnesses in the persons of their favourites. Duke of Montemar, the grand officer to the Prince of Asturias ; Marquis of Villa Franca, the grand equerry to the Princess of Asturias ; Count of Miranda, chamberlain to the King ; and the Countess Dowager del Monte, with six other Court ladies and four other noblemen, were, therefore, exiled from Madrid into different provinces, and forbidden to reside in any place within twenty leagues of the residence of the royal family. According to the last letters and communications from Spain, the Prince and Princess of Asturias had not appeared at Court since the insult offered them in the disgrace of their friends, and were resolved not to appear in any place where they might be likely to meet with the favourite.

Among our best informed politicians here, it is expected that a revolution and a change of dynasty will be the issue of this our political embryo in Spain. Napoleon has more than once indirectly hinted that the Bonaparte dynasty will never be firm and fixed in France as long as any Bourbons reign in Spain or Italy. Should he prove victorious in the present Continental contest, another peace, and not the most advantageous, will again be signed with your country - a peace which, I fear, will leave him absolute master of all Continental States. His family arrangements are publicly avowed to be as follow : His third brother, Louis, and his sons, are to be the heirs of the French Empire. Joseph Bonaparte is, at the death or resignation of Napoleon, to succeed to the Kingdom of Italy, including Naples. Lucien, though at present in disgrace, is considered as the person destined to supplant the Bourbons in Spain, where, during his embassy in 1800, and in 1801, he formed certain connections which Napoleon still keeps up and preserves. Holland will be the inheritance of Jerome should Napoleon not live long enough to extend his power in Great Britain. Such are the modest pretensions our Imperial courtiers bestow upon the family of our Sovereign.

As to the Prince of Peace, he is only an imbecile instrument in the hands of our intriguers and innovators, which they make use of as long as they find it necessary, and which, when that ceases to be the case, they break and throw away. This idiot is made to believe that both his political and physical existence depends entirely upon our support, and he has infused the same ridiculous notion into his accomplices and adherents. Guilt, ignorance, and cowardice thus misled may, directed by art, interest, and craft, perform wonders to entangle themselves in the destruction of their country.

Beurnonville, our present Ambassador at Madrid, is the son of a porter, and was a porter himself when, in 1770, he enlisted as a soldier in one of our regiments serving in the East Indies. Having there collected some pillage, he purchased the place of a major in the militia of the Island of Bourbon, but was, for his immorality, broken by the governor. Returning to France, he bitterly complained of this injustice, and, after much cringing in the antechambers of Ministers, he obtained at last the Cross of St. Louis as a kind of indemnity. About the same time he also bought with his Indian wealth the place of an officer in the Swiss Guard of Monsieur, the present Louis XVIII. Being refused admittance into any genteel societies, he resorted with Barras and other disgraced nobles to gambling-houses, and he even kept to himself when the Revolution took place. He had at the same time, and for a certain interest, advanced Madame d'Estainville money to establish her famous, or rather infamous, house in the Rue de Bonnes Enfants, near the Palais Royal, - a house that soon became the fashionable resort of our friends of Liberty and Equality.

In 1790, Beurnonville offered his services as aide-de-camp to our then hero of great ambition and small capacity, La Fayette, who declined the honour. The Jacobins were not so nice. In 1792, they appointed him a general under Dumouriez, who baptized him his Ajax. This modern Ajax, having obtained a separate command, attacked Treves in a most ignorant manner, and was worsted with great loss. The official reports of our revolutionary generals have long been admired for their modesty as well as veracity ; but Beurnonville has almost outdone them all, not excepting our great Bonaparte. In a report to the National Convention concerning a terrible engagement of three hours near Grewenmacker, Beurnonville declares that, though the number of the enemy killed was immense, his troops got out of the scrape with the loss of only the little finger of one of his riflemen. On the 4th of February, 1793, a fortnight after the execution of Louis XVI, he was nominated Minister of the War Department - a place which he refused, under a pretence that he was better able to serve his country with his sword than with his pen, having already been in one hundred and twenty battles (where, he did not enumerate or state). On the 14th of the following March, however, he accepted the ministerial portfolio, which he did not keep long, being delivered up by his Hector, Dumouriez, to the Austrians. He remained a prisoner at Olmutz until the 22d of November, 1795, when he was included among the persons exchanged for the daughter of Louis XVI, Her present Royal Highness, the Duchess of Angouleme.

In the autumn of 1796 he had a temporary, command of the dispersed remnants of Jourdan's army, and in 1797 he was sent as a French commander to Holland. In 1799, Bonaparte appointed him an Ambassador to the Court of Berlin ; and in 1803 removed him in the same character to the Court of Madrid. In Prussia, his talents did not cause him to be dreaded, nor his personal qualities make him esteemed. In France, he is laughed at as a boaster, but not trusted as a warrior. In Spain, he is neither dreaded nor esteemed, neither laughed at nor courted; he is there universally despised. He studies to be thought a gentleman ; but the native porter breaks through the veil of a ridiculously affected and outre politeness. Notwithstanding the complacent grimaces of his face, the self-sufficiency of his looks, his systematically powdered and dressed hair, his showy dress, his counted and short bows, and his presumptuous conversation, teeming with ignorance, vulgarity, and obscenity, he cannot escape even the most inattentive observer.

The Ambassador, Beurnonville, is now between fifty and sixty years of age ; is a grand officer of our Imperial Legion of Honour ; has a brother who is a turnkey, and two sisters, one married to a tailor, and another to a merchant who cries dogs' and cats' meat in our streets.



LETTER IX


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Bonaparte did not at first intend to take his wife with him when he set out for Strasburg ; but her tears, the effect of her tenderness and apprehension for his person, at last altered his resolution. Madame Napoleon, to tell the truth, does not like much to be in the power of Joseph, nor even in that of her son-in-law, Louis Bonaparte, should any accident make her a widow.

During the Emperor's absence, the former is the President of the Senate, and the latter the Governor of this capital, and commander of the troops in the interior ; so that the one dictates the Senatus Consultum, in case of a vacancy of the throne, and the other supports these civil determinations with his military forces. Even with the army in Germany, Napoleon's brother-in-law, Murat, is as a pillar of the Bonaparte dynasty, and to prevent the intrigues and plots of other generals from an Imperial diadem ; while, in Italy, his step-son, Eugene de Beauharnais, as a viceroy, commands even the commander-in-chief, Massena. It must be granted that the Emperor has so ably taken his precautions that it is almost certain that, at first, his orders will be obeyed, even after his death ; and the will deposited by him in the Senate, without opposition, carried into execution. These very precautions evince, however, how uncertain and precarious he considers his existence to be, and that, notwithstanding addresses and oaths, he apprehends that the Bonaparte dynasty will not survive him.

Most of the generals now employed by him are either of his own creation, or men on whom he has conferred rank and wealth, which they might consider unsafe under any other Prince but a Bonaparte. The superior officers, not included in the above description, are such insignificant characters that, though he makes use of their experience and courage, he does not fear their views or ambition. Among the inferior officers, and even among the men, all those who have displayed, either at reviews or in battles, capacity, activity, or valour, are all members of his Legion of Honour ; and are bound to him by the double tie of gratitude and self-interest. They look to him alone for future advancements, and for the preservation of the distinction they have obtained from him. His emissaries artfully disseminate that a Bourbon would inevitably overthrow everything a Bonaparte has erected ; and that all military and civil officers rewarded or favoured by Napoleon the First will not only be discarded, but disgraced, and perhaps punished, by a Louis XVIII. Any person who would be imprudent enough to attempt to prove the impossibility, as well as the absurdity, of these impolitic and retrospective measures, would be instantly taken up and shot as an emissary of the Bourbons.

I have often amused myself in conversing with our new generals and new officers ; there is such a curious mixture of ignorance and information, of credulity and disbelief, of real boasting and affected modesty, in everything they say or do in company ; their manners are far from being elegant, but also very distant from vulgarity ; they do not resemble those of what we formerly called 'gens comme il faut', and 'la bonne societe' ! nor those of the bourgeoisie, or the lower classes. They form a new species of fashionables, and a 'haut ton militaire', which strikes a person accustomed to Courts at first with surprise, and perhaps with indignation ; though, after a time, those of our sex, at last, become reconciled, if not pleased with it, because there is a kind of military frankness interwoven with the military roughness. Our ladies, however (I mean those who have seen other Courts, or remember our other coteries), complain loudly of this alteration of address, and of this fashionable innovation ; and pretend that our military, under the notion of being frank, are rude, and by the negligence of their manners and language, are not only offensive, but inattentive and indelicate. This is so much the more provoking to them, as our Imperial courtiers and Imperial placemen do not think themselves fashionable without imitating our military gentry, who take Napoleon for their exclusive model and chief in everything, even in manners.

What I have said above applies only to those officers whose parents are not of the lowest class, or who entered so early or so young into the army that they may be said to have been educated there, and as they advanced, have assumed the 'ton' of their comrades of the same rank. I was invited, some time ago, to a wedding, by a jeweller whose sister had been my nurse, and whose daughter was to be married to a captain of hussars quartered here. The bridegroom had engaged several other officers to assist at the ceremony, and to partake of the fete and ball that followed. A general of the name of Liebeau was also of the party, and obtained the place of honour by the side of the bride's mother. At his entrance into the apartment I formed an opinion of him which his subsequent conduct during the ball confirmed.

During the dinner he seemed to forget that he had a knife and a fork, and he did not eat of a dish (and he ate of them all, numerous as they were) without bespattering or besmearing himself or his neighbours. He broke two glasses and one plate, and, for equality's sake, I suppose, when he threw the wine on the lady to his right, the lady to his left was inundated with sauces. In getting up from dinner to take coffee and liqueurs, according to our custom, as he took the hand of the mistress of the house, he seized at the same time a corner of the napkin, and was not aware of his blunder till the destruction of bottles, glasses, and plate, and the screams of the ladies, informed him of the havoc and terror his awkward gallantry had occasioned. When the ball began, he was too vain of his rank and precedency to suffer any one else to lead the bride down the first dance ; but she was not, I believe, much obliged to him for his politeness ; it cost her the tail of her wedding-gown and a broken nail, and she continued lame during the remainder of the night. In making an apology to her for his want of dexterity, and assuring her that he was not so awkward in handling the enemies of his country in battle as in handling friends he esteemed in a dance, he gave no quarter to an old maid aunt, whom, in the violence of his gesticulation, he knocked down with his elbow and laid sprawling on the ground. He was sober when these accidents literally occurred.

Of this original I collected the following particulars : Before the Revolution he was a soldier in the regiment of Flanders, from which he deserted and became a corporal in another regiment ; in 1793 he was a drum-major in one of the battalions in garnison in Paris. You remember the struggles of factions in the latter part of May and in the beginning of June, the same year, when Brissot and his accomplices were contending with Marat, Robespierre, and their adherents for the reins of power. On the 1st of June the latter party could not get a drummer to beat the alarm, though they offered money and advancement. At last Robespierre stepped forward to Liebeau and said, " Citizen, beat the alarm march, and to-day you shall be nominated a general. " Liebeau obeyed, Robespierre became victorious and kept his promise, and thus my present associate gained his rank. He has since been employed under Jourdan in Germany, and under Le Courbe in Switzerland. When, under the former, he was ordered to retreat towards the Rhine, he pointed out the march route to his division according to his geographical knowledge, but mistook upon the map the River Main for a turnpike road, and commanded the retreat accordingly. Ever since, our troops have called that river 'La chausee de Liebeau'. He was not more fortunate in Helvetia. Being ordered to cross one of the mountains, he marched his men into a glacier, where twelve perished before he was aware of his mistake.

Being afterwards appointed a governor of Blois, he there became a petty, insupportable tyrant, and laid all the inhabitants indiscriminately under arbitrary contribution. Those who refused to pay were imprisoned as aristocrats, and their property confiscated in the name and on the part of the nation ; that is to say, he appropriated to himself in the name of the nation everything that struck his fancy ; and if any complaints were made, the owners were seized and sent to the Revolutionary Tribunal at Paris to be condemned as the correspondents or adherents of the royalists of La Vendee. After the death of Robespierre he was deprived of this profitable place, in which, during the short space of eleven months, he amassed five millions of livres. The Directory, then gave him a division, first under Jourdan, and afterwards under Le Courbe.

Bonaparte, after witnessing his incapacity in Italy, in 1800, put him on the full half-pay, and has lately made him a commander of the Legion of Honour.

His dear spouse, Madame Liebeau, is his counterpart. When he married her, she was crying mackerel and herrings in our streets ; but she told me in confidence, during the dinner, being seated by my side, that her father was an officer of fortune, and a Chevalier of the Order of St. Louis. She assured me that her husband had done greater services to his country than Bonaparte ; and that, had it not been for his patriotism in 1793, the Austrians would have taken Paris. She was very angry with Madame Napoleon, to whom she had been presented, but who had not shown her so much attention and civility, as was due to her husband's rank, having never invited her to more than one supper and two tea-parties ; and when invited by her, had sent Duroc with an apology that she was unable to come, though the same evening she went to the opera.

Another guest, in the regimentals of a colonel, seemed rather bashful when I spoke to him. I could not comprehend the reason, and therefore inquired of our host who he was. (You know that with us it is not the custom to introduce persons by name, etc., as in your country, when meeting in mixed companies.) He answered :

" Do you not remember your brother's jockey, Prial ? "

" Yes, " said I, " but he was established by my brother as a hairdresser. "

" He is the very same person, " replied the jeweller. " He has fought very bravely, and is now a colonel of dragoons, a great favourite with Bonaparte, and will be a general at the first promotion. "

As the colonel did not seem to desire a renewal of acquaintance with me, I did not intrude myself upon him.

During the supper the military gentlemen were encouraged by the bridegroom, and the bottle went round very freely; and the more they drank, the greater and more violent became their political discussions. Liebeau vociferated in favour of republican and revolutionary measures, and avowed his approbation of requisitions, confiscations, and the guillotine; while Frial inclined to the regular and organized despotism of one, to secret trial, and still more secret executions ; defending arbitrary imprisonments, exiles, and transportations. This displeased Madame Liebeau, who exclaimed :

" Since the colonel is so fond of an Imperial Government, he can have no objection to remain a faithful subject whenever my husband, Liebeau, becomes, an Antoine the First, Emperor of the French. "

Frial smiled with contempt :

" You seem to think it improbable, " said Liebeau. " I, Antoine Liebeau, I have more prospect of being an Emperor than Napoleon Bonaparte had ten years ago, when he was only a colonel, and was arrested as a terrorist. And am I not a Frenchman ? And is he not a foreigner ? Come, shake hands with me ; as soon as I am Emperor, depend upon it you shall be a general, and a grand officer of the Legion of Honour. "

" Ah ! my jewel, " interrupted Madame Liebeau, " how happy will France then be. You are such a friend of peace. We will then have no wars, no contributions ; all the English milords may then come here and spend their money, nobody cares about where or how. Will you not, then, my sweet love, make all the gentlemen here your chamberlains, and permit me to accept all the ladies of the company for my Maids of Honour or ladies-in-waiting ? "

" Softly, softly, " cried Frial, who now began to be as intoxicated and as ambitious as the general ; " whenever Napoleon dies, I have more hope, more claim, and more right than you to the throne. I am in actual service ; and had not Bonaparte been the same, he might have still remained upon the half-pay, obscure and despised. Were not most of the Field-marshals and generals under him now, above him ten years ago ? May I not, ten years hence, if I am satisfied with you, General Liebeau, make you also a Field-marshal, or my Minister of War ; and you, Madame Liebeau, a lady of my wife's wardrobe, as soon as I am married ? I, too, have my plans and my views, and perhaps one day you will recollect this conversation, and not be sorry for my acquaintance. "

" What ! you a colonel, an Emperor, before me, who have so long been a general ? " howled Liebeau, who was no longer able to speak. " I would sooner knock your brains out with this bottle than suffer such a precedence ; and my wife a lady of your wardrobe ! she who has possessed from her birth the soul of an Empress ! No, sir ! never will I take the oath to you, nor suffer anybody else to take it. "

" Then I will punish you as a rebel, " retorted Frial ; " and as sure as you stand here you shall be shot. "

Liebeau then rose up to fetch his sword, but the company interfered, and the dispute about the priority of claim to the throne of France between the ci-devant drummer and ci-devant jockey was left undecided. From the words and looks of several of the captains present, I think that they seemed, in their own opinions, to have as much prospect and expectation to reign over the French Empire as either General Liebeau or Colonel Frial.

As soon as I returned home I wrote down this curious conversation and this debate about supremacy. To what a degradation is the highest rank in my unfortunate country reduced when two such personages seriously contend about it ! I collected more subjects for meditation and melancholy in this low company (where, by the bye, I witnessed more vulgarity and more indecencies than I had before seen during my life) than from all former scenes of humiliation and disgust since my return here. When I the next day mentioned it to General de M…, whom you have known as an emigrant officer in your service, but whom policy has since ranged under the colours of Bonaparte, he assured me that these discussions about the Imperial throne are very frequent among the superior officers, and have caused many bloody scenes ; and that hardly any of our generals of any talent exist who have not the same 'arriere pensee' of some day or other. Napoleon cannot, therefore, well be ignorant of the many other dynasties here now rivalling that of the Bonapartes, and who wait only for his exit to tear his Senatus Consultum, his will, and his family, as well as each other, to pieces.



BOOK VI.


LETTER X


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - I was lately invited to a tea-party by one of our rich upstarts, who, from a scavenger, is, by the Revolution and by Bonaparte, transformed into a Legislator, Commander of the Legion of Honour, and possessor of wealth amounting to eighteen millions of livres. In this house I saw for the first time the famous Madame Chevalier, the mistress, and the indirect cause of the untimely end, of the unfortunate Paul the First. She is very short, fat, and coarse. I do not know whether prejudice, from what I have heard of her vile, greedy, and immoral character, influenced my feelings, but she appeared to me a most artful, vain, and disagreeable woman. She looked to be about thirty-six years of age ; and though she might when younger have been well made, it is impossible that she could ever have been handsome. The features of her face are far from being regular. Her mouth is large, her eyes hollow, and her nose short. Her language is that of brothels, and her manners correspond with her expressions. She is the daughter of a workman at a silk manufactory at Lyons ; she ceased to be a maid before she had attained the age of a woman, and lived in a brothel in her native city, kept by a Madame Thibault, where her husband first became acquainted with her. She then had a tolerably good voice, was young and insinuating, and he introduced her on the same stage where he was one of the inferior dancers. Here in a short time she improved so much, that she was engaged as a supernumerary ; her salary in France as an actress was, however, never above twelve hundred livres in the year - which was four hundred livres more than her husband received.

He, with several other inferior and unprincipled actors and dancers, quitted the stage in the beginning of the Revolution for the clubs ; and instead of diverting his audience, resolved to reform and regenerate his nation. His name is found in the annals of the crimes perpetrated at Lyons, by the side of that of a Fouche, a Collot d'Herbois, and other wicked offsprings of rebellion. With all other terrorists, he was imprisoned for some time after the death of Robespierre ; as soon as restored to liberty, he set out with his wife for Hamburg, where some amateurs had constructed a French theatre.

It was in the autumn of 1795 when Madame Chevalier was first heard of in the North of Europe, where her arrival occasioned a kind of theatrical war between the French, American, and Hamburg Jacobins on one side, and the English and emigrant loyalists on the other. Having no money to continue her pretended journey to Sweden, she asked the manager of the French theatre at Hamburg to allow her a benefit, and permission to play on that night. She selected, of course, a part in which she could appear to the most advantage, and was deservedly applauded. The very next evening the Jacobin cabal called the manager upon the stage, and insisted that Madame Chevalier should be given a regular engagement. He replied that no place suitable to her talents was vacant, and that it would be ungenerous to turn away for her sake another actress with whom the public had hitherto declared their satisfaction. The Jacobins continued inflexible, and here, as well as everywhere else, supported injustice by violence. As the patriotism of the husband, more than the charms of the wife, was known to have produced this indecent fracas, which for upwards of a week interrupted the plays, all anti-Jacobins united to restore order. In this they would, perhaps, have finally succeeded, had not the bayonets of the Hamburg soldiers interfered, and forced this precious piece of revolutionary furniture upon the manager and upon the stage.

After displaying her gratitude in her own way to each individual of the Jacobin levy en masse in her favour, she was taken into keeping by a then rich and married Hamburg merchant, who made her a present of a richly and elegantly furnished house, and expended besides ten thousand louis d'or on her, before he had a mortifying conviction that some other had partaken of those favours for which he had so dearly paid. A countryman of yours then showed himself with more noise than honour upon the scene, and made his debut with a phaeton and four, which he presented to his theatrical goddess, together with his own dear portrait, set round with large and valuable diamonds. Madame Chevalier, however, soon afterwards hearing that her English gallant had come over to Germany for economy, and that his credit with his banker was nearly exhausted, had his portrait changed for that of another and richer lover, preserving, however, the diamonds ; and she exposed this inconstancy even upon the stage, by suspending, as if in triumph, the new portrait fastened on her bosom. The Englishman, wishing to retrieve his phaeton and horses, which he protested only to have lent his belle, found that she had put the whole equipage into a kind of lottery, or raffle, to which all her numerous friends had subscribed, and that an Altona Jew had won it.

The successor of your countryman was a Russian nobleman, succeeded in his turn by a Polish Jew, who was ruined and discarded within three months. She then became the property of the public, and, by her active industry, during a stay of four years at Hamburg, she was enabled to remit to France, before her departure for Russia, one million two hundred thousand livres. Her popularity was, however, at that period, very much on the decline, as she had stooped to the most indelicate means to collect money, and to extort it from her friends and acquaintances. She had always lists of subscriptions in her pocket; some with proposals to play in her lotteries for trinkets unnecessary to her ; others, to procure her, by the assistance of subscribers, some trinkets which she wanted.

I suppose it to be no secret to you that the female agents of Talleyrand's secret diplomacy are frequently more useful than those of the other sex. I am told that Madame Rochechouart was that friend of our Ministers who engaged Madame Chevalier in her Russian expedition, and who instructed her how to act her parts well at St. Petersburg. I need not repeat what is so well known, that, after this artful emissary had ruined the domestic happiness of the Russian Monarch, she degraded him in his political transactions, and became the indirect cause of his untimely end, in procuring, for a bribe of fifty thousand roubles in money and jewels, the recall of one of the principal conspirators against the unfortunate Paul.

The wealth she plundered in the Russian capital, within the short period of twenty months, amounted to much above one million of roubles. For money she procured impunity for crime, and brought upon innocence the punishment merited by guilt. The scaffolds of Russia were bleeding, and the roads to Siberia crowded with the victims of the avarice of this female demon, who often promised what she was unable to perform, and, to silence complaint, added cruelty to fraud, and, after pocketing the bribe, resorted to the executioner to remove those whom she had duped. The shocking anecdote of the Sardinian secretary, whom she swindled out of nearly a hundred thousand roubles, and on whom she afterwards persuaded her Imperial lover to inflict capital punishment, is too recent and too public to be unknown or forgotten. A Russian nobleman has assured me that the number of unfortunate individuals whom her and her husband's intrigues have caused to suffer capitally during 1800 and 1801 was forty-six ; and that nearly three hundred persons besides, who could not or would not pay their extortionate demands, were exiled to Siberia during the same period of time.

You may, perhaps, think that a low woman who could produce such great and terrible events, must be mistress of natural charms, as well as of acquired accomplishments. As I have already stated, she can have no pretensions to either, but she is extremely insinuating, sings tolerably well, has a fresh and healthy look, and possesses an unusually good share of cunning, presumption, and duplicity. Her husband, also, everywhere took care to make her fashionable ; and the vanity of the first of their dupes increased the number of her admirers and engaged the vanity of others in their turn to sacrifice themselves at her shrine.

The immorality of our age, also, often procured her popularity for what deserved, and in better times would have encountered, the severest reprobation. In 1797, an emigrant lodged at an inn at Hamburg where another traveller was robbed of a large sum in ready money and jewels. The unfortunate is always suspected ; and in the visit made to his room by the magistrates was found a key that opened the door of the apartment where the theft had been committed. In vain did he represent that had he been the thief he should not have kept an instrument which was, or might be, construed into an argument of guilt ; he was carried to prison, and, though none of the property was discovered in his possession, would have been condemned, had he not produced Madame Chevalier, who avowed that the key opened the door of her bedroom, which the smith who had made it confirmed, and swore that he had fabricated eight keys for the same actress and for the same purpose.

At that time this woman lived in the same house with her husband, but cohabited there with the husband of another woman. She had also places of assignation with other gallants at private apartments, both in Hamburg and at Altona. All these, her scandalous intrigues, were known even to the common porters of these cities. The first time, after the affair of the key had become public, she acted in a play where a key was mentioned, and the audience immediately repeated, " The key ! the key ! " Far from being ashamed, she appeared every night in pieces selected by her, where there was mention of keys, and thus tired the jokes of the public. This impudence might have been expected from her, but it was little to be supposed that her barefaced vices should, as really was the case, augment the crowd of suitors, and occasion even some duels, which latter she both encouraged and rewarded.

Two brothers, of the name of De S…, were both in love with her, and the eldest, as the richest, became her choice. Offended at his refusal of too large a sum of money, she wrote to the younger De S…, and offered to accede to his proposals if, like a gentleman, he would avenge the affront she had experienced from his brother. He consulted a friend, who, to expose her infamy, advised him to send some confidential person to inform her that he had killed his elder brother, and expected the recompense on the same night. He went and was received with open arms, and had just retired with her, when the elder brother, accompanied by his friend, entered the room. Madame Chevalier, instead of upbraiding, laughed, and the next day the public laughed with her, and applauded her more than ever. She knew very well what she was doing. The stories of the key and the duel produced for her more than four thousand louis d'or by the number of new gallants they enticed. It was a kind of emulation among all young men in the North who should be foremost to dishonour and ruin himself with this infamous woman.

Madame Chevalier and her husband now live here in grand style, and have their grand parties, grand teas, grand assemblies, and grand balls. Their hotel, I am assured, is even visited by the Bonapartes and by the members of the foreign diplomatic corps. In the house where I saw her, I observed that Louis Bonaparte and two foreign Ambassadors spoke to her as old acquaintances. Though rich, to the amount of ten millions of livres - she, or rather her husband, keeps a gambling-house, and her superannuated charms are still to be bought for money, at the disposal of those amateurs who are fond of antiques. Both her husband and herself are still members of our secret diplomacy, though she complains loudly that, of the two millions of livres - promised her in 1799 by Bonaparte and Talleyrand if she could succeed in persuading Paul I to withdraw from his alliance with England and Austria, only six hundred thousand livres - has been paid her.

I cannot finish this letter without telling you that before our military forces had reached the Rhine, our political incendiaries had already taken the field, and were in full march towards the Austrian, Russian, and Prussian capitals. The advanced guard of this dangerous corps consists entirely of females, all gifted with beauty and parts as much superior to those of Madame Chevalier as their instructions are better digested. Bonaparte and Talleyrand have more than once regretted that Madame Chevalier was not ordered to enter into the conspiracy against Paul (whose inconsistency and violence they foresaw would make his reign short), that she might have influenced the conspirators to fix upon a successor more pliable and less scrupulous, and who would have suffered the Cabinet of St. Cloud to dictate to the Cabinet of St. Petersburg.

I dined in company several times this last spring with two ladies who, rumour said, have been destined for your P… of W… and D… of Y… ever since the Peace of Amiens. Talleyrand is well informed what figures and what talents are requisite to make an impression on these Princes, and has made his choice accordingly. These ladies have lately disappeared, and when inquired after are stated to be in the country, though I do not consider it improbable that they have already arrived at headquarters. They are both rather fair and lusty, above the middle size, and about twenty-five years of age. They speak, besides French, the English and Italian languages. They are good drawers, good musicians, good singers, and, if necessary, even good drinkers.



LETTER XI


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Had the citizens of the United States been as submissive to the taxation of your Government as to the vexations of our ruler, America would, perhaps, have been less free and Europe more tranquil. After the treaty of Amiens had produced a general pacification, our Government was seriously determined to reconquer from America a part of those treasures its citizens had gained during the Revolutionary War, by a neutrality which our policy and interest required, and which the liberality of your Government endured. Hence the acquisition we made of New Orleans from Spain, and hence the intrigues of our emissaries in that colony, and the peremptory requisitions of provision for St. Domingo by our Minister and generals. Had we been victorious in St. Domingo, most of our troops there were destined for the American Continent, to invade, according to circumstances, either the Spanish colonies on the terra firma or the States of the American Commonwealth. The unforeseen rupture with your country postponed a plan that is far from being laid aside.

You may, perhaps, think that since we sold Louisiana we have no footing in America that can threaten the peace or independence of the United States ; but may not the same dictates that procured us at Madrid the acquisition of New Orleans, also make us masters of Spanish Florida ? And do you believe it improbable that the present disagreement between America and Spain is kept up by our intrigues and by our future views ? Would not a word from us settle in an instant at Madrid the differences as well as the frontiers of the contending parties in America ? And does it not seem to be the regular and systematic plan of our Government to provoke the retaliation of the Americans, and to show our disregard of their privilege of neutrality and rights of independence; and that we insult them only because we despise them, and despise them only because we do not apprehend their resentment.

I have heard the late American Minister here assert that the American vessels captured by our cruisers and condemned by our tribunals, only during the last war, amounted to about five hundred; and their cargoes (all American property) to one hundred and fifty millions of livres - £ 6,000,000. Some few days ago I saw a printed list, presented by the American consul to our Minister of the Marine Department, claiming one hundred and twelve American ships captured in the West Indies and on the coast of America within these last two years, the cargoes of which have all been confiscated, and most of the crews still continue prisoners at Martinico, Gaudeloupe, or Cayenne. Besides these, sixty-six American ships, after being plundered in part of their cargoes at sea by our privateers, had been released; and their claims for property thus lost, or damage thus done, amounting to one million three hundred thousand livres.

You must have read the proclamations of our governors in the West Indies, and therefore remember that one dated at Guadeloupe, and another dated at the City of San Domingo, both declare, without farther ceremony, all American and other neutral ships and cargoes good and lawful prizes, when coming from or destined to any port in the Island of St. Domingo, because Bonaparte's subjects there were in a state of rebellion. What would these philosophers who, twelve years ago, wrote so many libels against your Ministers for their pretended system of famine, have said, had they, instead of prohibiting the carrying of ammunition and provisions to the ports of France, thus extended their orders without discrimination or distinction ? How would the neutral Americans, and the neutral Danes, and their then allies, philosophers, and Jacobins of all colours and classes, have complained and declaimed against the tyrants of the seas; against the enemies of humanity, liberty, and equality. Have not the negroes now, as much as our Jacobins had in 1793, a right to call upon all those tender-hearted schemers, dupes, or impostors, to interest humanity in their favour ? But, as far as I know, no friends of liberty have yet written a line in favour of these oppressed and injured men, whose former slavery was never doubtful, and who, therefore, had more reason to rise against their tyrants, and to attempt to shake off their yoke, than our French insurgents, who, free before, have never since they revolted against lawful authority enjoyed an hour's freedom. But the Emperor Jacques the First has no propagators, no emissaries, no learned savans and no secret agents to preach insurrection in other States, while defending his own usurpation; besides, his treasury is not in the most brilliant and flourishing situation, and the crew of our white revolutionists are less attached to liberty than to cash.

Our Ambassador to the United States, General Turreaux, is far from being contented with our friend, the President Jefferson, whose patriotic notions have not yet soared to the level of our patriotic transactions. He refused both to prevent the marriage of Jerome Bonaparte with a female American citizen, and to detain her after her marriage when her husband returned to Europe. To our continual representation against the liberties which the American newspapers take with our Government, with our Emperor, with our Imperial Family, and with our Imperial Ministers, the answer has always been, " Prosecute the libeller, and as soon as he is convicted he will be punished. " This tardy and negative justice is so opposite to our expeditious and summary mode of proceeding, of punishing first and trying afterwards, that it must be both humiliating and offensive. In return, when the Americans have complained to Turreaux against the piracy of our privateers, he has sent them here to seek redress, where they also will, to their cost, discover that in civil cases our justice has not the same rapid march as when it is a question of arresting or transporting suspected persons, or of tormenting, shooting, or guillotining a pretended spy, or supposed conspirator.

Had the peace of Europe continued, Bernadotte was the person selected by Bonaparte and Talleyrand as our representative in America ; because we then intended to strike, and not to negotiate. But during the present embroiled state of Europe, an intriguer was more necessary there than either a warrior or a politician. A man who has passed through all the mire of our own Revolution, who has been in the secrets, and an accomplice of all our factions, is, undoubtedly, a useful instrument where factions are to be created and directed, where wealth is designed for pillage, and a State for overthrow. General Turreaux is, therefore, in his place, and at his proper post, as our Ambassador in America.

The son of a valet of the late Duc de Bouillon, Turreaux called himself before the Revolution Chevalier de Grambonville, and was, in fact, a 'chevalier d'industrie' (a swindler), who supported himself by gambling and cheating. An associate of Beurnonville, Barras, and other vile characters, he with them joined the colours of rebellion, and served under the former in 1792, in the army of the Moselle, first as a volunteer, and afterwards as an aide-de-camp. In a speech at the Jacobin Club at Quesnoy, on the 20th of November, 1792, he made a motion - " That, throughout the whole republican army, all hats should be prohibited, and red caps substituted in their place ; and that, not only portable guillotines, but portable Jacobin clubs, should accompany the soldiers of Liberty and Equality. "

A cousin of his was a member of the National Convention, and one of those called Mountaineers, or sturdy partisans of Marat and Robespierre. It was to the influence of this cousin, that he was indebted, first for a commission as an adjutant-general, and afterwards for his promotion to a general of brigade. In 1793, he was ordered to march, under the command of Santerre, to La Vendee, where he shared in the defeat of the republicans at Vihiers. At the engagement near Roches d'Erigne he commanded, for the first time, a separate column, and the capacity and abilities which he displayed on that occasion were such as might have been expected from a man who had passed the first thirty years of his life in brothels and gambling-houses. So pleasant were his dispositions, that almost the whole army narrowly escaped having been thrown and pushed into the River Loire. The battle of Doux was the only one in which he had a share where the republicans were not routed ; but some few days afterwards, near Coron, all the troops under him were cut to pieces, and he was himself wounded.

The confidence of his friends, the Jacobins, increased, however, in proportion to his disasters, and he was, in 1794, after the superior number of the republican soldiers had forced the remnants of the Royalists to evacuate what was properly called La Vendee, appointed a commander-in-chief. He had now an opportunity to display his infamy and barbarity. Having established his headquarters at Nantes, where he was safe, amidst the massacres of women and children ordered by his friend Carriere, he commanded the republican army to enter La Vendee in twelve columns, preceded by fire and sword ; and within four weeks, one of the most populous departments of France, to the extent and circumference of sixty leagues, was laid waste-not a house, not a cottage, not a tree was spared, all was reduced to ashes ; and the unfortunate inhabitants, who had not perished amid the ruin of their dwellings, were shot or stabbed ; while attempting to save themselves from the common conflagration. On the 22d of January, 1794, he wrote to the Committee of Public Safety of the National Convention : " Citizen Representatives ! - A country of sixty leagues extent, I have the happiness to inform you, is now a perfect desert ; not a dwelling, not a bush, but is reduced to ashes ; and of one hundred and eighty thousand worthless inhabitants, not a soul breathes any longer. Men and women, old men and children, have all experienced the national vengeance, and are no more. It was a pleasure to a true republican to see upon the bayonets of each of our brave republicans the children of traitors, or their, heads. According to the lowest calculation, I have despatched, within three months, two hundred thousand individuals of both sexes, and of all ages. Vive la Republique !!! " In the works of Prudhomme and our republican writers, are inserted hundreds of letters, still more cruelly extravagant, from this ci-devant friend of Liberty and Equality, and at present faithful subject, and grand officer of the Legion of Honour, of His Imperial Majesty Napoleon the First.

After the death of Robespierre, Turreaux, then a governor at Belleisle, was arrested as a terrorist, and shut up at Du Plessis until the general amnesty released him in 1795. During his imprisonment he amused himself with writing memoirs of the war of La Vendee, in which he tried to prove that all his barbarities had been perpetrated for the sake of humanity, and to save the lives of republicans. He had also the modesty to announce that, as a military work, his production would be equally interesting as those of a Folard and Guibert. These memoirs, however, proved nothing but that he was equally ignorant and wicked, presumptuous and ferocious.

During the reign of the Directory he was rather discarded, or only employed as a kind of recruiting officer to hunt young conscripts, but in 1800 Bonaparte gave him a command in the army of reserve; and in 1802, another in the army of the interior. He then became one of the most assiduous and cringing courtiers at the Emperor's levies ; while in the Empress's drawing-room he assumed his former air and ton of a chevalier, in hopes of imposing upon those who did not remember the nickname which his soldiers gave him ten years before, of Chevalier of the Guillotine.

At a ball of the Bonaparte family to which he was invited, the Emperor took the fancy to dance with his stepdaughter, Madame Louis. He, therefore, unhooked his sword, which he handed to a young colonel, D'Avry, standing by his side. This colonel, who had been a page at the Court of Louis XVI, knew that it would have been against etiquette, and even unbecoming of him, to act as a valet to Napoleon while there were valets in the room ; he therefore retreated, looking round for a servant. " Oh ! " said the Emperor, " I see that I am mistaken ; here, generals, " continued he (addressing himself to half a dozen, with whose independent principles and good breeding he was acquainted), " take this sword during my dance. " They all pushed forward, but Turreaux and La Grange, another general and intriguer, were foremost ; the latter, however, received the preference. On the next day, D'Avry was ordered upon service to Cayenne.

Turreaux has acquired, by his patriotic deeds in La Vendee, a fortune of seven millions of livres. He has the highest opinion of his own capacity, while a moment's conversation will inform a man of sense that he is only a conceited fool. As to his political transactions, he has by his side, as a secretary, a man of the name of Petry, who has received a diplomatic education, and does not want either subtlety or parts ; and on him, no doubt, is thrown the drudgery of business. During a European war, Turreaux's post is of little relative consequence ; but should Napoleon live to dictate another general pacification, the United States will be exposed, on their frontiers, or in their interior, to the same outrages their commercial navy now experiences on the main.



LETTER XII


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - A general officer, who has just arrived from Italy, has assured me that, so far from Bonaparte's subjects on the other side of the Alps being contented and attached to his person and Government, were a victorious Austrian army to enter the plains of Lombardy a general insurrection would be the consequence. During these last nine years the inhabitants have not enjoyed a moment's tranquillity or safety. Every relation or favourite whom Napoleon wished to provide for, or to enrich, he has saddled upon them as in free quarters ; and since 1796, when they first had the honour of our Emperor's acquaintance, they have paid more in taxes, in forced loans, requisitions, and extortions of every description, than their ancestors or themselves had paid during the one hundred and ninety-six preceding years.

Such is the public spirit, and such have been the sufferings of the people in the ci-devant Lombardy ; in Piedmont they are still worse off. Having more national character and more fidelity towards their Sovereign than their neighbours, they are also more cruelly treated. Their governor, General De Menou, has caused most of the departments to be declared under martial law, and without right to claim the protection of our happy constitution. In every city or town are organized special tribunals, the progeny of our revolutionary tribunals, against the sentences of which no appeal can be made, though these sentences are always capital ones. Before these, suspicion is evidence, and an imprudent word is subject to the same punishment as a murderous deed. Murmur is regarded as mutiny, and he who complains is shot as a conspirator.

There exist only two ways for the wretched Piedmontese to escape these legal assassinations. They must either desert their country or sacrifice a part of their property. In the former case, if retaken, they are condemned as emigrants ; and in the latter they incur the risk that those to whom they have already given a part of their possessions will also require the remainder, and having obtained it, to enjoy in security the spoil, will send them to the tribunals and to death. De Menou has a fixed tariff for his protection, regulated according to the riches of each person ; and the tax-gatherers collect these arbitrary contributions with the regular ones, so little pains are taken to conceal or to disguise these robberies.

De Menou, by turns a nobleman and a sans-culotte, a Christian and a Mussulman, is wicked and profligate, not from the impulse of the moment or of any sudden gust of passion, but coldly and deliberately. He calculates with sangfroid the profit and the risk of every infamous action he proposes to commit, and determines accordingly. He owed some riches and the rank of the major-general to the bounty of Louis XVI., but when he considered the immense value of the revolutionary plunder, called national property, and that those who confiscated could also promote, he did not hesitate what party to take. A traitor is generally a coward ; he has everywhere experienced defeats ; he was defeated by his Royalist countrymen in 1793, by his Mahometan sectaries in 1800, and by your countrymen in 1801.

Besides his Turkish wife, De Menou has in the same house with her one Italian and two French girls, who live openly with him, but who are obliged to keep themselves by selling their influence and protection, and, perhaps, sometimes even their personal favours. He has also in his hotel several gambling-tables, where those who are too bashful to address themselves to himself or his mistresses may deposit their donations, and if they are thought sufficient, the hint is taken and their business done. He never pays any debts and never buys anything for ready money, and all persons of his suite, or appertaining to his establishment, have the same privilege. Troublesome creditors are recommended to the care of the special tribunals, which also find means to reduce the obstinacy of those refractory merchants or traders who refuse giving any credit. All the money he extorts or obtains is brought to this capital and laid out by his agents in purchasing estates, which, from his advanced age and weak constitution, he has little prospect of long enjoying. He is a grand officer of Bonaparte's Legion of Honour, and has a long claim to that distinction, because as early as on the 25th of June, 1790, he made a motion in the National Assembly to suppress all former Royal Orders in France, and to create in their place only a national one. Always an incorrigible flatterer, when Napoleon proclaimed himself Ali the Mussulman, De Menou professed himself Abdallah the believer in the Alcoran.

The late vice-president of the Italian Republic, Melzi-Eril, is now in complete disgrace with his Sovereign, Napoleon the First. If persons of rank and property would read through the list of those, their equals by birth and wealth, who, after being seduced by the sophistry of impostors, dishonoured and exposed themselves by joining in the Revolution, they might see that none of them have escaped insults, many have suffered death, and all have been, or are, vile slaves, at the mercy of the whip of some upstart beggar, and trampled upon by men started up from the mud, of lowest birth and basest morals. If their revolutionary mania were not incurable, this truth and this evidence would retain them within their duty, so corresponding with their real interest, and prevent them from being any longer borne along by a current of infamy and danger, and preserve them from being lost upon quicksands or dashed against rocks.

The conduct and fate of the Italian nobleman and Spanish grandee, Melzi-Eril, has induced me to make these reflections. Wealthy as well as elevated, he might have passed his life in uninterrupted tranquillity, enjoying its comforts without experiencing its vicissitudes, with the esteem of his contemporaries and without reproach from posterity or from his own conscience. Unfortunately for him, a journey into this country made him acquainted both with our philosophers and with our philosophical works ; and he had neither natural capacity to distinguish errors from reality, nor judgment enough to perceive that what appeared improving and charming in theory, frequently became destructive and improper when attempted to be put into practice. Returned to his own country, his acquired half-learning made him wholly dissatisfied with his Government, with his religion, and with himself. In our Revolution he thought that he saw the first approach towards the perfection of the human species, and that it would soon make mankind as good and as regenerated in society as was promised in books. With our own regenerators he extenuated the crimes which sullied their work from its first page, and declared them even necessary to make the conclusion so much the more complete. When, therefore, Bonaparte, in 1796, entered the capital of Lombardy, Melzi was among the first of the Italian nobility who hailed him as a deliverer. The numerous vexations and repeated pillage of our Government, generals, commissaries, and soldiers, did not abate his zeal nor alter his opinion. " The faults and sufferings of individuals, " he said, " are nothing to the goodness of the cause, and do not impair the utility of the whole. " To him, everything the Revolution produced was the best ; the murder of thousands and the ruin of millions were, with him, nothing compared with the benefit the universe would one day derive from the principles and instruction of our armed and unarmed philosophers. In recompense for so much complacency, and such great patriotism, Bonaparte appointed him, in 1797, a plenipotentiary from the Cisalpine Republic to the Congress at Rastadt ; and, in 1802, a vice-president of the Italian Republic. As Melzi was a sincere and disinterested republican fanatic, he did not much approve of the strides Bonaparte made towards a sovereignty that annihilated the sovereignty of his sovereign people. In a conference, however, with Talleyrand, at Lyons, in February, 1802, he was convinced that this age was not yet ripe for all the improvements our philosophers intended to confer on it ; and that, to prevent it from retrogading to the point where it was found by our Revolution, it was necessary that it should be ruled by enlightened men, such as he and Bonaparte, to whom he advised him by all means never to give the least hint about liberty and equality. Our Minister ended his fraternal counsel with obliging Melzi to sign a stipulation for a yearly sum, as a douceur for the place he occupied.

The sweets of power shortly caused Melzi to forget both the tenets of his philosophy and his schemes of regeneration. He trusted so much to the promises of Bonaparte and Talleyrand, that he believed himself destined to reign for life, and was, therefore, not a little surprised when he was ordered by Napoleon the First to descend and salute Eugene de Beauharnais as the deputy Sovereign of the Sovereign King of Italy. He was not philosopher enough to conceal his chagrin, and bowed with such a bad grace to the new Viceroy that it was visible he would have preferred seeing in that situation an Austrian Archduke as a governor-general. To soften his disappointment, Bonaparte offered to make him a Prince, and with that rank indemnify him for breaking the promises given at Lyons, where it is known that the influence of Melzi, more than the intrigues of Talleyrand, determined the Italian Consulta in the choice of a president.

Immediately after Bonaparte's return to France, Melzi left Milan, and retired to an estate in Tuscany ; from that place he wrote to Talleyrand a letter full of reproach, and concluded by asking leave to pass the remainder of his days in Spain among his relatives. An answer was presented him by an officer of Bonaparte's Gendarmes d'Elite, in which he was forbidden to quit Italy, and ordered to return with the officer to Milan, and there occupy his office of Arch-Chancellor to which he had been nominated. Enraged at such treatment, he endeavoured to kill himself with a dose of poison, but his attempt did not succeed. His health was, however, so much injured by it that it is not supposed he can live long. What, a lesson for reformers and innovators !



LETTER XIII


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - A ridiculous affair lately occasioned a great deal of bustle among the members of our foreign diplomatic corps. When Bonaparte demanded for himself and for his wife the title of Imperial Majesty, and for his brothers and sisters that of Imperial Highness, he also insisted on the salutation of a Serene Highness being given to his Arch-Chancellor, Cambaceres, and his Arch-Treasurer, Lebrun. The political consciences of the independent representatives of independent Continental Princes immediately took the alarm at the latter innovation, as the appellation of Serene Highness has never hitherto been bestowed on persons who had not princely rank. They complained to Talleyrand, they petitioned Bonaparte, and they even despatched couriers to their respective Courts. The Minister smiled, the Emperor cursed, and their own Cabinets deliberated. All routs, all assemblies, all circles, and all balls were at a stop. Cambaceres applied to his Sovereign to support his pretensions, as connected with his own dignity ; and the diplomatic corps held forward their dignity as opposing the pretensions of Cambaceres. In this dilemma Bonaparte ordered all the Ambassadors, Ministers, envoys, and agents 'en masse' to the castle of the Tuileries. After hearing, with apparent patience, their arguments in favour of established etiquette and customs, he remained inflexible, upon the ground that he, as master, had a right to confer what titles he chose within his own dominions on his own subjects ; and that those foreigners who refused to submit to his regulations might return to their own country. This plain explanation neither effecting a conversion nor making any, impression, he grew warm, and left the refractory diplomatists with these remarkable words : " Were I to create my Mameluke Rostan a King, both you and your masters should acknowledge him in that rank. "

After this conference most of Their Excellencies were seized with terror and fear, and would, perhaps, have subscribed to the commands of our Emperor had not some of the wisest among them proposed, and obtained the consent of the rest, to apply, once more to Talleyrand, and purchase by some douceur his assistance in this great business. The heart of our Minister is easily softened ; and he assented, upon certain conditions, to lay the whole before his Sovereign in such a manner that Cambaceres should be made a Prince as well as a Serene Highness.

It is said that Bonaparte was not easily persuaded to this measure, and did not consent to it before the Minister remarked that his condescension in this insignificant opposition to his will would proclaim his moderation and generosity, and empower him to insist on obedience when matters of the greatest consequence should be in question or disputed. Thus our regicide, Cambaceres, owes his princely title to the shallow intrigues of the agents of legitimate Sovereigns. Their nicety in talking of innovations with regard to him, after they had without difficulty hailed a sans-culotte an Emperor, and other sans-culottes Imperial Highnesses, was as absurd as improper. Report, however, states, what is very probable, that they were merely the duped tools of Cambaceres's ambition and vanity, and of Talleyrand's corruption and cupidity.

Cambaceres expected to have been elevated to a Prince on the same day that he was made a Serene Highness ; but Joseph Bonaparte represented to his brother that too many other princedoms would diminish the respect and value of the princedoms of the Bonaparte family. Cambaceres knew that Talleyrand had some reason at that period to be discontented with Joseph, and, therefore, asked his advice how to get made a Prince against the wishes of this Grand Elector. After some consideration, the Minister replied that he was acquainted with one way, which would, with his support, certainly succeed ; but it required a million of livres to set the wheels in motion, and keep them going afterwards. The hint was taken, and an agreement signed for one million, payable on the day when the princely patent should be delivered to the Arch-Chancellor.

Among the mistresses provided by our Minister for the members of the foreign diplomatic corps, Madame B…s is one of the ablest in the way of intrigue. She was instructed to alarm her 'bon ami', the Bavarian Minister, Cetto, who is always bustling and pushing himself forward in the grand questions of etiquette. A fool rather than a rogue, and an intriguer while he thinks himself a negotiator, he was happy to have this occasion to prove his penetrating genius and astonishing information. A convocation of the diplomatic corps was therefore called, and the suggestions of Cetto were regarded as an inspiration, and approved, with a resolution to persevere unanimously. At their first audience with Talleyrand on this subject, he seemed to incline in their favour ; but, as soon as he observed how much they showed themselves interested about this trifling punctilio, it occurred to him that they, as well as Cambaceres, might in some way or other reward the service he intended to perform. Madame B…s was again sent for ; and she once more advised her lover, who again advised his colleagues. Their scanty purses were opened, and a subscription entered into for a very valuable diamond, which, with the millions of the Arch-Chancellor, gave satisfaction to all parties ; and even Joseph Bonaparte was reconciled, upon the consideration that Cambaceres has no children, and that, therefore, the Prince will expire with the Grand Officer of State.

Cambaceres, though before the Revolution a nobleman of a Parliamentary family, was so degraded and despised for his unnatural and beastly propensities, that to see him in the ranks of rebellion was not unexpected. Born in Languedoc, his countrymen were the first to suffer from his revolutionary proceedings, and reproached him as one of the most active instruments of persecution against the clergy of Toulouse, and as one of the causes of all the blood that flowed in consequence. A coward as well as a traitor, after the death of Louis XVI he never dared ascend the tribune of the National Convention, but always gave a silent vote to all the atrocious laws proposed and carried by Marat, Robespierre, and their accomplices. It was in 1795, when the Reign of Terror had ceased, that he first displayed his zeal for anarchy, and his hatred to royalty; his contemptible and disgusting vices were, however, so publicly reprobated, that even the Directory dared not nominate him a Minister of Justice, a place for which he intrigued in vain, from 1796 to 1799 ; when Bonaparte, either not so scrupulous, or setting himself above the public opinion, caused him to be called to the Consulate ; which, in 1802, was ensured him for life, but exchanged, in 1804, for the office of an Arch-Chancellor.

He is now worth thirty millions of livres - all honestly obtained by his revolutionary industry. Besides a Prince, a Serene Highness, an Arch-Chancellor, a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, he is also a Knight of the Prussian Black Eagle ! For his brother, who was for a long time an emigrant clergyman, and whom he then renounced as a fanatic, he has now procured the Archbishopric of Rouen and a Cardinal's hat. His Eminence is also a grand officer of the Legion of Honour in France, and a Pope in petto at Rome.



LETTER XIV


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - No Sovereign Prince has more incurred the hatred of Bonaparte than the present King of Sweden ; and I have heard from good authority that our Government spares neither bribes nor intrigues to move the tails of those factions which were dissolved, but not crushed, after the murder of Gustavus III. The Swedes are generally brave and loyal, but their history bears witness that they are easily misled ; all their grand achievements are their own, and the consequence of their national spirit and national valour, while all their disasters have been effected by the influence of foreign gold and of foreign machinations. Had they not been the dupes of the plots and views of the Cabinets of Versailles and St. Petersburg, their country might have been as powerful in the nineteenth century as it was in the seventeenth.

That Gustavus IV both knew the danger of Europe, and indicated the remedy, His Majesty's notes, as soon as he came of age, presented by the able and loyal Minister Bildt to the Diet of Ratisbon, evince. Had they been more attended to during 1798 and 1799, Bonaparte would not, perhaps, have now been so great, but the Continent would have remained more free and more independent. They were the first causes of our Emperor's official anger against the Cabinet of Stockholm.

When, however, His Swedish Majesty entered into the Northern league, his Ambassador, Baron Ehrensward, was for some time treated with no insults distinct or different from those to which all foreign diplomatic agents have been accustomed during the present reign ; but when he demanded reparation for the piracies committed during the last war by our privateers on the commerce of his nation, the tone was changed ; and when his Sovereign, in 1803, was on a visit to his father-in-law, the Elector of Baden, and there preferred the agreeable company of the unfortunate Duc d'Enghien to the society of our Minister, Baron Ehrensward never entered Napoleon's diplomatic circle or Madame Napoleon's drawing-room without hearing rebukes and experiencing disgusts. One day, when more than usually attacked, he said, on leaving the apartment, to another Ambassador, and in the hearing of Duroc, " that it required more real courage to encounter with dignity and self-command unbecoming provocations, which the person who gave them knew could not be resented, than to brave a death which the mouths of cannon vomit or the points of bayonets inflict. " Duroc reported to his master what he heard, and but for Talleyrand's interference, the Swedish Ambassador would, on the same night, have been lodged in the Temple. Orders were already given to that purpose, but were revoked.

This Baron Ehrensward, who is also a general in the service of his country, has almost from his youth passed his time at Courts; first in his own country, and afterwards in Spain, where he resided twelve years as our Ambassador. Frank as a soldier, but also polite as a courtier, he was not a little surprised at the new etiquette of our new court, and at the endurance of all the members of the diplomatic corps, of whom hardly one had spirit enough to remember that he was the representative of one, at least nominally, independent Prince or State. It must be added that he was the only foreign diplomatist, with Count Markof, who was not the choice of our Cabinet, and, therefore, was not in our secrets.

As soon as His Swedish Majesty heard of the unexpected and unlawful seizure of the Duc d'Enghien, he wrote a letter with his own hand to Bonaparte, which he sent by his adjutant-general, Tawast ; but this officer arrived too late, and only in time to hear of the execution of the Prince he intended to save, and the indecent expressions of Napoleon when acquainted with the object of his mission. Baron Ehrensward was then recalled, and a Court mourning was proclaimed by Gustavus IV, as well as by Alexander the First, for the lamented victim of the violated laws of nations and humanity. This so, enraged our ruler that General Caulaincourt (the same who commanded the expedition which crossed the Rhine and captured the Duc d' Enghien) was engaged to head and lead fifty other banditti, who were destined to pass in disguise into Baden, and to bring the King of Sweden a prisoner to this capital. Fortunately, His Majesty had some suspicion of the attempt, and removed to a greater distance from our frontiers than Carlsruhe. So certain was our Government of the success of this shameful enterprise, that our charge d'affaires in Sweden was preparing to engage the discontented and disaffected there for the convocation of a diet and the establishment of a regency.

According to the report in our diplomatic circle. Bonaparte and Talleyrand intended nevermore to, release their royal captive when once in their power ; but, after forcing him to resign the throne to his son, keep him a prisoner for the remainder of his days, which they would have taken care should not have been long. The Duke of Sudermania was to have been nominated a regent until the majority of the young King, not yet six years of age. The Swedish diets were to recover that influence, or, rather, that licentiousness, to which Gustavus III, by the revolution of the 19th of August, 1772, put an end. All exiled regicides, or traitors, were to be recalled, and a revolutionary focus organized in the North, equally threatening Russia and Denmark. The dreadful consequences of such an event are incalculable. Thanks to the prudence of His Swedish Majesty, all these schemes evaporated in air.

Not being able to dethrone a Swedish Monarch, our Cabinet resolved to partition the Swedish territory, to which effect I am assured that proposals were last summer made to the Cabinets of St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Copenhagen. Swedish Finland was stated to have been offered to Russia, Swedish Pomerania to Prussia, and Scania and Blekinge to Denmark ; but the overture was rejected.

The King of Sweden possesses both talents and information superior to most of his contemporaries, and he has surrounded himself with counsellors who, with their experience, make wisdom more firm, more useful, and more valuable. His chancellor, D'Ehrenheim, unites modesty with sagacity ; he is a most able statesman, an accomplished gentleman, and the most agreeable of men. He knows the languages, as well as the constitutions, of every country in Europe, with equal perfection as his native tongue and national code. Had his Sovereign the same ascendency over the European politics as Christina had during the negotiation of the Treaty of Munster, other States would admire, and Sweden be proud of, another Axel Oxenstiern.

Count Fersen, who also has, and is worthy of, the confidence of his Prince, is a nobleman, the honour and pride of his rank. A colonel before the Revolution of the regiment Royal Suedois, in the service of my country, his principles were so well appreciated that he was entrusted by Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, when so many were so justly suspected, and served royalty in distress, at the risk of his own existence. This was so much the more generous in him as he was a foreigner, of one of the most ancient families, and one of the richest noblemen in his own country. To him Louis XVIII is indebted for his life ; and he brought consolation to the deserted Marie Antoinette even in the dungeon of the Conciergerie, when a discovery would have been a sentence of death. In 1797, he was appointed by his King plenipotentiary to the Congress of Rastadt, and arrived there just at the time when Bonaparte, after the destruction of happiness in Italy, had resolved on the ruin of liberty in Switzerland, and came there proud of past exploits and big with future schemes of mischief. His reception from the conquerer of Italy was such as might have been expected by distinguished loyalty from successful rebellion. He was told that the Congress of Rastadt was not his place ! and this was true ; for what can be common between honour and infamy, between virtue and vice ? On his return to Sweden, Count Fersen was rewarded with the dignity of a Grand Officer of State.

Of another faithful and trusty counsellor of His Swedish Majesty, Baron d'Armfeldt, a panegyric would be pronounced in saying that he was the friend of Gustavus III. From a page to that chevalier of royalty he was advanced to the rank of general ; and during the war with Russia, in 1789 and 1790, he fought and bled by the side of his Prince and benefactor. It was to him that his King said, when wounded mortally, by the hand of a regicide, at a masquerade in March, 1792, " Don't be alarmed, my friend. You know as well as myself that all wounds are not dangerous. " Unfortunately, his were not of that description.

In the will of this great Monarch, Baron d'Armfeldt was nominated one of the guardians of his present Sovereign, and a governor of the capital ; but the Duke Regent, who was a weak Prince, guided by philosophical adventurers, by Illuminati and Freemasons, most of whom had imbibed the French revolutionary maxims, sent him, in a kind of honourable exile, as an Ambassador to Italy. Shortly afterwards, under pretence of having discovered a conspiracy, in which the Baron was implicated, he was outlawed. He then took refuge in Russia, where he was made a general, and as such distinguished him self under Suwarow during the campaign of 1799. He was then recalled to his country, and restored to all his former places and dignities, and has never since ceased to merit and obtain the favour, friendship, and approbation of his King. He is said to be one of the Swedish general officers intended to serve in union with the Russian troops expected in Pomerania. Wherever he is employed, I am convinced that he will fight, vanquish, or perish like a hero. Last spring he was offered the place of a lieutenant-general in the Austrian service, which, with regard to salary and emoluments, is greatly superior to what he enjoys in Sweden ; he declined it, however, because, with a warrior of his stamp, interest is the last consideration.



LETTER XV


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Believe me, Bonaparte dreads more the liberty of the Press than all other engines, military or political, used by his rivals or foes for his destruction. He is aware of the fatal consequences all former factions suffered from the public exposure of their past crimes and future views ; of the reality of their guilt, and of the fallacy of their boasts and promises. He does not doubt but that a faithful account of all the actions and intrigues of his Government, its imposition, fraud, duplicity, and tyranny, would make a sensible alteration in the public opinion ; and that even those who, from motives of patriotism, from being tired of our revolutionary convulsions, or wishing for tranquillity, have been his adherents, might alter their sentiments when they read of enormities which must indicate insecurity, and prove to every one that he who waded through rivers of blood to seize power will never hesitate about the means of preserving it.

There is not a printing-office, from the banks of the Elbe to the Gulf of Naples, which is not under the direct or indirect inspection of our police agents ; and not a bookseller in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland, or Switzerland, publishes a work which, if contrary to our policy or our fears, is not either confiscated, or purchased on the day it, makes its appearance. Besides our regular emissaries, we have persons travelling from the beginning to the end of the year, to pick up information of what literary productions are printing ; of what authors are popular ; of their political opinions and private circumstances. This branch of our haute police extends even to your country.

Before the Revolution, we had in this capital only two daily papers, but from 1789 to 1799 never less than thirty, and frequently sixty journals were daily printed. After Bonaparte had assumed the consular authority, they were reduced to ten. But though these were under a very strict inspection of our Minister of Police, they were regarded still as too numerous, and have lately been diminished to eight, by the incorporation of 'Le Clef du Cabinet' and 'Le Bulletin de l'Europe' with the 'Gazette de France', a paper of which the infamously famous Barrere is the editor. According to a proposal of Bonaparte, it was lately debated in the Council of State whether it would not be politic to suppress all daily prints, with the sole exception of the Moniteur. Fouche and Talleyrand spoke much in favour of this measure of security. Real, however, is said to have suggested another plan, which was adopted; and our Government, instead of prohibiting the appearance of our daily papers, has resolved by degrees to purchase them all, and to entrust them entirely to the direction of Barrere, who now is consulted in everything concerning books or newspapers.

All circulation of foreign papers is prohibited, until they have previously obtained the stamp of approbation from the grand literary censor, Barrere. Any person offending against this law is most severely punished. An American gentlemen, of the name of Campbell, was last spring sent to the Temple for lending one of your old daily papers to a person who lodged in the same hotel with him. After an imprisonment of ten weeks he made some pecuniary sacrifices to obtain his liberty, but was carried to Havre, under an escort of gendarmes, put on board a neutral vessel, and forbidden, under pain of death, ever to set his foot on French ground again. An American vessel was, about the same time, confiscated at Bordeaux, and the captain and crew imprisoned, because some English books were found on board, in which Bonaparte, Talleyrand, Fouche, and some of our great men were rather ill-treated. The crew have since been liberated, but the captain has been brought here, and is still in the Temple. The vessel and the cargo have been sold as lawful captures, though the captain has proved from the names written in the books that they belonged to a passenger. A young German student in surgery, who came here to improve himself, has been nine months in the same state prison, for having with him a book, printed in Germany during Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt, wherein the chief and the undertaking are ridiculed. His mother, the widow of a clergyman, hearing of the misfortune of her son, came here, and has presented to the Emperor and Empress half a dozen petitions, without any effect whatever, and has almost ruined herself and her other children by the expenses of the journey. During a stay of four months she has not yet been able to gain admittance into the Temple, to visit or see her son, who perhaps expired in tortures, or died brokenhearted before she came here.

A dozen copies of a funeral sermon on the Duc d'Enghien had found their way here, and were secretly circulated for some time; but at last the police heard of it, and every person who was suspected of having read them was arrested. The number of these unfortunate persons, according to some, amounted to one hundred and thirty, while others say that they were only eighty-four, of whom twelve died suddenly in the Temple, and the remainder were transported to Cayenne ; upwards of half of them were women, some of the ci-devant highest rank among subjects.

A Prussian, of the name of Bulow, was shot as a spy in the camp of Boulogne, because in his trunk was an English book, with the lives of Bonaparte and of some of his generals. Every day such and other examples of the severity of our Government are related; and foreigners who visit us continue, nevertheless, to be off their guard. They would be less punished had they with them forged bills than, printed books or newspapers, in which our Imperial Family and public functionaries are not treated with due respect. Bonaparte is convinced that in every book where he is not spoken of with praise, the intent is to blame him ; and such intents or negative guilt never escape with impunity.

As, notwithstanding the endeavours of our Government, we are more fond of foreign prints, and have more confidence in them than in our own, official presses have lately been established at Antwerp, at Cologne, and at Mentz, where the 'Gazette de Leyden', 'Hamburg Correspondenten', and 'Journal de Frankfort' are reprinted ; some articles left out, and others inserted in their room. It was intended to reprint also the 'Courier de Londres', but our types, and particularly, our paper, would detect the fraud. I have read one of our own Journal de Frankfort, in which were extracts from this French paper, printed in your country, which I strongly suspect are of our own manufacture. I am told that several new books, written by foreigners, in praise of our present brilliant Government, are now in the presses of those our frontier towns, and will soon be laid before the public as foreign productions.

A clerk of a banking-house had lately the imprudence to mention, during his dinner at the restaurateur's of 'Cadran Vert', on the Boulevards, some doubt of the veracity of an official article in the 'Moniteur'. As he left the house he was arrested, carried before Fouche, accused of being an English agent, and before supper-time he was on the road to Rochefort on his way to Cayenne. As soon as the banker Tournon was informed of this expeditious justice, as it is called here, he waited on Fouche, who threatened even to transport him if he dared to interfere with the transactions of the police. This banker was himself seized in the spring of last year by a police agent and some gendarmes, and carried into exile forty leagues from this capital, where he remained six. months, until a pecuniary douceur procured him a recall. His crime was having inquired after General Moreau when in the Temple, and of having left his card there.



LETTER XVI


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - The Prince Borghese has lately been appointed a captain of the Imperial Guard of his Imperial brother-in-law, Napoleon the First, and is now in Germany, making his first campaign. A descendant of a wealthy and ancient Roman family, but born with a weak understanding, he was easily deluded into the ranks of the revolutionists of his own country, by a Parisian Abbe, his instructor and governor, and gallant of the Princesse Borghese, his mother. He was the first secretary of the first Jacobin club established at Rome, in the spring of 1798; and in December of the same year, when the Neapolitan troops invaded the Ecclesiastical States, he, with his present brother-in-law, another hopeful Roman Prince, Santa Cruce, headed the Roman sans-culottes in their retreat. To show his love of equality, he had previously served as a common man in a company of which the captain was a fellow that sold cats' meat and tripe in the streets of Rome, and the lieutenant a scullion of his mother's kitchen. Since Imperial aristocracy is now become the order of the day, he is as insupportable for his pride and vanity as he, some years ago, was contemptible for his meanness. He married, in 1803, Madame Leclerc, who, between the death of a first and a wedding with a second husband - a space of twelve months - had twice been in a fair way to become a mother. Her portion was estimated at eighteen millions of livres - a sum sufficient to palliate many 'faux pas' in the eyes of a husband more sensible and more delicate than her present Serene Idiot, as she styles the Prince Borghese.

The lady is the favourite sister of Napoleon, the ablest, but also the most wicked of the female Bonapartes. She had, almost from her infancy, passed through all the filth of prostitution, debauchery, and profligacy before she attained her present elevation; rank, however, has not altered her morals, but only procured her the means of indulging in new excesses. Ever since the wedding night the Prince Borghese has been excluded from her bed; for she declared frankly to him, as well as to her brother, that she would never endure the approach of a man with a bad breath ; though many who, from the opportunities they have had of judging, certainly ought to know, pretend that her own breath is not the sweetest in the world. When her husband had marched towards the Rhine, she asked her brother, as a favour, to procure the Prince Borghese, after a useless life, a glorious death. This curious demand of a wife was, made in Madame Bonaparte's drawing-room, in the presence of fifty persons. " You are always 'etourdie', " replied Napoleon, smiling.

If Bonaparte, however, overlooks the intrigues of his sisters, he is not so easily pacified when any reports reach him inculpating the virtues of his sisters-in-law. Some gallants of Madame Joseph Bonaparte have already disappeared to return no more, or are wandering in the wilds of Cayenne ; but the Emperor is particularly attentive to everything concerning the morality of Madame Louis, whose descendants are destined to continue the Bonaparte dynasty. Two officers, after being cashiered, were, with two of Madame Louis's maids, shut up last month in the Temple, and have not since been heard of, upon suspicion that the Princess preferred their society to that of her husband.

Louis Bonaparte, whose constitution has been much impaired by his debaucheries, was, last July, advised by his physicians to use the baths at St. Amand. After his wife had accompanied him as far as Lille, she went to visit one of her friends, Madame Ney, the wife of General Ney, who commanded the camp near Montreuil. This lady resided in a castle called Leek, in the vicinity, where dinners, concerts, balls, and other festivities celebrated the arrival of the Princess ; and to these the principal officers of the camp were invited. One morning, about an hour after the company had retired to bed, the whole castle was disturbed and alarmed by an uproar in the anteroom of Princesse Louis's bedchamber. On coming to the scene of riot, two officers were found there fighting, and the Princesse Louis, more than half undressed, came out and called the sentries on duty to separate the combatants, who were both wounded. This affair occasioned great scandal ; and General Ney, after having put the officers under arrest, sent a courier to Napoleon at Boulogne, relating the particulars and demanding His Majesty's orders. It was related and believed as a fact that the quarrel originated about two of the maids of the Princess (whose virtue was never suspected), with whom the officers were intriguing. The Emperor ordered the culprits to be broken and delivered up to his Minister of Police, who knew how to proceed. The Princesse Louis also received an invitation to join her sister-in-law, Madame Murat, then in the camp at Boulogne, and to remain under her care until her husband's return from St. Amand.

General Murat was then at Paris, and his lady was merely on a visit to her Imperial brother, who made her responsible for Madame Louis, whom he severely reprimanded for the misconduct of her maids. The bedrooms of the two sisters were on the same floor. One night, Princesse Louis thought she heard the footsteps of a person on the staircase, not like those of a female, and afterwards the door of Madame Murat's room opened softly. This occurrence deprived her of all desire to sleep ; and curiosity, or perhaps revenge, excited her to remove her doubts concerning the virtue of her guardian. In about an hour afterwards, she stole into Madame Murat's bedroom, by the way of their sitting-room, the door in the passage being bolted. Passing her hand over the pillow, she almost pricked herself with the strong beard of a man, and, screaming out, awoke her sister, who inquired what she could want at such an unusual hour.

" I believe, " replied the Princess, " my room is haunted. I have not shut my eyes, and intended to ask for a place by your side, but I find it is already engaged : "

" My maid always sleeps with me when my husband is absent, " said Madame Murat.

" It is very rude of your maid to go to bed with her mistress without first shaving herself, " said the Princess, and left the room.

The next morning an explanation took place ; the ladies understood each other, and each, during the remaining part of her husband's absence, had for consolation a maid for a bedfellow. Madame Murat also convinced the Emperor that his suspicions with regard to the Princesse Louis were totally unfounded ; and he with some precious presents, indemnified her for his harsh treatment.

It is reported that the two maids of the Princesse Louis, when before Fouche, first denied all acquaintance with the officers ; but, being threatened with tortures, they signed a 'proces verbal', acknowledging their guilt. This valuable and authentic document the Minister sent by an extra courier to the Emperor, who showed it to his stepdaughter. Her generosity is proverbial here, and therefore nobody is surprised that she has given a handsome sum of money to the parents of her maids, who had in vain applied to see their children ; Fouche having told them that affairs of State still required their confinement. One of them, Mariothe, has been in the service of the Princess ever since her marriage, and is known to possess all her confidence ; though during that period of four years she has twice been in a state of pregnancy, through the condescending attention of her princely master.



LETTER XVII


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - When preparations were made for the departure of our army of England for Germany, it excited both laughter and murmuring among the troops. Those who had always regarded the conquest of England as impracticable in present circumstances, laughed, and those who had in their imagination shared the wealth of your country, showed themselves vexed at their disappointment. To keep them in good spirits, the company of the theatre of the Vaudevilles was ordered from hence to Boulogne, and several plays, composed for the occasion, were performed, in which the Germans were represented as defeated, and the English begging for peace on their knees, which the Emperor of the French grants upon condition that one hundred guineas ready money should be paid to each of his soldiers and sailors. Every corps in its turn was admitted gratis to witness this exhibition of the end of all their labours ; and you can form no idea what effect it produced, though you are not a stranger to our fickle and inconsiderate character. Ballads, with the same predictions and the same promises, were written and distributed among the soldiers, and sung by women sent by Fouche to the coast. As all productions of this sort were, as usual, liberally rewarded by the Emperor, they poured in from all parts of his Empire.

Three poets and authors of the theatre of the Vaudevilles, Barrel, Radet, and Desfontaines, each received two hundred napoleons d'or for their common production of a ballad, called " Des Adieux d'un Grenadier au Camp de Boulogne. " From this I have extracted the following sample, by which you may judge of the remainder :


THE GRENADIER'S ADIEU TO THE CAMP AT BOULOGNE


The drum is beating, we must march, We're summon'd to another field, A field that to our conq'ring swords Shall soon a laurel harvest yield. If English folly light the torch Of war in Germany again The loss is theirs - the gain is ours March! march ! commence the bright campaign.

There, only by their glorious deeds Our chiefs and gallant bands are known ; There, often have they met their foes, And victory was all their own : There, hostile ranks, at our approach, Prostrate beneath our feet shall bow ; There, smiling conquest waits to twine A laurel wreath round every brow.

Adieu, my pretty turf-built hut * Adieu, my little garden, too ! I made, I deck'd you all myself, And I am loth to part with you : But since my arms I must resume, And leave your comforts all behind, Upon the hostile frontier soon My tent shall flutter in the wind.

My pretty fowls and doves, adieu ! Adieu, my playful cat, to thee ! Who every morning round me came, And were my little family. But thee, my dog, I shall not leave No, thou shalt ever follow me, Shalt share my toils, shaft share my fame For thou art called VICTORY.

But no farewell I bid to you, Ye prams and boats, which, o'er the wave, Were doom'd to waft to England's shore Our hero chiefs, our soldiers brave. To you, good gentlemen of Thames, Soon, soon our visit shall be paid, Soon, soon your merriment be o'er 'T is but a few short hours delay'd.

* During the long continuance of the French encampment at Boulogne the troops had formed, as it were, a romantic town of huts. Every but had a garden surrounding it, kept in neat order and stocked with vegetables and flowers. They had, besides, fowls, pigeons, and rabbits; and these, with a cat and a dog, generally formed the little household of every soldier.

As I am writing on the subject of poetical agents, I will also say some words of our poetical flatterers, though the same persons frequently occupy both the one office and the other. A man of the name of Richaud, who has sung previously the glory of Marat and Robespierre, offered to Bonaparte, on the evening preceding his departure for Strasburg, the following lines ; and was in return presented with a purse full of gold, and an order to the Minister of the Interior, Champagny, to be employed in his offices, until better provided for.

STANZAS ON THE RUMOUR OF A WAR WITH AUSTRIA

Kings who, so often vanquish'd, vainly dare Menace the victor that has laid you lo - Look now at France - and view your own despair In the majestic splendour of your foe.

What miserable pride, ye foolish kings, Still your deluded reason thus misleads ? Provoke the storm - the bolt with lightning wings Shall fall - but fall on your devoted heads.

And thou, Napoleon, if thy mighty sword Shall for thy people conquer new renown ; Go - Europe shall attest, thy heart preferr'd The modest olive to the laurel crown.

But thee, lov'd chief, to new achievements bold

The aroused spirit of the soldier calls ; Speak ! - and Vienna cowering shall behold Our banners waving o'er her prostrate walls.

I received, four days afterwards, at the circle of Madame Joseph Bonaparte, with all other visitors, a copy of these stanzas. Most of the foreign Ambassadors were of the party, and had also a share of this patriotic donation. Count von Cobenzl had prudently absented himself ; otherwise, this delenda of the Austrian Carthage would have been officially announced to him.

Another poetaster, of the name of Brouet, in a long, dull, disgusting poem, after comparing Bonaparte with all great men of antiquity, and proving that he surpasses them all, tells his countrymen that their Emperor is the deputy Divinity upon earth - the mirror of wisdom, a demi-god to whom future ages will erect statues, build temples, burn incense, fall down and adore. A proportionate share of abuse is, of course, bestowed on your nation. He says :

A Londres on vit briller d'un éclat éphémère Le front tout radieux d'un ministre influent ; Mais pour faire pâlir l'étoile d'Angleterre, Un SOLEIL tout nouveau parut au firmament, Et ce soleil du peuple franc Admire de l'Europe entière Sur la terre est nomme BONAPARTE LE GRAND.

For this delicate compliment Brouet was made deputy postmaster-general in Italy, and a Knight of the Legion of Honour. It must be granted that, if Bonaparte is fond of flattery, he does not receive it gratis, but pays for it like a real Emperor.

It has lately become the etiquette, not only in our Court circle and official assemblies, but even in fashionable societies of persons who are, or wish to become, Bonaparte's public functionaries, to distribute and have read and applauded these disinterested effusions of our poetical geniuses. This fashion occasioned lately a curious blunder at a tea-party in the hotel of Madame de Talleyrand. The same printer who had been engaged by this lady had also been employed by Chenier, or some other poet, to print a short satire against several of our literary ladies, in which Madame de Genlis and Madame de Stael (who has just arrived here from her exile) were, with others, very severely handled. By mistake, a bundle of this production was given to the porter of Madame de Talleyrand, and a copy was handed to each visitor, even to Madame de Genlis and Madame de Stael, who took them without noticing their contents. Picard, after reading an act of a new play, was asked by the lady of the house to read this poetic worship of the Emperor of the French. After the first two lines he stopped short, looking round him confused, suspecting a trick had been played upon him. This induced the audience to read what had been given them, and Madame de Talleyrand with the rest ; who, instead of permitting Picard to continue with another scene of his play, as he had adroitly begun, made the most awkward apology in the world, and by it exposed the ladies still more who were the objects of the satire ; which, an hour afterwards, was exchanged for the verses intended for the homage of the Emperor, and the cause of the error was cleared up.

I have read somewhere of a tyrant of antiquity who forced all his subjects to furnish one room of their houses in the best possible manner, according to their circumstances, and to have it consecrated for the reception of his bust, before which, under pain of death, they were commanded to prostrate themselves, morning, noon, and night. They were to enter this room, bareheaded and barefooted, to remain there only on their knees, and to leave it without turning their back towards the sacred representative of their Prince. All laughing, sneezing, coughing, speaking, or even whispering, were capitally prohibited ; but crying was not only permitted, but commanded, when His Majesty was offended, angry, or unwell. Should our system of cringing continue progressively to increase as it has done these last three years, we, too, shall very soon have rooms consecrated, and an idol to adore.



LETTER XVIII


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - Portugal has suffered more from the degraded state of Spain, under the administration of the Prince of Peace, than we have yet gained by it in France. Engaged by her, in 1793, in a war against its inclination and interest, it was not only deserted afterwards, but sacrificed. But for the dictates of the Court of Madrid, supported, perhaps, by some secret influence of the Court of St. James, the Court of Lisbon would have preserved its neutrality, and, though not a well-wisher of the French Republic, never have been counted among her avowed enemies.

In the peace of 1795, and in the subsequent treaty of 1796, which transformed the family compact of the French and Spanish Bourbons into a national alliance between France and Spain, there was no question about Portugal. In 1797, indeed, our Government condescended to receive a Portuguese plenipotentiary, but merely for the purpose of plundering his country of some millions of money, and to insult it by shutting up its representative as a State prisoner in the Temple. Of this violation of the laws of civilized nations, Spain never complained, nor had Portugal any means to avenge it. After four years of negotiation, and an expenditure of thirty millions, the imbecile Spanish premier supported demands made by our Government, which, if assented to, would have left Her Most Faithful Majesty without any territory in Europe, and without any place of refuge in America. Circumstances not permitting your country to send any but pecuniary succours, Portugal would have become an easy prey to the united Spanish and French forces, had the marauders agreed about the partition of the spoil. Their disunion, the consequence of their avidity, saved it from ruin, but not from pillage. A province was ceded to Spain, the banks and the navigation of a river to France, and fifty millions to the private purse of the Bonaparte family.

It might have been supposed that such renunciations, and such offerings, would have satiated ambition, as well as cupidity ; but, though the Cabinet of Lisbon was in peace with the Cabinet of St. Cloud, the pretensions and encroachments of the latter left the former no rest. While pocketing tributes it required commercial monopolies, and when its commerce was favoured, it demanded seaports to ensure the security of its trade. Its pretensions rose in proportion to the condescensions of the State it, oppressed. With the money and the value of the diamonds which Portugal has paid in loans, in contributions, in requisitions, in donations, in tributes, and in presents, it might have supported, during ten years, an army of one hundred thousand men ; and could it then have been worse situated than it has been since, and is still at this moment ?

But the manner of extorting, and the individuals employed to extort, were more humiliating to its dignity and independence than the extortions themselves were injurious to its resources. The first revolutionary Ambassador Bonaparte sent thither evinced both his ingratitude and his contempt.

Few of our many upstart generals have more illiberal sentiments, and more vulgar and insolent manners, than General Lasnes. The son of a publican and a smuggler, he was a smuggler himself in his youth, and afterwards a postilion, a dragoon, a deserter, a coiner, a Jacobin, and a terrorist ; and he has, with all the meanness and brutality of these different trades, a kind of native impertinence and audacity which shocks and disgusts. He seems to say, " I am a villain. I know that I am so, and I am proud of being so. To obtain the rank I possess I have respected no human laws, and I bid defiance to all Divine vengeance. I might be murdered or hanged, but it is impossible to degrade me. On a gibbet or in the palace of a Prince, seized by the executioner or dining with Sovereigns, I am, I will, and I must, always remain the same. Infamy cannot debase me, nor is it in the power of grandeur to exalt me. " General, Ambassador, Field-marshal, First Consul, or Emperor, Lasnes will always be the same polluted, but daring individual; a stranger to remorse and repentance, as well as to honour and virtue. Where Bonaparte sends a banditto of such a stamp, he has resolved on destruction.

A kind of temporary disgrace was said to have occasioned Lasnes's first mission to Portugal. When commander of the consular guard, in 1802, he had appropriated to himself a sum of money from the regimental chest, and, as a punishment, was exiled as an Ambassador, as he said himself. His resentment against Bonaparte he took care to pour out on the Regent of Portugal. Without inquiring or caring about the etiquette of the Court of Lisbon, he brought the sans-culotte etiquette of the Court of the Tuileries with him, and determined to fraternize with a foreign and legitimate Sovereign, as he had done with his own sans-culotte friend and First Consul ; and, what is the more surprising, he carried his point. The Prince Regent not only admitted him to the royal table, but stood sponsor to his child by a wife who had been two years his mistress before he was divorced from his first spouse, and with whom the Prince's consort, a Bourbon Princess and a daughter of a King, was also obliged to associate.

Avaricious as well as unprincipled, he pursued, as an Ambassador, his former business of a smuggler, and, instead of being ashamed of a discovery, proclaimed it publicly, deserted his post, was not reprimanded in France, but was, without apology, received back again in Portugal. His conduct afterwards could not be surprising. He only insisted that some faithful and able Ministers should be removed, and others appointed in their place, more complaisant and less honest.

New plans of Bonaparte, however, delivered Portugal from this plague ; but what did it obtain in return ? - another grenadier Ambassador, less brutal but more cunning, as abandoned but more dissimulating.

General Junot is the son of a corn-chandler near the corn-market of this capital, and was a shopman to his father in 1789. Having committed some pilfering, he was turned out of the parental dwelling, and therefore lodged himself as an inmate of the Jacobin Club. In 1792, he entered, as a soldier, in a regiment of the army marching against the county of Nice ; and, in 1793, he served before Toulon, where he became acquainted with Bonaparte, whom he, in January, 1794, assisted in despatching the unfortunate Toulonese ; and with whom, also, in the autumn of the same year, he, therefore, was arrested as a terrorist.

In 1796, when commander-in-chief, Bonaparte made Junot his aide-de-camp ; and in that capacity he accompanied him, in 1798, to Egypt. There, as well as in Italy, he fought bravely, but had no particular opportunity of distinguishing himself. He was not one of those select few whom Napoleon brought with him to Europe in 1799, but returned first to France in 1801, when he was nominated a general of division and commander of this capital, a place he resigned last year to General Murat.

His despotic and cruel behaviour while commander of Paris made him not much regretted. Fouche lost in him, indeed, an able support, but none of us here ever experienced from him justice, much less protection. As with all other of our modern public functionaries, without money nothing was obtained from him. It required as much for not doing any harm as if, in renouncing his usual vexatious oppressions, he had conferred benefits. He was much suspected of being, with Fouche, the patron of a gang of street robbers and housebreakers, who, in the winter of 1803, infested this capital, and who, when finally discovered, were screened from justice and suffered to escape punishment.

I will tell you what I personally have seen of him. Happening one evening to enter the rooms at Frascati, where the gambling-tables are kept, I observed him, undressed, out of regimentals, in company with at young man, who afterwards avowed himself an aide-de-camp of this general, and who was playing with rouleaux of louis d'or, supposed to contain fifty each, at Rouge et Noir. As long as he lost, which he did several times, he took up the rouleau on the table, and gave another from his pocket. At last he won, when he asked the bankers to look at their loss, and count the money in his rouleau before they paid him. On opening it, they found it contained one hundred bank-notes of one thousand livres each - folded in a manner to resemble the form and size of louis d'or. The bankers refused to pay, and applied to the company whether they were not in the right to do so, after so many rouleaux had been changed by the person who now required such an unusual sum in such an unusual manner. Before any answer could be given, Junot interfered, asking the bankers whether they knew who he was. Upon their answering in the negative, he said : " I am General Junot, the commander of Paris, and this officer who has won the money is my aide-de-camp ; and I insist upon your paying him this instant, if you do not wish to have your bank confiscated and your persons arrested. " They refused to part with money which they protested was not their own, and most of the individuals present joined them in their resistance. " You are altogether a set of scoundrels and sharpers, " interrupted Junot; " your business shall soon be done. "

So saying, he seized all the money on the table, and a kind of boxing-match ensued between him and the bankers, in which he, being a tall and strong man, got the better of them. The tumult, however, brought in the guard, whom he ordered, as their chief, to carry to prison sixteen persons he pointed out. Fortunately, I was not of the number - I say fortunately, for I have heard that most of them remained in prison six months before this delicate affair was cleared up and settled. In the meantime, Junot not only pocketed all the money he pretended was due to his aide-de-camp, but the whole sum contained in the bank, which was double that amount. It was believed by every one present that this was an affair arranged between him and his aide-de-camp beforehand to pillage the bank. What a commander, what a general, and what an Ambassador !

Fitte, the secretary of our Embassy to Portugal, was formerly an Abbe, and must be well remembered in your country, where he passed some years as an emigrant, but was, in fact, a spy of Talleyrand. I am told that, by his intrigues, he even succeeded in swindling your Ministers out of a sum of money by some plausible schemes he proposed to them. He is, as well as all other apostate priests, a very dangerous man, and an immoral and unprincipled wretch. During the time of Robespierre he is said to have caused the murder of his elder brother and younger sister ; the former he denounced to appropriate to himself his wealth, and the latter he accused of fanaticism, because she refused to cohabit with him. He daily boasts of the great protection and great friendship of Talleyrand. 'Qualis rex, talis grex'.



LETTER XIX


PARIS, September 1805

MY LORD : - In some of the ancient Republics, all citizens who, in time of danger and trouble, remained neutral, were punished as traitors or treated as enemies. When, by our Revolution, civilized society and the European Commonwealth were menaced with a total overthrow, had each member of it been considered in the same light, and subjected to the same laws, some individual States might, perhaps, have been less wealthy, but the whole community would have been more happy and more tranquil, which would have been much better. It was a great error in the powerful league of 1793 to admit any neutrality at all; every Government that did not combat rebellion should have been considered and treated as its ally. The man who continues neutral, though only a passenger, when hands are wanted to preserve the vessel from sinking, deserves to be thrown overboard, to be swallowed up by the waves and to perish the first. Had all other nations been united and unanimous, during 1793 and 1794, against the monster, Jacobinism, we should not have heard of either Jacobin directors, Jacobin consuls, or a Jacobin Emperor. But then, from a petty regard to a temporary profit, they entered into a truce with a revolutionary volcano, which, sooner or later, will consume them all ; for I am afraid it is now too late for all human power, with all human means, to preserve any State, any Government, or any people, from suffering by the threatening conflagration. Switzerland, Venice, Geneva, Genoa, and Tuscany have already gathered the poisoned fruits of their neutrality. Let but Bonaparte establish himself undisturbed in Hanover some years longer, and you will see the neutral Hanse Towns, neutral Prussia, and neutral Denmark visited with all the evils of invasion, pillage, and destruction, and the independence of the nations in the North will be buried in the rubbish of the liberties of the people of the South of Europe.

These ideas have frequently occurred to me, on hearing our agents pronounce, and their dupes repeat : " Oh ! the wise Government of Denmark ! Oh, what a wise statesman the Danish Minister, Count von Bernstorff ! " I do not deny that the late Count von Bernstorff was a great politician; but I assert, also, that his was a greatness more calculated for regular times than for periods of unusual political convulsion. Like your Pitt, the Russian Woronzow, and the Austrian Colloredo, he was too honest to judge soundly and to act rightly, according to the present situation of affairs. He adhered too much to the old routine, and did not perceive the immense difference between the Government of a revolutionary ruler and the Government of a Louis XIII or a Louis XIV. I am certain, had he still been alive, he would have repented of his errors, and tried to have repaired them.

His son, the present Danish Minister, follows his father's plans, and adheres, in 1805, to a system laid down by him in 1795 ; while the alterations that have occurred within these ten years have more affected the real and relative power and weakness of States than all the revolutions which have been produced by the insurrections, wars, and pacifications of the two preceding centuries. He has even gone farther, in some parts of his administration, than his father ever intended. Without remembering the political TRUTH, that a weak State which courts the alliance of a powerful neighbour always becomes a vassal, while desiring to become an ally, he has attempted to exchange the connections of Denmark and Russia for new ones with Prussia ; and forgotten the obligations of the Cabinet of Copenhagen to the Cabinet of St. Petersburg, and the interested policy of the House of Brandenburgh. That, on the contrary, Russia has always been a generous ally of Denmark, the flourishing state of the Danish dominions since the beginning of the last century evinces. Its distance and geographical position prevent all encroachments from being feared or attempted ; while at the same time it affords protection equally against the rivalry of Sweden and ambition of Prussia. The Prince Royal of Denmark is patriotic as well as enlightened, and would rule with more true policy and lustre were he to follow seldomer the advice of his counsellors, and oftener the dictates of his own mind. Count von Schimmelmann, Count von Reventlow, and Count von Bernstorff, are all good and moral characters ; but I fear that their united capacity taken together will not fill up the vacancy left in the Danish Cabinet by the death of its late Prime Minister. I have been personally acquainted with them all three, but I draw my conclusions from the acts of their administration, not from my own knowledge. Had the late Count von Bernstorff held the ministerial helm in 1803, a paragraph in the Moniteur would never have disbanded a Danish army in Holstein ; nor would, in 1805, intriguers have been endured who preached neutrality, after witnessing repeated violation of the law of nations, not on the remote banks of the Rhine, but on the Danish frontiers, on the Danish territory, on the banks of the Elbe.

It certainly was no compliment to His Danish Majesty when our Government sent Grouvelle as a representative to Copenhagen, a man who owed his education and information to the Conde branch of the Bourbons, and who afterwards audaciously and sacrilegiously read the sentence of death on the chief of that family, on his good and legitimate King, Louis XVI. It can neither be called dignity nor prudence in the Cabinet of Denmark to suffer this regicide to serve as a point of rally to sedition and innovation ; to be the official propagator of revolutionary doctrines, and an official protector of all proselytes and sectaries of this anti-social faith.

Before the Revolution a secretary to the Prince of Conde, Grouvelle was trusted and rewarded by His Serene Highness, and in return betrayed his confidence, and repaid benefactions and generosity with calumny and persecution, when his patron was obliged to seek safety in emigration against the assassins of successful rebellion. When the national seals were put on the estates of the Prince, he appropriated to himself not only the whole of His Highness's library, but a part of his plate. Even the wardrobe and the cellar were laid under contributions by this domestic marauder.

With natural genius and acquired experience, Grouvelle unites impudence and immorality ; and those on whom he fixes for his prey are, therefore, easily duped, and irremediably undone. He has furnished disciples to all factions, and to all sects, assassins to the revolutionary tribunals, as well as victims for the revolutionary guillotine ; sans-culottes to Robespierre, Septembrizers to Marat, republicans to the Directory, spies to Talleyrand, and slaves to Bonaparte, who, in 1800, nominated him a tribune, but in 1804 disgraced him, because he wished that the Duc d' Enghien had rather been secretly poisoned in Baden than publicly condemned and privately executed in France.

Our present Minister at the Court of Copenhagen, D'Aguesseau, has no virtues to boast of, but also no crimes to blush for. With inferior capacity, he is only considered by Talleyrand as an inferior intriguer, employed in a country ruled by an inferior policy, neither feared nor esteemed by our Government. His secretary, Desaugiers the elder, is our real and confidential firebrand in the North, commissioned to keep burning those materials of combustion which Grouvelle and others of our incendiaries have lighted and illuminated in Holstein, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.



LETTER XX


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - The insatiable avarice of all the members of the Bonaparte family has already and frequently been mentioned ; some of our philosophers, however, pretend that ambition and vanity exclude from the mind of Napoleon Bonaparte the passion of covetousness ; that he pillages only to get money to pay his military plunderers, and hoards treasures only to purchase slaves, or to recompense the associates and instruments of his authority.

Whether their assertions be just or not, I will not take upon myself to decide ; but to judge from the great number of Imperial and royal palaces, from the great augmentation of the Imperial and royal domains ; from the immense and valuable quantity of diamonds, jewels, pictures, statues, libraries, museums, etc., disinterestedness and self-denial are certainly not among Napoleon's virtues.

In France, he not only disposes of all the former palaces and extensive demesnes of our King, but has greatly increased them, by national. property and by lands and estates bought by the Imperial Treasury, or confiscated by Imperial decrees. In Italy, he has, by an official act, declared to be the property of his crown, first, the royal palace at Milan, and a royal villa, which he now calls Villa Bonaparte ; second, the palace of Monza and its dependencies ; third, the palace of Mantua, the palace of The, and the ci-devant ducal palace of Modena ; fourth, a palace situated in the vicinity of Brescia, and another palace in the vicinity of Bologna; fifth, the ci-devant ducal palaces of Parma and Placenza ; sixth, the beautiful forest of Tesin. Ten millions were, besides, ordered to be drawn out of the Royal Treasury at Milan to purchase lands for the formation of a park, pleasure-grounds, etc.

To these are added all the royal palaces and domains of the former Kings of Sardinia, of the Dukes of Brabant, of the Counts of Flanders, of the German Electors, Princes, Dukes, Counts, Barons, etc., who, before the last war, were Sovereigns on the right bank of the Rhine. I have seen a list, according to which the number of palaces and chateaux appertaining to Napoleon as Emperor and King, are stated to be seventy-nine ; so that he may change his habitations six times in the month, without occupying during the same year the same palace, and, nevertheless, always sleep at home.

In this number are not included the private chateaux and estates of the Empress, or those of the Princes and Princesses Bonaparte. Madame Napoleon has purchased, since her husband's consulate, in her own name, or in the name of her children, nine estates with their chateaux, four national forests, and six hotels at Paris. Joseph Bonaparte possesses four estates and chateaux in France, three hotels at Paris and at Brussels, three chateaux and estates in Italy, and one hotel at Milan, and another at Turin. Lucien Bonaparte has now remaining only one hotel at Paris, another at Bonne, and a third at Chambery. He has one estate in Burgundy, two in Languedoc, and one in the vicinity of this capital. At Bologna, Ferrara, Florence, and Rome, he has his own hotels, and in the Papal States he has obtained, in exchange for property in France, three chateaux with their dependencies. Louis Bonaparte has three hotels at Paris, one at Cologne, one at Strasburg, and one at Lyons. He has two estates in Flanders, three in Burgundy, one in Franche-Comte, and another in Alsace. He has also a chateau four leagues from this city. At Genoa he has a beautiful hotel, and upon the Genoese territory a large estate. He has bought three plantations at Martinico, and two at Guadeloupe. To Jerome Bonaparte has hitherto been presented only an estate in Brabant, and a hotel in this capital. Some of the former domains of the House of Orange, in the Batavian Republic, have been purchased by the agents of our Government, and are said to be intended for him.

But, while Napoleon Bonaparte has thus heaped wealth on his wife and his brothers, his mother and sisters have not been neglected or left unprovided for. Madame Bonaparte, his mother, has one hotel at Paris, one at Turin, one at Milan, and one at Rome. Her estates in France are four, and in Italy two. Madame Bacciochi, Princess of Piombino and Lucca, possesses two hotels in this capital, and one palace at Piombino and another at Lucca. Of her estates in France, she has only retained two, but she has three in the Kingdom of Italy, and four in her husband's and her own dominions. The Princess Santa Cruce possesses one hotel at Rome and four chateaux in the papal territory. At Milan she has, as well as at Turin and at Paris, hotels given her by her Imperial brother, together with two estates in France, one in Piedmont, and two in Lombardy. The Princesse Murat is mistress of two hotels here, one at Brussels, one at Tours, and one at Bordeaux, together with three estates on this, and five on the other side of the Alps. The Princesse Borghese has purchased three plantations at Guadeloupe, and two at Martinico, with a part of the treasures left her by her first husband, Leclerc. With her present husband she received two palaces at Rome, and three estates on the Roman territory ; and her Imperial brother has presented her with one hotel at Paris, one at Cologne, one at Turin, and one at Genoa, together with three estates in France and five in Italy. For his mother, and for each of his sisters, Napoleon has also purchased estates, or lands to form estates, in their native island of Corsica.

The other near or distant relatives of the Emperor and King have also experienced his bounty. Cardinal Fesch has his hotels at Paris, Milan, Lyons, Turin, and Rome; with estates both in France and Italy. Seventeen, either first, second, or third cousins, by his father's or mother's side, have all obtained estates either in the French Empire, or in the Kingdom of Italy, as well as all brothers, sisters, or cousins of his own wife, and the wives of his brothers, or of the husbands of his sisters. Their exact number cannot well be known, but a gentleman who has long been collecting materials for some future history of the House of Bonaparte, and of the French Empire, has already shown me sixty-six names of individuals of that description, and of both sexes, who all, thanks to the Imperial liberality, have suddenly and unexpectedly become people of property.

When you consider that all these immense riches have been seized and distributed within the short period of five years, it is not hazardous to say that, in the annals of Europe, another such revolution in property, as well as in power, is not to be found.

The wealth of the families of all other Sovereigns taken together does not amount to half the value of what the Bonapartes have acquired and possess.

Your country, more than any other upon earth, has to be alarmed at this revolution of property. Richer than any other nation, you have more to apprehend ; besides, it threatens you more, both as our frequent enemies and as our national rivals ; as a barrier against our plans of universal dominion, and as our superiors in pecuniary resources. May we never live to see the day when the mandates of Bonaparte or Talleyrand are honoured at London, as at Amsterdam, Madrid, Milan, and Rome. The misery of ages to come will then be certain, and posterity will regard as comparative happiness, the sufferings of their forefathers. It is not probable that those who have so successfully pillaged all surrounding States will rest contented until you are involved in the same ruin. Union among yourselves only can preserve you from perishing in the universal wreck ; by this you will at least gain time, and may hope to profit by probable changes and unexpected accidents.



LETTER XXI


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - The Counsellor of State and intendant of the Imperial civil list, Daru, paid for the place of a commissary-general of our army in Germany the immense sum of six millions of livres - which was divided between Madame Bonaparte (the mother), Madame Napoleon Bonaparte, Princesse Louis Bonaparte, Princesse Murat and the Princesse Borghese. By this you may conclude in what manner we intend to treat the wretched inhabitants of the other side of the Rhine. This Daru is too good a calculator and too fond of money to throw away his expenses ; he is master of a great fortune, made entirely by his arithmetical talents, which have enabled him for years to break all the principal gambling-banks on the Continent, where he has travelled for no other purpose. On his return here, he became the terror of all our gamesters, who offered him an annuity of one hundred thousand livres - not to play ; but as this sum would have been deducted from what is weekly paid to Fouche, this Minister sent him an order not to approach a gambling-table, under pain of being transported to Cayenne. He obeyed, but the bankers soon experienced that he had deputies, and for fear that even from the other side of the Atlantic he might forward his calculations hither, Fouche recommended him, for a small douceur, to the office of an intendant of Bonaparte's civil list, upon condition of never, directly or indirectly, injuring our gambling-banks. He has kept his promise with regard to France, but made, last spring, a gambling tour in Italy and Germany, which, he avows, produced him nine millions of livres. He always points, but never keeps a bank. He begins to be so well known in many parts of the Continent, that the instant he arrives all banks are shut up, and remain so until his departure. This was the case at Florence last April. He travels always in style, accompanied by two mistresses and four servants. He is a chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

He will, however, have some difficulty to make a great profit by his calculations in Germany, as many of the generals are better acquainted than he with the country, where their extortions and dilapidations have been felt and lamented for these ten years past. Augereau, Bernadotte, Ney, Van Damme, and other of our military banditti, have long been the terror of the Germans and the reproach of France.

In a former letter I have introduced to you our Field-marshal, Bernadotte, of whom Augereau may justly be called an elder revolutionary brother - like him, a Parisian by birth, and, like him, serving as a common soldier before the Revolution. But he has this merit above Bernadotte, that he began his political career as a police spy, and finished his first military engagement by desertion into foreign countries, in most of which, after again enlisting and again deserting, he was also again taken and again flogged. Italy has, indeed, since he has been made a general, been more the scene of his devastations than Germany. Lombardy and Venice will not soon forget the thousands he butchered, and the millions he plundered ; that with hands reeking with blood, and stained with human gore, he seized the trinkets which devotion had given to sanctity, to ornament the fingers of an assassin, or decorate the bosom of a harlot. The outrages he committed during 1796 and 1797, in Italy, are too numerous to find place in any letter, even were they not disgusting to relate, and too enormous and too improbable to be believed. He frequently transformed the temples of the divinity into brothels for prostitution ; and virgins who had consecrated themselves to remain unpolluted servants of a God, he bayoneted into dens of impurity, infamy, and profligacy ; and in these abominations he prided himself. In August, 1797, on his way to Paris to take command of the sbirri, who, on the 4th of the following September, hunted away or imprisoned the representatives of the people of the legislative body, he paid a prostitute, with whom he had passed the night at Pavia, with a draft for fifty louis d'or on the municipality of that town, who dared not dishonour it ; but they kept the draft, and in 1799 handed it over to Gendral Melas, who sent it to Vienna, where I saw the very original.

The general and grand officer of Bonaparte's Legion of Honour, Van Damme, is another of our military heroes of the same stamp. A barber, and son of a Flemish barber, he enlisted as a soldier, robbed, and was condemned to be hanged. The humanity of the judge preserved him from the gallows ; but he was burnt on the shoulders, flogged by the public executioner, and doomed to serve as a galley-slave for life. The Revolution broke his fetters, made him a Jacobin, a patriot, and a general ; but the first use he made of his good fortune was to cause the judge, his benefactor, to be guillotined, and to appropriate to himself the estate of the family. He was cashiered by Pichegru, and dishonoured by Moreau, for his ferocity and plunder in Holland and Germany ; but Bonaparte restored him to rank and confidence ; and by a douceur of twelve hundred thousand livres - properly applied and divided between some of the members of the Bonaparte family, he procured the place of a governor at Lille, and a commander-in-chief of the ci-devant Flanders. In landed property, in jewels, in amount in the funds, and in ready money (he always keeps, from prudence, six hundred thousand livres - in gold), his riches amount to eight millions of livres. For a ci-devant sans-culotte barber and galley-slave, you must grant this is a very modest sum.



LETTER XXII


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - You must often have been surprised at the immense wealth which, from the best and often authentic information, I have informed you our generals and public functionaries have extorted and possess ; but the catalogue of private rapine committed, without authority, by our soldiers, officers, commissaries, and generals, is likewise immense, and surpassing often the exactions of a legal kind that is to say, those authorized by our Government itself, or by its civil and military representatives. It comprehends the innumerable requisitions demanded and enforced, whether as loans, or in provisions or merchandise, or in money as an equivalent for both; the levies of men, of horses, oxen, and carriages ; corvees of all kinds ; the emptying of magazines for the service of our armies ; in short, whatever was required for the maintenance, a portion of the pay, and divers wants of those armies, from the time they had posted themselves in Brabant, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, and on either bank of the Rhine. Add to this the pillage of public or private warehouses, granaries, and magazines, whether belonging to individuals, to the State, to societies, to towns, to hospitals, and even to orphan-houses.

But these and other sorts of requisitions, under the appellation of subsistence necessary for the armies, and for what was wanted for accoutring, quartering, or removing them, included also an infinite consumption for the pleasures, luxuries, whims, and debaucheries of our civil or military commanders. Most of those articles were delivered in kind, and what were not used were set up to auction, converted into ready money, and divided among the plunderers.

In 1797, General Ney had the command in the vicinity of the free and Imperial city of Wetzlar. He there put in requisition all private stores of cloths ; and after disposing of them by a public sale, retook them upon another requisition from the purchasers, and sold them a second time. Leather and linen underwent the same operation. Volumes might be filled with similar examples, all of public notoriety.

This General Ney, who is now one of the principal commanders under Bonaparte in Germany, was a bankrupt tobacconist at Strasburg in 1790, and is the son of an old-clothes man of Sarre Louis, where he was born in 1765. Having entered as a common soldier in the regiment of Alsace, to escape the pursuit of his creditors, he was there picked up by some Jacobin emissaries, whom he assisted to seduce the men into an insurrection, which obliged most of the officers to emigrate. From that period he began to distinguish himself as an orator of the Jacobin clubs, and was, therefore, by his associates, promoted by one step to an adjutant-general. Brave and enterprising, ambitious for advancement, and greedy after riches, he seized every opportunity to distinguish and enrich himself ; and, as fortune supported his endeavours, he was in a short time made a general of division, and acquired a property of several millions. This is his first campaign under Bonaparte, having previously served only under Pichegru, Moreau, and Le Courbe.

He, with General Richepanse, was one of the first generals supposed to be attached to their former chief, General Moreau, whom Bonaparte seduced into his interest. In the autumn of 1802, when the Helvetic Republic attempted to recover its lost independence, Ney was appointed commander-in-chief of the French army in Switzerland, and Ambassador from the First Consul to the Helvetic Government. He there conducted himself so much to the satisfaction of Bonaparte, that, on the rupture with your country, he was made commander of the camp near Montreuil ; and last year his wife was received as a Maid of Honour to the Empress of the French.

This Maid of Honour is the daughter of a washer-woman, and was kept by a man-milliner at Strasburg, at the time that she eloped with Ney. With him she had made four campaigns as a mistress before the municipality of Coblentz made her his wife. Her conduct since has corresponded with that of her husband. When he publicly lived with mistresses, she did not live privately with her gallants, but the instant the Emperor of the French told him to save appearances, if he desired a place for his wife at the Imperial Court, he showed himself the most attentive and faithful of husbands, and she the most tender and dutiful of wives. Her manners are not polished, but they are pleasing ; and though not handsome in her person, she is lively ; and her conversation is entertaining, and her society agreeable. The Princesse Louis Bonaparte is particularly fond of her, more so than Napoleon, perhaps, desires. She has a fault common with most of our Court ladies : she cannot resist, when opportunity presents itself, the temptation of gambling, and she is far from being fortunate. Report says that more than once she has been reduced to acquit her gambling debts by personal favours.

Another of our generals, and the richest of them all who are now serving under Bonaparte, is his brother-in-law, Prince Murat. According to some, he had been a Septembrizer, terrorist, Jacobin, robber, and assassin, long before he obtained his first commission as an officer, which was given him by the recommendation of Marat, whom he in return afterwards wished to immortalize, by the exchange of one letter in his own name, and by calling himself Marat instead of Murat. Others, however, declare that his father was an honest cobbler, very superstitious, residing at Bastide, near Cahors, and destined his son to be a Capuchin friar, and that he was in his novitiate when the Revolution tempted him to exchange the frock of the monk for the regimentals of a soldier. In what manner, or by what achievements, he gained promotion is not certain, but in 1796 he was a chief of brigade, and an aide-de-camp of Bonaparte, with whom he went to Egypt, and returned thence with him, and who, in 1801, married him to his sister, Maria Annunciade, in 1803 made him a governor of Paris, and in 1804 a Prince.

The wealth which Murat has collected, during his military service, and by his matrimonial campaign, is rated at upwards of fifty millions of livres. The landed property he possesses in France alone has cost him forty - two millions - and it is whispered that the estates bought in the name of his wife, both in France and Italy, are not worth much less. A brother-in-law of his, who was a smith, he has made a legislator ; and an uncle, who was a tailor, he has placed in the Senate. A cousin of his, who was a chimneysweeper, is now a tribune ; and his niece, who was an apprentice to a mantua-maker, is now married to one of the Emperor's chamberlains. He has been very generous to all his relations, and would not have been ashamed, even, to present his parents at the Imperial Court, had not the mother, on the first information of his princely rank, lost her life, and the father his senses, from surprise and joy. The millions are not few that he has procured his relatives an opportunity to gain. His brother-in-law, the legislator, is worth three millions of livres.

It has been asserted before, and I repeat it again :

" It is avarice, and not the mania of innovation, or the jargon of liberty, that has led, and ever will lead, the Revolution - its promoters, its accomplices, and its instruments. Wherever they penetrate, plunder follows ; rapine was their first object, of which ferocity has been but the means. The French Revolution was fostered by robbery and murder ; two nurses that will adhere to her to the last hour of her existence. "

General Murat is the trusty executioner of all the Emperor's secret deeds of vengeance, or public acts of revolutionary justice. It was under his private responsibility that Pichegru, Moreau, and Georges were guarded ; and he saw Pichegru strangled, Georges guillotined, and Moreau on his way to his place of exile. After the seizure and trial of the Duc d' Enghien, some doubts existed with Napoleon whether even the soldiers of his Italian guard would fire at this Prince. " If they hesitate, " said Murat, who commanded the expedition in the wood of Vincennes, " my pistols are loaded, and I will blow out his brains. "

His wife is the greatest coquette of the Bonaparte family. Murat was, at first, after his marriage, rather jealous of his brother-in-law, Lucien, whom he even fought ; but Napoleon having assured him, upon his word of honour, that his suspicions were unfounded, he is now the model of complaisant and indulgent husbands ; but his mistresses are nearly as numerous as Madame Murat's favourites. He has a young aide-de-camp of the name of Flahault, a son of Talleyrand, while Bishop of Autun, by the then Countess de Flahault, whom Madame Murat would not have been sorry to have had for a consoler at Paris, while her princely spouse was desolating Germany.



LETTER XXIII


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - Since Bonaparte's departure for Germany, the vigilance of the police has much increased : our patrols are doubled during the night, and our spies more numerous and more insolent during the day. Many suspected persons have also been exiled to some distance from this capital, while others, for a measure of safety, have been shut up in the Temple, or in the Castle of Vincennes. These 'lettres de cachet', or mandates of arrest, are expedited during the Emperor's absence exclusively by his brother Louis, after a report, or upon a request, of the Minister of Police, Fouche.

I have mentioned to you before that Louis Bonaparte is both a drunkard and a libertine. When a young and unprincipled man of such propensities enjoys an unrestrained authority, it cannot be surprising to hear that he has abused it. He had not been his brother's military viceroy for twenty-four hours before one set of our Parisians were amused, while others were shocked and scandalized, at a tragical intrigue enterprised by His Imperial Highness.

Happening to see at the opera a very handsome young woman in the boxes, he despatched one of his aides-de-camp to reconnoitre the ground, and to find out who she was. All gentlemen attached to his person or household are also his pimps, and are no novices in forming or executing plans of seduction. Caulaincourt (the officer he employed in this affair) returned soon, but had succeeded only in one part of the business. He had not been able to speak to the lady, but was informed that she had only been married a fortnight to a manufacturer of Lyons, who was seated by her side, jealous of his wife as a lover of his mistress. He gave at the same time as his opinion that it would be necessary to employ the police commissary to arrest the husband when he left the play, under some pretext or other, while some of the friends of Prince Louis took advantage of the confusion to seize the wife, and carry her to his hotel. An order was directly signed by Louis, according to which the police commissary, Chazot, was to arrest the manufacturer Leboure, of Lyons, and put him into a post-chaise, under the care of two gendarmes, who were to see him safe to Lyons, where he was to sign a promise of not returning to Paris without the permission of Government, being suspected of stockjobbing (agiotage). Everything succeeded according to the proposal of Caulaincourt, and Louis found Madame Leboure crying in his saloon. It is said that she promised to surrender her virtue upon condition of only once more seeing her husband, to be certain that he was not murdered, but that Louis refused, and obtained by brutal force, and the assistance of his infamous associates, that conquest over her honour which had not been yielded to his entreaties or threats. His enjoyment, however, was but of short continuance ; he had no sooner fallen asleep than his poor injured victim left the bed, and, flying into his anteroom, stabbed herself with his sword. On the next morning she was found a corpse, weltering in her blood. In the hope of burying this infamy in secrecy, her corpse was, on the next evening, when it was dark, put into a sack, and thrown into the river, where, being afterwards discovered, the police agents gave out that she had fallen the victim of assassins. But when Madame Leboure was thus seized at the opera, besides her husband, her parents and a brother were in her company, and the latter did not lose sight of the carriage in which his sister was placed till it had entered the hotel of Louis Bonaparte, where, on the next day, he, with his father, in vain claimed her. As soon as the husband was informed of the untimely end of his wife, he wrote a letter to her murderer, and shot himself immediately afterwards through the head, but his own head was not the place where he should have sent the bullet ; to destroy with it the cause of his wretchedness would only have been an act of retaliation, in a country where power forces the law to lie dormant, and where justice is invoked in vain when the criminal is powerful.

I have said that this intrigue, as it is styled by courtesy in our fashionable circles, amused one part of the Parisians ; and I believe the word 'amuse' is not improperly employed in this instance. At a dozen parties where I have been since, this unfortunate adventure has always been an object of conversation, of witticisms, but not of blame, except at Madame Fouche's, where Madame Leboure was very much blamed indeed for having been so overnice, and foolishly scrupulous.

Another intrigue of His Imperial Highness, which did not, indeed, end tragically, was related last night, at the tea-party of Madame Recamier. A man of the name of Deroux had lately been condemned by our criminal tribunal, for forging bills of exchange, to stand in the pillory six hours, and, after being marked with a hot iron on his shoulders, to work in the galleys for twenty years. His daughter, a young girl under fifteen, who lived with her grandmother (having lost her mother), went, accompanied by the old lady, and presented a petition to Louis, in favour of her father. Her youth and modesty, more than her beauty, inspired the unprincipled libertine with a desire of ruining innocence, under the colour of clemency to guilt. He ordered her to call on his chamberlain, Darinsson, in an hour, and she should obtain an answer. There, either seduced by paternal affection, intimidated by threats, or imposed upon by delusive and engaging promises, she exchanged her virtue for an order of release for her parent ; and so satisfied was Louis with his bargain that he added her to the number of his regular mistresses.

As soon as Deroux had recovered his liberty, he visited his daughter in her new situation, where he saw an order of Louis, on the Imperial Treasury, for twelve thousand livres - destined to pay the upholsterer who had furnished her apartment. This gave him, no doubt, the idea of making the Prince pay a higher value for his child, and he forged another order for sixty thousand livres - so closely resembling it that it was without suspicion acquitted by the Imperial Treasurer. Possessing this money, he fabricated a pass, in the name of Louis, as a courier carrying despatches to the Emperor in Germany, with which he set out, and arrived safe on the other side of the Rhine. His forgeries were only discovered after he had written a letter from Frankfort to Louis, acquitting his daughter of all knowledge of what he had done. In the first moment of anger, her Imperial lover ordered her to be arrested, but he has since forgiven her, and taken her back to his favour. This trick of Deroux has pleased Fouche, who long opposed his release, from a knowledge of his dangerous talent and vicious character. He had once before released himself with a forged order from the Minister of Police, whose handwriting he had only seen for a minute upon his own mandate of imprisonment.



BOOK VII.


LETTER XXIV


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - Though loudly complained of by the Cabinet of St. Cloud, the Cabinet of St. Petersburg has conducted itself in these critical times with prudence without weakness, and with firmness without obstinacy. In its connections with our Government it has never lost sight of its own dignity, and, therefore, never endured without resentment those impertinent innovations in the etiquette of our Court, and in the manner and language of our Emperor to the representatives of legitimate Sovereigns. Had similar becoming sentiments directed the councils of all other Princes and the behaviour of their Ambassadors here, spirited remonstrances might have moderated the pretensions or passions of upstart vanity, while a forbearance and silence, equally impolitic and shameful, have augmented insolence by flattering the pride of an insupportable and outrageous ambition.

The Emperor of Russia would not have been so well represented here, had he not been so wisely served and advised in his council chamber at St. Petersburg. Ignorance and folly commonly select fools for their agents, while genius and capacity employ men of their own mould, and of their own cast. It is a remarkable truth that, notwithstanding the frequent revolutions in Russia, since the death of Peter the First the ministerial helm has always been in able hands ; the progressive and uninterrupted increase of the real and relative power of the Russian Empire evinces the reality of this assertion.

The Russian Chancellor, Count Alexander Woronzoff, may be justly called the chief of political veterans, whether his talents or long services are considered. Catherine II, though a voluptuous Princess, was a great Sovereign, and a competent judge of merit; and it was her unbiased choice that seated Count Woronzoff, while yet young, in her councils. Though the intrigues of favourites have sometimes removed him, he always retired with the esteem of his Sovereign, and was recalled without caballing or cringing to return. He is admired by all who have the honour of approaching him, as much for his obliging condescension as for his great information. No petty views, no petty caprices, no petty vengeances find room in his generous bosom. He is known to have conferred benefactions, not only on his enemies, but on those who, at the very time, were meditating his destruction. His opinion is that a patriotic Minister should regard no others as his enemies but those conspiring against their country, and acknowledge no friends or favourites incapable of well serving the State. Prince de Z… waited on him one day, and, after hesitating some time, began to compliment him on his liberal sentiments, and concluded by asking the place of a governor for his cousin, with whom he had reason to suppose the Count much offended. " I am happy, " said His Excellency, " to oblige you, and to do my duty at the same time. Here is a libel he wrote against me, and presented to the Empress, who graciously has communicated it to me, in answer to my recommendation of him yesterday to the place you ask for him to-day. Read what I have written on the libel, and you will be convinced that it will not be my fault if he is not to-day a governor. " In two hours afterwards the nomination was announced to Prince de Z…, who was himself at the head of a cabal against the Minister. In any country such an act would have been laudable, but where despotism rules with unopposed sway, it is both honourable and praiseworthy.

Prince Adam Czartorinsky, the assistant of Count Woronzoff, and Minister of the foreign department, unites, with the vigour of youth, the experience of age. He has travelled in most countries of Europe, not solely to figure at Courts, to dance at balls, to look at pictures, or to collect curiosities, but to study the character of the people, the laws by which they are governed, and their moral or social influence with regard to their comforts or misery. He therefore brought back with him a stock of knowledge not to be acquired from books, but only found in the world by frequenting different and opposite societies with observation, penetration, and genius. With manners as polished as his mind is well informed, he not only, possesses the favour, but the friendship of his Prince, and, what is still more rare, is worthy of both. All Sovereigns have favourites, few ever had any friends ; because it is more easy to flatter vanity, than to display a liberal disinterestedness ; to bow meanly than to instruct or to guide with delicacy and dignity ; to abuse the confidence of the Prince than to use it to his honour, and to the advantage of his Government.

That such a Monarch as an Alexander, and such Ministers as Count Woronzoff and Prince Czartorinsky, should appoint a Count Markof to a high and important post, was not unexpected by any one not ignorant of his merit.

Count Markof was, early in the reign of Catherine II, employed in the office of the foreign department at St. Petersburg, and was, whilst young, entrusted with several important negotiations at the Courts of Berlin and Vienna, when Prussia had proposed the first partition of Poland. He afterward went on his travels, from which he was recalled to fill the place of an Ambassador to the late King of Sweden, Gustavus III. He was succeeded, in 1784, at Stockholm, by Count Muschin Puschin, after being appointed a Secretary of State in his own country, a post he occupied with distinction, until the death of Catherine II, when Paul the First revenged upon him, as well as on most others of the faithful servants of this Princess, his discontent with his mother. He was then exiled to his estates, where he retired with the esteem of all those who had known him. In 1801, immediately after his accession to the throne, Alexander invited Count Markof to his Court and Council, and the trusty but difficult task of representing a legitimate Sovereign at the Court of our upstart usurper was conferred on him. I imagine that I see the great surprise of this nobleman, when, for the first time, he entered the audience-chamber of our little great man, and saw him fretting, staring, swearing, abusing to right and to left, for one smile conferring twenty frowns, and for one civil word making use of fifty hard expressions, marching in the diplomatic audience as at the head of his troops, and commanding foreign Ambassadors as his French soldiers. I have heard that the report of Count Markof to his Court, describing this new and rare show, is a chef-d'oeuvre of wit, equally amusing and instructive. He is said to have requested of his Cabinet new and particular orders how to act - whether as the representative of an independent Sovereign, or, as most of the other members of the foreign diplomatic corps in France, like a valet of the First Consul ; and that, in the latter case, he implored as a favour, an immediate recall ; preferring, had he no other choice left, sooner to work in the mines at Siberia than to wear, in France the disgraceful fetters of a Bonaparte. His subsequent dignified conduct proves the answer of his Court.

Talleyrand's craft and dissimulation could not delude the sagacity of Count Markof, who was, therefore, soon less liked by the Minister than by the First Consul. All kind of low, vulgar, and revolutionary chicanery was made use of to vex or to provoke the Russian Ambassador. Sometimes he was reproached with having emigrants in his service; another time protection was refused to one of his secretaries, under pretence that he was a Sardinian subject. Russian travellers were insulted, and detained on the most frivolous pretences. Two Russian noblemen were even arrested on our side of the Rhine, because Talleyrand had forgotten to sign his name to their passes, which were otherwise in order. The fact was that our Minister suspected them of carrying some papers which he wanted to see, and, therefore, wrote his name with an ink of such a composition that, after a certain number of days, everything written with it disappeared. Their effects and papers were strictly searched by an agent preceding them from this capital, but nothing was found, our Minister being misinformed by his spies.

When Count Markof left Sweden, he carried with him an actress of the French theatre at Stockholm, Madame Hus, an Alsatian by birth, but who had quitted her country twelve years before the Revolution, and could, therefore, never be included among emigrants. She had continued as a mistress with this nobleman, is the mother of several children by him, and an agreeable companion to him, who has never been married. As I have often said, Talleyrand is much obliged to any foreign diplomatic agent who allows him to be the indirect provider or procurer of his mistresses. After in vain tempting Count Markof with new objects, he introduced to the acquaintance of Madame Hus some of his female emissaries. Their manoeuvres, their insinuations, and even their presents were all thrown away. The lady remained the faithful friend, and therefore refused with indignation to degrade herself into a spy on her lover. Our Minister then first discovered that, not only was Madame Hus an emigrant, but had been a great benefactress and constant companion of emigrants at St. Petersburg, and, of course, deserved to be watched, if not punished. Count Markof is reported to have said to Talleyrand on this grave subject, in the presence of two other foreign Ambassadors :

" A propos ! what shall I do to prevent my poor Madame Hus from being shot as an emigrant, and my poor children from becoming prematurely orphans ? "

" Monsieur, " said our diplomatic oracle, " she should have petitioned the First Consul for a permission to return, to France before she entered it ; but out of regard for you, if she is prudent, she will not, I daresay, be troubled by our Government. "

" I should be sorry if she was not, " replied the Count, with a significant look ; and here this grand affair ended, to the great entertainment of those foreign agents who dared to smile or to laugh.



LETTER XXV


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - The Legion of Honour, though only proclaimed upon Bonaparte's assumption of the Imperial rank, dates from the first year of his consulate. To prepare the public mind for a progressive elevation of himself, and for consequential distinctions among all classes of his subjects, he distributed among the military, arms of honour, to which were attached precedence and privileges granted by him, and, therefore, liable to cease with his power or life. The number of these arms increased in proportion to the approach of the period fixed for the change of his title and the erection of his throne. When he judged them numerous enough to support his changes, he made all these wearers of arms of honour knights. Never before were so many chevaliers created en masse ; they amounted to no less than twenty-two thousand four hundred, distributed in the different corps of different armies, but principally in the army of England. To these were afterwards joined five thousand nine hundred civil functionaries, men of letters, artists, etc. To remove, however, all ideas of equality, even among the members of the Legion of Honour, they were divided into four classes - grand officers, commanders, officers, and simple legionaries.

Every one who has observed Bonaparte's incessant endeavours to intrude himself among the Sovereigns of Europe, was convinced that he would cajole, or force, as many of them as he could into his revolutionary knighthood ; but I heard men, who are not ignorant of the selfishness and corruption of our times, deny the possibility of any independent Prince suffering his name to be registered among criminals of every description, from the thief who picked the pockets of his fellow citizens in the street, down to the regicide who sat in judgment and condemned his King ; from the plunderers who have laid waste provinces, republics, and kingdoms, down to the assassins who shot, drowned, or guillotined their countrymen en masse. For my part, I never had but one opinion, and, unfortunately, it has turned out a just one. I always was convinced that those Princes who received other presents from Bonaparte could have no plausible excuse to decline his ribands, crosses, and stars. But who could have presumed to think that, in return for these blood-stained baubles, they would have sacrificed those honourable and dignified ornaments which, for ages past, have been the exclusive distinction of what birth had exalted, virtue made eminent, talents conspicuous, honour illustrious, or valour meritorious ? Who would have dared to say that the Prussian Eagle and the Spanish Golden Fleece should thus be prostituted, thus polluted ? I do not mean by this remark to throw any blame on the conferring those and other orders on Napoleon Bonaparte, or even on his brothers ; I know it is usual, between legitimate Sovereigns in alliance, sometimes to exchange their knighthoods ; but to debase royal orders so much as to present them to a Cambaceres, a Talleyrand, a Fouche, a Bernadotte, a Fesch, and other vile and criminal wretches, I do not deny to have excited my astonishment as well as my indignation. What honest – I do not say what noble - subjects of Prussia, or of Spain, will hereafter think themselves rewarded for their loyalty, industry, patriotism, or zeal, when they remember that their Sovereigns have nothing to give but what the rebel has obtained, the robber worn, the murderer vilified, and the regicide debased ?

The number of grand officers of the Legion of Honour does not yet amount to more than eighty, according to a list circulated at Milan last spring, of which I have seen a copy. Of these grand officers, three had been shoemakers, two tailors, four bakers, four barbers, six friars, eight abbes, six officers, three pedlers, three chandlers, seven drummers, sixteen soldiers, and eight regicides ; four were lawful Kings, and the six others, Electors or Princes of the most ancient houses in Europe. I have looked over our, own official list, and, as far as I know, the calculation is exact, both with regard to the number and to the quality.

This new institution of knighthood produced a singular effect on my vain and giddy, countrymen, who, for twelve years before, had scarcely seen a star or a riband, except those of foreign Ambassadors, who were frequently insulted when wearing them. It became now the fashion to be a knight, and those who really were not so, put pinks, or rather blooms, or flowers of a darker red, in their buttonholes, so as to resemble, and to be taken at a distance for, the red ribands of the members of the Legion of Honour.

A man of the name of Villeaume, an engraver by profession, took advantage of this knightly fashion and mania, and sold for four louis d'or, not only the stars, but pretended letters of knighthood, said to be procured by his connection with persons of the household of the Emperor. In a month's time, according to a register kept by him, he had made twelve hundred and fifty knights. When his fraud was discovered, he was already out of the way, safe with his money ; and, notwithstanding the researches of the police, has not since been taken.

A person calling himself Baron von Rinken, a subject and an agent of one of the many Princes of Hohenlohe, according to his own assertion, arrived here with real letters and patents of knighthood, which he offered for sale for three hundred livres. The stars of this Order were as large as the star of the grand officers of the Legion of Honour, and nearly resembled it ; but the ribands were of a different colour. He had already disposed of a dozen of these stars, when he was taken up by the police and shut up in the Temple, where he still remains. Four other agents of inferior petty German Princes have also been arrested for offering the Orders of their Sovereigns for sale.

A Captain Rouvais, who received six wounds in his campaign under Pichegru in 1794, wore the star of the Legion of Honour without being nominated a knight. He has been tried by a military commission, deprived of his pension, and condemned to four years' imprisonment in irons. He proved that he had presented fourteen petitions to Bonaparte for obtaining this mark of distinction, but in vain ; while hundreds of others, who had hardly seen an enemy, or, at the most, made but one campaign, or been once wounded, had succeeded in their demands. As soon as sentence had been pronounced against him, he took a small pistol from his pocket, and shot himself through the head, saying, " Some one else will soon do the same for Bonaparte. "

A cobbler, of the name of Matthieu, either in a fit of madness or from hatred to the new order of things, decorated himself with the large riband of the Legion of Honour, and had an old star fastened on his coat. Thus accoutred, he went into the Palais Royal, in the middle of the day, got upon a chair, and began to speak to his audience of the absurdity of true republicans not being on a level, even under an Emperor, and putting on, like him, all his ridiculous ornaments. " We are here, " said he, " either all grand officers, or there exist no grand officers at all ; we have all fought and paid for liberty, and for the Revolution, as much as Bonaparte, and have, therefore, the same right and claim with him. " Here a police agent and some gendarmes interrupted his eloquence by taking him into custody. When Fouche asked him what he meant by such rebellious behaviour, he replied that it was only a trial to see whether destiny had intended him to become an Emperor or to remain a cobbler. On the next day he was shot as a conspirator. I saw the unfortunate man in the Palais Royal ; his eyes looked wild, and his words were often incoherent. He was certainly a subject more deserving a place in a madhouse than in a tomb.

Cambaceres has been severely reprimanded by the Emperor for showing too much partiality for the Royal Prussian Black Eagle, by wearing it in preference to the Imperial Legion of Honour. He was given to understand that, except for four days in the year, the Imperial etiquette did not permit any subjects to display their knighthood of the Prussian Order. In Madame Bonaparte's last drawing-room, before His Imperial Majesty set out for the Rhine, he was ornamented with the Spanish, Neapolitan, Prussian, and Portuguese orders, together with those of the French Legion of Honour and of the Italian Iron Crown. I have seen the Emperor Paul, who was also an amateur of ribands and stars, but never with so many at once. I have just heard that the Grand Master of Malta has presented Napoleon with the Grand Cross of the Maltese Order. This is certainly a negative compliment to him, who, in July, 1798, officially declared to his then sectaries, the Turks and Mussulmans, " that the Grand Master, Commanders, Knights, and Order of Malta existed no more. "

I have heard it related for a certainty among our fashionable ladies, that the Empress of the French also intends to institute a new order of female knighthood, not of honour, but of confidence ; of which all our Court ladies, all the wives of our generals, public functionaries, etc., are to be members. The Imperial Princesses of the Bonaparte family are to be hereditary grand officers, together with as many foreign Empresses, Queens, Princesses, Countesses, and Baronesses as can be bayoneted into this revolutionary sisterhood. Had the Continent remained tranquil, it would already have been officially announced by a Senatus Consultum. I should suppose that Madame Bonaparte, with her splendid Court and brilliant retinue of German Princes and Electors at Strasburg, need only say the word to find hundreds of princely recruits for her knighthood in petto. Her mantle, as a Grand Mistress of the Order of CONFIDENCE, has been already embroidered at Lyons, and those who have seen it assert that it is truly superb. The diamonds of the star on the mantle are valued at six hundred thousand livres.



LETTER XXVI


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - Since Bonaparte's departure for Germany, fifteen individuals have been brought here, chained, from La Vendee and the - Western Departments, and are imprisoned in the Temple. Their crime is not exactly known, but private letters from those countries relate that they were recruiting for another insurrection, and that some of them were entrusted as Ambassadors from their discontented countrymen to Louis XVIII to ask for his return to France, and for the assistance of Russia, Sweden, and England to support his claims.

These are, however, reports to which I do not affix much credit. Had the prisoners in the Temple been guilty, or only accused of such crimes, they would long ago have been tortured, tried, and executed, or executed without a trial. I suppose them mere hostages arrested by our Government, as security for the tranquillity of the Chouan Departments during our armies' occupation elsewhere. We have, nevertheless, two movable columns of six thousand men each in the country, or in its vicinity, and it would be not only impolitic, but a cruelty, to engage or allure the unfortunate people of these wretched countries into any plots, which, situated as affairs now are, would be productive of great and certain evil to them, without even the probability of any benefit to the cause of royalty and of the Bourbons. I do not mean to say that there are not those who rebel against Bonaparte's tyranny, or that the Bourbons have no friends ; on the contrary, the latter are not few, and the former very numerous. But a kind of apathy, the effect of unavailing resistance to usurpation and oppression, has seized on most minds, and annihilated what little remained of our never very great public spirit. We are tired of everything, even of our existence, and care no more whether we are governed by a Maximilian Robespierre or by a Napoleon Bonaparte, by a Barras or by Louis XVIII. Except, perhaps, among the military, or among some ambitious schemers, remnants of former factions, I do not believe a Moreau, a Macdonald, a Lucien Bonaparte, or any person exiled by the Emperor, and formerly popular, could collect fifty trusty conspirators in all France ; at least, as long as our armies are victorious, and organized in their present formidable manner. Should anything happen to our present chief, an impulse may be given to the minds now sunk down, and raise our characters from their present torpid state. But until such an event, we shall remain as we are, indolent but submissive, sacrificing our children and treasures for a cause we detest, and for a man we abhor. I am sorry to say it, but it certainly does, no honour to my nation when one million desperados of civil and military banditti are suffered to govern, tyrannize, and pillage, at their ease and undisturbed, thirty millions of people, to whom their past crimes are known, and who have every reason to apprehend their future wickedness.

This astonishing resignation (if I can call it so, and if it does not deserve a worse name), is so much the more incomprehensible, as the poverty of the higher and middle classes is as great as the misery of the people, and, except those employed under Bonaparte, and some few upstart contractors or army commissaries, the greatest privations must be submitted to in order to pay the enormous taxes and make a decent appearance. I know families of five, six, and seven persons, who formerly were wealthy, and now have for a scanty subsistence an income of twelve or eighteen hundred livres – per year, with which they are obliged to live as they can, being deprived of all the resource that elsewhere labour offers to the industrious, and all the succours compassion bestows on the necessitous. You know that here all trade and all commerce are at a stand or destroyed, and the hearts of our modern rich are as unfeeling as their manners are vulgar and brutal.

A family of ci-devant nobles of my acquaintance, once possessing a revenue of one hundred and fifty thousand livres - subsist now on fifteen hundred livres - per year ; and this sum must support six individuals - the father and mother, with four children ! It does so, indeed, by an arrangement of only one poor meal in the day ; a dinner four times, and a supper three times, in the week. They endure their distress with tolerable cheerfulness, though in the same street, where they occupy the garrets of a house, resides, in an elegant hotel, a man who was once their groom, but who is now a tribune, and has within these last twelve years, as a conventional deputy, amassed, in his mission to Brabant and Flanders, twelve millions of livres. He has kindly let my friend understand that his youngest daughter might be received as a chambermaid to his wife, being informed that she has a good education. All the four daughters are good musicians, good drawers, and very able with their needles. By their talents they supported their parents and themselves during their emigration in Germany ; but here these are of but little use or advantage. Those upstarts who want instruction or works of this sort apply to the first, most renowned, and fashionable masters or mistresses ; while others, and those the greatest number, cannot afford even to pay the inferior ones and the most cheap. This family is one of the many that regret having returned from their emigration. But, you may ask, why do they not go back again to Germany ? First, it would expose them to suspicion, and, perhaps, to ruin, were they to demand passes; and if this danger or difficulty were removed, they have no money for such a long journey.

But this sort of penury and wretchedness is also common with the families of the former wealthy merchants and tradesmen. Paper money, a maximum, and requisitions, have reduced those that did not share in the crimes and pillage of the Revolution, as much as the proscribed nobility. And, contradictory as it may seem, the number of persons employed in commercial speculations has more than tripled since we experienced a general stagnation of trade, the consequence of war, of want of capital, protection, encouragement, and confidence ; but one of the magazines of 1789 contained more goods and merchandize than twenty modern magazines put together. The expenses of these new merchants are, however, much greater than sixteen years ago, the profit less, and the credit still less than the profit. Hence numerous bankruptcies, frauds, swindling, forgeries, and other evils of immorality, extravagance, and misery. The fair and honest dealers suffer most from the intrusion of these infamous speculators, who expecting, like other vile men wallowing in wealth under their eyes, to make rapid fortunes, and to escape detection as well as punishment - commit crimes to soothe disappointment. Nothing is done but for ready money, and even bankers' bills, or bills accepted by bankers, are not taken in payment before the signatures are avowed by the parties concerned. You can easily conceive what confusion, what expenses, and what ; loss of time these precautions must occasion ; but the numerous forgeries and fabrications have made them absolutely necessary.

The farmers and landholders are better off, but they also complain of the heavy taxes, and low price paid for what they bring to the market, which frequently, for want of ready money, remains long unsold. They take nothing but cash in payment ; for, notwithstanding the endeavours of our Government, the notes of the Bank of France have never been in circulation among them. They have also been subject to losses by the fluctuation of paper money, by extortions, requisitions, and by the maximum. In this class of my countrymen remains still some little national spirit and some independence of character ; but these are far from being favourable to Bonaparte, or to the Imperial Government, which the yearly increase of taxes, and, above all, the conscription, have rendered extremely odious. You may judge of the great difference in the taxation of lands and landed property now and under our Kings, when I inform you that a friend of mine, who, in 1792, possessed, in one of the Western Departments, twenty-one farms, paid less in contribution for them all than he does now for the three farms he has recovered from the wreck of his fortune.



LETTER XXVII


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - In a military empire, ruled by a military despot, it is a necessary policy that the education of youth should also be military. In all our public schools or prytanees, a boy, from the moment of entering, is registered in a company, and regularly drilled, exercised, and reviewed, punished for neglect or fault according to martial law, and advanced if displaying genius or application. All our private schools that wish for the protection of Government are forced to submit to the same military rules, and, therefore, most of our conscripts, so far from being recruits, are fit for any service as soon as put into requisition. The fatal effects to the independence of Europe to be dreaded from this sole innovation, I apprehend, have been too little considered by other nations. A great Power, that can, without obstacle, and with but little expense, in four weeks increase its disposable military force from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and eighty thousand young men, accustomed to military duty from their youth, must finally become the master of all other or rival Powers, and dispose at leisure of empires, kingdoms, principalities, and republics. NOTHING CAN SAVE THEM BUT THE ADOPTION OF SIMILAR MEASURES FOR THEIR PRESERVATION AS HAVE BEEN ADOPTED FOR THEIR SUBJUGATION.

When l'Etat Militaire for the year 13 (a work containing the official statement of our military forces) was presented to Bonaparte by Berthier, the latter said : " Sire, I lay before Your Majesty the book of the destiny of the world, which your hands direct as the sovereign guide of the armies of your empire. " This compliment is a truth, and therefore no flattery. It might as justly have been addressed to a Moreau, a Macdonald, a Le Courbe, or to any other general, as to Bonaparte, because a superior number of well disciplined troops, let them be well or even indifferently commanded, will defeat those inferior in number. Three to one would even overpower an army of giants. Add to it the unity of plans, of dispositions, and of execution, which Bonaparte enjoys exclusively over such a great number of troops, while ten, or perhaps fifty, will direct or contradict every movement of his opponents. I tremble when I meditate on Berthier's assertion ; may I never live to see it realized, and to see all hitherto independent nations prostrated, acknowledge that Bonaparte and destiny are the same, and the same distributor of good and evil.

One of the bad consequences of this our military education of youth is a total absence of all religious and moral lessons. Arnaud had, last August, the courage to complain of this infamous neglect, in the National Institute. " The youth, " said he, " receive no other instruction but lessons to march, to fire, to bow, to dance, to sit, to lie, and to impose with a good grace. I do not ask for Spartans or Romans, but we want Athenians, and our schools are only forming Sybarites. " Within twenty-four hours afterwards, Arnaud was visited by a police agent, accompanied by two gendarmes, with an order signed by Fouche, which condemned him to reside at Orleans, and not to return to Paris without the permission of the Government, - a punishment regarded here as very moderate for such an indiscreet zeal.

A schoolmaster at Auteuil, near this capital, of the name of Gouron, had a private seminary, organized upon the footing of our former colleges. In some few months he was offered more pupils than he could well attend to, and his house shortly became very fashionable, even for our upstarts, who sent their children there in preference. He was ordered before Fouche last Christmas, and commanded to change the hours hitherto employed in teaching religion and morals, to a military exercise and instruction, as both more necessary and more salubrious for French youth. Having replied that such an alteration was contrary to his plan and agreement with the parents of his scholars, the Minister stopped him short by telling him that he must obey what had been prescribed by Government, or stand the consequences of his refractory spirit. Having consulted with his friends and patrons, he divided the hours, and gave half of the time usually allotted to religion or morality to the study of military exercise. His pupils, however, remained obstinate, broke the drum, and tore and burnt the colours he had bought. As this was not his fault, he did not expect any further disturbance, particularly after having reported to the police both his obedience and the unforeseen result. But last March his house was suddenly surrounded in the night by gendarmes, and some police agents entered it. All the boys were ordered to dress and to pack up their effects, and to follow the gendarmes to several other schools, where the Government had placed them, and of which their parents would be informed. Gouron, his wife, four ushers, and six servants, were all arrested and carried to the police office, where Fouche, after reproaching them for their fanatical behaviour, as he termed it, told them, as they were so fond of teaching religious and moral duties, a suitable situation had been provided for them in Cayenne, where the negroes stood sadly in need of their early arrival, for which reason they would all set out on that very morning for Rochefort. When Gouron asked what was to become of his property, furniture, etc., he was told that his house was intended by Government for a preparatory school, and would, with its contents, be purchased, and the amount paid him in lands in Cayenne. It is not necessary to say that this example of Imperial justice had the desired effect on all other refractory private schoolmasters.

The parents of Gouron's pupils were, with a severe reprimand, informed where their sons had been placed, and where they would be educated in a manner agreeable to the Emperor, who recommended them not to remove them, without a previous notice to the police. A hatter, of the name of Maille, however, ordered his son home, because he had been sent to a dearer school than the former. In his turn he was carried before the police, and, after a short examination of a quarter of an hour, was permitted, with his wife and two children, to join their friend Gouron at Rochefort, and to settle with him at Cayenne, where lands would also be given him for his property, in France. These particulars were related to me by a neighbour whose son had, for two years previous to this, been under Gouron's care, but who was now among those placed out by our Government. The boy's present master, he said, was a man of a notoriously bad and immoral character ; but he was intimidated, and weak enough to remain contented, preferring, no doubt, his personal safety to the future happiness of his child. In your country, you little comprehend what a valuable instrument terror has been in the hands of our rulers since the Revolution, and how often fear has been mistaken abroad for affection and content.

All these minutiae and petty vexations, but great oppressions, of petty tyrants, you may easily guess, take up a great deal of time, and that, therefore, a Minister of Police, though the most powerful, is also the most occupied of his colleagues. So he certainly is, but, last year, a new organization of this Ministry was regulated by Bonaparte; and Fouche was allowed, as assistants, four Counsellors of State, and an augmentation of sixty-four police commissaries. The French Empire was then divided into four arrondissements, with regard to the general police, not including Paris and its vicinity, inspected by a prefect of police under the Minister. Of the first of these arrondissements, the Counsellor of State, Real, is a kind of Deputy Minister ; the Counsellor of State, Miot, is the same of the second ; the Counsellor of State, Pelet de la Lozere, of the third ; and the Counsellor of State, Dauchy, of the fourth. The secret police agents, formerly called spies, were also considerably increased.



LETTER XXVIII


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - Before Bonaparte set out for the Rhine, the Pope's Nuncio was for the first time publicly rebuked by him in Madame Bonaparte's drawing-room, and ordered loudly to write to Rome and tell His Holiness to think himself fortunate in continuing to govern the Ecclesiastical States, without interfering with the ecclesiastical arrangements that might be thought necessary or proper by the Government in France.

Bonaparte's policy is to promote among the first dignitaries of the Gallican Church the brothers or relatives of his civil or military supporters ; Cambacere's brother is, therefore, an Archbishop and Cardinal, and one of Lebrun's, and two of Berthier's cousins are Bishops. As, however, the relatives of these Senators, Ministers, or generals, have, like themselves, figured in many of the scandalous and blasphemous scenes of the Revolution, the Pope has sometimes hesitated about sanctioning their promotions. This was the case last summer, when General Dessolles's brother was transferred from the Bishopric of Digne to that of Chambry, and Bonaparte nominated for his successor the brother of General Miollis, who was a curate of Brignoles, in the diocese of Aix. This curate had not only been one of the first to throw up his letters of priesthood at the Jacobin Club at Aix, but had also sacrilegiously denied the divinity of the Christian religion, and proposed, in imitation of Parisian atheists, the worship of a Goddess of Reason in a common prostitute with whom he lived. The notoriety of these abominations made even his parishioners at Brignoles unwilling to go to church, and to regard him as their pastor, though several of them had been imprisoned, fined, and even transported as fanatics, or as refractory.

During the negotiation with Cardinal Fesch last year, the Pope had been promised, among other things, that, for the future, his conscience should not be wounded by having presented to him for the prelacy any persons but those of the purest morals of the French Empire ; and that all his objections should be attended to, in case of promotions ; his scruples removed, or his refusal submitted to. When Cardinal Fesch demanded His Holiness's Bull for the curate Miollis, the Cardinal Secretary of State, Gonsalvi, showed no less than twenty acts of apostasy and blasphemy, which made him unworthy of such a dignity. To this was replied that, having obtained an indulgence in to for what was past, he was a proper subject ; above all, as he had the protection of the Emperor of the French. The Pope's Nuncio here then addressed himself to our Minister of the Ecclesiastical Department, Portalis, who advised him not to speak to Bonaparte of a matter upon which his mind had been made up ; he, nevertheless, demanded an audience, and it was in consequence of this request that he, in his turn, became acquainted with the new Imperial etiquette and new Imperial jargon towards the representatives of Sovereigns. On the same evening the Nuncio expedited a courier to Rome, and I have heard to-day that the nomination of Miollis is confirmed by the Pope.

From this relatively trifling occurrence, His Holiness might judge of the intention of our Government to adhere to its other engagements ; but at Rome, as well as in most other Continental capitals, the Sovereign is the dupe of the perversity of his Counsellors and Ministers, who are the tools, and not seldom the pensioners, of the Cabinet of St. Cloud.

But in the kingdom of Italy the parishes and dioceses are, if possible, still worse served than in this country. Some of the Bishops there, after having done duty in the National Guards, worn the Jacobin cap, and fought against their lawful Prince, now live in open adultery ; and, from their intrigues, are the terror of all the married part of their flock. The Bishop of Pavia keeps the wife of a merchant, by whom he has two children ; and, that the public may not be mistaken as to their real father, the merchant received a sum of money to establish himself at Brescia, and has not seen his wife for these two years past. General Gourion, who was last spring in Italy, has assured me that he read the advertisement of a curate after his concubine, who had eloped with another curate ; and that the Police Minister at Milan openly licensed women to be the housekeepers of priests.

A grand vicar, Sarini, at Bologna, was, in 1796, a friar, but relinquished then the convent for the tent, and exchanged the breviary for the musket. He married a nun of one cloister, from whom he procured a divorce in a month, to unite himself with an Abbess of another, deserted by him in her turn for the wife of an innkeeper, who robbed and eloped from her husband. Last spring he returned to the bosom of the Church, and, by making our Empress a present of a valuable diamond cross, of which he had pillaged the statue of a Madonna, he obtained the dignity of a grand vicar, to the great edification, no doubt, of all those who had seen him before the altar or in the camp, at the brothel, or in the hospital.

Another grand vicar of the same Bishop, in the same city, of the name of Rami, has two of his illegitimate children as singing-boys in the same cathedral where he officiates as a priest. Their mother is dead, but her daughter, by another priest, is now their father's mistress. This incestuous commerce is so little concealed that the girl does the honours of the grand vicar's house, and, with naivete enough, tells the guests and visitors of her happiness in having succeeded her mother. I have this anecdote from an officer who heard her make use of that expression.

In France, our priests, I fear, are equally as debauched and unprincipled ; but, in yielding to their vicious propensities, they take care to save the appearance of virtue, and, though their guilt is the same, the scandal is less. Bonaparte pretends to be severe against all those ecclesiastics who are accused of any irregularities after having made their peace with the Church. A curate of Picardy, suspected of gallantry, and another of Normandy, accused of inebriety, were last month, without further trial or ceremony than the report of the Minister Portalis, delivered over to Fouche, who transported them to Cayenne, after they had been stripped of their gowns. At the same time, Cardinal Cambaceres and Cardinal Fesch, equally notorious for their excesses, were taken no notice of, except that they were laughed at in our Court circles.

I am, almost every day, more and more convinced that our Government is totally indifferent about what becomes of our religious establishment when the present race of priests is extinguished ; which, in the course of nature, must happen in less than thirty years. Our military system and our military education discourage all young men from entering into orders ; while, at the same time, the army is both more honourable and more profitable than the Church. Already we want curates, though several have been imported from Germany and Spain, and, in some departments, four, and even six parishes have only one curate to serve them all. The Bishops exhort, and the parents advise their children to study theology ; but then the law of conscription obliges the student of theology, as well as the student of philosophy, to march together ; and, when once in the ranks, and accustomed to the licentiousness of a military life, they are either unwilling, unfit, or unworthy to return to anything else. The Pope, with all his entreaties, and with all his prayers, was unable to procure an exception from the conscription of young men preparing themselves for priesthood. Bonaparte always answered : " Holy Father, were I to consent to your demand, I should soon have an army of priests, instead of an army of soldiers. " Our Emperor is not unacquainted with the real character and spirit of his Volunteers. When the Pope represented the danger of religion expiring in France, for want of priests to officiate at the altars, he was answered that Bonaparte, at the beginning of his consulate, found neither altars nor priests in France ; that if his reign survived the latter, the former would always be standing, and survive his reign. He trusted that the chief of the Church would prevent them from being deserted. He assured him that when once he had restored the liberties of the seas, and an uninterrupted tranquillity on the Continent, he should attend more, and perhaps entirely, to the affairs of the Church. He consented, however, that the Pope might institute, in the Ecclesiastical States, a seminary for two hundred young Frenchmen, whom he would exempt from military conscription. This is the stock from which our Church establishment is to be supplied !



LETTER XXIX


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - The short journey of Count von Haugwitz to Vienna, and the long stay of our Imperial Grand Marshal, Duroc, at Berlin, had already caused here many speculations, not quite corresponding with the views and, perhaps, interests of our Court, when our violation of the Prussian territory made our courtiers exclaim : " This act proves that the Emperor of the French is in a situation to bid defiance to all the world, and, therefore, no longer courts the neutrality of a Prince whose power is merely artificial ; who has indemnities to restore, but no delicacy, no regard to claims. " Such was the language of those very men who, a month before, declared " that His Prussian Majesty held the balance of peace or war in his hands ; that he was in a position in which no Prussian Monarch ever was before ; that while his neutrality preserved the tranquillity of the North of Germany, the South of Europe would soon be indebted to his powerful mediation for the return of peace. "

The real cause of this alteration in our courtiers' political jargon has not yet been known ; but I think it may easily be discovered without any official publication. Bonaparte had the adroitness to cajole the Cabinet of Berlin into his interest, in the first month of his consulate, notwithstanding his own critical situation, as well as the critical situation of France ; and he has ever since taken care both to attach it to his triumphal car and to inculpate it indirectly in his outrages and violations. Convinced, as he thought, of the selfishness which guided all its resolutions, all his attacks and invasions against the law of nations, or independence of States, were either preceded or followed with some offers of aggrandizement, of indemnity, of subsidy, or of alliance. His political intriguers were generally more successful in Prussia than his military heroes in crossing the Rhine or the Elbe, in laying the Hanse Towns under contribution, or in occupying Hanover ; or, rather, all these acts of violence and injustice were merely the effects of his ascendency in Prussia. When it is, besides, remembered what provinces Prussia accepted from his bounty, what exchange of presents, of ribands, of private letters passed between Napoleon the First and Frederick William III, between the Empress of the French and the Queen of Prussia, it is not surprising if the Cabinet of St. Cloud thought itself sure of the submission of the Cabinet of Berlin, and did not esteem it enough to fear it, or to think that it would have spirit enough to resent, or even honour to feel, the numerous Provocations offered.

Whatever Bonaparte and Talleyrand write or assert to the contrary, their gifts are only the wages of their contempt, and they despise more that State they thus reward than those nations at whose expense they are liberal, and with whose spoil they delude selfishness or meanness into their snares. The more legitimate Sovereigns descend from their true dignity, and a liberal policy, the nearer they approach the baseness of usurpation and the Machiavellism of rebellion. Like other upstarts, they never suffer an equal. If you do not keep yourself above them, they will crush you beneath them. If they have no reason to fear you, they will create some quarrel to destroy you.

It is said here that Duroc's journey to Berlin was merely to demand a passage for the French troops through the Prussian territory in Franconia, and to prevent the Russian troops from passing through the Prussian territory in Poland. This request is such as might have been expected from our Emperor and his Minister. Whether, however, the tone in which this curious negotiation with a neutral power was begun, or that, at last, the generosity of the Russian Monarch awakened a sense of duty in the Cabinet of Berlin, the arrival of our pacific envoy was immediately followed with warlike preparations. Fortunate, indeed, was it for Prussia to have resorted to her military strength instead of trusting any longer to our friendly assurances. The disasters that have since befallen the Austrian armies in Suabia, partly occasioned by our forced marches through neutral Prussia, would otherwise soon have been felt in Westphalia, in Brandenburgh, and in Pomerania. But should His Prussian Majesty not order his troops to act in conjunction with Russia, Austria, England, and Sweden, and that very soon, all efforts against Bonaparte will be vain, as those troops which have dispersed the Austrians and repulsed the Russians will be more than equal to master the Prussians, and one campaign may be sufficient to convince the Prussian Ministers of their folly and errors for years, and to punish them for their ignorance or selfishness.

Some preparations made in silence by the Marquis of Lucchesini, his affected absence from some of our late Court circles, and the number of spies who now are watching his hotel and his steps, seem to indicate that Prussia is tired of its impolitic neutrality, and inclined to join the confederacy against France. At the last assembly at our Prince Cambaceres's, a rumour circulated that preliminary articles for an offensive alliance with your country had already been signed by the Prussian Minister, Baron Von Hardenberg, on one side, and by your Minister to the Court of Berlin on the other; according to which you were to take sixty thousand Prussians and twelve thousand Hessians into your pay, for five years certain. A courier from Duroc was said to have brought this news, which at first made some impression, but it wore away by degrees ; and our Government, to judge from the expressions of persons in its confidence, seems more to court than to fear a rupture with Prussia. Indeed, besides all other reasons to carry on a war in the North of Europe, Bonaparte's numerous and young generals are impatient to enrich themselves, as Italy, Switzerland, Holland, and the South of Germany are almost exhausted.



LETTER XXX


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - The provocations of our Government must have been extraordinary indeed, when they were able to awaken the Cabinet of Berlin from its long and incomprehensible infatuation of trusting to the friendly intentions of honest Talleyrand, and to the disinterested policy of our generous Bonaparte. To judge its intents from its acts, the favour of the Cabinet of St. Cloud was not only its wish but its want. You must remember that, last year, besides his ordinary Ambassador, Da Lucchesini, His Prussian Majesty was so ill advised as to despatch General Knobelsdorff as his extra representative, to assist at Napoleon's coronation, a degradation of lawful sovereignty to which even the Court of Naples, though surrounded with our troops, refused to subscribe ; and, so late as last June, the same Knobelsdorff did, in the name of his Prince, the honours at the reviews near Magdeburg, to all the generals of our army in Hanover who chose to attend there. On this occasion the King lodged in a farmhouse, the Queen in the house of the curate of Koestelith, while our sans-culotte officers, Bernadotte Co., were quartered and treated in style at the castle of Putzbull, fitted up for their accommodation. This was certainly very hospitable, and very civil, but it was neither prudent nor politic. Upstarts, experiencing such a reception from Princes, are convinced that they are dreaded, because they know that they have not merit to be esteemed.

Do not confound this Knobelsdorff with the late Field-marshal of that name, who, in 1796, answered to a request which our then Ambassador at Berlin (Abbe Sieyes) had made to be introduced to him, NON ET SANS PHRASE, the very words this regicide used when he sat in judgment on his King, and voted LA MORT ET SANS PHRASE. This Knobelsdorff is a very different character. He pretends to be equally conspicuous in the Cabinet as in the field, in the boudoir as in the study. A demi-philosopher, a demi-savant, a demi-gallant and a demi-politician, constitute, all taken together, nothing except an insignificant courtier. I do not know whether he was among those Prussian officers who, in 1798, CRIED when it was inserted in the public prints that the Grand Bonaparte had been killed in an insurrection at Cairo, but of this I am certain, that were Knobelsdorff to survive Napoleon the First, none of His Imperial Majesty's own dutiful subjects would mourn him more sincerely than this subject of the King of Prussia. He is said to possess a great share of the confidence of his King, who has already employed him in several diplomatic missions. The principal and most requisite qualities in a negotiator are political information, inviolable fidelity, penetrating but unbiased judgment, a dignified firmness, and condescending manners. I have not been often enough in the society of General Knobelsdorff to assert whether nature and education have destined him to illumine or to cloud the Prussian monarchy.

I have already mentioned in a former letter that it was Count von Haugwitz who, in 1792, as Prussian Ambassador at Vienna, arranged the treaty which then united the Austrian and Prussian Eagles against the Jacobin Cap of Liberty. It is now said in our diplomatic circle that his second mission to the same capital has for an object the renewal of these ties, which the Treaty of Basle dissolved ; and that our Government, to impede his success, or to occasion his recall, before he could have time to conclude, had proposed to Prussia an annual subsidy of thirty millions of liveres - which it intended to exact from Portugal for its neutrality. The present respectable appearance of Prussia, shows, however, that whether the mission of Haugwitz had the desired issue or not, His Prussian Majesty confides in his army in preference to our parchments.

Some of our politicians pretend that the present Minister of the foreign department in Prussia, Baron von Hardenberg, is not such a friend of the system of neutrality as his predecessor. All the transactions of his administration seem, nevertheless, to proclaim that, if he wished his country to take an active part in the present conflict, it would not have been against France, had she not begun the attack with the invasion of Anspach and Bayreuth. Let it be recollected that, since his Ministry, Prussia has acknowledged Bonaparte an Emperor of the French, has exchanged orders with him, and has sent an extraordinary Ambassador to be present at his coronation, - not common compliments, even between Princes connected by the nearest ties of friendship and consanguinity. Under his administration, the Rhine has been passed to seize the Duc d'Enghien, and the Elbe to capture Sir George Rumbold ; the Hanse Towns have been pillaged, and even Emden blockaded ; and the representations against, all these outrages have neither been followed by public reparation nor a becoming resentment ; and was it not also Baron von Hardenberg, who, on the 5th of April, 1795, concluded at Basle that treaty to which we owe all our conquests and Germany and Italy all their disasters ? It is not probable that the parent of pacification will destroy its own progeny, if self-preservation does not require it.

Baron von Hardenberg is both a learned nobleman and an enlightened statesman, and does equal honour both to his own rank and to the choice of his Prince. The late Frederick William II nominated him a Minister of State and a Counsellor of his Cabinet. On the 26th of January, 1792, as a directorial Minister, he took possession, in the name of the King of Prussia, of the Margravates of Anspach and Bayreuth, and the inhabitants swore before him, as their governor, their oaths of allegiance to their new Sovereign. - He continued to reside as a kind of viceroy, in these States, until March, 1795, when he replaced Baron von Goltz as negotiator with our republican plenipotentiary in Switzerland ; but after settling all differences between Prussia and France, he returned to his former post at Anspach, where no complaints have been heard against his Government.

The ambition of Baron von Hardenberg has always been to obtain the place he now occupies, and the study of his life has been to gain such information as would enable him to fill it with distinction. I have heard it said that in most countries he had for years kept and paid private agents, who regularly corresponded with him and sent him reports of what they heard or saw of political intrigue or machinations. One of these his agents I happened to meet with, in 1796, at Basle, and were I to conclude from what I observed in him, the Minister has not been very judicious in his selection of private correspondents. Figure to yourself a bald-headed personage, about forty years of age, near seven feet high, deaf as a post, stammering and making convulsive efforts to express a sentence of five words, which, after all, his gibberish made unintelligible. His dress was as eccentric as his person was singular, and his manners corresponded with both. He called himself Baron von Bulow, and I saw him afterwards, in the autumn of 1797, at Paris, with the same accoutrements and the same jargon, assuming an air of diplomatic mystery, even while displaying before me, in a coffee-house, his letters and instructions from his principal. As might be expected, he had the adroitness to get himself shut up in the Temple, where, I have been told, the generosity of your Sir Sidney Smith prevented him from starving.

No member of the foreign diplomatic corps here possesses either more knowledge, or a longer experience, than the Prussian Ambassador, Marquis of Lucchesini. He went with several other philosophers of Italy to admire the late hero of modern philosophy at Berlin, Frederick the Great, who received him well, caressed him often, but never trusted or employed him. I suppose it was not at the mention of the Marquis's name for the place of a governor of some province that this Monarch said, " My subjects of that province have always been dutiful ; a philosopher shall never rule in my name but over people with whom I am discontented, or whom I intend to chastise. " This Prince was not unacquainted with the morality of his sectaries.

During the latter part of the life of this King, the Marquis of Lucchesini was frequently of his literary and convivial parties ; but he was neither his friend nor his favourite, but his listener. It was first under Frederick William II that he began his diplomatic career, with an appointment as Minister from Prussia to the late King of Poland. His first act in this post was a treaty signed on the 29th of March, 1790, with the King and Republic of Poland, which changed an elective monarchy into an hereditary one ; but, notwithstanding the Cabinet of Berlin had guaranteed this alteration, and the constitution decreed in consequence, in 1791, three years afterwards Russian and Prussian bayonets annihilated both, and selfishness banished faith.

In July, 1790, he assisted as a Prussian plenipotentiary at the conferences at Reichenback, together with the English and Dutch Ambassadors, having for object a pacification between Austria and Turkey. In December of the same year he went with the same Ministers to the Congress at Sistova, where, in May, 1791, he signed the Treaty of Peace between the Grand Seignior and the Emperor of Germany. In June, 1792, he was a second time sent as a Minister to Warsaw, where he remained until January, 1793, when he was promoted to the post of Ambassador at the Court of Vienna. He continued, however, to reside with His Prussian Majesty during the greatest part of the campaign on the Rhine, and signed, on the 24th of June, 1793, in the camp before Mentz, an offensive and defensive alliance with your Court ; an alliance which Prussian policy respected not above eighteen months. In October, 1796, he requested his recall, but this his Sovereign refused, with the most gracious expressions ; and he could not obtain it until March, 1797. Some disapprobation of the new political plan introduced by Count von Haugwitz in the Cabinet at Berlin is supposed to have occasioned his determination to retire from public employment. As he, however, continued to reside in the capital of Prussia, and, as many believed, secretly intrigued to appear again upon the scene, the nomination, in 1800, to his present important post was as much the consequence of his own desire as of the favour of his King.

The Marquis of Lucchesini lives here in great style at the beautiful Hotel de l'Infantado, where his lady's routs, assemblies, and circles are the resort of our most fashionable gentry. Madame da Lucchesini is more agreeable than handsome, more fit to shine at Berlin than at Paris ; for though her manners are elegant, they want that ease, that finish which a German or Italian education cannot teach, nor a German or Italian society confer. To judge from the number of her admirers, she seems to know that she is married to a philosopher. Her husband was born at Lucca, in Italy, and is, therefore, at present a subject of Bonaparte's brother-in-law, Prince Bacciochi, to whom, when His Serene Highness was a marker at a billiard-table, I have had the honour of giving many a shilling, as well as many a box on the ear.



LETTER XXXI


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - The unexampled cruelty of our Government to your countryman, Captain Wright, I have heard reprobated, even by some of our generals and public functionaries, as unjust as well as disgraceful. At a future General Congress, should ever Bonaparte suffer one to be convoked, except under his auspices and dictature, the distinction and treatment of prisoners of war require to be again regulated, that the valiant warrior may not for the future be confounded with, and treated as, a treacherous spy ; nor innocent travellers, provided with regular passes, visiting a country either for business or for pleasure, be imprisoned, like men taken while combating with arms in their hands.

You remember, no doubt, from history, that many of our ships - that, during the reigns of George I and II, carried to Ireland and Scotland, and landed there, the adherents and partisans of the House of Stuart were captured on their return or on their passage ; and that your Government never seized the commanders of these vessels, to confine them as State criminals, much less to torture or murder them in the Tower. If I am not mistaken, the whole squadron which, in 1745, carried the Pretender and his suite to Scotland, was taken by your cruisers ; and the officers and men experienced no worse or different treatment than their fellow prisoners of war ; though the distance is immense between the crime of plotting against the lawful Government of the Princes of the House of Brunswick, and the attempt to disturb the usurpation of an upstart of the House of Bonaparte. But, even during the last war, how many of our ships of the line, frigates, and cutters, did you not take, which had landed rebels in Ireland, emissaries in Scotland, and malefactors in Wales ; and yet your generosity prevented you from retaliating, even at the time when your Sir Sidney Smith, and this same unfortunate Captain Wright, were confined in our State prison of the Temple ! It is with Governments as with individuals, they ought to be just before they are generous. Had you in 1797, or in 1798, not endured our outrages so patiently, you would not now have to lament, nor we to blush for, the untimely end of Captain Wright.

From the last time that this officer had appeared before the criminal tribunal which condemned Georges and Moreau, his fate was determined on by our Government. His firmness offended, and his patriotism displeased ; and as he seemed to possess the confidence of his own Government, it was judged that he was in its secrets ; it was, therefore, resolved that, if he refused to become a traitor, he should perish a victim. Desmarets, Fouche's private secretary, who is also the secretary of the secret and haute police, therefore ordered him to another private interrogatory. Here he was offered a considerable sum of money, and the rank of an admiral in our service, if he would divulge what he knew of the plans of his Government, of its connections with the discontented in this country, and of its means of keeping up a correspondence with them. He replied, as might have been expected, with indignation, to such offers and to such proposals, but as they were frequently repeated with new allurements, he concluded with remaining silent and giving no answers at all. He was then told that the torture would soon restore him his voice, and some select gendarmes seized him and laid him on the rack ; there he uttered no complaint, not even a sigh, though instruments the most diabolical were employed, and pains the most acute must have been endured. When threatened that he should expire in torments, he said :

" I do not fear to die, because my country will avenge my murder, while my God receives my soul. " During the two hours of the first day that he was stretched on the rack, his left arm and right leg were broken, and his nails torn from the toes of both feet ; he then passed into the hands of a surgeon, and was under his care for five weeks, but, before he was perfectly cured, he was carried to another private interrogatory, at which, besides Desmarets, Fouche and Real were present.

The Minister of Police now informed him that, from the mutilated state of his body, and from the sufferings he had gone through, he must be convinced that it was not the intention of the French Government ever to restore him to his native country, where he might relate occurrences which the policy of France required to be buried in oblivion ; he, therefore, had no choice between serving the Emperor of the French, or perishing within the walls of the prison where he was confined. He replied that he was resigned to his destiny, and would die as he had lived, faithful to his King and to his country.

The man in full possession of his mental qualities and corporeal strength is, in most cases, very different from that unfortunate being whose mind is, enervated by sufferings and whose body is weakened by wants. For five months Captain Wright had seen only gaolers, spies, tyrants, executioners, fetters, racks, and other tortures; and for five weeks his food had been bread and his drink water. The man who, thus situated and thus perplexed, preserves his native dignity and innate sentiments, is more worthy of monuments, statues, or altars than either the legislator, the victor, or the saint.

This interrogatory was the last undergone by Captain Wright. He was then again stretched on the rack, and what is called by our regenerators the INFERNAL torments, were inflicted on him. After being pinched with red-hot irons all over his body, brandy, mixed with gunpowder, was infused in the numerous wounds and set fire to several times until nearly burned to the bones. In the convulsions, the consequence of these terrible sufferings, he is said to have bitten off a part of his tongue, though, as before, no groans were heard. As life still remained, he was again put under the care of his former surgeon ; but, as he was exceedingly exhausted, a spy, in the dress of a Protestant clergyman, presented himself as if to read prayers with him. Of this offer he accepted ; but when this man began to ask some insidious questions, he cast on him a look of contempt and never spoke to him more. At last, seeing no means to obtain any information from him, a mameluke last week strangled him in his bed. Thus expired a hero whose fate has excited more compassion, and whose character has received more admiration here, than any of our great men who have fallen fighting for our Emperor. Captain Wright has diffused new rays of renown and glory on the British name, from his tomb as well as from his dungeon.

You have certainly a right to call me to an account for all the particulars I have related of this scandalous and abominable transaction, and, though I cannot absolutely guarantee the truth of the narration, I am perfectly satisfied of it myself, and I hope to explain myself to your satisfaction. Your unfortunate countryman was attended by and under the care of a surgeon of the name of Vaugeard, who gained his confidence, and was worthy of it, though employed in that infamous gaol. Either from disgust of life, or from attachment to Captain Wright, he survived him only twelve hours, during which he wrote the shocking details I have given you, and sent them to three of the members of the foreign diplomatic corps, with a prayer to have them forwarded to Sir Sidney Smith or to Mr. Windham, that those his friends might be informed that, to his last moment, Captain Wright was worthy of their protection and kindness. From one of those Ministers I have obtained the original in Vaugeard's own handwriting.

I know that Bonaparte and Talleyrand promised the release of Captain Wright to the Spanish Ambassador ; but, at that time, he had already suffered once on the rack, and this liberality on their part was merely a trick to impose upon the credulity of the Spaniard or to get rid of his importunities. Had it been otherwise, Captain Wright, like Sir George Rumbold, would himself have been the first to announce in your country the recovery of his liberty.



LETTER XXXII


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - Should Bonaparte again return here victorious, and a pacificator, great changes in our internal Government and constitution are expected, and will certainly occur. Since the legislative corps has completed the Napoleon code of civil and criminal justice, it is considered by the Emperor not only as useless, but troublesome and superfluous. For the same reasons the tribunate will also be laid aside, and His Majesty will rule the French Empire, with the assistance of his Senate, and with the advice of his Council of State, exclusively. You know that the Senators, as well as the Councillors of State, are nominated by the Emperor ; that he changes the latter according to his whim, and that, though the former, according to the present constitution, are to hold their offices for life, the alterations which remove entirely the legislature and the tribunate may also make Senators movable. But as all members of the Senate are favourites or relatives, he will probably not think it necessary to resort to such a measure of policy.

In a former letter I have already mentioned the heterogeneous composition of the Senate. The tribunate and legislative corps are worthy to figure by its side ; their members are also ci-devant mechanics of all descriptions, debased attorneys or apostate priests, national spoilers or rebellious regicides, degraded nobles or dishonoured officers. The nearly unanimous vote of these corps for a consulate for life, and for an hereditary Emperor, cannot, therefore, either be expressive of the national will, or constitute the legality of Bonaparte's sovereignty.

In the legislature no vote opposed, and no voice declaimed against, Bonaparte's Imperial dignity ; but in the tribunate, Carnot - the infamously notorious Carnot - 'pro forma', and with the permission of the Emperor 'in petto', spoke against the return of a monarchical form of Government. This farce of deception and roguery did not impose even on our good Parisians, otherwise, and so frequently, the dupes of all our political and revolutionary mountebanks. Had Carnot expressed a sentiment or used a word not previously approved by Bonaparte, instead of reposing himself in the tribunate, he would have been wandering in Cayenne.

Son of an obscure attorney at Nolay, in Burgundy, he was brought up, like Bonaparte, in one of those military schools established by the munificence of the French Monarchs ; and had obtained, from the late King, the commission of a captain of engineers when the Revolution broke out. He was particularly indebted to the Prince of Conde for his support during the earlier part of his life, and yet he joined the enemies of his house, and voted for the death of Louis XVI. A member, with Robespierre and Barrere, of the Committee of Public Safety, he partook of their power, as well as of their crimes, though he has been audacious enough to deny that he had anything to do with other transactions than those of the armies. Were no other proofs to the contrary collected, a letter of his own hand to the ferocious Lebon, at Arras, is a written evidence which he is unable to refute. It is dated November 16th, 1793. " You must take, " says he, " in your energy, all measures of terror commanded or required by present circumstances. Continue your revolutionary attitude ; never mind the amnesty pronounced with the acceptance of the absurd constitution of 1791 ; it is a crime which cannot extenuate other crimes. Anti-republicans can only expiate their folly under the age of the guillotine. The public Treasury will always pay the journeys and expenses of informers, because they have deserved well of their country. Let all suspected traitors expire by the sword or by fire ; continue to march upon that revolutionary line so well delineated by you. The committee applauds all your undertakings, all your measures of vigour ; they are not only all permitted, but commanded by your mission. " Most of the decrees concerning the establishment of revolutionary tribunals, and particularly that for the organization of the atrocious military commission at Orange, were signed by him.

Carnot, as an officer of engineers, certainly is not without talents ; but his presumption in declaring himself the sole author of those plans of campaign which, during the years 1794, 1795, and 1796, were so triumphantly executed by Pichegru, Moreau, and Bonaparte, is impertinent, as well as unfounded. At the risk of his own life, Pichegru entirely altered the plan sent him by the Committee of Public Safety ; and it was Moreau's masterly retreat, which no plan of campaign could prescribe, that made this general so famous. The surprising successes of Bonaparte in Italy were both unexpected and unforeseen by the Directory ; and, according to Berthier's assertion, obliged the, commander-in-chief, during the first four months, to change five times his plans of proceedings and undertakings.

During his temporary sovereignty as a director, Carnot honestly has made a fortune of twelve millions of livres ; which has enabled him not only to live in style with his wife, but also to keep in style two sisters, of the name of Aublin, as his mistresses. He was the friend of the father of these girls, and promised him, when condemned to the guillotine in 1793, to be their second father ; but he debauched and ruined them both before either was fourteen years of age ; and young Aublin, who, in 1796, reproached him with the infamy of his conduct, was delivered up by him to a military commission, which condemned him to be shot as an emigrant. He has two children by each of these unfortunate girls.

Bonaparte employs Carnot, but despises and mistrusts him ; being well aware that, should another National Convention be convoked, and the Emperor of the French be arraigned, as the King of France was, he would, with as great pleasure, vote for the execution of Napoleon the First as he did for that of Louis XVI. He has waded too far in blood and crime to retrograde.

To this sample of a modern tribune I will add a specimen of a modern legislator. Baptiste Cavaignac was, before the Revolution, an excise officer, turned out of his place for infidelity ; but the department of Lot electing him, in 1792, a representative of the people to the National Convention, he there voted for the death of Louis XVI and remained a faithful associate of Marat and Robespierre. After the evacuation of Verdun by the Prussians, in October, 1792, he made a report to the Convention, according to which eighty-four citizens of that town were arrested and executed. Among these were twenty-two young girls, under twenty years of age, whose crime was the having presented nosegays to the late King of Prussia on his entry after the surrender of Verdun. He was afterwards a national commissary with the armies on the coast near Brest, on the Rhine, and in Western Pyrenees, and everywhere he signalized himself by unheard of ferocities and sanguinary deeds. The following anecdote, printed and published by our revolutionary annalist, Prudhomme, will give you some idea of the morality of this our regenerator and Imperial Solon : " Cavaignac and another deputy, Pinet, " writes Prudhomme, " had ordered a box to be kept for them at the play-house at Bayonne on the evening they expected to arrive in that town. Entering very late, they found two soldiers, who had seen the box empty, placed in its front. These they ordered immediately to be arrested, and condemned them, for having outraged the national representation, to be guillotined on the next day, when they both were accordingly executed ! " Labarrere, a provost of the Marechaussee at Dax, was in prison as a suspected person. His daughter, a very handsome girl of seventeen, lived with an aunt at Severe. The two pro-consuls passing through that place, she threw herself at their feet, imploring mercy for her parent. This they not only promised, but offered her a place in their carriage to Dax, that she might see him restored to liberty. On the road the monsters insisted on a ransom for the blood of her father. Waiting, afflicted and ashamed, at a friend's house at Dag, the accomplishment of a promise so dearly purchased, she heard the beating of the alarm drum, and looked, from curiosity, through the window, when she saw her unfortunate parent ascending the scaffold ! After having remained lifeless for half an hour, she recovered her senses an instant, when she exclaimed :

" Oh, the barbarians ! they violated me while flattering me with the hope of saving my father ! " and then expired. In October, 1795, Cavaignac assisted Barras and Bonaparte in the destruction of some thousands of men, women, and children in the streets of this capital, and was, therefore, in 1796, made by the Directory an inspector-general of the customs ; and, in 1803, nominated by Bonaparte a legislator. His colleague, Citizen Pinet, is now one of our Emperor's Counsellors of State, and both are commanders of His Majesty's Legion of Honour ; rich, respected, and frequented by our most fashionable ladies and gentlemen.



LETTER XXXIII


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - I suppose your Government too vigilant and too patriotic not to be informed of the great and uninterrupted activity which reigns in our arsenals, dockyards, and seaports. I have seen a plan, according to which Bonaparte is enabled, and intends, to build twenty ships of the line and ten frigates, besides cutters, in the year, for ten years to come. I read the calculation of the expenses, the names of the forests where the timber is to be cut, of the foreign countries where a part of the necessary materials are already engaged, and of our own departments which are to furnish the remainder. The whole has been drawn up in a precise and clear manner by Bonaparte's Maritime Prefect at Antwerp, M. Malouet, well known in your country, where he long remained as an emigrant, and, I believe, was even employed by your Ministers.

You may, perhaps, smile at this vast naval scheme of Bonaparte ; but if you consider that he is the master of all the forests, mines, and productions of France, Italy, and of a great part of Germany, with all the navigable rivers and seaports of these countries and Holland, and remember also the character of the man, you will, perhaps, think it less impracticable. The greatest obstacle he has to encounter, and to remove, is want of experienced naval officers, though even in this he has advanced greatly since the present war, during which he has added to his naval forces twenty-nine ships of the line, thirty-four frigates, twenty-one cutters, three thousand prams, gunboats, pinnaces, etc., with four thousand naval officers and thirty-seven thousand sailors, according to the same account, signed by Malouet. It is true that most of our new naval heroes have never ventured far from our coast, and all their naval laurels have been gathered under our land batteries ; but the impulse is given to the national spirit, and our conscripts in the maritime departments prefer, to a man, the navy to the army, which was not formerly the case.

It cannot have escaped your observation that the incorporation of Genoa procured us, in the South of our Empire, a naval station and arsenal, as a counterpoise to Antwerp, our new naval station in the North, where twelve ships of the line have been built, or are building, since 1803, and where timber and other materials are collected for eight more. At Genoa, two ships of the line and four frigates have lately been launched, and four ships and two frigates are on the stocks ; and the Genoese Republic has added sixteen thousand seafaring men to our navy. Should Bonaparte terminate successfully the present war, Naples and Venice will increase the number of our seaports and resources on the borders of the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. All his courtiers say that he will conquer Italy in Germany, and determine at Vienna - the fate of London.

Of all our admirals, however, we have not one to compare with your Nelson, your Hood, your St. Vincent, and your Cornwallis. By the appointment of Murat as grand admiral, Bonaparte seems to indicate that he is inclined to imitate the example of Louis XVI, in the beginning of his reign, and entrust the chief command of his fleets and squadrons to military men of approved capacity and courage, officers of his land troops. Last June, when he expected a probable junction of the fleet under Villeneuve with the squadron under Admiral Winter, and the union of both with Ganteaume at Brest, Murat was to have had the chief command of the united French, Spanish, and Batavian fleets, and to support the landing of our troops in your country ; but the arrival of Lord Nelson in the West Indies, and the victory of Admiral Calder, deranged all our plans and postponed all our designs, which the Continental war has interrupted ; to be commenced, God knows when.

The best amongst our bad admirals is certainly Truguet ; but he was disgraced last year, and exiled twenty leagues from the coast, for having declared too publicly " that our flotillas would never be serviceable before our fleets were superior to yours, when they would become useless. " An intriguer by long habit and by character, having neither property nor principles, he joined the Revolution, and was the second in command under Latouche, in the first republican fleet that left our harbours. He directed the expedition against Sardinia, in January, 1793, during which he acquired neither honour nor glory, being repulsed with great loss by the inhabitants. After being imprisoned under Robespierre, the Directory made him a Minister of the marine, an Ambassador to Spain, and a Vice-Admiral of France. In this capacity he commanded at Brest, during the first eighteen months of the present war. He has an irreconcilable foe in Talleyrand, with whom he quarrelled, when on his embassy in Spain, about some extortions at Madrid, which he declined to share with his principal at Paris. Such was our Minister's inveteracy against him in 1798 that a directorial decree placed him on the list of emigrants, because he remained in Spain after having been recalled to France. In 1799, during Talleyrand's disgrace, Truguet returned here, and, after in vain challenging his enemy to fight, caned him in the Luxembourg gardens, a chastisement which our premier bore with true Christian patience. Truguet is not even a member of the Legion of Honour.

Villeneuve is supposed not much inferior in talents, experience, and modesty to Truguet. He was, before the Revolution, a lieutenant of the royal navy ; but his principles did not prevent him from deserting to the colours of the enemies of royalty, who promoted him first to a captain and afterwards to an admiral.

His first command as such was over a division of the Toulon fleet, which, in the winter of 1797, entered Brest. In the battle at Aboukir he was the second in command ; and, after the death of Admiral Brueys, he rallied the ships which had escaped, and sailed for Malta, where, two years afterwards, he signed, with General Vaubois, the capitulation of that island. When hostilities again broke out, he commanded in the West Indies, and, leaving his station, escaped your cruisers, and was appointed first to the chief command of the Rochefort, and afterwards the Toulon fleet, on the death of Admiral Latouche. Notwithstanding the gasconade of his report of his negative victory over Admiral Calder, Villeneuve is not a Gascon by birth, but only, by sentiment.

Ganteaume does not possess either the intriguing character of Truguet or the valorous one of Villeneuve.

Before the Revolution he was a mate of a merchantman, but when most of the officers of the former royal navy had emigrated or perished, he was, in 1793, made a captain of the republican navy, and in 1796 an admiral. During the battle of Aboukir he was the chief of the staff, under Admiral Brueys, and saved himself by swimming, when l'Orient took fire and blew up. Bonaparte wrote to him on this occasion : " The picture you have sent me of the disaster of l'Orient, and of your own dreadful situation, is horrible ; but be assured that, having such a miraculous escape, DESTINY intends you to avenge one day our navy and our friends. " This note was written in August, 1798, shortly after Bonaparte had professed himself a Mussulman.

When, in the summer of 1799, our general-in-chief had determined to leave his army of Egypt to its destiny, Ganteaume equipped and commanded the squadron of frigates which brought him to Europe, and was, after his consulate, appointed a Counsellor of State and commander at Brest. In 1800 he escaped with a division of the Brest fleet to Toulon, and, in the summer of 1801, when he was ordered to carry succours to Egypt, your ship Skitsure fell in with him, and was captured. As he did not, however, succeed in landing in Egypt the troops on board his ships, a temporary disgrace was incurred, and he was deprived of the command, but made a maritime prefect. Last year favour was restored him, with the command of our naval forces at Brest. All officers who have served under Ganteaume agree that, let his fleet be ever so superior, he will never fight if he can avoid it, and that, in orderly times, his capacity would, at the utmost, make him regarded as a good master of a merchantman, and nothing else.

Of the present commander of our, flotilla at Boulogne, Lacrosse, I will also say some few words. A lieutenant before the Revolution, he became, in 1789, one of the most ardent and violent Jacobins, and in 1792 was employed by the friend of the Blacks, and our Minister, Monge, as an emissary in the West Indies, to preach there to the negroes the rights of man and insurrection against the whites, their masters. In 1800, Bonaparte advanced him to a captain-general at Guadeloupe, an island which his plots, eight years before, had involved in all the horrors of anarchy, and where, when he now attempted to restore order, his former instruments rose against him and forced him to escape to one of your islands - I believe Dominico. Of this island, in return for his hospitable reception, he took plans, according to which our General Lagrange endeavoured to conquer it last spring. Lacrosse is a perfect revolutionary fanatic, unprincipled, cruel, unfeeling, and intolerant. His presumption is great, but his talents are trifling.



LETTER XXXIV


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - The defeat of the Austrians has excited great satisfaction among our courtiers and public functionaries ; but the mass of the inhabitants here are too miserable to feel for anything else but their own sufferings. They know very well that every victory rivets their fetters, that no disasters can make them more heavy, and no triumph lighter. Totally indifferent about external occurrences, as well as about internal oppressions, they strive to forget both the past and the present, and to be indifferent as to the future ; they would be glad could they cease to feel that they exist. The police officers were now, with their gendarmes, bayoneting them into illuminations for Bonaparte's successes, as they dragooned them last year into rejoicings for his coronation. I never observed before so much apathy; and in more than one place I heard the people say, " Oh ! how much better we should be with fewer victories and more tranquillity, with less splendour and more security, with an honest peace instead of a brilliant war. " But in a country groaning under a military government, the opinions of the people are counted for nothing.

At Madame Joseph Bonaparte's circle, however, the countenances were not so gloomy. There a real or affected joy seemed to enliven the usual dullness of these parties ; some actors were repeating patriotic verses in honour of the victor ; while others were singing airs or vaudevilles, to inspire our warriors with as much hatred towards your nation as gratitude towards our Emperor. It is certainly neither philosophical nor philanthropical not to exclude the vilest of all passions, HATRED, on such a happy occasion. Martin, in the dress of a conscript, sang six long couplets against the tyrants of the seas; of which I was only able to retain the following one :

Je déteste le peuple anglais, Je déteste son ministère ; J'aime l'Empereur des Français, J'aime la paix, je hais la guerre ; Mais puisqu'il faut la soutenir Contre une Nation Sauvage, Mon plus doux, mon plus grand désir Est de montrer tout mon courage.

But what arrested my attention, more than anything else which occurred in this circle on that evening, was a printed paper mysteriously handed about, and of which, thanks to the civility of a Counsellor of State, I at last got a sight. It was a list of those persons, of different countries, whom the Emperor of the French has fixed upon, to replace all the ancient dynasties of Europe within twenty years to come. From the names of these individuals, some of whom are known to me, I could perceive that Bonaparte had more difficulty to select proper Emperors, Kings, and Electors, than he would have had, some years ago, to choose directors or consuls. Our inconsistency is, however, evident even here ; I did not read a name that is not found in the annals of Jacobinism and republicanism. We have, at the same time, taken care not to forget ourselves in this new distribution of supremacy. France is to furnish the stock of the new dynasties for Austria, England, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden. What would you think, were you to awake one morning the subject of King Arthur O'Connor the First ? You would, I dare say, be even more surprised than I am in being the subject of Napoleon Bonaparte the First. You know, I suppose, that O'Connor is a general of division, and a commander of the Legion of Honour, - the bosom friend of Talleyrand, and courting, at this moment, a young lady, a relation of our Empress, whose portion may one day be an Empire. But I am told that, notwithstanding Talleyrand's recommendations, and the approbation of Her Majesty, the lady prefers a colonel, her own countryman, to the Irish general. Should, however, our Emperor announce his determination, she would be obliged to marry as he commands, were he even to give her his groom, or his horse, for a spouse.

You can form no idea how wretched and despised all the Irish rebels are here. O'Connor alone is an exception ; and this he owes to Talleyrand, to General Valence, and to Madame de Genlis ; but even he is looked on with a sneer, and, if he ever was respected in England, must endure with poignancy the contempt to which he is frequently exposed in France. When I was in your country I often heard it said that the Irish were generally considered as a debased and perfidious people, extremely addicted to profligacy and drunkenness, and, when once drunk, more cruelly ferocious than even our Jacobins. I thought it then, and I still believe it, a national prejudice, because I am convinced that the vices or virtues of all civilized nations are relatively the same; but those Irish rebels we have seen here, and who must be, like our Jacobins, the very dregs of their country, have conducted themselves so as to inspire not only mistrust but abhorrence. It is also an undeniable truth that they were greatly disappointed by our former and present Government. They expected to enjoy liberty and equality, and a pension for their treachery ; but our police commissaries caught them at their landing, our gendarmes escorted them as criminals to their place of destination, and there they received just enough to prevent them from starving. If they complained they were put in irons, and if they attempted to escape they were sent to the galleys as malefactors or shot as spies. Despair, therefore, no doubt induced many to perpetrate acts of which they were accused, and to rob, swindle, and murder, because they were punished as thieves and assassins. But, some of them, who have been treated in the most friendly, hospitable, and generous manner in this capital, have proved themselves ungrateful, as well as infamous. A lady of my acquaintance, of a once large fortune, had nothing left but some furniture, and her subsistence depended upon what she got by letting furnished lodgings. Mischance brought three young Irishmen to her house, who pretended to be in daily expectation of remittances from their country, and of a pension from Bonaparte. During six months she not only lodged and supported them, but embarrassed herself to procure them linen and a decent apparel. At last she was informed that each of, them had been allowed sixty livres - bin the month, and that arrears had been paid them for nine months. Their debt to her was above three thousand livres - but the day after she asked for payment they decamped, and one of them persuaded her daughter, a girl of fourteen, to elope with him, and to assist him in robbing her mother of all her plate. - He has, indeed, been since arrested and sentenced to the galleys for eight years ; but this punishment neither restored the daughter her virtue nor the mother her property. The other two denied their debts, and, as she had no other evidence but her own scraps of accounts, they could not be forced to pay ; their obdurate effrontery and infamy, however, excited such an indignation in the judges, that they delivered them over as swindlers to the Tribunal Correctional ; and the Minister of Police ordered them to be transported as rogues and vagabonds to the colonies. The daughter died shortly after, in consequence of a miscarriage, and the mother did not survive her more than a month, and ended her days in the Hotel Dieu, one of our common hospitals. Thus, these depraved young men ruined and murdered their benefactress and her child ; and displayed, before they were thirty, such a consummate villainy as few wretches grown hoary in vice have perpetrated. This act of scandalous notoriety injured the Irish reputation very much in this country ; for here, as in many other places, inconsiderate people are apt to judge a whole nation according to the behaviour of some few of its outcasts.



LETTER XXXV


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - The plan of the campaign of the Austrians is incomprehensible to all our military men - not on account of its profundity, but on account of its absurdity or incoherency. In the present circumstances, half-measures must always be destructive, and it is better to strike strongly and firmly than justly. To invade Bavaria without disarming the Bavarian army, and to enter Suabia and yet acknowledge the neutrality of Switzerland, are such political and military errors as require long successes to repair, but which such an enemy as Bonaparte always takes care not to leave unpunished.

The long inactivity of the army under the Archduke Charles has as much surprised us as the defeat of the army under General von Mack; but from what I know of the former, I am persuaded that he would long since have pushed forward had not his movements been unfortunately combined with those of the latter. The House of Lorraine never produced a more valiant warrior, nor Austria a more liberal or better instructed statesman, than this Prince. Heir to the talents of his ancestors, he has commanded, with glory, against France during the revolutionary war; and, although he sometimes experienced defeats, he has rendered invaluable services to the chief of his House by his courage, by his activity, by his constancy, and by that salutary firmness which, in calling the generals and superior officers to their duty, has often reanimated the confidence and the ardour of the soldier.

The Archduke Charles began, in 1793, his military career under the Prince of Coburg, the commander-in-chief of the Austrian armies in Brabant, where he commanded the advanced guard, and distinguished himself by a valour sometimes bordering on temerity, but which, by degrees, acquired him that esteem and popularity, among the troops often very advantageous to him afterwards. He was, in 1794, appointed governor and captain- general of the Low Countries, and a Field-marshal lieutenant of the army of the German Empire. In April, 1796, he took the command-in-chief of the armies of Austria and of the Empire, and, in the following June, engaged in several combats with General Moreau, in which he was repulsed, but in a manner that did equal honour to the victor and to the vanquished.

The Austrian army on the Lower Rhine, under General Wartensleben, having, about this time, been nearly dispersed by General Jourdan, the Archduke left some divisions of his forces under General Latour, to impede the progress of Moreau, and went with the remainder into Franconia, where he defeated Jourdan near Amberg and Wurzburg, routed his army entirely, and forced him to repass the Rhine in the greatest confusion, and with immense loss. The retreat of Moreau was the consequence of the victories of this Prince. After the capture of Kehl, in January, 1797, he assumed the command of the army of Italy, where he in vain employed all his efforts to put a stop to the victorious progress of Bonaparte, with whom, at last, he signed the preliminaries of peace at Leoben. In the spring of 1799, he again defeated Jourdan in Suabia, as he had done two years before in Franconia ; but in Switzerland he met with an abler adversary in General Massena ; still, I am inclined to think that he displayed there more real talents than anywhere else ; and that this part of his campaign of 1799 was the most interesting, in a military point of view.

The most implacable enemies of the politics of the House of Austria render justice to the plans, to the frankness, to the morality of Archduke Charles ; and, what is remarkable, of all the chiefs who have commanded against revolutionary France, he alone has seized the true manner of combating enthusiasts or slaves ; at least, his proclamations are the only ones composed with adroitness, and are what they ought to be, because in them an appeal is made to the public opinion at a time when opinion almost constitutes half the strength of armies. The present opposer of this Prince in Italy is one of our best, as well as most fortunate, generals. A Sardinian subject, and a deserter from the Sardinian troops, he assisted, in 1792, our commander, General Anselm, in the conquest of the county of Nice, rather as a spy than as a soldier. His knowledge of the Maritime Alps obtained, in 1793, a place on our staff, where, from the services he rendered, the rank of a general of brigade was soon conferred on him. In 1796 he was promoted to serve as a general of division under Bonaparte in Italy, where he distinguished himself so much that when, in 1798, General Berthier was ordered to accompany the army of the East to Egypt, he succeeded him as commander-in-chief of our troops in the temporary Roman Republic. But his merciless pillage, and, perhaps, the idea of his being a foreigner, brought on a mutiny, and the Directory was obliged to recall him. It was his campaign in Switzerland of 1799, and his defence of Genoa in 1800, that principally ranked him high as a military chief. After the battle of Marengo he received the command of the army of Italy ; but his extortions produced a revolt among the inhabitants, and he lived for some time in retreat and disgrace, after a violent quarrel with Bonaparte, during which many severe truths were said and heard on both sides.

After the Peace of Luneville, he seemed inclined to join Moreau, and other discontented generals ; but observing, no doubt, their want of views and union, he retired to an estate he has bought near Paris, where Bonaparte visited him, after the rupture with your country, and made him, we may conclude, such offers as tempted him to leave his retreat. Last year he was nominated one of our Emperor's Field-marshals, and as such he relieved Jourdan of the command in the kingdom of Italy. He has purchased with a part of his spoil, for fifteen millions of livres - property in France and Italy; and is considered worth double that sum in jewels, money, and other valuables.

Massena is called, in France, the spoiled child of fortune ; and as Bonaparte, like our former Cardinal Mazarin, has more confidence in fortune than in merit, he is, perhaps, more indebted to the former than to the latter for his present situation ; his familiarity has made him disliked at our Imperial Court, where he never addresses Napoleon and Madame Bonaparte as an Emperor or an Empress without smiling.

General St. Cyr, our second in command of the army of Italy, is also an officer of great talents and distinctions. He was, in 1791, only a cornet, but in 1795, he headed, as a general, a division of the army of the Rhine. In his report to the Directory, during the famous retreat of 1796, Moreau speaks highly of this general, and admits that his achievements, in part, saved the republican army. During 1799 he served in Italy, and in 1800 he commanded the centre of the army of the Rhine, and assisted in gaining the victory of Hohenlinden. After the Peace of Luneville, he was appointed a Counsellor of State of the military section, a place he still occupies, notwithstanding his present employment. Though under forty years of age, he is rather infirm, from the fatigues he has undergone and the wounds he has received. Although he has never combated as a general-in-chief, there is no doubt but that he would fill such a place with honour to himself and advantage to his country.

Of the general officers who command under Archduke Charles, Comte de Bellegarde is already known by his exploits during the last war. He had distinguished himself already in 1793, particularly when Valenciennes and Maubeuge were besieged by the united Austrian and English forces ; and, in 1794, he commanded the column at the head of which the Emperor marched, when Landrecy was invested. In 1796, he was one of the members of the Council of the Archduke Charles, when this Prince commanded for the first time as a general-in-chief, on which occasion he was promoted to a Field-marshal lieutenant.

He displayed again great talents during the campaign of 1799, when he headed a small corps, placed between General Suwarow in Italy, and Archduke Charles in Switzerland ; and in this delicate post he contributed equally to the success of both. After the Peace of Luneville he was appointed a commander-in-chief for the Emperor in the ci-devant Venetian States, where the troops composing the army under the Archduke Charles were, last summer, received and inspected by him, before the arrival of the Prince. He is considered by military men as greatly superior to most of the generals now employed by the Emperor of Germany.



LETTER XXXVI


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - " I would give my brother, the Emperor of Germany, one further piece of advice. Let him hasten to make peace. This is the crisis when, he must recollect, all States must have an end. The idea of the approaching extinction of the dynasty of Lorraine must impress him with horror. " When Bonaparte ordered this paragraph to be inserted in the Moniteur, he discovered an 'arriere pensee', long suspected by politicians, but never before avowed by himself, or by his Ministers. " That he has determined on the universal change of dynasties, because a usurper can never reign with safety or honour as long as any legitimate Prince may disturb his power, or reproach him for his rank. " Elevated with prosperity, or infatuated with vanity and pride, he spoke a language which his placemen, courtiers, and even his brother Joseph at first thought premature, if not indiscreet. If all lawful Sovereigns do not read in these words their proscription, and the fate which the most powerful usurper that ever desolated mankind has destined for them, it may be ascribed to that blindness with which Providence, in its wrath, sometimes strikes those doomed to be grand examples of the vicissitudes of human life.

" Had Talleyrand, " said Louis Bonaparte, in his wife's drawing-room, " been by my brother's side, he would not have unnecessarily alarmed or awakened those whom it should have been his policy to keep in a soft slumber, until his blows had laid them down to rise no more ; but his soldier-like frankness frequently injures his political views. " This I myself heard Louis say to Abbe Sieyes, though several foreign Ambassadors were in the saloon, near enough not to miss a word. If it was really meant as a reflection on Napoleon, it was imprudent ; if designed as a defiance to other Princes, it was unbecoming and impertinent. I am inclined to believe it, considering the individual to whom it was addressed, a premeditated declaration that our Emperor expected a universal war, was prepared for it, and was certain of its fortunate issue.

When this Sieyes is often consulted, and publicly flattered, our politicians say, " Woe to the happiness of Sovereigns and to the tranquillity of subjects ; the fiend of mankind is busy, and at work, " and, in fact, ever since 1789, the infamous ex-Abbe has figured, either as a plotter or as an actor, in all our dreadful and sanguinary revolutionary epochas. The accomplice of La Fayette in 1789, of Brissot in 1791, of Marat in 1792, of Robespierre in 1793, of Tallien in 1794, of Barras in 1795, of Rewbel in 1797, and of Bonaparte in 1799, he has hitherto planned, served, betrayed, or deserted all factions. He is one of the few of our grand criminals, who, after enticing and sacrificing his associates, has been fortunate enough to survive them. Bonaparte has heaped upon him presents, places, and pensions ; national property, senatories, knighthoods, and palaces ; but he is, nevertheless, not supposed one of our Emperor's most dutiful subjects, because many of the late changes have differed from his metaphysical schemes of innovation, of regeneration, and of overthrow. He has too high an opinion of his own deserts not to consider it beneath his philosophical dignity to be a contented subject of a fellow-subject, elevated into supremacy by his labours and dangers. His modesty has, for these sixteen years past, ascribed to his talents all the glory and prosperity of France, and all her misery and misfortunes to the disregard of his counsels, and to the neglect of his advice. Bonaparte knows it ; and that he is one of those crafty, sly, and dark conspirators, more dangerous than the bold assassin, who, by sophistry, art, and perseverance insinuate into the minds of the unwary and daring the ideas of their plots, in such an insidious manner that they take them and foster them as the production of their own genius ; he is, therefore, watched by our Imperial spies, and never consulted but when any great blow is intended to be struck, or some enormous atrocities perpetrated. A month before the seizure of the Duc d'Enghien, and the murder of Pichegru, he was every day shut up for some hours with Napoleon Bonaparte at St. Cloud, or in the Tuileries ; where he has hardly been seen since, except after our Emperor's return from his coronation as a King of Italy.

Sieyes never was a republican, and it was cowardice alone that made him vote for the death of his King and benefactor ; although he is very fond of his own metaphysical notions, he always has preferred the preservation of his life to the profession or adherence to his systems. He will not think the Revolution complete, or the constitution of his country a good one, until some Napoleon, or some Louis, writes himself an Emperor or King of France, by the grace of Sieyes. He would expose the lives of thousands to obtain such a compliment to his hateful vanity and excessive pride ; but he would not take a step that endangered his personal safety, though it might eventually lead him to the possession of a crown.

From the bounty of his King, Sieyes had, before the Revolution, an income of fifteen thousand livres - per annum ; his places, pensions, and landed estates produce now yearly five hundred thousand livres - not including the interest of his money in the French and foreign funds.

Two years ago he was exiled, for some time, to an estate of his in Touraine, and Bonaparte even deliberated about transporting him to Cayenne, when Talleyrand observed " that such a condemnation would endanger that colony of France, as he would certainly organize there a focus of revolutions, which might also involve Surinam and the Brazils, the colonies of our allies, in one common ruin. In the present circumstances, " added the Minister, " if Sieyes is to be transported, I wish we could land him in England, Scotland, or Ireland, or even in Russia. "

I have just heard from a general officer the following anecdote, which he read to me from a letter of another general, dated Ulm, the 25th instant, and, if true, it explains in part Bonaparte's apparent indiscretion in the threat thrown out against all ancient dynasties.

Among his confidential generals (and hitherto the most irreproachable of all our military commanders), Marmont is particularly distinguished. Before Napoleon left this capital to head his armies in Germany, he is stated to have sent despatches to all those traitors dispersed in different countries whom he has selected to commence the new dynasties, under the protection of the Bonaparte Dynasty. They were, no doubt, advised of this being the crisis when they had to begin their machinations against thrones. A courier from Talleyrand at Strasburg to Bonaparte at Ulm was ordered to pass by the corps under the command of Marmont, to whom, in case the Emperor had advanced too far into Germany, he was to deliver his papers. This courier was surprised and interrupted by some Austrian light troops ; and, as it was only some few hours after being informed of this capture that Bonaparte expressed himself frankly, as related above, it was supposed by his army that the Austrian Government had already in its power despatches which made our schemes of improvement at Paris no longer any secrets at Vienna. The writer of this letter added that General Marmont was highly distressed on account of this accident, which might retard the prospect of restoring to Europe its long lost peace and tranquillity.

This officer made his first campaign under Pichegru in 1794, and was, in 1796, appointed by Bonaparte one of his aides-de-camp. His education had been entirely military, and in the practice the war afforded him he soon evinced how well he remembered the lessons of theory. In the year 1796, at the battle of Saint-Georges, before Mantua, he charged at the head of the eighth battalion of grenadiers, and contributed much to its fortunate issue. In October of the same year, Bonaparte, as a mark of his satisfaction, sent him to present to the Directory the numerous colours which the army of Italy had conquered ; from whom he received in return a pair of pistols, with a fraternal hug from Carnot. On his return to Italy he was, for the first time, employed by his chief in a political capacity. A republic, and nothing but a republic, being then the order of the day, some Italian patriots were convoked at Reggio to arrange a plan for a Cisalpine Republic, and for the incorporation with it of Modena, Bologna, and other neutral States ; Marmont was nominated a French republican plenipotentiary, and assisted as such in the organization of a Commonwealth, which since has been by turns a province of Austria or a tributary State of France.

Marmont, though combating for a bad cause, is an honest man ; his hands are neither soiled with plunder, nor stained with blood. Bonaparte, among his other good qualities, wishes to see every one about him rich ; and those who have been too delicate to accumulate wealth by pillage, he generally provides for, by putting into requisition some great heiress. After the Peace of Campo Formio, Bonaparte arrived at Paris, where he demanded in marriage for his aide-de-camp Marmont, Mademoiselle Perregeaux, the sole child of the first banker in France, a well-educated and accomplished young lady, who would be much more agreeable did not her continual smiles and laughing indicate a degree of self-satisfaction and complacency which may be felt, but ought never to be published.

The banker, Perregeaux, is one of those fortunate beings who, by drudgery and assiduity, has succeeded in some few years to make an ample fortune. A Swiss by birth, like Necker, he also, like him, after gratifying the passion of avidity, showed an ambition to shine in other places than in the counting-house and upon the exchange. Under La Fayette, in 1790, he was the chief of a battalion of the Parisian National Guards ; under Robespierre, a commissioner for purchasing provisions ; and under Bonaparte he is become a Senator and a commander of the Legion of Honour. I am told that he has made all his money by his connection with your country ; but I know that the favourite of Napoleon can never be the friend of Great Britain. He is a widower ; but Mademoiselle Mars, of the Emperor's theatre, consoles him for the loss of his wife.

General Marmont accompanied Bonaparte to Egypt, and distinguished himself at the capture of Malta, and when, in the following year, the siege of St. Jean d'Acre was undertaken, he was ordered to extend the fortifications of Alexandria ; and if, in 1801, they retarded your progress, it was owing to his abilities, being an officer of engineers as well as of the artillery. He returned with Bonaparte to Europe, and was, after his usurpation, made a Counsellor of State. At the battle of Marengo he commanded the artillery, and signed afterwards, with the Austrian general, Count Hohenzollern, the Armistice of Treviso, which preceded shortly the Peace of Luneville. Nothing has abated Bonaparte's attachment to this officer, whom he appointed a commander-in-chief in Holland, when a change of Government was intended there, and whom he will entrust everywhere else, where sovereignty is to be abolished, or thrones and dynasties subverted.



LETTER XXXVII


PARIS, October 1805

MY LORD : - Many wise people are of the opinion that the revolution of another great Empire is necessary to combat or oppose the great impulse occasioned by the Revolution of France, before Europe can recover its long-lost order and repose. Had the subjects of Austria been as disaffected as they are loyal, the world might have witnessed such a terrible event, and been enabled to judge whether the hypothesis was the production of an ingenious schemer or of a profound statesman. Our armies under Bonaparte have never before penetrated into the heart of a country where subversion was not prepared, and where subversion did not follow.

How relatively insignificant, in the eyes of Providence, must be the independence of States and the liberties of nations, when such a relatively insignificant personage as General von Mack can shake them ? Have, then, the Austrian heroes - a Prince Eugene, a Laudon, a Lasci, a Beaulieu, a Haddick, a Bender, a Clairfayt, and numerous other valiant and great warriors - left no posterity behind them ; or has the presumption of General von Mack imposed upon the judgment of the Counsellors of his Prince ? This latter must have been the case ; how otherwise could the welfare of their Sovereign have been entrusted to a military quack, whose want of energy and bad disposition had, in 1799, delivered up the capital of another Sovereign to his enemies. How many reputations are gained by an impudent assurance, and lost when the man of talents is called upon to act and the fool presents himself.

Baron von Mack served as an aide-de-camp under Field-marshal Laudon, during the last war between Austria and Turkey, and displayed some intrepidity, particularly before Lissa. The Austrian army was encamped eight leagues from that place, and the commander-in-chief hesitated to attack it, believing it to be defended by thirty thousand men. To decide him upon making this attack, Baron von Mack left him at nine o'clock at night, crossed the Danube, accompanied only by a single Uhlan, and penetrated into the suburb of Lissa, where he made prisoner a Turkish officer, whom, on the next morning at seven o'clock, he presented to his general, and from whom it was learnt that the garrison contained only six thousand men. This personal temerity, and the applause of Field-marshal Laudon, procured him then a kind of reputation, which he has not since been able to support. Some theoretical knowledge of the art of war, and a great facility of conversing on military topics, made even the Emperor Joseph conceive a high opinion of this officer ; but it has long been proved, and experience confirms it every day, that the difference is immense between the speculator and the operator, and that the generals of Cabinets are often indifferent captains when in the camp or in the field.

Preceded by a certain celebrity, Baron von Mack served, in 1793, under the Prince of Coburg, as an adjutant-general, and was called to assist at the Congress at Antwerp, where the operations of the campaign were regulated. Everywhere he displayed activity and bravery ; was wounded twice in the month of May ; but he left the army without having performed anything that evinced the talents which fame had bestowed on him. In February, 1794, the Emperor sent him to London to arrange, in concert with your Government, the plans of the campaign then on the eve of being opened; and when he returned to the Low Countries he was advanced to a quartermaster-general of the army of Flanders, and terminated also this unfortunate campaign without having done anything to justify the reputation he had before acquired or usurped. His Sovereign continued, nevertheless, to employ him in different armies ; and in January, 1797, he was appointed a Field-marshal lieutenant and a quartermaster-general of the army of the Rhine. In February he conducted fifteen thousand of the troops of this army to reinforce the army of Italy ; but when Bonaparte in April penetrated into Styria and Carinthia, he was ordered to Vienna as a second in command of the levy 'en masse'.

Real military characters had already formed their opinion of this officer, and saw a presumptuous charlatan where others had admired an able warrior. His own conduct soon convinced them that they neither had been rash nor mistaken. The King of Naples demanding, in 1798, from his son-in-law, the Emperor of Germany, a general to organize and head his troops, Baron von Mack was presented to him. After war had been declared against France he obtained some success in partial engagements, but was defeated in a general battle by an enemy inferior in number. In the Kingdom of Naples, as well as in the Empire of Germany, the fury of negotiation seized him when he should have fought, and when he should have remembered that no compacts can ever be entered into with political and military earthquakes, more than with physical ones. This imprudence, particularly as he was a foreigner, excited suspicion among his troops, whom, instead of leading to battle, he deserted, under the pretence that his life was in danger, and surrendered himself and his staff to our commander, Championnet.

A general who is too fond of his life ought never to enter a camp, much less to command armies ; and a military chief who does not consider the happiness and honour of the State as his first passion and his first duty, and prefers existence to glory, deserves to be shot as a traitor, or drummed out of the army as a dastardly coward. Without mentioning the numerous military faults committed by General von Mack during this campaign, it is impossible to deny that, with respect to his own troops, he conducted himself in the most pusillanimous manner. It has often been repeated that martial valour does not always combine with it that courage and that necessary presence of mind which knows how to direct or repress multitudes, how to command obedience and obtain popularity ; but when a man is entrusted with the safety of an Empire, and assumes such a brilliant situation, he must be weak-minded and despicable indeed, if he does not show himself worthy of it by endeavouring to succeed, or perish in the attempt. The French emigrant, General Dumas, evinced what might have been done, even with the dispirited Neapolitan troops, whom he neither deserted, nor with whom he offered to capitulate.

Baron von Mack is in a very infirm state of health, and is often under the necessity of being carried on a litter ; and his bodily complaints have certainly not increased the vigour of his mind. His love of life seems to augment in proportion as its real value diminishes. As to the report here of his having betrayed his trust in exchanging honour for gold, I believe it totally unfounded. Our intriguers may have deluded his understanding, but our traitors would never have been able to seduce or shake his fidelity. His head is weak, but his heart is honest. Unfortunately, it is too true that, in turbulent times, irresolution and weakness in a commander or a Minister operate the same, and are as dangerous as, treason.






THE END










RETOUR A LA PAGE D'ACCUEIL / HOME PAGE
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE I : BIOGRAPHIE
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE II : ECRITS
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE III : TRAITES
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE IV : TEXTES, MEMOIRES ET OPINIONS
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE V : REPRESENTATIONS
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE VI : COLLECTION COMBALUZIER
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE VII : DOCUMENTS ET CARTES POSTALES
RETOUR AU CHAPITRE VIII : EVENEMENTS CONTEMPORAINS





© EX-LIBRIS réalisé pour ma collection par Nicolas COZON - Gravure au Burin sur Cuivre
Tirage réalisé par les Ateliers CAPPELLE à Sannois - Val d'Oise -
Remerciements à Hélène NUE




" Quaero, Colligo, Studeo "









Pierre COMBALUZIER - 64000 PAU - FRANCE - 1997
Membre fondateur
de l'Association " Les Amis de TALLEYRAND "




Optimisé pour
Espace de téléchargement