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 Cavaignae 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.
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.
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 deteste le peuple anglais, Je deteste son ministere; J'aime l'Empereur des Francais, J'aime la paix, je hais la guerre; Mais puisqu'il faut la soutenir Contre une Nation Sauvage, Mon plus doux, mon plus grand desir 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—in 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.
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 Lundville, 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.
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.
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 ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:
A stranger to remorse and repentance, as well as to honour Accused of fanaticism, because she refused to cohabit with him All his creditors, denounced and executed All priests are to be proscribed as criminals As everywhere else, supported injustice by violence As confident and obstinate as ignorant Bestowing on the Almighty the passions of mortals Bonaparte and his wife go now every morning to hear Mass Bonaparte dreads more the liberty of the Press than all other Bourrienne Bow to their charlatanism as if it was sublimity Cannot be expressed, and if expressed, would not be believed Chevalier of the Guillotine: Toureaux Complacency which may be felt, but ought never to be published Country where power forces the law to lie dormant Distinguished for their piety or rewarded for their flattery Easy to give places to men to whom Nature has refused parts Encounter with dignity and self-command unbecoming provocations Error to admit any neutrality at all Expeditious justice, as it is called here Extravagances of a head filled with paradoxes Feeling, however, the want of consolation in their misfortunes Forced military men to kneel before priests French Revolution was fostered by robbery and murder Future effects dreaded from its past enormities General who is too fond of his life ought never to enter a camp Generals of Cabinets are often indifferent captains in the field God is only the invention of fear Gold, changes black to white, guilt to innocence Hail their sophistry and imposture as inspiration He was too honest to judge soundly and to act rightly Her present Serene Idiot, as she styles the Prince Borghese Hero of great ambition and small capacity: La Fayette How many reputations are gained by an impudent assurance How much people talk about what they do not comprehend If Bonaparte is fond of flattery—pays for it like a real Emperor Indifference about futurity Indifference of the French people to all religion Invention of new tortures and improved racks Irresolution and weakness in a commander operate the same Its pretensions rose in proportion to the condescensions Jealous of his wife as a lover of his mistress Justice is invoked in vain when the criminal is powerful Labour as much as possible in the dark Love of life increase in proportion as its real value diminishes Marble lives longer than man May change his habitations six times in the month—yet be home Men and women, old men and children are no more Military diplomacy Misfortunes and proscription would not only inspire courage More vain than ambitious My maid always sleeps with me when my husband is absent My means were the boundaries of my wants Napoleon invasion of States of the American Commonwealth Nature has destined him to obey, and not to govern Not suspected of any vices, but all his virtues are negative Not only portable guillotines, but portable Jacobin clubs Nothing was decided, though nothing was refused Now that she is old (as is generally the case), turned devotee One of the negative accomplices of the criminal Opinion almost constitutes half the strength of armies Prelate on whom Bonaparte intends to confer the Roman tiara Prepared to become your victim, but not your accomplice Presumptuous charlatan Pretensions or passions of upstart vanity Pride of an insupportable and outrageous ambition Procure him after a useless life, a glorious death Promises of impostors or fools to delude the ignorant Prudence without weakness, and with firmness without obstinacy Saints supplied her with a finger, a toe, or some other parts Salaries as the men, under the name of washerwomen Satisfying himself with keeping three mistresses only Should our system of cringing continue progressively Sold cats' meat and tripe in the streets of Rome Step is but short from superstition to infidelity Sufferings of individuals, he said, are nothing Suspicion and tyranny are inseparable companions Suspicion is evidence They will create some quarrel to destroy you They ought to be just before they are generous "This is the age of upstarts," said Talleyrand Thought at least extraordinary, even by our friends Thought himself eloquent when only insolent or impertinent Two hundred and twenty thousand prostitute licenses Under the notion of being frank, are rude United States will be exposed to Napoleon's outrages Usurped the easy direction of ignorance Vices or virtues of all civilized nations are relatively the same Want is the parent of industry We are tired of everything, even of our existence Were my generals as great fools as some of my Ministers Which crime in power has interest to render impenetrable Who complains is shot as a conspirator With us, unfortunately, suspicion is the same as conviction Would cease to rule the day he became just