Have agreed on the following articles:
There shall be a suspension of hostilities between the allied armies commanded by his highness Prince Blucher, his excellency the Duke of Wellington, and the French army, under the walls of Paris.
To-morrow the French army shall commence its march, to retire behind the Loire. The total evacuation of Paris shall be effected in three days, and its movement of retiring behind the Loire shall be finished in eight days.
The French army shall take with it its stores, field artillery, military convoys, horses, and property of the regiments, without any exception. This shall equally apply to what belongs to (le personnel des) the depots, and the different branches of administration, belonging to the army.
The sick and wounded, as well as the medical officers, whom it may be necessary to leave with them, are under the particular protection of MM. the commissaries in chief of the English and Prussian armies.
The military and non-military persons, mentioned in the preceding article, may rejoin the corps to which they belong, as soon as they are recovered.
The women and children of all persons belonging to the French army shall be at liberty to remain in Paris.
These women shall meet with no obstruction to their quitting Paris, to rejoin the army, or to taking with them their own property or that of their husbands.
The officers of the line employed with the federates, or with the sharpshooters of the national guard, may either rejoin the army, or return to their place of residence, or to the place where they were born.
To-morrow, July the 4th, at noon, St. Denis, St. Ouen, Clichy, and Neuilly, shall be delivered up; the next day, July the 5th, at the same hour, Montmartre shall be delivered; and on the 3d day, July 6, all the barriers shall be delivered.
The interior duty of Paris shall continue to be performed by the national guard, and by the corps of municipal gendarmerie.
The commanders in chief of the English and Prussian armies engage to respect, and to make those under them respect, the present authorities, as long as they subsist.
Public property, except what relates to war, whether it belong to the government, or depend on the municipal authority, shall be respected, and the allied powers will not interfere in any manner in its management, or in its conduct.
The persons and property of individuals shall be equally respected: the inhabitants, and all persons in general, who happen to be in the capital, shall continue to enjoy their rights and liberties, without being molested, or any inquiry being made into the functions they occupy or may have occupied, their conduct, or their political opinions.
The foreign troops shall oppose no obstacle to the supply of the capital with provision; and on the contrary shall protect the arrival and free circulation of articles intended for it.
The present convention shall be observed, and serve as a rule for the mutual conduct of the parties, till a peace is concluded.
In case of a rupture, it shall be announced in the usual forms at least ten days beforehand.
If any difficulties arise, respecting the execution of some of the articles of the present convention, the interpretation shall be in favour of the French army, and of the city of Paris.
The present convention is declared common to all the allied armies, saving the ratification of the powers, to which those armies belong.
The ratifications shall be exchanged to-morrow, at six o'clock in the morning, at the bridge of Neuilly.
Commissioners shall be named by the respective parties, to superintend the execution of the present convention.
Done and signed at St. Cloud, in triplicate, by the commissioners undernamed, the day and year above mentioned,
(Signed) Baron BIGNON. Count GUILLEMINOT. Count DE BONDY. Baron DE MUFFLING. B. HERVEY, Colonel.
Approved and ratified,
(Signed) Marshal Prince ECKMUHL.
The title of capitulation was originally given to this treaty: but the Duke of Otranto, aware of the power of words, and dreading the impression this would produce, hastened to recall the copies already distributed, and to substitute the milder title of convention. This precaution, however, fascinated the eyes only of a few friendly deputies. Numerous groups were formed: the government and Prince Eckmuhl were openly charged with having a second time delivered up and sold Paris to the allies and the Bourbons. The patriots, the sharpshooters, the federates, who had offered to defend the city with their lives, were equally indignant, that the city had been given up without firing a single shot. They resolved, to seize on the heights of Montmartre, join the army, and sell dearly to the enemy the last sighs of liberty and of France. But their threatening clamours were not unheard by the government. It called out the national guards; and these at length appeased the malecontents, by opposing to them the example of their own resignation.
The publication of the convention produced an effervescence not less formidable in the camps. The generals assembled, to protest against this impious act, and oppose its accomplishment. They declared, that the Prince of Eckmuhl, in whose house they had frequently caught M. de Vitrolles, had forfeited the esteem of the army, and was no longer worthy to command it. They repaired to General Vandamme, and offered him the command. But this officer, who had made one of the council of war, which they did not know, and approved its sentiments, refused his consent to their wishes. The soldiers, who had been made to swear by the representatives of the people, that they would never suffer the enemy to penetrate into the capital, spontaneously shared the indignation of their leaders; and declared, like them, that they would never consent, to surrender Paris. Some broke their arms, others brandished them in the air with curses and threats; all swore, to die on the spot, rather than desert it. A general insurrection appeared inevitable and at hand; when the General, alarmed at the calamities it might occasion, harangued the soldiers, and at length calmed their irritation. The imperial guard, yielding to the ascendancy the brave and loyal Drouot possessed over it, gave the first example of submission, and every thing was restored to order.
The government, to justify its conduct, and prevent similar insurrections in the other armies, and in the departments, published the following proclamation, a pompous tissue of eloquent impostures, and of fallacious promises.
[Footnote 86: It was the performance of the Duke of Otranto.]
"The Committee of Government to the French.
"Under the difficult circumstances, in which the reins of government were entrusted to us, it was not in our power, to master the course of events, and repel every danger: but it was our duty, to protect the interests of the people, and of the army, equally compromised in the cause of a prince, abandoned by fortune and by the national will.
"It was our duty, to preserve to our country the precious remains of those brave legions, whose courage is superior to misfortune, and who have been the victims of a devotion, which their country now claims.
"It was our duty, to save the capital from the horrors of a siege, or the chances of a battle to maintain the public tranquillity amid the tumults and agitations of war, to support the hopes of the friends of liberty, amid the fears and anxieties of a suspicious foresight. It was above all our duty, to stop the useless effusion of blood. We had to choose between a secure national existence, or run the risk of exposing our country and its citizens to a general convulsion, that would leave behind it neither hope, nor a future.
"None of the means of defence, that time and our resources permitted, nothing that the service of the camps or of the city required, have we neglected.
"While the pacification of the West was concluding, plenipotentiaries went to meet the allied powers; and all the papers relative to this negotiation have been laid before our representatives.
"The fate of the capital is regulated by a convention: its inhabitants, whose firmness, courage, and perseverance, are above all praise, will retain the guarding of it. The declarations of the sovereigns of Europe must inspire too great confidence, their promises have been too solemn, for us to entertain any fears of our liberties, and of our dearest interests, being sacrificed to victory.
"At length we shall receive guarantees, that will prevent the alternate and transient triumphs of the factions, by which we have been agitated these five and twenty years; that will terminate our revolutions, and melt down under one common protection all the parties, to which they have given rise, and all those, against which they have contended.
"Those guarantees, which have hitherto existed only in our principles and in our courage, we shall find in our laws, in our constitution, in our representative system. For whatever may be the intelligence, the virtues, the personal qualities of a monarch, these can never suffice, to render the people secure against the oppressions of power, the prejudices of pride, the injustice of courts, and the ambition of courtiers.
"Frenchmen, peace is necessary to your commerce, to your arts, to the improvement of your morals, to the development of the resources remaining to you: be united, and you are at the end of your calamities. The repose of Europe is inseparable from yours. Europe is interested in your tranquillity, and in your happiness.
"Given at Paris, July the 5th, 1815.
(Signed) "The president of the committee,
"The Duke of OTRANTO."
By the terms of the convention, the first column of the French was to commence its march on the 4th. The soldiers, still irritated, declared they would not set out, till they received their arrears of pay. The treasury was empty, credit extinguished, the government at bay. The Prince of Eckmuhl proposed, to seize the funds of the bank: but this attempt struck the committee with horror. One resource alone, one only hope, remained: this was to invoke the support of a banker, at that time celebrated for his wealth, now celebrated for his public virtues. M. Lafitte was applied to: the chances of the future did not deter him; he listened only to the interest of his country; and several millions, distributed by his assistance through the ranks of the army, disarmed the mutineers, and crushed the seeds of a civil war.
The army began its march. Amid the despair, into which it had been plunged by the capitulation, it had frequently called on Napoleon! The committee, apprehensive that the Emperor, having no longer any measures to keep, would come and put himself in a state of desperation at the head of the patriots and soldiers, sent orders by a courier to General Beker, "to effect the arrival of Napoleon at Rochefort without delay; and, without departing from the respect due to him, to employ all the means necessary, to get him embarked; as his stay in France compromised the safety of the state, and was detrimental to the negotiations."
The retreat of the army, the occupation of Paris by the foreigners, and the presence of the King at Arnouville, unveiled the future; and those men who were not blinded by incurable illusions, prepared to fall again under the sway of the Bourbons.
Their partisans, their emissaries, their known agents (M. de Vitrolles and others) had asserted, that the King, ascribing the revolution of the 20th of March to the faults of his ministry, would shut his eyes to all that had passed; and that a general absolution would be the pledge of his return, and of his reconciliation with the French. This consolatory assertion had already surmounted the repugnance of many; when the proclamations of the 25th and 28th of June, issued at Cambray, made their appearance. These in fact acknowledged, that the ministers of the King had committed faults; but, far from promising a complete oblivion of those committed by his subjects, one of them, the work of the Duke of Feltre, on the contrary announced, "that the King, whose potent allies had cleared the way for him to his dominions, by dispersing the satellites of the tyrant, was hastening to return to them, to carry the existing laws into execution against the guilty."
[Footnote 87: They were published by order of the chamber.]
Information was soon brought by the commissioners, returned from the head quarters of the allies, and confirmed by the reports of MM. Tromeling and Macirone, that Blucher and Wellington, already taking advantage of our weakness, openly declared, that the authority of the chambers and of the committee was illegal; and that the best thing they could do would be, to give in their resignations, and proclaim Louis XVIII.
All the good effected by the cajolery of M. Fouche, and the hope of a happy reconciliation, now disappeared. Consternation seized the weak-minded; indignation, men of a generous spirit. The committee, disappointed of the hope of obtaining Napoleon II., or the Duke of Orleans; who, according to the expression of the Duke of Wellington, would have been only an usurper of a good family; could no longer disguise from itself, that it was the intention of the foreign powers, to restore Louis XVIII. to the throne; but it had imagined, that his re-establishment would be the subject of an agreement between the nation, the allied monarchs, and Louis.
When it was acquainted with the language held by the enemy's generals, it foresaw, that the independence of the powers of the state, stipulated by the convention, would not be respected; and it deliberated, whether it would not be proper for it and the chambers, to retire behind the Loire with the army. This measure, worthy of the firmness of M. Carnot, who proposed it, was strongly combated by the Duke of Otranto. He declared, that this step would ruin France; "that the greater part of the generals would not assent to it, and that he himself would be the first, to refuse to quit Paris. That it was at Paris the whole must be decided: and that it was the duty of the committee to remain there, to protect the high interests confided to it, and contend for them to the last extremity."
The committee gave up the idea; not out of deference to the observations of M. Fouche, for he had lost all his empire over it; but because it was convinced on reflection, that things had gone too far, for any benefit to be expected from this desperate step. It would probably have rekindled the foreign war, and a civil war; and, though the soldiers might be depended on, their leaders could no longer be so, with the same security. Some, as General Senechal, had been stopped at the advanced posts, when going over to the Bourbons. Others had openly declared themselves in favour of Louis. The greater number appeared inflexible: but this difference of opinion had brought on distrust and dissensions; and in political wars all is lost, when there is a divergency of wills and opinions. Besides it would have been necessary, since the committee persisted in rejecting Napoleon, to place at the head of the army some other chief, whose name, sacred to glory, might serve as a stay and rallying point: and on whom could the choice of the committee fall?
[Footnote 88: Events have justified the prudence of the marshals; but I am not judging of events, I am relating them.]
Marshal Ney had been the first, to give the alarm, and despair of the safety of the country.
[Footnote 89: On the 23d of June, M. Carnot, after having delivered to the chamber of peers Napoleon's act of abdication, entered into some details of the state of the army. Marshal Ney rose, and said ... "What you have just heard is false, entirely false; Marshal Grouchy and the Duke of Dalmatia cannot assemble sixty thousand men.... Marshal Grouchy has been unable to rally more than seven or eight thousand; Marshal Soult could not maintain his post at Rocroy; you have no longer any means of saving the country, but by negotiations." M. Carnot and General Flahaut immediately refuted this imprudent negation. General Drouot completely refuted the marshal in the following sitting.... "I have heard with regret," said he, "what had been said to diminish the glory of our armies, exaggerate our disasters, or depreciate our resources. I will say what I think, what I fear, and what I hope. On my frankness you may depend. My attachment to the Emperor cannot be doubted: but before all things, and above all things, I love my country." The general then gave a true and authenticated account of the battles of Ligny and Mont St. Jean; and, after having justified the Emperor from the faults, indirectly attempted to be imputed to him, continued: "Such are the particulars of this fatal day. It ought to have crowned the glory of the French army, destroyed all the vain hopes of the enemy, and perhaps soon given a peace to France.... But heaven decided otherwise.... Though our losses are considerable, still our situation is not desperate: the resources yet left us are great, if we will employ them with energy ... such a catastrophe should not discourage a nation great and noble like ours.... After the battle of Cannae, the Roman senate voted thanks to their vanquished general, because he had not despaired of the safety of the republic; and laboured incessantly, to furnish him with the means of repairing the disasters of which he had been the cause.... On an occasion less critical, would the representatives of the nation suffer themselves to be depressed? Or would they forget the dangers of their country, and waste their hours in ill-timed debates, instead of having recourse to a remedy, that should ensure the safety of France?"]
Marshal Soult had relinquished his command.
Marshal Massena, worn out by victories, had no longer the bodily strength, that circumstances required.
Marshal Macdonald, deaf to the shout of war raised by his old companions in arms, had suffered his sword, to remain peaceably in its scabbard.
Marshal Jourdan was on the Rhine.
Marshal Mortier had been seized with the gout at Beaumont.
Marshal Suchet had displayed irresolution and repugnance from the beginning.
In fine, Marshals Davoust and Grouchy no longer possessed the confidence of the army.
The committee, therefore, it is grating to the pride of a Frenchman to confess it, would not have known to whose hands the fate of France might be entrusted; and the part it took, that of waiting the issue of events in the capital, if not the most dignified, was at least the wisest and most prudent.
The representatives of the people, on their part, far from showing themselves docile to the advice of Wellington and of Blucher, displayed with more energy than ever the principles and sentiments that animated them. They collected round the tri-coloured flag; and, though the army had laid down its weapons, they were still resolved to contend in defence of liberty, and the independence of the nation.
On the very day when the convention of Paris was notified to them by the government, they exposed, in a new bill of rights, the fundamental principles of a constitution, which alone, in their opinion, could satisfy the wishes of the public: and declared, that the prince called to reign over them should not ascend the throne, till he had given his sanction to this bill and taken an oath to observe it, and cause it to be observed.
Informed almost immediately by sinister rumours, that soon they would be no longer allowed to deliberate, they resolved, on the motion of M. Dupont de l'Eure, solemnly to express their last will in a kind of political testament, drawn up in the following words.
"Declaration of the Chamber of Representatives.
"The troops of the allied powers are about to occupy the capital.
"The chamber of representatives will nevertheless continue to sit amid the inhabitants of Paris, to which place the express will of the people has sent its proxies.
"But, under the present serious circumstances, the chamber of representatives owes it to itself, owes it to France and to Europe, to make a declaration of its sentiments and principles.
"It declares, therefore, that it makes a solemn appeal to the fidelity and patriotism of the national guard of Paris, charged with the protection of the national representatives.
"It declares, that it reposes itself with the highest confidence on the moral principles, honour, and magnanimity, of the allied powers, and on their respect for the independence of the nation, positively expressed in their manifestoes.
"It declares, that the government of France, whoever may be its head, ought to unite in its favour the wishes of the nation, legally expressed; and form arrangements with the other governments, in order to become a common bond and guarantee of peace between France and Europe.
"It declares, that a monarch cannot offer any real guarantees, if he do not swear to the observance of a constitution, formed by the deliberations of the national representatives, and accepted by the people. Accordingly any government, that has no other title than the acclamations and will of a party, or is imposed on it by force; any government, that does not adopt the national colours, and does not guarantee,
"The liberties of the citizens;
"Equality of rights, civil and political;
"The liberty of the press;
"Freedom of religious worship;
"The representative system;
"Free assent to levies and taxes;
"The responsibility of ministers;
"The irrevocability of sales of national property, from whatever source originating;
"The inviolability of property;
"The abolition of titles, of the old and new hereditary nobility, and of feudal claims;
"The abolition of all confiscation of property, the complete oblivion of opinions and votes given up to the present day;
"The institution of the legion of honour;
"The recompenses due to the officers and soldiers;
"The succour due to their widows and children;
"The institution of a jury; the indefeasibleness of the office of judge;
"The payment of the public debt;
"Would not ensure the tranquillity of France and of Europe.
"If the fundamental principles, announced in this declaration, should be disregarded or violated, the representatives of the French people, acquitting themselves this day of a sacred duty, enter their protest beforehand, in the face of the whole world, against violence and usurpation. They entrust they maintenance of the arrangements, which they now proclaim, to all good Frenchmen, to all generous hearts, to all enlightened minds, to all men jealous of liberty, and, in fine, to future generations."
This sublime protest was considered by the assembly as a funeral monument, erected to patriotism and fidelity. All the members arose, and adopted it spontaneously, with shouts a thousand times repeated of "Long live the nation! Liberty for ever!" It was resolved, that it should be sent immediately to the chamber of peers: "It must be made known," said M. Dupin, "that the whole of the national representation shares the noble sentiments expressed in this declaration. It must be made known to all worthy and reasonable men, the friends of judicious liberty, that their wishes have found interpreters here, and that force itself cannot prevent us from uttering them."
At the same moment M. Bedoch announced, that our plenipotentiaries were returned; and that one of them, M. Pontecoulant, had affirmed, that "the foreign powers, and particularly the Emperor Alexander, had shown favourable dispositions he had frequently heard it said and repeated, that it was not the intention of the allied sovereigns, to put any constraint on France in the choice of a government; and that the Emperor Alexander would be at Nancy in a few days."
[Footnote 90: The plenipotentiaries, who set out from Laon on the 26th of June, arrived on the 1st of July at Hagueneau, the head-quarters of the allied sovereigns.
The sovereigns did not think fit, to give them an audience; and Count Walmoden was appointed on the part of Austria, Count Capo d'Istria on that of Russia, General Knesbeck on that of Prussia, to hear their proposals. The English ambassador, Lord Stewart, having no powers ad hoc, was simply invited, to be present at the conferences.
Lord Stewart did not fail, as was foreseen in the instructions given to the plenipotentiaries, to dispute the legality of the existence of the chambers and of the committee; and asked the French deputies, by what right the nation pretended to expel their King, and choose another sovereign. By the same right, answered M. de la Fayette, as Great Britain had to depose James, and crown William.
This answer stopped the mouth of the English minister.
The plenipotentiaries, warned by this question of the disposition of the allies, exerted themselves less for obtaining Napoleon II., than for rejecting Louis XVIII. They declared, I am told, that France had an insuperable aversion to this sovereign and his family; and that there was no prince, it would not consent to adopt, rather than return under their sway. In fine, they hinted, that the nation might agree to take the Duke of Orleans, or the King of Saxony, if it were impossible for it to retain the throne for the son of Maria Louisa.
The foreign ministers, after some insignificant discourse, politely put an end to the conference; and in the evening the French plenipotentiaries received their dismissal by the following note:
Hagueneau, July the 1st.
"According to the stipulation of the treaty of alliance, which says, that none of the contracting parties shall treat of peace or an armistice, but by common consent, the three courts, that find themselves together, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, declare, that they cannot at present enter into any negotiation. The cabinets will assemble together, as soon as possible.
"The three powers consider it as an essential condition of peace, and of real tranquillity, that Napoleon Bonaparte shall be incapable of disturbing the repose of France, and of Europe, for the future: and in consequence of the events, that occurred in the month of March last, the powers must insist, that Napoleon Bonaparte be placed in their custody.
(Signed) WALMODEN. Capo d'ISTRIA. KNESBECK."
General Sebastiani confirmed these explanations. The chamber, feeling its hopes revive, immediately ordered, that its declaration should be carried to the foreign monarchs by a deputation of its members. "They will understand our language," said M. Dupont de l'Eure, with a noble feeling: "it is worthy of them, and of the great nation we represent."
Thus, at the very moment when the chamber was about to expire, its dying looks were still turned with pleasing confidence toward the foreign kings, whom the inconstancy of fortune had rendered the arbiters of France. It appealed particularly, in all its wishes, to that loyal and magnanimous prince, who had already preserved the French from the calamities of conquest, and who appeared destined to preserve it from evils still more deplorable. His name, uttered with respect, with gratitude, issued from every mouth; it was sufficient, to calm disquietude, allay grief, and revive hope; it seemed to be the pledge of peace, independence, and happiness, to the nation. O Alexander! this high esteem, this tender confidence, of a whole people not thy own, doubt not, will be placed by posterity in the first rank of thy claims to glory.
The committee, however, dissuaded the representatives from applying to the sovereigns. It remonstrated to them, that the foreign powers refused to acknowledge the legal character of the chambers, and this step would expose them to humiliations unworthy the majesty of the nation. The representatives, convinced of their mistake, did not persevere: they tranquilly resumed their labours on the constitution, and continued, while the despotic sword of kings hung over their heads, stoically to discuss the imprescriptible rights of the people.
[Footnote 91: This constitution, founded on the additional act, differed from it only in abolishing hereditary mobility. M. Manuel, however, who displayed talents of the first order in this discussion, was of opinion, that the order of nobility should not be suppressed, being essentially necessary in a monarchy. Had I to draw up an eulogy of the additional act, or a charge against those who hold it in contempt, I would only refer them to his constitution.]
The Duke of Wellington, when the convention was signed, had expressed a desire, to confer with the Duke of Otranto on its execution. The committee did not oppose their interview. It was a certain means of knowing definitively what was to be depended on, with regard to the dispositions of the allies. It was agreed, that the president of the committee should reproduce the arguments of the letter of the 1st of July; that he should endeavour, to keep out the Bourbons, and turn the temporary vacancy of the throne to the advantage of the nation and of freedom.
The Duke of Otranto, on his return, informed the committee, "that Wellington had formally declared in favour of Louis XVIII.; and had said, that this sovereign would make his entrance into Paris on the 8th of July.
"That General Pozzo di Borgo had repeated the same declaration in the name of the Emperor of Russia; and had communicated to him a letter from Prince Metternich, and from Count Nesselrode, expressing the resolution, to acknowledge only Louis XVIII, and to admit no proposal to the contrary." He added, "that the Duke of Wellington had conducted him to the King: that he had gone for his sake (pour son compte); that he had left him ignorant of nothing with respect to the situation of France, or to the disposition of people's minds against the return of his family. That the King had listened to him with attention, and with approbation that he had manifested an inclination, to add to the charter fresh guarantees, and to remove all idea of reaction. That, as to the expressions in the proclamations, they would rather furnish opportunities for clemency, than means of severity." In fine, he added, "that he had spoken of the tri-coloured cockade, but that all explanation had been refused: that the opposition appeared to him, to proceed less from the King, than from those about him, and from M. de Talleyrand."
After this interview, the Duke of Otranto appeared to act separately from his colleagues; and no longer made his appearance with punctuality at their frequent meetings.
The newspapers soon made public, that he was appointed minister of police to the King. This he had concealed from the committee. The royalists congratulated him on this mark of favour; the patriots loaded him with curses, considering it as the reward of his treachery.
The King's party, which had hitherto kept itself in obscurity, was desirous of making reparation for this long and pusillanimous inactivity by some brilliant act. It plotted the disarming of the posts of the national guard, under favour of night; seizing the Tuileries, dissolving the committee and the chambers, and proclaiming Louis XVIII.
Some precautions taken by the Prince of Essling taught the conspirators, that their designs were known: and they prudently left the execution of them to foreign bayonets. They had not to wait long. On the 7th of July, at five o'clock in the afternoon, several Prussian battalions, in spite of the convention, surrounded the palace, where the government was sitting. An officer of the staff delivered to the committee a demand from Prince Blucher of a contribution of a hundred millions in cash, and a hundred millions in articles for the troops. The committee declared with firmness, that this requisition was contrary to the convention; and that it would never consent, to make itself an accomplice in such exactions. During this debate, the Prussians had forced the gates of the Tuileries, and invaded the courts and avenues of the palace. The committee being no longer free, and not choosing to become an instrument of oppression, ceased its functions.
Its first care was, to record by an authentic protest, that it had yielded only to force, and that the rights of the nation remained intact. The Duke of Otranto, the docile composer of the public papers of the government, took up the pen for this purpose: but the committee, fearing the effects this protest might have on the public tranquillity, thought it better, to content itself with sending to the two chambers the following message.
"Hitherto we had reason to believe, that the allied sovereigns were not unanimous in their intentions, respecting the choice of a prince to reign over France. Our plenipotentiaries gave us the same assurance on their return. The ministers and generals of the allied powers, however, declared yesterday in the conferences they held with the president of the committee, that all the sovereigns had engaged, to replace Louis XVIII. on the throne; and that this evening, or to-morrow, he would make his entry into the capital.
"The foreign troops are come to occupy the Tuileries, where the government sits. In this state of things, we can do nothing, but put up prayers for our country; and, our deliberations being no longer free, we think it our duty to separate."
This message, the last testimonial of the audacious duplicity of the Duke of Otranto, now become a minister of the King, contained in addition what follows. "Fresh guarantees will be added to the charter; and we have not lost the hope of retaining the colours so dear to the nation:" but this paragraph, of which I give only the substance, was afterwards suppressed.
The chamber of peers, which had received with coldness the bill of rights, and the declaration of the chamber of representatives, separated without a murmur.
[Footnote 92: This chamber, after the abdication of Napoleon, was merely a superfetation. The departure of those peers, who formed part of the army, completed its reduction to an absolute nullity. Without patriotism, without energy, it confined itself to sanctioning with an ill grace the measures adopted by the representatives. M. Thibaudeau, M. de Segur, M. de Bassano, and a few others, alone raised themselves to a level with the state of affairs. M. Thibaudeau in particular distinguished himself, on the 28th of June and the 2d of July, by two speeches on our political situation; which were considered then, as they long will be, as noble specimens of courage, patriotism, and eloquence.]
The chamber of deputies received its sentence of death with heroic tranquillity. When M. Manuel, repeating the memorable words of Mirabeau, exclaimed: "We are here by the will of the people; we will not depart, till compelled by the bayonet: it is our duty, to devote to our country our last moments; and, if necessary, the last drop of our blood:" all the members of the assembly rose, in testimony of their assent; and declared, that they would remain firm at their posts.
But they were not allowed, to fulfil this glorious resolution. The president, M. Lanjuinais, betraying their courage, and despising their will, dissolved the sitting, and retired. "M. President," said General Solignac to him, "the muse of history is here, and will record your conduct."
The next morning, they found the avenues of their palace occupied by foreigners, and the doors of the assembly closed. M. de Cazes, at the head of some royal volunteers, had taken away the keys. This act of violence, against which they protested, at length removed the bandage from their eyes: they perceived the error they had committed, in too hastily removing Napoleon from the throne, and blindly entrusting to other hands the fate of their country.
[Footnote 93: I repeat here a preceding observation, that I confine myself to a relation of facts, without deciding upon them.]
Thus terminated, after a month's existence, that assembly, which the French had chosen, to confirm the imperial dynasty, to secure their liberties and their tranquillity; but which, through precipitancy, want of foresight, and an excess of zeal and patriotism, had given rise to nothing but convulsions and calamities.
The dissolution of the chambers, and of the government, put an end to all illusions.
The tri-coloured flags, that had been retained, disappeared.
The shouts of "Long live the nation!" and "Liberty for ever!" ceased.
M. Fouche went to announce to his new master, that the whole was consummated.
And on the 8th of July Louis XVIII. in triumph took possession of his capital, and of his throne.
[Footnote 94: On the 8th of July M. de Vitrolles caused the following official article to be inserted in the Moniteur.
"Paris, July the 7th.—The committee of government made known to the King, by the mouth of its president, that it had just dissolved itself."
This article, written with the intention, to make France and Europe believe, that the committee had voluntarily deposited its authority in the hands of the King, called forth strong remonstrances from the Duke of Vicenza. Incapable of paltering with his duty, or with the truth, he went immediately to the King's minister, the Duke of Otranto; reproached him severely with having compromised the committee and declared, that he would not quit his house, till he had obtained a formal disavowal of it. The minister protested, that the article was not written by him; and consented to disavow it.
Count Carnot, Baron Quinette, and General Grenier, having joined the Duke of Vicenza, the latter wrote, in the Duke of Otranto's closet, the letter subjoined; the boldness and firmness of which, I trust, it is unnecessary to remark.
"Monsieur le Duc.—As the committee of government, on its retiring, neither ought nor could charge your excellency with any mission, we desire you, to cause the article inserted in the Moniteur of this day, the 8th of July, to be disavowed; and to procure the insertion of our last message to the two chambers.
(Signed) CAULINCOURT. CARNOT. QUINETTE. GRENIER."
The Duke of Otranto answered this letter by the following declaration:
"Gentlemen.—The committee of government having dissolved itself on the 7th of July, every act emanating from it posterior to its message to the chambers is null, and ought to be considered as not having taken place.
"Your remonstrance against the article inserted in the Moniteur of the 8th of July is just. I disavow it, as totally unfounded, and published without my authority.
(Signed) The Duke of OTRANTO."]
At the moment when this prince re-entered the Tuileries, Napoleon was busied at Rochefort on the means of quitting France. His presence excited such enthusiasm among the people, the mariners, and the soldiers, that the shore uninterruptedly resounded with shouts of "Long live the Emperor!" and these shouts, repeated from mouth to mouth, could not but teach those, who had flattered themselves with having mastered the will of Napoleon, how easy it would be for him, to shake off his chains, and laugh at their vain precautions. But faithful to his determination, he firmly resisted the impulse of circumstances; and the continual solicitations made him, to put himself at the head of the patriots and the army. "It is too late," he incessantly repeated: "the evil is now without remedy: it is no longer in my power, to save the country. A civil war now would answer no end, would be of no utility. To myself alone it might prove advantageous, by affording me the means of procuring personally more favourable conditions: but these I must purchase by the inevitable destruction of all that France possesses of most generous and most magnanimous and such a result inspires me with horror."
[Footnote 95: The words recorded by M. de Lascases.]
Up to the 29th of June, the day when the Emperor quitted Malmaison, no English vessel had been seen off the coast of Rochefort, and there is every reason to believe, that Napoleon, if circumstances had allowed him to embark immediately after his abdication, would have reached the United States without obstruction. But when he arrived at the sea-coast, he found every outlet occupied by the enemy, and appeared to retain little hope of escaping.
The 8th of July he went on board the frigate la Saale, prepared to receive him. His suite was embarked on board the Medusa; and the next day, the 9th, the two vessels anchored at the Isle of Aix. Napoleon, always the same, ordered the garrison under arms, examined the fortifications most minutely, and distributed praise or blame, as if he had still been sovereign master of the state.
[Footnote 96: At the same moment Louis XVIII. entered Paris. It was another remarkable singularity, that the King entered the capital the first time on the same day, on which the Emperor went on board the brig, that conveyed him to Porto Ferrajo.]
On the 10th, the wind, hitherto contrary, became fair; but an English fleet of eleven vessels was cruising within sight of the port, and it was impossible to get to sea.
On the 11th, the Emperor, weary of this state of anxiety, sent Count de Las Cases, now become his secretary, to sound the disposition of the English admiral; to inquire, whether he were authorised to allow him liberty, to repair to England, or to the United States.
The admiral answered, that he had no orders: that still he was ready, to receive Napoleon, and convey him to England: but that it was not in his power, to answer whether he would obtain permission to remain there, or to repair to America.
Napoleon, little satisfied with this answer, caused two half-decked vessels to be purchased, with intention, under favour of night, to reach a Danish smack, with which he had contrived to hold intelligence.
This step having failed, some young midshipmen, full of courage and devotion, proposed to him, to go on board the two barks; and swore they would forfeit their lives, if they did not convey him to New York. Napoleon was not deterred by so long a voyage in such slight vessels: but he knew, that they could not avoid stopping on the coasts of Spain and Portugal, to take in water and provision; and he would not expose himself and people, to the danger of falling into the hands of the Portuguese or Spaniards.
Being informed, that an American vessel was at the mouth of the Gironde, he sent off General Lallemand on the spur, to ascertain the existence of the vessel, and the sentiments of the captain. The general returned with all speed, to inform him, that the captain would be happy and proud, to extricate him from the persecutions of his enemies: but Napoleon, yielding, as it is said, to the advice of some persons about him, gave up the idea of attempting this passage, and determined to throw himself on the generosity of the English.
On the 14th he caused the admiral to be informed, that the next day he would repair on board his vessel.
On the 15th in the morning, he went off in the brig l'Epervier, and was received on board the Bellerophon with the honours due to his rank, and to his misfortune. General Beker, who had orders not to quit him, attended him. The moment they came alongside, the Emperor said to him: "Withdraw, general; I would not have it be believed, that a Frenchman is come to deliver me into the hands of my enemies."
On the 16th the Bellerophon set sail for England.
The Emperor had prepared a letter to the Prince Regent, which General Gourgaud was directed, to carry to him immediately. It was as follows.
"Rochefort, July the 13th, 1815.
"Exposed to the factions, that distract my country, and to the enmity of the greatest powers of Europe, I have terminated my political career; and I come, like Themistocles, to seat myself on the hearth of the British people. I put myself under the protection of its laws, which I claim of your Royal Highness, as the most powerful, the most constant, and the most generous of my enemies."
General Gourgaud had orders, to make known to the Prince, if he deigned to admit him to his presence or to his ministers, that it was Napoleon's intention, to retire into any of the counties of England; and to live there peaceable and unknown, under the name of Colonel Duroc.
The Emperor showed no apprehension, no anxiety, on the passage. He relied with security on the noble character of the English.
When he arrived at Plymouth, he was not permitted, to set his foot on shore; and he was soon informed, the allied powers had decided, that he should be considered as a prisoner of war, and confined at St. Helena.
He protested solemnly to the English admiral, and in the face of Heaven and of mankind, against this violation of the most sacred rights; against the violence put upon his person, and upon his liberty.
This protest proving vain, he submitted with calm and majestic resignation to the decree of his enemies. He was removed on board the Northumberland, which immediately set sail for St. Helena.
On passing Cape la Hogue, he descried the coast of France. Immediately he saluted it; and, stretching out his hands toward the shore, exclaimed with a voice of deep emotion: "Adieu, land of the brave! adieu, dear France! a few traitors less, and thou wilt still be the great nation, and mistress of the world."
On the 17th of October the parched rocks were pointed out to him, that were soon to become the walls of his prison. He contemplated them without complaint, without agitation, without fear.
On the 18th he landed; and, after having protested anew against this violence done his person, he repaired to the place of his captivity with a firm and confident step.
Thus terminated the political life of Napoleon.
Some have been astonished, that he chose to survive himself. He might have killed himself; nothing is easier for a man. But was such an end worthy of him? A king, a great king, ought not to die the desperate death of a conspirator, of the head of a party. To use the proper words of the illustrious captive at St. Helena, he ought to be superior to the rudest attacks of adversity.
No! it was worthy of the great Napoleon, to oppose the inflexibility of his mind to the fickleness of fortune; and like the Roman, who was reproached with not having died by his own hand after a great catastrophe, he too made answer: "I have done more, I have lived!"
FATE OF THE PERSONS
WHO ARE NOTICED IN THESE MEMOIRS.
Prince Talleyrand, dismissed, a peer of France.
M. Dambray, dismissed, a peer of France.
M. L'Abbe de Montesquiou, dismissed, a peer of France.
General Dupont, dismissed, a peer of France.
Marshal Soult, dismissed, proscribed.
The Duke of Feltre, dismissed, dead.
The Comte de Blacas, dismissed, a peer of France.
MINISTERS OF STATE.
Comte Ferrand, dismissed, a peer of France.
The Viscount de Chateaubriand, dismissed, a peer of France.
Baron de Vitrolles, dismissed.
Marshal Marmont, major-general of the royal guards.
Marshal Macdonald, major-general of the royal guards.
Marshal Victor, major-general of the royal guards.
Marshal Gouvion de St. Cyr, minister at war.
The Prince Cambaceres, banished, returned.
The Prince of Eckmuhl, a peer of France.
The Duke of Vicenza, retired from public affairs.
The Duke of Decres, retired from public affairs.
The Duke of Otranto, banished.
The Duke of Gaeta, a peer of France, (secret letter, lettre close).
Count Mollien, a peer of France.
M. Carnot, proscribed.
The Duke of Bassano, proscribed.
MINISTERS OF STATE.
Count Defermont, proscribed, recalled.
Count Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely, proscribed, recalled: died in consequence of his exile.
Count Boulay de la Meurthe, proscribed.
Count Merlin de Douay, proscribed.
Count Andreossy, a peer of France.
Marshal Ney, shot.
Marshal Brune, massacred.
The Prince of Eckmuhl, a peer of France.
Prince Massena, dismissed, died.
Marshal Mortier, a peer of France.
Marshal Jourdan, a peer of France.
Marshal Soult, proscribed, recalled.
Marshal Lefevre, a peer of France.
Marshal Suchet, a peer of France.
Marshal Grouchy, proscribed.
The Duke of Rovigo, condemned to death for non-appearance.
Count Bertrand, condemned to death for non-appearance.
General Drouot, tried, acquitted, retired from the service.
General Cambronne, tried, acquitted, retired from the service.
General Marchand, tried, acquitted.
General Debelle, condemned to death, pardoned.
Colonel Labedoyere, shot.
General Brayer, condemned to death for non-appearance.
General Mouton Duvernet, shot.
General Girard, killed at Ligny.
PLOT AT COMPIEGNE AND LAFERE.
(Vol. I. Page 205.)
General d'Erlon, condemned to death for non-appearance.
General Lefevre Desnouettes, condemned to death for non-appearance.
The Generals Lallemand (brothers), condemned to death for non-appearance.
General Clausel, condemned to death for non-appearance.
The Generals Faucher (brothers), shot.
Marshal Grouchy, proscribed.
General Chartran, shot.
General Travot, condemned to death, imprisoned for life.
General Lamarque, proscribed, recalled.
ARMIES. COMMANDERS OF CORPS.
General Decaen, tried, acquitted.
General Rapp, a peer of France.
General Reille, a peer of France.
General de Lobau, proscribed, recalled.
General d'Erlon, condemned to death for non-appearance.
General Gerard, retired from the service.
General Vandamme, proscribed.
General Excelmans, proscribed, recalled.
General Pajol, retired from the service.
General Foi, retired from the service [one of the new fifth of the chamber of deputies.—Tr.].
General Fressinet, proscribed.
General de Bourmont, commandant of the cavalry of the guard.
MEMBERS OF THE CHAMBER OF REPRESENTATIVES.
M. Lanjuinais, president, a peer of France.
M. Dupont de l'Eure, dismissed from his office of president of the court of Rouen. A deputy in the present chamber. Leader of the opposition.
M. Durbach, proscribed, recalled.
M. M. Defermont, Boulay, Regnault, proscribed.
M. Lafayette, a deputy, in opposition.
M. Manuel, a deputy, in opposition.
M. Roi, minister of state, a deputy.
M. Dupin, counsellor at law, celebrated for his talents and patriotism.
General Sebastiani, in actual service.
Count de Pontecoulant, a peer of France.
Count Delaforest, a peer of France.
Count Andreossy, a peer of France.
Count Boissy d'Anglas, a peer of France.
Count de Valence, excluded from the chamber of peers.
M. de la Besnardiere, retired from public affairs.
M. Lafayette, a deputy, in opposition.
M. D'Argenson, a deputy, in opposition.
M. Flaugergues, without any employment, neuter in his opinions.
M. Benjamin Constant, a political writer and deputy.
M. Delavalette, condemned to death, saved from the scaffold by conjugal affection, and the heroism of three Englishmen, Sir Robert Wilson, Mr. Bruce, and Mr. Hutchinson.
General Grenier, a deputy, in opposition.
Baron Quinette, banished, recalled.
M. Thibaudeau, proscribed.
General Beker, a peer of France.
General Flahaut, naturalized in England.
M. de Tromeling, a major-general in actual service.
The author of these Memoirs, independent.