Bonaparte laughed heartily while he dictated this epistle, especially when he uttered the word which I have marked in italics [CAPS]. Berthier set out for Dijon, where he commenced the formation of the army of reserve.
The Consular Constitution did not empower the First Consul to command an army out of the territory of France. Bonaparte therefore wished to keep secret his long-projected plan of placing himself at the head of the army of Italy, which, he then for the first time called the grand army. I observed that by his choice of Berthier nobody could be deceived, because it must be evident that he would have made another selection had he not intended to command in person. He laughed at my observation.
Our departure from Paris was fixed for the 6th of May, or, according to the republican calendar, the 16th Floreal Bonaparte had made all his arrangements and issued all his orders; but still he did not wish it to be known that he was going to take the command of the army. On the eve of our departure, being in conference with the two other Consuls and the Ministers, he said to Lucien, "Prepare, to-morrow morning, a circular to the prefects, and you, Fouche, will publish it in the journals. Say I am gone to Dijon to inspect the army of reserve. You may add that I shall perhaps go as far as Geneva; but you must affirm positively that I shall not be absent longer than a fortnight: You, Cambaceres, will preside to-morrow at the Council of State. In my absence you are the Head of the Government. State that my absence will be but of short duration, but specify nothing. Express my approbation of the Council of State; it has already rendered great services, and I shall be happy to see it continue in the course it has hitherto pursued. Oh! I had nearly forgotten—you will at the same time announce that I have appointed Joseph a Councillor of State. Should anything happen I shall be back again like a thunderbolt. I recommend to you all the great interests of France, and I trust that I shall shortly be talked of in Vienna and in London."
We set out at two in the morning, taking the Burgundy road, which we had already so often travelled under very different circumstances.
On the journey Bonaparte conversed about the warriors of antiquity, especially Alexander, Caesar, Scipio, and Hannibal. I asked him which he preferred, Alexander or Caesar. "I place Alexander in the first rank," said he, "yet I admire Caesar's fine campaign in Africa. But the ground of my preference for the King of Macedonia is the plan, and above all the execution, of his campaign in Asia. Only those who are utterly ignorant of war can blame Alexander for having spent seven months at the siege of Tyre. For my part, I would have stayed there seven years had it been necessary. This is a great subject of dispute; but I look upon the siege of Tyre, the conquest of Egypt, and the journey to the Oasis of Ammon as a decided proof of the genius of that great captain. His object was to give the King of Persia (of whose force he had only beaten a feeble advance-guard at the Granicus and Issus) time to reassemble his troops, so that he might overthrow at a blow the colossus which he had as yet only shaken. By pursuing Darius into his states Alexander would have separated himself from his reinforcements, and would have met only scattered parties of troops who would have drawn him into deserts where his army would have been sacrificed. By persevering in the taking of Tyre he secured, his communications with Greece, the country he loved as dearly as I love France, and in whose glory he placed his own. By taking possession of the rich province of Egypt he forced Darius to come to defend or deliver it, and in so doing to march half-way to meet him. By representing himself as the son of Jupiter he worked upon the ardent feelings of the Orientals in a way that powerfully seconded his designs. Though he died at thirty-three what a name he has left behind him!"
Though an utter stranger to the noble profession of arms, yet I could admire Bonaparte's clever military plans and his shrewd remarks on the great captains of ancient and modern times. I could not refrain from saying, "General, you often reproach me for being no flatterer, but now I tell you plainly I admire you." And certainly, I really spoke the true sentiments of my mind.
VOLUME II. — 1800-1803
Bonaparte's confidence in the army—'Ma belle' France—The convent of Bernadins—Passage of Mont St. Bernard—Arrival at the convent— Refreshments distributed to the soldiers—Mont Albaredo—Artillery dismounted—The fort of Bard—Fortunate temerity—Bonaparte and Melas—The spy—Bonaparte's opinion of M. Necker—Capitulation of Genoa—Intercepted despatch—Lannes at Montebello—Boudet succeeded by Desaix—Coolness of the First Consul to M. Collot—Conversation and recollections—The battle of Marengo—General Kellerman—Supper sent from the Convent del Bosco—Particulars respecting the death of Desaix—The Prince of Lichtenstein—Return to Milan—Savary and Rapp.
It cannot be denied that if, from the 18th Brumaire to the epoch when Bonaparte began the campaign, innumerable improvements had been made in the internal affairs of France, foreign affairs could not be seen with the same satisfaction. Italy had been lost, and from the frontiers of Provence the Austrian camp fires were seen. Bonaparte was not ignorant of the difficulties of his position, and it was even on account of these very difficulties that, whatever might be the result of his hardy enterprise, he wished to escape from it as quickly as possible. He cherished no illusions, and often said all must be staked to gain all.
The army which the First Consul was preparing to attack was numerous, well disciplined, and victorious.
His, with the exception of a very small number of troops, was composed of conscripts; but these conscripts were commanded by officers whose ardour was unparalleled. Bonaparte's fortune was now to depend on the winning or losing of a battle. A battle lost would have dispelled all the dreams of his imagination, and with them would have vanished all his immense schemes for the future of France. He saw the danger, but was not intimidated by it; and trusting to his accustomed good fortune, and to the courage and fidelity of his troops, he said, "I have, it is true, many conscripts in my army, but they are Frenchmen. Four years ago did I not with a feeble army drive before me hordes of Sardinians and Austrians, and scour the face of Italy? We shall do so again. The sun which now shines on us is the same that shone at Arcola and Lodi. I rely on Massena. I hope he will hold out in Genoa. But should famine oblige him to surrender, I will retake Genoa in the plains of the Scrivia. With what pleasure shall I then return to my dear France! Ma belle France."
At this moment, when a possible, nay, a probable chance, might for ever have blasted his ambitious hopes, he for the first time spoke of France as his. Considering the circumstances in which we then stood, this use of the possessive pronoun "my" describes more forcibly than anything that can be said the flashes of divination which crossed Bonaparte's brain when he was wrapped up in his chimerical ideas of glory and fortune.
In this favourable disposition of mind the First Consul arrived at Martigny on the 20th of May. Martigny is a convent of Bernardins, situated in a valley where the rays of the sun scarcely ever penetrate. The army was in full march to the Great St. Bernard. In this gloomy solitude did Bonaparte wait three days, expecting the fort of Bard, situated beyond the mountain and covering the road to Yvree, to surrender. The town was carried on the 21st of May, and on the third day he learned that the fort still held out, and that there were no indications of its surrender. He launched into complaints against the commander of the siege, and said, "I am weary of staying in this convent; those fools will never take Bard; I must go myself and see what can be done. They cannot even settle so contemptible an affair without me!" He immediately gave orders for our departure.
The grand idea of the invasion of Italy by crossing Mont St. Bernard emanated exclusively from the First Consul. This miraculous achievement justly excited the admiration of the world. The incredible difficulties it presented did not daunt the courage of Bonaparte's troops. His generals, accustomed as they had been to brave fatigue and danger, regarded without concern the gigantic enterprise of the modern Hannibal.
A convent or hospice, which had been established on the mountain for the purpose of affording assistance to solitary travellers, sufficiently bespeaks the dangers of these stormy regions. But the St. Bernard was now to be crossed, not by solitary travellers, but by an army. Cavalry, baggage, limbers, and artillery were now to wend their way along those narrow paths where the goat-herd cautiously picks his footsteps. On the one hand masses of snow, suspended above our heads, every moment threatened to break in avalanches, and sweep us away in their descent. On the other, a false step was death. We all passed, men and horse, one by one, along the goat paths. The artillery was dismounted, and the guns, put into excavated trunks of trees, were drawn by ropes.
I have already mentioned that the First Consul had transmitted funds to the hospice of the Great St. Bernard. The good fathers had procured from the two valleys a considerable supply of cheese, bread, and wine. Tables were laid out in front of the hospice, and each soldier as he defiled past took a glass of wine and a piece of bread and cheese, and then resigned his place to the next. The fathers served, and renewed the portions with admirable order and activity.
The First Consul ascended the St. Bernard with that calm self-possession and that air of indifference for which he was always remarkable when he felt the necessity of setting an example and exposing himself to danger. He asked his guide many questions about the two valleys, inquired what were the resources of the inhabitants, and whether accidents were as frequent as they were said to be. The guide informed him that the experience of ages enabled the inhabitants to foresee good or bad weather, and that they were seldom deceived.
Bonaparte, who wore his gray greatcoat, and had his whip in his hand, appeared somewhat disappointed at not seeing any one come from the valley of Aorta to inform him of the taking of the fort of Bard. I never left him for a moment during the ascent. We encountered no personal danger, and escaped with no other inconvenience than excessive fatigue.
On his arrival at the convent the First Consul visited the chapel and the three little libraries. He had time to read a few pages of an old book, of which I have forgotten the title.
Our breakfast-dinner was very frugal. The little garden was still covered with snow, and I said to one of the fathers, "You can have but few vegetables here."—"We get our vegetables from the valleys," he replied; "but in the month of August, in warm seasons, we have a few lettuces of our own growing."
When we reached the summit of the mountain we seated ourselves on the snow and slid down. Those who went first smoothed the way for those who came behind them. This rapid descent greatly amused us, and we were only stopped by the mud which succeeded the snow at the distance of five or six hundred toises down the declivity.
We crossed, or rather climbed up, Mont Albaredo to avoid passing under the fort of Bard, which closes the valley of Aorta. As it was impossible to get the artillery up this mountain it was resolved to convey it through the town of Bard, which was not fortified. For this operation we made choice of night, and the wheels of the cannon and caissons, and even the horses' feet, being wrapped in straw, the whole passed quietly through the little town. They were, indeed, under the fire of the fort; however, it did not so completely command the street but that the houses would have protected them against any very fatal consequences. A great part of the army had passed before the surrender of the fort, which so completely commands the narrow valley leading to Aorta that it is difficult to comprehend the negligence of the Austrians in not throwing up more efficient works; by very simple precautions they might have rendered the passage of St. Bernard unavailing.
On the 23d we came within sight of the fort of Bard, which commands the road bounded by the Doria Baltea on the right and Mont Albaredo on the left. The Doria Baltea is a small torrent which separates the town of Bard from the fort. Bonaparte, whose retinue was not very numerous, crossed the torrent. On arriving within gunshot of the fort he ordered us to quicken our pace to gain a little bridle-path on the left, leading to the summit of Mont Albaredo, and turning the town and fort of Bard.
We ascended this path on foot with some difficulty. On reaching the summit of the mountain, which commands the fort, Bonaparte levelled his telescope on the grass, and stationing himself behind some bushes, which served at once to shelter and conceal him, he attentively reconnoitered the fort. After addressing several questions to the persons who had come to give him information, he mentioned, in a tone of dissatisfaction, the faults that had been committed, and ordered the erection of a new battery to attack a point which he marked out, and from whence, he guaranteed, the firing of a few shots would oblige the fort to surrender. Having given these orders he descended the mountain and went to sleep that night at Yvree. On the 3d of June he learned that the fort had surrendered the day before.
The passage of Mont St. Bernard must occupy a great place in the annals of successful temerity. The boldness of the First Consul seemed, as it were, to have fascinated the enemy, and his enterprise was so unexpected that not a single Austrian corps defended the approaches of the fort of Bard. The country was entirely exposed, and we only encountered here and there a few feeble parties, who were incapable of checking our march upon Milan. Bonaparte's advance astonished and confounded the enemy, who thought of nothing but marching back the way he came, and renouncing the invasion of France. The bold genius which actuated Bonaparte did not inspire General Melas, the commander-in-chief of the Austrian forces. If Melas had had the firmness which ought to belong to the leader of an army—if he had compared the respective positions of the two parties—if he had considered that there was no longer time to regain his line of operations and recover his communication with the Hereditary States, that he was master of all the strong places in Italy, that he had nothing to fear from Massena, that Suchet could not resist him:—if, then, following Bonaparte's' example, he had marched upon Lyons, what would have become of the First Consul? Melas would have found few obstacles, and almost everywhere open towns, while the French army would have been exhausted without having an enemy to fight. This is, doubtless, what Bonaparte would have done had he been Melas; but, fortunately for us, Melas was not Bonaparte.
We arrived at Milan on the 2d of June, the day on which the First Consul heard that the fort of Bard was taken. But little resistance was opposed to our entrance to the capital of Lombardy, and the term "engagements" can scarcely be applied to a few affairs of advance posts, in which success could not be for a moment doubtful; the fort of Milan was immediately blockaded. Murat was sent to Piacenza, of which he took possession without difficulty, and Lannes beat General Ott at Montebello. He was far from imagining that by that exploit he conquered for himself a future duchy!
The First Consul passed six days at Milan. On the day after our arrival there a spy who had served us very well in the first campaign in Italy was announced. The First Consul recollected him, and ordered him to be shown into his cabinet.—"What, are you here?" he exclaimed; "so you are not shot yet!"—"General," replied the spy, "when the war recommenced I determined to serve the Austrians because you were far from Europe. I always follow the fortunate; but the truth is, I am tired of the trade. I wish to have done with it, and to get enough to enable me to retire. I have been sent to your lines by General Melas, and I can render you an important service. I will give an exact account of the force and the position of all the enemy's corps, and the names of their commanders. I can tell you the situation in which Alessandria now is. You know me I will not deceive you; but, I must carry back some report to my general. You need not care for giving me some true particulars which I can communicate to him."—"Oh! as to that," resumed the First Consul, "the enemy is welcome to know my forces and my positions, provided I know his, and he be ignorant of my plans. You shall be satisfied; but do not deceive me: you ask for 1000 Louis, you shall have them if you serve me well." I then wrote down from the dictation of the spy, the and the names of the corps, their amount, their positions, names of the generals commanding them. The Consul stuck pins in the map to mark his plans on places respecting which he received information from the spy. We also learned that Alexandria was without provisions, that Melas was far from expecting a siege, that many of his troops were sick, and that he wanted medicines. Berthier was ordered to draw up for the spy a nearly accurate statement of our positions.
The information given by this man proved so accurate and useful that on his return from Marengo Bonaparte ordered me to pay him the 1000 Louis. The spy afterwards informed him that Melas was delighted with the way in which he had served him in this affair, and had rewarded him handsomely. He assured us that he had bidden farewell to his odious profession. The First Consul regarded this little event as one of the favours of fortune.
In passing through Geneva the First Consul had an interview with M. Necker.
—[Madame de Stael briefly mention this interview in her 'Considerations sur la Revolution Francaise' "M. Necker," she says, "had an interview with Bonaparte, when he was on his way to Italy by the passage of Mont. St. Bernard, a few days before the battle of Marengo, During this conversation, which lasted two hours, the First Consul made a very favourable impression on my father by the confident way he spoke of his future projects."—Bourrienne.]—
I know not how it happened, but at the time he did not speak to me of this interview. However, I was curious to know what he thought of a man who had acquired much celebrity in France. One evening, when we were talking of one thing and another, I managed to turn the conversation on that subject. "M. Necker," said he, "appears to me very far below his reputation. He did not equal the idea I had formed of him. I tried all I could to get him to talk; but he said nothing remarkable. He is an ideologist—
—[This was a constant term of reproach with Bonaparte. He set all the metaphysicians of the Continent against him by exclaiming, "Je ne veux point d'ideologues."]—
a banker. It is impossible that such a man can have any but narrow views; and, besides, most celebrated people lose on a close view."— "Not always, General," observed I—"Ah!" said he, smiling, "that is not bad, Bourrienne. You are improving. I see I shall make something of you in time!"
The day was approaching when all was to be lost or won. The First Consul made all his arrangements, and sent off the different corps to occupy the points he had marked out. I have already mentioned that Murat's task was the occupation of Piacenza. As soon as he was in possession of that town he intercepted a courier of General Melas. The despatch, which was addressed to the Aulic Council of Vienna, was delivered to us on the night of the 8th of June. It announced the capitulation of Genoa, which took place on the 4th, after the long and memorable defence which reflected so much honour on Massena. Melas in his despatch spoke of what he called our pretended army of reserve with inconceivable contempt, and alluded to the presence of Bonaparte in Italy as a mere fabrication. He declared he was still in Paris. It was past three in the morning when Murat's courier arrived. I immediately translated the despatch, which was in German. About four o'clock I entered the chamber of the First Consul, whom I was obliged to shake by the arm in order to wake him. He had desired me; as I have already mentioned, never to respect his repose an the arrival of bad news; but on the receipt of good news to let him sleep. I read to him the despatch, and so much was he confounded by this unexpected event that his first exclamation was, "Bah! you do not understand German." But hardly had he uttered these words when he arose, and by eight o'clock in the morning orders were despatched for repairing the possible consequences of this disaster, and countermanding the march of the troops on the Scrivia. He himself proceeded the same day to Stradella.
I have seen it mentioned in some accounts that the First Consul in person gained the battle of Montebello. This is a mistake. He did not leave Milan until the 9th of June, and that very day Lannes was engaged with the enemy. The conflict was so terrible that Lannes, a few days after, describing it in my presence to M. Collot, used these remarkable words, which I well remember: "Bones were cracking in my division like a shower of hail falling on a skylight."
By a singular chance Desaix, who was to contribute to the victory and stop the rout of Marengo, arrived from Egypt at Toulon, on the very day on which we departed from Paris. He was enabled to leave Egypt in consequence of the capitulation of El-Arish, which happened on the 4th of January 1800. He wrote me a letter, dated 16th Floreal, year VIII. (6th of May 1800), announcing his arrival. This letter I did not receive until we reached Martigny. I showed it to the First Consul. "Ah!" exclaimed he, "Desaix in Paris!" and he immediately despatched an order for him to repair to the headquarters of the army of Italy wherever they might be. Desaix arrived at Stradella on the morning of the 11th of June. The First Consul received him with the warmest cordiality, as a man for whom he had a high esteem, and whose talents and character afforded the fairest promise of what might one day be expected of him. Bonaparte was jealous of some generals, the rivalry of whose ambition he feared; but on this subject Desaix gave him no uneasiness; equally remarkable for his unassuming disposition, his talent, and information, he proved by his conduct that he loved glory for her own sake, and that every wish for the possession of political power was foreign to his mind. Bonaparte's friendship for him was enthusiastic. At this interview at Stradella, Desaix was closeted with the First Consul for upwards of three hours. On the day after his arrival an order of the day communicated to the army that Desaix was appointed to the command of Boudet's division.
—[Boudet was on terms of great intimacy with Bonaparte, who, no doubt, was much affected at his death. However, the only remark he made on receiving the intelligence, was "Who the devil shall I get to supply Boudet's place?"—Bourrienne.
The command given to Desaix was a corps especially formed of the two divisions of Boudet and Monnier (Savary, tome i. p. 262). Boudet was not killed at Marengo, still less before (see Erreurs, tome i. p. 14).]—
I expressed to Bonaparte my surprise at his long interview with Desaix. "Yes," replied he, "he has been a long time with me; but you know what a favourite he is. As soon as I return to Paris I will make him War Minister. I would make him a prince if I could. He is quite an antique character." Desaix died two days after he had completed his thirty-third year, and in less than a week after the above observations.
About this time M. Collot came to Italy and saw Bonaparte at Milan. The latter received him coldly, though he had not yet gained the battle of Marengo. M. Collot had been on the most intimate footing with Bonaparte, and had rendered him many valuable services. These circumstances sufficiently accounted for Bonaparte's coolness, for he would never acknowledge himself under obligations to any one, and he did not like those who were initiated into certain family secrets which he had resolved to conceal.
—[The day after the interview I had a long conversation with M. Collot while Bonaparte was gone to review some corps stationed at Milan. M. Collot perfectly understood the cause of the unkind treatment he had experienced, and of which he gave me the following explanation:
Some days before the Consulate—that is to say, two or three days after our return from Egypt,—Bonaparte, during his jealous fit, spoke to M. Collot about his wife, her levities, and their publicity. "Henceforth," said Bonaparte, "I will have nothing to do with her."—"What, would you part from her?"—"Does not her conduct justify me in so doing?"—"I do not know; but is this the time to think of such a thing, when the eyes of all France are fixed upon you? These domestic squabbles will degrade you in the eyes of the people, who expect you to be wholly devoted to their interests; and you will be laughed at, like one of Moliere's husbands, if you are displeased with your wife's conduct you can call her to account when you have nothing better to do. Begin by raising up the state. After that you may find a thousand reasons for your resentment when now you would not find one. You know the French people well enough to see how important it is that you should not commence with this absurdity."
By these and other similar remarks M. Collot thought he had produced some impression, when Bonaparte suddenly exclaimed: "No, my determination is fixed; she shall never again enter my house. I care not what people say. They will gossip about the affair for two days, and on the third it will be forgotten. She shall go to Malmaison, and I will live here. The public know enough, not to be mistaken as to the reasons of her removal."
M. Collot vainly endeavoured to calm his irritation. Bonaparte vented a torrent of reproaches upon Josephine. "All this violence," observed M. Collot, "proves that you still love her. Do but see her, she will explain the business to your satisfaction and you will forgive her."—"I forgive her! Never! Collot, you know me. If I were not sure of my own resolution, I would tear out this heart, and cast it into the fire." Here anger almost choked his utterance, and he made a motion with his hand as if tearing his breast.
When this violent paroxysm had somewhat subsided M. Collot withdrew; but before he went away Bonaparte invited him to breakfast on the following morning.
At ten o'clock M. Collot was there, and as he was passing through the courtyard he was informed that Madame Bonaparte, who, as I have already mentioned, had gone to Lyons without meeting the General, had returned during the night. On M. Collot's entrance Bonaparte appeared considerably embarrassed. He led him into a side room, not wishing to bring him into the room where I was writing. "Well," said Bonaparte to M. Collot, "she is here."—"I rejoice to hear it. You have done well for yourself as well as for us."—"But do not imagine I have forgiven her. As long as I live I shall suspect. The fact is, that on her arrival I desired her to be gone; but that fool Joseph was there. What could I do, Collot? I saw her descend the staircase followed by Eugine and Hortense. They were all weeping; and I have not a heart to resist tears Eugene was with me in Egypt. I have been accustomed to look upon him as my adopted son. He is a fine brave lad. Hortense is just about to be introduced into society, and she is admired by all who know her. I confess, Collot, I was deeply moved; I could not endure the distress of the two poor children. 'Should they,' thought I, 'suffer for their mother's faults?' I called back Eugene and Hortense, and their mother followed them. What could I say, what could I do? I should not be a man without some weakness."— "Be assured they will reward you for this."—"They ought, Collot they ought; for it has cost me a hard struggle." After this dialogue Bonaparte and M. Collot entered the breakfast-parlour, where I was then sitting. Eugene breakfasted with us, but neither Josephine nor Hortense. I have already related how I acted the part of mediator in this affair. Next day nothing was wanting to complete the reconciliation between the Conqueror of Egypt and the charming woman who conquered Bonaparte.—Bourrienne.]—
On the 13th the First Consul slept at Torre di Galifolo. During the evening he ordered a staff-officer to ascertain whether the Austrians had a bridge across the Bormida. A report arrived very late that there was none. This information set Bonaparte's mind at rest, and he went to bed very well satisfied; but early next morning, when a firing was heard, and he learned that the Austrians had debouched on the plain, where the troops were engaged, he flew into a furious passion, called the staff-officer a coward, and said he had not advanced far enough. He even spoke of bringing the matter to an investigation.
From motives of delicacy I refrain from mentioning the dame of the officer here alluded to.
Bonaparte mounted his horse and proceeded immediately to the scene of action. I did not see him again until six in tine evening. In obedience to his instructions; I repaired to San Giuliano, which is not above two leagues from the place where the engagement commenced. In the course of the afternoon I saw a great many wounded passing through the village, and shortly afterwards a multitude of fugitives. At San Giuliano nothing was talked of but a retreat, which, it was said, Bonaparte alone firmly opposed. I was then advised to leave San Giuliano, where I had just received a courier for the General-in-Chief. On the morning of the 14th General Desaix was sent towards Novi to observe the road to Genoa, which city had fallen several days before, in spite of the efforts of its illustrious defender, Massena. I returned with this division to San Giuliano. I was struck with the numerical weakness of the corps which was marching to aid an army already much reduced and dispersed. The battle was looked upon as lost, and so indeed it was. The First Consul having asked Desaix what he thought of it, that brave General bluntly replied, "The battle is completely lost; but it is only two o'clock, we have time to gain another to-day." I heard this from Bonaparte himself the same evening. Who could have imagined that Desaix's little corps, together with the few heavy cavalry commanded by General Kellerman, would, about five o'clock, have changed the fortune of the day? It cannot be denied that it was the instantaneous inspiration of Kellerman that converted a defeat into a victory, and decided the battle of Marengo.
That memorable battle, of which the results were incalculable, has been described in various ways. Bonaparte had an account of it commenced no less than three times; and I must confess that none of the narratives are more correct than that contained in the 'Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo'. The Emperor Napoleon became dissatisfied with what had been said by the First Consul Bonaparte. For my part, not having had the honour to bear a sword, I cannot say that I saw any particular movement executed this or that way; but I may mention here what I heard on the evening of the battle of Marengo respecting the probable chances of that event. As to the part which the First Consul took in it, the reader, perhaps, is sufficiently acquainted with his character to account for it. He did not choose that a result so decisive should be attributed to any other cause than the combinations of his genius, and if I had not known his insatiable thirst for glory I should have been surprised at the sort of half satisfaction evinced at the cause of the success amidst the joy manifested for the success itself. It must be confessed that in this he was very unlike Jourdan, Hoche, Kleber, and Moreau, who were ever ready to acknowledge the services of those who had fought under their orders.
Within two hours of the time when the divisions commanded by Desaix left San Giuliano I was joyfully surprised by the triumphant return of the army, whose fate, since the morning, had caused me so much anxiety. Never did fortune within so short a time show herself under two such various faces. At two o'clock all denoted the desolation of a defeat, with all its fatal consequences; at five victory was again faithful to the flag of Arcola. Italy was reconquered by a single blow, and the crown of France appeared in the perspective.
At seven in the evening, when I returned with the First Consul to headquarters, he expressed to me his sincere regret for the loss of Desaix, and then he added, "Little Kellerman made a lucky charge. He did it at just the right moment. We are much indebted to him. You see what trifling circumstances decide these affairs."
These few words show that Bonaparte sufficiently appreciated the services of Kellerman. However, when that officer approached the table at which were seated the First Consul and a number of his generals, Bonaparte merely said, "You made a pretty good charge." By way of counter-balancing this cool compliment he turned towards Bessieres, who commanded the horse grenadiers of the Guard, and said, "Bessieres, the Guard has covered itself with glory." Yet the fact is, that the Guard took no part in the charge of Kellerman, who could assemble only 500 heavy cavalry; and with this handful of brave men he cut in two the Austrian column, which had overwhelmed Desaix's division, and had made 6000 prisoners. The Guard did not charge at Marengo until nightfall.
Next day it was reported that Kellerman, in his first feeling of dissatisfaction at the dry congratulation he had received, said to the First Consul, "I have just placed the crown on your head!" I did not hear this, and I cannot vouch for the truth of its having been said. I could only have ascertained that fart through Bonaparte, and of course I could not, with propriety, remind him of a thing which must have been very offensive to him. However, whether true or not, the observation was circulated about, verbally and in writing, and Bonaparte knew it. Hence the small degree of favour shown to Kellerman, who was not made a general of division on the field of battle as a reward for his charge at Marengo.
—[If Savary's story be correct, and he was then aide de camp to Desaix, and Bourrienne acknowledges his account to be the best, the inspiration of the charge did not come from the young Kellerman. Savary says that Desaix sent him to tell Napoleon that he could not delay his attack, and that he must be supported by some cavalry.
Savary was then sent by Napoleon to a spot where he was told he would find Kellerman, to order him to charge in support of Desaix. Desaix and Kellerman were so placed as to be out of sight of each other (Savary, tome i. pp. 279-279). Thiers (tome i, p. 445) follows Savary.
It may here be mentioned that Savary, in his account of the battle, expressly states that he carried the order from Bonaparte to Kellerman to make this charge. He also makes the following observations on the subject:—
After the fall of the Imperial Government some pretended friends of General Kellerman have presumed to claim for him the merit of originating the charge of cavalry. That general, whose share of glory is sufficiently brilliant to gratify his most sanguine wishes, can have no knowledge of so presumptuous a pretension. I the more readily acquit him from the circumstance that, as we were conversing one day respecting that battle, I called to his mind my having brought, to him the First Consul's orders, and he appeared not to have forgotten that fact. I am far from suspecting his friends of the design of lessening the glory of either General Bonaparte or General Desaix; they know as well as myself that theirs are names so respected that they can never be affected by such detractions, and that it would be as vain to dispute the praise due to the Chief who planned the battle was to attempt to depreciate the brilliant share which General Kellerman had in its successful result. I will add to the above a few observations.
"From the position which he occupied General Desaix could not see General Kellerman; he had even desired me to request the First Consul to afford him the support of some cavalry. Neither could General Kellerman, from the point where he was stationed, perceive General Desaix's division; it is even probable that he was not aware of the arrival of that General, who had only joined the army two days before. Both were ignorant of each other's position, which the First Consul was alone acquainted with; he alone could introduce harmony into their movements; he alone could make their efforts respectively conduce to the same object.
"The fate of the battle was decided by Kellerman's bold charge; had it, however, been made previously to General Desaix's attack, in all probability it would have had a quite different result. Kellerman appears to have been convinced of it, since he allowed the Austrian column to cross our field of battle and extend its front beyond that of the troops we had still in line without making the least attempt to impede its progress. The reason of Kellerman's not charging it sooner was that it was too serious a movement, and the consequences of failure would have been irretrievable: that charge, therefore, could only enter into a general combination of plans, to which he was necessarily a stranger" (Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo, tome i. pp. 218-280).]—
M. Delaforet, the Postmaster-general, sometimes transacted business with the First Consul. The nature of this secret business may easily be guessed at.
—[When M. Delaforet was replaced soon after this by Lavalette, Napoleon ordered the discontinuance of the practice followed until then of allowing letters to be opened by subordinate officials. This right was restricted, as in England, to the Minister. However bad this practice, it was limited, not extended, in his reign. See Mineval, tome iii. pp. 60-62, and Lavalette, tome ii. p. 10.]—
On the occasion of one of their interviews the First Consul saw a letter from Kellerman to Lasalle, which contained the following passage: "Would you believe, my friend, that Bonaparte has not made me a general of division though I have just placed the crown on his head?" The letter was sealed again and sent to its address; but Bonaparte never forgot its contents.
Whether Kellerman did or did not give the crown of France to the First Consul, it is very certain that on the evening of the battle of Marengo he gave him a supper, of which his famishing staff and the rest of us partook. This was no inconsiderable service in the destitute condition in which we were. We thought ourselves exceeding fortunate in profiting by the precaution of Kellerman, who had procured provisions from one of those pious retreats which are always well supplied, and which soldiers are very glad to fall in with when campaigning. It was the convent del Bosco which on this occasion was laid under contribution; and in return for the abundance of good provisions and wine with which they supplied the commander of the heavy cavalry the holy fathers were allowed a guard to protect them against pillage and the other disastrous concomitants of war.
After supper was over the First Consul dictated to me the bulletin of the battle. When we were alone I said to him, "General, here is a fine victory! You recollect what you said the other day about the pleasure with which you would return to France after striking a grand blow in Italy; surely you must be satisfied now?"—"Yes, Bourrienne, I am satisfied.—But Desaix! . . . Ah, what a triumph would this have been if I could have embraced him to-night on the field of battle!" As he uttered these words I saw that Bonaparte was on the point of shedding tears, so sincere and profound was his grief for the death of Desaix. He certainly never loved, esteemed, or regretted any man so much.
The death of Desaix has been variously related, and I need not now state that the words attributed to him in the bulletin were imaginary. Neither did he die in the arms of his aide de camp, Lebrun, as I wrote from the dictation of the First Consul. The following facts are more correct, or at all events more probable:—the death of Desaix was not perceived at the moment it took place. He fell without saying a word, at a little distance from Lefebre-Desnouettes. A sergeant of battalion of the 9th brigade light infantry, commanded by Barrois, seeing him extended on the ground, asked permission to pick up his cloak. It was found to be perforated behind; and this circumstance leaves it doubtful whether Desaix was killed by some unlucky inadvertency, while advancing at the head of his troops, or by the enemy when turning towards his men to encourage them. However, the event was so instantaneous, the disorder so complete, and the change of fortune so sudden, that it is not surprising there should be no positive account of the circumstances which attended his death.
Early next morning the Prince of Liechtenstein came from General Melas with negotiations to the First Consul. The propositions of the General did not suit Bonaparte, and he declared to the Prince that the army shut up in Alessandria should evacuate freely, and with the honours of war; but on those conditions, which are well known, and by which Italy was to be fully restored to the French domination. That day were repaired the faults of Scherer, whose inertness and imbecility had paralysed everything, and who had fled, and been constantly beaten, from the Adriatic to Mont Cenis. The Prince of Liechtenstein begged to return to render an account of his mission to General Melas. He came back in the evening, and made many observations on the hard nature of the conditions. "Sir," replied the First Consul, in a tone of marked impatience, "carry my final determination to your General, and return quickly. It is irrevocable! Know that I am as well acquainted with your position as you are yourselves. I did not begin to learn the art of war yesterday. You are blocked up in Alessandria; you have many sick and wounded; you are in want of provisions and medicines. I occupy the whole of your rear. Your finest troops are among the killed and wounded. I might insist on harder conditions; my position would warrant me in so doing; but I moderate my demands in consideration of the gray hairs of your General, whom I respect."
This reply was delivered with considerable dignity and energy. I showed the Prince out, and he said to me, "These conditions are very hard, especially that of giving up Genoa, which surrendered to us only a fortnight ago, after so long a siege." It is a curious fact that the Emperor of Austria received intelligence of the capitulation and restitution of Genoa at the same time.
When the First Consul returned to Milan he made Savary and Rapp his aides de camp. They had previously served in the same rank under Desaix. The First Consul was at first not much disposed to take them, alleging that he had aides de camp enough. But his respect for the choice of Desaix, added to a little solicitation on my part, soon removed every obstacle. These two officers served him to the last hour of his political career with unfailing zeal and fidelity.
I have seen nothing in the Memoirs of the Due de Rovigo (Savary) about my having had anything to do with his admission to the honour. I can probably tell the reason why one of the two aides de camp has risen higher than the other. Rapp had an Alsatian frankness which always injured him.
Suspension of hostilities—Letter to the Consuls—Second Occupation of Milan—Bonaparte and Massena—Public acclamations and the voice of Josephine—Stray recollections—Organization of Piedmont—Sabres of honour—Rewards to the army of the Rhine—Pretended army of reserve—General Zach—Anniversary of the 14th of July—Monument to Desaix—Desaix and Foy—Bonaparte's speech in the Temple of Mars— Arrival of the Consular Guard—The bones of marshal Turenne— Lucien's successful speech—Letter from Lucien to Joseph Bonaparte— The First Consul's return to Paris—Accidents on the road— Difficulty of gaining lasting fame—Assassination of Kleber— Situation of the terrace on which Kleber was stabbed—Odious rumours —Arrival of a courier—A night scene—Bonaparte's distress on perusing the despatches from Egypt.
What little time, and how few events sometimes suffice to change the destiny of nations! We left Milan on the 13th of June, Marengo on the 14th, and on the 15th Italy was ours! A suspension of hostilities between the French and Austrian armies was the immediate result of a single battle; and by virtue of a convention, concluded between Berthier and Melas, we resumed possession of all the fortified places of any importance, with the exception of Mantua. As soon as this convention was signed Bonaparte dictated to me at Torre di Galifolo the following letter to his colleagues:
The day after the battle of Marengo, CITIZENS CONSULS, General Melas transmitted a message to our advance posts requesting permission to send General Skal to me. During the day the convention, of which I send you a copy, was drawn up, and at night it was signed by Generals Berthier and Melas. I hope the French people will be satisfied with the conduct, of their army. (Signed) Bonaparte
The only thing worthy of remark in this letter would be the concluding sentence, in which the First Consul still affected to acknowledge the sovereignty of the people, were it not that the words "Citizens Consuls" were evidently foisted in with a particular design. The battle was gained; and even in a trifling matter like this it was necessary that the two, other Consuls should feel that they were not so much the colleagues as the subordinates of the First Consul.
We returned to Milan, and our second occupation of that, city was marked by continued acclamations wherever the First Consul showed himself. At Milan the First Consul now saw Massena for the first time since our departure for Egypt. Bonaparte lavished upon, him the highest praises, but not higher than he deserved, for his admirable, defence of Genoa. He named him his successor in the command of the army of Italy. Moreau was on the Rhine, and therefore none but the conqueror of Zurich could properly have succeeded the First Consul in that command. The great blow was struck; but there might still occur an emergency requiring the presence of a skillful experienced general, well acquainted with the country. And besides, we could not be perfectly at ease, until it was ascertained what conditions would be adhered to by the Cabinet of Vienna, which was then entirely under the influence of the Cabinet of London. After our return from the battle the popular joy was general and heartfelt not only among the higher and middle ranks of society, but in all classes; and the affection evinced from all quarters to the First Consul was unfeigned. In what a tone of sincerity did he say to me one day, when returning from the parade, "Bourrienne, do you hear the acclamations still resounding? That noise is as sweet to me as the sound of Josephine's voice. How happy and proud I am to be loved by such a people!"
During our stay at Milan Bonaparte had arranged a new government for Piedmont; he had ever since cherished the wish to unite that rich and fertile country to the French territory because some Piedmontese provinces had been possessed by Louis XIV. That monarch was the only king whom the First Consul really admired. "If," said he one day, "Louis XIV. had not been born a king, he would have been a great man. But he did not know mankind; he could not know them, for he never knew misfortune." He admired the resolution of the old King, who would rather bury himself under the ruins of the monarchy than submit to degrading conditions, after having commanded the sovereigns of Europe. I recollect that Bonaparte was extremely pleased to see in the reports which he ordered to be made that in Casal, and in the valleys of Pignerol, Latour, and Luzerne, there still existed many traces of the period when those countries belonged to France; and that the French language was yet preserved there. He already began to identify himself with the past; and abusing the old kings of France was not the way to conciliate his favour.
The First Consul appointed for the government of Piedmont a Council which, as may naturally be imagined; he composed of those Piedmontese who were the declared partisans of France. He stated as the grounds of this arrangement that it was to give to Piedmont a new proof of the affection and attachment of the French people. He afterwards appointed General. Dupont President of the Council, with the title of Minister-Extraordinary of the French government. I will here mention a secret step taken by Bonaparte towards the overthrowing of the Republic. In making the first draught of General Dupont's appointment I had mechanically written, "Minister-Extraordinary of the French Republic."—"No! no!" said Bonaparte, "not of the Republic; say of the Government."
On his return to Paris the First Consul gave almost incredible proofs of his activity. The day after his arrival he promulgated a great number of decrees, and afterwards allotted the rewards to his soldiers. He appointed Kellerman General of division which, on every principle of justice, he ought to have done on the field of battle. He distributed sabres of honour, with the following inscription, highly complimentary to himself:—
"Battle of Maringo,—[spelt for some time, I do not know why, as, Maringo—Bourrienne]—commanded in person by the First Consul. —Given by the Government of the Republic to General Lannes."
Similar sabres where presented to Generals Victor, Watrin, Gardanne, and Murat; and sabres of less value to other officers: and also muskets and drumsticks of honour to the soldiers and drummers who had distinguished themselves at Marengo, or in the army of the Rhine; for Bonaparte took care that the officers and men who had fought under Moreau should be included among those to whom the national rewards were presented. He even had a medal struck to perpetuate the memory of the entry of the French army into Munich. It is worthy of remark that while official fabrications and exaggerated details of facts were published respecting Marengo and the short campaign of Italy, by a feigned modesty the victorious army of Marengo received the unambitious title of 'Army of Reserve'. By this artifice the honour of the Constitution was saved. The First Consul had not violated it. If he had marched to the field, and staked everything on a chance it was merely accidentally, for he commanded only an "Army of Reserve," which nevertheless he had greeted with the title of Grand Army before he entered upon the campaign. It is scarcely conceivable that Bonaparte, possessing as he did an extraordinary mind, should have descended to such pitiful artifices.
—[ Thiers (tome. vi., p. 70) says the title Grande Armee was first given by Napoleon to the force prepared in 1805 for the campaign against Austria. The Constitution forbad the First Consul to command the armies in person. Hence the title, "Army of Reserve," gives to the force which fought Marengo.]—
Even foreigners and prisoners were objects of Bonaparte's designing intentions. I recollect one evening his saying to me; "Bourrienne, write to the Minister of War, and tell him to select a fine brace of pistols, of the Versailles manufacture, and send them, in my name, to General Zach. He dined with me to-day, and highly praised our manufacture of arms. I should like to give him a token of remembrance; besides,—the, matter will be talked of at Vienna, and may perhaps do good!"
As soon as the news of the battle of Marengo reached Paris Lucien Bonaparte, Minister of the Interior, ordered preparations for the festival, fixed for the 14th of July, in commemoration of the first Federation. This festival and that of the 1st Vendemiaire were the only ones preserved by the Consular Government. Indeed, in those memorable days, when the Revolution appeared in its fairest point of view, France had never known such joy as that to which the battle of Marengo gave rise. Still, amidst all this popular transport there was a feeling of regret. The fame of Desaix, his heroic character, his death, the words attributed to him and believed to be true, caused mourning to be mingled with joy. It was agreed to open a subscription for erecting a national monument to his memory. A reflection naturally arises here upon the difference between the period referred to and the present time. France has endowed with nearly a million the children of one of her greatest orators and most eloquent defenders of public liberty, yet, for the monument to the memory of Desaix scarcely 20,000 francs were subscribed. Does not this form a singular contrast with the patriotic munificence displayed at the death of General Foy? The pitiful monument to Desaix, on the Place Dauphins, sufficiently attests the want of spirit on the part of the subscribers. Bonaparte, who was much dissatisfied with it, gave the name of Desaix to a new quay, the first stone of which was laid with great solemnity on the 14th of July.
On that day the crowd was immense in the Champ-de-Mars and in the Temple of Mars, the name which at that the Church of the Invalides still preserved. Lucien delivered a speech on the encouraging prospects of France, and Lannes made an appropriate address on presenting to the Government the flags taken at Marengo. Two more followed; one from an aide de cramp of Massena, and the other from an aide de camp of Lecourbe; and after the distribution of some medals the First Consul then delivered the following address:—
CITIZENS! SOLDIERS!—The flags presented to the Government, in the presence of the people of this immense capital, attest at once the genius of the Commanders-in-Chief Moreau, Massena, and Berthier; the military talents of the generals, their lieutenants; and bravery of the French soldiers.
On your return to the camp tell your comrades that for the 1st Vendemiaire, when we shall celebrate the anniversary of the Republic, the French people expect either peace or, if the enemy obstinately refuse it, other flags, the fruit of fresh victories.
After this harangue of the First Consul, in which he addressed to the military in the name of the people, and ascribed to Berthier the glory of Marengo, a hymn was chanted, the words of which were written by M. de Fontanes and the music composed by Mehul. But what was most remarkable in this fete was neither the poetry, music, nor even the panegyrical eloquence of Lucien,—it was the arrival at the Champ-de-Mars, after the ceremony at the Invalides, of the Consular Guard returning from Marengo. I was at a window of the Ecole-Militaire, and I can never forget the commotion, almost electrical, which made the air resound with cries of enthusiasm at their appearance. These soldiers did not defile before the First Consul in fine uniforms as at a review. Leaving the field of battle when the firing ceased, they had crossed Lombardy, Piedmont, Mont Cenis, Savoy, and France in the space of twenty-nine days. They appeared worn by the fatigue of a long journey, with faces browned by the summer sun of Italy, and with their arms and clothing showing the effects of desperate struggles. Do you wish to have an idea of their appearance? You will find a perfect type in the first grenadier put by Gerard at one side of his picture of the battle of Austerlitz.
At the time of this fete, that is to say, in the middle of the month of July, the First Consul could not have imagined that the moderate conditions he had proposed after the victory would not be accepted by Austria. In the hope, therefore, of a peace which could not but be considered probable, he, for the first time since the establishment of the Consular Government, convoked the deputies of the departments, and appointed their time of assembling in Paris for the 1st Vendemiaire, a day which formed the close of one remarkable century and marked the commencement of another.
The remains of Marshal Turenne; to which Louis XIV. had awarded the honours of annihilation by giving them a place among the royal tombs in the vaults of St. Denis, had been torn from their grave at the time of the sacrilegious violation of the tombs. His bones, mingled indiscriminately with others, had long lain in obscurity in a garret of the College of Medicine when M. Lenoir collected and restored them to the ancient tomb of Turenne in the Mussee des Petits Augustins. Bonaparte resolved to enshrine these relics in that sculptured marble with which the glory of Turenne could so well dispense. This was however, intended as a connecting link between the past days of France and the future to which he looked forward. He thought that the sentiments inspired by the solemn honours rendered to the memory of Turenne would dispose the deputies of the departments to receive with greater enthusiasm the pacific communications he hoped to be able to make.
However, the negotiations did not take the favourable turn which the First Consul had expected; and, notwithstanding all the address of Lucien, the communication was not heard without much uneasiness. But Lucien had prepared a speech quite to the taste of the First Consul. After dilating for some time on the efforts of the Government to obtain peace he deplored the tergiversations of Austria, accused the fatal influence of England, and added in a more elevated and solemn tone, "At the very moment when, the Consuls were leaving the Palace of the Government a courier arrived bearing despatches which the First Consul has directed me to communicate to you." He then read a note declaring that the Austrian Government consented to surrender to France the three fortresses of Ulm, Philipsburg, and Ingolstadt. This was considered as a security for the preliminaries of peace being speedily signed. The news was received with enthusiasm, and that anxious day closed in a way highly gratifying to the First Consul.
Whilst victory confirmed in Italy the destinies of the First Consul, his brothers were more concerned about their own interests than the affairs of France. They loved money as much as Bonaparte loved glory. A letter from Lucien to his brother Joseph, which I shall subjoin, shows how ready they always were to turn to their own advantage the glory and fortune of him to whom they were indebted for all their importance. I found this letter among my papers, but I cannot tell why and how I preserved it. It is interesting, inasmuch as it shows, the opinion that family of future kings entertained of their own situation, and of what their fate would have been had Bonaparte, like Desaix, fallen on the field of Marengo. It is, besides, curious to observe the, philosopher Lucien causing Te Deum, to be chanted with the view of influencing the public funds. At all events I copy Lucien's letter as he wrote it, giving the words marked in italics [CAPS] and the numerous notes of exclamation which distinguish the original.
MY BROTHER—I send you a courier; I particularly wish that the First Consul would give me notice of his arrival twenty-four hours beforehand, and that he would inform ME ALONE of the barrier by which he will enter. The city wishes to prepare triumphal arches for him, and it deserves not to be disappointed.
AT MY REQUEST a Te Deum was chanted yesterday. There were 60,000 persons present.
The intrigues of Auteuil continue.
—[This intrigue, so called from Talleyrand one of its heads, living in the suburb of Auteuil, arose from the wish of many of the most influential men to be prepared in case of the death of Napoleon in any action in Italy: It was simply a continuation of the same combinations which had been attempted or planned in 1799, till the arrival of Bonaparte from Egypt made the party choose him as the instrument for the overthrow of the Directors. There was little secrecy about their plans; see Miot de Melito (tome i p. 276), where Joseph Bonaparte tells his friends all that was being proposed in case his brother fell. Carnot seems to have been the most probable choice as leader and replacer of Bonaparte. In the above letter "C——," stands for Carrot, "La F——" for La Fayette, the "High Priest" is Sieyes, and the "friend of Auteuil" is Talleyrand; see Iung's Lucien, tome i. p. 411. The postscript seems to refer to a wretched scandal about Caroline, and Lucien; see Iung's Lucien, tome i. pp. 411, 432-433. The reader should remark the retention of this and other documents by Bourrienne, which forms one of the charges brought against him farther on.]—
—It has been found difficult to decide between C—— and La F——. The latter has proposed his daughter in marriage to me. Intrigue has been carried to the last extreme. I do not know yet whether the High Priest has decided for one party or the other. I believe that he would cheat them both for an Orleans, and your friend of Auteuil was at the bottom of all. The news of the battle of Marengo petrified them, and yet next day the High Priest certainly spent three hours with your friend of Auteuil. As to us, had the victory of Marengo closed the First Consul's career we should now have been Proscribed.
Your letters say nothing of what I expected to hear. I hope at least to be informed of the answer from Vienna before any one. I am sorry you have not paid me back for the battle of Marengo.
The festival of the 14th of July will be very gratifying. We expect peace as a certainty, and the triumphant return of the First Consul. The family is all well. Your wife and all her family are at Mortfontaine. Ney is at Paris. Why do you return with the First Consul? Peace! and Italy! Think of our last interview. I embrace you. (Signed) LUCIEN. On the margin is written—
P.S.—Read the letter addressed to the Consul, and give it to him AFTER YOU HAVE CAREFULLY CLOSED IT.
Forward the enclosed. Madame Murat never lodged in my house. Her husband is a fool, whom his wife ought to punish by not writing to him for a month. (Signed) LUCIEN BONAPARTE
Bonaparte, confirmed in his power by the victory of Marengo, remained some days longer at Milan to settle the affairs of Italy. He directed one to furnish Madame Grassini with money to pay her expenses to Paris. We departed amidst the acclamations of the inhabitants, and took the road to Turin. The First Consul stopped at Turin for some hours, and inspected the citadel, which had bean surrendered to us in pursuance of the capitulation of Alessandria. In passing over Mont Cenis we observed the carriage of Madame Kellerman, who was going to meet her husband. Bonaparte on recognizing the lady stopped his carriage and congratulated her on the gallant conduct of her husband at the battle of Marengo.
On our arrival at Lyons we alighted at the Hotel des Celestins, and the loud acclamations of a numerous multitude assembled round the hotel obliged Bonaparte to show himself on the balcony. Next day he proceeded to the Square of Bellecour, where, amidst the plaudits of the people, he laid the first stone of some new buildings destined to efface one of the disasters of the Revolution.
We left Lyons that evening and continued our journey by way of Dijon. On our arrival in that town the joy of the inhabitants was very great. I never saw a more graceful and captivating sight than that which was presented by a group of beautiful young females, crowned with flowers, who accompanied Bonaparte's carriage, and which at that period, when the Revolution had renewed all the republican recollections of Greece and Rome, looked like the chorus of females dancing around the victor at the Olympic games.
But all our journey was not so agreeable. Some accidents awaited us. The First Consul's carriage broke down between Villeneuve-le-Roi and Sens. He sent a courier to inform my mother that he would stop at her house till his carriage was repaired. He dined there, and we started again at seven in the evening.
But we had other disasters to encounter. One of our off-wheels came off, and as we were driving at a very rapid pace the carriage was overturned on the bridge at a short distance from Montreau-Faut-Yonne. The First Consul, who sat on my left, fell upon me, and sustained no injury. My head was slightly hurt by striking against some things which were in the pocket of the carriage; but this accident was not worth stopping for, and we arrived at Paris on the same night, the 2d of July. Duroc, who was the third in the carriage, was not hurt.
I have already mentioned that Bonaparte was rather talkative when travelling; and as we were passing through Burgundy, on our return to Paris from Marengo, he said exultingly, "Well, a few more events like this campaign, and I may go down to posterity."—"I think," replied I, "that you have already done enough to secure great and lasting fame."—"Yes," resumed he, "I have done enough, it is true. In less than two years I have won Cairo, Paris, and Milan; but for all that, my dear fellow, were I to die to-morrow I should not at the end of ten centuries occupy half a page of general history!"
On the very day when Desaix fell on the field of Marengo Kleber was assassinated by a fanatical Mussulman, named Soleiman Haleby, who stabbed him with a dagger, and by that blow decided the fate of Egypt.
—["This fellah was, at most, eighteen or twenty years of age: he was a native of Damascus, and declared that he had quitted his native city by command of the grand vizier, who had entrusted him with the commission of repairing to Egypt and killing the grand sultan of the French [Bonaparte being probably intended]. That for this purpose alone he had left his family, and performed the whole journey on foot and had received from the grand vizier no other money than what was absolutely requisite for the exigencies of the journey. On arriving at Cairo he had gone forthwith to perform his devotions in the great mosque, and it was only on the eve of executing his project that he confided it to one of the scherifs of the mosque" (Duc de Rovigo's Memoirs, tome 1. p. 367)]—
Thus was France, on the same day, and almost at the same hour, deprived of two of her most distinguished generals. Menou, as senior in command, succeeded Kleber, and the First Consul confirmed the appointment. From that moment the loss of Egypt was inevitable.
I have a few details to give respecting the tragical death of Kleber. The house of Elfy Bey, which Bonaparte occupied at Cairo, and in which Kleber lived after his departure; had a terrace leading from a salon to an old ruined cistern, from which, down a few steps, there was an entrance into the garden. The terrace commanded a view of the grand square of El Beguyeh, which was to the right on coming out of the salon, while the garden was on the left. This terrace was Bonaparte's favourite promenade, especially in the evenings, when he used to walk up and down and converse with the persons about him, I often advised him to fill up the reservoir, and to make it level with the terrace. I even showed him, by concealing myself in it, and coming suddenly behind him, how easy it would be for any person to attempt his life and then escape, either by jumping into the square, or passing through the garden. He told me I was a coward, and was always in fear of death; and he determined not to make the alteration I suggested, which, however, he acknowledged to be advisable. Kleber's assassin availed himself of the facility which I so often apprehended might be fatal to Bonaparte.
I shall not atop to refute all the infamous rumours which were circulated respecting Kleber's death. When the First Consul received the unexpected intelligence he could scarcely believe it. He was deeply affected; and on reading the particulars of the assassination he instantly called to mind how often he had been in the same situation as that in which Kleber was killed, and all I had said respecting the danger of the reservoir—a danger from which it is inconceivable he should have escaped, especially after his Syrian expedition had excited the fury of the natives. Bonaparte's knowledge of Kleber's talents—the fact of his having confided to him the command of the army, and the aid which he constantly endeavoured to transmit to him, repelled at once the horrible suspicion of his having had the least participation in the crime, and the thought that he was gratified to hear of it.
It is very certain that Bonaparte's dislike of Kleber was as decided as the friendship he cherished for Desaix. Kleber's fame annoyed him, for he was weak enough to be annoyed at it. He knew the manner in which Kleber spoke of him, which was certainly not the most respectful. During the long and sanguinary siege of St. Jean d'Acre Kleber said to me, "That little scoundrel Bonaparte, who is no higher than my boot, will enslave France. See what a villainous expedition he has succeeded in involving us in." Kleber often made the same remark to others as well as to me. I am not certain that it was ever reported to Bonaparte; but there is reason to believe that those who found it their interest to accuse others did not spare Kleber.
Kleber, who was a sincere republican, saw and dreaded for his country's sake the secret views and inordinate ambition of Bonaparte. He was a grumbler by nature; yet he never evinced discontent in the discharge of his duties as a soldier. He swore and stormed, but marched bravely to the cannon's mouth: he was indeed courage personified. One day when he was in the trench at St. Jean d'Acre, standing up, and by his tall stature exposed to every shot, Bonaparte called to him, "Stoop down, Kleber, stoop down!"—"Why;" replied he, "your confounded trench does not reach to my knees." He never regarded the Egyptian expedition with a favourable eye. He thought it too expensive, and utterly useless to France. He was convinced that in the situation in which we stood, without a navy or a powerful Government, it would have been better to have confined our attention to Europe than to have wasted French blood and money on the banks of the Nile, and among the ruined cities of Syria. Kleber, who was a cool, reflecting man, judged Bonaparte without enthusiasm, a thing somewhat rare at that time, and he was not blind to any of his faults.
Bonaparte alleged that Kleber said to him, "General, you are as great as the world!" Such a remark is in direct opposition to Kleber's character. He was too sincere to say anything against his conviction. Bonaparte, always anxious to keep Egypt, of which the preservation alone could justify the conquest, allowed Kleber to speak because he acted at the same time. He knew that Kleber's sense of military duty would always triumph over any opposition he might cherish to his views and plans. Thus the death of his lieutenant, far from causing Bonaparte any feeling of satisfaction, afflicted him the more, because it almost totally deprived him if the hope of preserving a conquest which had cost France so dear, and which was his work.
The news of the death of Kleber arrived shortly after our return to Paris. Bonaparte was anxiously expecting accounts from Egypt, none having been received for a considerable time. The arrival of the courier who brought the fatal intelligence gave rise to a scene which I may relate here. It was two o'clock in the morning when the courier arrived at the Tuileries. In his hurry the First Consul could not wait to rouse any one to call me up. I had informed him some days before that if he should want me during the night he should send for me to the corridor, as I had changed my bedchamber on account of my wife's accouchement. He came up himself and instead of knocking at my door knocked at that of my secretary. The latter immediately rose, and opening the door to his surprise saw the First Consul with a candle in his hand, a Madras handkerchief on his head, and having on his gray greatcoat. Bonaparte, not knowing of the little step down into the room, slipped and nearly fell, "Where is Bourrienne?" asked he. The surprise of my secretary at the apparition of the First Consul can be imagined. "What; General, is it you?"—"Where is Bourrienne?" Then my secretary, in his shirt, showed the First Consul my door. After having told him that he was sorry at having called him up, Napoleon came to me. I dressed in a hurry, and we went downstairs to my usual room. We rang several times before they opened the door for us. The guards were not asleep, but having heard so much running to and fro feared we were thieves. At last they opened the door, and the First Consul threw on the table the immense packet of despatches which he had just received. They had been fumigated and steeped in vinegar. When he read the announcement of the death of Kleber the expression of his countenance sufficiently denoted the painful feelings which arose in his mind. I read in his face; EGYPT IS LOST!
Bonaparte's wish to negotiate with England and Austria— An emigrant's letter—Domestic details—The bell—Conspiracy of Ceracchi, Arena, Harrel, and others—Bonaparte's visit to the opera —Arrests—Rariel appointed commandant of Vincennes—The Duc d'Enghien's foster-sister—The 3d Nivoise—First performance of Haydn's "Creation"—The infernal machine—Congratulatory addresses— Arbitrary condemnations—M. Tissot erased from the list of the banished—M. Truguet—Bonapartes' hatred of the Jacobins explained— The real criminals discovered—Justification of Fouche—Execution of St. Regent and Carbon—Caesar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte—Conversation between Bonaparte and Fouche—Pretended anger—Fouche's dissimulation—Lucien's resignation—His embassy to Spain—War between Spain and Portugal—Dinner at Fouche's—Treachery of Joseph Bonaparte—A trick upon the First Consul—A three days' coolness— Reconciliation.
The happy events of the campaign of Italy had been crowned by the armistice, concluded on the 6th of July. This armistice was broken on the 1st of September, and renewed after the battle of Hohenlinden. On his return from Marengo Bonaparte was received with more enthusiasm than ever. The rapidity with which, in a campaign of less than two months, he had restored the triumph of the French standard, excited universal astonishment. He then actively endeavoured to open negotiations with England and Austria; but difficulties opposed him in every direction. He frequently visited the theatre, where his presence attracted prodigious throngs of persons, all eager to see and applaud him.
The immense number of letters which were at this time addressed to the First Consul is scarcely conceivable. They contained requests for places, protestations of fidelity, and, in short, they were those petitionary circulars that are addressed to all persons in power. These letters were often exceedingly curious, and I have preserved many of them; among the rest was one from Durosel Beaumanoir, an emigrant who had fled to Jersey. This letter contains some interesting particulars relative to Bonaparte's family. It is dated Jersey, 12th July 1800, and the following are the most remarkable passages it contains:
I trust; General, that I may, without indiscretion, intrude upon your notice, to remind you of what, I flatter myself, you have not totally forgotten, after having lived eighteen or nineteen years at Ajaccio. But you will, perhaps, be surprised that so trifling an item should be the subject of the letter which I have the honour to address to you. You cannot have forgotten, General, that when your late father was obliged to take your brothers from the college of Autun, from whence he went to see you at Brienne, he was unprovided with mousy, and he asked me for twenty-five louis, which I lent him with pleasure. After his return he had no opportunity of paying me, and when I left Ajaccio your mother offered to dispose of some plate in order to pay the debt. To this I objected, and told her that I would wait until she could pay me at her convenience, and previous to the breaking out of the revolution I believe it was not in her power to fulfil her wish of discharging the debt.
I am sorry, General, to be obliged to trouble you about such a trifle. But such is my unfortunate situation that even this trifle is of some importance to me. Driven from my country, and obliged to take refuge in this island, where everything is exceedingly expensive, the little sum I have mentioned, which was formerly a matter of indifference, would now be of great service to me.
You will understand, General, that at the age of eighty-six, after serving served my country well for sixty years, without the least interruption, not counting the time of emigration, chased from every place, I have been obliged to take refuge here, to subsist on the scanty succour given by the English Government to the French emigrant. I say emigrant because I have been forced to be one. I had no intention of being one, but a horde of brigands, who came from Caen to my house to assassinate me, considered I had committed the great crime in being the senior general of the canton and in having the Grand Cross of St. Louis: this was too much for them; if it had not been for the cries of my neighbours, my door would have been broken open, and I should have been assassinated; and I had but time to fly by a door at the back, only carrying away what I had on me. At first I retired to Paris, but there they told me that I could do nothing but go into a foreign country, so great was the hate entertained for me by my fellow-citizens, although I lived in retirement, never having any discussion with any one. Thus, General; I have abandoned all I possessed, money and goods, leaving them at the mercy of what they call the nation, which has profited a good deal by this, as I have nothing left in the world, not even a spot to put my foot on. If even a horse had been reserved for me, General, I could ask for what depends on you, for I have heard it said that some emigrants have been allowed to return home. I do not even ask this favour, not having a place to rest my foot. And, besides, I have with me here an exiled brother, older than I am, very ill and in perfect second childhood, whom I could not abandon. I am resigned to my own unhappy fate, but my sole and great grief is that not only I myself have been ill-treated, but that my fate has, contrary to the law, injured relations whom I love and respect. I have a mother-in-law, eighty years old, who has been refused the dower I had given her from my property, and this will make me die a bankrupt if nothing is changed, which makes me miserable.
I acknowledge, General, that I know little of the new style, but, according to the old form, I am your humble servant,
I read this letter to the First Consul, who immediately said, "Bourrienne, this is sacred! Do not lose a minute. Send the old man ten times the sum. Write to General Durosel that he shall be immediately erased from the list of emigrants. What mischief those brigands of the Convention have done! I can never repair it all." Bonaparte uttered these words with a degree of emotion which I rarely saw him evince. In the evening he asked me whether I had executed his orders, which I had done without losing a moment. The death of M. Froth had given me a lesson as to the value of time!
Availing myself of the privilege I have already frequently taken of making abrupt transitions from one subject to another, according as the recollection of past circumstances occurs to my mind, I shall here note down a few details, which may not improperly be called domestic, and afterwards describe a conspiracy which was protected by the very man against whom it was hatched.
At the Tuileries, where the First Consul always resided during the winter and sometimes a part of the summer, the grand salon was situated between his cabinet and the Room in which he received the persons with whom he had appointed audiences. When in this audience-chamber, if he wanted anything or had occasion to speak to anybody, he pulled a bell which was answered by a confidential servant named Landoire, who was the messenger of the First Consul's cabinet. When Bonaparte's bell rung it was usually for the purpose of making some inquiry of me respecting a paper, a name, a date, or some matter of that sort; and then Landoire had to pass through the cabinet and salon to answer the bell and afterwards to return and to tell me I was wanted. Impatient at the delay occasioned by this running about, Bonaparte, without saying anything to me, ordered the bell to be altered so that it should ring within the cabinet; and exactly above my table. Next morning when I entered the cabinet I saw a man mounted-upon a ladder. "What are you doing here?" said I. "I am hanging a bell, sir." I called Landoire and asked him who had given the order. "The First Consul," he replied. I immediately ordered the man to come down and remove the ladder, which he accordingly did. When I went, according to custom, to awaken the First Consul and read the newspapers to him I said, "General, I found a man this morning hanging a bell in your cabinet. I was told it was by your orders; but being convinced there must be some mistake I sent him away. Surely the bell was not intended for you, and I cannot imagine it was intended for me: who then could it be for?—" "What a stupid fellow that Landoire is!" said Bonaparte. "Yesterday, when Cambaceres was with me, I wanted you. Landoire did not come when I touched the bell. I thought it was broken, and ordered him to get it repaired. I suppose the bell-hanger was doing it when you saw him, for you know the wire passes through the cabinet." I was satisfied with this explanation, though I was not deceived, by it. For the sake of appearance he reproved Landoire, who, however, had done nothing more than execute the order he had received. How could he imagine I would submit to such treatment, considering that we had been friends since our boyhood, and that I was now living on full terms of confidence and familiarity with him?
Before I speak of the conspiracy of Ceracchi, Arena, Topino-Lebrun, and others, I must notice a remark made by Napoleon at St. Helena. He said, or is alleged to have said, "The two attempts which placed me in the greatest danger were those of the sculptor Ceracchi and of the fanatic of Schoenbrun." I was not at Schoenbrun at the time; but I am convinced that Bonaparte was in the most imminent danger. I have been informed on unquestionable authority that Staps set out from Erfurth with the intention of assassinating the Emperor; but he wanted the necessary courage for executing the design. He was armed with a large dagger, and was twice sufficiently near Napoleon to have struck him. I heard this from Rapp, who seized Stags, and felt the hilt of the dagger under his coat. On that occasion Bonaparte owed his life only to the irresolution of the young 'illuminato' who wished to sacrifice him to his fanatical fury. It is equally certain that on another occasion, respecting which the author of the St. Helena narrative observes complete silence, another fanatic—more dangerous than Steps attempted the life of Napoleon.
—[At the time of this attempt I was not with Napoleon; but he directed me to see the madmen who had formed the design of assassinating him. It will be seen in the coarse of these Memoirs what were has plans, and what was the result of them—Bourrienne]—
The following is a correct statement of the facts relative to Ceracchi's conspiracy. The plot itself was a mere shadow; but it was deemed advisable to give it substance, to exaggerate, at least in appearance, the danger to which the First Consul had been exposed:—
There was at that time in Paris an idle fellow called Harrel; he had been a 'chef de battalion', but he had been dismissed the service, and was consequently dissatisfied. He became connected with Cerracchi, Arena, Topino-Lebrun, and Demerville. From different motives all these individuals were violently hostile to the First Consul, who on his part, was no friend to Cerracchi and Arena, but scarcely knew the two others. These four individuals formed, in conjunction with Harrel, the design of assassinating the First Consul, and the time fixed for the perpetration of the deed was one evening when Bonaparte intended to visit the opera.
On the 20th of September 1804 Harrel came to me at the Tuileries. He revealed to me the plot in which he was engaged, and promised that his accomplices should be apprehended in the very act if I would supply him with money to bring the plot to maturity. I knew not how to act upon this disclosure, which I, however, could not reject without incurring too great a responsibility. I immediately communicated the business to the First Consul, who ordered me to supply Harrel with money; but not to mention the affair to Fouche, to whom he wished to prove that he knew better how to manage the police than he did.
Harrel came nearly every evening at eleven o'clock to inform me of the progress of the conspiracy, which I immediately communicated to the First Consul, who was not sorry to find Arena and Ceracchi deeply committed. But the time passed on, and nothing was done. The First Consul began to grow impatient. At length Harrel came to say that they had no money to purchase arms. Money was given him. He, however, returned next day to say that the gunsmith refused to sell them arms without authority. It was now found necessary to communicate the business to Fouche in order that he might grant the necessary permission to the gunsmith, which I was not empowered to do.
On the 10th of October the Consuls, after the breaking up of the Council, assembled in the cabinet of their colleague. Bonaparte asked them in my presence whether they thought he ought to go to the opera. They observed that as every precaution was taken no danger could be apprehended, and that it was desirable to show the futility of attempts against the First Consul's life. After dinner Bonaparte put on a greatcoat over his green uniform and got into his carriage accompanied by me and Duroc. He seated himself in front of his box, which at that time was on the left of the theatre between the two columns which separated the front and side boxes. When we had been in the theatre about half an hour the First Consul directed me to go and see what was doing in the corridor. Scarcely had I left the box than I heard a great uproar, and soon discovered that a number of persons, whose names I could not learn, had been arrested. I informed the First Consul of what I had heard, and we immediately returned to the Tuileries.
It is certain that the object of the conspiracy was to take the First Consul's life, and that the conspirators neglected nothing which could further the accomplishment of their atrocious design. The plot, however, was known through the disclosures of Harrel; and it would have been easy to avert instead of conjuring up the storm. Such was, and such still is, my opinion. Harrel's name was again restored to the army list, and he was appointed commandant of Vincennes. This post he held at the time of the Duc d'Enghien's assassination. I was afterwards told that his wife was foster-sister to the unfortunate prince, and that she recognised him when he entered the prison which in a few short hours was to prove his grave.
Carbonneau, one of the individuals condemned, candidly confessed the part he had taken in the plot, which he said was brought to maturity solely by the agents of the police, who were always eager to prove their zeal to their employers by some new discovery.
Although three months intervened between the machinations of Ceracchi and Arena and the horrible attempt of the 3d Nivose, I shall relate these two events in immediate succession; for if they had no other points of resemblance they were at least alike in their object. The conspirators in the first affair were of the revolutionary faction. They sought Bonaparte's life as if with the view of rendering his resemblance to Caesar so complete that not even a Brutus should be wanting. The latter, it must with regret be confessed, were of the Royalist party, and in their wish to destroy the First Consul they were not deterred by the fear of sacrificing a great number of citizens.
The police knew nothing of the plot of the 3d Nivose for two reasons; first, because they were no parties to it, and secondly, because two conspirators do not betray and sell each other when they are resolute in their purpose. In such cases the giving of information can arise only from two causes, the one excusable, the other infamous, viz. the dread of punishment, and the hope of reward. But neither of these causes influenced the conspirators of the 3d Nivose, the inventors and constructors of that machine which has so justly been denominated infernal!
On the 3d Nivose (24th December 1800) the first performance of Haydn's magnificent oratorio of the "Creation" took place at the opera, and the First Consul had expressed his intention of being present. I did not dine with him that day, but as he left me he said, "Bourrienne, you know I am going to the opera to-night, and you may go too; but I cannot take you in the carriage, as Lannes, Berthier, and Lauriston are going with me." I was very glad of this, for I much wished to hear one of the masterpieces of the German school of composition. I got to the opera before Bonaparte, who on his entrance seated himself, according to custom, in front of the box. The eye's of all present were fixed upon him, and he appeared to be perfectly calm and self-possessed. Lauriston, as soon as he saw me, came to my box, and told me that the First Consul, on his way to the opera, had narrowly escaped being assassinated in the Rue St. Nicaise by the explosion of a barrel of gunpowder, the concussion of which had shattered the windows of his carriage. "Within ten seconds after our escape," added Lauriston, "the coachman having turned the corner of the Rue St Honore, stopped to take the First Consul's orders; and he coolly said, 'To the opera.'"
—[The following particulars respecting the affair of the infernal machine are related by Rapp, who attended Madame Bonaparte to the opera. He differs from Bourrienne as to the total ignorance of the police:
"The affair of the infernal machine has never been property understood by the public. The police had intimated to Napoleon that an attempt would be made against his life and cautioned him not to go out. Madame Bonaparte, Mademoiselle Beauharnais, Madame Murat, Lannes, Bessieres, the aide de camp on duty, Lieutenant Lebrun, now duke of Placenza were all assembled in the salon, while the First Consul was writing in his cabinet. Haydn's oratorio was to be performed that evening; the ladies were anxious to hear the music, and we also expressed a wish to that effect. The escort piquet was ordered out; and Lannes requested that Napoleon would join the party. He consented; his carriage was ready, and he took along with him Bessieres and the aide de camp on duty. I was directed to attend the ladies. Josephine had received a magnificent shawl from Constantinople and she that evening wore it for the first time. 'Permit me to observe,' said I, 'that your shawl is not thrown on with your usual elegance.' She good-humouredly begged that I would fold it after the fashion of the Egyptian ladies. While I was engaged in this operation we heard Napoleon depart. 'Come sister,' said Madame Murat, who was impatient to get to the theatre: 'Bonaparte is going:' We stopped into the carriage: the First Consul's equipage had already reached the middle of the Place du Carrousel. We drove after it, but we had scarcely entered the place when the machine exploded. Napoleon escaped by a singular chance, St. Regent, or his servant Francois, had stationed himself in the middle of the Rue Nicaise. A grenadier of the escort, supposing he was really what he appeared to be, a water-carrier, gave him a few blows with the flat of his sabre and drove him off. The cart was turned round, and the machine exploded between the carriages of Napoleon and Josephine. The ladies shrieked on hearing the report; the carriage windows were broken, and Mademoiselle Beauharnais received a slight hurt on her hand. I alighted and crossed the Rue Nicaise which was strewed with the bodies of those who had been thrown down, and the fragments of the walls that had been shattered with the explosion. Neither the consul nor any individual of his, suite sustained any serious injury. When I entered the theatre Napoleon was seated in his box; calm and composed, and looking at the audience through his opera-glass. Fouche was beside him. 'Josephine' said he as soon as he observed me. She entered at that instant and he did not finish his question 'The rascals' said he very cooly, wanted to blow me up: Bring me a book of the oratorio'" (Memoirs of General Count Rape. P. 19)]—
On hearing this I left the theatre and returned to the Palace, under the expectation that I should speedily be wanted. Bonaparte soon returned home; and as intelligence of the affair had spread through Paris the grand salon on the ground-floor was filled with a crowd of functionaries, eager to read in the eye of their master what they were to think and say on the occasion. He did not keep them long in suspense. "This," exclaimed he vehemently, "is the work of the Jacobins: they have attempted my life.... There are neither nobles, priests, nor Chouans in this affair!.... I know what I am about, and they need not think to impose on me. These are the Septembrizers who have been in open revolt and conspiracy, and arrayed against every succeeding Government. It is scarce three months since my life was attempted by Uracchi, Arena; Topino-Lebrun, and Demerville. They all belong to one gang! The cutthroats of September, the assassins of Versailles, the brigands of the 81st of May, the conspirators of Prairial are the authors of all the crimes committed against established Governments! If they cannot be checked they must be crashed! France must be purged of these ruffians!" It is impossible to form any idea of the bitterness with which Bonaparte, pronounced these words. In vain did some of the Councillors of State, and Fouche in particular, endeavour to point out to him that there was no evidence against any one, and that hefore he pronounced people to be guilty it would be right to ascertain the fact. Bonaparte repeated with increased violence what he had before said of the Jacobins; thus adding; not without some ground of suspicion, one crime more to, the long catalogue for which they had already to answer.