Pichegru betrayed—His arrest—His conduct to his old aide de camp— Account of Pichegru's family, and his education at Brienne— Permission to visit M. Carbonnet—The prisoners in the Temple— Absurd application of the word "brigand"—Moreau and the state of public opinion respecting him—Pichegru's firmness—Pichegru strangled in prison—Public opinion at the time—Report on the death of Pichegru.
I shall now proceed to relate what I knew at the time and what I have since learnt of the different phases of the trial of Georges, Pichegru, Moreau and the other persons accused of conspiracy,—a trial to all the proceedings of which I closely attended. From those proceedings I was convinced that Moreau was no conspirator, but at the same time I must confess that it is very probable the First Consul might believe that he had been engaged in the plot, and I am also of opinion that the real conspirators believed Moreau to be their accomplice and their chief; for the object of the machinations of the police agents was to create a foundation for such a belief, it being important to the success of their scheme.
It has been stated that Moreau was arrested on the day after the confessions made by Bouvet de Lozier; Pichegru was taken by means of the most infamous treachery that a man can be guilty of. The official police had at last ascertained that he was in Paris, but they could not learn the place of his concealment. The police agents had in vain exerted all their efforts to discover him, when an old friend, who had given him his last asylum, offered to deliver him up for 100,000 crowns. This infamous fellow gave an enact description of the chamber which Pichegru occupied in the Rue de Chabanais, and in consequence of his information Comminges, commissary of police, proceeded thither, accompanied by some determined men. Precautions were necessary, because it was known that Pichegru was a man of prodigious bodily strength, and that hesides, as he possessed the means of defence, he would not allow himself to be taken without making a desperate resistance. The police entered his chamber by using false keys, which the man who had sold him had the baseness to get made for them. A light was burning on his night table. The party of police, directed by Comminges, overturned the table, extinguished the light, and threw themselves on the general, who struggled with all his strength, and cried out loudly. They were obliged to bind him, and in this state the conqueror of Holland was removed to the Temple, out of which he was destined never to come alive.
It must be owned that Pichegru was far from exciting the same interest as Moreau. The public, and more especially the army, never pardoned him for his negotiations with the Prince de Conde prior to the 18th Fructidor. However, I became acquainted with a trait respecting him while he was in Paris which I think does him much honour. A son of M. Lagrenee, formerly director of the French Academy at Rome, had been one of Pichegru's aides de camp. This young man, though he had obtained the rank of captain, resigned on the banishment of his general, and resumed the pencil, which he had lad aside for the sword. Pichegru, while he was concealed in Paris; visited his former aide de camp, who insisted upon giving him an asylum; but Pichegru positively refused to accept M. Lagrenee's offer, being determined not to commit a man who had already given him so strong a proof of friendship. I learned this fact by a singular coincidence. At this period Madame de Bourrienne wished to have a portrait of one of our children; she was recommended to M. Lagrenee, and he related the circumstance to her.
It was on the night of the 22d of February that Pichegru was arrested in the manner I have described. The deceitful friend who gave him up was named Le Blanc, and he went to settle at Hamburg with the reward of his treachery, I had entirely lost sight of Pichegru since we left Brienne, for Pichegru was also a pupil of that establishment; but, being older than either Bonaparte or I, he was already a tutor when we were only scholars, and I very well recollect that it was he who examined Bonaparte in the four first rules of arithmetic.
Pichegru belonged to an agricultural family of Franche-Comte. He had a relation, a minim,' in that country. The minim, who had the charge of educating the pupils of the Military School of Brienne, being very poor, and their poverty not enabling them to hold out much inducement to other persons to assist them, they applied to the minims of Franche-Comte. In consequence of this application Pichegru's relation, and some other minims, repaired to Brienne. An aunt of Pichegru, who was a sister of the order of charity, accompanied them, and the care of the infirmary was entrusted to her. This good woman took her nephew to Brienne with her, and he was educated at the school gratuitously. As soon as his age permitted, Pichegru was made a tutor; but all, his ambition was to become a minim. He was, however, dissuaded from that pursuit by his relation, and he adopted the military profession. There is this further remarkable circumstance in the youth of Pichegru, that, though he was older by several years than Bonaparte, they were both made lieutenants of artillery at the same time. What a difference in their destiny! While the one was preparing to ascend a throne the other was a solitary prisoner in the dungeon of the Temple.
I had no motive to induce me to visit either the Temple or La Force, but I received at the time circumstantial details of what was passing in those prisons, particularly in the former; I went, however, frequently to St. Pelagie, where M. Carbonnet was confined. As soon as I knew that he was lodged in that prison I set about getting an admission from Real, who smoothed all difficulties. M. Carbonnet was detained two months in solitary confinement. He was several times examined, but the interrogatories produced no result, and, notwithstanding the desire to implicate him in consequence of the known intimacy between him and Moreau, it was at last found impossible to put him on trial with the other parties accused.
The Temple had more terrors than St. Pelagie, but not for the prisoners who were committed to it, for none of those illustrious victims of police machination displayed any weakness, with the exception of Bouvet de Lozier, who, being sensible of his weakness, wished to prevent its consequences by death. The public, however, kept their attention riveted on the prison in which Moreau was confined. I have already mentioned that Pichegru was conveyed thither on the night of the 22d of February; a fortnight later Georges was arrested, and committed to the same prison.
Either Real or Desmarets, and sometimes both together, repaired to the Temple to examine the prisoners. In vain the police endeavoured to direct public odium against the prisoners by placarding lists of their names through the whole of Paris, even before they were arrested. In those lists they were styled "brigands," and at the head of "the brigands," the name of General Moreau shone conspicuously. An absurdity without a parallel. The effect produced was totally opposite to that calculated on; for, as no person could connect the idea of a brigand with that of a general who was the object of public esteem, it was naturally concluded that those whose names were placarded along with his were no more brigands than he.
Public opinion was decidedly in favour of Moreau, and every one was indignant at seeing him described as a brigand. Far from believing him guilty, he was regarded as a victim fastened on because his reputation embarrassed Bonaparte; for Moreau had always been looked up to as capable of opposing the accomplishment of the First Consul's ambitious views. The whole crime of Moreau was his having numerous partisans among those who still clung to the phantom of the Republic, and that crime was unpardonable in the eyes of the First Consul, who for two years had ruled the destinies of France as sovereign master. What means were not employed to mislead the opinion of the public respecting Moreau? The police published pamphlets of all sorts, and the Comte de Montgaillard was brought from Lyons to draw up a libel implicating him with Pichegru and the exiled Princes. But nothing that was done produced the effect proposed.
The weak character of Moreau is known. In fact, he allowed himself to be circumvented by a few intriguers, who endeavoured to derive advantage from the influence of his name. But he was so decidedly opposed to the reestablishment of the ancient system that he replied to one of the agents who addressed' him, "I cannot put myself at the head of any movement for the Bourbons, and such an attempt would not succeed. If Pichegru act on another principle—and even in that case I have told him that the Consuls and the Governor of Paris must disappear—I believe that I have a party strong enough in the Senate to obtain possession of authority, and I will immediately make use of it to protect his friends; public opinion will then dictate what may be fit to be done, but I will promise nothing in writing." Admitting these words attributed to Moreau to be true, they prove that he was dissatisfied with the Consular Government, and that he wished a change; but there is a great difference between a conditional wish and a conspiracy.
The commander of the principal guard of the Temple was General Savory, and he had reinforced that guard by his select gendarmerie. The prisoners did not dare to communicate one with another for fear of mutual injury, but all evinced a courage which created no little alarm as to the consequences of the trial. Neither offers nor threats produced any confessions in the course of the interrogatories. Pichegru, in particular, displayed an extraordinary firmness, and Real one day, on leaving the chamber where he had been examining him, said aloud in the presence of several persons, "What a man that Pichegru is!"
Forty days elapsed after the arrest of General Pichegru when, on the morning of the 6th of April, he was found dead in the chamber he occupied in the Temple. Pichegru had undergone ten examinations; but he had made no confessions, and no person was committed by his replies.
All his declarations, however, gave reason to believe that he would speak out, and that too in a lofty and energetic manner during the progress of the trial. "When I am before my judges," said he, "my language shall be conformable to truth and the interests of my country." What would that language have been? Without doubt there was no wish that it should be heard. Pichegru would have kept his promise, for he was distinguished for his firmness of character above everything, even above his qualities as a soldier; differing in this respect from Moreau, who allowed himself to be guided by his wife and mother-in-law, both of whom displayed ridiculous pretensions in their visits to Madame Bonaparte.
The day on which Real spoke before several persons of Pichegru in the way I have related was the day of his last examination. I afterwards learned, from a source on which I can rely, that during his examination Pichegru, though careful to say nothing which could affect the other prisoners, showed no disposition to be tender of him who had sought and resolved his death, but evinced a firm resolution to unveil before the public the odious machinery of the plot into which the police had drawn him. He also declared that he and his companions had no longer any object but to consider of the means of leaving Paris, with the view of escaping from the snares laid for them when their arrest took place. He declared that they had all of them given up the idea of overturning the power of Bonaparte, a scheme into which they had been enticed by shameful intrigues. I am convinced the dread excited by his manifestation of a resolution to speak out with the most rigid candour hastened the death of Pichegru. M. Real, who is still living, knows better than any one else what were Pichegru's declarations, as he interrogated him. I know not whether that gentleman will think fit, either at the present or some future period, to raise the veil of mystery which hangs over these events, but of this I am sure, he will be unable to deny anything I advance. There is evidence almost amounting to demonstration that Pichegru was strangled in prison, and consequently all idea of suicide must be rejected as inadmissible. Have I positive and substantive proof of what I assert? I have not; but the concurrence of facts and the weight of probabilities do not leave me in possession of the doubts I should wish to entertain on that tragic event. Besides, there exists a certain popular instinct, which is rarely at fault, and it must be in the recollection of many, not only that the general opinion favoured the notion of Pichegru's assassination, but that the pains taken to give that opinion another direction, by the affected exhibition of the body, only served to strengthen it. He who spontaneously says, I have not committed such or such a crime, at least admits there is room for suspecting his guilt.
The truth is, the tide of opinion never set in with such force against Bonaparte as during the trial of Moreau; nor was the popular sentiment in error on the subject of the death of Pichegru, who was clearly strangled in the Temple by secret agents. The authors, the actors, and the witnesses of the horrible prison scenes of the period are the only persons capable of removing the doubts which still hang over the death of Pichegru; but I must nevertheless contend that the preceding circumstances, the general belief at the time, and even probability, are in contradiction with any idea of suicide on the part of Pichegru. His death was considered necessary, and this necessity was its real cause.
Arrest of Georges—The fruiterer's daughter of the Rue de La Montagne—St. Genevieve—Louis Bonaparte's visit to the Temple— General Lauriston—Arrest of Villeneuve and Barco—Villeneuve wounded—Moreau during his imprisonment—Preparations for leaving the Temple—Remarkable change in Georges—Addresses and congratulations—Speech of the First Consul forgotten—Secret negotiations with the Senate—Official proposition of Bonaparte's elevation to the Empire—Sitting of the Council of State— Interference of Bonaparte—Individual votes—Seven against twenty— His subjects and his people—Appropriateness of the title of Emperor—Communications between Bonaparte and the Senate—Bonaparte first called Sire by Cambaceres—First letter signed by Napoleon as Emperor—Grand levee at the Tuileries—Napoleon's address to the Imperial Guard—Organic 'Senatus-consulte'—Revival of old formulas and titles—The Republicanism of Lucien—The Spanish Princess— Lucien's clandestine marriage—Bonaparte's influence on the German Princes—Intrigues of England—Drake at Munich—Project for overthrowing Bonaparte's Government—Circular from the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the members of the Diplomatic Body—Answers to that circular.
Georges was arrested about seven o'clock, on the evening of the 9th of March, with another conspirator, whose name, I think, was Leridan. Georges was stopped in a cabriolet on the Place de l'Odeon, whither he had no doubt been directed by the police agent, who was constantly about him. In not seizing him at his lodgings, the object, probably, was to give more publicity to his arrest, and to produce an effect upon the minds of the multitude. This calculation cost the life of one man, and had well-nigh sacrificed the lives of two, for Georges, who constantly carried arms about him, first shot dead the police officer who seized the horse's reins, and wounded another who advanced to arrest him is the cabriolet. Besides his pistols there was found upon him a poniard of English manufacture.
Georges lodged with a woman named Lemoine, who kept a fruiterer's shop in the Rue de la Montagne St. Genevieve, and on the evening of the 9th of March he had just left his lodging to go, it was said, to a perfumer's named Caron. It is difficult to suppose that the circumstance of the police being on the spot was the mere effect of chance. The fruiterer's daughter was putting into the cabriolet a parcel belonging to Georges at the moment of his arrest. Georges, seeing the officers advance to seize him, desired the girl to get out of the way, fearing lest he should shoot her when he fired on the officers. She ran into a neighbouring house, taking the parcel along with her. The police, it may readily be supposed, were soon after her. The master of the house in which she had taken refuge, curious to know what the parcel contained, had opened it, and discovered, among other things, a bag containing 1000 Dutch sovereigns, from which he acknowledged he had abstracted a considerable sum. He and his wife, as well as the fruiterer's daughter, were all arrested; as to Georges, he was taken that same evening to the Temple, where he remained until his removal to the Conciergerie when the trial commenced.
During the whole of the legal proceedings Georges and the other important prisoners were kept in solitary confinement. Immediately on Pichegru's death the prisoners were informed of the circumstance. As they were all acquainted with the general, and none believed the fact of his reported suicide, it may easily be conceived what consternation and horror the tragical event excited among them. I learned, and I was sorry to hear of it, that Louis Bonaparte, who was an excellent man, and, beyond all comparison, the best of the family, had the cruel curiosity to see Georges in his prison a few days after the death of Pichegru, and when the sensation of horror excited by that event in the interior of the Temple was at its height, Louis repaired to the prison, accompanied by a brilliant escort of staff-officers, and General Savary introduced him to the prisoners. When Louis arrived, Georges was lying on his bed with his hands strongly bound by manacles. Lauriston, who accompanied Louis, related to me some of the particulars of this visit, which, in spite of his sincere devotedness to the first Consul, he assured me had been very painful to him.
After the arrest of Georges there were still some individuals marked out as accomplices in the conspiracy who had found means to elude the search of the police. The persons last arrested were, I think, Villeneuve, one of the principal confidants of Georges, Burban Malabre, who went by the name of Barco, and Charles d'Hozier. They were not taken till five days after the arrest of the Duc d'Enghien. The famous Commissioner Comminges, accompanied by an inspector and a detachment of gendarmes d'Elite, found Villeneuve and Burban Malabre in the house of a man named Dubuisson, in the Rue Jean Robert.
This Dubuisson and his wife had sheltered some of the principal persons proscribed by the police. The Messieurs de Polignac and M. de Riviere had lodged with them. When the police came to arrest Villeneuve and Burban Malabre the people with whom they lodged declared that they had gone away in the morning. The officers, however, searched the house, and discovered a secret door within a closet. They called, and receiving no answer, the gendarmerie had recourse to one of those expedients which were, unfortunately, too familiar to them. They fired a pistol through the door. Villeneuve, who went by the name of Joyau, was wounded in the arm, which obliged him and his companion to come from the place of their concealment, and they were then made prisoners.
Moreau was not treated with the degree of rigour observed towards the other prisoners. Indeed, it would not have been safe so to treat him, for even in his prison he received the homage and respect of all the military, not excepting even those who were his guards. Many of these soldiers had served under him, and it could not be forgotten how much he was beloved by the troops he had commanded. He did not possess that irresistible charm which in Bonaparte excited attachment, but his mildness of temper and excellent character inspired love and respect. It was the general opinion in Paris that a single word from Moreau to the soldiers in whose custody he was placed would in a moment have converted the gaoler-guard into a guard of honour, ready to execute all that might be required for the safety of the conqueror of Hohenlinden. Perhaps the respect with which he was treated and the indulgence of daily seeing his wife and child were but artful calculations for keeping him within the limits of his usual character. Besides, Moreau was so confident of the injustice of the charge brought against him that he was calm and resigned, and showed no disposition to rouse the anger of an enemy who would have been happy to have some real accusation against him. To these causes combined I always attributed the resignation; and I may say the indifference, of Moreau while he was in prison and on his trial.
When the legal preparations for the trial were ended the prisoners of the Temple were permitted to communicate with each other, and, viewing their fate with that indifference which youth, misfortune, and courage inspired, they amused themselves with some of those games which usually serve for boyish recreation. While they were thus engaged the order arrived for their removal to the Conciergerie. The firmness of all remained unshaken, and they made their preparations for departure as if they were going about any ordinary business. This fortitude was particularly remarkable in Georges, in whose manner a change had taken place which was remarked by all his companions in misfortune.
For some time past the agents of Government throughout France had been instructed to solicit the First Consul to grant for the people what the people did not want, but what Bonaparte wished to take while he appeared to yield to the general will, namely, unlimited sovereign authority, free from any subterfuge of denomination. The opportunity of the great conspiracy just discovered, and in which Bonaparte had not incurred a moment's danger, as he did at the time of the infernal machine, was not suffered to escape; that opportunity was, on the contrary, eagerly seized by the authorities of every rank, civil, ecclesiastical, and military, and a torrent of addresses, congratulations, and thanksgivings inundated the Tuileries. Most of the authors of these addressee did not confine themselves to mere congratulations; they entreated Bonaparte to consolidate his work, the true meaning of which was that it was time he should make himself Emperor and establish hereditary succession. Those who on other occasions had shown an officious readiness to execute Bonaparte's commands did not now fear to risk his displeasure by opposing the opinion he had expressed in the Council of State on the discussion of the question of the Consulate for life. Bonaparte then said, "Hereditary succession is absurd. It is irreconcilable with the principle of the sovereignty of the people, and impossible in France."
In this scene of the grand drama Bonaparte played his part with his accustomed talent, keeping himself in the background and leaving to others the task of preparing the catastrophe. The Senate, who took the lead in the way of insinuation, did not fail, while congratulating the First Consul on his escape from the plots of foreigners, or, as they were officially styled, the daggers of England, to conjure him not to delay the completion of his work. Six days after the death of the Due d'Enghien the Senate first expressed this wish. Either because Bonaparte began to repent of a useless crime, and felt the ill effect it must produce on the public mind, or because he found the language of the Senate somewhat vague, he left the address nearly a month unanswered, and then only replied by the request that the intention of the address might be more completely expressed. These negotiations between the Senate and the Head of the Government were not immediately published. Bonaparte did not like publicity except for what had arrived at a result; but to attain the result which was the object of his ambition it was necessary that the project which he was maturing should be introduced in the Tribunate, and the tribune Curee had the honour to be the first to propose officially, on the 30th of April 1804, the conversion of the Consular Republic into an Empire, and the elevation of Bonaparte to the title of Emperor; with the rights of hereditary succession.
If any doubts could exist respecting the complaisant part which Curee acted on this occasion one circumstance would suffice to remove them; that is, that ten days before the development of his proposition Bonaparte had caused the question of founding the Empire and establishing hereditary succession in his family to be secretly discussed in the Council of State. I learned from one of the Councillors of State all that passed on that occasion, and I may remark that Cambaceres showed himself particularly eager in the Council of State, as well as afterwards in the Senate, to become the exalted subject of him who had been his first colleague in the Consulate.
About the middle of April, the Council of State being assembled as for an ordinary sitting, the First Consul, who was frequently present at the sittings, did not appear. Cambaceres arrived and took the Presidency in his quality of Second Consul, and it was remarked that his air was more solemn than usual, though he at all times affected gravity.
The partisans of hereditary succession were the majority, and resolved to present an address to the First Consul. Those of the Councillors who opposed this determined on their part to send a counter-address; and to avoid this clashing of opinions Bonaparte signified his wish that each member of the Council should send him his opinion individually, with his signature affixed. By a singular accident it happened to be Berlier's task to present to the First Consul the separate opinions of the Council. Out of the twenty-seven Councillors present only seven opposed the question. Bonaparte received them all most graciously, and told them, among other things, that he wished for hereditary power only for the benefit of France; that the citizens would never be his subjects, and that the French people would never be his people. Such were the preliminaries to the official proposition of Curee to the Tribunate, and upon reflection it was decided that, as all opposition would be useless and perhaps dangerous to the opposing party, the minority should join the majority. This was accordingly done.
The Tribunate having adopted the proposition of Curee, there was no longer any motive for concealing the overtures of the Senate. Its address to the First Consul was therefore published forty days after its date: the pear was then ripe. This period is so important that I must not omit putting together the most remarkable facts which either came within my own observation, or which I have learned since respecting the foundation of the Empire.
Bonaparte had a long time before spoken to me of the title of Emperor as being the most appropriate for the new sovereignty which he wished to found in France. This, he observed, was not restoring the old system entirely, and he dwelt much on its being the title which Caesar had borne. He often said, "One may be the Emperor of a republic, but not the King of a republic, those two terms are incongruous."
In its first address the Senate had taken as a test the documents it had received from the Government in relation to the intrigues of Drake, who had been sent from England to Munich. That text afforded the opportunity for a vague expression of what the Senate termed the necessities of France. To give greater solemnity to the affair the Senate proceeded in a body to the Tuileries, and one thing which gave a peculiar character to the preconcerted advances of the Senate was that Cambaceres, the Second Consul, fulfilled his functions of President on this occasion, and delivered the address to the First Consul.
However, the First Consul thought the address of the Senate, which, I have been informed, was drawn up by Francois de Neufchateau, was not expressed with sufficient clearness; he therefore, after suffering a little interval to elapse, sent a message to the Senate signed by himself, in which he said, "Your address has been the object of my earnest consideration." And though the address contained no mention of hereditary succession, he added, "You consider the hereditary succession of the supreme magistracy necessary to defend the French people against the plots of our enemies and the agitation arising from rival ambition. At the same time several of our institutions appear to you to require improvement so as to ensure the triumph of equality and public liberty, and to offer to the nation and the Government the double guarantee they require." From the subsequent passages of the message it will be sufficient to extract the following: "We have been constantly guided by this great truth: that the sovereignty dwells with the French people, and that it is for their interest, happiness, and glory that the Supreme Magistracy, the Senate, the Council of State, the Legislative Body, the Electoral Colleges, and the different branches of the Government, are and must be instituted." The omission of the Tribunate in this enumeration is somewhat remarkable. It announced a promise which was speedily realised.
The will of Bonaparte being thus expressed in his message to the—Senate, that body, which was created to preserve the institutions consecrated by the Constitution of the year VIII., had no alternative but to submit to the intentions manifested by the First Consul. The reply to the message was, therefore, merely a counterpart of the message itself. It positively declared that hereditary government was essential to the happiness, the glory, and the prosperity of France, and that that government could be confided only to Bonaparte and his family. While the Senate so complaisantly played its part in this well-get-up piece, yet, the better to impose on the credulity of the multitude, its reply, like Bonaparte's message, resounded with the words liberty and equality. Indeed, it was impudently asserted in that reply that Bonaparte's accession to hereditary power would be a certain guarantee for the liberty of the press, a liberty which Bonaparte held in the greatest horror, and without which all other liberty is but a vain illusion.
By this reply of the Senate the most important step was performed. There now remained merely ceremonies to regulate and formulas to fill up. These various arrangements occasioned a delay of a fortnight. On the 18th of May the First Consul was greeted for the first time by the appellation of Sire by his former colleague, Cambaceres, who at the head of the Senate went to present to Bonaparte the organic 'Senatus-consulte' containing the foundation of the Empire. Napoleon was at St. Cloud, whither the Senate proceeded in state. After the speech of Cambaceres, in which the old designation of Majesty was for the first time revived, the EMPEROR replied:—
All that can contribute to the welfare of the country is essentially connected with my happiness. I accept the title which you believe to be conducive to the glory of the nation. I submit to the sanction of the people the law of hereditary succession. I hope that France will never repent the honours she may confer on my family. At all events, my spirit will not be with my posterity when they cease to merit the confidence and love of the great nation.
Cambaceres next went to congratulate the Empress, and then was realised to Josephine the prediction which I had made to her three years before at Malmaison.
—[In the original motion as prepared by Curee, the Imperial dignity was to be declared hereditary in the family of Napoleon. Previous to being formerly read before the Tribunate, the First Consul sent for the document, and when it was returned it was found that the word family was altered to descendants. Fabre, the President of the Tribunate, who received the altered document from Maret, seeing the effect the alteration would have on the brothers of Napoleon, and finding that Maret affected to crest the change as immaterial, took on himself to restore the original form, and in that shape it was read by the unconscious Curee to the Tribunals. On this curious, passage see Miot de Melito, tome ii, p. 179. As finally settled the descent of the crown in default of Napoleon's children was limited to Joseph and Louis and their descendants, but the power of adoption was given to Napoleon. The draft of the 'Senates-consulte' was heard by the Council of State in silence, and Napoleon tried in vain to get even the most talkative of the members now to speak. The Senate were not unanimous in rendering the 'Senatus-consulte'. The three votes given against it were said to have been Gregoire, the former constitutional Bishop of Blois, Carat, who as Minister of Justice had read to Louis XVI. the sentence of death, and Lanjuinais, one of the very few survivors of the Girondists, Thiers says there was only one dissentient voice. For the fury of the brothers of Napoleon, who saw the destruction of all their ambitions hopes in any measure for the descent of the crown except in the family, see Miot, tome ii. p.. 172, where Joseph is described as cursing the ambition of his brother, and desiring his death as a benefit for France and his family.]—
Bonaparte's first act as Emperor, on the very day of his elevation to the Imperial throne, was the nomination of Joseph to the dignity of Grand Elector, with the title of Imperial Highness. Louis was raised to the dignity of Constable, with the same title, and Cambaceres and Lebrun were created Arch-Chancellor and Arch-Treasurer of the Empire. On the same day Bonaparte wrote the following letter to Cambaceres, the first which he signed as Emperor, and merely with the name of Napoleon:—
CITIZEN CONSUL CAMBACERES—Your title has changed; but your functions and my confidence remain the same. In the high dignity with which you are now invested you will continue to manifest, as you have hitherto done in that of Consul, that wisdom and that distinguished talent which entitle you to so important a share in all the good which I may have effected. I have, therefore, only to desire the continuance of the sentiments you cherish towards the State and me.
Given at the Palace of St. Cloud, 28th Floreal, an XII. (18th May 1804). (Signed) NAPOLEON.
By the Emperor. H. B. MARET.
I have quoted this first letter of the Emperor because it is characteristic of Bonaparte's art in managing transitions. It was to the Citizen Consul that the Emperor addressed himself, and it was dated according to the Republican calendar. That calendar, together with the delusive inscription on the coin, were all that now remained of the Republic. Next day the Emperor came to Paris to hold a grand levee at the Tuileries, for he was not the man to postpone the gratification that vanity derived from his new dignity and title. The assembly was more numerous and brilliant than on any former occasion. Bessieres having addressed the Emperor on the part of the Guards, the Emperor replied in the following terms: "I know the sentiments the Guards cherish towards me. I repose perfect confidence in their courage and fidelity. I constantly see, with renewed pleasure, companions in arms who have escaped so many dangers, and are covered with so many honourable wounds. I experience a sentiment of satisfaction when I look at the Guards, and think that there has not, for the last fifteen years, in any of the four quarters of the world, been a battle in which some of them have not taken part."
On the same day all the generals and colonels in Paris were presented to the Emperor by Louis Bonaparte, who had already begun to exercise his functions of Constable. In a few days everything assumed a new aspect; but in spite of the admiration which was openly expressed the Parisians secretly ridiculed the new courtiers. This greatly displeased Bonaparte, who was very charitably informed of it in order to check his prepossession in favour of the men of the old Court, such as the Comte de Segur, and at a later period Comte Louis de Narbonne.
To give all possible solemnity to his accession Napoleon ordered that the Senate itself should proclaim in Paris the organic 'Senates-consulte', which entirely changed the Constitution of the State. By one of those anomalies which I have frequently had occasion to remark, the Emperor fixed for this ceremony Sunday, the 30th Floral. That day was a festival in all Paris, while the unfortunate prisoners were languishing in the dungeons of the Temple.
On the day after Bonaparte's accession the old formulae were restored. The Emperor determined that the French Princes and Princesses should receive the title of Imperial Highness; that his sisters should take the same title; that the grand dignitaries of the Empire should be called Serene Highnesses; that the Princes and titularies of the grand dignitaries should be addressed by the title of Monseigneur; that M. Maret, the Secretary of State, should have the rank of Minister; that the ministers should retain the title of Excellency, to which should be added that of Monseigneur in the petitions addressed to them; and that the title of Excellency should be given to the President of the Senate.
At the same time Napoleon appointed the first Marshals of the Empire, and determined that they should be called Monsieur le Marechal when addressed verbally, and Monseigneur in writing. The following are the names of these sons of the Republic transformed into props of the Empire: Berthier, Murat, Moncey, Jourdan, Massena, Augereau, Bernadotte, Soult, Brune, Lannes, Mortier, Ney, Davoust, and Besaieres. The title of Marshal of the Empire was also granted to the generals Kellerman, Lefebvre, Perignon, and Serrurier, as having served as commander-in-chief.
The reader cannot have failed to observe that the name of Lucien has not been mentioned among the individuals of Bonaparte's family on whom dignities were conferred. The fact is, the two brothers were no longer on good terms with each other. Not, as it has been alleged, because Lucien wished to play the part of a Republican, but because he would not submit to the imperious will of Napoleon in a circumstance in which the latter counted on his brother's docility to serve the interests of his policy. In the conferences which preceded the great change in the form of government it was not Lucien but Joseph who, probably for the sake of sounding opinion, affected an opposition, which was by some mistaken for Republicanism. With regard to Lucien, as he had really rendered great services to Napoleon on the 19th Brumaire at St. Cloud, and as he himself exaggerated the value of those services, he saw no reward worthy of his ambition but a throne independent of his brother. It is certain that when at Madrid he had aspired to win the good graces of a Spanish Infanta, and on that subject reports were circulated with which I have nothing to do, because I never had any opportunity of ascertaining their truth. All I know is that, Lucien's first wife being dead, Bonaparte, wished him to marry a German Princess, by way of forming the first great alliance in the family. Lucien, however, refused to comply with Napoleon's wishes, and he secretly married the wife of an agent, named, I believe, Joubertou, who for the sake of convenience was sent to the West Indies, where he: died shortly after. When Bonaparte heard of this marriage from the priest by whom it had been clandestinely performed, he fell into a furious passion, and resolved not to confer on Lucien the title of French Prince, on account of what he termed his unequal match. Lucien, therefore, obtained no other dignity than that of Senator.
—[According to Lucien himself, Napoleon wished him to marry the Queen of Etruria Maria-Louise, daughter of Charles IV. of Spain, who had married, 1795 Louie de Bourbon, Prince of Parma, son of the Duke of Parma, to whom Napoleon had given Tuscany in 1801 as the Kingdom of, Etruria. Her husband had died in May 1808, and she governed in the name of her son. Lucien, whose first wife, Anne Christine Boyer, had died in 1801, had married his second wife, Alexandrine Laurence de Bleschamps, who had married, but who had divorced, a M. Jonberthon. When Lucien had been ambassador in Spain in 1801, charged among other things with obtaining Elba, the Queen, he says, wished Napoleon should marry an Infanta,—Donna Isabella, her youngest daughter, afterwards Queen of Naples, an overture to which Napoleon seems not to have made any answer. As for Lucien, he objected to his brother that the Queen was ugly, and laughed at Napoleon's representations as to her being "propre": but at last he acknowledged his marriage with Madame Jouberthon. This made a complete break between the brothers, and on hearing of the execution of the Due d'Enghien, Lucien said to his wife, "Alexandrine, let us go; he has tasted blood." He went to Italy, and in 1810 tried to go to the United States. Taken prisoner by the English, he was detained first at Malta, and then in England, at Ludlow Castle and at Thorngrove, till 1814, when he went to Rome. The Pope, who ever showed a kindly feeling towards the Bonapartes, made the ex-"Brutus" Bonaparte Prince de Canino and Due de Musignano. In 1815 he joined Napoleon and on the final fall of the Empire he was interned at Rome till the death of his brother.]—
Jerome, who pursued an opposite line of conduct, was afterwards made a King. As to Lucien's Republicanism, it did not survive the 18th Brumaire, and he was always a warm partisan of hereditary succession.
But I pass on to relate what I know respecting the almost incredible influence which, on the foundation of the Empire, Bonaparte exercised over the powers which did not yet dare to declare war against him. I studied Bonaparte's policy closely, and I came to this conclusion on the subject, that he was governed by ambition, by the passion of dominion, and that no relations, on a footing of equality, between himself and any other power, could be of long duration. The other States of Europe had only to choose one of two things—submission or war. As to secondary States, they might thenceforth be considered as fiefs of the French Government; and as they could not resist, Bonaparte easily accustomed them to bend to his yoke. Can there be a stronger proof of this arbitrary influence than what occurred at Carlsruhe, after the violation of the territory of Baden, by the arrest of the Due d'Enghien? Far from venturing to make any observation on that violation, so contrary to the rights of nations, the Grand Duke of Baden was obliged to publish, in his own State, a decree evidently dictated by Bonaparte. The decree stated, that many individuals formerly belonging to the army of Conde having come to the neighbourhood of Carlsruhe, his Electoral Highness had felt it his duty to direct that no individual coming from Conde's army, nor indeed any French emigrant, should, unless he had permission previously to the place, make a longer sojourn than was allowed to foreign travellers. Such was already the influence which Bonaparte exercised over Germany, whose Princes, to use an expression which he employed in a later decree, were crushed by the grand measures of the Empire.
But to be just, without however justifying Bonaparte, I must acknowledge that the intrigues which England fomented in all parts of the Continent were calculated to excite his natural irritability to the utmost degree. The agents of England were spread over the whole of Europe, and they varied the rumours which they were commissioned to circulate, according to the chances of credit which the different places afforded. Their reports were generally false; but credulity gave ear to them, and speculators endeavoured, each according to his interest, to give them support. The headquarters of all this plotting was Munich, where Drake, who was sent from England, had the supreme direction. His correspondence, which was seized by the French Government, was at first placed amongst the documents to be produced on the trial of Georges, Moreau, and the other prisoners; but in the course of the preliminary proceedings the Grand Judge received directions to detach them, and make them the subject of a special report to the First Consul, in order that their publication beforehand might influence public opinion, and render it unfavourable to those who were doomed to be sacrificed. The instructions given by Drake to his agents render it impossible to doubt that England wished to overthrow the Government of Bonaparte. Drake wrote as follows to a man who was appointed to travel through France:—
The principal object of your journey being the overthrow of the existing Government, one of the means of effecting it is to acquire a knowledge of the enemy's plans. For this purpose it is of the highest importance to begin, in the first place, by establishing communications with persons who may be depended upon in the different Government offices in order to obtain exact information of all plans with respect to foreign or internal affairs. The knowledge of these plans will supply the best means of defeating them; and failure is the way to bring the Government into complete discredit—the first and most important step towards the end proposed. Try to gain over trustworthy agents in the different Government departments. Endeavour, also, to learn what passes in the secret committee, which is supposed to be established at St Cloud, and composed of the friends of the First Consul. Be careful to furnish information of the various projects which Bonaparte may entertain relative to Turkey and Ireland. Likewise send intelligence respecting the movements of troops, respecting vessels and ship-building, and all military preparations.
Drake, in his instructions, also recommended that the subversion of Bonaparte's Government should, for the time, be the only object in view, and that nothing should be said about the King's intentions until certain information could be obtained respecting his views; but most of his letters and instructions were anterior to 1804. The whole bearing of the seized documents proved what Bonaparte could not be ignorant of, namely, that England was his constant enemy; but after examining them, I was of opinion that they contained nothing which could justify the belief that the Government of Great Britain authorised any attempt at assassination.
When the First Consul received the report of the Grand Judge relative to Drake's plots' against his Government he transmitted a copy of it to the Senate, and it was in reply to this communication that the Senate made those first overtures which Bonaparte thought vague, but which, nevertheless, led to the formation of the Empire. Notwithstanding this important circumstance, I have not hitherto mentioned Drake, because his intrigues for Bonaparte's overthrow appeared to me to be more immediately connected with the preliminaries of the trial of Georges and Moreau, which I shall notice in my next chapter.
—[These were not plots for assassination. Bonaparte, in the same way, had his secret agents in every country of Europe, without excepting England. Alison (chap. xxxvii. par. 89) says on this matter of Drake that, though the English agents were certainly attempting a counter-revolution, they had no idea of encouraging the assassination of Napoleon, while "England was no match for the French police agents in a transaction of this description, for the publication of Regular revealed the mortifying fact that the whole correspondence both of Drake and Spencer Smith had been regularly transmitted, as fast as it took place, to the police of Paris, and that their principal corresponded in that city, M. Mehu de la Tonche, was himself an agent of the police, employed to tempt the British envoys into this perilous enterprise."]—
At the same time that Bonaparte communicated to the Senate the report of the Grand Judge, the Minister for Foreign Affairs addressed the following circular letter to the members of the Diplomatic Body:
The First Consul has commanded me to forward to your Excellency a copy of a report which has been presented to him, respecting a conspiracy formed in France by Mr. Drake, his Britannic Majesty's Minister at the Court of Munich, which, by its object as well as its date, is evidently connected with the infamous plot now in the course of investigation.
The printed copy of Mr. Drake's letters and authentic documents is annexed to the report. The originals will be immediately sent, by order of the First Consul, to the Elector of Bavaria.
Such a prostitution of the most honourable function which can be intrusted to a man is unexampled in the history of civilised nations. It will astonish and afflict Europe as an unheard of crime, which hitherto the most perverse Governments have not dared to meditate. The First Consul is too well acquainted with sentiments of the Diplomatic Body accredited to him not to be fully convinced that every one of its members will behold, with profound regret, the profanation of the sacred character of Ambassador, basely transformed into a minister of plots, snares, and corruption.
All the ambassadors, ministers, plenipotentiaries, envoys, ordinary or extraordinary, whatever might be their denomination, addressed answers to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in which they expressed horror and indignation at the conduct of England and Drake's machinations. These answers were returned only five days after the Duc d'Enghien's death; and here one cannot help admiring the adroitness of Bonaparte, who thus compelled all the representatives of the European Governments to give official testimonies of regard for his person and Government.
Trial of Moreau, Georges, and others—Public interest excited by Moreau—Arraignment of the prisoners—Moreau's letter to Bonaparte— Violence of the President of the Court towards the prisoners— Lajolais and Rolland—Examinations intended to criminate Moreau— Remarkable observations—Speech written by M. Garat—Bonaparte's opinion of Garat's eloquence—General Lecourbe and Moreau's son— Respect shown to Moreau by the military—Different sentiments excited by Georges and Moreau—Thoriot and 'Tui-roi'—Georges' answers to the interrogatories—He refuses an offer of pardon— Coster St. Victor—Napoleon and an actress—Captain Wright— M. de Riviere and the medal of the Comte d'Artois—Generous struggle between MM. de Polignac—Sentence on the prisoners—Bonaparte's remark—Pardons and executions.
On the 28th of May, about ten days after Napoleon had been declared Emperor, the trials of Moreau and others commenced. No similar event that has since occurred can convey an idea of the fermentation which then prevailed in Paris. The indignation excited by Moreau's arrest was openly manifested, and braved the observation of the police. Endeavours had been successfully made to mislead public opinion with respect to Georges and some others among the accused, who were looked upon as assassins in the pay of England, at least by that numerous portion of the public who lent implicit faith to declarations presented to them as official. But the case was different with regard to those individuals who were particularly the objects of public interest,—viz. MM. de Polignac, de Riviere, Charles d'Hozier, and, above all, Moreau. The name of Moreau towered above all the rest, and with respect to him the Government found itself not a little perplexed. It was necessary on the one hand to surround him with a guard sufficiently imposing, to repress the eagerness of the people and of his friends, and yet on the other hand care was required that this guard should not be so strong as to admit of the possibility of making it a rallying-point, should the voice of a chief so honoured by the army appeal to it for defence. A rising of the populace in favour of Moreau was considered as a very possible event,—some hoped for it, others dreaded it. When I reflect on the state of feeling which then prevailed, I am certain that a movement in his favour would infallibly have taken place had judges more complying than even those who presided at the trial condemned Moreau to capital punishment.
It is impossible to form an idea of the crowd that choked up the avenues of the Palace of Justice on the day the trials commenced. This crowd continued during the twelve days the proceedings lasted, and was exceedingly great on the day the sentence was pronounced. Persons of the highest class were anxious to be present.
I was one of the first in the Hall, being determined to watch the course of these solemn proceedings. The Court being assembled, the President ordered the prisoners to be brought in. They entered in a file, and ranged themselves on the benches each between two gendarmes. They appeared composed and collected, and resignation was depicted on the countenances of all except Bouvet de Lozier, who did not dare to raise his eyes to his companions in misfortune, whom his weakness, rather than his will, had betrayed. I did not recognise him until the President proceeded to call over the prisoners, and to put the usual questions respecting their names, professions, and places of abode. Of the forty-nine prisoners, among whom were several females, only two were personally known to me; namely, Moreau, whose presence on the prisoner's bench seemed to wring every heart, and Georges, whom I had seen at the Tuileries in the First Consul's cabinet.
The first sitting of the Court was occupied with the reading of the act of accusation or indictment, and the voices of the ushers, commanding silence, could scarce suppress the buzz which pervaded the Court at the mention of Moreau's name. All eyes were turned towards the conqueror of Hohenlinden, and while the Procureur Imperial read over the long indictment and invoked the vengeance of the law on an attempt against the head of the Republic, it was easy to perceive how he tortured his ingenuity to fasten apparent guilt on the laurels of Moreau. The good sense of the public discerned proofs of his innocence in the very circumstances brought forward against him. I shall never forget the effect produced—so contrary to what was anticipated by the prosecutors—by the reading of a letter addressed by Moreau from his prison in the Temple to the First Consul, when the judges appointed to interrogate him sought to make his past conduct the subject of accusation, on account of M. de Klinglin's papers having fallen into his hands. He was reproached with having too long delayed transmitting these documents to the Directory; and it was curious to see the Emperor Napoleon become the avenger of pretended offences committed against the Directory which he had overthrown.
In the letter here alluded to Moreau said to Bonaparte, then First Consul—
"In the short campaign of the year V. (from the 20th to the 23d of March 1797) we took the papers belonging to the staff of the enemy's army, and a number of documents were brought to me which General Desaix, then wounded, amused himself by perusing. It appeared from this correspondence that General Pichegru had maintained communications with the French Princes. This discovery was very painful, and particularly to me, and we agreed to say nothing of the matter. Pichegru, as a member of the Legislative Body, could do but little to injure the public cause, since peace was established. I nevertheless took every precaution for protecting the army against the ill effects of a system of espionage. . . . The events of the 18th Fructidor occasioned so much anxiety that two officers, who knew of the existence of the correspondence, prevailed on me to communicate it to the Government. . . . I felt that, as a public functionary, I could no longer remain silent. . . . During the two last campaigns in Germany, and since the peace, distant overtures have been made to me, with the view of drawing me into connection with the French Princes. This appeared so absurd that I took no notice of these overtures. As to the present conspiracy, I can assure you I have been far from taking any share in it. I repeat to you, General, that whatever proposition to that effect was made me, I rejected it, and regarded it as the height of madness. When it was represented to me that the invasion of England would offer a favourable opportunity for effecting a change in the French Government, I invariably answered that the Senate was the authority to which the whole of France would naturally cling in the time of trouble, and that I would be the first to place myself under its orders. To such overtures made to a private individual, who wished to preserve no connection either with the army, of whom nine-tenths have served under me, or any constituted authority, the only possible answer was a refusal. Betrayal of confidence I disdained. Such a step, which is always base, becomes doubly odious when the treachery is committed against those to whom we owe gratitude, or have been bound by old friendship.
"This, General, is all I have to tell you respecting my relations with Pichegru, and it must convince you that very false and hasty inferences have been drawn from conduct which, though perhaps imprudent, was far from being criminal."
Moreau fulfilled his duty as a public functionary by communicating to the Directory the papers which unfolded a plot against the Government, and which the chances of war had thrown into his hands. He fulfilled his duty as a man of honour by not voluntarily incurring the infamy which can never be wiped from the character of an informer. Bonaparte in Moreau's situation would have acted the same part, for I never knew a man express stronger indignation than himself against informers, until he began to consider everything a virtue which served his ambition, and everything a crime which opposed it.
The two facts which most forcibly obtruded themselves on my attention during the trial were the inveterate violence of the President of the Court towards the prisoners and the innocence of Moreau.
—[It is strange that Bourrienne does not acknowledge that he was charged by Napoleon with the duty of attending this trial of Moreau, and of sending in a daily report of the proceedings.]—
But, in spite of the most insidious examinations which can be conceived, Moreau never once fell into the least contradiction. If my memory fail me not, it was on the fourth day that he was examined by Thuriot, one of the judges. The result, clear as day to all present, was, that Moreau was a total stranger to all the plots, all the intrigues which had been set on foot in London. In fact, during the whole course of the trial, to which I listened with as much attention as interest, I did not discover the shadow of a circumstance which could in the least commit him, or which had the least reference to him. Scarcely one of the hundred and thirty-nine witnesses who were heard for the prosecution knew him, and he himself declared on the fourth sitting, which took place on the 31st of May, that there was not an individual among the accused whom he knew,—not one whom he had ever seen. In the course of the long proceedings, notwithstanding the manifest efforts of Thuriot to extort false admissions and force contradictions, no fact of any consequence was elicited to the prejudice of Moreau. His appearance was as calm as his conscience; and as he sat on the bench he had the appearance of one led by curiosity to be present at this interesting trial, rather than of an accused person, to whom the proceedings might end in condemnation and death. But for the fall of Moreau in the ranks of the enemy,—but for the foreign cockade which disgraced the cap of the conqueror of Hohenlinden, his complete innocence would long since have been put beyond doubt, and it would have been acknowledged that the most infamous machinations were employed for his destruction. It is evident that Lajolais, who had passed from London to Paris, and from Paris to London, had been acting the part of an intriguer rather than of a conspirator; and that the object of his missions was not so much to reconcile Moreau and Pichegru as to make Pichegru the instrument of implicating Moreau. Those who supposed Lajolais to be in the pay of the British Government were egregiously imposed on. Lajolais was only in the pay of the secret police; he was condemned to death, as was expected, but he received his pardon, as was agreed upon. Here was one of the disclosures which Pichegru might have made; hence the necessity of getting him out of the way before the trial. As to the evidence of the man named Rolland, it was clear to everybody that Moreau was right when he said to the President, "In my opinion, Rolland is either a creature of the police, or he has given his evidence under the influence of fear." Rolland made two declarations the first contained nothing at all; the second was in answer to the following observations: "You see you stand in a terrible situation; you must either be held to be an accomplice in the conspiracy, or you must be taken as evidence. If you say nothing, you will be considered in the light of an accomplice; if you confess, you will be saved." This single circumstance may serve to give an idea of the way the trials were conducted so as to criminate Moreau. On his part the general repelled the attacks, of which he was the object, with calm composure and modest confidence, though flashes of just indignation would occasionally burst from him. I recollect the effect he produced upon the Court and the auditors at one of the sittings, when the President had accused him of the design of making himself Dictator. He exclaimed, "I Dictator! What, make myself Dictator at the head of the partisans of the Bourbons! Point out my partisans! My partisans would naturally be the soldiers of France, of whom I have commanded nine-tenths, and saved more than fifty thousand. These are the partisans I should look to! All my aides de camp, all the officers of my acquaintance, have been arrested; not the shadow of a suspicion could be found against any of them, and they have been set at liberty. Why, then, attribute to me the madness of aiming to get myself made Dictator by the aid of the adherents of the old French Princes, of persons who have fought in their cause since 1792? You allege that these men, in the space of four-and-twenty hours, formed the project of raising me to the Dictatorship! It is madness to think of it! My fortune and my pay have been alluded to; I began the world with nothing; I might have had by this time fifty millions; I have merely a house and a bit of ground; as to my pay, it is forty thousand francs. Surely that sum will not be compared with my services."
During the trial Moreau delivered a defence, which I knew had been written by his friend Garat, whose eloquence I well remember was always disliked by Bonaparte. Of this I had a proof on the occasion of a grand ceremony which took place in the Place des Victoires, on laying the first stone of a monument which was to have been erected to the memory of Desaix, but which was never executed. The First Consul returned home in very ill-humour, and said to me, "Bourrienne, what a brute that Garat is! What a stringer of words! I have been obliged to listen to him for three-quarters of an hour. There are people who never know when to hold their tongues!"
Whatever might be the character of Garat's eloquence or Bonaparte's opinion of it, his conduct was noble on the occasion of Moreau's trial; for he might be sure Bonaparte would bear him a grudge for lending the aid of his pen to the only man whose military glory, though not equal to that of the First Consul, might entitle him to be looked upon as his rival in fame. At one of the sittings a circumstance occurred which produced an almost electrical effect. I think I still see General Lecourbe, the worthy friend of Moreau, entering unexpectedly into the Court, leading a little boy. Raising the child in his arms, he exclaimed aloud, and with considerable emotion, "Soldiers, behold the son of your general!"
—[This action of Lecourbe, together with the part played in this trial by his brother, one of the judges, was most unfortunate, not only for Lecourbe but for France, which consequently lost the services of its best general of mountain warfare. His campaigns of Switzerland in 1799 on the St. Gothard against Suwarrow are well known. Naturally disgraced for the part he took with Moreau, he was not again employed till the Cent Jours, when he did good service, although he had disapproved of the defection of Ney from the Royalist cause. He died in 1816; his brother, the judge, had a most furious reception from Napoleon, who called him a prevaricating judge, and dismissed him from his office (Remusat, tome ii. p. 8).]—
At this unexpected movement all the military present spontaneously rose and presented arms; while a murmur of approbation from the spectators applauded the act. It is certain that had Moreau at that moment said but one word, such was the enthusiasm in his favour, the tribunal would have been broken up and the prisoners liberated. Moreau, however, was silent, and indeed appeared the only unconcerned person in Court. Throughout the whole course of the trial Moreau inspired so much respect that when he was asked a question and rose to reply the gendarmes appointed to guard him rose at the same time and stood uncovered while he spoke.
Georges was far from exciting the interest inspired by Moreau. He was an object of curiosity rather than of interest. The difference of their previous conduct was in itself sufficient to occasion a great contrast in their situation before the Court. Moreau was full of confidence and Georges full of resignation. The latter regarded his fate with a fierce kind of resolution. He occasionally resumed the caustic tone which he seemed to have renounced when he harangued his associates before their departure from the Temple. With the most sarcastic bitterness he alluded to the name and vote of Thuriot, one of the most violent of the judges, often terming him 'Tue-roi';
—[Thuriot and the President Hemart both voted for the death of the King. Merlin, the imperial Procureur-General, was one of the regicides.—Bourrienne.]—
and after pronouncing his name, or being forced to reply to his interrogatories, he would ask for a glass of brandy to wash his mouth.
Georges had the manners and bearing of a rude soldier; but under his coarse exterior he concealed the soul of a hero. When the witnesses of his arrest had answered the questions of the President Hemart, this judge turned towards the accused, and inquired whether he had anything to say in reply.—"No."—"Do you admit the facts?"—"Yes." Here Georges busied himself in looking over the papers which lay before him, when Hemart warned him to desist, and attend to the questions. The following dialogue then commenced. "Do you confess having been arrested in the place designated by the witness?"—"I do not know the name of the place."—"Do you confess having been arrested?"—"Yes."—"Did you twice fire a pistol?"—"Yes."—"Did you kill a man?"—"Indeed I do not know."— "Had you a poniard?"—"Yes."—"And two pistols?"—"Yes."—"Who was in company with you?"—"I do not know the person."—"Where did you lodge in Paris?"—"Nowhere."—"At the time of your arrest did you not reside in the house of a fruiterer in the Rue de la Montagne St. Genevieve?"— "At the time of my arrest I was in a cabriolet. I lodged nowhere."— "Where did you sleep on the evening of your arrest?"—"Nowhere."—"What were you doing in Paris?"—"I was walking about."—"Whom have you seen in Paris?"—"I shall name no one; I know no one."
From this short specimen of the manner in which Georges replied to the questions of the President we may judge of his unshaken firmness during the proceedings. In all that concerned himself he was perfectly open; but in regard to whatever tended to endanger his associates he maintained the most obstinate silence, notwithstanding every attempt to overcome his firmness.
That I was not the only one who justly appreciated the noble character of Georges is rendered evident by the following circumstance. Having accompanied M. Carbonnet to the police, where he went to demand his papers, on the day of his removal to St. Pelagic, we were obliged to await the return of M. Real, who was absent. M. Desmarets and several other persons were also in attendance. M. Real had been at the Conciergerie, where he had seen Georges Cadoudal, and on his entrance observed to M. Desmarets and the others, sufficiently loud to be distinctly heard by M. Carbonnet and myself, "I have had an interview with Georges who is an extraordinary man. I told him that I was disposed to offer him a pardon if he would promise to renounce the conspiracy and accept of employment under Government. But to my arguments and persuasions he only replied, 'My comrades followed me to France, and I shall fellow them, to death.'" In this he kept his word.
Were we to judge these memorable proceedings from the official documents published in the Moniteur and other journals of that period, we should form a very erroneous opinion. Those falsities were even the object of a very serious complaint on the part of Cosier St. Victor, one of the accused.
After the speech of M. Gauthier, the advocate of Coster St. Victor, the President inquired of the accused whether he had anything further to say in his defence, to which he replied, "I have only to add that the witnesses necessary to my exculpation have not yet appeared. I must besides express my surprise at the means which have been employed to lead astray public opinion, and to load with infamy not only the accused but also their intrepid defenders. I have read with pain in the journals of to-day that the proceedings—" Here the President interrupting, observed that "these were circumstances foreign to the case."—"Not in the least," replied Cosier St. Victor; "on the contrary, they bear very materially on the cause, since mangling and misrepresenting our defence is a practice assuredly calculated to ruin us in the estimation of the public. In the journals of to-day the speech of M. Gauthier is shamefully garbled, and I should be deficient in gratitude were I not here to bear testimony to the zeal and courage which he has displayed in my defence. I protest against the puerilities and absurdities which have been put into his mouth, and I entreat him not to relax in his generous efforts. It is not on his account that I make this observation; he does not require it at my hands; it is for 'myself, it is for the accused, whom such arts tend to injure in the estimation of the public."
Coster St. Victor had something chivalrous in his language and manners which spoke greatly in his favour; he conveyed no bad idea of one of the Fiesco conspirators, or of those leaders of the Fronds who intermingled gallantry with their politics.
An anecdote to this effect was current about the period of the trial. Coster St. Victor, it is related, being unable any longer to find a secure asylum in Paris, sought refuge for a single night in the house of a beautiful actress, formerly in the good graces of the First Consul; and it is added that Bonaparte, on the same night, having secretly arrived on a visit to the lady, found himself unexpectedly in the presence of Coster St. Victor, who might have taken his life; but that only an interchange of courtesy took place betwixt the rival gallants.
This ridiculous story was doubtless intended to throw additional odium on the First Consul, if Cosier St. Victor should be condemned and not obtain a pardon, in which case malignity would not fail to attribute his execution to the vengeance of a jealous lover.
I should blush to relate such stories, equally destitute of probability and truth, had they not obtained some credit at the time. Whilst I was with Bonaparte he never went abroad during the night; and it was not surely at a moment when the saying of Fouche, "The air is full of poniards," was fully explained that he would have risked such nocturnal adventures.
Wright was heard in the sixth sitting, on the 2d of June, as the hundred and thirty-fourth witness in support of the prosecution. He, however, refused to answer any interrogatories put to him, declaring that, as a prisoner of war, he considered himself only amenable to his own Government.
The Procureur-General requested the President to order the examinations of Captain Wright on the 21st of May' and at a later period to be read over to him; which heing done, the witness replied, that it was omitted to be stated that on these occasions the questions had been accompanied with the threat of transferring him to a military tribunal, in order to be shot, if he did not betray the secrets of his country.
In the course of the trial the most lively interest was felt for MM. de Polignac—
—[The eldest of the Polignacs, Armand (1771-1847), condemned to death, had that penalty remitted, but was imprisoned in Ham till permitted to escape m 1813. He became Duc de Richelieu in 1817. His younger brother, Jules (1780-1847) was also imprisoned and escaped. In 1814 he was one of the first to display the white flag in Paris. In 1829 he became Minister of Charles X. and was responsible for the ordinances which oust his master his throne in 1830. Imprisoned, nominally for life, he was released in 1836, and after passing some time in England returned to France. The remission of the sentence of death on Prince Armand was obtained by the Empress Josephine. Time after time, urged on by Madame de Remusat, she implored mercy from Napoleon, who at last consented to see the wife of the Prince. Unlike the Bourbon Louis XVIII., who could see Madame de Lavalette only to refuse the wretched woman's prayer for her husband, for Napoleon to grant the interview was to concede the pardon. The Prince escaped death, and his wife who had obtained the interview by applying to Madame de Remusat, when she met her benefactress in the times of the Restoration, displayed a really grand forgetfulness of what had passed (see Remusat, tome ii. chap. i.).]—
Charles d'Hozier, and de Riviere. So short a period had elapsed since the proscription of the nobility that, independently of every feeling of humanity, it was certainly impolitic to exhibit before the public the heirs of an illustrious name, endowed with that devoted heroism which could not fail to extort admiration even from those who condemned their opinions and principles.
The prisoners were all young, and their situation create universal sympathy. The greatest number of them disdained to have recourse to a denial, and seemed less anxious for the preservation of their own lives than for the honour of the cause in which they had embarked, not with the view of assassination, as had been demonstrated, but for the purpose of ascertaining the true state of the public feeling, which had been represented by some factious intriguers as favourable to the Bourbons. Even when the sword of the law was suspended over their heads the faithful adherents of the Bourbons displayed on every occasion their attachment and fidelity to the royal cause. I recollect that the Court was dissolved in tears when the President adduced as a proof of the guilt of M. de Riviere his having worn a medal of the Comte d'Artois, which the prisoner requested to examine; and, on its being handed to him by an officer, M. de Riviere pressed it to his lips and his heart, then returning it, he said that he only wished to render homage to the Prince whom he loved.
The Court was still more deeply affected on witnessing the generous fraternal struggle which took place during the last sitting between the two De Polignacs. The emotion was general when the eldest of the brothers, after having observed that his always going out alone and during the day did not look like a conspirator anxious for concealment, added these remarkable words which will remain indelibly engraven on my memory: "I have now only one wish, which is that, as the sword is suspended over our heads, and threatens to cut short the existence of several of the accused, you would, in consideration of his youth if not of his innocence, spare my brother, and shower down upon me the whole weight of your vengeance." It was during the last sitting but one, on Friday the 8th of June, that M. Armand de Polignac made the above affecting appeal in favour of his brother. The following day, before the fatal sentence was pronounced, M. Jules de Polignac addressed the judges, saying, "I was so deeply affected yesterday, while my brother was speaking, as not fully to have attended to what I read in my own defence: but being now perfectly tranquil, I entreat, gentlemen, that you will not regard what he urged in my behalf. I repeat, on the contrary, and with most justice, if one of us must fall a sacrifice, if there be yet time, save him, restore him to the tears of his wife; I have no tie like him, I can meet death unappalled;—too young to have tasted the pleasures of the world, I cannot regret their loss."—"No, no," exclaimed his brother, "you are still in the outset of your career; it is I who ought to fall."
At eight in the morning the members of the Tribunal withdrew to the council-chamber. Since the commencement of the proceedings the crowd, far from diminishing, seemed each day to increase; this morning it was immense, and, though the sentence was not expected to be pronounced till a late hour, no one quitted the Court for fear of not being able to find a place when the Tribunal should resume its sitting.
Sentence of death was passed upon Georges Caudoudal, Bouvet de Lozier, Rusillon, Rochelle, Armand de Polignac, Charles d'Hozier, De Riviere, Louis Ducorps, Picot, Lajolais, Roger, Coster St. Victor, Deville, Gaillard, Joyaub, Burban; Lemercier, Jean Cadudol, Lelan, and Merille; while Lies de Polignac, Leridant, General Moreau,—[General Moreau's sentence was remitted, and he was allowed to go to America.]—Rolland, and Hisay were only condemned to two years' imprisonment.
This decree was heard with consternation by the assembly, and soon spread throughout Paris. I may well affirm it to have been a day of public mourning; even though it was Sunday every place of amusement was nearly deserted. To the horror inspired by a sentence of death passed so wantonly, and of which the greater number of the victims belonged to the most distinguished class of society, was joined the ridicule inspired by the condemnation of Moreau; of the absurdity of which no one seemed more sensible than Bonaparte himself, and respecting which he expressed himself in the most pointed terms. I am persuaded that every one who narrowly watched the proceedings of this celebrated trial must have been convinced that all means were resorted to in order that Moreau, once accused, should not appear entirely free from guilt.
Bonaparte is reported to have said, "Gentlemen, I have no control over your proceedings; it is your duty strictly to examine the evidence before presenting a report to me. But when it has once the sanction of your signatures, woe to you if an innocent man be condemned." This remark is in strict conformity with his usual language, and bears a striking similarity to the conversation I held with him on the following Thursday; but though this language might be appropriate from the lips of a sovereign whose ministers are responsible, it appears but a lame excuse in the mouth of Bonaparte, the possessor of absolute power.
The condemned busied themselves in endeavouring to procure a repeal of their sentence, the greatest number of them yielded in this respect to the entreaties of their friends, who lost no time in taking the steps requisite to obtain the pardon of those in whom they were most interested. Moreau at first also determined to appeal; but he relinquished his purpose before the Court of Cessation commenced its sittings.
As soon as the decree of the special Tribunal was delivered, Murat, Governor of Paris, and brother-in-law to the Emperor, sought his presence and conjured him in the most urgent manner to pardon all the criminals, observing that such an act of clemency would redound greatly to his honour in the opinion of France and all Europe, that it would be said the Emperor pardoned the attempt against the life of the First Consul, that this act of mercy would shed more glory over the commencement of his reign than any security which could accrue from the execution of the prisoners. Such was the conduct of Murat; but he did not solicit, as has been reported, the pardon of any one in particular.
Those who obtained the imperial pardon were Bouvet de Lozier, who expected it from the disclosures he had made; Rusillon, de Riviere, Rochelle, Armand de Polignac, d'Hozier, Lajolais, who had beforehand received a promise to that effect, and Armand Gaillard.
The other ill-fated victims of a sanguinary police underwent their sentence on the 25th of June, two days after the promulgation of the pardon of their associates.
Their courage and resignation never forsook them even for a moment, and Georges, knowing that it was rumoured he had obtained a pardon, entreated that he might die the first, in order that his companions in their last moments might be assured he had not survived them.
Clavier and Hemart—Singular Proposal of Corvisart-M. Desmaisons— Project of influencing the judges—Visit to the Tuileries—Rapp in attendance—Long conversation with the Emperor—His opinion on the trial of Moreau—English assassins and Mr. Fox—Complaints against the English Government—Bonaparte and Lacuee—Affectionate behaviour—Arrest of Pichegru—Method employed by the First Consul to discover his presence in Paris—Character of Moreau—Measures of Bonaparte regarding him—Lauriston sent to the Temple—Silence respecting the Duc d'Enghien—Napoleon's opinion of Moreau and Georges—Admiration of Georges—Offers of employment and dismissal— Recital of former vexations—Audience of the Empress—Melancholy forebodings—What Bonaparte said concerning himself—Marks of kindness.
The judges composing the Tribunal which condemned Moreau were not all like Thuriot and Hemart. History has recorded an honourable contrast to the general meanness of the period in the reply given by M. Clavier, when urged by Hemart to vote for the condemnation of Moreau. "Ah, Monsieur, if we condemn him, how shall we be able to acquit ourselves?" I have, besides, the best reason for asserting that the judges were tampered with, from, a circumstance which occurred to myself.
Bonaparte knew that I was intimately connected with M. Desmaisons, one of the members of the Tribunal, and brother in-law to Corvisart; he also knew that Desmaisons was inclined to believe in Moreau's innocence, and favourable to his acquittal. During the progress of the trial Corvisart arrived at my house one morning at a very early hour, in a state of such evident embarrassment that, before he had time to utter a word, I said to him, "What is the matter? Have you heard any bad news?"
"No," replied Corvisart, "but I came by the Emperor's order. He wishes you to see my brother-in-law. 'He is,' said he to me, 'the senior judge, and a man of considerable eminence; his opinion will carry with it great weight, and I know that he is favourable to Moreau; he is in the wrong. Visit Bourrienne, said the Emperor, and concert with him respecting the best method of convincing Desmaisons of his error, for I repeat he is wrong, he is deceived.' This is the mission with which I am entrusted."
"How," said I, with thorough astonishment, "how came you to be employed in this affair? Could you believe for one moment that I would tamper with a magistrate in order to induce him to exercise an unjust rigour?"
"No, rest assured," replied Corvisart, "I merely visited you this morning in obedience to the order of the Emperor; but I knew beforehand in what manner you would regard the proposition with which I was charged. I knew your opinions and your character too well to entertain the smallest doubt in this respect, and I was convinced that I ran no risk in becoming the bearer of a commission which would be attended with no effect. Besides, had I refused to obey the Emperor, it would have proved prejudicial to your interest, and confirmed him in the opinion that you were favourable to the acquittal of Moreau. For myself," added Corvisart, "it is needless to affirm that I have no intention of attempting to influence the opinion of my brother-in-law; and if I had, you know him sufficiently well to be convinced in what light he would regard such a proceeding."
Such were the object and result of Corvisart's visit, and I am thence led to believe that similar attempts must have been made to influence other members of the Tribunal.
—["The judges had been pressed and acted on in a thousand ways by the hangers on of the Palace and especially by Real, the natural intermediary between justice and the Government. Ambition, servility, fear, every motive capable of influencing them, had been used: even their humane scruples were employed" (Lanfrey tome iii. p. 193, who goes on to say that the judges were urged to sentence Moreau to death in order that the Emperor might fully pardon him).]
But however this may be, prudence led me to discontinue visiting M. Desmaisons, with whom I was in habits of the strictest friendship.
About this period I paid a visit which occupies an important place in my recollections. On the 14th of June 1804, four days after the condemnation of Georges and his accomplices, I received a summons to attend the Emperor at St. Cloud. It was Thursday, and as I thought on the great events and tragic scenes about to be acted, I was rather uneasy respecting his intentions.
But I was fortunate enough to find my friend Rapp in waiting, who said to me as I entered, "Be not alarmed; he is in the best of humours at present, and wishes to have some conversation with you."
Rapp then announced me to the Emperor, and I was immediately admitted to his presence. After pinching my ear and asking his usual questions, such as, "What does the world say? How are your children? What are you about? etc.," he said to me, "By the by, have you attended the proceedings against Moreau?"—"Yes, Sire, I have not been absent during one of the sittings."—"Well, Bourrienne, are you of the opinion that Moreau is innocent?"—"Yes, Sire; at least I am certain that nothing has come out in the course of the trial tending to criminate him; I am even surprised how he came to be implicated in this conspiracy, since nothing has appeared against him which has the most remote connexion with the affair."—"I know your opinion on this subject; Duroc related to me the conversation you held with him at the Tuileries; experience has shown that you were correct; but how could I act otherwise? You know that Bouvet de Lozier hanged himself in prison, and was only saved by accident. Real hurried to the Temple in order to interrogate him, and in his first confessions he criminated Moreau, affirming that he had held repeated conferences with Pichegru. Real immediately reported to me this fact, and proposed that Moreau should be arrested, since the rumours against him seemed to be well founded; he had previously made the same proposition. I at first refused my sanction to this measure; but after the charge made against him by Bouvet de Lozier, how could I act otherwise than I did? Could I suffer such open conspiracies against the Government? Could I doubt the truth of Bouvet de Lozier's declaration, under the circumstances in which it was made? Could I foresee that he would deny his first declaration when brought before the Court? There was a chain of circumstances which human sagacity could not penetrate, and I consented to the arrest of Moreau when it was proved that he was in league with Pichegru. Has not England sent assassins?"—"Sire," said I, "permit me to call to your recollection the conversation you had in my presence with Mr. Fox, after which you said to me, 'Bourrienne, I am very happy at having heard from the mouth of a man of honour that the British Government is incapable of seeking my life; I always wish to esteem my enemies."—"Bah! you are a fool! Parbleu! I did not say that the English Minister sent over an assassin, and that he said to him, 'Here is gold and a poniard; go and kill the First Consul.' No, I did not believe that; but it cannot be denied that all those foreign conspirators against my Government were serving England, and receiving pay from that power. Have I agents in London to disturb the Government of Great Britain? I have waged with it honourable warfare; I have not attempted to awaken a remembrance of the Stuarts amongst their old partisans. Is not Wright, who landed Georges and his accomplices at Dieppe, a captain in the British navy? But rest assured that, with the exception of a few babblers, whom I can easily silence, the hearts of the French people are with me; everywhere public opinion has been declared in my favour, so that I have nothing to apprehend from giving the greatest publicity to these plots, and bringing the accused to a solemn trial. The greater number of those gentlemen wished me to bring the prisoners before a military commission, that summary judgment might be obtained; but I refused my consent to this measure. It might have been said that I dreaded public opinion; and I fear it not. People may talk as much as they please, well and good, I am not obliged to hear them; but I do not like those who are attached to my person to blame what I have done."
As I could not wholly conceal an involuntary emotion, in which the Emperor saw something more than mere surprise, he paused, took me by the ear, and, smiling in the most affectionate manner, said, "I had no reference to you in what I said, but I have to complain of Lacuee. Could you believe that during the trial he went about clamouring in behalf of Moreau? He, my aide de camp—a man who owes everything to me! As for you, I have said that you acted very well in this affair."—"I know not, Sire, what has either been done or said by Lacuee,—whom I have not seen for a long time; what I said to Duroc is what history teaches in every page."—"By the by," resumed the Emperor, after a short silence, "do you know that it was I myself who discovered that Pichegru was in Paris. Everyone said to me, Pichegru is in Paris; Fouche, Real, harped on the same string, but could give me no proof of their assertion. 'What a fool you are,' said I to Real, when in an instant you may ascertain the fact. Pichegru has a brother, an aged ecclesiastic, who resides in Paris; let his dwelling be searched, and should he be absent, it will warrant a suspicion that Pichegru is here; if, on the contrary, his brother should be at home, let him be arrested: he is a simple-minded man, and in the first moments of agitation will betray the truth. Everything happened as I had foreseen, for no sooner was he arrested than, without waiting to be questioned, he inquired if it was a crime to have received his brother into his house. Thus every doubt was removed, and a miscreant in the house in which Pichegru lodged betrayed him to the police. What horrid degradation to betray a friend for the sake of gold."
Then reverting to Moreau, the Emperor talked a great deal respecting that general. "Moreau," he said, "possesses many good qualities; his bravery is undoubted; but he has more courage than energy; he is indolent and effeminate. When with the army he lived like a pasha; he smoked, was almost constantly in bed, and gave himself up to the pleasures of the table. His dispositions are naturally good; but he is too indolent for study; he does not read, and since he has been tied to his wife's apronstrings is fit for nothing. He sees only with the eyes of his wife and her mother, who have had a hand in all these late plots; and then, Bourrienne, is it not very strange that it was by my advice that he entered into this union? I was told that Mademoiselle Hulot was a creole, and I believed that he would find in her a second Josephine; how greatly was I mistaken! It is these women who have estranged us from each other, and I regret that he should have acted so unworthily. You must remember my observing to you more than two years ago that Moreau would one day run his head against the gate of the Tuileries; that he has done so was no fault of mine, for you know how much I did to secure his attachment. You cannot have forgotten the reception I gave him at Malmaison. On the 18th Brumaire I conferred on him the charge of the Luxembourg, and in that situation he fully justified my, choice. But since that period he has behaved towards me with the utmost ingratitude—entered into all the silly cabala against me, blamed all my measures, and turned into ridicule the Legion of Honour. Have not some of the intriguers put it into his head that I regard him with jealousy? You must be aware of that. You must also know as well as I how anxious the members of the Directory were to exalt the reputation of Moreau. Alarmed at my success in Italy, they wished to have in the armies a general to serve as a counterpoise to my renown. I have ascended the throne and he is the inmate of a prison! You are aware of the incessant clamouring raised against me by the whole family, at which I confess I was very much displeased; coming from those whom I had treated so well! Had he attached himself to me, I would doubtless have conferred on him the title of First Marshal of the Empire; but what could I do? He constantly depreciated my campaigns and my government. From discontent to revolt there is frequently only one step, especially when a man of a weak character becomes the tool of popular clubs; and therefore when I was first informed that Moreau was implicated in the conspiracy of Georges I believed him to be guilty, but hesitated to issue an order for his arrest till I had taken the opinion of my Council. The members having assembled, I ordered the different documents to be laid before them, with an injunction to examine them with the utmost care, since they related to an affair of importance, and I urged them candidly to inform me whether, in their opinion, any of the charges against Moreau were sufficiently strong to endanger his life. The fools! their reply was in the affirmative; I believe they were even unanimous! Then I had no alternative but to suffer the proceedings to take their course. It is unnecessary to affirm to you, Bourrienne, that Moreau never should have perished on a scaffold! Most assuredly I would have pardoned him; but with the sentence of death hanging over his head he could no longer have proved dangerous; and his name would have ceased to be a rallying-point for disaffected Republicans or imbecile Royalists. Had the Council expressed any doubts respecting his guilt I would have intimated to him that the suspicions against him were so strong as to render any further connection between us impossible; and that the best course he could pursue would be to leave France for three years, under the pretext of visiting some of the places rendered celebrated during the late wars; but that if he preferred a diplomatic mission I would make a suitable provision for his expenses; and the great innovator, Time, might effect great changes during the period of his absence. But my foolish Council affirmed to me that his guilt, as a principal, being evident, it was absolutely necessary to bring him to trial; and now his sentence is only that of a pickpocket. What think you I ought to do? Detain him? He might still prove a rallying-point. No. Let him sell his property and quit? Can I confine him in the Temple? It is full enough without him. Still, if this had been the only great error they had led me to commit—"
"Sire, how greatly you have been deceived."
"Oh yes, I have been so; but I cannot see everything with my own eyes."
At this part of our conversation, of which I have suppressed my own share as much as possible, I conceived that the last words of Bonaparte alluded to the death of the Duc d'Enghien; and I fancied he was about to mention that event but he again spoke of Moreau.
"He is very much mistaken," resumed the Emperor, "if he conceives I bore any ill-will towards him. After his arrest I sent Lauriston to the Temple, whom I chose because he was of an amiable and conciliating disposition; I charged him to tell Moreau to confess he had only seen Pichegru, and I would cause the proceedings against him to be suspended. Instead of receiving this act of generosity as he ought to have done, he replied to it with great haughtiness, so much was he elated that Pichegru had not been arrested; he afterwards, however, lowered his tone. He wrote to me a letter of excuse respecting his anterior conduct, which I caused to be produced on the trial. He was the author of his own ruin; besides, it would have required men of a different stamp from Moreau to conspire against me. Amoung, the conspirators, for example, was an individual whose fate I regret; this Georges in my hands might have achieved great things. I can duly appreciate the firmness of character he displayed, and to which I could have given a proper direction. I caused Real to intimate to him that, if he would attach himself to me, not only should he be pardoned, but that I would give him the command of a regiment. Perhaps I might even have made him my aide de camp. Complaints would have been made, but, parbleu, I should not have cared. Georges refused all my offers; he was as inflexible as iron. What could I do? he underwent his fate, for he was a dangerous man; circumstances rendered his death a matter of necessity. Examples of severity were called for, when England was pouring into France the whole offscouring of the emigration; but patience, patience! I have a long arm, and shall be able to reach them, when necessary. Moreau regarded Georges merely as a ruffian—I viewed him in a different light. You may remember the conversation I had with him at the Tuileries—you and Rapp were in an adjoining cabinet. I tried in vain to influence him—some of his associates were affected at the mention of country and of glory; he alone stood cold and unmoved. I addressed myself to his feelings, but in vain; he was insensible to everything I said. At that period Georges appeared to me little ambitious of power; his whole wishes seemed to centre in commanding the Vendeans. It was not till I had exhausted every means of conciliation that I assumed the tone and language of the first magistrate. I dismissed him with a strong injunction to live retired—to be peaceable and obedient—not to misinterpret the motives of my conduct towards himself—nor attribute to weakness what was merely the result of moderation and strength. 'Rest assured,' I added, 'and repeat to your associates, that while I hold the reins of authority there will be neither chance nor salvation for those who dare to conspire against me: How he conformed to this injunction the event has shown. Real told me that when Moreau and Georges found themselves in the presence of Pichegru they could not come to any understanding, because Georges would not act against the Bourbons. Well, he had a plan, but Moreau had none; he merely wished for my overthrow, without having formed any ulterior views whatever. This showed that he was destitute of even common sense. Apropos, Bourrienne, have you seen Corvisart?"—"Yes, Sire."—"Well!" "He delivered to me the message with which you entrusted him."—"And Desmaisons!—I wager that you have not spoken to him in conformity to my wishes."—"Sire, the estimation in which I hold Desmaisons deterred me from a course so injurious to him; for in what other light could he have considered what I should have said to him? I have never visited at his house since the commencement of the trial."—"Well! well! Be prudent and discreet, I shall not forget you." He then waved a very gracious salute with his hand, and withdrew into his cabinet.