When the first are aroused, general measures are adopted towards them for the sake of security.
The oppression of the second class is a blow to public liberty. The magistrate cannot condemn until after the fullest evidence and a succession of facts. This leaves nothing to arbitrary decision.
To declare a patriot suspected is to deprive him of all that he most highly values—confidence and esteem.
In what class am I placed?
Since the commencement of the Revolution, have I not always been attached to its principles?
Have I not always been contending either with domestic enemies or foreign foes?
I sacrificed my home, abandoned my property, and lost everything for the Republic?
I have since served with some distinction at Toulon, and earned a part of the laurels of the army of Italy at the taking of Saorgio, Oneille, and Tanaro.
On the discovery of Robespierre's conspiracy, my conduct was that of a man accustomed to look only to principles.
My claim to the title of patriot, therefore cannot be disputed.
Why, then, am I declared suspected without being heard, and arrested eight days after I heard the news of the tyrant's death
I am declared suspected, and my papers are placed under seal.
The reverse of this course ought to have been adopted. My papers should first have been sealed; then I should have been called on for my explanation; and, lastly, declared suspected, if there was reason for coming to, such a decision.
It is wished that I should go to Paris with an order which declares me suspected. It will naturally be presumed that the representatives did not draw up this decree without accurate information, and I shall be judged with the bias which a man of that class merits.
Though a patriot and an innocent and calumniated man, yet whatever measures may be adopted by the Committee I cannot complain.
If three men declare that I have committed a crime, I cannot complain of the jury who condemns me.
Salicetti, you know me; and I ask whether you have observed anything in my conduct for the last five years which can afford ground of suspicion?
Albitte, you do not know me; but you have received proof of no fact against me; you have not heard me, and you know how artfully the tongue of calumny sometimes works.
Must I then be confounded with the enemies of my country and ought the patriots inconsiderately to sacrifice a general who has not been useless to the Republic? Ought the representatives to reduce the Government to the necessity of being unjust and impolitic?
Hear me; destroy the oppression that overwhelms me, and restore me to the esteem of the patriots.
An hour after, if my enemies wish for my life, let them take it. I have often given proofs how little I value ft. Nothing but the thought that I may yet be useful to my country makes me bear the burden of existence with courage.
It appears that this defence, which is remarkable for its energetic simplicity, produced an effect on Albitte and Salicetti. Inquiries more accurate, and probably more favourable to the General, were instituted; and on the 3d Fructidor (20th August 1794) the representatives of the people drew up a decree stating that, after a careful examination of General Bonaparte's papers, and of the orders he had received relative to his mission to Genoa, they saw nothing to justify any suspicion of his conduct; and that, moreover, taking into consideration the advantage that might accrue to the Republic from the military talents of the said General Bonaparte, it was resolved that he should be provisionally set at liberty.
—[With reference to the arrest of Bonaparte (which lasted thirteen days) see 'Bourrienne et ses Erreurs', tome i. pp. 16-28, and Iung, tome ii. pp. 443-457. Both, in opposition to Bourrienne, attribute the arrest to his connection with the younger Robespierre. Apparently Albitte and Salicetti wets not acquainted with the secret plan of campaign prepared by the younger Robespierre and by Bonaparte, or with the real instructions given for the mission to Genoa. Jealousy between the representatives in the staff of the army of the Alps and those with the army of Italy, with which Napoleon was, also played a part in the affair. Iung looks on Salicetti as acting as the protector of the Bonapartes; but Napoleon does not seem to have regarded him in that light; see the letter given in Tunot, vol. i. p. 106, where in 1795 he takes credit for not returning the ill done to him; see also the same volume, p. 89. Salicetti eventually became Minister of Police to Joseph, when King of Naples, in 1806; but when he applied to return to France, Napoleon said to Mathieu Dumas, "Let him know that I am not powerful enough to protect the wretches who voted for the death of Louis XVI. from the contempt and indignation of the public" (Dumas, tome iii. p. 318). At the same time Napoleon described Salicetti as worse than the lazzaroni.]—
Salicetti afterwards became the friend and confidant of young Bonaparte; but their intimacy did not continue after his elevation.
What is to be thought of the motives for Bonaparte's arrest and provisional liberation, when his innocence and the error that had been committed were acknowledged? The importance of the General's military talents, though no mention is made about the impossibility of dispensing with them, is a pretence for restoring him to that liberty of which he had been unjustly deprived.
It was not at Toulon, as has been stated, that Bonaparte took Duroc into the artillery, and made him his 'aide de camp'.
—[Michel Duroc (1773-1813) at first only aide de camp to Napoleon, was several times entrusted with special diplomatic missions (for example, to Berlin, etc.) On the formation of the Empire he became Grand Marechal du Palais, and Duc de Frioul. He always remained in close connection with Napoleon until he was killed in 1813. As he is often mentioned in contemporary memoirs under his abbreviated title of 'Marshal', he has sometimes been erroneously included in the number of the Marshals of the Empire—a military rank he never attained to.]—
The acquaintance was formed at a subsequent period, in Italy. Duroc's cold character and unexcursive mind suited Napoleon, whose confidence he enjoyed until his death, and who entrusted him with missions perhaps above his abilities. At St. Helena Bonaparte often declared that he was much attached to Duroc. I believe this to be true; but I know that the attachment was not returned. The ingratitude of princes is proverbial. May it not happen that courtiers are also sometimes ungrateful?—[It is only just to Duroc to add that this charge does not seem borne out by the impressions of those more capable than Bourrienne of judging in the matter.]
Proposal to send Bonaparte to La Vendee—He is struck off the list of general officers—Salicetti—Joseph's marriage with Mademoiselle Clary—Bonaparte's wish to go to Turkey—Note explaining the plan of his proposed expedition—Madame Bourrienne's character of Bonaparte, and account of her husband's arrest—Constitution of the year III— The 13th Vendemiaire—Bonaparte appointed second in command of the army of the interior—Eulogium of Bonaparte by Barras, and its consequences—St. Helena manuscript.
General Bonaparte returned to Paris, where I also arrived from Germany shortly after him. Our intimacy was resumed, and he gave me an account of, all that had passed in the campaign of the south. He frequently alluded to the persecutions he had suffered, and he delivered to me the packet of papers noticed in the last chapter, desiring me to communicate their contents to my friends. He was very anxious, he said, to do away with the supposition that he was capable of betraying his country, and, under the pretence of a mission to Genoa, becoming a SPY on the interests of France. He loved to talk over his military achievements at Toulon and in Italy. He spoke of his first successes with that feeling of pleasure and gratification which they were naturally calculated to excite in him.
The Government wished to send him to La Vendee, with the rank of brigadier-general of infantry. Bonaparte rejected this proposition on two grounds. He thought the scene of action unworthy of his talents, and he regarded his projected removal from the artillery to the infantry as a sort of insult. This last was his most powerful objection, and was the only one he urged officially. In consequence of his refusal to accept the appointment offered him, the Committee of Public Safety decreed that he should be struck off the list of general officers.
—[This statement as to the proposed transfer of Bonaparte to the infantry, his disobedience to the order, and his consequent dismissal, is fiercely attacked in the 'Erreurs', tome i. chap. iv. It is, however, correct in some points; but the real truths about Bonaparte's life at this time seem so little known that it may be well to explain the whole matter. On the 27th of March 1795 Bonaparte, already removed from his employment in the south, was ordered to proceed to the army of the west to command its artillery as brigadier-general. He went as far as Paris, and then lingered there, partly on medical certificate. While in Paris he applied, as Bourrienne says, to go to Turkey to organise its artillery. His application, instead of being neglected, as Bourrienne says, was favourably received, two members of the 'Comite de Saint Public' putting on its margin most favorable reports of him; one, Jean Debry, even saying that he was too distinguished an officer to be sent to a distance at such a time. Far from being looked on as the half-crazy fellow Bourrienne considered him at that time, Bonaparte was appointed, on the 21st of August 1795, one of four generals attached as military advisers to the Committee for the preparation of warlike operations, his own department being a most important one. He himself at the time tells Joseph that he is attached to the topographical bureau of the Comite de Saint Public, for the direction of the armies in the place of Carnot. It is apparently this significant appointment to which Madame Junot, wrongly dating it, alludes as "no great thing" (Junot, vol. i, p. 143). Another officer was therefore substituted for him as commander of Roches artillery, a fact made use of in the Erreurs (p. 31) to deny his having been dismissed—But a general re-classification of the generals was being made. The artillery generals were in excess of their establishment, and Bonaparte, as junior in age, was ordered on 13th June to join Hoche's army at Brest to command a brigade of infantry. All his efforts to get the order cancelled failed, and as he did not obey it he was struck off the list of employed general officers on the 15th of September 1795, the order of the 'Comite de Salut Public' being signed by Cambaceres, Berber, Merlin, and Boissy. His application to go to Turkey still, however, remained; and it is a curious thing that, on the very day he was struck off the list, the commission which had replaced the Minister of War recommended to the 'Comite de Saint Public' that he and his two aides de camp, Junot and Livrat, with other officers, under him, should be sent to Constantinople. So late as the 29th of September, twelve days later, this matter was being considered, the only question being as to any departmental objections to the other officers selected by him, a point which was just being settled. But on the 13th Vendemiaire (5th October 1795), or rather on the night before, only nineteen days after his removal, he was appointed second in command to Barras, a career in France was opened to him, and Turkey was no longer thought of.
Thiers (vol. iv, p. 326) and most writers, contemporary and otherwise, say that Aubry gave the order for his removal from the list. Aubry, himself a brigadier-general of artillery, did not belong to the 'Comite de Salut Public' at the time Bonaparte was removed from the south; and he had left the Comite early is August, that is, before the order striking Bonaparte off was given. Aubry was, however, on the Comite in June 1795, and signed the order, which probably may have originated from him, for the transfer of Bonaparte to the infantry. It will be seen that, in the ordinary military sense of the term, Napoleon was only in Paris without employment from the 15th of September to the 4th or 6th of October 1796; all the rest of the time in Paris he had a command which he did not choose to take up. The distress under which Napoleon is said to have laboured in pecuniary matters was probably shared by most officers at that time; see 'Erreurs', tome i. p. 32. This period is fully described in Iung, tome ii. p. 476, and tome iii. pp. 1-93.]—
Deeply mortified at this unexpected stroke, Bonaparte retired into private life, and found himself doomed to an inactivity very uncongenial with his ardent character. He lodged in the Rue du Mail, in an hotel near the Place des Victoires, and we recommenced the sort of life we had led in 1792, before his departure for Corsica. It was not without a struggle that he determined to await patiently the removal of the prejudices which were cherished against him by men in power; and he hoped that, in the perpetual changes which were taking place, those men might be superseded by others more favourable to him. He frequently dined and spent the evening with me and my elder brother; and his pleasant conversation and manners made the hours pass away very agreeably. I called on him almost every morning, and I met at his lodgings several persons who were distinguished at the time; among others Salicetti, with whom he used to maintain very animated conversations, and who would often solicit a private interview with him. On one occasion Salicetti paid him three thousand francs, in assignats, as the price of his carriage, which his straitened circumstances obliged him to dispose of.
—[Of Napoleon's poverty at this time Madame Junot says, "On Bonaparte's return to Paris, after the misfortunes of which he accused Salicetti of being the cause, he was in very destitute circumstances. His family, who were banished from Corsica, found an asylum at Marseilles; and they could not now do for him what they would have done had they been in the country whence they derived their pecuniary resources. From time to time he received remittances of money, and I suspect they came from his excellent brother Joseph, who had then recently married 'Mademoiselle Clary; but with all his economy these supplies were insufficient. Bonaparte was therefore in absolute distress. Junot often used to speak of the six months they passed together in Paris at this time. When they took an evening stroll on the Boulevard, which used to be the resort of young men, mounted on fine horses, and displaying ell the luxury which they were permitted to show at that time, Bonaparte would declaim against fate, and express his contempt for the dandies with their whiskers and their 'orielles de chiene', who, as they rode Past, were eulogising in ecstasy the manner in which Madame Scio sang. And it is on such beings as these,' he would say, 'that Fortune confers her favours. Grand Dieu! how contemptible is human nature!'" (Memoirs of the Duchesse d'Abrantes, vol. i. p. 80, edit. 1883.)]—
I could, easily perceive that our young friend either was or wished to be initiated in some political intrigue; and I moreover suspected that Salicetti had bound him by an oath not to disclose the plans that were hatching.
He became pensive, melancholy, and anxious; and he always looked with impatience for Salicetti's daily visit.
—[Salicetti was implicated in the insurrection of the 20th May 1795, 1st Prairial, Year III., and was obliged to fly to Venice.]—
Sometimes, withdrawing his mind from political affairs, he would envy the happiness of his brother Joseph, who had just then married Mademoiselle Clary, the daughter of a rich and respectable merchant of Marseilles. He would often say, "That Joseph is a lucky rogue."
Meanwhile time passed away, and none of his projects succeeded—none of his applications were listened to. He was vexed by the injustice with which he was treated, and tormented by the desire of entering upon some active pursuit. He could not endure the thought of remaining buried in the crowd. He determined to quit France; and the favourite idea, which he never afterwards relinquished, that the East is a fine field for glory, inspired him with the wish to proceed to Constantinople, and to enter the service of the Grand Seignior. What romantic plans, what stupendous projects he conceived! He asked me whether I would go with him? I replied in the negative. I looked upon him as a half-crazy young fellow, who was driven to extravagant enterprises and desperate resolutions by his restless activity of mind, joined to the irritating treatment he had experienced, and, perhaps, it may be added, his want of money. He did not blame me for my refusal to accompany him; and he told me that Junot, Marmont, and some other young officers whom he had known at Toulon, would be willing to follow his fortunes.
He drew up a note which commenced with the words 'Note for . . .' It was addressed to no one, and was merely a plan. Some days after he wrote out another, which, however, did not differ very materially from the first, and which he addressed to Aubert and Coni. I made him a fair copy of it, and it was regularly for forwarded. It was as follows:—
At a moment when the Empress of Russia has strengthened her union with the Emperor of Germany (Austria), it is the interest of France to do everything in her power to increase the military power of Turkey.
That power possesses a numerous and brave militia but is very backward in the scientific part of the art of war.
The organization and the service of the artillery, which, in our modern tactics, so powerfully facilitate the gaining of battles, and on which, almost exclusively, depend the attack and defence of fortresses, are especially the points in which France excels, and in which the Turks are most deficient.
They have several times applied to us for artillery officers, and we have sent them some; but the officers thus sent have not been sufficiently powerful, either in numbers or talent, to produce any important result.
General Bonaparte, who, from his youth, has served in the artillery, of which he was entrusted with the command at the siege of Toulon, and in the two campaigns of Italy, offers his services to proceed to Turkey, with a mission from the (French) Government.
He proposes to take along with him six or seven officers, of different kinds, and who may be, altogether, perfect masters of the military art.
He will have the satisfaction of being useful to his country in this new career, if he succeed in rendering the Turkish power more formidable, by completing the defence of their principal fortresses, and constructing new ones.
This note shows the error of the often-repeated assertion, that he proposed entering the service of the Turks against Austria. He makes no mention of such a thing; and the two countries were not at war.
—[The Scottish biographer makes Bonaparte say that it would be strange if a little Corsican should become King of Jerusalem. I never heard anything drop from him which supports the probability of such a remark, and certainly there is nothing in his note to warrant the inference of his having made it.—Bourrienne.]—
No answer was returned to this note. Turkey remained unaided, and Bonaparte unoccupied. I must confess that for the failure of this project, at least I was not sorry. I should have regretted to see a young man of great promise, and one for whom I cherished a sincere friendship, devote himself to so uncertain a fate. Napoleon has less than any man provoked the events which have favoured him; no one has more yielded to circumstances from which he was so skilful to derive advantages. If, however, a clerk of the War Office had but written on the note, "Granted," that little word would probably have changed the fate of Europe.
Bonaparte remained in Paris, forming schemes for the gratification of his ambition, and his desire of making a figure in the world; but obstacles opposed all he attempted.
Women are better judges of character than men. Madame de Bourrienne, knowing the intimacy which subsisted between us, preserved some notes which she made upon Bonaparte, and the circumstances which struck her as most remarkable, during her early connection with him. My wife did not entertain so favourable an opinion of him as I did; the warm friendship I cherished for him probably blinded me to his faults. I subjoin Madame de Bourrienne's notes, word for word:
On the day after our second return from Germany, which was in May 1795, we mat Bonaparte in the Palais Royal, near a shop kept by a man named Girardin. Bonaparte embraced Bourrienne as a friend whom he loved and was glad to see. We went that evening to the Theatre Francais. The performance consisted of a tragedy; and 'Le Sourd, ou l'Auberge pleine'. During the latter piece the audience was convulsed with laughter. The part of Dasnieres was represented by Batiste the younger, and it was never played better. The bursts of laughter were so loud and frequent that the actor was several times obliged to stop in the midst of his part. Bonaparte alone (and it struck me as being very extraordinary) was silent, and coldly insensible to the humour which was so irresistibly diverting to everyone else. I remarked at this period that his character was reserved, and frequently gloomy. His smile was hypocritical, and often misplaced; and I recollect that a few days after our return he gave us one of these specimens of savage hilarity which I greatly disliked, and which prepossessed me against him. He was telling us that, being before Toulon, where he commanded the artillery, one of his officers was visited by his wife, to wham he had been but a short time married, and whom he tenderly loved. A few days after, orders were given for another attack upon the town, in which this officer was to be engaged. His wife came to General Bonaparte, and with tears entreated him to dispense with her husband's services that day. The General was inexorable, as he himself told us, with a sort of savage exaltation. The moment for the attack arrived, and the officer, though a very brave man, as Bonaparte him self-assured us, felt a presentiment of his approaching death. He turned pale and trembled. Ha was stationed beside the General, and during an interval when the firing from the town was very heavy, Bonaparte called out to him, "Take care, there is a shell coming!" The officer, instead of moving to one side, stooped down, and was literally severed in two. Bonaparte laughed loudly while he described the event with horrible minuteness. At this time we saw him almost every day. He frequently came to dine with us. As there was a scarcity of bread, and sometimes only two ounces per head daily were distributed in the section, it was customary to request one's guests to bring their own bread, as it could not be procured for money. Bonaparte and his brother Louis (a mild, agreeable young man, who was the General's aide de army) used to bring with them their ration bread, which was black, and mixed with bran. I was sorry to observe that all this bad bread fell to the share of the poor aide de camp, for we provided the General with a finer kind, which was made clandestinely by a pastrycook, from flour which we contrived to smuggle from Sens, where my husband had some farms. Had we been denounced, the affair might have cost us our heads.
We spent six weeks in Paris, and we went frequently with Bonaparte to the theatres, and to the fine concerts given by Garat in the Rue St. Marc. These were the first brilliant entertainments that took place after the death of Robespierre. There was always something original in Bonaparte's behaviour, for he often slipped away from us without saying a word; and when we were supposing he had left the theatre, we would suddenly discover him in the second or third tier, sitting alone in a box, and looking rather sulky.
Before our departure for Sens, where my husband's family reside, and which was fixed upon for the place of my first accouchement, we looked out for more agreeable apartments than we had in the Rue Grenier St. Lazare, which we only had temporarily. Bonaparte used to assist us in our researches. At last we took the first floor of a handsome new house, No. 19 Rue des Marais. Bonaparte, who wished to stop in Paris, went to look at a house opposite to ours. Ha had thoughts of taking it for himself, his uncle Fesch (afterwards Cardinal Fesch), and a gentleman named Patrauld, formerly one of his masters at the Military School. One day he said, "With that house over there, my friends in it, and a cabriolet, I shall be the happiest fellow in the world."
We soon after left town for Sens. The house was not taken by him, for other and great affairs were preparing. During the interval between our departure and the fatal day of Vendemiaire several letters passed between him and his school companion. These letters were of the most amiable and affectionate description. They have been stolen. On our return, in November of the same year, everything was changed. The college friend was now a great personage. He had got the command of Paris in return for his share in the events of Vendemiaire. Instead of a small house in the Rue des Marais, he occupied a splendid hotel in the Rue des Capucines; the modest cabriolet was converted into a superb equipage, and the man himself was no longer the same. But the friends of his youth were still received when they made their morning calls. They were invited to grand dejeuners, which were sometimes attended by ladies; and, among others, by the beautiful Madame Tallien and her friend the amiable Madame de Beauharnais, to whom Bonaparte had begun to pay attention. He cared little for his friends, and ceased to address them in the style of familiar equality.
After the 13th of Vendemiaire M. de Bourrienne saw Bonaparte only at distant periods. In the month of February 1796 my husband was arrested, at seven in the morning, by a party of men, armed with muskets, on the charge of being a returned emigrant. He was torn from his wife and his child, only six months old, being barely allowed time to dress himself. I followed him. They conveyed him to the guard-house of the Section, and thence I know not whither; and, finally, in the evening, they placed him in the lockup-house of the prefecture of police, which, I believe, is now called the central bureau. There he passed two nights and a day, among men of the lowest description, some of whom were even malefactors. I and his friends ran about everywhere, trying to find somebody to rescue him, and, among the rest, Bonaparte was applied to. It was with great difficulty he could be seen. Accompanied by one of my husband's friends, I waited for the commandant of Paris until midnight, but he did not come home. Next morning I returned at an early hour, and found him. I stated what had happened to my husband, whose life was then at stake. He appeared to feel very little for the situation of his friend, but, however; determined to write to Merlin, the Minister of Justice. I carried the letter according to its address, and met the Minister as he was coming downstairs, on his way to the Directory. Being in grand costume, he wore a Henri IV. hat, surmounted with a multitude of plumes, a dress which formed a singular contrast with his person. He opened the letter; and whether it was that he cared as little for the General as for the cause of M. do Bourrienne's arrest, he replied that the matter was no longer in his hands, and that it was now under the cognisance of the public administrators of the laws. The Minister then stepped into his carriage, and the writer was conducted to several offices in his hotel. She passed through them with a broken heart, for she met with none but harsh men, who told her that the prisoner deserved death. From them she learned that on the following day he would be brought before the judge of the peace for his Section, who would decide whether there was ground for putting him on his trial. In fact, this proceeding took place next day. He was conveyed to the house of the judge of the peace for the Section of Bondy, Rue Grange-sue-Belles, whose name was Lemaire. His countenance was mild; and though his manner was cold, he had none of the harshness and ferocity common to the Government agents of that time. His examination of the charge was long, and he several times shook his head. The moment of decision had arrived, and everything seemed to indicate that the termination would be to place the prisoner under accusation. At seven o'clock be desired me to be called. I hastened to him, and beheld a most heart rending scene. Bourrienne was suffering under a hemorrhage, which had continued since two o'clock, and had interrupted the examination. The judge of the peace, who looked sad, sat with his head resting on his hand. I threw myself at his feet and implored his clemency. The wife and the two daughters of the judge visited this scene of sorrow, and assisted me in softening him. He was a worthy and feeling man, a good husband and parent, and it was evident that he struggled between compassion and duty. He kept referring to the laws on the subject, and, after long researches said to me, "To-morrow is Decadi, and no proceedings can take place on that day. Find, madams, two responsible persons, who will answer for the appearance of your husband, and I will permit him to go home with you, accompanied by the two guardians." Next day two friends were found, one of whom was M. Desmaisons, counsellor of the court, who became bail for M. de Bourrienne. He continued under these guardians six months, until a law compelled the persons who were inscribed on the fatal list to remove to the distance of ten leagues from Paris. One of the guardians was a man of straw; the other was a knight of St. Louis. The former was left in the antechamber; the latter made, every evening, one of our party at cards. The family of M. de Bourrienne have always felt the warmest gratitude to the judge of the peace and his family. That worthy man saved the life of M. de Bourrienne, who, when he returned from Egypt, and had it in his power to do him some service, hastened to his house; but the good judge was no more!
The letters mentioned in the narrative were at this time stolen from me by the police officers.
Everyone was now eager to pay court to a man who had risen from the crowd in consequence of the part he had acted at an, extraordinary crisis, and who was spoken of as the future General of the Army of Italy. It was expected that he would be gratified, as he really was, by the restoration of some letters which contained the expression of his former very modest wishes, called to recollection his unpleasant situation, his limited ambition, his pretended aversion for public employment, and finally exhibited his intimate relations with those who were, without hesitation, characterised as emigrants, to be afterwards made the victims of confiscation and death.
The 13th of Vendemiaire (5th October 1795) was approaching. The National Convention had been painfully delivered of a new constitution, called, from the epoch of its birth, "the Constitution of Year III." It was adopted on the 22d of August 1795. The provident legislators did not forget themselves. They stipulated that two-thirds of their body should form part of the new legislature. The party opposed to the Convention hoped, on the contrary, that, by a general election, a majority would be obtained for its opinion. That opinion was against the continuation of power in the hands of men who had already so greatly abused it.
The same opinion was also entertained by a great part of the most influential Sections of Paris, both as to the possession of property and talent. These Sections declared that, in accepting the new constitution, they rejected the decree of the 30th of August, which required the re-election of two-thirds The Convention, therefore, found itself menaced in what it held most dear—its power;—and accordingly resorted to measures of defence. A declaration was put forth, stating that the Convention, if attacked, would remove to Chalons-sur-Marne; and the commanders of the armed force were called upon to defend that body.
The 5th of October, the day on which the Sections of Paris attacked the Convention, is certainly one which ought to be marked in the wonderful destiny of Bonaparte.
With the events of that day were linked, as cause and effect, many great political convulsions of Europe. The blood which flowed ripened the seeds of the youthful General's ambition. It must be admitted that the history of past ages presents few periods full of such extraordinary events as the years included between 1795 and 1815. The man whose name serves, in some measure, as a recapitulation of all these great events was entitled to believe himself immortal.
Living retired at Sens since the month of July, I only learned what had occasioned the insurrection of the Sections from public report and the journals. I cannot, therefore, say what part Bonaparte may have taken in the intrigues which preceded that day. He was officially characterised only as secondary actor in the scene. The account of the affair which was published announces that Barras was, on that very day, Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Interior, and Bonaparte second in command. Bonaparte drew up that account. The whole of the manuscript was in his handwriting, and it exhibits all the peculiarity of his style and orthography. He sent me a copy.
Those who read the bulletin of the 13th Vendemiaire, cannot fail to observe the care which Bonaparte took to cast the reproach of shedding the first blood on the men he calls rebels. He made a great point of representing his adversaries as the aggressors. It is certain he long regretted that day. He often told me that he would give years of his life to blot it out from the page of his history. He was convinced that the people of Paris were dreadfully irritated against him, and he would have been glad if Barras had never made that Speech in the Convention, with the part of which, complimentary to himself, he was at the time so well pleased. Barras said, "It is to his able and prompt dispositions that we are indebted for the defence of this assembly, around which he had posted the troops with so much skill." This is perfectly true, but it is not always agreeable that every truth should be told. Being out of Paris, and a total stranger to this affair, I know not how far he was indebted for his success to chance, or to his own exertions, in the part assigned to him by the miserable Government which then oppressed France. He represented himself only as secondary actor in this sanguinary scene in which Barras made him his associate. He sent to me, as already mentioned, an account of the transaction, written entirely in his own hand, and distinguished by all the peculiarities of—his style and orthography.
—[Joseph Bonaparte, in a note on this peerage, insinuates that the account of the 13th Vendemiaire was never sent to Sens, but was abstracted by Bourrienne, with other documents, from Napoleon's Cabinet (Erreurs, tome i. p. 239).]—
"On the 13th," says Bonaparte, "at five o'clock in the morning, the representative of the people, Barras, was appointed Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Interior, and General Bonaparte was nominated second in command.
"The artillery for service on the frontier was still at the camp of Sablons, guarded solely by 150 men; the remainder was at Marly with 200 men. The depot of Meudon was left unprotected. There were at the Feuillans only a few four-pounders without artillerymen, and but 80,000 cartridges. The victualling depots were dispersed throughout Paris. In many Sections the drums beat to arms; the Section of the Theatre Francais had advanced posts even as far as the Pont Neuf, which it had barricaded.
"General Barras ordered the artillery to move immediately from the camp of Sablons to the Tuileries, and selected the artillerymen from the battalions of the 89th regiment, and from the gendarmerie, and placed them at the Palace; sent to Meudon 200 men of the police legion whom he brought from Versailles, 50 cavalry, and two companies of veterans; he ordered the property which was at Marly to be conveyed to Meudon; caused cartridges to be brought there, and established a workshop at that place for the manufacture of more. He secured means for the subsistence of the army and of the Convention for many days, independently of the depots which were in the Sections.
"General Verdier, who commanded at the Palais National, exhibited great coolness; he was required not to suffer a shot to be fired till the last extremity. In the meantime reports reached him from all quarters acquainting him that the Sections were assembled in arms, and had formed their columns. He accordingly arrayed his troops so as to defend the Convention, and his artillery was in readiness to repulse the rebels. His cannon was planted at the Feuillans to fire down the Rue Honore. Eight-pounders were pointed at every opening, and in the event of any mishap, General Verdier had cannon in reserve to fire in flank upon the column which should have forced a passage. He left in the Carrousel three howitzers (eight-pounders) to batter down the houses from which the Convention might be fired upon. At four o'clock the rebel columns marched out from every street to unite their forces. It was necessary to take advantage of this critical moment to attack the insurgents, even had they been regular troops. But the blood about to flow was French; it was therefore for these misguided people, already guilty of rebellion, to embrue their hands in the blood of their countrymen by striking the first blow.
"At a quarter before five o'clock the insurgents had formed. The attack was commenced by them on all sides. They were everywhere routed. French blood was spilled: the crime, as well as the disgrace, fell this day upon the Sections.
"Among the dead were everywhere to be recognized emigrants, landowners, and nobles; the prisoners consisted for the most part of the 'chouans' of Charette.
"Nevertheless the Sections did not consider themselves beaten: they took refuge in the church of St. Roch, in the theatre of the Republic, and in the Palais Egalite; and everywhere they were heard furiously exciting the inhabitants to arms. To spare the blood which would have been shed the next day it was necessary that no time should be given them to rally, but to follow them with vigour, though without incurring fresh hazards. The General ordered Montchoisy, who commanded a reserve at the Place de la Resolution, to form a column with two twelve-pounders, to march by the Boulevard in order to turn the Place Vendome, to form a junction with the picket stationed at headquarters, and to return in the same order of column.
"General Brune, with two howitzers, deployed in the streets of St. Nicaise and St. Honore. General Cartaux sent two hundred men and a four-pounder of his division by the Rue St. Thomas-du-Louvre to debouch in the square of the Palais Egalite. General Bonaparte, who had his horse killed under him, repaired to the Feuillans.
"The columns began to move, St. Roch and the theatre of the Republic were taken, by assault, when the rebels abandoned them, and retreated to the upper part of the Rue de la Loi, and barricaded themselves on all sides. Patrols were sent thither, and several cannon-shots were fired during the night, in order to prevent them from throwing up defences, which object was effectually accomplished.
"At daybreak, the General having learned that some students from the St. Genevieve side of the river were marching with two pieces of cannon to succour the rebels, sent a detachment of dragoons in pursuit of them, who seized the cannon and conducted them to the Tuileries. The enfeebled Sections, however, still showed a front. They had barricaded the Section of Grenelle, and placed their cannon in the principal streets. At nine o'clock General Beruyer hastened to form his division in battle array in the Place Vendome, marched with two eight-pounders to the Rue des Vieux-Augustins, and pointed them in the direction of the Section Le Pelletier. General Vachet, with a corps of 'tirailleurs', marched on his right, ready to advance to the Place Victoire. General Brune marched to the Perron, and planted two howitzers at the upper end of the Rue Vivienne. General Duvigier, with his column of six hundred men, and two twelve-pounders, advanced to the streets of St. Roch and Montmartre. The Sections lost courage with the apprehension of seeing their retreat cut off, and evacuated the post at the sight of our soldiers, forgetting the honour of the French name which they had to support. The Section of Brutus still caused some uneasiness. The wife of a representative had been arrested there. General Duvigier was ordered to proceed along the Boulevard as far as the Rue Poissonniere. General Beruyer took up a position at the Place Victoire, and General Bonaparte occupied the Pont-au-Change.
"The Section of Brutus was surrounded, and the troops advanced upon the Place de Greve, where the crowd poured in from the Isle St. Louis, from the Theatre Francais, and from the Palace. Everywhere the patriots had regained their courage, while the poniards of the emigrants, armed against us, had disappeared. The people universally admitted their error.
"The next day the two Sections of Les Pelletier and the Theatre Francais were disarmed."
The result of this petty civil war brought Bonaparte forward; but the party he defeated at that period never pardoned him for the past, and that which he supported dreaded him in the future. Five years after he will be found reviving the principles which he combated on the 5th of October 1795. On being appointed, on the motion of Barras, Lieutenant-General of the Army of the Interior, he established his headquarters in the Rue Neuve des Capucines. The statement in the 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene, that after the 13th Brumaire he remained unemployed at Paris, is therefore obviously erroneous. So far from this, he was incessantly occupied with the policy of the nation, and with his own fortunes. Bonaparte was in constant, almost daily, communication with every one then in power, and knew how to profit by all he saw or heard.
To avoid returning to this 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene', which at the period of its appearance attracted more attention than it deserved, and which was very generally attributed to Bonaparte, I shall here say a few words respecting it. I shall briefly repeat what I said in a note when my opinion was asked, under high authority, by a minister of Louis XVIII.
No reader intimately acquainted with public affairs can be deceived by the pretended authenticity of this pamphlet. What does it contain? Facts perverted and heaped together without method, and related in an obscure, affected, and ridiculously sententious style. Besides what appears in it, but which is badly placed there, it is impossible not to remark the omission of what should necessarily be there, were Napoleon the author. It is full of absurd and of insignificant gossip, of thoughts Napoleon never had, expressions unknown to him, and affectations far removed from his character. With some elevated ideas, more than one style and an equivocal spirit can be seen in it. Professed coincidences are put close to unpardonable anachronisms, and to the most absurd revelations. It contains neither his thoughts, his style, his actions, nor his life. Some truths are mimed up with an inconceivable mass of falsehoods. Some forms of expression used by Bonaparte are occasionally met with, but they are awkwardly introduced, and often with bad taste.
It has been reported that the pamphlet was written by M. Bertrand, formerly an officer of the army of the Vistula, and a relation of the Comte de Simeon, peer of France.
—['Manuscrit de Sainte Helene d'une maniere inconnue', London. Murray; Bruxelles, De Mat, 20 Avril 1817. This work merits a note. Metternich (vol, i. pp. 312-13) says, "At the time when it appeared the manuscript of St. Helena made a great impression upon Europe. This pamphlet was generally regarded as a precursor of the memoirs which Napoleon was thought to be writing in his place of exile. The report soon spread that the work was conceived and executed by Madame de Stael. Madame de Stael, for her part, attributed it to Benjamin Constant, from whom she was at this time separated by some disagreement." Afterwards it came to be known that the author was the Marquis Lullin de Chateauvieux, a man in society, whom no one had suspected of being able to hold a pen: Jomini (tome i. p. 8 note) says. "It will be remarked that in the course of this work [his life of Napoleon] the author has used some fifty pages of the pretended 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene'. Far from wishing to commit a plagiarism, he considers he ought to render this homage to a clever and original work, several false points of view in which, however, he has combated. It would have been easy for him to rewrite these pages in other terms, but they appeared to him to be so well suited to the character of Napoleon that he has preferred to preserve them." In the will of Napoleon occurs (see end of this work): "I disavow the 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene', and the other works under the title of Maxims, Sentences, etc., which they have been pleased to publish during the last six years. Such rules are not those which have guided my life: This manuscript must not be confused with the 'Memorial of Saint Helena'.]—
On my return to Paris I meet Bonaparte—His interview with Josephine —Bonaparte's marriage, and departure from Paris ten days after— Portrait and character of Josephine—Bonaparte's dislike of national property—Letter to Josephine—Letter of General Colli, and Bonaparte's reply—Bonaparte refuses to serve with Kellerman— Marmont's letters—Bonaparte's order to me to join the army—My departure from Sens for Italy—Insurrection of the Venetian States.
After the 13th Vendemiaire I returned to Paris from Sens. During the short time I stopped there I saw Bonaparte less frequently than formerly. I had, however, no reason to attribute this to anything but the pressure of public business with which he was now occupied. When I did meet him it was most commonly at breakfast or dinner. One day he called my attention to a young lady who sat opposite to him, and asked what I thought of her. The way in which I answered his question appeared to give him much pleasure. He then talked a great deal to me about her, her family, and her amiable qualities; he told me that he should probably marry her, as he was convinced that the union would make him happy. I also gathered from his conversation that his marriage with the young widow would probably assist him in gaining the objects of his ambition. His constantly-increasing influence with her had already brought him into contact with the most influential persons of that epoch. He remained in Paris only ten days after his marriage, which took place on the 9th of March 1796. It was a union in which great harmony prevailed, notwithstanding occasional slight disagreements. Bonaparte never, to my knowledge, caused annoyance to his wife. Madame Bonaparte possessed personal graces and many good qualities.
—["Eugene was not more than fourteen years of age when he ventured to introduce himself to General Bonaparte, for the purpose of soliciting his father's sword, of which he understood the General had become possessed. The countenance, air, and frank manner of Eugene pleased Bonaparte, and he immediately granted him the boon he sought. As soon as the sword was placed in the boy's hands he burst into tears, and kissed it. This feeling of affection for his father's memory, and the natural manner in which it was evinced, increased the interest of Bonaparte in his young visitor. Madame de Beauharnais, on learning the kind reception which the General had given her son, thought it her duty to call and thank him. Bonaparte was much pleased with Josephine on this first interview, and he returned her visit. The acquaintance thus commenced speedily led to their marriage."—Constant]—
—[Bonaparte himself, at St. Helena, says that he first met Josephine at Barras' (see Iung's Bonaparte, tome iii. p. 116).]—
—["Neither of his wives had ever anything to complain of from Napoleon's personal manners" (Metternich, vol. 1 p. 279).]—
—[Madame de Remusat, who, to paraphrase Thiers' saying on Bourrienne himself, is a trustworthy witness, for if she received benefits from Napoleon they did not weigh on her, says, "However, Napoleon had some affection for his first wife; and, in fact, if he has at any time been touched, no doubt it has been only for her and by her" (tome i. p. 113). "Bonaparte was young when he first knew Madame de Beauharnais. In the circle where he met her she had a great superiority by the name she bore and by the extreme elegance of her manners. . . . In marrying Madame de Beauharnais, Bonaparte believed he was allying himself to a very grand lady; thus this was one more conquest" (p. 114). But in speaking of Josephine's complaints to Napoleon of his love affairs, Madame de Remusat says, "Her husband sometimes answered by violences, the excesses of which I do not dare to detail, until the moment when, his new fancy having suddenly passed, he felt his tenderness for his wife again renewed. Then he was touched by her sufferings, replaced his insults by caresses which were hardly more measured than his violences and, as she was gentle and untenacious, she fell back into her feeling of security" (p. 206).]—
—[Miot de Melito, who was a follower of Joseph Bonaparte, says, "No woman has united go much kindness to so much natural grace, or has done more good with more pleasure than she did. She honoured me with her friendship, and the remembrance of the benevolence she has shown me, to the last moment of her too short existence, will never be effaced from my heart" (tome i. pp.101-2).]—
—[Meneval, the successor of Bourrienne is his place of secretary to Napoleon, and who remained attached to the Emperor until the end, says of Josephine (tome i. p. 227), "Josephine was irresistibly attractive. Her beauty was not regular, but she had 'La grace, plus belle encore que la beaute', according to the good La Fontaine. She had the soft abandonment, the supple and elegant movements, and the graceful carelessness of the creoles.—(The reader must remember that the term "Creole" does not imply any taint of black blood, but only that the person, of European family, has been born in the West Indies.)—Her temper was always the same. She was gentle and kind."]—
I am convinced that all who were acquainted with her must have felt bound to speak well of her; to few, indeed, did she ever give cause for complaint. In the time of her power she did not lose any of her friends, because she forgot none of them. Benevolence was natural to her, but she was not always prudent in its exercise. Hence her protection was often extended to persons who did not deserve it. Her taste for splendour and expense was excessive. This proneness to luxury became a habit which seemed constantly indulged without any motive. What scenes have I not witnessed when the moment for paying the tradesmen's bills arrived! She always kept back one-half of their claims, and the discovery of this exposed her to new reproaches. How many tears did she shed which might have been easily spared!
When fortune placed a crown on her head she told me that the event, extraordinary as it was, had been predicted: It is certain that she put faith in fortune-tellers. I often expressed to her my astonishment that she should cherish such a belief, and she readily laughed at her own credulity; but notwithstanding never abandoned it: The event had given importance to the prophecy; but the foresight of the prophetess, said to be an old regress, was not the less a matter of doubt.
Not long before the 13th of Vendemiaire, that day which opened for Bonaparte his immense career, he addressed a letter to me at Sens, in which, after some of his usually friendly expressions, he said, "Look out a small piece of land in your beautiful valley of the Yonne. I will purchase it as soon as I can scrape together the money. I wish to retire there; but recollect that I will have nothing to do with national property."
Bonaparte left Paris on the 21st of March 1796, while I was still with my guardians. He no sooner joined the French army than General Colli, then in command of the Piedmontese army, transmitted to him the following letter, which, with its answer, I think sufficiently interesting to deserve preservation:
GENERAL—I suppose that you are ignorant of the arrest of one of my officers, named Moulin, the bearer of a flag of truce, who has been detained for some days past at Murseco, contrary to the laws of war, and notwithstanding an immediate demand for his liberation being made by General Count Vital. His being a French emigrant cannot take from him the rights of a flag of truce, and I again claim him in that character. The courtesy and generosity which I have always experienced from the generals of your nation induces me to hope that I shall not make this application in vain; and it is with regret that I mention that your chief of brigade, Barthelemy, who ordered the unjust arrest of my flag of truce, having yesterday by the chance of war fallen into my hands, that officer will be dealt with according to the treatment which M. Moulin may receive.
I most sincerely wish that nothing may occur to change the noble and humane conduct which the two nations have hitherto been accustomed to observe towards each other. I have the honour, etc., (Signed) COLLI.
CEVA. 17th April 1796.
Bonaparte replied as follows:
GENERAL—An emigrant is a parricide whom no character can render sacred. The feelings of honour, and the respect due to the French people, were forgotten when M. Moulin was sent with a flag of truce. You know the laws of war, and I therefore do not give credit to the reprisals with which you threaten the chief of brigade, Barthelemy. If, contrary to the laws of war, you authorise such an act of barbarism, all the prisoners taken from you shall be immediately made responsible for it with the most deplorable vengeance, for I entertain for the officers of your nation that esteem which is due to brave soldiers.
The Executive Directory, to whom these letters were transmitted, approved of the arrest of M. Moulin; but ordered that he should be securely guarded, and not brought to trial, in consequence of the character with which he had been invested.
About the middle of the year 1796 the Directory proposed to appoint General Kellerman, who commanded the army of the Alps, second in command of the army of Italy.
On the 24th of May 1796 Bonaparte wrote to, Carnot respecting, this plan, which was far from being agreeable to him. He said, "Whether I shall be employed here or anywhere else is indifferent to me: to serve the country, and to merit from posterity a page in our history, is all my ambition. If you join Kellerman and me in command in Italy you will undo everything. General Kellerman has more experience than I, and knows how to make war better than I do; but both together, we shall make it badly. I will not willingly serve with a man who considers himself the first general in Europe."
Numbers of letters from Bonaparte to his wife have been published. I cannot deny their, authenticity, nor is it my wish to do so. I will, however, subjoin one which appears to me to differ a little from the rest. It is less remarkable for exaggerated expressions of love, and a singularly ambitious and affected style, than most of the correspondence here alluded to. Bonaparte is announcing the victory of Arcola to Josephine.
VERONA, the 29th, noon.
At length, my adored Josephine, I live again. Death is no longer before me, and glory and honour are still in my breast. The enemy is beaten at Arcola. To-morrow we will repair the blunder of Vaubois, who abandoned Rivoli. In eight days Mantua will be ours, and then thy husband will fold thee in his arms, and give thee a thousand proofs of his ardent affection. I shall proceed to Milan as soon as I can: I am a little fatigued. I have received letters from Eugene and Hortense. I am delighted with the children. I will send you their letters as soon as I am joined by my household, which is now somewhat dispersed.
We have made five thousand prisoners, and killed at least six thousand of the enemy. Adieu, my adorable Josephine. Think of me often. When you cease to love your Achilles, when your heart grows cool towards him, you wilt be very cruel, very unjust. But I am sure you will always continue my faithful mistress, as I shall ever remain your fond lover ('tendre amie'). Death alone can break the union which sympathy, love, and sentiment have formed. Let me have news of your health. A thousand and a thousand kisses.
It is impossible for me to avoid occasionally placing myself in the foreground in the course of these Memoirs. I owe it to myself to answer, though indirectly, to certain charges which, on various occasions, have been made against me. Some of the documents which I am about to insert belong, perhaps, less to the history of the General-in-Chief of the army of-Italy than to that of his secretary; but I must confess I wish to show that I was not an intruder, nor yet pursuing, as an obscure intriguer, the path of fortune. I was influenced much more by friendship than by ambition when I took a part on the scene where the rising-glory of the future Emperor already shed a lustre on all who were attached to his destiny. It will be seen by the following letters with what confidence I was then honoured; but these letters, dictated by friendship, and not written for history, speak also of our military achievements; and whatever brings to recollection the events of that heroic period must still be interesting to many.
HEADQUARTERS AT MILAN, 20th Prairial, year IV. (8th June 1796).
The General-in-Chief has ordered me, my dear Bourrienne, to make known to you the pleasure he experienced on hearing of you, and his ardent desire that you should join us. Take your departure, then, my dear Bourrienne, and arrive quickly. You may be certain of obtaining the testimonies of affection which are your due from all who know you; and we much regret that you were not with us to have a share in our success. The campaign which we have just concluded will be celebrated in the records of history. With less than 30,000 men, in a state of almost complete destitution, it is a fine thing to have, in the course of less than two months, beaten, eight different times, an army of from 65 to 70,000 men, obliged the King of Sardinia to make a humiliating peace, and driven the Austrians from Italy. The last victory, of which you have doubtless had an account, the passage of the Mincio, has closed our labours. There now remain for us the siege of Mantua and the castle of Milan; but these obstacles will not detain us long. Adieu, my dear Bourrienne: I repeat General Bonaparte's request that you should repair hither, and the testimony of his desire to see you. Receive, etc., (Signed) MARMONT. Chief of Brigade (Artillery) and Aide de camp to the General-in-Chief.
I was obliged to remain at Sens, soliciting my erasure from the emigrant list, which I did not obtain, however, till 1797, and to put an end to a charge made against me of having fabricated a certificate of residence. Meanwhile I applied myself to study, and preferred repose to the agitation of camps. For these reasons I did not then accept his friendly invitation, notwithstanding that I was very desirous of seeing my young college friend in the midst of his astonishing triumphs. Ten months after, I received another letter from Marmont, in the following terms:—
HEADQUARTERS GORIZIA 2d Germinal, year V. (22d March 1797).
The General-in-Chief, my dear Bourrienne, has ordered me to express to you his wish for your prompt arrival here. We have all along anxiously desired to see you, and look forward with great pleasure to the moment when we shall meet. I join with the General, my dear Bourrienne, in urging you to join the army without loss of time. You will increase a united family, happy to receive you into its bosom. I enclose an order written by the General, which will serve you as a passport. Take the post route and arrive as soon as you can. We are on the point of penetrating into Germany. The language is changing already, and in four days we shall hear no more Italian. Prince Charles has been well beaten, and we are pursuing him. If this campaign be fortunate, we may sign a peace, which is so necessary for Europe, in Vienna. Adieu, my dear Bourrienne: reckon for something the zeal of one who is much attached to you. (Signed) MARMONT.
BONAPARTE, GENERAL-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMY OF ITALY.
Headquarters, Gorizia, 2d Germinal, year V.
The citizen Bourrienne is to come to me on receipt of the present order. (Signed) BONAPARTE.
The odious manner in which I was then harassed, I know not why, on the part of the Government respecting my certificate of residence, rendered my stay in France not very agreeable. I was even threatened with being put on my trial for having produced a certificate of residence which was alleged to be signed by nine false witnesses. This time, therefore, I resolved without hesitation to set out for the army. General Bonaparte's order, which I registered at the municipality of Sens, answered for a passport, which otherwise would probably have been refused me. I have always felt a strong sense of gratitude for his conduct towards me on this occasion.
Notwithstanding the haste I made to leave Sens, the necessary formalities and precautions detained me some days, and at the moment I was about to depart I received the following letter:
HEADQUARTERS, JUDENBOURG, 19th Germinal, Year V. (8th April 1797).
The General-in-Chief again orders me, my dear Bourrienne, to urge you to come to him quickly. We are in the midst of success and triumphs. The German campaign begins even more brilliantly than did the Italian. You may judge, therefore, what a promise it holds out to us. Come, my dear Bourrienne, immediately—yield to our solicitations—share our pains and pleasures, and you will add to our enjoyments.
I have directed the courier to pass through Sens, that he may deliver this letter to you, and bring me back your answer. (Signed) MARMONT.
To the above letter this order was subjoined:
The citizen Fauvelet de Bourrienne is ordered to leave Sens, and repair immediately by post to the headquarters of the army of Italy. (Signed) BONAPARTE.
I arrived at the Venetian territory at the moment when the insurrection against the French was on the point of breaking out. Thousands of peasants were instigated to rise under the pretext of appeasing the troubles of Bergamo and Brescia. I passed through Verona on the 16th of April, the eve of the signature of the preliminaries of Leoben and of the revolt of Verona. Easter Sunday was the day which the ministers of Jesus Christ selected for preaching "that it was lawful, and even meritorious, to kill Jacobins." Death to Frenchmen!—Death to Jacobins! as they called all the French, were their rallying cries. At the time I had not the slightest idea of this state of things, for I had left Sens only on the 11th of April.
After stopping two hours at Verona, I proceeded on my journey without being aware of the massacre which threatened that city. When about a league from the town I was, however, stopped by a party of insurgents on their way thither, consisting, as I estimated, of about two thousand men. They only desired me to cry 'El viva Santo Marco', an order with which I speedily complied, and passed on. What would have become of me had I been in Verona on the Monday? On that day the bells were rung, while the French were butchered in the hospitals. Every one met in the streets was put to death. The priests headed the assassins, and more than four hundred Frenchmen were thus sacrificed. The forts held out against the Venetians, though they attacked them with fury; but repossession of the town was not obtained until after ten days. On the very day of the insurrection of Verona some Frenchmen were assassinated between that city and Vicenza, through which I passed on the day before without danger; and scarcely had I passed through Padua, when I learned that others had been massacred there. Thus the assassinations travelled as rapidly as the post.
I shall say a few words respecting the revolt of the Venetian States, which, in consequence of the difference of political opinions, has been viewed in very contradictory lights.
The last days of Venice were approaching, and a storm had been brewing for more than a year. About the beginning of April 1797 the threatening symptoms of a general insurrection appeared. The quarrel commenced when the Austrians entered Peschiera, and some pretext was also afforded by the reception given to Monsieur, afterwards Louis XVIII. It was certain that Venice had made military preparations during the siege of Mantua in 1796. The interests of the aristocracy outweighed the political considerations in our favour. On, the 7th of June 1796 General Bonaparte wrote thus to the Executive Directory:
The Senate of Venice lately sent two judges of their Council here to ascertain definitively how things stand. I repeated my complaints. I spoke to them about the reception given to Monsieur. Should it be your plan to extract five or six millions from Venice, I have expressly prepared this sort of rupture for you. If your intentions be more decided, I think this ground of quarrel ought to be kept up. Let me know what you mean to do, and wait till the favourable moment, which I shall seize according to circumstances; for we must not have to do with all the world at once.
The Directory answered that the moment was not favourable; that it was first necessary to take Mantua, and give Wurmser a sound beating. However, towards the end of the year 1796 the Directory began to give more credit to the sincerity of the professions of neutrality made on the part of Venice. It was resolved, therefore, to be content with obtaining money and supplies for the army, and to refrain from violating the neutrality. The Directory had not then in reserve, like Bonaparte, the idea of making the dismemberment of Venice serve as a compensation for such of the Austrian possessions as the French Republic might retain.
In 1797 the expected favourable moment had arrived. The knell of Venice was rung; and Bonaparte thus wrote to the Directory on the 30th of April: "I am convinced that the only course to be now taken is to destroy this ferocious and sanguinary Government." On the 3d of May, writing from Palma Nuova, he says: "I see nothing that can be done but to obliterate the Venetian name from the face of the globe."
Towards the end of March 1797 the Government of Venice was in a desperate state. Ottolini, the Podesta of Bergamo, an instrument of tyranny in the hands of the State inquisitors, then harassed the people of Bergamo and Brescia, who, after the reduction of Mantua, wished to be separated from Venice. He drew up, to be sent to the Senate, a long report respecting the plans of separation, founded on information given him by a Roman advocate, named Marcelin Serpini; who pretended to have gleaned the facts he communicated in conversation with officers of the French army. The plan of the patriotic party was, to unite the Venetian territories on the mainland with Lombardy, and to form of the whole one republic. The conduct of Ottolini exasperated the party inimical to Venice, and augmented the prevailing discontent. Having disguised his valet as a peasant, he sent him off to Venice with the report he had drawn up on Serpini's communications, and other information; but this report never reached the inquisitors. The valet was arrested, his despatches taken, and Ottolini fled from Bergamo. This gave a beginning to the general rising of the Venetian States. In fact, the force of circumstances alone brought on the insurrection of those territories against their old insular government. General La Hoz, who commanded the Lombard Legion, was the active protector of the revolution, which certainly had its origin more in the progress of the prevailing principles of liberty than in the crooked policy of the Senate of Venice. Bonaparte, indeed, in his despatches to the Directory, stated that the Senate had instigated the insurrection; but that was not quite correct, and he could not wholly believe his own assertion.
Pending the vacillation of the Venetian Senate, Vienna was exciting the population of its States on the mainland to rise against the French. The Venetian Government had always exhibited an extreme aversion to the French Revolution, which had been violently condemned at Venice. Hatred of the French had been constantly excited and encouraged, and religious fanaticism had inflamed many persons of consequence in the country. From the end of 1796 the Venetian Senate secretly continued its armaments, and the whole conduct of that Government announced intentions which have been called perfidious, but the only object of which was to defeat intentions still more perfidious. The Senate was the irreconcilable enemy of the French Republic. Excitement was carried to such a point that in many places the people complained that they were not permitted to arm against the French. The Austrian generals industriously circulated the most sinister reports respecting the armies of the Sombre-et-Meuse and the Rhine, and the position of the French troops in the Tyrol. These impostures, printed in bulletins, were well calculated to instigate the Italians, and especially the Venetians, to rise in mass to exterminate the French, when the victorious army should penetrate into the Hereditary States.
The pursuit of the Archduke Charles into the heart of Austria encouraged the hopes which the Venetian Senate had conceived, that it would be easy to annihilate the feeble remnant of the French army, as the troops were scattered through the States of Venice on the mainland. Wherever the Senate had the ascendency, insurrection was secretly fomented; wherever the influence of the patriots prevailed, ardent efforts were made to unite the Venetian terra firma to the Lombard Republic.
Bonaparte skillfully took advantage of the disturbances, and the massacres consequent on them, to adopt towards the Senate the tone of an offended conqueror. He published a declaration that the Venetian Government was the most treacherous imaginable. The weakness and cruel hypocrisy of the Senate facilitated the plan he had conceived of making a peace for France at the expense of the Venetian Republic. On returning from Leoben, a conqueror and pacificator, he, without ceremony, took possession of Venice, changed the established government, and, master of all the Venetian territory, found himself, in the negotiations of Campo Formio, able to dispose of it as he pleased, as a compensation for the cessions which had been exacted from Austria. After the 19th of May he wrote to the Directory that one of the objects of his treaty with Venice was to avoid bringing upon us the odium of violating the preliminaries relative to the Venetian territory, and, at the same time, to afford pretexts and to facilitate their execution.
At Campo Formio the fate of this republic was decided. It disappeared from the number of States without effort or noise. The silence of its fall astonished imaginations warmed by historical recollections from the brilliant pages of its maritime glory. Its power, however, which had been silently undermined, existed no longer except in the prestige of those recollections. What resistance could it have opposed to the man destined to change the face of all Europe?
Signature of the preliminaries of peace—Fall of Venice—My arrival and reception at Leoben—Bonaparte wishes to pursue his success— The Directory opposes him—He wishes to advance on Vienna—Movement of the army of the Sombre-et-Mouse—Bonaparte's dissatisfaction— Arrival at Milan—We take up our residence at Montebello—Napoleon's judgment respecting Dandolo and Melzi.
I joined Bonaparte at Leoben on the 19th of April, the day after the signature of the preliminaries of peace. These preliminaries resembled in no respect the definitive treaty of Campo Formio. The still incomplete fall of the State of Venice did not at that time present an available prey for partition. All was arranged afterwards. Woe to the small States that come in immediate contact with two colossal empires waging war!
Here terminated my connection with Bonaparte as a comrade and equal, and those relations with him commenced in which I saw him suddenly great, powerful, and surrounded with homage and glory. I no longer addressed him as I had been accustomed to do. I appreciated too well his personal importance. His position placed too great a social distance between him and me not to make me feel the necessity of fashioning my demeanour accordingly. I made with pleasure, and without regret, the easy sacrifice of the style of familiar companionship and other little privileges. He said, in a loud voice, when I entered the salon where he was surrounded by the officers who formed his brilliant staff, "I am glad to see you, at last"—"Te voila donc, enfin;", but as soon as we were alone he made me understand that he was pleased with my reserve, and thanked me for it. I was immediately placed at the head of his Cabinet. I spoke to him the same evening respecting the insurrection of the Venetian territories, of the dangers which menaced the French, and of those which I had escaped, etc. "Care thou' nothing about it," said he;
—[He used to 'tutoyer' me in this familiar manner until his return to Milan.]—
"those rascals shall pay for it. Their republic has had its day, and is done." This republic was, however, still existing, wealthy and powerful. These words brought to my recollection what I had read in a work by one Gabriel Naude, who wrote during the reign of Louis XIII. for Cardinal de Bagin: "Do you see Constantinople, which flatters itself with being the seat of a double empire; and Venice, which glories in her stability of a thousand years? Their day will come."
In the first conversation which Bonaparte had with me, I thought I could perceive that he was not very well satisfied with the preliminaries. He would have liked to advance with his army to Vienna. He did not conceal this from me. Before he offered peace to Prince Charles, he wrote to the Directory that he intended to pursue his success, but that for this purpose he reckoned on the co-operation of the armies of the Sambre-et-Meuse and the Rhine. The Directory replied that he must not reckon on a diversion in Germany, and that the armies of the Sambre-et-Meuse and the Rhine were not to pass that river. A resolution so unexpected—a declaration so contrary to what he had constantly solicited, compelled him to terminate his triumphs, and renounce his favourite project of planting the standard of the republic on the ramparts of Vienna, or at least of levying contributions on the suburbs of that capital.
A law of the 23d of August 1794 forbade the use of any other names than those in the register of births. I wished to conform to this law, which very foolishly interfered with old habits. My eldest brother was living, and I therefore designated myself Fauvelet the younger. This annoyed General Bonaparte. "Such change of name is absolute nonsense," said he. "I have known you for twenty years by the name of Bourrienne. Sign as you still are named, and see what the advocates with their laws will do."
On the 20th of April, as Bonaparte was returning to Italy, he was obliged to stop on an island of the Tagliamento, while a torrent passed by, which had been occasioned by a violent storm. A courier appeared on the right bank of the river. He reached the island. Bonaparte read in the despatches of the Directory that the armies of the Sambre-et-Meuse and the Rhine were in motion; that they were preparing to cross the Rhine, and had commenced hostilities on the very day of the signing of the preliminaries. This information arrived seven days after the Directory had written that "he must not reckon on the co-operation of the armies of Germany." It is impossible to describe the General's vexation on reading these despatches. He had signed the preliminaries only because the Government had represented the co-operation of the armies of the Rhine as impracticable at that moment, and shortly afterwards he was informed that the co-operation was about to take place! The agitation of his mind was so great that he for a moment conceived the idea of crossing to the left bank of the Tagliamento, and breaking off the negotiations under some pretext or other. He persisted for some time in this resolution, which, however, Berthier and some other generals successfully opposed. He exclaimed, "What a difference would there have been in the preliminaries, if, indeed, there had been any!"
His chagrin, I might almost say his despair, increased when, some days after his entry into the Venetian States, he received a letter from Moreau, dated the 23d of April, in which that general informed him that, having passed the Rhine on the 20th with brilliant success, and taken four thousand prisoners, it would not be long before he joined him. Who, in fact, can say what would have happened but for the vacillating and distrustful policy of the Directory, which always encouraged low intrigues, and participated in the jealousy excited by the renown of the young conqueror? Because the Directory dreaded his ambition they sacrificed the glory of our arms and the honour of the nation; for it cannot be doubted that, had the passage of the Rhine, so urgently demanded by Bonaparte, taken place some days sooner, he would have been able, without incurring any risk, to dictate imperiously the conditions of peace on the spot; or, if Austria were obstinate, to have gone on to Vienna and signed it there. Still occupied with this idea, he wrote to the Directory on the 8th of May: "Since I have received intelligence of the passage of the Rhine by Hoche and Moreau, I much regret that it did not take place fifteen days sooner; or, at least, that Moreau did not say that he was in a situation to effect it." (He had been informed to the contrary.) What, after this, becomes of the unjust reproach against Bonaparte of having, through jealousy of Moreau, deprived France of the advantages which a prolonged campaign would have procured her? Bonaparte was too devoted to the glory of France to sacrifice it to jealousy of the glory of any individual.
In traversing the Venetian States to return to Milan, he often spoke to me of Venice. He always assured me that he was originally entirely unconnected with the insurrections which had agitated that country; that common sense would show, as his project was to advance into the basin of the Danube, he had no interest in having his rear disturbed by revolts, and his communications interrupted or cut off: "Such an idea," said he, "would be absurd, and could never enter into the mind of a man to whom even his enemies cannot deny a certain degree of tact." He acknowledged that he was not vexed that matters had turned out as they had done, because he had already taken advantage of these circumstances in the preliminaries and hoped to profit still more from them in the definitive peace. "When I arrive at Milan," said he, "I will occupy myself with Venice." It is therefore quite evident to me that in reality the General-in-Chief had nothing to do with the Venetian insurrections; that subsequently he was not displeased with them; and that, later still, he derived great advantage from them.
We arrived at Milan on the 5th of May, by way of Lawbook, Thrust, Palma-Nova, Padua, Verona, and Mantua. Bonaparte soon took up his residence at Montebello, a very fine chateau, three leagues from Milan, with a view over the rich and magnificent plains of Lombard. At Montebello commenced the negotiations for the definitive peace which were terminated at Passeriano. The Marquis de Gallo, the Austrian plenipotentiary, resided half a league from Montebello.
During his residence at Montebello the General-in-Chief made an excursion to the Lake of Como and to the Ago Maguire. He visited the Borromean Islands in succession, and occupied himself on his return with the organization of the towns of Venice, Genoa, and Milan. He sought for men and found none. "Good God," said he, "how rare men are! There are eighteen millions in Italy, and I have with difficulty found two, Dandolo and Melzi."
He appreciated them properly. Dandolo was one of the men who, in those revolutionary times, reflected the greatest honour upon Italy. After being a member of the great council of the Cisalpine Republic, he exercised the functions of Proveditore-General in Dalmatia. It is only necessary to mention the name of Dandolo to the Dalmatians to learn from the grateful inhabitants how just and vigorous his administration was. The services of Melzi are known. He was Chancellor and Keeper of the Seals of the Italian monarchy, and was created Duke of Lodi.
—[Francesco, Comte de Melzi d'Eryl (1753-1816), vice President of the Italian Republic, 1802; Chancellor of the Kingdom of Italy, 1805; Duc de Loth, 1807.]—
In those who have seen the world the truth of Napoleon's reproach excites little astonishment. In a country which, according to biographies and newspapers, abounds with extraordinary men, a woman of much talent—(Madame Roland.)—said, "What has most surprised me, since the elevation of my husband has afforded me the opportunity of knowing many persons, and particularly those employed in important affairs, is the universal mediocrity which exists. It surpasses all that the imagination can conceive, and it is observable in all ranks, from the clerk to the minister. Without this experience I never could have believed my species to be so contemptible."
Who does not remember Oxenstiern's remark to his son, who trembled at going so young to the congress of Munster: "Go, my son. You will see by what sort of men the world is governed."
Napoleon's correspondence—Release of French prisoners at Olmutz— Negotiations with Austria—Bonaparte's dissatisfaction—Letter of complaint from Bonaparte to the Executive Directory—Note respecting the affairs of Venice and the Club of Clichy, written by Bonaparte and circulated in the army—Intercepted letter of the Emperor Francis.
During the time when the preliminaries of Leoben suspended military operations, Napoleon was not anxious to reply immediately to all letters. He took a fancy to do, not exactly as Cardinal Dubois did, when he threw into the fire the letters he had received, saying, "There! my correspondents are answered," but something of the same kind. To satisfy himself that people wrote too much, and lost, in trifling and useless answers, valuable time, he told me to open only the letters which came by extraordinary couriers, and to leave all the rest for three weeks in the basket. At the end of that time it was unnecessary to reply to four-fifths of these communications. Some were themselves answers; some were acknowledgments of letters received; others contained requests for favours already granted, but of which intelligence had not been received. Many were filled with complaints respecting provisions, pay, or clothing, and orders had been issued upon all these points before the letters were written. Some generals demanded reinforcements, money, promotion, etc. By not opening their letters Bonaparte was spared the unpleasing office of refusing. When the General-in-Chief compared the very small number of letters which it was necessary to answer with the large number which time alone had answered, he laughed heartily at his whimsical idea. Would not this mode of proceeding be preferable to that of causing letters to be opened by any one who may be employed, and replying to them by a circular to which it is only necessary to attach a date?
During the negotiations which followed the treaty of Leoben, the Directory ordered General Bonaparte to demand the liberty of MM. de La Fayette, Latour-Marbourg, and Bureau de Puzy, detained at Olmutz since 1792 as prisoners of state. The General-in-Chief executed this commission with as much pleasure as zeal, but he often met with difficulties which appeared to be insurmountable. It has been very incorrectly stated that these prisoners obtained their liberty by one of the articles of the preliminaries of Leoben. I wrote a great deal on this subject to the dictation of General Bonaparte, and I joined him only on the day after the signature of these preliminaries. It was not till the end of May of the year 1797 that the liberation of these captives was demanded, and they did not obtain their freedom till the end of August. There was no article in the treaty, public or secret, which had reference to them. Neither was it at his own suggestion that Bonaparte demanded the enlargement of the prisoners, but by order of the Directory. To explain why they did not go to France immediately after their liberation from Olmutz, it is necessary to recollect that the events of the 18th Fructidor occurred between the period when the first steps were taken to procure their liberty and the date of their deliverance. It required all Bonaparte's ascendency and vigour of character to enable him to succeed in his object at the end of three months.
We had arrived at the month of July, and the negotiations were tediously protracted. It was impossible to attribute the embarrassment which was constantly occurring to anything but the artful policy of Austria: Other affairs occupied Bonaparte. The news from Paris engrossed all his attention. He saw with extreme displeasure the manner in which the influential orators of the councils, and pamphlets written in the same spirit as they spoke, criticised him, his army, his victories, the affairs of Venice, and the national glory. He was quite indignant at the suspicions which it was sought to create respecting his conduct and ulterior views.
The following excerpts, attributed to the pens of Dumouriez or Rivarol, are specimens of some of the comments of the time:
EXTRACTS OF LETTERS IN "LE SPECTATUER DU NORD" of 1797.
General Bonaparte is, without contradiction, the most brilliant warrior who has appeared at the head of the armies of the French Republic. His glory is incompatible with democratic equality, and the services he has rendered are too great to be recompensed except by hatred and ingratitude. He is very young, and consequently has to pursue a long career of accusations and of persecutions.
........Whatever may be the crowning event of his military career, Bonaparte is still a great man. All his glory is due to himself alone; because he alone has developed a character and a genius of which no one else has furnished an example.
EXTRACT OF LETTER OR 18TH APRIL 1797 in "THE SPECTATEUR DU NORD."
Regard, for instance, this wretched war. Uncertain in Champagne, it becomes daring under Dumouriez, unbridled under the brigands who fought the Vendeeans, methodic under Pichegru, vulgar under Jourdan, skilled under Moreau, rash under Bonaparte. Each general has put the seal of his genius on his career, and has given life or death to his army. From the commencement of his career Bonaparte has developed an ardent character which is irritated by obstacles, and a quickness which forestalls every determination of the enemy. It is with heavier and heavier blows that, he strikes. He throws his army on the enemy like an unloosed torrent. He is all action, and he is so in everything. See him fight, negotiate, decree, punish, all is the matter of a moment. He compromises with Turin as with Rome. He invades Modena as he burns Binasco. He never hesitates; to cut the Gordian knot is always his method.
Bonaparte could not endure to have his conduct predicated; and enraged at seeing his campaigns depreciated, his glory and that of his army disparaged,
—[The extraordinary folly of the opposition to the Directory in throwing Bonaparte on to the side of the Directory, will be seen by reading the speech of Dumolard, so often referred to by Bourrienne (Thiers, vol. v. pp. 110-111), and by the attempts of Mathieu Dumas to remove the impression that the opposition slighted the fortunate General. (See Dumas, tome iii. p. 80; see also Lanfrey, tome i. pp. 257-299).]—
and intrigues formed against him in the Club of Clichy, he wrote the following letter to the Directory:—
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORY.
I have just received, Citizens-Directors, a copy of the motion of Dumolard (23d June 1797).
This motion, printed by order of the Assembly, it is evident, is directed against me. I was entitled, after, having five times concluded peace, and given a death-blow to the coalition, if not to civic triumphs, at least to live tranquilly under the protection of the first magistrates of the Republic. At present I find myself ill-treated, persecuted, and disparaged, by every shameful means, which their policy brings to the aid of persecution. I would have been indifferent to all except that species of opprobrium with which the first magistrates of the Republic endeavour to overwhelm me. After having deserved well of my country by my last act, I am not bound to hear myself accused in a manner as absurd as atrocious. I have not expected that a manifesto, signed by emigrants, paid by England, should obtain more credit with the Council of Five Hundred than the evidence of eighty thousand men—than mine! What! we were assassinated by traitors—upwards of four hundred men perished; and the first magistrates of the Republic make it a crime to have believed the statement for a moment. Upwards of four hundred Frenchmen were dragged through the streets. They were assassinated before the eyes of the governor of the fort. They were pierced with a thousand blows of stilettos, such as I sent you and the representatives of the French people cause it to be printed, that if they believed this fact for an instant, they were excusable. I know well there are societies where it is said, "Is this blood, then, so pure?"
If only base men, who are dead to the feeling of patriotism and national glory, had spoken of me thus, I would not have complained. I would have disregarded it; but I have a right to complain of the degradation to which the first magistrates of the Republic reduce those who have aggrandised, and carried the French name to so high a pitch of glory. Citizens-Directors, I reiterate the demand I made for my dismissal; I wish to live in tranquillity, if the poniards of Clichy will allow me to live. You have employed me in negotiations. I am not very fit to conduct them.
About the same time he drew up the following note respecting the affairs of Venice, which was printed without the author's name, and circulated through the whole army:—
Bonaparte, pausing before the gates of Turin, Parma, Rome, and Vienna, offering peace when he was sure of obtaining nothing but fresh triumphs—Bonaparte, whose every operation exhibits respect for religion, morality, and old age; who, instead of heaping, as he might have done, dishonour upon the Venetians, and humbling their republic to the earth, loaded her with acts of kindness, and took such great interest in her glory—is this the same Bonaparte who is accused of destroying the ancient Government of Venice, and democratising Genoa, and even of interfering in the affairs of the prudent and worthy people of the Swiss Cantons? Bonaparte had passed the Tagliamento, and entered Germany, when insurrections broke out in the Venetian States; these insurrections were, therefore, opposed to Bonaparte's project; surely, then, he could not favour them. When he was in the heart of Germany the Venetians massacred more than four hundred French troops, drove their quarters out of Verona, assassinated the unfortunate Laugier, and presented the spectacle of a fanatical party in arms. He returned to Italy; and on his arrival, as the winds cease their agitation at the presence of Neptune, the whole of Italy, which was in commotion, which was in arms, was restored to order.
However, the deputies from Bonaparte drew up different articles conformable to the situation of the country, and in order to prevent, not a revolution in the Government, for the Government was defunct, and had died a natural death, but a crisis, and to save the city from convulsion, anarchy, and pillage. Bonaparte spared a division of his army to save Venice from pillage and massacre. All the battalions were in the streets of Venice, the disturbers were put down, and the pillage discontinued. Property and trade were preserved, when General Baragney d'Hilliers entered Venice with his division. Bonaparte, as usual, spared blood, and was the protector of Venice. Whilst the French troops remained they conducted themselves peaceably, and only interfered to support the provisional Government.
Bonaparte could not say to the deputies of Venice, who came to ask his protection and assistance against the populace, who wished to plunder them, "I cannot meddle with your affairs." He could not say this, for Venice, and all its territories, had really formed the theatre of war; and, being in the rear of the army of Italy, the Republic of Venice was really under the jurisdiction of that army. The rights of war confer upon a general the powers of supreme police over the countries which are the seat of war. As the great Frederick said, "There are no neutrals where there is war." Ignorant advocates and babblers have asked, in the Club of Clichy, why we occupy the territory of Venice. These declaimers should learn war, and they would know that the Adige, the Brenta, and the Tagliamento, where we have been fighting for two years, are within the Venetian States. But, gentlemen of Clichy, we are at no loss to perceive your meaning. You reproach the army of Italy for having surmounted all difficulties—for subduing all Italy for having twice passed the Alps—for having marched on Vienna, and obliged Austria to acknowledge the Republic that, you, men of Clichy, would destroy. You accuse Bonaparte, I see clearly, for having brought about peace. But I know you, and I speak in the name of eighty thousand soldiers. The time is gone when base advocates and wretched declaimers could induce soldiers to revolt. If, however, you compel them, the soldiers of the army of Italy will soon appear at the Barrier of Clichy, with their General. But woe unto you if they do!