Bonaparte had beautiful hands, and he was very proud of them; while conversing he would often look at them with an air of self-complacency. He also fancied he had fine teeth, but his pretension to that advantage was not so well founded as his vanity on the score of his hands.
When walking, either alone or in company with any one, in his apartments or in his gardens, he had the habit of stooping a little, and crossing his hands behind his back. He frequently gave an involuntary shrug of his right shoulder, which was accompanied by a movement of his mouth from left to right. This habit was always most remarkable when his mind was absorbed in the consideration of any profound subject. It was often while walking that he dictated to me his most important notes. He could endure great fatigue, not only on horseback but on foot; he would sometimes walk for five or six hours in succession without being aware of it.
When walking with any person whom he treated with familiarity he would link his arm into that of his companion, and lean on it.
He used often to say to me, "You see, Bourrienne, how temperate, and how thin I am; but, in spite of that, I cannot help thinking that at forty I shall become a great eater, and get very fat. I foresee that my constitution will undergo a change. I take a great deal of exercise; but yet I feel assured that my presentiment will be fulfilled." This idea gave him great uneasiness, and as I observed nothing which seemed to warrant his apprehensions, I omitted no opportunity of assuring him that they were groundless. But he would not listen to me, and all the time I was about him, he was haunted by this presentiment, which, in the end, was but too well verified.
His partiality for the bath he mistook for a necessity. He would usually remain in the bath two hours, during which time I used to read to him extracts from the journals and pamphlets of the day, for he was anxious to hear and know all that was going on. While in the bath he was continually turning on the warm water to raise the temperature, so that I was sometimes enveloped in such a dense vapour that I could not see to read, and was obliged to open the door.
Bonaparte was exceedingly temperate, and averse to all excess. He knew the absurd stories that were circulated about him, and he was sometimes vexed at theme It has been repeated, over and over again, that he was subject to attacks of epilepsy; but during the eleven years that I was almost constantly with him I never observed any symptom which in the least degree denoted that malady. His health was good and his constitution sound. If his enemies, by way of reproach, have attributed to him a serious periodical disease, his flatterers, probably under the idea that sleep is incompatible with greatness, have evinced an equal disregard of truth in speaking of his night-watching. Bonaparte made others watch, but he himself slept, and slept well. His orders were that I should call him every morning at seven. I was therefore the first to enter his chamber; but very frequently when I awoke him he would turn himself, and say, "Ah, Bourrienne! let me lie a little longer." When there was no very pressing business I did not disturb him again till eight o'clock. He in general slept seven hours out of the twenty-four, besides taking a short nap in the afternoon.
Among the private instructions which Bonaparte gave me, one was very curious. "During the night," said he, "enter my chamber as seldom as possible. Do not awake me when you have any good news to communicate: with that there is no hurry. But when you bring bad news, rouse me instantly; for then there is not a moment to be lost."
This was a wise regulation, and Bonaparte found his advantage in it.
As soon as he rose his 'valet de chambre' shaved him and dressed his hair. While he was being shaved I read to him the newspapers, beginning always with the 'Moniteur.' He paid little attention to any but the German and English papers. "Pass over all that," he would say, while I was perusing the French papers; "I know it already. They say only what they think will please me." I was often surprised that his valet did not cut him while I was reading; for whenever ha heard anything interesting he turned quickly round towards me.
When Bonaparte had finished: his toilet, which he did with great attention, for he was scrupulously neat in his person, we went down to his cabinet. There he signed the orders on important petitions which had been analysed by me on the preceding evening. On reception and parade days he was particularly exact in signing these orders, because I used to remind him that he would be, likely to see most of the petitioners, and that they would ask him for answers. To spare him this annoyance I used often to acquaint them beforehand of what had been granted or refused, and what had been the decision of the First Consul. He next perused the letters which I had opened and laid on his table, ranging them according to their importance. He directed me to answer them in his name; he occasionally wrote the answers himself, but not often.
At ten o'clock the 'maitre d'hotel' entered, and announced breakfast, saying, "The General is served." We went to breakfast, and the repast was exceedingly simple. He ate almost every morning some chicken, dressed with oil and onions. This dish was then, I believe, called 'poulet a la Provencale'; but our restaurateurs have since conferred upon it the more ambitious name of 'poulet a la Marengo.'
Bonaparte drank little wine, always either claret or Burgundy, and the latter by preference. After breakfast, as well as after dinner, he took a cup of strong coffee.
—[M. Brillat de Savarin, whose memory is dear to all gourmands, had established, as a gastronomic principle, that "he who does not take coffee after each meal is assuredly not a men of taste."— Bourrienne.]—
I never saw him take any between his meals, and I cannot imagine what could have given rise to the assertion of his being particularly fond of coffee. When he worked late at night he never ordered coffee, but chocolate, of which he made me take a cup with him. But this only happened when our business was prolonged till two or three in the morning.
All that has been said about Bonaparte's immoderate use of snuff has no more foundation in truth than his pretended partiality for coffee. It is true that at an early period of his life he began to take snuff, but it was very sparingly, and always out of a box; and if he bore any resemblance to Frederick the Great, it was not by filling his waistcoat-pockets with snuff, for I must again observe he carried his notions of personal neatness to a fastidious degree.
Bonaparte had two ruling passions, glory and war. He was never more gay than in the camp, and never more morose than in the inactivity of peace. Plans for the construction of public monuments also pleased his imagination, and filled up the void caused by the want of active occupation. He was aware that monuments form part of the history of nations, of whose civilisation they bear evidence for ages after those who created them have disappeared from the earth, and that they likewise often bear false-witness to remote posterity of the reality of merely fabulous conquests. Bonaparte was, however, mistaken as to the mode of accomplishing the object he had in view. His ciphers, his trophies, and subsequently his eagles, splendidly adorned the monuments of his reign. But why did he wish to stamp false initials on things with which neither he nor his reign had any connection; as, for example the old Louvre? Did he imagine that the letter, "N" which everywhere obtruded itself on the eye, had in it a charm to controvert the records of history, or alter the course of time?
—[When Louis XVIII. returned to the Tuileries in 1814 he found that Bonaparte had been an excellent tenant, and that he had left everything in very good condition.]—
Be this as it may, Bonaparte well knew that the fine arts entail lasting glory on great actions, and consecrate the memory of princes who protect and encourage them. He oftener than once said to me, "A great reputation is a great poise; the more there is made, the farther off it is heard. Laws, institutions, monuments, nations, all fall; but the noise continues and resounds in after ages." This was one of his favourite ideas. "My power," he would say at other times, "depends on my glory, and my glory on my victories. My power would fall were I not to support it by new glory and new victories. Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest alone can maintain me." This was then, and probably always continued to be, his predominant idea, and that which prompted him continually to scatter the seeds of war through Europe. He thought that if he remained stationary ha would fall, and he was tormented with the desire of continually advancing. Not to do something great and decided was, in his opinion, to do nothing. "A newly-born Government," said he to me, "must dazzle and astonish. When it ceases to do that it falls." It was vain to look for rest from a man who was restlessness itself.
His sentiments towards France now differed widely from what I had known them to be in his youth. He long indignantly cherished the recollection of the conquest of Corsica, which he was once content to regard as his country. But that recollection was effaced, and it might be said that he now ardently loved France. His imagination was fired by the very thought of seeing her great, happy, and powerful, and, as the first nation in the world, dictating laws to the rest. He fancied his name inseparably connected with France, and resounding in, the ears of posterity. In all his actions he lost sight of the present moment, and thought only of futurity; so, in all places where he led the way to glory, the opinion of France was ever present in his thoughts. As Alexander at Arbela pleased himself less in having conquered Darius than in having gained the suffrage of the Athenians, so Bonaparte at Marengo was haunted by the idea of what would be said in France. Before he fought a battle Bonaparte thought little about what he should do in case of success, but a great deal about what he should do in case of a reverse of fortune. I mention this as a fact of which I have often been a witness, and leave to his brothers in arms to decide whether his calculations were always correct. He had it in his power to do much, for he risked everything and spared nothing. His inordinate ambition goaded him on to the attainment of power; and power when possessed served only to augment his ambition. Bonaparte was thoroughly convinced of the truth that trifles often decide the greatest events; therefore he watched rather than provoked opportunity, and when the right moment approached, he suddenly took advantage of it. It is curious that, amidst all the anxieties of war and government, the fear of the Bourbons incessantly pursued him, and the Faubourg St. Germain was to him always a threatening phantom.
He did not esteem mankind, whom, indeed, he despised more and more in proportion as he became acquainted with them. In him this unfavourable opinion of human nature was justified by many glaring examples of baseness, and he used frequently to repeat, "There are two levers for moving men,—interest and fear." What respect, indeed, could Bonaparte entertain for the applicants to the treasury of the opera? Into this treasury the gaming-houses paid a considerable sum, part of which went to cover the expenses of that magnificent theatre. The rest was distributed in secret gratuities, which were paid on orders signed by Duroc. Individuals of very different characters were often seen catching the little door in the Rue Rameau. The lady who was for a while the favourite of the General-in-Chief in Egypt, and whose husband was maliciously sent back-by the English, was a frequent visitor to the treasury. On an occasion would be seen assembled there a distinguished scholar and an actor, a celebrated orator and a musician; on another, the treasurer would have payments to make to a priest, a courtesan, and a cardinal.
One of Bonaparte's greatest misfortunes was, that he neither believed in friendship not felt the necessity of loving. How often have I heard him say, "Friendship is but a name; I love nobody. I do not even love my brothers. Perhaps Joseph, a little, from habit and because he is my elder; and Duroc, I love him too. But why? Because his character pleases me. He is stern and resolute; and I really believe the fellow never shed a tear. For my part, I know very well that I have no true friends. As long as I continue what I am, I may have as many pretended friends as I please. Leave sensibility to women; it is their business. But men should be firm in heart and in purpose, or they should have nothing to do with war or government."
In his social relations Bonaparte's temper was bad; but his fits of ill-humour passed away like a cloud, and spent themselves in words. His violent language and bitter imprecations were frequently premeditated. When he was going to reprimand any one he liked to have a witness present. He would then say the harshest things, and level blows against which few could bear up. But he never gave way to those violent ebullitions of rage until be acquired undoubted proofs of the misconduct of those against whom they were directed. In scenes of this sort I have frequently observed that the presence of a third person seemed to give him confidence. Consequently, in a 'tete-a-tete' interview, any one who knew his character, and who could maintain sufficient coolness and firmness, was sure to get the better of him. He told his friends at St. Helena that he admitted a third person on such occasions only that the blow might resound the farther. That was not his real motive, or the better way would have been to perform the scene in public. He had other reasons. I observed that he did not like a 'tete-a-tete'; and when he expected any one, he would say to me beforehand, "Bourrienne, you may remain;" and when any one was announced whom he did not expect, as a minister or a general; if I rose to retire he would say in a half-whisper, "Stay where you are." Certainly this was not done with the design of getting what he said reported abroad; for it belonged neither to my character nor my duty to gossip about what I had heard. Besides, it may be presumed, that the few who were admitted as witnesses to the conferences of Napoleon were aware of the consequences attending indiscreet disclosures under a Government which was made acquainted with all that was said and done.
Bonaparte entertained a profound dislike of the sanguinary men of the Revolution, and especially of the regicides. He felt, as a painful burden, the obligation of dissembling towards them. He spoke to me in terms of horror of those whole he celled the assassins of Louis XVI, and he was annoyed at the necessity of employing them and treating them with apparent respect. How many times has he not said to Cambaceres, pinching him by the ear, to soften, by that habitual familiarity, the bitterness of the remark, "My dear fellow, your case is clear; if ever the Bourbons come back you will be hanged!" A forced smile would then relax the livid countenance of Cambaceres, and was usually the only reply of the Second Consul, who, however, on one occasion said in my hearing, "Come, come, have done with this joking."
One thing which gave Bonaparte great pleasure when in the country was to see a tall, slender woman, dressed in white, walking beneath an alley of shaded trees. He detested coloured dresses, and especially dark ones. To fat women he had an invincible antipathy, and he could not endure the sight of a pregnant woman; it therefore rarely happened that a female in that situation was invited to his parties. He possessed every requisite for being what is called in society an agreeable man, except the will to be so. His manner was imposing rather than pleasing, and those who did not know him well experienced in his presence an involuntary feeling of awe. In the drawing-room, where Josephine did the honours with so much grace and affability, all was gaiety and ease, and no one felt the presence of a superior; but on Bonaparte's entrance all was changed, and every eye was directed towards him, to read his humour in his countenance, whether he intended to be silent or talkative, dull or cheerful.
He often talked a great deal, and sometimes a little too much; but no one could tell a story in a more agreeable and interesting way. His conversation rarely turned on gay or humorous subjects, and never on trivial matters. He was so fond of argument that in the warmth of discussion it was easy to draw from him secrets which he was most anxious to conceal. Sometimes, in a small circle, he would amuse himself by relating stories of presentiments and apparitions. For this he always chose the twilight of evening, and he would prepare his hearers for what was coming by some solemn remark. On one occasion of this kind he said, in a very grave tone of voice, "When death strikes a person whom we love, and who is distant from us, a foreboding almost always denotes the event, and the dying person appears to us at the moment of his dissolution." He then immediately related the following anecdote: "A gentleman of the Court of Louis XIV. was in the gallery of Versailles at the time that the King was reading to his courtiers the bulletin of the battle of Friedlingen gained by Villars. Suddenly the gentleman saw, at the farther end of the gallery, the ghost of his son, who served under Villars. He exclaimed, 'My son is no more!' and next moment the King named him among the dead."
When travelling Bonaparte was particularly talkative. In the warmth of his conversation, which was always characterised by original and interesting idea, he sometimes dropped hints of his future views, or, at least, he said things which were calculated to disclose what he wished to conceal. I took the liberty of mentioning to him this indiscretion, and far from being offended, he acknowledged his mistake, adding that he was not aware he had gone so far. He frankly avowed this want of caution when at St. Helena.
When in good humour his usual tokens of kindness consisted in a little rap on the head or a slight pinch of the ear. In his most friendly conversations with those whom he admitted into his intimacy he would say, "You are a fool"—"a simpleton"—"a ninny"—"a blockhead." These, and a few other words of like import, enabled him to vary his catalogue of compliments; but he never employed them angrily, and the tone in which they were uttered sufficiently indicated that they were meant in kindness.
Bonaparte had many singular habits and tastes. Whenever he experienced any vexation, or when any unpleasant thought occupied his mind, he would hum something which was far from resembling a tune, for his voice was very unmusical. He would, at the same time, seat himself before the writing-table, and swing back in his chair so far that I have often been fearful of his falling.
He would then vent his ill-humour on the right arm of his chair, mutilating it with his penknife, which he seemed to keep for no other purpose. I always took care to keep good pens ready for him; for, as it was my business to decipher his writing, I had a strong interest in doing what I could to make it legible.
The sound of bells always produced in Bonaparte pleasurable sensations, which I could never account for. When we were at Malmaison, and walking in the alley leading to the plain of Ruel, how many times has the bell of the village church interrupted our most serious conversations!
He would stop, lest the noise of our footsteps should drown any portion of the delightful sound: He was almost angry with me because I did not experience the impressions he did. So powerful was the effect produced upon him by the sound of these bells that his voice would falter as he said, "Ah! that reminds me of the first years I spent at Brienne! I was then happy!" When the bells ceased he would resume the course of his speculations, carry himself into futurity, place a crown on his head; and dethrone kings.
Nowhere, except on the field of battle, did I ever see Bonaparte more happy than in the gardens of Malmaison. At the commencement of the Consulate we used to go there every Saturday evening, and stay the whole of Sunday, and sometimes Monday. Bonaparte used to spend a considerable part of his time in walking and superintending the improvements which he had ordered. At first he used to make excursions about the neighbourhood, but the reports of the police disturbed his natural confidence, and gave him reason to fear the attempts of concealed royalist partisans.
During the first four or five days that Bonaparte spent at Malmaison he amused himself after breakfast with calculating the revenue of that domain. According to his estimates it amounted to 8000 francs. "That is not bad!" said he; "but to live here would require au income of 30,000 livres!" I could not help smiling to see him seriously engaged in such a calculation.
Bonaparte had no faith in medicine. He spoke of it as an art entirely conjectural, and his opinion on this subject was fired and incontrovertible. His vigorous mind rejected all but demonstrative proofs.
He had little memory for proper name, words, or dates, but he had a wonderful recollection of facts and places. I recollect that, on going from Paris to Toulon, he pointed out to me ten places calculated for great battles, and he never forgot them. They were memoranda of his first youthful journeys.
Bonaparte was insensible to the charms of poetic harmony. He had not even sufficient ear to feel the rhythm, of poetry, and he never could recite a verse without violating the metre; yet the grand ideas of poetry charmed him. He absolutely worshipped Corneille; and, one day, after having witnessed a performance of 'Cinna', he said to me, "If a man like Corneille were living in my time I would make him my Prime Minister. It is not his poetry that I most admire; it is his powerful understanding, his vast knowledge of the human heart, and his profound policy!" At St. Helena he said that he would have made Corneille a prince; but at the time he spoke to me of Corneille he had no thought of making either princes or kings.
Gallantry to women was by no means a trait in Bonaparte's character. He seldom said anything agreeable to females, and he frequently addressed to them the rudest and most extraordinary remarks. To one he would say, "Heavens, how red your elbows are!" To another, "What an ugly headdress you have got!" At another time he would say, "Your dress is none of the cleanest..... Do you ever change your gown? I have seen you in that twenty times!" He showed no mercy to any who displeased him on these points. He often gave Josephine directions about her toilet, and the exquisite taste for which she was distinguished might have helped to make him fastidious about the costume of other ladies. At first he looked to elegance above all things: at a later period he admired luxury and splendour, but he always required modesty. He frequently expressed his disapproval of the low-necked dresses which were so much in fashion at the beginning of the Consulate.
Bonaparte did not love cards, and this was very fortunate for those who were invited to his parties; for when he was seated at a card-table, as he sometimes thought himself obliged to be, nothing could exceed the dulness of the drawing-room either at the Luxembourg or the Tuileries. When, on the contrary, he walked about among the company, all were pleased, for he usually spoke to everybody, though he preferred the conversation of men of science, especially those who had been with him in in Egypt; as for example, Monge and Berthollet. He also liked to talk with Chaptal and Lacphede, and with Lemercier, the author of 'Agamemnon'.
Bonaparte was seen to less advantage in a drawing-room than at the head of his troops. His military uniform became him much better than the handsomest dress of any other kind. His first trials of dress-coats were unfortunate. I have been informed that the first time he wore one he kept on his black cravat. This incongruity was remarked to him, and he replied, "So much the better; it leaves me something of a military air, and there is no harm in that." For my own part, I neither saw the black cravat nor heard this reply.
The First Consul paid his own private bills very punctually; but he was always tardy in settling the accounts of the contractors who bargained with Ministers for supplies for the public service. He put off these payments by all sorts of excuses and shufflings. Hence arose immense arrears in the expenditure, and the necessity of appointing a committee of liquidation. In his opinion the terms contractor and rogue were synonymous. All that he avoided paying them he regarded as a just restitution to himself; and all the sums which were struck off from their accounts he regarded as so much deducted from a theft. The less a Minister paid out of his budget the more Bonaparte was pleased with him; and this ruinous system of economy can alone explain the credit which Decres so long enjoyed at the expense of the French navy.
On the subject of religion Bonaparte's ideas were very vague. "My reason," said he, "makes me incredulous respecting many things; but the impressions of my childhood and early youth throw me into uncertainty." He was very fond of talking of religion. In Italy, in Egypt, and on board the 'Orient' and the 'Muiron', I have known him to take part in very animated conversations on this subject.
He readily yielded up all that was proved against religion as the work of men and time: but he would not hear of materialism. I recollect that one fine night, when he was on deck with some persons who were arguing in favour of materialism, Bonaparte raised his hand to heaven and, pointing to the stars, said, "You may talk as long as you please, gentlemen, but who made all that?" The perpetuity of a name in the memory of man was to him the immortality of the soul. He was perfectly tolerant towards every variety of religious faith.
Among Bonaparte's singular habits was that of seating himself on any table which happened to be of a suitable height for him. He would often sit on mine, resting his left arm on my right shoulder, and swinging his left leg, which did not reach the ground; and while he dictated to me he would jolt the table so that I could scarcely write.
Bonaparte had a great dislike to reconsider any decision, even when it was acknowledged to be unjust. In little as well as in great things he evinced his repugnance to retrograde. An instance of this occurred in the affair of General Latour-Foissac. The First Consul felt how much he had wronged that general; but he wished some time to elapse before he repaired his error. His heart and his conduct were at variance; but his feelings were overcome by what he conceived to be political necessity. Bonaparte was never known to say, "I have done wrong:" his usual observation was, "I begin to think there is something wrong."
In spite of this sort of feeling, which was more worthy of an ill-humoured philosopher than the head of a government, Bonaparte was neither malignant nor vindictive. I cannot certainly defend him against all the reproaches which he incurred through the imperious law of war and cruel necessity; but I may say that he has often been unjustly accused. None but those who are blinded by fury will call him a Nero or a Caligula. I think I have avowed his faults with sufficient candour to entitle me to credit when I speak in his commendation; and I declare that, out of the field of battle, Bonaparte had a kind and feeling heart. He was very fond of children, a trait which seldom distinguishes a bad man. In the relations of private life to call him amiable would not be using too strong a word, and he was very indulgent to the weakness of human nature. The contrary opinion is too firmly fixed in some minds for me to hope to root it out. I shall, I fear, have contradictors, but I address myself to those who look for truth. To judge impartially we must take into account the influence which time and circumstances exercise on men; and distinguish between the different characters of the Collegian, the General, the Consul, and the Emperor.
Bonaparte's laws—Suppression of the festival of the 21st of January—Officials visits—The Temple—Louis XVI. and Sir Sidney Smith—Peculation during the Directory—Loan raised—Modest budget —The Consul and the Member of the Institute—The figure of the Republic—Duroc's missions—The King of Prussia—The Emperor Alesander—General Latour-Foisac—Arbitrary decree—Company of players for Egypt—Singular ideas respecting literary property— The preparatory Consulate—The journals—Sabres and muskets of honour—The First Consul and his Comrade—The bust of Brutus— Statues in the gallery of the Tuileries—Sections of the Council of State—Costumes of public functionaries—Masquerades—The opera-balls—Recall of the exiles.
It is not my purpose to say much about the laws, decrees, and 'Senatus-Consultes', which the First Consul either passed, or caused to be passed, after his accession to power, what were they all, with the exception of the Civil Code? The legislative reveries of the different men who have from time to time ruled France form an immense labyrinth, in which chicanery bewilders reason and common sense; and they would long since have been buried in oblivion had they not occasionally served to authorise injustice. I cannot, however, pass over unnoticed the happy effect produced in Paris, and throughout the whole of France, by some of the first decisions of the Consuls. Perhaps none but those who witnessed the state of society during the reign of Terror can fully appreciate the satisfaction which the first steps towards the restoration of social order produced in the breasts of all honest men. The Directory, more base and not less perverse than the Convention, had retained the horrible 21st of January among the festivals of the Republic. One of Bonaparte's first ideas on attaining the possession of power was to abolish this; but such was the ascendency of the abettors of the fearful event that he could not venture on a straightforward course. He and his two colleagues, who were Sieyes and Roger Ducos, signed, on the 5th Nivose, a decree, setting forth that in future the only festivals to be celebrated by the Republic were the 1st Vendemiaire and the 14th of July, intending by this means to consecrate provisionally the recollection of the foundation of the Republic and of liberty.
All was calculation with Bonaparte. To produce effect was his highest gratification. Thus he let slip no opportunity of saying or doing things which were calculated to dazzle the multitude. While at the Luxembourg, he went sometimes accompanied by his 'aides de camp' and sometimes by a Minister, to pay certain official visits. I did not accompany him on these occasions; but almost always either on his return, after dinner, or in the evening, he related to me what he had done and said. He congratulated himself on having paid a visit to Daubenton, at the Jardin des Plantes, and talked with great self-complacency of the distinguished way in which he had treated the contemporary of Buffon.
On the 24th Brumaire he visited the prisons. He liked to make these visits unexpectedly, and to take the governors of the different public establishments by surprise; so that, having no time to make their preparations, he might see things as they really were. I was in his cabinet when he returned, for I had a great deal of business to go through in his absence. As he entered he exclaimed, "What brutes these Directors are! To what a state they have brought our public establishments! But, stay a little! I will put all in order. The prisons are in a shockingly unwholesome state, and the prisoners miserably fed. I questioned them, and I questioned the jailers, for nothing is to be learned from the superiors. They, of course, always speak well of their own work! When I was in the Temple I could not help thinking of the unfortunate Louis XVI. He was an excellent man, but too amiable, too gentle for the times. He knew not how to deal with mankind! And Sir Sidney Smith! I made them show me his apartment. If the fools had not let him escape I should have taken St. Jean d'Acre! There are too many painful recollections connected with that prison! I will certainly have it pulled down some day or other! What do you think I did at the Temple? I ordered the jailers' books to be brought to me, and finding that some hostages were still in confinement I liberated them. 'An unjust law,' said I, 'has deprived you of liberty; my first duty is to restore it to you.' 'Was not this well done, Bourrienne?' As I was, no less than Bonaparte himself, an enemy to the revolutionary laws, I congratulated him sincerely; and he was very sensible to my approbation, for I was not accustomed to greet him with "Good; very good," on all occasions. It is true, knowing his character as I did, I avoided saying anything that was calculated to offend him; but when I said nothing, he knew very well how to construe my silence. Had I flattered him I should have continued longer in favour.
Bonaparte always spoke angrily of the Directors he had turned off. Their incapacity disgusted and astonished him. "What simpletons! what a government!" he would frequently exclaim when he looked into the measures of the Directory. "Bourrienne," said he, "can you imagine anything more pitiable than their system of finance? Can it for a moment be doubted that the principal agents of authority daily committed the most fraudulent peculations? What venality! what disorder! what wastefulness! everything put up for sale: places, provisions, clothing, and military, all were disposed of. Have they not actually consumed 75,000,000 in advance? And then, think of all the scandalous fortunes accumulated, all the malversations! But are there no means of making them refund? We shall see."
In these first moments of poverty it was found necessary to raise a loan, for the funds of M. Collot did not last long, and 12,000,000 were advanced by the different bankers of Paris, who, I believe, were paid by bills of the receivers-general, the discount of which then amounted to about 33 per cent. The salaries of the first offices were not very considerable, and did not amount to anything like the exorbitant stipends of the Empire.
Bonaparte's salary was fixed at 500,000 francs. What a contrast to the 300,000,000 in gold which were reported to have been concealed in 1811 in the cellars of the Tuileries!
In mentioning Bonaparte's nomination to the Institute, and his affectation in putting at the head of his proclamation his title of member of that learned body before that of General-in-Chief, I omitted to state what value he really attached to that title. The truth is that; when young and ambitious, he was pleased with the proffered title, which he thought would raise him in public estimation. How often have we laughed together when he weighed the value of his scientific titles! Bonaparte, to be sure, knew something of mathematics, a good deal of history, and, I need not add, possessed extraordinary military talent; but he was nevertheless a useless member of the Institute.
On his return from Egypt he began to grow weary of a title which gave him so many colleagues. "Do you not think," said he one day to me, "that there is something mean and humiliating in the words, 'I have the honour to be, my dear Colleague'! I am tired of it!" Generally speaking, all phrases which indicated equality displeased him. It will be recollected how gratified he was that I did not address him in the second person singular on our meeting at Leoben, and also what befell M. de Cominges at Bale because he did not observe the same precaution.
The figure of the Republic seated and holding a spear in her hand, which at the commencement of the Consulate was stamped on official letters, was speedily abolished. Happy would it have been if Liberty herself had not suffered the same treatment as her emblem! The title of First Consul made him despise that of Member of the Institute. He no longer entertained the least predilection for that learned body, and subsequently he regarded it with much suspicion. It was a body, an authorised assembly; these were reasons sufficient for him to take umbrage at it, and he never concealed his dislike of all bodies possessing the privilege of meeting and deliberating.
While we were at the Luxembourg Bonaparte despatched Duroc on a special mission to the King of Prussia. This happened, I think, at the very beginning of the year 1800. He selected Duroc because he was a man of good education and agreeable manners, and one who could express himself with elegance and reserve, qualities not often met with at that period. Duroc had been with us in Italy, in Egypt, and on board the 'Muiron', and the Consul easily guessed that the King of Prussia would be delighted to hear from an eye-witness the events of Bonaparte's campaigns, especially the siege of St. Jean d'Acre, and the scenes which took place during the months of March and May at Jaffa. Besides, the First Consul considered it indispensable that such circumstantial details should be given in a way to leave no doubt of their correctness. His intentions were fully realised; for Duroc told me, on his return, that nearly the whole of the conversation he had with the King turned upon St. Jean d'Acre and Jaffa. He stayed nearly two whole hours with his Majesty, who, the day after, gave him an invitation to dinner. When this intelligence arrived at the Luxembourg I could perceive that the Chief of the Republic was flattered that one of his aides de camp should have sat at table with a King, who some years after was doomed to wait for him in his antechamber at Tilsit.
Duroc never spoke on politics to the King of Prussia, which was very fortunate, for, considering his age and the exclusively military life he had led, he could scarcely have been expected to avoid blunders. Some time later, after the death of Paul I., he was sent to congratulate Alexander on his accession to the throne. Bonaparte's design in thus making choice of Duroc was to introduce to the Courts of Europe, by confidential missions, a young man to whom he was much attached, and also to bring him forward in France. Duroc went on his third mission to Berlin after the war broke out with Austria. He often wrote to me, and his letters convinced me how much he had improved himself within a short time.
Another circumstance which happened at the commencement of the Consulate affords an example of Bonaparte's inflexibility when he had once formed a determination. In the spring of 1799, when we were in Egypt, the Directory gave to General Latour-Foissac, a highly distinguished officer, the command of Mantua, the taking of which had so powerfully contributed to the glory of the conqueror of Italy. Shortly after Latour's appointment to this important post the Austrians besieged Mantua. It was welt known that the garrison was supplied with provisions and ammunition for a long resistance; yet, in the month of July it surrendered to the Austrians. The act of capitulation contained a curious article, viz. "General Latour-Foissac and his staff shall be conducted as prisoners to Austria; the garrison shall be allowed to return to France." This distinction between the general and the troops entrusted to his command, and at the same time the prompt surrender of Mantua, were circumstances which, it must be confessed, were calculated to excite suspicions of Latour-Foissac. The consequence was, when Bernadotte was made War Minister he ordered an inquiry into the general's conduct by a court-martial. Latour-Foissac had no sooner returned to France than he published a justificatory memorial, in which he showed the impossibility of his having made a longer defence when he was in want of many objects of the first necessity.
Such was the state of the affair on Bonaparte's elevation to the Consular power. The loss of Mantua, the possession of which had cost him so many sacrifices, roused his indignation to so high a pitch that whenever the subject was mentioned he could find no words to express his rage. He stopped the investigation of the court-martial, and issued a violent decree against Latour-Foissac even before his culpability had been proved. This proceeding occasioned much discussion, and was very dissatisfactory to many general officers, who, by this arbitrary decision, found themselves in danger of forfeiting the privilege of being tried by their natural judges whenever they happened to displease the First Consul. For my own part, I must say that this decree against Latour-Foissac was one which I saw issued with considerable regret. I was alarmed for the consequences. After the lapse of a few days I ventured to point out to him the undue severity of the step he had taken; I reminded him of all that had been said in Latour-Foissac's favour, and tried to convince him how much more just it would be to allow the trial to come to a conclusion. "In a country," said I, "like France, where the point of honour stands above every thing, it is impossible Foissac can escape condemnation if he be culpable."—"Perhaps you are right, Bourrienne," rejoined he; "but the blow is struck; the decree is issued. I have given the same explanation to every one; but I cannot so suddenly retrace my steps. To retro-grade is to be lost. I cannot acknowledge myself in the wrong. By and by we shall see what can be done. Time will bring lenity and pardon. At present it would be premature." Such, word for word, was Bonaparte's reply. If with this be compared what he said on the subject at St. Helena it will be found that his ideas continued nearly unchanged; the only difference is that, instead of the impetuosity of 1800, he expressed himself with the calmness which time and adversity naturally produce.
—["It was," says the 'Memorial of St. Helena', "an illegal and tyrannical act, but still it was a necessary evil. It was the fault of the law. He was a hundred, nay, a thousand fold guilty, and yet it was doubtful whether he would be condemned. We therefore assailed him with the shafts of honour and public opinion. Yet I repeat it was a tyrannical act, and one of those violent measures which are at times necessary in great nations and in extraordinary circumstances."]—
Bonaparte, as I have before observed, loved contrasts; and I remember at the very time he was acting so violently against Latour-Foissac he condescended to busy himself about a company of players which he wished to send to Egypt, or rather that he pretended to wish to send there, because the announcement of such a project conveyed an impression of the prosperous condition of our Oriental colony. The Consuls gravely appointed the Minister of the Interior to execute this business, and the Minister in his turn delegated his powers to Florence, the actor. In their instructions to the Minister the Consuls observed that it would be advisable to include some female dancers in the company; a suggestion which corresponds with Bonaparte's note, in which were specified all that he considered necessary for the Egyptian expedition.
The First Consul entertained singular notions respecting literary property. On his hearing that a piece, entitled 'Misanthropie et Repentir', had been brought out at the Odeon, he said to me, "Bourrienne, you have been robbed."—"I, General? how?"—"You have been robbed, I tell you, and they are now acting your piece." I have already mentioned that during my stay at Warsaw I amused myself with translating a celebrated play of Kotzebue. While we were in Italy I lent Bonaparte my translation to read, and he expressed himself much pleased with it. He greatly admired the piece, and often went to see it acted at the Odeon. On his return he invariably gave me fresh reasons for my claiming what he was pleased to call my property. I represented to him that the translation of a foreign work belonged to any one who chose to execute it. He would not, however, give up his point, and I was obliged to assure him that my occupations in his service left me no time to engage in a literary lawsuit. He then exacted a promise from me to translate Goethe's 'Werther'. I told him it was already done, though indifferently, and that I could not possibly devote to the subject the time it merited. I read over to him one of the letters I had translated into French, and which he seemed to approve.
That interval of the Consular Government during which Bonaparte remained at the Luxembourg may be called the preparatory Consulate. Then were sown the seeds of the great events which he meditated, and of those institutions with which he wished to mark his possession of power. He was then, if I may use the expression, two individuals in one: the Republican general, who was obliged to appear the advocate of liberty and the principles of the Revolution; and the votary of ambition, secretly plotting the downfall of that liberty and those principles.
I often wondered at the consummate address with which he contrived to deceive those who were likely to see through his designs. This hypocrisy, which some, perhaps, may call profound policy, was indispensable to the accomplishment of his projects; and sometimes, as if to keep himself in practice, he would do it in matters of secondary importance. For example, his opinion of the insatiable avarice of Sieyes is well known; yet when he proposed, in his message to the Council of Ancients, to give his colleague, under the title of national recompense, the price of his obedient secession, it was, in the words of the message, a recompense worthily bestowed on his disinterested virtues.
While at the Luxembourg Bonaparte showed, by a Consular act, his hatred of the liberty of the press above all liberties, for he loved none. On the 27th Nivose the Consuls, or rather the First Consul, published a decree, the real object of which was evidently contrary to its implied object.
This decree stated that:
The Consuls of the Republic, considering that some of the journals printed at Paris are instruments in the hands of the enemies of the Republic, over the safety of which the Government is specially entrusted by the people of France to watch, decree—
That the Minister of Police shall, during the continuation of the war, allow only the following journals to be printed and published, viz. (list of 20 publications)
.....and those papers which are exclusively devoted to science, art, literature, commerce, and advertisements.
Surely this decree may well be considered as preparatory; and the fragment I have quoted may serve as a standard for measuring the greater part of those acts by which Bonaparte sought to gain, for the consolidation of his power, what he seemed to be seeking solely for the interest of the friends of the Republic. The limitation to the period of the continuance of the war had also a certain provisional air which afforded hope for the future. But everything provisional is, in its nature, very elastic; and Bonaparte knew how to draw it out ad infinitum. The decree, moreover, enacted that if any of the uncondemned journals should insert articles against the sovereignty of the people they would be immediately suppressed. In truth, great indulgence was shown on this point, even after the Emperor's coronation.
The presentation of swords and muskets of honour also originated at the Luxembourg; and this practice was, without doubt, a preparatory step to the foundation of the Legion of Honour.
—["Armes d'honneur," decreed 25th December 1799. Muskets for infantry, carbines for cavalry, grenades for artillery, swords for the officers. Gouvion St. Cyr received the first sword (Thiers, tome i. p. 126).]—
A grenadier sergeant, named Leon Aune, who had been included in the first distribution, easily obtained permission to write to the First Consul to thank him. Bonaparte, wishing to answer him in his own name, dictated to me the following letter for Aune:—
I have received your letter, my brave comrade. You needed not to have told me of your exploits, for you are the bravest grenadier in the whole army since the death of Benezete. You received one of the hundred sabres I distributed to the army, and all agreed you most deserved it.
I wish very much again to see you. The War Minister sends you an order to come to Paris.
This wheedling wonderfully favoured Bonaparte's designs. His letter to Aune could not fail to be circulated through the army. A sergeant called my brave comrade by the First Consul—the First General of France! Who but a thorough Republican, the stanch friend of equality, would have done this? This was enough to wind up the enthusiasm of the army. At the same time it must be confessed that Bonaparte began to find the Luxembourg too little for him, and preparations were set on foot at the Tuileries.
Still this great step towards the re-establishment of the monarchy was to be cautiously prepared. It was important to do away with the idea that none but a king could occupy the palace of our ancient kings. What was to be done? A very fine bust of Brutus had been brought from Italy. Brutus was the destroyer of tyrants! This was the very thing; and David was commissioned to place it in a gallery of the Tuileries. Could there be a greater proof of the Consul's horror of tyranny?
To sleep at the Tuileries, in the bedchamber of the kings of France, was all that Bonaparte wanted; the rest would follow in due course. He was willing to be satisfied with establishing a principle the consequences of which were to be afterwards deduced. Hence the affectation of never inserting in official acts the name of the Tuileries, but designating that place as the Palace of the Government. The first preparations were modest, for it did not become a good Republican to be fond of pomp. Accordingly Lecomte, who was at that time architect of the Tuileries, merely received orders to clean the Palace, an expression which might bear more than one meaning, after the meetings which had been there. For this purpose the sum of 500,000 francs was sufficient. Bonaparte's drift was to conceal, as far as possible, the importance he attached to the change of his Consular domicile. But little expense was requisite for fitting up apartments for the First Consul. Simple ornaments, such as marbles and statues, were to decorate the Palace of the Government.
Nothing escaped Bonaparte's consideration. Thus it was not merely at hazard that he selected the statues of great men to adorn the gallery of the Tuileries. Among the Greeks he made choice of Demosthenes and Alesander, thus rendering homage at once to the genius of eloquence and the genius of victory. The statue of Hannibal was intended to recall the memory of Rome's most formidable enemy; and Rome herself was represented in the Consular Palace by the statues of Scipio, Cicero, Cato, Brutus and Caesar—the victor and the immolator being placed side by side. Among the great men of modern times he gave the first place to Gustavus Adolphus, and the next to Turenne and the great Conde, to Turenne in honour of his military talent, and to Conde to prove that there was nothing fearful in the recollection of a Bourbon. The remembrance of the glorious days of the French navy was revived by the statue of Duguai Trouin. Marlborough and Prince Eugene had also their places in the gallery, as if to attest the disasters which marked the close of the great reign; and Marshal Sage, to show that Louis XV.'s reign was not without its glory. The statues of Frederick and Washington were emblematic of false philosophy on a throne and true wisdom founding a free state. Finally, the names of Dugommier, Dampierre, and Joubert were intended to bear evidence of the high esteem which Bonaparte cherished for his old comrades,—those illustrious victims to a cause which had now ceased to be his.
The reader has already been informed of the attempts made by Bonaparte to induce England and Austria to negotiate with the Consular Government, which the King of Prussia was the first of the sovereigns of Europe to recognise. These attempts having proved unavailing, it became necessary to carry on the war with renewed vigour, and also to explain why the peace, which had been promised at the beginning of the Consulate, was still nothing but a promise. In fulfilment of these two objects Bonaparte addressed an energetic proclamation to the armies, which was remarkable for not being followed by the usual sacred words, "Vive la Republique!"
At the same time Bonaparte completed the formation of the Council of State, and divided it into five sections:—(1) The Interior; (2) Finance; (3) Marine; (4) The War Department; (5) Legislation. He fixed the salaries of the Councillors of the State at 25,000 francs, and that of the Precedents of Sections at 30,000. He settled the costume of the Consuls, the Ministers, and the different bodies of the State. This led to the re-introduction of velvet, which had been banished with the old regime, and the encouragement of the manufactures of Lyons was the reason alleged for employing this un-republican article in the different dresses, each as those of the Consuls and Ministers. It was Bonaparte's constant: aim to efface the Republic, even in the utmost trifles, and to prepare matters so well that the customs and habits of monarchy being restored, there should only then remain a word to be changed.
I never remember to have seen Bonaparte in the Consular dress, which he detested, and which he wore only because duty required him to do so at public ceremonies. The only dress he was fond of, and in which he felt at ease, was that in which he subjugated the ancient Eridanus and the Nile, namely, the uniform of the Guides, to which corps Bonaparte was always sincerely attached.
The masquerade of official dresses was not the only one which Bonaparte summoned to the aid of his policy. At that period of the year VIII. which corresponded with the carnival of 1800, masques began to be resumed at Paris. Disguises were all the fashion, and Bonaparte favoured the revival of old amusements; first, because they were old, and next, because they were, the means of diverting the attention of the people: for, as he had established the principle that on the field of battle it is necessary to divide the enemy in order to beat him, he conceived it no less advisable to divert the people in order to enslave them. Bonaparte did not say 'panem et circenses', for I believe his knowledge of Latin did not extend even to that well-known phrase of Juvenal, but he put the maxim in practice. He accordingly authorised the revival of balls at the opera, which they who lived during that period of the Consulate know was an important event in Paris. Some gladly viewed it as a little conquest in favour of the old regime; and others, who for that very reason disapproved it, were too shallow to understand the influence of little over great things. The women and the young men did not bestow a thought on the subject, but yielded willingly to the attractions of pleasure. Bonaparte, who was delighted at having provided a diversion for the gossiping of the Parisian salons, said to me one day, "While they are chatting about all this, they do not babble upon politics, and that is what I want. Let them dance and amuse themselves as long as they do not thrust their noses into the Councils of the Government; besides, Bourrienne," added he, "I have other reasons for encouraging this, I see other advantages in it. Trade is languishing; Fouche tells me that there are great complaints. This will set a little money in circulation; besides, I am on my guard about the Jacobins. Everything is not bad, because it is not new. I prefer the opera-balls to the saturnalia of the Goddess of Reason. I was never so enthusiastically applauded as at the last parade."
A Consular decision of a different and more important nature had, shortly before, namely, at the commencement of Nivose, brought happiness to many families. Bonaparte, as every one knows, had prepared the events of the 18th Fructidor that he might have some plausible reasons for overthrowing the Directors. The Directory being overthrown, he was now anxious, at least in part, to undo what he had done on the 18th Fructidor. He therefore ordered a report on the persons exiled to be presented to him by the Minister of Police. In consequence of this report he authorised forty of them to return to France, placing them under the observation of the Police Minister, and assigning them their place of residence. However, they did not long remain under these restrictions, and many of them were soon called to fill high places in the Government. It was indeed natural that Bonaparte, still wishing, at least in appearance, to found his government on those principles of moderate republicanism which had caused their exile, should invite them to second his views.
Barrere wrote a justificatory letter to the First Consul, who, however, took no notice of it, for he could not get so far as to favour Barrere. Thus did Bonaparte receive into the Councils of the Consulate the men who had been exiled by the Directory, just as he afterwards appointed the emigrants and those exiles of the Revolution to high offices under the Empire. The time and the men alone differed; the intention in both cases was the same.
Bonaparte and Paul I.—Lord Whitworth—Baron Sprengporten's arrival at Paris—Paul's admiration of Bonaparte—Their close connection and correspondence—The royal challenge—General Mack—The road to Malmaison—Attempts at assassination—Death of Washington—National mourning—Ambitious calculation—M. de Fontanel, the skilful orator —Fete at the Temple of Mars—Murat's marriage with Caroline Bonaparte—Madame Bonaparte's pearls.
The first communications between Bonaparte and Paul I. commenced a short time after his accession to the Consulate. Affairs then began to look a little less unfavourable for France; already vague reports from Switzerland and the banks of the Rhine indicated a coldness existing between the Russians and the Austrians; and at the same time, symptoms of a misunderstanding between the Courts of London and St. Petersburg began to be perceptible. The First Consul, having in the meantime discovered the chivalrous and somewhat eccentric character of Paul I., thought the moment a propitious one to attempt breaking the bonds which united Russia and England. He was not the man to allow so fine an opportunity to pass, and he took advantage of it with his usual sagacity. The English had some time before refused to include in a cartel for the exchange of prisoners 7000 Russians taken in Holland. Bonaparte ordered them all to be armed, and clothed in new uniforms appropriate to the corps to which they had belonged, and sent them back to Russia, without ransom, without exchange, or any condition whatever. This judicious munificence was not thrown away. Paul I. showed himself deeply sensible of it, and closely allied as he had lately been with England, he now, all at once, declared himself her enemy. This triumph of policy delighted the First Consul.
Thenceforth the Consul and the Czar became the best friends possible. They strove to outdo each other in professions of friendship; and it may be believed that Bonaparte did not fail to turn this contest of politeness to his own advantage. He so well worked upon the mind of Paul that he succeeded in obtaining a direct influence over the Cabinet of St. Petersburg.
Lord Whitworth, at that time the English ambassador in Russia, was ordered to quit the capital without delay, and to retire to Riga, which then became the focus of the intrigues of the north which ended in the death of Paul. The English ships were seized in all the ports, and, at the pressing instance of the Czar, a Prussian army menaced Hanover. Bonaparte lost no time, and, profiting by the friendship manifested towards him by the inheritor of Catherine's power, determined to make that friendship subservient to the execution of the vast plan which he had long conceived: he meant to undertake an expedition by land against the English colonies in the East Indies.
The arrival of Baron Sprengporten at Paris caused great satisfaction among the partisans of the Consular Government, that is to say, almost every one in Paris. M. Sprengporten was a native of Swedish Finland. He had been appointed by Catherine chamberlain and lieutenant-general of her forces, and he was not less in favour with Paul, who treated him in the most distinguished manner. He came on an extraordinary mission, being ostensibly clothed with the title of plenipotentiary, and at the same time appointed confidential Minister to the Consul. Bonaparte was extremely satisfied with the ambassador whom Paul had selected, and with the manner in, which he described the Emperor's gratitude for the generous conduct of the First Consul. M. Sprengporten did not conceal the extent of Paul's dissatisfaction with his allies. The bad issue, he said, of the war with France had already disposed the Czar to connect himself with that power, when the return of his troops at once determined him.
We could easily perceive that Paul placed great confidence in M. Sprengporten. As he had satisfactorily discharged the mission with which he had been entrusted, Paul expressed pleasure at his conduct in several friendly and flattering letters, which Sprengporten always allowed us to read. No one could be fonder of France than he was, and he ardently desired that his first negotiations might lead to a long alliance between the Russian and French Governments. The autograph and very frequent correspondence between Bonaparte and Paul passed through his hands. I read all Paul's letters, which were remarkable for the frankness with which his affection for Bonaparte was expressed. His admiration of the First Consul was so great that no courtier could have written in a more flattering manner.
This admiration was not feigned on the part of the Emperor of Russia: it was no less sincere than ardent, and of this he soon gave proofs. The violent hatred he had conceived towards the English Government induced him to defy to single combat every monarch who would not declare war against England and shut his ports against English ships. He inserted a challenge to the King of Denmark in the St. Petersburg Court Gazette; but not choosing to apply officially to the Senate of Hamburg to order its insertion in the 'Correspondant', conducted by M. Stoves, he sent the article, through Count Pahlen, to M. Schramm, a Hamburg merchant. The Count told M. Schramm that the Emperor would be much pleased to see the article of the St. Petersburg Court Gazette copied into the Correspondant; and that if it should be inserted, he wished to have a dozen copies of the paper printed on vellum, and sent to him by an extraordinary courier. It was Paul's intention to send a copy to every sovereign in Europe; but this piece of folly, after the manner of Charles XII., led to no further results.
Bonaparte never felt greater satisfaction in the-whole course of his life than he experienced from Paul's enthusiasm for him. The friendship of a sovereign seemed to him a step by which he was to become a sovereign himself. At the same time the affairs of La Vendee began to assume a better aspect, and he hoped soon to effect that pacification in the interior which he so ardently desired.
It was during the First Consul's residence at the Luxembourg that the first report on the civil code was made to the legislative body. It was then, also, that the regulations for the management of the Bank of France were adopted, and that establishment so necessary to France was founded.
There was at this time in Paris a man who has acquired an unfortunate celebrity, the most unlucky of modern generals—in a word, General Mack. I should not notice that person here were it not for the prophetic judgment which Bonaparte then pronounced on him. Mack had been obliged to surrender himself at Championnet some time before our landing at Frejus. He was received as a prisoner of war, and the town of Dijon had been appointed his place of residence, and there he remained until after the 18th Brumaire. Bonaparte, now Consul, permitted him to come to Paris, and to reside there on his parole. He applied for leave to go to Vienna, pledging himself to return again a prisoner to France if the Emperor Francis would not consent to exchange him for Generals Wrignon and Grouchy, then prisoners in Austria. His request was not granted, but his proposition was forwarded to Vienna. The Court of Vienna refused to accede to it, not placing perhaps so much importance on the deliverance of Mack as he had flattered himself it would.
Bonaparte speaking to me of him one day said, "Mack is a man of the lowest mediocrity I ever saw in my life; he is full of self-sufficiency and conceit, and believes himself equal to anything. He has no talent. I should like to see him opposed some day to one of our good generals; we should then see fine work. He is a boaster, and that is all. He is really one of the most silly men existing; and, besides all that, he is unlucky." Was not this opinion of Bonaparte, formed on the past, fully verified by the future?
It was at Malmaison that Bonaparte thus spoke of General Mack. That place was then far from resembling what it afterwards became, and the road to it was neither pleasant nor sure. There was not a house on the road; and in the evening, during the season when we were there, it was not frequented all the way from St. Germain. Those numerous vehicles, which the demands of luxury and an increasing population have created, did not then, as now, pass along the roads in the environs of Paris. Everywhere the road was solitary and dangerous; and I learned with certainty that many schemes were laid for carrying off the First Consul during one of his evening journeys. They were unsuccessful, and orders were given to enclose the quarries, which were too near to the road. On Saturday evening Bonaparte left the Luxembourg, and afterwards the Tuileries, to go to Malmaison, and I cannot better express the joy he then appeared to experience than by comparing it to the delight of a school-boy on getting a holiday.
Before removing from the Luxembourg to the Tuileries Bonaparte determined to dazzle the eyes of the Parisians by a splendid ceremony. He had appointed it to take place on the 'decadi', Pluviose 20 (9th February 1800), that is to say, ten days before his final departure from the old Directorial palace. These kinds of fetes did not resemble what they afterwards became; their attraction consisted in the splendour of military dress: and Bonaparte was always sure that whenever he mounted his horse, surrounded by a brilliant staff from which he was to be distinguished by the simplicity of his costume, his path would be crowded and himself greeted with acclamations by the people of Paris. The object of this fete was at first only to present to the 'Hotel des Invalides', their called the Temple of Mars, seventy-two flags taken from the Turks in the battle of Aboukir and brought from Egypt to Paris; but intelligence of Washington's death, who expired on the 14th of December 1799, having reached Bonaparte; he eagerly took advantage of that event to produce more effect, and mixed the mourning cypress with the laurels he had collected in Egypt.
Bonaparte did not feel much concerned at the death of Washington, that noble founder of rational freedom in the new world; but it afforded him an opportunity to mask his ambitious projects under the appearance of a love of liberty. In thus rendering honour to the memory of Washington everybody would suppose that Bonaparte intended to imitate his example, and that their two names would pass in conjunction from mouth to mouth. A clever orator might be employed, who, while pronouncing a eulogium on the dead, would contrive to bestow some praise on the living; and when the people were applauding his love of liberty he would find himself one step nearer the throne, on which his eyes were constantly fixed. When the proper time arrived, he would not fail to seize the crown; and would still cry, if necessary, "Vive la Liberte!" while placing it on his imperial head.
The skilful orator was found. M. de Fontanes
—[L. de Fontenes (1767-1821) became president of the Corps Legislatif, Senator, and Grand Master of the University. He was the centre of the literary group of the Empire,]—
was commissioned to pronounce the funeral eulogium on Washington, and the flowers of eloquence which he scattered about did not all fall on the hero of America.
Lannes was entrusted by Bonaparte with the presentation of the flags; and on the 20th Pluviose he proceeded, accompanied by strong detachments of the cavalry then in Paris, to the council-hall of the Invalides, where he was met by the Minister of War, who received the colours. All the Ministers, the councillors of, State, and generals were summoned to the presentation. Lannes pronounced a discourse, to which herthier replied, and M. de Fontanes added his well-managed eloquence to the plain military oratory of the two generals. In the interior of this military temple a statue of Mars sleeping had been placed, and from the pillars and roof were suspended the trophies of Denain, Fontenoy, and the campaign of Italy, which would still have decorated that edifice had not the demon of conquest possessed Bonaparte. Two Invalides, each said to be a hundred years old, stood beside the Minister of War; and the bust of the emancipator of America was placed under the trophy composed of the flags of Aboukir. In a word, recourse was had to every sort of charlatanism usual on such occasions. In the evening there was a numerous assembly at the Luxembourg, and Bonaparte took much credit to himself for the effect produced on this remarkable day. He had only to wait ten days for his removal to the Tuileries, and precisely on that day the national mourning for Washington was to cease, for which a general mourning for freedom might well have been substituted.
I have said very little about Murat in the course of these Memoirs except mentioning the brilliant part he performed in several battles. Having now arrived at the period of his marriage with one of Napoleon's sisters I take the opportunity of returning to the interesting events which preceded that alliance.
His fine and well-proportioned form, his great physical strength and somewhat refined elegance of manner,—the fire of his eye, and his fierce courage in battle, gave to Murat rather the character of one of those 'preux chevaliers' so well described by Ariosto and Taro, that, that a Republican soldier. The nobleness of his look soon made the lowness of his birth be forgotten. He was affable, polished, gallant; and in the field of battle twenty men headed by Murat were worth a whole regiment. Once only he showed himself under the influence of fear, and the reader shall see in what circumstance it was that he ceased to be himself.
—[Marshal Lannes, so brave and brilliant in war and so well able to appreciate courage, one day sharply rebuked a colonel for having punished a young officer just arrived from school at Fontainebleau because he gave evidence of fear in his first engagement. "Know, colonel," said he, "none but a poltroon (the term was oven more strong) will boast that he never was afraid."—Bourrienne.]—
When Bonaparte in his first Italian campaign had forced Wurmser to retreat into Mantua with 28,000 men, he directed Miollis, with only 4000 men, to oppose any sortie that might be attempted by the Austrian general. In one of these sorties Murat, who was at the head of a very weak detachment, was ordered to charge Wurmser. He was afraid, neglected to execute the order, and in a moment of confusion said that he was wounded. Murat immediately fell into disgrace with the General-in-Chief, whose 'aide de camp' he was.
Murat had been previously sent to Paris to present to the Directory the first colours taken by the French army of Italy in the actions of Dego and Mondovi, and it was on this occasion that he got acquainted with Madame Tallien and the wife of his General. But he already knew the beautiful Caroline Bonaparte, whom he had seen at Rome in the residence of her brother Joseph, who was then discharging the functions of ambassador of the Republic. It appears that Caroline was not even indifferent to him, and that he was the successful rival of the Princess Santa Croce's son, who eagerly sought the honour of her hand. Madame Tallien and Madame Bonaparte received with great kindness the first 'aide de camp', and as they possessed much influence with the Directory, they solicited, and easily obtained for him, the rank of brigadier-general. It was somewhat remarkable at that time Murat, notwithstanding his newly-acquired rank, to remain Bonaparte's 'aide de camp', the regulations not allowing a general-in-chief an 'aide de camp' of higher rank than chief of brigade, which was equal to that of colonel: This insignificant act was, therefore, rather a hasty anticipation of the prerogatives everywhere reserved to princes and kings.
It was after having discharged this commission that Murat, on his return to Italy, fell into disfavour with the General-in Chief. He indeed looked upon him with a sort of hostile feeling, and placed him in Reille's division, and afterwards Baragasy d'Hilliers'; consequently, when we went to Paris, after the treaty of Campo-Formio, Murat was not of the party. But as the ladies, with whom he was a great favourite, were not devoid of influence with the Minister of War, Murat was, by their interest, attached to the engineer corps in the expedition to Egypt. On board the Orient he remained in the most complete disgrace. Bonaparte did not address a word to him during the passage; and in Egypt the General-in-Chief always treated him with coldness, and often sent him from the headquarters on disagreeable services. However, the General-in-Chief having opposed him to Mourad Bey, Murat performed such prodigies of valour in every perilous encounter that he effaced the transitory stain which a momentary hesitation under the walls of Mantua had left on his character. Finally, Murat so powerfully contributed to the success of the day at Aboukir that Bonaparte, glad to be able to carry another laurel plucked in Egypt to France, forgot the fault which had made so unfavourable an impression, and was inclined to efface from his memory other things that he had heard to the disadvantage of Murat; for I have good reasons for believing, though Bonaparte never told me so, that Murat's name, as well as that of Charles, escaped from the lips of Junot when he made his indiscreet communication to Bonaparte at the walls of Messoudiah. The charge of grenadiers, commanded by Murat on the 19th Brumaire in the hall of the Five Hundred, dissipated all the remaining traces of dislike; and in those moments when Bonaparte's political views subdued every other sentiment of his mind, the rival of the Prince Santa Croce received the command of the Consular Guard.
—[Joachim Murat (1771-1616), the son of an innkeeper, aide de camp to Napoleon in Italy, etc.; Marshal, 1804; Prince in 1806; Grand Admiral; Grand Duc de Berg et de Clesves, 1808; King of Naples, 1808. Shot by Bourbons 13th October 1815. Married Caroline Bonaparte (third sister of Napoleon) 20th January 1600.]—
It may reasonably be supposed that Madame Bonaparte, in endeavouring to win the friendship of Murat by aiding his promotion, had in view to gain one partisan more to oppose to the family and brothers of Bonaparte; and of this kind of support she had much need. Their jealous hatred was displayed on every occasion; and the amiable Josephine, whose only fault was being too much of the woman, was continually tormented by sad presentiments. Carried away by the easiness of her character, she did not perceive that the coquetry which enlisted for her so many defenders also supplied her implacable enemies with weapons to use against her.
In this state of things Josephine, who was well convinced that she had attached Murat to herself by the bonds of friendship and gratitude, and ardently desired to see him united to Bonaparte by a family connection, favoured with all her influence his marriage with Caroline. She was not ignorant that a close intimacy had already sprung up at Milan between Caroline and Murat, and she was the first to propose a marriage. Murat hesitated, and went to consult M. Collot, who was a good adviser in all things, and whose intimacy with Bonaparte had initiated him into all the secrets of the family. M. Collot advised Murat to lose no time, but to go to the First Consul and formally demand the hand of his sister. Murat followed his advice. Did he do well? It was to this step that he owed the throne of Naples. If he had abstained he would not have been shot at Pizzo. 'Sed ipsi Dei fata rumpere non possunt!'
However that might be, Bonaparte received, more in the manner of a sovereign than of a brother in arms, the proposal of Murat. He heard him with unmoved gravity, said that he would consider the matter, but gave no positive answer.
This affair was, as may be supposed, the subject of conversation in the evening in the; salon of the Luxembourg. Madame Bonaparte employed all her powers of persuasion to obtain the First Consul's consent, and her efforts were seconded by Hortense, Eugene, and myself, "Murat," said he, among other things, "Murat is an innkeeper's son. In the elevated rank where glory and fortune have placed me, I never can mix his blood with mine! Besides, there is no hurry: I shall see by and by." We forcibly described to him the reciprocal affection of the two young people, and did not fail to bring to his observation Murat's devoted attachment to his person, his splendid courage and noble conduct in Egypt. "Yes," said he, with warmth, "I agree with you; Murat was superb at Aboukir." We did not allow so favourable a moment to pass by. We redoubled our entreaties, and at last he consented. When we were together in his cabinet in the evening, "Well; Bourrienne," said he to me, "you ought to be satisfied, and so am I, too, everything considered. Murat is suited to my sister, and then no one can say that I am proud, or seek grand alliances. If I had given my sister to a noble, all your Jacobins would have raised a cry of counter-revolution. Besides, I am very glad that my wife is interested in this marriage, and you may easily suppose the cause. Since it is determined on, I will hasten it forward; we have no time to lose. If I go to Italy I will take Murat with me. I must strike a decisive blow there. Adieu."
When I entered the First Consul's chamber at seven o'clock the next day he appeared even more satisfied than on the preceding evening with the resolution he had taken. I easily perceived that in spite of all his cunning, he had failed to discover the real motive which had induced Josephine to take so lively an interest respecting Murat's marriage with Caroline. Still Bonaparte's satisfaction plainly showed that his wife's eagerness for the marriage had removed all doubt in his mind of the falsity of the calumnious reports which had prevailed respecting her intimacy with Murat.
The marriage of Murat and Caroline was celebrated at the Luxembourg, but with great modesty. The First Consul did not yet think that his family affairs were affairs of state. But previously to the celebration a little comedy was enacted in which I was obliged to take a part, and I will relate how.
At the time of the marriage of Murat Bonaparte had not much money, and therefore only gave his sister a dowry of 30,000 francs. Still, thinking it necessary to make her a marriage present, and not possessing the means to purchase a suitable one, he took a diamond necklace which helonged to his wife and gave it to the bride. Josephine was not at all pleased with this robbery, and taxed her wits to discover some means of replacing her necklace.
Josephine was aware that the celebrated jeweler Foncier possessed a magnificent collection of fine pearls which had belonged, as he said, to the late Queen, Marie Antoinette. Having ordered them to be brought to her to examine them, she thought there were sufficient to make a very fine necklace. But to make the purchase 250,000 francs were required, and how to get them was the difficulty. Madame Bonaparte had recourse to Berthier, who was then Minister of War. Berthier, after, biting his nails according to his usual habit, set about the liquidation of the debts due for the hospital service in Italy with as much speed as possible; and as in those days the contractors whose claims were admitted overflowed with gratitude towards their patrons, through whom they obtained payment, the pearls soon passed from Foncier's shop to the casket of Madame Bonaparte.
The pearls being thus obtained, there was still another difficulty, which Madame Bonaparte did not at first think of. How was she to wear a necklace purchased without her husband's knowledge? Indeed it was the more difficult for her to do so as the First Consul knew very well that his wife had no money, and being, if I may be allowed the expression, something of the busybody, he knew, or believed he knew, all Josephine's jewels. The pearls were therefore condemned to remain more than a fortnight in Madame Bonaparte's casket without her daring to use them. What a punishment for a woman! At length her vanity overcame her prudence, and being unable to conceal the jewels any longer, she one day said to me, "Bourrienne, there is to be a large party here to-morrow, and I absolutely must wear my pearls. But you know he will grumble if he notices them. I beg, Bourrienne, that you will keep near me. If he asks me where I got my pearls I must tell him, without hesitation, that I have had them a long time."
Everything happened as Josephine feared and hoped.
Bonaparte, on seeing the pearls, did not fail to say to Madame, "What is it you have got there? How fine you are to-day! Where did you get these pearls? I think I never saw them before."—"Oh! 'mon Dieu'! you have seen them a dozen times! It is the necklace which the Cisalpine Republic gave me, and which I now wear in my hair."—"But I think—"—"Stay: ask Bourrienne, he will tell you."—"Well, Bourrienne, what do you say to it? Do you recollect the necklace?"—"Yes, General, I recollect very well seeing it before." This was not untrue, for Madame Bonaparte had previously shown me the pearls. Besides, she had received a pearl necklace from the Cisalpine Republic, but of incomparably less value than that purchased from Fancier. Josephine performed her part with charming dexterity, and I did not act amiss the character of accomplice assigned me in this little comedy. Bonaparte had no suspicions. When I saw the easy confidence with which Madame Bonaparte got through this scene, I could not help recollecting Suzanne's reflection on the readiness with which well-bred ladies can tell falsehoods without seeming to do so.
Police on police—False information—Dexterity of Fouche—Police agents deceived—Money ill applied—Inutility of political police— Bonaparte's opinion—General considerations—My appointment to the Prefecture of police.
Before taking up his quarters in the Tuileries the First Consul organised his secret police, which was intended, at the same time, to be the rival or check upon Fouche's police. Duroc and Moncey were at first the Director of this police; afterwards Davonst and Junot. Madame Bonaparte called this business a vile system of espionage. My remarks on the inutility of the measure were made in vain. Bonaparte had the weakness at once to fear Fouche and to think him necessary. Fouche, whose talents at this trade are too well known to need my approbation, soon discovered this secret institution, and the names of all the subaltern agents employed by the chief agents. It is difficult to form an idea of the nonsense, absurdity, and falsehood contained in the bulletins drawn up by the noble and ignoble agents of the police. I do not mean to enter into details on this nauseating subject; and I shall only trespass on the reader's patience by relating, though it be in anticipation, one fact which concerns myself, and which will prove that spies and their wretched reports cannot be too much distrusted.
During the second year of the Consulate we were established at Malmaison. Junot had a very large sum at his disposal for the secret police of the capital. He gave 3000 francs of it to a wretched manufacturer of bulletins; the remainder was expended on the police of his stable and his table. In reading one of these daily bulletins I saw the following lines:
"M. de Bourrienne went last night to Paris. He entered an hotel of the Faubourg St. Germain, Rue de Varenne, and there, in the course of a very animated discussion, he gave it to be understood that the First Consul wished to make himself King."
As it happens, I never had opened my mouth, either respecting what Bonaparte had said to me before we went to Egypt or respecting his other frequent conversations with me of the same nature, during this period of his Consulship. I may here observe, too, that I never quitted, nor ever could quit Malmaison for a moment. At any time, by night or day, I was subject to be called for by the First Consul, and, as very often was the case, it so happened that on the night in question he had dictated to me notes and instructions until three o'clock in the morning.
Junot came every day to Malmaison at eleven o'clock in the morning. I called him that day into my cabinet, when I happened to be alone. "Have you not read your bulletin?" said I, "Yes, I have."—"Nay, that is impossible."—"Why?"—"Because, if you had, you would have suppressed an absurd story which relates to me."—"Ah!" he replied, "I am sorry on your account, but I can depend on my agent, and I will not alter a word of his report." I then told him all that had taken place on that night; but he was obstinate, and went away unconvinced.
Every morning I placed all the papers which the First Consul had to read on his table, and among the, first was Junot's report. The First Consul entered and read it; on coming to the passage concerning me he began to smile.
"Have you read this bulletin?"—"yes, General."—"What an ass that Junot is! It is a long time since I have known that."—"How he allows himself to be entrapped! Is he still here?"—"I believe so. I have just seen him, and made observations to him, all in good part, but he would hear nothing."—"Tell him to come here." When Junot appeared Bonaparte began—"Imbecile that you are! how could you send me such reports as these? Do you not read them? How shall I be sure that you will not compromise other persons equally unjustly? I want positive facts, not inventions. It is some time since your agent displeased me; dismiss him directly." Junot wanted to justify himself, but Bonaparte cut him short—"Enough!—It is settled!"
I related what had passed to Fouche, who told me that, wishing to amuse himself at Junot's expense, whose police agents only picked up what they heard related in coffeehouses, gaming-houses, and the Bourse, he had given currency to this absurd story, which Junot had credited and reported, as he did many other foolish tales. Fouche often caught the police of the Palace in the snares he laid for them, and thus increased his own credit.
This circumstance, and others of the same nature, induced the First Consul to attach less importance than at first he had to his secret police, which seldom reported anything but false and silly stories. That wretched police! During the time I was with him it embittered his life, and often exasperated him against his wife, his relations, and friends.
—[Bourrienne, it must be remembered, was a sufferer from the vigilance of this police.]—
Rapp, who was as frank as he was brave, tells us in his Memoirs (p. 233) that when Napoleon, during his retreat from Moscow, while before Smolenski, heard of the attempt of Mallet, he could not get over the adventure of the Police Minister, Savary, and the Prefect of Police, Pasquier. "Napoleon," says Rapp, "was not surprised that these wretches (he means the agents of the police) who crowd the salons and the taverns, who insinuate themselves everywhere and obstruct everything, should not have found out the plot, but he could not understand the weakness of the Duc de Rovigo. The very police which professed to divine everything had let themselves be taken by surprise." The police possessed no foresight or faculty of prevention. Every silly thing that transpired was reported either from malice or stupidity. What was heard was misunderstood or distorted in the recital, so that the only result of the plan was mischief and confusion.
The police as a political engine is a dangerous thing. It foments and encourages more false conspiracies than it discovers or defeats real ones. Napoleon has related "that M. de la Rochefoucauld formed at Paris a conspiracy in favour of the King, then at Mittau, the first act of which was to be the death of the Chief of the Government: The plot being discovered, a trusty person belonging to the police was ordered to join it and become one of the most active agents. He brought letters of recommendation from an old gentleman in Lorraine who had held a distinguished rank in the army of Conde." After this, what more can be wanted? A hundred examples could not better show the vileness of such a system. Napoleon, when fallen, himself thus disclosed the scandalous means employed by his Government.
Napoleon on one occasion, in the Isle of Elba, said to an officer who was conversing with him about France, "You believe, then; that the police agents foresee everything and know everything? They invent more than they discover. Mine, I believe, was better than that they have got now, and yet it was often only by mere chance, the imprudence of the parties implicated, or the treachery of some of them, that something was discovered after a week or fortnight's exertion." Napoleon, in directing this officer to transmit letters to him under the cover of a commercial correspondence, to quiet his apprehensions that the correspondence might be discovered, said, "Do you think, then, that all letters are opened at the post office? They would never be able to do so. I have often endeavoured to discover what the correspondence was that passed under mercantile forms, but I never succeeded. The post office, like the police, catches only fools."
Since I am on the subject of political police, that leprosy of modern society, perhaps I may be allowed to overstep the order of time, and advert to its state even in the present day.
The Minister of Police, to give his prince a favourable idea of his activity, contrives great conspiracies, which he is pretty sure to discover in time, because he is their originator. The inferior agents, to find favour in the eyes of the Minister, contrive small plots. It would be difficult to mention a conspiracy which has been discovered, except when the police agents took part in it, or were its promoters. It is difficult to conceive how those agents can feed a little intrigue, the result at first, perhaps, of some petty ill-humour and discontent which, thanks to their skill, soon becomes a great affair. How many conspiracies have escaped the boasted activity and vigilance of the police when none of its agents were parties. I may instance Babeuf's conspiracy, the attempt at the camp at Grenelle, the 18th Brumaire, the infernal machine, Mallet, the 20th of March, the affair of Grenoble, and many others.
The political police, the result of the troubles of the Revolution, has survived them. The civil police for the security of property, health, and order, is only made a secondary object, and has been, therefore, neglected. There are times in which it is thought of more consequence to discover whether a citizen goes to mass or confession than to defeat the designs of a band of robbers. Such a state of things is unfortunate for a country; and the money expended on a system of superintendence over persons alleged to be suspected, in domestic inquisitions, in the corruption of the friends, relations, and servants of the man marked out for destruction might be much better employed. The espionage of opinion, created, as I have said, by the revolutionary troubles, is suspicious, restless, officious, inquisitorial, vexatious, and tyrannical. Indifferent to crimes and real offences, it is totally absorbed in the inquisition of thoughts. Who has not heard it said in company, to some one speaking warmly, "Be moderate, M——— is supposed to belong to the police." This police enthralled Bonaparte himself in its snares, and held him a long time under the influence of its power.
I have taken the liberty thus to speak of a scourge of society of which I have been a victim. What I here state may be relied on. I shall not speak of the week during which I had to discharge the functions of Prefect of Police, namely, from the 13th to the 20th of March 1816. It may well be supposed that though I had not held in abhorrence the infamous system which I have described, the important nature of the circumstances and the short period of my administration must have prevented me from making complete use of the means placed at my disposal. The dictates of discretion, which I consider myself bound to obey, forbid me giving proofs of what I advance. What it was necessary to do I accomplished without employing violent or vexatious means; and I can take on myself to assert that no one has cause to complain of me. Were I to publish the list of the persons I had orders to arrest, those of them who are yet living would be astonished that the only knowledge they had of my being the Prefect of Police was from the Moniteur. I obtained by mild measures, by persuasion, and reasoning what I could never have got by violence. I am not divulging any secrets of office, but I believe I am rendering a service to the public in pointing out what I have often observed while an unwilling confidant in the shameful manoeuvres of that political institution.
The word ideologue was often in Bonaparte's mouth; and in using it he endeavoured to throw ridicule on those men whom he fancied to have a tendency towards the doctrine of indefinite perfectibility. He esteemed them for their morality, yet he looked on them as dreamers seeking for the type of a universal constitution, and considering the character of man in the abstract only. The ideologues, according to him, looked for power in institutions; and that he called metaphysics. He had no idea of power except in direct force: All benevolent men who speculate on the amelioration of human society were regarded by Bonaparte as dangerous, because their maxims and principles were diametrically opposed to the harsh and arbitrary system he had adopted. He said that their hearts were better than their heads, and, far from wandering with them in abstractions, he always said that men were only to be governed by fear and interest. The free expression of opinion through the press has been always regarded by those who are not led away by interest or power as useful to society. But Bonaparte held the liberty of the press in the greatest horror; and so violent was his passion when anything was urged in its favour that he seemed to labour under a nervous attack. Great man as he was, he was sorely afraid of little paragraphs.
—[Joseph Bonaparte fairly enough remarks on this that such writings had done great harm in those extraordinary times (Erreurs, tome i, p. 259). Metternich, writing in 1827 with distrust of the proceedings of Louis XVIII., quotes, with approval, Napoleon's sentiments on this point. "Napoleon, who could not have been wanting in the feeling of power, said to me, 'You see me master of Prance; well, I would not, undertake to govern her for three months with liberty of the press. Louis XVIII., apparently thinking himself stronger than Napoleon, is not content with allowing the press its freedom, but has embodied its liberty in the charter" (Metternich, tome iv, p. 391.)]—