Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete by Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

Part 14 out of 24

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 3.0 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

of them." These words of Lauriaton did not at all surprise me, for I
well knew Napoleon's dislike to contractors, and all men who had
mercantile transactions with the army. I have often heard him say that
they were a curse and a leprosy to nations; that whatever power he might
attain, he never would grant honours to any of them, and that of all
aristocracies, theirs was to him the moat insupportable. After his
accession to the Empire the contractors were no longer the important
persons they had been under the Directory, or even during the two first
years of the Consulate. Bonaparte sometimes acted with them as he had
before done with the Beya of Egypt, when he drew from them forced

--[Lauriston, one of Napoleon's aides de camp, who was with him at
the Military School of Paris, and who had been commissioned in the
artillery at the same time as Napoleon, considered that he should
have had the post of Grand Ecuyer which Caulaincourt had obtained.
He had complained angrily to the Emperor, and after a stormy
interview was ordered to join the fleet of Villeneuve--In
consequence he was at Trafalgar. On his return after Austerlitz
his temporary disgrace was forgotten, and he was sent as governor to
Venice. He became marshal under the Restoration.]--

I recollect another somewhat curious circumstance respecting the visit of
Lauriston, who had left the Emperor and Empress at Aix-la-Chapelle.
Lauriston was the best educated of the aides de camp, and Napoleon often
conversed with him on such literary works as he chose to notice.
"He sent for me one day," said Lauriston, "when I was on duty at the
Palace of Lacken, and spoke to me of the decennial prizes, and the
tragedy of 'Carion de Nisas', and a novel by Madame de Stael, which he
had just read, but which I had not seen, and was therefore rather
embarrassed in replying to him. Respecting Madame de Stael and her
Delphine, he said some remarkable things. 'I do not like women,' he
observed, 'who make men of themselves, any more than I like effeminate
men. There is s proper part for every one to play in the world. What
does all this flight of imagination mean? What is the result of it?
Nothing. It is all sentimental metaphysics and disorder of the mind. I
cannot endure that woman; for one reason, that I cannot bear women who
make a set at me, and God knows how often she has tried to cajole me!'"

The words of Lauriston brought to my recollection the conversations I had
often had with Bonaparte respecting Madame de Stael, of whose advances
made to the First Consul, and even to the General of the Army of Italy,
I had frequently been witness. Bonaparte knew nothing at first of Madame
de Stael but that she was the daughter of M. Necker, a man for whom, as I
have already shown, he had very little esteem. Madame de Stael had not
been introduced to him, and knew nothing more of him than what fame had
published respecting the young conqueror of Italy, when she addressed to
him letters full of enthusiasm. Bonaparte read some passages of them to
me, and, laughing, said, "What do you think, Bourrienne, of these
extravagances. This woman is mad." I recollect that in one of her
letters Madame de Stael, among other things, told him that they certainly
were created for each other--that it was in consequence of an error in
human institutions that the quiet and gentle Josephine was united to his
fate--that nature seemed to have destined for the adoration of a hero
such as he, a soul of fire like her own. These extravagances disgusted
Bonaparte to a degree which I cannot describe. When he had finished
reading these fine epistles he used to throw them into the fire, or tear
them with marked ill-humour, and would say, "Well, here is a woman who
pretends to genius--a maker of sentiments, and she presumes to compare
herself to Josephine! Bourrienne, I shall not reply to such letters."

I had, however, the opportunity of seeing what the perseverance of a
woman of talent can effect. Notwithstanding Bonaparte's prejudices
against Madame de Stael, which he never abandoned, she succeeded in
getting herself introduced to him; and if anything could have disgusted
him with flattery it would have been the admiration, or, to speak more
properly, the worship, which she paid him; for she used to compare him to
a god descended on earth,--a kind of comparison which the clergy, I
thought, had reserved for their own use. But, unfortunately, to please
Madame de Stael it would have been necessary that her god had been
Plutua; for behind her eulogies lay a claim for two millions, which M.
Necker considered still due to him on account of his good and worthy
services. However, Bonaparte said on this occasion that whatever value
he might set on the suffrage of Madame de Stael, he did not think fit to
pay so dear for it with the money of the State. The conversion of Madame
de Stael's enthusiasm into hatred is well known, as are also the petty
vexations, unworthy of himself, with which the Emperor harassed her in
her retreat at Coppet.

Lauriston had arrived at Paris, where he made but a short stay, some days
before Caffarelli, who was sent on a mission to Rome to sound the Papal
Court, and to induce the Holy Father to come to Paris to consecrate
Bonaparte at his coronation. I have already described the nature of
Bonaparte's ideas on religion. His notions on the subject seemed to
amount to a sort of vague feeling rather than to any belief founded on
reflection. Nevertheless, he had a high opinion of the power of the
Church; but not because he considered it dangerous to Governments,
particularly to his own. Napoleon never could have conceived how it was
possible that a sovereign wearing a crown and a sword could have the
meanness to kneel to a Pope, or to humble his sceptre before the keys of
St. Peter. His spirit was too great to admit of such a thought. On the
contrary, he regarded the alliance between the Church and his power as a
happy means of influencing the opinions of the people, and as an
additional tie which was to attach them to a Government rendered
legitimate by the solemn sanction of the Papal authority. Bonaparte was
not deceived. In this, as well as in many other things, the perspicacity
of his genius enabled him to comprehend all the importance of a
consecration bestowed on him by the Pope; more especially as Louis
XVIII., without subjects, without territory, and wearing only an illusory
crown, had not received that sacred unction by which the descendants of
Hugh Capet become the eldest sons of the Church.

As soon as the Emperor was informed of the success of Caffarelli's
mission, and that the Pope, in compliance with his desire, was about to
repair to Paris to confirm in his hands the sceptre of Charlemagne,
nothing was thought of but preparations for that great event, which had
been preceded by the recognition of Napoleon as Emperor of the French on
the part of all the States of Europe, with the exception of England.

On the conclusion of the Concordat Bonaparte said to me, "I shall let the
Republican generals exclaim as much as they like against the Mass. I
know what I am about; I am working for posterity." He was now gathering
the fruits of his Concordat. He ordered that the Pope should be
everywhere treated in his journey through the French territory with the
highest distinction, and he proceeded to Fontainebleau to receive his
Holiness. This afforded an opportunity for Bonaparte to re-establish the
example of those journeys of the old Court, during which changes of
ministers used formerly to be made. The Palace of Fontainebleau, now
become Imperial, like all the old royal chateaux, had been newly
furnished with a luxury and taste corresponding to the progress of modern
art. The Emperor was proceeding on the road to Nemours when courtiers
informed him of the approach of Pius VII. Bonaparte's object was to
avoid the ceremony which had been previously settled. He had therefore
made the pretext of going on a hunting-party, and was in the way as it
were by chance when the Pope's carriage was arriving. He alighted from
horseback, and the Pope came out of his carriage. Rapp was with the
Emperor, and I think I yet hear him describing, in his original manner
and with his German accent, this grand interview, upon which, however, he
for his part looked with very little respect. Rapp, in fact, was among
the number of those who, notwithstanding his attachment to the Emperor,
preserved independence of character, and he knew he had no reason to
dissemble with me. "Fancy to yourself," said he, "the amusing comedy
that was played." After the Emperor and the Pope had well embraced they
went into the same carriage; and, in order that they might be upon a
footing of equality, they were to enter at the same time by opposite
doors. All that was settled; but at breakfast the Emperor had calculated
how he should manage, without appearing to assume anything, to get on the
righthand side of the Pope, and everything turned out as he wished. "As
to the Pope," said Rapp, "I must own that I never saw a man with a finer
countenance or more respectable appearance than Pius VII."

After the conference between the Pope and the Emperor at Fontainebleau,
Pius VII. set off for Paris first. On the road the same honours were
paid to him as to the Emperor. Apartments were prepared for him in the
Pavilion de Flore in the Tuileries, and his bedchamber was arranged and
furnished in the same manner as his chamber in the Palace of Monte-
Cavallo, his usual residence in Rome. The Pope's presence in Paris was
so extraordinary a circumstance that it was scarcely believed, though it
had some time before been talked of. What, indeed, could be more
singular than to see the Head of the Church in a capital where four years
previously the altars had been overturned, and the few faithful who
remained had been obliged to exercise their worship in secret!

The Pope became the object of public respect and general curiosity. I
was exceedingly anxious to see him, and my wish was gratified on the day
when he went to visit the Imperial printing office, then situated where
the Bank of France now is.

A pamphlet, dedicated to the Pope, containing the "Pater Noster," in one
hundred and fifty different languages, was struck off in the presence of
his Holiness. During this visit to the printing office an ill-bred young
man kept his hat on in the Pope's presence. Several persons, indignant
at this indecorum, advanced to take off the young man's hat. A little
confusion arose, and the Pope, observing the cause of it, stepped up to
the young man and said to him, in a tone of kindness truly patriarchal,
"Young man, uncover, that I may give thee my blessing. An old man's
blessing never yet harmed any one." This little incident deeply affected
all who witnessed it. The countenance and figure of Pope Pius VII.
commanded respect. David's admirable portrait is a living likeness of

The Pope's arrival at Paris produced a great sensation in London, greater
indeed there than anywhere else, notwithstanding the separation of the
English Church from the Church of Rome. The English Ministry now spared
no endeavours to influence public opinion by the circulation of libels
against Bonaparte. The Cabinet of London found a twofold advantage in
encouraging this system, which not merely excited irritation against the
powerful enemy of England, but diverted from the British Government the
clamour which some of its measures were calculated to create.
Bonaparte's indignation against England was roused to the utmost extreme,
and in truth this indignation was in some degree a national feeling in

Napoleon had heard of the success of Caffarelli's negotiations previous
to his return to Paris, after his journey to the Rhine. On arriving at
St. Cloud he lost no time in ordering the preparations for his
coronation. Everything aided the fulfilment of his wishes. On 28th
November the Pope arrived at Paris, and two days after, viz. on the 1st
of December, the Senate presented to the Emperor the votes of the people
for the establishment of hereditary succession in his family: for as it
was pretended that the assumption of the title of Emperor was no way
prejudicial to the Republic, the question of hereditary succession only
had been proposed for public sanction. Sixty thousand registers had been
opened in different parts of France,--at the offices of the ministers,
the prefects, the mayors of the communes, notaries, solicitors, etc.
France at that time contained 108 departments, and there were 3,574,898
voters. Of these only 2569 voted against hereditary succession.
Bonaparte ordered a list of the persons who had voted against the
question to be sent to him, and he often consulted it. They proved to be
not Royalist, but for the most part staunch Republicans. To my knowledge
many Royalists abstained from voting at all, not wishing to commit
themselves uselessly, and still less to give their suffrages to the
author of the Duo d'Enghien's death. For my part, I gave my vote in
favour of hereditary succession in Bonaparte's family; my situation, as
may well be imagined, did not allow me to do otherwise.

Since the month of October the Legislative Body had been convoked to
attend the Emperor's coronation. Many deputies arrived, and with them a
swarm of those presidents of cantons who occupied a conspicuous place in
the annals of ridicule at the close of the year 1804. They became the
objects of all sorts of witticisms and jests. The obligation of wearing
swords made their appearance very grotesque. As many droll, stories were
told of them as were ten years afterwards related of those who were
styled the voltigeurs of Louis XIV. One of these anecdotes was so
exceedingly ludicrous that, though it was probably a mere invention, yet
I cannot refrain from relating it. A certain number of these presidents
were one day selected to be presented to the Pope; and as most of them
were very poor they found it necessary to combine economy with the
etiquette necessary to be observed under the new order of things. To
save the expense of hiring carriages they therefore proceeded to the
Pavilion de Flore on foot, taking the precaution of putting on gaiters to
preserve their white silk stockings from the mud which covered the
streets, for it was then the month of December. On arriving at the
Tuileries one of the party put his gaiters into his pocket. It happened
that the Pope delivered such an affecting address that all present were
moved to tears, and the unfortunate president who had disposed of his
gaiters in the way just mentioned drew them out instead of his
handkerchief and smeared his face over with mud. The Pope is said to
have been much amused at this mistake. If this anecdote should be
thought too puerile to be repeated here, I may observe that it afforded
no small merriment to Bonaparte, who made Michot the actor relate it to
the Empress at Paris one evening after a Court performance.

Napoleon had now attained the avowed object of his ambition; but his
ambition receded before him like a boundless horizon. On the 1st of
December; the day on which the Senate presented to the Emperor the result
of the votes for hereditary succession, Francois de Neufchateau delivered
an address to him, in which there was no want of adulatory expressions.
As President of the Senate he had had some practice in that style of
speechmaking; and he only substituted the eulogy of the Monarchical
Government for that of the Republican Government 'a sempre bene', as the
Italians say.

If I wished to make comparisons I could here indulge in some curious
ones. Is it not extraordinary that Fontainebleau should have witnessed,
at the interval of nearly ten years, Napoleon's first interview with the
Pope, and his last farewell to his army, and that the Senate, who had
previously given such ready support to Bonaparte, should in 1814 have
pronounced his abdication at Fontainebleau.

The preparations for the Coronation proved very advantageous to the
trading classes of Paris. Great numbers of foreigners and people from
the provinces visited the capital, and the return of luxury and the
revival of old customs gave occupation to a variety of tradespeople who
could get no employment under the Directory or Consulate, such as
saddlers, carriage-makers, lacemen, embroiderers, and others. By these
positive interests were created more partisans of the Empire than by
opinion and reflection; and it is but just to say that trade had not been
so active for a dozen years before. The Imperial crown jewels were
exhibited to the public at Biennais the jeweller's. The crown was of a
light form, and, with its leaves of gold, it less resembled the crown of
France than the antique crown of the Caesars. These things were
afterwards placed in the public treasury, together with the imperial
insignia of Charlemagne, which Bonaparte had ordered to be brought from
Aix-la-Chapelle. But while Bonaparte was thus priding himself in his
crown and his imagined resemblance to Charlemagne, Mr. Pitt, lately
recalled to the Ministry, was concluding at Stockholm a treaty with
Sweden, and agreeing to pay a subsidy to that power to enable it to
maintain hostilities against France. This treaty was concluded on the 3d
of December, the day after the Coronation.

--[The details of the preparation for the Coronation caused many
stormy scenes between Napoleon and his family. The Princesses, his
sisters and sisters-in-law, were especially shocked at having to
carry the train of the Imperial mantle of Josephine, and even when
Josephine was actually moving from the altar to the throne the
Princesses evinced their reluctance so plainly that Josephine could
not advance and an altercation took place which had to be stopped by
Napoleon himself. Joseph was quite willing himself give up
appearing in a mantle with a train, but he wished to prevent his
wife bearing the mantle of the Empress; and he opposed his brother
on so many points that Napoleon ended by calling on him to either
give up his position and retire from all politics, or else to fully
accept the imperial regime. How the economical Camberceres used up
the ermine he could not wear will be seen in Junot tome iii. p.
196. Josephine herself was in the greatest anxiety as to whether
the wish of the Bonaparte family that she should be divorced would
carry the day with her husband. When she had gained her cause for
the time and after the Pope had engaged to crown her, she seems to
have most cleverly managed to get the Pope informed that she was
only united to Napoleon by a civil marriage. The Pope insisted on
a religious marriage. Napoleon was angry, but could not recede, and
the religions rite was performed by Cardinal Fesch the day, or two
days, before the Coronation. The certificate of the marriage was
carefully guarded from Napoleon by Josephine, and even placed beyond
his reach at the time of the divorce. Such at least seems to be the
most probable account of this mysterious and doubtful matter.

The fact that Cardinal Fesch maintained that the religious rite had
been duly performed, thirteen of the Cardinals (not, however
including Fesch) were so convinced of the legality of the marriage
that they refused to appear at the ceremony of marriage with Marie
Louise, thus drawing down the wrath of the Emperor, and becoming the
"Cardinals Noirs," from being forbidden; to wear their own robes,
seems to leave no doubt that the religious rite had been performed.
The marriage was only pronounced to be invalid in 1809 by the local
canonical bodies, not by the authority of the pope.]--

It cannot be expected that I should enter into a detail of the ceremony
which took place on the 2d of December. The glitter of gold, the waving
plumes, and richly-caparisoned horses of the Imperial procession; the
mule which preceded the Pope's cortege, and occasioned so much merriment.
to the Parisians, have already been described over and over again.
I may, however, relate an anecdote connected with the Coronation, told me
by Josephine, and which is exceedingly characteristic of Napoleon.

When Bonaparte was paying his addresses to Madame de BEAUHARNAIS, neither
the one nor the other kept a carriage; and therefore Bonaparte frequently
accompanied her when she walked out. One day they went together to the
notary Raguideau, one of the shortest men I think I ever saw in my life,
Madame de Beauharnais placed great confidence, in him, and went there on
purpose to acquaint him of her intention to marry the young general of
artillery,--the protege of Barras. Josephine went alone into, the
notary's cabinet, while Bonaparte waited for her in an adjoining room.
The door of Raguideau's cabinet did not shut close, and Bonaparte plainly
heard him dissuading Madame de Beauharnais from her projected marriage.
"You are going to take a very wrong step," said he, "and you will be
sorry for it, Can you be so mad as to marry a young man who has nothing
but his cloak and his sword?" Bonaparte, Josephine told me, had never
mentioned this to her, and she never supposed that he had heard what fell
from Raguideau. "Only think, Bourrienne," continued she, "what was my
astonishment when, dressed in the Imperial robes on the Coronation day,
he desired that Raguideau might be sent for, saying that he wished to see
him immediately; and when Raguidesu appeared; he said to him, 'Well, sir!
have I nothing but my cloak and my sword now?'"

Though Bonaparte had related to me almost all the circumstances of his
life, as they occurred to his memory, he never once mentioned this affair
of Raguideau, which he only seemed to have suddenly recollected on his
Coronation day.

The day after the Coronation all the troops in Paris were assembled in
the Champ de Mars the Imperial eagles might be distributed to each
regiment, in lieu of the national flags. I has stayed away from the
Coronation in the church of Notre Dame, but I wished to see the military
fete in the Champ de Mars because I took real pleasure in seeing
Bonaparte amongst his soldiers. A throne was erected in front of the
Military School, which, though now transformed into a barrack, must have
recalled, to Bonaparte's mind some singular recollections of his boyhood.
At a given signal all the columns closed and approached the throne. Then
Bonaparte, rising, gave orders for the distribution of the eagles, and
delivered the following address to the deputations of the different corps
of the army:

"Soldiers, Soldiers! behold your colours. These eagles will always
be your rallying-point! They will always be where your Emperor may
thank them necessary for the defence of his throne and of his
people. Swear to sacrifice your lives to defend them, and by your
courage to keep them constantly in the path of victory.--Swear!"

It would be impossible to describe the acclamations which followed this
address; there is something so seductive in popular enthusiasm that even
indifferent persons cannot help yielding to its influence. And yet the
least reflection would have shown how shamefully Napoleon forswore the
declaration he made to the Senate, when the organic 'Senatus-consulte'
for the foundation of the Empire was presented to him at St: Cloud: On
that occasion he said; "The French people shall never be MY people!"
And yet the day after his Coronation his eagles were to, be carried
wherever they might be necessary for the defence of his people.

By a singular coincidence, while on the 2d of December 1804 Bonaparte was
receiving from the head of the Church the Imperial crown of France, Louis
XVIII., who was then at Colmar, prompted as it were by an inexplicable
presentiment, drew up and signed a declaration to the French people, in
which he declared that he then, swore never to break the sacred bond
which united his destiny to theirs, never to renounce the inheritance of
his ancestors, or to relinquish his rights.



My appointment as Minister Plenipotentiary at Hamburg--My interview
with Bonaparte at Malmaison--Bonaparte's designs respecting Italy--
His wish to revisit Brienne--Instructions for my residence in
Hamburg--Regeneration of European society--Bonaparte's plan of
making himself the oldest sovereign in Europe--Amedee Jaubert's
mission--Commission from the Emperor to the Empress--My conversation
with Madame Bonaparte.

I must now mention an event which concerns myself personally, namely, my
appointment as Minister Plenipotentiary, to the Dukes of Brunswick and
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and to the Hanse towns.

This appointment took place on the 22d of March 1806. Josephine, who had
kindly promised to apprise me of what the Emperor intended to do for me,
as soon as she herself should know his intentions, sent a messenger to
acquaint me with my appointment, and to tell me that the Emperor wished
to see me. I had not visited Josephine since her departure for Belgium.
The pompa and ceremonies of the Coronation had, I may say, dazzled me,
and deterred me from presenting myself at the Imperial Palace, where I
should have been annoyed by the etiquette which had been observed since
the Coronation. I cannot describe what a disagreeable impression this
parade always produced on me. I could not all at once forget the time
when I used without ceremony to go into Bonaparte's chamber and wake him
at the appointed hour. As to Bonaparte I had not seen him since he sent
for me after the condemnation of Georges, when I saw that my candour
relative to Moreau was not displeasing to him. Moreau had since quitted
France without Napoleon's subjecting him to the application of the odious
law which has only been repealed since the return of the Bourbons, and by
virtue of which he was condemned to the confiscation of his property.
Moreau sold his estate of Gros Bois to Bertlier, and proceeded to Cadiz,
whence he embarked for America. I shall not again have occasion to speak
of him until the period of the intrigues into which he was drawn by the
same influence which ruined him in France.

On the evening of the day when I received the kind message from Josephine
I had an official invitation to proceed the next day to Malmaison, where
the Emperor then was. I was much pleased at the idea of seeing him there
rather than at the Tuileries, or even at St. Cloud. Our former intimacy
at Malmaison made me feel more at my ease respecting an interview of
which my knowledge of Bonaparte's character led me to entertain some
apprehension. Was I to be received by my old comrade of Brienne, or by
His Imperial Majesty? I was received by my old college companion.

On my arrival at Malmaison I was ushered into the tentroom leading to the
library. How I was astonished at the good-natured familiarity with which
he received me! This extraordinary man displayed, if I may employ the
term, a coquetry towards me which surprised me, notwithstanding my past
knowledge of his character. He came up to me with a smile on his lips,
took my hand (which he had never done since he was Consul), pressed it
affectionately, and it was impossible that I could look upon him as the
Emperor of France and the future King of Italy. Yet I was too well aware
of his fits of pride to allow his familiarity to lead me beyond the
bounds of affectionate respect. "My dear Bourrienne," said he, "can you
suppose that the elevated rank I have attained has altered my feelings
towards you? No. I do not attach importance to the glitter of
Imperial pomp; all that is meant for the people; but I must still be
valued according to my deserts. I have been very well satisfied with
your services, and I have appointed you to a situation where I shall have
occasion for them. I know that I can rely upon you." He then asked with
great warmth of friendship what I was about, and inquired after my
family, etc. In short, I never saw him display less reserve or more
familiarity and unaffected simplicity; which he did the more readily,
perhaps, because his greatness was now incontestable.

"You know," added Napoleon, "that I set out in a week for Italy. I shall
make myself King; but that is only a stepping-stone. I have greater
designs respecting Italy.

"It must be a kingdom comprising all the Transalpine States, from Venice
to the Maritime Alps. The union of Italy with France can only be
temporary; but it is necessary, in order to accustom the nations of Italy
to live under common laws. The Genoese, the Piedmontese, the Venetians,
the Milanese, the inhabitants of Tuscany, the Romans, and the
Neapolitans, hate each other. None of them will acknowledge the
superiority of the other, and yet Rome is, from the recollections
connected with it, the natural capital of Italy. To make it so, however,
it is necessary that the power of the Pope should be confined within
limits purely spiritual. I cannot now think of this; but I will reflect
upon it hereafter. At present I have only vague ideas on the subject,
but they will be matured in time, and then all depends on circumstances.
What was it told me, when we were walking like two idle fellows, as we
were, in the streets of Paris, that I should one day be master of France
--my wish--merely a vague wish. Circumstances have done the rest. It is
therefore wise to look into the future, and that I do. With respect to
Italy, as it will be impossible with one effort to unite her so as to
form a single power, subject to uniform laws, I will begin by making her
French. All these little States will insensibly become accustomed to the
same laws, and when manners shall be assimilated and enmities
extinguished, then there will be an Italy, and I will give her
independence. But for that I must have twenty years, and who can count
on the future? Bourrienne, I feel pleasure in telling you all this. It
was locked up in my mind. With you I think aloud."

I do not believe that I have altered two words of what Bonaparte said to
me respecting Italy, so perfect, I may now say without vaniy, was my
memory then, and so confirmed was my habit of fixing in it all that he
said to me. After having informed me of his vague projects Bonaparte,
with one of those transitions so common to him, said, "By the by,
Bourrienne, I have something to tell you. Madame de Brienne has begged
that I will pass through Brienne, and I promised that I will. I will not
conceal from you that I shall feel great pleasure in again beholding the
spot which for six years was the scene of our boysh sports and studies."
Taking advantage of the Emperor's good humour I ventured to tell him what
happiness it would give me if it were possible that I could share with
him the revival of all recollections which were mutually dear to us. But
Napoleon, after a moment's pause, said with extreme kindness, "Hark ye,
Bourrienne, in your situation and mine this cannot be. It is more than
two years since we parted. What would be said of so sudden a
reconciliation? I tell you frankly that I have regretted you, and the
circumstances in which I have frequently been placed have often made me
wish to recall you. At Boulogne I was quite resolved upon it. Rapp,
perhaps, has informed you of it. He liked you, and he assured me that he
would be delighted at your return. But if upon reflection I changed my
mind it was because, as I have often told you, I will not have it said
that I stand in need of any one. No. Go to Hamburg. I have formed some
projects respecting Germany in which you can be useful to me. It is
there I will give a mortal blow to England. I will deprive her of the
Continent,--besides, I have some ideas not yet matured which extend much
farther. There is not sufficient unanimity amongst the nations of
Europe. European society must be regenerated--a superior power must
control the other powers, and compel them to live in peace with each
other; and France is well situated for that purpose. For details you
will receive instructions from Talleyrand; but I recommend you, above all
things, to keep a strict watch on the emigrants. Woe to them if they
become too dangerous! I know that there are still agitators,--among them
all the 'Marquis de Versailles', the courtiers of the old school. But
they are moths who will burn themselves in the candle. You have been an
emigrant yourself, Bourrienne; you feel a partiality for them, and you
know that I have allowed upwards of two hundred of them to return upon
your recommendation. But the case is altered. Those who are abroad are
hardened. They do not wish to return home. Watch them closely. That is
the only particular direction I give you. You are to be Minister from
France to Hamburg; but your place will be an independent one; besides
your correspondence with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, I authorise
you to write to me personally, whenever you have anything particular
to communicate. You will likewise correspond with Fouche."

Here the Emperor remained silent for a moment, and I was preparing to
retire, but he detained me, saying in the kindest manner, "What, are you
going already, Bourrienne? Are you in a hurry? Let, us chat a little
longer. God knows, when we may see each other again!" Then after two or
three moments' silence he said, "The more I reflect on our situation, on
our former intimacy, and our subsequent separation, the more I see the
necessity of your going to Hamburg. Go, then, my dear fellow, I advise
you. Trust me. When do you think of setting out?" "In May."--"In May?
. . . Ah, I shall be in Milan then, for I wish to stop at Turin. I
like the Piedmontese; they are the best soldiers in Italy."--"Sire, the
King of Italy will be the junior of the Emperor of France!"

--[I alluded to a conversation which I had with Napoleon when we
first went to the Tuileries. He spoke to me about his projects of
royalty, and I stated the difficulties which I thought he would
experience in getting himself acknowledged by the old reigning
families of Europe. "If it comes to that," he replied. "I will
dethrone them all, and then I shall be the oldest sovereign among

--"Ah! so you recollect what I said one day at the Tuileries; but, my
dear fellow, I have yet a devilish long way to go before I gain my
point."--"At the rate, Sire, at which you are going you will not be long
in reaching it."--"Longer than you imagine. I see all the obstacles in
my way; but they do not alarm me. England is everywhere, and the
struggle is between her and me. I see how it will be. The whole of
Europe will be our instruments; sometimes serving one, sometimes the
other, but at bottom the dispute is wholly between England and France.

"A propos," said the Emperor, changing the subject, for all who knew him
are aware that this 'a propos' was his favourite, and, indeed, his only
mode of transition; a propos, Bourrienne, you surely must have heard of
the departure of Jaubert,

--[Amedee Jaubart had been with Napoleon in Egypt, and was appointed
to the cabinet of the Consul as secretary interpreter of Oriental
languages. He was sent on several missions to the East, and brought
back, is 1818, goats from Thibet, naturalising in France the
manufacture of cashmeres. He became a peer of France under the
Monarchy of July.]--

and his mission. What is said on the subject?"--"Sire, I have only
heard it slightly alluded to. His father, however, to whom he said
nothing respecting the object of his journey, knowing I was intimate with
Jaubert, came to me to ascertain whether I could allay his anxiety
respecting a journey of the duration of which he could form no idea. The
precipitate departure of his son had filled him with apprehension I told
him the truth, viz., that Jaubert had said no more to me on the subject
than to him."--"Then you do not know where he is gone?"--"I beg your
pardon, Sire; I know very well."--"How, the devil!" said Bonaparte,
suddenly turning on me a look of astonishment. "No one, I, declare, has
ever told me; but I guessed it. Having received a letter from Jaubert
dated Leipsic, I recollected what your Majesty had often told me of your
views respecting Persia and India. I have not forgotten our conversation
in Egypt, nor the great projects which you enfolded to me to relieve the
solitude and sometimes the weariness of the cabinet of Cairo. Besides, I
long since knew your opinion of Amedee, of his fidelity, his ability,
and his courage. I felt convinced, therefore, that he had a mission to
the Shah of Persia."--"You guessed right; but I beg of you, Bourrienne,
say nothing of this to any person whatever. Secrecy on this point is of
grew importance. The English would do him an ill turn, for they are well
aware that my views are directed against their possessions and their
influence in the East."--"I think, Sire, that my answer to Anedee's
worthy father is a sufficient guarantee for my discretion. Besides, it
was a mere supposition on my part, and I could have stated nothing with
certainty before your Majesty had the kindness to inform me of the fact.
Instead of going to Hamburg, if your Majesty pleases, I will join
Jaubert, accompany him to Persia, and undertake half his mission."--
"How! would you go with him?"--"Yes, Sire; I am much attached to him. He
is an excellent man, and I am sure that he would not be sorry to have me
with him."--"But . . . Stop, Bourrienne, . . . this, perhaps,
would not be a bad idea. You know a little of the East. You are
accustomed to the climate. You could assist Jaubert . . . . But. .
. . . No. daubert must be already far off-- I, fear you could not
overtake him. And besides you have a numerous family. You will be more
useful to me in Germany. All things considered, go to Hamburg--you know
the country, and, what is better you speak the language."

I could see that Bonaparte still had something to say to me. As we were
walking up and down the room he stopped; and looking at me with an
expression of sadness, he said, "Bourrienne, you must, before I proceed
to Italy, do me a service. You sometimes visit my wife, and it is right;
it is fit you should. You have been too long one of the family not to
continue your friendship with her. Go to her.

--[This employment of Bourrienne to remonstrate with Josephine is a
complete answer to the charge sometimes made that Napoleon, while
scolding, really encouraged the foolish expenses of his wife, as
keeping her under his control. Josephine was incorrigible. "On the
very day of her death," says Madame de Remusat "she wished to put on
a very pretty dressing-gown because she thought the Emperor of
Russia would perhaps come to see her. She died all covered with
ribbons and rose-colored satin." "One would not, sure, be frightful
when one's dead!" As for Josephine's great fault--her failure to
give Napoleon an heir--he did not always wish for one. In 1802, on
his brother Jerome jokingly advising Josephine to give the Consul a
little Caesar. Napoleon broke out, "Yea, that he may end in the
same manner as that of Alexander? Believe me, Messieurs, that at
the present time it is better not to have children: I mean when one
is condemned to role nations." The fate of the King of Rome shows
that the exclamation was only too true!]--

"Endeavour once more to make her sensible of her mad extravagance. Every
day I discover new instances of it, and it distresses me. When I speak
to her--on the subject I am vexed; I get angry--she weeps. I forgive
her, I pay her bills--she makes fair promises; but the same thing occurs
over and over again. If she had only borne me a child! It is the
torment of my life not to have a child. I plainly perceive that my power
will never be firmly established until I have one. If I die without an
heir, not one of my brothers is capable of supplying my place. All is
begun, but nothing is ended. God knows what will happen! Go and see
Josephine, and do not forget my injunctions.."

Then he resumed the gaiety which he had exhibited at intervals during our
conversation, far clouds driven by the wind do not traverse the horizon
with such rapidity as different ideas and sensations succeeded each other
m Napoleon's mind. He dismissed me with his usual nod of the head, and
seeing him in such good humour I said on departing, "well, Sire, you are
going to hear the old bell of Brienne. I have no doubt it will please
you better than the bells of Ruel." He replied, "That's tree--you are
right. Adieu!"

Such are my recollections of this conversation, which lasted for more
than an hour and a half. We walked about all the time, for Bonaparte was
indefatigable in audiences of this sort, and would, I believe, have
walked and talked for a whole day without being aware of it. I left him,
and, according to his desire, went to see Madame Bonaparte, which indeed
I had intended to do before he requested it.

I found Josephine with Madame de la Rochefoucauld, who had long been in
her suite, and who a short time before had obtained the title of lady of
honour to the Empress. Madame de la Rochefoucauld was a very amiable
woman, of mild disposition, and was a favourite with Josephine. When I
told the Empress that I had just left the Emperor, she, thinking that I
would not speak freely before a third person, made a sign to Madame de la
Rochefoucauld to retire. I had no trouble in introducing the
conversation on the subject concerning which Napoleon had directed me to
speak to Josephine, for; after the interchange of a few indifferent
remarks, she herself told me of a violent scene, which had occurred
between her and the Emperor two days before. "When I wrote to you
yesterday," said she, "to announce your appointment, and to tell you that
Bonaparte would recall you, I hoped that you would come to see me on
quitting him, but I did not think that he would have sent for you so
soon. Ah! how I wish that you were still with him, Bourrienne; you
could make him hear reason. I know not who takes pleasure in bearing
tales to him; but really I think there are persons busy everywhere in
finding out my debts, and telling him of them."

These complaints, so gently uttered by Josephine rendered less difficult
the preparatory mission with which I commenced the exercise of my
diplomatic functions. I acquainted Madame Bonaparte with all that the
Emperor had said to me. I reminded her of the affair of the 1,200,000
francs which we had settled with half that sum. I even dropped some
allusions to the promises she had made.

"How can I help it?" Said she. "Is it my fault?" Josephine uttered
these words in a tone of sincerity which was at once affecting and
ludicrous. "All sorts of beautiful things are brought to me," she
continued; "they are praised up; I buy them--I am not asked for the
money, and all of a sudden, when I have got none, they come upon me with
demands for payment. This reaches Napoleon's ears, and he gets angry.
When I have money, Bourrienne you know how I employ it. I give it
principally to the unfortunate who solicit my assistance, and to poor
emigants. But I will try to be more economical in future. Tell him so
if you see him again, But is it not my duty to bestow as much in charity
as I can?"--"Yes, Madame; but permit me to say that nothing requires
greater discernment than the distribution of chaxity. If you had always
sat upon a throne you might have always supposed that your bounty always
fall into the hands of the deserving; but you cannot be ignorant that it
oftener falls to the lot of intrigue than to the meritorious needy.
I cannot disguise from you that the Emperor was very earnest when he
spoke on this subject; and he desired me to tell you so."--"Did he
reproach me with nothing else?"--"No Madame. You know the influence you
have over him with respect to everything but what relates to politics.
Allow a faithful and sincere friend to prevail upon you seriously not to
vex him on this point."--"Bourrienne, I give you my word. Adieu! my

In communicating to Josephine what the Emperor had said to me I took care
not to touch a chord which would have awakened feelings far more painful
to her than even the Emperor's harsh reproof on account of her
extravagance. Poor Josephine! how I should have afflicted her had I
uttered a word of Bonaparte's regret at not having a child. She always
had a presentiment of the fate that one day awaited her. Besides,
Josephine told the truth in assuring me that it was not her fault that,
she spent as she did; at least all the time I was with both of them,
order and economy were no more compatible with her than moderation and--
patience with Napoleon. The sight of the least waste put him beside
himself, and that was a sensation his wife hardly ever spared him. He
saw with irritation the eagerness of his family to gain riches; the more
he gave, the more insatiable they appeared, with the exception of Louis,
whose inclinations were always upright, and his tastes moderate. As for
the other members of his family, they annoyed him so much by their
importunity that one day he said, "Really to listen to them it would be
thought that I had wasted the heritage of our father."



Napoleon and Voltaire--Demands of the Holy See--Coolness between the
pope and the Emperor--Napoleon's departure for Italy--Last interview
between the Pope and the Emperor at Turin--Alessandria--The field of
Marengo--The last Doge of Genoa--Bonaparte's arrival at Milan--Union
of Genoa to the French Empire--Error in the Memorial of St. Helen--
Bonaparte and Madam Grassini--Symptoms of dissatisfaction on the
part of Austria and Russia--Napoleon's departure from Milan--
Monument to commemorate the battle of Marengo--Napoleon's arrival in
Paris and departure for Boulogne--Unfortunate result of a naval
engagement--My visit to Fouche's country seat--Sieyes, Barras, the
Bourbons, and Bonaparte--Observations respecting Josephine.

Voltaire says that it is very well to kiss the feet of Popes provided
their hands are tied. Notwithstanding the slight estimation in which
Bonaparte held Voltaire, he probably, without being aware of this
irreverent satire, put it into practice. The Court of Rome gave him the
opportunity of doing so shortly after his Coronation. The Pope, or
rather the Cardinals, his advisers' conceiving that so great an instance
of complaisance as the journey of His Holiness to Paris ought not to go
for nothing; demanded a compensation, which, had they been better
acquainted with Bonaparte's character and policy, they would never have
dreamed of soliciting. The Holy see demanded the restitution of Avignon,
Bologna, and some parts of the Italian territory which had formerly been
subject to the Pope's dominion. It may be imagined how such demands were
received by Napoleon, particularly after he had obtained all he wanted
from the Pope. It was, it must be confessed, a great mistake of the
Court of Rome, whose policy is usually so artful and adroit, not to make
this demand till after the Coronation. Had it been made the condition of
the Pope's journey to France perhaps Bonaparte would have consented to
give up, not Avignon, certainly, but the Italian territories, with the
intention of taking them back again. Be this as it may, these tardy
claims, which were peremptorily rejected, created an extreme coolness
between Napoleon and Pius VII. The public did not immediately perceive
it, but there is in the public an instinct of reason which the most able
politicians never can impose upon; and all eyes were opened when it was
known that the Pope, after having crowned Napoleon as Emperor of France,
refused to crown him as sovereign of the regenerated kingdom of Italy.

Napoleon left Paris on the 1st of April to take possession of the Iron
Crown at Milan. The Pope remained some time longer in the French
capital. The prolonged presence of His Holiness was not without its
influence on the religious feelings of the people, so great was the
respect inspired by the benign countenance and mild manners of the Pope.
When the period of his persecutions arrived it would have been well for
Bonaparte had Pius VII. never been seen in Paris, for it was impossible
to view in any other light than as a victim the man whose truly evangelic
meekness had been duly appreciated.

Bonaparte did not evince great impatience to seize the Crown of Italy,
which he well knew could not escape him. He stayed a considerable time
at Turin, where he resided in the Stupinis Palace, which may be called
the St. Cloud of the Kings of Sardinia. The Emperor cajoled the
Piedmontese. General Menou, who was made Governor of Piedmont, remained
there till Napoleon founded the general government of the Transalpine
departments in favour of his brother-in-law, the Prince Borghese, of whom
he would have, found it difficult to make anything else than a Roman
Prince. Napoleon was still at Turin when the Pope passed through that
city on his return to Rome. Napoleon had a final interview with His
Holiness to whom he now affected to show the greatest personal deference.
From Turin Bonaparte proceeded to Alessandria, where he commenced those
immense works on which such vast sums were expended. He had many times
spoken to me of his projects respecting Alessandria, as I have already
observed, all his great measures as Emperor were merely the execution of
projects conceived at a time when his future elevation could have been
only a dream of the imagination. He one day said to Berthier, in my
presence, during our sojurn at Milan after the battle of Marengo, "With
Alessandria in my possession I should always be master of Italy. It
might be made the strongest fortress in the world; it is capable of
containing a garrison of 40,000 men, with provisions for six months.
Should insurrection take place, should Austria send a formidable force
here, the French troops might retire to Alessandria, and stand a six
months' siege. Six months would be more than sufficient, wherever I
might be, to enable me to fall upon Italy, rout the Austrians, and
raise the siege of Alessandria!"

As he was so near the field of Marengo the Emperor did not fail to visit
it, and to add to this solemnity he reviewed on the field all the corps
of French troops which were in Italy. Rapp told me afterwards that the
Emperor had taken with him from Paris the dress and the hat which he wore
on the day of that memorable battle, with the intention of wearing them
on the field where it was fought. He afterwards proceeded by the way of
Casal to Milan.

There the most brilliant reception he had yet experienced awaited him.
His sojourn at Milan was not distinguished by outward demonstrations of
enthusiasm alone. M. Durszzo, the last Doge of Genoa, added another gem
to the Crown of Italy by supplicating the Emperor in the name of the
Republic, of which he was the representative, to permit Genoa to exchange
her independence for the honour of becoming a department of France. This
offer, as may be guessed, was merely a plan contrived beforehand. It was
accepted with an air of protecting kindness, and at the same moment that
the country of Andrea Doria was effaced from the list of nations its last
Doge was included among the number of French Senators. Genoa, which
formerly prided herself in her surname, the Superb, became the chief
station of the twenty-seventh military division. The Emperor went to
take possession of the city in person, and slept in the Doria Palace, in
the bed where Charles V. had lain. He left M. le Brun at Genoa as

At Milan the Emperor occupied the Palace of Monza. The old Iron Crown of
the Kings of Lombardy was brought from the dust in which it had been
buried, and the new Coronation took place in the cathedral at Milan, the
largest in Italy, with the exception of St. Peter's at Rome. Napoleon
received the crown from the hands of the Archbishop of Milan, and placed
it on his head, exclaiming, "Dieu me l'a donnee, gare a qui la touche."
This became the motto of the Order of the Iron Crown, which the Emperor
founded in commemoration of his being crowned King of Italy.

Napoleon was crowned in the month of May 1805: and here I cannot avoid
correcting some gross and inconceivable errors into which Napoleon must
have voluntarily fallen at St. Helena. The Memorial states "that the
celebrated singer Madame Grasaini attracted his attention at the time of
the Coronation." Napoleon alleges that Madame Grassini on that occasion
said to him, "When I was in the prime of my beauty and talent all I
wished was that you would bestow a single look upon me. That wish was
not fulfilled, and now you notice me when I am no longer worthy your

I confess I am at a loss to conceive what could induce Napoleon to invent
such a story. He might have recollected his acquaintance with Madame
Grassini at Milan before the battle of Marengo. It was in 1800, and not
in 1805, that I was first introduced to her, and I know that I several
times took tea with her and Bonaparte in the General's apartments I
remember also another circumstance, which is, that on the night when I
awoke Bonaparte to announce to him the capitulation of Genoa, Madame
Grassini also awoke. Napoleon was charmed with Madame Grasaini's
delicious voice, and if his imperious duties had permitted it he would
have listened with ecstasy to her singing for hours together. Whilst
Napoleon was at Milan, priding himself on his double sovereignty, some
schemes were set on foot at Vienna and St. Petersburg which I shall
hereafter have occasion to notice. The Emperor, indeed, gave cause for
just complaint by the fact of annexing Genoa to the Empire within four
months after his solemn declaration to the Legislative Body, in which he
pledged himself in the face of France and Europe not to seek any
aggrandisement of territory. The pretext of a voluntary offer on the
part of Genoa was too absurd to deceive any one. The rapid progress of
Napoleon's ambition could not escape the observation of the Cabinet of
Vienna, which began to allow increased symptoms of hostility. The change
which was effected in the form of the Government of the Cisalpine
Republic was likewise an act calculated to excite remonstrance on the
part of all the powers who were not entirely subject to the yoke of
France. He disguised the taking of Genoa under the name of a gift, and
the possession of Italy under the appearance of a mere change of
denomination. Notwithstanding these flagrant outrages the exclusive
apologists of Napoleon have always asserted that he did not wish for war,
and he himself maintained that assertion at St. Helena. It is said that
he was always attacked, and hence a conclusion is drawn in favour of his
love of peace. I acknowledge Bonaparte would never have fired a single
musket-shot if all the powers of Europe had submitted to be pillaged by
him one after the other without opposition. It was in fact declaring war
against them to place them under the necessity of breaking a peace,
during the continuance of which he was augmenting his power, and
gratifying his ambition, as if in defiance of Europe. In this way
Napoleon commenced all the wars in which he was engaged, with the
exception of that which followed the peace of Marengo, and which
terminated in Moreau's triumph at Hohenlinden. As there was no liberty
of the press in France he found it easy to deceive the nation. He was in
fact attacked, and thus he enjoyed the pleasure of undertaking his great
military expeditions without being responsible in the event of failure.

During the Emperor's stay in the capital of the new kingdom of Italy he
received the first intelligence of the dissatisfaction of Austria and
Russia. That dissatisfaction was not of recent date. When I entered on
my functions at Hamburg I learned some curious details (which I will
relate in their proper place) respecting the secret negotiations which
had been carried on for a considerable time previously to the
commencement of hostilities. Even Prussia was no stranger to the
dissatisfaction of Austria and Russia; I do not mean the King, but the
Cabinet of Berlin, which was then under the control of Chancellor
Hardenberg; for the King of Prussia had always personally declared
himself in favour of the exact observance of treaties, even when their
conditions were not honourable. Be that as it may, the Cabinet of
Berlin, although dissatisfied in 1806 with the rapid progress of
Napoleon's ambition, was nevertheless constrained to conceal its
discontent, owing to the presence of the French troops in Hanover.

On returning from Milan the Emperor ordered the erection, of a monument
on the Great St. Bernard in commemoration of the victory of Marengo.
M. Denon who accompanied Napoleon, told me that he made a use less search
to discover the body of Desaix, which Bonaparte wished to be buried
beneath the monument and that it was at length found by General Savary.
It is therefore certain that the ashes of the brave Desaix repose on the
summit of the Alps.

The Emperor arrived in Paris about the end of June and instantly set off
for the camp at Boulogne. It was now once more believed that the project
of invading England would be accomplished. This idea obtained the
greater credit because Bonaparte caused some experiments for embarkation
to be made, in his presence. These experiments, however, led to no
result. About this period a fatal event but too effectually contributed
to strengthen the opinion of the inferiority of our navy. A French
squadron consisting of fifteen ships, fell in with the English fleet
commanded by Admiral Calder, who had only nine vessels under his command,
and in an engagement, which there was every reason to expect would
terminate in our favour, we had the misfortune to lose two ships. The
invasion of England was as little the object of this as of the previous
journey to Boulogne; all Napoleon had in view was to stimulate the
enthusiasm of the troops, and to hold out those threats against England
when conceived necessary for diverting attention from the real motive of
his hostile preparations, which was to invade Germany and repulse the
Russian troops, who had begun their march towards Austria. Such was the
true object of Napoleons last journey to Boulogne.

I had been some time at Hamburg when these events took place, and it was
curious to observe the effect they produced. But I must not forget one
circumstance in which I am personally concerned, and which brings me back
to the time when I was in Paris. My new title of Minister
Plenipotentiary obliged me to see a little more of society than during
the period when prudence required me to live as it were in retirement.
I had received sincere congratulations from Duroc, Rape, and Lauriston,
the three friends who had shown the greatest readiness to serve my
interests with the Emperor; and I had frequent occasion to see M.
Talleyrand, as my functions belonged to his department. The Emperor, on
my farewell audience, having informed me that I was to correspond
directly with the Minister of the General Police, I called on Fouche, who
invited me to spend some days at his estate of Pont-Carre. I accepted
the invitation because I wanted to confer with him, and I spent Sunday
and Monday, the 28th and 29th of April, at Pont-Carre.

Fouche, like the Emperor, frequently revealed what he intended to
conceal; but he had such a reputation for cunning that this sort of
indiscretion was attended by no inconvenience to him. He was supposed to
be such a constant dissembler that those who did not know him well looked
upon the truth when he spoke it merely as an artful snare laid to entrap
them. I, however, knew that celebrated person too well to confound his
cunning with his indiscretion. The best way to get out of him more than
he was aware of was to let him talk on without interruption. There were
very few visitors at Pont-Carre, and during the two days I spent there I
had several conversations with Fouche. He told me a great deal about the
events of 1804, and he congratulated himself on having advised Napoleon
to declare himself Emperor--"I have no preference," says Fouche, "for
one form of government more than another. Forms signify nothing. The
first object of the Revolution was not the overthrow of the Bourbons, but
merely the reform of abuses and the destruction of prejudices. However,
when it was discovered that Louis XVI. had neither firmness to refuse
what he did not wish to grant, nor good faith to grant what his weakness
had led him to promise, it was evident that the Bourbons could no longer
reign over France and things were carried to such a length that we were
under the necessity of condemning Louis XVI. and resorting to energetic
measures. You know all that passed up to the 18th Brumaire, and after.
We all perceived that a Republic could not exist in France; the question,
therefore, was to ensure the perpetual removal of the Bourbons; and I
behaved the only means for so doing was to transfer the inheritance of
their throne to another family. Some time before the 18th Brumaire I had
a conversation with Sieyes and Barras, in which it was proposed, in case
of the Directory being threatened, to recall the Duke of Orleans; and I
could see very well that Barras favoured that suggestion, although he
alluded to it merely as a report that was circulated about, and
recommended me to pay attention to it. Sieyes said nothing, and I
settled the question by observing, that if any such thing had been
agitated I must have been informed of it through the reports of my
agents. I added, that the restoration of the throne to a collateral
branch of the Bourbons would be an impolitic act, and would but
temporarily change the position of those who had brought about the
Revolution. I rendered an account of this interview with Barras to
General Bonaparte the first time I had an opportunity of conversing with
him after your return from Egypt. I sounded him; and I was perfectly
convinced that in the state of decrepitude into which the Directory had
fallen he was just the man we wanted. I therefore adopted such measures
with the police as tended to promote his elevation to the First
Magistracy. He soon showed himself ungrateful, and instead of giving me
all his confidence he tried to outwit me. He put into the hands of a
number of persons various matters of police which were worse than
useless. Most of their agents, who were my creatures, obeyed my
instructions in their reports; and it often happened that the First
Consul thought he had discovered, through the medium of others,
information that came from me, and of the falsehood of which I easily
convinced him. I confess I was at fault on the 3d Nivoise; but are there
any human means of preventing two men, who have no accomplices, from
bringing a plot to execution? You saw the First Consul on his return
from the opera; you heard all his declamations. I felt assured that the
infernal machine was the work of the Royalists. I told the Emperor this,
and he was, I am sure, convinced of it; but he, nevertheless, proscribes
a number of men on the mere pretence of their old opinions. Do you
suppose I am ignorant of what he said of me and of my vote at the
National Convention? Most assuredly it ill becomes him to reproach the
Conventionists. It was that vote which placed the crown upon his head.
But for the situation in which we were placed by that event, which
circumstances had rendered inevitable, what should we have cared for the
chance of seeing the Bourbons return? You must have remarked that the
Republicans, who were not Conventionists, were in general more averse
than we to the proceedings of the 18th Brumaire, as, for example,
Bernadotte and Moreau. I know positively that Moreau was averse to the
Consulate; and that it was only from irresolution that he accepted the
custody of the Directory. I know also that he excused himself to his
prisoners for the duty which had devolved upon him. They themselves told
me this."

Fouche entered further into many details respecting his conduct, and the
motives which had urged him to do what he did in favour of the First
Consul. My memory does not enable me to report all he told me, but I
distinctly recollect that the impression made on my mind by what fell
from him was, that he had acted merely with a view to his own interests.
He did not conceal his satisfaction at having outwitted Regnier, and
obliged Bonaparte to recall him, that he set in motion every spring
calculated to unite the conspirators, or rather to convert the
discontented into conspirators, is evident from the following remarks
which fell from him: "With the information I possessed, had I remained in
office it is probable that I might have prevented the conspiracy, but
Bonaparte would still have had to fear the rivalry of Moreau. He would
not have been Emperor; and we should still have had to dread the return
of the Bourbons, of which, thank God, there is now no fear."

During my stay at Pont-Carry I said but little to Fouche about my long
audience with the Emperor. However, I thought I might inform him that I
was authorised to correspond directly with his Majesty. I thought it
useless to conceal this fact, since he would soon learn it through his
agents. I also said a few words about Bonaparte's regret at not having
children. My object was to learn Fouche's opinion on this subject, and
it was not without a feeling of indignation that I heard him say, "It is
to be hoped the Empress will soon die. Her death will remove many
difficulties. Sooner or later he must take a wife who will bear him a
child; for as long as he has no direct heir there is every chance that
his death will be the signal for a Revolution. His brothers are
perfectly incapable of filling his place, and a new party would rise up
in favour of the Bourbons; which must be prevented above all things. At
present they are not dangerous, though they still have active and devoted
agents. Altona is full of them, and you will be surrounded by them.
I beg of you to keep a watchful eye upon them, and render me a strict
account of all their movements, and even of their most trivial actions.
As they have recourse to all sorts of disguises, you cannot be too
vigilant; therefore it will be advisable, in the first place, to
establish a good system of espionage; but have a care of the spies who
serve both sides, for they swarm in Germany."

This is all I recollect of my, conversations with Fouche at Pont-Carre.
I returned to Paris to make preparations for my journey to Hamburg.



Capitulation of Sublingen--Preparations for war--Utility of
commercial information--My instructions--Inspection of the emigrants
and the journals--A pamphlet by Kotzebue--Offers from the Emperor of
Russia to Moreau--Portrait of Gustavus Adolphus by one of his
ministers--Fouche's denunciations--Duels at Hamburg--M. de Gimel
--The Hamburg Correspondent--Letter from Bernadotte.

I left Paris on the 20th of May 1805. On the 5th of June following I
delivered my credentials to the Senate of Hamburg, which was represented
by the Syndic Doormann and the Senator Schutte. M. Reinhart, my
predecessor, left Hamburg on the 12th of June.

The reigning Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Brunswick, to whom I had
announced my arrival as accredited Minister to them, wrote me letters
recognising me in that character. General Walmoden had just signed the
capitulation of Sublingen with Marshal Mortier, who had the command in
Hanover. The English Government refused to ratify this, because it
stipulated that the troops should be prisoners of war. Bonaparte had two
motives for relaxing this hard condition. He wished to keep Hanover as a
compensation for Malta, and to assure the means of embarrassing and
attacking Prussia, which he now began to distrust. By advancing upon
Prussia he would secure his left, so that when convenient he might march
northward. Mortier, therefore, received orders to reduce the conditions
of the capitulation to the surrender of the arms, baggage, artillery, and
horses. England, which was making great efforts to resist the invasion
with which she thought herself threatened, expended considerable sums for
the transport of the troops from Hanover to England. Her precipitation
was indescribable, and she paid the most exorbitant charges for the hire
of ships. Several houses in Hamburg made fortunes on this occasion.
Experience has long since proved that it is not at their source that
secret transactions are most readily known. The intelligence of an event
frequently resounds at a distance, while the event itself is almost
entirely unknown in the place of its occurrence. The direct influence of
political events on commercial speculations renders merchants exceedingly
attentive to what is going on. All who are engaged in commercial
pursuits form a corporation united by the strongest of all bonds, common
interest; and commercial correspondence frequently presents a fertile
field for observation, and affords much valuable information, which often
escapes the inquiries of Government agents.

I resolved to form a connection with some of the mercantile houses which
maintained extensive and frequent communications with the Northern
States. I knew that by obtaining their confidence I might gain a
knowledge of all that was going on in Russia, Sweden, England, and
Austria. Among the subjects upon which it was desirable to obtain
information I included negotations, treaties, military measures--such as
recruiting troops beyond the amount settled for the peace establishment,
movements of troops, the formation of camps and magazines, financial
operations, the fitting-out of ships, and many other things, which,
though not important in themselves, frequently lead to the knowledge of
what is important.

I was not inclined to place reliance on all public reports and gossiping
stories circulated on the Exchange without close investigation; for I
wished to avoid transmitting home as truths what might frequently be mere
stock-jobbing inventions. I was instructed to keep watch on the
emigrants, who were exceedingly numerous in Hamburg and its
neighbourhood, Mecklenburg, Hanover, Brunswick, and Holstein; but I must
observe that my inspection was to extend only to those who were known to
be actually engaged in intrigues and plots.

I was also to keep watch on the state of the public mind, and on the
journals which frequently give it a wrong direction, and to point out
those articles in the journals which I thought censurable. At first I
merely made verbal representations and complaints, but I could not always
confine myself to this course. I received such distinct and positive
orders that, in spite of myself, inspection was speedily converted into
oppression. Complaints against the journals filled one-fourth of my

As the Emperor wished to be made acquainted with all that was printed
against him, I sent to Paris, in May 1805, and consequently a very few
days after my arrival in Hamburg, a pamphlet by the celebrated Kotzebue,
entitled 'Recollections of my Journey to Naples and Rome'. This
publication, which was printed at Berlin, was full of indecorous attacks
and odious allusions on the Emperor.

I was informed at that time, through a certain channel, that the Emperor
Alexander had solicited General Moreau to enter his service, and take the
command of the Russian infantry. He offered him 12,000 roubles to defray
his travelling expenses. At a subsequent period Moreau unfortunately
accepted these offers, and died in the enemy's ranks.

On the 27th of June M. Bouligny arrived at Hamburg. He was appointed to
supersede M. d'Ocariz at Stockholm. The latter minister had left Hamburg
on the 11th of June for Constantinople, where he did not expect to stay
three months. I had several long conversations with him before his
departure, and he did not appear to be satisfied with his destination.
We frequently spoke of the King of Sweden, whose conduct M. d'Ocariz
blamed. He was, he said, a young madman, who, without reflecting on the
change of time and circumstances, wished to play the part of Gustavus
Adolphus, to whom he bore no resemblence but in name. M. d'Ocariz spoke
of the King of Sweden's camp in a tone of derision. That Prince had
returned to the King of Prussia the cordon of the Black Eagle because the
order had been given to the First Consul. I understood that Frederick
William was very much offended at this proceeding, which was as
indecorous and absurd as the return of the Golden Fleece by Louis XVII.
to the King of Spain was dignified and proper. Gustavus Adolphus was
brave, enterprising, and chivalrous, but inconsiderate and irascible. He
called Bonaparte Monsieur Napoleon. His follies and reverses in Hanover
were without doubt the cause of his abdication. On the 31st of October
1805 he published a declaration of war against France in language highly
insulting to the Emperor.

Fouche overwhelmed me with letters. If I had attended to all his
instructions I should have left nobody unmolested. He asked me for
information respecting a man named Lazoret, of the department of Gard,
a girl, named Rosine Zimbenni, having informed the police that he had
been killed in a duel at Hamburg. I replied that I knew but of four
Frenchmen who had been killed in that way; one, named Clement, was killed
by Tarasson; a second, named Duparc, killed by Lezardi; a third, named
Sadremont, killed by Revel; and a fourth, whose name I did not know,
killed by Lafond. This latter had just arrived at Hamburg when he was
killed, but he was not the man sought for.

Lafond was a native of Brabant, and had served in the British army. He
insulted the Frenchman because he wore the national cockade--A duel was
the consequence, and the offended party fell. M. Reinhart, my
predecessor wished to punish Lafond, but the Austrian Minister having
claimed him as the subject of his sovereign, he was not molested. Lafond
took refuge in Antwerp, where he became a player.

During the first months which succeeded my arrival in Hamburg I received
orders for the arrest of many persons, almost all of whom were designated
as dangerous and ill disposed men. When I was convinced that the
accusation was groundless I postponed the arrest. The matter was then
forgotten, and nobody complained.

A title, or a rank in foreign service, was a safeguard against the Paris
inquisition. Of this the following is an instance. Count Gimel, of whom
I shall hereafter have occasion to speak more at length, set out about
this time for Carlsbad. Count Grote the Prussian Minister, frequently
spoke to me of him. On my expressing apprehension that M. de Gimel might
be arrested, as there was a strong prejudice against him, M. Grote
replied, "Oh! there is no fear of that. He will return to Hamburg with
the rauk of an English colonel."

On the 17th of July there appeared in the Correspondent an article
exceedingly insulting to France. It had been inserted by order of Baron
Novozilzow, who was at Berlin, and who had become very hostile to France,
though it was said he had been sent from St. Petersburg on a specific
mission to Napoleon. The article in question was transmitted from Berlin
by an extraordinary courier, and Novozilzow in his note to the Senate
said it might be stated that the article was inserted at the request of
His Britannic Majesty. The Russian Minister at Berlin, M. Alopaeus,
despatched also an 'estafette' to the Russian charge d'affaires at
Hamburg, with orders to apply for the insertion of the article, which
accordingly appeared. In obedience to the Emperor's instructions, I
complained of it, and the Senate replied that it never opposed the
insertion of an official note sent by any Government; that insults would
redound against those from whom they came; that the reply of the French
Government would be published; and that the Senate had never deviated
from this mode of proceeding.

I observed to the Senate that I did not understand why the Correspondent
should make itself the trumpet of M. Novozilzow; to which the Syndic
replied, that two great powers, which might do them much harm, had
required the insertion of the article, and that it could not be refused.

The hatred felt by the foreign Princes, which the death of the Duc
d'Enghien had considerably increased; gave encouragement to the
publication of everything hostile to Napoleon. This was candidly avowed
to me by the Ministers and foreigners of rank whom I saw in Hamburg. The
King of Sweden was most violent in manifesting the indignation which was
generally excited by the death of the Due d'Enghien. M. Wetterstadt, who
had succeeded M. La Gerbielske in the Cabinet of Stockholm, sent to the
Swedish Minister at Hamburg a long letter exceedingly insulting to
Napoleon. It was in reply to an article inserted in the 'Moniteur'
respecting the return of the Black Eagle to the King of Prussia.
M. Peyron, the Swedish Minister at Hamburg, who was very far from
approving all that his master did, transmitted to Stockholm some very
energetic remarks on the ill effect which would be produced by the
insertion of the article in the 'Correspondent'. The article was then a
little modified, and M. Peyron received formal orders to get it inserted.
However; on my representations the Senate agreed to suppress it, and it
did not appear.

Marshal Bernadotte, who had the command of the French troops in Hanover,
kept up a friendly correspondence with me unconnected with the duties of
our respective functions.

On the occupation of Hanover Mr. Taylor, the English Minister at Cassel,
was obliged to leave that place; but he soon returned in spite of the
opposition of France. On this subject the marshal furnished me with the
following particulars:

I have just received, my dear Bourrienne, information which leaves
no doubt of what has taken place at Cassel with respect to Mr.
Taylor. That Minister has been received in spite of the
representations of M. Bignon, which, however, had previously been
merely verbal. I know that the Elector wrote to London to request
that Mr. Taylor should not return. In answer to this the English
Government sent him back. Our Minister has done everything he could
to obtain his dismissal; but the pecuniary interests of the Elector
have triumphed over every other consideration. He would not risk
quarrelling with the Court from which he expects to receive more
than 12,000,000 francs. The British Government has been written to
a second time, but without effect. The Elector himself, in a
private letter, has requested the King of England to recall Mr.
Taylor, but it is very probable that the Cabinet of London will
evade this request.

Under these circumstances our troops have approached nearer to
Cassel. Hitherto the whole district of Gottingen had been exempt
from quartering troops. New arrangements, tendered necessary by the
scarcity of forage, have obliged me to send a squadron of 'chasseurs
de cheval' to Munden, a little town four leagues from Cassel. This
movement excited some alarm in the Elector, who expressed a wish to
see things restored to the same footing as before. He has requested
M. Bignon to write to me, and to assure me again that he will be
delighted to become acquainted with me at the waters of Nemidorff,
where he intends to spend some time. But on this subject I shall
not alter the determination I have already mentioned to you.
--Yours, etc.,
STADE, 10th Thermidor (29th July, 1805).



Treaty of alliance between England and Russia--Certainty of an
approaching war--M. Forshmann, the Russian Minister--Duroc's mission
to Berlin--New project of the King of Sweden--Secret mission to the
Baltic--Animosity against France--Fall of the exchange between
Hamburg and Paris--Destruction of the first Austrian army--Taking of
Ulm--The Emperor's displeasure at the remark of a soldier--Battle of
Trafalgar--Duroc's position at the Court of Prussia--Armaments in
Russia--Libel upon Napoleon in the Hamburg 'Corespondent'--
Embarrassment of the Syndic and Burgomaster of Hamburg--The conduct
of the Russian Minister censured by the Swedish and English

At the beginning of August 1805 a treaty of alliance between Russia and
England was spoken of. Some persons of consequence, who had the means of
knowing all that was going on in the political world, had read this
treaty, the principal points of which were communicated to me.

Article 1st stated that the object of the alliance was to restore the
balance of Europe. By art. 2d the Emperor of Russia was to place 36,000
men at the disposal of England. Art. 3d stipulated that neither of the
two powers would consent to treat with France, nor to lay down arms until
the King of Sardinia should either be restored to his dominions or
receive an equivalent indemnity in the northeast of Italy. By art. 4th
Malta was to be evacuated by the English, and occupied by the Russians.
By art. 5th the two powers were to guarantee the independence of the
Republic of the Ionian Isles, and England was to pledge herself to assist
Russia in her war against Persia. If this plan of a treaty, of the
existence of which I was informed on unquestionable authority, had been
brought to any result it is impossible to calculate what might have been
its consequences.

At that time an immediate Continental war was confidently expected by
every person in the north of Europe; and it is very certain that, had not
Napoleon taken the hint in time and renounced his absurd schemes at
Boulogne, France would have stood in a dangerous situation.

M. Forshmann, the Russian charge d'affaires, was intriguing to excite the
north of Europe against France. He repeatedly received orders to obtain
the insertion of irritating articles in the 'Correspondent'. He was an
active, intriguing, and spiteful little man, and a declared enemy of
France; but fortunately his stupidity and vanity rendered him less
dangerous than he wished to be. He was universally detested, and he
would have lost all credit but that the extensive trade carried on
between Russia and Hamburg forced the inhabitants and magistrates of that
city to bear with a man who might have done them, individually,
considerable injury.

The recollection of Duroc's successful mission to Berlin during the
Consulate induced Napoleon to believe that that general might appease the
King of Prussia, who complained seriously of the violation of the
territory of Anspach, which Bernadotte, in consequence of the orders he
received, had not been able to respect. Duroc remained about six weeks
in Berlin.

The following letter from Duroc will show that the facility of passing
through Hesse seemed to excuse the second violation of the Prussian
territory; but there was a great difference between a petty Prince of
Hesse and the King of Prussia.

I send you, my dear Bourrienne, two despatches, which I have
received for you. M. de Talleyrand, who sends them, desires me to
request that you will transmit General Victor's by a sure

I do not yet know whether I shall stay long in Berlin. By the last
accounts I received the Emperor is still in Paris, and numerous
forces are assembling on the Rhine. The hopes of peace are
vanishing every day, and Austria does everything to promote war.

I have received accounts from Marshal Bernadotte. He has effected
his passage through Hesse. Marshal Bernadotte was much pleased with
the courtesy he experienced from the Elector.

The junction of the corps commanded by Bernadotte with the army of the
Emperor was very important, and Napoleon therefore directed the Marshal
to come up with him as speedily as possible, and by the shortest road.
It was necessary he should arrive in time for the battle of Austerlitz.
Gustavus, King of Sweden, who was always engaged in some enterprise,
wished to raise an army composed of Swedes, Prussians, and English; and
certainly a vigorous attack in the north would have prevented Bernadotte
from quitting the banks of the Elbe and the Weser, and reinforcing the
Grand Army which was marching on Vienna. But the King of Sweden's
coalition produced no other result than the siege of the little fortress
of Hameln.

Prussia would not come to a rupture with France, the King of Sweden was
abandoned, and Bonaparte's resentment against him increased. This
abortive project of Gustavus contributed not a little to alienate the
affections of his subjects, who feared that they might be the victims of
the revenge excited by the extravagant plans of their King, and the
insults he had heaped upon Napoleon, particularly since the death of the
Due d'Enghien.

On the 13th of September 1805 I received a letter from the Minister of
Police soliciting information about Swedish Pomerania.

Astonished at not obtaining from the commercial Consuls at Lubeck and
Stettin any accounts of the movements of the Russians, I had sent to
those ports, four days before the receipt of the Police Minister's
letter, a confidential agent, to observe the Baltic: though we were only
64 leagues from Stralsund the most uncertain and contradictory accounts
came to hand. It was, however, certain that a landing of the Russians
was expected at Stralsund, or at Travemtinde, the port of Lubeck, at the
mouth of the little river Trave. I was positively informed that Russia
had freighted a considerable number of vessels for those ports.

The hatred of the French continued to increase in the north of Europe.
About the end of September there appeared at Kiel, in Denmark, a
libellous pamphlet, which was bought and read with inconceivable avidity.
This pamphlet, which was very ably written, was the production of some
fanatic who openly preached a crusade against France. The author
regarded the blood of millions of men as a trifling sacrifice for the
great object of humiliating France and bringing her back to the limits of
the old monarchy. This pamphlet was circulated extensively in the German
departments united to France, in Holland, and in Switzerland. The number
of incendiary publications which everywhere abounded indicated but too
plainly that if the nations of the north should be driven back towards
the Arctic regions they would in their turn repulse their conquerors
towards the south; and no man of common sense could doubt that if the
French eagles were planted in foreign capitals, foreign standards would
one day wave over Paris.

On the 30th of September 1805 I received, by an 'estafette', intelligence
of the landing at Stralsund of 6000 Swedes, who had arrived from
Stockholm in two ships of war.

About the end of September the Hamburg exchange on Paris fell alarmingly.
The loss was twenty per cent. The fall stopped at seventeen below par.
The speculation for this fall of the exchange had been made with equal
imprudence and animosity by the house of Osy and Company

The head of that house, a Dutch emigrant, who had been settled at Hamburg
about six years, seized every opportunity of manifesting his hatred of
France. An agent of that rich house at Rotterdam was also very hostile
to us, a circumstance which shows that if many persons sacrifice their
political opinions to their interests there are others who endanger their
interests for the triumph of their opinions.

On the 23d of October 1805 I received official intelligence of the total
destruction of the first Austrian army: General Barbou, who was in
Hanover, also informed me of that event in the following terms: "The
first Austrian army has ceased to exist." He alluded to the brilliant
affair of Ulm. I immediately despatched twelve estafettes to different
parts; among other places to Stralsund and Husum. I thought that these
prodigies, which must have been almost incredible to those who were
unacquainted with Napoleon's military genius, might arrest the progress
of the Russian troops, and produces some change in the movements of the
enemy's forces. A second edition of the 'Correspondent' was published
with this intelligence, and 6000 copies were sold at four times the usual

I need not detain the reader with the details of the capitulation of Ulm,
which have already been published, but I may relate the following
anecdote, which is not generally known. A French general passing before
the ranks of his men said to them, "Well, comrades, we have prisoners
enough here."--"yes indeed," replied one of the soldiers, "we never saw
so many . . . collected together before." It was stated at the time,
and I believe it, that the Emperor was much displeased when he heard of
this, and remarked that it was "atrocious to insult brave men to whom the
fate of arms had proved unfavourable."

In reading the history of this period we find that in whatever place
Napoleon happened to be, there was the central point of action. The
affairs of Europe were arranged at his headquarters in the same manner as
if he had been in Paris. Everything depended on his good or bad fortune.
Espionage, seduction, false promises, exactions,--all were put in force
to promote the success of his projects; but his despotism, which excited
dissatisfaction in France, and his continual aggressions, which
threatened the independence of foreign States, rendered him more and more
unpopular everywhere.

The battle of Trafalgar took place while Napoleon was marching on Vienna,
and on the day after the capitulation of Ulm. The southern coast of
Spain then witnessed an engagement between thirty-one French and about an
equal number of English ships, and in spite of this equality of force the
French fleet was destroyed.--[The actual forces present were 27 English
ships of the line and 38 Franco-Spanish ships of the line; see James'
Naval History, vol. iii. p. 459.]

This great battle afforded another proof of our naval inferiority.
Admires Calder first gave us the lesson which Nelson completed, but which
cost the latter his life. According to the reports which Duroc
transmitted to me, courage gave momentary hope to the French; but they
were at length forced to yield to the superior naval tactics of the
enemy. The battle of Trafalgar paralysed our naval force, and banished
all hope of any attempt against England.

The favour which the King, of Prussia had shown to Duroc was withdrawn
when his Majesty received intelligence of the march of Bernadotte's
troops through the Margravate of Anspach. All accounts concurred
respecting the just umbrage which that violation of territory occasioned
to the King of Prussia. The agents whom I had in that quarter
overwhelmed me with reports of the excesses committed by the French in
passing through the Margravate. A letter I received from Duroc contains
the following remarks on this subject:

The corps of Marshal Bernadotte has passed through Anapach and by
some misunderstanding this has been regarded at Berlin as an insult
to the King, a violence committed upon his neutrality. How can it
be supposed, especially under present circumstances, that the
Emperor could have any intention of insulting or committing violence
upon his friend? Besides, the reports have been exaggerated, and
have been made by persons who wish to favour our enemies rather than
us. However, I am perfectly aware that Marshal Bernadotte's 70,000
men are not 70,000 virgins. Be this as it may, the business might
have been fatal, and will, at all events, be very injurious to us.
Laforeat and I are treated very harshly, though we do not deserve
it. All the idle stories that have been got up here must have
reached you. Probably Prussia will not forget that France was, and
still may be, the only power interested in her glory and

At the end of October the King of Prussia, far from thinking of war, but
in case of its occurrence wishing to check its disasters as far as
possible, proposed to establish a line of neutrality. This was the first
idea of the Confederation of the North. Duroc, fearing lest the Russians
should enter Hamburg, advised me, as a friend, to adopt precautions. But
I was on the spot; I knew all the movement the little detached corps, and
I was under no apprehension.

The editor of the Hamburg 'Correspondent' sent me every evening a proof
of the number which was to appear next day,--a favour which was granted
only to the French Minister. On the 20th of November I received the
proof as usual, and saw nothing objectionable in it. How great,
therefore, was my astonishment when next morning I read in the same
journal an article personally insulting to the Emperor, and in which the
legitimate sovereigns of Europe were called upon to undertake a crusade
against the usurper etc. I immediately sent for M. Doormann, first
Syndic of the Senate of Hamburg. When he appeared his mortified look
sufficiently informed me that he knew what I had to say to him. I
reproached him sharply, and asked him how, after all I had told him of
the Emperor's susceptibility, he could permit the insertion of such an
article. I observed to him that this indecorous diatribe had no official
character, since it had no signature; and that, therefore, he had acted
in direct opposition to a decree of the Senate, which prohibited the
insertion in the journals of any articles which were not signed. I told
him plainly that his imprudence might be attended with serious
consequences. M. Doormann did not attempt to justify himaelt but merely
explained to me how the thing had happened.

On the 20th of November, in the evening, M. Forshmann, the Russian charge
d'affaires who had in the course of the day arrived from the Russian
headquarters presented to the editor of the Correspondent the article in
question. The editor, after reading the article, which he thought
exceedingly indecorous, observed to M. Forshmann that his paper was
already made up, which was the fact, for I had seen a proof.
M. Forshmann, however, insisted on the insertion of the article. The
editor then told him that he could not admit it without the approbation
of the Syndic Censor. M. Forshmann immediately waited upon M. Doormann,
and when the latter begged that he would not insist on the insertion of
the article, M. Forshmann produced a letter written in French, which,
among other things, contained the following: "You will get the enclosed
article inserted in the Correspondent without suffering a single word to
be altered. Should the censor refuse, you must apply to the directing
Burgomaster, and, in case of his refusal, to General Tolstoy, who will
devise some means of rendering the Senate more complying, and forcing it
to observe an impartial deference."

M. Doorman, thinking he could not take upon himself to allow the
insertion of the article, went, accompanied by M. Forshmann, to wait upon
M. Von Graffen, the directing Burgomaster. MM. Doorman and Von Graffen
earnestly pointed out the impropriety of inserting the article; but M.
Forshmann referred to his order, and added that the compliance of the
Senate on this point was the only means of avoiding great mischief. The
Burgomaster and the Syndic, finding themselves thus forced to admit the
article, entreated that the following passage at least might be
suppressed: "I know a certain chief, who, in defiance of all laws divine
and human,--in contempt of the hatred he inspires in Europe, as well as
among those whom he has reduced to be his subjects, keeps possession of
a usurped throne by violence and crime. His insatiable ambition would
subject all Europe to his rule. But the time is come for avenging the
rights of nations . . . ." M. Forshmann again referred to his orders,
and with some degree of violence insisted on the insertion of the article
in its complete form. The Burgomaster then authorised the editor of the
Correspondent to print the article that night, and M. Forshmann, having
obtained that authority, carried the article to the office at half-past
eleven o'clock.

Such was the account given me by M. Doormann. I observed that I did not
understand how the imaginary apprehension of any violence on the part of
Russia should have induced him to admit so insolent an attack upon the
most powerful sovereign in Europe, whose arms would soon dictate laws to
Germany. The Syndic did not dissemble his fear of the Emperor's
resentment, while at the same time he expressed a hope that the Emperor
would take into consideration the extreme difficulty of a small power
maintaining neutrality in the extraordinary circumstances in which
Hamburg was placed, and that the articles might be said to have been
presented almost at the point of the Cossacks' spears. M. Doormann added
that a refusal, which world have brought Russian troops to Hamburg, might
have been attended by very unpleasant consequences to me, and might have
committed the Senate in a very different way. I begged of him, once for
all, to set aside in these affairs all consideration of my personal
danger: and the Syndic, after a conversation of more than two hours,
departed more uneasy in his mind than when he arrived, and conjuring me
to give a faithful report of the facts as they had happened.

M. Doormann was a very worthy man, and I gave a favourable representation
of his excuses and of the readiness which he had always evinced to keep
out of the Correspondent articles hostile to France; as, for example, the
commencement of a proclamation of the Emperor of Germany to his subjects,
and a complete proclamation of the King of Sweden. As it happened, the
good Syndic escaped with nothing worse than a fright; I was myself
astonished at the success of my intercession. I learned from the
Minister for Foreign Affairs that the Emperor was furiously indignant on
reading the article, in which the French army was outraged as well as he.
Indeed, he paid but little attention to insults directed against himself
personally. Their eternal repetition had inured him to them; but at the
idea of his army being insulted he was violently enraged, and uttered the
most terrible threats.

It is worthy of remark that the Swedish and English Ministers, as soon as
they read the article, waited upon the editor of the Correspondent, and
expressed their astonishment that such a libel should have been
published. "Victorious armies," said they, "should be answered by
cannonballs and not by insults as gross as they are ridiculous." This
opinion was shared by all the foreigners at that time in Hamburg.



Difficulties of my situation at Hamburg--Toil and responsibility--
Supervision of the emigrants--Foreign Ministers--Journals--Packet
from Strasburg--Bonaparte fond of narrating Giulio, an extempore
recitation of a story composed by the Emperor.

The brief detail I have given in the two or three preceding chapters of
the events which occurred previously to and during the campaign of
Austerlitz, with the letters of Duroc and Bernadotte, may afford the
reader some idea of my situation during the early part of my residence in
Hamburg. Events succeeded each other with such incredible rapidity as to
render my labour excessive. My occupations were different, but not less
laborious, than those which I formerly performed when near the Emperor;
and, besides, I was now loaded with a responsibility which did not attach
to me as the private secretary of General Bonaparte and the First Consul.
I had, in fact, to maintain a constant watch over the emigrants in
Altona, which was no easy matter--to correspond daily with the Minister
for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Police--to confer with the
foreign Ministers accredited at Hamburg--to maintain active relations
with the commanders of the French army--to interrogate my secret agents,
and keep a strict surveillance over their proceedings; it was, besides,
necessary to be unceasingly on the watch for scurrilous articles against
Napoleon in the Hamburg 'Corespondent'. I shall frequently have occasion
to speak of all these things, and especially of the most marked
emigrants, in a manner less irregular, because what I have hitherto said
may, in some sort, be considered merely as a summary of all the facts
relating to the occurrences which daily passed before my eyes.

In the midst of these multifarious and weighty occupations I received a
packet with the Strasburg postmark at the time the Empress was in that
city. This packet had not the usual form of a diplomatic despatch, and
the superscription announced that it came from the residence of
Josephine. My readers, I venture to presume, will not experience less
gratification than I did on a perusal of its contents, which will be
found at the end of this chapter; but before satisfying the curiosity to
which I have perhaps given birth, I may here relate that one of the
peculiarities of Bonaparte was a fondness of extempore narration; and it
appears he had not discontinued the practice even after he became

In fact, Bonaparte, during the first year after his elevation to the
Imperial throne, usually passed those evenings in the apartments of the
Empress which he could steal from public business. Throwing himself on a
sofa, he would remain absorbed in gloomy silence, which no one dared to
interrupt. Sometimes, however, on the contrary, he would give the reins
to his vivid imagination and his love of the marvelous, or, to speak more
correctly, his desire to produce effect, which was perhaps one of his
strongest passions, and would relate little romances, which were always
of a fearful description and in unison with the natural turn of his
ideas. During those recitals the ladies-in-waiting were always present,
to one of whom I am indebted for the following story, which she had
written nearly in the words of Napoleon. "Never," said this lady in her
letter to me, "did the Emperor appear more extraordinary. Led away by
the subject, he paced the salon with hasty strides; the intonations of
his voice varied according to the characters of the personages he brought
on the scene; he seemed to multiply himself in order to play the
different parts, and no person needed to feign the terror which he really
inspired, and which he loved to see depicted in the countenances of those
who surrounded him." In this tale I have made no alterations, as can be
attested by those who, to my knowledge, have a copy of it. It is curious
to compare the impassioned portions of it with the style of Napoleon in
some of the letters addressed to Josephine.


An old man's blessing never yet harmed any one
Buried for the purpose of being dug up
Kiss the feet of Popes provided their hands are tied
Something so seductive in popular enthusiasm



His Private Secretary

Edited by R. W. Phipps
Colonel, Late Royal Artillery


CHAPTER I. to CHAPTER X. 1805-1807



Abolition of the Republican calendar--Warlike preparations in
Austria--Plan for re-organizing the National Guard--Napoleon in
Strasburg--General Mack--Proclamation--Captain Bernard's
reconnoitering mission--The Emperor's pretended anger and real
satisfaction--Information respecting Ragusa communicated by Bernard
--Rapid and deserved promotion--General Bernard's
retirement to the United States of America.

I had been three months at Hamburg when I learned that the Emperor had at
last resolved to abolish the only remaining memorial of the Republic,
namely, the revolutionary calendar. That calendar was indeed an absurd
innovation, for the new denominations of the months were not applicable
in all places, even in France; the corn of Provence did not wait to be
opened by the sun of the month of Messidor. On the 9th of September a
'Senates-consulte' decreed that on the 1st of January following the
months and days should resume their own names. I read with much interest
Laplace's report to the Senate, and must confess I was very glad to see
the Gregorian calendar again acknowledged by law, as it had already been
acknowledged in fact. Frenchmen in foreign countries experienced
particular inconvenience from the adoption of a system different from all
the rest of the world.

A few days after the revival of the old calendar the Emperor departed for
the army. When at Hamburg it may well be supposed that I was anxious to
obtain news, and I received plenty from the interior of Germany and from
some friends in Paris. This correspondence enables me to present to my
readers a comprehensive and accurate picture of the state of public
affairs up to the time when Napoleon took the field. I have already
mentioned how artfully he always made it appear that he was anxious for
peace, and that he was always the party attacked; his, conduct previous
to the first conquest of Vienna affords a striking example of this
artifice. It was pretty evident that the transformation of the Cisalpine
Republic into the kingdom of Italy, and the union of Genoa to France were
infractions of treaties; yet the Emperor, nevertheless, pretended that
all the infractions were committed by Austria. The truth is, that
Austria was raising levies as secretly as possible, and collecting her
troops on the frontiers of Bavaria. An Austrian corps even penetrated
into some provinces of the Electorate; all this afforded Napoleon a
pretest for going to the aid of his allies.

In the memorable sitting preceding his departure the Emperor presented a
project of a 'Senatus-consulte' relative to the re-organisation of the
National Guard. The Minister for Foreign Affairs read an explanation of
the reciprocal conduct of France and Austria since the peace of
Luneville, in which the offences of France were concealed with wonderful
skill. Before the sitting broke up the Emperor addressed the members,
stating that he was about to leave the capital to place himself at the
head of the army to afford prompt succour to his allies, and defend the
dearest interests of his people. He boasted of his wish to preserve
peace, which Austria and Russia, as he alleged, had, through the
influence of England, been induced to disturb.

This address produced a very powerful impression in Hamburg. For my
part, I recognised in it Napoleon's usual boasting strain; but on this
occasion events seemed bent on justifying it. The Emperor may certainly
have performed more scientific campaigns than that of Austerlitz, but
never any more glorious in results. Everything seemed to partake of the
marvellous, and I have often thought of the secret joy which Bonaparte
must have felt on seeing himself at last an the point of commencing a
great war in Germany, for which he had so often expressed an ardent
desire. He proceeded first to Strasburg, whither Josephine accompanied

All the reports that I received agreed with the statements of my private
correspondence in describing the incredible enthusiasm which prevailed in
the army on learning that it was to march into Germany. For the first
time Napoleon had recourse to an expeditious mode of transport, and
20,000 carriages conveyed his army, as if by enchantment, from the shores
of the Channel to the banks of the Rhine. The idea of an active campaign
fired the ambition of the junior part of the army. All dreamed of glory,
and of speedy promotion, and all hoped to distinguish themselves before
the eyes of a chief who was idolised by his troops. Thus during his
short stay at Strasburg the Emperor might with reason prophesy the
success which crowned his efforts under the walls of Vienna.

Rapp, who accompanied him, informed me that on leaving Strasburg he
observed, in the presence of several persons, "It will be said that I
made Mack's plan of campaign for him. The Caudine Forks are at Ulm."

--[This allusion to the Caudine Forks was always in Napoleon's mouth
when he saw an enemy's army concentrated on a point, and foresaw its

Experience proved that Bonaparte was not deceived; but I ought on this
occasion to contradict a calumnious report circulated at that time, and
since maliciously repeated. It has been said that there existed an
understanding between Mack and Bonaparte, and that the general was bought
over to deliver up the gates of Ulm. I have received positive proof that
this assertion is a scandalous falsehood; and the only thing that could
give it weight was Napoleon's intercession after the campaign that Mack
might not be put on his trial. In this intercession Napoleon was
actuated only by humanity.

On taking the field Napoleon placed himself at the head of the Bavarians,
with whom be opposed the enemy's army before the arrival of his own
troops. As soon as they were assembled he published the following
proclamation, which still further excited the ardour of the troops.

SOLDIERS--The war of the third coalition is commenced. The Austrian
army has passed the Inn, violated treaties, attacked and driven our
ally from his capital. You yourselves have been obliged to hasten,
by forced marches, to the defence of our frontiers. But you have
now passed the Rhine; and we will not stop till we have secured the
independence of the Germanic body, succoured our allies, and humbled
the pride of our unjust assailants. We will not again make peace
without a sufficient guarantee! Our generosity shall not again
wrong our policy. Soldiers, your Emperor is among you! You are but
the advanced guard of the great people. If it be necessary they
will all rise at my call to confound and dissolve this new league,
which has been created by the malice and the gold of England.
But, soldiers, we shall have forced marches to make, fatigues and
privations of every kind to endure. Still, whatever obstacles may
be opposed to us, we will conquer them; and we will never rest until
we have planted our eagles on the territory of our enemies!

In the confidential notes of his diplomatic agents, in his speeches, and
in his proclamations, Napoleon always described himself as the attacked
party, and perhaps his very earnestness in so doing sufficed to reveal
the truth to all those who had learned to read his thoughts differently
from what his words expressed them.

At the commencement of the campaign of Austerlitz a circumstance occurred
from which is to be dated the fortune of a very meritorious man. While
the Emperor was at Strasburg he asked General Marescot, the commander-in-
chief of the engineers, whether he could recommend from his corps a
brave, prudent, and intelligent young officer, capable of being entrusted
with an important reconnoitering mission. The officer selected by
General Marescot was a captain in the engineers, named Bernard, who had
been educated in the Polytechnic School. He set off on his mission,
advanced almost to Vienna, and returned to the headquarters of the
Emperor at the capitulation of Ulm.

Bonaparte interrogated him himself, and was well satisfied with his
replies; but, not content with answering verbally the questions put by
Napoleon, Captain Bernard had drawn up a report of what he observed, and
the different routes which might be taken. Among other things he
observed that it would be a great advantage to direct the whole army upon
Vienna, without regard to the fortified places; for that, once master of
the capital of Austria, the Emperor might dictate laws to all the
Austrian monarchy. "I was present," said Rapp to me, "at this young
officer's interview with the Emperor. After reading the report, would
you believe that the Emperor flew into a furious passion? 'How!' cried
he, 'you are very bold, very presumptuous! A young officer to take the
liberty of tracing out a plan of campaign for me! Begone, and await my

This, and some other circumstances which I shall have to add respecting
Captain Bernard, completely reveal Napoleon's character. Rapp told me
that as soon as the young officer had left the Emperor all at once
changed his tone. "That," said he, "is a clever young man; he has taken
a proper view of things. I shall not expose him to the chance of being
shot. Perhaps I shall sometime want his services. Tell Berthier to
despatch an order for his departure for Elyria."

This order was despatched, and Captain Bernard, who, like his comrades,
was ardently looking forward to the approaching campaign, regarded as a
punishment what was, on the Emperor's part, a precaution to preserve a
young man whose merit he appreciated. At the close of the campaign, when
the Emperor promoted those officers who had distinguished themselves,
Bernard, who was thought to be in disgrace, was not included in
Berthier's list among the captains of engineers whom he recommended to
the rank of chef de bataillon; but Napoleon himself inscribed Bernard's
name before all the rest. However, the Emperor forgot him for some time;
and it was only an accidental circumstance that brought him to his
recollection. I never had any personal acquaintance with Bernard, but I
learned from Rapp, how he afterwards became his colleague as aide de camp
to the Emperor; a circumstance which I shall now relate, though it refers
to a later period.

Before the Emperor left Paris for the campaign of 1812 he wished to gain
precise information respecting Ragusa and Elyria. He sent for Marmont,
but was not satisfied with his answers. He then interrogated several
other generals, but the result of his inquiries always was, "This is all
very well; but it is not what I want. I do not know Ragusa." He then
sent for General Dejean, who had succeeded M. de Marescot as first
inspector of the Engineers.

"Have you any one among your officers," he asked, "who is well acquainted
with Ragusa? "Dejean, after a little reflection, replied, "Sire, there
is a chef de bataillon who has been a long time forgotten, but who knows
Elyria perfectly."--"What's his name?"--"Bernard."--"Ah! stop . . .
Bernard! I remember that name. Where is he?"--"At Antwerp, Sire,
employed on the fortifications."--"Let a telegraphic despatch be
immediately, transmitted,--[by semaphore arms.]--desiring him to mount
his horse and come with all speed to Paris."

The promptitude with which the Emperor's orders were always executed is
well known. A few days after Captain Bernard was in the Emperor's
cabinet in Paris. Napoleon received him very graciously. The first
thing he said was, "Talk to me about Ragusa." This was a favourite mode
of interrogation with him in similar cases, and I have heard him say that
it was a sure way of drawing out all that a man had observed in any
country that he had visited. Be that as it may, he was perfectly
satisfied with M. Bernard's information respecting Elyria; and when the
chef de bataillon had finished speaking Napoleon said, "Colonel Bernard,
I am now acquainted with Ragusa." The Emperor afterwards conversed
familiarly with him, entered into details respecting the system of
fortification adopted at Antwerp, referred to the plan of the works,
criticised it, and showed how he would, if he besieged the town, render
the means of defence unavailing. The new Colonel explained so well how
he would defend the town against the Emperor's attack that Bonaparte was
delighted, and immediately bestowed upon, the young officer a mark of
distinction which, as far as I know, he never granted but upon that
single occasion. The Emperor was going to preside at the Council of
State, and desired Colonel Bernard to accompany him, and many times
during the sittings be asked him for his opinion upon the points which
were under discussion. On leaving the Council Napoleon said, "Bernard,
you are in future my aide de camp." After the campaign he was made
General of Brigade, soon after General of Division, and now he is
acknowledged to be one of the ablest engineer officers in existence.
Clarke's silly conduct deprived France of this distinguished man, who
refused the brilliant offers of several sovereigns of Europe for the sake
of retiring to the United States of America, where he commands the
Engineers, and has constructed fortifications on the coast of the
Floridas which are considered by engineers to be masterpieces of military



Rapidity of Napoleon's victories--Murat at Wertingen--Conquest of
Ney's duchy--The French army before Ulm--The Prince of Liechtenstein
at the Imperial headquarters--His interview with Napoleon described
by Rapp--Capitulation of Ulm signed by Berthier and Mack--Napoleon
before and after a victory--His address to the captive generals--
The Emperor's proclamation--Ten thousand prisoners taken by Murat--
Battle of Caldiero in Italy--Letter from Duroc--Attempts to retard
the Emperor's progress--Fruitless mission of M. de Giulay--The first
French eagles taken by the Russians--Bold adventure of Lannes and
Murat--The French enter Vienna--Savary's mission to the Emperor

To convey an idea of the brilliant campaign of 1805 from an abstract of
the reports and letters I received at Hamburg I should, like the almanac-
makers, be obliged to note down a victory for every day. Was not the
rapidity of the Emperor's first operations a thing hitherto
unprecedented? He departed from Paris on the 24th of September, and
hostilities commenced on the 2d of October. On the 6th and 7th the
French passed the Danube, and turned the enemy's army. On the 8th Murat,
at the battle of Wertingen, on the Danube, took 2000 Austrian prisoners,
amongst whom, besides other general officers, was Count Auffemberg.
Next day the Austrians fell back upon Gunsburg, retreating before our
victorious legions, who, pursuing their triumphal course, entered
Augsburg on the 10th, and Munich on the 12th. When I received my
despatches I could have fancied I was reading a fabulous narrative. Two
days after the French entered Munich--that is to say, on the 14th--an
Austrian corps of 6000 men surrendered to Marshal Soult at Memingen,
whilst Ney conquered, sword in hand, his future Duchy of Elchingen.
Finally, on the 17th of October, came the famous capitulation of General
Mack at Ulm,' and on the same day hostilities commenced in Italy between
the French and Austrians, the former commanded by Massena and the latter
by Prince Charles.

--[Prince Maurice Liechtenstein was sent by General Mack as a flag
of truce to the Imperial headquarters before Ulm. He was, according
to custom, led blindfold on horseback. Rapp, who was present,
together with several of Napoleon's aides de camp, afterwards spoke
to me of the Prince's interview with the Emperor. I think he told
me that Berthier was present likewise. "Picture to yourself," said
Rapp, "the astonishment, or rather confusion, of the poor Prince
when the bandage was removed from his eyes. He knew nothing of what
had been going on, and did not even suspect that the Emperor had yet
joined the army. When he understood that he was in the presence of
Napoleon he could not suppress an exclamation of surprise, which did
not escape the Emperor, and he ingenuously acknowledged that General
Mack had no idea he was before the walls of Ulm." Prince
Liechtenstein proposed to capitulate on condition that the garrison
of Ulm should be allowed to return into Austria. This proposal, in
the situation in which the garrison stood, Rapp said, made the
Emperor smile. "How can you expect," said Napoleon, "that I can
accede to such a proposition? What shall I gain by it? Eight days.
In eight days you will be in my power without any condition. Do you
suppose I am not acquainted with everything? . . You expect the
Russians? . . . At the nearest they are in Bohemia. Were I to
allow you to march out, what security can I have that you will not
join them, and afterwards fight against me? Your generals have
deceived me often enough, and I will no longer be duped. At Marengo
I was weak enough to allow the troops of Melas to march out of
Alessandria. He promised to treat for peace. What happened? Two
months after Moreau had to fight with the garrison of Alessandria.
Besides, this war is not an ordinary war. After the conduct of your

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest