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

Part 19 out of 24

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de Rochambeau, who to guard against exciting any suspicion among-
his servants, treated him as if he had really been a carman and said
to him, "You may dine in the kitchen."--Bourrienne.]--

The Hanseatic Towns, united to the Grand Empire professedly for their
welfare, soon felt the blessings of the new organisation of a
regenerating Government. They were at once presented with; the stamp-
duty, registration, the lottery, the droits reunis, the tax on cards, and
the 'octroi'. This prodigality of presents caused, as we may be sure,
the most lively gratitude; a tax for military quarters and for warlike
supplies was imposed, but this did not relieve any one from laving not
only officers and soldiers; but even all the chiefs of the administration
and their officials billeted on them: The refineries, breweries, and
manufactures of all sorts were suppressed. The cash chests of the
Admiralty, of the charity houses, of the manufactures, of the savings-
banks, of the working classes, the funds of the prisons, the relief meant
for the infirm, the chests of the refuges, orphanages; and of the
hospitals, were all seized.

More than 200,000 men, Italian, Dutch, and French soldiers came in turn
to stay there, but only to be clothed and shod; and then they left newly
clothed from head to foot. To leave nothing to be wished for, Davoust,
from 1812, established military commissions in all the thirty-second.
military division, before he entered upon the Russian campaign. To
complete these oppressive measures he established at the same time the
High Prevotal Court of the Customs. It was at this time that M. Eudes,
the director of the ordinary customs, a strict but just man, said that
the rule of the ordinary customs would be regretted, "for till now you
have only been on roses.." The professed judgments of this court were
executed without appeal and without delay. From what I have just said
the situation and the misery of the north of Germany, and the consequent
discontent, can be judged.

During my stay in Hamburg, which on this occasion was not very long,
Napoleon's attention was particularly engaged by the campaign of
Portugal, and his discussions with the Pope. At this period the
thunderbolts of Rome were not very alarming. Yet precautions were taken
to keep secret the excommunication which Pius VII. had pronounced
against Napoleon. The event, however, got reported about, and a party in
favour of the Pope speedily rose up among the clergy, and more
particularly among the fanatics. Napoleon sent to Savona the Archbishops
of Nantes, Bourges, Treves, and Tours, to endeavour to bring about a
reconciliation with His Holiness. But all their endeavours were
unavailing, and after staying a month at Savona they returned to Paris
without having done anything. But Napoleon was not discouraged by this
first disappointment, and he shortly afterwards sent a second deputation,
which experienced the same fate as the first. Cardinal Fesch, Napoleon's
uncle, took part with the Pope. For this fact I can vouch, though I
cannot for an answer which he is said to have made to the Emperor. I
have been informed that when Napoleon was one day speaking to his uncle
about the Pope's obstinacy the Cardinal made some observations to him on
his (Bonaparte's) conduct to the Holy Father, upon which Napoleon flew
into a passion, and said that the Pope and he were two old fools.
"As for the Pope," said he, "he is too obstinate to listen to anything.
No, I am determined he shall never have Rome again . . . . He will
not remain at Savona, and where does he wish I should send him?"--"To
Heaven, perhaps," replied the Cardinal.

The truth is, the Emperor was violently irritated against Pius VII.
Observing with uneasiness the differences and difficulties to which all
these dissensions gave rise, he was anxious to put a stop to them. As
the Pope would not listen to any propositions that were made to him,
Napoleon convoked a Council, which assembled in Paris, and at which
several Italian Bishops were present. The Pope insisted that the
temporal and spiritual interests should be discussed together; and,
however disposed a certain number of prelates, particularly the Italians,
might be to separate these two points of discussion, yet the influence of
the Church and well-contrived intrigues gradually gave preponderance to
the wishes of the Pope. The Emperor, having discovered that a secret
correspondence was carried on by several of the Bishops and Archbishops
who had seats in the Council, determined to get rid of some of them, and
the Bishops of Ghent, Troyes, Tournay, and Toulouse were arrested and
sent to Vincennes. They were superseded by others. He wished to
dissolve the Council, which he saw was making no advance towards the
object he had in view, and, fearing that it might adopt some act at
variance with his supreme wish, every member of the Council was
individually required to make a declaration that the proposed changes
were conformable to the laws of the Church. It was said at the time that
they were unanimous in this individual declaration, though it is certain
that in the sittings of the Council opinions were divided. I know not
what His Holiness thought of these written opinions compared with the
verbal opinions that had been delivered, but certain it is though still a
captive at Savona, he refused to adhere to the concessions granted in the
secret declarations.

The conflicts which took place in Spain during the year 1811 were
unattended by any decisive results. Some brilliant events, indeed,
attested the courage of our troops and the skill of our generals. Such
were the battle of Albufera and the taking of Tarragona, while Wellington
was obliged to raise the siege of Badajoz. These advantages, which were
attended only by glory, encouraged Napoleon in the hope of triumphing in
the Peninsula, and enabled him to enjoy the brilliant fetes which took
place at Paris in celebration of the birth of the King of Rome.

On his return from a tour in Holland at the end of October Napoleon
clearly saw that a rupture with Russia was inevitable. In vain he sent
Lauriston as Ambassador to St. Petersburg to supersede Caulaincourt, who
would no longer remain there: all the diplomatic skill in the world could
effect nothing with a powerful Government which had already formed its
determination. All the Cabinets in Europe were now unanimous in wishing
for the overthrow of Napoleon's power, and the people no less, ardently
wished for an order of things less fatal to their trade and industry. In
the state to which Europe was reduced no one could counteract the wish of
Russia and her allies to go to war with France--Lauriston no more than

The war for which Napoleon was now obliged to prepare forced him to
neglect Spain, and to leave his interests in that country in a state of
real danger. Indeed, his occupation of Spain and his well-known wish to
maintain himself there were additional motives for inducing the powers of
Europe to enter upon a war which would necessarily divide Napoleon's
forces. All at once the troops which were in Italy and the north of
Germany moved towards the frontiers of the Russian Empire. From March
1811 the Emperor had all the military forces of Europe at his disposal.
It was curious to see this union of nations, distinguished by difference
of manners,

--[It should be remarked that Napoleon was far from being anxious
for the war with Russia. Metternich writing on 26th March 1811,
says "Everything seems to indicate that the Emperor Napoleon is at
present still far from desiring a war with Russia. But it is not
less true that the Emperor Alexander has given himself over, 'nolens
volens', to the war party, and that he will bring about war, because
the time is approaching when he will no longer be able to resist the
reaction of the party in the internal affairs of his Empire, or the
temper of his army. The contest between Count Romanzov and the
party opposed to that Minister seems on the point of precipitating a
war between Russia and France." This, from Metternich, is strong

language, religion, and interests, all ready to fight for one man against
a power who had done nothing to offend them. Prussia herself, though she
could not pardon the injuries he had inflicted upon her, joined his
alliance, but with the intention of breaking it on the first opportunity.
When the war with Russia was first spoken of Savary and I had frequent
conversations on the subject. I communicated to him all the intelligence
I received from abroad respecting that vast enterprise. The Duc de
Rovigo shared all my forebodings; and if he and those who thought like
him had been listened to, the war would probably have been avoided.
Through him I learnt who were the individuals who urged the invasion.
The eager ambition with which they looked forward to Viceroyalties,
Duchies, and endowments blinded them to the possibility of seeing the
Cossacks in Paris.

The gigantic enterprise being determined on, vast preparations were made
for carrying it into effect. Before his departure Napoleon, who was to
take with him all the disposable troops, caused a 'Senatus-consulte' to
be issued for levying the National Guards, who were divided into three
corps. He also arranged his diplomatic affairs by concluding, in
February 1812, a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, with
Prussia, by virtue of which the two contracting powers mutually
guaranteed the integrity of their own possessions, and the European
possessions of the Ottoman Porte, because that power was then at war with
Russia. A similar treaty was concluded about the beginning of March with
Austria, and about the end of the same month Napoleon renewed the
capitulation of France and Switzerland. At length, in the month of
April, there came to light an evident proof of the success which had
attended M. Czernischeff's intrigues in Paris. It was ascertained that a
clerk in the War Office, named Michel, had communicated to him the
situation of the French forces in Germany. Michel was condemned to
death, for the time was gone by when Bonaparte, confident in his genius
and good fortune, could communicate his plans to the spy of General

In March 1812, when I saw that the approaching war would necessarily take
Napoleon from France, weary of the persecutions and even threats by which
I was every day assailed, I addressed to the Emperor a memorial
explaining my conduct and showing the folly and wickedness of my
accusers. Among them was a certain Ogier de la Saussaye, who had sent a
report to the Emperor, in which the principal charge was, that I had
carried off a box containing important papers belonging to the First
Consul. The accusation of Ogier de la Saussaye terminated thus: "I add
to my report the interrogatories of MM. Westphalen, Osy, Chapeau Rouge,
Aukscher, Thierry, and Gumprecht-Mores. The evidence of the latter bears
principally on a certain mysterious box, a secret upon which it is
impossible to throw any light, but the reality of which we are bound to
believe." These are his words. The affair of the mysterious box has
been already explained. I have already informed the reader that I put my
papers into a box, which I buried lest it should be stolen from me.
But for that precaution I should not have been able to lay before the
reader the autograph documents in my possession, and which I imagine form
the most essential part of these volumes. In my memorial to the Emperor
I said, in allusion to the passage above quoted, "This, Sire, is the most
atrocious part of Ogier's report.

"Gumprecht being questioned on this point replies that the accuser has
probably, as well as himself, seen the circumstance mentioned in an
infamous pamphlet which appeared seven or eight years, ago. It was, I
think, entitled 'Le Secret du Cabinet des Tuileries,' and was very likely
at the time of its appearance denounced by the police. In that libel it
is stated, among a thousand other calumnies equally false and absurd,
'that when I left the First Consul I carried away a box full of important
papers, that I was in consequence sent to the Temple, where your brother
Joseph came to me and offered me my liberation, and a million of francs,
if I would restore the papers, which I refused to do,' etc. Ogier,
instead of looking for this libel in Hamburg, where I read it, has the
impudence to give credit to the charge, the truth of which could have
been ascertained immediately: and he adds, 'This secret we are bound to
believe.' Your Majesty knows whether I was ever in the Temple, and
whether Joseph ever made such an offer to me." I entreated that the
Emperor would do me the favour to bring me to trial; for certainly I
should have regarded that as a favour rather than to remain as I was,
exposed to vague accusations; yet all my solicitations were in vain.
My letter to the Emperor remained unanswered; but though Bonaparte could
not spare a few moments to reply to an old friend, I learned through
Duroc the contempt he cherished for my accusers. Duroc advised me not to
be uneasy, and that in all probability the Emperor's prejudices against
me would be speedily overcome; and I must say that if they were not
overcome it was neither the fault of Duroc nor Savary, who knew how to
rightly estimate the miserable intrigues just alluded to.

Napoleon was at length determined to extend the limits of his Empire, or
rather to avenge the injuries which Russia had committed against his
Continental system. Yet, before he departed for Germany, the resolute
refusal of the Pope to submit to any arrangement urgently claimed his
consideration. Savona did not appear to him a sufficiently secure
residence for such a prisoner. He feared that when all his strength
should be removed towards the Niemen the English might carry off the
Pope, or that the Italians, excited by the clergy, whose dissatisfaction
was general in Italy, would stir up those religious dissensions which are
always fatal and difficult to quell. With the view, therefore, of
keeping the Pope under his control he removed him to Fontainebleau, and
even at one time thought of bringing him to Paris.

The Emperor appointed M. Denon to reside with the Pope at Fontainebleau;
and to afford his illustrious prisoner the society of such a man was
certainly a delicate mark of attention on the part of Napoleon. When
speaking of his residence with Pius VII. M. Denon related to me the
following anecdote. "The Pope," said he, "was much attached to me. He
always addressed me by the appellation 'my son,' and he loved to converse
with me, especially on the subject of the Egyptian expedition. One day
he asked me for my work on Egypt, which he said he wished to read; and as
you know it is not quite orthodox, and does not perfectly agree with the
creation of the world according to Genesis, I at first hesitated; but the
Pope insisted, and at length I complied with his wish. The Holy Father
assured me that he had been much interested by the perusal of the book.
I made some allusion to the delicate points; upon which he said, "No
matter, no matter, my son; all that is exceedingly curious, and I must
confess entirely new to me." I then," continued M. Denon, told His
Holiness why I hesitated to lend him the work, which, I observed, he had
excommunicated, together with its author. "Excommunicated you, my son?"
resumed the Pope in a tone of affectionate concern. "I am very sorry for
it, and assure you I was far from being aware of any such thing."

When M. Denon related to me this anecdote he told me how greatly he had
admired the virtues and resignation of the Holy Father; but he added that
it would nevertheless have been easier to make him a martyr than to
induce him to yield on any point until he should be restored to the
temporal sovereignty of Rome, of which he considered himself the
depositary, and which he would not endure the reproach of having
willingly sacrificed. After settling the place of the Pope's residence
Napoleon set off for Dresden, accompanied by Maria Louisa, who had
expressed a wish to see her father.

The Russian enterprise, the most gigantic, perhaps, that the genius of
man ever conceived since the conquest of India by Alexander, now absorbed
universal attention, and defied the calculations of reason. The
Manzanares was forgotten, and nothing was thought of but the Niemen,
already so celebrated by the raft of Tilsit. Thither, as towards a
common centre, were moving men, horses, provisions, and baggage of every
kind, from all parts of Europe. The hopes of our generals and the fears
of all prudent men were directed to Russia. The war in Spain, which was
becoming more and more unfortunate, excited but a feeble interest; and
our most distinguished officers looked upon it as a disgrace to be sent
to the Peninsula. In short, it was easy to foresee that the period was
not far distant when the French would be obliged to recross the Pyrenees.
Though the truth was concealed from the Emperor on many subjects, yet he
was not deceived as to the situation of Spain in the spring of 1812. In
February the Duke of Ragusa had frankly informed him that the armies of
Spain and Portugal could not, without considerable reinforcements of men
and money, hope for any important advantages since Ciudad-Rodrigo and
Badajoz had fallen into the hands of the English.

Before he commenced his great operations on the Niemen and the Volga
Napoleon made a journey to Dantzic, and Rapp, who was then Governor of
that city, informed me of some curious particulars connected with the
Imperial visit. The fact is, that if Rapp's advice had been listened to,
and had been supported by men higher in rank than himself, Bonaparte
would not have braved the chances of the Russian war until those chances
turned against him. Speaking to me of the Russians Rapp said, "They will
soon be as wise as we are! Every time we go to war with them we teach
them how to beat us." I was struck with the originality and truth of
this observation, which at the time I heard it was new, though it has
been often repeated since.

"On leaving Dresden," said Rapp to me, "Napoleon came to Dantzic. I
expected a dressing; for, to tell you the truth, I had treated very
cavalierly both his custom-house and its officers, who were raising up as
many enemies to France as there were inhabitants in my Government. I had
also warned him of all that has since happened in Russia, but I assure
you I did not think myself quite so good a prophet. In the beginning of
1812 I thus wrote to him: 'If your Majesty should experience reverses you
may depend on it that both Russians and Germans will rise up in a mass to
shake off the yoke. There will be a crusade, and all your allies will
abandon you. Even the King of Bavaria, on whom you rely so confidently,
will join the coalition. I except only the King of Saxony. He, perhaps,
might remain faithful to you; but his subjects will force him to make
common cause with your enemies. The King of Naples," continued Rapp, "who
had the command of the cavalry, had been to Dantzic before the Emperor.
He did not seem to take a more favourable view of the approaching
campaign than I did. Murat was dissatisfied that the Emperor would not
consent to his rejoining him in Dresden; and he said that he would rather
be a captain of grenadiers than a King such as he was."

Here I interrupted Rapp to tell him what had fallen from Murat when I met
him in the Champs Elysees "Bah!" resumed Rapp, "Murat, brave as he was,
was a craven in Napoleon's presence! On the Emperor's arrival in Dantzic
the first thing of which he spoke to me was the alliance he had just then
concluded with Prussia and Austria. I could not refrain from telling him
that we did a great deal of mischief as allies; a fact of which I was
assured from the reports daily transmitted to me respecting the conduct
of our troops. Bonaparte tossed his bead, as you know he was in the
habit of doing when he was displeased. After a moment's silence,
dropping the familiar thee and thou, he said, 'Monsieur le General, this
is a torrent which must be allowed to run itself out. It will not last
long. I must first ascertain whether Alexander decidedly wishes for
war.' Then, suddenly changing the subject of conversation, he said,
'Have you not lately observed something extraordinary in Murat? I think
he is quite altered. Is be ill?'--'Sire,' replied I, 'Murat is not ill,
but he is out of spirits.'--'Out of spirits! but why? Is he not
satisfied with being a King?'--'Sire, Murat says he is no King.'--'That
is his own fault. Why does he make himself a Neapolitan? Why is he not
a Frenchman? When he is in his Kingdom he commits all sorts of follies.
He favours the trade of England; that I will not suffer.'

"When," continued Rapp, "he spoke of the favour extended by Murat to the
trade between Naples and England I thought my turn would come next; but I
was deceived. No more was said on the subject, and when I was about to
take my leave the Emperor said to me, as when in his best of humours,
'Rapp, you will sup with me this evening.' I accordingly supped that
evening with the Emperor, who had also invited the King of Naples and
Berthier. Next day the Emperor visited the fortress, and afterwards
returned to the Government Palace, where he received the civil and
military authorities. He again invited Murat, Berthier, and me to
supper. When we first sat down to table we were all very dull, for the
Emperor was silent; and, as you well know, under such circumstances not
even Murat himself dared to be the first to speak to him. At length
Napoleon, addressing me, inquired how far it was from Cadiz to Dantzic.
'Too far, Sire,' replied I. 'I understand you, Monsieur le General, but
in a few months the distance will be still greater.'--'So much the worse,
Sire!' Here there was another pause. Neither Murat nor Berthier, on
whom the Emperor fixed a scrutinising glance, uttered a word, and
Napoleon again broke silence, but without addressing any one of us in
particular: 'Gentlemen,' said be in a solemn and rather low tone of
voice, 'I see plainly that you are none of you inclined to fight again.
The King of Naples does not wish to leave the fine climate of his
dominions, Berthier wishes to enjoy the diversion of the chase at his
estate of Gros Bois, and Rapp is impatient to be back to his hotel in
Paris.' Would you believe it," pursued Rapp, "that neither Murat nor
Berthier said a word in reply? and the ball again came to me. I told
him frankly that what he said was perfectly true, and the King of Naples
and the Prince of Neufchatel complimented me on my spirit, and observed
that I was quite right in saying what I did. 'Well,' said I, 'since it
was so very right, why did you not follow my example, and why leave me to
say all?' You cannot conceive," added Rapp, "how confounded they both
were, and especially Murat, though be was very differently situated from

The negotiations which Bonaparte opened with Alexander, when he yet
wished to seem averse to war, resembled those oratorical paraphrases
which do not prevent us from coming to the conclusion we wish. The two
Emperors equally desired war; the one with the view of consolidating his
power, and the other in the hope of freeing himself from a yoke which
threatened to reduce him to a state of vassalage, for it was little short
of this to require a power like Russia to close her ports against England
for the mere purpose of favouring the interests of France. At that time
only two European powers were not tied to Napoleon's fate--Sweden and
Turkey. Napoleon was anxious to gain the alliance of these two powers.
With respect to Sweden his efforts were vain; and though, in fact, Turkey
was then at war with Russia, yet the Grand Seignior was not now, as at
the time of Sebastiani's embassy, subject to the influence of France.

The peace, which was soon concluded at Bucharest, between Russia, and
Turkey increased Napoleon's embarrassment. The left of the Russian army,
secured by the neutrality of Turkey, was reinforced by Bagration's corps
from Moldavia: it subsequently occupied the right of the Beresina, and
destroyed the last hope of saving the wreck of the French army. It is
difficult to conceive how Turkey could have allowed the consideration of
injuries she had received from France to induce her to terminate the war
with Russia when France was attacking that power with immense forces.
The Turks never had a fairer opportunity for taking revenge on Russia,
and, unfortunately for Napoleon, they suffered it to escape.

Napoleon was not more successful when he sought the alliance of a Prince
whose fortune he had made, and who was allied to his family, but with
whom he had never been on terms of good understanding. The Emperor
Alexander had a considerable corps of troops in Finland destined to
protect that country against the Sweden, Napoleon having consented to
that occupation in order to gain the provisional consent of Alexander to
the invasion of Spain. What was the course pursued by Napoleon when,
being at war with Russia, he wished to detach Sweden from her alliance
with Alexander? He intimated to Bernadotte that he had a sure
opportunity of retaking Finland, a conquest which would gratify his
subjects and win their attachment to him. By this alliance Napoleon
wished to force Alexander not to withdraw the troops who were in the
north of his Empire, but rather to augment their numbers in order to
cover Finland and St. Petersburg. It was thus that Napoleon endeavoured
to draw the Prince Royal into his coalition. It was of little
consequence to Napoleon whether Bernadotte succeeded or not. The Emperor
Alexander would nevertheless have been obliged to increase his force in
Finland; that was all that Napoleon wished. In the gigantic struggle
upon which France and Russia were about to enter the most trivial
alliance was not to be neglected. In January 1812 Davoust invaded
Swedish Pomerania without any declaration of war, and without any
apparent motive. Was this inconceivable violation of territory likely to
dispose the Prince Royal of Sweden to the proposed alliance, even had
that alliance not been adverse to the interests of his country? That was
impossible; and Bernadotte took the part which was expected of him. He
rejected the offers of Napoleon, and prepared for coming events.

The Emperor Alexander wished to withdraw his force from Finland for the
purpose of more effectively opposing the immense army which threatened
his States. Unwilling to expose Finland to an attack on the part of
Sweden, he had an interview on the 28th of August 1812, at Abo, with the
Prince-Royal, to come to an arrangement with him for uniting their
interests. I know that the Emperor of Russia pledged himself, whatever
might happen, to protect Bernadotte against the fate of the new
dynasties, to guarantee the possession of his throne, and promised that
he should have Norway as a compensation for Finland. He even went so far
as to hint that Bernadotte might supersede Napoleon. Bernadotte adopted
all the propositions of Alexander, and from that moment Sweden made
common cause against Napoleon. The Prince Royal's conduct has been much
blamed, but the question resolved itself into one of mere political
interest. Could Bernadotte, a Swede by adoption, prefer the alliance of
an ambitious sovereign whose vengeance he had to fear, and who had
sanctioned the seizure of Finland to that of a powerful monarch, his
formidable neighbour, his protector in Sweden, and where hostility might
effectually support the hereditary claims of young Gustavus? Sweden, in
joining France, would thereby have declared herself the enemy of England.
Where, then, would have been her navy, her trade and even her existence?



Changeableness of Bonaparte's plans and opinions--Articles for the
'Moniteur' dictated by the First Consul--The Protocol of the
Congress of Chatillon--Conversations with Davoust at Hamburg--
Promise of the Viceroyalty of Poland--Hope and disappointment of the
Poles--Influence of illusion on Bonaparte--The French in Moscow--
Disasters of the retreat--Mallet's conspiracy--Intelligence of the
affair communicated to Napoleon at Smolensko--Circumstances detailed
by Rapp--Real motives of Napoleon's return to Paris--Murat, Ney, and
Eugene--Power of the Italians to endure cold--Napoleon's exertions
to repair his losses--Defection of General York--Convocation of a
Privy Council--War resolved on--Wavering of the Pope--Useless
negotiations with Vienna--Maria Louisa appointed Regent.

It may now he asked whether Bonaparte, previous to entering upon the last
campaign, had resolved on restoring Poland to independence. The fact is
that Bonaparte, as Emperor, never entertained any positive wish to
reestablish the old Kingdom of Poland, though at a previous period he was
strongly inclined to that re-establishment, of which he felt the
necessity. He may have said that he would re-establish the Kingdom of
Poland, but I beg leave to say that that is no reason for believing that
he entertained any such design. He had said, and even sworn, that he
would never aggrandise the territory of the Empire! The changeableness
of Bonaparte's ideas, plans, and projects renders it difficult to master
them; but they may be best understood when it is considered that all
Napoleon's plans and conceptions varied with his fortunes. Thus, it is
not unlikely that he might at one time have considered the
reestablishment of Poland as essential to European policy, and afterwards
have regarded it as adverse to the development of his ambition. Who can
venture to guess what passed in his mind when dazzled by his glory at
Dresden, and whether in one of his dreams he might not have regarded the
Empire of the Jagellons as another gem in the Imperial diadem? The truth
is that Bonaparte, when General-in-Chief of the army of Egypt and First
Consul, had deeply at heart the avenging the dismemberment of Poland, and
I have often conversed with him on this most interesting subject, upon
which we entirely concurred in opinion. But times and circumstances were
changed since we walked together on the terrace of Cairo and mutually
deplored the death of young Sulkowski. Had Sulkowski lived Napoleon's
favourable intentions with respect to Poland might perhaps have been
confirmed. A fact which explains to me the coolness, I may almost say
the indifference, of Bonaparte to the resurrection of Poland is that the
commencement of the Consulate was the period at which that measure
particularly occupied his attention. How often did he converse on the
subject with me and other persons who may yet recollect his sentiments!
It was the topic on which he most loved to converse, and on which he
spoke with feeling and enthusiasm. In the 'Moniteur' of the period here
alluded to I could point out more than one article without signature or
official character which Napoleon dictated to me, and the insertion of
which in that journal, considering the energy of certain expressions,
sufficiently proves that they could have emanated from none but
Bonaparte. It was usually in the evening that he dictated to me these
articles. Then, when the affairs of the day were over, he would launch
into the future, and give free scope to his vast projects. Some of these
articles were characterised by so little moderation that the First Consul
would very often destroy them in the morning, smiling at the violent
ebullitions of the preceding night. At other times I took the liberty of
not sending them to the 'Moniteur' on the night on which they were
dictated, and though he might earnestly wish their insertion I adduced
reasons good or bad, to account for the delay. He would then read over
the article in question, and approve of my conduct; but he would
sometimes add, "It is nevertheless true that with an independent Kingdom
of Poland, and 150,000 disposable troops in the east of France, I should
always be master of Russia, Prussia, and Austria."--"General," I would
reply," I am entirely of your opinion; but wherefore awaken the
suspicions of the interested parties. Leave all to time and

The reader may have to learn, and not, perhaps, without some surprise,
that in the protocol of the sittings of the Congress of Chatillon
Napoleon put forward the spoliation of Poland by the three principal
powers allied against him as a claim to a more advantageous peace, and to
territorial indemnities for France. In policy he was right, but the
report of foreign cannon was already loud enough to drown the best of

After the ill-timed and useless union of the Hanse Towns to France I
returned to Hamburg in the spring of 1811 to convey my family to France.
I then had some conversation with Davoust. On one occasion I said to him
that if his hopes were realised, and my sad predictions respecting the
war with Russia overthrown, I hoped to see the restoration of the Kingdom
of Poland. Davoust replied that that event was probable, since he had
Napoleon's promise of the Viceroyalty of that Kingdom, and as several of
his comrades had been promised starosties. Davoust made no secret of
this, and it was generally known throughout Hamburg and the north of

But notwithstanding what Davoust said respecting. Napoleon's intentions
I considered that these promises had been conditional rather than

On Napoleon's arrival in Poland the Diet of Warsaw, assured, as there
seemed reason to be, of the Emperor's sentiments, declared the Kingdom
free and independent. The different treaties of dismemberment were
pronounced to be null; and certainly the Diet had a right so to act, for
it calculated upon his support. But the address of the Diet to Napoleon,
in which these principles were declared, was ill received. His answer
was full of doubt and indecision, the motive of which could not be
blamed. To secure the alliance of Austria against Russia he had just
guaranteed to his father-in-law the integrity of his dominions. Napoleon
therefore declared that he could take no part in any movement or
resolution which might disturb Austria in the possession of the Polish
provinces forming a part of her Empire. To act otherwise, he said, would
be to separate himself from his alliance with Austria, and to throw her
into the arms of Russia. But with regard to the Polish-Russian
provinces, Napoleon declared he would see what he could do, should
Providence favour the good cause. These vague and obscure expressions
did not define what he intended to do for the Poles in the event of
success crowning his vast enterprises. They excited the distrust of the
Poles, and had no other result. On this subject, however, an observation
occurs which is of some force as an apology for Napoleon. Poland was
successively divided between three powers, Russia, Austria, and Prussia,
with each of which Napoleon had been at war, but never with all three at
once. He had therefore never been able to take advantage of his
victories to re-establish Poland without injuring the interests of
neutral powers or of his allies. Hence it may be concluded not only that
he never had the positive will which would have triumphed over all
obstacles, but also that there never was a possibility of realising those
dreams and projects of revenge in which he had indulged on the banks of
the Nile, as it were to console the departed spirit of Sulkowski.

Bonaparte's character presents many unaccountable incongruities.
Although the most positive man that perhaps ever existed, yet there never
was one who more readily yielded to the charm of illusion. In many
circumstances the wish and the reality were to him one and the same
thing. He never indulged in greater illusions than at the beginning of
the campaign of Moscow. Even before the approach of the disasters which
accompanied the most fatal retreat recorded in history, all sensible
persons concurred in the opinion that the Emperor ought to have passed
the winter of 1812-13 in Poland, and have resumed his vast enterprises in
the spring. But his natural impatience impelled him forward as it were
unconsciously, and he seemed to be under the influence of an invisible
demon stronger than even his own strong will. This demon was ambition.
He who knew so well the value of time, never sufficiently understood its
power, and how much is sometimes gained by delay. Yet Caesar's
Commentaries, which were his favourite study, ought to have shown him
that Caesar did not conquer Gaul in one campaign. Another illusion by
which Napoleon was misled during the campaign of Moscow, and perhaps past
experience rendered it very excusable, was the belief that the Emperor
Alexander would propose peace when he saw him at the head of his army on
the Russian territory. The prolonged stay of Bonaparte at Moscow can
indeed be accounted for in no other way than by supposing that he
expected the Russian Cabinet would change its opinion and consent to
treat for peace. However, whatever might have been the reason, after his
long and useless stay in Moscow Napoleon left that city with the design
of taking up his winter quarters in Poland; but Fate now frowned upon
Napoleon, and in that dreadful retreat the elements seemed leagued with
the Russians to destroy the most formidable army ever commanded by one
chief. To find a catastrophe in history comparable to that of the
Beresina we must go back to the destruction of the legions of Varus.

Notwithstanding the general dismay which prevailed in Paris that capital
continued tranquil, when by a singular chance, on the very day on which
Napoleon evacuated the burning city of Moscow, Mallet attempted his
extraordinary enterprise. This General, who had always professed
Republican principles, and was a man of bold decided character, after
having been imprisoned for some time, obtained the permission of
Government to live in Paris in a hospital house situated near the
Barriere de Trove. Of Mallet's, conspiracy it is not necessary to say
much after the excellent account given of it in the Memoirs of the Due de
Rovigo. Mallet's plan was to make it be believed that Bonaparte had been
killed at Moscow, and that a new Government was established under the
authority of the Senate. But what could Mallet do? Absolutely nothing:
and had his Government continued three days he would have experienced a
more favourable chance than that which he ought reasonably to have
expected than asserted that the Emperor was dead, but an estafette from
Russia would reveal the truth, resuscitate Napoleon, and overwhelm with
confusion Mallet and his proclamation. His enterprise was that of a
madman. The French were too weary of troubles to throw themselves into
the arms of, Mallet or his associate Lahorie, who had figured so
disgracefully on the trial of Moreau., Yet, in spite of the evident
impossibility of success, it must be confessed that considerable
ingenuity and address marked the commencement of the conspiracy. On the
22d of October Mallet escaped from the hospital house and went to Colonel
Soulier, who commanded the tenth cohort of the National Guard, whose
barracks were situated exactly behind the hospital house. Mallet was
loaded with a parcel of forged orders which he had himself prepared. He
introduced himself to Soulier under the name of General La Motte, and
said that he came from General Mallet.

Colonel Soulier on hearing of the Emperor's death was affected to tears.
He immediately ordered the adjutant to assemble the cohort and obey the
orders of General La Motte, to whom he expressed his regret for being
himself too ill to leave his bed. It was then two o'clock in the
morning, and the forged documents respecting the Emperor's death slid the
new form of Government were read to the troops by lamplight. Mallet then
hastily set off with 1200 men to La Force, and liberated the Sieurs Gudal
and Laholze, who were confined there. Mallet informed them of the
Emperor's death and of the change of Government; gave them some orders,
in obedience to which the Minister and Prefect of Police were arrested in
their hotel.

I was then at Courbevoie, and I went to Paris on that very morning to
breakfast, as I frequently did, with the Minister of Police. My surprise
may be imagined when

--[General Mallet gave out that the Emperor was killed under the
walls of Moscow on the 8th of October; be could not take any other
day without incurring the risk of being contradicted by the arrival
of the regular courier. The Emperor being dead, he concluded that
the Senate ought to be invested with the supreme authority, and he
therefore resolved to address himself in the name of that body to
the nation and the army. In a proclamation to the soldiers he
deplored the death of the Emperor; in another, after announcing the
abolition of the Imperial system and the Restoration of the
Republic, he indicated the manner in which the Government was to be
reconstructed, described the branches into which public authority
was to be divided, and named the Directors. Attached to the
different documents there appeared the signatures of several
Senators whose names he recollected but with whom he had ceased to
have any intercourse for a great number of years. . These
signatures were all written by Mallet, and he drew up a decree in
the name of the Senate, and signed by the same Senators, appointing
himself Governor of Paris, and commander of the troops of the first
military division. He also drew up other decrees in the same form
which purported to promote to higher ranks all the military officers
he intended to make instruments in the execution of his enterprise.

He ordered one regiment to close all the barriers of Paris, and
allow no person to pass through them. This was done: so that in all
the neighbouring towns from which assistance, in case of need, might
have been obtained, nothing was known of the transactions in Paris.
He sent the other regiments to occupy the Bank, the Treasury, and
different Ministerial offices. At the Treasury some resistance was
made. The minister of that Department was on the spot, and he
employed the guard of his household in maintaining his authority.
But in the whole of the two regiments of the Qnard not a single,
objection was started to the execution of Mallet's orders (Memoirs
of the Duc de Rivogo, tome vi. p. 20.)]--

I learned from the porter that the Due de Rovigo had been arrested and
carried to the prison of La Force. I went into the house and was
informed, to my great astonishment, that the ephemeral Minister was being
measured for his official suit, an act which so completely denoted the
character of the conspirator that it gave me an insight into the

Mallet repaired to General Hulin, who had the command of Paris. He
informed him that he had been directed by the Minister of Police to
arrest him and seal his papers. Hulin asked to see the order, and then
entered his cabinet, where Mallet followed him, and just as Hulin was
turning round to speak to him he fired a pistol in his face. Hulin fell:
the ball entered his cheek, but the wound was not mortal. The most
singular circumstance connected with the whole affair is, that the
captain whom Mallet had directed to follow him, and who accompanied him
to Hulin's, saw nothing extraordinary in all this, and did nothing to
stop it. Mallet next proceeded, very composedly, to Adjutant-General
Doucet's. It happened that one of the inspectors of the police was
there. He recognised General Mallet as being a man under his
supervision. He told him that he had no right to quit the hospital house
without leave, and ordered him to be arrested. Mallet, seeing that all
was over, was in the act of drawing a pistol from his pocket, but being
observed was seized and disarmed. Thus terminated this extraordinary
conspiracy, for which fourteen lives paid the forfeit; but, with the
exception of Mallet, Guidal, and Lahorie, all the others concerned in it
were either machines or dupes.

This affair produced but little effect in Paris, for the enterprise and
its result were make known simultaneously. But it was thought droll
enough that the Minister and Prefect of Police should be imprisoned by
the men who only the day before were their prisoners. Next day I went to
see Savary, who had not yet recovered from the stupefaction caused by his
extraordinary adventure. He was aware that his imprisonment; though it
lasted only half an hour, was a subject of merriment to the Parisians.
The Emperor, as I have already mentioned, left Moscow on the day when
Mallet made his bold attempt, that is to say, the 19th of October.
He was at Smolensko when he heard the news. Rapp, who had been wounded
before the entrance into Moscow, but who was sufficiently recovered to
return home, was with Napoleon when the latter received the despatches
containing an account of what had happened in Paris. He informed me that
Napoleon was much agitated on perusing them, and that he launched into
abuse of the inefficiency of the police. Rapp added that he did not
confine himself to complaints against the agents of his authority. "Is,
then, my power so insecure," said he, "that it may be put in peril by a
single individual, and a prisoner? It would appear that my crown is not
fixed very firmly on my head if in my own capital the bold stroke of
three adventurers can shake it. Rapp, misfortune never comes alone; this
is the complement of what is passing here. I cannot be everywhere; but I
must go back to Paris; my presence there is indispensable to reanimate
public opinion. I must have men and money. Great successes and great
victories will repair all. I must set off." Such were the motives which
induced the Emperor to leave his army. It is not without indignation
that I have heard his precipitate departure attributed to personal
cowardice. He was a stranger to such feelings, and was never more happy
than on the field of battle. I can readily conceive that he was much
alarmed on hearing of Mallet's enterprise. The remarks which he made to
Rapp were those which he knew would be made by the public, and he well
knew that the affair was calculated to banish those illusions of power
and stability with which he endeavoured to surround his government.

On leaving Moscow Napoleon consigned the wrecks of his army to the care
of his most distinguished generals to Murat who had so ably commanded the
cavalry, but who abandoned the army to return to Naples; and to Ney, the
hero, rather than the Prince of the Moskowa, whose name will be immortal
in the annals of glory, as his death will be eternal in the annals of
party revenge. Amidst the general disorder Eugene, more than any other
chief, maintained a sort of discipline among the Italians; and it was
remarked that the troops of the south engaged in the fatal campaign of
Moscow had endured the rigour of the cold better than those troops who
were natives of less genial climates.

Napoleon's return from Moscow was not like his returns from the campaigns
of Vienna and Tilsit when he came back crowned with laurels, and bringing
peace as the reward of his triumphs. It was remarked that Napoleon's
first great disaster followed the first enterprise he undertook after his
marriage with Maria Louisa. This tended to confirm the popular belief
that the presence of Josephine was favourable to his fortune; and
superstitious as he sometimes was, I will not venture to affirm that he
himself did not adopt this ides. He now threw off even the semblance of
legality in the measures of his government: he assumed arbitrary power,
under the impression that the critical circumstances in which he was
placed would excuse everything. But, however inexplicable were the means
to which the Emperor resorted to procure resources, it is but just to
acknowledge that they were the consequence of his system of government,
and that he evinced inconceivable activity in repairing his losses so as
to place himself in a situation to resist his enemies, and restore the
triumph of the French standard.

But in spite of all Napoleon's endeavours the disasters of the campaign
of Russia were daily more and more sensibly felt. The King of Prussia
had played a part which was an acknowledgment of his weakness in joining
France, instead of openly declaring himself for the cause of Russia,
which was also his. Then took place the defection of General York, who
commanded the Prussian contingent to Napoleon's army. The King of
Prussia, though no doubt secretly satisfied with the conduct of General
York, had him tried and condemned; but shortly after that sovereign
commanded in person the troops which had turned against ours. The
defection of the Prussians produced a very ill effect, and it was easy to
perceive that other defections would follow. Napoleon, foreseeing the
fatal chances which this event was likely to draw upon him, assembled a
privy council, composed of the Ministers and some of the great officers
of his household. MM. de Talleyrand and Cambaceres, and the President of
the senate were present. Napoleon asked whether, in the complicated
difficulties of our situation, it would be more advisable to negotiate
for peace or to prepare for a new war. Cambaceres and Talleyrand gave
their opinion in favour of peace, which however, Napoleon would not hear
of after a defeat; but the Due de Feltre,--[Clarke]--knowing how to
touch the susceptible chord in the mind of Bonaparte, said that he would
consider the Emperor dishonoured if he consented to the abandonment of
the smallest village which had been united to the Empire by a 'Senatus-
consulte'. This opinion was adopted, and the war continued.

On Napoleon's return to Paris the Pope, who was still at Fontainebleau,
determined to accede to an arrangement, and to sign an act which the
Emperor conceived would terminate the differences between them. But
being influenced by some of the cardinals who had previously incurred the
Emperor's displeasure Pius VII. disavowed the new Concordat which he had
been weak enough to grant, and the Emperor, who then had more important
affairs on his hands, dismissed the Holy Father, and published the act to
which he had assented. Bonaparte had no leisure to pay attention to the
new difficulties started by Pius VII.; his thoughts were wholly directed
to the other side of the Rhine. He was unfortunate, and the powers with
whom he was most intimately allied separated from him, as he might have
expected, and Austria was not the last to imitate the example set by
Prussia. In these difficult circumstances the Emperor, who for some time
past had observed the talent and address of the Comte Louis de Narbonne,
sent him to Vienna, to supersede M. Otto; but the pacific propositions of
M. de Narbonne were not listened to. Austria would not let slip the fair
opportunity of taking revenge without endangering herself.

Napoleon now saw clearly that since Austria had abandoned him and refused
her contingent he should soon have all Europe arrayed against him. But
this did not intimidate him.

Some of the Princes of the Confederation of the Rhine still remained
faithful to him; and his preparations being completed, he proposed to
resume in person the command of the army which had been so miraculously
reproduced. But before his departure Napoleon, alarmed at the
recollection of Mallet's attempt, and anxious to guard against any
similar occurrence during his absence, did not, as on former occasions,
consign the reins of the National Government to a Council of Ministers,
presided over by the Arch-Chancellor. Napoleon placed my successor with
him, M. Meneval, near the Empress Regent as Secretaire des Commandemens
(Principal Secretary), and certainly he could not have made a better
choice. He made the Empress Maria Louisa Regent, and appointed a Council
of Regency to assist her.

--[Meneval, who had held the post of Secretary to Napoleon from the
time of Bourrienne's disgrace in 1802, had been nearly killed by the
hardships of the Russian campaign, and now received an honourable
and responsible but less onerous post. He remained with the Empress
till 7th May 1815, when, finding that she would not return to her
husband, he left her to rejoin his master.]--


A sect cannot be destroyed by cannon-balls
Every time we go to war with them we teach them how to beat us
God in his mercy has chosen Napoleon to be his representative on earth
The wish and the reality were to him one and the same thing



His Private Secretary

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





Riots in Hamburg and Lubeck--Attempted suicide of M. Konning--
Evacuation of Hamburg--Dissatisfaction at the conduct of General St.
Cyr--The Cabinets of Vienna and the Tuileries--First appearance of
the Cossacks--Colonel Tettenborn invited to occupy Hamburg--Cordial
reception of the Russians--Depredations--Levies of troops--
Testimonials of gratitude to Tettenborn--Napoleon's new army--Death
of General Morand--Remarks of Napoleon on Vandamme--Bonaparte and
Gustavus Adolphus--Junction of the corps of Davoust and Vandamme--
Reoccupation of Hamburg by the French--General Hogendorff appointed
Governor of Hamburg--Exactions and vexatious contributions levied
upon Hamburg and Lubeck--Hostages.

A considerable time before Napoleon left Paris to join the army, the bulk
of which was in Saxony, partial insurrections occurred in many places.
The interior of France proper was indeed still in a state of
tranquillity, but it was not so in the provinces annexed by force to the
extremities of the Empire, especially in the north, and in the
unfortunate Hanse Towns, for which, since my residence at Hamburg, I have
always felt the greatest interest. The intelligence I received was
derived from such unquestionable sources that I can pledge myself for the
truth of what I have to state respecting the events which occurred in
those provinces at the commencement of 1813; and subsequently I obtained
a confirmation of all the facts communicated by my correspondence when I
was sent to Hamburg by Louis XVIII. in 1815.

M. Steuve, agent from the Court of Russia, who lived at Altona apparently
as a private individual, profited by the irritation produced by the
measures adopted at Hamburg. His plans were so well arranged that he was
promptly informed of the route of the Grand Army from Moscow, and the
approach of the Allied troops. Aided by the knowledge and activity of
Sieur Hanft of Hamburg, M. Steuve profited by the discontent of a people
so tyrannically governed, and seized the opportunity for producing an
explosion. Between eight and nine o'clock on the morning of the 24th of
February 1813 an occurrence in which the people were concerned was the
signal for a revolt. An individual returning to Hamburg by the Altona
gate would not submit to be searched by a fiscal agent, who in
consequence maltreated him and wounded him severely. The populace
instantly rose, drove away the revenue guard, and set fire to the guard-
house. The people also, excited by secret agents, attacked other French
posts, where they committed the same excesses. Surprised at this
unexpected movement, the French authorities retired to the houses in
which they resided. All the respectable inhabitants who were unconnected
with the tumult likewise returned to their homes, and no person appeared
out of doors.

General Carry St. Cyr had the command of Hamburg after the Prince of
Eckmuhl's departure for the Russian campaign.

--[General Carry St. Cyr is not to be contused with the Marshal
Gonvion de St. Cyr; he fell into disgrace for his conduct at
Hamburg at this time, and was not again employed by Napoleon. Under
the Restoration he became Governor of French Guiana.]--

At the first news of the revolt he set about packing up his papers, and
Comte de Chaban, M. Konning, the Prefect of Hamburg, and M. Daubignosc,
the Director of Police, followed his example. It was not till about four
o'clock in the afternoon that a detachment of Danish hussars arrived at
Hamburg, and the populace: was then speedily dispersed. All the
respectable citizens and men of property assembled the next morning and
adopted means for securing internal tranquillity, so that the Danish
troops were enabled to return to Altona. Search was then made for the
ringleaders of the disturbance. Many persons were arrested, and a
military commission, ad hoc; was appointed to try them. The commission,
however, condemned only one individual, who, being convicted of being one
of the most active voters, was sentenced to be shot, and the sentence was
carried into execution.

On the 26th February a similar commotion took place at Lubeck. Attempts
were made to attack the French Authorities. The respectable citizens
instantly assembled, protected them against outrage, and escorted them in
safety to Hamburg, where they arrived on the 27th. The precipitate
flight of these persons from Lubeck spread some alarm in Hamburg. The
danger was supposed to be greater than it was because the fugitives were
accompanied by a formidable body of troops.

But these were not the only attempts to throw off the yoke of French
domination, which had become insupportable. All the left bank of the
Elbe was immediately in a state of insurrection, and all the official
persons took refuge in Hamburg. During these partial insurrections
everything was neglected. Indecision, weakness, and cupidity were
manifested everywhere. Instead of endeavours to soothe the minds of the
people, which had been, long exasperated by intolerable tyranny, recourse
was had to rigorous measures. The prisons were crowded with a host of
persons declared to be suspected upon the mere representations of the
agents of the police. On the 3d of March a special military commission
condemned six householders of Hamburg and its neighbourhood to be shot on
the glacis for no other offence than having been led, either by chance or
curiosity, to a part of the town which was the scene of one of the riots.
These executions excited equal horror and indignation, and General Carra
St. Cyr was obliged to issue a proclamation for the dissolution of the
military commission by whom the men had been sentenced.

The intelligence of the march of the Russian and Prussian troops; who
were descending the Elbe, increased the prevailing agitation in
Westphalia, Hanover, Mecklenburg, and Pomerania, and all the French
troops cantoned between Berlin and Hamburg, including those who occupied
the coast of the Baltic, fell back upon Hamburg. General Carra St. Cyr
and Baron Konning, the Prefect of Hamburg, used to go every evening to
Altona. The latter, worn out by anxiety and his unsettled state of life,
lost his reason; and on his way to Hamburg, on the 5th of May, he
attempted to cut his throat with a razor. His 'valet de chambre' saved
his life by rushing upon him before he had time to execute his design.
It was given out that he had broken a blood-vessel, and he was conveyed
to Altona, where his wound was cured, and he subsequently recovered from
his derangement. M. Konning, who was a native of Holland, was a worthy
man, but possessed no decision of character, and but little ability.

At this juncture exaggerated reports were circulated respecting the
approach of a Russian corps. A retreat was immediately ordered, and it
was executed on the 12th of March. General Carra St. Cyr having no money
for the troops, helped himself to 100,000 francs out of the municipal
treasury. He left Hamburg at the head of the troops and the enrolled men
of the custom-house service. He was escorted by the Burgher Guard, which
protected him from the insults of the populace; and the good people of
Hamburg never had any visitors of whom they were more happy to be rid.

This sudden retreat excited Napoleon's indignation. He accused General
St. Cyr of pusillanimity, in an article inserted in the 'Moniteur', and
afterwards copied by his order into all the journals. In fact, had
General St. Cyr been better informed, or less easily alarmed, he might
have kept Hamburg, and prevented its temporary occupation by the enemy,
to dislodge whom it was necessary to besiege the city two months
afterwards. St. Cyr had 3000 regular troops, and a considerable body of
men in the custom-house service. General Morand could have furnished him
with 5000 men from Mecklenburg. He might, therefore, not only have kept
possession of Hamburg two months longer, but even to the end of the war,
as General Lexnarrois retained possession of Magdeburg. Had not General
St. Cyr so hastily evacuated the Elbe he would have been promptly aided
by the corps which General Vandamme soon brought from the Wesel, and
afterwards by the very, corps with which Marshal Davoust recaptured

The events just described occurred before Napoleon quitted Paris. In the
month of August all negotiation was broken off with Austria, though that
power, still adhering to her time-serving policy, continued to protest
fidelity to the cause of the Emperor Napoleon until the moment when her
preparations were completed and her resolution formed. But if there was
duplicity at Vienna was there not folly, nay, blindness, in the Cabinet
of the Tuileries? Could we reasonably rely upon Austria? She had seen
the Russian army pass the Vistula and advance as far as the Saale without
offering any remonstrance. At that moment a single movement of her
troops, a word of declaration, would have prevented everything. As,
therefore, she would not avert the evil when she might have done so with
certainty and safety, there must have been singular folly and blindness
in the Cabinet who saw this conduct and did not understand it.

I now proceed to mention the further misfortunes which occurred in the
north of Germany, and particularly at Hamburg. At fifteen leagues east
of Hamburg, but within its territory, is a village named Bergdorf.
It was in that village that the Cossacks were first seen. Twelve or
fifteen hundred of them arrived there under the command of Colonel
Tettenborn. But for the retreat of the French troops, amounting to 3000,
exclusive of men in the customhouse service, no attempt would have been
made upon Hamburg; but the very name of the Cossacks inspired a degree of
terror which must be fresh in the recollection of every one. Alarm
spread in Hamburg, which, being destitute of troops and artillery, and
surrounded with dilapidated fortifications, could offer no defence. The
Senator Bartch and Doctor Know took upon themselves to proceed to
Bergdorf to solicit Colonel Tettenborn to take possession of Hamburg,
observing that they felt sure of his sentiments of moderation, and that
they trusted they would grant protection to a city which had immense
commercial relations with Russia. Tettenborn did not place reliance on
these propositions because he could not suppose that there had been such
a precipitate evacuation; he thought they were merely a snare to entrap
him, and refused to accede to them. But a Doctor Von Hess, a Swede,
settled. in Hamburg some years, and known to Tettenborn as a decided
partisan of England and Russia, persuaded the Russian Commander to comply
with the wishes of the citizens of Hamburg. However, Tettenborn
consented only on the following conditions:--That the old Government
should be instantly re-established; that a deputation of Senators in
their old costume should invite him to take possession of Hamburg, which
he would enter only as a free and Imperial Hanse Town; that if those
conditions were not complied with he would regard Hamburg as a French
town, and consequently hostile. Notwithstanding the real satisfaction
with which the Senators of Hamburg received those propositions they were
restrained by the fear of a reverse of fortune. They, however,
determined to accept them, thinking that whatever might happen they could
screen themselves by alleging that necessity had driven them to the step
they took. They therefore declared their compliance with the conditions,
and that night and the following day were occupied in assembling the
Senate, which had been so long dissolved, and in making the preparations
which Tettenborn required.

At four o'clock in the afternoon of the 17th of March a picket of
Cossacks, consisting of only forty men, took possession of a town
recently flourishing, and containing a population of 124,000, but ruined
and reduced to 80,000 inhabitants by the blessing of being united to the
French Empire. On the following day, the 18th, Colonel Tettenborn
entered Hamburg at the head of 1000 regular and 200 irregular Cossacks.
I have described the military situation of Hamburg when it was evacuated
on the 12th of March, and Napoleon's displeasure may be easily conceived.
Tettenborn was received with all the honours usually bestowed upon a
conqueror. Enthusiasm was almost universal. For several nights the
people devoted themselves to rejoicing. The Cossacks were gorged with
provisions and drink, and were not a little astonished at the handsome
reception they experienced.

It was not until the expiration of three or four days that the people
began to perceive the small number of the allied troops. Their amount
gradually diminished. On the day after the arrival of the Cossacks a
detachment was sent to Lubeck, where they were received with the same
honours as at Hamburg. Other detachments were sent upon different
places, and after four days' occupation there remained in Hamburg only 70
out of the 1200 Cossacks who had entered on the 18th March.

The first thing their commander did was to take possession of the post-
office and the treasuries of the different public offices. All the
movable effects of the French Government and its agents were seized and
sold. The officers evinced a true Cossack disregard of the rights of
private property. Counts Huhn, Buasenitz, and Venechtern, who had joined
Tettenborn's staff, rendered themselves conspicuous by plundering the
property of M. Pyonnier, the Director of the Customs, and M. Gonae, the
Postmaster, and not a bottle of wine was left in their cellars.
Tettenborn laid hands upon a sum of money, consisting of upwards of 4000
Louis in gold, belonging to M. Gonse, which had been lodged with M.
Schwartz, a respectable banker in Hamburg, who filled the office of
Prussian Consul. M. Schwartz, with whom this money had been deposited
for the sake of security, had also the care of some valuable jewels
belonging to Mesdames Carry St. Cyr and Daubignoac; Tettenborn carried
off these as well as the money. M. Schwartz remonstrated in his
character of Prussian Consul, Prussia being the ally of Russia, but he
was considered merely as a banker, and could obtain no redress.
Tettenborn, like most of the Cossack chiefs, was nothing but a man for
blows and pillage, but the agent of Russia was M. Steuve, whose name I
have already mentioned.

Orders were speedily given for a levy of troops, both in infantry and
cavalry, to be called Hanseatic volunteers. A man named Hanft, who had
formerly been a butcher, raised at his own expense a company of foot and
one of lancers, of which he took the command. This undertaking, which
cost him 130,000 francs, may afford some idea of the attachment of the
people of Hamburg to the French Government! But money, as well as men,
was wanting, and a heavy contribution was imposed to defray the expense
of enrolling a number of workmen out of employment and idlers, of various
kinds. Voluntary donations were solicited, and enthusiasm was so general
that even servant-maids gave their rings. The sums thus collected were
paid into the chest of Tettenborn's staff, and became a prey to dishonest
appropriation. With respect to this money a Sieur Oswald was accused of
not having acted with the scrupulous delicacy which Madame de Stael
attributes to his namesake in her romance of Corinne.

Between 8000 and 10,000 men were levied in the Hanse Towns and their
environs, the population of which had been so greatly reduced within two
years. These undisciplined troops, who had been for the most part levied
from the lowest classes of society, committed so many outrages that they
soon obtained the surname of the Cossacks of the Elbe; and certainly they
well deserved it.

Such was the hatred which the French Government had inspired in Hamburg
that the occupation of Tettenborn was looked upon as a deliverance. On
the colonel's departure the Senate, anxious to give high a testimonial of
gratitude, presented him with the freedom of the city, accompanied by
5000 gold fredericks (105,000 francs), with which he was doubtless much
more gratified than with the honour of the citizenship.

The restored Senate of Hamburg did not long survive. The people of the
Hanse Towns learned, with no small alarm, that the Emperor was making
immense preparations to fall upon Germany, where his lieutenants could
not fail to take cruel revenge on those who had disavowed his authority.
Before he quitted Paris on the 15th of April Napoleon had recalled under
the banners of the army 180,000 men, exclusive of the guards of honour,
and it was evident that with such a force he might venture on a great
game, and probably win it. Yet the month of April passed away without
the occurrence of any event important to the Hanse Towns, the inhabitants
of which vacillated between hope and fear. Attacks daily took place
between parties of Russian and French troops on the territory between
Lunenburg and Bremen. In one of these encounters General Morand was
mortally wounded, and was conveyed to Lunenburg. His brother having been
taken prisoner in the same engagement, Tettenborn, into whose hands he
had fallen, gave him leave on parole to visit the General; but he arrived
in Lunenburg only in time to see him die.

The French having advanced as far as Haarburg took up their position on
the plateau of Schwartzenberg, which commands that little town and the
considerable islands situated in that part of the river between Haarburg
and Hamburg. Being masters of this elevated point they began to threaten
Hamburg and to attack Haarburg. These attacks were directed by Vandamme,
of all our generals the most redoubtable in conquered countries. He was
a native of Cassel, in Flanders, and had acquired a high reputation for
severity. At the very time when he was attacking Hamburg Napoleon said
of him at Dresden, "If I were to lose Vandamme I know not what I would
give to have him back again; but if I had two such generals I should be
obliged to shoot one of them." It must be confessed that one was quite

As soon as he arrived Vandamme sent to inform Tettenborn that if he did
not immediately liberate the brother and brother-in-law of Morand, both
of whom were his prisoners, he would burn Hamburg. Tettenborn replied
that if he resorted to that extremity he would hang them both on the top
of St. Michael's Tower, where he might have a view of them. This
energetic answer obliged Vandamme to restrain his fury, or at least to
direct it to other objects.

Meanwhile the French forces daily augmented at Haarburg. Vandamme,
profiting by the negligence of the new Hanseatic troops, who had the
defence of the great islands of the Elbe, attacked them one night in the
month of May. This happened to be the very night after the battle of
Lutzsn, where both sides claimed the victory; and Te Deum was sung in the
two hostile camps. The advance of the French turned the balance of
opinion in favour of Napoleon, who was in fact really the conqueror on a
field of battle celebrated nearly two centuries before by the victory and
death of Gustavus Adolphus. The Cossacks of the Elbe could not sustain
the shock of the French; Vandamme repulsed the troops who defended
Wilhelmsburg, the largest of the two islands, and easily took possession
of the smaller one, Fidden, of which the point nearest the right bank of
the Elbe is not half a gunshot distant from Hamburg. The 9th of May was
a fatal day to the people of Hamburg; for it was then that Davoust,
having formed his junction with Vandamme, appeared at the head of a corps
of 40,000 men destined to reinforce Napoleon's Grand Army. Hamburg could
not hold out against the considerable French force now assembled in its
neighbourhood. Tettenborn had, it is true, received a reinforcement of
800 Prussians and 2000, Swedes, but still what resistance could he offer
to Davoust's 40,000 men? Tettenborn did not deceive himself as to the
weakness of the allies on this point, or the inutility of attempting to
defend the city. He yielded to the entreaties of the inhabitants, who
represented to him that further resistance must be attended by certain
ruin. He accordingly evacuated Hamburg on the 29th of May, taking with
him his Hanseatic legions, which had not held out an hour in the islands
of the Elbe, and accompanied by the Swedish Doctor Von Hess, whose
imprudent advice was the chief cause of all the disasters to which the
unfortunate city lied been exposed.

Davoust was at Haarburg, where he received the deputies from Hamburg with
an appearance of moderation; and by the conditions stipulated at this
conference on the 30th of May a strong detachment of Danish troops
occupied Hamburg in the name of the Emperor. The French made their
entrance the same evening, and occupied the posts as quietly as if they
had been merely changing guard. The inhabitants made not a shadow of
resistance. Not a drop of blood was issued; not a threat nor an insult
was interchanged. This is the truth; but the truth did not suit
Napoleon. It was necessary to getup a pretext for revenge, and
accordingly recourse was had to a bulletin, which proclaimed to France
and Europe that Hamburg had been taken by main force, with a loss of some
hundred men. But for this imaginary resistance, officially announced,
how would it have been possible to justify the spoliations and exactions
which ensued?

The Dutch General, Hogendorff, became Governor of Hamburg in lieu of
Carra St. Cyr, who had been confined at Osnabruck since his precipitate
retreat. General Hogendorff had been created one of the Emperor's aides
de camp, but he was neither a Rapp, a Lauriston, nor a Duroc. The
inhabitants were required to pay all the arrears of taxes due to the
different public offices during the seventy days that the French had been
absent; and likewise all the allowances that would have been paid to the
troops of the garrison had they remained in Hamburg. Payment was also
demanded of the arrears for the quartering of troops who were fifty
leagues off. However, some of the heads of the government departments,
who saw and understood the new situation of the French at Hamburg, did
not enforce these unjust and vexatious measures. The duties on
registrations were reduced. M. Pyonnier, Director of the Customs, aware
of the peculiar difficulty of his situation in a country where the
customs were held in abhorrence, observed great caution and moderation in
collecting the duties: Personal examination, which is so revolting and
indecorous, especially with respect to females, was suppressed. But
these modifications did not proceed from the highest quarter; they were
due to the good sense of the subordinate agents, who plainly saw that if
the Empire was to fall it would not be owing to little infractions in the
laws of proscription against coffee and rhubarb.

If the custom-house regulations became less vexatious to the inhabitants
of Hamburg it was not the same with the business of the post-office.
The old manoeuvres of that department were resumed more actively than
ever. Letters were opened without the least reserve, and all the old
post-office clerks who were initiated in these scandalous proceedings
were recalled. With the exception of the registrations and the customs
the inquisitorial system, which had so long oppressed the Hanse Towns,
was renewed; and yet the delegates of the French Government were the
first to cry out, "The people of Hamburg are traitors to Napoleon: for,
in spite of all the blessings he has conferred upon them they do not say
with the Latin poet, 'Deus nobis haec otia fecit."

But all that passed was trifling in comparison with what was to come.
On the 18th of June was published an Imperial decree, dated the 8th of
the same month, by virtue of which were to be reaped the fruits of the
official falsehood contained in the bulletin above mentioned. To expiate
the crime of rebellion Hamburg was required to pay an extraordinary
contribution of 48,000,000 francs, and Lubeck a contribution of
6,000,000. The enormous sum levied on Hamburg was to be paid in the
short space of a month, by six equal instalments, either in money, or
bills on respectable houses in Paris. In addition to this the new
Prefect of Hamburg made a requisition of grain and provisions of every
kind, wines, sailcloth, masts, pitch, hemp, iron, copper, steel, in
short, everything that could be useful for the supply of the army and

But while these exactions were made on property in Hamburg, at Dresden
the liberties of individuals and even lives were attacked. On the 15th
of June Napoleon, doubtless blinded by the false reports that were laid
before him, gave orders for making out a list of the inhabitants of
Hamburg who were absent from the city. He allowed them only a fortnight
to return home, an interval too short to enable some of them to come from
the places where they had taken refuge. They consequently remained
absent beyond the given time. Victims were indispensable but assuredly
it was not Bonaparte who conceived the idea of hostages to answer for the
men whom prudence kept absent. Of this charge I can clear his memory.
The hostages, were, however, taken, and were declared to be also
responsible for the payment of the contribution of 48,000,000. In
Hamburg they were selected from among the most respectable and wealthy
men in the city, some of them far advanced in age. They were conveyed to
the old castle of Haarburg on the left bank of the Elbe, and these men,
who had been accustomed to all the comforts of life, were deprived even
of necessaries, and had only straw to lie on. The hostages from Lubeck
were taken to, Hamburg: they were placed between decks on board an old
ship in the port: this was a worthy imitation of the prison hulks of
England. On the 24th of July there was issued a decree which was
published in the Hamburg Correspondent of the 27th. This decree
consisted merely of a proscription list, on which were inscribed the
names of some of the wealthiest men in the Hanse Towns, Hanover, and



Napoleon's second visit to Dresden--Battle of Bantzen--The Congress
at Prague--Napoleon ill advised--Battle of Vittoria--General Moreau
Rupture of the conferences at Prague--Defection of Jomini--Battles
of Dresden and Leipsic--Account of the death of Duroc--An
interrupted conversation resumed a year after--Particulars
respecting Poniatowski--His extraordinary courage and death--
His monument at Leipsic and tomb in the cathedral of Warsaw.

On the 2d of May Napoleon won the battle of Lutzen. A week after he was
at Dresden, not as on his departure for the Russian campaign, like the
Sovereign of the West surrounded by his mighty vassals: he was now in the
capital of the only one of the monarchs of his creation who remained
faithful to the French cause, and whose good faith eventually cost him
half his dominions. The Emperor stayed only ten days in Dresden, and
then went in pursuit of the Russian army, which he came up with on the
19th, at Bautzen. This battle, which was followed on the two succeeding
days by the battles of Wurtchen and Oclikirchen, may be said to have
lasted three days--a sufficient proof that it was obstinately disputed.
It ended in favour of Napoleon, but he and France paid dearly for it:
while General Kirschner and Duroc were talking together the former was
killed by a cannon-ball, which mortally wounded the latter in the

The moment had now arrived for Austria to prove whether or not she.
intended entirely to desert the cause of Napoleon.

--[There is a running attack in Erreurs (tome, ii. pp, 289-325) on
all this part of the Memoirs, but the best account of the
negotiations between France, Austria, and the Allies will be found
in Metternich, Vol. i. pp. 171-215. Metternich, with good
reason, prides himself on the skill with which he gained from
Napoleon the exact time, twenty days, necessary for the
concentration of the Austrian armies. Whether the negotiations were
consistent with good faith on the part of Austria is another matter;
but, one thing seems clear--the Austrian marriage ruined Napoleon.
He found it impossible to believe that the monarch who had given him
his daughter would strike the decisive blow against him. Without
this belief there can be no doubt that he would have attacked
Austria before she could have collected her forces, and Metternich
seems to have dreaded the result. "It was necessary, therefore to
prevent Napoleon from carrying out his usual system of leaving an
army of observation before the Allied armies, and himself turning to
Bohemia to deal a great blow at us, the effect of which it would be
impossible to foresee in the present depressed state of the great
majority of our men" (Metternich, Vol. i, p. 177). With our
knowledge of how Napoleon held his own against the three armies at
Dresden we may safely assume that he would have crushed Austria if
she had not joined him or disarmed. The conduct of Austria was
natural and politic, but it was only successful because Napoleon
believed in the good faith of the Emperor Francis, his father-in-
law. It is to be noted that Austria only succeeded in getting
Alexander to negotiate on the implied condition that the
negotiations were not to end in a peace with France. See
Metternich, Vol. i. p. 181, where, in answer to the Czar's
question as to what would become of their cause if Napoleon accepted
the Austrian mediation, he says that if Napoleon declines Austria
will join the Allies. If Napoleon accepts, "the negotiations will
most certainly show Napoleon to be neither wise nor just, and then
the result will be the same. In any case we shall have gained the
necessary time to bring our armies into such positions that we need
not again fear a separate attack on any one of them, and from which
we may ourselves take the offensive."]--

All her amicable demonstrations were limited to an offer of her
intervention in opening negotiations with Russia. Accordingly, on the
4th of June, an armistice was concluded at Pleiswitz, which was to last
till the 8th of July, and was finally prolonged to the 10th of August.

The first overtures after the conclusion of the armistice of Pleiswitz
determined the assembling of a Congress at Prague. It was reported at
the time that the Allies demanded the restoration of all they had lost
since 1805; that is to say, since the campaign of Ulm. In this demand
Holland and the Hanse Towns, which had become French provinces, were
comprehended. But we should still have retained the Rhine, Belgium,
Piedmont, Nice, and Savoy. The battle of Vittoria,

--The news of this decisive battle increased the difficulty of the
French plenipotentiaries at Prague, and raised the demands of the
Allies. It also shook the confidence of those who remained faithful
to us.--Bourrienne.]--

which placed the whole of Spain at the disposal of the English, the
retreat of Suchet upon the Ebro, the fear of seeing the army of Spin
annihilated, were enough to alter the opinions of those counsellors who
still recommended war. Notwithstanding Napoleon's opposition and his
innate disposition to acquire glory by his victories, probably he would
not have been inaccessible to the reiterated representations of sensible
men who loved their country, France, therefore, has to reproach his
advisers. At this juncture General Moreau arrived; it has been said that
he came at the solicitation of Bernadotte. This is neither true nor
probable. In the first place, there never was any intimacy between
Bernadotte and Moreau; and, in the next, how can it be imagined that
Bernadotte wished to see Moreau Emperor! But this question is at once
put at rest by the fact, that in the interview at Abo the Emperor of
Russia hinted to Bernadotte the possibility of his succeeding Napoleon.
It was generally reported at the time, and I have since learnt that it
was true, that the French Princes of the House of Bourbon had made
overtures to Moreau through the medium of General Willot, who had been
proscribed on the 18th Fructidor; and I have since learned from an
authentic source that General Moreau, who was then at Baltimore, refused
to support the Bourbon cause. Moreau yielded only to his desire of being
revenged on Napoleon; and he found death where he could not find glory.

At the end of July the proceedings of the Congress at Prague were no.
further advanced than at the time of its assembling. Far from cheering
the French with the prospect of a peace, the Emperor made a journey to
Mayence; the Empress went there to see him, and returned to Paris
immediately after the Emperor's departure. Napoleon went back to
Dresden, and the armistice not being renewed, it died a natural death on
the 17th of August, the day appointed for its expiration. A fatal event
immediately followed the rupture of the conferences. On the 17th of
August Austria, wishing to gain by war as she had before gained by
alliances, declared that she would unite her forces with those of the
Allies. On the very opening of this disastrous campaign General Jomini
went over to the enemy. Jomini belonged to the staff of the unfortunate
Marshal Ney, who was beginning to execute with his wonted ability, the
orders he had received. There was much surprise at his eagerness to
profit by a struggle, begun under such melancholy auspices, to seek a
fresh fortune, which promised better than what he had tried under our
flag. Public opinion has pronounced judgment on Jomini.

--[It was on the 11th of August, not the 17th, that Metternich
announced to Caulaincourt, Napoleon's plenipotentiary at Prague,
that Austria had joined the Allies and declared war with France;
At midnight on 10th August Metternich had despatched the passports
for the Comte Louis de Narbonne, Napoleon's Ambassador, and the war
manifesto of the Emperor Francis; then he had the beacons lighted
which had been prepared from Prague to the Silesian frontier, as a
sign of the breech of the negotiations, and the right (i.e. power)
of the Allied armies to cross the Silesian frontier (Metternich,
vol. i, p. 199).]--

The first actions were the battle of Dresden, which took place seven days
after the rupture of the armistice, and the battle in which Vandamme was
defeated, and which rendered the victory of Dresden unavailing. I have
already mentioned that Moreau was killed at Dresden. Bavaria was no
sooner rid of the French troops than she raised the mask and ranged
herself among our enemies.

In October the loss of the battle of Leipsic decided the fate of France.
The Saxon army, which had long remained faithful to us, went over to the
enemy during the battle. Prince Poniatowski perished at the battle of
Leipsic in an attempt to pass the Aster.

I will here mention a fact which occurred before Duroc's departure for
the campaign of 1812. I used often to visit him at the Pavilion Marsan,
in the Tuileries, where he lodged. One forenoon, when I had been waiting
for him a few minutes, he came from the Emperor's apartments, where he
had been engaged in the usual business, He was in his court-dress. As
soon as he entered he pulled off his coat and hat and laid them aside.
"I have just had a conversation with the Emperor about you," said he.
"Say nothing to anybody. Have patience, and you will be--" He had, no
sooner uttered these words than a footman entered to inform him that the
Emperor, wished to see him immediately. "Well," said Duroc, "I must go."
No sooner was the servant gone than Duroc stamped violently on the floor,
and exclaimed, "That ----- ----- never leaves me a moment's rest. If he
finds I have five minutes to myself in the course of the morning he is
sure to send for me." He then put on his coat and returned to the
Emperor, saying, "Another time you shall hear what I have to tell you."

From that time I did not see Duroc until, the month of January 1813.
He was constantly absent from Paris, and did not return until the end of
1812. He was much affected at the, result of the campaign, but his
confidence in Napoleon's genius kept up his spirits. I turned the
conversation from this subject and reminded him of his promise to tell me
what had passed between the Emperor and himself relative tome. "You
shall hear," said he. "The Emperor and I had been playing at billiards,
and, between ourselves, he plays very badly. He is nothing at a game
which depends on skill. While negligently rolling his balls about he
muttered these words: 'Do you ever see Bourrienne now?'--'Yes, Sire, he
sometimes dines with me on diplomatic reception-days, and he looks so
droll in his old-fashioned court-dress, of Lyons manufacture, that you
would laugh if you saw him.'--'What does he say respecting the new
regulation for the court-dresses?'--'I confess he says it is very
ridiculous; that it will have no other result than to enable the Lyons
manufacturers to get rid of their old-fashioned goods; that forced
innovations on the customs of a nation are never successful.'--'Oh, that
is always the way with Bourrienne; he is never pleased with anything.'--
'Certainly, Sire, he is apt to grumble; but he says what he thinks.'--
'Do you know, Duroc, he served me very well at Hamburg. He raised a good
deal of money for me. He is a man who understands business. I will not
leave him unemployed. Time must hang heavily on his hands. I will see
what I can do for him. He has many enemies.'--`And who has not, Sire?'--
'Many complaints against him were transmitted to me from Hamburg, but the
letter which he wrote to me in his justification opened my eyes, and I
begin to think that Savary had good motives for defending him.
Endeavours are made to dissuade me from employing him, but I shall
nevertheless do so at last. I remember that it was he who first informed
me of the near approach of the war which we are now engaged in. I forget
all that has been said against him for the last two years, and as soon as
peace is concluded, and I am at leisure, I will think of him.'"

After relating to me this conversation Duroc said, "you must, of course,
feel assured that I said all I think of you, and I will take an
opportunity of reminding him of you. But we must we patient. Adieu, my
dear friend; we must set off speedily, and Heaven knows when we shall be
back again!" I wished him a successful campaign and a speedy return.
Alas! I was doomed to see my excellent friend only once again.

Next to the death of Duroc the loss most sincerely regretted during the
campaign of 1813 was that of Prince Poniatowski. Joseph Poniatowaki, a
nephew of Stanislas Augustus, King of Poland, was born at Warsaw on the
7th of May 1763: At an early age he was remarkable for his patriotic
spirit; but his uncle's influence gave him an apparent irresolution,
which rendered him suspected by some of the parties in Poland. After his
uncle had acceded to the Confederation of Targowitz, Poniatowski left the
service accompanied by most of his principal officers. But when, in
1794, the Poles endeavoured to repulse the Russians, he again repaired to
the Polish camp and entered the army as a volunteer. His noble conduct
obtained for him the esteem of his countrymen. Kosciusko gave him the
command of a division, with which he rendered useful services during the
two sieges of Warsaw. Immediately after the surrender of that capital
Poniatowski went to Vienna. He refused the offers of Catherine and Paul
to bear arms in the service of Russia.

Poniatowaki retired to his estate year Warsaw, where he lived like a
private gentleman until the creation of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw revived
the hopes of the Polish patriots. He then became War Minister. The
Archduke Ferdinand having come, in 1809, with Austrian troops to take
possession of the Duchy of Warsaw, Poniatowski, who commanded the Polish
troops, which were very inferior in numbers to the Austrian force,
obliged the latter, rather by dint of skillful maneuvering than by
fighting, to evacuate the Grand Duchy. He pursued them into Galicia as
far as Cracow.

After this honourable campaign he continued to exercise his functions as
Minister until 1812. The war against Russia again summoned him to the
head of the Polish army. After taking part in all the events of that
war, which was attended by such various chances, Poniatowaki was present
at the battle of Leipsic. That battle, which commenced on the 14th of
October, the anniversary of the famous battles of Ulm and of Jena, lasted
four days, and decided the fate of Europe. Five hundred thousand men
fought on a surface of three square leagues.

Retreat having become indispensable, Napoleon took leave at Leipsic of
the King of Saxony and his family, whom he had brought with him from
Dresden. The Emperor then exclaimed in a loud voice, "Adieu; Saxons," to
the people who filled the market-place, where the King of Saxony resided.
With some difficulty, and after passing through many turnings and
windings, he gained the suburb of Runstadt and left Leipsic by the outer
gate of that suburb which leads to the bridge of the Elster, and to
Lindenau. The bridge was blown up shortly after he had passed it, and
that event utterly prevented the retreat of the part of the army which
was on the left bank of the Easter, and which fell into the power of the
enemy. Napoleon was at the time accused of having ordered the
destruction of the bridge immediately after he had himself passed it in
order to secure his own personal retreat, as he was threatened by the
active pursuit of the enemy. The English journals were unanimous on this
point, and to counteract this opinion, which was very general, an article
was inserted in the 'Moniteur'.

Before passing the bridge of the Elster Napoleon had directed
Poniatowski, in concert with Marshal Macdonald, to cover and protect the
retreat, and to defend that part of the suburb of Leipsic which is
nearest to the Borne road. For the execution of these orders he had only
2000 Polish infantry. He was in this desperate situation when he saw the
French columns in full retreat and the bridge so choked up with their
artillery and waggons that there was no possibility of passing it. Then
drawing his sword, and turning to the officers who were near him, he
said, "Here we must fall with honour!" At the head of a small party of
cuirassiers and Polish officers he rushed on the columns of the Allies.
In this action he received a ball in his left arm: he had already been
wounded on the 14th and 16th. He nevertheless advanced, but he found the
suburb filled with Allied troops.

--[The Allies were so numerous that they scarcely perceived the
losses they sustained. Their masses pressed down upon us in every
direction, and it was impossible that victory could fail to be with
them. Their success, however, would have been less decisive had it
not been for the defection of the Saxons. In the midst of the
battle, these troops having moved towards the enemy, as if intending
to make an attack, turned suddenly around, and opened a heavy fire
of artillery and musketry on the columns by the aids of which they
had a few moments before been fighting. I do not know to what page
of history such a transaction is recorded. This event immediately
produced a great difference in our affairs, which were before in a
bad enough train. I ought here mention that before the battle the
Emperor dismissed a Bavarian division which still remained with him.
He spoke to the officers in terms which will not soon be effaced
from their memory. He told them, that, "according to the laws of
war, they were his prisoners, since their Government had taken part
against him; but that he could not forget the services they had
rendered him, and that they were therefore at liberty to return
home." These troops left the army, where they were much esteemed,
and marched for Bavaria.]--

He fought his way through them and received another wound. He then threw
himself into the Pleisse, which was the first river he came to. Aided by
his officers, he gained the opposite bank, leaving his horse in the
river. Though greatly exhausted he mounted another, and gained the
Elster, by passing through M. Reichenbach's garden, which was situated
on the side of that river. In spite of the steepness of the banks of the
Elster at that part, the Prince plunged with his horse into the river:
both man and horse were drowned, and the same fate was shared by several
officers who followed Poniatawski's example. Marshal Macdonald was,
luckily, one of those who escaped. Five days after a fisherman drew the
body of the Prince, out of the water. On the 26th of October it was
temporarily interred at Leipsic, with all the honours due to the
illustrious deceased. A modest stone marks the spot where the body of
the Prince was dragged from the river. The Poles expressed a wish to.
erect a monument to the memory of their countryman in the garden of M.
Reichenbach, but that gentleman declared he would do it at his own
expense, which he did. The monument consists of a beautiful sarcophagus,
surrounded by weeping willows. The body of the Prince, after bring
embalmed, was sent in the following year to Warsaw, and in 1816 it was
deposited in the cathedral, among the remains of the Kings and great men
of Poland. The celebrated Thorwaldsen was commissioned to execute a
monument for his tomb. Prince Poniatowski left no issue but a natural
son, born in 1790. The royal race, therefore existed only in a
collateral branch of King Stanislas, namely, Prince Stanislas, born in



Amount of the Allied forces against Napoleon--Their advance towards
the Rhine--Levy of 280,000 men--Dreadful situation of the French at
Mayence--Declaration of the Allies at Frankfort--Diplomatic
correspondents--The Due de Bassano succeeded by the Duke of Vicenza
--The conditions of the Allies vaguely accepted--Caulaincourt sent to
the headquarters of the Allies--Manifesto of the Allied powers to
the French people.--Gift of 30,000,000 from the Emperor's privy
purse--Wish to recall M. de Talleyrand--Singular advice relative to
Wellington--The French army recalled from Spain--The throne resigned
Joseph--Absurd accusation against M. Laine--Adjournment of the
Legislative Body--Napoleon's Speech to the Legislative Body--Remarks
of Napoleon reported by Cambaceres.

When the war resumed its course after the disaster of Leipsic I am
certain that the Allied sovereigns determined to treat with Napoleon only
in his own capital, as he, four years before, had refused to treat with
the Emperor of Austria except at Vienna. The latter sovereign now
completely raised the mask, and declared to the Emperor that he would
make common cause with Russia and Prussia against him. In his
declaration he made rise of the singular pretext, that the more enemies
there were against Napoleon there would be the greater chance of speedily
obliging him to accede to conditions which would at length restore the
tranquillity of which Europe stood so much in need. This declaration on
the part of Austria was an affair of no little importance, for she had
now raised an army of 260,000 men. An equal force was enrolled beneath
the Russian banners, which were advancing towards the Rhine. Prussia had
200,000 men; the Confederation of the Rhine 150,000: in short, including
the Swedes and the Dutch, the English troops in Spain and in the
Netherlands, the Danes, who had abandoned us, the Spaniards and
Portuguese, whose courage and hopes were revived by our reverses,
Napoleon had arrayed against him upwards of a million of armed men.
Among them, too, were the Neapolitans, with Murat at their head!

The month of November 1813 was fatal to the fortune of Napoleon. In all
parts the French armies were repulsed and driven back upon the Rhine,
while-in every direction, the Allied forces advanced towards that river.
For a considerable time I had confidently anticipated the fall of the
Empire; not because the foreign sovereigns had vowed its destruction, but
because I saw the impossibility of Napoleon defending himself against all
Europe, and because I knew that, however desperate might be his fortune,
nothing would induce him to consent to conditions which he considered
disgraceful. At this time every day was marked by a new defection. Even
the Bavarians, the natural Allies of France, they whom the Emperor had
led to victory at the commencement of the second campaign of Vienna, they
whom he had, as it were, adopted on the field of battle, were now against
us, and were the bitterest of our enemies.

Even before the battle of Leipsic, the consequences of which were so
ruinous to Napoleon, he had felt the necessity of applying to France for
a supply of troops; as if France had been inexhaustible. He directed the
Empress Regent to make this demand; and accordingly Maria Louisa
proceeded to the Senate, for the first time, in great state: but the
glories of the Empire were now on the decline. The Empress obtained a
levy of 280,000 troops, but they were no sooner enrolled than they were
sacrificed. The defection of the Bavarians considerably augmented the
difficulties which assailed the wreck of the army that had escaped from
Leipsic. The Bavarians had got before us to Hanau, a town four leagues
distant from Frankfort; there they established themselves, with the view
of cutting off our retreat; but French valour was roused, the little town
was speedily carried, and the Bavarians were repulsed with considerable
loss. The French army arrived at Mayence; if, indeed, one may give the
name of army to a few masses of men destitute, dispirited, and exhausted
by fatigue and privation. On the arrival of the troops at Mayence no
preparation had been made for receiving them: there were no provisions,
or supplies of any kind; and, as the climax of misfortune, infectious
epidemics broke out amongst the men. All the accounts I received
concurred in assuring me that their situation vas dreadful:

However; without counting the wreck which escaped from the disasters of
Leipsic, and the ravages of disease; without including the 280,000 men
which had been raised by a 'Senatus-consulte, on the application of Maria
Louisa, the Emperor still possessed 120,000 good troops; but they were in
the rear, scattered along the Elbe, shut up in fortresses such as
Dantzic, Hamburg, Torgau, and Spandau. Such was the horror of our
situation that if, on the one hand, we could not resolve to abandon them,
it was at the same time impossible to aid them. In France a universal
cry was raised for peace, at whatever price it could be purchased. In
this state of things it may be said that the year 1813 was more fatal to
Napoleon than the year 1812. The disasters of Moscow were repaired by
his activity and the sacrifices of France; but the disasters of Leipsic
were irreparable.

I shall shortly speak of some negotiations in which, if I had chosen, I
might have taken a part. After the battle of Leipsic, in which France
lost, for the second time, a formidable army, all the powers allied
against Napoleon declared at Frankfort, on the 9th of November, that they
would never break the bonds which united them; that henceforth it was not
merely a Continental peace, but a general peace, that would be demanded;
and that any negotiation not having a general peace for its object would
be rejected. The Allied powers declared that France was to be confined
within her natural limits, the Rhine, the Alps, and the Pyrenees. This
was all that was to remain of the vast Empire founded by Napoleon; but
still it must be allowed it was a great deal, after the many disasters
France had experienced, and when she was menaced with invasion by
numerous and victorious armies. But Napoleon could not accede to such
proposals, for he was always ready to yield to illusion when the truth
was not satisfactory to him.

According to the proposals of the Allies at Frankfort, Germany; Italy,
and Spain were to be entirely withdrawn from the dominion of France.
England recognised the freedom of trade and navigation, and there
appeared no reason to doubt the sincerity of her professed willingness to
make great sacrifices to promote the object proposed by the Allies. But
to these offers a fatal condition was added, namely, that the Congress
should meet in a town, to be declared neutral, on the right bank of the
Rhine, where the plenipotentiaries of all the belligerent powers were to
assemble; but the course of the war was not to be impeded by these

--[This, system of negotiating and advancing was a realization of
Metternich's idea copying Napoleon's own former procedure. "Let us
hold always the sword in one head, and the olive branch in the
other; always ready to negotiate, but only negotiating whilst
advancing. Here is Napoleon's system: may he find enemies who will
carry on war . . . as he would carry it on himself." (Metternich
vol. ii. p. 346).]--

The Due de Bassano (Maret), who was still Minister for Foreign Affairs,
replied, by order of Napoleon, to the overtures wade by the Allies for a
general Congress; and stated that the Emperor acceded to them, and wished
Mannheim to be chosen as the neutral town. M. Metternich replied in a
note, dated Frankfort, the 25th of November, stating that the Allies felt
no difficulty in acceding to Napoleon's choice of Mannheim for the
meeting of the Congress; but as M. de Bassano's letter contained no
mention of the general and summary bases I have just mentioned, and which
had been communicated to M. de St. Aignan at Frankfort, M. Metternich
stated that the Allies wished the Emperor Napoleon to declare his
determination respecting those bases, in order that insurmountable
difficulties might not arrest the negotiations at their very outset. The
Duke of Vicenza (Caulaincourt), who had just succeeded the Due de
Bassano, received this letter. Trusting to the declaration of Frankfort
he thought he would be justified in treating on those bases; he
confidently relied on the consent of Napoleon. But the Allies had now
determined not to grant the limits accorded by that declaration.
Caulaincourt was therefore obliged to apply for fresh powers, which being
granted, he replied, on the 2d of December, that Napoleon accepted the
fundamental and summary bases which had been communicated by M. de St.
Aignan. To this letter M. Metternich answered that the Emperors of
Russia and Austria were gratified to find that the Emperor of France
recognised the bases judged necessary by the Allies; that the two
sovereigns would communicate without delay the official document to their
Allies, and that they were convinced that immediately on receiving their
reply the negotiations might be opened without any interruption of the

We shall now see the reason why these first negotiations came to no
result. In the month of October the Allies overthrew the colossal
edifice denominated the French Empire. When led by victory to the banks
of the Rhine they declared their wish to abstain from conquest, explained
their intentions, and manifested an unalterable resolution to abide by
them. This determination of the Allies induced the French Government to
evince pacific intentions. Napoleon wished, by an apparent desire for
peace, to justify, if I may so express myself, in the eyes of his
subjects, the necessity of new sacrifices; which, according to his
proclamations, he demanded only to enable him to obtain peace on as
honourable conditions as possible. But the truth is, he was resolved not
even to listen to the offers made at Frankfort. He always represented
the limits of the Rhine as merely a compensation for the dismemberment of
Poland and the immense aggrandisement of the English possessions in Asia.
But he wanted to gain time, and, if possible, to keep the Allied armies
on the right bank of the Rhine.

The immense levies made in France, one after the other, had converted the
conscription into a sort of pressgang. Men employed in agriculture and
manufactures were dragged from their labours; and the people began to
express their dissatisfaction at the measures of Government more loudly
than they had hitherto ventured to do; yet all were willing to make
another effort, if they could have persuaded themselves that the Emperor
would henceforth confine his thoughts to France alone. Napoleon sent
Caulaincourt to the headquarters of the Allies; but that was only for the
sake of gaining time, and inducing a belief that he was favourably
disposed to peace.

The Allies having learned the immense levies of troops which Napoleon was
making, and being well acquainted with the state of feeling in France,
published the famous manifesto, addressed to the French people, which was
profusely circulated, and may be referred to as a warning to subjects who
trust to the promises of Governments.

The good faith with which the promises in the manifesto were kept may be
judged of from the Treaty of Paris. In the meantime the manifesto did
not a little contribute to alienate from Napoleon those who were yet
faithful to his cause; for, by believing in the declarations of the
Allies, they saw in him the sole obstacle to that peace which France so
ardently desired. On this point, too, the Allies were not wrong, and I
confess that I did not see without great surprise that the Duc de Rovigo,
in that part of his Memoirs where he mentions this manifesto, reproaches
those who framed it for representing the Emperor as a madman, who replied
to overtures of peace only by conscription levies: After all, I do not
intend to maintain that the declaration was entirely sincere; with
respect to the future it certainly was not. Switzerland was already
tampered with, and attempts were made to induce her to permit the Allied
troops to enter France by the bridge of Bale. Things were going on no
better in the south of France, where the Anglo-Spanish army threatened
our frontiers by the Pyrenees, and already occupied Pampeluna; and at the
same time the internal affairs of the country were no less critical than
its external position. It was in vain to levy troops; everything
essential to an army was wanting. To meet the most pressing demands the
Emperor drew out 30,000,000 from the immense treasure which he had
accumulated in the cellars and galleries of the Pavillion Marsan, at the
Tuileries. These 30,000,000 were speedily swallowed up. Nevertheless it
was an act of generosity on the part of Napoleon, and I never could
understand on what ground the Legislative Body complained of the outlay,
because, as the funds did not proceed from the Budget, there needed no
financial law to authorise their application. Besides, why did these
rigid legislators, who, while fortune smiled on Bonaparte, dared not
utter a word on the subject, demand, previously to the gratuitous gift
just mentioned, that the 350,000,000 in the Emperor's privy puree should
be transferred to the Imperial treasury and carried to the public
accounts? Why did they wink at the accumulation in the Tuileries of the
contributions and exactions levied in, conquered countries? The answer
is plain: because there would have been danger in opposing it.

Amidst the difficulties which assailed the Emperor he cast his eyes on
M. de Talleyrand. But it being required, as a condition of his receiving
the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, that he should resign his office of
Vice-Grand-Elector, M. de Talleyrand preferred a permanent post to a
portfolio, which the caprice of a moment might withdraw. I have been
informed that, in a conversation with the Emperor, M. de Talleyrand gave
him the extraordinary advice of working upon the ambition of the English
family of Wellesley, and to excite in the mind of Wellington, the lustre
of whose reputation was now dawning, ambitious projects which would have
embarrassed the coalition. Napoleon, however, did not adopt this
proposition, the issue of which he thought too uncertain, and above all,
too remote, in the urgent circumstances in which it stood. Caulaincourt
was then made Minister for Foreign Affairs, in lieu of M. Maret, who was
appointed Secretary of State, an office much better suited to him.

Meanwhile the Emperor was wholly intent on the means of repelling the
attack which was preparing against him. The critical circumstances in
which he was placed seemed to restore the energy which time had in some
measure robbed him of. He turned his eyes towards Spain, and resolved to
bring the army from that country to oppose the Allies, whose movements
indicated their intention of entering France by Switzerland. An event
occurred connected with this subject calculated to have a decided
influence on the affairs of the moment, namely, the renunciation by
Joseph, King of Spain, of all right to the crown, to be followed by the
return; as had been agreed on; of Ferdinand to his dominions. Joseph
made this sacrifice at the instigation of his brother. The treaty was
signed, but an inconceivable delay occurred in its execution, while the
torrent, which was advancing upon France, rushed forward so rapidly that
the treaty could not be carried into execution. Ferdinand, it is true,
re-ascended his throne, but from other causes.

The Emperor was deeply interested in the march of the Allies. It was
important to destroy the bridge of Bale, because the Rhine once crossed
masses of the enemy would be thrown into France. At this time I had
close relations with a foreign diplomat whom I am forbidden by discretion
to name. He told me that the enemy was advancing towards the frontier,
and that the bridge of Bale would not be destroyed, as it had been so
agreed at Berne, where the Allies had gained the day. This astonished
me, because I knew, on the other hand, from a person who ought, to have
been equally well informed,--that it was hoped the bridge would be blown
up. Being much interested in knowing the truth, I sent on my own
account, an agent to Bale who on his return told me that the bridge would

On the 19th of December the Legislative Body was convoked. It was on a
Wednesday. M. Laine was Vice-President under M. Regnier. A committee
was appointed to examine and report on the communications of the Emperor.
The report and conclusions of the committee were not satisfactory; it was
alleged that they betrayed a revolutionary tendency, of which M. Laine
was absurdly accused of having been one of the promoters; but all who
knew him must have been convinced of the falsehood of the charge. The
Emperor ordered the report to be seized, and then adjourned the
Legislative Body. Those who attentively observed the events of the time
will recollect the stupor which prevailed in Paris on the intelligence of
this seizure and of the adjournment of the Legislative Body. A thousand
conjectures were started as to what new occurrences had taken place
abroad, but nothing satisfactory was learned.

I considered this a great mistake. Who can doubt that if the Legislative
Body had taken the frank and noble step of declaring that France accepted
the conditions of Frankfort they would not have been listened to by the
Allies? But the words, "You are dishonoured if you cede a single village
acquired by a 'Senatus-consulte'," always, resounded in Napoleon's ears:
they flattered his secret thoughts, and every pacific proposal was

The members of the adjourned Legislative Body went as usual to take leave
of the Emperor, who received them on a Sunday, and after delivering to
them the speech, which is very well known, dismissed the rebels with
great ill-humour, refusing to hear any explanation. "I have suppressed
your address," he began abruptly: "it was incendiary. I called you round
me to do good--you have done ill. Eleven-twelfths of you are well-
intentioned, the others, and above all M. Laine, are factious intriguers,
devoted to England, to all my enemies, and corresponding through the
channel of the advocate Deseze with the Bourbons. Return to your
Departments, and feel that my eye will follow you; you have endeavoured
to humble me, you may kill me, but you shall not dishonour me. You make
remonstrances; is this a time, when the stranger invades our provinces,
and 200,000 Cossacks are ready to overflow our country? There may have
been petty abuses; I never connived at them. You, M. Raynouard, you said
that. Prince Massena robbed a man at Marseilles of his house. You lie!
The General took possession of a vacant house, and my Minister shall
indemnify the proprietor. Is it thus that you dare affront a Marshal of
France who has bled for his country, and grown gray in victory? Why did
you not make your complaints in private to me? I would have done you
justice. We should wash our dirty linen at home, and not drag it out
before the world. You, call yourselves Representatives of the Nation.
It is not true; you are only Deputies of the Departments; a small portion
of the State, inferior to the Senate, inferior even to the Council of
State. The Representatives of the People! I am alone the Representative
of the People. Twice have 24,000,000 of French called me to the throne:
which of you durst undertake such a burden? It had already overwhelmed
(ecrase), your Assemblies, and your Conventions, your Vergniauds and your
Guadets, your Jacobins and your Girondins. They are all dead! What, who
are you? nothing--all authority is in the Throne; and what is the
Throne? this wooden frame covered with velvet?--no, I am the Throne!
You have added wrong to reproaches. You have talked of concessions--
concessions that even my enemies dared not ask! I suppose if they asked
Champaigne you would have had me give them La Brie besides; but in four
months I will conquer peace, or I shall be dead! You advise! how dare
you debate of such high matters (de si graves interets)! You have put me
in the front of the battle as the cause of war--it is infamous (c'est une
atrocite). In all your committees you have excluded the friends of
Government--extraordinary commission--committee of finance--committee of
the address, all, all my enemies. M. Laine, I repeat it, is a traitor;
he is a wicked man, the others are mere intriguers. I do justice to the
eleven-twelfths; but the factions I know, and will pursue. Is it, I ask
again, is it while the enemy is in France that you should have done this?
But nature has gifted me with a determined courage--nothing can overcome
me. It cost my pride much too--I made that sacrifice; I--but I am above
your miserable declamations--I was in need of consolation, and you would
mortify me--but, no, my victories shall crush your clamours! In three
months we shall have peace, and you shall repent your folly. I am one of
those who triumph or die.

"Go back to your Departments if any one of you dare to print your address
I shall publish it in the Moniteur with notes of my own. Go; France
stands in more need of me than I do of France. I bear the eleven-
twelfths of you in my heart--I shall nominate the Deputies to the two
series which are vacant, and I shall reduce the Legislative Body to the
discharge of its proper duties. The inhabitants of Alsace and Franche
Comte have more spirit than you; they ask me for arms, I send them, and
one of my aides de camp will lead them against the enemy."

In after conversations he said of the Legislative Body that "its members
never came to Paris but to obtain some favours. They importuned the
Ministers from morning till night, and complained if they were not
immediately satisfied. When invited to dinner they burn with envy at the
splendour they see before them." I heard this from Cambaceres, who was
present when the Emperor made these remarks.



The flag of the army of Italy and the eagles of 1813--Entrance of
the Allies into Switzerland--Summons to the Minister of Police--
My refusal to accept a mission to Switzerland--Interviews with M. de
Talleyrand and the Due de Picence--Offer of a Dukedom and the Grand
Cordon of the Legion of Honour--Definitive refusal--The Duc de
Vicence's message to me in 1815--Commencement of the siege of
Hamburg--A bridge two leagues long--Executions at Lubeck--Scarcity
of provisions in Hamburg--Banishment of the inhabitants--Men
bastinadoed and women whipped--Hospitality of the inhabitants of

I am now arrived at the most critical period in Napoleon's career. What
reflections must he have made, if he had had leisure to reflect, in
comparing the recollections of his rising glory with the sad picture of
his falling fortune? What a contrast presents itself when we compare the
famous flag of the army of Italy, which the youthful conqueror,
Bonaparte, carried to the Directory, with those drooping eagles who had
now to defend the aerie whence they had so often taken flight to spread
their triumphant wings over Europe! Here we see the difference between
liberty and absolute power! Napoleon, the son of liberty, to whom he
owed everything, had disowned his mother, and was now about to fall.
Those glorious triumphs were now over when the people of Italy consoled
themselves for defeat and submitted to the magical power of that liberty
which preceded the Republican armies. Now, on the contrary, it was to
free themselves from a despotic yoke that the nations of Europe had in
their turn taken up arms and were preparing to invade France.

With the violation of the Swiss territory by the Allied armies, after the
consent of the Cantons, is connected a fact of great importance in my
life, and which, if I had chosen, might have made a great difference in
my destiny. On Tuesday, the 28th of December, I dined with my old
friend, M. Pierlot, and on leaving home I was in the habit of saying
where I might be found in case I should be wanted. At nine o'clock at
night an express arrived from the Minister of Police desiring me to come
immediately to his office. I confess, considering the circumstances of
the times, and knowing the Emperor's prejudices against me, such a
request coming at such an hour made me feel some uneasiness, and I
expected nothing less then a journey to Vincennes. The Due de Rovigo,
by becoming responsible for me, had as yet warded off the blow, and the
supervision to which the Emperor had subjected me--thanks to the good
offices of Davoust--consisted in going three times a week to show myself
to Savory.

I accordingly, having first borrowed a night-cap, repaired to the hotel
of the Minister of Police. I was ushered into a well-lighted room, and
when I entered I found Savary waiting for me. He was in full costume,
from which I concluded he had just come from the Emperor. Advancing
towards me with an air which showed he had no bad news to communicate, he
thus addressed me:

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