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

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wrote out another, which, however, did not differ very materially from
the first, and which he addressed to Aubert and Coni. I made him a fair
copy of it, and it was regularly for forwarded. It was as follows:--


At a moment when the Empress of Russia has strengthened her union with
the Emperor of Germany (Austria), it is the interest of France to do
everything in her power to increase the military power of Turkey.

That power possesses a numerous and brave militia but is very backward in
the scientific part of the art of war.

The organization and the service of the artillery, which, in our modern
tactics, so powerfully facilitate the gaining of battles, and on which,
almost exclusively, depend the attack and defence of fortresses, are
especially the points in which France excels, and in which the Turks are
most deficient.

They have several times applied to us for artillery officers, and we have
sent them some; but the officers thus sent have not been sufficiently
powerful, either in numbers or talent, to produce any important result.

General Bonaparte, who, from his youth, has served in the artillery, of
which he was entrusted with the command at the siege of Toulon, and in
the two campaigns of Italy, offers his services to proceed to Turkey,
with a mission from the (French) Government.

He proposes to take along with him six or seven officers, of different
kinds, and who may be, altogether, perfect masters of the military art.

He will have the satisfaction of being useful to his country in this new
career, if he succeed in rendering the Turkish power more formidable, by
completing the defence of their principal fortresses, and constructing
new ones.

This note shows the error of the often-repeated assertion, that he
proposed entering the service of the Turks against Austria. He makes no
mention of such a thing; and the two countries were not at war.

--[The Scottish biographer makes Bonaparte say that it would be
strange if a little Corsican should become King of Jerusalem. I
never heard anything drop from him which supports the probability of
such a remark, and certainly there is nothing in his note to warrant
the inference of his having made it.--Bourrienne.]--

No answer was returned to this note. Turkey remained unaided, and
Bonaparte unoccupied. I must confess that for the failure of this
project, at least I was not sorry. I should have regretted to see a
young man of great promise, and one for whom I cherished a sincere
friendship, devote himself to so uncertain a fate. Napoleon has less
than any man provoked the events which have favoured him; no one has more
yielded to circumstances from which he was so skilful to derive
advantages. If, however, a clerk of the War Office had but written on
the note, "Granted," that little word would probably have changed the
fate of Europe.

Bonaparte remained in Paris, forming schemes for the gratification of his
ambition, and his desire of making a figure in the world; but obstacles
opposed all he attempted.

Women are better judges of character than men. Madame de Bourrienne,
knowing the intimacy which subsisted between us, preserved some notes
which she made upon Bonaparte, and the circumstances which struck her as
most remarkable, during her early connection with him. My wife did not
entertain so favourable an opinion of him as I did; the warm friendship I
cherished for him probably blinded me to his faults. I subjoin Madame de
Bourrienne's notes, word for word:

On the day after our second return from Germany, which was in May 1795,
we mat Bonaparte in the Palais Royal, near a shop kept by a man named
Girardin. Bonaparte embraced Bourrienne as a friend whom he loved and
was glad to see. We went that evening to the Theatre Francais. The
performance consisted of a tragedy; and 'Le Sourd, ou l'Auberge pleine'.
During the latter piece the audience was convulsed with laughter. The
part of Dasnieres was represented by Batiste the younger, and it was
never played better. The bursts of laughter were so loud and frequent
that the actor was several times obliged to stop in the midst of his
part. Bonaparte alone (and it struck me as being very extraordinary) was
silent, and coldly insensible to the humour which was so irresistibly
diverting to everyone else. I remarked at this period that his character
was reserved, and frequently gloomy. His smile was hypocritical, and
often misplaced; and I recollect that a few days after our return he gave
us one of these specimens of savage hilarity which I greatly disliked,
and which prepossessed me against him. He was telling us that, being
before Toulon, where he commanded the artillery, one of his officers was
visited by his wife, to wham he had been but a short time married, and
whom he tenderly loved. A few days after, orders were given for another
attack upon the town, in which this officer was to be engaged. His wife
came to General Bonaparte, and with tears entreated him to dispense with
her husband's services that day. The General was inexorable, as he
himself told us, with a sort of savage exaltation. The moment for the
attack arrived, and the officer, though a very brave man, as Bonaparte
him self-assured us, felt a presentiment of his approaching death. He
turned pale and trembled. Ha was stationed beside the General, and
during an interval when the firing from the town was very heavy,
Bonaparte called out to him, "Take care, there is a shell coming!" The
officer, instead of moving to one side, stooped down, and was literally
severed in two. Bonaparte laughed loudly while he described the event
with horrible minuteness. At this time we saw him almost every day. He
frequently came to dine with us. As there was a scarcity of bread, and
sometimes only two ounces per head daily were distributed in the section,
it was customary to request one's guests to bring their own bread, as it
could not be procured for money. Bonaparte and his brother Louis (a
mild, agreeable young man, who was the General's aide de army) used to
bring with them their ration bread, which was black, and mixed with bran.
I was sorry to observe that all this bad bread fell to the share of the
poor aide de camp, for we provided the General with a finer kind, which
was made clandestinely by a pastrycook, from flour which we contrived to
smuggle from Sens, where my husband had some farms. Had we been
denounced, the affair might have cost us our heads.

We spent six weeks in Paris, and we went frequently with Bonaparte to the
theatres, and to the fine concerts given by Garat in the Rue St. Marc.
These were the first brilliant entertainments that took place after the
death of Robespierre. There was always something original in Bonaparte's
behaviour, for he often slipped away from us without saying a word; and
when we were supposing he had left the theatre, we would suddenly
discover him in the second or third tier, sitting alone in a box, and
looking rather sulky.

Before our departure for Sens, where my husband's family reside, and
which was fixed upon for the place of my first accouchement, we looked
out for more agreeable apartments than we had in the Rue Grenier St.
Lazare, which we only had temporarily. Bonaparte used to assist us in
our researches. At last we took the first floor of a handsome new house,
No. 19 Rue des Marais. Bonaparte, who wished to stop in Paris, went to
look at a house opposite to ours. Ha had thoughts of taking it for
himself, his uncle Fesch (afterwards Cardinal Fesch), and a gentleman
named Patrauld, formerly one of his masters at the Military School. One
day he said, "With that house over there, my friends in it, and a
cabriolet, I shall be the happiest fellow in the world."

We soon after left town for Sens. The house was not taken by him, for
other and great affairs were preparing. During the interval between our
departure and the fatal day of Vendemiaire several letters passed between
him and his school companion. These letters were of the most amiable and
affectionate description. They have been stolen. On our return, in
November of the same year, everything was changed. The college friend
was now a great personage. He had got the command of Paris in return for
his share in the events of Vendemiaire. Instead of a small house in the
Rue des Marais, he occupied a splendid hotel in the Rue des Capucines;
the modest cabriolet was converted into a superb equipage, and the man
himself was no longer the same. But the friends of his youth were still
received when they made their morning calls. They were invited to grand
dejeuners, which were sometimes attended by ladies; and, among others, by
the beautiful Madame Tallien and her friend the amiable Madame de
Beauharnais, to whom Bonaparte had begun to pay attention. He cared
little for his friends, and ceased to address them in the style of
familiar equality.

After the 13th of Vendemiaire M. de Bourrienne saw Bonaparte only at
distant periods. In the month of February 1796 my husband was arrested,
at seven in the morning, by a party of men, armed with muskets, on the
charge of being a returned emigrant. He was torn from his wife and his
child, only six months old, being barely allowed time to dress himself.
I followed him. They conveyed him to the guard-house of the Section, and
thence I know not whither; and, finally, in the evening, they placed him
in the lockup-house of the prefecture of police, which, I believe, is now
called the central bureau. There he passed two nights and a day, among
men of the lowest description, some of whom were even malefactors. I and
his friends ran about everywhere, trying to find somebody to rescue him,
and, among the rest, Bonaparte was applied to. It was with great
difficulty he could be seen. Accompanied by one of my husband's friends,
I waited for the commandant of Paris until midnight, but he did not come
home. Next morning I returned at an early hour, and found him. I stated
what had happened to my husband, whose life was then at stake. He
appeared to feel very little for the situation of his friend, but,
however; determined to write to Merlin, the Minister of Justice. I
carried the letter according to its address, and met the Minister as he
was coming downstairs, on his way to the Directory. Being in grand
costume, he wore a Henri IV. hat, surmounted with a multitude of plumes,
a dress which formed a singular contrast with his person. He opened the
letter; and whether it was that he cared as little for the General as for
the cause of M. do Bourrienne's arrest, he replied that the matter was no
longer in his hands, and that it was now under the cognisance of the
public administrators of the laws. The Minister then stepped into his
carriage, and the writer was conducted to several offices in his hotel.
She passed through them with a broken heart, for she met with none but
harsh men, who told her that the prisoner deserved death. From them she
learned that on the following day he would be brought before the judge of
the peace for his Section, who would decide whether there was ground for
putting him on his trial. In fact, this proceeding took place next day.
He was conveyed to the house of the judge of the peace for the Section of
Bondy, Rue Grange-sue-Belles, whose name was Lemaire. His countenance
was mild; and though his manner was cold, he had none of the harshness
and ferocity common to the Government agents of that time. His
examination of the charge was long, and he several times shook his head.
The moment of decision had arrived, and everything seemed to indicate
that the termination would be to place the prisoner under accusation.
At seven o'clock be desired me to be called. I hastened to him, and
beheld a most heart rending scene. Bourrienne was suffering under a
hemorrhage, which had continued since two o'clock, and had interrupted
the examination. The judge of the peace, who looked sad, sat with his
head resting on his hand. I threw myself at his feet and implored his
clemency. The wife and the two daughters of the judge visited this scene
of sorrow, and assisted me in softening him. He was a worthy and feeling
man, a good husband and parent, and it was evident that he struggled
between compassion and duty. He kept referring to the laws on the
subject, and, after long researches said to me, "To-morrow is Decadi, and
no proceedings can take place on that day. Find, madams, two responsible
persons, who will answer for the appearance of your husband, and I will
permit him to go home with you, accompanied by the two guardians." Next
day two friends were found, one of whom was M. Desmaisons, counsellor of
the court, who became bail for M. de Bourrienne. He continued under
these guardians six months, until a law compelled the persons who were
inscribed on the fatal list to remove to the distance of ten leagues from
Paris. One of the guardians was a man of straw; the other was a knight
of St. Louis. The former was left in the antechamber; the latter made,
every evening, one of our party at cards. The family of M. de
Bourrienne have always felt the warmest gratitude to the judge of the
peace and his family. That worthy man saved the life of M. de
Bourrienne, who, when he returned from Egypt, and had it in his power to
do him some service, hastened to his house; but the good judge was no

The letters mentioned in the narrative were at this time stolen from me
by the police officers.

Everyone was now eager to pay court to a man who had risen from the crowd
in consequence of the part he had acted at an, extraordinary crisis, and
who was spoken of as the future General of the Army of Italy. It was
expected that he would be gratified, as he really was, by the restoration
of some letters which contained the expression of his former very modest
wishes, called to recollection his unpleasant situation, his limited
ambition, his pretended aversion for public employment, and finally
exhibited his intimate relations with those who were, without hesitation,
characterised as emigrants, to be afterwards made the victims of
confiscation and death.

The 13th of Vendemiaire (5th October 1795) was approaching. The National
Convention had been painfully delivered of a new constitution, called,
from the epoch of its birth, "the Constitution of Year III." It was
adopted on the 22d of August 1795. The provident legislators did not
forget themselves. They stipulated that two-thirds of their body should
form part of the new legislature. The party opposed to the Convention
hoped, on the contrary, that, by a general election, a majority would be
obtained for its opinion. That opinion was against the continuation of
power in the hands of men who had already so greatly abused it.

The same opinion was also entertained by a great part of the most
influential Sections of Paris, both as to the possession of property and
talent. These Sections declared that, in accepting the new constitution,
they rejected the decree of the 30th of August, which required the re-
election of two-thirds The Convention, therefore, found itself menaced in
what it held moat dear--its power;--and accordingly resorted to measures
of defence. A declaration was put forth, stating that the Convention, if
attacked, would remove to Chalons-sur-Marne; and the commanders of the
armed force were called upon to defend that body.

The 5th of October, the day on which the Sections of Paris attacked the
Convention, is certainly one which ought to be marked in the wonderful
destiny of Bonaparte.

With the events of that day were linked, as cause and effect, many great
political convulsions of Europe. The blood which flowed ripened the
seeds of the youthful General's ambition. It must be admitted that the
history of past ages presents few periods full of such extraordinary
events as the years included between 1795 and 1815. The man whose name
serves, in some measure, as a recapitulation of all these great events
was entitled to believe himself immortal.

Living retired at Sens since the month of July, I only learned what had
occasioned the insurrection of the Sections from public report and the
journals. I cannot, therefore, say what part Bonaparte may have taken in
the intrigues which preceded that day. He was officially characterised
only as secondary actor in the scene. The account of the affair which
was published announces that Barras was, on that very day, Commander-in-
chief of the Army of the Interior, and Bonaparte second in command.
Bonaparte drew up that account. The whole of the manuscript was in his
handwriting, and it exhibits all the peculiarity of his style and
orthography. He sent me a copy.

Those who read the bulletin of the 13th Vendemiaire, cannot fail to
observe the care which Bonaparte took to cast the reproach of shedding
the first blood on the men he calls rebels. He made a great point of
representing his adversaries as the aggressors. It is certain he long
regretted that day. He often told me that he would give years of his
life to blot it out from the page of his history. He was convinced that
the people of Paris were dreadfully irritated against him, and he would
have been glad if Barras had never made that Speech in the Convention,
with the part of which, complimentary to himself, he was at the time so
well pleased. Barras said, "It is to his able and prompt dispositions
that we are indebted for the defence of this assembly, around which he
had posted the troops with so much skill." This is perfectly true, but
it is not always agreeable that every truth should be told. Being out of
Paris, and a total stranger to this affair, I know not how far he was
indebted for his success to chance, or to his own exertions, in the part
assigned to him by the miserable Government which then oppressed France.
He represented himself only as secondary actor in this sanguinary scene
in which Barras made him his associate. He sent to me, as already
mentioned, an account of the transaction, written entirely in his own
hand, and distinguished by all the peculiarities of--his style and

--[Joseph Bonaparte, in a note on this peerage, insinuates that the
account of the 13th Vendemiaire was never sent to Sens, but was
abstracted by Bourrienne, with other documents, from Napoleon's
Cabinet (Erreurs, tome i. p. 239).]--

"On the 13th," says Bonaparte, "at five o'clock in the morning, the
representative of the people, Barras, was appointed Commander-in-chief of
the Army of the Interior, and General Bonaparte was nominated second in

"The artillery for service on the frontier was still at the camp of
Sablons, guarded solely by 150 men; the remainder was at Marly with 200
men. The depot of Meudon was left unprotected. There were at the
Feuillans only a few four-pounders without artillerymen, and but 80,000
cartridges. The victualling depots were dispersed throughout Paris.
In many Sections the drums beat to arms; the Section of the Theatre
Francais had advanced posts even as far as the Pont Neuf, which it had

"General Barras ordered the artillery to move immediately from the camp
of Sablons to the Tuileries, and selected the artillerymen from the
battalions of the 89th regiment, and from the gendarmerie, and placed
them at the Palace; sent to Meudon 200 men of the police legion whom he
brought from Versailles, 50 cavalry, and two companies of veterans; he
ordered the property which was at Marly to be conveyed to Meudon; caused
cartridges to be brought there, and established a workshop at that place
for the manufacture of more. He secured means for the subsistence of the
army and of the Convention for many days, independently of the depots
which were in the Sections.

"General Verdier, who commanded at the Palais National, exhibited great
coolness; he was required not to suffer a shot to be fired till the last
extremity. In the meantime reports reached him from all quarters
acquainting him that the Sections were assembled in arms, and had formed
their columns. He accordingly arrayed his troops so as to defend the
Convention, and his artillery was in readiness to repulse the rebels.
His cannon was planted at the Feuillans to fire down the Rue Honore.
Eight-pounders were pointed at every opening, and in the event of any
mishap, General Verdier had cannon in reserve to fire in flank upon the
column which should have forced a passage. He left in the Carrousel
three howitzers (eight-pounders) to batter down the houses from which the
Convention might be fired upon. At four o'clock the rebel columns
marched out from every street to unite their forces. It was necessary to
take advantage of this critical moment to attack the insurgents, even had
they been regular troops. But the blood about to flow was French; it was
therefore for these misguided people, already guilty of rebellion, to
embrue their hands in the blood of their countrymen by striking the first

"At a quarter before five o'clock the insurgents had formed. The attack
was commenced by them on all sides. They were everywhere routed. French
blood was spilled: the crime, as well as the disgrace, fell this day upon
the Sections.

"Among the dead were everywhere to be recognized emigrants, landowners,
and nobles; the prisoners consisted for the most part of the 'chouans' of

"Nevertheless the Sections did not consider themselves beaten: they took
refuge in the church of St. Roch, in the theatre of the Republic, and in
the Palais Egalite; and everywhere they were heard furiously exciting the
inhabitants to arms. To spare the blood which would have been shed the
next day it was necessary that no time should be given them to rally, but
to follow them with vigour, though without incurring fresh hazards. The
General ordered Montchoisy, who commanded a reserve at the Place de la
Resolution, to form a column with two twelve-pounders, to march by the
Boulevard in order to turn the Place Vendome, to form a junction with the
picket stationed at headquarters, and to return in the same order of

"General Brune, with two howitzers, deployed in the streets of St.
Nicaise and St. Honore. General Cartaux sent two hundred men and a four-
pounder of his division by the Rue St. Thomas-du-Louvre to debouch in the
square of the Palais Egalite. General Bonaparte, who had his horse
killed under him, repaired to the Feuillans.

"The columns began to move, St. Roch and the theatre of the Republic were
taken, by assault, when the rebels abandoned them, and retreated to the
upper part of the Rue de la Loi, and barricaded themselves on all sides.
Patrols were sent thither, and several cannon-shots were fired during the
night, in order to prevent them from throwing up defences, which object
was effectually accomplished.

"At daybreak, the General having learned that some students from the St.
Genevieve side of the river were marching with two pieces of cannon to
succour the rebels, sent a detachment of dragoons in pursuit of them, who
seized the cannon and conducted them to the Tuileries. The enfeebled
Sections, however, still showed a front. They had barricaded the Section
of Grenelle, and placed their cannon in the principal streets. At nine
o'clock General Beruyer hastened to form his division in battle array in
the Place Vendome, marched with two eight-pounders to the Rue des Vieux-
Augustins, and pointed them in the direction of the Section Le Pelletier.
General Vachet, with a corps of 'tirailleurs', marched on his right,
ready to advance to the Place Victoire. General Brune marched to the
Perron, and planted two howitzers at the upper end of the Rue Vivienne.
General Duvigier, with his column of six hundred men, and two twelve-
pounders, advanced to the streets of St. Roch and Montmartre. The
Sections lost courage with the apprehension of seeing their retreat cut
off, and evacuated the post at the sight of our soldiers, forgetting the
honour of the French name which they had to support. The Section of
Brutus still caused some uneasiness. The wife of a representative had
been arrested there. General Duvigier was ordered to proceed along the
Boulevard as far as the Rue Poissonniere. General Beruyer took up a
position at the Place Victoire, and General Bonaparte occupied the Pont-

"The Section of Brutus was surrounded, and the troops advanced upon the
Place de Greve, where the crowd poured in from the Isle St. Louis, from
the Theatre Francais, and from the Palace. Everywhere the patriots had
regained their courage, while the poniards of the emigrants, armed
against us, had disappeared. The people universally admitted their

"The next day the two Sections of Ls Pelletier and the Theatre Francais
were disarmed."

The result of this petty civil war brought Bonaparte forward; but the
party he defeated at that period never pardoned him for the past, and
that which he supported dreaded him in the future. Five years after he
will be found reviving the principles which he combated on the 5th of
October 1795. On being appointed, on the motion of Barras, Lieutenant-
General of the Army of the Interior, he established his headquarters in
the Rue Neuve des Capucines. The statement in the 'Manuscrit de Sainte
Helene, that after the 13th Brumaire he remained unemployed at Paris, is
therefore obviously erroneous. So far from this, he was incessantly
occupied with the policy of the nation, and with his own fortunes.
Bonaparte was in constant, almost daily, communication with every one
then in power, and knew how to profit by all he saw or heard.

To avoid returning to this 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene', which at the
period of its appearance attracted more attention than it deserved, and
which was very generally attributed to Bonaparte, I shall here say a few
words respecting it. I shall briefly repeat what I said in a note when
my opinion was asked, under high authority, by a minister of Louis XVIII.

No reader intimately acquainted with public affairs can be deceived by
the pretended authenticity of this pamphlet. What does it contain?
Facts perverted and heaped together without method, and related in an
obscure, affected, and ridiculously sententious style. Besides what
appears in it, but which is badly placed there, it is impossible not to
remark the omission of what should necessarily be there, were Napoleon
the author. It is full of absurd and of insignificant gossip, of
thoughts Napoleon never had, expressions unknown to him, and affectations
far removed from his character. With some elevated ideas, more than one
style and an equivocal spirit can be seen in it. Professed coincidences
are put close to unpardonable anachronisms, and to the most absurd
revelations. It contains neither his thoughts, his style, his actions,
nor his life. Some truths are mimed up with an inconceivable mass of
falsehoods. Some forms of expression used by Bonaparte are occasionally
met with, but they are awkwardly introduced, and often with bad taste.

It has been reported that the pamphlet was written by M. Bertrand,
formerly an officer of the army of the Vistula, and a relation of the
Comte de Simeon, peer of France.

--['Manuscrit de Sainte Helene d'une maniere inconnue', London.
Murray; Bruxelles, De Mat, 20 Avril 1817. This work merits a note.
Metternich (vol, i. pp. 312-13) says, "At the time when it appeared
the manuscript of St. Helena made a great impression upon Europe.
This pamphlet was generally regarded as a precursor of the memoirs
which Napoleon was thought to be writing in his place of exile. The
report soon spread that the work was conceived and executed by
Madame de Stael. Madame de Stael, for her part, attributed it to
Benjamin Constant, from whom she was at this time separated by some
disagreement. Afterwards it came to be known that the author was
the Marquis Lullin de Chateauvieux, a man in society, whom no one
had suspected of being able to hold a pen: Jomini (tome i. p. 8
note) says. "It will be remarked that in the course of this work
[his life of Napoleon] the author has used some fifty pages of the
pretended 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene'. Far from wishing to commit
a plagiarism, he considers he ought to render this homage to a
clever and original work, several false points of view in which,
however, he has combated. It would have been easy for him to
rewrite these pages in other terms, but they appeared to him to be
so well suited to the character of Napoleon that he has preferred to
preserve them." In the will of Napoleon occurs (see end of this
work): "I disavow the 'Manuscrit de Sainte Helene', and the other
works under the title of Maxims, Sentences, etc., which they have
been pleased to publish during the last six years. Such rules are
not those which have guided my life: This manuscript must not be
confused with the 'Memorial of Saint Helena'.]--



On my return to Paris I meet Bonaparte--His interview with Josephine
--Bonaparte's marriage, and departure from Paris ten days after--
Portrait and character of Josephine--Bonaparte's dislike of national
property--Letter to Josephine--Letter of General Colli, and
Bonaparte's reply--Bonaparte refuses to serve with Kellerman--
Marmont's letters--Bonaparte's order to me to join the army--My
departure from Sens for Italy--Insurrection of the Venetian States.

After the 13th Vendemiaire I returned to Paris from Sens. During the
short time I stopped there I saw Bonaparte less frequently than formerly.
I had, however, no reason to attribute this to anything but the pressure
of public business with which he was now occupied. When I did meet him
it was most commonly at breakfast or dinner. One day he called my
attention to a young lady who sat opposite to him, and asked what I
thought of her. The way in which I answered his question appeared to
give him much pleasure. He then talked a great deal to me about her, her
family, and her amiable qualities; he told me that he should probably
marry her, as he was convinced that the union would make him happy. I
also gathered from his conversation that his marriage with the young
widow would probably assist him in gaining the objects of his ambition.
His constantly-increasing influence with her had already brought him into
contact with the most influential persons of that epoch. He remained in
Paris only ten days after his marriage, which took place on the 9th of
March 1796. It was a union in which great harmony prevailed,
notwithstanding occasional slight disagreements. Bonaparte never, to my
knowledge, caused annoyance to his wife. Madame Bonaparte possessed
personal graces and many good qualities.

--["Eugene was not more than fourteen years of age when he ventured
to introduce himself to General Bonaparte, for the purpose of
soliciting his father's sword, of which he understood the General
had become possessed. The countenance, air, and frank manner of
Eugene pleased Bonaparte, and he immediately granted him the boon he
sought. As soon as the sword was placed in the boy's hands tie
burst into tears, and kissed it. This feeling of affection for his
father's memory, and the natural manner in which it was evinced,
increased the interest of Bonaparte in his young visitor. Madame de
Beauharnais, on learning the kind reception which the General had
given her son, thought it her duty to call and thank him. Bonaparte
was much pleased with Josephine on this first interview, and he
returned her visit. The acquaintance thus commenced speedily led to
their marriage."--Constant]--

--[Bonaparte himself, at St. Helena, says that he first met
Josephine at Barras' (see Iung's Bonaparte, tome iii. p. 116).]--

--["Neither of his wives had ever anything to complain of from
Napoleon's personal manners" (Metternich, vol. 1 p. 279).]--

--[Madame de Remusat, who, to paraphrase Thiers' saying on
Bourrienne himself, is a trustworthy witness, for if she received
benefits from Napoleon they did not weigh on her, says, "However,
Napoleon had some affection for his first wife; and, in fact, if he
has at any time been touched, no doubt it has been only for her and
by her" (tome i. p. 113). "Bonaparte was young when he first knew
Madame de Beauharnais. In the circle where he met her she had a
great superiority by the name she bore and by the extreme elegance
of her manners . . . . In marrying Madame de Beauharnais,
Bonaparte believed he was allying himself to a very grand lady; thus
this was one more conquest" (p. 114). But in speaking of
Josephine's complaints to Napoleon of his love affairs, Madame de
Remusat says, "Her husband sometimes answered by violences, the
excesses of which I do not dare to detail, until the moment when,
his new fancy having suddenly passed, he felt his tenderness for his
wife again renewed. Then he was touched by her sufferings, replaced
his insults by caresses which were hardly more measured than his
violences and, as she was gentle and untenacious, she fell back into
her feeling of security" (p. 206).]--

--[Miot de Melito, who was a follower of Joseph Bonaparte, says, "No
woman has united go much kindness to so much natural grace, or has
done more good with more pleasure than she did. She honoured me
with her friendship, and the remembrance of the benevolence she has
shown me, to the last moment of her too short existence, will never
be effaced from my heart" (tome i. pp.101-2).]--

--[Meneval, the successor of Bourrienne is his place of secretary to
Napoleon, and who remained attached to the Emperor until the end,
says of Josephine (tome i. p. 227), "Josephine was irresistibly
attractive. Her beauty was not regular, but she had 'La grace, plus
belle encore que la beaute', according to the good La Fontaine. She
had the soft abandonment, the supple and elegant movements, and the
graceful carelessness of the creoles.--(The reader must remember
that the term "Creole" does not imply any taint of black blood, but
only that the person, of European family, has been born in the West
Indies.)--Her temper was always the same. She was gentle and

I am convinced that all who were acquainted with her must have felt bound
to speak well of her; to few, indeed, did she ever give cause for
complaint. In the time of her power she did not lose any of her friends,
because she forgot none of them. Benevolence was natural to her, but she
was not always prudent in its exercise. Hence her protection was often
extended to persons who did not deserve it. Her taste for splendour and
expense was excessive. This proneness to luxury became a habit which
seemed constantly indulged without any motive. What scenes have I not
witnessed when the moment for paying the tradesmen's bills arrived! She
always kept back one-half of their claims, and the discovery of this
exposed her to new reproaches. How many tears did she shed which might
have been easily spared!

When fortune placed a crown on her head she told me that the event,
extraordinary as it was, had been predicted: It is certain that she put
faith in fortune-tellers. I often expressed to her my astonishment that
she should cherish such a belief, and she readily laughed at her own
credulity; but notwithstanding never abandoned it: The event had given
importance to the prophecy; but the foresight of the prophetess, said to
be an old regress, was not the less a matter of doubt.

Not long before the 13th of Vendemiaire, that day which opened for
Bonaparte his immense career, he addressed a letter to me at Sens, in
which, after some of his usually friendly expressions, he said, "Look out
a small piece of land in your beautiful valley of the Yonne. I will
purchase it as soon as I can scrape together the money. I wish to retire
there; but recollect that I will have nothing to do with national

Bonaparte left Paris on the 21st of March 1796, while I was still with my
guardians. He no sooner joined the French army than General Colli, then
in command of the Piedmontese army, transmitted to him the following
letter, which, with its answer, I think sufficiently interesting to
deserve preservation:

GENERAL--I suppose that you are ignorant of the arrest of one of my
officers, named Moulin, the bearer of a flag of truce, who has been
detained for some days past at Murseco, contrary to the laws of war,
and notwithstanding an immediate demand for his liberation being
made by General Count Vital. His being a French emigrant cannot
take from him the rights of a flag of truce, and I again claim him
in that character. The courtesy and generosity which I have always
experienced from the generals of your nation induces me to hope that
I shall not make this application in vain; and it is with regret
that I mention that your chief of brigade, Barthelemy, who ordered
the unjust arrest of my flag of truce, having yesterday by the
chance of war fallen into my hands, that officer will be dealt with
according to the treatment which M. Moulin may receive.

I most sincerely wish that nothing may occur to change the noble and
humane conduct which the two nations have hitherto been accustomed
to observe towards each other. I have the honour, etc.,
(Signed) COLLI.

CEVA. 17th April 1796.

Bonaparte replied as follows:

GENERAL--An emigrant is a parricide whom no character can render
sacred. The feelings of honour, and the respect due to the French
people, were forgotten when M. Moulin was sent with a flag of truce.
You know the laws of war, and I therefore do not give credit to the
reprisals with which you threaten the chief of brigade, Barthelemy.
If, contrary to the laws of war, you authorise such an act of
barbarism, all the prisoners taken from you shall be immediately
made responsible for it with the most deplorable vengeance, for I
entertain for the officers of your nation that esteem which is due
to brave soldiers.

The Executive Directory, to whom these letters were transmitted, approved
of the arrest of M. Moulin; but ordered that he should be securely
guarded, and not brought to trial, in consequence of the character with
which he had been invested.

About the middle of the year 1796 the Directory proposed to appoint
General Kellerman, who commanded the army of the Alps, second in command
of the army of Italy.

On the 24th of May 1796 Bonaparte wrote to, Carnot respecting, this plan,
which was far from being agreeable to him. He said, "Whether I shall be
employed here or anywhere else is indifferent to me: to serve the
country, and to merit from posterity a page in our history, is all my
ambition. If you join Kellerman and me in command in Italy you will undo
everything. General Kellerman has more experience than I, and knows how
to make war better than I do; but both together, we shall make it badly.
I will not willingly serve with a man who considers himself the first
general in Europe."

Numbers of letters from Bonaparte to his wife have been published.
I cannot deny their, authenticity, nor is it my wish to do so. I will,
however, subjoin one which appears to me to differ a little from the
rest. It is less remarkable for exaggerated expressions of love, and a
singularly ambitious and affected style, than most of the correspondence
here alluded to. Bonaparte is announcing the victory of Arcola to

VERONA, the 29th, noon.

At length, my adored Josephine, I live again. Death is no longer
before me, and glory and honour are still in my breast. The enemy
is beaten at Arcola. To-morrow we will repair the blunder of
Vaubois, who abandoned Rivoli. In eight days Mantua will be ours,
and then thy husband will fold thee in his arms, and give thee a
thousand proofs of his ardent affection. I shall proceed to Milan
as soon as I can: I am a little fatigued. I have received letters
from Eugene and Hortense. I am delighted with the children. I will
send you their letters as soon as I am joined by my household, which
is now somewhat dispersed.

We have made five thousand prisoners, and killed at least six
thousand of the enemy. Adieu, my adorable Josephine. Think of me
often. When you cease to love your Achilles, when your heart grows
cool towards him, you wilt be very cruel, very unjust. But I am
sure you will always continue my faithful mistress, as I shall ever
remain your fond lover ('tendre amie'). Death alone can break the
union which sympathy, love, and sentiment have formed. Let me have
news of your health. A thousand and a thousand kisses.

It is impossible for me to avoid occasionally placing myself in the
foreground in the course of these Memoirs. I owe it to myself to answer,
though indirectly, to certain charges which, on various occasions, have
been made against me. Some of the documents which I am about to insert
belong, perhaps, less to the history of the General-in-Chief of the army
of-Italy than to that of his secretary; but I must confess I wish to show
that I was not an intruder, nor yet pursuing, as an obscure intriguer,
the path of fortune. I was influenced much more by friendship than by
ambition when I took a part on the scene where the rising-glory of the
future Emperor already shed a lustre on all who were attached to his
destiny. It will be seen by the following letters with what confidence
I was then honoured; but these letters, dictated by friendship, and not
written for history, speak also of our military achievements; and
whatever brings to recollection the events of that heroic period must
still be interesting to many.

20th Prairial, year IV. (8th June 1796).

The General-in-Chief has ordered me, my dear Bourrienne, to make
known to you the pleasure he experienced on hearing of you, and his
ardent desire that you should join us. Take your departure, then,
my dear Bourrienne, and arrive quickly. You may be certain of
obtaining the testimonies of affection which are your due from all
who know you; and we much regret that you were not with us to have a
share in our success. The campaign which we have just concluded
will be celebrated in the records of history. With less than 30,000
men, in a state of almost complete destitution, it is a fine thing
to have, in the course of less than two months, beaten, eight
different times, an army of from 65 to 70,000 men, obliged the King
of Sardinia to make a humiliating peace, and driven the Austrians
from Italy. The last victory, of which you have doubtless had an
account, the passage of the Mincio, has closed our labours. There
now remain for us the siege of Mantua and the castle of Milan; but
these obstacles will not detain us long. Adieu, my dear Bourrienne:
I repeat General Bonaparte's request that you should repair hither,
and the testimony of his desire to see you.
Receive, etc., (Signed) MARMONT.
Chief of Brigade (Artillery) and Aide de camp to the

I was obliged to remain at Sens, soliciting my erasure from the emigrant
list, which I did not obtain, however, till 1797, and to put an end to a
charge made against me of having fabricated a certificate of residence.
Meanwhile I applied myself to study, and preferred repose to the
agitation of camps. For these reasons I did not then accept his friendly
invitation, notwithstanding that I was very desirous of seeing my young
college friend in the midst of his astonishing triumphs. Ten months
after, I received another letter from Marmont, in the following terms:--

2d Germinal, year V. (22d March 1797).

The General-in-Chief, my dear Bourrienne, has ordered me to express
to you his wish for your prompt arrival here. We have all along
anxiously desired to see you, and look forward with great pleasure
to the moment when we shall meet. I join with the General, my dear
Bourrienne, in urging you to join the army without loss of time.
You will increase a united family, happy to receive you into its
bosom. I enclose an order written by the General, which will serve
you as a passport. Take the post route and arrive as soon as you
can. We are on the point of penetrating into Germany. The language
is changing already, and in four days we shall hear no more Italian.
Prince Charles has been well beaten, and we are pursuing him. If
this campaign be fortunate, we may sign a peace, which is so
necessary for Europe, in Vienna. Adieu, my dear Bourrienne: reckon
for something the zeal of one who is much attached to you.
(Signed) MARMONT.


Headquarters, Gorizia, 2d Germinal, year V.

The citizen Bourrienne is to come to me on receipt
of the present order.

The odious manner in which I was then harassed, I know not why, on the
part of the Government respecting my certificate of residence, rendered
my stay in France not very agreeable. I was even threatened with being
put on my trial for having produced a certificate of residence which was
alleged to be signed by nine false witnesses. This time, therefore, I
resolved without hesitation to set out for the army. General Bonaparte's
order, which I registered at the municipality of Sens, answered for a
passport, which otherwise would probably have been refused me. I have
always felt a strong sense of gratitude for his conduct towards me on
this occasion.

Notwithstanding the haste I made to leave Sens, the necessary formalities
and precautions detained me some days, and at the moment I was about to
depart I received the following letter:

19th Germinal, Year V. (8th April 1797).

The General-in-Chief again orders me, my dear Bourrienne, to urge
you to come to him quickly. We are in the midst of success and
triumphs. The German campaign begins even more brilliantly than did
the Italian. You may judge, therefore, what a promise it holds out
to us. Come, my dear Bourrienne, immediately--yield to our
solicitations--share our pains and pleasures, and you will add to
our enjoyments.

I have directed the courier to pass through Sens, that he may
deliver this letter to you, and bring me back your answer.
(Signed) MARMONT.

To the above letter this order was subjoined:

The citizen Fauvelet de Bourrienne is ordered to leave Sens, and
repair immediately by post to the headquarters of the army of Italy.

I arrived at the Venetian territory at the moment when the insurrection
against the French was on the point of breaking out. Thousands of
peasants were instigated to rise under the pretext of appeasing the
troubles of Bergamo and Brescia. I passed through Verona on the 16th of
April, the eve of the signature of the preliminaries of Leoben and of the
revolt of Verona. Easter Sunday was the day which the ministers of Jesus
Christ selected for preaching "that it was lawful, and even meritorious,
to kill Jacobins." Death to Frenchmen!--Death to Jacobins! as they
called all the French, were their rallying cries. At the time I had not
the slightest idea of this state of things, for I had left Sens only on
the 11th of April.

After stopping two hours at Verona, I proceeded on my journey without
being aware of the massacre which threatened that city. When about a
league from the town I was, however, stopped by a party of insurgents on
their way thither, consisting, as I estimated, of about two thousand men.
They only desired me to cry 'El viva Santo Marco', an order with which I
speedily complied, and passed on. What would have become of me had I
been in Verona on the Monday? On that day the bells were rung, while the
French were butchered in the hospitals. Every one met in the streets was
put to death. The priests headed the assassins, and more than four
hundred Frenchmen were thus sacrificed. The forts held out against the
Venetians, though they attacked them with fury; but repossession of the
town was not obtained until after ten days. On the very day of the
insurrection of Verona some Frenchmen were assassinated between that city
and Vicenza, through which I passed on the day before without danger; and
scarcely had I passed through Padua, when I learned that others had been
massacred there. Thus the assassinations travelled as rapidly as the

I shall say a few words respecting the revolt of the Venetian States,
which, in consequence of the difference of political opinions, has been
viewed in very contradictory lights.

The last days of Venice were approaching, and a storm had been brewing
for more than a year. About the beginning of April 1797 the threatening
symptoms of a general insurrection appeared. The quarrel commenced when
the Austrians entered Peschiera, and some pretext was also afforded by
the reception given to Monsieur, afterwards Louis XVIII. It was certain
that Venice had made military preparations during the siege of Mantua in
1796. The interests of the aristocracy outweighed the political
considerations in our favour. On, the 7th of June 1796 General Bonaparte
wrote thus to the Executive Directory:

The Senate of Venice lately sent two judges of their Council here to
ascertain definitively how things stand. I repeated my complaints.
I spoke to them about the reception given to Monsieur. Should it be
your plan to extract five or six millions from Venice, I have
expressly prepared this sort of rupture for you. If your intentions
be more decided, I think this ground of quarrel ought to be kept up.
Let me know what you mean to do, and wait till the favourable
moment, which I shall seize according to circumstances; for we must
not have to do with all the world at once.

The Directory answered that the moment was not favourable; that it was
first necessary to take Mantua, and give Wurmser a sound beating.
However, towards the end of the year 1796 the Directory began to give
more credit to the sincerity of the professions of neutrality made on the
part of Venice. It was resolved, therefore, to be content with obtaining
money and supplies for the army, and to refrain from violating the
neutrality. The Directory had not then in reserve, like Bonaparte,
the idea of making the dismemberment of Venice serve as a compensation
for such of the Austrian possessions as the French Republic might retain.

In 1797 the expected favourable moment had arrived. The knell of Venice
was rung; and Bonaparte thus wrote to the Directory on the 30th of April:
"I am convinced that the only course to be now taken is to destroy this
ferocious and sanguinary Government." On the 3d of May, writing from
Palma Nuova, he says: "I see nothing that can be done but to obliterate
the Venetian name from the face of the globe."

Towards the end of March 1797 the Government of Venice was in a desperate
state. Ottolini, the Podesta of Bergamo, an instrument of tyranny in the
hands of the State inquisitors, then harassed the people of Bergamo and
Brescia, who, after the reduction of Mantua, wished to be separated from
Venice. He drew up, to be sent to the Senate, a long report respecting
the plans of separation, founded on information given him by a Roman
advocate, named Marcelin Serpini; who pretended to have gleaned the facts
he communicated in conversation with officers of the French army. The
plan of the patriotic party was, to unite the Venetian territories on the
mainland with Lombardy, and to form of the whole one republic. The
conduct of Ottolini exasperated the party inimical to Venice, and
augmented the prevailing discontent. Having disguised his valet as a
peasant, he sent him off to Venice with the report he had drawn up on
Serpini's communications, and other information; but this report never
reached the inquisitors. The valet was arrested, his despatches taken,
and Ottolini fled from Bergamo. This gave a beginning to the general
rising of the Venetian States. In fact, the force of circumstances alone
brought on the insurrection of those territories against their old
insular government. General La Hoz, who commanded the Lombard Legion,
was the active protector of the revolution, which certainly had its
origin more in the progress of the prevailing principles of liberty than
in the crooked policy of the Senate of Venice. Bonaparte, indeed, in his
despatches to the Directory, stated that the Senate had instigated the
insurrection; but that was not quite correct, and he could not wholly
believe his own assertion.

Pending the vacillation of the Venetian Senate, Vienna was exciting the
population of its States on the mainland to rise against the French. The
Venetian Government had always exhibited an extreme aversion to the
French Revolution, which had been violently condemned at Venice. Hatred
of the French had been constantly excited and encouraged, and religious
fanaticism had inflamed many persons of consequence in the country. From
the end of 1796 the Venetian Senate secretly continued its armaments, and
the whole conduct of that Government announced intentions which have been
called perfidious, but the only object of which was to defeat intentions
still more perfidious. The Senate was the irreconcilable enemy of the
French Republic. Excitement was carried to such a point that in many
places the people complained that they were not permitted to arm against
the French. The Austrian generals industriously circulated the most
sinister reports respecting the armies of the Sombre-et-Meuse and the
Rhine, and the position of the French troops in the Tyrol. These
impostures, printed in bulletins, were well calculated to instigate the
Italians, and especially the Venetians, to rise in mass to exterminate
the French, when the victorious army should penetrate into the Hereditary

The pursuit of the Archduke Charles into the heart of Austria encouraged
the hopes which the Venetian Senate had conceived, that it would be easy
to annihilate the feeble remnant of the French army, as the troops were
scattered through the States of Venice on the mainland. Wherever the
Senate had the ascendency, insurrection was secretly fomented; wherever
the influence of the patriots prevailed, ardent efforts were made to
unite the Venetian terra firma to the Lombard Republic.

Bonaparte skillfully took advantage of the disturbances, and the
massacres consequent on them, to adopt towards the Senate the tone of an
offended conqueror. He published a declaration that the Venetian
Government was the moat treacherous imaginable. The weakness and cruel
hypocrisy of the Senate facilitated the plan he had conceived of making a
peace for France at the expense of the Venetian Republic. On returning
from Leoben, a conqueror and pacificator, he, without ceremony, took
possession of Venice, changed the established government, and, master of
all the Venetian territory, found himself, in the negotiations of Campo
Formio, able to dispose of it as he pleased, as a compensation for the
cessions which had been exacted from Austria. After the 19th of May he
wrote to the Directory that one of the objects of his treaty with Venice
was to avoid bringing upon us the odium of violating the preliminaries
relative to the Venetian territory, and, at the same time, to afford
pretexts and to facilitate their execution.

At Campo Formio the fate of this republic was decided. It disappeared
from the number of States without effort or noise. The silence of its
fall astonished imaginations warmed by historical recollections from the
brilliant pages of its maritime glory. Its power, however, which had
been silently undermined, existed no longer except in the prestige of
those recollections. What resistance could it have opposed to the man
destined to change the face of all Europe?



His Private Secretary

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


Chapter V. to Chapter XIV. 1798



Signature of the preliminaries of peace--Fall of Venice--My arrival
and reception at Leoben--Bonaparte wishes to pursue his success--
The Directory opposes him--He wishes to advance on Vienna--Movement
of the army of the Sombre-et-Mouse--Bonaparte's dissatisfaction--
Arrival at Milan--We take up our residence at Montebello--Napoleon's
judgment respecting Dandolo and Melzi.

I joined Bonaparte at Leoben on the 19th of April, the day after the
signature of the preliminaries of peace. These preliminaries resembled
in no respect the definitive treaty of Campo Formio. The still
incomplete fall of the State of Venice did not at that time present an
available prey for partition. All was arranged afterwards. Woe to the
small States that come in immediate contact with two colossal empires
waging war!

Here terminated my connection with Bonaparte as a comrade and equal, and
those relations with him commenced in which I saw him suddenly great,
powerful, and surrounded with homage and glory. I no longer addressed
him as I had been accustomed to do. I appreciated too well his personal
importance. His position placed too great a social distance between him
and me not to make me feel the necessity of fashioning my demeanour
accordingly. I made with pleasure, and without regret, the easy
sacrifice of the style of familiar companionship and other little
privileges. He said, in a loud voice, when I entered the salon where he
was surrounded by the officers who formed his brilliant staff, "I am glad
to see you, at last"--"Te voila donc, enfin;", but as soon as we were
alone he made me understand that he was pleased with my reserve, and
thanked me for it. I was immediately placed at the head of his Cabinet.
I spoke to him the same evening respecting the insurrection of the
Venetian territories, of the dangers which menaced the French, and of
those which I had escaped, etc. "Care thou' nothing about it," said he;

--[He used to 'tutoyer' me in this familiar manner until his return
to Milan.]--

"those rascals shall pay for it. Their republic has had its day, and is
done." This republic was, however, still existing, wealthy and powerful.
These words brought to my recollection what I had read in a work by one
Gabriel Naude, who wrote during the reign of Louis XIII. for Cardinal de
Bagin: "Do you see Constantinople, which flatters itself with being the
seat of a double empire; and Venice, which glories in her stability of a
thousand years? Their day will come."

In the first conversation which Bonaparte had with me, I thought I could
perceive that he was not very well satisfied with the preliminaries. He
would have liked to advance with his army to Vienna. He did not conceal
this from me. Before he offered peace to Prince Charles, he wrote to the
Directory that he intended to pursue his success, but that for this
purpose he reckoned on the co-operation of the armies of the Sambre-et-
Meuse and the Rhine. The Directory replied that he must not reckon on a
diversion in Germany, and that the armies of the Sambre-et-Meuse and the
Rhine were not to pass that river. A resolution so unexpected--
a declaration so contrary to what he had constantly solicited, compelled
him to terminate his triumphs, and renounce his favourite project of
planting the standard of the republic on the ramparts of Vienna, or at
least of levying contributions on the suburbs of that capital.

A law of the 23d of August 1794 forbade the use of any other names than
those in the register of births. I wished to conform to this law, which
very foolishly interfered with old habits. My eldest brother was living,
and I therefore designated myself Fauvelet the younger. This annoyed
General Bonaparte. "Such change of name is absolute nonsense," said he.
"I have known you for twenty years by the name of Bourrienne. Sign as
you still are named, and see what the advocates with their laws will do."

On the 20th of April, as Bonaparte was returning to Italy, he was obliged
to stop on an island of the Tagliamento, while a torrent passed by, which
had been occasioned by a violent storm. A courier appeared on the right
bank of the river. He reached the island. Bonaparte read in the
despatches of the Directory that the armies of the Sambre-et-Meuse and
the Rhine were in motion; that they were preparing to cross the Rhine,
and had commenced hostilities on the very day of the signing of the
preliminaries. This information arrived seven days after the Directory
had written that "he must not reckon on the co-operation of the armies of
Germany." It is impossible to describe the General's vexation on reading
these despatches. He had signed the preliminaries only because the
Government had represented the co-operation of the armies of the Rhine as
impracticable at that moment, and shortly afterwards he was informed that
the co-operation was about to take place! The agitation of his mind was
so great that he for a moment conceived the idea of crossing to the left
bank of the Tagliamento, and breaking off the negotiations under some
pretext or other. He persisted for some time in this resolution, which,
however, Berthier and some other generals successfully opposed. He
exclaimed, "What a difference would there have been in the preliminaries,
if, indeed, there had been any!"

His chagrin, I might almost say his despair, increased when, some days
after his entry into the Venetian States, he received a letter from
Moreau, dated the 23d of April, in which that general informed him that,
having passed the Rhine on the 20th with brilliant success, and taken
four thousand prisoners, it would not be long before he joined him.
Who, in fact, can say what would have happened but for the vacillating
and distrustful policy of the Directory, which always encouraged low
intrigues, and participated in the jealousy excited by the renown of the
young conqueror? Because the Directory dreaded his ambition they
sacrificed the glory of our arms and the honour of the nation; for it
cannot be doubted that, had the passage of the Rhine, so urgently
demanded by Bonaparte, taken place some days sooner, he would have been
able, without incurring any risk, to dictate imperiously the conditions
of peace on the spot; or, if Austria were obstinate, to have gone on to
Vienna and signed it there. Still occupied with this idea, he wrote to
the Directory on the 8th of May: "Since I have received intelligence of
the passage of the Rhine by Hoche and Moreau, I much regret that it did
not take place fifteen days sooner; or, at least, that Moreau did not say
that he was in a situation to effect it." (He had been informed to the
contrary.) What, after this, becomes of the unjust reproach against
Bonaparte of having, through jealousy of Moreau, deprived France of the
advantages which a prolonged campaign would have procured her? Bonaparte
was too devoted to the glory of France to sacrifice it to jealousy of the
glory of any individual.

In traversing the Venetian States to return to Milan, he often spoke to
me of Venice. He always assured me that he was originally entirely
unconnected with the insurrections which had agitated that country; that
common sense would show, as his project was to advance into the basin of
the Danube, he had no interest in having his rear disturbed by revolts,
and his communications interrupted or cut off: "Such an idea," said he,
"would be absurd, and could never enter into the mind of a man to whom
even his enemies cannot deny a certain degree of tact." He acknowledged
that he was not vexed that matters had turned out as they had done,
because he had already taken advantage of these circumstances in the
preliminaries and hoped to profit still more from them in the definitive
peace. "When I arrive at Milan," said he, "I will occupy myself with
Venice." It is therefore quite evident to me that in reality the
General-in-Chief had nothing to do with the Venetian insurrections; that
subsequently he was not displeased with them; and that, later still, he
derived great advantage from them.

We arrived at Milan on the 5th of May, by way of Lawbook, Thrust, Palma-
Nova, Padua, Verona, and Mantua. Bonaparte soon took up his residence at
Montebello, a very fine chateau, three leagues from Milan, with a view
over the rich and magnificent plains of Lombard. At Montebello commenced
the negotiations for the definitive peace which were terminated at
Passeriano. The Marquis de Gallo, the Austrian plenipotentiary, resided
half a league from Montebello.

During his residence at Montebello the General-in-Chief made an excursion
to the Lake of Como and to the Ago Maguire. He visited the Borromean
Islands in succession, and occupied himself on his return with the
organization of the towns of Venice, Genoa, and Milan. He sought for men
and found none. "Good God," said he, "how rare men are! There are
eighteen millions in Italy, and I have with difficulty found two, Dandolo
and Melzi."

He appreciated them properly. Dandolo was one of the men who, in those
revolutionary times, reflected the greatest honour upon Italy. After
being a member of the great council of the Cisalpine Republic, he
exercised the functions of Proveditore-General in Dalmatia. It is only
necessary to mention the name of Dandolo to the Dalmatians to learn from
the grateful inhabitants how just and vigorous his administration was.
The services of Melzi are known. He was Chancellor and Keeper of the
Seals of the Italian monarchy, and was created Duke of Lodi.

--[Francesco, Comte de Melzi d'Eryl (1753-1816), vice President of
the Italian Republic, 1802; Chancellor of the Kingdom of Italy,
1805; Duc de Loth, 1807.]--

In those who have seen the world the truth of Napoleon's reproach excites
little astonishment. In a country which, according to biographies and
newspapers, abounds with extraordinary men, a woman of much talent
--(Madame Roland.)--said, "What has most surprised me, since the elevation
of my husband has afforded me the opportunity of knowing many persons,
and particularly those employed in important affairs, is the universal
mediocrity which exists. It surpasses all that the imagination can
conceive, and it is observable in all ranks, from the clerk to the
minister. Without this experience I never could have believed my species
to be so contemptible."

Who does not remember Oxenstiern's remark to his son, who trembled at
going so young to the congress of Munster: "Go, my son. You will see by
what sort of men the world is governed."



Napoleon's correspondence--Release of French prisoners at Olmutz--
Negotiations with Austria--Bonaparte's dissatisfaction--Letter of
complaint from Bonaparte to the Executive Directory--Note respecting
the affairs of Venice and the Club of Clichy, written by Bonaparte
and circulated in the army--Intercepted letter of the Emperor

During the time when the preliminaries of Leoben suspended military
operations, Napoleon was not anxious to reply immediately to all letters.
He took a fancy to do, not exactly as Cardinal Dubois did, when he threw
into the fire the letters he had received, saying, "There! my
correspondents are answered," but something of the same kind. To satisfy
himself that people wrote too much, and lost, in trifling and useless
answers, valuable time, he told me to open only the letters which came by
extraordinary couriers, and to leave all the rest for three weeks in the
basket. At the end of that time it was unnecessary to reply to four-
fifths of these communications. Some were themselves answers; some were
acknowledgments of letters received; others contained requests for
favours already granted, but of which intelligence had not been received.
Many were filled with complaints respecting provisions, pay, or clothing,
and orders had been issued upon all these points before the letters were
written. Some generals demanded reinforcements, money, promotion, etc.
By not opening their letters Bonaparte was spared the unpleasing office
of refusing. When the General-in-Chief compared the very small number of
letters which it was necessary to answer with the large number which time
alone had answered, he laughed heartily at his whimsical idea. Would not
this mode of proceeding be preferable to that of causing letters to be
opened by any one who may be employed, and replying to them by a circular
to which it is only necessary to attach a date?

During the negotiations which followed the treaty of Leoben, the
Directory ordered General Bonaparte to demand the liberty of MM. de La
Fayette, Latour-Marbourg, and Bureau de Puzy, detained at Olmutz since
1792 as prisoners of state. The General-in-Chief executed this
commission with as much pleasure as zeal, but he often met with
difficulties which appeared to be insurmountable. It has been very
incorrectly stated that these prisoners obtained their liberty by one of
the articles of the preliminaries of Leoben. I wrote a great deal on
this subject to the dictation of General Bonaparte, and I joined him only
on the day after the signature of these preliminaries. It was not till
the end of May of the year 1797 that the liberation of these captives was
demanded, and they did not obtain their freedom till the end of August.
There was no article in the treaty, public or secret, which had reference
to them. Neither was it at his own suggestion that Bonaparte demanded
the enlargement of the prisoners, but by order of the Directory. To
explain why they did not go to France immediately after their liberation
from Olmutz, it is necessary to recollect that the events of the 18th
Fructidor occurred between the period when the first steps were taken to
procure their liberty and the date of their deliverance. It required all
Bonaparte's ascendency and vigour of character to enable him to succeed
in his object at the end of three months.

We had arrived at the month of July, and the negotiations were tediously
protracted. It was impossible to attribute the embarrassment which was
constantly occurring to anything but the artful policy of Austria: Other
affairs occupied Bonaparte. The news from Paris engrossed all his
attention. He saw with extreme displeasure the manner in which the
influential orators of the councils, and pamphlets written in the same
spirit as they spoke, criticised him, his army, his victories, the
affairs of Venice, and the national glory. He was quite indignant at the
suspicions which it was sought to create respecting his conduct and
ulterior views.

The following excerpts, attributed to the pens of Dumouriez or Rivarol,
are specimens of some of the comments of the time:


General Bonaparte is, without contradiction, the most brilliant
warrior who has appeared at the head of the armies of the French
Republic. His glory is incompatible with democratic equality, and
the services he has rendered are too great to be recompensed except
by hatred and ingratitude. He is very young, and consequently has
to pursue a long career of accusations and of persecutions.

........Whatever may be the crowning event of his military career,
Bonaparte is still a great man. All his glory is due to himself
alone; because he alone has developed s character end a genius of
which no one else has furnished an example.


Regard, for instance, this wretched war. Uncertain in Champagne, it
becomes daring under Dumouriez, unbridled under the brigands who
fought the Vendeeans, methodic under Pichegru, vulgar under Jourdan,
skilled under Moreau, rash under Bonaparte. Each general has put
the seal of his genius on his career, and has given life or death to
his army. From the commencement of his career Bonaparte has
developed an ardent character which is irritated by obstacles, and a
quickness which forestalls every determination of the enemy. It is
with heavier and heavier blows that, he strikes. He throws his army
on the enemy like an unloosed torrent. He is all action, and he is
so in everything. See him fight, negotiate, decree, punish, all is
the matter of a moment. He compromises with Turin as with Rome. He
invades Modena as he burns Binasco. He never hesitates; to cut the
Gordian knot is always his method.

Bonaparte could not endure to have his conduct predicated; and enraged at
seeing his campaigns depreciated, his glory and that of his army

--[The extraordinary folly of the opposition to the Directory in
throwing Bonaparte on to the side of the Directory, will be seen by
reading the speech of Dumolard, so often referred to by Bourrienne
(Thiers, vol. v. pp. 110-111), and by the attempts of Mathieu Dumas
to remove the impression that the opposition slighted the fortunate
General. (See Dumas, tome iii. p. 80; see also Lanfrey, tome i.
pp. 257-299).]--

and intrigues formed against him in the Club of Clichy, he wrote the
following letter to the Directory:--


I have just received, Citizens-Directors, a copy of the motion of
Dumolard (23d June 1797).

This motion, printed by order of the Assembly, it is evident, is
directed against me. I was entitled, after, having five times
concluded peace, and given a death-blow to the coalition, if not to
civic triumphs, at least to live tranquilly under the protection of
the first magistrates of the Republic. At present I find myself
ill-treated, persecuted, and disparaged, by every shameful means,
which their policy brings to the aid of persecution. I would have
been indifferent to all except that species of opprobrium with which
the first magistrates of the Republic endeavour to overwhelm me.
After having deserved well of my country by my last act, I am not
bound to hear myself accused in a manner as absurd as atrocious.
I have not expected that a manifesto, signed by emigrants, paid by
England, should obtain more credit with the Council of Five Hundred
than the evidence of eighty thousand men--than mine! What! we were
assassinated by traitors--upwards of four hundred men perished; and
the first magistrates of the Republic make it a crime to have
believed the statement for a moment. Upwards of four hundred
Frenchmen were dragged through the streets. They were assassinated
before the eyes of the governor of the fort. They were pierced with
a thousand blows of stilettos, such as I sent you and the
representatives of the French people cause it to be printed, that if
they believed this fact for an instant, they were excusable. I know
well there are societies where it is said, "Is this blood, then, so

If only base men, who are dead to the feeling of patriotism and
national glory, had spoken of me thus, I would not have complained.
I would have disregarded it; but I have a right to complain of the
degradation to which the first magistrates of the Republic reduce
those who have aggrandised, and carried the French name to so high a
pitch of glory. Citizens-Directors, I reiterate the demand I made
for my dismissal; I wish to live in tranquillity, if the poniards of
Clichy will allow me to live. You have employed me in negotiations.
I am not very fit to conduct them.

About the same time he drew up the following note respecting the affairs
of Venice, which was printed without the author's name, and circulated
through the whole army:--


Bonaparte, pausing before the gates of Turin, Parma, Rome, and
Vienna, offering peace when he was sure of obtaining nothing but
fresh triumphs--Bonaparte, whose every operation exhibits respect
for religion, morality, and old age; who, instead of heaping, as he
might have done, dishonour upon the Venetians, and humbling their
republic to the earth, loaded her with acts of kindness, and took
such great interest in her glory--is this the same Bonaparte who is
accused of destroying the ancient Government of Venice, and
democratising Genoa, and even of interfering in the affairs of the
prudent and worthy people of the Swiss Cantons? Bonaparte had
passed the Tagliamento, and entered Germany, when insurrections
broke out in the Venetian States; these insurrections were,
therefore, opposed to Bonaparte's project; surely, then, he could
not favour them. When he was in the heart of Germany the Venetians
massacred more than four hundred French troops, drove their quarters
out of Verona, assassinated the unfortunate Laugier, and presented
the spectacle of a fanatical party in arms. He returned to Italy;
and on his arrival, as the winds cease their agitation at the
presence of Neptune, the whole of Italy, which was in commotion,
which was in arms, was restored to order.

However, the deputies from Bonaparte drew up different articles
conformable to the situation of the country, and in order to
prevent, not a revolution in the Government, for the Government was
defunct, and had died a natural death, but a crisis, and to save the
city from convulsion, anarchy, and pillage. Bonaparte spared a
division of his army to save Venice from pillage and massacre. All
the battalions were in the streets of Venice, the disturbers were
put down, and the pillage discontinued. Property and trade were
preserved, when General Baragney d'Hilliers entered Venice with his
division. Bonaparte, as usual, spared blood, and was the protector
of Venice. Whilst the French troops remained they conducted
themselves peaceably, and only interfered to support the provisional

Bonaparte could not say to the deputies of Venice, who came to ask
his protection and assistance against the populace, who wished to
plunder them, "I cannot meddle with your affairs." He could not say
this, for Venice, and all its territories, had really formed the
theatre of war; and, being in the rear of the army of Italy, the
Republic of Venice was really under the jurisdiction of that army.
The rights of war confer upon a general the powers of supreme police
over the countries which are the seat of war. As the great
Frederick said, "There are no neutrals where there is war."
Ignorant advocates and babblers have asked, in the Club of Clichy,
why we occupy the territory of Venice. These declaimers should
learn war, and they would know that the Adige, the Brenta, and the
Tagliamento, where we have been fighting for two years, are within
the Venetian States. But, gentlemen of Clichy, we are at no loss to
perceive your meaning. You reproach the army of Italy for having
surmounted all difficulties--for subduing all Italy for having twice
passed the Alps--for having marched on Vienna, and obliged Austria
to acknowledge the Republic that, you, men of Clichy, would destroy.
You accuse Bonaparte, I see clearly, for having brought about peace.
But I know you, and I speak in the name of eighty thousand soldiers.
The time is gone when base advocates and wretched declaimers could
induce soldiers to revolt. If, however, yon compel them, the
soldiers of the army of Italy will soon appear at the Barrier of
Clichy, with their General. But woe unto you if they do!

Bonaparte having arrived at Palma-Nova, issued a manifesto on the 2d
of May 1797. Arrived at Mestre, where he posted his troops, the
Government sent three deputies to him, with a decree of the Great
Council, without Bonaparte having solicited it and without his
having thought of making any change in the Government of that
country: The governor of Venice was an old man, ninety-nine years-of
age, confined by illness to his apartment. Everyone felt the
necessity of renovating this Government of twelve hundred years'
existence, and to simplify its machinery, in order to preserve its
independence, honour, and glory. It was necessary to deliberate,
first, on the manner of renovating the Government; secondly, on the
means of atoning for the massacre of the French, the iniquity of
which every one was sensible..

Bonaparte, after having received the deputation at Mestre, told them
that in order to obtain satisfaction, for the assassination of his
brethren is arms, he wished the Great Council to arrest the
inquisitors. He afterwards granted them an armistice, and appointed
Milan as the place of conference. The deputies arrived at Milan on
the . . . A negotiation commenced to re-establish harmony between
the Governments. However, anarchy, with all its horrors, afflicted
the city of Venice. Ten thousand Sclavonians threatened to pillage
the shops. Bonaparte acquiesced in the proposition submitted by the
deputies, who promised to verify the loss which had been sustained
by pillage.

Bonaparte also addressed a manifesto to the Doge, which appeared in all
the public papers. It contained fifteen articles of complaint, and was
followed by a decree ordering the French Minister to leave Venice, the
Venetian agents to leave Lombard, and the Lion of St. Mark to be pulled
down in all the Continental territories of Venice.

The General-in-Chief now openly manifested his resolution of marching on
Paris; and this disposition, which was well known in the army, was soon
communicated to Vienna. At this period a letter from the Emperor Francis
II. to his brother, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, was intercepted by
Bonaparte. I translated the letter, which proved to him that Francis II.
was acquainted with his project. He likewise saw with pleasure the
assurances which the Emperor gave his brother of his love of peace, as
well as the wavering of the imperial resolves, and the incertitude
respecting the fate of the Italian princes, which the Emperor easily
perceived to depend on Bonaparte. The Emperor's letter was as follows:--

MY DEAR BROTHER--I punctually received your third letter, containing
a description of your unhappy and delicate situation. You may be
assured that I perceive it as clearly as you do yourself; and I pity
you the more because, in truth, I do not know what advice to give
you. You are, like me, the victim of the former inactivity of the
princes of Italy, who ought, at once, to have acted with all their
united forces, while I still possessed Mantua. If Bonaparte's
project be, as I learn, to establish republics in Italy, this is
likely to end in spreading republicanism over the whole country. I
have already commenced negotiations for peace, and the preliminaries
are ratified. If the French observe them as strictly as I do, and
will do, then your situation will be improved; but already the
French are beginning to disregard them. The principal problem which
remains to be solved is, whether the French Directory approve of
Bonaparte's proceedings, and whether the latter, as appears by some
papers distributed through his army, is not disposed to revolt
against his country, which also seems to be probable, from his
severe conduct towards Switzerland, notwithstanding the assurances
of the Directory, that he had been ordered to leave the country
untouched. If this should be the case, new and innumerable
difficulties may arise. Under these circumstances I can, at
present, advise nothing; for, as to myself, it is only time and the
circumstances of the moment which can point out how I am to act.

There is nothing new here. We are all well; but the heat is
extraordinary. Always retain your friendship and love for me.
Make my compliments to your wife, and believe me ever

Your best Friend and Brother,

HETZENDORF, July 20, 1797.



Unfounded reports--Carnot--Capitulation of Mantua--General Clarke--
The Directory yields to Bonaparte--Berthier--Arrival of Eugene
Beauharnais at Milan--Comte Delannay d'Entraigues--His interview
with Bonaparte--Seizure of his papers--Copy of one describing a
conversation between him and Comte de Montgaillard--The Emperor
Francis--The Prince de Conde and General Pichegru.

While Bonaparte was expressing his opinion on his campaigns and the
injustice with which they had been criticised, it was generally believed
that Carnot dictated to him from a closet in the Luxembourg all the plans
of his operations, and that Berthier was at his right hand, without whom,
notwithstanding Carnot's plans, which were often mere romances, he would
have been greatly embarrassed. This twofold misrepresentation was very
current for some time; and, notwithstanding it was contrary to the
evidence of facts, it met with much credence, particularly abroad. There
was, however, no foundation for the opinion: Let us render to Caesar that
which is Caesar's due. Bonaparte was a creator in the art of war, and no
imitator. That no man was superior to him in that art is incontestable.
At the commencement of the glorious campaign in Italy the Directory
certainly sent out instructions to him; but he always followed his own
plans, and continually, wrote back that all would be lost if movements
conceived at a distance from the scene of action were to be blindly
executed. He also offered to resign. At length the Directory perceived
the impossibility of prescribing operations of war according to the view
of persons in Paris; and when I became the secretary of the General-in-
Chief I saw a despatch of the Directory, dated May, 1796, committing the
whole plan of the campaign to his judgment; and assuredly there was not a
single operation or movement which did not originate with him. Carnot
was obliged to yield to his firmness. When the Directory, towards the
end of 1796, felt disposed to treat for peace, General Clarke, appointed
to conclude the armistice, was authorised, in case Mantua should not be
taken before the negotiation was brought to a close, to propose leaving
the blockade in statu quo. Had such a condition been adopted it would
doubtless hays been stipulated that the Emperor of Austria should be
allowed to provision the garrison and inhabitants of the city day by day.
Bonaparte, convinced that an armistice without Mantua would by no means
conduce to peace, earnestly opposed such a condition. He carried his
point; Mantua capitulated, and the result is well known. Yet he was not
blind to the hazards of war; while preparing, during the blockade, an
assault on Mantua, he wrote thus to the Directory: "A bold stroke of this
nature depends absolutely for success on a dog or a goose." This was
about a question of surprise.

Bonaparte was exceedingly sensitive to the rumours which reached him
respecting Carnot and Berthier. He one day said to me: "What gross
stupidity, is this? It is very well to say to a general, 'Depart for
Italy, gain battles, and sign a peace at Vienna;' but the execution that
is not so easy. I never attached any value to the plans which the
Directory sent me. Too many circumstances occur on the spot to modify
them. The movement of a single corps of the enemy's army may confound a
whole plan arranged by the fireside. Only fools can believe such stuff!
As for Berthier, since you have been with me, you see what he is--he is a
blockhead. Yet it is he who does it all; it is he who gathers a great
part of the glory of the army of Italy." I told him that this erroneous
opinion could not last long; that each person would be allowed his merit,
and that at least posterity would judge rightly. This observation seemed
to please him.

Berthier was a man full of honour, courage, and probity, and exceedingly
regular in the performance of his duties. Bonaparte's attachment to him
arose more from habit than liking. Berthier did not concede with
affability, and refused with harshness. His abrupt, egotistic, and
careless manners did not, however, create him many enemies, but, at the
same time, did not make him many friends. In consequence of our frequent
intercourse he had contracted the friendly practice of speaking to me in
the second person singular; but he never wrote to me is that style. He
was perfectly acquainted with the disposition of all the corps, and could
name their commanders and their respective forces. Day or night he was
always at hand and made out with clearness all the secondary orders which
resulted from the dispositions of the General-in-Chief. In fact, he was,
an excellent head of the staff of an army; but that is all the praise
that can be given, and indeed he wished for no greater. He had such
entire confidence in Bonaparte, and looked up to him with so much
admiration, that he never would have presumed to oppose his plans or give
any advise. Berthier's talent was very limited, and of a special nature;
his character was one of extreme weakness. Bonaparte's friendship for
him and the frequency of his name in the bulletins and official
despatches have unduly elevated his reputation. Bonaparte, giving his
opinion to the Directory respecting the generals employed in his army,
said, "Berthier has talents, activity, courage, character--all in his
favour." This was in 1796. He then made an eagle of him; at St. Helena
he called him a goose. He should neither have, raised him so high nor
sunk him so low.

Berthier neither merited the one nor the other. Bonaparte was a man of
habit; he was much attached to all the people about him, and did not like
new faces. Berthier loved him. He carried out his orders well, and that
enabled him to pass off with his small portion of talent.

It was about this time that young Beauharnais came to Milan. He was
seventeen years old. He had lived in Paris with his mother since the
departure of Bonaparte. On his arrival he immediately entered the
service as 'aide de camp' to the General-in-Chief, who felt for him an
affection which was justified by his good qualities.

Comte Delaunay d'Entraigues, well known in the French Revolution, held a
diplomatic post at Venice when that city was threatened by the French.
Aware of his being considered the agent of all the machinations then
existing against France, and especially against the army of Italy, he
endeavoured to escape; but the city being, surrounded, he was seized,
together with all his papers. The apparently frank manners of the Count
pleased Bonaparte, who treated him with indulgence. His papers were
restored, with the exception of three relating to political subjects.
He afterwards fled to Switzerland, and ungratefully represented himself
as having been oppressed by Bonaparte. His false statements have induced
many writers to make of him an heroic victim. He was assassinated by his
own servant in 1802.

I kept a copy of one of his most interesting papers. It has been much
spoken of, and Fauche-Borel has, I believe, denied its authenticity and
the truth of its contents. The manner in which it fell into the hands of
the General-in-Chief, the importance attached to it by d'Entraigues, the
differences I have observed between the manuscript I copied and versions
which I have since read, and the, knowledge of its, authenticity, having
myself transcribed it from the handwriting of the Count, who in my
presence vouched for the truth of the facts it details--all these
circumstances induce me to insert it here, and compel me to doubt that it
was, as Fauche-Borel asserted, a fabrication.

This manuscript is entitled, 'My Conversation with Comte de Montgaillard,
on the 4th of December 1796, from Six in the Afternoon till midnight, in
the presence of the Abbe Dumontel.'

[On my copy are written the words, "Extracts from this conversation, made
by me, from the original." I omitted what I thought unimportant, and
transcribed only the most interesting passages. Montgaillard spoke of
his escape, of his flight to England, of his return to France, of his
second departure, and finally of his arrival at Bale in August 1795.]

The Prince de Conde soon afterwards, he said, called me to Mulheim,
and knowing the connections I had had in France, proposed that I
should sound General Pichegru, whose headquarters were at Altkirch,
where he then was, surrounded by four representatives of the

I immediately went to Neufchatel, taking with me four or five
hundred Louis. I cast my eyes on Fauche-Borel, the King's printer
at Neufchatel, and also yours and mine, as the instrument by which
to make the first overture, and I selected as his colleague M.
Courant, a native of Neufchatel. I persuaded them to undertake the
business: I supplied them with instructions and passports. They
were foreigners: so I furnished them with all the necessary
documents to enable them to travel in France as foreign merchants
and purchasers of national property. I went to Bale to wait for
news from them.

On the 13th of August Fauche and Courant set out for the
headquarters at Altkirch. They remained there eight days without
finding an opportunity to speak to Pichegru, who was surrounded by
representatives and generals. Pichegru observed them, and seeing
them continually wheresoever he went, he conjectured that they had
something to say to him, and he called out in a loud voice, while
passing them, "I am going to Huningen." Fauche contrived to throw
himself in his way at the end of a corridor. Pichegru observed him,
and fixed his eyes upon him, and although it rained in torrents, he
said aloud, "I am going to dine at the chateau of Madame Salomon."
This chateau was three leagues from Huningen, and Madame Salomon was
Pichegru's mistress.

Fauche set off directly to the chateau, and begged to speak with
General Pichegru. He told the general that, being in the possession
of some of J. J. Rousseau's manuscripts, he wished to publish them
and dedicate them to him. "Very good," said Pichegru; "but I should
like to read them first; for Rousseau professed principles of
liberty in which I do not concur, and with which I should not like
to have my name connected."--"But," said Fauche, "I have something
else to speak to you about."--"What is it, and on whose behalf?"--
"On behalf of the Prince de Conde."--"Be silent, then, and follow

He conducted Fauche alone into a retired cabinet, and said to
him, "Explain yourself; what does Monseigneur le Prince de Conde
wish to communicate to me?" Fauche was embarrassed, and stammered
out something unintelligible. "Compose yourself." said Pichegru;
"my sentiments are the same, as the Prince de Conde's. What does he
desire of me?" Fauche, encouraged by these words, replied, "The
Prince wishes to join you. He counts on you, and wishes to connect
himself with you."

"These are vague and unmeaning words," observed Pichegru. "All this
amounts to nothing. Go back, and ask for written instructions, and
return in three days to my headquarters at Altkirch. You will find
me alone precisely at six o'clock in the evening."

Fauche immediately departed, arrived at Bale, and informed me of all
that had passed. I spent the night in writing a letter to General
Pichegru. (The Prince de Conde, who was invested with all the
powers of Louis XVIII, except that of granting the 'cordon-bleu',
had, by a note in his own handwriting, deputed to me all his powers,
to enable me to maintain a negotiation with General Pichegru).

I therefore wrote to the general, stating, in the outset, everything
that was calculated to awaken in him that noble sentiment of pride
which is the instinct of great minds; and after pointing out to him
the vast good it was in his power to effect, I spoke of the
gratitude of the King, and the benefit he would confer on his
country by restoring royalty. I told him that his Majesty would
make him a marshal of France, and governor of Alsace, as no one
could better govern the province than he who had so valiantly
defended it. I added that he would have the 'cordon-rouge', the
Chateau de Chambord, with its park, and twelve pieces of cannon
taken from the Austrians, a million of ready money, 200,000 livres
per annum, and an hotel in Paris; that the town of Arbors,
Pichegru's native place, should bear his name, and be exempt from
all taxation for twenty-five years; that a pension of 200,000 livres
would be granted to him, with half reversion to his wife, and 50,000
livres to his heirs for ever, until the extinction of his family.
Such were the offers, made in the name of the King, to General
Pichegru. (Than followed the boons to be granted to the officers
and soldiers, an amnesty to the people, etc). I added that the
Prince de Coude desired that he would proclaim the King in the
camps, surrender the city of Huningen to him, and join him for the
purpose of marching on Paris.

Pichegru, having read my letter with great attention, said to
Fauche, "This is all very well; but who is this M. de Montgaillard
who talks of being thus authorised? I neither know him nor his
signature. Is he the author?"--"Yes," replied Fauche. "But," said
Pichegru, "I must, before making any negotiation on my part, be
assured that the Prince de Conde, with whose handwriting I am well
acquainted, approves of all that has been written is his name by M.
de Montgaillard. Return directly to M. de Montgaillard, and tell
him to communicate my answer to the Prince."

Fauche immediately departed, leaving M. Courant with Pichegru. He
arrived at Bale at nine o'clock in the evening. I set off directly
for Malheim, the Prince de Conde's headquarters, and arrived there
at half-past twelve. The Prince was in bed, but I awoke him. He
made me sit down by his bedside, and our conference then commenced.

After having informed the Prince of the state of affairs, all that
remained was to prevail on him to write to General Pichegru to
confirm the truth of what had been stated in his name. This matter,
which appeared so simple, and so little liable to objection,
occupied the whole night. The Prince, as brave a man as can
possibly be, inherited nothing from the great Conde but his
undaunted courage. In other respects he is the most insignificant
of men; without resources of mind, or decision of character;
surrounded by men of mediocrity, and even baseness; and though he
knows them well, he suffers himself to be governed by them.

It required nine hours of hard exertion on my part to get him to
write to General Pichegru a letter of eight lines. 1st. He did not
wish it to be in his handwriting. 2d. He objected to dating it
3d. He was unwilling to call him General, lest he should recognise
the republic by giving that title. 4th. He did not like to address
it, or affix his seal to it.

At length he consented to all, and wrote to Pichegru that he might
place full confidence in the letters of the Comte de Montgaillard.
When all this was settled, after great difficulty, the Prince next
hesitated about sending the letter; but at length he yielded. I set
off for Bale, and despatched Fauche to Altkirch, to General

The general, after reading the letter of eight lines, and
recognising the handwriting and signature, immediately returned it
to Fauche, saying, "I have seen the signature: that is enough for
me. The word of the Prince is a pledge with which every Frenchman
ought to be satisfied. Take back his letter." He then inquired
what was the Prince's wish. Fauche explained that he wished--1st.
That Pichegru should proclaim the King to his troops, and hoist the
White flag. 2d. That he should deliver up Huningen to the Prince.
Pichegru objected to this. "I will never take part in such a plot,"
said he; "I have no wish to make the third volume of La Fayette and
Dumouriez. I know my resources; they are as certain as they are
vast. Their roots are not only in my army, but in Paris, in the
Convention, in the departments, and in the armies of those generals,
my colleagues, who think as I do. I wish to do nothing by halves.
There must be a complete end of the present state of things. France
cannot continue a Republic. She must have a king, and that king
must be Louis XVIII. But we must not commence the counter-
revolution until we are certain of effecting it. 'Surely and
rightly' is my motto. The Prince's plan leads to nothing. He would
be driven from Huningen in four days, and in fifteen I should be
lost. My army is composed both of good men and bad. We must
distinguish between them, and, by a bold stroke, assure the former
of the impossibility of drawing back, and that their only safety
lies in success. For this purpose I propose to pass the Rhine, at
any place and any time that may be thought necessary. In the
advance I will place those officers on whom I can depend, and who
are of my way of thinking. I will separate the bad, and place them
in situations where they can do no harm, and their position shall be
such as to prevent them from uniting. That done, as soon as I shall
be on the other side of the Rhine, I will proclaim the King, and
hoist the white flag. Conde's corps and the Emperor's army will
then join us. I will immediately repass the Rhine, and re-enter
France. The fortresses will be surrendered, and will be held in the
King's name by the Imperial troops. Having joined Conde's army, I
immediately advance. All my means now develop themselves on every
side. We march upon Paris, and in a fortnight will be there. But
it is necessary that you should know that you must give the French
soldier wine and a crown in his hand if you would have him cry 'Vive
le Roi! Nothing must be wanting at the first moment. My army must
be well paid as far as the fourth or fifth march in the French
territory. There go and tell all this to the Prince, show my
handwriting, and bring me back his answer."

During these conferences Pichegru was surrounded by four
representatives of the people, at the head of whom was Merlin de
Thionville, the most insolent and the most ferocious of inquisitors.
These men, having the orders of the Committee, pressed Pichegru to
pass the Rhine and go and besiege Manheim, where Merlin had an
understanding with the inhabitants. Thus, if on the one hand the
Committee by its orders made Pichegru wish to hasten the execution
of his plan, on the other he had not a moment to lose; for to delay
obeying the orders of the four representatives was to render himself
suspected. Every consideration, therefore, called upon the Prince
to decide, and decide promptly. Good sense required him also to do
another thing, namely, to examine without prejudice what sort of man
Pichegru was, to consider the nature of the sacrifice he made, and
what were his propositions. Europe acknowledged his talents, and he
had placed the Prince in a condition to judge of his good faith.
Besides, his conduct and his plan afforded fresh proofs of his
sincerity. By passing the Rhine and placing himself between the
armies of Conde and Wurmser, he rendered desertion impossible; and,
if success did not attend his attempt, his own acts forced him to
become an emigrant. He left in the power of his fierce enemies his
wife, his father, his children. Everything bore testimony to his
honesty; the talents he had shown were a pledge for his genius, his
genius for his resources; and the sacrifices he would have to make
in case of failure proved that he was confident of success.

What stupid conceit was it for any one to suppose himself better
able to command Pichegru's army than Pichegru himself!--to pretend
to be better acquainted with the frontier provinces than Pichegru,
who commanded them, and had placed his friends in them as commanders
of the towns! This self-conceit, however, ruined the monarchy at
this time, as well as at so many others. The Prince de Conde, after
reading the plan, rejected it in toto. To render it successful it
was necessary to make the Austrians parties to it. This Pichegru
exacted, but the Prince of Conde would not hear a word of it,
wishing to have confined to himself the glory of effecting the
counter-revolution. He replied to Pichegru by a few observations,
and concluded his answer by returning to his first plan--that
Pichegru should proclaim the King without passing the Rhine, and
should give up Huningen; that then the army of Conde by itself, and
without the aid of the Austrians, would join him. In that case he
could promise 100,000 crowns in louis, which he had at Bale, and
1,400,000 livres, which he had in good bills payable at sight.

No argument or entreaty had any effect on the Prince de Condo. The
idea of communicating his plan to Wurmser and sharing his glory with
him rendered him blind and deaf to every consideration. However, it
was necessary to report to Pichegru the observations of the Prince
de Conde, and Courant was commissioned to do so.

This document appeared so interesting to me that while Bonaparte was
sleeping I was employed in copying it. Notwithstanding posterior and
reiterated denials of its truth, I believe it to be perfectly correct.

Napoleon had ordered plans of his most famous battles to be engraved, and
had paid in advance for them. The work was not done quickly enough for
him. He got angry, and one day said to his geographer, Bacler d'Albe,
whom he liked well enough, "Ah! do hurry yourself, and think all this is
only the business of a moment. If you make further delay you will sell
nothing; everything is soon forgotten!"

We were now in July, and the negotiations were carried on with a
tardiness which showed that something was kept in reserve on both sides.
Bonaparte at this time was anything but disposed to sign a peace, which
be always hoped to be able to make at Vienna, after a campaign in
Germany, seconded by the armies of the Rhine and the Sambre-et-Meuse.
The minority of the Directory recommended peace on the basis of the
preliminaries, but the majority wished for more honourable and
advantageous terms; while Austria, relying on troubles breaking out in
France, was in no haste to conclude a treaty. In these circumstances
Bonaparte drew up a letter to be sent to the Emperor of Austria, in which
he set forth the moderation of France; but stated that, in consequence of
the many delays, nearly all hope of peace had vanished. He advised the
Emperor not to rely on difficulties arising in France, and doubted, if
war should continue and the Emperor be successful in the next campaign,
that he would obtain a more advantageous peace than was now at his
option. This letter was never sent to the Emperor, but was communicated
as the draft of a proposed despatch to the Directory. The Emperor
Francis, however, wrote an autograph letter to the General-in-Chief of
the army of Italy, which will be noticed when I come to the period of its
reception: It is certain that Bonaparte at this time wished for war. He
was aware that the Cabinet of Vienna was playing with him, and that the
Austrian Ministers expected some political convulsion in Paris, which
they hoped would be favourable to the Bourbons. He therefore asked for
reinforcements. His army consisted of 35,900 men, and he desired it to
be raised to 60,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry ready for the field.

General Desaix, profiting by the preliminaries of Leoben, came in the end
of July to visit the scene of the army of Italy's triumphs. His
conversations with Bonaparte respecting the army of the Rhine were far
from giving him confidence in his military situation in Italy, or
assurance of support from that army in the event of hostilities
commencing beyond the mountains. It was at this period that their
intimacy began. Bonaparte conceived for Desaix the greatest esteem and
the sincerest friendship.

--[Desaix discontented with the conduct of affairs in Germany,
seceded from the army of the Rhine, to which he belonged, to join
that of Napoleon. He was sent to Italy to organise the part of the
Egyptian expedition starting from Civita Vecchia. He took with him
his two aides de camp, Rapp and Savary (later Duc de Rovigo), both
of whom, on his death, were given the same post with Bonaparte.]--

When Desaix was named temporary commander of the force called the army of
England, during the absence of General Bonaparte, the latter wrote to the
Directory that they could not have chosen a more distinguished officer
than Desaix; these sentiments he never belied. The early death of Desaix
alone could break their union, which, I doubt not, would eventually have
had great influence on the political and military career of General

All the world knows the part which the General-in-Chief of the army of
Italy took at the famous crisis of the 18th Fructidor; his proclamation,
his addresses to the army, and his celebrated order of the day.
Bonaparte went much into detail on this subject at St. Helena; and I
shall now proceed to state what I knew at the time respecting that
memorable event, which was in preparation in the month of June.



The royalists of the interior--Bonaparte's intention of marching on
Paris with 25,000 men--His animosity against the emigrants and the
Clichy Club--His choice between the two parties of the Directory--
Augereau's order of the day against the word 'Monsieur'--Bonaparte
wishes to be made one of the five Directors--He supports the
majority of the Directory--La Vallette, Augereau, and Bernadotte
sent to Paris--Interesting correspondence relative to the 18th

Bonaparte had long observed the struggle which was going on between the
partisans of royalty and the Republic. He was told that royalism was
everywhere on the increase. All the generals who returned from Paris to
the army complained of the spirit of reaction they had noticed.
Bonaparte was constantly urged by his private correspondents to take one
side or the other, or to act for himself. He was irritated by the
audacity of the enemies of the Republic, and he saw plainly that the
majority of the councils had an evident ill-will towards him. The
orators of the Club of Clichy missed no opportunity of wounding his self-
love in speeches and pamphlets. They spared no insults, disparaged his
success, and bitterly censured his conduct in Italy, particularly with
respect to Venice. Thus his services were recompensed by hatred or
ingratitude. About this time he received a pamphlet, which referred to
the judgments pronounced upon him by the German journals, and more
particularly by the Spectator of the North, which he always made me

Bonaparte was touched to the quick by the comparison make between him and
Moreau, and by the wish to represent him as foolhardy ("savants sous
Moreau, fougueuse sous Buonaparte"). In the term of "brigands," applied
to the generals who fought in La Vendee, he thought he recognized the
hand of the party he was about to attack and overthrow. He was tired of
the way in which Moreau's system of war was called "savants." But what
grieved him still more was to see sitting in the councils of the nation
Frenchmen who were detractors and enemies of the national glory.

He urged the Directory to arrest the emigrants, to destroy the influence
of foreigners, to recall the armies, to suppress the journals sold to
England, such as the 'Quotidienne', the 'Memorial', and the 'The', which
he accused of being more sanguinary than Marat ever was. In case of
there being no means of putting a stop to assassinations and the
influence of Louis XVIII., he offered to resign.

His resolution of passing the Alps with 25,000 men and marching by Lyons
and Paris was known in the capital, and discussions arose respecting the
consequences of this passage of another Rubicon. On the 17th of August
1797 Carnot wrote to him: "People attribute to you a thousand absurd
projects. They cannot believe that a man who has performed so many great
exploits can be content to live as a private citizen." This observation
applied to Bonaparte's reiterated request to be permitted to retire from
the service on account of the state of his health, which, he said,
disabled him from mounting his horse, and to the need which he constantly
urged of having two years' rest.

The General-in-Chief was justly of opinion that the tardiness of the
negotiations and the difficulties which incessantly arose were founded on
the expectation of an event which would change the government of France,
and render the chances of peace more favourable to Austria. He still
urgently recommended the arrest of the emigrants, the stopping of the
presses of the royalist journals, which he said were sold to England and
Austria, the suppression of the Clichy Club. This club was held at the
residence of Gerard Desodieres, in the Rue de Clichy. Aubry, was one of
its warmest partisans, and he was the avowed enemy of the revolutionary
cause which Bonaparte advocated at this period. Aubry's conduct at this
time, together with the part he had taken in provoking Bonaparte's
dismissal in 1795, inspired the General with an implacable hatred of him.

Bonaparte despised the Directory, which he accused of weakness,
indecision, pusillanimity, wasteful expenditure, of many errors, and
perseverance in a system degrading to the national glory.

--[The Directory merited those accusations. The following sketches
of two of their official sittings present a singular contrast:

"At the time that the Directory were first installed in the
Luxembourg (27th October 1795)." says M. Baileul, "there was hardly
a single article of furniture in it. In a small room, round a
little broken table, one of the legs of which had given way from
age, on which table they had deposited a quire of letter-paper, and
a writing desk 'a calamet', which luckily they had had the
precaution to bring with them from the Committee of Public safety,
seated on four rush-bottomed chairs, in front of some logs of wood
ill-lighted, the whole borrowed from the porter Dupont; who would
believe that it was in this deplorable condition that the member's
of the new Government, after having examined all the difficulties,
nay, let me add, all the horrors of their situation, resolved to
confront all obstacles, and that they would either deliver France
from the abyss in which she was plunged or perish in the attempt?
They drew up on a sheet of letter-paper the act by which they
declared themselves constituted, and immediately forwarded it to the
Legislative Bodies."

And the Comte de La Vallette, writing to M. Cuvillier Fleury, says:
"I saw our five kings, dressed in the robes of Francis I., his hat,
his pantaloons, and his lace: the face of La Reveilliere looked like
a cork upon two pins, with the black and greasy hair of Clodion. M.
de Talleyrand, in pantaloons of the colour of wine dregs, sat in a

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