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

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

Part 20 out of 24

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

"Bourrienne, I have just come from the Emperor, who asked me where you
were? I told him you were in Paris, and that I saw you often. 'Well,'
continued the Emperor, 'bid him come to me, I want to employ him. It is
three years since he has had anything to do. I wish to send him as
Minister to Switzerland, but he must set off directly. He must go to the
Allies. He understands German well. The King of Prussia expressed by
letter satisfaction at his conduct towards the Prussians whom the war
forced to retire to Hamburg. He knows Prince Witgenstein, who is the
friend of the King of Prussia, and probably is at Lorrach. He will see
all the Germans who are there. I confidently rely on him, and believe
his journey will have a good result. Caulaincourt will give him his

Notwithstanding my extreme surprise at this communication I replied
without hesitation that I could not accept the mission; that it was
offered too late. "It perhaps is hoped;" said I, "that the bridge of
Bale will be destroyed, and that Switzerland will preserve her
neutrality. But I do not believe any such thing; nay, more, I know
positively to the contrary. I can only repeat the offer comes much too
late."--"I am very sorry for this resolution," observed Savory, "but
Caulaincourt will perhaps persuade you. The Emperor wishes you to go the
Duo de Vicence to-morrow at one o'clock; he will acquaint you with all
the particulars, and give you your instructions."--"He may acquaint me
with whatever be chooses, but I will not go to Lohraah."--"You know the
Emperor better than I do, he wishes you to go, and he will not pardon
your refusal."--"He may do as he pleases, but no consideration shall
induce me to go to Switzerland."--"You are wrong: but you will reflect on
the matter between this and tomorrow morning. Night will bring good
counsel, At any rate, do not fail to go to-morrow at one o'clock to
Caulaincourt, he expects you, and directions will be given to admit you

Next morning the first thing I did was to call on M. de Talleyrand.
I told him what had taken place, and as he was intimately acquainted with
Caulaincourt, I begged him to speak to that Minister in favour of my,
resolution. M. de Talleyrand approved of my determination not to go to
Switzerland, and at one o'clock precisely I proceeded to M. de
Caulaincourt's. He told me all he had been instructed to say. From the
manner in which he made the communication I concluded that he himself
considered the proposed mission a disagreeable one, and unlikely to be
attended by any useful result. I observed that he must have heard from
Savory that I had already expressed my determination to decline the
mission which the Emperor had been pleased to offer me. The Duc de
Vicence then, in a very friendly way, detailed the reasons which ought to
induce me to accept the offer, and did not disguise from me that by
persisting in my determination I ran the risk of raising Napoleon's
doubts as to my opinions and future intentions. I replied that, having
lived for three years as a private individual, unconnected with public
affairs, I should have no influence at the headquarters of the Allies,
and that whatever little ability I might be supposed to possess, that
would not counterbalance the difficulties of my situation, and the
opinion that I was out of favour. I added that I should appear at the
headquarters without any decoration, without even that of the Cordon of
the Legion of Honour to which the Emperor attached so much importance,
and the want of which would almost have the appearance of disgrace; and I
said that these trifles, however slightly valued by reasonable men, were
not, as he well knew, without their influence on the men with whom I
should have to treat. "If that be all," replied. Caulaincourt, "the
obstacle will speedily be removed. I am authorised by the Emperor to
tell you that he will create you a Duke, and give you the Grand Cordon of
the Legion of Honour."

After these words I thought I was dreaming, and I was almost inclined to
believe that Caulaincourt was jesting with me. However, the offer was
serious, and I will not deny that it was tempting; yet I nevertheless
persisted in the refusal I had given. At length, after some further
conversation, and renewed, but useless, entreaties on the part of M. de
Caulaincourt, he arose, which was a signal that our interview was
terminated. I acknowledge I remained for a moment in doubt how to act,
for I felt we had come to no understanding. M. de' Caulaincourt advanced
slowly towards the door of his cabinet: If I went away without knowing
his opinion I had done nothing; addressing him, therefore, by his
surname, "Caulaincourt;" said I, "you have frequently assured me that you
would never forget the services I rendered to you and your family at a
time when I possessed some influence. I know you, and therefore speak to
you without disguise. I do not now address myself to the Emperor's
Minister, but to Caulaincourt. You are a man of honour, and I can open
my heart to you frankly. Consider the embarrassing situation of France,
which you know better than I do. I do not ask you for your secrets, but
I myself know enough. I will tell you candidly that I am convinced the
enemy will pass the Rhine in a few days. The Emperor has been deceived:
I should not have time to reach my destination, and I should be laughed
at. My correspondents in Germany have made me acquainted with every
particular. Now, Caulaincourt, tell me honestly, if you were in my
place, and I in yours, and I should make this proposition to you, what
determination would you adopt?"

I observed from the expression of Caulaincourt's countenance that my
question had made an impression on him, and affectionately pressing my
hand he said, "I would do as you do: Enough. I will arrange the business
with the Emperor." This reply seemed to remove a weight from my mind,
and I left Caulaincourt with feelings of gratitude. I felt fully assured
that he would settle the business satisfactorily, and in this conjecture
I was not deceived, for I heard no more of the matter.

I must here go forward a year to relate another occurrence in which the
Due de Vicence and I were concerned. When, in March 1815, the King
appointed me Prefect of Police, M. de Caulaincourt sent to me a
confidential person to inquire whether he ran any risk in remaining in
Paris, or whether he had better remove. He had been told that his name
was inscribed in a list of individuals whom I had received orders to
arrest. Delighted at this proof of confidence, I returned the following
answer by the Due de Vicence's messenger: "Tell M. de Caulaincourt that I
do not know where he lives. He need be under no apprehension: I will
answer for him."

During the campaign of 1813 the Allies, after driving the French out of
Saxony and obliging them to retreat towards the Rhine, besieged Hamburg,
where Davoust was shut up with a garrison of 30,000 men, resolutely
determined to make it a second Saragossa. From the month of September
every day augmented the number of the Allied troops, who were already
making rapid progress on the left bank of the Elbe. Davoust endeavoured
to fortify Hamburg an so extended a scale that, in the opinion of the
most experienced military men, it would have required a garrison of
60,000 men to defend it in a regular and protracted siege. At the
commencement of the siege Davoust lost Vandamme, who was killed in a
sortie at the head of a numerous corps which was inconsiderately

It is but justice to admit that Davoust displayed great activity in the
defence, and began by laying in large supplies.

--[Vandamme fought under Grouchy in 1815, and died several years
afterwards. This killing him at Hamburg is one of the curious
mistakes seized on by the Bonapartists to deny the authenticity of
these Memoirs.]--

General Bertrand was directed to construct a bridge to form a
communication between Hamburg and Haarburg by joining the islands of the
Elbe to the Continent along a total distance of about two leagues. This
bridge was to be built of wood, and Davoust seized upon all the timber-
yards to supply materials for its construction. In the space of eighty-
three days the bridge was finished. It was a very magnificent structure,
its length being 2529 toises, exclusive of the lines of junction, formed
on the two islands.

The inhabitants were dreadfully oppressed, but all the cruel measures and
precautions of the French were ineffectual, for the Allies advanced in
great force and occupied Westphalia, which movement obliged the Governor
of Hamburg to recall to the town the different detachments scattered
round Hamburg.

At Lubeck the departure of the French troops was marked by blood. Before
they evacuated the town, an old man, and a butcher named Prahl, were
condemned to be shot. The butcher's crime consisted in having said, in
speaking of the French, "Der teufel hohle sie" (the devil take them).
The old man fortunately escaped his threatened fate, but, notwithstanding
the entreaties and tears of the inhabitants, the sentence upon Prahl was
carried into execution.

The garrison of Hamburg was composed of French, Italian, and Dutch
troops. Their number at first amounted to 30,000, but sickness made
great-havoc among them. From sixty to eighty perished daily in the
hospitals. When the garrison evacuated Hamburg in May 1814 it was
reduced to about 15,000 men. In the month of December provisions began
to diminish, and there was no possibility of renewing the supply. The
poor were first of all made to leave the town, and afterwards all persons
who were not usefully employed. It is no exaggeration to estimate at
50,000 the number of persons who were thus exiled. The colonel
commanding the gendarmerie at Hamburg notified to the exiled inhabitants
that those who did not leave the town within the prescribed time would
receive fifty blows with a cane and afterwards be driven out. But if
penance may be commuted with priests so it may with gendarmes.
Delinquents contrived to purchase their escape from the bastinado by a
sum of money, and French gallantry substituted with respect to females
the birch for the cane. I saw an order directing all female servants to
be examined as to their health unless they could produce certificates
from their masters. On the 25th of December the Government granted
twenty-four hours longer to persons who were ordered to quit the town;
and two days after this indulgence an ordinance was published declaring
that those who should return to the town after once leaving it were to be
considered as rebels and accomplices of the enemy, and as such condemned
to death by a prevotal court. But this was not enough. At the end of
December people, without distinction of sex or age, were dragged from
their beds and conveyed out of the town on a cold night, when the
thermometer was between sixteen or eighteen degrees; and it was affirmed
that several old men perished in this removal. Those who survived were
left on the outside of the Altona gates. At Altona they all found refuge
and assistance. On Christmas-day 7000 of these unfortunate persons were
received in the house of M. Rainville, formerly aide de camp to
Dumouriez, and who left France together with that general. His house,
which was at Holstein, was usually the scene of brilliant entertainments,
but it was converted into the abode of misery, mourning, and death. All
possible attention was bestowed on the unfortunate outlaws; but few
profited by it, and what is worse, the inhabitants of Altona suffered for
their generosity. Many of the unfortunate persons were affected with the
epidemic disease which was raging in Hamburg, and which in consequence
broke out at Altona.

All means of raising money in Hamburg being exhausted, a seizure was made
of the funds of the Bank of that city, which yet contained from seven to
eight millions of marks. Were those who ordered this measure not aware
that to seize on the funds of some of the citizens of Hamburg was an
injury to all foreigners who had funds in the Bank? Such is a brief
statement of the vexations and cruelties which long oppressed this
unfortunate city. Napoleon accused Hamburg of Anglomania, and by ruining
her he thought to ruin England. Hamburg, feeble and bereft of her
sources, could only complain, like Jerusalem when besieged by Titus:
"Plorans, plorcatrit in nocte."



Prince Eugene and the affairs of Italy--The army of Italy on the
frontiers of Austria--Eugene's regret at the defection of the
Bavarians--Murat's dissimulation and perfidy--His treaty with
Austria--Hostilities followed by a declaration of war--Murat
abandoned by the French generals--Proclamation from Paris--Murat's
success--Gigantic scheme of Napoleon--Napoleon advised to join the
Jacobins--His refusal--Armament of the National Guard--The Emperor's
farewell to the officers--The Congress of Chatillon--Refusal of an
armistice--Napoleon's character displayed in his negotiations--
Opening of the Congress--Discussions--Rupture of the Conferences.

I wars now proceed to notice the affairs of Italy and the principal
events of the Viceroyalty of Eugene. In order to throw together all that
I have to say about the Viceroy I must anticipate the order of time.

After the campaign of 1812, when Eugene revisited Italy, he was promptly
informed of the more than doubtful dispositions of Austria towards
France. He then made preparations for raising an army capable of
defending the country which the Emperor had committed to his safeguard.
Napoleon was fully aware how much advantage he would derive from the
presence on the northern frontiers of Italy of an army sufficiently
strong to harass Austria, in case she should draw aside the transparent
veil which still covered her policy. Eugene did all that depended on him
to meet the Emperor's wishes; but in spite of his efforts the army of
Italy was, after all; only an imaginary army to those who could compare
the number of men actually enrolled with the numbers stated in the lists.
When, in July 1813, the Viceroy was informed of the turn taken by the
negotiations at the shadow of a Congress assembled at Prague, he had no
longer any doubt of the renewal of hostilities; and foreseeing an attack
on Italy he resolved as speedily as possible to approach the frontiers of
Austria. He had succeeded in assembling an army composed of French and
Italians, and amounting to 45,000 infantry and 5000 cavalry. On the
renewal of hostilities the Viceroy's headquarters were at Udine. Down to
the month of April 1814 he succeeded in maintaining a formidable
attitude, and in defending the entrance of his kingdom by dint of that
military talent which was to be expected in a man bred in the great
school of Napoleon, and whom the army looked up to as one of its most
skillful generals.

During the great and unfortunate events of 1813 all eyes had been fixed
on Germany and the Rhine; but the defection of Murat for a time diverted
attention to Italy. That event did not so very much surprise me, for I
had not forgotten my conversation with the King of Naples in the Champs
Elysees, with which I have made the reader acquainted. At first Murat's
defection was thought incredible by every one, and it highly excited
Bonaparte's indignation. Another defection which occurred about the same
period deeply distressed Eugene, for although raised to the rank of a
prince, and almost a sovereign, he was still a man, and an excellent man.
He was united to the Princess Amelia of Bavaria, who was as amiable and
as much beloved as he, and he had the deep mortification to count the
subjects of his father-in-law among the enemies whom he would probably
have to combat. Fearing lest he should be harassed by the Bavarians on
the side of the Tyrol, Eugene commenced his retrograde movement in the
autumn of 1813. He at first fell back on the Tagliamento, and
successively on the Adige. On reaching that river the army of Italy was
considerably diminished, in spite of all Eugene's care of his troops.
About the end of November Eugene learned that a Neapolitan corps was
advancing upon Upper Italy, part taking the direction of Rome, and part
that of Ancona. The object of the King of Naples was to take advantage
of the situation of Europe, and he was duped by the promises held out to
him as the reward of his treason. Murat seemed to have adopted the
artful policy of Austria; for not only had he determined to join the
coalition, but he was even maintaining communications with England and
Austria, while at the same time he was making protestations of fidelity
to his engagements with Napoleon.

When first informed of Murat's treason by the Viceroy the Emperor refused
to believe it. "No," he exclaimed to those about him, "it cannot be!
Murat, to whom I have given my sister! Murat, to whom I have given a
throne! Eugene must be misinformed. It is impossible that Murat has
declared himself against me!" It was, however, not only possible but
true. Gradually throwing aside the dissimulation beneath which he had
concealed his designs, Murat seemed inclined to renew the policy of Italy
during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when the art of deceiving
was deemed by the Italian Governments the most sublime effort of genius.
Without any declaration of war, Murat ordered the Neapolitan General who
occupied Rome to assume the supreme command in the Roman States, and to
take possession of the country. General Miollis, who commanded the
French troops in Rome, could only throw himself, with his handful of men,
into the Castle of St. Angelo, the famous mole of Adrian, in which was
long preserved the treasury of Sixtus V. The French General soon found
himself blockaded by the Neapolitan troops, who also blockaded Civita
Vecchia and Ancona.

The treaty concluded between Murat and Austria was definitively signed on
the 11th of January 1814. As soon as he was informed of it the Viceroy,
certain that he should soon have to engage with the Neapolitans, was
obliged to renounce the preservation of the line of the Adige, the
Neapolitan army being in the rear of his right wing. He accordingly
ordered a retrograde movement to the other side of the Mincio, where his
army was cantoned. In this position Prince Eugene, on the 8th of
February, had to engage with the Austrians, who had come up with him, and
the victory of the Mincio arrested, for some time, the invasion of the
Austrian army and its junction with the Neapolitan troops.

It was not until eight days after that Murat officially declared war
against the Emperor; and immediately several general and superior
officers, and many French troops, who were in his service, abandoned him,
and repaired to the headquarters of the Viceroy. Murat made endeavours
to detain them; they replied, that as he had declared war against France,
no Frenchman who loved his country could remain in his service. "Do you
think," returned he, "that my heart is lees French than yours? On the
contrary, I am much to be pitied. I hear of nothing but the disasters of
the Grand Army. I have been obliged to enter into a treaty with the
Austrians, and an arrangement with the English, commanded by Lord
Bentinck, in order to save my Kingdom from a threatened landing of the
English and the Sicilians, which would infallibly have excited an

There could not be a more ingenuous confession of the antipathy which
Joachim knew the Neapolitans to entertain towards his person and
government. His address to the French was ineffectual. It was easy to
foresee what would ensue. The Viceroy soon received an official
communication from Napoleon's War Minister, accompanied by an Imperial
decree, recalling all the French who were in the service of Joachim, and
declaring that all who were taken with arms in their hands should be
tried by a courtmartial as traitors to their country. Murat commenced by
gaining advantages which could not be disputed. His troops almost
immediately took possession of Leghorn and the citadel of Ancona, and the
French were obliged to evacuate Tuscany.

The defection of Murat overthrew one of Bonaparte's gigantic conceptions.
He had planned that Murat and Eugene with their combined forces should
march on the rear of the Allies, while he, disputing the soil of France
with the invaders, should multiply obstacles to their advance; the King
of Naples and the Viceroy of Italy were to march upon Vienna and make
Austria tremble in the heart of her capital before the timid million of
her Allies, who measured their steps as they approached Paris, should
desecrate by their presence the capital of France. When informed of the
vast project, which, however, was but the dream of a moment, I
immediately recognised that eagle glance, that power of discovering great
resources in great calamities, so peculiar to Bonaparte.

Napoleon was yet Emperor of France; but he who had imposed on all Europe
treaties of peace no less disastrous than the wars which had preceded
them, could not now obtain an armistice; and Caulaincourt, who was sent
to treat for one at the camp of the Allies, spent twenty days at
Luneville before he could even obtain permission to pass the advanced
posts of the invading army. In vain did Caulaincourt entreat Napoleon to
sacrifice, or at least resign temporarily, a portion of that glory
acquired in so many battles, and which nothing could efface in history.
Napoleon replied, "I will sign whatever you wish. To obtain peace I will
exact no condition; but I will not dictate my own humiliation." This
concession, of course, amounted to a determination not to sign or to
grant anything.

In the first fortnight of January 1814 one-third of France was invaded,
and it was proposed to form a new Congress, to be held at Chatillon-sur-
Seine. The situation of Napoleon grew daily worse and worse. He was
advised to seek extraordinary resources in the interior of the Empire,
and was reminded of the fourteen armies which rose, as if by enchantment,
to defend France at the commencement of the Revolution. Finally, a
reconciliation with the Jacobins, a party who had power to call up masses
to aid him, was recommended. For a moment he was inclined to adopt this
advice. He rode on horseback through the surburbs of St. Antoine and St.
Marceau, courted the populace, affectionately replied to their
acclamations, and he thought he saw the possibility of turning to account
the attachment which the people evinced for him. On his return to the
Palace some prudent persons ventured to represent to him that, instead of
courting this absurd sort of popularity it would be more advisable to
rely on the nobility and the higher classes of society. "Gentlemen,"
replied he, "you may say what you please, but in the situation in which I
stand my only nobility is the rabble of the faubourgs, and I know of no
rabble but the nobility whom I have created." This was a strange
compliment to all ranks, for it was only saying that they were all rabble

At this time the Jacobins were disposed to exert every effort to serve
him; but they required to have their own way, and to be allowed freely to
excite and foster revolutionary sentiments. The press, which groaned
under the most odious and intolerable censorship, was to be wholly
resigned to them. I do not state these facts from hearsay. I happened
by chance to be present at two conferences in which were set forward
projects infected with the odour of the clubs, and these projects were
supported with the more assurance because their success was regarded as
certain. Though I had not seen Napoleon since my departure for Hamburg,
yet I was sufficiently assured of his feeling towards the Jacobins to be
convinced that he would have nothing to do with them. I was not wrong.
On hearing of the price they set on their services he said, "This is too
much; I shall have a chance of deliverance in battle, but I shall have
none with these furious blockheads. There can be nothing in common
between the demagogic principles of '93 and the monarchy, between clubs
of madmen and a regular Ministry, between a Committee of Public Safety
and an Emperor, between revolutionary tribunals and established laws.
If fall I must, I will not bequeath France to the Revolution from which I
have delivered her."

These were golden words, and Napoleon thought of a more noble and truly
national mode of parrying the danger which threatened him. He ordered
the enrolment of the National Guard of Paris, which was placed under the
command of Marshal Moncey. A better choice could not have been made, but
the staff of the National Guard was a focus of hidden intrigues, in which
the defence of Paris was less thought about than the means of taking
advantage of Napoleon's overthrow. I was made a captain in this Guard,
and, like the rest of the officers, I was summoned to the Tuileries, on
the 23d of January, when the Emperor took leave of the National Guard
previously to his departure from Paris to join the army.

Napoleon entered with the Empress. He advanced with a dignified step,
leading by the hand his son, who was not yet three years old. It was
long since I had seen him. He had grown very corpulent, and I remarked
on his pale countenance an expression of melancholy and irritability.

The habitual movement of the muscles of his neck was more decided and
more frequent than formerly. I shall not attempt to describe what were
my feelings during this ceremony, when I again saw, after a long
separation, the friend of my youth, who had become master of Europe,
and was now on the point of sinking beneath the efforts of his enemies.
There was something melancholy in this solemn and impressive ceremony.
I have rarely witnessed such profound silence in so numerous an assembly.
At length Napoleon, in a voice as firm and sonorous as when he used to
harangue his troops in Italy or in Egypt, but without that air of
confidence which then beamed on his countenance, delivered to the
assembled officers an address which was published in all the journals of
the time. At the commencement of this address he said, "I set out this
night to take the command of the army. On quitting the capital I
confidently leave behind me my wife and my son, in whom so many hopes are
centred." I listened attentively to Napoleon's address, and, though he
delivered it firmly, he either felt or feigned emotion. Whether or not
the emotion was sincere on his part, it was shared by many present; and
for my own part I confess that my feelings were deeply moved when he
uttered the words, "I leave you my wife and my son." At that moment my
eyes were fixed on the young Prince, and the interest with which he
inspired me was equally unconnected with the splendour which surrounded
and the misfortunes which threatened him. I beheld in the interesting
child not the King of Rome but the son of my old friend. All day long
afterwards I could not help feeling depressed while comparing the
farewell scene of the morning with the day on which we took possession of
the Tuileries. How many centuries seemed the fourteen years which
separated the two events.

It may be worth while to remind those who are curious in comparing dates
that Napoleon, the successor of Louis XVI., and who had become the nephew
of that monarch by his marriage with the niece of Marie Antoinette, took
leave of the National Guard of Paris on the anniversary of the fatal 21st
of January, after twenty-five years of successive terror, fear, hope,
glory, and misfortune.

Meanwhile, a Congress was opened at Chatillon-sur-Seine, at which were
assembled the Duke of Vicenza on the part of France, Lords Aderdeen and
Cathcart and Sir Charles Stewart as the representatives of England, Count
Razumowsky on the part of Russia, Count Stadion for Austria, and Count
Humboldt for Prussia. Before the opening of the Congress, the Duke of
Vicenza, in conformity with the Emperor's orders, demanded an armistice,
which is almost invariably granted during negotiations for peace; but it
was now too late: the Allies had long since determined not to listen to
any such demand. They therefore answered the Duke of Vicenza's
application by requiring that the propositions for peace should be
immediately signed. But these were not the propositions of Frankfort.
The Allies established as their bases the limits of the old French
monarchy. They conceived themselves authorised in so doing by their
success and by their situation.

To estimate rightly Napoleon's conduct during the negotiations for peace
which took place in the conferences at Chatillon it is necessary to bear
in mind the organisation he had received from nature and the ideas with
which that organisation had imbued him at an early period of life. If
the last negotiations of his expiring reign be examined with due
attention and impartiality it will appear evident that the causes of his
fall arose out of his character. I cannot range myself among those
adulators who have accused the persons about him with having dissuaded
him from peace. Did he not say at St. Helena, in speaking of the
negotiations at Chatillon, "A thunderbolt alone could have saved us: to
treat, to conclude, was to yield foolishly to the enemy." These words
forcibly portray Napoleon's character. It must also be borne in mind how
much he was captivated by the immortality of the great names which
history has bequeathed to our admiration, and which are perpetuated from
generation to generation. Napoleon was resolved that his name should re-
echo in ages to come, from the palace to the cottage. To live without
fame appeared to him an anticipated death. If, however, in this thirst
for glory, not for notoriety, he conceived the wish to surpass Alexander
and Caesar, he never desired the renown of Erostratus, and I will say
again what I have said before, that if he committed actions to be
condemned, it was because he considered them as steps which helped him to
place himself on the summit of immortality on which he wished to place
his name. Witness what he wrote to his brother Jerome, "Better never, to
have lived than to live without glory;" witness also what he wrote later
to his brother Louis, "It is better to die as a King than to live as a
Prince." How often in the days of my intimacy with Bonaparte has he not
said to me, "Who knows the names of those kings who have passed from the
thrones on which chance or birth seated them? They lived and died
unnoticed. The learned, perhaps, may find them mentioned in old
archives, and a medal or a coin dug from the earth may reveal to
antiquarians the existence of a sovereign of whom they had never before
heard. But, on the contrary, when we hear the names of Cyrus, Alexander,
Caesar, Mahomet, Charlemagne, Henry IV., and Louis XIV., we are
immediately among our intimate acquaintance." I must add, that when
Napoleon thus spoke to me in the gardens of Malmaison he only repeated
what had often fallen from him in his youth, for his character and his
ideas never varied; the change was in the objects to which they were

From his boyhood Napoleon was fond of reading the history of the great
men of antiquity; and what he chiefly sought to discover was the means by
which those men had become great. He remarked that military glory
secures more extended fame than the arts of peace and the noble efforts
which contribute to the happiness of mankind. History informs us that
great military talent and victory often give the power, which, in its
tern, procures the means of gratifying ambition. Napoleon was always
persuaded that that power was essential to him, in order to bend men to
his will, and to stifle all discussions on his conduct. It was his
established principle never to sign a disadvantageous peace. To him a
tarnished crown was no longer a crown. He said one day to M. de
Caulaincourt, who was pressing him to consent to sacrifices, "Courage may
defend a crown, but infamy never." In all the last acts of Napoleon's
career I can retrace the impress of his character, as I had often
recognised in the great actions of the Emperor the execution of a thought
conceived by the General-in-Chief of the Army of Italy.

On the opening of the Congress the Duke of Vicenza, convinced that he
could no longer count on the natural limits of France promised at
Frankfort by the Allies, demanded new powers. Those limits were
doubtless the result of reasonable concessions, and they had been granted
even after the battle of Leipsic; but it was now necessary that
Napoleon's Minister should show himself ready to make further concessions
if he wished to be allowed to negotiate. The Congress was opened on the
5th of February, and on the 7th the Plenipotentiaries of the Allied
powers declared themselves categorically. They inserted in the protocol
that after the successes which had favoured their armies they insisted on
France being restored to her old limits, such as they were during the
monarchy before the Revolution; and that she should renounce all direct
influence beyond her future limits.

This proposition appeared so extraordinary to M. de Caulaincourt that he
requested the sitting might be suspended, since the conditions departed
too far from his instructions to enable him to give an immediate answer.
The Plenipotentiaries of the Allied powers acceded to his request, and
the continuation of the sitting was postponed till eight in the evening.
When it was resumed the Duke of Vicenza renewed his promise to make the
greatest sacrifices for the attainment of peace. He added that the
amount of the sacrifices necessarily depended on the amount of the
compensations, and that he could not determine on any concession or
compensation without being made acquainted with the whole. He wished to
have a general plan of the views of the Allies, and he requested that
their Plenipotentiaries would explain themselves decidedly respecting the
number and description of the sacrifices and compensations to be
demanded. It must be acknowledged that the Duke of Vicenza perfectly
fulfilled the views of the Emperor in thus protracting and gaining time
by subtle subterfuges, for all that he suggested had already been done.

On the day after this sitting some advantages gained by the Allies, who
took Chatillon-sur-Marne and Troves, induced Napoleon to direct
Caulaincourt to declare to the Congress that if an armistice were
immediately agreed on he was ready to consent to France being restored to
her old limits. By securing this armistice Napoleon hoped that happy
chances might arise, and that intrigues might be set on foot; but the
Allies would not listen to any such proposition.

At the sitting of the 10th of March the Duke of Vicenza inserted in the
protocol that the last courier he had received had been arrested and
detained a considerable time by several Russian general officers, who had
obliged him to deliver up his despatches, which had not been returned to
him till thirty-six hours after at Chaumont. Caulaincourt justly
complained of this infraction of the law of nations and established
usage, which, he said, was the sole cause of the delay in bringing the
negotiations to a conclusion. After this complaint he communicated to
the Congress the ostensible instructions of Napoleon, in which he
authorised his Minister to accede to the demands of the Allies. But in
making this communication M. de Caulaincourt took care not to explain the
private and secret instructions he had also received. The Allies
rejected the armistice because it would have checked their victorious
advance; but they consented to sign the definitive peace, which of all
things was what the Emperor did not wish.

Napoleon at length determined to make sacrifices, and the Duke of Vicenza
submitted new propositions to the Congress. The Allies replied, in the
same sitting, that these propositions contained no distinct and explicit
declaration on the project presented by them on the 17th of February;
that, having on the 28th of the same month, demanded a decisive answer
within the term of ton days, they were about to break up the negotiations
Caulaincourt then declared verbally:

1st. That the Emperor Napoleon was ready to renounce all pretension or
influence whatever in countries beyond the boundaries of France.

2d. To recognise the independence of Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany,
and Holland, and that as to England, France would make such concessions
as might be deemed necessary in consideration of a reasonable equivalent.

Upon this the sitting was immediately broken up without a reply. It must
be remarked that this singular declaration was verbal, and consequently
not binding, and that the limits of France were mentioned without being
specified. It cannot be doubted that Napoleon meant the limits conceded
at Frankfort, to which he was well convinced the Allies would not
consent, for circumstances were now changed. Besides, what could be
meant by the reasonable equivalent from England? Is it astonishing that
this obscurity and vagueness should have banished all confidence on the
part of the Plenipotentiaries of the Allied powers? Three days after the
sitting of the 10th of March they declared they could not even enter into
a discussion of the verbal protocol of the French Minister. They
requested that M. de Caulaincourt would declare whether he would accept
or reject the project of a treaty presented by the Allied Sovereigns, or
offer a counter-project.

The Duke of Vicenza, who was still prohibited, by secret instructions
from coming to any conclusion on the proposed basis, inserted in the
protocol of the sitting of the 13th of March a very ambiguous note. The
Plenipotentiaries of the Allies; in their reply, insisted upon receiving
another declaration from the French Plenipotentiary, which should contain
an acceptance or refusal of their project of a treaty presented in the
conference of the 7th of February, or a counter-project. After much
discussion Caulaincourt agreed to draw up a counter-project, which he
presented on the 15th, under the following title: "Project of a
definitive Treaty between France and the Allies." In this extraordinary
project, presented after so much delay, M. de Caulaincourt, to the great
astonishment of the Allies, departed in no respect from the declarations
of the 10th of March. He replied again to the ultimatum of the Allies,
or what be wished to regard as such, by defending a multitude of petty
interests, which were of no importance in so great a contest; but in
general the conditions seemed rather those of a conqueror dictating to
his enemies than of a man overwhelmed by misfortune: As may readily be
imagined, they were, for the most part, received with derision by the

Everything tends to prove that the French Plenipotentiary had received no
positive instructions from the 5th of February, and that, after all the
delay which Napoleon constantly created, Caulaincourt never had it in his
power to answer, categorically, the propositions of the Allies. Napoleon
never intended to make peace at Chatillon on the terms proposed. He
always hoped that some fortunate event would enable him to obtain more
favourable conditions.

On the 18th of March, that is to say, three days after the presentation
of this project of a treaty, the Plenipotentiaries of the Allies recorded
in the protocol their reasons for rejecting the extraordinary project of
the French Minister. For my part, I was convinced, for the reasons I
have mentioned, that the Emperor would never agree to sign the conditions
proposed in the ultimatum of the Allies, dated the 13th of March, and I
remember having expressed that opinion to M. de Talleyrand. I saw him on
the 14th, and found him engaged in perusing some intelligence he had just
received from the Duke of Vicenza, announcing, as beyond all doubt, the
early signature of peace. Caulaincourt had received orders to come to a
conclusion. Napoleon, he said, had given him a carte blanche to save the
capital, and avoid a battle, by which the last resources of the nation
would be endangered. This seemed pretty positive, to be sure; but even
this assurance did not, for a moment, alter my opinion. The better to
convince me, M. de Talleyrand gave me Caulaincourt's letter to read.
After reading it I confidently said, "He will never sign the conditions."
M. de Talleyrand could not help thinking me very obstinate in my opinion,
for he judged of what the Emperor would do by his situation, while I
judged by his character. I told M. de Talleyrand that Caulaincourt might
have received written orders to sign; for the sake of showing them to the
Plenipotentiaries of the Allies, but that I had no doubt he had been
instructed to postpone coming to a conclusion, and to wait for final
orders. I added, that I saw no reason to change my opinion, and that I
continued to regard the breaking up of the Congress as nearer than
appearances seemed to indicate. Accordingly, three days afterwards, the
Allies grew tired of the delay and the conferences were broken up. Thus
Napoleon sacrificed everything rather than his glory. He fell from a
great height, but he never, by his signature, consented to any
dismemberment of France.

The Plenipotentiaries of the Allies, convinced that these renewed
difficulties and demands had no other object but to gain time, stated
that the Allied powers, faithful to their principles, and in conformity
with their previous declarations, regarded the negotiations at Chatillon
as terminated by the French Government. This rupture of the conferences
took place on the 19th of March, six days after the presentation of the
ultimatum of the Allied powers. The issue of these long discussions was
thus left to be decided by the chances of war, which were not very
favourable to the man who boldly contended against armed Europe. The
successes of the Allies during the conferences at Chatillon had opened to
their view the road to Paris, while Napoleon shrunk from the necessity
of signing his own disgrace. In these circumstances was to be found the
sole cause of his ruin, and he might have said, "Tout est perdu, fors la
gloire." His glory is immortal.

--[The conviviality and harmony that reigned between the Ministers
made the society and Intercourse at Chatillon most agreeable. The
diplomatists dined alternately with each other; M. de Caulaincourt
liberally passing for all the Ministers, through the French advanced
posts, convoys of all the good cheer in epicurean wises, etc., that
Paris could afford; nor was female society wanting to complete the
charm and banish ennui from the Chatillon Congress, which I am sure
will be long recollected with sensations of pleasure by all the
Plenipotentiaries there engaged (Memoirs of Lord Burghersh).]--



Curious conversation between General Reynier and the Emperor
Alexander--Napoleon repulses the Prussians--The Russians at
Fontainebleau--Battle of Brienne--Sketch of the campaign of France--
Supper after the battle of Champ Aubert--Intelligence of the arrival
of tho Duc d'Angouleme and the Comte d'Artois in France--The battle
of the ravens and the eagle--Battle of Craonne--Departure of the
Pope and the Spanish Princes--Capture of a convoy--Macdonald at the
Emperor's headquarters--The inverted cipher.

I was always persuaded, and everything I have since seen has confirmed my
opinion, that the Allies entering France had no design of restoring the
House of Bourbon, or of imposing any Government whatever on the French
people. They came to destroy and not to found. That which they wished
to destroy from the commencement of their success was Napoleon's
supremacy, in order to prevent the future invasions with which they
believed Europe would still be constantly threatened. If, indeed, I had
entertained any doubt on this subject it would have been banished by the
account I heard of General Reynier's conversation with the Emperor
Alexander. That General, who was made prisoner at Leipsic, was
exchanged, and returned to France. In the beginning of February 1814 he
passed through Troves, where the Emperor Alexander then was. Reynier
expressed a desire to be allowed to pay his respects to the Emperor, and
to thank him for having restored him to liberty. He was received with
that affability of manner which was sometimes affected by the Russian

On his arrival at Paris General Reynier called at the Duc de Rovigo's,
where I had dined that day, and where he still was when I arrived. He
related in my hearing the conversation to which I have alluded, and
stated that it had all the appearance of sincerity on the Emperor's part.
Having asked Alexander whether he had any instructions for Napoleon, as
the latter, on learning that he had seen his Majesty would not fail to
ask him many questions, he replied that he had nothing particular to
communicate to him. Alexander added that he was Napoleon's friend, but
that he had, personally, much reason--to complain of his conduct; that
the Allies would have nothing more to do with him; that they had no
intention of forcing any Sovereign upon France; but that they would no
longer acknowledge Napoleon as Emperor of the French. "For my part,"
said Alexander, "I can no longer place any confidence in him. He has
deceived me too often." In reply to this Reynier made some remarks
dictated by his attachment and fidelity to Bonaparte. He observed that
Napoleon was acknowledged as Sovereign of France by every treaty. "But,"
added Reynier, "if you should persist in forcing him to resign the
supreme power, whom will you put in his place?"--"Did you not choose him;
why then can you not choose some one else to govern you? I repeat that
we do not intend to force any one upon you but we will have no more to do
with Napoleon."

Several Generals were then named; and after Reynier had explained the
great difficulties which would oppose any such choice, Alexander
interrupted him saying, "But, General, there is Bernadotte.' Has he not
been voluntarily chosen Prince Royal of Sweden; may he not also be raised
to the same rank in France? He is your countryman; surely then you may
choose him, since the Swedes took him, though a foreigner." General
Reynier, who was a man of firm character, started some objections, which
I thought at the time well founded; and Alexander put an end to the
conversation by saving, rather in a tone of dissatisfaction, "Well,
General, the fate of arms will decide."

The campaign of France forced Napoleon to adopt a kind of operations
quite new to him. He had been accustomed to attack; but he was now
obliged to stand on his defence, so that, instead of having to execute a
previously conceived plan, as when, in the Cabinet of the Tuileries, he
traced out to me the field of Marengo, he had now to determine his
movements according to those of his numerous enemies. When the Emperor
arrived at Chalons-sur-Marne the Prussian army was advancing by the road
of Lorraine. He drove it back beyond St. Dizier. Meanwhile the Grand
Austro-Russian army passed the Seine and the Yonne at Montereau, and even
sent forward a corps which advanced as far as Fontainebleau. Napoleon
then made a movement to the right in order to drive back the troops which
threatened to march on Paris, and by a curious chance he came up with the
troops in the very place where he passed the boyish years in which he
cherished what then seemed wild and fabulous dreams of his future fate.
What thoughts and recollections must have crowded on his mind when he
found himself an Emperor and a King, at the head of a yet powerful army,
in the chateau of the Comte de Brienne, to whom he had so often paid his
homage! It was at Brienne that he had said to me, thirty-four years
before, "I will do these Frenchman all the harm I can." Since then he
had certainly changed his mind; but it might be said that fate persisted
in forcing the man to realise the design of the boy in spite of himself.
No sooner had Napoleon revisited Brienne as a conqueror than he was
repulsed and hurried to his fall, which became every moment more

I shall not enter into any details of the campaign of France, because the
description of battles forms no part of my plan. Still, I think it
indispensable briefly to describe Napoleon's miraculous activity from the
time of his leaving Paris to the entrance of the Allies into the capital.
Few successful campaigns have enabled our Generals and the French army to
reap so much glory as they gained during this great reverse of fortune.
For it is possible to triumph without honour, and to fall with glory.
The chances of the war were not doubtful, but certainly the numerous
hosts of the Allies could never have anticipated so long and brilliant a
resistance. The theatre of the military operations soon approached so
near to Paris that the general eagerness for news from the army was
speedily satisfied, and when any advantage was gained by the Emperor his
partisans saw the enemy already repulsed from the French territory.
I was not for a moment deceived by these illusions, as I well knew the
determination and the resources of the Allied sovereigns. Besides,
events were so rapid and various in this war of extermination that the
guns of the Invalides announcing a victory were sometimes immediately
followed by the distant rolling of artillery, denoting the enemy's near
approach to the capital.

The Emperor left Paris on the 25th of January, at which time the Emperors
of Russia and Austria and the King of Prussia were assembled at Langres.
Napoleon rejoined his Guard at Vitry-le-Francais. On the second day
after his departure he drove before him the Prussian army, which he had
forced to evacuate St. Dizier. Two days after this the battle of Brienne
was fought, and on the 1st of February between 70,000 and 80,000 French
and Allied troops stood face to face. On this occasion the commanders on
both sides were exposed to personal danger, for Napoleon had a horse
killed under him, and a Cossack fell dead by the side of Marshal Blucher.

A few days after this battle Napoleon entered Troves, where he stayed but
a short time, and then advanced to Champaubert. At the latter place was
fought the battle which bears its name. The Russians were defeated,
General Alsufieff was made prisoner, and 2000 men and 30 guns fell into
the hands of the French. After this battle the Emperor was under such a
delusion as to his situation that while supping with Berthier, Marmont,
and his prisoner, General Alsufieff, the Emperor said, "Another such
victory as this, gentlemen, and I shall be on the Vistula."

Finding that no one replied, and reading in the countenances of his
Marshals that they did not share his hopes, "I see how it is," he added,
"every one is growing tired of war; there is no more enthusiasm. The
sacred fire is extinct." Then rising from the table, and stepping up to
General Drouot, with the marked intention of paying him a compliment
which should at the same time convey a censure on the Marshals,
"General," said he, patting him on the shoulder, "we only want a hundred
men like you, and we should succeed." Drouot replied, with great
presence of mind and modesty, "Rather say a hundred thousand, Sire."
This anecdote was related to me by the two principal persons who were
present on the occasion.

Napoleon soon began to have other subjects of disquietude besides the
fate of battles. He was aware that since the beginning of February the
Duc d'Angouleme had arrived at St. Jean de Luz, whence he had addressed s
proclamation to the French armies in the name of his uncle, Louis XVIII.;
and he speedily heard of the Comte d'Artois' arrival at Yesoul, on the
21st of February, which place he did not leave until the 16th of March

Meanwhile hostilities were maintained with increased vigor over a vast
line of operations. How much useless glory did not our soldiers gain in
these conflicts! In spite of prodigies of valour the enemy's masses
advanced, and gradually concentrated, so that this war might be compared
to the battles of the ravens and the eagle in the Alps. The eagle slays
hundreds of his assailants--every blow of his beak is the death of an
enemy, but still the vultures return to the charge, and press upon the
eagle until they destroy him.

As the month of February drew to its close the Allies were in retreat on
several points, but their retreat was not a rout. After experiencing
reverses they fell back without disorder, and retired behind the Aube,
where they rallied and obtained numerous reinforcements, which daily
arrived, and which soon enabled them to resume the offensive.

Still Napoleon continued astonishing Europe, leagued as it was against
him. At Craonne, on the 7th of March, he destroyed Blucher's corps in a
severe action, but the victory was attended by great loss to the
conqueror. Marshal Victor was seriously wounded, as well as Generals
Grouchy and La Ferriere.

While Napoleon was resisting the numerous enemies assembled to destroy
him it might be said that he was also his own enemy, either from false
calculation or from negligence with respect to his illustrious prisoners,
who, on his departure from Paris, had not yet been sent to their States.
The Pope was then at Fontainebleau, and the Princes of Spain at Valencay.
The Pope, however, was the first to be allowed to depart. Surely
Bonaparte could never have thought of the service which the Pope might
have rendered him at Rome, into which Murat's troops would never have
dared to march had his Holiness been present there. With regard to the
Spanish Princes Napoleon must have been greatly blinded by confidence in
his fortune to have so long believed it possible to retain in France
those useless trophies of defeated pretensions. It was, besides, so easy
to get rid of the exiles of Valencay by sending them back to the place
from whence they had been brought! It was so natural to recall with all
speed the troops from the south when our armies in Germany began to be
repulsed on the Rhine and even driven into France! With the aid of these
veteran troops Napoleon and his genius might have again turned the scale
of fortune. But Napoleon reckoned on the nation, and he was wrong, for
the nation was tired of him. His cause had ceased to be the cause of

The latter days of March were filled up by a series of calamities to
Napoleon. On the 23d the rear-guard of the French army suffered
considerable loss. To hear of attacks on his rear-guard must indeed have
been mortifying to Napoleon, whose advanced guards had been so long
accustomed to open the path of victory! Prince Schwartzenberg soon
passed the Aube and marched upon Vitry and Chalons. Napoleon, counting
on the possibility of defending Paris, threw himself, with the velocity
of the eagle, on Schwartzenberg's rear by passing by Doulevant and Bar-
sur-Aube. He pushed forward his advanced guards to Chaumont, and there
saw the Austrian army make a movement which he took to be a retreat; but
it was no such thing. The movement was directed on Paris, while Blucher,
who had re-occupied Chalons-sur-Maine, marched to meet Prince
Schwartzenberg, and Napoleon, thinking to cut off their retreat, was
himself cut off from the possibility of returning to Paris. Everything
then depended on the defence of Paris, or, to speak more correctly, it
seemed possible, by sacrificing the capital, to prolong for a few days
the existence of the phantom of the Empire which was rapidly vanishing.
On the 26th was fought the battle of Fere Champenoise, where, valour
yielding to numbers, Marshals Marmont and Mortier were obliged to retire
upon Sezanne after sustaining considerable loss.

It was on the 26th of March, and I beg the reader to bear this date in
mind, that Napoleon suffered a loss which, in the circumstances in which
he stood, was irreparable. At the battle of Fere Champenoise the Allies
captured a convoy consisting of nearly all the remaining ammunition and
stores of the army, a vast quantity of arms, caissons, and equipage of
all kinds. The whole became the prey of the Allies, who published a
bulletin announcing this important capture. A copy of this order of the
day fell into the hands of Marshal Macdonald, who thought that such news
ought immediately to be communicated to the Emperor. He therefore
repaired himself to the headquarters of Napoleon, who was then preparing
to recover Vitre-le-Francais, which was occupied by the Prussians. The
Marshal, with the view of dissuading the Emperor from what he considered
a vain attempt, presented him with the bulletin.

This was on the morning of the 27th: Napoleon would not believe the news.
"No!" said he to the Marshal, "you are deceived, this cannot be true."
Then perusing the bulletin with more attention. "Here," said he, "look
yourself. This is the 27th, and the bulletin is dated the 29th. You see
the thing is impossible. The bulletin is forged!" The Marshal, who had
paid more attention to the news than to its date, was astounded. But
having afterwards shown the bulletin to Drouot, that General said, "Alas!
Marshal, the news is but too true. The error of the date is merely a
misprint, the 9 is a 6 inverted!" On what trifles sometimes depend the
most important events. An inverted cipher sufficed to flatter
Bonaparte's illusion, or at least the illusions which he wished to
maintain among his most distinguished lieutenants, and to delay the
moment when they should discover that the loss they deplored was too
certain. On that very day the Empress left Paris.



The men of the Revolution and the men of the Empire--The Council of
Regency--Departure of the Empress from Paris--Marmont and Mortier--
Joseph's flight--Meeting at Marmont's hotel--Capitulation of Paris--
Marmont's interview with the Emperor at Fontainebleau--Colonels
Fabvier and Denys--The Royalist cavalcade--Meeting at the hotel of
the Comte de Morfontaine--M. de Chateaubriand and his pamphlet--
Deputation to the Emperor Alexander--Entrance of the Allied
sovereigns into Paris--Alexander lodged in M. Talleyrand's hotel--
Meetings held there--The Emperor Alexander's declaration--
My appointment as Postmaster-General--Composition of the Provisional
Government--Mistake respecting the conduct of the Emperor of
Austria--Caulaincourt's mission from Napoleon--His interview with
the Emperor Alexander--Alexander's address to the deputation of the
Senate--M. de Caulaincourt ordered to quit the capital.

The grandees of the Empire and the first subjects of Napoleon were
divided into two classes totally distinct from each other. Among these
patronised men were many who had been the first patrons of Bonaparte and
had favoured his accession to Consular power. This class was composed of
his old friends and former companions-in-arms. The others, who may be
called the children of the Empire, did not carry back their thoughts to a
period which they had not seen. They had never known anything but
Napoleon and the Empire, beyond which the sphere of their ideas did not
extend, while among Napoleon's old brothers-in-arms it was still
remembered that there was once a country, a France, before they had
helped to give it a master. To this class of men France was not confined
to the narrow circle of the Imperial headquarters, but extended to the
Rhine, the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the two oceans.

On the other hand, numbers of ardent and adventurous young men, full of
enthusiasm for Bonaparte, had passed from the school to the camp. They
were entirely opposed to Napoleon's downfall, because with his power
would vanish those dreams of glory and fortune which had captivated their
imaginations. These young men, who belonged to the class which I have
denominated children of the Empire, were prepared to risk and commit
everything to prolong the political life of their Emperor.

The distinction I have drawn between what may be called the men of France
and the men of the Empire was not confined to the army, but was equally
marked among the high civil functionaries of the State. The old
Republicans could not possibly regard Napoleon with the same eyes as
those whose elevation dated only from Napoleon; and the members of
assemblies anterior to the 18th Brumaire could not entertain the same
ideas as those whose notions of national franchises and public rights
were derived from their seats as auditors in the Council of State. I
know not whether this distinction between the men of two different
periods has been before pointed out, but it serves to explain the conduct
of many persons of elevated rank during the events of 1814. With regard
to myself, convinced as I was of the certainty of Napoleon's fall, I
conceived that the first duty of every citizen was claimed by his
country; and although I may incur censure, I candidly avow that
Napoleon's treatment of me during the last four years of his power was
not without some influence on my prompt submission to the Government
which succeeded his. I, however, declare that this consideration was not
the sole nor the most powerful motive of my conduct. Only those who were
in Paris at the period of the capitulation can form an idea of the
violence of party feeling which prevailed there both for and against
Napoleon, but without the name of the Bourbons ever being pronounced.
They were almost unknown to the new generation, forgotten by many of the
old, and feared by the conventionalists; at that time they possessed only
the frail support of the coteries of the Faubourg St. Germain, and some
remains of the emigration. But as it is certain that the emigrants could
offer only vain demonstrations and wishes in support of the old family of
our Kings, they did little to assist the restoration of the Bourbons.
Another thing equally certain is, that they alone, by their follies and
absurd pretensions, brought about the return of Bonaparte and the second
exile of Louis XVIII. in the following year.

On the 28th of March was convoked an extraordinary Council of Regency,
at which Maria Louisa presided. The question discussed was, whether the
Empress should remain in Paris or proceed to Blois. Joseph Bonaparte
strongly urged her departure, because a letter from the Emperor had
directed that in case of Paris being threatened the Empress-Regent and
all the Council of Regency should retire to Blois. The Arch-Chancellor
and the majority of the Council were of the same opinion, but one of the
most influential members of the Council observed to Joseph that the
letter referred to had been written under circumstances very different
from those then existing, and that it was important the Empress should
remain in Paris, where she would, of course, obtain from the Emperor her
father and the Allied sovereigns, more advantageous conditions than if
she were fifty leagues from Paris. The adoption of this opinion would
only have retarded for a few days a change which had become inevitable;
nevertheless it might have given rise to great difficulties. It must be
admitted that for the interests of Napoleon it was the wisest counsel
that could be suggested. However, it was overruled by Joseph's advice.

M. de Talleyrand, as a member of the Council of Regency, also received
the order to quit Paris on the 30th of March. At this period I was at
his house every day. When I went to him that day I was told he had
started. However I went up, and remained some time in his hotel with
several of his friends who had met there. We soon saw him return, and
for my part I heard with satisfaction that they had not allowed him to
pass the barriers. It was said then, and it has been repeated since,
that M. de Talleyrand was not a stranger to the gentle violence used
towards him. The same day of this visit to M. de Talleyrand I also went
to see the Duc de Rovigo (Savary), with the friendly object of getting
him to remain, and to profit by his position to prevent disturbances.
He refused without hesitating, as he only thought of the Emperor.
I found him by his fireside, where there was a large file, in which he
was burning all the papers which might have compromised every one who had
served his ministry (Police). I congratulated him sincerely on this
loyal occupation: fire alone could purify the mass of filth and
denunciations which encumbered the police archives.

On the departure of the Empress many persons expected a popular movement
in favour of a change of Government, but the capital remained tranquil.
Many of the inhabitants, indeed, thought of defence, not for the sake of
preserving Napoleon's government, but merely from that ardour of feeling
which belongs to our national character. Strong indignation was excited
by the thought of seeing foreigners masters of Paris--a circumstance of
which there had been no example since the reign of Charles VII.
Meanwhile the critical moment approached. On the 29th of March Marshals
Marmont and Mortier fell back to defend the approaches to Paris. During
the night the barriers were consigned to the care of the National Guard,
and not a foreigner, not even one of their agents, was allowed to enter
the capital.

At daybreak on the 30th of March the whole population of Paris was
awakened by the report of cannon, and the plain of St. Denis was soon
covered with Allied troops, who were debouching upon it from all points.
The heroic valour of our troops was unavailing against such a numerical
superiority. But the Allies paid dearly for their entrance into the
French capital. The National Guard, under the command of Marshal Moncey,
and the pupils of the Polytechnic School transformed into artillery men,
behaved in a manner worthy of veteran troops. The conduct of Marmont on
that day alone would suffice to immortalise him. The corps he commanded
was reduced to between 7000 and 8000 infantry and 800 cavalry, with whom,
for the space of twelve hours he maintained his ground against an army of
55,000 men, of whom it is said 14,000 were killed, wounded, and taken.
Marshal Marmont put himself so forward in the heat of the battle that a
dozen of men were killed by the bayonet at his side, and his hat was
perforated by a ball. But what was to be done against overwhelming

In this state of things the Duke of Ragusa made known his situation to
Joseph Bonaparte, who authorised him to negotiate.

Joseph's answer is so important in reference to the events which
succeeded that I will transcribe it here.

If the Dukes of Ragusa and Treviso can no longer hold out, they are
authorised to negotiate with Prince Schwartzenberg and the Emperor
of Russia, who are before them.

They will fall back on the Loire.
(Signed) JOSEPH

Montmartre, 30th March 1814, 12 oclock

It was not until a considerable time after the receipt of this formal
authority that Marmont and Mortier ceased to make a vigorous resistance
against the Allied army, for the suspension of arms was not agreed upon
until four in the afternoon. It was not waited for by Joseph; at a
quarter past twelve--that is to say, immediately after he had addressed
to Marmont the authority just alluded to Joseph repaired to the Bois de
Boulogne to regain the Versailles road, and from thence to proceed to
Rambouillet. The precipitate flight of Joseph astonished only those who
did not know him. I know for a fact that several officers attached to
his staff were much dissatisfied at his alacrity on this occasion.

In these circumstances what was to be done but to save Paris, which there
was no possibility of defending two hours longer. Methinks I still see
Marmont when, on the evening of the 30th of March, he returned from the
field of battle to his hotel in the Rue de Paradis, where I was waiting
for him, together with about twenty other persons, among whom were MM.
Perregaua and Lafitte. When he entered he was scarcely recognisable: he
had a beard of eight days' growth; the greatcoat which covered his
uniform was in tatters, and he was blackened with powder from head to
foot. We considered what was best to be done, and all insisted on the
necessity of signing a capitulation. The Marshal must recollect that the
exclamation of every one about him was, "France must be saved."
MM. Perregaus and Lafitte delivered their opinions in a very decided way,
and it will readily be conceived how great was the influence of two men
who were at the head of the financial world. They alleged that the
general wish of the Parisians, which nobody had a better opportunity of
knowing than themselves, was decidedly averse to a protracted conflict,
and that France was tired of the yoke of Bonaparte. This last
declaration gave a wider range to the business under consideration.
The question was no longer confined to the capitulation of Paris, but a
change in the government was thought of, and the name of the Bourbons was
pronounced for the first time. I do not recollect which of us it was
who, on hearing mention made of the possible recall of the old dynasty,
remarked how difficult it would be to bring about a restoration without
retrograding to the past. But I think I am perfectly correct in stating
that M. Lafitte said, "Gentlemen, we shall have nothing to fear if we
have a good constitution which will guarantee the rights of all." The
majority of the meeting concurred in this wise opinion, which was not
without its influence on Marshal Marmont.

During this painful meeting an unexpected incident occurred. One of the
Emperor's aides de camp arrived at Marmont's. Napoleon, being informed
of the advance of the Allies on Paris, had marched with the utmost speed
from the banks of the Marne on the road of Fontainebleau. In the evening
he was in person at Froidmanteau, whence he despatched his envoy to
Marshal Marmont. From the language of the aide de camp it was easy to
perceive that the state of opinion at the Imperial headquarters was very
different from that which prevailed among the population of Paris. The
officer expressed indignation at the very idea of capitulating, and he
announced with inconceivable confidence the approaching arrival of
Napoleon in Paris, which he yet hoped to save from the occupation of the
enemy. The officer informed us that Napoleon trusted to the people
rising in spite of the capitulation, and that they would unpave the
streets to stone the Allies on their entrance. I ventured to dissent
from this absurd idea of defence, and I observed that it was madness to
suppose that Paris could resist the numerous troops who were ready to
enter on the following day; that the suspension of arms had been
consented to by the Allies only to afford time for drawing up a more
regular capitulation, and that the armistice could not be broken without
trampling on all the laws of honour. I added that the thoughts of the
people were directed towards a better future; that the French were tired
of a despotic Government and of the distress to which continual war had
reduced trade and industry; "for," said I, "when a nation is sunk to such
a state of misery its hopes can only be directed towards the future; it
is natural they should be so directed, even without reflection." Most of
the individuals present concurred in my opinion, and the decision of the
meeting was unanimous. Marshal Marmont has since said to me, "I have
been blamed, my dear Bourrienne: but you were with me on the 30th of
March. You were a witness to the wishes expressed by a portion of the
principal inhabitants of Paris. I acted as I was urged to do only
because I considered the meeting to be composed of men entirely
disinterested, and who had nothing to expect from the return of the

Such is a correct statement of the facts which some persons have
perverted with the view of enhancing Napoleon's glory. With respect to
those versions which differ from mine I have only one comment to offer,
which is, that I saw and heard what I describe.

The day after the capitulation of Paris--Marmont went in the evening to
see the Emperor at Fontainebleau. He supped with him. Napoleon praised
his defence of Paris.. After supper the Marshal rejoined his corps at
Essonne, and six hours after the Emperor arrived there to visit the
lines. On leaving Paris Marmont had left Colonels Fabvier and Dent's to
direct the execution of the capitulation. These officers joined the
Emperor and the Marshal as they were proceeding up the banks of the river
at Essonne. They did not disguise the effect which the entrance of the
Allies had produced in Paris. At this intelligence the Emperor was
deeply mortified, and he returned immediately to Fontainebleau, leaving
the Marshal at Essonne.

At daybreak on the 31st of March Paris presented a novel and curious
spectacle. No sooner had the French troops evacuated the capital than
the principal streets resounded with cries of "Down with Bonaparte!"--
"No conscription!"--"No consolidated duties (droits reunis)!" With these
cries were mingled that of "The Bourbons for ever!" but this latter cry
was not repeated so frequently as the others: in general I remarked that
the people gaped and listened with a sort of indifference. As I had
taken a very active part in all that had happened during some preceding
days I was particularly curious to study what might be called the
physiognomy of Paris. This was the second opportunity which had offered
itself for such a study, and I now saw the people applaud the fall of the
man whom they had received with enthusiasm after the 18th Brumaire. The
reason was, that liberty was then hoped for, as it was hoped for in 1814.
I went out early in the morning to see the numerous groups of people who
had assembled in the streets. I saw women tearing their handkerchiefs
and distributing the fragments as the emblems of the revived lily. That
same morning I met on the Boulevards, and some hours afterwards on the
Place Louis XV., a party of gentlemen who paraded the streets of the
capital proclaiming the restoration of the Bourbons and shouting, "Vive
le Roi!" and "Vive Louis XVIII!" At their head I recognised
MM. Sosthenes de la Rochefoucauld, Comte de Froissard, the Duc de
Luxembourg, the Duc de Crussol, Seymour, etc. The cavalcade distributed
white cockades in passing along, and was speedily joined by a numerous
crowd, who repaired to the Place Vendome. The scene that was acted there
is well known, and the enthusiasm of popular joy could scarcely excuse
the fury that was directed against the effigy of the man whose
misfortunes, whether merited or not, should have protected him from such
outrages. These excesses served, perhaps more than is generally
supposed, to favour the plans of the leaders of the Royalist party, to
whom M. Nesselrode had declared that before he would pledge himself to
further their views he must have proofs that they were seconded by the
population of Paris.

I was afterwards informed by an eye-witness of what took place on the
evening of the 31st of March in one of the principal meetings of the
Royalists, which was held in the hotel of the Comte de Morfontaine, who
acted as president on the occasion. Amidst a chaos of abortive
propositions and contradictory motions M. Sosthenes de la Rochefoucauld
proposed that a deputation should be immediately sent to the Emperor
Alexander to express to him the wish of the meeting. This motion was
immediately approved, and the mover was chosen to head the deputation.
On leaving the hotel the deputation met M. de Chateaubriand, who had that
very day been, as it were, the precursor of the restoration, by
publishing his admirable manifesto, entitled "Bonaparte and the
Bourbons." He was invited to join the deputation; but nothing could
overcome his diffidence and induce him to speak. On arriving at the
hotel in the Rue St. Florentin the deputation was introduced to Count
Nesselrode, to whom M. Sosthenes de la Rochefoucauld briefly explained
its object; he spoke of the wishes of the meeting and of the manifest
desire of Paris and of France. He represented the restoration of the
Bourbons as the only means of securing the peace of Europe; and observed,
in conclusion, that as the exertions of the day must have been very
fatiguing to the Emperor, the deputation would not solicit the favour of
being introduced to him, but would confidently rely on the good faith of
his Imperial Majesty. "I have just left the Emperor," replied M.
Nesselrode, "and can pledge myself for his intentions. Return to the
meeting and announce to the French people that in compliance with their
wishes his Imperial Majesty will use all his influence to restore the
crown to the legitimate monarch: his Majesty Louis XVIII. shall reascend
the throne of France." With this gratifying intelligence the deputation
returned to the meeting in the Rue d'Anjou.

There is no question that great enthusiasm was displayed on the entrance
of the Allies into Paris. It may be praised or blamed, but the fact
cannot be denied. I closely watched all that was passing, and I observed
the expression of a sentiment which I had long anticipated when, after
his alliance with the daughter of the Caesars, the ambition of Bonaparte
increased in proportion as it was gratified: I clearly foresaw Napoleon's
fall. Whoever watched the course of events during the last four years of
the Empire must have observed, as I did, that from the date of Napoleon's
marriage with Maria Louisa the form of the French Government became daily
more and more tyrannical and oppressive. The intolerable height which
this evil had attained is evident from the circumstance that at the end
of 1813 the Legislative Body, throwing aside the mute character which it
had hitherto maintained, presumed to give a lecture to him who had never
before received a lecture from any one. On the 31st of March it was
recollected what had been the conduct of Bonaparte on the occasion
alluded to, and those of the deputies who remained in Paris related how
the gendarmes had opposed their entrance into the hall of the Assembly.
All this contributed wonderfully to irritate the public mind against
Napoleon. He had become master of France by the sword, and the sword
being sheathed, his power was at an end, for no popular institution
identified with the nation the new dynasty which he hoped to found.
The nation admired but did not love Napoleon, for it is impossible to
love what is feared, and he had done nothing to claim the affections of

I was present at all the meetings and conferences which were held at M de
Talleyrand's hotel, where the Emperor Alexander had taken up his
residence. Of all the persons present at these meetings M. de Talleyrand
was most disposed to retain Napoleon at the head of the Government, with
restrictions on the exercise of his power. In the existing state of
things it was only possible to choose one of three courses: first, to
make peace with Napoleon, with the adoption of proper securities against
him; second, to establish a Regency; and third, to recall the Bourbons.

On the 13th of March I witnessed the entrance of the Allied sovereigns
into Paris, and after the procession had passed the new street of the
Luxembourg I repaired straight to M. de Talleyrand's hotel, which I
reached before the Emperor Alexander, who arrived at a quarter-past one.
When his Imperial Majesty entered M. de Talleyrand's drawing-room most of
the persons assembled, and particularly the Abbe de Pradt, the Abbe de
Montesquieu, and General Dessolles, urgently demanded the restoration of
the Bourbons. The Emperor did not come to any immediate decision.
Drawing me into the embrasure of a window, which looked upon the street,
he made some observations which enabled me to guess what would be his
determination. "M. de Bourrienne," said he, "you have been the friend of
Napoleon, and so have I. I was his sincere friend; but there is no
possibility of remaining at peace with a man of such bad faith." These
last words opened my eyes; and when the different propositions which were
made came under discussion I saw plainly that Bonaparte, in making
himself Emperor, had made up the bed for the Bourbons.

A discussion ensued on the three possible measures which I have above
mentioned, and which were proposed by the Emperor Alexander himself. I
thought, if I may so express myself, that his Majesty was playing a part,
when, pretending to doubt the possibility of recalling the Bourbons,
which he wished above all things, he asked M. de Talleyrand what means he
proposed to employ for the attainment of that object? Besides the
French, there were present at this meeting the Emperor Alexander, the
King of Prussia, Prince Schwartzenberg, M. Nesselrode, M. Pozzo-di-Borgo,
and Prince Liechtenstein. During the discussion Alexander walked about
with some appearance of agitation. "Gentlemen," said, he, addressing us
in an elevated tone of voice, "you know that it was not I who commenced
the war; you know that Napoleon came to attack me in my dominions. But
we are not drawn here by the thirst of conquest or the desire of revenge.
You have seen the precautions I have taken to preserve your capital, the
wonder of the arts, from the horrors of pillage, to which the chances of
war would have consigned it. Neither my Allies nor myself are engaged in
a war of reprisals; and I should be inconsolable if any violence were
committed on your magnificent city. We are not waging war against
France, but against Napoleon, and the enemies of French liberty.
William, and you, Prince" (here the Emperor turned towards the King of
Prussia and Prince Schwartzenberg, who represented the Emperor of
Austria), "you can both bear testimony that the sentiments I express are
yours." Both bowed assent to this observation of Alexander, which his
Majesty several times repeated in different words. He insisted that
France should be perfectly free; and declared that as soon as the wishes
of the country were understood, he and his Allies would support them,
without seeking to favour any particular government.

The Abbe de Pradt then declared, in a tone of conviction, that we were
all Royalists, and that the sentiments of France concurred with ours.
The Emperor Alexander, adverting to the different governments which might
be suitable to France, spoke of the maintenance of Bonaparte on the
throne, the establishment of a Regency, the choice of Bernadotte, and the
recall of the Bourbons. M. de Talleyrand next spoke, and I well remember
his saying to the Emperor of Russia, " Sire, only one of two things is
possible. We must either have Bonaparte or Louis XVIII. Bonaparte, if
you can support him; but you cannot, for you are not alone.... We will
not have another soldier in his stead. If we want a soldier, we will
keep the one we have; he is the first in the world. After him any other
who may be proposed would not have ten men to support him. I say again,
Sire, either Bonaparte or Louis XVIII. Anything else is an intrigue."
These remarkable words of the Prince de Benevento produced on the mind of
Alexander all the effect we could hope for. Thus the question was
simplified, being reduced now to only two alternatives; and as it was
evident that Alexander would have nothing to do with either Napoleon or
his family, it was reduced to the single proposition of the restoration
of the Bourbons.

On being pressed by us all, with the exception of M. de Talleyrand, who
still wished to leave the question undecided between Bonaparte and Louis
XVIII., Alexander at length declared that he would no longer treat with
Napoleon. When it was represented to him that that declaration referred
only to Napoleon personally, and did not extend to his family, he added,
"Nor with any member of his family." Thus as early as the 31st of March
the restoration of the Bourbons might be considered as decided.

I cannot omit mentioning the hurry with which Laborie, whom M. de
Talleyrand appointed Secretary to the Provisional Government, rushed out
of the apartment as soon as he got possession of the Emperor Alexander's
declaration. He got it printed with such expedition that in the space of
an hour it was posted on all the walls in Paris; and it certainly
produced an extraordinary effect. As yet nothing warranted a doubt that
Alexander would not abide by his word. The treaty of Paris could not be
anticipated; and there was reason to believe that France, with a new
Government, would obtain more advantageous conditions than if the Allies
had, treated with Napoleon. But this illusion speedily vanished.

On the evening of the 31st of March I returned to M. de Talleyrand's.
I again saw the Emperor Alexander, who, stepping up to me, said, "M. de
Bourrienne you must take the superintendence of the Post-office
department." I could not decline this precise invitation on the part of
the Czar; and besides, Lavalette having departed on the preceding day,
the business would have been for a time suspended; a circumstance which
would have been extremely prejudicial to the restoration which we wished
to favour.

I went at once to the hotel in the Rue J. J. Rousseau, where, indeed, I
found that not only was there no order to send out the post next day, but
that it had been even countermanded. I went that night to the
administrators, who yielded to my requests and, seconded by them, next
morning I got all the clerks to be at their post. I reorganised the
service, and the post went out on the 1st of April as usual. Such are my
remembrances of the 31st of March.

A Provisional Government was established, of which M. de Talleyrand was
appointed President. The other members were General Beurnonville, Comte
Francois de Jaucourt, the Due Dalberg, who had married one of Maria
Louisa's ladies of honour, and the Abby de Montesquieu. The place of
Chancellor of the Legion of Honour was given to the Abbe de Pradt. Thus
there were two abbes among the members of the Provisional Government, and
by a singular chance they happened to be the same who had officiated at
the mass which was performed in the Champ de Mars on the day of the first

Those who were dissatisfied with the events of the 31st of March now saw
no hope but in the possibility that the Emperor of Austria would separate
from his Allies, or at least not make common cause with them in favour of
the re-establishment of the Bourbons. But that monarch had been brought
up in the old policy of his family, and was imbued with the traditional
principles of his Cabinet. I know for a fact that the sentiments and
intentions of the Emperor of Austria perfectly coincided with those of
his Allies. Anxious to ascertain the truth on this subject, I ventured,
when in conversation with the Emperor Alexander, to hint at the reports
I had heard relative to the cause of the Emperor of Austria's absence.
I do not recollect the precise words of his Majesty's answer, but it
enabled me to infer with certainty that Francis II. was in no way averse
to the overthrow of his son-in-law, and that his absence from the scene
of the discussions was only occasioned by a feeling of delicacy natural
enough in his situation.

Caulaincourt, who was sent by Napoleon to the headquarters of the Emperor
Alexander, arrived there on the night of the 30th of March. He, however,
did not obtain an interview with the Czar until after his Majesty had
received the Municipal Council of Paris, at the head of which was M. de
Chabrol. At first Alexander appeared somewhat surprised to see the
Municipal Council, which he did not receive exactly in the way that was
expected; but this coldness was merely momentary, and he afterwards
addressed the Council in a very gracious way, though he dropped no hint
of his ulterior intentions.

Alexander, who entertained a personal regard for Caulaincourt, received
him kindly in his own character, but not as the envoy of Napoleon.
"You have come too late," said the Czar. "It is all over. I can say
nothing to you at present. Go to Paris, and I will see you there."
These words perfectly enlightened Caulaincourt as to the result of his
mission. His next interview with the Emperor Alexander at M. de
Talleyrand's did not take place until after the declaration noticed in my
last chapter. The conversation they had together remained a secret, for
neither Alexander nor the Duke of Vicenza mentioned it; but there was
reason to infer, from some words which fell from the Emperor Alexander,
that he had received Caulaincourt rather as a private individual than as
the ambassador of Napoleon, whose power, indeed, he could not recognise
after his declaration. The Provisional Government was not entirely
pleased with Caulaincourt's presence in Paris, and a representation was
made to the Russian Emperor on the subject. Alexander concurred in the
opinion of the Provisional Government, which was expressed through the
medium of the Abbe de Pradt. M. de Caulaincourt, therefore, at the wish
of the Czar, returned to the Emperor, then at Fontainebleau.



Situation of Bonaparte during the events of the 30th and 31st of
March--His arrival at Fontainebleau--Plan of attacking Paris--
Arrival of troops at Fontainebleau--The Emperor's address to the
Guard--Forfeiture pronounced by the Senate--Letters to Marmont--
Correspondence between Marmont and Schwartzenberg--Macdonald
informed of the occupation of Paris--Conversation between the
Emperor and Macdonald at Fontainebleau--Beurnonville's letter--
Abdication on condition of a Regency--Napoleon's wish to retract his
act of abdication--Macdonald Ney, and Caulaincourt sent to Paris--
Marmont released from his promise by Prince Schwartzenberg.

On the morning of the 30th of March, while the battle before the walls of
Paris was at its height, Bonaparte was still at Troyes. He quitted that
town at ten o'clock, accompanied only by Bertrand, Caulaincourt, two
aides de camp, and two orderly officers. He was not more than two hours
in traveling the first ten leagues, and he and his slender escort
performed the journey without changing horses, and without even
alighting. They arrived at Sens at one o'clock in the afternoon.
Everything was in such confusion that it was impossible to prepare a
suitable mode of conveyance for the Emperor. He was therefore obliged to
content himself with a wretched cariole, and in this equipage, about four
in the morning, he reached Froidmanteau, about four leagues from Paris.
It was there that the Emperor received from General Belliard, who arrived
at the head of a column of artillery, the first intelligence of the
battle of Paris. He heard the news with an air of composure, which was
probably affected to avoid discouraging those about him. He walked for
about a quarter of an hour on the high road, and it was after that
promenade that he sent Caulaincourt to Paris. Napoleon afterwards went
to the house of the postmaster, where he ordered his maps to be brought
to him, and, according to custom, marked the different positions of the
enemy's troops with pine, the heads of which were touched with wax of
different colours. After this description of work, which Napoleon did
every day, or sometimes several times a day, he repaired to
Fontainebleau, where he arrived at six in the morning. He did not order
the great apartments of the castle to be opened, but went up to his
favourite little apartment, where he shut himself up, and remained alone
during the whole of the 31st of March.

In the evening the Emperor sent for the Duke of Ragusa, who had just
arrived at Essonne with his troops. The Duke reached Fontainebleau
between three and four o'clock on the morning of the 1st of April.
Napoleon then received a detailed account of the events of the 30th from
Marmont, on whose gallant conduct before Paris he bestowed much praise.

All was gloom and melancholy at Fontainebleau, yet the Emperor still
retained his authority, and I have been informed that he deliberated for
some time as to whether he should retire behind the Loire, or immediately
hazard a bold stroke upon Paris, which would have been much more to his
taste than to resign himself to the chances which an uncertain
temporising might bring about. This latter thought pleased him; and he
was seriously considering his plan of attack when the news of the 31st,
and the unsuccessful issue of Caulaincourt's mission, gave him to
understand that his situation was more desperate than he had hitherto

Meanwhile the heads of his columns, which the Emperor had left at Troves,
arrived on the 1st of April at Fontainebleau, the troops having marched
fifty leagues in less than three days, one of the most rapid marches ever
performed. On the 2d of April Napoleon communicated the events of Paris
to the Generals who were about him, recommending them to conceal the news
lest it should dispirit the troops, upon whom he yet relied. That day,
during an inspection of the troops, which took place in the court of the
Palace, Bonaparte assembled the officers of his Guard, and harangued them
as follows:

Soldiers! the enemy has stolen three marches upon us, and has made
himself master of Paris. We must drive him thence. Frenchmen,
unworthy of the name, emigrants whom we have pardoned, have mounted
the white cockade, and joined the enemy. The wretches shall receive
the reward due to this new crime. Let us swear to conquer or die,
and to enforce respect to the tri-coloured cockade, which has for
twenty years accompanied us on the path of glory and honour.

He also endeavoured to induce the Generals to second his mad designs upon
Paris, by making them believe that he had made sincere efforts to
conclude peace. He assured them that he had expressed to the Emperor
Alexander his willingness to purchase it by sacrifices; that he had
consented to resign even the conquests made during the Revolution, and to
confine himself within the old limits of France. "Alexander," added
Napoleon, "refused; and, not content with that refusal, he has leagued
himself with a party of emigrants, whom, perhaps, I was wrong in
pardoning for having borne arms against France. Through their perfidious
insinuations Alexander has permitted the white cockade to be mounted on
the capital. We will maintain ours, and in a few days we will march upon
Paris. I rely on you."

When the boundless attachment of the Guards to the Emperor is considered
it cannot appear surprising that these last words, uttered in an
impressive tone, should have produced a feeling of enthusiasm, almost
electrical, in all to whom they were addressed. The old companions of
the glory of their chief exclaimed with one voice, "Paris! Paris!" But,
fortunately, during the night, the Generals having deliberated with each
other saw the frightful abyss into which they were about to precipitate
France. They therefore resolved to intimate in discreet terms to the
Emperor that they would not expose Paris to destruction, so that on the
3d of April, prudent ideas succeeded the inconsiderate enthusiasm of the
preceding day.

The wreck of the army assembled at Fontainebleau, which was the remnant
of 1,000,000 of troops levied during fifteen months, consisted only of
the corps of the Duke of Reggio (Oudinot), Ney, Macdonald, and General
Gerard, which 'altogether did not amount to 25,000 men, and which, joined
to the remaining 7000 of the Guard, did not leave the Emperor a
disposable force of more than 32,000 men. Nothing but madness or despair
could have suggested the thought of subduing, with such scanty resources,
the foreign masses which occupied and surrounded Paris.

On the 2d of April the Senate published a 'Senatus-consulte', declaring
that Napoleon had forfeited the throne, and abolishing the right of
succession, which had been established in favour of his family.
Furnished with this set, and without awaiting the concurrence of the
Legislative Body, which was given next day, the Provisional Government
published an address to the French armies. In this address the troops
were informed that they were no longer the soldiers of Napoleon, and that
the Senate released them from their oaths. These documents were widely
circulated at the time, and inserted in all the public journals.

The address of the Senate was sent round to the Marshals, and was of
course first delivered to those who were nearest the capital; of this
latter number was Marmont, whose allegiance to the Emperor, as we have
already seen, yielded only to the sacred interests of his country.
Montessuis was directed by the Provisional Government to convey the
address to Marmont, and to use such arguments as were calculated to
strengthen those sentiments which had triumphed over his dearest personal
affections. I gave Montessuis a letter to Marmont, in which I said:

"MY DEAR FRIEND--An old acquaintance of mine will convey to you the
remembrances of our friendship. He will, I trust, influence your
resolution: a single word will suffice to induce you to sacrifice
all for the happiness of your country. To secure that object you,
who are so good a Frenchman and so loyal a knight, will not fear
either dangers or obstacles. Your friends expect you, long for you,
and I trust will soon embrace you."

Montessuis also took one from General Dessolles, whom the Provisional
Government had appointed Governor of the National Guard in the room of
Marshal Moncey, who had left Paris on the occupation of the Allies.
General Dessolles and I did not communicate to each other our
correspondence, but when I afterwards saw the letter of Deasolles I could
not help remarking the coincidence of our appeal to Marmont's patriotism.
Prince Schwartzenberg also wrote to Marmont to induce him to espouse a
clause which had now become the cause of France. To the Prince's letter
Marmont replied, that he was disposed to concur in the union of the army
and the people, which would avert all chance of civil war, and stop the
effusion of French blood; and that he was ready with his troops to quit
the army of the Emperor Napoleon on the condition that his troops might
retire with the honours of war, and that the safety and liberty of the
Emperor were guaranteed by the Allies.

After Prince Schwartzenberg acceded to these conditions Marmont was
placed in circumstances which obliged him to request that he might be
released from his promise.

I happened to learn the manner in which Marshal Macdonald was informed of
the taking of Paris. He had been two days without any intelligence from
the Emperor, when he received an order in the handwriting of Berthier,
couched in the following terms: "The Emperor desires that you halt
wherever you may receive this order." After Berthier's signature the
following words were added as a postscript: "You, of course, know that
the enemy is in possession of Paris." When the Emperor thus announced,
with apparent negligence, an event which totally changed the face of
affairs, I am convinced his object was to make the Marshal believe that
he looked upon, that event as less important than it really was.
However, this object was not attained, for I recollect having heard
Macdonald say that Berthier's singular postscript, and the tone of
indifference in which it was expressed, filled him with mingled surprise
and alarm. Marshal Macdonald then commanded the rear-guard of the army
which occupied the environs of Montereau. Six hours after the receipt of
the order here referred to Macdonald received a second order directing
him to put his troops in motion, and he learned the Emperor's intention
of marching on Paris with all his remaining force.

On receiving the Emperor's second order Macdonald left his corps at
Montereau and repaired in haste to Fontainebleau. When he arrived there
the Emperor had already intimated to the Generals commanding divisions in
the corps assembled at Fontainebleau his design of marching on Paris.
Alarmed at this determination the Generals, most of whom had left in the
capital their wives, children, and friends, requested that Macdonald
would go with them to wait upon Napoleon and endeavour to dissuade him
from his intention. "Gentlemen," said the Marshal, "in the Emperor's
present situation such a proceeding may displease him. It must be
managed cautiously. Leave it to me, gentlemen, I will go to the

Marshal Macdonald accordingly went to the Palace of Fontainebleau, where
the following conversation ensued between him and the Emperor, and I beg
the reader to bear in mind that it was related to me by the Marshal
himself. As soon as he entered the apartment in which Napoleon was the
latter stepped up to him and said, "Well, how are things going on?"--
"Very badly, Sire."--"How? . . . badly! . . . What then are the
feelings of your army?"--"My army, Sire, is entirely discouraged . . .
appalled by the fate of Paris."--"Will not your troops join me in an
advance on Paris?"--"Sire, do not think of such a thing. If I were to
give such an order to my troops I should run the risk of being
disobeyed."--"But what is to be done? I cannot remain as I am; I have
yet resources and partisans. It is said that the Allies will no longer
treat with me. Well! no matter. I will march on Paris. I will be
revenged on the inconstancy of the Parisians and the baseness of the
Senate. Woe to the members of the Government they have patched up for
the return of their Bourbons; that is what they are looking forward to.
But to-morrow I shall place myself at the head of my Guards, and to-
morrow we shall be in the Tuileries."

The Marshal listened in silence, and when at length Napoleon became
somewhat calm he observed, "Sire, it appears, then, that you are not
aware of what has taken place in Paris--of the establishment of a
Provisional Government, and--"--"I know it all: and what then?"--"Sire,"
added the Marshal, presenting a paper to Napoleon, "here is something
which will tell you more than I can." Macdonald then presented to him a
letter from General Beurnonville, announcing the forfeiture of the
Emperor pronounced by the Senate, and the determination of the Allied
powers not to treat with Napoleon, or any member of his family.
"Marshal," said the Emperor, before he opened the letter, "may this be
read aloud?"--"Certainly, Sire." The letter was then handed to Barre,
who read it. An individual who was present on the occasion described to
me the impression which the reading of the letter produced on Napoleon.
His countenance exhibited that violent contraction of the features which
I have often remarked when his mind was disturbed. However, he did not
lose his self-command, which indeed never forsook him when policy or
vanity required that he should retain it; and when the reading of
Beurnonville's letter was ended he affected to persist in his intention
of marching on Paris. "Sire," exclaimed Macdonald, "that plan must be
renounced. Not a sword would be unsheathed to second you in such an
enterprise." After this conversation between the Emperor and Macdonald
the question of the abdication began to be seriously thought of.
Caulaincourt had already hinted to Napoleon that in case of his
abdicating personally there was a possibility of inducing the Allies to
agree to a Council of Regency. Napoleon then determined to sign the act
of abdication, which he himself drew up in the following terms:--

The Allied powers having declared that the Emperor Napoleon is the
only obstacle to the re-establishment of peace in Europe, the
Emperor Napoleon, faithful to his oath, declares that he is ready to
descend from the throne, to leave France, and even to lay down his
life for the welfare of the country, which is inseparable from the
rights of his son, those of the Regency of the Empress, and the
maintenance of the laws of the Empire. Given at our Palace of
Fontainebleau, 2d April 1814.
(Signed) NAPOLEON.

After having written this act the Emperor presented it to the Marshals,
saying, "Here, gentlemen! are you satisfied?"

This abdication of Napoleon was certainly very useless, but in case of
anything occurring to render it a matter of importance the act might have
proved entirely illusory. Its meaning might appear unequivocal to the
generality of people, but not to me, who was so well initiated in the
cunning to which Napoleon could resort when it suited his purpose. It is
necessary to observe that Napoleon does not say that "he descends from
the throne," but that "he is ready to descend from the throne." This was
a subterfuge, by the aid of which he intended to open new negotiations
respecting the form and conditions of the Regency of his son, in case of
the Allied sovereigns acceding to that proposition. This would have
afforded the means of gaining time.

He had not yet resigned all hope, and therefore he joyfully received a
piece of intelligence communicated to him by General Allix. The General
informed the Emperor that he had met an Austrian officer who was sent by
Francis II. to Prince Schwartzenberg, and who positively assured him that
all which had taken place in Paris was contrary to the wish of the
Emperor of Austria. That this may have been the opinion of the officer
is possible, and even probable. But it is certain from the issue of a
mission of the Duc de Cadore (Champagny), of which I shall presently
speak, that the officer expressed merely his own personal opinion.
However, as soon as General Allix had communicated this good news, as he
termed it, to Napoleon, the latter exclaimed to the persons who were
about him, "I told you so, gentlemen. Francis II. cannot carry his
enmity so far as to dethrone his daughter. Vicenza, go and desire the
Marshals to return my act of abdication. I will send a courier to the
Emperor of Austria."

Thus Bonaparte in his shipwreck looked round for a saving plank, and
tried to nurse himself in illusions. The Duke of Vicenza went to
Marshals Ney and Macdonald, whom he found just stepping into a carriage
to proceed to Paris. Both positively refused to return the act to
Caulaincourt, saying, "We are sure of the concurrence of the Emperor of
Austria, and we take everything upon ourselves." The result proved that
they were better informed than General Allix.

During the conversation with Marshal Macdonald which has just been
described the Emperor was seated. When he came to the resolution of
signing the abdication he arose and walked once or twice up and down his
cabinet. After he had written and signed the act he said, "Gentlemen,
the interests of my son, the interests of the army, and above all, the
interests of France, must be defended. I therefore appoint as my
commissioners to the Allied powers the Duke of Vicenza, the Prince of the
Moskowa, and the Duke of Ragusa . . . . Are you satisfied?" added he,
after a pause. "I think these interests are consigned to good hands."
All present answered, as with one voice. "Yes, Sire." But no sooner was
this answer pronounced than the Emperor threw himself upon a small yellow
sofa, which stood near the window, and striking his thigh with his hand
with a sort of convulsive motion, he exclaimed, "No, gentlemen: I will
have no Regency! With my Guards and Marmont's corps I shall be in Paris
to-morrow." Ney and Macdonald vainly endeavoured to undeceive him
respecting this impracticable design. He rose with marked ill-humour,
and rubbing his head, as he was in the habit of doing when agitated, he
said in a loud and authoritative tone, "Retire."

The Marshals withdrew, and Napoleon was left alone with Caulaincourt. He
told the latter that what had most displeased him in the proceedings
which had just taken place was the reading of Beurnonville's letter.
"Sire," observed the Duke of Vicenza, "it was by your order that the
letter was read."--"That is true . . . . But why was it not addressed
directly to me by Macdonald?"--"Sire, the letter was at first addressed
to Marshal Macdonald, but the aide de camp who was the bearer of it had
orders to communicate its contents to Marmont on passing through Essonne,
because Beurnonville did not precisely know where Macdonald would be
found." After this brief explanation the Emperor appeared satisfied, and
he said to Caulaincourt, "Vicenza, call back Macdonald."

The Duke of Vicenza hastened after the Marshal, whom he found at the end
of the gallery of the Palace, and he brought him back to the Emperor.
When Macdonald returned to the cabinet the Emperor's warmth had entirely
subsided, and he said to him with great composure, "Well, Duke of
Tarantum, do you think that the Regency is the only possible thing?"--
"Yes, Sire."--"Then I wish you to go with Ney to the Emperor Alexander,
instead of Marmont; it is better that he should remain with his corps, to
which his presence is indispensable. You will therefore go with Ney. I
rely on you. I hope you have entirely forgotten all that has separated
us for so long a time."--"Yes, Sire, I have not thought of it since
1809."--"I am glad of it, Marshal, and I must acknowledge to you that I
was in the wrong." While speaking to the Marshal the Emperor manifested
unusual emotion. He approached him and pressed his hand in the most
affectionate way.

The Emperor's three Commissioners--that is to say, Marshals Macdonald and
Ney and the Duke of Vicenza had informed Marmont that they would dine
with him as they passed through Essonne, and would acquaint him with all
that had happened at Fontainebleau. On their arrival at Essonne the
three Imperial Commissioners explained to the Due of Ragusa the object of
their mission, and persuaded him to accompany them to the Emperor
Alexander. This obliged the Marshal to inform them how he was situated.
The negotiations which Marmont had opened and almost concluded with
Prince Schwartzenberg were rendered void by the mission which he had
joined, and which it was necessary he should himself explain to the
Commander of the Austrian army. The three Marshals and the Duke of
Vicenza repaired to Petit Bourg, the headquarters of Prince
Schwartzenberg, and there the Prince released Marmont from the promise he
had given.



Unexpected receipts in the Post-office Department--Arrival of
Napoleon's Commissioners at M. de Talleyrand's--Conference of the
Marshals with Alexander--Alarming news from Essonne--Marmont's
courage--The white cockade and the tri-coloured cockade--
A successful stratagem--Three Governments in France--The Duc de
Cadore sent by Maria Louisa to the Emperor of Austria--Maria
Louisa's proclamation to the French people--Interview between the
Emperor of Austria and the Duc de Cadore--The Emperor's protestation
of friendship for Napoleon--M. Metternich and M. Stadion--Maria
Louisa's departure for Orleans--Blucher's visit to me--Audience of
the King of Prussia--His Majesty's reception of Berthier, Clarke,
and myself--Bernadotte in Paris--Cross of the Polar Star presented
to me by Bernadotte.

After my nomination as Director-General of the Post office the business
of that department proceeded as regularly as before. Having learned that
a great many intercepted letters had been thrown aside I sent, on the 4th
of April, an advertisement to the 'Moniteur', stating that the letters to
and from England or other foreign countries which had been lying at the
Post-office for more than three years would be forwarded to their
respective addresses. This produced to the Post-office a receipt of
nearly 300,000 francs, a fact which may afford an idea of the enormous
number of intercepted letters.

On the night after the publication of the advertisement I was awakened by
an express from the Provisional Government, by which I was requested to
proceed with all possible haste to M. de Talleyrand's hotel. I rose, and
I set off immediately, and I got there some minutes before the arrival of
the Emperor's Commissioners. I went up to the salon on the first floor,
which was one of the suite of apartments occupied by the Emperor
Alexander. The Marshals retired to confer with the monarch, and it would
be difficult to describe the anxiety--or, I may rather say,
consternation--which, during their absence, prevailed among some of the
members of the Provisional Government and other persons assembled in the
salon where I was.

While the Marshals were with Alexander, I learned that they had
previously conversed with M. de Talleyrand, who observed to them, "If you
succeed in your designs you will compromise all who have met in this
hotel since the 1st of April, and the number is not small. For my part,
take no account of me, I am willing to be compromised." I had passed the
evening of this day with M. de Talleyrand, who then observed to the
Emperor Alexander in my presence, "Will you support Bonaparte? No, you
neither can nor will. I have already had the honour to tell your Majesty
that we can have no choice but between Bonaparte and Louis XVIII.;
anything else would be an intrigue, and no intrigue can have power to
support him who may be its object. Bernadotte, Eugene, the Regency, all
those propositions result from intrigues. In present circumstances
nothing but a new principle is sufficiently strong to establish the new
order of things which must be adopted. Louis XVIII. is a principle."

None of the members of the Provisional Government were present at this
conference, for no one was willing to appear to influence in any way the
determination of the chief of the coalition upon the subject of this
important mission. General Dessolles alone, in quality of commander of
the National Guard of Paris, was requested to be present. At length the
Marshals entered the salon where we were, and their appearance created a
sensation which it is impossible to describe; but the expression of
dissatisfaction which we thought we remarked in their countenances
restored the hopes of those who for some hours had been a prey to
apprehensions. Macdonald, with his head elevated, and evidently under
the influence of strong irritation, approached Beurnonville, and thus
addressed him, in answer to a question which the latter had put to him.
"Speak not to me, sir; I have nothing to say to you. You have made me
forget a friendship of thirty years!" Then turning to Dupont, "As for
you, sir," he continued in the same tone, "your conduct towards the
Emperor is not generous. I confess that he has treated you with
severity, perhaps he may even have been unjust to you with respect to the
affair of Baylen, but how long has it been the practice to avenge a
personal wrong at the expense of one's country?"

These remarks were made with such warmth, and in so elevated a tone of
voice, that Caulaincourt thought it necessary to interfere, and said,
"Do not forget, gentlemen, that this is the residence of the Emperor of
Russia." At this moment M. de Talleyrand returned from the interview
with the Emperor which he had had after the departure of the Marshals,
and approaching the group formed round Macdonald, "Gentlemen," said he,
"if you wish to dispute and discuss, step down to my apartments."--
"That would be useless," replied Macdonald; "my comrades and I do not
acknowledge the Provisional Government." The three Marshals, Ney,
Macdonald, and Marmont, then immediately retired with Caulaincourt, and
went to Ney's hotel, there to await the answer which the Emperor
Alexander had promised to give them after consulting the King of Prussia.

Such was this night-scene; which possessed more dramatic effect than many
which are performed on the stage. In it all was real: on its denouement
depended the political state of France, and the existence of all those
who had already declared themselves in favour of the Bourbons. It is a
remarkable fact, and one which affords a striking lesson to men who are
tempted to sacrifice themselves for any political cause, that most of
those who then demanded the restoration of the Bourbons at the peril of
their lives have successively fallen into disgrace.

When the Marshals and Caulaincourt had retired we were all anxious to
know what had passed between them and the Emperor of Russia. I learned
from Dessolles, who, as I have stated, was present at the conference in
his rank of commander of the National Guard of Paris, that the Marshals
were unanimous in urging Alexander to accede to a Regency. Macdonald
especially supported that proposition with much warmth; and among the
observations he made I recollect Dessolles mentioned the following:--
"I am not authorised to treat in any way for the fate reserved for the
Emperor. We have full powers to treat for the Regency, the army, and
France; but the Emperor has positively forbidden us to specify anything
personally regarding himself." Alexander merely replied, "That does not
astonish me." The Marshals then, resuming the conversation, dwelt much
on the respect which was due to the military glory of France. They
strongly manifested their disinclination to abandon the family of a man
who had so often led them to victory; and lastly, they reminded the
Emperor Alexander of his own declaration, in which he proclaimed, in his
own name as well as on the part of his Allies, that it was not their
intention to impose on France any government whatever.

Dessolles, who had all along declared himself in favour of the Bourbons,
in his turn entered into the discussion with as much warmth as the
partisans of the Regency. He represented to Alexander how many persons
would be compromised for merely having acted or declared their opinions
behind the shield of his promises. He repeated what Alexander had
already been told, that the Regency would, in fact, be nothing but
Bonaparte in disguise. However, Dessolles acknowledged that such was the
effect of Marshal Macdonald's powerful and persuasive eloquence that
Alexander seemed to waver; and, unwilling to give the Marshals a positive
refusal, he had recourse to a subterfuge, by which he would be enabled to
execute the design he had irrevocably formed without seeming to take on
himself alone the responsibility of a change of government. Dessolles
accordingly informed us that Alexander at last gave the following answer
to the Marshals: "Gentlemen, I am not alone; in an affair of such
importance I must consult the King of Prussia, for I have promised to do
nothing without consulting him. In a few hours you shall know my
decision." It was this decision which the Marshals went to wait for at

Most of the members of the Provisional Government attributed the evasive
reply of the Emperor Alexander to the influence of the speech of
Dessolles. For my part, while I do justice to the manner in which he
declared himself on this important occasion, I do not ascribe to his
eloquence the power of fixing Alexander's resolution, for I well know by
experience how easy it is to make princes appear to adopt the advice of
any one when the counsel given is precisely that which they wish to
follow. From the sentiments of Alexander at this time I had not the
slightest doubt as to the course he would finally pursue, and I
considered what he said about consulting the King of Prussia to be merely
a polite excuse, by which he avoided the disagreeable task of giving the
Marshals a direct refusal.

I therefore returned home quite satisfied as to the result of the Emperor
Alexander's visit to the King of Prussia. I knew, from the persons about
the Czar, that he cherished a hatred, which was but too well justified,
towards Bonaparte. Frederick William is of too firm a character to have
yielded to any of the considerations which might on this subject have
been pressed on him as they had been on the Emperor of Russia. But,
besides that the King of Prussia had legitimate reasons for disliking
Napoleon, policy would at that time have required that he should appear
to be his enemy, for to do so was to render himself popular with his
subjects. But the King of Prussia did not need to act under the dictates
of policy; he followed his own opinion in rejecting the propositions of
the Marshals, which he did without hesitation, and with much energy.

While the Marshals had gone to Paris Bonaparte was anxious to ascertain
whether his Commissioners had passed the advanced posts of the foreign
armies, and in case of resistance he determined to march on Paris, for he
could not believe that he had lost every chance. He sent an aide de camp
to desire Marmont to come immediately to Fontainebleau: such was
Napoleon's impatience that instead of waiting for the return of his aide
de camp he sent off a second and then a third officer on the same errand.
This rapid succession of envoys from the Emperor alarmed the general who
commanded the different divisions of Marmont's corps at Essonne. They
feared that the Emperor was aware of the Convention concluded that
morning with Prince Schwartzenberg, and that he had sent for Marmont with
the view of reprimanding him. The fact was, Napoleon knew nothing of the
matter, for Marmont, on departing for Paris with Macdonald and Ney, had
left orders that it should be said that he had gone to inspect his lines.
Souham; Lebrun des Essarts, and Bordessoulle, who had given their assent
to the Convention with Prince Schwartzenberg, deliberated in the absence
of Marmont, and, perhaps being ignorant that he was released from his
promise, and fearing the vengeance of Napoleon, they determined to march
upon Versailles. On arriving there the troops not finding the Marshal at
their head thought themselves betrayed, and a spirit of insurrection
broke out among them. One of Marmont's aides de camp, whom he had left
at Essonne, exerted every endeavour to prevent the departure of his
general's corps, but, finding all his efforts unavailing, he hastened to
Paris to inform the Marshal of what had happened. 'When Marmont received
this news he was breakfasting at Ney's with Macdonald and Caulaincourt:
they were waiting for the answer which the Emperor Alexander had promised
to send them. The march of his corps on Versailles threw Marmont into
despair. He said to the Marshals, "I must be off to join my corps and
quell this mutiny;" and without losing a moment he ordered his carriage
and directed the coachman to drive with the utmost speed. He sent
forward one of his aides de camp to inform the troops of his approach.

Having arrived within a hundred paces of the place where his troops were
assembled he found the generals who were under his orders advancing to
meet him. They urged him not to go farther, as the men were in open
insurrection. "I will go into the midst of them," said Marmont. "In a
moment they shall either kill me or acknowledge me as their chief:" He
sent off another aide de camp to range the troops in the order of battle.
Then, alighting from the carriage and mounting a horse, he advanced
alone, and thus harangued his troops: "How! Is there treason here? Is
it possible that you disown me? Am I not your comrade? Have I not been
wounded twenty times among you? . . . Have I not shared your fatigues
and privations? And am I not ready to do so again?" Here Marmont was
interrupted by a general shout of "Vive le Marechal! Vive le Marechal!"

The alarm caused among the members of the Provisional Government by the
mission of the Marshals was increased by the news of the mutiny of
Marmont's troops. During the whole of the day we were in a state of
tormenting anxiety. It was feared that the insurrectionary spirit might
spread among other corps of the army, and the cause of France again be
endangered. But the courage of Marmont saved everything: It would be
impossible to convey any idea of the manner in which he was received by
us at Talleyrand's when he related the particulars of what had occurred
at Versailles.

On the evening of the day on which Marmont had acted so nobly it was
proposed that the army should adopt the white cockade. In reply to this
proposition the Marshal said, "Gentlemen, I have made my troops
understand the necessity of serving France before all things. They have,
consequently, returned to order, and I can now answer for them. But what

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest