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

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Napoleon, when at St. Helena, gave a very different reading to these
incidents. On this subject he was heard to say, "If I except Labedoyere,
who flew to me with enthusiasm and affection, and another individual,
who, of his own accord, rendered me important services, nearly all the
other generals whom I met on my route evinced hesitation and uncertainty;
they yielded only to the impulse about them, if indeed they did not
manifest a hostile feeling towards me. This was the case with Ney, with
Massena, St. Cyr, Soult, as well as with Macdonald and the Duke of
Belluno, so that if the Bourbons had reason to complain of the complete
desertion of the soldiers and the people, they had no right to reproach
the chiefs of the army with conspiring against them, who had shown
themselves mere children in politics, and would be looked upon as neither
emigrants nor patriots."

Between Lyons and Fontainebleau Napoleon often travelled several miles
ahead of his army with no other escort than a few Polish lancers. His
advanced guard now generally consisted of the troops (miscalled Royal)
who happened to be before him on the road whither they had been sent to
oppose him, and to whom couriers were sent forward to give notice of the
Emperor's approach, in order that they might be quite ready to join him
with the due military ceremonies. White flags and cockades everywhere
disappeared; the tri-colour resumed its pride of place. It was spring,
and true to its season the violet had reappeared! The joy of the
soldiers and the lower orders was almost frantic, but even among the
industrious poor there were not wanting many who regretted this
precipitate return to the old order of things--to conscription, war, and
bloodshed, while in the superior classes of society there was a pretty
general consternation. The vain, volatile soldiery, however, thought of
nothing but their Emperor, saw nothing before them but the restoration of
all their laurels, the humiliation of England, and the utter defeat of
the Russians, Prussians, and Austrians.

On the night between the 19th and 20th of March Napoleon reached
Fontainebleau, and again paused, as had formerly been his custom, with
short, quick steps through the antiquated but splendid galleries of that
old palace. What must have been his feelings on revisiting the chamber
in which, the year before, it is said he had attempted suicide!

Louis XVIII., left the Palace of the Tuileries at nearly the same hour
that Bonaparte entered that of Fontainebleau.

The most forlorn hope of the Bourbons was now in a considerable army
posted between Fontainebleau and Paris. Meanwhile the two armies
approached each other at Melun; that of the King was commanded by Marshal
Macdonald. On the 20th his troops were drawn up in three lines to
receive the invaders, who were said to be advancing from Fontainebleau.
There was a long pause of suspense, of a nature which seldom fails to
render men more accessible to strong and sudden emotions. The glades of
the forest, and the acclivity which leads to it, were in full view of the
Royal army, but presented the appearance of a deep solitude. All was
silence, except when the regimental bands of music, at the command of the
officers, who remained generally faithful, played the airs of "Vive Henri
Quatre," "O Richard," "La Belle Gabrielle," and other tunes connected
with the cause and family of the Bourbons. The sounds excited no
corresponding sentiments among the soldiers.

At length, about noon, a galloping of horse was heard. An open carriage
appeared, surrounded by a few hussars, and drawn by four horses. It came
on at full speed, and Napoleon, jumping from the vehicle, was in the
midst of the ranks which had been formed to oppose him. His escort threw
themselves from their horses, mingled with their ancient comrades, and
the effect of their exhortations was instantaneous on men whose minds
were already half made up to the purpose which they now accomplished.
There was a general shout of "Vive Napoleon!" The last army of the
Bourbons passed from their side, and no further obstruction existed
betwixt Napoleon and the capital, which he was once more--but for a brief
space--to inhabit as a sovereign.

Louis, accompanied only by a few household troops, had scarcely turned
his back on the capital of his ancestors when Lavalette hastened from a
place of concealment and seized on the Post-office in the name of
Napoleon. By this measure all the King's proclamations' were
intercepted, and the restoration of the Emperor was announced to all the
departments. General Excelmans, who had just renewed his oath to Louis,
pulled down with his own hands the white flag that was floating over the
Tuileries, and hoisted the three-coloured banner.

It was late in the evening of the 20th that Bonaparte entered Paris in an
open carriage, which was driven straight to the gilded gates of the
Tuileries. He received the acclamations of the military and of the lower
classes of the suburbs, but most of the respectable citizens looked on in
silent wonderment. It was quite evident then that he was recalled by a
party--a party, in truth, numerous and powerful, but not by the unanimous
voice of the nation. The enthusiasm of his immediate adherents, however,
made up for the silence and lukewarmness of others. They filled and
crammed the square of the Carrousel, and the courts and avenues of the
Tuileries; they pressed so closely upon him that he was obliged to cry
out, "My friends, you stifle me!" and his aides de camp were compelled to
carry him in their arms up the grand staircase, and thence into the royal
apartments. It was observed, however, that amongst these ardent friends
were many men who had been the first to desert him in 1814, and that
these individuals were the most enthusiastic in their demonstrations, the
loudest in their shouts!

And thus was Napoleon again at the Tuileries, where, even more than at
Fontainebleau, his mind was flooded by the deep and painful recollections
of the past! A few nights after his return thither he sent for M. Horan,
one of the physicians who had attended Josephine during her last illness.
"So, Monsieur Horan," said he, "you did not leave the Empress during her
malady?"--"No, Sire."

What was the cause of that malady?"--"Uneasiness of mind . . .grief."--
"You believe that?" (and Napoleon laid a strong emphasis on the word
believe, looking steadfastly in the doctor's face). He then asked, "Was
she long ill? Did she suffer much?"--"She was ill a week, Sire; her
Majesty suffered little bodily pain."--"Did she see that she was dying?
Did she show courage?"--"A sign her Majesty made when she could no longer
express herself leaves me no doubt that she felt her end approaching; she
seamed to contemplate it without fear."--" Well! . . well!" and then
Napoleon much affected drew close to M. Horan, and added, "You say that
she was in grief; from what did that arise?"--"From passing events, Sire;
from your Majesty's position last year."--" Ah! she used to speak of me
then?"--"Very often." Here Napoleon drew his hand across his eyes, which
seemed filled with tears. He then went on. "Good woman!--Excellent
Josephine! She loved me truly--she--did she not? . . . Ah! She was a
Frenchwoman!"--"Yes, Sire, she loved you, and she would have proved it
had it not been for dread of displeasing you: she had conceived an idea."
--"How? ... What would she have done?" She one day said that as Empress
of the French she would drive through Paris with eight horses to her
coach, and all her household in gala livery, to go and rejoin you at
Fontainebleau, and never quit you mare."--"She would have done it--she
was capable of doing it!"

Napoleon again betrayed deep emotion, on recovering from which he asked
the physician the most minute questions about the nature of Josephine's
disease, the friends and attendants who were around her at the hour of
her death, and the conduct of her two children, Eugene and Hortense.



Message from the Tuileries--My interview with the King--
My appointment to the office of Prefect of the Police--Council at
the Tuileries--Order for arrests--Fouches escape--Davoust
unmolested--Conversation with M. de Blacas--The intercepted letter,
and time lost--Evident understanding between Murat and Napoleon--
Plans laid at Elba--My departure from Paris--The post-master of
Fins--My arrival at Lille--Louis XVIII. detained an hour at the
gates--His majesty obliged to leave France--My departure for
Hamburg--The Duc de Berri at Brussels.

Those who opposed the execution of the treaty concluded with Napoleon at
the time of his abdication were guilty of a great error, for they
afforded him a fair pretext for leaving the island of Elba. The details
of that extraordinary enterprise are known to every one, and I shall not
repeat what has been told over and over again. For my own part, as soon
as I saw with what rapidity Bonaparte was marching upon Lyons, and the
enthusiasm with which he was received by the troops and the people, I
prepared to retire to Belgium, there to await the denouement of this new

Every preparation for my departure was completed on the evening of the
13th of March, and I was ready to depart, to avoid the persecutions of
which I expected I should be the object, when I received a message from
the Tuileries stating that the King desired to see me. I of course lost
no time in proceeding to the Palace, and went straight to M. Hue to
inquire of him why I had been sent for. He occupied the apartments in
which I passed the three most laborious and anxious years of my life.
M. Hue, perceiving that I felt a certain degree of uneasiness at being
summoned to the Tuileries at that hour of the night, hastened to inform
me that the King wished to appoint me Prefect of the Police. He
conducted me to the King's chamber, where his Majesty thus addressed me
kindly, but in an impressive manner, "M. de Bourrienne, can we rely upon
you? I expect much from your zeal and fidelity."--"Your Majesty,"
replied I, "shall have no reason to complain of my betraying your
confidence."--" Well, I re-establish the Prefecture of the Police, and I
appoint you Prefect. Do your best, M. de Bourrienne, in the discharge of
your duties; I count upon you."

By a singular coincidence, on the very day (the 13th of March) when I
received this appointment Napoleon, who was at Lyons, signed the decree
which excluded from the amnesty he had granted thirteen individuals,
among whose names mine was inscribed. This decree confirmed me in the
presentiments I had conceived as soon as I heard of the landing of
Bonaparte. On returning home from the Tuileries after receiving my
appointment a multitude of ideas crowded on my mind. At the first moment
I had been prompted only by the wish to serve the cause of the King, but
I was alarmed when I came to examine the extent of the responsibility I
had taken upon myself. However, I determined to meet with courage the
difficulties that presented themselves, and I must say that I had every
reason to be satisfied with the manner in which I was seconded by M.
Foudras, the Inspector-General of the Police.

Even now I am filled with astonishment when I think of the Council that
was held at the Tuileries on the evening of the 13th of March in M. de
Blacas' apartments. The ignorance of the members of that Council
respecting our situation, and their confidence in the useless measures
they had adopted against Napoleon, exceed all conception.

Will it be believed that those great statesmen, who had the control of
the telegraph, the post-office, the police and its agents, money-in
short, everything which constitutes power--asked me to give them
information respecting the advance of Bonaparte? What could I say to
them? I could only repeat the reports which were circulated on the
Exchange, and those which I had collected here and there during the last
twenty-four hours. I did not conceal that the danger was imminent, and
that all their precautions would be of no avail. The question then arose
as to what course should be adapted by the King. It was impossible that
the monarch could remain at the Capital, and yet, where was he to go?
One proposed that he should go to Bordeaux, another to La Vendee, and a
third to Normandy, and a fourth member of the Council was of opinion that
the King should be conducted to Melun. I conceived that if a battle
should take place anywhere it would probably be in the neighbourhood of
that town, but the councillor who made this last suggestion assured us
that the presence of the King in an open carriage and eight horses would
produce a wonderful effect on the minds of the troops. This project was
merely ridiculous; the others appeared to be dangerous and impracticable.
I declared to the Council that, considering the situation of things, it
was necessary to renounce all idea of resistance by force of arms; that
no soldier would fire a musket, and that it was madness to attempt to
take any other view of things. "Defection," said I, "is inevitable.
The soldiers are drinking in their barracks the money which you have been
giving them for some days past to purchase their fidelity. They say
Louis XVIII., is a very decent sort of man, but 'Vive le petit Caporal!'"

Immediately on the landing of Napoleon the King sent an extraordinary
courier to Marmont, who was at Chatillon whither he had gone to take a
last leave of his dying mother. I saw him one day after he had had an
interview with the King; I think it was on the 6th or 7th of March.
After some conversation on the landing of Napoleon, and the means of
preventing him from reaching Paris, Marmont said to me, "This is what I
dwelt most strongly upon in the interview I have just had with the King.
'Sire,' said I, 'I doubt not Bonaparte's intention of coming to Paris,
and the best way to prevent him doing so would be for your Majesty to
remain here. It is necessary to secure the Palace of the Tuileries
against a surprise, and to prepare it for resisting a siege, in which it
would be indispensable to use cannon. You must shut yourself up in your
palace, with the individuals of your household and the principal public
functionaries, while the Due d'Angoulome should go to Bordeaux, the Duc
de Berri to La Vendee, and Monsieur to, the Franche-Comte; but they must
set off in open day, and announce that they are going to collect
defenders for your Majesty.--[Monsieur, the brother of the King, the
Comte d'Artois later Charles X.]

". . This is what I said to the King this morning, and I added that I
would answer for everything if my advice were followed. I am now going
to direct my aide de camp, Colonel Fabvier, to draw up the plan of
defence." I did not concur in Marmont's opinion. It is certainly
probable that had Louis XVIII. remained in his palace the numerous
defections which took place before the 20th of March would have been
checked and some persons would not have found so ready an excuse for
breaking their oaths of allegiance. There can be little doubt, too, but
Bonaparte would have reflected well before he attempted the siege of the

--[Marmont (tome vii. p. 87) gives the full details of his scheme
for provisioning and garrisoning the Tuileries which the King was to
hold while his family spread themselves throughout the provinces.
The idea had nothing strange in it, for the same advice was given by
General Mathieu Dumas (Souvenirs, tome iii. p. 564), a man not
likely to suggest any rash schemes. Jaucourt, writing to
Talleyrand, obviously believed in the wisdom of the King's
remaining, as did the Czar; see Talleyrand's Correspondence, vol.
ii. pp. 94, 122, 129. Napoleon would certainly have been placed
in a strange difficulty, but a king capable of adopting such a
resolution would never have been required to consider it.]--

Marmont supported his opinion by observing that the admiration and
astonishment excited by the extraordinary enterprise of Napoleon and his
rapid march to Paris would be counterbalanced by the interest inspired by
a venerable monarch defying his bold rival and courageously defending his
throne. While I rendered full justice to the good intentions of the Duke
of Ragusa, yet I did not think that his advice could be adopted. I
opposed it as I opposed all the propositions that were made in the
Council relative to the different places to which the King should retire.
I myself suggested Lille as being the nearest, and as presenting the
greatest degree of safety, especially in the first instance.

It was after midnight when I left the Council of the Tuileries. The
discussion had terminated, and without coming to any precise resolution
it was agreed that the different opinions which had been expressed should
be submitted to Louis XVIII. in order that his Majesty might adopt that
which should appear to him the best. The King adopted my opinion, but it
was not acted upon until five days after.

My appointment to the Prefecture of the Police was, as will be seen, a
late thought of measure, almost as late indeed as Napoleon's proposition
to send me as his Minister Plenipotentiary to Switzerland. In now
accepting office I was well convinced of the inutility of any effort that
might be made to arrest the progress of the fast approaching and menacing
events. Being introduced into the King's cabinet his Majesty asked me
what I thought of the situation of affairs. "I think, Sire, that
Bonaparte will be here in five or six days."--"What, sir?"--"Yes, Sire."
--"But proper measures are taken, the necessary orders given, and the
Marshals are faithful to me."--"Sire, I suspect no man's fidelity; but I
can assure your Majesty that, as Bonaparte has landed, he will be here
within a week. I know him, and your Majesty cannot know him as well as I
do; but I can venture too assure your Majesty with the same confidence
that he will not be here six months hence. He will be hurried into acts
of folly which will ruin him."--"De Bourrienne, I hope the best from
events, but if misfortune again compel me to leave France, and your
second prediction be fulfilled, you may rely on me." During this short
conversation the King appeared perfectly tranquil and resigned.

The next day I again visited the Tuileries, whither I had at those
perilous times frequent occasion to repair. On that day I received a
list of twenty-five persons whom I was ordered to arrest. I took the
liberty to observe that such a proceeding was not only useless but likely
to produce a very injurious effect at that critical moment. The reasons
I urged had not all the effect I expected. However, some relaxation as
to twenty-three of the twenty-five was conceded, but it was insisted that
Fouche and Davoust should be arrested without delay. The King repeatedly
said, "I wish you to arrest Fouche."--" Sire, I beseech your Majesty to
consider the inutility of such a measure."--" I am resolved upon Fouches
arrest. But I am sure you will miss him, for Andre could not catch him."

My nocturnal installation as Prefect of the Police took place some time
after midnight. I had great repugnance to the arrest of Fouche, but the
order having been given, there was no alternative but to obey it. I
communicated the order to M. Foudras, who very coolly observed, "Since we
are to arrest him you need not be afraid, we shall have him fast

The next day my agents repaired to the Duke of Otranto's hotel, in the
Rue d'Artois. On showing their warrant Fouche said, "What does this
mean? Your warrant is of no force; it is mere waste-paper. It purports
to come from the Prefect of the Police, but there is no such Prefect."
In my opinion Fouche was right, for my appointment, which took place
during the night, had not been legally announced. Be that as it may,
on his refusal to surrender, one of my agents applied to the staff of the
National Guard, requesting the support, in case of need, of an armed
force. General Dessolles repaired to the Tuileries to take the King's
orders on the subject. Meanwhile Fouche, who never lost his self-
possession, after talking to the police officers who remained with him,
pretended to step aside for some indispensable purpose, but the door
which he opened led into a dark passage through which he slipped, leaving
my unfortunate agents groping about in the obscurity. As for himself, he
speedily gained the Rue Taitbout, where he stepped into a coach, and
drove off. This is the whole history of the notable arrest of Fouche.

As for Davoust, I felt my hands tied with respect to him. I do not mean
to affect generosity, for I acknowledge the enmity I bore him; but I did
not wish it to be supposed that I was acting towards him from a spirit of
personal vengeance. I therefore merely ordered him to be watched. The
other twenty-three were to me in this matter as if they had never
existed; and some of them, perhaps, will only learn in reading my Memoirs
what dangerous characters they were thought to be.

On the 15th of March, after the conversation which, as I have already
related, I had with Louis XVIII, I went to M. de Blacas and repeated to
him what I had stated to the King on the certainty of Bonaparte's speedy
arrival in Paris. I told him that I found it necessary to devote the
short time still in our power to prevent a reaction against the
Royalists, and to preserve public tranquillity until the departure of the
Royal family, and that I would protect the departure of all persons who
had reasons for withdrawing themselves from the scene of the great and
perhaps disastrous events that might ensue. "You may readily believe,
Count," added I, "that considering the great interests with which I am
entrusted, I am not inclined to lose valuable time in arresting the
persons of whose names I have received a list. The execution of such a
measure would be useless; it would lead to nothing, or rather it would
serve to irritate public feeling. My conviction of this fact has
banished from me all idea of keeping under restraint for four or five
days persons whose influence, whether real or supposed, is nil, since
Bonaparte is at Auxerre. Mere supervision appears to me sufficient, and
to that I propose confining myself."--"The King," replied M. de Blacas,
"relies on you. He knows that though only forty-eight hours have elapsed
since you entered upon your functions, you have already rendered greater
services than you are perhaps aware of." I then asked M. de Blacas
whether he had not received any intimation of Bonaparte's intended
departure from the island of Elba by letters or by secret agents. "The
only positive information we received," answered the Minister, "was an
intercepted letter, dated Elba, 6th February. It was addressed to
M. -----, near Grenoble. I will show it you." M. de Blacas opened a
drawer of his writing-table and took out the letter, which he gave to me.
The writer thanked his correspondent for the information he had
transmitted to "the inhabitant of Elba." He was informed that everything
was ready for departure, and that the first favourable opportunity would
be seized, but that it would be desirable first to receive answers to
some questions contained in the letter. These questions related to the
regiments which had been sent into the south, and the places of their
cantonment. It was inquired whether the choice of the commanders was
conformable to what had been agreed on in Paris, and whether Labedoyere
was at his post. The letter was rather long and it impressed me by the
way in which the plan of a landing on the coast of Provence was
discussed. Precise answers were requested on all these points. On
returning the letter to M. de Blacas I remarked that the contents of the
letter called for the adoption of some decided measures, and I asked him
what had been done. He answered, "I immediately sent a copy of the
letter to M. d'Andre, that he might give orders for arresting the
individual to whom it was addressed."

Having had the opportunity of closely observing the machinery of a
vigilant and active Government, I was, I must confess, not a little
amazed at the insufficiency of the measures adopted to defeat this well-
planned conspiracy. When M. de Blacas informed me of all that had been
done, I could not repress an exclamation of surprise. "Well," said he,
"and what would you have done?"--"In the first place I would not have
lost twenty-four hours, which were an age in such a crisis." I then
explained the plan I would have adopted. A quarter of an hour after the
receipt of the letter I would have sent trustworthy men to Grenoble, and
above all things I would have taken care not to let the matter fall into
the hands of the police. Having obtained all information from the
correspondent at Grenoble, I would have made him write a letter to his
correspondent at Elba to quiet the eagerness of Napoleon, telling him
that the movement of troops he spoke of had not been made, that it would
take eight days to carry it out, and that it was necessary to the success
of the enterprise to delay the embarkation for some days. While
Bonaparte was thus delayed I would have sent to the coast of Provence a
sufficient body of men devoted to the Royal cause, sending off in another
direction the regiments whose chiefs were gained over by Napoleon, as the
correspondence should reveal their names. "You are perhaps right, sir,"
said M. de Blacas, "but what could I do? I am new here. I had not the
control of the police, and I trusted to M. d'Andre."--" Well," said I,
"Bonaparte will be here on the 20th of March." With these words I parted
from M. de Blacas. I remarked a great change in him. He had already
lost a vast deal of that hauteur of favouritism which made him so much

When I entered upon my duties in the Prefecture of Police the evil was
already past remedy. The incorrigible emigres required another lesson,
and the temporary resurrection of the Empire was inevitable. But, if
Bonaparte was recalled, it was not owing to any attachment to him
personally; it was not from any fidelity to the recollections of the
Empire. It was resolved at any price to get rid of those imbecile
councillors, who thought they might treat France like a country conquered
by the emigrants. The people determined to free themselves from a
Government which seemed resolved to trample on all that was dear to
France. In this state of things some looked upon Bonaparte as a
liberator, but the greater number regarded him as an instrument. In this
last character he was viewed by the old Republicans, and by a new
generation, who thought they caught a glimpse of liberty in promises, and
Who were blind enough to believe that the idol of France would be
restored by Napoleon.

In February 1815, while everything was preparing at Elba for the
approaching departure of Napoleon, Murat applied to the Court of Vienna
for leave to march through the Austrian Provinces of Upper Italy an army
directed on France. It was on the 26th of the same month that Bonaparte
escaped from Elba. These two facts were necessarily connected together,
for, in spite of Murat's extravagant ideas, he never could have
entertained the expectation of obliging the King of France, by the mere
force of arms, to acknowledge his continued possession of the throne of
Naples. Since the return of Louis XVIII. the Cabinet of the Tuileries
had never regarded Murat in any other light than as a usurper, and I know
from good authority that the French Plenipotentiaries at the Congress of
Vienna were especially instructed to insist that the restoration of the
throne of Naples in favour of the Bourbons of the Two Sicilies should be
a consequence of the restoration of the throne of France. I also know
that the proposition was firmly opposed on the part of Austria, who had
always viewed with jealousy the occupation of three thrones of Europe by
the single House of Bourbon.

According to information, for the authenticity of which I can vouch, the
following were the plans which Napoleon conceived at Elba. Almost
immediately after his arrival in France he was to order the Marshals on
whom he could best rely to defend to the utmost the entrances to the
French territory and the approaches to Paris, by pivoting on the triple
line of fortresses which gird the north and east of France. Davoust was
'in petto' singled out for the defence of Paris. He, was to arm the
inhabitants of the suburbs, and to have, besides, 20,000 men of the
National Guard at his disposal. Napoleon, not being aware of the
situation of the Allies, never supposed that they could concentrate their
forces and march against him so speedily as they did. He hoped to take
them by surprise, and defeat their projects, by making Murat march upon
Milan, and by stirring up insurrections in Italy. The Po being once
crossed, and Murat approaching the capital of Lombardy, Napoleon with the
corps of Suchet, Brune, Grouchy, and Massena, augmented by troops sent,
by forced marches, to Lyons, was to cross the Alps and revolutionise
Piedmont. There, having recruited his army and joined the Neapolitans in
Milan, he was to proclaim the independence of Italy, unite the whole
country under a single chief, and then march at the head of 100,000 men
on Vienna, by the Julian Alps, across which victory had conducted him in
1797. This was not all: numerous emissaries scattered through Poland and
Hungary were to foment discord and raise the cry of liberty and
independence, to alarm Russia and Austria. It must be confessed it would
have been an extraordinary spectacle to see Napoleon giving liberty to
Europe in revenge for not having succeeded in enslaving her.

By means of these bold manoeuvres and vast combinations Napoleon
calculated that he would have the advantage of the initiative in military
operations. Perhaps his genius was never more fully developed than in
this vast conception. According to this plan he was to extend his
operations over a line of 500 leagues, from Ostend to Vienna, by the Alps
and Italy, to provide himself with immense resources of every kind, to
prevent the Emperor of Austria from marching his troops against France,
and probably force him to terminate a war from which the hereditary
provinces would have exclusively suffered. Such was the bright prospect
which presented itself to Napoleon when he stepped on board the vessel
which was to convey him from Elba to France. But the mad precipitation
of Murat put Europe on the alert, and the brilliant illusion vanished
like a dream.

After being assured that all was tranquil, and that the Royal family was
secure against every danger, I myself set out at four o'clock on the
morning of the 20th of March, taking the road to Lille.--Nothing
extraordinary occurred until I arrived at the post-office of Fins, in
front of which were drawn up a great number of carriages, which had
arrived before mine, and the owners of which, like myself, were
impatiently waiting for horses. I soon observed that some one called the
postmaster aside in a way which did not appear entirely devoid of
mystery, and I acknowledge I felt some degree of alarm. I was in the
room in which the travellers were waiting, and my attention was attracted
by a large bill fixed against the wall. It was printed in French and
Russian, and it proved to be the order of the day which I had been
fortunate enough to obtain from the Emperor Alexander to exempt
posthorses, etc., from the requisitions of the Allied troops.

I was standing looking at the bill when the postmaster came into the room
and advanced towards me. "Sir," said he, "that is an order of the day
which saved me from ruin."--"Then surely you would not harm the man by
whom it is signed?"--"I know you, sir, I recognised you immediately.
I saw you in Paris when you were Director of the Post-office, and you
granted a just claim which I had upon you. I have now come to tell you
that they are harnessing two horses to your calash, and you may set off
at full speed." The worthy man had assigned to my use the only two
horses at his disposal; his son performed the office of postilion, and I
set off to the no small dissatisfaction of some of the travellers who had
arrived before me, and who, perhaps, had as good reasons as I to avoid
the presence of Napoleon.

We arrived at Lille at eleven o'clock on the night of the 21st. Here I
encountered another vexation, though not of an alarming kind. The gates
of the town were closed, and I was obliged to content myself with a
miserable night's lodging in the suburb.

I entered Lille on the 22d, and Louis XVIII. arrived on the 23d. His
Majesty also found the gates closed, and more than an hour elapsed before
an order could be obtained for opening them, for the Duke of Orleans, who
commanded the town, was inspecting the troops when his Majesty arrived.
The King was perfectly well received at Lille. There indeed appeared
some symptoms of defection, but it must be acknowledged that the officers
of the old army had been so singularly sacrificed to the promotion of the
returned emigrants that it was very natural the former should hail the
return of the man who had so often led them to victory. I put up at the
Hotel de Grand, certainly without forming any prognostic respecting the
future residence of the King. When I saw his Majesty's retinue I went
down and stood at the door of the hotel, where as soon as Louis XVIII.
perceived me he distinguished me from among all the persons who were
awaiting his arrival, and holding out his hand for me to kiss he said,
"Follow me, M. de Bourrienne."

On entering the apartments prepared for him the King expressed to me his
approval of my conduct since the Restoration, and especially during the
short interval in which I had discharged the functions of Prefect of the
Police. He did me the honour to invite me to breakfast with him. The
conversation naturally turned on the events of the day, of which every
one present spoke according to his hopes or fears. Observing that Louis
XVIII. concurred in Berthier's discouraging view of affairs, I ventured
to repeat what I had already said at the Tuileries, that, judging from
the disposition of the sovereigns of Europe and the information which I
had received, it appeared very probable that his Majesty would be again
seated on his throne in three months. Berthier bit his nails as he did
when he wanted to leave the army of Egypt and return to Paris to the
object of his adoration. Berthier was not hopeful; he was always one of
those men who have the least confidence and the most depression. I could
perceive that the King regarded my observation as one of those
compliments which he was accustomed to receive, and that he had no great
confidence in the fulfilment of my prediction. However, wishing to seem
to believe it, he said, what he had more than hinted before, "M. de
Bourrienne, as long as I am King you shall be my Prefect of the Police."

It was the decided intention of Louis XVIII. to remain in France as long
as he could, but the Napoleonic fever, which spread like an epidemic
among the troops, had infected the garrison of Lille. Marshal Mortier,
who commanded at Lille, and the Duke of Orleans, expressed to me their
well-founded fears, and repeatedly recommended me to urge the King to
quit Lille speedily, in order to avoid any fatal occurrence. During the
two days I passed with his Majesty I entreated him to yield to the
imperious circumstances in which he was placed. At length the King, with
deep regret, consented to go, and I left Lille the day before that fixed
for his Majesty's departure.

In September 1814 the King had appointed me charge d'affaires from France
to Hamburg, but not having received orders to repair to my post I have
not hitherto mentioned this nomination. However, when Louis XVIII. was
on the point of leaving France he thought that my presence in Hamburg
might be useful for the purpose of making him acquainted with all that
might interest him in the north of Germany. But it was not there that
danger was to be apprehended. There were two points to be watched--the
headquarters of Napoleon and the King's Council at Ghent. I, however,
lost no time in repairing to a city where I was sure of finding a great
many friends. On passing through Brussels I alighted at the Hotel de
Bellevue, where the Duc de Berri arrived shortly after me. His Royal
Highness then invited me to breakfast with him, and conversed with me
very confidentially. I afterwards continued my journey.



Message to Madame de Bourrienne on the 20th of March--Napoleon's
nocturnal entrance into Paris--General Becton sent to my family by
Caulaincourt--Recollection of old persecutions--General Driesen--
Solution of an enigma--Seals placed on my effects--Useless searches
--Persecution of women--Madame de Stael and Madame de Recamier--
Paris during the Hundred Days--The federates and patriotic songs--
Declaration of the Plenipotentiaries at Vienna.

At Lille, and again at Hamburg, I received letters from my family, which
I had looked for with great impatience. They contained particulars of
what had occurred relative to me since Bonaparte's return to Paris.
Two hours after my departure Madame de Bourrienne also left Paris,
accompanied by her children, and proceeded to an asylum which had been
offered her seven leagues from the capital. She left at my house in
Paris her sister, two of her brothers, and her friend the Comtesse de
Neuilly, who had resided with us since her return from the emigration.

On the very morning of my wife's departure (namely, the 20th of March) a
person, with whom I had always been on terms of friendship, and who was
entirely devoted to Bonaparte, sent to request that Madame de Bourrienne
would call on him, as he wished to speak to her on most important and
urgent business. My sister-in-law informed the messenger that my wife
had left Paris, but, begging a friend to accompany her, she went herself
to the individual, whose name will be probably guessed, though I do not
mention it. The person who came with the message to my house put many
questions to Madame de Bourrienne's sister respecting my absence, and
advised her, above all things, to conjure me not to follow the King,
observing that the cause of Louis XVIII. was utterly lost, and that I
should do well to retire quietly to Burgundy, as there was no doubt of my
obtaining the Emperor's pardon.

Nothing could be more gloomy than Bonaparte's entrance into Paris. He
arrived at night in the midst of a thick fog. The streets were almost
deserted, and a vague feeling of terror prevailed almost generally in the

At nine o'clock on the same evening, the very hour of Bonaparte's arrival
at the Tuileries, a lady, a friend, of my family, and whose son served in
the Young Guard, called and requested to see Madame de Bourrienne. She
refused to enter the house lest she should be seen, and my sister-in-law
went down to the garden to speak to her without a light. This lady's
brother had been on the preceding night to Fontainebleau to see
Bonaparte, and he had directed his sister to desire me to remain in
Paris, and to retain my post in the Prefecture of the Police, as I was
sure of a full and complete pardon.

On the morning of the 21st General Becton, who has since been the victim
of his mad enterprises, called at my house and requested to speak with me
and Madame de Bourrienne. He was received by my wife's sister and
brothers, and stated that he came from M. de Caulaincourt to renew the
assurances of safety which had already been given to me. I was, I
confess, very sensible of these proofs of friendship when they came to my
knowledge, but I did not for a single moment repent the course I adopted.
I could not forget the intrigues of which I had been the object since
1811, nor the continual threats of arrest which, during that year, had
not left me a moment's quiet; and since I now revert to that time, I may
take the opportunity of explaining how in 1814 I was made acquainted with
the real causes of the persecution to which I had been a prey. A person,
whose name prudence forbids me mentioning, communicated to me the
following letter, the original copy of which is in my possession:

MONSIEUR LE DUC DE BASSANO--I send you some very important documents
respecting the Sieur Bourrienne, and beg you will make me a
confidential report on this affair. Keep these documents for
yourself alone. This business demands the utmost secrecy.
Everything induces me to believe that Bourrienne has carried a
series of intrigues with London. Bring me the report on Thursday.
I pray God, etc.
PARIS, 25th December 1811.

I could now clearly perceive what to me had hitherto been enveloped in
obscurity; but I was not, as yet, made acquainted with the documents
mentioned in Napoleon's epistle. Still, however, the cause of his
animosity was an enigma which I was unable to guess, but I obtained its
solution some time afterwards.

General Driesen, who was the Governor of Mittau while Louis XVIII.
resided in that town, came to Paris in 1814. I had been well acquainted
with him in 1810 at Hamburg, where he lived for a considerable time.
While at Mittau he conceived a chivalrous and enthusiastic friendship for
the King of France. We were at first distrustful of each other, but
afterwards the most intimate confidence arose between us. General
Driesen looked forward with certainty to the return of the Bourbons to
France, and in the course of our frequent conversations on his favourite
theme he gradually threw off all reserve, and at length disclosed to me
that he was maintaining a correspondence with the King.

He told me that he had sent to Hartwell several drafts of proclamations,
with none of which, he said, the King was satisfied. On allowing me the
copy of the last of these drafts I frankly told him that I was quite of
the King's opinion as to its unfitness. I observed that if the King
should one day return to France and act as the general advised he would
not keep possession of his throne six months. Driesen then requested me
to dictate a draft of a proclamation conformably with my ideas. This I
consented to do on one condition, viz. that he would never mention my
name in connection with the business, either in writing or conversation.
General Driesen promised this, and then I dictated to him a draft which I
would now candidly lay before the reader if I had a copy of it. I may
add that in the different proclamations of Louis XVIII. I remarked
several passages precisely corresponding with the draft I had dictated at

During the four years which intervened between my return to Paris and the
downfall of the Empire it several times occurred to me that General
Driesen had betrayed my secret, and on his very first visit to me after
the Restoration, our conversation happening to turn on Hamburg, I asked
him whether he had not disclosed what I wished him to conceal? "Well,"
said he, "there is no harm in telling the truth now. After you had left
Hamburg the King wrote to me inquiring the name of the author of the last
draft I had sent him, which was very different from all that had preceded
it. I did not answer this question, but the King having repeated it in a
second letter, and having demanded an answer, I was compelled to break my
promise to you, and I put into the post-office of Gothenberg in Sweden a
letter for the King, in which I mentioned your name."

The mystery was now revealed to me. I clearly saw what had excited in
Napoleon's mind the suspicion that I was carrying on intrigues with
England. I have no doubt as to the way in which the affair came to his
knowledge. The King must have disclosed my name to one of those persons
whose situations placed them above the suspicion of any betrayal of
confidence, and thus the circumstance must have reached the ear of
Bonaparte. This is not a mere hypothesis, for I well know how promptly
and faithfully Napoleon was informed of all that was said and done at

Having shown General Drieaen Napoleon's accusatory letter, he begged that
I would entrust him with it for a day or two, saying he would show it to
the King at a private audience. His object was to serve me, and to
excite Louis XVIII.'s interest in my behalf, by briefly relating to him
the whole affair. The general came to me on leaving tile Tuileries, and
assured me that the King after perusing the letter, had the great
kindness to observe that I might think myself very happy in not having
been shot. I know not whether Napoleon was afterwards informed of the
details of this affair, which certainly had no connection with any
intrigues with England, and which, after all, would have been a mere
peccadillo in comparison, with the conduct I thought it my duty to adopt
at the time of the Restoration.

Meanwhile Madame de Bourrienne informed me by an express that seals were
to be placed on the effects of all the persons included in the decree of
Lyons, and consequently upon mine. As soon as my wife received
information of this she quitted her retreat and repaired to Paris to face
the storm. On the 29th of March, at nine in the evening, the police
agents presented themselves at my house. Madame de Bourrienne
remonstrated against the measure and the inconvenient hour that was
chosen for its execution; but all was in vain, and there was no
alternative but to submit.

But the matter did not end with the first formalities performed by
Fouche's alguazils. During the month of May seven persons were appointed
to examine, my papers, and among the inquisitorial septemvirate were two
men well known and filling high situations. One of these executed his
commission, but the other, sensible of the odium attached to it, wrote to
say he was unwell, and never came. The number of my inquisitors, 'in
domo', was thus reduced to six. They behaved with great rudeness, and
executed their mission with a rigour and severity exceedingly painful to
my family. They carried their search so far as to rummage the pockets of
my old clothes, and even to unrip the linings. All this was done in the
hope of finding something that would commit me in the eyes of the new
master of France. But I was not to be caught in that way, and before
leaving home I had taken such precautions as to set my mind perfectly at

However, those who had declared themselves strongly against Napoleon were
not the only persons who had reason to be alarmed at his return. Women
even, by a system of inquisition unworthy of the Emperor, but
unfortunately quite in unison with his hatred of all liberty, were
condemned to exile, and had cause to apprehend further severity. It is
for the exclusive admirers of the Chief of the Empire to approve of
everything which proceeded from him, even his rigour against a
defenceless sex; it is for them to laugh at the misery of a woman, and a
writer of genius, condemned without any form of trial to the most severe
punishment short of death. For my part, I saw neither justice nor
pleasantry in the exile of Madame de Chevreuse for having had the courage
(and courage was not common then even among men) to say that she was not
made to be the gaoler of the Queen of Spain. On Napoleon's return from.
the isle of Elba, Madame de Stael was in a state of weakness, which
rendered her unable to bear any sudden and violent emotion. This
debilitated state of health had been produced by her flight from Coppet
to Russia immediately after the birth of the son who was the fruit of her
marriage with M. Rocca. In spite of the danger of a journey in such
circumstances she saw greater danger in staying where she was, and she
set out on her new exile. That exile was not of long duration, but
Madame de Stael never recovered from the effect of the alarm and fatigue
it occasioned her.

The name of the authoress of Corinne, naturally calls to mind that of the
friend who was most faithful to her in misfortune, and who was not
herself screened from the severity of Napoleon by the just and universal
admiration of which she was the object. In 1815 Madame Recamier did not
leave Paris, to which she had returned in 1814, though her exile was not
revoked. I know positively that Hortense assured her of the pleasure she
would feel in receiving her, and that Madame Recamier, as an excuse for
declining the perilous honour, observed that she had determined never
again to appear in the world as long as her friends should be persecuted.
The memorial de Sainte Helene, referring to the origin of the ill-will of
the Chief of the Empire towards the society of Madame de Stael and Madame
Recamier, etc., seems to reproach Madame Recamier, "accustomed," says the
Memorial, "to ask for everything and to obtain everything," for having
claimed nothing less than the complete reinstatement of her father.
Whatever may have been the pretensions of Madame Recamier, Bonaparte, not
a little addicted to the custom he complains of in her, could not have,
with a good grace, made a crime of her ingratitude if he on his side had
not claimed a very different sentiment from gratitude. I was with the
First Consul at the time M. Bernard, the father of Madame Reamier, was
accused, and I have not forgotten on what conditions the re-establishment
would have been granted.

The frequent interviews between Madame Recamier and Madame de Stael were
not calculated to bring Napoleon to sentiments and measures of
moderation. He became more and more irritated at this friendship between
two women formed for each other's society; and, on the occasion of one of
Madame Recamier's journeys to Coppet he informed her, through the medium
of Fouche, that she was perfectly at liberty to go to Switzerland, but
not to return to Paris. "Ah, Monseigneur! a great man may be pardoned
for the weakness of loving women, but not for fearing them." This was
the only reply of Madame Recamier to Fouche when she set out for Coppet.
I may here observe that the personal prejudices of the Emperor would not
have been of a persevering and violent character if some of the people
who surrounded him had not sought to foment them. I myself fell a victim
to this. Napoleon's affection for me would perhaps have got the upper
hand if his relenting towards me had not been incessantly combated by my
enemies around him.

I had no opportunity of observing the aspect of Paris during that
memorable period recorded in history by the name of the Hundred Days,
but the letters which I received at the time, together with all that,
I afterwards heard, concurred in assuring me that the capital never
presented so melancholy s picture as: during those three months. No one
felt any confidence in Napoleon's second reign, and it was said, without
any sort of reserve, that Fouche, while serving the cause of usurpation,
would secretly betray it. The future was viewed with alarm, and the
present with dissatisfaction. The sight of the federates who paraded the
faubourgs and the boulevards, vociferating, "The Republic for ever!" and
"Death to the Royalists!" their sanguinary songs, the revolutionary airs
played in our theatres, all tended to produce a fearful torpor in the
public mind, and the issue of the impending events was anxiously awaited.

One of the circumstances which, at the commencement of the Hundred Days,
most contributed to open the eyes of those who were yet dazzled by the
past glory of Napoleon, was the assurance with which he declared that the
Empress and his son would be restored to him, though nothing warranted
that announcement. It was evident that he could not count on any ally;
and in spite of the prodigious activity with which a new army was raised
those persons must have been blind indeed who could imagine the
possibility of his triumphing over Europe, again armed to oppose him.
I deplored the inevitable disasters which Bonaparte's bold enterprise
would entail, but I had such certain information respecting the
intentions of the Allied powers, and the spirit which animated the
Plenipotentiaries at Vienna, that I could not for a moment doubt the
issue of the conflict: Thus I was not at all surprised when I received at
Hamburg the minutes of the conferences at Vienna in May 1815.

When the first intelligence of Bonaparte's landing was received at Vienna
it must be confessed that very little had been done at the Congress, for
measures calculated to reconstruct a solid and durable order of things
could only be framed and adopted deliberately, and upon mature
reflection. Louis XVIII. had instructed his Plenipotentiaries to defend
and support the principles of justice and the law of nations, so as to
secure the rights of all parties and avert the chances of a new war.
The Congress was occupied with these important objects when intelligence
was received of Napoleon's departure from Elba and his landing at the
Gulf of Juan. The Plenipotentiaries then signed the protocol of the
conferences to which I have above alluded.


The following despatch of Napoleon's to Marshal Davoust (given in Captain
Bingham's Translation, vo1 iii. p. 121), though not strictly bearing
upon the subject of the Duke of Bassano's inquiry (p. 256), may perhaps
find a place here, as indicative of the private feeling of the Emperor
towards Bourrienne. As the reader will remember, it has already been
alluded to earlier in the work:

COMPIEGNE, 3d September 1811.

I have received your letter concerning the cheating of Bourrienne at
Hamburg. It will be important to throw light upon what he has done.
Have the Jew, Gumprecht Mares, arrested, seize his papers, and place him
in solitary confinement. Have some of the other principal agents of
Bourrienne arrested, so as to discover his doings at Hamburg, and the
embezzlements he has committed there.
(Signed) NAPOLEON.


Had neither learned nor forgotten anything
Nothing is changed in France: there is only one Frenchman more
Rights of misfortune are always sacred



His Private Secretary

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




--[By the Editor of the 1836 edition]--


Napoleon at Paris--Political manoeuvres--The meeting of the Champ-
de-Mai--Napoleon, the Liberals, and the moderate Constitutionalists
--His love of arbitrary power as strong as ever--Paris during the
Cent Jours--Preparations for his last campaign--The Emperor leaves
Paris to join the army--State of Brussels--Proclamation of Napoleon
to the Belgians--Effective strength of the French and Allied armies
--The Emperor's proclamation to the French army.

Napoleon was scarcely reseated on his throne when he found he could not
resume that absolute power he had possessed before his abdication at
Fontainebleau. He was obliged to submit to the curb of a representative
government, but we may well believe that he only yielded, with a mental
reservation that as soon as victory should return to his standards and
his army be reorganised he would send the representatives of the people
back to their departments, and make himself as absolute as he had ever
been. His temporary submission was indeed obligatory.

The Republicans and Constitutionalists who had assisted, or not opposed
his return, with Carnot, Fouche, Benjamin Constant, and his own brother
Lucien (a lover of constitutional liberty) at their head, would support
him only on condition of his reigning as a constitutional sovereign; he
therefore proclaimed a constitution under the title of "Acte additionnel
aux Constitutions de l'Empire," which greatly resembled the charter
granted by Louis XVIII. the year before. An hereditary Chamber of Peers
was to be appointed by the Emperor, a Chamber of Representatives chosen
by the Electoral Colleges, to be renewed every five years, by which all
taxes were to be voted, ministers were to be responsible, judges
irremovable, the right of petition was acknowledged, and property was
declared inviolable. Lastly, the French nation was made to declare that
they would never recall the Bourbons.

Even before reaching Paris, and while resting on his journey from Elba at
Lyons, the second city in France, and the ancient capital of the Franks,
Napoleon arranged his ministry, and issued sundry decrees, which show how
little his mind was prepared for proceeding according to the majority of
votes in representative assemblies.

Cambaceres was named Minister of Justice, Fouche Minister of Police (a
boon to the Revolutionists), Davoust appointed Minister of War. Decrees
upon decrees were issued with a rapidity which showed how laboriously
Bonaparte had employed those studious hours at Elba which he was supposed
to have dedicated to the composition of his Memoirs. They were couched
in the name of "Napoleon, by the grace of God, Emperor of France," and
were dated on the 13th of March, although not promulgated until the 21st
of that month. The first of these decrees abrogated all changes in the
courts of justice and tribunals which had taken place during the absence
of Napoleon. The second banished anew all emigrants who had returned to
France before 1814 without proper authority, and displaced all officers
belonging to the class of emigrants introduced into the army by the King.
The third suppressed the Order of St. Louis, the white flag, cockade, and
other Royal emblems, and restored the tri-coloured banner and the
Imperial symbols of Bonaparte's authority. The same decree abolished the
Swiss Guard and the Household troops of the King. The fourth sequestered
the effects of the Bourbons. A similar Ordinance sequestered the
restored property of emigrant families.

The fifth decree of Lyons suppressed the ancient nobility and feudal
titles, and formally confirmed proprietors of national domains in their
possessions. (This decree was very acceptable to the majority of
Frenchmen). The sixth declared sentence of exile against all emigrants
not erased by Napoleon from the list previously to the accession of the
Bourbons, to which was added confiscation of their property. The seventh
restored the Legion of Honour in every respect as it had existed under
the Emperor; uniting to its funds the confiscated revenues of the Bourbon
order of St. Louis. The eighth and last decree was the most important of
all. Under pretence that emigrants who had borne arms against France had
been introduced into the Chamber of Peers, and that the Chamber of
Deputies had already sat for the legal time, it dissolved both Chambers,
and convoked the Electoral Colleges of the Empire, in order that they
might hold, in the ensuing month of May, an extraordinary assembly--the

This National Convocation, for which Napoleon claimed a precedent in the
history of the ancient Franks, was to have two objects: first, to make
such alterations and reforms in the Constitution of the Empire as
circumstances should render advisable; secondly, to assist at the
coronation of the Empress Maria Louisa. Her presence, and that of her
son, was spoken of as something that admitted of no doubt, though
Bonaparte knew there was little hope of their return from Vienna. These
various enactments were well calculated to serve Napoleon's cause. They
flattered the army, and at the same time stimulated their resentment
against the emigrants, by insinuating that they had been sacrificed by
Louis to the interest of his followers. They held out to the Republicans
a prospect of confiscation, proscription, and, revolution of government,
while, the Imperialists were gratified with a view of ample funds for
pensions, offices, and honorary decorations. To proprietors of the
national domains security was promised, to the Parisians the grand
spectacle of the Champ-de-Mai, and to. France peace and tranquillity,
since the arrival of the Empress and her son, confidently asserted to be
at hand, was taken as a pledge of the friendship of Austria.

Napoleon at the same time endeavoured to make himself popular with the
common people--the, mob of the Faubourg St. Antoine and other obscure
quarters of Paris. On the first evening of his return, as he walked
round the glittering circle met to welcome him, in the State apartments
of the Tuileries, he kept repeating, "Gentlemen, it is to the poor and
disinterested mass of the people that I owe everything; it is they who
have brought me back to the capita. It is the poor subaltern officers
and common soldiers that have done all this. I owe everything to the
common people and the ranks of the army. Remember that! I owe
everything to the army and the people!" Some time after he took
occasional rides through the Faubourg St. Antoine, but the demonstrations
of the mob gave him little pleasure, and, it was easy to detect a sneer
in his addresses to them. He had some slight intercourse with the men of
the Revolution--the fierce, bloodthirsty Jacobins--but even now he could
not conceal his abhorrence of them, and, be it said to his honour, he had
as little to do with them as possible.

When Napoleon, departed for the summer campaign he took care beforehand
to leave large sums of money for the 'federes'; in the hands of the
devoted Real; under whose management the mob was placed. These sums were
to be distributed at appropriate seasons, to make the people cry in the
streets of Paris, "Napoleon or death." He also left in the hands of
Davoust a written authority for the publication of his bulletins, many
clauses of which were written long before the battles were fought that
they were to describe. He gave to the same Marshal a plan of his
campaign, which he had arranged for the defensive. This was not confided
to him without an injunction of the strictest secrecy, but it is said
that Davoust communicated the plan to Fouche. Considering Davoust's
character this is very unlikely, but if so, it is far from improbable
that Fouche communicated the plan to the Allies with whom, and more
particularly with Prince Metternich, he is well known to have been
corresponding at the time.

Shortly after the Emperor's arrival in Paris Benjamin Constant, a
moderate and candid man, was deputed by the constitutional party to
ascertain Napoleon's sentiments and intentions. Constant was a lover of
constitutional liberty, and an old opponent of Napoleon, whose headlong
career of despotism, cut out by the sword, he had vainly endeavoured to
check by the eloquence of his pen.

The interview took place at the Tuileries. The Emperor, as was his wont,
began the conversation, and kept it nearly all to himself during the rest
of the audience. He did not affect to disguise either his past actions
or present dispositions.

"The nation," he said, "has had a respite of twelve years from every kind
of political agitation, and for one year has enjoyed a respite from war.
This double repose has created a craving after activity. It requires, or
fancies it requires, a Tribune and popular assemblies. It did not always
require them. The people threw themselves at my feet when I took the
reins of government You ought to recollect this, who made a trial of
opposition. Where was your support--your strength? Nowhere. I assumed
less authority than I was invited to assume. Now all is changed. A
feeble government, opposed to the national interests, has given to these
interests the habit of standing on the defensive and evading authority.
The taste for constitutions, for debates, for harangues, appears to have
revived. Nevertheless it is but the minority that wishes all this, be
assured. The people, or if you like the phrase better; the multitude,
wish only for me. You would say so if you had only seen this multitude
pressing eagerly on my steps, rushing down from the tops of the
mountains, calling on me, seeking me out, saluting me. On my way from
Cannes hither I have not conquered--I have administered. I am not only
(as has been pretended) the Emperor of the soldiers; I am that of the
peasants of the plebeians of France. Accordingly, in spite of all that
has happened, you see the people come back to me. There is sympathy
between us. It is not as with the privileged classes. The noblesse have
been in my service; they thronged in crowds into my antechambers. There
is no place that they have not accepted or solicited. I have had the
Montmorencys, the Noailles, the Rohans, the Beauveaus, the Montemarts,
in my train. But there never was any cordiality between us. The steed
made his curvets--he was well broken in, but I felt him quiver under me.
With the people it is another thing. The popular fibre responds to mine.
I have risen from the ranks of the people: my voice seta mechanically
upon them. Look at those conscripts, the sons of peasants: I never
flattered them; I treated them roughly. They did not crowd round me the
less; they did not on that account cease to cry, `Vive l'Empereur!'
It is that between them and me there is one and the same nature. They
look to me as their support, their safeguard against the nobles. I have
but to make a sign, or even to look another way, and the nobles would be
massacred in every province. So well have they managed matters in the
last ten months! but I do not desire to be the King of a mob. If there
are the means to govern by a constitution well and good. I wished for
the empire of the world, and to ensure it complete liberty of action was
necessary to me. To govern France merely it is possible that a
constitution may be better. I wished for the empire of the world, as who
would not have done in my place? The world invited me to rule over it.
Sovereigns and subjects alike emulously bowed the neck under my sceptre.
I have seldom met with opposition in France, but still I have encountered
more of it from some obscure and unarmed Frenchmen than from all these
Kings so resolute, just now, no longer to have a man of the people for
their equal! See then what appears to you possible; let me know your
ideas. Public discussion, free elections, responsible ministers, the
liberty of the press, I have no objection to all that, the liberty of the
press especially; to stifle it is absurd. I am convinced on this point.
I am the man of the people: if the people really wish for liberty let
them have it. I have acknowledged their sovereignty. It is just that I
should lend an ear to their will, nay, even to their caprices I have
never been disposed to oppress them for my pleasure. I conceived great
designs; but fate 'has been against me; I am no longer a conqueror, nor
can I be one. I know what is possible and what is not.--I have no
further object than to raise up France and bestow on her a government
suitable to her. I have no hatred to liberty, I have set it aside when
it obstructed my path, but I understand what it means; I was brought up
in its school: besides, the work of fifteen years is overturned, and it
is not possible to recommence it. It would take twenty years, and the
lives of 2,000,000 of men to be sacrificed to it. As for the rest, I
desire peace, but I can only obtain it by means of victory. I would not
inspire you with false expectations. I permit it to be said that
negotiations are going on; there are none. I foresee a hard struggle,
a long war. To support it I must be seconded by the nation, but in
return I believe they will expect liberty. They shall have it: the
circumstances are new. All I desire is to be informed of the truth.
I am getting old. A man is no longer at forty-five what he was at
thirty. The repose enjoyed by a constitutional king may suit me: it will
still more certainly be the best thing, for my son."

From this remarkable address. Benjamin Constant concluded that no
change had taken place in Bonaparte's views or feelings in matters of
government, but, being convinced that circumstances had changed, he had
made up his mind to conform to them. He says, and we cannot doubt it,
"that he listened to Napoleon with the deepest interest, that there was a
breadth and grandeur of manner as be spoke, and a calm serenity seated on
a brow covered with immortal laurels."

Whilst believing the utter incompatibility of Napoleon and constitutional
government we cannot in fairness omit mentioning that the causes which
repelled him from the altar and sanctuary of freedom were strong: the
real lovers of a rational and feasible liberty--the constitutional
monarchy men were few--the mad ultra-Liberals, the Jacobins, the refuse
of one revolution and the provokers of another, were numerous, active,
loud, and in pursuing different ends these two parties, the respectable
and the disreputable, the good and the bad, got mixed and confused with
one another.

On the 14th of May, when the 'federes' were marshalled in processional
order and treated with what was called a solemn festival, as they moved
along the boulevards to the Court of the Tuileries, they coupled the name
of Napoleon with Jacobin curses and revolutionary songs. The airs and
the words that had made Paris tremble to her very centre during the Reign
of Terror--the "Marseillaise," the "Carmagnole," the "Jour du depart,"
the execrable ditty, the burden of which is, "And with the entrails of
the last of the priests let us strangle the last of the kings," were all
roared out in fearful chorus by a drunken, filthy, and furious mob. Many
a day had elapsed since they had dared to sing these blasphemous and
antisocial songs in public. Napoleon himself as soon as he had power
enough suppressed them, and he was as proud of this feat and his triumph
over the dregs of the Jacobins as he was of any of his victories; and in
this he was right, in this he proved himself the friend of humanity. As
the tumultuous mass approached the triumphal arch and the grand entrance
to the Palace he could not conceal his abhorrence. His Guards were drawn
up under arms, and numerous pieces of artillery, already loaded were
turned out on the Place du Carrousel. He hastily dismissed these
dangerous partisans with some praise, some money, and some drink. On
coming into close contact with such a mob he did not feel his fibre
respond to that of the populace! Like Frankenstein, he loathed and was
afraid of the mighty monster he had put together.

But it was not merely the mob that checked the liberalism or constitution
of Napoleon, a delicate and doubtful plant in itself, that required the
most cautious treatment to make it really take root and grow up in such a
soil: Some of his councillors, who called themselves "philosophical
statesmen," advised him to lay aside the style of Emperor, and assume
that of High President or Lord General of the Republic! Annoyed with
such puerilities while the enemy was every day drawing nearer the
frontiers he withdrew from the Tuileries to the comparatively small and
retired palace of the Elysee, where he escaped these talking-dreamers,
and felt himself again a sovereign: Shut up with Benjamin Constant and a
few other reasonable politicians, he drew up the sketch of a new
constitution, which was neither much better nor much worse than the royal
charter of Louis XVIII. We give an epitome of its main features.

The Emperor was to have executive power, and to exercise legislative
power in concurrence with the two Chambers. The Chamber of Peers was to
be hereditary, and nominated by the Emperor, and its number was
unlimited. The Second Chamber was to be elected by the people, and to
consist of 629 members; none to be under the age of twenty-five. The
President was to be appointed by the members, but approved of by the
Emperor. Members were to be paid at the rate settled by the Constituent
Assembly, which was to be renewed every five years. The Emperor might
prorogue, adjourn, or dissolve the House of Representatives, whose
sittings were to be public. The Electoral Colleges were maintained.
Land tax and direct taxes were to be voted only for a year, indirect
taxes might be imposed for several years. No levy of men for the army
nor any exchange of territory was to be made but by a law. Taxes were to
be proposed by the Chamber of Representatives. Ministers to be
responsible. Judges to be irremovable. Juries to be established. Right
of petition, freedom of worship, inviolability of property, were
recognised. Liberty of the press was given under legal responsibility,
and press offences were to be judged with a jury. No place or part of
the territory could be placed in a state of siege except in case of
foreign invasion or civil troubles. Finally, the French people declared
that in the delegation it thus made of its powers it was not to be taken
as giving the right to propose the re-establishment of the Bourbons, or
of any Prince of that family on the throne, even in case of the
extinction of the imperial dynasty. Any such proposal was formally
interdicted to the Chambers or to the citizens, as well as any of the
following measures,.viz. the re-establishment of the former, feudal
nobility, of the feudal and seignorial rights, of tithes, of any
privileged and dominant religion, as well as of the power of making any
attack on the irrevocability of the sale of the national goods.

Shortly after the return of Napoleon from Elba, believing it to be
impossible to make the Emperor of Austria consent to his wife's rejoining
him (and Maria Louisa had no inclination to a renewal of conjugal
intercourse), Napoleon had not been many days in Paris when he concocted
a plan for carrying off from Vienna both his wife and his son: In this
project force was no less necessary than stratagem. A number of French
of both sexes much devoted to the Emperor, who, had given them rank and
fortune, had accompanied Maria Louisa in 1814 from Paris to Blois and
thence to Vienna. A correspondence was opened with these persons, who
embarked heart and soul in the plot; they forged passports, procured-
relays, of horses; and altogether arranged matters so well that but a for
a single individual--one who revealed the whole project a few days
previously to that fixed upon for carrying it into effect--there is
little room to doubt that the plan would have succeeded, and that the
daughter of Austria and the titular King of home would have given such,
prestige as their presence could give at the Tuileries and he Champs-de-
Mai. No sooner had the Emperor of Austria discovered this plot, which,
had it been successful, would have placed him in a very awkward
predicament, than he dismissed all the French people about his daughter,
compelled her to lay aside the armorial bearings and liveries of
Napoleon, and even to relinquish the title of Empress of the French: No
force, no art, no police could conceal these things from the people of
Paris; who, moreover, and at nearly the same time; were made very uneasy
by the failure of Murat's attempt in Italy, which greatly increased the
power and political influence of Austria. Murat being disposed of, the
Emperor Francis was enabled to concentrate all his forces in Italy, and
to hold them in readiness for the re-invasion of France.

"Napoleon," says Lavallette, "had undoubtedly expected that the Empress
and his son would be restored to him; he had published his wishes as a
certainty, and to prevent it was, in fact, the worst injury the Emperor
of Austria could have done, him. His hope was, however, soon destroyed.

"One evening I was summoned to the palace. I found the Emperor in a
dimly-lighted closet, warming himself in a corner of the fireplace, and
appearing to suffer already from the complaint which never afterwards
left him. 'Here is a letter,' he said, 'which the courier from Vienna
says is meant for you--read it.' On first casting my eyes on the letter
I thought I knew the handwriting, but as it was long I read it slowly,
and came at last to the principal object. The writer said that we ought
not to reckon upon the Empress, as she did not even attempt to conceal
her dislike of the Emperor, and was disposed to approve all the measures
that could be taken against him; that her return was not to be thought
of, as she herself would raise the greatest obstacles in the way of it;
in case it should be proposed; finally, that it was not possible for him
to dissemble his indignation that the Empress, wholly enamoured of ----,
did not even take pains to hide her ridiculous partiality for him. The
handwriting of the letter was disguised, yet not so much but that I was
able to discover whose it was. I found; however, in the manner in which
the secret was expressed a warmth of zeal and a picturesque style that
did not belong to the author of the letter. While reading it, I all of a
sudden suspected it was a counterfeit, and intended to mislead the
Emperor. I communicated ms idea to him, and the danger I perceived in
this fraud. As I grew more and more animated I found plausible reasons
enough to throw the Emperor himself into some uncertainty. 'How is it
possible,' I said, 'that ----- should have been imprudent enough to write
such things to me, who am not his friend, and who have had so little
connection with him? How can one suppose that the Empress should forget
herself, in such circumstances, so far as to manifest aversion to you,
and, still more, to cast herself away upon a man who undoubtedly still
possesses some power to please, but who is no longer young, whose face is
disfigured, and whose person, altogether, has nothing agreeable in it?'
'But,' answered the Emperor, ----- is attached to me; and though he is
not your friend, the postscript sufficiently explains the motive of the
confidence he places in you.' The following words were, in fact, written
at the bottom of the letter: 'I do not think you ought to mention the
truth to the Emperor, but make whatever use of it you think proper.'
I persisted, however, in maintaining that the letter was a counterfeit;
and the Emperor then said to me, 'Go to Caulaincourt. He possesses a
great many others in the same handwriting. Let the comparison decide
between your opinion and mine.'

"I went to Caulaincourt, who said eagerly to me, 'I am sure the letter is
from -----, and I have not the least doubt of the truth of the
particulars it contains. The best thing the Emperor can do is to be
comforted; there is no help to be expected from that side.'

"So sad a discovery was very painful to the Emperor, for he was sincerely
attached to the Empress, and still hoped again to see his son, whom he
loved most tenderly.'

"Fouche had been far from wishing the return of the Emperor. He was long
tired of obeying, and had, besides, undertaken another plan, which
Napoleon's arrival had broken off. The Emperor, however, put him again
at the head of the police, because Savary was worn out in that
employment, and a skillful man was wanted there. Fouche accepted the
office, but without giving up his plan of deposing the Emperor, to put in
his place either his son or a Republic under a President. He had never
ceased to correspond with Prince Metternich, and, if he is to be
believed, he tried to persuade the Emperor to abdicate in favour of his
son. That was also my opinion; but; coming from such a quarter, the
advice was not without danger for the person to whom it was given.
Besides, that advice having been rejected, it: was the duty of the
Minister either to think no more of his plan or to resign his office.
Fouche, however, remained in the Cabinet; and continued his
correspondence. The Emperor, who placed but little confidence in him;
kept a careful eye upon him. One evening the Emperor: had a great deal
of company at the Elysee, he told me not to go home, because he wished to
speak to me. When everybody was gone the Emperor stopped with Fouche in
the apartment next to the one I was in. The door remained half open.
They walked up and down together talking very calmly. I was therefore
greatly astonished when, after a quarter of, an hour, I heard the Emperor
say to him' gravely, 'You are a traitor! Why do you remain Minister of
the Police if you wish to betray me? It rests with me to have you
hanged, and everybody would rejoice at your death!' I did not hear
Fouche's reply, but the conversation lasted above half an hour longer,
the parties all the time walking up and down. When Fouche went away he
bade me cheerfully, good-night, and said that the Emperor had gone back
to his apartments.

"The next day the Emperor spoke to me of the previous night's
conversation. 'I suspected,' he said, 'that the wretch was in
correspondence with Vienna. I have had a banker's clerk arrested on his
return from that city. He has acknowledged that he brought a letter for
Fouche from Metternich, and that the answer was to be sent at a fixed
time to Bale, where a man was to wait for the bearer on the bridge: I
sent for Fouche a few days ago, and kept him three hours long in my
garden, hoping that in the course of a friendly conversation he would
mention that letter to me, but he said nothing. At last, yesterday
evening, I myself opened the subject.' (Here the Emperor repeated to me
the words I had heard the night before, 'You are a traitor,' etc.) He
acknowledged, in fact, continued the Emperor, 'that he had received such
a letter, but that it was not signed and that he had looked upon it as a
mystification. He showed it me. Now that letter was evidently an
answer, in which the writer again declared that he would listen to
nothing more concerning the Emperor, but that, his person excepted, it
would be easy to agree to all the rest. I expected that the Emperor
would conclude his narrative by expressing his anger against Fouche, but
our conversation turned on some other subject, and he talked no more of

"Two days afterwards I went to Fouche to solicit the return to Paris of
an officer of musqueteers who had been banished far from his family. I
found him at breakfast, and sat down next to him. Facing him sat a
stranger. 'Do you see this man?' he said to me; pointing with his spoon
to the stranger; 'he is an aristocrat, a Bourbonist, a Chouan; it is the
Abbe -----, one of the editors of the Journal des Debats--a sworn enemy
to Napoleon, a fanatic partisan of the Bourbons; he is one of our men.
I looked, at him. At every fresh epithet of the Minister the Abbe bowed
his head down to his plate with a smile of cheerfulness and self-
complacency, and with a sort of leer. I never saw a more ignoble
countenance. Fouche explained to me, on leaving the breakfast table,
in what manner all these valets of literature were men of his, and while
I acknowledged to myself that the system might be necessary, I scarcely
knew who were really more despicable--the wretches who thus sold
themselves to the highest bidder, or the minister who boasted of having
bought them, as if their acquisition were a glorious conquest. Judging
that the Emperor had spoken to me of the scene I have described above,
Fouche said to me, 'The Emperor's temper is soured by the resistance he
finds, and he thinks it is my fault. He does not know that I have no
power but by public opinion. To morrow I might hang before my door
twenty persons obnoxious to public opinion, though I should not be able
to imprison for four-and-twenty hours any individual favoured by it.
As I am never in a hurry to speak I remained silent, but reflecting on
what the Emperor had said concerning Fouche I found the comparison of
their two speeches remarkable. The master could have his minister hanged
with public applause, and the minister could hang--whom? Perhaps the
master himself, and with the same approbation. What a singular
situation!--and I believe they were both in the right; so far public
opinion, equitable in regard to Fouche, had swerved concerning the

The wrath of Napoleon was confined to the Lower House, the Peers, from
the nature of their composition, being complacent and passive enough.
The vast majority of them were in fact mere shadows gathered round the
solid persons of Joseph, Lucien, Louis, and Jerome Bonaparte, and Sieyes,
Carnot, and the military men of the Revolution. As a political body
Napoleon despised them himself, and yet he wanted the nation to respect
them. But respect was impossible, and the volatile Parisians made the
Peers a constant object of their witticisms. The punsters of Paris made
the following somewhat ingenious play upon words. Lallemand, Labedogure,
Drouot, and Ney they called Las Quatre Pairs fides (perfides), which in
pronunciation may equally mean the four faithful peers or the four
perfidious men. The infamous Vandamme and another were called Pair-
siffles, the biased peers, or the biased pair, or (persiffles) men made
objects of derision. It was thus the lower orders behaved while the,
existence of France was at stake.

By this time the thunder-cloud of war had gathered and was ready to
burst. Short as the time at his disposal was Napoleon prepared to meet
it with his accustomed energy. Firearms formed one of the most important
objects of attention. There were sufficient sabres, but muskets were
wanting. The Imperial factories could, in ordinary times, furnish
monthly 20,000 stands of new arms; by the extraordinary activity and
inducements offered this number was doubled. Workmen were also employed
in repairing the old muskets. There was displayed at this momentous
period the same activity in the capital as in 1793, and better directed,
though without the same ultimate success. The clothing of the army was
another difficulty, and this was got over by advancing large sums of
money to the cloth manufacturers beforehand. The contractors delivered
20,000 cavalry horses before the 1st of June, 10,000 trained horses had
been furnished by the dismounted gendarmerie. Twelve thousand artillery
horses were also delivered by the 1st of June, in addition to 6000 which
the army already had.

The facility with which the Ministers of Finance and of the Treasury
provided for all these expenses astonished everybody, as it was necessary
to pay for everything in ready money. The system of public works was at
the same time resumed throughout France. "It is easy to see," said the
workmen, "that 'the great contractor' is returned; all was dead, now
everything revives."

"We have just learnt," says a writer who was at Brussels at this time,
"that Napoleon had left the capital of France on the 12th; on the 15th
the frequent arrival of couriers excited extreme anxiety, and towards
evening General Muffing presented himself at the hotel of the Duke of
Wellington with despatches from Blucher. We were all aware that the
enemy was in movement, and the ignorant could not solve the enigma of the
Duke going tranquilly to the ball at the Duke of Richmond's--his coolness
was above their comprehension. Had he remained at his own hotel a panic
would have probably ensued amongst the inhabitants, which would have
embarrassed the intended movement of the British division of the army.

"I returned home late, and we were still talking over our uneasiness when
we heard the trumpets sound. Before the sun had risen in full splendour
I heard martial music approaching, and soon beheld from my windows the
5th reserve of the British army passing; the Highland brigade were the
first in advance, led by their noble thanes, the bagpipes playing their
several pibrochs; they were succeeded by the 28th, their bugles' note
falling more blithely upon the ear. Each regiment passed in succession
with its band playing."

The gallant Duke of Brunswick was at a ball at the assembly-rooms in the
Rue Ducale on the night of the 15th of June when the French guns, which
he was one of the first to hear, were clearly distinguished at Brussels.
"Upon receiving the information that a powerful French force was
advancing in the direction of Charleroi. 'Then it is high time for me to
be off,' he exclaimed, and immediately quitted, the ball-room."

"At four the whole disposable force under the Duke off Wellington was
collected together, but in such haste that many of the officers had no
time to change their silk stockings and dancing-shoes; and some, quite
overcome by drowsiness, were seen lying asleep about the ramparts, still
holding, however, with a firm hand, the reins of their horses, which were
grazing by their sides.

"About five o'clock the word march' was heard in ail directions, and
instantly the whole mass appeared to move simultaneously. I conversed
with several of the officers previous to their departure, and not one
appeared to have the slightest idea of an approaching engagement.

"The Duke of Wellington and his staff did not quit Brussels till past
eleven o'clock, and it was not till some time after they were gone that
it was generally known the whole French army, including a strong corps of
cavalry, was within a few miles of Quatre Bras."


--[Like the preceding, this chapter first appeared in the 1836
edition, and is not from the pen of M. de Bourrienne.]--



The moment for striking a decisive blow had now come, and accordingly,
early on the morning of the 15th, the whole of the French army was in
motion. The 2d corps proceeded to Marchiennes to attack the Prussian
outposts at Thuin and Lobes, in order to secure the communication across
the Sambre between those places. The 3d corps, covered by General
Pajol's cavalry, advanced upon Charleroi, followed by the Imperial Guard
and the 6th corps, with the necessary detachments of pontoniers. The
remainder of the cavalry, under Grouchy, also advanced upon Charleroi, on
the flanks of the 3d and 6th corps. The 4th corps was ordered to march
upon the bridge of Chatelet.

On the approach of the French advanced guards an incessant skirmish was
maintained during the whole morning with the Prussians, who, after losing
many men, were compelled to yield to superior numbers. General Zieten,
finding it impossible, from the extent of frontier he had to cover, to
cheek the advance of the French, fell back towards Fleurus by the road to
Charleroi, resolutely contesting the advance of the enemy wherever it was
possible. In the repeated attacks sustained by him he suffered
considerable loss. It was nearly mid-day before a passage through
Charleroi was secured by the French army, and General Zieten continued
his retreat upon Fleurus, where he took up his position for the night.
Upon Zieten's abandoning, in the course of his retreat, the chaussee
which leads to Brussels through Quatre Bras, Marshal Ney, who had only
just been put in command on the left of the French army, was ordered to
advance by this road upon Gosselies, and found at Frasnes part of the
Duke of Wellington's army, composed of Nassau troops under the command of
Prince Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, who, after some skirmishing, maintained
his position. "Notwithstanding all the exertions of the French at a
moment when time was of such importance, they had only been able to
advance about fifteen English miles during the day, with nearly fifteen
hours of daylight."

It was the intention of Napoleon during his operations on this day to
effect a separation between the English and Prussian armies, in which he
had nearly succeeded. Napoleon's plan for this purpose, and the
execution of it by his army, were alike admirable, but it is hardly
probable that the Allied generals were taken by surprise, as it was the
only likely course which Napoleon could have taken. His line of
operation was on the direct road to Brussels, and there were no fortified
works to impede his progress, while from the nature of the country his
numerous and excellent cavalry could be employed with great effect.

In the French accounts Marshal Ney was much blamed for not occupying
Quatre Bras with the whole of his force on the evening of the 16th. "Ney
might probably have driven back the Nassau troops at Quatre Bras, and
occupied that important position, but hearing a heavy cannonade on his
right flank, where General Zieten had taken up his position, he thought
it necessary to halt and detach a division in the direction of Fleurus.
He was severely censured by Napoleon for not having literally followed
his orders and pushed on to Quatre Bras." This accusation forms a
curious contrast with that made against Grouchy, upon whom Napoleon threw
the blame of the defeat at Waterloo, because he strictly fulfilled his
orders, by pressing the Prussians at Wavre, unheeding the cannonade on
his left, which might have led him to conjecture that the more important
contest between the Emperor and Wellington was at that moment raging.

It was at six o'clock in the evening of the 16th that the Drake of
Wellington received the first information of the advance of the French
army; but it was not, however, until ten o'clock that positive news
reached him that the French army had moved upon the line of the Sambre.
This information induced him to push forward reinforcements on Quatre
Bras, at which place he himself arrived at an early hour on the 16th, and
immediately proceeded to Bry, to devise measures with Marshal Blucher in
order to combine their efforts. From the movement of considerable masses
of the French in front of the Prussians it was evident that their first
grand attack would be directed against them. That this was Napoleon's
object on the 16th maybe seen by his orders to Ney and Grouchy to turn
the right of the Prussians, and drive the British from their position at
Quatre Bras, and then to march down the chaussee upon Bry in order
effectually to separate the two armies. Ney was accordingly detached for
this purpose with 43,000 men. In the event of the success of Marshal Ney
he would have been enabled to detach a portion of his forces for the
purpose of making a flank attack upon the Prussians in the rear of St.
Amend, whilst Napoleon in person was directing his main efforts against
that village the strongest in the Prussian position. Ney's reserve was
at Frasnes, disposable either for the purpose of supporting the attack on
Quatre Bras or that at St. Amand; and in case of Ney's complete success
to turn the Prussian right flank by marching on Bry.




One of the most important struggles of modern times was now about to
commence--a struggle which for many years was to decide the fate of
Europe. Napoleon and Wellington at length stood opposite one another.
They had never met; the military reputation of each was of the highest

--[For full details of the Waterloo campaign see Siborne's History
of the War in France and Belgium in 1815, giving the English
contemporary account; Chesney's Waterloo Lectures, the best English
modern account, which has been accepted by the Prussians as pretty
nearly representing their view; and Waterloo by Lieutenant-Colonel
Prince Edouard de la Tour d'Auvergne (Paris, Plon, 1870), which may
be taken as the French modern account.

In judging this campaign the reader must guard himself from looking
on it as fought by two different armies-the English and the
Prussian-whose achievements are to be weighed against one another.
Wellington and Blucher were acting in a complete unison rare even
when two different corps of the same nation are concerned, but
practically unexampled in the case of two armies of different
nations. Thus the two forces became one army, divided into two
wings, one, the left (or Prussian wing) having been defeated by the
main body of the French at Ligny on the 16th of June, the right (or
English wing) retreated to hold the position at Waterloo, where the
left (or Prussian wing) was to join it, and the united force was to
crash the enemy. Thus there is no question as to whether the
Prussian army saved the English by their arrival, or whether the
English saved the Prussians by their resistance at Waterloo. Each
army executed well and gallantly its part in a concerted operation.
The English would never have fought at Waterloo if they had not
relied on the arrival of the Prussians. Had the Prussians not come
up on the afternoon of the 18th of June the English would have been
exposed to the same great peril of having alone to deal with the
mass of the French army, as the Prussians would have had to face if
they had found the English in full retreat. To investigate the
relative performances of the two armies is lunch the same as to
decide the respective merits of the two Prussian armies at Sadowa,
where one held the Austrians until the other arrived. Also in
reading the many interesting personal accounts of the campaign it
most be remembered that opinions about the chance of success in a
defensive struggle are apt to warp with the observer's position, as
indeed General Grant has remarked in answer to criticisms on his
army's state at the end of the first day of the battle of Shiloh or
'Pittsburg Landing. The man placed in the front rank or fighting
line sees attack after attack beaten off. He sees only part of his
own losses, am most of the wounded disappear, and he also knows
something of the enemy's loss by seeing the dead in front of him.
Warmed by the contest, he thus believes in success. The man placed
in rear or advancing with reinforcements, having nothing of the
excitement of the struggle, sees only the long and increasing column
of wounded, stragglers, and perhaps of fliers. He sees his
companion fall without being able to answer the fire. He sees
nothing of the corresponding loss of the enemy, and he is apt to
take a most desponding view of the situation. Thus Englishmen
reading the accounts of men who fought at Waterloo are too ready to
disbelieve representations of what was taking place in the rear of
the army, and to think Thackeray's life-like picture in Vanity Fair
of the state of Brussels must be overdrawn. Indeed, in this very
battle of Waterloo, Zieten began to retreat when his help was most
required, because one of his aides de camp told him that the right
wing of the English was in full retreat. "This inexperienced young
man," says Muffling, p. 248, "had mistaken the great number of
wounded going, or being taken, to the rear to be dressed, for
fugitives, and accordingly made a false report." Further, reserves
do not say much of their part or, sometimes, no part of the fight,
and few people know that at least two English regiments actually
present on the field of Waterloo hardly fired a shot till the last

The Duke described the army as the worst he ever commanded, and said
that if he had had his Peninsular men, the fight would have been
over much sooner. But the Duke, sticking to ideas now obsolete, had
no picked corps. Each man, trusting in and trusted by his comrades,
fought under his own officers and under his own regimental colours.
Whatever they did not know, the men knew how to die, and at the end
of the day a heap of dead told where each regiment and battery had

the career of both had been marked by signal victory; Napoleon had
carried his triumphant legions across the stupendous Alps, over the north
of Italy, throughout Prussia, Austria, Russia, and even to the foot of
the Pyramids, while Wellington, who had been early distinguished in
India, had won immortal renown in the Peninsula, where he had defeated,
one after another, the favourite generals of Napoleon. He was now to
make trial of his prowess against their Master.

Among the most critical events of modern times the battle of Waterloo
stands conspicuous. This sanguinary encounter at last stopped the
torrent of the ruthless and predatory ambition of the French, by which so
many countries had been desolated. With the peace which immediately
succeeded it confidence was restored to Europe.



Interview with Lavallette--Proceedings in the French Chambers--
Second abdication of Napoleon--He retires to Rochefort, negotiates
with Captain Maitland, and finally embarks in the 'Bellerophon'.

One of the first public men to see Napoleon after his return from
Waterloo was Lavallette. "I flew," says he, "to the Elysee to see the
Emperor: he summoned me into his closet, and as soon as he saw me, he
came to meet me with a frightful epileptic 'laugh. `Oh, my God!' he
said, raising his eyes to heaven, and walking two or three times up and
down the room. This appearance of despair was however very short. He
soon recovered his coolness, and asked me what was going forward in the
Chamber of Representatives. I could not attempt to hide that party
spirit was there carried to a high pitch, and that the majority seemed
determined to require his abdication, and to pronounce it themselves if
he did not concede willingly. 'How is that?' he said. 'If proper
measures are not taken the enemy will be before the gates of Paris in
eight days. Alas!' he added, 'have I accustomed them to such great
victories that they knew not how to bear one day's misfortune? What will
become of poor France? I have done all I could for her!' He then heaved
a deep sigh. Somebody asked to speak to him, and I left him, with a
direction to come back at a later hour.

"I passed the day in seeking information among all my friends and
acquaintances. I found in all of them either the greatest dejection or
an extravagant joy, which they disguised by feigned alarm and pity for
myself, which I repulsed with great indignation. Nothing favourable was
to be expected from the Chamber of Representatives. They all said they
wished for liberty, but, between two enemies who appeared ready to
destroy it, they preferred the foreigners, the friends of the Bourbons,
to Napoleon, who might still have prolonged the struggle, but that he
alone would not find means to save them and erect the edifice of liberty.
The Chamber of Peers presented a much sadder spectacle. Except the
intrepid Thibaudeau, who till, the last moment expressed himself with
admirable energy against the Bourbons, almost all the others thought of
nothing else but getting out of the dilemma with the least loss they
could. Some took no pains to hide their wish of bending again under the
Bourbon yoke."

On the evening of Napoleon's return to Paris he sent for Benjamin
Constant to come to him at the Elysee about seven o'clock. The Chambers
had decreed their permanence, and proposals for abdication had reached
the Emperor. He was serious but calm. In reply to some words on the
disaster of Waterloo he said, "The question no longer concerns me, but
France. They wish me to abdicate. Have they calculated upon the
inevitable consequences of this abdication? It is round me, round my
name, that the army rallies: to separate me from it is to disband it.
If I abdicate to-day, in two days' time you will no longer have an army.
These poor fellows do not understand all your subtleties. Is it believed
that axioms in metaphysics, declarations of right, harangues from the
tribune, will put a stop to the disbanding of an army? To reject me when
I landed at Cannes I can conceive possible; to abandon me now is what I
do not understand. It is not when the enemy is at twenty-five leagues'
distance that any Government can be overturned with impunity. Does any
one imagine that the Foreign Powers will be won over by fine words? If
they had dethroned me fifteen days ago there would have been some spirit
in it; but as it is, I make part of what strangers attack, I make part,
then, of what France is bound to defend. In giving me up she gives up
herself, she avows her weakness, she acknowledges herself conquered, she
courts the insolence of the conqueror. It is not the love of liberty
which deposes me, but Waterloo; it is fear, and a fear of which your
enemies will take advantage. And then what title has the Chamber to
demand my abdication? It goes out of its lawful sphere in doing so; it
has no authority. It is my right, it is my duty to dissolve it."

"He then hastily ran over the possible consequences of such a step.
Separated from the Chambers, he could only be considered as a military
chief: but the army would be for him; that would always join him who can
lead it against foreign banners, and to this might be added all that part
of the population which is equally powerful and easily, led in such a
state of things. As if chance intended to strengthen Napoleon in this
train of thought, while he was speaking the avenue of Marigny resounded
with the cries of 'Vive l'Empereur!' A crowd of men, chiefly of the poor
and labouring class, pressed forward into the avenue, full of wild
enthusiasm, and trying to scale the walls to make an offer to Napoleon to
rally round and defend him. Bonaparte for some time looked attentively
at this group. 'You see it is so,' said he; "those are not the men whom
I have loaded with honours and riches. What do these people owe me? I
found them--I left them--poor. The instinct of necessity enlightens
them; the voice of the country speaks by their months; and if I choose,
if I permit it, in an hour the refractory Chambers will have ceased to
exist. But the life of a man is not worth purchasing at such a price: I
did not return from the Isle of Elba that Paris should be inundated with
blood: He did not like the idea of flight. 'Why should I not stay
here?' he repeated. 'What do you suppose they would do to a man disarmed
like me? I will go to Malmaison: I can live there in retirement with
some friends, who most certainly will come to see me only for my own

"He then described with complacency and even with a sort of gaiety this
new kind of life. Afterwards, discarding an idea which sounded like mere
irony, he went on. 'If they do not like me to remain in France, where am
I to go? To England? My abode there would be ridiculous or disquieting.
I should be tranquil; no one would believe it. Every fog would be
suspected of concealing my landing on the coast. At the first sign of a
green coat getting out of a boat one party would fly from France, the
other would put France out of the pale of the law. I should compromise
everybody, and by dint of the repeated "Behold he comes!" I should feel
the temptation to set out. America would be more suitable; I could live
there with dignity. But once more, what is there to fear? What
sovereign can, without injuring himself, persecute me? To one I have
restored half his dominions; how often has the other pressed my hand,
calling me a great man! And as to the third, can he find pleasure or
honour in humiliation of his son-in-law? Would they wish to proclaim in
the face of the world that all they did was through fear? As to the
rest, I shall see: I do not wish to employ open force. I came in the
hope of combining our last resources: they abandoned me; they do so with
the same facility with which they received me back. Well, then, let them
efface, if possible, this double stain of weakness and levity! Let them
cover it over with some sacrifice, with some glory! Let them do for the
country what they will not do for me. I doubt it. To-day, those who
deliver up Bonaparte say that it is to save France: to-morrow, by
delivering up France, they will prove that it was to save their own

The humiliating scenes which rapidly succeeded one another; and which
ended in Napoleon's unconditional surrender, may be briefly told. As
soon as possible after his arrival at Paris he assembled his counsellors,
when he declared himself in favour of still resisting. The question,
however, was, whether the Chambers would support him; and Lafayette being
treacherously informed, it is said by Fouche, that it was intended to
dissolve the Chambers, used his influence to get the chambers to adopt
the propositions he laid before them. By these the independence of the
nation was asserted to be in danger; the sittings of the Chamber were
declared permanent, and all attempts to dissolve it were pronounced
treasonable. The propositions were adopted, and being communicated to
the Chamber of Peers, that body also declared itself permanent. Whatever
might have been the intentions of Bonaparte, it was now manifest that
there were no longer any hopes of his being able to make his will the law
of the nation; after some vacillation, therefore, on 22d June he
published the following declaration:


FRENCHMEN!--In commencing war for maintaining the national
independence, I relied on the union of all efforts, of all wills,
and the concurrence of all the national authorities. I had reason
to hope for success, and I braved all the declarations of the powers
against me. Circumstances appear to me changed. I offer myself a
sacrifice to the hatred of the enemies of France. May they prove
sincere in their declarations, and really have directed them only
against my power. My political life is terminated, and I proclaim
my son under the title of:



The present Ministers will provisionally form the Council of the
Government. The interest which I take in my son induces me to
invite the Chambers to form without delay the Regency by a law.
Unite all for the public safety, that you may continue an
independent nation.
(Signed) NAPOLEON.

This declaration was conveyed to both the Chambers, which voted
deputations to the late Emperor, accepting this abdication, but in their
debates the nomination of his son to the succession was artfully eluded.
The Chamber of Representatives voted the nomination of a Commission of
five persons, three to be chosen from that Chamber, and two from the
Chamber of Peers, for the purpose of provisionally exercising the
functions of Government, and also that the Ministers should continue
their respective functions under the authority of this Commission. The
persons chosen by the Chamber of Representatives were Carnot, Fouche, and
Grenier, those nominated by the Peers were the Duke of Vicenza
(Caulaincourt) and Baron Quinette. The Commission nominated five persons
to the Allied army for the purpose of proposing peace. These proceedings
were, however, rendered of little importance by the resolution of the
victors to advance to Paris.

Napoleon's behaviour just before and immediately after the crisis is well
described by Lavallette. "The next day," he observes, "I returned to the
Emperor. He had received the most positive accounts of the state of
feeling in the Chamber of Representatives. The reports had, however,
been given to him with some little reserve, for he did not seem to me
convinced that the resolution was really formed to pronounce his
abdication, I was better informed on the matter, and I came to him
without having the least doubt in my mind that the only thing he could do
was to descend once more from the throne. I communicated to him all the
particulars I had just received, and I did not hesitate to advise him to
follow the only course worthy of him. He listened to me with a sombre
air, and though he was in some measure master of himself, the agitation
of his mind and the sense of his position betrayed themselves in his face
and in all his motions. 'I know,' said I, 'that your Majesty may still
keep the sword drawn, but with whom, and against whom? Defeat has
chilled the courage of every one; the army is still in the greatest
confusion. Nothing is to be expected from Paris, and the coup d'etat of
the 18th Brumaire cannot be renewed.'--'That thought,' he replied,
stopping, 'is far from my mind. I will hear nothing more about myself.
But poor France!' At that moment Savary and Caulaincourt entered, and
having drawn a faithful picture of the exasperation of the Deputies, they
persuaded him to assent to abdication. Some words he uttered proved to
us that he would have considered death preferable to that step; but still
he took it.

"The great act of abdication being performed, he remained calm during the
whole day, giving his advice on the position the army should take, and on
the manner in which the negotiations with the enemy ought to be
conducted. He insisted especially on the necessity of proclaiming his
son Emperor, not so much for the advantage of the child as with a view to
concentrate all the power of sentiments and affections. Unfortunately,
nobody would listen to him. Some men of sense and courage rallied found
that proposition in the two Chambers, but fear swayed the majority; and
among those who remained free from it many thought that a public
declaration of liberty, and the resolution to defend it at any price,
would make the enemy and the Bourbons turn back. Strange delusion of
weakness and want of experience! It must, however, be respected, for it
had its source in love of their country; but, while we excuse it, can it
be justified? The population of the metropolis had resumed its usual
appearance, which was that of complete indifference, with a resolution to
cry 'Long live the King!' provided the King arrived well escorted; for
one must not judge of the whole capital by about one-thirtieth part of
the inhabitants, who called for arms, and declared themselves warmly
against the return of the exiled family.

"On the 23d I returned to the Elysee. The Emperor had been for two hours
in his bath. He himself turned the discourse on the retreat he ought to
choose, and spoke of the United States. I rejected the idea without
reflection, and with a degree of vehemence that surprised him. 'Why not
America?' he asked. I answered, 'Because Moreau retired there.' The
observation was harsh, and I should never have forgiven myself for having
expressed it; if I had not retracted my advice a few days afterwards. He
heard it without any apparent ill-humour, but I have no doubt that it
must have made an unfavourable impression on his mind. I strongly urged
on his choosing England for his asylum.

"The Emperor went to Malmaison. He was accompanied thither by the
Duchesse de St. Leu, Bertrand and his family, and the Duc de Bassano.
The day that he arrived there he proposed to me to accompany him abroad.
Drouot,' he said, 'remains in France. I see the Minister of War wishes
him not to be lost to his country. I dare not complain, but it is a
great loss for me; I never met with a better head, or a more upright
heart. That man was formed to be a prime minister anywhere.' I declined
to accompany him at the time, saying, 'My wife is enceinte; I cannot make
up my mind to leave her. Allow me some time, and I will join you
wherever you may be. I have remained faithful to your Majesty in better
times, and you may reckon upon me now. Nevertheless, if my wife did not
require all my attention, I should do better to go with you, for I have
sad forebodings respecting my fate."

"The Emperor made no answer; but I saw by the expression of his
countenance that he had no better augury of my fate than I had. However,
the enemy was approaching, and for the last three days he had solicited
the Provisional Government to place a frigate at his disposal, with which
he might proceed to America. It had been promised him; he was even
pressed to set off; but he wanted to be the bearer of the order to the
captain to convey him to the United States, and that order did not
arrive. We all felt that the delay of a single hour might put his
freedom in jeopardy.

"After we had talked the subject over among ourselves, I went to him and
strongly pointed out to him how dangerous it might be to prolong his
stay. He observed that he could not go without the order. 'Depart,
nevertheless,' I replied; your presence on board the ship will still have
a great influence over Frenchmen; cut the cables, promise money to the
crew, and if the captain resist have him put on shore, and hoist your
sails. I have no doubt but Fouche has sold you to the Allies.'--
'I believe it also; but go and make the last effort with the Minister of
Marine.' I went off immediately to M. Decres. He was in bed, and
listened to me with an indifference that made my blood boil. He said to
me, 'I am only a Minister. Go to Fouche; speak to the Government. As
for me, I can do nothing. Good-night.' And so saying he covered himself
up again in his blankets. I left him; but I could not succeed in
speaking either to Fouche or to any of the others. It was two o'clock in
the morning when I returned to Malmaison; the Emperor was in bed. I was
admitted to his chamber, where I gave him an account of the result of my
mission, and renewed my entreaties. He listened to me, but made no
answer. He got up, however, and spent a part of the night in walking up
and down the room.

"The following day was the last of that sad drama. The Emperor had gone
to bed again, and slept a few hours. I entered his cabinet at about
twelve o'clock. 'If I had known you were here,' he said, 'I would have
had you called in.' He then gave me, on a subject that interested him
personally, some instructions which it is needless for me to repeat.
Soon after I left him, full of anxiety respecting his fate, my heart
oppressed with grief, but still far from suspecting the extent to which
both the rigour of fortune and the cruelty of his enemies would be

All the morning of the 29th of June the great road from St. Germain rung
with the cries of "Vive l'Empereur!" proceeding from the troops who
passed under the walls of Malmaison. About mid-day General Becker, sent
by the Provisional Government, arrived. He had been appointed to attend
Napoleon. Fouche knew that General Becker had grievances against the
Emperor, and thought to find in him willing agent. He was greatly
deceived, for the General paid to the Emperor a degree of respect highly
to his honour. Time now became pressing. The Emperor, at the moment of
departure, sent a message by General Becker himself to the Provisional
Government, offering to march as a private citizen at the head of the
troops. He promised to repulse Blucher, and afterwards to continue his
route. Upon the refusal of the Provisional Government he quitted
Malmaison on the 29th. Napoleon and part of his suite took the road to
Rochefort. He slept at Rambouillet on the 29th of June, on the 30th at
Tours, on the 1st of July he arrived at Niort, and on the 3d reached
Rochefort, on the western coast of France, with the intention of escaping
to America; but the whole western seaboard was so vigilantly watched by
British men-of-war that, after various plans and devices, he was obliged
to abandon the attempt in despair. He was lodged at the house of the
prefect, at the balcony of which he occasionally showed himself to
acknowledge the acclamations of the people.

During his stay here a French naval officer, commanding a Danish merchant
vessel, generously offered to some of Napoleon's adherents to further his
escape. He proposed to take Napoleon alone, and undertook to conceal his
person so effectually as to defy the most rigid scrutiny, and offered to
sail immediately to the United States of America. He required no other
compensation than a small sum to indemnify the owners of his ship for the
loss this enterprise might occasion them. This was agreed to by Bertrand
upon certain stipulations.

On the evening of the 8th of July Napoleon reached Fouras, receiving
everywhere testimonies of attachment. He proceeded on board the Saale,
one of the two frigates appointed by the Provisional Government to convey
him to the United States, and slept on board that night. Very early on
the following morning he visited the fortifications of that place, and
returned to the frigate for dinner. On the evening of the 9th of July he
despatched Count Las Cases and the Duke of Rovigo to the commander of the
English squadron, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the passports
promised by the Provisional Government to enable him to proceed to
America had been received. A negative answer was returned; it was at the
same time signified that the Emperor would be attacked by the English
squadron if he attempted to sail under a flag of truce, and it was
intimated that every neutral vessel would be examined, and probably sent
into an English port. Las Cases affirms that Napoleon was recommended to
proceed to England by Captain Maitland, who assured him that he would
experience no ill-treatment there. The English ship 'Bellerophon' then
anchored in the Basque roads, within sight of the French vessels of war.
The coast being, as we have stated, entirely blockaded by the English
squadron, the Emperor was undecided as to the course he should pursue.
Neutral vessels and 'chasse-marees', manned by young naval officers, were
proposed, and many other plans were devised.

Napoleon disembarked on the 12th at the Isle of Aix with acclamations
ringing on every side. He had quitted the frigates because they refused
to sail, owing either to the weakness of character of the commandant, or
in consequence of his receiving fresh orders from the Provisional
Government. Many persons thought that the enterprise might be undertaken
with some probability of success; the wind, however, remained constantly
in the wrong quarter.

Las Cases returned to the Bellerophon at four o'clock in the morning of

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