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Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, v11 by Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

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This etext was produced by David Widger

[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, at the end of several of the
files for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making
an entire meal of them. D.W.]



His Private Secretary

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





The castle of Diernstein--Richard Coeur de Lion and Marshal Lannes,
--The Emperor at the gates of Vienna--The Archduchess Maria Louisa--
Facility of correspondence with England--Smuggling in Hamburg--Brown
sugar and sand--Hearses filled with sugar and coffee--Embargo on the
publication of news--Supervision of the 'Hamburg Correspondant'--
Festival of Saint Napoleon--Ecclesiastical adulation--The King of
Westphalia's journey through his States--Attempt to raise a loan--
Jerome's present to me--The present returned--Bonaparte's unfounded

Rapp, who during the campaign of Vienna had resumed his duties as aide de
camp, related to me one of those observations of Napoleon which, when his
words are compared with the events that followed them, seem to indicate a
foresight into his future destiny. When within some days' march of
Vienna the Emperor procured a guide to explain to him every village and
ruin which he observed on the road. The guide pointed to an eminence on
which were a few decayed vestiges of an old fortified castle. "Those,"
said the guide, "are the ruins of the castle of Diernstein." Napoleon
suddenly stopped, and stood for some time silently contemplating the
ruins, then turning to Lannes, who was with him, he raid, "See! yonder
is the prison of Richard Coeur de Lion. He, like us, went to Syria and
Palestine. But, my brave Lannes, the Coeur de Lion was not braver than
you. He was more fortunate than I at St. Jean d'Acre. A Duke of Austria
sold him to an Emperor of Germany, who imprisoned him in that castle.
Those were the days of barbarism. How different from the civilisation of
modern times! Europe has seen how I treated the Emperor of Austria, whom
I might have made prisoner--and I would treat him so again. I claim no
credit for this. In the present age crowned heads must be respected. A
conqueror imprisoned!"

A few days after the Emperor was at the gates of Vienna, but on this
occasion his access to the Austrian capital was not so easy as it had
been rendered in 1805 by the ingenuity and courage of Lannes and Murat.
The Archduke Maximilian, who was shut up in the capital, wished to defend
it, although the French army already occupied the principal suburbs. In
vain were flags of truce sent one after the other to the Archduke. They
were not only dismissed unheard, but were even ill-treated, and one of
them was almost killed by the populace. The city was then bombarded, and
would speedily have been destroyed but that the Emperor, being informed
that one of the Archduchesses remained in Vienna on account of ill-
health, ordered the firing to cease. By a singular caprice of Napoleon's
destiny this Archduchess was no other than Maria Louisa. Vienna at
length opened her gates to Napoleon, who for some days took up his
residence at Schoenbrunn.

The Emperor was engaged in so many projects at once that they could not
all succeed. Thus, while he was triumphant in the Hereditary States his
Continental system was experiencing severe checks. The trade with
England on the coast of Oldenburg was carped on as uninterruptedly as if
in time of peace. English letters and newspapers arrived on the
Continent, and those of the Continent found their way into Great Britain,
as if France and England had been united by ties of the firmest
friendship. In short, things were just in the same state as if the
decree for the blockade of the British Isles had not existed. When the
custom-house officers succeeded in seizing contraband goods they were
again taken from them by main force. On the 2d of July a serious contest
took place at Brinskham between the custom-house officers and a party of
peasantry, in which the latter remained masters of eighteen wagons laden
with English goods: many were wounded on both sides.

If, however, trade with England was carried on freely along a vast extent
of coast, it was different in the city of Hamburg, where English goods
were introduced only by fraud; and I verily believe that the art of
smuggling and the schemes of smugglers were never before carried to such
perfection. Above 6000 persons of the lower orders went backwards and
forwards, about twenty times a day, from Altona to Hamburg, and they
carried on their contraband, trade by many ingenious stratagems, two of
which were so curious that they are worth mentioning here.

On the left of the road leading from Hamburg to Altona there was a piece
of ground where pits were dug for the purpose of procuring sand used for
building and for laying down in the streets. At this time it was
proposed to repair the great street of Hamburg leading to the gate of
Altona. The smugglers overnight filled the sandpit with brown sugar, and
the little carts which usually conveyed the sand into Hamburg were filled
with the sugar, care being taken to cover it with a layer of sand about
an inch thick. This trick was carried on for a length of time, but no
progress was made in repairing the street. I complained greatly of the
delay, even before I was aware of its cause, for the street led to a
country-house I had near Altona, whither I went daily. The officers of
the customs at length perceived that the work did not proceed, and one
fine morning the sugar-carts were stopped and seized. Another expedient
was then to be devised.

Between Hamburg and Altona there was a little suburb situated on the
right bank of the Elbe. This suburb was inhabited, by sailors, labourers
of the port, and landowners. The inhabitants were interred in the
cemetery of Hamburg. It was observed that funeral processions passed
this way more frequently than usual. The customhouse officers, amazed at
the sudden mortality of the worthy inhabitants of the little suburb,
insisted on searching one of the vehicles, and on opening the hearse it
was found to be filled with sugar, coffee, vanilla, indigo, etc. It was
necessary to abandon this expedient, but others were soon discovered.

Bonaparte was sensitive, in an extraordinary degree, to all that was said
and thought of him, and Heaven knows how many despatches I received from
headquarters during the campaign of Vienna directing me not only to watch
the vigilant execution of the custom-house laws, but to lay an embargo on
a thing which alarmed him more than the introduction of British
merchandise, viz. the publication of news. In conformity with these
reiterated instructions I directed especial attention to the management
of the 'Correspondant'. The importance of this journal, with its 60,000
readers, may easily be perceived. I procured the insertion of everything
I thought desirable: all the bulletins, proclamations, acts of the French
Government, notes of the 'Moniteur', and the semi-official articles of
the French journals: these were all given 'in extenso'. On the other
hand, I often suppressed adverse news, which, though well known, would
have received additional weight from its insertion in so widely
circulated a paper. If by chance there crept in some Austrian bulletin,
extracted from the other German papers published in the States of the
Confederation of the Rhine, there was always given with it a suitable
antidote to destroy, or at least to mitigate, its ill effect. But this
was not all. The King of Wurtemberg having reproached the
'Correspondant', in a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, with
publishing whatever Austria wished should be made known, and being
conducted in a spirit hostile to the good cause, I answered these unjust
reproaches by making the Syndic censor prohibit the Hamburg papers from
inserting any Austrian order of the day, any Archduke's bulletins, any
letter from Prague; in short, anything which should be copied from the
other German journals unless those articles had been inserted in the
French journals.

My recollections of the year 1809 at Hamburg carry me back to the
celebration of Napoleon's fete, which was on the 15th of August, for he
had interpolated his patron saint in the Imperial calendar at the date of
his birth. The coincidence of this festival with the Assumption gave
rise to adulatory rodomontades of the most absurd description. Certainly
the Episcopal circulars under the Empire would form a curious collection.

--[It will perhaps scarcely be believed that the following words
were actually delivered from the pulpit: "God in his mercy has
chosen Napoleon to be his representative on earth. The Queen of
Heaven has marked, by the most magnificent of presents, the
anniversary of the day which witnessed his glorious entrance into
her domains. Heavenly Virgin! as a special testimony of your love
for the French, and your all-powerful influence with your son, you
have connected the first of your solemnities with the birth of the
great Napoleon. Heaven ordained that the hero should spring from
your sepulchre."--Bourrienne.]--

Could anything be more revolting than the sycophancy of those Churchmen
who declared that "God chose Napoleon for his representative upon earth,
and that God created Bonaparte, and then rested; that he was more
fortunate than Augustus, more virtuous than Trajan; that he deserved
altars and temples to be raised to him!" etc.

Some time after the Festival of St. Napoleon the King of Westphalia made
a journey through his States. Of all Napoleon's brothers the King of
Westphalia was the one with whom I was least acquainted, and he, it is
pretty well known, was the most worthless of the family. His
correspondence with me is limited to two letters, one of which he wrote
while he commanded the 'Epervier', and another seven years after, dated
6th September 1809. In this latter he said:

"I shall be in Hannover on the 10th. If you can make it convenient
to come there and spend a day with me it will give me great
pleasure. I shall then be able to smooth all obstacles to the loan
I wish to contract in the Hanse Town. I flatter myself you will do
all in your power to forward that object, which at the present
crisis is very important to my States. More than ample security is
offered, but the money will be of no use to me if I cannot have it
at least for two years."

Jerome wanted to contract at Hamburg a loan of 3,000,000 francs.
However, the people did not seem to think like his Westphalian Majesty,
that the contract presented more than ample security. No one was found
willing to draw his purse-strings, and the loan was never raised.

Though I would not, without the Emperor's authority, exert the influence
of my situation to further the success of Jerome's negotiation, yet I did
my best to assist him. I succeeded in prevailing on the Senate to
advance one loan of 100,000 francs to pay a portion of the arrears due to
his troops, and a second of 200,000 francs to provide clothing for his
army, etc. This scanty supply will cease to be wondered at when it is
considered to what a state of desolation the whole of Germany was reduced
at the time, as much in the allied States as in those of the enemies of
France. I learnt at the time that the King of Bavaria said to an officer
of the Emperor's household in whom he had great confidence, "If this
continues we shall have to give up, and put the key under the door."
These were his very words.

As for Jerome, he returned to Cassel quite disheartened at the
unsuccessful issue of his loan. Some days after his return to his
capital I received from him a snuffbox with his portrait set in diamonds,
accompanied by a letter of thanks for the service I had rendered him.
I never imagined that a token of remembrance from a crowned head could
possibly be declined. Napoleon, however, thought otherwise. I had not,
it is true, written to acquaint our Government with the King of
Westphalia's loan, but in a letter, which I addressed to the Minister for
Foreign Affairs on the 22d of September, I mentioned the present Jerome
had sent me. Why Napoleon should have been offended at this I know not,
but I received orders to return Jerome's present immediately, and these
orders were accompanied with bitter reproaches for my having accepted it
without the Emperor's authority. I sent back the diamonds, but kept the
portrait. Knowing Bonaparte's distrustful disposition, I thought he must
have suspected that Jerome had employed threats, or at any rate, that he
had used some illegal influence to facilitate the success of his loan.
At last, after much correspondence, Napoleon saw clearly that everything
was perfectly regular; in a word, that the business had been transacted
as between two private persons. As to the 300,000 francs which the
Senate had lent to Jerome, the fact is, that but little scruple was made
about it, for this simple reason, that it was the means of removing from
Hamburg the Westphalian division, whose presence occasioned a much
greater expense than the loan.



Visit to the field of Wagram.--Marshal Macdonald--Union of the Papal
States with the Empire--The battle of Talavera--Sir Arthur
Wellesley--English expedition to Holland--Attempt to assassinate the
Emperor at Schoenbrunn--Staps Interrogated by Napoleon--Pardon
offered and rejected--Fanaticism and patriotism--Corvisart's
examination of Staps--Second interrogatory--Tirade against the
illuminati--Accusation of the Courts of Berlin and Weimar--Firmness
and resignation of Staps--Particulars respecting his death--
Influence of the attempt of Staps on the conclusion of peace--
M. de Champagny.

Napoleon went to inspect all the corps of his army and the field of
Wagram, which a short time before had been the scene of one of those
great battles in which victory was the more glorious in proportion as it
had been valiantly contested.

--[The great battle of Wagram was fought on the 6th of July 1809.
The Austrians, who committed a mistake in over-extending their line,
lost 20,000 men as prisoners, besides a large number in killed and
wounded. There was no day, perhaps, on which Napoleon showed more
military genius or more personal courage. He was in the hottest of
the fight, and for a long time exposed to showers of grapeshot.-
Editor of 1836 edition.]--

On that day [the type] of French honour, Macdonald, who, after achieving
a succession of prodigies, led the army of Italy into the heart of the
Austrian States, was made a marshal on the field of battle. Napoleon
said to him, "With us it is for life and for death." The general opinion
was that the elevation of Macdonald added less to the marshal's military
reputation than it redounded to the honour of the Emperor. Five days
after the bombardment of Vienna, namely, on the 17th of May, the Emperor
had published a decree, by virtue of which the Papal States were united
to the French Empire, and Rome was declared an Imperial City. I will not
stop to inquire whether this was good or bad in point of policy, but it
was a mean usurpation on the part of Napoleon, for the time was passed
when a Julius II. laid down the keys of St. Peter and took up the sword
of St. Paul. It was, besides, an injustice, and, considering the Pope's
condescension to Napoleon, an act of ingratitude. The decree of union
did not deprive the Pope of his residence, but he was only the First
Bishop of Christendom, with a revenue of 2,000,000.

Napoleon while at Vienna heard of the affair of Talavera de la Reyna. I
was informed, by a letter from headquarters, that he was much affected at
the news, and did not conceal his vexation. I verily believe that he was
bent on the conquest of Spain, precisely on account of the difficulties
he had to surmount. At Talavera commenced the celebrity of a man who,
perhaps, would not have been without some glory even if pains had not
been taken to build him up a great reputation. That battle commenced the
career of Sir Arthur Wellesley, whose after-success, however, has been
attended by such important consequences.

--[The battle of Talavera took place on the 28th of July, twenty-two
days after the fatal defeat of the Austrians at Wagram.]--

Whilst we experienced this check in Spain the English were attempting an
expedition to Holland, where they had already made themselves masters of
Walcheren. It is true they were obliged to evacuate it shortly after;
but as at that time the French and Austrian armies were in a state of
inaction, in consequence of the armistice concluded at Znaim, in Moravia,
the news unfavourable to Napoleon had the effect of raising the hopes of
the Austrian negotiators, who paused in the expectation that fresh
defeats would afford them better chances.

It was during these negotiations, the termination of which seemed every
day to be farther distant, that Napoleon was exposed to a more real
danger than the wound he had received at Ratisbon. Germany was suffering
under a degree of distress difficult to be described. Illuminism was
making great progress, and had filled some youthful minds with an
enthusiasm not less violent than the religious fanaticism to which Henry
IV. fell a victim. A young man formed the design of assassinating
Napoleon in order to rid Germany of one whom he considered her scourge.
Rapp and Berthier were with the Emperor when the assassin was arrested,
and in relating what I heard from them I feel assured that I am giving
the most faithful account of all the circumstances connected with the

"We were at Schoenbrunn," said Rapp, "when the Emperor had just reviewed
the troops. I observed a young man at the extremity of one of the
columns just as the troops were about to defile. He advanced towards the
Emperor, who was then between Berthier and me. The Prince de Neufchatel,
thinking he wanted to present a petition, went forward to tell him that I
was the person to receive it as I was the aide de camp for the day. The
young man replied that he wished to speak with Napoleon himself, and
Berthier again told him that he must apply to me. He withdrew a little,
still repeating that he wanted to speak with Napoleon. He again advanced
and came very near the Emperor; I desired him to fall back, telling him
in German to wait till after the parade, when, if he had anything to say,
it would be attended to. I surveyed him attentively, for I began to
think his conduct suspicious. I observed that he kept his right hand in
the breast pocket of his coat; out of which a piece of paper appeared.
I know not how it was, but at that moment my eyes met his, and I was
struck with his peculiar look and air of fixed determination. Seeing an
officer of gendarmerie on the spot, I desired him to seize the young man,
but without treating him with any severity, and to convey him to the
castle until the parade was ended.

"All this passed in less time than I have taken to tell it, and as every
one's attention was fixed on the parade the scene passed unnoticed. I
was shortly afterwards told that a large carving-knife had been found on
the young man, whose name was Staps. I immediately went to find Duroc,
and we proceeded together to the apartment to which Staps had been taken.
We found him sitting on a bed, apparently in deep thought, but betraying
no symptoms of fear. He had beside him the portrait of a young female,
his pocket-book, and purse containing only two pieces of gold. I asked
him his name, but he replied that he would tell it to no one but
Napoleon. I then asked him what he intended to do with the knife which
had been found upon him? But he answered again, 'I shall tell only
Napoleon.'--'Did you mean to attempt his life?'--'Yes.'--'Why?'--'I can
tell no one but Napoleon.'

"This appeared to me so strange that I thought right to inform the
Emperor of it. When I told him what had passed he appeared a little
agitated, for you know how he was haunted with the idea of assassination.
He desired that the young man should be taken into his cabinet; whither
he was accordingly conducted by two gens d'armes. Notwithstanding his
criminal intention there was something exceedingly prepossessing in his
countenance. I wished that he would deny the attempt; but how was it
possible to save a man who was determined to sacrifice himself? The
Emperor asked Staps whether he could speak French, and he answered that
he could speak it very imperfectly, and as you know (continued Rapp) that
next to you I am the best German scholar in Napoleon's Court, I was
appointed interpreter on this occasion. The Emperor put the following
questions to Staps, which I translated, together with the answers:

"'Where do you come from?'--'From Narremburgh.'--'What is your father?'
--'A Protestant minister.'--'How old are you?'--'Eighteen.'--'What did
you intend to do with your knife?'--'To kill you.'--'You are mad, young
man; you are one of the illuminati?'--'I am not mad; I know not what is
meant by the illuminati!'--'You are ill, then?'--'I am not; I am very
well.'--'Why did you wish to kill me?'--'Because you have ruined my
country.'--'Have I done you any harm?'--'Yes, you have harmed me as well
as all Germans.'--'By whom were you sent? Who urged you to this crime?'
--'No one; I was urged to it by the sincere conviction that by killing
you I should render the greatest service to my country.'--'Is this the
first time you have seen me?'--'I saw you at Erfurt, at the time of your
interview with the Emperor of Russia.'--'Did you intend to kill me
then?'--'No; I thought you would not again wage war against Germany. I
was one of your greatest admirers.'--'How long have you been in Vienna?'
--'Ten days.'--'Why did you wait so long before you attempted the
execution of your project?'--'I came to Schoenbrunn a week ago with the
intention of killing you, but when I arrived the parade was just over; I
therefore deferred the execution of my design till today.'--'I tell you,
young man, you are either mad or in bad health.'

"The Emperor here ordered Corvisart to be sent for. Staps asked who
Corvisart was? I told him that he was a physician. He then said,
'I have no need of him.' Nothing further was said until the arrival of
the doctor, and during this interval Steps evinced the utmost
indifference. When Corvisart arrived Napoleon directed him to feel the
young man's pulse, which he immediately did; and Staps then very coolly
said, 'Am I not well, sir?' Corvisart told the Emperor that nothing
ailed him. 'I told you so,' said Steps, pronouncing the words with an
air of triumph.

"I was really astonished at the coolness and apathy of Staps, and the
Emperor seemed for a moment confounded by the young man's behaviour.--
After a few moments' pause the Emperor resumed the interrogatory as

"'Your brain is disordered. You will be the ruin of your family. I will
grant you your life if you ask pardon for the crime you meditated, and
for which you ought to be sorry.'--'I want no pardon. I only regret
having failed in my attempt.'--'Indeed! then a crime is nothing to you?'
--'To kill you is no crime: it is a duty.'--'Whose portrait is that which
was found on you?'--'It is the portrait of a young lady to whom I am
attached.'--'She will doubtless be much distressed at your adventure?'--
'She will only be sorry that I have not succeeded. She abhors you as
much as I do.'--'But if I were to pardon you would you be grateful for my
mercy?'--'I would nevertheless kill you if I could.'

"I never," continued Rapp, "saw Napoleon look so confounded. The replies
of Staps and his immovable resolution perfectly astonished him. He
ordered the prisoner to be removed; and when he was gone Napoleon said,
'This is the result of the secret societies which infest Germany. This
is the effect of fine principles and the light of reason. They make
young men assassins. But what can be done against illuminism? A sect
cannot be destroyed by cannon-balls.'

"This event, though pains were taken to keep it secret, became the
subject of conversation in the castle of Schoenbrunn. In the evening the
Emperor sent for me and said, 'Rapp, the affair of this morning is very
extraordinary. I cannot believe that this young man of himself conceived
the design of assassinating me. There is something under it. I shall
never be persuaded that the intriguers of Berlin and Weimar are strangers
to the affair.'--'Sire, allow me to say that your suspicions appear
unfounded. Staps has had no accomplice; his placid countenance, and even
his fanaticism, are easiest proofs of that.'--'I tell you that he has
been instigated by women: furies thirsting for revenge. If I could only
obtain proof of it I would have them seized in the midst of their
Court.'--'Ah, Sire, it is impossible that either man or woman in the
Courts of Berlin or Weimar could have conceived so atrocious a design.'--
'I am not sure of that. Did not those women excite Schill against us
while we were at peace with Prussia; but stay a little; we shall see.'--
'Schill's enterprise; Sire, bears no resemblance to this attempt.'
You know how the Emperor likes every one to yield to his opinion when he
has adopted one which he does not choose to give up; so he said, rather
changing his tone of good-humoured familiarity, 'All you say is in vain,
Monsieur le General: I am not liked either at Berlin or Weimar.' There
is no doubt of that, Sire; but because you are not liked in these two
Courts, is it to be inferred that they would assassinate you?'--'I know
the fury of those women; but patience. Write to General Lauer: direct
him to interrogate Staps. Tell him to bring him to a confession.'

"I wrote conformably with the Emperor's orders, but no confession was
obtained from Staps. In his examination by General Lauer he repeated
nearly what he had said in the presence of Napoleon. His resignation and
firmness never forsook him for a moment; and he persisted in saying that
he was the sole author of the attempt, and that no one else was aware of
it. Staps' enterprise made a deep impression on the Emperor. On the day
when we left Schoenbrunn we happened to be alone, and he said to me,
'I cannot get this unfortunate Staps out of my mind. The more I think on
the subject the more I am perplexed. I never can believe that a young
man of his age, a German, one who has received a good education,
a Protestant too, could have conceived and attempted such a crime.
The Italians are said to be a nation of assassins, but no Italian ever
attempted my life. This affair is beyond my comprehension. Inquire how
Staps died, and let me know.'

"I obtained from General Lauer the information which the Emperor desired.
I learned that Staps, whose attempt on the Emperor's life was made on the
23d of October; was executed at seven o'clock in the morning of the 27th,
having refused to take any sustenance since the 24th. When any food was
brought to him he rejected it, saying, 'I shall be strong enough to walk
to the scaffold.' When he was told that peace was concluded he evinced
extreme sorrow, and was seized with trembling. On reaching the place of
execution he exclaimed loudly, 'Liberty for ever! Germany for ever!
Death to the tyrant!'"

Such are the notes which I committed to paper after conversing with Rapp,
as we were walking together in the garden of the former hotel of
Montmorin, in which Rapp resided. I recollect his showing me the knife
taken from Staps, which the Emperor had given him; it was merely a common
carving-knife, such as is used in kitchens. To these details may be
added a very remarkable circumstance, which I received from another but
not less authentic source. I have been assured that the attempt of the
German Mutius Scaevola had a marked influence on the concessions which
the Emperor made, because he feared that Staps, like him who attempted
the life of Porsenna, might have imitators among the illuminati of

It is well known that after the battle of Wagram conferences were open at
Raab. Although peace was almost absolutely necessary for both powers,
and the two Emperors appeared to desire it equally, it was not, however,
concluded. It is worthy of remark that the delay was occasioned by
Bonaparte. Negotiations were therefore suspended, and M. de Champagny
had ceased for several days to see the Prince of Lichtenstein when the
affair of Staps took place. Immediately after Napoleon's examination of
the young fanatic he sent for M. de Champagny: "How are the negotiations
going on?" he inquired. The Minister having informed him, the Emperor
added, "I wish them to be resumed immediately: I wish for peace; do not
hesitate about a few millions more or less in the indemnity demanded from
Austria. Yield on that point. I wish to come to a conclusion: I refer
it all to you." The Minister lost no time in writing to the Prince of
Lichtenstein: on the same night the two negotiators met at Raab, and the
clauses of the treaty which had been suspended were discussed, agreed
upon, and signed that very night. Next morning M. de Champagny attended
the Emperor's levee with the treaty of peace as it had been agreed on.
Napoleon, after hastily examining it, expressed his approbation of every
particular, and highly complimented his Minister on the speed with which
the treaty had been brought to a conclusion.

--[This definitive treaty of peace, which is sometimes called the
Treaty of Vienna, Raab, or Schoenbrunn, contained the following

1. Austria ceded in favour of the Confederation of the Rhine (these
fell to Bavaria), Salzburg, Berchtolsgaden, and a part of Upper

2. To France directly Austria ceded her only seaport, Trieste, and
all the countries of Carniola, Friuli, the circle of Vilach, with
parts of Croatia end Dalmatia. (By these cessions Austria was
excluded from the Adriatic Sea, and cut off from all communication
with the navy of Great Britain.) A small lordship, en enclave in
the, territories of the Grieve League, was also gives up.

3. To the constant ally of Napoleon, to the King of Saxony, in that
character Austria ceded some Bohemian enclaves in Saxony end, in his
capacity of Grand Duke of Warsaw, she added to his Polish dominions
the ancient city of Cracow, and all Western Galicia.

4. Russia, who had entered with but a lukewarm zeal into the war as
an ally of France, had a very moderate share of the spoils of
Austria. A portion of Eastern Galicia, with a population of 400,000
souls, was allotted to her, but in this allotment the trading town
of Brody (almost the only thing worth having) was specially
excepted. This last circumstance gave no small degree of disgust to
the Emperor Alexander, whose admiration of Napoleon was not destined
to have a long duration.--Editor of 1836 edition.]--



The Princess Royal of Denmark--Destruction of the German Empire--
Napoleons visit to the Courts of Bavaria and Wurtemberg--His return
to France--First mention of the divorce--Intelligence of Napoleon's
marriage with Maria Louisa--Napoleon's quarrel with Louis--Journey
of the Emperor and Empress into Holland--Refusal of the Hanse Towns
to pay the French troops--Decree for burning English merchandise--
M. de Vergennes--Plan for turning an inevitable evil to the best
account--Fall on the exchange of St Petersburg

About this time I had the pleasure of again seeing the son of the
reigning Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, whose arrival in the Hanse Towns
was speedily followed by that of his sister, Princess Frederica Charlotte
of Mecklenburg, married to the Prince Royal of Denmark, Christian
Frederick. In November the Princess arrived at Altana from Copenhagen,
the reports circulated respecting her having compelled her husband to
separate from her. The history of this Princess, who, though perhaps
blamable, was nevertheless much pitied, was the general subject of
conversation in the north of Germany at the time I was at Hamburg. The
King of Denmark, grieved at the publicity of the separation, wrote a
letter on the subject to the Duke of Mecklenburg. In this letter, which
I had an opportunity of seeing, the King expressed his regret at not
having been able to prevent the scandal; for, on his return from a
journey to Kiel, the affair had become so notorious that all attempts at
reconciliation were vain. In the meantime it was settled that the
Princess was to remain at Altona until something should be decided
respecting her future condition.

It was Baron Plessen, the Duke of Mecklenburg's Minister of State, who
favoured me with a sight of the King of Denmark's letters. M. Plessen
told me, likewise, at the time that the Duke had formed the irrevocable
determination of not receiving his daughter. A few days after her
arrival the Princess visited Madame de Bourrienne. She invited us to her
parties, which were very brilliant, and several times did us the honour
of being present at ours. But; unfortunately, the extravagance of her
conduct, which was very unsuitable to her situation, soon became the
subject of general animadversion.

I mentioned at the close of the last chapter how the promptitude of M. de
Champagny brought about the conclusion of the treaty known by the name of
the Treaty of Schoenbrunn. Under this the ancient edifice of the German
Empire was overthrown, and Francis II. of Germany became Francis I.,
Emperor of Austria. He, however, could not say, like his namesake of
France, 'Tout est perdu fors l'honneur'; for honour was somewhat
committed, even had nothing else been lost. But the sacrifices Austria
was compelled, to make were great. The territories ceded to France were
immediately united into a new general government, under the collective
denomination of the Illyrian Provinces. Napoleon thus became master of
both sides of the Adriatic, by virtue of his twofold title of Emperor of
France and King of Italy. Austria, whose external commerce thus received
a check, had no longer any direct communication with the sea. The loss
of Fiume, Trieste, and the sea-coast appeared so vast a sacrifice that it
was impossible to look forward to the duration of a peace so dearly

The affair of Staps, perhaps, made Napoleon anxious to hurry away from
Schoenbrunn, for he set off before he had ratified the preliminaries of
the peace, announcing that he would ratify them at Munich. He proceeded
in great haste to Nymphenburg, where he was expected on a visit to the
Court of Bavaria. He next visited the King of Wurtemberg, whom he
pronounced to be the cleverest sovereign in Europe, and at the end of
October he arrived at Fontainebleau. From thence he proceeded on
horseback to Paris, and he rode so rapidly that only a single chasseur of
his escort could keep up with him, and, attended by this one guard, he
entered the court of the Tuileries. While Napoleon was at Fontainebleau,
before his return to Paris, Josephine for the first time heard the
divorce mentioned; the idea had occurred to the Emperor's mind while he
was at Schoenbrunn. It was also while at Fontainebleau that Napoleon
appointed M. de Montalivet to be Minister of the Interior. The letters
which we received from Paris at this period brought intelligence of the
brilliant state of the capital during the winter of 1809, and especially
of the splendour of the Imperial Court, where the Emperor's levees were
attended by the Kings of Saxony, Bavaria, and Wurtemberg, all eager to
evince their gratitude to the hero who had raised them to the sovereign

I was the first person in Hamburg who received intelligence of Napoleon's
projected marriage with the Archduchess Maria Louisa. The news was
brought to me from Vienna by two estafettes. It is impossible to
describe the effect produced by the anticipation of this event throughout
the north of Germany.

--["Napoleon often reflected on the best mode of making this
communication to the Empress; still he was reluctant to speak to
her. He was apprehensive of the consequences of her susceptibility
of feeling; his heart was never proof against the shedding of tears.
Ho thought, however, that a favourable opportunity offered for
breaking the subject previously to his quitting Fontainebleau. He
hinted at it in a few words which be had addressed to the Empress,
but he did not explain himself until the arrival of the viceroy,
whom he had ordered to join him. He was the first person who spoke
openly to his mother and obtained her consent for that bitter
sacrifice. He acted on the occasion like a kind son and a man
grateful to his benefactor and devoted to his service, by sparing
him the necessity of unpleasant explanations towards a partner whose
removal was a sacrifice as painful to him as it was affecting: The
Emperor, having arranged whatever related to the future condition of
the Empress, upon whom he made a liberal settlement, urged the
moment of the dissolution of the marriage, no doubt because he felt
grieved at the condition of the Empress herself, who dined every day
and passed her evenings in the presence of persons who were
witnessing her descent from the throne. There existed between him
and the Empress Josephine no other bond than a civil act, according
to the custom which prevailed at the time of this marriage. Now the
law had foreseen the dissolution of such marriage oontracts. A
particular day having therefore been fixed upon, the Emperor brought
together into his apartments those persons whose ministry was
required in this case; amongst others, the Arch-Chancellor and M.
Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely. The Emperor then declared in a loud
voice his intention of annulling the marriage he had contracted with
Josephine, who was present; the Empress also made the same
declaration, which was interrupted by her repeated sobs. The Prince
Arch-Chancellor having caused the article of the law to be read, he
applied it to the cam before him, and declared the marriage to be
dissolved." (Memoirs of ad Due de Rovigo).]--

From all parts the merchants received orders to buy Austrian stock, in
which an extraordinary rise immediately took place. Napoleon's marriage
with Maria Louisa was hailed with enthusiastic and general joy. The
event was regarded as the guarantee of a long peace, and it was hoped
there would be a lasting cessation of the disasters created by the
rivalry of France and Austria. The correspondence I received showed that
these sentiments were general in the interior of France, and in different
countries of Europe; and, in spite of the presentiments I had always had
of the return of the Bourbons to France, I now began to think that event
problematic, or at least very remote.

About the beginning of the year 1810 commenced the differences between
Napoleon and his brother Louis, which, as I have already stated, ended in
a complete rupture. Napoleon's object was to make himself master of the
navigation of the Scheldt which Louis wished should remain free, and
hence ensued the union of Holland with the French Empire. Holland was
the first province of the Grand Empire which Napoleon took the new
Empress to visit. This visit took place almost immediately after the
marriage. Napoleon first proceeded to Compiegne, where he remained a
week. He next set out for St. Quentin, and inspected the canal. The
Empress Maria Louisa then joined him, and they both proceeded to Belgium.
At Antwerp the Emperor inspected all the works which he had ordered, and
to the execution of which he attached great importance. He returned by
way of Ostend, Lille, and Normandy to St. Cloud, where he arrived on the
1st of June 1810. He there learned from my correspondence that the Hanse
Towns-refused to advance money for the pay of the French troops. The men
were absolutely destitute. I declared that it was urgent to put an end
to this state of things. The Hanse towns had been reduced from opulence
to misery by taxation and exactions, and were no longer able to provide
the funds.

During this year Napoleon, in a fit of madness, issued a decree which I
cannot characterise by any other epithet than infernal. I allude to the
decree for burning all the English merchandise in France, Holland, the
Grand Duchy of Berg, the Hanse Towns; in short, in all places subject to
the disastrous dominion of Napoleon. In the interior of France no idea
could possibly be formed of the desolation caused by this measure in
countries which existed by commerce; and what a spectacle was it to, the,
destitute inhabitants of those countries to witness the destruction of
property which, had it been distributed, would have assuaged their

Among the emigrants whom I was ordered to watch was M. de Vergennes, who
had always remained at or near Hamburg Since April 1808. I informed the
Minister that M. de Vergennes had presented himself to me at this time.
I even remember that M. de Vergennes gave me a letter from M. de Remusat,
the First Chamberlain of the Emperor. M. de Remusat strongly recommended
to me his connection, who was called by matters of importance to Hamburg.
Residence in this town was, however, too expensive, and he decided to
live at Neumuhl, a little village on the Elbe, rather to the west of
Altona. There he lived quietly in retirement with an opera dancer named
Mademoiselle Ledoux, with whom he had become acquainted in Paris, and
whom he had brought with him. He seemed much taken with her. His manner
of living did not denote large means.

One duty with which I was entrusted, and to which great importance was
attached, was the application and execution of the disastrous Continental
system in the north. In my correspondence I did not conceal the
dissatisfaction which this ruinous measure excited, and the Emperor's
eyes were at length opened on the subject by the following circumstance.
In spite of the sincerity with which the Danish Government professed to
enforce the Continental system, Holstein contained a great quantity of
colonial produce; and, notwithstanding the measures of severity, it was
necessary that that merchandise should find a market somewhere. The
smugglers often succeeded in introducing it into Germany, and the whole
would probably soon have passed the custom-house limits. All things
considered, I thought it advisable to make the best of an evil that could
not be avoided. I therefore proposed that the colonial produce then in
Holstein, and which had been imported before the date of the King's edict
for its prohibition, should be allowed to enter Hamburg on the payment of
30, and on some articles 40, per cent. This duty was to be collected at
the custom-house, and was to be confined entirely to articles consumed in
Germany. The colonial produce in Altona, Glnckstadt, Husum, and other
towns of Holstein, lead been estimated, at about 30,000,000 francs, and
the duty would amount to 10,000,000 or 12,000,000. The adoption of the
plan I proposed would naturally put a stop to smuggling; for it could not
be doubted that the merchants would give 30 or 33 per cent for the right
of carrying on a lawful trade rather than give 40 per cent. to the
smugglers, with the chance of seizure.

The Emperor immediately adopted my idea, for I transmitted my suggestions
to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the 18th of September, and on the
4th of October a decree was issued conformable to the plan I proposed.
Within six weeks after the decree came into operation the custom-house
Director received 1300 declarations from persons holding colonial produce
in Holstein. It now appeared that the duties would amount to 40,000,000
francs, that is to say, 28,000,000 or 30,000,000 more than my estimate.

Bernadotte had just been nominated Prince Royal of Sweden. This
nomination, with all the circumstances connected with it, as well as
Bernadotte's residence in Hamburg, before he proceeded to Stockholm, will
be particularly noticed in the next chapter. I merely mention the
circumstance here to explain some events which took place in the north,
and which were, more or less, directly connected with it. For example,
in the month of September the course of exchange on St. Petersburg
suddenly fell. All the letters which arrived in Hamburg from the capital
of Russia and from Riga, attributed the fall to the election of the
Prince of Ponte-Corvo as Prince Royal of Sweden. Of thirty letters which
I received there was not one but described the consternation which the
event had created in St. Petersburg. This consternation, however, might
have been excited less by the choice of Sweden than by the fear that that
choice was influenced by the French Government.



Bernadotte elected Prince Royal of Sweden--Count Wrede's overtures
to Bernadotte--Bernadottes's three days' visit to Hamburg--
Particulars respecting the battle of Wagram--Secret Order of the
day--Last intercourse of the Prince Royal of Sweden with Napoleon--
My advice to Bernadotte respecting the Continental system.

I now come to one of the periods of my life to which I look back with
moat satisfaction, the time when Bernadotte was with me in Hamburg. I
will briefly relate the series of events which led the opposer of the
18th Brumaire to the throne of Sweden.

On the 13th of march 1809 Gustavus Adolphus was arrested, and his uncle,
the Duke of Sudermania, provisionally took the reins of Government. A
few days afterwards Gustavus published his act of abdication, which in
the state of Sweden it was impossible for him to refuse. In May
following, the Swedish Diet having been convoked at Stockholm, the Duke
of Sudermania was elected King. Christian Augustus, the only son of that
monarch, of course became Prince Royal on the accession of his father to
the throne. He, however, died suddenly at the end of May 1810, and Count
Fersen (the same who at the Court of Marie Antoinette was distinguished
by the appellation of 'le beau Fersen'), was massacred by the populace,
who suspected, perhaps unjustly, that he had been accessory to the
Prince's death.

--[Count Fereen, alleged to have been one of the favoured lovers of
Marie Antoinette, and who was certainly deep in her confidence, had
arranged most of the details of the attempted flight to Varennes in
1791, and he himself drove the Royal family their first stage to the
gates of Paris.]--

On the 21st of August following Bernadotte was elected Prince Royal of

After the death of the Prince Royal the Duke of Sudermania's son, Count
Wrede, a Swede, made the first overtures to Bernadotte, and announced to
him the intention entertained at Stockholm of offering him the throne of
Sweden. Bernadotte was at that time in Paris, and immediately after his
first interview with Count Wrede he waited on the Emperor at St. Cloud;
Napoleon coolly replied that he could be of no service to him; that
events must take their course; that he might accept or refuse the offer
as he chose; that he (Bonaparte) would place no obstacles in his way, but
that he could give him no advice. It was very evident that the choice of
Sweden was not very agreeable to Bonaparte, and though he afterwards
disavowed any opposition to it, he made overtures to Stockholm, proposing
that the crown of Sweden should be added to that of Denmark.

Bernadotte then went to the waters of Plombieres, and on his return to
Paris he sent me a letter announcing his elevation to the rank of Prince
Royal of Sweden.

On the 11th of October he arrived in Hamburg, where he stayed only three
days. He passed nearly the whole of that time with me, and he
communicated to me many curious facts connected with the secret history
of the times, and among other things some particulars respecting the
battle of Wagram. I was the first to mention to the new Prince Royal of
Sweden the reports of the doubtful manner in which the troops under his
command behaved. I reminded him of Bonaparte's dissatisfaction at these
troops; for there was no doubt of the Emperor being the author of the
complaints contained in the bulletins, especially as he had withdrawn the
troops from Bernadotte's command. Bernadotte assured me that Napoleon's
censure was unjust; during the battle he had complained of the little
spirit manifested by the soldiers. "He refused to see me," added
Bernadotte, "and I was told, as a reason for his refusal, that he was
astonished and displeased to find that, notwithstanding his complaints,
of which I must have heard, I had boasted of having gained the battle,
and had publicly complimented the Saxons whom I commanded."

Bernadotte then showed me the bulletin he drew up after the battle of
Wagram. I remarked that I had never heard of a bulletin being made by
any other than the General who was Commander-in-Chief during a battle,
and asked how the affair ended. He then handed to me a copy of the Order
of the day, which Napoleon said he had sent only to the Marshals
commanding the different corps.

Bernadotte's bulletin was printed along with Bonaparte's Order of the
Day, a thing quite unparalleled.

Though I was much interested in this account of Bonaparte's conduct after
the battle of Wagram; yet I was more curious to hear the particulars of
Bernadotte's last communication with the Emperor. The Prince informed me
that on his return from Plombieres he attended the levee, when the
Emperor asked him, before every one present, whether he had received any
recent news from Sweden.

He replied in the affirmative. "What is it?" inquired Napoleon. "Sire,
I am informed that your Majesty's charge d'afaires at Stockholm opposes
my election. It is also reported to those who choose to believe it that
your Majesty gives the preference to the King of Denmark."--"At these
words," continued Bernadotte, "the Emperor affected surprise, which you
know he can do very artfully. He assured me it was impossible, and then
turned the conversation to another subject.

"I know not what to think of his conduct in this affair. I am aware he
does not like me;--but the interests of his policy may render him
favourable to Sweden. Considering the present greatness and power of
France, I conceived it to be my duty to make every personal sacrifice.
But I swear to Heaven that I will never commit the honour of Sweden. He,
however, expressed himself in the best possible terms in speaking of
Charles XIII. and me. He at first started no obstacle to my acceptance
of the succession to the throne of Sweden, and he ordered the official
announcement of my election to be immediately inserted in the Moniteur'.
Ten days elapsed without the Emperor's saying a word to me about my
departure. As I was anxious to be off, and all my preparations were
made, I determined to go and ask him for the letters patent to relieve me
from my oath of fidelity, which I had certainly kept faithfully in spite
of all his ill-treatment of me. He at first appeared somewhat surprised
at my request, and, after a little hesitation, he said, 'There is a
preliminary condition to be fulfilled; a question has been raised by one
of the members of the Privy Council.'--'What condition, Sire?'--'You must
pledge yourself not to bear arms against me.'--'Does your Majesty suppose
that I can bind myself by such an engagement? My election by the Diet of
Sweden, which has met with your Majesty's assent, has made me a Swedish
subject, and that character is incompatible with the pledge proposed by a
member of the Council. I am sure it could never have emanated from your
Majesty, and must proceed from the Arch-Chancellor or the Grand Judge,
who certainly could not have been aware of the height to which the
proposition would raise me.'--'What do you mean?'--'If, Sire, you prevent
me accepting a crown unless I pledge myself not to bear arms against you,
do you not really place me on a level with you as a General?'

"When I declared positively that my election must make me consider myself
a Swedish subject he frowned, and seemed embarrassed. When I had done
speaking he said, in a low and faltering voice, 'Well, go. Our destinies
will soon be accomplished!' These words were uttered so indistinctly
that I was obliged to beg pardon for not having heard what. he said, and
he repented, 'Go! our destinies will soon be accomplished!' In the
subsequent conversations which I had with the Emperor I tried all
possible means to remove the unfavourable sentiments he cherished towards
me. I revived my recollections of history. I spoke to him of the great
men who had excited the admiration of the world, of the difficulties and
obstacles which they had to surmount; and, above all, I dwelt upon that
solid glory which is founded on the establishment and maintenance of
public tranquillity and happiness. The Emperor listened to me
attentively, and frequently concurred in my opinion as to the principles
of the prosperity and stability of States. One day he took my hand and
pressed it affectionately, as if to assure me of his friendship and
protection. Though I knew him to be an adept in the art of
dissimulation, yet his affected kindness appeared so natural that I
thought all his unfavourable feeling towards me was at an end. I spoke
to persons by whom our two families were allied, requesting that they
would assure the Emperor of the reciprocity of my sentiments, and tell
him that I was ready to assist his great plans in any way not hostile to
the interests of Sweden.

"Would you believe, my dear friend, that the persons to whom I made these
candid protestations laughed at my credulity? They told me that after
the conversation in which the Emperor had so cordially pressed my hand.
I had scarcely taken leave of him when he was heard to say that I had
made a great display of my learning to him, and that he had humoured me
like a child. He wished to inspire me with full confidence so as to put
me off my guard; and I know for a certainty that he had the design of
arresting me.

"But," pursued Bernadotte, "in spite of the feeling of animosity which I
know the Emperor has cherished against me since the 18th Brumaire, I do
not think, when once I shall be in Sweden, that he will wish to have any
differences with the Swedish Government. I must tell you, also be has
given me 2,000,000 francs in exchange for my principality of Ponte-Corvo.
Half the sum has been already paid, which will be very useful to me in
defraying the expenses of my journey and installation. When I was about
to step into my carriage to set off, an individual, whom you must excuse
me naming, came to bid me farewell, and related to me a little
conversation which had just taken place at the Tuileries. Napoleon said
to the individual in question, 'Well, does not the Prince regret leaving
France?'--'Certainly, Sire.'--'As to me, I should have been very glad if
he had not accepted his election. But there is no help for it . . . .
He does not like me.'--'Sire, I must take the liberty of saying that your
Majesty labours under a mistake. I know the differences which have
existed between you and General Bernadotte for the last six years. I
know how he opposed the overthrow of the Directory; but I also know that
the Prince has long been sincerely attached to you.'--'Well, I dare say
you are right. But we have not understood each other. It is now too
late. He has his interests and his policy, and I have mine.'"

"Such," added the Prince, "were the Emperor's last observations
respecting me two hours before my departure. The individual to whom I
have just alluded, spoke truly, my dear Bourrienne. I am indeed sorry to
leave France; and I never should have left it but for the injustice of
Bonaparte. If ever I ascend the throne of Sweden I shall owe my crown to
his ill-treatment of me; for had he not persecuted me by his animosity my
condition would have sufficed for a soldier of fortune: but we must
follow our fate."

During the three days the Prince spent with me I had many other
conversations with him. He wished me to give him my advice as to the
course he should pursue with regard to the Continental system. "I advise
you," said I, "to reject the system without hesitation. It may be very
fine in theory, but it is utterly impossible to carry it into practice,
and it will, in the end, give the trade of the world to England. It
excites the dissatisfaction of our allies, who, in spite of themselves,
will again become our enemies. But no other country, except Russia, is
in the situation of Sweden. You want a number of objects of the first
necessity, which nature has withheld from you. You can only obtain them
by perfect freedom of navigation; and you can only pay for them with
those peculiar productions in which Sweden abounds. It would be out of
all reason to close your ports against a nation who rules the seas. It
is your navy that would be blockaded, not hers. What can France do
against you? She may invade you by land. But England and Russia will
exert all their efforts to oppose her. By sea it is still more
impossible that she should do anything. Then you have nothing to fear
but Russia and England, and it will be easy for you to keep up friendly
relations with these two powers. Take my advice; sell your iron, timber,
leather, and pitch; take in return salt, wines, brandy, and colonial
produce. This is the way to make yourself popular in Sweden. If, on the
contrary, you follow the Continental system, you will be obliged to adopt
laws against smuggling, which will draw upon you the detestation of the

Such was the advice which I gave to Bernadotte when he was about to
commence his new and brilliant career. In spite of my situation as a
French Minister I could not have reconciled it to my conscience to give
him any other counsel, for if diplomacy has duties so also has
friendship. Bernadotte adopted my advice, and the King of Sweden had no
reason to regret having done so.



Bernadotte's departure from Hamburg--The Duke of Holstein-
Augustenburg--Arrival of the Crown Prince in Sweden--
Misunderstandings between him and Napoleon--Letter from Bernadotte
to the Emperor--Plot for kidnapping the Prince Royal of Sweden--
Invasion of Swedish Pomerania--Forced alliance of Sweden with
England and Russia--Napoleon's overtures to Sweden--Bernadotte's
letters of explanation to the Emperor--The Princess Royal of Sweden
--My recall to Paris--Union of the Hanse Towns with France--
Dissatisfaction of Russia--Extraordinary demand made upon me by
Bonaparte--Fidelity of my old friends--Duroc and Rapp--Visit to
Malmaison, and conversation with Josephine.

While Bernadotte was preparing to fill the high station to which he had
been called by the wishes of the people of Sweden, Napoleon was involved
in his misunderstanding with the Pope,

--[It was about this time that, irritated at what he called the
captive Pope's unreasonable obstinacy, Bonaparte conceived, and
somewhat openly expressed, his notion of making France s Protestant
country, and changing the religion of 30,000,000 of people by an
Imperial decree. One or two of the good sayings of the witty,
accomplished, and chivalrous Comte Louis de Narbonne have already
been given in the course of these volumes. The following is another
of them:

"I tell you what I will do, Narbonne--I tell you how I will vent my
spite on this old fool of a Pope, and the dotards who may succeed
him said Napoleon one day at the Tuileries. "I will make a schism
as great as that of Luther--I will make France a Protestant

"O Sire," replied the Count, "I see difficulties in the way of this
project. In the south, in the Vendee, in nearly all the west, the
French are bigoted Catholics and even what little religion remains
among us in our cities and great towns is of the Roman Church."

"Never mind, Narbonne--never mind!--I shall at least carry a large
portion of the French people with me--I will make a division!" Sire,
replied Narbonne, "I am afraid that there is not enough religion in
all France to stand division!"-Editor of 1836 edition.]--

and in the affairs of Portugal, which were far from proceeding according
to his wishes. Bernadotte had scarcely quitted Hamburg for Sweden when
the Duke of Holstein-Augustenburg arrived. The Duke was the brother of
the last Prince Royal of Sweden, whom Bernadotte was called to succeed,
and he came to escort his sister from Altona to Denmark. His journey had
been retarded for some days on account of the presence of the Prince of
Ponte-Gorvo in Hamburg: the preference granted to Bernadotte had
mortified his ambition, and he was unwilling to come in contact with his
fortunate rival. The Duke was favoured, by the Emperor of Russia.

As soon as he arrived in Sweden Bernadotte directed his aide de camp,
General Lentil de St. Alphonse, to inform me of his safe passage.
Shortly after I received a letter from Bernadotte himself, recommending
one of his aides de camp, M. Villatte, who was the bearer of it. This
letter contained the same sentiments of friendship as those I used to
receive from General Bernadotte, and formed a contrast with the
correspondence of King Jerome, who when he wrote to me assumed the regal
character, and prayed that God would have me in his holy keeping.
However, the following is the Prince Royal's letter:

MY DEAR BOURRIENNE--I have directed M. Villatte to see you on his
way through Hamburg, and to bear my friendly remembrances to you.
Lentil has addressed his letter to you, which I suppose you have
already received. Adieu, care for me always, and believe in the
inalterable attachment of yours,


P.S.--I beg yon will present my compliments to madame and all your
family. Embrace my little cousin for me.

The little cousin, so called by Bernadotte, was one of my daughters, then
a child, whom Bernadotte used to be very fond of while he was at Hamburg.

Departing from the order of date, I will anticipate the future, and
relate all I know respecting the real causes of the misunderstanding
which arose between Bernadotte and Napoleon. Bonaparte viewed the choice
of the Swedes with great displeasure, because he was well aware that
Bernadotte had too much integrity and honour to serve him in the north as
a political puppet set in motion by means of springs which he might pull
at Paris or at his headquarters. His dissatisfaction upon this point
occasioned an interesting correspondence, part of which, consisting of
letters from Bernadotte to the Emperor, is in my possession. The Emperor
had allowed Bernadotte to retain in his service, for a year at least, the
French officers who were his aides de camp--but that permission was soon
revoked, end the Prince Royal of Sweden wrote to Napoleon a letter of

Napoleon's dissatisfaction with the Prince Royal now changed to decided
resentment. He repented having acceded to his departure from France, and
he made no secret of his sentiments, for he said before his courtiers,
"That he would like to send Bernadotte to Vincennes to finish his study
of the Swedish language." Bernadotte was informed of this, but he could
not believe that the Emperor had ever entertained such a design.
However, a conspiracy was formed in Sweden against Bernadotte, whom a
party of foreign brigands were hired to kidnap in the neighbourhood of
Raga; but the plot was discovered, and the conspirators were compelled to
embark without their prey. The Emperor having at the same time seized
upon Swedish Pomerania, the Prince Royal wrote him a second letter in
these terms:

From the papers which have just arrived I learn that a division of
the army, under the command of the Prince of Eckmuhl, invaded
Swedish Pomerania on the night of the 26th of January; that the
division continued to advance, entered the capital of the Duchy, and
took possession of the island of Rugen. The King expects that your
Majesty will explain the reasons which have induced you to act in a
manner so contrary to the faith of existing treaties. My old
connection with your Majesty warrants me in requesting you to
declare your motives without delay, in order that I may give my
advice to the King as to the conduct which Sweden ought hereafter to
adopt. This gratuitous outrage against Sweden is felt deeply by the
nation, and still more, Sire, by me, to whom is entrusted the honour
of defending it. Though I have contributed to the triumphs of
France, though I have always desired to see her respected and happy;
yet I can never think of sacrificing the interests, honour, and
independence of the country which has adopted me. Your Majesty, who
has so ready a perception of what is just, must admit the propriety
of my resolution. Though I am not jealous of the glory and power
which surrounds you, I cannot submit to the dishonour of being
regarded as a vassal. Your Majesty governs the greatest part of
Europe, but your dominion does not extend to the nation which I have
been called to govern; my ambition is limited to the defence of
Sweden. The effect produced upon the people by the invasion of
which I complain may lead to consequences which it is impossible to
foresee; and although I am not a Coriolanus, and do not command the
Volsci, I have a sufficiently good opinion of the Swedes to assure
you that they dare undertake anything to avenge insults which they
have not provoked, and to preserve rights to which they are as much
attached as to their lives.

I was in Paris when the Emperor received Bernadotte's letter on the
occupation of Swedish Pomerania. When Bonaparte read it I was informed
that he flew into a violent rage, and even exclaimed, "You shall submit
to your degradation, or die sword in hand!" But his rage was impotent.
The unexpected occupation of Swedish Pomerania obliged the King of Sweden
to come to a decided rupture with France, and to seek other allies, for
Sweden was not strong enough in herself to maintain neutrality in the
midst of the general conflagration of Europe after the disastrous
campaign of Moscow. The Prince Royal, therefore, declared to Russia and
England that in consequence of the unjust invasion of Pomerania Sweden
was at war with France, and he despatched Comte de Lowenhjelm, the King's
aide de camp, with a letter explanatory of his views. Napoleon sent many
notes to Stockholm, where M. Alquier, his Ambassador, according to his
instructions, had maintained a haughty and even insulting tone towards
Sweden. Napoleon's overtures, after the manifestations of his anger, and
after the attempt to carry off the Prince Royal, which could be
attributed only to him, were considered by the Prince Royal merely as a
snare. But in the hope of reconciling the duties he owed to both his old
and his new country he addressed to the Emperor a moderate letter:

This letter throws great light on the conduct of the Emperor with respect
to Bernadotte; for Napoleon was not the man whom any one whatever would
have ventured to remind of facts, the accuracy of which was in the least
degree questionable. Such then were the relations between Napoleon and
the Prince Royal of Sweden. When I shall bring to light some curious
secrets, which have hitherto been veiled beneath the mysteries of the
Restoration, it will be seen by what means Napoleon, before his fall,
again sought to wreak his vengeance upon Bernadotte.

Oh the 4th of December I had the honour to see the Princess Royal of
Sweden,--[Madame Bernadotte, afterwards Queen of Sweden, was a
Mademoiselle Clary, and younger sister to the wife of Joseph Bonaparte]--
who arrived that day at Hamburg. She merely passed through the city on
her way to Stockholm to join her husband, but she remained but a short
time in Sweden,--two months, I believe, at most, not being able to
reconcile herself to the ancient Scandinavia. As to the Prince Royal, he
soon became inured to the climate, having been for many years employed in
the north.

After this my stay at Hamburg was not of long duration. Bonaparte's
passion for territorial aggrandisement knew no bounds; and the turn of
the Hanse Towns now arrived. By taking possession of these towns and
territories he merely accomplished a design formed long previously.
I, however, was recalled with many compliments, and under the specious
pretext that the Emperor wished to hear my opinions respecting the
country in which. I had been residing. At the beginning of December I
received a letter from M. de Champagny stating that the Emperor wished to
see me in order to consult with me upon different things relating to
Hamburg. In this note I was told "that the information I had obtained
respecting Hamburg and the north of Germany might be useful to the public
interest, which must be the most gratifying reward of my labours." The
reception which awaited me will presently be seen. The conclusion of the
letter spoke in very flattering terms of the manner in which I had
discharged my duties. I received it on the 8th of December, and next day
I set out for Paris. When I arrived at Mayence I was enabled to form a
correct idea of the fine compliments which had been paid me, and of the
Emperor's anxiety to have my opinion respecting the Hanse Towns. In
Mayence I met the courier who was proceeding to announce the union of the
Hanse Towns with the French Empire. I confess that, notwithstanding the
experience I had acquired of Bonaparte's duplicity, or rather, of the
infinite multiplicity of his artifices, he completely took me by surprise
on that occasion.

On my arrival in Paris I did not see the Emperor, but the first
'Moniteur' I read contained the formula of a 'Senatus-consulte,' which
united the Hanse Towns, Lauenburg, etc., to the French Empire by the
right of the strongest. This new and important augmentation of territory
could not fail to give uneasiness to Russia. Alexander manifested his
dissatisfaction by prohibiting the importation of our agricultural
produce and manufactures into Russia. Finally, as the Continental system
had destroyed all trade by the ports of the Baltic, Russia showed herself
more favourable to the English, and gradually reciprocal complaints of
bad faith led to that war whose unfortunate issue was styled by M.
Talleyrand "the beginning of the end."

I have now to make the reader acquainted with an extraordinary demand
made upon me by the Emperor through the medium of M. de Champagny. In
one of my first interviews with that Minister after my return to Paris he
thus addressed me: "The Emperor has entrusted me with a commission to you
which I am obliged to execute: 'When you see Bourrienne,' said the
Emperor, 'tell him I wish him to pay 6,000,000 into your chest to defray
the expense of building the new Office for Foreign Affairs.'" I was so
astonished at this unfeeling and inconsiderate demand that I was utterly
unable to make airy reply. This then was my recompense for having
obtained money and supplies during my residence at Hamburg to the extent
of nearly 100,000,000, by which his treasury and army had profited in
moments of difficulty! M. de Champagny added that the Emperor did not
wish to receive me. He asked what answer he should bear to his Majesty.
I still remained silent, and the Minister again urged me to give an
answer. "Well, then," said I, "tell him he may go to the devil." The
Minister naturally wished to obtain some variation from this laconic
answer, but I would give no other; and I afterwards learned from Duroc
that M. de Champagny was compelled to communicate it to Napoleon.
"Well," asked the latter, "have you seen Bourrienne?"--"Yes, Sire."--"Did
you tell him I wished him to pay 6,000,000 into your chest?"--" Yes,
Sire."--"And what did he say?"--" Sire, I dare not inform your
Majesty."--"What did he say? I insist upon knowing."--"Since you insist
on my telling you, Sire, M. de Bourrienne said your Majesty might go to-
the devil."--"Ah! ah! did he really say so?" The Emperor then retired
to the recess of a window, where he remained alone for seven or eight
minutes, biting his nails; in the fashion of Berthier, and doubtless
giving free scope to his projects of vengeance. He then turned to the
Minister and spoke to him of quite another subject: Bonaparte had so
nursed himself in the idea of making me pay the 6,000,000 that every time
he passed the Office for Foreign Affairs he said to those who accompanied
hint; "Bourrienne must pay for that after all."

--[This demand of money from Bourrienne is explained in Erreurs
(tome ii, p. 228) by the son of Davoust. Bourrienne had been
suspected by Napoleon of making large sums at Hamburg by allowing
breaches of the Continental system. In one letter to Davoust
Napoleon speaks of an "immense fortune," and in another, that
Bourrienne is reported to have gained seven or eight millions at
Hamburg in giving licences or making arbitrary seizures.]--

Though I was not admitted to the honour of sharing the splendour of the
Imperial Court; yet I had the satisfaction of finding that; in spite of
my disgrace, those of my old friends who were worth anything evinced the
same regard for me as heretofore. I often saw Duroc; who snatched some
moments from his more serious occupations to come and chat with me
respecting all that had occurred since my secession from Bonaparte's
cabinet. I shall not attempt to give a verbatim account of my
conversations with Duroc, as I have only my memory to guide me; but I
believe I shall not depart from the truth in describing them as follows:

On his return from the last Austrian campaign Napoleon; as I have already
stated, proceeded to Fontainebleau, where he was joined by Josephine.
Then, for the first time, the communication which had always existed
between the apartments of the husband and wife was closed. Josephine was
fully alive to the fatal prognostics which were to be deduced from this
conjugal separation. Duroc informed me that she sent for him, and on
entering her chamber, he found her bathed in tears. "I am lost!" she
exclaimed in a tone of voice the remembrance of which seemed sensibly to
affect Duroc even while relating the circumstance to me: "I am utterly
lost! all is over now! You, Duroc, I know, have always been my friend,
and so has Rapp. It is not you who have persuaded him to part from me.
This is the work of my enemies Savary and Junot! But they are more his
enemies than mine. And my poor Eugene I how will he be distressed when
he learns I am repudiated by an ungrateful man! Yes Duroc, I may truly
call him ungrateful, My God! my God! what will become of us?" . . .
Josephine sobbed bitterly while she thus addressed Duroc.

Before I was acquainted with the singular demand which M. de Champagny
was instructed to make to me I requested Duroc to inquire of the Emperor
his reason for not wishing to see me. The Grand Marshal faithfully
executed my commission, but he received only the following answer:
"Do you think I have nothing better to do than to give Bourrienne an
audience? that would indeed furnish gossip for Paris and Hamburg. He
has always sided with the emigrants; he would be talking to me of past
times; he was for Josephine! My wife, Duroc, is near her confinement;
I shall have a son, I am sure!.... Bourrienne is not a man of the day;
I have made giant strides since he left France; in short, I do not want
to see him. He is a grumbler by nature; and you know, my dear Duroc, I
do not like men of that sort."

I had not been above a week in Paris when Duroc related this speech to
me. Rapp was not in France at the time, to my great regret. Much
against his inclination he had been appointed to some duties connected
with the Imperial marriage ceremonies, but shortly after, having given
offence to Napoleon by some observation relating to the Faubourg St.
Germain, he had received orders to repair to Dantzic, of which place he
had already been Governor.

The Emperor's refusal to see me made my situation in Paris extremely
delicate; and I was at first in doubt whether I might seek an interview
with Josephine. Duroc, however, having assured me that Napoleon would
have no objection to it, I wrote requesting permission to wait upon her.
I received an answer the same day, and on the morrow I repaired to
Malmaison. I was ushered into the tent drawing-room, where I found
Josephine and Hortense. When I entered Josephine stretched out her hand
to me, saying, "Ah! my friend!" These words she pronounced with deep
emotion, and tears prevented her from continuing. She threw herself on
the ottoman on the left of the fireplace, and beckoned me to sit down
beside her. Hortense stood by the fireplace, endeavouring to conceal her
tears. Josephine took my hand, which she pressed in both her own; and,
after a struggle to overcome her feelings, she said, "My dear
Bourrienne, I have drained my cup of misery. He has cast me off!
forsaken me! He conferred upon me the vain title of Empress only to
render my fall the more marked. Ah! we judged him rightly! I knew the
destiny that awaited me; for what would he not sacrifice to his
ambition!" As she finished these words one of Queen Hortense's ladies
entered with a message to her; Hortense stayed a few moments, apparently
to recover from the emotion under which she was labouring, and then
withdrew, so that I was left alone with Josephine. She seemed to wish
for the relief of disclosing her sorrows, which I was curious to hear
from her own lips; women have such a striking way of telling their
distresses. Josephine confirmed what Duroc had told me respecting the
two apartments at Fontainebleau; then, coming to the period when
Bonaparte had declared to her the necessity of a separation, she said,
"My dear Bourrienne; during all the years you were with us you know I made
you the confidant of my thoughts, and kept you acquainted with my sad
forebodings. They are now cruelly fulfilled. I acted the part of a good
wife to the very last. I have suffered all, and I am resigned! . . .
What fortitude did it require latterly to endure my situation, when,
though no longer his wife, I was obliged to seem so in the eyes of the
world! With what eyes do courtiers look upon a repudiated wife! I was
in a state of vague uncertainty worse than death until the fatal day when
he at length avowed to me what I had long before read in his looks! On
the 30th of November 1809 we were dining together as usual, I had not
uttered a word during that sad dinner, and he had broken silence only to
ask one of the servants what o'clock it was. As soon as Bonaparte had
taken his coffee he dismissed all the attendants, and I remained alone
with him. I saw in the expression of his countenance what was passing in
his mind, and I knew that my hour was come. He stepped up to me--he was
trembling, and I shuddered; he took my hand, pressed it to his heart, and
after gazing at me for a few moments in silence he uttered these fatal
words: 'Josephine! my dear Josephine! You know how I have loved you! .
. . To you, to you alone, I owe the only moments of happiness I have
tasted in this world. But, Josephine, my destiny is not to be controlled
by my will. My dearest affections must yield to the interests of
France.'--'Say no more,' I exclaimed, 'I understand you; I expected this,
but the blow is not the less mortal.' I could not say another word,"
continued Josephine; "I know not what happened after I seemed to lose my
reason; I became insensible, and when I recovered I found myself in my
chamber. Your friend Corvisart and my poor daughter were with me.
Bonaparte came to see me in the evening; and oh! Bourrienne, how can I
describe to you what I felt at the sight of him; even the interest he
evinced for me seemed an additional cruelty. Alas! I had good reason to
fear ever becoming an Empress!"

I knew not what consolation to offer: to Josephine; and knowing as I did
the natural lightness of her character, I should have been surprised to
find her grief so acute, after the lapse of a year, had I not been aware
that there are certain chords which, when struck, do not speedily cease
to vibrate in the heart of a woman. I sincerely pitied Josephine, and
among all the things I said to assuage her sorrow, the consolation to
which she appeared most sensible was the reprobation which public opinion
had pronounced on Bonaparte's divorce, and on this subject I said nothing
but the truth, for Josephine was generally beloved. I reminded her of a
prediction I had made under happier circumstances, viz. on the day that
she came to visit us in our little house at Ruel. "My dear friend," said
she, "I have not forgotten it, and I have often thought of all you then
said. For my part, I knew he was lost from the day he made himself
Emperor. Adieu! Bourrienne, come and see me soon again; come often, for
we have a great deal to talk about; you know how happy I always am to see
you." Such was, to the best of my recollection, what passed at my first
interview with Josephine after my return from Hamburg.



Arrest of La Sahla--My visit to him--His confinement at Vincennes--
Subsequent history of La Sahla--His second journey to France--
Detonating powder--Plot hatched against me by the Prince of Eckmuhl
--Friendly offices of the Due de Rovigo--Bugbears of the police--
Savary, Minister of Police.

I had been in Paris about two months when a young man of the name of La
Sahla was arrested on the suspicion of having come from Saxony to attempt
the life of the Emperor. La Sahla informed the Duo de Rovigo, then
Minister of the Police, that he wished to see me, assigning as a reason
for this the reputation I had left behind me in Germany. The Emperor, I
presume, had no objection to the interview, for I received an invitation
to visit the prisoner. I accordingly repaired to the branch office of
the Minister of the Police, in the Rue des St. Peres, where I was
introduced to a young man between seventeen and eighteen years of age.

My conversation with the young man, whose uncle was, I believe, Minister
to the King of Saxony, interested me greatly in his behalf; I determined,
if possible, to save La Sahla, and I succeeded. I proceeded immediately
to the Duo de Rovigo, and I convinced him that under the circumstances of
the case it was important to make it be believed that the young man was
insane. I observed that if he were brought before a court he would
repeat all that he had stated to me, and probably enter into disclosures
which might instigate fresh attempts at assassination. Perhaps an
avenger of La Sahla might rise up amongst the students of Leipzig, at
which university he had spent his youth. These reasons, together with
others, had the success I hoped for. The Emperor afterwards acknowledged
the prudent course which had been adopted respecting La Sahla; when
speaking at St. Helena of the conspiracies against his life he said,
"I carefully concealed all that I could."

In conformity with my advice La Sahla was sent to Vincennes, where he
remained until the end of March 1814, He was then removed to the castle
of Saumur, from which he was liberated at the beginning of April. I had
heard nothing of him for three years, when one day, shortly after the
Restoration, whilst sitting at breakfast with my family at my house in
the Rue Hauteville, I heard an extraordinary noise in the antechamber,
and before I had time to ascertain its cause I found myself in the arms.
of a young man, who embraced me with extraordinary ardour. It was La
Sahla. He was in a transport of gratitude and joy at his liberation, and
at the accomplishment of the events which he had wished to accelerate by
assassination. La Sahla returned to Saxony and I saw no more of him, but
while I was in Hamburg in 1815, whither I was seat by Louis XVIII., I
learned that on the 5th of June a violent explosion was heard in the
Chamber of Representatives at Paris, which was at first supposed to be a
clap of thunder, but was soon ascertained to have been occasioned by a
young Samson having fallen with a packet of detonating powder in his

On receiving this intelligence I imagined, I know not why, that this
young Saxon was La Sahla, and that he had probably intended to blow up
Napoleon and even the Legislative Body; but I have since ascertained that
I was under a mistake as to his intentions. My knowledge of La Sahla's
candour induces me to believe the truth of his declarations to the
police; and if there be any inaccuracies in the report of these
declarations I do not hesitate to attribute them to the police itself,
of which Fouche was the head at the period in question.

It is the latter part of the report which induced me to observe above,
that if there were any inaccuracies in the statement they were more
likely to proceed from Fouche's police than the false representations of
young La Sahla. It is difficult to give credit without proof to such
accusations. However, I decide nothing; but I consider it my duty to
express doubts of the truth of these charges brought against the two
Prussian ministers, of whom the Prince of Wittgenstein, a man of
undoubted honour, has always spoken to me in the best of terms.

There is nothing to prove that La Sahla returned to France the second
time with the same intentions as before. This project, however, is a
mystery to me, and his detonating powder gives rise to many conjectures.

I had scarcely left Hamburg when the Prince of Eckmuhl (Marshal Davoust)
was appointed Governor-General of that place on the union of the Hanse
Towns with the Empire. From that period I was constantly occupied in
contending against the persecutions and denunciations which he racked his
imagination to invent. I cannot help attributing to those persecutions
the Emperor's coolness towards me on my arrival in Paris. But as
Davoust's calumnies were devoid of proof, he resorted to a scheme by
which a certain appearance of probability might supply the place of
truth. When I arrived in Paris, at the commencement of 1811, I was
informed by an excellent friend I had left at Hamburg, M. Bouvier, an
emigrant, and one of the hostages of Louis XVI., that in a few days I
would receive a letter which would commit me, and likewise M. de
Talleyrand and General Rapp. I had never had any connection on matters
of business, with either of these individuals, for whom I entertained the
most sincere attachment. They, like myself, were not in the good graces
of Marshal Davoust, who could not pardon the one for his incontestable
superiority of talent, and the other for his blunt honesty. On the
receipt of M. Bouvier's letter I carried it to the Due de Rovigo, whose
situation made him perfectly aware of the intrigues which had been
carried on against me since I had left Hamburg by one whose ambition
aspired to the Viceroyalty of Poland. On that, as on many other similar
occasions, the Duc de Rovigo advocated my cause with Napoleon. We agreed
that it would be best to await the arrival of the letter which M. Bouvier
had announced. Three weeks elapsed, and the letter did not appear. The
Duc de Rovigo, therefore, told me that I must have been misinformed.
However, I was certain that M. Bouvier would not have sent me the
information on slight grounds, and I therefore supposed that the project
had only been delayed. I was not wrong in my conjecture, for at length
the letter arrived. To what a depth of infamy men can descend! The.
letter was from a man whom I had known at Hamburg, whom I had obliged,
whom I had employed as a spy. His epistle was a miracle of impudence.
After relating some extraordinary transactions which he said had taken
place between us, and which all bore the stamp of falsehood, he requested
me to send him by return of post the sum of 60,000 francs on account of
what I had promised him for some business he executed in England by the
direction of M. de Talleyrand, General Rapp, and myself. Such miserable
wretches are often caught in the snares they spread for others. This was
the case in the present instance, for the fellow had committed, the
blunder of fixing upon the year 1802 as the period of this pretended
business in England, that is to say, two years before my appointment as
Minister-Plenipotentiary to the Hanse Towns. This anachronism was not
the only one I discovered in the letter.

I took a copy of the letter, and immediately carried the original to the
Duc de Rovigo, as had been agreed between us. When I waited on the
Minister he was just preparing to go to the Emperor. He took with him
the letter which I brought, and also the letter which announced its
arrival. As the Duc de Rovigo entered the audience-chamber Napoleon
advanced to meet him, and apostrophised him thus: "Well, I have learned
fine things of your Bourrienne, whom you are always defending." The fact
was, the Emperor had already received a copy of the letter, which had
been opened at the Hamburg post-office. The Due de Rovigo told the
Emperor that he had long known what his Majesty had communicated to him.
He then entered into a full explanation of the intrigue, of which it was
wished to render me the victim, and proved to him the more easily the
falsehood of my accusers by reminding him that in 1802 I was not in
Hamburg, but was still in his service at home.

It may be supposed that I was too much interested in knowing what had
passed at the Tuileries not to return to the Duc de Rovigo the same day.
I learned from him the particulars which I have already related. He
added that he had observed to the Emperor that there was no connection
between Rapp and M. Talleyrand which could warrant the suspicion of their
being concerned in the affair in question. "When Napoleon saw the matter
in its true light," said Savary, "when I proved to him the palpable
existence of the odious machination, he could not find terms to express
his indignation. 'What baseness, what horrible villainy!' he exclaimed;
and gave me orders to arrest and bring to Paris the infamous writer of
the letter; and you may rely upon it his orders shall be promptly

Savary, as he had said, instantly despatched orders for the arrest of the
writer, whom he directed to be sent to France. On his arrival he was
interrogated respecting the letter. He declared that he had written it
at the instigation and under the dictation of Marshal Davoust, for doing
which he received a small sum of money as a reward. He also confessed
that when the letter was put into the post the Prince of Eckmuhl ordered
the Director of the Post to open it, take a copy, then seal it again, and
send it to its address--that is to say, to me--and the copy to the
Emperor. The writer of the letter was banished to Marseilles, or to the
Island of Hyeres, but the individual who dictated it continued a Marshal,
a Prince, and a Governor-General, and still looked forward to the
Viceroyalty of Poland! Such was the discriminating justice of the
Empire; and Davoust continued his endeavours to revenge himself by other
calumnies for my not having considered him a man of talent. I must do
the Duc de Rovigo the justice to say that, though his fidelity to
Napoleon was as it always had been, boundless, yet whilst he executed the
Emperor's orders he endeavoured to make him acquainted with the truth, as
was proved by his conduct in the case I have just mentioned. He was much
distressed by the sort of terror which his appointment had excited in the
public, and he acknowledged to me that he intended to restore confidence
by a more mild system than that of his predecessor. I had observed
formerly that Savary did not coincide in the opinion I had always
entertained of Fouche, but when once the Due de Rovigo endeavoured to
penetrate the labyrinth of police, counter-police, inspections and
hierarchies of espionage, he found they were all bugbears which Fouche
had created to alarm the Emperor, as gardeners put up scarecrows among
the fruit-trees to frighten away the sparrows. Thus, thanks to the
artifices of Fouche, the eagle was frightened as easily as the sparrows,
until the period when the Emperor, convinced that Fouche was maintaining
a correspondence with England through the agency of Ouvrard, dismissed

I saw with pleasure that Savary, the Minister of Police, wished to
simplify the working of his administration, and to gradually diminish
whatever was annoying in it, but, whatever might be his intentions, he
was not always free to act. I acknowledge that when I read his Memoirs I
saw with great impatience that in many matters he had voluntarily assumed
responsibilities for acts which a word from him might have attributed to
their real author. However this may be, what much pleased me in Savary
was the wish he showed to learn the real truth in order to tell it to
Napoleon. He received from the Emperor more than one severe rebuff.
This came from the fact that since the immense aggrandisement of the
Empire the ostensible Ministers, instead of rising in credit, had seen
their functions diminish by degrees. Thus proposals for appointments to
the higher grades of the army came from the cabinet of Berthier, and not
from that of the Minister-of-War. Everything which concerned any part of
the government of the Interior or of the Exterior, except for the
administration of War and perhaps for that of Finance, had its centre in
the cabinet of M. Maret, certainly an honest man, but whose facility in
saying "All is right," so much helped to make all wrong.

The home trade, manufactures, and particularly several of the Parisian
firms were in a state of distress the more hurtful as it contrasted so
singularly with the splendour of the Imperial Court since the marriage of
Napoleon with Maria Louisa. In this state of affairs a chorus of
complaints reached the ears of the Duc de Rovigo every day. I must say
that Savary was never kinder to me than since my disgrace; he nourished
my hope of getting Napoleon to overcome the prejudices against me with
which the spirit of vengeance had inspired him, and I know for certain
that Savary returned to the charge more than once to manage this. The
Emperor listened without anger, did not blame him for the closeness of
our intimacy, and even said to him some obliging but insignificant words
about me. This gave time for new machinations against me, and to fill
him with fresh doubts when he had almost overcome his former, ideas.


M. Czernischeff--Dissimulation of Napoleon--Napoleon and Alexander--
Josephine's foresight respecting the affairs of Spain--My visits to
Malmaison--Grief of Josephine--Tears and the toilet--Vast extent of
the Empire--List of persons condemned to death and banishment in
Piedmont--Observation of Alfieri respecting the Spaniards--Success
in Spain--Check of Massena in Portugal--Money lavished by the
English--Bertrand sent to Illyria, and Marmont to Portugal--
Situation of the French army--Assembling of the Cortes--Europe
sacrificed to the Continental system--Conversation with Murat in the
Champs Elysees--New titles and old names--Napoleon's dislike of
literary men--Odes, etc., on the marriage of Napoleon--Chateaubriand
and Lemereier--Death of Chenier--Chateaubriand elected his successor
--His discourse read by Napoleon--Bonaparte compared to Nero-
Suppression of the 'Merceure'--M. de Chateaubriand ordered to leave
Paris--MM. Lemercier and Esmenard presented to the Emperor--Birth of
the King of Rome--France in 1811.

Since my return to France I had heard much of the intrigues of M.
Czernischeff, an aide de camp of the Emperor of Russia, who, under the
pretest of being frequently sent to compliment Napoleon on the part of
the Emperor Alexander, performed, in fact, the office of a spy. The
conduct of Napoleon with regard to M. Czernischeff at that period struck
me as singular, especially after the intelligence which before my
departure from Hamburg I had transmitted to him respecting the
dissatisfaction of Russia and her hostile inclinations. It is therefore
clear to me that Bonaparte was well aware of the real object of M.
Czernischeffs mission, and that if he appeared to give credit to the
increasing professions of his friendship it was only because he still
wished, as he formerly did; that Russia might so far commit herself as to
afford him a fair pretext for the commencement, of hostilities in the

M. Czernischeff first arrived in Paris shortly after the interview at
Erfurt, and after that period was almost constantly on the road between
Paris and St. Petersburg; it has been computed that in the space of less
than four years he travelled more than 10,000 leagues. For a long time
his frequent journeyings excited no surmises, but while I was in Paris
Savary began to entertain suspicions, the correctness of which it was not
difficult to ascertain, so formidable was still the system of espionage,
notwithstanding the precaution taken by Fouche to conceal from his
successor the names of his most efficient spies. It was known that M.
Czernischeff was looking out for a professor of mathematics,--doubtless
to disguise the real motives for his stay in Paris by veiling them under
the desire of studying the sciences. The confidant of Alexander had
applied to a professor connected with a public office; and from that time
all the steps of M. Czermseheff were known to the police. It was
discovered that he was less anxious to question his instructor respecting
the equations of a degree, or the value of unknown quantities, than to
gain all the information he could about the different branches of the
administration, and particularly the department of war. It happened that
the professor knew some individuals employed in the public offices, who
furnished him with intelligence, which he in turn communicated to M.
Czernischeff, but not without making a report of it to the police;
according to custom, instead of putting an end to this intrigue at once
it was suffered fully to develop itself. Napoleon was informed of what
was going on, and in this instance gave a new proof of his being an adept
in the art of dissimulation, for, instead of testifying any displeasure
against M. Czernischeff, he continued to receive him with the same marks
of favour which he had shown to him during his former missions to Paris.
Being, nevertheless, desirous to get rid of him, without evincing a
suspicion that his clandestine proceedings had been discovered, he
entrusted him with a friendly letter to his brother of Russia, but
Alexander was in such haste to reply to the flattering missive of his
brother of France that M. Czernischeff was hurried back to Paris, having
scarcely been suffered to enter the gates of St. Petersburg. I believe I
am correct in the idea that Napoleon was not really displeased at the
intrigues of M. Czernischeff, from the supposition that they afforded an
indication of the hostile intentions of Russia towards France; for,
whatever he might say on this subject to his confidants, what reliance
can we place on the man who formed the camp of Boulogne without the most
distant intention of attempting a descent upon England, and who had
deceived the whole world respecting that important affair without taking
any one into his own confidence?

During the period of my stay in Paris the war with Spain and Portugal
occupied much of the public attention; and it proved in the end an
enterprise upon which the intuition of Josephine had not deceived her.
In general she intermeddled little with political affairs; in the first
place, because her doing so would have given offence to Napoleon; and
next, because her natural frivolity led her to give a preference to
lighter pursuits. But I may safely affirm that she was endowed with an
instinct so perfect as seldom to be deceived respecting the good or evil
tendency of any measure which Napoleon engaged in; and I remember she
told me that when informed of the intention of the Emperor to bestow the
throne of Spain on Joseph, she was seized with a feeling of indescribable
alarm. It would be difficult to define that instinctive feeling which
leads us to foresee the future; but it is a fact that Josephine was
endowed with this faculty in a more perfect decree than any other person
I have ever known, and to her it was a fatal gift, for she suffered at
the same time under the weight of present and of future misfortunes.

I often visited her at Malmaison, as Duroc assured me that the Emperor
had no objection to my doing so; yet he must have been fully aware that
when Josephine and I were in confidential conversation he would not
always be mentioned in terms of unqualified eulogy; and in truth, his
first friend and his first wife might well be excused for sometimes
commingling their complaints.

Though more than a twelvemonth had elapsed since the divorce grief still
preyed on the heart of Josephine. "You cannot conceive, my friend," she
often said to me, "all the torments that I have suffered since that fatal
day! I cannot imagine how I survived it. You cannot figure to yourself
the pain I endure on seeing descriptions of his fetes everywhere. And
the first time he came to visit me after his marriage, what a meeting was
that! How many tears I shed! The days on which he comes are to me days
of misery, for he spares me not. How cruel to speak of his expected
heir. Bourrienne, you cannot conceive how heart-rending all this is to
me! Better, far better to be exiled a thousand leagues from hence!
However," added Josephine, "a few friends still remain faithful in my
changed fortune, and that is now the only thing which affords me even
temporary consolation." The truth is that she was extremely unhappy, and
the most acceptable consolation her friends could offer her was to weep
with her. Yet such was still Josephine's passion for dress, that after.
having wept for a quarter of an hour she would dry her tears to give
audience to milliners and jewellers. The sight of a new hat would call
forth all Josephine's feminine love of finery. One day I remember that,
taking advantage of the momentary serenity occasioned by an ample display
of sparkling gewgaws, I congratulated her upon the happy influence they
exercised over her spirits, when she said, "My dear friend, I ought,
indeed, to be indifferent to all this; but it is a habit." Josephine
might have added that it was also an occupation, for it would be no
exaggeration to say that if the time she wasted in tears and at her
toilet had been subtracted from her life its duration would have been
considerably shortened.

The vast extent of the French Empire now presented a spectacle which
resembled rather the dominion of the Romans and the conquests of
Charlemagne than the usual form and political changes of modern Europe.
In fact, for nearly two centuries, until the period of the Revolution,
and particularly until the elevation of Napoleon, no remarkable changes
had taken place in the boundaries of European States, if we except the
partition of Poland, when two of the co-partitioners committed the error
of turning the tide of Russia towards the west! Under Napoleon
everything was overturned with astonishing rapidity: customs, manners,
laws, were superseded

--[The so-called "French" armies of the time, drawn from all parts
of the Empire and from the dependent States, represented the
extraordinary fusion attempted by Napoleon. Thus, at the battle of
Ocana there were at least troops of the following States, viz.
Warsaw, Holland, Baden, Nassau, Hesse-Darmstadt, Frankfort, besides
the Spaniards in Joseph's service. A Spanish division went to
Denmark, the regiment from Isembourg was sent to Naples, while the
Neapolitans crossed to Spain. Even the little Valais had to furnish
a battalion. Blacks from San Domingo served in Naples, while
sixteen nations, like so many chained dogs, advanced into Russia.
Such troops could not have the spirit of a homogeneous army.

Already, in 1808, Metternich had written from Paris to his Court,
"It is no longer the nation that fights: the present war (Spain) is
Napoleon's war; it is not even that of his army." But Napoleon
himself was aware of the danger of the Empire from its own extent.
In the silence of his cabinet his secretary Meneval sometimes heard
him murmur, "L'arc est trop longtemps tendu."]--

by new customs, new manners, and new laws, imposed by force, and forming
a heterogeneous whole, which could not fail to dissolve, as soon as the
influence of the power which had created it should cease to operate.
Such was the state of Italy that I have been informed by an individual
worthy of credit that if the army of Prince Eugene, instead of being
victorious, had been beaten on the Piava, a deeply-organised revolution
would have broken out in Piedmont, and even in the Kingdom of Italy,
where, nevertheless, the majority of the people fully appreciated the
excellent qualities of Eugene. I have been also credibly informed that
lists were in readiness designating those of the French who were to be
put to death, as well as those by whom the severe orders of the Imperial
Government had been mitigated, and who were only to be banished. In
fact, revolt was as natural to the Italians as submission to the Germans,
and as the fury of despair to the Spanish nation. On this subject I may
cite an observation contained in one of the works of Alfieri, published
fifteen years before the Spanish war. Taking a cursory view of the
different European nations he regarded--the Spaniards as the only people
possessed of "sufficient energy to struggle against foreign usurpation."
Had I still been near the person of Napoleon I would most assuredly have
resorted to an innocent artifice, which I had several times employed, and
placed the work of Alfieri on his table open at the page I wished him to
read. Alfieri's opinion of the Spanish people was in the end fully
verified; and I confess I cannot think without shuddering of the torrents
of blood which inundated the Peninsula; and for what? To make Joseph
Bonaparte a King!

The commencement of 1811 was sufficiently favourable to the French arms
in Spain, but towards the beginning of March the aspect of affairs
changed. The Duke of Belluno, notwithstanding the valour of his troops,
was unsuccessful at Chiclana; and from that day the French army could not
make head against the combined forces of England and Portugal. Even
Massena, notwithstanding the title of Prince of Eslingen (or Essling),
which he had won under the walls of Vienna, was no longer "the favourite
child of victory" as he had been at Zurich.

Having mentioned Massena I may observe that he did not favour the change
of the French Government on the foundation of the Empire. Massena loved
two things, glory and money; but as to what is termed honours, he only
valued those which resulted from the command of an army; and his
recollections all bound him to the Republic, because the Republic
recalled to his mind the most brilliant and glorious events of his
military career. He was, besides, among the number of the Marshals who
wished to see a limit put to the ambition of Bonaparte; and he had
assuredly done enough, since the commencement of the wars of the
Republic, to be permitted to enjoy some repose, which his health at that
period required. What could he achieve against the English in Portugal?
The combined forces of England and Portugal daily augmented, while ours
diminished. No efforts were spared by England to gain a superiority in
the great struggle in which she was engaged; as her money was lavished
profusely, her troops paid well wherever they went, and were abundantly
supplied with ammunition and provisions: the French army was compelled,
though far from possessing such ample means, to purchase at the same high
rate, in order to keep the natives from joining the English party. But
even this did not prevent numerous partial insurrections in different
places, which rendered all communication with France extremely difficult.
Armed bands continually carried off our dispersed soldiers; and the
presence of the British troops, supported by the money they spent in the
country, excited the inhabitants against us; for it is impossible to
suppose that, unsupported by the English, Portugal could have held out a
single moment against France. But battles, bad weather, and even want,
had so reduced the French force that it was absolutely necessary our
troops should repose when their enterprises could lead to no results.
In this state of things Massena was recalled, because his health was so
materially injured as to render it impossible for him to exert sufficient
activity to restore the army to a respectable footing.

Under these circumstances Bonaparte sent Bertrand into Illyria to take
the place of Marmont, who was ordered in his turn to relieve Massena and
take command of the French army in Portugal Marmont on assuming the
command found the troops in a deplorable state. The difficulty of
procuring provisions was extreme, and the means he was compelled to
employ for that purpose greatly heightened the evil, at the same time
insubordination and want of discipline prevailed to such an alarming
degree that it would be as difficult as painful to depict the situation
of our army at this period, Marmont, by his steady conduct, fortunately
succeeded in correcting the disorders which prevailed, and very soon
found himself at the head of a well-organised army, amounting to 30,000
infantry, with forty pieces of artillery, but he had only a very small
body of cavalry, and those ill-mounted.

Affairs in Spain at the commencement of 1811 exhibited an aspect not very
different from those of Portugal. At first we were uniformly successful,
but our advantages were so dearly purchased that the ultimate issue of
this struggle might easily have been foreseen, because when a people
fight for their homes and their liberties the invading army must
gradually diminish, while at the same time the armed population,
emboldened by success, increases in a still more marked progression.
Insurrection was now regarded by the Spaniards as a holy and sacred duty,
to which the recent meetings of the Cortes in the Isle of Leon had given,
as it were, a legitimate character, since Spain found again, in the
remembrance of her ancient privileges, at least the shadow of a
Government--a centre around which the defenders of the soil of the
Peninsula could rally.

--[Lord Wellington gave Massena a beating at Fuentes d'Onore on the
5th of May 1811. It was soon after this battle that Napoleon sent
Marmont to succeed Massena. Advancing on the southern frontier of
Portugal the skillful Soult contrived to take Badajoz from a
wavering Spanish garrison. About this time, however, General
Graham, with his British corps, sallied out of Cadiz, and beat the
French on the heights of Barrosa, which lie in front of Cadiz, which
city the French were then besieging. Encouraged by the successes of
our regular armies, the Spanish Guerillas became more and more
numerous and daring. By the end of 1811 Joseph Bonaparte found so
many thorns in his usurped crown that he implored his brother to put
it on some other head. Napoleon would not then listen to his
prayer. In the course of 1811 a plan was laid for liberating
Ferdinand from his prison in France and placing him at the head of
affairs in Spain, but was detected by the emissaries of Bonaparte's
police. Ferdinand's sister, the ex-Queen of Etruria, had also
planned an escape to England. Her agents were betrayed, tried by a
military commission, and shot--the Princess herself was condemned to
close confinement in a Roman convent.--Editor of 1836 edition.]--

The Continental system was the cause, if not of the eventual fall, at
least of the rapid fall of Napoleon. This cannot be doubted if we
consider for a moment the brilliant situation of the Empire in 1811,
and the effect simultaneously produced throughout Europe by that system,
which undermined the most powerful throne which ever existed. It was the
Continental system that Napoleon upheld in Spain, for he had persuaded
himself that this system, rigorously enforced, would strike a death blow
to the commerce of England; and Duroc besides informed me of a
circumstance which is of great weight in this question. Napoleon one day
said to him, "I am no longer anxious that Joseph should be King of Spain;
and he himself is indifferent about it. I would give the crown to the
first comer who would shut his ports against the English."

Murat had come to Paris on the occasion of the Empress' accouchement, and
I saw him several times during his stay, for we had always been on the
best terms; and I must do him the justice to say that he never assumed
the King but to his courtiers, and those who had known him only as a
monarch. Eight or ten days after the birth of the King of Rome, as I was
one morning walking in the Champs Elysees, I met Murat. He was alone,
and dressed in a long blue overcoat. We were exactly opposite the
gardens of his sister-in-law, the Princess Borghese. "Well, Bourrienne,"
said Murat, after we had exchanged the usual courtesies, "well, what are
you about now?" I informed him how I had been treated by Napoleon, who,
that I might not be in Hamburg when the decree of union arrived there,
had recalled me to Paris under a show of confidence. I think I still see
the handsome and expressive countenance of Joachim when, having addressed
him by the titles of Sire and Your Majesty, he said to me, "Pshaw!
Bourrienne, are we not old comrades? The Emperor has treated you
unjustly; and to whom has he not been unjust? His displeasure is
preferable to his favour, which costs so dear! He says that he made us
Kings; but did we not make him an Emperor? To you, my friend, whom I
have known long and intimately, I can make my profession of faith. My
sword, my blood, my life belong to the Emperor. When he calls me to the
field to combat his enemies and the enemies of France I am no longer a
King, I resume the rank of a Marshal of the Empire; but let him require
no more. At Naples I will be King of Naples, and I will not sacrifice to
his false calculations the life, the well-being, and the interests of my
subjects. Let him not imagine that he can treat me as he has treated
Louis! For I am ready to defend, even against him, if it must be so, the
rights of the people over whom he has appointed me to rule. Am I then an
advance-guard King?" These last words appeared to me peculiarly
appropriate in the mouth of Murat, who had always served in the advance-
guard of our armies, and I thought expressed in a very happy manner the
similarity of his situation as a king and a soldier.

I walked with Murat about half an hour. In the course of our
conversation he informed me that his greatest cause of complaint against
the Emperor was his having first put him forward and then abandoned him.
"Before I arrived in Naples," continued he, "it was intimated to me that
there was a design of assassinating me. What did I do? I entered that
city alone, in full daylight, in an open carriage, for I would rather
have been assassinated at once than have lived in the constant fear of
being so. I afterwards made a descent on the Isle of Capri, which
succeeded. I attempted one against Sicily, and am curtain it would have
also been successful had the Emperor fulfilled his promise of sending the
Toulon fleet to second my operations; but he issued contrary orders: he
enacted Mazarin, and unshed me to play the part of the adventurous Duke
of Guise. But I see through his designs. Now that he has a son, on whom
he has bestowed the title of King of Rome, he merely wishes the crown of
Naples to be considered as a deposit in my hands. He regards Naples as a
future annexation to the Kingdom of Rome, to which I foresee it is his
design to unite the whole of Italy. But let him not urge me too far, for
I will oppose him, and conquer, or perish in the attempt, sword in hand."

I had the discretion not to inform Murat how correctly he had divined the
plans of the Emperor and his projects as to Italy, but in regard to the
Continental system, which, perhaps, the reader will be inclined to call
my great stalking-horse, I spoke of it as I had done to the Prince of
Sweden, and I perceived that he was fully disposed to follow my advice,
as experience has sufficiently proved. It was in fact the Continental
system which separated the interests of Murat from those of the Emperor,
and which compelled the new King of Naples to form alliances amongst the
Princes at war with France. Different opinions have been entertained on
this Subject; mine is, that the Marshal of the Empire was wrong, but the
King of Naples right.

The Princes and Dukes of the Empire must pardon me for so often
designating them by their Republican names. The Marshals set less value
on their titles of nobility than the Dukes and Counts selected from among
the civilians. Of all the sons of the Republic Regnault de St. Jean
d'Angely was the most gratified at being a Count, whilst, among the
fathers of the Revolution no one could regard with greater disdain than
Fouche his title of Duke of Otranto; he congratulated himself upon its
possession only once, and that was after the fall of the Empire.

I have expressed my dislike of Fouche; and the reason of that feeling
was, that I could not endure his system of making the police a government
within a government. He had left Paris before my return thither, but I
had frequent occasion to speak of that famous personage to Savary, whom,
for the reason above assigned, I do not always term Duc de Rovigo.
Savary knew better than any one the fallacious measures of Fouche's
administration, since he was his successor. Fouche, under pretence of
encouraging men of letters, though well aware that the Emperor was
hostile to them, intended only to bring them into contempt by making them
write verses at command. It was easily seen that Napoleon nourished a
profound dislike of literary men, though we must not conclude that he
wished the public to be aware of that dislike. Those, besides, who
devoted their pens to blazon his glory and his power were sure to be
received by him with distinction. On the other hand, as Charlemagne and
Louis XIV. owed a portion of the splendour of their reigns to the lustre
reflected on them by literature, he wished to appear to patronise
authors, provided that they never discussed questions relating to
philosophy, the independence of mankind, and civil and political rights.
With regard to men of science it was wholly different; those he held in
real estimation; but men of letters, properly so called, were considered
by him merely as a sprig in his Imperial crown.

The marriage of the Emperor with an Archduchess of Austria had set all
the Court poets to work, and in this contest of praise and flattery it
must be confessed that the false gods were vanquished by the true God;
for, in spite of their fulsome verses, not one of the disciples of Apollo
could exceed the extravagance of the Bishops in their pastoral letters.
At a time when so many were striving to force themselves into notice
there still existed a feeling of esteem in the public mind for men of
superior talent who remained independent amidst the general corruption;
such was M. Lemercier, such was M. de Chateaubriand. I was in Paris in
the spring of 1811, at the period of Chenier's death, when the numerous
friends whom Chateaubriand possessed in the second class of the Institute
looked to him as the successor of Chenier. This was more than a mere
literary question, not only on account of the high literary reputation
M. de Chateaubriand already possessed, but of the recollection of his
noble conduct at the period of Duc d'Enghien's death, which was yet fresh
in the memory of every one; and, besides, no person could be ignorant of
the immeasurable difference of opinion between Chenier and M. de

M. de Chateaubriand obtained a great majority of votes, and was elected a
Member of the Institute. This opened a wide field for conjecture in
Paris. Every one was anxious to see how the author of the Genie du
Christianisme, the faithful defender of the Bourbons, would bend his
eloquence to pronounce the eulogium of a regicide. The time for the
admission of the new Member of the Institute arrived, but in his
discourse, copies of which were circulated in Paris, he had ventured to
allude to the death of Louis XVI., and to raise his voice against the
regicides. This did not displease Napoleon; but M. de Chateaubriand also
made a profession of faith in favour of liberty, which, he said, found
refuge amongst men of letters when banished from the politic body. This
was great boldness for the time; for though Bonaparte was secretly
gratified at seeing the judges of Louis XVI. scourged by an heroic pen,
yet those men held the highest situations under the Government.
Cambaceres filled the second place in the Empire, although at a great
distance from the first; Merlin de Douai was also in power; and it is
known how much liberty was stifled and hidden beneath the dazzling

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