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Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, v12 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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding that no one replied, and reading in the countenances of his
Marshals that they did not share his hopes, "I see how it is," he added,
"every one is growing tired of war; there is no more enthusiasm. The
sacred fire is extinct." Then rising from the table, and stepping up to
General Drouot, with the marked intention of paying him a compliment
which should at the same time convey a censure on the Marshals,

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