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Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, v4 by Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

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This etext was produced by David Widger



His Private Secretary

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


Chapter XXVII. to Chapter XXXV.



Difficulties of a new Government--State of Europe--Bonaparte's wish
for peace--M. de Talleyrand Minister for Foreign Affairs--
Negotiations with England and Austria--Their failure--Bonaparte's
views on the East--His sacrifices to policy--General Bonaparte
denounced to the First Consul--Kleber's letter to the Directory--
Accounts of the Egyptian expedition published in the Moniteur--
Proclamation to the army of the East--Favour and disgrace of certain
individuals accounted for.

When a new Government rises on the ruins of one that has been overthrown,
its best chance of conciliating the favour of the nation, if that nation
be at war, is to hold out the prospect of peace; for peace is always dear
to a people. Bonaparte was well aware of this; and if in his heart he
wished otherwise, he knew how important it was to seem to desire peace.
Accordingly, immediately after his installation at the Luxembourg he
notified to all the foreign powers his accession to the Consulate, and,
for the same purpose, addressed letters to all the diplomatic agents of
the French Government abroad.

The day after he got rid of his first two colleagues, Sieyes and Roger
Ducos, he prepared to open negotiations with the Cabinet of London. At
that time we were at war with almost the whole of Europe. We had also
lost Italy. The Emperor of Germany was ruled by his Ministers, who in
their turn were governed by England. It was no easy matter to manage
equally the organization of the Consular Government and the no less
important affairs abroad; and it was very important to the interests
of the First Consul to intimate to foreign powers, while at the same time
he assured himself against the return of the Bourbons, that the system
which he proposed to adopt was a system of order and regeneration, unlike
either the demagogic violence of the Convention or the imbecile artifice
of the Directory. In fulfilment of this object Bonaparte directed M. de
Talleyrand, the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, to make the first
friendly overtures to the English Cabinet: A correspondence ensued, which
was published at the time, and which showed at once the conciliatory
policy of Bonaparte and the arrogant policy of England.

The exchange of notes which took place was attended by no immediate
result. However, the First Consul had partly attained his object: if the
British Government would not enter into negotiations for peace, there was
at least reason to presume that subsequent overtures of the Consular
Government might be listened to. The correspondence had at all events
afforded Bonaparte the opportunity of declaring his principles, and above
all, it had enabled him to ascertain that the return of the Bourbons to
France (mentioned in the official reply of Lord Grenville) would not be a
sine qua non condition for the restoration of peace between the two

Since M. de Talleyrand had been Minister for Foreign Affairs the business
of that department had proceeded with great activity. It was an
important advantage to Bonaparte to find a nobleman of the old regime
among the republicans. The choice of M. de Talleyrand was in some sort
an act of courtesy to the foreign Courts. It was a delicate attention to
the diplomacy of Europe to introduce to its members, for the purpose of
treating with them, a man whose rank was at least equal to their own, and
who was universally distinguished for a polished elegance of manner
combined with solid good qualities and real talents.

It was not only with England that Bonaparte and his Minister endeavoured
to open negotiations; the Consular Cabinet also offered peace to the
House of Austria; but not at the same time. The object of this offer was
to sow discord between the two powers. Speaking to me one day of his
earnest wish to obtain peace Bonaparte said, "You see, Bourrienne, I have
two great enemies to cope with. I will conclude peace with the one I
find most easy to deal with. That will enable me immediately to assail
the other. I frankly confess that I should like best to be at peace with
England. Nothing would then be more easy than to crush Austria. She has
no money except what she gets through England."

For a long time all negotiations proved abortive. None of the European
powers would acknowledge the new Government, of which Bonaparte was the
head; and the battle of Marengo was required before the peace of Amiens
could be obtained.

Though the affairs of the new Government afforded abundant occupation to
Bonaparte, he yet found leisure to direct attention to the East--to that
land of despotism whence, judging from his subsequent conduct, it might
be presumed he derived his first principles of government. On becoming
the head of the State he wished to turn Egypt, which he had conquered as
a general, to the advantage of his policy as Consul. If Bonaparte
triumphed over a feeling of dislike in consigning the command of the army
to Kleber, it was because he knew Kleber to be more capable than any
other of executing the plans he had formed; and Bonaparte was not the man
to sacrifice the interests of policy to personal resentment. It is
certainly true that he then put into practice that charming phrase of
Moliere's--"I pardon you, but you shall pay me for this!"

With respect to all whom he had left in Egypt Bonaparte stood in a very
singular situation. On becoming Chief of the Government he was not only
the depositary of all communications made to the Directory; but letters
sent to one address were delivered to another, and the First Consul
received the complaints made against the General who had so abruptly
quitted Egypt. In almost all the letters that were delivered to us he
was the object of serious accusation. According to some he had not
avowed his departure until the very day of his embarkation; and he had
deceived everybody by means of false and dissembling proclamations.
Others canvassed his conduct while in Egypt: the army which had triumphed
under his command he had abandoned when reduced to two-thirds of its
original force and a prey to all the horrors of sickness and want: It
must be confessed that these complaints and accusations were but too well
founded, and one can never cease wondering at the chain of fortunate
circumstances which so rapidly raised Bonaparte to the Consular seat.
In the natural order of things, and in fulfilment of the design which he
himself had formed, he should have disembarked at Toulon, where the
quarantine laws would no doubt have been observed; instead of which, the
fear of the English and the uncertainty of the pilots caused him to go to
Frejus, where the quarantine laws were violated by the very persons most
interested in respecting them. Let us suppose that Bonaparte had been
forced to perform quarantine at Toulon. What would have ensued? The
charges against him would have fallen into the hands of the Directory,
and he would probably have been suspended, and put upon his trial.

Among the letters which fell into Bonaparte's hands, by reason of the
abrupt change of government, was an official despatch (of the 4th
Vendemiaire, year VIII.) from General Kleber at Cairo to the Executive
Directory, in which that general spoke in very stringent terms of the
sudden departure of Bonaparte and of the state in which the army in Egypt
had been left. General Kleber further accused him of having evaded, by
his flight, the difficulties which he thus transferred to his successor's
shoulders, and also of leaving the army "without a sou in the chest,"
with pay in arrear, and very little supply of munitions or clothing.

The other letters from Egypt were not less accusatory than Kleber's; and
it cannot be doubted that charges of so precise a nature, brought by the
general who had now become commander-in-chief against his predecessor,
would have had great weight, especially backed as they were by similar
complaints from other quarters. A trial would have been inevitable; and
then, no 18th Brumaire, no Consulate, no Empire, no conquest of Europe-
but also, it may be added, no St. Helena. None of these, events would
have ensued had not the English squadron, when it appeared off Corsica,
obliged the Huiron to scud about at hazard, and to touch at the first
land she could reach.

The Egyptian expedition filled too important a place in the life of
Bonaparte for him to neglect frequently reviving in the public mind the
recollection of his conquests in the East. It was not to be forgotten
that the head of the Republic was the first of her generals. While
Moreau received the command of the armies of the Rhine, while Massena, as
a reward for the victory of Zurich, was made Commander-in-Chief in Italy,
and while Brune was at the head of the army of Batavia, Bonaparte, whose
soul was in the camps, consoled himself for his temporary inactivity by a
retrospective glance on his past triumphs. He was unwilling that Fame
should for a moment cease to blazon his name. Accordingly, as soon as he
was established at the head of the Government, he caused accounts of his
Egyptian expedition to be from time to time published in the Moniteur.
He frequently expressed his satisfaction that the accusatory
correspondence, and, above all, Kleber's letter, had fallen into his own
hands.' Such was Bonaparte's perfect self-command that immediately after
perusing that letter he dictated to me the following proclamation,
addressed to the army of the East:

SOLDIERS!--The Consuls of the French Republic frequently direct
their attention to the army of the East.

France acknowledges all the influence of your conquests on the
restoration of her trade and the civilisation of the world.

The eyes of all Europe are upon you, and in thought I am often with

In whatever situation the chances of war may place you, prove
yourselves still the soldiers of Rivoli and Aboukir--you will be

Place in Kleber the boundless confidence which you reposed in me.
He deserves it.

Soldiers, think of the day when you will return victorious to the
sacred territory of France. That will be a glorious day for the
whole nation.

Nothing can more forcibly show the character of Bonaparte than the above
allusion to Kleber, after he had seen the way in which Kleber spoke of
him to the Directory. Could it ever have been imagined that the
correspondence of the army, to whom he addressed this proclamation,
teemed with accusations against him? Though the majority of these
accusations were strictly just, yet it is but fair to state that the
letters from Egypt contained some calumnies. In answer to the well-
founded portion of the charges Bonaparte said little; but he seemed to
feel deeply the falsehoods that were stated against him, one of which
was, that he had carried away millions from Egypt. I cannot conceive
what could have given rise to this false and impudent assertion. So far
from having touched the army chest, Bonaparte had not even received all
his own pay. Before he constituted himself the Government the Government
was his debtor.

Though he knew well all that was to be expected from the Egyptian
expedition, yet those who lauded that affair were regarded with a
favourable eye by Bonaparte. The correspondence which had fallen into
his hands was to him of the highest importance in enabling him to
ascertain the opinions which particular individuals entertained of him.

It was the source of favours and disgraces which those who were not in
the secret could not account for. It serves to explain why many men of
mediocrity were elevated to the highest dignities and honours, while
other men of real merit fell into disgrace or were utterly neglected.



Great and common men--Portrait of Bonaparte--The varied expression
of his countenance--His convulsive shrug--Presentiment of his
corpulency--Partiality for bathing--His temperance--His alleged
capability of dispensing with sleep--Good and bad news--Shaving, and
reading the journals--Morning, business--Breakfast--Coffee and snuff
--Bonaparte's idea of his own situation--His ill opinion of mankind
--His dislike of a 'tete-a-tete'--His hatred of the Revolutionists
--Ladies in white--Anecdotes--Bonaparte's tokens of kindness, and
his droll compliments--His fits of ill humour--Sound of bells--
Gardens of Malmaison--His opinion of medicine--His memory--
His poetic insensibility--His want of gallantry--Cards and
conversation--The dress-coat and black cravat--Bonaparte's payments
--His religious ideas--His obstinacy.

In perusing the history of the distinguished characters of past ages, how
often do we regret that the historian should have portrayed the hero
rather than the man! We wish to know even the most trivial habits of
those whom great, talents and vast reputation have elevated above their
fellow-creatures. Is this the effect of mere curiosity, or rather is it
not an involuntary feeling of vanity which prompts us to console
ourselves for the superiority of great men by reflecting on their faults,
their weaknesses, their absurdities; in short, all the points of
resemblance between them and common men? For the satisfaction of those
who are curious in details of this sort, I will here endeavour to paint
Bonaparte, as I saw him, in person and in mind, to describe what were his
tastes and habits, and even his whims and caprices.

Bonaparte was now in the prime of life, and about thirty. The person of
Bonaparte has served as a model for the most skilful painters and
sculptors; many able French artists have successfully delineated his
features, and yet it may be said that no perfectly faithful portrait of
him exists. His finely-shaped head, his superb forehead, his pale
countenance, and his usual meditative look, have been transferred to the
canvas; but the versatility of his expression was beyond the reach of
imitation: All the various workings of his mind were instantaneously
depicted in his countenance; and his glance changed from mild to severe,
and from angry to good-humoured, almost with the rapidity of lightning.
It may truly be said that he had a particular look for every thought that
arose in his mind.

Bonaparte had beautiful hands, and he was very proud of them; while
conversing he would often look at them with an air of self-complacency.
He also fancied he had fine teeth, but his pretension to that advantage
was not so well founded as his vanity on the score of his hands.

When walking, either alone or in company with any one, in his apartments
or in his gardens, he had the habit of stooping a little, and crossing
his hands behind his back. He frequently gave an involuntary shrug of
his right shoulder, which was accompanied by a movement of his mouth from
left to right. This habit was always most remarkable when his mind was
absorbed in the consideration of any profound subject. It was often
while walking that he dictated to me his most important notes. He could
endure great fatigue, not only on horseback but on foot; he would
sometimes walk for five or six hours in succession without being aware of

When walking with any person whom he treated with familiarity he would
link his arm into that of his companion, and lean on it.

He used often to say to me, "You see, Bourrienne, how temperate, and how
thin I am; but, in spite of that, I cannot help thinking that at forty I
shall become a great eater, and get very fat. I foresee that my
constitution will undergo a change. I take a great deal of exercise; but
yet I feel assured that my presentiment will be fulfilled." This idea
gave him great uneasiness, and as I observed nothing which seemed to
warrant his apprehensions, I omitted no opportunity of assuring him that
they were groundless. But he would not listen to me, and all the time I
was about him, he was haunted by this presentiment, which, in the end,
was but too well verified.

His partiality for the bath he mistook for a necessity. He would usually
remain in the bath two hours, during which time I used to read to him
extracts from the journals and pamphlets of the day, for he was anxious
to hear and know all that was going on. While in the bath he was
continually turning on the warm water to raise the temperature, so that I
was sometimes enveloped in such a dense vapour that I could not see to
read, and was obliged to open the door.

Bonaparte was exceedingly temperate, and averse to all excess. He knew
the absurd stories that were circulated about him, and he was sometimes
vexed at theme It has been repeated, over and over again, that he was
subject to attacks of epilepsy; but during the eleven years that I was
almost constantly with him I never observed any symptom which in the
least degree denoted that malady. His health was good and his
constitution sound. If his enemies, by way of reproach, have attributed
to him a serious periodical disease, his flatterers, probably under the
idea that sleep is incompatible with greatness, have evinced an equal
disregard of truth in speaking of his night-watching. Bonaparte made
others watch, but he himself slept, and slept well. His orders were that
I should call him every morning at seven. I was therefore the first to
enter his chamber; but very frequently when I awoke him he would turn
himself, and say, "Ah, Bourrienne! let me lie a little longer." When
there was no very pressing business I did not disturb him again till
eight o'clock. He in general slept seven hours out of the twenty-four,
besides taking a short nap in the afternoon.

Among the private instructions which Bonaparte gave me, one was very
curious. "During the night," said he, "enter my chamber as seldom as
possible. Do not awake me when you have any good news to communicate:
with that there is no hurry. But when you bring bad news, rouse me
instantly; for then there is not a moment to be lost."

This was a wise regulation, and Bonaparte found his advantage in it.

As soon as he rose his 'valet de chambre' shaved him and dressed his
hair. While he was being shaved I read to him the newspapers, beginning
always with the 'Moniteur.' He paid little attention to any but the
German and English papers. "Pass over all that," he would say, while I
was perusing the French papers; "I know it already. They say only what
they think will please me." I was often surprised that his valet did not
cut him while I was reading; for whenever ha heard anything interesting
he turned quickly round towards me.

When Bonaparte had finished: his toilet, which he did with great
attention, for he was scrupulously neat in his person, we went down to
his cabinet. There he signed the orders on important petitions which had
been analysed by me on the preceding evening. On reception and parade
days he was particularly exact in signing these orders, because I used to
remind him that he would be, likely to see most of the petitioners, and
that they would ask him for answers. To spare him this annoyance I used
often to acquaint them beforehand of what had been granted or refused,
and what had been the decision of the First Consul. He next perused the
letters which I had opened and laid on his table, ranging them according
to their importance. He directed me to answer them in his name; he
occasionally wrote the answers himself, but not often.

At ten o'clock the 'maitre d'hotel' entered, and announced breakfast,
saying, "The General is served." We went to breakfast, and the repast
was exceedingly simple. He ate almost every morning some chicken,
dressed with oil and onions. This dish was then, I believe, called
'poulet a la Provencale'; but our restaurateurs have since conferred upon
it the more ambitious name of 'poulet a la Marengo.'

Bonaparte drank little wine, always either claret or Burgundy, and the
latter by preference. After breakfast, as well as after dinner, he took
a cup of strong coffee.

--[M. Brillat de Savarin, whose memory is dear to all gourmands, had
established, as a gastronomic principle, that "he who does not take
coffee after each meal is assuredly not a men of taste."--

I never saw him take any between his meals, and I cannot imagine what
could have given rise to the assertion of his being particularly fond of
coffee. When he worked late at night he never ordered coffee, but
chocolate, of which he made me take a cup with him. But this only
happened when our business was prolonged till two or three in the

All that has been said about Bonaparte's immoderate use of snuff has no
more foundation in truth than his pretended partiality for coffee. It is
true that at an early period of his life he began to take snuff, but it
was very sparingly, and always out of a box; and if he bore any
resemblance to Frederick the Great, it was not by filling his waistcoat-
pockets with snuff, for I must again observe he carried his notions of
personal neatness to a fastidious degree.

Bonaparte had two ruling passions, glory and war. He was never more gay
than in the camp, and never more morose than in the inactivity of peace.
Plans for the construction of public monuments also pleased his
imagination, and filled up the void caused by the want of active
occupation. He was aware that monuments form part of the history of
nations, of whose civilisation they bear evidence for ages after those
who created them have disappeared from the earth, and that they likewise
often bear false-witness to remote posterity of the reality of merely
fabulous conquests. Bonaparte was, however, mistaken as to the mode of
accomplishing the object he had in view. His ciphers, his trophies, and
subsequently his eagles, splendidly adorned the monuments of his reign.
But why did he wish to stamp false initials on things with which neither
he nor his reign had any connection; as, for example the old Louvre? Did
he imagine that the letter, "N" which everywhere obtruded itself on the
eye, had in it a charm to controvert the records of history, or alter the
course of time?

--[When Louis XVIII. returned to the Tuileries in 1814 he found that
Bonaparte had been an excellent tenant, and that he had left
everything in very good condition.]--

Be this as it may, Bonaparte well knew that the fine arts entail lasting
glory on great actions, and consecrate the memory of princes who protect
and encourage them. He oftener than once said to me, "A great reputation
is a great poise; the more there is made, the farther off it is heard.
Laws, institutions, monuments, nations, all fall; but the noise continues
and resounds in after ages." This was one of his favourite ideas. "My
power," he would say at other times, "depends on my glory, and my glory
on my victories. My power would fall were I not to support it by new
glory and new victories. Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest
alone can maintain me." This was then, and probably always continued to
be, his predominant idea, and that which prompted him continually to
scatter the seeds of war through Europe. He thought that if he remained
stationary ha would fall, and he was tormented with the desire of
continually advancing. Not to do something great and decided was, in his
opinion, to do nothing. "A newly-born Government," said he to me, "must
dazzle and astonish. When it ceases to do that it falls." It was vain
to look for rest from a man who was restlessness itself.

His sentiments towards France now differed widely from what I had known
them to be in his youth. He long indignantly cherished the recollection
of the conquest of Corsica, which he was once content to regard as his
country. But that recollection was effaced, and it might be said that he
now ardently loved France. His imagination was fired by the very thought
of seeing her great, happy, and powerful, and, as the first nation in the
world, dictating laws to the rest. He fancied his name inseparably
connected with France, and resounding in, the ears of posterity. In all
his actions he lost sight of the present moment, and thought only of
futurity; so, in all places where he led the way to glory, the opinion of
France was ever present in his thoughts. As Alexander at Arbela pleased
himself less in having conquered Darius than in having gained the
suffrage of the Athenians, so Bonaparte at Marengo was haunted by the
idea of what would be said in France. Before he fought a battle
Bonaparte thought little about what he should do in case of success, but
a great deal about what he should do in case of a reverse of fortune.
I mention this as a fact of which I have often been a witness, and leave
to his brothers in arms to decide whether his calculations were always
correct. He had it in his power to do much, for he risked everything and
spared nothing. His inordinate ambition goaded him on to the attainment
of power; and power when possessed served only to augment his ambition.
Bonaparte was thoroughly convinced of the truth that trifles often decide
the greatest events; therefore he watched rather than provoked
opportunity, and when the right moment approached, he suddenly took
advantage of it. It is curious that, amidst all the anxieties of war and
government, the fear of the Bourbons incessantly pursued him, and the
Faubourg St. Germain was to him always a threatening phantom.

He did not esteem mankind, whom, indeed, he despised more and more in
proportion as he became acquainted with them. In him this unfavourable
opinion of human nature was justified by many glaring examples of
baseness, and he used frequently to repeat, "There are two levers for
moving men,--interest and fear." What respect, indeed, could Bonaparte
entertain for the applicants to the treasury of the opera? Into this
treasury the gaming-houses paid a considerable sum, part of which went to
cover the expenses of that magnificent theatre. The rest was distributed
in secret gratuities, which were paid on orders signed by Duroc.
Individuals of very different characters were often seen catching the
little door in the Rue Rameau. The lady who was for a while the
favourite of the General-in-Chief in Egypt, and whose husband was
maliciously sent back-by the English, was a frequent visitor to the
treasury. On an occasion would be seen assembled there a distinguished
scholar and an actor, a celebrated orator and a musician; on another, the
treasurer would have payments to make to a priest, a courtesan, and a

One of Bonaparte's greatest misfortunes was, that he neither believed in
friendship not felt the necessity of loving. How often have I heard him
say, "Friendship is but a name; I love nobody. I do not even love my
brothers. Perhaps Joseph, a little, from habit and because he is my
elder; and Duroc, I love him too. But why? Because his character
pleases me. He is stern and resolute; and I really believe the fellow
never shed a tear. For my part, I know very well that I have no true
friends. As long as I continue what I am, I may have as many pretended
friends as I please. Leave sensibility to women; it is their business.
But men should be firm in heart and in purpose, or they should have
nothing to do with war or government."

In his social relations Bonaparte's temper was bad; but his fits of ill-
humour passed away like a cloud, and spent themselves in words. His
violent language and bitter imprecations were frequently premeditated.
When he was going to reprimand any one he liked to have a witness
present. He would then say the harshest things, and level blows against
which few could bear up. But he never gave way to those violent
ebullitions of rage until be acquired undoubted proofs of the misconduct
of those against whom they were directed. In scenes of this sort I have
frequently observed that the presence of a third person seemed to give
him confidence. Consequently, in a 'tete-a-tete' interview, any one who
knew his character, and who could maintain sufficient coolness and
firmness, was sure to get the better of him. He told his friends at St.
Helena that he admitted a third person on such occasions only that the
blow might resound the farther. That was not his real motive, or the
better way would have been to perform the scene in public. He had other
reasons. I observed that he did not like a 'tete-a-tete'; and when he
expected any one, he would say to me beforehand, "Bourrienne, you may
remain;" and when any one was announced whom he did not expect, as a
minister or a general; if I rose to retire he would say in a half-
whisper, "Stay where you are." Certainly this was not done with the
design of getting what he said reported abroad; for it belonged neither
to my character nor my duty to gossip about what I had heard. Besides,
it may be presumed, that the few who were admitted as witnesses to the
conferences of Napoleon were aware of the consequences attending
indiscreet disclosures under a Government which was made acquainted with
all that was said and done.

Bonaparte entertained a profound dislike of the sanguinary men of the
Revolution, and especially of the regicides. He felt, as a painful
burden, the obligation of dissembling towards them. He spoke to me in
terms of horror of those whole he celled the assassins of Louis XVI, and
he was annoyed at the necessity of employing them and treating them with
apparent respect. How many times has he not said to Cambaceres, pinching
him by the ear, to soften, by that habitual familiarity, the bitterness
of the remark, "My dear fellow, your case is clear; if ever the Bourbons
come back you will be hanged!" A forced smile would then relax the livid
countenance of Cambaceres, and was usually the only reply of the Second
Consul, who, however, on one occasion said in my hearing, "Come, come,
have done with this joking."

One thing which gave Bonaparte great pleasure when in the country was to
see a tall, slender woman, dressed in white, walking beneath an alley of
shaded trees. He detested coloured dresses, and especially dark ones.
To fat women he had an invincible antipathy, and he could not endure the
sight of a pregnant woman; it therefore rarely happened that a female in
that situation was invited to his parties. He possessed every requisite
for being what is called in society an agreeable man, except the will to
be so. His manner was imposing rather than pleasing, and those who did
not know him well experienced in his presence an involuntary feeling of
awe. In the drawing-room, where Josephine did the honours with so much
grace and affability, all was gaiety and ease, and no one felt the
presence of a superior; but on Bonaparte's entrance all was changed, and
every eye was directed towards him, to read his humour in his
countenance, whether he intended to be silent or talkative, dull or

He often talked a great deal, and sometimes a little too much; but no one
could tell a story in a more agreeable and interesting way. His
conversation rarely turned on gay or humorous subjects, and never on
trivial matters. He was so fond of argument that in the warmth of
discussion it was easy to draw from him secrets which he was most anxious
to conceal. Sometimes, in a small circle, he would amuse himself by
relating stories of presentiments and apparitions. For this he always
chose the twilight of evening, and he would prepare his hearers for what
was coming by some solemn remark. On one occasion of this kind he said,
in a very grave tone of voice, "When death strikes a person whom we love,
and who is distant from us, a foreboding almost always denotes the event,
and the dying person appears to us at the moment of his dissolution."
He then immediately related the following anecdote: "A gentleman of the
Court of Louis XIV. was in the gallery of Versailles at the time that the
King was reading to his courtiers the bulletin of the battle of
Friedlingen gained by Villars. Suddenly the gentleman saw, at the
farther end of the gallery, the ghost of his son, who served under
Villars. He exclaimed, 'My son is no more!' and next moment the King
named him among the dead."

When travelling Bonaparte was particularly talkative. In the warmth of
his conversation, which was always characterised by original and
interesting idea, he sometimes dropped hints of his future views, or, at
least, he said things which were calculated to disclose what he wished to
conceal. I took the liberty of mentioning to him this indiscretion, and
far from being offended, he acknowledged his mistake, adding that he was
not aware he had gone so far. He frankly avowed this want of caution
when at St. Helena.

When in good humour his usual tokens of kindness consisted in a little
rap on the head or a slight pinch of the ear. In his most friendly
conversations with those whom he admitted into his intimacy he would say,
"You are a fool"--"a simpleton"--"a ninny"--"a blockhead." These, and a
few other words of like import, enabled him to vary his catalogue of
compliments; but he never employed them angrily, and the tone in which
they were uttered sufficiently indicated that they were meant in

Bonaparte had many singular habits and tastes. Whenever he experienced
any vexation, or when any unpleasant thought occupied his mind, he would
hum something which was far from resembling a tune, for his voice was
very unmusical. He would, at the same time, seat himself before the
writing-table, and swing back in his chair so far that I have often been
fearful of his falling.

He would then vent his ill-humour on the right arm of his chair,
mutilating it with his penknife, which he seemed to keep for no other
purpose. I always took care to keep good pens ready for him; for, as it
was my business to decipher his writing, I had a strong interest in doing
what I could to make it legible.

The sound of bells always produced in Bonaparte pleasurable sensations,
which I could never account for. When we were at Malmaison, and walking
in the alley leading to the plain of Ruel, how many times has the bell of
the village church interrupted our most serious conversations!

He would stop, lest the noise of our footsteps should drown any portion
of the delightful sound: He was almost angry with me because I did not
experience the impressions he did. So powerful was the effect produced
upon him by the sound of these bells that his voice would falter as he
said, "Ah! that reminds me of the first years I spent at Brienne! I was
then happy!" When the bells ceased he would resume the course of his
speculations, carry himself into futurity, place a crown on his head; and
dethrone kings.

Nowhere, except on the field of battle, did I ever see Bonaparte more
happy than in the gardens of Malmaison. At the commencement of the
Consulate we used to go there every Saturday evening, and stay the whole
of Sunday, and sometimes Monday. Bonaparte used to spend a considerable
part of his time in walking and superintending the improvements which he
had ordered. At first he used to make excursions about the
neighbourhood, but the reports of the police disturbed his natural
confidence, and gave him reason to fear the attempts of concealed
royalist partisans.

During the first four or five days that Bonaparte spent at Malmaison he
amused himself after breakfast with calculating the revenue of that
domain. According to his estimates it amounted to 8000 francs. "That is
not bad!" said he; "but to live here would require au income of 30,000
livres!" I could not help smiling to see him seriously engaged in such a

Bonaparte had no faith in medicine. He spoke of it as an art entirely
conjectural, and his opinion on this subject was fired and
incontrovertible. His vigorous mind rejected all but demonstrative

He had little memory for proper name, words, or dates, but he had a
wonderful recollection of facts and places. I recollect that, on going
from Paris to Toulon, he pointed out to me ten places calculated for
great battles, and he never forgot them. They were memoranda of his
first youthful journeys.

Bonaparte was insensible to the charms of poetic harmony. He had not
even sufficient ear to feel the rhythm, of poetry, and he never could
recite a verse without violating the metre; yet the grand ideas of poetry
charmed him. He absolutely worshipped Corneille; and, one day, after
having witnessed a performance of 'Cinna', he said to me, "If a man like
Corneille were living in my time I would make him my Prime Minister. It
is not his poetry that I most admire; it is his powerful understanding,
his vast knowledge of the human heart, and his profound policy!" At St.
Helena he said that he would have made Corneille a prince; but at the
time he spoke to me of Corneille he had no thought of making either
princes or kings.

Gallantry to women was by no means a trait in Bonaparte's character.
He seldom said anything agreeable to females, and he frequently addressed
to them the rudest and most extraordinary remarks. To one he would say,
"Heavens, how red your elbows are!" To another, "What an ugly headdress
you have got!" At another time he would say, "Your dress is none of the
cleanest..... Do you ever change your gown? I have seen you in that
twenty times!" He showed no mercy to any who displeased him on these
points. He often gave Josephine directions about her toilet, and the
exquisite taste for which she was distinguished might have helped to make
him fastidious about the costume of other ladies. At first he looked to
elegance above all things: at a later period he admired luxury and
splendour, but he always required modesty. He frequently expressed his
disapproval of the low-necked dresses which were so much in fashion at
the beginning of the Consulate.

Bonaparte did not love cards, and this was very fortunate for those who
were invited to his parties; for when he was seated at a card-table, as
he sometimes thought himself obliged to be, nothing could exceed the
dulness of the drawing-room either at the Luxembourg or the Tuileries.
When, on the contrary, he walked about among the company, all were
pleased, for he usually spoke to everybody, though he preferred the
conversation of men of science, especially those who had been with him in
in Egypt; as for example, Monge and Berthollet. He also liked to talk
with Chaptal and Lacphede, and with Lemercier, the author of 'Agamemnon'.

Bonaparte was seen to less advantage in a drawing-room than at the head
of his troops. His military uniform became him much better than the
handsomest dress of any other kind. His first trials of dress-coats were
unfortunate. I have been informed that the first time he wore one he
kept on his black cravat. This incongruity was remarked to him, and he
replied, "So much the better; it leaves me something of a military air,
and there is no harm in that." For my own part, I neither saw the black
cravat nor heard this reply.

The First Consul paid his own private bills very punctually; but he was
always tardy in settling the accounts of the contractors who bargained
with Ministers for supplies for the public service. He put off these
payments by all sorts of excuses and shufflings. Hence arose immense
arrears in the expenditure, and the necessity of appointing a committee
of liquidation. In his opinion the terms contractor and rogue were
synonymous. All that he avoided paying them he regarded as a just
restitution to himself; and all the sums which were struck off from their
accounts he regarded as so much deducted from a theft. The less a
Minister paid out of his budget the more Bonaparte was pleased with him;
and this ruinous system of economy can alone explain the credit which
Decres so long enjoyed at the expense of the French navy.

On the subject of religion Bonaparte's ideas were very vague.
"My reason," said he, "makes me incredulous respecting many things; but
the impressions of my childhood and early youth throw me into
uncertainty." He was very fond of talking of religion. In Italy, in
Egypt, and on board the 'Orient' and the 'Muiron', I have known him to
take part in very animated conversations on this subject.

He readily yielded up all that was proved against religion as the work of
men and time: but he would not hear of materialism. I recollect that one
fine night, when he was on deck with some persons who were arguing in
favour of materialism, Bonaparte raised his hand to heaven and, pointing
to the stars, said, "You may talk as long as you please, gentlemen, but
who made all that?" The perpetuity of a name in the memory of man was to
him the immortality of the soul. He was perfectly tolerant towards every
variety of religious faith.

Among Bonaparte's singular habits was that of seating himself on any
table which happened to be of a suitable height for him. He would often
sit on mine, resting his left arm on my right shoulder, and swinging his
left leg, which did not reach the ground; and while he dictated to me he
would jolt the table so that I could scarcely write.

Bonaparte had a great dislike to reconsider any decision, even when it
was acknowledged to be unjust. In little as well as in great things he
evinced his repugnance to retrograde. An instance of this occurred in
the affair of General Latour-Foissac. The First Consul felt how much he
had wronged that general; but he wished some time to elapse before he
repaired his error. His heart and his conduct were at variance; but his
feelings were overcome by what he conceived to be political necessity.
Bonaparte was never known to say, "I have done wrong:" his usual
observation was, "I begin to think there is something wrong."

In spite of this sort of feeling, which was more worthy of an ill-
humoured philosopher than the head of a government, Bonaparte was neither
malignant nor vindictive. I cannot certainly defend him against all the
reproaches which he incurred through the imperious law of war and cruel
necessity; but I may say that he has often been unjustly accused. None
but those who are blinded by fury will call him a Nero or a Caligula.
I think I have avowed his faults with sufficient candour to entitle me to
credit when I speak in his commendation; and I declare that, out of the
field of battle, Bonaparte had a kind and feeling heart. He was very
fond of children, a trait which seldom distinguishes a bad man. In the
relations of private life to call him amiable would not be using too
strong a word, and he was very indulgent to the weakness of human nature.
The contrary opinion is too firmly fixed in some minds for me to hope to
root it out. I shall, I fear, have contradictors, but I address myself
to those who look for truth. To judge impartially we must take into
account the influence which time and circumstances exercise on men; and
distinguish between the different characters of the Collegian, the
General, the Consul, and the Emperor.



Bonaparte's laws--Suppression of the festival of the 21st of
January--Officials visits--The Temple--Louis XVI. and Sir Sidney
Smith--Peculation during the Directory--Loan raised--Modest budget
--The Consul and the Member of the Institute--The figure of the
Republic--Duroc's missions--The King of Prussia--The Emperor
Alesander--General Latour-Foisac--Arbitrary decree--Company of
players for Egypt--Singular ideas respecting literary property--
The preparatory Consulate--The journals--Sabres and muskets of
honour--The First Consul and his Comrade--The bust of Brutus--
Statues in the gallery of the Tuileries--Sections of the Council of
State--Costumes of public functionaries--Masquerades--The opera-
balls--Recall of the exiles.

It is not my purpose to say much about the laws, decrees, and 'Senatus-
Consultes', which the First Consul either passed, or caused to be passed,
after his accession to power, what were they all, with the exception of
the Civil Code? The legislative reveries of the different men who have
from time to time ruled France form an immense labyrinth, in which
chicanery bewilders reason and common sense; and they would long since
have been buried in oblivion had they not occasionally served to
authorise injustice. I cannot, however, pass over unnoticed the happy
effect produced in Paris, and throughout the whole of France, by some of
the first decisions of the Consuls. Perhaps none but those who witnessed
the state of society during the reign of Terror can fully appreciate the
satisfaction which the first steps towards the restoration of social
order produced in the breasts of all honest men. The Directory, more
base and not less perverse than the Convention, had retained the horrible
21st of January among the festivals of the Republic. One of Bonaparte's
first ideas on attaining the possession of power was to abolish this; but
such was the ascendency of the abettors of the fearful event that he
could not venture on a straightforward course. He and his two
colleagues, who were Sieyes and Roger Ducos, signed, on the 5th Nivose,
a decree, setting forth that in future the only festivals to be
celebrated by the Republic were the 1st Vendemiaire and the 14th of July,
intending by this means to consecrate provisionally the recollection of
the foundation of the Republic and of liberty.

All was calculation with Bonaparte. To produce effect was his highest
gratification. Thus he let slip no opportunity of saying or doing things
which were calculated to dazzle the multitude. While at the Luxembourg,
he went sometimes accompanied by his 'aides de camp' and sometimes by a
Minister, to pay certain official visits. I did not accompany him on
these occasions; but almost always either on his return, after dinner, or
in the evening, he related to me what he had done and said. He
congratulated himself on having paid a visit to Daubenton, at the Jardin
des Plantes, and talked with great self-complacency of the distinguished
way in which he had treated the contemporary of Buffon.

On the 24th Brumaire he visited the prisons. He liked to make these
visits unexpectedly, and to take the governors of the different public
establishments by surprise; so that, having no time to make their
preparations, he might see things as they really were. I was in his
cabinet when he returned, for I had a great deal of business to go
through in his absence. As he entered he exclaimed, "What brutes these
Directors are! To what a state they have brought our public
establishments! But, stay a little! I will put all in order. The
prisons are in a shockingly unwholesome state, and the prisoners
miserably fed. I questioned them, and I questioned the jailers, for
nothing is to be learned from the superiors. They, of course, always
speak well of their own work! When I was in the Temple I could not help
thinking of the unfortunate Louis XVI. He was an excellent man, but too
amiable, too gentle for the times. He knew not how to deal with mankind!
And Sir Sidney Smith! I made them show me his apartment. If the fools
had not let him escape I should have taken St. Jean d'Acre! There are
too many painful recollections connected with that prison! I will
certainly have it pulled down some day or other! What do you think I did
at the Temple? I ordered the jailers' books to be brought to me, and
finding that some hostages were still in confinement I liberated them.
'An unjust law,' said I, 'has deprived you of liberty; my first duty is
to restore it to you.' Was not this well done, Bourrienne? "As I was, no
less than Bonaparte himself, an enemy to the revolutionary laws, I
congratulated him sincerely; and he was very sensible to my approbation,
for I was not accustomed to greet him with "Good; very good," on all
occasions. It is true, knowing his character as I did, I avoided saying
anything that was calculated to offend him; but when I said nothing, he
knew very well how to construe my silence. Had I flattered him I should
have continued longer in favour.

Bonaparte always spoke angrily of the Directors he had turned off. Their
incapacity disgusted and astonished him. "What simpletons! what a
government!" he would frequently exclaim when he looked into the measures
of the Directory. "Bourrienne," said he, "can you imagine anything more
pitiable than their system of finance? Can it for a moment be doubted
that the principal agents of authority daily committed the most
fraudulent peculations? What venality! what disorder! what
wastefulness! everything put up for sale: places, provisions, clothing,
and military, all were disposed of. Have they not actually consumed
75,000,000 in advance? And then, think of all the scandalous fortunes
accumulated, all the malversations! But are there no means of making
them refund? We shall see."

In these first moments of poverty it was found necessary to raise a loan,
for the funds of M. Collot did not last long, and 12,000,000 were
advanced by the different bankers of Paris, who, I believe, were paid by
bills of the receivers-general, the discount of which then amounted to
about 33 per cent. The salaries of the first offices were not very
considerable, and did not amount to anything like the exorbitant stipends
of the Empire.

Bonaparte's salary was fixed at 500,000 francs. What a contrast to the
300,000,000 in gold which were reported to have been concealed in 1811 in
the cellars of the Tuileries!

In mentioning Bonaparte's nomination to the Institute, and his
affectation in putting at the head of his proclamation his title of
member of that learned body before that of General-in-Chief, I omitted to
state what value he really attached to that title. The truth is that;
when young and ambitious, he was pleased with the proffered title, which
he thought would raise him in public estimation. How often have we
laughed together when he weighed the value of his scientific titles!
Bonaparte, to be sure, knew something of mathematics, a good deal of
history, and, I need not add, possessed extraordinary military talent;
but he was nevertheless a useless member of the Institute.

On his return from Egypt he began to grow weary of a title which gave him
so many colleagues. "Do you not think," said he one day to me, "that
there is something mean and humiliating in the words, 'I have the honour
to be, my dear Colleague'! I am tired of it!" Generally speaking, all
phrases which indicated equality displeased him. It will be recollected
how gratified he was that I did not address him in the second person
singular on our meeting at Leoben, and also what befell M. de Cominges at
Bale because he did not observe the same precaution.

The figure of the Republic seated and holding a spear in her hand, which
at the commencement of the Consulate was stamped on official letters, was
speedily abolished. Happy would it have been if Liberty herself had not
suffered the same treatment as her emblem! The title of First Consul
made him despise that of Member of the Institute. He no longer
entertained the least predilection for that learned body, and
subsequently he regarded it with much suspicion. It was a body, an
authorised assembly; these were reasons sufficient for him to take
umbrage at it, and he never concealed his dislike of all bodies
possessing the privilege of meeting and deliberating.

While we were at the Luxembourg Bonaparte despatched Duroc on a special
mission to the King of Prussia. This happened, I think, at the very
beginning of the year 1800. He selected Duroc because be was a man of
good education and agreeable manners, and one who could express himself
with elegance and reserve, qualities not often met with at that period.
Duroc had been with us in Italy, in Egypt, and on board the 'Muiron',
and the Consul easily guessed that the King of Prussia would be delighted
to hear from an eye-witness the events of Bonaparte's campaigns,
especially the siege of St. Jean d'Acre, and the scenes which took place
during the months of March and May at Jaffa. Besides, the First Consul
considered it indispensable that such circumstantial details should be
given in a way to leave no doubt of their correctness. His intentions
were fully realised; for Duroc told me, on his return, that nearly the
whole of the conversation he had with the King turned upon St. Jean
d'Acre and Jaffa. He stayed nearly two whole hours with his Majesty, who,
the day after, gave him an invitation to dinner. When this intelligence
arrived at the Luxembourg I could perceive that the Chief of the Republic
was flattered that one of his aides de camp should have sat at table with
a King, who some years after was doomed to wait for him in his
antechamber at Tilsit.

Duroc never spoke on politics to the King of Prussia, which was very
fortunate, for, considering his age and the exclusively military life he
had led, he could scarcely have been expected to avoid blunders. Some
time later, after the death of Paul I., he was sent to congratulate
Alexander on his accession to the throne. Bonaparte's design in thus
making choice of Duroc was to introduce to the Courts of Europe, by
confidential missions, a young man to whom he was much attached, and also
to bring him forward in France. Duroc went on his third mission to
Berlin after the war broke out with Austria. He often wrote to me, and
his letters convinced me how much he had improved himself within a short

Another circumstance which happened at the commencement of the Consulate
affords an example of Bonaparte's inflexibility when he had once formed a
determination. In the spring of 1799, when we were in Egypt, the
Directory gave to General Latour-Foissac, a highly distinguished officer,
the command of Mantua, the taking of which had so powerfully contributed
to the glory of the conqueror of Italy. Shortly after Latour's
appointment to this important post the Austrians besieged Mantua. It was
welt known that the garrison was supplied with provisions and ammunition
for a long resistance; yet, in the month of July it surrendered to the
Austrians. The act of capitulation contained a curious article, viz.
"General Latour-Foissac and his staff shall be conducted as prisoners to
Austria; the garrison shall be allowed to return to France." This
distinction between the general and the troops entrusted to his command,
and at the same time the prompt surrender of Mantua, were circumstances
which, it must be confessed, were calculated to excite suspicions of
Latour-Foissac. The consequence was, when Bernadotte was made War
Minister he ordered an inquiry into the general's conduct by a court-
martial. Latour-Foissac had no sooner returned to France than he
published a justificatory memorial, in which he showed the impossibility
of his having made a longer defence when he was in want of many objects
of the first necessity.

Such was the state of the affair on Bonaparte's elevation to the Consular
power. The loss of Mantua, the possession of which had cost him so many
sacrifices, roused his indignation to so high a pitch that whenever the
subject was mentioned he could find no words to express his rage.
He stopped the investigation of the court-martial, and issued a violent
decree against Latour-Foissac even before his culpability had been
proved. This proceeding occasioned much discussion, and was very
dissatisfactory to many general officers, who, by this arbitrary
decision, found themselves in danger of forfeiting the privilege of being
tried by their natural judges whenever they happened to displease the
First Consul. For my own part, I must say that this decree against
Latour-Foissac was one which I saw issued with considerable regret. I was
alarmed for the consequences. After the lapse of a few days I ventured
to point out to him the undue severity of the step he had taken; I
reminded him of all that had been said in Latour-Foissac's favour, and
tried to convince him how much more just it would be to allow the trial
to come to a conclusion. "In a country," said I, "like France, where the
point of honour stands above every thing, it is impossible Foissac can
escape condemnation if he be culpable."--"Perhaps you are right,
Bourrienne," rejoined he; "but the blow is struck; the decree is issued.
I have given the same explanation to every one; but I cannot so suddenly
retrace my steps. To retro-grade is to be lost. I cannot acknowledge
myself in the wrong. By and by we shall see what can be done. Time will
bring lenity and pardon. At present it would be premature." Such, word
for word, was Bonaparte's reply. If with this be compared what he said
on the subject at St. Helena it will be found that his ideas continued
nearly unchanged; the only difference is that, instead of the impetuosity
of 1800, he expressed himself with the calmness which time and adversity
naturally produce.

--["It was," says the 'Memorial of St. Helena', "an illegal and
tyrannical act, but still it was a necessary evil. It was the fault
of the law. He was a hundred, nay, a thousand fold guilty, and yet
it was doubtful whether he would be condemned. We therefore
assailed him with the shafts of honour and public opinion. Yet I
repeat it was a tyrannical act, and one of those violent measures
which are at times necessary in great nations and in extraordinary

Bonaparte, as I have before observed, loved contrasts; and I remember at
the very time he was acting so violently against Latour-Foissac he
condescended to busy himself about a company of players which he wished
to send to Egypt, or rather that he pretended to wish to send there,
because the announcement of such a project conveyed an impression of the
prosperous condition of our Oriental colony. The Consuls gravely
appointed the Minister of the Interior to execute this business, and the
Minister in his turn delegated his powers to Florence, the actor. In
their instructions to the Minister the Consuls observed that it would be
advisable to include some female dancers in the company; a suggestion
which corresponds with Bonaparte's note, in which were specified all that
he considered necessary for the Egyptian expedition.

The First Consul entertained singular notions respecting literary
property. On his hearing that a piece, entitled 'Misanthropie et
Repentir', had been brought out at the Odeon, he said to me, "Bourrienne,
you have been robbed."--"I, General? how?"--"You have been robbed,
I tell you, and they are now acting your piece." I have already
mentioned that during my stay at Warsaw I amused myself with translating
a celebrated play of Kotzebue. While we were in Italy I lent Bonaparte
my translation to read, and he expressed himself much pleased with it.
He greatly admired the piece, and often went to see it acted at the
Odeon. On his return he invariably gave me fresh reasons for my claiming
what he was pleased to call my property. I represented to him that the
translation of a foreign work belonged to any one who chose to execute
it. He would not, however, give up his point, and I was obliged to
assure him that my occupations in his service left me no time to engage
in a literary lawsuit. He then exacted a promise from me to translate
Goethe's 'Werther'. I told him it was already done, though
indifferently, and that I could not possibly devote to the subject the
time it merited. I read over to him one of the letters I had translated
into French, and which he seemed to approve.

That interval of the Consular Government during which Bonaparte remained
at the Luxembourg may be called the preparatory Consulate. Then were
sown the seeds of the great events which he meditated, and of those
institutions with which he wished to mark his possession of power. He
was then, if I may use the expression, two individuals in one: the
Republican general, who was obliged to appear the advocate of liberty and
the principles of the Revolution; and the votary of ambition, secretly
plotting the downfall of that liberty and those principles.

I often wondered at the consummate address with which he contrived to
deceive those who were likely to see through his designs. This
hypocrisy, which some, perhaps, may call profound policy, was
indispensable to the accomplishment of his projects; and sometimes, as if
to keep himself in practice, he would do it in matters of secondary
importance. For example, his opinion of the insatiable avarice of Sieyes
is well known; yet when he proposed, in his message to the Council of
Ancients, to give his colleague, under the title of national recompense,
the price of his obedient secession, it was, in the words of the message,
a recompense worthily bestowed on his disinterested virtues.

While at the Luxembourg Bonaparte showed, by a Consular act, his hatred
of the liberty of the press above all liberties, for he loved none.
On the 27th Nivose the Consuls, or rather the First Consul, published a
decree, the real object of which was evidently contrary to its implied

This decree stated that:

The Consuls of the Republic, considering that some of the journals
printed at Paris are instruments in the hands of the enemies of the
Republic, over the safety of which the Government is specially entrusted
by the people of France to watch, decree--

That the Minister of Police shall, during the continuation of the war,
allow only the following journals to be printed and published, viz.
(list of 20 publications)

.....and those papers which are exclusively devoted to science, art,
literature, commerce, and advertisements.

Surely this decree may well be considered as preparatory; and the
fragment I have quoted may serve as a standard for measuring the greater
part of those acts by which Bonaparte sought to gain, for the
consolidation of his power, what he seemed to be seeking solely for the
interest of the friends of the Republic. The limitation to the period of
the continuance of the war had also a certain provisional air which
afforded hope for the future. But everything provisional is, in its
nature, very elastic; and Bonaparte knew how to draw it out ad infinitum.
The decree, moreover, enacted that if any of the uncondemned journals
should insert articles against the sovereignty of the people they would
be immediately suppressed. In truth, great indulgence was shown on this
point, even after the Emperor's coronation.

The presentation of swords and muskets of honour also originated at the
Luxembourg; and this practice was, without doubt, a preparatory step to
the foundation of the Legion of Honour.

--["Armes d'honneur," decreed 25th December 1799. Muskets for
infantry, carbines for cavalry, grenades for artillery, swords for
the officers. Gouvion St. Cyr received the first sword (Thiers,
tome i. p. 126).]--

A grenadier sergeant, named Leon Aune, who had been included in the first
distribution, easily obtained permission to write to the First Consul to
thank him. Bonaparte, wishing to answer him in his own name, dictated to
me the following letter for Aune:--

I have received your letter, my brave comrade. You needed not to
have told me of your exploits, for you are the bravest grenadier in
the whole army since the death of Benezete. You received one of the
hundred sabres I distributed to the army, and all agreed you most
deserved it.

I wish very much again to see you. The War Minister sends you an
order to come to Paris.

This wheedling wonderfully favoured Bonaparte's designs. His letter to
Aune could not fail to be circulated through the army. A sergeant called
my brave comrade by the First Consul--the First General of France! Who
but a thorough Republican, the stanch friend of equality, would have done
this? This was enough to wind up the enthusiasm of the army. At the
same time it must be confessed that Bonaparte began to find the
Luxembourg too little for him, and preparations were set on foot at the

Still this great step towards the re-establishment of the monarchy was to
be cautiously prepared. It was important to do away with the idea that
none but a king could occupy the palace of our ancient kings. What was
to be done? A very fine bust of Brutus had been brought from Italy.
Brutus was the destroyer of tyrants! This was the very thing; and David
was commissioned to place it in a gallery of the Tuileries. Could there
be a greater proof of the Consul's horror of tyranny?

To sleep at the Tuileries, in the bedchamber of the kings of France, was
all that Bonaparte wanted; the rest would follow in due course. He was
willing to be satisfied with establishing a principle the consequences of
which were to be afterwards deduced. Hence the affectation of never
inserting in official acts the name of the Tuileries, but designating
that place as the Palace of the Government. The first preparations were
modest, for it did not become a good Republican to be fond of pomp.
Accordingly Lecomte, who was at that time architect of the Tuileries,
merely received orders to clean the Palace, an expression which might
bear more than one meaning, after the meetings which had been there. For
this purpose the sum of 500,000 francs was sufficient. Bonaparte's drift
was to conceal, as far as possible, the importance he attached to the
change of his Consular domicile. But little expense was requisite for
fitting up apartments for the First Consul. Simple ornaments, such as
marbles and statues, were to decorate the Palace of the Government.

Nothing escaped Bonaparte's consideration. Thus it was not merely at
hazard that he selected the statues of great men to adorn the gallery of
the Tuileries. Among the Greeks he made choice of Demosthenes and
Alesander, thus rendering homage at once to the genius of eloquence and
the genius of victory. The statue of Hannibal was intended to recall the
memory of Rome's most formidable enemy; and Rome herself was represented
in the Consular Palace by the statues of Scipio, Cicero, Cato, Brutus and
Caesar--the victor and the immolator being placed side by side. Among
the great men of modern times he gave the first place to Gustavus
Adolphus, and the next to Turenne and the great Conde, to Turenne in
honour of his military talent, and to Conde to prove that there was
nothing fearful in the recollection of a Bourbon. The remembrance of the
glorious days of the French navy was revived by the statue of Duguai
Trouin. Marlborough and Prince Eugene had also their places in the
gallery, as if to attest the disasters which marked the close of the
great reign; and Marshal Sage, to show that Louis XV.'s reign was not
without its glory. The statues of Frederick and Washington were
emblematic of false philosophy on a throne and true wisdom founding a
free state. Finally, the names of Dugommier, Dampierre, and Joubert were
intended to bear evidence of the high esteem which Bonaparte cherished
for his old comrades,--those illustrious victims to a cause which had now
ceased to be his.

The reader has already been informed of the attempts made by Bonaparte to
induce England and Austria to negotiate with the Consular Government,
which the King of Prussia was the first of the sovereigns of Europe to
recognise. These attempts having proved unavailing, it became necessary
to carry on the war with renewed vigour, and also to explain why the
peace, which had been promised at the beginning of the Consulate, was
still nothing but a promise. In fulfilment of these two objects
Bonaparte addressed an energetic proclamation to the armies, which was
remarkable for not being followed by the usual sacred words, "Vive la

At the same time Bonaparte completed the formation of the Council of
State, and divided it into five sections:--(1) The Interior; (2) Finance;
(3) Marine; (4) The War Department; (5) Legislation. He fixed the
salaries of the Councillors of the State at 25,000 francs, and that of
the Precedents of Sections at 30,000. He settled the costume of the
Consuls, the Ministers, and the different bodies of the State. This led
to the re-introduction of velvet, which had been banished with the old
regime, and the encouragement of the manufactures of Lyons was the reason
alleged for employing this un-republican article in the different
dresses, each as those of the Consuls and Ministers. It was Bonaparte's
constant: aim to efface the Republic, even in the utmost trifles, and to
prepare matters so well that the customs and habits of monarchy being
restored, there should only then remain a word to be changed.

I never remember to have seen Bonaparte in the Consular dress, which he
detested, and which he wore only because duty required him to do so at
public ceremonies. The only dress he was fond of, and in which he felt
at ease, was that in which he subjugated the ancient Eridanus and the
Nile, namely, the uniform of the Guides, to which corps Bonaparte was
always sincerely attached.

The masquerade of official dresses was not the only one which Bonaparte
summoned to the aid of his policy. At that period of the year VIII.
which corresponded with the carnival of 1800, masques began to be resumed
at Paris. Disguises were all the fashion, and Bonaparte favoured the
revival of old amusements; first, because they were old, and next,
because they were, the means of diverting the attention of the people:
for, as he had established the principle that on the field of battle it
is necessary to divide the enemy in order to beat him, he conceived it no
less advisable to divert the people in order to enslave them. Bonaparte
did not say 'panem et circenses', for I believe his knowledge of Latin
did not extend even to that well-known phrase of Juvenal, but he put the
maxim in practice. He accordingly authorised the revival of balls at the
opera, which they who lived during that period of the Consulate know was
an important event in Paris. Some gladly viewed it as a little conquest
in favour of the old regime; and others, who for that very reason
disapproved it, were too shallow to understand the influence of little
over great things. The women and the young men did not bestow a thought
on the subject, but yielded willingly to the attractions of pleasure.
Bonaparte, who was delighted at having provided a diversion for the
gossiping of the Parisian salons, said to me one day, "While they are
chatting about all this, they do not babble upon politics, and that is
what I want. Let them dance and amuse themselves as long as they do not
thrust their noses into the Councils of the Government; besides,
Bourrienne," added he, "I have other reasons for encouraging this, I see
other advantages in it. Trade is languishing; Fouche tells me that there
are great complaints. This will set a little money in circulation;
besides, I am on my guard about the Jacobins. Everything is not bad,
because it is not new. I prefer the opera-balls to the saturnalia of the
Goddess of Reason. I was never so enthusiastically applauded as at the
last parade."

A Consular decision of a different and more important nature had, shortly
before, namely, at the commencement of Nivose, brought happiness to many
families. Bonaparte, as every one knows, had prepared the events of the
18th Fructidor that he might have some plausible reasons for overthrowing
the Directors. The Directory being overthrown, he was now anxious, at
least in part, to undo what he had done on the 18th Fructidor. He
therefore ordered a report on the persons exiled to be presented to him
by the Minister of Police. In consequence of this report he authorised
forty of them to return to France, placing them under the observation of
the Police Minister, and assigning them their place of residence.
However, they did not long remain under these restrictions, and many of
them were soon called to fill high places in the Government. It was
indeed natural that Bonaparte, still wishing, at least in appearance, to
found his government on those principles of moderate republicanism which
had caused their exile, should invite them to second his views.

Barrere wrote a justificatory letter to the First Consul, who, however,
took no notice of it, for he could not get so far as to favour Barrere.
Thus did Bonaparte receive into the Councils of the Consulate the men who
had been exiled by the Directory, just as he afterwards appointed the
emigrants and those exiles of the Revolution to high offices under the
Empire. The time and the men alone differed; the intention in both cases
was the same.



Bonaparte and Paul I.--Lord Whitworth--Baron Sprengporten's arrival
at Paris--Paul's admiration of Bonaparte--Their close connection and
correspondence--The royal challenge--General Mack--The road to
Malmaison--Attempts at assassination--Death of Washington--National
mourning--Ambitious calculation--M. de Fontanel, the skilful orator
--Fete at the Temple of Mars--Murat's marriage with Caroline
Bonaparte--Madame Bonaparte's pearls.

The first communications between Bonaparte and Paul I. commenced a short
time after his accession to the Consulate. Affairs then began to look a
little less unfavourable for France; already vague reports from
Switzerland and the banks of the Rhine indicated a coldness existing
between the Russians and the Austrians; and at the same time, symptoms of
a misunderstanding between the Courts of London and St. Petersburg began
to be perceptible. The First Consul, having in the meantime discovered
the chivalrous and somewhat eccentric character of Paul I., thought the
moment a propitious one to attempt breaking the bonds which united Russia
and England. He was not the man to allow so fine an opportunity to pass,
and he took advantage of it with his usual sagacity. The English had
some time before refused to include in a cartel for the exchange of
prisoners 7000 Russians taken in Holland. Bonaparte ordered them all to
be armed, and clothed in new uniforms appropriate to the corps to which
they had belonged, and sent them back to Russia, without ransom, without
exchange, or any condition whatever. This judicious munificence was not
thrown away. Paul I. showed himself deeply sensible of it, and closely
allied as he had lately been with England, he now, all at once, declared
himself her enemy. This triumph of policy delighted the First Consul.

Thenceforth the Consul and the Czar became the best friends possible.
They strove to outdo each other in professions of friendship; and it may
be believed that Bonaparte did not fail to turn this contest of
politeness to his own advantage. He so well worked upon the mind of Paul
that he succeeded in obtaining a direct influence over the Cabinet of St.

Lord Whitworth, at that time the English ambassador in Russia, was
ordered to quit the capital without delay, and to retire to Riga, which
then became the focus of the intrigues of the north which ended in the
death of Paul. The English ships were seized in all the ports, and, at
the pressing instance of the Czar, a Prussian army menaced Hanover.
Bonaparte lost no time, and, profiting by the friendship manifested
towards him by the inheritor of Catherine's power, determined to make
that friendship subservient to the execution of the vast plan which he
had long conceived: he meant to undertake an expedition by land against
the English colonies in the East Indies.

The arrival of Baron Sprengporten at Paris caused great satisfaction
among the partisans of the Consular Government, that is to say, almost
every one in Paris. M. Sprengporten was a native of Swedish Finland.
He had been appointed by Catherine chamberlain and lieutenant-general of
her forces, and he was not less in favour with Paul, who treated him in
the most distinguished manner. He came on an extraordinary mission,
being ostensibly clothed with the title of plenipotentiary, and at the
same time appointed confidential Minister to the Consul. Bonaparte was
extremely satisfied with the ambassador whom Paul had selected, and with
the manner in, which he described the Emperor's gratitude for the
generous conduct of the First Consul. M. Sprengporten did not conceal
the extent of Paul's dissatisfaction with his allies. The bad issue, he
said, of the war with France had already disposed the Czar to connect
himself with that power, when the return of his troops at once determined

We could easily perceive that Paul placed great confidence in M.
Sprengporten. As he had satisfactorily discharged the mission with which
he had been entrusted, Paul expressed pleasure at his conduct in several
friendly and flattering letters, which Sprengporten always allowed us to
read. No one could be fonder of France than he was, and he ardently
desired that his first negotiations might lead to a long alliance between
the Russian and French Governments. The autograph and very frequent
correspondence between Bonaparte and Paul passed through his hands. I
read all Paul's letters, which were remarkable for the frankness with
which his affection for Bonaparte was expressed. His admiration of the
First Consul was so great that no courtier could have written in a more
flattering manner.

This admiration was not feigned on the part of the Emperor of Russia: it
was no less sincere than ardent, and of this he soon gave proofs. The
violent hatred he had conceived towards the English Government induced
him to defy to single combat every monarch who would not declare war
against England and shut his ports against English ships. He inserted a
challenge to the King of Denmark in the St. Petersburg Court Gazette; but
not choosing to apply officially to the Senate of Hamburg to order its
insertion in the 'Correspondant', conducted by M. Stoves, he sent the
article, through Count Pahlen, to M. Schramm, a Hamburg merchant. The
Count told M. Schramm that the Emperor would be much pleased to see the
article of the St. Petersburg Court Gazette copied into the
Correspondant; and that if it should be inserted, he wished to have a
dozen copies of the paper printed on vellum, and sent to him by an
extraordinary courier. It was Paul's intention to send a copy to every
sovereign in Europe; but this piece of folly, after the manner of Charles
XII., led to no further results.

Bonaparte never felt greater satisfaction in the-whole course of his life
than he experienced from Paul's enthusiasm for him. The friendship of a
sovereign seemed to him a step by which he was to become a sovereign
himself. At the same time the affairs of La Vendee began to assume a
better aspect, and he hoped soon to effect that pacification in the
interior which he so ardently desired.

It was during the First Consul's residence at the Luxembourg that the
first report on the civil code was made to the legislative body. It was
then, also, that the regulations for the management of the Bank of France
were adopted, and that establishment so necessary to France was founded.

There was at this time in Paris a man who has acquired an unfortunate
celebrity, the most unlucky of modern generals--in a word, General Mack.
I should not notice that person here were it not for the prophetic
judgment which Bonaparte then pronounced on him. Mack had been obliged
to surrender himself at Championnet some time before our landing at
Frejus. He was received as a prisoner of war, and the town of Dijon had
been appointed his place of residence, and there he remained until after
the 18th Brumaire. Bonaparte, now Consul, permitted him to come to
Paris, and to reside there on his parole. He applied for leave to go to
Vienna, pledging himself to return again a prisoner to France if the
Emperor Francis would not consent to exchange him for Generals Wrignon
and Grouchy, then prisoners in Austria. His request was not granted, but
his proposition was forwarded to Vienna. The Court of Vienna refused to
accede to it, not placing perhaps so much importance on the deliverance
of Mack as he had flattered himself it would.

Bonaparte speaking to me of him one day said, "Mack is a man of the
lowest mediocrity I ever saw in my life; he is full of self-sufficiency
and conceit, and believes himself equal to anything. He has no talent.
I should like to see him opposed some day to one of our good generals;
we should then see fine work. He is a boaster, and that is all. He is
really one of the most silly men existing; and, besides all that, he is
unlucky." Was not this opinion of Bonaparte, formed on the past, fully
verified by the future?

It was at Malmaison that Bonaparte thus spoke of General Mack. That
place was then far from resembling what it afterwards became, and the
road to it was neither pleasant nor sure. There was not a house on the
road; and in the evening, during the season when we were there, it was
not frequented all the way from St. Germain. Those numerous vehicles,
which the demands of luxury and an increasing population have created,
did not then, as now, pass along the roads in the environs of Paris.
Everywhere the road was solitary and dangerous; and I learned with
certainty that many schemes were laid for carrying off the First Consul
during one of his evening journeys. They were unsuccessful, and orders
were given to enclose the quarries, which were too near to the road. On
Saturday evening Bonaparte left the Luxembourg, and afterwards the
Tuileries, to go to Malmaison, and I cannot better express the joy he
then appeared to experience than by comparing it to the delight of a
school-boy on getting a holiday.

Before removing from the Luxembourg to the Tuileries Bonaparte determined
to dazzle the eyes of the Parisians by a splendid ceremony. He had
appointed it to take place on the 'decadi', Pluviose 20 (9th February
1800), that is to say, ten days before his final departure from the old
Directorial palace. These kinds of fetes did not resemble what they
afterwards became; their attraction consisted in the splendour of
military dress: and Bonaparte was always sure that whenever he mounted
his horse, surrounded by a brilliant staff from which he was to be
distinguished by the simplicity of his costume, his path would be crowded
and himself greeted with acclamations by the people of Paris. The object
of this fete was at first only to present to the 'Hotel des Invalides',
their called the Temple of Mars, seventy-two flags taken from the Turks
in the battle of Aboukir and brought from Egypt to Paris; but
intelligence of Washington's death, who expired on the 14th of December
1799, having reached Bonaparte; he eagerly took advantage of that event
to produce more effect, and mixed the mourning cypress with the laurels
he had collected in Egypt.

Bonaparte did not feel much concerned at the death of Washington, that
noble founder of rational freedom in the new world; but it afforded him
an opportunity to mask his ambitious projects under the appearance of a
love of liberty. In thus rendering honour to the memory of Washington
everybody would suppose that Bonaparte intended to imitate his example,
and that their two names would pass in conjunction from mouth to mouth.
A clever orator might be employed, who, while pronouncing a eulogium on
the dead, would contrive to bestow some praise on the living; and when
the people were applauding his love of liberty he would find himself one
step nearer the throne, on which his eyes were constantly fixed. When
the proper time arrived, he would not fail to seize the crown; and would
still cry, if necessary, "Vive la Liberte!" while placing it on his
imperial head.

The skilful orator was found. M. de Fontanes

--[L. de Fontenes (1767-1821) became president of the Corps
Legislatif, Senator, and Grand Master of the University. He was the
centre of the literary group of the Empire,]--

was commissioned to pronounce the funeral eulogium on Washington, and the
flowers of eloquence which he scattered about did not all fall on the
hero of America.

Lannes was entrusted by Bonaparte with the presentation of the flags; and
on the 20th Pluviose he proceeded, accompanied by strong detachments of
the cavalry then in Paris, to the council-hall of the Invalides, where he
was met by the Minister of War, who received the colours. All the
Ministers, the councillors of, State, and generals were summoned to the
presentation. Lannes pronounced a discourse, to which Berthier replied,
and M. de Fontanes added his well-managed eloquence to the plain military
oratory of the two generals. In the interior of this military temple a
statue of Mars sleeping had been placed, and from the pillars and roof
were suspended the trophies of Denain, Fontenoy, and the campaign of
Italy, which would still have decorated that edifice had not the demon of
conquest possessed Bonaparte. Two Invalides, each said to be a hundred
years old, stood beside the Minister of War; and the bust of the
emancipator of America was placed under the trophy composed of the flags
of Aboukir. In a word, recourse was had to every sort of charlatanism
usual on such occasions. In the evening there was a numerous assembly at
the Luxembourg, and Bonaparte took much credit to himself for the effect
produced on this remarkable day. He had only to wait ten days for his
removal to the Tuileries, and precisely on that day the national mourning
for Washington was to cease, for which a general mourning for freedom
might well have been substituted.

I have said very little about Murat in the course of these Memoirs except
mentioning the brilliant part he performed in several battles. Having
now arrived at the period of his marriage with one of Napoleon's sisters
I take the opportunity of returning to the interesting events which
preceded that alliance.

His fine and well-proportioned form, his great physical strength and
somewhat refined elegance of manner,--the fire of his eye, and his fierce
courage in battle, gave to Murat rather the character of one of those
'preux chevaliers' so well described by Ariosto and Taro, that, that a
Republican soldier. The nobleness of his look soon made the lowness of
his birth be forgotten. He was affable, polished, gallant; and in the
field of battle twenty men headed by Murat were worth a whole regiment.
Once only he showed himself under the influence of fear, and the reader
shall see in what circumstance it was that he ceased to be himself.

--[Marshal Lannes, so brave and brilliant in war and so well able to
appreciate courage, one day sharply rebuked a colonel for having
punished a young officer just arrived from school at Fontainebleau
because he gave evidence of fear in his first engagement. "Know,
colonel," said he, "none but a poltroon (the term was oven more
strong) will boast that he never was afraid."--Bourrienne.]--

When Bonaparte in his first Italian campaign had forced Wurmser to
retreat into Mantua with 28,000 men, he directed Miollis, with only 4000
men, to oppose any sortie that might be attempted by the Austrian
general. In one of these sorties Murat, who was at the head of a very
weak detachment, was ordered to charge Wurmser. He was afraid, neglected
to execute the order, and in a moment of confusion said that he was
wounded. Murat immediately fell into disgrace with the General-in-Chief,
whose 'aide de camp' he was.

Murat had been previously sent to Paris to present to the Directory the
first colours taken by the French army of Italy in the actions of Dego
and Mondovi, and it was on this occasion that he got acquainted with
Madame Tallien and the wife of his General. But he already knew the
beautiful Caroline Bonaparte, whom he had seen at Rome in the residence
of her brother Joseph, who was then discharging the functions of
ambassador of the Republic. It appears that Caroline was not even
indifferent to him, and that he was the successful rival of the Princess
Santa Croce's son, who eagerly sought the honour of her hand. Madame
Tallien and Madame Bonaparte received with great kindness the first 'aide
de camp', and as they possessed much influence with the Directory, they
solicited, and easily obtained for him, the rank of brigadier-general.
It was somewhat remarkable at that time Murat, notwithstanding his newly-
acquired rank, to remain Bonaparte's 'aide de camp', the regulations not
allowing a general-in-chief an 'aide de camp' of higher rank than chief
of brigade, which was equal to that of colonel: This insignificant act
was, therefore, rather a hasty anticipation of the prerogatives
everywhere reserved to princes and kings.

It was after having discharged this commission that Murat, on his return
to Italy, fell into disfavour with the General-in Chief. He indeed
looked upon him with a sort of hostile feeling, and placed him in
Reille's division, and afterwards Baragasy d'Hilliers'; consequently,
when we went to Paris, after the treaty of Campo-Formio, Murat was not of
the party. But as the ladies, with whom he was a great favourite, were
not devoid of influence with the Minister of War, Murat was, by their
interest, attached to the engineer corps in the expedition to Egypt.
On board the Orient he remained in the most complete disgrace. Bonaparte
did not address a word to him during the passage; and in Egypt the
General-in-Chief always treated him with coldness, and often sent him
from the headquarters on disagreeable services. However, the General-in-
Chief having opposed him to Mourad Bey, Murat performed such prodigies of
valour in every perilous encounter that he effaced the transitory stain
which a momentary hesitation under the walls of Mantua had left on his
character. Finally, Murat so powerfully contributed to the success of
the day at Aboukir that Bonaparte, glad to be able to carry another
laurel plucked in Egypt to France, forgot the fault which had made so
unfavourable an impression, and was inclined to efface from his memory
other things that he had heard to the disadvantage of Murat; for I have
good reasons for believing, though Bonaparte never told me so, that
Murat's name, as well as that of Charles, escaped from the lips of Junot
when he made his indiscreet communication to Bonaparte at the walls of
Messoudiah. The charge of grenadiers, commanded by Murat on the 19th
Brumaire in the hall of the Five Hundred, dissipated all the remaining
traces of dislike; and in those moments when Bonaparte's political views
subdued every other sentiment of his mind, the rival of the Prince Santa
Croce received the command of the Consular Guard.

--[Joachim Murat (1771-1616), the son of an innkeeper, aide de camp
to Napoleon in Italy, etc.; Marshal, 1804; Prince in 1806; Grand
Admiral; Grand Duc de Berg et de Clesves, 1808; King of Naples,
1808. Shot by Bourbons 13th October 1815. Married Caroline
Bonaparte (third sister of Napoleon) 20th January 1600.]--

It may reasonably be supposed that Madame Bonaparte, in endeavouring to
win the friendship of Murat by aiding his promotion, had in view to gain
one partisan more to oppose to the family and brothers of Bonaparte; and
of this kind of support she had much need. Their jealous hatred was
displayed on every occasion; and the amiable Josephine, whose only fault
was being too much of the woman, was continually tormented by sad
presentiments. Carried away by the easiness of her character, she did
not perceive that the coquetry which enlisted for her so many defenders
also supplied her implacable enemies with weapons to use against her.

In this state of things Josephine, who was well convinced that she had
attached Murat to herself by the bonds of friendship and gratitude, and
ardently desired to see him united to Bonaparte by a family connection,
favoured with all her influence his marriage with Caroline. She was not
ignorant that a close intimacy had already sprung up at Milan between
Caroline and Murat, and she was the first to propose a marriage. Murat
hesitated, and went to consult M. Collot, who was a good adviser in all
things, and whose intimacy with Bonaparte had initiated him into all the
secrets of the family. M. Collot advised Murat to lose no time, but to
go to the First Consul and formally demand the hand of his sister. Murat
followed his advice. Did he do well? It was to this step that he owed
the throne of Naples. If he had abstained he would not have been shot at
Pizzo. 'Sed ipsi Dei fata rumpere non possunt!'

However that might be, Bonaparte received, more in the manner of a
sovereign than of a brother in arms, the proposal of Murat. He heard him
with unmoved gravity, said that he would consider the matter, but gave no
positive answer.

This affair was, as may be supposed, the subject of conversation in the
evening in the; salon of the Luxembourg. Madame Bonaparte employed all
her powers of persuasion to obtain the First Consul's consent, and her
efforts were seconded by Hortense, Eugene, and myself, "Murat," said he,
among other things, "Murat is an innkeeper's son. In the elevated rank
where glory and fortune have placed me, I never can mix his blood with
mine! Besides, there is no hurry: I shall see by and by." We forcibly
described to him the reciprocal affection of the two young people, and
did not fail to bring to his observation Murat's devoted attachment to
his person, his splendid courage and noble conduct in Egypt. "Yes," said
he, with warmth, "I agree with you; Murat was superb at Aboukir." We did
not allow so favourable a moment to pass by. We redoubled our
entreaties, and at last he consented. When we were together in his
cabinet in the evening, "Well; Bourrienne," said he to me, "you ought to
be satisfied, and so am I, too, everything considered. Murat is suited
to my sister, and then no one can say that I am proud, or seek grand
alliances. If I had given my sister to a noble, all your Jacobins would
have raised a cry of counter-revolution. Besides, I am very glad that my
wife is interested in this marriage, and you may easily suppose the
cause. Since it is determined on, I will hasten it forward; we have no
time to lose. If I go to Italy I will take Murat with me. I must strike
a decisive blow there. Adieu."

When I entered the First Consul's chamber at seven o'clock the next day
he appeared even more satisfied than on the preceding evening with the
resolution he had taken. I easily perceived that in spite of all his
cunning, he had failed to discover the real motive which had induced
Josephine to take so lively an interest respecting Murat's marriage with
Caroline. Still Bonaparte's satisfaction plainly showed that his wife's
eagerness for the marriage had removed all doubt in his mind of the
falsity of the calumnious reports which had prevailed respecting her
intimacy with Murat.

The marriage of Murat and Caroline was celebrated at the Luxembourg, but
with great modesty. The First Consul did not yet think that his family
affairs were affairs of state. But previously to the celebration a
little comedy was enacted in which I was obliged to take a part, and I
will relate how.

At the time of the marriage of Murat Bonaparte had not much money, and
therefore only gave his sister a dowry of 30,000 francs. Still, thinking
it necessary to make her a marriage present, and not possessing the means
to purchase a suitable one, he took a diamond necklace which belonged to
his wife and gave it to the bride. Josephine was not at all pleased with
this robbery, and taxed her wits to discover some means of replacing her

Josephine was aware that the celebrated jeweler Foncier possessed a
magnificent collection of fine pearls which had belonged, as he said, to
the late Queen, Marie Antoinette. Having ordered them to be brought to
her to examine them, she thought there were sufficient to make a very
fine necklace. But to make the purchase 250,000 francs were required,
and how to get them was the difficulty. Madame Bonaparte had recourse to
Berthier, who was then Minister of War. Berthier, after, biting his
nails according to his usual habit, set about the liquidation of the
debts due for the hospital service in Italy with as much speed as
possible; and as in those days the contractors whose claims were admitted
overflowed with gratitude towards their patrons, through whom they
obtained payment, the pearls soon passed from Foncier's shop to the
casket of Madame Bonaparte.

The pearls being thus obtained, there was still another difficulty, which
Madame Bonaparte did not at first think of. How was she to wear a
necklace purchased without her husband's knowledge? Indeed it was the
more difficult for her to do so as the First Consul knew very well that
his wife had no money, and being, if I may be allowed the expression,
something of the busybody, he knew, or believed he knew, all Josephine's
jewels. The pearls were therefore condemned to remain more than a
fortnight in Madame Bonaparte's casket without her daring to use them.
What a punishment for a woman! At length her vanity overcame her
prudence, and being unable to conceal the jewels any longer, she one day
said to me, "Bourrienne, there is to be a large party here to-morrow, and
I absolutely must wear my pearls. But you know he will grumble if he
notices them. I beg, Bourrienne, that you will keep near me. If he asks
me where I got my pearls I must tell him, without hesitation, that I have
had them a long time."

Everything happened as Josephine feared and hoped.

Bonaparte, on seeing the pearls, did not fail to say to Madame, "What is
it you have got there? How fine you are to-day! Where did you get these
pearls? I think I never saw them before."--"Oh! 'mon Dieu'! you have
seen them a dozen times! It is the necklace which the Cisalpine Republic
gave me, and which I now wear in my hair."--"But I think--"--"Stay: ask
Bourrienne, he will tell you."--"Well, Bourrienne, what do you say to it?
Do you recollect the necklace?"--"Yes, General, I recollect very well
seeing it before." This was not untrue, for Madame Bonaparte had
previously shown me the pearls. Besides, she had received a pearl
necklace from the Cisalpine Republic, but of incomparably less value than
that purchased from Fancier. Josephine performed her part with charming
dexterity, and I did not act amiss the character of accomplice assigned
me in this little comedy. Bonaparte had no suspicions. When I saw the
easy confidence with which Madame Bonaparte got through this scene, I
could not help recollecting Suzanne's reflection on the readiness with
which well-bred ladies can tell falsehoods without seeming to do so.



Police on police--False information--Dexterity of Fouche--Police
agents deceived--Money ill applied--Inutility of political police--
Bonaparte's opinion--General considerations--My appointment to the
Prefecture of police.

Before taking up his quarters in the Tuileries the First Consul organised
his secret police, which was intended, at the same time, to be the rival
or check upon Fouche's police. Duroc and Moncey were at first the
Director of this police; afterwards Davonst and Junot. Madame Bonaparte
called this business a vile system of espionage. My remarks on the
inutility of the measure were made in vain. Bonaparte had the weakness
at once to fear Fouche and to think him necessary. Fouche, whose talents
at this trade are too well known to need my approbation, soon discovered
this secret institution, and the names of all the subaltern agents
employed by the chief agents. It is difficult to form an idea of the
nonsense, absurdity, and falsehood contained in the bulletins drawn up by
the noble and ignoble agents of the police. I do not mean to enter into
details on this nauseating subject; and I shall only trespass on the
reader's patience by relating, though it be in anticipation, one fact
which concerns myself, and which will prove that spies and their wretched
reports cannot be too much distrusted.

During the second year of the Consulate we were established at Malmaison.
Junot had a very large sum at his disposal for the secret police of the
capital. He gave 3000 francs of it to a wretched manufacturer of
bulletins; the remainder was expended on the police of his stable and his
table. In reading one of these daily bulletins I saw the following

"M. de Bourrienne went last night to Paris. He entered an hotel of
the Faubourg St. Germain, Rue de Varenne, and there, in the course
of a very animated discussion, he gave it to be understood that the
First Consul wished to make himself King."

As it happens, I never had opened my mouth, either respecting what
Bonaparte had said to me before we went to Egypt or respecting his other
frequent conversations with me of the same nature, during this period of
his Consulship. I may here observe, too, that I never quitted, nor ever
could quit Malmaison for a moment. At any time, by night or day, I was
subject to be called for by the First Consul, and, as very often was the
case, it so happened that on the night in question he had dictated to me
notes and instructions until three o'clock in the morning.

Junot came every day to Malmaison at eleven o'clock in the morning. I
called him that day into my cabinet, when I happened to be alone. "Have
you not read your bulletin?" said I, "Yes, I have."--"Nay, that is
impossible."--"Why?"--"Because, if you had, you would have suppressed an
absurd story which relates to me."--"Ah!" he replied, "I am sorry on your
account, but I can depend on my agent, and I will not alter a word of his
report." I then told him all that had taken place on that night; but he
was obstinate, and went away unconvinced.

Every morning I placed all the papers which the First Consul had to read
on his table, and among the, first was Junot's report. The First Consul
entered and read it; on coming to the passage concerning me he began to

"Have you read this bulletin?"--"yes, General."--"What an ass that Junot
is! It is a long time since I have known that."--" How he allows himself
to be entrapped! Is he still here?"--"I believe so. I have just seen
him, and made observations to him, all in good part, but he would hear
nothing."--"Tell him to come here." When Junot appeared Bonaparte began
--"Imbecile that you are! how could you send me such reports as these?
Do you not read them? How shall I be sure that you will not compromise
other persons equally unjustly? I want positive facts, not inventions.
It is some time since your agent displeased me; dismiss him directly."
Junot wanted to justify himself, but Bonaparte cut him short--"Enough!--
It is settled!"

I related what had passed to Fouche, who told me that, wishing to amuse
himself at Junot's expense, whose police agents only picked up what they
heard related in coffeehouses, gaming-houses, and the Bourse, he had
given currency to this absurd story, which Junot had credited and
reported, as he did many other foolish tales. Fouche often caught the
police of the Palace in the snares he laid for them, and thus increased
his own credit.

This circumstance, and others of the same nature, induced the First
Consul to attach less importance than at first he had to his secret
police, which seldom reported anything but false and silly stories.
That wretched police! During the time I was with him it embittered his
life, and often exasperated him against his wife, his relations, and

--[Bourrienne, it must be remembered, was a sufferer from the
vigilance of this police.]--

Rapp, who was as frank as he was brave, tells us in his Memoirs (p. 233)
that when Napoleon, during his retreat from Moscow, while before
Smolenski, heard of the attempt of Mallet, he could not get over the
adventure of the Police Minister, Savary, and the Prefect of Police,
Pasquier. "Napoleon," says Rapp, "was not surprised that these wretches
(he means the agents of the police) who crowd the salons and the taverns,
who insinuate themselves everywhere and obstruct everything, should not
have found out the plot, but he could not understand the weakness of the
Duc de Rovigo. The very police which professed to divine everything had
let themselves be taken by surprise." The police possessed no foresight
or faculty of prevention. Every silly thing that transpired was reported
either from malice or stupidity. What was heard was misunderstood or
distorted in the recital, so that the only result of the plan was
mischief and confusion.

The police as a political engine is a dangerous thing. It foments and
encourages more false conspiracies than it discovers or defeats real
ones. Napoleon has related "that M. de la Rochefoucauld formed at Paris
a conspiracy in favour of the King, then at Mittau, the first act of
which was to be the death of the Chief of the Government: The plot being
discovered, a trusty person belonging to the police was ordered to join
it and become one of the most active agents. He brought letters of
recommendation from an old gentleman in Lorraine who had held a
distinguished rank in the army of Conde." After this, what more can be
wanted? A hundred examples could not better show the vileness of such a
system. Napoleon, when fallen, himself thus disclosed the scandalous
means employed by his Government.

Napoleon on one occasion, in the Isle of Elba, said to an officer who was
conversing with him about France, "You believe, then; that the police
agents foresee everything and know everything? They invent more than
they discover. Mine, I believe, was better than that they have got now,
and yet it was often only by mere chance, the imprudence of the parties
implicated, or the treachery of some of them, that something was
discovered after a week or fortnight's exertion." Napoleon, in directing
this officer to transmit letters to him under the cover of a commercial
correspondence, to quiet his apprehensions that the correspondence might
be discovered, said, "Do you think, then, that all letters are opened at
the post office? They would never be able to do so. I have often
endeavoured to discover what the correspondence was that passed under
mercantile forms, but I never succeeded. The post office, like the
police, catches only fools."

Since I am on the subject of political police, that leprosy of modern
society, perhaps I may be allowed to overstep the order of time, and
advert to its state even in the present day.

The Minister of Police, to give his prince a favourable idea of his
activity, contrives great conspiracies, which he is pretty sure to
discover in time, because he is their originator. The inferior agents,
to find favour in the eyes of the Minister, contrive small plots. It
would be difficult to mention a conspiracy which has been discovered,
except when the police agents took part in it, or were its promoters.
It is difficult to conceive how those agents can feed a little intrigue,
the result at first, perhaps, of some petty ill-humour and discontent
which, thanks to their skill, soon becomes a great affair. How many
conspiracies have escaped the boasted activity and vigilance of the
police when none of its agents were parties. I may instance Babeuf's
conspiracy, the attempt at the camp at Grenelle, the 18th Brumaire, the
infernal machine, Mallet, the 20th of March, the affair of Grenoble, and
many others.

The political police, the result of the troubles of the Revolution, has
survived them. The civil police for the security of property, health,
and order, is only made a secondary object, and has been, therefore,
neglected. There are times in which it is thought of more consequence
to discover whether a citizen goes to mass or confession than to defeat
the designs of a band of robbers. Such a state of things is unfortunate
for a country; and the money expended on a system of superintendence over
persons alleged to be suspected, in domestic inquisitions, in the
corruption of the friends, relations, and servants of the man marked out
for destruction might be much better employed. The espionage of opinion,
created, as I have said, by the revolutionary troubles, is suspicious,
restless, officious, inquisitorial, vexatious, and tyrannical.
Indifferent to crimes and real offences, it is totally absorbed in the
inquisition of thoughts. Who has not heard it said in company, to some
one speaking warmly, "Be moderate, M------ is supposed to belong to the
police." This police enthralled Bonaparte himself in its snares, and
held him a long time under the influence of its power.

I have taken the liberty thus to speak of a scourge of society of which
I have been a victim. What I here state may be relied on. I shall not
speak of the week during which I had to discharge the functions of
Prefect of Police, namely, from the 13th to the 20th of March 1816.
It may well be supposed that though I had not held in abhorrence the
infamous system which I have described, the important nature of the
circumstances and the short period of my administration must have
prevented me from making complete use of the means placed at my disposal.
The dictates of discretion, which I consider myself bound to obey,
forbid me giving proofs of what I advance. What it was necessary to do
I accomplished without employing violent or vexatious means; and I can
take on myself to assert that no one has cause to complain of me. Were I
to publish the list of the persons I had orders to arrest, those of them
who are yet living would be astonished that the only knowledge they had
of my being tho Prefect of Police was from the Moniteur. I obtained by
mild measures, by persuasion, and reasoning what I could never have got
by violence. I am not divulging any secrets of office, but I believe I
am rendering a service to the public in pointing out what I have often
observed while an unwilling confidant in the shameful manoeuvres of that
political institution.

The word ideologue was often in Bonaparte's mouth; and in using it he
endeavoured to throw ridicule on those men whom he fancied to have a
tendency towards the doctrine of indefinite perfectibility. He esteemed
them for their morality, yet he looked on them as dreamers seeking for
the type of a universal constitution, and considering the character of
man in the abstract only. The ideologues, according to him, looked for
power in institutions; and that he called metaphysics. He had no idea of
power except in direct force: All benevolent men who speculate on the
amelioration of human society were regarded by Bonaparte as dangerous,
because their maxims and principles were diametrically opposed to the
harsh and arbitrary system he had adopted. He said that their hearts
were better than their heads, and, far from wandering with them in
abstractions, he always said that men were only to be governed by fear
and interest. The free expression of opinion through the press has been
always regarded by those who are not led away by interest or power as
useful to society. But Bonaparte held the liberty of the press in the
greatest horror; and so violent was his passion when anything was urged
in its favour that he seemed to labour under a nervous attack. Great man
as he was, he was sorely afraid of little paragraphs.

--[Joseph Bonaparte fairly enough remarks on this that such writings
had done great harm in those extraordinary times (Erreurs, tome i,
p. 259). Metternich, writing in 1827 with distrust of the
proceedings of Louis XVIII., quotes, with approval, Napoleon's
sentiments on this point. "Napoleon, who could not have been
wanting in the feeling of power, said to me, 'You see me master of
Prance; well, I would not, undertake to govern her for three months
with liberty of the press. Louis XVIII., apparently thinking
himself stronger than Napoleon, is not content with allowing the
press its freedom, but has embodied its liberty in the charter"
(Metternich, tome iv, p. 391.)]--



Successful management of parties--Precautions--Removal from the
Luxembourg to the Tuileries--Hackney-coaches and the Consul's white
horses--Royal custom and an inscription--The review--Bonaparte's
homage to the standards--Talleyrand in Bonaparte's cabinet--
Bonaparte's aversion to the cap of liberty even in painting--The
state bed--Our cabinet.

Of the three brothers to whom the 18th Brumaire gave birth Bonaparte
speedily declared himself the eldest, and hastened to assume all the
rights of primogeniture. He soon arrogated to himself the whole power.
The project he had formed, when he favoured the revolution of the 18th
Fructidor, was now about to be realized. It was then an indispensable
part of his plan that the Directory should violate the constitution in
order to justify a subsequent subversion of the Directory. The
expressions which escaped him from time to time plainly showed that his
ambition was not yet satisfied, and that the Consulship was only a state
of probation preliminary to the complete establishment of monarchy.
The Luxembourg was then discovered to be too small for the Chief of the
Government, and it was resolved that Bonaparte should inhabit the
Tuileries. Still great prudence was necessary to avoid the quicksands
which surrounded him! He therefore employed great precaution in dealing
with the susceptibilities of the Republicans, taking care to inure them
gradually to the temperature of absolute power. But this mode of
treatment was not sufficient; for such was Bonaparte's situation between
the Jacobins and the Royalists that he could not strike a blow at one
party without strengthening the other. He, however, contrived to solve
this difficult problem, and weakened both parties by alternately
frightening each. "You see, Royalists," he seemed to say, "if you do not
attach yourselves to my government the Jacobins will again rise and bring
back the reign of terror and its scaffold." To the men of the Revolution
he, on the other hand, said, "See, the counter-Revolution appears,
threatening reprisals and vengeance. It is ready to overwhelm you; my
buckler can alone protect you from its attacks." Thus both parties were
induced, from their mutual fear of each other, to attach themselves to
Bonaparte; and while they fancied they were only placing themselves under
the protection of the Chief of the Government, they were making
themselves dependent on an ambitious man, who, gradually bending them to
his will, guided them as he chose in his political career. He advanced
with a firm step; but he never neglected any artifice to conceal, as long
as possible, his designs.

I saw Bonaparte put in motion all his concealed springs; and I could not
help admiring his wonderful address.

But what most astonished me was the control he possessed over himself, in
repressing any premature manifestation of his intentions which might
prejudice his projects. Thus, for instance, he never spoke of the
Tuileries but under the name of "the Palace of the Government," and he
determined not to inhabit, at first, the ancient palace of the kings of
France alone. He contented himself with selecting the royal apartments,
and proposed that the Third Consul should also reside in the Tuileries,
and in consequence he occupied the Pavilion of Flora. This skilful
arrangement was perfectly in accordance with the designation of "Palace
of the Government" given to the Tuileries, and was calculated to deceive,
for a time; the most clear-sighted.

The moment for leaving the Luxembourg having arrived, Bonaparte still
used many deceptive precautions. The day filed for the translation of
the seat of government was the 30th Pluviose, the previous day having
been selected for publishing the account of the votes taken for the
acceptance of the new Constitution. He had, besides, caused the
insertion in the 'Moniteur' of the eulogy on Washington, pronounced, by
M. de Fontanes, the decadi preceding, to be delayed for ten days. He
thought that the day when he was about to take so large a step towards
monarchy would be well chosen for entertaining the people of Paris with
grand ideas of liberty, and for coupling his own name with that of the
founder of the free government of the United States.

At seven o'clock on the morning of the 30th Pluviuse I entered, as usual,
the chamber of the First Consul. He was in a profound sleep, and this
was one of the days on which I had been desired to allow him to sleep a
little longer than usual. I have often observed that General Bonaparte
appeared much less moved when on the point of executing any great design
--than during the time of projecting it, so accustomed was he to think
that what he had resolved on in his mind, was already done.

When I returned to Bonaparte he said to me, with a marked air of
satisfaction, "Well, Bourrienne, to-night, at last, we shall sleep in the
Tuileries. You are better off than I: you are not obliged to make a
spectacle of yourself, but may go your own road there. I must, however,
go in procession: that disgusts me; but it is necessary to speak to the
eyes. That has a good effect on the people. The Directory was too
simple, and therefore never enjoyed any consideration. In the army
simplicity is in its proper place; but in a great city, in a palace,
the Chief of the Government must attract attention in every possible way,
yet still with prudence. Josephine is going to look out from Lebrun's
apartments; go with her, if you like; but go to the cabinet as soon as
you see me alight from my-horse."

I did not go to the review, but proceeded to the Tuileries, to arrange in
our new cabinet the papers which it was my duty to take care of, and to
prepare everything for the First Consul's arrival. It was not until the
evening that I learned, from the conversation in the salon, where there
was a numerous party, what had taken piece in the course of the day.

At one o'clock precisely Bonaparte left the Luxembourg. The procession
was, doubtless, far from approaching the magnificent parade of the
Empire: but as much pomp was introduced as the state of things in France
permitted. The only real splendour of that period consisted in fine
troops. Three thousand picked men, among whom was the superb regiment of

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