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Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, v5 by Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

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This etext was produced by David Widger

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



His Private Secretary

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


CHAPTER I. to CHAPTER VIII., 1800-1803



Bonaparte's confidence in the army--'Ma belle' France--The convent
of Bernadins--Passage of Mont St. Bernard--Arrival at the convent--
Refreshments distributed to the soldiers--Mont Albaredo--Artillery
dismounted--The fort of Bard--Fortunate temerity--Bonaparte and
Melas--The spy--Bonaparte's opinion of M. Necker--Capitulation of
Genoa--Intercepted despatch--Lannes at Montebello--Boudet succeeded
by Desaix--Coolness of the First Consul to M. Collot--Conversation
and recollections--The battle of Marengo--General Kellerman--Supper
sent from the Convent del Bosco--Particulars respecting the death of
Desaix--The Prince of Lichtenstein--Return to Milan--Savary and

It cannot be denied that if, from the 18th Brumaire to the epoch when
Bonaparte began the campaign, innumerable improvements had been made in
the internal affairs of France, foreign affairs could not be seen with
the same satisfaction. Italy had been lost, and from the frontiers of
Provence the Austrian camp fires were seen. Bonaparte was not ignorant
of the difficulties of his position, and it was even on account of these
very difficulties that, whatever might be the result of his hardy
enterprise, he wished to escape from it as quickly as possible. He
cherished no illusions, and often said all must be staked to gain all.

The army which the First Consul was preparing to attack was numerous,
well disciplined, and victorious.

His, with the exception of a very small number of troops, was composed of
conscripts; but these conscripts were commanded by officers whose ardour
was unparalleled. Bonaparte's fortune was now to depend on the winning
or losing of a battle. A battle lost would have dispelled all the dreams
of his imagination, and with them would have vanished all his immense
schemes for the future of France. He saw the danger, but was not
intimidated by it; and trusting to his accustomed good fortune, and to
the courage and fidelity of his troops, he said, "I have, it is true,
many conscripts in my army, but they are Frenchmen. Four years ago did I
not with a feeble army drive before me hordes of Sardinians and
Austrians, and scour the face of Italy? We shall do so again. The sun
which now shines on us is the same that shone at Arcola and Lodi. I rely
on Massena. I hope he will hold out in Genoa. But should famine oblige
him to surrender, I will retake Genoa in the plains of the Scrivia. With
what pleasure shall I then return to my dear France! Ma belle France."

At this moment, when a possible, nay, a probable chance, might for ever
have blasted his ambitious hopes, he for the first time spoke of France
as his. Considering the circumstances in which we then stood, this use
of the possessive pronoun "my" describes more forcibly than anything that
can be said the flashes of divination which crossed Bonaparte's brain
when he was wrapped up in his chimerical ideas of glory and fortune.

In this favourable disposition of mind the First Consul arrived at
Martigny on the 20th of May. Martigny is a convent of Bernardins,
situated in a valley where the rays of the sun scarcely ever penetrate.
The army was in full march to the Great St. Bernard. In this gloomy
solitude did Bonaparte wait three days, expecting the fort of Bard,
situated beyond the mountain and covering the road to Yvree, to
surrender. The town was carried on the 21st of May, and on the third day
he learned that the fort still held out, and that there were no
indications of its surrender. He launched into complaints against the
commander of the siege, and said, "I am weary of staying in this convent;
those fools will never take Bard; I must go myself and see what can be
done. They cannot even settle so contemptible an affair without me!"
He immediately gave orders for our departure.

The grand idea of the invasion of Italy by crossing Mont St. Bernard
emanated exclusively from the First Consul. This miraculous achievement
justly excited the admiration of the world. The incredible difficulties
it presented did not daunt the courage of Bonaparte's troops. His
generals, accustomed as they had been to brave fatigue and danger,
regarded without concern the gigantic enterprise of the modern Hannibal.

A convent or hospice, which had been established on the mountain for the
purpose of affording assistance to solitary travellers, sufficiently
bespeaks the dangers of these stormy regions. But the St. Bernard was
now to be crossed, not by solitary travellers, but by an army. Cavalry,
baggage, limbers, and artillery were now to wend their way along those
narrow paths where the goat-herd cautiously picks his footsteps. On the
one hand masses of snow, suspended above our heads, every moment
threatened to break in avalanches, and sweep us away in their descent.
On the other, a false step was death. We all passed, men and horse, one
by one, along the goat paths. The artillery was dismounted, and the
guns, put into excavated trunks of trees, were drawn by ropes.

I have already mentioned that the First Consul had transmitted funds to
the hospice of the Great St. Bernard. The good fathers had procured from
the two valleys a considerable supply of cheese, bread, and wine. Tables
were laid out in front of the hospice, and each soldier as he defiled
past took a glass of wine and a piece of bread and cheese, and then
resigned his place to the next. The fathers served, and renewed the
portions with admirable order and activity.

The First Consul ascended the St. Bernard with that calm self-possession
and that air of indifference for which he was always remarkable when he
felt the necessity of setting an example and exposing himself to danger.
He asked his guide many questions about the two valleys, inquired what
were the resources of the inhabitants, and whether accidents were as
frequent as they were said to be. The guide informed him that the
experience of ages enabled the inhabitants to foresee good or bad
weather, and that they were seldom deceived.

Bonaparte, who wore his gray greatcoat, and had his whip in his hand,
appeared somewhat disappointed at not seeing any one come from the valley
of Aorta to inform him of the taking of the fort of Bard. I never left
him for a moment during the ascent. We encountered no personal danger,
and escaped with no other inconvenience than excessive fatigue.

On his arrival at the convent the First Consul visited the chapel and the
three little libraries. He had time to read a few pages of an old book,
of which I have forgotten the title.

Our breakfast-dinner was very frugal. The little garden was still
covered with snow, and I said to one of the fathers, "You can have but
few vegetables here."--"We get our vegetables from the valleys," he
replied; "but in the month of August, in warm seasons, we have a few
lettuces of our own growing."

When we reached the summit of the mountain we seated ourselves on the
snow and slid down. Those who went first smoothed the way for those who
came behind them. This rapid descent greatly amused us, and we were only
stopped by the mud which succeeded the snow at the distance of five or
six hundred toises down the declivity.

We crossed, or rather climbed up, Mont Albaredo to avoid passing under
the fort of Bard, which closes the valley of Aorta. As it was impossible
to get the artillery up this mountain it was resolved to convey it
through the town of Bard, which was not fortified. For this operation we
made choice of night, and the wheels of the cannon and caissons, and even
the horses' feet, being wrapped in straw, the whole passed quietly
through the little town. They were, indeed, under the fire of the fort;
however, it did not so completely command the street but that the houses
would have protected them against any very fatal consequences. A great
part of the army had passed before the surrender of the fort, which so
completely commands the narrow valley leading to Aorta that it is
difficult to comprehend the negligence of the Austrians in not throwing
up more efficient works; by very simple precautions they might have
rendered the passage of St. Bernard unavailing.

On the 23d we came within sight of the fort of Bard, which commands the
road bounded by the Doria Baltea on the right and Mont Albaredo on the
left. The Doria Baltea is a small torrent which separates the town of
Bard from the fort. Bonaparte, whose retinue was not very numerous,
crossed the torrent. On arriving within gunshot of the fort he ordered
us to quicken our pace to gain a little bridle-path on the left, leading
to the summit of Mont Albaredo, and turning the town and fort of Bard.

We ascended this path on foot with some difficulty. On reaching the
summit of the mountain, which commands the fort, Bonaparte levelled his
telescope on the grass, and stationing himself behind some bushes, which
served at once to shelter and conceal him, he attentively reconnoitered
the fort. After addressing several questions to the persons who had come
to give him information, he mentioned, in a tone of dissatisfaction, the
faults that had been committed, and ordered the erection of a new battery
to attack a point which he marked out, and from whence, he guaranteed,
the firing of a few shots would oblige the fort to surrender. Having
given these orders he descended the mountain and went to sleep that night
at Yvree. On the 3d of June he learned that the fort had surrendered the
day before.

The passage of Mont St. Bernard must occupy a great place in the annals
of successful temerity. The boldness of the First Consul seemed, as it
were, to have fascinated the enemy, and his enterprise was so unexpected
that not a single Austrian corps defended the approaches of the fort of
Bard. The country was entirely exposed, and we only encountered here and
there a few feeble parties, who were incapable of checking our march upon
Milan. Bonaparte's advance astonished and confounded the enemy, who
thought of nothing but marching back the way he came, and renouncing the
invasion of France. The bold genius which actuated Bonaparte did not
inspire General Melas, the commander-in-chief of the Austrian forces.
If Melas had had the firmness which ought to belong to the leader of an
army--if he had compared the respective positions of the two parties--if
he had considered that there was no longer time to regain his line of
operations and recover his communication with the Hereditary States, that
he was master of all the strong places in Italy, that he had nothing to
fear from Massena, that Suchet could not resist him:--if, then, following
Bonaparte's' example, he had marched upon Lyons, what would have become
of the First Consul? Melas would have found few obstacles, and almost
everywhere open towns, while the French army would have been exhausted
without having an enemy to fight. This is, doubtless, what Bonaparte
would have done had he been Melas; but, fortunately for us, Melas was not

We arrived at Milan on the 2d of June, the day on which the First Consul
heard that the fort of Bard was taken. But little resistance was opposed
to our entrance to the capital of Lombardy, and the term "engagements"
can scarcely be applied to a few affairs of advance posts, in which
success could not be for a moment doubtful; the fort of Milan was
immediately blockaded. Murat was sent to Piacenza, of which he took
possession without difficulty, and Lannes beat General Ott at Montebello.
He was far from imagining that by that exploit he conquered for himself a
future duchy!

The First Consul passed six days at Milan. On the day after our arrival
there a spy who had served us very well in the first campaign in Italy
was announced. The First Consul recollected him, and ordered him to be
shown into his cabinet.--"What, are you here?" he exclaimed; "so you are
not shot yet!"--"General," replied the spy, "when the war recommenced I
determined to serve the Austrians because you were far from Europe.
I always follow the fortunate; but the truth is, I am tired of the trade.
I wish to have done with it, and to get enough to enable me to retire.
I have been sent to your lines by General Melas, and I can render you an
important service. I will give an exact account of the force and the
position of all the enemy's corps, and the names of their commanders.
I can tell you the situation in which Alessandria now is. You know me
I will not deceive you; but, I must carry back some report to my general.
You need not care for giving me some true particulars which I can
communicate to him."--"Oh! as to that," resumed the First Consul, "the
enemy is welcome to know my forces and my positions, provided I know his,
and he be ignorant of my plans. You shall be satisfied; but do not
deceive me: you ask for 1000 Louis, you shall have them if you serve me
well." I then wrote down from the dictation of the spy, the and the
names of the corps, their amount, their positions, names of the generals
commanding them. The Consul stuck pins in the map to mark his plans on
places respecting which he received information from the spy. We also
learned that Alexandria was without provisions, that Melas was far from
expecting a siege, that many of his troops were sick, and that be wanted
medicines. Berthier was ordered to draw up for the spy a nearly accurate
statement of our positions.

The information given by this man proved so accurate and useful that on
his return from Marengo Bonaparte ordered me to pay him the 1000 Louis.
The spy afterwards informed him that Melas was delighted with the way in
which he had served him in this affair, and had rewarded him handsomely.
He assured us that he had bidden farewell to his odious profession. The
First Consul regarded this little event as one of the favours of fortune.

In passing through Geneva the First Consul had an interview with M.

--[Madame de Stael briefly mention this interview in her
'Considerations sur la Revolution Francaise' "M. Necker," she says,
"had an interview with Bonaparte, when he was on his way to Italy by
the passage of Mont. St. Bernard, a few days before the battle of
Marengo, During this conversation, which lasted two hours, the First
Consul made a very favourable impression on my father by the
confident way he spoke of his future projects."--Bourrienne.]--

I know not how it happened, but at the time he did not speak to me of
this interview. However, I was curious to know what be thought of a man
who had acquired much celebrity in France. One evening, when we were
talking of one thing and another, I managed to turn the conversation on
that subject. M. Necker," said he, "appears to me very far below his
reputation. He did not equal the idea I had formed of him. I tried all
I could to get him to talk; but he said nothing remarkable. He is an

--[This was a constant term of reproach with Bonaparte. He set all
the metaphysicians of the Continent against him by exclaiming, "Je
ne veux point d'ideologues."]--

a banker. It is impossible that such a man can have any but narrow
views; and, besides, most celebrated people lose on a close view."--
"Not always, General," observed I--"Ah!" said he, smiling, "that is not
bad, Bourrienne. You are improving. I see I shall make something of you
in time!"

The day was approaching when all was to be lost or won. The First Consul
made all his arrangements, and sent off the different corps to occupy the
points be had marked out. I have already mentioned that Murat's task was
the occupation of Piacenza. As soon as he was in possession of that town
he intercepted a courier of General Melas. The despatch, which was
addressed to the Aulic Council of Vienna, was delivered to us on the
night of the 8th of June. It announced the capitulation of Genoa, which
took place on the 4th, after the long and memorable defence which
reflected so much honour on Massena. Melas in his despatch spoke of what
he called our pretended army of reserve with inconceivable contempt, and
alluded to the presence of Bonaparte in Italy as a mere fabrication. He
declared he was still in Paris. It was past three in the morning when
Murat's courier arrived. I immediately translated the despatch, which
was in German. About four o'clock I entered the chamber of the First
Consul, whom I was obliged to shake by the arm in order to wake him. He
had desired me; as I have already mentioned, never to respect his repose
an the arrival of bad news; but on the receipt of good news to let him
sleep. I read to him the despatch, and so much was he confounded by this
unexpected event that his first exclamation was, "Bah! you do not
understand German." But hardly had be uttered these words when he arose,
and by eight o'clock in the morning orders were despatched for repairing
the possible consequences of this disaster, and countermanding the march
of the troops on the Scrivia. He himself proceeded the same day to

I have seen it mentioned in some accounts that the First Consul in person
gained the battle of Montebello. This is a mistake. He did not leave
Milan until the 9th of June, and that very day Lannes was engaged with
the enemy. The conflict was so terrible that Lannes, a few days after,
describing it in my presence to M. Collot, used these remarkable words,
which I well remember: "Bones were cracking in my division like a shower
of hail falling on a skylight."

By a singular chance Desaix, who was to contribute to the victory and
stop the rout of Marengo, arrived from Egypt at Toulon, on the very day
on which we departed from Paris. He was enabled to leave Egypt in
consequence of the capitulation of El-Arish, which happened on the 4th of
January 1800. He wrote me a letter, dated 16th Floreal, year VIII. (6th
of May 1800), announcing his arrival. This letter I did not receive
until we reached Martigny. I showed it to the First Consul. "Ah!"
exclaimed he, "Desaix in Paris!" and he immediately despatched an order
for him to repair to the headquarters of the army of Italy wherever they
might be. Desaix arrived at Stradella on the morning of the 11th of
June. The First Consul received him with the warmest cordiality, as a
man for whom he had a high esteem, and whose talents and character
afforded the fairest promise of what might one day be expected of him.
Bonaparte was jealous of some generals, the rivalry of whose ambition he
feared; but on this subject Desaix gave him no uneasiness; equally
remarkable for his unassuming disposition, his talent, and information,
he proved by his conduct that he loved glory for her own sake, and that
every wish for the possession of political power was foreign to his mind.
Bonaparte's friendship for him was enthusiastic. At this interview at
Stradella, Desaix was closeted with the First Consul for upwards of three
hours. On the day after his arrival an order of the day communicated to
the army that Desaix was appointed to the command of Boudet's division.

--[Boudet was on terms of great intimacy with Bonaparte, who, no
doubt, was much affected at his death. However, the only remark he
made on receiving the intelligence, was "Who the devil shall I get
to supply Boudet's place?"--Bourrienne.

The command given to Desaix was a corps especially formed of the two
divisions of Boudet and Monnier (Savary, tome i. p. 262). Boudet
was not killed at Marengo, still less before (see Erreurs, tome i.
p. 14).]--

I expressed to Bonaparte my surprise at his long interview with Desaix.
"Yes," replied he, "he has been a long time with me; but you know what a
favourite he is. As soon as I return to Paris I will make him War
Minister. I would make him a prince if I could. He is quite an antique
character." Desaix died two days after he had completed his thirty-third
year, and in less than a week after the above observations.

About this time M. Collot came to Italy and saw Bonaparte at Milan. The
latter received him coldly, though he had not yet gained the battle of
Marengo. M. Collot hed been on the most intimate footing with Bonaparte,
and had rendered him many valuable services. These circumstances
sufficiently accounted for Bonaparte's coolness, for he would never
acknowledge himself under obligations to any one, and he did not like
those who were initiated into certain family secrets which he had
resolved to conceal.

--[The day after the interview I had a long conversation with M.
Collot while Bonaparte was gone to review some corps stationed at
Milan. M. Collot perfectly understood the cause of the unkind
treatment he had experienced, and of which he gave me the following

Some days before the Consulate--that is to say, two or three days
after our return from Egypt,--Bonaparte, during his jealous fit,
spoke to M. Collot about his wife, her levities, and their
publicity. "Henceforth," said Bonaparte, "I will have nothing to do
with her."--"What, would you part from her?"--"Does not her conduct
justify me in so doing?"--"I do not know; but is this the time to
think of such a thing, when the eyes of all France are fixed upon
you? These domestic squabbles will degrade you in the eyes of the
people, who expect you to be wholly devoted to their interests; and
you will be laughed at, like one of Moliere's husbands, if you are
displeased with your wife's conduct you can call her to account when
you have nothing better to do. Begin by raising up the state.
After that you may find a thousand reasons for your resentment when
now you would not find one. You know the French people well enough
to see how important it is that you should not commence with this

By these and other similar remarks M. Collot thought he had produced
some impression, when Bonaparte suddenly exclaimed: "No, my
determination is fixed; she shall never again enter my house. I
care not what people say. They will gossip about the affair for two
days, and on the third it will be forgotten. She shall go to
Malmaison, and I will live here. The public know enough, not to be
mistaken as to the reasons of her removal."

M. Collot vainly endeavoured to calm his irritation. Bonaparte
vented a torrent of reproaches upon Josephine. "All this violence,"
observed M. Collot, "proves that you still love her. Do but see
her, she will explain the business to your satisfaction and you will
forgive her."--"I forgive her! Never! Collot, you know me. If I
were not sure of my own resolution, I would tear out this heart, and
cast it into the fire." Here anger almost choked his utterance, and
he made a motion with his hand as if tearing his breast.

When this violent paroxysm had somewhat subsided M. Collot withdrew;
but before he went away Bonaparte invited him to breakfast on the
following morning.

At ten o'clock M. Collot was there, and as he was passing through
the courtyard he was informed that Madame Bonaparte, who, as I have
already mentioned, had gone to Lyons without meeting the General,
had returned during the night. On M. Collot's entrance Bonaparte
appeared considerably embarrassed. He led him into a side room, not
wishing to bring him into the room where I was writing. "Well,"
said Bonaparte to M. Collot, "she is here."--"I rejoice to hear it.
You have done well for yourself as well as for us."--"But do not
imagine I have forgiven her. As long as I live I shall suspect.
The fact is, that on her arrival I desired her to be gone; but that
fool Joseph was there. What could I do, Collot? I saw her descend
the staircase followed by Eugine and Hortense. They were all
weeping; and I have not a heart to resist tears Eugene was with me
in Egypt. I have been accustomed to look upon him as my adopted
son. He is a fine brave lad. Hortense is just about to be
introduced into society, and she is admired by all who know her.
I confess, Collot, I was deeply moved; I could not endure the
distress of the two poor children. 'Should they,' thought I,
'suffer for their mother's faults?' I called back Eugene and
Hortense, and their mother followed them. What could I say, what
could I do? I should not be a man without some weakness."--
"Be assured they will reward you for this."--"They ought, Collot
they ought; for it has cost me a hard struggle." After this
dialogue Bonaparte and M. Collot entered the breakfast-parlour,
where I was then sitting. Eugene breakfasted with us, but neither
Josephine nor Hortense. I have already related how I acted the part
of mediator in this affair. Next day nothing was wanting to
complete the reconciliation between the Conqueror of Egypt and the
charming woman who conquered Bonaparte.--Bourrienne.]--

On the 13th the First Consul slept at Torre di Galifolo. During the
evening he ordered a staff-officer to ascertain whether the Austrians had
a bridge across the Bormida. A report arrived very late that there was
none. This information set Bonaparte's mind at rest, and he went to bed
very well satisfied; but early next morning, when a firing was heard, and
he learned that the Austrians had debouched on the plain, where the
troops were engaged, he flew into a furious passion, called the staff-
officer a coward, and said he had not advanced far enough. He even spoke
of bringing the matter to an investigation.

From motives of delicacy I refrain from mentioning the dame of the
officer here alluded to.

Bonaparte mounted his horse and proceeded immediately to the scene of
action. I did not see him again until six in tine evening. In obedience
to his instructions; I repaired to San Giuliano, which is not above two
leagues from the place where the engagement commenced. In the course of
the afternoon I saw a great many wounded passing through the village, and
shortly afterwards a multitude of fugitives. At San Giuliano nothing was
talked of but a retreat, which, it was said, Bonaparte alone firmly
opposed. I was then advised to leave San Giuliano, where I had just
received a courier for the General-in-Chief. On the morning of the 14th
General Desaix was sent towards Novi to observe the road to Genoa, which
city had fallen several days before, in spite of the efforts of its
illustrious defender, Massena. I returned with this division to San
Giuliano. I was struck with the numerical weakness of the corps which
was marching to aid an army already much reduced and dispersed. The
battle was looked upon as lost, and so indeed it was. The First Consul
having asked Desaix what he thought of it, that brave General bluntly
replied, "The battle is completely lost; but it is only two o'clock, we
have time to gain another to-day." I heard this from Bonaparte himself
the same evening. Who could have imagined that Desaix's little corps,
together with the few heavy cavalry commanded by General Kellerman,
would, about five o'clock, have changed the fortune of the day? It
cannot be denied that it was the instantaneous inspiration of Kellerman
that converted a defeat into a victory, and decided the battle of

That memorable battle, of which the results were incalculable, has been
described in various ways. Bonaparte had an account of it commenced no
less than three times; and I must confess that none of the narratives are
more correct than that contained in the 'Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo'.
The Emperor Napoleon became dissatisfied with what had been said by the
First Consul Bonaparte. For my part, not having had the honour to bear a
sword, I cannot say that I saw any particular movement executed this or
that way; but I may mention here what I heard on the evening of the
battle of Marengo respecting the probable chances of that event. As to
the part which the First Consul took in it, the reader, perhaps, is
sufficiently acquainted with his character to account for it. He did not
choose that a result so decisive should be attributed to any other cause
than the combinations of his genius, and if I had not known his
insatiable thirst for glory I should have been surprised at the sort of
half satisfaction evinced at the cause of the success amidst the joy
manifested for the success itself. It must be confessed that in this he
was very unlike Jourdan, Hoche, Kleber, and Moreau, who were ever ready
to acknowledge the services of those who had fought under their orders.

Within two hours of the time when the divisions commanded by Desaix left
San Giuliano I was joyfully surprised by the triumphant return of the
army, whose fate, since the morning, had caused me so much anxiety.
Never did fortune within so short a time show herself under two such
various faces. At two o'clock all denoted the desolation of a defeat,
with all its fatal consequences; at five victory was again faithful to
the flag of Arcola. Italy was reconquered by a single blow, and the
crown of France appeared in the perspective.

At seven in the evening, when I returned with the First Consul to
headquarters, he expressed to me his sincere regret for the loss of
Desaix, and then he added, "Little Kellerman made a lucky charge. He did
it at just the right moment. We are much indebted to him. You see what
trifling circumstances decide these affairs."

These few words show that Bonaparte sufficiently appreciated the services
of Kellerman. However, when that officer approached the table at which
were seated the First Consul and a number of his generals, Bonaparte
merely said, "You made a pretty good charge." By way of counter-
balancing this cool compliment he turned towards Bessieres, who commanded
the horse grenadiers of the Guard, and said, "Bessieres, the Guard has
covered itself with glory." Yet the fact is, that the Guard took no part
in the charge of Kellerman, who could assemble only 500 heavy cavalry;
and with this handful of brave men he cut in two the Austrian column,
which had overwhelmed Desaix's division, and had made 6000 prisoners.
The Guard did not charge at Marengo until nightfall.

Next day it was reported that Kellerman, in his first feeling of
dissatisfaction at the dry congratulation he had received, said to the
First Consul, "I have just placed the crown on your head!" I did not
hear this, and I cannot vouch for the truth of its having been said. I
could only have ascertained that fart through Bonaparte, and of
course I could not, with propriety, remind him of a thing which must have
been very offensive to him. However, whether true or not, the
observation was circulated about, verbally and in writing, and Bonaparte
knew it. Hence the small degree of favour shown to Kellerman, who was
not made a general of division on the field of battle as a reward for his
charge at Marengo.

--[If Savary's story be correct, and he was then aide de camp to
Desaix, and Bourrienne acknowledges his account to be the best, the
inspiration of the charge did not come from the young Kellerman.
Savary says that Desaix sent him to tell Napoleon that he could not
delay his attack, and that he must be supported by some cavalry.

Savary was then sent by Napoleon to a spot where he was told he
would find Kellerman, to order him to charge in support of Desaix.
Desaix and Kellerman were so placed as to be out of sight of each
other (Savary, tome i. pp. 279-279). Thiers (tome i, p. 445)
follows Savary.

It may here be mentioned that Savary, in his account of the battle,
expressly states that he carried the order from Bonaparte to
Kellerman to make this charge. He also makes the following
observations on the subject:--

After the fall of the Imperial Government some pretended friends of
General Kellerman have presumed to claim for him the merit of
originating the charge of cavalry. That general, whose share of
glory is sufficiently brilliant to gratify his most sanguine wishes,
can have no knowledge of so presumptuous a pretension. I the more
readily acquit him from the circumstance that, as we were conversing
one day respecting that battle, I called to his mind my having
brought, to him the First Consul's orders, and he appeared not to
have forgotten that fact. I am far from suspecting his friends of
the design of lessening the glory of either General Bonaparte or
General Desaix; they know as well as myself that theirs are names so
respected that they can never be affected by such detractions, and
that it would be as vain to dispute the praise due to the Chief who
planned the battle was to attempt to depreciate the brilliant share
which General Kellerman had in its successful result. I will add to
the above a few observations.

"From the position which he occupied General Desaix could not see
General Kellerman; he had even desired me to request the First
Consul to afford him the support of some cavalry. Neither could
General Kellerman, from the point where he was stationed, perceive
General Desaix's division; it is even probable that he was not aware
of the arrival of that General, who had only joined the army two
days before. Both were ignorant of each other's position, which the
First Consul was alone acquainted with; he alone could introduce
harmony into their movements; he alone could make their efforts
respectively conduce to the same object.

"The fate of the battle was decided by Kellerman's bold charge; had
it, however, been made previously to General Desaix's attack, in all
probability it would have had a quite different result. Kellerman
appears to have been convinced of it, since he allowed the Austrian
column to cross our field of battle and extend its front beyond that
of the troops we had still in line without making the least attempt
to impede its progress. The reason of Kellerman's not charging it
sooner was that it was too serious a movement, and the consequences
of failure would have been irretrievable: that charge, therefore,
could only enter into a general combination of plans, to which he
was necessarily a stranger" (Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo, tome i.
pp. 218-280).]--

M. Delaforet, the Postmaster-general, sometimes transacted business with
the First Consul. The nature of this secret business may easily be
guessed at.

--[When M. Delaforet was replaced soon after this by Lavalette,
Napoleon ordered the discontinuance of the practice followed until
then of allowing letters to be opened by subordinate officials.
This right was restricted, as in England, to the Minister. However
bad this practice, it was limited, not extended, in his reign. See
Mineval, tome iii. pp. 60-62, and Lavalette, tome ii. p. 10.]--

On the occasion of one of their interviews the First Consul saw a letter
from Kellerman to Lasalle, which contained the following passage: "Would
you believe, my friend, that Bonaparte has not made me a general of
division though I have just placed the crown on his head?" The letter
was sealed again and sent to its address; but Bonaparte never forgot its

Whether Kellerman did or did not give the crown of France to the First
Consul, it is very certain that on the evening of the battle of Marengo
he gave him a supper, of which his famishing staff and the rest of us
partook. This was no inconsiderable service in the destitute condition
in which we were. We thought ourselves exceeding fortunate in profiting
by the precaution of Kellerman, who had procured provisions from one of
those pious retreats which are always well supplied, and which soldiers
are very glad to fall in with when campaigning. It was the convent del
Bosco which on this occasion was laid under contribution; and in return
for the abundance of good provisions and wine with which they supplied
the commander of the heavy cavalry the holy fathers were allowed a guard
to protect them against pillage and the other disastrous concomitants of

After supper was over the First Consul dictated to me the bulletin of the
battle. When we were alone I said to him, "General, here is a fine
victory! You recollect what you said the other day about the pleasure
with which you would return to France after striking a grand blow in
Italy; surely you must be satisfied now?"--"Yes, Bourrienne, I am
satisfied. --But Desaix! . . . Ah, what a triumph would this have
been if I could have embraced him to-night on the field of battle!"
As he uttered these words I saw that Bonaparte was on the point of
shedding tears, so sincere and profound was his grief for the death of
Desaix. He certainly never loved, esteemed, or regretted any man so

The death of Desaix has been variously related, and I need not now state
that the words attributed to him in the bulletin were imaginary. Neither
did he die in the arms of his aide de camp, Lebrun, as I wrote from the
dictation of the First Consul. The following facts are more correct, or
at all events more probable:--the death of Desaix was not perceived at
the moment it took place. He fell without saying a word, at a little
distance from Lefebre-Desnouettes. A sergeant of battalion of the 9th
brigade light infantry, commanded by Barrois, seeing him extended on the
ground, asked permission to pick up his cloak. It was found to be
perforated behind; and this circumstance leaves it doubtful whether
Desaix was killed by some unlucky inadvertency, while advancing at the
head of his troops, or by the enemy when turning towards his men to
encourage them. However, the event was so instantaneous, the disorder so
complete, and the change of fortune so sudden, that it is not surprising
there should be no positive account of the circumstances which attended
his death.

Early next morning the Prince of Liechtenstein came from General Melas
with negotiations to the First Consul. The propositions of the General
did not suit Bonaparte, and he declared to the Prince that the army shut
up in Alessandria should evacuate freely, and with the honours of war;
but on those conditions, which are well known, and by which Italy was to
be fully restored to the French domination. That day were repaired the
faults of Scherer, whose inertness and imbecility had paralysed
everything, and who had fled, and been constantly beaten, from the
Adriatic to Mont Cenis. The Prince of Liechtenstein begged to return to
render an account of his mission to General Melas. He came back in the
evening, and made many observations on the hard nature of the conditions.
"Sir," replied the First Consul, in a tone of marked impatience, "carry
my final determination to your General, and return quickly. It is
irrevocable! Know that I am as well acquainted with your position as you
are yourselves. I did not begin to learn the art of war yesterday. You
are blocked up in Alessandria; you have many sick and wounded; you are in
want of provisions and medicines. I occupy the whole of your rear. Your
finest troops are among the killed and wounded. I might insist on harder
conditions; my position would warrant me in so doing; but I moderate my
demands in consideration of the gray hairs of your General, whom I

This reply was delivered with considerable dignity and energy. I showed
the Prince out, and he said to me, "These conditions are very hard,
especially that of giving up Genoa, which surrendered to us only a
fortnight ago, after so long a siege." It is a curious fact that the
Emperor of Austria received intelligence of the capitulation and
restitution of Genoa at the same time.

When the First Consul returned to Milan he made Savary and Rapp his aides
de camp. They had previously served in the same rank under Desaix. The
First Consul was at first not much disposed to take them, alleging that
he had aides de camp enough. But his respect for the choice of Desaix,
added to a little solicitation on my part, soon removed every obstacle.
These two officers served him to the last hour of his political career
with unfailing zeal and fidelity.

I have seen nothing in the Memoirs of the Due de Rovigo (Savary) about my
having had anything to do with his admission to the honour. I can
probably tell the reason why one of the two aides de camp has risen
higher than the other. Rapp had an Alsatian frankness which always
injured him.



Suspension of hostilities--Letter to the Consuls--Second Occupation
of Milan--Bonaparte and Massena--Public acclamations and the voice
of Josephine--Stray recollections--Organization of Piedmont--Sabres
of honour--Rewards to the army of the Rhine--Pretended army of
reserve--General Zach--Anniversary of the 14th of July--Monument to
Desaix--Desaix and Foy--Bonaparte's speech in the Temple of Mars--
Arrival of the Consular Guard--The bones of marshal Turenne--
Lucien's successful speech--Letter from Lucien to Joseph Bonaparte--
The First Consul's return to Paris--Accidents on the road--
Difficulty of gaining lasting fame--Assassination of Kleber--
Situation of the terrace on which Kleber was stabbed--Odious rumours
--Arrival of a courier--A night scene--Bonaparte's distress on
perusing the despatches from Egypt.

What little time, and how few events sometimes suffice to change the
destiny of nations! We left Milan on the 13th of June, Marengo on the
14th, and on the 15th Italy was ours! A suspension of hostilities
between the French and Austrian armies was the immediate result of a
single battle; and by virtue of a convention, concluded between Berthier
and Melas, we resumed possession of all the fortified places of any
importance, with the exception of Mantua. As soon as this convention was
signed Bonaparte dictated to me at Torre di Galifolo the following letter
to his colleagues:

The day after the battle of Marengo, CITIZENS CONSULS, General Melas
transmitted a message to our advance posts requesting permission to
send General Skal to me. During the day the convention, of which I
send you a copy, was drawn up, and at night it was signed by
Generals Berthier and Melas. I hope the French people will be
satisfied with the conduct, of their army.
(Signed) Bonaparte

The only thing worthy of remark in this letter would be the concluding
sentence, in which the First Consul still affected to acknowledge the
sovereignty of the people, were it not that the words "Citizens Consuls"
were evidently foisted in with a particular design. The battle was
gained; and even in a trifling matter like this it was necessary that the
two, other Consuls should feel that they were not so much the colleagues
as the subordinates of the First Consul.

We returned to Milan, and our second occupation of that, city was marked
by continued acclamations wherever the First Consul showed himself.
At Milan the First Consul now saw Massena for the first time since our
departure for Egypt. Bonaparte lavished upon, him the highest praises,
but not higher than he deserved, for his admirable, defence of Genoa.
He named him his successor in the command of the army of Italy. Moreau
was on the Rhine, and therefore none but the conqueror of Zurich could
properly have succeeded the First Consul in that command. The great blow
was struck; but there might still occur an emergency requiring the
presence of a skillful experienced general, well acquainted with the
country. And besides, we could not be perfectly at ease, until it was
ascertained what conditions would be adhered to by the Cabinet of Vienna,
which was then entirely under the influence of the Cabinet of London.
After our return from the battle the popular joy was general and
heartfelt not only among the higher and middle ranks of society, but in
all classes; and the affection evinced from all quarters to the First
Consul was unfeigned. In what a tone of sincerity did he say to me one
day, when returning from the parade, "Bourrienne, do you hear the
acclamations still resounding? That noise is as sweet to me as the sound
of Josephine's voice. How happy and proud I am to be loved by such a

During our stay at Milan Bonaparte had arranged a new government for
Piedmont; he had ever since cherished the wish to unite that rich and
fertile country to the French territory because some Piedmontese
provinces had been possessed by Louis XIV. That monarch was the only
king whom the First Consul really admired. "If," said he one day, "Louis
XIV. had not been born a king, he would have been a great man. But he
did not know mankind; he could not know them, for he never knew
misfortune." He admired the resolution of the old King, who would rather
bury himself under the ruins of the monarchy than submit to degrading
conditions, after having commanded the sovereigns of Europe. I recollect
that Bonaparte was extremely pleased to see in the reports which he
ordered to be made that in Casal, and in the valleys of Pignerol, Latour,
and Luzerne, there still existed many traces of the period when those
countries belonged to France; and that the French language was yet
preserved there. He already began to identify himself with the past; and
abusing the old kings of France was not the way to conciliate his favour.

The First Consul appointed for the government of Piedmont a Council
which, as may naturally be imagined; he composed of those Piedmontese who
were the declared partisans of France. He stated as the grounds of this
arrangement that it was to give to Piedmont a new proof of the affection
and attachment of the French people. He afterwards appointed General.
Dupont President of the Council, with the title of Minister-Extraordinary
of the French government. I will here mention a secret step taken by
Bonaparte towards the overthrowing of the Republic. In making the first
draught of General Dupont's appointment I had mechanically written,
"Minister-Extraordinary of the French Republic."--"No! no!" said
Bonaparte, "not of the Republic; say of the Government."

On his return to Paris the First Consul gave almost incredible proofs of
his activity. The day after his arrival he promulgated a great number of
decrees, and afterwards allotted the rewards to his soldiers. He
appointed Kellerman General of division which, on every principle of
justice, he ought to have done on the field of battle. He distributed
sabres of honour, with the following inscription, highly complimentary to

"Battle of Maringo,--[spelt for some time, I do not know why, as,
Maringo--Bourrienne]-- commanded in person by the First Consul.
--Given by the Government of the Republic to General Lannes."

Similar sabres where presented to Generals Victor, Watrin, Gardanne, and
Murat; and sabres of less value to other officers: and also muskets and
drumsticks of honour to the soldiers and drummers who had distinguished
themselves at Marengo, or in the army of the Rhine; for Bonaparte took
care that the officers and men who had fought under Moreau should be
included among those to whom the national rewards were presented. He
even had a medal struck to perpetuate the memory of the entry of the
French army into Munich. It is worthy of remark that while official
fabrications and exaggerated details of facts were published respecting
Marengo and the short campaign of Italy, by a feigned modesty the
victorious army of Marengo received the unambitious title of 'Army of
Reserve'. By this artifice the honour of the Constitution was saved.
The First Consul had not violated it. If he had marched to the field,
and staked everything on a chance it was merely accidentally, for he
commanded only an "Army of Reserve," which nevertheless he had greeted
with the title of Grand Army before he entered upon the campaign. It is
scarcely conceivable that Bonaparte, possessing as he did an
extraordinary mind, should have descended to such pitiful artifices.

--[ Thiers (tome. vi., p. 70) says the title Grande Armee was first
given by Napoleon to the force prepared in 1805 for the campaign
against Austria. The Constitution forbad the First Consul to
command the armies in person. Hence the title, "Army of Reserve,"
gives to the force which fought Marengo.]--

Even foreigners and prisoners were objects of Bonaparte's designing
intentions. I recollect one evening his saying to me; "Bourrienne, write
to the Minister of War, and tell him to select a fine brace of pistols,
of the Versailles manufacture, and send them, in my name, to General
Zach. He dined with me to-day, and highly praised our manufacture of
arms. I should like to give him a token of remembrance; besides,--the,
matter will be talked of at Vienna, and may perhaps do good!"

As soon as the news of the battle of Marengo reached Paris Lucien
Bonaparte, Minister of the Interior, ordered preparations for the
festival, fixed for the 14th of July, in commemoration of the first
Federation. This festival and that of the 1st Vendemiaire were the only
ones preserved by the Consular Government. Indeed, in those memorable
days, when the Revolution appeared in its fairest point of view, France
had never known such joy as that to which the battle of Marengo gave
rise. Still, amidst all this popular transport there was a feeling of
regret. The fame of Desaix, his heroic character, his death, the words
attributed to him and believed to be true, caused mourning to be mingled
with joy. It was agreed to open a subscription for erecting a national
monument to his memory. A reflection naturally arises here upon the
difference between the period referred to and the present time. France
has endowed with nearly a million the children of one of her greatest
orators and most eloquent defenders of public liberty, yet, for the
monument to the memory of Desaix scarcely 20,000 francs were subscribed.
Does not this form a singular contrast with the patriotic munificence
displayed at the death of General Foy? The pitiful monument to Desaix,
on the Place Dauphins, sufficiently attests the want of spirit on the
part of the subscribers. Bonaparte, who was much dissatisfied with it,
gave the name of Desaix to a new quay, the first stone of which was laid
with great solemnity on the 14th of July.

On that day the crowd was immense in the Champ-de-Mars and in the Temple
of Mars, the name which at that the Church of the Invalides still
preserved. Lucien delivered a speech on the encouraging prospects of
France, and Lannes made an appropriate address on presenting to the
Government the flags taken at Marengo. Two more followed; one from an
aide de cramp of Massena, and the other from an aide de camp of Lecourbe;
and after the distribution of some medals the First Consul then delivered
the following address:--

CITIZENS! SOLDIERS!--The flags presented to the Government, in the
presence of the people of this immense capital, attest at once the
genius of the Commanders-in-Chief Moreau, Massena, and Berthier; the
military talents of the generals, their lieutenants; and bravery of
the French soldiers.

On your return to the camp tell your comrades that for the 1st
Vendemiaire, when we shall celebrate the anniversary of the
Republic, the French people expect either peace or, if the enemy
obstinately refuse it, other flags, the fruit of fresh victories.

After this harangue of the First Consul, in which he addressed to the
military in the name of the people, and ascribed to Berthier the glory of
Marengo, a hymn was chanted, the words of which were written by M. de
Fontanes and the music composed by Mehul. But what was most remarkable
in this fete was neither the poetry, music, nor even the panegyrical
eloquence of Lucien, -- it was the arrival at the Champ-de-Mars, after
the ceremony at the Invalides, of the Consular Guard returning from
Marengo. I was at a window of the Ecole-Militaire, and I can never
forget the commotion, almost electrical, which made the air resound with
cries of enthusiasm at their appearance. These soldiers did not defile
before the First Consul in fine uniforms as at a review. Leaving the
field of battle when the firing ceased, they had crossed Lombardy,
Piedmont, Mont Cenis, Savoy, and France in the space of twenty-nine days.
They appeared worn by the fatigue of a long journey, with faces browned
by the summer sun of Italy, and with their arms and clothing showing the
effects of desperate struggles. Do you wish to have an idea of their
appearance? You will find a perfect type in the first grenadier put by
Gerard at one side of his picture of the battle of Austerlitz.

At the time of this fete, that is to say, in the middle of the month of
July, the First Consul could not have imagined that the moderate
conditions he had proposed after the victory would not be accepted by
Austria. In the hope, therefore, of a peace which could not but be
considered probable, he, for the first time since the establishment of
the Consular Government, convoked the deputies of the departments, and
appointed their time of assembling in Paris for the 1st Vendemiaire, a
day which formed the close of one remarkable century and marked the
commencement of another.

The remains of Marshal Turenne; to which Louis XIV. had awarded the
honours of annihilation by giving them a place among the royal tombs in
the vaults of St. Denis, had been torn from their grave at the time of
the sacrilegious violation of the tombs. His bones, mingled
indiscriminately with others, had long lain in obscurity in a garret of
the College of Medicine when M. Lenoir collected and restored them to the
ancient tomb of Turenne in the Mussee des Petits Augustins. Bonaparte-
resolved to enshrine these relics in that sculptured marble with which
the glory of Turenne could so well dispense. This was however, intended
as a connecting link between the past days of France and the future to
which he looked forward. He thought that the sentiments inspired by the
solemn honours rendered to the memory of Turenne would dispose the
deputies of the departments to receive with greater enthusiasm the
pacific communications he hoped to be able to make.

However, the negotiations did not take the favourable turn which the
First Consul had expected; and, notwithstanding all the address of
Lucien, the communication was not heard without much uneasiness. But
Lucien had prepared a speech quite to the taste of the First Consul.
After dilating for some time on the efforts of the Government to obtain
peace he deplored the tergiversations of Austria, accused the fatal
influence of England, and added in a more elevated and solemn tone,
"At the very moment when, the Consuls were leaving the Palace of the
Government a courier arrived bearing despatches which the First Consul
has directed me to communicate to you." He then read a note declaring
that the Austrian Government consented to surrender to France the three
fortresses of Ulm, Philipsburg, and Ingolstadt. This was considered as a
security for the preliminaries of peace being speedily signed. The news
was received with enthusiasm, and that anxious day closed in a way highly
gratifying to the First Consul.

Whilst victory confirmed in Italy the destinies of the First Consul, his
brothers were more concerned about their own interests than the affairs
of France. They loved money as much as Bonaparte loved glory. A letter
from Lucien to his brother Joseph, which I shall subjoin, shows how ready
they always were to turn to their own advantage the glory and fortune of
him to whom they were indebted for all their importance. I found this
letter among my papers, but I cannot tell why and how I preserved it.
It is interesting, inasmuch as it shows, the opinion that family of
future kings entertained of their own situation, and of what their fate
would have been had Bonaparte, like Desaix, fallen on the field of
Marengo. It is, besides, curious to observe the, philosopher Lucien
causing Te Deum, to be chanted with the view of influencing the public
funds. At all events I copy Lucien's letter as he wrote it, giving the
words marked in italics [CAPS] and the numerous notes of exclamation
which distinguish the original.

MY BROTHER--I send you a courier; I particularly wish that the First
Consul would give me notice of his arrival twenty-four hours
beforehand, and that he would inform ME ALONE of the barrier by which
he will enter. The city wishes to prepare triumphal arches for him,
and it deserves not to be disappointed.

AT MY REQUEST a Te Deum was chanted yesterday. There were 60,000
persons present.

The intrigues of Auteuil continue.

--[This intrigue, so called from Talleyrand one of its heads, living
in the suburb of Auteuil, arose from the wish of many of the most
influential men to be prepared in case of the death of Napoleon in
any action in Italy: It was simply a continuation of the same
combinations which had been attempted or planned in 1799, till the
arrival of Bonaparte from Egypt made the party choose him as the
instrument for the overthrow of the Directors. There was little
secrecy about their plans; see Miot de Melito (tome i p. 276),
where Joseph Bonaparte tells his friends all that was being proposed
in case his brother fell. Carnot seems to have been the most
probable choice as leader and replacer of Bonaparte. In the above
letter "C----," stands for Carrot, "La F----" for La Fayette, the
"High Priest" is Sieyes, and the "friend of Auteuil" is Talleyrand;
see Iung's Lucien, tome i. p. 411. The postscript seems to refer to
a wretched scandal about Caroline, and Lucien; see Iung's Lucien,
tome i. pp. 411, 432-433. The reader should remark the retention
of this and other documents by Bourrienne, which forms one of the
charges brought against him farther on.]--

--It has been found difficult to decide between C---- and La F----.
The latter has proposed his daughter in marriage to me. Intrigue has
been carried to the last extreme. I do not know yet whether the High
Priest has decided for one party or the other. I believe that he would
cheat them both for an Orleans, and your friend of Auteuil was at the
bottom of all. The news of the battle of Marengo petrified them, and yet
next day the High Priest certainly spent three hours with your friend of
Auteuil. As to us, had the victory of Marengo closed the First Consul's
career we should now have been Proscribed.

Your letters say nothing of what I expected to hear. I hope at least to
be informed of the answer from Vienna before any one. I am sorry you
have not paid me back for the battle of Marengo.

The festival of the 14th of July will be very gratifying. We expect
peace as a certainty, and the triumphant return of the First Consul.
The family is all well. Your wife and all her family are at
Mortfontaine. Ney is at Paris. Why do you return with the First Consul?
Peace! and Italy! Think of our last interview. I embrace you.
(Signed) LUCIEN.
On the margin is written--

P.S.--Read the letter addressed to the Consul, and give it to him AFTER

Forward the enclosed. Madame Murat never lodged in my house. Her
husband is a fool, whom his wife ought to punish by not writing to him
for a month.

Bonaparte, confirmed in his power by the victory of Marengo, remained
some days longer at Milan to settle the affairs of Italy. He directed
one to furnish Madame Grassini with money to pay her expenses to Paris.
We departed amidst the acclamations of the inhabitants, and took the road
to Turin. The First Consul stopped at Turin for some hours, and
inspected the citadel, which had bean surrendered to us in pursuance of
the capitulation of Alessandria. In passing over Mont Cenis we observed
the carriage of Madame Kellerman, who was going to meet her husband.
Bonaparte on recognizing the lady stopped his carriage and congratulated
her on the gallant conduct of her husband at the battle of Marengo.

On our arrival at Lyons we alighted at the Hotel des Celestins, and the
loud acclamations of a numerous multitude assembled round the hotel
obliged Bonaparte to show himself on the balcony. Next day he proceeded
to the Square of Bellecour, where, amidst the plaudits of the people, he
laid the first stone of some new buildings destined to efface one of the
disasters of the Revolution.

We left Lyons that evening and continued our journey by way of Dijon.
On our arrival in that town the joy of the inhabitants was very great.
I never saw a more graceful and captivating sight than that which was
presented by a group of beautiful young females, crowned with flowers,
who accompanied Bonaparte's carriage, and which at that period, when the
Revolution had renewed all the republican recollections of Greece and
Rome, looked like the chorus of females dancing around the victor at the
Olympic games.

But all our journey was not so agreeable. Some accidents awaited us.
The First Consul's carriage broke down between Villeneuve-le-Roi and
Sens. He sent a courier to inform my mother that he would stop at her
house till his carriage was repaired. He dined there, and we started
again at seven in the evening.

But we had other disasters to encounter. One of our off-wheels came off,
and as we were driving at a very rapid pace the carriage was overturned
on the bridge at a short distance from Montreau-Faut-Yonne. The First
Consul, who sat on my left, fell upon me, and sustained no injury. My
head was slightly hurt by striking against some things which were in the
pocket of the carriage; but this accident was not worth stopping for, and
we arrived at Paris on the same night, the 2d of July. Duroc, who was
the third in the carriage, was not hurt.

I have already mentioned that Bonaparte was rather talkative when
travelling; and as we were passing through Burgundy, on our return to
Paris from Marengo, he said exultingly, "Well, a few more events like
this campaign, and I may go down to posterity."--"I think," replied I,
"that you have already done enough to secure great and lasting fame."--
"Yes," resumed he, "I have done enough, it is true. In less than two
years I have won Cairo, Paris, and Milan; but for all that, my dear
fellow, were I to die to-morrow I should not at the end of ten centuries
occupy half a page of general history!"

On the very day when Desaix fell on the field of Marengo Kleber was
assassinated by a fanatical Mussulman, named Soleiman Haleby, who stabbed
him with a dagger, and by that blow decided the fate of Egypt.

--["This fellah was, at most, eighteen or twenty years of age: he
was a native of Damascus, and declared that he had quitted his
native city by command of the grand vizier, who had entrusted him
with the commission of repairing to Egypt and killing the grand
sultan of the French [Bonaparte being probably intended]. That for
this purpose alone he had left his family, and performed the whole
journey on foot and had received from the grand vizier no other
money than what was absolutely requisite for the exigencies of the
journey. On arriving at Cairo he had gone forthwith to perform his
devotions in the great mosque, and it was only on the eve of
executing his project that he confided it to one of the scherifs of
the mosque" (Duc de Rovigo's Memoirs, tome 1. p. 367)]--

Thus was France, on the same day, and almost at the same hour, deprived
of two of her most distinguished generals. Menou, as senior in command,
succeeded Kleber, and the First Consul confirmed the appointment. From
that moment the loss of Egypt was inevitable.

I have a few details to give respecting the tragical death of Kleber.
The house of Elfy Bey, which Bonaparte occupied at Cairo, and in which
Kleber lived after his departure; had a terrace leading from a salon to
an old ruined cistern, from which, down a few steps, there was an
entrance into the garden. The terrace commanded a view of the grand
square of El Beguyeh, which was to the right on coming out of the salon,
while the garden was on the left. This terrace was Bonaparte's favourite
promenade, especially in the evenings, when he used to walk up and down
and converse with the persons about him, I often advised him to fill up
the reservoir, and to make it level with the terrace. I even showed him,
by concealing myself in it, and coming suddenly behind him, how easy it
would be for any person to attempt his life and then escape, either by
jumping into the square, or passing through the garden. He told me I was
a coward, and was always in fear of death; and he determined not to make
the alteration I suggested, which, however, he acknowledged to be
advisable. Kleber's assassin availed himself of the facility which I so
often apprehended might be fatal to Bonaparte.

I shall not atop to refute all the infamous rumours which were circulated
respecting Kleber's death. When the First Consul received the unexpected
intelligence he could scarcely believe it. He was deeply affected; and
on reading the particulars of the assassination he instantly called to
mind how often he had been in the same situation as that in which Kleber
was killed, and all I had said respecting the danger of the reservoir--
a danger from which it is inconceivable he should have escaped,
especially after his Syrian expedition had excited the fury of the
natives. Bonaparte's knowledge of Kleber's talents--the fact of his
having confided to him the command of the army, and the aid which he
constantly endeavoured to transmit to him, repelled at once the horrible
suspicion of his having had the least participation in the crime, and the
thought that he was gratified to hear of it.

It is very certain that Bonaparte's dislike of Kleber was as decided as
the friendship he cherished for Desaix. Kleber's fame annoyed him, for
he was weak enough to be annoyed at it. He knew the manner in which
Kleber spoke of him, which was certainly not the most respectful. During
the long and sanguinary siege of St. Jean d'Acre Kleber said to me, "That
little scoundrel Bonaparte, who is no higher than my boot, will enslave
France. See what a villainous expedition he has succeeded in involving
us in." Kleber often made the same remark to others as well as to me.
I am not certain that it was ever reported to Bonaparte; but there is
reason to believe that those who found it their interest to accuse others
did not spare Kleber.

Kleber, who was a sincere republican, saw and dreaded for his country's
sake the secret views and inordinate ambition of Bonaparte. He was a
grumbler by nature; yet he never evinced discontent in the discharge of
his duties as a soldier. He swore and stormed, but marched bravely to
the cannon's mouth: he was indeed courage personified. One day when he
was in the trench at St. Jean d'Acre, standing up, and by his tall
stature exposed to every shot, Bonaparte called to him, "Stoop down,
Kleber, stoop down!"--"Why;" replied he, "your confounded trench does
not reach to my knees." He never regarded the Egyptian expedition with a
favourable eye. He thought it too expensive, and utterly useless to
France. He was convinced that in the situation in which we stood,
without a navy or a powerful Government, it would have been better to
have confined our attention to Europe than to have wasted French blood
and money on the banks of the Nile, and among the ruined cities of Syria.
Kleber, who was a cool, reflecting man, judged Bonaparte without
enthusiasm, a thing somewhat rare at that time, and he was not blind to
any of his faults.

Bonaparte alleged that Kleber said to him, "General, you are as great as
the world!" Such a remark is in direct opposition to Kleber's character.
He was too sincere to say anything against his conviction. Bonaparte,
always anxious to keep Egypt, of which the preservation alone could
justify the conquest, allowed Kleber to speak because he acted at the
same time. He knew that Kleber's sense of military duty would always
triumph over any opposition he might cherish to his views and plans.
Thus the death of his lieutenant, far from causing Bonaparte any feeling
of satisfaction, afflicted him the more, because it almost totally
deprived him if the hope of preserving a conquest which had cost France
so dear, and which was his work.

The news of the death of Kleber arrived shortly after our return to
Paris. Bonaparte was anxiously expecting accounts from Egypt, none
having been received for a considerable time. The arrival of the courier
who brought the fatal intelligence gave rise to a scene which I may
relate here. It was two o'clock in the morning when the courier arrived
at the Tuileries. In his hurry the First Consul could not wait to rouse
any one to call me up. I had informed him some days before that if he
should want me during the night he should send for me to the corridor, as
I had changed my bedchamber on account of my wife's accouchement. He
came up himself and instead of knocking at my door knocked at that of my
secretary. The latter immediately rose, and opening the door to his
surprise saw the First Consul with a candle in his hand, a Madras
handkerchief on his head, and having on his gray greatcoat. Bonaparte,
not knowing of the little step down into the room, slipped and nearly
fell, "Where is Bourrienne?" asked he. The surprise of my secretary at
the apparition of the First Consul can be imagined. "What; General, is
it you?"--" Where is Bourrienne?" Then my secretary, in his shirt, showed
the First Consul my door. After having told him that he was sorry at
having called him up, Napoleon came to me. I dressed in a hurry, and we
went downstairs to my usual room. We rang several times before they
opened the door for us. The guards were not asleep, but having heard so
much running to and fro feared we were thieves. At last they opened the
door, and the First Consul threw on the table the immense packet of
despatches which he had just received. They had been fumigated and
steeped in vinegar. When he read the announcement of the death of Kleber
the expression of his countenance sufficiently denoted the painful
feelings which arose in his mind. I read in his face; EGYPT IS LOST!


Bonaparte's wish to negotiate with England and Austria--
An emigrant's letter--Domestic details--The bell--Conspiracy of
Ceracchi, Arena, Harrel, and others--Bonaparte's visit to the opera
--Arrests--Rariel appointed commandant of Vincennes--The Duc
d'Enghien's foster-sister--The 3d Nivoise--First performance of
Haydn's "Creation"--The infernal machine--Congratulatory addresses--
Arbitrary condemnations--M. Tissot erased from the list of the
banished--M. Truguet--Bonapartes' hatred of the Jacobins explained--
The real criminals discovered--Justification of Fouche--Execution of
St. Regent and Carbon--Caesar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte--Conversation
between Bonaparte and Fouche--Pretended anger--Fouche's
dissimulation--Lucien's resignation--His embassy to Spain--War
between Spain and Portugal--Dinner at Fouche's--Treachery of Joseph
Bonaparte--A trick upon the First Consul--A three days' coolness--

The happy events of the campaign of Italy had been crowned by the
armistice, concluded on the 6th of July. This armistice was broken on
the 1st of September, and renewed after the battle of Hohenlinden. On
his return from Marengo Bonaparte was received with more enthusiasm than
ever. The rapidity with which, in a campaign of less than two months, he
had restored the triumph of the French standard, excited universal
astonishment. He then actively endeavoured to open negotiations with
England and Austria; but difficulties opposed him in every direction. He
frequently visited the theatre, where his presence attracted prodigious
throngs of persons, all eager to see and applaud him.

The immense number of letters which were at this time addressed to the
First Consul is scarcely conceivable. They contained requests for
places, protestations of fidelity, and, in short, they were those
petitionary circulars that are addressed to all persons in power. These
letters were often exceedingly curious, and I have preserved many of
them; among the rest was one from Durosel Beaumanoir, an emigrant who had
fled to Jersey. This letter contains some interesting particulars
relative to Bonaparte's family. It is dated Jersey, 12th July 1800, and
the following are the moat remarkable passages it contains:

I trust; General, that I may, without indiscretion, intrude upon
your notice, to remind you of what, I flatter myself, you have not
totally forgotten, after having lived eighteen or nineteen years at
Ajaccio. But you will, perhaps, be surprised that so trifling an
item should be the subject of the letter which I have the honour to
address to you. You cannot have forgotten, General, that when your
late father was obliged to take your brothers from the college of
Autun, from whence he went to see you at Brienne, he was unprovided
with mousy, and he asked me for twenty-five louis, which I lent him
with pleasure. After his return he had no opportunity of paying me,
and when I left Ajaccio your mother offered to dispose of some plate
in order to pay the debt. To this I objected, and told her that I
would wait until she could pay me at her convenience, and previous
to the breaking out of the revolution I believe it was not in her
power to fulfil her wish of discharging the debt.

I am sorry, General, to be obliged to trouble yon about such a
trifle. But such is my unfortunate situation that even this trifle
is of some importance to me. Driven from my country, and obliged to
take refuge in this island, where everything is exceedingly
expensive, the little sum I have mentioned, which was formerly a
matter of indifference, would now be of great service to me.

You will understand, General, that at the age of eighty-six, after
serving served my country well for sixty years, without the least
interruption, not counting the time of emigration, chased from every
place, I have been obliged to take refuge here, to subsist on the
scanty succour given by the English Government to the French
emigrant. I say emigrant because I have been forced to be one.
I had no intention of being one, but a horde of brigands, who came
from Caen to my house to assassinate me, considered I had committed
the great crime in being the senior general of the canton and in
having the Grand Cross of St. Louis: this was too much for them; if
it had not been for the cries of my neighbours, my door would have
been broken open, and I should have been assassinated; and I had but
time to fly by a door at the back, only carrying away what I had on
me. At first I retired to Paris, but there they told me that I
could do nothing but go into a foreign country, so great was the
hate entertained for me by my fellow-citizens, although I lived in
retirement, never having any discussion with any one. Thus,
General; I have abandoned all I possessed, money and goods, leaving
them at the mercy of what they call the nation, which has profited a
good deal by this, as I have nothing left in the world, not even a
spot to put my foot on. If even a horse had been reserved for me,
General, I could ask for what depends on you, for I have heard it
said that some emigrants have been allowed to return home. I do not
even ask this favour, not having a place to rest my foot. And,
besides, I have with me here an exiled brother, older than I am,
very ill and in perfect second childhood, whom I could not abandon.
I am resigned to my own unhappy fate, but my sole and great grief is
that not only I myself have been ill-treated, but that my fate has,
contrary to the law, injured relations whom I love and respect. I
have a mother-in-law, eighty years old, who has been refused the
dower I had given her from my property, and this will make me die a
bankrupt if nothing is changed, which makes me miserable.

I acknowledge, General, that I know little of the new style, but,
according to the old form, I am your humble servant,


I read this letter to the First Consul, who immediately said,
"Bourrienne, this is sacred! Do not lose a minute. Send the old man ten
times the sum. Write to General Durosel that he shall be immediately
erased from the list of emigrants. What mischief those brigands of the
Convention have done! I can never repair it all." Bonaparte uttered
these words with a degree of emotion which I rarely saw him evince. In
the evening he asked me whether I had executed his orders, which I had
done without losing a moment. The death of M. Froth had given me a
lesson as to the value of time!

Availing myself of the privilege I have already frequently taken of
making abrupt transitions from one subject to another, according as the
recollection of past circumstances occurs to my mind, I shall here note
down a few details, which may not improperly be called domestic, and
afterwards describe a conspiracy which was protected by the very man
against whom it was hatched.

At the Tuileries, where the First Consul always resided during the winter
and sometimes a part of the summer, the grand salon was situated between
his cabinet and the Room in which he received the persons with whom he
had appointed audiences. When in this audience-chamber, if he wanted
anything or had occasion to speak to anybody, he pulled a bell which was
answered by a confidential servant named Landoire, who was the messenger
of the First Consul's cabinet. When Bonaparte's bell rung it was usually
for the purpose of making some inquiry of me respecting a paper, a name,
a date, or some matter of that sort; and then Landoire had to pass
through the cabinet and salon to answer the bell and afterwards to return
and to tell me I was wanted. Impatient at the delay occasioned by this
running about, Bonaparte, without saying anything to me, ordered the bell
to be altered so that it should ring within the cabinet; and exactly
above my table. Next morning when I entered the cabinet I saw a man
mounted-upon a ladder. "What are you doing here?" said I. "I am hanging
a bell, sir." I called Landoire and asked him who had given the order.
"The First Consul," he replied. I immediately ordered the man to come
down and remove the ladder, which he accordingly did. When I went,
according to custom, to awaken the First Consul and read the newspapers
to him I said, "General, I found a man this morning hanging a bell in
your cabinet. I was told it was by your orders; but being convinced
there must be some mistake I sent him away. Surely the bell was not
intended for you, and I cannot imagine it was intended for me: who then
could it be for?--"What a stupid fellow that Landoire is!" said
Bonaparte. "Yesterday, when Cambaceres was with me, I wanted you.
Landoire did not come when I touched the bell. I thought it was broken,
and ordered him to get it repaired. I suppose the bell-hanger was doing
it when you saw him, for you know the wire passes through the cabinet."
I was satisfied with this explanation, though I was not deceived, by it.
For the sake of appearance he reproved Landoire, who, however, had done
nothing more than execute the order he had received. How could he
imagine I would submit to such treatment, considering that we had been
friends since our boyhood, and that I was now living on full terms of
confidence and familiarity with him?

Before I speak of the conspiracy of Ceracchi, Arena, Topino-Lebrun, and
others, I must notice a remark made by Napoleon at St. Helena. He said,
or is alleged to have said, "The two attempts which placed me in the
greatest danger were those of the sculptor Ceracchi and of the fanatic of
Schoenbrun." I was not at Schoenbrun at the time; but I am convinced
that Bonaparte was in the most imminent danger. I have been informed on
unquestionable authority that Staps set out from Erfurth with the
intention of assassinating the Emperor; but he wanted the necessary
courage for executing the design. He was armed with a large dagger, and
was twice sufficiently near Napoleon to have struck him. I heard this
from Rapp, who seized Stags, and felt the hilt of the dagger under his
coat. On that occasion Bonaparte owed his life only to the irresolution
of the young 'illuminato' who wished to sacrifice him to his fanatical
fury. It is equally certain that on another occasion, respecting which
the author of the St. Helena narrative observes complete silence, another
fanatic--more dangerous than Steps attempted the life of Napoleon.

--[At the time of this attempt I was not with Napoleon; but he
directed me to see the madmen who had formed the design of
assassinating him. It will be seen in the coarse of these Memoirs
what were has plans, and what was the result of them--Bourrienne]--

The following is a correct statement of the facts relative to Ceracchi's
conspiracy. The plot itself was a mere shadow; but it was deemed
advisable to give it substance, to exaggerate, at least in appearance,
the danger to which the First Consul had been exposed:--

There was at that time in Paris an idle fellow called Harrel; he had been
a 'chef de battalion', but he had been dismissed the service, and was
consequently dissatisfied. He became connected with Cerracchi, Arena,
Topino-Lebrun, and Demerville. From different motives all these
individuals were violently hostile to the First Consul, who on his part,
was no friend to Cerracchi and Arena, but scarcely knew the two others.
These four individuals formed, in conjunction with Harrel, the design of
assassinating the First Consul, and the time fixed for the perpetration
of the deed was one evening when Bonaparte intended to visit the opera.

On the 20th of September 1804 Harrel came to me at the Tuileries. He
revealed to me the plot in which he was engaged, and promised that his
accomplices should be apprehended in the very act if I would supply him
with money to bring the plot to maturity. I knew not how to act upon
this disclosure, which I, however, could not reject without incurring too
great a responsibility. I immediately communicated the business to the
First Consul, who ordered me to supply Harrel with money; but not to
mention the affair to Fouche, to whom he wished to prove that he knew
better how to manage the police than he did.

Harrel came nearly every evening at eleven o'clock to inform me of the
progress of the conspiracy, which I immediately communicated to the First
Consul, who was not sorry to find Arena and Ceracchi deeply committed.
But the time passed on, and nothing was done. The First Consul began to
grow impatient. At length Harrel came to say that they had no money to
purchase arms. Money was given him. He, however, returned next day to
say that the gunsmith refused to sell them arms without authority. It
was now found necessary to communicate the business to Fouche in order
that he might grant the necessary permission to the gunsmith, which I was
not empowered to do.

On the 10th of October the Consuls, after the breaking up of the Council,
assembled in the cabinet of their colleague. Bonaparte asked them in my
presence whether they thought he ought to go to the opera. They observed
that as every precaution was taken no danger could be apprehended, and
that it was desirable to show the futility of attempts against the First
Consul's life. After dinner Bonaparte put on a greatcoat over his green
uniform and got into his carriage accompanied by me and Duroc. He seated
himself in front of his box, which at that time was on the left of the
theatre between the two columns which separated the front and side boxes.
When we had been in the theatre about half an hour the First Consul
directed me to go and see what was doing in the corridor. Scarcely had I
left the box than I heard a great uproar, and soon discovered that a
number of persons, whose names I could not learn, had been arrested. I
informed the First Consul of what I had heard, and we immediately
returned to the Tuileries.

It is certain that the object of the conspiracy was to take the First
Consul's life, and that the conspirators neglected nothing which could
further the accomplishment of their atrocious design. The plot, however,
was known through the disclosures of Harrel; and it would have been easy
to avert instead of conjuring up the storm. Such was, and such still is,
my opinion. Harrel's name was again restored to the army list, and he
was appointed commandant of Vincennes. This post he held at the time of
the Duc d'Enghien's assassination. I was afterwards told that his wife
was foster-sister to the unfortunate prince, and that she recognised him
when he entered the prison which in a few short hours was to prove his

Carbonneau, one of the individuals condemned, candidly confessed the part
he had taken in the plot, which he said was brought to maturity solely by
the agents of the police, who were always eager to prove their zeal to
their employers by some new discovery.

Although three months intervened between the machinations of Ceracchi and
Arena and the horrible attempt of the 3d Nivose, I shall relate these two
events in immediate succession; for if they had no other points of
resemblance they were at least alike in their object. The conspirators
in the first affair were of the revolutionary faction. They sought
Bonaparte's life as if with the view of rendering his resemblance to
Caesar so complete that not even a Brutus should be wanting. The latter,
it must with regret be confessed, were of the Royalist party, and in
their wish to destroy the First Consul they were not deterred by the fear
of sacrificing a great number of citizens.

The police knew nothing of the plot of the 3d Nivose for two reasons;
first, because they were no parties to it, and secondly, because two
conspirators do not betray and sell each other when they are resolute in
their purpose. In such cases the giving of information can arise only
from two causes, the one excusable, the other infamous, viz. the dread of
punishment, and the hope of reward. But neither of these causes
influenced the conspirators of the 3d Nivose, the inventors and
constructors of that machine which has so justly been denominated

On the 3d Nivose (24th December 1800) the first performance of Haydn's
magnificent oratorio of the "Creation" took place at the opera, and the
First Consul had expressed his intention of being present. I did not
dine with him that day, but as he left me he said, "Bourrienne, you know
I am going to the opera to-night, and you may go too; but I cannot take
you in the carriage, as Lannes, Berthier, and Lauriston are going with
me." I was very glad of this, for I much wished to hear one of the
masterpieces of the German school of composition. I got to the opera
before Bonaparte, who on his entrance seated himself, according to
custom, in front of the box. The eye's of all present were fixed upon
him, and he appeared to be perfectly calm and self-possessed. Lauriston,
as soon as he saw me, came to my box, and told me that the First Consul,
on his way to the opera, had narrowly escaped being assassinated in the
Rue St. Nicaise by the explosion of a barrel of gunpowder, the concussion
of which had shattered the windows of his carriage. "Within ten seconds
after our escape," added Lauriston, "the coachman having turned the
corner of the Rue St Honore, stopped to take the First Consul's orders;
and he coolly said, 'To the opera.'"

--[The following particulars respecting the affair of the infernal
machine are related by Rapp, who attended Madame Bonaparte to the
opera. He differs from Bourrienne as to the total ignorance of the

"The affair of the infernal machine has never been property
understood by the public. The police had intimated to Napoleon that
an attempt would be made against his life and cautioned him not to
go out. Madame Bonaparte, Mademoiselle Beauharnais, Madame Murat,
Lannes, Bessieres, the aide de camp on duty, Lieutenant Lebrun, now
duke of Placenza were all assembled in the salon, while the First
Consul was writing in his cabinet. Haydn's oratorio was to be
performed that evening; the ladies were anxious to hear the music,
and we also expressed a wish to that effect. The escort piquet was
ordered out; and Lannes requested that Napoleon would join the
party. He consented; his carriage was ready, and he took along with
him Bessieres and the aide de camp on duty. I was directed to
attend the ladies. Josephine had received a magnificent shawl from
Constantinople and she that evening wore it for the first time.
'Permit me to observe,' said I, 'that your shawl is not thrown on
with your usual elegance.' She good-humouredly begged that I would
fold it after the fashion of the Egyptian ladies. While I was
engaged in this operation we heard Napoleon depart. 'Come sister,'
said Madame Murat, who was impatient to get to the theatre:
'Bonaparte is going:' We stopped into the carriage: the First
Consul's equipage had already reached the middle of the Place du
Carrousel. We drove after it, but we had scarcely entered the place
when the machine exploded. Napoleon escaped by a singular chance,
St. Regent, or his servant Francois, had stationed himself in the
middle of tho Rue Nicaise. A grenadier of the escort, supposing he
was really what he appeared to be, a water-carrier, gave him a few
blows with the flat of his sabre and drove him off. The cart was
turned round, and the machine exploded between the carriages of
Napoleon and Josephine. The ladies shrieked on hearing the report;
the carriage windows were broken, and Mademoiselle Beauharnais
received a slight hurt on her hand. I alighted and crossed the Rue
Nicaise which was strewed with the bodies of those who had been
thrown down, and the fragments of the walls that had been shattered
with the explosion. Neither the consul nor any individual of his,
suite sustained any serious injury. When I entered the theatre
Napoleon was seated in his box; calm and composed, and looking at
the audience through his opera-glass. Fouche was beside him.
'Josephine' said he as soon as he observed me. She entered at that
instant and he did not finish his question 'The rascals' said he
very cooly, wanted to blow me up: Bring me a book of the oratorio'"
(Memoirs of General Count Rape. P. 19)]--

On hearing this I left the theatre and returned to the Palace, under the
expectation that I should speedily be wanted. Bonaparte soon returned
home; and as intelligence of the affair had spread through Paris the
grand salon on the ground-floor was filled with a crowd of functionaries,
eager to read in the eye of their master what they were to think and say
on the occasion. He did not keep them long in suspense. "This,"
exclaimed he vehemently, "is the work of the Jacobins: they have
attempted my life.... There are neither nobles, priests, nor Chouans in
this affair!.... I know what I am about, and they need not think to
impose on me. These are the Septembrizers who have been in open revolt
and conspiracy, and arrayed against every succeeding Government. It is
scarce three months since my life was attempted by Uracchi, Arena;
Topino-Lebrun, and Demerville. They all belong to one gang! The
cutthroats of September, the assassins of Versailles, the brigands of the
81st of May, the conspirators of Prairial are the authors of all the
crimes committed against established Governments! If they cannot be
checked they must be crashed! France must be purged of these ruffians!"
It is impossible to form any idea of the bitterness with which Bonaparte,
pronounced these words. In vain did some of the Councillors of State,
and Fouche in particular, endeavour to point out to him that there was no
evidence against any one, and that before he pronounced people to be
guilty it would be right to ascertain the fact. Bonaparte repeated with
increased violence what he had before said of the Jacobins; thus adding;
not without some ground of suspicion, one crime more to, the long
catalogue for which they had already to answer.

Fouche had many enemies, and I was not, therefore, surprised to find some
of the Ministers endeavouring to take advantage of the difference between
his opinion and that of the First Consul; and it must be owned that the
utter ignorance of the police respecting this event was a circumstance
not very favourable to Fouche. He, however, was like the reed in the
fable--he bent with the wind, but was soon erect again. The most skilful
actor could scarcely imitate the inflexible calmness he maintained during
Bonaparte's paroxysm of rage, and the patience with which he allowed
himself to be accused.

Fouche, when afterwards conversing with me, gave me clearly to understand
that he did not think the Jacobins guilty. I mentioned this to the First
Consul, but nothing could make him retract his opinion. "Fouche," said
he, "has good reason for his silence. He is serving his own party. It
is very natural that he should seek to screen a set of men who are
polluted with blood and crimes! He was one of their leaders. Do not I
know what he did at Lyons and the Loire? That explains Fouche's conduct

This is the exact truth; and now let me contradict one of the thousand
fictions about this event. It has been said and printed that "the
dignitaries and the Ministers were assembled at the Tuileries. 'Well,'
said the First Consul, advancing angrily towards Fouche, 'will you still
say that this is the Royalist party?' Fouche, better informed than was
believed, answered coolly, 'Yes, certainly, I shall say so; and, what is
more, I shall prove it.' This speech caused general astonishment, but
was afterwards fully borne out." This is pure invention. The First
Consul only said to Fouche; "I do not trust to your police; I guard
myself, and I watch till two in the morning." This however, was very
rarely the case.

On the day after the explosion of the infernal machine a considerable
concourse assembled at the Tuileries. There was absolutely a torrent of
congratulations. The prefect of the Seine convoked the twelve mayors of
Paris and came at their head to wait on the First Consul. In his reply
to their address Bonaparte said, "As long as this gang of assassins
confined their attacks to me personally I left the law to take its
course; but since, by an unparalleled crime, they have endangered the
lives of a portion of the population of Paris, their punishment must be
as prompt as exemplary. A hundred of these wretches who have libeled
liberty by perpetrating crimes in her name must be effectually prevented
from renewing their atrocities." He then conversed with the Ministers,
the Councillors of State, etc., on the event of the preceding day; and as
all knew the First Consul's opinion of the authors of the crime each was
eager to confirm it. The Council was several times assembled when the
Senate was consulted, and the adroit Fouche, whose conscience yielded to
the delicacy of his situation, addressed to the First Consul a report
worthy of a Mazarin. At the same time the journals were filled with
recollections of the Revolution, raked up for the purpose of connecting
with past crimes the individuals on whom it was now wished to cast odium.
It was decreed that a hundred persons should be banished; and the senate
established its character for complaisance by passing a 'Senatus-
consulte' conformable to the wishes of the First Consul.

A list was drawn up of the persons styled Jacobins, who were condemned to
transportation. I was fortunate enough to obtain the erasure of the
names of several whose opinions had perhaps been violent, but whose
education and private character presented claims to recommendation. Some
of my readers may probably recollect them without my naming them, and I
shall only mention M. Tissot, for the purpose of recording, not the
service I rendered him, but an instance of grateful acknowledgment.

When in 1815 Napoleon was on the point of entering Paris M. Tissot came
to the prefecture of police, where I then was, and offered me his house
as a safe asylum; assuring me I should there run no risk of being
discovered. Though I did not accept the offer yet I gladly seize on this
opportunity of making it known. It is gratifying to find that difference
of political opinion does not always exclude sentiments of generosity and
honour! I shall never forget the way in which the author of the essays
on Virgil uttered the words 'Domus mea'.

But to return to the fatal list. Even while I write this I shudder to
think of the way in which men utterly innocent were accused of a
revolting crime without even the shadow of a proof. The name of an
individual, his opinions, perhaps only assumed, were sufficient grounds
for his banishment. A decree of the Consuls, dated 4th of January 1801,
confirmed by a 'Senates-consulte' on the next day, banished from the
territory of the Republic, and placed under special inspectors, 130
individuals, nine of whom were merely designated in the report as

The exiles, who in the reports and in the public acts were so unjustly
accused of being the authors of the infernal machine, were received at
Nantes, with so much indignation that the military were compelled to
interfere to save them from being massacred.

In the discussions which preceded the decree of the Consuls few persons
had the courage to express a doubt respecting the guilt of the accused.
Truguet was the first to mount the breach. He observed that without
denying the Government the extraordinary means for getting rid of its
enemies he could not but acknowledge that the emigrants threatened the
purchasers of national domains, that the public mind was corrupted by
pamphlets, and that--Here the First Consul, interrupting him, exclaimed,
"To what pamphlets do you allude?"--"To pamphlets which are publicly
circulated."--"Name them!"--"You know them as well as I do."

--[The Parallel between Caesar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte, of which I
shall speak a little farther on, is here alluded to.--Bourrienne.]--

After a long and angry ebullition the First Consul abruptly dismissed the
Council. He observed that he would not be duped; that the villains were
known; that they were Septembrizers, the hatchers of every mischief. He
had said at a sitting three days before, "If proof should fail, we must
take advantage of the public excitement. The event is to me merely the
opportunity. They shall be banished for the 2d September, for the 31st
May, for Baboeuf's conspiracy--or anything else."

On leaving one of the sittings of the Council, at which the question of a
special tribunal had been discussed, he told me that he had been a little
ruffled; that he had said a violent blow must be struck; that blood must
be spilt; and that as many of the guilty should be shot as there had been
victims of the explosion (from fifteen to twenty); that 200 should be
banished, and the Republic purged of these scoundrels.

The arbitrariness and illegality of the proceeding were so evident that
the 'Senatus-consulte' contained no mention of the transactions of the 3d
Nivose, which was very remarkable. It was, however, declared that the
measure of the previous day had been adopted with a view to the
preservation of the Constitution. This was promising.

The First Consul manifested the most violent hatred of the Jacobins;
for this he could not have been blamed if under the title of Jacobins he
had not comprised every devoted advocate of public liberty. Their
opposition annoyed him and he could never pardon them for having presumed
to condemn his tyrannical acts, and to resist the destruction of the
freedom which he had himself sworn to defend, but which he was
incessantly labouring to overturn. These were the true motives of his
conduct; and, conscious of his own faults, he regarded with dislike those
who saw and disapproved of them. For this reason he was more afraid of
those whom he called Jacobins than of the Royalists.

I am here recording the faults of Bonaparte, but I excuse him; situated
as he was, any other person would have acted in the same way. Truth now
reached him with difficulty, and when it was not agreeable he had no
disposition to hear it. He was surrounded by flatterers; and, the
greater number of those who approached him, far from telling him what
they really thought; only repeated what he had himself been thinking.
Hence he admired the wisdom of his Counsellors. Thus Fouche, to maintain
himself in favour, was obliged to deliver up to his master 130 names
chosen from among his own most intimate friends as objects of

Meanwhile Fouche, still believing that he was not deceived as to the real
authors of the attempt of the 3d Nivose, set in motion with his usual
dexterity all the springs of the police. His efforts, however, were for
sometime unsuccessful; but at length on Saturday, the 31st January 1801,
about two hours after our arrival at Malmaison, Fouche presented himself
and produced authentic proofs of the accuracy of his conjectures. There
was no longer any doubt on the subject; and Bonaparte saw clearly that
the attempt of the 3d Nivose was the result of a plot hatched by the
partisans of royalty. But as the act of proscription against those who
were jumbled together under the title of the Jacobins had been executed,
it was not to be revoked.

Thus the consequence of the 3d Nivose was that both the innocent and
guilty were punished; with this difference, however, that the guilty at
least had the benefit of a trial.

When the Jacobins, as they were called, were accused with such
precipitation, Fouche had no positive proofs of their, innocence; and
therefore their illegal condemnation ought not to be attributed to him.
Sufficient odium is attached to his memory without his being charged with
a crime he never committed. Still, I must say that had he boldly opposed
the opinion of Bonaparte in the first burst of his fury he might have
averted the blow. Every time he came to the Tuileries, even before he
had acquired any traces of the truth, Fouche always declared to me his
conviction of the innocence of the persons first accused. But he was
afraid to make the same observation to Bonaparte. I often mentioned to
him the opinion of the Minister of Police; but as proof was wanting he
replied to me with a triumphant air, "Bah! bah! This is always the way
with Fouche. Besides, it is of little consequence. At any rate we shall
get rid of them. Should the guilty be discovered among the Royalists
they also shall be punished."

The real criminals being at length discovered through the researches of
Fouche, St. Regent and Carbon expiated their crimes by the forfeit of
their heads. Thus the First Consul gained his point, and justice gained

--[It was St. Regent, or St. Rejeant, who fired the infernal
machine. The violence of the shock flung him against a post and
part of his breast bone was driven in. He was obliged to resort to
a surgeon, and it would seem that this man denounced him. (Memoirs
of Miot de Melito, tome i. p. 264).

The discussions which took place in the Council of State on this
affair are remarkable, both for the violence of Napoleon and for the
resistance made in the Council, to a great extent successfully, to
his views as to the, plot being one of the Jacobin party.]--

I have often had occasion to notice the multifarious means employed by
Bonaparte to arrive at the possession of supreme power, and to prepare
men's minds for so great change. Those who have observed his life must
have so remarked how entirely he was convinced of the truth that public
opinion wastes itself on the rumour of a project and possesses no energy
at the moment of its execution. In order, therefore, to direct public
attention to the question of hereditary power a pamphlet was circulated
about Paris, and the following is the history of it:--

In the month of December 1800, while Fouche was searching after the real
authors of the attempt of the 3d Nivose, a small pamphlet, entitled
"Parallel between Caesar, Cromwell, anal Bonaparte," was sent to the
First Consul. He was absent when it came. I read it, and perceived that
it openly advocated hereditary monarchy. I then knew nothing about the
origin of this pamphlet, but I soon learned that it issued from the
office of the Minister of the Interior [Lucien Bonaparte], and that it
had been largely circulated. After reading it I laid it on the table.
In a few minutes Bonaparte entered, and taking up the pamphlet pretended
to look through it: "Have you read this?" said he.--"Yes, General."--
"Well! what is your opinion of it?"--"I think it is calculated to
produce an unfavourable effect on the public mind: it is ill-timed, for
it prematurely reveals your views." The First Consul took the pamphlet
and threw it on the ground, as he did all the stupid publications of the
day after having slightly glanced over them. I was not singular in my
opinion of the pamphlet, for next day the prefects in the immediate
neighbourhood of Paris sent a copy of it to the First Consul, complaining
of its mischievous effect; and I recollect that in one of their letters
it was stated that such a work was calculated to direct against him the
poniards of new assassins. After reading this correspondence he said to
me, "Bourrienne, sent for Fouche; he must come directly, and give an
account of this matter." In half an hour Fouche was in the First
Consul's cabinet. No sooner had he entered than the following dialogue
took place, in which the impetuous warmth of the one party was strangely
contrasted with the phlegmatic and rather sardonic composure of the

"What pamphlet is this? What is said about it in Paris?"--"General,
there is but one opinion of its dangerous tendency."--"Well, then, why
did you allow it to appear?"--"General, I was obliged to show some
consideration for the author!"--"Consideration for the author! What do
you mean? You should have sent him to the temple."--"But, General, your
brother Lucien patronises this pamphlet. It has been printed and
published by his order. In short, it comes from the office of the
Minister of the Interior."--"No matter for that! Your duty as Minister
of Police was to have arrested Lucien, and sent him to the Temple. The
fool does nothing but contrive how he can commit me!"

With these words the First Consul left the cabinet, shutting the door
violently behind him. Being now alone with Fouche, I was eager to get an
explanation of the suppressed smile which had more than once curled his
lips during Bonaparte's angry expostulation. I easily perceived that
there was something in reserve. "Send the author to the Temple!" said
Fouche; "that would be no easy matter! Alarmed at the effect which this
parallel between Caesar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte was likely to produce,
I went to Lucien to point out to him his imprudence. He made me no
answer, but went and got a manuscript, which he showed me, and which
contained corrections and annotations in the First Consul's handwriting."

When Lucien heard how Bonaparte had expressed his displeasure at the
pamphlet, he also came to the Tuileries to reproach his brother with
having thrust him forward and then abandoned him. "'Tis your own fault,"
said the First Consul. "You have allowed yourself to be caught! So much
the worse for you! Fouche is too cunning for you! You are a mere fool
compared with him!" Lucien tendered his resignation, which was accepted,
and he departed for Spain. This diplomatic mission turned to his
advantage. It was necessary that one should veil the Machiavellian
invention of the 'Parallel.'

--[The 'Parallel' has been attributed to different writers; some
phrases seemed the work of Lucien, but, says Thiers (tome ii p.
210), its rare elegance of language and its classical knowledge of
history should attribute it to its real anchor, Fontanel, Joseph
Bonaparte (Erreurs tome i. p. 270) says that Fontanel wrote it, and
Lucien Bonaparte corrected it. See Meneval, tome iii. p. 105.
Whoever wrote it Napoleon certainly planned its issue. "It was,"
said he to Roederer, "a work of which he himself had given the idea,
but the last pages were by a fool" (Miot, tome i, p. 318). See also
Lanfrey, tome ii. p. 208; and compare the story in Iung's Lucien,
tome ii. p. 490. Miot, then in the confidence of Joseph, says,
that Lucien's removal from, office was the result of an angry
quarrel between him and Fouche in the presence of Napoleon, when
Fouche attacked Lucien, not only for the pamphlet, but also for the
disorder of his public and his private life; but Miot (tome i, p,
319) places the date of this as the 3d November, while Bourrienne
dates the disapproval of the pamphlet in December.]--

Lucien, among other instructions, was directed to use all his endeavours
to induce Spain to declare against Portugal in order to compel that power
to separate herself from England.

The First Consul had always regarded Portugal as an English colony, and
he conceived that to attack it was to assail England. He wished that
Portugal should no longer favour England in her commercial relations,
but that, like Spain, she should become dependent on him. Lucien was
therefore sent as ambassador to Madrid, to second the Ministers of
Charles IV. in prevailing on the King to invade Portugal. The King
declared war, but it was not of long duration, and terminated almost
without a blow being struck, by the taking of Olivenza. On the 6th of
June 1801 Portugal signed the treaty of Badajoz, by which she promised to
cede Olivenza, Almeida, and some other fortresses to Spain, and to close
her ports against England. The First Consul, who was dissatisfied with
the treaty, at first refused to ratify it. He still kept his army in
Spain, and this proceeding determined Portugal to accede to some slight
alterations in the first treaty. This business proved very advantageous
to Lucien and Godoy.

The cabinet of the Tuileries was not the only place in which the question
of hereditary succession was discussed. It was the constant subject of
conversation in the salons of Paris, where a new dynasty was already
spoken of. This was by no means displeasing to the First Consul; but he
saw clearly that he had committed a mistake in agitating the question
prematurely; for this reason he waged war against the Parallel, as he
would not be suspected of having had any share in a design that had
failed. One day he said to me, "I believe I have been a little too
precipitate. The pear is not quite ripe!" The Consulate for life was
accordingly postponed till 1802, and the hereditary empire till 1804.

After the failure of the artful publication of the pamphlet Fouche
invited me to dine with him. As the First Consul wished me to dine out
as seldom as possible, I informed him of the invitation I had received.
He was, however, aware of it before, and he very readily gave me leave to
go. At dinner Joseph was placed on the right of Fouche, and I next to
Joseph, who talked of nothing but his brother, his designs, the pamphlet,
and the bad effect produced by it. In all that fell from him there was a
tone of blame and disapproval I told him my opinion, but with greater
reserve than I had used towards his brother. He seemed to approve of
what I said; his confidence encouraged me, and I saw with pleasure that
he entertained sentiments entirely similar to my own. His unreserved
manner so imposed upon me that, notwithstanding the experience I had
acquired, I was far from suspecting myself to be in the company of a spy.
Next day the First Consul said to me very coldly, "Leave my letters in
the basket, I will open them myself." This unexpected direction
surprised me exceedingly, and I determined to play him a trick in revenge
for his unfounded distrust. For three mornings I laid at the bottom of
the basket all the letters which I knew came from the Ministers, and all
the reports which were addressed to me for the First Consul. I then
covered them over with those which; judging from their envelopes and
seals, appeared to be of that trifling kind with which the First Consul
was daily overwhelmed: these usually consisted of requests that he would
name the number of a lottery ticket, so, that the writer might have the
benefit of his good luck--solicitations that he would stand godfather to
a child--petitions for places--announcements of marriages and births--
absurd eulogies, etc. Unaccustomed to open the letters, he became
impatient at their number, and he opened very few. Often on the same
day, but always on the morrow, came a fresh letter from a Minister, who
asked for an answer to his former one, and who complained of not having
received one. The First Consul unsealed some twenty letters and left the

The opening of all these letters, which he was not at other times in the
habit of looking at, annoyed him extremely; but as I neither wished to
carry the joke too far, nor to remain in the disagreeable position in
which Joseph's treachery had placed me, I determined to bring the matter
to a conclusion. After the third day, when the business of the night,
which had been interrupted by little fits of ill-humour, was concluded,
Bonaparte retired to bed. Half an hour after I went to his chamber, to
which I was admitted at all hours. I had a candle in my hand, and,
taking a chair, I sat down on the right side of the bed, and placed the
candle on the table. Both he and Josephine awoke. "What is the matter?"
he asked with surprise. "General, I have come to tell you that I can no
longer remain here, since I have lost your confidence. You know how
sincerely I am devoted to you; if you have, then, anything to reproach me
with, let me at least know it, for my situation during the last three
days lies been very painful."--"What has Bourrienne done?" inquired
Josephine earnestly.--"That does not concern you," he replied. Then
turning to me he said, "Tis true, I have cause to complain of you. I
have been informed that you have spoken of important affairs in a very
indiscreet manner."--"I can assure you that I spoke to none but your
brother. It was he who led me into the conversation, and he was too well
versed in the business for me to tell him any secret. He may have
reported to you what he pleased, but could not I do the same by him?
I could accuse and betray him as he has accused and betrayed me. When I
spoke in confidence to your brother, could I regard him as an
inquisitor?"--"I must confess," replied Bonaparte, "that after what I
heard from Joseph I thought it right to put my confidence in
quarantine."--"The quarantine has lasted three days, General; surely that
is long enough."--"Well, Bourrienne, let us say no more about it. Open
my letters as usual; you will find the answers a good deal in arrear,
which has much vexed me; and besides, I was always stumbling on some
stupid nonsense or other!"

I fancy I still see and hear the amiable Josephine sitting up in bed and
saying, in her gentle way, "What! Bonaparte, is it possible you could
suspect Bourrienne, who is so attached to you, and who is your only
friend? How could you suffer such a snare to be laid for him? What!
a dinner got up on purpose! How I hate these odious police manoeuvres!"
--"Go to sleep," said Bonaparte; "let women mind their gewgaws, and not
interfere with politics." It was near two in the morning before I

When, after a few hours' sleep, I again saw the First Consul, he was more
kind to me than ever, and I perceived that for the present every cloud
had dispersed.'

--[Joseph Bonaparte (Erreurs, tome i. p. 273) says what he
reported to his brother was Bourrienne's conversation to him in the
First Consul's cabinet during Napoleon's absence. It is curious
that at the only time when Napoleon became dissatisfied with Meneval
(Bourrienne's successor), and ordered him not to open the letters,
he used the same expression when returning to the usual order of
business, which in this case was to a few hours. "My dear Meneval,"
said he, "there are circumstances in which I am forced to put my
confidence in quarantine." (Meneval, tome i. p. 123). For any one
who has had to manage an office it is pleasant to find that even
Napoleon was much dependent on a good secretary. In an illness of
his secretary he said, showing the encumbrance of his desk, "with
Meneval I should soon clear off all that."(Meneval, tome i. p. 151.)]



Austria bribed by England--M. de St. Julien in Paris--Duroc's
mission--Rupture of the armistice--Surrender of three garrisons--
M. Otto in London--Battle of Hohenlinden--Madame Moreau and Madame
Hulot--Bonaparte's ill-treatment of the latter--Congress of
Luneville--General Clarke--M. Maret--Peace between France and
Austria--Joseph Bonaparte's speculations in the funds--
M. de Talleyrand's advice--Post-office regulation--Cambaceres--
Importance of good dinners in the affairs of Government--Steamboats
and intriguers--Death of Paul I.--New thoughts of the
reestablishment of Poland--Duroc at St. Petersburg--Bribe rejected--
Death of Abercromby.

Mm armistice concluded after the battle of Marengo, which had been first
broken and then resumed, continued to be observed for some time between
the armies of the Rhine and Italy and the Imperial armies. But Austria,
bribed by a subsidy of 2,000,000 sterling, would not treat for peace
without the participation of England. She did not despair of
recommencing the war successfully.

M. de St. Julien had signed preliminaries at Paris; but the Court of
Vienna disavowed them, and Duroc, whom Bonaparte sent to convey the
preliminaries to Vienna for the Imperial ratification, was not permitted
to pass the Austrian advance poets. This unexpected proceeding, the
result of the all-powerful influence of England, justly incensed the
First Consul, who had given decided proofs of moderation and a wish for
peace. "I want peace," said he to me, "to enable me to organise the

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