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Memoirs of the Court of St. Cloud, entire by Stewarton, a Gentleman at Paris, to a Nobleman in London

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regular assemblies and circles which Madame Napoleon and Madame Louis
Bonaparte have. His hospitality is, however, greater at his countryseat
Morfontaine than at his hotel here. Those whom he likes, or does not
mistrust (who, by the bye, are very few), may visit him without much
formality in the country, and prolong their stay, according to their own
inclination or discretion; but they must come without their servants, or
send them away on their arrival.

As soon as an agreeable visitor presents himself, it is the etiquette of
the house to consider him as an inmate; but to allow him at the same time
a perfect liberty to dispose of his hours and his person as suits his
convenience or caprice. In this extensive and superb mansion a suite of
apartments is assigned him, with a valet-de--chambre, a lackey,
a coachman, a groom, and a jockey, all under his own exclusive command.
He has allotted him a chariot, a gig, and riding horses, if he prefers
such an exercise. A catalogue is given him of the library of the
chateau; and every morning he is informed what persons compose the
company at breakfast, dinner, and supper, and of the hours of these
different repasts. A bill of fare is at the same time presented to him,
and he is asked to point out those dishes to which he gives the
preference, and to declare whether he chooses to join the company or to
be served in his own rooms.

During the summer season, players from the different theatres of Paris
are paid to perform three times in the week; and each guest, according to
the period of his arrival, is asked, in his turn, to command either a
comedy or a tragedy, a farce or a ballet. Twice in the week concerts are
executed by the first performers of the opera-bouffe; and twice in the
week invitations to tea-parties are sent to some of the neighbours, or
accepted from them.

Besides four billiard-tables, there are other gambling-tables for Rouge
et Noir, Trente et Quarante, Faro, La Roulette, Birribi, and other games
of hazard. The bankers are young men from Corsica, to whom Joseph, who
advances the money, allows all the gain, while he alone suffers the loss.
Those who are inclined may play from morning till night, and from night
till morning, without interruption, as no one interferes. Should Joseph
hear that any person has been too severely treated by Fortune, or
suspects that he has not much cash remaining, some rouleaux of napoleons
d'or are placed on the table of his dressing-room, which he may use or
leave untouched, as he judges proper.

The hours of Joseph Bonaparte are neither so late as yours in England,
nor so early as they were formerly in France. Breakfast is ready served
at ten o'clock, dinner at four, and supper at nine. Before midnight he
retires to bed with his family, but visitors do as they like and follow
their own usual hours, and their servants are obliged to wait for them.

When any business calls Joseph away, either to preside in the Senate
here, or to travel in the provinces, he notifies the visitors, telling
them at the same time not to displace themselves on account of his
absence, but wait till his return, as they would not observe any
difference in the economy of his house, of which Madame Joseph always
does the honours, or, in her absence, some lady appointed by her.

Last year, when Joseph first assumed a military rank, he passed nearly
four months with the army of England on the coast or in Brabant. On his
return, all his visitors were gone, except a young poet of the name of
Montaigne, who does not want genius, but who is rather too fond of the
bottle. Joseph is considered the best gourmet or connoisseur in liquors
and wines of this capital, and Montaigne found his Champagne and burgundy
so excellent that he never once went to bed that he was not heartily
intoxicated. But the best of the story is that he employed his mornings
in composing a poem holding out to abhorrence the disgusting vice of
drunkenness, and presented it to Joseph, requesting permission to
dedicate it to him when published. To those who have read it,
or only seen extracts from it, the compilation appears far from being
contemptible, but Joseph still keeps the copy, though he has made the
author a present of one hundred napoleons d'or, and procured him a place
of an amanuensis in the chancellory of the Senate, having resolved never
to accept any dedication, but wishing also not to hurt the feelings of
the author by a refusal.

In a chateau where so many visitors of licentious and depraved morals
meet, of both sexes, and where such an unlimited liberty reigns,
intrigues must occur, and have of course not seldom furnished materials
for the scandalous chronicle. Even Madame Joseph herself has either been
gallant or calumniated. Report says that to the nocturnal assiduities of
Eugene de Beauharnais and of Colonel la Fond-Blaniac she is exclusively
indebted to the honour of maternity, and that these two rivals even
fought a duel concerning the right of paternity. Eugene de Beauharnais
never was a great favourite with Joseph Bonaparte, whose reserved manners
and prudence form too great a contrast to his noisy and blundering way to
accord with each other. Before he set out for Italy, it was well known
in our fashionable circles that he had been interdicted the house of his
uncle, and that no reconciliation took place, notwithstanding the
endeavours of Madame Napoleon. To humble him still more, Joseph even
nominated la Fond-Blaniac an equerry to his wife, who, therefore, easily
consoled herself for the departure of her dear nephew.

The husband of Madame Miot (one of Madame Joseph's ladies-in-waiting) was
not so patient, nor such a philosopher as Joseph Bonaparte. Some
charitable person having reported in the company of a 'bonne amie' of
Miot, that his wife did not pass her nights in solitude, but that she
sought consolation among the many gallants and disengaged visitors at
Morfontaine, he determined to surprise her. It was past eleven o'clock
at night when his arrival was announced to Joseph, who had just retired
to his closet. Madame Miot had been in bed ever since nine, ill of a
migraine, and her husband was too affectionate not to be the first to
inform her of his presence, without permitting anybody previously to
disturb her. With great reluctance, Madame Miot's maid delivered the key
of her rooms, while she accompanied him with a light. In the antechamber
he found a hat and a greatcoat, and in the closet adjoining the bedroom,
a coat, a waistcoat, and a pair of breeches, with drawers, stockings, and
slippers. Though the maid kept coughing all the time, Madame Miot and
her gallant did not awake from their slumber, till the enraged husband
began to use the bludgeon of the lover, which had also been left in the
closet. A battle then ensued, in which the lover retaliated so
vigorously, that the husband called out "Murder! murder!" with all his
might. The chateau was instantly in an uproar, and the apartments
crowded with half-dressed and half-naked lovers. Joseph Bonaparte alone
was able to separate the combatants; and inquiring the cause of the riot,
assured them that he would suffer no scandal and no intrigues in his
house, without seriously resenting it. An explanation being made, Madame
Miot was looked for but in vain; and the maid declared that, being warned
by a letter from Paris of her husband's jealousy and determination to
surprise her, her mistress had reposed herself in her room; while, to
punish the ungenerous suspicions of her husband, she had persuaded
Captain d' Horteuil to occupy her place in her own bed. The maid had no
sooner finished her deposition, than her mistress made her appearance and
upbraided her husband severely, in which she was cordially joined by the
spectators. She inquired if, on seeing the dress of a gentleman, he had
also discovered the attire of a female; and she appealed to Captain d'
Horteuil whether he had not the two preceding nights also slept in her
bed. To this he, of course, assented; adding that, had M. Miot attacked
him the first night, he would not then perhaps have been so roughly
handled as now; for then he was prepared for a visit, which this night
was rather unexpected. This connubial farce ended by Miot begging pardon
of his wife and her gallant; the former of whom, after much entreaty by
Joseph, at last consented to share with him her bed. But being
disfigured with two black eyes and suffering from several bruises, and
also ashamed of his unfashionable behaviour, he continued invisible for
ten days afterwards, and returned to this city as he had left it, by

This Niot was a spy under Robespierre, and is a Counsellor of State under
Bonaparte. Without bread, as well as without a home, he was, from the
beginning of the Revolution, one of the most ardent patriots, and the
first republican Minister in Tuscany. After the Sovereign of that
country had, in 1793, joined the League, Miot returned to France, and
was, for his want of address to negotiate as a Minister, shut up to
perform the part of a spy in the Luxembourg, then transformed into a
prison for suspected persons. Thanks to his patriotism, upwards of two
hundred individuals of both sexes were denounced, transferred to the
Conciergerie prison, and afterwards guillotined. After that, until 1799,
he continued so despised that no faction would accept him for an
accomplice; but in the November of that year, after Bonaparte had
declared himself a First Consul, Miot was appointed a tribune, an office
from which he was advanced, in 1802, to be a Counsellor of State.
As Miot squanders away his salary with harlots and in gambling-houses,
and is pursued by creditors he neither will nor can pay, it was merely
from charity that his wife was received among the other ladies of Madame
Joseph Bonaparte's household.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--Notwithstanding the ties of consanguinity, honour, duty,
interest, and gratitude, which bound the Spanish Bourbons to the cause of
the Bourbons of France, no monarch has rendered more service to the cause
of rebellion, and done more harm to the cause of royalty, than the King
of Spain.

But here, again, you must understand me. When I speak of Princes whose
talents are known not to be brilliant, whose intellects are known to be
feeble, and whose good intentions are rendered null by a want of firmness
of character or consistency of conduct; while I deplore their weakness
and the consequent misfortunes of their contemporaries, I lay all the
blame on their wicked or ignorant counsellors; because, if no Ministers
were fools or traitors, no Sovereigns would tremble on their thrones, and
no subjects dare to shake their foundation. Had Providence blessed
Charles IV. of Spain with the judgment in selecting his Ministers, and
the constancy of persevering in his choice, possessed by your George
III.; had the helm of Spain been in the firm and able hands of a
Grenville, a Windham, and a Pitt, the Cabinet of Madrid would never have
been oppressed by the yoke of the Cabinet of St. Cloud, nor paid a heavy
tribute for its bondage, degrading as well as ruinous.

"This is the age of upstarts," said Talleyrand to his cousin, Prince de
Chalais, who reproached him for an unbecoming servility to low and vile
personages.; "and I prefer bowing to them to being trampled upon and
crushed by them." Indeed, as far as I remember, nowhere in history are
hitherto recorded so many low persons who, from obscurity and meanness,
have suddenly and at once attained rank and notoriety. Where do we read
of such a numerous crew of upstart Emperors, Kings, grand pensionaries,
directors, Imperial Highnesses, Princes, Field-marshals, generals,
Senators, Ministers, governors, Cardinals, etc., as we now witness
figuring upon the theatre of Europe, and who chiefly decide on the
destiny of nations? Among these, several are certainly to be found whose
superior parts have made them worthy to pierce the crowd and to shake off
their native mud; but others again, and by far the greatest number of
these 'novi homines', owe their present elevation to shameless intrigues
or atrocious crimes.

The Prime Minister--or rather, the viceroy of Spain, the Prince of Peace
--belongs to the latter class. From a man in the ranks of the guards he
was promoted to a general-in-chief, and from a harp player in
antechambers to a president of the councils of a Prince; and that within
the short period of six years. Such a fortune is not common; but to be
absolutely without capacity as well as virtue, genius as well as good
breeding, and, nevertheless, to continue in an elevation so little
merited, and in a place formerly so subject to changes and so unstable,
is a fortune that no upstart ever before experienced in Spain.

An intrigue of his elder brother with the present Queen, then Princess of
Asturia, which was discovered by the King, introduced him first at Court
as a harp player, and, when his brother was exiled, he was entrusted with
the correspondence of the Princess with her gallant. After she had
ascended the throne, he thought it more profitable to be the lover than
the messenger, and contrived, therefore, to supplant his brother in the
royal favour. Promotions and riches were consequently heaped upon him,
and, what is surprising, the more undisguised the partiality of the Queen
was, the greater the attachment of the King displayed itself; and it has
ever since been an emulation between the royal couple who should the most
forget and vilify birth and supremacy by associating this man not only in
the courtly pleasures, but in the functions of Sovereignty. Had he been
gifted with sound understanding, or possessed any share of delicacy,
generosity, or discretion, he would, while he profited by their imprudent
condescension, have prevented them from exposing their weaknesses and
frailties to a discussion and ridicule among courtiers, and from becoming
objects of humiliation and scandal among the people. He would have
warned them of the danger which at all times attends the publicity of
foibles and vices of Princes, but particularly in the present times of
trouble and innovations. He would have told them: "Make me great and
wealthy, but not at the expense of your own grandeur or of the loyalty of
your people. Do not treat an humble subject as an equal, nor suffer Your
Majesties, whom Providence destined to govern a high-spirited nation, to
be openly ruled by one born to obey. I am too dutiful not to lay aside
my private vanity when the happiness of my King and the tranquillity of
my fellow subjects are at stake. I am already too high. In descending a
little, I shall not only rise in the eyes of my contemporaries, but in
the opinion of posterity. Every step I am advancing undermines your
throne. In retreating a little, if I do not strengthen, I can never
injure it." But I beg your pardon for this digression, and for putting
the language of dignified reason into the mouth of a man as corrupt as he
is imbecile.

Do not suppose, because the Prince of Peace is no friend of my nation,
that I am his enemy. No! Had he shown himself a true patriot, a friend
of his own country, and of his too liberal Prince, or even of monarchy in
general, or of anybody else but himself--although I might have
disapproved of his policy, if he has any--I would never have lashed the
individual for the acts of the Minister. But you must have observed,
with me, that never before his administration was the Cabinet of Madrid
worse conducted at home or more despised abroad; the Spanish Monarch more
humbled or Spanish subjects more wretched; the Spanish power more
dishonoured or the Spanish resources worse employed. Never, before the
treaty with France of 1796, concluded by this wiseacre (which made him a
Prince of Peace, and our Government the Sovereign of Spain), was the
Spanish monarchy reduced to such a lamentable dilemma as to be forced
into an expensive war without a cause, and into a disgraceful peace, not
only unprofitable, but absolutely disadvantageous. Never before were its
treasures distributed among its oppressors to support their tyranny, nor
its military and naval forces employed to fight the battles of rebellion.
The loyal subjects of Spain have only one hope left. The delicate state
of his present Majesty's health does not promise a much longer
continuance of his reign, and the Prince of Asturia is too well informed
to endure the guidance of the most ignorant Minister that ever was
admitted into the Cabinet and confidence of a Sovereign. It is more than
probable that under a new reign the misfortunes of the Prince of Peace
will inspire as much compassion as his rapid advancement has excited
astonishment and indignation.

A Cabinet thus badly directed cannot be expected to have representatives
abroad either of abilities or patriotism. The Admiral and General
Gravina, who but lately left this capital as an Ambassador from the Court
of Spain to assume the command of a Spanish fleet, is more valiant than
wise, and more an enemy of your country than a friend of his own. He is
a profound admirer of Bonaparte's virtues and successes, and was, during
his residence, one of the most ostentatiously awkward courtiers of
Napoleon the First. It is said that he has the modesty and loyalty to
wish to become a Spanish Bonaparte, and that he promises to restore by
his genius and exploits the lost lustre of the Spanish monarchy. When
this was reported to Talleyrand, he smiled with contempt; but when it was
told to Bonaparte, he stamped with rage at the impudence of the Spaniard
in daring to associate his name of acquired and established greatness
with his own impertinent schemes of absurdities and impossibilities.

In the summer of 1793, Gravina commanded a division of the Spanish fleet
in the Mediterranean, of which Admiral Langara was the commander-in-
chief. At the capitulation of Toulon, after the combined English and
Spanish forces had taken possession of it, when Rear-Admiral Goodall was
declared governor, Gravina was made the commandant of the troops. At the
head of these he often fought bravely in different sorties, and on the
1st of October was wounded at the re-capture of Fort Pharon. He
complains still of having suffered insults or neglect from the English,
and even of having been exposed unnecessarily to the fire and sword of
the enemy merely because he was a patriot as well as an envied or
suspected ally. His inveteracy against your country takes its date, no
doubt, from the siege of Toulon, or perhaps, from its evacuation.

When, in May, 1794, our troops were advancing towards Collioure, he was
sent with a squadron to bring it succours, but he arrived too late, and
could not save that important place. He was not more successful at the
beginning of the campaign of 1795 at Rosa, where he had only time to
carry away the artillery before the enemy entered. In August, that year,
during the absence of Admiral Massaredo, he assumed ad interim the
command of the Spanish fleet in the Mediterranean; but in the December
following he was disgraced, arrested, and shut up as a State prisoner.

During the embassy of Lucien Bonaparte to the Court of Madrid, in the
autumn of 1800, Gravina was by his influence restored to favour; and
after the death of the late Spanish Ambassador to the Cabinet of St.
Cloud, Chevalier d' Azara, by the special desire of Napoleon, was
nominated both his successor and a representative of the King of Etruria.
Among the members of our diplomatic corps, he was considered somewhat of
a Spanish gasconader and a bully. He more frequently boasted of his
wounds and battles than of his negotiations or conferences, though he
pretended, indeed, to shine as much in the Cabinet as in the field.

In his suite were two Spanish women, one about forty, and the other about
twenty years of age. Nobody knew what to make of them, as they were
treated neither as wives, mistresses, nor servants; and they avowed
themselves to be no relations. After a residence here of some weeks, he
was, by superior orders, waylaid one night at the opera, by a young and
beautiful dancing girl of the name of Barrois, who engaged him to take
her into keeping. He hesitated, indeed, for some time; at last, however,
love got the better of his scruples, and he furnished for her an elegant
apartment on the new Boulevard. On the day he carried her there, he was
accompanied by the chaplain of the Spanish Legation; and told her that,
previous to any further intimacy, she must be married to him, as his
religious principles did not permit him to cohabit with a woman who was
not his wife. At the same time he laid before her an agreement to sign,
by which she bound herself never to claim him as a husband before her
turn--that is to say, until sixteen other women, to whom he had been
previously married, were dead. She made no opposition, either to the
marriage or to the conditions annexed to it. This girl had a sweetheart
of the name of Valere, an actor at one of the little theatres on the
Boulevards, to whom she communicated her adventure. He advised her to be
scrupulous in her turn, and to ask a copy of the agreement. After some
difficulty this was obtained. In it no mention was made of her
maintenance, nor in what manner her children were to be regarded, should
she have any. Valere had, therefore, another agreement drawn up, in
which all these points were arranged, according to his own interested
views. Gravina refused to subscribe to what he plainly perceived were
only extortions; and the girl, in her turn, not only declined any further
connection with him, but threatened to publish the act of polygamy.
Before they had done discussing this subject, the door was suddenly
opened and the two Spanish ladies presented themselves. After severely
upbraiding Gravina, who was struck mute by surprise, they announced to
the girl that whatever promise or contract of marriage she had obtained
from him was of no value, as, before they came with him to France, he had
bound himself, before a public notary at Madrid, not to form any more
connections, nor to marry any other woman, without their written consent.
One of these ladies declared that she had been married to Gravina twenty-
two years, and was his oldest wife but one; the other said that she had
been married to him six years. They insisted upon his following them,
which he did, after putting a purse of gold into Barrois's hand.

When Valere heard from his mistress this occurrence, he advised her to
make the most money she could of the Spaniard's curious scruples. A
letter was, therefore, written to him, demanding one hundred thousand
livres--as the price of secrecy and withholding the particulars of this
business from the knowledge of the tribunals and the police; and an
answer was required within twenty-four hours. The same night Gravina
offered one thousand Louis, which were accepted, and the papers returned;
but the next day Valere went to his hotel, Rue de Provence, where he
presented himself as a brother of Barrois. He stated that he still
possessed authenticated copies of the papers returned, and that he must
have either the full sum first asked by his sister, or an annuity of
twelve thousand livres settled upon her. Instead of an answer, Gravina
ordered him to be turned out of the house. An attorney then waited on
His Excellency, on the part of the brother and the sister, and repeated
their threats and their demands, adding that he would write a memorial
both to the Emperor of the French and to the King of Spain, were justice
refused to his principals any longer.

Gravina was well aware that this affair, though more laughable than
criminal, would hurt both his character and credit if it were known in
France; he therefore consented to pay seventy-six thousand livres more,
upon a formal renunciation by the party of all future claims. Not having
money sufficient by him, he went to borrow it from a banker, whose clerk
was one of Talleyrand's secret agents. Our Minister, therefore, ordered
every step of Gravina to be watched; but he soon discovered that, instead
of wanting this money for a political intrigue, it was necessary to
extricate him out of an amorous scrape. Hearing, however, in what a
scandalous manner the Ambassador had been duped and imposed upon,
he reported it to Bonaparte, who gave Fouche orders to have Valere,
Barrois, and the attorney immediately transported to Cayenne, and to
restore Gravina his money. The former part of this order the Minister of
Police executed the more willingly, as it was according to his plan that
Barrois had pitched upon Gravina for a lover. She had been intended by
him as a spy on His Excellency, but had deceived him by her reports--a
crime for which transportation was a usual punishment.

Notwithstanding the care of our Government to conceal and bury this
affair in oblivion, it furnished matter both for conversation in our
fashionable circles, and subjects for our caricaturists. But these
artists were soon seized by the police, who found it more easy to
chastise genius than to silence tongues. The declaration of war by Spain
against your country was a lucky opportunity for Gravina to quit with
honour a Court where he was an object of ridicule, to assume the command
of a fleet which might one day make him an object of terror. When he
took leave of Bonaparte, he was told to return to France victorious,
or never to return any more; and Talleyrand warned him as a friend,
"whenever he returned to his post in France to leave his marriage mania
behind him in Spain. Here," said he, "you may, without ridicule,
intrigue with a hundred women, but you run a great risk by marrying even

I have been in company with Gravina, and after what I heard him say, so
far from judging him superstitious, I thought him really impious. But
infidelity and bigotry are frequently next-door neighbours.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--It cannot have escaped the observation of the most superficial
traveller of rank, that, at the Court of St. Cloud, want of morals is not
atoned for by good breeding or good manners. The hideousness of vice,
the pretensions of ambition, the vanity of rank, the pride of favour, and
the shame of venality do not wear here that delicate veil, that gloss of
virtue, which, in other Courts, lessens the deformity of corruption and
the scandal of depravity. Duplicity and hypocrisy are here very common
indeed, more so than dissimulation anywhere else; but barefaced knaves
and impostors must always make indifferent courtiers. Here the Minister
tells you, I must have such a sum for a place; and the chamberlain tells
you, Count down so much for my protection. The Princess requires a
necklace of such a value for interesting herself for your advancement;
and the lady-in-waiting demands a diamond of such worth on the day of
your promotion. This tariff of favours and of infamy descends
'ad infinitum'. The secretary for signing, and the clerk for writing
your commission; the cashier for delivering it, and the messenger for
informing you of it, have all their fixed prices. Have you a lawsuit,
the judge announces to you that so much has been offered by your
opponent, and so much is expected from you, if you desire to win your
cause. When you are the defendant against the Crown, the attorney or
solicitor-general lets you know that such a douceur is requisite to
procure such an issue. Even in criminal proceedings, not only honour,
but life, may be saved by pecuniary sacrifices.

A man of the name of Martin, by profession a stock-jobber, killed, in
1803, his own wife; and for twelve thousand livres--he was acquitted, and
recovered his liberty. In November last year, in a quarrel with his own
brother, he stabbed him through the heart, and for another sum of twelve
thousand livres he was acquitted, and released before last Christmas.
This wretch is now in prison again, on suspicion of having poisoned his
own daughter, with whom he had an incestuous intercourse, and he boasts
publicly of soon being liberated. Another person, Louis de Saurac, the
younger son of Baron de Saurac, who together with his eldest son had
emigrated, forged a will in the name of his parent, whom he pretended to
be dead, which left him the sole heir of all the disposable property, to
the exclusion of two sisters. After the nation had shared its part as
heir of all emigrants, Louis took possession of the remainder. In 1802,
both his father and brother accepted the general amnesty, and returned to
France. To their great surprise, they heard that this Louis had, by his
ill-treatment, forced his sisters into servitude, refusing them even the
common necessaries of life. After upbraiding him for his want of duty,
the father desired, according to the law, the restitution of the unsold
part of his estates. On the day fixed for settling the accounts and
entering into his rights, Baron de Saurac was arrested as a conspirator
and imprisoned in the Temple. He had been denounced as having served in
the army of Conde, and as being a secret agent of Louis XVIII. To
disprove the first part of the charge, he produced certificates from
America, where he had passed the time of his emigration, and even upon
the rack he denied the latter. During his arrest, the eldest son
discovered that Louis had become the owner of their possessions, by means
of the will he had forged in the name of his father; and that it was he
who had been unnatural enough to denounce the author of his days. With
the wreck of their fortune in St. Domingo, he procured his father's
release; who, being acquainted with the perversity of his younger son,
addressed himself to the department to be reinstated in his property.
This was opposed by Louis, who defended his title to the estate by the
revolutionary maxim which had passed into a law, enacting that all
emigrants should be considered as politically dead. Hitherto Baron de
Saurac had, from affection, declined to mention the forged will; but
shocked by his son's obduracy, and being reduced to distress, his
counsellor produced this document, which not only went to deprive Louis
of his property, but exposed him to a criminal prosecution.

This unnatural son, who was not yet twenty-five, had imbibed all the
revolutionary morals of his contemporaries, and was well acquainted with
the moral characters of his revolutionary countrymen. He addressed
himself, therefore, to Merlin of Douai, Bonaparte's Imperial attorney-
general and commander of his Legion of Honour; who, for a bribe of fifty
thousand livres--obtained for him, after he had been defeated in every
other court, a judgment in his favour, in the tribunal of cassation,
under the sophistical conclusion that all emigrants, being, according to
law, considered as politically dead, a will in the name of any one of
them was merely a pious fraud to preserve the property in the family.

This Merlin is the son of a labourer of Anchin, and was a servant of the
Abbey of the same name. One of the monks, observing in him some
application, charitably sent him to be educated at Douai, after having
bestowed on him some previous education. Not satisfied with this
generous act, he engaged the other monks, as well as the chapter of
Cambray, to subscribe for his expenses of admission as an attorney by the
Parliament of Douai, in which situation the Revolution found him. By his
dissimulation and assumed modesty, he continued to dupe his benefactors;
who, by their influence, obtained for him the nomination as
representative of the people to our First National Assembly. They soon,
however, had reason to repent of their generosity. He joined the Orleans
faction and became one of the most persevering, violent, and cruel
persecutors of the privileged classes, particularly of the clergy,
to whom he was indebted for everything. In 1792 he was elected a member
of the National Convention, where he voted for the death of his King.
It was he who proposed a law (justly called, by Prudhomme, the production
of the deliberate homicide Merlin) against suspected persons; which was
decreed on the 17th of September, 1793, and caused the imprisonment or
proscription of two hundred thousand families. This decree procured him
the appellation of Merlin Suspects and of Merlin Potence. In 1795 he was
appointed a Minister of Police, and soon afterwards a Minister of
Justice. After the revolution in favour of the Jacobins of the 4th of
September, 1797, he was made a director, a place which he was obliged by
the same Jacobins to resign, in June, 1799. Bonaparte expressed, at
first, the most sovereign contempt for this Merlin, but on account of one
of his sons, who was his aide-de-camp, he was appointed by him, when
First Consul, his attorney-general.

As nothing paints better the true features of a Government than the
morality or vices of its functionaries, I will finish this man's portrait
with the following characteristic touches.

Merlin de Douai has been successively the counsel of the late Duc d'
Orleans, the friend of Danton, of Chabot, and of Hebert, the admirer of
Murat, and the servant of Robespierre. An accomplice of Rewbell, Barras,
and la Reveilliere, an author of the law of suspected persons, an
advocate of the Septembrizers, and an ardent apostle of the St.
Guillotine. Cunning as a fog and ferocious as a tiger, he has outlived
all the factions with which he has been connected. It has been his
policy to keep in continual fermentation rivalships, jealousies,
inquietudes, revenge and all other odious passions; establishing, by such
means, his influence on the terror of some, the ambition of others, and
the credulity of them all. Had I, when Merlin proposed his law
concerning suspected persons, in the name of liberty and equality,
been free and his equal, I should have said to him, "Monster, this,
your atrocious law, is your sentence of death; it has brought thousands
of innocent persons to an untimely end; you shall die by my hands as a
victim, if the tribunals do not condemn you to the scaffold as an
executioner or as a criminal."

Merlin has bought national property to the amount of fifteen million of
livress--and he is supposed to possess money nearly to the same amount,
in your or our funds. For a man born a beggar, and educated by charity,
this fortune, together with the liberal salaries he enjoys, might seem
sufficient without selling justice, protecting guilt, and oppressing or
persecuting innocence.


Paris, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--The household troops of Napoleon the First are by thousands
more numerous than those even of Louis XIV. were. Grenadiers on foot
and on horseback, riflemen on foot and on horseback, heavy and light
artillery, dragoons and hussars, mamelukes and sailors, artificers and
pontoneers, gendarmes, gendarmes d'Alite, Velites and veterans, with
Italian grenadiers, riflemen, dragoons, etc., etc., compose all together
a not inconsiderable army.

Though it frequently happens that the pay of the other troops is in
arrears, those appertaining to Bonaparte's household are as regularly
paid as his Senators, Counsellors of State, and other public
functionaries. All the men are picked, and all the officers as much as
possible of birth, or at least of education. In the midst of this
voluptuous and seductive capital, they are kept very strict, and the
least negligence or infraction of military discipline is more severely
punished than if committed in garrison or in an encampment. They are
both better clothed, accoutred, and paid, than the troops of the line,
and have everywhere the precedency of them. All the officers, and many
of the soldiers, are members of Bonaparte's Legion of Honour, and carry
arms of honour distributed to them by Imperial favour, or for military
exploits. None of them are quartered upon the citizens; each corps has
its own spacious barracks, hospitals, drilling-ground, riding or fencing-
houses, gardens, bathing-houses, billiard-table, and even libraries.
A chapel has lately been constructed near each barrack, and almoners
are already appointed. In the meantime, they attend regularly at Mass,
either in the Imperial Chapel or in the parish churches. Bonaparte
discourages much all marriages among the military in general, but
particularly among those of his household troops. That they may not,
however, be entirely deprived of the society of women, he allows five to
each company, with the same salaries as the men, under the name of

With a vain and fickle people, fond of shows and innovations, nothing in
a military despotism has a greater political utility, gives greater
satisfaction, and leaves behind a more useful terror and awe, than
Bonaparte's grand military reviews. In the beginning of his consulate,
they regularly occurred three times in the month; after his victory of
Marengo, they were reduced to once in a fortnight, and since he has been
proclaimed Emperor, to once only in the month. This ostentatious
exhibition of usurped power is always closed with a diplomatic review of
the representatives of lawful Princes, who introduce on those occasions
their fellow-subjects to another subject, who successfully has seized,
and continues to usurp, the authority of his own Sovereign. What an
example for ambition! what a lesson to treachery!

Besides the household troops, this capital and its vicinity have, for
these three years past, never contained less than from fifteen to twenty
thousand men of the regiments of the line, belonging to what is called
the first military division of the Army of the Interior. These troops
are selected from among the brigades that served under Bonaparte in Italy
and Egypt with the greatest eclat, and constitute a kind of depot for
recruiting his household troops with tried and trusty men. They are also
regularly paid, and generally better accoutred than their comrades
encamped on the coast, or quartered in Italy or Holland.

But a standing army, upon which all revolutionary rulers can depend, and
that always will continue their faithful support, unique in its sort and
composition, exists in the bosom as well as in the extremities of this
country. I mean, one hundred and twenty thousand invalids, mostly young
men under thirty, forced by conscription against their will into the
field, quartered and taken care of by our Government, and all possessed
with the absurd prejudice that, as they have been maimed in fighting the
battles of rebellion, the restoration of legitimate sovereignty would to
them be an epoch of destruction, or at least of misery and want; and this
prejudice is kept alive by emissaries employed on purpose to mislead
them. Of these, eight thousand are lodged and provided for in this city;
ten thousand at Versailles, and the remainder in Piedmont, Brabant, and
in the conquered departments on the left bank of the Abine; countries
where the inhabitants are discontented and disaffected, and require,
therefore, to be watched, and to have a better spirit infused.

Those whose wounds permit it are also employed to do garrison duty in
fortified places not exposed to an attack by enemies, and to assist in
the different arsenals and laboratories, foundries, and depots of
military or naval stores. Others are attached to the police offices, and
some as gendarmes, to arrest suspected or guilty individuals; or as
garnissaires, to enforce the payment of contributions from the unwilling
or distressed. When the period for the payment of taxes is expired, two
of these janissaires present themselves at the house of the persons in
arrears, with a billet signed by the director of the contributions and
countersigned by the police commissary. If the money is not immediately
paid, with half a crown to each of them besides, they remain quartered in
the house, where they are to be boarded and to receive half a crown a day
each until an order from those who sent them informs them that what was
due to the state has been acquitted. After their entrance into a house,
and during their stay, no furniture or effects whatever can be removed or
disposed of, nor can the master or mistress go out-of-doors without being
accompanied by one of them.

In the houses appropriated to our invalids, the inmates are very well
treated, and Government takes great care to make them satisfied with
their lot. The officers have large halls, billiards, and reading-room
to meet in; and the common men are admitted into apartments adjoining
libraries, from-which they can borrow what books they contain, and read
them at leisure. This is certainly a very good and even a humane
institution, though these libraries chiefly contain military histories or

As to the morals of these young invalids, they may be well conceived when
you remember the morality of our Revolution; and that they, without any
religious notions or restraints, were not only permitted, but encouraged
to partake of the debauchery and licentiousness which were carried to
such an extreme in our armies and encampments. In an age when the
passions are strongest, and often blind reason and silence conscience,
they have not the means nor the permission to marry; in their vicinity it
is, therefore, more difficult to discover one honest woman or a dutiful
wife, than hundreds of harlots and of adulteresses. Notwithstanding that
many of them have been accused before the tribunals of seductions, rape,
and violence against the sex, not one has been punished for what the
morality of our Government consider merely as bagatelles. Even in cases
where husbands, brothers, and lovers have been killed by them while
defending or avenging the honour of their wives, sisters, and mistresses,
our tribunals have been ordered by our grand judge, according to the
commands of the Emperor, not to proceed. As most of them have no
occupation, the vice of idleness augments the mass of their corruption;
for men of their principles, when they have nothing to do, never do
anything good.

I do not know if my countrywomen feel themselves honoured by or obliged
to Bonaparte, for leaving their virtue and honour unprotected, except by
their own prudence and strength; but of this I am certain, that all our
other troops, as well as the invalids, may live on free quarters with the
sex without fearing the consequences; provided they keep at a distance
from the females of our Imperial Family, and of those of our grand
officers of State and principal functionaries. The wives and the
daughters of the latter have, however, sometimes declined the advantage
of these exclusive privileges.

A horse grenadier of Bonaparte's Imperial Guard, of the name of Rabais,
notorious for his amours and debauchery, was accused before the Imperial
Judge Thuriot, at one and the same time by several husbands and fathers,
of having seduced the affections of their wives and of their daughters.
As usual, Thuriot refused to listen to their complaints; at the same time
insultingly advising them to retake their wives and children, and for the
future to be more careful of them. Triumphing, as it were, in his
injustice, he inconsiderately mentioned the circumstance to his own wife,
observing that he never knew so many charges of the same sort exhibited
against one man.

Madame Thuriot, who had been a servant-maid to her husband before he made
her his wife, instead of being disgusted at the recital, secretly
determined to see this Rabais. An intrigue was then begun, and carried
on for four months, if not with discretion, at least without discovery;
but the lady's own imprudence at last betrayed her, or I should say,
rather, her jealousy. But for this she might still have been admired
among our modest women, and Thuriot among fortunate husbands and happy
fathers; for the lady, for the first time since her marriage, proved, to
the great joy and pride of her husband, in the family way. Suspecting,
however, the fidelity of her paramour, she watched his motions so closely
that she discovered an intrigue between him and the chaste spouse of a
rich banker; but the consequence of this discovery was the detection of
her own crime.

On the discovery of this disgrace, Thuriot obtained an audience of
Bonaparte, in which he exposed his misfortune, and demanded punishment on
his wife's gallant. As, however, he also acknowledged that his own
indiscretion was an indirect cause of their connection, he received the
same advice which he had given to other unfortunate husbands: to retake,
and for the future guard better, his dear moiety.

Thuriot had, however, an early opportunity of wreaking his vengeance on
this gallant Rabais. It seems his prowess had reached the ears of Madame
Baciocchi, the eldest sister of Bonaparte. This lady has a children
mania, which is very troublesome to her husband, disagreeable to her
relations, and injurious to herself. She never beholds any lady,
particularly any of her family, in the way which women wish to be who
love their lords, but she is absolutely frantic. Now, Thuriot's worthy
friend Fouche had discovered, by his spies, that Rabais paid frequent and
secret visits to the hotel Baciocchi, and that Madame Baciocchi was the
object of these visits. Thuriot, on this discovery, instantly denounced
him to Bonaparte.

Had Rabais ruined all the women of this capital, he would not only have
been forgiven, but applauded by Napoleon, and his counsellors and
courtiers; but to dare to approach, or only to cast his eyes on one of
our Imperial Highnesses, was a crime nothing could extenuate or avenge,
but the most exemplary punishment. He was therefore arrested, sent to
the Temple, and has never since been heard of; so that his female friends
are still in the cruel uncertainty whether he has died on the rack, been
buried alive in the oubliettes, or is wandering an exile in the wilds of

In examining his trunk, among the curious effects discovered by the
police were eighteen portraits and one hundred billets-doux, with
medallions, rings, bracelets, tresses of hair, etc., as numerous. Two of
the portraits occasioned much scandal, and more gossiping. They were
those of two of our most devout and most respectable Court ladies, Maids
of Honour to our Empress, Madame Ney and Madame Lasnes; who never miss an
opportunity of going to church, who have received the private blessing of
the Pope, and who regularly confess to some Bishop or other once in a
fortnight. Madame Napoleon cleared them, however, of all suspicion, by
declaring publicly in her drawing-room that these portraits had come into
the possession of Rabais by the infidelity of their maids; who had
confessed their faults, and, therefore, had been charitably pardoned.
Whether the opinions of Generals Ney and Lasnes coincide with Madame
Napoleon's assertion is uncertain; but Lasnes has been often heard to say
that, from the instant his wife began to confess, he was convinced she
was inclined to dishonour him; so that nothing surprised him.

One of the medallions in Rabais's collection contained on one side the
portrait of Thuriot, and on the other that of his wife; both set with
diamonds, and presented to her by him on their last wedding day. For the
supposed theft of this medallion, two of Thuriot's servants were in
prison, when the arrest of Rabais explained the manner in which it had
been lost. This so enraged him that he beat and kicked his wife so
heartily that for some time even her life was in danger, and Thuriot lost
all hopes of being a father.

Before the Revolution, Thuriot had been, for fraud and forgery, struck
off the roll as an advocate, and therefore joined it as a patriot. In
1791, he was chosen a deputy to the National Assembly, and in 1792 to the
National Convention. He always showed himself one of the most ungenerous
enemies of the clergy, of monarchy, and of his King, for whose death he
voted. On the 25th of May, 1792, in declaiming against Christianity and
priesthood, he wished them both, for the welfare of mankind, at the
bottom of the sea; and on the 18th of December the same year, he declared
in the Jacobin Club that, if the National Convention evinced any signs of
clemency towards Louis XVI., he would go himself to the Temple and blow
out the brains of this unfortunate King. He defended in the tribune the
massacres of the prisoners, affirming that the tree of liberty could
never flourish without being inundated with the blood of aristocrats and
other enemies of the Revolution. He has been convicted by rival factions
of the most shameful robberies, and his infamy and depravity were so
notorious that neither Murat, Brissot, Robespierre, nor the Directory
would or could employ him. After the Revolution of the 9th of November,
1799, Bonaparte gave him the office of judge of the criminal tribunal,
and in 1804 made him a Commander of his Legion of Honour. He is now one
of our Emperor's most faithful subjects and most sincere Christians.
Such is now his tender conscientiousness, that he was among those who
were the first to be married again by some Cardinal to their present
wives, to whom they had formerly been united only by the municipality.
This new marriage, however, took place before Madame Thuriot had
introduced herself to the acquaintance of the Imperial Grenadier Rabais.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--Regarding me as a connoisseur, though I have no pretensions but
that of being an amateur, Lucien Bonaparte, shortly before his disgrace,
invited me to pass some days with him in the country, and to assist him
in arranging his very valuable collection of pictures--next our public
ones, the most curious and most valuable in Europe, and, of course, in
the world. I found here, as at Joseph Bonaparte's, the same splendour,
the same etiquette, and the same liberty, which latter was much enhanced
by the really engaging and unassuming manners and conversation of the
host. At Joseph's, even in the midst of abundance and of liberty, in
seeing the person or meditating on the character of the host, you feel
both your inferiority of fortune and the humiliation of dependence, and
that you visit a master instead of a friend, who indirectly tells you,
"Eat, drink, and rejoice as long and as much as you like; but remember
that if you are happy, it is to my generosity you are indebted, and if
unhappy, that I do not care a pin about you." With Lucien it is the very
reverse. His conduct seems to indicate that by your company you confer
an obligation on him, and he is studious to remove, on all occasions,
that distance which fortune has placed between him and his guests;
and as he cannot compliment them upon being wealthier than himself,
he seizes with delicacy every opportunity to chew that he acknowledges
their superiority in talents and in genius as more than an equivalent for
the absence of riches.

He is, nevertheless, himself a young man of uncommon parts, and, as far
as I could judge from my short intercourse with the reserved Joseph and
with the haughty Napoleon, he is abler and better informed than either,
and much more open and sincere. His manners are also more elegant, and
his language more polished, which is the more creditable to him when it
is remembered how much his education has been neglected, how vitiated the
Revolution made him, and that but lately his principal associates were,
like himself, from among the vilest and most vulgar of the rabble. It is
not necessary to be a keen observer to remark in Napoleon the upstart
soldier, and in Joseph the former low member of the law; but I defy the
most refined courtier to see in Lucien anything indicating a ci-devant
sans-culotte. He has, besides, other qualities (and those more
estimable) which will place him much above his elder brothers in the
opinion of posterity. He is extremely compassionate and liberal to the
truly distressed, serviceable to those whom he knows are not his friends,
and forgiving and obliging even to those who have proved and avowed
themselves his enemies. These are virtues commonly very scarce, and
hitherto never displayed by any other member of the Bonaparte family.

An acquaintance of yours, and--a friend of mine, Count de T-----, at his
return here from emigration, found, of his whole former fortune,
producing once eighty thousand livres--in the year, only four farms
unsold, and these were advertised for sale. A man who had once been his
servant, but was then a groom to Lucien, offered to present a memorial
for him to his master, to prevent the disposal of the only support which
remained to subsist himself, with a wife and four children. Lucien asked
Napoleon to prohibit the sale, and to restore the Count the farms, and
obtained his consent; but Fouche, whose cousin wanted them, having
purchased other national property in the neighbourhood, prevailed upon
Napoleon to forget his promise, and the farms were sold. As soon as
Lucien heard of it he sent for the Count, delivered into his hands an
annuity of six thousand livres--for the life of himself, his wife, and
his children, as an indemnity for the inefficacy of his endeavours to
serve him, as he expressed himself. Had the Count recovered the farms,
they would not have given him a clear profit of half the amount, all
taxes paid.

A young author of the name of Gauvan, irritated by the loss of parents
and fortune by the Revolution, attacked, during 1799, in the public
prints, as well as in pamphlets, every Revolutionist who had obtained
notoriety or popularity. He was particularly vehement against Lucien,
and laid before the public all his crimes and all his errors, and
asserted, as facts, atrocities which were either calumnies or merely
rumours. When, after Napoleon's assumption of the Consulate, Lucien was
appointed a Minister of the Interior, he sent for Gauvan, and said to
him, "Great misfortunes have early made you wretched and unjust, and you
have frequently revenged yourself on those who could not prevent them,
among whom I am one. You do not want capacity, nor, I believe, probity.
Here is a commission which makes you a Director of Contributions in the
Departments of the Rhine and Moselle, an office with a salary of twelve
thousand livres but producing double that sum. If you meet with any
difficulties, write to me; I am your friend. Take those one hundred
louis d'or for the expenses of your journey. Adieu! "This anecdote I
have read in Gauvan's own handwriting, in a letter to his sister. He
died in 1802; but Mademoiselle Gauvan, who is not yet fifteen, has a
pension of three thousand livres a year--from Lucien, who, has never seen

Lucien Bonaparte has another good quality: he is consistent in his
political principles. Either from conviction or delusion he is still a
Republican, and does not conceal that, had he suspected Napoleon of any
intent to reestablish monarchy, much less tyranny, he would have joined
those deputies who, on the 9th of November, 1799, in the sitting at St.
Cloud, demanded a decree of outlawry against him. If the present quarrel
between these two brothers were sifted to the bottom, perhaps it would be
found to originate more from Lucien's Republicanism than from his

I know, with all France and Europe, that Lucien's youth has been very
culpable; that he has committed many indiscretions, much injustice, many
imprudences, many errors, and, I fear, even some crimes. I know that he
has been the most profligate among the profligate, the most debauched
among libertines, the most merciless among the plunderers, and the most
perverse among rebels. I know that he is accused of being a
Septembrizer; of having murdered one wife and poisoned another; of having
been a spy, a denouncer, a persecutor of innocent persons in the Reign of
Terror. I know that he is accused of having fought his brothers-in-law;
of having ill-used his mother, and of an incestuous commerce with his own

I have read and heard of these and other enormous accusations, and far be
it from me to defend, extenuate, or even deny them. But suppose all this
infamy to be real, to be proved, to be authenticated, which it never has
been, and, to its whole extent, I am persuaded, never can be--what are
the cruel and depraved acts of which Lucien has been accused to the
enormities and barbarities of which Napoleon is convicted? Is the
poisoning a wife more criminal than the poisoning a whole hospital of
wounded soldiers; or the assisting to kill some confined persons,
suspected of being enemies, more atrocious than the massacre in cold
blood of thousands of disarmed prisoners? Is incest with a sister more
shocking to humanity than the well-known unnatural pathic but I will not
continue the disgusting comparison. As long as Napoleon is unable to
acquit himself of such barbarities and monstrous crimes, he has no right
to pronounce Lucien unworthy to be called his brother; nor have
Frenchmen, as long as they obey the former as a Sovereign, or the
Continent, as long as it salutes him as such, any reason to despise the
latter for crimes which lose their enormity when compared to the horrid
perpetrations of his Imperial brother.

An elderly lady, a relation of Lucien's wife, and a person in whose
veracity and morality I have the greatest confidence, and for whom he
always had evinced more regard than even for his own mother, has repeated
to me many of their conversations. She assures me that Lucien deplores
frequently the want of a good and religious education, and the tempting
examples of perversity he met with almost at his entrance upon the
revolutionary scene. He says that he determined to get rich 'per fas aut
nefas', because he observed that money was everything, and that most
persons plotted and laboured for power merely to be enabled to gather
treasure, though, after they had obtained both, much above their desert
and expectation, instead of being satiated or even satisfied, they
bustled and intrigued for more, until success made them unguarded and
prosperity indiscreet, and they became with their wealth the easy prey of
rival factions. Such was the case of Danton, of Fabre d'Eglantine, of
Chabot, of Chaumette, of Stebert, and other contemptible wretches,
butchered by Robespierre and his partisans--victims in their turn to men
as unjust and sanguinary as themselves. He had, therefore, laid out a
different plan of conduct for himself. He had fixed upon fifty millions
of livres--as the maximum he should wish for, and when that sum was in
his possession, he resolved to resign all pretensions to rank and
employment, and to enjoy 'otium cum dignitate'. He had kept to his
determination, and so regulated his income that; with the expenses, pomp,
and retinue of a Prince, he is enabled to make more persons happy and
comfortable than his extortions have ruined or even embarrassed. He now
lives like a philosopher, and endeavours to forget the past, to delight
in the present, and to be indifferent about futurity. He chose,
therefore, for a wife, a lady whom he loved and esteemed, in preference
to one whose birth would have been a continual reproach to the meanness
of his own origin.

You must, with me, admire the modesty of a citizen sans-culotte, who,
without a shilling in the world, fixes upon fifty millions as a reward
for his revolutionary achievements, and with which he would be satisfied
to sit down and begin his singular course of singular philosophy. But
his success is more extraordinary that his pretensions were extravagant.
This immense sum was amassed by him in the short period of four years,
chiefly by bribes from foreign Courts, and by selling his protections in

But most of the other Bonapartes have made as great and as rapid fortunes
as Lucien, and yet, instead of being generous, contented, or even
philosophers, they are still profiting by every occasion to increase
their ill-gotten treasures, and no distress was ever relieved, no talents
encouraged, or virtues recompensed by them. The mind of their garrets
lodges with them in their palaces, while Lucien seems to ascend as near
as possible to a level with his circumstances. I have myself found him
beneficent without ostentation.

Among his numerous pictures, I observed four that had formerly belonged
to my father's, and afterwards to my own cabinet. I inquired how much he
had paid for them, without giving the least hint that they had been my
property, and were plundered from me by the nation. He had, indeed, paid
their full value. In a fortnight after I had quitted him, these, with
six other pictures, were deposited in my room, with a very polite note,
begging my acceptance of them, and assuring me that he had but the day
before heard from his picture dealer that they had belonged to me. He
added that he would never retake them, unless he received an assurance
from me that I parted with them without reluctance, and at the same time
affixed their price. I returned them, as I knew they were desired by him
for his collection, but he continued obstinate. I told him, therefore,
that, as I was acquainted with his inclination to perform a generous
action, I would, instead of payment for the pictures, indicate a person
deserving his assistance. I mentioned the old Duchesse de ------, who is
seventy-four years of age and blind; and, after possessing in her youth
an income of eight hundred thousand livres--is now, in her old age,
almost destitute. He did for this worthy lady more than I expected; but
happening, in his visits to relieve my friend, to cast his eye on the
daughter of the landlady where she lodged, he found means to prevail on
the simplicity of the poor girl, and seduced her. So much do I know
personally of Lucien Bonaparte, who certainly is a composition of good
and bad qualities, but which of them predominate I will not take upon me
to decide. This I can affirm--Lucien is not the worst member of the
Bonaparte family.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--As long as Austria ranks among independent nations, Bonaparte
will take care not to offend or alarm the ambition and interest of
Prussia by incorporating the Batavian Republic with the other provinces
of his Empire. Until that period, the Dutch must continue (as they have
been these last ten years) under the appellation of allies, oppressed
like subjects and plundered like foes. Their mock sovereignty will
continue to weigh heavier on them than real servitude does on their
Belgic and Flemish neighbours, because Frederick the Great pointed out
to his successors the Elbe and the Tegel as the natural borders of the
Prussian monarchy, whenever the right bank of the Rhine should form the
natural frontiers of the kingdom of France.

That during the present summer a project for a partition treaty of
Holland has by the Cabinet of St. Cloud been laid before the Cabinet of
Berlin is a fact, though disseminated only as a rumour by the secret
agents of Talleyrand. Their object was on this, as on all previous
occasions when any names, rights, or liberties of people were intended to
be erased from among the annals of independence, to sound the ground, and
to prepare by such rumours the mind of the public for another outrage and
another overthrow. But Prussia, as well as France, knows the value of a
military and commercial navy, and that to obtain it good harbours and
navigable rivers are necessary, and therefore, as well as from principles
of justice, perhaps, declined the acceptance of a plunder, which, though
tempting, was contrary to the policy of the House of Brandenburgh.

According to a copy circulated among the members of our diplomatic corps,
this partition treaty excluded Prussia from all the Batavian seaports
except Delfzig, and those of the river Ems, but gave her extensive
territories on the side of Guelderland, and a rich country in Friesland.
Had it been acceded to by the Court of Berlin, with the annexed condition
of a defensive and offensive alliance with the Court of St. Cloud, the
Prussian monarchy would, within half a century, have been swallowed up in
the same gulf with the Batavian Commonwealth and the Republic of Poland;
and by some future scheme of some future Bonaparte or Talleyrand, be
divided in its turn, and serve as a pledge of reconciliation or
inducement of connection between some future rulers of the French and
Russian Empires.

Talleyrand must, indeed, have a very mean opinion of the capacity of the
Prussian Ministers, or a high notion of his own influence over them, if
he was serious in this overture. For my part, I am rather inclined to
think that it was merely thrown out to discover whether Frederick William
III. had entered into any engagement contrary to the interest of
Napoleon the First; or to allure His Prussian Majesty into a negotiation
which would suspend, or at least interfere with, those supposed to be
then on the carpet with Austria, Russia, or perhaps even with England.

The late Batavian Government had, ever since the beginning of the present
war with England, incurred the displeasure of Bonaparte. When it
apprehended a rupture from the turn which the discussion respecting the
occupation of Malta assumed, the Dutch Ambassadors at St. Petersburg and
Berlin were ordered to demand the interference of these two Cabinets for
the preservation of the neutrality of Holland, which your country had
promised to acknowledge, if respected by France. No sooner was Bonaparte
informed of this step, than he marched troops into the heart of the
Batavian Republic, and occupied its principal forts, ports, and arsenals.
When, some time afterwards, Count Markof received instructions from his
Court, according to the desire of the Batavian Directory, and demanded,
in consequence, an audience from Bonaparte, a map was laid before him,
indicating the position of the French troops in Holland, and plans of the
intended encampment of our army of England on the coast of Flanders and
France; and he was asked whether he thought it probable that our
Government would assent to a neutrality so injurious to its offensive
operations against Great Britain.

"But," said the Russian Ambassador, "the independence of Holland has been
admitted by you in formal treaties."

"So has the cession of Malta by England," interrupted Bonaparte, with

"True," replied Markof, "but you are now at war with England for this
point; while Holland, against which you have no complaint, has not only
been invaded by your troops, but, contrary both to its inclination and
interest, involved in a war with you, by which it has much to lose and
nothing to gain."

"I have no account to render to anybody for my transactions, and I desire
to hear nothing more on this subject," said Bonaparte, retiring furious,
and leaving Markof to meditate on our Sovereign's singular principles of
political justice and of 'jus pentium'.

From that period Bonaparte resolved on another change of the executive
power of the Batavian Republic. But it was more easy to displace one set
of men for another than to find proper ones to occupy a situation in
which, if they do their duty as patriots, they must offend France; and if
they are our tools, instead of the independent governors of their
country, they must excite a discontent among their fellow citizens,
disgracing themselves as individuals, and exposing themselves as chief
magistrates to the fate of the De Witts, should ever fortune forsake our
arms or desert Bonaparte.

No country has of late been less productive of great men than Holland.
The Van Tromps, the Russel, and the William III. all died without
leaving any posterity behind them; and the race of Batavian heroes seems
to have expired with them, as that of patriots with the De, Witts and
Barneveldt. Since the beginning of the last century we read, indeed, of
some able statesmen, as most, if not all, the former grand pensionaries
have been; but the name of no warrior of any great eminence is recorded.
This scarcity, of native genius and valour has not a little contributed
to the present humbled, disgraced, and oppressed state of wretched

Admiral de Winter certainly neither wants courage nor genius, but his
private character has a great resemblance to that of General Moreau.
Nature has destined him to obey, and not to govern. He may direct as
ably and as valiantly the manoeuvres of a fleet as Moreau does those of
an army, but neither the one nor the other at the head of his nation
would render himself respected, his country flourishing, or his
countrymen happy and tranquil.

Destined from his youth for the navy, Admiral de Winter entered into the
naval service of his country before he was fourteen, and was a second
lieutenant when the Batavian patriots, in rebellion against the
Stadtholder, were, in 1787, reduced to submission by the Duke of
Brunswick, the commander of the Prussian army that invaded Holland. His
parents and family being of the anti-Orange party, he emigrated to
France, where he was made an officer in the legion of Batavian refugees.
During the campaign of 1793 and 1794, he so much distinguished himself
under that competent judge of merit, Pichegru, that this commander
obtained for him the commission of a general of brigade in the service of
the French; which, after the conquest of Holland in January, 1795, was
exchanged for the rank of a vice-admiral of the Batavian Republic. His
exploits as commander of the Dutch fleet, during the battle of the 11th
of October, 1797, with your fleet, under Lord Duncan, I have heard
applauded even in your presence, when in your country. Too honest to be
seduced, and too brave to be intimidated, he is said to have incurred
Bonaparte's hatred by resisting both his offers and his threats, and
declining to sell his own liberty as well as to betray the liberty of his
fellow subjects. When, in 1800, Bonaparte proposed to him the presidency
and consulate of the United States, for life, on condition that he should
sign a treaty, which made him a vassal of France, he refused, with
dignity and with firmness, and preferred retirement to a supremacy so
dishonestly acquired, and so dishonourably occupied.

General Daendels, another Batavian revolutionist of some notoriety, from
an attorney became a lieutenant-colonel, and served as a spy under
Dumouriez in the winter of 1792 and in the spring of 1793. Under
Pichegru he was made a general, and exhibited those talents in the field
which are said to have before been displayed in the forum. In June,
1795, he was made a lieutenant-general of the Batavian Republic, and he
was the commander-in-chief of the Dutch troops combating in 1799 your
army under the Duke of York. In this place he did not much distinguish
himself, and the issue of the contest was entirely owing to our troops
and to our generals.

After the Peace of Amiens, observing that Bonaparte intended to
annihilate instead of establishing universal liberty, Daendels gave in
his resignation and retired to obscurity, not wishing to be an instrument
of tyranny, after having so long fought for freedom. Had he possessed
the patriotism of a Brutus or a Cato, he would have bled or died for his
cause and country sooner than have deserted them both; or had the
ambition and love of glory of a Caesar held a place in his bosom, he
would have attempted to be the chief of his country, and by generosity
and clemency atone, if possible, for the loss of liberty. Upon the line
of baseness,--the deserter is placed next to the traitor.

Dumonceau, another Batavian general of some publicity, is not by birth a
citizen of the United States, but was born at Brussels in 1758, and was
by profession a stonemason when, in 1789, he joined, as a volunteer, the
Belgian insurgents. After their dispersion in 1790 he took refuge and
served in France, and was made an officer in the corps of Belgians,
formed after the declaration of war against Austria in 1792. Here he
frequently distinguished himself, and was, therefore, advanced to the
rank of a general; but the Dutch general officers being better paid than
those of the French Republic, he was, with the permission of our
Directory, received, in 1795, as a lieutenant-general of the Batavian
Republic. He has often evinced bravery, but seldom great capacity. His
natural talents are considered as but indifferent, and his education is

These are the only three military characters who might, with any prospect
of success, have tried to play the part of a Napoleon Bonaparte in


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--Not to give umbrage to the Cabinet of Berlin, Bonaparte
communicated to it the necessity he was under of altering the form of
Government in Holland, and, if report be true, even condescended to ask
advice concerning a chief magistrate for that country. The young Prince
of Orange, brother-in-law of His Prussian Majesty, naturally presented
himself; but, after some time, Talleyrand's agents discovered that great
pecuniary sacrifices could not be expected from that quarter, and perhaps
less submission to France experienced than from the former governors.
An eye was then cast on the Elector of Bavaria, whose past patriotism,
as well as that of his Ministers, was a full guarantee for future
obedience. Had he consented to such an arrangement, Austria might have
aggrandized herself on the Inn, Prussia in Franconia, and France in
Italy; and the present bone of contest would have been chiefly removed.

This intrigue, for it was nothing else, was carried on by the Cabinet of
St. Cloud in March, 1804, about the time that Germany was invaded and the
Duc d'Enghien seized. This explains to you the reason why the Russian
note, delivered to the Diet of Ratisbon on the 8th of the following May,
was left without any support, except the ineffectual one from the King of
Sweden. How any Cabinet could be dupe enough to think Bonaparte serious,
or the Elector of Bavaria so weak as to enter into his schemes,
is difficult to be conceived, had not Europe witnessed still greater
credulity on one side, and still greater effrontery on the other.

In the meantime Bonaparte grew every day more discontented with the
Batavian Directory, and more irritated against the members who composed
it. Against his regulations for excluding the commerce and productions
of your country, they resented with spirit instead of obeying them
without murmur as was required. He is said to have discovered, after his
own soldiers had forced the custom-house officers to obey his orders,
that, while in their proclamations the directors publicly prohibited the
introduction of British goods, some of them were secret insurers of this
forbidden merchandise, introduced by fraud and by smuggling; and that
while they officially wished for the success of the French arms and
destruction of England, they withdrew by stealth what property they had
in the French funds, to place it in the English. This refractory and,
as Bonaparte called it, mercantile spirit, so enraged him, that he had
already signed an order for arresting and transferring en masse his high
allies, the Batavian directors, to his Temple, when the representations
of Talleyrand moderated his fury, and caused the order to be recalled,
which Fouche was ready to execute.

Had Jerome Bonaparte not offended his brother by his transatlantic
marriage, he would long ago have been the Prince Stadtholder of Holland;
but his disobedience was so far useful to the Cabinet of St. Cloud as it
gave it an opportunity of intriguing with, or deluding, other Cabinets
that might have any pretensions to interfere in the regulation of the
Batavian Government. By the choice finally made, you may judge how
difficult it was to find a suitable subject to represent it, and that
this representation is intended only to be temporary.

Schimmelpenninck, the present grand pensionary of the Batavian Republic,
was destined by his education for the bar, but by his natural parts to
await in quiet obscurity the end of a dull existence. With some
property, little information, and a tolerably good share of common sense,
he might have lived and died respected, and even regretted, without any
pretension, or perhaps even ambition, to shine. The anti-Orange faction,
to which his parents and family appertained, pushed him forward, and
elected him, in 1795, a member of the First Batavian National Convention,
where, according to the spirit of the times, his speeches were rather
those of a demagogue than those of a Republican. Liberty, Equality, and
Fraternity were the constant themes of his political declamations,
infidelity his religious profession, and the examples of immorality, his
social lessons; so rapid and dangerous are the strides with which
seduction frequently advances on weak minds.

In 1800 he was appointed an Ambassador to Napoleon Bonaparte and Charles
Maurice Talleyrand. The latter used him as a stockbroker, and the former
for anything he thought proper; and he was the humble and submissive
valet of both. More ignorant than malicious, and a greater fool than a
rogue, he was more laughed at and despised than trusted or abused.

His patience being equal to his phlegm, nothing either moved or
confounded him; and he was, as Talleyrand remarked, "a model of an
Ambassador, according to which he and Bonaparte wished that all other
independent Princes and States would choose their representatives to the
French Government."

When our Minister and his Sovereign were discussing the difficulty of
properly filling up the vacancy, of the Dutch Government, judged
necessary by both, the former mentioned Schimmelpenninck with a smile;
and serious as Bonaparte commonly is, he could not help laughing.
"I should have been less astonished," said he, "had you proposed my
Mameluke, Rostan."

This rebuke did not deter Talleyrand (who had settled his terms with
Schimmelpenninck) from continuing to point out the advantage which France
would derive from this nomination. "Because no man could easier be
directed when in office, and no man easier turned out of office when
disagreeable or unnecessary. Both as a Batavian plenipotentiary at
Amiens, and as Batavian Ambassador in England, he had proved himself as
obedient and submissive to France as when in the same capacity at Paris."

By returning often to the charge, with these and other remarks,
Talleyrand at last accustomed Bonaparte to the idea, which had once
appeared so humiliating, of writing to a man so much inferior in
everything, "Great and dear Friend!" and therefore said to the Minister:

"Well! let us then make him a grand pensionary and a locum tenens for
five years; or until Jerome, when he repents, returns to his duty, and is

"Is he, then, not to be a grand pensionary for life?" asked Talleyrand;
"whether for one month or for life, he would be equally obedient to
resign when, commanded; but the latter would be more popular in Holland,
where they were tired of so many changes."

"Let them complain, if they dare," replied Bonaparte. "Schimmelpenninck
is their chief magistrate only for five years, if so long; but you may
add that they may reelect him."

It was not before Talleyrand had compared the pecuniary proposal made to
his agents by foreign Princes with those of Schimmelpenninck to himself,
that the latter obtained the preference. The exact amount of the
purchase-money for the supreme magistracy in Holland is not well known to
any but the contracting parties. Some pretended that the whole was paid
down beforehand, being advanced by a society of merchants at Amsterdam,
the friends or relatives of the grand pensionary; others, that it is to
be paid by annual instalments of two millions of livres--for a certain
number of years. Certain it is, that this high office was sold and
bought; and that, had it been given for life, its value would have been
proportionately enhanced; which was the reason that Talleyrand
endeavoured to have it thus established.

Talleyrand well knew the precarious state of Schimmelpenninck's grandeur;
that it not only depended upon the whim of Napoleon, but had long been
intended as an hereditary sovereignty for Jerome. Another Dutchman asked
him not to ruin his friend and his family for what he was well aware
could never be called a sinecure place, and was so precarious in its
tenure. "Foolish vanity," answered the Minister, "can never pay enough
for the gratification of its desires. All the Schimmelpennincks in the
world do not possess property enough to recompense me for the sovereign
honours which I have procured for one of their name and family, were he
deposed within twenty-four hours. What treasures can indemnify me for
connecting such a name and such a personage with the great name of the
First Emperor of the French?"

I have only twice in my life been in Schimmelpenninck's company, and I
thought him both timid and reserved; but from what little he said,
I could not possibly judge of his character and capacity. His portrait
and its accompaniments have been presented to me; such as delivered to
you by one of his countrymen, a Mr. M---- (formerly an Ambassador also),
who was both his schoolfellow and his comrade at the university. I shall
add the following traits, in his own words as near as possible:

"More vain than ambitious, Schimmelpenninck from his youth, and,
particularly, from his entrance into public life, tried every means to
make a noise, but found none to make a reputation. He caressed in
succession all the systems of the French Revolution, without adopting one
for himself. All the Kings of faction received in their turns his homage
and felicitations. It was impossible to mention to him a man of any
notoriety, of whom he did not become immediately a partisan. The virtues
or the vices, the merit or defects, of the individual were of no
consideration; according to his judgment it was sufficient to be famous.
Yet with all the extravagances of a head filled with paradoxes, and of a
heart spoiled by modern philosophy, added to a habit of licentiousness,
he had no idea of becoming an instrument for the destruction of liberty
in his own country, much less of becoming its tyrant, in submitting to be
the slave of France. It was but lately that he took the fancy, after so
long admiring all other great men of our age, to be at any rate one of
their number, and of being admired as a great man in his turn. On this
account many accuse him of hypocrisy, but no one deserves that
appellation less, his vanity and exaltation never permitting him to
dissimulate; and no presumption, therefore, was less disguised than his,
to those who studied the man. Without acquired ability, without natural
genius, or political capacity, destitute of discretion and address, as
confident and obstinate as ignorant, he is only elevated to fall and to
rise no more."

Madame Schimmelpenninck, I was informed, is as amiable and accomplished
as her husband is awkward and deficient; though well acquainted with his
infidelities and profligacy, she is too virtuous to listen to revenge,
and too generous not to forgive. She is, besides, said to be a lady of
uncommon abilities, and of greater information than she chooses to
display. She has never been the worshipper of Bonaparte, or the friend
of Talleyrand; she loved her country, and detested its tyrants. Had she
been created a grand pensionary, she would certainly have swayed with
more glory than her husband; and been hailed by contemporaries, as well
as posterity, if not a heroine, at least a patriot,--a title which in our
times, though often prostituted, so few have any claim to, and which,
therefore, is so much the more valuable.

When it was known at Paris that Schimmelpenninck had set out for his new
sovereignty, no less than sixteen girls of the Palais Royal demanded
passes for Holland. Being questioned by Fouche as to their business in
that country, they answered that they intended to visit their friend, the
grand pensionary, in his new dominions. Fouche communicated to
Talleyrand both their demands and their business, and asked his advice.
He replied:

"Send two, and those of whose vigilance and intelligence you are sure.
Refuse, by all means, the other fourteen. Schimmelpenninck's time is
precious, and were they at the Hague, he would neglect everything for
them. If they are fond of travelling, and are handsome and adroit,
advise them to set out for London or for St. Petersburg; and if they
consent, order them to my office, and they shall be supplied, if approved
of, both with instructions, and with their travelling expenses."

Fouche answered his colleague that "they were in every respect the very
reverse of his description; they seemed to have passed their lives in the
lowest stage of infamy, and they could neither read nor write." You have
therefore, no reason to fear that these belles will be sent to
disseminate corruption in your happy island.


As confident and obstinate as ignorant
Bonaparte and his wife go now every morning to hear Mass
Distinguished for their piety or rewarded for their flattery
Extravagances of a head filled with paradoxes
Forced military men to kneel before priests
Indifference about futurity
Military diplomacy
More vain than ambitious
Nature has destined him to obey, and not to govern
One of the negative accomplices of the criminal
Promises of impostors or fools to delude the ignorant
Salaries as the men, under the name of washerwomen
"This is the age of upstarts," said Talleyrand
Thought at least extraordinary, even by our friends


Being Secret Letters from a Gentleman at Paris to a Nobleman in London



PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--The Italian subjects of Napoleon the First were far from
displaying the same zeal and the same gratitude for his paternal care and
kindness in taking upon himself the trouble of governing them, as we good
Parisians have done. Notwithstanding that a brigade of our police agents
and spies, drilled for years to applaud and to excite enthusiasm,
proceeded as his advanced guard to raise the public spirit, the
reception at Milan was cold and everything else but cordial and pleasing.
The absence of duty did not escape his observation and resentment.
Convinced, in his own mind, of the great blessing, prosperity, and
liberty his victories and sovereignty have conferred on the inhabitants
of the other side of the Alps, he ascribed their present passive or
mutinous behaviour to the effect of foreign emissaries from Courts
envious of his glory and jealous of his authority.

He suspected particularly England and Russia of having selected this
occasion of a solemnity that would complete his grandeur to humble his
just pride. He also had some idea within himself that even Austria might
indirectly have dared to influence the sentiments and conduct of her
ci-devant subjects of Lombardy; but his own high opinion of the awe which
his very name inspired at Vienna dispersed these thoughts, and his wrath
fell entirely on the audacity of Pitt and Markof. Strict orders were
therefore issued to the prefects and commissaries of police to watch
vigilantly all foreigners and strangers, who might have arrived, or who
should arrive, to witness the ceremony of the coronation, and to arrest
instantly any one who should give the least reason to suppose that he was
an enemy instead of an admirer of His Imperial and Royal Majesty. He
also commanded the prefects of his palace not to permit any persons to
approach his sacred person, of whose morality and politics they had not
previously obtained a good account.

These great measures of security were not entirely unnecessary.
Individual vengeance and individual patriotism sharpened their daggers,
and, to use Senator Roederer's language, "were near transforming the most
glorious day of rejoicing into a day of universal mourning."

All our writers on the Revolution agree that in France, within the first
twelve years after we had reconquered our lost liberty, more conspiracies
have been denounced than during the six centuries of the most brilliant
epoch of ancient and free Rome. These facts and avowals are speaking
evidences of the eternal tranquillity of our unfortunate country, of our
affection to our rulers, and of the unanimity with which all the changes
of Government have been, notwithstanding our printed votes, received and

The frequency of conspiracies not only shows the discontent of the
governed, but the insecurity and instability of the governors. This
truth has not escaped Napoleon, who has, therefore, ordered an
expeditious and secret justice to despatch instantly the conspirators,
and to bury the conspiracy in oblivion, except when any grand coup d'etat
is to be struck; or, to excite the passions of hatred, any proofs can be
found, or must be fabricated, involving an inimical or rival foreign
Government in an odious plot. Since the farce which Mehee de la Touche
exhibited, you have, therefore, not read in the Moniteur either of the
danger our Emperor has incurred several times since from the machinations
of implacable or fanatical foes, or of the alarm these have caused his
partisans. They have, indeed, been hinted at in some speeches of our
public functionaries, and in some paragraphs of our public prints, but
their particulars will remain concealed from historians, unless some one
of those composing our Court, our fashionable, or our political circles,
has taken the trouble of noting them down; but even to these they are but
imperfectly or incorrectly known.

Could the veracity of a Fouche, a Real, a Talleyrand, or a Duroc (the
only members of this new secret and invisible tribunal for expediting
conspirators) be depended upon, they would be the most authentic
annalists of these and other interesting secret occurrences.

What I intend relating to you on this subject are circumstances such as
they have been reported in our best informed societies by our most
inquisitive companions. Truth is certainly the foundation of these
anecdotes; but their parts may be extenuated, diminished, altered, or
exaggerated. Defective or incomplete as they are, I hope you will not
judge them unworthy of a page in a letter, considering the grand
personage they concern, and the mystery with which he and his Government
encompass themselves, or in which they wrap up everything not agreeable
concerning them.

A woman is said to have been at the head of the first plot against
Napoleon since his proclamation as an Emperor of the French. She called
herself Charlotte Encore; but her real name is not known. In 1803 she
lived and had furnished a house at Abbeville, where she passed for a
young widow of property, subsisting on her rents. About the same time
several other strangers settled there; but though she visited the
principal inhabitants, she never publicly had any connection with the

In the summer of 1803, a girl at Amiens--some say a real enthusiast of
Bonaparte's, but, according to others, engaged by Madame Bonaparte to
perform the part she did demanded, upon her knees, in a kind of paroxysm
of joy, the happiness of embracing him, in doing which she fainted, or
pretended to faint away, and a pension of three thousand livres--was
settled on her for her affection.

Madame Encore, at Abbeville, to judge of her discourse and conversation,
was also an ardent friend and well-wisher of the Emperor; and when, in
July, 1804, he passed through Abbeville, on his journey to the coast,
she, also, threw herself at his feet, and declared that she would die
content if allowed the honour of embracing him. To this he was going to
assent, when Duroc stepped between them, seized her by the arm, and
dragged her to an adjoining room, whither Bonaparte, near fainting from
the sudden alarm his friend's interference had occasioned, followed him,
trembling. In the right sleeve of Madame Encore's gown was found a
stiletto, the point of which was poisoned. She was the same day
transported to this capital, under the inspection of Duroc, and
imprisoned in the Temple. In her examination she denied having
accomplices, and she expired on the rack without telling even her name.
The sub-prefect at Abbeville, the once famous Andre Dumont, was ordered
to disseminate a report that she was shut up as insane in a madhouse.

In the strict search made by the police in the house occupied by her, no
papers or any, other indications were discovered that involved other
persons, or disclosed who she was, or what induced her to attempt such a
rash action. Before the secret tribunal she is reported to have said,
"that being convinced of Bonaparte's being one of the greatest criminals
that ever breathed upon the earth, she took upon herself the office of a
volunteer executioner; having, with every other good or loyal person,
a right to punish him whom the law could not, or dared not, reach."
When, however, some repairs were made in the house at Abbeville by a new
tenant, a bundle of papers was found, which proved that a M.
Franquonville, and about thirty, other individuals (many, of whom were
the late newcomers there), had for six months been watching an
opportunity to seize Bonaparte in his journeys between Abbeville and
Montreuil, and to carry him to some part of the coast, where a vessel was
ready to sail for England with him. Had he, however, made resistance,
he would have been shot in France, and his assassins have saved
themselves in the vessel.

The numerous escort that always, since he was an Emperor, accompanied
him, and particularly his concealment of the days of his journeys,
prevented the execution of this plot; and Madame Encore, therefore, took
upon her to sacrifice herself for what she thought the welfare of her
country. How Duroc suspected or discovered her intent is not known; some
say that an anonymous letter informed him of it, while others assert
that, in throwing herself at Bonaparte's feet, this prefect observed the
steel through the sleeve of her muslin gown. Most of her associates were
secretly executed; some, however, were carried to Boulogne and shot at
the head of the army of England as English spies.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--After the discovery of Charlotte Encore's attempt, Bonaparte,
who hitherto had flattered himself that he possessed the good wishes, if
not the affection, of his female subjects, made a regulation according to
which no women who had not previously given in their names to the
prefects of his palaces, and obtained previous permission, can approach
his person or throw themselves at his feet, without incurring his
displeasure, and even arrest. Of this Imperial decree, ladies, both of
the capital and of the provinces, when he travels, are officially
informed. Notwithstanding this precaution, he was a second time last
spring, at Lyons, near falling the victim of the vengeance or malice of a

In his journey to be crowned King of Italy, he occupied his uncle's
episcopal palace at Lyons during the forty-eight hours he remained there.
Most of the persons of both sexes composing the household of Cardinal
Fesch were from his own country, Corsica; among these was one of the name
of Pauline Riotti, who inspected the economy of the kitchens. It is
Bonaparte's custom to take a dish of chocolate in the forenoon, which
she, on the morning of his departure, against her custom, but under
pretence of knowing the taste of the family, desired to prepare. One of
the cooks observed that she mixed it with something from her pocket, but,
without saying a word to her that indicated suspicion, he warned
Bonaparte, in a note, delivered to a page, to be upon his guard. When
the chamberlain carried in the chocolate,. Napoleon ordered the person
who had prepared it to be brought before him. This being told Pauline,
she fainted away, after having first drunk the remaining contents of the
chocolate pot. Her convulsions soon indicated that she was poisoned,
and, notwithstanding the endeavours of Bonaparte's physician, Corvisart,
she expired within an hour; protesting that her crime was an act of
revenge against Napoleon, who had seduced her, when young, under a
promise of marriage; but who, since his elevation, had not only neglected
her, but reduced her to despair by refusing an honest support for herself
and her child, sufficient to preserve her from the degradation of
servitude. Cardinal Fesch received a severe reprimand for admitting
among his domestics individuals with whose former lives he was not better
acquainted, and the same day he dismissed every Corsican in his service.
The cook was, with the reward of a pension, made a member of the Legion
of Honour, and it was given out by Corvisart that Pauline died insane.

Within three weeks after this occurrence, Bonaparte was, at Milan, again
exposed to an imminent danger. According to his commands, the vigilance
of the police had been very strict, and even severe. All strangers who
could not give the most satisfactory account of themselves, had either
been sent out of the country, or were imprisoned. He never went out
unless strongly attended, and during his audiences the most trusty
officers always surrounded him; these precautions increased in proportion
as the day of his coronation approached. On the morning of that day,
about nine o'clock, when full dressed in his Imperial and royal robes,
and all the grand officers of State by his side, a paper was delivered to
him by his chamberlain, Talleyrand, a nephew of the Minister. The
instant he had read it, he flew into the arms of Berthier, exclaiming:
"My friend, I am betrayed; are you among the number of conspirators?
Jourdan, Lasnes, Mortier, Bessieres, St. Cyr, are you also forsaking your
friend and benefactor?" They all instantly encompassed him, begging that
be would calm himself; that they all were what they always had been,
dutiful and faithful subjects. "But read this paper from my prefect,
Salmatoris; he says that if I move a step I may cease to live, as the
assassins are near me, as well as before me."

The commander of his guard then entered with fifty grenadiers, their
bayonets fixed, carrying with them a prisoner, who pointed out four
individuals not far from Bonaparte's person, two of whom were Italian
officers of the Royal Italian Guard, and two were dressed in Swiss
uniforms. They were all immediately seized, and at their feet were found
three daggers. One of those in Swiss regimentals exclaimed, before he
was taken: "Tremble, tyrant of my country! Thousands of the descendants
of William Tell have, with me, sworn your destruction. You, escape this
day, but the just vengeance of outraged humanity follows you like your
shade. Depend upon it an untimely end is irremediably reserved you." So
saying, he pierced his heart and fell a corpse into the arms of the
grenadiers who came to arrest him.

This incident suspended the procession to the cathedral for an hour,
when Berthier announced that the conspirators were punished. Bonaparte
evinced on this occasion the same absence of mind and of courage as on
the 9th of November, 1799, when Arena and other deputies drew their
daggers against him at St. Cloud. As this scene did not redound much to
the honour of the Emperor and King, all mention of the conspiracy was
severely prohibited, and the deputations ready to congratulate him on his
escape were dispersed to attend their other duties.

The conspirators are stated to have been four young men, who had lost
their parents and fortunes by the Revolutions effected by Bonaparte in
Italy and Switzerland, and who had sworn fidelity to each other, and to
avenge their individual wrongs with the injuries of their countries at
the same time. They were all prepared and resigned to die, expecting to
be cut to pieces the moment Bonaparte fell by their hands; but one of the
Italians, rather superstitious, had, before he went to the drawing-room,
confessed and received absolution from a priest, whom he knew to be an
enemy of Bonaparte; but the priest, in hope of reward, disclosed the
conspiracy to the master of ceremonies, Salmatoris. The three surviving
conspirators are said to have been literally torn to pieces by the
engines of torture, and the priest was shot for having given absolution
to an assassin, and for having concealed his knowledge of the plot an
hour after he was acquainted with it. Even Salmatoris had some
difficulty to avoid being disgraced for having written a terrifying note,
which had exposed the Emperor's weakness, and shown that his life was
dearer to him at the head of Empires than when only at the head of

My narrative of this event I have from an officer present, whose veracity
I can guarantee. He also informed me that, in consequence of it, all the
officers of the Swiss brigades in the French service that were quartered
or encamped in Italy were, to the number of near fifty, dismissed at
once. Of the Italian guards, every officer who was known to have
suffered any losses by the new order of things in his country, was
ordered to resign, if he would not enter into the regiments of the line.

Whatever the police agents did to prevent it, and in spite of some unjust
and cruel chastisement, Bonaparte continued, during his stay in Italy,
an object of ridicule in conversation, as well as in pamphlets and
caricatures. One of these represented him in the ragged garb of a sans-
culotte, pale and trembling on his knees, with bewildered looks and his
hair standing upright on his head like pointed horns, tearing the map of
the world to pieces, and, to save his life, offering each of his generals
a slice, who in return regarded him with looks of contempt mixed with

I have just heard of a new plot, or rather a league against Bonaparte's
ambition. At its head the Generals Jourdan, Macdonald, Le Courbe, and
Dessolles are placed, though many less victorious generals and officers,
civil as well as military, are reported to be its members. Their object
is not to remove or displace Bonaparte as an Emperor of the French; on
the contrary, they offer their lives to strengthen his authority and to
resist his enemies; but they ask and advise him to renounce, for himself,
for his relations, and for France, all possessions on the Italian side of
the Alps, as the only means to establish a permanent peace, and to avoid
a war with other States, whose safety is endangered by our great
encroachments. A mutinous kind of address to this effect has been sent
to the camp of Boulogne and to all other encampments of our troops, that
those generals and other military persons there, who chose, might both
see the object and the intent of the associates. It is reported that
Bonaparte ordered it to be burnt by the hands of the common executioner
at Boulogne; that sixteen officers there who had subscribed their names
in appropriation of the address were broken, and dismissed with disgrace;
that Jourdan is deprived of his command in Italy, and ordered to render
an account of his conduct to the Emperor. Dessolles is also said to be
dismissed, and with Macdonald, Le Courbe, and eighty-four others of His
Majesty's subjects, whose names appeared under the remonstrance (or
petition, as some call it), exiled to different departments of this
country, where they are to expect their Sovereign's further
determination, and, in the meantime, remain under the inspection and
responsibility of his constituted authorities and commissaries of police.
As it is as dangerous to inquire as to converse on this and other
subjects, which the mysterious policy of our Government condemns to
silence or oblivion, I have not yet been able to gather any more or
better information concerning this league, or unconstitutional opposition
to the executive power; but as I am intimate with one of the actors,
should he have an opportunity, he will certainly write to me at full
length, and be very explicit.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--I believe I have before remarked that, under the Government of
Bonaparte, causes relatively the most insignificant have frequently
produced effects of the greatest consequence. A capricious or whimsical
character, swaying with unlimited power, is certainly the most dangerous
guardian of the prerogatives of sovereignty, as well as of the rights and
liberties of the people. That Bonaparte is as vain and fickle as a
coquette, as obstinate as a mule, and equally audacious and unrelenting,
every one who has witnessed his actions or meditated on his transactions
must be convinced. The least opposition irritates his pride, and he
determines and commands, in a moment of impatience or vivacity, what may
cause the misery of millions for ages, and, perhaps, his own repentance
for years.

When Bonaparte was officially informed by his Ambassador at Vienna, the
young La Rochefoucauld, that the Emperor of Germany had declined being
one of his grand officers of the Legion of Honour, he flew into a rage,
and used against this Prince the most gross, vulgar, and unbecoming
language. I have heard it said that he went so far as to say, "Well,
Francis II. is tired of reigning. I hope to have strength enough to
carry a third crown. He who dares refuse to be and continue my equal,
shall soon, as a vassal, think himself honoured with the regard which, as
a master, I may condescend, from compassion, to bestow on him." Though
forty-eight hours had elapsed after this furious sally before he met with
the Austrian Ambassador, Count Von Cobenzl, his passion was still so
furious, that, observing his grossness and violence, all the members of
the diplomatic corps trembled, both for this their respected member, and
for the honour of our nation thus represented.

When the diplomatic audience was over, he said to Talleyrand, in a
commanding and harsh tone of voice, in the presence of all his aides-de-
camp and generals:

"Write this afternoon, by an extraordinary courier, to my Minister at
Genoa, Salicetti, to prepare the Doge and the people for the immediate
incorporation of the Ligurian Republic with my Empire. Should Austria
dare to murmur, I shall, within three months, also incorporate the
ci-devant Republic of Venice with my Kingdom of Italy!"

"But--but--Sire!" uttered the Minister, trembling.

"There exists no 'but,' and I will listen to no 'but,'" interrupted His
Majesty. "Obey my orders without further discussions. Should Austria
dare to arm, I shall, before next Christmas, make Vienna the headquarters
of a fiftieth military division. In an hour I expect you with the
despatches ready for Salicetti."

This Salicetti is a Corsican of a respectable family, born at Bastia, in
1758, and it was he who, during the siege of Toulon in 1793, introduced
his countryman, Napoleon Bonaparte, his present Sovereign, to the
acquaintance of Barras, an occurrence which has since produced
consequences so terribly notorious.

Before the Revolution an advocate of the superior council of Corsica, he
was elected a member to the First National Assembly, where, on the 30th
of November, 1789, he pressed the decree which declared the Island of
Corsica an integral part of the French monarchy. In 1792, he was sent by
his fellow citizens as a deputy to the National Convention, where he
joined the terrorist faction, and voted for the death of his King. In
May, 1793, he was in Corsica, and violently opposed the partisans of
General Paoli. Obliged to make his escape in August from that island, to
save himself, he joined the army of General Carteaux, then marching
against the Marseilles insurgents, whence he was sent by the National
Convention with Barras, Gasparin, Robespierre the younger, and Ricrod, as
a representative of the people, to the army before Toulon, where, as well
as at Marseilles, he shared in all the atrocities committed by his
colleagues and by Bonaparte; for which, after the death of the
Robespierres, he was arrested with him as a terrorist.

He had not known Bonaparte much in Corsica, but, finding him and his
family in great distress, with all other Corsican refugees, and observing
his adroitness as a captain of artillery, he recommended him to Barras,
and upon their representation to the Committee of Public Safety, he was
promoted to a chef de brigade, or colonel. In 1796, when Barras gave
Bonaparte the command of the army of Italy, Salicetti was appointed a
Commissary of Government to the same army, and in that capacity behaved
with the greatest insolence towards all the Princes of Italy, and most so
towards the Duke of Modena, with whom he and Bonaparte signed a treaty of
neutrality, for which they received a large sum in ready money; but
shortly afterwards the duchy was again invaded, and an attempt made to
surprise and seize the Duke. In 1797 he was chosen a member of the
Council of Five Hundred, where he always continued a supporter of violent

When, in 1799, his former protege, Bonaparte, was proclaimed a First
Consul, Salicetti desired to be placed in the Conservative Senate; but
his familiarity displeased Napoleon, who made him first a commercial
agent, and afterwards a Minister to the Ligurian Republic, so as to keep
him at a distance. During his several missions, he has amassed a
fortune, calculated, at the lowest, of six millions of livres.

The order Salicetti received to prepare the incorporation of Genoa with
France, would not, without the presence of our troops, have been very
easy to execute, particularly as he, six months before, had prevailed on
the Doge and the Senate to resign all sovereignty to Lucien Bonaparte,
under the title of a Grand Duke of Genoa.

The cause of Napoleon's change of opinion with regard to his brother
Lucien, was that the latter would not separate from a wife he loved, but
preferred domestic happiness to external splendour frequently accompanied
with internal misery. So that this act of incorporation of the Ligurian
Republic, in fact, originated, notwithstanding the great and deep
calculations of our profound politicians and political schemers, in
nothing else but in the keeping of a wife, and in the refusal of a

That corruption, seduction, and menaces seconded the intrigues and
bayonets which convinced the Ligurian Government of the honour and
advantage of becoming subjects of Bonaparte, I have not the least doubt;
but that the Doge, Girolamo Durazzo, and the senators Morchio, Maglione,
Travega, Maghella, Roggieri, Taddei, Balby, and Langlade sold the
independence of their country for ten millions of livres--though it has
been positively asserted, I can hardly believe; and, indeed, money was as
little necessary as resistance would have been unavailing, all the forts
and strong positions being in the occupation of our troops. A general
officer present when the Doge of Genoa, at the head of the Ligurian
deputation, offered Bonaparte their homage at Milan, and exchanged
liberty for bondage, assured me that this ci-devant chief magistrate
spoke with a faltering voice and with tears in his eyes, and that
indignation was read on the countenance of every member of the deputation
thus forced to prostitute their rights as citizens, and to vilify their
sentiments as patriots.

When Salicetti, with his secretary, Milhaud, had arranged this honourable
affair, they set out from Genoa to announce to Bonaparte, at Milan, their
success. Not above a league from the former city their carriage was
stopped, their persons stripped, and their papers and effects seized by a
gang, called in the country the gang of PATRIOTIC ROBBERS, commanded by
Mulieno. This chief is a descendant of a good Genoese family, proscribed
by France, and the men under him are all above the common class of
people. They never commit any murders, nor do they rob any but
Frenchmen, or Italians known to be adherents of the French party. Their
spoils they distribute among those of their countrymen who, like
themselves, have suffered from the revolutions in Italy within these last
nine years. They usually send the amount destined to relieve these
persons to the curates of the several parishes, signifying in what manner
it is to be employed. Their conduct has procured them many friends among
the low and the poor, and, though frequently pursued by our gendarmes,
they have hitherto always escaped. The papers captured by them on this
occasion from Salicetti are said to be of a most curious nature, and
throw great light on Bonaparte's future views of Italy. The original act
of consent of the Ligurian Government to the incorporation with France
was also in this number. It is reported that they were deposited with
the Austrian Minister at Genoa, who found means to forward them to his
Court; and it is supposed that their contents did not a little to hasten
the present movements of the Emperor of Germany.

Another gang, known under the appellation of the PATRIOTIC AVENGERS, also
desolates the Ligurian Republic. They never rob, but always murder those
whom they consider as enemies of their country. Many of our officers,
and even our sentries on duty, have been wounded or killed by them; and,
after dark, therefore, no Frenchman dares walk out unattended. Their
chief is supposed to be a ci-devant Abbe, Sagati, considered a political
as well as a religious fanatic. In consequence of the deeds of these
patriotic avengers, Bonaparte's first act, as a Sovereign of Liguria, was
the establishment of special military commissions, and a law prohibiting,
under pain of death, every person from carrying arms who could not show a
written permission of our commissary of police. Robbers and assassins
are, unfortunately, common to all nations, and all people of all ages;
but those of the above description are only the production and progeny of
revolutionary and troublesome times. They pride themselves, instead of
violating the laws, on supplying their inefficacy and counteracting their


PARIS, September, 1805.

MY LORD:--Bonaparte is now the knight of more Royal Orders than any other
Sovereign in Europe, and were he to put them on all at once, their
ribands would form stuff enough for a light summer coat of as many
different colours as the rainbow. The Kings of Spain, of Naples, of
Prussia, of Portugal, and of Etruria have admitted him a knight-
companion, as well as the Electors of Bavaria, Hesse, and Baden, and the
Pope of Rome. In return he has appointed these Princes his grand
officers of HIS Legion of Honour, the highest rank of his newly
instituted Imperial Order. It is even said that some of these Sovereigns
have been honoured by him with the grand star and broad riband of the
Order of His Iron Crown of the Kingdom of Italy.

Before Napoleon's departure for Milan last spring, Talleyrand intimated
to the members of the foreign diplomatic corps here, that their presence
would be agreeable to the Emperor of the French at his coronation at
Milan as a King of Italy. In the preceding summer a similar hint, or
order, had been given by him for a diplomatic trip to Aix-la-Chapelle,
and all Their Excellencies set a-packing instantly; but some legitimate
Sovereigns, having since discovered that it was indecent for their
representatives to be crowding the suite of an insolently and proudly
travelling usurper, under different pretences declined the honour of an
invitation and journey to Italy. It would, besides, have been pleasant
enough to have witnessed the Ambassadors of Austria and Prussia, whose
Sovereigns had not acknowledged Bonaparte's right to his assumed title of
King of Italy, indirectly approving it by figuring at the solemnity which
inaugurated him as such. Of this inconsistency and impropriety
Talleyrand was well aware; but audacity on one side, and endurance and
submission on the other, had so often disregarded these considerations
before, that he saw no indelicacy or impertinence in the proposal. His
master had, however, the gratification to see at his levee, and in his
wife's drawing-room, the Ambassadors of Spain, Naples, Portugal, and
Bavaria, who laid at the Imperial and royal feet the Order decorations of
their own Princes, to the nor little entertainment of His Imperial and
Royal Majesty, and to the great edification of his dutiful subjects on
the other side of the Alps.

The expenses of Bonaparte's journey to Milan, and his coronation there
(including also those of his attendants from France), amounted to no less
a sum than fifteen millions of livres--of which one hundred and fifty
thousand livres--was laid out in fireworks, double that sum in
decorations of the Royal Palace and the cathedral, and three millions of
livres--in presents to different generals, grand officers, deputations,
etc. The poor also shared his bounty; medals to the value of fifty
thousand livres--were thrown out among them on the day of the ceremony,
besides an equal sum given by Madame Napoleon to the hospitals and
orphan-houses. These last have a kind of hereditary or family claim on
the purse of our Sovereign; their parents were the victims of the
Emperor's first step towards glory and grandeur.

Another three millions of livres was expended for the march of troops
from France to form pleasure camps in Italy, and four millions more was
requisite for the forming and support of these encampments during two
months, and the Emperor distributed among the officers and men composing
them two million livres' worth of rings, watches, snuff-boxes, portraits
set with diamonds, stars, and other trinkets, as evidences of His
Majesty's satisfaction with their behaviour, presence, and performances.

These troops were under the command of Bonaparte's Field-marshal,
Jourdan, a general often mentioned in the military annals of our
revolutionary war. During the latter part of the American war, he served
under General Rochambeau as a common soldier, and obtained in 1783, after
the peace, his discharge. He then turned a pedlar, in which situation
the Revolution found him. He had also married, for her fortune, a lame
daughter of a tailor, who brought him a fortune of two thousand livres--
from whom he has since been divorced, leaving her to shift for herself as
she can, in a small milliner's shop at Limoges, where her husband was
born in 1763.

Jourdan was among the first members and pillars of the Jacobin Club
organized in his native town, which procured him rapid promotion in the
National Guards, of whom, in 1792, he was already a colonel. His known
love of liberty and equality induced the Committee of Public Safety, in
1793, to appoint him to the chief command of the armies of Ardennes and
of the North, instead of Lamarche and Houchard. On the 17th of October
the same year, he gained the victory of Wattignies, which obliged the
united forces of Austria, Prussia, and Germany to raise the siege of
Maubeuge. The jealous Republican Government, in reward, deposed him and
appointed Pichegru his successor, which was the origin of that enmity and
malignity with which Jourdan pursued this unfortunate general, even to
his grave. He never forgave Pichegru the acceptance of a command which
he could not decline without risking his life; and when he should have
avenged his disgrace on the real causes of it, he chose to resent it on
him who, like himself, was merely an instrument, or a slave, in the hands
and under the whip of a tyrannical power.

After the imprisonment of General Hoche, in March, 1794, Jourdan
succeeded him as chief of the army of the Moselle. In June he joined,
with thirty thousand men, the right wing of the army of the North,
forming a new one, under the name of the army of the Sambre and Meuse.
On the 16th of the same month he gained a complete victory over the
Prince of Coburg, who tried to raise the siege of Charleroy. This
battle, which was fought near Trasegnies, is, nevertheless, commonly
called the battle of Fleurus. After Charleroy had surrendered on the
25th, Jourdan and his army were ordered to act under the direction of
General Pichegru, who had drawn the plan of that brilliant campaign.
Always envious of this general, Jourdan did everything to retard his
progress, and at last intrigued so well that the army of the Sambre and
the Meuse was separated from that of the North.

With the former of these armies Jourdan pursued the retreating

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