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Napoleon Bonaparte by John S. C. Abbott

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he was in reality the most powerful monarch in Europe. His throne
was established in the hearts of nearly forty millions of people.
His word was law.

It will be remembered that Josephine contemplated the extraordinary
grandeur to which her husband had attained, with intense solicitude.
She saw that more that than ordinary regal power had passed into
his hands, and she was not a stranger to the intense desire which
animated his heart to have an heir to whom to transmit his name and
his glory. She knew that many were intimating to him that an heir
was essential to the repose of France. She was fully informed that
divorce had been urged upon him as one of the stern necessities of
state. One day, when Napoleon was busy in his cabinet, Josephine
entered softly, by a side door, and seating herself affectionately
upon his knee, and passing her hand gently through his hair, said
to him, with a burst of tenderness, "I entreat you, my friend, do
not make yourself king. It is Lucien who urges you to it. Do not
listen to him." Napoleon smiled upon her kindly, and said, "Why,
my poor Josephine, you are mad. You must not listen to these fables
which the old dowagers, tell you. But you interrupt me now; I am
very busy; leave me alone."

It is recorded that Lucien ventured to suggest to Josephine that
a law higher than the law of ordinary morality required that she
must become a mother, even were it necessary, for the attainment
of that end, that she should violate her nuptial vows. Brutalizing
and vulgar infidelity had obliterated in France, nearly all the
sacredness of domestic ties. Josephine, instinctively virtuous,
and revering the religion of her childhood, which her husband had
reinstated, bursting into tears, indignantly exclaimed, "This is
dreadful. Wretched should I be were any one to suppose me capable
of listening, without horror, to your infamous proposal. Your
ideas are poisonous; your language horrible." "Well, then, madame,"
responded Lucien, "all that I can say is, that from my heart I pity

Josephine was at times almost delirious in apprehension of the
awful calamity which threatened her. She knew the intensity of her
husband's love. She also knew the boundlessness of his ambition.
She could not be blind to the apparent importance, as a matter of
state policy that Napoleon should possess an heir. She also was
fully aware that throughout France marriage had long been regarded
but as a partnership of convenience, to be formed and sundered
almost at pleasure. "Marriage," said Madame de Stael, has become
but the sacrament of adultery." The nation, under the influence of
these views, would condemn her for selfishly refusing assent to an
arrangement apparently essential to the repose of France and of
Europe Never was a woman placed in a situation of more terrible
trial. Never was an ambitious man exposed to a more fiery temptation.
Laying aside the authority of Christianity, and contemplating the
subject in the light of mere expediency, it seemed a plain duty
for Napoleon and Josephine to separate. But gloriously does it
illustrate the immutable truth of God's word, that even in such an
exigence as this, the path which the Bible pointed out was the only
path of safety and of peace. "In separating myself from Josephine,"
said Napoleon afterward, "and in marrying Maria Louisa, I placed
my foot upon an abyss which was covered with flowers."

Josephine's daughter, Hortense, beautiful, brilliant, and amiable,
then but eighteen years of age, was strongly attached to Duroc, one
of Napoleon's aids, a very fashionable and handsome man. Josephine,
however, had conceived the idea of marrying Hortense to Louis Bonaparte,
Napoleon's younger brother. She said, one day, to Bourrienne, "My
two brothers-in-law are my determined enemies. You see all their
intrigues. You know how much uneasiness they have caused me. This
projected marriage with Duroc, leaves me without any support. Duroc,
independent of Bonaparte's friendship, is nothing. He has neither
fortune, rank, nor even reputation. He can afford me no protection
against the enmity of the brothers. I must have some more certain
reliance for the future. My husband loves Louis very much. If I
can succeed in uniting my daughter to him, he will prove a strong
counterpoise to the calumnies and persecutions of my brothers-in-law."
These remarks were reported to Napoleon. He replied, "Josephine
labors in vain. Duroc and Hortense love each other, and they shall
be married. I am attached to Duroc. He is well born. I have given
Caroline to Murat, and Pauline to Le Clerc. I can as well give
Hortense to Duroc. He is brave. He is as good as the others. He is
general of division. Besides, I have other views for Louis."

In the palace the heart may throb with the same joys and griefs
as in the cottage. In anticipation of the projected marriage Duroc
was sent on a special mission to compliment the Emperor Alexander
on his accession to the throne. Duroc wrote often to Hortense while
absent. When the private secretary whispered in her ears, in the
midst of the brilliant throng of the Tuileries, "I have a letter,"
she would immediately retire to her apartment. Upon her return
her friends could see that her eyes were moistened with the tears
of affection and joy. Josephine cherished the hope that could she
succeed in uniting Hortense with Louis Bonaparte, should Hortense
give birth to a son, Napoleon would regard him as his heir. The
child would bear the name of Bonaparte; the blood of the Bonapartes
would circulate in his veins; and he would be the offspring
of Hortense, whom Napoleon regarded as his own daughter, and whom
he loved with the strongest parental affection. Thus the terrible
divorce might be averted. Urged by motives so powerful, Josephine
left no means untried to accomplish her purpose.

Louis Bonaparte was a studious, pensive, imaginative man, of great
moral worth, though possessing but little force of character. He
had been bitterly disappointed in his affections, and was weary
of the world. When but nineteen years of age he had formed a very
strong attachment for a young lady whom he had met in Paris. She
was the daughter of an emigrant noble, and his whole being because
absorbed in the passion of love. Napoleon, then in the midst of
those victories which paved his way to the throne of France, was
apprehensive that the alliance of his brother with one of the old
royalist families, might endanger his own ambitious projects. He
therefore sent him away on a military commission, and secured, by
his powerful instrumentality, the marriage of the young lady to
another person. The disappointment preyed deeply upon the heart
of the sensitive young man. All ambition died within him. He loved
solitude, and studiously avoided the cares and pomp of state.
Napoleon, not having been aware of the extreme strength of his
brother's attachment, when he saw the wound which he had inflicted
upon him, endeavored to make all the amends in his power. Hortense
was beautiful, full of grace and vivacity. At last Napoleon fell in
with the views of Josephine, and resolved, having united the two,
to recompense his brother, as far as possible, by lavishing great
favors upon them.

It was long before Louis would listen to the proposition of his
marriage with Hortense. His affections still clung to the lost
object of his idolatry, and he could not, without pain, think of
union with another. Indeed a more uncongenial alliance could hardly
have been imagined. In no one thing were their tastes similar.
But who could resist the combined tact of Josephine and power of
Napoleon. All obstacles were swept away, and the maiden, loving
the hilarity of life, and its gayest scenes of festivity and
splendor, was reluctantly led to the silent, pensive scholar, who
as reluctantly received her as his bride. Hortense had become in
some degree reconciled to the match, as her powerful father promised
to place them in high positions of wealth and rank. Louis resigned
himself to his lot, feeling the earth had no further joy in store
for him. A magnificent fete was given in honor of this marriage,
at which all the splendors of the ancient royalty were revived.
Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, who, as President of the French Republic,
succeeded Louis Philippe, the King of the French, was the only
child of this marriage who survived his parents.

Napoleon had organized in the heart of Italy a republic containing
about five millions of inhabitants. This republic could by no
means maintain itself against the monarchies of Europe, unaided by
France. Napoleon, surrounded by hostile kings, deemed it essential
to the safety of France, to secure in Italy a nation of congenial
sympathies and interests, with whom he could form the alliance of
cordial friendship. The Italians, all inexperienced in self-government,
regarding Napoleon as their benefactor and their sole supporter,
looked to him for a constitution. Three of the most influential
men of the Cisalpine Republic, were sent as delegates to Paris,
to consult with the First Consul upon the organization of their
government. Under the direction of Napoleon a constitution was
drafted, which, considering the character of the Italian people,
and the hostile monarchicals influences which surrounded them, was
most highly liberal. A President was Vice-President were to be
chosen for ten years. There was to be a Senate of eight members
and a House of Representatives of seventy-five members. There were
all to be selected from a body composed of 300 landed proprietors,
200 of the clergy and prominent literary men. Thus all the important
interests of the state were represented.

In Italy, as in all the other countries of Europe at that time, there
were three prominent parties. The Loyalists sought the restoration
of monarchy and the exclusive privileges of kings and nobles. The
Moderate Republicans wished to establish a firm government, which
would enforce order and confer upon all equal rights. The Jacobins
wished to break down all distinctions, divide property, and to
govern by the blind energies of the mob. Italy had long been held
in subjection by the spiritual terrors of the priests and by the
bayonets of the Austrians. Ages of bondage had enervated the people
and there were no Italian statesmen capable of taking the helm of
government in such a turbulent sea of troubles. Napoleon resolved
to have himself proposed as President, and then reserving to
himself the supreme direction, to delegate the details of affairs
to distinguished Italians, until they should, in some degree, be
trained to duties so new to them. Says Theirs. "This plan was not,
on his part, the inspiration of ambition, but rather of great good
sense. His views on this occasion were unquestionably both pure and
exalted." But nothing can more strikingly show the almost miraculous
energies of Napoleon's mind, and his perfect self-reliance, than
the readiness with which, in addition to the cares of the Empire of
France, he assumed the responsibility of organizing and developing
another nation of five millions of inhabitants. This was in 1802.
Napoleon was then but thirty-three years of age.

To have surrendered those Italians, who had rallied around the
armies of France in their hour of need, again to Austrian domination,
would have been an act of treachery. To have abandoned them, in their
inexperience, to the Jacobin mob on the one hand, and to royalist
intrigues on the other, would have insured the ruin of the Republic.
But by leaving the details of government to be administered by
Italians, and at the same time sustaining the constitution by his
own powerful hand, there was a probability that the republic might
attain prosperity and independence. As the press of business rendered
it extremely difficult for Napoleon to leave France, a plan was
formed for a vast congress of the Italians, to be assembled in Lyons,
about half way between Paris and Milan, for the imposing adoption
of the republican constitution. Four hundred and fifty-two deputies
were elected to cross the frozen Alps, in the month of December.
The extraodinary watchfulness and foresight of the First Consul,
had prepared every comfort for them on the way. In Lyons sumptuous
preparations were made for their entertainment. Magnificent halls
were decorated in the highest style of earthly splendor for the
solemnities of the occasion. The army of Egypt, which had recently
landed, bronzed by an African sun was gorgeously attired to add
to the magnificence of the spectacle. The Lyonese youth, exultant
with pride, were formed into an imposing body of cavalry. On the
11th of January, 1802, Napoleon, accompanied by Josephine, arrived in
Lyons. The whole population of the adjoining country had assembled
along the road, anxiously watching for his passage. At night immense
fires illumined his path, blazing upon every hill side and in every
valley. One continuous shout of "Live Bonaparte," rolled along with
the carriage from Paris to Lyons. It was late in the evening when
Napoleon arrived in Lyons. The brilliant city flamed with the
splendor of noon-day. The carriage of the First Consul passed under
a triumphal arch, surmounted by a sleeping lion, the emblem of
France, and Napoleon took up his residence in the Hotel deVille,
which, in most princely sumptuousness had been decorated for
his reception. The Italians adored Napoleon. They felt personally
ennobled by his renown, for they considered him their countryman.
The Italian language was his native tongue, and he spoke it with
the most perfect fluency and elegance. The moment that the name of
Napoleon was suggested to the deputies as President of the Republic,
it was received with shouts of enthusiastic acclamation. A deputation
was immediately send to the First Consul to express the unanimous
and cordial wish of the convention that he would accept the office.
While these things were transpiring, Napoleon, ever intensely
occupied, was inspecting his veteran soldiers of Italy and of Egypt,
in a public review. The elements seemed to conspire to invest the
occasion with splendor. The day was cloudless, the sun brilliant,
the sky serene, the air invigorating. All the inhabitants of Lyons
and the populace of the adjacent country thronged the streets. No
pen can describe the transports with which the hero was received,
as he rode along the lines of these veterans, whom he had so often
led to victory. The soldiers shouted in a frenzy of enthusiasm. Old
men, and young men, and boys caught the shout and it reverberated
along the streets in one continuous roar. Matrons and maidens, waving
banners and handkerchiefs, wept in excess of emotion. Bouquets of
flowers were showered from the windows, to carpet his path, and
every conceivable demonstration was made of the most enthusiastic
love. Napoleon himself was deeply moved by the scene. Some of the
old grenadiers, whom he recognized, he called out of the ranks,
kindly talked with them, inquiring respecting their wounds and their
wants. He addressed several of the officers, whom he had seen in
many encounters, shook hands with them, and a delirium of excitement
pervaded all minds Upon his return to the Hotel deVille, he met
the deputation of the convention. They presented him the address,
urging upon him the acceptance of the Presidency of the Cisalpine
Republic. Napoleon received the address, intimated his acceptance,
and promised, on the following day, to meet the convention.

The next morning dawned brightly upon the city. A large church,
embellished with richest drapery, was prepared for the solemnities
of the occasion. Napoleon entered the church, took his seat upon an
elevated platform, surrounded by his family, the French ministers,
and a large number of distinguished generals and statesmen. He
addressed the assembly in the Italian language, with as much ease
of manner, elegance of expression, and fluency of utterance as if
his whole life had been devoted to the cultivation of the powers
of oratory. He announced his acceptance of the dignity with which
they would invest him and uttered his views respecting the measures
which he adopted to secure the prosperity of the Italian Republic
, as the new state was henceforth to be called. Repeated bursts of
applause interrupted his address, and at its close one continuous
shout of acclamation testified the assent and the delight of
the assembled multitude. Napoleon remained at Lyons twenty days,
occupied, apparently every moment, with the vast affairs which
then engrossed his attention. And yet he found time to write
daily to Paris, urging forward the majestic enterprises of the new
government in France. The following brief extracts from this free
and confidential correspondence, afford an interesting glimpse of
the motives which actuated Napoleon at this time, and of the great
objects of his ambition.

"I am proceeding slowly in my operations. I pass the whole of my
mornings in giving audience to the deputations of the neighboring
departments. The improvement in the happiness of France is obvious.
During the past two years the population of Lyons has increased
more than 20,000 souls. All the manufacturers tell me that their
works are in a state of high activity. All minds seem to be full
of energy, not that energy which overturns empires, but that which
re-establishes them, and conducts them to prosperity and riches."

"I beg of you particularly to see that the unruly members, whom
we have in the constituted authorities, are every one of them
removed. The wish of the nation is, that the government shall not
be obstructed in its endeavors to act for the public good, and
that the head of Medusa shall no longer show itself, either in
our tribunes or in our assemblies. The conduct of Sieyes, on this
occasion, completely proves that having contributed to the destruction
of all the constitutions since '91, he wishes now to try his hand
against the present. He ought to burn a wax candle to Our Lady, for
having got out of the scrape so fortunately and in so unexpected
a manner. But the older I grow, the more I perceive that each man
must fulfill his destiny. I recommend you to ascertain whether the
provisions for St. Domingo have actually been sent off. I take it
for granted that you have taken proper measures for demolishing
the Chatelet. If the Minister of Marine should stand in need of the
frigates of the King of Naples, he may make use of them. General
Jourdan gives me a satisfactory account of the state of Piedmont."

"I wish that citizen Royer be sent to the 16th military division,
to examine into the accounts of the paymaster. I also wish some
individual, like citizen Royer, to perform the same duty for the
13th and 14th divisions. It is complained that the receivers keep
the money as long as they can, and that the paymasters postpone
payment as long as possible. The paymasters and the receivers are
the greatest nuisance in the state."

"Yesterday I visited several factories. I was pleased with the
industry and the severe economy which pervaded these establishments.
Should the wintry weather continue severe, I do not think that the
$25,000 a month, which the Minister of the Interior grants for the
purposes of charity, will be sufficient. It will be necessary to
add five thousand dollars for the distribution of wood, and also
to light fires in the churches and other large buildings to give
warmth to a great number of people."

Napoleon arrived in Paris on the 31st of January. In the mean time,
there had been a new election of members of the Tribunate and of
the Legislative body. All those who had manifested any opposition
to the measures of Napoleon, in the re-establishment of Christianity,
and in the adoption of the new civil code, were left out, and their
places supplied by those who approved of the measures of the First
Consul. Napoleon could now act unembarrassed. In every quarter
there was submission. All the officers of the state, immediately
upon his return, sought an audience, and in that pomp of language
which his majestic deeds and character inspired, presented to him
their congratulations. He was already a sovereign, in possession
of regal power, such as no other monarch in Europe enjoyed. Upon
one object all the energies of his mighty mind were concentrated.
France was his estate, his diadem, his all. The glory of France
was his glory, the happiness of France his happiness, the riches of
France his wealth. Never did a father with more untiring self-denial
and toil labor for his family, than did Napoleon through days of
Herculean exertion and nights of sleeplessness devote every energy
of body and soul to the greatness of France. He loved not ease, he
loved not personal indulgence, he loved not sensual gratification.
The elevation of France to prosperity, wealth, and power, was
a limitless ambition. The almost supernatural success which had
thus far attended his exertions, did but magnify his desires and
stimulate his hopes. He had no wish to elevate France upon the ruins
of other nations. But he wished to make France the pattern of all
excellence, the illustrious leader at the head of all nations,
guiding them to intelligence, to opulence, and to happiness. Such,
at this time, was the towering ambition of Napoleon, the most noble
and comprehensive which was ever embraced by the conception of man.
Of course, such ambition was not consistent with the equality of
other nations for he determined that France should be the first. But
he manifested no disposition to destroy the prosperity of others;
he only wished to give such an impulse to humanity in France, by
the culture of mind, by purity of morals, by domestic industry, by
foreign commerce, by great national works, as to place France in
the advance upon the race course of greatness. In this race France
had but one antagonist--England. France had nearly forty millions
of inhabitants. The island of Great Britain contained but about
fifteen millions. But England, with her colonies, girdled the globe,
and, with her fleets, commanded all seas. "France," said Napoleon,
"must also have her colonies and her fleets." "If we permit that,"
the statesman of England rejoined, "we may become a secondary
power, and may thus be at the mercy of France." It was undeniably
so. Shall history be blind to such fatality as this? Is man, in the
hour of triumphant ambition, so moderate, that we can be willing
that he should attain power which places us at his mercy? England
was omnipotent upon the seas. She became arrogant, and abused that
power, and made herself offensive to all nations. Napoleon developed
no special meekness of character to indicate that he would be, in
the pride of strength which no nation could resist, more moderate
and conciliating. Candor can not censure England for being unwilling to
yield her high position to surrender her supremacy on the seas--to
become a secondary power--to allow France to become her master. And
who can censure France for seeking the establishment of colonies,
the extension of commerce, friendly alliance with other nations,
and the creation of fleets to protect her from aggression upon
the ocean, as well as upon the land? Napoleon himself, with that
wonderful magnanimity which ever characterized him, though at
times exasperated by the hostility which he now encountered yet
often spoke in terms of respect of the influences which animated
his foes. It is to be regretted that his antagonists so seldom
reciprocated this magnanimity. There was here, most certainly, a
right and a wrong. But it is not easy for man accurately to adjust
the balance. God alone can award the issue. The mind is saddened as
it wanders amid the labyrinths of conscientiousness and of passion,
of pure motives and impure ambition. This is, indeed, a fallen
world. The drama of nations is a tragedy. Melancholy is the lot of

England daily witnessed, with increasing alarm, the rapid and
enormous strides which France was making. The energy of the First
Consul seemed superhuman. His acts indicated the most profound
sagacity, the most far-reaching foresight. To-day the news reaches
London that Napoleon has been elected President of the Italian
Republic. Thus in an hour five millions of people are added to
his empire! To-morrow it is announced that he is establishing a
colony at Elba, that a vast expedition is sailing for St. Domingo,
to re-organize the colony there. England is bewildered. Again it
is proclaimed that Napoleon has purchased Louisiana of Spain, and
is preparing to fill the fertile valley of the Mississippi with
colonists. In the mean time, all France is in a state of activity.
Factories, roads, bridges, canals, fortifications are every where
springing into existence. The sound of the ship hammer reverberates
in all the harbors of France, and every month witnesses the increase
of the French fleet. The mass of the English people contemplate
with admiration this development of energy. The statesmen of England
contemplate it with dread.

For some months, Napoleon, in the midst of all his other cares, had
been maturing a vast system of public instruction for the youth of
France. He drew up, with his own hand, the plan for their schools,
and proposed the course of study. It is a little singular that,
with his strong scientific predilections, he should have assigned
the first rank to classical studies. Perhaps this is to be accounted
for from his profound admiration of the heroes of antiquity. His
own mind was most thoroughly stored with all the treasures of Greek
and Roman story. All these schools were formed upon a military
model, for situated as France was, in the midst of monarchies, at
heart hostile, he deemed it necessary that the nation should be
universally trained to bear arms. Religious instruction was to be
communicated in all these schools by chaplains, military instruction
by old officers who had left the army, and classical and scientific
instruction by the most learned men Europe could furnish. The First
Consul also devoted special attention to female schools. "France
needs nothing so much to promote her regeneration," said he, "as
good mothers." To attract the youth of France to these schools,
one millions of dollars was appropriated for over six thousand
gratuitous exhibitions for the pupils. Ten schools of law were
established, nine schools of medicine, and an institution for the
mechanical arts, called the "School of Bridges and Roads," the
first model of those schools of art which continue in France until
the present day, and which are deemed invaluable. There were no
exclusive privileges in these institutions. A system of perfect
equality pervaded them. The pupils of all classes were placed upon
a level, with an unobstructed arena before them. "This is only
a commencement," said Napoleon, "by-and-by we shall do more and

Another project which Napoleon now introduced was vehemently
opposed--the establishment of the Legion of Honor. One of the leading
principles of the revolution was the entire overthrow of all titles
of distinction. Every man, high or low, was to be addressed simply
as Citizen . Napoleon wished to introduce a system of rewards which
should stimulate to heroic deeds, and which should ennoble those
who had deserved well of humanity. Innumerable foreigners of
distinction had thronged France since the peace. He had observed
with what eagerness the populace had followed these foreigners,
gazing with delight upon their gay decorations The court-yard of
the Tuileries was ever crowded when these illustrious strangers
arrived and departed. Napoleon, in his council, where he was always
eloquent and powerful, thus urged his views:

"Look at these vanities, which genius pretends so much to disdain.
The populace is not of that opinion. It loves these many-colored
ribbons, as it loves religious pomp. The democrat philosopher calls
it vanity. Vanity let it be. But that vanity is a weakness common
to the whole human race, and great virtues may be made to spring
from it. With these so much despised baubles heroes are made. There
must be worship for the religious sentiment. There must be visible
distinctions for the noble sentiment of glory. Nations should not
strive to be singular any more than individuals. The affectation
of acting differently from the rest of the world, is an affectation
which is reproved by all persons of sense and modesty. Ribbons are
in use in all countries. Let them be in use in France. It will be
one more friendly relation established with Europe. Our neighbors
give them only to the man of noble birth. I will give them to the
man of merit--to the one who shall have served best in the army or
in the state, or who shall have produced the finest works."

It was objected that the institution of the Legion of Honor was
a return to the aristocracy which the revolution had abolished.
"What is there aristocratic," Napoleon exclaimed, "in a distinction
purely personal, and merely for life, bestowed on the man who has
displayed merit, whether evil or military--bestowed on him alone,
bestowed for his life only, and not passing to his children. Such
a distinction is the reverse of aristocratic. It is the essence of
aristocracy that its titles are transmitted from the man who has
earned them, to the son who possesses no merit. The ancient regime,
so battered by the ram revolution, is more entire than is believed.
All the emigrants hold each other by the hand. The Vendeeans are
secretly enrolled. The priests, at heart, are not very friendly
to us. With the words 'legitimate king,' thousands might be roused
to arms. It is needful that the men who have taken part in the
revolution should have a bond of union, and cease to depend on the
first accident which might strike one single head. For ten years we
have only been making ruins. We must now found an edifice. Depend
upon it, the struggle is not over with Europe. Be assured that
struggle will begin again"

It was then urged by some, that the Legion of Honor should be
confined entirely to military merit. "By no means," said Napoleon,
"Rewards are not to be conferred upon soldiers alone. All sorts of
merit are brothers. The courage of the President of the Convention,
resisting the populace, should compared with the courage of Kleber,
mounting to the assault of Acre. It is right that civil virtues
should have their reward, as well as military virtues. Those who
oppose this course, reason like barbarians. It is the religion
of brute force they commend to us. Intelligence has its rights
before those of force. Force, without intelligence, is nothing. In
barbarous ages, the man of stoutest sinews was the chieftain. Now
the general is the most intelligent of the brave. At Cairo, the
Egyptians could not comprehend how it was that Kleber, with his
majestic form, was not commander-in-chief. When Mourad Bey had
carefully observed our tactics, he could comprehend how it was that
I, and no other, ought to be the general of an army so conducted.
You reason like the Egyptians, when you attempt to confine rewards
to military valor. The soldiers reason better than you. Go to their
bivouacs; listen to them. Do you imagine that it is the tallest
of their officers, and the most imposing by his stature, for whom
they feel the highest regard! Do you imagine even that the bravest
stands first in their esteem. No doubt they would despise the man
whose courage they suspected; but they rank above the merely brave
man him who they consider the most intelligent. As for myself, do
you suppose that it is solely because I am reputed a great general
that I rule France! No! It is because the qualities of a statesman
and a magistrate are attributed to me. France will never tolerate
the government of the sword. Those who think so are strangely
mistaken. It would require an abject servitude of fifty years
before that could be the case. France is too noble, too intelligent
a country to submit to material power. Let us honor intelligence,
virtue, the civil qualities; in short let us bestow upon them, in
all profession, the like reward."

The true spirit of republicanism is certainly equality of rights, not
of attainments and honors; the abolition of hereditary distinctions
and privileges, not of those which are founded upon merit. The
badge of the Legion of Honor was to be conferred upon all who, by
genius, self-denial, and toil, had won renown. The prizes were open
to the humblest peasant in the land. Still the popular hostility
to any institution which bore a resemblance to the aristocracy of
the ancient nobility was so strong, that though a majority voted
in favor of the measure, there was a strong opposition. Napoleon
was surprised. He said to Bourrienne: "You are right. Prejudices
are still against me. I ought to have waited. There was no occasion
for haste in bringing it forward. But the thing is done; and you
will soon find that the taste for these distinctions is not yet
gone by. It is a taste which belongs to the nature of man. You will
see that extraordinary results will arise from it."

The order was consist of six thousand members. It was constituted
in four ranks: grand officers, commanders, officers, and private
legionaries. The badge was simply a red ribbon, in the button-hole.
To the first rank, there was allotted an annual salary of $1000;
to the second $400; to the third, $200; to the fourth, $50. The
private soldier, the retired scholar, and the skillful artist were
thus decorated with the same badge of distinction which figured upon
the breast of generals, nobles and monarchs. That this institution
was peculiarly adapted to the state of France, is evident from
the fact, that it has survived all the revolutions of subsequent
years. "Though of such recent origin," says Theirs, "it is already
consecrated as if it had passed through centuries; to such a degree
has it become the recompense of heroism, of knowledge, of merit of
every kind--so much have its honors been coveted by the grandees
and the princes of Europe the most proud of their origin."

The popularity of Napoleon was now unbounded. A very general and
earnest disposition was expressed to confer upon the First Consul
a magnificent testimonial of the national gratitude--a testimonial
worthy of the illustrious man who was to receive it, and of the
powerful nation by which it was to be bestowed. The President of
the Tribunal thus addressed that body: "Among all nations public
honors have been decreed to men who, by splendid actions, have
honored their country, and saved it from great dangers. What man
ever had stronger claims to the national gratitude than General
Bonaparte? His valor and genius have saved the French people from
the excesses of anarchy, and from the miseries of war; and France
is too great, too magnanimous to leave such benefits without reward."

A deputation was immediately chosen to confer with Napoleon upon the
subject of the tribute of gratitude and affection which he should
receive. Surrounded by his colleagues and the principal officers
of the state, he received them the next day in the Tuileries. With
seriousness and modesty he listened to the high eulogium upon his
achievements which was pronounced, and then replaced. "I receive
with sincere gratitude the wish to expressed by the Tribunate.
I desire no other glory than having completely performed the task
impose upon me. I aspire to no other reward than the affection of
my fellow-citizens. I shall be happy if they are thoroughly convinced,
that the evils which they may experience, will always be to me the
severest of misfortunes; that life is dear to me solely for the
services which I am to render to my country; that death itself will
have no bitterness for me, if my last looks can see the happiness
of the republic as firmly secured as is its glory." ..........

But how was Napoleon to be rewarded! That was the great difficult
question. Was wealth to be conferred upon him! For wealth he cared
nothing Millions had been at his disposal, and he had emptied them
all into the treasury of France. Ease, luxury, self-indulgence had
no charms for him. Were monuments to be reared to his honor, titles
to be lavished upon his name? Napoleon regarded these but means
for the accomplishment of ends. In themselves they were nothing.
The one only thing which he desired was power , power to work out
vast results for others, and thus to secure for himself renown,
which should be pure and imperishable. But how could the power of
Napoleon be increased! He was already almost absolute. Whatever he
willed, he accomplished. Senators, legislators, and tribunes all
co-operated in giving energy to his plans. It will be remembered,
that Napoleon was elected First Consul for a period of ten years.
It seemed that there was absolutely nothing which could be done,
gratifying to the First Consul, but to prolong the term of his
Consulship, by either adding to it another period of ten years,
or by continuing it during his life. "What does he wish?" was the
universal inquiry. Every possible means were tried, but in vain,
to obtain a single word from his lips, significant of his desires.
One of the senators went to Cambaceres, and said, "What would be
gratifying to General Bonaparte? Does he wish to be king? Only let
him say so, and we are all ready to vote for the re-establishment
of royalty. Most willingly will we do it for him, for he is worthy
of that station." But the First Consul shut himself up in impenetrable
reserve. Even his most intimate friends could catch no glimpse of
his secret wishes. At last the question was plainly and earnestly
put to him. With great apparent humility, he replied: "I have not
fixed my mind upon any thing. Any testimony of the public confidence
will be sufficient for me, and will fill me with satisfaction."
The question was then discussed whether to add ten years to his
Consulship, or to make him First Consul for life. Cambaceres knew
well the boundless ambition of Napoleon, and was fully conscious,
that any limited period of power would not be in accordance with
his plans. He ventured to say to him "You are wrong not to explain
yourself. Your enemies, for notwithstanding your services, you have
some left even in the Senate, will abuse your reserve." Napoleon
calmly replied: "Let them alone. The majority of the Senate is
always ready to do more than it is asked. They will go further than
you imagine."

On the evening of the 8th of May, 1802, the resolution was adopted,
of prolonging the powers of the First Consul for ten years . Napoleon
was probably surprised and disappointed. He however, decided to
return a grateful answer, and to say that from the Senate, but from
the suffrages of the people alone could he accept a prolongation
of that power to which their voices had elevated him. The following
answer was transmitted to the Senate, the next morning:

"The honorable proof of your esteem, given in your deliberation
of the 8th, will remain forever engraven on my heart. In the three
years which have just elapsed fortune has smiled upon the republic.
But fortune is fickle. How many men whom she has loaded with favors,
have lived a few years too long. The interest of my glory and that
of my happiness, would seem to have marked the term of my public
life, at the moment when the peace of the world is proclaimed. But
the glory and the happiness of the citizen ought to be silent, when
the interest of the state, and the public partiality, call him. You
judge that I owe a new sacrifice to the people. I will make it, if
the wishes of the people command what your suffrage authorizes."

Napoleon immediately left Paris for his country-seat at Malmaison.
This beautiful chateau was about ten miles from the metropolis.
Josephine had purchased the peaceful, rural retreat at Napoleon's
request during his first Italian campaign. Subsequently, large
sums had been expended in enlarging and improving the grounds; and
it was ever the favorite the grounds; and it was ever the favorite
residence of both Josephine and Napoleon. Cambacres called an extraordinary
meeting of the Council of State. After much deliberation, it was
resolved, by an immense majority, that the following preposition
should be submitted to the people: "Shall Napoleon Bonaparte be
the First Consul for life? It was then resolved to submit a second
question: " Shall the First Consul have the power of appointing
his successor? This was indeed re-establishing monarchy, under a
republican name.

Cambaceres immediately repaired to Malmaison, to submit these
resolutions to Napoleon. To the amazement of all, he immediately
and firmly rejected the second question. Energetically, he said
"Whom would you have me appoint my successor? on brothers? But
will France which has consented to be governed by Joseph or Lucien?
Shall I nominate you consul, Cambceres? You? Dare you undertake
such a task? And then the will of Louis XIV was not respected; it
is likely that mine would be? A dead man, let him be who he will,
is nobody." In opposition to all urgency, he ordered the second
question to be erased, and the first only to be submitted to the
people. It is impossible to divine the motive which influenced
Napoleon in the most unexpected decision. Some have supposed that
even then he had in view the Empire and the hereditary monarchy,
and that he wished to leave a chasm in the organization of the
government, as a reason for future change. Others have supposed
that he dreaded the rivalries which would arise among his brothers
and his nephews, from his having his disposal so resplendent a gift
as the Empire of France. But the historian treads upon dangerous
ground, when he begins to judge of motives. That which Napoleon
actually did was moderate and noble in the highest degree. He
declined the power of appointing his successor, and submitted his
election to the suffrages of the people. A majority of 3,568,885
voted for the Consulate for life, and only eight thousands and
a few hundreds, against it. Never before, or since, was an early
government established by such unamitity. Never had a monarch a
more indisputable title to his throne. Upon this occasion Lafayette
added to his vote these or qualifying words: "I can not vote for
such a magistracy, until public freed sufficiently guarantied. When
that is done, I give my voice to Napoleon Bonaparte." In a private
conversation with the First Consul, he added: "A free government,
and you at its head-that comprehends all my desires." Napoleon
remarked: In theory Lafayette is perhaps right. But what is theory?
A mere dream, when applied to the masses of mankind. He think he
is still in the United States--as if the French were Americans. He
has no conception of what is required for this country."

A day was fixed for a grand diplomatic festival, when Napoleon
should receive the congratulations of the constituted authorities,
and of the foreign embassadors. The soldiers, in brilliant uniform,
formed a double line, from the Tuileries to the Luxembourg. The First
Consul was seated in a magnificent chariot, drawn by eight horses.
A cortege of gorgeous splendor accompanied him. All Paris thronged
the streets through which he passed, and the most enthusiastic
applause rent the heavens. To the congratulatory address of the Senate,
Napoleon replied: "The life of a citizen belongs to his country.
The French nation wishes that mine should be wholly consecrated to
France. I obey its will. Through my efforts, by your assistance,
citizen-senators, by the aid of the authorities, and by the confidence
and support of this mighty people, the liberty, equality and
prosperity of France will be rendered secure against the caprices of
fate, and the uncertainty of futurity. The most virtuous of nations
will be the most happy, as it deserves to be; and its felicity will
contribute to the general happiness of all Europe. Proud then of
being thus called, by the command of that Power from which every
thing emanates, to bring back order, justice, and equality to the
earth, when my last hour approaches, I shall yield myself up with
resignation, and, without any solicitude respecting the opinions
of future generations."

On the following day the new articles, modifying the constitution
in accordance with the change in the consulship, were submitted
to the Council of State. The First Consul presided, and with his
accustomed vigor and perspicuity, explained the reasons of each
article, as he recounted them one by one. The articles contained
the provision that Napoleon should nominate his successor to the
Senate. To this, after a slight resistance, he yielded, The most
profound satisfaction now pervaded France. Even Josephine began
to be tranquil and happy She imagined that all thoughts of royalty
and of hereditary succession had now passed away. She contemplated
with no uneasiness the power which Napoleon sympathized cordially
with her in her high gratification that Hortense was soon to become
a mother. This child was already, in their hearts, the selected heir
to the power of Napoleon. On the 15th of August, Paris magnificiently
celebrated the anniversary of the birth-day of the First Consul.
This was another introduction of monarchical usages. All the high
authorities of the Church and the State, and the foreign diplomatic
bodies, called upon him with congratulations. At noon, in all
the churches of the metropolis, a Te Deun was sung, in gratitude
to God for the gift of Napoleon. At night the city blazed with
illuminations. The splendors and the etiquette of royalty were now
rapidly introduced; and the same fickle populace who had so recently
trampled princes and thrones into blood and ruin, were now captivated
with re-introduction of these discarded splendors. Napoleon soon
established himself in the beautiful chateau of St. Cloud, which he
has caused to be repaired with great magnificence. On the Sabbath the
First Consul, with Josephine, invariably attended divine service.
Their example was soon followed by most of the members of the
court, and the nation as a body returned to Christianity, which,
even in its most corrupt form, saves humanity from those abysses
of degradation into which infidelity plunges it. Immediately after
divine service he conversed in the gallery of the chateau with
the visitors who were then waiting for him. The brilliance of
his intellect, and his high renown, caused him to be approached
with emotions of awe. His words were listened to with intensest
eagerness. He was the exclusive object of observation and attention.
No earthly potentate had ever attained such a degree of homage,
pure and sincere, as now circled around the First Consul.

Napoleon was very desirous of having his court a model of decorum
and of morals. Lucien owned a beautiful rural mansion near
Neuilly. Upon one occasion he invited Napoleon, and all the inmates
of Malmaison, to attend some private theatricals at his dwelling.
Lucien and Eliza were the performers in a piece called Alzire. The
ardor of their declamation, the freedom of their gestures, and above
all the indelicacy of the costume which they assumed, displeased
Napoleon exceedingly. As soon as the play was over he exclaimed,
"It is a scandal. I ought not to suffer such indecencies. I will
give Lucien to understand that I will have no more of it." As
soon as Lucien entered the saloon, having resumed his usual dress,
Napoleon addressed him before the whole company, and requested him
in future to desist from all such representations. "What!" said
he, "when I am endeavoring to restore purity of manners, my brother
and sister must needs exhibit themselves upon a platform, almost
in a state of nudity! It is an insult!"

One day at this time Bourrienne, going from Malmaison to Ruel, lost
a beautiful watch. He proclaimed his loss by means of the bellman
at Ruel. An hour after, as he was sitting down to dinner, a peasant
boy brought him the watch, which he had found on the road. Napoleon
heard of the occurrence. Immediately he instituted inquiries
respecting the young man and the family. Hearing a good report of
them, he gave the three brothers employment, and amply rewarded
the honest lad. "Kindness," says Bourrienne, "was a very prominent
trait in the character of Napoleon."

If we now take a brief review of what Napoleon had accomplished
since his return from Egypt, it must be admitted that the records
of the world are to be searched in vain for a similar recital. No
mortal man before ever accomplished so much, or accomplished it so
well, in so short a time.

Let us for a moment return to his landing at Frejus on the 8th of
October, 1799, until he was chosen First Consul for life, in August,
1802, a period of not quite three years. Proceeding to Paris, almost
alone, he overthrew the Directory, and seized the supreme power;
restored order into the administration of government, established
a new and very efficient system for the collection of taxes, raised
public credit, and supplied the wants of the suffering army. By
great energy and humanity he immediately terminated the horrors of
that unnatural war which had for years, been desolating La Vendee.
Condescending to the attitude of suppliant, he implored of Europe
peace. Europe chose war. By a majestic conception of military
combinations, he sent Moreau with a vast army to the Rhime; stimulated
Massena to the most desperate strife at Genoa, and then, creating
as by magic, an army, from materials which excited but the ridicule
of his foes, he climbed, with artillery and horse, and all the
munitions of war, the icy pinnacles of the Alps, and fell like an
avalanche upon his foes upon the plain of Marengo. With far inferior
numbers, he snatched the victory from the victors; and in the
exultant hour of the most signal conquest, wrote again from the
field of blood imploring peace. His foes, humbled, and at his mercy,
gladly availed themselves of his clemency, and promised to treat.
Perfidiously, they only sought time to regain their strength. He
then sent Moreau to Hohenlinden, and beneath the walls of Vienna
extorted peace with continental Europe. England still prosecuted
the war. The first Consul, by his genius, won the heart of Paul
of Russia, secured the affection of Prussia, Denmark, and Sweden,
and formed a league of all Europe against the Mistress of the Seas.
While engaged in this work, he paid the creditors of the State,
established the Bank of France, overwhelmed the highway robbers
with utter destruction, and restored security in all the provinces;
cut magnificent communications over the Alps, founded hospitals
on their summits, surrounded exposed cities with fortifications,
opened canals, constructed bridges, created magnificent roads, and
commenced the compiliation of that civil code which will remain an
ever-during monument of his labors and his genius. In opposition
to the remonstrances of his best friends, he re-established
Christianity, and with it proclaimed perfect liberty of conscience.
Public works were every where established, to encourage industry.
Schools and colleges were founded Merit of every kind was stimulated
by abundant rewards. Vast improvements were made in Paris, and the
streets cleaned and irrigated. In the midst of all these cares,
he was defending France against the assaults of the most powerful
nation on the globe; and he was preparing, as his last resort, a vast
army, to carry the war into the heart of England. Notwithstanding
the most atrocious libels with which England was filled against him,
his fame shone resplendent through them all, and he was popular
with the English people. Many of the most illustrious of the English
statesmen advocated his cause. His gigantic adversary, William Pitt.
vanquished by the genius of Napoleon, was compelled to retire from
the ministry--and the world was at peace.

The difficulties, perplexities, embarrassments which were encountered
in those enterprises, were infinite. Says Napoleon, with that
magnanimity which history should recognize and applaud, "We are
told that all the First Consul has to look to, was to do justice.
But to whom was he to do justice? To the proprietors whom the
revolution had violently despoiled of their properties, for this
only, that they had been faithful to their legitimate sovereign to
the principle of honor which they had inherited from their ancestors;
or to those new proprietors, who had purchased these domains,
adventuring their money on the faith of laws flowing from
an illegitimate authority? Was he to do justice to those royalist
soldiers, mutilated in the fields of Germany, La Vendee, and
Quiberon, arrayed under the white standard of the Bourbons, in the
firm belief that they were serving the cause of their king against
a usurping tyranny; or to the million of citizens, who, forming
around the frontiers a wall of brass, had so often saved their
country from the inveterate hostility of its enemies, and had borne
to so transcendent a height the glory of the French eagle? Was he
to do justice to that clergy, the model and the example of every
Christian virtue, stripped of its birthright, the reward of fifteen
hundred years of benevolence; or to the recent acquires, who had
converted the convents into workshops, the churches into warehouses,
and had turned to profane uses all that had been deemed most holy
for ages?"

"At this period," says Theirs, "Napoleon appeared so moderate,
after having been so victorious, he showed himself so profound a
legislator, after having proved himself so great a commander, he
evinced so much love for the arts of peace, after having excelled
in the arts of war, that well might he excite illusions in France
and in the world. Only some few among the parsonages who were
admitted to his councils, who were capable of judging futurity by
the present, were filled with as much anxiety as admiration, on
witnessing the indefatigable activity of his mind and body, and
the energy of his will, and the impetuosity of his desires. They
trembled even at seeing him do good, in the way he did--so impatient
was he to accomplish it quickly, and upon an immense scale. The
wise and sagacious Tronchet, who both admired and loved him, and
looked upon him as the savior of France, said, nevertheless, one
day in a tone of deep feeling to Cambracers, 'This young man begins
like Caesar: I fear that he will end like him.`"

The elevation of Napoleon to the supreme power for life was regarded
by most of the states of continental Europe with satisfaction, as
tending to diminish the dreaded influences of republicanism, and to
assimilate France with the surrounding monarchies. Even in England,
the prime Minister, Mr. Addington, assured the French embassador
of the cordial approbation of the British government of an event,
destined to consolidate order and power in France. The King of Prussia,
the Emperor Alexander, and the Archduke Charles of Austria, sent
him their friendly congratulations. Even Catharine, the haughty
Queen of Naples, mother of the Empress of Austria, being then at
Vienna, in ardent expression of her gratification to the French
embassador said, "General Bonaparte is a great man. He has done me
much injury, but that shall not prevent me from acknowledging his
genius. By checking disorder in France, he has rendered a service
to all of Europe. He has attained the government of his country
because he is most worthy of it. I hold him out every day as a
pattern to the young princes of the imperial family. I exhort them
to study that extraordinary personage, to learn from him how to
direct nations, how to make the yoke of authority endurable, by
means of genius and glory."

But difficulties were rapidly rising between England and France.
The English were much disappointed in not finding that sale of
their manufactures which they had anticipated. The cotton and iron
manufactures were the richest branches of industry in England.
Napoleon, supremely devoted to the development of the manufacturing
resources of France, encouraged those manufactures by the almost
absolute prohibition of the rival articles. William Pitt and his
partisans, still retaining immense influence, regarded with extreme
jealousy the rapid strides which Napoleon was making to power, and
incessantly declaimed, in the journals, against the ambition of
France. Most of the royalist emigrants, who had refused to acknowledge
the new government, and were still devoted to the cause of the
Bourbons, had taken refuge in London. They had been the allies
with England in the long war against France. The English government
could not refrain from sympathizing with them in their sufferings.
It would have been ungenerous not to have done so. The emigrants
were many of them supported by pensions paid them by England. At
the same time they were constantly plotting conspiracies against
the life of Napoleon, and sending assassins to shoot him. "I will
yet teach those Bourbons," that I am not a man to be shot at like
a dog." Napoleon complained bitterly that his enemies, then attempting
his assassination, were in the pay of the British government.
Almost daily the plots of these emigrants were brought to light by
the vigilance of the French police.

A Bourbon pamphleteer, named Peltier, circulated widely through
England the most atrocious libels against the First Consul, his
wife, her children, his brothers and sisters. They were charged
with the most low, degrading, and revolting vices. These accusations
were circulated widely through England and America. They produced
a profound impression. They were believed. Many were interested in
the circulation of these reports, wishing to destroy the popularity of
Napoleon, and to prepare the populace of England for the renewal of
the war. Napoleon remonstrated against such infamous representations
of his character being allowed in England. But he was informed
that the British press was free; that there was no resource but
to prosecute for libel in the British courts; and that it was the
part of true greatness to treat such slanders with contempt. But
Napoleon felt that such false charges were exasperating nations,
were paving the way to deluge Europe again in war, and that causes
tending to such woes were too potent to be despised.

The Algerines were now sweeping with their paretic crafts
the Mediterranean, exacting tribute from all Christian powers. A
French ship had been wrecked upon the coast, and the crew were made
prisoners. Two French vessels and a Neapolitan ship had also been
captured and taken to Algiers. The indignation of Napoleon was
aroused. He sent an officer to the Dey with a letter, informing him
that if the prisoners were not released and the captured vessels
instantly restored, and promise given to respect in future the
flags of France and Italy, he would send a fleet and an army and
overwhelm him with ruin. The Dey had heard of Napoleon's career
in Egypt. He was thoroughly frightened, restored the ships and the
prisoners, implored clemency, and with barbarian injustice doomed
to death those who had captured the ships in obedience to his
commands. Their lives were saved only through the intercession of
the French minister Napoleon then performed one of the most gracious
acts of courtesy toward the Pope. The feeble monarch had no means
of protecting his coasts from the pirates who still swarmed in
those seas. Napoleon selected two fine brigs in the naval arsenal
at Toulon, equipped them with great elegance, armed them most
effectively, filled them with naval stores, and conferring upon
them the apostolical names of St. Peter and St. Paul, sent them as
a present to the Pontiff. With characteristic grandeur of action,
he carried his attentions so far as to send a cutter to bring back
the crews, that the papal treasury might be exposed to no expense.
The venerable Pope, in the exuberance of his gratitude, insisted
upon, taking the French seamen to Rome. He treated them with every
attention in his power; exhibited to them St. Peter's, and dazzled
them with the pomp and splendor of cathedral worship. They returned
to France loaded with humble presents, and exceedingly gratified
with the kindness with which they had been received.

It was stipulated in the treaty of Amiens, that both England and
France should evacuate Egypt, and that England should surrender Malta
to its ancient rulers. Malta, impregnable in its fortifications,
commanded the Mediterranean, and was the key of Egypt. Napoleon
had therefore, while he professed a willingness to relinquish all
claim to the island himself, insisted upon it, as an essential
point, that England should do the same. The question upon which
the treaty hinged, was the surrender of Malta to a neutral power.
The treaty was signed. Napoleon promptly and scrupulously fulfilled
his agreements. Several embarrassments, for which England was not
responsible, delayed for a few months the evacuation of Malta. But
now nearly a year had passed since the signing of the treaty. All
obstacles were removed from the way of its entire fulfillment, and
yet the troops of England remained both in Egypt and in Malta. The
question was seriously discussed in Parliament and in the English
journals, whether England were bound to fulfill her engagements,
since France was growing so alarmingly powerful. Generously and
eloquently Fox exclaimed, "I am astonished at all I hear, particularly
when I consider who they are that speak such words. Indeed I am
more grieved than any of the honorable friends and colleagues of Mr.
Pitt, at the growing greatness of France, which is daily extending
her power in Europe and in America. That France, now accused of
interfering with the concerns of others, we invaded, for the purpose
of forcing upon her a government to which she would not submit,
and of obliging her to accept the family of the Bourbons, whose
yoke she spurned. By one of those sublime movements, which history
should recommend to imitation, and preserve in eternal memorial,
she repelled her invaders. Though warmly attached to the cause
of England, we have felt an involuntary movement of sympathy with
that generous outburst of liberty, and we have no desire to conceal
it. No doubt France is great, much greater than a good Englishman
ought to wish, but that ought not to be a motive for violating solemn
treaties. But because France now appears too great to us--greater
than we thought her at first--to break a solemn engagement, to
retain Malta, for instance, would be an unworthy breach of faith,
which would compromise the honor of Britain. I am sure that if
there were in Paris an assembly similar to that which is debating
here, the British navy and its dominion over the seas would he
talked of, in the same terms as we talk in this house of the French
armies, and their dominion over the land."

Napoleon sincerely wished for peace. He was constructing vast works
to embellish and improve the empire. Thousands of workmen were
employed in cutting magnificent roads across the Alps. He was
watching with intensest interest the growth of fortifications and
the excavation of canals. He was in the possession of absolute power,
was surrounded by universal admiration, and, in the enjoyment of
profound peace, was congratulating himself upon being the pacificator
of Europe. He had disbanded his armies, and was consecrating all
the resources of the nation to the stimulation of industry. He
therefore left no means of forbearance and conciliation untried to
avert the calamities of war. He received Lord Whitworth, the English
embassador in Paris, with great distinction. The most delicate
attentions were paid to this lady, the Duchess of Dorset. Splendid
entertainments were given at the Tuileries and at St. Cloud in
their honor. Talleyrand consecrated to them all the resources of his
courtly and elegant manners. The two Associate Consuls, Cambaceres
and Lebrum, were also unwearied in attentions. Still all these efforts
on the part of Napoleon to secure friendly relations with England
were unavailing. The British government still, in open violation
of the treaty, retained Malta. The honor of France was at stake
in enforcing the sacredness of treaties Malta was too important a
post to be left in the hands of England. Napoleon at last resolved
to have a personal interview himself with Lord Whitworth, and
explain to him, with all frankness, his sentiments and his resolves.

It was on the evening of the 18th of February, 1803, that Napoleon
received Lord Whitworth in his cabinet in the Tuileries. A large
writing-table occupied the middle of the room. Napoleon invited
the embassador to take a seat at one end of the table, and seated
himself at the other. "I have wished," said he, "to converse with
you in person, that I may fully convince you of my real opinions and
intentions." Then with that force of language and that perspicuity
which no man ever excelled, he recapitulated his transactions with
England from the beginning; that he had offered peace immediately
upon the accession to the consulship; that peace had been refused;
that eagerly he had renewed negotiations as soon as he could with
any propriety do so: and that he had made great concessions to
secure the peace of Amiens. "But my efforts," said he, "to live on
good terms with England, have met with no friendly response. The
English newspapers breathe but animosity against me. The journals
of the emigrants are allowed a license of abuse which is not justified
by the British constitution. Pensions are granted to Georges and
his accomplices, who are plotting my assassination. The emigrants,
protected in England, are continually making excursions to France
to stir up civil war. The Bourbon princes are received with the
insignia of the ancient royalty. Agents are sent to Switzerland
and Italy to raise up difficulties against France. Every wind
which blows from England brings me but hatred and insult. Now we
have come to a situation from which we must relieve ourselves. Will
you or will you not execute the treaty of Amiens? I have executed
it on my part with scrupulous fidelity. That treaty obliged me to
evacuate Naples, Tarento, and the Roman States, within three months.
In less than two months, all the French troops were out of those
countries. Ten months have elapsed since the exchange of the
ratifications, and the English troops are still in Malta, and at
Alexandria. It is useless to try to deceive us on this point. Will
you have peace, or will you have war? If you are for war, only say
so; we will wage it unrelentingly. If you wish for peace, you must
evacuate Alexandria and Malta. The rock of Malta, on which so many
fortifications have been erected, is, in a maritime point of view,
an object of great importance infinitely greater, inasmuch as it
implicates the honor of France. What would the world say, if we
were to allow a solemn treaty, signed with us, to be violated! It
would doubt our energy. For my part, my resolution is fixed. I had
rather see you in possession of the Heights of Montmartre, than in
possession of Malta."

"If you doubt my desire to preserve peace, listen, and judge how
far I am sincere. Though yet very young, I have attained a power,
a renown to which it would be difficult to add. Do you imagine that
I am solicitous to risk this power, this renown, in a desperate
struggle? If I have a war with Austria. I shall contrive to find
the way to Vienna. If I have a war with you, I will take from you
every ally upon the Continent. You will blockade us; but I will
blockade you in my turn. You will make the Continent a prison for
us; but I will make the seas a prison for you. However, to conclude the
war, there must be more direct efficiency. There must be assembled
150,000 men, and an immense flotilla. We must try to cross the
Strait, and perhaps I shall bury in the depths of the sea my fortune,
my glory, my life. It is an awful temerity, my lord, the invasion
of England." Here, to the amazement of Lord Whitworth, Napoleon
enumerated frankly and powerfully all the perils of the enterprise:
the enormous preparations it would be necessary to make of ships,
men, and munitions of war-the difficulty of eluding the English
fleet. "The chance that we shall perish," said he, "is vastly
greater than the chance that we shall succeed . Yet this temerity,
my lord, awful as it is, I am determined to hazard, if you force
me to it. I will risk my army and my life. With me that great
enterprise will have chances which it can not have with any other.
See now if I ought, prosperous, powerful, and peaceful as I now am,
to risk power, prosperity, and peace in such an enterprise. Judge,
if when I say I am desirous of peace, if I am not sincere. It is
better for you; it is better for me to keep within the limits of
treaties. You must evacuate Malta. You must not harbor my assassins
in England. Let me be abused, if you please, by the English journals,
but not by those miserable emigrants, who dishonor the protection
you grant them, and whom the Alien Act permits you to expel from
the country. Act cordially with me, and I promise you, on my part,
an entire cordiality. See what power we should exercise over the
world, if we could bring our two nations together. You have a navy,
which, with the incessant efforts of ten years, in the employment
of all resources, I should not be able to equal. But I have 500,000
men ready to march, under my command, whithersoever I choose to
lead them. If you are masters of the seas, I am master of the land.
Let us then think of uniting, rather than of going to war, and we
shall rule at pleasure the destinies of the world France and England
united, can do every thing for the interests of humanity."

England, however, still refused, upon one pretense and another, to
yield Malta; and both parties were growing more and more exasperated,
and were gradually preparing for the renewal of hostilities.
Napoleon, at times, gave very free utterance to his indignation.
"Malta," said he, "gives the dominion of the Mediterranean. Nobody
will believe that I consent to surrender the Mediterranean to the
English, unless I fear their power. I thus loose the most important
sea in the world, and the respect of Europe. I will fight to the
last, for the possession of the Mediterranean; and if I once get
to Dover, it is all over with those tyrants of the seas. Besides,
as we must fight, sooner or later, with a people to whom the greatness
of France is intolerable, the sooner the better. I am young. The
English are in the wrong; more so than they will ever be again. I
had rather settle the matter at once. They shall not have Malta."

Still Napoleon assented to the proposal for negotiating with the
English for the cession of some other island in the Mediterranean.
"Let them obtain a port to put into," said he. "To that I have no
objection. But I am determined that they shall not have two Gibraltars
in that sea, one at the entrance, and one in the middle." To this
proposition, however, England refused assent.

Napoleon then proposed that the Island of Malta should be placed in
the hands of the Emperor of Russia; leaving it with him in trust,
till the discussions between France and England were decided. It
had so happened that the emperor had just offered his mediation,
if that could be available, to prevent a war. This the English
government also declined, upon the plea that it did not think that
Russia would be willing to accept the office thus imposed upon her.
The English embassador now received instructions to demand that
France should cede to England, Malta for ten years; and that England,
by way of compensation, would recognize the Italian republic. The
embassador was ordered to apply for his passports, if these conditions
were not accepted within seven days. To this proposition France
would not accede. The English minister demanded his passports, and
left France. Immediately the English fleet commenced its attack
upon French merchant-ships, wherever they could be found. And the
world was again deluged in war.

France has recorded her past history and her present condition, in
the regal palaces she has reared. Upon these monumental walls are
inscribed, in letters more legible than the hieroglyphics of Egypt,
and as ineffaceable, the long and dreary story of kingly vice,
voluptuousness and pride, and of popular servility and oppression.
The unthinking tourist saunters through these magnificent saloons,
upon which have been lavished the wealth of princes and the toil
of ages, and admires their gorgeous grandeur. In marbled floors
and gilded ceilings and damask tapestry, and all the appliances of
boundless luxury and opulence, he sees but the triumphs of art, and
bewildered by the dazzling spectacle, forgets the burning outrage
upon human rights which it proclaims. Half-entranced, he wanders
through uncounted acres of groves and lawns, and parterres of
flowers, embellished with lakes, fountains, cascades, and the most
voluptuous statuary, where kings and queens have reveled, and he
reflects not upon the millions who have toiled, from dewy morn till
the shades of night, through long and joyless years, eating black
bread, clothed in coarse raiment--the man, the woman, the ox,
companions in toil, companions in thought--to minister to this
indulgence. But the palaces of France proclaim, in trumpet tones,
the shame of France. They say to her kings. Behold the undeniable
monuments of your pride, your insatiate extortion, your measureless
extravagance and luxury. They say to the people, Behold the proofs
of the outrages which your fathers, for countless ages, have endured.
They lived in mud hovels that their licentious kings might riot
haughtily in the apartments, canopied with gold, of Versailles, the
Tuileries, and St. Cloud--the Palaces of France. The mind of the
political economist lingers painfully upon them. They are gorgeous
as specimens of art. They are sacred as memorials of the past.
Vandalism alone would raze them to their foundations. Still, the
judgment says, It would be better for the political regeneration
of France, if, like the Bastile, their very foundations were plowed
up, and sown with salt. For they are a perpetual provocative to
every thinking man. They excite unceasingly democratic rage against
aristocratic arrogance. Thousands of noble women, as they traverse
those gorgeous halls, feel those fires of indignation glowing in
their souls, which glowed in the bosom of Madame Roland. Thousands
of young men, with compressed lip and moistened eye, lean against
those marble pillars, lost in thought, and almost excuse even the
demoniac and blood-thirsty mercilessness of Danton, Marat, and
Robespierre. These palaces are a perpetual stimulus and provocative
to governmental aggression. There they stand, in all their
gorgeousness, empty, swept, and garnished. They are resplendently
beautiful. They are supplied with every convenience, every luxury.
King and Emperor dwelt there. Why should not the President ? Hence
the palace becomes the home of the Republican President. The expenses
of the palace, the retinue of the palace, the court etiquette of
the palace become the requisitions of good taste. In America, the
head of the government, in his convenient and appropriate mansion,
receives a salary of twenty-five thousand dollars a year. In
France, the President of the Republic receives four hundred thousand
dollars a year, and yet, even with that vast sum, can not keep up
an establishment at all in accordance with the dwellings of grandeur
which invite his occupancy, and which unceasingly and irresistibly
stimulate to regal pomp and to regal extravagance. The palaces of
France have a vast influence upon the present politics of France.
There is an unceasing conflict between those marble walls of
monarchical splendor, and the principles of republican simplicity.
This contest will not soon terminate, and its result no one can
foresee. Never have I felt my indignation more thoroughly aroused
than when wandering hour after hour through the voluptuous sumptuousness
of Versailles. The triumphs of taste and art are admirable, beyond
the power of the pen to describe. But the moral of exeerable
oppression is deeply inscribed upon all. In a brief description of
the Palaces of France. I shall present them in the order in which
I chanced to visit them.

1. Palais des Thermes .--In long-gone centuries, which have faded
away into oblivion, a wandering tribe of barbarians alighted from
their canoes, upon a small island in the Seine, and there reared
their huts. They were called the Parisii. The slow lapse of
centuries rolled over them, and there were wars and woes, bridals
and burials, and still they increased in numbers and in strength,
and fortified their little isle against the invasions of their
enemies; for man, whether civilized or savage, has ever been the
most ferocious wild beast man has had to encounter. But soon the
tramp of the Roman legions was heard upon the banks of the Seine,
and all Gaul with its sixty tribes, came under the power of
the Caesars. Extensive marshes and gloomy forests surrounded the
barbarian village; but, gradually, Roman laws and institutions were
introduced; and Roman energy changed the aspect of the country.
Immediately the proud conquerors commenced rearing a palace for
the provincial governor. The Palace of Warm Baths rose, with its
massive walls and in imposing grandeur. Roman spears drove the people
to the work; and Roman ingenuity knew well how to extort from the
populace the revenue which was required. Large remains of that palace
continue to the present day. It is the most interesting memorial
of the past which can now be found in France. The magnificence of
its proportions still strike the beholder with awe. "Behold," says
a writer, who trod its marble floors nearly a thousand years ago:
"Behold the Palace of the Kings, whose turrets pierce the skies,
and whose foundations penetrate even to the empire of the dead."
Julius Caesar gazed proudly upon those turrets; and here the shouts
of Roman legions, fifteen hundred years ago proclaimed Julian emperor;
and Roman maidens, with throbbing hearts, trod these floors in the
mazy dance. No one can enter the grand hall of the haths, without
being deeply impressed with the majestic aspect of the edifice, and
with the grandeur of its gigantic proportions. The decay of nearly
two thousand years has left its venerable impress upon those walls.
Here Roman generals proudly strode, encased in brass and steel,
and the clatter of their arms resounded through these arches. In
these mouldering, crumbling tubs of stone, they laved their sinewy
limbs. But where are those fierce warriors now? In what employments
have their turbulent spirits been engaged, while generation after
generation has passed on earth, in the enactment of the comedies
and the tragedies of life? Did their rough tutelage in the camp,
and their proud hearing in the court, prepare them for the love,
the kindness, the gentleness, the devotion of Heaven? In fields of
outrage, clamor, and blood, madly rushing to the assault, shouting
in frenzy, dealing, with iron hand, every where around, destruction
and death, did they acquire a taste for the "green pastures and
the still waters?" Alas! for the mystery of our being! They are
gone, and gone forever! Their name has perished--their language is

"The storm which wrecks the wintry sky. No more disturbs their
deep repose, Than summer evening's gentlest sign, Which shuts
the rose."

Upon a part of the rums of this old palace of Caesars, there has
been reared by more modern ancients , still another palace, where
mirth and revelry have resounded, where pride has elevated her
haughty head, and vanity displayed her costly robes--but over all
those scenes of splendor, death has rolled its oblivious waves. About
four hundred years ago, upon a portion of the crumbling walls of
this old Roman mansion, the Palace of Cluny was reared. For three
centuries, this palace was one of the abodes of the kings of France.
The tide of regal life ebbed and flowed through those saloons, and
along those corridors. There is the chamber where Mary of England,
sister of Henry VIII., and widow of Louis XII., passed the weary
years of her widowhood. It is still called the chamber of the
"white queen," from the custom of the queens of France to wear
white mourning. Three hundred years ago, these Gothic turrets, and
gorgeously ornamented lucarne windows, gleamed with illuminations,
as the young King of Scotland, James V., led Madeleine, the blooming
daughter of Francis I., to the bridal altar. Here the haughty family
of the Guises ostentatiously displayed their regal retinue--vying
with the Kings of France in splendor, and outvying them in power.
These two palaces, now blended by the nuptails of decay into one,
are converted into a museum of antiquities--silent despositories
of memorials of the dead. Sadly one loiters through their deserted
halls. They present one of the most interesting sights of Paris.
In the reflective mind they awaken emotions which the pen can not

2. The Lourre .--When Paris consisted only of the little island in
the Seine, and kings and feudal lords, with wine and wassail were
reveling in the saloons of China, a hunting-seat was reared in the
the dense forest which spread itself along the banks of the river.
As the city extended, and the forest disappeared, the hunting-seat
was enlarged, strengthened, and became a fortress and a state-prison
Thus it continued for three hundred years. In its gloomy dungeons
prisoners of state, and the victims of crime, groaned and died;
and countless tragedies of despotic power there transpired, which
the Day of Judgment alone can reveal. Three hundred years ago,
Francis I, tore down the dilapidated walls of this old castle, and
commerces the magnificent Palace of the Louver upon their foundations.
But its construction has required candle, while Gilpin, who was
taller and stronger than either of the other boys, bored the hole
in the door, in the place which Rodolphus indicated. When the hole
was bored, the boys inserted an iron rod into it. and running this
rod under the hasp, they pried the hasp up and unfastened the door.
They opened the door, and then, to their great joy, found themselves
all safe in the office.

They put the dark lantern down upon the table, and covered it with
its screen, and then listened, perfectly whist, a minute or two,
to be sure that nobody was coming.

"You go and watch at the shed-door," said Gilpin to Rodolphus,
"while we open the desk."

So Rodolphus went to the shed-door. He peeped out, and looked up
and down the village-street, but all was still.

Presently he heard a sort of splitting sound within the office,
which he knew was made by the forcing open of the lid of the desk.
Very soon afterward the boys came out, in a hurried manner--Griff
had the lantern and Gilpin the box.

"Have you got it!" said Rodolphus.

"Yes," said Griff.

"Let's see," said Rodolphus.

Griff held out the box to Rodolphus. It was very heavy and they
could hear the sound of the money within. All three of the boys
seemed almost wild with trepidation and excitement. Griff however
immediately began to hurry them away, pulling the box from them
and saying, "Come, come, boys, we must not stay fooling here."

"Wait a minute till I hide the tools again!" said Rodolphus, "and
then we'll run."

Rodolphus hid the tools behind the wood-pile, in the shed, where
they had been before, and then the boys sallied forth into the
street. They crept along stealthily in the shadows of the houses
and the most dark and obscure places, until they came to the tavern,
where they were to turn down the lane to the corn-barn. As soon as
they got safely to this lane, they felt relieved, and they walked
on in a more unconcerned manner; and when at length they got fairly
in under the corn-barn they felt perfectly secure.

"There," said Griff, "was not that well done!"

"Yes," said Rodolphus, "and now all that we have got to do is to
get the box open."

"We can break it open with stones," said Griff.

"No," said Gilpin, "that will make too much noise. We will bury
it under this straw for a few days, and open it somehow or other
by-and-by, when they have given up looking for the box. You can
get the real key of it for us, Rodolphus, can't you!"

"How can I get it?" asked Rodolphus.

"Oh, you can contrive some way to get it from old Kerber, I've no
doubt. At any rate the best thing is to bury it now.'

To this plan the boys all agreed. They pulled away the straw,
which was spread under the corn-barn, and dug a hole in the ground
beneath, working partly with sticks and partly with their fingers.
When they had got the hole deep enough, they put the box in and
covered it up. Then they covered it up. Then they spread the straw
over the place as before.

During all this time the lantern had been standing upon a box pretty
near by, having been put there by the boys, in order that the light
might shine down upon the place where they had been digging. As
soon as their work was done, the boys went softly outside to see
if the way was clear for them to go home, leaving the lantern on
the box; and while they were standing at the corner of the barn
outside, looking up the lane, and whispering together, they saw
suddenly a light beginning to gleam up from within. They ran in
and found that the lantern had fallen down, and that the straw was
all in a blaze. They immediately began to tread upon the fire and
try to put it out, but the instant that they did so they were all
thunderstruck by the appearance of a fourth person, who came rushing
in among them from the outside. They all screamed out with terror
and ran. Rodolphus separated from the rest and crouched down a
moment behind the stone wall, but immediately afterward, feeling
that there would be no safety for him here, he set off again and
ran across some back fields and gardens, in the direction toward
Mr. Kerber's. He looked back occasionally and found that the light
was rapidly increasing. Presently he began to hear cries of fire.
He ran on till he reached the house; he scrambled over the fences
into the back yard, climbed up upon a shed, crept along under the
chimneys to the window of his room, got in as fast as he could,
undressed himself and went to bed, and had just drawn the clothes
up over him, when he heard a loud knocking at the door, and Mrs.
Kerber's voice outside, calling out to him, that there was a cry
of fire in the village, and that he must get up quick as possible
and help put it out.

The Expedition to Egypt was one of the most magnificent enterprises
which human ambition ever conceived. The Return to France combines
still more, if possible, of the elements of the moral sublime.
But for the disastrous destruction of the French fleet the plans
of Napoleon, in reference to the East, would probably have been
triumphantly successful. At least it can not be doubted that a
vast change would have been effected throughout the Eastern world.
Those plans were now hopeless. The army was isolated, and cut off
from all reinforcements and all supplies. the best thing which
Napoleon could do for his troops in Egypt was to return to France,
and exert his personal influence in sending them succor. His return
involved the continuance of the most honorable devotion to those
soldiers whom he necessarily left behind him. The secrecy of his
departure was essential to its success. Had the bold attempt been
suspected, it would certainly have been frustrated by the increased
vigilance of the English cruisers. The intrepidity of the enterprise
must elicit universal admiration.

Contemplate, for a moment, the moral aspects of this undertaking.
A nation of thirty millions of people, had been for ten years
agitated by the most terrible convulsions. There is no atrocity,
which the tongue can name, which had not desolated the doomed land.
Every passion which can degrade the heart of fallen man, had swept
with simoom blast over the cities and the villages of France.
Conflagrations had laid the palaces of the wealthy in ruins, and the
green lawns where their children had played, had been crimsoned with
the blood of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters. A gigantic
system of robbery had seized upon houses and lands and every
species of property and had turned thousands of the opulent out
into destitution, beggary, and death. Pollution had been legalized
by the voice of God-defying lust, and France, la belle France
, had been converted into a disgusting warehouse of infamy. Law,
with suicidal hand, had destroyed itself, and the decisions of
the legislature swayed to and fro, in accordance with the hideous
clamors of the mob. The guillotine, with gutters ever clotted
with human gore, was the only argument which anarchy condescended
to use. Effectually it silenced every remonstrating tongue.
Constitution after constitution had risen, like mushrooms, in
a night, and like mushrooms had perished in a day. Civil war was
raging with bloodhound fury in France, Monarchists and Jacobins
grappling each other infuriate with despair. The allied kings of
Europe, who by their alliance had fanned these flames of rage and
ruin, were gazing with terror upon the portentous prodigy, and were
surrounding France with their navies and their armies.

The people had been enslaved for centuries by the king and the nobles.
Their oppression had been execrable, and it had become absolutely
unendurable. "We, the millions," they exclaimed in their rage, "will
no longer minister to your voluptuousness, and pride, and lust."
"You shall, you insolent dogs," exclaimed king and nobles, "we
heed not your barking." "You shall," reiterated the Pope, in the
portentous thunderings of the Vatican. "You shall," came echoed back
from the palaces of Vienna, from the dome of the Kremlin, from the
seraglio of the Turk, and, in tones deeper, stronger, more resolute,
from constitutional, liberty-loving, happy England. Then was France
a volcano, and its lava-streams deluged Europe. The people were
desperate. In the blind fury of their frenzied self-defense they
lost all consideration. The castles of the nobles were but the
monuments of past taxation and servitude. With yells of hatred
the infuriated populace razed them to the ground. The palaces of
the kings, where, for uncounted centuries, dissolute monarchs had
reveled in enervating and heaven-forbidden pleasures, were but
national badges of the bondage of the people. The indignant throng
swept through them, like a Mississippi inundation, leaving upon
marble floors, and cartooned walls and ceilings, the impress of
their rage. At one bound France had passed from despotism to anarchy.
The kingly tyrant, with golden crown and iron sceptre, surrounded
by wealthy nobles and dissolute beauties, had disappeared, and
a many-headed monster, rapacious and blood-thirsty, vulgar and
revolting, had emerged from mines and workshops and the cellars of
vice and penury, like one of the spectres of fairy tales to fill his
place. France had passed from Monarchy, not to healthy Republicanism,
but to Jacobinism, to the reign of the mob. Napoleon utterly abhorred
the tyranny of the king. He also utterly abhorred the despotism of
vulgar, violent, sanguinary Jacobin misrule. The latter he regarded
with even far deeper repugnance than the former. "I frankly
confess," said Napoleon, again and again, "that if I must choose
between Bourbon oppression, and mob violence, I infinitely prefer
the former.

Such had been the state of France, essentially, for nearly ten
years. The great mass of the people were exhausted with suffering,
and longed for repose. The land was filled with plots and counterplots.
But there was no one man of sufficient prominence to carry with
him the nation. The government was despised and disregarded. France
was in a state of chaotic ruin. Many voices here and there, began
to inquire "Where is Bonaparte, the conqueror of Italy, the conqueror
of Egypt? He alone can save us." His world-wide renown turned the
eyes of the nation to him as their only hope.

Under these circumstances Napoleon, then a young man but twenty-nine
years of age, and who, but three years before, had been unknown
to fame or to fortune, resolved to return to France, to overthrow
the miserable government, by which the country was disgraced, to
subdue anarchy at home and aggression from abroad, and to rescue
thirty millions of people from ruin. The enterprise was undeniably
magnificent in its grandeur and noble in its object. He had two
foes to encounter, each formidable, the royalists of combined Europe
and the mob of Paris. The quiet and undoubting self-confidence with
which he entered upon this enterprise, is one of the most remarkable
events in the whole of his extraordinay career. He took with him
no armies to hew down opposition. He engaged in no deep-laid and
wide-spread conspiracy. Relying upon the energies of his own mind,
and upon the sympathies of the great mass of the people, he went
alone, with but one or two companions, to whom he revealed not his
thoughts, to gather into his hands the scattered reins of power.
Never did he encounter more fearful peril. The cruisers of England,
Russia, Turkey, of allied Europe in arms against France, thronged
the Mediterranean. How could he hope to escape them? The guillotine
was red with blood. Every one who had dared to oppose the mob had
perished upon it. How could Napoleon venture, single-handed, to
beard this terrible lion in his den?

It was ten o'clock at night, the 22d of August, 1799, when Napoleon
ascended the sides of the frigate Muiron, to France. A few of his
faithful Guards, and eight companions, either officers in the army
or members of the scientific corps, accompanied him. There were
five hundred soldiers on board the ships. The stars shone brightly
in the Syrian sky, and under their soft light the blue waves of
the Mediterranean lay spread out most peacefully before them. The
frigates unfurled their sails. Napoleon, silent and lost in thought,
for a long time walked the quarter deck of the ship, gazing upon
the low outline of Egypt as, in the dim starlight, it faded away.
His companions were intoxicated with delight, in view of again
returning to France. Napoleon was neither elated nor depressed.
Serene and silent he communed with himself, and whenever we can
catch a glimpse of those secret communings we find them always
bearing the impress of grandeur. Though Napoleon was in the habit
of visiting the soldiers at their camp fires, of sitting down and
conversing with them with the greatest freedom and familiarity,
the majesty of his character overawed his officers, and adoration
and reserve blended with their love. Though there was no haughtiness
in his demeanor, he habitually dwelt in a region of elevation
above them all. Their talk was of cards, of wine, of pretty women.
Napoleon's thoughts were of empire, of renown, of moulding the
destinies of nations. They regarded him not as a companion, but
as a master, whose wishes they loved to anticipate; for he would
surely guide them to wealth, and fame, and fortune. He contemplated
them, not as equals and confiding friends, but as efficient and
valuable instruments for the accomplishment of his purposes. Murat
was to Napoleon a body of ten thousand horsemen, ever ready for a
resistless charge. Lannes was a phalanx of infantry, bristling with
bayonets, which neither artillery nor cavalry could batter down or
break. Augereau was an armed column of invincible troops, black,
dense, massy, impetuous, resistless, moving with gigantic tread
wherever the finger of the conqueror pointed. These were but the
members of Napoleon's body, the limbs obedient to the mighty soul
which swayed them. They were not the companions of his thoughts,
they were only the servants of his will. The number to be found
with whom the soul of Napoleon could dwell in sympathetic friendship
was few--very few.

Napoleon had formed a very low estimate of human nature, and
consequently made great allowance for the infirmities incident
to humanity. Bourrienne reports him as saying, "Friendship is but
a name. I love no one; no, not even my brothers. Joseph perhaps a
little. And if I do love him, it is from habit, and because he is
my elder. Duroc! Ah, yes! I love him too. But why? His character
please me. He is cold, reserved, and resolute, and I really believe
that he never shed a tear. As to myself, I know well that I have
not one true friend. As long as I continue what I am, I may have
as many pretended friends as I please. We must leave sensibility
to the women. It is their business. Men should have nothing to do
with war or government. I am not amiable. No; I am not amiable. I
never have been. But I am just."

In another mood of mind, more tender, more subdued, he remarked,
at St. Helena, in reply to Las Casas, who with great severity was
condemning those who abandoned Napoleon in his hour of adversity:
"You are not acquainted with men. They are difficult to comprehend
if one wishes to be strictly just. Can they understand or explain
even their own characters? Almost all those who abandoned me would had
I continued to be prosperous, never perhaps have dreamed of their
own defection. There are vices and virtues which depend upon
circumstances. Our last trials were beyond all human strength! Besides
I was forsaken rather than betrayed; there was more weakness than
of perfidy around me. It was the denial of St. Peter . Tears and
penitence are probably at hand. And where will you find in the
page of history any one possessing a greater number of friends
and partisans? Who was ever more popular and more beloved? Who was
ever more ardently and deeply regretted? Here from this very rock
on viewing the present disorders in France who would not be tempted
to say that I still reign there? No; human nature might have appeared
in a more odious light."

Las Casas, who shared with Napoleon his weary years of imprisonment
at St. Helena says of him: "He views the complicated circumstances
of his from so high a point that individuals escape his notice. He
never evinces the least symptom of virulence toward those of whom
it might be supposed he has the greatest reason to complain. His
strongest mark of reprobation, and I have had frequent occasions
to notice it, is to preserve silence with respect to them whenever
they are mentioned in his presence. But how often has he been heard
to restrain the violent and less reserved expressions of those
about him?"

"And here I must observe," say Las Casas, "that since I have become
acquainted with the Emperor's character, I have never known him to
evince, for a single moment, the least feeling of anger or animosity
against those who had most deeply injured him. He speaks of them
coolly and without resentment, attributing their conduct in some
measure to the place, and throwing the rest to the account of human

Marmont, who surrendered Paris to the allies was severely condemned
by Las Casas. Napoleon replied: "Vanity was his ruin. Posterity
will justly cast a shade upon his character, yet his heart will be
more valued than the memory of his career." "Your attachment for
Berthier," said Las Casas, "surprised us. He was full of pretensions
and pride." "Berthier was not with out talent." Napoleon replied,
"and I am far from wishing to disavow his merit, or my partiality;
but he was so undecided!" He was very harsh and overbearing." Las
Casas rejoined. "And what, my dear Las Casas," Napoleon replied,
"is more overbearing than weakness which feels itself protected
by strength! Look at women for example." This Berthier had with
the utmost meanness, abandoned his benefactor, and took his place
in front of the carriage of Louis XVIII. as he rode triumphantly
into Paris. "The only revenge I wish on this poor Berthier," said
Napoleon at the time, "would be to see him in his costume of captain
of the body-guard of Louis."

Says Bourrienne, Napoleon's rejected secretary, "The character
of Napoleon was not a cruel one. He was neither rancorous nor
vindictive. None but those who are blinded by fury, could have
given him the name of Nero or Caligula. I think that I have stated
his real fault with sufficient sincerity to be believed upon my
word. I can assert that Bonaparte, apart from politics, was feeling
kind, and accessible to pity. He was very fond of children, and a
bad man has seldom that disposition. In the habits of private life
he had and the expression is not too strong, much benevolence and
great indulgence for human weakness. A contrary opinion is too
firmly fixed in some minds for me to hope to remove it. I shall,
I fear, have opposers; but I address myself to those who are in
search of truth. I lived in the most unreserved confidence with
Napoleon until the age of thirty-four years, and I advance nothing
lightly." This is the admission of one who had been ejected from
office by Napoleon, and who become a courtier of the reinstated
Bourbons. It is a candid admission of an enemy.

The ships weighed anchor in the darkness of the night, hoping
before the day should dawn to escape the English cruisers which
were hovering about Alexandria. Unfortunately, at midnight, the wind
died away, and it became almost perfectly calm. Fearful of being
captured, some were anxious to seek again the shore. "Be quiet,"
said Napoleon, "we shall pass in safety."

Admiral Gantheaume wished to take the shortest route to France.
Napoleon, however, directed the admiral to sail along as near as
possible the coast of Africa, and to continue that unfrequented
route, till the ships should pass the Island of Sardinia. "In the
mean while," said he, "should an English fleet present itself,
we will run ashore upon the sands, and march, with the handful of
brave men and the few pieces of artillery we have with us, to Oran
or Tunis, and there find means to re-embark." Thus Napoleon, is
this hazardous enterprise braved every peril. The most imminent and
the most to be dreaded of all was captivity in an English prison.
For twenty days the wind was so invariable adverse, that the ships
did not advance three hundred miles. Many were so discouraged and
so apprehensive of capture that it was even proposed to return to
Alexandria. Napoleon was much in the habit of peaceful submission
to that which he could not remedy. During all these trying weeks
he appeared perfectly serene and contented. To the murmuring of
his companions he replied, "We shall arrive in France in safety. I
am determined to proceed at all hazards. Fortune will not abandon
us." "People frequently speak," says Bourrienne, who accompanied
Napoleon upon this voyage, "of the good fortune which attaches to
an individual, and even attends him this sort of predestination,
yet, when I call to mind the numerous dangers which Bonaparte
escaped in so many enterprises, the hazards he encountered, the
chances he ran, I can conceive that others may have this faith.
But having for a length of time studied the 'man of destiny',
I have remarked that what was called his fortune was, in reality,
his genius; that his success was the consequence of his admirable
foresight--of his calculations, rapid as lightning, and of the
conviction that boldness is often the truest wisdom. If, for example,
during our voyage from Egypt to France, he had not imperiously
insisted upon pursuing a course different from that usually taken,
and which usual course was recommended by the admiral, would he
have escaped the perils which beset his path! Probably not. And
was all this the effect of chance. .......... Certainly not."

During these days of suspense Napoleon, apparently as serene in
spirit as the calm which often silvered the unrippled surface of the
sea held all the energies of his mind in perfect control. A choice
library he invariably took with him wherever he went. He devoted
the hours to writing study, finding recreation in solving the most
difficult problems in geometry, and in investigating chemistry and
other scientific subjects of practical utility. He devoted much
time to conversation with the distinguished scholars whom he had
selected to accompany him. His whole soul seemed engrossed in the
pursuit of literary and scientific attainments. He also carefully,
and with most intense interest, studied the Bible and Koran,
scrutinizing, with the eye of a philosopher, the antagonistic
system of the Christian and the Moslem. The limity of the Scriptures
charmed him. He read again and again, with deep admiration,
Christ's sermon upon the mount and called his companions form their
card-tables, to read it to them, that they might also appreciate its
moral beauty and its eloquence. "You will ere long, become devout
yourself," said one of his infidel companions. "I wish I might
become so," Napoleon replied. "What a solace Christianity must be
to one who has an undoubting conviction of its truth." But practical
Christianity he had only seen in the mummeries of the papal church.
Remembering the fasts, the vigils, the penances, the cloisters,
the scourgings of a corrupt Christianity, and contrasting them with
the voluptuous paradise and the sensual houries which inflamed the
eager vision of the Moslem, he once exclaimed in phrase characteristic
of his genius, "The religion of Jesus is a threat, that of Mohammed."
The religion of Jesus is not a threat. Though the wrath of God
shall fall upon the children of disobedience, our Saviour invites
us, in gentle accents, to the green pastures and the still waters
of the Heavenly Canaan; to cities resplendent with pearls and
gold; to mansions of which God is the architect; to the songs of
seraphim, and the flight of cherubim, exploring on tireless pinion
the wonders of infinity; to peace of conscience and rapture dwelling
in pure heart and to blest companionship loving and beloved; to
majesty of person and loftiness of intellect; to appear as children
and as nobles in the audience-chamber of God; to an immorality of
bliss. No! the religion of Jesus is not a threat, though it has too
often been thus represented by its mistaken or designing advocates.

One evening a group of officers were conversing together, upon the
quarter deck, respecting the existence of God. Many of them believed
not in his being. It was a calm, cloudless, brilliant night. The
heavens, the work of God's fingers, canopied them gloriously. The
moon and the stars, which God had ordained beamed down upon them
with serene lustre. As they were flippantly giving utterance to
the arguments of atheism. Napoleon paced to and fro upon the deck,
taking no part in the conversation, and apparently absorbed in his
own thoughts. Suddenly he stopped before them and said, in those
tones of dignity which ever overawed, "Gentlemen, your arguments
are very fine. But who made all those worlds, beaming so gloriously
above us? Can you tell me that?" No one answered. Napoleon resumed his
silent walk, and the officers selected another topic for conversation.

In these intense studies Napoleon first began to appreciate the
beauty and the sublimity of Christianity. Previously to this, his
own strong sense had taught him the principles of a noble toleration;
and Jew, Christian, and Moslem stood equally regarded before him.
Now he began to apprehend the surpassing excellence of Christianity.
And though the cares of the busiest life through which a mortal
has ever passed soon engrossed his energies, this appreciation and
admiration of the gospel of Christ, visibly increased with each
succeeding year. He unflinchingly braved the scoffs of infidel Europe,
in re-establishing the Christian religion in paganized France. He
periled his popularity with the army, and disregarded the opposition
of his most influential friends, from his deep conviction of
the importance of religion to the welfare of the state. With the
inimitable force of his own glowing eloquence, he said to Montholon,
at St. Helena, "I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is
not a man! The religion of Christ is a mystery, which subsists by
its own force, and proceeds from a mind which is not a human mind.
We find in it a marked individuality which originated a train of
words and maxims unknown before. Jesus borrowed nothing from our
knowledge. He exhibited himself the perfect example of his precepts.
Jesus is not a philosopher: for his proofs are his miracles, and
from the first his disciples adored him. In fact, learning and
philosophy are of no use for salvation; and Jesus came into the
world to reveal the mysteries of heaven and the laws of the spirit.
Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself have founded empires.
But upon what did we rest the creations of our genius? upon force
. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love. And at this
moment millions of men would die for him. I die before my time,
and my body will be given back to earth, to become food for worms.
Such is the fate of him who has been called the great Napoleon.
What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal kingdom of
Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, and adored, and which is extending
over the whole earth! Call you this dying? Is it not living rather?
The death of Christ is the death of a God!"

At the time of the invasion of Egypt, Napoleon regarded all forms
of religion with equal respect. And though he considered Christianity
superior, in intellectuality and refinement, to all other modes
of worship, he did not consider any religion as of divine origin.
At one time, speaking of the course which he pursued in Egypt, he
said, "Such was the disposition of the army, that in order to induce
them to listen to the bare mention of religion, I was obliged to
speak very lightly on the subject; to place Jews beside Christians,
and rabbis beside bishops. But after all it would not have been so
very extraordinary had circumstances induced me to embrace Islamism.
But I must have had good reasons for my conversion. I must have
been secure of advancing at least as far as the Euphrates. Change
of religion for private interest is inexcusable. But it may be
pardoned in consideration of immense political results. Henry IV.
said, Paris is well worth a mass . Will it then be said that the
dominion of the East, and perhaps the subjugation of all Asia,
were not worth a turban and a pair of trousers ? And in truth the
whole matter was reduced to this. The sheiks had studied how to
render it easy to us. They had smoothed down the great obstacles,
allowed us the use of wine, and dispensed with all corporeal
formalities. We should have lost only our small-clothes and hats."

Of the infidel Rousseau, Napoleon ever spoke in terms of severe
reprobation. "He was a bad man, a very bad man," said he, "he
caused the revolution." "I was not aware," another replied, "that
you considered the French Revolution such an unmixed evil." "Ah,"
Napoleon rejoined, "you wish to say that without the revolution you
would not have had me. Nevertheless, without the revolution France
would have been more happy." When invited to visit the hermitage
of Rousseau, to see his cap, table, great chair, &c., he exclaimed,
"Bah! I have no taste for such fooleries. Show them to my brother
Louis. He is worthy of them."

Probably the following remarks of Napoleon, made at St. Helena,
will give a very correct idea of his prevailing feeling upon the
subject of religion. "The sentiment of religion is so consolatory,
that it must be considered a gift from Heaven. What a resource
would it not be for us here, to possess it. What rewards have I
not a right to expect, who have run a career so extraordinary, so
tempestuous, as mine has been, without committing a single crime.
And yet how many might I not have been guilty of? I can appear
before the tribunal of God, I can await his judgment, without fear.
He will not find my conscience stained with the thoughts of murder
and poisonings; with the infliction of violent and premeditated
deaths, events so common in the history of those whose lives resemble
mine. I have wished only for the power, the greatness, the glory of
France. All my faculties, all my efforts, all my movements, were
directed to the attainment of that object. These can not be crimes.
To me they appeared acts of virtue. What then would be my happiness,
if the bright prospect of futurity presented itself to crown the
last moments of my existence."

After a moment's pause, in which he seemed lost in thought, he
resumed: "But, how is it possible that conviction can find its way
to our hearts, when we hear the absurd language, and witness the
iniquitous conduct of the greater part of those whose business it
is to preach to us. I am surrounded by priests, who repeat incessantly
that their reign is not of this world; and yet they lay their hands
upon every thing which they can get. The Pope is the head of that
religion which is from Heaven. What did the present chief pontiff,
who is undoubtedly a good and a holy man, not offer, to be allowed
to return to Rome. The surrender of the government of the church,
of the institution of bishops was not too much for him to give, to
become once more a secular prince.

"Nevertheless," he continued, after another thoughtful pause, "it
can not be doubted that, as emperor, the species of incredulity
which I felt was beneficial to the nations I had to govern. How could
I have favored equally sects so opposed to one another, if I had
joined any one of them? How could I have preserved the independence
of my thoughts and of my actions under the control of a confessor,
who would have governed me under the dread of hell!" Napoleon closed
this conversation, by ordering the New Testament to be brought.
Commencing at the beginning, he read aloud as far as the conclusion
of our Savior's address to his disciples upon the mountain. He
expressed himself struck with the highest admiration, in contemplating
its purity, its sublimity, and the beautiful perfection of its
moral code.

For forty days the ships were driven about by contrary winds, and
on the 1st of October they made the island of Corsica, and took
refuge in the harbor of Ajaccio. The tidings that Napoleon had
landed in his native town swept over the island like a gale, and
the whole population crowded to the port to catch a sight of their
illustrious countryman. "It seemed," said Napoleon, "that half of
the inhabitants had discovered traces of kindred." But a few years
had elapsed since the dwelling of Madame Letitia was pillaged by the
mob, and the whole Bonaparte family, in penury and friendlessness,
were hunted from their home, effecting their escape in an open
boat by night. Now, the name of Bonaparte filled the island with
acclamations. But Napoleon was alike indifferent to such unjust
censure, and to such unthinking applause. As the curse did not
depress, neither did the hosanna elate.

After the delay of a few days in obtaining supplies, the ships
again weighed anchor, on the 7th of October, and continued their
perilous voyage. The evening of the next day, as the sun was going
down in unusual splendor, there appeared in the west, painted in
strong relief against his golden rays, an English squadron. The
admiral, who saw from the enemy's signals that he was observed,
urged an immediate return to Corsica. Napoleon, convinced that
capture would be the result of such a manoeuvre, exclaimed, "To do
so would be to take the road to England.

I am seeking that to France. Spread all sail. Let every one be at
his post. Steer to the northwest. Onward." The night was dark, the
wind fair. Rapidly the ships were approaching the coast of France,
through the midst of the hostile squadron, and exposed to the most
imminent danger of capture. Escape seemed impossible. It was a
night of fearful apprehension and terror to all on board, excepting
Napoleon. He determined, in case of extremity, to throw himself
into a boat, and trust for safety to darkness and the oars. With the
most perfect self-possession and composure of spirits, he ordered
the long-boat to be prepared, selected those whom he desired to
accompany him, and carefully collected such papers as he was anxious
to preserve. Not an eye was closed during the night. It was indeed
a fearful question to be decided. Are these weary wanderers, in a
few hours, to be in the embrace of their wives and their children,
or will the next moment show them the black hull of an English
man-of war, emerging from the gloom, to consign them to lingering
years of captivity in an English prison? In this terrible hour
no one could perceive that the composure of Napoleon was in the
slightest degree ruffled. The first drawn of the morning revealed
to their straining vision the hills of France stretching along
but a few leagues before them, and far away, in the northeast, the
hostile squadron, disappearing beneath the horizon of the sea. The
French had escaped. The wildest bursts of joy rose from the ships.
But Napoleon gazed calmly upon his beloved France, with pale cheek
and marble brow, too proud to manifest emotion. At eight o'clock
in the morning the four vessels dropped anchor in the little harbor
of Frejus. It was the morning of the 8th of October. Thus for fifty
days Napoleon had been tossed upon the waves of the Mediterranean,
surrounded by the hostile flects of England, Russia, and Turkey,
and yet had eluded their vigilance.

This wonderful passage of Napoleon, gave rise to many caricatures,
both in England and France. One of these caricatures, which was
conspicuous in the London shop windows, possessed so much point and
historic truth, that Napoleon is said to have laughed most heartily
on seeing it. Lord Nelson, as is well known, with all his heroism,
was not exempt from the frailties of humanity. The British admiral
was represented as guarding Napoleon. Lady Hamilton makes her
appearance, and his lordship becomes so engrossed in caressing the
fair enchantress, that Napoleon escapes between his legs. This was
hardly a caricature. It was almost historic verity. While Napoleon
was struggling against adverse storms off the coast of Africa,
Lord Nelson, adorned with the laurels of his magnificent victory,
in fond dalliance with his frail Delilah, was basking in the courts
of voluptuous and profligate kings. "No one," said Napoleon, "can
surrender himself to the dominion of love, without the forfeiture
of some palms of glory."

When the four vessels entered the harbor of Frejus, a signal at
the mast-head of the Muiron informed the authorities on shore that
Napoleon was on board. The whole town was instantly in commotion.
Before the anchors were dropped the harbor was filled with boats,
and the ships were surrounded with an enthusiastic multitude,
climbing their sides, thronging their decks, and rending the air
with their acclamations. All the laws of quarantine were disregarded.
The people, weary of anarchy, and trembling in view of the approaching
Austrian invasion, were almost delirious with delight in receiving
thus as it were from the clouds, a deliverer, in whose potency they
could implicitly trust. When warned that the ships had recently
sailed from Alexandria, and that there was imminent danger that the
plague, might be communicated, they replied, "We had rather have
the plague than the Austrians," Breaking over all the municipal
regulations of health, the people took Napoleon, almost by violence,
hurried him over the side of the ship to the boats, and conveyed
him in triumph to the shore. The tidings had spread from farm-house
to farm-house with almost electric speed, and the whole country
population, men, women, and children, were crowding down to the
shore. Even the wounded soldiers in the hospital, left their cots
and crawled to the beach, to get a sight of the hero. The throng
became so great that it was with difficulty that Napoleon could
land. The gathering multitude, however, opened to the right and the
left, and Napoleon passed through them, greeted with the enthusiastic
cries of "Long live the conqueror of Italy, the conqueror of Egypt,
the liberator of France." The peaceful little harbor of Frejus was
suddenly thrown into a state of the most unheard of excitement.
The bells rang their merriest peels. The guns in the forts rolled
forth their heaviest thunders over the hills and over the waves;
and the enthusiastic shouts of the ever increasing multitudes,
thronging Napoleon, filled the air. The ships brought the first
tidings, of the wonderful victories of Mount Tabor and of Aboukir.
The French, humiliated by defeat, were exceedingly elated by this
restoration of the national honor. The intelligence of Napoleon's
arrival was immediately communicated, by telegraph, to Paris, which
was six hundred miles from Frejus.

When the tidings of Napoleon's landing of Frejus, arrived in Paris,
on the evening of the 9th of October, Josephine was at a large party
at the house of M. Gohier, President of the Directory. All the most
distinguished men of the metropolis were there. The intelligence
produced the most profound sensation. Some, rioting in the spoils
of office, turned pale with apprehension; knowing well the genius
of Napoleon, and his boundless popularity, they feared another
revolution, which should eject them from their seats of power.
Others were elated with hope; they felt that Providence had sent to
France a deliverer, at the very moment when a deliverer was needed.
One of the deputies, who had been deeply grieved at the disasters
which were overwhelming the Republic, actually died of joy, when
he heard of Napoleon's return. Josephine, intensely excited by the
sudden and totally unexpected announcement, immediately withdrew,
hastened home, and at midnight, without allowing an hour for repose,
she entered her carriage, with Louis Bonaparte and Hortense, who
subsequently became the bride of Louis, and set out to meet her
husband. Napoleon almost at the same hour, with his suite, left
Frejus. During every stop of his progress he was greeted with the
most extraordinary demonstrations of enthusiasm and affection.
Bonfires blazed from the hills, triumphed arches, hastily of maidens
spread a carpet of flowers for his chariot wheels, and greeted

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