This etext was produced by David Widger
[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the file for those who may wish to sample the author’s ideas before making an entire meal of them. D.W.]
MEMOIRS OF THE COURT OF ST. CLOUD
Being Secret Letters from a Gentleman at Paris to a Nobleman in London
PARIS, August, 1805.
MY LORD:–The Italian subjects of Napoleon the First were far from displaying the same zeal and the same gratitude for his paternal care and kindness in taking upon himself the trouble of governing them, as we good Parisians have done. Notwithstanding that a brigade of our police agents and spies, drilled for years to applaud and to excite enthusiasm, proceeded as his advanced guard to raise the public spirit, the reception at Milan was cold and everything else but cordial and pleasing. The absence of duty did not escape his observation and resentment. Convinced, in his own mind, of the great blessing, prosperity, and liberty his victories and sovereignty have conferred on the inhabitants of the other side of the Alps, he ascribed their present passive or mutinous behaviour to the effect of foreign emissaries from Courts envious of his glory and jealous of his authority.
He suspected particularly England and Russia of having selected this occasion of a solemnity that would complete his grandeur to humble his just pride. He also had some idea within himself that even Austria might indirectly have dared to influence the sentiments and conduct of her ci-devant subjects of Lombardy; but his own high opinion of the awe which his very name inspired at Vienna dispersed these thoughts, and his wrath fell entirely on the audacity of Pitt and Markof. Strict orders were therefore issued to the prefects and commissaries of police to watch vigilantly all foreigners and strangers, who might have arrived, or who should arrive, to witness the ceremony of the coronation, and to arrest instantly any one who should give the least reason to suppose that he was an enemy instead of an admirer of His Imperial and Royal Majesty. He also commanded the prefects of his palace not to permit any persons to approach his sacred person, of whose morality and politics they had not previously obtained a good account.
These great measures of security were not entirely unnecessary. Individual vengeance and individual patriotism sharpened their daggers, and, to use Senator Roederer’s language, “were near transforming the most glorious day of rejoicing into a day of universal mourning.”
All our writers on the Revolution agree that in France, within the first twelve years after we had reconquered our lost liberty, more conspiracies have been denounced than during the six centuries of the most brilliant epoch of ancient and free Rome. These facts and avowals are speaking evidences of the eternal tranquillity of our unfortunate country, of our affection to our rulers, and of the unanimity with which all the changes of Government have been, notwithstanding our printed votes, received and approved.
The frequency of conspiracies not only shows the discontent of the governed, but the insecurity and instability of the governors. This truth has not escaped Napoleon, who has, therefore, ordered an expeditious and secret justice to despatch instantly the conspirators, and to bury the conspiracy in oblivion, except when any grand coup d’etat is to be struck; or, to excite the passions of hatred, any proofs can be found, or must be fabricated, involving an inimical or rival foreign Government in an odious plot. Since the farce which Mehee de la Touche exhibited, you have, therefore, not read in the Moniteur either of the danger our Emperor has incurred several times since from the machinations of implacable or fanatical foes, or of the alarm these have caused his partisans. They have, indeed, been hinted at in some speeches of our public functionaries, and in some paragraphs of our public prints, but their particulars will remain concealed from historians, unless some one of those composing our Court, our fashionable, or our political circles, has taken the trouble of noting them down; but even to these they are but imperfectly or incorrectly known.
Could the veracity of a Fouche, a Real, a Talleyrand, or a Duroc (the only members of this new secret and invisible tribunal for expediting conspirators) be depended upon, they would be the most authentic annalists of these and other interesting secret occurrences.
What I intend relating to you on this subject are circumstances such as they have been reported in our best informed societies by our most inquisitive companions. Truth is certainly the foundation of these anecdotes; but their parts may be extenuated, diminished, altered, or exaggerated. Defective or incomplete as they are, I hope you will not judge them unworthy of a page in a letter, considering the grand personage they concern, and the mystery with which he and his Government encompass themselves, or in which they wrap up everything not agreeable concerning them.
A woman is said to have been at the head of the first plot against Napoleon since his proclamation as an Emperor of the French. She called herself Charlotte Encore; but her real name is not known. In 1803 she lived and had furnished a house at Abbeville, where she passed for a young widow of property, subsisting on her rents. About the same time several other strangers settled there; but though she visited the principal inhabitants, she never publicly had any connection with the newcomers.
In the summer of 1803, a girl at Amiens–some say a real enthusiast of Bonaparte’s, but, according to others, engaged by Madame Bonaparte to perform the part she did demanded, upon her knees, in a kind of paroxysm of joy, the happiness of embracing him, in doing which she fainted, or pretended to faint away, and a pension of three thousand livres–was settled on her for her affection.
Madame Encore, at Abbeville, to judge of her discourse and conversation, was also an ardent friend and well-wisher of the Emperor; and when, in July, 1804, he passed through Abbeville, on his journey to the coast, she, also, threw herself at his feet, and declared that she would die content if allowed the honour of embracing him. To this he was going to assent, when Duroc stepped between them, seized her by the arm, and dragged her to an adjoining room, whither Bonaparte, near fainting from the sudden alarm his friend’s interference had occasioned, followed him, trembling. In the right sleeve of Madame Encore’s gown was found a stiletto, the point of which was poisoned. She was the same day transported to this capital, under the inspection of Duroc, and imprisoned in the Temple. In her examination she denied having accomplices, and she expired on the rack without telling even her name. The sub-prefect at Abbeville, the once famous Andre Dumont, was ordered to disseminate a report that she was shut up as insane in a madhouse.
In the strict search made by the police in the house occupied by her, no papers or any, other indications were discovered that involved other persons, or disclosed who she was, or what induced her to attempt such a rash action. Before the secret tribunal she is reported to have said, “that being convinced of Bonaparte’s being one of the greatest criminals that ever breathed upon the earth, she took upon herself the office of a volunteer executioner; having, with every other good or loyal person, a right to punish him whom the law could not, or dared not, reach.” When, however, some repairs were made in the house at Abbeville by a new tenant, a bundle of papers was found, which proved that a M. Franquonville, and about thirty, other individuals (many, of whom were the late newcomers there), had for six months been watching an opportunity to seize Bonaparte in his journeys between Abbeville and Montreuil, and to carry him to some part of the coast, where a vessel was ready to sail for England with him. Had he, however, made resistance, he would have been shot in France, and his assassins have saved themselves in the vessel.
The numerous escort that always, since he was an Emperor, accompanied him, and particularly his concealment of the days of his journeys, prevented the execution of this plot; and Madame Encore, therefore, took upon her to sacrifice herself for what she thought the welfare of her country. How Duroc suspected or discovered her intent is not known; some say that an anonymous letter informed him of it, while others assert that, in throwing herself at Bonaparte’s feet, this prefect observed the steel through the sleeve of her muslin gown. Most of her associates were secretly executed; some, however, were carried to Boulogne and shot at the head of the army of England as English spies.
PARIS, August, 1805.
MY LORD:–After the discovery of Charlotte Encore’s attempt, Bonaparte, who hitherto had flattered himself that he possessed the good wishes, if not the affection, of his female subjects, made a regulation according to which no women who had not previously given in their names to the prefects of his palaces, and obtained previous permission, can approach his person or throw themselves at his feet, without incurring his displeasure, and even arrest. Of this Imperial decree, ladies, both of the capital and of the provinces, when he travels, are officially informed. Notwithstanding this precaution, he was a second time last spring, at Lyons, near falling the victim of the vengeance or malice of a woman.
In his journey to be crowned King of Italy, he occupied his uncle’s episcopal palace at Lyons during the forty-eight hours he remained there. Most of the persons of both sexes composing the household of Cardinal Fesch were from his own country, Corsica; among these was one of the name of Pauline Riotti, who inspected the economy of the kitchens. It is Bonaparte’s custom to take a dish of chocolate in the forenoon, which she, on the morning of his departure, against her custom, but under pretence of knowing the taste of the family, desired to prepare. One of the cooks observed that she mixed it with something from her pocket, but, without saying a word to her that indicated suspicion, he warned Bonaparte, in a note, delivered to a page, to be upon his guard. When the chamberlain carried in the chocolate,. Napoleon ordered the person who had prepared it to be brought before him. This being told Pauline, she fainted away, after having first drunk the remaining contents of the chocolate pot. Her convulsions soon indicated that she was poisoned, and, notwithstanding the endeavours of Bonaparte’s physician, Corvisart, she expired within an hour; protesting that her crime was an act of revenge against Napoleon, who had seduced her, when young, under a promise of marriage; but who, since his elevation, had not only neglected her, but reduced her to despair by refusing an honest support for herself and her child, sufficient to preserve her from the degradation of servitude. Cardinal Fesch received a severe reprimand for admitting among his domestics individuals with whose former lives he was not better acquainted, and the same day he dismissed every Corsican in his service. The cook was, with the reward of a pension, made a member of the Legion of Honour, and it was given out by Corvisart that Pauline died insane.
Within three weeks after this occurrence, Bonaparte was, at Milan, again exposed to an imminent danger. According to his commands, the vigilance of the police had been very strict, and even severe. All strangers who could not give the most satisfactory account of themselves, had either been sent out of the country, or were imprisoned. He never went out unless strongly attended, and during his audiences the most trusty officers always surrounded him; these precautions increased in proportion as the day of his coronation approached. On the morning of that day, about nine o’clock, when full dressed in his Imperial and royal robes, and all the grand officers of State by his side, a paper was delivered to him by his chamberlain, Talleyrand, a nephew of the Minister. The instant he had read it, he flew into the arms of Berthier, exclaiming: “My friend, I am betrayed; are you among the number of conspirators? Jourdan, Lasnes, Mortier, Bessieres, St. Cyr, are you also forsaking your friend and benefactor?” They all instantly encompassed him, begging that be would calm himself; that they all were what they always had been, dutiful and faithful subjects. “But read this paper from my prefect, Salmatoris; he says that if I move a step I may cease to live, as the assassins are near me, as well as before me.”
The commander of his guard then entered with fifty grenadiers, their bayonets fixed, carrying with them a prisoner, who pointed out four individuals not far from Bonaparte’s person, two of whom were Italian officers of the Royal Italian Guard, and two were dressed in Swiss uniforms. They were all immediately seized, and at their feet were found three daggers. One of those in Swiss regimentals exclaimed, before he was taken: “Tremble, tyrant of my country! Thousands of the descendants of William Tell have, with me, sworn your destruction. You, escape this day, but the just vengeance of outraged humanity follows you like your shade. Depend upon it an untimely end is irremediably reserved you.” So saying, he pierced his heart and fell a corpse into the arms of the grenadiers who came to arrest him.
This incident suspended the procession to the cathedral for an hour, when Berthier announced that the conspirators were punished. Bonaparte evinced on this occasion the same absence of mind and of courage as on the 9th of November, 1799, when Arena and other deputies drew their daggers against him at St. Cloud. As this scene did not redound much to the honour of the Emperor and King, all mention of the conspiracy was severely prohibited, and the deputations ready to congratulate him on his escape were dispersed to attend their other duties.
The conspirators are stated to have been four young men, who had lost their parents and fortunes by the Revolutions effected by Bonaparte in Italy and Switzerland, and who had sworn fidelity to each other, and to avenge their individual wrongs with the injuries of their countries at the same time. They were all prepared and resigned to die, expecting to be cut to pieces the moment Bonaparte fell by their hands; but one of the Italians, rather superstitious, had, before he went to the drawing-room, confessed and received absolution from a priest, whom he knew to be an enemy of Bonaparte; but the priest, in hope of reward, disclosed the conspiracy to the master of ceremonies, Salmatoris. The three surviving conspirators are said to have been literally torn to pieces by the engines of torture, and the priest was shot for having given absolution to an assassin, and for having concealed his knowledge of the plot an hour after he was acquainted with it. Even Salmatoris had some difficulty to avoid being disgraced for having written a terrifying note, which had exposed the Emperor’s weakness, and shown that his life was dearer to him at the head of Empires than when only at the head of armies.
My narrative of this event I have from an officer present, whose veracity I can guarantee. He also informed me that, in consequence of it, all the officers of the Swiss brigades in the French service that were quartered or encamped in Italy were, to the number of near fifty, dismissed at once. Of the Italian guards, every officer who was known to have suffered any losses by the new order of things in his country, was ordered to resign, if he would not enter into the regiments of the line.
Whatever the police agents did to prevent it, and in spite of some unjust and cruel chastisement, Bonaparte continued, during his stay in Italy, an object of ridicule in conversation, as well as in pamphlets and caricatures. One of these represented him in the ragged garb of a sans- culotte, pale and trembling on his knees, with bewildered looks and his hair standing upright on his head like pointed horns, tearing the map of the world to pieces, and, to save his life, offering each of his generals a slice, who in return regarded him with looks of contempt mixed with pity.
I have just heard of a new plot, or rather a league against Bonaparte’s ambition. At its head the Generals Jourdan, Macdonald, Le Courbe, and Dessolles are placed, though many less victorious generals and officers, civil as well as military, are reported to be its members. Their object is not to remove or displace Bonaparte as an Emperor of the French; on the contrary, they offer their lives to strengthen his authority and to resist his enemies; but they ask and advise him to renounce, for himself, for his relations, and for France, all possessions on the Italian side of the Alps, as the only means to establish a permanent peace, and to avoid a war with other States, whose safety is endangered by our great encroachments. A mutinous kind of address to this effect has been sent to the camp of Boulogne and to all other encampments of our troops, that those generals and other military persons there, who chose, might both see the object and the intent of the associates. It is reported that Bonaparte ordered it to be burnt by the hands of the common executioner at Boulogne; that sixteen officers there who had subscribed their names in appropriation of the address were broken, and dismissed with disgrace; that Jourdan is deprived of his command in Italy, and ordered to render an account of his conduct to the Emperor. Dessolles is also said to be dismissed, and with Macdonald, Le Courbe, and eighty-four others of His Majesty’s subjects, whose names appeared under the remonstrance (or petition, as some call it), exiled to different departments of this country, where they are to expect their Sovereign’s further determination, and, in the meantime, remain under the inspection and responsibility of his constituted authorities and commissaries of police. As it is as dangerous to inquire as to converse on this and other subjects, which the mysterious policy of our Government condemns to silence or oblivion, I have not yet been able to gather any more or better information concerning this league, or unconstitutional opposition to the executive power; but as I am intimate with one of the actors, should he have an opportunity, he will certainly write to me at full length, and be very explicit.
PARIS, August, 1805.
MY LORD:–I believe I have before remarked that, under the Government of Bonaparte, causes relatively the most insignificant have frequently produced effects of the greatest consequence. A capricious or whimsical character, swaying with unlimited power, is certainly the most dangerous guardian of the prerogatives of sovereignty, as well as of the rights and liberties of the people. That Bonaparte is as vain and fickle as a coquette, as obstinate as a mule, and equally audacious and unrelenting, every one who has witnessed his actions or meditated on his transactions must be convinced. The least opposition irritates his pride, and he determines and commands, in a moment of impatience or vivacity, what may cause the misery of millions for ages, and, perhaps, his own repentance for years.
When Bonaparte was officially informed by his Ambassador at Vienna, the young La Rochefoucauld, that the Emperor of Germany had declined being one of his grand officers of the Legion of Honour, he flew into a rage, and used against this Prince the most gross, vulgar, and unbecoming language. I have heard it said that he went so far as to say, “Well, Francis II. is tired of reigning. I hope to have strength enough to carry a third crown. He who dares refuse to be and continue my equal, shall soon, as a vassal, think himself honoured with the regard which, as a master, I may condescend, from compassion, to bestow on him.” Though forty-eight hours had elapsed after this furious sally before he met with the Austrian Ambassador, Count Von Cobenzl, his passion was still so furious, that, observing his grossness and violence, all the members of the diplomatic corps trembled, both for this their respected member, and for the honour of our nation thus represented.
When the diplomatic audience was over, he said to Talleyrand, in a commanding and harsh tone of voice, in the presence of all his aides-de- camp and generals:
“Write this afternoon, by an extraordinary courier, to my Minister at Genoa, Salicetti, to prepare the Doge and the people for the immediate incorporation of the Ligurian Republic with my Empire. Should Austria dare to murmur, I shall, within three months, also incorporate the ci-devant Republic of Venice with my Kingdom of Italy!”
“But–but–Sire!” uttered the Minister, trembling.
“There exists no ‘but,’ and I will listen to no ‘but,'” interrupted His Majesty. “Obey my orders without further discussions. Should Austria dare to arm, I shall, before next Christmas, make Vienna the headquarters of a fiftieth military division. In an hour I expect you with the despatches ready for Salicetti.”
This Salicetti is a Corsican of a respectable family, born at Bastia, in 1758, and it was he who, during the siege of Toulon in 1793, introduced his countryman, Napoleon Bonaparte, his present Sovereign, to the acquaintance of Barras, an occurrence which has since produced consequences so terribly notorious.
Before the Revolution an advocate of the superior council of Corsica, he was elected a member to the First National Assembly, where, on the 30th of November, 1789, he pressed the decree which declared the Island of Corsica an integral part of the French monarchy. In 1792, he was sent by his fellow citizens as a deputy to the National Convention, where he joined the terrorist faction, and voted for the death of his King. In May, 1793, he was in Corsica, and violently opposed the partisans of General Paoli. Obliged to make his escape in August from that island, to save himself, he joined the army of General Carteaux, then marching against the Marseilles insurgents, whence he was sent by the National Convention with Barras, Gasparin, Robespierre the younger, and Ricrod, as a representative of the people, to the army before Toulon, where, as well as at Marseilles, he shared in all the atrocities committed by his colleagues and by Bonaparte; for which, after the death of the Robespierres, he was arrested with him as a terrorist.
He had not known Bonaparte much in Corsica, but, finding him and his family in great distress, with all other Corsican refugees, and observing his adroitness as a captain of artillery, he recommended him to Barras, and upon their representation to the Committee of Public Safety, he was promoted to a chef de brigade, or colonel. In 1796, when Barras gave Bonaparte the command of the army of Italy, Salicetti was appointed a Commissary of Government to the same army, and in that capacity behaved with the greatest insolence towards all the Princes of Italy, and most so towards the Duke of Modena, with whom he and Bonaparte signed a treaty of neutrality, for which they received a large sum in ready money; but shortly afterwards the duchy was again invaded, and an attempt made to surprise and seize the Duke. In 1797 he was chosen a member of the Council of Five Hundred, where he always continued a supporter of violent measures.
When, in 1799, his former protege, Bonaparte, was proclaimed a First Consul, Salicetti desired to be placed in the Conservative Senate; but his familiarity displeased Napoleon, who made him first a commercial agent, and afterwards a Minister to the Ligurian Republic, so as to keep him at a distance. During his several missions, he has amassed a fortune, calculated, at the lowest, of six millions of livres.
The order Salicetti received to prepare the incorporation of Genoa with France, would not, without the presence of our troops, have been very easy to execute, particularly as he, six months before, had prevailed on the Doge and the Senate to resign all sovereignty to Lucien Bonaparte, under the title of a Grand Duke of Genoa.
The cause of Napoleon’s change of opinion with regard to his brother Lucien, was that the latter would not separate from a wife he loved, but preferred domestic happiness to external splendour frequently accompanied with internal misery. So that this act of incorporation of the Ligurian Republic, in fact, originated, notwithstanding the great and deep calculations of our profound politicians and political schemers, in nothing else but in the keeping of a wife, and in the refusal of a riband.
That corruption, seduction, and menaces seconded the intrigues and bayonets which convinced the Ligurian Government of the honour and advantage of becoming subjects of Bonaparte, I have not the least doubt; but that the Doge, Girolamo Durazzo, and the senators Morchio, Maglione, Travega, Maghella, Roggieri, Taddei, Balby, and Langlade sold the independence of their country for ten millions of livres–though it has been positively asserted, I can hardly believe; and, indeed, money was as little necessary as resistance would have been unavailing, all the forts and strong positions being in the occupation of our troops. A general officer present when the Doge of Genoa, at the head of the Ligurian deputation, offered Bonaparte their homage at Milan, and exchanged liberty for bondage, assured me that this ci-devant chief magistrate spoke with a faltering voice and with tears in his eyes, and that indignation was read on the countenance of every member of the deputation thus forced to prostitute their rights as citizens, and to vilify their sentiments as patriots.
When Salicetti, with his secretary, Milhaud, had arranged this honourable affair, they set out from Genoa to announce to Bonaparte, at Milan, their success. Not above a league from the former city their carriage was stopped, their persons stripped, and their papers and effects seized by a gang, called in the country the gang of PATRIOTIC ROBBERS, commanded by Mulieno. This chief is a descendant of a good Genoese family, proscribed by France, and the men under him are all above the common class of people. They never commit any murders, nor do they rob any but Frenchmen, or Italians known to be adherents of the French party. Their spoils they distribute among those of their countrymen who, like themselves, have suffered from the revolutions in Italy within these last nine years. They usually send the amount destined to relieve these persons to the curates of the several parishes, signifying in what manner it is to be employed. Their conduct has procured them many friends among the low and the poor, and, though frequently pursued by our gendarmes, they have hitherto always escaped. The papers captured by them on this occasion from Salicetti are said to be of a most curious nature, and throw great light on Bonaparte’s future views of Italy. The original act of consent of the Ligurian Government to the incorporation with France was also in this number. It is reported that they were deposited with the Austrian Minister at Genoa, who found means to forward them to his Court; and it is supposed that their contents did not a little to hasten the present movements of the Emperor of Germany.
Another gang, known under the appellation of the PATRIOTIC AVENGERS, also desolates the Ligurian Republic. They never rob, but always murder those whom they consider as enemies of their country. Many of our officers, and even our sentries on duty, have been wounded or killed by them; and, after dark, therefore, no Frenchman dares walk out unattended. Their chief is supposed to be a ci-devant Abbe, Sagati, considered a political as well as a religious fanatic. In consequence of the deeds of these patriotic avengers, Bonaparte’s first act, as a Sovereign of Liguria, was the establishment of special military commissions, and a law prohibiting, under pain of death, every person from carrying arms who could not show a written permission of our commissary of police. Robbers and assassins are, unfortunately, common to all nations, and all people of all ages; but those of the above description are only the production and progeny of revolutionary and troublesome times. They pride themselves, instead of violating the laws, on supplying their inefficacy and counteracting their partiality.
PARIS, September, 1805.
MY LORD:–Bonaparte is now the knight of more Royal Orders than any other Sovereign in Europe, and were he to put them on all at once, their ribands would form stuff enough for a light summer coat of as many different colours as the rainbow. The Kings of Spain, of Naples, of Prussia, of Portugal, and of Etruria have admitted him a knight- companion, as well as the Electors of Bavaria, Hesse, and Baden, and the Pope of Rome. In return he has appointed these Princes his grand officers of HIS Legion of Honour, the highest rank of his newly instituted Imperial Order. It is even said that some of these Sovereigns have been honoured by him with the grand star and broad riband of the Order of His Iron Crown of the Kingdom of Italy.
Before Napoleon’s departure for Milan last spring, Talleyrand intimated to the members of the foreign diplomatic corps here, that their presence would be agreeable to the Emperor of the French at his coronation at Milan as a King of Italy. In the preceding summer a similar hint, or order, had been given by him for a diplomatic trip to Aix-la-Chapelle, and all Their Excellencies set a-packing instantly; but some legitimate Sovereigns, having since discovered that it was indecent for their representatives to be crowding the suite of an insolently and proudly travelling usurper, under different pretences declined the honour of an invitation and journey to Italy. It would, besides, have been pleasant enough to have witnessed the Ambassadors of Austria and Prussia, whose Sovereigns had not acknowledged Bonaparte’s right to his assumed title of King of Italy, indirectly approving it by figuring at the solemnity which inaugurated him as such. Of this inconsistency and impropriety Talleyrand was well aware; but audacity on one side, and endurance and submission on the other, had so often disregarded these considerations before, that he saw no indelicacy or impertinence in the proposal. His master had, however, the gratification to see at his levee, and in his wife’s drawing-room, the Ambassadors of Spain, Naples, Portugal, and Bavaria, who laid at the Imperial and royal feet the Order decorations of their own Princes, to the nor little entertainment of His Imperial and Royal Majesty, and to the great edification of his dutiful subjects on the other side of the Alps.
The expenses of Bonaparte’s journey to Milan, and his coronation there (including also those of his attendants from France), amounted to no less a sum than fifteen millions of livres–of which one hundred and fifty thousand livres–was laid out in fireworks, double that sum in decorations of the Royal Palace and the cathedral, and three millions of livres–in presents to different generals, grand officers, deputations, etc. The poor also shared his bounty; medals to the value of fifty thousand livres–were thrown out among them on the day of the ceremony, besides an equal sum given by Madame Napoleon to the hospitals and orphan-houses. These last have a kind of hereditary or family claim on the purse of our Sovereign; their parents were the victims of the Emperor’s first step towards glory and grandeur.
Another three millions of livres was expended for the march of troops from France to form pleasure camps in Italy, and four millions more was requisite for the forming and support of these encampments during two months, and the Emperor distributed among the officers and men composing them two million livres’ worth of rings, watches, snuff-boxes, portraits set with diamonds, stars, and other trinkets, as evidences of His Majesty’s satisfaction with their behaviour, presence, and performances.
These troops were under the command of Bonaparte’s Field-marshal, Jourdan, a general often mentioned in the military annals of our revolutionary war. During the latter part of the American war, he served under General Rochambeau as a common soldier, and obtained in 1783, after the peace, his discharge. He then turned a pedlar, in which situation the Revolution found him. He had also married, for her fortune, a lame daughter of a tailor, who brought him a fortune of two thousand livres– from whom he has since been divorced, leaving her to shift for herself as she can, in a small milliner’s shop at Limoges, where her husband was born in 1763.
Jourdan was among the first members and pillars of the Jacobin Club organized in his native town, which procured him rapid promotion in the National Guards, of whom, in 1792, he was already a colonel. His known love of liberty and equality induced the Committee of Public Safety, in 1793, to appoint him to the chief command of the armies of Ardennes and of the North, instead of Lamarche and Houchard. On the 17th of October the same year, he gained the victory of Wattignies, which obliged the united forces of Austria, Prussia, and Germany to raise the siege of Maubeuge. The jealous Republican Government, in reward, deposed him and appointed Pichegru his successor, which was the origin of that enmity and malignity with which Jourdan pursued this unfortunate general, even to his grave. He never forgave Pichegru the acceptance of a command which he could not decline without risking his life; and when he should have avenged his disgrace on the real causes of it, he chose to resent it on him who, like himself, was merely an instrument, or a slave, in the hands and under the whip of a tyrannical power.
After the imprisonment of General Hoche, in March, 1794, Jourdan succeeded him as chief of the army of the Moselle. In June he joined, with thirty thousand men, the right wing of the army of the North, forming a new one, under the name of the army of the Sambre and Meuse. On the 16th of the same month he gained a complete victory over the Prince of Coburg, who tried to raise the siege of Charleroy. This battle, which was fought near Trasegnies, is, nevertheless, commonly called the battle of Fleurus. After Charleroy had surrendered on the 25th, Jourdan and his army were ordered to act under the direction of General Pichegru, who had drawn the plan of that brilliant campaign. Always envious of this general, Jourdan did everything to retard his progress, and at last intrigued so well that the army of the Sambre and the Meuse was separated from that of the North.
With the former of these armies Jourdan pursued the retreating confederates, and, after driving them from different stands and positions, he repulsed them to the banks of the Rhine, which river they were obliged to pass. Here ended his successes this year, successes that were not obtained without great loss on our side.
Jourdan began the campaigns of 1795 and 1796 with equal brilliancy, and ended them with equal disgrace. After penetrating into Germany with troops as numerous as well-disciplined, he was defeated at the end of them by Archduke Charles, and retreated always with such precipitation, and in such confusion, that it looked more like the flight of a disorderly rabble than the retreat of regular troops; and had not Moreau, in 1796, kept the enemy in awe, few of Jourdan’s officers or men would again have seen France; for the inhabitants of Franconia rose on these marauders, and cut them to pieces, wherever they could surprise or waylay them.
In 1797, as a member of the Council of Five Hundred, he headed the Jacobin faction against the moderate party, of which Pichegru was a chief; and he had the cowardly vengeance of base rivalry to pride himself upon having procured the transportation of that patriotic general to Cayenne. In 1799, he again assumed the command of the army of Alsace and of Switzerland; but he crossed the Rhine and penetrated into Suabia only to be again routed by the Archduke Charles, and to repass this river in disorder. Under the necessity of resigning as a general-in-chief, he returned to the Council of Five Hundred, more violent than ever, and provoked there the most oppressive measures against his fellow citizens. Previous to the revolution effected by Bonaparte in November of that year, he had entered with Garreau and Santerre into a conspiracy, the object of which was to restore the Reign of Terror, and to prevent which Bonaparte said he made those changes which placed him at the head of Government. The words were even printed in the papers of that period, which Bonaparte on the 10th of November addressed to the then deputy of Mayenne, Prevost: “If the plot entered into by Jourdan and others, and of which they have not blushed to propose to me the execution, had not been defeated, they would have surrounded the place of your sitting, and to crush all future opposition, ordered a number of deputies to be massacred. That done, they were to establish the sanguinary despotism of the Reign of Terror.” But whether such was Jourdan’s project, or whether it was merely given out to be such by the consular faction, to extenuate their own usurpation, he certainly had connected himself with the most guilty and contemptible of the former terrorists, and drew upon himself by such conduct the hatred and blame even of those whose opinion had long been suspended on his account.
General Jourdan was among those terrorists whom the Consular Government condemned to transportation; but after several interviews with Bonaparte he was not only pardoned, but made a Counsellor of State of the military section; and afterwards, in 1801, an administrator-general of Piedmont, where he was replaced by General Menou in 1803, being himself entrusted with the command in Italy. This place he has preserved until last month, when he was ordered to resign it to Massena, with whom he had a quarrel, and would have fought him in a duel, had not the Viceroy, Eugene de Beauharnais, put him under arrest and ordered him back hither, where he is daily expected. If Massena’s report to Bonaparte be true, the army of Italy was very far from being as orderly and numerous as Jourdan’s assertions would have induced us to believe. But this accusation of a rival must be listened to with caution; because, should Massena meet with repulse, he will no doubt make use of it as an apology; and should he be victorious, hold it out as a claim for more honour and praise.
The same doubts which still continue of Jourdan’s political opinions remain also with regard to his military capacity. But the unanimous declaration of those who have served under his orders as a general must silence both his blind admirers and unjust slanderers. They all allow him some military ability; he combines and prepares in the Cabinet a plan of defence and attack, with method and intelligence, but he does not possess the quick coup d’oeil, and that promptitude which perceives, and rectifies accordingly, an error on the field of battle. If, on the day of action, some accident, or some manoeuvre, occurs, which has not been foreseen by him, his dull and heavy genius does not enable him to alter instantly his dispositions, or to remedy errors, misfortunes, or improvidences. This kind of talent, and this kind of absence of talent, explain equally the causes of his advantages, as well as the origin of his frequent disasters. Nobody denies him courage, but, with most of our other republican generals, he has never been careful of the lives of the troops under him. I have heard an officer of superior talents and rank assert, in the presence of Carnot, that the number of wounded and killed under Jourdan, when victorious, frequently surpassed the number of enemies he had defeated. I fear it is too true that we are as much, if not more, indebted for our successes to the superior number as to the superior valour of our troops.
Jourdan is, with regard to fortune, one of our poorest republican generals who have headed armies. He has not, during all his campaigns, collected more than a capital of eight millions of livres–a mere trifle compared to the fifty millions of Massena, the sixty millions of Le Clerc, the forty millions of Murat, and the thirty-six millions of Augereau; not to mention the hundred millions of Bonaparte. It is also true that Jourdan is a gambler and a debauchee, fond of cards, dice, and women; and that in Italy, except two hours in twenty-four allotted to business, he passed the remainder of his time either at the gaming- tables, or in the boudoirs of his seraglio–I say seraglio, because he kept, in the extensive house joining his palace as governor and commander, ten women-three French, three Italians, two Germans, two Irish or English girls. He supported them all in style; but they were his slaves, and he was their sultan, whose official mutes (his aides-de-camp) both watched them, and, if necessary, chastised them.
PARIS, September, 1805.
MY LORD:–I can truly defy the world to produce a corps of such a heterogeneous composition as our Conservative Senate, when I except the members composing Bonaparte’s Legion of Honour. Some of our Senators have been tailors, apothecaries, merchants, chemists, quacks, physicians, barbers, bankers, soldiers, drummers, dukes, shopkeepers, mountebanks, Abbes, generals, savans, friars, Ambassadors, counsellors, or presidents of Parliament, admirals, barristers, Bishops, sailors, attorneys, authors, Barons, spies, painters, professors, Ministers, sans-culottes, atheists, stonemasons, robbers, mathematicians, philosophers, regicides, and a long et cetera. Any person reading through the official list of the members of the Senate, and who is acquainted with their former situations in life, may be convinced of this truth. Should he even be ignorant of them, let him but inquire, with the list in his hand, in any of our fashionable or political circles; he will meet with but few persons who are not able or willing to remove his doubts, or to gratify his curiosity. There are not many of them whom it is possible to elevate, but those are still more numerous whom it is impossible to degrade. Their past lives, vices, errors, or crimes, have settled their characters and reputation; and they must live and die in ‘statu quo’, either as fools or as knaves, and perhaps as both.
I do not mean to say that they are all criminals or all equally criminal, if insurrection against lawful authority and obedience to usurped tyranny are not to be considered as crimes; but there are few indeed who can lay their hands on their bosoms and say, ‘vitam expendere vero’. Some of them, as a Lagrange, Berthollet, Chaptal, Laplace, Francois de Neuf- Chateau, Tronchet, Monge, Lacepede, and Bougainville, are certainly men of talents; but others, as a Porcher, Resnier, Vimar, Auber, Perk, Sera, Vernier, Vien, Villetard, Tascher, Rigal, Baciocchi, Beviere, Beauharnais, De Luynea (a ci-devant duke, known under the name of Le Gros Cochon), nature never destined but to figure among those half-idiots and half-imbeciles who are, as it were, intermedial between the brute and human creation.
Sieges, Cabanis, Garron Coulon, Lecouteul, Canteleu, Lenoin Laroche, Volney, Gregoire, Emmery, Joucourt, Boissy d’Anglas, Fouche, and Roederer form another class,–some of them regicides, others assassins and plunderers, but all intriguers whose machinations date from the beginning of the Revolution. They are all men of parts, of more or less knowledge, and of great presumption. As to their morality, it is on a level with their religion and loyalty. They betrayed their King, and had denied their God already in 1789.
After these come some others, who again have neither talents to boast of nor crimes of which they have to be ashamed. They have but little pretension to genius, none to consistency, and their honesty equals their capacity. They joined our political revolution as they might have done a religious procession. It was at that time a fashion; and they applauded our revolutionary innovations as they would have done the introduction of a new opera, of a new tragedy, of a new comedy, or of a new farce. To this fraternity appertain a ci-devant Comte de Stult-Tracy, Dubois– Dubay, Kellerman, Lambrechts, Lemercier, Pleville–Le Pelley, Clement de Ris, Peregeaux, Berthelemy, Vaubois, Nrignon, D’Agier, Abrial, De Belloy, Delannoy, Aboville, and St. Martin La Motte.
Such are the characteristics of men whose ‘senatus consultum’ bestows an Emperor on France, a King on Italy, makes of principalities departments of a Republic, and transforms Republics into provinces or principalities. To show the absurdly fickle and ridiculously absurd appellations of our shamefully perverted institutions, this Senate was called the Conservative Senate; that is to say, it was to preserve the republican consular constitution in its integrity, both against the; encroachments of the executive and legislative power, both against the manoeuvres of the factions, the plots of the royalists or monarchists, and the clamours of a populace of levellers. But during the five years that these honest wiseacres have been preserving, everything has perished–the Republic, the Consuls, free discussions, free election, the political liberty, and the liberty of the Press; all–all are found nowhere but in old, useless, and rejected codes. They have, however, in a truly patriotic manner taken care of their own dear selves. Their salaries are more than doubled since 1799.
Besides mock Senators, mock praetors, mock quaestors, other ‘nomina libertatis’ are revived, so as to make the loss of the reality so much the more galling. We have also two curious commissions; one called “the Senatorial Commission of Personal Liberty,” and the other “the Senatorial Commission of the Liberty of the Press.” The imprisonment without cause, and transportation without trial, of thousands of persons of both sexes weekly, show the grand advantages which arise from the former of these commissions; and the contents of our new books and daily prints evince the utility and liberality of the latter.
But from the past conduct of these our Senators, members of these commissions, one may easily conclude what is to be expected in future from their justice and patriotism. Lenoin Laroche, at the head of the one, was formerly an advocate of some practice, but attended more to politics than to the business of his clients, and was, therefore, at the end of the session of the first assembly (of which he was a member), forced, for subsistence, to become the editor of an insignificant journal. Here he preached licentiousness, under the name of Liberty, and the agrarian law in recommending Equality. A prudent courtier of all systems in fashion, and of all factions in power, he escaped proscription, though not accusation of having shared in the national robberies. A short time in the summer of 1797, after the dismissal of Cochon, he acted as a Minister of Police; and in 1798 the Jacobins elected him a member of the Council of Ancients, where he, with other deputies, sold himself to Bonaparte, and was, in return, rewarded with a place in the Senate. Under monarchy he was a republican, and under a Republic he extolled monarchical institutions. He wished to be singular, and to be rich. Among so many shocking originals, however, he was not distinguished; and among so many philosophical marauders, he had no opportunity to pillage above two millions of livres. This friend of liberty is now one of the most despotic Senators, and this lover of equality never answers when spoken to, if not addressed as “His Excellency,” or “Monseigneur.”
Boissy d’ Anglas, another member of this commission, was before the Revolution a steward to Louis XVIII. when Monsieur; and, in 1789, was chosen a deputy of the first assembly, where he joined the factions, and in his speeches and writings defended all the enormities that dishonoured the beginning as well as the end of the Revolution. A member afterwards of the National Convention, he was sent in mission to Lyons, where, instead of healing the wounds of the inhabitants, he inflicted new ones. When, on the 15th of March, 1796, in the Council of Five Hundred, he pronounced the oath of hatred to royalty, he added, that this oath was in his heart, otherwise no power upon earth could have forced him to take it; and he is now a sworn subject of Napoleon the First! He pronounced the panegyric of Robespierre, and the apotheosis of Marat. “The soul,” said he, “was moved and elevated in hearing Robespierre speak of the Supreme Being with philosophical ideas, embellished by eloquence;” and he signed the removal of the ashes of Marat to the temple consecrated to humanity! In September, 1797, he was, as a royalist, condemned to transportation by the Directory; but in 1799 Bonaparte recalled him, made him first a tribune and afterwards a Senator.
Boissy d’ Anglas, though an apologist of robbers and assassins, has neither murdered nor plundered; but, though he has not enriched himself, he has assisted in ruining all his former protectors, benefactors, and friends.
Sers, a third member of this commission, was, before the Revolution, a bankrupt merchant at Bordeaux, but in 1791 was a municipal officer of the same city, and sent as a deputy to the National Assembly, where he attempted to rise from the clouds that encompassed his heavy genius by a motion for pulling down all the statues of Kings all over France. He seconded another motion of Bonaparte’s prefect, Jean Debrie, to decree a corps of tyrannicides, destined to murder all Emperors, Kings, and Princes. At the club of the Jacobins, at Bordeaux, he prided himself on having caused the arrest and death of three hundred aristocrats; and boasted that he never went out without a dagger to despatch, by a summary justice, those who had escaped the laws. After meeting with well-merited contempt, and living for some time in the greatest obscurity, by a handsome present to Madame Bonaparte, in 1799, he obtained the favour of Napoleon, who dragged him forward to be placed among other ornaments of his Senate. Sers has just cunning enough to be taken for a man of sense when with fools; when with men of sense, he reassumes the place allotted him by Nature. Without education, as well as without parts, he for a long time confounded brutal scurrility with oratory, and thought himself eloquent when he was only insolent or impertinent. His ideas of liberty are such that, when he was a municipal officer, he signed a mandate of arrest against sixty-four individuals of both sexes, who were at a ball, because they had refused to invite to it one of his nieces.
Abrial, Emmery, Vernier, and Lemercier are the other four members of that commission; of these, two are old intriguers, two are nullities, and all four are slaves.
Of the seven members of the senatorial commission for preserving the liberty of the Press, Garat and Roederer are the principal. The former is a pedant, while pretending to be a philosopher; and he signed the sentence of his good King’s death, while declaring himself a royalist. A mere valet to Robespierre, his fawning procured him opportunities to enrich himself with the spoil of those whom his calumnies and plots caused to be massacred or guillotined. When, as a Minister of Justice, he informed Louis XVI. of his condemnation, he did it with such an affected and atrocious indifference that he even shocked his accomplices, whose nature had not much of tenderness. As a member of the first assembly, as a Minister under the convention, and as a deputy of the Council of Five Hundred, he always opposed the liberty of the Press. “The laws, you say” (exclaimed he, in the Council), “punish libellers; so they do thieves and housebreakers; but would you, therefore, leave your doors unbolted? Is not the character, the honour, and the tranquillity of a citizen preferable to his treasures? and, by the liberty of the Press, you leave them at the mercy of every scribbler who can write or think. The wound inflicted may heal, but the scar will always remain. Were you, therefore, determined to decree the motion for this dangerous and impolitic liberty, I make this amendment, that conviction of having written a libel carries with it capital punishment, and that a label be fastened on the breast of the libeller, when carried to execution, with this inscription: ‘A social murderer,’ or ‘A murderer of characters!'”
Roederer has belonged to all religious or antireligious sects, and to all political or anti-social factions, these last twenty years; but, after approving, applauding, and serving them, he has deserted them, sold them, or betrayed them. Before the Revolution, a Counseller of Parliament at Metz, he was a spy of the Court on his colleagues; and, since the Revolution, he served the Jacobins as a spy on the Court. Immoral and unprincipled to the highest degree, his profligacy and duplicity are only equalled by his perversity and cruelty. It was he who, on the 10th of August, 1792, betrayed the King and the Royal Family into the hands of their assassins, and who himself made a merit of this infamous act. After he had been repulsed by all, even by the most sanguinary of our parties and partisans, by a Brissot, a Marat, a Robespierre, a Tallien, and a Barras, Bonaparte adopted him first as a Counsellor of State, and afterwards as a Senator. His own and only daughter died in a miscarriage, the consequence of an incestuous commerce with her unnatural parent; and his only, son is disinherited by him for resenting his father’s baseness in debauching a young girl whom the son had engaged to marry.
With the usual consistency of my revolutionary countrymen, he has, at one period, asserted that the liberty of the Press was necessary for the preservation both of men and things, for the protection of governors as well as of the governed, and that it was the best support of a constitutional Government. At another time he wrote that, as it was impossible to fix the limits between the liberty and the licentiousness of the Press, the latter destroyed the benefits of the former; that the liberty of the Press was useful only against a Government which one wished to overturn, but dangerous to a Government which one wished to preserve. To show his indifference about his own character, as well as about the opinion of the public, these opposite declarations were inserted in one of our daily papers, and both were signed “Roederer.”
In 1789, he was indebted above one million two hundred thousand livres– and he now possesses national property purchased for seven millions of livres–and he avows himself to be worth three millions more in money placed in our public funds. He often says, laughingly, that he is under great obligations to Robespierre, whose guillotine acquitted in one day all his debts. All his creditors, after being denounced for their aristocracy, were murdered en masse by this instrument of death.
Of all the old beaux and superannuated libertines whose company I have had the misfortune of not being able to avoid, Roederer is the most affected, silly, and disgusting. His wrinkled face, and effeminate and childish air; his assiduities about every woman of beauty or fashion; his confidence in his own merit, and his presumption in his own power, wear such a curious contrast with his trembling hands, running eyes, and enervated person, that I have frequently been ready to laugh at him in his face, had not indignation silenced all other feeling. A light- coloured wig covers a bald head; his cheeks and eyelids are painted, and his teeth false; and I have seen a woman faint away from the effect of his breath, notwithstanding that he infects with his musk and perfumes a whole house only with his presence. When on the ground floor you may smell him in the attic.
PARIS, September, 1805.
MY LORD:–The reciprocal jealousy and even interest of Austria, France, and Russia have hitherto prevented the tottering Turkish Empire from being partitioned, like Poland, or seized, like Italy; to serve as indemnities, like the German empire; or to be shared, as reward to the allies, like the Empire of Mysore.
When we consider the anarchy that prevails, both in the Government and among the subjects, as well in the capital as in the provinces of the Ottoman Porte; when we reflect on the mutiny and cowardice of its armies and navy, the ignorance and incapacity of its officers and military and naval commanders, it is surprising, indeed, as I have heard Talleyrand often declare, that more foreign political intrigues should be carried on at Constantinople alone than in all other capitals of Europe taken together. These intrigues, however, instead of doing honour to the, sagacity and patriotism of the members of the Divan, expose only their corruption and imbecility; and, instead of indicating a dread of the strength of the Sublime Sultan, show a knowledge of his weakness, of which the gold of the most wealthy, and the craft of the most subtle, by turns are striving to profit.
Beyond a doubt the enmity of the Ottoman Porte can do more mischief than its friendship can do service. Its neutrality is always useful, while its alliance becomes frequently a burden, and its support of no advantage. It is, therefore, more from a view of preventing evils than from expectation of profit, that all other Powers plot, cabal, and bribe. The map of the Turkish Empire explains what maybe though absurd or nugatory in this assertion.
As soon as a war with Austria was resolved on by the Brissot faction in 1792, emissaries were despatched to Constantinople to engage the Divan to invade the provinces of Austria and Russia, thereby to create a diversion in favour of this country. Our Ambassador in Turkey at that time, Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier, though an admirer of the Revolution, was not a republican, and, therefore, secretly counteracted what he officially seemed to wish to effect. The Imperial Court succeeded, therefore, in establishing a neutrality of the Ottoman Porte, but Comte de Choiseul was proscribed by the Convention. As academician, he was, however, at St. Petersburg, liberally recompensed by Catherine II. for the services the Ambassador had performed at Constantinople.
In May, 1793, the Committee of Public Safety determined to expedite another embassy to the Grand. Seignior, at the head of which was the famous intriguer, De Semonville, whose revolutionary diplomacy had, within three years, alarmed the Courts of Madrid, Naples, and Turin, as well as the republican Government of Genoa. His career towards Turkey was stopped in the Grisons Republic, on the 25th of July following, where he, with sixteen other persons of his suite, was arrested, and sent a prisoner, first to Milan, and afterwards to Mantua. He carried with him presents of immense value, which were all seized by the Austrians. Among them were four superb coaches, highly finished, varnished, and gilt; what is iron or brass in common carriages was here gold or silver-gilt. Two large chests were filled with stuff of gold brocade, India gold muslins, and shawls and laces of very great value. Eighty thousand louis d’or in ready money; a service of gold plate of twenty covers, which formerly belonged to the Kings of France; two small boxes full of diamonds and brilliants, the intrinsic worth of which was estimated at forty-eight millions of livres–and a great number of jewels; among others, the crown diamond, called here the Regents’, and in your country the Pitt Diamond, fell, with other riches, into the hands of the captors. Notwithstanding this loss and this disappointment, we contrived in vain to purchase the hostility of the Turks against our enemies, though with the sacrifice of no less a sum (according to the report of Saint Just, in June, 1794,) than seventy millions of livres: These official statements prove the means which our so often extolled economical and moral republican Governments have employed in their negotiations.
After the invasion of Egypt, in time of peace, by Bonaparte, the Sultan became at last convinced of the sincerity of our professions of friendship, which he returned with a declaration of war. The preliminaries of peace with your country, in October, 1801, were, however, soon followed with a renewal of our former friendly intercourse with the Ottoman Porte. The voyage of Sebastiani into Egypt and Syria, in the autumn of 1802, showed that our tenderness for the inhabitants of these countries had not diminished, and that we soon intended to bestow on them new hugs of fraternity. Your pretensions to Malta impeded our prospects in the East, and your obstinacy obliged us to postpone our so well planned schemes of encroachments. It was then that Bonaparte first selected for his representative to the Grand Seignior, General Brune, commonly called by Moreau, Macdonald, and other competent judges of military merit, an intriguer at the head of armies, and a warrior in time of peace when seated in the Council chamber.
This Brune was, before the Revolution, a journeyman printer, and married to a washerwoman, whose industry and labour alone prevented him from starving, for he was as vicious as idle. The money he gained when he chose to work was generally squandered away in brothels, among prostitutes. To supply his excesses he had even recourse to dishonest means, and was shut up in the prison of Bicetre for robbing his master of types and of paper.
In the beginning of the Revolution, his very crimes made him an acceptable associate of Marat, who, with the money advanced by the Orleans faction, bought him a printing-office, and he printed the so dreadfully well-known journal, called ‘L’Amie du Peuple’. From the principles of this atrocious paper, and from those of his sanguinary patron, he formed his own political creed. He distinguished himself frequently at the clubs of the Cordeliers, and of the Jacobins, by his extravagant motions, and by provoking laws of proscription against a wealth he did not possess, and against a rank he would have dishonoured, but did not see without envy. On the 30th of June, 1791, he said, in the former of these clubs:
“We hear everywhere complaints of poverty; were not our eyes so often disgusted with the sight of unnatural riches, our hearts would not so often be shocked at the unnatural sufferings of humanity. The blessings of our Revolution will never be felt by the world, until we in France are on a level, with regard to rank as well as to fortune. I, for my part, know too well the dignity of human nature ever to bow to a superior; but, brothers and friends, it is not enough that we are all politically equal, we must also be all equally rich or equally poor–we must either all strive to become men of property, or reduce men of property to become sans-culottes. Believe me, the aristocracy of property is more dangerous than the aristocracy of prerogative or fanaticism, because it is more common. Here is a list sent to ‘L’ Amie du People’, but of which prudence yet prohibits the publication. It contains the names of all the men of property of Paris, and of the Department of the Seine, the amount of their fortunes, and a proposal how to reduce and divide it among our patriots. Of its great utility in the moment when we have been striking our grand blows, nobody dares doubt; I, therefore, move that a brotherly letter be sent to every society of our brothers and friends in the provinces, inviting each of them to compose one of similar contents and of similar tendency, in their own districts, with what remarks they think proper to affix, and to forward them to us, to be deposited, in the mother club, after taking copies of them for the archives of their own society.”
His motion was decreed.
Two days afterwards, he again ascended the tribune. “You approved,” said he, “of the measures I lately proposed against the aristocracy of property; I will now tell you of another aristocracy which we must also crush–I mean that of religion, and of the clergy. Their supports are folly, cowardice, and ignorance. All priests are to be proscribed as criminals, and despised as impostors or idiots; and all altars must be reduced to dust as unnecessary. To prepare the public mind for such events, we must enlighten it; which can only be done by disseminating extracts from ‘L’ Amie du People’, and other philosophical publications. I have here some ballads of my own composition, which have been sung in my quarter; where all superstitious persons have already trembled, and all fanatics are raving. If you think proper, I will, for a mere trifle, print twenty thousand copies of them, to be distributed and disseminated gratis all over France.”
After some discussion, the treasurer of the club was ordered to advance Citizen Brune the sum required, and the secretary to transmit the ballads to the fraternal societies in the provinces.
Brune put on his first regimentals as an aide-decamp to General Santerre in December, 1792, after having given proofs of his military prowess the preceding September, in the massacre of the prisoners in the Abbey. In 1793 he was appointed a colonel in the revolutionary army, which, during the Reign of Terror, laid waste the departments of the Gironde, where he was often seen commanding his corps, with a human head fixed on his sword. On the day when he entered Bordeaux with his troops, a new-born child occupied the same place, to the great horror of the inhabitants. During this brilliant expedition he laid the first foundation of his present fortune, having pillaged in a most unmerciful manner, and arrested or shot every suspected person who could not, or would not, exchange property for life. On his return to Paris, his patriotism was recompensed with a commission of a general of brigade. On the death of Robespierre, he was arrested as a terrorist, but, after some months’ imprisonment, again released.
In October, 1795, he assisted Napoleon Bonaparte in the massacre of the Parisians, and obtained for it, from the director Barras, the rank of a general of division. Though occupying, in time of war, such a high military rank, he had hitherto never seen an enemy, or witnessed an engagement.
After Bonaparte had planned the invasion and pillage of Switzerland, Brune was charged to execute this unjust outrage against the law of nations. His capacity to intrigue procured him this distinction, and he did honour to the choice of his employers. You have no doubt read that, after lulling the Government of Berne into security by repeated proposals of accommodation, he attacked the Swiss and Bernese troops during a truce, and obtained by treachery successes which his valour did not promise him. The pillage, robberies, and devastations in Helvetia added several more millions to his previously great riches.
It was after his campaign in Holland, during the autumn of 1799, that he first began to claim some military glory. He owed, however, his successes to the superior number of his troops, and to the talents of the generals and officers serving under him. Being made a Counsellor of State by Bonaparte, he was entrusted with the command of the army against the Chouans. Here he again seduced by his promises, and duped by his intrigues, acted infamously–but was successful.
PARIS, September, 1805.
MY LORD:–Three months before Brune set out on his embassy to Constantinople, Talleyrand and Fouche were collecting together all the desperadoes of our Revolution, and all the Italian, Corsican, Greek, and Arabian renegadoes and vagabonds in our country, to form him a set of attendants agreeable to the real object of his mission.
You know too much of our national character and of my own veracity to think it improbable, when I assure you that most of our great men in place are as vain as presumptuous, and that sometimes vanity and presumption get the better of their discretion and prudence. What I am going to tell you I did not hear myself, but it was reported to me by a female friend, as estimable for her virtues as admired for her accomplishments. She is often honoured with invitations to Talleyrand’s familiar parties, composed chiefly of persons whose fortunes are as independent as their principles, who, though not approving the Revolution, neither joined its opposers nor opposed its adherents, preferring tranquillity and obscurity to agitation and celebrity. Their number is not much above half a dozen, and the Minister calls them the only honest people in France with whom he thinks himself safe.
When it was reported here that two hundred persons of Brune’s suite had embarked at Marseilles and eighty-four at Genoa, and when it was besides known that nearly fifty individuals accompanied him in his outset, this unusual occurrence caused much conversation and many speculations in all our coteries and fashionable circles. About that time my friend dined with Talleyrand, and, by chance, also mentioned this grand embassy, observing, at the same time, that it was too much honour done to the Ottoman Porte, and too much money thrown away upon splendour, to honour such an imbecile and tottering Government.
“How people talk,” interrupted Talleyrand, “about what they do not comprehend. Generous as Bonaparte is, he does not throw away his expenses; perhaps within twelve months all these renegadoes or adventurers, whom you all consider as valets of Brune, will be three- tailed Pachas or Beys, leading friends of liberty, who shall have gloriously broken their fetters as slaves of a Selim to become the subjects of a Napoleon. The Eastern Empire has, indeed, long expired, but it may suddenly be revived.”
“Austria and Russia,” replied my friend, “would never suffer it, and England would sooner ruin her navy and exhaust her Treasury than permit such a revolution.”
“So they have tried to do,” retorted Talleyrand, “to bring about a counter revolution in France. But though only a moment is requisite to erect the standard of revolt, ages often are necessary to conquer and seize it. Turkey has long been ripe for a revolution. It wanted only chiefs and directors. In time of war, ten thousand Frenchmen landed in the Dardanelles would be masters of Constantinople, and perhaps of the Empire. In time of peace, four hundred bold and well-informed men may produce the same effect. Besides, with some temporary cession of a couple of provinces to each of the Imperial Courts, and with the temporary present of an island to Great Britain, everything may be settled ‘pro tempore’, and a Joseph Bonaparte be permitted to reign at Constantinople, as a Napoleon does at Paris.”
That the Minister made use of this language I can take upon me to affirm; but whether purposely or unintentionally, whether to give a high opinion of his plans or to impose upon his company, I will not and cannot assert.
On the subject of this numerous suite of Brune, Markof is said to have obtained several conferences with Talleyrand and several audiences of Bonaparte, in which representations, as just as energetic, were made, which, however, did not alter the intent of our Government or increase the favour of the Russian Ambassador at the Court of St. Cloud. But it proved that our schemes of subversion are suspected, and that our agents of overthrow would be watched and their manoeuvres inspected.
Count Italinski, the Russian Ambassador to the Ottoman Porte, is one of those noblemen who unite rank and fortune, talents and modesty, honour and patriotism, wealth and liberality. His personal character and his individual virtues made him, therefore, more esteemed and revered by the members of the Divan, than the high station he occupied, and the powerful Prince he represented, made him feared or respected. His warnings had created prejudices against Brune which he found difficult to remove. To revenge himself in his old way, our Ambassador inserted several paragraphs in the Moniteur and in our other papers, in which Count Italinski was libelled, and his transactions or views calumniated.
After his first audience with the Grand Seignior, Brune complained bitterly, of not having learned the Turkish language, and of being under the necessity, therefore, of using interpreters, to whom he ascribed the renewed obstacles he encountered in every step he took, while his hotel was continually surrounded with spies, and the persons of his suite followed everywhere like criminals when they went out. Even the valuable presents he carried with him, amounting in value to twenty-four millions of livres–were but indifferently received, the acceptors, seeming to suspect the object and the honesty of the donor.
In proportion as our politics became embroiled with those of Russia, the post of Brune became of more importance; but the obstacles thrown in his way augmented daily, and he was forced to avow that Russia and England had greater influence and more credit than the French Republic and its chief. When Bonaparte was proclaimed an Emperor of the French, Brune expected that his acknowledgment as such at Constantinople would be a mere matter of course and announced officially on the day he presented a copy of his new credentials. Here again he was disappointed, and therefore demanded his recall from a place where there was no probability, under the present circumstances, of either exciting the subjects to revolt, of deluding the Prince into submission, or seducing Ministers who, in pocketing his bribes, forgot for what they were given.
It was then that Bonaparte sent Joubert with a letter in his own handwriting, to be delivered into the hands of the Grand Seignior himself. This Joubert is a foundling, and, was from his youth destined and educated to be one of the secret agents of our secret diplomacy. You already, perhaps, have heard that our Government selects yearly a number of young foundlings or orphans, whom it causes to be brought up in foreign countries at its expense, so as to learn the language as natives of the nation, where, when grown up, they are chiefly to be employed. Joubert had been educated under the inspection of our consuls at Smyrna, and, when he assumes the dress of a Turk, from his accent and manners even the Mussulmans mistake him for one of their own creed and of their country. He was introduced to Bonaparte in 1797, and accompanied him to Egypt, where his services were of the greatest utility to the army. He is now a kind of undersecretary in the office of our secret diplomacy, and a member of the Legion of Honour. Should ever Joseph Bonaparte be an Emperor or Sultan of the East, Joubert will certainly be his Grand Vizier. There is another Joubert (with whom you must not confound him), who was; also a kind of Dragoman at Constantinople some years ago, and who is still somewhere on a secret mission in the East Indies.
Joubert’s arrival at Constantinople excited both curiosity among the people and suspicion among the Ministry. There is no example in the Ottoman history of a chief of a Christian nation having written to the Sultan by a private messenger, or of His Highness having condescended to receive the letter from the bearer, or to converse with him. The Grand Vizier demanded a copy of Bonaparte’s letter, before an audience could be granted. This was refused by Joubert; and as Brune threatened to quit the capital of Turkey if any longer delay were experienced, the letter was delivered in a garden near Constantinople, where the Sultan met Bonaparte’s agent, as if by chance, who, it seems, lost all courage and presence of mind, and did not utter four words, to which no answer was given.
This impertinent intrigue, and this novel diplomacy, therefore, totally miscarried, to the great shame and greater disappointment of the schemers and contrivers. I must, however, do Talleyrand the justice to say that he never approved of it, and even foretold the issue to his intimate friends. It was entirely the whim and invention of Bonaparte himself, upon a suggestion of Brune, who was far from being so well acquainted with the spirit and policy of the Divan as he had been with the genius and plots of Jacobinism. Not rebuked, however, Joubert was ordered away a second time with a second letter, and, after an absence of four months, returned again as he went, less satisfied with the second than with his first journey.
In these trips to Turkey, he had always for travelling companions some of our emissaries to Austria, Hungary, and in particular to Servia, where the insurgents were assisted by our councils, and even guided by some of our officers. The principal aide-de-camp of Czerni George, the Servian chieftain, is one Saint Martin, formerly a captain in our artillery, afterwards an officer of engineers in the Russian service, and finally a volunteer in the army of Conde. He and three other officers of artillery were, under fictitious names, sent by our Government, during the spring of last year, to the camp of the insurgents. They pretended to be of the Grecian religion, and formerly Russian officers, and were immediately employed. Saint Martin has gained great influence over Czerni George, and directs both his political councils and military operations. Besides the individuals left behind by Joubert; it is said that upwards of one hundred persons of Brune’s suite have been ordered for the same destination. You see how great the activity of our Government is, and that nothing is thought unworthy of its vigilance or its machinations. In the staff of Paswan Oglou, six of my countrymen have been serving ever since 1796, always in the pay of our Government.
It was much against the inclination and interest of our Emperor that his Ambassador at Constantinople should leave the field of battle there to the representatives of Russia, Austria, and England. But his dignity was at stake. After many threats to deprive the Sultan of the honour of his presence, and even after setting out once for some leagues on his return, Brune, observing that these marches and countermarches excited more mirth than terror, at last fixed a day, when, finally, either Bonaparte must be acknowledged by the Divan as an Emperor of the French, or his departure would take place. On that day he, indeed, began his retreat, but, under different pretexts, be again stopped, sent couriers to his secretaries, waited for their return, and sent new couriers again,–but all in vain, the Divan continued refractory.
At his first audience after his return, the reception Bonaparte gave him was not very cordial. He demanded active employment, in case of a continental war, either in Italy or in Germany, but received neither. When our army of England was already on its march towards the Rhine, and Bonaparte returned here, Brune was ordered to take command on the coast, and to organize there an army of observation, destined to succour Holland in case of an invasion, or to invade England should a favourable occasion present itself. The fact is, he was charged to intrigue rather than to fight; and were Napoleon able to force upon Austria another Peace of Luneville, Brune would probably be the plenipotentiary that would ask your acceptance of another Peace of Amiens. It is here a general belief that his present command signifies another pacific overture from Bonaparte before your Parliament meets, or, at least, before the New Year. Remember that our hero is more to be dreaded as a Philip than as an Alexander.
General Brune has bought landed property for nine millions of livres–and has, in different funds, placed ready money to the same amount. His own and his wife’s diamonds are valued by him at three millions; and when he has any parties to dinner, he exhibits them with great complaisance as presents forced upon him during his campaign in Switzerland and Holland, for the protection he gave the inhabitants. He is now so vain of his wealth and proud of his rank, that he not only disregards all former acquaintances, but denies his own brothers and sisters,–telling them frankly that the Fieldmarshal Brune can have no shoemaker for a brother, nor a sister married to a chandler; that he knows of no parents, and of no relatives, being the maker of his own fortune, and of what he is; that his children will look no further back for ancestry than their father. One of his first cousins, a postilion, who insisted, rather obstinately, on his family alliance, was recommended by Brune to his friend Fouche, who sent him on a voyage of discovery to Cayenne, from which he probably will not return very soon.
PARIS, September, 1805.
My LORD:–Madame de C——n is now one of our most fashionable ladies. Once in the week she has a grand tea-party; once in a fortnight a grand dinner; and once in the month a grand ball. Foreign gentlemen are particularly well received at her house, which, of course, is much frequented by them. As you intend to visit this country after a peace, it may be of some service to you not to be unacquainted with the portrait of a lady whose invitation to see the original you may depend upon the day after your arrival.
Madame de C—-n is the widow of the great and useless traveller, Comte de C—-n, to whom his relatives pretend that she was never married. Upon his death-bed he acknowledged her, however, for his wife, and left her mistress of a fortune of three hundred thousand livres a year. The first four years of her widowhood she passed in lawsuits before the tribunals, where the plaintiffs could not prove that she was unmarried, nor she herself that she was married. But Madame Napoleon Bonaparte, for a small douceur, speaking in her favour, the consciences of the juries, and the understanding of the judges, were all convinced at once that she had been the lawful wife, and was the lawful heiress, of Comte de C—-n, who had no children, or nearer relatives than third cousins.
Comte de C—-n was travelling in the East Indies when the Revolution broke out. His occupation there was a very innocent one; he drew countenances, being one of the most enthusiastic sectaries of Lavater, and modestly called himself the first physiognomist in the world. Indeed, he had been at least the most laborious one; for he left behind him a collection of six thousand two hundred portraits, drawn by himself in the four quarters of the world, during a period of thirty years.
He never engaged a servant, nor dealt with a tradesman, whose physiognomy had not been examined by him. In his travels he preferred the worst accommodation in a house where he approved of the countenance of the host, to the best where the traits or lines of the landlord’s face were irregular, or did not coincide with his ideas of physiognomical propriety. The cut of a face, its expression, the length of the nose, the width or smallness of the mouth, the form of the eyelids or of the ears, the colour or thickness of the hair, with the shape and tout ensemble of the head, were always minutely considered and discussed before he entered into any agreement, on any subject, with any individual whatever. Whatever recommendations, or whatever attestations were produced, if they did not correspond with his own physiognomical remarks and calculations, they were disregarded; while a person whose physiognomy pleased him required no other introduction to obtain his confidence. Whether he thought himself wiser than his forefathers, he certainly did not grow richer than they were. Charlatans who imposed upon his credulity and impostors who flattered his mania, servants who robbed him and mistresses who deceived him, proved that if his knowledge of physiognomy was great, it was by no means infallible. At his death, of the fortune left him by his parents only the half remained.
His friends often amused themselves at the expense of his foibles. When he prepared for a journey to the East, one of them recommended him a servant, upon whose fidelity he could depend. After examining with minute scrupulosity the head of the person, he wrote: “My friend, I accept your valuable present. From calculations, which never deceive me, Manville (the servant’s name) possesses, with the fidelity of a dog, the intrepidity of the lion. Chastity itself is painted on his front, modesty in his looks, temperance on his cheek, and his mouth and nose bespeak honesty itself.” Shortly after the Count had landed at Pondicherry, Mauville, who was a girl, died, in a condition which showed that chastity had not been the divinity to whom she had chiefly sacrificed. In her trunk were found several trinkets belonging to her master, which she honestly had appropriated to herself. His miscalculation on this subject the Count could not but avow; he added, however, that it was the entire fault of his friend, who had duped him with regard to the sex.
Madame de C—-n was, on account of her physiognomy, purchased by her late husband, then travelling in Turkey, from a merchant of Circassian slaves, when she was under seven years of age, and sent for her education to a relative of the Count, an Abbess of a convent in Languedoc. On his return from Turkey, some years afterwards, he took her under his own care, and she accompanied him all over Asia, and returned first to France in 1796, where her husband’s name was upon the list of emigrants, though he had not been in Europe for ten years before the Revolution.
However, by some pecuniary arrangements with Barras, he recovered his property, which he did not long enjoy, for he died in 1798. The suitors of Madame de C—-n, mistress of a large fortune, with some remnants of beauty and elegance of manners, have been numerous, and among them several Senators and generals, and even the Minister Chaptal. But she has politely declined all their offers, preferring her liberty and the undisturbed right of following her own inclination to the inconvenient ties of Hymen. A gentleman, whom she calls, and who passes for, her brother, Chevalier de M de T—-, a Knight of Malta, assists her in doing the honours of her house, and is considered as her favourite lover; though report and the scandalous chronicle say that she bestows her favours on every person who wishes to bestow on her his name, and that, therefore, her gallants are at least as numerous as her suitors.
Such is the true statement of the past, as well as the present, with regard to Madame de C—-n. She relates, however, a different story. She says that she is the daughter of the Marquis de M de T—–, of a Languedoc family; that she sailed, when a child, with her mother in a felucca from Nice to Malta, there to visit her brother; was captured by an Algerine pilot, separated from her mother, and carried to Constantinople by a merchant of slaves; there she was purchased by Comte de C—-n, who restored her to her family, and whom, therefore, notwithstanding the difference of their ages, she married from gratitude. This pretty, romantic story is ordered in our Court circles to be officially believed; and, of course, is believed by nobody, not even by the Emperor and Empress themselves, who would not give her the place of a lady-in-waiting, though her request was accompanied with a valuable diamond to the latter. The present was kept, but the offer declined.
All the members of the Bonaparte family, female as well as male, honour her house with their visits and with the acceptance of her invitations; and it is, therefore, among our fashionables, the ‘haut ton’ to be of the society and circle of Madame de C—-n.
Last February, Madame de P—-t (the wife of Comte de P—-t, a relative, by her husband’s side, of Madame de C—-n, and who by the Revolution lost all their property, and now live with her as companions) was brought to bed of a son; the child was baptized by the Cardinal de Belloy, and Madame Joseph and Prince Louis Bonaparte stood sponsors. This occurrence was celebrated with great pomp, and a fete was given to nearly one hundred and fifty per sons of both sexes,–as usual, a mixture of ci-devant nobles and of ci-devant sans-culottes; of rank and meanness; of upstart wealth and beggared dignity.
What that day struck me most was the audacity of the Senator Villetard in teasing and insulting the old Cardinal de Belloy with his impertinent conversation and affected piety. This Villetard was, before the Revolution, a journeyman barber, and was released in 1789 by the mob from the prison of the Chatelet, where he was confined for theft. In 1791 his patriotism was so well known in the Department of Yonne, that he was deputed by the Jacobins there to the Jacobins of the capital with an address, encouraging and advising the deposition of Louis XVI.; and in 1792 he was chosen a member of the National Convention, where the most sanguinary and most violent of the factions were always certain to reckon him in the number of their adherents.
In December, 1797, when an insurrection, prepared by Joseph Bonaparte at Rome, deprived the late revered pontiff both of his sovereignty and liberty, Villetard was sent by the Jacobin and atheistical party of the Directory to Loretto, to seize and carry off the celebrated Madonna. In the execution of this commission he displayed a conduct worthy the littleness of his genius and the criminality of his mind. The wooden image of the Holy Virgin, a black gown said to have appertained to her, together with three broken china plates, which the Roman Catholic faithful have for ages believed to have been used by her, were presented by him to the Directory, with a cruelly scandalous show, accompanied by a horribly blasphemous letter. He passed the next night, after he had perpetrated this sacrilege, with two prostitutes, in the chapel of the Holy Virgin; and, on the next morning, placed one of them, naked, on the pedestal where the statue of the Virgin had formerly stood, and ordered all the devotees at Loretto, and two leagues round, to prostrate themselves before her. This shocking command occasioned the premature death of fifteen ladies, two of whom, who were nuns, died on the spot on beholding the horrid outrage; and many more were deprived of their reason. How barbarously unfeeling must that wretch be who, in bereaving the religious, the pious, and the conscientious of their consolation and hope, adds the tormenting reproach of apostasy, by forcing virtue upon its knees to bow before what it knows to be guilt and infamy.
A traitor to his associates as to his God, it was he who, in November, 1799, presented at St. Cloud the decree which excluded all those who opposed Bonaparte’s authority from the Council of Five Hundred, and appointed the two committees which made him a First Consul. In reward for this act of treachery, he was nominated to a place in the Conservative Senate. He has now ranked himself among our modern saints, goes regularly to Mass and confesses; has made a brother of his, who was a drummer, an Abbe; and his assiduity about the Cardinal was probably with a view to obtain advancement for this edifying priest.
The Cardinal de Belloy is now ninety-six years of age, being born in 1709, and has been a Bishop for fifty-three years, but, during the Revolution, was proscribed, with all other prelates. He remained, however, in France, where his age saved him from the guillotine, but not from being reduced to the greatest want. A descendant of a noble family, and possessing an unpolluted character, Bonaparte fixed upon him as one of the pillars for the reestablishment of the Catholic worship, made him an Archbishop of Paris, and procured him the rank of a Cardinal from Rome. But he is now in his second childhood, entirely directed by his grand vicaries, Malaret, De Mons, and Legeas, who are in the pay of, and absolutely devoted to, Bonaparte. An innocent instrument in their hands, of those impious compliments pronounced by him to the Emperor and the Empress, he did not, perhaps, even understand the meaning. From such a man the vile and artful Villetard might extort any promise. I observed, however, with pleasure, that he was watched by the grand vicar, Malaret, who seldom loses sight of His Eminence.
These two so opposite characters–I mean De Belloy and Villetard–are already speaking evidences of the composition of the society at Madame de C—-n’s. But I will tell you something still more striking. This lady is famous for her elegant services of plate, as much as for her delicate taste in entertaining her parties. After the supper on this night, eleven silver and four gold plates, besides numerous silver and gold spoons, forks, etc., were missed. She informed Fouche of her loss, who had her house surrounded by spies, with orders not to let any servant pass without undergoing a strict search. The first gentleman who called for his carriage was His Excellency the Counsellor of State and grand officer of the Legion of Honour, Treilhard. His servants were stopped and the cause explained. They willingly, and against the protest of their master, suffered themselves to be searched. Nothing was found upon them; but the police agents, observing the full-dress hat of their master rather bulky under his arm, took the liberty to look into it, where they found one of Madame de C—-n’s gold plates and two of her spoons. His Excellency immediately ordered his servants to be arrested, for having concealed their theft there. Fouche, however, when called out, advised his friend to forgive them for misplacing them, as the less said on the subject the better. When Madame de C—-n heard of this discovery, she asked Fouche to recall his order or to alter it. “A repetition of such misplacings in the hats or in the pockets of the masters,” said she, “would injure the reputation of my house and company.” She never recovered the remainder of her loss, and that she might not be exposed in future to the same occurrences, she bought two services of china the following day, to be used when she had mixed society.
Treilhard had, before the Revolution, the reputation of being an honest man and an able advocate; but has since joined the criminals of all factions, being an accomplice in their guilt and a sharer of their spoils. In the convention, he voted for the death of Louis XVI. and pursued without mercy the unfortunate Marie Antoinette to the scaffold. During his missions in the departments, wherever he went the guillotine was erected and blood flowed in streams. He was, nevertheless, accused by Robespierre of moderatism. At Lille, in 1797, and at Rastadt, in 1798, he negotiated as a plenipotentiary with the representatives of Princes, and in 1799 corresponded as a director with Emperors and Kings, to whom he wrote as his great and dear friends. He is now a Counsellor of State, in the section of legislation, and enjoys a fortune of several millions of livres, arising from estates in the country, and from leases in the capital. As this accident at Madame de C—-n’s soon became public, his friends gave out that he had of late been exceedingly absent, and, from absence of mind, puts everything he can lay hold of into his pocket. He is not a favourite with Madame Bonaparte, and she asked her husband to dismiss and disgrace him for an act so disgraceful to a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, but was answered, “Were I to turn away all the thieves and rogues that encompass me I should soon cease to reign. I despise them, but I must employ them.”
It is whispered that the police have discovered another of Madame de C n’s lost gold plates at a pawnbroker’s, where it had been pledged by the wife of another Counsellor of State, Francois de Nantes.
This I give you merely as a report! though the fact is, that Madame Francois is very fond of gambling, but very unfortunate; and she, with other of our fashionable ladies, has more than once resorted to her charms for the payment of her gambling debts.
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All his creditors, denounced and executed All priests are to be proscribed as criminals How much people talk about what they do not comprehend Thought himself eloquent when only insolent or impertinent