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Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, v11 by Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

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illusion of what is termed glory. A commission was named to examine the
discourse of Chateaubriand. MM. Suard, de Segur, de Fontanes, and two or
three other members of the same class of the Institute whose names I
cannot recollect, were of opinion that the discourse should be read; but
it was opposed by the majority.

When Napoleon was informed of what had passed he demanded a sight of the
address, which was presented to him by M. Daru. After having perused it
he exclaimed; "Had this discourse been delivered I would have shut the
gates of the Institute, and thrown M. de Chateaubriand into a dungeon for
life." The storm long raged; at length means of conciliation were tried.
The Emperor required M. de Chateaubriand to prepare another discourse,
which the latter refused to do, in spite of every menace. Madame Gay
applied to Madame Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely, who interested her
husband in favour of the author of the Genie du Christianisme. M. de
Montalivet and Savary also acted on this occasion in the most
praiseworthy manner, and succeeded in appeasing the first transports of
the Emperor's rage. But the name of Chateaubriand constantly called to
mind the circumstances which had occasioned him to give in his
resignation; and, besides, Napoleon had another complaint against him.
He had published in the 'Merceure' an article on a work of M. Alexandre
de Laborde. In that article, which was eagerly read in Paris, and which
caused the suppression of the 'Merceure', occurred the famous phrase
which has been since so often repeated: "In vain a Nero triumphs: Tacitus
is already born in his Empire." This quotation leads me to repeat an
observation, which, I believe, I have already made, viz. that it is a
manifest misconception to compare Bonaparte to Nero. Napoleon's ambition
might blind his vision to political crimes, but in private life no man
could evince less disposition to cruelty or bloodshed. A proof that he
bore little resemblance to Nero is that his anger against the author of
the article in question vented itself in mere words. "What!" exclaimed
he, "does Chateaubriand think I am a fool, and that I do not know what he
means? If he goes on this way I will have him sabred on the steps of the
Tuileries." This language is quite characteristic of Bonaparte, but it
was uttered in the first ebullition of his wrath. Napoleon merely
threatened, but Nero would have made good his threat; and in such a case
there is surely some difference between words and deeds.

The discourse of M. de Chateaubriand revived Napoleon's former enmity
against him; he received an order to quit Paris: M. Daru returned to him
the manuscript of his discourse, which had been read by Bonaparte, who
cancelled some passages with a pencil. We can be sure that the phrase
about liberty was not one of those spared by the Imperial pencil.
However that may be, written copies were circulated with text altered and
abbreviated; and I have even been told that a printed edition appeared,
but I have never seen any copies; and as I do not find the discourse in
the works of M. de Chateaubriand I have reason to believe that the author
has not yet wished to publish it.

Such were the principal circumstances attending the nomination of
Chateaubriand to the Institute. I shall not relate some others which
occurred on a previous occasion, viz. on the election of an old and
worthy visitor at Malmaison, M. Lemercier, and which will serve to show
one of those strange inconsistencies so frequent in the character of

After the foundation of the Empire M. Lemercier ceased to present himself
at the Tuileries, St. Cloud, or at Malmaison, though he was often seen in
the salons of Madame Bonaparte while she yet hoped not to become a Queen.
Two places were vacant at once in the second class of the Institute,
which still contained a party favourable to liberty. This party, finding
it impossible to influence the nomination of both members, contented
itself with naming one, it being the mutual condition, in return for
favouring the Government candidate, that the Government party should not
oppose the choice of the liberals. The liberal party selected M.
Lemercier, but as they knew his former connection with Bonaparte had been
broken off they wished first to ascertain that he would do nothing to
commit their choice. Chenier was empowered to inquire whether M.
Lemercier would refuse to accompany them to the Tuileries when they
repaired thither in a body, and whether, on his election, he would comply
with the usual ceremony of being presented to the Emperor. M. Lemercier
replied that he would do nothing contrary to the customs and usages of
the body to which he might belong: he was accordingly elected. The
Government candidate was M. Esmenard, who was also elected. The two new
members were presented to the Emperor on the same day. On this occasion
upwards of 400 persons were present in the salon, from one of whom I
received these details. When the Emperor saw M. Lemercier, for whom he
had long pretended great friendship, he said to him in a kind tone,
"Well, Lemercier, you are now installed." Lemercier respectfully bowed
to the Emperor; but without uttering a word of reply. Napoleon was
mortified at this silence, but without saying anything more to Lemercier
he turned to Esmenard, the member who should have been most acceptable to
him, and vented upon him the whole weight of his indignation in a manner
equally unfeeling and unjust. "Well, Esmenard," said he, "do you still
hold your place in the police?" These words were spoken in so loud a
tone as to be heard by all present; and it was doubtless this cruel and
ambiguous speech which furnished the enemies of Esmenard with arms to
attack his reputation as a man of honour, and to give an appearance of
disgrace to those functions which he exercised with so much zeal and

When, at the commencement of 1811, I left Paris I had ceased to delude
myself respecting the brilliant career which seemed opening before me
during the Consulate. I clearly perceived that since Bonaparte, instead
of receiving me as I expected, had refused to see me at all, the
calumnies of my enemies were triumphant, and that I had nothing to hope
for from an absolute ruler, whose past injustice rendered him the more
unjust. He now possessed what he had so long and ardently wished for,
--a son of his own, an inheritor of his name, his power, and his throne.
I must take this opportunity of stating that the malevolent and infamous
rumours spread abroad respecting the birth of the King of Rome were
wholly without foundation. My friend Corvisart, who did not for a single
instant leave Maria Louisa during her long and painful labour, removed
from my mind every doubt on the subject. It is as true that the young
Prince, for whom the Emperor of Austria stood sponsor at the font, was
the son of Napoleon and the Archduchess Maria Louisa as it is false that
Bonaparte was the father of the first child of Hortense. The birth of
the son of Napoleon was hailed with general enthusiasm. The Emperor was
at the height of his power from the period of the birth of his son until
the reverse he experienced after the battle of the Moskowa. The Empire,
including the States possessed by the Imperial family, contained nearly
57,000,000 of inhabitants; but the period was fast approaching when this
power, unparalleled in modern times, was to collapse under its own

--[The little King of Rome, Napoleon Francis Bonaparte, was born on
the 20th of March 1811. Editor of 1836 edition.]--


My return to Hamburg--Government Committee established there--
Anecdote of the Comte de Chaban--Napoleon's misunderstanding with
the Pope--Cardinal Fesch--Convention of a Council--Declaration
required from the Bishops--Spain in 1811--Certainty of war with
Russia--Lauriston supersedes Caulaincourt at St. Petersburg--The war
in Spain neglected--Troops of all nations at the disposal of
Bonaparte--Levy of the National Guard--Treaties with Prussia and
Austria--Capitulation renewed with Switzerland--Intrigues with
Czernischeff--Attacks of my enemies--Memorial to the Emperor--Ogier
de la Saussaye and the mysterious box--Removal of the Pope to
Fontainebleau--Anecdote of His Holiness and M. Denon--Departure of
Napoleon and Maria Louisa for Dresden--Situation of affairs in Spain
and Portugal--Rapp's account of the Emperor's journey to Dantzic--
Mutual wish for war on the part of Napoleon and Alexander--Sweden
and Turkey--Napoleon's vain attempt to detach Sweden from her
alliance with Russia.

As I took the most lively interest in all that concerned the Hanse Towns,
my first care on returning to Hamburg was to collect information from the
most respectable sources concerning the influential members of the new
Government. Davoust was at its head. On his arrival he had established
in the Duchy of Mecklenburg, in Swedish Pomerania, and in Stralsund, the
capital of that province, military posts and custom-houses, and that in a
time of profound peace with those countries, and without any previous
declaration. The omnipotence of Napoleon, and the terror inspired by the
name of Davoust, overcame all obstacles which might have opposed those
iniquitous usurpations. The weak were forced to yield to the strong.

At Hamburg a Government Committee was formed, consisting of the Prince of
Eekmuhl as President, Comte de Chaban, Councillor of State, who
superintended the departments of the Interior and Finance, and of M.
Faure, Councillor of State, who was appointed to form and regulate the
Courts of Law. I had sometimes met M. de Chaban at Malmaison. He was
distantly related to Josephine, and had formerly been an officer in the
French Guards. He was compelled to emigrate, having been subjected to
every species of persecution during the Revolution.

M. de Chaban was among the first of the emigrants who returned to France
after the 18th Brumaire. He was at first made Sub-Prefect of Vendome,
but on the union of Tuscany with France Napoleon created him a member of
the Junta appointed to regulate the affairs of Tuscany. He next became
Prefect of Coblentz and Brussels, was made a Count by Bonaparte, and was
afterwards chosen a member of the Government Committee at Hamburg. M. de
Chaban was a man of upright principles, and he discharged his various
functions in a way that commanded esteem and attachment.

--[I recollect an anecdote which but too well depicts those
disastrous times. The Comte de Chaban, being obliged to cross
France during the Reign of Terror, was compelled to assume a,
disguise. He accordingly provided himself with a smockfrock; a cart
and horses, and a load of corn. In this manner he journeyed from
place to place till he reached the frontiers. He stopped at
Rochambeau, in the Vendomais, where he was recognised by the Marshal
de Rochambeau, who to guard against exciting any suspicion among-
his servants, treated him as if he had really been a carman and said
to him, "You may dine in the kitchen."--Bourrienne.]--

The Hanseatic Towns, united to the Grand Empire professedly for their
welfare, soon felt the blessings of the new organisation of a
regenerating Government. They were at once presented with; the stamp-
duty, registration, the lottery, the droits reunis, the tax on cards, and
the 'octroi'. This prodigality of presents caused, as we may be sure,
the most lively gratitude; a tax for military quarters and for warlike
supplies was imposed, but this did not relieve any one from laving not
only officers and soldiers; but even all the chiefs of the administration
and their officials billeted on them: The refineries, breweries, and
manufactures of all sorts were suppressed. The cash chests of the
Admiralty, of the charity houses, of the manufactures, of the savings-
banks, of the working classes, the funds of the prisons, the relief meant
for the infirm, the chests of the refuges, orphanages; and of the
hospitals, were all seized.

More than 200,000 men, Italian, Dutch, and French soldiers came in turn
to stay there, but only to be clothed and shod; and then they left newly
clothed from head to foot. To leave nothing to be wished for, Davoust,
from 1812, established military commissions in all the thirty-second.
military division, before he entered upon the Russian campaign. To
complete these oppressive measures he established at the same time the
High Prevotal Court of the Customs. It was at this time that M. Eudes,
the director of the ordinary customs, a strict but just man, said that
the rule of the ordinary customs would be regretted, "for till now you
have only been on roses.." The professed judgments of this court were
executed without appeal and without delay. From what I have just said
the situation and the misery of the north of Germany, and the consequent
discontent, can be judged.

During my stay in Hamburg, which on this occasion was not very long,
Napoleon's attention was particularly engaged by the campaign of
Portugal, and his discussions with the Pope. At this period the
thunderbolts of Rome were not very alarming. Yet precautions were taken
to keep secret the excommunication which Pius VII. had pronounced
against Napoleon. The event, however, got reported about, and a party in
favour of the Pope speedily rose up among the clergy, and more
particularly among the fanatics. Napoleon sent to Savona the Archbishops
of Nantes, Bourges, Treves, and Tours, to endeavour to bring about a
reconciliation with His Holiness. But all their endeavours were
unavailing, and after staying a month at Savona they returned to Paris
without having done anything. But Napoleon was not discouraged by this
first disappointment, and he shortly afterwards sent a second deputation,
which experienced the same fate as the first. Cardinal Fesch, Napoleon's
uncle, took part with the Pope. For this fact I can vouch, though I
cannot for an answer which he is said to have made to the Emperor. I
have been informed that when Napoleon was one day speaking to his uncle
about the Pope's obstinacy the Cardinal made some observations to him on
his (Bonaparte's) conduct to the Holy Father, upon which Napoleon flew
into a passion, and said that the Pope and he were two old fools.
"As for the Pope," said he, "he is too obstinate to listen to anything.
No, I am determined he shall never have Rome again . . . . He will
not remain at Savona, and where does he wish I should send him?"--"To
Heaven, perhaps," replied the Cardinal.

The truth is, the Emperor was violently irritated against Pius VII.
Observing with uneasiness the differences and difficulties to which all
these dissensions gave rise, he was anxious to put a stop to them. As
the Pope would not listen to any propositions that were made to him,
Napoleon convoked a Council, which assembled in Paris, and at which
several Italian Bishops were present. The Pope insisted that the
temporal and spiritual interests should be discussed together; and,
however disposed a certain number of prelates, particularly the Italians,
might be to separate these two points of discussion, yet the influence of
the Church and well-contrived intrigues gradually gave preponderance to
the wishes of the Pope. The Emperor, having discovered that a secret
correspondence was carried on by several of the Bishops and Archbishops
who had seats in the Council, determined to get rid of some of them, and
the Bishops of Ghent, Troyes, Tournay, and Toulouse were arrested and
sent to Vincennes. They were superseded by others. He wished to
dissolve the Council, which he saw was making no advance towards the
object he had in view, and, fearing that it might adopt some act at
variance with his supreme wish, every member of the Council was
individually required to make a declaration that the proposed changes
were conformable to the laws of the Church. It was said at the time that
they were unanimous in this individual declaration, though it is certain
that in the sittings of the Council opinions were divided. I know not
what His Holiness thought of these written opinions compared with the
verbal opinions that had been delivered, but certain it is though still a
captive at Savona, he refused to adhere to the concessions granted in the
secret declarations.

The conflicts which took place in Spain during the year 1811 were
unattended by any decisive results. Some brilliant events, indeed,
attested the courage of our troops and the skill of our generals. Such
were the battle of Albufera and the taking of Tarragona, while Wellington
was obliged to raise the siege of Badajoz. These advantages, which were
attended only by glory, encouraged Napoleon in the hope of triumphing in
the Peninsula, and enabled him to enjoy the brilliant fetes which took
place at Paris in celebration of the birth of the King of Rome.

On his return from a tour in Holland at the end of October Napoleon
clearly saw that a rupture with Russia was inevitable. In vain he sent
Lauriston as Ambassador to St. Petersburg to supersede Caulaincourt, who
would no longer remain there: all the diplomatic skill in the world could
effect nothing with a powerful Government which had already formed its
determination. All the Cabinets in Europe were now unanimous in wishing
for the overthrow of Napoleon's power, and the people no less, ardently
wished for an order of things less fatal to their trade and industry. In
the state to which Europe was reduced no one could counteract the wish of
Russia and her allies to go to war with France--Lauriston no more than

The war for which Napoleon was now obliged to prepare forced him to
neglect Spain, and to leave his interests in that country in a state of
real danger. Indeed, his occupation of Spain and his well-known wish to
maintain himself there were additional motives for inducing the powers of
Europe to enter upon a war which would necessarily divide Napoleon's
forces. All at once the troops which were in Italy and the north of
Germany moved towards the frontiers of the Russian Empire. From March
1811 the Emperor had all the military forces of Europe at his disposal.
It was curious to see this union of nations, distinguished by difference
of manners,

--[It should be remarked that Napoleon was far from being anxious
for the war with Russia. Metternich writing on 26th March 1811,
says "Everything seems to indicate that the Emperor Napoleon is at
present still far from desiring a war with Russia. But it is not
less true that the Emperor Alexander has given himself over, 'nolens
volens', to the war party, and that he will bring about war, because
the time is approaching when he will no longer be able to resist the
reaction of the party in the internal affairs of his Empire, or the
temper of his army. The contest between Count Romanzov and the
party opposed to that Minister seems on the point of precipitating a
war between Russia and France." This, from Metternich, is strong

language, religion, and interests, all ready to fight for one man against
a power who had done nothing to offend them. Prussia herself, though she
could not pardon the injuries he had inflicted upon her, joined his
alliance, but with the intention of breaking it on the first opportunity.
When the war with Russia was first spoken of Savary and I had frequent
conversations on the subject. I communicated to him all the intelligence
I received from abroad respecting that vast enterprise. The Duc de
Rovigo shared all my forebodings; and if he and those who thought like
him had been listened to, the war would probably have been avoided.
Through him I learnt who were the individuals who urged the invasion.
The eager ambition with which they looked forward to Viceroyalties,
Duchies, and endowments blinded them to the possibility of seeing the
Cossacks in Paris.

The gigantic enterprise being determined on, vast preparations were made
for carrying it into effect. Before his departure Napoleon, who was to
take with him all the disposable troops, caused a 'Senatus-consulte' to
be issued for levying the National Guards, who were divided into three
corps. He also arranged his diplomatic affairs by concluding, in
February 1812, a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, with
Prussia, by virtue of which the two contracting powers mutually
guaranteed the integrity of their own possessions, and the European
possessions of the Ottoman Porte, because that power was then at war with
Russia. A similar treaty was concluded about the beginning of March with
Austria, and about the end of the same month Napoleon renewed the
capitulation of France and Switzerland. At length, in the month of
April, there came to light an evident proof of the success which had
attended M. Czernischeff's intrigues in Paris. It was ascertained that a
clerk in the War Office, named Michel, had communicated to him the
situation of the French forces in Germany. Michel was condemned to
death, for the time was gone by when Bonaparte, confident in his genius
and good fortune, could communicate his plans to the spy of General

In March 1812, when I saw that the approaching war would necessarily take
Napoleon from France, weary of the persecutions and even threats by which
I was every day assailed, I addressed to the Emperor a memorial
explaining my conduct and showing the folly and wickedness of my
accusers. Among them was a certain Ogier de la Saussaye, who had sent a
report to the Emperor, in which the principal charge was, that I had
carried off a box containing important papers belonging to the First
Consul. The accusation of Ogier de la Saussaye terminated thus: "I add
to my report the interrogatories of MM. Westphalen, Osy, Chapeau Rouge,
Aukscher, Thierry, and Gumprecht-Mores. The evidence of the latter bears
principally on a certain mysterious box, a secret upon which it is
impossible to throw any light, but the reality of which we are bound to
believe." These are his words. The affair of the mysterious box has
been already explained. I have already informed the reader that I put my
papers into a box, which I buried lest it should be stolen from me.
But for that precaution I should not have been able to lay before the
reader the autograph documents in my possession, and which I imagine form
the most essential part of these volumes. In my memorial to the Emperor
I said, in allusion to the passage above quoted, "This, Sire, is the most
atrocious part of Ogier's report.

"Gumprecht being questioned on this point replies that the accuser has
probably, as well as himself, seen the circumstance mentioned in an
infamous pamphlet which appeared seven or eight years, ago. It was, I
think, entitled 'Le Secret du Cabinet des Tuileries,' and was very likely
at the time of its appearance denounced by the police. In that libel it
is stated, among a thousand other calumnies equally false and absurd,
'that when I left the First Consul I carried away a box full of important
papers, that I was in consequence sent to the Temple, where your brother
Joseph came to me and offered me my liberation, and a million of francs,
if I would restore the papers, which I refused to do,' etc. Ogier,
instead of looking for this libel in Hamburg, where I read it, has the
impudence to give credit to the charge, the truth of which could have
been ascertained immediately: and he adds, 'This secret we are bound to
believe.' Your Majesty knows whether I was ever in the Temple, and
whether Joseph ever made such an offer to me." I entreated that the
Emperor would do me the favour to bring me to trial; for certainly I
should have regarded that as a favour rather than to remain as I was,
exposed to vague accusations; yet all my solicitations were in vain.
My letter to the Emperor remained unanswered; but though Bonaparte could
not spare a few moments to reply to an old friend, I learned through
Duroc the contempt he cherished for my accusers. Duroc advised me not to
be uneasy, and that in all probability the Emperor's prejudices against
me would be speedily overcome; and I must say that if they were not
overcome it was neither the fault of Duroc nor Savary, who knew how to
rightly estimate the miserable intrigues just alluded to.

Napoleon was at length determined to extend the limits of his Empire, or
rather to avenge the injuries which Russia had committed against his
Continental system. Yet, before he departed for Germany, the resolute
refusal of the Pope to submit to any arrangement urgently claimed his
consideration. Savona did not appear to him a sufficiently secure
residence for such a prisoner. He feared that when all his strength
should be removed towards the Niemen the English might carry off the
Pope, or that the Italians, excited by the clergy, whose dissatisfaction
was general in Italy, would stir up those religious dissensions which are
always fatal and difficult to quell. With the view, therefore, of
keeping the Pope under his control he removed him to Fontainebleau, and
even at one time thought of bringing him to Paris.

The Emperor appointed M. Denon to reside with the Pope at Fontainebleau;
and to afford his illustrious prisoner the society of such a man was
certainly a delicate mark of attention on the part of Napoleon. When
speaking of his residence with Pius VII. M. Denon related to me the
following anecdote. "The Pope," said he, "was much attached to me. He
always addressed me by the appellation 'my son,' and he loved to converse
with me, especially on the subject of the Egyptian expedition. One day
he asked me for my work on Egypt, which he said he wished to read; and as
you know it is not quite orthodox, and does not perfectly agree with the
creation of the world according to Genesis, I at first hesitated; but the
Pope insisted, and at length I complied with his wish. The Holy Father
assured me that he had been much interested by the perusal of the book.
I made some allusion to the delicate points; upon which he said, "No
matter, no matter, my son; all that is exceedingly curious, and I must
confess entirely new to me." I then," continued M. Denon, told His
Holiness why I hesitated to lend him the work, which, I observed, he had
excommunicated, together with its author. "Excommunicated you, my son?"
resumed the Pope in a tone of affectionate concern. "I am very sorry for
it, and assure you I was far from being aware of any such thing."

When M. Denon related to me this anecdote he told me how greatly he had
admired the virtues and resignation of the Holy Father; but he added that
it would nevertheless have been easier to make him a martyr than to
induce him to yield on any point until he should be restored to the
temporal sovereignty of Rome, of which he considered himself the
depositary, and which he would not endure the reproach of having
willingly sacrificed. After settling the place of the Pope's residence
Napoleon set off for Dresden, accompanied by Maria Louisa, who had
expressed a wish to see her father.

The Russian enterprise, the most gigantic, perhaps, that the genius of
man ever conceived since the conquest of India by Alexander, now absorbed
universal attention, and defied the calculations of reason. The
Manzanares was forgotten, and nothing was thought of but the Niemen,
already so celebrated by the raft of Tilsit. Thither, as towards a
common centre, were moving men, horses, provisions, and baggage of every
kind, from all parts of Europe. The hopes of our generals and the fears
of all prudent men were directed to Russia. The war in Spain, which was
becoming more and more unfortunate, excited but a feeble interest; and
our most distinguished officers looked upon it as a disgrace to be sent
to the Peninsula. In short, it was easy to foresee that the period was
not far distant when the French would be obliged to recross the Pyrenees.
Though the truth was concealed from the Emperor on many subjects, yet he
was not deceived as to the situation of Spain in the spring of 1812. In
February the Duke of Ragusa had frankly informed him that the armies of
Spain and Portugal could not, without considerable reinforcements of men
and money, hope for any important advantages since Ciudad-Rodrigo and
Badajoz had fallen into the hands of the English.

Before he commenced his great operations on the Niemen and the Volga
Napoleon made a journey to Dantzic, and Rapp, who was then Governor of
that city, informed me of some curious particulars connected with the
Imperial visit. The fact is, that if Rapp's advice had been listened to,
and had been supported by men higher in rank than himself, Bonaparte
would not have braved the chances of the Russian war until those chances
turned against him. Speaking to me of the Russians Rapp said, "They will
soon be as wise as we are! Every time we go to war with them we teach
them how to beat us." I was struck with the originality and truth of
this observation, which at the time I heard it was new, though it has
been often repeated since.

"On leaving Dresden," said Rapp to me, "Napoleon came to Dantzic. I
expected a dressing; for, to tell you the truth, I had treated very
cavalierly both his custom-house and its officers, who were raising up as
many enemies to France as there were inhabitants in my Government. I had
also warned him of all that has since happened in Russia, but I assure
you I did not think myself quite so good a prophet. In the beginning of
1812 I thus wrote to him: 'If your Majesty should experience reverses you
may depend on it that both Russians and Germans will rise up in a mass to
shake off the yoke. There will be a crusade, and all your allies will
abandon you. Even the King of Bavaria, on whom you rely so confidently,
will join the coalition. I except only the King of Saxony. He, perhaps,
might remain faithful to you; but his subjects will force him to make
common cause with your enemies. The King of Naples," continued Rapp, "who
had the command of the cavalry, had been to Dantzic before the Emperor.
He did not seem to take a more favourable view of the approaching
campaign than I did. Murat was dissatisfied that the Emperor would not
consent to his rejoining him in Dresden; and he said that he would rather
be a captain of grenadiers than a King such as he was."

Here I interrupted Rapp to tell him what had fallen from Murat when I met
him in the Champs Elysees "Bah!" resumed Rapp, "Murat, brave as he was,
was a craven in Napoleon's presence! On the Emperor's arrival in Dantzic
the first thing of which he spoke to me was the alliance he had just then
concluded with Prussia and Austria. I could not refrain from telling him
that we did a great deal of mischief as allies; a fact of which I was
assured from the reports daily transmitted to me respecting the conduct
of our troops. Bonaparte tossed his bead, as you know he was in the
habit of doing when he was displeased. After a moment's silence,
dropping the familiar thee and thou, he said, 'Monsieur le General, this
is a torrent which must be allowed to run itself out. It will not last
long. I must first ascertain whether Alexander decidedly wishes for
war.' Then, suddenly changing the subject of conversation, he said,
'Have you not lately observed something extraordinary in Murat? I think
he is quite altered. Is be ill?'--'Sire,' replied I, 'Murat is not ill,
but he is out of spirits.'--'Out of spirits! but why? Is he not
satisfied with being a King?'--'Sire, Murat says he is no King.'--'That
is his own fault. Why does he make himself a Neapolitan? Why is he not
a Frenchman? When he is in his Kingdom he commits all sorts of follies.
He favours the trade of England; that I will not suffer.'

"When," continued Rapp, "he spoke of the favour extended by Murat to the
trade between Naples and England I thought my turn would come next; but I
was deceived. No more was said on the subject, and when I was about to
take my leave the Emperor said to me, as when in his best of humours,
'Rapp, you will sup with me this evening.' I accordingly supped that
evening with the Emperor, who had also invited the King of Naples and
Berthier. Next day the Emperor visited the fortress, and afterwards
returned to the Government Palace, where he received the civil and
military authorities. He again invited Murat, Berthier, and me to
supper. When we first sat down to table we were all very dull, for the
Emperor was silent; and, as you well know, under such circumstances not
even Murat himself dared to be the first to speak to him. At length
Napoleon, addressing me, inquired how far it was from Cadiz to Dantzic.
'Too far, Sire,' replied I. 'I understand you, Monsieur le General, but
in a few months the distance will be still greater.'--'So much the worse,
Sire!' Here there was another pause. Neither Murat nor Berthier, on
whom the Emperor fixed a scrutinising glance, uttered a word, and
Napoleon again broke silence, but without addressing any one of us in
particular: 'Gentlemen,' said be in a solemn and rather low tone of
voice, 'I see plainly that you are none of you inclined to fight again.
The King of Naples does not wish to leave the fine climate of his
dominions, Berthier wishes to enjoy the diversion of the chase at his
estate of Gros Bois, and Rapp is impatient to be back to his hotel in
Paris.' Would you believe it," pursued Rapp, "that neither Murat nor
Berthier said a word in reply? and the ball again came to me. I told
him frankly that what he said was perfectly true, and the King of Naples
and the Prince of Neufchatel complimented me on my spirit, and observed
that I was quite right in saying what I did. 'Well,' said I, 'since it
was so very right, why did you not follow my example, and why leave me to
say all?' You cannot conceive," added Rapp, "how confounded they both
were, and especially Murat, though be was very differently situated from

The negotiations which Bonaparte opened with Alexander, when he yet
wished to seem averse to war, resembled those oratorical paraphrases
which do not prevent us from coming to the conclusion we wish. The two
Emperors equally desired war; the one with the view of consolidating his
power, and the other in the hope of freeing himself from a yoke which
threatened to reduce him to a state of vassalage, for it was little short
of this to require a power like Russia to close her ports against England
for the mere purpose of favouring the interests of France. At that time
only two European powers were not tied to Napoleon's fate--Sweden and
Turkey. Napoleon was anxious to gain the alliance of these two powers.
With respect to Sweden his efforts were vain; and though, in fact, Turkey
was then at war with Russia, yet the Grand Seignior was not now, as at
the time of Sebastiani's embassy, subject to the influence of France.

The peace, which was soon concluded at Bucharest, between Russia, and
Turkey increased Napoleon's embarrassment. The left of the Russian army,
secured by the neutrality of Turkey, was reinforced by Bagration's corps
from Moldavia: it subsequently occupied the right of the Beresina, and
destroyed the last hope of saving the wreck of the French army. It is
difficult to conceive how Turkey could have allowed the consideration of
injuries she had received from France to induce her to terminate the war
with Russia when France was attacking that power with immense forces.
The Turks never had a fairer opportunity for taking revenge on Russia,
and, unfortunately for Napoleon, they suffered it to escape.

Napoleon was not more successful when he sought the alliance of a Prince
whose fortune he had made, and who was allied to his family, but with
whom he had never been on terms of good understanding. The Emperor
Alexander had a considerable corps of troops in Finland destined to
protect that country against the Sweden, Napoleon having consented to
that occupation in order to gain the provisional consent of Alexander to
the invasion of Spain. What was the course pursued by Napoleon when,
being at war with Russia, he wished to detach Sweden from her alliance
with Alexander? He intimated to Bernadotte that he had a sure
opportunity of retaking Finland, a conquest which would gratify his
subjects and win their attachment to him. By this alliance Napoleon
wished to force Alexander not to withdraw the troops who were in the
north of his Empire, but rather to augment their numbers in order to
cover Finland and St. Petersburg. It was thus that Napoleon endeavoured
to draw the Prince Royal into his coalition. It was of little
consequence to Napoleon whether Bernadotte succeeded or not. The Emperor
Alexander would nevertheless have been obliged to increase his force in
Finland; that was all that Napoleon wished. In the gigantic struggle
upon which France and Russia were about to enter the most trivial
alliance was not to be neglected. In January 1812 Davoust invaded
Swedish Pomerania without any declaration of war, and without any
apparent motive. Was this inconceivable violation of territory likely to
dispose the Prince Royal of Sweden to the proposed alliance, even had
that alliance not been adverse to the interests of his country? That was
impossible; and Bernadotte took the part which was expected of him. He
rejected the offers of Napoleon, and prepared for coming events.

The Emperor Alexander wished to withdraw his force from Finland for the
purpose of more effectively opposing the immense army which threatened
his States. Unwilling to expose Finland to an attack on the part of
Sweden, he had an interview on the 28th of August 1812, at Abo, with the
Prince-Royal, to come to an arrangement with him for uniting their
interests. I know that the Emperor of Russia pledged himself, whatever
might happen, to protect Bernadotte against the fate of the new
dynasties, to guarantee the possession of his throne, and promised that
he should have Norway as a compensation for Finland. He even went so far
as to hint that Bernadotte might supersede Napoleon. Bernadotte adopted
all the propositions of Alexander, and from that moment Sweden made
common cause against Napoleon. The Prince Royal's conduct has been much
blamed, but the question resolved itself into one of mere political
interest. Could Bernadotte, a Swede by adoption, prefer the alliance of
an ambitious sovereign whose vengeance he had to fear, and who had
sanctioned the seizure of Finland to that of a powerful monarch, his
formidable neighbour, his protector in Sweden, and where hostility might
effectually support the hereditary claims of young Gustavus? Sweden, in
joining France, would thereby have declared herself the enemy of England.
Where, then, would have been her navy, her trade and even her existence?



Changeableness of Bonaparte's plans and opinions--Articles for the
'Moniteur' dictated by the First Consul--The Protocol of the
Congress of Chatillon--Conversations with Davoust at Hamburg--
Promise of the Viceroyalty of Poland--Hope and disappointment of the
Poles--Influence of illusion on Bonaparte--The French in Moscow--
Disasters of the retreat--Mallet's conspiracy--Intelligence of the
affair communicated to Napoleon at Smolensko--Circumstances detailed
by Rapp--Real motives of Napoleon's return to Paris--Murat, Ney, and
Eugene--Power of the Italians to endure cold--Napoleon's exertions
to repair his losses--Defection of General York--Convocation of a
Privy Council--War resolved on--Wavering of the Pope--Useless
negotiations with Vienna--Maria Louisa appointed Regent.

It may now he asked whether Bonaparte, previous to entering upon the last
campaign, had resolved on restoring Poland to independence. The fact is
that Bonaparte, as Emperor, never entertained any positive wish to
reestablish the old Kingdom of Poland, though at a previous period he was
strongly inclined to that re-establishment, of which he felt the
necessity. He may have said that he would re-establish the Kingdom of
Poland, but I beg leave to say that that is no reason for believing that
he entertained any such design. He had said, and even sworn, that he
would never aggrandise the territory of the Empire! The changeableness
of Bonaparte's ideas, plans, and projects renders it difficult to master
them; but they may be best understood when it is considered that all
Napoleon's plans and conceptions varied with his fortunes. Thus, it is
not unlikely that he might at one time have considered the
reestablishment of Poland as essential to European policy, and afterwards
have regarded it as adverse to the development of his ambition. Who can
venture to guess what passed in his mind when dazzled by his glory at
Dresden, and whether in one of his dreams he might not have regarded the
Empire of the Jagellons as another gem in the Imperial diadem? The truth
is that Bonaparte, when General-in-Chief of the army of Egypt and First
Consul, had deeply at heart the avenging the dismemberment of Poland, and
I have often conversed with him on this most interesting subject, upon
which we entirely concurred in opinion. But times and circumstances were
changed since we walked together on the terrace of Cairo and mutually
deplored the death of young Sulkowski. Had Sulkowski lived Napoleon's
favourable intentions with respect to Poland might perhaps have been
confirmed. A fact which explains to me the coolness, I may almost say
the indifference, of Bonaparte to the resurrection of Poland is that the
commencement of the Consulate was the period at which that measure
particularly occupied his attention. How often did he converse on the
subject with me and other persons who may yet recollect his sentiments!
It was the topic on which he most loved to converse, and on which he
spoke with feeling and enthusiasm. In the 'Moniteur' of the period here
alluded to I could point out more than one article without signature or
official character which Napoleon dictated to me, and the insertion of
which in that journal, considering the energy of certain expressions,
sufficiently proves that they could have emanated from none but
Bonaparte. It was usually in the evening that he dictated to me these
articles. Then, when the affairs of the day were over, he would launch
into the future, and give free scope to his vast projects. Some of these
articles were characterised by so little moderation that the First Consul
would very often destroy them in the morning, smiling at the violent
ebullitions of the preceding night. At other times I took the liberty of
not sending them to the 'Moniteur' on the night on which they were
dictated, and though he might earnestly wish their insertion I adduced
reasons good or bad, to account for the delay. He would then read over
the article in question, and approve of my conduct; but he would
sometimes add, "It is nevertheless true that with an independent Kingdom
of Poland, and 150,000 disposable troops in the east of France, I should
always be master of Russia, Prussia, and Austria."--"General," I would
reply," I am entirely of your opinion; but wherefore awaken the
suspicions of the interested parties. Leave all to time and

The reader may have to learn, and not, perhaps, without some surprise,
that in the protocol of the sittings of the Congress of Chatillon
Napoleon put forward the spoliation of Poland by the three principal
powers allied against him as a claim to a more advantageous peace, and to
territorial indemnities for France. In policy he was right, but the
report of foreign cannon was already loud enough to drown the best of

After the ill-timed and useless union of the Hanse Towns to France I
returned to Hamburg in the spring of 1811 to convey my family to France.
I then had some conversation with Davoust. On one occasion I said to him
that if his hopes were realised, and my sad predictions respecting the
war with Russia overthrown, I hoped to see the restoration of the Kingdom
of Poland. Davoust replied that that event was probable, since he had
Napoleon's promise of the Viceroyalty of that Kingdom, and as several of
his comrades had been promised starosties. Davoust made no secret of
this, and it was generally known throughout Hamburg and the north of

But notwithstanding what Davoust said respecting. Napoleon's intentions
I considered that these promises had been conditional rather than

On Napoleon's arrival in Poland the Diet of Warsaw, assured, as there
seemed reason to be, of the Emperor's sentiments, declared the Kingdom
free and independent. The different treaties of dismemberment were
pronounced to be null; and certainly the Diet had a right so to act, for
it calculated upon his support. But the address of the Diet to Napoleon,
in which these principles were declared, was ill received. His answer
was full of doubt and indecision, the motive of which could not be
blamed. To secure the alliance of Austria against Russia he had just
guaranteed to his father-in-law the integrity of his dominions. Napoleon
therefore declared that he could take no part in any movement or
resolution which might disturb Austria in the possession of the Polish
provinces forming a part of her Empire. To act otherwise, he said, would
be to separate himself from his alliance with Austria, and to throw her
into the arms of Russia. But with regard to the Polish-Russian
provinces, Napoleon declared he would see what he could do, should
Providence favour the good cause. These vague and obscure expressions
did not define what he intended to do for the Poles in the event of
success crowning his vast enterprises. They excited the distrust of the
Poles, and had no other result. On this subject, however, an observation
occurs which is of some force as an apology for Napoleon. Poland was
successively divided between three powers, Russia, Austria, and Prussia,
with each of which Napoleon had been at war, but never with all three at
once. He had therefore never been able to take advantage of his
victories to re-establish Poland without injuring the interests of
neutral powers or of his allies. Hence it may be concluded not only that
he never had the positive will which would have triumphed over all
obstacles, but also that there never was a possibility of realising those
dreams and projects of revenge in which he had indulged on the banks of
the Nile, as it were to console the departed spirit of Sulkowski.

Bonaparte's character presents many unaccountable incongruities.
Although the most positive man that perhaps ever existed, yet there never
was one who more readily yielded to the charm of illusion. In many
circumstances the wish and the reality were to him one and the same
thing. He never indulged in greater illusions than at the beginning of
the campaign of Moscow. Even before the approach of the disasters which
accompanied the most fatal retreat recorded in history, all sensible
persons concurred in the opinion that the Emperor ought to have passed
the winter of 1812-13 in Poland, and have resumed his vast enterprises in
the spring. But his natural impatience impelled him forward as it were
unconsciously, and he seemed to be under the influence of an invisible
demon stronger than even his own strong will. This demon was ambition.
He who knew so well the value of time, never sufficiently understood its
power, and how much is sometimes gained by delay. Yet Caesar's
Commentaries, which were his favourite study, ought to have shown him
that Caesar did not conquer Gaul in one campaign. Another illusion by
which Napoleon was misled during the campaign of Moscow, and perhaps past
experience rendered it very excusable, was the belief that the Emperor
Alexander would propose peace when he saw him at the head of his army on
the Russian territory. The prolonged stay of Bonaparte at Moscow can
indeed be accounted for in no other way than by supposing that he
expected the Russian Cabinet would change its opinion and consent to
treat for peace. However, whatever might have been the reason, after his
long and useless stay in Moscow Napoleon left that city with the design
of taking up his winter quarters in Poland; but Fate now frowned upon
Napoleon, and in that dreadful retreat the elements seemed leagued with
the Russians to destroy the most formidable army ever commanded by one
chief. To find a catastrophe in history comparable to that of the
Beresina we must go back to the destruction of the legions of Varus.

Notwithstanding the general dismay which prevailed in Paris that capital
continued tranquil, when by a singular chance, on the very day on which
Napoleon evacuated the burning city of Moscow, Mallet attempted his
extraordinary enterprise. This General, who had always professed
Republican principles, and was a man of bold decided character, after
having been imprisoned for some time, obtained the permission of
Government to live in Paris in a hospital house situated near the
Barriere de Trove. Of Mallet's, conspiracy it is not necessary to say
much after the excellent account given of it in the Memoirs of the Due de
Rovigo. Mallet's plan was to make it be believed that Bonaparte had been
killed at Moscow, and that a new Government was established under the
authority of the Senate. But what could Mallet do? Absolutely nothing:
and had his Government continued three days he would have experienced a
more favourable chance than that which he ought reasonably to have
expected than asserted that the Emperor was dead, but an estafette from
Russia would reveal the truth, resuscitate Napoleon, and overwhelm with
confusion Mallet and his proclamation. His enterprise was that of a
madman. The French were too weary of troubles to throw themselves into
the arms of, Mallet or his associate Lahorie, who had figured so
disgracefully on the trial of Moreau., Yet, in spite of the evident
impossibility of success, it must be confessed that considerable
ingenuity and address marked the commencement of the conspiracy. On the
22d of October Mallet escaped from the hospital house and went to Colonel
Soulier, who commanded the tenth cohort of the National Guard, whose
barracks were situated exactly behind the hospital house. Mallet was
loaded with a parcel of forged orders which he had himself prepared. He
introduced himself to Soulier under the name of General La Motte, and
said that he came from General Mallet.

Colonel Soulier on hearing of the Emperor's death was affected to tears.
He immediately ordered the adjutant to assemble the cohort and obey the
orders of General La Motte, to whom he expressed his regret for being
himself too ill to leave his bed. It was then two o'clock in the
morning, and the forged documents respecting the Emperor's death slid the
new form of Government were read to the troops by lamplight. Mallet then
hastily set off with 1200 men to La Force, and liberated the Sieurs Gudal
and Laholze, who were confined there. Mallet informed them of the
Emperor's death and of the change of Government; gave them some orders,
in obedience to which the Minister and Prefect of Police were arrested in
their hotel.

I was then at Courbevoie, and I went to Paris on that very morning to
breakfast, as I frequently did, with the Minister of Police. My surprise
may be imagined when

--[General Mallet gave out that the Emperor was killed under the
walls of Moscow on the 8th of October; be could not take any other
day without incurring the risk of being contradicted by the arrival
of the regular courier. The Emperor being dead, he concluded that
the Senate ought to be invested with the supreme authority, and he
therefore resolved to address himself in the name of that body to
the nation and the army. In a proclamation to the soldiers he
deplored the death of the Emperor; in another, after announcing the
abolition of the Imperial system and the Restoration of the
Republic, he indicated the manner in which the Government was to be
reconstructed, described the branches into which public authority
was to be divided, and named the Directors. Attached to the
different documents there appeared the signatures of several
Senators whose names he recollected but with whom he had ceased to
have any intercourse for a great number of years. . These
signatures were all written by Mallet, and he drew up a decree in
the name of the Senate, and signed by the same Senators, appointing
himself Governor of Paris, and commander of the troops of the first
military division. He also drew up other decrees in the same form
which purported to promote to higher ranks all the military officers
he intended to make instruments in the execution of his enterprise.

He ordered one regiment to close all the barriers of Paris, and
allow no person to pass through them. This was done: so that in all
the neighbouring towns from which assistance, in case of need, might
have been obtained, nothing was known of the transactions in Paris.
He sent the other regiments to occupy the Bank, the Treasury, and
different Ministerial offices. At the Treasury some resistance was
made. The minister of that Department was on the spot, and he
employed the guard of his household in maintaining his authority.
But in the whole of the two regiments of the Qnard not a single,
objection was started to the execution of Mallet's orders (Memoirs
of the Duc de Rivogo, tome vi. p. 20.)]--

I learned from the porter that the Due de Rovigo had been arrested and
carried to the prison of La Force. I went into the house and was
informed, to my great astonishment, that the ephemeral Minister was being
measured for his official suit, an act which so completely denoted the
character of the conspirator that it gave me an insight into the

Mallet repaired to General Hulin, who had the command of Paris. He
informed him that he had been directed by the Minister of Police to
arrest him and seal his papers. Hulin asked to see the order, and then
entered his cabinet, where Mallet followed him, and just as Hulin was
turning round to speak to him he fired a pistol in his face. Hulin fell:
the ball entered his cheek, but the wound was not mortal. The most
singular circumstance connected with the whole affair is, that the
captain whom Mallet had directed to follow him, and who accompanied him
to Hulin's, saw nothing extraordinary in all this, and did nothing to
stop it. Mallet next proceeded, very composedly, to Adjutant-General
Doucet's. It happened that one of the inspectors of the police was
there. He recognised General Mallet as being a man under his
supervision. He told him that he had no right to quit the hospital house
without leave, and ordered him to be arrested. Mallet, seeing that all
was over, was in the act of drawing a pistol from his pocket, but being
observed was seized and disarmed. Thus terminated this extraordinary
conspiracy, for which fourteen lives paid the forfeit; but, with the
exception of Mallet, Guidal, and Lahorie, all the others concerned in it
were either machines or dupes.

This affair produced but little effect in Paris, for the enterprise and
its result were make known simultaneously. But it was thought droll
enough that the Minister and Prefect of Police should be imprisoned by
the men who only the day before were their prisoners. Next day I went to
see Savary, who had not yet recovered from the stupefaction caused by his
extraordinary adventure. He was aware that his imprisonment; though it
lasted only half an hour, was a subject of merriment to the Parisians.
The Emperor, as I have already mentioned, left Moscow on the day when
Mallet made his bold attempt, that is to say, the 19th of October.
He was at Smolensko when he heard the news. Rapp, who had been wounded
before the entrance into Moscow, but who was sufficiently recovered to
return home, was with Napoleon when the latter received the despatches
containing an account of what had happened in Paris. He informed me that
Napoleon was much agitated on perusing them, and that he launched into
abuse of the inefficiency of the police. Rapp added that he did not
confine himself to complaints against the agents of his authority. "Is,
then, my power so insecure," said he, "that it may be put in peril by a
single individual, and a prisoner? It would appear that my crown is not
fixed very firmly on my head if in my own capital the bold stroke of
three adventurers can shake it. Rapp, misfortune never comes alone; this
is the complement of what is passing here. I cannot be everywhere; but I
must go back to Paris; my presence there is indispensable to reanimate
public opinion. I must have men and money. Great successes and great
victories will repair all. I must set off." Such were the motives which
induced the Emperor to leave his army. It is not without indignation
that I have heard his precipitate departure attributed to personal
cowardice. He was a stranger to such feelings, and was never more happy
than on the field of battle. I can readily conceive that he was much
alarmed on hearing of Mallet's enterprise. The remarks which he made to
Rapp were those which he knew would be made by the public, and he well
knew that the affair was calculated to banish those illusions of power
and stability with which he endeavoured to surround his government.

On leaving Moscow Napoleon consigned the wrecks of his army to the care
of his most distinguished generals to Murat who had so ably commanded the
cavalry, but who abandoned the army to return to Naples; and to Ney, the
hero, rather than the Prince of the Moskowa, whose name will be immortal
in the annals of glory, as his death will be eternal in the annals of
party revenge. Amidst the general disorder Eugene, more than any other
chief, maintained a sort of discipline among the Italians; and it was
remarked that the troops of the south engaged in the fatal campaign of
Moscow had endured the rigour of the cold better than those troops who
were natives of less genial climates.

Napoleon's return from Moscow was not like his returns from the campaigns
of Vienna and Tilsit when he came back crowned with laurels, and bringing
peace as the reward of his triumphs. It was remarked that Napoleon's
first great disaster followed the first enterprise he undertook after his
marriage with Maria Louisa. This tended to confirm the popular belief
that the presence of Josephine was favourable to his fortune; and
superstitious as he sometimes was, I will not venture to affirm that he
himself did not adopt this ides. He now threw off even the semblance of
legality in the measures of his government: he assumed arbitrary power,
under the impression that the critical circumstances in which he was
placed would excuse everything. But, however inexplicable were the means
to which the Emperor resorted to procure resources, it is but just to
acknowledge that they were the consequence of his system of government,
and that he evinced inconceivable activity in repairing his losses so as
to place himself in a situation to resist his enemies, and restore the
triumph of the French standard.

But in spite of all Napoleon's endeavours the disasters of the campaign
of Russia were daily more and more sensibly felt. The King of Prussia
had played a part which was an acknowledgment of his weakness in joining
France, instead of openly declaring himself for the cause of Russia,
which was also his. Then took place the defection of General York, who
commanded the Prussian contingent to Napoleon's army. The King of
Prussia, though no doubt secretly satisfied with the conduct of General
York, had him tried and condemned; but shortly after that sovereign
commanded in person the troops which had turned against ours. The
defection of the Prussians produced a very ill effect, and it was easy to
perceive that other defections would follow. Napoleon, foreseeing the
fatal chances which this event was likely to draw upon him, assembled a
privy council, composed of the Ministers and some of the great officers
of his household. MM. de Talleyrand and Cambaceres, and the President of
the senate were present. Napoleon asked whether, in the complicated
difficulties of our situation, it would be more advisable to negotiate
for peace or to prepare for a new war. Cambaceres and Talleyrand gave
their opinion in favour of peace, which however, Napoleon would not hear
of after a defeat; but the Due de Feltre,--[Clarke]--knowing how to
touch the susceptible chord in the mind of Bonaparte, said that he would
consider the Emperor dishonoured if he consented to the abandonment of
the smallest village which had been united to the Empire by a 'Senatus-
consulte'. This opinion was adopted, and the war continued.

On Napoleon's return to Paris the Pope, who was still at Fontainebleau,
determined to accede to an arrangement, and to sign an act which the
Emperor conceived would terminate the differences between them. But
being influenced by some of the cardinals who had previously incurred the
Emperor's displeasure Pius VII. disavowed the new Concordat which he had
been weak enough to grant, and the Emperor, who then had more important
affairs on his hands, dismissed the Holy Father, and published the act to
which he had assented. Bonaparte had no leisure to pay attention to the
new difficulties started by Pius VII.; his thoughts were wholly directed
to the other side of the Rhine. He was unfortunate, and the powers with
whom he was most intimately allied separated from him, as he might have
expected, and Austria was not the last to imitate the example set by
Prussia. In these difficult circumstances the Emperor, who for some time
past had observed the talent and address of the Comte Louis de Narbonne,
sent him to Vienna, to supersede M. Otto; but the pacific propositions of
M. de Narbonne were not listened to. Austria would not let slip the fair
opportunity of taking revenge without endangering herself.

Napoleon now saw clearly that since Austria had abandoned him and refused
her contingent he should soon have all Europe arrayed against him. But
this did not intimidate him.

Some of the Princes of the Confederation of the Rhine still remained
faithful to him; and his preparations being completed, he proposed to
resume in person the command of the army which had been so miraculously
reproduced. But before his departure Napoleon, alarmed at the
recollection of Mallet's attempt, and anxious to guard against any
similar occurrence during his absence, did not, as on former occasions,
consign the reins of the National Government to a Council of Ministers,
presided over by the Arch-Chancellor. Napoleon placed my successor with
him, M. Meneval, near the Empress Regent as Secretaire des Commandemens
(Principal Secretary), and certainly he could not have made a better
choice. He made the Empress Maria Louisa Regent, and appointed a Council
of Regency to assist her.

--[Meneval, who had held the post of Secretary to Napoleon from the
time of Bourrienne's disgrace in 1802, had been nearly killed by the
hardships of the Russian campaign, and now received an honourable
and responsible but less onerous post. He remained with the Empress
till 7th May 1815, when, finding that she would not return to her
husband, he left her to rejoin his master.]--


A sect cannot be destroyed by cannon-balls
Every time we go to war with them we teach them how to beat us
God in his mercy has chosen Napoleon to be his representative on earth
The wish and the reality were to him one and the same thing

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