By LOUIS ANTOINE FAUVELET DE BOURRIENNE
His Private Secretary
Edited by R. W. Phipps
Colonel, Late Royal Artillery
CHAPTER XI. to CHAPTER XII. 1815
My departure from Hamburg-The King at St. Denis—Fouche appointed Minister of the Police—Delay of the King's entrance into Paris— Effect of that delay—Fouche's nomination due to the Duke of Wellington—Impossibility of resuming my post—Fouche's language with respect to the Bourbons—His famous postscript—Character of Fouche—Discussion respecting the two cockades—Manifestations of public joy repressed by Fouche—Composition of the new Ministry— Kind attention of Blucher—The English at St. Cloud—Blucher in Napoleon's cabinet—My prisoner become my protector—Blucher and the innkeeper's dog—My daughter's marriage contract—Rigid etiquette— My appointment to the Presidentship of the Electoral College of the Yonne—My interview with Fouche—My audience of the King—His Majesty made acquainted with my conversation with Fouche—The Duke of Otranto's disgrace—Carnot deceived by Bonaparte—My election as deputy—My colleague, M. Raudot—My return to Paris—Regret caused by the sacrifice of Ney—Noble conduct of Macdonald—A drive with Rapp in the Bois de Boulogne—Rapp's interview with Bonaparte in 1815—The Due de Berri and Rapp—My nomination to the office of Minister of State—My name inscribed by the hand of Louis XVIII.— Conclusion.
The fulfilment of my prediction was now at hand, for the result of the Battle of Waterloo enabled Louis XVIII. to return to his dominions. As soon as I heard of the King's departure from Ghent I quitted Hamburg, and travelled with all possible haste in the hope of reaching Paris in time to witness his Majesty's entrance. I arrived at St. Denis on the 7th of July, and, notwithstanding the intrigues that were set on foot, I found an immense number of persons assembled to meet the King. Indeed, the place was so crowded that it was with the greatest difficulty I could procure even a little garret for my lodging.
Having resumed my uniform of a captain of the National Guard, I proceeded immediately to the King's palace. The salon was filled with ladies and gentlemen who had come to congratulate the King on his return. At St. Denis I found my family, who, not being aware that I had left Hamburg, were much surprised to see me.
They informed me that the Parisians were all impatient for the return of the King—a fact of which I could judge by the opposition manifested to the free expression of public feeling. Paris having been declared in a state of blockade, the gates were closed, and no one was permitted to leave the capital, particularly by the Barriere de la Chapelle. It is true that special permission might be obtained, and with tolerable ease, by those who wished to leave the city; but the forms to be observed for obtaining the permission deterred the mass of the people from proceeding to St. Denis, which, indeed, was the sole object of the regulation. As it had been resolved to force Fouche and the tri-coloured cockade upon the King, it was deemed necessary to keep away from his Majesty all who might persuade him to resist the proposed measures. Madame de Bourrienne told me that on her arrival at St. Denis she called upon M. Hue and M. Lefebvre, the King's physician, who both acquainted her with those fatal resolutions. Those gentlemen, however, assured her that the King would resolutely hold out against the tri-coloured cockade, but the nomination of the ill-omened man appeared inevitable.
Fouche Minister of the Police! If, like Don Juan, I had seen a statue move, I could not have been more confounded than when I heard this news. I could not credit it until it was repeated to me by different persons. How; indeed, could I think that at the moment of a reaction the King should have entrusted the most important ministerial department to a man to whose arrest he had a hundred days before attached so much consequence? to a man, moreover, whom Bonaparte had appointed, at Lyons, to fill the same office! This was inconceivable! Thus, in less than twenty-four hours, the same man had been entrusted to execute measures the most opposite, and to serve interests the most contradictory. He was one day the minister of usurpation, and the next the minister of legitimacy! How can I express what I felt when Fouche took the oath of fidelity to Louis XVIII. when I saw the King clasp in his hands the hands of Fouche! I was standing near M. de Chateaubriand, whose feelings must have been similar to mine, to judge from a passage in his admirable work, 'La Monarchie selon la Charte'. "About nine in the evening," he says, "I was in one of the royal antechambers. All at once the door opened, and I saw the President of the Council enter leaning on the arm of the new minister. Oh, Louis-le-Desire! Oh, my unfortunate master! you have proved that there is no sacrifice which your people may not expect from your paternal heart!"
Fouche was resolved to have his restoration as well as M. de Talleyrand, who had had his the year before; he therefore contrived to retard the King's entry into Paris for four days. The prudent members of the Chamber of Peers, who had taken no part in the King's Government in 1814, were the first to declare that it was for the interest of France to hasten his Majesty's entrance into Paris, in order to prevent foreigners from exercising a sort of right of conquest in a city which was a prey to civil dissension and party influence. Blucher informed me that the way in which Fouche contrived to delay the King's return greatly contributed to the pretensions of the foreigners who, he confessed, were very well pleased to see the population of Paris divided in opinion, and to hear the alarming cries raised by the confederates of the Faubourgs when the King was already at St. Denis.
I know for a fact that Louis XVIII. wished to have nothing to do with Fouche, and indignantly refused to appoint him when he was first proposed. But he had so nobly served Bonaparte during the Hundred Days that it was necessary he should be rewarded. Fouche, besides, had gained the support of a powerful party among the emigrants of the Faubourg St. Germain, and he possessed the art of rendering himself indispensable. I have heard many honest men say very seriously that to him was due the tranquillity of Paris. Moreover, Wellington was the person by whose influence in particular Fouche was made one of the counsellors of the King. After all the benefits which foreigners had conferred upon us Fouche was indeed an acceptable present to France and to the King.
I was not ignorant of the Duke of Wellington's influence upon the affairs of the second Restoration, but for a long time I refused to believe that his influence should have outweighed all the serious considerations opposed to such a perfect anomaly as appointing Fouche the Minister of a Bourbon. But I was deceived. France and the King owed to him Fouche's introduction into the Council, and I had to thank him for the impossibility of resuming a situation which I had relinquished for the purpose of following the King into Belgium. Could I be Prefect of Police under a Minister whom a short time before I had received orders to arrest, but who eluded my agents? That was impossible. The King could not offer me the place of Prefect under Fouche, and if he had I could not have accepted it. I was therefore right in not relying on the assurances which had been given me; but I confess that if I had been told to guess the cause why they could not be realised I never should have thought that cause would have been the appointment of Fouche as a Minister of the King of France. At first, therefore, I was of course quite forgotten, as is the custom of courts when a faithful subject refrains from taking part in the intrigues of the moment.
I have already frequently stated my opinion of the pretended talent of Fouche; but admitting his talent to have been as great as was supposed, that would have been an additional reason for not entrusting the general police of the kingdom to him. His principles and conduct were already sufficiently known. No one could be ignorant of the language he held respecting the Bourbons, and in which be indulged as freely after he became the Minister of Louis XVIII. as when he was the Minister of Bonaparte. It was universally known that in his conversation the Bourbons were the perpetual butt for his sarcasms, that he never mentioned them but in terms of disparagement, and that he represented them as unworthy of governing France. Everybody must have been aware that Fouche, in his heart, favoured a Republic, where the part of President might have been assigned to him. Could any one have forgotten the famous postscript he subjoined to a letter he wrote from Lyons to his worthy friend Robespierre: "To celebrate the fete of the Republic suitably, I have ordered 250 persons to be shot?" And to this man, the most furious enemy of the restoration of the monarchy, was consigned the task of consolidating it for the second time! But it would require another Claudian to describe this new Rufinus!
Fouche never regarded a benefit in any other light than as the means of injuring his benefactor. The King, deceived, like many other persons, by the reputation which Fouche's partisans had conjured up for him, was certainly not aware that Fouche had always discharged the functions of Minister in his own interest, and never for the interest of the Government which had the weakness to entrust him with a power always dangerous in his hands. Fouche had opinions, but he belonged to no party, and his political success is explained by the readiness with which he always served the party he knew must triumph, and which he himself overthrew in its turn. He maintained himself in favour from the days of blood and terror until the happy time of the second Restoration only by abandoning and sacrificing those who were attached to him; and it might be said that his ruling passion was the desire of continual change. No man was ever characterised by greater levity or inconstancy of mind. In all things he looked only to himself, and to this egotism he sacrificed both subjects and Governments. Such were the secret causes of the sway exercised by Fouche during the Convention, the Directory, the Empire, the Usurpation, and after the second return of the Bourbons. He helped to found and to destroy every one of those successive Governments. Fouche's character is perfectly unique. I know no other man who, loaded with honours, and almost escaping disgrace, has passed through so many eventful periods, and taken part in so many convulsions and revolutions.
On the 7th of July the King was told that Fouche alone could smooth the way for his entrance into Paris, that he alone could unlock the gates of the capital, and that he alone had power to control public opinion. The reception given to the King on the following day afforded an opportunity of judging of the truth of these assertions. The King's presence was the signal for a feeling of concord, which was manifested in a very decided way. I saw upon the boulevards, and often in company with each other, persons, some of whom had resumed the white cockade, while others still retained the national colours, and harmony was not in the least disturbed by these different badges.
Having returned to private life solely on account of Fouche's presence in the Ministry, I yielded to that consolation which is always left to the discontented. I watched the extravagance and inconsistency that were passing around me, and the new follies which were every day committed; and it must be confessed that a rich and varied picture presented itself to my observation. The King did not bring back M. de Blacas. His Majesty had yielded to prudent advice, and on arriving at Mons sent the unlucky Minister as his ambassador to Naples. Vengeance was talked of, and there were some persons inconsiderate enough to wish that advantage should be taken of the presence of the foreigners in order to make what they termed "an end of the Revolution," as if there were any other means of effecting that object than frankly adopting whatever good the Revolution had produced. The foreigners observed with satisfaction the disposition of these shallow persons, which they thought might be turned to their own advantage. The truth is, that on the second Restoration our pretended allies proved themselves our enemies.
But for them, but for their bad conduct, their insatiable exactions, but for the humiliation that was felt at seeing foreign cannon planted in the streets of Paris, and beneath the very windows of the Palace, the days which followed the 8th of July might have been considered by the Royal Family as the season of a festival. Every day people thronged to the garden of the Tuileries, and expressed their joy by singing and dancing under the King's windows.
This ebullition of feeling might perhaps be thought absurd, but it at least bore evidence of the pleasure caused by the return of the Bourbons.
This manifestation of joy by numbers of persons of both sexes, most of them belonging to the better classes of society, displeased Fouche, and he determined to put a stop to it. Wretches were hired to mingle with the crowd and sprinkle corrosive liquids on the dresses of the females some of them were even instructed to commit acts of indecency, so that all respectable persons were driven from the gardens through the fear of being injured or insulted: As it was wished to create disturbance under the very eyes of the King, and to make him doubt the reality of the sentiments so openly expressed in his favour, the agents of the Police mingled the cry of "Vive l'Empereur!" with that of "Vive le Roi!" and it happened oftener than once that the most respectable persons were arrested and charged by Fouche's infamous agents with having uttered seditious cries. A friend of mine, whose Royalist opinions were well known, and whose father had been massacred during the Revolution, told me that while walking with two ladies he heard some individuals near him crying out "Vive l'Empereur!" This created a great disturbance. The sentinel advanced to the spot, and those very individuals themselves had the audacity to charge my friend with being guilty of uttering the offensive cry. In vain the bystanders asserted the falsehood of the accusation; he was seized and dragged to the guard-house, and after being detained for some hours he was liberated on the application of his friends. By dint of such wretched manoeuvres Fouche triumphed. He contrived to make it be believed that he was the only person capable of preventing the disorders of which he himself was the sole author: He got the Police of the Tuileries under his control. The singing and dancing ceased, and the Palace was the abode of dulness.
While the King was at St. Denis he restored to General Dessoles the command of the National Guard. The General ordered the barriers to be immediately thrown open. On the day of his arrival in Paris the King determined, as a principle, that the throne should be surrounded by a Privy Council, the members of which were to be the princes and persons whom his Majesty might appoint at a future period. The King then named his new Ministry, which was thus composed:
Prince Talleyrand, peer of France, President of the Council of Ministers, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
Baron Louis, Minister of Finance.
The Duke of Otranto, Minister of the Police.
Baron Pasquier, Minister of Justice, and Keeper of the Seals.
Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr, War Minister.
Comte de Jaucourt, peer of France, Minister of the Marine.
The Duc de Richelieu, peer of France, Minister of the King's Household.
The portfolio of the Minister of the Interior, which was not immediately disposed of, was provisionally entrusted to the Minister of Justice. But what was most gratifying to the public in the composition of this new ministry was that M. de Blacas, who had made himself so odious to everybody, was superseded by M. de Richelieu, whose name revived the memory of a great Minister, and who, by his excellent conduct throughout the whole course of his career, deserves to be distinguished as a model of honour and wisdom.
General satisfaction was expressed on the appointment of Marshal Macdonald to the post of Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour in lieu of M. de Pradt. M. de Chabrol resumed the Prefecture of the Seine, which, during the Hundred Days, had been occupied by M. de Bondi, M. de Mole was made Director-General of bridges and causeways. I was superseded in the Prefecture of Police by M. Decazes, and M. Beugnot followed M. Ferrand as Director-General of the Post-office.
I think it was on the 10th of July that I went to St. Cloud to pay a visit of thanks to Blucher. I had been informed that as soon as he learned I had a house at St. Cloud he sent a guard to protect it. This spontaneous mark of attention was well deserving of grateful acknowledgment, especially at a time when there was so much reason to complain of the plunder practised by the Prussians. My visit to Blucher presented to observation a striking instance of the instability of human greatness. I found Blucher residing like a sovereign in the Palace of St. Cloud, where I had lived so long in the intimacy of Napoleon, at a period when he dictated laws to the Kings of Europe before he was a monarch himself.
—[The English occupied St. Cloud after the Prussians. My large house, in which the children of the Comte d'Artois were inoculated, was respected by them, but they occupied a small home forming part of the estate. The English officer who commanded the troops stationed a guard at the large house. One morning we were informed that the door had been broken open and a valuable looking-glass stolen. We complained to the commanding officer, and on the affair being inquired into it was discovered that the sentinel himself had committed the theft. The man was tried by a court-martial, and condemned to death, a circumstance which, as may naturally be supposed, was very distressing to us. Madame de Bourrienne applied to the commanding officer for the man's pardon, but could only obtain his reprieve. The regiment departed some weeks after, and we could never learn what was the fate of the criminal.—Bourrienne.]—
In that cabinet in which Napoleon and I had passed so many busy hours, and where so many great plans had their birth, I was received by the man who had been my prisoner at Hamburg. The Prussian General immediately reminded me of the circumstance. "Who could have foreseen," said he, "that after being your prisoner I should become the protector of your property? You treated me well at Hamburg, and I have now an opportunity of repaying your kindness. Heaven knows what will be the result of all this! One thing, however, is certain, and that is, that the Allies will now make such conditions as will banish all possibility of danger for a long time to come. The Emperor Alexander does not wish to make the French people expiate too dearly the misfortunes they have caused us. He attributes them to Napoleon, but Napoleon cannot pay the expenses of the war, and they must be paid by some one. It was all very well for once, but we cannot pay the expense of coming back a second time. However," added he, "you will lose none of your territory; that is a point on which I can give you positive assurance. The Emperor Alexander has several times repeated in my presence to the King my master, 'I honour the French nation, and I am determined that it shall preserve its old limits.'"
The above are the very words which Blucher addressed to me. Profiting by the friendly sentiments he expressed towards me I took the opportunity of mentioning the complaints that were everywhere made of the bad discipline of the troops under his command. "What can I do?" said he. "I cannot be present everywhere; but I assure you that in future and at your recommendation I will severely punish any misconduct that may come to my knowledge."
Such was the result of my visit to Blucher; but, in spite of his promises, his troops continued to commit the most revolting excesses. Thus the Prussian troops have left in the neighbourhood of Paris recollections no less odious than those produced by the conduct of Davoust's corps in Prussia.—Of this an instance now occurs to my memory, which I will relate here. In the spring of 1816, as I was going to Chevreuse, I stopped at the Petit Bicetre to water my horse. I seated myself for a few minutes near the door of the inn, and a large dog belonging to the innkeeper began to bark and growl at me. His master, a respectable-looking old man, exclaimed, "Be quiet, Blucher!"—"How came you to give your dog that name?" said I.—"Ah, sir! it is the name of a villain who did a great deal of mischief here last year. There is my house; they have left scarcely anything but the four walls. They said they came for our good; but let them come back again . . . . we will watch them, and spear them like wild boars in the wood." The poor man's house certainly exhibited traces of the most atrocious violence, and he shed tears as he related to me his disasters.
Before the King departed for Ghent he had consented to sign the contract of marriage between one of my daughters and M. Massieu de Clerval, though the latter was at that time only a lieutenant in the navy. The day appointed for the signature of the contract happened to be Sunday, the 19th of March, and it may well be imagined that in the critical circumstances in which we then stood, a matter of so little importance could scarcely be thought about. In July I renewed my request to his Majesty; which gave rise to serious discussions in the Council of Ceremonies. Lest any deviation from the laws of rigid etiquette should commit the fate of the monarchy, it was determined that the marriage contract of a lieutenant in the navy could be signed only at the petty levee. However, his Majesty, recollecting the promise he had given me, decided that the signature should be given at the grand levee. Though all this may appear exceedingly ludicrous, yet I must confess that the triumph over etiquette was very gratifying to me.
A short time after the King appointed me a Councillor of State; a title which I had held under Bonaparte ever since his installation at the Tuileries, though I had never fulfilled the functions of the office. In the month of August; the King having resolved to convoke a new Chamber of Deputies, I was appointed President of the Electoral College of the department of the Yonne. As soon as I was informed of my nomination I waited on M. de Talleyrand for my instructions, but he told me that, in conformity with the King's intentions, I was to receive my orders from the Minister of Police. I observed to M. de Talleyrand that I must decline seeing Fouche, on account of the situation in which we stood with reference to each other. "Go to him, go to him," said M. de Talleyrand, "and be assured Fouche will say to you nothing on the subject."
I felt great repugnance to see Fouche, and consequently I went to him quite against my inclination. I naturally expected a very cold reception. What had passed between us rendered our interview exceedingly delicate. I called on Fouche at nine in the morning, and found him alone, and walking in his garden. He received me as a man might be expected to receive an intimate friend whom he had not seen for a long time. On reflection I was not very much surprised at this, for I was well aware that Fouche could make his hatred yield to calculation. He said not a word about his arrest, and it may well be supposed that I did not seek to turn the conversation on that subject. I asked him whether he had any information to give me respecting the elections of the Yonne. "None at all," said he; "get yourself nominated if you can, only use your endeavours to exclude General Desfouinaux. Anything else is a matter of indifference to me."—"What is your objection to Desfournaux?"—"The Ministry will not have him."
I was about to depart when Fouche; called me back saying, "Why are you in such haste? Cannot you stay a few minutes longer?" He then began to speak of the first return of the Bourbons, and asked me how I could so easily bring myself to act in their favour. He then entered into details respecting the Royal Family which I conceive it to be my duty to pass over in silence: It may be added, however, that the conversation lasted a long time, and to say the least of it, was by no means in favour of "divine right."
I conceived it to be my duty to make the King acquainted with this conversation, and as there was now no Comte de Blacas to keep truth and good advice from his Majesty's ear, I was; on my first solicitation, immediately admitted to, the Royal cabinet. I cautiously suppressed the most startling details, for, had I literally reported what Fouche said, Louis XVIII. could not possibly have given credit to it. The King thanked me for my communication, and I could perceive he was convinced that by longer retaining Fouche in office he would become the victim of the Minister who had been so scandalously forced upon him on the 7th of July. The disgrace of the Duke of Otranto speedily followed, and I had the satisfaction of having contributed to repair one of the evils with which the Duke of Wellington visited France.
Fouche was so evidently a traitor to the cause he feigned to serve, and
Bonaparte was so convinced of this,—that during the Hundred Days, when
the Ministers of the King at Ghent were enumerated in the presence of
Napoleon, some one said, "But where is the Minister of the Police?"
"E-h! Parbleu," said Bonaparte, "that is Fouche?" It was not the same with Carnot, in spite of the indelible stain of his vote: if he had served the King, his Majesty could have depended on him, but nothing could shake the firmness of his principles in favour of liberty. I learned, from a person who had the opportunity of being well informed, that he would not accept the post of Minister of the Interior which was offered to him at the commencement of the Hundred Days until he had a conversation with Bonaparte, to ascertain whether he had changed his principles. Carnot placed faith in the fair promises of Napoleon, who deceived him, as he had deceived others.
Soon after my audience with the King I set off to discharge my duties in the department of the Yonne, and I obtained the honour of being elected to represent my countrymen in the Chamber of Deputies. My colleague was M. Raudot, a man who, in very trying circumstances, had given proofs of courage by boldly manifesting his attachment to the King's Government. The following are the facts which I learned in connection with this episode, and which I circulated as speedily as possible among the electors of whom I had the honour to be President. Bonaparte, on his way from Lyons to Paris, after his landing at the gulf of Juan, stopped at Avalon, and immediately sent for the mayor, M. Raudot. He instantly obeyed the summons. On coming into Napoleon's presence he said, "What do you want, General? "This appellation displeased Napoleon, who nevertheless put several questions to M. Raudot, who was willing to oblige him as a traveller, but not to serve him as an Emperor. Napoleon having given him some orders, this worthy servant of the King replied, "General, I can receive no orders from you, for I acknowledge no sovereign but the King, to whom I have sworn allegiance." Napoleon then directed M. Raudot, in a tone of severity, to withdraw, and I need not add that it was not long before he was dismissed from the mayoralty of Avalon.
The elections of the Yonne being over, I returned to Paris, where I took part in public affairs only as an amateur, while waiting for the opening of the session. I was deeply grieved to see the Government resort to measures of severity to punish faults which it would have been better policy to attribute only to the unfortunate circumstances of the times. No consideration can ever make me cease to regret the memory of Ney, who was the victim of the influence of foreigners. Their object, as Blucher intimated to me at St. Cloud, was to disable France from engaging in war for a long time to come, and they hoped to effect that object by stirring up between the Royal Government and the army of the Loire that spirit of discord which the sacrifice of Ney could not fail to produce. I have no positive proofs of the fact, but in my opinion Ney's life was a pledge of gratitude which Fouche thought he must offer to the foreign influence which had made him Minister.
About this time I learned a fact which will create no surprise, as it affords another proof of the chivalrous disinterestedness of Macdonald's character. When in 1815 several Marshals claimed from the Allied powers their endowments in foreign countries, Madame Moreau, to whom the King had given the honorary title of 'Madame la Marechale', and who was the friend of the Duke of Tarentum, wrote, without Macdonald's knowledge, to M. de Blacas; our ambassador at Naples, begging him to endeavour to preserve for the Marshal the endowment which had been given him in the Kingdom of Naples. As soon as Macdonald was informed of this circumstance he waited upon Madame Moreau, thanked her for her kind intentions, but at the same time informed her that he should disavow all knowledge of her letter, as the request it contained was entirely averse to his principles. The Marshal did, in fact, write the following letter to M. de Blacas:—"I hasten to inform you, sir, that it was not with my consent that Madame Moreau wrote to you, and I beg you will take no step that might expose me to a refusal. The King of Naples owes me no recompense for having beaten his army, revolutionised his kingdom, and forced him to retire to Sicily." Such conduct was well worthy of the man who was the last to forsake Napoleon in, 1814, and the first to rejoin him, and that without the desire of accepting any appointment in 1815. M. de Blacas, who was himself much surprised at Macdonald's letter, communicated it to the King of Naples, whose answer deserves to be recorded. It was as follows:—"If I had not imposed a law upon myself to acknowledge none of the French endowments, the conduct of Marshal Macdonald would have induced me to make an exception in his favour." It is gratifying to see princes such scrupulous observers of the laws they make for themselves!
About the end of August 1815, as I was walking on the Boulevard des Capucines, I had the pleasure of meeting Rapp, whom I had not seen for a long time. He had just come out of the house of Lagrenee, the artist, who was painting his portrait. I was on foot, and Rapp's carriage was waiting, so we both stepped into it, and set off to take a drive in the Bois de Boulogne. We had a great deal to say to each other, for we had not met since the great events of the two Restorations. The reason of this was, that in 1814 I passed a part of the year at Sens, and since the occurrences of March 1815 Rapp himself had been absent from Paris. I found him perfectly resigned to his change of condition, though indulging in a few oaths against the foreigners. Rapp was not one of those, generals who betrayed the King on the 20th of March. He told me that he remained at the head of the division which he commanded at Ecouen, under the orders of the Due de Berry, and that he did not resign it to the War Minister until after the King's departure. "How did Napoleon receive you?" I inquired. "I waited till he sent for me. You know what sort of fellow I am: I know nothing about politics; not I. I had sworn fidelity to the King. I know my duty, and I would have fought against the Emperor."—"Indeed!"—"Yes, certainly I would, and I told him so myself."—"How! did you venture so far?"—"To be sure. I told him that my resolution was definite. 'Pshaw! . . . replied he angrily. 'I knew well that you were opposed to me. If we had come to an action I should have sought you out on the field of battle. I would have shown you the Medusa's head. Would you have dared to fire on me?'—'Without doubt,' I replied. `Ah! parbleu this is too much,' he said. 'But your troops would not have obeyed you. They had preserved all their affection for me.'—'What could I do?' resumed I. 'You abdicated, you left France, you recommended us to serve the King—and then you return! Besides; I tell you frankly, I do not augur well of what will happen. We shall have war again. France has had enough of that.' Upon this," continued Rapp, "he assured me that he had other thoughts; that he had no further desire for war; that he wished to govern in peace, and devote himself solely to the happiness of his people. When I hinted opposition on the part of the Foreign Powers, he said that he had made alliances. He then spoke to me of the King, and I said I had been much pleased with him; indeed, the King gave me a very gratifying reception on my return from Kiow, and I see no reason why I should complain, when I am so well used. During the conversation the Emperor much extolled the conduct of the Duke of Orleans. He then gave me some description of his passage from the Isle of Elba and his journey to Paris. He complained of being accused of ambition; and observing that I looked astonished and doubtful—`What?' he continued, 'am I ambitious then?' And patting his belly with both his hands, 'Can a man,' he asked, 'so fat as I am be ambitious?' I could not for my soul help saying, 'Ah! Sire, your Majesty is surely joking.' He pretended, however, to be serious, and after a few moments, noticing my decorations, he began to banter me about the Cross of St. Louis and the Cross of the Lily, which I still wore."
I asked Rapp whether all was true that had been said about the enthusiasm which was manifested along the whole of Napoleon's route from the Gulf of Juan to Paris. "Ma foe!" he replied, "I was not there any more than you, but all those who accompanied him have assured me of the truth of the details which have been published; but I recollect having heard Bertrand say that on one occasion he was fearful for the safety of the Emperor, in case any assassin should have presented himself. At Fossard, where the Emperor stopped to breakfast on his way to Paris, his escort was so fatigued as to be unable to follow, so that he was for some time almost alone on the road, until a squadron which was in garrison at Melun met him and escorted him to Fontainebleau. As to anything else, from all I have heard, the Emperor was exposed to no danger."
We then began to talk of our situation, and the singular chances of our fortune. Rapp told me how, within a few days only, he had ceased to be one of the discontented; for the condition of the generals who had commanded army corps in the campaign of Waterloo was very different in 1815 from what it had been in 1814. "I had determined," he said, "to live a quiet life, to meddle with nothing, and not even to wear my uniform. I had, therefore, since the King's return never presented myself at Court; when, a week ago, while riding on horseback two or three hundred paces from this spot, I saw a group of horsemen on the other side of the avenue, one of whom galloped towards me. I immediately recognised the Duc de Berry, 'How, Monseigneur, is it you?' I exclaimed. 'It is, my dear General; and since you will not come to us, I must come to you. Will you breakfast with me tomorrow morning?'—'Ma foi!" continued Rapp, "what could I do? The tone of kindness in which he gave this invitation quite charmed me. I went, and I was treated so well that I shall go again. But I will ask for nothing: I only want these Prussians and English rascals out of the way! "I complimented Rapp on his conduct, and told him that it was impossible that so loyal and honest a man as he should not, at some time or other, attract the King's notice. I had the happiness to see this prediction accomplished. Since that time I regularly saw Rapp whenever we both happened to be in Paris, which was pretty often.
I have already mentioned that in the month of August the King named me Councillor of State. On the 19th of the following month I was appointed Minister of State and member of the Privy Council. I may close these volumes by relating a circumstance very flattering to me, and connected with the last-mentioned nomination. The King had directed M. de Talleyrand to present to him, in his official character of President of the Council of Ministers, a list of the persons who might be deemed suitable as members of the Privy Council. The King having read the list, said to his Minister, "But, M. de Talleyrand, I do not see here the names of two of our best friends, Bourrienne and Alexis de Noailles."—" Sire, I thought their nomination would seem more flattering in coming directly from your Majesty." The King then added my name to the list, and afterwards that of the Comte Alexis de Noailles, so that both our names are written in Louis XVIII.'s own hand in the original Ordinance.
I have now brought to a conclusion my narrative of the extraordinary events in which I have taken part, either as a spectator or an actor, during the course of a strangely diversified life, of which nothing now remains but recollections.
—[I discharged the functions of Councillor of State until 1818, at which time an Ordinance appeared declaring those functions Incompatible with the title of Minister of State—Bourrienne.]—
The extraordinary rapidity of events during the Cent fours, or Hundred Days of Napoleon's reign in 1815, and the startling changes in the parts previously filled by the chief personages, make it difficult to consider it as an historical period; it more resembles a series of sudden theatrical transformations, only broken by the great pause while the nation waited for news from the army.
The first Restoration of the Bourbons had been so unexpected, and was so rapidly carried out, that the Bonapartists, or indeed all France, had hardly realized the situation before Napoleon was again in the Tuileries; and during the Cent Jours both Bonapartists and Royalists were alike rubbing their eyes, asking whether they were awake, and wondering which was the reality and which the dream, the Empire or the Restoration.
It is both difficult and interesting to attempt to follow the history of the chief characters of the period; and the reader must pardon some abrupt transitions from person to person, and from group to group, while the details of some subsequent movements of the Bonaparte family must be thrown in to give a proper idea of the strange revolution in their fortunes. We may divide the characters with which we have to deal into five groups,—the Bonaparte family, the Marshals, the Statesmen of the Empire, the Bourbons, and the Allied Monarchs. One figure and one name will be missing, but if we omit all account of poor, bleeding, mutilated France, it is but leaving her in the oblivion in which she was left at the time by every one except by Napoleon.
The disaster of 1814 had rather dispersed than crushed the Bonaparte family, and they rallied immediately on the return from Elba. The final fall of the Empire was total ruin to them. The provisions of the Treaty of Fontainebleau, which had been meant to ensure a maintenance to them, had not been carried out while Napoleon was still a latent power, and after 1815 the Bourbons were only too happy to find a reason for not paying a debt they had determined never to liquidate it was well for any of the Bourbons in their days of distress to receive the bounty of the usurper, but there was a peculiar pleasure in refusing to pay the price promised for his immediate abdication.
The flight of the Bonapartes in 1815 was rapid. Metternich writes to Maria Louisa in July 1815: "Madame Mere and Cardinal Fesch left yesterday for Tuscany. We do not know exactly where. Joseph is. Lucien is in England under a false name, Jerome in Switzerland, Louis at Rome. Queen Hortense has set out for Switzerland, whither General de Flahault and his mother will follow her. Murat seems to be still at Toulon; this, however, is not certain." Was ever such an account of a dynasty given? These had all been among the great ones of Europe: in a moment they were fugitives, several of them having for the rest of their lives a bitter struggle with poverty. Fortunately for them the Pope, the King of Holland, and the Grand-Duke of Tuscany, were not under heavy obligations to Napoleon, and could thus afford to give to his family the protection denied them by those monarchs who believed themselves bound to redeem their former servility.
When Napoleon landed Maria Louisa was in Austria, and she was eager to assist in taking every precaution to prevent her son, the young King of Rome, being spirited off to join his father, whose fortunes she had sworn to share: She herself was fast falling under the influence of the one- eyed Austrian General, Neipperg, just then left a widower, who was soon to be admitted to share her bed. By 1823 she seemed to have entirely forgotten the different members of the Bonaparte family, speaking of her life in France as "a bad dream." She obtained the Grand-Duchy of Parma, where she reigned till 1847, marrying a third time, it is said, the Count Bombellea, and dying, just too soon to be hunted from her Duchy by the Revolution of 1848.
There is something very touching in most that we know of the poor young King of Rome, from his childish but strangely prescient resistance to his removal from Paris to Blois on the approach of the Allies in 1814, to the message of remembrance sent in after years to the column of the Place Vendome, "his only friend in Paris."
At four years of age Meneval describes him as gentle, but quick in answering, strong, and with excellent health. "Light curly hair in ringlets set off a fresh face, while fine blue eyes lit up his regular features: He was precociously intelligent, and knew more than most children older than himself." When Meneval—the former secretary of his father, giving up his post in Austria with Maria Louisa, as he was about to rejoin Napoleon—took farewell of the Prince in May 1815, the poor little motherless child drew me towards the window, and, giving me a touching look, said in a low tone, "Monsieur Meva, tell him (Napoleon) that I always love him dearly." We say "motherless," because Maria Louisa seems to have yielded up her child at the dictates of policy to be closely guarded as easily as she gave up her husband. "If," wrote Madame de Montesquiou, his governess, "the child had a mother, I would leave him in her hands, and be happy, but she is nothing like a mother, she is more indifferent to his fate than the most utter stranger in her service." His grandfather, the Emperor Francis, to do him justice, seems to have been really kind to the lad, and while, in 1814, 1816, and in 1830, taking care to deprive him of all chance of, his glorious inheritance, still seems to have cared for him personally, and to have been always kind to him. There is no truth in the story that the Austrians neglected his education and connived at the ruin of his faculties. Both his tutor, the Count Maurice Dietrichstein, and Marshal Marmont, who conversed with him in 1831, agree in speaking highly of him as full of promise: Marmont's evidence being especially valuable as showing that the Austrians did not object to the Duke of Reichstadt (as he had been created by his grandfather in 1818), learning all be could of his father's life from one of the Marshals. In 1831 Marment describes him: "I recognised his father's look in him, and in that he most resembled Napoleon. His eyes, not so large as those of Napoleon, and sunk deeper in their sockets, had the same expression, the same fire, the same energy. His forehead was like that of his father, and so was the lower part of his face and his chin. Then his complexion was that of Napoleon in his youth, with the same pallor and the same colour of the skin, but all the rest of his face recalled his mother and the House of Austria. He was taller than Napoleon by about three inches." `
As long as the Duke lived his name was naturally the rallying-point of the Bonapartes, and was mentioned in some of the many conspiracies against the Bourbons. In 1830 Joseph Bonaparte tried to get the sanction of the Austrians to his nephew being put forward as a claimant to the throne of France, vacant by the flight of Charles X., but they held their captive firmly. A very interesting passage is given in the 'Memoirs of Charles Greville', who says that Prince Esterhazy told him a great deal about the Duke of Reichstadt, who, if he had lived, would have probably played a great part in the world. He died of a premature decay, brought on, apparently, by over-exertion and over-excitement; his talents were very conspicuous, he was 'petri d'ambition', worshipped the memory of his father, and for that reason never liked his mother; his thoughts were incessantly turned towards France, and when he heard of the Days of July (overthrow of Charles X.) he said, "Why was I not there to take my chance? He evinced great affection and gratitude to his grandfather, who, while he scrupulously observed all his obligations towards Louis Philippe, could not help feeling a secret pride in the aspiring genius of Napoleon's son. He was well educated, and day and night pored over the history of his father's glorious career. He delighted in military exercises, and not only shone at the head of his regiment, but had already acquired the hereditary art of ingratiating himself with the soldiers." Esterhazy went on to describe how the Duke abandoned everything at a ball when he met there Marshals Marmont and Maison." He had no eyes or ears but for them; from nine in the evening to five the next morning he devoted himself to these Marshals." There was the true Napoleonic ring in his answer to advice given by Marmont when the Duke said that he would not allow himself to be put forward by the Sovereigns of Europe. "The son of Napoleon should be too great to serve as an instrument; and in events of that nature I wish not to be an advanced guard, but a reserve,—that is, to come as a succour, recalling great memories."
His death in 1832, on the 22d of July, the anniversary of the battle of Salamanca, solved many questions. Metternich visited the Duke on his deathbed: "It was a heartrending sight. I never remember to have seen a more mournful picture of decay." When Francis was told of the death of his grandson he answered, "I look upon the Duke's death as a blessing for him. Whether it be detrimental or otherwise to the public good I do not know. As for myself, I shall ever lament the loss of my grandson."
Josephine was in her grave at Rueil when Napoleon returned. She had died on the 29th of May 1814, at Malmaison, while the Allies were exhibiting themselves in Paris. It seems hard that she should not have lived to enjoy a triumph, however brief, over her Austrian rival. "She, at least," said Napoleon truly, "would never have abandoned me."
Josephine's daughter, Hortense, separated from her husband, Louis Bonaparte, and created Duchess of St Leu by Louis XVIII., was in Paris, much suspected by the Bourbons, but really engaged in a lawsuit with her husband about the custody of her sons. She had to go into hiding when the news of the landing arrived, but her empty house, left unwatched, became very useful for receiving the Bonapartists, who wished for a place of concealment, amongst them, as we shall see, being, of all people, Fouche! Hortense was met by Napoleon with some reproaches for accepting a title from the Bourbons, but she did the honours of the Elysee for him, and it is creditable to both of them that, braving the vile slanders about their intercourse, she was with him to the end; and that one of the last persons to embrace him at Malmaison before he started for the coast was his adopted daughter, the child of his discarded wife. Hortense's presence in Paris was thought to be too dangerous by the Prussian Governor; and she was peremptorily ordered to leave. An appeal to the Emperor Francis received a favourable answer, but Francis always gave way where any act against his son-in-law was in question, and she had to start at the shortest notice on a wandering life to Aix, Baden, and Constance, till the generosity of the small but brave canton of Thurgau enabled her to get a resting-place at the Chateau of Arenenberg.
In 1831 she lost her second son, the eldest then surviving, who died from fever in a revolutionary attempt ill which he and his younger brother, the future Napoleon. III., were engaged. She was able to visit France incognita, and even to see Louis Philippe and his Queen; but her presence in the country was soon thought dangerous, and she was urged to leave. In 1836 Hortense's last child, Louis Napoleon, made his attempt at an 'emeule' at Strasburg, and was shipped off to America by the Government. She went to France to plead for him, and then, worn out by grief and anxiety, returned to Arenenberg, which her son, the future Emperor, only succeeded in reaching in time to see her die in October 1837. She was laid with Josephine at Rueil.
Hortense's brother, Prince Eugene, the Viceroy of Italy, was at Vienna when Napoleon returned, and fell under the suspicion of the Allies of having informed the Emperor of the intention of removing him from Elba. He was detained in Bavaria by his father-in-law the King, to whose Court he retired, and who in 1817 created him Duke of Leuchtenberg and Prince of Eichstadt. With the protection of Bavaria he actually succeeded in wringing from the Bourbons some 700,000 francs of the property of his mother. A first attack of apoplexy struck him in 1823, and he died from a second in February 1824 at Munich. His descendants have intermarried into the Royal Families of Portugal, Sweden, Brazil, Russia, 'and Wartemberg; his grandson now (1884) holds the title of Leuchtenberg.
Except Louis, an invalid, all the brothers of the Emperor were around him in the Cent Jours, the supreme effort of their family. Joseph had left Spain after Vittoria, and had remained in an uncomfortable and unrecognised state near Paris until in 1814 he was again employed, and when, rightly or not, he urged the retreat of the Regency from Paris to Blois. He then took refuge at his chateau of Prangins in the canton Vaud in Switzerland, closely watched by the Bourbonists, who dreaded danger from every side except the real point, and who preferred trying to hunt the Bonapartists from place to place, instead of making their life bearable by carrying out the engagements with them.
In 1816, escaping from the arrest with which he was threatened, after having written to urge Murat to action with fatal effect, Joseph joined Napoleon in Paris, and appeared at the Champ de Mai, sitting also in the Chamber of Peers, but, as before, putting forward ridiculous pretensions as to his inherent right to the peerage, and claiming a special seat. In fact, he never could realise how entirely he owed any position to the brother he wished to treat as an equal.
He remained in Paris during the brief campaign, and after Waterloo was concealed in the house of the Swedish Ambassador, where his sister-in- law, the Crown Princess of Sweden, the wife of Bernadotte, was living. Muffling, the Prussian Governor of Paris, wished to arrest him, but as the Governor could not violate the domicile of an Ambassador, he had to apply to the Czar, who arranged for the escape of the ex-King before the Governor could seize him Joseph went to the coast, pretty much following the route of Napoleon. He was arrested once at Saintes, but was allowed to proceed, and he met his brother on the 4th of July, at Rochefort.
It is significant as to the possibility of the escape of Napoleon that Joseph succeeded in getting on the brig Commerce as "M. Bouchard," and, though the ship was thrice searched by the English, he got to New York on the 28th of August, where he was mistaken for Carnot. He was well received, and, taking the title of Comte de Survilliers, he first lived at Lansdowne, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, where he afterwards always passed part of the year while he was in America. He also bought the property of Point Breeze, at Bordentown, on the Delaware, where he built a house with a fine view of the river. This first house was burnt down, but he erected another, where he lived in some state and in great comfort, displaying his jewels and pictures to his admiring neighbours, and showing kindness to impecunious nephews.
The news of the Revolution of July in 1830, which drove Charles X. from the throne, excited Joseph's hopes for the family of which he considered himself the Regent, and he applied to Metternich to get the Austrian Government to allow or assist in the placing his nephew, the Duke of Reichstadt, on the throne of France. Austria would not even answer.
In July 1832 Joseph crossed to England, where he met Lucien, just arrived from Italy, bringing the news of the death of his nephew. Disappointed, he stayed in England for some time, but returned to America in 1836. In he finally left America, and again came to England, where he had a paralytic stroke, and in 1843 he went to Florence, where he met his wife after a long separation.
Joseph lived long enough to see the two attempts of another nephew, Louis Napoleon, at Strasburg in 1836, and at Boulogne in 1840, which seem to have been undertaken without his knowledge, and to have much surprised him. He died in Florence in 1844; his body was buried first in Santa Croce, Florence, but was removed to the Invalides in 1864. His wife the ex-Queen, had retired in 1815 to Frankfort and to Brussels, where she was well received by the King, William, and where she stayed till 1823, when she went to Florence, dying there in 1845. Her monument is in the Cappella Riccardi, Santa Croce, Florence.
Lucien had retired to Rome in 1804, on the creation of the Empire, and had continued embroiled with his brother, partly from his so-called Republican principles, but chiefly from his adhering to his marriage, his second one, with Madame Jouberthon,—a union which Napoleon steadily refused to acknowledge, offering Lucien anything, a kingdom or the hand of a queen (if we take Lucien's account), if he would only consent to the annulment of the contract.
In August 1810, affecting uneasiness as Napoleon stretched his power over Rome, Lucien embarked for America, but he was captured by the English and taken, first to Malta and then to England, where he passed the years till 1814 in a sort of honourable captivity, first at Ludlow and then at Thorngrove, not far from that town.
In 1814 Lucien was released, when he went to Rome, where he was welcomed by the kindly old Pope, who remembered the benefits conferred by Napoleon on the Church, while he forgot the injuries personal to himself; and the stiff-necked Republican, the one-time "Brutus" Bonaparte, accepted the title of Duke of Musignano and Prince of Canino.
In 1815 Lucien joined his brother, whom he wished to abdicate at the Champ de Mai in favour of the King of Rome, placing his sword only at the disposal of France. This step was seriously debated, but, though it might have placed the Allies in a more difficult position, it would certainly have been disregarded by them, at least unless some great victory had given the dynasty firmer footing. After Waterloo he was in favour of a dissolution of the Chambers, but Napoleon had become hopeless and almost apathetic, while Lucien himself, from his former connection with the 18th and 19th Brumaire, was looked on with great distrust by the Chambers, as indeed he was by his brother. Advantage was taken of his Roman title to taunt him with not being a Frenchman; and all his efforts failed. At the end he fled, and failing to cross to England or to get to Rochefort, he reached Turin on the 12th of July only to find himself arrested. He remained there till the 15th of September, when he was allowed to go to Rome. There he was interned and carefully watched; indeed in 1817 the Pope had to intervene to prevent his removal to the north of Germany, so anxious were the Allies as to the safety of the puppet they had put on the throne of France.
The death of Napoleon in 1821 released Lucien and the Bonaparte family from the constant surveillance exercised over them till then. In 1830 he bought a property, the Croce del Biacco, near Bologna. The flight of the elder branch of the Bourbons from France in 1830 raised his hopes, and, as already said, he went to England in 1832 to meet Joseph and to plan some step for raising Napoleon II. to the throne. The news of the death of his nephew dashed all the hopes of the family, and after staying in England for some time he returned to Italy, dying at Viterbo in 1840, and being buried at Canino, where also his second wife lies. Lucien had a taste for literature, and was the author of several works, which a kindly posterity will allow to die.
Louis Bonaparte had fled from his Kingdom of Holland in 1810, after a short reign of four years, disgusted with being expected to study the interests of the brother to whom he owed his throne, and with being required to treat his wife Hortense with ordinary consideration. He had taken refuge in Austria, putting that Court in great anxiety how to pay him the amount of attention to be expected by the brother of the Emperor, and at the same time the proper coldness Napoleon might wish shown to a royal deserter. Thanks to the suggestions of Metternich, they seem to have been successful in this task. Taking the title of Comte de, St. Len from an estate in France; Louis went first to Toplitz, then to Gratz, and in 1813 he took refuge in Switzerland. In 1814 he went to Rome; and then to Florence, where the Grand-Duke Ferdinand received any of the family who came there with great kindness.
Louis was the least interesting of the family, and it is difficult to excuse his absence from France in 1815. After all, the present of a kingdom is not such an unpardonable offence as to separate brothers for ever, and Napoleon seems to have felt deeply the way in which he was treated by a brother to whom he had acted as a father; still ill-health and the natural selfishness of invalids may account for much. While his son Louis Napoleon was flying about making his attempts on France, Louis remained in the Roman Palace of the French Academy, sunk in anxiety about his religious state. He disclaimed his son's proceedings, but this may have been due to the Pope, who sheltered him. Anyhow, it is strange to mark the difference between the father and his two sons who came of age, and who took to revolution so kindly.
In 1846 Louis was ill at Leghorn when his son escaped from Ham, where he had been imprisoned after his Boulogne attempt. Passports were refused to the son to go from Italy to his father, and Louis died alone on the 25th of July 1846. He was buried at Santa Croce, Florence, but the body was afterwards removed to the village church of St. Leu Taverny, rebuilt by his son Napoleon III.
Jerome, the youngest of the whole family, the "middy," as Napoleon liked to call him, had been placed in the navy, in which profession he passed as having distinguished himself, after leaving his admiral in rather a peculiar manner, by attacking an English convoy, and eventually escaping the English by running into the port of Concarneau, believed to be inaccessible. At that time it was an event for a French man-of-war to reach home.
Jerome had incurred the anger of Napoleon by marrying a beautiful young lady of Baltimore, a Mica Paterson, but, more obedient than Lucien, he submitted to have this marriage annulled by his all-powerful brother, and in reward he received the brand-new Kingdom of Westphalia, and the hand of a daughter of the King of Wartemberg, "the cleverest King in Europe," according to Napoleon. Jerome is said to have ruled rather more as a Heliogabalus than a Solomon, but the new Kingdom had the advantage of starting with good administrators, and with the example of "the Code."
In 1812 Jerome was given the command of the right wing of the Grand Army in its advance against Russia, but he did not fulfil the expectations of his brother, and Davoust took the command instead. Every king feels himself a born general: whatever else they cannot do, war is an art which comes with the crown, and Jerome, unwilling to serve under a mere Marshal, withdrew in disgust. In 1813 he had the good feeling and the good sense to refuse the treacherous offer of the Allies to allow him to retain his kingdom if he joined them against his brother, a snare his sister Caroline fell into at Naples.
On the downfall of Napoleon, Jerome, as the Count of Gratz, went to
Switzerland, and then to Gratz and Trieste.
His wife, the ex-Queen Catherine, fell into the hands of Maubreuil, the officer sent on a mysterious mission, believed to be intended for the murder of Napoleon, but which only resulted in the robbery of the Queen's jewels and of some 80,000 francs. The jewels were for the most part recovered, being fished up from the bed of the Seine, but not the cash.
In 1815 Jerome joined his brother, and appeared at the Champ de Mai. A true Bonaparte, his vanity was much hurt, however, by having—he, a real king—to sit on the back seat of the carriage, while his elder brother Lucien; a mere Roman-prince, occupied a seat of honour by the side of Napoleon. In the Waterloo campaign he was given the 6th division, forming part of Reille's corps, General Guilleminot being sent with him to prevent any of the awkwardnesses of 1812. His division was engaged with the Prussians on the 15th of June, and at Quatre Bras he was severely wounded. At Waterloo his division formed the extreme left of the French infantry, opposite Hougomont, and was engaged in the struggle for that post. Whatever his failings may have been, he is acknowledged to have fought gallantly. After the battle he was given the command of the army by his brother, and was told to cover the retreat to Laon, which he reached on the 21st of June, with 18,000 infantry, 3000 cavalry and two batteries which he had rallied. This, be it observed, is a larger force than Ney told the Chambers even Grouchy (none of whose men are included) could have, and Jerome's strength had swollen to 25,000 infantry and 6000 cavalry when he handed over the army to Soult at Laon. Napoleon had intended to leave Jerome with the command of the army, but he eventually took him to Paris.
When Napoleon left the country Jerome was assured by the ambassador of Wurtemberg that he would find a refuge in the dominions of his father-in- law; but when he arrived there he was informed that if he did not wish to be, according to the original intentions of the Allies, handed over to the Prussians, and separated from his wife, he must sign an engagement to remain in Wurtemberg under strict surveillance. He was then imprisoned at Guppingen, and afterwards at Ellwangen, where he was not even allowed to write or receive letters except through the captain of the chateau.
After constant ill treatment Jerome and his wife, as the Count and Countess of Montfort, a rank the King of Wurtemberg afterwards raised to Prince, were allowed to proceed to Hainburg near Vienna, then to Florence, and, later to Trieste, where Jerome was when his sister Elisa died. In 1823 they were permitted to go to Rome, and in 1835 they went to Lausanne, where his true-hearted wife died the same year. Jerome went to Florence, and lived to see the revival of the Empire, and to once mare enjoy the rank of a French Prince. He died in 1860 at the chateau of Villegenis in France, and was buried in the Invalides.
The mother of the Emperor, Letitia, in 1814, had retained her title of Imperatrice Mere, and had retired to Rome. She then went to Elba in June, and stayed there with her daughter Pauline until Napoleon had sailed for France. On 2d March 1814 she went from Elba to San Vicenzo near Leghorn, and then to Rome. Her son sent a frigate for her, the 'Melpomene', which was captured by the English 'Rivoli'; another vessel, the 'Dryade', brought her to France, and she joined Napoleon in Paris. We must have a regard for this simple old lady, who was always careful and saving, only half believing in the stability of the Empire; and, like a true mother, always most attentive to the most unfortunate of her children. Her life had been full of startling changes; and it must have been strange for the woman who had been hunted out of Corsica, flying from her house just in time to save her life from the adherents of Paoli, to find herself in grandeur in Paris. She saw her son just before he left, as she thought, for America, and then retired to the Rinuccini—now the Bonaparte-Palace at Rome, where she died in 1836. She had been anxious to join Napoleon at St. Helena, and had refused, as long as Napoleon was alive, to forgive her daughter Caroline, the wife of Murat, for her abandonment of her brother. She was buried at Albano.
Letitia's youngest daughter, the beautiful but frail Pauline, Duchess of Guastalla, married first to General Leclerc, and then to Prince Camille Borglle, was at Nice when her brother abdicated in 1814. She retired with her mother to Rome, and in October 1814 went to Elba, staying there till Napoleon left, except when she was sent to Naples with a message of forgiveness for Murat There was a characteristic scene between her and Colonel Campbell when the English Commissioner arrived to find Napoleon gone. Pauline professed ignorance till the last of her brother's intentions, and pressed the Colonel's hand to her heart that lie might feel how agitated she was. "She did not appear to be so," says the battered old Colonel, who seems to have been proof against her charms. She then went to Rome, and later to Pisa. Her health was failing, and, unable to join her brother in France, she sent him her only means of assistance, her jewels, which were captured at Waterloo. Her offer to go to St. Helena, repeated several times, was never accepted by Napoleon. She died in 1825 at Florence, from consumption, reconciled to her husband, from whom she had been separated since 1807. She was buried at Sta Maria Maggiore, Rome.
Elisa, the eldest sister of Napoleon, the former Grand Duchess of Tuscany, which Duchy she had ruled well, being a woman of considerable talent, was the first of all to die. In 1814 she had been forced to fly from her Government, and, accompanied by her husband, she had attempted to reach France. Finding herself cut off by the Austrians; she took shelter with Augereau's army, and then returned to Italy. She took the title of Comtesse de Campignana, and retired to Trieste, near which town, at the Chateau of Sant Andrea, under a wearisome surveillance, she expired in 1820, watched by her husband, Felix Baeciocchi, and her sister Caroline. Her monument is in the Bacciocchi Chapel in San Petronio, Bologna.
Caroline, the wife of Murat, was the only one of the family untrue to Napoleon. Very ambitious, and forgetting how completely she owed her Kingdom of Naples to her brother, she had urged Murat in 1814 to separate from Napoleon, and, still worse, to attack Eugene, who held the north of Italy against the Austrians. She relied on the formal treaty with Austria that Murat should retain his Kingdom of Naples, and she may also have trusted to the good offices of her former admirer Metternich. When the Congress of Vienna met, the French Minister, Talleyrand, at once began to press for the removal of Murat. A trifling treaty was not considered an obstacle to the Heaven-sent deliverers of Europe, and Murat, believing his fate sealed, hearing of Napoleon's landing, and urged on by a misleading letter from Joseph Bonaparte, at once marched to attack the Austrians. He was easily routed by the Austrians under Neipperg, the future husband of Maria Louisa. Murat fled to France, and Caroline first took refuge in an English man-of-war, the 'Tremendous', being, promised a free passage to England. She was, however, handed over to the Austrians; who kept her in confinement at Hainburg near Vienna. In October 1815 Murat landed in Calabria in a last wild attempt to recover his throne. He was arrested and immediately shot. After his murder Caroline, taking the title of Countess of Lipona (an anagram of Napoli), was permitted to retire to Trieste with Elisa, Jerome, and his wife. Caroline was almost without means of existence, the Neapolitan Bourbons refusing even to give up the property she had brought there. She married a General Macdonald. When Hortense was buried at Rueil Caroline obtained permission to attend the sad ceremony. In 1838 she went to France to try to obtain a pension, and succeeded in getting one of 100,000 francs. She died from cancer in the stomach in 1839, and was buried in the Campo Santo, Bologna.
Cardinal Fesch, the half-uncle of Napoleon, the Archbishop of Lyons, who had fallen into disgrace with Napoleon for taking the side of the Pope and refusing to accept the see of Paris, to which he was nominated by Napoleon, had retired to Rome in 1814, where he remained till the return of Napoleon, when he went to Paris, and accepted a peerage. After Waterloo he again sought the protection of the Pope, and he remained at Rome till his death in 1839, a few days before Caroline Bonaparte's. He was buried in S. Lorenzo in Lucina, Rome. He had for years been a great collector of pictures, of which he left a large number (1200) to the town of Ajaccio. The Cardinal, buying at the right time when few men had either enough leisure or money to think of pictures, got together a most valuable collection. This was sold in 1843-44 at Rome. Its contents now form some of the greatest treasures in the galleries of Dudley House and of the Marquis of Hertford, now Sir Richard Wallace's. In a large collection there are generally some daubs, but it is an amusing instance of party spirit to find the value of his pictures run down by men who are unwilling to allow any one connected with Napoleon to have even taste in art. He always refused the demands of the Restoration that he should resign his see of Lyons, though under Louis Philippe he offered to do so, and leave his pictures to France, if the Bonaparte family were allowed to enter France: this was refused.
It can hardly be denied that the fate of the Bonapartes was a hard one. Napoleon had been undisputed sovereign of France for fourteen years, Louis had been King of Holland for four years, Jerome was King of Westphalia for six years, Caroline was Queen of Naples for seven years. If Napoleon had forfeited all his rights by leaving Elba after the conditions of his abdication had been broken by the Allies, still there was no reason why the terms stipulated for the other members of the family should not have been carried out, or at least an ordinary income insured to them. With all Napoleon's faults he was always ready to shower wealth on the victims of his policy:—The sovereigns of the Continent had courted and intermarried with the Bonapartes in the tame of that family's grandeur: there was neither generosity nor wisdom in treating them as so many criminals the moment fortune had declared against them. The conduct of the Allies was not influenced simply by the principle of legitimacy, for the King of Saxony only kept his throne by the monarchs falling out over the spoil. If sovereigns were to be respected as of divine appointment, it was not well to make their existence only depend on the fate of war.
Nothing in the history of the Cent Jours is more strange than the small part played in it by the Marshals, the very men who are so identified in our minds with the Emperor, that we might have expected to find that brilliant band playing a most prominent part in his last great struggle, no longer for mere victory, but for very existence. In recording how the Guard came up the fatal hill at Waterloo for their last combat, it would seem but natural to have to give a long roll of the old historic names as leading or at least accompanying them; and the reader is apt to ask, where were the men whose very titles recalled such glorious battle- fields, such achievements, and such rewards showered down by the man who, almost alone at the end of the day, rode forward to invite that death from which it was such cruel kindness to save him?
Only three Marshals were in Belgium in 1815, and even of them one did but count his promotion from that very year, so it is but natural for French writers to dream of what might have been the course of the battle if Murat's plume had waved with the cavalry, if Mortier had been with the Guard, and if Davoust or one of his tried brethren had taken the place of Grouchy. There is, however, little real ground for surprise at this absence of the Marshals. Death, time, and hardships had all done their work amongst that grand array of commanders. Some were old men, veterans of the Revolutionary wars, when first created Marshals in 1804; others, such as Massena, were now but the wreck of themselves; and even before 1812 Napoleon had been struck with the failing energy of some of his original companions: indeed, it might have been better for him if he had in 1813, as he half resolved, cast away his dislike to new faces, and fought his last desperate campaigns with younger men who still had fortunes to win, leaving "Berthier to hunt at Grosbois," and the other Marshals to enjoy their well-deserved rest in their splendid hotels at Paris.
Davoust, Duke of Auerstadt, Prince of Eckmuhl, whose name should be properly spelt Davout, was one of the principal personages at the end of the Cent Jours. Strict and severe, having his corps always in good order, and displaying more character than most of the military men under Napoleon, one is apt to believe that the conqueror at Auerstadt bade fair to be the most prominent of all the Marshals. In 1814 he had returned from defending Hamburg to find himself under a cloud of accusations, and the Bourbons ungenerously and unwisely left him undefended for acts which they must have known were part of his duty as governor of a besieged place. At the time he was attacked as if his first duty was not to hold the place for France, but to organise a system of outdoor relief for the neighbouring population, and to surrender as soon as he had exhausted the money in the Government chest and the provisions in the Government stores. Sore and discontented, practically proscribed, still Davoust would not join in the too hasty enterprise of the brothers Lallemand, who wished him to lead the military rising on the approach of Napoleon; but he was with the Emperor on the day after his arrival in Paris.
Davoust might have expected high command in the army, but, to his annoyance, Napoleon fixed on him as War Minister. For several years the War Minister had been little more than a clerk, and neither had nor was expected to have much influence with the army. Napoleon now wanted a man of tried devotion, and of stern enough character to overawe the capital and the restless spirits in the army. Much against his will Davoust was therefore forced to content himself with the organisation of the forces being hastily raised, but he chafed in his position; and it is characteristic of him that Napoleon was eventually forced to send him the most formal orders before the surly Minister would carry out the Emperor's unlucky intention of giving a command to Bourmont, whom Davoust strongly and rightly suspected of treachery. When Napoleon left the capital Davoust became its governor, and held his post unmoved by the intrigues of the Republicans and the Royalists. When Napoleon returned from the great disaster Davoust gave his voice for the only wise policy, —resistance and the prorogation of the factious Chambers. On the abdication of Napoleon the Provisional Government necessarily gave Davoust the command of the army which was concentrated round Paris.
If Davoust had restricted himself less closely to his duty as a soldier, if he had taken more on himself, with the 100,000 men he soon had under him, he might have saved France from much of her subsequent humiliation, or at least he might have preserved the lives of Ney and of the brave men whom the Bourbons afterwards butchered. Outwitted by Fouche, and unwilling to face the hostility of the Chambers, Davoust at last consented to the capitulation of Paris, though he first gave the Prussian cavalry a sharp lesson. While many of his comrades were engaged in the great struggle for favour or safety, the stern Marshal gave up his Ministry, and, doing the last service in his power to France, stopped all further useless bloodshed by withdrawing the army, no easy task in their then humour, behind the Loire, where he kept what the Royalists called the "Brigands of the Loire" in subjection till relieved by Macdonald. He was the only one of the younger Marshals who had not been tried in Spain, and so far he was fortunate; but, though he was not popular with the army, his character and services seem to point him out as the most fit of all the Marshals for an independent command. Had Napoleon been successful in 1812, Davoust was to have received the Viceroyalty of Poland; and he would probably have left a higher name in history than the other men placed by Napoleon to rule over his outlying kingdoms. In any case it was fortunate for France and for the Allies that a man of his character ruled the army after Napoleon abdicated; there would otherwise have been wild work round Paris, as it was only with the greatest difficulty and by the force of his authority and example that Davoust succeeded in getting the army to withdraw from the capital, and to gradually adopt the white cockade. When superseded by Macdonald he had done a work no other man could have accomplished. He protested against the proscription, but it was too late; his power had departed. In 1819 he was forgiven for his services to France, and was made a peer, but he died in 1823, only fifty-three years old.
Among the Marshals who gave an active support to Napoleon Ney takes the leading part in most eyes; if it were only for his fate, which is too well known for much to be said here concerning it. In 1815 Ney was commanding in Franche-Comte, and was called up to Paris and ordered to go to Besancon to march so as to take Napoleon in flank. He started off, not improbably using the rough brags afterwards attributed to him as most grievous sins, such as that "he would bring back Napoleon in an iron cage." It had been intended to have sent the Due de Berry, the second son of the Comte d'Artois, with Ney; and it was most unfortunate for the Marshal that this was not done. There can be no possible doubt that Ney spoke and acted in good faith when he left Paris. One point alone seems decisive of this. Ney found under him in command, as General of Division, Bourmont, an officer of well-known Royalist opinions, who had at one time served with the Vendean insurgents, and who afterwards deserted Napoleon just before Waterloo, although he had entreated to be employed in the campaign. Not only did Ney leave Bourmont in command, but, requiring another Divisional General, instead of selecting a Bonapartist, he urged Lecourbe to leave his retirement and join him. Now, though Lecourbe was a distinguished General, specially famed for mountain warfare—witness his services in 1799 among the Alps above Lucerne—he had been long left unemployed by Napoleon on account of his strong Republican opinions and his sympathy with Moreau. These two Generals, Bourmont and Lecourbe, the two arms of Ney as commander, through whom alone he could communicate with the troops, he not only kept with him, but consulted to the last, before he declared for Napoleon. This would have been too dangerous a thing for a tricky politician to have attempted as a blind, but Ney was well known to be only too frank and impulsive. Had the Due de Berry gone with him, had Ney carried with him such a gage of the intention of the Bourbons to defend their throne, it is probable that he would have behaved like Macdonald; and it is certain that he would have had no better success. The Bonapartists themselves dreaded what they called the wrong-headedness of Ney. It was, however, thought better to keep the Due de Berry in safety.
Ney found himself put forward singly, as it were, to oppose the man whom all France was joining; he found, as did every officer sent on a similar mission, that the soldiers were simply waiting to meet Napoleon; and while the Princes sought security, while the soldiers plotted against their leaders, came the calls of the Emperor in the old trumpet tone. The eagle was to fly—nay, it was flying from tower to tower, and victory was advancing with a rush. Was Ney to be the one man to shoot down his old leader? could he, as he asked, stop the sea with his hands? On his trial his subordinate, Bourmont, who had by that time shown his devotion to the Bourbons by sacrificing his military honour, and deserting to the Allies, was asked whether Ney could have got the soldiers to act against the Emperor. He could only suggest that if Ney had taken a musket and himself charged, the men would have followed his example. "Still," said Bourmont, "I would not dare to affirm that he (the Marshal) would have won." And who was Ney to charge? We know how Napoleon approached the forces sent to oppose him: he showed himself alone in the front of his own troops. Was Ney to deliberately kill his old commander? was any general ever expected to undergo such a test? and can it be believed that the soldiers who carried off the reluctant Oudinot and chased the flying Macdonald, had such a reverence for the "Rougeot," as they called him, that they would have stood by while he committed this murder? The whole idea is absurd: as Ney himself said at his trial, they would have "pulverized" him. Undoubtedly the honourable course for Ney would have been to have left his corps when he lost control over them; but to urge, as was done afterwards, that he had acted on a preconceived scheme, and that his example had such weight, was only malicious falsehood. The Emperor himself knew well how little he owed to the free will of his Marshal, and he soon had to send him from Paris, as Ney, sore at heart, and discontented with himself and with both sides, uttered his mind with his usual freedom. Ney was first ordered to inspect the frontier from Dunkirk to Bale, and was then allowed to go to his home. He kept so aloof from Napoleon that when he appeared on the Champ de Mai the Emperor affected surprise, saying that he thought Ney had emigrated. At the last moment Marshal Mortier fell ill. Ney had already been sent for. He hurried up, buying Mortier's horses (presumably the ill-fated animals who died under him at Waterloo), and reached the army just in time to be given the command of the left wing.
It has been well remarked that the very qualities which made Ney invaluable for defence or for the service of a rear-guard weighed against him in such a combat as Quatre Bras. Splendid as a corps leader, he had not the commander's eye to embrace the field and surmise the strength of the enemy at a glance. At Bautzen in 1818 his staff had been unable to prevent him from leaving the route which would have brought him on the very rear of the enemy, because seeing the foe, and unable to resist the desire of returning their fire, he turned off to engage immediately. At Quatre Bras, not seeing the force he was engaged with, believing he had the whole English army on his hands from the first, he let himself at the beginning of the day be imposed upon by a mere screen of troops.
We cannot here go into Ney's behaviour at Waterloo except to point out that too little importance is generally given to the fact of the English cavalry having, in a happy moment, fallen on and destroyed the artillery which was being brought up to sweep the English squares at close quarters. At Waterloo, as in so many other combats, the account of Ney's behaviour more resembles that of a Homeric hero than of a modern general. To the ideal commander of to-day, watching the fight at a distance, calmly weighing its course, undisturbed except by distant random shots, it is strange to compare Ney staggering through the gate of Konigsberg all covered with blood; smoke and snow, musket in hand, announcing himself as the rear-guard of France, or appearing, a second Achilles, on the ramparts of Smolensko to encourage the yielding troops on the glacis, or amidst the flying troops at Waterloo, with uncovered head and broken sword, black with powder, on foot, his fifth horse killed under him, knowing that life, honour, and country were lost, still hoping against hope and attempting one more last desperate rally. If he had died—ah! if he had died there—what a glorious tomb might have risen, glorious for France as well as for him, with the simple inscription, "The Bravest of the Brave."
Early on the 19th June a small band of officers retreating from the field found Ney asleep at Marchiennes, "the first repose he had had for four days," and they did not disturb him for orders. "And indeed what order could Marshal Ney have given? "The disaster of the day, the overwhelming horror of the flight of the beaten army, simply crushed Ney morally as well as physically. Rising in the Chambers he denounced all attempt at further resistance. He did not know, he would not believe, that Grouchy was safe, and that the army was fast rallying. Fresh from the field, with all its traces on him, the authority of Ney was too great for the Government. Frightened friends, plotting Royalists, echoed the wild words of Ney brave only against physical dangers. Instead of dying on the battle-field, he had lived to ensure the return of the Bourbons, the fall of Bonaparte, his own death, and the ruin of France.
Before his exception from the amnesty was known Ney left Paris on the 6th of July, and went into the country with but little attempt at concealment, and with formal passports from Fouche. The capitulation of Paris seemed to cover him, and he was so little aware of the thirst of the Royalists for his blood that he let his presence be known by leaving about a splendid sabre presented to him by the Emperor on his marriage, and recognised by mere report by an old soldier as belonging to Ney or Murat; and Ney himself let into the house the party sent to arrest him on the 5th of August, and actually refused the offer of Excelmans, through whose troops he passed, to set him free. No one at the time, except the wretched refugees of Ghent, could have suspected, after the capitulation, that there was any special danger for Ney, and it is very difficult to see on what principle the Bourbons chose their victims or intended victims. Drouot, for example, had never served Louis XVIII., he had never worn the white cockade, he had left France with Napoleon for Elba, and had served the Emperor there. In 1815 he had fought under his own sovereign. After Waterloo he had exerted all his great influence, the greater from his position, to induce the Guard to retire behind the Loire, and to submit to the Bourbons. It was because Davoust so needed him that Drouot remained with the army. Stilt Drouot was selected for death, but the evidence of his position was too strong to enable the Court to condemn him. Cambronne, another selection, had also gone with Napoleon to Elba. Savory, another selection, had, as was eventually acknowledged, only joined Napoleon when he was in full possession of the reins of Government. Bertrend, who was condemned while at St. Helena, was in the same position as Drouot. In fact, if any one were to draw up a list of probable proscriptions and compare it with those of the 24th of July 1815, there would probably be few names common to both except Labedoyere, Mouton Duvernet, etc. The truth is that the Bourbons, and, to do them justice, still more the rancorous band of mediocrities who surrounded them, thirsted for blood. Even they could feel the full ignominy of the flight to Ghent.
While they had been chanting the glories of the Restoration, the devotion of the people, the valour of the Princes, Napoleon had landed, the Restoration had vanished like a bad dream, and the Princes were the first to lead the way to the frontier. To protest that there had been a conspiracy, and that the conspirators must suffer, was the only possible cloak for the shame of the Royalists, who could not see that the only conspiracy was the universal one of the nation against the miserable men who knew not how to govern a high-spirited people.
Ney, arrested on the 5th of August, was first brought before a Military Court on the 9th of November composed of Marshal Jourdan (President), Marshals Massena, Augereau, and Mortier, Lieutenants-General Gazan, Claparede, and Vilatte (members). Moncey had refused to sit, and Massena urged to the Court his own quarrels with Ney in Spain to get rid of the task, but was forced to remain. Defended by both the Berryers, Ney unfortunately denied the jurisdiction of the court-martial over him as a peer. In all probability the Military Court would have acquitted him. Too glad at the moment to be free from the trial of their old comrade, not understanding the danger of the proceeding, the Court, by a majority of five against two, declared themselves non-competent, and on the 21st of November Ney was sent before the Chamber of Peers, which condemned him on the 6th of December.
To beg the life of his brave adversary would have been such an obvious act of generosity on the part of the Duke of Wellington that we maybe pardoned for examining his reasons for not interfering. First, the Duke seems to have laid weight on the fact that if Ney had believed the capitulation had covered him he would not have hidden. Now, even before Ney knew of his exception from the amnesty, to appear in Paris would have been a foolish piece of bravado. Further, the Royalist reaction was in full vigour, and when the Royalist mobs, with the connivance of the authorities, were murdering Marshal Brune and attacking any prominent adherents of Napoleon, it was hardly the time for Ney to travel in full pomp. It cannot be said that, apart from the capitulation, the Duke had no responsibility. Generally a Government executing a prisoner, may, with some force, if rather brutally, urge that the fact of their being able to try and execute him in itself shows their authority to do so. The Bourbons could not even use this argument. If the Allies had evacuated France Louis le Desiree would have ordered his carriage and have been at the frontier before they had reached it. If Frenchmen actually fired the shots which killed Ney, the Allies at least shared the responsibility with the French Government. Lastly, it would seem that the Duke would have asked for the life of Ney if the King, clever at such small artifices, had not purposely affected a temporary coldness to him. Few men would have been so deterred from asking for the life of a dog. The fact is, the Duke of Wellington was a great general, he was a single- hearted and patriotic statesman, he had a thousand virtues, but he was never generous. It cannot be said that he simply shared the feelings of his army, for there was preparation among some of his officers to enable Ney to escape, and Ney had to be guarded by men of good position disguised in the uniform of privates. Ney had written to his wife when he joined Napoleon, thinking of the little vexations the Royalists loved to inflict on the men who had conquered the Continent. "You will no longer weep when you leave the Tuileries." The unfortunate lady wept now as she vainly sought some mercy for her husband. Arrested on the 5th of August, sentenced on the 6th of December, Ney was shot on the 7th of December, and the very manner of his execution shows that, in taking his life there was much more of revenge than of justice.
If Ney were to be shot, it is obvious that it should have been as a high act of justice. If neither the rank nor the services of the criminal were to save him, his death could not be too formal, too solemn, too public. Even an ordinary military execution is always carried out with grave and striking forms: there is a grand parade of the troops, that all may see with their own eyes the last act of the law. After the execution the troops defile past the body, that all may see the criminal actually dead: There was nothing of all this in the execution of Ney. A few chance passers, in the early morning of the 7th of December 1815, saw a small body of troops waiting by the wall of the garden of the Luxemburg. A fiacre drove up, out of which got Marshal Ney in plain clothes, himself surprised by the everyday aspect of the place. Then, when the officer of the firing party (for such the spectators now knew it to be) saw whom it was he was to fire on, he became, it is said, perfectly petrified; and a peer, one of the judges of Ney, the Duke de la Force, took his place. Ney fell at the first volley with six balls in his breast, three in the head and neck, and one in the arm, and in a quarter of an hour the body was removed; "plain Michel Ney" as he had said to the secretary enunciating his title in reading his sentence, "plain Michel Ney, soon to be a little dust."
The Communists caught red-handed in the streets of Paris in 1870 died with hardly less formality than was observed at the death-scene of the Prince of the Moskowa and Duke of Elchingen, and the truth then became plain. The Bourbons could not, dared not, attempt to carry out the sentence of the law with the forms of the law. The Government did not venture to let the troops or the people face the Marshal. The forms of the law could not be carried out, the demands of revenge could be. And if this be thought any exaggeration, the proof of the ill effects of this murder, for its form makes it difficult to call it anything else, is ready to our hands. It was impossible to get the public to believe that Ney had really been killed in this manner, and nearly to this day we have had fresh stories recurring of the real Ney being discovered in America. The deed, however, had really been done. The Marshals now knew that when the Princes fled they themselves must remain to die for the Royal cause; and Louis had at last succeeded in preventing his return to his kingdom amongst the baggage waggons of the Allies from being considered as a mere subject for jeers. One detail of the execution of Ney, however, we are told nothing of: we do not know if his widow, like Madame Labedoyere, had to pay three francs a head to the soldiers of the firing party which shot her husband. Whatever were the faults of the Bourbons, they at least carried out their executions economically.
The statesmen of France, distinguished as they were, certainly did not rise to a level with the situation either in 1814 or in 1815. In 1814, it is true, they were almost stunned by the crash of the Empire, and little as they foresaw the restoration of the Bourbons, still less could they have anticipated the extraordinary follies which were to be perpetrated. In 1815 there was less excuse for their helplessness, and, overawed as they were by the mass of foes which was pouring on them to complete the disaster of Waterloo, still it is disappointing to find that there was no one to seize the helm of power, and, confronting the Allies, to stipulate proper terms for France, and for the brave men who had fought for her. The Steady Davoust was there with his 100,000 men to add weight to their language, and the total helplessness of the older line of the Bourbons had been too evidently displayed to make their return a certainty, so that there is no reason to doubt that a firm-hearted patriot might have saved France from much of the degradation and loss inflicted on her when once the Allies had again got her at their mercy. At-the least the Bourbons might have been deprived of the revenge they sought for in taking some of the best blood of France. Better for Ney and his comrades to have fallen in a last struggle before Paris than to be shot by Frenchmen emboldened by the presence of foreign troops.
Talleyrand, the most prominent figure among the statesmen, was away. His absence at Vienna during the first Restoration was undoubtedly the cause of many of the errors then committed. His ability as displayed under Napoleon has been much exaggerated, for, as the Duke of Wellington said, it was easy enough to be Foreign Minister to a Government in military possession of Europe, but at least he was above the petty trivialities and absurdities of the Bourbon' Court. On the receipt of the news of the landing of Napoleon he really seems to have believed that the enterprise would immediately end in disaster, and he pressed on the outlawing of the man who had overwhelmed him with riches, and who had, at the worst, left him when in disgrace in quiet possession of all his ill-gotten wealth. But, as the power of Napoleon became more and more displayed, as perhaps Talleyrand found that the Austrians were not quite so firm as they wished to be considered, and as he foresaw the possible chances of the Orleans family, he became rather lukewarm in his attention to the King, to whom he had recently been bewailing the hardships of his separation from his loved monarch. He suddenly found that, after a Congress, the first duty of a diplomatist was to look after his liver, and Carlsbad offered an agreeable retreat where he could wait till he might congratulate the winner in the struggle.
Louis deeply resented this conduct of his Foreign Minister, and when Talleyrand at last joined him with all his doubts resolved, the King took the first opportunity of dismissing him, leaving the calm Talleyrand for once stuttering with rage. Louis soon, however, found that he was not the free agent he believed. The Allies did not want to have to again replace their puppet on the throne, and they looked on Talleyrand and Fouche as the two necessary men. Talleyrand was reinstated immediately, and remained for some time at the head of the Ministry. He was, however, not the man for Parliamentary Government, being too careless in business, and trying to gain his ends more by clever tricks than straightforward measures. As for the state into which he let the Government fall, it was happily characterised by M. Beugnot. "Until now," said he, "we have only known three sorts of governments—the Monarchical, the Aristocratic, and the Republican. Now we have invented a new one, which has never been heard of before,—Paternal Anarchy."
In September 1815 the elections to the Chamber were bringing in deputies more Royalist than the King, and Talleyrand sought to gain popularity by throwing over Fouche. To his horror it appeared that, well contented with this step, the deputies next asked when the former Bishop was to be dismissed. Taking advantage of what Talleyrand conceived to be a happy way of eliciting a strong expression of royal support by threatening to resign, the King replaced him by the Duc de Richelieu. It was well to cut jokes at the Duke and say that he was the man in France who knew most of the Crimea (the Duke had been long in the Russian service, with the approval of Napoleon), but Talleyrand was overwhelmed. He received the same office at Court which he had held under Napoleon, Grand Chamberlain, and afterwards remained a sardonic spectator of events, a not unimposing figure attending at the Court ceremonials and at the heavy dinners of the King, and probably lending a helping hand in 1830 to oust Charles X. from the throne. The Monarchy of July sent him as Ambassador to England, where he mixed in local politics, for example, plotting against Lord Palmerston, whose brusque manners he disliked; and in 1838 he ended his strange life with some dignity, having, as one of his eulogists puts it, been faithful to every Government he had served as long as it was possible to save them.
With the darker side of Talleyrand's character we have nothing to do here; it is sufficient for our purposes to say that the part the leading statesman of France took during the Cent Tours was simply nil. In 1814, he had let the reins slip through his hands; 1815 he could only follow the King, who even refused to adopt his advice as to the proper way in which to return to France, and though he once more became Chief Minister, Talleyrand, like Louis XVIII., owed his restoration in 1815 solely to the Allies.
The Comte d'Artois, the brother of the King, and later King himself as Charles X., was sent to Lyons, to which place the Duc d'Orleans followed him, and where the two Princes met Marshal Macdonald. The Marshal did all that man could do to keep the soldiers true to the Bourbons, but he had to advise the Princes to return to Paris, and he himself had to fly for his life when he attempted to stop Napoleon in person. The Duc d'Orleans was then sent to the north to hold Lille, where the King intended to take refuge, and the Comte d'Artois remained with the Court.
The Court was very badly off for money, the King, and Clarke, Duke of
Feltre, the War Minister, were the only happy possessors of carriages.
They passed their time, as the Abbe Louis once bitterly remarked, in
saying foolish things till they had a chance of doing them.
The Comte d'Artois, who, probably wisely, certainly cautiously, had refused to go with De Vitrolles to stir up the south until he had placed the King in safety, had ended by going to Ghent too, while the Duc de Berry was at Alost, close by, with a tiny army composed of the remains of the Maison du Roi, of which the most was made in reports. The Duc d'Orleans, always an object of suspicion to the King, had left France with the Royal party, but had refused to stay in Belgium, as he alleged that it was an enemy's country. He crossed to England where he remained, greatly adding to the anxiety of Louis by refusing to join him.
The end of these Princes is well known. Louis died in 1824, leaving his throne to his brother; but Charles only held it till 1830, when after the rising called "the three glorious days of July," he was civilly escorted from France, and took shelter in England. The Due Angouleme died without issue. The Duc de Berry was assassinated in 1820, but his widow gave birth to a posthumous son the Duc de Bordeaux, or, to fervid Royalists, Henri V., though better known to us as the Comte de Chambord, who died in 1883 without issue, thus ending the then eldest line of Bourbons, and transmitting his claims to the Orleans family. On the fall of Charles X. the Duc d'Orleans became King of the French, but he was unseated by the Revolution of 1848, and died a refugee in England. As the three Princes of the House of Conde, the Prince de Conde, his son, the Duc de Bourbon, and his: grandson, the Due d'Enghien, all died without further male issue, that noble line is extinct.
When the news of the escape of Napoleon from Elba reached Vienna on the 7th of March 1815, the three heads of the Allies, the Emperors of Austria and Russia, and the King of Prussia, were still there. Though it was said that the Congress danced but did not advance, still a great deal of work had really been done, and the news of Napoleon's landing created a fresh bond of union between the Allies which stopped all further chances of disunion, and enabled them to practically complete their work by the 9th of June 1815, though the treaties required cobbling for some years afterwards.
France, Austria, and England had snatched the greater part of Saxony from the jaws of Prussia, and Alexander had been forced to leave the King of Saxony to reign over half of his former subjects, without, as he wished, sparing him the pain of such a degradation by taking all from him. Russia had to be contented with a large increase of her Polish dominions, getting most of the Grand-Duchy of Westphalia. Austria had, probably unwisely, withdrawn from her former outlying provinces in Swabia and the Netherlands, which had before the Revolution made her necessarily the guardian of Europe against France, preferring to take her gains in Italy, gains which she has gradually lost in our days; while Prussia, by accepting the Rhine provinces, completely stepped into the former post of Austria. Indeed, from the way in which Prussia was, after 1815, as it were, scattered across Germany, it was evident that her fate must be. either to be crushed by France, or else, by annexing the states enclosed in her dominions, to become the predominating power in Germany. It was impossible for her to remain as she was left.
The Allies tightly bound France. They had no desire to have again to march on Paris to restore Louis to the subjects who had such unfortunate objections to being subjected to that desirable monarch. By the second Treaty of Paris, on the 20th of November 1815, France was to be occupied by an Allied force, in military positions on the frontier, not to exceed 150,000 men, to be taken from all the Allied armies, under a commander who was eventually the Duke of Wellington. Originally the occupation. was not to exceed five years, but in February 1817 the army was reduced by 30,000 men, one-fifth of each contingent; and by the Treaty of Aix-la- Chapelle of 9th October 1818, France was to-be evacuated by the 30th of November 1818.
The three monarchs were probably not sorry to get the Congress over on any terms. Alexander had had his fill of displaying himself in the salons in his favourite part of an Agamemnon generous towards Troy, and he had worn out his first popularity. He was stung by finding some of his favourite plans boldly opposed by Talleyrand and by Metternich, and, indeed, was anxious to meet the last in open combat. Francis had required all the firmness of what he called his Bohemian head to resist the threats, entreaties, and cajoleries employed to get him to acquiesce in the dethronement of the King of Saxony, and the wiping out of the Saxon nationality by the very alliance which professed to fight only for the rights of nations and of their lawful sovereigns.
All three monarchs had again the satisfaction of entering Paris, but without enjoying the full glories of 1814. "Our friends, the enemies" were not so popular then in France, and the spoliation of the Louvre was not pleasant even to the Royalists. The foreign monarchs soon returned to their own drained and impoverished States.
The Emperor Francis had afterwards a quiet reign to his death in 1835, having only to assist his Minister in snuffing out the occasional flashes of a love of freedom in Germany.
The King of Prussia returned in a triumph well won by his sturdy subjects, and, in the light of his new honours, the Countess Von Voss tells us he was really handsome. He was now at leisure to resume the discussions on uniform, and the work of fastening and unfastening the numerous buttons of his pantaloons, in which he had been so roughly interrupted by Jena. The first institution of the Zollverein, or commercial union with several States, gradually extended, was a measure which did much for the unification of Germany. With his brother sovereigns he revisited Paris at the end of the military occupation in 1818, remaining there longer than the others, "because," said the Parisians, "he had discovered an actor at a small theatre who achieved the feat of making him laugh." He died in 1840. His Queen—heartbroken, it was said—had died in 1810.
Alexander was still brimming over with the best and most benevolent intentions towards every one. The world was to be free, happy, and religious; but he had rather vague ideas as to how his plans were to be carried out. Thus it is characteristic that when his successor desired to have a solemn coronation as King of Poland it was found that Alexander had not foreseen the difficulties which were met with in trying to arrange for the coronation of a Sovereign of the Greek Church as King of a Roman Catholic State. The much-dreaded but very misty Holy Alliance was one of the few fruits of Alexander's visions. His mind is described as passing through a regular series of stages with each influence under which he acted. He ended his life, tired out, disillusioned, "deceived in everything, weighed down with regret;" obliged to crush the very hopes of his people he had encouraged, dying in 1825 at Taganrog, leaving his new Polish Kingdom to be wiped out by-his successors.
The minor sovereigns require little mention. They retained any titles they had received from Napoleon, while they exulted, at being free from his heavy hand and sharp superintendence. Each got a share, small or great, of the spoil except the poor King of Denmark, who, being assured by Alexander on his departure that he carried away all hearts, answered, "Yes, but not any souls."
The reintroduction of much that was bad in the old system (one country even going so far as to re-establish torture), the steady attack on liberty and on all liberal ideas, Wurtemberg being practically the only State which grumbled at the tightening of the reins so dear to Metternich,—all formed a fitting commentary on the proclamations by which the Sovereigns had hounded on their people against the man they represented as the one obstacle to the freedom and peace of Europe. In gloom and disenchantment the nations sat down to lick their wounds: The contempt shown by the monarchs for everything but the right of conquest, the manner in which they treated the lands won from Napoleon as a gigantic "pool" which was to be shared amongst them, so many souls to each; their total failure to fulfil their promises to their subjects of granting liberty,—all these slowly bore their fruits in after years, and their effects are not even yet exhausted. The right of a sovereign to hold his lands was now, by the public law of Europe, to be decided by his strength, The rights of the people were treated as not existing. Truly, as our most gifted poetess has sung—
"The Kings crept out—the peoples sat at home,
And finding the long invocated peace
(A pall embroidered with worn images
Of rights divine) too scant to cover doom
Such as they suffered, nursed the corn that grew
Rankly to bitter bread, on Waterloo."
Kings feel they are born general: whatever else they cannot do
That consolation which is always left to the discontented