Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, v10
Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

This etext was produced by David Widger

[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, at the end of several of the
files for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making
an entire meal of them. D.W.]



His Private Secretary

Edited by R. W. Phipps
Colonel, Late Royal Artillery





Abuse of military power--Defence of diplomatic rights--Marshal Brune
--Army supplies--English cloth and leather--Arrest on a charge of
libel--Dispatch from M. Talleyrand--A page of Napoleon's glory--
Interview between the two Emperors at Tilsit,--Silesia restored to
the Queen of Prussia--Unfortunate situation in Prussia--
Impossibility of reestablishing Poland in 1807--Foundation of the
Kingdom of Westphalia--The Duchy of Warsaw and the King of Saxony.

Meanwhile the internal affairs of the towns over which my diplomatic
jurisdiction extended soon gave me more employment than ever. The
greatest misfortune of the Empire was, perhaps, the abuse of the right
arrogated by the wearers of epaulettes. My situation gave me an
opportunity of observing all the odious character of a military
government. Another in my place could not have done all that I did. I
say this confidently, for my, situation was a distinct and independent
one, as Bonaparte had told me: Being authorised to correspond directly
with the Emperor; the military chiefs feared, if they did not yield to my
just representations, that I would made private reports; this
apprehension was wonderfully useful in enabling me to maintain the rights
of the towns, which had adopted me as their first citizen.

A circumstance occurred in which I had to defend the rights of the
diplomatic and commercial agents against the pretensions of military
power. Marshal Brune during his government at Hamburg, went to Bremman.
to watch the strict execution of the illusive blockade against England.
The Marshal acting no doubt, in conformity with the instructions of
Clarke, then Minister of War and Governor of Berlin, wished to arrogate
the right of deciding on the captures made by our cruisers.

He attempted to prevent the Consul Lagau from selling the confiscated
ships in order to sell them himself. Of this M. Lagau complained to me.
The more I observed a disposition to encroach on the part of the military
authorities, the more I conceived it necessary to maintain the rights of
the consuls, and to favour their influence, without which they would have
lost their consideration. To the complaints of M. Lagau I replied,
"That to him alone belonged the right of deciding, in the first instance,
on the fate of the ships; that he could not be deprived of that right
without changing the law; that he was free to sell the confiscated
Prussian ships; that Marshall Brune was at Bremen only for the execution
of the decree respecting the blockade of England, and that he ought not
to interfere in business unconnected with that decree." Lagau showed
this letter to Brune, who then allowed him to do as he wished; but it was
an affair of profit, and the Marshal for a long time owed me a grudge.

Bernadotte was exceedingly disinterested, but he loved to be talked
about. The more the Emperor endeavoured to throw accusations upon him,
the more he was anxious to give publicity to all his actions. He sent to
me an account of the brilliant affair of Braunsburg, in which a division
of the first corps had been particularly distinguished. Along with this
narrative he sent me a note in the following terms:--"I send you, my
dear. Minister, an account of the affair of Braunsburg. You will,
perhaps, think proper to publish it. In that case I shall be obliged by
your getting it inserted in the Hamburg journals," I did so. The
injustice of the Emperor, and the bad way in which he spoke of
Bernadotte, obliged the latter,--for the sake of his own credit, to make
the truth known to the world.

I have already mentioned that I received an order from the Emperor to
supply 50,000 cloaks for the army. With this order, which was not the
only one I received of the same kind, some circumstances were connected
which I may take the present opportunity of explaining.

The Emperor gave me so many orders for army clothing that all that could
be supplied by the cities of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck would have been
insufficient for executing the commissions. I entered into a treaty with
a house in Hamburg, which I authorised, in spite of the Berlin decree,
to bring cloth and leather from England. Thus I procured these articles
in a sure and cheap way. Our troops might have perished of cold had the
Continental system and the absurd mass of inexecutable decrees relative
to English merchandise been observed.

The Director of the Customs at Hamburg got angry, but I held firm: my
cloths and my leather arrived; cloaks, coats; boots, all were promptly
made, and our soldiers thus were sheltered from the severity of the
season. To preserve peace with the Imperial Custom-house I wrote to M.
Collie, then Director-General, that M. Eudel having wished to put in
execution the law of the 10th Brumaire and complaints had been made on
every side. Marshal Brune asked for my opinion on this matter, and I
gave it to him. I declared to M. Collie that the full execution of the
decree of 31st October 1796 was impracticable, injurious to France, and
to the Hanseatic Towns, without doing harm to England. Indeed, what said
article 5 of this law? "All goods imported from foreign countries,
whatever may be their origin, are to be considered as coming from English
manufacturers." According to this article France was a foreign country
for the Hanseatic Towns, and none of the objects enumerated in this
article ought to enter Hamburg! But the town received from England a
large quantity of fine cloths, buttons; ironmongery, toys, china; and
from France only clocks, bronzes, jewellery, ribbons, bonnets, gauzes and
gloves. "Let," said I to M. Eudel, "the Paris Duane be asked what that
town alone exports in matters of this sort and it will be seen how
important it is not to stop a trade all the more profitable to France,
as the workmanship forms the greatest part of the price of the goods
which make up this trade. What would happen if the importation of these
goods were absolutely prohibited in Hamburg? The consignments would
cease, and one of the most productive sources of trade for France, and
especially for Paris would be cut off."

At this time neither Hamburg nor its territory had any manufacture of
cloth. All woollen stuffs were prohibited, according to M. Eudel, and
still my duty was to furnish, and I had furnished, 50,000 cloaks for the
Grand Army. In compliance with a recent Imperial decree I had to have
made without delay 16,000 coats, 37,000 waistcoats, and the Emperor
required of me 200,000 pairs of boots, besides the 40,000 pairs I had
sent in. Yet M. Eudel said that tanned and worked leather ought not to
enter Hamburg! If such a ridiculous application of the law of 1796 had
been made it would have turned the decree of 21st November 1796 against
France, without fulfilling its object.

These reflections, to which I added other details, made the Government
conclude that I was right, and I traded with England to the great
advantage of the armies, which were well clothed and shod. What in the
world can be more ridiculous than commercial laws carried out to one's
own detriment?

At the beginning of 1807 my occupations at Hamburg were divided between
the furnishing of supplies for the army and the inspection of the
emigrants, whom Fouche pretended to dread in order to give greater
importance to his office.

I never let slip an opportunity of mitigating the rigour of Fouche's
orders, which, indeed, were sometimes so absurd that I did not attempt to
execute them. Of this an instance occurs to my recollection. A printer
at Hamburg had been arrested on the charge of having printed a libel in
the German language. The man was detained in prison because, very much
to his honour, he would not disclose the name of the writer of the
pamphlet. I sent for him and questioned him. He told me, with every
appearance of sincerity, that he had never but once seen the man who had
brought him the manuscript. I was convinced of the truth of what he
said, and I gave an order for his liberation. To avoid irritating the
susceptibility of the Minister of Police I wrote to him the following few
lines:--"The libel is the most miserable rhapsody imaginable. The author,
probably with the view of selling his pamphlet in Holstein, predicts that
Denmark will conquer every other nation and become the greatest kingdom
in the world. This alone will suffice to prove to you how little clanger
there is in rubbish written in the style of the Apocalypse."

After the battle of Eylau I received a despatch from M. de Talleyrand, to
which was added an account in French of that memorable battle, which was
more fatal to the conqueror than to the other party,--I cannot say the
conquered in speaking of the Russians, the more especially when I
recollect the precautions which were then taken throughout Germany to
make known the French before the Russian version. The Emperor was
exceedingly anxious that every one should view that event as he himself
viewed it. Other accounts than his might have produced an unfavourable
impression in the north. I therefore had orders to publish that account.
I caused 2000 copies of it to be issued, which were more than sufficient
for circulation in the Hanse Towns and their territories.

The reader will perhaps complain that I have been almost silent with
respect to the grand manoeuvres of the French army from the battle of
Eylau to that of Friedland, where, at all events, our success was
indisputable. There was no necessity for printing favourable versions of
that event, and, besides, its immense results were soon felt throughout
Europe. The interview at Tilsit is one of the culminating points of
modern history, and the waters of the Niemen reflected the image of
Napoleon at the height of his glory. The interview between the two
Emperors at Tilsit, and the melancholy situation of the King of Prussia,
are generally known. I was made acquainted with but few secret details
relative to those events, for Rapp had gone to Dantzic, and it was he who
most readily communicated to me all that the Emperor said and did, and
all that was passing around him.--

--[Savory gives the following account of the interview between
Napoleon and Alexander at Tilsit.

"The Emperor Napoleon, whose courtesy was manifest in all his
actions, ordered a large raft to be floated in the middle of the
river, upon which was constructed a room well covered in and
elegantly decorated having two doors on opposite aides, each of
which opened into an antechamber. The work could not have been
better executed in Paris. The roof was surmounted by two
weathercocks: one displaying the eagle of Russia, and the other the
eagle of France. The two outer doors were also surmounted by the
eagles of the two countries.

"The raft was precisely in the middle of the river, with the two
doors of the salon facing the two opposite banks.

"The two sovereigns appeared on the banks of the river, and embarked
at the same moment But the Emperor Napoleon having a good boat,
manned by marines of the Guard, arrived first on the raft, entered
the room, and went to the opposite door, which he opened, and then
stationed himself on the edge of the raft to receive the Emperor
Alexander, who had not yet arrived, not having each good rowers as
the Emperor Napoleon.

"The two Emperors met in the most amicable way, et least to all
appearance. They remained together for a considerable time, and
then took leave of each other with as friendly an air as that with
which they had met.

"Next day the Emperor of Russia established himself at Tilsit with a
battalion of his Guard. Orders were given for evacuating that part
of the town where he and his battalion were to be quartered; and,
though we were very much pressed for room, no encroachment on the
space allotted to the Russians was thought of.

"On the day the Emperor Alexander, entered Tilsit the whole army was
under arms. The Imperial Guard was drawn out in two lines of three
deep from the landing-place to the Emperor Napoleon's quarters, and
from thence to the quarters of the Emperor of Russia. A salute of
100 guns was fired the moment Alexander stepped ashore on the spot
where the Emperor Napoleon was waiting to receive him. The latter
carried his attention to his visitor so far as to send from his
quarters the furniture for Alexander's bedchamber. Among the
articles sent was a camp-bed belonging to the Emperor, which he
presented to Alexander, who appeared much pleased with the gift.

"This meeting; the first which history records of the same kind and
of equal importance, attracted visitors to Tilsit from 100 leagues
round. M. de Talleyrand arrived, and after the observance of the
usual ceremonies business began to be discussed." (Memoirs of the
Due de Rovigo, tome iii. p. 117).

"When," said Napoleon, "I was at Tilsit with the Emperor Alexander
and the King of Prussia, I was the most ignorant of the three in
military affairs. These two sovereigns, especially the King of
Prussia, were completely 'au fait' as to the number of buttons there
ought to be in front of a jacket, how many behind, and the manner in
which the skirts ought to be cut. Not a tailor in the army knew
better than King Frederick how many measures of cloth it took to
make a jacket. In fact," continued he laughing, "I was nobody in
comparison with them. They continually tormented me about matters
belonging to tailors, of which I was entirely ignorant, although, in
order not to affront them, I answered just as gravely as if the fate
of an army depended upon the cut of a jacket. When I went to see
the King of Prussia, instead of a library, I found that he had a
large room, like an arsenal, furnished with shelves and pegs; on
which were hung fifty or sixty jackets of different patterns. Every
day he changed his fashion and put on a different one. He attached
more importance to this than was necessary for the salvation of a
kingdom." (O'Meara's Napoleon in Exile.)]--

I, however, learned one circumstance peculiarly worthy of remark which
occurred in the Emperor's apartments at Tilsit the first time he received
a visit from the King of Prussia. That unfortunate monarch, who was
accompanied by Queen Louisa, had taken refuge in a mill beyond the town.
This was his sole habitation, whilst the Emperors occupied the two
portions of the town, which is divided by the Niemen. The fact I am
about to relate reached me indirectly through the medium of an offices of
the Imperial Guard, who was on duty in Napoleon's apartments and was an
eye-witness of it. When the Emperor Alexander visited Napoleon they
continued for a long time in conversation on a balcony below, where as
immense crowd hailed their meeting with enthusiastic shouts. Napoleon
commenced the conversation, as he did the year preceding with the Emperor
of Austria, by speaking of the uncertain fate of war. Whilst they were
conversing the King of Prussia was announced. The King's emotion was
visible, and may easily be imagined; for as hostilities were suspended,
and his territory in possession of the French, his only hope was in the
generosity of the conqueror. Napoleon himself, it is said, appeared
moved by his situation, and invited him, together with the Queen, to
dinner. On sitting down to table Napoleon with great gallantry told the
beautiful Queen that he would restore to her Silesia, a province which
she earnestly wished should be retained in the new arrangements which
were necessarily about to take place.

--[Las Cases mentions that at the time of the treaty of Tilsit
Napoleon wrote to the Empress Josephine as follows:

"'The Queen of Prussia is really a charming woman. She is fond of
coquetting with me; but do not be jealous: I am like oilcloth, along
which everything of this sort elides without penetrating. It would
cost me too dear to play the gallant'

"On this subject an anecdote was related in the salon of Josephine.
It was said that the Queen of Prussia one day had a beautiful rose
in her hand, which the Emperor asked her to give him. The Queen
hesitated for a few moments, and then presented it to him, saying,
'Why should I so readily grant what you request, while you remain
deaf to all my entreaties?' (She alluded to the fortress of
Magdeburg, which she had earnestly solicited)." (Memorial de St.

The treaty of peace concluded at Tilsit between France and Russia, on the
7th of July, and ratified two days after, produced no less striking a
change in the geographical division of Europe than had been effected the
year preceding by the Treaty of Presburg. The treaty contained no
stipulation dishonourable to Russia, whose territory was preserved
inviolate; but how was Prussia treated? Some historians, for the vain
pleasure of flattering by posthumous praises the pretended moderation of
Napoleon, have almost reproached him for having suffered some remnants of
the monarchy of the great Frederick to survive. There is, nevertheless,
a point on which Napoleon has been wrongfully condemned, at least with
reference to the campaign of 1807. It has been said that he should at
that period have re-established the kingdom of Poland; and certainly
there is every reason to regret, for the interests of France and Europe,
that it was not re-established. But when a desire, even founded on
reason, is not carried into effect, should we conclude that the wished-
for object ought to be achieved in defiance of all obstacles? At that
time, that is to say, during the campaign of Tilsit, insurmountable
obstacles existed.

If, however, by the Treaty of Tilsit, the throne of Poland was not
restored to serve as a barrier between old Europe and the Empire of the
Czars, Napoleon founded a Kingdom of Westphalia, which he gave to the
young 'ensigne de vaisseau' whom he had scolded as a schoolboy, and whom
he now made a King, that he might have another crowned prefect under his
control. The Kingdom of Westphalia was composed of the States of Hesse-
Cassel, of a part of the provinces taken from Prussia by the moderation
of the Emperor, and of the States of Paderborn, Fulda, Brunswick, and a
part of the Electorate of Hanover. Napoleon, at the same time, though he
did not like to do things by halves, to avoid touching the Russian and
Austrian provinces of old Poland, planted on the banks of the Vistula the
Grand Duchy of Warsaw, which he gave to the King of Saxony, with the
intention of increasing or destroying it afterwards as he might find
convenient. Thus he allowed the Poles to hope better things for the
future, and ensured to himself partisans in the north should the chances
of fortune call him thither. Alexander, who was cajoled even more than
his father had been by what I may call the political coquetry of
Napoleon, consented to all these arrangements, acknowledged 'in globo'
all the kings crowned by the Emperor, and accepted some provinces which
had belonged to his despoiled ally, the King of Prussia, doubtless by way
of consolation for not having been able to get more restored to Prussia.
The two Emperors parted the best friends in the world; but the
Continental system was still in existence.



Effect produced at Altona by the Treaty of Tilsit--The Duke of
Mecklenburg-Schwerin's departure from Hamburg--English squadron in
the Sound--Bombardment of Copenhagen--Perfidy of England--Remark of
Bonaparte to M. Lemercier--Prussia erased from the map--Napoleon's
return to Paris--Suppression of the Tribunate--Confiscation of
English merchandise--Nine millions gained to France--M. Caulaincourt
Ambassador to Russia--Repugnance of England to the intervention of
Russia--Affairs of Portugal--Junot appointed to command the army--
The Prince Regent's departure for the Brazils--The Code Napoleon--
Introduction of the French laws into Germany--Leniency of Hamburg
Juries--The stolen cloak and the Syndic Doormann.

The Treaty of Tilsit, as soon as it was known at Altona, spread
consternation amongst the emigrants. As to the German Princes, who were
awaiting the issue of events either at Altolna or Hamburg, when they
learned that a definitive treaty of peace had been signed between France
and Russia, and that two days after the Treaty of Tilsit the Prussian
monarchy was placed at the mercy of Napoleon, every courier that arrived
threw them into indescribable agitation. It depended on the Emperor's
will whether they were to be or not to be. The Duke of Mecklenburg-
Schwerin had not succeeded in getting himself re-established in his
states, by an exceptional decision, like the Duke of Weimar; but at
length he obtained the restitution of his territory at the request of the
Emperor Alexander, and on the 28th of July he quitted Hamburg to return
to his Duchy.

The Danish charge d'affaires communicated to me about the same time an
official report from his Government. This report announced that on
Monday, the 3d of August, a squadron consisting of twelve ships of the
line and twelve frigates, commanded by Admiral Gambier, had passed the
Sound. The rest of the squadron was seen in the Categat. At the same
time the English troops which were in the island of Rugen had reembarked.
We could not then conceive what enterprise this considerable force had
been sent upon. But our uncertainty was soon at an end. M. Didelot, the
French Ambassador at Copenhagen, arrived at Hamburg, at nine o'clock in
the evening of the 12th of August. He had been fortunate enough to pass
through the Great Belt, though in sight of the English, without being
stopped. I forwarded his report to Paris by an extraordinary courier.

The English had sent 20,000 men and twenty-seven vessels into the Baltic;
Lord Cathcart commanded the troops. The coast of Zealand was blockaded
by ninety vessels. Mr. Jackson, who had been sent by England to
negotiate with Denmark, which she feared would be invaded by the French
troops, supported the propositions he was charged to offer to Denmark by
a reference to this powerful British force. Mr. Jackson's proposals had
for their object nothing less than to induce the King of Denmark to place
in the custody of England the whole of his ships and naval stores. They
were, it is true, to be kept in deposit, but the condition contained the
words, "until the conclusion of a general peace," which rendered the
period of their restoration uncertain. They were to be detained until
such precautions should be no longer necessary. A menace and its
execution followed close upon this demand. After a noble but useless
resistance, and a terrific bombardment, Copenhagen surrendered, and the
Danish fleet was destroyed. It would be difficult to find in history a
more infamous and revolting instance of the abuse of power against

Sometime after this event a pamphlet entitled "Germania" appeared, which
I translated and sent to the Emperor. It was eloquently written, and
expressed the indignation which the conduct of England had excited in the
author as in every one else.

--["That expedition," said Napoleon at St. Helena, "showed great
energy on the part of your Ministers: but setting aside the
violation of the laws of, nations which you committed--for in fact
it was nothing but a robbery--I think that it was; injurious to your
interests, as it made the Danish nation irreconcilable enemies to
you, and in fact shut you out of the north for three years. When I
heard of it I said, I am glad of it, as it will embroil England
irrecoverably with the Northern Powers. The Danes being able to
join me with sixteen sail of the line was of but little consequence.
I had plenty of ships, and only wanted seamen, whom you did not
take, and whom I obtained afterwards, while by the expedition your
Ministers established their characters as faithless, and as persons
with whom no engagements, no laws were binding." (Voice from St.

I have stated what were the principal consequences of the Treaty of
Tilsit; it is more than probable that if the bombardment of Copenhagen
had preceded the treaty the Emperor would have used Prussia even worse
than he did. He might have erased her from the list of nations; but he
did not do so, out of regard to the Emperor Alexander. The destruction
of Prussia was no new project with Bonaparte. I remember an observation
of his to M. Lemercier upon that subject when we first went to reside at
Malmaison. M. Lemercier had been reading to the First Consul some poem
in which Frederick the Great was spoken of. "You seem to admire him
greatly," said Bonaparte to M. Lemercier; "what do you find in him so
astonishing? He is not equal to Turenne."--"General," replied M.
Lemercier, "it is not merely the warrior that I esteem in Frederick; it
is impossible to refrain from admiring a man who was a philosopher even
on the throne." To this the First Consul replied, in a half ill-humoured
tone, "Certainly, Lemercier; but Frederick's philosophy shall not prevent
me from erasing his kingdom from the map of Europe." The kingdom of
Frederick the Great was not, however, obliterated from the map, because
the Emperor of Russia would not basely abandon a faithful ally who had
incurred with him the chances of fortune. Prussia then bitterly had to
lament the tergiversations which had prevented her from declaring herself
against France during the campaign of Austerlitz.

Napoleon returned to Paris about the end of July after an absence of ten
months, the longest he had yet made since he had been at the head of the
French Government, whether as Consul or Emperor. The interview at
Tilsit, the Emperor Alexander's friendship, which was spoken of
everywhere in terms of exaggeration, and the peace established on the
Continent, conferred on Napoleon a moral influence in public opinion
which he had not possessed since his coronation. Constant in his hatred
of deliberative assemblies, which he had often termed collections of
babblers, ideologists, and phrasemongers, Napoleon, on his return to
Paris, suppressed the Tribunate, which had been an annoyance to him ever
since the first day of his elevation. The Emperor, who was 'skillful
above all men in speculating on the favourable disposition of opinion,
availed himself at this conjuncture of the enthusiasm produced by his
interview on the Niemen. He therefore discarded from the fundamental
institutions of the government that which still retained the shadow of a
popular character. But it was necessary that he should possess a Senate
merely to vote men; a mute Legislative Body to vote money; that there
should be no opposition in the one and no criticism in the other; no
control over him of any description; the power of arbitrarily doing
whatever he pleased; an enslaved press;--this was what Napoleon wished,
and this be obtained. But the month of March 1814 resolved the question
of absolute power!

In the midst of these great affairs, and while Napoleon was dreaming of
universal monarchy, I beheld in a less extensive sphere the inevitable
consequences of the ambition of a single man. Pillage and robbery were
carried on in all parts over which my diplomatic jurisdiction extended.
Rapine seemed to be legally authorised, and was perpetrated with such
fury, and at the same time with such ignorance, that the agents were
frequently unacquainted with the value of the articles which they seized.
Thus, for example, the Emperor ordered the seizure at Hamburg, Bremen,
and Lubeck of all English merchandise, whatever might be its nature or
origin. The Prince of Neufchatel (Berthier) wrote to me from the Emperor
that I must procure 10,000,000 francs from the Hanse Towns. M. Daru, the
Intendant-General, whose business it was to collect this sort of levy,
which Napoleon had learned to make in Egypt, wrote to urge me to obtain a
prompt and favourable decision. The unfortunate towns which I was thus
enjoined to oppress had already suffered sufficiently. I had obtained,
by means of negotiation, more than was demanded for the ransom of the
English merchandise, which had been seized according to order. Before I
received the letters of M. Darn and the Prince of Neufchatel I had
obtained from Hamburg 16,000,000 instead of 10,000,000, besides nearly
3,000,000 from Bremen and Lubeck. Thus I furnished the Government with
9,000,000 more than had been required, and yet I had so managed that
those enormous sacrifices were not overoppressive to those who made them.
I fixed the value of the English merchandise because I knew that the high
price at which it sold on the Continent would not only cover the proposed
ransom but also leave a considerable profit. Such was the singular
effect of the Continental system that when merchandise was confiscated,
and when afterwards the permission to sell it freely was given, the price
fetched at the sale was so large that the loss was covered, and even
great advantage gained.

Peace being concluded with Russia it was necessary to make choice of an
Ambassador, not only to maintain the new relations of amity between
Napoleon and Alexander, but likewise to urge on the promised intervention
of Russia with England,--to bring about reconciliation and peace between
the Cabinets of Paris and London. The Emperor confided this mission to
Caulaincourt, with respect to whom there existed an unfounded prejudice
relating to some circumstances which preceded the death of the Duc
d'Enghien. This unfortunate and unjust impression had preceded
Caulaincourt to St. Petersburg, and it was feared that he would not
experience the reception due to the French Ambassador and to his own
personal qualities. I knew at the time, from positive information, that
after a short explanation with Alexander that monarch retained no
suspicion unfavourable to our Ambassador, for whom he conceived and
maintained great esteem and friendship.

Caulaincourt's mission was not, in all respects, easy of fulfilment, for
the invincible repugnance and reiterated refusal of England to enter into
negotiations with France through the medium of Russia was one of the
remarkable circumstances of the period of which I am speaking. I knew
positively that England was determined never to allow Napoleon to possess
himself of the whole of the Continent,--a project which he indicated too
undisguisedly to admit of any doubt respecting it. For two years he had
indeed advanced with rapid strides; but England was not discouraged. She
was too well aware of the irritation of the sovereigns and the discontent
of the people not be certain that when she desired it, her lever of gold
would again raise up and arm the Continent against the encroaching power
of Napoleon. He, on his part, perceiving that all his attempts were
fruitless, and that England would listen to no proposals, devised fresh
plans for raising up new enemies against England.

It probably is not forgotten that in 1801 France compelled Portugal to
make common cause with her against England. In 1807 the Emperor did
again what the First Consul had done. By an inexplicable fatality Junot
obtained the command of the troops which were marching against Portugal.
I say against Portugal, for that was the fact, though France represented
herself as a protector to deliver Portugal from the influence of England.
Be that as it may, the choice which the Emperor made of a commander
astonished everybody. Was Junot, a compound of vanity and mediocrity,
the fit man to be entrusted with the command of an army in a distant
country, and under circumstances in which great political and military
talents were requisite? For my own part, knowing Junot's incapacity, I
must acknowledge that his appointment astonished me. I remember one day,
when I was speaking on the subject to Bernadotte, he showed me a letter
he had received from Paris, in which it was said that the Emperor had
sent Junot to Portugal only for the sake of depriving him of the
government of Paris. Junot annoyed Napoleon by his bad conduct, his
folly, and his incredible extravagance. He was alike devoid of dignity-
either in feeling or conduct. Thus Portugal was twice the place of exile
selected by Consular and Imperial caprice: first, when the First Consul
wished to get rid of the familiarity of Lannes; and next, when the
Emperor grew weary of the misconduct of a favourite.

The invasion of Portugal presented no difficulty. It was an armed
promenade and not a war; but how many events were connected with the
occupation of that country! The Prince Regent of Portugal, unwilling to
act dishonourably to England, to which he was allied by treaties; and
unable to oppose the whole power of Napoleon, embarked for Brazil,
declaring that all defence was useless. At the same time he recommended
his subjects to receive the French troops in a friendly manner, and said
that he consigned to Providence the consequences of an invasion which was
without a motive. He was answered in the Emperor's name that, Portugal
being the ally of England, we were only carrying on hostilities against,
the latter country by invading his dominions.

It was in the month of November that the code of French jurisprudence,
upon which the most learned legislators had indefatigably laboured, was
established as the law of the State, under the title of the Code
Napoleon. Doubtless this legislative monument will redound to Napoleon's
honour in history; but was it to be supposed that the same laws would be
equally applicable throughout so vast an extent as that comprised within
the French Empire? Impossible as this was, as soon as the Code Napoleon
way promulgated I received orders to establish it in the Hanse Towns.

--[This great code of Civil Law was drawn up under Napoleon's orders
and personal superintendence. Much had been prepared under the
Convention, and the chief merits of it were due to the labours of
such men as Tronchet; Partatis, Bigot de Preameneu, Maleville,
Cambaceres, etc. But it was debated under and by Napoleon, who took
a lively interest in it. It was first called the "Code Civil," but
is 1807 was named "Code Napoleon," or eventually "Les Cinq Codes de
Napoleon." When completed in 1810 it included five Codes--the Code
Civil, decreed March 1803; Code de Procedure Civile, decreed April
1806; Code de Commerce, decreed September 1807; Code d'Instruction
Criminelle, decreed November 1808; and the Code Penal, decreed
February 1810. It had to be retained by the Bourbons, and its
principles have worked and are slowly working their way into the law
of every nation. Napoleon was justly proud of this work. The
Introduction of the Code into the conquered countries was, as
Bourrienne says, made too quickly. Puymaigre, who was employed in
the administration of Hamburg after Bourrienne left, says, "I shall
always remember the astonishment of the Hamburgers when they were
invaded by this cloud of French officials, who, under every form,
made researches is their houses, and who came to apply the
multiplied demands of the fiscal system. Like Proteus, the
administration could take any shape. To only speak of my
department, which certainly was not the least odious one, for it was
opposed to the habits of the Hamburgers and annoyed all the
industries, no idea can be formed of the despair of the inhabitants,
subjected to perpetual visits, and exposed to be charged with
contraventions of the law, of which they knew nothing.

"Remembering their former laws, they used to offer to meet a charge
of fraud by the proof of their oath, and could not imagine that such
a guarantee could be repulsed. When they were independent they paid
almost nothing, and such was the national spirit, that in urgent
cases when money was wanted the senate taxed every citizen s certain
proportion of his income, the tenth or twentieth. A donator
presided over the recovery of this tax, which was done in a very
strange manner. A box, covered with a carpet, received the offering
of every citizen, without any person verifying the sum, and only on
the simple moral guarantee of the honesty of the debtor, who himself
judged the sum he ought to pay. When the receipt was finished the
senate always obtained more than it had calculated on." (Puymaigre,
pp, 181.)]--

The long and frequent conversations I had on this subject with the
Senators and the most able lawyers of the country soon convinced me of
the immense difficulty I should have to encounter, and the danger of
suddenly altering habits and customs which had been firmly established by

The jury system gave tolerable satisfaction; but the severe punishments
assigned to certain offences by the Code were disapproved of. Hence
resulted the frequent and serious abuse of men being acquitted whose
guilt was evident to the jury, who pronounced them not guilty rather than
condemn them to a punishment which was thought too severe. Besides,
their leniency had another ground, which was, that the people being
ignorant of the new law were not aware of the penalties attached to
particular offences. I remember that a man who was accused of stealing a
cloak at Hamburg justified himself on the ground that he committed the
offence in a fit of intoxication. M. Von Einingen, one of the jury,
insisted that the prisoner was not guilty, because, as he said, the
Syndic Doormann, when dining with him one day, having drunk more wine
than usual, took away his cloak. This defence per Baccho was completely
successful. An argument founded on the similarity between the conduct of
the Syndic and the accused, could not but triumph, otherwise the little
debauch of the former would have been condemned in the person of the
latter. This trial, which terminated so whimsically, nevertheless proves
that the best and the gravest institutions may become objects of ridicule
when suddenly introduced into a country whose habits are not prepared to
receive them.

The Romans very wisely reserved in the Capitol a place for the gods of
the nations they conquered. They wished to annex provinces and kingdoms
to their empire. Napoleon, on the contrary, wished to make his empire
encroach upon other states, and to realise the impossible Utopia of ten
different nations, all having different customs and languages, united
into a single State. Could justice, that safeguard of human rights, be
duly administered in the Hanse Towns when those towns were converted into
French departments? In these new departments many judges had been
appointed who did not understand a word of German, and who had no
knowledge of law. The presidents of the tribunals of Lilbeck, Stade,
Bremerlehe, and Minden were so utterly ignorant of the German language
that it was necessary to explain to them all the pleadings in the
council-chamber. Was it not absurd to establish such a judicial system,
and above all, to appoint such men in a country so important to France as
Hamburg and the Hanse Towns? Add to this the impertinence of some
favourites who were sent from Paris to serve official and legal
apprenticeships in the conquered provinces, and it may be easily
conceived what was the attachment of the people to Napoleon the Great.



Disturbed state of Spain--Godoy, Prince of the Peace--Reciprocal
accusations between the King of Spain and his son--False promise of
Napoleon--Dissatisfaction occasioned by the presence of the French
troops--Abdication of Charles IV.--The Prince of the Peace made
prisoner--Murat at Madrid--Important news transmitted by a
commercial letter--Murat's ambition--His protection of Godoy--
Charles IV, denies his voluntary abdication--The crown of Spain
destined for Joseph--General disapprobation of Napoleon's conduct--
The Bourbon cause apparently lost--Louis XVIII. after his departure
from France--As Comte de Provence at Coblentz--He seeks refuge in
Turin and Verona--Death of Louis XVII--Louis XVIII. refused an
asylum in Austria, Saxony, and Prussia--His residence at Mittan and
Warsaw--Alexander and Louis XVIII--The King's departure from Milan
and arrival at Yarmouth--Determination of the King of England--M.
Lemercier's prophecy to Bonaparte--Fouche's inquiries respecting
Comte de Rechteren--Note from Josephine--New demands on the Hanse
Towns--Order to raise 3000 sailors in Hamburg.

The disorders of Spain, which commenced about the close of the year 1807,
in a short time assumed a most complicated aspect. Though far from the
theatre of events I obtained an intimate knowledge of all the important
facts connected with the extraordinary transactions in the Peninsula.
However, as this point of history is one of the most generally, though I
cannot say the best, known, I shall omit in my notes and memoranda many
things which would be but repetitions to the reading portion of the
public. It is a remarkable fact that Bonaparte, who by turns cast his
eyes on all the States of Europe, never directed his attention to Spain
as long as his greatness was confined to mere projects. Whenever he
spoke of his future destiny he alluded to Italy, Germany, the East, and
the destruction of the English power; but never to Spain. Consequently,
when he heard of the first symptoms of disorder in the Peninsula he paid
but little attention to the business, and some time elapsed before he
took any part in events which subsequently had so great an influence on
his fate.

Godoy reigned in Spain under the name of the imbecile Charles IV. He was
an object of execration to all who were not his creatures; and even those
whose fate depended upon him viewed him with the most profound contempt.
The hatred of a people is almost always the just reward of favourites.
What sentiments, therefore, must have been inspired by a man who, to the
knowledge of all Spain, owed the favour of the king only to the favours
of the queen!

--[Manuel Godoy, originally a private in the guards, became the
paramour of Charles IV.'s Queen; then a grandee; and then the
supreme ruler of the State.--Editor of 1836 edition.]--

Godoy's ascendancy over the royal family was boundless; his power was
absolute: the treasures, of America were at his command, and he made the
most infamous use of them. In short, he had made the Court of Madrid one
of those places to which the indignant muse of Juvenal conducts the
mother of Britanicus. There is no doubt that Godoy was one of the
principal causes of all the misfortunes which have overwhelmed Spain
under so many various forms.

The hatred of the Spaniards against the Prince of the Peace was general.
This hatred was shared by the Prince the Asturias,--[Afterwards Ferdinand
VII.]-- who openly declared himself the enemy of Godoy. The latter
allied himself with France, from which he hoped to obtain powerful
protection against his enemies. This alliance gave rise to great
dissatisfaction in Spain, and caused France to be regarded with an
unfavourable eye. The Prince of the Asturias was encouraged and
supported by the complaints of the Spaniards, who wished to see the
overthrow of Godoy's power. Charles IV., on his part, regarded all
opposition to the Prince of the Peace as directed against himself, and in
November 1807 he accused his son of wishing to dethrone him.

The King of Spain did not confine himself to verbal complaints. He, or
rather the Prince of the Peace, acting in his name, arrested the warmest
partisans of the Prince of the Asturias. The latter, understanding the
sentiments of his father, wrote to Napoleon, soliciting his support.
Thus the father and son, at open war, were appealing one against another
for the support of him who wished only to get rid of them both, and to
put one of his brothers in their place, that he might have one junior
more in the college of European kings: but, as I have already mentioned,
this new ambition was not premeditated; and if he gave the throne of
Spain to his brother Joseph it was only on the refusal of his brother
Louis (King of Holland) to accept it.

The Emperor had promised to support Charles IV against his son; and, not
wishing to take part in these family quarrels, he had not answered the
first letters of the Prince of the Asturias. But finding that the
intrigues of Madrid were taking a serious turn, he commenced
provisionally by sending troops to Spain. This gave offence to the
people, who were averse to the interference of France. In the provinces
through which the French troops passed it was asked what was the object:
of the invasion. Some attributed it to the Prince of the Peace, others
to the Prince of the Asturias; but it excited general indignation, and
troubles broke out at Madrid accompanied by all the violence peculiar to
the Spanish character.

In these fearful circumstances Godoy proposed that Charles IV. should
remove to Seville, where he would be the better enabled to visit the
factious with punishment. A proposition from Godoy to his master was, in
fact, a command, and Charles IV. accordingly resolved to depart. The
people now looked upon Godoy as a traitor. An insurrection broke out,
the palace was, surrounded, and the, Prince of the Peace was on the point
of being massacred in an upper apartment, where he had taken refuge.

--[French troops had appeared in again some months before, on their
way to Portugal, the conquest of which country by Junot was to be
aided by Godoy and a Spanish force of 27,000 men, according to a
treaty (more disgraceful to the Court of Spain than to Bonaparte)
which had been ratified at Fontainebleau on the 27th of October
1807. Charles IV. was little better than an idiot, and Godoy and
the French made him believe that Bonaparte world give part, or the
whole of Portugal, to Spain. At the time of Junot's march on Lisbon
a reserve of 40,000 French troops were assembled at Bayonne--
a pretty clear indication, though the factious infatuated Court of
Madrid would not see it, that Bonaparte intended to seize the whole
of the Peninsula.--Editor of 1838 edition.]--

One of the mob had the presence of mind to invoke in his favour the name
of the Prince of the Asturias: this saved his life.

Charles IV. did not preserve his crown; he was easily intimidated, and
advantage was taken of a moment of alarm to demand that abdication which
he had not spirit to refuse. He surrendered up his rights to his son,
and thus was overthrown the insolent power of the Prince of the Peace;
the favourite was made prisoner, and the Spaniards, who, like all
ignorant people, are easily excited, manifested their joy on the occasion
with barbarous enthusiasm. Meanwhile the unfortunate King, who had
escaped from imaginary rather than real dangers, and who was at first
content with having exchanged the right of reigning for the right of
living, no sooner found himself in safety than he changed, his mind.
He wrote to the Emperor protesting against his abdication, and appealed.
to him as the arbiter of his future fate.

During these internal dissensions the French army was continuing its
march towards the Pyrenees. Those barriers were speedily crossed, and
Murat entered Madrid in the beginning of April 1808. Before I received
any despatch from our Government I learned that Murat's presence in
Madrid, far from producing a good effect, had only increased the
disorder. I obtained this information from a merchant of Lubeck who came
to Hamburg on purpose to show me a letter he had received from his
correspondent in Madrid. In this letter Spain was said to be a prey
which Murat wished to appropriate to himself; and all that afterwards
came to my knowledge served only to prove the accuracy of the writer's
information. It was perfectly true that Murat wished to conquer Spain
for himself, and it is not astonishing that the inhabitants of Madrid
should have understood his designs, for he carried his indiscretion so
far as openly to express his wish to become King of Spain. The Emperor
was informed of this, and gave him to understand, in very significant
terms, that the throne of Spain was not destined for him, but that he
should not be forgotten in the disposal of other crowns.

However, Napoleon's remonstrances were not sufficient to restrain the
imprudence of Murat; and if he did not gain the crown of Spain for
himself he powerfully contributed to make Charles IV. lose it. That
monarch, whom old habits attached to the Prince of the Peace, solicited
the Emperor to liberate his favourite, alleging that he and his family
would be content to live in any place of security provided Godoy were
with them. The unfortunate Charles seemed to be thoroughly disgusted
with greatness.

Both the King and Queen so earnestly implored Godoy's liberation that
Murat, whose vanity was flattered by these royal solicitations, took the
Prince of the Peace under his protection; but he at the same time
declared that, in spite of the abdication of Charles IV., he would
acknowledge none but that Prince as King of Spain until he should receive
contrary orders from the Emperor. This declaration placed Murat in
formal opposition to the Spanish people, who, through their hatred of
Godoy, embraced the cause of the heir of the throne; in whose favour
Charles IV. had abdicated.

It has been remarked that Napoleon stood in a perplexing situation in
this conflict between the King and his son. This is not correct. King
Charles, though he afterwards said that his abdication had been forced
from him by violence and threats, had nevertheless tendered it. By this
act Ferdinand was King, but Charles declared it was done against his
will, and he retracted. The Emperor's recognition was wanting, and he,
could give or withhold it as he pleased.

In this state of things Napoleon arrived at Bayonne. Thither Ferdinand
was also invited to go, under pretence of arranging with the Emperor the
differences between his father and himself. It was some time before he
could form his determination, but at length his ill-advised friends
prevailed on him to set off, and he was caught in the snare. What
happened to him, as well as to his father, who repaired to Bayonne with
his inseparable friend the Prince of the Peace is well known. Napoleon,
who had undertaken to be arbiter between the father and son, thought the
best way of settling the difference was to give the disputed throne to
his brother Joseph, thus verifying the fable of the "Two Lawyers and the
Oyster." The insurrection in Madrid on the 2d of May accelerated the
fate of Ferdinand, who was accused of being the author of it; at least
this suspicion fell on his friends and adherents.

Charles IV., it was said, would not return to Spain, and solicited an
asylum in France. He signed a renunciation of his rights to the crown of
Spain, which renunciation was also signed by the Infantas.

Napoleon now issued a decree, appointing "his dearly beloved brother
Joseph Napoleon, King of Naples and Sicily, to the crowns of Spain and
the Indies." By a subsequent decree, 15th of July, he appointed "his
dearly-beloved cousin, Joachim Murat, Grand Duke of Berg, to the throne
of Naples and Sicily, which remained vacant by the accession of Joseph
Napoleon to the kingdoms of Spain and the Indies." Both these documents
are signed Napoleon, and countersigned by the Minister Secretary of
State, Maret.

The Prince Royal of Sweden, who was at Hamburg at this time, and the
Ministers of all the European power, loudly condemned the conduct of
Napoleon with respect to Spain. I cannot say whether or not M. de
Talleyrand advised the Emperor not to attempt the overthrow of a branch
of the house of Bourbon; his good sense and elevated views might
certainly have suggested that advice. But the general opinion was that,
had he retained the portfolio of foreign affairs, the Spanish revolution
would have terminated with more decorum and good faith than was exhibited
in the tragi-comedy acted at Madrid and Bayonne.

After the Treaty of Tilsit and the bonds of friendship which seemed
likely to produce a permanent union between the Emperors of France and
Russia, the cause of the Bourbons must have been considered irretrievably
lost. Indeed, their only hope consisted in the imprudence and folly of
him who had usurped their throne, and that hope they cherished. I will
here relate what I had the opportunity of learning respecting the conduct
of Louis XVIII. after his departure from France; this will naturally
bring me to the end of November 1807, at which time I read in the Abeille
du Nord published on the 9th of the same month, that the Comte de Lille
and the Due d'Angouleme had set off for England.

The Comte de Provence, as Louis' title then went, left Paris on the 21st
of June 1791. He constantly expressed his wish of keeping as near as
possible to the frontiers of France. He at first took up his abode at
Coblentz, and I knew from good authority that all the emigrants did not
regard him with a favourable eye. They could not pardon the wise.
principles he had professed at a period when there was yet time to
prevent, by reasonable concession, the misfortunes which imprudent
irritation brought upon France. When the emigrants, after the campaign
of 1792, passed the Rhine, the Comte de Provence resided in the little
town of Ham on the Lippe, where he remained until he was persuaded that
the people of Toulon had called him to Provence. As he could not, of
course, pass through France, Monsieur repaired to the Court of his
father-in-law, the King of Sardinia, hoping to embark at Genoa, and from
thence to reach the coast of Provence. But the evacuation of Toulon,
where the name of Bonaparte was for the first time sounded by the breath
of fame, having taken place before he was able to leave Turin, Monsieur
remained there four months, at the expiration of which time his father-
in-law intimated to him the impossibility of his remaining longer in the
Sardinian States. He was afterwards permitted to reside at Verona, where
he heard of Louis XVI.'s death. After remaining two years in that city
the Senate of Venice forbade his presence in the Venetian States. Thus
forced to quit Italy the Comte repaired to the army of Conde.

The cold and timid policy of the Austrian Cabinet afforded no asylum to
the Comte de Provence, and he was obliged to pass through Germany; yet,
as Louis XVIII. repeated over and over again, ever since the Restoration,
"He never intended to shed French blood in Germany for the sake of
serving foreign interests." Monsieur had, indeed, too much penetration
not to see that his cause was a mere pretext for the powers at war with
France. They felt but little for the misfortunes of the Prince, and
merely wished to veil their ambition and their hatred of France under the
false pretence of zeal for the House of Bourbon.

When the Dauphin died, Louis XVIII. took the title of King of France, and
went to Prussia, where he obtained an asylum.

--[His brother, Charles X., the youngest of the three grandsons of
Louis XV. (Louis XVI., Louis XVIII. Charles X.), the Comte
d'Artois, afterwards Charles X. emigrated in 1789, and went to
Turin and Mantas for 1789 and 1790. In 1791 and 1792 he lived at
Coblenta, Worms, Brussels, Vienna, and at Turin. From 1792 to 1812
he lived at Ham on the Lippe at Westphalia at London, and for most
of the time at Holyrood, Edinburgh. During this time he visited
Russia and Germany, and showed himself on the coast of France. In
1818 he went to Germany, and in 1814 entered France in rear of the
allies. In risking his person in the daring schemes of the
followers who were giving their lives for the cause of his family he
displayed a circumspection which was characterised by them with
natural warmth.

"Sire, the cowardice of your brother has ruined all;" so Charette is
said to have written to Louis XVIII.]--

But the pretender to the crown of France had not yet drained his cup of
misfortune. After the 18th Fructidor the Directory required the King of
Prussia to send away Louis XVIII., and the Cabinet of Berlin, it must be
granted, was not in a situation to oppose the desire of the French
Government, whose wishes were commands. In vain Louis XVIII. sought an
asylum in the King of Saxony's States. There only remained Russia that
durst offer a last refuge to the descendant of Louis XIV. Paul I., who
was always in extremes, and who at that time entertained a violent
feeling of hatred towards France, earnestly offered Louis XVIII., a
residence at Mittau. He treated him with the honours of a sovereign,
and loaded him with marks of attention and respect. Three years had
scarcely passed when Paul was seized with mad enthusiasm for the man who
twelve years later, ravaged his ancient capital, and Louis XVIII. found
himself expelled from that Prince's territory with a harshness equal to
the kindness with which he had at first been received.

It was during, his three, years' residence at Mittau that Louis XVIII.,
who was then known by the title of Comte de Lille, wrote to the First
Consul those letters which have been referred to in these Memoirs.
Prussia, being again solicited, at length consented that Louis XVIII.
should reside at Warsaw; but on the accession of Napoleon to the Empire
the Prince quitted that residence in order to consult respecting his new
situation with the only sovereign who had not deserted him in his
misfortune, viz. the King of Sweden. They met at Colmar, and from that
city was dated the protest which I have already noticed. Louis XVIII.
did not stay long in the States of the King of Sweden. Russia was now on
the point of joining her eagles with those of Austria to oppose the new
eagles of imperial France. Alexander offered to the Comte de Lille the
asylum which Paul had granted to him and afterwards withdrawn. Louis
XVIII. accepted the offer, but after the peace of Tilsit, fearing lest
Alexander might imitate the second act of his father as well as the
first, he plainly saw that he must give up all intention of residing on
the Continent; and it was then that I read in the 'Abeille du Nord' the
article before alluded to. There is, however, one fact upon which I must
insist, because I know it to be true, viz. that it was of his own free
will that Louis XVIII. quitted Mittau; and if he was afraid that
Alexander would imitate his father's conduct that fear was without
foundation. The truth is, that Alexander was ignorant even of the King's
intention to go away until he heard from Baron von Driesen, Governor of
Mittau, that he had actually departed. Having now stated the truth on
this point I have to correct another error, if indeed it be only an
error, into which some writers have fallen. It has been falsely alleged
that the King left Mittau for the purpose of fomenting fresh troubles in
France. The friends of Louis XVIII., who advised him to leave Mittau,
had great hopes from the last war. They cherished still greater hopes
from the new wars which Bonaparte's ambition could not fail to excite,
but they were not so ill-informed respecting the internal condition of
France as to expect that disturbances would arise there, or even to
believe in the possibility of fomenting them. The pear was not yet ripe
for Louis XVIII.

On the 29th of November the contents of a letter which had arrived from
London by way of Sweden were communicated to me. This letter was dated
the 3d of November, and contained some particulars respecting the Comte
de Lille's arrival in England. That Prince had arrived at Yarmouth on
the 31st of October 1807, and it was stated that the King was obliged to
wait some time in the port until certain difficulties respecting his
landing and the continuance of his journey should be removed. It
moreover appeared from this letter that the King of England thought
proper to refuse the Comte de Lille permission to go to London or its
neighbourhood. The palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh was assigned as his
place of residence; and Mr. Ross, secretary to Mr. Canning, conveyed the
determination of the King of England to Louis XVIII., at Yarmouth.

The precaution of the English Ministry in not permitting the refugee King
to go near London appeared to me remarkable, considering the relative
position of the Governments of France and England, and I regarded it as a
corroboration of what the Prince Wittgenstein had told me respecting Mr.
Canning's inclination for an amicable arrangement. But the moment was
approaching when the affairs of Spain were to raise an invincible
obstacle to peace, to complicate more than ever the interests of the
powers of Europe, and open to Napoleon that vast career of ambition which
proved his ruin. He did not allow the hopes of the emigrants to remain
chimerical, and the year 1814 witnessed the realization of the prophetic
remark made by M. Lemereier, in a conversation with Bonaparte a few days
before the foundation of the Empire: "If you get into the bed of the
Bourbons, General, you will not lie in it ten year." Napoleon occupied
it for nine years and nine months.

Fouche, the grand investigator of the secrets of Europe, did not fail, on
the first report of the agitations in Spain, to address to me question on
question respecting the Comte de Rechteren, the Spanish Minister at
Hamburg, who, however, had left that city, with the permission of his
Court, four months after I had entered on my functions. This was going
back very far to seek information respecting the affairs of the day. At
the very moment when I transmitted a reply to Fouche which was not
calculated to please him, because it afforded no ground for suspicion as
to the personal conduct of M. de Rechteren, I received from the amiable
Josephine a new mark of her remembrance. She sent me the following note:

"M. Milon, who is now in Hamburg, wishes me, my dear Bourrienne, to
request that you will use your interest in his favour. I feel the more
pleasure in making this request as it affords me an opportunity of
renewing the assurance of my regard for you."

Josephine's letter was dated from Fontainebleau, whither the Emperor used
to make journeys in imitation of the old Court of France. During these
excursions he sometimes partook of the pleasures of the chase, but merely
for the sake of reviving an old custom, for in that exercise he found as
little amusement as Montaigne did in the game of chess,

At Fontainebleau, as everywhere else, his mind was engaged with the means
of augmenting his greatness, but, unfortunately, the exactions he imposed
on distant countries were calculated to alienate the affections of the
people. Thus, for example, I received an order emanating from him, and
transmitted to me by M. Daru, the Intendant-General of the army, that the
pay of all the French troops stationed in the Hanse Towns should be
defrayed by these towns. I lamented the necessity of making such a
communication to the Senates of Bremen, Lubeck, and Hamburg; but my duty
compelled me to do so, and I had long been accustomed to fulfil duties
even more painful than this. I tried every possible means with the three
States, not collectively but separately, to induce them to comply with
the measure, in the hope that the assent of one would help me to obtain
that of the two others. But, as if they, had been all agreed, I only
received evasive expressions of regret.

Knowing as I did, and I may say better than any one else, the hopes and
designs of Bonaparte respecting the north of Germany, it was not without
pain, nor even without alarm, that I saw him doing everything calculated
to convert into enemies the inhabitants of a country which would always
have remained quiet had it only been permitted to preserve its
neutrality. Among the orders I received were often many which could only
have been the result of the profoundest ignorance. For example, I was
one day directed to press 3000 seamen in the Hanse Towns. Three thousand
seamen out of a population of 200,000! It was as absurd as to think of
raising 500,000 sailors in France. This project being impossible, it was
of course not executed; but I had some difficulty in persuading the
Emperor that a sixth of the number demanded was the utmost the Hanse
Towns could supply. Five hundred seamen were accordingly furnished, but
to make up that number it was necessary to include many men who were
totally unfit for war service.



Departure of the Prince of Ponte-Corvo--Prediction and superstition
--Stoppage of letters addressed to the Spanish troops--La Romana and
Romanillos--Illegible notifications--Eagerness of the German Princes
to join the Confederation of the Rhine--Attack upon me on account of
M. Hue--Bernadotte's successor in Hamburg--Exactions and tyrannical
conduct of General Dupas--Disturbance in Hamburg--Plates broken in a
fit of rage--My letter to Bernadotte--His reply--Bernadotte's return
to Hamburg, and departure of Dupas for Lubeck--Noble conduct of the
'aide de camp' Barrel.

In the spring of 1808 a circumstance occurred which gave, me much
uneasiness; it was the departure of Bernadotte, Prince of Ponte-Corvo,
who received orders to repair to Copenhagen. He left Hamburg on the 8th
of March, as he was to reach his destination on the 14th of the same
month. The Danish charge d'affaires also received orders to join the
Prince, and discharge the functions of King's commissary. It was during
his government at Hamburg and his stay in Jutland that Bernadotte
unconsciously paved his way to the throne of Sweden. I recollect that he
had also his presages and his predestinations. In short, he believed in
astrology, and I shall never forget the serious tone in which he one day
said to me, "Would you believe, my dear friend, that it was predicted at
Paris that I should be a King, but that I must cross the sea to reach my
throne?" I could not help smiling with him at this weakness of mind,
from which Bonaparte was not far removed. It certainly was not any
supernatural influence which elevated Bernadotte to sovereign rank.
That elevation was solely due to his excellent character. He had no
other talisman than the wisdom of his government, and the promptitude
which he always, showed to oppose unjust measures. This it was that
united all opinions in his favour.

The bad state of the roads in the north prolonged Bernadotte's journey
one day. He set out on the 8th of March; he was expected to arrive at
Copenhagen on the l4th, but did not reach there till the 15th. He
arrived precisely two hours before the death of Christian, King of
Denmark, an event with which he made me acquainted by letter written two
days after his arrival.

On the 6th of April following I received a second letter from Bernadotte,
in which he desired me to order the Grand Ducal postmaster to keep back
all letters addressed to the Spanish troops, who had been placed under
his command, and of which the corps of Romana formed part. The
postmaster was ordered to keep the letters until he received orders to
forward them to their destinations. Bernadotte considered this step
indispensable, to prevent the intrigues which he feared might be set on
foot in order to shake the fidelity of the Spaniards he commanded. I saw
from his despatch that he feared the plotting of Romanillos, who,
however, was not a person to cause much apprehension. Romanillos was as
commonplace a man as could well be conceived; and his speeches, as well
as his writings, were too innocent to create any influence on public

In addition to the functions with which the Emperor at first invested me,
I had to discharge the duties of French Consul-General at Hamburg, and in
that character I was obliged to present to the Minister for Foreign
Affairs a very singular request, viz. that the judicial notifications,
which as Consul-General I had to make known to the people of Hamburg,
might be written in a more legible hand. Many of these notifications had
been disregarded on account of the impossibility of reading them: With
respect to one of them it was declared that it was impossible to discover
whether the writing was German, French, or Chinese.

I shall not record all the acts of spoliation committed by second-rate
ambitious aspirants who hoped to come in for their share in the division
of the Continent: The Emperor's lieutenants regarded Europe as a
twelfthcake, but none of them ventured to dispute the best bit with
Napoleon. Long would be the litany were I to enregister all the fraud
and treachery which they committed, either to augment their fortunes or
to win the favour of the chief who wished to have kings for his subjects.
The fact is, that all the Princes of Germany displayed the greatest
eagerness to range themselves under the protection of Napoleon, by,
joining the Confederation of the Rhine. I received from those Princes
several letters which served to prove at once the influence of Napoleon
in Germany and the facility with which men bend beneath the yoke of a new
power. I must say that among the emigrants who remained faithful to
their cause there were some who evinced more firmness of character than
the foreign Princes. I may mention, for example, M. Hue, the 'valet de
chambre' of Louis XVI. I do not intend to deny the high regard I
entertained for that faithful servant of the martyred King; but the
attentions which I congratulate myself on having shown to an excellent
man should not have subjected me to false imputations.

I have read the following statement in a publication:

"M. Hue retired to Hamburg, where he passed nine, months in perfect
obscurity. He afterwards went to Holland, provided with a passport
from Bourrienne, who was Napoleon's Minister, though in disgrace,
and who, foreseeing what was to happen, sought to ingratiate himself
in the favour of the Bourbons."

The above passage contains a falsehood in almost every line. M. Hue
wished to reside in Hamburg, but he did not wish to conceal himself.
I invited him to visit me, and assured him that he might remain in
Hamburg without apprehension, provided he acted prudently. He wished to
go to Holland, and I took upon myself to give him a passport. I left M.
Hue in the free management of his business, the nature of which I knew
very well, and which was very honourable; he was deputed to pay the
pensions which Louis XVIII. granted to the emigrants. As for myself, I
had tendered my resignation of private secretary to Bonaparte; and even
admitting I was in disgrace in that character, I was not so as Minister
and Consul-General at Hamburg. My situation, which was of little
consequence at the time I was appointed to it, was later on rendered
exceedingly important by circumstances. It was, in fact, a sort of
watch-tower of the Government, whence all the movements of northern
Germany were observed; and during my residence in the Hanse Towns I
continually experienced the truth of what Bonaparte said to me at my
farewell audience--"Yours is a place independent and apart."

It is absurd to say that the kindness I showed to M. Hue was an attempt
to ingratiate myself with the Bourbons. My attentions to him were
dictated solely by humanity, unaccompanied by any afterthought. Napoleon
had given me his confidence, and by mitigating the verity of his orders
I served him better than they who executed them in a way which could not
fail to render the French Government odious. If I am accused of
extending every possible indulgence to the unfortunate emigrants, I plead
guilty; and, far from wishing to defend myself against the charge, I
consider it honourable to me. But I defy any one of them to say that I
betrayed in their favour the interests with which I was entrusted. They
who urged Bonaparte to usurp the crown of France served, though perhaps
unconsciously, the cause of the Bourbons. I, on the contrary, used all
my endeavours to dissuade him from that measure, which I clearly saw
must, in the end, lead to the restoration, though I do not pretend that I
was sufficiently clear-sighted to guess that Napoleon's fall was so near
at hand. The kindness I showed to M. Hue and his companions in
misfortune was prompted by humanity, and not by mean speculation.
As well might it be said that Bernadotte, who, like myself, neglected
no opportunity of softening the rigour of the orders he was deputed to
execute, was by this means working his way to the throne of Sweden.

Bernadotte had proceeded to Denmark to take the command of the Spanish
and French troops who had been removed from the Hanse Towns to occupy
that kingdom, which was then threatened by the English. His departure
was a great loss to me, for we had always agreed respecting the measures
to be adopted, and I felt his absence the more sensibly when I was
enabled to make a comparison between him and his successor. It is
painful to me to detail the misconduct of those who injured the French
name in Germany, but in fulfilment of the task I have undertaken, I am
bound to tell the truth.

In April 1808 General Dupas came to take the command of Hamburg, but only
under the orders of Bernadotte, who retained the supreme command of the
French troops in the Hanse Towns. By the appointment of General Dupas
the Emperor cruelly thwarted the wishes and hopes of the inhabitants of
Lower Saxony. That General said of the people of Hamburg, "As long as I
see those . . . driving in their carriages I can get money from them."
It is, however, only just to add, that his dreadful exactions were not
made on his own account, but for the benefit of another man to whom he
owed his all, and to whom he had in some measure devoted his existence.

I will state some particulars respecting the way in which the generals
who commanded the French troops at Hamburg were maintained. The Senate
of Hamburg granted to the Marshals thirty friederichs a day for the
expenses of their table exclusive of the hotel in which they were lodged
by the city. The generals of division had only twenty friederichs.
General Dupas wished to be provided for on the same footing as the
Marshals. The Senate having, with reason, rejected this demand, Dupas
required that he should be daily served with a breakfast and a dinner of
thirty covers. This was an inconceivable burden, and Dupas cost the city
more than any of his predecessors.

I saw an account of his expenses, which during the twenty-one weeks he
remained at Hamburg amounted to 122,000 marks, or about 183,000 francs.
None but the most exquisite wines were drunk at the table of Dupas. Even
his servants were treated with champagne, and the choicest fruits were
brought from the fine hothouses of Berlin. The inhabitants were
irritated at this extravagance, and Dupas accordingly experienced the
resistance of the Senate.

Among other vexations there was one to which the people could not readily
submit. In Hamburg, which had formerly been a fortified town, the custom
was preserved of closing the gates at nightfall. On Sundays they were
closed three-quarters of an hour later, to avoid interrupting the
amusements of the people.

While General Dupas was Governor of Hamburg an event occurred which
occasioned considerable irritation in the public mind, and might have
been attended by fatal consequences. From some whim or other the General
ordered the gates to be closed at seven in the evening, and consequently
while it was broad daylight, for it was in the middle of spring; no
exception was made in favour of Sunday, and on that day a great number of
the inhabitants who had been walking in the outskirts of the city
presented themselves at the gate of Altona for admittance. To their
surprise they found the gate closed, though it was a greater thoroughfare
than any other gate in Hamburg. The number of persons, requiring
admittance increased, and a considerable crowd soon collected. After
useless entreaties had been addressed to the chief officer of the post
the people were determined to send to the Commandant for the keys. The
Commandant arrived, accompanied by the General. When they appeared it
was supposed they had come for the purpose of opening the gates, and they
were accordingly saluted with a general hurrah! which throughout almost
all the north is the usual cry for expressing popular satisfaction.
General Dupas not understanding the meaning of this hurrah! supposed it
to be a signal for sedition, and instead of ordering the gates to be
opened he commanded the military to fire upon the peaceful citizens,.
who only wanted to return to their homes. Several persons were killed,
and others more or less seriously wounded. Fortunately, after this first
discharge the fury of Dupas was appeased; but still he persisted in
keeping the gates closed at night. Next day an order was posted about
the city prohibiting the cry of hurrah! under pain of a severe
punishment. It was also forbidden that more than three persona should
collect together in the streets. Thus it was that certain persons
imposed the French yoke upon towns and provinces which were previously

Dupas was as much execrated in the Hanse Towns as Clarke had been in
Berlin when he was governor of that capital during the campaign of 1807.
Clarke had burdened the people of Berlin with every kind of oppression
and exaction. He, as well as many others, manifested a ready obedience
in executing the Imperial orders, however tyrannical they might be; and
Heaven knows what epithets invariably accompanied the name of Clarke when
pronounced by the lips of a Prussian.

Dupas seemed to have taken Clarke as his model. An artillery officer,
who was in Hamburg at the time of the disturbance I have just mentioned,
told me that it was he who was directed to place two pieces of light-
artillery before the gate of Altona. Having executed this order, he went
to General Dupas, whom he found in a furious fit of passion, breaking and
destroying everything within his reach. In the presence of the officer
he broke more than two dozen plates which were on the table before him:
these plates, of course, had cost him very little!

On the day after the disturbance which had so fatal a termination I wrote
to inform the Prince of Porte-Corvo of what had taken place; and in my
letter I solicited the suppression of an extraordinary tribunal which had
been created by General Dupas. He returned me an immediate answer,
complying with my request. His letter was as follows:

I have received your letter, my dear Minister: it forcibly conveys
the expression of your right feeling, which revolts against
oppression, severity, and the abase of power. I entirely concur in
your view of the subject, and I am distressed whenever I see such
acts of injustice committed. On an examination of the events which
took place on the 19th it is impossible to deny that the officer who
ordered the gates to be closed so soon was in the wrong; and next,
it may be asked, why were not the gates opened instead of the,
military being ordered to fire on the people? But, on the other
hand, did not the people evince decided obstinacy and
insubordination? were they not to blame in throwing stones at the
guard, forcing the palisades, and even refusing to listen to the
voice of the magistrates? It is melancholy that they should have
fallen into these excesses, from which, doubtless, they would have
refrained had they listened to the civil chiefs, who ought to be
their first directors. Finally, my dear Minister, the Senator who
distributed money at the gate of Altona to appease the multitude
would have done better had he advised them to wait patiently until
the gates were opened; and he might, I think, have gone to the
Commandant or the General to solicit that concession.

Whenever an irritated mob resorts to violence there is no safety for
any one. The protecting power mast then exert its utmost authority
to stop mischief. The Senate of ancient Rome, so jealous of its
prerogatives, assigned to a Dictator, in times of trouble, the power
of life and death, and that magistrate knew no other code than his
own will and the axe of his lictors. The ordinary laws did not
resume their course until the people returned to submission.

The event which took place in Hamburg produced a feeling of
agitation of which evil-disposed persons might take advantage to
stir up open insurrection. That feeling could only be repressed by
a severe tribunal, which, however, is no longer necessary. General
Dupas has, accordingly, received orders to dissolve it, and justice
will resume her usual course.
DENSEL, 4th May, 1808.

When Bernadotte returned to Hamburg he sent. Dupas to Lubeck. That
city, which was poorer than Hamburg, suffered cruelly from the visitation
of such a guest.

Dupas levied all his exactions in kind, and indignantly spurned every
offer of accepting money, the very idea of which, he said, shocked his
delicacy of feeling. But his demands became so extravagant that the city
of Lubeck was utterly unable to satisfy them. Besides his table, which
was provided in the same style of profusion as at Hamburg, he required to
be furnished with plate, linen, wood, and candles; in short, with the
most trivial articles of household consumption.

The Senate deputed to the incorruptible General Dupas M. Nolting, a
venerable old man, who mildly represented to him the abuses which were
everywhere committed in his name, and entreated that he would vouchsafe
to accept twenty Louis a day to defray the expenses of his table alone.
At this proposition General Dupes flew into a rage. To offer him money
was an insult not to be endured! He furiously drove the terrified
Senator out of the house, and at once ordered his 'aide de camp' Barrel
to imprison him. M. de Barrel, startled at this extraordinary order,
ventured to remonstrate with the General, but in vain; and, though
against his heart, he was obliged to obey. The aide de camp accordingly
waited upon the Senator Notting, and overcome by that feeling of respect
which gray hairs involuntarily inspire in youth, instead of arresting
him, he besought the old man not to leave his house until he should
prevail on the General to retract his orders. It was not till the
following day that M. de Barrel succeeded in getting these orders
revoked--that is to say, he obtained M. Notting's release from
confinement; for Dupas would not be satisfied until he heard that the
Senator had suffered at least the commencement of the punishment to which
his capricious fury had doomed him.

In spite of his parade of disinterestedness General Dupas yielded so far
as to accept the twenty Louis a day for the expense of his table which
M. Notting had offered him on the part of the Senate of Lubeck; but it
was not without murmurings, complaints, and menaces that he made this
generous concession; and he exclaimed more than once, "These fellows have
portioned out my allowance for me." Lubeck was not released from the
presence of General Dupes until the month of March 1809, when he was
summoned to command a division in the Emperor's new campaign against
Austria. Strange as it may appear, it is nevertheless the fact, that,
oppressive as had been his presence at Lubeck, the Hanse Towns soon had
reason to regret him.



Promulgation of the Code of Commerce--Conquests by Status-consulte--
Three events in one day--Recollections--Application of a line of
Voltaire--Creation of the Imperial nobility--Restoration of the
university--Aggrandisement of the kingdom of Italy at the expense of
Rome--Cardinal Caprara'a departure from Paris--The interview at

The year 1808 was fertile in remarkable events. Occupied as I was with
my own duties, I yet employed my leisure hours in observing the course of
those great acts by which Bonaparte seemed determined to mark every day
of his life. At the commencement of 1808 I received one of the first
copies of the Code of Commerce, promulgated on the 1st of January by the
Emperor's order. This code appeared to me an act of mockery; at least it
was extraordinary to publish a code respecting a subject which it was the
effect of all the Imperial decrees to destroy. What trade could possibly
exist under the Continental system, and the ruinous severity of the
customs? The line was already extended widely enough when, by a
'Senatus-consulte', it was still further widened. The Emperor, to whom
all the Continent submitted, had recourse to no other formality for the
purpose of annexing to the Empire the towns of Kehl, Cassel near Mayence,
Wesel, and Flushing, with the territories depending on them.

--[A resolution of the senate, or a "Senatus-consulte" was the means
invented by Napoleon for altering the imperial Constitutions, and
even the extent of the Empire. By one of these, dated 21st January
1808, the towns of Kehl, Cassel, and Wesel, with Flushing, all
already seized, were definitely united to France. The loss of
Wesel, which belonged to Murat's Grand Duchy of Berg, was a very
sore point with Murat.]--

These conquests, gained by decrees and senatorial decisions, had at least
the advantage of being effected without bloodshed. All these things were
carefully communicated to me by the Ministers with whom I corresponded,
for my situation at Hamburg had acquired such importance that it was
necessary I should know everything.

At this period I observed among the news which I received from different
places a singular coincidence of dates, worthy of being noted by the
authors of ephemrides. On the same day-namely, the 1st of February
Paris, Lisbon, and Rome were the scenes of events of different kinds,
but, as they all happened on one day, affording a striking example of the
rapidity of movement which marked the reign of Bonaparte. At Paris the
niece of Josephine, Mademoiselle de Tascher, whom Napoleon had lately
exalted to the rank of Princess, was married to the reigning Prince of
Ahremberg, while at the same time Junot declared to Portugal that the
house of Braganza had ceased to reign, and French troops were, under the
command of General Miollis, occupying Rome. This occupation was the
commencement of prolonged struggles, during which Pins VII. expiated the
condescension he had shown in going to Paris to crown Napoleon.

Looking over my notes, I see it was the day after these three events
occurred that Bonaparte gave to his brother-in-law, Prince Borghese, the
Governorship-General of the departments beyond the Alps which he had just
founded; and of which he made the eighth Grand Dignitary of the Empire.
General Menou, whom I had not seen since Egypt, was obliged by this
appointment to leave Turin, where he had always remained. Bonaparte, not
wishing to permit him to come to Paris, sent Menou to preside over the
Junta of Tuscany, of which he soon afterwards made another General-
Governorship, which he entrusted to the care of his sister Elisa.

--[Prince Camille Philippe Louis Borghese (1755-1832), an Italian,
had married, 6th November 1808, Pauline Bonaparte, the sister of
Napoleon, and the widow of General Leclerc. He had been made Prince
and Duke of Guastalla when that duchy was given to his wife, 30th
Marsh 1806. He separated from his wife after a few years. Indeed
Pauline was impossible as a wife if half of the stories about her
are true. It was she who, finding that a lady was surprised at her
having sat naked while a statue of her was being modelled for
Canova, believed she had satisfactorily explained matters by saying,
"but there was a fire in the room."]--

My correspondence relative to what passed in the south of France and of
Europe presented to me, if I may so express myself, merely an anecdotal
interest. Not so the news which came from the north. At Hamburg I was
like the sentinel of an advanced post, always on the alert. I frequently
informed the Government of what would take place before the event
actually happened. I was one of the first to hear of the plans of Russia
relative to Sweden. The courier whom I sent to Paris arrived there at
the very moment when Russia made the declaration of war. About the end
of February the Russian troops entered Swedish Finland, and occupied also
the capital of that province, which had at all times been coveted by the
Russian Government. It has been said that at the interview at Erfurt
Bonaparte consented to the usurpation of that province by Alexander in
return for the complaisance of the latter in acknowledging Joseph as King
of Spain and the Indies.

The removal of Joseph from the throne of Naples to the throne of Madrid
belongs, indeed, to that period respecting which I am now throwing
together a few recollections. Murat had succeeded Joseph at Naples, and
this accession of the brother-in-law of Napoleon to one of the thrones of
the House of Bourbon gave Bonaparte another junior in the college of
kings, of which he would have infallibly become the senior if he had gone
on as he began.

I will relate a little circumstance which now occurs to me respecting the
kings manufactured by Napoleon. I recollect that during the King of
Etruria's stay in Paris--the First Consul went with that Prince to the
Comedie Francaise, where Voltaire's 'OEdipus' was performed. This piece,
I may observe, Bonaparte liked better than anything Voltaire ever wrote.
I was in the theatre, but not in the First Consul's box, and I observed,
as all present must have done, the eagerness with which the audience
applied to Napoleon and the King of Etruria the line in which Philoctetes

"J'ai fait des souverains et n'ai pas voulu l'etre."

["I have made sovereigns, but have not wished to be one myself."]

The application was so marked that it could not fail to become the
subject of conversation between the First Consul and me. "You remarked
it, Bourrienne?" . . . "Yes, General." . . "The fools! . . .
They shall see! They shall see! "We did indeed see. Not content with
making kings, Bonaparte, when his brow was encircled by a double crown,
after creating princes at length realised the object he had long
contemplated, namely, to found a new nobility endowed with hereditary
rights. It was at the commencement of March 1808 that he accomplished
this project; and I saw in the 'Moniteur' a long list of princes, dukes,
counts, barons, and knights of the Empire; there were wanting only
viscounts and marquises.

At the same time that Bonaparte was founding a new nobility he determined
to raise up the old edifice of the university, but on a new foundation.
The education of youth had always been one of his ruling ideas, and I had
an opportunity of observing how he was changed by the exercise of
sovereign power when I received at Hamburg the statutes of the new elder
daughter of the Emperor of the French, and compared them with the ideas
which Bonaparte, when General and First Consul, had often expressed to me
respecting the education which ought to be given youth. Though the sworn
enemy of everything like liberty, Bonaparte had at first conceived a vast
system of education, comprising above all the study of history, and those
positive sciences, such as geology and astronomy, which give the utmost
degree of development to the human mind. The Sovereign, however, shrunk
from the first ideas of the man of genius, and his university, confided
to the elegant suppleness of M. de Fontaines, was merely a school capable
of producing educated subjects but not enlightened men.

Before taking complete possession of Rome, and making it the second city
of the Empire, the vaunted moderation of Bonaparte was confined to
dismembering from it the legations of Ancona, Urbino, Macerata, and
Camerino, which were divided into three departments; and added to the
Kingdom of Italy. The patience of the Holy See could no longer hold out
against this act of violence, and Cardinal Caprara, who had remained in
Paris since the coronation, at last left that capital. Shortly
afterwards the Grand Duchies of Parma and Piacenza were united to the
French Empire, and annexed to the government of the departments beyond
the Alps. These transactions were coincident with the events in Spain
and Bayonne before mentioned.

After the snare laid at Bayonne the Emperor entered Paris on the 14th of
August, the eve of his birthday. Scarcely had he arrived in the capital
when he experienced fresh anxiety in consequence of the conduct of
Russia, which, as I have stated, had declared open war with Sweden, and
did not conceal the intention of seizing Finland. But Bonaparte,
desirous of actively carrying on the war in Spain, felt the necessity of
removing his troops from Prussia to the Pyrenees. He then hastened the
interview at Erfurt, where the two Emperors of France and Russia had
agreed to meet. He hoped that this interview would insure the
tranquillity of the Continent, while he should complete the subjection of
Spain to the sceptre of Joseph. That Prince had been proclaimed on the
8th of June; and on the 21st of the same month he made his entry into
Madrid, but having received, ten days after, information of the disaster
at Baylen, he was obliged to leave the Spanish capital.

--[The important battle of Daylen, where the French, under General
Dupont, were beaten by the Spaniards, was fought on the 19th of July

Bonaparte's wishes must at this time have been limited to the
tranquillity of the Continent, for the struggle between him and England
was more desperate than ever. England had just sent troops to Portugal
under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley. There was no longer any hope
of a reconciliation with Great Britain: The interview at Erfurt having
been determined on, the Emperor, who had returned from Bayonne to Paris,
again left the capital about the end of September, and arrived at Metz
without stopping, except for the purpose of reviewing the regiments which
were echeloned on his route, and which were on their march from the Grand
Army to Spain.

I had heard some time previously of the interview which was about to take
place, and which was so memorable in the life of Napoleon. It excited so
much interest in Germany that the roads were covered with the equipages
of the Princes who were going to Erfurt to witness the meeting. The
French Emperor arrived there before Alexander, and went forward three
leagues to meet him. Napoleon was on horseback, Alexander in a carriage.
They embraced, it is said, in a manner expressive of the most cordial
friendship. This interview was witnessed by most of the sovereign
Princes of Germany. However, neither the King of Prussia nor the Emperor
of Austria was present. The latter sovereign sent a letter to Napoleon,
of which I obtained a copy. It was as follows:

SIRE, MY BROTHER,--My Ambassador in Paris informs me that your
Majesty is about to proceed to Erfurt to meet the Emperor Alexander.
I eagerly seize the opportunity of your approach to my frontier to
renew those testimonials of friendship and esteem which I have
pledged to you; and I send my Lieutenant-General, Baron Vincent, to
convey to you the assurance of my unalterable sentiments. If the
false accounts that have been circulated respecting the internal
institutions which I have established in my monarchy should for a
moment have excited your Majesty's doubts as to my intentions, I
fatter myself that the explanations given on that subject by Count
Metternich to your Minister will have entirely removed them. Baron
Vincent is enabled to confirm to your Majesty all that has been said
by Count Metternich on the subject, and to add any further
explanations, you may wish for. I beg that your Majesty will grant
him the same gracious reception he experienced at Paris and at
Warsaw. The renewed marks of favour you may bestow on him will be
an unequivocal pledge of the reciprocity of your sentiments, and
will seal that confidence which will render our satisfaction mutual.

Deign to accept the assurance of the unalterable affection and
respect with which I am, Sire, my Brother, Your imperial and royal
Majesty's faithful brother and friend,
(Signed) FRANCIS.
PRESBURG, 8th September 1808.

This letter appears to be a model of ambiguity, by which it is impossible
Napoleon could have been imposed upon. However, as yet he had no
suspicion of the hostility of Austria, which speedily became manifest;
his grand object then was the Spanish business, and, as I have before
observed, one of the secrets of Napoleon's genius was, that he did not
apply himself to more than one thing at a time.

At Erfurt Bonaparte attained the principal object he had promised himself
by the meeting. Alexander recognized Joseph in his new character of King
of Spain and the Indies. It has been said that as the price of this
recognition Napoleon consented that Alexander should have Swedish
Finland; but for the truth of this I cannot vouch. However, I remember
that when, after the interview at Erfurt, Alexander had given-orders to
his ambassador to Charles IV. to continue his functions under King
Joseph, the Swedish charge d'affaires at Hamburg told me that
confidential letters received by him from Erfurt led him to fear that the
Emperor Alexander had communicated to Napoleon his designs on Finland,
and that Napoleon had given his consent to the occupation. Be this as it
may, as soon as the interview was over Napoleon returned to Paris, where
he presided with much splendour at the opening of the Legislative Body,
and set out in the month of November for Spain.



The Spanish troops in Hamburg--Romana's siesta--His departure for
Funen--Celebration of Napoleon's birthday--Romana's defection--
English agents and the Dutch troops--Facility of communication
between England and the Continent--Delay of couriers from Russia--
Alarm and complaints--The people of Hamburg--Montesquieu and the
Minister of the Grand Duke of Tuscany--Invitations at six months--
Napoleon's journey to Italy--Adoption of Eugene--Lucien's daughter
and the Prince of the Asturias--M. Auguste de Stael's interview with

Previous to the interview at Erfurt an event took place which created a
strong interest in Hamburg and throughout Europe, an event which was
planned and executed with inconceivable secrecy. I allude to the
defection of the Marquis de la Romans, which I have not hitherto noticed,
in order that I might not separate the different facts which came to my
knowledge respecting that defection and the circumstances which
accompanied it.

The Marquis de la Romans had come to the Hanse Towns at the head of an
army corps of 18,000 men, which the Emperor in the preceding campaign
claimed in virtue of treaties previously concluded with the Spanish
Government. The Spanish troops at first met with a good reception in the
Hanse Towns. The difference of language, indeed, occasionally caused
discord, but when better acquainted the inhabitants and their visitors
became good friends. The Marquis de la Romans was a little swarthy man,
of unprepossessing and rather common appearance; but he had a
considerable share of talent and information. He had travelled in almost
every part of Europe, and as he had been a close observer of all he saw
his conversation was exceedingly agreeable and instructive.

During his stay at Hamburg General Romans spent almost every evening at
my house, and invariably fell asleep over a game at whist. Madame de
Bourrienne was usually his partner, and I recollect he perpetually
offered apologies for his involuntary breach of good manners. This,
however, did not hinder him from being guilty of the same offence the
next evening. I will presently explain the cause of this regular siesta.

On the King of Spain's birthday the Marquis de la Romans gave a
magnificent entertainment. The decorations of the ballroom consisted of
military emblems. The Marquis did the honours with infinite grace, and
paid particular attention to the French generals. He always spoke of the
Emperor in very respectful terms, without any appearance of affectation,
so that it was impossible to suspect him of harbouring disaffection. He
played his part to the last with the utmost address. At Hamburg we had
already received intelligence of the fatal result of the battle of the
Sierra Morena, and of the capitulation of Dupont, which disgraced him at
the very moment when the whole army marked him out as the man most likely
next to receive the baton of Marshal of France.

Meanwhile the Marquis de la Romans departed for the Danish island of
Funen, in compliance with the order which Marshal Bernadotte had
transmitted to him. There, as at Hamburg, the Spaniards were well liked,
for their general obliged them to observe the strictest discipline.
Great preparations were made in Hamburg on the approach of Saint
Napoleon's day, which was then celebrated with much solemnity in every
town in which France had representatives. The Prince de Ponte-Corvo was
at Travemunde, a small seaport near Lubeck, but that did not prevent him
from giving directions for the festival of the 15th of August. The
Marquis de la Romana, the better to deceive the Marshal, despatched a
courier, requesting permission to visit Hamburg on the day of the fete in
order to join his prayers to those of the French, and to receive, on the
day of the fete, from the hands of the Prince, the grand order of the
Legion of Honour, which he had solicited, and which Napoleon had granted
him. Three days after Bernadotte received intelligence of the defection
of de la Romana. The Marquis had contrived to assemble a great number of
English vessels on the coast, and to escape with all his troops except a
depot of 600 men left at Altona. We afterwards heard that he experienced
no interruption on his passage, and that he landed with his troops at
Corunna. I now knew to what to attribute the drowsiness which always
overcame the Marquis de la Romana when he sat down to take a hand at
whist. The fact was, he sat up all night making preparations for the
escape which he had long meditated, while to lull suspicion he showed
himself everywhere during the day, as usual.

On the defection of the Spanish troops I received letters from Government
requiring me to augment my vigilance, and to seek out those persons who
might be supposed to have been in the confidence of the Marquis de la
Romans. I was informed that English agents, dispersed through the Hanse
Towns, were endeavouring to foment discord and dissatisfaction among the
King of Holland's troops. These manoeuvres were connected with the
treason of the Spaniards and the arrival of Danican in Denmark.
Insubordination had already broken out, but it was promptly repressed.
Two Dutch soldiers were shot for striking their officers, but
notwithstanding this severity desertion among the troops increased to an
alarming degree. Indefatigable agents in the pay of the English
Government laboured incessantly to seduce the soldiers of King Louis (of
Holland) from their duty. Some of these agents being denounced to me
were taken almost in the act, and positive proof being adduced of their
guilt they were condemned to death.

These indispensable examples of severity did not check the manoeuvres of
England, though they served to cool the zeal of her agents. I used every
endeavour to second the Prince of Ponte-Corvo in tracing out the persons
employed by England. It was chiefly from the small island of Heligoland
that they found their way to the Continent. This communication was
facilitated by the numerous vessels scattered about the small islands
which lie along that coast. Five or six pieces of gold defrayed the
expense of the passage to or from Heligoland. Thus the Spanish news,
which was printed and often fabricated at London, was profusely
circulated in the north of Germany. Packets of papers addressed to
merchants and well-known persons in the German towns were put into the
post-offices of Embden, Kuipphausen, Varel, Oldenburg, Delmenhorst, and
Bremen. Generally speaking, this part of the coast was not sufficiently
well watched to prevent espionage and smuggling; with regard to
smuggling, indeed, no power could have entirely prevented it. The
Continental system had made it a necessity, so that a great part of the
population depended on it for subsistence.

In the beginning of December 1808 we remarked that the Russian courier
who passed through Konigsberg and Berlin, was regularly detained four,
five, and even six hours on his way to Hamburg. The trading portion of
the population, always suspicious, became alarmed at this chance in the
courier's hours, into which they inquired and soon discovered the cause.
It was ascertained that two agents had been stationed by the postmaster
of the Grand Duchy of Berg at Hamburg, in a village called Eschburg
belonging to the province of Lauenburg. There the courier from Berlin
was stopped, and his packets and letters opened. As soon as these facts
were known in Hamburg there was a general consternation among the trading
class-that is to say, the influential population of the city. Important
and well-grounded complaints were made. Some letters had been
suppressed, enclosures had been taken from one letter and put into
another, and several bills of exchange had gone astray. The intelligence
soon reached the ears of the Prince of Ponte-Corvo, and was confirmed by
the official report of the commissioner for the Imperial and Royal Post-
office, who complained of the delay of the courier, of the confusion of
the packets, and of want of confidence in the Imperial Post-office. It
was impolitic to place such agents in a village where there was not even
a post-office, and where the letters were opened in an inn without any
supervision. This examination of the letters, sometimes, perhaps,
necessary, but often dangerous, and always extremely delicate, created
additional alarm, on account of the persons to whom the business was
entrusted. If the Emperor wished to be made acquainted with the
correspondence of certain persons in the north it would have been natural
to entrust the business to his agents and his commissioner at Hamburg,
and not to two unknown individuals--another inconvenience attending black
cabinets. At my suggestion the Prince of Ponte-Corvo gave orders for
putting a stop to the clandestine business at Eschburg. The two agents
were taken to Hamburg and their conduct inquired into. They were
severely punished. They deserved this, however, less than those who had
entrusted them with such an honourable mission; but leaders never make
much scruple about abandoning their accomplices in the lower ranks.

But for the pain of witnessing vexations of this sort, which I had not
always power to prevent, especially after Bernadotte's removal, my
residence at Hamburg would have been delightful. Those who have visited
that town know the advantages it possesses from its charming situation on
the Elbe, and above all, the delightful country which surrounds it like a
garden, and extends to the distance of more than a league along the banks
of the Eyder. The manners and customs of the inhabitants bear the stamp
of peculiarity; they are fond of pursuing their occupations in the open
air. The old men are often seen sitting round tables placed before their
doors sipping tea, while the children play before them, and the young
people are at their work. These groups have a very picturesque effect,
and convey a gratifying idea of the happiness of the people. On seeing
the worthy citizens of Hamburg assembled round their doors I could not
help thinking of a beautiful remark of Montesquieu. When he went to
Florence with a letter of recommendation to the Prime Minister of the
Grand Duke of Tuscany he found him sitting at the threshold of his door,
inhaling the fresh air and conversing with some friends. "I see," said
Montesquieu, "that I am arrived among a happy people, since their Prime
Minister can enjoy his leisure moments thus."

A sort of patriarchal simplicity characterises the manners of the
inhabitants of Hamburg. They do not visit each other much, and only by
invitation; but on such occasions they display great luxury beneath their
simple exterior. They are methodical and punctual to an extraordinary
degree. Of this I recollect a curious instance. I was very intimate
with Baron Woght, a man of talent and information, and exceedingly
amiable manners. One day he called to make us a farewell visit as he
intended to set out on the following day for Paris. On Madame de
Bourrienne expressing a hope that he would not protract his absence
beyond six months, the period he had fixed upon, he replied, "Be assured,
madame, nothing shall prevent me getting home on the day I have
appointed, for I have invited a party of friends to dine with me on the
day after my return." The Baron returned at the appointed time, and none
of his guests required to be reminded of his invitation at six months'

Napoleon so well knew the effect which his presence produced that after a
conquest he loved to show himself to the people whose territories he
added to the Empire. Duroc, who always accompanied him when he was not
engaged on missions, gave me a curious account of Napoleon's journey in
1807 to Venice and the other Italian provinces, which, conformably with
the treaty of Presburg, were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.

In this journey to the Kingdom of Italy Napoleon had several important
objects in view. He was planning great alliances; and he loaded Eugene
with favours for the purpose of sounding him and preparing him for his
mother's divorce. At the same time he intended to have an interview with
his brother Lucien, because, wishing to dispose of the hand of his
brother's daughter, he thought of making her marry the Prince of the
Asturias (Ferdinand), who before the Spanish war, when the first
dissensions between father and son had become manifest, had solicited an
alliance with the Emperor in the hope of getting his support. This was
shortly after the eldest son of Louis had died in Holland of croup. It
has been wrongly believed that Napoleon had an affection for this child
beyond that of an uncle for a nephew. I have already said the truth
about this.

However this may be, it is certain that Napoleon now seriously
contemplated a divorce from Josephine. If there had been no other proof
of this I, who from long habit knew how to read Napoleon's thoughts by
his acts, found a sufficient one in the decree issued at Milan by which
Napoleon adopted Eugene as his son and successor to the crown of Italy,
in default of male and legitimate children directly descended from him.
Lucien went to Mantua on his brother's invitation, and this was the last
interview they had before the Cent Tours. Lucien consented to give his
daughter to the Prince of the Asturias, but this marriage did not take
place. I learned from Duroc to what a height the enmity of Lucien
towards the Beauharnais family, an enmity which I have often had occasion
to speak of, had been renewed on this occasion. Lucien could not pardon
Josephine for the rebuff of the counsels which he had given her, and
which she had rejected with such proper indignation. Lucien had besides
another special reason for giving his daughter to the Prince of the
Asturias. He particularly wished to prevent that Prince marrying
Mademoiselle de Tascher, the niece of Josephine, a marriage for which M.
de Beauharnais, then Ambassador of France at Madrid, was working with all
his might. Lucien also, with his Republican stolidity, submitted without
too much scruple to the idea of having a Bourbon King as son-in-law. It
was also during this journey of Napoleon that he annexed Tuscany to the

Bonaparte returned to Paris on the 1st of January 1808. On his way he
stopped for a short time at Chambery, where a young man had been waiting
for him several days. This was Madame de Stael's son, who was then not
more than seventeen years of age. M. Auguste de Stael lodged at the
house of the postmaster of Chambery, and as the Emperor was expected in
the course of the night, he gave orders that he should be called up on
the arrival of the first courier. The couriers, who had been delayed on
the road, did not arrive until six in the morning, and were almost
immediately followed by the Emperor himself, so that M, de Stael was
awakened by the cries of Vive l'Empereur! He had just time to dress
himself hastily, and fly to meet Napoleon, to whom he delivered a letter,
which he had prepared beforehand for the purpose of soliciting an
audience. Lauriston, the aide de camp on duty, took the letter, it being
his business to receive all the letters and petitions which were
presented to Napoleon on his way. Before breakfast the Emperor opened
the letters which Lauriston had laid on the table; he merely looked at
the signatures, and then laid them aside. On opening M. de Stael's
letter he said, "Ah! ah! what have we here? a letter from M. de Stael!
. . . He wishes to see me: . . . What can he want? . . . Can
there be anything in common between me and the refugees of Geneva?"--
"Sire," observed Lauriston, "he is a very young man; and, as well as I
could judge from the little I saw of him, there is something very
prepossessing in his appearance."--"A very young man, say you? . . .
Oh, then I will see him . . . . Rustan, tell him to come in."
M. de Stael presented himself to Napoleon with modesty, but without any
unbecoming timidity. When he had respectfully saluted the Emperor a
conversation ensued between them, which Duroc described to me in nearly
the following manner.

As M. de Stael advanced towards the Emperor the latter said, "Whence do
you come?"--"From Geneva, Sire."--"Where is your mother?"--"She is either
in Vienna or will soon be there."--"At Vienna! . . . Well, that is
where she ought to be; and I suppose she is happy . . . . She will
now have a good opportunity of learning German."--"Sire, how can you
imagine my mother is happy when she is absent from her country and her
friends? If I were permitted to lay before your Majesty my mother's
confidential letter you would see how unhappy she is in her exile."--
"Ah, bah! your mother unhappy, indeed! . . . However, I do not mean
to say she is altogether a bad woman . . . . She has talent--perhaps
too much; and hers is an unbridled talent. She was educated amidst the
chaos of the subverted monarchy and the Revolution; and out of these
events she makes an amalgamation of her own! All this might become very
dangerous. Her enthusiasm is likely to make proselytes. I must keep
watch upon her. She does not like me; and for the interests of those
whom she would endanger I must prohibit her coming to Paris."

Young De Stael stated that his object in seeking the interview with the
Emperor was to petition for his mother's return to Paris. Napoleon
having listened without impatience to the reasons he urged in support of
his request, said, "But supposing I were to permit your mother to return
to Pairs, six months would not elapse before I should be obliged to send
her to the Bicetre or to the Temple. This I should be sorry to do,
because the affair would make a noise, and injure me in public opinion.
Tell your mother that my determination is formed, that my decision is
irrevocable. She shall never set foot in Paris as long as I live."--
"Sire, I cannot believe that you would arbitrarily imprison my mother if
she gave you no reason for such severity."--"She would give me a dozen!
. . . I know her well."--"Sire, permit me to say that I am certain my
mother would live in Paris in a way that would afford no ground of
reproach; she would live retired, and would see only a very few friends.
In spite of your Majesty's refusal I venture to entreat that you will
give her a trial, were it only for six weeks or a month. Permit her,
Sire, to pass that time in Paris, and I conjure you to come to no final
decision beforehand."--"Do you think I am to be deceived by these fair
promises? . . . I tell you it cannot be. She would serve as a
rallying point for the Faubourg St. Germain. She see nobody, indeed!
Could she make that sacrifice? She would visit and receive company. She
would be guilty of a thousand follies. She would be saying things which
she may consider as very good jokes, but which I should take seriously.
My government is no joke: I wish this to be well known by everybody."--
"Sire, will your Majesty permit me to repeat that my mother has no wish
whatever to mingle in society? She would confine herself to the circle
of a few friends, a list of whom she would give to your Majesty. You,
Sire, who love France so well, may form some idea of the misery my mother
suffers in her banishment. I conjure your Majesty to yield to my
entreaties, and let us be included in the number of your faithful
subjects."--"You!"--"Yes, Sire; or if your Majesty persist in your
refusal, permit a son to inquire what can have raised your displeasure
against his mother. Some say that it was my grandfather's last work; but
I can assure your Majesty that my mother had nothing to do with that."--
"Yes, certainly," added Napoleon, with more ill-humour than he had
hitherto manifested. "Yes, certainly, that work is very objectionable.
Your grandfather was an ideologist, a fool, an old lunatic. At sixty
years of age to think of forming plans to overthrow my constitution!
States would be well governed, truly, under such theorists, who judge of
men from books and the world from the map."--"Sire, since my
grandfather's plans are, in your Majesty's eyes, nothing but vain
theories, I cannot conceive why they should so highly excite your
displeasure. There is no political economist who has not traced out
plans of constitutions."--"Oh! as to political economists, they are mere-
visionaries, who are dreaming of plans of finance while they are unfit to
fulfil the duties of a schoolmaster in the most insignificant village in
the Empire. Your grandfather's work is that of an obstinate old man who
died abusing all governments."--"Sire, may I presume to suppose, from the
way in which you speak of it, that your Majesty judges from the report of
malignant persons, and that you have not yourself read it."

"That is a mistake. I have read it myself from beginning to end."--
"Then your Majesty must have seen how my grandfather renders justice to
your genius."--"Fine justice, truly! . . . He calls me the
indispensable man, but, judging from his arguments, the best thing that
could be done would be to cut my throat! Yes, I was indeed indispensable
to repair the follies of your grandfather, and the mischief he did to
France. It was he who overturned the monarchy and led Louis XVI. to the
scaffold."--"Sire, you seem to forget that my grandfather's property was
confiscated because he defended the King."--" Defended the King! A fine
defence, truly! You might as well say that if I give a man poison and
present him with an antidote when he is in the agonies of death I wish to
save him! Yet that is the way your grandfather defended Louis XVI.....
As to the confiscation you speak of, what does that prove? Nothing.
Why, the property of Robespierre was confiscated! And let me tell you
that Robespierre himself, Marat, and Danton did much less mischief to
France than M. Necker. It was he who brought about the Revolution. You,
Monsieur de Stael, did not see this; but I did. I witnessed all that
passed in those days of terror and public calamity. But as long as I
live those days shall never return. Your speculators trace their Utopian
schemes upon paper; fools read and believe them. All are babbling about
general happiness, and presently the people have not bread to eat; then
comes a revolution. Such is usually the fruit of all these fine
theories! Your grandfather was the cause of the saturnalia which
desolated France. He is responsible for all the blood shed in the

Duroc informed me that the Emperor uttered these last words in a tone of
fury which made all present tremble for young De Stael. Fortunately the
young man did not lose his self-possession in the conflict, while the
agitated expression of his countenance evidently showed what was passing
in his mind. He was sufficiently master of himself to reply to the
Emperor in a calm though rather faltering voice: "Sire, permit me to hope
that posterity will judge of my grandfather more favourably than your
Majesty does. During his administration he was ranked by the side of
Sully and Colbert; and let me repeat again that I trust posterity will
render him justice."--"Posterity will, probably, say little about him."--
"I venture to hope the contrary, Sire."

Then, added Duroc, the Emperor turning to us said with a smile, "After
all, gentlemen, it is not for me to say too much against the Revolution
since I have gained a throne by it." Then again turning to M. de Stael
he said, "The reign of anarchy is at au end. I must have subordination.
Respect the sovereign authority, since it comes from God. You are young,
and well educated, therefore; follow a better course, and avoid those bad
principles which endanger the welfare of society."--"Sire, since your
Majesty does me the honour to think me well educated, you ought not to
condemn the principles of my grandfather and my mother, for it is in
those principles that I have been brought up."--" Well, I advise you to
keep right in politics, for I will not pardon any offences of the Necker
kind. Every one should keep right in politics."

This conversation, Duroc informed me, had continued the whole time of
breakfast, and the Emperor rose just as he pronounced these last words:
"Every one should keep right in politics." At that moment young De Stael
again renewed his solicitations for his mother's recall from exile.
Bonaparte then stepped up to him and pinched his ear with that air of
familiarity which was customary to him when he was in good humour or
wished to appear so.

"You are young," said he; "if you had my age and experience you would
judge of things more correctly. I am far from being displeased with your
frankness. I like to see a son plead his mother's cause. Your mother
has given you a difficult commission, and you have executed it cleverly.
I am glad I have had this opportunity of conversing with you. I love to
talk with young people when they are unassuming and not too fond of
arguing. But in spite of that I will not hold out false hopes to you.
Murat has already spoken to me on the subject, and I have told him, as I
now tell you, that my will is irrevocable. If your mother were in prison
I should not hesitate to liberate her, but nothing shall induce me to
recall her from exile."--" But, Sire, is she not as unhappy in being
banished from her country and her friends as if she were in prison?"--
"Oh! these are your mother's romantic ideas. She is exceedingly unhappy,
and much to be pitied, no doubt! . . . With the exception of Paris
she has all Europe for her prison."--"But, Sire, her friends are in
Paris."--" With her talents she may make friends anywhere. After all,
I cannot understand why she should be so anxious to come to Paris. Why
should she wish to place herself immediately within the reach of my
tyranny? Can she not go to Rome, to Berlin, to Vienna, to Milan, or to
London? Yes, let her go to London; that is the place for her. There she
may libel me as much as she pleases. In short, she has my full liberty
to be anywhere but in Paris. You see, Monsieur de Stael, that is the
place of my residence, and there I will have only those who are attached
to me. I know from experience that if I were to allow your mother to
come to Paris she would spoil everybody about me. She would finish the
spoiling of Garat. It was she who ruined the Tribunate. I know she
would promise wonders; but she cannot refrain from meddling with
politics."--" I can assure your Majesty that my mother does not now
concern herself about politics. She devotes herself exclusively to the
society of her friends and to literature."--"Ah, there it is! . . .
Literature! Do you think I am to be imposed upon by that word? While
discoursing on literature, morals, the fine arts, and such matters, it is
easy to dabble in politics. Let women mind their knitting. If your
mother were in Paris I should hear all sorts of reports about her.
Things might, indeed, be falsely attributed to her; but, be that as it
may, I will have nothing of the kind going on in the capital in which I
reside. All things considered, advise your mother to go to London. That
is the best place for her. As for your grandfather, I have not spoken
too severely of him. M. Necker knew nothing of the art of government.
I have learned something of the matter during the last twenty years.
"All the world, Sire, renders justice to your Majesty's genius, and there
is no one but acknowledges that the finances of France are now more
prosperous than ever they were before your reign. But permit me to
observe that your Majesty must, doubtless, have seen some merit in the
financial regulations of my grandfather, since you have adopted some of
them in the admirable system you have established."--"That proves
nothing; for two or three good ideas do not constitute a good system.
Be that as it may, I say again, I will never allow your mother to return
to Paris."--" But, Sire, if sacred interests should absolutely require
her presence there for a few days would not--"--"How! Sacred interests!
What do you mean?"--"Yes, Sire, if you do not allow her to return I shall
be obliged to go there, unaided by her advice, in order to recover from
your Majesty's Government the payment of a sacred debt."--"Ah! bah!
Sacred! Are not all the debts of the State sacred?"--"Doubtless, Sire;
but ours is attended with circumstances which give it a peculiar
character."--"A peculiar character! Nonsense! Does not every State
creditor say the same of his debt? Besides, I know nothing of your
claim. It does not concern me, and I will not meddle with it. If you
have the law on your side so much the better; but if you want favour I
tell you I will not interfere. If I did, I should be rather against you
than otherwise."--"Sire, my brother and myself had intended to settle in
France, but how can we live in a country where our mother cannot visit
us?"--"I do not care for that. I do not advise you to come here. Go
to England. The English like wrangling politicians. Go there, for in
France, I tell you candidly, that I should be rather against you than for

"After this conversation," added Duroc, "the Emperor got into the
carriage with me without stopping to look to the other petitions which
had been presented to him. He preserved unbroken silence until he got
nearly opposite the cascade, on the left of the road, a few leagues from
Chambery. He appeared to be absorbed in reflection. At length he said,
'I fear I have been somewhat too harsh with this young man . . . .
But no matter, it will prevent others from troubling me. These people
calumniate everything I do. They do not understand me, Duroc; their
place is not in France. How can Necker's family be for the Bourbons,
whose first duty, if ever they returned to France, would be to hang them

This conversation, related to me by Duroc, interested me so much that I
noted it down on paper immediately after my interview.



The Republic of Batavia--The crown of Holland offered to Louis--
Offer and refusal of the crown of Spain--Napoleon's attempt to get
possession of Brabant--Napoleon before and after Erfart--
A remarkable letter to Louis--Louis summoned to Paris--His honesty
and courage--His bold language--Louis' return to Holland, and his
letter to Napoleon--Harsh letter from Napoleon to Louis--Affray at
Amsterdam--Napoleon's displeasure and last letter to his brother--
Louis' abdication in favour of his son--Union of Holland to the
French Empire--Protest of Louis against that measure--Letter from M.
Otto to Louis.

When Bonaparte was the chief of the French Republic he had no objection
to the existence of a Batavian Republic in the north of France, and he
equally tolerated the Cisalpine Republic in the south. But after the
coronation all the Republics, which were grouped like satellites round
the grand Republic, were converted into kingdoms subject to the Empire,
if not avowedly, at least in fact. In this respect there was no
difference between the Batavian and Cisalpine Republics. The latter
having been metamorphosed into the Kingdom of Italy, it was necessary to
find some pretext for transforming the former into the Kingdom of
Holland. The government of the Republic of Batavia had been for some
time past merely the shadow of a government, but still it preserved, even
in its submission to France, those internal forms of freedom which
console a nation for the loss of independence. The Emperor kept up such
an extensive agency in Holland that he easily got up a deputation
soliciting him to choose a king for the Batavian Republic. This
submissive deputation came to Paris in 1806 to solicit the Emperor, as a
favour, to place Prince Louis on the throne of Holland. The address of
the deputation, the answer of Napoleon, and the speech of Louis on being
raised to the sovereign dignity, have all been published.

Louis became King of Holland much against his inclination, for he opposed
the proposition as much as he dared, alleging as an objection the state
of his health, to which certainly the climate of Holland was not
favourable; but Bonaparte sternly replied to his remonstrance, "It is
better to die a king than live a prince." He was then obliged to accept
the crown. He went to Holland accompanied by Hortense, who, however, did
mot stay long there. The new King wanted to make himself beloved by his
subjects, and as they were an entirely commercial people the best way to
win their affections was not to adopt Napoleon's rigid laws against
commercial intercourse with England. Hence the first coolness between
the two brothers, which ended in the abdication of Louis.

I know not whether Napoleon recollected the motive assigned by Louis for
at first refusing the crown of Holland, namely, the climate of the
country, or whether he calculated upon greater submission in another of
his brothers; but this is certain, that Joseph was not called from the
throne of Naples to the throne of Spain until after the refusal of Louis.
I have in my possession a copy of a letter written to him by Napoleon on
the subject. It is without date of time or place, but its contents prove
it to have been written in March or April 1808. It is as follows:--

BROTHER:--The King of Spain, Charles IV., has just abdicated. The
Spanish people loudly appeal to me. Certain of obtaining no solid
peace with England unless I cause a great movement on the Continent,
I have determined to place a French King on the throne of Spain.
The climate of Holland does not agree with you; besides, Holland
cannot rise from her rains. In the whirlwind of events, whether we
have peace or not, there is no possibility of her maintaining
herself. In this state of things I have thought of the throne of
Spain for you. Give me your opinions categorically on this measure.
If I were to name you King of Spain would you accept the offer? May
I count on you? Answer me these two questions. Say, "I have
received your letter of such a day, I answer Yes," and then I shall
count on your doing what I wish; or say "No" if you decline my
proposal. Let no one enter into your confidence, and mention to no
one the object of this letter. The thing must be done before we
confess having thought about it.

(signed) NAPOLEON.

Before finally seizing Holland Napoleon formed the project of separating
Brabant and Zealand from it in exchange for other provinces, the
possession of which was doubtful, but Louis successfully resisted this
first act of usurpation. Bonaparte was, too intent on the great business
in Spain to risk any commotion in the north, where the declaration of
Russia against Sweden already sufficiently occupied him. He therefore
did not insist upon, and even affected indifference to, the proposed
augmentation of the territory of the Empire. This at least may be
collected from another letter, dated St. Cloud, 17th August, written upon
hearing from M. Alexandre de la Rochefoucauld, his Ambassador in Holland,
and from his brother himself, the opposition of Louis to his project.

The letter was as follows:--

BROTHER--I have received your letter relating to that of the Sieur
de la Rochefoucauld. He was only authorised to make the proposals
indirectly. Since the exchange does not please you, let us think no
more about it. It was useless to make a parade of principles,
though I never said that you ought not to consult the nation. The
well-informed part of the Dutch people had already acknowledged
their indifference to the loss of Brabant, which is connected with
France rather than with Holland, and interspersed with expensive
fortresses; it might have been advantageously exchanged for the
northern provinces. But, once for all, since you do not like this
arrangement, let no more be said about it. It was useless even to
mention it to me, for the Sieur de la Rochefoucauld was instructed
merely to hint the matter.

Though ill-humour here evidently peeps out beneath affected
condescension, yet the tone of this letter is singularly moderate,--I may
even say kind, in comparison with other letters which Napoleon addressed
to Louis. This letter, it is true, was written previously to the
interview at Erfurt, when Napoleon, to avoid alarming Russia, made his
ambition appear to slumber. But when he got his brother Joseph
recognised, and when he had himself struck an important blow in the
Peninsula, he began to change his tone to Louis. On the 20th of December
he wrote a very remarkable letter, which exhibits the unreserved
expression of that tyranny which he wished to exercise over all his
family in order to make them the instruments of his despotism. He
reproached Louis for not following his system of policy, telling him that
he had forgotten he was a Frenchman, and that he wished to become a
Dutchman. Among other things he said:

Your Majesty has done more: you took advantage of the moment when I
was involved in the affairs of the Continent to renew the relations
between Holland and England--to violate the laws of the blockade,
which are the only means of effectually destroying the latter power.
I expressed my dissatisfaction by forbidding you to come to France,
and I have made you feel that even without the assistance of my
armies, by merely closing the Rhine, the Weser, the Scheldt, and the
Meuse against Holland, I should have placed her in a situation more
critical than if I had declared war against her. Your Majesty
implored my generosity, appealed to my feelings as brother, and
promised to alter your conduct. I thought this warning would be
sufficient. I raised my custom-house prohibitions, but your Majesty
has returned to your old system.

Your Majesty received all the American ships that presented
themselves in the ports of Holland after having been expelled from
those of France. I have been obliged a second time to prohibit
trade with Holland. In this state of things we may consider
ourselves really at war. In my speech to the Legislative Body I
manifested my displeasure; for I will not conceal from you that my
intention is to unite Holland with France. This will be the most
severe blow I can aim against England, and will deliver me from the
perpetual insults which the plotters of your Cabinet are constantly
directing against me. The mouths of the Rhine and of the Meuse
ought, indeed, to belong to me. The principle that the 'Thalweg'
(towing-path) of the Rhine is the boundary of France is a
fundamental principle. Your Majesty writes to me on the 17th that
you are sure of being able to prevent all trade between Holland and
England. I am of opinion that your Majesty promises more than
you can fulfil. I shall, however, remove my custom-house
prohibitions whenever the existing treaties may be executed. The
following are my conditions:--First, The interdiction of all trade
and communication with England. Second, The supply of a fleet of
fourteen sail-of the line, seven frigates and seven brigs or
corvettes, armed and manned. Third, An army of 25,000 men. Fourth,
The suppression of the rank of marshals. Fifth, The abolition of
all the privileges of nobility which are contrary to the
constitution which I have given and guaranteed. Your Majesty may
negotiate on these bases with the Due de Cadore, through the medium
of your Minister; but be assured that on the entrance of the first
packetboat into Holland I will restore my prohibitions, and that the
first Dutch officer who may presume to insult my flag shall be
seized, and hanged at the mainyard. Your Majesty will find in me a
brother if you prove yourself a Frenchman; but if yon forget the
sentiments which attach you to our common country you cannot think
it extraordinary that I should lose sight of those which nature
created between us. In short, the union of Holland and France will
be of all things, most useful to France, to Holland, and the whole
Continent, because it will be most injurious to England. This union
must be effected willingly or by force. Holland has given me
sufficient reason to declare war against her. However, I shall not
scruple to consent to an arrangement which will secure to me the
limit of the Rhine, and by which Holland will pledge herself to
fulfil the conditions stipulated above.

--[Much of the manner in which Napoleon treated occupied
countries such as Holland is explained by the spirit of his
answer when Beugnot complained to him of the harm done to the
Grand Duchy of Berg by the monopoly of tobacco. "It is
extraordinary that you should not have discovered the motive
that makes me persist in the establishment of the monopoly of
tobacco in the Grand Duchy. The question is not about your
Grand Duchy but about France. I am very well aware that it is
not to your benefit, and that you very possibly lose by it, but
what does that signify if it be for the good of France? I tell
you, then, that in every country where there is a monopoly of
tobacco, but which is contiguous to one where the sale is free,
a regular smuggling infiltration must be reckoned on, supplying
the consumption for twenty or twenty-five miles into the
country subject to the duty. That is what I intend to preserve
France from. You must protect yourselves as well as yon can
from this infiltration. It is enough for me to drive it back
more than twenty or twenty-five miles from my frontier."
(Beugnot, vol. ii. p. 26).]--

Here the correspondence between the two brothers was suspended for a
time; but Louis still continued exposed to new vexations on the part of
Napoleon. About the end of 1809 the Emperor summoned all the sovereigns
who might be called his vassals to Paris. Among the number was Louis,
who, however, did not show himself very willing to quit his States. He
called a council of his Ministers, who were of opinion that for the
interest of Holland he ought to make this new sacrifice. He did so with
resignation. Indeed, every day passed on the throne was a sacrifice made
by Louis.

He lived very quietly in Paris, and was closely watched by the police,
for it was supposed that as he had come against his will he would not
protract his stay so long as Napoleon wished. The system of espionage
under which he found himself placed, added to the other circumstances of
his situation, inspired him with a degree of energy of which he was not
believed to be capable; and amidst the general silence of the servants of
the Empire, and even of the Kings and Princes assembled in the capital,
he ventured to say, "I have been deceived by promises which were never
intended to be kept. Holland is tired of being the sport of France." The
Emperor, who was unused to such language as this, was highly incensed at
it. Louis had now no alternative but to yield to the incessant exactions
of Napoleon or to see Holland united to France. He chose the latter,
though not before he had exerted all his feeble power in behalf of the
subjects whom Napoleon had consigned to him; but he would not be the
accomplice of the man who had resolved to make those subjects the victims
of his hatred against England. Who, indeed, could be so blind as not to
see that the ruin of the Continent would be the triumph of British

Louis was, however, permitted to return to his States to contemplate the
stagnating effect of the Continental blockade on every branch of trade
and industry formerly so active in Holland. Distressed at witnessing
evils to which he could apply no remedy, he endeavoured by some prudent
remonstrances to avert the utter, ruin with which Holland was threatened.
On the 23d of March 1810 he wrote the following letter to Napoleon:--

If you wish to consolidate the present state of France, to obtain
maritime peace, or to attack England with advantage, those objects
are not to be obtained by measures like the blockading system, the
destruction of a kingdom raised by yourself, or the enfeebling of
your allies, and setting at defiance their most sacred rights and
the first principles of the law of nations. Yon should, on the
contrary, win their affections for France, and consolidate and
reinforce your allies, making them like your brothers, in whom you
may place confidence. The destruction of Holland, far from being
the means of assailing England, will serve only to increase her
strength, by all the industry and wealth which will fly to her for
refuge. There are, in reality, only three ways of assailing
England, namely, by detaching Ireland, getting possession of the
East Indies, or by invasion. These two latter modes, which would be
the most effectual, cannot be executed without naval force. But I
am astonished that the first should have been so easily
relinquished. That is a more secure mode of obtaining peace on good
conditions than the system of injuring ourselves for the sake of
committing a greater injury upon the enemy.

(Signed) LOUIS.

Written remonstrances were no more to Napoleon's taste than verbal ones
at a time when, as I was informed by my friends whom fortune chained to
his destiny, no one presumed to address a word to him except in answer to
his questions. Cambaceres, who alone had retained that privilege in
public as his old colleague in the Consulate, lost it after Napoleon's
marriage with the daughter of Imperial Austria. His brother's letter
highly roused his displeasure. Two months after he received it, being on
a journey in the north, he replied from Ostend by a letter which cannot
be read without a feeling of pain, since it serves to show how weak are
the most sacred ties of blood in comparison with the interests of an
insatiable policy. This letter was as follows:

BROTHER--In the situation in which we are placed it is best to speak
candidly. I know your secret sentiments, and all that you can say
to the contrary can avail nothing. Holland is certainly in a
melancholy situation. I believe you are anxious to extricate her
from her difficulties: it is you; and you alone, who can do this.

When you conduct yourself in such a way as to induce the people of
Holland to believe that you act under my influence, that all your
measures and all your sentiments are conformable with mine, then you
will be loved, you will be esteemed, and you will acquire the power
requisite for re-establishing Holland: when to be my friend, and the
friend of France, shall become a title of favour at your court,
Holland will be in her natural situation. Since your return from
Paris you have done nothing to effect this object. What will be the
result of your conduct? Your subjects, bandied about between France
and England, will throw themselves into the arms of France, and will
demand to be united to her. You know my character, which is to
pursue my object unimpeded by any consideration. What, therefore,
do you expect me to do? I can dispense with Holland, but Holland
cannot dispense with my protection. If, under the dominion of one
of my brothers, but looking to me alone for her welfare, she does
not find in her sovereign my image, all confidence in your
government is at an end; your sceptre is broken. Love France, love
my glory--that is the only way to serve Holland: if you had acted as
you ought to have done that country, having becoming a part of my
Empire, would have been the more dear to me since I had given her a
sovereign whom I almost regarded as my son. In placing you on the
throne of Holland I thought I had placed a French citizen there.
You have followed a course diametrically opposite to what I
expected. I have been forced to prohibit you from coming to France,
and to take possession of a part of your territory. In proving
yourself a bad Frenchman you are less to the Dutch than a Prince of
Orange, to whose family they owe their rank as a nation, and a long
succession of prosperity and glory. By your banishment from France
the Dutch are convinced that they have lost what they would not have
lost under a Schimmelpenninek or a Prince of Orange. Prove yourself
a Frenchman, and the brother of the Emperor, and be assured that
thereby you will serve the interests of Holland. But you seem to be
incorrigible, for you would drive away the few Frenchmen who remain
with you. You must be dealt with, not by affectionate advice, but
by threats and compulsion. What mean the prayers and mysterious
fasts you have ordered? Louis, you will not reign long. Your
actions disclose better than your confidential letters the
sentiments of your mind. Return to the right course. Be a
Frenchman in heart, or your people will banish you, and you will
leave Holland an object of ridicule.

--[It was, on the contrary, became Louis made himself a
Dutchman that his people did not banish him, and that be
carried away with him the regret of all that portion of his
subjects who could appreciate his excellent qualities and
possessed good sense enough to perceive that he was not to
blame for the evils that weighed upon Holland.--Bourrienne.
The conduct of Bonaparte to Murat was almost a counterpart to
this. When Murat attempted to consult the interests of Naples
he was called a traitor to France.--Editor of 1836 edition.]--

States must be governed by reason and policy, and not by the
weakness produced by acrid and vitiated humours.

(Signed) NAPOLEON.

A few days after this letter was despatched to Louis, Napoleon heard of a
paltry affray which had taken place at Amsterdam, and to which Comte de
la Rochefoucauld gave a temporary diplomatic importance, being aware that
he could not better please his master than by affording him an excuse for
being angry. It appeared that the honour of the Count's coachman had
been put in jeopardy by the insult of a citizen of Amsterdam, and a
quarrel had ensued, which, but for the interference of the guard of the
palace, might have terminated seriously since it assumed the character of
a party affair between the French and the Dutch. M. de la Rochefoucauld
immediately despatched to the Emperor, who was then at Lille, a full
report of his coachman's quarrel, in which he expressed himself with as
much earnestness as the illustrious author of the "Maxims" evinced when
he waged war against kings. The consequence was that Napoleon instantly
fulminated the following letter against his brother Louis:

BROTHER--At the very moment when you were making the fairest
protestations I learn that the servants of my Ambassador have been
ill-treated at Amsterdam. I insist that those who were guilty of
this outrage be delivered up to me, in order that their punishment
may serve as an example to others. The Sieur Serrurier has informed
me how you conducted yourself at the diplomatic audiences. I have,
consequently, determined that the Dutch Ambassador shall not remain
in Paris; and Admiral Yerhuell has received orders to depart within
twenty-four hours. I want no more phrases and protestations. It is
time I should know whether you intend to ruin Holland by your
follies. I do not choose that you should again send a Minister to
Austria, or that you should dismiss the French who are in your
service. I have recalled my Ambassador as I intend only to have a
charge d'affaires in Holland. The Sieur Serrurier, who remains
there in that capacity, will communicate my intentions. My
Ambassador shall no longer be exposed to your insults. Write to me
no more of those set phrases which you have been repeating for the
last three years, and the falsehood of which is proved every day.

This is the last letter I will ever write to you as long as I live.

(Signed) NAPOLEON.

Thus reduced to the cruel alternative of crushing Holland with his own
hands, or leaving that task to the Emperor, Louis did not hesitate to lay
down his sceptre. Having formed this resolution, he addressed a message
to the Legislative Body of the Kingdom of Holland explaining the motives
of his abdication. The French troops entered Holland under the command
of the Duke of Reggio, and that marshal, who was more a king than the
King himself, threatened to occupy Amsterdam. Louis then descended from
his throne, and four years after Napoleon was hurled from his.

In his act of abdication Louis declared that he had been driven to that
step by the unhappy state of his Kingdom, which he attributed to his
brother's unfavourable feelings towards him. He added that he had made
every effort and sacrifice to put an end to that painful state of things,
and that, finally, he regarded himself as the cause of the continual
misunderstanding between the French Empire and Holland. It is curious
that Louis thought he could abdicate the crown of Holland in favour of
his son, as Napoleon only four years after wished to abdicate his crown
in favour of the King of Rome.

Louis bade farewell to the people of Holland in a proclamation, after the
publication of which he repaired to the waters at Toeplitz. There he was
living in tranquil retirement when he learned that his brother had united
Holland to the Empire. He then published a protest, of which I obtained
a copy, though its circulation was strictly prohibited by the police. In
this protest Louis said:

The constitution of the state guaranteed by the Emperor, my brother,
gave me the right of abdicating in favour of my children. That
abdication was made in the form and terms prescribed by the
constitution. The Emperor had no right to declare war against
Holland, and he has not done so.

There is no act, no dissent, no demand of the Dutch nation that can
authorise the pretended union.

My abdication does not leave the throne vacant. I have abdicated
only in favour of my children.

As that abdication left Holland for twelve years under a regency,
that is to say, under the direct influence of the Emperor, according
to the terms of the constitution, there was no need of that union
for executing every measure he might have in view against trade and
against England, since his will was supreme in Holland.

But I ascended the throne without any other conditions except those
imposed upon me by my conscience, my duty, and the interest and
welfare of my subjects. I therefore declare before God and the
independent sovereigns to whom I address myself--

First, That the treaty of the 16th of March 1810, which occasioned
the separation of the province of Zealand and Brabant from Holland,
was accepted by compulsion, and ratified conditionally by me in
Paris, where I was detained against my will; and that, moreover, the
treaty was never executed by the Emperor my brother. Instead of
6000 French troops which I was to maintain, according to the terms
of the treaty, that number has been more than doubled; instead of
occupying only the mouths of the rivers and the coasts, the French
custom-horses have encroached into the interior of the country;
instead of the interference of France being confined to the measures
connected with the blockade of England, Dutch magazines have been
seized and Dutch subjects arbitrarily imprisoned; finally, none of
the verbal promises have been kept which were made in the Emperor's
name by the Due de Cadore to grant indemnities for the countries
ceded by the said treaty and to mitigate its execution, if the King
would refer entirely to the Emperor, etc. I declare, in my name, in
the name of the nation and my son, the treaty of the 16th of March
1810 to be null and void.

Second, I declare that my abdication was forced by the Emperor, my
brother, that it was made only as the last extremity, and on this
one condition--that I should maintain the rights of Holland and my
children. My abdication could only be made in their favour.

Third, In my name, in the name of the King my son, who is as yet a
minor, and in the name of the Dutch nation, I declare the pretended
union of Holland to France, mentioned in the decree of the Emperor,
my brother, dated the 9th of July last, to be null, void, illegal,
unjust, and arbitrary in the eyes of God and man, and that the
nation and the minor King will assert their just rights when
circumstances permit them.
August 1, 1810.

Thus there seemed to be an end of all intercourse between these two
brothers, who were so opposite in character and disposition. But
Napoleon, who was enraged that Louis should have presumed to protest, and
that in energetic terms, against the union of his Kingdom with the
Empire, ordered him to return to France, whither he was summoned in his
character of Constable and French Prince. Louis, however, did not think
proper to obey this summons, and Napoleon, mindful of his promise of
never writing to him again, ordered the following letter to be addressed
to him by M. Otto, who had been Ambassador from France to Vienna since
the then recent marriage of the Emperor with Maria Louisa--

SIRE:--The Emperor directs me to write to your Majesty as follows:--
"It is the duty of every French Prince, and every member of the
Imperial family, to reside in France, whence they cannot absent
themselves without the permission of the Emperor. Before the union
of Holland to the Empire the Emperor permitted the King to reside at
Toeplitz, is Bohemia. His health appeared to require the use of the
waters, but now the Emperor requires that Prince Louis shall return,
at the latest by the 1st of December next, under pain of being
considered as disobeying the constitution of the Empire and the head
of his family, and being treated accordingly."

I fulfil, Sire, word for word the mission with which I have been
entrusted, and I send the chief secretary of the embassy to be
assured that this letter is rightly delivered. I beg your Majesty
to accept the homage of my respect, etc.


--[The eldest son of Louis, one of the fruits of his unhappy
marriage with Hortense Beauharnais, the daughter of Josephine,
the wife of his brother Napoleon, was little more than six
years of age when his father abdicated the crown of Holland in
his favour. In 1830-31 this imprudent young man joined the
ill-combined mad insurrection in the States of the Pope. He
was present in one or two petty skirmishes, and was, we
believe, wounded; but it was a malaria fever caught in the
unhealthy Campagna of Rome that carried him to the grave in the
twenty-seventh year of his age.--Editor of 1836 edition.--
The first child of Louis and of Hortense had died in 1807.
The second son, Napoleon Louis (1804-1831) in whose favour he
abdicated had been created Grand Due de Berg et de Cleves by
Napoleon in 1809. He married to 1826 Charlotte, the daughter
of Joseph Bonaparte, and died in 1831, while engaged in a
revolutionary movement in Italy. On his death his younger
brother Charles Louis Napoleon, the future Napoleon III., first
came forward as an aspirant.]--

What a letter was this to be addressed by a subject to a prince and a
sovereign. When I afterwards saw M. Otto in Paris, and conversed with
him on the subject, he assured me how much he had been distressed at the
necessity of writing such a letter to the brother of the Emperor. He had
employed the expressions dictated by Napoleon in that irritation which he
could never command when his will was opposed.

--[With regard to Louis and his conduct in Holland Napoleon thus
spoke at St. Helena:

"Louis is not devoid of intelligence, and has a good heart, but even
with these qualifications a man may commit many errors, and do a
great deal of mischief. Louis is naturally inclined to be
capricious and fantastical, and the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau
have contributed to increase this disposition. Seeking to obtain a
reputation for sensibility and beneficence, incapable by himself of
enlarged views, and, at most, competent to local details, Louis
acted like a prefect rather than a King.

"No sooner had he arrived in Holland than, fancying that nothing
could be finer than to have it said that be was thenceforth a true
Dutchman, he attached himself entirely to the party favourable to
the English, promoted smuggling, and than connived with our enemies.
It became necessary from that moment watch over him, and even
threaten to wage war against him. Louis then seeking a refuge
against the weakness of his disposition in the most stubborn
obstinacy, and mistaking a public scandal for an act of glory, fled
from his throne, declaiming against me and against my insatiable
ambition, my intolerable tyranny, etc. What then remained for me to
do? Was I to abandon Holland to our enemies? Ought I to have given
it another King? But is that case could I have expected more from
him than from my own brother? Did not all the Kings that I created
act nearly in the same manner? I therefore united Holland to the
Empire, and this act produced a most unfavourable impression in
Europe, and contributed not a little to lay the foundation of our
misfortunes" (Memorial de Sainte Helene)]--



Demands for contingents from some of the small States of Germany--
M. Metternich--Position of Russia with respect to France--Union of
Austria and Russia--Return of the English to Spain--Soult King of
Portugal, and Murat successor to the Emperor--First levy of the
landwehr in Austria--Agents of the Hamburg 'Correspondent'--
Declaration of Prince Charles--Napoleon's march to Germany--His
proclamation--Bernadotte's departure for the army--Napoleon's
dislike of Bernadotte--Prince Charles' plan of campaign--The English
at Cuxhaven--Fruitlessness of the plots of England--Napoleon
wounded--Napoleon's prediction realised--Major Schill--Hamburg
threatened and saved--Schill in Lubeck--His death, and destruction
of his band--Schill imitated by the Duke of Brunswick-OEls--
Departure of the English from Cuxhaven.

Bonaparte, the foundations of whose Empire were his sword and his.
victories, and who was anxiously looking forward to the time when the
sovereigns of Continental Europe should be his juniors, applied for
contingents of troops from the States to which I was accredited. The
Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was to furnish a regiment of 1800 men, and
the other little States, such as Oldenburg and Mecklenburg-Strelitz, were
to furnish regiments of less amount. All Europe was required to rise in
arms to second the gigantic projects of the new sovereign. This demand
for contingents, and the positive way in which the Emperor insisted upon
them, gave rise to an immense correspondence, which, however, was
unattended by any result. The notes and orders remained in the
portfolios, and the contingents stayed at home.

M. Metternich, whose talent has since been so conspicuously displayed,
had been for upwards of a year Ambassador from Austria to Paris. Even
then he excelled in the art of guiding men's minds, and of turning to the
advantage of his policy his external graces and the favour he acquired in
the drawing-room. His father, a clever man, brought up in the old
diplomatic school of Thugut and Kaunitz, had early accustomed him to the
task of making other Governments believe, by means of agents, what might
lead them into error and tend to the advantage of his own Government.
His manoeuvres tended to make Austria assume a discontented and haughty
tone; and wishing, as she said, to secure her independence, she publicly
declared her intention of protecting herself against any enterprise
similar to those of which she had so often been the victim. This
language, encouraged by the complete evacuation of Germany, and the war
in Spain, the unfortunate issue of which was generally foreseen, was
used--in time of peace between the two empires, and when France was not
threatening war to Austria.

--[Metternich arrived in Paris as Ambassador on 4th August 1806,
after Austria had been vanquished at Austerlitz. It does not seem
probable, either from his views or his correspondence, that he
advised the rash attempt of Austria to attack Napoleon by herself;
compare Metternich tome 1. p. 69, on the mistake of Prussia in 1805
and 1806; see also tome ii. p. 221, "To provoke a war with France
would be madness" (1st July 1808). On the other hand, the tone of
his correspondence in 1808 seams calculated to make Austria believe
that war was inevitable, and that her forces, "so inferior to those
of France before the insurrection in Spain, will at least be equal
to them immediately after that event" (tome ii. p. 808). What is
curious is that Metternich's conduct towards Napoleon while
Ambassador had led even such men as Duke Dalberg to believe that he
was really so well disposed towards Napoleon as to serve his cause
more than that of Austria.

M. Metternich, who had instructions from his Court, gave no satisfactory
explanation of those circumstances to Napoleon, who immediately raised a
conscription, and brought soldiers from Spain into Germany.

It was necessary, also, to come to an understanding with Russia, who,
being engaged with her war in Finland and Turkey, appeared desirous
neither to enter into alliance with Austria nor to afford her support.
What, in fact, was the Emperor Alexander's situation with respect to
France? He had signed a treaty of peace at Tilsit which he felt had been
forced upon him, and he knew that time alone would render it possible for
him to take part in a contest which it was evident would again be renewed
either with Prussia or Austria.

Every person of common sense must have perceived that Austria, in taking
up arms, reckoned, if not on the assistance, at least on the neutrality
of Russia. Russia was then engaged with two enemies, the Swedes and the
Turks, over whom she hoped to triumph. She therefore rejoiced to see
France again engage in a struggle with Austria, and there was no doubt
that she would take advantage of any chances favourable to the latter
power to join her in opposing the encroachments of France. I never could
conceive how, under those circumstances, Napoleon could be so blind as to
expect assistance from Russia in his quarrel with Austria. He must,
indeed, have been greatly deceived as to the footing on which the two
Courts stood with reference to each other--their friendly footing and
their mutual agreement to oppose the overgrowing ambition of their common

The English, who had been compelled to quit Spain, now returned there.
They landed in Portugal, which might be almost regarded as their own
colony, and marched against Marshal Soult, who left Spain to meet them.
Any other man than Soult would perhaps have been embarrassed by the
obstacles which he had to surmount. A great deal has been said about his
wish to make himself King of Portugal. Bernadotte told me, when he
passed through Hamburg, that the matter had been the subject of much
conversation at headquarters after the battle of Wagram. Bernadotte
placed no faith in the report, and I am pretty sure that Napoleon also
disbelieved it. However, this matter is still involved in the obscurity
from which it will only be drawn when some person acquainted with the
intrigue shall give a full explanation of it.

Since I have, with reference to Soult, touched upon the subject of his
supposed ambition, I will mention here what I know of Murat's expectation
of succeeding the Emperor. When Romanzow returned from his useless
mission of mediation to London the Emperor proceeded to Bayonne.
Bernadotte, who had an agent in Paris whom he paid highly, told me one
day that he had received a despatch informing him that Murat entertained
the idea of one day succeeding the Emperor. Sycophants, expecting to
derive advantage from it, encouraged Murat in this chimerical hope.
I know not whether Napoleon was acquainted with this circumstance, nor
what he said of it, but Bernadotte spoke of it to me as a certain fact.
It would, however, have been very wrong to attach great importance to an
expression which, perhaps, escaped Murat in a moment of ardour, for his
natural temperament sometimes betrayed him into acts of imprudence, the
result of which, with a man like Napoleon, was always to be dreaded.

It was in the midst of the operations of the Spanish war, which Napoleon
directed in person, that he learned Austria had for the first time raised
the landwehr. I obtained some very curious documents respecting the
armaments of Austria from the Editor of the Hamburg 'Correspondent'.
This paper, the circulation of which amounted to not less than 60,000,
paid considerable sums to persons in different parts of Europe who were
able and willing to furnish the current news. The Correspondent paid
6000 francs a year to a clerk in the war department at Vienna, and it was
this clerk who supplied the intelligence that Austria was preparing for
war, and that orders had been issued in all directions to collect and put
in motion all the resources of that powerful monarchy. I communicated
these particulars to the French Government, and suggested the necessity
of increased vigilance and measures of defence. Preceding aggressions,
especially that of 1805, were not to be forgotten. Similar information
probably reached the French Government from many quarters. Be that as it
may, the Emperor consigned the military operations in Spain to his
generals, and departed for Paris, where he arrived at the end of January
1809. He had been in Spain only since the beginning of November 1808,'
and his presence there had again rendered our banners victorious. But
though the insurgent troops were beaten the inhabitants showed themselves
more and more unfavourable to Joseph's cause; and it did not appear very
probable that he could ever seat himself tranquilly on the throne of

--[The successes obtained by Napoleon during his stay of about three
months in Spain were certainly very great, and mainly resulted from
his own masterly genius and lightning-like rapidity. The Spanish
armies, as yet unsupported by British troops, were defeated at
Gomenal, Espinosa, Reynosa, Tudela, and at the pass of the Somo
sierra Mountains, and at an early hour of the morning of the 4th
December Madrid surrendered. On the 20th of December Bonaparte
marched with far superior forces against the unfortunate Sir John
Moore, who had been sent to advance into Spain both by the wrong
route and at a wrong time. On the 29th, from the heights of
Benevento, his eyes were delighted by seeing the English in full
retreat. But a blow struck him from another quarter, and leaving
Soult to follow up Moore he took the road to Paris.]--

The Emperor Francis, notwithstanding his counsellors, hesitated about
taking the first step; but at length, yielding to the solicitations of
England and the secret intrigues of Russia, and, above all, seduced by
the subsidies of Great Britain, Austria declared hostilities, not at
first against France, but against her allies of the Confederation of the
Rhine. On the 9th of April Prince Charles, who was appointed commander-
in-chief of the Austrian troops, addressed a note to the commander-in-
chief of the French army in Bavaria, apprising him of the declaration of

A courier carried the news of this declaration to Strasburg with the
utmost expedition, from whence it was transmitted by telegraph to Paris.
The Emperor, surprised but not disconcerted by this intelligence,
received it at St. Cloud on the 11th of April, and two hours after he was
on the road to Germany. The complexity of affairs in which he was then
involved seemed to give a new impulse to his activity. When he reached
the army neither his troops nor his Guard had been able to come up, and
under those circumstances he placed himself at the head of the Bavarian
troops, and, as it were, adopted the soldiers of Maximilian. Six days
after his departure from Paris the army of Prince Charles, which had
passed the Inn, was threatened. The Emperor's headquarters were at
Donauwerth, and from thence he addressed to his soldiers one of those
energetic and concise proclamations which made them perform so many
prodigies, and which was soon circulated in every language by the public
journals. This complication of events could not but be fatal to Europe
and France, whatever might be its result, but it presented an opportunity
favourable to the development of the Emperor's genius. Like his
favourite poet Ossian, who loved best to touch his lyre midst the
howlings of the tempest, Napoleon required political tempests for the
display of his abilities.

During the campaign of 1809, and particularly at its commencement,
Napoleon's course was even more rapid than it had been in the campaign
of 1805. Every courier who arrived at Hamburg brought us news, or rather
prodigies. As soon as the Emperor was informed of the attack made by the
Austrians upon Bavaria orders were despatched to all the generals having
troops under their command to proceed with all speed to the theatre of
the war. The Prince of Ponte-Corvo was summoned to join the Grand Army
with the Saxon troops under his command and for the time he resigned the
government of the Hanse Towns. Colonel Damas succeeded him at Hamburg
during that period, but merely as commandant of the fortress; and he
never gave rise to any murmur or complaint. Bernadotte was not satisfied
with his situation, and indeed the Emperor, who was never much disposed
to bring him forward, because he could not forgive him for his opposition
on the 18th Brumaire, always appointed him to posts in which but little
glory was to be acquired, and placed as few troops as possible under his

It required all the promptitude of the Emperor's march upon Vienna to
defeat the plots which were brewing against his government, for in the
event of his arms being unsuccessful, the blow was ready to be struck.
The English force in the north of Germany amounted to about 10,000 men:
The Archduke Charles had formed the project of concentrating in the
middle of Germany a large body of troops, consisting of the corps of
General Am Eude, of General Radizwowitz, and of the English, with whom
were to be joined the people who were expected to revolt. The English
would have wished the Austrian troops to advance a little farther. The
English agent made some representations on this subject to Stadion, the
Austrian Minister; but the Archduke preferred making a diversion to
committing the safety of the monarchy by departing from his present
inactivity and risking the passage of the Danube, in the face of an enemy
who never suffered himself to be surprised, and who had calculated every
possible event: In concerting his plan the Archduke expected that the
Czar would either detach a strong force to assist his allies, or that he
would abandon them to their own defence. In the first case the Archduke
would have had a great superiority, and in the second, all was prepared
in Hesse and in Hanover to rise on the approach of the Austrian and
English armies.

At the commencement of July the English advanced upon Cuxhaven with a
dozen small ships of war. They landed 400 or 600 sailors and about 50
marines, and planted a standard on one of the outworks. The day after
this landing at Cuxhaven the English, who were in Denmark evacuated
Copenhagen, after destroying a battery which they had erected there.
All the schemes of England were fruitless on the Continent, for with the
Emperor's new system of war, which consisted in making a push on the
capitals, he soon obtained negotiations for peace. He was master of
Vienna before England had even organised the expedition to which I have
just alluded. He left Paris on the 11th of April, was at Donauwerth on
the 17th, and on the 23d he was master of Ratisbon. In the engagement
which preceded his entrance into that town Napoleon received a slight
wound in the heel. He nevertheless remained on the field of battle. It
was also between Donauwerth and Ratisbon that Davoust, by a bold
manoeuvre, gained and merited the title of Prince of Eckmuhl.

--[The great battle of Eckmuhl, where 100,000 Austrians were driven
from all their positions, was fought on the 22d of April.-Editor of
1836 edition.]--

At this period fortune was not only bent on favouring Napoleon's arms,
but she seemed to take pleasure in realising even his boasting
predictions; for the French troops entered Vienna within a month after a
proclamation issued by Napoleon at Ratisbon, in which he said he would be
master of the Austrian capital in that time.

But while he was thus marching from triumph to triumph the people of
Hamburg and the neighbouring countries had a neighbour who did not leave
them altogether without inquietude. The famous Prussian partisan, Major
Schill, after pursuing his system of plunder in Westphalia, came and
threw himself into Mecklenburg, whence, I understood, it was his
intention to surprise Hamburg. At the head of 600 well-mounted hussars
and between 1500 and 2000 infantry badly armed, he took possession of the
little fort of Domitz, in Mecklenburg, on the 15th of May, from whence he
despatched parties who levied contributions on both banks of the Elbe.
Schill inspired terror wherever he went. On the 19th of May a detachment
of 30 men belonging to Schill's corps entered Wismar. It was commanded
by Count Moleke, who had formerly been in the Prussian service, and who
had retired to his estate in Mecklenburg, where the Duke had kindly given
him an appointment. Forgetting his duty to his benefactor, he sent to
summon the Duke to surrender Stralsund.

Alarmed at the progress of the partisan Schill, the Duke of Mecklenburg
and his Court quitted Ludwigsburg, their regular residence, and retired
to Doberan, on the seacoast. On quitting Mecklenburg Schill advanced to
Bergdorf, four leagues from Hamburg. The alarm then increased in that
city. A few of the inhabitants talked of making a compromise with Schill
and sending him money to get him away. But the firmness of the majority
imposed silence on this timid council. I consulted with the commandant
of the town, and we determined to adopt measures of precaution. The
custom-house chest, in which there was more than a million of gold, was
sent to Holstein under a strong escort. At the same time I sent to
Schill a clever spy, who gave him a most alarming account of the means of
defence which Hamburg possessed. Schill accordingly gave up his designs
on that city, and leaving it on his left, entered Lubeck, which was

Meanwhile Lieutenant-General Gratien, who had left Berlin by order of the
Prince de Neufchatel, with 2500 Dutch and 3000 Swedish troops, actively
pursued Schill, and tranquillity was soon restored throughout all the
neighbouring country, which had been greatly agitated by his bold
enterprise. Schill, after wandering for some days on the shores of the
Baltic, was overtaken by General Gratien at Stralsund, whence he was
about to embark for Sweden. He made a desperate defence, and was killed
after a conflict of two hours. His band was destroyed. Three hundred of
his hussars and 200 infantry, who had effected their escape, asked leave
to return to Prussia, and they were conducted to the Prussian general
commanding a neighbouring town. A war of plunder like that carried on by
Schill could not be honourably acknowledged by a power having, any claim
to respect. Yet the English Government sent Schill a colonel's
commission, and the full uniform of his new rank, with the assurance that
all his troops should thenceforth be paid by England.

Schill soon had an imitator of exalted rank. In August 1809 the Duke of
Brunswick-OEls sought the dangerous honour of succeeding that famous
partisan. At the head of at most 2000 men he for some days disturbed the
left bank of the Elbe, and on the 5th entered Bremen. On his approach
the French Vice-Consul retired to Osterhulz. One of the Duke's officers
presented himself at the hones of the Vice-Consul and demanded 200 Louis.
The agent of the Vice-Consul, alarmed at the threat of the place being
given up to pillage, capitulated with the officer, and with considerable
difficulty got rid of him at the sacrifice of 80 Louis, for which a
receipt was presented to him in the name of the Duke. The Duke, who now
went by the name of "the new Schill," did not remain long in Bremen.

Wishing to repair with all possible speed to Holland he left Bremen on
the evening of the 6th, and proceeded to Dehnenhorst, where his advanced
guard had already arrived. The Westphalian troops, commanded by Reubell,
entered Bremen on the 7th, and not finding the Duke of Brunswick,
immediately marched in pursuit of him. The Danish troops, who occupied
Cuxhaven, received orders to proceed to Bremerlehe, to favour the
operations of the Westphalians and the Dutch. Meanwhile the English
approached Cuxhaven, where they landed 3000 or 4000 men. The persons in
charge of the custom-house establishment, and the few sailors who were in
Cuxhaven, fell back upon Hamburg. The Duke of Brunswick, still pursued
crossed Germany from the frontiers of Bohemia to Elsfleth, a little port
on the left bank of the Weser, where he arrived on the 7th, being one day
in advance of his pursuers. He immediately took possession of all the
transports at Elsfleth, and embarked for Heligoland.

The landing which the English effected at Cuxhaven while the Danes, who
garrisoned that port, were occupied in pursuing the Duke of Brunswick,
was attended by no result. After the escape of the Duke the Danes
returned to their post which the English immediately evacuated.


I have made sovereigns, but have not wished to be one myself
Go to England. The English like wrangling politicians
Let women mind their knitting


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