Memoirs of the Court of St. Cloud, v1
Stewarton, a Gentleman at Paris, to a Nobleman in London

This etext was produced by David Widger

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


Being Secret Letters from a Gentleman at Paris to a Nobleman in London



The present work contains particulars of the great Napoleon not to be
found in any other publication, and forms an interesting addition to the
information generally known about him.

The writer of the Letters (whose name is said to have been Stewarton, and
who had been a friend of the Empress Josephine in her happier, if less
brilliant days) gives full accounts of the lives of nearly all Napoleon's
Ministers and Generals, in addition to those of a great number of other
characters, and an insight into the inner life of those who formed
Napoleon's Court.

All sorts and conditions of men are dealt with--adherents who have come
over from the Royalist camp, as well as those who have won their way
upwards as soldiers, as did Napoleon himself. In fact, the work abounds
with anecdotes of Napoleon, Talleyrand, Fouche, and a host of others, and
astounding particulars are given of the mysterious disappearance of those
persons who were unfortunate enough to incur the displeasure of Napoleon.



PARIS, November 10th, 1805.

MY LORD,--The Letters I have written to you were intended for the
private entertainment of a liberal friend, and not for the general
perusal of a severe public. Had I imagined that their contents would
have penetrated beyond your closet or the circle of your intimate
acquaintance, several of the narratives would have been extended, while
others would have been compressed; the anecdotes would have been more
numerous, and my own remarks fewer; some portraits would have been left
out, others drawn, and all better finished. I should then have attempted
more frequently to expose meanness to contempt, and treachery to
abhorrence; should have lashed more severely incorrigible vice, and
oftener held out to ridicule puerile vanity and outrageous ambition. In
short, I should then have studied more to please than to instruct, by
addressing myself seldomer to the reason than to the passions.

I subscribe, nevertheless, to your observation, "that the late long war
and short peace, with the enslaved state of the Press on the Continent,
would occasion a chasm in the most interesting period of modern history,
did not independent and judicious travellers or visitors abroad collect
and forward to Great Britain (the last refuge of freedom) some materials
which, though scanty and insufficient upon the whole, may, in part, rend
the veil of destructive politics, and enable future ages to penetrate
into mysteries which crime in power has interest to render impenetrable
to the just reprobation of honour and of virtue." If, therefore, my
humble labours can preserve loyal subjects from the seduction of
traitors, or warn lawful sovereigns and civilized society of the alarming
conspiracy against them, I shall not think either my time thrown away, or
fear the dangers to which publicity might expose me were I only suspected
here of being an Anglican author. Before the Letters are sent to the
press I trust, however, to your discretion the removal of everything that
might produce a discovery, or indicate the source from which you have
derived your information.

Although it is not usual in private correspondence to quote authorities,
I have sometimes done so; but satisfied, as I hope you are, with my
veracity, I should have thought the frequent productions of any better
pledge than the word of a man of honour an insult to your feelings. I
have, besides, not related a fact that is not recent and well known in
our fashionable and political societies; and of ALL the portraits I have
delineated, the originals not only exist, but are yet occupied in the
present busy scene of the Continent, and figuring either at Courts, in
camps, or in Cabinets.




PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--I promised you not to pronounce in haste on persons and events
passing under my eyes; thirty-one months have quickly passed away since I
became an attentive spectator of the extraordinary transactions, and of
the extraordinary characters of the extraordinary Court and Cabinet of
St. Cloud. If my talents to delineate equal my zeal to inquire and my
industry to examine; if I am as able a painter as I have been an
indefatigable observer, you will be satisfied, and with your approbation
at once sanction and reward my labours.

With most Princes, the supple courtier and the fawning favourite have
greater influence than the profound statesman and subtle Minister; and
the determinations of Cabinets are, therefore, frequently prepared in
drawing-rooms, and discussed in the closet. The politician and the
counsellor are frequently applauded or censured for transactions which
the intrigues of antechambers conceived, and which cupidity and favour
gave power to promulgate.

It is very generally imagined, but falsely, that Napoleon Bonaparte
governs, or rather tyrannizes, by himself, according to his own capacity,
caprices, or interest; that all his acts, all his changes, are the sole
consequence of his own exclusive, unprejudiced will, as well as unlimited
authority; that both his greatness and his littleness, his successes and
his crimes, originate entirely with himself; that the fortunate hero who
marched triumphant over the Alps, and the dastardly murderer that
disgraced human nature at Jaffa, because the same person, owed victory to
himself alone, and by himself alone commanded massacre; that the same
genius, unbiased and unsupported, crushed factions, erected a throne, and
reconstructed racks; that the same mind restored and protected
Christianity, and proscribed and assassinated a D'Enghien.

All these contradictions, all these virtues and vices, may be found in
the same person; but Bonaparte, individually or isolated, has no claim to
them. Except on some sudden occasions that call for immediate decision,
no Sovereign rules less by himself than Bonaparte; because no Sovereign
is more surrounded by favourites and counsellors, by needy adventurers
and crafty intriguers.

What Sovereign has more relatives to enrich, or services to recompense;
more evils to repair, more jealousies to dread, more dangers to fear,
more clamours to silence; or stands more in need of information and
advice? Let it be remembered that he, who now governs empires and
nations, ten years ago commanded only a battery; and five years ago was
only a military chieftain. The difference is as immense, indeed, between
the sceptre of a Monarch and the sword of a general, as between the wise
legislator who protects the lives and property of his contemporaries, and
the hireling robber who wades through rivers of blood to obtain plunder
at the expense and misery of generations. The lower classes of all
countries have produced persons who have distinguished themselves as
warriors; but what subject has yet usurped a throne, and by his eminence
and achievements, without infringing on the laws and liberties of his
country, proved himself worthy to reign? Besides, the education which
Bonaparte received was entirely military; and a man (let his innate
abilities be ever so surprising or excellent) who, during the first
thirty years of his life, has made either military or political tactics
or exploits his only study, certainly cannot excel equally in the Cabinet
and in the camp. It would be as foolish to believe, as absurd to expect,
a perfection almost beyond the reach of any man; and of Bonaparte more
than of any one else. A man who, like him, is the continual slave of his
own passions, can neither be a good nor a just, an independent nor
immaculate master.

Among the courtiers who, ever since Bonaparte was made First Consul, have
maintained a great ascendency over him, is the present Grand Marshal of
his Court, the general of division, Duroc. With some parts, but greater
presumption, this young man is destined by his master to occupy the most
confidential places near his person; and to his care are entrusted the
most difficult and secret missions at foreign Courts. When he is absent
from France, the liberty of the Continent is in danger; and when in the
Tuileries, or at St. Cloud, Bonaparte thinks himself always safe.

Gerard Christophe Michel Duroc was born at Ponta-Mousson, in the
department of Meurthe, on the 25th of October, 1772, of poor but honest
parents. His father kept a petty chandler's shop; but by the interest
and generosity of Abbe Duroc, a distant relation, he was so well educated
that, in March, 1792, he became a sub-lieutenant of the artillery. In
1796 he served in Italy, as a captain, under General Andreossy, by whom
he was recommended to General l'Espinasse, then commander of the
artillery of the army of Italy, who made him an aide-de-camp. In that
situation Bonaparte remarked his activity, and was pleased with his
manners, and therefore attached him as an aide-de-camp to himself. Duroc
soon became a favourite with his chief, and, notwithstanding the
intrigues of his rivals, he has continued to be so to this day.

It has been asserted, by his enemies no doubt, that by implicit obedience
to his general's orders, by an unresisting complacency, and by executing,
without hesitation, the most cruel mandates of his superior, he has fixed
himself so firmly in his good opinion that he is irremovable. It has
also been stated that it was Duroc who commanded the drowning and burying
alive of the wounded French soldiers in Italy, in 1797; and that it was
he who inspected their poisoning in Syria, in 1799, where he was wounded
during the siege of St. Jean d' Acre. He was among the few officers whom
Bonaparte selected for his companions when he quitted the army of Egypt,
and landed with him in France in October, 1799.

Hitherto Duroc had only shown himself as a brave soldier and obedient
officer; but after the revolution which made Bonaparte a First Consul, he
entered upon another career. He was then, for the first time, employed
in a diplomatic mission to Berlin, where he so far insinuated himself
into the good graces of their Prussian Majesties that the King admitted
him to the royal table, and on the parade at Potsdam presented him to his
generals and officers as an aide-de-camp 'du plus grand homme que je
connais; whilst the Queen gave him a scarf knitted by her own fair hands.

The fortunate result of Duroc's intrigues in Prussia, in 1799, encouraged
Bonaparte to despatch him, in 1801, to Russia; where Alexander I.
received him with that noble condescension so natural, to this great and
good Prince. He succeeded at St. Petersburg in arranging the political
and commercial difficulties and disagreements between France and Russia;
but his proposal for a defensive alliance was declined.

An anecdote is related of his political campaign in the North, upon the
barren banks of the Neva, which, in causing much entertainment to the
inhabitants of the fertile banks of the Seine, has not a little
displeased the military diplomatist.

Among Talleyrand's female agents sent to cajole Paul I. during the latter
part of his reign, was a Madame Bonoeil, whose real name is De F-----.
When this unfortunate Prince was no more, most of the French male and
female intriguers in Russia thought it necessary to shift their quarters,
and to expect, on the territory of neutral Prussia, farther instructions
from Paris, where and how to proceed. Madame Bonoeil had removed to
Konigsberg. In the second week of May, 1801, when Duroc passed through
that town for St. Petersburg, he visited this lady, according to the
orders of Bonaparte, and obtained from her a list of the names of the
principal persons who were inclined to be serviceable to France, and
might be trusted by him upon the present occasion. By inattention or
mistake she had misspelled the name of one of the most trusty and active
adherents of Bonaparte; and Duroc, therefore, instead of addressing
himself to the Polish Count de S--------lz, went to the Polish Count de
S-----tz. This latter was as much flattered as surprised, upon seeing an
aide-de-camp and envoy of the First Consul of France enter his
apartments, seldom visited before but by usurers, gamesters, and
creditors; and, on hearing the object of this visit, began to think
either the envoy mad or himself dreaming. Understanding, however, that
money would be of little consideration, if the point desired by the First
Consul could be carried, he determined to take advantage of this
fortunate hit, and invited Duroc to sup with him the same evening; when
he promised him he should meet with persons who could do his business,
provided his pecuniary resources were as ample as he had stated.

This Count de S-----tz was one of the most extravagant and profligate
subjects that Russia had acquired by the partition of Poland. After
squandering away his own patrimony, he had ruined his mother and two
sisters, and subsisted now entirely by gambling and borrowing. Among his
associates, in similar circumstances with himself, was a Chevalier de
Gausac, a French adventurer, pretending to be an emigrant from the
vicinity of Toulouse. To him was communicated what had happened in the
morning, and his advice was asked how to act in the evening. It was soon
settled that De Gausac should be transformed into a Russian Count de
W-----, a nephew and confidential secretary of the Chancellor of the same
name; and that one Caumartin, another French adventurer, who taught
fencing at St. Petersburg, should act the part of Prince de M-----, an
aide-de-camp of the Emperor; and that all three together should strip
Duroc, and share the spoil. At the appointed hour Bonaparte's agent
arrived, and was completely the dupe of these adventurers, who plundered
him of twelve hundred thousand livres. Though not many days passed
before he discovered the imposition, prudence prevented him from
denouncing the impostors; and this blunder would have remained a secret
between himself, Bonaparte, and Talleyrand, had not the unusual expenses
of Caumartin excited the suspicion of the Russian Police Minister, who
soon discovered the source from which they had flowed. De Gausac had the
imprudence to return to this capital last spring, and is now shut up in
the Temple, where he probably will be forgotten.

As this loss was more ascribed to the negligence of Madame Bonoeil than
to the mismanagement of Duroc, or his want of penetration, his reception
at the Tuileries, though not so gracious as on his return from Berlin,
nineteen months before, was, however, such as convinced him that if he
had not increased, he had at the same time not lessened, the confidence
of his master; and, indeed, shortly afterwards, Bonaparte created him
first prefect of his palace, and procured him for a wife the only
daughter of a rich Spanish banker. Rumour, however, says that Bonaparte
was not quite disinterested when he commanded and concluded this match,
and that the fortune of Madame Duroc has paid for the expensive supper of
her husband with Count de S-----tz at St. Petersburg.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--Though the Treaty of Luneville will probably soon be buried in
the rubbish of the Treaty of Amiens, the influence of their parents in
the Cabinet of St. Cloud is as great as ever: I say their parents,
because the crafty ex-Bishop, Talleyrand, foreseeing the short existence
of these bastard diplomatic acts, took care to compliment the innocent
Joseph Bonaparte with a share in the parentage, although they were his
own exclusive offspring.

Joseph Bonaparte, who in 1797, from an attorney's clerk at Ajaccio, in
Corsica, was at once transformed into an Ambassador to the Court of Rome,
had hardly read a treaty, or seen a despatch written, before he was
himself to conclude the one, and to dictate the other. Had he not been
supported by able secretaries, Government would soon have been convinced
that it is as impossible to confer talents as it is easy to give places
to men to whom Nature has refused parts, and on whom a scanty or
neglected education has bestowed no improvements. Deep and reserved,
like a true Italian, but vain and ambitious, like his brothers, under the
character of a statesman, he has only been the political puppet of
Talleyrand. If he has sometimes been applauded upon the stages where he
has been placed, he is also exposed to the hooting and hisses of the
suffering multitude; while the Minister pockets undisturbed all the
entrance-money, and conceals his wickedness and art under the cloak of
Joseph; which protects him besides against the anger and fury of
Napoleon. No negotiation of any consequence is undertaken, no diplomatic
arrangements are under consideration, but Joseph is always consulted,
and Napoleon informed of the consultation. Hence none of Bonaparte's
Ministers have suffered less from his violence and resentment than
Talleyrand, who, in the political department, governs him who governs
France and Italy.

As early as 1800, Talleyrand determined to throw the odium of his own
outrages against the law of nations upon the brother of his master.
Lucien Bonaparte was that year sent Ambassador to Spain, but not sharing
with the Minister the large profits of his appointment, his diplomatic
career was but short. Joseph is as greedy and as ravenous as Lucien, but
not so frank or indiscreet. Whether he knew or not of Talleyrand's
immense gain by the pacification at Luneville in February, 1801, he did
not neglect his own individual interest. The day previous to the
signature of this treaty, he despatched a courier to the rich army
contractor, Collot, acquainting him in secret of the issue of the
negotiation, and ordering him at the same time to purchase six millions
of livres--L 250,000--in the stocks on his account. On Joseph's arrival
at Paris, Collot sent him the State bonds for the sum ordered, together
with a very polite letter; but though he waited on the grand pacificator
several times afterwards, all admittance was refused, until a douceur of
one million of livres--nearly L 42,000--of Collot's private profit opened
the door. In return, during the discussions between France and England
in the summer of 1801, and in the spring of 1802, Collot was continued
Joseph's private agent, and shared with his patron, within twelve months,
a clear gain of thirty-two millions of livres.

Some of the secret articles of the Treaty of Luneville gave Austria,
during the insurrection in Switzerland, in the autumn of 1802, an
opportunity and a right to make representations against the interference
of France; a circumstance which greatly displeased Bonaparte, who
reproached Talleyrand for his want of foresight, and of having been
outwitted by the Cabinet of Vienna. The Minister, on the very next day,
laid before his master the correspondence that had passed between him and
Joseph Bonaparte, during the negotiation concerning these secret
articles, which were found to have been entirely proposed and settled by
Joseph; who had been induced by his secretary and factotum (a creature of
Talleyrand) to adopt sentiments for which that Minister had been paid,
according to report, six hundred thousand livres--L25,000. Several
other tricks have in the same manner been played upon Joseph, who,
notwithstanding, has the modesty to consider himself (much to the
advantage and satisfaction of Talleyrand) the first statesman in Europe,
and the good fortune to be thought so by his brother Napoleon.

When a rupture with England was apprehended, in the spring of 1803,
Talleyrand never signed a despatch that was not previously communicated
to, and approved by Joseph, before its contents were sanctioned by
Napoleon. This precaution chiefly continued him in place when Lord
Whitworth left this capital,--a departure that incensed Napoleon to such
a degree that he entirely forgot the dignity of his rank amidst his
generals, a becoming deportment to the members of the diplomatic corps,
and his duty to his mother and brothers, who all more or less experienced
the effects of his violent passions. He thus accosted Talleyrand, who
purposely arrived late at his circle:

"Well! the English Ambassador is gone; and we must again go to war. Were
my generals as great fools as some of my Ministers, I should despair
indeed of the issue of my contest with these insolent islanders. Many
believe that had I been more ably supported in my Cabinet, I should not
have been under the necessity of taking the field, as a rupture might
have been prevented."

"Such, Citizen First Consul!" answered the trembling and bowing Minister,
"is not the opinion of the Counsellor of State, Citizen Joseph

"Well, then," said Napoleon, as recollecting himself, "England wishes for
war, and she shall suffer for it. This shall be a war of extermination,
depend upon it."

The name of Joseph alone moderated Napoleon's fury, and changed its
object. It is with him what the harp of David was with Saul. Talleyrand
knows it, and is no loser by that knowledge. I must, however, in
justice, say that, had Bonaparte followed his Minister's advice, and
suffered himself to be entirely guided by his counsel, all hostilities
with England at that time might have been avoided; her Government would
have been lulled into security by the cession of Malta, and some
commercial regulations, and her future conquest, during a time of peace,
have been attempted upon plans duly organized, that might have ensured
success. He never ceased to repeat, "Citizen First Consul! some few
years longer peace with Great Britain, and the 'Te Deums' of modern
Britons for the conquest and possession of Malta, will be considered
by their children as the funeral hymns of their liberty and

It was upon this memorable occasion of Lord Whitworth's departure, that
Bonaparte is known to have betrayed the most outrageous acts of passion;
he rudely forced his mother from his closet, and forbade his own sisters
to approach his person; he confined Madame Bonaparte for several hours to
her chamber; he dismissed favourite generals; treated with ignominy
members of his Council of State; and towards his physician, secretaries,
and principal attendants, he committed unbecoming and disgraceful marks
of personal outrage. I have heard it affirmed that, though her husband,
when shutting her up in her dressing-room, put the key in his pocket,
Madame Napoleon found means to resent the ungallant behaviour of her
spouse, with the assistance of Madame Remusat.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--No act of Bonaparte's government has occasioned so many, so
opposite, and so violent debates, among the remnants of revolutionary
factions comprising his Senate and Council of State, as the introduction
and execution of the religious concordat signed with the Pope. Joseph
was here again the ostensible negotiator, though he, on this as well as
on former occasions, concluded nothing that had not been prepared and
digested by Talleyrand.

Bonaparte does not in general pay much attention to the opinions of
others when they do not agree with his own views and interests, or
coincide with his plans of reform or innovation; but having in his public
career professed himself by turns an atheist and an infidel, the
worshipper of Christ and of Mahomet, he could not decently silence those
who, after deserting or denying the God of their forefathers and of their
youth, continued constant and firm in their apostasy. Of those who
deliberated concerning the restoration or exclusion of Christianity, and
the acceptance or rejection of the concordat, Fouche, Francois de Nantz,
Roederer, and Sieges were for the religion of Nature; Volney, Real,
Chaptal, Bourrienne, and Lucien Bonaparte for atheism; and Portalis,
Gregoire, Cambaceres, Lebrun, Talleyrand, Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte
for Christianity. Besides the sentiments of these confidential
counsellors, upwards of two hundred memoirs, for or against the Christian
religion, were presented to the First Consul by uninvited and volunteer
counsellors,--all differing as much from one another as the members of
his own Privy Council.

Many persons do Madame Bonaparte, the mother, the honour of supposing
that to her assiduous representations is principally owing the recall of
the priests, and the restoration of the altars of Christ. She certainly
is the most devout, or rather the most superstitious of her family, and
of her name; but had not Talleyrand and Portalis previously convinced
Napoleon of the policy of reestablishing a religion which, for fourteen
centuries, had preserved the throne of the Bourbons from the machinations
of republicans and other conspirators against monarchy, it is very
probable that her representations would have been as ineffective as her
piety or her prayers. So long ago as 1796 she implored the mercy of
Napoleon for the Roman Catholics in Italy; and entreated him to spare the
Pope and the papal territory, at the very time that his soldiers were
laying waste and ravaging the legacy of Bologna and of Ravenna, both
incorporated with his new-formed Cisalpine Republic; where one of his
first acts of sovereignty, in the name of the then sovereign people, was
the confiscation of Church lands and the sale of the estates of the

Of the prelates who with Joseph Bonaparte signed the concordat, the
Cardinal Gonsalvi and the Bishop Bernier have, by their labours and
intrigues, not a little contributed to the present Church establishment,
in this country; and to them Napoleon is much indebted for the intrusion
of the Bonaparte, dynasty, among the houses of sovereign Princes. The
former, intended from his youth for the Church, sees neither honour in
this world, nor hopes for any blessing in the next, but exclusively from
its bosom and its doctrine. With capacity to figure as a country curate,
he occupies the post of the chief Secretary of State to the Pope; and
though nearly of the same age, but of a much weaker constitution than his
Sovereign, he was ambitious enough to demand Bonaparte's promise of
succeeding to the Papal See, and weak and wicked enough to wish and
expect to survive a benefactor of a calmer mind and better health than
himself. It was he who encouraged Bonaparte to require the presence of
Pius VII. in France, and who persuaded this weak pontiff to undertake a
journey that has caused so much scandal among the truly faithful; and
which, should ever Austria regain its former supremacy in Italy, will
send the present Pope to end his days in a convent, and make the
successors of St. Peter what this Apostle was himself, a Bishop of Rome,
and nothing more.

Bernier was a curate in La Vendee before the Revolution, and one of those
priests who lighted the torch of civil war in that unfortunate country,
under pretence of defending the throne of his King and the altars of his
God. He not only possessed great popularity among the lower classes,
but acquired so far the confidence of the Vendean chiefs that he was
appointed one of the supreme and directing Council of the Royalists and
Chouans. Even so late as the summer of 1799 he continued not only
unsuspected, but trusted by the insurgents in the Western departments.
In the winter, however, of the same year he had been gained over by
Bonaparte's emissaries, and was seen at his levies in the Tuileries. It
is stated that General Brune made him renounce his former principles,
desert his former companions, and betray to the then First Consul of the
French Republic the secrets of the friends of lawful monarchy, of the
faithful subjects of Louis XVIII. His perfidy has been rewarded with one
hundred and fifty thousand livres in ready money, with the see of
Orleans, and with a promise of a cardinal's hat. He has also, with the
Cardinals Gonsalvi, Caprara, Fesch, Cambaceres, and Mauri, Bonaparte's
promise, and, of course, the expectation of the Roman tiara. He was one
of the prelates who officiated at the late coronation, and is now
confided in as a person who has too far committed himself with his
legitimate Prince, and whose past treachery, therefore, answers for his
future fidelity.

This religious concordat of the 10th September, 1801, as well as all
other constitutional codes emating from revolutionary authorities,
proscribes even in protecting. The professors and protectors of the
religion of universal peace, benevolence, and forgiveness banish in this
concordat from France forever the Cardinals Rohan and Montmorency, and
the Bishop of Arras, whose dutiful attachment to their unfortunate Prince
would, in better times and in a more just and generous nation, have been
recompensed with distinctions, and honoured even by magnanimous foes.

When Madame Napoleon was informed by her husband of the necessity of
choosing her almoner and chaplain, and of attending regularly the Mass,
she first fell a-laughing, taking it merely for a joke; the serious and
severe looks, and the harsh and threatening expressions of the First
Consul soon, however, convinced her how much she was mistaken. To evince
her repentance, she on the very next day attended her mother-in-law to
church, who was highly edified by the sudden and religious turn of her
daughter, and did not fail to ascribe to the efficacious interference of
one of her favourite saints this conversion of a profane sinner. But
Napoleon was not the dupe of this church-going mummery of his wife, whom
he ordered his spies to watch; these were unfortunate enough to discover
that she went to the Mass more to fill her appointments with her lovers
than to pray to her Saviour; and that even by the side of her mother she
read billets-doux and love-letters when that pious lady supposed that she
read her prayers, because her eyes were fixed upon her breviary. Without
relating to any one this discovery of his Josephine's frailties,
Napoleon, after a violent connubial fracas and reprimand, and after a
solitary confinement of her for six days, gave immediate orders to have
the chapels of the Tuileries and of St. Cloud repaired; and until these
were ready, Cardinal Cambaceres and Bernier, by turns, said the Mass, in
her private apartments; where none but selected favourites or favoured
courtiers were admitted. Madame Napoleon now never neglects the Mass,
but if not accompanied by her husband is escorted by a guard of honour,
among whom she knows that he has several agents watching her motions and
her very looks.

In the month of June, 1803; I dined with Viscomte de Segur, and Joseph
and Lucien Bonaparte were among the guests. The latter jocosely remarked
with what facility the French Christians had suffered themselves to be
hunted in and out of their temples, according to the fanaticism or policy
of their rulers; which he adduced as a proof of the great progress of
philosophy and toleration in France. A young officer of the party,
Jacquemont, a relation of the former husband of the present Madame
Lucien, observed that he thought it rather an evidence of the
indifference of the French people to all religion; the consequence of the
great havoc the tenets of infidelity and of atheism had made among the
flocks of the faithful. This was again denied by Bonaparte's aide-de-
camp, Savary, who observed that, had this been the case, the First Consul
(who certainly was as well acquainted with the religious spirit of
Frenchmen as anybody else) would not have taken the trouble to conclude a
religious concordat, nor have been at the expense of providing for the
clergy. To this assertion Joseph nodded an assent.

When the dinner was over, De Segur took me to a window, expressing his
uneasiness at what he called the imprudence of Jacquemont, who, he
apprehended, from Joseph's silence and manner, would not escape
punishment for having indirectly blamed both the restorer of religion and
his plenipotentiary. These apprehensions were justified. On the next
day Jacquemont received orders to join the colonial depot at Havre; but
refusing to obey, by giving in his resignation as a captain, he was
arrested, shut up in the Temple, and afterwards transported to Cayenne or
Madagascar. His relatives and friends are still ignorant whether he is
dead or alive, and what is or has been his place of exile. To a petition
presented by Jacquemont's sister, Madame de Veaux, Joseph answered that
"he never interfered with the acts of the haute police of his brother
Napoleon's Government, being well convinced both of its justice and


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--That Bonaparte had, as far back as February, 1803 (when the
King of Prussia proposed to Louis XVIII. the formal renunciation of his
hereditary rights in favour of the First Consul), determined to assume
the rank and title, with the power of a Sovereign, nobody can doubt.
Had it not been for the war with England, he would, in the spring of that
year, or twelve months earlier, have proclaimed himself Emperor of the
French, and probably would have been acknowledged as such by all other
Princes. To a man so vain and so impatient, so accustomed to command and
to intimidate, this suspension of his favourite plan was a considerable
disappointment, and not a little increased his bitter and irreconcilable
hatred of Great Britain.

Here, as well as in foreign countries, the multitude pay homage only to
Napoleon's uninterrupted prosperity; without penetrating or considering
whether it be the consequence of chance or of well-digested plans;
whether he owes his successes to his own merit or to a blind fortune.
He asserted in his speech to the constitutional authorities, immediately
after hostilities had commenced with England, that the war would be of
short duration, and he firmly believed what he said. Had he by his
gunboats, or by his intrigues or threats, been enabled to extort a second
edition of the Peace of Amiens, after a warfare of some few months, all
mouths would have been ready to exclaim, "Oh, the illustrious warrior!
Oh, the profound politician!" Now, after three ineffectual campaigns on
the coast, when the extravagance and ambition of our Government have
extended the contagion of war over the Continent; when both our direct
offers of peace, and the negotiations and mediations of our allies, have
been declined by, or proved unavailing with, the Cabinet of St. James,
the inconsistency, the ignorance, and the littleness of the fortunate
great man seem to be not more remembered than the outrages and
encroachments that have provoked Austria and Russia to take the field.
Should he continue victorious, and be in a position to dictate another
Peace of Luneville, which probably would be followed by another pacific
overture to or from England, mankind will again be ready to call out,
"Oh, the illustrious warrior! Oh, the profound politician! He foresaw,
in his wisdom, that a Continental war was necessary to terrify or to
subdue his maritime foe; that a peace with England could be obtained only
in Germany; and that this war must be excited by extending the power of
France on the other side of the Alps. Hence his coronation as a King of
Italy; hence his incorporation of Parma and Genoa with France; and hence
his donation of Piombino and Lucca to his brother-in-law, Bacchiochi!"
Nowhere in history have I read of men of sense being so easily led astray
as in our times, by confounding fortuitous events with consequences
resulting from preconcerted plans and well-organized designs.

Only rogues can disseminate and fools believe that the disgrace of
Moreau, and the execution of the Duc d'Enghien, of Pichegru, and Georges,
were necessary as footsteps to Bonaparte's Imperial throne; and that
without the treachery of Mehee de la Touche, and the conspiracy he
pretended to have discovered, France would still have been ruled by a
First Consul. It is indeed true, that this plot is to be counted (as the
imbecility of Melas, which lost the battle of Marengo) among those
accidents presenting themselves apropos to serve the favourite of fortune
in his ambitious views; but without it, he would equally have been hailed
an Emperor of the French in May, 1804. When he came from the coast, in
the preceding winter, and was convinced of the impossibility of making
any impression on the British Islands with his flotilla, he convoked his
confidential Senators, who then, with Talleyrand, settled the Senatus
Consultum which appeared five months afterwards. Mehee's correspondence
with Mr. Drake was then known to him; but he and the Minister of Police
were both unacquainted with the residence and arrival of Pichegru and
Georges in France, and of their connection with Moreau; the particulars
of which were first disclosed to them in the February following, when
Bonaparte had been absent from his army of England six weeks. The
assumption of the Imperial dignity procured him another decent
opportunity of offering his olive-branch to those who had caused his
laurels to wither, and by whom, notwithstanding his abuse, calumnies, and
menaces, he would have been more proud to be saluted Emperor than by all
the nations upon the Continent. His vanity, interest, and policy, all
required this last degree of supremacy and elevation at that period.

Bonaparte had so well penetrated the weak side of Moreau's character
that, although he could not avoid doing justice to this general's
military talents and exploits, he neither esteemed him as a citizen nor
dreaded him as a rival. Moreau possessed great popularity; but so did
Dumourier and Pichegru before him: and yet neither of them had found
adherents enough to shake those republican governments with which they
avowed themselves openly discontented, and against which they secretly
plotted. I heard Talleyrand say, at Madame de Montlausier's, in the
presence of fifty persons, "Napoleon Bonaparte had never anything to
apprehend from General Moreau, and from his popularity, even at the head
of an army. Dumourier, too, was at the head of an army when he revolted
against the National Convention; but had he not saved himself by flight
his own troops would have delivered him up to be punished as a traitor.
Moreau, and his popularity, could only be dangerous to the Bonaparte
dynasty were he to survive Napoleon, had not this Emperor wisely averted
this danger." From this official declaration of Napoleon's confidential
Minister, in a society of known anti-imperialists, I draw the conclusion
that Moreau will never more, during the present reign, return to France.
How very feeble, and how badly advised must this general have been, when,
after his condemnation to two years' imprisonment, he accepted a
perpetual exile, and renounced all hopes of ever again entering his own
country. In the Temple, or in any other prison, if he had submitted to
the sentence pronounced against him, he would have caused Bonaparte more
uneasiness than when at liberty, and been more a point of rally to his
adherents and friends than when at his palace of Grosbois, because
compassion and pity must have invigorated and sharpened their feelings.

If report be true, however, he did not voluntarily exchange imprisonment
for exile; racks were shown him; and by the act of banishment was placed
a poisonous draught. This report gains considerable credit when it is
remembered that, immediately after his condemnation, Moreau furnished his
apartments in the Temple in a handsome manner, so as to be lodged well,
if not comfortably, with his wife and child, whom, it is said, he was not
permitted to see before he had accepted Bonaparte's proposal of

It may be objected to this supposition that the man in power, who did not
care about the barefaced murder of the Duc d'Enghien, and the secret
destruction of Pichegru, could neither much hesitate, nor be very
conscientious about adding Moreau to the number of his victims. True,
but the assassin in authority is also generally a politician. The
untimely end of the Duc d'Enghien and of Pichegru was certainly lamented
and deplored by the great majority of the French people; but though they
had many who pitied their fate, but few had any relative interest to
avenge it; whilst in the assassination of Moreau, every general, every
officer, and every soldier of his former army, might have read the
destiny reserved for himself by that chieftain, who did not conceal his
preference of those who had fought under him in Italy and Egypt, and his
mistrust and jealousy of those who had vanquished under Moreau in
Germany; numbers of whom had already perished at St. Domingo, or in the
other colonies, or were dispersed in separate and distant garrisons of
the mother country. It has been calculated that of eighty-four generals
who made, under Moreau, the campaign of 1800, and who survived the Peace
of Lundville, sixteen had been killed or died at St. Domingo, four at
Guadeloupe, ten in Cayenne, nine at Ile de France, and eleven at l'Ile
Reunion and in Madagascar. The mortality among the officers and men has
been in proportion.

An anecdote is related of Pichegru, which does honour to the memory of
that unfortunate general. Fouche paid him a visit in prison the day
before his death, and offered him "Bonaparte's commission as a Field-
marshal, and a diploma as a grand officer of the Legion of Honour,
provided he would turn informer against Moreau, of whose treachery
against himself in 1797 he was reminded. On the other hand, he was
informed that, in consequence of his former denials, if he persisted in
his refractory conduct, he should never more appear before any judge, but
that the affairs of State and the safety of the country required that he
should be privately despatched in his gaol."

"So," answered this virtuous and indignant warrior, "you will spare my
life only upon condition that I prove myself unworthy to live. As this
is the case, my choice is made without hesitation; I am prepared to
become your victim, but I will never be numbered among your accomplices.
Call in your executioners; I am ready to die as I have lived, a man of
honour, and an irreproachable citizen."

Within twenty-four hours after this answer, Pichegru was no more.

That the Duc d'Enghien was shot on the night of the 21st of March, 1804,
in the wood or in the ditch of the castle at Vincennes, is admitted even
by Government; but who really were his assassins is still unknown. Some
assert that he was shot by the grenadiers of Bonaparte's Italian guard;
others say, by a detachment of the Gendarmes d'Elite; and others again,
that the men of both these corps refused to fire, and that General Murat,
hearing the troops murmur, and fearing their mutiny, was himself the
executioner of this young and innocent Prince of the House of Bourbon, by
riding up to him and blowing out his brains with a pistol. Certain it is
that Murat was the first, and Louis Bonaparte the second in command, on
this dreadful occasion.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--Thanks to Talleyrand's political emigration, our Government has
never been in ignorance of the characters and foibles of the leading
members among the emigrants in England. Otto, however, finished their
picture, but added, some new groups to those delineated by his
predecessor. It was according to his plan that the expedition of Mehee
de la Touche was undertaken, and it was in following his instructions
that the campaign of this traitor succeeded so well in Great Britain.

Under the Ministry of Vergennes, of Montmorin, and of Delessart, Mehee
had been employed as a spy in Russia, Sweden, and Poland, and acquitted
himself perfectly to the satisfaction of his masters. By some accident
or other, Delessart discovered, however, in December, 1791, that he had,
while pocketing the money of the Cabinet of Versailles, sold its secrets
to the Cabinet of St. Petersburg. He, of course, was no longer trusted
as a spy, and therefore turned a Jacobin, and announced himself to
Brissot as a persecuted patriot. All the calumnies against this Minister
in Brissot's daily paper, Le Patriote Francois, during January, February,
and March, 1792, were the productions of Mehee's malicious heart and able
pen. Even after they had sent Delessart a State prisoner to Orleans, his
inveteracy continued, and in September the same year he went to
Versailles to enjoy the sight of the murder of his former master. Some
go so far as to say that the assassins were headed by this monster, who
aggravated cruelty by insult, and informed the dying Minister of the
hands that stabbed him, and to whom he was indebted for a premature

To these and other infamous and barbarous deeds, Talleyrand was not a
stranger when he made Mehee his secret agent, and entrusted him with the
mission to England. He took, therefore, such steps that neither his
confidence could be betrayed, nor his money squandered. Mehee had
instructions how to proceed in Great Britain, but he was ignorant of the
object Government had in view by his mission; and though large sums were
promised if successful, and if he gave satisfaction by his zeal and
discretion, the money advanced him was a mere trifle, and barely
sufficient to keep him from want. He was, therefore, really distressed,
when he fixed upon some necessitous and greedy emigrants for his
instruments to play on the credulity of the English Ministers in some of
their unguarded moments. Their generosity in forbearing to avenge upon
the deluded French exiles the slur attempted to be thrown upon their
official capacity, and the ridicule intended to be cast on their private
characters, has been much approved and admired here by all liberal-minded
persons; but it has also much disappointed Bonaparte and Talleyrand, who
expected to see these emigrants driven from the only asylum which
hospitality has not refused to their misfortunes and misery.

Mehee had been promised by Talleyrand double the amount of the sums which
he could swindle from your Government; but though he did more mischief to
your country than was expected in this, and though he proved that he had
pocketed upwards of ten thousand English guineas, the wages of his
infamy, when he hinted about the recompense he expected here, Durant,
Talleyrand's chef du bureau, advised him, as a friend, not to remind the
Minister of his presence in France, as Bonaparte never pardoned a
Septembrizer, and the English guineas he possessed might be claimed and
seized as national property, to compensate some of the sufferers by the
unprovoked war with England. In vain did he address himself to his
fellow labourer in revolutionary plots, the Counsellor of State, Real,
who had been the intermedium between him and Talleyrand, when he was
first enlisted among the secret agents; instead of receiving money he
heard threats; and, therefore, with as good grace as he could, he made
the best of his disappointment; he sported a carriage, kept a mistress,
went to gambling-houses, and is now in a fair way to be reduced to the
status quo before his brilliant exploits in Great Britain.

Real, besides the place of a Counsellor of State, occupies also the
office of a director of the internal police. Having some difference with
my landlord, I was summoned to appear before him at the prefecture of the
police. My friend, M. de Sab-----r, formerly a counsellor of the
Parliament at Rouen, happened to be with me when the summons was
delivered, and offered to accompany me, being acquainted with Real.
Though thirty persons were waiting in the antechamber at our arrival, no
sooner was my friend's name announced than we were admitted, and I
obtained not only more justice than I expected, or dared to claim, but an
invitation to Madame Real's tea-party the same evening. This justice and
this politeness surprised me, until my friend showed me an act of forgery
in his possession, committed by Real in 1788, when an advocate of the
Parliament, and for which the humanity of my friend alone prevented him
from being struck off the rolls, and otherwise punished.

As I conceived my usual societies and coteries could not approve my
attendance at the house of such a personage, I was intent upon sending an
apology to Madame Real. My friend, however, assured me that I should
meet in her salon persons of all classes and of all ranks, and many I
little expected to see associating together. I went late, and found the
assembly very numerous; at the upper part of the hall were seated
Princesses Joseph and Louis Bonaparte, with Madame Fouche, Madame
Roederer, the cidevant Duchesse de Fleury, and Marquise de Clermont.
They were conversing with M. Mathew de Montmorency, the contractor (a ci-
devant lackey) Collot, the ci-devant Duc de Fitz-James, and the
legislator Martin, a ci-devant porter: several groups in the several
apartments were composed of a similar heterogeneous mixture of ci-devant
nobles and ci-devant valets, of ci-devant Princesses, Marchionesses,
Countesses and Baronesses, and of ci-devant chambermaids, mistresses and
poissardes. Round a gambling-table, by the side of the ci-devant Bishop
of Autun, Talleyrand, sat Madame Hounguenin, whose husband, a ci-devant
shoeblack, has, by the purchase of national property, made a fortune of
nine millions of livres--L375,000. Opposite them were seated the ci-
devant Prince de Chalais, and the present Prince Cambaceres with the ci-
devant Comtesse de Beauvais, and Madame Fauve, the daughter of a
fishwoman, and the wife of a tribune, a ci-devant barber. In another
room, the Bavarian Minister Cetto was conferring with the spy Mehee de la
Touche; but observed at a distance by Fouche's secretary, Desmarets, the
son of a tailor at Fontainebleau, and for years a known spy. When I was
just going to retire, the handsome Madame Gillot, and her sister, Madame
de Soubray, joined me. You have perhaps known them in England, where,
before their marriage, they resided for five years with their parents,
the Marquis and Marquise de Courtin; and were often admired by the
loungers in Bond Street. The one married for money, Gillot, a ci-devant
drummer in the French Guard, but who, since the Revolution, has, as a
general; made a large fortune; and the other united herself to a ci-
devant Abbe, from love; but both are now divorced from their husbands,
who passed them without any notice while they were chatting with me.
I was handing Madame Gillot to her carriage, when, from the staircase,
Madame de Soubray called to us not to quit her, as she was pursued by a
man whom she detested, and wished to avoid. We had hardly turned round,
when Mehee offered her his arm, and she exclaimed with indignation, "How
dare you, infamous wretch, approach me, when I have forbidden you ever to
speak to me? Had you been reduced to become a highwayman, or a
housebreaker, I might have pitied your infamy; but a spy is a villain who
aggravates guilt by cowardice and baseness, and can inspire no noble soul
with any other sentiment but abhorrence, and the most sovereign
contempt." Without being disconcerted, Mehee silently returned to the
company, amidst bursts of laughter from fifty servants, and as many
masters, waiting for their carriages. M. de Cetto was among the latter,
but, though we all fixed our eyes steadfastly upon him, no alteration
could be seen on his diplomatic countenance: his face must surely be made
of brass or his heart of marble.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--The day on which Madame Napoleon Bonaparte was elected an
Empress of the French, by the constitutional authorities of her husband's
Empire, was, contradictory as it may seem, one of the most uncomfortable
in her life. After the show and ceremony of the audience and of the
drawing-room were over, she passed it entirely in tears, in her library,
where her husband shut her up and confined her.

The discipline of the Court of St. Cloud is as singular as its
composition is unique. It is, by the regulation of Napoleon, entirely
military. From the Empress to her lowest chambermaid, from the Emperor's
first aide-de-camp down to his youngest page, any slight offence or
negligence is punished with confinement, either public or private. In
the former case the culprits are shut up in their own apartments, but in
the latter they are ordered into one of the small rooms, constructed in
the dark galleries at the Tuileries and St. Cloud, near the kitchens,
where they are guarded day and night by sentries, who answer for their
persons, and that nobody visits them.

When, on the 28th of March, 1804, the Senate had determined on offering
Bonaparte the Imperial dignity, he immediately gave his wife full powers,
with order to form her household of persons who, from birth and from
their principles, might be worthy, and could be trusted to encompass the
Imperial couple. She consulted Madame Remusat, who, in her turn,
consulted her friend De Segur, who also consulted his bonne amie, Madame
de Montbrune. This lady determined that if Bonaparte and his wife were
desirous to be served, or waited on, by persons above them by ancestry
and honour, they should pay liberally for such sacrifices. She was not
therefore idle, but wishing to profit herself by the pride of upstart
vanity, she had at first merely reconnoitred the ground, or made distant
overtures to those families of the ancient French nobility who had been
ruined by the Revolution, and whose minds she expected to have found on a
level with their circumstances. These, however, either suspecting her
intent and her views, or preferring honest poverty to degrading and
disgraceful splendour, had started objections which she was not prepared
to encounter. Thus the time passed away; and when, on the 18th of the
following May, the Senate proclaimed Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor of the
French, not a Chamberlain was ready to attend him, nor a Maid of Honour
to wait on his wife.

On the morning of the 20th May, the day fixed for the constitutional
republican authorities to present their homage as subjects, Napoleon
asked his Josephine who were the persons, of both sexes, she had engaged,
according to his carte blanche given her, as necessary and as unavoidable
decorations of the drawing-room of an Emperor and Empress, as thrones and
as canopies of State. She referred him to Madame Remusat, who, though
but half-dressed, was instantly ordered to appear before him. This lady
avowed that his grand master of the ceremonies, De Segur, had been
entrusted by her with the whole arrangement, but that she feared that he
had not yet been able to complete the full establishment of the Imperial
Court. The aide-de-camp Rapp was then despatched after De Segur, who, as
usual, presented himself smiling and cringing.

"Give me the list," said Napoleon, "of the ladies and gentlemen you have
no doubt engaged for our household."

"May it please Your Majesty," answered De Segur, trembling with fear,
"I humbly supposed that they were not requisite before the day of Your
Majesty's coronation."

"You supposed!" retorted Napoleon. "How dare you suppose differently
from our commands? Is the Emperor of the Great Nation not to be
encompassed with a more numerous retinue, or with more lustre, than a
First Consul? Do you not see the immense difference between the
Sovereign Monarch of an Empire, and the citizen chief magistrate of a
commonwealth? Are there not starving nobles in my empire enough to
furnish all the Courts in Europe with attendants, courtiers, and valets?
Do you not believe that with a nod, with a single nod, I might have them
all prostrated before my throne? What can, then, have occasioned this
impertinent delay?"

"Sire!" answered De Segur, "it is not the want of numbers, but the
difficulty of the choice among them. I will never recommend a single
individual upon whom I cannot depend; or who, on some future day, may
expose me to the greatest of all evils, the displeasure of my Prince."

"But," continued Napoleon, "what is to be done to-day that I may augment
the number of my suite, and by it impose upon the gaping multitude and
the attending deputations?"--"Command," said De Segur, "all the officers
of Your Majesty's staff, and of the staff of the Governor of Paris,
General Murat, to surround Your Majesty's sacred person, and order them
to accoutre themselves in the most shining and splendid manner possible.
The presence of so many military men will also, in a political point of
view, be useful. It will lessen the pretensions of the constituted
authorities, by telling them indirectly, 'It is not to your Senatus
Consultum, to your decrees, or to your votes, that I am indebted for my
present Sovereignty; I owe it exclusively to my own merit and valour, and
to the valour of my brave officers and men, to whose arms I trust more
than to your counsels.'"

This advice obtained Napoleon's entire approbation, and was followed. De
Segur was permitted to retire, but when Madame Remusat made a curtsey
also to leave the room, she was stopped with his terrible 'aux arrets'
and left under the care and responsibility of his aide-de-camp, Lebrun,
who saw her safe into her room, at the door of which he placed two
grenadiers. Napoleon then went out, ordering his wife, at her peril, to
be in time, ready and brilliantly dressed, for the drawing-room.

Dreading the consequences of her husband's wrath, Madame Napoleon was not
only punctual, but so elegantly and tastefully decorated with jewels and
ornaments that even those of her enemies or rivals who refused her
beauty, honour, and virtue, allowed her taste and dignity. She thought
that even in the regards of Napoleon she read a tacit approbation. When
all the troublesome bustle of the morning was gone through, and when
Senators, legislators, tribunes, and prefects had complimented her as a
model of female perfection, on a signal from her husband she accompanied
him in silence through six different apartments before he came to her
library, where he surlily ordered her to enter and to remain until
further orders.

"What have I done, Sire! to deserve such treatment?" exclaimed Josephine,

"If," answered Napoleon, "Madame Remusat, your favourite, has made a fool
of you, this is only to teach you that you shall not make a fool of me:
Had not De Segur fortunately for him--had the ingenuity to extricate us
from the dilemma into which my confidence and dependence on you had
brought me, I should have made a fine figure indeed on the first day of
my emperorship. Have patience, Madame; you have plenty of books to
divert you, but you must remain where you are until I am inclined to
release you." So saying, Napoleon locked the door and put the key in his

It was near two o'clock in the afternoon when she was thus shut up.
Remembering the recent flattery of her courtiers, and comparing it with
the unfeeling treatment of her husband, she found herself so much the
more unfortunate, as the expressions of the former were regarded by her
as praise due to her merit, while the unkindness of the latter was
unavailingly resented as the undeserved oppression of a capricious

Business, or perhaps malice, made Napoleon forget to send her any dinner;
and when, at eight o'clock, his brothers and sisters came, according to
invitation, to take tea, he said coldly:

"Apropos, I forgot it. My wife has not dined yet; she is busy, I
suppose, in her philosophical meditations in her study."

Madame Louis Bonaparte, her daughter, flew directly towards the study,
and her mother could scarcely, for her tears, inform her that--she was a
prisoner, and that her husband was her gaoler.

"Oh, Sire!" said Madame Louis, returning, "even this remarkable day is a
day of mourning for my poor mother!"

"She deserves worse," answered Napoleon, "but, for your sake, she shall
be released; here is the key, let her out."

Madame Napoleon was, however, not in a situation to wish to appear before
her envious brothers and sisters-in-law. Her eyes were so swollen with
crying that she could hardly see; and her tears had stained those
Imperial robes which the unthinking and inconsiderate no doubt believed a
certain preservative against sorrow and affliction. At nine o'clock,
however, another aide-de-camp of her husband presented himself, and gave
her the choice either to accompany him back to the study or to join the
family party of the Bonapartes.

In deploring her mother's situation, Madame Louis Bonaparte informed her
former governess, Madame Cam---n, of these particulars, which I heard her
relate at Madame de M----r's, almost verbatim as I report them to you.
Such, and other scenes, nearly of the same description, are neither rare
nor singular, in the most singular Court that ever existed in civilized


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--Though Government suffer a religious, or, rather, anti-
religious liberty of the Press, the authors who libel or ridicule the
Christian, particularly the Roman Catholic, religion, are excluded from
all prospect of advancement, or if in place, are not trusted or liked.
Cardinal Caprara, the nuncio of the Pope, proposed last year, in a long
memorial, the same severe restrictions on the discussions or publications
in religious matters as were already ordered in those concerning
politics. But both Bonaparte and his Minister in the affairs of the
Church, Portalis, refused the introduction of what they called a tyranny
on the conscience. Caprara then addressed himself to the ex-Bishop
Talleyrand, who, on this occasion, was more explicit than he generally

"Bonaparte," said he, "rules not only over a fickle, but a gossiping
(bavard) people, whom he has prudently forbidden all conversation and
writing concerning government of the State. They would soon (accustomed
as they are, since the Revolution, to verbal and written debates) be
tired of talking about fine weather or about the opera. To occupy them
and their attention, some ample subject of diversion was necessary, and
religion was surrendered to them at discretion; because, enlightened as
the world now is, even athiests or Christian fanatics can do but little
harm to society. They may spend rivers of ink, but they will be unable
to shed a drop of blood."

"True," answered the Cardinal, "but only to a certain degree. The
licentiousness of the Press, with regard to religious matters, does it
not also furnish infidelity with new arms to injure the faith? And have
not the horrors from which France has just escaped proved the danger and
evil consequences of irreligion, and the necessity of encouraging and
protecting Christianity? By the recall of the clergy, and by the
religious concordat, Bonaparte has shown himself convinced of this

"So he is," interrupted Talleyrand; "but he abhors intoleration and
persecution" (not in politics). "I shall, however, to please Your
Eminence, lay the particulars of your conversation before him."

Some time afterwards, when Talleyrand and Bonaparte must have agreed
about some new measure to indirectly chastise impious writers, the
Senators Garat, Jaucourt, Roederer, and Demeunier, four of the members of
the senatorial commission of the liberty of the Press, were sent for, and
remained closeted with Napoleon, his Minister Portalis, and Cardinal
Caprara for two hours. What was determined on this occasion has not
transpired, as even the Cardinal, who is not the most discreet person
when provoked, and his religious zeal gets the better of his political
prudence, has remained silent, though seemingly contented.

Two rather insignificant authors, of the name of Varennes and Beaujou,
who published some scandalous libels on Christianity, have since been
taken up, and after some months' imprisonment in the Temple been
condemned to transportation to Cayenne for life,--not as infidels or
atheists, but as conspirators against the State, in consequence of some
unguarded expressions which prejudice or ill-will alone would judge
connected with politics. Nothing is now permitted to be printed against
religion but with the author's name; but on affixing his name, he may
abuse the worship and Gospel as much as he pleases. Since the example of
severity alluded to above, however, this practice is on the decline.
Even Pigault-Lebrun, a popular but immoral novel writer, narrowly escaped
lately a trip to Cayenne for one of his blasphemous publications, and
owes to the protection of Madame Murat exclusively that he was not sent
to keep Varennes and Beaujou company. Some years ago, when Madame Murat
was neither so great nor so rich as at present, he presented her with a
copy of his works, and she had been unfashionable enough not only to
remember the compliment, but wished to return it by nominating him her
private secretary; which, however, the veto of Napoleon prevented.

Of Napoleon Bonaparte's religious sentiments, opinions are not divided in
France. The influence over him of the petty, superstitious Cardinal
Caprara is, therefore, inexplicable. This prelate has forced from him
assent to transactions which had been refused both to his mother and his
brother Joseph, who now often employ the Cardinal with success, where
they either dare not or will not show themselves. It is true His
Eminence is not easily rebuked, but returns to the charge unabashed by
new repulses; and be obtains by teasing more than by persuasion; but a
man by whom Bonaparte suffers, himself to be teased with impunity is no
insignificant favourite, particularly when, like this Cardinal, he unites
cunning with devotion, craft with superstition; and is as accessible to
corruption as tormented by ambition.

As most ecclesiastical promotions passed through his pure and
disinterested hands, Madame Napoleon, Talleyrand, and Portalis, who also
wanted some douceurs for their extraordinary expenses, united together
last spring to remove him from France. Napoleon was cajoled to nominate
him a grand almoner of the Kingdom of Italy, and the Cardinal set out for
Milan. He was, however, artful enough to convince his Sovereign of the
propriety of having his grand almoner by his side; and he is, therefore,
obliged to this intrigue of his enemies that he now disposes of the
benefices in the Kingdom of Italy, as well as those of the French Empire.

During the Pope's residence in this capital, His Holiness often made use
of Cardinal Caprara in his secret negotiations with Bonaparte; and
whatever advantages were obtained by the Roman Pontiff for the Gallican
Church His Eminence almost extorted; for he never desisted, where his
interest or pride were concerned, till he had succeeded. It is said that
one day last January, after having been for hours exceedingly teasing and
troublesome, Bonaparte lost his patience, and was going to treat His
Eminence as he frequently does his relatives, his Ministers, and
counsellors,--that is to say, to kick him from his presence; but suddenly
recollecting himself, he said: "Cardinal, remain here in my closet until
my return, when I shall have more time to listen to what you have to
relate." It was at ten o'clock in the morning, and a day of great
military audience and grand review. In going out he put the key in his
pocket, and told the guards in his antechamber to pay no attention if
they should hear any noise in his closet.

It was dark before the review was over, and Bonaparte had a large party
to dinner. When his guests retired, he went into his wife's drawing-
room, where one of the Pope's chamberlains waited on him with the
information that His Holiness was much alarmed about the safety of
Cardinal Caprara, of whom no account could be obtained, even with the
assistance of the police, to whom application had been made, since His
Eminence had so suddenly disappeared.

"Oh! how absent I am," answered Napoleon, as with surprise; "I entirely
forgot that I left the Cardinal in my closet this morning. I will go
myself and make an apology for my blunder."

His Eminence, quite exhausted, was found fast asleep; but no sooner was
he a little recovered than he interrupted Bonaparte's affected apology
with the repetition of the demand he had made in the morning; and so well
was Napoleon pleased with him, for neglecting his personal inconvenience
only to occupy himself with the affairs of his Sovereign, that he
consented to what was asked, and in laying his hand upon the shoulders of
the prelate, said:

"Faithful Minister! were every Prince as well served as your Sovereign
is by you, many evils might be prevented, and much good effected."

The same evening Duroc brought him, as a present, a snuffbox with
Bonaparte's portrait, set round with diamonds, worth one thousand louis
d'or. The adventures of this day certainly did not lessen His Eminence
in the favour of Napoleon or of Pius VII.

Last November, some not entirely unknown persons intended to amuse
themselves at the Cardinal's expense. At seven o'clock one evening, a
young Abbe presented himself at the Cardinal's house, Hotel de Montmorin,
Rue Plumet, as by appointment of His Eminence, and was, by his secretary,
ushered into the study and asked to wait there. Hardly half an hour
afterwards, two persons, pretending to be agents of the police, arrived
just as the Cardinal's carriage had stopped. They informed him that the
woman introduced into his house in the dress of an Abby was connected
with a gang of thieves and housebreakers, and demanded his permission to
arrest her. He protested that, except the wife of his porter, no woman
in any dress whatever could be in his house, and that, to convince
themselves, they were very welcome to accompany his valet-de-chambre into
every room they wished to see. To the great surprise of his servant, a
very pretty girl was found in the bed of His Eminence's bed-chamber,
which joined his study, who, though the pretended police agents insisted
on her getting up, refused, under pretence that she was there waiting for
her 'bon ami', the Cardinal.

His Eminence was no sooner told of this than he shut the gate of his
house, after sending his secretary to the commissary of police of the
section. In the meantime, both the police agents and the girl entreated
him to let them out, as the whole was merely a badinage; but he remained
inflexible, and they were all three carried by the real police commissary
to prison.

Upon a complaint made by His Eminence to Bonaparte, the Police Minister,
Fouche, received orders to have those who had dared thus to violate the
sacred character of the representative of the Holy Pontiff immediately,
and without further ceremony, transported to Cayenne. The Cardinal
demanded, and obtained, a process verbal of what had occurred, and of the
sentence on the culprits, to be laid before his Sovereign. As Eugene de
Beauharnais interested himself so much for the individuals involved in
this affair as both to implore Bonaparte's pardon and the Cardinal's
interference for them, many were inclined to believe that he was in the
secret, if not the contriver of this unfortunate joke. This supposition
gained credit when, after all his endeavours to save them proved vain, he
sent them seventy-two livres L 3,000--to Rochefort, that they might, on
their arrival at Cayenne, be able to buy a plantation. He procured them
also letters to the Governor, Victor Hughes, recommending that they
should be treated differently from other transported persons.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--I was particularly attentive in observing the countenances and
demeanour of the company at the last levee which Madame Napoleon
Bonaparte held, previous to her departure with her husband to meet the
Pope at Fontainebleau. I had heard from good authority that "to those
whose propensities were known, Duroc's information that the Empress was
visible was accompanied with a kind of admonitory or courtly hint, that
the strictest decency in dress and manners, and a conversation chaste,
and rather of an unusually modest turn, would be highly agreeable to
their Sovereigns, in consideration of the solemn occasion of a Sovereign
Pontiff's arrival in France,--an occurrence that had not happened for
centuries, and probably would not happen for centuries to come." I went
early, and was well rewarded for my punctuality.

There came the Senator Fouche, handing his amiable and chaste spouse,
walking with as much gravity as formerly, when a friar, he marched in a
procession. Then presented themselves the Senators Sieyes and Roederer,
with an air as composed as if the former had still been an Abbe and the
confessor of the latter. Next came Madame Murat, whom three hours before
I had seen in the Bois de Boulogne in all the disgusting display of
fashionable nakedness, now clothed and covered to her chin. She was
followed by the pious Madame Le Clerc, now Princesse Borghese, who was
sighing deeply and loudly. After her came limping the godly Talleyrand,
dragging his pure moiety by his side, both with downcast and edifying
looks. The Christian patriots, Gravina and Lima, Dreyer and Beust,
Dalberg and Cetto, Malsburgh and Pappenheim, with the Catholic
Schimmelpenninck and Mohammed Said Halel Effendi,--all presented
themselves as penitent sinners imploring absolutions, after undergoing

But it would become tedious and merely a repetition, were I to depict
separately the figures and characters of all the personages at this
politico-comical masquerade. Their conversation was, however, more
uniform, more contemptible, and more laughable, than their accoutrements
and grimaces were ridiculous. To judge from what they said, they
belonged no longer to this world; all their thoughts were in heaven, and
they considered themselves either on the borders of eternity or on the
eve of the day of the Last Judgment. The truly devout Madame Napoleon
spoke with rapture of martyrs and miracles, of the Mass and of the
vespers, of Agnuses and relics of Christ her Saviour, and of Pius VII.,
His vicar. Had not her enthusiasm been interrupted by the enthusiastic
commentaries of her mother-in-law, I saw every mouth open ready to cry
out, as soon as she had finished, "Amen! Amen! Amen!"

Napoleon had placed himself between the old Cardinal de Bellois and the
not young Cardinal Bernier, so as to prevent the approach of any profane
sinner or unrepentant infidel. Round him and their clerical chiefs, all
the curates and grand vicars, almoners and chaplains of the Court, and
the capitals of the Princess, Princesses, and grand officers of State,
had formed a kind of cordon. "Had," said the young General Kellerman to
me, "Bonaparte always been encompassed by troops of this description, he
might now have sung hymns as a saint in heaven, but he would never have
reigned as an Emperor upon earth." This indiscreet remark was heard by
Louis Bonaparte, and on the next morning Kellerman received orders to
join the army in Hanover, where he was put under the command of a general
younger than himself. He would have been still more severely punished,
had not his father, the Senator (General Kellerman), been in so great
favour at the Court of St. Cloud, and so much protected by Duroc, who had
made, in 1792, his first campaign under this officer, then commander-in-
chief of the army of the Ardennes.

When this devout assembly separated, which was by courtesy an hour
earlier than usual, I expected every moment to hear a chorus of horse-
laughs, because I clearly perceived that all of them were tired of their
assumed parts, and, with me, inclined to be gay at the expense of their
neighbours. But they all remembered also that they were watched by
spies, and that an imprudent look or an indiscreet word, gaiety instead
of gravity, noise when silence was commanded, might be followed by an
airing in the wilderness of Cayenne. They, therefore, all called out,
"Coachman, to our hotel!" as if to say, "We will to-day, in compliment to
the new-born Christian zeal of our Sovereigns, finish our evening as
piously as we have begun it." But no sooner were they out of sight of
the palace than they hurried to the scenes of dissipation, all
endeavouring, in the debauchery and excesses so natural to them, to
forget their unnatural affectation and hypocrisy.

Well you know the standard of the faith even of the members of the
Bonaparte family. Two days before this Christian circle at Madame
Napoleon's, Madame de Chateaureine, with three other ladies, visited the
Princesse Borghese. Not seeing a favourite parrot they had often
previously admired, they inquired what was become of it.

"Oh, the poor creature!" answered the Princess; "I have disposed of it,
as well as of two of my monkeys. The Emperor has obliged me to engage an
almoner and two chaplains, and it would be too extravagant in me to keep
six useless animals in my hotel. I must now submit to hearing the
disgusting howlings of my almoner instead of the entertaining chat of my
parrot, and to see the awkward bows and kneelings of my chaplains instead
of the amusing capering of my monkeys. Add to this, that I am forced to-
transform into a chapel my elegant and tasty boudoir, on the ground-
floor, where I have passed so many delicious tete-a-tetes. Alas! what a
change! what a shocking fashion, that we are now all again to be


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--Notwithstanding what was inserted in our public prints to the
contrary, the reception Bonaparte experienced from his army of England in
June last year, the first time he presented himself to them as an
Emperor, was far from such as flattered either his vanity or views. For
the first days, some few solitary voices alone accompanied the "Vive
l'Empereur!" of his generals, and of his aides-de-camp. This
indifference, or, as he called it, mutinous spirit, was so much the more
provoking as it was unexpected. He did not, as usual, ascribe it to the
emissaries or gold of England, but to the secret adherents of Pichegru
and Moreau amongst the brigades or divisions that had served under these
unfortunate generals. He ordered, in consequence, his Minister Berthier
to make out a list of all these corps. Having obtained this, he
separated them by ordering some to Italy, others to Holland, and the rest
to the frontiers of Spain and Germany. This act of revenge or jealousy
was regarded, both by the officers and men, as a disgrace and as a doubt
thrown out against their fidelity, and the murmur was loud and general.
In consequence of this, some men were shot, and many more arrested.

Observing, however, that severity had not the desired effect, Bonaparte
suddenly changed his conduct, released the imprisoned, and rewarded with
the crosses of his Legion of Honour every member of the so lately
suspected troops who had ever performed any brilliant or valorous
exploits under the proscribed generals. He even incorporated among his
own bodyguards and guides men who had served in the same capacity under
these rival commanders, and numbers of their children were received in
the Prytanees and military free schools. The enthusiastic exclamation
that soon greeted his ears convinced him that he had struck upon the
right string of his soldiers' hearts. Men who, some few days before,
wanted only the signal of a leader to cut an Emperor they hated to
pieces, would now have contended who should be foremost to shed their
last drop of blood for a chief they adored.

This affected liberality towards the troops who had served under his
rivals roused some slight discontent among those to whom he was chiefly
indebted for his own laurels. But if he knew the danger of reducing to
despair slighted men with arms in their hands, he also was well aware of
the equal danger of enduring licentiousness or audacity among troops who
had, on all occasions, experienced his preference and partiality; and he
gave a sanguinary proof of his opinion on this subject at the grand
parade of the 12th of July, 1804, preparatory to the grand fete of the

A grenadier of the 21st Regiment (which was known in Italy under the name
of the Terrible), in presetting arms to him, said: "Sire! I have served
under you four campaigns, fought under you in ten battles or engagements;
have received in your service seven wounds, and am not a member of your
Legion of Honour; whilst many who served under Moreau, and are not able
to show a scratch from an enemy, have that distinction."

Bonaparte instantly ordered this man to be shot by his own comrades in
the front of the regiment. The six grenadiers selected to fire, seeming
to hesitate, he commanded the whole corps to lay down their arms, and
after being disbanded, to be sent to the different colonial depots. To
humiliate them still more, the mutinous grenadier was shot by the
gendarmes. When the review was over, "Vive l'Empereur!" resounded from
all parts, and his popularity among the troops has since rather increased
than diminished. Nobody can deny that Bonaparte possesses a great
presence of mind, an undaunted firmness, and a perfect knowledge of the
character of the people over whom he reigns. Could but justice and
humanity be added to his other qualities, but, unfortunately for my
nation, I fear that the answer of General Mortier to a remark of a friend
of mine on this subject is not problematical: "Had," said this Imperial
favourite, "Napoleon Bonaparte been just and humane, he would neither
have vanquished nor reigned."

All these scenes occurred before Bonaparte, seated on a throne, received
the homage, as a Sovereign, of one hundred and fifty thousand warriors,
who now bowed as subjects, after having for years fought for liberty and
equality, and sworn hatred to all monarchical institutions; and who
hitherto had saluted and obeyed him only as the first among equals. What
an inconsistency! The splendour and show that accompanied him
everywhere, the pageantry and courtly pomp that surrounded him, and the
decorations of the stars and ribands of the Legion of Honour, which he
distributed with bombastic speeches among troops--to whom those political
impositions and social cajoleries were novelties--made such an impression
upon them, that had a bridge been then fixed between Calais and Dover,
brave as your countrymen are, I should have trembled for the liberty and
independence of your country. The heads and imagination of the soldiers,
I know from the best authority, were then so exalted that, though they
might have been cut to pieces, they could never have been defeated or
routed. I pity our children when I reflect that their tranquillity and
happiness will, perhaps, depend upon such a corrupt and unprincipled
people of soldiers,--easy tools in the hands of every impostor or

The lively satisfaction which Bonaparte must have felt at the pinnacle of
grandeur where fortune had placed him was not, however, entirely unmixed
with uneasiness and vexation. Except at Berlin, in all the other great
Courts the Emperor of the French was still Monsieur Bonaparte; and your
country, of the subjugation of which he had spoken with such lightness
and such inconsideration, instead of dreading, despised his boasts and
defied his threats. Indeed, never before did the Cabinet of St. James
more opportunely expose the reality of his impotency, the impertinence of
his menaces, and the folly of his parade for the invasion of your
country, than by declaring all the ports containing his invincible armada
in a state of blockade. I have heard from an officer who witnessed his
fury when in May, 1799, he was compelled to retreat from before St. Jean
d'Acre, and who was by his side in the camp at Boulogne when a despatch
informed him of this circumstance, that it was nothing compared to the
violent rage into which he flew upon reading it. For an hour afterwards
not even his brother Joseph dared approach him; and his passion got so
far the better of his policy, that what might still have long been
concealed from the troops was known within the evening to the whole camp.
He dictated to his secretary orders for his Ministers at Vienna, Berlin,
Lisbon, and Madrid, and couriers were sent away with them; but half an
hour afterwards other couriers were despatched after them with other
orders, which were revoked in their turn, when at last Joseph had
succeeded in calming him a little. He passed, however, the whole
following night full dressed and agitated; lying down only for an
instant, but having always in his room Joseph and Duroc, and deliberating
on a thousand methods of destroying the insolent islanders; all equally
violent, but all equally impracticable.

The next morning, when, as usual, he went to see the manoeuvres of his
flotilla, and the embarkation and landing of his troops, he looked so
pale that he almost excited pity. Your cruisers, however, as if they had
been informed of the situation of our hero, approached unusually near, to
evince, as it were, their contempt and, derision. He ordered instantly
all the batteries to fire, and went himself to that which carried its
shot farthest; but that moment six of your vessels, after taking down
their sails, cast anchors, with the greatest sang-froid, just without the
reach of our shot. In an unavailing anger he broke upon the spot six
officers of artillery, and pushed one, Captain d' Ablincourt, down the
precipice under the battery, where he narrowly escaped breaking his neck
as well as his legs; for which injury he was compensated by being made an
officer of the Legion of Honour. Bonaparte then convoked upon the spot a
council of his generals of artillery and of the engineers, and, within an
hour's time, some guns and mortars of still heavier metal and greater
calibre were carried up to replace the others; but, fortunately for the
generals, before a trial could be made of them the tide changed, and your
cruisers sailed.

In returning to breakfast at General Soult's, he observed the
countenances of his soldiers rather inclined to laughter than to wrath;
and he heard some jests, significant enough in the vocabulary of
encampments, and which informed him that contempt was not the sentiment
with which your navy had inspired his troops. The occurrences of these
two days hastened his departure from the coast for Aix-la-Chapelle, where
the cringing of his courtiers consoled him, in part, for the want of
respect or gallantry in your English tars.


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--According to a general belief in our diplomatic circles, it was
the Austrian Ambassador in France, Count von Cobenzl, who principally
influenced the determination of Francis II. to assume the hereditary
title of Emperor of Austria, and to acknowledge Napoleon Emperor of the

Johann Philipp, Count von Cobenzl, enjoys, not only in his own country,
but through all Europe, a great reputation as a statesman, and has for a
number of years been employed by his Court in the most intricate and
delicate political transactions. In 1790 he was sent to Brabant to treat
with the Belgian insurgents; but the States of Brabant refusing to
receive him, he retired to Luxembourg, where he published a proclamation,
in which Leopold II. revoked all those edicts of his predecessor, Joseph
II., which had been the principal cause of the troubles; and
reestablished everything upon the same footing as during the reign of
Maria Theresa. In 1791 he was appointed Ambassador to the Court of St.
Petersburg, where his conduct obtained the approbation of his own Prince
and of the Empress of Russia.

In 1793 the Committee of Public Safety nominated the intriguer, De
Semonville, Ambassador to the Ottoman Porte. His mission was to excite
the Turks against Austria and Russia, and it became of great consequence
to the two Imperial Courts to seize this incendiary of regicides. He was
therefore stopped, on the 25th of July, in the village of Novate, near
the lake of Chiavenne. A rumour was very prevalent at this time that
some papers were found in De Semonville's portfolio implicating Count von
Cobenzl as a correspondent with the revolutionary French generals. The
continued confidence of his Sovereign contradicts, however, this
inculpation, which seems to have been merely the invention of rivalry or

In October, 1795, Count von Cobenzl signed, in the name of the Emperor, a
treaty with England and Russia; and in 1797 he was one of the Imperial
plenipotentiaries sent to Udine to negotiate with Bonaparte, with whom,
on the 17th of October, he signed the Treaty of Campo Formio. In the
same capacity he went afterwards to Rastadt, and when this congress broke
up, he returned again as an Ambassador to St. Petersburg.

After the Peace of Lunwille, when it required to have a man of experience
and talents to oppose to our so deeply able Minister, Talleyrand, the
Cabinet of Vienna removed him from Russia to France, where, with all
other representatives of Princes, he has experienced more of the frowns
and rebukes, than of the dignity and good grace, of our present

Count von Cobenzl's foible is said to be a passion for women; and it is
reported that our worthy Minister, Talleyrand, has been kind enough to
assist him frequently in his amours. Some adventures of this sort, which
occurred at Rastadt, afforded much amusement at the Count's expense.
Talleyrand, from envy, no doubt, does not allow him the same political
merit as his other political contemporaries, having frequently repeated
that "the official dinners of Count von Cobenzl were greatly preferable
to his official notes."

So well pleased was Bonaparte with this Ambassador when at Aix-la-
Chapelle last year, that, as a singular favour, he permitted him, with
the Marquis de Gallo (the Neapolitan Minister and another plenipotentiary
at Udine), to visit the camps of his army of England on the coast. It is
true that this condescension was, perhaps, as much a boast, or a threat,
as a compliment.

The famous diplomatic note of Talleyrand, which, at Aix-la-Chapelle
proscribed en masse all your diplomatic agents, was only a slight revenge
of Bonaparte's for your mandate of blockade. Rumour states that this
measure was not approved of by Talleyrand, as it would not exclude any of
your Ambassadors from those Courts not immediately under the whip of our
Napoleon. For fear, however, of some more extravagant determination,
Joseph Bonaparte dissuaded him from laying before his brother any
objections or representations. "But what absurdities do I not sign!"
exclaimed the pliant Minister.

Bonaparte, on his arrival at Aix-la-Chapelle, found there, according to
command, most of the members of the foreign diplomatic corps in France,
waiting to present their new credentials to him as Emperor. Charlemagne
had been saluted as such, in the same place, about one thousand years
before,--an inducement for the modern Charlemagne to set all these
Ambassadors travelling some hundred miles, without any other object but
to gratify his impertinent vanity. Every spot where Charlemagne had
walked, sat, slept, talked, eaten or prayed, was visited by him with
great ostentation; always dragging behind him the foreign
representatives, and by his side his wife. To a peasant who presented
him a stone upon which Charlemagne was said to have once kneeled, he gave
nearly half its weight in gold; on a priest who offered him a small
crucifix, before which that Prince was reported to have prayed, he
bestowed an episcopal see; to a manufacturer he ordered one thousand
louis for a portrait of Charlemagne, said to be drawn by his daughter,
but which, in fact, was from the pencil of the daughter of the
manufacturer; a German savant was made a member of the National Institute
for an old diploma, supposed to have been signed by Charlemagne, who many
believed was not able to write; and a German Baron, Krigge, was
registered in the Legion of Honour for a ring presented by this Emperor
to one of his ancestors, though his nobility is well known not to be of
sixty years' standing. But woe to him who dared to suggest any doubt
about what Napoleon believed, or seemed to believe! A German professor,
Richter, more a pedant than a courtier, and more sincere than wise,
addressed a short memorial to Bonaparte, in which he proved, from his
intimacy with antiquity, that most of the pretended relics of Charlemagne
were impositions on the credulous; that the portrait was a drawing of
this century, the diploma written in the last; the crucifix manufactured
within fifty, and the ring, perhaps, within ten years. The night after
Bonaparte had perused this memorial, a police commissary, accompanied by
four gendarmes, entered the professor's bedroom, forced him to dress, and
ushered him into a covered cart, which carried him under escort to the
left bank of the Rhine; where he was left with orders, under pain of
death, never more to enter the territory of the French Empire. This
expeditious and summary justice silenced all other connoisseurs and
antiquarians; and relics of Charlemagne have since poured in in such
numbers from all parts of France, Italy, Germany, and even Denmark, that
we are here in hope to see one day established a Museum Charlemagne, by
the side of the museums Napoleon and Josephine. A ballad, written in
monkish Latin, said to be sung by the daughters and maids of Charlemagne
at his Court on great festivities, was addressed to Duroc, by a Danish
professor, Cranener, who in return was presented, on the part of
Bonaparte, with a diamond ring worth twelve thousand livres--L 500. This
ballad may, perhaps, be the foundation of future Bibliotheque or Lyceum


PARIS, August, 1805.

MY LORD:--On the arrival of her husband at Aix-la-Chapelle, Madame
Napoleon had lost her money by gambling, without recovering her health by
using the baths and drinking the waters; she was, therefore, as poor as
low-spirited, and as ill-tempered as dissatisfied. Napoleon himself was
neither much in humour to supply her present wants, provide for her
extravagances, or to forgive her ill-nature; he ascribed the inefficacy
of the waters to her excesses, and reproached her for her too great
condescension to many persons who presented themselves at her drawing-
room and in her circle, but who, from their rank in life, were only fit
to be seen as supplicants in her antechambers, and as associates with her
valets or chambermaids.

The fact was that Madame Napoleon knew as well as her husband that these
gentry were not in their place in the company of an Empress; but they
were her creditors, some of them even Jews; and as long as she continued
debtor to them she could not decently--or rather, she dared not prevent
them from being visitors to her. By confiding her situation to her old
friend, Talleyrand, she was, however, soon released from those
troublesome personages. When the Minister was informed of the occasion
of the attendance of these impertinent intruders, he humbly proposed to
Bonaparte not to pay their demands and their due, but to make them
examples of severe justice in transporting them to Cayenne, as the only
sure means to prevent, for the future, people of the same description
from being familiar or audacious.

When, thanks to Talleyrand's interference, these family arrangements were
settled, Madame Napoleon recovered her health with her good-humour; and
her husband, who had begun to forget the English blockade, only to think
of the papal accolade (dubbing), was more tender than ever. I am assured
that, during the fortnight he continued with his wife at Aix-la-Chapelle,
he only shut her up or confined her twice, kicked her three times, and
abused her once a day.

It was during their residence in that capital that Comte de Segur at last
completed the composition of their household, and laid before them the
list of the ladies and gentlemen who had consented to put on their
livery. This De Segur is a kind of amphibious animal, neither a royalist
nor a republican, neither a democrat nor an aristocrat, but a disaffected
subject under a King, a dangerous citizen of a Commonwealth, ridiculing
both the friend of equality and the defender of prerogatives; no exact
definition can be given, from his past conduct and avowed professions,
of his real moral and political character. One thing only is certain;--
he was an ungrateful traitor to Louis XVI., and is a submissive slave
under Napoleon the First.

Though not of an ancient family, Comte de Segur was a nobleman by birth,
and ranked among the ancient French nobility because one of his ancestors
had been a Field-marshal. Being early introduced at Court, he acquired,
with the common corruption, also the pleasing manners of a courtier; and
by his assiduities about the Ministers, Comte de Maurepas and Comte de
Vergennes, he procured from the latter the place of an Ambassador to the
Court of St. Petersburg. With some reading and genius, but with more
boasting and presumption, he classed himself among French men of letters,
and was therefore as such received with distinction by Catharine II., on
whom, and on whose Government, he in return published a libel. He was a
valet under La Fayette, in 1789, as he has since been under every
succeeding King of faction. The partisans of the Revolution pointed him
out as a fit Ambassador from Louis XVI. to the late King of Prussia; and
he went in 1791 to Berlin, in that capacity; but Frederick William II.
refused him admittance to his person, and, after some ineffectual
intrigues with the Illuminati and philosophers at Berlin, he returned to
Paris as he left it; provided, however, with materials for another libel
on the Prussian Monarch, and on the House of Brandenburgh, which he
printed in 1796. Ruined by the Revolution which he had so much admired,
he was imprisoned under Robespierre, and was near starving under the
Directory, having nothing but his literary productions to subsist on.
In 1799, Bonaparte made him a legislator, and in 1803, a Counsellor of
State,--a place which he resigned last year for that of a grand master of
the ceremonies at the present Imperial Court. His ancient inveteracy
against your country has made him a favourite with Bonaparte. The
indelicate and scandalous attacks, in 1796 and 1797, against Lord
Malmesbury, in the then official journal, Le Redacteur, were the
offspring of his malignity and pen; and the philippics and abusive notes
in our present official Moniteur, against your Government and country,
are frequently his patriotic progeny, or rather, he often shares with
Talleyrand and Hauterive their paternity.

The Revolution has not made Comte de Segur more happy with regard to his
family, than in his circumstances, which, notwithstanding his brilliant
grand-mastership, are far from being affluent. His amiable wife died of
terror, and brokenhearted from the sufferings she had experienced, and
the atrocities she had witnessed; and when he had enticed his eldest son
to accept the place of a sub-prefect under Bonaparte, his youngest son,
who never approved our present regeneration, challenged his brother to
fight, and, after killing him in a duel, destroyed himself. Comte de
Segur is therefore, at present, neither a husband nor a father, but only
a grand master of ceremonies! What an indemnification!

Madame Napoleon and her husband are both certainly under much obligation
to this nobleman for his care to procure them comparatively decent
persons to decorate their levees and drawing-rooms, who, though they have
no claim either to morality or virtue, either to honour or chastity, are
undoubtedly a great acquisition at the Court of St. Cloud, because none
of them has either been accused of murder, or convicted of plunder; which
is the case with some of the Ministers, and most of the generals,
Senators and counsellors. It is true that they are a mixture of beggared
nobles and enriched valets, of married courtesans and divorced wives,
but, for all that, they can with justice demand the places of honour of
all other Imperial courtiers of both sexes.

When Bonaparte had read over the names of these Court recruits, engaged
and enlisted by De Segur, he said, "Well, this lumber must do until we
can exchange it for better furniture." At that time, young Comte d'
Arberg (of a German family, on the right bank of the Rhine), but whose
mother is one of Madame Bonaparte's Maids of Honour, was travelling for
him in Germany and in Prussia, where, among other negotiations, he was
charged to procure some persons of both sexes, of the most ancient
nobility, to augment Napoleon's suite, and to figure in his livery. More
individuals presented themselves for this honour than he wanted, but they
were all without education and without address: ignorant of the world as
of books; not speaking well their own language, much less understanding
French or Italian; vain of their birth, but not ashamed of their
ignorance, and as proud as poor. This project was therefore relinquished
for the time; but a number of the children of the principal ci-devant
German nobles, who, by the Treaty of Luneville and Ratisbon, had become
subjects of Bonaparte, were, by the advice of Talleyrand, offered places
in French Prytanees, where the Emperor promised to take care of their
future advancement. Madame Bonaparte, at the same time, selected twenty-
five young girls of the same families, whom she also offered to educate
at her expense. Their parents understood too well the meaning of these
generous offers to dare decline their acceptance. These children are the
plants of the Imperial nursery, intended to produce future pages,
chamberlains, equerries, Maids of Honour and ladies in waiting, who for
ancestry may bid defiance to all their equals of every Court in
Christendom. This act of benevolence, as it was called in some German
papers, is also an indirect chastisement of the refractory French
nobility, who either demanded too high prices for their degradation, or
abruptly refused to disgrace the names of their forefathers.


Easy to give places to men to whom Nature has refused parts
Indifference of the French people to all religion
Prepared to become your victim, but not your accomplice
Were my generals as great fools as some of my Ministers
Which crime in power has interest to render impenetrable


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