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of the lesson Providence has set before us in this man, if we refuse to contemplate him as an exemplification of our common nature. It is no apology for his crimes that he is a man; but these furnish no small part of the proof of his participation of humanity. What was there uncommon in the moral compound of his character? Who is there whom the habits of a soldier would not tend to brutalize, power to infatuate, and irreligion to harden into the foe of his kind ? Were moral evil really odious in itself to men in general, there would have been no need to superadd fabulous qualities to the natural vices of Bonaparte; but then, how should he bave been distinguished in public feeling, from other great criminals, unless indeed as he happened to be our national enemy?
Bonaparte was habitually under the influence of selfish, that is, of evil motive; but iden seldom luxuriate in evil without motive. History presents to us few Domitians, few imperial fly-killers, whose imbecility exempts them from the ordinary laws of buman action. The most notorious delinquents are generally rational in their wickedness: there is method in their madness. They may, therefore, without any change of principle, be led by rational inducements to adopt a different course of conduct. There are circumstances which powerfully tend to repder the most selfish beings, companionable, and the most obdurate, kind: the social instincts of our nature are seldom so completely obliterated but that they will at times re-appear in the intermittings of passion, and if occasion stiñulate their exercise, regain their ascendency. There have been implacable foes whom common afflictions and common necessities have reconciled ; there are situations of lonely suffering in which humanity is felt as a tie of brotherhood. One roof, a common board, and the daily familiarity of intercourse, would often suffice to soften down the most violent antipathies of nation, sect, and party, into mild forbearance; and in exile the fell tyrant himself may learn to sue for friendship, gladly bartering all his pride for a ray of human kindness. It is true, no one would like to encounter even a tamed lion in a forest; but in his cage he is harmless. There is nothing, then, surprising, to find Bo. naparte, at St. Helena, frank, playful, cheerful; nay, were re. membrance extinct, were his own energies no hinderance to his repose, we might well suppose him happier than when listening to the adulations of his fawning senate, or dictating the terms of peace to humbled emperors.
It was not till some time in November (Mr. Warden states) that I paid a second visit to the Briars, whither an invitation to dine with Mr. Balcombe had called me. As I reached the spot some time before the dinner hour, I proposed to amuse myself in examining the cultivated spots attached to the domain. I accidentally took the path
which leads to the gardens, and at the gate where it terminates, there is a narrow goats' passage, whose sides are lined with prickly pearbush. At the angle formed by the two paths, I met Napoleon clattering down from among the rocks in his heavy military boots. He accosted me with an apparent mixture of satisfaction and surprise ; and reproached me in terms of great civility for my long absence. There was a rough deal board placed as a seat between two stones, on which, after having brushed away the dust with his hand, he sat himself down, and desired me to take my place by him. Las Cases soon joined us, for in scrambling through these rocky paths, his master, badly as he walks, had got the start of him. On all sides of the spot where we were seated, rocks were piled on rocks to the height of a thousand feet above our heads, while there was an abyss of equal depth at our feet. Nature seems in a sportive mood to have afforded this level space for a semi-aerial dwelling ; and while I was gazing with some astonishment at the barren wonders of the scene around me, “ Well,” said Napoleon, with a smile, “ what say you to it? and can you think that your countrymen have treated me kindly?” I had but one answer to such a question; and that was, by not giving any answer at all. His conversation then turned upon the state and character of the island, of which, he observed, all the books he read respecting it, during the voyage, had given a very partial representation, unless there were parts of a more pleasing aspect than any he had seen in his rides to Longwood, which comprehended the utmost extent of his observation. His conversation was, on this occasion, as on all others when I have been with him, easy, good. humoured, and familiar, without the least taint of his former greatness; and, whenever the topic would admit of it, he never failed to give an air of cheerfulness to his remarks.'
The circumstances which have usually been brought forward , as most decisively evincing the atrociiy of Bonaparte's conduct, are, his treatment of bis sick soldiers at Jaffa, his treacherous invasion of Spain, the execution of the Duke d'Enghien, and the supposed murder of Captain Wright. The reader's coriosity will not be disappointed with regard to either of these circumstances. To the accusation respecting his conduct at Jaffa, Bonaparte bimself voluntarily adverted, in conversation with Mr. Warden, referring in a tone of sarcastic jocularity to ra Sir Robert Wilson, who has written copiously on the sub
ject of my campaign in Egypt.' . Be assured, he said, that if "I had committed such a horrid act, my very soldiers them(selves would have execrated me, and I might have looked to
their ceasing to obey me.' He inquired whether Sir Sidney Smith, in any official communications to our Government, " had attempted to corroborate the testimony of Sir Robert
Wilson ;' and replied to Mr. Warden's expression of his belief that he had not, I believe so, for Sir Sidney Smith is a brave
and just man.' He subsequently inquired from what motive Mr. Warden conceived Sir Robert had acted, in favouring the
escape of La Valette, the decided and avowed friend of the ' man whom he has so wantonly calumniated ;' and he begged our narrator to remark his decided opinion, that this art on the part of Sir Robert, was the commencement of his recantation of what he has written against him. Dr. Clarke had previously led us to imagine that the affair at Jaffa is of very suspicious authenticity: Bonaparte's own account of the matter is, that the sick and wounded, who were numerous, were, previously to his withdrawing from that town, carefully transported by later, or by the most convenient carriages that could be procured, to a place of safety : with regard to seven men, however, (Sir Robert's statement is, fifty-seven or seventy-seven,) who were infected with the plague, and were not expected, on account of the stage of malignancy it had reached, to survive forty-eight hours, he proposed, as their removal was impracticable, to shorten their sufferings by opium rather than suffer them to fall into the hands of the Turks. But bis proposal was opposed by the physician, and consequently abandoned: no opium was given. On quitting Jaffa, he left a strong rear-guard in the ' city, who continued till the third day,' before the expiration of which, the men had expired. The conduct of Bonaparte at El Arish, also, is set in a very different light.
The invasion of Spain is adverted to only in conversation with some of Bonaparte's suite. The notion that it was undertaken contrary to the advice and approbation of Talleyrand, met with instant contradiction. It was most explicitly asserted, that that crafty politician approved of the Spanish war, and founded his ' recommendation of that measure on his unalterable opinion, ' which he boldly communicated to the Emperor, that his life
was not secure while a Bourbon reigned in Europe.' Bonaparte himself alludes to this opinion of Talleyrand's, in the following minutely explicit narrative, which, with great energy akd animation, he entered into on the subject of the death of the Duke d'Enghien.
"At this eventful period of my life, I had succeeded in restoring order and tranquillity to a kingdom torn asunder by faction and deluged in blood. That nation had placed me at their head. I came, not as your Cromwell did, or your Third Richard. No such thing.com I found a crown in the kennel; I cleansed it, and placed it on my head. My safety now became necessary to preserve that tranquillity so recently restored ; and hitherto, so satisfactorily preserved, as the leading characters of the nation well know. At the same time, re. ports were every night brought me (I think, he said, by Gen. Ryal) that conspiracies were in agitation; that meetings were 'held in particular houses in Paris, and names even were mentioned; at the same time, no satisfactory proofs could be obtained, and the utmost vigi. lance and ceaseless pursuit of the Police was evaded. General Mo. reau, indeed, became suspected, and I was seriously importuned to
issue an order for his arrest; but his character was such, his name stood so high, and the estimation of him so great in the public mind, that, as it appeared to me, he had nothing to gain, and every thing to lose, by becoming a conspirator against me: I, therefore, could not but exonerate him from suspicion : I accordingly refused an order for the proposed arrest, by the following intimation to the Minister of Police. “ You have named Pichegru, Georges, and Moreau : convince me that the former is in Paris, and I will immediately cause. the latter to be arrested.” Another, and a very singular circumstance led to the developement of the plot. One night, as I lay agi. tated and wakeful, I rose from my bed, and examined the list of suspected traitors; and Chance, which rules the world, occasioned my stumbling, as it were, on the name of a surgeon, who had lately returned from an English prison. This man's age, education, and experience in life, induced me to believe, that his conduct must be attributed to any other motive than that of youthful fanaticism in faa vour of a Bourbon : as far as circumstances qualified me to judge, money appeared to be his object. I accordingly gave orders for this man to be arrested; when a summary mock trial was instituted, by which he was found guilty, sentenced to die, and informed he had but six hours to live. This stratagem had the desired effect; he was terrified into confession. It was now known that Pichegru had a brother, a monastic priest, then residing in Paris. I ordered a party of gens d'armes to visit this man, and, if he had quitted his house, I conceived there would be good ground for suspicion. The old monk was secured, and, in the act of his arrest, his fears betrayed what I most wanted to know. " Is it,” he exclaimed, “because I afforded shelter to a brother that I am thus treated ?” The object of the plot was to destroy me; and the success of it would, of course, have been my destruction. It emanated from the capital of your country, with the Count d'Artois at the head of it. To the west he sent the Duke de Berri, and to the east the Duke d’Enghien. To France your vessels conveyed underlings of the plot, and Moreau became a convert to the cause. The moment was big with evil; I felt myself on a tottering eminence, and I resolved to hurl the thun: der back upon the Bourbons even in the metropolis of the British empire. My minister vehemently urged the seizure of the Duke, though in a neutral territory. But I still hesitated, and Prince Benevento brought the order twice, and urged the measure with all his powers of persuasion. It was not, however, till I was fully convinced of its necessity, that I sanctioned it by my signature. The matter could be easily arranged between me and the Duke of Baden. Why, indeed, should I suffer a man, residing on the very confines of my kingdom, to commit a crime which, within the distance of a mile, Justice herself would condemn to the scaffold. And now answer me, Did I do more than adopt the principle of your Government, when it ordered the capture of the Danish fleet, which was thought to threaten mischief to your country? It had been urged to me again and again, as a sound political opinion, that the new dynasty could not be secure, while the Bourbons remained. Talleyrand never deviated from this principle : it was a fixed, unchangeable article in his political creed. But I did not become a ready or a willing convert. I examined the opinion with care and with caution, and the result was a perfect con. viction of its necessity. The Duke d’Enghien was accessary to the .confederacy; and although the resident of a neutral territory, the urgency of the case, in which my safety and the public tranquillity, to use no stronger expression, were involved, justified the proceeding. I accordingly ordered him to be seized and tried. He was found guilty, and sentenced to be shot. The sentence was immediately executed ; and the same fate would have followed, had it been Louis the Eighteenth. For I again declare that I found it necessary to roll the thunder back on the metropolis of England, as from thence, with the Count d'Artois at their head, did the assassins assail me." pp. 144-9.
On Mr. Warden's declaring, that though there might be persons in England, disposed to acknowledge the necessity of rigorous measures at this crisis, none would justify the precipitate manner in which the young Prince was seized, tried, sentenced, and shot, Bonaparte instantly replied: 'I was justified ' in my own mind, and I repeat, that I would have ordered the ' execution of Louis the Eighteenth.' He declared at the same time, that had he been anxious to get any or all the Bourbons into his possession, he could have accomplished it; but that, abstractedly considered, it was not his wish to deprive them of life. When circumstances had taken a turn which made him feel secure, he left them undisturbed.
666 Wanton, useless murder, (he added) whatever has been said and thought of me in England, has never been my purpose : to what end or purpose could I have indulged the horrible propensity ?!.”
It was remarked, either by Bonaparte, or by Count de las Cases, that when Sir George Rumbold and Mr. Drake, who " had been carrying on a correspondence in Paris, were seized,
they were not murdered. As to the murder of Pichegru, in prison, Bonaparte repelled the accusation with contempt, as not less foolish than disingenuous. "Why,' he exclained, should " that life be taken away in secret, which the laws consigned to ' the hands of a public executioner?' He allowed, that had Moreau died in a dungeon, there might have been grounds to
justify the suspicion that he had not been guilty of suicide.
It was in a previous conversation with Mr. Warden, that Bonaparte, in allusion to this same conspiracy, referred to Captain Wright, the commander of the English brig of war, employed, as he asserted, by our Government, in landing traitors and spies on the west coast of France, of whom seventy actually reached Paris. The brig was afterwards taken near l'Orient, and the Prefect before whom Captain Wright was carried, instantly recognised him.