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Anticipation of War.—Murat.
lerty was pronounced by a decree, bearing date the 14th of December, 1814, as you have seen in the Moniteur of the 11th of April. With respect to the attempts at assassination, I shall only say that the officers who attended the Em
eror at Elba assert them to be undeniable. The Colonel Jermanouski informed me, that the imperial staff had established a police amongst themselves, and that the district of Porto Longone was entrusted to him. He employed as a spy the physician of the English consul. They received previous information of the fellow sent by Brulart, governor of Corsica ; and having, upon his arrival, shown him that they were totally aware of his project, they disarmed him of a rifle gun which he had brought with him, and sent him from the island. It was natural, that upon seeing how punctually the stipulations made with him and his family were kept, Napoleon should also expect more violent injuries, and perhaps an infraction of the main article of the conditions upon which he had abdicated the sovereignty of France. The rumour, whether founded or not, that it was proposed at congress to remove him to St. Helena, had certainly reached him —he talked of it to an English friend of mine, adding, “it will be no easy matter
to drive me and my grenadiers out of
these rocks; neither of us will quit them alive.” ANTICIPATION OF WAR,
Such is the view that those English: men, who are on this spot, must take o the threatened contest, that, if the armies of Wellington and Napoleon meet in the field, I should tremble at an English victory. I could receive no congratulation on a triumph in a bad cause, and one which might eventually endanger the individual independence of my countrymen. Do we want any accession to the glory of our arms ? Are there any disgraces to repair : Any uncertainties to decide Amongst the topics employed by our bolder orators, I have not heard that this has found a place. Let me, then, again implore you to vote for peace ; or, at least, not to vote for the war.
The advance of Murat and his army,
although the treatment he had received 4G
from the congress might justify any conduct in him, so far from being preconcerted with Napoleon, was in direct opposition to the wishes of the court of Paris; and I have never ceased to hear it deprecated in this place, even when it was supposed the King of Naples had defeated his enemies. Not only was that movement ridiculed as precipitate and ill contrived, but asserted positively to be the consequence of a fataljealousy, which induced the king to anticipate that liberation of Italy, which would otherwise be reserved for his imperial brother-in-law. The Italians, who saw no sign of concert between the king and him, in whom all their hopes must finally centre, in spite of the proclamations addressed to them, and in spite of their own propensities, remained, exceptin Bologna, tranquil spectators of the contest between the Neapolitans and the Austrians. The signal and incomprehensible defeat of the former was no encouragement to insurrection; and I believe that few swords were drawn for Murat by the friends of Italian independence. He has fallen, as you have learnt ; and, as far as he is himself concerned, has fallen unregretted in France, where he is so far from being considered as an ally of the Emperor, that the friends of the court accuse him as the earliest deserter, and a continued traitor to his brother's cause. Some reports say he is now at St. Cloud, others, at the gulf of Juan ; but the imperial generals aver that he has been tried enough : and I heard one of them, the other day, express a hope that he might not be put again to command the French cavalry. He is, indeed, not to be pitied; on the contrary, we must look on him with an evil eye, as having furnished arguments and exultation to the enemies of freedom. THE CAMPAIGN. Visiting an aide-de-camp of the Emperor, I found him employed mapping in detail the country on the Belgian frontier, and was asked by him whether a separation of the Prussian and English armies, and a rapid march upon Brussels, would not surprise our politicians in England. “We can beat Blucher first, and then,” added he, smiling, “we shalltry your Wellington. No one doubts the undaunted bravery of English solMon. Mag. No. 286.
diers, but the loss of 20,000 men would make the people of London look a little pale. You are rather sparing of your own blood, though I cannot say that you care about that of your friends.” The general was right, I thought, in the former part of his remark ; and, as to the latter, I presume he had been lately reading the comparative valuation of flesh and blood, made by Lord Castlereagh in the House of Commons, on the 24th, when he set down an Englishman at from sixty to seventy pounds sterling, but assured his friends and the public, that he had bargained for the continental creature of the same species and requisite pugnacious properties, at eleven pounds two shillings a head, and would sell them to his countrymen at prime cost. A mighty merchant---and his trade was man. DEAT II OF MIURAT. It is hardly worth while to argue whether Ferdinand had a right to kill his prisoner—unfortunately he had the power. A Bourbon has executed a brother of Napoleon, who spared the life of the Duke of Angoulême, after his own head had been set up to sale by the uncle of that prince. We shall be reminded of the Duke of Enghien :—but let no one ever presume again to taunt the imperial cabinet with an action that has found such a confirmation. It is to be hoped, that when a soldier, brave as chivalry, generous, hospitable, known to many an Englishman by the unprecedented partial exercise in his favour of every amiable and kingly quality, and whose political crime was a treachery, not to the allied cause, but to that of his brother, fell under the musquets of a cruel, cowardly court, no participation or approval of such a vengeance was extorted from any British minister. The manes of Caraccioli want no companion. Perhaps a hand might have been stretched to save him, without any loss to the British reputation for honour and moderation. * . A REVIEW.
On Sunday I was in the Tuileries, where five regiments of the line and four
of the young guard, together with a body
and he twas standing in the shade of the
building as the regiments passed, but, looking up, he advanced a pace or two, and placed himself in the sun, as it appeared to me and those who were with me, evidently because he observed that he alone was protected from the heat. A battalion of the guard coming up, Napoleon stepped forwards to them, and, whilst they were filing, marched with his hands behind, absolutely confounded with and amongst the soldiers. Some regiments of the line were then drawn up in front, and presented arms: he walked along close to them, and seeing a grenadier with a petition in his hand stopped before him, took the paper, talked for two minutes to him, and ended by pulling the man's nose. A little afterwards a colonel running up to him with some news, which he communicated with a laugh, the Emperor raised himself on tiptoe, and interrupted him by giving him a sound box on the ear, with which the officer went away smiling and shewing his cheek, which was red with the blow. I started at the sight, of which I knew neither the cause nor consequence, but was satisfied by a general officer, who informed me that such friendly flaps were not unusual with the Emperor, and that he himself had seen other instances of this singular familiarity. On one occasion, a soldier, at a review, shouted vive l'Empereur, the whole line being silent, when Napoleon went up to him, and asking him how many campaigns he had served, added, “how happens it you have not been promoted 7”. The soldier answered—“on m'a fait la queue trois fois pour la croir.” “Eh bien,” replied the Emperor, “je te donne la queue,” and giving him a slap in the face, conferred upon him the cross of the legion of honour. At his first interview with General Rapp since his return, he gave him. that sort of blow, vulgarly called a punch in the stomach, crying—“quoi, coquin, tu voudras me tuer f" alluding to this general's being named by the king to a military division when the Emperor came from Elba. These manners may appear gross and vulgar, but certainly they have succeeded completely with the French soldiery; for both on the present occasion and at other reviews, I have remarked an enthusiasm, an affection, a delight apparent in the countenances of the troops at the sight of their general, which no parent can command in the midst of his family. The emperor continued his inspection until six o'clock, having reviewed about fifteen thousand men, and, lastly, the cavalry of the guard, amongst which were tlistinguished the Polish lancers who attended him at Elba. The colonel of these troops seemed intoxicated with pride and satisfaction, whilst he rode by the side of Napoleon down the line of his small squadron, and took care, when the Emperor passed in the rear, to face round and salute him again, contrary, I believe, to all discipline. Of the French troops I shall only say that their appearance, to my eyes, is more military than that of any soldiers in the world; and that the old guard might pass for the representatives of the gentry of France. It it impossible to view them without admiration and regret. THE CHAMP DE MAI, On the 31st, the discharge of a hundred cannons from the bridge of Jena had announced the eve of the ceremony, and a similar salute was fired at daylight the next morning. We set off at nine o'clock; and walking by the Tuileries, the Elysian Fields, the quay and bridge of Jena, crossed into the Champ de Mars, which we traversed through the masses of soldiery of the imperial and national guard which were forming upon the plaim. Arrived at the amphitheatre, and showing our admission tickets, we were conducted by a grenadier of the guard, after a mistake or two, into the inner structure, which we found nearly full, and took our places in the seats allotted, according to the lettering under the eagles, to the department of the Sarthe. The first sign of the approaching ceremony was the lighting of the candles at the altar; and, at a quarter after twelve, we heard the cannon announce the departure of the Emperor from the Tuileries. My friend and myself were about six benches from the highest range of seats; so that by pressing backwards and turning round, we looked over the Champ de Mars, and
The Champ de Mai.
595. beheld a sight superb indeed: the troops were drawn up on each side down the whole length of the plain—the whole of the national guard, and the imperial guard, and the troops of the line, as well as the gendarmery, were under arms, either in the field or in the city. In half an hour the cannon of the bridge of Jena told us, that the imperial procession had set foot on the plain; we had before seen the red lancers filing over the bridge, and the long train of the cavalry of the guard, with the suite of carriages, moving along like a vast piece of distant clock-work, along the quay of the palace of the King of Rome, on the other side of the Seine, The cavalry of the guard, as they advanced towards the amphitheatre, formed on both sides, so as to make a lane in front of the infantry, the whole length of the plain, from the river to the throne. A line of imperial foot guards fenced off a passage round the left side of the amphitheatre, to form an entry for the imperial carriages into the interior of the structure. Shortly, the commandant of Paris, Count Hulin, and his staff, with the heralds at arms, approached us, and wheeled through this lane to the left: he was followed by fourteen state carriages, each drawn by six bay horses. The last but one of these showed us Cambaceres, the arch-chancellor of the empire ; and the last the three imperial princes. They advanced at a slow trot, and wound round into the amphitheatre. After a short interval, we saw a squadron of red lancers, followed by a mass of officers on service, aide-de-camps, and state grooms. These immediately preceded the imperial carriage, which was a large gilt coach,
with glass pannels, surmounted by an
immense gilt crown, nearly covering the whole top of the body. Four footmen or pages were crowded before, and six behind ; and two marshals of the empire rode on each side of the carriage, which was drawn by eight milk-white horses, dressed in losty plumes of white, each led by a groom, who scarcely could hold him down. Napoleon was distinctly seen through the glass pannels, in his plumage covered bonnet and imperial mantle : he bowed, as he passed round the amphitheatre, to the shouts of the soldiers and the people, which were mingled with the repeated discharges of artillery from the batteries of the military school. A squadron of the chasseurs of the guard closed the procession. We returned to our seats; and presently, a body of pages, in green and gold uniforms, ran down the stairs from the window, and ranged themselves on each side the steps from the platform of the throne to the ground. A grenadier of the guard was posted at the foot of the steps to the left and to the right. The tribunes under the canopy then began to be filled. The grand cordons of the legion of honour, and the marshals of the empire, occupied that on the left, and the counsellors of state placed themselves in that to the right. Several great officers of state in fancy dresses, Spanish mantles, and feathered bonnets, took their station chiefly on the steps to the right of the throne. The Duke of Vicenza and Count Segur, grand master of the ceremonies,stood at the top of the highest step. . The arch-chancellor Cambaceres then tottered down to the platform, in a blue mantle spotted with gold bees, to a chair placed for him a little below the chairs to the right of the throne. There was much laughing in our vicinity when this personage appeared, whose talents d whose taste are alike notorious throughout the empire. The Archbishop of Tours and the Cardinal Cambaceres, with four bishops and assistants, ascended into the tribune of the altar. It was one o'clock. The artillery still thundered from the battery, when Napoleon, amidst a mass of his nobles and princes, marched from the window down the steps to the plat. form and the assembly arose with a shout. All were uncovered except the Emperor, who wore his Spanish black bonnet, shaded with plumes, and looped with a large diamond in front. His mantle was of purple velvet, edged with broad embroidery of gold on the outside, and lined with white ermine, scarcely descending to his ancles, and tied round his throat without any arm-holes. He advanced hastily in front, bowed, or rather nodded, two or three times, and flung himself, or, to use the right word, plumped himself down into his throne, and rolled his mantle round him. He looked very ungainly and squat. His brothers took their seats at his side ; Lucien to the left, Joseph and Jeromé
to the right: they were caparisoned in
fancy dresses of white taffety from head
to foot; and, excepting the house of Austria, looked as ill as the princes of any legitimate house in Christendom. No sooner was the Emperor seated than the artillery was silenced, by a signal from an officer who flourished a sword from the left of the steps of the throne, and was answered by the drums in the area of the theatre. A small velvet-coloured altar, or prie Dieu, was moved before the Emperor, and now mass was performed by the priests and the musicians of the opera house, in the tribune opposite to the pavilion. During this interval Napoleon was less occupied with his prayers than with an opera glass,
with which he was contemplating the
assembly. The music ceased, the velvet altar was removed, and immediately a large body of men crowded from the area, and ascended the steps of the throne. These were the central deputation from the electors of the empire, chosen a few days before by selection from all the colleges. They filled the whole flight of steps, and were introduced in a mass to the Emperor. The arch-chancellor then rose from his seat, and, advancing to the Emperor with certain papers in his hands, communicated to him the acceptation of the constitution; and the master of the ceremonies received the orders of the Emperor to carry the result to the herald at arms. The sword was flourished, and the drums beat, when the herald, in a voice not audible to us, declared the acceptation of the constitution. At this moment the batteries fired a general salute. The central deputation moved a little lower down, but still filled the principal part of the steps of the throne. The attendants of the great chamberlain then placed a small gilt table, containing a gold writing standish, before the Emperor. The arch-chancellor laid the constitution on the table, and handed the pen to Prince Joseph who gave it to Napoleon. The Emperor quickly and carelessly put his name to this famous Act at ten minutes before two o'clock. The table was moved away; and then, opening a roll of paper, he addressed the immense concourse in a loud shrill voice, which at times made him audible even to
French Patriotism. - 597
the benches where we were placed. His opening words—Empereur, consul, soldat, je tiens tout du peuple—reached us distinctly, as also the sentence—j'ai convoqué le Champ de Mai. He was applauded at the end with cries of Vive l'Empereur ! Vive Marie Louise 1 When the acclamations had subsided, the Archbishop of Bourges, first almoner of the empire, presented the Testament, upon his knees, to Napoleon, who took the oath “ to observe, and to cause the observance of the constitution ;” and the Te Deum was chaunted from the tribune of the altar. The Republican Carnot, in his white Spanish dress, carried the eagle of the national guard of the department of the Seine; the bald-headed Davoust that of the first regiment of the line, and Decrés of the first marine corps. Then it was that Napoleon, with an animation in his manner and countenance which gave to that ceremony a superior interest to any other event of this national assembly, threw off his imperial mantle, hastily leaped from his throne, and advanced to meet his eagles. The waving sword and beating drums commanded silence, and, taking the standards in his hands, he returned them to the three ministers, with a short speech, which he delivered in a loud and lively tone. The concluding sentence, “Vous le jurez,” pierced the whole.assembly, and was answered by the exclamation of those around the throne—“We swear.” The drums beat, and shortly afterwards the Emperor, still in his short crimson tunic, accompanied by all his marshals and dignitaries, and lost to our sight in the blaze of uniforms, and eagles, and banners, descended the steps, traversed the area, passed through the opening of the theatre by the altar, and, erossing between files of soldiers, mounted the platform in the open plain. He seated himself on his throne, surrounded by his marshals and court, who occupied the steps on each of the four sides of the structure. My friend and myself pressed backward to the outward circle of the amphitheatre, and surveyed a scene more magnificent than any pen can describe. The monarch on his open throne, which seemed a glittering pyramid of eagles, and arms, and military habits, crowned by his own white plumes—an immense plain, as it
were, of soldiers, flanked with multitudes so innumerable that the sloping banks on each side presented but one mass of heads—the man—the occasion—all conspired to surprise us into a most unqualified, unphilosophical admiration of the whole spectacle before us ; which was not diminished when the bayonets, and cuirasses, and helmets, flashing as far as we could see, and the flags of the lancers fluttering, and the music bursting from the plain, announced that the whole scene, far and near, began to move. The whole army, amounting, it is said, to fifty thousand, of which twenty-seven thousand were national guards, now filed before the throne with their eagles, in admirable order; the imperial guard marching from right to left, and the others from left to right. Towards the end of the review, the crowd rushed from the banks towards the throne, but no accident happened ; a slight rope and a single line of soldiers, placed at considerable intervals, were sufficient to protect the amphitheatre and the throne. FRENCH PATRIOTIsM.
I must inform you, that, from Fontainbleau to the frontiers, through all the country which we have traversed, there appears but one sentiment—that of defending the national cause to the last. In the Jura and the long line of frontier we have pursued, the whole population is in arms. Posts and beacons are established at every turn of the road, and guarded by peasants of all ages, with pikes and fowling-pieces. In Franche Comté the school children have enrolled themselves, and a body of them actually passed in review before a general at Dole : a hundred of these infant warriors last year cast consternation into the Austrian garrison at Salines, by some pranks which they played to alarm them during the night. I do not say that the emperor, in these countries, is the object of unqualified regard; but I do assert that the Bourbons are much less so, and that scarcely any innkeeper or postmaster fails to tell some tale to their disadvantage, with which these princes furnished them in their unpaid progresses through the provinces. The usual character given of Napoleon here is, that he is a great man,fit for France, and Frenchmen, but too foad of war. The predominant