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- Provisional Government.—Gen. Drouet. 603
M. Carnot is represented to have giv-en his opinion against the abdication in
the council that decided that measure ; but both he and M. Fouché are well known to have no other propensities towards the imperial family, than such as are excited by their love for the national independence; which, although it may appear connected with the support of ‘Napoleon, more to the soldier than to the statesman, must be supposed the motive of all the actions of both. General Grenier is a decided constitutionalist. The Duke of Vicenza may, perhaps, be called the most respectable person of Napoleon's court, of which he has long been the principal ornament, without losing any of that personal consideration which it is so difficult for a courtier to retain. Originally a man of fortune and family, he served the Emperor, not for advancement, but in compliance with his notions of the duty of a citizen, and the post he obtained rather received than conferred a dignity by being so supplied. The Bourbon faction in France, and the courts of Europe, have chosen to attach to his name the odium of a transaction in which he was not concerned; but, as he must attribute that obloquy to his immediate -connexion with the Emperor, who perhaps might have taken more pains to acquit him of the charge, if by so doing he would not have condemned his own deed, it is not surprising that he should regard himself under very few
obligations to his master, and that a no
tion should prevail of his personal independence, and of his having served the monarchy without being attached to the man. Of Baron Quinette I know nothing ; but, from the complexion of the other four members of the commission, especially of the Duke of Otranto, it is not to be imagined that Napoleon the Second will stand in the way of any arrangements for the good of the nation in this tremendous emergency.
G ENERAL D ROU ET.
General Drouet spoke of the battle with impartiality; “ those,” said he, “who complained of the imprudence of
| giving battle after two days of continued fighting, would have condemned the general who suffered a vanquished enemy to retreat peaceably upon Brussels. Fortune has betrayed our efforts, and now the decision is regarded as unjustifiable. Posterity, which is more just, will decide. I cannot sufficiently repeat it to the chamber, the last catastrophe ought not to discourage a nation great and noble like ours, if we einploy, in this exigence, the requisite energy. This misfortune will but augment our glory : and what efforts will be thought to cost too much, by the true friends of their country, in a moment when the sovereign whom we have but just proclaimed, whom we have re-invested with all our confidence, has consented to the greatest and most noble sacrifice : After the battle of Cannae, the Roman senate voted thanks to the vanquished general, because he had not despaired of the republic; and immediately set about repairing the disasters occasioned by his obstimacy and his errors. In a situation infinitely less critical, shall the representatives of the nation suffer themselves to be confounded and beaten down; and forgetting the dangers of their country in premature discussions, neglect the remedies which will ensure the safety of France 7” The RETURN To PARIs. Napoleon seeing the battle was lost,
and being borne away by the part of his
body guard immediately about his person, retired from the field with a few cavalry, and rode for some time in the darkness, ignorant of the direction he was taking. The Duke of Bassano, who was with him, was asked by the emperor if he knew where he was, and replied in the negative. The staff officers, with only one exception, advised the return to Paris; and my informant, the general who deprecated that fatal measure, assures me Napoleon was overpersuaded against his better judgment to hazard the experiment. In this case, consent is not to be distinguished from conviction—the fault and the consequence are the same. They reached Philipeville at five in the morning. Arriving at Paris, Napoleon repaired to the
lysée: he sent for the minister of war. The marshal attended the summons, and found him in his bath; he was eating a bouillon, and saluted the minister with the information that he wanted 300,000 men, and more money. He had taken 12,000,000 of francs, partly his own treasure, in specie, into Belgium; intending to open the war magnificently, and to pay for every thing on demand; nearly the whole was seized, with the imperial equipages, by the Prussians. The marshal's answer was not satisfactory, and the emperor ordered a council of ministers to be called. It is said that in the meanwhile, Prince Lucien recommended him instantly to return to the army; and, in case of any refractory conduct on the part of the chambers, to leave them to the disposal of a battalion. When the council assembled, the emperor was plainly told by some of them, that he must abdicate. Two of the members of the chamber of representatives, one of them being his own minister, Regnault de St. Jean d’Angely, and the other the General Solignac, urged the same measure. Napoleon started at the word, and turned pale; and at first gave them positively to understand that he would never comply. His words were to this purport, “I do not think that things are come to that extremity.” But he soon recovered himself, and entered calmly into the discussion; which ended in a determination to feel the pulse of the two chambers, by a communication through the ministers and Prince Lucien. Napoleon hesitated to execute that act on which he was resolved, until a repeated notification of the impatience of the chamber, in the morning sitting, convinced him that he might compromise his dignity by a longer delay. I received positive information, and that, through two intermediate persons, from Napoleon's own mouth, that actual vio
lence was employed before he would
he would have taken advantage, even
subsequently to that event, of any revolution which the federates might have hazarded in his favour. On Friday the 23d,the day after the abdication was notified to the chambers, and the day when it was first placarded in Paris, the emissaries of the police discovered a plot to seize the military depôts, to arm the suburbs, march to the Elisée, and reestablish the imperial throne. The vigilance of Fouché prevented the scheme from being carried into effect; the whole. of the national guard of Paris were put under arms late in the eyening, and re
mained on duty all the night; no attempt at arrest was made until the signal of
the conspiracy; a gun fired near the barrier of St. Antoine, gave an opportunity of seizing the ringleaders, who advanced first to the concerted scene of action, and were secured to the number of about two hundred. Napoleon was removed the next morning to Malmaison, the oradle of all his greatness, which was neglected when he accepted, and, like a faithful friend, receives him when he resigns the crown. He must soon bid it his last adieu. He does not appear to have carried with him to his retreat such regrets as he might have been expected to command from the government and the chambers. No provision has been made for him; and there has been a threat that Count Mollien, minister of the treasury, is to be arraigned by the chambers for having disbursed certain sums of money from the public purse for his relief. The count declares, that he has not given him a single franc; but
honestly adds, that he regrets it was out ~
of his power to succour the abdicated emperor in his distress. Malmaison is besieged by personal creditors and friends, who have nearly exhausted the small stock of money which remained
from his private fortune after the disaster
of Waterloo. The imperial family, the staff-officers, chamberlains, servants, and other dependants, even the tradesmen of the court, crowd the antechamber of their imperial debtor; and the last distress of the lowest individual, is the first calamity of him who was
“Yesterday a king, and born with kings to strive.”
An extreme carelessness and genero
economy to which he consented readily, and with a smile. Officers of all nations, who had belonged to his armies, resorted to his rock, and begged to serve him with such earnestness, that although he stated to them frankly the smallness of his means, some accepted of twenty-five and thirty francs a month, rather as a pledge of his regard, than as a remuneration of their offices. He will now be obliged to exert whatever philosophy, nature, or experience, may have enabled him to lay up in store for a reverse Already he has recoverad his wonted calm, even in the midst of the embarrassments of Malmaison, and in the uncertainties of his fate, I learnt from his friend, Madame V , who breakfasted with him yes. terday, that he was perfectly tranquil,
and played and talked with her infant Alexander with his usual kindness, A fondness for children is another of his peculiarities; he was accustomed at Elba to invite M. de Bertrand's young family to dine with him almost every Sunday, and seldom suffered them to depart without a small present of money or sweet. meats, which he put in his pocket for the occasion. I do not think these feelings incompatible with the appearance of the utmost unconcern, and all the demonstrations of the coldest heart, when his situation is such as to make indifference not only justifiable, but to give it an air of heroism. Napoleon was exceedingly affected when he took leave of his mother and sister on quitting Elba; so much so, indeed, as to say, “I must go now, or I shall never go.” But the same man, when the beautiful Duchess of -. took leave of him for the last time, after his abdication, and burst into tears at bidding him adieu, looked at her unmoved, and saw her depart without a single expression of sorrow or regard. He received the intimation of the faithful Bertrand, that he would never quit him, but follow him into exile or to death, with the same unthankful silence; thinking, perhaps, the acknowledgments of gratitude have neither value nor dignity in the day of distress. His friends here say now, what was said last year in England—he ought not to have survived his defeat. Those who think their own characters somewhat implicated in the conduct of their hero, would fain have seen him close his career in a manner worthy of their champion and their king, and which should not belie their admiration of his person, and their allegiance to his cause. Finding that he has been deserted both by victory and death, they think that he should renew his search for the only one of the two blessings now within his reach; they see in his captivity, or flight, a compromise of their own characters; and, though they must consent to survive his glory, would lament to be the sharers of his shame. It is impossible but that the thought of exerting that convenient privilege of ancient heroism must have suggested itself to his mind. In fact, it has, for he said to his aide-de-camp, Count , “I will not destroy myself, for I think it very wrong to endeavour to make any change in our destinies.” NotE.-The Princess Hortense, his daughter-in-law, saw Napoleon as he got into his carriage; he was calm, she reports, and in good spirits, at his departure. I saw the princess this morning, and must say that she was entirely so. I must here mention, that although the selation given of the last days at Malmaison was communicated to me by a person who had just quitted the spot, yet I have received from another eyewitness a different story. He told me, that in his last visit there was no chamberlain, no courtiers attendant upon Napoleon, and only Count Labedoyere and another aide-de-camp, were habitual visitants. The number of impatient creditors was diminished, by the same authority, to two generals. And he informed me, that the Princess Hortense quit. ted the place half an hour before Napoleon got into his carriage; adding that the emperor was exceedingly affected when he took leave of the aide-de-camp above alluded to, and embraced him four times on stepping into his carriage. It may belong to this note to state, that perhaps I have not given the exact spirit of the words made use of by Napoleon, when he declared he would not destroy himself;-the expression was this— “Quelque chose qui arrive, je n'avancerai pasla destinée d'une heure.” I take also this occasion of stating my firm opinion, founded on the best authority, that after his abdication he had no intention of recovering his power, and that whatever plot existed (if any did exist) to replace him, was concerted independently of him. NEY. A letter of Marshal Ney to the Duke ef Otranto, in which he vindicates himself from the aspersions industriously east against him by the Emperor's personal friends, is making a great noise. Napoleon's generalship is by no means spared in this letter, which is certainly well written, and which is, moreover, believed to give a fair representation of that terrible battle. The marshal told our friend ——, yesterday, what he says in his letter, that the reports of treason, and cries of alarm, were utterly unfounded. The day was lost because the
patient intrepidity of the British infantry. , , .
was not to be overcome by the desperate effort made, late in the evening, with tired troops, when the battle was a drawn one, and when the English would have. been happy to be left in possession o their ground. aide-de-camps says, that he was unworthily betrayed; but I was unable to get a single fact to the proof of this, except that the officer who was sent to order Marshal Grouchy to co-operate on the right of the army, went four hours out of his way, for fear of the Prussian patroles; the assigned cause both condemns and acquits the messenger. Some of the personal staff of Napoleon were struck with what they thought obstinacy of the last attack upon the strong position of the English; and General Haxo was beginning to remonstrate—“ Mais, Sire,”—when the Emperor gave him a flap with his glove in the face—“Taisez-vous, moh ami, voila Grouchy qui vient de mous donner de ses nouvelles.” They were Bulow's cannons which he mistook for Grouchy's, and which he announced as such to Ney. by Labédoyère. The marshal fought with his accustomed bravery, and having had three horses killed under him, was seen in advance of the line, with his sword drawn, and on foot, attended by a single corporal, who at last bore him away, exhausted and covered with contusions, from the scene of carnage.— How dreadful must have been the rout, may be collected from the confession of the marshal, who tells us that he, the second in command, arrived alone, totally ignorant of what had become of the Emperor of the army, at Marchiennes sur Pont, at four o'clock in the morning. He says, that he concluded the Emperor to be either taken or killed. The last sight the marshal had of him was when he was conducting the four regiments of the middle guard, in person to the attack. SIEGE OF PARIS. At three o'clock this morning a canmonading was heard, sometimes loudly,
sometimes" faintly, which continued till
One of the Emperor's
o Siege of Paris.
o'clock that he had received permission to quit his post at la Vilette—a suspension of arms having been agreed upon with the allies. Other reports said that the battle was still raging, and that the Prussians were beaten and in flight. Walking into the town, I found for the first time the shops shut, and large patroles of the national guards parading the streets, in every direction ; many soldiers of the line were loitering about, singly, and in small parties of three and four, which did not give cause to suspect that the decisive battle had taken place. The Tuilleries' gardens and boulevards are crowded with well drest people, chiefly ladies; but there is not the slightest show of any disturbance; however, two men were killed yesterday for crying Vive le Roi. No disturbance took place in the city last night; and the wounded and the peasants' carts being removed from the square Vendôme, this quarter of the town appears more in its usual state than it did yesterday. The number of national guards on duty amount to 12,000. The steps of the palace of the representatives are covered with troops, who are on duty all night. The grenadiers of the eleventh legion petitioned the chamber to-day to order that such of the guard as wished to serve, might have the requisite posts assigned them: the chamber reserred this petition to the government. The popular journals complain, that no measures are taken to arm the federates; and, indeed, Count Thibaudeau, in the house of peers, two days ago, hinted that this measure was advisable, and would be adopted, were it not, for certain pusillanimous inclinations which had crept into the government and the chambers. The affair of General Excelmans at Versailles yesterday, appears to have been more considerable than was supposed. The town has been retaken by the French, and two regiments of Prussian cavalry destroyed. This was announced to the chambers by a message from the Tuileries. A communication from the government has also announced “That news has arrived from the plenipotentiaries, treating for an armistice, at the head-quarters of Lord Wellington— that the negotiations continue, but that the results are not yet known.” The
duke has refused the armistice, demanded by the Prince of Eckmuhl, in civil terms; the hero Blucher, in language which it was thought for the honour of France not to publish. The following passages are most prominently polite. “Paris and France are in my hands; I am come to help the honest men against the rogues. I warn you not to treat Paris as you treated Hamburgh.” Notwithstanding the continuation of hostilities, the hopes of the patriots are elevated by the affair at Versailles. The horses of the Prussians were paraded in the Place de la Concorde, and a squadron of cavalry galloped to the Tuileries with two standards taken in the action. Cannonading, and even musquetry, have been very distinctly heard all the evening; and from the hill, above the palace of the King of Rome, the smoke of a fusillade very clearly seen. Every thing is perfectly tranquil in the town; the gardens of the Tuileries are more frequented than usual; and, from the Boulevard Montmartre to the Chinese Baths, there are no less than twenty cabinets for the readers of the journals, who assist their speculations by the numerous maps of the seat of war, that is to say, the villages near Paris, which are hung upon every stall. The Français and the Opera-house are shut, but the other playhouses still continue open. The number of the peasants who have been driven in by the enemy amount, it is said, to at least thirty thousand. Their little carts loaded with mattresses and household furniture, in which are seated the women and children and aged are still seen traversing the streets. Where they find an asylum I know not. No apprehension is yet entertained for the failure of provisions; 1200 oxen yesterday entered Paris from the fair of Poissy, and a great number of Lorrain provisioncarts have also arrived. It was known early this morning that there had been partial actions yesterday at Nanterre, at Sèvres, and upon different points on the right bank of the Seine, between Neuilly and Argenteuil; that Versailles had been retaken, and the bridge of Choissy occupied by the Prussians. The Prussians and English passed the night in intrenching themselves in the wood of Meudon and Ver