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none,” I replied., “I was feeling very ill : it tary claims to the empire not yet conwas quite possible I might never see you ferred upon their head himself ! again; but you were young, you had impressed me very strongly, and I felt impelled to render Bonaparte seemed to love the child; he had you a service without any after-thought what. placed future hopes on his head. That was
“In that case," said Bonaparte, reason enough for the Bonaparte brotherhood "and if it was really done without any design, to hate him, as the innocent obstacle to their
future greatness. you played the part of a dupe."
No sooner had the first
consul dropped hints of his project of adopOne of the earliest records of his child- tion, than his whole family manifested an ex. hood shows Napoleon already cast loose treme inquietude. Joseph Bonaparte reprefrom that law of truth which at once sented that he had in no way deserved to be displays and determines character: for, dispossessed of his rights as elder brother to
the succession of an empire as yet in embryo. though sometimes the merely passing fruit of cowardice, its deliberate and ha- Bonaparte, whom contradiction always irri. bitual breach is the sure sign of that tated, got in a rage, and seemed more deter
mined than ever to carry his plan into effect. selfish disregard of all other laws, that
One day the consul, surrounded by his fam. assumed right to be “a law to himself," ily, and holding the young Nipoleon on his which severs a man from the confidence knees, addressed him as follows, still playing and esteem of his fellows, and ruins him with him, and caressing him: “Do you know, in his own. It was prophesied by one of little urchin, that you run the risk of being a his uncles, that the little Napoleon would king one of these days ?”! “ Et Achille ?" govern the world, because he always lied interposed Murat, who was present, mindful
“Ah! Achille," re(a sign, by the bye, of that family disre- of his own son and heir. gard for truth which was shown also by This reply deeply wounded his sister, Madame
plied Bonaparte, “ Achille sera un bon soldat." his brothers and sisters); and the habit, Murat ; but Napoleon, not seeming to see this, which was probably - we too often and piqued by the opposition of the brothersee in children
an innate germ of law- hood to his project, which he believed with lessness, became the deliberately chosen reason to have been excited above all by her, instrument of that politique - the “sac- continued to address the little Napoleon as ramental word,” which was his only law. follows: “In any case, my poor child, if you He despised and distrusted all sincerity wish for a long life, I advise you not to accept in others, and scrupled not to say that the repasts your cousins will offer you !” be recognized a man's superiority by the
The poor child was doomed to a differ. greater or lesser skill shown in his man- ent but speedy end of these bright hopes, ner of lying. “M. de Metternich,” he dying of the croup on the 5th of May; said, “ is almost a statesman; he lies very
1807. While his inother was prostrated well." The second head of the analysis of Nations of her jealous husband; while Jose
with a grief embittered by the persecupoleon's character is thus emphatically phine sorrowed deeply over the grandson, disposed of :
who alone stood between her and the According to the order I have laid down, I divorce already impending; while the ought now to speak of Bonaparte's heart; but court orator, M. de Fontanes, wound up if it were possible to believe that a being, in a discourse on the dedication of the spoils every other way similar to ourselves, could of recent victories at Notre Dame, with exist without that portion of our organization a peroration depicting
" the hero surwhich makes us desire to love and to be loved, rounded with the pomp of victory, but I should say that in his case the heart was left
Perhaps, however, the truth was, that he turning away from it (la dédaignant) to succeeded in suppressing it completely. He weep over an infant,” – the memoirs tell was always too much engrossed by himself to the real behavior of Napoleon when the be influenced by any sentiment of affection, news reached him at Berlin. no matter of what kind. He almost ignored the ties of blood and the rights of nature.
But the hero did not weep at all. He was
at first touched by the child's death with a Of this insensibility he gave a striking feeling of pain, which he tried to shake off as example on the death of the young Napo- soon as possible. M. de Talleyrand after. leon, the eldest son of his brother Louis wards told me that, on the day after he had and Hortense Beauharnais. This child, with perfect freedom; and, as he was on the
received the news, the emperor was conversing born on the roth of October, 1802, seemed point of giving an audience to the nobles of for a time destined to be his heir; and the court of Warsaw, who came to offer him the intention called forth the ludicrous condolence at the loss, he (M. de Talleyrand) spectacle of the whole parvenu race of felt obliged to put on an aspect of sadness, and Bonapartes up in arms for their heredi- even ventured to reproach his excess of in.
difference, whereupon the emperor replied, and his reason for this agreed with that qu'il n'avait pas le temps de s'AMUSER à sentir which she herself gives : et d regretter, comme les autres hommes.
A sensitive person forgets self in love, and Those words " not like other men” becomes almost transformed, but to a man of -are, in fact, the keynote to the whole the stamp of Bonaparte it only meant an addicharacter and career of this extraordinary tional object of despotism. The emperor desand almost unique man, whom a self-con- pised women, and contempt cannot exist tained temperament and faith in his future together with love. He regarded their weakdestiny separated, even in his early years, ority, and the power they have acquired in
ness as an unanswerable proof of their inferinot only from fellowship with the men society as an intolerable usurpation -- a result upon whom he looked down as made for and an abuse of the progress of that civilizahim, but from the laws which he shook tion which, as M. de Talleyrand said, was off as not made for him, in a moral as always bis personal enemy. On this account well as social isolation which ensured his Bonaparte was under restraint in the society final fate.
of women; and as every kind of restraint put “I AM NOT A MAN LIKE ANY OTHER, him out of humor, he was awkward in their and the laws of morality or decorum presence, and never knew how to talk to them. (convenance) could not have been made
Indeed the whole social bearing of Nafor me,” was the brutal boast with poleon was marked by constraint and an which he silenced his wife's feeble re. absence of graceful ease. There was a monstrances at his conjugal infidelities. seductive power in his smile, but he rarely “ It is your place,” he said, “ to submit to
put it on. all my fancies, and you ought to think it quite natural that I should allow my Gravity was the basis of his character; not self such distractions. I have a right to such as springs from babitual dignity and answer all your complaints by AN ETER
nobleness, but caused by the depth of his NAL I. I am apart from all the world; later he became sombre (triste); and, later still,
meditations. In his youth he was a dreamer ; I accept conditions from no one." In the all was transformed into almost constant illsuperabundance of other matter we gladly humor. . . . Bonaparte was deficient in eduabstain from saying more about his con- cation and in manners; it seemed as if he must stant and profligate “distractions” be- have been destined either to live in a tent yond this: that all but * the worst that where all men are equal, or upon a throne has been said of Napoleon in this respect where everything is permitted." He did not is confirmed by the revelations made by know how either to enter or to leave a room ; Madame de Rémusat with the skill of a he did not know how to make a bow, how to Frenchwoman of the old time, who could rise, or how to sit down. His questions were speak plainly without grossness: Per- abrupt, and so also was his manner of speech.
Spoken by him, Italian loses all its grace and haps - as her grandson keenly observes
sweetness. Whatever language he speaks, it the present age is too much used to always sounds like a foreign tongue; he aplicense in fiction to tolerate needful lati- pears to force it to express his thoughts. And, tude in serious history; and we gladly as any rigid rule becomes an insupportable keep silence even from good words about annoyance to him, and every liberty which he bad things, which might offend minds takes pleases him as though it were a victory, perhaps too sensitive to be pure.. One he would never yield to grammar. specially unamiable feature in this part of This impatience was shown even in his Napoleon's conduct was that "he was dress, which his valets had to watch for harsh, violent, and without pity for his an opportunity to adjust, even on days of wife, whenever he had a mistress;” but ceremonial. Madame de Rémusat believed that “Bo
He could not wear any ornament properly ; naparte had some affection for his first wife, and if he was ever really stirred by able to him.
the least constraint always seemed insupport
He tore or broke whatever any emotion, it was by her and for her.
caused him the least discomfort, and someFor the rest, he “was never awakened to times the poor valet, who had roused this passlove except by vanity.” “Love is not ing irritation, received a violent and positive made for me," he once said to the author, proof of his anger.
It was the same with the least obstacle * The charges implied in this qualification, which were constantly set afoat by the mutual jealousies of as with the greatest -- a button on his the Bonapartes, and uttered by Josephine in moments coat or an innocent prince of the blood of of vehement passion, receive no countenance from our Condé — "j'écarte ce qui me gêne”. author ; but their free circulation is a most striking evidence of the atmosphere of profigacy that enveloped the account he rendered to his court for Napoleon's family and court.
the murder of the Duc d'Enghien.
It was to her being a good and highly In fact, I believe I should have obeyed very intelligent listener, that Madame de Ré badly. I recollect, at the time of the Treaty musat owed those remarkable confiden- of Campo Formio, M. de Cobenzel and I met, ces, which make her picture of Napoleon in order to conclude it, in a room where, ac the reflection of a well-drawn portrait. been erected and the throne of the emperor of
cording to an Austrian custom, a dais had Among these revelations from his own Austria was represented. On entering the conversations, or rather monologues, some room I asked what that meant, and afterwards of the most striking were made to the au. I said to the Austrian minister, “Now, before thor, when she went (in 1803) to attend we begin, have that armchair removed, for I her sick husband in the camp formed at can never see one seat higher than the others Boulogne for the invasion of England. without instantly wanting to place myself in Fearing as was the habit of his cour- | it.” You see I had an instinct of what was to tiers, whom he purposely kept in constant happen to me some day. fear — how the first consul would take her
As the moral character of the young unbidden visit, she was received with a kindness which made her burst into tears. Napoleon was thus developed from bis “I must watch over a woman of your age, in all but the exact sciences, was directed
own self-will, so his intellectual culture, thus cast into the midst of so many sol. diers," he said, while inviting her to share by imagination more than by reason. his table; where, in the frequent absence I entered the service, and soon grew tired of of any other guest, “he talked about a garrison work. I began to read novels and multitude of things. He opened his mind they interested me deeply. I even tried to on his own character; he depicted him- write some. This occupation created in me a self as having been always melancholy vagueness of imagination, it mingled with the beyond all comparison with his comrade's positive knowledge I had acquired; and I
often amused myself with dreaming, in order of every class." In his earliest youth at school, we al- the compass of my reason.
that I might afterwards measure my dreams by
I threw myself ready see him aspiring to be the man into an ideal world, and I endeavored to find “apart from all the world,” with no law out in what precise points it differed from the but his own will; and to the lovers of actual world in which I lived. ... History I “hero-worship" we commend the climax did not so much study, as make a conquest of (not to say the reductio ad absurdum) of it; that is to say, I chose and retained only so the young Napoleon making himself 'his much of it as could give me a new idea, deown hero, and prophetically calling on spising what was useless, and mastering such France and the world to bow down to
results as pleased me. him, as above all laws — human and
This “vagueness of imagination divine. Here is his own description of exemplified by his admiration for the his meditations at the military school at Scotch mists of formless clouds and empBrienne :
tier words, into which it pleased Mac
pherson to transmute the remnants of I showed no aptitude for anything but the Gaelic poetry; and while he revelled in exact sciences. Every one said of me, “That the so-called “Ossian” he cast away the child will never be good for anything but Iliad as tedious. The avowal was made geometry.” I kept aloof from my schoolfellows. I had chosen a little corner in the by himself in his condemnation of style school-grounds, where I would sit and dream in writing, as well as of good taste in all at my ease ; for I have always liked reverie. things. When my companions tried to usurp posses- Ah, good taste! That is another of those sion of this corner, I defended it with all my classical words which I do not adopt. It is might. I already knew by instinct that my perhaps my own fault, but there are certain will was to override that of others, and that rules which mean nothing to me.
For examwhat pleased me was to belong to me. ple, what is called “style,” good or bad, does
not affect me. I care only for the force of We cannot stay to reflect on the system thought. I used to like “Ossian,” but it was of school-training which — in place of the for the same reason which made me delight in one most precious lesson of obedience- the murmur of the winds and waves. In left the boy to sow in his own heart the Egypt I tried to read the Iliad; but I got tired
of it. seed of that unbounded egotism, which not only bore its fruit through his whole M. Paul de Rémusat tells us that Tallife, but was always consistently avowed. leyrand once said to the emperor, Once, for example, he said to M. de taste is your personal enemy. If you Rémusat, in a moment of good-humored could have got rid of it by a cannonade, frankness:
it would long since have ceased to exist."
The choice of his part in public life sity for the salvation of his country and was determined by the one motive of am- of society. The state of France gave bitious egotism. He had never shared in him the opportunity for executing his the aspirations and illusions of 1789. long-cherished schemes of ambition and
I did not understand much about the Rev. self-interest. It was his own boast, that olution, but I approved of it. I was captivated with each other found a common point of
the animosities which were irreconcilable by the equality which was to elevate myself.
Equality (says Madame de Rémusat), noth- reconciliation in him, for he knew how ing but equality, was his rallying cry between to use them for his own advantage. the Revolution and himself. He did not fear Speaking to Madame de Rémusat of the its consequences for himself; he knew that he bitterness of political hatred, and the diswas stimulating those vain sentiments (ces z'ani- torting glass (Lunette à facettes) of party tés) which have power to mislead the most gen. passions, he said: crous dispositions ; he turned liberty aside, as I have often said. . That which places After all, this mode of looking at things has Bonaparte above all the powerful men who its advantage, and we make our profit of it; have been called to rule their fellows, is that for we too have our glasses, and if it is not he perfectly understood his age, and that he through our passions that we view things, it is always fought against it. He did not conceal at least through the medium of our interests. this; he often said that he alone had stopped the Revolution, that after him it would resume
The epoch at which Madame de Rémuits course.* He allied himself with it to crush sat began her close personal observation it, but he presumed too much on his strength. of Napoleon, in 1802, was precisely that Skilled in recovering its advantage, it found at which the despotic power of the first the way at last to conquer and repulse him. consul had become fully confirmed, his The memoirs abound with interesting and he was only waiting the fittest mo.
court was formed upon a regal model, variations on this keynote. In the eyes ment to assume the long-coveted imperial of the French people it was his policy to represent himself as the impersonation established by the victory of Marengo
His military supremacy had been of its principles, and to strike terror into and his second complete triumph over his Royalist enemies by saying, “I am Austria in Italy; and the Peace of Amithe Revolution, and we will show them of what it is capable ; ” while with the time for the formation of a permanent
seemed to give France a breathingsovereigns amongst whom he aspired to rank, he claimed the credit of having the hopes excited by Bonaparte's bril
government under so powerful a head. « finished the Revolution happily and liant successes and vast ability were abolished republics.” His whole rela- shared by the moderate politicians of tions to the movement out of which he whom the Rémusats are the type. rose are summed up by Madame de Rémusat:
Political ideas rarely enter into the head of a Bonaparte frequently declared that he alone woman at twenty-two. I was therefore at that was the whole Revolution, and he at length did not reason on the greater or less right which
time quite without any kind of party spirit. I persuaded himself that in his own person be preserved all of it which it would not be weli Bonaparte had to the power, of which I heard
every one say that he made a good use. M. to destroy.
de Rémusat, who believed in him, as did nearly When Napoleon had fully won his the whole of France, was full of the hopes that place among the crowned heads of Eu- at that time seemed to be well founded. All rope, and genealogists tried to flatter him classes, outraged and disgusted by the horrors with an ancient pedigree, he announced of the Revolution, and grateful to the consular in the Moniteur, “ Řesearches of this bin reaction, looked upon its coming into
government which preserved as from the Jacokind are purposeless. To all who may power as a new era for the country. The exask from what period the house of Bona- periments in liberty that had been repeatedly parte dates, there is a ready answer: It made had inspired a natural, though scarcely dates from the 18th Brumaire; ” that is, rational, aversion to it; for, in truth, liberty from the coup, d'état of Nov. 9th, 1799. had always disappeared when its name was He at least did not plead the apology by abused to vary only the forms of tyranny. which the advocates of Cæsarism repre
* We can only refer incidentally to Madame de Résent the military usurper as the self-sac-musat's vivid account of the first consul's explosion of rificing instrument of an imperious neces- rage to Lord Whitworth, on the eve of the rupture of
the peace, as completely confirming Lord Whitworth's
report of the scene to his government, and utterly con• Napoleon used to say, “My son must perforce be tradicting the account of it given by Napoleon at St.
But, in general, nobody in France wanted any- | now forever silenced by Napoleon's reitthing except quiet, the right to free exercise erated avowals of the deliberate purpose of the intellect, the cultivation of private vir of the duke s murder, in order to strike tues, and the reparation, by degrees, of those terror into the Royalists, and " shew losses of fortune which were common to all. them of what we are capable ;” and it is a When I remember the dreams which I cher. ished at that time, the recollection makes me
signal proof of his magic power over the sick at heart. I regret those fancies, as one
feelings of those about him, that it was a regrets the bright thoughts of the spring-time relief to them to believe that the act was of life of that time when, to use a simile of a cruel, deliberate calculation of his poliBonaparte's, one looks at all things through a tique, rather than a purposeless crime, gilded veil, which makes them bright and into which he was hurried by overpowersparkling. “ Little by little,” said he," this ing anger and revenge, veil thickens as we advance in life, until all is nearly black.” Alas! he himself soon stained ed on the fate of the young prince in the
deep emotion, hitherto concentratwith blood that gilded veil through which trench at Vincennes, will henceforth be France had gladly contemplated him.
mingled with the tragic interest of the Bonaparte told the author more than once that he had not intended to proceed château of Malmaison: the vain expostu:
scenes passing at the same time in the to the establishment of the empire till lations of the wife — the silent terror of two years after the time at which he was the courtiers — the agony of the lady of forced to anticipate his long-formed de honor, dividing her
pity for the victim sign. His plan was to win the mind of with regretful and prophetic fears for the France by his administration and accustom her to the spectacle of a quasi-roy- upon her attachment – his hypocritical
perpetrator who still had a strong hold alty: he trusted to the confidence of the recital of verses in praise of clemency, and Republicans in him as the impersonation his cold blooded gaiety at the game of of the Revolution, and kept up the hopes chess,* which was broken off by the of the Royalists by his secret correspon arrival of the news the shock of the dence; while the renewal of war with
announcement, and the vain efforts of the England involved the strengthening of
court to preserve calmness the terthe army, which would become the devoted instruinent of his will. But his rible night and sad awakening to hear the
details 7 - the murmurs of Paris reaching hand was forced by the “irreconcilables"
Bonaparte's elaborate of each party: for Jacobin distrust and
justification of the deed, and threats of Royalist conspiracies he devised the remedy of a stunning blow, which should win vengeance still to come: back the confidence of the one party by These people wished to throw France into striking terror into the other; and his disorder and to kill the Revolution in my per
I have shed blood — I was obliged to first great crime, which remained the son. : greatest of his life and determined its shed it — 1 shall perhaps shed more still, but future course, was — in his deliberate
without anger, and just simply because bloodchoice — the needful price of the empire : medicine. I am the man of the State; I am
letting is one of the combinations of political his last step to the throne was on the the French Revolution - I repeat it — and I murdered corpse of the young Bourbon will uphold it. prince. Thus in the pages of these me
It was thus that moirs, the conspiracy of Georges, the
Women, even more than men, were subjuopportunity which it offered for getting rid of Pichegru and Moreau, the murder gated by the magic of that sacramental phrase
of Bonaparte's “my policy.” With those of the Duc d'Enghien, and the restora- words he crushed one's thoughts, feelings, and tion of the empire, are the connected acts even impressions ; and when he uttered them, of one drama. All the attempts to no one in the palace, especially no woman, shuffle off the responsibility on Talley- would have dared to ask him what he meant. rand,* Savary, or any other agents, are
* Even so small a point of the Napoleonic legend as * The St. Helena legend about the Duc d'Enghien's his skill at chess, as connected with his skill in war, remurder has already been completely dissected by M. ceives its shock — "He played badly, and would not Lanfrey. Madame de Rémusat rightly states that, as regarded that great crime, the head and front of Talley- + One touching incident of the tragedy was reported rand's offending was that he did nothing to prevent it: by Savary to Madame Bonaparte, that after the Duc "M. de Talleyrand,” says Madame de Rémusat," has d'Enghien's death the gendarines were allowed to take told me more than once, that Bonaparte informed him, his clothes, his watch, and the money he had on him. as well as the two other consuls, of the arrest of the “Not one of them wuld touch anything." And the Duc d'Enghien, and the inflexible determination he cold-blooded Savary added for himself: "Say what one had formed concerning him. He added that all three will, one cannot see such a man die as we might see so perceived that words would be useless, and kept silence many others, and I feel it difficult to recover my sungaccordingly."
submit to the moves."