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And for the moment the stroke of pol- | these memoirs. Madame de Rémusat icy seemed successful; but it brought a sincerely believed that, until the death lifelong and ample retribution even as of the Duc d'Enghien, it would have been policy, besides the stain which, as South- possible for him to legitimate his power ey wrote long ago, "incarnadined his by conferring upon France benefits of a memory with a deeper dye than that of kind which would have pledged the nation the purple for which he committed it." to him and his forever." But she was Madame de Rémusat rightly marks this equally convinced that, in the latter part crime as the turning-point at which Na- of his career, neither the repulse of his poleon entered on the downward path, combined enemies, nor the acceptance of long before he attained the outward cli- the still mighty power offered him by max of success. The Royalists were their terms of peace, nor even a decisive cowed, and the friends of order who had victory at Waterloo, could have restored taken part with him were committed by a the opportunity; for he would only have baptism of blood; but for that very rea- held it under the same self-destructive son they began to revolt from him in necessity of perpetual novelty in dazzling achievement and ever-widening conquests. The same opinion was expressed by M. Thiers on another ground, which forms a striking testimony to the value of hereditary monarchy. In a curious conversation, recorded in the posthumously published papers of Sainte-Beuve, which took place shortly before the revolution of 1848, Thiers, who was one of the interlocutors, moralized as follows on the fall of the first Napoleon :
By the death of the Duc d'Enghien, Bonaparte succeeded in compromising, first ourselves, then the French nobility, finally the whole nation and all Europe. Our fate was united with his, it is true this was a great point for him; but when he dishonored us, he lost the right to devotion and adherence, and he claimed them in vain when the hour of his ill-fortune came. How could he reckon on a link forged, it must be owned, at the cost of the noblest feelings of the soul? Alas! I judge by my own case. From that time forward I began to blush in secret at the chain I wore; and this feeling, which I suppressed with more or less success at different times, afterwards became the general sentiment.
It has been said that if Napoleon had won the battle of Waterloo he would have kept his ground, and might have transmitted the imperial sceptre to his son. Not the least in the world! There is nothing like hereditary descent to secure duration. That is what men
respect; and it is very lucky they do respect it, since, but for that, there would be nothing but perpetual instability. It is a great thing to be fils de famille.
Look at the great Frederick. In the first half of his reign he committed every extrava. gance, every coup de tête imaginable; whereas, in the second half, he showed himself an accomnothing more than a great captain. The AusHe was, at the outset, plished statesman. trians took his capital twice, the Russians once. Do you really believe that, if he had not been a fils de famille-the son of a king
With the Jacobins he had achieved a success only too great; for, while compromising the moderate party with himself, he had committed himself to them. On the day after the murder, M. de Rémusat arrived at Malmaison with the news that, while the general feeling of Paris was revolted by the deed, the chiefs of the Jacobin party were saying, "Le voilà des nôtres !" And on his own part he added the prophecy, which his wife often afterwards recalled to mind: "The first consul is launched upon a path in which, to blot out this recollection, he will often be forced to turn aside from the real, and to dazzle us by the extraordinary. . . Above all, he contracted the obligation to us of being always successful, as success alone could justify the means he used to gain it." How he was driven headlong on that the foot of the Pyrenees. downward path in which every new achievement, performed at an ever-growing cost of blood and misery to his people, became less effective in proportion to its greater necessity, this well-known story is set in the light, not indeed of new facts, but of vivid illustration from the sources we have already indicated, in
-his enemies would not have found some pretender to set up against him? Instead of that, they contented themselves with laying Berlin under contribution, and took their departure thence as soon as they learned that he of his capital. Napoleon said an admirable had broken up his camp to come to the relief word in 1815: "If I had but been my own grandson, I should have rallied again even from
But the truth is that he had been dethroned in the public opinion of France long before he succumbed to foreign enemies; and these memoirs are especially valuable for the signs by which they trace
* Les Cahiers de Sainte-Beuve, p. 65.
the steady progress of popular alienation. | them his own by compromising and deEven his military success ceased to dazzle grading them, and to keep them in confrom (at least, if not before) the climax stant uneasiness, that they might never which it reached at Austerlitz; and the feel for a moment out of his power. With deepening sense of its cost in blood, mis- them, as in his relation to the whole world, cry, and national distress, was no longer we might apply to Napoleon what Thucydcharmed away by victories which more ides makes a Corinthian orator affirm of and more failed to surpass or equal ex- the Athenians: "If any one were to say pectation. This was confessed by Napo- that he was born never to be quiet himleon himself at the very moment when self nor to let any one else be quiet, he the peace of Tilsit seemed to have made would say right." A touching vein runs him master of the world. "Military through the memoirs of the constant glory," he said, "soon palls upon modern effort of the writer and her husband to nations. Fifty battles produce little more serve the emperor without losing self-resensation than five or six. To the French spect, gradually becoming impossible, and I shall always be the man of Marengo, then punished by loss of favor. Of this rather than of Jena or Friedland." Madame de Rémusat once ventured to complain to Josephine.
Perhaps the most remarkable utterance of Napoleon's self-analysis is that in which he summed up his own career, not in the legends woven for a last appeal from St. Helena to the opinion of the world, but in one of his moments of frank self-judgment. "One day, when at the zenith of his power, he asked those about him what would be said of him after his death. They all hastened to answer in phrases of compliment or of flattery. But he interrupted them by exclaiming,
What! you are at a loss to know what people will say? They will say, OUFI"
The empress received me in a most friendly manner, and I avowed to her quite frankly the trouble that was on my mind. I expressed my surprise that no past proof of devotedness or disinterested service could avail with her husband against a sudden prejudice. She repeated my words to him, and he well understood what they meant; but he persisted in his own definition of what he called devotedness, which was an entire surrender of one's
being, of all one's sentiments, and of all one's opinions, and repeated that we ought to give up all our former habits, in order to have only one thought, that of his interest and his will.
He found men to serve him thus: like We have but small space left to glance Savary, who stified the better side of his at the highly interesting revelations of character (for "the emperor sedulously Napoleon's life amidst his court, and at cultivated evil passions in the men who the new light thrown by the memoirs served him, and they flourished abunupon all the members of the Bonaparte dantly in his reign "), or from a true spirit family. He once defined a statesman of devotedness, like Duroc, on whose as a person completely out of the regu- death Napoleon wrote, "It is the first lar orbit (parfaitement excentrique); al- time, for twenty years, that he has not most alone on one side, with the world divined what would give me pleasure." on the other and his friends and servants And yet we learn from M. Charles de Réwere treated as unscrupulously as his vic- musat that even this devoted friend did tims. The horror of the great crime of not like the emperor, or at any rate judged his life is mingled with disgust at the un-him with severity. In later times he was speakable meanness with which he used wearied out by Bonaparte's temper, and Caulaincourt as the blind instrument of still more by his system of government, entrapping the poor young duke; and and on the day preceding his death, he when he learnt how this vicarious treach- let this be perceived, even by the emery was aggravated by the fact that Cau-peror. laincourt had been in the household of Bonaparte encouraged cunning and taleCondé, the duke's father, he only said: "I didn't know that; and besides, what does it matter? If Caulaincourt is compromised, there is no great harm; he will serve me all the better!"
That this was no half-jesting cynicism, but the deliberate system of all his relations with his servants, is the constant theme of bitter reminiscence throughout the memoirs. It was his plan to make
bearing among his courtiers, and resorted to the meanness of opening their letters, and the De Rémusats ultimately lost his favor through a correspondence thus intercepted. He claimed to hold even their reputations at his mercy. to sport with them himself, though, from a selfish motive, he forbade others to do the like.
The despotism of his will grew in propor tion to the enlargement of the circle with
which he surrounded himself; it is a fact that | rather enjoyed in secret the little constraint he wanted to be the sole arbiter of reputations, occasioned among us all by the new court to make them and to unmake them at his ceremonial. Madame Murat was in despair, pleasure. He branded a man or blighted a and when she heard the emperor name repeatwoman for a word, without any kind of hesi- edly the princess Louis, so utterly lost all comtation, but he was much displeased that the mand of her emotions that she could not republic should venture to observe and to com- strain her tears. She drank glass after glass ment on the conduct of either one or the other, of water, to seem to do something to recover if he had placed them within the rays of the her self-possession; but her tears always again aureole with which he surrounded himself. got the better of her. Madame Bacciochi, who was older and more mistress of herself, refrained indeed from weeping, but assumed a rough and trenchant manner, and treated all round her with marked hauteur.
Next day there was a dinner en famille at the Tuileries, where a family scene occurred of still more violence [reported by the empress
Madame de Rémusat illustrates this by a strange scene at court, in which Napoleon, after putting the ladies to the blush by telling each in turn the scandal people said of them, flew into a violent passion at the audacity of those who dared to utter a word against his court and family; upon which one of the ladies said to Jose- in complaints, tears, and reproaches, demandphine, "Let the emperor only go on de-ing to know the reason why she and her sisters fending us in that fashion, and we are lost."
This spirit of licentious mischief was often indulged at his court balls.
He accosted the ladies freely, and was often very unscrupulous in his remarks to them; and if he was answered, and unable at once to recognize who it was that spoke to him, he would pull off the speaker's mask, revealing himself by this rude act of power. He also took great pleasure in seeking out certain husbands, under cover of his disguise, and tormenting them with anecdotes, true or false, of their wives. If he afterwards learned that these revelations had been followed by unpleasant consequences, he became very angry; for he would not permit the displeasure which he had himself excited to be independent of
him. It must be said, because it is the truth, there is in Bonaparte a natural badness, which makes him like to do evil in small as well as in great things.
He took a mischievous delight in giving annoyance and irritation, and then laughing at the pain he had caused, which reminds us of nothing so much as the recklessness of a boy making mischief "for the fun of it." His sisters were often the butt of this propensity, for which, it must be owned, they gave him ample provocation. Take, for example, the scene at the great family and court dinner, on the day when the Senate decreed the establishment of the empire:
Just before we sat down to table, the governor of the palace, Duroc, went round to apprise us all, one after the other, of the titles of prince and princess, which we must give to Joseph and Louis Bonaparte, and their wives respectively. Napoleon's sisters, Mesdames Bacciochi and Murat, seemed thunderstruck with this distinction of rank between their sisters-in-law and themselves. The emperor himself looked gay and serene, and, I fancy,
to Madame de Rémusat, who, of course, was not present]. Madame Murat broke out afresh
were to be condemned to obscurity-to contempt while strangers to the family were, forsooth, to be loaded with honors and digni ties. Napoleon answered with extreme haughtiness, that he was the master to distribute dignities at his pleasure. On this occasion he let fall a sharp saying, which has been retained in memory, "One would really think, ladies, to listen to the pretensions you put forward, that we hold the crown from the late king our
The finale of the scene was that Madame Murat fell on the floor in a fainting-fit. Napoleon at once softened, and the end was that she got for herself and husband all the dignities she wanted. The whole spectacle gave me a new and strong impression of the overpowering effect which ambition is capable of producing on characters of a certain sort.
And so in small things, as well as great, Napoleon showed his disregard for the feelings of those about him and contempt for the "minor moralities" and small observances, which have been styled the politeness of kings. Thus at his receptions, "he never remembered a name, and his first question almost invariably was, What do you call yourself?'" But here he met his match in the composer Grétry.
As a member of the Institute he frequently attended the Sunday receptions, and it happened more than once that the emperor, who had come to recognize his face, approached him almost mechanically, and asked him his name. One day, Grétry, who was tired of this perpetual question, and perhaps a little annoyed at not having produced a more lasting impression, answered to the emperor's rudely uttered "And you! who are you?" in a sharp, impatient tone, "Sire, I am still Grétry." Ever afterwards, the emperor recognized him perfectly.
No parts of the memoirs are more
always appeared to me as one of the purest
striking than those which depict the court of a military adventurer, who gloried in being but the first citizen of a free republic, as teeming with those evils, which the writer truly describes as innate in all despotic courts: the jealousies of fierce passions and rival factions; the most chilling social and mental restraint; un- The expression of Madame de Rémubounded pomp and luxury, and the unbri- sat's feeling for Queen Hortense rings dled license of immorality; with mean extremely like truth, at least for the period submission to the fiat uttered by the ir- of their personal acquaintance and interrevocable sentence, "Je le veux." The course. Everything worked against Horsuggestion, that the writer's emotional tense her own inexperienced and rodisposition may have led her to color her mantic views of life - her mother's much pictures too strongly, is well met by the less romantic and not a whit wiser schemes appeal of M. Charles de Rémusat, not for bestowing her in marriage only to the parallel scenes described by finally, her husband's morbidly distrustful Saint-Simon, whose exaggeration is only and morose temper. Louis Bonaparte is in his language, but to the more moderate described by Madame de Rémusat as dé judgment of Madame de Maintenon, who fiant et faux. That he was false we see thus described the despotic court in which no evidence. Distrustful he was to an she played so conspicuous a part: "As for your court friends, they are always grovelling on the earth. We witness assassinations, envy, rage, treachery, insatiable avarice-meannesses which are disguised under the name of greatness, courage, etc.; a very summary of a great part of the contents of the memoirs now before us.
almost insane excess; and the persecutions of his wife recorded in these memoirs, especially considering some of the occasions he chose for them, were simply brutal. In one of the keen rebukes, which he unsparingly administered all round, Napoleon wrote to Louis:
show in your government, and carry into affairs that vigor which you show at home. You treat a young woman like one handling a You have the best and most virtuous regiment.
of wives, and you make her unhappy.
Your quarrels with the queen are a public scandal. Pray have, in your family, that pa Of the portraits of the Bonaparte fam-ternal and effeminate character which you ily, sketched in the introduction, we can only notice one which later events have invested with deep interest. The two persons singled out in these memoirs for special exception from the repulsive character of the Bonaparte family and connections, are Eugène Beauharnais and his sister Hortense, afterwards queen of Holland, and mother of Napoleon III., the only son who survived her. Madame de Rémusat has drawn the character of Eugène in a few vigorous and discriminative lines, which we have no space left to quote.
His sister Hortense is depicted in these memoirs as of an equally happy nature, but the world in general has not as yet been quite prepared to accept the portrait. Madame de Rémusat regards her with the strongest sympathy as "perhaps the unhappiest person of her time, and the least formed by nature to have been so" -as first having been grossly and groundlessly calumniated by the jealous hatred of the Bonapartes, and, after their fall, involved in the general discredit of all who bore their name.
I have been [she says] in a position to take a very near view of Madame Louis Bonaparte; I have ended by becoming acquainted with all the secrets of her interior life, and she has
The unvarying regard and affection of such a man as Napoleon for the only woman he seems to have both loved and respected, is a strong confirmation of Madame de Rémusat's contemporaneous testimony: "Hortense," he said, "forces me to believe in virtue." *
It may not here be out of place to make some passing reference to the doubts which have been thrown by the enemies of the late French emperor on his legiti mate birth. "The malicious world," said the late Mr. Senior, in 1860, to Madame Cornu (by her antecedents and character a most trustworthy witness), would call his dilatory and expectative policy a sign of his Dutch blood." "The world," she said, "would talk nonbeginning of July 1807, Napoleon effected a reconciliasense. He has not a drop of Dutch blood. In the tion between Hortense and Louis. They met at Montpellier, and spent three or four days, as was usually the case, in quarrelling. She went off in a pet to Bordeaux, where the emperor was on his way to begin his seizure of Spain. She passed a few days with him, and then returned, at the end of July, to her husband at Montpellier. He has many little bodily tricks resembling those of Louis. Louis never looked you in the face; when he bowed, it was not like anybody else, it was an inclination of the body on one side. He kept his hands close to his sides. Louis Napoleon has all these pecul all her servants to watch her, and often said of Louis He [Louis] was jealous of Hortense, bribed Napoleon: "Ce n'est pas mon enfant;" but he was half mad, and I believe only said so to tease his wife.
We cannot conclude without reverting, for a moment, to the point from which we set out, the justification given by these memoirs to our old-fashioned views of Napoleon, especially as bearing upon the question of his relation to our own country and its politics. Few illustrations of our tendency to make foreign politics the battle-ground of party are stronger than the feeling which glorified "the ogre of Corsica "into "the martyr of St. Helena;" and in this case also the truth of history rebukes the morbid indulgence of sentiment at the cost of steadfast, patriotic policy. It is something new to find a French writer rendering full justice to the character of England's resistance to Napoleon, and that fuller justice which the English opposition refused to the motives of her government and people in fighting out the conflict to the end. After describing, in one of her most interesting chapters, the fêtes at Fontainebleau in 1807 when the emperor's fortune had reached the zenith from which it began to decline in the ill-omened divorce and the
conspiracy against Spain - Madame de
For all this, a worm was gnawing at the vitals of his glory. The French Revolution was not a process by which the public mind was to be led to submit to arbitrary power; the enlightenment of the age, the progress of sound principles, the spread of liberty, were all against him, and they were destined to overthrow this brilliant edifice of authority, founded in opposition to the march of the human intellect. The sacred flame of liberty was burning in England. Happily for the welfare of nations, that sanctuary was defended by a barrier which the armies of Bonaparte could not break down. A few leagues of sea protected the civilization of the world, and saved it from being forced to abandon the field of battle to one who might not perhaps have utterly beaten it, but who would have stifled it for the space of a whole generation.
The English government, jealous of so colossal a power, and notwithstanding the ill success of so many enterprises, found an unfailing resource against the emperor in the national sentiments. The pride and the industry of England, which was attacked in both its position and its interests, were equally alarmed, and the people consented eagerly to every sacrifice that was demanded of them.
At one time he took possession of Louis Napoleon, which would scarcely have been the case if he had really doubted his legitimacy."
Those who hold that any praise of an English minister from abroad marks him as the minister, not of England, but of France, or Germany, or Austria, may perhaps rather sympathize with Bonaparte's democratic hatred of England, expressed in terms, of which we seem to have heard echoes nearer home, not so very long ago.
Every effort was made to stigmatize what was called the invasion of Continental liberties. The English government was compared, in its policy, to Marat. "What did he ever do that was more atrocious?" was asked. "The spectacle of a perpetual war is presented to the world. The oligarchical ringleaders who direct English policy will end, as all exaggerated and infuriated men do end, by earning the opprobrium of their own country and the hatred of other nations."
We conclude with a passage, the moral of which may be the less necessary to point at a moment when sentimental sympathy with foreign despotism is brought to the test of responsible policy:—
The Opposition declared against the expedition, and the emperor, in his ignorance of the
British Constitution, flattered himself that the Parliamentary debates on this point would be useful to him. Little accustomed to opposition, he estimated that of a political party in England by the effect which would have been produced in France, had the same violence of opinion which he remarked in the London journals been manifested here, and he believed the English government was lost on the evidence of the diatribes of the Morning Chron icle. These articles were a welcome aliment to his own impatience, but his hopes always proved vain. The Opposition declaimed, but its remonstrances came to nothing, and the government always found means to carry on the necessary struggle.
We have still confidence in that unbroken tradition of English patriotism, which will surely make the like stand whenever the call to action dispels the mists of sentiment.
HE THAT WILL NOT WHEN HE MAY.
THE day after Paul's departure for London with his lawyer and his uncle, Mr. Gus left the Markham Arms. By a Madame de Rémusat also distinctly marks the time fatality, Fairfax thought, he too was going when Louis and Hortense were living in apparent happiness during the temporary reconciliation at Mont-away at the same time. He had gone pellier, as that which gave the future emperor his
up to Markham in the morning early for no particular reason. He said to himself