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that of future generations, in order to sanction this truth, what will then become of the vulgar accusation of excessive ambition? It will share the same fate with all the false judgments of the ignorant; the world will despise it, in order to render homage to truth.
Charles the Fourth, it is true, conducted himself greatly to my advantage. Would his son have imitated him? I know not; but even should I have been certain of it, that would not have done away with the necessity of expelling him from the throne. I wished to build for ages, and the'very existence of my edifice was menaced by the existence of a Bourbon king.
If I had no reason to complain of Charles the Fourth personally, it was not the same with his government. Far from seeing that the Continental blockade was severely maintained in terms of our conditions, it protected the English smugglers with all its power. This was calculated to afflict me in the tenderest part. However this was, I should have checked my disappointment for some time longer, had not the troubles which suddenly sprung up in that kingdom, imperiously marked the favourable moment for the execution of my projects.
I was at peace with the North. The Emperor of Russia and myself had secret conferences together, but I was not yet sufficiently acquainted, to confide in him. However, I urged him gently, and in a manner calculated to inspire confidence. It was not without success; for he frankly told me, that, had the affairs of Europe permitted him, he wished, once for all, to put it out of the power of the Turks to alarm his dominions. Now, it appeared to me, this was the favourable opportunity for confiding to him my designs on Spain. I communicated to him the motives which determined me: they appeared to him conclusive; and he told me, (these are his own words): "1 should act towards them in the same way, (Ten ferais de mime).'''' We then took a mutual oath—he, that he would injure me in nothing respecting my war with Spain; ana I, that I would do nothing against him in the war which he projected against the Turks. If it happened otherwise, it is not the less true, that we both kept our good faith. * h
The ridiculous ambition of Godoy, Prince of Peace, had put every thing
topsy-turvy- in the royal family; the Queen, who was (hesoul of the councils, saw matters only superficially. Charles IV. being old and infirm, subscribed to every thing. The political ignorance of Godoy, and his ridiculous ambition, had alienated all hearts from him. His intrigues and connexions had placed the royal family at drawn daggers with its chief. The opportunity was excellent, and I seized upon it; nevertheless, I had no intention of acting so suddenly against the Spanish Bourbons, who had put themselves in my power; but two memoirs which Savary brought to me from Madrid, on the moral, political, and financial situation of Spain, decided me in placing the royal family in private confinement. My armies then entered Spain; among the generals who commanded them there were great captains, but the eye of the master was required there more than any where else. 1 never forgave myself for not conducting this war myself: it is a great blot in the history of my enterprizes ; forby confining mvself exclusively to that great work, by directing it myself, 1 should have conducted it successfully, and Spain would not hnve been the theatre of so many horrors. The means which, at this epoch, were in my power, are a guarantee for this assertion.
Napoleon next alludes to kit Brothers.
Among the causes of the reverses and disappointments which I bad experienced, either in Spain or elsewhere, I ought to include the almost entire nullity of my brothers, except Lucien, who might have rendered me great services, had I not, from his illwill towards me, been constrained to remove him. The other three had neither capacity nor strength to govern the kingdom of Yvetot. The necessary consequence was, that all the labour devolved upon me; this has given rise to the report, that in bestowing sceptres upon them, I only intended to make use of them as my lieutenants. This assertion, whatever may have been the facts to support it, is entirely false. It is true, I transmitted instructions to my brothers, and even gave them orders, but (and the proofs arenot wanting,) their ineapaeity, and, at times, their ill-will, forced me to. act thus towards them. A monarch, it will be said, ought only to govern
his people in the sense of their interests and of their genius. This is morally true for all other princes; but it will not be denied that the case was very different with respect to my brothers. Certainly had the new kings of Spain. Naples, and Holland, wished to govern conformably to the wishes and to the tastes of their people, they would immediately have broken off with me; even, perhaps, had they been forced to make common cause with my enemies. What, then, would have become of their thrones, which they could only have possessed so long as they could be supported by the strength and the glory of mine? It would have experienced the fate of the throne of Naples, when Mural abandoned my cause in order to please his subjects. It is thus that in politics two and two do not always make four.
The war in Spain was prolonged; I thought I should thus tire out the patience of the Spaniards ; but I was deceived. This people, (I only render it justice) in its misfortune, showed itself superior to all other nations, ancient and modern; there never was but one opinion on that subject. Among this people an unanimous and natural desperation was diiVtised into all classes of both sexes. A virgin and a prostitute, an honest man and a robber, all united, without repugnance, in killing aFrenchman: this effected more than ten armies. Had the French, in 1814, only been one half inspired in a similar manner, the allies would never have returned to their homes. This is the more true, as independent of our desperation, we should have had more than what the Spaniards had, viz. an army of old soldiers ready to form itself from the remains of our armies. On the other hand the idea of an invasion had united all hearts among the Spaniards; but the French became disunited at the approach of the allies: this was, it is true, the work of some men whom history will either proclaim traitors or honest men. Perhaps also, and to be just towards the French, power is not given to every nation to arm themselves with equal desperation; to make abnegation of every thing, of their property, of their lives, of their dearest affections, in fine, to burn their houses in order to throw fire-brands at the beads of their enemies; all this has been done by the Spaniards.
Then follows a fragment, entitled "Josephine and Marie-Louise." It is Monthly Mag. No. 362.
valuable from the tribute paid to th e former.
The mortal whom events, and perhaps, also, the eternal decrees, call to the government of nations, is, without contradiction, the man who belongs the least to himself. I was, more than all others on a throne, a man of this character; I owed more to the French than my royal predecessors; I was elected by the people, and not its master, by birthright; I had placed France in the first rank of European powers. This was imposing; but, in order to secure its stability, I required an heir, and, in this respect, Josephine was hopeless.
I do not believe that in the whole universe there was a woman who suited me better than my first consort. She knew how to mingle with my tastes, my habitudes, my principles, my humour, and my will; all this was.natural to her; she was the person of her sex with whom I most delighted to live—with whom I have experienced more of domestic happiness. These truths, which our separation would seem to contradict, are not the less as immutable as the light. Had my first consort given me an heir, however important it was for my glory and the illustration of my family, to ally myself with the daughter of kings, that alliance would never have taken place. This acknowledgement I owe to the memory of a woman whom the French have not sufficiently known,* and which my interest, perhaps, has consigned to the tomb.
Had it not formed part of my character to shew myself superior to every kind of disappointment, I would, at the time of my separation from Josephine, have proved to the French that it was on my part a great sacrifice made to their happiness and future tranquillity. I only spoke of it slightly, and this trait of character and of firmness has unjustly placed me in the rank of the ungrateful, by those men who date my troubles from the day in which I divorced my first consort. This is one more reproach from which my conscience entirely absolves me.
My union with the daughter of Francis II. satisfied at the same time my
* Bonaparte had only himself to blame, if the excellent counsels which his consort gave him are not come to the knowledge of the public. He never would permit her name to appear any where.
s x policy;
. policy and -my personal felicity. The rank of Arch-Duchess, her youth and her candour, promised me many days of glory and of happiness; soon after she bore me a son. As a man, 1 had no longer any thing to desire; but as a sovereign, and called to great affairs, it was othi rwise. I believed that it belonged to my glory and the interest of the French, to secure them and the other nations of Europe from a great future servitude. This project, entirely in favour of the independence of the European states, was reputed the act of an. insatiable ambition. The most absurd ideas were attributed to me; and that of an universal monarchy in Europe, was a project impracticable in the age in which we live. Whereas, my object was solely to prevent the Baskirs and the Cossacks from one day giving the knout to the inhabitants of Warsaw, Vienna, Berlin, and even Paris. - The idea prevailed that ambition alone directed my steps towards Russia. If the other sovereigns did not Immediately oppose it, the reason was, that they were not in a condition to do so; but some time later they lifted up the mask.
The observations of this great man on the war in Russia are so doubly interesting at this moment, that we hesitate not in exceeding our usual limits in order to give place to them.
The continental blockade was conceived in the interest of those nations who repulsed it, because they did not understand it; it is the fate of great enterprizes that they are beyond the understanding of the vulgar. My war against Russia, which had no other object but to deliver Europe from the chains which, with a giant-arm, the Czars were daily forging against it, lias created me enemies among nations whose friendship I wished to preserve. •- Five years have scarcely elapsed •since I marched against Russia, when already the enormous increase of her power justifies my motive in wishing to put a curb upon her ambition. Poland is now under the yoke of the Muscovites!
The slavery of Europe will commence with Turkey. I now understand the words which the Emperor Alexander addressed to me at one of our secret interviews: "As soon as the affairs of Europe will permit, I wish to put it'out of the power of the Turks to alarm my dominions." The Czar will seize the first occasion to humble the
order of the Crescent.. I have had proofs in my possession that the cabinet of St. Petersburg is upon the watch for every thing likely to create embarrassment !o the Grand Seignor. The struggle between the two powers will not be long doubtful: foi such is the defects of the Turkish government, that should one battle be lost, Constantinople will become a chapel of ease for the empire of the Czars.
There is only one power which-may yet save Europe from the inevitable consequences of the success of the Russians beyond the Bosphorus, and thai power is England.
Should this latter power hesitate in opposing the Czars in the dismemberment of the heritage of the Sultan*, she will one day run the risk of losings great part of her maritime superiority.' The result will be that England wifi not suffer the Russian flag to be established in the Ottoman Ports. It is thus that Europe will owe its independence to the rivalry of these two great powers. We may also affirm that by ably starling from this point, the political system of other governments will befouni entirely traced out.
The Russians are at this day on the continent what the English are on the ocean; so that the best thing which the other nations can do, is, to encouTage these two great powers to cut each other's throats. When two superb lions, the terror of the forests, happen to seize each other by the mane, very ill-advised will the other animals be in wishing to separate them; upon the destruction of the two combatants depends the safety of all.
I believe I have sufficiently prove*! that I had good reasons for carryiDg war into the heart of Russia. However I was not entirely decided until I learned that the Emperor Alexander had declared, that before the lapse of two years, Poland should become part of his dominions. I thought to prevent him. A man, who passes for being well informed on the subject, has said, that I committed a great fault in not re-establishing the kingdom of Poland upon a solid basis, by interesting the neighbouring powers in its preservation; but however specious- this might appear, I did not think myself bound to do it, and the character of the Poles was the cause of it.
* This passage is the more curious, as it is dated on the 27th November, 1817.
My arrival in the second capital of the Czars was signalized by a succession of military triumphs, such as there is no example of in the annals of the world. The intrepidity alone of my troops was sufficient to prepare me for reverses. I was obliged to seize the bridle of the horses and the collar of the foot soldier, in order to prevent them from advancing. I decimated forty-five Chasseurs for having sabred, without oiders, a squadron of the Russian Imperial Guard. It was a real outrage of valour and intrepidity against an enemy, who on their side, fought well; this is a justice which I must render to the Russians.
Certain political frequenters of public places, have purposely condemned my expedition to Russia. Poor ignorants! who cannot perceive, that at Moscow, the destinies of the world were at stake. It was doing a great deal to have engaged in so great a work for the interests of other men. Had I conquered, the ancient manner of governing nations would have been for ever annihilated, the universe would have taken another form; had I failed, the sovereigns would again find themselves in a situation to govern the people as in times past, provided at all times that the people did not decide to brave the bayonets of the sovereigns. It was the ancient regime in presence of the new. The elements havedecided in favour of the former.
Fortune commanded me to die by the side of my soldiers in retreat; but honour and the urgency of saving the empire from total ruin, made it imperative on me to return instantly to Paris, where I arrived only in time to intimidate the traitors, who a short time after, opened the gates of the capital to the allies.
Had I been killed in the retreat from Moscow, the Bourbons would not have reigned in France.
My name would have been wanting in the army; that, perhaps was of some consequence; but would have decided nothing, because there would have succeeded me, a number of good captains brought up under my own eye, and capable of rivalling the best generals of the enemy, who at that time were few in number.
In this state of things and at that epoch, the Bourbons had not even a ray of hope. Some factions might have for a moment troubled the interior; but the Empress Regent and my son were
there: twenty-four hours would have sufficed them to crush the factions, as the army and four-fifths of the nation were devoted to my son. The Empress had still the resource of restoring Italy to her father, who for this consideration, "wouldhave risen up against the enemies of his grandson. The interests of Austria were, at that time, different from what they became two years later.
The losses which we had sustained in Russia, were soon almost entirely, repaired. The sacrifices of the nation had been worthy of itself. In the month of February I was again formidable in the heart of Germany. There, without doubt, I would have re-gained my first superiority, had all my enemies been on the field of battle. Unfortunately I had left some at Paris, who being the less conspicuous, were on that account only the more dangerous. England, which in order to consummate my ruin, would have sought out adversaries even in the bowels of the earth, had traitors in her pay in the first constituted bodies of the empire. I perceived this when I was in the presence of the Legislative Assembly.
One of them, seated on bags of English guineas, attacking me in the abuse of his power, dared to point me out to the reproaches of the nation. This man well merited a dungeon: even had his intentions been good, the moment chosen to proclaim them was sufficient to have rendered him culpable in the eyes' of his sovereign.
Suppose even that my actions had been in a sense contrary to the constitutions which I had sworn to defend, was the moment in which I was about to present myself before the armies of Europe, the time to publish to the world that I possessed neither the entire esteem of the nation, nor its entire confidence? I appeal to the most indulgent policy, what sovereign would not have called upon the tribunals to pronounce sentence on such a crime? Had I commandedjusticetohave been exercised towards this traitor, and five or six others who were no better, the Cossacks never would have encamped in the Thuilleries. Every act of misplaced indulgence is generally more dangerous than a political homicide. • • • • * • •.•
My departure for Dresden had enlarged the field for the secret machinations of the traitors concealed in the ca
pital, and In some other great cities of the empire. Soon afterwards false reports and alarming intelligence were circulated among all classes. This state of affairs placed me between two lines of almost insurmountable dangers, those of the interior and those from without. The affair of Leipsic and our retreat on the Rhine, put the finishing stroke to our misfortunes.
France wa3 invaded; affairs however were not yet desperate, and the soil of France would have become the grave of the allied armies, had the French of 1814, been only the French of 1812! But treason had provided for all. Parties were formed under the influence of several chiefs: irresolution and inquietude passed from the citizens into the administration; from thence a homicidal indolence in the supplies of the armies, and effeminacy in the mayors and prefects in the recruitingof them. The government, overcome with stupour, knew not what it did, nor what it had to do; the army alone well performed its duty. These platoons of warriors, whose valour and patience were a prodigy, were at that time struggling against a million of men!
The campaign of 1814 was a master
fiiece of the kind: any other general, ess broken down than I was, could have made as well as myself, an immortal campaign of it. Could it be otherwise with soldiers who valued neither the number of their enemies, nor fatigue, hunger, reverses, nor even death itself?
Those men are much mistaken who believe that I rejected terms of peace at Chatillon, out of pure obstinacy. I had but too powerful motives for refusing them. Dispatches, seized three months before at Missenheim in the Hunds-Ruck, had informed me of the measure of outrages reserved for me, if after having once submitted to the yoke, I shouldnot have sufficient force to struggle against one of the three northern powers, which England would have protected with its gold.
1 was conqueror of Europe during fifteen years, ten of which I had the honour to sway the sceptre of a great nation, and my consort waslhe daughter of kings. Was it with all these titles that I could accept of disgrace and infamy?
And the allies also had their reasons for offering inc peace at Chatillon. The more they advanced into France, the ■aore they feared they would not be
able to get out of it. The fate of my troops in Spain alarmed them in such a way that they marched tremblingly and "with the greatest precautions. In that they followed the instructions of Bernadotte, which, had they always been constantly followed, would have given me time to annihilate the allied army. Not that the counsels of Bernadotte were foolish, but they were out of season, as the French were no longer what they had been. I shall give, an extract of these very instructions.
"Prudence and moderation ought, ai much as force, to direct the operations of the allied Sovereigns on the French territory. Care must be taken not to exasperate the inhabitants. Although not subject to acts of desperation, yet, if in consequence of bad treatment they are reduced to it, the armies of their Majesties will hare much to suffer. If the enemies, which Napoleon has in the interior, do not take advantage of circumstances to alienate from him the hearts of the people, it is not unlikely that numerous battalions will join him. However few in number may be the army under his command, the allied sovereigns will not forget to keep themselves on their guard against tbe boldness and the desperation of his manoeuvres."— Extract from the Note remitted by Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden, to their Majesties the Allied Sovereigns, the \btk of December, 1813.
In offering me terms of peace at Chatillon, the allies being uncertain of t hoi r ground, had no ofher object in view but to postpone their intentions for a year, in order to have more time for reflection, and then to return to complete my ruin. I knew their intentions and wished to defeat them; the more so, as I had yet the means of doing so with honour. In fact, although it has been obstinately denied, I was on the eve of giving to the world the spectacle of a single power, annihilating on its own territory, all the armies of Europe. I had succeeded, by manoeuvres which military men can alone appreciate, in turning the positions of the allies: a few days later and their communications would have been intercepted; all the garrisons of the north were to receive intelligence of the day and the hour for a general movement to co-operate in such a way with my principal manoeuvre, that it would have been a miracle for the allies to have escaped: add to this, that a great movement was to have been effected in a part of Champagne and of Lorraine, a movement which, in the