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Another evening, while we were at Boulogne, classic conventional phrases that I will never Bonaparte led the conversation to literature. I adopt. had been deputed by the poet Lemercier, who “ It is probably a great fault in me, but there was liked by the Consul, to take him a tragedy are certain rules," he continued, " which I never named “Philip Augustus," which he had just feel. For example, that which is called style, completed, and which contained certain allusions good or bad, never touches me. I am only sento himself. The Consul wished to read it aloud sible to the strength of the thought. I loved Os-myself as his sole audience. It was droll to sian at once, but it was for the same reason that hear him, who was always in a hurry, even when I love too the wind and waves of the sea. he had nothing to do, tangled up in the Alexan- “In Egypt I tried to read the 'Iliad,' but it drine verses whose measure he did not under- wearied me. As to French poets, I understand stand, and compelled to pronounce every word none but Corneille. He knew something of polibefore him, and so badly that it was impossible tics, was made for business, and would have made to believe that he could understand one word of a statesman. I think I have a better appreciawhat he read. Besides, the moment he opened tion of him than any one else, because in judging of a book, he wished to sit in judgment upon it. him I exclude all dramatic sentiment. For examI asked him to give me the manuscript, and I ple, it is only a short time since that I understood began to read it myself ; then he began to speak, the dénoûment of ‘Cinna.' I looked at it at and ended by taking the work again. He erased first only as a way of adding pathos to a fifth speeches, made marginal notes, found fault with act, and yet clemency is so poor a virtue, unless the plan and the characters. He ran no great supported by policy, that the clemency of Augusrisk in his hasty judgment, for the piece was tus, all at once transformed into an easy-going really bad. But the thing that astonished me prince, appeared to me an unworthy close to this was that at the close of the reading he told me fine tragedy. that he did not wish the author to know that all But seeing Monval on one occasion act the these erasures and omissions were by a hand so part, I at last got at the mystery of this great important as that of the First Consul's, and or- conception. dered me to take them on my own shoulders ! “He pronounced the words, “Soyons amis,
To this—as may readily be imagined—I made Cinna,' in so clever a tone that I at once undermost strenuous objections, and had the greatest stood that the act was only the ruse of a tyrant, difficulty in inducing him to relinquish this ca- and my admiration was at once excited for that price, and in making him understand that if the which I had hitherto regarded as weak sentiauthor were a little annoyed at his manuscript ment. He must always recite those verses so being thus disfigured, he, by reason of his rank, that all who hear may understand them in the would suffer no inconvenience from it, while in same way. As to Racine, his ‘Iphigénie' pleases me such a liberty would be unpardonable. me; this from beginning to end compels you to
“Very well,” he said—“I give up on this oc- breathe the poetic air of Greece. In • Britannicasion; but please to remember that I am by no cus' he has been circumscribed by Tacitus, means fond of that preposterous phrase of yours against whom I am prejudiced because he does -les convenances—which you are always ready not explain enough as he goes on. Voltaire's with on all occasions. It is an invention of fools, tragedies are impassioned, but they do not search who think they may get a little nearer clever deeply enough into the recesses of the human people—a sort of social gag which is irksome mind. For example, his • Mahomet' is neither to the strong, and only useful to those who are an Arab nor a prophet. He is an impostor who thoroughly commonplace. It may be that you might have been educated at the Polytechnic find it convenient sometimes, for you have not School, for the means he uses are those of the very much to do in this world; but you know present century. The murder of the father by that I, for example, must find many occasions the son is a useless crime. Great men are never when I must trample les convenances under cruel unless compelled by necessity. Comedy foot.”
affects me much as if I were called upon to listen “But," I answered, “may they not be, in to the gossip and chatter of your salons ; I acconnection with one's daily life, much like those cept your admiration for Molière, but I do not directions which accompany dramatic works ? share it. He has placed his characters amid surThey impart to them order and regularity, and roundings where I have never been in the habit never hamper genius except when it departs from of going to see them move." the dictates of good taste." “Ah, good taste ! * that again is one of the
“Good taste is your personal enemy. If you could have
blown it up with cannon, it would have vanished long * Monsieur de Talleyrand once said to Bonaparte : since."
It would be easy to conclude from these dif- hostile intentions against the rights of the citizens ferent opinions that Bonaparte liked to study hu- which are confided to his keeping. Bonaparte, man nature only in connection with the great wishing to confirm his despotic plans, found himevents of life, and that he cared little for man by self compelled to treat with these redoubtable himself.
Jacobins, and he unfortunately was one of those
who do not shrink from crimes, and regard them I have now reached an important and painful in fact as the only tangible guarantee. They are epoch ; I am about to speak of the conspiracy of reassured only when they place the responsibility Georges and of the crime which it resulted in. of these crimes on some one besides themselves.
I shall simply say of General Moreau just This reasoning counts for much in the deaththat which I have heard. I affirm nothing. It sentence of the Duc d'Enghien, and I am conseems to me, however, that I must preface this vinced that all that Napoleon did at this time was recital by a short summary of matters as they not done from any feeling of blind revenge or then stood.
from any violent sentiment, but was simply the A certain set of people began to talk of the result of a Machiavellian policy which deternecessity in France that the power which gove mined him to clear all obstacles from his path at erned them should be hereditary. Politic cour- whatever cost. tiers, honest Revolutionists, people who believed Nor was it for the mere gratification of his that the welfare and repose of France hung on vanity that Bonaparte aspired to change his conone life, were disturbed in regard to the insta- sular title to that of emperor, nor must it be bility of the consulate. By degrees all these believed that he was the blind slave of his pasideas verged toward royalty, and this would have sions; he knew very well how to control them had its advantages if they had been able to mod- and submit them to his interests, and, if later he erate and control this royalty by laws.
yielded more readily to his impulses, it was beRevolutions have the grave inconvenience of cause he was a little intoxicated by success and dividing public opinion into many different shades flattery. This comedy of republicanism and which are all modified by the wounds received equality which he was called on to act ever since by each person under especial circumstances. he became First Consul wearied him inexpres
Revolutions incline people to favor those en- sibly, and deceived only those who wished to terprises attempted by that despotism which suc- be deceived. It reminded one of those farces in ceeds them. To restrain Bonaparte's power, it the days of ancient Rome when the emperors was only necessary to pronounce the word “Lib- ordered themselves to be occasionally reēlected erty"; but, as only a few years before, it had been by the Senate. I have seen people who draped used from one end of France to the other as a themselves as with a garment in a certain love of shield for the great, terrible, and bloody slavery, liberty, and yet who paid assiduous court to no person could control the melancholy, if un- Bonaparte, declaring that they lost their esteem reasonable, impression the word made upon us for him as soon as he was called Emperor. I all.
never understood them. How was it that the The royalists were anxious, however, and authority he began to exercise as soon as he assaw that Bonaparte was daily departing further sumed the government did not enlighten them? and further from the route they had marked out Should they not have said, on the contrary, that for him. The Jacobins, whose opposition the he was most honest in assuming the title of a First Consul most feared, were uneasy. They power which he was at that time exercising ? found that it was to their antagonists that the However that may be, at the time of which I Government seemed most desirous of giving write it was essential to the First Consul that he guarantees.
should strengthen himself in some way. The Concordat; the advances made toward The English were excited by the threats utthe ancienne noblesse ; the destruction of the tered against them. Relations were again estabRevolutionary égalité—all were an encroachment lished with the Chouans, and the royalists began upon them. Happy, a hundred times happy, to look on the consulship as the intermediate would France have been, if Bonaparte had done step between the Directory and the throne. To away with factions only, but to do this he must this the character of one single man offered the have been actuated by a love of justice, and his sole obstacle : the natural conclusion was, thereears must have been open to the counsels of lib- fore, that this man must be got rid of. eral generosity.
I remember having heard Bonaparte say in When a sovereign-it matters little what his the summer of 1804 that he had been hurried title may be makes terms with either one or on by events, and that his intention had been not the other of the parties which give birth to civil to organize a royal form of government until troubles, it may always be concluded that he has two years later. He had confided his policy to
the hands of the Minister of Justice; it was a akin to such violence. He has told me more terse and sensible idea in itself, but not one which than once that Bonaparte informed him as well should have been acted upon at a time when the as the other two Consuls of the arrest of the Duc government was a revolutionary institution. I d'Enghien, and of the determination to which he have already said that Bonaparte's first concep- had arrived; he added that they all three saw tions were good and great; to create and to es- that words were useless, and then they said no tablish was his specialty, but to submit to the more. laws and the institutions of even his own forma- This course, perhaps, indicated weakness on tion was beyond his ability.
the part of Monsieur de Talleyrand, but it was Hampered, therefore, by the slow and regular nevertheless his usual course, as he disdained to forms of justice, and also by the slow and me- utter useless words merely because they satisdiocre abilities of his Chief Justice, he abandoned fied the conscience. Opposition and courageous himself to the innumerable agents of the police resistance might have had its effect—for a cruel who were about him, soon placing every confi- sovereign, even a sanguinary one, may somedence in Fouché again, who admirably under- times be induced to yield his own determination stood the art of making himself necessary. to the strong arguments which oppose him. But Fouché, endowed with extraordinary acuteness Bonaparte was cruel neither in disposition nor in and clever to a degree, was an enriched Jacobin, policy; he merely wished to do that which apand, as a natural consequence, disgusted with peared to him the promptest and surest; he said many of the principles of his party—not daring, to himself that it was time that he should be however, to break with it lest he should need its done with Jacobins and royalists. The imprusupport in days of trouble. He had not the dence of these last furnished him with this most smallest objection to seeing Bonaparte clothed unfortunate chance. He snatched at it, and that with royalty. His naturally compliant nature which I am about to relate will clearly prove that made him ready to accept any form of govern- it was all the calmness of deliberate calculation, ment wherein he could hope to make a figure. or rather of sophistry, that he covered himself His habits were more revolutionary than his with that illustrious and innocent blood. principles-as the only state of things which he A few days after the first return of the King, could not endure was that in which he would the Duc de Revigo called on me one morning. have sunk to a mere nullity.
He wished to justify himself, and to refute the It was necessary to comprehend this disposi- accusations which weighed on his head. He tion, and also to guard against it, when one re- spoke to me of the death of the Duc d'Enghien. quired his services. A season of trouble brought “Both the Emperor and I,” he said, “were deout his full value, because, as he was totally with- ceived on that occasion. One of the subordinate out passions and without any vindictiveness, he agents of the Georges conspiracy had been gained at such times rose far above the most of the over by the bribes of my police; he came to tell men about him, who were all more or less trou- us that one night, when the fellows were all tobled by fear and resentment.
gether, the secret arrival of an important personFouché has positively denied having advised age, who could not be mentioned, was announced; the murder of the Duc d'Enghien, and in de- and that a few nights later an individual appeared fault of absolute certainty I see no reason why among them who was treated with marks of great he should be weighed down by a crime from respect. This spy described this person in such which he defended himself so energetically. Be- a way that we at once knew he could be none sides, Fouché, who saw a long way, knew very other than a prince of the house of Bourbon. well that this crime would give to the party At this time the Duc d'Enghien was established which Bonaparte wished to appease only a very at Ettenheim to await the success of the conbrief satisfaction. He knew the First Consul spiracy. Our agents wrote that he sometimes too well to dream that he would place the King disappeared for several days together; we at on a throne which he could occupy himself, and once concluded that he came to Paris, and reFouché would unquestionably have seen at once solved on his arrest. Afterward, when we conthat this murder was a mistake.
fronted the spy with the men who were arrested, Monsieur de Talleyrand had less need than he at once recognized Pichegru as the important Fouché of complicating his plans by advising person he had described, and when I told this to Bonaparte to clothe himself with kingly digni- Bonaparte he ground his heel into the earth and ties. His enemies and Bonaparte himself have cried out : accused him of advising the murder of the un- “Scoundrel ! To think of what he has fortunate Prince, but Bonaparte and his enemies made me do!'" are hardly to be accepted as evidence on this But to return: Pichegru reached France on point. Monsieur de Talleyrand's character is not the 15th of January, and on the 25th was con
cealed in Paris. It was known that, in the fifth went to the Tuileries ; Bonaparte was in his year of the republic, General Moreau had de- wife's room. I was announced. They ordered nounced him to the Government as holding rela- me to be shown in. Madame Bonaparte seemed tions with the house of Bourbon.
much concerned; her eyes were very red. BonaMoreau was supposed to entertain republican parte was near the fire with little Napoleon * on opinions; perhaps he at last changed them in his knees. He was very serious, but in his face support of a constitutional monarchy. I do not there was no indication of violence. He played know whether his family would defend him to- mechanically with the child. day as eagerly as then, from the accusation of “Do you know what I have done?" he said; having given his aid to the projects of the royal- and on my making a negative reply, he went on: ists. I do not know either if it be advisable to “Ah! you are astonished, and there will be a repose unbounded faith in admissions made in great excitement. People will not hesitate to the reign of Louis XVIII. But the conduct of say that I am jealous of Moreau, and that I have Moreau in 1813, and the honors accorded to his revenged myself upon him, and a thousand other memory by our princes, incline me to believe foolish things. I jealous of Moreau! Ah! Good that they for some time had had reason to rely heavens, he owes the greater part of his glory to on him.
me; it was I who left a well-appointed army to At the time of which I speak, Moreau was him, and kept only raw recruits in Italy. I greatly irritated against Bonaparte. It was sus- wished to live on the best of terms with him. I pected that he held secret communication with most assuredly did not fear him. In the first Pichegru-he at least kept profound silence in place, I fear no one, and Moreau least of all. I regard to the conspiracy. Some of the royalists have twenty times prevented him from comtook this occasion to accuse him of having shown promising himself. I told him that people would this hesitation out of that prudence which awaits do their best to bring on a quarrel between us. success before declaring itself. Moreau, they But he is as weak as he is proud : women have said, was a thoroughly commonplace man away managed him; party spirit has pressed him on." from the field of battle. I think his reputation As he talked Bonaparte rose, and, going to was too heavy for him.
his wife, he took her by the chin, and, making her “There are people," said Bonaparte, “who raise her head, he said : “Everybody has not such do not know how to carry their glory. Monk's a good wife as I have. You are crying, Joserôle would have suited Moreau; in his place I phine, and why? Are you afraid ?" should have laid snares as he did, but more skill- · No," she answered; "but I do not like what fully."
will be said.” It is with no intention of justifying Bonaparte • What would you do, then?” he asked ; and, that I present my doubts. Whatever Moreau's turning toward me, he added, hastily : “I have character may have been, his glory was a very neither hatred nor revenge to gratify. "I reflectpositive thing—it existed, and Bonaparte should ed long and seriously before sending to arrest have respected it, and should have found excuses Moreau. I could have closed my eyes and alfor an old companion in arms, who was angry lowed him time to fly. Then people would have and embittered : had the reconciliation been said that I did not dare to try him. It was nemerely the result of politic calculations, such cessary to convince them. He is guilty. I am as Bonaparte chose to see in Corneille's Augus- the government. Things should go smoothly on tus, it would still have been infinitely wiser to the basis of these two facts.” have carried it out. But Bonaparte had, I am I do not know if I am still under the influence sure, quite an instinctive conviction of that which of my recollections, but I must say that even now he called Moreau's moral treason. He thought I can hardly believe that when Bonaparte uttered law and justice should be satisfied when he re- these words he was not speaking in good faith. fused to see the true face of the things which I saw him make marvelous strides in the art of annoyed him. He was assured that proofs would dissimulation, but at this time there were cerbe forthcoming to legitimatize the condemna- tain accents of truth in his voice which disaption. He found himself involved, and later would peared after a time. It may, however, have see only party spirit in the judgment of the tri- been that then I believed in him. bunals; besides, he felt that nothing could well He left us almost immediately, and then Mabe more disastrous for him than that so-called dame Bonaparte told me that he had hardly been criminals should be adjudged innocent; and he in bed the night before. He had paced the floor, who had been so near being compromised, could debating the question if he should arrest Moreau, never be arrested again for nothing. After a few
* The eldest child of Madame Louis Bonaparte, later days the conspiracy began to be talked of. On Queen Hortense. He was born October 10, 1802 and the 17th of February, 1804, in the morning, I died of croup, May 5, 1807.
weighing the for and against without the small- think we have evidence enough to convince the est indication of personal feeling; but toward bench ? " dawn he sent for General Berthier, and after a “No man has ever been condemned,” said long talk determined to send him to Grosbois, my husband, “ for the mere reason that he has where Moreau had withdrawn. This event made not denounced projects which he has learned. much noise, and was discussed with much differ- Not to do so is unquestionably a crime toward ence of opinion. At the tribunat, General Mo- the Government, but not a crime which should reau's brother, who was a member, spoke vehe- lead to the scaffold. And, if this is all the evimently, and produced a certain effect. The three dence you have to offer, you have a very poor Departments of State sent a deputation to the case against Moreau.” Consul, to congratulate him on his escape from “In that case,” answered Savary, "the Chief danger. In Paris a part of the bourgeoisie, Justice has been guilty of a great folly, and he the advocates, and men of letters, all which could had better have contented himself with a military represent the liberal portion of the population, commission.” declared themselves in favor of
u. It was
On the day that Pichegru was arrested all the easy enough to recognize a certain opposition in barrières of Paris were closed, that the search the interest which was demonstrated in his be- for Georges Cadoudal might be faithfully prosehalf. They allowed themselves to utter threats cuted. Great disturbance was felt at his success if he were condemned by the courts. Bona- in eluding pursuit. Fouché openly laughed at parte's private corps of detectives informed him the stupidity of the police, and took advantage that they had even gone so far as to swear they of this opportunity to strengthen his own posiwould tear Moreau from out his prison.
tion. His words rendered Bonaparte more disThe First Consul now began to lose something contented than ever, and when he saw the Paof his calmness and indifference. His brother- risians unwilling to accept the truth of certain in-law Murat, then Governor of Paris, hated facts vouched for by himself, he was determined Moreau, and took care to bring to Bonaparte to revenge himself. only the most envenomed reports. He had an “ You see,” he said, “ whether or no it be understanding with the Prefect of Police that the possible for Frenchmen to be governed by legal most alarming denunciations should reach his and moderate institutions. I suppressed a revoears, and unfortunately events favored his plans. lutionary ministry, which was useful, for conEach day new ramifications of the conspiracy spiracies were at once formed. I suspended my were discovered, which the society of Paris re- personal impressions, and abandoned to an aufused to accept as truths. It was a little war of thority independent of myself the punishment opinion between Bonaparte and the Parisians. of a man who wished to destroy me; and, far
On the 29th of February the retreat of Piche- from being satisfied with this, they laugh at my gru was discovered, and he was arrested after a moderation, and falsify the motives of my concourageous defense. This event abated distrust, duct. I will teach them now that my intentions but general interest centered on Moreau. His are not to be misunderstood. wife adopted a tone of theatrical grief, which “I will take advantage of all my power, and was not without its effect. Meanwhile Bona- prove to them that I am made to govern, decide, parte, knowing nothing of the forms of law, found and punish." them slower than he had supposed. In the Bonaparte's anger had increased all the more beginning, the Chief Justice had taken too little because he felt himself in the wrong. He had pains to make the proceedings short and clear; thought he was to govern public opinion, and it and yet only this fact had been reached, that had slipped through his fingers
. In the beginMoreau had secretly received Pichegru, and lis- ning he had held himself in strict control-now tened to him without committing himself by any he swore to himself, probably, that he would promises. This was not enough to insure a never again be caught. condemnation, which had now become impera- That which will appear especially singular to tive. Notwithstanding this great name, which those persons who have not realized to what was thus involved in this affair, Georges Cadou- point a uniform quenches all individual power of dal has always been regarded as the chief of this thought, is that the army on this occasion was conspiracy.
undisturbed, and occasioned no anxiety. SolThe excitement in the Consul's palace may diers obey orders, and rarely receive impressions be better imagined than described. Questions outside of them. A very small number of offiwere asked of every one, and all trifles were cers vaguely remembered that they had served magnified. One day Savary took Monsieur de and conquered under Moreau, and the bourRémusat aside, and said to him: “You have geoisie was more agitated than any other class. been a magistrate. You know the laws. Do you Monsieur de Polignac, Monsieur de Rivière,