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Title: Memoirs of the life, exile, and conversations of the Emperor Napoleon. (Vol. IV)

Author: comte de Emmanuel-Auguste-Dieudonné Las Cases

Release date: January 16, 2017 [eBook #53970]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by KD Weeks, Josep Cols Canals and the Online
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Transcriber’s Note:

Footnotes have been collected at the end of each chapter, and are linked for ease of reference.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding the handling of any textual issues encountered during its preparation.

This is the fourth of four volumes, which can be found at Project Gutenberg here:

Volume I
Volume II
Volume III
Volume IV

The cover image has been created, based on title page information, and is added to the public domain.

Corrections made to the text will appear as correction, which serve as links to the corresponding entry in the end notes. The original text can be viewed when the cursor is placed over the correction.

Corrections made to the text will appear as correction, which serve as links to the corresponding entry in the end notes.

Robt. Cooper Scult.

Count de Las Cases.





London: Published for Henry Colburn, December, 1835.



Oct. 18, 1816.—I did not see the Emperor until five o’clock, when he sent for me to attend him in the drawing-room. He continued indisposed; but he had been engaged all the morning in dictating to the Grand Marshal. He summoned all the persons of his suite in succession. He was low-spirited and heavy; but at the same time there was a certain restlessness about him. He sought to amuse himself in various ways. He first tried chess, then dominos, and then chess again; but he was at length compelled to return to his chamber, finding it impossible to sit up. The state of the weather, joined to the vexations to which we are exposed, concur in producing torments almost beyond endurance. The weather has an effect on the nerves, and the persecutions that are heaped upon us are still worse to bear. Every word uttered by the Governor increases our misery. To-day he had signified his intention of removing four of our establishment, which has been the cause of general lamentation among the household: the individuals singled out for removal regret their separation from their companions; while those who are to remain are tormented by the fear of speedily sharing the same fate. We compared Sir Hudson Lowe to Scylla, devouring the four companions of Ulysses.

4The Governor has informed me that he also intends removing my servant, who is an inhabitant of the island, and with whom I am very well satisfied. He is doubtless afraid that the man will become too much attached to me. He proposes to send me a servant of his own choosing, a favour for which I feel very grateful, though I have no intention of availing myself of the kind offer.

At dinner the Emperor ate but little. During the dessert, however, his spirits revived a little, and we began to converse on the events of his early life. This is a subject on which he delights to dwell, and which always affords him a source of new and lively interest. He repeated many of the particulars which I have already related at different times. He said that he loved to go back to that happy age when all is gaiety and enjoyment;—that happy period of hope and rising ambition, when the world first opens before us, and the mind fondly cherishes every romantic dream. He spoke of his regiment, and the pleasures he had enjoyed when he first mingled in society. On mentioning the different balls and fêtes which he had attended in his youthful days, he described one as having been particularly splendid. “But,” said he, “at that time my notions of splendour were very different from what they now are.”

Alluding to the date of certain circumstances, he observed that it would be difficult for him to divide his life year by year. We observed that if he would only date the events of four or five years, we could easily take all the rest upon ourselves. He reverted to his military début at Toulon, the circumstances that first called him into notice, the sudden ascendency which he acquired by his first successes, and the ambition with which they inspired him: “And yet,” said he, “I was far from entertaining a high opinion of myself. It was not till after the battle of Lodi that I conceived those lofty notions of ambition which were confirmed in Egypt, after the victory of the Pyramids and the possession of Cairo. Then,” said he, “I willingly resigned myself to every brilliant dream.”

5The Emperor had become very cheerful and talkative, and he did not retire until midnight. We looked upon this as a sort of resuscitation.


19th.—Our four proscripts, namely, the Pole, Santini, Archambault, and Rousseau, left us about the middle of the day. In an hour they sailed for the Cape with a brisk wind.

About three o’clock the Emperor sent for me. He was in the drawing-room, and he desired to have Madame de Genlis’ novels brought to him. He read a few pages aloud; but he soon laid down the books, observing that they told him nothing. It was not so with me: the few pages that I had just heard touched many tender strings. They presented a picture of the elegant society of Paris, detailed the names of streets and monuments, described familiar conversations, and retraced well-known portraits: all this produced a forcible impression on me. The realities exist, I myself exist, and yet we are separated, by distance, time, and, doubtless, by eternity! I could at this moment look with indifference on pleasure and gaiety; but the recollection of persons and places, which had thus been revived, filled me with feelings of deep melancholy and regret.

The Grand Marshal now arrived, and the Emperor dictated to him till dinner-time.

In the evening the Emperor asked for the Arabian Nights; but he was unable to read, and soon laid aside the book.


20th.—I spent the day in estimating the value of the books sent to us from London, and for which an enormous sum is claimed from the Emperor. Our valuation did not amount to even half that sum.

The Emperor did not appear in the drawing-room until a moment before dinner; he had not, he said, seen any body the whole day; he had sought for diversion, 6and found it in continued application. After dinner he again took up the Arabian Nights.

The Grand Marshal and his family have this day left Hut’s Gate, their first residence, which was situated about one league from Longwood. They have at last taken possession of their new house, by which means we are now nearly under the same roof. This was quite an event for them and for us.


21st.—I went after breakfast to see Madame Bertrand. She was so confined at Hut’s Gate that she will have no cause to regret being shut up within our enclosure, and we shall be very great gainers by it. For my part it seemed to me as if I had found part of my family.

Our limits become every day more circumscribed. The number of sentries is augmented, every thing reminds us incessantly of our horrible prison.

The Emperor said to me, whilst he was dressing, “that he was determined to apply, once more, regularly to his occupations, which had been interrupted by the late ill-treatment from our horrible Governor.” I urged him to do so with all my might, as well for his own sake as for ours, and for France and History.

The weather was too bad to allow the Emperor to take the air. He went into his library, and looked over the History of the Crusades by Michaud, and the Memoirs of Joinville. He then went to the drawing-room, and conversed for some time longer; particularly respecting the servant whom they wish to take from me, the one they intend to give me, &c.

The Governor will only give for the Emperor’s plate a sum more than one fifth less than the plate is valued at in Paris, and yet he will neither allow any competition for the sale of it in the Island, nor of its being taken to London!...

The unfortunate people that have been shipped for the Cape will be fed like common sailors. I have heard, on this occasion, that the same thing took place on board 7the Northumberland, and that the Emperor’s servants had not had any indulgence more than the common sailors, except by paying for it.

After dinner the Emperor read, in Joinville, an account of the expedition of St. Louis in Egypt. He analysed it, pointing out its defects, and comparing the movements and the plan of that Expedition with the plan adopted by himself; concluding that “if he had acted in the same manner as St. Louis had done, he should undoubtedly have shared the same fate.”

The Emperor retired early and sent for me. The conversation again fell upon his excursions in Egypt, and in Syria. Matilda, a novel, by Madam Cottin, the scene of which is laid in those countries, being incidentally mentioned, led the Emperor to take a review of our female authors. He spoke of Madame Roland and her Memoirs, of Madame de Genlis, of Madame Cottin, whose Claire d’Albe he had just been reading, and of Madame de Staël. He spoke at length about the latter, and repeated in part what has already been said. Speaking of her exile, he said: “Her house had become quite an arsenal against me; people went there to be dubbed knights. She endeavoured to raise enemies against me and fought against me herself. She was at once Armida and Clorinda.” Then, summing up his arguments as he was wont to do, he said: “After all, it cannot be denied that Madame de Staël is a very distinguished woman, endowed with great talents and possessing a considerable share of wit. She will go down to posterity. It was more than once hinted to me, in order to soften me in her favour, that she was an adversary to be feared, and might become a useful ally; and certainly if, instead of reviling me as she did, she had spoken in my praise, it might no doubt have proved advantageous to me; for her position and her abilities gave her an absolute sway over the saloons, and their influence in Paris is well known.” He then added, “Notwithstanding all that she has said against me, and all that she will yet say, I am certainly far from thinking or saying that she has a bad heart: the fact is, that she and I have waged a little war against each other, and that is all.” Then 8taking a review of the numerous writers who have declaimed against him, he said: “I am destined to be their food, but I have little fear of becoming their victim; they will bite against granite; my history is made up of facts, and words alone cannot destroy them. In order to fight against me successfully, somebody should appear in the lists armed with the weight and authority of facts on his side. If such a man as the great Frederick, or any other man of his cast, were to take to writing against me, it would be a different thing; it would then, perhaps, be time for me to begin to be moved; but as for all other writers, whatever be their talent, their efforts will be vain. My fame will survive: and when they wish to be admired, they will sound my praise.”


22nd—23d. The weather has been very bad. The Emperor, suffering greatly from the tooth-ache, and having a swelled cheek, has not been able to go out for the last two days. I have spent the greatest part of them with him, in his apartment, or in the drawing-room, which he has converted into a promenade, by opening the doors of communication from one to the other.

Amongst the various subjects of our conversation, he once told me certain things which he had heard, and at which I much rejoiced. Nothing can give a more striking proof of the horrors of our situation than the importance which I attached to them. But every thing is in proportion to the situation in which we are placed.

At another time, the Emperor expressed his regret at being so lazy with respect to the English language. I told him that he now knew as much of it as he wanted. He could read all books; it was now only necessary to reduce the whole to a regular system—but, were the rule and compass fit things for him?

After going through several subjects of conversation, the Emperor spoke of Baron Larrey, on whom he passed the highest encomium, saying that Larrey had left the impression on his mind of a truly honest man; that to science he united, in the highest degree, the virtue of 9active philanthropy: he looked upon all the wounded as belonging to his family; every consideration gave way before the care which he bestowed upon the hospitals. “In our first campaigns under the Republic, which have been so much calumniated,” said the Emperor, “a most fortunate revolution took place in the surgical department, which has since spread to all the armies of Europe; and to Larrey it is, in great measure, that mankind is indebted for it. The surgeon now shares the dangers of the soldier: it is in the midst of the fire that he devotes his attentions to him. Larrey possesses all my esteem and my gratitude,” &c.

This favourable impression seems clearly to have occupied Napoleon’s mind in his last moments; for he has left Larrey a mark of his remembrance, with this honourable testimony “The most virtuous man that I have known.” On reading these words, I concluded that some peculiar circumstance must have produced this most magnificent expression of esteem, and the following is the result of my inquiries.

After the battles of Lützen, Wurtzen, and Bautzen, the victorious Napoleon sent for the surgeon (Larrey), to ascertain, as usual, the number of the wounded, and the state in which they were. They happened to be, on this occasion, considerably more numerous than at other times and in other engagements. The Emperor was surprised at this circumstance, and endeavoured to explain the cause of it. M. Larrey thought that, independently of local causes, it might be found in the great number of soldiers who had fought on that day for the first time, and who were, on that account, more awkward in their movements, and less expert in avoiding danger. The Emperor, whose mind was extremely pre-occupied by this affair, was not satisfied with this explanation, and made inquiries elsewhere. As there were, at that moment, several persons who were heartily tired of war; who would have wished for peace on any conditions; and who would not have been sorry to see the Emperor compelled to make it, whether from the effect of calculation or conviction; the Emperor was told, in answer to his inquiries, that the immense number of wounded 10ought not to be a matter of surprise; that the greatest proportion of them were wounded in the hand, and they had inflicted the wound on themselves, in order to be disabled from fighting. The Emperor was thunderstruck at this information; he repeated his inquiries, and found them attended with the same result; he was in a state of despair. “If it be thus,” he exclaimed, “notwithstanding our success, our situation is hopeless: France will be delivered up defenceless to the barbarians.”barbarians.” And turning over in his mind by what means he should put a stop to this contagion, he ordered all the wounded of a certain description to be put on one side; and named a commission, composed of surgeons, with Larrey at their head, to examine their wounds, resolved to punish most severely those who should be found to have been so cowardly as to mutilate themselves. M. Larrey, still unwilling to believe in this voluntary self-mutilation, which, in his opinion, was a stain on the honour of the army and of the nation, appeared before the Emperor to state his opinion once more to him. But Napoleon, incensed at his obstinacy, which some persons had taken care to magnify in his eyes, said to him, with severity, “Sir, you will make your observations to me officially;—go and fulfil your duty.”

Baron Larrey immediately applied to the business, but in a solemn manner; he followed up the most trifling details, and therefore proceeded slowly, whilst various motives rendered many persons impatient to see the issue; and it was known that the Emperor himself was not less impatient. Some persons did not fail to point out to M. Larrey the delicate situation in which he was placed; but he turned a deaf ear to all observations, and remained unmoved. At last, after some days, he went to the Emperor, insisting upon being allowed to deliver his report himself. “Well Sir,” said the Emperor, “Do you still persist in your opinion?”—“More than that, Sire, I am come to prove to your Majesty that I was right; these brave young men were basely calumniated: I have spent a considerable time in the strictest investigation, and I have not found one single man guilty; there is a deposition in writing on the individual case of 11every one of those wounded men: bales of them follow me; your Majesty may order them to be examined.” The Emperor looked at him with a gloomy expression, and, taking his report with a kind of emotion, he said, “Very well, Sir, I will look into it;” and he paced the room with rapid strides, with an air of agitation and indecision; at last, coming up to Larrey with an open countenance, he shook him cordially by the hand, and said, with emotion: “Farewell, M. Larrey, a sovereign is truly fortunate to have to do with such men as you are; you will receive my orders.” M. Larrey received the same evening from Napoleon his picture set in diamonds, 6000 francs in gold, and a pension on the State of 3000 francs, independent, it was said, of every other reward to which he might be entitled by his rank, his seniority, and his future services. Such traits are invaluable for history; as they exhibit, on the one hand, an honest man who does not hesitate to defend truth against a sovereign prepossessed and incensed; and because they display, on the other, the noble mind of the sovereign in the happiness and the gratitude which he expressed on being undeceived.


24th.—The Emperor has not been out, he has not sent for any of us, and he has not appeared at dinner. This made us fear that he was ill. After ten o’clock he sent for me, as I was not yet in bed. He told me he had not left his sofa the whole day; he had been reading for nearly eighteen hours. He had only taken a little soup. He had had the tooth-ache. I told him we had feared that it was something more serious, for our grief at not seeing him was always increased by apprehension.

In a short time, he began to touch upon our pecuniary resources. He had, as he humorously expressed it, held his Council in the morning; the plate had been weighed, and the quantity that was to be sold had been 12computed; the produce of it, he added, would enable us to go on for some time longer. I again renewed the offer of the four thousand Louis which I had in the English funds, and he deigned to accept them. “Mine is a singular situation,” said he; “I have no doubt that if a communication were allowed with me, and my relatives, or even many strangers, could suspect that I am in want, I should soon be amply provided with every thing that I require; but ought I to be a burthen to my friends, and expose them to the undue advantage which the English ministers might take of their good-will? I have applied to those ministers for a few books, and they have sent them to me with all the inattention and neglect of a careless agent. They claim from me fifteen hundred or two thousand pounds sterling, that is, about 50,000 francs, for what I might certainly have procured for less than 12,000. Would it not be the same with every thing else? If I accept what you offer, it must be strictly applied to our immediate wants; for, after all, we must live, and we really cannot live upon what they give us. The small addition of one hundred Louis per month would just be sufficient, and that is the sum which you must ask for, and appropriate as carefully as possible.”

The calash then came up to us; it was driven four-in-hand by Archambaud. This could not be otherwise, since the departure of Archambaud’s brother. The Emperor refused at first to get into the carriage; he did not think it prudent, in the midst of the stumps of trees with which we were surrounded; he remembered his famous fall at Saint-Cloud, and wished one of the English servants to ride as postilion, but Archambaud protested that he should feel less secure in that manner than in driving alone. Since the departure of his brother, he said, he had been constantly practising amongst the trees, in order to be sure that he could answer for himself. The Emperor then got in the calash, and we took two turns. On our return he went to see the residence of the Grand Marshal, with which he was not yet acquainted.

The evening was terminated by reading some passages 13of Longepierre’s tragedy of Medea, which the Emperor interrupted, to compare it with that of Euripides on the same subject, which he ordered to be brought to him. He mentioned, on the subject, that he had formerly ordered one of the Greek tragedies to be represented at his theatre in the palace, in all its integrity, choosing the best possible translation, and imitating as closely as possible the manners, dresses, forms, and scenery of the original. He could not recollect what circumstance or what obstacle had prevented the execution of the plan.

Having retired to his apartment, and not finding himself disposed to sleep, he took some turns in his room, and threw himself on his sofa. He opened a kind of political almanack which happened to be at hand; and fell upon a list of our Marshals, which he passed in review, adding, at the same time, quotations and anecdotes already known or related. When he came to Marshal Jourdan, he dwelt for some time on the subject, and concluded by saying: “This is one who has been assuredly very ill treated by me; it was, therefore, natural to conclude that he would be highly incensed against me; but I have heard with pleasure that he has behaved with great moderation since my fall. He has set an example of that elevation of mind which serves to distinguish men, and does honour to their character. However, he was a true patriot, and that explains many things.”


The usual summary cannot henceforth be long; strictly speaking three sentences would suffice to trace it:

Incessant annoyance.

Absolute seclusion.

Infallible destruction.

The remainder of Napoleon’s existence will only be a cruel and prolonged agony.

It has already been seen that the arrival of a new Governor became for us the signal of the commencement 14of a life of misery. A few days had sufficed to unfold his disposition; and, soon afterwards, the annoyances and insults of which he made himself the instrument, or which he himself created, were carried to the highest pitch. He rendered us an object of terror to the inhabitants—he subjected us to the most cruel vexations—he forbade us to write, without a previous communication with him, even to those persons with whom he did not prevent us from conversing without restraint—he invited General Bonaparte to dine at his table, to shew him to a lady of rank who was for a short time on the island—he arrested one of our servants.

He now produces a despatch, in pursuance of which he endeavours to oblige the Emperor to go into “the meanest details of his wants,” as Napoleon expressed it, and to discuss them with him; he importunes the Emperor to give money which he does not possess; and, by dint of reductions in the common necessaries of life, obliges him to break up and sell his plate, determining at the same time, by his authority as Governor, the rate at which it is to be sold, and the person who is to purchase it. He ridiculously restricts us to one bottle of wine per head, including the Emperor. “He cheapens our existence,” said the Emperor; “he grudges me the air I breathe, and what he sends to us for our subsistence is sometimes, nay frequently, so bad that we are obliged to apply for provisions to the neighbouring camp!!” &c.

He lays a snare for Napoleon, and exults in the hope of being able to impart to him, personally and pompously, a communication which he calls a ministerial order, but which is so outrageous that he refuses to leave a copy of it; he prescribes to the Emperor the most absurd regulations; he capriciously, and with bitter irony, contracts the space of his usual limits; chalks out the trace of his footsteps; and even goes so far as to attempt to regulate the nature of his conversations and the tenour of his expressions; he surrounds us with trenches, palisadoes, and redoubts; he obliges each of us individually, in order to be allowed to remain with the Emperor, to sign a declaration that we submit to all these restrictions; he makes use of us as instruments to 15degrade the Emperor, by obliging us to call him Bonaparte, under pain of being immediately removed from his person and instantly sent out of the island, &c.

The Emperor, provoked by such disgraceful usage and such gratuitous insults, opens his mind without reserve to Sir Hudson Lowe; his words know no restraint; he frees himself for ever from his odious presence, and declares that he never will see him again. “The most unworthy proceeding of the English ministers,” said the Emperor to him, “is not to have sent me here, but to have delivered me into your hands. I complained of the admiral your predecessor; but he at least had a heart!... You are a disgrace to your nation, and your name will for ever be a stain upon its character!... This Governor,” the Emperor would frequently say to us, “has nothing of an Englishman in his composition; he is nothing but a worthless sbire of Sicily. I at first complained that a gaoler had been sent to me; but I now affirm that they have sent me an executioner,” &c.

I have recorded these expressions, and I might mention many more, however harsh they may be. 1st, Because I heard them uttered. 2dly, Because Napoleon used them in speaking to Sir Hudson Lowe in person, or caused them to be repeated to him. 3dly and lastly, Because they were deserved, on account of the arbitrary, oppressive, and brutal manner, in which the Governor, to the great scandal of the English themselves who were on the spot, and who then manifested their disgust at his conduct, abused the power with which he was invested in the name of a Nation so eminently distinguished all over the globe, of a Prince so universally respected in Europe, and of a Cabinet in which there were still some honourable characters, men personally known by their moderation and their elegant manners.

The vexations by which Napoleon was assailed were incessant; they pursued him at every moment of his existence. Not a day passed without the infliction of a fresh wound; and one of the torments recorded in fabulous history may be said to have been thus realized.

Ah! if, during that period of affliction for so many generous hearts, the Genius of Europe, the Genius of 16Truth, and the Genius of History, have ever turned even involuntarily towards St. Helena, and the great Napoleon; if they have sought for him in that island which they thought it would be right to attempt, at least, to turn into a kind of Elysium for him; what must have been their indignation to see him, in the bright glory of so many immortal actions, chained like Prometheus to a rock, and, like him, under the claws of a vulture, which delights in tearing him to pieces!!! O infamy! O eternal disgrace!...

During this period the Emperor’s health has been constantly and considerably declining; his body, which was thought so robust, which had endured so many toils, and withstood so much fatigue, supported by victory and glory, was now bending under the weight of infirmities prematurely brought on by the injustice of men. Almost every day he is attacked by some new indisposition; fever, swelled face, symptoms of scurvy, constant colds; his features are altered, his gait becomes heavy, his legs swelled, &c.... Our hearts were torn in seeing him thus hastening towards infallible destruction; all our cares are in vain.

He had long since given up riding on horseback, and by degrees, also, he almost entirely relinquished his rides in the calash. Even walking became a rare occurrence, and he was thus nearly reduced to a strict seclusion in his apartments. He no longer applied to any regular or continued occupation; he seldom dictated to us, and only upon subjects that were merely the fancy of the moment. He spent the greatest part of the day alone in his room, busied in turning over a few books, or rather doing nothing. Let those who have formed a due estimate of the power of his faculties appreciate the strength of mind required to enable him to bear, with equanimity, the intolerable burden of a life so wearisome and monotonous; for, in our presence, he always exhibited the same serenity of countenance and equality of temper. His mind appeared equally unembarrassed; his conversation offered the same lively turns of expression, and he was sometimes even inclined to mirth and humour; but, in the privacy of intimate intercourse, it was easy to perceive 17that he no longer thought of the future, meditated on the past, or cared about the present. He merely yielded a passive obedience to the physical laws of Nature, and, thoroughly disgusted with life, he perhaps secretly sighed for the moment which was to put an end to it.

Such was the state of affairs when I was forcibly removed from Longwood; for that period approaches—it is not far distant.

I have not noted down in the course of my Journal every minute circumstance of our quarrels with the Governor, or the numerous official communications that were exchanged between us. I have also omitted to mention all the shameful privations to which we were exposed, in respect to the necessaries and comforts of life. My object has been to show Napoleon’s character in its true light, and not to write the history of Longwood, and the catalogue of its miseries. Those who have any curiosity on that score may seek for details in the work of Mr. O’Meara. It would have argued meanness in me, who was one of the victims, had I dwelt upon them; but for the Doctor, who was only a witness, who was a stranger to us, and in some degree one of the adverse party, he can only, situated as he is, have been actuated in so doing by the impulse of a powerful feeling, and of generous indignation, which does honour to his heart.

I have just heard (1824) that the late governor of St. Helena has brought an action against Mr. O’Meara for defamation and calumny. I have the highest respect for the Judges who preside over the principal courts of justice in England, because I know how they are composed; but how can one, in these days, be certain of the result of such an action? In the unfortunate political effervescence of our times, truth appears, as it were, in two lights at the same time; the true light is, for every individual, that which exists in his own heart; for, after all, it is impossible to impose upon one’s self, and that reflection will, no doubt, be a motive of consolation to Mr. O’Meara, whatever the result may be. And I must here declare that all the facts which I have seen stated in Mr. O’Meara’s work, on the above-mentioned points, and which fell under my knowledge while I was at St. Helena, are 18strictly true; and thence I naturally conclude, by analogy, that the remainder, which I have not seen, is also true. I, therefore, do not hesitate to say that I consider it as such in my heart and conscience.

Whilst writing this, I have received from Sir Hudson Lowe some extracts of confidential letters which, he informs me, he received at the time from Mr. O’Meara, in which, he observes to me, O’Meara spoke of me in a very improper manner, and made secret reports to him respecting me. What can have been the intention of Sir Hudson Lowe in acting thus with me? Considering the terms on which we are together, he cannot have been prompted by a very tender interest. Did he wish to prove to me that Mr. O’Meara acted as a spy for him upon us? Did he hope so far to prepossess me against him as to influence the nature and the force of my testimony in favour of his adversary? And, after all, are these letters in their original state? have they not been altered after the fashion of St. Helena? But, even supposing their meaning to be true and explicit, in what respect can they offend me? What claim had I then on Mr. O’Meara’s indulgence? what right had I to expect it? It is true that, at a later period, after his return to Europe, seeing him persecuted and punished on account of the humanity of his conduct towards Napoleon, I wrote to him to express my heartfelt gratitude, and to offer him an asylum in my family, should injustice compel him to leave his own country; that he was welcome to share with me. But at St. Helena I hardly knew him, and I do not believe that I spoke to him ten times during my residence at Longwood. I considered him as being opposed to me by nation, by opinions, and by interest: such was the nature of my connexion with Mr. O’Meara. He was, therefore, entirely at liberty with respect to me: he might then write whatever he thought proper, and it cannot now vary the opinion which I have since formed of him. Sir Hudson Lowe intends now to insinuate that Mr. O’Meara was a double and a triple spy at the same moment, viz. for the Government, for Napoleon, and for him, Sir Hudson Lowe; but does that disprove the truth and destroy the 19authenticity of the facts mentioned in his book? On the contrary. And from which of the three parties could he expect to be rewarded for revealing these facts to the public? Napoleon is no more; he can expect nothing from him: and his publication has rendered the two others his bitter enemies, who have deprived him of his situation, and threaten to disturb his repose; for his real crime, in their eyes, is the warm zeal, which he has displayed, of a friend to the laws and to decorum; who, indignant at the mean and indecorous vexations to which Napoleon had been exposed, drags the true authors of them to light, in order to exculpate his country. I have, therefore, considered this tardy communication of the confidential letters which Sir Hudson Lowe has just transmitted to me, at the moment of his action against O’Meara, as a kind of interested accusation, which every one will qualify as he thinks proper. I have never even acknowledged the receipt of these letters; and still less have I ever thought of complaining of their contents.


Friday, Oct. 25.—I attended the Emperor at his toilette. The weather was tolerably fine, and he went out, and walked as far as the wood. He was very feeble; for it was now ten days since he had stirred out. He felt a weakness in his knees; and remarked, that he should soon be obliged to lean on me for support.

Passing to other topics, he made many observations on the Russian war. Among other things he said: “That war should have been the most popular of any in modern times. It was a war of good sense and true interests; a war for the repose and security of all; it was purely pacific and preservative; entirely European and continental. Its success would have established a balance of power and would have introduced new combinations, by which the dangers of the present time would have been succeeded by future tranquillity. In this case, ambition had no share in my views. In raising Poland, which was the key-stone of the whole arch, I would have permitted a King of Prussia, an Archduke of Austria, or 20any other to occupy the throne. I had no wish to obtain any new acquisition; and I reserved for myself only the glory of doing good, and the blessings of posterity. Yet this undertaking failed, and proved my ruin, though I never acted more disinterestedly, and never better merited success. As if popular opinion had been seized with contagion, in a moment, a general outcry, a general sentiment, arose against me. I was proclaimed the destroyer of kings—I, who had created them! I was denounced as the subverter of the rights of nations—I, who was about to risk all to secure them! And people and kings, those irreconcileable enemies, leagued together and conspired against me! All the acts of my past life were now forgotten. I said, truly, that popular favour would return to me with victory; but victory escaped me, and I was ruined. Such is mankind, and such is my history; but both people and kings will have cause to regret me; and my memory will be sufficiently avenged for the injustice committed upon me: that is certain.”

If certain passages in the above conversation of Napoleon should require illustration or proof, these will be found in the following letter. The document is highly valuable on account of its date and contents; for the motives and views of the Russian expedition are here developed by Napoleon at the moment when he was about to embark in the enterprise. The vulgar were certainly far from comprehending or rendering justice to his intentions; I say the vulgar, for it is just to remark that, among statesmen and men of foresight and extended views, the Russian war was very popular. They disapproved of the moment at which it was undertaken; but they fully appreciated all the grand designs of the Emperor.


Sir,—The high opinion which the Emperor entertains of your fidelity and talent induces him to advance you so far in his confidence, as to intrust you with a mission 21of the utmost political interest. This mission will require activity, prudence, and discretion.

“You are to proceed to Dresden. The ostensible object of your journey will be to present to the King of Saxony a letter, which the Emperor will deliver to you to-morrow after his levee. His Imperial and Royal Majesty has already acquainted you with his intentions; he will communicate to you verbally his final instructions respecting the overtures which you are to make to the King of Saxony.

“It is the Emperor’s intention that the King of Saxony should be treated with all the consideration to which he is entitled, from the particular esteem which his Majesty entertains for him personally. You will explain yourself both to the King and his Ministers, with unreserved candour; and you will give credit to the hints you may receive from the Count de St. Pilsac.

“With respect to Saxony, there will be no sacrifice without compensation.

“Saxony attaches but little importance to the sovereignty of the Duchy of Warsaw, as it now exists: it is a precarious and troublesome possession. The sovereignty of that fragment of Poland places Saxony in a false position with regard to Prussia, Austria, and Russia. You will develop these ideas, and treat this question in the way in which it was discussed in your presence, in his Majesty’s closet, on the 17th. You will find the cabinet of Dresden not much inclined to oppose you; its diplomacy has presented to us the same observations, on several previous occasions. The matter in question is not the dismemberment of the dominions of the King of Saxony.

“After a short stay at Dresden, you will announce your departure for Warsaw; where you will await new orders from the Emperor.

“His Imperial Majesty begs that the King of Saxony will accredit you to his Polish Ministers.

“At Warsaw, you will concert your measures with Prince ...., the Emperor’s chamberlain, and with General ..... These two persons, who are descended from the most illustrious Polish families, have promised 22to exercise the influence they possess among their fellow citizens, to induce them to exert every effort for securing the happiness and independence of their country. You must communicate to the government of the Grand Duchy an impulse calculated to prepare the great changes which the Emperor proposes to make in favour of the Polish nation.

“It is necessary that the Poles should second the designs of the Emperor, and co-operate in their own regeneration. They must consider France only as an auxiliary power.

“The Emperor is aware of the difficulties he will have to encounter, in his endeavours to bring about the re-establishment of Poland. That great political work will oppose the apparent and immediate interests of his allies.

“The re-establishment of Poland, by the arms of the French Empire, is a hazardous and even a perilous enterprise, in which France will have to contend against her friends as well as her enemies. We will enter into a few details on this point.

“The object which the Emperor has in view is the organization of Poland, with the whole or a portion of her old territory; and he wishes, if possible, to effect this object without engaging in war. In furtherance of this design, his Majesty has granted very extensive powers to his ambassador at St. Petersburg: he has sent to Vienna a negotiator, authorized to treat with the principal powers, and to offer great sacrifices in territory, on the part of the French Empire, by way of indemnity for the cessions to be made for the re-establishment of the kingdom of Poland.

“Europe consists of three great divisions: in the west, the French Empire; in the centre, the German States; and in the east, the Russian Empire. England can have no more influence on the continent than the Powers think fit to allow her.

“A strong organization of the centre will be necessary as a precautionary measure, lest Russia or France should one day, in order to extend their power, attempt to gain the supremacy in Europe. The French Empire is now 23in the enjoyment of the full energy of her existence: if she does not, at this moment, complete the political constitution of Europe, to-morrow she may lose the advantages of her situation, and fail in her enterprises.

“The conversion of Prussia into a military state, the reign and conquests of Frederick the Great, the opinions of the age, and those of the French revolution, have annihilated the Germanic Confederation. The Confederation of the Rhine is only part of a provisional system. The Princes who have been gainers would probably wish for the consolidation of that system; but those who have been losers, the people, who have suffered from the calamities of war, and the states which dread the too great increase of the French power, will seize every opportunity of opposing the maintenance of the Rhinish Confederation. Even the Princes who have been aggrandized by the new system will seek to withdraw themselves from it, as soon as time shall establish them in the possessions they have obtained. France will, in the end, find herself deprived of a protectorate, which, certainly, she will have purchased by too many sacrifices.

“The Emperor is of opinion that, ultimately, at a period which cannot be far distant, it will be proper to restore the states of Europe to their complete independence.

“The House of Austria, which possesses three extensive kingdoms, must be the soul of this independence, on account of the topographical situation of its States; but it must not be the ruling power. In case of a rupture between the two Empires of France and Russia, if the Confederation of the intermediate Powers were actuated by one and the same impulse, the ruin of one of the contending parties would necessarily ensue. The French Empire would be more exposed to danger than the Russian Empire.

“The centre of Europe must be composed of states unequal in power, and each possessing its own peculiar system of policy. These states, from their situation and political relations, will seek support in the protection of the preponderating powers; and they will be interested in the maintenance of peace, because they must always be 24the victims of war. With these views, after raising up new states and aggrandizing old ones, in order to fortify our system of alliance for the future, the establishment of Poland is an object of the utmost interest to the Emperor and to Europe. If the Kingdom of Poland be not restored, Europe will be without a frontier on that point; and Austria and Germany will be face to face with the most powerful Empire in the world.

“The Emperor foresees that Poland, like Prussia, will ultimately become the ally of Russia; but, if Poland should owe her restoration to France, the period of the union of the above-mentioned states will be sufficiently remote to afford time for the consolidation of the established order of things. Europe being thus organized, there will no longer be any cause of rivalry between France and Russia: these two Empires will have the same commercial interests, and will act in conformity with the same principles.

“Before the coolness with Prussia, the Emperor’s first intention was to form a solid alliance with the King of Prussia, and to place the crown of Poland on his head. There were then few obstacles to be surmounted: for Prussia was already in possession of one-third of Poland; Russia would have been left in possession of what she might have insisted on retaining; and indemnities would have been granted to Austria. But the progress of events occasioned the Emperor to alter his intentions.

“At the time of the negotiations of Tilsit, it was found necessary to create states precisely in those countries which most dreaded the power of France. The moment was favourable for the re-establishment of Poland, though it would have been the work of violence and force. The war must have been prolonged; the French army was suffering from cold and want; and Russia had armies on foot. The Emperor was touched by the generous sentiments which the Emperor Alexander manifested towards him. He experienced obstacles on the part of Austria; and he suffered his policy to be overruled by the desire of signing a peace, which he hoped to have rendered lasting, if, through the influence of Russia and Austria, England could have been prevailed on to consent to a general reconciliation.

25“Prussia, after her reverses, manifested such a spirit of hatred towards France that it was deemed necessary to diminish her power. With this view, the Grand Duchy of Warsaw was created. It was placed under the dominion of the King of Saxony, a prince whose whole life had been devoted to the happiness of his subjects. Endeavours were made to conciliate the Poles, by the establishment of institutions agreeable to their tastes, and conformable with their manners and national character. But all was badly managed.

“Saxony, separated from her new possessions by Prussia, could not, with Poland, constitute a body sufficiently organized to become strong and powerful. The opening of a military road through the Prussian territory, to communicate between Saxony and Poland, greatly humbled the Prussians; and the Poles complained of disappointed hopes.

“The Emperor stipulated for the occupation of the fortresses of Prussia, in order to ensure the certainty that that power would not seek to re-kindle the torch of war. The campaign of 1809 proved the prudence of his policy. He adopted the firm resolution of labouring unremittingly to complete the system of organization in Europe, which was calculated to put a period to disastrous wars.

“The Emperor conceived that he must appear formidable, from the number of troops which he has marched towards the Vistula, and from the occupation of the fortresses of Prussia; measures which were necessary for ensuring the fidelity of his allies, and obtaining, by means of negotiations, what, perhaps, he can after all secure only by war.

“The dangers of the present circumstances are immense. The removal of armies to the distance of five hundred leagues from their native territory, cannot be unattended by risk; and Poland must rely as much on her own exertions as on the support of the Emperor. I once more repeat that, if war should ensue, the Poles must consider France only as an auxiliary, operating in aid of their own resources. Let them call to mind the time when, by their patriotism and courage, they resisted the numerous armies which assailed their independence.

26“The people of the Grand Duchy wish for the re-establishment of Poland; it is for them to prepare the means by which the usurped provinces may be enabled to declare their wishes. The government of the Grand Duchy must, as soon as circumstances permit, combine, under the banner of independence, the dismembered fragments of their unfortunate country. Should it happen that any natives of Poland, under the dominion of Russia or Austria, shall refuse to return to the mother country, no attempt must be made to compel them to do so. Poland must derive her strength from her public spirit and patriotism, as well as from the institutions which will constitute the new social state.

“The object of your mission, therefore, is to enlighten, encourage, and direct the Polish patriots in their operations. You will render an account of your negotiations to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who will acquaint the Emperor with your progress; and you will send me abstracts of your reports.

“The misfortunes and weakness of the Polish republic were occasioned by an aristocracy, which knew neither law nor restraint. At that period, as at present, the nobility were powerful; the citizens oppressed; and the great mass of the people nothing. But, even amidst these disorders, a love of liberty and independence prevailed in Poland, and long supported her feeble existence. These sentiments must have been strengthened by time and oppression. Patriotism is a feeling natural to the Poles; it exists even among members of the great families. The Emperor will fulfil, unconditionally, the promise he made, in Art. 25, of the treaty of the 9th of July, 1807, to govern the Grand Duchy by laws calculated to ensure the liberty and privileges of the people, and consistent with the tranquillity of the neighbouring states. Poland shall enjoy liberty and independence. As to the choice of her sovereign, that point will be decided by the treaty which his Majesty will sign with the other Powers. His Majesty lays no claim to the throne of Poland, either for himself or any of his family. In the great work of the restoration of Poland, he has only in view the happiness of the Poles and the tranquillity of Europe. His Majesty 27authorizes you to make this declaration; and to make it formally, whenever you conceive it may be useful for the interests of France and Poland.

“His Majesty has ordered me to transmit to you this note, and these instructions, in order that you may make them the subjects of conversation with the foreign ministers, who may be at Warsaw or Dresden.

“The Emperor has ordered notes to be forwarded to the Ministers of War and Foreign Affairs, of the Grand Duchy. Should pecuniary resources be wanted, his Majesty will assist the Polish treasury by assignments on the extraordinary domains, which he still possesses in Poland and Hanover.”


26th.—I was informed that the Emperor was very unwell, and that he desired I would attend him. I found him in his chamber, with a handkerchief bound round his head; he was seated in an arm-chair, beside a great fire, which he had ordered to be kindled. “What,” said he, “is the severest disorder, the most acute pain, to which human nature is subject?” I replied, “That the pain of the present moment always appeared to be the most severe.”—“Then it is the tooth-ache,” said he. He had a violent secretion of saliva, and his right cheek was much swelled and inflamed. I was alone in attendance on him, and I alternately warmed a flannel and a napkin, which he kept constantly applied to the part affected, and he said he felt greatly relieved by it. He was also affected by a severe nervous cough, and occasional yawning and shivering, which denoted approaching fever.

“What a miserable thing is man!” said he, “the smallest fibre in his body, assailed by disease, is sufficient to derange his whole system! On the other hand, in spite of all the maladies to which he is subject, it is sometimes necessary to employ the executioner to put an end to him. What a curious machine is this earthly clothing! And, perhaps, I may be confined in it for thirty years longer!”

He attributed his tooth-ache to his late drive, as he had 28felt singularly affected by being out in the open air. “Nature is always the best counsellor,” said he; “I went out in spite of my inclination, and only in obedience to reason.”

The Doctor arrived, and he found that his patient manifested symptoms of fever. The Emperor spent the remainder of the day in his chamber, occasionally suffering severely from the tooth-ache. At intervals, when the pain abated, he walked up and down, between his armchair and the sofa, and conversed on different subjects.

At one time, he alluded to the base conduct of some of the persons who had been about him, during his power. A family, who were established in the interior of the palace, who had been loaded with benefits, and who, it may be added, behaved most disgracefully at the period of the catastrophe, were one day detected in some offence or other by the Emperor himself. He merely reproached them with their misconduct, instead of punishing them for it. “But what was the consequence?” said he, “this only served to irritate them, without affording a just example. When things are done by halves, they will always prove ineffectual. The fault must not be seen; or if seen, it must be punished,” &c.

He next mentioned a woman, who, together with her husband, held a very lucrative situation, and who was constantly complaining to him of her poverty. “She often wrote to me,” said the Emperor, “to ask for money, as though she had claims upon me; just as Madame Bertrand, or any of you might do, on your return from St. Helena.”

Alluding to a person who had behaved very ill to him in 1814, he said: “Probably you will suppose that he fled on my return? No such thing; on the contrary, I was beset by him. He very coolly acknowledged that he had felt a transient attachment for the Bourbons, for which, however, he assured me he had been severely punished. But this, he said, had served only to revive the natural affection which all so justly entertained for me. I spurned him from me; and I have good reason to believe, that he is now at the feet of the Royal 29family, relating all sorts of horrors about me. Poor human nature, always and everywhere alike!”

Finally, he mentioned a most infamous intrigue, which was set on foot by persons on whom he had lavished favours. These persons endeavoured to prevail on the Empress Josephine to sign a most degrading letter, under pretence of securing her a tranquil residence in France, but doubtless with the real purpose of gaining credit to themselves in another quarter. The letter, which was to have been addressed to the King, contained a disavowal of all that she had formerly been, and what she still was, together with a request that the King would provide for her as he pleased, &c. The Empress wept, and resisted the importunity, asked for time, and consulted the Emperor Alexander, who told her that such a letter would utterly disgrace her. He advised her to dismiss the meddling intriguers by whom she was surrounded; assured her that there was no intention of removing her from France, or disturbing her quiet in any way; and promised to be responsible for her himself in case of necessity.

In the evening, the Emperor felt better, and he enjoyed a little sleep. His countenance bore evident marks of the severe pain he had suffered.


27th.—The Emperor passed the whole day beside the fire, sometimes reclining on his couch, and sometimes sitting in his arm-chair. He still suffered very much from head-ache and tooth-ache, and the secretion of saliva had not diminished. He again had recourse to warm flannel and napkins, by the use of which he had yesterday experienced a little relief. I warmed them, and applied them in the same manner as before. The Emperor appeared very sensible to the attentions I shewed him, and several times laying his hand on my shoulder, he said, “My dear Las Cases, you relieve me very much!” The pain subsided, and he slept for a short time; then, raising his eyes, he said to me, “Have I 30been long asleep? Are you not very much fatigued?” He called me his frère hospitalier, the knight hospitaller of St. Helena. But the pain soon returned with violence, and he sent for the Doctor, who found him feverish. He was seized with the chillness which had attacked him on the preceding day, and which obliged him to keep close to the fire.

He continued in the same state through the whole of the evening. About seven o’clock, he proposed going to bed. He would not eat anything; but he ordered his valet to toast some bread, and he himself made a little toast and water, in which he put some sugar and orange-flower-water.

In the course of the evening’s conversation, the following remarks fell from the Emperor. “Immorality,” said he, “is, beyond doubt, the worst of all faults in a Sovereign; because he introduces it as a fashion among his subjects, by whom it is practised for the sake of pleasing him. It strengthens every vice, blights every virtue, and infects all society like a pestilence: in short, it is the scourge of a nation. Public morality, on the contrary, added he, is the natural compliment of the laws: it is a whole code in itself.” He declared that the Revolution, in spite of all its horrors, had nevertheless been the true cause of the regeneration of morals in France, “as the noblest vegetation is the offspring of the filthiest manure.” He did not hesitate to affirm that his government would mark the memorable epoch of the return to morality. “We advanced at full sail,” said he; “but, doubtless, the catastrophes which have ensued will, in a great measure, turn all back; for, amidst so many vicissitudes and disorders, it is difficult to resist the various temptations that arise, the allurements of intrigue and cupidity, and the suggestions of venality. However, the rising impulse of improvement may be impeded and repressed, but not destroyed. Public morality belongs especially to the dominion of reason and information, of which it is the natural result; and reason and information cannot again retrograde. The scandalous turpitude of former ages, the double adulteries, and libertinism of the Regency, 31and the profligacy of the succeeding reign, cannot again be revived, unless the circumstances under which they existed should again return; and that is impossible. Before such a change can take place, the upper classes of society must again degenerate into a state of absolute idleness, so as to have no other occupation than licentiousness; the spirit of industry, which now animates and elevates the minds of people in the middle ranks, must be destroyed; and finally, the lower classes must be again plunged into that state of subjection and degradation which once reduced them to the level of mere beasts of burden. Now, all this is henceforth impossible: public morals are, therefore, on the rise; and it may be safely predicted that they will gradually improve all over the world.”

About nine o’clock, after the Emperor had retired to bed, he desired that all his suite might come to his apartment. The Grand Marshal and his lady were among the number. The Emperor conversed with us for half an hour; the curtains being drawn round his bed.


28th.—When I rose in the morning, I felt ill, and wished to bathe my feet; but no water could be procured for that purpose. I mention this circumstance to afford an idea, if possible, of our real situation at Longwood. Water has always been very scarce here; but there is less now than ever, and we consider ourselves singularly fortunate when we are able to procure a bath for the Emperor. We are no better provided with other things necessary in medical treatment. Yesterday, the Doctor was mentioning, in the Emperor’s presence, drugs, instruments, and remedies of various kinds; but, as he enumerated each article, he added: “Unfortunately, there is none to be procured on the Island.”—“Then,” said the Emperor, “when they sent us hither, they took it for granted that we should be always well?” Indeed we are in want of the veriest trifles and necessaries. 32As a substitute for a warming-pan, the Emperor has been obliged to have holes bored in one of the large silver dishes, used for keeping the meat warm at table, which is now filled with coals, and used for the purpose of warming his bed.—For some time past, he has very much felt the want of spirits of wine, by means of which, he might have warmed his drink.

The Emperor has continued unwell the whole of the day: his face is still very much swelled, but the pain has somewhat abated. On entering his chamber, I found him sitting by the fire, reading the Guerres d’Italie, by Servan. The work suggested to him the idea of some additions to our valuable chapters on Italy. He ordered the map to be brought to him. I was very much surprised to find that the author, in descending to our own times, and narrating the campaigns of the Emperor himself, was exceedingly imperfect in his descriptions, and seemed to be unacquainted with the country about which he wrote. “This,” said the Emperor, “is because he passed on, without observing; and, perhaps he would not have been capable of understanding, even had he observed. But the true spirit of great enterprises and great results consists in the art of divining even without seeing.”

The Emperor found himself obliged to retire to bed as early as he did yesterday. He felt chilly, and seemed to be threatened with another attack of fever; he also felt symptoms of cramp. A little soup was the only nourishment he had taken since yesterday. He complained that his bed was badly made, and that every thing seemed to be wrong; the bed-clothes were not arranged as he wished, and he ordered them to be spread out differently. He remarked that all who surrounded him had calculated on his preserving his health, and that they would certainly be very inexperienced and awkward, should he happen to be attacked with a serious fit of illness.

He ordered some tea to be made of orange-tree leaves, for which he had to wait a considerable time. During the delay, he evinced a degree of patience of which I should certainly have been incapable.

He conversed, when in bed, on the early years of his 33life which he spent at Brienne, the Duke of Orleans, and Madame de Montesson, whom he recollected having seen. He spoke also of the families of Nogent and Brienne, who were connected with the circumstances of his youth.

“When I was raised to the head of the government,” said Napoleon, “Madame de Montesson applied to me for permission to take the title of Duchess of Orleans, which appeared to me an extremely ridiculous request.” The Emperor had supposed that she was only the mistress of the Prince; but I assured him that she had really been married to the Duke, with the consent of Louis XVI., and that, after the death of her husband, she always signed herself the Duchess Dowager of Orleans. The Emperor said he had been ignorant of that circumstance. “But, at all events,” said he, “what had the First Consul to do with the business? This was always my answer to the persons interested in the case, who were, however, not much satisfied with me. But was it to be expected that I should adopt, immediately, all the irregularities and absurdities of the old school?”


29th.—My son was ill, and I was myself by no means well, being still troubled with restlessness during the night. The Doctor came to see us. He informed me that the Emperor was better; but that he was wrong in refusing to take medicine.

The Emperor did not send for me until five o’clock. He still complained of a violent pain in his head. He had his feet in water, and he experienced a little relief from this kind of half bath. He lay down on the sofa, and took up the Memoirs of Noailles, from which he read aloud several passages, concerning the Duke de Vendome, the siege of Lille, and some others relative to the Duke of Berwick; all of which he accompanied by remarks in his own style,—novel, original, and striking. I very much regret that I am unable to record them here; but, as I had not made a fair copy of these latter sheets of my journal, when the manuscript was seized, I have now only the assistance of memoranda, frequently referring to 34circumstances which time has obliterated from my recollection.

The Emperor, observing on his drawers some confectionary, or sweetmeats, which had been accidentally left there, he desired me to bring them to him; and, seeing that I hesitated, and felt embarrassed, as to how I should present them, he said, “Take them in your hand; there is no need of ceremony or form between us now; we must henceforth be messmates.” Though this is a trifling circumstance, yet, to some, it will develope, more forcibly than volumes of description, the real turn of mind, character, and disposition, of the extraordinary individual to whom it relates: for men of judgment and observation will perceive, and draw conclusions, when others would not even form an idea. This consideration has induced me to insert in these volumes many things which I had originally intended to reject, through the fear that they might be thought insignificant, or, at all events, useless.

I have already mentioned that, in his moments of good-humoured familiarity, the Emperor was accustomed to salute me with all sorts of titles, such as “Good morning, Monseigneur. How is your Excellency? What says your Lordship to-day?” &c. One evening, when I was going to the drawing-room, the usher was about to open the door for me, when, at the same moment, the door of the Emperor’s apartment also opened: he was going thither too. I stepped aside to let him pass; and he, no doubt in a fit of abstraction, stopped me, and seizing me by the ear, said, playfully: “Well; where is your Majesty going?” But the words had no sooner been uttered, than he immediately let go my ear, and, assuming a grave expression of countenance, he began to talk to me on some serious topic. I had, it is true, learned to close my ears when it was necessary; but the Emperor was evidently sorry for having suffered the expression, your Majesty, to escape him. He seemed to think that though other titles might be used in jest, yet the case was very different with the one he had just employedemployed; both on account of its own peculiar nature, and the circumstances in which we were placed. Be this as it may, the reader may form what conjecture he pleases; I merely relate the fact.

35After dinner, the Emperor received all his suite in his chamber. He was in bed; and he began to talk of the little faith he placed in the virtue of medicine. He observed that he used to support his opinions on this subject with such strong arguments that Corvisart and other celebrated physicians could but feebly oppose him, and that merely for the sake of maintaining the honour of the profession.


30th.—The Emperor was no better to-day; and his periodical attack of fever returned at the usual hour. He was troubled with pimples on his lips and in his mouth, together with a sore throat, so that he felt pain in speaking, and even in swallowing. When the Doctor came in the evening, he brought with him a gargle for the Emperor’s throat: but it was with difficulty we prevailed on him to use it. There is no oil to be procured, fit for the Emperor’s use—it is execrable; and he is very fastidious.

In the course of conversation to-day, the Emperor, in alluding to the extravagance and debts of Josephine, mentioned that he himself, though the most regular man in the world, with respect to money-matters, once got into an unpleasant predicament at Saint-Cloud. “I was riding in my calash,” said he, “along with the Empress, when, amidst an immense crowd of people, I was accosted, in the Eastern style, as a Sultan might be addressed on his way to the mosque, by one of my tradesmen, who demanded a considerable sum of money, the payment of which had been, for a long time, withheld from him. The man’s demand was just,” remarked Napoleon, “and yet I was not to blame. I had paid the money at the proper time: the intermediate agent was solely in fault.”

At another time, when alluding to the unpopularity of which, he said, he had latterly been the object, I expressed my surprise that he had not endeavoured to counteract the libels that were published against him, 36and to recover popular favour. To this he replied, with an air of inspiration: “I had higher objects in view than to concern myself about flattering and courting a low multitude; a few insignificant coteries and sects. I should have returned victorious from Moscow, and then not only these people, but all France, and all the world, would have admired and blessed me. I might then have withdrawn myself mysteriously from the world, and popular credulity would have revived the fable of Romulus; it would have been said that I had been carried up to heaven, to take my place among the gods.”

About seven o’clock, the Emperor, finding himself very weak, retired to bed. When our dinner was ended, he received us all in his chamber, as he did yesterday; his bed-curtains being drawn. After a little desultory conversation, he took a fancy to have Robinson Crusoe read to him. Each of the gentlemen read a portion by turns, I alone being exempt, on account of my bad eyes. After an hour or two spent in this way, the Emperor took leave of us all, except the youngest of the party (General Gourgaud), whom he detained for the purpose of reading and conversing with him a little longer.


31st.—Fair weather had now returned: the day was delightful. The Emperor had kept his chamber for six days: and, tired of the monotony of the scene, he determined to disobey the Doctor’s orders. He went out; but he felt himself so extremely weak that he was scarcely able to walk. He ordered the calash, and we took a drive. He was silent and low-spirited, and suffered considerable pain, particularly from the eruption on his lips.

Shortly after his return, he desired me to attend him in his chamber. He felt very weak and drowsy. I prevailed on him to eat a little; and he also took a glass of wine, which, he said, somewhat revived him, and he found himself better. He then entered into conversation.

37“As soon as I set foot in Italy,” said he, “I wrought a change in the manners, sentiments, and language, of our Revolution. I did not shoot the emigrants; I protected the priests, and abolished those institutions and festivals which were calculated to disgrace us. In so doing, I was not guided by caprice, but by reason and equity—those two bases of superior policy. For example,” continued he, addressing himself to an individual present, “if the anniversary of the King’s death had always been celebrated, you would never have had an opportunity for rallying.”

The Emperor remarked that he himself was the first who applied to France the name of the Great Nation. “And certainly,” said he, “she justified the distinction in the eyes of the prostrate world.” Then, after a short pause, he added: “And she will yet deserve and retain that proud title, if her national character should again rise to a level with her physical advantages and her moral resources.”

On another occasion, speaking of a person to whom he was much attached, he said, “His character resembles that of the cow; gentle and placid in all things, except where his children are concerned. If any one meddles with them, his horns are immediately thrust forward, and he may be roused to a pitch of fury.”

Speaking of another, who had passed his thirtieth year, and whom he happened to say was too young, he observed, “And yet, at that age, I had made all my conquests, and I ruled the world. I had laid the revolutionary storm, amalgamated hostile parties, rallied a nation, established a government and an empire; in short, I wanted only the title of Emperor. I have, it must be confessed,” added he, “been the spoiled child of fortune. From my first entrance into life, I was accustomed to exercise command; and circumstances and the force of my own character were such that, as soon as I became possessed of power, I acknowledged no master, and obeyed no laws, except those of my own creating.”



Friday, November 1st.—To-day, the weather being very fine, the Emperor went out about two o’clock. After walking a little in the garden, he felt fatigued, and called at Madame Bertrand’s to rest himself. He sat there, upwards of an hour, in an arm-chair, without saying a word, and apparently suffering much from pain and weakness. He then returned languidly to his chamber, where he threw himself on his sofa, and fell into a slumber, as he did on the preceding day. I was very much distressed to observe the state of extreme debility to which he was reduced. He endeavoured to overcome his drowsiness; but he could neither converse nor read. I withdrew, in order that he might take a little rest.

An English frigate arrived from the Cape, on her way to Europe. This circumstance has afforded us an opportunity of writing to our friends. I have, however, denied myself the happiness of doing so; for the repeated complaints of the Governor, together with the consequences with which I was threatened, amount to an absolute prohibition of all correspondence with Europe. Perhaps a more favourable moment may arrive. At all events, I must be patient.

Doctor O’Meara called to see my son, who continued in a very precarious state. He was again bled yesterday, and fainted three or four times in the course of the day.

The Doctor took the opportunity of speaking to me on the subject of the Emperor’s health, and he assured me that he was by no means free from alarm as to the consequences of his confinement. He said that he was continually urging the necessity of exercise; and he begged that I would endeavour to prevail on the Emperor to go out more frequently. It was obvious that an alarming change had taken place in him. The Doctor did not hesitate to affirm that such complete confinement, after a life of activity, would be attended with the worst consequences; since any serious disorder, produced by the nature of the climate, or any accident to which he might 39be exposed, would infallibly prove fatal to him. These words, and the tone of anxiety in which they were uttered, deeply affected me. From that moment, I observed the sincere interest which the Doctor felt for Napoleon, and of which he has since afforded so many proofs.

The Emperor sent for me about six o’clock. He was taking a bath; and he appeared to be worse than when I had last seen him: this he attributed to going out yesterday. He, however, experienced some benefit from the bath; and he took up Lord Macartney’s Embassy to China, which he continued reading for some time, making various observations as he proceeded.

When he laid aside the book, he began to converse; and the situation of the French prisoners in England was one of the subjects that happened to come under discussion. I will here put together some remarks on this subject that fell from the Emperor on the present and other occasions.

The sudden rupture of the treaty of Amiens, on such false pretences, and with so much bad faith on the part of the English Ministry, greatly irritated the First Consul, who conceived that he had been trifled with. The seizure of several French merchant ships, even before war had been declared, roused his indignation to the utmost. “To my urgent remonstrances,” said the Emperor, “they coolly replied that it was a practice they had always observed; and here they spoke truth. But the time was gone by when France could tamely submit to such injustice and humiliation. I had become the defender of her rights and glory, and I was resolved to let our enemies know with whom they had to deal. Unfortunately, owing to the reciprocal situation of the two countries, I could only avenge one act of violence by another still greater. It was a painful thing to be compelled to make reprisals on innocent men; but I had no alternative.

“On reading the ironical and insolent reply that was returned to my complaints, I, that very night, issued an order for arresting, in every part of France, and in every territory occupied by the French, all Englishmen, of every rank whatever, and detaining them as prisoners, by way of reprisal for the unjust seizure of our ships. Most of 40these English were men of rank and fortune, who were travelling for their pleasure; but the more extraordinary the measure, the greater the injustice, the better it suited my purpose. A general outcry was raised. The English appealed to me; but I referred them to their own government, on whose conduct alone their fate depended. Several of these individuals proposed raising a subscription to pay for the ships that had been seized, in the hope of thereby obtaining permission to return home. I, however, informed them that I did not want money; but merely to obtain justice and redress for an injury. Could it have been believed that the English Government, as crafty and tenacious with respect to its maritime rights as the Court of Rome is in its religious pretensions, suffered a numerous and distinguished class of Englishmen to be unjustly detained for ten years, rather than authentically renounce for the future an odious system of maritime plunder.

“When I was first raised to the head of the consular government, I had had a misunderstanding with the English Cabinet, on the subject of prisoners of war; but I now carried my point. The Directory had been weak enough to agree to an arrangement extremely injurious to France, and entirely to the advantage of England.

“The English maintained their prisoners in France, and we had to maintain ours in England. We had but few English prisoners; and the French prisoners in England were exceedingly numerous: provisions were to be had almost for nothing in France; and they were exorbitantly dear in England. Thus the English had very trifling expenses to defray; while we, on the other hand, had to send enormous sums into a foreign country; and that at a time when we could but ill afford it. This arrangement, moreover, required an exchange of agents between the respective countries; and the English Commissioner proved to be neither more nor less than a spy on the French Government; he was the go-between and contriver of the plots that were hatched in the interior of France by the emigrants abroad. No sooner was I made acquainted with this state of things, than I erased the abuse by a stroke of the pen. The English Government 41was informed that, thenceforward, each country must maintain the prisoners it should make, unless an exchange were agreed upon. A terrible outcry was raised, and a threat was held out that the French prisoners should be suffered to die of starvation. I doubted not that the English Ministers were sufficiently obstinate and inhuman to wish to put this threat into execution; but I knew that any cruelty exercised towards the prisoners would be repugnant to the feelings of the nation. The English Government yielded the point. The situation of our unfortunate prisoners was, indeed, neither better nor worse than it had previously been; but, in other respects, we gained great advantages, and got rid of an arrangement which placed us under a sort of yoke and tribute.

“During the whole of the war, I incessantly made proposals for an exchange of prisoners: but to this, the English Government, under some pretence or other, constantly refused to accede, on the supposition that it would be advantageous to me. I have nothing to say against this. In war, policy must take place of feeling; but why exercise unnecessary cruelty? And this is what the English Ministers unquestionably did, when they found the number of prisoners increasing. Then commenced, for our unfortunate countrymen, the odious system of confinement in hulks; a species of torture, which the ancients would have added to the horrors of the infernal regions, had their imaginations been capable of conceiving it. I readily admit that there might be exaggeration on the part of the accusers; but was the truth spoken by those who defended themselves? We know what kind of thing a report to Parliament is. We can form a correct idea of it, when we read the calumnies and falsehoods that are uttered in Parliament, with such cool effrontery, by the base men who have blushed not to become our executioners. Confinement on board hulks is a thing that needs no explanation: the fact speaks for itself. When it is considered that men, unaccustomed to live on shipboard, were crowded together in little unwholesome cabins, too small to afford them room to move; that, by way of indulgence, they were permitted, twice during the twenty-four hours, to breathe pestilential exhalations at ebb tide; and that 42this misery was prolonged for the space of ten or twelve years;—the blood curdles at such an odious picture of inhumanity! On this point, I blame myself for not having made reprisals. It would have been well had I thrown into similar confinement, not the poor sailors and soldiers, whose complaints would never have been attended to, but all the English nobility and persons of fortune who were then in France. I should have permitted them to maintain free correspondence with their friends and families, and their complaints would soon have assailed the ears of the English Ministers, and checked their odious measures. Certain parties in Paris, who were ever the best allies of the enemy, would, of course, have called me a tiger and a cannibal; but no matter, I should have discharged my duty to the French people, who had made me their protector and defender. In this instance, my decision of character failed me.”

The Emperor asked me whether the French prisoners had been confined in hulks at the time when I was in England. I could not positively inform him; but I replied that I did not think they were, because I knew there were prisons for them in various parts of the country, where many of the English visited them, and purchased the productions of their industry. I added that they were, in all probability, but ill provided for, and exposed to many hardships; for a story used to be told of a government agent having visited one of the prisons on horseback, and no sooner had he alighted from his horse, and turned his back, than the poor animal was seized, cut to pieces, and devoured by the prisoners. I did not, of course, vouch for the fact; but the story was related by the English themselves, and the ignorant and prejudiced class did not regard it as a proof of the extreme misery to which the prisoners must have been reduced, but merely as an example of their terrible voracity. The Emperor laughed, and said he considered the anecdote to be a mere fabrication; observing that, if the fact were to be relied on, it was calculated to make human nature shudder; for, that nothing but hunger, urged to madness, could drive men to such a dreadful extremity. I was the more inclined to believe that the 43plan of confinement on board the hulks had not been introduced when I was in England, because I recollected that a great deal had been said about establishing the French prisoners in some small islands between England and Ireland. It was proposed to convey them thither, and to leave them to themselves, in a state of complete seclusion; and a few light vessels were to be kept constantly cruising about to guard them. To this plan it was, however, objected that, in case of a descent on the part of the enemy, his grand object would be to land on these islands, distribute arms among the prisoners, and thus recruit an army immediately. Perhaps, added I, this idea might have led to the use of hulks; for the prisoners were rapidly increasing in numbers, and it was not thought safe to keep them on shore among the people, as the latter betrayed a strong disposition to fraternize with the French. “Well,” said Napoleon, “I can very readily conceive that there might be good grounds for rejecting the plan you have just mentioned. Safety and self-preservation before all things. But the confinement in the hulks is a stain on the English character for humanity, an irritating sting, that will never be removed from the hearts of the French prisoners.”

“On the subject of prisoners of war,” continued Napoleon, “the English Ministers invariably acted with their habitual bad faith, and with the Machiavelism that distinguishes the school of the present day. Being absolutely determined to avoid an exchange, which they did not wish to incur the blame of having refused, they invented and multiplied pretences beyond calculation. In the first place, that I should presume to regard as prisoners, persons merely detained, was affirmed to be an atrocious violation of the laws of civilized nations, and a principle which the English Government would never avow, on any consideration whatever. It happened that some of the individuals detained, who were at large on parole, escaped, and were received triumphantly in England. On the other hand, some Frenchmen effected their escape to France. I expressed my disapprobation of their conduct, and proposed that the individuals of either country, who had thus broken their parole, should 44be mutually sent back again. But I received for answer that persons detained were not to be accounted prisoners; that they had merely availed themselves of the lawful privilege of escaping oppression; that they had done right; and had been received accordingly. After this, I thought myself justified in inducing the French to escape; and the English Ministers filled their journals with the most insolent abuse, declaring me to be a man who scrupled not to violate moral principle, faith, and law.

“When“When, at length, they determined to treat for an exchange of prisoners, or, perhaps, I ought rather to say, when they took it into their heads to trifle with me on this point, they sent a Commissioner to France. All the great difficulties were waved; and, with a fine parade of sentiment, conditions were proposed for the sake of humanity, &c. They consented to include persons detained in the list of prisoners, and to admit, under that head, the Hanoverian troops, who were my prisoners, but who were at large on parole. This latter point had been a standing obstacle; because, it was insinuated the Hanoverians were not English. Thus far matters had proceeded smoothly, and there was every probability of their being brought to a conclusion. But I knew whom I had to deal with: and I guessed the intentions that were really entertained. There were infinitely more French prisoners in England than English prisoners in France; and I was well aware that, the English being once safely landed at home, some pretence would be found for breaking off the exchange, and the rest of my poor Frenchmen might have remained on board the hulks to all eternity. I declared that I would accede to no partial exchange; that I would be satisfied only with a full and complete one; and, to facilitate matters, I made the following proposal. I admitted that there were fewer English prisoners in France than French prisoners in England; but, I observed, that there were among my prisoners, Spaniards, Portuguese, and other allies of the English, who had been taken under their banners and fighting in the same cause. With this addition, I could on my part produce a far more considerable number of prisoners than there were in England. I therefore offered 45to surrender up all, in return for all. This proposition, at first, occasioned some embarrassment; it was discussed and rejected. However, as soon as they had devised a scheme, by which they thought they could secure the object they had in view, they acceded to my proposition. But I kept a watchful eye on them: I knew that, if we began by merely exchanging Frenchmen for Englishmen, as soon as the latter should be secured, pretences would be found for breaking off the business, and the old evasions would be resumed; for the English prisoners in France did not amount to one-third of the French in England. To obviate any misunderstanding on either side, I therefore proposed that we should exchange by convoys of only three thousand at a time; that three thousand Frenchmen should be returned to me, and that I would send back one thousand English, and two thousand Hanoverians, Spaniards, Portuguese, and others. Thus, if any misunderstanding arose and put a stop to the exchange, we should still stand in the same relative proportions as before, and without having practised any deception upon each other: but if, on the contrary, the affair should proceed uninterruptedly to a conclusion, I promised to surrender up, gratuitously, all the prisoners that might ultimately remain in my hands. My conjectures respecting the real designs of the English Government proved to be correct: these conditions, which were really so reasonable, and the principle of which had already been adopted, were rejected, and the whole business was broken off. Whether the English Ministers really sympathized in the situation of their countrymen, or whether they were convinced of my firm determination not to be duped, I know not; but it would appear that they were at length inclined to come to a conclusion, when I subsequently introduced the subject by an indirect channel. However, our disasters in Russia at once revived their hopes, and defeated my intentions.”

The Emperor next remarked upon the treatment of prisoners of war in France, which, he said, was as generous and liberal as it possibly could be; and he thought that, on this subject, no nation could justly reproach us. “We have,” said he, “in our favour the testimony and 46the sentiments of the prisoners themselves; for, with the exception of those who were ardently attached to their local laws, or, in other words, to notions of liberty (and these were exclusively the English and Spaniards), all the rest, namely the Austrians, Prussians, and Russians, were willing to remain with us: they left us with regret, and returned to us with pleasure. This disposition on the part of the Spaniards and English has oftener than once influenced the obstinacy of their efforts or their resistance.”

The Emperor also made the following observation:—“It was my intention to have introduced into Europe a change with respect to the treatment of prisoners. I intended to enrol them in regiments, and to make them labour, under military discipline, at public works and buildings. They should have received whatever money they earned, and would thus have been secured against the misery of absolute idleness and the disorders arising out of it. They should have been well fed and clothed, and have wanted for nothing, without being a burden to the state. All parties would have been benefited by this plan. But my idea did not meet the approval of the Council of State, which, in this instance, was swayed by the mistaken philanthropy that leads to so many errors in the world. It was said that it would be unjust and cruel to compel men to labour. It was feared lest our enemies should make reprisals; and it was affirmed that a prisoner was sufficiently unfortunate in the loss of his liberty, without being placed under restraint as to the employment of his time. But here was the abuse of which I complained, and which I wished to correct. A prisoner, said I, must and should expect to be placed under lawful constraint; and that which I would impose on him is for his own advantage, as well as that of others. I do not require that he should be subject to greater misery or fatigue, but to less danger, than he is exposed to in his present condition. You are afraid lest the enemy should make reprisals, and treat French prisoners in the same manner. Heaven grant it should be so! I wish for nothing better! I should then behold my sailors and soldiers occupied in wholesome labour, in the 47fields or the public roads, instead of seeing them buried alive on board those odious hulks. They would return home healthy, industrious and inured to labour; and in every country they would leave behind them some compensation for the fatal ravages of war. By way of concession, the Council of State agreed to the organization of a few corps of prisoners as voluntary labourers, or something of the sort; but this was by no means the fulfilment of the scheme I had in view.”


2d.—The Emperor did not leave his chamber to-day. When I waited on him, I found him very unwell from the effects of cold; and the secretion of saliva still continued.

I remained with him the greater part of the day. He sometimes endeavoured to converse, and sometimes tried to sleep. He was very restless, and often drew near the fire. He was evidently feverish.

In the course of the day, the conversation turned upon Antwerp; its arsenal, its fortifications, its importance, and the great military and political views he entertained with respect to that favourably situated place.

He remarked that he had done much for Antwerp, but that this was little in comparison with what he had proposed to do. He intended to have rendered it a fatal point of attack to the enemy by sea, and by land to have made it a certain resource, and a point of national security in case of great disasters. He would have rendered Antwerp capable of receiving a whole army in its defeat, and holding out against a close siege for the space of a year, during which time, he said, a nation would be enabled to rally in a mass for its deliverance, and to resume the offensive. Five or six places of this kind were, he added, to constitute the new system of defence, which he intended 48to have established. The works, which had been completed in so short a time at Antwerp, the numerous dock-yards, magazines, and canals, were already the subject of admiration; but all this the Emperor declared to be nothing. Antwerp was as yet, he said, merely a commercial town; the military town was to be constructed on the opposite bank of the river. For this purpose, ground had been purchased at a low rate, and it was to have been sold again at a high profit for the purpose of building; so that by this speculation, the expenses attending the enterprise would have been considerably diminished. The winter docks would have been capable of admitting three-deckers with all their guns on board; and covered dry docks were to have been constructed for laying up vessels in time of peace.

The Emperor remarked that the scheme he had formed would have rendered Antwerp a stupendous and colossal bulwark; and that it would have been a whole province in itself. Adverting to this superb establishment, he observed, that it had been one of the causes of his exile to St. Helena; that the demand for the cession of Antwerp was one of the circumstances which led him to reject the conditions of peace proposed at Chatillon. If the Allies had agreed to leave him in possession of Antwerp, he would in all probability have concluded peace; and he questioned whether he had not done wrong in refusing to sign the proposed ultimatum. “At that period,” said he, “I had doubtless many resources and chances; but yet, how much may be said in favour of the resolution I adopted! I did right,” added he, “in refusing to sign the ultimatum, and I fully explained my reasons for that refusal; therefore, even here, on this rock, amidst all my misery, I have nothing to repent of. I am aware, that few will understand me; but, in spite of the fatal turn of events, even the common mass of mankind must now be convinced that duty and honour left me no other alternative. If the Allies had thus far succeeded in degrading me, would they have stopped there? Were their offers of peace and reconciliation sincere? I knew them too well to put faith in their professions. Would they not have availed themselves of 49the immense advantages afforded them by the treaty, to finish by intrigue what they had commenced by force of arms? Then where would have been the safety, independence, and future welfare of France? Where would have been my honour, my vows? Would not the Allies have ruined me in the estimation of the people as effectually as they ruined me on the field of battle? They would have found public opinion too ready to receive the impression which it would have been their aim to give to it! How would France have reproached me for suffering foreigners to parcel out the territory that had been intrusted to my care! How many faults would have been attributed to me by the unjust and the unfortunate! Could the French people, full of the recollections of their glory, have patiently endured the burdens that would inevitablyinevitably have been imposed on them? Hence would have arisen fresh commotions, anarchy, and desolation! I preferred risking the last chances of battle, determining to abdicate in case of necessity.”[1]

50I acknowledged the justice of the Emperor’s observations. He had lost the throne, it is true, but voluntarily; and, because he chose rather to renounce it than compromise our welfare and his own honour. History will appreciate this sublime sacrifice. Power and life are transitory; but glory endures and is immortal.

“But, after all,” said the Emperor, “the historian will, perhaps, find it difficult to do me justice; the world is so overwhelmed with libels and falsehoods, my actions have been so misrepresented, my character so darkened and misunderstood.” To this, some one present replied that doubt could exist only during his life; that injustice 51would be confined solely to his contemporaries; that, as he had himself already remarked, the clouds would disperse in proportion as his memory advanced in posterity; that his character would rise daily and become the noblest subject for the pen of history; and that, though the first catastrophe might have proved fatal to his memory, owing to the outcry that was then raised against him, yet the prodigiesprodigies of his return, the acts of his brief government, and his exile to St. Helena, now left him crowned with glory in the eyes of nations and posterity. “That is very true,” replied the Emperor, with an air of satisfaction, “and my fate may be said to be the very opposite of others. A fall usually has the effect of lowering a man’s character, but, on the contrary, my fall has elevated me prodigiously. Every succeeding day divests me of some portion of my tyrant’s skin.”

After a few moment’s silence, the conversation was resumed, on the subject of Antwerp and the English expedition. “The English Government and its General” said the Emperor, “seemed to vie with each other in want of skill. If Lord Chatham, to whom our soldiers gave the nickname of Milord J’attends, had resolved to make an energetic movement, he might, doubtless, have destroyed our valuable establishment by a coup de main, but, the first moment being lost, and our fleet having got in, the place was secure. There was a great deal of exaggeration respecting the efforts and measures taken for the safety of Antwerp. The zeal of the citizens was excited only for secret and criminal designs.”

On mentioning some facts, of which I had been a witness, I happened to observe that it was generally marshals who reviewed armies; but that here the rule had been reversed, and armies reviewed their marshals, three of whom had succeeded each other in a very short time. “Political circumstances,” said the Emperor, “called for this change. I sent Bessieres to Antwerp, because the crisis demanded a firm and confidential man; but, as soon as the critical period was expired, I sent another to succeed Bessieres, because I wished to have the latter near me.”

The maritime works of Antwerp, notwithstanding 52their immense extent, are but a small portion of those which were executed by Napoleon. Having been attached, as a member of the Council of State, to the department of the marine, I possess, ex officio, an account of these works, a list of which I will here insert, in geographical order, proceeding from South to North.

1. Fort Boyard, constructed for the purpose of enlarging and defending the anchorage of the Isle of Aix, whence, by dint of perseverance and intrepidity, a passage had been discovered out of sight of the enemy, between Oleron and the main-land, by which even ships of the line could reach the anchoring grounds of the Gironde and its outlets.

2. The extensive and superb works of Cherbourg. The dike, which was commenced under Louis XVI., and which had suffered considerable injury during the Revolution, was repaired; the central part being elevated nine feet above the highest level of the sea, and along an extent of 100 toises, for the purpose of mounting a battery of twenty guns of the largest calibre. This work was executed in less than two years, from 1802 to 1804, and with such success that, though it has been neglected since 1813, it has suffered no decay, and still retains all its original strength.

A large elliptical tower of granite was built in the centre, and within the dike, which it supports, and by which, it is, in its turn, covered. The massive foundations of this tower, which, being constructed in the open sea, of course presented enormous difficulties, were completed at the end of 1812, and raised to the height of six feet above the level of the highest tides. The solidity which it has preserved since that period, though in a state of neglect, and exposed to the violent action of the waves, is a manifest proof of the strength of the defensive works that were projected on this artificial rock, when the time should arrive for the full completion of the plan. This plan consisted in raising, at the height of one story, a barrack, capable of containing the garrison, a powder magazine, reservoir, &c.; this was to be surmounted by an arched platform, bomb-proof, and capable of receiving a casemated battery of nineteen thirty-six 53pounders, and above this was to be a second platform, capable of receiving mounted guns, if necessary; the whole crowning the central battery, already existing on the dike itself. Thus the enemy’s attack would have been resisted by four ranges of batteries one above another.

In less than eight years, a military port was excavated in the solid rock. It was capable of containing forty-five ships of the line, a proportionate number of frigates, three slips for building, &c. This asylum, so necessary for ships of the line, owing to the natural situation of the roads of Cherbourg, which are too much exposed to the violence of the waves, was dug thirty feet beneath the level of the sea, at the lowest ebb tide, in order to afford, at all times, a secure station for the largest ships. When it was opened in 1813, the moles and dikes were fully completed along its whole extent. At that time, the Empress Maria Louisa and all her Court witnessed the magnificent and sublime spectacle of the sudden irruption of the sea, which was admitted, simply by the spontaneous rupture of the immense dam that had hitherto repelled its efforts. The largest vessels immediately entered the enclosure, which has since afforded a convenient station for shipping, together with the requisite accommodations for building, repairing, and fitting out: in short, it possesses every advantage that might be expected in so important a creation of art, and is justly considered to be one of the noblest monuments of Napoleon’s reign. According to the Emperor’s plan, this stupendous work was intended only as a first or outward port; he had determined on constructing, in a lateral direction, at a little distance within it, a second or inner port, which was to be commenced immediately, and which would have been speedily completed, owing to the precautions that were previously adopted. It was to be large enough to receive twenty-five ships of the line, and behind these two ports, and extending along their whole length, in a semicircular form, there were to be built thirty covered docks, where the same number of ships of the line might be kept in constant readiness to 54put to sea. Such were the immense works executed or planned at Cherbourg alone.

3. The numerous works occasioned by the flotilla for the invasion of England.—It was necessary to provide anchorages, to render the preparations simultaneous, and to execute every offensive and defensive operation. All this required, at various points, the construction of forts of stone and wood, quays, basins, jetties, dams, sluices, &c.

Boulogne was chosen as the central point of assemblage; and Vimereux, AmbleteuseAmbleteuse, and Etaples, were the secondary points. Boulogne itself was rendered capable of receiving 2,000 ships of different kinds. Besides its natural port, an artificial basin was formed, by means of a dam, closed in the middle by a sluice, twenty-four feet wide. This basin was capable of containing 8 or 900 ships afloat, and in a constant state of readiness; and the sluice, from the preceding retention, had the advantage of producing currents of water, which increased the depth of the real port, and cleared its entrance of sand-banks, by which it was liable to be obstructed. Vimereux, Etaples, and Ambleteuse, were simultaneously rendered capable of receiving a proportionate number of ships: all these undertakings were completed in the space of two years.

4. Important local repairs and improvements in all the ports of the coast.—Havre was rendered accessible to frigates, by destroying, by means of a strong sluice, the banks of gravel that obstructed its entrance. Improvements were made at St. Valery, Dieppe, Calais, Gravelines, and Dunkirk; the port of the latter was cleared, and the marsh that covered the town was drained. A second flotilla was to be assembled at Ostend, to which a free entrance had been effected by clearing its channel.

5. The works of Flushing.—This town having momentarily fallen into the hands of the English, they destroyed all its military establishments when they evacuated it. The Emperor ordered the re-construction of the works on a much more extensive scale than before. Fully appreciating the important geographical situation 55of the place, he ordered the basin to be re-dug and enlarged, as well as its entrance. The channel was also to be deepened, so that the basin might be rendered capable of admitting even eighty-gun ships, and affording a winter station for a squadron of twenty ships, always ready to put to sea in one or two tides. This advantage was to be procured by means of a very ingenious plan, suggested by the naval Commandant of the place, and which consisted simply in confining the water at high tide, in the ditches of the town. The basin was a most important acquisition, as it afforded the means of making naval preparations, free from all the inconveniences of the Scheldt. Our ships would have been enabled to sail directly to the coast of England; and the English would thus have been compelled to keep cruisers constantly on the watch; whereas, hitherto, as soon as they knew that our ships were disarmed in Flushing, or had returned to Antwerp, on the approach of winter, they quietly went into port, having nothing to apprehend until the return of spring. But it was necessary to render the fortifications of Flushing equal to the protection of a whole squadron: consequently, defensive works were multiplied on various points; magazines and other establishments were re-constructed; and orders were issued for rendering them bomb-proof, and surmounting them with batteries. Flushing would have been thickly planted with cannon on all points, and would, in short, have been rendered impregnable.

6. Works commenced at Terneuse.—The importance of the western mouth of the Scheldt, for enabling our fleet to sail in and out, and the inconveniences attending the return of our ships to Antwerp, every year during the winter season, suggested to the Emperor the idea of forming a still greater arsenal than Flushing near the mouth of the river. Terneuse, on the left bank of the Scheldt, three leagues from the mouth of the river, was the point fixed on, and the works were immediately commenced. They were, however, suspended, on account of the great length of time, as well as the enormous expense, that would have been requisite for their completion.

567. The immense works at Antwerp.—This town, which is nearly twenty leagues distant from the sea, from which it is separated by a winding and very difficult channel, seemed to be destitute of every desirable advantage for the formation of a maritime arsenal; and it had hitherto presented only petty commercial establishments. A fleet built at Antwerp would, with difficulty, have been able to descend the river, and would have been but ill defended against the inclemencies of the weather, or the attempts of the enemy. It would have been useless during one third of the year; for the approach of winter forced the ships to come higher up, to avoid the current and ice of the river; there being no wet docks. But these numerous difficulties seemed as nothing in the eyes of Napoleon. In his impatience to make the English feel the dangers of the Scheldt, which they had themselves so frequently acknowledged to be formidable, he speedily concerted his plans, and, in less than eight years, Antwerp assumed the aspect of an important maritime arsenal, and a considerable fleet was already riding in the Scheldt. Every thing was done thoroughly and completely. Magazines, quays, dock-yards, &c. were newly constructed. A provisional asylum was found for the shipping against the ice of the river, at Rupel, while two great wet docks were dug in the town of Antwerp, capable of receiving vessels of all sizes with all their guns on board. Twenty slips for building were raised all in a line, as if by enchantment, and twenty vessels, lying in these slips at once, presented to the traveller, arriving by the Tête de Flandres, the imposing and singular spectacle of twenty vessels of the line ranged as a squadron. Most of these works, however, Napoleon regarded merely as a temporary provision borrowed from commerce. He intended to establish a complete and much larger arsenal facing Antwerp, on the bank of the river, opposite to the Tête de Flandres. He at first conceived the bold design of throwing a bridge across the Scheldt; but he at length determined in favour of flying-bridges, of a very ingenious construction. The Emperor, as I have already observed, had formed the grandest ideas respecting the improvements at Antwerp, 57and the details of his plan extended as far as the sea. He used to say that he intended to make Antwerp a province, a little kingdom, in itself. To this object he devoted himself with that degree of interest which he might be expected to evince in the execution of one of his most favourite projects. He made several journeys to Antwerp, for the purpose of personally inspecting the works in their most trivial details.

On one of these occasions, he happened to fall in with a Captain or Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers, who was modestly assisting in the fortifications of the place, and with whom he entered into the discussion of certain points connected with the business in which he was engaged. Shortly afterwards, the officer unexpectedly received a letter, informing him that he was appointed Aide-de-camp to the Emperor, and directing him to repair to the Tuileries to enter upon his duties. The poor officer was filled with astonishment: he thought that he was dreaming, or, that the letter had been misdirected. He was so extremely diffident, and possessed so little knowledge of the world, that this announcement of his promotion threw him into great perplexity. He recollected having once seen me at Antwerp, and he begged I would render him my assistance. Accordingly, on his arrival in Paris, he came and assured me of his total ignorance of Court manners, and the embarrassment he felt in presenting himself to the Emperor. However, I soon succeeded in encouraging him; and, before he reached the gate of the palace, he had mustered a tolerable degree of confidence. This officer was General Bernard, whose great talents were brought into notice by this circumstance, and who, at the time of our disasters, proceeded to America, where he was placed at the head of the military works of the United States.

Napoleon loved to take people thus by surprise. Whenever he discovered talent, he never failed to raise it to its proper sphere, without suffering himself to be swayed by any secondary considerations. This was one of his striking characteristics.

8. The works in Holland.—No sooner had Holland fallen into the hands of Napoleon, than his creative ardour 58was immediately directed to all the different branches of her political economy. He repaired and enlarged the arsenals of the Meuse, Rotterdam, and Helvoetsluys. Hitherto ships of the line could not get up to Amsterdam, and could not get out from it without vast expense and labour; it being necessary to drag them on camels, unladen and without guns, to the opening of the Zuyderzee. This operation did not suit the rapidity necessary in the great enterprises of the period; and the Emperor determined to remove the northern arsenal to a situation in which it would be exempt from these disadvantages. He accordingly gave orders for the establishment or improvement of the Nievendip, where, in a short time, twenty-five ships of the line were provided with a safe winter station, and laid up beside magnificent quays. This important point was defended by the military establishments of the Helder, which formed the key of Holland. Napoleon’s plan was to make the Nievendip the Antwerp of the Zuyderzee.

9. Works of the Weser, the Ems, and the Elbe.—When Napoleon joined Bremen, Hamburg, and Lubeck, to the Empire, his plans and works extended with his dominion. He took measures for rendering the Elbe accessible to ships of the line, and projected a maritime arsenal at Delfzyl at the mouth of the Ems. But the object which particularlyparticularly engrossed the attention of Napoleon was the cutting of a line of canals which, with the help of the Ems, the Weser, and the Elbe, would have effected a junction between Holland and the Baltic. We should thus have been enabled to communicate safely, and by a simple system of inland navigation, from Bordeaux and the Mediterranean, with the Powers of the North. We should easily have obtained from them all kinds of naval productions for our ports, and we should have been able to send out against them, when we chose, our flotillas from the Channel, Holland, &c.

All these important works were planned, and most of them executed, with amazing rapidity. The creative genius of Napoleon conceived them, and DecrèsDecrès, the minister, indefatigably prosecuted the designs that were suggested. The plans were drawn, and the works executed 59by Prosny, Sganzin, Cachin, and others. The names attached to such monuments are imperishable!

If, to what has here been described, be added other simultaneous prodigies in every other branch of the public service, and in every other part of the territory; and if it be considered that all were executed amidst perpetual war, and without more, perhaps even with less burdens, than now, after a long peace, weigh on the countries that composed the vast French Empire, it is impossible to repress astonishment and admiration. All these miracles were effected by steadiness of determination, talent armed with power, and finances wisely and economically applied! Certainly, if, in addition to what has already been mentioned, the mass of fortifications, the multitude of public roads, bridges, canals, and edifices of various kinds, be taken into account, it must be acknowledged that no sovereign in the world ever did so much in so short a time, and by imposing so few burdens on his people.

Italy, of which Napoleon was king, also enjoyed her share of his magnificent improvements. He cut fine roads across the Alps and the Apennines; established a maritime arsenal at Genoa; fortified Corfu, so as to make that island the key of Greece; repaired and enlarged the port of Venice; and, while the works were proceeding, it was rendered capable of admitting French ships of the line, by means of the camels used in Holland. To obviate the risk of the ship being attacked by the enemy, during this hazardous conveyance, a plan was proposed by which they were to be enabled to carry their own guns; and it was, I believe, successfully adopted. Napoleon, moreover, intended to establish a naval arsenal at Ragusa, another at Pola, in Istria, and a third at Ancona. He conceived the happy and bold idea of forming a junction between the gulfs of Venice and Genoa, by the help of the Po, and a canal extending from Alessandria to Savona, through the Apennines. This plan would have been attended with the most important results; for, independently of its immense commercial and military advantages, it would have established a direct and safe communication between Venice and Toulon; and the latter port would thus have received all the naval productions of the Adriatic 60free from any chance of their being attacked by the enemy. Finally, Napoleon cleared Rome of the rubbish with which it was encumbered, restored many ancient vestiges of the Romans, and formed the design of draining the Pontine marshes, &c.

I here subjoin the preamble of the Report on the state of the Empire, presented to the Legislative Body, in the sitting of the 25th of February, 1813, by Count Montalivet, Minister of the Interior. This superb Report, which is founded in all its points on authentic documents, is calculated to afford a just idea of the wonders of Napoleon’s government. I think I may properly close the present subject, by inserting an official statement of the expenses in public works, during the memorable reign of the Emperor.

Gentlemen,—His Majesty has directed me to make you acquainted with the situations of the Interior of the Empire, during the years 1811 and 1812.

“You will have the satisfaction to observe that, notwithstanding the great armies which a state of war, both maritime and continental, has rendered indispensably necessary, the population has continued to increase; that French industry has made new progress; that the soil was never better cultivated, nor our manufactures more flourishing; and that at no period of our history has wealth been more equally diffused among all classes of society.

“The farmer now enjoys benefits to which he was formerly a stranger. He is enabled to purchase such land as suits him at the highest price; his food and clothing are better, and more abundant than before; and his dwelling is more substantial and convenient.

“Improvements in agriculture, manufactures, and the useful arts, are no longer rejected merely because they are new. Experiments are made in every branch of labour, and the methods that prove to be most advantageous are substituted for old ones. Artificial meadows are multiplied; the system of fallows is abandoned; the succession of crops is better understood, and improved plans of cultivation augment the produce of the soil. Cattle are multiplied, and the different breeds improved. 61The very labourer finds means to purchase, at a high price, Spanish rams and stallions of the finest breed. They are now sufficiently enlightened to know their real interests, and they do not scruple to make these valuable purchases. Thus the demands of our manufacturers, our agriculturists, and our armies, are every day better supplied.

“This high degree of prosperity is to be attributed to the liberal laws by which this great Empire is ruled, to the suppression of feudalism, tithes, mortmains, and monastic orders; measures which have created or set at liberty numerous private estates, which are now the free patrimony of a multitude of families, formerly mere paupers. It is also to be ascribed to the more equal division of wealth, to the clearness and simplification of the laws relative to landed property and mortgages, and to the promptitude observed in the decision of law-suits, which are now daily decreasing in number. To these same causes, and to the influence of vaccination, must be attributed the increase of the population. It may even be said that the conscription, which annually enrols under our banner the flower of the French youth, has had some share in contributing to this increase, by multiplying the number of marriages; because marriage fixes for ever the fate of the young Frenchman, who has once served in obedience to the law.”

Official statement of the expenditure in public works, from Napoleon’s accession to the imperial throne; presented, together with the vouchers, to the Legislative Body, by the Minister of the Interior.

Imperial palaces and buildings, belonging to the crown. 62,000,000
Fortifications 144,000,000
Sea Ports 117,000,000
Roads, highways, &c. 277,000,000
Bridges in Paris and the departments 31,000,000
Canals, navigation and draining 123,000,000
Works in Paris 102,000,000
Public buildings of the departments and great towns 149,000,000
Total 1,005,000,000


3rd.—The Emperor still continued to seclude himself like a hermit. Towards evening he sent for me:—he informed me that he was somewhat relieved of his tooth-ache, though he was not better in other respects. He said that he felt extremely weak and depressed in spirits, and that, during the whole day, his mind had been possessed with gloomy ideas. He was taking the bath, and, after a few moments’ silence, he said, as if making an effort to rouse himself, “Come, my Dinarzade, if you are not too drowsy, tell me one of your stories. It is long since you have told me any thing about your friends of the Faubourg St. Germain.”—“Sire,” I replied, “I have related so much on that subject that I fancy I have exhausted my whole stock of tales, whether true or false. Only the scandalous stories now remain untold, and in these your Majesty knows that you yourself were never spared. However, a droll anecdote just now occurs to me. One day, M. de T—— on leaving home to attend to his ministerial duties, informed his wife that he should bring back M. Denon with him to dinner. He wished the distinguished traveller to be treated with the utmost attention; and he told Madame de T—— that the best thing she could do would be to look over his work, so that she might be enabled to pay some handsome compliments to the author; at the same time informing her in what particular part of the library the book was to be found. Madame de T—— set about her task—she found the book exceedingly interesting, and was delighted at the thought of speedily being introduced to the hero. No sooner were the company seated at table, than she informed M. Denon, whom she had taken care to place beside her, that she had been reading his work, and that she had been very much pleased with it. M. Denon bowed, and the lady proceeded to remark on the singular countries he had visited, and the hardships he had endured, at the same time taking pains to assure him how deeply she sympathized in his 63troubles. M. Denon bowed again; and all went on very smoothly until Madame de T—— still addressing herself to M. Denon, declared how very much delighted she had been when his faithful Friday came to share his solitude. “Have you him still,” she asked. On hearing this, M. Denon started, and, turning to the person who sat on his other hand, he said: Is it possible that she can take me for Robinson Crusoe? The fact is, or I should more properly say, as the story goes, poor Madame de T—— had been reading the Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, instead of Denon’s Travels in Egypt.” The Emperor laughed heartily, and afterwards several times related the anecdote himself.

The conversation turned on the inventive malignity of Parisian society, and the fine story that was got up about the cabinet-maker, who awkwardly discovered to B—— the concealed drawer of a bureau, which happened to contain many secrets connected with his own family: the violent anger of B—— against Ventre de Biche, the sympathy expressed for him by Madame de V——, and the singular consolation she afforded him,—all were described. The Emperor was much amused by these details, most of which were new to him, and he expressed his belief that the story was not entirely an invention. He once more repeated his censure of the saloons of Paris, which, he said, might truly be styled the infernal regions. He observed that they kept up a constant system of slander and calumny, and that, therefore, they might with justice have engaged the constant attention of all the tribunals of correctional police in the capital.

The Emperor had now become animated, and he conversed for a considerable time. He happened to mention an officer whom, he said, he had not treated very well; and I ventured to observe that I believed he had, notwithstanding, been Aide-de-camp to a distinguished General. “What signifies that?” resumed the Emperor. “Don’t you know,” continued he, smiling, “that a general frequently has two aides-de-camp: one for the field and one for the household?”

He said a great deal respecting the national inaptitude 64of the French to close a revolution, or to adhere to any fixed order of things; and he alluded to the celebrated affair of Mallet, which he jokingly said might be called a miniature or a caricature of his own return from the Isle of Elba. “Mallet’s absurd plot,” said he, “might have been truly regarded as a hoax. A prisoner of state, an obscure individual, effected his own liberation, and, in his turn, imprisoned the Prefect and even the Minister of Police, those keepers of dungeons and detectors of plots, who suffered themselves to be caught in the snare like so many sheep. A Prefect of Paris, the born sponsor of his department, and moreover a very devoted subject, readily lent himself to every plan for assembling a government that had no existence. Ministers, appointed by the conspirators, were engaged in making their round of visits, when those who nominated them were again safely lodged in prison. Finally, the inhabitants of the capital learned in the morning the sort of political debauch that had taken place during the night, without having been in the least disturbed by it. Such an extravagant attempt,” said the Emperor, “could never have produced any result. Even had it succeeded, it must have fallen, of itself, in the space of a few hours; and the victorious conspirators would have thought only of hiding themselves amidst their success. I was, therefore, far less incensed at the attempt of the criminal than at the facility with which those who appeared most attached to me had been prevailed on to become his accomplices. On my arrival, each candidly related to me the details that concerned himself, and which served to criminate all! they frankly avowed that they had been caught, and had, for a moment, placed full faith in my overthrow. They did not deny that, in the delirium of the moment, they had entered into the designs of the conspirators; and they rejoiced with me at their happy escape. Not one of them mentioned the slightest resistance, or the least effort made to defend and perpetuate the existing government. This seemed never to have entered their heads: so accustomed were they to changes and revolutions, that all were perfectly resigned to the establishment of a new order of things. All therefore changed 65countenance, and manifested the utmost embarrassment; when, in a resolute tone of voice, I said, ‘Well, Gentlemen, it appears you thought my reign at an end; to that I have nothing to say. But where were your oaths to the King of Rome? What became of your principles and doctrines? You make me tremble for the future.’ I found it necessary to make an example, were it only for the sake of putting weak men on their guard for the future; and judgment fell upon poor Frochot, the Prefect of Police, who, I am sure, was attached to me. Yet, at the mere request of one of these mountebank conspirators, instead of making the resistance which his duty required; instead of manifesting a firm determination to perish at his post rather than yield; he very contentedly issued orders for preparing a place for the sitting of the new Government!—Indeed,” said the Emperor, “the readiness with which the French people accommodate themselves to change is calculated to prolong vicissitudes, which no other nation but themselves could endure. Thus, individuals of every party seem to be convinced that all is not yet settled; and Europe shares this opinion, which is founded not less on our natural inconstancy and volatility than on the mass of events that have occurred during the last thirty years.”


4th.—To-day, the Emperor would not receive any one during the whole of the morning. He sent for me at the hour he had appointed for taking the bath, during which, and for some time afterwards, he conversed on the knowledge of the ancients, the historians by whom it has been transmitted to modern times, the connecting links formed by different writers, &c. His reflections on this subject all led to the conclusion that the world is yet in its infancy, and human nature still more so. We then took a view of the structure of the globe, the irregularities of its surface, the unequal division of sea and land, the amount of its population, the scale by 66which that population was dispersed, the different political societies into which it was formed, &c. I calculated that Europe contained 170,000,000 inhabitants. The Emperor remarked that he himself had governed 80,000,000; and, I added that, after the alliance with Prussia and Austria, he had been at the head of more than 100,000,000. The Emperor then suddenly changed the conversation. He asked for my Atlas, and while he looked over it, he several times remarked that it was a truly invaluable work for youth.

Afterwards, when speaking of the wonders of his life and the vicissitudes of his fortune, the Emperor remarked that he ought to have died at Moscow; because, at that time, his military glory had experienced no reverse; and his political career was unexampled in the history of the world. He then drew one of those rapid and animating pictures, which he sketches off with so much facility, and which frequently rise to a degree of sublimity. Observing that the countenance of one of the persons, who happened to be present, was not exactly expressive of approbation, he said, “This is not your opinion? You do not think I ought to have closed my career at Moscow?”—“No, Sire,” was the reply; “for, in that case, history would have been deprived of the return from Elba, of the most generous and most heroic act that ever man performed; of the grandest and most sublime event that the world ever witnessed.”—“Well,” returned the Emperor, “there may be some truth in that; but, what say you to Waterloo? Ought I not to have perished there?”—“Sire,” said the person whom he addressed, “if I have obtained pardon for Moscow, I do not see why I should not ask it for Waterloo also. The future is beyond the will and the power of man; it is in the hands of God alone.”

At another time, the Emperor spoke of the different members of his family, the little assistance he had received from them, the many embarrassments they had occasioned him, &c. He particularly alluded to the mistaken notion they had conceived, that, being once placed at the head of a people, they should become identified with them, so as to prefer their interests to those of the common 67country. This idea, he said, might have originated in honourable feeling; but it was most erroneous and mischievous in its application. In their mistaken notions of independence, the members of his family sometimes seemed to consider their power as detached, forgetting that they were merely parts of a great whole, whose views and interests they should have aided instead of opposed. “But, after all,” continued he, “they were very young and inexperienced, and were surrounded by snares, flatterers, and intriguers, with secret and evil designs.” Then, passing suddenly from their faults to their good qualities, he added, “And yet, if we judge from analogy, what family, in similar circumstances, would have acted better? Every one is not qualified to be a statesman: that requires a combination of powers which does not often fall to the lot of one. In this respect, all my brothers were singularly situated; they possessed at once too much and too little talent. They felt themselves too strong to resign themselves blindly to a guiding counsellor, and yet too weak to be left entirely to themselves. But, take them all in all, I have certainly good reason to be proud of my family.

“Joseph would have been an ornament to society in any country; and Lucien would have been an honour to any political assembly. Jerome, as he advanced in life, would have developed every qualification requisite in a sovereign. Louis would have been distinguished in any rank or condition of life. My sister Eliza was endowed with masculine powers of mind: she must have proved herself a philosopher in her adverse fortune. Caroline possesses great talents and capacity. Pauline, perhaps the most beautiful woman of her age, has been, and will continue to the end of her life, the most amiable creature in the world. As to my mother, she deserves all kind of veneration. How seldom is so numerous a family entitled to so much praise! Add to this, that, setting aside the jarring of political opinions, we sincerely loved each other. For my part, I never ceased to cherish fraternal affection for them all; and I am convinced that in their hearts they felt the same sentiments towards me, and that, in case of need, they would have given me every proof of

68After dinner, the Emperor received all his suite, and we remained with him for upwards of an hour. He was in bed; but he conversed with facility, and was evidently better. We took leave of him with the hope of soon seeing him recovered. We remarked that he had not dined with us for the space of twelve days; and that without him our lives, our hours, our moments were deranged and devoid of interest.


5th.—The Emperor continued confined to his room. He sent for me, as he had done for several days past, at the hour appointed for taking his bath. He was somewhat relieved from the soreness in his mouth; but his teeth were still very tender. He resumed the conversation of the preceding day, on the structure of the globe, &c., for the Emperor now evinced an absolute passion for geography. He took my map of the world, and remarked on the irregular distribution of land and sea. He paused for a time on the vast table-land of Asia; and from the immense Pacific Ocean he passed to the more contracted space of the Atlantic. He started many questions relative to the variable and the trade winds, the monsoons of the Indian Ocean, the calm of the Pacific, the hurricanes of the West Indies, &c.; and he found at the respective places, on the map, the physical and speculative solutions which science furnishes on these subjects. This pleased him exceedingly, and he continued his perusal of the map, making remarks as he went over it: “Tables,” said he, “are of the highest use in assisting the mind to draw comparisons: they awaken and excite ideas. You have fallen on an excellent plan, in thus making your tables of history and geography embrace all the remarkable circumstances and phenomena connected with these sciences. I am every day better and better pleased with your book.”book.”[2]

69The Emperor wished to refer to some of the oldest books of travels; and the works of the monk Rubruquis, and the Italian Marco Polo were brought to him. He glanced over them, and remarked that they contained no information, and possessed no other merit than their old age.

On leaving the bath, he went to his bed-chamber, to see the grand bed that had been sent to him from London, and which had just been put up. It was surmounted by a sort of canopy, supported on four large posts, so high that it was found necessary to cut them at the foot, before it could be put up in the Emperor’s little bed-chamber, which it almost filled. Besides, it had, from some cause or other, a very disagreeable smell, and was altogether so bulky and unsteady that it suggested the idea of a tottering castle. The Emperor said it was an absolute rat-trap; but, that he would take care not to be caught in it. He ordered it to be removed immediately; remarking, that he did not wish to be troubled with such lumber. It was accordingly taken down, and the old camp-bed was substituted in its place. The confusion and inconvenience occasioned by these changes put the Emperor very much out of humour.

In the course of the day, I had a long conversation with an English seaman, an enthusiastic admirer of the Emperor, who related to me several anecdotes, which pleased me the more as they were entirely new to me. But though not generally known, they are not the less true; for some of the facts the narrator had obtained from unquestionable authority, and to others he had himself been a witness. When I afterwards mentioned some of these particulars to the Emperor, he immediately recollected them and acknowledged their correctness. 70However, my informant assured me that, to his great astonishment, these anecdotes had been but little circulated in England; and that there, as well as in France, whatever reflected honour on Napoleon, or showed his character in an advantageous light, was lost by that fatality to which I have so often alluded: for calumny and falsehood constantly overwhelmed all that was good beneath the mass of evil that was invented. The following are some of the anecdotes, to which I have just now alluded.

“We were treated,” said my narrator, “in the best manner possible. At Verdun, the depôt of the English prisoners of war, we enjoyed the same privileges as the inhabitants. Verdun is a very pleasant town, and we found provisions and wine exceedingly cheap. We were allowed to walk several miles beyond the town, without the trouble of asking permission; and we could, if we pleased, obtain leave to absent ourselves for several days at a time. In short, we were so well protected against all sorts of vexations, that the General, under whose command we were placed, having been guilty of some irregularities in his treatment of us, was ordered to Paris, by the special command of Napoleon, and from fear of the punishment that awaited him, he committed suicide. It once happened that we received orders to confine ourselves to our lodgings, and we were informed that we should not be allowed to quit them for several days; the reason assigned for this measure was that the Emperor intended to pass through Verdun, and that it was not thought safe to allow him to be surrounded by so many of the enemy’s prisoners. Besides the disappointment of our curiosity (for we very much wished to see Napoleon), this order hurt us exceedingly. Do they distrust brave English seamen? we thought. Is it possible that they confound us with assassins? Be this as it might, we were doomed to be close prisoners; when, on the day of Napoleon’s arrival, we were, to our surprise, informed that we were again at liberty, and that the Emperor very much disapproved of the order that had been given for our confinement. We eagerly thronged to see the Emperor, and he passed us unattended by 71any escort, with an air of perfect security, and even with an expression of kindness, which quite delighted us. Our acclamations were not less sincere than those of the French themselves.

“Napoleon and Maria Louisa, returning from their journey in Holland, arrived at Givet on the Meuse, where several hundred English prisoners were at that time collected. A sudden storm arose; there was a heavy fall of rain, the river overflowed its banks, and the pontoon bridge was broken and rendered impassable. However, the Emperor, anxious to continue his journey, and not being in the habit of thinking any thing impossible, resolved to cross the river at all hazards. All the boatmen in the neighbourhood were collected together; but not one would attempt to cross. ‘However,’ said Napoleon, ‘I am determined to be on the other side of the river before noon.’ He immediately ordered some of the principal English prisoners to be brought to him: ‘Are there many of you here?’ said he, ‘and are there any sailors among you?’ ‘There are 500 of us, and we are all seamen,’ was the reply. ‘Well, I want to know whether you think it possible to cross the river, and whether you will undertake to convey me to the opposite bank.’ It was acknowledged to be a hazardous attempt, but some of our veterans undertook to accomplish it. Napoleon got into the boat with a degree of confidence that surprised us, and he reached the opposite bank in safety. He heartily thanked those who had rendered him this service, and ordered that they should be supplied with new clothes. To this he added a pecuniary present, and granted them their liberty.

“A young English sailor, seized with an ardent longing to return to his country, escaped from a depôt, and succeeded in making his way to the coast, in the neighbourhood of Boulogne, where he concealed himself in the woods. His eager desire to return home suggested to him the idea of making a little boat, to enable him to reach some of the English cruisers, which he spent the greater part of the day in watching, from the tops of the trees on the shore. He was seized just at 72the moment when he was about to put to sea with his little boat, and to make a desperate attempt to secure his liberty. He was imprisoned on suspicion of being a spy or a robber. This circumstance reached the ears of Napoleon, who was then at Boulogne, and he felt a curiosity to see the boat, of which he heard so much. When it was shown to him, he could not bring himself to believe that any rational being would have ventured to put to sea in it. He ordered the sailor to be brought to him, and the young man declared that he had really intended to escape, with the aid of his boat, and the only favour he asked was permission to execute his project. ‘You appear very eager to return to England,’ said the Emperor; ‘Perhaps you have left a sweetheart behind you?’ ‘No,’ replied the young man, ‘but I have a mother, at home, who is old and infirm, and I am anxious to return to her.’—‘Well, you shall return,’ said Napoleon; and he immediately ordered that the young man should be provided with new clothes, and sent on board the first English cruiser that might appear in sight. He also directed that he should be furnished with a sum of money, as a present to his mother, remarking that she must be a good mother, to have so good a son.”[3]

Among the many acts of kindness which the Emperor exercised towards the English, who were detained in France, there is one which happened to come within my own knowledge, and of which a Mr. Manning was the object. This gentleman, whom I knew very well in Paris, and who had been induced to travel for the sake of scientific investigation, thought he might obtain his liberty by addressing a petition to Napoleon, praying for permission to visit the interior of Asia. His friends 73laughed at his simplicity; but he turned the laugh against us when, at the expiration of a few weeks, he triumphantly informed us of the success of his application. I find it mentioned in Dr. O’Meara’s work, that this same Mr. Manning, after a peregrination of several years, touched at St. Helena, on his return to Europe, and urgently requested leave to see Napoleon, in order to express his gratitude by laying a few presents at his feet, and answering any inquiriesinquiries he might make respecting the Grand Lama, whom he had had an opportunity of visiting through the Emperor’s particular favour.


6th.—The Emperor continued in a state of convalescence, and he received some visitors about the middle of the day. I waited upon him, accompanied by Madame de Montholon. He conversed a great deal about the society of Paris, and related several anecdotes of the Tuileries.

In the evening, the Emperor resumed his geographical observations. He dwelt particularly on Asia; on the situation of Russia, and the facility with which the latter power might make an attempt on India, or even on China, and the alarm which she might, therefore, justly excite in the English. He calculated the number of troops that Russia might employ, their probable point of departure, the route they would be likely to pursue, and the wealth they would obtain in such an enterprise. On all these subjects he made the most curious and valuable remarks. I very much regret my inability to record them here, for my notes, in this instance, afford me only slight hints, and I cannot trust to the accuracy of my memory for filling up the details.

The Emperor next adverted to what he called the admirable situation of Russia against the rest of Europe, to the immense mass she possessed for invasion. He represented that power seated beneath the pole, and backed 74by eternal bulwarks of ice, which, in case of need, would render her inaccessible. Russia, he said, could only be attacked during one third or fourth of the year; while, on the contrary, she had the whole year, the whole twelve months, to act against us; her assailants would encounter the rigours and privations of a frigid climate and a barren soil, while her troops, pouring down upon us, would enjoy the fertility and charms of our southern region.

To these physical circumstances, continued the Emperor, may be added the advantage of an immense population, brave, hardy, devoted and passive, including those numerous uncivilized hordes, to whom privation and wandering are the natural state of existence. “Who can avoid shuddering,” said he, “at the thought of such a vast mass, unassailable either on the flanks or in the rear, descending upon us with impunity; if triumphant, overwhelming every thing in its course; or, if defeated, retiring amidst the cold and desolation, that may be called its reserves in case of defeat; and possessing every facility of issuing forth again at a future opportunity. Is not this the head of the Hydra, the Antæus of fable, which can only be subdued by grappling it bodily, and stifling it in one’s arms. But where is the Hercules to be found? France alone could think of such an achievement, and it must be confessed we made but an awkward attempt at it.”

The Emperor was of opinion that, in the new political combination of Europe, the fate of that portion of the world depended entirely on the capacity and disposition of a single man. “Should there arise,” said he, “an Emperor of Russia, valiant, impetuous, and intelligent; in a word, a Czar with a beard on his chin, (this he pronounced very emphaticalllyemphaticallly) Europe is his own. He may commence his operations on the German territory, one hundred leagues from the two capitals, Berlin and Vienna, whose sovereigns are his only obstacles. He secures the alliance of the one by force, and with his aid subdues the other, at a single stroke. He then finds himself in the heart of Germany, amidst the Princes of the second rank, most of whom are either his relations or dependents. 75Meanwhile, he may, should he think it necessary, throw a few firebrands across the Alps, on the soil of Italy, ripe for explosion, and he may then march triumphantly to Paris to proclaim himself the new Liberator. I know if I were in such a situation, I would undertake to reach Calais in a given time, and by regular marching stations, thereto become the master and arbiter of Europe....” Then, after a few moments’ silence, he added, “Perhaps, my dear Las Cases, you may be tempted to say, as the minister of Pyrrhus said to his master, ‘And after all, to what purpose?’ My answer is, to establish a new state of society, and to avert great misfortunes. This is a blessing which Europe expects and solicits. The old system is ended, and the new one is not consolidated, and will not be so until after long and furious convulsions.”

The Emperor was again silent, and after measuring, with his compasses, the distances on the map, he observed that Constantinople was, from its situation, calculated to be the centre and seat of universal dominion.

He then alluded to the English settlements in India, and asked me whether I knew any thing of their history. I told him what little I knew on this subject.

Queen Elizabeth created an East India Company by virtue of her royal prerogative.

A century later, the Parliament created another. However, as these two companies were found to injure each other by their competitions, they were united under one charter.

In 1716, the Company obtained from the sovereigns of India the famous firman or Indian charter, authorizing them to export or import free of all duty.

In 1741, the Company first commenced military interference in the affairs of India, in opposition to the French Company, who took the adverse side. Since then, the two nations have constantly waged war in that distant land, whenever a contest arose between them in Europe. France had a short interval of success in the war of 1740, was crushed in 1755, maintained an equality in 1779, and at length totally disappeared during the war of the Revolution.

76The English East India Company now rules the whole peninsula, including a population of more than 60,000,000, of which 20,000,000 are its subjects, 20,000,000 its tributaries or allies, and the rest are involved in its system and obliged to go along with it.[4]

Such is the famous East India Company, which at once acts the part of merchant and sovereign; whose wealth is derived both from commercial profits and territorial revenues. Hence it results that the merchant is frequently actuated by the ambition of the sovereign, while the sovereign plans, directs, and executes with the cupidity of the merchant. In these peculiar circumstances, in this two-fold character, we may trace the cause of the progress, measures, conflicts, contradictions, disorders, and clamours, that compose the history of this celebrated Company.

The English East India Company has long reigned absolute and independent. It was and still continues to be represented by a Court of Directors, chosen from among the proprietors. These Directors delegate and direct in India, by despatches, a regency or council, consisting of a Governor and some assessors, who represent and exercise the sovereign authority.

In 1767, the Crown for the first time put forward claims on the territory and revenues of India; but the Company purchased its relinquishment of them by a subsidy equivalent to ten or twelve millions of francs.

About the year 1773, the East India Company, finding its affairs extremely deranged, made application to Parliament, which took advantage of its embarrassment to secure its dependence. The Company’s possessions were subjected to new political, judicial, and financial regulations, which, however, produced no very satisfactory result. The Indian peninsula was thrown into the utmost disorder; and the establishment of a Supreme Court of Justice, operating as a rival to the Sovereign Council, and appointed for the purpose of introducing English 77laws in the country, particularly excited the dissatisfaction and alarm of the natives. The fury of parties, and their reciprocal accusations and complaints, have transmitted to us a picture of the odious measures, the boundless rapacity and atrocious tyranny of this stormy period, which is the least honourable in the history of the East India Company.

In 1783, with the view of providing a radical remedy for these evils, Mr. Fox, who was then Prime Minister, brought forward his famous Bill, the failure of which occasioned his resignation. Mr. Pitt, who had been the opponent of this Bill, in the following year introduced another, which laid the foundation of his celebrity, and which still continues to regulate the affairs of the East India Company. Fox’s Bill would, in fact, have been a judicial seizure; it would have placed all the Company’s property in the hands of a managing committee, who were to liquidate its debts, and dispose of all employments. The members of this Committee, appointed by the King or by Parliament, were to be irremoveable, and were to sit until they should have established the affairs of the Company on a better footing. A general outcry was raised against these propositions, which, it was said, would place important interests, vast patronage, and enormous influence, in the hands of a few individuals. It was said that the Bill was calculated to introduce a fourth power in the state, and to set up a rival to the Crown itself. Mr. Fox was even accused of a wish to establish himself permanently in office, by creating a sort of concealed sovereignty, superior to that of the King; for, Fox being at this time Minister, and having Parliament under his control, he would have appointed and ruled the proposed Committee. Through the influence of this Committee, he would have composed and governed Parliament, and with the aid of Parliament, he would have established and perpetuated the Committee; in short, there was no end to the power which he would thus have exercised. A violent clamour arose, and the King made the business a personal matter. He appealed to his 78own friends, to those individuals in the House of Peers who were sincerely attached to him, and regarded the measures proposed as an attack on his very existence. The Bill failed, and Fox quitted the ministry.

Pitt was more adroit, and assumed the appearance of greater moderation. In his Bill, he merely contented himself with placing the Company under a sort of guardianship; submitting all its operations to a Committee appointed to revise and counter-sign them. He left to the Company the power of nomination to all employments; but reserved to the Crown the appointment of the Governor General, and the veto on all other nominations. This Committee, which was appointed by the King, formed a new branch in the administration. Complaints were now raised against the vast increase of influence which this measure would give to the royal authority, and which, it was affirmed, would infallibly break the constitutional equilibrium. Fox had been reproached with having wished to keep this influence wholly apart from the King; and Pitt was accused of having placed it entirely in his hands. All that the one had desired to do for the people, it was said the other had done for the monarch. Indeed, these two distinct characters, these two opposite evils, constituted the whole difference between the two Bills, which produced a decisive battle between the Whigs and Tories. Mr. Pitt gained the victory, and the Tories triumphed.

The faults of Fox’s Bill still remain hypothetical, since they were never put to the test; but the evils that were predicted from Pitt’s measures have been formally fulfilled. The equilibrium of power has been broken, the true English constitution has ceased to exist, the royal authority, daily augmented, has encroached in every direction, and is now marching, unimpeded, on the high road, to arbitrary and absolute power.

The Ministers command in Parliament a majority, which they have themselves created, which perpetuates their power and legalizes their arbitrary measures. Thus, English liberty is daily more and more fettered by 79the very forms which were intended for its defence; and the future, instead of affording a prospect of remedy, appears to threaten greater misfortunes! How could Fox’s plan have produced more fatal results? For it may truly be said that all the great encroachments that have been made on the English constitution have been occasioned by the interests of India. Surely the weight which Fox wished to secure to the popular side could not have been more disastrous to the cause of liberty than that with which Pitt surcharged the royal prerogative!

Consequently, it is now often boldly asserted that Fox was in the right, that he was wiser, and could not have been so mischievous as his rival.

The names of Pitt and Fox having been thus introduced, the Emperor dwelt long on the characters, systems, and measures of those two celebrated statesmen; and concluded with the following remarks, which had already fallen from him on several previous occasions: “Pitt,” said he, “was the master of European policy; he held in his hand the moral fate of nations; but he made an ill use of his power. He kindled the fire of discord throughout the universe; and his name, like that of Erostratus, will be inscribed in history, amidst flames, lamentations, and tears!... The first sparks of our Revolution, then the resistance that was opposed to the national will, and, finally, the horrid crimes that ensued, all were his work. Twenty-five years of universal conflagration; the numerous coalitions that added fuel to the flame; the revolution and devastation of Europe; the bloodshed of nations; the frightful debt of England, by which all these horrors were maintained; the pestilential system of loans, by which the people of Europe are oppressed; the general discontent that now prevails;—all must be attributed to Pitt. Posterity will brand him as a scourge; and the man so lauded in his own time will hereafter be regarded as the genius of evil. Not that I consider him to have been really wicked, or doubt his having entertained the conviction that he was acting right. But St. Bartholomew had also its conscientious advocates; the Pope and Cardinals celebrated it by a Te Deum; and we have no reason to doubt their having done so in perfect sincerity. Such is 80the weakness of human reason and judgment! But that for which posterity will, above all, execrate the memory of Pitt, is the hateful school that he has left behind him, its insolent Machiavelism, its profound immorality, its cold egotism, and its utter disregard of justice and human happiness.

“Whether it be the effect of admiration and gratitude, or the result of mere instinct and sympathy, Pitt is, and will continue to be, the idol of the European aristocracy. There was, indeed, a touch of the Sylla in his character. His system has kept the popular cause in check, and brought about the triumph of the patricians. As to Fox, one must not look for his model among the ancients. He is himself a model, and his principles will sooner or later rule the world.”

The Emperor said a great deal about Fox, and expressed the great attachment he entertained for him. He had had his bust put up at Malmaison, before he knew him personally. He concluded with a remark, which he used often to make, at different times, and in various ways: “Certainly,” said he, “the death of Fox was one of the fatalities of my career. Had his life been prolonged, affairs would have taken a totally different turn; the cause of the people would have triumphed, and we should have established a new order of things in Europe.”

Returning to the subject of the East India Company, the Emperor observed that the question respecting the comparative advantage of the monopoly of a company, or free trade for all, was an important subject of consideration. “A Company,” said he, “places great advantages in the hands of a few individuals, who may attend very well to their own interests, while they neglect those of the mass. Thus every company soon degenerates into an oligarchy: it is always the friend of power, to which it is ready to lend every assistance. In this point of view, companies were exclusively suited to old times and old systems. Free trade, on the contrary, is favourable to the interests of all classes; it excites the imagination and rouses the activity of a people; it is identical with equality, and naturally leads to independence. In this respect, it is most in unison with our 81modern system. After the treaty of Amiens, by which France regained her Indian possessions, I had this grand question thoroughly discussed before me, and at great length; I heard both statesmen and commercial men; and my final opinion was in favour of free trade, and against companies.”

The Emperor then discussed several points of political economy which are treated by Smith in his Wealth of Nations. He admitted that they were true in principle; but proved them to be false in application. Unfortunately, the scantiness of my notes here prevents me from entering into particulars.

“Formerly,” said he, “only one kind of property was known, that which consisted in landed possessions; afterwards, a second kind arose, that of industry or manufactures, which is now in opposition to the first; then arose a third, that which is derived from the burdens levied on the people, and which, distributed by the neutral and impartial hands of government, might obviate the evils of monopoly on the part of the two others, intervene between them, and prevent them from coming into actual conflict.” This great contest of modern times, he called the war of the fields against the factories, of the castles against the counting-houses.

“It is,” said he, “because men will not acknowledge this great revolution in property, because they persist in closing their eyes on these truths, that so many acts of folly are now committed, and that nations are exposed to so many disorders. The world has sustained a great shock, and it now seeks to return to a settled state. There,” said he, “is in two words, the Key to the universal agitation that at present prevails: the ship’s cargo has been shifted, her ballast has been removed from the stem to the stern; hence are produced those violent oscillations which may occasion her wreck in the first storm, if the crew persist in working the vessel according to the usual method, and without obtaining a new balance.”

This day has been rich in materials for my Journal. Besides the subjects to which I have already alluded, several others were introduced. When speaking of India and the English East India Company, the name of M. de Suffren was mentioned.

82The Emperor had had no opportunity of forming a correct idea of the character of this officer: he had heard of his having rendered important services to his country and for that reason alone, he (Napoleon) had been very liberal to his family. The Emperor questioned me respecting Suffren. I had not known him personally, and therefore I could only report what I had heard of him from other persons in the navy. It was admitted that, since the time of Louis XIV., M. de Suffren was the only officer who bore a resemblance to the distinguished men of the brilliant period of our navy.

Suffren possessed genius, invention, ardour, ambition, and inflexible steadiness; he was one of those men whom Nature has fitted for any thing. I have heard very shrewd and sensible persons say that his death, in the year 1789, might have been looked upon as a national calamity; that, had he been admitted to the King’s Council in the critical moment, he might have brought matters to a very different result. Suffren, who was harsh, capricious, egotistical, and a very unpleasant companion, was loved by nobody, though he was valued and admired by all.

He was a man with whom no one could live on good terms. He was impatient of control, fond of condemning every thing, and, while he incessantly declaimed against the utility of tactics, he proved himself to be a perfect tactician. In short, he evinced all the irritability and restlessness of genius and ambition deprived of elbow-room.

On obtaining the command of the Indian squadron, he went to take leave of the King, and one of the officers of the palace could with difficulty open a passage for him through the crowd. “I thank you,” said he to the Usher, grunting and snorting in his usual way; “but when I come out, Sir, you shall see that I know how to clear the way for myself.” And he spoke truly.

On his arrival in India, he opened a new theatre for the arms of France, and performed prodigies, which perhaps have not been duly appreciated in Europe. He set on foot measures and plans of command hitherto unknown; taking every thing upon himself, hazarding all, inventing all, and foreseeing all. He broke and created his officers 83as he thought proper; fitted out and manned ships that had long since been condemned; and found a wintering station on the spot, when, according to the old routine, the ships would have been obliged to sail to the Isle of France, a distance of twelve or fifteen hundred leagues. Finally, he broke through all rules, approached the coast, took on board troops who had been fighting the old enemy, and, after they had assisted him in opposing the English squadron, he conveyed them back to their camp, to resume the contest by land. Thus the French flag assumed a superiority that disconcerted the enemy. “Oh,” exclaimed the Emperor, “why did not Suffren live till my time, or why did not I light on a man of his stamp? I would have made him our Nelson. I was constantly seeking for a man qualified to raise the character of the French navy; but I could never find one. There is in the navy a peculiarity, a technicality, that impeded all my conceptions. If I proposed a new idea, immediately Ganthaume, and the whole Marine Department, were up in arms against me.—‘Sire, that cannot be.‘—Why not?—‘Sire, the winds do not admit of it:’ then objections were started respecting calms and currents, and I was obliged to stop short. How is it possible to maintain a discussion with those whose language we do not comprehend? How often, in the Council of State, have I reproached naval officers with taking an undue advantage of this circumstance! To hear them talk, one might have been led to suppose that it was necessary to be born in the navy to know any thing about it. Yet I often told them that, had it been in my power to have performed a voyage to India with them, I should, on my return, have been as familiar with their profession as with the field of battle. But they could not credit this. They always repeated that no man could be a good sailor unless he were brought up to it from his cradle; and they at length prevailed on me to adopt a plan, about which I long hesitated, namely, the enrolment of several thousands of children from six to eight years of age.

“My resistance was vain; I was compelled to yield to the unanimous voice, while I assured those who urged me to this measure that I left all the responsibility with 84them. What was the result? It excited clamour and discontent on the part of the public, who turned the whole affair into ridicule, styling it the massacre of the innocents, &c. Subsequently, De Winter, Verhuel, all the great naval commanders of the north, and others, assured me that from eighteen to twenty (the age for the conscription), was early enough to begin to learn the duties of a sailor. The Danes and Swedes employ their soldiers in the navy. With the Russians, the fleet is but a portion of the army; which affords the invaluable advantage of keeping up a standing army, and for a twofold object.

“I had myself,” added he, “planned something of the kind, when I created my marines; but what obstacles had I to encounter; what prejudices had I to subdue; what perseverance was I obliged to exert, before I could succeed in clothing the sailors in uniform, forming them into regiments, and drilling them by military exercise! I was told that I should ruin all. And yet, can there be a greater advantage than for one country to possess both an army and a navy? The men, thus disciplined, were not worse sailors than the rest; while, at the same time, they were the best soldiers. They were, in case of need, prepared to serve as sailors, soldiers, artillerymen, pontooners, &c. If, instead of being thus opposed by obstacles, I had found in the navy a man capable of entering into my views, and promoting my ideas, what importance might we not have obtained! But, during my reign, I never found a naval officer who could depart from the old routine, and strike out a new course. I was much attached to the navy; I admired the courage and patriotism of our seamen; but I never found between them and me an intermediate agent, who could have brought them into operation in the way I wished.”


7th.—Speaking of his imperial system, Napoleon observed that it had been the means of creating the most 85compact government, establishing the most rapid circulation in all its parts, and calling forth the most nervous efforts that had ever been witnessed. “And nothing short of this,” said he, “would have enabled us to triumph over such numerous difficulties, and to achieve so many wonders. The organization of the Prefectures, their operations, and the results they produced, were admirable. One and the same impulse was simultaneously communicated to more than 40,000,000 of men; and, by the help of those centres of local activity, the movement was not less rapid and energetic at the extremities than in the heart itself.

“Foreigners who visited France, and who were capable of observing and discerning, were filled with astonishment. To this uniformity of action prevailing over an immense extent of territory, must be attributed those prodigious efforts and immense results, which were acknowledged to have been hitherto inconceivable.

“The Prefects, with their local authority and resources, were themselves Emperors on a small scale. As their whole power proceeded from the main spring, of which they were only the communicating channels; as their influence was not personal, but was derived from their temporary functions; as they had no connexion with the district over which their jurisdiction extended; they afforded all the advantages of the great absolute agents of the old system, without any of their disadvantages. It was necessary to create this power,” continued the Emperor, “for the force of circumstances had placed me in the situation of a dictator. It was requisite that all the filaments issuing from me should be in harmony with the first cause, or my system would have failed in its result. The network which I spread over the French territory required a violent tension and prodigious power of elasticity, in order to cause the terrible blows that were constantly levelled at us to rebound to a distance. Thus most of the springs of my machinery were merely institutions connected with dictatorship, and measures for warlike defence. When the moment should have arrived for slackening the reins, all my connecting filaments would have relaxed sympathetically, 86and we should then have proceeded to our peace establishment and local institutions. If we yet possessed none of these, it was because circumstances did not admit of them. Our immediate fall would have been the infallible consequence, had we been provided with them at the outset. It must not be supposed that the nation was all at once prepared to make a proper use of her liberty. Both with respect to education and character, the bulk of the people were imbued with too many of the prejudices of past times. We were daily improving, but we had yet much to acquire. At the time of the revolutionary explosion, the patriots, generally speaking, were such by nature and by instinct: with them patriotism was an innate sentiment, a passion, a phrensy. Hence the effervescence, the extravagance, the fury, which marked that period. But it is vain to attempt to naturalize and mature the modern system by blows or by leaps. It must be implanted with education, and must take root with reason and conviction; and this will infallibly take place in the course of time, because modern principles are founded on natural truths. But,” added he, “the men of our time were eager for the possession of power, which they exercised with a domineering spirit, to say no worse, while, on the other hand, they were ready to become the slaves of those who were above them!... We have always wavered between these two extremes. In the course of my journeys, I was often obliged to say to the high officers who were about my person:—Pray let the Prefect speak for himself. If I went to some subdivision of a department, I then found it necessary to say to the Prefect:—Let the sub-prefect or the mayor make his reply. So eager were all to eclipse each other, and so little did they perceive the advantage that might arise from direct communication with me! If I sent my great officers or ministers to preside at the electoral colleges, I always advised them not to get nominated as candidates for the Senate, as their seats were secured to them by other means, and I wished that they should resign the honour of the nomination to the principal individuals of the provinces: but they never conformed with my wishes.”

This reminded me of a misunderstanding that once 87took place, between the Emperor and the Minister DecrèsDecrès, on the subject here alluded to. The Emperor having expressed displeasure at the nomination of the minister:—“Sire,” replied the latter, “your influence is more powerful than your will. I in vain resisted, and assured them that you wished these nominations to be made among themselves. They insisted on shewing deference to your choice, and if you send me back, I shall only be nominated over again.”

“I granted,” said Napoleon, “enormous salaries to Prefects and others; but, with regard to my liberality on this head, it is necessary to distinguish between what was systematic and what was incidental. The latter forced me to grant lucrative appointments; the former would ultimately have enabled me to obtain gratuitous services. At the first outset, when the object was to conciliate individuals, and to re-establish some kind of society and morality, liberal salaries, absolute fortunes, were indispensable; but, the result being obtained, and in the course of time the natural order of things being restored, my intention, on the contrary, would have been to render almost all high public duties gratuitous. I would have discarded those needy individuals who cannot be their own masters, and whose urgent wants engender political immorality. I would have wrought such a change in opinion that public posts should have been sought after for the mere honour of filling them. The functions of magistrate or justice of the peace would have been discharged by men of fortune, who, being guided solely by duty, philanthropy, and honourable ambition, would have afforded the surest pledge of independence. It is this that constitutes the dignity and majesty of a nation, that exalts her character, and establishes public morals. Such a change had become indispensable in France, and the dislike of getting into place might have been considered the forerunner of our return to political morality. I have been informed that the mania of place-hunting has crossed the sea, and that the contagion has been communicated to our neighbours. The English of former days were as much superior to this kind of meanness as the people of the United States now are. The love of place 88is the greatest check to public morals. A man who solicits a public post feels his independence sold beforehand. In England, the greatest families, the whole peerage, disdain not to hunt after places. Their excuse is that the enormous burdens of taxation deprive them of the means of living without additions to their income. Pitiful pretence! It is because their principles are more decayed than their fortunes. When people of a certain rank stoop to solicit public posts for the sake of emolument, there is an end to all independence and dignity of national character. In France, the shocks and commotions of our Revolution might have afforded an apology for such conduct. All had been unsettled, and all felt the necessity of re-establishing themselves. To promote this object, with the least possible offence to delicacy of feeling, I was induced to attach considerable emolument and high honour to all public posts. But, in the course of time, I intended to work a change by the mere force of opinion. And this was by no means impossible. Every thing must yield to the influence of power, when it is directed to objects truly just, honourable, and great.

“I was preparing a happy reign for my son. For his sake I was rearing in the new school, the numerous class of auditors of the Council of State. Their education being completed, they would, on attaining the proper age, have filled all the public posts in the Empire; thus confirmed in modern principles, and improved by the example of their precursors. They would all have been twelve or fifteen years older than my son, who would by this means have been placed between two generations and all their advantages: maturity, experience and prudence above him; youth, promptitude, and activity below him.”

Here I could not refrain from expressing my astonishment that the Emperor should never have thrown out a hint of the grand and important objects which he had in contemplation. “What would have been the use of promulgating my intentions,” said he; “I should have been styled a quack, accused of insinuation and subtilty, and have fallen into discredit. Situated as I was, deprived 89of hereditary authority, and of the illusion called legitimacy, I was compelled to avoid entering the lists with my opponents; I was obliged to be bold, imperious, and decisive. You have told me that in your Faubourg they used to say, Why is he not legitimate? If I had been so, I certainly could not have done more than I did; but my conduct might have appeared more amiable.”


8th—To-day the Emperor dictated to one of his suite, by which we were very much gratified, for it was a proof that he felt himself better.

I attended him after dinner. The exertion of dictating seemed to have roused his spirits. He was in a very talkative mood; and we conversed together, walking backward and forward in his chamber. The troubles of La Vendée, and the men who had been distinguished in them, formed the principal topics of discourse.

Charette was the only individual to whom the Emperor attached particular importance. “I have read a history of La Vendée,” said he, “and if the details and portraits were correct, Charette was the only great character, the true hero, of that remarkable episode of our Revolution, which, if it presented great misfortunes, at least did not sacrifice our glory. In the wars of La Vendée, Frenchmen destroyed each other; but they did not degrade themselves: they received aid from foreigners; but they did not stoop to the disgrace of marching under their banners, and receiving daily pay for merely executing their commands. Yes,” continued he, “Charette impressed me with the idea of a great character. I observed that he on several occasions acted with uncommon energy and intrepidity. He betrayed genius.” I mentioned that I had known Charette very well in my youth; had been in the marines together at Brest, and for a long time we shared the same chamber, and messed at the same table. The brilliant career and exploits of Charette very much astonished all who had formerly 90been acquainted with him. We looked upon him as a common-place sort of man, destitute of information, ill-tempered, and extremely indolent; and we all, with one accord, pronounced him to belong to the class of insignificant beings. It is true that, when he began to rise into celebrity, we recollected a circumstance which certainly indicated decision of character. When Charette was first called into service, during the American war, and while yet a mere youth, he sailed from Brest in a cutter during the winter. The cutter lost her mast; and to a vessel of that class such an accident was equivalent to certain destruction. The weather was very stormy. Death seemed inevitable; and the sailors, throwing themselves on their knees, lost all presence of mind, and refused to make any effort to save themselves. Charette, notwithstanding his extreme youth, killed one of the men, in order to compel the rest to make the necessary exertions. This dreadful example had the desired effect, and the vessel was saved. “You see,” said the Emperor, “true decision of character always develops itself in critical circumstances. Here was the spark that distinguished the hero of La Vendée. Men’s dispositions are often misunderstood. There are sleepers whose waking is terrible. Kleber was an habitual slumberer; but, at the needful moment, he never failed to awake, a lion.”

I added that I had often heard Charette relate that, at a particular moment of extreme danger, the whole crew of the cutter, by a spontaneous impulse, made a vow to go in their shirts and barefooted, to carry a taper to our Lady of Recouvrance, at Brest, if she would vouchsafe to ensure their safety. “And you may believe it or not as you please,” added Charette with great simplicity: “but the fact is, they had no sooner uttered their prayer than the wind suddenly abated, and from that moment we were inspired with the hope of preservation.” On their return to land, the sailors, headed by their officers, devoutly fulfilled their vow. This was not the only miraculous circumstance connected with the little cutter. It was in the month of December, and the night was long and dark. The vessel had got among 91reefs, and, without mast or any nautical aid, she floated at random, and the crew had resigned themselves to the will of fate, when they unexpectedly heard the ringing of a bell. They sounded, and, finding but little depth of water, they cast anchor. What was their surprise and joy, when they found themselves, at day-break, at the mouth of the river of Landernau! The bell they had heard was that of the neighbouring parish church. The cutter had miraculously escaped the numerous rocks that are scattered about the entrance of Brest: she had been carried through the narrow inlet to the port, had passed three or four hundred ships that were lying in the roads, and had at length found a shelter precisely at the mouth of a river, in a calm and retired spot. “This,” said the Emperor, “shews the difference between the blindfold efforts of man, and the certain course of nature. That at which you express so much surprise must necessarily have happened. It is very probable that, with the full power of exerting the utmost skill, the confusion and errors of the moment would have occasioned the wreck of the vessel; whereas, in spite of so many adverse chances, nature saved her. She was borne onward by the tide; the force of the current carried her precisely through the middle of each channel, so that she could not possibly have been lost.”

Again alluding to the war of La Vendée, the Emperor mentioned that he had been withdrawn from the army of the Alps, for the purpose of being transferred to that of La Vendée; but that he preferred resigning his commission to entering a service where he conceived he should only be concurring in mischief, without the probability of obtaining any personal benefit. He said that one of the first acts of his Consulate had been to quell the troubles in La Vendée. He did much for that unfortunate department, the inhabitants of which were very grateful to him; and when he passed through it, even the priests appeared to be sincerely favourable to him. “Thus,” continued the Emperor, “the late insurrections did not present the same character as the first. Their prominent feature was not blind fanaticism, but merely passive obedience to a ruling aristocracy. Be this as it 92may, Lamarque, whom I sent to La Vendée at the height of the crisis, performed wonders, and even surpassed my hopes.” What might not have been his influence in the great contest; for the most distinguished chiefs of La Vendée, those who are doubtless at this moment enjoying the favours of the Court, acknowledged, through Lamarque, Napoleon as Emperor, even after Waterloo, even after his abdication! Was it that Lamarque was ignorant of the real state of things, or was it merely a whim on the partpart of the conqueror? At all events, Lamarque is in exile: he is one of the thirty-eight; “because it is easier to proscribe than to conquer.”

The Emperor dined with us to-day, for the first time since his illness, that is to say, for the space of sixteen days. Our dinner was therefore a sort of festival: but we could not help remarking, with regret, the change in the Emperor’s countenance, which presented obvious traces of the ill effects of his long confinement.

After dinner we resumed our readings, which had been so long suspended. The Emperor read the Agamemnon of Æschylus, which he very much admired for its great force and simplicity. We were particularly struck with the graduation of terror which characterizes the productions of this father of tragedy. It was observed that this was the first spark to which the light of the modern drama may be traced.

Agamemnon being ended, the Emperor asked for the Œdipus of Sophocles, which also interested us exceedingly: and the Emperor expressed his regret at not having had it performed at St. Cloud. Talma had always opposed the idea; but the Emperor was sorry that he had relinquished it. “Not,” said he, “that I wished to correct our drama by antique models. Heaven forbid! But I merely wished to have an opportunity of judging how far ancient composition would have harmonized with modern notions.” He said he was convinced that such a performance would have afforded pleasure; and he made several remarks on the impression that was likely to be produced on modern taste by the Greek Coryphæus chorusses, &c.

93He next turned to Voltaire’s Œdipus, on which he bestowed high commendation. This piece, he said, contained the finest scene in the French Drama. As to its faults, the absurd passion of Philoctetes, for example, they must not, he said, be attributed to the poet, but to the manners of the age, and the great actresses of the day, to whose laws a dramatic writer is obliged to submit. This commendation of Voltaire rather surprised us: it was something novel and singular in the mouth of the Emperor.

At eleven o’clock, after the Emperor had retired to bed, he sent for me, and resumed his conversation on the ancient and modern drama; on which he made many curious remarks. In the first place, he expressed his surprise that the Romans should have had no tragedies; but then again he observed that tragedy, in dramatic representation, would have been ill calculated to rouse the feelings of the Romans, since they performed real tragedy in their circuses. “The combats of the gladiators,” said he, “the sight of men consigned to the fury of wild beasts, were far more terrible than all our dramatic horrors put together. These, in fact, were the only tragedies suited to the iron nerves of the Romans.”

However, it was observed that the Romans possessed some dramatic essays, produced by Seneca. By the by, it is a curious fact, that in Seneca’s Medea, the chorus distinctly predicts the discovery of America, which took place fourteen hundred years after that drama was written. In the passage here alluded to, it is said, “A new Tiphys, a son of the earth, will, in ages to come, discover remote regions towards the west, and Thule will no longer be the extremity of the universe.”[5]




9th.—To-day the Emperor felt himself infinitely better. He was surrounded by all his suite, and he began to talk of the prodigies of his early career, which, he said, must have produced a great impression in the world. “So great an impression,” said an individual present, “that some were induced to regard them as supernatural.” On this subject, the following anecdote was related: At the time of the explosion of the infernal machine, a person, who had just heard the news, called at a house in a certain quarter of the capital, and, hastily entering the drawing-room, in which a party was assembled, he informed the company that Napoleon was no more; and after giving an account of the event that had just taken place, he concluded by saying: “He is fairly blown up.” “He blown up!” exclaimed an old Austrian officer, who had eagerly listened to all that was said, and who had been a witness to many of the dangers which the young General of the army of Italy had so miraculously escaped; “he blown up! Ah! you know nothing about him. I venture to say that he is, at this very moment, as well as any of us. I know him and all his tricks of old!”

The name of Madame R—-- de St. J—-- d’A—-- having been mentioned, and some one having remarked to the Emperor how much attachment she had evinced for him during his stay at the Isle of Elba. “How! she?” exclaimed the Emperor, with mingled surprise and satisfaction.—“Yes, Sire.”—“Poor lady!” said he, in a tone of deep regret; “and yet how ill I treated her! Well! this at least repays me for the ingratitude of those renegades, on whom I lavished so many favours....” Then, after a few moments’moments’ silence, he said, significantly, “It is very certain that one can never know people’s characters and sentiments until after great trials.“

At dinner, the Emperor was very good humoured and cheerful. He congratulated himself on having got 95through his late illness, without having recourse to medicine, without paying tribute to the Doctor. At this, he said, the latter had been very much vexed. He would have been content with ever so little, with the slightest acknowledgment; he only asked for compliance with the form, like a priest in confession. The Emperor laughed, and added, that, out of mere complaisance, he had made trial of a gargle, but that its strong acidity had disagreed with him. This led him to observe that mild medicines were best suited to his constitution. “Gentle remedies, whether physical or moral,” said he, “are the only ones that take effect on me.”

In the course of conversation, the Emperor spoke of the Empresses Josephine and Maria Louisa, of whom he related some very interesting details, and concluded with his usual observation, that the one was the model of the graces, with all their fascinations; and the other the emblem of innocence, with all its charms.

The Emperor mentioned that Malmaison had cost about three or four hundred thousand francs: that is to say, all that he was at that time possessed of. He then calculated the amount of the sums which the Empress Josephine must have received from him: and added that, with a little order and regularity, she might, probably, have left behind her fifty or sixty million francs. “Her extravagance,” said the Emperor, “vexed me beyond measure. Calculator as I am, I would, of course, rather have given away a million of francs than have seen a hundred thousand squandered away.” He informed us that, having one day unexpectedly broken in upon Josephine’s morning circle, he found a celebrated milliner, whom he had expressly forbidden to go near the Empress, as she was ruining her by extravagant demands. “My unlooked for entrance occasioned great dismay in the academic sitting. I gave some orders unperceived, and on the lady’s departure, she was seized and carried to Bicètre. A great outcry was raised among the higher circles in Paris; it was said that my conduct was disgraceful. It soon became the fashion to visit the milliner in her confinement, and there was daily a file of carriages at the gate of the prison. The police informed 96me of these facts. All the better, said I; but I hope she is not treated with severity; not confined in a dungeon?—‘No, Sire, she has a suite of apartments, and a drawing room.’ Oh, well! let her be. If this measure is pronounced to be tyrannical, so much the better; it will be a diapason stroke for a great many others. Very little will serve to shew that I can do more.” He also mentioned a celebrated man-milliner, who, he remarked, was the most insolent fellow he had ever met with in the whole course of his life. “I was one day,” said the Emperor, “speaking to him respecting a trousseau that he had furnished, when he had the presumption to call my conduct in question. He did what no man in France, except himself, would have ventured to do; he began, with great volubility, to prove to me that I did not grant a sufficient allowance to the Empress Josephine; and that it was impossible she could pay for her clothes out of such a sum. I soon put an end to his impertinent eloquence; I cut him short with a look, and left him transfixed.”

When the Emperor had retired to his chamber, he sent for me, and after he had gone to bed, he continued to converse very cheerfully, on various subjects. He said he found himself much better, and that he felt a pleasure in chatting. However, he was very much troubled with cough, and this had forced him to rise from table earlier than he otherwise would have done. “I unthinkingly took too much snuff,” said he, “my attention having been absorbed in the conversation of the moment. In such a case you should always take away my snuff-box: that is the way to serve those one loves.”


10th.—For some days past, the Emperor has been reading works on war, fortifications, artillery, &c. He has examined Vauban, an account of Campaigns during the Revolution, Gassendi’s Dictionary, and Guibert’s Tactics; with all of which he is much pleased. These 97subjects have led him to speak of several Generals who have already been frequently noticed in the course of this Journal. “They could only carry on war on high roads,” said he, “and within range of cannon, when their field of battle should have extended over a whole country.”

During dinner, he spoke of the Campaign of Dumouriez in Champagne, which he had just been reading. He thought little of the Duke of Brunswick, who with a plan of offensive operations, had advanced only eighteen leagues in forty days. But, on the other hand, he very much blamed Dumouriez, whose position, he said, was far too hazardous. “For me, this is saying a great deal,” added he; “for I consider myself to have been the most venturous man in war that perhaps ever lived. Yet I should certainly have been afraid to keep the position that Dumouriez retained; so numerous were the dangers it presented. I could only explain his manœuvre, on the supposition that he could not venture to retire; he would probably have encountered greater risks in retreating than in staying where he was. Wellington was placed in the same situation at Waterloo.

“The French are the bravest troops in the world. They will fight in whatever position they may be attacked; but they cannot retreat before a victorious enemy. If they experience the least check, they lose all presence of mind and discipline; they slip through your fingers, as it were. Dumouriez, I suppose, calculated on this; or perhaps he might have been influenced by some secret negotiation of which we are ignorant.”

The newspapers, which we perused to-day, mentioned the marriage of Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg to the Princess Charlotte of Wales.

“Prince Leopold,” said the Emperor, “once had a chance of becoming my aid-de-camp. He solicited the appointment, and I don’t know what prevented his obtaining it. However, it was lucky for him that his application proved unsuccessful: had it been otherwise, his present marriage would never have taken place. 98Who can pretend to say what is fortunate or unfortunate in the events of human life!...”

Princess Charlotte of Wales next became the subject of conversation. Some one observed that she was exceedingly popular in England, and that she had given many unequivocal proofs of energy of character. The English were of opinion that she would be another Elizabeth, and she herself seemed to cherish that idea. The person who made these remarks said that he happened to be in London in 1814, at the time when the young Princess, indignant at the ill treatment of her mother, slipped away from the Prince Regent’s, and stepping into the first hackney coach she met with in the street, drove to the residence of her mother, to whom she was fondly attached. On this occasion the natural severity of the English relaxed into indulgence; and all were inclined to pardon the breach of decorum, in consideration of the amiable sentiment that had occasioned it. The young Princess would not leave her mother, until the Duke of York, or another of her uncles, and, as it was said, the Lord Chancellor, prevailed on her to go back to her father’s, by assuring her that to persist in the course she had adopted would endanger her mother’s happiness, perhaps, even her life.

Princess Charlotte had already given a proof of decision of character, in refusing to marry the Prince of Orange. Her reason for rejecting this alliance was that it would have obliged her occasionally to reside out of England; and this truly national sentiment contributed to render her the more dear to the English people.

The English who are at St. Helena assure us that her union with the Prince of Saxe Coburg was perfectly in unison with her own wishes, and that she publicly declared she looked forward to happiness, because in her choice she had been guided purely by sentiment. She was said to be much attached to Prince Leopold.—“I readily believe it,” said the Emperor: “I recollect him very well; and when he appeared at the Tuileries, I thought him one of the handsomest young men I ever saw.” Within these few days, the English who are 99here have related an incident which they regard as a proof of high spirit and dignity of feeling on the part of their future Queen. Previously to her marriage, one of the Ministers waited upon her for the purpose of settling some domestic details; and, having submitted to her some propositions which she did not conceive to be sufficiently liberal,—“My Lord,” said she, “I am heiress to the throne of Great Britain; and my mind has risen to a level with the exalted station I am destined to fill. Therefore, I must be provided for accordingly. Do not imagine that, in marrying Prince Leopold, I ever can or will sink to the rank of Mistress Coburg. Entertain no such idea, I beg of you.”

The young Princess is the idol of the English people, who look forward to her reign as affording the prospect of future happiness.

The Emperor, again alluding to Prince Leopold, and the chance he had of becoming his aide-de-camp, said:—“A crowd of German Princes solicited the same favour. When I established the Confederation of the Rhine, the Sovereigns who were included in it took it for granted that I intended to revive in my person the etiquette and forms of the Holy Roman Empire; and all, even Kings themselves, were eager to join my retinue. One wished to be appointed my cup-bearer, another my grand butler, &c. At this period, the Princes of Germany literally invaded the Tuileries; they crowded the saloons, and modestly mingled with the officers of my household. It was the same with the Italians, Spaniards, and Portuguese; in short, all the most exalted personages in Europe were assembled at the Tuileries. The fact is,” added the Emperor, “that, during my reign, Paris was the queen of nations and the French the first nation in the world!...”


11th.—The Emperor did not leave his chamber to-day. I spent nearly the whole of the day with him; for I only left him to go to dinner.

100The conversations of the day were diffuse and interesting, for the Emperor was exceedingly chatty. He discussed numerous subjects, perfectly heterogeneous in their nature, though they were naturally introduced one by another. His conversation abounded with ideas and facts totally new to me. But the number and importance of the Emperor’s remarks rendered it impossible for me to seize them all. My eagerness to note down the past observation sometimes occasioned the present one to escape me; but, for this very reason, I can, with the greater confidence, vouch for the accuracy of what I have preserved.

Speaking of the elements of society, the Emperor said: “Democracy may be furious; but it has some heart, it may be moved. As to aristocracy, it is always cold and unforgiving.”

At another time, after some preliminary observations, he said;—“All human institutions present two opposite points of view; all have their advantages and disadvantages: for example, both republican and monarchical government may be defended and opposed. Doubtless, it is easy to prove in theory that both are equally good, and very good; but this is not quite so easy in application.” He remarked that the extreme boundary of the government of many was anarchy; and that the extreme boundary of the government of a single one was despotism; that a just medium between both was unquestionably the best, were it in the power of wisdom steadily to pursue such a course. He added, these truths had been repeated until they had become absolutely commonplace, without producing any good result; that on this subject many volumes had been written, and many would still be written without effect.

The Emperor at another moment said: “Despotism is not absolute; but merely relative. A man cannot with impunity absorb all power within himself. If a Sultan strikes off the heads of his subjects, according to the whim of the moment, he runs the risk of losing his own by the same sort of caprice. Excess will always incline either to one side or the other. What the sea gains by encroachment in one direction, it loses elsewhere. When 101I was in Egypt, a conqueror, an absolute ruler and master, dictating laws to the people by mere orders of the day, I could not have presumed to search the houses, and it would have been out of my power to prevent the inhabitants from speaking freely in their coffee-houses, where liberty and independence prevailed even in a greater degree than in Paris. The people yielded like slaves in all other places; but they resolved to enjoy full liberty in their coffee-houses, which were absolutely the citadels of freedom, the bazaars of public opinion. Here they loudly declaimed, and passed judgment, on the measures of the day: it would have been impossible to close their mouths. If I happened to enter these places, all bowed before me, it is true; but this was a mark of esteem to me personally. No such homage was shewn to any lieutenants.

“Be this as it may,” said he, alluding to another topic, “France, when subject to the opposing influences of many, was on the point of falling beneath the blows of combined Europe: but she placed the helm in the hands of one, and immediately the First Consul laid down the law to Europe. Such is the power of unity and concentration; these are facts which must be convincing to the meanest understandings.

“It was curious to observe that the old cabinets of Europe were unable to conceive the importance of this change, and that they continued to treat with unity and concentration, in the same manner as they had done with the multitude and dispersion. It is not less remarkable that the Emperor Paul, who was looked upon as a madman, was the first to appreciate this difference; while the English Ministers, reputed to be so skilful and experienced, were the very last. ‘I set aside the abstractions of your Revolution,’ Paul wrote to me, ‘I confine myself to a fact; that is sufficient for me: in my eyes you are a government, and I address myself to you, because we can understand each other, and I can treat with you.’

“With regard to the English Ministry, I was ever obliged to conquer and force to peace, and absolutely to detach England from the rest of Europe, before I could make them to listen to me; and even when they opened 102negotiations with me, they drawled on in the ruts of the old routine. They tried to divert my attention by delays, protocols, forms, ceremonies, precedents, and I know not what. But I felt myself so powerful that I could afford to laugh at all this!

“A new state of things required a new line of conduct; but the English Ministers seemed to have no idea of the age, or of the men and things belonging to it. My manner quite disconcerted them. I commenced in diplomacy, as I had already commenced in arms. These are my propositions, said I, to the English Ministry:—we are masters of Holland and Switzerland; but I am ready to resign both, in return for the restitutions that you make to us or our allies. We are also masters of Italy, of which I will surrender one portion and retain the other, for the purpose of guaranteeing the existence of all. These are my bases; build upon them as much as you please; I care not for that; but the object and result must remain as I have specified. I will not yield a hair’s breadth of my determination. My object is not to purchase concessions from you; but to enter into reasonable, honourable, and lasting engagements. This is the circle I have traced out. It appears to me that you have formed no notion of our respective situations or resources. I fear not your refusal, your efforts, or any difficulties you may throw in my way. I have a strong arm, and I only want a weight to lift.

“This unusual language,” continued the Emperor, “produced the desired effect. In the negotiations at Amiens, they had intended merely to divert us; but they now began to treat seriously. Not knowing at what point I was vulnerable, they offered to make me King of France. This was a good idea! King, by the grace of foreigners, when I was already Sovereign by the will of the people!...

“Such was the ascendency I had acquired that, even while the negotiations were pending, I caused the Italians to assign to me the Presidency of their Republic; and this circumstance, which, in the ordinary course of European diplomacy, would naturally have created so many obstacles, occasioned no interruption of the proceedings. 103Matters were brought to a conclusion; and I gained my point by plain dealing, better than if I had fallen into all the usual diplomatic subtleties. Many libellous pamphlets, and manifestoes of no better character, accused me of perfidy, and of breach of faith in my negotiations; but I never merited these charges, which, on the contrary, might always have been justly applied to the other cabinets of Europe.

“At Amiens, I sincerely thought that the fate of France and Europe, and my own destiny, were permanently fixed; I hoped that war was at an end. However, the English Cabinet again kindled the flame. England is alone responsible for all the miseries by which Europe has since been afflicted. For my part, I intended to have devoted myself wholly to the internal interests of France; and I am confident that I should have wrought miracles. I should have lost nothing in the scale of glory; and I should have gained much in the scale of happiness. I should then have achieved the moral conquest of Europe, which I was afterwards on the point of accomplishing by force of arms. Of how much glory was I thus deprived!

“My enemies always spoke of my love of war; but was I not constantly engaged in self-defence? After every victory I gained, did I not immediately make proposals for peace?

“The truth is that I never was master of my own actions. I never was entirely myself. I might have conceived many plans; but I never had it in my power to execute any. I held the helm with a vigorous hand; but the fury of the waves was greater than any force that I could exert in resisting them; and I prudently yielded, rather than incur the risk of sinking through stubborn opposition. I never was truly my own master; but was always controlled by circumstances. Thus, at the commencement of my rise, during the Consulate, my sincere friends and warm partisans frequently asked me, with the best intentions, and as a guide for their own conduct, what point I was driving at? and I always answered that I did not know. They were surprised, probably dissatisfied, and yet I spoke the truth. Subsequently, 104during the Empire, when there was less familiarity, many faces seemed to put the same question to me; and I might still have given the same reply. In fact, I was not master of my actions, because I was not fool enough to attempt to twist events into conformity with my system. On the contrary, I moulded my system according to the unforeseen succession of events. This often appeared like unsteadiness and inconsistency, and of these faults I was sometimes unjustly accused.”

After alluding to some other subjects, the Emperor said, “One of my great plans was the re-uniting, the concentration, of those same geographical nations which have been separated and parcelled out by revolution and policy. There are in Europe, dispersed, it is true, upwards of thirty millions of French, fifteen millions of Spaniards, fifteen millions of Italians, and thirty millions of Germans; and it was my intention to incorporate these people each into one nation. It would have been a noble thing to have advanced into posterity with such a train, and attended by the blessings of future ages. I felt myself worthy of this glory!

“After this summary simplification, it would have been possible to indulge the chimera of the beau ideal of civilization. In this state of things, there would have been some chance of establishing, in every country, a unity of codes, principles, opinions, sentiments, views, and interests. Then, perhaps, by the help of the universal diffusion of knowledge, one might have thought of attempting, in the great European family, the application of the American Congress, or the Amphictyons of Greece; and then what a perspective of power, greatness, happiness, and prosperity! What a grand, what a magnificent, spectacle!

“The concentration of the thirty or forty millions of Frenchmen was completed and perfected; and that of the fifteen millions of Spaniards was nearly accomplished; for nothing is more common than to convert accident into principle. Because I did not subdue the Spaniards, it will henceforth be argued that they were invincible. But the fact is that they were actually conquered, and at the very moment when they escaped me, the Cortes of Cadiz 105were secretly in treaty with me. They were not delivered either by their own resistance or the efforts of the English, but by the reverses which I sustained at distant points; and, above all, by the error I committed in removing with all my whole forces to the distance of a thousand leagues from them, and in having perished there; for nobody can deny that if, as soon as I entered that country, Austria had not declared war against me, but had left me four months longer quietly in Spain,[6] the business would have been finished there; the Spanish Government would have been consolidated; the public mind would have been tranquillized; the different parties would have rallied. Three or four years would have restored the Spaniards to profound peace and brilliant prosperity: they would have become a compact nation, and I should have well deserved their gratitude; for I should have saved them from the tyranny by which they are now oppressed, and the terrible agitations that await them.

“With regard to the fifteen millions of Italians, their concentration was already far advanced: it only wanted maturity. The people were daily becoming more firmly established in the unity of principles and legislation; and also in the unity of thought and feeling, that certain and infallible cement of human concentration. The union of Piedmont with France, and the junction of Parma, Tuscany and Rome, were, in my mind, but temporary measures, intended merely to guarantee and promote the national education of the Italians.[7] You may judge of 106the correctness of my views, and of the influence of common laws. The portions of Italy that had been united to France, though that union might have been regarded as the insult of conquest on our part, were, in spite of their 107Italian patriotism, the very parts that continued by far the most attached to us. Now that they are restored to themselves, they conceive that they have been invaded and disinherited; and so they certainly have been!...

“All the South of Europe, therefore, would soon have been rendered compact in point of locality, views, opinions, sentiments, and interests. In this state of things, what would have been the weight of all the nations of the north? What human efforts could have broken through so strong a barrier?

“The concentration of the Germans must have been effected more gradually; and therefore I had done no more than simplify their monstrous complication. Not that they were unprepared for concentralization; on the contrary, they were too well prepared for it, and they might have blindly risen in re-action against us, before they had comprehended our designs. How happens it that no German Prince has yet formed a just notion of the spirit of his nation, and turned it to good account? Certainly, if heaven had made me a Prince of Germany, amidst the many critical events of our times, I should, infallibly, have governed the thirty millions of Germans united; and, from what I know of them, I think I may venture to affirm that, if they had once elected and proclaimed me, they would not have forsaken me, and I should never have been at St. Helena.”

Then, after some melancholy details and comparisons, 108he thus resumed: “At all events, this concentration will be brought about, sooner or later, by the very force of events. The impulse is given; and I think that, since my fall and the destruction of my system, no grand equilibrium can possibly be established in Europe, except by the concentration and confederation of the principal nations. The sovereign who, in the first great conflict, shall sincerely embrace the cause of the people, will find himself at the head of all Europe, and may attempt whatever he pleases.

“It will perhaps be asked why I did not suffer these ideas to transpire? why I did not submit them to public discussion; since they would, doubtless, have become popular, and popularity would have been an immense re-inforcement to me? My answer is, that malevolence is ever more active than good intention; that, at the present day, the power of wit overrules good sense, and obscures at pleasure the most luminous points; and that, to have submitted these important subjects to public discussion would have been to consign them to the mercy of party-spirit, passion, intrigue, and gossiping, while the infallible result would have been discredit and opposition. I conceived, therefore, that secrecy was the most advisable course. I surrounded myself with that halo of mystery which pleases and interests the multitude; gives birth to speculations, which occupy the public mind; and, finally, affords opportunities for those sudden and brilliant disclosures, which exercise such important influence. It was this very principle that accelerated my unfortunate march to Moscow. Had I been more deliberate, I might have averted every evil; but I could not delay and afford time for comment. With my career already traced out, with my ideas formed for the future, it was necessary that my movement and my success should seem, as it were, supernatural.” The Emperor here adverted to the Russian expedition, repeating many of the observations which I have already recorded elsewhere. I now note down only what I conceive to be new.

“I will name another occasion,” said he, “on which accident was taken for principle. I failed in my expedition 109against the Russians; and they, therefore, consider themselves invincible. But can any thing be more erroneous? Ask men of sense and reflection among them! Ask Alexander himself, and let him recollect the opinions he entertained at the time! Was I defeated by the efforts of the Russians? No! my failure must be attributed to pure accident, to absolute fatality. First a capital was burnt to the ground, in spite of its inhabitants and through foreign intrigues, and in defiance of its inhabitants; then winter set in with such unusual suddenness and severity that it was regarded as a kind of phenomenon. To these disasters must be added a mass of false reports, silly intrigues, treachery, stupidity, and, in short, many things that will perhaps one day come to light, and which will excuse or justify the two great errors I committed in diplomacy and war; namely, to have undertaken such an enterprise, leaving on my flanks, which soon became my rear, two cabinets of which I was not master, and two allied armies, which, on the least check would become my enemies. But to come to a conclusion, and to annul with a word every charge that can be brought against me, I may say that this famous war, this bold enterprise, was perfectly involuntary on my part. I did not wish to fight; neither did Alexander;—but being once in presence, circumstances urged us on, and fate accomplished the rest.”

After a few moments’ silence, and as if waking from a reverie, the Emperor added:—“A Frenchman had in his hands the fate of the world! If he had possessed judgment and spirit equal to the exalted situation in which he was placed, if he had been a good Swede as he pretended to be, he might have restored the glory and power of his adoptive country, have retaken Finland, and arrived at St. Petersburgh before I reached Moscow. But he was swayed by personal considerations, silly vanity, and all sorts of mean passions. His head was turned, when he saw that he, an old Jacobin, was courted and flattered by legitimates; when he found himself holding political and friendly conferences face to face with an Emperor of all the Russias, who took great pains to cajole him. It is affirmed that hints were even 110thrown out to him of the possibility of his obtaining the hand of one of the sisters of the Russian Emperor, by divorcing his wife; and, in a letter addressed to him by a French Prince, the writer remarked, with complacency, that Bearn was the cradle of both their houses! The house of Bernadotte forsooth!

“In his intoxication, he sacrificed both his new and his mother country, his own glory, his true power, the cause of the people, and the welfare of Europe! For this he will pay dearly! No sooner had he accomplished all that was expected of him than he began to feel what awaited him. It is said that he has repented of his conduct; but he has not yet expiated it. He is now the only upstart sovereign in Europe. The Scandal cannot remain unpunished; it would be too dangerous an example.”


12th.—The Emperor, adverting to his return from the Island of Elba and his second fall at Waterloo, made some remarkable observations on both these subjects. “It is very certain,” said he, “that, during the events of 1815, I relinquished the anticipation of ultimate success: I lost my first confidence. Perhaps I found that I was wearing beyond the time of life at which fortune usually proves favourable; or, perhaps, in my own eyes, in my own imagination, the spell that had hung over my miraculous career was broken;—but, at all events, I felt that something was wanting. Kind Fortune no longer followed my footsteps, and took pleasure in lavishing her smiles upon me; she was now succeeded by rigid Fate, who took ample revenge for the few favours which I obtained, as it were, by force. It is a remarkable fact that every advantage I obtained at this period was immediately succeeded by a reverse.

“I marched through France, and arrived in the capital 111amidst the enthusiasm and universal acclamations of the people; but no sooner had I reached Paris than, by a sort of magic, and without any adequate motive, all around suddenly shrank from me and grew cold.

“I had adduced plausible reasons for obtaining a sincere reconciliation with Austria, whither I had despatched agents, more or less avowed.[8] But Murat was there with his fatal enterprise. It was concluded, at Vienna that he was acting under my orders; and, measuring me by their own scale, they regarded my whole conduct as a complication of artifice, and determined to overreach me by counter-intrigue.

“The opening of my campaign was well managed and proved most successful. I should have surprised the enemy in detail; had not a deserter from among our generals given him timely notice of my plans.

“I gained the brilliant victory of Ligni; but my lieutenant robbed me of its fruits. Finally, I triumphed even at Waterloo, and was immediately hurled into the abyss. Yet I must confess that all these strokes of fate distressed me more than they surprised me. I felt the presentiment of an unfortunate result. Not that this in any way influenced my determinations and measures; but the foreboding certainly haunted my mind.”

That such was really Napoleon’s state of feeling at the period here alluded to is evident from the following anecdote, which is so very remarkable that I cannot forbear presenting it to the reader. When on the banks of the Sambre, the Emperor early one morning approached a 112bivouac fire, accompanied only by his aide-de-camp on duty (General C—--); some potatoes were boiling on the fire, and the Emperor asked for one, and began to eat it. Then, with a meditative and somewhat melancholy expression, he uttered the following broken sentences:—“After all, it is good, it is endurable.... Man may live in any place, and in any way.... The moment perhaps is not far distant.... Themistocles!...” The aide-de-camp above mentioned, who himself related this circumstance to me, since my return to Europe, observed that, had the Emperor been successful, these words would have passed away without leaving any impression on him; but that, after the catastrophe, and particularly after reading the celebrated letter to the Prince Regent, he had been struck with the recollection of the bivouac of the Sambre; and Napoleon’s manner, tone, and expression, had since so haunted his mind, that he could never banish the circumstance from his memory.

It is a mistake to suppose that Napoleon was on all occasions inspired by that internal confidence which his acts and decisions seemed to denote. When he quitted the Tuileries, in January 1814, to enter upon his immortal but unfortunate campaign in the environs of Paris, his mind was depressed by gloomy apprehensions:—and a circumstance that bears evidence of his penetration and foresight is that, at the period in question, he felt convinced of what the majority of those about him were far from suspecting;—namely, that if he fell, it would be by the Bourbons. This idea he communicated to a few of his particular friends, who vainly endeavoured to rouse his confidence by representing that the Bourbons were forgotten, that they were wholly unknown to the present generation:—“There is the real danger,” was his invariable reply. Thus, immediately after his eloquent and impressive harangue to the officers of the national guard, in which among other things he said:—“You elected me, I am your work, and it is for you to defend me;” and which he concluded by presenting to them the Empress and the King of Rome, saying, “I“I go to oppose the enemy, and I consign to your care all that 113I hold most dear:”—immediately after delivering this address, when on the point of quitting the Tuileries, he foresaw at that decisive moment the treachery and perfidy that awaited him, and he resolved to secure the person of him who proved to be the main-spring of the plot, by which his overthrow was effected. He was prevented from executing his intention only by representations, and it may even be said, offers of personal responsibility, on the part of some of his Ministers, who assured him that the individual suspected had more reason than any one else to dread the return of the Bourbons. Napoleon yielded; at the same time emphatically expressing fears that he might have cause to regret his forbearance!...

The following circumstance, which is but little known, is important, since it proves how much, in the height of the crisis. Napoleon’s thoughts were directed towards the Bourbons. After the check sustained at Brienne, the evacuation of Troyes, the forced retreat on the Seine, and the degradingdegrading conditions which were transmitted from Chatillon, but which were so generously rejected, the Emperor, who was closeted with one of his friends, overpowered at sight of the miseries that were impending on France, suddenly rose from his chair, exclaiming with warmth:—“Perhaps I still possess the means of saving France.... What if I were myself to recal the Bourbons! The Allies would then be compelled to arrest their course, under pain of being overwhelmed with disgrace and detected in their duplicity; under pain of being forced to acknowledge that their designs were directed against our territory rather than against my person. I should sacrifice all to the country. I should become the mediator between the French people and the Bourbons. I should oblige the latter to accede to the national laws, and to swear fidelity to the existing compact: my glory and name would be a guarantee to the French people. As for me, I have reigned long enough. My career is filled with acts of glory; and this last will not be esteemed the least. I shall rise the higher by descending thus far....” Then, after a pause of some moments, he added:—“But can a repulsed dynasty ever forgive?... Can it ever forget?... Can the Bourbons 114be trusted?... May not Fox be right in his famous maxim respecting restorations?...”

Overcome by grief and anxiety, he threw himself on his couch, and was shortly after roused to be made acquainted with the march of the flank of Blucher’s corps, on which he had for some time been secretly keeping watch. He rose to put into action that new spring of resources, energy, and glory, which will for ever consecrate the names of Champ-Aubert, Montmirail, Chateau-Thierry, Vaux-Champ, Nangis, Montereau, Craon, &c. These marvellous successes dismayed Alexander and the English, and suggested to them the expediency of treating: they might indeed have entirely changed the face of affairs, had not Napoleon’s designs been thwarted by accidents beyond the reach of human calculation. For example, the important orders which did not reach the Viceroy, the defection of Murat, the indolence and negligence of certain Chiefs, and finally, even the successful movements of the French, which, by separating the Emperor of Austria from the other Allied Sovereigns, left the latter entirely free to plan the abdication of Fontainebleau, an event which will ever be celebrated in the history of our destiny and our moral character.

Philosophic thinkers, painters of the human heart, turn your eyes to Fontainebleau, and contemplate the fall of the greatest of monarchs! Observe how the retinue by which the unfortunate hero was surrounded,—those whom he had loaded with favours, honours, and riches,—at the first frown of fortune, forsook, betrayed, and even sought to insult him!... Mark how the first among them in rank, in favour, in confidence—he whom the great Prince had vainly sought to inspire with exalted sentiment, by treating him as his companion and his friend,—mark how this man degraded himself to the level of the Mameluke, whose native manners rendered him perhaps more excusable, and who thought it perfectly natural to forsake his fallen master.

At Fontainebleau, the crisis being accomplished, and while Napoleon was earnestly engaged, this favourite companion presented himself before him to solicit permission to proceed to Paris, only, as he said, for a short time, 115and for the purpose of settling some business, after which, he declared that he should return to the Emperor, never again to leave him. But Napoleon could read the secrets of the human mind, and that person had scarcely withdrawn, when the Emperor, breaking from the subject on which he was engaged, said to him with whom he had been conversing:—“There he goes to seal his own degradation; and, in spite of all his protestations, he will never come back again,“ He spoke truly; the deserter hastened to greet the first rays of the rising sun; and no sooner had it shone upon him than he renounced his benefactor, his friend, and master!... In speaking of the Emperor, he was even known to use the expression that man! And yet Napoleon so readily forgave human weakness, and was so superior to every feeling of rancour and resentment, that, on his return from Elba, he expressed regret at not seeing the individual who had acted so treacherous a part, adding, with a smile:—“The rogue is afraid of me, I suppose; but he has no reason to be so. The only punishment I should have inflicted on him would have been to require him to appear before me in his new costume. They tell me he looks even uglier than usual.“

And how many instances of private turpitude might not be mentioned! I myself can attest that an important personage, who had been most remarkable for his base conduct on returning from Fontainebleau, appeared one of the most forward at the Tuileries, on the 20th of March. He appeared very much disconcerted at the accidental or intended solitude in which he was left by all the rest. A witness of his late misconduct, burying the recollection of past troubles in the present joy, hastened to him and relieved him from his embarrassment. Such generosity cost little at that moment.

I refer to the Manuscript of 1814, for a picture of these mortifying events.[9] The reader may there learn—But 116no, he will learn nothing new—In all circumstances, at all times, and in all countries, men, and particularly courtiers, are ever the same; and it must be recollected that, by this time, Napoleon’s camp had become a Court.—Let not these men say that their conduct was dictated by regard for the welfare and interest of their country. The thought of securing the undisturbed enjoyment of the wealth and honours they had acquired superseded in their minds every patriotic consideration. But history will be just. I say history, for the bulk of the present generation cannot even claim this sad honour. Where was our indignation? Where was our reprobation authentically and solemnly pronounced?... And let it be understood that this is a point wholly unconnected with political considerations. The question is not what cause these men supported: but merely, what moral principle they professed. But it must not be supposed that discontented misanthropy would lead me to draw a picture discouraging to all hearts, and to conclude with the proscription of all mankind. By no means:—I am well aware that the moment of great trials is that of great extremes; and that, amidst the basest passions, the most brilliant heroism and noble virtue shine conspicuous. Therefore, honoured be those veteran bands, whose bitter tears attested their sincere sorrow! Honoured 117be those innumerable subaltern officers to whom a word would have been the signal for shedding every drop of their blood! Honoured be the generous peasantry, who presented to our troops their last morsel of bread; and, disregarding their own privations, parted with all, to aid the brave defenders of their country! Honoured be those generous sentiments that were expressed by the citizens of every class, sex, and age! If, on the one side, the heart is roused to indignation, it finds a delicious source of gratification on the other.

At St. Helena, the Emperor dictated an account of the events of Fontainebleau, and his removal to the Island of Elba; but my memory does not enable me to quote any of the facts thus detailed. I took no notes of them, because, with a view of abridging my own labour, I laid down the rule of passing over those subjects that were dictated to others, being assured that they would be faithfully recorded. I shall, therefore, merely subjoin a few particulars which are collected from Napoleon’s conversations, or other authentic sources.

When the disasters of 1814 were apparent, when the danger was imminent, particularly after the entrance of the Allies into Paris, many of the French Generals began to waver. Those in whom selfishness prevailed over patriotism; those who would rather retire from the fatigues of war, than obey the dictates of duty, honour and glory; urged on the catastrophe, instead of seeking to avert it. The most distinguished Chiefs ventured to advise the abdication, and declared it to be indispensable. Some even went so far as to hint to the Emperor that they could not answer for the consequences of the dissatisfaction and indignation which the soldiers manifested towards him; while, on the contrary, as Napoleon himself said, “such was the attachment of the troops, and the devotedness of the officers, that, if I had made known the machinations that were plotting, I certainly should have endangered those who were guilty of such misrepresentation. A single word from me would have sacrificed them.” Napoleon reviewed the troops: their acclamations were enthusiastic and general. It appeared as though adversity served only to render the 118Emperor the more dear to them, for their attachment was never so decidedly expressed. “It was impossible that it could be otherwise,” said Napoleon, “such was the identity of these brave men with me, and such our mutual sympathy, I never entertained a doubt of their attachment.”

In this extremity, Napoleon profoundly reflected on what course it was advisable for him to pursue. He yet possessed forty or fifty thousand troops, the best and most devoted in the world; he might, without risk, have overawed or dismissed the faithless Generals. In this state of things, three different measures, by turns, presented themselves to his mind.

The first was to return to Paris; for he imagined that no General on earth would be bold enough to give him battle with that immense capital in his rear. “At my command,” said the Emperor, “the whole population would have risen. I should suddenly have found my forces recruited, by the addition of one or two hundred thousand men. But the Allies, on retiring, might have burnt the capital; and this disaster would have been accounted my work. It is true, the burning of Paris might have proved in reality the salvation of France, as the burning of Moscow was the salvation of Russia; but such sacrifices can only be made by the parties interested.”

The second idea which suggested itself to the Emperor’s mind was to proceed to Italy, to form a junction with the Viceroy. “But this,” said Napoleon, “would have been a desperate course, without the chance of obtaining an adequate result. It would have removed the theatre of conflict to too remote a point. Public enthusiasm would have had time to subside; and we should no longer have been fighting in France, on whose sacred soil alone we could hope to work the prodigies that had become indispensable.”

Neither of these two measures would have been practicable. Only the third course, therefore, remained, and this was, to continue on the defensive, to dispute every foot of ground, and to maintain the war until new chances should arise. The stupor, which the presence 119of the invaders had produced, would soon be dispelled; the miseries they created would soon render them the objects of execration: the national enthusiasm would revive; and the Allies would find their graves in the land which they had presumed to violate. But this must necessarily have been the work of time; in a word, success was doubtful, or, at least, remote; while the sufferings of the people were certain, immediate, and incalculable. The noble mind of Napoleon was moved; and he resolved to abdicate.

Meanwhile, he despatched to the Emperor Alexander a deputation of Marshals, among whom was the Duke of Ragusa, one of those to whom he was most fondly attached. The Deputation was instructed to propose the abdication of Napoleon, in favour of his son. The Emperor thus hoped to save France, to secure her independence and the duration of her existing institutions. The Emperor Alexander, who had several days before publicly declared that he would not treat either with Napoleon or any of the members of his family, nevertheless discussed the subject contradictorily with that party of the Senate who proposed the abdication. The Marshals spoke vehemently, and in the name of the whole army. Alexander’s determination was shaken, and the party favourable to the Regency seemed likely to prevail, when intelligence arrived of the defection of the Duke of Ragusa; and this circumstance confirmed Alexander in his previous resolution. The event came upon him like a ray of light: the army, then, is not unanimous, thought he! From that moment, setting aside all reserve, he declared himself to be inflexible. In this state of things, Napoleon was surrounded, urged, and harassed to sign his positive and unconditional abdication. He yielded, after a great internal struggle, and dictated the act of abdication, in the following terms:—

“The Allied Powers having proclaimed that the Emperor Napoleon is the only obstacle to the re-establishment of the peace of Europe, the Emperor, faithful to his oath, renounces for himself and his heirs, the thrones of France and Italy, and declares that there is no sacrifice, 120even that of life, which he is not ready to make for the interests of France.”

This declaration, which the Allies were far from expecting in so absolute a form, smoothed every difficulty, and the Marshals returned with what is called the treaty of Fontainebleau, which I shall presently insert.

I find in Baron Fain’s Manuscript of 1814, a complete explanation of certain remarks made by the Emperor, which I noted down at the time, without exactly comprehending their meaning. In a former part of this Journal, the Emperor, alluding to the treaty of Fontainebleau, says, “I will have nothing to do with that treaty; I disclaim it. Far from being proud of it, I blush for it. It was discussed for me, and against my will,” &c. And, on another occasion, he says, “When the history of the events of Fontainebleau comes to be known, it will afford ample room for surprise.” The Manuscript of 1814 proves that Napoleon had, indeed, nothing to do with the treaty of Fontainebleau. The utmost exertions were employed to prevail on him to sign the treaty; and he was, at length, only influenced by the public considerations that were adduced in support of it. He thought it both degrading and useless to sign the treaty. Having survived his greatness, he wished thenceforth to live as a private individual; and he was mortified to reflect that the vast sacrifice which had been made, for the peace of the world, should be mingled with pecuniary arrangements. “Of what use is a treaty,” said he, “since they will not settle the interests of France with me? If only my personal interests are concerned, there is no need of a treaty. I am conquered; I yield to the fate of arms. All I ask is that I may not be accounted a prisoner of war: and for that a mere cartel is sufficient!”

Every endeavour to turn his thoughts to his personal situation, his existence, and future wants, proved unavailing. To all such suggestions, he energetically replied, “What matters it? A horse and a crown a day are all that I want.”

I, for my own part, can bear witness that the Emperor infinitely regretted having ratified the treaty of Fontainebleau; and this was not the only decision of the 121period which weighed heavily on his mind. He also very much regretted having yielded, when in his position at St. Dizier and Doulevant, to the various representations and suggestions by which he was assailed, and which brought him back against his inclination upon Paris. “HereParis. “Here I wanted firmness,” said he; “I should have followed up my intention of advancing to the Rhine, collecting reinforcements from all the garrisons on my way, and exciting the peasantry to rise. By this means, I should soon have possessed an immense army. Murat would immediately have rejoined me; and he and the Viceroy would have made me master of Vienna, if the Allies had presumed to deprive me of Paris. But no: the enemy would have shrunk from the dangers with which he would have been surrounded. The Allied Sovereigns would have regarded it as a favour to have been permitted to retire; and then the volcano of foreigners against us would have been completely extinguished. Peace would have been concluded and sincerely maintained; for all were exhausted; all had wounds to heal!... Abroad, war could no longer have been thought of; and at home, such a result must have had the effect of destroying all illusion, frustrating every evil design, and permanently blending the opinions, views, and interests of all parties. I should once more have seated myself triumphantly on the throne, surrounded by my invincible bands. The heroic and faithful portion of the people would have harmonized those who had wavered; and the men who had shewn themselves so eager for repose might have enjoyed it. A new generation of chiefs would have remoulded our character. Every effort would have been directed to the internal welfare of the country; and France would have been happy!”

When speaking of the confusion created in Paris, by the approach of the Allies; the dejection, to use no stronger term, that was evinced by the upper classes; the good spirit and enthusiasm manifested by the great body of the people, who were ready to fight, if they could have procured arms,—I observed that the departure of the Empress had produced a fatal effect on the public mind. I mentioned, as a singular circumstance, 122that the young King of Rome, contrary to custom, obstinately refused to quit the palace: he wept bitterly, and it was found necessary to carry him away by force. I also added that it was universally reported that the Empress wished to remain, and that the Council was inclined to second her wishes, until precise orders were received from the Emperor, directing her to quit Paris, in case of urgent danger on the part of the enemy. “Yes,” said the Emperor, “and“and those orders were very necessary. The Empress was young and totally inexperienced. Had she been capable of personal decision, my directions would have been quite the contrary. Paris then would have been her proper post. But I foresaw the intrigues of which she would be the object; and I wished to prevent at Paris what subsequently occurred at Orleans. There the men who were planning the Regency, in the expectation of ruling under the Empress, prevented her from joining me. What fatal consequences were thus produced! Would to Heaven that I had also despatched timely orders, directing her to quit Orleans!”

It is certain that at FontainebleauFontainebleau Napoleon was, almost at one and the same moment, the victim of every kind of mental distress with which man can possibly be assailed. Subdued by defection and not by force of arms, he felt all that could rouse the indignation of a lofty mind, or break an affectionate heart. His friends forsook him; his servants betrayed him; one surrendered his army; another his treasure. The men whom he had reared, maintained and loaded with favours, were those who wrought his overthrow. The members of the senate, who, only the day before, had supplied him profusely with conscripts to oppose the enemy, scrupled not to become the instruments of that very enemy. Under the impulse of foreign bayonets, they imputed to him as a crime that which was their own work; and basely broke the idol which they had themselves created, and so servilely worshipped. What a depth of disgrace and degradation!... Finally (and this stroke Napoleon felt more severely than all the rest), his wife and child were carried away from him; and, in defiance of treaties and laws, in opposition to all moral principle, he was never allowed to see them more!...

123It appears that Napoleon, oppressed by this weight of affliction, surrounded by this odious turpitude, in his utter contempt of human nature, and all things connected with this world, formed the resolution of putting an end to his life. A letter has been preserved, written in his own hand to the Empress, in which he says that the moment has arrived when she must prepare her mind for every thing; that all is possible, even the death of the Emperor. This was, doubtless, an allusion to the mysterious event of the night of the 12th of April, which was wrapt in profound secrecy. The Manuscript of 1814, however, contains some particulars relative to this occurrence, which, if they be correct, will not leave the furious enemies of Napoleon even the satisfaction of repeating the stupid and vulgar remark, that he had not courage to die; ... for, according to the Manuscript, it appears, on the contrary, that he could not die! This is not the least extraordinary event in Napoleon’s career. His remark, Heaven has ordained that I shall live! and the calm and noble resignation, which from that moment succeeded, appear truly sublime.

Napoleon’s celebrated farewell address to his troops, and his last embrace of those eagles which he had immortalized, are well known. A Prussian diplomatist, who was present, has assured me that the scene produced an impression on him which time can never obliterate. He added that the English Commissioner, who stood near him, and who had previously been an inveterate enemy of Napoleon’s, was so deeply moved that he shed tears.

Such were the sentiments of respect and veneration naturally inspired by Napoleon that, in spite of the danger and inconvenience occasioned by his presence in France, no one presumed to hasten his departure; and he was allowed full time to make all the arrangements that he wished.

The treaty of abdication is dated the 11th of April, and Napoleon did not quit Fontainebleau until the 20th, nine days after. Throughout the first part of his journey, 124he was the object of universal respect, and often of the warmest and most affectionate interest.[10]

Hitherto, foreigners seemed to have formed no idea of the spirit that prevailed in France, or of the real feelings of the people with regard to the Emperor. However, it was deemed prudent to arrange matters so that Napoleon should reach Lyons in the night; or, I rather believe, it was intended to prevent his entering that city at all. I received the following particulars from an English gentleman, one of those who had been long detained in France, and who happened, at the period in question, to be residing at Lyons. My informant and the Austrian General went out in disguise, and mingled with the crowd that had assembled to see the dethroned monarch pass by. They expected to be much amused with the imprecations of which, they concluded, he would be the object. But, as soon as the Emperor appeared, deep silence prevailed among the multitude; and an old woman, to all appearance above the common class, habited in deep mourning, and with a countenance full of enthusiasm, rushed forward to the door of the Emperor’s carriage. “Sire,” said she, with an air of solemnity, “may the blessing of Heaven attend you! Endeavour to make yourself happy. They tear you from us; but our hearts are with you wheresoever you go.” The Austrian General, quite disconcerted, said to his companion, 125“Let us begone; I have no patience with this old mad woman. The people have not common sense.”

A little beyond Lyons, the General-in-chief of the army of the East appeared on the road; and Napoleon, alighting from his carriage, walked with him for a considerable way. When the General had taken his leave, one of the allied Commissioners ventured to express his surprise that the Emperor should have treated him with such an appearance of friendship and confidence. “Why should I not?” inquired Napoleon.—“Your Majesty is, perhaps, not aware of his conduct?“—“What has he done?“—“Sire, he entered into an understanding with us several weeks ago.” “It was even so,” said the Emperor, “he to whom I had entrusted the defence of France on this point, sacrificed and betrayed the country.” After many complaints of the perfidy of men in whom he had reposed confidence, he concluded by saying: “The Marshal was no longer the soldier. His early courage and virtues had raised him above the multitude; but honours, dignities, and fortune, again reduced him to the common level. The conqueror of Castiglione might have left behind him a name dear to his country. But France will execrate the memory of the traitor of Lyons, and all who acted as he did, unless, indeed, their future services shall make amends for their past wrongs.”

This circumstance dictated the famous proclamation which the Emperor issued on his return. “Frenchmen,” said he, “the defection of the Duke of Castiglione left Lyons defenceless and at the mercy of the enemy. The army, the command of which I had entrusted to that Chief, was, from the number of its battalions, and the courage and patriotism of its troops, capable of defeating the corps of the Austrian army opposed to it, and advancing on the rear of the left flank of the enemy’s force that threatened Paris. The victories of ChampChamp-Aubert, Montmirail, Chateau-Thierry, Vaux-Champ, Mormans, Montereau, Craon, Rheims, Arcis-sur-Aube, and St. Dizier; the rising of the brave peasantry of Lorraine, Champagne, Alsace, the Franche-Comte, and Burgundy; the position which I had taken up in the rear of the enemy, intercepting his magazines, parks of 126reserve, convoys, and equipages—all had thrown the invading forces into a desperate situation. The French people never had the prospect of becoming more powerful. The enemy’s picked corps would have been irretrievably lost, and would have found their graves in those plains which they so mercilessly ravaged, when the treason of the Duke of Ragusa delivered up the capital, and disorganized the army. The unlooked-for conduct of these two generals, who at once betrayed their country, their Prince, and their benefactor, changed the fate of the war. Such was the disastrous situation of the enemy, after the affair which took place before Paris, that he was absolutely destitute of ammunition, by being separated from his parks of reserve,” &c.[11]

Napoleon was less favourably received in proportion as he approached Provence; for there the machinations of his enemies had anticipated his arrival. He had escaped the ambush of Maubreuil, but he could not avoid that of Orgon; and this part of his dictated narrative is not the least curious.

On his arrival at the place of embarkation, he found two vessels in readiness to receive him; the one French and the other English. Napoleon went on board the English frigate, observing that, he would never allow itit to be said that a Frenchman had conveyed him away.

Such is a brief account of the great event, the details of which, dictated by Napoleon himself, will, as I have already mentioned, hereafter be presented to the public. France was, at the time, inundated with pamphlets on the subject, so full of falsehood and absurdity that every honest and sensible man now blushes for having given credit to them, or having had even the courage to read them.

The following is the treaty of Fontainebleau, to which I have already alluded. It was carefully suppressed at 127the time it was drawn up, was never published in the Moniteur, and remained long unknown. It is to be found only in official collections, and even there the copies differ one from another. I presume, therefore, that its insertion here will not be deemed superfluous. It is intimately connected with the subject of which I have just been treating, and many of its articles are still the topics of daily conversation; and it must of course be satisfactory to be enabled to discuss with a full knowledge of facts.


“Article I. His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon renounces for himself, his successors and descendants, as well as for all the members of his family, all right of sovereignty and dominion over the French Empire, and the kingdom of Italy, as well as over every other country.

“II. Their Majesties the Emperor Napoleon and Empress Maria Louisa, shall retain their titles and rank, to be enjoyed during their lives.

“The mother, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces of the Emperor, shall also retain, wherever they may reside, the titles of Princes of the Emperor’s family.

“III. The Isle of Elba, adopted by his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon as his place of residence, shall form, during his life, a separate principality, which shall be possessed by him in full sovereignty and property.

“There shall be besides granted, in full property to the Emperor Napoleon, an annual revenue of 2,000,000 francs in rent charge in the great book of France, of which 1,000,000 shall be in reversion to the Empress.

“IV. All the Powers promise to employ their good offices in causing to be respected by the Barbary Powers the flag and territory of the Isle of Elba; for which purpose, the relations with the Barbary Powers shall be assimilated to those of France.

“V. The Duchies of Parma, Placentia, and Guastalla, shall be granted in full property and sovereignty to her Majesty the Empress Maria Louisa. They shall pass to the Prince her son, and to his descendants in the right 128line. The Prince shall, henceforth, take the title of Prince of Parma, Placentia, and Guastalla.

“VI. There shall be reserved in the territories renounced by this treaty, to his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon, for himself and his family, domains, rent charges, in the great book of France, producing an annual revenue, clear of all deductions and charges, of 2,500,000 francs. These domains, or rents, shall belong, in full property, to be disposed of as they think fit, to the Princes and Princesses of the Emperor’s family, and shall be divided amongst them in such manner that the revenues of each shall be in the following proportion, viz:

To Madame Mère 300,000
To King Joseph and his Queen 500,000
To King Louis 200,000
To the Queen Hortense and her children 400,000
To King Jerome and his Queen 500,000
To the Princess Eliza 300,000
To the Princess Paulina 300,000

“The Princes and Princesses of the family of the Emperor Napoleon shall moreover retain all the property, moveable and immoveable, of every kind whatever, which they may possess by private right; together with the rents which they hold also, as private individuals, in the great book of France, or the Monte-Napoleone of Milan.

“VII. The annual pension of the Empress Josephine shall be reduced to 1,000,000 in domains, or inscriptions in the great book of France. She shall continue to enjoy, in full property, all her private fortune, moveable and immoveable, with power to dispose of it conformably to the French Laws.

“VIII. There shall be granted to Prince Eugene, Viceroy of Italy, a suitable establishment out of France.

“IX. The property which the Emperor Napoleon possesses in France, either as extraordinary domain, or private domain, will remain attached to the crown.

“Of the funds vested by the Emperor in the great book of France, in the French bank, in the Actions des Forêts, or in any other manner, and which his Majesty 129resigns to the Crown, there shall be reserved a capital, not exceeding 2,000,000 of francs, to be expended in gratuities, in favour of the individuals whose names shall be contained in a list signed by the Emperor Napoleon, and which shall be transmitted to the French Government.

“X.—All the crown diamonds shall remain in France.

“XI.—His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon shall return to the Treasury, and to the other public funds, all the sums and effects that may have been taken therefrom by his orders, with the exception of what has been appropriated from the civil list.

“XII.—The debts of the household of his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon, such as they may be at the time of the signature of the present treaty, shall be immediately discharged out of the arrears due by the public treasury to the civil list, according to a list which shall be signed by a Commissioner appointed for that purpose.

“XIII.—The obligations of the Monte-Napoleone, of Milan, towards all creditors, whether Frenchmen or foreigners, shall be punctually fulfilled, without any change being made in this respect.

“XIV.—There shall be granted all the necessary passports for the free passage of his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon, the Empress, the Princes and Princesses, and all the persons of their suites, who wish to accompany them, or fix their abode in foreign countries, as well as for the passage of all the equipages, horses, and effects, belonging to them.

“The Allied Powers will, in consequence, furnish officers and men for escorts.

“XV.—The French Imperial Guard shall furnish a detachment of from 1200 to 1500 men, of all arms, to serve as an escort to the Emperor to St. Tropez, the place of his embarkation.

“XVI.—A brig and the necessary transport vessels shall be fitted out to convey to the place of his destination his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon and his household. The brig shall belong, in full property, to his Majesty the Emperor.

130“XVII.—The Emperor shall be allowed to take with him, and retain, as his guard, 400 men, volunteers and officers, as well as sub-officers and soldiers.

“XVIII.—Every Frenchman who may follow the Emperor Napoleon, or his family, shall be held to have forfeited his rights as a Frenchman, should he not return to France within three years; at least, if he be not included in the exceptions which the French Government reserves to itself to grant, after the expiration of that period.

“XIX.—The Polish troops of all arms, in the service of France, shall be at liberty to return home, and shall retain their arms and baggage, as a testimony of their honourable services. The officers, sub-officers, and soldiers, shall retain the decorations which have been granted to them, and the pensions annexed to these decorations.

“XX.—The Allied Powers guarantee the execution of the articles of the present treaty, and promise to obtain its adoption and guarantee by France.

“XXI.—The present act shall be ratified, and the ratifications exchanged at Paris within ten days, or sooner, if possible.

“Done at Paris, April 11, 1814.

(Signed) Caulaincourt, Duke of Vicenza;
  Marshal Macdonald, Duke of Tarento;
  Marshal Ney, Duke of Elchingen;[12]
  Prince Metternich.”

The same articles were signed separately and under the same date, by Count Nesselrode on behalf of Russia, and Baron Hardenberg, on behalf of Prussia.


“The undersigned, Minister and Secretary of State 131for the department of Foreign Affairs, having submitted to the King the inquiry which their excellencies the plenipotentiaries of the Allied Powers have been ordered by their sovereigns to make, relative to the treaty of the 11th of April, to which the Provisional Government has acceded; his Majesty has been pleased to authorize him in his name, to declare that the clauses of the treaty, in so far as France is concerned, shall be faithfully executed. The undersigned has consequently the honour to communicate this declaration to their excellencies.

(Signed)      “The Prince of Benevento.

Paris, May 31, 1814.

The great European triumvirate dew up the treaty of Fontainebleau, England acceded to it, a declaration made in the name of the King of France promised its fulfilment in so far as he was concerned; and yet, in spite of all these guarantees, it may be said that scarcely any of the articles were observed. Certainly, it would be difficult to conceive a more flagrant violation of good faith or a more absolute compromise of the august signatures, which, it was to be expected, each party would have been individually interested in preserving unsullied and sacred. On these manifest violations was grounded the moral justification of Napoleon’s enterprise in 1815. This opinion was pretty generally adopted: it was advocated by the most distinguished members of the English Parliament, those indefatigable supporters of great principles, and by eminent statesmen of all countries. I may add to these high authorities an individual opinion, which though somewhat comically expressed, was not perhaps the less just. An Austrian gentleman of rank, who was in Paris in 1815, and who was a furious enemy of Napoleon’s, called on me just at the time when the Emperor’s advance to the capital began to produce a great sensation. The Austrian had already determined to set off, and he said to me, with all possible gravity and sincerity: “Certainly, he hitherto occupied the throne of France as an usurper: that’s unquestionable! But,” added he, quibbling with himself diplomatically, “if he should now conquer France, after all the monarchs of 132Europe have acknowledged him as a sovereign, and have entitled him to go to war by not observing the conditions they entered into, the case would be very different. And, upon my word! ... for my own part at least ... I think in that case ... there might be some ground for maintaining that he has become legitimate. At least, I think I should myself be inclined to consider him so.”



(Paris, April 15, 1814.)

“... I shall, therefore, on the present occasion, confine myself to an explanation of what has passed with respect to the future destination and settlement of Napoleon and his family.

“Your Lordship has been already informed, by Lord Cathcart, of the Act of Abdication which was signed by Buonaparte, on the 4th instant, and of the assurance which was given him by the Emperor of Russia, and the Provisional Government, of a pecuniary provision of six millions of francs, with a safe asylum in the Island of Elba. The act in question was deposited in the hands of M. de Caulaincourt, and Marshals Ney and Macdonald, to be given up upon the due execution of engagements on the part of the Allies, with respect to the proposed arrangement. These persons were also authorized to agree to an armistice, and to settle such a line of demarcation as might be satisfactory to the Allies, and, in the mean time, prevent an unnecessary effusion of blood.

“On my arrival, I found this arrangement on the point of execution. A convention had been discussed, and would have, in fact, been signed in the course of the day by the Russian Minister, had not the approach of the Allied Ministers been announced. The motives for accelerating the immediate conclusion of this act, were the inconvenience, if not the danger of Napoleon’s remaining at Fontainebleau, surrounded by troops, who still, in a considerable degree, remained faithful to him; the apprehension of intrigues in the army and in the capital; and the importance attached, by a considerable 133portion of the officers, to some arrangement favourable to their chief, in satisfaction of their personal honour, before they left him.

“On the night of my arrival, the four Ministers had a conference with the Prince de Benevento, on the subject of the proposed convention, to which I stated my objections, desiring, at the same time, to be understood as not urging them then, at the hazard of the internal tranquillity of France, nor in impeachment of what was due, in good faith, to the assurance given, under the exigency of the moment, by Russia.

“The Prince de Benevento admitted the weight of many of the objections stated, but declared that he did consider it, on the part of the Provisional Government, as an object of the first importance, to avoid any thing that might assume the character of a civil war, even for the shortest time:—that he also found some such measure necessary, to make the army pass over in a temper to be made use of. Upon these declarations, and the Count de Nesselrode’s, that the Emperor, his master, had found it necessary, in the absence of the Allies, to act for the best, in their name as well as his own; I withdrew any further opposition to the principle of the measure, suggesting only some alterations in the details. I desired, however, to decline, on the part of my Government, being more than an acceding party to the treaty, and declared that the Act of Accession on the part of Great Britain should not go beyond the territorial arrangements proposed in the Treaty. My objections to our unnecessarily mixing in its forms, especially in the recognition of Napoleon’s title under present circumstances, were considered as perfectly reasonable: and I now enclose the protocol and note, which will explain the extent to which I have taken it upon me to give assurances on the part of my Court.

“At my suggestion, the recognition of the imperial titles in the family were limited to their respective lives, for which there was a precedent in the case of the King of Poland, when he became Elector of Saxony.

“To the arrangement in favour of the Empress, I not only felt no objection, but considered it due to the distinguished 134sacrifice of domestic feelings which the Emperor of Austria was making to the cause of Europe. I should have wished to substitute another position in lieu of Elba, for the seat of Napoleon’s retirement; but none, having the quality of security on which he insisted, seemed disposable, to which equal objections did not occur; and I did not feel that I could encourage the alternative which M. de Caulaincourt assured me Buonaparte repeatedly mentioned, namely, an asylum in England.

“On the same night, the Allied Ministers had a conference with M. de Caulaincourt, and the Marshals, at which I assisted. The treaty was gone through, and agreed to with alterations: it has been since signed and ratified, and Buonaparte will commence his movement towards the south to-morrow, or the day following.

(Signed)      “CASTLEREAGH.”

I thought it advisable to transcribe this letter; it throws a complete light on the treaty of the 11th of April, of the particulars of which I was ignorant, even when at St. Helena; and it presents two points to which I particularly wish to call attention. It explains the observation which fell from the Emperor, when I observed to him that on an important occasion he seemed to have forgotten the acknowledgement of his title by the English at Fontainebleau: when he merely replied that it was done on purpose. Now, I learn from the letter above quoted, that Lord Castlereagh studiously avoided the recognition; but this is no impeachment of the scrupulous correctness of Napoleon’s assertions.

The second point, which impartiality induces me to advert to is that Lord Castlereagh, in his letter, speaks of the alternative offered by Napoleon, to retire to England, in default of the cession of the Isle of Elba. A few pages further on (Nov. 16), it will be found that Napoleon, on the contrary, reproaches Lord Castlereagh with having caused it to be insinuated to him that the adoption of England, as a place of residence, would be the preferable course. These two statements are certainly quite contradictory; but regard for impartiality, as I before observed, has induced me to insert them. The 135reader is, therefore, free to decide as he may think fit; for, as I have often heard the Emperor say, one man’s word is as good as another’s. For my own part, my choice is soon determined: I adopt the words of Napoleon, in spite of the assertions of Lord Castlereagh. I still bear in mind the erroneous declarations of Lord Whitworth, which have been mentioned in the course of this Journal; the scandalous assertions respecting Napoleon, made by Lord Castlereagh in Parliament or in public assemblies; the garbled documents, on the authority of which Murat’s deposition was decreed; and the numerous denials so confidently expressed by Lord Bathurst in the House of Lords, the falsehood of which was manifest to every individual at St. Helena, and occasioned embarrassment even to Sir Hudson Lowe. I shall, therefore, adhere to the opinion I have formed, until I find good reason to alter it.


13th.—This morning, when I was in the Emperor’s apartment, being unemployed, I took a fancy to examine the large watch of Frederick the Great, which hangs beside the chimney piece. This led the Emperor to say, “I have been the possessor of glorious and valuable relics. I had the sword of Frederick the Great; and the Spaniards presented to me, at the Tuileries, the sword of Francis I. This was a high compliment, and it must have cost them some sacrifice. The Turks and Persians have also sent me arms, which were said to have belonged to Gengiskan, Tamerlan, Nadir Shah, and I know not whom; but I attached importance not to the fact, but to the intention.”

I expressed my astonishment that he had not endeavoured to keep Frederick’s sword. “Why, I had my own,” said he, smiling, and gently pinching my ear. He was right; I certainly made a very stupid observation.

Afterwards, alluding to his second marriage, he said, 136that he had intendedintended to make choice of a Frenchwoman, and it would have been well if he had done so. “Such a union would have been eminently national,” he observed. “France was sufficiently great, and her Monarch sufficiently powerful, to set aside every consideration of foreign policy. Besides, among Sovereigns, the ties of blood are always made to yield to political interests: hence what scandalous violations of moral feeling are frequently exhibited to the world. Another objection that may be urged against marriages of this kind is the admission of a foreign Princess into state secrets, which she may be tempted to betray; and, if a sovereign places trust in his connexions abroad, he may find that he has set his foot on an abyss covered with flowers. In short, it is absurd to suppose that such alliances can guarantee or ensure any advantage.”

The announcement of the Emperor’s second marriage was a source of joy to those prudent citizens who looked forward to the future.—A few days after he had formed his determination, Napoleon said to one of his Ministers (the Duke DecrèsDecrès), in a moment of good humoured familiarity, “Well; it appears that people are very much pleased with my intended marriage.”—“Yes, Sire.”—“I suppose they expect that the lion will slumber.”—“To say the truth, Sire, we are somewhat inclined to form that expectation.”—“Well,” resumed Napoleon, after a few moments’ silence, “it is a mistake: and it is not the fault of the lion either. Slumber would be as sweet to him as to any other. But do not you see that while I am, to all appearance, incessantly attacking, I am, nevertheless, always engaged in self-defence?”

The correctness of this assertion might have been doubted, while the terrible conflict lasted; but the joy and indiscretion of the triumphant party have sufficiently confirmed its truth. Some boasted of having formed the determination of prosecuting the war until they had accomplished the destruction of their enemy: others[13] have unblushingly proclaimed that the plot for Napoleon’s overthrow was hatched under the mask of alliance and friendship!

137During this and the two succeeding days, my attention was wholly occupied by a contest which concerned me personally, and which has had so much influence on my subsequent destiny, that I cannot pass it over in silence. Ever since my residence at Longwood, I have had, as a servant, a free mulatto, with whom I was very well satisfied; but Sir Hudson Lowe suddenly took it into his head to remove him.

Prompted by the determination of tormenting us, by every means his imagination could suggest, or (as many are inclined to believe,) following up a perfidiously laid plan, he sent the English officer on duty to inform me that he had conceived some doubts as to the propriety of my being attended by a native of the Island; and that he intended to remove my servant and send me one of his own choosing. My answer was brief and positive; “The Governor,” said I, “has it in his power to send away my servant, if he pleases; but he may spare himself the trouble of sending me one of his choosing. I am daily learning better and better how to dispense with the comforts of life. I can, if necessary, wait on myself; this additional privation will be but slightly felt, amidst the sufferings to which we are subjected.”

This circumstance occasioned the interchange of a vast number of messages and notes. Sir Hudson Lowe wrote three or four times every day to the officer on duty directing him to make various communications to me. He observed that he did not understand my scruples, and could not conceive why I should object to any servant he might send me.—One of his selecting was as good as any other—The offer of making the choice himself was merely a mark of attention, &c.

I was distressed to see the poor officer thus mercilessly sent to and fro; and I was also heartily tired of the business myself. I therefore begged that he would spare himself further trouble, by assuring the Governor that to all his communications my reply must invariably be the same; namely, that he might send away my servant if he pleased; but that he must not think of obliging me to receive one of his choosing; that he might place me in garrison by force, but never with my own consent. 138While this correspondence was going forward, my servant was sent for, interrogated, withdrawn from my service, then sent back again, and at length finally withdrawn.

I rendered an account of the whole affair to the Emperor, who highly applauded my determination of not admitting a spy among us. “But,” said he, in the most engaging manner, “as this sacrifice has been made for the interest of all, it is not proper that you alone should be the sufferer. Send to Gentilini, my valet de pied, and let him wait on you: he will be very happy to earn a few Napoleons in addition to his wages: besides, tell him it is by my desire.” Gentilini, at first, cheerfully undertook the duty; but, in the evening, the poor fellow came to inform me that some one had told him, it was not proper for one of the Emperor’s servants to attend on a private person!... The Emperor had the goodness to send for Gentilini, and to repeat the orders with his own mouth.

Thus the Governor daily persecutes us in every imaginable way. I do not mention all the circumstances of this kind that are continually occurring, not because habit has taught me to accommodate myself to them, but, because the vexations that arise from mere ill-nature are but trifles in comparison with the greater miseries which we have to endure....

If I attempt to portray the horrors of my own situation alone, let it be considered that I am exiled, and probably for ever, to a desert rock, two thousand leagues from home, confined in a small prison, beneath a sky, in a climate, and on a soil, totally different from those of my native country. I am hastening to a premature grave, the only probable conclusion of my misery. Bereft of my wife, children, and friends, who, though they still live, may be said to be no longer in the same world with me; shut out from all communication with mankind, I deplore the recollection of family affections, and the charms of friendship and society.... Certainly, there is no man, whatever be his country or his opinions, but must commiserate my lot.... But, in a moment, I can reverse the picture, and my situation will appear an enviable one!...

139Where is the heart that does not beat at the recollection of the achievements of Alexander and Cæsar? Who can approach the relics of Charlemagne without emotion? How happy should we be could we recal the words, the accents, of Henry IV.! Thus, when oppressed by mental dejection, when I feel the necessity of rousing my drooping spirits, while my heart is overflowing with these sensations, and my mind filled with these ideas, I exclaim: I possess all this, and more than this! Here, I am not surrounded by mere illusions and historical recollections; I am in actual contact with the living man who has accomplished so many prodigies. Every day, every moment, I may contemplate the features of him who, with a glance, ordered battles, and decided the fate of empires. I may gaze on the brow that is adorned with the laurels of Rivoli, Marengo, Austerlitz, Wagram, Jena, and Friedland. I may presume to touch the hand that has wielded so many sceptres, and distributed so many crowns; which seized the enemy’s colours at Arcole and Lodi; and which, on a solemn occasion, surrendered into the hands of an afflicted wife the only proofs of her husband’s guilt. I hear the voice of him who, when addressing his troops, in sight of the Egyptian pyramids, said, “My lads, from the summits of those monuments, forty centuries look down upon us!” who, halting and uncovering before a column of wounded Austrian soldiers, exclaimed, “Honour and respect to the unfortunate brave.” I converse, almost familiarly, with the Monarch who ruled Europe; whose pastime was the embellishment of our cities, and the prosperity of our provinces; who raised us to so high a rank in the estimation of nations; and who wafted our glory to the skies!... I see him, I hear him speak, I attend on him, and, perhaps, even help to console him!... Can I then lay claim to pity? On the contrary, will not thousands envy my lot? Who can boast of possessing so many sources of happiness, in circumstances similar to ours?



14th.—The Emperor sent for me about six o’clock. He informed me that he had just been dictating a chapter on maritime rights. He spoke to me of some other works he had in view. I ventured to remind him of the fourteen paragraphs which he had already planned, and to which I alluded on a former occasion. He seemed pleased that I had mentioned the circumstance, and assured me that he would, some day, carry his design into execution.

He read and corrected the valuable notes which he had dictated to the Grand Marshal on ancient and modern warfare, the different plans of composing and regulating armies, &c. He afterwards entered into conversation, and, among other things, said, “No series of great actions is the mere work of chance and fortune; it is always the result of reflection and genius. Great men rarely fail in the most perilous undertakings. Look at Alexander, Cæsar, Hannibal, the great Gustavus, and others; they always succeeded. Were they great men merely because they were fortunate? No; but because, being great men, they possessed the art of commanding fortune. When we come to inquire into the causes of their success, we are astonished to find that they did every thing to obtain it.

“Alexander, when scarcely beyond the age of boyhood, with a mere handful of brave troops, conquered a quarter of the globe. But was this achievement the result of a mere accidental irruption, a sort of unexpected deluge? No; all was profoundly calculated, boldly executed, and prudently managed. Alexander proved himself at once a distinguished warrior, politician, and legislator. Unfortunately, on attaining the zenith of glory and success, his head was turned, and his heart corrupted. He commenced his career with the mind of Trajan; but he closed it with the heart of Nero, and the manners of Heliogabalus.” The Emperor here described the campaigns 141of Alexander in such a manner as enabled me to view the subject in a totally new light.

Alluding to Cæsar, the Emperor remarked that he, the reverse of Alexander, had commenced his career at an advanced period of life; that his youth had been passed in indolence and vice; but that he had ultimately evinced the most active and elevated mind. He thought him one of the most amiable characters in history. “Cæsar,” observed he, “overcame the Gauls, and the laws of his country. But his great warlike achievements must not be attributed merely to chance and fortune.” Here he analyzed the victories of Cæsar, as he had done those of Alexander.

“Hannibal,” continued the Emperor, “is perhaps the most surprisingsurprising character of any, from the intrepidity, confidence, and grandeur, evinced in all his enterprises. At the age of twenty-six, he conceived what is scarcely conceivable, and executed what must have been looked upon as impossible. Renouncing all communication with his country, he marched through hostile or unknown nations, which he was obliged to attack and subdue. He crossed the Pyrenees and the Alps, which were presumed to be impassable, and descended upon Italy, sacrificing the half of his army for the mere acquisition of his field of battle, the mere right of fighting. He occupied and governed Italy for the space of sixteen years, being several times within a hair’s breadth of possessing himself of Rome, and only relinquished his prey when his enemies, profiting by the lesson he had set them, went to attack the Carthaginian territory. Can it be supposed that Hannibal’s glorious career and achievements were the mere result of chance, and fortune’s favours? Certainly, Hannibal must have been endowed with great vigour of mind, and he must also have possessed a vast consciousness of his own skill in the art of war, when, being interrogated by his youthful conqueror, he hesitated not to place himself, though subdued, next in rank to Alexander and Pyrrhus, whom he esteemed as the first of warriors.

“All the great Captains of antiquity,” continued Napoleon, “and those who in modern times have successfully 142trodden in their steps, performed vast achievements, only by conforming with the rules and principles of the art; that is to say, by correct combinations, and by justly comparing the relation between means and consequences, efforts and obstacles. They succeeded only by the strict observance of these rules, whatever may have been the boldness of their enterprises, or the extent of the advantages gained. They invariably practised war as a science. Thus they have become our great models, and it is only by closely imitating them that we can hope to approach them.

“My greatest successes have been ascribed merely to good fortune; and my reverses will no doubt be imputed to my faults. But if I should write an account of my campaigns, it will be seen that, in both cases, my reason and faculties were exercised in conformity with principles.”

It is to be hoped that the Emperor will execute the idea of writing his campaigns. How invaluable would be Napoleon’s Commentaries!

The Emperor analyzed the characters of Gustavus-Adolphus and Condé: with the latter, he said, science seemed to be instinctive, nature having created him with maturity of intellect. Turenne, on the contrary, had perfected his talent by dint of pains and study. I remarked that Turenne had formed no pupils, while Condé had left many distinguished ones behind him. “That was the mere caprice of chance,” replied the Emperor; “the contrary ought to have happened. But it is not always in the master’s power to form good pupils; nature must lend her aid: the seed must be sown in a fertile soil.” He made many remarks on Eugène, Marlborough, Vendome, &c. Frederick the Great, he said, was in all respects a super-excellent tactician, and possessed the art of rendering his troops absolute machines. “How often,” said he, “men’s characters prove to be totally different from what their early actions indicate! Do they themselves know what they really are? Frederick,” continued he, “at the commencement of his career, fled from his own victory; 143and, certainly the whole of his subsequent history proves him to have been the most intrepid, most tenacious, and coolest of men.”

After dinner, the Emperor, who was pleased with the subject of the dictations and conversation in which he had been engaged during the morning, discoursed on the same topics for nearly an hour; discussing in the most masterly and ingenious way a variety of points connected with the art of war.

Alluding to the great difference between ancient and modern warfare, he observed: “The invention of fire-arms has wrought a total change. This great discovery operates entirely to the advantage of assailants, though many moderns have maintained the contrary opinion. The corporeal strength of the ancients,” added he, “was in harmony with their offensive and defensive weapons; ours, on the other hand, are entirely beyond our sphere.”

Should the Emperor leave behind him his thoughts on these points, they will be truly invaluable. In course of the evening, he pronounced his opinion on several military subjects; sometimes embracing the highest questions, and sometimes descending into the minutest details.

He remarked that war frequently depended on accident, and that, though a commander ought to be guided by general principles, yet he should never lose sight of any thing that may enable him to profit by accidental circumstances. The vulgar call good-fortune that which, on the contrary, is produced by the calculations of genius.

In the present mode of military operations, he thought it advisable that greater consistency should be given to the third rank of infantry, or, that it should be suppressedsuppressed; and he explained his reasons for this.

He was of opinion that infantry charged by cavalry should fire from a distance, instead of firing closely, according to the present practice. He proved the advantage of this method.

He observed that infantry and cavalry left to themselves, 144without artillery, could procure no decisive result; but that, with the aid of artillery, all things else being equal, cavalry might destroy infantry. He clearly explained these facts, and many others besides.

He added that artillery really decided the fate of armies and nations; that men now fought with blows of cannon balls, as they fought with blows of fists; for in battle, as in a siege, the art consisted in making numerous discharges converge on one and the same point; that, amidst the conflict, he who had sufficient address to direct a mass of artillery suddenly and unexpectedly on any particular point of the enemy’s force was sure of the victory. This, he said, had been his grand secret and his grand plan of tactics.

The Emperor conceived that it would be impossible to form a perfect army, without a revolution in the manners and education of the soldier, and perhaps even the officer. This could not be accomplished with our ovens, magazines, commissaries, and carriages. There could be no perfect army, until, in imitation of the Romans, the soldier should receive his supply of corn, grind it in his hand-mill, and bake his bread himself. We could not hope to possess an army, until we should abolish all our monstrous train of civil attendants.

“I contemplated all these changes,” said he, “but they never could have been put in practice, except during profound peace. An army in a state of war would infallibly have rebelled against such innovations.”

I will here insert some notes which I have collected at various times, relative to the new plans projected by the Emperor, not only in the army, but on many other points essential to social organization.

The Emperor often observed that he intended, on the establishment of peace, to induce the Powers of Europe to make an immense reduction in their standing armies. He wished that each sovereign should limit himself to his guard, as the skeleton of the army, to be raised in case of necessity. He intended, should he have found himself compelled to keep up a numerous army in time of peace, to employ the troops in public works, and to have disciplined and provisioned them on a peculiar plan.

145He said he had found that, in his plans of campaigns and expeditions, the greatest difficulty arose from the modern method of provisioning troops; by which it was necessary first to find corn, then to get it ground, and next to have the flour made into bread. The Roman custom, which he highly approved, and which he had intended to introduce wholly or in part, would have obviated all these inconveniences. “By the adoption of the ancient plan,” said he, “an army might have marched to the end of the world. But, it would require time to bring about such a transition. It could not have been accomplished by a mere order of the day. I had long entertained the idea of such a change; but however great might have been my power, I should never have attempted to introduce it by force. There is no subordination with empty stomachs. Such an object could only have been effected in time of peace, and by insensible degrees: I should have accomplished it by creating new military manners.”

The Emperor constantly insisted on subjecting the whole nation to the laws of the conscription. “I am inexorable on the subject of exemption,” said he, one day in the Council of State;—“it would be criminal. How could I reconcile it to my conscience to expose the life of one man for the advantage of another? I do not even think I would exempt my own son.” On another occasion, he said, “The conscription is the everlasting root of a nation, its moral purification, the real foundation of its habits. By means of the conscription,” he added, “the nation was classed according to its real interests for defence abroad, and tranquillity at home. Organized, built up in this way, the French people might have defied the world, and might with justice have renewed the saying of the proud Gauls:—If the sky should fall, we will prop it up with our lances.

According to Napoleon’s plans, the conscription, so far from impeding education, would have been the means of promoting it. He intended to have established, in each regiment, a school for the commencement or continuation of instruction of every kind, either in science, the liberal arts, or mere mechanics. “And 146nothing would have been so easy,” he remarked. “The principle once adopted, we should have seen each regiment supplied with all that was necessary, out of its own ranks. And what advantages would have accrued to the mass of society by the dispersion of these young men, with their acquired knowledge, even had it been merely elementary, and the habits necessarily produced by it!”

The Emperor one day, in the course of conversation, observed that, if he had had leisure there were few institutions in which he would not have made improvements. He dwelt on the evils arising from lawsuits, which, he said, were an absolute leprosy, a social cancer. “My code,” said he, “had singularly diminished lawsuits, by placing numerous causes within the comprehension of every individual. But there still remained much for the legislator to accomplish. Not that he could hope to prevent men from quarrelling: this they have done in all ages; but he might have prevented a third party in society from living upon the quarrels of the other two and even stirring up disputes to promote their own interest. It was, therefore, my intention to establish the rule that lawyers should never receive fees except when they gained causes. Thus, what litigations would have been prevented! On the first examination of a cause, a lawyer would have rejected it, had it been at all doubtful. There would have been no fear that a man, living by his labour, would have undertaken to conduct a lawsuit, from mere motives of vanity; and if he had, he would himself have been the only sufferer in case of failure. But my idea was opposed by a multitude of objections, and as I had no time to lose, I postponed the further consideration of the subject. Yet I am still convinced,” added he, “that the scheme might, with certain modifications, have been turned to the best account.”

When speaking of the clergy, the Emperor remarked that he intended to have rendered curates a very important and useful class of men. “The more enlightened they are,” said he, “the less will they be inclined to abuse their ministry.” Therefore, in addition to their 147theological studies, he wished them to acquire a knowledge of agriculture and the elements of medicine and law. “Thus,” said he, “dogmatism and controversy, the battle-horse and the arms of fools and fanatics, would gradually have become more and more rare in the pulpit, whence would have been promulgated the doctrines of pure morality, always pleasing, eloquent, and persuasive. As men usually love to discourse on what they know, the clergy would have instructed the peasantry in their agricultural labours, counselled them against chicanery, and given advice to the sick. Such pastors would have been real blessings to their flocks; and, as they would have been allowed a liberal stipend, they would have enjoyed high consideration: they would have respected themselves, and would have been respected by all. They would have possessed the power of feudal lords, and they might, without danger, have exercised all their influence. A curate would have been a natural justice of peace, a true moral chief, to whom the direction of the population might have been safely intrusted, because he would himself have been dependent on the Government for his appointment and salary. If to all this be added the study and privation necessary for the calling, and supposing the individuals to be possessed of good qualities of heart and mind, it must be confessed that pastors, thus constituted, would have produced a revolution in society highly advantageous to the cause of morality.”

I recollect having heard the Emperor, in the Council of State, declaim against the perquisites of ministers of the Gospel, and point out the indecorum of their trafficking, as he said, with sacred, and yet indispensable, objects. He therefore proposed putting an end to this practice. “By rendering the acts of religion gratuitous,” he observed, “we shall make their dignity, beneficence, and charity more conspicuous; and confer a great benefit on the poor. Nothing would be easier than to substitute legal imposts for these perquisites. Every one is born, many marry, and all die; and yet births, marriages, and deaths, are three great subjects of religious jobbing, which, in my opinion, are particularly objectionable, 148and which I would wish to abolish. Since these are matters which concern all equally, why not place them under a special impost, or include them among the subjects of general taxation?” This proposal had no result.

I also recollect having heard the Emperor suggest that all public functionaries, and men employed under Government, even officers in the army, should themselves form a fund for their future pensions, by a slight deduction from their annual salaries. “Thus,” said he, “the future support of these individuals would no longer be an object of solicitation or a favour; it would be a right. The deductions made from their salaries would be thrown into a sinking fund, liable to this application. It would be a certain property, which they might regard as their own, and upon which they might draw, without opposition, on retiring from the public service.” It was urged, in objection, that there were incomes, those of military officers in particular, that would not admit of deduction.—“Well,” replied the Emperor, “I will make up the deficiency, I will add whatever is necessary for the deduction.”—“But,”“But,” it was asked, “what end will that answer? If we have to pay the same amount, where will be the economy? where will be the advantage?”—“The advantage,” replied the Emperor, “will be in the difference between certainty and uncertainty; between the settled course of the treasury, which would no longer have occasion to concern itself about these accidents, and the tranquillity of citizens, who would thus possess their guarantee.”

The Emperor warmly defended this idea, and adverted to it oftener than once; it however produced no result. I have already remarked that I have often known him to enter upon extempore discussions in this way, and even to comment on others after they were printed.

The following brief quotation will afford an idea of the labours and activity of the Emperor’s reign:—“It has been calculated that Napoleon’s Government, in the space of fourteen years and five months, presents, 61,139 deliberations of the Council of State, on different subjects!”[14]


London: Published for Henry Colburn, April, 1836.

149I have often heard Napoleon repeat that he wished for the establishment of an European Institute and European prizes, to superintend and stimulate the learned societies of every country.

He would have wished to fix throughout Europe, uniformity of coins, weights, and measures, and also uniformity of legislation. “Why,” said he, “might not my Code Napoleon have served as the groundwork for a European Code, and my Imperial University have been the basis of a European University? Thus the whole population of Europe would have become one and the same family; and every man, while he travelled abroad, would still have found himself at home.”

Various other subjects, of the above nature, were canvassed at different times; but I refrain from noticing them, as my memory does not enable me to enter into details.


15th.—About three o’clock, the Emperor, with whom I breakfasted this morning, sent for me. He wished to take the air, and he endeavoured to walk as far as the wood; but the air was too keen for him. He then called at the Grand Marshal’s, and he sat for a considerable time in an arm-chair, apparently quite exhausted. We remarked the colour of his countenance, how much he had fallen away, and his evident debility; and we were much distressed at the change observable in him.

As we passed through the wood, the Emperor cast his eyes on the fortifications which were surrounding us; and he could not forbear smiling at these useless and absurd works. He remarked that the ground in our neighbourhood had been entirely disfigured by the removal of the kind of turf with which it was covered, and which had been carried away for the purpose of raising banks. In fact, for the last two months, the Governor has been incessantly digging ditches, constructing parapets, erecting palisades, &c. He has quite blockaded us 150in Longwood, and the stable at this moment presents every appearance of a redoubt. We are at a loss to guess where will be the advantage equivalent to the expense and labour bestowed on these works, which by turns excite the ill-humour and ridicule of the soldiers and Chinese, who are employed upon them, and who now call Longwood and its stable, by the names of Fort Hudson and Fort Lowe. We are assured that Sir Hudson Lowe often starts from his sleep to devise new measures of security. “Surely,” said the Emperor, “this seems something like madness. Why cannot the man sleep quietly, and let us alone? Has he not sense enough to perceive that the security of our local situation here is sufficient to remove all his panic terrors?”—“Sire,” said an individual present, “he cannot forget Capri, which, with 2000 men, thirty pieces of cannon, and perched among the clouds, was taken by 1200 Frenchmen, commanded by the brave Lamarque, who could only reach Sir Hudson Lowe by the help of a triple escalade.”—“Well,” said the Emperor, “this only proves that our Governor is a better jailor than general.”

For some time past, I have felt seriously alarmed respecting the health of my son. The pains of which he formerly complained have been succeeded by violent palpitations, attended by fainting fits; and he is frequently obliged to rise during the night, to relieve himself by walking about, or assuming some particular position. Dr. O’Meara thought he perceived symptoms of aneurism, and considered him to be in a dangerous state. I requested the chief medical officer. Dr. Baxter, to hold a consultation with Dr. O’Meara. The result greatly relieved my anxiety; for his state was declared to have nothing in it very alarming.

During the conversations of the day, the Emperor alluded to Madame de Staël, of whom, however, he said nothing new, except mentioning some letters which had been examined by the police, and which related to Madame Recamier and a Prussian Prince.

“This correspondence,” said the Emperor, “presented unequivocal proofs of the influence of Madame Recamier’s 151charms, and the high regard which the Prince entertained for her. The letters contained nothing less than offers or promises of marriage on his part.”

The following is an explanation of this affair. The beautiful Madame Recamier, whose pure reputation stood unassailed during those stormy times in which few escaped censure, was residing with Madame de Staël, to whom she had heroically devoted herself, when one of the Prussian Princes, who had been made prisoner at Eylau, and who was proceeding to Italy by Napoleon’s permission, alighted at the castle of Coppet, with the intention of resting only for a few hours. Here, however, he was detained during the whole of the summer by the charms of Madame Recamier, who was voluntarily sharing the exile of her friend. This lady, and the young Prince, both considered themselves as the victims of Napoleon, and their common hatred of him, whom they looked upon as their oppressor, probably engendered the interest which they mutually conceived for each other. Inspired with an ardent passion, the Prince, in spite of the difficulties which his exalted rank naturally suggested, conceived the idea of marrying Madame Recamier. He communicated his design to Madame de Staël, whose poetic imagination prompted her to favour a scheme that was calculated to diffuse a sort of romantic interest over Coppet. The Prince was recalled to Berlin, but absence produced no change in his sentiments. He still ardently prosecuted his suit; but Madame Recamier constantly declined this unexpected elevation, either from natural generosity of feeling, or from her Catholic prejudice against divorce.

To this circumstance we are indebted for the picture of Corinne, which is accounted one of the most original creations of Gerard’s pencil. The Prince ordered the picture as a compliment to Madame Recamier.

Having reverted to Madame de Staël, I will take this opportunity of observing that since the publication of the preceding parts of my Journal, I have been visited by some of the most intimate friends of that celebrated woman. These individuals have assured me that Madame de Staël has been often represented to have employed expressions in reference to Napoleon, of which she was 152wholly incapable,—for example, the phrase Robespierre on horseback, which they said they could take upon themselves conscientiously to disavow. I have moreover been informed that Madame de Staël was often more favourable to Napoleon in her private conversation than in her writings, which, it must be confessed, are, in all that relates to the Emperor, embittered by a spirit of malignity and resentment. One of her friends assured me that he had been very much gratified on finding it mentioned in my Journal that Napoleon at St. Helena had compared Madame de Staël at once to Armida and Clorinda I was informed that Madame de Staël, on her part, at the time of her enthusiasm for the young General of the army of Italy, had compared him at once to Scipio and Tancred; because, as she said, he combined the simple virtues of the one with the brilliant achievements of the other.

After dinner, the Emperor ordered his favourite Racine to be brought out, and he read to us some of the finest passages in Iphigenia, Mithridates, and Bajazet. “Though Racine has produced master-pieces in themselves,” said he, “yet he has diffused over them a perpetual air of insipidity. Love is eternally introduced, with its tone of languor and its tiresome accompaniments. But these faults must not be attributed entirely to Racine, but to the manners of the age in which he wrote. Love was then, and at even a later period, the whole business of life with every one. This is always the case when society is in a state of idleness. As for us,” said he, “our thoughts have been cruelly turned to other subjects, by the great events of the revolution.”

The Emperor likewise condemned, by the way, the whole of the celebrated plan of campaign of Mithridates. He remarked that it might be fine as a narrative; but that it was absurd as a conception.


16th.—I found the Emperor amusing himself by looking over an English publication, a kind of political almanack. 153Alluding to the members of the English Ministry who were mentioned in the work, he said to me: “Do you know any of them? What was the general opinion of them, when you were in England?”—“Sire,” I replied, “it is so long since I left England that nearly all who are now distinguished in the ministry were then only commencing their career. At that time none of them had come forward on the scene.”

The Emperor, having mentioned Lord Liverpool, said: “He appears to me to be the most worthy man among them. I have heard a great deal of good of him. He seems to have some feeling of propriety and decorum. I have no objection to a man being my enemy: every one has his own business and his own duties to perform; but I have certainly a right to be indignant at unworthy conduct and measures.” I mentioned to the Emperor that, when I was in England, Lord Liverpool’s father, Mr. Jenkinson, who successively became Lord Hawkesbury, and Lord Liverpool, had made his political fortune. He was said to have been a very good kind of man, and a private friend of George III.; he was distinguished for assiduity, and particularly directed his attention to diplomatic documents.

The Emperor next mentioned Lord Sidmouth. “I am told,” said he, “that he too is a worthy man enough: but he possesses no great share of understanding. He is one of those honest blockheads who, with the utmost sincerity, concur in all sorts of mischief.”

“Sire,” said I, “in my time, Lord Sidmouth, under the name of Mr. Addington, was a member of the House of Commons, and was a man generally esteemed. He was said to be the creature of Mr. Pitt, who was understood to have appointed Addington as his successor, in order to ensure to himself the means of returning to the ministry whenever he should think fit. The public were certainly greatly astonished to see Pitt succeeded by Mr. Addington; as the post was considered to be very far beyond his talents. One of the English opposition papers, alluding to Mr. Addington, quoted the remark made by a philosopher (Locke, I believe), who says that the mind of a child is a blank sheet of paper, on which 154nature has yet written nothing: and the Journal in question humorously observed that when nature wrote upon the blank sheet of the Doctor (the nickname then given to Mr. Addington), it must needs be confessed, she left plenty of margin.”

“Well,” resumed the Emperor, “what do you know of that sad fellow, into whose keeping we have been delivered up—that Lord Bathurst?” “Absolutely nothing, Sire,” I replied, “either of his origin, his person, or his character.”—“For my part,” said he, with some degree of warmth, “I have no opportunity of knowing him, except by his conduct towards me; and in judging from that, I hold him to be the vilest the basest the most cowardly of men. The brutality of his orders, the coarseness of his language, the choice of his agent, all authorize me to make this declaration. An executioner, such as he has sent hither, is not easily found. Such a selection could not be made at random. He must have been sought for, tried, judged, and instructed. Certainly, this, in my opinion, is sufficient to justify the moral condemnation of the man who could stoop to so base a course. By the arm which he moves it is easy to guess what must be his heart!”

I must confess that, yielding to feelings of delicacy, I had at first almost prevailed on myself to suppress or to soften down the expressions above quoted: but on the other hand, certain scruples deterred me from doing so. The shade of him who was so deeply injured is, thought I, at this moment hovering above me, and seems to say:—“Since you make me speak, at least preserve my words.” Justice asserts her rights. Men, in the enjoyment of honours and powers must feel it incumbent on them to answer charges that are brought against them. Let the accused justify himself:—if he can, so much the better.

Speaking of Lord Castlereagh, the Emperor said:—“This man governs all the rest, and rules even the Prince himself, by dint of impudence and intrigue. Supported by a majority of his own creating, he is always ready to contend, with the utmost effrontery, against reason, law, justice, and truth. No falsehood 155staggers him: he stops at nothing, well knowing that he can always command votes to applaud and legalize whatever he does. He has completely sacrificed his country, and is daily degrading her by acting in opposition to her policy, doctrines, and interests: in short, he has entirely delivered her up to the Continent. The situation of England is becoming worse and worse. Heaven knows how she will extricate herself!”

“Lord Castlereagh,” continued he, “is, I am informed, looked upon, even in England, as a man politically immoral. He commenced his career by an act of political apostacy, which, though common enough in his country, nevertheless, always leaves an indelible stain. He entered upon public life as an advocate of the people, and he has finally become the engine of power and despotism. If all that is said of him be correct, he must be execrated by his countrymen, the Irish, whom he has betrayed, and by the English, who may justly regard him as the destroyer of their domestic liberties, and foreign interests.

“He has had the impudence to bring forward in parliament, as authentic facts, statements which he knew to be false, and which probably he himself fabricated: and yet, on the authority of these documents, Murat’s dethronement was decided. Lord Castlereagh makes it his business to belie himself daily in parliament and in public meetings, by putting into my mouth language calculated to prejudice me in the eyes of the English, though he is well aware that he is making false assertions. This conduct is the more base; since he himself withholds from me the power of refuting him.

“Lord Castlereagh is the disciple of Pitt, of whom he probably thinks himself the equal, though he is merely the ape of that distinguished statesmen. He has incessantly pursued the plans and plots of his master against France; but even here pertinacity and obstinacy were perhaps his only good qualities. But Pitt had grand views: with him his country’s interest took place of every consideration. He possessed talent and ingenuity; and from England, he moved the lever by which he ruled and influenced the continental sovereigns at will. Castlereagh, 156on the contrary, substituting intrigue for ingenuity, and subsidies for genius, is regardless of his country’s interest, and has incessantly employed the credit and influence of the continental sovereigns merely to confirm and perpetuate his own power at home. However, such is the course of things in this world, that Pitt with all his talent, constantly failed, while the incapable Castlereagh has been completely successful. Oh, blindness of fortune!

“Castlereagh has proved himself entirely the man of the continent. When master of Europe, he satisfied all the monarchs of the continent, and only forgot his own country. His conduct has been so prejudicial to the national interests, so incompatible with the doctrines of his country, and altogether presents so much the appearance of inconsistency, that it is difficult to conceive how so wise a people as the English can allow themselves to be governed by such a fool!

“He adopts legitimacy as the basis of his creed, and wishes to establish it as a political dogma, while that principle would sap the very foundation of the throne of his own sovereign. Besides, he acknowledges Bernadotte in opposition to the legitimate Gustavus IV., who sacrificed himself for England; and he acknowledges the usurper Ferdinand VII., to the detriment of his venerable father, Charles IV.

“He and the Allies establish, as another fundamental basis, the restoration of the old order of things, the redress of what they term past injuries, injustice, and depredation; finally, the return of political morality. Yet Castlereagh scrupled not to sacrifice the republic of Venice and Genoa, by abandoning the former to Austria, and annexing the latter to Piedmont. He enriched Russia by the possession of Poland. He robbed the King of Saxony, for the advantage of Prussia, who can no longer afford any aid to England. He separated Norway from Denmark, while, had the latter power been left more independent of Russia, she might have surrendered to England the key of the Baltic; and Norway was transferred to Sweden, which, by the loss of Finland and the Islands of the Baltic, has fallen entirely under the subjection of Russia. Finally, by a violation of the first principles of general policy, he neglected, in his all-powerful 157situation, to restore the independence of Poland, thereby exposing Constantinople, endangering the whole of Europe, and preparing a thousand troubles in Germany.

“I need say nothing of the monstrous inconsistencyinconsistency of a Minister, the representative of a nation pre-eminently free, restoring Italy to the yoke of slavery, keeping Spain in a state of bondage, and exerting every effort to forge fetters for the whole continent. Does he think that liberty is only proper for the English, and that the rest of Europe is not fit to enjoy it?[15] But even supposing him to entertain this opinion, how does he explain his conduct with regard to his own countrymen, whom he is daily depriving of some of their rights? For example: the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, right or wrong; the enforcement of the Alien Bill, by which (will it be credited?) the wife of an Englishman, should she happen to be a foreigner, may be driven from England, at the will and pleasure of the Minister; the endless dispersion of spies and informers, those exciting agents and infernal instigators, by whose aid criminals may always be created, and victims multiplied. In short, Castlereagh has established at home the system of cold violence, the iron yoke, which he exercises over foreign dependencies.[16] No; Lord Castlereagh is not calculated to be the Minister of a free people, or to command the respect of foreign nations. He is the vizier of the continental Sovereigns, at their instigation training his countrymen to slavery: he is the connecting link, the conductor, by which English 158gold is dispersed over the continent, and the despotic doctrines of other countries imported into England.

“He proves himself to be the partisan, the obsequious associate of the Holy Alliance,—that mysterious alliance, of which I cannot guess either the meaning or the object, which can afford neither utility nor advantage. Can it be directed against the Turks? It would then be for the English to oppose it. Can it really have for its object the maintenance of a general peace? That is a chimera, by which it is impossible diplomatic cabinets can be duped. With them, alliances can only be formed for the purpose of opposition or counterpoise. They cannot all be allied together. I cannot therefore comprehend this Holy Alliance, except by regarding it as a league of sovereigns against subjects; but, in that case, what has Castlereagh to do with it? If it be so, will he not, ought he not, one day, to pay dearly for his conduct?

“I once had Lord Castlereagh in my power,” said the Emperor. “He was intriguing at Chatillon, when, during one of our momentary successes, my troops passed beyond the seat of Congress, which was, by this means, surrounded. The Prime Minister of England maintained no public character, and was without the law of nations.

“He was aware of his embarrassing situation, and manifested the utmost uneasiness at thus finding himself in my power. I intimated to him that he might set his mind at rest, as he was at perfect liberty. I did this on my own account, and not on his, for certainly I had no reason to expect any good from him. However, some time afterwards, he evinced his gratitude in a very peculiar way. When he saw me make choice of the Isle of Elba, he caused England to be proposed as my asylum, and employed all his eloquence and subtlety to induce me to make choice of that country as my place of residence. Now, however, I may justly entertain suspicion of the offers of Castlereagh, and doubtless, he already meditated the horrible treatment which he is at this moment exercising towards me!

“It was a misfortune for England that her Prime Minister treated personally with the continental Sovereigns: it was a violation of the spirit of the British 159constitution. The English at first felt their pride flattered, at seeing their representative dictate laws to Europe; but they have now abundant cause to repent, since the result has proved that, on the contrary, he only stipulated for embarrassment, degradation and loss.

“It is an undoubted fact, that Castlereagh might have obtained all; while, on the contrary, from blindness, incapacity, or perfidy, he sacrificed every thing. When seated at the banquet of Monarchs, he blushed to dictate peace like a merchant, and determined to treat liberally like a lord. Thus he gained something in point of vanity; and, it may be presumed, he lost nothing in point of interest: his country alone suffered, and will long continue to suffer.

“And the continental Sovereigns are also likely to repent of having permitted their Prime Ministers to come into personal contact with each other. The result seems to have been that these Premiers have created among themselves a sort of secondary sovereignty, which they mutually guarantee to each other; and, there is good reason to suppose that it is accompanied by subsidies furnished with the knowledge of their respective Sovereigns. This business may be very easily managed; nothing can be more simple, and, at the same time, more ingenious. In fixing the secret service money, it is very easy to mention that such a one on the continent has been very useful, that he may still continue to be so, and, therefore, that it is proper to make an acknowledgment for his services. This individual, in his turn, may represent to his Government that some man or other abroad has rendered important services and even compromised his own interests, and that consequently he should not be forgotten. It was probably some such arrangements as these that occasioned an illustrious personage at Vienna to exclaim, in a moment of vexation, Such a one costs me the eyes in my head! Doubtless, these disgraceful schemes and transactions will one day come to light. We shall then see what enormous fortunes have thus been squandered and swallowed up. They will perhaps hereafter be recorded in new letters of Barillon; but nothing will be unfolded, no characters 160will be disgraced, because contemporaries will have anticipated all.”

After this long and energetic sally, in which, I may say, I for the first time heard Napoleon express himself privately, with such warmth and bitterness against these individuals of whom he had personally cause to complain he was silent for a few moments. Then resuming, he said, “And Lord Castlereagh is artful enough to support himself entirely on Lord Wellington (whose name the Emperor, at the moment, found among the members of the English Ministry). Wellington has become his creature! Can it be possible that the modern Marlborough has joined the train of a Castlereagh, and yoked his victories to the turpitude of a political mountebank? It is inconceivable! Can Wellington endure such a thought? Has not his mind risen to a level with his success?...”

I had remarked that, in general, the Emperor disliked to speak of Lord Wellington. He seemed carefully to avoid pronouncing his opinion on him; feeling, no doubt, the impropriety of publicly depreciating the General who had triumphed over him. On the present occasion, however, he yielded, without reserve, to the full expression of his feelings. The consciousness of the indignities that are heaped upon him seemed, at this moment, to rise forcibly in his mind. Though usually so calm and unresenting towards those who had done him the greatest injuries, he now evinced a degree of warmth which I had never before witnessed in him. His gestures, his features, his tone of voice, were all expressive of the utmost indignation. I listened to him with astonishment.

“I have been told,” said he, “that it is through Wellington that I am here; and I believe it.[17] It is conduct well worthy of him, who, in defiance of a solemn capitulation, suffered Ney to perish;—Ney, with whom he had so often been engaged on the field of battle! 161For my own part, it is very certain that I gave him a terrible quarter of an hour. This usually constitutes a claim on noble minds; his was incapable of feeling it. My fall, and the lot that might have been reserved for me, afforded him the opportunity of reaping higher glory than he has gained by all his victories. But he did not understand this. Well, at any rate, he ought to be heartily grateful to old Blucher: had it not been for him, I know not where his Grace might have been to-day; but I know that I, at least, should not have been at St. Helena. Wellington’s troops were admirable, but his plans were despicable; or, I should rather say, that he formed none at all. He had placed himself in a situation in which it was impossible he could form any; and, by a curious chance, this very circumstance saved him. If he could have commenced a retreat, he must infallibly have been lost. He certainly remained master of the field of battle; but was his success the result of his skill? He has reaped the fruit of a brilliant victory; but did his genius prepare it for him? His glory is wholly negative. His faults were enormous. He, the European Generalissimo, to whose hands so many interests were intrusted, and having before him an enemy so prompt and daring as myself, left his forces dispersed, and slumbered in a capital until he was surprised. And yet such is the power of fatality! In the course of three days, I three times saw the destiny of France and of Europe escape my grasp.

“In the first place, but for the treason of a General, who deserted from our ranks, and betrayed my designs, I should have dispersed and destroyed all the enemy’s detached parties before they could have combined themselves into corps.

“Next, had it not been for the unusual hesitations of Ney at Quatre-Bras, I should have annihilated the whole English army.

“Finally, on my right, the extraordinary manœuvres of Grouchy, instead of securing victory, completed my ruin, and hurled France into the abyss.

“No,” continued he, “Wellington possesses only a special kind of talent: Berthier also had his! In this 162he perhaps excels. But he has no ingenuity; fortune has done more for him than he has done for her. How different from Marlborough, of whom he seems to consider himself as the rival and equal. Marlborough, gained battles, ruled cabinets and guided statesmen; as for Wellington, he has only shewn himself capable of following the views and plans of Castlereagh. Madame de Staël said of him that, when out of the field of battle, he had not two ideas. The saloons of Paris, so distinguished for delicacy and correctness of taste, at once decided that Madame de Staël was in the right: and the French Plenipotentiary at Vienna confirmed that opinion. His victories, their result, and their influence, will rise in history; but his name will fall, even during his lifetime.”

Alluding to ministries in general, but particularly to collective ministries, the intrigues, the great and petty passions that agitate the men who compose them, the Emperor said, “After all, they are only so many plagues. No one escapes the contagion. A man may be honest when he enters a ministry; but it seldom happens that he retires from one without having forfeited his purity of character. I may perhaps except only two: mine, and that of the United States—mine, because my Ministers were merely my men of business, and I alone stood responsible; and that of the United States, because there Ministers are men of public credit, always upright, always vigilant, and always rigid.” He concluded with the following remarkable words:—

“I believe that no Sovereign was ever surrounded by more faithful servants than I was towards the close of my reign. And if I did not obtain due credit for the selection I had made, it was because the French are too apt to murmur incessantly.” He then took a review of his principal Ministers, counting them on his fingers.

“My two great dignitaries,” said he, “Cambacérès and Lebrun, were distinguished men, and perfectly well disposed. Bassano and Caulaincourt, two men remarkable for sincerity and rectitude. Molé, whose name reflects honour on the French Magistracy, is probably destined to act a part in future ministries. Montalivet 163was an honest man; the ministry of Decrès was pure and rigorous; Gaudin was distinguished for steady and well directed labour; Mollien possessed vast perspicuity and promptitude; and all my Councillors of State were prudent and assiduous! All these names will remain inseparably connected with mine. What country, what age, ever presented a better composed, or more moral Ministry? Happy the nation that possesses such instruments, and knows how to turn them to good account!... Though I was not given to praise, and though my approbation was in general purely negative, yet I fully appreciated the value of those who served me, and who have everlasting claims on my gratitude. Their number is immense, and the most modest are not the least meritorious. I shall not attempt to name them, because many would have to complain of having been omitted, and such omission might appear like ingratitude on my part!”


17th.—The Emperor was unwell, and saw nobody during the whole of the day. In the evening he sent for me. I expressed myself very much concerned for the state of his health; but he assured me that he was more indisposed in mind than in body. He began to converse on a variety of subjects, and this seemed to rouse his spirits.

He once more took a review of the Generals of the army of Italy, describing their characters, and quoting many anecdotes respecting them. He spoke of the selfishness of one, of the false pretensions of another, the folly of a third; the depredations committed by some, the good qualities of others, and the important services rendered by all. He dwelt particularly on one, to whom he had been much attached, and whose defection, he said, had proved a severe wound to his heart. The Emperor remarked that, from what he knew of that individual, he was sure he must occasionally suffer deeply 164from remorse. “Never,” observed he, “was defection more fatal, or more decidedly avowed. It was recorded in the Moniteur, and by his own hand. It was the immediate cause of our disasters, the grave of our power, the cloud of our glory. And yet,” added he, in a tone of affection, “I am convinced that his sentiments are better than his reputation; his heart is superior to his conduct. Of this, he himself appears to be conscious. The newspapers inform us that when, soliciting in vain for the pardon of Lavalette, he exclaimed, with warmth, in reply to the obstacles urged by the Monarch, Sire, have I not given you more than life? We were, it is true,” said the Emperor, “betrayed by others, and in a manner still more vile; but no other act of apostacy was so solemnly recorded by official documents.”

The Emperor then observed that, at an early period of life, he had acted the part of a father to the General above alluded to, who could not enter the royal corps of artillery, and had been obliged to join a provincial regiment. “He was,” said the Emperor, “the nephew of one of my comrades at the school of Brienne, and in the regiment of La Fère, who, when he emigrated from France, recommended his young relation to my care. This circumstance imposed upon me the obligation of acting the part of his uncle and his father, which I literally did. I took a real interest in his welfare, and felt a pleasure in advancing his fortune. His father was a knight of St. Louis, the proprietor of some iron-works in Burgundy, and a man of considerable fortune.”fortune.”

Napoleon mentioned that, in 1794, as he was returning from the army of Nice to Paris, he visited the father’s chateau, where he was magnificently treated, as he was already beginning to enjoy a certain degree of reputation. The father, according to the son’s account, was an absolute miser. However, he determined to give a handsome reception to the guest who had been so kind to his son. His entertainment was distinguished by all the ostentation which misers are fond of displaying. He exhibited complete prodigality. It was in July or August, and he ordered immense fires to be kindled in all the apartments. “This,” said the Emperor, “would have been an incident for Moliere.”

165Speaking of the manners of Paris, and its immense population, the Emperor adverted to the many evils which he said must inevitably exist in all great capitals, where depravity of every kind is continually stimulated by want, passion, wit, and the facilities afforded by bustle and confusion. He often repeated, that all capitals were so many Babylons. He adduced several proofs of odious libertinism with respect to Paris; and he mentioned that, after he became Emperor, he had perused the most scandalous book that was ever conceived by the most depraved imagination. It was a novel, which, even in the time of the Convention, had proved so offensive to public morals as to occasion the imprisonment of its author, who had continued in confinement ever since, and whom the Emperor believed to be still living. I have forgotten the name of the writer, and it was the first time I had ever heard the production mentioned.

The Emperor said that he had endeavoured, as far as circumstances permitted, to suppress many sources of immorality; but in some instances, he had not had courage to descend into details. For example, he prohibited masked gaming, and even had it in view to prohibit all gaming houses; but when I wished to have the subject thoroughly discussed in my presence, it proved to be a very difficult question. I mentioned that the police had even prohibited us from playing privately in one of the principal houses of the Faubourg St. Germain. The Emperor observed that he had had no idea of this act of tyranny; and yet, as I assured him, it was exercised by Fouché in his name. “That may be,” said he, “but I knew nothing of it; and so it was with all the details of the police, high, middling, and low.”

He then questioned me respecting the kind of gaming to which I had just alluded; and observing that, in my replies, I always used the plural we, he interrupted me, saying,—“Were you yourself one of the party? Were you a gamester?”—“Alas! Sire, I unfortunately was. Only at long intervals, it is true. But st¡ll, when the fit seized me, it urged me to excess.”—“I am very glad I knew nothing of it at the time,“ said the Emperor, “otherwise you would have been ruined in my esteem. 166This circumstance shews how little we knew of each other, and it also proves that you could not have made yourself many enemies; for there were charitable souls about me who would have taken care to inform me of your failing. My prejudice against gaming was well known. A gamester was sure to forfeit my confidence. I had not leisure to enquire whether I was right or wrong; but, whenever I heard that a man was addicted to gaming, I placed no more reliance on him.”

This allusion to the Faubourg St. Germain led us to mention many of the principal names in the capital. The Emperor made some remarks on the different members of the family of La Rochefoucault. He mentioned the lady of honour to the Empress Josephine; her husband, who was ambassador to Vienna and Holland; her brother, the member of the Legislative Body; their father, M. de Liancourt, whom he highly respected; and finally, the daughter whom he had given in marriage to Prince Aldobrandini, brother to Prince Borghese. He repeated that he had once entertained the idea of making her the wife of Ferdinand VII. He also mentioned another, M. de la Rochefoucault, who died in prison at the commencement of his reign, and he asked me what relation he was to the others. I could not inform him. I knew nothing either of the person or the circumstance mentioned by the Emperor.

“He was,” said Napoleon, “the author of a conspiracy against my person, which I never mentioned to you: it just now occurs to my recollection.

“This M. de la Rochefoucault formed in Paris, in behalf of the King, who was then at Mittau, a conspiracy, the first stroke of which was to be the death of the head of the Government. M. de la Rochefoucault ended his days in prison, after a long confinement. Some one having procured a knowledge of this affair, a confidential agent of the police pretended to enter into the conspiracy, and to become one of its most active members. He received his credentials at a chateau in Lorraine, from an old gentleman, who had held a distinguished rank in the army of Condé, and who had been enabled to return to France by the amnesty of the First 167Consul. This gentleman, who, to do him justice, was a very worthy man, was appointed to accredit the members of the conspiracy, and to afford them the necessary facilities for gaining access to Louis XVIII. at Mittau. He had evinced great repugnance on entering into the conspiracy. He said it was now too late to think of such enterprises, as France was beginning to enjoy repose. He solemnly declared his disapproval of any violence being offered to the First Consul, whom he now looked upon as something sacred. After having several interviews with Louis XVIII. at Mittau, the police agent returned with a knowledge of the whole affair. M. de la Rochefoucault and his party were arrested. If they had but known who disclosed their plot!”


18th,—19th.—The conversation turned on Poland, roused as she had been at the voice of Napoleon. We spoke of the individuals who seemed to have been destined to ascend the throne of that country: each made his own conjectures on this subject. The Emperor remained silent for some time, and at length interrupted us, saying: “Poniatowski was the real King of Poland. He possessed every quality requisite for that high station.” He said no more.

At another moment, the Emperor smiled at the pains that had been taken to obliterate his emblems and devices on the public monuments which he had erected, “They may,” said he, “be withdrawn from the public eye; but they cannot be erased from the page of history, or from the recollection of connoisseurs and artists. I acted differently,” added he; “I respected all the vestiges of royalty that existed when I came into power. I even restored the fleurs-de-lis, and other royal emblems, when chronological correctness required it.”

An individual present remarked that Prince Lucien had manifested precisely the same sentiments. The Palais Royal was assigned as his place of residence on the Emperor’s return in 1815, and, observing, as he ascended the staircase, the groupes of fleurs-de-lis on the tapestry 168that overhung the walls, he said to the officer who attended him: “This will all be taken down, I presume?”—“Why, Monseigneur?” “Because these are the devices of the enemy.” “Well! Monseigneur, why should they not remain as our trophies?”—“You are right,” replied the Prince, “this is exactly my way of viewing the matter.”

To-day, I have been able to collect but little from the Emperor’s conversation.... I shall, therefore, fill up this void, and that of the succeeding day, by inserting some anecdotes which I find in scattered memoranda on the cover of my ordinary Journal: for here I noted down such particulars as I found I had forgotten to insert in their proper place, together with any old reminiscences that happened to occur to me, or delicate points which, in our state of captivity, required to be treated with prudence and circumspection. These notes also contain many facts, which have been subsequently collected from unquestionable sources.

Many of these articles have no relation to each other; but, they are all connected with the object of the present work, whether they serve to prove the false colours in which Napoleon has been painted, or whether, on the contrary, they develop the real traits of his character. May the perusal of this Journal induce those who have been about the Emperor to record on their parts all they know, or have heard respecting him!

Formerly, a great deal was said about the excessive severity and violence exercised by the Emperor towards the individuals about his person. Now, however, it is acknowledged that every one who served him adored him, precisely for his kindness of heart and manners. Since my return to Europe, a gentleman of high rank, whose name alone would be sufficient to command credit, and whose high functions kept him constantly about the person of the Emperor, in foreign expeditions as well as in the interior of the palace, has assured me that he never in his life knew Napoleon to strike a servant, except on one occasion. This was when one of his grooms, at the retreat of Saint Jean d’Acre, refused to give up his horse for the transport of the invalids, while 169he, the General-in-Chief, had surrendered his, and had obliged all his staff to do so likewise. But, after all, added my informant, it was easy to perceive that this act was prompted by policy rather than by natural severity of temper: the scene took place in the presence of dispirited troops, to whom it was necessary to give proofs of the lively interest that was felt for them.

It used to be a common remark that Napoleon was not less morose to the individuals of his Court than to those in his service; and that he never had any thing complimentary or agreeable to say to any one. Among the multitude of facts that might be adduced in contradiction to this assertion, I will mention the following, to which I was myself a witness. On his return from the disastrous campaign of Leipsic, the Emperor received the officers of his household at an unusual hour. He presented himself to us with an air of melancholy. Stepping up to the individual who was next me (M. de Beauveau, I think,) whose son, yet a youth, had served in the campaign, in the guard of honour, or some other corps. Napoleon said to him: “Your son’s conduct has been admirable. He has conferred honour on his name. He has been wounded; but what of that? He may proudly boast of having thus early shed his blood for his country.”

AtAt the same period, at one of his levees, after giving some orders to General Gerard, whose reputation was then beginning to attract attention, the Emperor concluded with some words evidently kindly meant, though somewhat obscure. After advancing a few paces to continue his circuit, he turned back to General Gerard, apparently having read in his countenance that he had not precisely understood him, and he said very distinctly: “I observed that, if I had many men like you, I should consider all my losses repaired, and should think myself master of my fortune.”

About the same period, I had an opportunity of witnessing a proof of the ascendency which the Emperor could exercise over the human mind, and the sort of veneration with which he was regarded. A General, whose name I do not know, and who had been severely 170wounded in the leg, attended the Emperor’s levee. Napoleon had been informed that amputation was pronounced to be absolutely indispensable, but that the unfortunate officer obstinately refused to submit to it. “Why do you object to an operation that will preserve your life?” said Napoleon: “It cannot be want of courage, since you have so often braved danger on the field of battle! Is it contempt of life? But does not your heart tell you that, even with the remaining limb, you may be useful to your country, and render her signal services?” The officer was silent; the expression of his countenance was calm and placid, but still negative. The Emperor seemed sorry for him, and passed on to speak to some other persons, when the officer, who had apparently formed a sudden resolution, turned to the Emperor, saying, “Sire, if your Majesty orders me to submit to the operation, I will immediately do so,”—“My dear Sir,” replied the Emperor, “I have no power to do that. I wished to move you by persuasion; but Heaven forbid that I should command you!” I think I have heard it said that, on leaving the palace, the wounded officer submitted to the operation.

The Emperor, on his return from the Isle of Elba, arrived at the Tuileries very late in the evening. His levee, on the following day, was, as may be supposed, exceedingly numerous. When the door was thrown open, and he presented himself before us, it would be difficult for me to explain what were my ideas and sensations. The Emperor appeared the same as usual; just as though he had never left the palace, and had held a levee but yesterday; his countenance, attitude, dress, manners, all were unaltered. I was powerfully affected, and I believe my sensations were shared by all present. The force of sentiment prevailed over respect; and all rushed forward to meet him. The Emperor himself was visibly moved; and he embraced several of the most distinguished persons. He then commenced his circuit as usual. His voice was mild, his countenance placid, and his manner affable: he spoke with kindness to every one. “How!” said he, addressing a certain individual, “What! the 171Major-General of the white army two paces from me!” Several of those present seemed to be labouring under a little embarrassment, owing to the extraordinary events that had just taken place; as for Napoleon, he appeared as though nothing had happened. He did not forget that he had released them all from their allegiance at Fontainebleau.

The following anecdotes prove his correctness of judgment and coolness of temper. They also shew that, when at the summit of his power, his moderation and equity were never shaken, even in matters most directly personal, and on subjects on which he might have been presumed to be most delicate and susceptible.

When Moreau was arrested, on the charge of being concerned in the affair of Georges and Pichegru, one of the First Consul’s Aides-de-camp, who was, perhaps, also the Aide-de-camp of Moreau, or had served under his command, visited him in prison, and evinced great interest for him. “This is all very natural,” said Napoleon, on being informed of the circumstance, “I certainly cannot blame such conduct; but I must appoint another Aide-de-camp. The post is one perfectly confidential: there can be no division in an affair so personal as this.” Napoleon gave the command of a regiment to this Aide-de-camp (Col. Laucée), who, some time afterwards, perished at the head of it, in one of the actions which preceded the capitulation of Ulm.

About the same period, the Prefect of Liege, equally remarkable for his administrative talents and excellent character, was suddenly summoned to Paris; and he hastened thither, pleased with the anticipation of the proofs of satisfaction which he trusted he should receive, because he deserved them. He was, however, invited by the Grand Judge to visit him before he should present himself to the First Consul; and he found himself unexpectedly interrogated, ex officio, on the subject of a letter that was presented to him. At first he could not deny the signature, so accurately had his own been imitated; but he positively disavowed the sentiments it contained. It consisted of a justification of Moreau, and was filled 172with imprecations against the Consul. The whole was an infamous plot, contrived by a high public functionary, an enemy of the Prefect’s, for the purpose of ruining him. The Prefect, having proved that he knew nothing of the letter attributed to him, appeared at the First Consul’s grand audience. Napoleon treated him with particular attention, and when he took his leave, he said to him, “Return and resume your functions, which you know so well how to fulfil. You carry with you my utmost esteem. Let this public testimony of your good conduct console you for the painful feelings that calumny and falsehood may have occasioned you.”

The following will shew that Napoleon was not inclined hastily to condemn a certain degree of independence, even though it might be somewhat unreasonable:—

M. de Montalivet, who was Minister of the Interior during the Empire, has informed me that, being one day left alone with the Emperor, after a Council of Ministers, he thus addressed him:—“Sire, it is not without considerable embarrassment that I presume to mention to your Majesty a circumstance which is certainly extremely ridiculous; but a Prefect, a young Auditor, obstinately persists in withholding from me the title which custom has assigned to all your Ministers. Some persons, holding inferior situations in my department, observing that he never used the customary title of Monseigneur in speaking of me, and thinking it an instance of affectation, very absurdly required him, in my name, to observe the formality; and he peremptorily refused. I am quite ashamed that this affair should have arisen; but as it is, the thing has been carried to such a point that I cannot give it up.” At first, the Emperor could scarcely credit such obstinacy and folly on the part of the Prefect. After a short pause, he said to M. de Montalivet, smiling, “But, after all, there is no such obligation specified in the Code. The young man is perhaps good fruit, though not yet ripe. However, this refractory conduct must be checked. Desire his father to come to me; surely the young man will not disobey his orders.” What a delicate, moral sentiment was thus conveyed!

On the evening of the 20th of March, the Emperor 173had no sooner entered his apartments in the Tuileries, than the Captain of Dragoons, G. D—-- appeared before him. He was the bearer of the capitulation of Vincennes, which had just been obtained by dint of extraordinary courage and address. Napoleon at first smiled at the details that were communicated to him; but, being struck with the vehement manner and language of the narrator, and suddenly calling to mind the fate of Governor Puyvert at Vincennes, he hastily exclaimed, “But, Sir, you say nothing of the Governor; what has become of him?”—“Sire,” resumed the officer, in a calmer tone, “he has been furnished with a passport, and has been escorted out of Paris.” Napoleon then advanced, and seizing the officer’s hand, with an expression that sufficiently betrayed the anxiety with which he had just been agitated, “I am satisfied,” said he; “you have done well, very well!”

I find, in one of my notes, that the Emperor once remarked that the finest military letter he had ever read was one written during the consulate, by a soldier of the south, named Leon. From this high praise, it must of course be presumed that the letter was a very extraordinary one. I myself know nothing of it; but I merely mention the circumstance, in the hope that some one may be induced to lay the document before the public, in case it should not be already upon record.

Napoleon, during his military career, fought sixty battles; Cæsar fought but fifty.

It was asked one day, in Napoleon’s presence, how it happens that misfortunes, which are yet uncertain, often distress us more than afflictions which we are already suffering. “Because,” observed the Emperor, “in the imagination, as in calculation, the power of what is unknown is immeasurable.”

After having given any one an important mission, or traced out the plan of any great enterprise, the Emperor used frequently to say, “Come, Sir, be speedy: use despatch; and do not forget that the world was created in six days.”

On an occasion of this kind, he concluded by observing to the individual whom he was addressing, “Ask me 174for whatever you please, except time: that’s the only thing that is beyond my power.”

On another occasion, Napoleon commissioned a person to execute some important business, which he expected would be finished in the course of the same day. It was not, however, completed until late on the following day. At this, the Emperor manifested some degree of dissatisfaction; and the person, to excuse himself, said that he had worked all day. “But had you not all night too?” replied Napoleon.

The Emperor directed particular attention to the improvement and embellishment of the markets of the capital. He used to say, “The market-place is the Louvre of the common people.”

Equality of rights, that is to say, the power of aspiring and obtaining, enjoyed by all individuals, was one of the points to which Napoleon attached particular importance. This regard for equality was one of his peculiar traits, and seemed to belong innately to his character. “I have not reigned all my life,” he would say: “before I became a Sovereign, I recollect having been a subject; and I can never forget how powerfully the sentiment of equality influences the mind and animates the heart.”

When he was once giving a project to be drawn up by one of his Councillors of State, he said, “Let me charge you to respect liberty; and above all, equality. With regard to liberty, it might be possible to restrain it, in a case of extremity; circumstances might demand and justify such a step: but Heaven forbid that we should ever infringe upon equality! It is the passion of the age; and I wish to continue to be the man of the age!”

In Napoleon’s eyes, merit was single, by itself, and he recompensed it uniformly. Thus the same titles, and the same decorations, were awarded equally to the ecclesiastic, the soldier, the artist, the philosopher, and the man of letters. It may truly be said that in no other country or period was merit more highly honoured, or talent more magnificently rewarded. On these points, the Emperor’s views were unlimited. I have already mentioned that he one day said, “If Corneille had lived in my time, I would have made him a prince.”

175The Emperor said one day at St. Helena, “Nature seems to have made me for great reverses; they have found me with a mind of marble. The thunderbolt cannot make an impression upon, but merely glides over, it.”

At another time, when some vexation arose at St. Helena, one of those about Napoleon exclaimed, “Ah, Sire, this must indeed increase your hatred of the English.” Upon which the Emperor, shrugging up his shoulders, said, in a mingled tone of pleasantry and contempt, “Prejudiced man! Say rather that at most it may increase my hatred of this or that particular Englishman.... But, since we are on this subject, let me tell you that a man, he who has the true feelings of a man, never cherishes hatred. His anger or ill-humour never goes beyond the irritation of the moment,—the electric shock. He who is formed to discharge high duties, and to exercise authority, never considers persons; his views are directed to things, their weight, and consequence.”

On a certain occasion, he remarked that he doubted not but his character would gain in proportion as it descended to posterity; and that future historians would conceive themselves bound to avenge the injustice of contemporaries. Excess is always succeeded by reaction. Besides, he was of opinion that, when viewed from a distance, his character would appear in a more favourable light, by being relieved from many useless encumbrances. He would hereafter be judged by general views, and not by petty details. Every thing would be in harmony, and all local irregularities would disappear. Above all, he would not be compared with himself; but with what might exist at a future period. He added that now, as hereafter, he could proudly submit every act of his private life to the most rigid scrutiny, confident that the severest judges would pronounce him to be free from crime.

The Emperor one day told me that he had conceived the idea of composing his Diplomatic History, or a complete account of his negotiations, from Campo Formio to his abdication. If he should have fulfilled his design, what an historical treasure will thus be presented to the world!

176Speaking of military eloquence, the Emperor said, “When, in the heat of the battle, passing along the line, I used to exclaim, ‘Soldiers, unfurl your banners, the moment is come,’ our Frenchmen absolutely leapt for joy. I saw them multiply a hundred-fold. I then thought nothing impossible.”

Many of Napoleon’s military harangues are well known. The following has been communicated to me by one who heard it on the spot. When reviewing the 2d regiment of horse chasseurs at Lobenstein, two days before the battle of Jena, Napoleon, addressing the Colonel, said: “How many men are there here?”—“Five hundred,” replied the Colonel; “but there are many raw troops among them.”—“What signifies that,” said the Emperor, in a tone which denoted surprise at the observation, “are they not all Frenchmen?”—Then, turning to the regiment, “My lads,” said he, “you must not fear death. When soldiers defy death, they drive him into the enemy’s ranks.” He here made a motion with his arm expressive of the action to which he alluded. At these words a sudden movement among the troops, accompanied by a murmur of enthusiasm, seemed the precursor of the memorable victory which forty-eight hours afterwards overthrew the column of Rosbach.

At the battle of Lützen, the army was chiefly composed of conscripts, who had never been in any engagement. It is said that, in the heat of the action, Napoleon rode along the rear of the 3d rank of infantry, supporting and encouraging the young troops. “This is nothing, my lads,” said he, “stand firm. France has her eye on you. Show that you can die for your country.”

Napoleon entertained a high regard for the Germans. “I levied many millions of imposts on them, it is true,” said he, “that was necessary; but I should never have insulted them or treated them with contempt. I esteemed the Germans. They may hate me; that is natural enough. I was forced for ten years to fight upon the dead bodies of their countrymen. They could not know my real designs or give me credit for my ultimate intentions, which were calculated to render Germany a great nation.”

177The Emperor, alluding to one of his decisions, remarked:—“I could do nothing in that case, I suffered myself to be moved, and I yielded. There I was wrong: a statesman’s heart should be in his head.”

Napoleon observed that the physical faculties of men were strengthened by their dangers or their wants: “Thus,” said he, “the Bedouin of the desert has the piercing sight of the lynx; and the savage of the forest has the keen scent of beasts of prey.”

One day mention was made of a person who, though distinguished for his ideas and his acts, nevertheless betrayed gross faults in his manners and mode of expressing himself. The Emperor explained this discordance by saying: “You see the fault is in his first education; his swaddling clothes were neither fine nor clean.”

When speaking of the danger which he had incurred among the Five Hundred, on the 18th Brumaire, he attributed it militarily to local circumstances. He had been obliged to enter the Orangery at one of the extremities, and to pass along the whole length of it. “The misfortune was,” said he, “that, instead of facing my opponents, I was compelled to present my flank to them.”

When we were alluding to an individual who seemed to think that he could overawe us by speaking almost in a tone and language of menace, the Emperor said: “This is a very absurd idea. Nobody is afraid now. A child would not be afraid. Even little Emmanuel (pointing to my son) would exchange pistol shots with any one who might require him to do so.” These words of the Emperor’s will probably influence my son throughout the rest of his life.

Napoleon, on his return from the Russian campaign, was so struck by the courage and strength of mind displayed by Ney that he created him Prince of the Moskowa, and he was often heard to say: “I have two hundred millions in my coffers, and I would give them all for Ney.”

Remarking on the certainty of the ultimate triumph of modern principles, the Emperor said: “They cannot but 178triumph. Mark the train of events: even oppression now-a-days turns to the disadvantage of the oppressor.”

On a certain occasion, it was observed to the Emperor that he was not fond of putting forward his own merits; “That is,” replied he, “because with me morality and generosity are not in my mouth, but in my nerves. My iron hand was not at the extremity of my arm, it was immediately connected with my head. I did not receive it from nature; calculation alone has enabled me to employ it.”

Speaking of the ill humour and discontent frequently evinced by the inhabitants of Paris, the Emperor asked what he was expected to do after all he had accomplished. “Sire,” said some one present, “it was wished that your Majesty should stop your horse.” “Stop my horse!” resumed Napoleon, “that was easily said. My arm was strong enough, it is true, to stop, with a single check, all the horses of the continent. But I could not bridle the English fleets: and there lay all the mischief. Had not the people sense enough to see this?”

One day, when the Emperor was reproaching a person for not correcting the vices which he knew he possessed, “Sir,” said he, “when a man knows his moral infirmity, he may cure his mind, just as he would cure his arm or his leg.”

The Emperor, speaking of the nobility which he had created, regretted that he had been so ill understood. It was, he said, one of his grandest and happiest ideas. He had in view three objects of the highest importance, and all three would have been accomplished: 1st, to reconcile France with Europe, and to restore harmony, by seeming to adopt European customs: 2nd, by the same means to bring about a complete reconciliation and union between old and new France; and 3d, to banish feudal nobility, the only kind that is offensive, oppressive, and unnatural. “By my plan,” said the Emperor, “I should soon have succeeded in substituting positive and meritorious qualities for antiquated and odious prejudices. My national titles would have exactly restored that equality which feudal nobility proscribed. They 179were conferred as the reward of merit of every kind. For genealogical parchments I substituted noble actions, and for private interests, the interests of the country. Family pride would no longer have been founded on obscure and imaginary circumstances, but would have rested on the noblest pages of our history. Finally, I would have banished the odious pretension of blood; an absurd idea, a theory that has no real existence; for we all know very well that there is but one race of men, and that one is not born with boots on his legs, and another with a packsaddle on his back.

“All the nobility in Europe, those who really govern it, were pleased with my plan. They unanimously applauded an institution the novelty of which enhanced its pre-eminence; and yet this very novelty would have sapped its foundation and infallibly destroyed it. Why did that opinion, to which I had secured a triumph, precisely serve the purpose of its enemies? But I have suffered this misfortune oftener than once.”


20th.—“It must be admitted, my dear Las Cases,” said the Emperor to me to-day, “that it is most difficult to obtain absolute certainties for the purposes of history. Fortunately it is, in general, more a matter of mere curiosity than of real importance. There are so many kinds of truths! The truth which Fouché, or other intriguers of his stamp will tell, for instance; even that which many very honest people may tell, will, in some cases, differ essentially from the truth which I may relate. The historic truth, so much in request, to which every body eagerly appeals, is too often but a term. At the time of the events, during the heat of conflicting passions, it cannot exist; and if, at a later period, all parties are agreed respecting it, it is because those persons who were interested in the events, those who might be able to contradict what is asserted, are no more. What then is, generally speaking, the truth of history? A concerted fable, as it has been very ingeniously remarked. 180There are, in these matters, two essential points, very distinct from each other: the positive facts, and the moral intentions. With respect to the positive facts, it would seem that they ought to be incontrovertible; yet you will not find two accounts agreeing together in relating the same fact: some have remained contested points to this day, and will ever remain so. With regard to moral intentions, how shall we judge of them, even admitting the candour of those who relate events? And what will be the case if the narrators are not sincere, or if they should be actuated by interest or passion? I have given an order, but who was able to read my thoughts, my real intentions? Yet every one will take up that order, and measure it according to his own scale, or adapt it to his own plans or system. See the different colourings that will be given to it by the intriguer, whose plans it disturbs or favours: see how he will distort it. The man who assumes importance, to whom the ministers or the sovereign may have hinted something in confidence on the subject, will do the same thing; as will the numerous idlers of the palace, who, having nothing better to do than to listen at doors, and invent when they can not hear. And each person will be so certain of what he tells! and the inferior classes of people, who have received their information from these privileged mouths, will be so certain, in their turn, of its correctness! and then memoirs are digested, memorandums are written, witticisms and anecdotes are circulated; and of such materials is history composed!

“I“I have seen the plan of my own battle, the intention of my own orders, disputed with me, and opinion decide against me! Is not that the creature giving the lie to its creator? Nevertheless, my opponent, who contradicts me, will have his adherents. This it is which has prevented me from writing my own private memoirs, from disclosing my individual feelings, which would, naturally, have exhibited the shades of my private character. I could not condescend to write confessions, after the manner of Jean Jaques Rousseau, which every body might have attacked; and, therefore, I have thought 181proper to confine the subjects of my dictations here to public acts. I am aware that even these relations may be contested: for where is the man in this world, whatever be his right, and the strength and power of that right, who may not be attacked and contradicted by an adverse party? But, in the opinion of those men who are wise and impartial, of those who reflect and are reasonable, my voice, after all, will be as good as another’s; and I have little fear for the final decision. So much light has been diffused in our days that I rely upon the splendour which will remain after passions shall have subsided and clouds passed away. But, in the mean time, how many errors will arise! People will often give me credit for a great deal of depth and sagacity on occasions which were, perhaps, most simple in themselves; I shall be suspected of plans which I never formed.[18] It will be inquired whether I did or did not aspire, in reality, to universal dominion. The question will be argued, at length, whether my absolute sway and my arbitrary acts were the result of my character or of my calculations; whether they were determined by my own inclination or by the influence of circumstances; whether I was led into the wars in which I was constantly engaged, by my own inclination, or against my will; whether my insatiable ambition, which has been so much deprecated, was kindled by the thirst for dominion and glory, or by my love of order and my concern for the general welfare; for that ambition will deserve to be considered under all those different aspects. People will canvass the motives which guided me in the catastrophe of the Duke d’Enghien,[19] and so on with respect to many 182other events. Sometimes they will distort what was perfectly straight, and refine upon what was quite natural. It was not for me to treat of all those subjects here: it would have appeared as if I were pleading my cause—and that I disdain to do. If the rectitude and the sagacity of historians can enable them to form, from what I have dictated on general matters, a correct opinion and just notions respecting those things which I have not mentioned, so much the better. But, along with the faint ray thus afforded, how many false lights will appear to them—from the fables and falsehoods of the great intriguers (who all had their views, their plots, their private negotiations, which, being mixed up with the main objects, tend to render the whole an inextricable chaos), to the disclosures, the portfolios, and even the assertions of my ministers, who, with the best intentions, will have to state not so much what really existed as what they believe to have existed; for which of them ever possessed the entire general conception of my mind? Their share of it was, most frequently, one of the elements of a great whole, which they did not know. They will, therefore, only have seen that side of the prism which concerned them; and, even then, how will they have seen it? Did it reach them entire? Was it not already broken? And yet probably every one of them, judging from what he has seen, will give the fantastical result of his own combinations as my true system; and here again we have the admitted fable, which will be called history. Nor can it be otherwise. It is true that, as there are many, they will be far from agreeing together. However, in their positive assertions they would have the advantage over me: for I should very frequently have found it most difficult to affirm confidently what had been my whole and entire thoughts on any given subject. It is well known that I did not strive to subject circumstances to my ideas; but that I in general suffered myself on the contrary to be led by them; and who can calculate beforehand the chances of accidental circumstances or unexpected events? I have, therefore, often found it necessary to alter essentially my plan of proceeding, and have acted through 183life upon general principles, rather than according to fixed plans. The mass of the general interests of mankind, what I considered to be the advantage of the greater number, such were the anchors on which I relied, but around which I most frequently floated at the caprice of chance,” &c.

After these memorable expressions, the present is the best opportunity of returning to an historical point which in an early part of this work I promised to treat of, and which ought to have found a place long before this; I allude to the conspiracy of Georges and Pichegru, and the trial of the Duke d’Enghien. I shall presently state the true reasons of this transposition, and of the long delay that has occurred.

“War,” said the Emperor, “had some time since re-commenced with England, when suddenly our coasts, our high roads, and the capital, were inundated with agents from the Bourbons. A great number of them were arrested; but their plans could not yet be discovered. They were of all ranks and descriptions. All the passions were roused, the agitation of the public became extreme; a storm was gathering; the crisis assumed the most alarming aspect; the agents of the police had exhausted all their means, without being able to obtain any information. My own sagacity saved me,” observed Napoleon. “Having risen on one occasion in the night, to work, as I used frequently to do, chance, which governs the world, directed my eyes to one of the last reports of the police, containing the names of those persons who had already been arrested in consequence of this affair, to which no clue had yet been obtained. Amongst those names I observed that of a surgeon in the army; I immediately concluded that such a man must be an intriguer rather than a devoted fanatic, and I ordered every measure likely to extort a prompt confession to be instantly resorted to against him. The affair was immediately placed in the hands of a military commission; in the morning he was sentenced, and threatened with immediate execution if he did not speak. Half an hour afterwards he had disclosed every thing, even to the most minute details. The nature and the extent of the plot, 184which had been got up in London, was then known, and the intrigues of Moreau, and the presence of Pichegru in Paris, &c. were discovered soon after.”

I omit all the details of that affair; they may be seen in the Letters written from the Cape in refutation of those of Dr. Warden, and in the work of Mr. O’Meara. The particulars which I should relate would be precisely the same as those contained in the work last mentioned; they are derived from the same source. With respect to the accusation relative to the death of Pichegru, who was said to have been strangled by order of the First Consul, Napoleon said that it was too absurd, and that it would be degrading to attempt to repel it:—“What advantage,” he observed, “could accrue to me from his death? A man of my stamp does not act without some powerful motive. Have I ever been known to shed blood through caprice? Notwithstanding all the efforts that have been made to blacken my reputation and misrepresent my character, those who know me know that crime is foreign to my nature. There is not a private act that has occurred during the whole course of my administration, of which I might not speak openly before a tribunal, not only without any disadvantage, but even with some credit to myself. The fact is that Pichegru found himself placed in a hopeless situation; his high mind could not bear to contemplate the infamy of a public execution; he despaired of my clemency, or disdained to appeal to it, and put an end to his existence.

“Had I been disposed to crime,” continued the Emperor, “it is not against Pichegru, who could do no harm, that I should have levelled the blow, but at Moreau, who had at that moment placed me in a most perilous situation. If the latter had unfortunately also killed himself while in prison, my justification would have been rendered much more difficult, on account of the great advantage it would have been to me to get rid of him. You gentlemen who were abroad, and the ultra-royalists who were in France, have never known the true state of public opinion in France. Pichegru, having been once unmasked, and exposed as a traitor to the nation, no longer excited sympathy in any breast; and this feeling 185went so far that the circumstance of his being connected with Moreau was sufficient to effect the ruin of the latter, who saw himself abandoned by many of his adherents; for, in the struggle of parties, the majority of the people cared more about the commonwealth than about individuals. I judged so correctly in this business that, when Real came to propose to me to arrest Moreau, I rejected the proposal without hesitation. Moreau is a man of too much importance, said I to him; he is too directly opposed to me, I have too great an interest in getting rid of him, to expose myself thus to the conjectures of public opinion. But, replied Real, if Moreau conspires with Pichegru?—The case is then different; prove that to me, shew me that Pichegru is in Paris, and I will instantly sign the order for the apprehension of Moreau. Real had received indirect information of Pichegru’s arrival; but had not yet been able to trace his steps. Run to his brother’s, said I; if he has left his residence, it will be a strong indication that Pichegru is in Paris; if he is still in his lodgings, arrest him: his surprise will soon inform you of the truth. This brother had been a monk, and lived in a fourth floor in Paris. As soon as he found himself arrested, he asked, before any question was put to him, what fault he had committed, and whether it was imputed to him as a crime that he had received, against his will, a visit from his brother. He had been the first, he said, to represent to him the peril of his situation, and to advise him to go away again. This was quite enough. Moreau’s arrest was ordered and carried into effect. Moreau appeared at first to be under no apprehension; but, when he found, after he had been conducted to prison, that he was arrested for having conspired with Pichegru and Georges against the state, he was quite disconcerted and extremely agitated. As for the greater number of those who composed that party,” added Napoleon, “the name of Pichegru seemed to them a triumph; they exclaimed on all sides that Pichegru was in London, and that in a few days this would be proved; for they either did not know that he was in Paris, or believed that it would be easy for him to escape thence.”

The First Consul had long since broken with Moreau, 186who was entirely governed by his wife. “This,” said the Emperor, “is always a great misfortune, because a man in that case is neither himself nor his wife, he is nothing.” Moreau shewed himself sometimes favourable to the First Consul, and sometimes against him; sometimes obsequious and sometimes sarcastic. The First Consul, who had wished to conciliate the affection of Moreau, found himself under the necessity of giving him up altogether. “Moreau,” he had said, “will in the end commit himself most seriously; he will some day break his head against the columns of the Palace.” And to this he was but too much instigated by the inconsiderate conduct and the ridiculous pretensions of his wife and his mother-in-law. The latter went so far as to contend for precedence with the wife of the First Consul. “The Minister for Foreign Affairs,” said Napoleon, “had been obliged once, on the occasion of an entertainment given by the ministers, to use violence to oblige her to desist.”

After Moreau had been arrested, the First Consul sent him word that it would be enough for him to confess that he had seen Pichegru, in order to put a stop to all proceedings against him. Moreau answered by a letter, in which he assumed a high tone; but afterwards, when Pichegru himself was arrested, and the affair began to assume a serious aspect, Moreau wrote to the First Consul a very submissive letter, but it was too late.

It was perfectly true that Moreau had conferred with Pichegru and Georges; and had given the following answer to their proposals:—“In the present state of affairs I could not do any thing for you, I could not even depend upon my own aides-de-camp; but get rid of the First Consul, I have a party in the Senate, and shall be immediately appointed in his stead. You, Pichegru, will be examined upon the charge which is brought against you, of having betrayed the national cause; depend upon it, it is necessary that you should be put upon your trial, but I will be answerable for the result: from that moment you will be Second Consul; and we will afterwards choose a third according to our wish, and proceed all together in concert and without interruption.” Georges, who was present, and whom Moreau had never known before, 187very urgently claimed that third place for himself. “That cannot be,” said Moreau, “you have no knowledge of the state of public opinion in France; you have always been a white,[20] and you see that Pichegru will be obliged to wash off the stain of having had the intention to become one.” “I understand you,” said Georges, highly incensed. “What farce are we playing here, and whom do you take me for? You are then working for yourselves alone, and not at all for the King? If that is the case, and if there must be a blue[21] at the head of the government, I prefer the one who is there now.” Upon this they separated in dudgeon, and Moreau requested Pichegru not to bring that brute, that bull, destitute of sense and of all information, any more.

“On the trial,” said Napoleon, “the firmness of the accomplices, the magnanimity by which they dignified their cause, and the line of absolute denial recommended by his advocate, saved Moreau. On being questioned whether the charges brought against him of having held conferences and had interviews were true, he answered, No. But the victor of Hohenlinden was unaccustomed to falsehood; a sudden blush suffused every feature of his countenance, and none of the bystanders were deceived. However, he was acquitted, and most of the accomplices were condemned to death. I pardoned several of them; all those whose wives succeeded in penetrating into my presence, or in whose favour strong intercessions were made, obtained their lives. The Polignacs, M. de Riviere and others, would indubitably have perished, but for the intervention of some fortunate circumstances. Others less known, such as a man named Borel, Ingand de St. Maur, Rochelle, &c. were equally fortunate. It is true,” added he, “that they did not afterwards shew themselves very grateful for such a favour, and that, if they were worthy to have their conduct investigated, it would be found that their actions have not been of a nature to encourage clemency. One of them, who had on the occasion above mentioned 188owed his life chiefly to the solicitations of Murat, was precisely the same man who set a price on Murat’s head in Provence, in the year 1815. If he thought that fidelity should outweigh gratitude, the sacrifice must at least have been most painful to him. Another is the man who has most contributed to circulate the imputation, as ridiculous as that concerning Pichegru was absurd, of the murder of the English Lieutenant Wright,[22] &c.

“In the midst of the affairs of Georges, Pichegru, and Moreau,” said the Emperor; “that of the Duke d’Enghien happened, and rendered the whole a strange complication.” And he then related that affair in detail. This latter circumstance is the reason that induced me at the time to displace and postpone to this day the whole of the article which I now give, for I felt a very great repugnance to touch upon a subject so painful in itself, and so afflicting to several of my acquaintances, who had been in direct relation with the Prince, or personally attached to him. Above all, I dreaded to awaken the legitimate grief of a high personage, who has formerly honoured me with some marks of kindness, of which I have ever treasured the recollection. These are my motives; they will be understood and appreciated. But, however, I am now approaching to the end of my work, and my duty, as a faithful historian, imperatively commands me to take up this melancholy subject, lest my absolute silence should be misinterpreted. Nevertheless, I shall, for reasons before stated, omit all the details which are already known, and which may have been read in the works already quoted (Letters from the Cape, and Mr. O’Meara’s work): my account would be the same, for all of them were heard from Napoleon’s own mouth; I shall only relate a few particulars which have not found their way into the books above mentioned, and only such as appear to me too intimately connected with the characteristic shades of Napoleon’s disposition, not to impose upon me the obligation of mentioning them.

189This event had made, at the time, a deep impression on my mind, as well as on that of the inhabitants of Paris. I, perhaps, had felt it still more forcibly on account of the principles of my childhood, the habits and connexions of my younger days, and the line of my political opinions; and I was, at that time, far from having got the better of this feeling. That first impression had still remained in all its force, and my ideas on this point were such that I certainly should not have dared to pronounce the name of the Prince in the presence of the Emperor: it would have seemed to me to convey the idea of a reproach. I carried the feeling so far that, the first time I heard him pronounce the name himself, I turned red with embarrassment. Fortunately, I was walking behind him in a narrow path; otherwise, he would certainly have observed my confusion. Yet, notwithstanding all these previous dispositions on my part, the first time the Emperor developed this affair in all its general bearings, its details, and circumstances; when I heard him expose his various motives, with that conciseness, brilliancy, and power of persuasion which form the characteristics of his logic, I must confess that the affair seemed to wear a new aspect. When he had ceased to speak, I remained surprised, absorbed in thought; I silently called to mind my former objections; I was angry with myself for having little or nothing to answer at this moment, and I was obliged to confess, internally, that I found myself stronger in feelings than in arguments or solid objections.

The Emperor often resumed this subject, which gave me an opportunity of observing in him some very strongly marked characteristic shades. I have, on those occasions, most distinctly and frequently seen in him the private man struggling against the public character; and the natural feelings of his heart contending against those which were suggested by his pride and the dignity of his station. In the unreserved moments of familiar intercourse, he shewed himself not indifferent to the fate of the unfortunate Prince; but, if his conversation had reference to public concerns, it was altogether quite a 190different thing. One day, having spoken to me of the youth and the untimely end of this ill-fated Prince, he concluded by saying: “And I have since learnt, my dear Las Cases, that he was favourable to me. I have been assured that he used to speak of me with some degree of admiration; such is retributive justice in this world!” These last words were pronounced with such an expression, every feature of his face was so much in harmony with that expression, that I have no doubt, if the individual whom Napoleon pitied had been at that moment in his power, he would have been freely forgiven, whatever his acts or intentions might have been. This was no doubt a sentiment expressed in an unguarded moment, in which I had, as it were, taken him by surprise; and I do not suppose that many persons have found themselves similarly placed. This delicate subject was too sensibly connected with Napoleon’s pride, and the peculiar cast of his mind, to allow him to be lavish in his expression of such feelings; and he therefore varied his arguments and his words on the subject, as the circle of his hearers increased. We have just seen how he expressed himself in the confidence of a private conversation; his language was even different, when we were all assembled together: the affair, he would then say, might have occasioned him some regret, but had not given rise to any remorse, or even to any scruples. But when strangers were present, he would declare that the Prince had deserved his fate.

The Emperor used to consider this affair under two very distinct aspects: with reference to the common law, or the established rules of justice, and with reference to the law of nature, or acts of violence. With us he would willingly argue the matter, and generally on the principles of common law; and he seemed to condescend to do so on account of the familiarity that existed between us, or of his superiority over us. He generally concluded these conversations by observing that he might possibly be reproached with severity, but that he could not be accused of any violation of justice; because, notwithstanding all that calumny and falsehood had invented on 191the subject, all the forms required by law had been regularly observed and strictly attended to.

In the presence of strangers, the Emperor adopted a line of argument founded almost exclusively on the law of nature and state politics. It was visible that it would have been too painful to him so far to lower himself with them as to insist much on the principles of common law: to have done so would have appeared like an attempt to justify himself. “If I had not had in my favour the laws of the country to punish the culprit,” he would say to them, “I should still have had the right of the law of nature, of legitimate self-defence. The Duke and his party had constantly but one object in view, that of taking away my life: I was assailed on all sides, and at every instant; air-guns, infernal machines, plots, ambuscades of every kind, were resorted to for that purpose. At last I was tired out, and took an opportunity of striking them with terror in their turn in London; I succeeded, and from that moment there was an end to all conspiracies. Who can blame me for having acted so? What! blows threatening my existence are aimed at me day after day, from a distance of one hundred and fifty leagues; no power on earth, no tribunal can afford me redress; and I shall not be allowed to use the right of nature and return war for war! What man, unbiassed by party feeling, possessing the smallest share of judgment and justice, can take upon himself to condemn me? on what side will he not throw blame, odium, and criminal accusations? Blood for blood; such is the natural, inevitable, and infallible law of retaliation: woe to him who provokes it! Those who foment civil dissensions or excite political commotions render themselves liable to become the victims of them. It would be a proof of imbecility or madness to imagine and pretend that a whole family should have the strange privilege to threaten my existence, day after day, without giving me the right of retaliation: they could not reasonably pretend to be above the law to destroy others, and claim the benefit of it for their own preservation: the chances must be equal. I had never personally offended any of them; a great nation had chosen me to govern them; almost all Europe 192had sanctioned their choice; my blood, after all, was not ditch-water; it was time to place it on a par with theirs. And what if I had carried retaliation further? I might have done it: the disposal of their destiny, the lives of every one of them, from the highest to the lowest, were more than once offered to me; but I rejected the offer with indignation. Not that I thought it would be unjust for me to consent to it, in the situation to which they had reduced me; but I felt so powerful, I thought myself so secure, that I should have considered it a base and gratuitous act of cowardice. My great maxim has always been that, in war as well as in politics, every evil action, even if legal, can only be excused in case of absolute necessity: whatever goes beyond that is criminal.

“It would have been ridiculous in those who violated so openly the law of nations to appeal to it themselves. The violation of the territory of Baden, of which so much has been said, is entirely foreign to the main point of the question. The law of the inviolability of territory has not been devised for the benefit of the guilty, but merely for the preservation of the independence of nations and of the dignity of the sovereign. It was therefore for the Duke of Baden, and for him alone, to complain, and he did not; he yielded, no doubt, to violence and to the feeling of his political inferiority: but, even then, what has that to do with the merits of the plots and outrages which I had to complain of, and of which I had every right to be revenged?” And he concluded that the real authors of the dreadful catastrophe, the persons who alone were responsible for it, were those who had favoured and excited from abroad the plots formed against the life of the First Consul. “For,” said he, “either they had implicated the unfortunate Prince in them, and had thus sealed his doom; or, by neglecting to give him intimation of what was going forward, they had suffered him to slumber imprudently on the brink of the precipice, and to be so near the frontiers at the moment when so great a blow was about to be struck in the name and on the behalf of his family.”

To us, in the intimacy of private conversation, the 193Emperor would say that the blame in France might be ascribed to an excess of zeal in those who surrounded him, or to dark intrigues or private views; that he had been precipitately urged on in this affair; that they had as it were taken his mind unawares; and that his measures had been hastened, and their results pre-determined. “I was one day alone,” said he, “I recollect it well; I was taking my coffee, half seated on the table at which I had just dined; when sudden information is brought to me that a new conspiracy has been discovered. I am warmly urged to put an end to these enormities; they represent to me that it is time at last to give a lesson to those who have been day after day conspiring against my life; that this end can only be attained by shedding the blood of one of them; and that the Duke d’Enghiend’Enghien, who might now be convicted of forming part of this new conspiracy, and taken in the very fact, should be that one. It was added that he had been seen at Strasburg; that it was even believed that he had been in Paris; and that the plan was that he should enter France by the east, at the moment of the explosion, whilst the Duke of Berry was disembarking in the west. I should tell you,” observed the Emperor, “that I did not even know precisely who the Duke d’Enghien was (the Revolution having taken place when I was yet a very young man, and I having never been at Court); and that I was quite in the dark as to where he was at that moment. Having been informed on those points, I exclaimed that, if such were the case, the Duke ought to be arrested, and orders should be given to that effect. Every thing had been foreseen and prepared; the different orders were already drawn up, nothing remained to be done but to sign them, and the fate of the young Prince was thus decided. He had been residing for some time past at a distance of about three leagues from the Rhine, in the states of Baden. Had I been sooner aware of this fact and of its importance, I should have taken umbrage at it, and should not have suffered the Prince to remain so near the frontiers of France; and that circumstance, as it turned out, would have saved his life. As for the assertions, that were advanced at the time, that I had been 194strenuously opposed in this affair, and that numerous solicitations had been made to me, they are utterly false, and were only invented to make me appear in a more odious light. The same thing may be said of the various motives that have been ascribed to me; these motives may have existed in the bosoms of those who acted an inferior part on this occasion, and may have guided them in their private views; but my conduct was influenced only by the nature of the fact itself and the energy of my disposition. Undoubtedly, if I had been informed in time of certain circumstances respecting the opinions of the Prince, and his disposition; if, above all, I had seen the letter which he wrote to me, and which, God knows for what reason, was not delivered to me till after his death, I should certainly have pardoned him.”

It was easy for us to perceive that these expressions of the Emperor’s were dictated by his heart and by nature, and that they were only intended for us; for he would have felt himself much humbled had he supposed that any body could think for a moment that he endeavoured to shift the blame upon some other person; or that he condescended to justify himself. And this feeling was carried so far that, when he was speaking to strangers, or dictating on that subject for the public eye, he confined himself to saying that, if he had seen the Prince’s letter, he should perhaps have forgiven him, on account of the great political advantages that he might have derived from so doing; and in tracing with his own hand his last thoughts, which he concludes will be recorded in the present age, and reach posterity, he still pronounces on this subject, which he is aware will be considered the most delicate for his memory, that, if he were again placed in the same situation, he should again act in the same manner!! Such was the man, such the stamp of his mind, and the turn of his disposition.

Let those who delight in searching the human heart in its inmost recesses, to deduce consequences and draw conclusions, now exercise their ingenuity: I have supplied them with valuable materials, I have laid genuine documents before them. I will add another and a last, which will not be the least worthy of notice.

195Napoleon one day said to me, with reference to the same subject, “If I occasioned a general consternation by that melancholy event, what a universal feeling of horror would have been produced by another spectacle, with which I might have surprised the world!...

“I have frequently been offered the lives of those whose places I filled on the throne, at the rate of one million a head. They were seen to be my competitors, and it was supposed that I thirsted after their blood; but, even if my disposition had been different from what it was, had I been formed to commit crimes, I should have repelled all thoughts of the crime thus proposed to me, as seeming altogether gratuitous. I was then so powerful, so firmly seated; and they seemed so little to be feared! Revert to the periods of Tilsit and Wagram; to my marriage with Maria Louisa; to the state and attitude of Europe! However, at the height of the crisis of Georges and Pichegru, when I was assailed by murderers, the moment was thought favourable to tempt me, and the offer was renewed, having for its object the individual, whom public opinion, in England as well as in France, pointed out as chief mover of all these horrible conspiracies. I was at Boulogne, where the bearer of these offers arrived; I took it into my head to ascertain personally the truth and the nature of the proposal. I ordered him to be brought before me.—‘Well, Sir!’ said I, when he appeared.—‘Yes, First Consul, we will give him up to you for one million.‘—‘Sir, I will give you two millions; but on condition that you will bring him alive.’—‘Ah! that I could not promise,’ said the man, hesitating, and much disconcerted by the tone of my voice and the expression of my looks at that moment.—‘Do you then take me for a mere assassin? Know Sir, that, though I may think it necessary to inflict a punishment or to make a great example, I am not disposed to encourage the perfidy of an ambuscade;’ and I drove him from my presence. Indeed his mere presence was already too great a contamination.”



From 21st to 24th.—I had remained with the Emperor the preceding day, as late as one or two o’clock in the morning; on returning to my own apartment, I found that I had had a visit paid to me, during my absence, by a person who had become tired of waiting for me.

That visit, which my son had received, and which prudence obliged me to insert in my journal, at the time, under the veil of mystery, may and shall now be fully explained.

That visit was neither more nor less than the mysterious re-appearance of the servant whom Sir Hudson Lowe had taken from me, and who, favoured by the darkness of the night, and his knowledge of the localities of the island, had surmounted every obstacle, avoided sentinels, and scaled precipices, to come and see me, in order to tell me that, having got a situation with a person who was going to set off for London in a very few days, he came to offer me his services without reserve. He had waited for me in my own apartment for a considerable time, and, seeing that I did not return from the Emperor’s, he had gone away, fearing lest he should be caught; but he promised to return, either under pretence of visiting his sister, who was employed in our household; or by having recourse to the same means to which he had just resorted.

The next day, I immediately communicated my good fortune to the Emperor, who appeared much pleased at the intelligence, and to attach some value to the circumstance. I was very warm on the subject; I strenuously urged that we had already been here above a year, without having taken one single step towards the prospect of better days; on the contrary, we were every day more and more restricted, ill used, and tormented. We were lost in the universe; Europe was ignorant of our 197real situation; it behoved us to make it known. Day after day, the newspapers shewed us the veil of imposture which had been thrown over us, and the impudent and disgusting falsehoods of which we were the objects; it was for us, I urged, to publish the truth; it would find its way to the ears of the Sovereigns, to whom it was perhaps unknown; it would become known to the people, whose sympathy would be our consolation, and whose indignation would, at least, revenge us upon our cruel persecutors, &c.

We immediately began to search amongst our records. The Emperor portioned them out, pointing out the share which each of us was to take, in order to transcribe them with greater despatch. The day however passed without any thing being done on the subject. The next day (Friday), as soon as I saw the Emperor, I took the liberty of reminding him of our plans of the preceding day; but he now appeared to think less of the matter, and ended the conversation by saying, “We must see.” This day passed like the preceding; I was on thorns. At night, as if to add to my impatience, my man came again, and renewed the unreserved offer of his services. I told him that I should take advantage of them, and that he might act without scruple, as I should not involve him in any criminality or danger. To this he replied that he did not care about that, and that he would take charge of any thing I might wish to give him, observing only, that he would call for it, without fail, the day after the next (Sunday), which would, in all probability, be the eve of his sailing. The next day (Saturday) as soon as I saw the Emperor, I hastened to communicate to him what I had heard from the servant, dwelling upon the circumstance of our having only twenty-four hours more; but the Emperor, with the utmost indifference, turned the conversation to some other topic, totally foreign to my object. I was struck with surprise. I knew the Emperor’s disposition, and I was perfectly satisfied that the indifference, the sort of absence of mind, which he manifested at this moment could not be the effect of chance, still less the result of caprice; but what then could his motives be? This idea haunted my mind 198the whole day, and rendered me melancholy and miserable. At night, the same sentiment which agitated my breast during the day, prevented me from sleeping. I painfully recalled to my mind every circumstance connected with this affair, when suddenly a new light broke in upon me. What do I require of the Emperor, thought I? that he should stoop to the execution of trifling details too much beneath him! No doubt, disgust and secret dissatisfaction have occasioned the silence which has caused my uneasiness. Ought we to be useless to him? Can we not serve him without afflicting him? And then several of his former observations came across my mind. Had I not informed him of the affair; had he not approved of it; what more could I expect?[23] Henceforth it was for me to act, and I made up my mind in one instant. I resolved to proceed in the business, without mentioning another word to him on the subject: and, in order that it might remain more secret, I determined to keep it entirely to myself.

Some months had now elapsed since I had succeeded in forwarding the celebrated letter, in answer to Sir Hudson Lowe, concerning the Commissioners from the Allied Powers, and which was the only document that had been sent to Europe up to that period. The person who had kindly taken charge of it had brought me a large piece of satin, on part of which the letter had been written. Some was still left; and that was precisely what I wanted. Thus every thing combined to urge me towards the precipice, down which I was destined to fall.

As soon as daylight appeared, I gave the remainder of the satin to my son, on whose discretion I could rely; and he spent the whole of the day in copying upon it my letter to Prince Lucien. Night came, and, faithful to his word, my young mulatto appeared. He had some knowledge of the business of a tailor; he sewed with his own hands the satin into his clothes, and took his leave of me. I promised to give him some other 199things if he came to see me again before his departure, and wished him a pleasant voyage in case I should not see him again:—afterwards I went to bed with a light heart, and a feeling of satisfaction, arising from the contemplation of a day well employed, and marked by a fortunate event. I was far from thinking, at that moment, that I had just cut with my own hands the thread of my destiny at Longwood!

Alas! it will soon be seen that twenty-four hours had not elapsed when, under pretence of my having written that letter, I was removed from Longwood, and my person and papers were in the power and at the entire disposal of the Governor, Sir Hudson Lowe. And if I should now be asked how I could be so unguarded, and not suspect that possibly a snare might be laid for me, I should say that my servant had appeared to me honest, that I believed him to be faithful, and that I was still a stranger to all idea of instigating spies, a new invention, the honour of which the British Ministers of that period may claim as their own, and which has since thriven so well on the continent!


25th.—The Emperor sent for me at about four o’clock; he had just finished work, and appeared much pleased with the result of his occupations of the day. “I have been busy with Bertrand all day on fortifications,” said he to me, “and the day has appeared to me very short.” I have already said that this was a newly acquired taste of the Emperor’s, quite of the moment; and such pastimes are valuable here, God knows!

I had followed the Emperor to the kind of grassplot which adjoins the tent; we thence went to the corner of the walk that leads to the bottom of the garden. Five oranges were brought on a plate, with a knife and some sugar. Oranges are very scarce on the island; they are sent from the Cape. The Emperor is very fond of this fruit. These were a present from Lady Malcolm, and the Admiral never failed to send him some, whenever he had any. We were three of us at this moment with the 200Emperor; he gave me one of these oranges to put in my pocket for my son, and proceeded to cut the others in slices, and prepare them; and, seated on the trunk of a tree, was eating them cheerfully, and familiarly distributing part of them to us at the same time. By a fatal instinct, I was precisely at that instant contemplating the pleasure of this momentary situation! Alas! I was far from thinking that I was then taking the last present I could receive from his hands!...

The Emperor then took some turns in the garden; the wind had become cold: he went into the house again, and bade me follow him alone into the drawing-room, and the billiard-room, whilst he paced up and down the whole extent of the two rooms. He was talking to me again about the manner in which he had passed his day, and asked me how I had spent mine; then, the conversation having turned on his marriage, he was speaking of the festivities which had taken place on that occasion, and which had ended in the terrible accident that happened at M. Schwartzenberg’s ball. I was listening, and inwardly proposing to make an interesting article in my journal on the subject, when the Emperor suddenly interrupted his conversation, to observe through the window a great number of English officers, who were advancing towards us from the gate of our enclosure: it was the Governor, surrounded by several of his staff. The Grand Marshal, who at this moment came into the room, observed that the Governor had already been there in the morning; and that he had been at his house, and remained there some time; he added that a certain movement of the troops was spoken of. These circumstances appeared singular; and—mark the effect of a guilty conscience!—the idea of my letter clandestinely sent, immediately occurred to my mind, and a secret foreboding instantly warned me that all these strange proceedings concerned me. Such in fact, was the case, for a few minutes afterwards, a message was brought to me, informing me that the English Colonel, the creature of Sir Hudson Lowe’s, was waiting for me in my own apartment. I made a sign that I was with the Emperor, who, a few minutes afterwards, said to me, “Go, Las 201Cases, and see what that animal wants of you.” And, as I was going, he added, “and come back soon.” These were the last words of Napoleon to me. Alas, I have never seen him since! but his accent, the tone of his voice, still sound in my ears. How often since have I taken delight in allowing my imagination to dwell upon them! and what mingled sensations of pleasure and regret may be produced by a painful recollection!

The Colonel who wished to see me was a man entirely devoted to the Governor’s wishes, his factotum, and with whom I had frequently to communicate as interpreter. I had no sooner entered the room than, with an expression of benevolence and kindness both in his voice and countenance, he inquired after my health with a tender interest. This was the kiss of Judas; for, having made a sign to him with my hand to sit down on the sofa, and having also taken a seat on it myself, he seized this opportunity to place himself between me and the door: and, altering at once his tone and expression, he informed me that he arrested me in the name of the Governor, Sir Hudson Lowe, on the deposition of my servant, who had charged me with having carried on a secret correspondence.

My room was already guarded by dragoons, all representations on my part became useless, I was obliged to yield to violence, and was carried away strongly escorted. The Emperor has since written, as it will be seen hereafter, that, on seeing me from his window, hurried along through the plain, surrounded by armed men, the alacrity of the numerous staff prancing about me, and the rapid undulation of their high feathers floating in the air, had put him in mind of the ferocious joy of the savage inhabitants of the islands of the Pacific Ocean, dancing round the prisoner whom they are about to devour.

I had been separated from my son, who had been detained prisoner in my apartment; but he soon joined me also under escort: so that the sudden interruption and final termination of our communications with Longwood date from that moment. We were both shut up in a wretched hovel, near the former habitation of General Bertrand and his family. I was obliged to sleep on a 202miserable pallet, and to make room for my poor son by my side, lest he should have to lie on the floor; I considered his life to be at this moment in danger, he was threatened with an aneurism, and had been on the point of expiring in my arms a few days before. We were kept until eleven o’clock without food; and when, in order to supply the wants of my son, I went to the door and to each of the windows to ask the men who guarded them for a morsel of bread, they answered me only by presenting their bayonets.


25th, 26th.—What a terrible night is the first night spent in prison, within four walls! What ideas, what reflections, arise in the mind! My last thought at night, and the first on waking in the morning, had been that I was still only a few minutes’ walk from Longwood, and yet that perhaps I was already separated from it for ever.

In the course of the morning, the Grand Marshal, accompanied by an officer, passed within hail of my hovel. I was enabled to ask him from my dungeon how the Emperor was. The Grand Marshal was going to the Governor’s at Plantation House. His visit was undoubtedly on my account, but what could be the object of his mission? What were the ideas and the wishes of the Emperor on the subject? This occupied all my thoughts. On passing again, on his return, the Grand Marshal, with an expression of melancholy, made a sign to me, which gave me the idea of bidding me adieu, and which went to my heart. In the course of the morning, General Gourgaud and M. de Montholon also came as far as the late residence of Madame Bertrand, which was opposite to my prison, and not far from it. It was consolatory to me to see and to interpret their signs of friendship and tender interest. They solicited in vain to be allowed to come into my prison; they were obliged to return without having succeeded. Shortly afterwards, Madame Bertrand sent me some oranges, informing me, at the same time, that she had just received indirectly some news of my wife, and that she was 203in good health. These attentions, these demonstrations of kindness, from all my companions, were to me a proof that the first appearance of misfortune is sufficient to awaken the feelings of family affection, and I found some consolation at this moment in being a prisoner.

No time had been lost in my late apartment, after my arrest: a police officer (a recent importation into the colony, and, I presume, the first attempt of the kind that had been made on British ground) had made his first essay on me. He had searched my secretaire, broken open my drawers, and seized all my papers; and, anxious to shew his dexterity and the extent of his abilities, he had immediately set about undoing our beds, and taking my sofa to pieces, and even spoke of taking up the flooring.

The Governor, having got possession of all my papers, now proceeded to produce them to me in triumph. He went into the late house of Madame Bertrand, opposite to me, followed by eight or ten officers, and sent to ask me whether I would go over and there be present at the inventory which was to be made of them, or whether I preferred that he should come to me. I replied that since he left me the option, the latter plan would be most agreeable to me. Every body being seated, I rose to protest most positively against the indecorous manner in which I had been taken away from Longwood, against the illegality of sealing up my papers in my absence, and against the violation about to be committed on my private papers, the sacred depositories of my thoughts, which should exist for me only, and which had remained to this day a secret to all the world. I protested against the abuse that might be made of their contents by power; I told Sir Hudson Lowe that, if he thought that the circumstances of the case required that he should examine them, he must use his own discretion; that I had no fear of the consequences; but that I owed to myself and to general principles to throw the responsibility of the act entirely upon him, to yield only to violence, and not to authorize it by my consent.

These words, uttered by me in presence of all his officers, irritated the Governor, who exclaimed, “Count 204Las Cases, do not render your situation worse than it is; it is bad enough already!” alluding probably to the punishment of death, which he often reminded us of our being liable to, if we assisted in endeavouring to effect the escape of the great Captive. He concluded, no doubt, that my papers would produce the most important discoveries: God knows how far his ideas might go on that subject.

Before Sir Hudson began to read my papers, he called General Bingham, the second in command in the island, to assist personally in their perusal; but that officer’s ideas of delicacy differed entirely from those of the Governor. “Sir Hudson Lowe,” answered he, with a marked expression of disgust, “I beg you will excuse me, I do not think that I shall be able to read that kind of French hand-writing.”

I had, in fact, no real objection to the Governor’s examining my papers; and I therefore told him that, not in his capacity of judge or magistrate, for he was neither the one nor the other to me, but of my own accord and out of pure condescension, I thought proper to allow him to read them. He fell immediately upon my Journal. His joy and his expectations may be imagined, when he perceived that it would inform him, day by day, of all that happened among us at Longwood. It was sufficiently arranged to have a table of contents, or index to the subjects at the beginning of each month. Sir Hudson Lowe, on meeting frequently with his name, would immediately refer to the page pointed out in the index to read the details; and I could not help observing to him that if he found it often necessary to use forbearance, it was not my fault, but the fault of his own indiscretion. I assured him that my Journal was not known to any body; that the Emperor himself, who was the sole subject of it, had only read the first pages of it; that its contexture was far from being settled, and that it was intended to remain, for some time to come, a secret known to myself only.

After Sir Hudson Lowe had spent two or three hours in looking over my Journal, I told him that my intention had been to enable him to form a correct idea of the 205nature of its contents, and that, having now done so, I felt bound, for many reasons, to prohibit, as far as it was in my power, his going any further; that he could of course do as he pleased, but that I should protest against the violence he would thus exercise, and the abuse of his authority. I could easily perceive that this was a great disappointment to him; he even hesitated: however, my protest produced its effect, and my Journal was not touched again. I might have extended the protest to all my other papers, but I did not care much about them; and they were, during several days, most minutely examined.

I had my last will sealed up: I was obliged to open it as well as other papers equally sacred. Having got to the bottom of a portfolio containing some things which I had not ventured to look at since my absence from Europe, I was obliged to open them. This day was to be a day of emotion to me: the sight of these objects awoke in my breast some old recollections which my courage had stifled, since certain painful separations had taken place. I was affected, and obliged to hasten out of the room. My son, who remained in it, told me afterwards that the Governor himself had appeared somewhat affected by this circumstance.


From 28th to 30th.—This day, 28th, we have been removed from our wretched hovel to a kind of cottage belonging to Mr. Balcombe, our former host when at Briars, and situated about a league distant. The house was small, but very tolerable, and situated opposite to Longwood, and at a short distance from it: we were only separated from it by several ridges of precipices and steep summits of mountains. We were guarded by a detachment of the sixty-sixth regiment; numerous sentinels watched over us, and forbade the approach to our prison. An officer was at our disposal, Sir Hudson Lowe obligingly said, and, as he affirmed, for our convenience. All communications were strictly intercepted; we were placed in a state of the most absolute seclusion. On the summit of the hills which surrounded the hollow in which 206our house was situated, there was a road on which we saw to-day General Gourgaud, accompanied by an English officer. We could observe his efforts to come as near to us as possible, and we received with feelings of joy and affection the signs and demonstrations of friendship which our companion addressed to us from that distance, and returned ours to him in the same manner. The kind and excellent Madame Bertrand sent us again some oranges: we were not allowed to write to her to thank her, and were obliged to confine the expression of our gratitude by sending her some roses which we had gathered in our prison.

The next day Sir Hudson Lowe came to see us in our new residence. He wished to know what kind of bed I had had, and I took him to the next room and shewed him a mattress on the floor. The same kind of attention had been bestowed upon our food. “I mention these things to you,” said I, “because you have asked me; but, for my part, I do not care about them.” He then grew very angry with the person to whom he had intrusted the superintendence of our establishment here, and sent us our meals from his own table at Plantation House, although a distance of two leagues, and continued so to do until our wants were regularly provided for.

It became necessary to devise some occupation in our new prison, to enable us to bear the weight of time. I divided our hours so as to fill up our days: I regularly gave lessons in history and mathematics to my son; we read, and, during our intervals of leisure, we walked about our enclosure. The place was agreeable enough for St. Helena, it contained some verdure and a few trees. A great number of common fowls, which were rearing for the consumption of Longwood, were kept there, as well as some Guinea fowls, and other large birds, which we soon rendered tame: prisoners are ingenious and compassionate. In the evening, we used to light a fire, and then I related to my son some family stories; I informed him of my family concerns, and mentioned to him, and made him take down the names of those persons who had shewn themselves kind to me during the course of my life, or had rendered me any 207service. In short, our life was dull and melancholy, but so calm that it was not devoid of a kind of pleasurable feeling. One idea alone was exceedingly painful, and haunted us continually: the Emperor was there almost within sight, and yet we inhabited two distinct worlds; we were separated only by a short distance, and yet all communication had ceased! There was something horrible in this situation; I was no longer with him, and I was not with my family, which I had left to follow him. What then remained to me? My son shared in these feelings: urged by this situation, and by the enthusiasm of youth, the dear boy offered to me, in a moment of excitement, to take advantage of the darkness of night, to elude the vigilance of our guards, descend the numerous precipices, and scale the steep heights which parted us from Longwood, see Napoleon, and bring me back some news from him, which he engaged to do before day-light. I calmed this zeal, which, even had it rendered the attempt practicable, would have produced no other result than a feeling of personal satisfaction, and might have occasioned the most serious consequences. The Emperor had conversed with me so often and so fully that I did not suppose there was any thing he might wish to inform me of; and if such an attempt by my son had been discovered, what a noise it would have made, what importance would have been attached to it by the Governor, what absurd stories he would have invented and produced! &c.


From Sunday December 1st, to Friday December 6th.—The days of our imprisonment were slowly succeeding each other, and the Governor, although he continued to visit us frequently, did not mention any thing concerning our situation: he had merely hinted to me that my residence in the Island and my confinement might be protracted, until instructions were returned from London.

Eight days had nearly elapsed without producing the least approach towards any result whatever. This state of inactivity and passiveness could not agree with the 208nature of my disposition. The health of my son was at times most alarming. Deprived of all communication with Longwood, I was left alone to meditate by myself. I reflected upon the situation in which I was thus placed, fixed upon a plan, and took a resolution. I chose it, extreme in its nature, thinking that, if it was approved by the Emperor, it might be useful, and that it would be very easy to retrace my steps if he wished it. I thereforetherefore wrote to the Governor the following letter:

Sir,—In consequence of a snare laid by my servant, I was on the 25th ultimo torn from Longwood, and all my papers were seized, for having infringed your restrictions, to which I had previously submitted. Had you trusted the observance of these restrictions to my word or to my delicacy, I should have considered them as sacred; but you chose to guard them by attaching penalties to their violation, and I chose to run the risk of encountering them. You have applied those penalties at your own discretion, and I have made no objection to it. All this, as far it goes, is perfectly regular; but the measure of punishment should not exceed the measure of the offence. What is now the case? Two letters have been delivered for transmission without your knowledge: one of them contains the relation of the events that have occurred to us, written for Prince Lucien, and which would have passed through your hands, if you had not informed me that the continuation of my correspondence and the style of my letters would cause my removal by you from the person of the Emperor. The other letter was merely a letter of friendship. However, this circumstance has placed all my papers at your disposal, you have seen them all, even to the most secret. I have myself so much facilitated your researches that I have consented to allow you to peruse solely upon your word, that which was known only to myself, which is as yet a mass of undigested ideas, undetermined, and liable at every moment to be corrected, or modified; in a word, the secret, the chaos of my thoughts. In so doing I have wished to convince you, and I appeal to your candour, when I say that I hope I have convinced you that, in the multitude of papers which you have hastily looked over, 209there is nothing that could be considered as tending to interfere with the high and important part of your functions: no plot, no plan, not even a thought relating to Napoleon’s escape. You could not find any, because none existed. We are of opinion that his escape is impossible, and we do not think of it. Yet I will not deny that I should willingly have attempted to effect it, had I seen the possibility of success. I should willingly have sacrificed my life to restore him to liberty. I should have fallen a martyr to my zeal, and my memory would have lived for ever in all noble and generous hearts. But I repeat it, nobody considers the attempt practicable; and nobody thinks of making it. The Emperor Napoleon’s plans and wishes are still those which he formed when he repaired willingly and in good faith on board the Bellerophon, that is, to go and seek a life of tranquillity in America, or even in England, under the protection of the laws.

“These points settled, I protest with all my might against your reading henceforward, I might say all my private papers, but I confine myself to what I call my Journal. I owe it to the great respect which I entertain for the august personage whose name fills its pages, I owe it to the respect due to myself, to state my solemn objection to your so doing. I therefore demand either that those papers may be immediately restored to me, if you think conscientiously that their contents are foreign to the grand object of your administration; or if, from what you have read of them, you consider that certain parts should be laid before the British Ministers, I demand that you will forward them all to England, and send me with them. You, Sir, are so often alluded to in those papers that delicacy imperatively commands you to adopt one of those two alternatives. You cannot possibly endeavour to avail yourself, more than I have allowed you, of this opportunity to read in them what concerns you personally, lest you expose yourself to the conclusions that will be drawn by induction from this abuse of your authority, lest the circumstance be thought connected with the trap laid for me, and with the great stir that has been made about such a trifle. As soon as I shall 210have arrived in England with these papers, I shall ask the Ministers in their turn, and I shall appeal to the whole world, whether any importance can be attached, in the eye of the law, to a document recording day by day, with all the negligence warranted by strict privacy, the conversation, the words, and perhaps even the gestures, of the Emperor Napoleon? I shall ask them particularly whether I have not a right to demand of them the most inviolable secrecy concerning every part of a Journal, which is only the rough draught of my thoughts, which properly speaking does not exist, which contains only materials yet undigested; which I might without scruple disavow in almost every particular, as being as yet far from being settled in my own mind, and in which it happened to me, every day, to have to correct by the tenor of a new conversation the errors of a former one, errors that must be unavoidable and of frequent occurrence both with respect to the man who speaks without knowing that he is observed, and to the man who collects without considering himself bound to warrant the authenticity of his information. As for what concerns you, Sir, in those pages, if you have frequently had occasion to complain of the opinions I have pronounced, or the facts I have stated, it is very easy to point out, between man and man, the errors into which I may have fallen. You cannot possibly afford me a greater pleasure than by giving me an opportunity of being just; and whatever be the opinion in which I persist, after your explanation, you will at least be obliged to acknowledge my candour and sincerity. Be that as it may, Sir, and whatever be your intentions with respect to me, I from this moment withdraw, in as far as my present position will admit, from the state of voluntary subjection in which I had placed myself towards you. When I entered into that engagement, you told me that I remained at liberty to retract it at any time; and I therefore, from the present moment, desire to be restored to the common class of citizens. I place myself once more under the operation of your civil laws; I appeal to your tribunals, not to implore their favour, but their justice and their judgment. I presume, General, that you have too much respect for the laws, and 211too much innate justice in your heart, to make it necessary for me so far to insult you as to observe, that you would become responsible for all violations of the law that may be exercised against me directly or indirectly. I do not suppose that the letter of your instructions, which might induce you to detain me a prisoner here or at the Cape during several months, could shelter you from the spirit of those same instructions, appealed to by the power, the superiority, the majesty of the laws.

“Those instructions, if I have rightly understood them, in ordering you to detain every person having belonged to the establishment at Longwood, during a certain time before you restore them to liberty, have only for their object, no doubt, to derange the communications that might have been held with that horrible prison, and to let some time elapse after their cessation. Now the manner in which I have been torn away has been sufficient to attain that end. It was impossible for me to bring away any idea of the moment. I was, as it were, struck with sudden death. Besides, if I am sent to England under accusation, and submitted to the operation of the laws, they will, if I am found guilty, sufficiently obviate the inconvenience which it has been sought to avoid. If I am not guilty, I shall still be exposed to the provisions of the Alien Act; or, if that is not enough, I here give beforehand my voluntary assent to all precautions, however arbitrary they may be, which it may be thought proper to adopt against me on this occasion.

“Without yet knowing, Sir, what your intentions may be with respect to the disposal of my person, I have already imposed upon myself the greatest of all sacrifices. I am still very near to Longwood, and perhaps I am already separated from it by eternity; horrible thought, that harrows up my soul, and will continue to haunt my imagination!... But a few days ago, and you would have brought me to submit to the greatest sacrifices, by the fear of being removed from the Emperor’s person; to-day, it is not in your power to restore me to him. A stain has been affixed upon me, by arresting me almost within his sight, I can no longer be a source of consolation to him; he would only see in me a being dishonoured, 212suggesting painful recollections. And yet his presence, the attentions which I delighted to pay him, are dearer to me than my life. But perhaps, some pity will be shewn to me from afar! Something tells me that I shall return; but by a purified channel, bringing with me all that is dear to my existence, to assist me in surrounding with pious and tender cares the immortal monument placed at the extremity of the universe, and slowly consuming by the inclemency of the climate and the perfidy and cruelty of mankind. You have spokenspoken to me, Sir, of your own afflictions; we do not suspect that you have mentioned all the tribulations with which you are assailed; but every one knows and feels his own misery only. You do not suspect, on your side, Sir, that you keep Longwood covered with the veil of mourning. I have the honour,” &c.

A correspondence being once established with Sir Hudson Lowe, I did not remain idle. The following day I wrote to him again, to tell him that, in consequence of my letter of the preceding day, I now officially and in due form demanded my removal from St. Helena and my return to Europe. On the following day, I took up the same subject, and treated it with reference to my situation, as affecting my domestic concerns.

“In my two preceding letters,” said I to him, “both relating to my political situation, I thought it improper and unbecoming to introduce a single word touching my private affairs; but now that I consider myself as belonging once more to the mass of common citizens, I do not hesitate, as an accidental inhabitant of your island, to represent to you all the horrors of my private situation. You are aware of the dangerous state of my son’s health: it must have been reported to you by the medical men. Ever since he has seen the dear and sacred tie which bound us to Longwood dissolved, all his ideas, all his wishes, all his hopes, are ardently turned towards Europe, and his disease will be increased by impatience and the power of imagination. Such is his physical situation, which renders my moral situation still worse, if possible. I have to contend at one and the same time against the feelings of my heart and the uneasiness 213of my mind. I cannot consider, without a feeling of terror, that I am responsible to myself for having brought him hither, and for being the cause of his being detained here. What should I answer to his mother, who would ask me for her son? What should I reply to the multitude of idlers and others, who, though indifferent to the circumstances, are ever ready to judge and condemn? I say nothing of my own health, it is of little importance amidst such emotions, and such causes of anxiety. And yet, I find myself in a most deplorable state; for, since I have no longer before my eyes the cause which kept the faculties of my mind in action, my body sinks under the dreadful havoc produced by eighteen months’ struggles, agitations, and afflictions, such as the imagination can hardly dwell upon. I am no longer near the august personage for whom I cheerfully endured them, and I am nevertheless also separated from my family, whose absence has caused me so much sorrow. Deprived of both objects, my heart is torn between them; it wanders in an abyss; it can no longer endure this situation. I leave you, Sir, to weigh these considerations. Do not sacrifice two victims. I request that you will send us to England, to the source of science and of every kind of assistance. This is the first demand of any kind, that I have made either of yourself or your predecessor. But the deplorable state of my son’s health overpowers my stoicism; will it not awaken your humanity? Several motives may tend to influence your decision: they are all contained in my letter of 30th November. I shall merely add here that an opportunity now offers for you to give a great and rare example of impartiality, in sending thus to your Ministers one of your adversaries.“

After having received these two letters, Sir Hudson Lowe called upon me, and with reference to the first, he immediately denied having laid any trap for me through the medium of my servant. He however admitted that appearances warranted my suspicions.

Sir Hudson Lowe, afterwards, went on to discuss verbally some passages of my letters, dwelling particularly upon certain expressions, which, he represented to 214me in a friendly manner, could not but be unpleasant to him. He found me not only on this, but on several other occasions of the same nature, perfectly accommodating. My answer to his observations was generally to take up the pen immediately, and erase or modify the expressions that displeased him.

I omit a pretty voluminous correspondence upon the same subject; I shall merely state that, in general, Sir Hudson Lowe avoided giving a written answer, and that his custom was to come, as it has just been seen, to converse with me respectingrespecting the letters he had just received, and obtain some erasures, after which he retired, saying that he would soon give a circumstantial answer: this he did not do at the time, and has never done since; but, as I have been informed from England, he now pays periodical papers, or occasional libellers, to abuse my work, and to revile its author.

As, in the numerous verbal discussions to which my letters gave rise, Sir Hudson Lowe did not, with the exception of the erasure of a few expressions, obtain any important concession, or attain any of the objects which he had in view; he would, on leaving me, represent me as a man of deep cunning, and, as he affirmed, very much to be feared: for with him a man was very cunning, very crafty, and very dangerous, who had sense enough not to yield blindly to all his views, or to fall into his snares. However, the following is the only trick I ever played him. The idleness and rigour of captivity sharpen the invention; besides, it was all fair between us: the incontestable right of a prisoner is to endeavour to deceive his gaoler.

I said, at the beginning of this work, that the Emperor at the moment of our departure for St. Helena, had secretly intrusted me with a necklace of diamonds of very considerable value.

The habit of carrying it about me for such a length of time had brought me to think no more about it, so that it was only after several days of seclusion, and quite by chance, that I thought of it. Closely watched as I was, I could not see any possibility of being able to restore it to the Emperor, who had no doubt forgotten it as well 215as myself. After having thought a great deal on the subject, I contrived to make use of Sir Hudson Lowe himself for that purpose. I requested to be allowed to bid my companions farewell, and wrote the following letter to the Grand Marshal:—

Sir,—Torn from the midst of you all, left to myself, deprived of all communication whatever, I have been obliged to found my decisions on my own judgment and my own feelings. I have addressed them officially to Sir Hudson Lowe, on the 30th of November. In return for the liberty which I am allowed, I abstain from saying a single word about it, and rely upon the delicacy of the high authorities to communicate to you the whole of my letter, if any part of it should ever be mentioned or alluded to—I resign myself to my fate.

“It only remains for me to request you will lay at the Emperor’s feet the assurance of my respect, veneration, and affection: my life is still entirely devoted to him. I shall never enjoy any happiness but near his august person.

“In the unfortunate state of penury to which you are all reduced, I should have most ardently wished to leave behind me some of my wife’s jewels ... a necklace ... the widow’s mite! But how shall I venture to offer it?... I have often made the offer of the four thousand louis which I possess in England at my disposal, that offer I now again renew; my position, whatever it be, cannot produce any alteration in my intention. I shall henceforward be proud to be in want! Once more, Sir, assure the Emperor of my entire devotion to his person, of my fidelity and unshaken constancy....

“And you, my dear companions of Longwood, let me ever live in your recollection! I know the privations and afflictions to which you are exposed; and my heart bleeds for you. With you, I was of little importance; far from you, you shall know my zeal and my tender solicitude, if they have humanity enough to allow me to exercise them. I embrace you all very affectionately, and request you will add for yourself, Sir, the assurance of my respect and consideration.

“P.S. This letter has been ready for you some time;time; 216it was written when I thought I was going to be removed hence. To-day the Governor, in giving me permission to send it to you, informs me that I am to wait here, until answers shall have arrived from England. Thus I shall be for months at St. Helena, and yet Longwood will cease to exist for me; a new species of torment which I had not thought of!”

Sir Hudson Lowe, to whom I delivered this letter open, for such was his condition, read it, approved it, and was kind enough to undertake to deliver it himself, a circumstance which had the effect of exciting the Emperor’s attention, and which contributed, in a great measure, though indirectly, to cause the deposit to be restored to Napoleon.

A register was made of all letters from my London friends, in order to ascertain in the public offices whether any had arrived by indirect modes of conveyance. I had commenced a second letter to Prince Lucien; the Governor laid particular stress upon it. It was in vain I represented to him that it was full of erasures, and crowded with pencil notes almost effaced; that it had not been written, and did not therefore exist in reality; that I might disown it without scruple; that it was impossible to make any legal or honest use of it: he persisted in having some parts of the letter copied; God knows for what purpose!

He was much puzzled by a note of the Lieutenant-Governor’s lady. On quitting St. Helena for England, she had told us that the law forbade her taking charge of any letter; but that she would have great pleasure in being useful to us in any other way. I had sent to her, for my London friends, some articles which had been used by the Emperor, or which had come from himself. A small silver inkstand, I believe, some words in his hand-writing, perhaps some of his hair; I know not what. These I called precious relics. Mrs. Skelton had replied that she would treat them with all the respect they deserved, but that she must confess to me she had not been able to resist the temptation of taking a small portion of them.

Sir Hudson Lowe could not account for my being 217either unable or unwilling to state what those precious objects were. I should be mortified if they should have brought any disagreeable consequences on this lady. I had merely kept the note in memory, and in token of respect for her. Mr. and Mrs. Skelton were a moral and virtuous couple, whom we had much injured, though undoubtedly against our wish; but their politeness and attention to us had constantly increased with the harm we did them. Our arrival in the island had caused their being dispossessed of Longwood, losing their situation, and being sent back to Europe, where they must be without a provision.

At last, after a time, the famous clandestine documents came out in their turn: my letter to Prince Lucien, and the one to my London acquaintance. Sir Hudson Lowe had caused them to be carefully copied, but with many chasms, from not having been able to read all, certain words being found effaced upon the satin, owing to the documents having been accidentally wetted since I had parted with them. I carried my complaisance and good nature so far as to restore them; and then a sort of interrogatory commenced.

The Governor’s attention was much engaged by two points, which he had it deeply at heart to clear up, if, he said, I had no objection to it. The first question was relative to these words of my letter to Prince Lucien: “Those who surround us complain bitterly that their letters are falsified in the public papers,” &c. It was asked of me who these persons were. The Aide-de-camp held his pen to take down my answers. I desired he would write that, seeing no inconvenience in answering, I would do so, but entirely of my own accord; for that, if the Governor thought to question by virtue of his authority, I should be silent; and I then said, “that those words of my letter were vague, general, and without any application whatever; that they were what had been said to us by every one, when they sought to console us for the very improper expressions or descriptions regarding us, which we occasionally found in the London papers, under the date of St. Helena.”

The Governor’s second question applied to my private 218letter. It contained, amongst others, a request to ask Lord Holland whether he had received the parcels I had directed to him. Sir Hudson Lowe inquired what those parcels were, and by whom I had forwarded them, &c.; and here he visibly redoubled the mildness of his deportment, in order to obtain a satisfactory answer, confessing that he had no right to compel me to reply; but it would be, he said, the means of materially expediting and simplifying my own affair, &c. I replied, rather in a solemn manner, that this point was my secret, which evidently created an impression upon the physiognomy of Sir Hudson Lowe; and, my words being taken down as I uttered them, I continued to dictate, adding that the answer I had just given was only that which my education and habits prompted me to give, that any other might have given rise to the Governor’s doubts, and that it was not proper I should expose the veracity of my words to the smallest suspicion; that, after this preliminary statement, however, I had no longer any objection to declare that I never, in all my life, had any communication with Lord Holland. This unexpected conclusion was a coup de théâtre, quite a comedy-scene; it would be difficult to describe the surprise of the Governor, the astonishment of the officers; the pen stopped in the writer’s hand. Sir Hudson Lowe did not hesitate to reply that he fully believed me, but that he must confess he could not understand the business at all. I confessed, in my turn, that I could not help laughing at the perplexity I caused him, but that I had told him all. The fact is, I had intended, when my servant should return, to intrust him besides with several authentic documents upon our situation, for Lord Holland: but I had not been allowed time for so doing; they had come too soon to take me away. I had the honour of knowing his Lordship only by the nobleness and dignity of his public conduct; but to transmit the truth to him, as an hereditary legislator of his country, and a member of the supreme court of Great Britain, appeared to me very proper in us both, and equally becoming and serviceable to the honour of the British character.



16th.—More than twenty days had elapsed, and nothing as yet announced any change in our dreadful situation. My son’s illness continued to exhibit the most alarming symptoms; my health was visibly declining through grief and anxiety. Our confinement was so strict that we had not yet heard a single word from Longwood; I was quite ignorant how my unfortunate affair had been interpreted there; I had merely learnt that the Emperor had not left his apartment during the last fifteen or eighteen days and had almost always taken his meals there alone. What did I not suffer from these circumstances! The Emperor had evidently been affected, but in what manner? Shall I own it? this doubt was, to me, a source of absolute torment; it haunted me at every moment since I had quitted Longwood: for the Emperor was perfectly ignorant of the cause of my being carried off; fate had so ordained it. What would he have thought, on hearing about my clandestine letters? What would have been his opinions, what motive would he assign to my disguise towards him; I, who from habit, would not have stirred a step, or hazarded an expression, without communicating with him? I coupled these faults, which I even exaggerated, with the affecting kindness of the last moments I had passed with him. Some minutes before I was torn away from him, he was more cheerful towards me, seemed even better disposed than usual; and, some moments later, he had perhaps been led to find something mysterious in my conduct. The appearance of the right of reproach and of doubt had perhaps already risen in his mind. This idea grieved me more than I could express, and visibly affected my health. Fortunately, the Governor came to restore me to life. He presented himself towards evening, appearing much taken up with what he had to tell me, and, after a long preamble, which it was difficult for me to understand, he concluded by informing me, that he held in his hand a letter, which my situation gave him the right to withhold from me; but that he 220knew how dear to me was the hand that wrote it, how much I valued the sentiments which it expressed, and that he was, therefore, going to shew it to me, notwithstanding the many personal motives he might have for not doing so! It was a letter from the Emperor!

Whatever harm Sir Hudson Lowe may have done to us, whatever his motives may have been, at this moment, I owe him a real obligation for the happiness he afforded me; and, when I recollect it, I am tempted to reproach myself for many details and certain imputations; but I owed them to truth, and to considerations of the highest importance. I shewed myself so much affected that he appeared to be moved by it, and consented to my request of being allowed to take a copy of what was strictly personal in the letter. My son copied it in a hurry, so much did we dread lest he should alter his mind; and when he left us, we re-copied it in many ways and in many places; we even learnt it by heart, so great was our fear that the night’s reflections might occasion Sir Hudson Lowe to repent. And, in fact, when he re-appeared the next morning, he expressed to me his regret on the subject; and I did not hesitate to offer to return to him the copy I had taken, assuring him that I should not feel the less grateful. We had ensured to ourselves the means of being generous without inconvenience. Whether he suspected that such was the case, or whether from a continuation of the same kindness, I know not; but he declined my offer. I shall now lay before the reader that letter, the original of which was kept by Sir Hudson Lowe, which he gave me his word should share the same fate as my other papers, and which I nevertheless had all possible trouble to obtain, when the English Government, after Napoleon’s death, thought that they could not avoid restoring my Journal to me. I shall transcribe here those passages of the letter which Sir Hudson Lowe allowed me to copy at the time, and such as they were published after my return to Europe; those parts which he kept back are thrown into the notes, at the bottom of the pages: the two together will form the whole of the original.

“My dear Count de Las Cases,—My heart is deeply 221affected by what you now experience. Torn from me a fortnight ago, you have been ever since closely confined, without the possibility of my receiving any news from you, or sending you any; without having had any communication with any person, either French or English; deprived even of the attendance of a servant of your own choice.

“Your conduct at St. Helena has been, like the whole of your life, honourable and irreproachable; I have pleasure in giving you this testimony.

“Your letter to one of your friends in London contains nothing reprehensible; you merely disburden your heart into the bosom of friendship.

[Half the letter was wanting here.[24]]

222“Your company was necessary to me. You are the only one that can read, speak, and understand English. How many nights you have watched over me during my illnesses! However, I advise you, and if necessary, I order you, to demand of the Governor of this country to send you to the Continent; he cannot refuse, since he has no power over you, but by virtue of the act which you have voluntarily signed. It will be a great source of consolation to me to know that you are on your way to more favoured climes.

“Once in Europe, whether you proceed to England or return home, endeavour to forget the evils which you have been made to suffer; and boast of the fidelity which you have shewn towards me, and of all the affection I feel for you.

“If you should, some day or other, see my wife and son, embrace them for me; for the last two years, I have had no news from them, either directly or indirectly.

[Three or four lines were wanting here.[25]]

223“In the mean time be comforted, and console my friends. My body, it is true, is exposed to the hatred of my enemies; they omit nothing that can contribute to satisfy their vengeance; they make me suffer the protracted tortures of a slow death; but Providence is too just to allow these sufferings to last much longer. The insalubrity of this dreadful climate, the want of every thing that tends to support life, will soon, I feel, put an end to my existence.

[Four or five lines were wanting here.[26]]

“As there is every reason to suppose that you will not be allowed to come and see me before your departure, receive my embrace, and the assurance of my friendship. May you be happy!


Longwood; 11th December, 1816.” */


From Tuesday, Dec. 17th, to Thursday 19th, 1816.—The Emperor’s letter proved a source of real consolation to me. It was continually present in my thoughts; it dissipated my alarms, strengthened my resolution, and in short it rendered me truly happy. I read it carefully over and over again. I weighed every word it contained. From my own knowledge of the Emperor, I thought that I could guess how he had been induced to write it. I could conceive what would be his uneasiness respecting the cause of my removal, and his surprise on hearing of the clandestine correspondence. From his constant habit of considering things in every possible point of view, I felt convinced that his penetration had enabled him to discover precisely what had taken place, and that 224he had determined to write to me in consequence. My conjectures on all these points proved to be correct: for I afterwards learned that the Emperor, after some delay, had determined to write to me, without knowing what might be the nature of the papers which had caused my arrest.

Need I say how dearly I prized this letter! I who had so frequently heard the Emperor declare that he would not write to his wife, his mother, or his brothers, since he could not do so without having his letters opened and read by his jailers. But the letter to me had been opened with his own consent and with his own hands; for, after it was sent to Sir Hudson Lowe by the officer on guard, it was returned with the observation that it could not be delivered to me until it should be read and approved by the Governor. The Emperor was reclining on his sofa at the moment when the letter was brought back to him, with this new obstacle. He uttered not a word, but raising his hand over his head, he took the letter, broke the seal, and immediately returned it, without even looking at the person who had presented it.

Another circumstance which rendered this letter valuable in my eyes was that it bore the Emperor’s full signature; and I knew how much he disliked to sign his name at length, in the new circumstances in which he was placed. This, I believe, was the first time he had signed his name at full length since he had been at St. Helena, and, from an inspection of the original, it is easy to perceive that it cost him some degree of consideration. At first he wrote with his own hand, merely the date: “Longwood, December 11, 1816,” concluding with his usual cipher. But, conceiving this to be insufficient, he added, lower down: “your devoted Napoleon,” repeating his cipher. The whole bears evident traces of having been written under feelings of embarrassment.[27]

225But the greatest satisfaction which the Emperor’s letter afforded me was that it pointed out precisely the course which I had previously determined on adopting. “I entreat you, and in case of urgency, I command you, to quit the island,” said the Emperor: and this was exactly what I had resolved to do, during the first days of my seclusion, while separated from all my friends, and having no counsellor but myself. I can no longer, I thought, be of any great service to the Emperor here; but I may, perhaps, be useful to him elsewhere. I will go to England, and appeal to the Ministers. They cannot suspect my conduct to be premeditated; seeing that I have been snatched, as it were, from sudden death. Whatever I say will evidently come from my heart. I will paint the truth, and they cannot but be touched with the miseries I shall unfold to them. They will ameliorate the condition of the illustrious captive, and I will myself return and lay at his feet the consolation which my zeal will have procured.

I therefore resumed my prayers and entreaties; and a circumstance which the more induced me to do so was that my son had just then been seized with a relapse, and had been for half an hour in a state of insensibility, without any other assistance than I was capable of affording him. My distress and anxiety may be easily conceived; and I was myself very much indisposed. I wrote a letter to the Governor, in which I said:—“You reduce me to the utmost possible misery. What a terrible responsibility you are taking upon yourself! You are a father; and alarms like those which now distress me may, perhaps, one day remind you of my unavailing entreaties.” It was evident that, by detaining us, he was hurrying us to our graves. I was unable to conceive what could induce him thus to involve himself in new difficulties; it appeared to me most natural that he should prefer letting us die elsewhere.

Sir Hudson Lowe called that very day. He said that the note he had received respecting my son’s health was the occasion of his visit. He had sent for Dr. Baxter, who arrived soon after him.

In the course of a long conversation, I could very well 226discern that Sir Hudson Lowe had now some secret object in view with respect to me. We reciprocally sounded each other on various points; and the Governor concluded by observing that he could not send me back to England, because I insisted on carrying my Journal along with me; while, on the other hand, it was claimed by the Emperor, as it had been written by his order. The cunning and absurdity of this reasoning were sufficiently obvious. Then, as if seized by a sudden thought and a momentary feeling of condescension, he added that, if I wished to return to Longwood, he would very willingly agree to it. I trembled to hear this.... However, recollecting the letter and the significant words of the Emperor, I replied that, though the idea of returning to Longwood was wholly contrary to my present intention, yet, if the Emperor expressed a desire to that effect, I should immediately change my resolution. Sir Hudson Lowe observed that he had good reason to believe the Emperor did wish for my return. The Governor’s thoughts were evidently occupied with some new scheme or other respecting me; but I could not guess what it was. I signified that it would be necessary for me to write to Longwood, to learn what were the Emperor’s wishes. To this the Governor did not positively object, but he expressed himself with the utmost obscurity. At length he departed; at least I supposed him gone. He had, however, merely withdrawn for a time, to hold a conference with his confidential officer; after which he came to inform me that, having considered the business, he thought it advisable for me to write to the Grand Marshal on the subject of my return to Longwood, at the same time observing that, according to the manner in which I might express myself in my letter, the Emperor would or would not be induced to signify a wish for my return. This was very certain, and I could not but smile at the observation.


20th, 21st.—Sir Hudson Lowe, harassed by my incessant appeals to him, and perplexed by the awkward 227situation in which he had placed himself, began apparently to repent of having made so much noise about so trifling a matter. He evidently wished to see me return to the Emperor, which of course would have relieved him of all embarrassment, and would have put an end to the whole business. Consequently, with the view of inducing me the more speedily to adopt this step, the Governor addressed to me the official decision respecting my removal to the Cape of Good Hope; and this document he accompanied by a letter in which he once more mentioned, in very studied language, the facility he afforded me of returning to Longwood. I have avoided, as far as possible, inserting the documents connected with this correspondence, and have abridged several of my own letters through the fear of fatiguing the reader. However, it is proper that I should produce all that is necessary for the explanation of this affair, and I therefore subjoin the official decision, and the letter to which I have just alluded.


“The Governor having duly considered all the circumstances, relative to the affair of Count Las Cases, has adopted the following decision:—

“Count Las Cases having committed a direct and premeditated violation of the regulations established at St. Helena, by virtue of the authority of the British Government, relative to General Bonaparte, in corrupting the fidelity of an inhabitant of the island, so far as to render him, in a criminal and underhand way, the bearer of secret and clandestine letters for Europe; and having thus broken one of the indispensable conditions to which he voluntarily acquiesced when he signed his declaration to obtain leave to reside at St. Helena, the said Count Las Cases has been separated from the person of General Bonaparte; and, in conformity with the instructions of the British Government, he will be transported to the Cape of Good Hope.

“Count Las Cases is permitted to take with him all his property and papers, excepting, however, such of the latter as may have reference to General Bonaparte, since 228the time he has been under the authority of the British Government, and also such correspondence as may not have passed through the official channel of the English authorities.

“The Governor will await the orders of the British Government respecting those papers, the nature of which may be the subject of dispute.

(Signed)       “HUDSON LOWE.”

Plantation House, Dec. 20, 1816.” */ #/


Sir,—In communicating to you the enclosed decision, permit me to mention, what I have already stated verbally, that I shall make no objection to your remaining on the island, if you prefer to do so, rather than proceed to the Cape of Good Hope, there to wait until I receive instructions from the British Government respecting you.

“In case you should prefer remaining at St. Helena, I conceive it necessary to require from you a declaration, expressing your wish to that effect, and a promise to submit to the same restrictions under which you have hitherto been permitted to reside here.

“Thus, Sir, it is entirely at your own option, either to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope, or to remain here, with your papers under seal, until I shall receive instructions from Government.

“I have the honour to be, &c.
(Signed)        “HUDSON LOWE.”

I immediately acknowledged the receipt of these two documents, at the same time requesting an acknowledgment of the receipt of all my letters, for as yet I had had no intimation of any one of them having been received. Wishing to reply to the Governor’s offer of allowing me to return to Longwood, I instantly addressed a letter on this subject to the Grand Marshal, which I sent to Sir Hudson Lowe, in order that he might peruse it, and forward it to its destination.

It will scarcely be credited that Sir Hudson Lowe 229sent back this letter. He had drawn a pencil mark across every passage to which he objected, and had reduced the whole to a few lines, thus assuming the privilege of dictating to me what I was to write to Count Bertrand. The returned letter was accompanied by a communication, which the Governor observed would serve as an answer to all my preceding correspondence.


22nd, 23rd.—The Governor came to ascertain the effect of his declaration and his two letters. He doubted not that they had produced a great impression, and he calculated on finding my letter to the Grand Marshal ready written, with the corrections he had suggested; which communication, he expected would bring about my return to Longwood. But I coolly informed him that, since he had taken upon himself to dictate to me, I would not write at all. At this, he appeared surprised and disconcerted, and, after some reflection, he went so far as to inquire whether the corrections which he had made were the only obstacles that deterred me. This unusual condescension on his part was a sufficient guide for me. I therefore continued firm; and cut the matter short by observing that, in the evening, he should receive from me my irrevocable determination and the reasons on which it was grounded, together with my remarks on the different letters which he had addressed to me.

My letter was as follows:—

Sir,—You have sent back to me, with your corrections, the letter which I wrote to Count Bertrand, respecting your verbal offer of granting me permission to return to Longwood. But as it almost always happens here, this offer was sincere only in appearance, and it was doomed to expire in the details of its execution. I was not much surprised at this. After your departure, the other day, when I came to reflect on the offer you had made, I foresaw that the matter would terminate as it really has done. You had the candour to tell me that 230you could not permit me and the individuals at Longwood to combine our ideas; or, in other words, to ascertain our real wishes. You have, doubtless, very good reasons for this. I say nothing against it; only I cannot suffer myself to be duped, or to be the means of leading into error those who take an interest in my fate.

“You“You are too advantageously situated, Sir, between Longwood and me; and if I must write to Count Bertrand, not my own sentiments, but what you may think proper to dictate, I decline holding any communication with him. I shall regard your offer as never having been made, because it cannot possibly be accepted; and I must refer irrevocably for my thoughts, sentiments, and decisions on this subject, to my letter of the 30th of November.

“You mistake, Sir, if you suppose that I wished for answers to all the arguments and articles contained in my letters. I am aware of the importance of your occupations, and the value of your time, and therefore I merely requested an acknowledgment of the receipt of my letters for the sake of regularity. I presumed you could have no reason to refuse this.

“You seem surprised, Sir, at the deplorable state of my own and my son’s health; and you twice express astonishment that I should not have complained to you on the subject, when I was at Longwood. I thought but little about my health, Sir, when I was at Longwood; and besides, when I felt indisposed, I considered it more advisable to complain to the Doctor than to the Governor. With regard to my son, I am surprised you should have heard nothing of his situation, considering the consultations that have been held on his case, the fits he has had, and the many times he has been bled. Is it to be wondered at if our present circumstances increase our infirmities?

“I now come to your order for my removal to the Cape. I find that all the papers which have any reference to the august individual to whom I have devoted my existence are to be detained. What other papers, Sir, can I be possessed of? What is meant by saying that I am free to carry away all the rest? Is not this making an offer, and yet granting nothing?

231“You detain my Journal, the sole and real object of all this misunderstanding; the depository, yet incomplete and incorrect, in which I daily registered all that I thought, saw, or heard. Can any of my papers be more valuable to me than this? You cannot pretend to have been ignorant of its contents, since I suffered you to peruse it for two hours at your own discretion. Will you not be responsible for having abused this privilege? Will you not, perhaps, one day, have to justify yourself for the false notions which you have doubtless transmitted to the English Ministers respecting this manuscript? You have called it a Political Journal. I had no right, you have observed, in the situation in which I was placed, to keep any account of what was said by the Emperor Napoleon, and you particularly object to my having introduced official documents into my Journal. As if all that I saw, read, and heard, did not by right, and without impropriety, belong to my own thoughts, and form a part of my own property, so long as the record was kept private and secret! Who would suppose that such principles could have been imbibed amidst the liberal ideas of England? Do they not rather partake of the odious police maxims of the continent? And, after all, what are the contents of this Journal? It describes the sublime language and conduct of the august individual who is the object of it, the incidents of his life, and also many things which are probably not very agreeable to you! But who will have given publicity to these facts? The whole was to have been re-touched, altered, and corrected. Who has prevented this? However, Sir, you may rest assured, that the circumstances which have just taken place shall never induce me to say any thing concerning you which I do not firmly believe to be true.

“In your decision of the 20th of October, you declare that I shall be removed from Longwood, and sent to the Cape of Good Hope. From the form and language of this decision, it might naturally be supposed that it was hostile to my wishes; while, in reality, you thereby pronounce a sentence which is now, and has been for many days past, foreign to the new question that has risen up between us. You remove from Longwood one who, 232twenty days ago, withdrew from the subjection to your authority in which he had voluntarily placed himself; and who, for the last eighteen days, has been formally demanding his removal from the island. Who would ever guess these facts from a perusal of your document? You enclose your decision in a letter, in which you leave me the choice of submitting to your sentence or returning to Longwood. But by embracing the happiness which you thus hold out to me, I should secure to you the triumph and satisfaction of being master of my most private papers; I should again become your captive, and should be liable to the same searches and seizures, whenever you might be pleased to make them.... No, Sir! I can make no choice. I can only repeat what I have already said before. I resign myself to the laws. If I am guilty, let me be tried; if I am not guilty, restore me to liberty. If my papers are unconnected with this affair, return them to me. If you think it proper to submit them to serious examination, transmit them to the English Ministers, and let me be sent with them. Besides, as my own and my son’s health imperatively require every kind of medical assistance, I earnestly implore you to send us to England.

“Nothing was more simple than this affair, and yet it has been involved in difficulty. In vain you refer to your instructions; they never can be made to apply to cases so peculiar as this. Your own wavering determination proves to me that your instructions are neither clear nor precise. You wished at first to keep me on the island in solitary confinement and separated from Longwood; you did not think it right to send me to the Cape. You now torture the literal meaning of your instructions, in order to give them a forced interpretation. But recollect that you will be held responsible to your Government for having misconstrued them, and to me for having violated the law in my person. Recollect that most of your measures will ultimately appear to have been vexatious and arbitrary acts. I know not what rights, what resources, your laws will afford me; but I slumber in this ignorance; for I trust they will protect me in some way or other. You expect to be rid of me when I shall 233be removed to the Cape, separated from my papers, which you intend to detain in your possession. But even should I be kept a prisoner there, the winds shall waft my complaints hitherward. I will make known the mental wounds and bodily sufferings which you will thus have been the means of aggravating; for, if I should be detained at the Cape, it must be through you, either by your direct orders or secret instructions. Sealed papers cannot be opened except in the presence of the party interested. Will you have me brought back from the Cape, for the purpose of breaking the seals that are affixed to mine? Or will you detain me at the Cape until you receive orders to send my papers to England? What object is to be gained by all this? There was, and still is, a simple mode of arranging every thing! My natural disposition to accommodate made me, as it were, anticipate every difficulty. I was ready to obviate all. I would willingly have subjected myself in England to any preliminary measures, however arbitrary, that might have been equivalent to the quarantine of the Cape. The state of my own and my son’s health was a valid reason for so doing.

“The fear of departing from the literal meaning of any particular point in your instructions has, with you, been more powerful than the necessity and the right of yielding to their spirit, to the force of circumstances, and the feelings of humanity. It is not yet too late to grant what I solicit. I am willing to believe that humanity will determine you; and if so I shall remain your debtor. The circumstance of the papers being claimed at Longwood and by me cannot be regarded as a reasonable obstacle. Besides, it may be asked what you have done to remove it? Do you wish that I should myself write on the subject? Three words would suffice to bring us to an understanding.

“At all events, Sir, whatever determination you may come to, whatever vexation you may reserve for me, nothing can be comparable to what I suffer in being detained on this horrible island, separated from the august individual whom I followed hither. The hours and minutes that I pass in this situation are like years in 234my unfortunate life, and dangerously aggravate my son’s precarious state of health. I therefore again demand, and shall incessantly demand, that you will remove me from this hated place. I am,” &c.

The Governor was very much vexed by my determination of not returning to Longwood, though I could not exactly guess the reason why. However, my resolution was fully confirmed on the following day, when he came to me, and, after a long and very obscure preamble, respecting his sincerity and good intentions, he told me that, to facilitate my communication with Longwood, he would consent to forward my first letter to Count Bertrand, in the form in which I had myself written it; and moreover to send along with it a copy of all my correspondence; a thing which he had hitherto constantly refused to do. But the more he made concessions, the more firmly I rejected them:—“’Tis too late,” said I, “the die is cast. I have pronounced sentence upon myself. I will not write to Longwood, and I demand, for the hundredth time, that you will remove me hence without further delay.”—“At least, then,” said the Governor, “will you communicate to Longwood my offers and your refusal?”—“I have no objection to do that,” I replied. Sir Hudson Lowe then departed, very much disconcerted, mentioning, as a last inducement, that he could only send us away on board a transport, that he did not know when the vessel might sail, and that there was no medical man on board, which would be a serious inconvenience, considering the state of my son’s health.


24th.—My son was exceedingly ill during the night, and I was myself very much indisposed. At daybreak I sent to request the immediate attendance of Doctors Baxter and O’Meara; and, in the extremity of my despair, I also wrote to Sir Hudson Lowe, assuring him that it was impossible we could longer endure the treatment we were now suffering. I reminded him that, in spite of my son’s dangerous condition, it was now more 235than seven days since we had seen a medical attendant; and that, owing to our inconvenient situation, the Doctors, in spite of their good intentions, found it impossible to visit us. I therefore urged the necessity of our quitting the cottage without delay: and I begged that we might be conveyed to the town, even to the common jail, if he found it necessary. This letter produced an immediate effect. I received, on the return of the orderly, a note from the Governor, stating that I should that day be conveyed to his own residence in the town. In the evening, an officer came to conduct us thither. How anxiously did we turn our eyes towards Longwood at the moment of departure! What were our thoughts and sensations as we proceeded along the road! What a wound was inflicted on my heart when, for the last time, I turned to look on Longwood, and saw it gradually disappear from my sight!


25th to 28th.—We now found ourselves removed to the Governor’s residence, which is called the Castle. It is a spacious building and agreeably situated. Our condition was now changed very much for the better. We were still guarded by sentinels, it is true; but every thing was under my orders, and there seemed to be an endeavour to furnish us profusely with every thing. “Do not spare,” the major-domo often repeated, “the Honourable East India Company pays for all.” But these tardy attentions produced little effect upon me. I had but one object in view, namely, a prompt decision, and that I could not obtain. The Governor came to me every day, but it was merely to utter a few complimentary phrases, and not a word of my affairs. However, it was now indispensable to come to the point. The endless difficulties that had arisen, and my endeavours to avert them, had kept me in a continual state of agitation; and vexation of mind was combined with grief of heart.

I was absolutely in a critical state when I arrived in the town. The Governor was struck with my extreme 236debility and the change that had taken place in my appearance. Apparently with the intention of rousing me, Sir Hudson Lowe mentioned that the Emperor had expressed a very great wish to see me before my departure. On hearing this, I was deeply moved. My son afterwards informed me that the Governor appeared very much embarrassed by the condition to which he saw me reduced. However, making an effort to collect my strength, I once more begged that Sir Hudson Lowe would give orders for my removal as speedily as possible. He at length determined that my departure should take place two days afterwards. He informed me that he had procured a ship of war, which would be more suitable for my conveyance, while at the same time I should enjoy the advantage of having a medical attendant on board.


29th.—Early this morning, an officer came to request that we would pack up our things to be conveyed on board the ship, as it was determined that we should depart very shortly. This we looked upon as the hour of our deliverance. In a few minutes, all that we possessed was packed up, and we were in perfect readiness. At length the wished-for moment of departure was at hand. How our feelings vary according to the circumstances in which we happen to be placed. But a short time ago I should have considered it the greatest misfortune that could befal me to be separated from the Emperor, and removed from St. Helena. But my late resolutions, the manifest wish of Sir Hudson Lowe, the positive words of the Emperor: “I request you, and in case of need, I command you, to quit this island;” together with other important observations which fell from him in the course of previous conversation, and which I cannot hint at here, though they are entirely foreign to politics; and finally, the chimeras which my own imagination had conjured up; all now caused me to dread the thought of being longer detained. The hour of departure had already been specified; I nevertheless 237experienced the most cruel suspense, which the Governor seemed to justify by keeping away nearly the whole of the day. Impatience and anxiety had thrown me into a fever; when, about six o’clock in the evening, the Governor, whom I now despaired of seeing, made his appearance. After a little preamble, in his usual way, he informed me that he had brought the Grand Marshal to take leave of me, and he conducted me into the adjoining apartment, where I had the happiness of embracing that esteemed companion of my exile. The Emperor had instructed the Grand Marshal to tell me that “he should see me desert with pleasure, and see me remain with pleasure.” These were his words. He added, that he knew my heart and my sentiments; and that he reposed full and entire confidence in me. As to the chapters of the Campaign of Italy, which I had requested permission to keep as a dear and precious memento, he granted them without hesitation, as well as any thing else that might happen to be in my possession; for he was pleased to say that, while they were in my hands he should consider them as being still in his own. Sir Hudson Lowe was with us during this interview, at which his presence was indispensable. The Grand Marshal commissioned me to make some purchases of books, and other things, necessary or useful to the Emperor, and he particularly requested me to send the Moniteur. Finally, he took leave of me, telling me significantly to act in all things as I should judge best.

As I expected, the friendship of the Grand Marshal served only to increase my distress. He expressed his regret for my departure, and tried to suggest reasons for inducing me to remain. “His absence,” said he, in a very graceful manner, addressing himself to the Governor, “will be regretted by us all. It will be a loss to the Emperor, and it will even be a loss to you, Sir Hudson Lowe. You will soon be convinced of this.” The Governor replied by an approving bow; and both endeavoured to prevail on me to change my resolution. I could easily guess the Governor’s reasons for this; but I could not so well divine the cause of the Grand Marshal’s entreaties, particularly after the message which he 238had just delivered to me from the Emperor. Besides, he was aware that, in addition to the numerous powerful motives which urged me to depart, Sir Hudson Lowe, as I believe I have already mentioned, offered not the least concession on his part. He insisted on retaining my papers, and required my implicit submission. By this means, I should, as it were, have legalized all his measures. By the precedent thus granted I should have authorized him to seize and imprison any one of us, whenever he might take a fancy to do so. I could not, without the Emperor’s express command, submit to such outrages; and, therefore, I firmly resisted them.


30th.—I received an early visit from Admiral Malcolm. He came to introduce me to Capt. Wright, who was to convey me to the Cape, on board the Griffin brig. The Admiral recommended me to Capt. Wright as his friend, and, in a very pleasing manner, assured me that I should have every reason to be satisfied with the endeavours that would be made to render things agreeable to me.

I looked forward to the decisive moment with my usual anxiety; for the Governor betrayed so much eagerness to induce me to remain, that I was fearful he would finally start some unforeseen obstacle to my departure.

About eleven o’clock, the Grand Marshal arrived, accompanied by the Governor and some officers. He renewed his endeavours to prevail on me to return to Longwood; but without ever expressing the positive desire of the Emperor. Knowing my sentiments so well as he did, he must have been aware that a word would have decided me. But this word he did not pronounce, and he even avoided doing so when I pressed him to it, always referring to the Emperor’s message, which he had delivered to me on the preceding day. Thus I had to defend myself against him, from whom I should have wished to receive support. His expressions of regard increased my distress, and I was perplexed between the wish of remaining and the determination of departing. 239If my heart dictated the one course, courage demanded the other; and I continued inflexible.

I must not forget to mention that the Grand Marshal, in the course of conversation, informed me that the Emperor had wished to see me before my departure. The Governor, however, required that an English officer should be present during our interview; and the Emperor renounced his intention, observing that I well knew he would deny himself the happiness of seeing his own wife and son on such conditions. How was I gratified by these words!...

I delivered to the Grand Marshal thirteen bills of exchange, on my banker in London, for the 4000 louis, which I had so frequently offered to the Emperor, and which the Grand Marshal now informed me he had consented to accept. This was a real consolation to me.

This business being settled, General Gourgaud, who had accompanied the Grand Marshal, was also permitted to enter and take leave of me. This new mark of interest, joined to many others which the General had shewn me during my imprisonment, failed not to produce an impression on my heart.

The Grand Marshal and the General remained with me for a considerable time, and Sir Hudson Lowe had the politeness to say that they might, if they pleased, stay and breakfast with me. He retired, taking with him all his people, with the exception of the officer on duty at Longwood, who had escorted the gentlemen to the castle. This officer was Captain Poppleton, with whose conduct we had always found reason to be perfectly satisfied. During our breakfast, over which we sat for a very long time, we certainly might, in spite of the presence of Captain Poppleton, have found means to make secret communications with each other; but we had none to make, and not a syllable of a private nature passed between us. Had I foreseen this unexpected circumstance, I might have put into my son’s hands the whole of my correspondence with Sir Hudson Lowe, and it might, by this means, have been easily transmitted to Longwood. However, on reflection, I congratulated 240myself on not having made any such attempt. I still distrusted Sir Hudson Lowe, and, from the endeavours he made to prevail on me to remain, he would certainly have availed himself of such a discovery as an excuse for changing all the arrangements that had been made, and issuing fresh orders.

Breakfast being ended, I was the first who had courage to rise and take farewell. I sent to request that the Governor would come and execute the final measures. I embraced my friends, and they left me. General Gourgaud, at parting, several times feelingly alluded to the little vexations which had occasionally arisen between us. I felt happy in expressing my conviction that they had been wholly occasioned by the painful circumstances in which we were placed, and that our hearts had no share in them. I cherish, with sincere gratitude, the remembrance of the kind attentions which I received from General Gourgaud, during the latter period of my residence at St. Helena.[28]

Sir Hudson Lowe, on his return, seeing the Grand Marshal and General Gourgaud going out, said to me significantly, and with an appearance of embarrassment and vexation, “So you do not intend to return to Longwood? It may be presumed you have good reasons for refusing to do so.” A bow was my only reply; and I begged that the Governor would immediately proceed to seal up the papers, the only thing that now remained to be done. Some days previously, I had demanded that an authentic inventory of my papers should be made out: this was done; and I obtained a copy of it, signed by Sir Hudson Lowe. All that was now to be done was to affix the seals. The Governor delayed this formality until the last moment, and he concluded it in a way perfectly characteristic of his disposition. He told me, in very fair words, but with an appearance of constraint, 241that, out of respect for the Emperor, as well as from personal consideration for me, he would willingly permit me to affix my seal to the papers, provided I would consent that he should break it, during my absence, if he thought necessary. I smiled at this proposal, and declined it; upon which he walked with hasty strides up and down the room for some time, and then, as if coming to a sudden determination, he exclaimed, “I will take the whole upon myself; I will dispense with your seal.” He called in the Government Secretary, and the seals of the island were affixed to the papers in my presence. I requested that he would furnish me with a declaration of his refusal to permit me toto seal them with my arms, or the singular condition he had attached to my doing so. This was a new subject of hesitation; but the point was at length settled, by the Governor furnishing me with a declaration, in the following terms:—


“In consequence of what was stated in the Governor’s decision relative to the affair of Count de Las Cases, a great number of the Count’s papers are now, at the moment of his departure from the island, detained.

“The Governor, whose special duty it is to suffer no papers whatever coming from Longwood to leave the island, without being previously examined, has, however, for private reasons, hitherto abstained from noticing all that were sent by Count Las Cases. The Governor has determined that the papers belonging to the Count, which have been detained (and of which Sir Hudson Lowe knows only the general tenour), shall be put into two separate packets, and deposited in the treasury of the island, until orders be received from Government respecting them.

“Count de Las Cases may affix his seal to each of these packets, with the understanding that the seal may be broken, either in case it should be necessary to convey the packets from the island, in conformity with orders from Government; or in case the interest of the service should require the packets to be opened.

242“Thus, the affixing of this seal is merely a moral guarantee, which the Governor offers to Count Las Cases for his own satisfaction, to afford him the assurance of the packets not being opened, except for one of the urgent reasons above specified.

“If, under these circumstances, Count Las Cases should decline affixing his seals to the packets, or refuse to accede to the condition on which the affixing of his seal is permitted, the Governor, who cannot permit any sealed packet, or any papers whatever, coming from Longwood, to pass from his hands, without examination, considers as necessary every precaution calculated to assure his Government that he has adopted proper measures for the security of the papers that are detained, until he shall receive orders respecting them.

“Count Las Cases having refused to affix his seal on the conditions above mentioned, the papers, divided into two distinct packets, have been deposited in two boxes, sealed with the seals of the Government and the Island.

(Signed)        “H. LOWE.”

Dec. 31, 1816.”Dec. 31, 1816.”

All business being now settled between us, Sir Hudson Lowe, by a characteristic turn of behaviour, which he had oftener than once exhibited since I had been his prisoner, either from motives of civility or calculation, immediately wrote for me several letters of introduction to his private friends at the Cape, who, he assured me, would prove very agreeable to me. I had not the courage to refuse these letters, such was the sincerity with which they appeared to be offered. At length, the long looked-for moment of departure arrived. The Governor accompanied me to the gate of the castle, and ordered all his officers to attend me to the place of embarkation; this, he said, was intended as a mark of respect. I eagerly jumped into the boat which was in readiness to receive me. I crossed the port, and passed near a vessel which had just arrived from the Cape, on board of which, to my surprise, I observed the Pole and the three servants, who had been sent away from us, several months before, and who were now on their way to Europe. They 243saluted me by gestures as I passed, and I need not say how much I was astonished to see them. One of these individuals was the bearer of the only document which escaped from the island, namely, the letter on the subject of the allied Commissioners. I doubted not but the discovery that had been made with respect to my servant would furnish the Governor with an excuse for searching those persons, who were far from suspecting such a thing. Fortunately, however, no search took place, and the faithful Santini had the merit of being the first to convey to Europe any authentic account of Longwood.

At length I got fairly on board the brig; she weighed anchor; and I thought my last wishes accomplished. But these vain illusions were destined to be cruelly destroyed; and my ultimate experience of the hearts of certain men proved that all the hopes I had formed were but vain chimeras.... How could I so far deceive myself as to rely on the sensibility of those very men, who, in defiance of all law, had pronounced the sentence and ordered the execution?—Why did I not stay to administer domestic consolation, rather than dream of rendering remote services? I might have continued my daily attentions for some time longer, and have obtained some additional marks of interest: and when the fatal moment arrived, I should have had my share in the general grief. I might have contributed to assuage the anguish of Napoleon’s last moments; and have helped to close his eyes!... But no!... Perhaps the effect of the climate operating on my feeble state of health, would soon have hurried me from this world. I should, probably, not have lived to witness the sad event.... I should have been spared the grief that now presses upon my heart.... I should not have had to struggle with the cruel infirmities brought from my place of exile. My ashes would there have reposed in peace; and thus to have closed my life might have been looked upon as an additional favour of my happy star, or the last blessing of Heaven!

This perhaps ought to be the conclusion of my Journal since I am now removed from St. Helena, and can no longer record the words of the Emperor. However, the 244following pages are so intimately connected with what concerns Napoleon that I am convinced I need offer no apology for continuing.


From Tuesday, Dec. 31st, 1816, to Friday, Jan. 17th, 1817.—When daylight appeared, St. Helena no longer existed for us, except in our hearts.—We were rapidly sailing away from that dear and accursed spot, in the midst of the ocean, and at an immense distance from both the old and the new world. The officers and the crew treated us with the most marked kindness; their care, their attention, their deference, the sympathy they expressed were such that, but for the language which I heard spoken, I might have fancied myself on board a French vessel. To the shyness and circumspection of St. Helena had succeeded a complete freedom from restraint. I then learnt how much I was indebted to Admiral Malcolm. It was he who had obtained for me the favour of a brig of war, instead of the wretched transport with which I had been threatened. As soon as he was apprized of Sir Hudson Lowe’s determination, he hastened to offer him one of his ships, assuring him that he could spare one, to save me from the inconveniences and the privations to which I should otherwise be exposed; and, making a signal, he ordered into the harbour the Griffin, the commander of which was one of the officers whom he most liked. It has already been seen that the Admiral brought him with him to see me.

My son devoted part of our passage to copying some papers which we had purposely torn, and the fragments of which we had distributed in various places amongst our baggage, or about our persons. Sir Hudson Lowe had rendered the precaution necessary, by informing me a short time before that he should again search my papers before my departure, in order to see what I might have written during my captivity.

The most important of these papers, the document I valued most, was what I have called a statement of our grievances at Longwood.

245Whilst I was in Sir Hudson Lowe’s power, our conversations led me, at his own request, to make out a hasty statement enumerating our grievances. My son’s ill health, and the state of my eyes, prevented us from taking a fair copy of that statement for ourselves. I had asked the Governor to let me have some person to copy for me, which request he did not comply with, and I did not think it delicate to insist; since it was to lay before him a statement, which must be very unpleasant to him. On the other hand, as I was speaking without the knowledge of my companions, and yet frequently in their names, it was of great importance to me that they should be acquainted with what I said, in order to set me right if I had made any errors.

At the moment of my departure, I told Sir Hudson Lowe that I had completed the statement, and shewed him the parcel sealed, the contents of which, I said, I proposed to have copied at the Cape, or even on board the brig, and to send him two copies, one for himself and one for Longwood. Sir Hudson appeared to value the offer very much, but preferring, however, another arrangement, it was agreed that I should immediately deposit my manuscript in the hands of a third person, in order that each party might take a copy of it, and that the original should afterwards be returned to me. I therefore sought some person whose honourable disposition inspired me with confidence: General Bingham, the second in command in the Island, was the first person I thought of. To him I therefore addressed my manuscript, with the Governor’s consent, and under the express condition that it should be shewn at the same time to Sir Hudson Lowe and to Count Bertrand, who was aware of the arrangement.

I heard no more of this statement until six years afterwards, and then only through the medium of Dr. O’Meara’s work. The gentlemen of the Emperor’s suite, on their return from St. Helena, informed me that it had never been communicated to them, and that the Emperor was wholly ignorant of its contents. It appears that, after my departure, Sir Hudson Lowe, by the influence of his authority, and contrary to our express 246conditions, had taken the manuscript exclusively into his own possession, and had made it the subject of false interpretations or wicked inventions.

Mr. O’Meara, in his account of the occurrences at St. Helena, observes that Sir H. Lowe, availing himself of the information acquired by the perusal of the manuscript (the grievances), had recourse to an artifice well worthy of the system which he set on foot. He directed Mr. O’Meara to inform Napoleon that, during my confinement, I had confessed that the restrictions imposed on the French at Longwood were merely matters of form; and that I, as well as the rest of the French, had endeavoured to poison the mind of our Master, by means of calumny and falsehood; adding that this fact was unquestionable, since he had it stated in my own hand-writing. He even pretended to quote a sentence of this manuscript, which he requested Mr. O’Meara to repeat to the Emperor, and by which he wished to make it appear that I had confessed that the French about the person of the Emperor had made him view every thing through a blood-stained veil. On hearing this, the Emperor observed: Certainly, wherever one sees an executioner, one sees blood. And he added that he was convinced this was an invention of Sir Hudson Lowe’s, or a misrepresentation of some passage in my statement. On this occasion, Mr. O’Meara describes the Emperor to have said,said, “Las Cases certainly was greatly irritated against him (Sir H. Lowe), and contributed materially towards forming the impression existing upon my mind, because Las Cases is a man of feeling, and extremely sensible to the ill treatment practised towards me and himself. But I had no occasion for the assistance of Las Cases towards giving me that opinion, as the treatment I experienced was fully sufficient in itself to create it.”

He observed that I had constantly spoken to him of the English nation in terms of enthusiasm and admiration; though I certainly had expressed myself candidly and energetically respecting the treatment which the French had experienced at St. Helena, which I considered 247to be entirely contrary to the generosity and liberal sentiments of the English people.

In Mr. O’Meara’s work, entitled Napoleon in Exile, I find it mentioned, under date of Dec. 4, 1816, that Sir Hudson Lowe said,said, “I had much altered my opinion concerning him since the intercourse we had had together;” and he added that the French who were with General Bonaparte “only“only wanted to make an instrument of him, to aggrandize themselves, without caring by what means they effected it,” &c. Sir H. Lowe wished that Mr. O’Meara should signify this to the Emperor.

Under date of the 12th of Dec., Sir Hudson Lowe is described as having said that “Count Las Cases had not followed General Bonaparte out of affection;” and that “General Bonaparte did not know what Las Cases had written, or the expressions which had dropped from him.”

Again, under date of Jan. 14, 1817, Mr. O’Meara says: “His Excellency began to inveigh against Count Las Cases, whom he accused of having been the cause of much mischief between Bonaparte and himself. He said the Count had asserted in his Journal that Bonaparte had declared he abhorred the sight of the British uniform, or of a British officer; that he held both in abomination, and that I had better take an opportunity to tell him this, and add that I had heard him (the Governor) say that he did not believe he had ever said so.”

Finally, on another occasion, the Governor charged Mr. O’Meara to repeat, at Longwood that he had written to the English Ministers respecting me in such a way as would for ever prevent my return to France. What he could have written, Heaven knows! However, the result proved that either the English Ministers were not much influenced by his benevolent intentions, or that the French Ministers paid little regard to the representations that were made to them. It will hereafter be seen that, on my return to Europe, when I was prevented from residing in England, and it was left at my own option to proceed either to Calais or Ostend, I made choice of the latter place, for reasons totally 248foreign from the alarm which Sir Hudson Lowe pretended he had created. But, it would appear that he himself doubted the efficacy of his denunciation, or he had recourse to two-fold precautions, for he employed all his art and address to procure my detention as a prisoner at the Cape of Good Hope. I have been informed that, when speaking to his man of all-work respecting me, he said—“As for him, he will trouble us no more. We have given him good recommendations to the Cape: he will rot in a dungeon there.” This same man, with the gentle smile and honeyed voice which rarely forsook him, wished, as Mr. O’Meara declares, that Napoleon should be put in irons if he proved troublesome: and, on another occasion, he is stated to have said, “That the Allies lost sight of a grand object in not strangling young Napoleon!”

But to return to my former subject. How was I to reconcile the Governor’s politeness, his protestations of kindness and good intention when he was near me, with his false reports, the invented language which he attributed to me, and the wicked suggestions which he transmitted to Longwood, when I was no longer there? Let candid and honest hearts decide this.

The Cape of Good Hope is five hundred leagues from St. Helena; but, even with the most favourable winds, the passage must be lengthened to at least seven hundred, by the circuitous course which it is necessary to take on account of the trade-winds. A vessel, on leaving St. Helena, first stands well out to the south-west, in order to get as speedily as possible out of the Zone of the trade winds. As soon as the variable winds are attained, the ship steers towards the east, but descending considerably to the south, several degrees of latitude below the Cape, in order to guard against the south-easterly winds, which blow with great violence at this season of the year.

We had a very good voyage, and fell in with the winds just as we wished. Our passage was short and pleasant, though my son and I occasionally suffered severely from sea-sickness. On the 6th or 7th we got out of the 249trade winds, and fell in with the west wind, which brought us to our place of destination in nine or ten days. It was not until we were approaching the famous Cape of Storms that we encountered a violent adverse wind, blowing from the south-east, accompanied by a very rough sea. But this circumstance was adverse only with respect to the instructions of our Captain; to me, personally, it was extremely fortunate. Sir Hudson Lowe had directed the Captain to land me beyond the Cape, at Simon’s Bay, which is situated behind it. Probably he supposed that, by not entering the town, I should attract the less attention, and that the injustice of my captivity would be the less flagrant. Be this as it may, we were threatened with a storm, and the Captain took upon himself the responsibility of sailing for Cape Town, which was nearer at hand. We arrived off the coast at two in the morning, precisely at the hour which the Captain had foretold, without sounding or any other preliminary measure. Captain Wright is an excellent seaman; he possesses activity, zeal, regularity, and decision; and will, I doubt not, one day rise to eminence. I have observed that this nautical precision is now nearly general among the English. I know not what has been done in our navy, which was so long celebrated for scientific superiority; but I can affirm, from experience, that the English have attained great perfection. Their calculations are so correct, and their nautical instruments so perfect, that it is difficult to conceive that science is susceptible of further improvement.

We cast anchor at two o’clock in the afternoon on the 17th, after a passage of eighteen days. The Captain politely apologized for the necessity of detaining me on board, until he should go and receive the Governor’s orders: such were his instructions. He returned, informing me that I could not land until the 19th, as the residence which was intended for me could not be prepared before that time. This was rather a disappointment to me; for, after a sea voyage, one is naturally eager to set foot on land.

Thus I had to remain two days in the harbour of the Cape, which is extremely beautiful. The weather was 250delightful; excessively hot, it is true, but the air was at the same time pure and refreshing.

In my youth, when I first entered the navy, I had frequently heard officers who had served in India describe all the different points which were at this moment before my eyes. I felt a pleasure in reviving these old recollections; and all the places I mentioned were immediately pointed out to me by the persons on board the ship.

Cape Town is a tolerably extensive place, and is built in a style of beauty and regularity. It is situated on flat ground, very little above the level of the sea, and is almost closely surrounded by huge precipitous mountains. On my left was the Devil’s Mountain; before me rose the Table Mountain; and on my right were the Sugarloaf, and the Lion’s Rump, so called from their exact resemblance to the objects after which they are named. The fortifications in front and on each side of the town appeared to me to be in a very bad state, and particularly ill situated, being commanded by several points, and especially by the Lion’s Rump, which is itself easily accessible. I was not at all surprised that the garrison should have yielded to every attack of forces so little superior to its own. The most effectual plan until this defect be remedied, would be to land at a distance from the garrison, to the north, on an open part of the beach, entirely defenceless, and thence to march and attack the town by land. I recollected having heard it said that the clouds sometimes suddenly cover the Table and Devil’s Mountain, even when the rest of the sky appears perfectly serene. I had myself an opportunity of observing this curious phenomenon, during the short time I remained in the harbour. On these occasions, the mountains appear to be covered with snow, of the most dazzling whiteness, and this is vulgarly called spreading the table-cloth, which expression certainly conveys a very accurate idea of the spectacle presented. In winter, this peculiar appearance of the clouds is almost always the precursor of a storm. The harbour is entirely exposed to the north-west winds, which are frequent and violent in the bad season of the 251year. The shipping is then liable to great danger; the only shelter is under Robbin Island, at some distance from the entrance of the bay.

I mentioned to the persons on board an anecdote which I had often heard our naval officers relate. Suffren, on returning from the campaign of India, at the time of the peace, cast anchor at the Cape, some days before the English squadron, by which he was closely followed. The latter, on entering the harbour, had to tack, in order to gain the anchorage. On observing one of the ships as she entered, the French Admiral, at the very first glance, foretold that she would infallibly be lost, and he immediately ordered a signal to be given for all the boats belonging to his squadron to be in readiness to render assistance. In a few moments, the English ship ran aground; boats were sent off from all points: but the French had the glory of being the first to arrive. It was described as being a singular and affecting spectacle to see the two squadrons, which had lately been so desperately intent on mutual destruction, now vieingvieing with each other in the benevolent task of succouring the distressed. The young English officers, to whom I related this circumstance, informed me that they had never before heard of it; so true it is that facts, which powerfully occupy the attention of contemporaries, are lost to the succeeding generation, when they are not of a nature to acquire historical importance.


An interval of upwards of Seven Months.


From the 19th to the 28th of January.—When the Captain returned from his visit to the Governor, Lord Charles Somerset, his countenance sufficiently informed me that he had nothing agreeable to communicate. He was no longer the same man; his behaviour was cold 252and embarrassed, and his reserve was soon imitated by all the other persons on board. Several naval officers belonging to different ships in the harbour came to visit their friends on board the Griffin. I could easily perceive that they felt a certain degree of curiosity to see me, though they avoided as much as possible entering into conversation with me. They spoke to each other aside; and, by their looks, seemed to consider me as an outlaw. From these circumstances, and certain expressions dropped by the persons about me, I could perceive that, in spite of the distance, the security of the great captive was the subject of as much alarm and distrust here as at St. Helena; and I had every reason to expect that the dark cloud which enveloped Longwood would be extended over me at the Cape. Accordingly, as soon as I was put on shore at noon, I was met by the officer appointed to guard me. Captain Wright, who took me ashore in his boat, for the sake of old acquaintance, and I hope also from sincere sympathy, declined leaving me until I should be safely lodged in the abode that was destined for me. We therefore walked together to what is called the Old Castle or Fort. After crossing several drawbridges, and passing many sentinels, we arrived in the inner courtyard or parade, and thence proceeded by various stair-cases and galleries to the lodging assigned to us. The doors were locked. It was necessary to search for the keys; and, meanwhile, we were requested to wait in a room which was occupied by several officers of the garrison. By chance, an officer of the staff entered. He seemed to be greatly surprised to find that we were thus left in free communication with the persons about us; and, assuming a polite pretence, he conducted us to his own apartment to partake of some refreshment. After a few hours had elapsed, a messenger was sent to inform us that our apartments were ready. They consisted of three rooms, which we were enabled to discover in proportion as the cloud of dust with which they were filled gradually dispersed; for they had but that moment been swept. The first room was entirely empty; the middle one contained a large table, an arm-chair, with broken legs, and four other wretched chairs; the third contained 253two bedsteads, two bolsters, one mattress and three blankets: this was the whole of the valuable furniture. It was well that we had taken the precaution of bringing our beds with us from St. Helena. I was at a loss to comprehend how two days could have been occupied in such preparations. This circumstance did not afford me a very high notion of the regularity, precision, or promptitude of the new authority under which I was now placed.

The officer who had charge of us installed himself in the first room. A sentinel was immediately stationed on the outside, and I was informed that I must not communicate with any one. I now found myself literally a prisoner. I had complained of Balcombe’s Cottage; but here I was infinitely worse off. This, thought I, is the first effect of Sir Hudson Lowe’s kind recommendations.

Dinner was served. It was ordered by our officer, and was abundant. The staff-officer, who had used the precautionary politeness of conducting us to his apartment in the morning, thinking himself already on a footing of intimacy, or perhaps, being specially charged to watch over us, came familiarly to invite me to dinner. He and his comrade appeared to exert themselves to do the honours of the table in the most agreeable way. They seemed anxious to shew me every attention; but I did not feel myself at ease, and, alleging as an excuse the fatigue I had encountered during the day, I withdrew, leaving them tête à tête over the bottle; and they sat until late at night, according to established custom.

On the following day, I received a visit from one of the captains of our station at St. Helena. Knowing the state of my son’s health, he brought a medical gentleman along with him. This was a mark of attention on his part, but the introduction occasioned, for some moments, a curious misunderstanding. I mistook the Captain’s medical friend for his son or nephew. The grave Doctor, who was presented to me, was a boy of eighteen, with the form, the manners, and the voice of a woman. But Mr. Barry (such was his name) was described to be an absolute phenomenon. I was informed that he had 254obtained his diploma at the age of thirteen, after the most rigid examination; that he had performed extraordinary cures at the Cape, and had saved the life of one of the Governor’s daughters, after she had been given up, which rendered him a sort of favourite in the family. I profited by this latter circumstance to obtain some information which might serve as a guide for my conduct with respect to the new Governor, to whom I that day addressed a letter, explaining my situation, and formally requesting to be sent to England, and restored to full and complete liberty. My letter was as follows:—-

My Lord,—Having been for several days under your authority, I take the liberty of addressing myself to your Excellency, in order to ascertain what are your intentions respecting me. Owing to a circumstance, of a nature wholly personal to myself, I was removed from Longwood, at St. Helena, on the 25th of November last, by Sir Hudson Lowe, the Governor of that island.

“A few days afterwards, in consequence of several conversations with the Governor, though without his coming to any decision on my case, I wrote to inform him that, from that moment I should withdraw from my voluntary subjection to him, and place myself entirely under the jurisdiction of the laws. I demanded that he would enforce the laws with respect to me; observing that, if guilty, I ought to be tried, and if not guilty, I ought to be restored to freedom. I added that the critical state of my son’s health, and also my own, imperatively demanded medical remedies of every kind, and I entreated that he would send us to England. Sir Hudson Lowe then seemed to hesitate. I have reason to believe that, at first, he entertained some idea of sending me to Europe. But he next determined to detain me at St. Helena, separated from Longwood, until the return of answers from England. He then several times offered to allow me to return to Longwood; and finally, he sent me to the Cape, under your Excellency’s orders, for the purpose, as it appears to me, by the literal interpretation of his instructions, of putting an end to his embarrassments, and perhaps expecting from another the same results respecting me; but without himself risking 255any personal responsibility. Such, my Lord, is the brief statement of facts which I conceive it necessary to submit to you, in order that you may form a correct idea of my real situation. I hope you will consider as perfectly natural, inoffensive and regular, the request which I have now the honour to address to you, and which is, that I may be sent to England as speedily as possible, and be restored to full and complete liberty, as far as my natural rights may consist with your political duties.

“I have the honour,” &c.

“P. S.—I beg that your Excellency will be pleased to inform me whether I may be allowed to write to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent and his Ministers. If that permission be granted, I shall do myself the honour of addressing to your Excellency two letters, with the request that you will forward them to England without delay. I shall also be obliged if you will let me know when there is an opportunity of communicating with St. Helena, as I have to address some papers to Sir Hudson Lowe.”

Two days afterwards, I received the Governor’s answer. It was very brief. Without entering into any particulars, he merely declared that he considered me as a prisoner on the report of Sir Hudson Lowe, and condemned me to remain at the Cape, until instructions arrived from England. I could make no resistance; I was compelled to submit. This I intimated to Lord Charles Somerset, in a second letter, in which I enclosed two others; the first addressed to Lord Castlereagh, requesting his Lordship to lay the second before the Prince Regent. My letter to Lord Charles Somerset was as follows:—

My Lord,—I have received the answer which your Excellency addressed to me, and from which I learn that I am to be detained a prisoner here until Sir Hudson Lowe shall receive answers from England respecting me. Doubtless your Excellency has, in your wisdom, accurately weighed the force of the reasons which induce you to adopt a measure of so serious a nature, as that of depriving me of my liberty, without any previous judicial forms, and even without my being made acquainted with 256the cause of my detention. All I can do is to submit to authority, and to rely on those laws which will protect me if I be entitled to protection.

“I shall not undertake any ulterior argument for my defence, being persuaded that you, my Lord, in the justice of your heart, when you determined on adopting so delicate a course, must have attentively considered the whole of my case. However, I perceive from your answer, that your decision rests on circumstances stated respecting me by Sir Hudson Lowe. But have these circumstances been satisfactorily proved in your Excellency’s eyes? Have you heard both sides of the question; or do you think yourself screened from all personal responsibility, by acting on the authority of Sir Hudson Lowe’s instructions, and without any regard to my remonstrances? How happens it that Sir Hudson Lowe could not venture, without risk, to detain me at St. Helena, while he finds it more easy and less inconvenient to do so at the Cape?

“If your Excellency should wish to render yourself acquainted with my affair, and to ascertain my sentiments, I am ready to submit to your perusal all my correspondence with the Governor of St. Helena, and to lay before you my letters to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent and his Ministers. I make this offer with the wish that it may be accepted. If to subject myself voluntarily, on my arrival in England, to any measures, however arbitrary, which might be deemed equivalent to my political quarantine here, would induce you to alter your determination, I am ready to accede willingly to that condition: such is my ardent desire to return to Europe, owing to the state of my son’s health and my own; and also on account of the melancholy solitude in which I find myself placed, separated as I am from my family, which is most dear to me, and from the revered object for whose sake I made the sad sacrifice of leaving my country.

“Finally, my Lord, if there remain no chance of my liberation, at least permit my son to depart. Let him not fall a victim to circumstances to which his age must render him wholly a stranger. I willingly consent to 257see him separated from me, in the hope of securing to him a happier lot than that which seems to be reserved for me. I will remain here alone, to struggle with my infirmities and sorrows, to which I shall resign myself with the greater indifference, when I reflect that my child is released from the sentence of lingering death which is executing on me, though I have been tried by no tribunal, and condemned by no judge.

“I have the honour to address to your Excellency a letter to Lord Castlereagh, enclosing one for his Royal Highness the Prince Regent. These letters were written before I received the information which you had the goodness to communicate to me on this subject. I know not to which of the Ministers I ought to have addressed myself; but I consider it unnecessary to write the letter over again, as the state of my eyes renders writing a very painful task, and I find that I have observed the necessary forms.”


My Lord,—As I know not to which of your colleagues I ought to appeal, I address myself to you, as the person of whom I have acquired the greatest knowledge through public events. If the details relating to St. Helena have been communicated to your Lordship, they must, doubtless, have inspired you with great prejudice against me; and yet, had they been properly explained, my conduct must have appeared to you worthy of esteem, and, perhaps, even have excited your interest.

“At Longwood I considered myself within a sacred boundary, of which it was my duty to defend the approaches. I would willingly have died on the breach: I resisted. But now, when I find myself removed from the revered circle, and again mingling with the common mass, I assume another attitude: I implore.

“I therefore beg and entreat, my Lord, and I speak in the supposition that I am addressing the Minister to whom this appeal ought to be directed, I entreat that you will allow me to proceed to England, since the 258alarming state of my son’s health and my own renders skilful and prompt medical treatment necessary.

“What reason can there be for refusing my request? It cannot be personal hatred! I am too obscure to attain such an honour. It cannot be the vague dislike arising from difference of opinion! You are so much accustomed to difference of this kind in England, and it is cherished with so little rancour, that it would be ridiculous to suppose such a circumstance could operate to my prejudice. Can it be the fear that I should write or speak of the affairs of St. Helena? But would not your refusal to grant my request, in some measure, authorize the bitterness which it will be so easy to vent elsewhere? Besides, if your object were to restrain me from publishing, my residence in England would surely render this object the more secure and easy; for there you have not only general laws, but also particular laws, against such offences. When the individual is near you, you have, as positive guarantees, his prudence, his judgment, and, above all, his wish of remaining in the country.

“Thus, my Lord, I see no motive for refusing my request; but I see many reasons for granting it. You would, by this means, have the fairest opportunity of arriving at the truth, by procuring contradictory and opposite statements. In discharging the noble functions of a juror, can you satisfy your conscience by viewing only one side of the question? I can shew you the other; and I will do so, without prejudice or passion. You will find that I am inspired only by sentiment.

“I must now call your Lordship’s attention to my papers which are detained at St. Helena. I have several times explained their nature; but I will once more describe them. They are a collection of manuscripts, in the form of a Journal, in which, for the space of eighteen months, I inscribed all that I learned, saw, or heard respecting him who, in my eyes is, and will ever continue to be, the greatest of men. This Journal, which was incomplete, incorrect, unarranged and, from its nature, requiring continual correction, was a secret, which was revealed only by the circumstances that took place previously to my departure from St. Helena. Its existence 259known to none, except perhaps the august individual who was the object of it; and even he is, at this moment, ignorant of its contents. It was not destined to be published during my life; and I took pleasure in endeavouring to render it a complete and valuable historical monument. My Lord, I beg that you will order the whole of those papers to be forwarded to you. This you may do without inconvenience. I solemnly protest that they contain nothing that can, either directly or indirectly, be necessary or useful to the local authority of St. Helena, in furtherance of the great object with which that authority is intrusted. The inspection of my papers at St. Helena can be productive of no advantage; but, on the contrary, may occasion serious inconvenience by aggravating, through the personal allusions contained in them, the ill-humour and irritation that already prevail in too great a degree.

“If, on my arrival in England, your Lordship, from your political situation, should think proper to order the examination of these papers, which are of so sacred and private a nature, I shall cheerfully submit to your judgment, because the examination will take place under my own cognizance, and I shall have the security of those inviolable and sacred forms, which I am sure your Lordship will direct to be observed. I trust you will not refuse this second favour, which I urgently solicit.

“My Lord, I have the honour to forward to you a letter for the Prince Regent, which I beg you will do me the favour to lay before His Royal Highness. My profound respect for his august person alone prevents me from sending it unsealed; and I authorize your Lordship to open it, if custom admits of your doing so,—I have the honour,” &c.


Royal Highness,—The sport of the political tempest, wandering without a home, an unfortunate foreigner presumes confidently to appeal to your royal heart.

“Twice in the course of my life, I have had the misfortune to leave my country; on both occasions contrary to my interests, and with the intention of fulfilling great 260and noble duties. During my first exile, my abode in England assuaged the sorrows of my youth, and I trusted that England would again afford me an asylum in which I might enjoy a little tranquillity in my old age. However I have reason to apprehend that I shall be driven thence. Why should I be visited with this severity? Can it be on account of the place whence I came, the attentions which I took pleasure in administering there, and the tender sentiments which I shall ever entertain towards the individual from whom I am now separated? But, Prince, at Longwood I was practising a great and singular virtue; I was supporting, with my worthy companions, the honour of those who surround the thrones of monarchs. After the example we have presented, it cannot henceforth be said that love and fidelity are never shewn to unfortunate sovereigns.

“Should such conduct occasion me to be persecuted and banished from the asylum I seek? Surely he, who was always great, when he wrote for me on the rock of adversity, these words so gratifying to my heart: Whether you return to France, or go elsewhere, always boast of the fidelity you have shewn to me:—surely he, I say, has given me a right and title to the regard of kings. Prince! I throw myself on your royal protection.

“During my daily intercourse and conversations with him who once ruled the world, and filled the universe with his name, I conceived and executed the intention of writing down daily all that I saw of him, and all that I heard him say.

“This Journal, which includes an interval of eighteen months, and which is unique in its kind, but as yet incomplete, incorrect, undetermined, and unknown to all, even to the august individual to whom it related,—has been taken from me, and detained at St. Helena. Prince, I also place it under your royal protection, and I venture to entreat that you will receive it into your care, for the sake of justice, truth and history.

“If your Royal Highness should in your goodness deign to afford me your august protection, I shall hasten 261to seek, in England, an asylum where I may tranquilly recollect and deplore.

“I am, with the most profound respect,

I received in answer, from Lord Charles Somerset, the permission I had solicited for my son to proceed to Europe by the first opportunity. I wished my son to avail himself of this permission. I urged and even commanded him to do so; but he positively refused. On this subject he wrote a letter to the Governor, which was so gratifying to my feelings, and reflected so much honour on his own heart, that I cannot forbear transcribing it. It was as follows:—

My Lord,—My father has just communicated to me the permission you grant me to return to Europe. He has entreated and commanded me to accept it.

“I cannot, my Lord, avail myself of your indulgence, and I presume to disobey my father. Bodily afflictions are nothing; the sufferings of the heart alone are hard to be endured. I have been deprived of my mother, and I every moment deplore my separation from her; yet I will never forsake my father in a foreign country, and in a situation so different from all that he has been accustomed to. My health is an object of no importance to me. I shall be happy if I can afford any consolation to my father, and alleviate, by sharing, the miseries which have long been accumulating upon him.

“I prefer dying by his side to living at a distance from him. I am too proud of his distinguished virtues, and too eager to imitate his example, to part from him for a moment. I am ready to die here, since it must be so: there will be two victims instead of one.

“I thank you, my Lord, with all my heart, for your kind intentions respecting me. How grateful should I have been, how should I have blessed you, had you extended them to my father!

“I have the honour to be,” &c.

This letter had, doubtless, been read by the family of Lord Charles Somerset, and produced those favourable sentiments which it was naturally calculated to inspire. 262On the following day, when the young Doctor called to see us, I wished to draw him aside for the purpose of requesting that he would exert his professional influence over my son to induce him to depart. But, instead of listening to me, he hastened to Emanuel’s chamber, and embracing him, expressed his approval of his conduct, observing that he should not have respected him had he acted otherwise. Conducting him to the window, he introduced him to two ladies, whom he had left in their carriage, and mutual salutation passed between them. These ladies were the two daughters of Lord Charles Somerset, who had this morning themselves brought the Doctor as far as the court yard fronting our prison, probably for the purpose of satisfying the interest and curiosity which my son’s letter had excited.

Our situation continued to be most deplorable. We were confined in a sort of dungeon: our windows without curtains, overlooked a court-yard covered with scorching sand. Though it was now the month of January, we experienced in this hemisphere the burning heat of summer. We were almost suffocated.

We were still subject to the same restrictions and the same vexations, and the same officers presided at breakfast and dinner. This last circumstance was a particular annoyance to me. I determined to avoid it, and I therefore kept my bed and had my meals brought to me there: being determined not to leave my chamber until I should be released from the torments that surrounded me. I was besides, very unwell from pains in my stomach; I was occasionally feverish, and in short, my health was totally deranged. The officer on duty informed me, it is true, that he had orders to conduct me into the town and even the environs, whenever I should express a wish to that effect. I thanked him, and though I could not myself profit by this favour, I accepted it for my son.

Meanwhile, nobody came near me. Whether it was that the officer, knowing me to be unwell, thought he was rendering me service, or whether he was acting inin in conformity with orders, I know not: but he repulsed all who attempted to approach me. This gave rise to a curious circumstance. Our chamber-door led into a 263corridor, along which we were permitted to walk: having one day proceeded to the end of it, I found, contrary to custom, a little door open, leading to a steep staircase. Curiosity induced me to ascend, and I found myself on the platform of the fort, whence I could command a view of Cape Town and the boundless ocean. Struck with the beauty of the spectacle, I became so wrapped in the meditations to which it gave rise, that two hours elapsed ere I thought of returning. By chance I had come out while my son was taking a walk with our officer. In the interim, the sentinel had been changed, and when I presented myself at the door leading to our apartments, the soldier placed his musket across it, and rudely refused to admit me. The more I insisted on being admitted, the more angrily he expressed his determination to exclude me. This appeared to me odd enough, but I thought it still more droll when I found it necessary to descend the staircase, pass through the court-yards to the outer guardhouse, and obtain entrance to my prison by main force. The officer on duty, alarmed at sight of me, ran furiously to the sentinel who was posted on the outside of our apartments, and a violent altercation ensued between them. The officer severely reprimanded the man, and threatened to have him punished. The soldier, with his eyes starting out of his head, declared that he had discharged his duty; and I, who remained a tranquil spectator, could not forbear smiling at this curious dispute, the cause of which no one could explain but myself. However, peace was soon established at the expense of the captive. I was again placed under confinement, and order was restored in the fort.

The only stranger I saw was Doctor Barry, who frequently visited me. I found his company very agreeable. He constantly recommended me to take care of my health. He said he could guess the seat of my disorder, and regretted that it was out of his power to prescribe any remedy for me. I assured him that the greatest favour he could confer on me would be to procure a person who could read to me and write from my dictation. This I had been vainly soliciting since my arrival, for the state 264of my eyes precluded all occupation, and my son was strictly enjoined to abstain from all sedentary employment. I therefore laboured under an intolerable depression of spirits, in being thus wholly abandoned to my melancholy thoughts.

The Doctor informed me that the Governor was about to depart, to make a tour over the colony, and that he would be absent about three months. This information precluded the hope of any change in my condition. I determined to make a last attempt, not that I counted on its success, but only because I wished to leave nothing untried; for the horrible and truly discourteous way in which I had been treated astonished me less than it was calculated to do. I was prepared for it. At St. Helena, we had been repeatedly informed that Lord Charles Somerset was our personal enemy, and, on my arrival at the Cape, when I made inquiries respecting his character and the sort of reception I was likely to experience, I was told that nothing but a dog or a horse could claim his attention. Subsequently, in the solitude of my prison, I often thought to myself that, being neither a dog nor a horse, I might despair of obtaining any notice from the Governor. I shall soon show how little Lord Charles Somerset deserved these reflections.

Profiting by a passage in his letter, in which he expressed a wish to render my stay at the Cape as agreeable as possible, I took the opportunity in my next letter candidly to communicate to him my thoughts respecting the treatment I experienced. My letter was as follows:—

My Lord,—I learn that your Excellency is on the eve of leaving Cape Town, and that you will be absent for a considerable time: this induces me, with extreme repugnance, to enter upon a disagreeable subject, and to call your Excellency’s attention to a few domestic details. I think it my duty to do this, for otherwise, should any public expression of dissatisfaction hereafter escape me, I might justly incur the reproach of having addressedaddressed no complaint to your Excellency.

“But before I enter on the subject, my Lord, that you may not regard as ridiculous the facts which I am 265about to state: and also to afford you a just idea of the circumstances in which I am placed, of which I think it very probable your Excellency is ignorant, permit me to observe, with all the embarrassment of one who is obliged to introduce himself, that there is no individual here with whom I may not, and ought not naturally and without reserve to place myself on a level in every respect whatever. Finally, I neither request, nor solicit any indulgence nor favour relative to my personal wants, wishing in this respect to depend entirely on my own resourcesresources.

“These two points being fixed and determined, I proceed to that passage in your letter in which you have the goodness to express your wish of rendering my stay here as agreeable as possible. On this subject, I must acquaint your Excellency that I am imprisoned in a kind of dungeon, in which it will be difficult for me much longer to support existence.

“My son and I, who are both unwell, are, in this extremely hot weather, lodged in a very small chamber, where we breathe unwholesome air, and have scarcely room to move, for our beds nearly fill it. The scorching rays of the sun, darting on a window without curtains, compel me to pass the day in bed. There is, it is true, another adjoining apartment of the same kind; but it is a dining room, where two of your officers do the honours of the table. If I occasionally enter this room, I count every moment I spend in it. There is a third room, which is occupied by the officer who is appointed as our guard, and through which I must pass, however unpleasant to me, on every indispensable occasion.

“Whatever may be the hardships and miseries of such a situation, I have been a sailor, I have been a soldier, and what is more, I am a man, and I can in silence endure this and even more. I speak here, only in answer to the obliging paragraph in your letter. There is no fire in our apartments; so that if we should require warm water, on account of my son’s health or any transient wants, we must either do without it, or have recourse to the charity of our neighbours. The Doctor has in vain prescribed the use of the bath for 266my son; no water can be obtained for this purpose. If I feel a wish to procure any little thing at my own expense, I am informed that your Excellency has ordered every thing to be provided for me; and thus, from motives of delicacy I repress my wish, and abstain from gratifying it.

“I spare your Excellency a multitude of details, which are equally beneath your notice and mine. When the hour of dinner arrives, two officers, who, I feel pleasure in acknowledging, treat me with great politeness and respect, preside at the table. But it is a singular fact, though a very certain one, that even their attentions add to my discomfort, by obliging me to endeavour to return them in a suitable way, though it would be far more natural and desirable for me to allow my thoughts to wander far from the spot in which I am now situated. Besides, our habits and manners are totally different. I find myself under the necessity of sitting for several hours at table, when I should not from choice sit for half an hour. All conversation must be disagreeable to me, unless it be on the subject which now wholly occupies my thoughts. Your Excellency has too much judgment not to perceive that the situation in which I am placed is an absolute torment to me. My melancholy is, doubtless, as irksome to my table companions as their gaiety is annoying to me. Perfect solitude is alone agreeable to me; and, therefore, I have completely withdrawn from the dinner-table, and I take my meals in bed.

“Where is the necessity for an officer being attached to my person? I presume to ask your Excellency this question, while at the same time I repeat, with pleasure, that I cannot sufficiently express my satisfaction with the one whom you have appointed to attend me. Is it for the purpose of watching me? Surely the sentinel posted at my door is sufficient for that purpose. Can it be intended as a mark of respect, for the sake of transmitting any wish that I may express? But I have no wish. Can it be to give the sanction of authority to any visits I may receive? I can receive none, except such as are permitted by authority. Is it for the purposes of 267accompanying me in my walks? I will never consent to stir a step, if I must be a trouble to an officer. I shall not therefore go abroad.

“Since, my Lord, you are determined that I shall remain your prisoner, what objection can you have to placing me in a house in the town, and permitting me to engage, at my own expense, any valet, cook, &c. that may suit me, with the precautions that you may think proper to adopt. When thus left to myself, your Excellency might provide as you pleased for my security. You would hear no more of me. If I felt a wish to go out in a carriage, or otherwise, I could write to the officer: I know his obliging disposition, and my wish would be granted. I have mentioned a house in the town, my Lord, because the state of my son’s health, which requires constant, and often sudden, medical attendance, renders a residence in the country objectionable.

“Such are the details to which I feel myself compelled to call your Excellency’s attention. I hope that they may be less disagreeable and painful to you than they are to me.

“I have the honour to be,” &c.

This letter was, from its nature, calculated to lead to a decisive result. I received an immediate answer. The Adjutant General came to inform me, in the name of the Governor—1st. That he had given orders that a separate chamber should be assigned to my son on the following day;—2d. That the officers should no longer take their meals with us;—3d. That a more convenient residence was preparing for us; and, finally, that if I had any other wish to express, endeavours would be made to comply with it.

Such was the effect of my letter. It was successful beyond my hopes, and I congratulated myself on having written it, because it afforded me the opportunity of discovering traits in the character of Lord Charles Somerset of which I had previously no idea. But this was not all.—Early on the following morning, the Governor’s first Aide-de-camp wrote to acquaint me that he had a communication to make to me on the part of his Excellency, 268and he wished me to appoint the hour at which it would be convenient for me to receive him. On the receipt of my answer he came, and informed me that the Governor had that morning left town, to make a tour of three months. His Excellency had expressed himself very sorry to learn that I had been so exceedinglyexceedingly unwell, and begged that I would do him the justice to believe that he was entirely ignorant of the fact. The Aide-de-camp was instructed to tell me that Lord Charles Somerset had nothing more at heart than to render my abode at the Cape as agreeable as it could be; and he offered me the use of his country residence, the servants, and every thing belonging to it. He begged that I would take possession of it, repeating that, if I had any other wish, I need only name it, and it would be complied with. I accepted, without hesitation, the offer of the change of residence, and the Aide-de-camp went to give the necessary orders for our immediate removal.

I now discovered how greatly the Governor’s character had been misrepresented to me. I found that Lord Charles Somerset possessed the grace and courtesy of manners requisite for his high rank. How much men differ from one another! At St. Helena, such a letter as I had written would probably have had the effect of doubly rivetting my chains; but here it procured for me the offer of a palace. The fact is in itself sufficient to characterize the two authorities with whom I have had to treat. Lord Charles Somerset was, indeed, far from meriting the reports I had heard respecting him. Almost every man has his detractors; and those who have high functions to discharge seldom escape the tongue of calumny. Lord Charles, as I had subsequently the opportunity of ascertaining, is a man distinguished for noble and generous feeling, moral principle, piety, and perfect benevolence. None of the vexations by which I had been so greatly harassed proceeded from him, but from subordinate agents, who executed orders and influenced decisions. For the persons in authority here, who were the slaves of vulgar national prejudice, hated us as Frenchmen, and esteemed themselves happy in subjecting 269us to all the severity which it was in their power to inflict.

If I had enjoyed the advantage of personal intercourse with the Governor, in which, I have reason to believe, there would have been no difficulty, I doubt not that, in pleading my cause with Lord Charles Somerset, I should have obtained all I demanded, because my demands were perfectly just; but my situation withheld me from seeking access to him, and it seemed to be the wish of those about him to prevent him from coming near me. He several times announced his intention of seeing me, it is true, but this intention was never fulfilled.


From Jan. 29th to April 5th.—Early this morning, precisely at the hour that had been appointed, the Governor’s Aide-de-camp drove up to the door of our prison in a carriage and four. We set out; and in less than three quarters of an hour we reached Newlands, the Governor’s country house, which might be accounted a pleasant residence even in Europe. I could easily perceive that several years had elapsed since the place had first received its name, for it was surrounded by lofty trees and thick groves: many of the fruit-trees were in full bearing.

One of the Governor’s Aides-de-camp placed us in possession, with all due form and with the most studied politeness. He conducted me over the grounds, and pointed out to me every thing worthy of notice, without mentioning a word about limits or restrictions. He took an opportunity of adroitly hinting to me that the soldiers whom I saw posted about were merely the Governor’s ordinary guards, and had received none but their usual orders. He added that I might consider myself at home, as every thing would be done under my own direction. He then took his leave.

When left to ourselves in this delightful place, we felt that we had been suddenly removed from a prison to a Paradise. The elegantly furnished apartments, the dovecots in the vicinity of the house, the birds of every 270kind that inhabited the grounds, the numerous flower-beds, groves, and delightful walks, and the silence and solitude that prevailed—all presented a somewhat magical effect, and reminded us of Zemire and Azor.

We had the use of the whole house, in which all the furniture remained just as it had been left by the Governor’s family; not an article having been removed. My son, on opening a colour-box, found an unfinished drawing, by one of the daughters of Lord Charles Somerset. It was a portrait of the revered object whose fate we deplore; for where is his image not to be found? Beside the drawing lay the copy from which it had been taken. It was a wretched sketch; a sort of caricature likeness of the Emperor, which had been made on board the Northumberland. This thing seemed to haunt us wherever we went, and we always destroyed it with the ardent zeal of missionaries breaking the images of false gods. In the impulse of the moment my son made his poetical debut, by writing the following lines beneath Miss Somerset’s unfinished drawing:—--

Sous vos doigts élégans tout devrait s’embellir;
C’est aux belles surtout à peindre le courage:
Du héros des héros, du Mars de l’avenir,
Comment avez-vous pu défigurer l’image?

I placed beside the drawing a small medal, which afforded a more faithful representation of Napoleon. We then shut up the box, pleased with our trick, and enjoying, in anticipation, Miss Somerset’s surprise when she should one day read, and we hoped without anger, the censure which we had presumed to pronounce upon her drawing.

The Governor had carried his attention so far as to send from town a person to act as Steward at Newlands, to receive from me daily orders for provisions; and I was given to understand that I might be supplied profusely with whatever I wished for. But I had adopted Spartan manners, and I desired to be supplied merely with necessaries. As to the steward, I changed his occupation, and made him my reader; in which capacity I found him a most valuable acquisition. By chance this person 271proved to be a relative of the only inhabitant of St. Helena with whom I had formed acquaintance. He was the nephew of the worthy Amphitryon, our good host of the Briars, for whom I entertain a sincere regard.

The Aide-de-camp visited us regularly, having received special instructions to see that we wanted for nothing. I begged that he would present my thanks and acknowledgments to Lord Charles Somerset, for the delicate way in which he sought to disguise our captivity. “But it was all one,” I informed him; “since, in spite of ourselves, we must deplore our absence from St. Helena and Europe.”

Our departure from prison and removal to Newlands produced quite a revolution in our condition. We received visits from many individuals, who expressed themselves anxious to see us. General Hall, who acted as the Governor’s deputy during his absence, came, accompanied by his wife, a lady of very pleasing person and manners, and who, moreover, spoke French exceedingly well. Her husband had been eleven years a prisoner in France. Mrs. Hall had proceeded thither to join him, in spite of the severe restrictions which then existed between the two countries; and, if I recollect rightly, she ventured across the Channel in an open boat. Both General and Mrs. Hall were intimate with many of my friends in Paris. General Hall, who is a frank and honourable man, observed that he should feel happy in repaying me, without regard to difference of opinion, for all the kind treatment he had generously experienced in France; and he kept his word.

I was also visited by Colonel Ware, whose wife has a sister married to one of the members of the present English Ministry. Colonel Ware resided at a short distance from Newlands, and he came, he said, to offer me his services as a good neighbour; and, indeed, I found him an extremely agreeable one, from his kind and unremitting attentions to me. Finally, a lady, of the highest distinction in every respect, who at that time accidentally happened to be in the colony, had the charity several times to visit the captive. This was an unlooked-for 272happiness; for the act of kindness thus conferred on me was enhanced by the charms of agreeable conversation, combined with graceful manners and the most captivating modesty. She was a lovely European flower, amidst the heath of the Cape.

We were also visited in our solitude byby numerous officers of all ranks, who expressed sincere sympathy and interest for our misfortunes. Had their kindness at that time come to the knowledge of the English Ministry, it might have operated to their prejudice. Even now, though with a great sacrifice to my feelings, I must refrain from mentioning their names. But they may be assured that none of their actions or words were lost upon me; for gratitude is a sentiment innate in my heart.

Curiosity also had its share in attracting visitors to me. Every stranger who arrived at the colony, and in particular the numerous passengers who were proceeding to India, failed not to visit Newlands. I was a ray flung from Longwood, and all were eager to see one who had recently been near Napoleon, whom I found to be every where the universal object of interest, and the constant subject of conversation.

I had now an opportunity of answering many questions that were addressed to me respecting the Emperor, the theme on which I always dwelt most fondly. How many prejudices did I not destroy! How much astonishment did I not create! It would now be difficult to conceive how many atrocious and absurd reports respecting the Emperor had gained credit, owing to the long suspension of intercourse between the two nations, and their mutual feelings of irritation. Will it be believed that a military officer of high rank, a man of considerable intelligence, begged that I would tell him candidly whether Napoleon was really able to write. He took it for granted that he was a mere soldier, and nothing else. He seemed indeed, almost to doubt whether he could read. I laughed, and asked whether he had ever seen his military proclamations? He replied that he had, but that he supposed these had been made for him. This officer was much astonished, and acknowledged that he had nothing further to say on the subject, when I informed him that, 273at the age of twenty-seven, Napoleon had been a Member of the French Institute, undoubtedly the first learned establishment in Europe.

As soon as we had fixed our residence at Newlands, my first care was to send to Longwood a few articles of which the Emperor stood in need. I knew, from experience how many privations he had to endure in that abode of misery, where it was impossible to procure many things which long habit had rendered necessary or agreeable. With my heart full of these recollections, I resolved to transmit to him whatever I could procure; though I was well aware that the Emperor attached but little importance to luxuries of any kind. I however ordered some of the best Constantia and Bordeaux wines, coffee, liqueurs, oil, eau de cologne, &c. I mentioned that, if they were not of the best quality, I would decline purchasing them. The Cape is yet but ill supplied with the luxuries of Europe. Excepting Constantia wine, which is the production of the place, only small quantities of the articles I had ordered could be procured. I had taken the precaution to ask General Hall whether I should be permitted to send the things, and he very politely replied in the affirmative. With the view of facilitating the reception of this little package at St. Helena, I had determined not to have it brought to me at the Cape. I requested the officers of the Governor’s staff to have the goodness to make the purchases for me, and only reserved to myself the charge of paying for them. I mentioned these precautions in a letter to Sir Hudson Lowe, to whom I addressed the whole. It is stated by Mr. O’Meara that, on the arrival of these things at St. Helena, Sir Hudson Lowe expressed himself much offended at what I had done, which, he said, was an insult to the English Government; and, in answer to me, he afterwards stated that, though I had acted with much delicacy, yet it was out of his power to permit the articles to be transmitted to Longwood, because he was charged, in the name of the English Government, to provide every thing that was wanting at that establishment.—He forgot that he had often assured us the sum allowed him was insufficient for the purpose; and that we, on our part, had frequently 274complained to him of wanting necessaries. However, I afterwards understood that the articles had been sent to Longwood, and I had the inexpressible satisfaction of learning that the Constantia wine, in particular, had pleased the Emperor. It was reserved for his own use, and he called it by my name. In his last moments, when rejecting every thing that was offered, and not knowing what to have recourse to, he said—“Give me a glass of Las Cases’ wine.” How was I gratified to hear of this!

At the same time, I sent back to Sir Hudson Lowe the note which, at the sad moment of my departure, had been given to me for the four thousand louis which I left for the Emperor’s use. It purported that the sum was to be paid to me at sight. On my hesitating to accept it, the Governor, Sir Hudson Lowe, ironically said—“Take it, take it. You will go where the General has funds, and that will enable you to get payment.” Afterwards, when I came to recollect this circumstance, not doubting the report that Sir Hudson Lowe would make of it to his Ministers, I thought it right to send back the note, with the request that he would transmit to the English Government a correction of the erroneous commentaries, with which I was convinced he had not failed to accompany his account of the circumstance. “I reserve to myself,” said I, in my letter to him, “merely the signature, which to me is more valuable than the sum itself. The note is useless, I added. The Emperor’s relations would, I am sure, dispute the honour of paying me back the sum; or, in case of emergency, the first Frenchman I may happen to meet with will be ready to give me credit for it.”

We had now been two months at Newlands, and, from what I have already stated, many may be led to believe that we were perfectly happy. But can there be happiness in a state of captivity, far from one’s native country? We merely whiled away the hours as agreeably as we could. We regulated our time, and distributed our occupations. My son pursued his studies. The piano of the Misses Somerset was one of his favourite amusements. I read a great deal; for I had books at hand, 275and my friends regularly furnished me with the journals and new publications. In the evenings, my son walked with me in the beautiful groves surrounding the house; or, as he had bought a horse, he sometimes took an excursion in the neighbourhood, and then returned to ride backward and forward in the beautiful alleys of Newlands, where I sat down, and took pleasure in watching him. I thought I could perceive his health recruited, and his strength developing itself.

I must confess that, in these delicious summer evenings, the pure sky, the fresh air, and the beauty of the whole surrounding scene, occasionally afforded me a few hours’ enjoyment: this was my adieu to life. The rigidity of feeling occasioned by the treatment we had experienced at St. Helena, relaxed amidst the charms and perfect tranquillity of this delightful place, and I was oftener than once tempted to say, why is not the rest of my family here! Alas! if the Emperor were but as well situated!... But these moments of oblivion were brief and of rare occurrence; for, I repeat, there can be no complete and perfect happiness far from one’s country and the objects we love. With whatever charms we may be surrounded, we are ever amidst a desert. This state of feeling, and my impatience to arrive at a termination of my distress, insensibly affected my health. My constant sleepless nights afforded no respite to my misery. In vain I devoted myself to occupation and exercise during the day, and delayed until late the moment of retiring to rest. No sooner did I lie down than, in spite of myself, my thoughts instantly turned on the interval that had gone by. I counted one day less in my exile, and I calculated over and over again the time that must yet elapse before the order for our deliverance could arrive from London, the accidents that might retard it, &c. These thoughts having once taken possession of my mind, I found it absolutely impossible to close my eyes; and thus I nightly endured the most cruel torments that can be conceived.

Meanwhile, the period of the Governor’s return was at hand; and I began to be perplexed at the idea of thus finding myself in the same house with him; I presumed 276that it would not be very agreeable to either party, to have to confound together, under the same roof, hospitality and seclusion. But my embarrassment was soon at an end. Whether it was fact or pretence, I know not; but the Colonial Secretary came to inform me that, in consequence of the expected arrival of Lord Amherst, who was returning to Europe from his embassy to China, the Governor found it necessary to assign another residence to me.

This Colonial Secretary, whom I have not yet mentioned, though he was the second civil officer in the colony, was a man perfectly eccentric, both in person and character. He had been several times a Member of Parliament. He knew every thing, discussed every thing, and usually confused every thing he meddled with: he was said to be like an encyclopædia, with the sheets bound up in their wrong places. He first took it into his head to fix our abode in a residence which he had built, and which he had persuaded the Government to hire. Fortunately, he relinquished this design, because various difficulties opposed its execution. We should, I believe, have been obliged to proceed thither by sea; and, even had we been safely established in this abode, there would have been some uncertainty respecting the facility of communication with us when necessary. At length, it was determined that we should be lodged with a worthy family who resided about eight or ten leagues from the Cape, at a place called Tygerberg (Tiger Hill), which name it received from the Dutch, on account of the numerous tigers that inhabited the place, at the time when it was first occupied.

This occupation is not of very remote date; for these lands have not been exclusively in the possession of the civilized inhabitants until very recently. Several persons informed me that they had themselves seen tigers in the beautiful grounds of Newlands. It would appear that the Dutch, confining themselves to maritime affairs, devoted but little, or at least tardy, attention to the progress of colonization. Now, however, the industry and activity of the English are giving a different turn to affairs. All parts of the Cape, and Cape town in particular, 277which the sailors call the half-way house of the two worlds, will infallibly rise to the highest importance. The soil is rich and the climate admirable. The productions of the temperate zone and those of the tropics may be cultivated almost in all parts and at once. English settlers emigrate to the Cape in great numbers; and the population is rapidly increasing. Europe invaded Africa by the south, and the European race will, in course of time, spread over the whole continent, as it is now spread over America. From Botany Bay, Europeans will, in course of time, extend to New Holland, and thence subjugate China. The European race will rule the globe; happy should it expiate, by the blessings of civilization, the crimes of conquest, or its impurity of origin!


From April 6th to August 19th.—We left Newlands about the middle of the day, and at night reached Tygerberg. Our new host was a Mr. Baker, a native of Coblentz, or its neighbourhood, and we looked upon him as one of our countrymen, from his origin, his opinions, and the sympathy he shewed us. The family altogether formed the most agreeable society imaginable. It would have been impossible for us to have been treated with greater respect and attention. All our wishes were anticipated and gratified. We now commenced the third period of our captivity at the Cape. The first was our insupportable imprisonment in the Castle, which fortunately lasted only ten days: the second was our abode in the charming retreat of Newlands: the third was our residence at the desert of Tygerberg, which was to continue for the space of four months; and even this might not be the termination of our captivity!

At Tygerberg, we found ourselves situated on the confines of the wandering hordes. The country, here and there, presented detached habitations, at considerable distances from each other. These were occupied by cultivators of various nations, who were clearing the 278new grounds, in order to turn them to profitable account; and, with perseverance, regularity, and a little capital, their efforts will, no doubt, be successful. Though now removed to the very extremity of the civilized world, we found ourselves treated with even more than kindness. We observed that the people here were neither ignorant nor indifferent with respect to the events of Europe, which, on the contrary, excited an unusual degree of interest. The majority of the population was Dutch, and was, therefore, connected with our national system. Thus, to my surprise, I found the name of Napoleon familiar in this desert. The most victorious game-cock in the neighbourhood was called Napoleon! The swiftest race horse was Napoleon! The most invincible bull in the country was Napoleon! I could not refrain from laughing at this. But every one has his own way of rendering honour and respect; and Napoleon was the noblest of all names in the estimation of the inhabitants of Tygerberg.

Notwithstanding our removal from the town, we still continued to receive many visits, and it was very gratifying to us to calculate the degree of interest that was felt for us, by the degree of reserve and embarrassment that we excited.

The interest we excited was not confined to Frenchmen alone. An American captain came to me, and offered to rescue me from captivity. He informed me that he had adopted every precaution, and made every necessary arrangement; and he observed that all depended on my own will, since Mr. Baker was not my jailer, but merely my host. Yet what would have been the use of embracing this proposal? I had but one point, one object, in view, and that was, to repair to London and appeal to the English Ministers.

We endeavoured to amuse ourselves with our usual occupations. I had procured a person to read to me, and I kept him well employed. In spite of the distance, our friends still continued to supply us with the journals and new publications. At this time, I read the Letters written during the last reign of the Emperor by Mr. Hobhouse, who, I believe, was the first that ventured to 279speak favourably of Napoleon. I also procured Warden’s work, which, though containing many errors, was, I am confident, written with the very best intentions; and finally, I obtained a sight of the famous Manuscript of St. Helena, which excited so much interest and curiosity throughout Europe. Opinion was powerfully divided on the subject of this publication; a thousand conjectures were afloat respecting its authenticity and real origin. It would certainly be difficult for me to describe the astonishment and doubt which it excited in my mind. What were my feelings and thoughts when I found pages of truth, which seemed to have escaped from my own secret collection, mingled with whole pages of error and frivolity! I several times stopped, doubting whether I was not dreaming. I recognised not only the substance of certain passages, but even phrases and expressions, in the literal form in which I had myself transcribed them from the mouth of the narrator. They were contained in the very papers which Sir Hudson Lowe had detained at St. Helena. I could positively have affirmed that all the grand ideas and noble conceptions formed by Napoleon,—all the political speculations,—and, in short, all the most attractive and interesting contents of the celebrated Manuscript, were in my Journal collected from the conversation of Napoleon. If only this portion of the publication had been read to me, I should not, for a moment, have doubted that the work had been obtained directly from Longwood. Even the dates would have warranted this conclusion; for six or seven months had now elapsed since my expulsion from St. Helena. But whence had been procured the alloy with which the better portion of the work was mixed up? This was a riddle which I could not attempt to guess. Can it be, thought I, that the facts contained in this publication have been surreptitiously derived from my papers, certain parts of which may have been selected and put together by strange hands? But, besides that, I could not bring myself to cherish such a disagreeable suspicion without better proof. What probability was there that the hostile authority of St. Helena would favour the publication of that, which was, upon the whole, favourable to the illustrious victim of the ostracism of kings?

280What was the real sentiment which dictated the Manuscript of St. Helena? This is, in many instances, very equivocal. By what hands was it produced? This question gives rise to many contradictory conjectures. Finally, it may be asked, what was the real object of the publication? It presents various styles, various sentiments, and bears evidence of various degrees of information. This publication must have been the patchwork production of various hands; for how could the individual, who appears to have been so familiar with the secret designs of the supposed author and his cabinet, have been ignorant of his opinion on various public acts, when that opinion was accessible to every body? as, for example, on the subject of Napoleon’s first marriage; the situation of the French in Egypt; the trial of the Duke d’Enghien; &c.

Is it probable that the man, who could have procured by his own means facts of so confidential a nature, should have been reduced to the necessity of mixing them up with vulgar errors? And, even supposing any one to have had sufficient shrewdness to guess these great truths, would not his judgment have suggested to him the propriety of being correct with respect to the rest? I shall say nothing of the far-fetched and singular phraseology which disfigures the work, and which can only be regarded as a proof of bad taste and an unsuccessful attempt at imitation. Neither shall I comment on the numerous and extraordinary anachronisms which this Manuscript contains. These and other circumstances render the publication totally inexplicable.

Meanwhile, time was running on, and I saw no probable termination of my exile. The interval necessary for obtaining a return of communication from England had now expired, and still I heard nothing of my removal. I was seized with profound melancholy, and almost reduced to despair. I suffered severely from continual and violent pains in my stomach. My restlessness at night still continued, my health daily declined, and disease made rapid inroads on my constitution. I was at this time attacked with pains in the head which have never since quitted me.

281I have in vain had recourse to the faculty. No remedy has afforded me any immediate relief, and hitherto I have found that the most effectual method is to abstain entirely from medicine.

After my return to France I experienced a considerable improvement in my health. By dint of repose and retirement, I found myself daily gathering strength. But still, whenever I tried to converse for any length of time, or to bend my thoughts to any particular subject, I immediately experienced a recurrence of my disorder.

During the increasing indisposition under which I was labouring at Tygerberg, I wrote to request that the Governor would permit me to return to the town, for the sake of obtaining medical aid. But this request was vain: Lord Charles Somerset now turned a deaf ear to my representations.

In the impatience and irritation excited by the prolongation of my captivity, I several times, during my residence at Tygerberg, resumed, and perhaps in energetic terms, my appeals to the Governor, requesting that he would permit me to return to Europe. I have reason to believe that I succeeded in moving him. Whether from feelings of justice on his part, or from what other cause I know not, but I am sure he was not without hesitation and anxiety respecting me. He probably asked himself whether it was proper in him to become a jailor after the manner of Sir Hudson Lowe? And whether he had a right, after all, to deprive me of my liberty? But whenever he thus wavered, his ill-natured advisers were at hand to confirm him in his resolution of detaining me. “Is he not well lodged and well fed?” said they. “What then has he to complain of? and how has he acknowledged the good treatment he has experienced? By confining himself and refusing to go abroad, in order to give a greater colouring of probability to what he is pleased to call his tyrannical imprisonment.—What have been the expressions of his letters, always so misplaced and so violent?” Every thing was turned to my prejudice, and one circumstance, in particular, was taken advantage of for this purpose. On the arrival of Lord Amherst and Admiral Plampin, Lord Charles Somerset, 282with the intention probably of affording the strangers an opportunity of seeing and questioning me, sent me, in the midst of my desert at Tygerberg, a formal invitation to a ball, which, as well as I can recollect, was given in honour of the Prince Regent’s birth-day. The messenger was directed to wait for my answer. I wrote it on the card of invitation, and in very decided terms. I was vexed that Lord Charles Somerset seemed to have so little idea of the melancholy situation in which I was placed as to imagine me capable of going to a ball. The persons about the Governor probably insinuated that, if his Excellency had committed a fault in detaining me, it was now too late to remedy it; that the thing was done, and his Lordship would be held responsible for it; that to alter his determination would be an acknowledgment that he did not know how to act; would be condemning himself, &c. I presume, therefore, that it was resolved to run the risk of letting the affair come to a close any way it would.[29]

All these adverse circumstances combined to estrange Lord Charles Somerset entirely from me, and so far offended him that, in spite of his natural disposition, he treated me with a degree of inhumanity. I addressed a 283letter to him, describing the state of my health, and urging the indispensable necessity of my removal to the town. But to this he coolly replied, in a note sent by his Aide-de-camp, that, though he could not alter his arrangements, he had given orders for my obtaining medical attendance. But I was situated at a distance of eight or ten leagues from Cape Town; the Doctor could only visit me once a week; and as he prescribed remedies which could only be procured in the town, their application was impracticable. I lost all patience on reading this answer, which seemed to be an act of cruel irony rather than a measure of relief; and I indignantly addressed a letter directly to the Colonial Secretary. I stated that, “as it was by his direction I had been removed to Mr. Baker’s, I took the liberty of informing him that, as it was absolutely necessary I should be near my medical attendant, I presumed he could have no objection to my removal to the town, to the house of Dr. Leisching, Mr. Baker’s father-in-law.” He replied that he had consulted with the Governor, and that his Excellency had declared that his instructions did not admit of my coming back to Cape Town.

But I determined not to be satisfied with this, and I again wrote to the Colonial Secretary. I informed him that, “in spite of his letter, nothing but absolute force should prevent me from quitting Tygerberg. I was determined to repair to the town, and that the Governor might, if he pleased, confine me there, and even keep me a closer prisoner than I was at Tygerberg, as, at least, I should enjoy the advantage of being within reach of medical advice and remedies; that though perhaps I had no reason to attach great value to existence, yet I felt it to be a kind of duty to defend my life.” Fortunately, the permission for my departure at length arrived from England, just at the very moment when I was about to execute my determination; otherwise I know not how the matter would have ended. The Governor communicated this welcome intelligence to me, accompanied by the offer of a lodging prepared for me in the town. But I declined accepting it, and proceeded, as I had originally intended, to the house of Dr. Leisching, where I experienced 284all the attention and hospitality of Tygerberg, in a truly patriarchal family, whose society produced a beneficial effect on my health and spirits.

Now commenced a new series of vexations. I was doomed to drain the cup of disappointment to the very dregs. The Governor, when he informed me of my release, mentioned that two opportunities presented themselves for my departure, and he wished me to make choice of one. I immediately replied that the speediest would be the most desirable. I now confidently expected the receipt of my passports, and the final commands of the Governor. I was confined to my bed. Two days elapsed; and in the mean time one of the ships sailed. What was my vexation and disappointment, particularly when I was afterwards informed that the Governor had nothing more to communicate to me; and that I was at liberty to make whatever arrangements I pleased respecting my departure. I vehemently complained that the first opportunity should have been allowed to escape; but for this there was no remedy. A large transport was lying in the harbour, which was destined to convey a regiment of artillery to England. I begged the Governor would permit me to take my passage in this vessel, as there were medical officers on board. His answer was that there was no accommodation for me. In vain I represented that if there had been two additional artillery-officers, they would certainly not have been left behind; that if there were two more sailors to be embarked, they would surely find room for them; and we wanted no better accommodation. All these arguments were unavailing. I was informed that the ship was to touch at St. Helena, and that this circumstance, in itself, would preclude the possibility of my taking my passage on board her. I was compelled to yield, and to confine myself to the choice which the Governor had so generously left me, which was to proceed to Europe by the only ship that was then in the harbour. This was an extremely small brig, an absolute cock-boat, destined to perform a voyage of three thousand leagues. However, I felt no hesitation. I would have leaped into the sea rather than have delayed another moment. The bargain 285was soon struck, and I was now all impatience for the moment of departure.

The Captain of the brig informed me that he had received orders from the Governor to prohibit me from having any communication on shore, if he should be obliged to touch at any place in the course of the voyage and on reaching England, he was not to suffer me to land until he should previously receive orders from Government. Thus I was absolutelyabsolutely a prisoner in the hands of this man, though I was bound to pay him the sum which he had been pleased to demand for my passage. This circumstance appeared to me so extraordinary that I wished to obtain a confirmation of it, lest it might be the subject of doubt when I should have to relate it. Therefore, when, for the last time, I applied to the Governor for my passports, I called his attention to this extraordinary fact. I begged that he would certify, in his answer to me, that I had myself agreed to pay for my passage on board the brig, which, by his instructions, was now converted into my prison. But, as it may be supposed, I received my passports and nothing more.


A space of about a Hundred Days.

From Wednesday, August 20, to Friday, November 15.


Towards evening we proceeded to the beach, accompanied by our two excellent hosts of Tygerberg and the Cape, whose hospitable cares, extreme attention, and all the proofs of true affection which they gave us, have inspired us with deep feelings of gratitude. The weather was calm, but as we entered the boat, a favourable breeze sprung up, as by enchantment. We all exclaimed that 286this was an auspicious omen; but it was far from proving so: for it will be seen that our passage turned out to be one of the longest, and, towards the end, most frightful and terrible. We got on board, the anchor was weighed, and we at last set sail for that Europe we had so long wished for.

From the moment we got under weigh, I and my son were separated from Cape Town and the coast of Africa for ever. Not that they were out of sight even on the next day; but, because we both remained shut up below, suffering most terribly from sea-sickness, the effects of which lasted a considerable time, and of which we thought we should die. Our berthberth was small, dirty, and inconvenient; our brig was of about two hundred tons’ at most; and the crew consisted of twelve hands, two of whom were boys; and indeed, with the exception of the Captain and the Mate, the only two who could be reckoned able sea-men, and of the Cook, an infirm old man, all the rest were mere lads. This want of hands was the more striking to me, and tended the more to increase my natural disposition to sea-sickness; as, with the exception of the Griffin, I had never been on board any but seventy-four gun ships, manned by seven or eight hundred men.

After thirteen days’ sailing, we reached the tropic of Capricorn, and fell in with the trade-winds. On the Sunday following, the 7th of September, we passed in sight of St. Helena, but at a distance of upwards of fifteen leagues; it was hardly possible to perceive it. It would be necessary to have been on that Island, situated as I had been, led thither by similar motives, and to have felt the same affections, and all the other sentiments which my residence there had inspired me with, in order to conceive all the sensations which I experienced on finding myself near that spot,—all the thoughts which occurred to my mind,—the feelings of regret which assailed me. I had had it in my power to remain there; and I had wilfully chosen to banish myself from it!... Indeed, the experience I had had of the Cape began to make me fear that I had founded my determination on chimeras.

287We were now sailing smoothly towards the equator, on this tropical sea, on which we had to go upwards of three thousand leagues. Our little vessel composed our universe. What a vast field of meditation! to find one’s self alone, for about a hundred days, on the vast ocean without any other shelter than the immense expanse of the heavens, on a floating atom, and separated only by a frail plank from the voracity of sea monsters, and an unfathomable abyss!

At the expiration of a month, 20th September, we at last got into our northern hemisphere again, by crossing the Line almost at the same time as the sun, which was going down towards the south, on our larboard tack. We were very fortunate in our navigation in the immediate vicinity north of the equator, where calms or storms are invariably met with. In those regions, the excessive heat of the equator, and that produced by the sands of Africa, combine to torment and harass nature, who expresses her lassitude by continued calms, or is roused by torrents of rain and terrible thunder-storms.

Twenty-five days afterwards, we passed the second tropic, and reached the boundaries of the variable winds of our regions.

We had left the Cape in winter, and after having crossed the torrid zone, we again found winter at the gates of Europe: thus tempests were stationed at the two extremities of our navigation. We had fortunately escaped the tempests of departure; but we had still to expect those of arrival: these we found at their post, and furious they turned out to be.

At the end of about twenty days of light and variable winds, we arrived off the Azores. Our voyage had been already extremely long. There have been instances of the passage from the Cape to England having been performed in thirty days;—the average perhaps is fifty days. We had now been eighty days at sea, and our troubles were only about to begin. When in sight of the Azores, our tribulation, and what we called our Passion week, commenced.

On the 1st of November we experienced our first gale; 288a moderate one, it is true, to begin with, as it were, and set us agoing.

On the 2nd November, we had a calm to give us breath. On the 3rd, came a second gale, still tolerable; but, during the night, which was one of the darkest imaginable, a third gale sprang up, and this time, it amounted to an absolute hurricane. The wind suddenly chopped round, from aft to fore, with a dreadful noise; and blowing furiously, it took, sideways, the few sails we had set, and in one instant, with the rapidity of thought, one side of the ship was in the water, and the sea reached nearly to the foot of the masts. A great number of the casks belonging to the cargo were upset, and by their weight increased the heeling of the ship, already so dangerous. Fortunately, the wind carried away the sails, which were abandoned to it, or we should have capsized. We all thought ourselves lost, and we must have been drowned, had not fate ordered it otherwise.

Such a state of things lasted the whole of Friday, the 7th. Suffering from sea sickness, I had not stirred from my hammock for a long while; but at about four o’clock, I took advantage of a more calm moment, to crawl to the outlet of our wretched cabin, to examine the state of our situation. The spectacle was truly grand, sublime, awful, terrible. The vast ocean, surmounted by a sky red with fury, covered with innumerable roaring mountains, and furrowed with deep valleys and fathomless abysses, formed a sight which filled me with an awful feeling of terror. Our little boat glided with admirable rapidity between two moving mountains, the extremities of which often met on our deck, threatening every moment to unite there together for our final destruction, whilst behind us huge rolling billows, similar to the fantastic monsters of fabulous history, pursued us with unrelenting ardour, raising their hideous heads above our stern, as if to contemplate and rush upon their prey, which continually escaped from them, not, however, without their carrying away, here and there, some pieces of timber from our upper works. This situation was one of imminent danger: few words were exchanged between 289us; we looked at each other in silence; and suffered things to take their course. It is certain that a false movement at the helm, or the slightest act of inattention or neglect, would have been sufficient to cause us to be instantly swallowed up. Had we been caught by one of these terrible waves astern of us, its weight would have borne down every thing before it, and that indeed was our greatest peril. We were more than once threatened with seeing our cabin stove in; the waves dashed over our heads, with a noise like the report of a cannon. We observed them, with terror, gaining ground upon us; and we spent a great part of the dreadful night that followed in securing and fortifying ourselves against them.

My son, who could neither go to bed nor sleep, frequently went upon deck to see how things were going on, and then came back to me, as I lay in my hammock. Not knowing what to do during that long and cruel night, to divert our minds from the contemplation of our situation, and beguile time, if possible, I endeavoured for a moment to dictate something to my son; it was a passage of ancient history. But, presently, a wave, having stove in some part of the works above, came and inundated my hammock, and the paper on which my son was writing. We thought ourselves at our last moment.

However, all that has been read was not destined to form the complement of our danger, or the extent of our fears. The tempest still lasted, and seemed even to increase; at last, on Saturday the 8th, towards morning, the man who was at the helm, as being the most dexterous and the most intrepid of the crew, declared that he would no longer take charge of it; he began to feel giddy, he said, and he feared lest some error on his part should prove fatal to all. We were then obliged to have recourse to our last resource, mettre à la cape, that of letting the ship drive before the wind; a most ticklish manœuvre in the desperate situation in which we were placed, because we ran the risk of going down in the attempt to execute it. But Providence still favoured us; by the greatest good fortune possible, we succeeded, and a shout of joy and 290gratitude from the whole of the crew above, imparted to us below the welcome news. We considered ourselves most fortunate, although the difference between the two situations was chiefly this, that whereas before we ran the risk of foundering, by being taken by the sea aft, we now had the chance of foundering, by the sea taking us on the beam.

This violent gale had now lasted three days, and our week was going on towards its completion. I placed great reliance upon the Sunday, which was about to begin, not only on account of the moon, but also because Sunday had happened to be peculiarly marked by something favourable to us ever since our departure. Nor were our hopes disappointed, for, in the course of the night between Saturday to Sunday, the weather became tolerably moderate, and, when daylight appeared, we were enabled once more to pursue our course. It is certain that, from a strange combination of circumstances, the Sundays had always been marked by some fortunate events, since our departure from the Cape. It was on a Sunday that we had passed the southern tropic, and fallen in with the trade-winds; on a Sunday we had seen St. Helena; on a Sunday we had passed the Island of Ascension; on a Sunday we had crossed the Line; on a Sunday we had passed the second tropic; on a Sunday we had arrived in the latitude off Gibraltar, the first point of Europe; lastly, it was on a Sunday that we had arrived in the latitude of Bayonne and Bordeaux, the beginning of our dear France; and it was on a Sunday again that we were at this moment ending that terrible week off Brest. We might fairly reckon henceforward, we said, upon some fine weather; we thought that we had sufficiently paid our tribute; we hoped that we had exhausted the fury of the wind: the lead brought up European clay; and we only thought of an agreeable termination to our voyage. But, vain calculation! our lucky Sunday being over, we had to encounter a fifth gale.

We were now beginning to enter the Channel without, however, having yet seen land, by which means our true position was unknown to us. Prudence required us to 291stand out to sea, but fortunately it was not for a long time; and, having resumed our course, we at last came within sight of the Lizard Point; but we seemed doomed not to have twenty-four hours of comfort. A thick fog almost immediately came on, and a sixth gale sprung up under the most inauspicious appearances. It blew from the south, and therefore threatened to drive us ashore; we were now in the Channel and without shelter: on one side we had the Lizard, and on the other the Scilly isles, which are extremely dangerous; there was a very heavy sea: we did not know precisely where we were; night was coming on, and a night of fourteen hours! How many causes of uneasiness! What a state of perplexity both for the mind and for a calculation of the chances! We were all completely downcast and disheartened; when a shower of rain, accompanied by thunder, although it was then in the middle of November and the weather very cold, broke the spell. The wind suddenly veered to the proper quarter, and this time it put an end to all our difficulties by bringing us into the Downs, where we anchored. Happy, and ten times happy, to have escaped dangers so formidable and so numerous!


An Interval of Twenty Days.

From November 16 to December 11.


On the preceding evening we had anchored in the Downs, merely for that night; the next morning, at day-break, we set sail for the Thames, London being our place of destination. It now appeared as if no occurrence 292could henceforth keep me from that city, and I was already calculating the hour of arrival. All my hopes might at last be realized; my confidence was returning; but how greatly was I mistaken!

Arrived at Gravesend, where a vessel is stationed for the special purpose of superintendence over foreigners, I no sooner gave my name than an agent of government informed me that I could not proceed any further, and that I must follow him immediately, with my luggage, on board of the Alien Ship. In vain I remonstrated, and represented to him that, with my passport, I was in strict conformity with the regulations: that very document it was which condemned me. I have been since informed that this measure had been ordered against me in every port of England, long before my arrival.

I was no sooner on board the Alien Ship, than seals were placed upon my papers, and I was apprized that I must wait for final orders from Government. I had written to Lord Bathurst the very instant of our anchoring in the Downs; I now wrote to him again. I was ignorant of his intentions towards me; but it seemed to me impossible that he should not eagerly summon me before him; and, above all things, it could not enter into my mind that he would neglect to avail himself of so favourable an opportunity for hearing a counter-statement of all that had taken place at St. Helena. It will be seen, however, that I was mistaken in my suppositions.

With the exception of being kept in confinement, every mark of attention was shewn to me on board the Alien Ship. The Captain, who had had very little to do since the peace, and who never made his appearance but in the day time, gave me his own bed to sleep in.

Harassed by these fresh vexations, suffering from my habitual complaints, and wearied of my new prison, I had gone to bed at an early hour, when I was awaked on a sudden, in the silence of night, by a shrill voice. “Count, Count,” cried some one who was seeking for me in every corner, and who in his hurry had not even waited to procure a light, “It is the Prince Regent’s pleasure that you instantly quit Great Britain.” In the confusion 293of my broken sleep I chanced to reply, “Assuredly this is a very sorry and silly pleasure for his Royal Highness; but you, Sir, who are you?” He then told me that he was a government messenger. I requested that he would wait until I should be ready, and I tried in vain to complete my night’s rest. At daybreak my son and I were desired to step into a boat, landed with mystery, thrust into a post-chaise, and conducted by the shortest road to Dover, where my guide informed me that he had orders to see me on board of the packet for Calais or Ostend, whichever I preferred, as I was not allowed to fix my choice upon any other port.

It happened, from some cause or other, that we could not sail immediately from Dover, and I was told that there might be a delay of two or three days. We were shut up in an inn, where my keeper, under the specious pretence of consulting my convenience, practised upon me the meanest of all contrivances. If complaints are made on the Continent of disgraceful proceedings on the part of police agents, it must be admitted that the man we had now to deal with might well rival those of any other country.

Having happened to say that it was a pity my papers had been sealed up, as otherwise I might have taken advantage of my stay, in order to write a few letters, he immediately protested against the hardship of my being deprived of what he called a most innocent and a most natural satisfaction; and directly went himself to break the seals, and gave me up all my papers, recommending me to do all in my power to alleviate the unpleasantness of my present situation, of which he was the unwilling instrument. Will it be believed that this was nothing more than a snare laid for me, in order that he might afterwards have the pleasure of seizing whatever I might have written, under the delusion of a feeling of confidence which he thus excited! During the time we were together, this man had been remarkable for his officiousness towards us, coupled, it is true, with a thousand impertinent expressions, which sufficiently evinced all his baseness. He told me, for instance, that he and his colleagues considered it their duty to know no other 294law than the pleasure of the Prince: he spoke of his master, Lord Sidmouth, the Secretary for the Home Department; of his master who had preceded Lord Sidmouth, and so on; and as I observed, in joke, that I had thought that he belonged to the Administration, and not to the Minister, he replied, with the utmost candour, that I was mistaken; that he belonged to the Minister, as it was the Minister who paid him his salary, and who might take it away at his pleasure. He added much other nonsense of the same kind, which savoured more of the negro slave of Jamaica than of a white of Europe, and of a citizen of Great Britain; this, however, would have been a matter of perfect indifference to me, had not his base principles been put in practice upon me, as the sequel will shew.

At the very moment of our departure, and, when I was on the point of starting, this man, until then so complaisant and so officious, told me, in rather an insolent manner, that he had a trifling formality to fulfil towards me; and, seizing upon all my luggage, he searched most minutely amongst my linen and clothes, took possession of all my papers, without the least ceremony, and even refused to give me any kind of inventory of them. I complained aloud; I called for the protection of the Magistrates; I demanded that my protest, at least, should be received; I was answered that, in the situation in which I was placed, and being a foreigner, the benefit of the laws which I invoked could not be extended to me; and in this manner I was obliged to quit England, leaving, however, behind me, the following letter for Lord Sidmouth:—

My Lord,—It is with feelings of the deepest regret that I do myself the honour of addressing your Lordship, aware that your reply, which might perhaps gratify the object of my wishes, will reach me too late.

“For the last four days I have been in the power of your messenger: who, upon his arrival, removed the seals which had been put upon my papers, saying that he again placed them at my disposal. He has since seen me write, has even encouraged me to do so, and has waited for the moment of my departure, to take possession, in your name, of every one of my papers. This 295is a snare, my Lord, which my heart forbids me to attribute to a higher quarter than the individual who has practised it. That messenger understood no language but English; he called another person to his aid, who pretended to understand a little French, and who has thought proper to peruse my papers, one after another, and even to detain them all. There was enough for a whole week’s reading, and I did not imagine that any private individual could have such a right over me.

“Every thing has been taken from me, letters, notes, my son’s exercises, title-deeds, family secrets, official documents from Sir Hudson Lowe and Lord Charles Somerset, my daily memoranda, even a letter to the French Minister of Police, and another to my wife, which I had prepared during my leisure moments here, in order that I might forward them on my landing at Ostend. They have been taken without allowing an inventory or register to be made of them. Such, they said, was your Lordship’s order. In the first burst of indignation, I have protested against this violence, and demanded that a Magistrate might receive my complaint. I shall not record here the reply that has been given to me. Recovered from the first moment of surprise, and dreading nothing so much as to see my name mentioned in public discussions; considering also how impossible it was that your Lordship should have ordered so great a deviation from the rules of every acknowledged system of jurisprudence, according to which governments are required, in cases like the present, to take such measures as will enable them to guard against the possibility of being accused of having withdrawn or superadded any document; I contented myself with urging and most earnestly entreating the messenger, who had my fate in his hands, to allow of my departure being retarded until I had been able to write to your Lordship, and until he had himself received a confirmation of his rigorous orders. But this man, who had already caused a delay of three days upon slight pretexts, proved quite inflexible on the present important occasion. In vain I represented to him that I had no objection to shew all my papers to the confidential persons whom your Lordship might have appointed 296to see them; that it was even for your Lordship’s interest that certain formalities should be observed towards me; that, in the examination of my papers, my presence would be useful, if not absolutely necessary, in order to explain many things that could not be understood without me; whereas, he was sending me to the Continent, and forwarding my papers to London; that no doubt there was some mistake, which twenty-four hours’ time would clear up. I was coolly told, in reply, that I need not be uneasy about returning from the Continent, if that was thought necessary, as your Lordship would defray all the expense of the voyage. My Lord, in what hands have you placed me? On another occasion, in which this man could surely not have consulted your wishes, I found myself compelled to silence my guard, in consequence of the gross and injurious expressions which he used concerning the illustrious personage whom I respect above all others in this world.

“In short, my Lord, since I have reached your shores, I have been treated as a malefactor; and yet, where is my crime? A difference of political opinion, perhaps, and a voluntary imprisonment at Longwood! But is not the latter act one of the most noble and most generous; one so highly honourable that the man does not exist who, at the bottom of his heart, would not be proud of having set the example of it? My Lord, the mildness of disposition and love of justice, which are said to distinguish your Lordship, cannot, I am confident of it, have authorized all that has been done to me. Having been allowed to affix my seal to the papers that have been taken from me, I have hastened to do so, not as a precaution against your Lordship, but on the contrary, to remedy, in your behalf, the want of formality of which your agents may have been guilty.

“I entreat your Lordship to reconsider my case, and not to form an opinion upon my papers, without having first received from me the explanations you may require; and which I shall ever be most ready to afford. I affirm beforehand that, whatever difference of opinion and feeling may be found in them, there is not one that will not bear the test of a judicial investigation or of a friendly 297discussion. They contain nothing possessing any degree of interest in state matters, and no political secrets. I never possessed any documents of that kind, and if I had, opportunities would not have been wanting to have put them out of the way long before this.

“It would perhaps be the moment to speak also to your Lordship about the papers which have been taken from me at St. Helena, as well as respecting many other subjects to which I shall have to refer, either with your Lordship or Lord Bathurst; but the short space of time that I am allowed, and the confusion of ideas produced by circumstances so sudden and unforeseen, oblige me to defer doing so to some future period.

“I shall anxiously await the answer which your Lordship may be pleased to give me; but where I know not; most probably at Brussels, if I am allowed to remain there.

“I have the honour,” &c.

I was put on board a packet, and we sailed for Ostend; and, as I have now and then taken the liberty to speak of physical sufferings, I shall be forgiven, if, in order to afford a more correct idea of what I must have suffered during my long passage, I observe here that, notwithstanding the hundred days which I had just passed at sea, I still happened to be sick again on board this packet, although the weather was not absolutely bad. This was undoubtedly very ridiculous, but no less true.

The next day I got to Ostend, and landed without any observation having been made to me by any person. I again thought that this time my misfortunes were at an end, and that I had recovered my liberty; but I was again mistaken; persecutions of another kind were, on the contrary, going to begin: however, I had every reason to be satisfied with the first moments of my residence.

I had not been long at the inn before an agent of the local authorities came and told me, without my being able to guess how I had been already found out, that he had received orders to watch over me, and that he had 298immediately come to ask me in what manner I wished him to fulfil his instructions.

I had not been accustomed to such polite manner for a length of time, and I made this observation to him; adding, that the step he had taken was quite sufficient to induce me to resign myself with entire confidence to whatever he might wish to do with me; and, as his politeness had led to a prolongation of the conversation between us, which seemed greatly to excite his curiosity, he soon told me that he was going to put a question to me which was indiscreet, no doubt, and perhaps improper; but that he could not resist his desire of being informed whether it was true that I had left Napoleon because he was so much soured by misfortune that it was impossible to live with him; for the English ministerial papers had circulated a thousand reports respecting me, one more ridiculous than the other. I replied to him with a smile, “Sir, if I had any thing to say against Napoleon, if I had the least subject of complaint to adduce against him, be assured that you would not have to guard me at this moment, and that I should be far from being ill treated any where.” Upon which he exclaimed in his turn, striking his forehead, that such was the answer which ought to have suggested itself to his mind. His attentions towards me after this explanation became still more marked; and, having learnt from me that it was my intention to go to Brussels, he imposed no other condition to the uncontrolled liberty which he left me than that of not taking my departure without informing him of it, assuring me at the same time that a determination respecting me could not be delayed twenty-four hours longer, as a courier had been despatched to the Governor of the province, whose return would, in all probability, set me entirely at liberty.

I took advantage of the delay, to which I was thus obliged to submit, to write to the Ministers of the Police of France and of the Netherlands, respectively, concerning the situation in which I was henceforth to be placed.

To the French Minister I wrote in the following manner.

299“Sir,—I think it right, on landing on the Continent, to inform your Excellency of the circumstances in which I am placed; and I trust that you will approve the motives that induce me to do so.

“A year ago, I was suddenly removed from Longwood, and have been, since that period, carried from shore to shore like a captive. On entering the Thames, I received an order to depart instantly to the Continent, having no other choice allowed to me but to proceed either to Calais or Ostend.

“A feeling of delicacy and prudence has prompted me to prefer Ostend.

“France is, of all countries, that where my appearance is most likely to be watched, and I have wished to spare the department over which you preside, and myself, the inconveniencies attending such a measure. This double consideration has induced me to adopt the cruel resolution of self-banishment. I have also been actuated by another motive, viz. the hope of possessing in this country greater facilities (setting aside all political views, influenced only by private and personal feelings of affection), for procuring through the legal channel allowed by the English regulations, and even under the cover of the British Ministers, some alleviation and innocent consolations for the martyrs at Longwood. In France, this pious and sacred care might have been misinterpreted, and might consequently have given rise to impediments.

“I hope that a statement so open and candid will remove all unfavourable impressions that might have been suggested to your mind by the circumstances of my case; and, in furtherance of that object, I now take the liberty of enclosing under cover to you, an unsealed letter for my wife, in whose favour I request the interposition of your kindness, in any thing relating to your functions, that may facilitate the means of her coming to share my voluntary exile. Receive,” &c.

To the Minister of the Netherlands I wrote, that it is usual to endeavour to escape from being rendered subject to superintendence; but that I, on the contrary, came to request to be placed under his. I repeated to 300him, as in the preceding letter, what had happened to me in the Thames, and that I had been thrown on the Continent without any motive having been adduced, or any cause assigned for this measure.

I informed him that I had just written to the Minister of the Police of France, to lay before him the motives which induced me to expose myself to voluntary exile. I represented to him that I was very ill, and that the state of my son’s health was most alarming; that I had just made a passage of a hundred days’ duration in a very small vessel—that I was entirely ignorant as to whether my wife and family were still in existence—that I was totally in the dark respecting the state of my domestic concerns; and, taking all these circumstances into consideration, I entreated him to allow me to reside for a few days at Brussels, to breathe and look around me, to send for my wife, and have the benefit of the attendance of a physician; adding that, perhaps, in the mean time, the British Ministers, whose harsh and precipitate conduct towards me must necessarily have been founded on some error, would consent to allow me to be present, agreeably to my request, at the examination of the papers which they had taken from me.

In conclusion, I assured him that I entertained no political views or feelings, that my sentiments were solely sentiments of individual affection and personal attachment; that such sentiments were natural and honourable, and that my open avowal of them must afford a perfect security that they were not calculated to give any cause of uneasiness.

I owe it to justice and to gratitude to state that my letter to the Minister of the Police of France had at least the effect of obtaining from him, when occasion offered, all that might be expected from a gentleman.

Such was not the case with respect to the Minister of the Netherlands; the only answer I received from him was the arrival of guards to secure my person. Orders were sent in every direction to find me out again, for they thought I was lost. As I had been told by the person intrusted with the superintendence over me, the permission from the Governor to continue my journey 301soon arrived, and I had immediately taken advantage of it; choosing, on account of the weak state of my health, the easy, but obscure and slow, conveyance of the barges and canals. This had not been thought of; and they were seeking for me at a great distance from Ostend, whilst I was still almost at its gates. My unsuspecting confidence and security had baffled all their calculations; they had not yet got the exact description of my person, and were consequently much embarrassed to know me; however, I myself soon put an end to their perplexity by throwing myself up, as the saying is, into the wolf’s jaws.

My first step, after my arrival at Brussels, which I reached late in the evening, after a journey of three days, was to send to inform the police of my being in that city, and ask what had been the determination of the Minister relative to my case, in consequence of the letter which I had addressed to him from Ostend. The generous answer to my innocent confidence was, to send instantly to surround the inn where I was, and they waited with impatience the first dawn of day to signify to me that I must leave the kingdom of the Netherlands without the least delay. I was very much indisposed, and had some degree of fever about me; nevertheless, I vainly appealed to their compassion, and asked to be allowed to stay one day longer.

Very serious obstacles must certainly have existed to my being permitted to sojourn in Brussels, or a predisposition to treat me with cruelty, for I was not allowed even one hour. They placed me in a carriage between a police officer and a gendarme, and turned me on the high road. These people, who saw my condition, took compassion upon me, and after a few hours’ journey consented to stop, in order that I might procure a little rest and some requisite medical attendance; but under the express condition that I should resume my journey at an early hour on the following morning, in charge of the guards appointed to succeed them; a system that was strictly acted upon and repeated in every town, notwithstanding the repeated observations and the testimony of all medical men. This cruel treatment compelled 302me to complain to the French Ambassador at the court of the Netherlands, who I thought would warmly resist such a proceeding; for it was an insult to his public character to treat in this manner, without any just motive, and in direct violation of the laws, a Frenchman who was placed under his protection. I therefore informed him of the vexatious and inhuman conduct which was then exercised towards me.

I told him “that, upon landing at Ostend I had written to the French Minister of Police, to state to him my motives for remaining out of France; that I had also written at the same time to the Minister of the Police of the Netherlands, requesting he would allow me to sojourn a short time in Brussels, and that, having reached that city at a late hour, without having been guarded or placed under any superintendence, I had hastened to inform his Excellency of my arrival; but that I had been suddenly awaked before day-light on the following morning, and surrounded by four police officers and two gendarmes, who signified to me that I must instantly depart, notwithstanding the very precarious state of my health; that I had in vain demanded a physician to verify my case; that I had been told that I should be allowed one for form’s sake, but that I must depart, whatever might be his opinion; that, in fact, I had been removed to Louvain like a malefactor, and in the last stage of sickness, under the escort of a gendarme and of a police officer; that, having arrived in this town during the night, suffering from increased illness, covered with blisters, and in a state of fever, I had asked to be allowed to stop the following day; that the Burgomaster had been inhuman enough to refuse my request, in spite of two or three very strong medical certificates; that, having demanded that the physician at least might accompany me in the carriage, instead of the gendarme, who could follow on horseback, this favour had also been refused me; that all that could be allowed, they said, was that the physician should accompany me in another carriage. This was, no doubt, a piece of irony.”

I added, “that I was quite certain such treatment could not proceed from him who alone, however, on this occasion, 303would have a right to exercise any influence over my fate; that I was too well acquainted with the sentiments of the nation to which we belonged to suppose for a moment that his instructions could decree the proscription of a person towards whom there neither was, nor could be, any law or motive for such a proceeding; that the ill usage I experienced could therefore only proceed from the authorities of this country, where however, in common justice, I ought not to be considered in any other light than as a traveller; that as such I would demand of them what was my crime, and what were their rights over my person.” And I concluded by placing my interests under his care, as his situation made him their natural protector; and, with a view to call his attention more particularly to me, I gave him news of Madame Bertrand, his wife’s sister, which I had received just as I was leaving Dover, and I offered myself, in case Madame de Latour Dupin wished to say any thing to her sister, to whom it would afford the greatest pleasure, to take charge of it, as I proposed to write to Madame Bertrand regularly once a month, by the channel which the English regulations allowed, viz., under the very cover of Ministers.

His Excellency made no reply to this letter; his endeavours, no doubt, proved unavailing; the impulse, the very orders, perhaps, emanated at this time from the other side of the water.

I continued in this manner, without intermission, transferred from town to town, from one police officer to another, from gendarme to gendarme, across the whole kingdom of the Netherlands; and when I occasionally asked, in the height of my sufferings, what could be the motive for such harsh treatment, I was simply told, in reply, that such were the orders that had been given; and, in fact, this was all that appeared to be known on the subject. Arrived at Aix-la-Chapelle, on the Prussian territory, I was there exchanged by the Agents of the Netherlands for a receipt, as might have been done with a bale of goods; and the Prussians, in their turn, hurried me along with equal rapidity from place to place, from officer to officer, and from one gendarme to another; 304and when I enquired of them also the motive of all this, they candidly answered that they did not know; but that I had been thrown into their country, and that they were going to throw me out of it. If I asked to stop, they politely replied that they would not keep me upon their territory; and some friends, for it will hereafter be seen that I found friends every where, whispered in my ear that I ought to thank God for it, and above all things, to take immediate advantage of this piece of good fortune, as some exiled Frenchmen had lately been forced to the shores of the Baltic, and shut up in fortresses. I then declared that I desired to go to Frankfort, an expression which appeared to give pleasure to my hosts, the Prussians, as they said it would no longer concern them. After what I had just learnt, I was equally rejoiced at this upon my own account.

After having described, but very feebly, all the savage brutality that had just been exercised upon me, all the vexations and sufferings that I had endured, it would be unjust and ungrateful in me, and I should be depriving myself of the most gratifying sensation, were I to omit mentioning the kind of compensation which I found at every step of my journey.

My story had made a great noise; it had spread in every direction; it preceded me; the public papers had laid hold of it. It was known whom I had served, to whom I had wished to devote my care, for whom I suffered; and all endeavoured to mark their sense of my conduct. All classes were eager to evince every mark of attention and sympathy towards me; and open demonstrations, or secret offers, awaited me every where. It was then that those words of Napoleon’s occurred to my mind, which I have, by the way, had many subsequent occasions to recal to my recollection: “My dear friends, when you shall have returned to Europe, you will find that, from this spot, I still bestow crowns.” And can there be a nobler, a more precious one, than the esteem, the affection, the sympathy, of those even who know you not, and have never seen you! What hand, however powerful, can bestow any thing of equal value! These feelings manifested themselves at inns, 305upon the high-roads, every where. Postboys, gendarmes, all that I met with on my journey, addressed me with a kind of pride and exultation. One said, “I belonged to the Imperial Guard;” another, “I was a French gendarme;” a third, “I have been a soldier under Napoleon.” These recollections, and the feelings of good-will to which they gave rise, appeared in all classes and conditions. Twice, in Belgium, offers were made to rescue me, every thing having been, I was informed, carefully prepared beforehand; the same offer had already been made to me at the Cape, by an American Captain; and a similar proposal was made to me at a later period, on the part of some Englishmen, to whom I was quite unknown, and who had resolved to come from London in order to carry me off from Frankfort, where they thought me in a much worse situation than I really was. But I invariably replied—“What end would it answer? Why should I injure so noble a cause?”

The very agents of authority felt an anxiety concerning my fate, and a kind of interest for me. One of them, although appointed to watch me, offered to take charge of any paper that I would venture to intrust to his care; I availed myself of his offer, as I did not see any inconvenience in so doing, even if he had some bad intention, as he might possibly have, and I addressed, to a person of high rank in England, a letter of half a dozen lines, describing with warmth the ill usage which the British Ministers had made me suffer for the last twelve months, and requesting that he would publish my statement, if he saw no objection to it. I enclosed, with the same view, that part of the Emperor’s letter which I had been allowed to copy, adding that I should have continued to to keep it to myself, had not the ridiculous and insulting reports, which were inserted in the newspapers, rendered it imperative upon me to make it public. I, however, left to his discretion to decide what should be done.

How great was my surprise to see the whole published in the Belgic papers two days afterwards! I was extremely mortified at it; it was not at all consistent with my disposition to wish to make so much noise. I was, above all, especially hurt that the person in England to 306whom I addressed my letter, and to whom I was unknown, should receive it only through the public press: this mode of proceeding was also totally inconsistent with my manners. I was at a loss to conceive how the thing could have happened. I have since learnt that my confident, in the warmth of his zeal, had consulted with two or three persons of the same way of thinking, and that, the papers having been read in their little council, they had decided that, instead of losing time in sending them to England, where, perhaps, no use would be made of them, it would be better to publish them instantly upon the spot, where indeed they created a very lively sensation. Notwithstanding the trouble that I then suffered from them, they proved eventually of the most signal advantage to me.

In short, there would be no end to it were I to mention the affecting marks of attention that were shewn to me; the offers of all kinds, in money, clothes, &c.; even people of the very lowest class were eager to tender their mite. One of them, forcing his way into my apartment, from which he was pulled back by the gendarmes, cried out to me that he had only two coats; that he saw, by my size, that the second would not fit me; that he was therefore going to sell it, and would throw me the amount through the window. What sufferings, what torments would not be effaced by the sensations which such acts must produce!

I was, however, so ill, on arriving at Cologne, that it was found necessarynecessary to allow me to stop twenty-four hours in that town. This increase of suffering turned out a fortunate circumstance for me. I was in a gentle sleep when, on a sudden, the valet de place rushed into my apartment, with demonstrations of that joy which the bearer of good news is sure to occasion and even to experience, and announced to me Madame de Las Cases. I had not yet been able to ascertain whether she was alive, and therefore thought that I had misunderstood the man, or was dreaming; but a moment afterwards, the door was thrown open—it was she herself!




A Space of Fifteen Months.

Residence at Frankfort.—My endeavours to alleviate the Situation of the Inhabitants of Longwood.—Letters to Maria Louisa and to the Allied Sovereigns.—My Letter to Lord Bathurst.—Petition to the British Parliament.—Transactions with several Members of the Emperor’s Family.—Measures to supply the Wants of Longwood; Details, &c.—Journey to Baden.—Residence at Manheim; Motives for this choice.—Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle; my Efforts; Details.—Letter from Madame Mère, &c.—Note to the Sovereigns.—New Official Documents received from Longwood, and addressed to the Sovereigns; new Efforts; &c.—State of Public Opinion.—Arrival of the brig Musquito.—Fresh Vexation; the Minister of Baden orders me to leave Manheim.—I retire to Offenbach.

The band of captives arrived at last at Frankfort, after having, for fifteen days, undergone persecutions almost unexampled in civilized countries, and in a state of tranquillity. A Prussian officer, whose duty, he politely said, was not so much to guard me as to see that I was well treated, had conducted me thither. He did not allow me to communicate freely with any person, and was not to leave me until some authentic and final decision had been adopted with respect to me.

308On arriving at Frankfort, I immediately sent to our Ambassador, as I had done in the Netherlands, the following letter:

Sir,—I have the honour, on arriving in this town, to claim the protection of your public character, against the rigorous measures which have been pursued for some time past in regard to me.

I have been arrested, and am carried about from town to town, under escort, against my will, like a captive. Those who act thus candidly confess that they only push me on in that manner, because I have been so brought to them; and they have not any special motive or positive order on the subject. On my passage through the Netherlands, I addressed a representation on the subject to our ambassador at the court of the Hague; but I have been hurried on so precipitately that it has not been possible for me to receive any answer. I take the liberty of sending you a copy of the letter which I addressed to him, in order to put your Excellency in possession of the first details of my adventure.

It is now, Sir, the hundred and thirtieth day of my travels; I am harrassed, tired, sick, and infirm; I have been tossed by the fury of the waves, and must perish at last if I cannot find a port. In the name of humanity and justice, I implore to be allowed to take breath for a moment. I have found an erroneous impression existing every where in my way: and those who thus disposed of my person have all expressed the greatest surprise, when the discussion of the point has proved that there did not exist in France any law or act, either public or private, directed against me; and that nothing had ever occurred which could give rise to such a proceeding. I request, Sir, that you will be kind enough to prevent, by your testimony, the possibility of an error that might influence the decision to be taken with respect to me; and that you will grant me that protection which I am naturally entitled to expect from you in your public character.

I have the honour, &c.

P.S. I think it right to inform your Excellency that, in the perplexity of my situation, I wrote a few days since to His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, to request an asylum in his dominions, should my liberty be placed under any restraint. But a distant country, the language and manners of which are quite new to me, cannot suit me, except in case of necessity. I should wish to be as near to France as possible, in order to be able to see my family, and attend to my domestic concerns, which have been neglected for the last three years; and Brussels, which, in addition to these advantages, possesses that of the language which would enable me to superintend the education of my children, is the place in which I should be happy to reside. I have requested M. Latour Dupin, at the Hague, to obtain the necessary permission to enable me to do so, and I earnestly entreat you to assist him, as far as it lies in your power.

309The same thing that had happened in the Netherlands happened also at Frankfort; I received no answer to my letter. But his Excellency did not remain idle with respect to me, and I have been assured that he had immediately required from the senate of this free and sovereign city my removal within the space of twenty-four hours. Fortunately the Prussian officer, who was obliged to follow me, and who did not relish such a continuation of our journey, induced the Minister from his court to interfere, in order that I might be allowed to remain at Frankfort.

From that instant every thing became calm, and the tide of British persecution which, rolling from afar, had so long harassed my existence, was at last stopped. The senate allowed me to reside in Frankfort, and the Prussian officer took his departure. Politeness now succeeded to churlishness: Prince Hardenberg, to whom I had written to complain of my arrest in the Rhenish provinces, replied that he had been very angry about it himself. An answer came from Vienna, most graciously granting the asylum which I had demanded. I was now free, and I acquired also the hope of seeing my liberty respected for the future; for the Duke de Richelieu, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to whom our Ambassador at Frankfort applied respecting me, answered, I was told, “that I should be left unmolested.”

The Duke de Richelieu, feeling his independence, had no doubt only followed the impulse of his natural generosity, whereas it must be presumed that these sentiments were restrained in the breast of our Ambassador at Frankfort by the necessity of giving pledges of his fidelity, having been formerly Napoleon’s minister at the court of King Jerome. This line of conduct was very proper on his part, no doubt; but I had a right to think it unfortunate that it had, on this occasion, been pursued at my expense.

My first care, as soon as I was at liberty to dispose of my actions, was entirely directed to the grand motive which had caused my departure from St. Helena, and brought me back to Europe. Though repulsed from London, on which I had founded my strongest hopes, I 310nevertheless embraced with ardour the means that were still left to me.

I first wrote to Maria Louisa, as in duty bound, and addressed my letter to her, unsealed and under cover to Prince Metternich, principal Minister of Austria. I afterwards wrote to the three Allied Sovereigns. I transcribe here those letters:


Madam,—I have no sooner left St. Helena than I think it my duty to hasten to lay at the feet of your Majesty some intelligence from your august consort. I have been suddenly torn from his presence, without any previous notice, and as it were struck with sudden death at his side, without the possibility of his having forseen such an event. I am not therefore fortunate enough to be intrusted with any special message for your Majesty; and it is from his every-day habits and conversation that I must collect what details I shall presume to transmit to your Majesty.

Indifferent to public events, the Emperor Napoleon most frequently indulged in the contemplation of his family recollections and affections. He was grieved at not having ever received, although he had officially demanded it of those who guard him, any news from those who are most dear to him. Your Majesty will find the lively expression of that regret traced by the hand of your illustrious consort in the letter which he did me the honour to write me, after I had been separated from him, a copy of which I shall take the liberty of laying before your Majesty.[30]

The health of the Emperor, at my departure, was very much impaired, and his situation was most painful in every respect, being exposed to numerous wants, and deprived of every enjoyment. Fortunately, his mind triumphed over every thing, and remained calm and serene.

I have seen him obliged, every month, to sell part of his plate, to supply his daily wants, and he has been reduced to the necessity of accepting a small sum, which a faithful servant was fortunate enough to have at his disposal in England, when he left him.

Madam, guided by the sentiments which fill my heart, I take the liberty, as a devoted servant, to lay at the feet of your Majesty, in the hope of being agreeable to you, a sacrifice which is dear to me, being some hair of your august consort, which has been a long time in my possession. I presume also to send at the same time to your Majesty a plan of Longwood, drawn by my son for his mother. Your Majesty will no doubt feel interested in examining this remote desert in its details.

311On arriving in Europe, my first step would be to throw myself at the feet of your Majesty, if a sacred duty did not oblige me to remain in England, in order to devote every instant of my life to endeavour to impart, through the means allowed by the British regulations, some consolation to the inhabitants of that horrible rock, which retains for ever the object of my most tender cares. The British Ministers will not refuse to allow me to undertake this pious occupation. I shall solicit it with ardour, and fulfil it with loyalty. I am, &c.


P. S. On my arrival in Europe, Madam, I have been ejected by England, arrested on the Continent, detained by sickness at Frankfort, and have just obtained an asylum in the dominions of your august father. I take advantage of the first moment of my liberty, to address to your Majesty the above letter, that was written for you at the extremity of Africa, at a distance of three thousand leagues. I entreat your Majesty to deign to receive it favourably, and that will be some consolation for my sufferings.


Prince,—I hasten to offer to your Highness my sincere thanks for the favour of an asylum obtained in the dominions of his Majesty the Emperor.

I take the liberty at the same time to enclose, under cover to you, a letter for her Majesty Maria Louisa. And here, Prince, I entreat you to allow me to lay aside the public character with which your highness is invested, to address you in your private character only. I wish to ask for advice rather than to accomplish an act. Having been so long absent from Europe, I might unknowingly and unwillingly transgress the rules of expediency. I give myself up to the effusion of my heart.

Prince, the result of these different feelings has been to induce me to confide the letter which I enclose herein, unsealed, to your discretion and personal judgment. It is again the result of these same feelings which impels me to represent to you the Emperor Napoleon a prey on his rock to the persecution of personal enemies, and abandoned by all the rest of the world. Henceforth I shall live only in the hope of affording him some sources of consolation. From a daily intercourse of eighteen months, and, I may say, from some moments of unreserved confidence, I know those that would be most dear to him. And who can know Napoleon better than I do? He already feels and converses on the subjects of the past events of his own history, as if they had happened three hundred years ago. He remains unchanged only with respect to family feelings. Whatever political events may have occurred, he entertains no doubts on the score of domestic sentiments. How, through what channels, by what means, could I, without transgressing the rules of expediency, or any regulations and intentions, obtain direct 312intelligence concerning his wife and his son? Prince, I again repeat that this communication is from man to man: it is one heart questioning another.

During my residence at St. Helena, we have not had any intercourse, nor been able to have any with the Commissioner from Austria. Your Highness must have read in a public document,[31] written in answer to the Governor, that, if the Austrian and Russian Commissioners had been sent to see that Napoleon was treated in a proper manner, and with the respect due to him, this measure was in harmony with the character of their Sovereigns; but that the Governor, having declared that they had no right or authority to interfere on the subject, had by that declaration rendered them inadmissible. At the same time, Napoleon publicly said that he would willingly receive them as private individuals, yet we have not seen them; be it that such was the tenor of their instructions, or, as I have more reason to suppose, that the Governor wished to subject them, as private individuals, to restrictions which would have degraded their character.

Your Highness will see by the copy of a letter, transcribed for her Majesty Maria Louisa, the severity used towards an Austrian botanist, and how much the Emperor Napoleon was hurt by that circumstance. I again repeat to your Highness the expression of the nature of my sentiments, and the assurance of the high respect with which I am, &c.


P. S. In case my Letter for her Majesty Maria Louisa should not be delivered to her, I request your Highness will do me the particular favour to cause the hair which is enclosed in it to be returned to me.


Sire,—A sentiment, a sacred duty, brings me to the feet of your Majesty.

The zealous and faithful servant of a royal victim of adversity presumes to lift up his voice to your throne, surrounded by every prosperity which fortune can bestow; will you refuse to hear him?

Unexpectedly torn from Napoleon, and, as it were, struck with sudden death at his side, I have since wandered as in another universe, pursued every where by the recollection of sufferings which I have witnessed and can no longer share.

It is at your feet, Sire, that my heart prompts me to seek for an alleviation of my affliction, for encouragement to my hope.

Your treaty of the 2nd August, 1815, with your illustrious Allies, stipulates that Napoleon is your prisoner, and abandons to England the possession of his person, and the care and necessary measures of his detention.

313I shall not say any thing against that treaty, Sire; I shall not even complain of the manner in which the British Ministers execute that part of the treaty which you have intrusted to their care.

The high interests of politics, the great grievances, however they may weigh upon my heart, are at this moment far from my thoughts; domestic cares alone occupy my breast.

I therefore implore your Majesty, as I have implored your high Allies,[32] to deign to protect the request which I address to the English Government, to be allowed to devote myself in London to the care of procuring for the illustrious captive, through the means allowed by the laws and regulations, some moral enjoyments, and some physical comforts, which will not be a burden to any body.

My request, Sire, is an innocent favour, natural and simple, and against which no reasonable objection can be raised; indeed, I am not without strong claims on your Majesty’s attention. You are far from being a stranger to them.

In abandoning to others the custody and detention of the captive, your Majesty has certainly not renounced your right of superintendence over the marks of attention and respect due to his sacred person. In renouncing all political interposition, your Majesty has not intended to preclude yourself from contributing to the consolations approved by your individual sentiments, and to those alleviations which do not interfere with the principal object, in view.

Every day, Sire, at St. Helena, chains are imposed, and their weight is aggravated in your name. Can you, Sire, have allowed your name to reach that spot, only to authorize odious and intolerable acts of severity?

He upon whom these acts are inflicted, Sire, is the same to whom you long gave the name of brother. Your royal heart cannot forget it, it cannot remain insensible. I therefore appeal, in order to obtain a small favour, to your sympathy, to your recollections, and even to your dignity. Your magnanimous mind, Sire, has shewn itself too much the friend of public morality, it has displayed too much private delicacy and generosity in its various bearings, to allow me to doubt for an instant of success.

And what is, Sire, once more, the object for which I require your protection? Merely to be allowed to be near the place of communication and conveyance, that is, on the spot the most favourable, and in the situation the most proper, to be able, according to the prescribed forms and regulations, to continue from afar those domestic cares which I am no longer allowed to exercise in the prison itself: that is all.

314Nevertheless, Sire, I implore and expect this favour from your Majesty. And how happy should I be if your Majesty should deign to add to it that of confiding to my care that part of the private and moral interest which your great engagements cannot have compelled you to renounce. And who better than myself, Sire, could fulfil that duty? Who could devote himself to it with more ardour? I have banished myself from my native country, in order to be able to give up to that purpose the rest of my life without interruption or restraint. Deign, Sire, to listen to me, and comply with my request, I beseech you. And on whom are these cares to be bestowed? In whose favour do I solicit to be allowed to sacrifice myself? Sire, it is in favour of the man whom you once called your friend.

The reign of your Majesty is sufficiently distinguished by prodigies and monuments of glory; with these, history is already provided; let it also record acts of more exalted virtue; do something for friendship!—Let history say of you: In the midst of the most violent political contest that ever existed, he set the example of something still greater than victory—he remembered, he respected, the feelings of ancient friendship!

How many times, on our rock, have I heard the Emperor Napoleon conversing on the past events of his life, as if they had occurred several centuries ago, and, already speaking the language of history, say: I never had any war with the Emperor Alexander but a political one; that war had nothing to do with our individual feelings: I cannot suppose him to feel any personal animosity against me. A circumstance which would be worthy of you, Sire, tended to confirm him in this opinion. A report reached us on our rock that the Commissioner of your Majesty at St. Helena had, at the end of his instructions, a recommendation, written by your Majesty’s own hand, enjoining him most positively to shew the same marks of respect to the Emperor Napoleon as are shewn to yourself. We took pleasure in repeating this report to him; we were aware that he was pleased by it. Such a proceeding was in harmony with the character of your Majesty, and we believed in it without, however, having had it in our power to convince ourselves of its truth; for (during my stay, at least) we never could hold any communication with the Commissioner of your Majesty. You will doubtless have heard that Napoleon being required by the Governor of St. Helena to receive the Commissioner of your Majesty, and that of your illustrious ally, the Emperor of Austria, ordered the following answer to be given: That if those Commissioners were ordered by their Masters to take care that, in an island in the midst of the ocean, remote from the rest of the world, he should be treated with the respect due to him, he recognised in that measure the character of these two Princes; that the Governor having declared that they had no right to interfere in any thing that happened on that rock, they from that moment were without an official character in his eyes. He, however, added that he should be happy to see them as private individuals; but this message remained 315without effect, either from their having never been apprized of it, or from their instructions not allowing them to take advantage of it; or lastly, perhaps (and I do not think it at all improbable), because the English Governor wished in that case to subject them to certain conditions which were inconsistent with their character.

If I have thus presumed, Sire, to raise my humble voice to your Majesty, my temerity was inspired by the entire, ardent, and unalterable devotion which I cherish for him who once reigned over me, who was my master ... and that sentiment will plead in my favour in the eyes of your Majesty.

I am, &c.


With a heart still oppressed by all the ill usage I had experienced, proceeding from the British Government, I deemed it incumbent upon me, and a public duty as it were, to complain to Lord Bathurst in the following letter, which, by the way, was kept secret for upwards of ten months, and might have remained so for ever, had not Mr. Goulburn, Under Secretary of State, by certain misplaced and incorrect assertions which he made in the House of Commons concerning me, as will hereafter be seen, compelled me in some degree to publish it. This circumstance, however, is an additional pledge to the reader of the authenticity and correctness of all the facts which I have stated.


My Lord,—Were I to bear in silence the arbitrary and tyrannical acts, the infraction of the laws, the contempt of all forms, the violation of principles, of which I have been a victim, for upwards of a year that I have been in the hands of your agents, my silence might be construed into a tacit acquiescence, which would render me guilty towards myself, towards you, and towards society at large. Towards myself, because I have ample cause to seek for redress; towards you, who are ignorant of my grounds of complaint, and might perhaps hasten to grant me that redress; and towards society, on whose behalf every upright man ought sternly to resist the encroachments of power, for the honour of the laws, and for the protection of those who come after him.

My Lord, if I have so long delayed stating my grievances to you, the blame attaches to yourself, to the persecution that has assailed me upon your shores, and to that to which you have given the impulse in neighbouring countries. It would appear, in fact, as if a species of torment had been invented for me; a deportation along the high roads. I have been carried from town to town like 316a malefactor, though I was in a dying state, without any motive having been assigned for such conduct, and without being allowed to take any rest. How then was it possible for me to write to you?

If I now address your Lordship personally respecting what concerns me, it is because all the acts of which I have to complain have originated, and have been continued, in your department, and under your name; and if other hands have since oppressed me, I am indebted to your Lordship for being placed within their reach, and to your suggestions for the treatment which they have inflicted upon me.

My Lord, I am one of the four to which your orders at Plymouth had reduced the number of those who eagerly sought the happiness and glory of following the illustrious victim of the dreadful hospitality of the Bellerophon; I followed my sacred occupation at Longwood to the best of my power; all the faculties of my heart and soul were engaged in soothing the bitterest captivity ever known, when the Governor of St. Helena suddenly tore me away from that island. Perhaps he was right: I had infringed his regulations. But, after all, I was guilty of no other crime than that of using the right, which every prisoner possesses, of endeavouring without any scruple to deceive the vigilance of his gaoler; for between us nothing had been left to delicacy, confidence, or honour. I have not complained of the proceedings enforced against me. I was only grieved at the uncalled-for insult inflicted upon him from whom I was separated. It was almost by his side, almost under his eye, that I was arrested; on which occasion he wrote, what you no doubt will have read, that, seeing me from his windows hurried off on the plain, in the midst of waving plumes and horses prancing around me, he had fancied he saw the savages of the South Sea, who, in their ferocious joy, dance round the victim whom they are about to devour.

My Lord, it was natural for me to believe that the cause of what has happened to me, the confiding of secret documents to my servant at his own request, was but the result of a snare laid for me. The Governor himself agreed with me that appearances might justify my suspicion; but he gave me his word of honour that he had nothing to do in the business, and I believed him. It had originally been intended, however, that those secret documents should pass through the Governor’s hands; they would have been addressed to him, if he had not informed me, a short time before, that if I continued to write in the same style he would separate me from him to whom I devoted my existence. So true is this assertion, and so unimportant in themselves were the documents, that they have never since been mentioned; they have remained entirely unconnected with the event to which they gave rise.[33]

My Lord, my captivity in St. Helena was only voluntary. According to your own regulation, it was to cease at my pleasure. 317As soon, therefore, as I found myself separated from Longwood, I signified to Sir Hudson Lowe, that I, from that moment, withdrew from his personal control, and placed myself again under the protection of the civil and general laws; that if I had committed any offence, I required to be sent into the presence of my judges; that if he thought it necessary to submit to the inspection of Ministers my papers, which I had given him sufficient time to examine and to understand, I desired they might be sent to you, my Lord, and that I might be sent with them. And in order that he should have the less difficulty in taking this determination, I represented to him the dreadful state of my health, and the imminent danger of my son, which required our being sent to where we might procure the first medical advice; and I further added that I submitted willingly and unreservedly to every restriction, however illegal, that your Lordship might deem it necessary to impose upon me when I should have arrived in England. Sir Hudson Lowe did not think himself at liberty to take this step; and, after he had long hesitated, and had kept me a close prisoner in the Island for five or six weeks, he at last sent me off to the Cape of Good Hope, according to the letter of his instructions; a measure which he might and certainly ought to have adopted within a few days after my arrest. This Governor, at the same time, kept back such of my papers as he thought proper, without allowing me to affix my seal to them, or he would only allow me to do so under the derisive condition of my express consent to his breaking the seal in my absence if he thought proper, which was equivalent to a prohibition of sealing them at all.

By the aid of such subterfuges, Sir Hudson Lowe might likewise assert that it was in my power to return to Longwood; it is true, that, being urged by my arguments and by the delicacy of his position with respect to me, he offered to let me go back thither, because that would have released him from his embarrassment. But at the same time that he made the offer, he rendered it impossible for me to accept it: ‘You have disgraced me and dishonoured me,’ said I to him, ‘in arresting me in Napoleon’s presence; I could no longer be an object of consolation to him, but one rather that would bring painful and injurious recollections to his mind. I could not appear again at Longwood except at his express desire.’ I asked leave to write; I did even write to inquire whether there existed such a wish; but Sir Hudson Lowe insisted upon dictating or controlling the expressions of my letter, and I was bound to refuse. His advantages were by far too great already, placed as he was amongst close prisoners, whose actions he separately directed at his will. Besides, if I even went back, he did not consent to return me my papers. The very next day he might renew upon me, or upon my unfortunate companions, the example of such degrading 318acts of authority; I had the grief of having opened the door to such an abuse of power, and my return would give to it the sanction of precedent for the future: no alternative, was, therefore, left to me, but to quit the Island with an aching heart.

I think, my Lord, I have stated to you every thing relating to my affairs at St. Helena; this account is proved and developed in my correspondence with Sir Hudson Lowe, all the documents of which, carefully arranged and put in order by myself, were seized in the Thames by your directions, and are at present in your possession.

My Lord, when I arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, I thought myself better situated for enjoying the protection of your laws. Away from the fatal island, where certain irregularities might perhaps find a colouring in the importance of the motive which had occasioned them, I found myself at a distance of five hundred leagues, in a quiet colony, governed by the uncontrolled operation of your excellent laws, so deservedly extolled. How great was my astonishment! Lord Charles Somerset found no difficulty in doing at the Cape what Sir Hudson Lowe had not dared to do at St. Helena—to detain me a prisoner. In vain I made the same entreaties, and urged the same arguments; in vain I offered the same concessions that I offered to Sir Hudson Lowe, in order that I might be sent to your Lordship in Europe; all was useless: he detained me. And this was an act of his own will and caprice, for Sir Hudson Lowe was not his superior, and could not therefore give him any orders. Lord Charles Somerset governed without controul; he held a discretionary power; he could and ought to have been a summary judge in my affair, but he constantly refused to listen to me, rejected all explanation, and, notwithstanding my warm and urgent representations, contented himself with coolly inquiring of my natural judges, at a distance of three thousand leagues, whether he should do right in sending me to them; thereby inflicting upon me, from that moment, the most dreadful sentence that any tribunal could ever have pronounced; an exile, and an imprisonment of seven or eight months’ duration, separated by three thousand leagues from my family, my private affairs, my country, my connexions, and all my affections.

My Lord, according to the sanctity of your laws, and to the principles which have been transmitted to you by your forefathers, Lord Charles Somerset has become guilty towards me of the greatest of crimes; a crime which in the eyes of many people is equal to that of homicide, and which, from the torments I have been made to endure, exceeds it in mine. I denounce it to you, and demand justice at your hands. There is not an Englishman, valuing his noble privileges, whose voice does not unite with mine, and who does not form to himself a correct idea of the torments I have suffered. In vain it will be alleged that the Cape is but a colony governed by a military power, and still, to a certain extent, by Dutch laws. My Lord, the justice and protection of the 319British laws ought to reign wherever the British name extends. What would be a crime on the banks of the Thames cannot be a matter of indifference in a part of Africa over which the British standard waves.

I was not a prisoner of war; I could only be a prisoner amenable to the tribunals. To have kept me eight months separate from my judges is a denial of justice that would make an Englishman shudder; to have punished me without either trial or sentence is an act of tyranny which is revolting to your legislation. What did I ask of Lord Charles Somerset? Did I demand my liberty? No; I only requested that I might be sent a prisoner to you, and undergo a trial, if there was cause for one. But he sported in this instance with that which reason holds most sacred, which is most pleasing to the heart, and dearest to man. What could be his motives? What excuses could he plead? He constantly and obstinately refused to give any. And here, my Lord, I desire it may be understood that indignation and grief do not carry me so far as not to distinguish in Lord Charles Somerset the private attentions with which he endeavoured to soften my captivity from the infamy of the public act by which he doomed me to it; although it is true that, towards the end of my residence, the warmth of my expressions, and no doubt the importunity of my appeals, exasperated him so far as to induce him to keep me confined in the country, in spite of my entreaties and of the deplorable state of my health, out of the daily reach of physicians and medicines.

At last, my Lord, after a captivity of seven months, it was signified to me, no doubt in consequence of orders arrived from your Lordship, that I had only to procure a vessel to carry me to England. In vain I asked that some opportunity might be selected, which would afford some of those comforts which the distressing state of my health, and that of my son, required; every suitable ship was refused me under some pretence or other; and the choice that was left to me was reduced to the only vessel on the eve of sailing; and even that was pointed out to me by the Governor himself. I was compelled to embark in it as a prisoner, and yet at my own expense; (this, by the way, appears a little contradictory;) and in this brig, of the burden of two hundred and thirty tons, and having a crew of twelve men, we had to endure a voyage of nearly one hundred days, without a physician, and subject to all the inconveniences, all the privations, all the evils, attendant upon so small a vessel.

This, my Lord, is all that concerns my affair at the Cape of Good Hope, the proof and particulars of which are to be found in my correspondence with Lord Charles Somerset, which was seized in the Thames by your orders, and is at present in your possession.

On reaching your shores, my Lord, I thought I had arrived at the end of my troubles. On my arrival at the Cape, I had the honour of addressing a letter to the Prince Regent, to implore his royal protection; I had also written one to your Lordship upon the 320same subject, and I had no doubt that the order given for my return was owing to those letters. Already I felt my sufferings alleviated by the pleasing prospect of seeing some friends I have in London, and of resuming the management of my private affairs, which had been either neglected, or totally ruined, during an absence of upwards of three years; but what was my surprise! On arriving in the Thames, I was instantly placed in solitary confinement, and had seals put upon my papers. A few hours afterwards, one of your messengers came to seize my person in the middle of the night, signified to me the order for my being conveyed to the Continent, and conducted me to Dover for the purpose of sending me thither. A delay of three days having occurred, his zeal led him to turn this time to account: he restored my papers to me; procured me every facility for writing; did all he could to encourage me to write, and watched for the very last moment previous to my departure, in order to make the most minute search after my papers, and carry every one of them away, to the very last written line. This, my Lord, is a kind of snare which I am far from attributing to any other cause than to the baseness of the person who laid it.

A similar circumstance had occurred at St. Helena. Sir Hudson Lowe, after having kept me confined for five weeks, during which he had allowed me every facility to write, wished at my departure to search again amongst my papers; but it was sufficient for me to observe to him how strange it would appear that he had afforded me the facility of confiding to paper ideas which I should otherwise have kept within my own breast. Sir Hudson Lowe instantly gave up the thought; it is an acknowledgment which, in justice to the Governor, I am bound to make.

What appears most strange, my Lord, and what will hardly be credited, is, that your messenger should have packed up all my papers, in spite of my remonstrances, and have taken them away from me, without writing down an inventory of them, or attending to any of the formalities required by all received notions of jurisprudence throughout the world. Persuaded that this deviation from first principles proceeded from the ignorance of the subaltern, and not from the orders of the Minister, I sought for your own interest, my Lord, to remedy the evil, by obtaining, and hastening to affix my seal to the papers, in order that you might rectify in time the errors of your agents. I am anxious that your Lordship should appreciate the motive of this proceeding; it was solely intended, as will be made evident to you by the nature of my papers, to afford you an insight into my character and a proof of my moderation. I had the honour of writing to Lord Sidmouth to this effect, on the spur of the moment, and of pointing out to him, at the same time, how necessary my presence would be at the examination of my papers, which are very easily understood by the most trifling explanation from myself, but which might remain quite unintelligible in my absence. Lord Sidmouth has not honoured me with a reply.

Your agent, however, my Lord, outstepping the bounds of that 321decency and generous feeling which particularly characterize the individuals of your nation, contrived to add more bitterness to his mission than could well be imagined. After having offended me once, by grossly insulting the person whom I venerate above all others in this world, he heaped upon myself every expression of insult which language affords, for no other reason than that I would not enter into conversation with him. He had received your orders to guard me; but could he suppose that you wished to extend your power so far as to force me to associate with him? This man had an assistant, of whom I have no reason to complain, although he took a part in inflicting the treatment I experienced; I could, however, occasionally remark a certain reserve in him towards me; and he was besides urged on and excited by the other.

Your messenger, my Lord, in signifying to me, in the middle of the night, the order for my removal, left me no other choice than Calais or Ostend. I had hardly recovered from my surprise, when I had to make an immediate decision. A few hours afterwards, I asked, upon further reflection, whether I could not be allowed to go to America, or to some other part of the Continent. The messenger replied in the negative, and that he had already written to the Government, to communicate the choice I had made; I again urged the subject, but he assured me he was persuaded that all my endeavours would be vain. Could his assertion be true, my Lord? I have difficulty in believing it; nevertheless it determined my fate.

I have seen, but have not been allowed to hold in my hands, the order of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, which commands me instantly to quit England. Was this refusal a mere matter of form? Was it a precaution taken? Would this royal act involve any responsibility, or was it feared that I might pride myself upon it? And, in fact, could it be otherwise, when, without laying any crime to my charge, it seemed only to punish an act of the most rare devotedness, that of a servant sacrificing himself with his master when fortune had deserted him.

My Lord, when your Lordship limited my choice, I selected Ostend in preference to Calais, from pure motives of delicacy suggested to me by tender love of my country; it would have been too painful to me that my countrymen should ever be accused of having persecuted me for a virtuous action. This conduct on their part might perhaps, however, have been at least excusable; on yours, my Lord, my removal from England proceeded from a mere caprice, a severity that nothing can palliate.

I am now, however, upon the Continent, where I have been thrown by you against my will. Allow me, my Lord, to pause here for a moment. I know every circumstance of my life; and happily there is not a corner in Europe where I may not tread with an easy heart, an open countenance, and a firm step. But you, my Lord, who neither have the leisure, nor the will, nor the means of inquiring into my obscure career, if by chance I had been brought into danger through the effects of political dissensions, during the 322existence of which, all actions that are proscribed are not therefore crimes, if I had fallen a sacrifice, I should have been called a victim; but you, my Lord, who would have delivered me up, what name might not have been given to you? Were you not exposing yourself to have it said of you, ‘Whilst the English legislature prides itself upon having abolished the trade of black slaves in the islands of America, the British Ministers are trading in white flesh on the continent of Europe!’

My Lord, in consequence of the impulse which your Lordship has given to my destinies, I have been seized and conducted across the kingdom of the Netherlands like a malefactor; and, though in a dying state, have been treated without mercy. I have loudly complained of this conduct. On this subject, my Lord, shall I venture to repeat to you some unpleasant truths that were told me? But why not? All your countrymen have a right to tell the truth fearlessly to a British Minister, and this is much more incumbent upon a foreigner who has such just motives of complaint and sorrow. Well then, my Lord, when I complained of so revolting an abuse of power against me, I was asked from what part of the world I came, and whence proceeded my astonishment? Some persons said to me, ‘We have a good King; do not find fault with him; he is only the instrument that strikes you; the tyrannical hand that wields it is farther off.’ Others added, ‘The English nation had settlements in India a long time since for the benefit of its commerce, and the English Ministers are now establishing some upon the Continent to favour their despotism. When their authority is eluded in England, they protract it upon the Continent. They have placed amongst us their instruments of torture and their executioners, and you will neither escape from their inquisition, nor from the punishments it inflicts.’ Then followed a volley of animadversions and imprecations against England and Englishmen. No doubt, my Lord, that people who are wise, well informed, and free from passions, are not mistaken on this subject, and know with whom alone the blame rests. They can very well distinguish the excellence of the laws from their violation, and from the abuse of power; they know that true Englishmen abhor and detest all species of tyranny, whether at home or abroad; that in their island they are the most ardent defenders, the most zealous guardians, of the great and noble truths which upon our Continent are the objects of our hopes and of our wishes. But the majority of the people do not consider the question so closely; they find it the shortest way to attack a whole nation, and to involve it in one general condemnation.

But, my Lord, what is, after all, my crime? I demand what can be the motive of so cruel a persecution? and the countries in which that persecution has been continued by the impulse which you have given, unite with me in demanding it. Every where the authorities, who have exercised their jurisdiction over my person, have carefully avoided seeing me. The rights which I possessed would have embarrassed them, and they could not have assigned 323any motive for their acts. They are ignorant of the origin and of the cause of them. From the Cape of Good Hope to the place where I now am, whenever I have asked what sentence had been pronounced, what charge had been preferred against me, I have been answered by the production of an order; and when I have required a motive to be assigned, I have received no answer at all.

My Lord, I had the honour of addressing to you from the Cape the following observations, which I now repeat:—What rational objection can be raised against the wish which I expressed to inhabit your country, and to reside among you? Was it feared that I should converse and write upon political subjects? But if I had, what inconvenience could result therefrom to England? Was it feared that I should publish unwelcome complaints respecting your administration? But is there a spot on the Continent where I am forbidden to give vent to those complaints, and where I should not find every body disposed to listen to them? Placed on your own territory, and within your reach, was not that the situation in which you would have had the surest hold upon me, and the greatest authority over me? If I became guilty, had you not your general laws? If I became obnoxious, had you not your private laws; and, moreover, your Alien Bill? Lastly, and above all, you had, as a pledge of my reserve and moderation, my wish to remain near you. That wish was great, my Lord, and I will tell you why. My residence in England would have enabled me to fulfil the hopes and the destiny of my life, by devoting myself for ever to procure (consistently with your regulations, and through the legal channel allowed by you) some consolations and comforts for him for whom I mourn. I suppose, my Lord, that you and your colleagues have a sufficient degree of elevation of mind to fulfil, on this occasion, a political duty, and at the same time, to remain strangers to all motives of personal animosity. Having secured the safe custody of the captive, you cannot grudge the enjoyment of any indulgence that is not a burden to you; you will, on the contrary, facilitate the means of his obtaining them. I implore, therefore, to be allowed to undertake the sacred duty of bestowing them; my heart feels the want of fulfilling it: I will do it in good faith. I should have convinced you, my Lord, had I been able to see you, and I do not despair yet; I still solicit again....

I had also considered, my Lord, I must confess, that another chance of my admission existed in the wish which your Lordship must have felt to take advantage of so favourable an opportunity to learn the truth. I thought that both your situation and your character would prompt you to do so. And what conflicting evidence would you not thus have obtained to direct you in your noble functions as jury! I should have replied to all your questions with candour and without passion; I should have convinced you quietly, if you had wished it, of all the errors in which the multiplicity and importance of your affairs compel you to remain with respect to us. I have read in three different papers, 324the Times, the New Times, and the London Chronicle, your answer to Lord Holland, on his motion relative to St. Helena; and I can assure you that almost every line of it is founded on error.

God forbid, my Lord, that I should suspect that you do not believe yourself what you state! But your information has been erroneous. Your Lordship has affirmed, for instance, that none of the relations of the Emperor Napoleon had written to him; whereas I myself delivered to him three or four letters, sent by you through Sir Hudson Lowe, from Madame Mère, from the Princess Borghese, and from his brother Lucien. The fact in itself, my Lord, is unimportant; but the want of accuracy on this point must excite your doubts upon others, and corroborate, in some degree, my assertions upon the remainder. Again, that part of your speech concerning myself is so garbled that, notwithstanding the unfavourable prejudice which I have a right to entertain against Sir Hudson Lowe, I am persuaded that he will himself exclaim against the incorrectness of the statement. Be that as it may, my Lord, in the heat of opposition, and of conflicting parties, two true conclusions are invariably drawn from the same fact, and my conclusion cannot possibly be precisely yours. The public are aware of this, and would therefore have wished to establish theirs upon official documents. But you have thought proper to refuse to produce these documents; will you not have thereby fixed public opinion?

My Lord, it is time to sum up, after so long a statement.

1.—I demand justice and redress for the abuse of power, the arbitrary and tyrannic act, by which Lord Charles Somerset deprived me of my liberty during so long a period, and in direct violation of the laws of his country.

2.—I demand justice and redress for the irregular forms with which all my papers have been seized in the Thames, without an inventory having been made of them, notwithstanding all my remonstrances.

3.—I demand justice and redress for having been sent to the Continent as a captive, in open violation of all principles, and, in consequence of an impulse given, or instructions transmitted, obliged to pass through the Netherlands and adjacent countries as a malefactor.

4.—I demand the examination and prompt restitution of my papers seized in the Thames. Most of them had been respected by Sir Hudson Lowe, and others are absolutely necessary to me in the daily occurrences of my domestic affairs; they contain all my titles of property and fortune; without them I am deprived of every thing.

5.—I demand the restitution of my papers of St. Helena, the inventory of which, duly certified and signed by Sir Hudson Lowe, is amongst the papers that have been seized in the Thames. My papers of St. Helena consist almost solely of a manuscript, in which are recorded, day by day, during eighteen months, but as 325yet confusedly, and without being settled, the conversations, the words, and perhaps even the gestures, of him who so long guided the destinies of Europe.

This manuscript, sacred by its nature and its object, was unknown, and was intended to remain unknown to all. I allowed Sir Hudson Lowe to peruse it sufficiently to be convinced of its inoffensive nature in political matters. On arriving at the Cape, I had the honour to write to the Prince Regent, through the channel of Ministers, as well as to Ministers themselves, to place these precious materials under their special protection; I appealed to them in the name of justice and of history. They are, according to all laws, my sacred property, the property of my children, and of posterity.

6.—Lastly, and above all, I demand the restoration of the letter which the Emperor Napoleon did me the honour to address to me in my prison, in the Island of St. Helena. A letter entirely foreign to politics, read by the Governor of St. Helena, read by Ministers themselves, if they have thought proper to do so, cannot, consistently with any code of laws, be taken from the person whose property it is, however strong it may be in the tenor of its confidential expressions. This sacred and precious object is the reward of my life, a title for my children, a monument for my family.

My Lord, as I am by nature and reflection a friend to propriety and moderation, it is to you that I first address the enumeration of my grievances. It is of you alone that I quietly ask their redress.[34] But if your Lordship should not think proper to reply, it is then to your tribunal that I shall feel compelled to appeal; after that to the tribunal of public opinion; and lastly, and above all, to that dread tribunal, which, holding the balance with an equal hand between tyrants and victims, secures in eternity the infallible triumph of all rights and the final chastisement of all injustice.

“I have the honour to be,” &c.

It was about this time that my petition to the British Parliament also appeared. I had forwarded it from the deserts of Tygerberg to London: but, whether it did not reach its address, or whether obstacles occurred to its being brought forward, not a word had been said about it. My return brought the circumstance to light. A member of the House of Commons, struck with the sensation which its publication had just caused, offered to present it himself; and for that purpose a paper was 326sent to me from England, to which I affixed my signature. But this formality was not sufficient; and this circumstance, added perhaps to other considerations, prevented its being laid before the House. I transcribe it here. It is so nearly allied to my subject that I trust I shall be forgiven for so doing. Besides, that document and others which are found in this volume have been mutilated, disfigured, and re-translated into French from a foreign text: I am therefore interested in their being restored in all their integrity. Besides, if they were not found here they might be considered as apocryphal, and that is what I wish to avoid.


A simple individual, a helpless stranger, presumes to raise his voice among you, Representatives of the people of England; but he invokes you in the name of humanity, of justice,—in the name of your glory. Can he speak in vain? must he not be heard? Cast out from St. Helena, forced away from the greatest monument of the vicissitudes of human life that ever existed, I approach you to paint to you his situation, his sufferings. Snatched suddenly and unexpectedly from his presence, deprived of all communication, my words, my ideas, will be all my own: they will have no other source but my heart. Perhaps the lofty spirit of him who is the object of them will be irritated by the step which I am taking at this moment; thinking that here below he ought not, he cannot, appeal from his sufferings, but to God alone. Perhaps he will demand of me who has committed the cares and the interests of his life to me? It matters not: my love for him will have caused my weakness. I feel myself already too far from his heroic influence; my heart can no longer contain the ills of which it has been the witness. They open for themselves a passage; they force me to cry out.

You have banished in the deserts of the ocean him whose magnanimous confidence brought him, freely and from choice, to live among you, under the protection of your laws, which he considered all-powerful. No doubt you sought in your determination only what you conceived to be useful; you did not pretend to be just; otherwise it might be demanded of you, who put him in your power? who gave you the right of judging him? upon what ground have you condemned him? whom have you heard in his defence?... But you have made the law.... It exists; I respect it. I am not entitled to discuss the principle. I will refrain from all murmur; my protest shall not escape from my heart. You shall hear now only the vexations with which your decisions have been attended, and, no doubt, contrary to your intentions. Representatives of Great Britain, you have said you only wished to 327secure the person of the Emperor Napoleon, and to ensure his detention.—This object attained, you proposed that every thing should be lavished upon him that could soften and alleviate what you have considered the work, the obligation of policy:—such have been the spirit, the letter of your laws, the expression of your debates, the wishes of your nation, the sentiments of its honour. Well, then! only the severe part of your intentions has reached the illustrious captive upon his frightful rock. Happy, however, still, if they never had been transgressedtransgressed. But the clouds which hang over his island are less dense, less dark, than the moral and physical pains which are heaped upon his head.

Under the vain pretence of apprehensions purely imaginary, every day has seen new restrictions. His proud spirit has every day brooked new outrages; all exercise has become impossible to him; all visits, all conversations, have been nearly interdicted. Thus privations of every kind, vexations of every nature, unite against him with the extreme insalubrity of a climate, at once humid and burning, with the dull monotony of a sky without colours or seasons. They contract every instant, in a frightful manner, the circle of his life! He is compelled to keep his chamber. They are inflicting on him his death!

Did you then intend all these things? No, undoubtedly; and what motives could justify them? The fear of an escape? Then let them call together military and naval men, competent judges, that they may consult their experience, that they may learn their opinions, and let them cease to surrender such an object to the discretion of a single man, who, taking his terrors for his guide, will occupy his time every day with combating phantoms which his own terrified imagination may create, without reflecting that he cannot destroy all chances, or reach them all, but by causing death. At Longwood all escape is held impossible; no one there thinks of it. Certainly, every one would wish to accomplish the enterprise at the expense of his life: death would appear sweet for so glorious a result. But how elude the officers who are constantly on the watch? escape the soldiers who line the shore? descend perpendicular rocks? throw one’s self, as it were, into the vast ocean? clear a first line of boats? a second of ships of war? when one is overlooked from all the heights, where one may be surrounded, pursued with signals every instant, and in all directions? And what mode of embarkation could be hazarded? There is none within reach of the shore. In what vessel could refuge be sought? There is not one far or near; all foreign sail, even those of your own nation, become the prey of your cruisers, if they approach without urgent motives the accursed isle!

With such precautions and under such circumstances, is not then the whole island a prison sufficiently secure? Can it be necessary to fill it incessantly with prisons within prisons? And if so many difficulties could be overcome, which is impossible, the immensity of the seas and almost every land remain still a new prison?

Now who would induce men in their sound senses to dream of 328such ridiculous attempts? Who at Longwood could entertain thoughts so madly desperate? Besides, the Emperor Napoleon has still the same views, the same desires, which he declared when he came with confidence freely and in good faith among you: ‘A retreat and repose under the protection of your positive laws, or those of America.’ This is what he wished, this is what he wishes still, what he always demands.

If then the island of St. Helena, from its nature, is not already a sufficient prison—if it has not the advantage of combining safety with indulgence, you have been deceived in your choice and your intentions. For what purpose send us to die miserably in a foreign climate? For what purpose all your additional expenses? For what purpose your numerous garrison and its large staff? For what purpose your naval establishment? For what purpose the restrictions imposed upon the commerce of that unfortunate isle? There were many points in your European dominions where you could have kept us without expense, and where we should have considered ourselves less unfortunate! If that island, on the contrary, from its nature, and with the aid of the precautions above stated, presented in itself every thing that human wisdom and prudence can conceive necessary, then would not all aggravating conditions be so many useless vexations, tyrannical and barbarous acts executed against your intention? For it was not your intention to torture Napoleon—to make him die by inches; and yet it is but too true that he is perishing from the incessant wounds of every day, of every hour, of every minute.

If you chose to behold in him a simple prisoner, and not the object of the ostracism of kings, a king himself—if you have designed to give him only a common prison, and not to choosechoose for him a place where the asperities of his exile might be mitigated—if it was intended to commit him to a gaoler, and not to an officer of high rank, who, by his habits of business and of the world, would know how to unite what he owed to the safety of the captive with the respect and regard which he commands—if it was intended to pursue hatred and vengeance, and all the narrow and vulgar passions—if it was intended only, in fine, to intrust to the climate the death of the illustrious enemy, to charge nature with an act which no one durst execute himself—if all this was intended, I stop; I leave nothing more to say; I have already said too much.

But if, in the spirit of your Bill itself, you meant to accompany your political act, as you in fact did, with all the intentions of a great, noble, and honourable nation, I may continue: for you must have meant all the good that circumstances can permit; interdicted every ill that necessity did not command. You never meant that the prisoner should be deprived of all exercise, by the needless imposition of conditions or forms which would make that recreation a torment.

You have not wished that the nature of his words, the length of his sentences, should be prescribed to him, you have not wished that his original circuit should be abridged upon the pretence that he 329did not make daily use of its extent; you have not wished that he should be forced to confine himself to his chamber, that he might not find himself in the midst of intrenchments and palisades, with which his garden is ridiculously surrounded.

Now, all these things exist; they are renewed every day, although they are considered useless, and although a great many of your countrymen condemn and lament them.—You did not wish that, to the great detriment of his health and his comforts, he should be condemned to a wretched, small, inconvenient dwelling: while the government had large and fine houses both in town and country, which would have been much more commodious and more appropriate, and would have saved the sending of the famous palace, or to speak much more correctly, of the immense quantity of rough planks, now rotting unused upon the shore, because it has been found that it would require from seven to eight years to complete the intended edifice. You cannot have meant that, in spite of the sums which you have devoted to them, the necessaries of life, all the means of subsistence, furnished daily at Longwood, should be of the worst kind, while others could have those of the best quality; you did not mean that Napoleon should be so far outraged as to attempt to force him to discuss the little details of his own expenditure, that he should be called upon to produce a surplus when he had none; that, in default of his so doing, he should be threatened with insufferable reductions; that he should be forced to desire, in his indignation, ‘To let him be quiet; that he asked for nothing; that when he should be hungry he would go and seat himself among those brave fellows whose tents he perceived at a distance, who would not repulse the oldest soldier in Europe.’—You did not intend that Napoleon should find himself thereby constrained to sell his plate piece-meal, to supply the deficiency of every month, and that he should be reduced to the necessity of accepting what some faithful servants were happy enough to be able to lay at his feet.

O Englishmen! Is it thus they can treat in your name, him who has governed Europe, disposed of so many thrones, created so many kings! Do you not fear the loud complaint of history? Suppose it should hereafter say, ‘They deceived him to get possession of his person, and they afterwards grudged him the means of subsistence.’ Will you suffer your sentiments, your character, your honour, to be thus compromised?compromised? Is this then your Bill, your intentions? And what connexion have such unbecoming measures with security? You never intended that authority should make a puerile and barbarous study of incessantly recalling, by words, regulations, and acts, that which it would have been delicate never to mention; by repeating to us every day that we deceived ourselves strangely respecting our position; by rigidly interdicting all unusual respect; in even punishing, as we have been told, those whose habits had inadvertently led them to shew such respect; by restricting the journals furnished us to those which might be the most disagreeable; by voluntarily procuring 330us libels; and by removing or withholdingwithholding, on the contrary, favourable works; in fine, by imposing upon us the literal form of the declaration by which we were to purchase the slavery and the happiness of attending a revered object; by compelling us to admit into it denominations contrary to our habits and to our laws, thus taking advantage of our own hands to degrade the august object whom we surrounded; and yet we were obliged to do it, because, upon our unanimous refusal, we were threatened with being all torn from our pleasing employment, instantly thrown on board ship, and carried to the Cape of Good Hope.—How can these cruel and tyrannical measures contribute to security?

It will be hardly believed that Napoleon, on inquiring if he might be allowed to write to the Prince Regent, was answered by authority that his letter would not be suffered to pass, unless it was open; or that it would be opened to ascertain its contents: a proceeding which reason rejects, as equally insulting to the two august persons.

St. Helena had been chosen for us, we were told, in order that we might be able to enjoy there a certain degree of liberty and some indulgence.—But we cannot speak to any one; we are forbidden to write to any one whomsoever; we are restricted in our most petty domestic affairs. Ditches and intrenchments surround our dwellings; an authority without control governs us. And St. Helena was chosen in order to allow us some indulgence! But what prison in England, then, could have been worse for us? Certainly, there is none there at this day that would not seem to us a blessing. We should find ourselves in a Christian land; we should breathe European air. The control of a superior authority would have sheltered us from personal resentments, from momentary irritation, or even an error in judgment.

It has been insinuated to the officers of your nation that they are not to present themselves before him whom they guard; or they have been forbidden to do so. The English themselves, whatever may be the rank and the confidence which they enjoy, have been forbidden to approach us, and to enter into conversation with us, without formalities which are equivalent to an interdiction, lest we might represent to them the ill usage heaped upon us—a precaution useless with respect to security; but which proves the jealous care with which we are prevented from communicating the truth. Our efforts on this subject have been made a crime; as if to inform you of the truth, particularly where it interests your honour, your character, was not doing you a service.

You certainly never intended to allow such a tyranny over our thoughts and sentiments, as to insinuate to us, or inform us, that, if we continued to express ourselves freely in our letters to our relatives, to our friends, we should be torn from the presence of Napoleon, and banished from the Island. Yet it is precisely this circumstance which has brought about my deportation, by causing me to forward, clandestinely, the very letters which I had in the 331first instance, intended for the Governor, and which I would have sent to him, had it not been for his vexatious intimation—an intimation gratuitously tyrannical—since these letters were sent open to Ministers, accompanied, if necessary, by the notes of the local authority, that they might be detained by the Ministers, if they were improper; or even delivered up to the laws, if they were criminal: and since, at all events, they must have in their eyes the merit of being a further means of coming at the truth.

Certainly, you never intended that those who had obtained the favour of staying with Napoleon should find themselves within the penalties of the laws, but excluded from their benefit. This is, however, what has been positively signified to us. You did not intend that my most secret, and most sacred, papers should be seized; and, though I had allowed them to be read cursorily, in order to shew their nature, that they should be taken from me, and that I should not be allowed to put my seal upon them. You never intended that a barbarous sport should be made in my case, of whatever is most holy and most sacred among you; that, in contempt of my constant claims to be restored to liberty, or brought to trial; that, in despite of my reiterated offers to submit myself voluntarily, beforehand, to all the privations, even arbitrary, which might be imposed upon me in England, I should be kept prisoner at St. Helena; that I should be sent from that Island to the Cape of Good Hope, to be brought back in the course of time, from the Cape to St. Helena; that I should be carried a prisoner over the vast extent of sea, in a frail vessel, to the great injury of the health of my son, whose life was in danger, to the peril of my own life, which has been afflicted with infirmities that must accompany me to the grave,—if, indeed, they do not plunge me into it before my time.

It was not your intention that, on my arrival at the Cape, the Governor should detain me there arbitrarily, without examination, without inquiry, without inquest, and cause me to wither there in the pangs of sorrow, of delay, and of despair, upon the ridiculous pretence of sending to a distance of two thousand leagues to inquire of my natural judges, the ministers to whom I so earnestly solicited to be delivered up, if it would be right to send me to them; and executing beforehand upon me, by that single act, a sentence a thousand times more terrible than could have been that of my judges, viz. depriving me for several months of my liberty, detaining me the whole of that time a captive at the extremity of the earth, separated from my family, from my friends, from my interests, painfully wearing out in the desert the few days which remain to me. Surely, under the empire of positive laws, no one could thus tyrannically sport with the liberty, the life, the happiness of individuals.

O Englishmen! if such acts should remain unpunished, your excellent laws would be no more than an empty name. You would carry terror to the extremities of the earth and there would no longer be either liberty or justice among you.

332Such are the grievances which I had to make known to you, and which are developed, with others, in a letter hereto annexed,[35] which, on leaving St. Helena, I sent to the Governor, in the hope that it might produce a reformation.

Many of these grievances would perhaps have deserved to pass unnoticed by us; nevertheless, I have done myself the violence of laying them before you. There are none of them so trivial as not to interest your honour. And what could be the causes of such measures? Whence can proceed these gradual attacks, these continued aggravations. How can they have been justified? We know not.

Not, however, that the ruling power at St. Helena denies the danger to the health of the captive, the imminent peril of his life, the probable and speedy issue of such a state of things. ‘It will have been his own wish,’ they content themselves with coldly observing; ‘It will be his own fault.’ But do they act discreetly in this? To confess that Napoleon seeks death, is it not confessing that they have rendered life intolerable to him? ‘Moreover,’ continue they, ‘why refuse to take the necessary exercise, because an officer must accompany him? What is there in this formality so hateful, so painful? Why does he insist upon making it a matter of such great importance?’ But who can arrogate to himself the right of judging of the feelings of the illustriousillustrious victim? Napoleon debars himself, and he is silent; what would they have more? Besides, it has been reported, a thousand times, it is neither the colour of the coat nor the difference of nation which creates repugnance; but the nature of the thing itself, and its inevitable effects. If, in such exercise, the benefit of the body were greatly below the sufferings of the mind, would this exercise be an advantage?

But it is further insinuated, (for there is not one identical scale for all minds and all sentiments) ‘Why such particular regard, why such extraordinary cares and attentions? After all he is a captive, of distinction perhaps, but what is he more? what are his claims?’

What he is, and what are his claims, I will proceed to state.

Napoleon’s destiny has been the first, the most astonishing in history. He is the man of renown, of prodigies; the hero of ages. His name is in every mouth; his actions excite every imagination; his career remains without a parallel. When Cæsar meditated the seizure of the sovereign power in his country, Cæsar was already the first man in it, by his birth and his riches; when Alexander undertook to subjugate Asia, Alexander was a king, and the son of a king who had paved the way for his successes: but Napoleon, rushing from the crowd to govern the world, presents himself alone without any other auxiliary than his genius. His first steps in his career are so many miracles; he immediately 333covers himself with immortal laurels, and reigns from that instant over every mind: the idol of his soldiers, whose glory he has raised to the skies—the hope of his country, which, in her pangs already feels that he will be her liberator; and this expectation is not disappointed. At her expiring voice, Napoleon, interrupting his mysterious destinies, hastens from the banks of the Nile; traverses the seas, at the risk of his liberty and of his reputation; and lands alone upon the French shore. Every heart leaps at seeing him again. Acclamations, public rejoicing, and triumph attend him into the capital. At sight of him the different factions droop, parties blend themselves into one; he rules, and the revolution is chained.

The mere weight of opinion, the influence of one single man, effected every thing. He had no occasion to fight; not one drop of blood was shed. Nor was this the only time that such a prodigy distinguished his life.

At his voice, the principles of disorganization vanish; wounds are closed; stains are effaced. Creation seems once more to issue from chaos.

All the revolutionary follies disappear; grand and noble truths alone remain. Napoleon knows no party; no prejudice attaches to his administration. All opinions, all sects, all talents, form themselves in a group about him; a new order of things commences.

The nation recovers breath, and blesses him; the people of other states admire him; kings respect him; every one is happy,—every one fells himself once more honoured in being a Frenchman.

Shortly, he is raised to the throne; he becomes Emperor. Every one knows the rest. Every one knows with what lustre, with what power, he dignified his crown. A sovereign by the choice of the people, consecrated by the head of religion, sanctioned by the hand of victory, what chief of a dynasty ever united titles so powerful, so noble, so pure? Let them be examined.

All the Sovereigns were allied to him by blood or treaties. All nations acknowledged him. Englishmen, if you alone are an exception, that exception only belongs to your policy; it was only a matter of form. Moreover, you are precisely those who have seen in Napoleon the most sacred, the most indisputable titles. Other powers may perhaps have yielded to necessity. You, you have done nothing but submit to principles, to your conviction, to the truth; for such are your doctrines that Napoleon, four times elected by a great nation, must necessarily, in spite of your public denials, have found himself a sovereign in the bottom of your hearts. Look into your consciences!... Now, Napoleon has lost nothing but his throne; a reverse has snatched it from him; success would have fixed it with him for ever. He has seen eleven hundred thousand men march against him. Their generals, their sovereigns, have every where proclaimed that his person was their sole object. What a destiny! He fell; but he lost only power: all 334his august attributes remain and command the respect of mankind.

A thousand recollections of glory still crown him; misfortune renders him sacred, and, in this state of things, the man of real feeling does not hesitate to consider him more venerable upon his rock than at the head of six hundred thousand men, imposing laws.

Such are his claims.

In vain would narrow minds, or perfidious hearts, attempt to charge him, as is the custom, with being the offensive cause of all the evils, of all the troubles, of which we have been the witnesses or the victims. The time of libels is past, the truth must have its turn. Already the clouds of falsehood are clearing up before the sun of futurity. A time will come when the world will render him complete justice; for passions die with contemporaries; but actions live with posterity, which has no bounds. Then it will be said that the great actions, the great benefits, came from him; that the evils were those of time and fate.

Who does not now begin to see that, notwithstanding his vast power, he never had the choice of his destiny or of his means? that, constantly armed for defence, he retarded his destruction only by a constant succession of new prodigies; that in this terrible conflict he was placed under the necessity of subduing every thing, in order to survive and save the great national cause? Who among you, Englishmen, dreams of denying, above all, this last truth? Has not war for life been often proclaimed among you; and did not your secret allies, in the bottom of their hearts, feel that which your position permitted you to declare aloud? Do you not still boast that you would have carried on the war as long as he maintained himself? Thus every time that he proposed peace to you, whether his offers were sincere, or whether they were not, it was of little importance to you: your decision was fixed. What course then remained for him, and what reproach could be uttered against him, which you yourselves did not already deserve? And who at this day would still pretend to bring forward the vulgar reproach of his ambition? What then has it had so new, so extraordinary, and above all, so exclusive in his person?

Did it stifle sentiment in him, when he said to the illustrious Fox, that in future Europe would be so united by laws, manners, and blood, that there could be no war in it, but civil war?

Was it irresistible, when, describing to us all his useless efforts to prevent the rupture of the treaty of Amiens, he concluded that England, notwithstanding all the advantages of to-day, would, however, have gained more by having adhered to it; that all Europe would have gained by it; that he alone, perhaps, his name and his glory, would have lost by it?

Was it an over-greedy and common ambition, when at Chatillon he preferred the chance of losing a throne to the certainty 335of possessing it at the price of the glory and independence of the nation?

Was it incapable of alteration, when he has been heard to say, ‘I returned from the Isle of Elba quite another man. They did not think it possible, and they were wrong. I am not a man to do things with a bad grace, or by halves. I would have been at once the monarch of the constitution and of peace?’

Was it insatiable, when, after the victory of which he considered himself certain at Waterloo, his first word to the vanquished was to have been the offer of the treaty of Paris, and a sincere and solid union, which, blending the interests of the two nations, would have insured the empire of the seas to England, and forced the continent to repose?

Was it blind, and without motives, when, after his disaster, passing in review the political consequences which he had so often foreseen, and trembling at the probabilities of the future, he exclaimed, ‘There is no nation, not even the English, who may not one day have to lament their victory at Waterloo?’

And who can now think of reverting to this charge of ambition? It will not be the people, all astonished as they are, at the conduct of those who have overthrown him. Will it be the Sovereigns? They talked of nothing but justice before the battle, but what use have they made of the victory? Let them cease, then, to repeat these odious charges. They might be an excellent pretence; they would be pitiful justifications. Let them content themselves with having conquered!...

But I grow warm. Whither do the force of truth, the warmth of sentiment, the impulse of the heart, carry me? I return to my subject.

Representatives of Great Britain, take this state of things into fresh consideration. Justice, humanity, your honour, your glory, demand it from you. St. Helena is insupportable; Napoleon’s stay there is equivalent to certain and premeditated death; you could not wish to make yourselves responsible for this in the eyes of futurity. Napoleon was, during twenty years, your terrible enemy; he will remind you of Hannibal and of Roman infamy.... You would not stain with such a spot the noble pages of your present history. Save your administration the odious, the horrible, censure of having trafficked with the blood of a prisoner. History furnishes several examples of it. They all excite our horror; and what an increase of dignity would be reserved for Napoleon’s character! For it is easy to predict, when Napoleon shall be no more, when the crime has been accomplished, he will become the man of the people; then he will be only the victim, the martyr, of Kings. The inevitable march of the force of things and of the sentiments of man so wills it. Save our modern annals from such a scandal and its dangerous consequences. Save royalty from its own blindness. Save the most sacred interests of the great Monarchs, in whose name the victim is under execution. Save royal Majesty in the first of its attributes, the most holy of 336its characters, its inviolability. If kings themselves lay their hands upon the representatives of God on earth, what restraint, what respect, can they intend to oppose to the attempts of the people? There is no prosperity here below, secure from time or from fortune. The circle of vicissitudes envelops all thrones. This cause is the cause of all kings, present and to come. An anointed of the Lord degraded, debased, tortured, immolated, cannot, must not, be other than an object of indignation, of horror for history, of terror for kings!

Recal Napoleon among you; let him come to find repose under the protection of your laws; that they may enjoy his distinguished homage. Do not deprive them of their noblest triumph. And who will prevent you?

Will it be your first decision? But, in recalling it, you would shew to every eye that you were only then guided by the force of circumstances, the law of necessity.

Will it be your domestic repose? But the thought of that would be foolish; the doubt an injury, an outrage, to your institutions, to your manners, to your whole population.

Will it be the safety of Europe? But truths of circumstance have their day, and it belongs only to the vulgar to perpetuate them, to bring them forward long after they cease to exist. Napoleon, in his omnipotence, might be the terror of Europe; reduced to his single person, he can no longer be any thing but an object of astonishment and meditation. And, in truth, what could he effect at this day, even with power, against the safety of Russia, that of Austria, of Prussia, or your own?

Finally, can there be any fear of his secret intentions? But Napoleon now has no wish but for repose. In his own eyes, in his own mouth, his wonderful career has already all the distance of ages. He no longer considers himself of this world; his destinies are accomplished. A soul of such elevated power is of no value but to lead to celebrity, to glory. And what mortal has accumulated more of these? Does not the measure seem above the imagination of man? Have not even his reverses been abundant sources of glory to him? Does there exist any thing to be compared with the return from the Isle of Elba? And, more lately, what an apotheosis is his; the regrets of a great nation. A great number among you have traversed our provinces, penetrated to our fire-sides; you know our secrets, our sentiments. If the country was less dear to him than glory, what has he to desire after what he has left behind? His advanced age, his lost health, his disgust at the vicissitudes of life, perhaps that which he feels for men, the satiety, above all, of the great objects pursued here below, leave him nothing new or desirable but a tranquil asylum, a happy and sweet repose. He demands them from you, Englishmen, and you owe them to the heroic magnanimity with which he gave you the preference over all his other enemies. Learn, dare, will to be just. Recal him, and you will have secured the only glory which seems to be wanting in your present condition. 337The admirers, the real friends, of your liberties and of your laws expect this of you; they demand it. You have baffled those who delight in boasting of all the benefits that flow from your noble constitution.

‘Where, then,’ say their adversaries, with a triumphant irony, ‘is that generosity, that elevation of sentiment, that inflexibility of principle, that public morality, that force of opinion, which you told us distinguished that free people, in some sort superior to the sovereignty itself? Where are the so much vaunted fruits of this classic ground of liberal institutions? All this pompous scaffolding, these imaginary pictures, have then disappeared before the dangers which a single man has created; or rather before the hatred and the vengeance which he has inspired. And what more could that absolute power which we defend, and you decry so much, have done? It would have done less, perhaps, but most assuredly it would not have been able to do more. It would have shewn itself sensible, no doubt, of the noble and magnanimous confidence of its enemy, or, if it had so decided, on the ground of utility, it would, at least have shewn more energy, candour, and elevation in its injustice. It would not have descended to palliate its wrong in the eyes of the people, by associating its neighbours gratuitously in it. It would have avoided above all the leaving itself entangled in this distressing dilemma: Either, when you concluded your iniquitous treaty of ostracism, the victim was not in your power, and you had the cowardice to hold out the hand to him that you might seize him; or, you had him already in your power, and you sacrificed your glory, the honour of your country, the sanctity, the majesty, of your laws to foreign solicitations.’solicitations.’

Englishmen, your friends are obliged to turn to you for an answer. They await it.

As for me, in spite of a fatal experience of two years, such is still my confidence in your principles, that I still reckon upon your justice; and I have dared to speak before you, consulting only my own heart, persuaded that it will be in the midst of you that I shall see the defence and the talents worthy of this great and noble cause arise. However you may decide in other respects, my own destinies are fixed. Wherever the victim dwells I wish to go, to devote at his feet the few days that still remain to me;[36] and in this tribute of sentiment I shall think I have done nothing but for myself. When I followed him at first, I rather obeyed honour, I followed glory:—but now I bewail, far from him, all the qualities of the heart that attach man to man. How many of your countrymen have approached him! they would all tell you the same thing. Let them be consulted. Englishmen! is this,

338then, the man who has been portrayed to you? Have you pronounced upon his fate in full possession of the case?


My solicitations were not confined to the letters which I addressed to the Allied Sovereigns; my efforts were ardently directed towards every point, and every object I could think of. As soon as I was restored to liberty, I found myself surrounded by the French exiles at Frankfort, who shared my sentiments, and manifested the tenderest sympathy for me. All, not even excepting those who had nothing to spare, save the widow’s mite, offered me all they possessed, not only to provide for the personal wants with which they supposed I had to struggle, but also to promote the sacred object which wholly occupied my mind. At Frankfort I had also the happiness to meet the Countess de Survilliers, whose extreme generosity is only one of the many virtues that adorn her. Finally, some eminent merchants of Frankfort, merely from hearing of my adventures, and from motives of pure sympathy, made me the most generous offers; and even diplomatic individuals, of whom there were many at that time in the town, indirectly conveyed to me proofs of their attention. These circumstances enabled me to learn where the different members of the Emperor’s family were to be found, and to enter immediately into communication with them, so as to adopt the speediest means of ameliorating the condition of him for whose sake I had resolved to exert every effort, and even to sacrifice my life.

On the other hand, I had laid down the rule of writing regularly, on a certain day every month, to the Grand Marshal, in order to obtain such information as would enable me to render myself as useful as possible; and I sent the letter open to the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, with whom I had, by this means, commenced a correspondence, which I conceived to be best calculated to fulfil the object I had in view. I requested that he would send out regularly to Longwood the newspapers, pamphlets, new publications, and various articles of daily use which I specified, or which I begged he 339would himself select, to be paid for by me to his order; this he promised to do.

The Emperor’s mother, brothers, sisters, and all his relations, though I was not particularly acquainted with any of them, except Prince Lucien, immediately answered me in the warmest and most affecting manner. Mine were almost the first authentic tidings they had received from the illustrious victim; and they esteemed themselves happy in finding a channel, by means of which they could transmit to him testimonies of their respect, devotedness, and affection. They wished only to be informed what they had to do. An annual contribution of one hundred and fifty thousand francs was immediately determined on: this sum I conceived to be indispensably necessary for the establishment at Longwood. The amount was divided equally among all, and I already had in my hands the subscriptions of several of the parties, when I had the satisfaction of being enabled to return them, with the request that they might be reserved till a future time, as unforeseen circumstances would render it unnecessary to make use of the money for two or three years. The reason was that there had been found a deposit of several hundred thousand francs belonging to the Emperor, and I esteemed myself happy in being thus early enabled to present to the members of his family a proof of the regularity and reserve with which I acted. But unfortunately I was too precipitate; for the money which had been promised, and was to have been furnished by me, was, either through the mistake or embarrassments of the banker, or the negligence of agents, more than a year in being paid. I was very much vexed and disappointed by this circumstance, for the thirteen bills which I had left with the Grand Marshal on my departure from St. Helena, had been quickly paid away, and fresh drafts had been made on my banker, or on other individuals in London, who allowed the bills to be protested, because they had no funds belonging to me, or had received none from any other individual. This occasioned enormous expense, compromised Longwood, and afforded a subject of ridicule to the English ministerial journals.

340As soon as I was made acquainted with this unfortunate circumstance, I wrote to London, to offer my personal security for any drafts that might come from Longwood, stating that they should be payable to order at Frankfort. To this object I appropriated, in the most advantageous way I could, the sum which I received from Madame Mère, and which was the only one that had not been returned, together with some money which a few friends had lodged in my hands when my own was exhausted; for my four thousand louis had been repaid to me in a way so singular that I cannot refrain from mentioning it. A person who stood in a very delicate situation, and who held money belonging to the Emperor, suspecting, though he knew nothing of me, that I might be in some degree of embarrasment, transmitted to me a hundred thousand francs. I could lay no claim whatever to the sum: but this the person in question doubtless conceived to be his most prudent course, considering the peculiarity of his situation. Thus I found myself repaid without having made any claim or given any receipt, and I am not aware that there existed any trace of the debt due by the Emperor in any account whatever.

Six months had already elapsed; the fine weather was set in; and my health, which had been so greatly impaired by disappointment and vexation, required me to make trial of the waters of Baden. But was I free to depart? The times were so extraordinary, and such a total disregard seemed to be every where manifested for the privileges and the destiny of a Frenchman, that many persons about me very much doubted whether I should be at liberty; and I was myself not without apprehension, so accustomed was I to see all justice violated in my person. Be this as it may, I was so desirous to act with perfect openness, and to evince my gratitude for the kindness of Baron Wessemberg, that I determined to acquaint him with my intention of departing, and to ask him whether he considered me under his inspection. However, the Baron in a moment banished all my scruples and fears, by replying, with the frankness and courtesy which characterize him, that, in granting me 341hospitality, there had been no idea of making me a prisoner.

I accordingly repaired to Baden, where I had the honour of being received by the Grand Duke and Duchess, almost secretly it is true, but with those proofs of interest and attention which I might have expected from the adopted children of Napoleon.

On taking my leave of the worthy Grand Duke, I requested that he would permit me to remain in his States, and I determined on fixing my residence at Manheim. I made choice of this place because, like Frankfort, it afforded every desirable advantage for the continuance of my correspondence, while it presented none of the inconveniences of the latter city, which, from circumstances of a very delicate nature, I was anxious to avoid.

I seldom went out, and I did not abuse my liberty any more than I had done in the time of the Prussian Commissioner; but I thought it my duty to receive every one who came to me. I was perfectly aware that I should be likely to encounter enemies in the disguise of friends; but I also knew that there were many persons, of all classes, who frequently came from a distance for the purpose of seeing me, and who were guided by sincere sentiment. But could I, for the sake of avoiding one betrayer, run the risk of wounding many honest hearts, who, amidst their sorrow and regret, hoped to obtain from me a few words of satisfaction and consolation? During my stay at Manheim, it would be difficult to imagine the singular questions that were put to me, and the hints and insinuations of every kind that were thrown out to me. One proposed to execute my most secret, hazardous, and remote commissions; another offered to become my mediator with distinguished and hostile individuals; and a third assured me that he would go in disguise to Parma, and deliver all my packets to the Empress Maria Louisa in person. In short, I know not what plans were suggested to me. I several times received, from natives of different countries, proposals for effecting Napoleon’s escape. Some were excited by enthusiasm, some by speculation, and others were, no doubt, 342contriving snares; for the crime of instigation is now boldly and universally resorted to. Fortunately my guarantee was that I had nothing to conceal. I possessed no secret, therefore I could only express hopes and wishes in reply to all I heard; and certainly, in the avowed situation in which I stood, the reports that might have been made from my conversation could convey no new information. Accordingly, nothing of an unpleasant nature occurred. By making choice of Manheim, which is a retired place, and where I lived as privately as possible, I obviated most of the inconveniences I had met with at Frankfort, which was the resort of schemers and intriguers of every kind. I also proved to those who were interested in observing me that I was a stranger to all secret designs.

The period fixed for the meeting of the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle was now approaching; and I formed the highest hopes from this august assemblage. These hopes were shared by every generous heart; for who could have imagined that the Sovereigns of Europe would have shewn themselves insensible to the misery of Napoleon, whom each, individually, had so long treated as a friend, a brother, or a son; particularly when they should receive a correct and faithful account of the situation in which he was placed? I had made every necessary preparation; being determined that they should be assailed by entreaties, and surrounded by information. I wrote to Maria Louisa; and I was charged to present to the Sovereigns a letter from Madame Mère; all the other relations of the Emperor having undertaken to act for themselves. I carefully collected for each of the Sovereigns all the authentic documents existing, and drew up a note on the subject, enclosed in a letter addressed to themselves. I did not even neglect Lord Castlereagh; to whom I thought it requisite to make the communication in his quality of representative of the King of England. I shall insert these documents, hoping that the reader will pardon the many repetitions that occur in them. They all relate to one and the same subject; this subject is reduced to its simplest expression; the circle is limited; and recurrence to the same topic is unavoidable.



Madam,—On my return from the place where your husband is perishing, what a tale of misery could I not unfold to you! But you are his wife, the mother of his son; what, then, can I say that will appeal to you more forcibly than the feelings that must naturally arise in your heart!

I think it my duty to inform your Majesty that I intend, at the approaching assemblage of the Allied Sovereigns, to lay at their feet my humble supplications for a mitigation of the misery and cruel sufferings which are inflicted in their name, and which cannot be adequately conceived, except by a servant so devoted as I am, or a relative so near as yourself.

But, Madam, what can be my claims, when compared with the sacred and all-powerful rights of your Majesty, which are held in veneration all over the world!

Deign then, Madam, to exercise those rights; and posterity, history, which consecrate crowns, will encircle your brow with a diadem as imperishable as your elevation of character, which subdues, and your gentle virtues, which delight the heart.[37]

I am, &c.,


Sires,—A mother, afflicted beyond all expression, has long cherished the hope that the meeting of your Imperial and Royal Majesties will afford some alleviation of her distress.

The prolonged captivity of the Emperor Napoleon gives occasion for appealing to you. It is impossible but that your magnanimity, your power, and the recollection of past events, should induce your Imperial and Royal Majesties to interest yourselves for the deliverance of a Prince, who has had so great a share in your regard and even in your friendship.

Would you suffer to perish, in miserable exile, a Sovereign, who, relying on the magnanimity of his enemy, threw himself into his power? My son might have demanded an asylum from the Emperor, his father-in-law; he might have consigned himself to the generosity of the Emperor Alexander, of whom he was once the friend; he might have taken refuge with his Prussian Majesty, who, in that case, would, no doubt, have recollected his old alliance. Should England punish him for the confidence which he reposed in her?

The Emperor Napoleon is no longer to be feared. He is infirm. And even if he were in the full enjoyment of health, and had 344the means which Providence once placed in his hands, he abhors civil war.

Sires, I am a mother, and my son’s life is dearer to me than my own. Pardon my grief, which prompts me to take the liberty of addressing this letter to your Imperial and Royal Majesties.

Do not render unavailing the entreaties of a mother, who thus appeals against the long series of cruelties that has been exercised towards her son.

In the name of Him, who is in essence goodness, and of whom your Imperial and Royal Majesties are the image, I entreat that you will interest yourselves to put a period to my son’s misery, and to restore him to liberty. For this I implore God, and I implore you who are his Lieutenants on earth.

Reasons of state have their limits; and posterity, which gives immortality, adores, above all things, the generosity of conquerors.

I am, &c.

This letter remained unanswered. Other steps were taken in favour of Napoleon, by different members of his family; but they were not made known in a way sufficiently authentic to authorize my mentioning them here.


Sires,—Royal Majesty has no judges on earth. But since sovereigns themselves, stripping it of its most sacred attribute, have subjected it to their tribunal, I come with respectful confidence to appeal to them in favour of a monarch, whom they long recognised, but who is now deposed by them, a captive in their name, and presenting to the world the grandest and most terrible vicissitude that was ever witnessed. Who shall deem himself secure, if even inviolability be violated?

Faithful to his dignity, superior to misfortune, he looks forward to death as the only termination of his misery. But I, who have been unexpectedly torn from the fatal rock where I rendered him every attention in my power, wish now to devote to him the remainder of a feeble life, and to endeavour to assuage the misery which I am no longer permitted to share.

I have taken upon myself the sacred mission in which I am now engaged. I have been prompted to do so by my tender devotedness to the person of the Emperor, by my private affection for him who was my Sovereign.

I am here a stranger to every political question. I have no other impulse, no other guide, than that sacred morality which is 345alike respected by kings and subjects. It constitutes my strength, my right, and my excuse.

Napoleon on his rock is a prey to torments and vexations of every kind; he is the victim of the ill treatment of men, and the insalubrity of climate. These facts are now notorious to all, and are sufficiently proved by authentic documents, transmitted from the place itself, several of which I now presume to submit to the eyes of your Majesties.

If the law of war, if the law of nations, have been transgressed for the peace of the world, as it is said, the law of humanity at least cannot be extinct.

For the last three years, war has every where been succeeded by peace; passions are calmed; nations and individuals are reconciled; the hostility of governments and parties is disarmed; the common law of nations has resumed its sway; one man alone is excluded from these benefits. He alone is still without the pale of human law. He is exiled to a barren rock, exposed to an unhealthy climate, doomed to the misery of a lingering death, and is the daily victim of hatred and insult. When will there be an end to this extraordinary persecution? If he be doomed to live, this extraordinary treatment is too cruel! And surely it is still more barbarous if he be doomed to die! What is his crime? By whom has he been tried? By what tribunal? Who are his judges? Where is their right to pronounce sentence on him? Will it be said that the only guarantee, the only security, against him, are imprisonment, chains, and death? Will it be said that his acts, his promises, and his oaths are not to be trusted? Will his return from the isle of Elba be mentioned as an instance of his bad faith? But at Elba he was a Sovereign: engagements had been entered into with him, and had not been kept! Now, by quitting the continent, he has resigned all sovereignty, and declared his political career to be at an end. The case is entirely altered. If the sacrifice of his life can alone appease hatred, and put a period to alarm, why not inflict death openly? (these are his own words;) a speedy death, though not more just, would have been more humane, and less odious; it would be a favour. This is what he has himself repeatedly said and written. Who can deny the justice of the remark?

What sufficient motives can still be maintained in justification of such intolerable treatment?

Is it wished to punish his past invasions? But the invaded countries have forgotten their resentment in the triumph of victory, and they are now silent. Is it wished to make reprisals? But Napoleon was a conqueror, and did he act thus? What was his conduct at Austerlitz, at the bivouac of Moravia, at Vienna, at Tilsit, at the conferences of Dresden? Let him be viewed even in that circumstance in which history will have most difficulty in defending him. Charles IV. when a captive in the hands of Napoleon, had his choice of residing either in Compiegne, Marseilles, or Rome, always maintaining the dignity of a king. Ferdinand, at 346Valency, was surrounded by all the attention and respect he could wish. A prince who disputed the throne with the Emperor fell into his hands. What use did Napoleon make of his victory? The immediate release of the prisoner attested his magnanimity; and history will compare this act with the indignities that are heaped upon the Emperor.

Is it intended to renew for Napoleon the ostracism of the ancients? But the ancients, if they banished from among them the talents which they had reason to fear, did not sacrifice the victim. They did not transport him to another hemisphere, to a desert rock, and a burning climate. They did not, at least, render Nature chargeable with a crime which, in the present case, it would seem, human hands dare not execute.

Finally, is it feared that even the Emperor’s name would have too powerful an influence in Europe? May not his enemies defeat their own ends? Persecution always excites interest, always moves the great mass of the people, who are invariably generous. If it be wished to create partizans, it is sufficient to make martyrs! Where, then, is the necessity for these extraordinary and singular measures? Why thus violate at once the code of nations, the code of sovereigns, and the code of private men?

Among civilized nations, fury is disarmed before a fallen enemy, who is respected even among savages, particularly when he trusts to good faith.

Why then persist in opposing the demands of humanity, justice, religion, morality, policy, and all the laws of civilization? Why not rather yield to the dictates of generosity, glory and true interest? The examples of kings doomed to misery and death have always been condemned by history: they are recollected with horror by subjects, and with dread by sovereigns.

Since my removal from St. Helena, I do not personally know what changes may have taken place in the treatment of the Emperor Napoleon; but before my departure it was intolerable, both as regarded his personal dignity and his moral and physical existence. Have those modifications at length been made which his servants so long and so vainly solicited? But the deadly influence of the climate and all the horrors of the place of banishment cannot be changed. These circumstances in themselves suffice to poison all the sources of life. There is no dungeon in Europe that would not be preferable to Longwood, and there is no human being, whatever might be his vigour of body and strength of mind, who could, under such circumstances, long resist the effects of so terrible a prison.

The victim is already seized with a disease that must infallibly, in a very short time, hurry him to his grave. The faculty have candidly pronounced this opinion, and, in the anguish of my heart, I presume to report it to your Majesties, trusting that your humanity and high wisdom will suggest a remedy.

Surely I cannot be accused of want of respect and devotedness 347to sovereignty. The testimonies which my life presents are my guarantee for now presuming to address your Majesties; as the consciousness of your interests, dignity, and glory, is the guarantee of my hopes and wishes.



Sire,—On the 10th of February last, I presumed to lay at your Majesty’s feet the wishes and entreaties of a faithful servant in favour of his master.

I hope your Majesty will forgive my perseverance, which may, perhaps, have the appearance of importunity. I now venture to lay before you another note, in favour of him who was your brother, and whom you made your son. I take the liberty of accompanying this note with some authentic documents.

Sire, my hope and my apology rest on the many excellent virtues for which your Majesty is distinguished. Europe acknowledges and proclaims you to be the most sincere, moral, humane, and religious of men; and yet it is in your name that the tortures of a lingering death are inflicted on him, to whom you gave the hand of your beloved daughter; whom your own choice and religion have made your son.

Ah, Sire! tremble lest his blood-stained coat should be presented to you!... And when the day of eternal judgment shall arrive, when the Supreme Judge of men and things, pronouncing his terrible decrees, shall ask, “What have you done with your son? Why did you separate the husband from the wife? How durst you disunite those who had been joined and blessed in my name? I might award victory to whom I pleased; but none could take advantage of that victory to abuse my holy laws, without incurring my anger—--”anger—--”

But, Sire, I say no more: perhaps I have already gone too far. I crave your Majesty’s forgiveness. These are the sentiments by which I am powerfully excited;—these are the complaints that are wrung from me by the murder of my master, which has been perpetrating before my eyes. Sire, on my knees, I implore your interference, to prevent the crime of homicide. Be not deaf to my entreaties!

I am &c.[38]


My Lord,—I have the honour to present to your Lordship a copy of a note, which I took the liberty of addressing to the Allied Sovereigns.

348I am induced to transmit this note to you, my Lord, on account of my profound respect for the august individual whom you represent, and the esteem I entertain for your Lordship’s personal talents.

Whatever may be your opinions, my Lord, respecting this note, perhaps even your objections to it, I am convinced your Lordship has too much generosity to condemn, wholly and without reserve, a servant, who is resolved, until the latest moment of his existence, to exert every effort for the relief and consolation of his Sovereign.

My Lord, how great has been your influence on the destiny of that Sovereign! How great may it yet be! Why cannot my voice reach your Lordship’s ear? In the anguish of my tedious solitude, I have frequently sought to discover the great motives which might have dictated your harsh and cruel determination. My mind dwells only on the interest of your country, the rigorous law of necessity, the conviction of the character and disposition of him at whom you aim the blow; and finally, the glory and responsibility of your ministerial situation. Has your Lordship been able to combine together the whole of the contradictory circumstances? Have you exhausted every source of information? How I regret that the impaired state of my health and faculties does not permit me adequately to express my feelings and thoughts! They would perhaps make an impression on you, my Lord: perhaps many facts, that I could relate, would excite your astonishment and serious consideration.

I have the honour to be, &c.

The period of the meeting of the Congress having arrived, I went to Frankfort, and happened to reach that place on the very day on which the Emperor Alexander made his entry. This was no doubt a very favourable opportunity to solicit the favour of being presented to that Sovereign; and his well known affability, the facility with which he grants admission into his presence, and perhaps also the peculiarpeculiar circumstances relating to me, were so many encouragements to the hope of easily obtaining an audience, and I was consequently strongly advised by every body to attempt it. It was the surest way, they said, to accomplish the object I had in view, and I was much blamed for refusing to make the trial. But I had maturely weighed within my own breast the advantages and disadvantages of such a step, and I was far from sharing the general opinion as to the probability of its result. To what, had I said to myself, could such 349a high favour lead me? Could I expect to touch the heart of this Sovereign by my eloquence? And if my words had produced some effect upon him as a man, was not the final decision to proceed from the concurrence of many others? And was I certain, in an interview of so little duration, and of so much embarrassment, to speak with as much method and precision as I could write? Was it right for me to deliver to him, before the proper time had arrived, authentic documents, which I intended only for the Sovereigns assembled, as if it were an ordinary petition? And, if the Emperor Alexander had happened to express himself in my presence, respecting the Emperor Napoleon, in terms which I could not but have contradicted, as it was but too probable that he would express himself, might it not turn out that I had irritated and indisposed, instead of conciliating, him? This latter consideration had chiefly led to my determination not to seek for an audience, which presented so many objections and offered but a single advantage, and that one personal to me, viz., the signal favour of seeing the first of monarchs, and of conversing with him of whom Napoleon had said on his rock; “If I die here, he will be my heir in Europe.”

Besides, the Emperor Alexander knew that I was at Frankfort. I was told that he had mentioned it in one of his circles, and I was almost certain that he had been spoken to about me. The circumstance from which I obtained this information is singular enough to be mentioned here. My room at the hotel where I had alighted happened to be next to that of one of his generals, who possessed his intimate confidence, and who was admitted into his presence at all times. The second or third evening after my arrival, the master of the hotel came into my room to inform me that the General was ready to receive me, and that he would have much pleasure in granting me the interview which I had asked for. In the first moment of surprise, my immediate answer was to bid him go and say it was a mistake; but, suddenly reflecting that this was, perhaps, a fortunate circumstance, brought about by the intervention of Providence, I ran after the man who was already delivering his message, and explained myself from the door of the 350apartment, that there was probably some error, since I had not the honour of asking such a favour; upon which the General ran towards me, as if to detain me, and dismissing his Aide-de-camp, said to me, with an air of affability and politeness, that, whether it was through mistake or not, he should be happy to avail himself of this opportunity to become acquainted, and have some conversation with me. And we then had a very long conversation together, and, as it will be easily believed, wholly relating to St. Helena.

I had only come to Frankfort to deposit, in due form, all my documents in the respective legations, and that done, I returned immediately to Manheim, in order to escape from the bustle and from the intrigues of Frankfort. Several persons came thither and offered to serve me at the Congress, assuring me that their services might be of very great importance, and proposing to become very zealous agents in my cause. For this assistance I should of course have been obliged to pay very largely, and it has been seen that I had scarcely wherewith to supply the first wants of him for the uncertain interests of whom large sums were demanded of me. During the sitting of the Congress, and whilst I was waiting in the hope of a favourable decision from the Sovereigns, I was destined to receive, even in my solitude at Manheim, fresh proofs of the perverseness of Sir Hudson Lowe, and of the ill treatment which he continued to inflict upon his victims. An unfortunate gunner of an East Indiaman found me out at Manheim, and about the same time I received a large packet from General Bertrand. The history of the gunner and of all the vexations to which he was exposed from the Governor and his confidents, for having been the bearer of a bust of young Napoleon, from which he hoped to derive some advantage, by offering it at Longwood, is detailed at some length in Mr. O’Meara’s work. This bust, which the Governor had at first intended to throw into the sea, and the existence of which he afterwards attempted to conceal by taking possession of it, under pretence of making a present of it to Napoleon himself, was, however, at last sent to Longwood, in consequence 351of the expression of public indignation; and Count Bertrand sent to the gunner, as well for the value of the bust as to indemnify him for all the vexations and losses which it had occasioned him, one of the bills which I left with him at my departure, amounting to 300l. Count Bertrand, on sending the bill to the gunner, requested him to acknowledge the receipt of it; but the poor fellow, so far from being enabled to acknowledge the receipt of the bill, had not even heard of Count Bertrand’s Letter, and had been obliged to pursue his voyage to India, after having delivered the bust, with the following verbal information given to him by Sir Hudson Lowe: “That the people of Longwood had destined some gratuity for him, and that he would hear of it in the course of time.” On his return from India, the unfortunate gunner was not allowed to go on shore during the whole time the ship stayed at St. Helena, and he was merely told once more that what had been mentioned to him concerning his interests was at the Admiralty in London. When he reached England, he at last, upon inquiry, got the bill; and it was the first time he had heard of it; but upwards of eighteen months had elapsed; the persons on whom it was drawn no longer had the necessary funds, and he was obliged to leave London with the melancholy persuasion that he had lost both his bust and his money. This gunner was an inhabitant of Dalmatia, and was going through Germany on his return home, by way of Trieste, when he heard, by the greatest chance in the world, at Frankfort, that he should find at Manheim the drawer of the bill which he held; he therefore came to me, and his joy was as lively as his imprecations against Sir Hudson Lowe were abundant, on receiving that sum which, as he said, was a little fortune to him, and would render him happy for the remainder of his life.

The large packet which I received from the Grand Marshal consisted of a long letter from him, written by order of the Emperor, and of sundry authentic documents which had arrived out of the regular channel. But, to my great surprise, the very day when I received that letter, I read its contents in the Netherland newspapers, 352as extracted and re-translated from the English papers. Guessing what had been the intentions at Longwood, I nevertheless sent an official copy of that letter to Lord Liverpool, as will be seen presently. I insert here all those documents, because Count Bertrand’s letter, giving a rather detailed account of the ill treatment which the Emperor experienced from the moment I had left him, lays before the reader a further period of eighteen months of the history of Longwood. Some of these documents, besides, have postscripts in Napoleon’s own hand-writing, and are too remarkable to be left unnoticed.


My Lord,—I have this instant received a long letter from Count Bertrand; and at the same moment, to my great surprise, have seen that letter printed in the Vrai Liberal, of Brussels, re-translated from the Morning Chronicle of London.

To inform your Lordship how that has happened is beyond my power; but I can assure you, with great truth, that it is without my participation, and that I sincerely regret the circumstance. I can only explain it by supposing that one of your countrymen only consented to take charge of the packet from Longwood, upon condition of receiving it open, and being assured that it concerned the honour of his country; and that, on his arrival in London, he communicated its contents to the public, and forwarded it to me at the same time. Things would not have been so, my Lord, if, agreeably to my continued solicitations, I had obtained permission to reside in England. Persuaded as I am, and as Count Bertrand seems to suspect, that the atrocious vexations and the indignities which are daily inflicted upon Longwood may be unknown to the Administration, it would have been to you, my Lord, who are at the head of that Administration, and to you alone, that I should immediately have applied to inform you of such unheard-of grievances; thus furnishing you with the means, and leaving to you the merit, of redressing them.

I entreat your Lordship to believe that it would have been only after I had in vain exhausted every step required by decorum, after I had, in vain, applied, in the order of their rank, to the different authorities, that I should have adopted the extreme measure of addressing myself at last to public opinion, which will only be appealed to and pronouncedpronounced in the last instance. I gave a proof of this disposition, my Lord, when, after eight months of absolute silence on the part of Lord Bathurst, to the statement which I addressed to his Lordship of various grievances, of which I had the honour of asking redress at his hands, and which I should, at 353least, have been justified in publishing, I did not however do so, until some ill-timed observations of one of your Members of the House of Commons rendered it a matter of positive necessity. I gave a proof of it, my Lord, at the period of the earnest entreaties which my heart prompted me to make at Aix-la-Chapelle, when I carefully transmitted to Lord Castlereagh himself a copy of the solicitations and complaints which I respectfully laid at the feet of the Allied Sovereigns. Lastly, my Lord, it is to give, as much as lies in my power, an additional proof of that disposition, that I hastily cause a copy to be made of the letter of Count Bertrand, in order that your Lordship may possess direct and authentic knowledge of that document, and lay it before his Royal Highness the Prince Regent.

A prey to bodily sufferings, caused by the insalubrious climate of St. Helena, as well as to the moral sufferings by which my separation was aggravated; the deplorable state of my health is such that every kind of application is forbidden to me by the faculty. I cannot, therefore, add any thing to the letter, of which I have the honour of addressing you a copy. Besides, what commentary could equal the bare recital of the facts which it contains?

I have the honour to be, with the highest consideration, my Lord, &c.

P. S.—After having addressed your Lordship on the subject of interests of so high and sacred an importance, may I be allowed to take advantage of the opportunity thus naturally afforded to descend to the consideration of objects that are merely personal to me?

Am I not to expect any redress, or to obtain any answer concerning the numerous grievances of which I have complained? Am I, above all, to continue to be deprived of the papers which have now been detained at St. Helena two years, notwithstanding the many protestations which I made to Sir Hudson Lowe himself; notwithstanding the letter which I had the honour of addressing to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, on that subject, from the Cape of Good Hope; the letter which I wrote to one of your colleagues from the same place, and on the same subject; and, lastly, notwithstanding the letter which I addressed to Lord Bathurst from Frankfort? Can this obstinate and absolute silence, to demands so just and so often reiterated, be intended as a formal denial of justice? I cannot believe it, my Lord. I know the power and superiority of your laws, and the respect which every Englishman is bound to shew to them, whatever his rank or situation in life may be; and I must therefore suppose that the fault lies with me, who, not knowing how to act, transgress, in all probability, the established rules and formalities. But, in that case, my Lord, would it not be proper, just, and considerate, to inform me of those rules, or even to dispense with them?—My Lord, I demand that favour of your generosity. Those papers, which I allowed Sir 354Hudson Lowe to peruse at the time, are, from their nature, entirely foreign to the object of the custody of your prisoner; they cannot be of any importance to you in that point of view; and to me they are dear and invaluable beyond all expression.


My dear Las Cases,—I received, on the 7th of June, the letter which you did me the honour to write to me on the 15th of January last; and I have since then received, on the 13th of this month, your letters of 15th February, 15th March, and 15th April;[39] the contents of which I have communicated to the Emperor, and which have determined him to desire me to write to you. I received, four months ago, a box of books and pamphlets, addressed to me by Mr. Goulburn; and since then, a very obliging offer to send a picture, which was in the bed-chamber at St. Cloud, representing the christening of little Napoleon. Mr. Henry Goulburn had been kind enough to bargain with the owner of the picture for its purchase, and to get the price reduced to half the original demand. No answer has been returned to that offer, because it has seemed to form so strange a contrast with what takes place here, that it has been looked upon as a measure connected with parliamentary discussions, something like those relative to the wooden house. I have been much struck by the polite behaviour observed towards you, and by all you tell me in your last letter.[40]... Can it be, that the horrible vexations which we are made to experience are not sanctioned by the English Government, and that the Emperor is dying here a victim of the individual hatred of the Governor? Governments and Princes may be so easily deceived that I write this letter under strong feelings of doubt on the subject.

Things are much altered since your departure in 1817. And in this year, 1818, the vexations to which the Emperor has been exposed are such that they must be considered as an attempt against his life. You will judge by the detail. You must have read in the papers of March some observations upon the speech of Lord Bathurst. But things have grown considerably worse since then; and the hatred of the Governor of this Island has known no bounds.

When you left us, the Emperor had renounced riding, in order to avoid the snares laid, and the affronts intended, for him, by causing him to be insulted by the sentries. He has since been obliged to give up walking, in order to avoid the same inconveniences. During the months of March and April, the Emperor went out sometimes to call upon my wife, and sometimes he would sit upon a certain bench, which you know, about fifty paces from 355the house, and where he would stay half an hour or an hour. But means have been found to prevent him from doing that, and to oblige him to confine himself strictly to the house. They knew that this was not very difficult. A soldier of the 66th regiment was placed as gardener, and a serjeant had been stationed at my house. Both were very useful, either in rooting out weeds, which might poison the air, for no garden can exist in such a situation; or in repairing the house, which is in a ruinous state, and admits water whenever it rains. That arrangement appears very rational; but the Governor had invested these two soldiers with a right to stop whomsoever they thought proper, even at the doors and under the very windows of the Emperor. From that moment he has not stirred out of the house, and one hundred days have now elapsed since he has even put his head outside of a window.

This climate, this absolute want of exercise, added to the badness of the habitation, have affected his health to such a degree that you would not recognise him. Since the end of September, 1817, he has had the first symptoms of a chronic hepatitis, which, as you know, is mortal in this country. He had to attend on him the worthy O’Meara, in whom, you know, he has confidence; but, in the month of April, at the moment when he was most in want of his attention, Sir Hudson Lowe obliged him to tender his resignation, wishing to force the Emperor to have Baxter, whom you also know. The Emperor has refused to see any doctor; from the 10th April to the 10th May, he had none. At last, the Russian and Austrian Commissioners, indignant at this treatment, informed the Governor that, if the Emperor were to die under these circumstances, they themselves should not know what to say, should an opinion prevail in Europe that he had been murdered. This seems to have determined the Governor to reinstate the Doctor; but he has subjected him to every species of ill treatment. He attempted to get him expelled from the mess of the 66th regiment; and, as these brave officers refused to share in so arbitrary an act, he himself caused an order to be given to the Doctor, through the Colonel, to cease to dine with the officers of the 66th. He has written to London, and it is probable that O’Meara will be sent away. The Emperor will not, however, receive any other Doctor; and if the Prince Regent, or Lord Liverpool, do not take cognizance of the fact, he will die here of his disease, deprived of even the assistance of his physician. The Emperor has, however, been very ill for the last two months. He rises at eleven o’clock in the morning, and lies down again at two o’clock p. m. A few days ago, he experienced a very violent crisis, produced by the mercury which Dr. O’Meara administered to him for a liver complaint. Dr. O’Meara, alarmed at his responsibility, proposed to me to send for Mr. Baxter and the surgeon of the Conqueror; they are the two first medical men here. You know the dislike which the Emperor had to Mr. Baxter, founded upon his having been formerly Staff-surgeon of the Italian division commanded by Sir Hudson Lowe. That dislike has much encreased since, in consequence of his having lent himself,

356from October, 1817, to March, 1818, to the production of bulletins filled with falsehoods, and which have deceived his Government and all Europe. But the Emperor did not see any inconvenience in O’Meara’s calling in Mr. Stokoe, although he did not much like it; and that gentleman consequently came to Longwood at three o’clock in the afternoon of the same day, but would not go into the Emperor’s apartment, fearing lest he should compromise his responsibility, and lose a situation obtained after forty years’ service. This appeared to me so extraordinary that I would not believe it. I therefore spoke to him, and he expressed his regret at not being able to comply with our wishes; for he is a very respectable man. His refusal is, however, easily explained; it proceeded from a hint that had been given to him, in the same manner as had been done to Cole, the banker, whom you know. Having some money matters to settle with him, I sent for him; but, on arriving at my house, he declared that he could not speak to me but in presence of the officer on duty, because he should be ruined if he did. Of course I refused. The same thing happened, a few days since, with a Mr. Fowler, arrived from England, with whom I had an account of a few hundred pounds to settle, for clothes ordered in London. It is true that you are not acquainted with the situation in which we are now placed, and which cannot be compared to what it was in your time. It was even then sufficiently unpleasant; and, knowing the Emperor as you do, you ought to have strenuously opposed the idea of any member of his family coming out hither. The spectacle of the humiliations, the vexations, and the hatred to which he is exposed, would be altogether unbearable for him, if his mother or any of his brothers were to share in it. Even to Count Montholon and myself, who are now the only two with him, he has often said that he wished us to quit St. Helena, to free ourselves from such a treatment, and to leave him alone; and that his agony would be less bitter if he did not see us share in it. You know that the officers had long since discontinued to come to my house; but, when we met them on the road, they would very politely stop and speak to my wife; this has now been forbidden to them, not in writing, it is true, but by hints; so that it has often happened that when they have seen us at a distance they have gone out of the road.

Things have come to such a pass that our dirty linen remains several days, to be examined by the Captain on duty, and sometimes by the Staff; a most indecent proceeding, and most dishonourable for them, but the object of which is to degrade and insult us.

In the month of June 1816, a store-ship brought out a marble bust of young Napoleon: Sir Hudson Lowe ordered the bust to be thrown into the sea. This he has since denied; but we have the fact judicially attested; for the act disgusted Lady Malcolm, who was still at St. Helena, as well as all the captains of store-ships that were on the island.

Since that time, in February last, the Cambridge store-ship 357brought out two prints of young Napoleon, which had been bought in London: Sir Hudson Lowe purchased them under pretence of presenting them to the Father, and when the officers heard, a month afterwards, that it was, on the contrary, to keep them from him, they could not contain their indignation that an Englishman should have been guilty of such conduct.

The British Government cannot be ignorant of all these proceedings. If what the Emperor said here to Lord Amherst has been repeated in London, if Captain Poppleton, whom you know, and who was the officer on duty during two years, has been questioned, if Colonel Nichols of the 66th regiment, and Colonel Fehrzen of the 53d regiment have been questioned, as well as many others, it must be known to what unworthy treatment we are exposed here.

If there be in Europe some enemies of the Emperor, who would have approved the conduct of the British Government if they had taken away Napoleon’s life, openly and publicly, on board of the Bellerophon, there is not one who will not some day cover with imprecations and opprobrium and disown those who adopt such cowardly means to attain that end.

How are we to reconcile all this with what you write to me? perhaps by the supposition of a correspondence filled with falsehoods, and artfully managed. However, we on our side have for the last two years complained openly and loudly; and the criminal conduct pursued here must be known in London,

You will be surprised to hear me speak of the French, Austrian, and Russian Commissioners who are here. We never saw them during the time you were with us, and to this day they have not yet seen the Emperor nor called upon us. But we have frequently met them on the roads within our limits, which is a way of seeing each other sufficiently ridiculous. Though the Emperor does not acknowledge them as Commissioners, he has never refused to receive them as strangers.

With respect to the Governor, the Emperor has not seen him since the month of April, 1816: you are aware of the reasons which induced him not to receive him, after the insults which the Governor had offered him.

This being the case, if Sir Hudson Lowe seeks to be revenged, such a proceeding, though inconsistent with a generous mind, can be easily explained. But how can Government have continued, during two years, to repose its confidence in a man who has so strangely abused it?

I therefore earnestly request you, in the Emperor’s name, to inform his family and relations of the situation in which he is placed; and peremptorily to require that none of them will encrease his sufferings by coming to share in them.

You tell us that the English Government has subscribed for us to the Morning Chronicle; but the same thing happens with this paper as with the Times; it is sent to us after those numbers which it is thought proper to conceal from us have been previously 358withdrawn. Thus we have had some numbers of February and some of March, but all those that it was their pleasure to withdraw have never been sent to us. Not to have a regular series of a newspaper is worse than to have none.

How could any book be sent to us, since, as soon as a store-ship comes out, the Governor immediately purchases all the books they have brought out, particularly French books, in order to prevent our buying them?

With respect to the pamphlets, which you announce as sent to us, we only received one box of them on the 12th March, from which we conclude that probably the remainder have been kept.

I have read this letter to the Emperor, who has approved of its contents, but has thought that I had very feebly expressed the baseness of the conduct observed towards him. He desires me to send you two notes written by himself, which will give you the whole of his opinion respecting the officer to whom the superintendence of this country has been intrusted. The calomel which the Emperor has taken has not hitherto had any beneficial effect on the liver, and has produced other ailments.

Accept, my dear Las Cases, the assurance of affectionate feelings which I entertain towards you.


P. S. During the few days that have elapsed since this letter was written, many things have happened which will prove to you that our situation, far from improving, as you seem to suppose, is daily growing worse.

You know that Captain Mackey of the 53d regiment, had been succeeded at Longwood, as officer on duty, by Captain Poppleton of the same regiment, and that Poppleton, at his departure, had been succeeded by Captain Blackeney of the 66th, who, like his predecessors, enjoyed a most excellent reputation in his regiment. This latter officer already thought, on the first days after his arrival, that the Governor required of him some acts unworthy of a man of honour; but as the number of those objectionable acts had greatly increased since that time, he at last ardently longed for the expiration of his year of service in that degrading post, in order to have nothing more to do with it. It is known that he declared confidentially to his friends in the regiment, that it was impossible for a man of honour to continue in that post without losing his own esteem. It may be also that Sir Hudson Lowe was not satisfied with the avowed sentiments of Captain Blackeney; be that as it may, on the 20th of this month, an officer who had been sent out to take the command of the militia, and whose former connexion with Sir Hudson Lowe is known to you, the only one out of the whole of the Governor’s staff whom the Emperor refused to see, came to instal himself as officer on duty, and with him, under various pretences, another officer, so that we had two instead of one. It appears that some rooms and articles belonging to Government, which had been given in common between the officer on 359duty and Doctor O’Meara, have occasioned some violent contentions between them.

On the 22nd I sent the protest marked A[41] to the Governor, who sent me a challenge by the officer alluded to. It was beneath my character and my situation to provoke Sir Hudson Lowe, but on this occasion I thought proper to address to him the letter marked B.[41]

On the 24th, he sent Dr. O’Meara away from Longwood, by virtue, he said, of an order from Lord Bathurst, as you will see by the Governor’s letter to Count Montholon, marked C.[41] to which Count Montholon answered by the letter marked D.[41]

Doctor O’Meara, you know, was attached to the Emperor, instead of his own physician, by a decision of the Council, and in consequence of a special demand to that effect, addressed by me to Admiral Keith; he could not therefore be taken away from the Emperor, but by an order in Council. If such an order exists, why are we not made acquainted with it? Certainly neither the Council nor Lord Bathurst would have removed from the Emperor the physician of his own choice, without having previously supplied his place by another, in whom the Emperor had confidence; they would have felt the responsibility attached to such a step.

But if even there had been an order in Council, it would not justify the Governor; for that order, given under ordinary circumstances, could not be carried into execution at the moment when the Emperor was seriously indisposed. It never can have been intended that his physician should be taken from him amidst his attendance in the case of a disease of so serious a nature, and which threatens his existence; particularly as since the month of April it has been demanded that if it were intended to take Dr. O’Meara away from him, another physician should be sent out from Europe in his stead, in whom the Emperor has confidence. The answer to this demand must arrive before three months are elapsed.

I conclude, my dear Las Cases: my heart is broken.


18th NOVEMBER, 1817.

This letter, and the letters dated 24th July and 26th October last, are filled with falsehoods. I have shut myself up in my apartment for eighteen months, in order to shelter myself from the insults of this officer. My health is now impaired, and will no longer allow me to read such disgusting documents; send me no more of them.

Whether that officer considers himself authorized by verbal and secret instructions from his minister, as he has given us to understand 360that he does, or whether he acts of his own accord, which might be inferred from the care which he takes to act with disguise, I cannot treat him but as my assassin.

Had they sent out to this country a man of honour, not only I should have experienced fewer vexations, but they would have saved themselves many reproaches from Europe and history, which the farrago of writing of this crafty man will not deceive.


Longwood, 23d November, 1817.

25th APRIL,

1.—I told you yesterday, when you presented this letter to me, that I would not know its contents, and that you were not to translate it to me, since it is not conformable to the forms adopted for the last three years.

2.—This fresh insult only dishonours that coxcomb. The King of England alone can treat with me on a footing of equality.

3.—This crafty line of conduct has however an object: to prevent you from disclosing the criminal plot which has been carried on for the last two years against my life.

4.—It is thus that, while they appear to open a channel for complaints, they in fact close every avenue.

5.—Thus, with the appearance of a wish to provide me with a house, and after announcing a building for the last three years, I am however still in this unhealthy barn, and no building is begun.

6.—It is thus that, whilst it appears that I am at liberty to ride on horseback, indirect means are resorted to to prevent me from doing so and from taking exercise; the want of which is the primary cause of my complaint.

7.—The same means are resorted to, to prevent me from receiving any visit. It is necessary for them to veil themselves in darkness.

8.—It is thus that, after having attacked my physician, after having obliged him to tender his resignation, not wishing to be a passive instrument and deprived of all moral independence, he is nevertheless kept under arrest at Longwood, in order that it may be believed that I have the benefit of his attendance, when it is well known that I will not see him, that I have not seen him for the last fortnight, that I never will see him as long as he is not set at liberty, and freed from the oppression under which he is placed, and until he has regained his moral independence in what concerns the exercise of his functions.

9.—It is thus that a false representation is made by causing bulletins to be issued by a physician who has never seen me, and does not know the state in which I am, nor the disease with which 361I am affected; but that does very well to deceive the Prince and the people of England and Europe.

10.—A ferocious joy is manifested at the aggravation of sufferings which this privation of medical assistance adds to my protracted agony.

11.—Demand that this note be sent to Lord Liverpool, as also your letter of yesterday, and of 13th and 14th April, in order that the Prince Regent may know my murderer, and may cause him to be brought to public punishment.

12.—If he does not, I bequeath the opprobrium of my death to the reigning House of England.


Longwood, 27th April, 1818.

THE 22d JULY, 1818.

In the name of the Emperor Napoleon, I am enjoined to protest,

1.—Against all violation of our enclosure by servants, workmen or others, whom you would secretly invest with public authority.

2.—Against the insults offered to Dr. O’Meara to compel him to leave this place, and against the obstructions, either public or secret, which you have opposed or may oppose to Napoleon’s being assisted in his illness by the advice of some medical officer in whom he may have confidence, who may be accredited in the service of his Britannic Majesty, or known to practise publicly in the island.

3.—Against all testimonies, reports and writings of the militia officer Hyster, who is only placed at Longwood to be an instrument of hatred and vengeance.

Longwood, 23d July, 1818.

Sir,—I have the honour to transmit to you a letter which I have just received. The old man appears to me to be out of his senses. He can have no knowledge of my official correspondence but by your orders. I have not answered him, and shall not do so. He is only a subordinate agent, and if his principal, a general officer, wishes to demand satisfaction of me, I am ready to grant it.

I have the honour to be,
Plantation House, 25th July, 1818.

Sir,—I do myself the honour to state to you, for the information of Napoleon Bonaparte, that agreeably to the instructions which I have received from Lord Bathurst, dated 16th May, 1818, I am directed to remove Mr. O’Meara from his situation near the person of Napoleon Bonaparte, and that I have accordingly given orders for him to leave Longwood immediately. Rear Admiral Plampin has received, at the same time, instructions from the Lords of the Admiralty to remove him from this island. Lord Bathurst’s instructions further direct that, after Mr. O’Meara’s departure, I am to order Dr. Baxter to attend upon Napoleon Bonaparte, as physician, whenever he is requested to do so; and that I am to inform him that he is to consider the health of Napoleon Bonaparte as the chief object of his attention. On communicating this arrangement, I am strictly enjoined to state, at the same time, that if Napoleon Bonaparte has any reason not to be satisfied with the medical attendance of Dr. Baxter, or if he prefers any other physician of this Island, I am quite ready to acquiesce in his wishes in that respect, and to allow any other medical practitioner whom he may select to attend upon him, provided he strictly conform to the rules established and now in force.

Having given Dr. O’Meara the orders for his departure, I have furnished Mr. Baxter with the necessary instructions, and he will be ready to repair to Longwood at the first summons. In the meantime, until I am informed of the wishes of Napoleon Bonaparte on this subject, I shall order a medical officer to be stationed at Longwood, to be ready in case of emergency.

I have the honour to be, &c.
HUDSON LOWE, Lieut.-Gen.

Sir,—Dr. O’Meara quitted Longwood yesterday, being compelled to leave his patient in the midst of the course of medicine which he was prescribing for him; that course has ceased this morning. From this morning a great crime is in progress!!! Nothing remains to be added to Count Bertrand’s letters of the 13th, 24th, 26th and 27th April last. The Emperor will never receive any other physician than Mr. O’Meara, because he is the physician attached to him, or than the one who may be sent from Europe to him, in conformity with the letter of the 13th of August, which has been already mentioned.

I have communicated the letter you addressed to me yesterday. What I have now the honour of writing to you is the substance of the reply I have been desired to transmit.

I have, &c.


My Lord,—The Sieur Cypriani, the Emperor’s steward, died at Longwood, on the 27th of February last, at four in the afternoon. He was interred in the Protestant burial-ground of this island, and the ministers of their church have observed on this occasion the same rites that they would have performed for one of their own persuasion. Care has been taken that, in the extract from the register of deaths which I shall send to you, though this paragraph of my letter might answer the purpose, it should be stated that he died in the bosom of the Roman Catholic church. The minister of the church of this country would willingly have attended the deceased on his death-bed; but the latter was anxious for a Catholic priest; and, as we have none, he appeared to have no wish to see a clergyman of any other religion. I should be glad if you would let us know what is the law of the Catholic church upon this point, and whether a Catholic on his death-bed may be attended by a minister of the church of England. We cannot, however, sufficiently praise the proper feeling and the zeal which were evinced on the present occasion by the clergy of the island. Cypriani died of an inflammation in the bowels. He expired on a Friday, and had attended his duties on the preceding Sunday without having any presentiment of his approaching end. A child of one of Count Montholon’s servants had died at Longwood a few days before. A waiting-woman died some days ago of the same complaint. Such is the effect of this unhealthy climate, in which few live to old age. Liver complaints, dysentery, and inflammations in the bowels, carry off many of the natives, but a still greater number of Europeans. We felt upon this occasion, as we feel every day, the want of a minister of our own persuasion. As you are our bishop, we wish you would send us out one, either a Frenchman or an Italian. You will, in that case, select a man of education, under forty years of age, and especially of a mild disposition, and not imbued with antigallican principles.

The steward’s duty has devolved upon Mr. Pierron, of the household, but he has been very ill; and, though convalescent, is still in a bad state of health. The cook is in a similar condition. It would be, therefore, necessary that either you, or Prince Eugene, or the Empress, should send out a steward and a French or an Italian cook, taken from amongst those who have been in the Emperor’s service, or who may still be in the service of his family.

Your Eminence will find annexed: 1.—The papers found in M. Cypriani’s portfolio; 2.—A brooch which he was in the habit 364of wearing, and which I have thought it right to send home for his wife; 3.—An account of all that is coming to him, amounting to 8,287 francs, or 345l. 5s. 10d. sterling; 4.—A bill of exchange in favour of his heirs, for the settlement of that account. The Emperor, knowing that his son is under your care, and that his daughter is with Madame, only delays securing an annuity to both his children, until he shall have been informed of the fortune left by Cypriani, who appears to have funds in Genoa to a rather considerable amount.

I will not afflict you by dwelling upon the state of the Emperor’s health, which is not satisfactory. It has not, however, become worse since the hot weather. I hope you will keep these details concealed from Madame. Give no credit to the false reports that may be circulated in Europe. Consider as the only fact that may be relied on that for these twenty-two months past the Emperor has only quitted his apartment occasionally, though very seldom, in order to pay a visit to my wife. He has hardly seen any one, unless it be two or three Frenchmen who are here, and the English Ambassador to China.

I beg that your Eminence will present my respects to Madame, and to the individuals of her family, and accept the homage of the sentiments with which I have the honour to be, &c.



I am going to devote to you the first moment that I can command. It is now upwards of a year since I quitted Longwood; 365and during that time, what troubles, what cares, what misfortunes of every kind have I not had to contend with!!! I leave it to the newspapers to give you an account of my tribulations. I shall avoid in my letters every expression, every subject, that might afford a pretext for their being withheld from you. I will promote, by all means in my power, the only object I have in view, which is that you should receive from me the proofs of a devotedness that will occupy every instant of the remainder of my life. I have but too present to my mind the consolation and happiness that I derived, when in your company, from European recollections, not to give all my attention to the object of procuring you that kind of consolation: Oh, my dear companions! who will henceforth engross my thoughts of every day, and of every moment! I am, therefore, writing to you on the first instant of freedom that I enjoy from personal restraint; and regularly every month, on the same day, I shall at least give you this token of my incessant anxiety for you. Obstacles, perhaps, over which I shall have no control, may prevent your receiving my letters; but, as far as regards me, death alone can make me fail in my promise; and here I appeal to the feelings of those who, being intrusted with the censorship of my letters, might fancy that they found in their expressions some motives for intercepting them. I beseech them to let me know of any involuntary deviations on my part that might appear reprehensible to them, in order that I may avoid them for the future. The necessity and the consolation of domestic sentiments cannot be prohibited by public morality: and such are the only sentiments which I shall endeavour to gratify in writing to you.

I have just obtained in Austria the asylum which I demanded, as soon as I found that my liberty was in danger. I shall repair to Lintz so soon as the wretched state of my health will allow me to undertake the journey. The headaches which first attacked me at the Cape are daily encreasing in violence, and give me much uneasiness. I shall avail myself of the free intercourse which is henceforth allowed me, in order to procure some exact information respecting all those that may be dear to you. To-day I can only give you such information as I have been able to collect indirectly.

My wife, who, by the greatest good fortune, was refused permission to go out to St. Helena, at the very moment when I was leaving it, and who came to meet me upon the road, where I was carried about like a bale of goods, is now on her return to Paris, whence she will bring back the rest of my children. She will enable me to afford you some details in my next letter concerning your family, and those of Montholon and of Gourgaud.

I have been able to ascertain that H.M. Maria Louisa enjoyed excellent health in Parma, and that nothing can exceed the health and beauty of her son, who is at Schœnbrunn. The Countess de Survilliers is detained here by the very infirm state of her health; she occasionally receives news from her husband, who is quite 366well, in America. Both her daughters are also well. The eldest bears a striking resemblance to the august head of the family. Princess Borghese, Madame, the Emperor’s mother, Prince Canino, Cardinal Fesch, and Prince Louis, are at Rome, and in the enjoyment of excellent health; the remainder of the family, Princess Eliza, Count de Montfort, and Princess Murat, reside in various parts of Austria. I hope that in time I shall be able to send you more direct and positive details. I feel the most bitter regret that I was not able to land and fix my abode in England. I am deprived of the means of procuring and sending immediately whatever I might have thought calculated to afford you some trifling diversion upon your horrible rock. This is a religious duty imposed upon me, which I have solicited, and shall continue every day to solicit, the British Ministers to allow me to fulfil. My constant endeavours to persuade them upon that point will not allow me to despair of success. Nevertheless, however far I may be from the spot, I shall not fail to attain so sacred an object by the assistance of some intermediate person; only you will receive the results of my cares and of my efforts in a less complete manner, and at a later period.

Be careful all of you of your health; live for the consolation, the affection, the happiness, and the wishes of those who admire and love you.

I received, upon my arrival at Dover, a letter from you, dated the 22d July, and one of the 29th from Sir Hudson Lowe. They acquainted me with what was unknown to me until then, that you had received the few articles I had sent to Longwood from the Cape; that you had received the document which was handed to me by you, and which I had returned, respecting the money which at my departure I had presumed to lay at the feet of the Emperor, and of which I was so happy as to procure the acceptance. Sir Hudson Lowe informs me that all the bills relating to this affair, which I had left in your hands, have been negotiated. I hope they have been duly honoured. I know not yet myself the state of my affairs. I have not yet had it in my power to write a single line to my agent in London, or to receive any news from him.

I regret much that T have not in my power, and at my command, the narrative of the campaigns of Italy. That distant epoch, already removed from the politics of the present day, possesses henceforth all the merit of history. It is anxiously wished for. Science and the contemporaries of that period claim it. I should deem myself fortunate if that work were confided to my care; and in case you should procure that favour for me, I shall instantly take the means of availing myself of it without delay, by at once inquiring in London, what are the previous formalities that would be required, both in England and at St. Helena, in order that I might receive that manuscript. I shall request that the reply to me may be likewise transmitted to Sir H. Lowe, in order that you may judge whether there would be no objection on your part to do what might be required of you.

367Write to me dear General, in your turn, by every opportunity; give me all the commissions that may occur to your mind, whether serious or trifling, easy or difficult, it matters not. Be persuaded, and constantly bear in mind, that I live only for you and through you all. My body alone has left your rock.



Frankfort, 26 Jan., 1818.

Faithful to my promise, I write to you after the lapse of one month, and on the same day on which my first letter was dated. I have at heart to record the identical date, so that you may depend upon its never being passed over without my addressing you. Some passages, however, in my letter may perhaps be written subsequently to its date, owing to the silence of Madame de Las Cases, whose letters I was in daily expectation of receiving from Paris. It is now about a month since she left me. She proposed calling upon all your relations, and upon those of Generals Gourgaud and Montholon. She was to send me the most circumstantial details respecting them. To my great surprise, I have not heard from her, and as I do not wish to delay any longer writing to you, I am under the necessity of postponing till next month all the particulars, which I am quite certain she will have collected with as much zeal and as much care as I could have done myself.

I have the satisfaction to know that my first letter has been forwarded to you: I had enclosed it in one to Mr. Goulburn; his answer has just reached me. I acknowledge with real pleasure that it is filled with expressions of kind consideration, and is in all respects satisfactory; this leads me to hope that what had hitherto taken place proceeded from mutual misunderstanding.

He assures me of the readiness that will exist at all times to forward my letters to you, so long as they shall be of the same nature as the first, and not liable to any greater objections. He adds that, conformably to my request, the books and pamphlets I may point out will be sent to you. He offers to procure them, and to superintend himself their regular transmission, taking care to remit to me from time to time a note of their cost, in order that I may settle the amount. He informs me that in case the Emperor shall think proper to confide to me the Campaigns in Italy, Sir Hudson Lowe is forthwith to receive instructions to transmit it to England, whence it will be forwarded and delivered to me in the manner that may be desired at Longwood, after taking such cognizance of it as may be deemed necessary. Lastly, he apprizes me that my papers which were seized in the Thames had been instantly sent back to me unopened; and that if I had not yet received them, which is still the case, accident alone could have occasioned the delay.

I am therefore in hopes that you will receive some publications with this very letter. I am unfortunately at a great distance and 368unpleasantly situated for selecting them, and for procuring them while new; but I will immediately write to London to remedy this inconvenience. I likewise hope that by the same opportunity I may be able to send you many things of which you stand in need, or that may prove acceptable to you, and others that may be of essential service to the Emperor’s health.

Her Majesty Maria Louisa is quite well, and still resides in Parma. Her son, from a late account given by a person who had seen him at a juvenile ball, is remarkably handsome, and is the delight of all Vienna. Such were the expressions used. He dances admirably, and is passionately fond of that amusement.

All the members of the Emperor’s family have evinced the kindest and most affectionate interest towards me. They have loaded me with offers and good wishes. I shall fortunately have it in my power to afford you regular accounts of them every month.

Prince Jerome has caused me to be assured that his offers of service would know no other bounds than those of impossibility. He has given an asylum near his person to the worthy and virtuous Planat, who, after our separation on board the BellerophonBellerophon, was tossed about by storms, and on the point of perishing on the coast. Princess Hortense informs me that she has suffered much persecution; but that if the torments inflicted upon her have originated in the tender and respectful devotedness which fills her heart, they are a source of pride and of happiness to her.

Whenever my health will allow me, I go to pay my respects to Princess Joseph, who is confined to the most absolute retirement, and chiefly to her bed, by the bad state of her health. We talk of St. Helena. Our thoughts traverse the seas; those are happy moments for us. Her daughters are quite well; her husband, from very late accounts, was likewise well. He had taken under his care two of the Emperor Napoleon’s servants, whom the British government had thought proper to retrench from the establishment of Longwood.

Prince Lucien gives me an account of all those of the family who are assembled in Rome. Madame, Cardinal Fesch, Princess Borghese, and Prince Louis are all in the enjoyment of good health, and unite in wishes and prayers for the health and preservation of their august relative. As for Prince Lucien, he says he is happy in Rome; he has just provided advantageously for his three daughters. Yet his mind and his heart are incessantly directed towards St. Helena. He can no longer reconcile himself to the idea of seeing his brother languishing and dying in exile. He desires that I will candidly tell him whether the Emperor would be as happy to see him as he himself would be to appear before him; and conformably to his desire I write to the British Government by the courier who bears this letter, to request they will allow him to proceed to St. Helena, and to reside there a couple of years or for life, if his brother does not send him away, with or without his wife and children: his wife wishing to share 369in the honour of his exile: and further, to state that he will engage not to occasion any augmentation of expense, either for himself or for his suite, and that he will submit to the same restrictions that are imposed upon his brother, and to any others that it might be thought proper to impose upon him personally, either before his departure, or after his return.

I cannot refrain, my dear General, from again requesting you will ascertain if the Emperor would intrust to me the Campaigns in Italy; you might next forward to me those of Egypt in their turn. They are both real treasures for the learned world and for history, quite foreign to the politics of the present day, and consequently not liable to any objection. I have written to London to convey the Countess Bertrand’s thanks for the friendly recollections that were so kindly expressed towards her, and the amiable attentions that were shewn to her children. If I had had it in my power to remain in England, I should have endeavoured to find out upon the spot some articles that I might have thought acceptable to the ladies. At this distance I can command nothing beyond my good wishes; they are very sincere towards them and towards you all, my dear companions. The fatal rock is ever impressed upon my heart.

I am still far from being well: my headaches are daily increasing; the physicians are at a loss to give an opinion upon the subject. May God be pleased to preserve my health, for the service and benefit of those who are dearest to my heart. I embrace you all affectionately. Take care of yourselves, and may you enjoy good health; it will be my reward, and the reward of your friends, who love you as I do.



Frankfort, March 15, 1818.

I experience a certain pleasure, my dear General, in writing my third letter to you, from the thought that my first must now be very near reaching you. I hope my second is already on its way to St. Helena, although I am not fortunate enough to be certain of it. A great many publications were to be sent on at the same time, and I am going to transmit a note of some others to be sent with the present letter.

I have just heard from my wife, who is on the point of quitting Paris to come with my children and reside with me. She informs me that she had seen the family of General Gourgaud, and had given to them all the details which she had heard from me concerning himself and your establishment at Longwood. His mother and his sister are both very well, and send him the assurance of their most affectionate love and good wishes. Your family, Grand Marshal, was in one of the provinces, and for some 370time past no news had been received from them. With respect to the family of Count Montholon, Madame de Las Cases has not been fortunate enough to meet with anybody belonging to it. I hope to be able in my next letter to speak of your friends, notwithstanding they are away from the capital.

All the members of the Emperor’s family are quite well. I have heard of every one of them since my last, and shall hear every month, so as to be able to transmit regular information to you. They all follow him with their good wishes, and live only for him. Most of them had been hitherto entirely deprived of any information respecting him, and the little that I have been enabled to give has therefore proved most valuable and dear to them. To satisfy their interest and their affection, which are both natural, I shall request the British Government, when they receive news from St. Helena, to allow me to receive the intelligence of the state of the Emperor’s health; it is a favour which I shall request in the name of a numerous family, and I hope it will not be refused to the sentiment which dictates it.

Prince Jerome has done me the honour to inform me that the conditions attached to the permission of corresponding with his august brother, and his profound veneration for him whom he acknowledges as his second father, have alone prevented him from having the happiness of writing to him, and laying his existence at his feet. If the situation of the Emperor be not improved next year, he proposes to ask permission of the British Government to go to St. Helena, with his wife and his son, supposing that such a voyage could not be opposed by any reasonable objection. The Queen his wife, to whom nothing is foreign that is noble and elevated, is inspired with the samesame sentiments, and expresses the same wishes.

Cardinal Fesch also writes to me in the name of Madame and in his own, requesting me to observe that, being the only two whose attention is not divided by individual ties, arising out of the consideration of a family, and the fear of exposing it to inconveniences, I must apply to them in preference for every thing that can contribute to alleviate in any way the horrible situation of the Emperor.

Countess Survilliers, whom I have the honour of seeing very frequently, and whose wishes are incessantly turned towards St. Helena, is in a very indifferent state of health. She suffers very much, and even occasions some uneasiness. The princesses her daughters are quite well.

I have just received, at last, my papers which had been seized in the Thames. They have reached me after four months of useless rambling and of daily privation to me. Fatality alone can have occasioned the delay, for they have been returned to me unopened.

I long very much to hear from you, and to receive your commissions. Unfortunately, the distance is so great, and the communications 371are so irregular, that I shall have yet to write for some time. Ask me for every thing you want; until then I am reduced to guess. You will soon receive that part of the Moniteur which you have not. I write this day on the subject.

II have at last received a letter from my agent in London. He informs me that he has honoured my bills, which I am happy to hear. But he also informs me that he has received besides from you two other bills, which he has been under the necessity of refusing, for want of advice or authority from me. I am sorry for this. Since I have left you, I had not been able to communicate with him. I have immediately answered his letter, directing him to remedy the evil as far as it lies in his power. He does not however give me any particulars respecting those bills.

MyMy health is still as indifferent as ever, not to say much worse. I am quite disheartened by it, and the more so, as the season is getting very fine, and this circumstance does not however produce any beneficial change to me. That is the reason why I remain at Frankfort, being placed in the centre of a great number of mineral springs, to which the physicians intend to send me.

Receive for yourself, Grand Marshal, and for my dear companions, the expression of my wishes and of all my sentiments. The colony of Longwood occupies and fills every moment of my existence. Take care of yourselves. Such is the wish of those who love you. I daily hear it expressed for you all. There are in this place or in the neighbourhood, several of the exiles; some were particular acquaintances of yours. They love and venerate you.



Frankfort, 15th April, 1818.

Madame Las Cases has continued her inquiries respecting your family and that of the gentlemen. I have myself written direct. My letters have been returned to me by a valet de chambre. I have learned that your family were well and undisturbed. The sister of General Gourgaud has written me a very agreeable letter, full of tenderness for her brother. As to my third attempt, though repeated, it produced only absolute silence, You will find, M. Grand Marshal, my details very barren. It is not my fault: I write to you every thing I can. You will do wrong to judge, by my want of matter, of all my cares and incessant exertions.

I continue to receive news of all the members of the family of the Emperor. They are all well in health. His son continues a fine boy. The Empress, they write me, is very thin. I have lately seen a person of the household of the Princess Murat. He was specially charged to describe to me her tender solicitude for 372her august brother, her devotion and her wishes. I have received a letter from the Princess Eliza, full of the same sentiments. They all live only to think of him who is so dear to them, who loaded them with kindnesses, and now engrosses all their affections. The Princess Eliza resides at Trieste. She informs me that she has written five times to St. Helena. The Cardinal writes to me, on his part, that they have written very often from Rome. I have received an answer from London to the request which I made, and of which I informed you in my last, for leave for Prince Lucien to visit his august brother. The answer has not appeared sufficiently explicit for me to send it to you before I have a new explanation.—Prince Jerome, who talked of making a like attempt next year, has not been able to postpone for so long a time a step, the success of which would delight his heart. He is going to address himself to the Prince Regent, for permission for himself; his wife and son, to undertake the voyage immediately.

The Cardinal has given me a very full account of all the members of the family settled at Rome. The Princess Hortense enjoys tranquillity at Augsburg, where she is occasionally visited by her brother. She is occupied with the education of her second son. She has had the eldest with her several months, who has developed, during his short visit, all the qualities which honour, attach, and interest. He has returned to Rome to his father, who is settled in that city. I hope that my first letter has reached you before this; and I reckon the days and hours that will bring me your answer, because then I shall know more particularly what I can do to be agreeable to each of you. Be assured that I and mine only live for this; and that death itself could not interrupt the course of my efforts for that purpose. I shall have provided a successor. Let me then know all your wishes. Nothing will be impossible to my zeal, to the affection and devotion of those who assist me.

I have received a very polite answer from London respecting all the articles which I desired to be sent to your address. I am assured that the several pamphlets, which I mentioned, are about to be sent off. I am told that the Morning Chronicle, the Journal du Commerce, and that of Paris, which they say is the best, have been ordered for you. As for the rest, upon this point, as upon every other, write to me your wishes. Tell me every thing that may give pleasure to the establishment.

As to provisions, wine, coffee, oil, &c. which I mentioned in my letter, I am answered that a considerable supply, and of the best quality had been dispatched to you: the list has been sent me. It is added, Lord Holland had sent a quantity, at the request of the Princess Borghese: an invoice of that also has been sent me.

My health, unfortunately, is still very deplorable: I see no amendment. The physicians insist that I shall entirely abstain from business.—I am going to take the waters somewhere. I shall most probably inform you, in my next, of my departure from 373Frankfort. I have had an opportunity of seeing here several of the exiles, who have found a temporary refuge in this city or its vicinity. They flatter themselves daily with their speedy recal. Public opinion demands it, they are told. It is thought that about the end of the year all the French will be at liberty to reside in France. I have, however, myself, been a stranger to the severity exercised towards them. Madame Las Cases, on her return to Paris, received from old friends a great deal of advice, and many offers on my account. They pressed forward in the most obliging manner to offer their services and their influence; but she has constantly answered that in reality I wanted no assistance, and it was not my intention moreover to put the kindness of any one to the test; that I had voluntarily banished myself for a holy and religious ministry; and in fact I shall no more have a country, Monsieur Grand Marshal, as long as you shall be where you are, and there shall remain a single chance that my efforts, my devotion, and my zeal, may be able to afford you any useful or agreeable consolation—until then I shall be a wanderer in the world. I shall carry about every where, if it must be, my atmosphere of sorrow and zeal. On your part, keep me in your remembrance; give me the consolation of imagining that our thoughts cross each other, and sometimes are interchanged. Patience and courage are the virtues of heroes. Who knows better than I that they belong to you all? Adieu—I embrace you.



Frankfort on the Maine, 15th May, 1818.

I would write to you this day, my dear Bertrand, merely to be punctual and faithful to the date which I have invariably prescribed to myself, every month, for giving news of me. No change having taken place in my situation, I could only repeat, word for word, the matter contained in my last. I hoped to have been able to send you my letter from another place; but a severe complaint in my eyes, which has come to aggravate my other afflictions, has hitherto prevented me from setting out for some of the warm baths in the south of Germany, to which I shall repair, however, in a few days.

I have the satisfaction to learn that my preceding letters have been regularly despatched to you, and that a great many pamphlets have been sent off. I wish they may amuse you. Unfortunately I provide for you a little in the dark;—the circumstances of locality will be my excuse; I do my best; I am in a bad situation for that. Such a case as mine would require a capital.—I am not permitted to reside in London; and in Paris I could not accomplish my purpose. The same distance prevents me from thinking of sending you a great many little things with which I might employ myself if I were upon the spot. I had thought of 374completing for you a little chemical apparatus, but renounced it. I understand that it would be useless to you.

All the relatives of the Emperor are well, and await with impatience the regular course of your letters, of which they entertain no doubt, as you will have received my first, with my invariable resolution to send you theirs every month punctually.—My wife will rejoin me in a few days, to part no more, I hope.

Adieu, accept my wishes.



Frankfort on the Maine, 19th May, 1818.

I have the honour to thank you for the kindness with which you have been pleased to inform me of the departure of my letters for St. Helena, as also of that of the pamphlets and journals with which you have been pleased to accompany them.

I am sorry you should have found it necessary to preserve silence, upon certain points in my last letter. My discretion will know how to interpret that silence. I owe it to the personal kindness which you have hitherto shewn me, not to return to the subject any more. I have written to the Cardinal Fesch, agreeably to a passage in your letter, that he may send, by the way he shall think most proper, the sequel of the Moniteur, reckoning from 1808, addressed to the office of Lord Bathurst in London; and that his Lordship allows their transmission to St. Helena.

As to the passage of your letter, Sir, concerning the request which I had the honour to make to you, for a regular bulletin of the health of Napoleon, in the name, and on the behalf of the members of his family, may I be permitted to pray you will observe to my Lord Bathurst that the whole of the family of the Emperor are not at Rome; that he has one sister and her family at Frankfort; a brother and his family in Austria; two other sisters and their families in the vicinity of Vienna and Trieste; without reckoning others, all of whom would esteem it the greatest favour, and would consider it a real gratification to their heart, should the sentiments which induced Lord Bathurst to send regular accounts to Rome, induce him condescendingly to allow of their being regularly transmitted to them also. I was not ignorant of the gratification which had been hitherto procured for the Princess Borghese; but it did not extend from Rome to all the members of the family in Germany, where the route was then much more circuitous than that which I had the honour to request. Whatsoever title and right my heart might give me, perhaps, to solicit for myself a participation in this bulletin, I shall learn to renounce entirely and put myself completely aside; and not doubting but that the favour will be more highly appreciated by those for whom I solicit it, if it should come directly from Lord Bathurst, 375rather than pass through my hands, I shall solicit therefore anew, and in the name of the Countess of Survilliers (the Princess Joseph Bonaparte), who resides in this city, that he will have the goodness to send to her regularly the same accounts which he has the goodness to address to the Princess Borghese at Rome. The Countess of Survilliers will undertake to communicate them to all the family in Germany.

Sir, I have learned, from the public journals, the unexpected return of General Gourgaud. This sensible diminution of the household of Napoleon, this new privation of one servant more, penetrates my heart, and has determined me to pray that you will please to request of Lord Bathurst to allow me to return to St. Helena, accompanied by my family. This intention and this desire will never forsake me, as his Lordship may convince himself by the whole of my correspondence with Sir Hudson Lowe, from the moment of my quitting the colony. I do not think it would be necessary to demand the previous consent of the Emperor Napoleon to this request, because I dare flatter myself that his answer would not be doubtful. However, if Lord Bathurst should deem it necessary, I entreat his Lordship to make the application himself: he will see that in my letter to Longwood I have abstained from mentioning this circumstance. Considerations of delicacy, which his Lordship will know how to appreciate, have restrained me. The deplorable state of my health will be no obstacle. I am ambitious to go and find a grave at the feet of him whom I venerate, and to whose cares I shall find it sweet to consecrate my latest breath.

Accept, Sir, the expressions of the perfect consideration, &c.


I lost not a moment, on the receipt of the documents sent by Count Bertrand, in despatching a copy of them to each of the Sovereigns at Aix-la-Chapelle. I took this opportunity to renew my entreaties. I implored them to succour the illustrious victim. “A few days more,” said I, “and it will be too late.” The physician whom they had snatched away from him (an Englishman,) declared publicly in London that a much longer residence upon that unwholesome rock would cause his death. I ventured to represent to them that their humanity, the sentiments of their hearts, might be arrested perhaps by formal denials, but would not their justice listen to the other side of the question? I demanded that I might be allowed to furnish them with it, I solicited the sole favour of being heard in behalf of 376this sacred cause; “consenting,” I said, “if I did not prove the truth of the documents laid at their feet, that my shame and my blood should expiate my offence in having dared to impose upon them.”—At the same time I did not lose one opportunity, one instant, one thought, which might have multiplied the chances of any success. I addressed myself to every one, who, I learned, had any influence over the hearts of the Monarchs. I wrote particularly to M. de la Harpe, the tutor of the Emperor Alexander, so well known, so venerated, who, I had been told, was at that moment with him at Aix-la-Chapelle.

Neither upon this occasion, nor any other, have I ever had the slightest answer to any one of my letters; and if any thing has been sometimes insinuated to me indirectly and with mystery, I was obliged to suspect it as a snare laid against my person, which was of small moment; or against my cause, which was every thing to me. Thus the Congress ended, and not a word escaped from it in favour of Napoleon. In fine, I sought to stimulate even foreign talents; and in the number of voices then raised, the pamphlet of a certain German journalist attracted sufficient attention to serve for a pretext to devise trammels for the liberty of the press.

However, all the efforts which I had called forth were vain, all my hopes were blasted, all my pains were thrown away—they left him to die! In fact, what could the naked Truth avail with sovereigns, without the protection of any address, or the alliance of any interests, against the insinuations of wicked men, who watched with all the ardour of political fanaticism, private resentment, and prospective apprehensions! They acted so effectually that in the council of kings, fear, no doubt, prevailed over generosity. They demonstrated how dangerous universal interest rendered the victim: and it may be truly said, to the glory of generous sentiments, that public opinion was pronounced every where with great warmth; not less in Germany, than in any other country. And perhaps, in the sight of the high personages who were witnesses of it, this favourable opinion did a great deal of mischief to him 377whom it meant to serve; as if it had been in the destiny of Napoleon that the interest of the Germans should become as baneful to him in adversity, as their animosity had been fatal to him in the time of his power.—Amongst the efforts to maintain the hideous captivity of Napoleon, there has been actually imputed to the English Ministers a base intrigue, an unworthy deception. It was said that, to confirm the wavering Sovereigns, they had forged, for the express purpose, a pretended plot of escape. The imputation was founded upon the timeliness, the éclat, and publicity, with which the arrival of the Musquito brig suddenly caused this news to spread through all Europe; a circumstance, which, after it had once produced the intended effect, that of counterbalancing the public favour, gave room to no further mention, to no detail, to no confirmation whatsoever; an imaginary conjecture, no doubt, and in which the English Ministers are probably culpable, only in having afforded ground for suspecting them of it by the numerous antecedent cases, in which they degraded themselves in acting against Napoleon.

To my chagrin was added the fear of seeing old persecutions revived against me, in my peaceful solitude. The spring of 1819 was approaching. The excellent Grand Duke of Baden was just dead. Those who did not like us became stronger by this event, and it was signified to me, without the knowledge of the new sovereign perhaps, that I must quit the States of Baden. The order was given to me only verbally, and I was even informed that I should receive it in no other way. The motive for my removal, it was said, was the desire to live in close friendship with France, and the fear that my stay would be disagreeable to her; a motive that must excite a smile of pity. I disdained to say that the French Minister had thought fit to leave me in repose; the intolerance of opinion had discovered another motive to the full as ridiculous. The person charged with the order against me was very willing to grant me some days for preparation, but I was nearly like the Greek philosopher, who carried his all upon his own person; and I would have set out at the very instant of 378the notification itself, if Madame Las Cases had not been afflicted with an inflammation of the lungs which placed her in great danger. I assured him that I should only allow myself time to see her out of danger; and although the well-meant advice was given me to solicit Government for permission to remain, I still disdained it; and a few days afterwards, I set out on my route for Offenbach, where Madame Las Cases was to join me, when she should be in a state to travel.

If I felt myself so much hurt by this unexpected treatment, it is because I had already forgotten all the vexations with which I had been overwhelmed by the English authorities, and for more than a year, during which I lived upon the German soil, I was not subjected to such forms; but, on the contrary, I was spoiled by the favour, the interest, the respect, of which I every where saw myself the object, even among those of a contrary opinion; and, besides, on leaving Manheim, I was far from being embarrassed for a new residence. Some friends, in their kind precautions, had sounded some neighbouring governments; I was assured of a favourable reception in several. One of the princes, addressed upon the occasion, answered, with a smile, “Yes, no doubt; he should be well received and well treated. So far from repulsing a man of this character, a prince who understands his own interest should have his courtiers inoculated from him.”

However, in expatiating here so freely upon my successes, I must not disguise my disappointments. Now and then I had also my little mortifications. All was not roses: and, without reckoning the expulsion from Manheim, for example, of which I was speaking, they found great fault, in another place, with the respect shewn to me, being, they said, one of those wretches who had arrested the King of France at Varennes; and who more lately had done, perhaps, still worse. In another place, a Baron who gave a grand evening party, informed his guests that he had at length ascertained who this Count and Councillor of Napoleon’s was whose arrival had made so great a noise in the city. He was, he informed them, nothing but his cook from St. Helena; 379and that, not having means to pay him his wages at parting, he had, as a compensation, created him a Count and Councillor of State. If the Baron believed what he said, he was assuredly a good easy man, and if his object was only to make his guests believe it, he must have taken them for great simpletons. The pleasant part of the story remains, for we must tell the whole; and it is that, in fact, the cook from Longwood had passed through a few days before: and thus it appears how anecdotes and the biographies of the saloon are engendered and multiply; and the devil himself cannot afterwards eradicate them. I could smile at the wickedness or the stupidity. Their acts and their words were only ridiculous and grotesque; but a circumstance of an important nature presented itself, which would have distressed me excessively, if I did not know how much the mass of error which presses round sovereigns may impair the soundness of their judgment.

I was assured that some one at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, finding himself disposed, in the presence of the Emperor Alexander, to touch upon the frightful situation of Napoleon, and citing the authentic statements produced by me in his support, that Prince answered, “We must not believe all that this man is come to tell us in Europe; he is an intriguer.” How is it that the most enlightened princes are deceived; even those from whom we should expect better? Unless it was here, as with Napoleon, who often used peevish expressions, after his own manner, and not implying harm; and besides, by good fortune, I have still on my side, time, that true crucible of characters. Years have since elapsed, and the unanimous opinion, I dare hope, of all those who have known or followed me, would sufficiently clear me from such an accusation. “An intriguer!” I, who have worn out upon a rock all the vanities of this world! I, who in the clouds of Longwood, have seen all things from so great a height, that they remain small indeed to my eyes! I, who of all people on earth, know nothing to desire! I, in fine, who, no longer considering myself of this world, cannot have, and have not in fact, any other ambition whatever, 380any other wish, than that of Diogenes—“that they would not stand between me and the sun.”


A Space of more than Two Years.


Offenbach is a handsome little town in the Grand-Duchy of Darmstadt, situate upon the Maine, two leagues from Frankfort. I settled myself there, according to my custom, in a sort of little hermitage. It was upon the bank of the river, within a step of the town.

My head-aches, under their different symptoms, had never quitted me. At Manheim I suffered very acute pains. A short time after my arrival at Offenbach, my illness suddenly assumed a character new, insupportable, and alarming. It was then that a universal indisposition, an increasing debility, commenced, which, preventing the employment of the faculties, brought with them a complete disgust of life; then also commenced that sudden trembling in my limbs and in my whole frame: those sudden visits of dimness of sight, which I might call the twinkling of existence. How often in this state, and without taking any notice of it, have I gone to bed with the thought, I had almost said the hope, of awaking no more. Madame Las Cases, in the excess of her anxiety, wished that I should give up every kind of occupation whatever, of which, in fact, I was absolutely incapable; she suppressed my letters, and wrote to the relatives of the Emperor, to apprize them of my real situation, and to prevail upon them to appoint a successor to me in the cares which I had created for 381myself. For a long time past, as a precaution, I myself had entreated them to join with me a person whose happiness it would have constituted, and the choice of whom would have been agreeable to the Emperor.[44] He was then with one of them; but, from one cause or another, this was not done, and necessity compelled me to break off without any provision having been made to supply the deficiency. I exhausted in vain all the aid of medicine; and, if the domestic cares, the tender solicitude, which surrounded me on every side, could have availed, my illness would have been only a blessing, from the pleasure of seeing them lavished upon me. One loves to dwell upon that which was sweet, and I could not assuredly better describe the great interest felt for me, and the nature of the recompense which the sentiments I had shewn, the efforts I had made, had obtained for me, than when I say my little hermitage has been honoured with the presence of three Queens, and, I think, on the same day. Two of them, it is true, had been deposed; but they did not the less command every where at that moment, by the elevation of their minds, the simplicity of their manners, the éclat of their other qualities, a universal respect, at least, as much as at the era of their greatest splendour.

It was at Offenbach that the little colony, which Cardinal Fesch sent to St. Helena, was addressed to me on its way to that place. It consisted of a chaplain, a surgeon, a physician, and a valet de chambre; all chosen by the Cardinal. On my arrival in Europe, I had written to him, to be assured that to send a priest, capable also of writing to dictation, and of assisting a little in business, would be very agreeable to the Emperor; and I had employed his mediation to interest, for that purpose, the conscience of the Holy Father, who, in fact, demanded it of the English Ministers, who had hitherto opposed the measure, or attached to it inadmissible conditions. It was also from Offenbach, that I despatched to Longwood two charming portraits: one, the 382young Napoleon, painted from the life in the same year, and sent by King Jerome; the other that of the Empress Josephine, by Sain, a present from the Queen Hortense. It was mounted in a magnificent tea-caddy, of crystal. This choice of crystal was a delicate precaution of the Queen’s, who also had the mounting executed in such a manner as to render it impossible to suspect any concealed writing. The former of these two portraits reached its destination. The valet de chambre of the Emperor has since told me, that Napoleon, on perceiving it, seized it with avidity and kissed it. I, who know how reserved the Emperor was, can judge from this circumstance the whole extent of his joy and satisfaction. As to the portrait of the Empress Josephine, it never arrived at Longwood, although, by a singular contrariety, it was found, in consequence of some memorandum, to have paid the custom-house duty on its importation into England.

Towards the end of the summer, Madame Las Cases, by order of the physicians, carried me to the waters of Schwalbach, where I was an object of pity to every one. I returned without having derived any benefit from them; but a circumstance then revived my strength for an instant, and caused me to quit Germany.

All of a sudden, I learnt from the public papers the return of Madame Montholon to Europe; she had been, like myself, repulsed from England, and landed at Ostend. I was not able to resist going to seek authentic details, of which I had so long been deprived. I hastened to rejoin her, whether she should be permitted to stay in the country, or should be forced, after my example, to run up and down the highways, for in that case I should be useful to her; I had had experience.

Travelling with mystery, for I remembered too well all the ill treatment I formerly received in the Netherlands, I joined the Countess of Montholon at Brussels. Not only was she at liberty to reside there, but she had been received with the most particular respect; and a journal of the place having announced that she would be obliged to continue her route, a semi-official article refuted this news, upon this ground, especially, that the 383Netherlands was the land of hospitality. I wanted no more; Belgium appeared to me nearly as France; in the midst of the Belgians, I should think myself among my countrymen. I wrote, therefore, to Madame Las Cases to acquaint her with our good fortune, and desiring that she might hasten to come and join me. Shunning Brussels, for the same reasons which had made me leave Frankfort, I chose Liege; remembering the kind reception which I had there experienced, at the time of my unfortunate passage, eighteen months before; and I settled there, not without apprehension of some new ill luck. But I was wrong; for I must with truth and gratitude say that, during nearly two years and a half that I have since traversed the country in all directions, without any request, any solicitation, not even a previous announcement, that country, formerly so baneful to me, has ever since been the land of hospitality; never having afterwards had occasion to perceive any authority whatever, otherwise than by the tranquillity, the repose, which I enjoyed under its shade.

Influence and foreign malice had ceased; it was at this time that my son requested leave, anew, and on his own account, to return to Longwood. I have the answer of Lord Bathurst, who refused it. Subsequently, the Princess Pauline, who succeeded in obtaining leave to repair thither, wrote to me to know if my son wished to accompany her: but then, alas! it was too late.

Neither the affection nor the care of my friends at Liege, where I remained the whole winter; nor the rural situation of Chaude-Fontaine, where I spent the spring; nor the generous hospitality of the worthy and excellent proprietor of that charming spot Justlanville, who forced me to accept for the summer, at a few steps from him, the residence called Johan, at the gates of Spa and of Verviers; nor the benevolence of all his family, so numerous, so kind, so respected in the country; were able to ameliorate my condition, or fix my stay. Yet it would be difficult for me to describe, as they deserve, the extreme kindness, the touching dispositions, the sympathetic spirit, of the whole population of these countries, so prosperous, so rich, so flourishing, 384under the imperial reign, and which continues so grateful.

I spent my second winter at Antwerp, with some sincere friends whom I tenderly love, and whom my arrival on the expedition to Flushing, ten years before, had procured for me; and in the spring I reached Malines, without any particular motive; for I was not able to remain a long time in the same place. I stood in need of change. I was the patient who tosses and turns in his bed, seeking in vain the sweets of sleep. Twice, during the two years in Belgium, Madame Las Cases wished to take me to the south; and twice, at the very moment of setting out, imperative circumstances happened to stop us:—disappointments, however, which were to us so many real favours of fortune. But for the first of them, we should have found ourselves advanced a day’s journey within the frontier, at the very moment of a fatal and sanguinary catastrophe; and, but for the second, we should have arrived at Nice precisely at the moment of the constitutional explosion in Piedmont; and no doubt that, in both cases, and naturally enough, we should have been subjected to at least temporary inconvenience.

Meanwhile the Congress of Laybach was held, and I could not refrain from attempting new solicitations. I addressed a new letter to each of the three high Sovereigns. The following is that to the Emperor Alexander:—

Sire,—A new and solemn occasion presents itself for preferring to your Majesty my humble and respectful accents. I seize it anew with eagerness.

“I am not afraid of rendering myself importunate: my excuse and my pardon are in the generosity of your soul.

“Sire, to recal, at this moment, to your recollection, and to that of your high Allies, the august captive, whom you, a long time, called your brother and your friend; to seek to divert your thoughts and theirs to that victim whose cruel suffering is always present to me; this is, I know it, to make the knell of death heard amidst joy 385and feasting. But therein, Sire, I trust that, even in the eyes of your Majesty, I fulfil an honourable and pious duty, the performance of which must remain always sweet to me, however perilous it may be!

“Sire,—reduced to a state of infirmity and weakness which leaves me scarcely able to connect a few ideas, I follow the instinct of my heart in default of the faculties of my head, in merely repeating literally here to your Majesty the note which I presumed to address to you at Aix-la-Chapelle; for, the circumstances having remained the same, no change having since taken place in that respect, what could I do better than to place under the eyes of your Majesty the same picture, the same facts, the same reasoning, the same truths.

“Only if, in spite of that which I then thought was certain, the illustrious victim, contrary to my expectation and that of the faculty, still breathes; if he has not yet fallen, I shall dare to observe to your Majesty that this unexpected prolongation of his life, which has been to him only a continuation of torment, is perhaps, to your Majesty, a blessing from heaven, which Providence reserves for your heart and for your memory.... Ah! Sire, there is then time still!... But the precious opportunity may every moment escape from all your power!... And what would be then the tardy, impotent regrets which could neither appease your heart, nor restore to your memory an act magnanimous, generous—a glory of a nature the most soothing, the most moral, the most commendable in the eyes of posterity, the best understood, perhaps, with which you could have embellished your glorious life? I mean oblivion of injuries, disdain of vengeance, remembrance of old friendship; in fine, the respect due to royal majesty—to one of the Lord’s anointed!!!

“Sire,—since my return to Europe, separated from the society of men, a prey to hopeless sufferings originating in St. Helena itself, belonging for the future and unalterably much more to another life than to this, I ardently raise every day in my retreat my hands to the Almighty, praying that he will deign to touch the heart of your 386Majesty, and to enlighten it upon so essential a part of its interests and its glory.

“I am, &c.

How prophetic were many of these lines! Alas, they were scarcely before the eyes of the monarchs when he was no more!—He had ceased to live, to suffer!—On opening the Moniteur, I found there the fatal announcement. Though it could not surprise me, having been a long time certain to my understanding, I was not the less struck, overcome as at an unexpected event that was never to happen.

The next day I received a melancholy letter from London with circumstantial details, and conjectures for which these details might furnish matter; and this letter concluded by saying, “It was on the fifth of May, at six o’clock in the evening, at the very instant when the gun was firing at sunset, that his great soul quitted the earth.”

How strange the coincidences that sometimes happen!—When about the person of Napoleon, and under his influence, I had contracted the habit of keeping a diary, and he frequently expressed his regret that he had not done the same. “A line to assist the memory,” said he, “merely two or three indicatory words.” I had continued this practice ever since; and, as it may easily be imagined, I hastened to turn to the fifth of May, to see where I was, what I had been doing, and what had happened to me at that fatal moment. And what should I find?—Sudden storm; shelter under a shed; awful clap of thunder. Taking a ride, towards evening, in the country beyond Malines, the weather being delightful, there came on suddenly one of those summer storms, of such violence that I was obliged to seek shelter on horseback beneath a shed; and while in this situation there was a thunder-clap so tremendous that it seemed to 387be close to me. Alas! and what was passing elsewhere, at such a distance, at the same moment!—The circumstance may perhaps appear more than strange, but no doubt there are at Malines, or in its environs, naturalists or meteorologists who keep an account of the weather: it is for them to confirm or to contradict my statement.


London: Published for Henry Colburn, March, 1836.

On the report of the death of Napoleon, it must, however, be said, that there was but one single cry, one selfsame sentiment in the streets, in the shops, in the public places; even the saloons shewed some feeling: the cabinets alone shewed themselves insensible, worse than insensible! But, after all, it was natural, they breathed, at length, at their ease....

During his life, in the time of his power, he had been assailed with pamphlets and libels; on his death, we were suddenly inundated with productions in his praise—a contrast, nevertheless, that gives a little relief from so much meanness of the human heart. There were every where, and from all parts, compositions in prose and in verse, paintings, portraits, pictures, lithographs, and a thousand little things more or less ingenious, proving much better than all the pomp of kings could do the sincerity, the extent, the vivacity of the sentiments which he left behind him. A clergyman on the banks of the Rhine, the place of whose residence had received some particular favour from the Emperor, assembled his parishioners, and made them pray for their old benefactor. In a large city of Belgium, a great number of citizens subscribed for a solemn funeral service, and if they abstained from the performance of it, it was much more from etiquette than in consequence of any interdict. Then these words of Napoleon, which I have often heard him repeat, were verified:—“In the course of time, nothing will be thought so fine, or strike the attention so much, as the doing of justice to me.... I shall gain ground every day in the minds of the people. My name will become the star of their rights; it will be the expression of their regrets.” And all these circumstances are verified in every country and every where. Without reckoning things of this kind, of which I am no doubt 388unaware, a peer of Great Britain shortly after said in open Parliament, “That the very persons who detested this great man have acknowledged that for ten centuries there had not appeared upon earth a more extraordinary character. All Europe,” added he, “has worn mourning for the hero; and those who have contributed to that great sacrifice are devoted to the execrations of the present generation as well as to those of posterity.”[46]

Two German professors, who either had always known his real character, or had been cured of their national prejudices, have erected upon their grounds a monument to his memory, with some inscriptions, indicating that, with him, fell a funereal veil over the rights of the people, and the ascendant impulse of civilization.

Our writers have defended his memory, our poets have celebrated it, and our orators, in the legislative tribunal, have proclaimed aloud the attachment which they had felt for him, or that they are honoured by the distinctions which they had received from him.

Nothing now remained for me but to return to my country. In crossing the frontier, at the end of the second emigration, I could not avoid thinking of the circumstances of my return after the first, and what a difference of sentiment distinguished them! Then I seemed, at every step, to advance amidst a hostile population; now I felt as if I was entering into my family. I soon beheld again all my companions of Longwood, and, while embracing them, I could not deny myself one melancholy reflection—we were all met again; but he for whom we had sought the fatal rock, he alone remained there! I recollected that he had told us it would be so, and many other things besides. I learned from all these eye-witnesses the details and the circumstances of the ill treatment which, since my departure, had been daily increasing; and I saw that the times which I had known had not even been the most unhappy moments.


London: Published for Henry Colburn, December, 1835.

I read his last will; I there found my name, three or four times, in his own hand!—What were my emotions!—Assuredly 389I did not stand in need of them for my reward. For a long time I have carried it within my breast. But the remembrances, however, were dear and precious—how much more precious than millions! And yet he joined to them large sums from those of his family who were most nearly connected with him, and were dearest to him. If they ever pay them, so much the better; that will concern them hereafter more than me. I should have liked to consider myself only as a kind of depository. I even wished to anticipate them, but I found it necessary to stop: my means did not allow me to make these advances. My happiness would have been great in affording a retirement to a few civil and military veterans. In our long evenings, we should have often spoken of his battles or discoursed of his heart.

At last I received (thanks to the zealous interposition of one of the most distinguished characters of the English peerage!) the papers which had been detained from me at St. Helena: and which, in spite of all the power of the laws, I no longer reckoned upon. In the situation in which I found myself, with the sentiments with which it had inspired me, I felt myself under the indispensible obligation to assist, since I had some means to do it, in making better known him who had been so much misrepresented; and, in spite of my infirmity, I set about this work. Heaven has blessed my efforts in permitting me to reach the end, and to finish it, however ill; this I have the happiness to do at this instant. If I have succeeded in reconciling hearts, if I have destroyed prejudices, conquered prepossessions, I have obtained my dearest, my sweetest object; my mission is accomplished.

Passy, August 15, 1823.


I have to reproach myself for not having taken an opportunity to relate the adventures of Santini. At the conclusion of every drama, whatever may be its nature, one likes to meet again in the dénouement with all those who have figured in the early part of it. Santini’s story 390involves moreover traits of manners, tints of the times, a reference to public affairs, which induce me to repair my omission, since I have it in my power to do so.

We had long given up Santini for lost, confined, dead, when all at once he again made his appearance among us soon after the death of Napoleon: and the following narrative is from his own lips, and nearly in his own words.

After making his escape from England, he had traversed Belgium and some parts of Germany, with the intelligence and address of a clever Italian. At length, on entering Münich, he imagined that he had overcome the grand obstacles, and was safe in port. But precisely in that city he was apprehended, and, in spite of all his applications to the different authorities, and to several ambassadors, in order to obtain permission to pass quietly, he was carried back by gendarmes into Wirtemberg, which he traversed at liberty, but under evident surveillance. On reaching Lombardy, at Como, he went to declare himself to the police: they had been expecting him there; he was arrested and conveyed to Milan, where he was told that he could not remain in the country, at full liberty, without serious inconvenience; and that, in consequence, he should be conducted to Mantua, where he would be under less restraint. Now the less restraint that was promised him proved to be nothing better or worse than a prison, where he was not allowed to hold communication with any person whatsoever. Such was the importance attached to his complete seclusion that, Maria Louisa having passed through that city, and stopped there for twenty-four or thirty-six hours, poor Santini had for an extraordinary companion in his room a police officer who did not suffer him to be for a moment out of his sight, not even during meals or when he slept; which serves to show the extreme care that was taken to prevent all communication between Napoleon and Maria Louisa.

At length, in consequence of the disturbance and complaints which he made in his dungeon, an order arrived to remove him to Vienna; but the captain of the circle was required to travel in the same carriage with 391him, and to conduct him by forced journeys to his new destination.

Santini, contrary to his expectation, found himself again imprisoned, and again made a great noise; incessantly insisting on being tried, and either shot, as he said, if he deserved it, or set at liberty if he had not done any thing wrong. He was at last told that they had nothing to lay to his charge, but that his entire liberty was attended with great difficulties; that he could not be suffered to go into every country, and he should therefore have his choice between England and Austria. Santini replied that he would never more set foot on land governed by the executioners of his master. He was then carried to Brünn, the capital of Moravia, where he was obliged to take an oath to abstain from seeking any foreign correspondence. On his arrival there, he found himself, it is true, under a special surveillance; but there, said Santini, ended his persecutions and his troubles; there began a better condition. His captivity indeed became, he said, a blessing, and his heart was filled with gratitude. He there found himself an object of attention and interest: all, from the highest to the lowest, showed him the greatest kindness. The inhabitants had twice seen Napoleon; as an enemy it is true, and yet they felt profound veneration for him. In this manner Santini spent, what he called, three happy years.

It had been recommended by superior authority that a strict watch should be kept, at Brünn in particular, to prevent Santini from sending off any paper for the Emperor Francis. When that monarch was going to the Congress at Troppau, he stopped at Brünn, and Santini said that two days before, a police officer had arrived from Vienna to watch lest he should address any thing to the Emperor. Thus the heart of Francis was under as vigilant surveillance as that of Maria Louisa; the emotions of both were suspicious, and of course they were much feared. All precautions, however, were vain. Santini had interested the highest personages, and a petition from him, on the treatment that he had experienced, reached the hands of the Sovereign. He complained 392in it of his pecuniary situation, and of the privation of liberty, and accompanied it with attestations which he had brought from St. Helena, especially the order for the pension which Napoleon had assigned to him. The Emperor Francis appeared to be much struck with this order, which was signed by the Grand Marshal, and headed “By express order of the Emperor.” It purported that a pension of a certain amount was granted to Santini, and that it should be paid him by the first relatives or the first friends of the Emperor’s to whom he should present it. “Is it not terrible?” said the Emperor Francis, looking at it—“he is prisoner at St. Helena, and yet he continues to give orders as if nothing had happened!” His beneficence, however, got the better of his surprise, and whether he considered himself as a relative, or merely followed the impulse of his kind heart, he ordered a sum of money to be remitted to Santini; and it is a singular circumstance, which I could not observe without a kind of emotion, that the first two sums set down on the order for Santini’s pension, are placed precisely against names not related to the Emperor by blood—the Princess Stephanie of Baden and the Emperor of Austria, the one his adopted daughter, the other his father-in-law.



[It has been judged desirable to subjoin a few extracts from the celebrated Work by Dr. Antommarchi, Napoleon’s Physician, as furnishing, in their details of the latter moments, death, and interment of the fallen Ruler, a natural sequel to the account of what may be called his penultimate days, by the faithful Las Cases.]


At half-past one he sent for Vignali.—“Abbé,” said he, “do you know what a chambre-ardente[47] is?”—“Yes, Sire.”—“Have you ever officiated in one?”—“Never, Sire.”—“Well, you shall officiate in mine.”—He then entered into the most minute detail on that subject, and gave the priest his instructions, at considerable length. His face was animated and convulsive, and I was following with uneasiness the contraction of his features, when he observed in mine I know not what expression which displeased him.—“You are above those weaknesses,” said he, “but what is to be done? I am neither a philosopher nor a physician. I believe in God, and am of the religion of my father. It is not every body who can be an Atheist.” Then turning again to the priest—“I was born a Catholic, and will fulfil the duties prescribed by the Catholic religion, and receive the assistance it administers. You will say mass every day in the chapel, and will expose the holy sacrament during forty hours. After my death, you will place your altar at my head in the room in which I shall lie in state; you will continue to say mass, and perform all the customary ceremonies, and will not cease to do so until I am under ground.”

The Abbé withdrew, and I remained alone with Napoleon, who censured my supposed incredulity. “How can you carry it so far?” said he. “Can you not believe 394in God, whose existence every thing proclaims, and in whom the greatest minds have believed?”—“But, Sire, I have never doubted it. I was following the pulsations of the fever, and your Majesty thought you perceived in my features an expression which they had not.”—“You“You are a physician,” replied he laughing, and then added, in an under-tone, “Those people have only to do with matter; they never will believe any thing.”


Napoleon was free from vomiting, and drank a great deal of cold water. “If fate had decreed that I should recover, I would erect a monument on the spot where the water flows, and would crown the fountain in testimony of the relief it has afforded me. If I die, and my body, proscribed as my person has been, should be denied a little earth, I desire that my remains may be deposited in the cathedral of Ajaccio in Corsica; and if it should not be permitted to me to rest where I was born, let me be buried near the limpid stream of this pure water.”water.”


Napoleon still preserved his presence of mind, and recommended to his executors, in case he should lose it, not to allow any other English physicians to approach him than Doctor Arnott. “I am going to die,” said he; “and you to return to Europe: I must give you some advice as to the line of conduct you are to pursue. You have shared my exile; you will be faithful to my memory, and will not do any thing that may injure it. I have sanctioned all principles, and infused them into my laws and acts; I have not omitted a single one. Unfortunately, however, the circumstances in which I was placed were arduous, and I was obliged to act with severity, and to postpone the execution of my plans. Our reverses occurred: I could not unbend the bow; and France has been deprived of the liberal institutions I intended to give her. She judges me with indulgence: she feels grateful for my intentions: she cherishes my name and my victories. Imitate her example; be faithful to the opinions we have defended, and to the glory we 395have acquired; any other course can only lead to shame and confusion.”


Icy coldness of the lower extremities, and in a short time, of the whole body—eye fixed—lips closed and contracted—violent agitation of the nostrils—most complete adynamia[48]—pulse extremely weak and intermittant, varying from one hundred and two to one hundred and eight, one hundred and ten, and one hundred and twelve pulsations per minute—breathing slow, intermittant, and stertorous—spasmodic contraction of the epigastric region and of the stomach—deep sighs—piteous moans—convulsive movements, which ended by a loud and dismal shriek. I placed a blister on the chest, and one on each thigh; applied two large sinapisms on the soles of the feet, and fomentations on the abdomen, with a bottle filled with hot water: I also endeavoured to refresh the Emperor’s lips and mouth by constantly moistening them with a mixture of common water, orange-flower water, and sugar; but the passage was spasmodically closed; nothing was swallowed; all was in vain. The intermittent breathing and mournful sound still continued, accompanied by a violent agitation, of the abdominal muscles: the eyelids remained fixed, the eyes moved and fell back under the upper lids; the pulse sunk and rallied again.—It was eleven minutes before six o’clock—Napoleon was about to breathe his last!—a slight froth covered his lips—he was no more!—Such is the end of all human glory!


It had not been possible, for want of the necessary materials, to embalm the body, the whiteness of which was really extraordinary. It was deposited upon one of the small tent-beds, furnished with white curtains as funeral hangings!!! The cloak of blue cloth which Napoleon had worn at the battle of Marengo served to 396cover him. The feet and hands were exposed to view; at his right side was his sword, and on his chest a crucifix. At some distance from the body was the silver vase in which I had been obliged to deposit his heart and stomach. Behind his head was an altar, at which the priest, habited in his surplice and stole, recited prayers. All the persons of his suite, officers and servants, dressed in mourning, were standing on his left. Doctor Arnott watched over the corpse, which had been placed under his personal responsibility.

The door of the chambre ardente, and the approach to it, had been for some hours past thronged by an immense crowd. The door was at last opened; and the crowd entered, and gazed upon the lifeless remains, without confusion, without tumult, and in a religious silence. The order of admittance was regulated by Captain Crokat, the orderly officer of Longwood. The officers and subalterns of the 20th and 66th regiments were first admitted, and the remainder afterwards. All felt that emotion which the spectacle of courage and misfortune united never fails to excite in the hearts of all brave men.

The coffin which was to receive the Emperor having been brought, I was obliged to place the heart and stomach in it. I had flattered myself that I should be able to convey them to Europe; but all my entreaties on that subject were fruitless: I experienced the grief and mortification of a refusal. I left the first-mentioned of these two organs in the vase in which it had at first been enclosed, and placed the second in another vase of the same metal, and of a cylindrical shape, which had been used to keep Napoleon’s sponge. I filled the vase containing the heart with alcohol, closed it hermetically, soldered it, and deposited it with the other at the angles of the coffin, in which Napoleon was then laid. The body was first placed upon a kind of mattress and pillow, in a tin-box lined with white satin. The Emperor’s hat, which could not remain on his head for want of room, was placed on his feet; eagles, some pieces of all the coins bearing his effigy, his fork and spoon, his knife, a plate with his arms, &c. were also put into that box, 397which was carefully soldered, and placed in another of mahogany. A third, of lead, received these two boxes; and the whole was finally enclosed in a fourth of mahogany, which was closed, and secured with iron screws. The coffin was then covered with the cloak Napoleon had worn at the battle of Marengo, and exposed on the same spot where the body had lain. Arnott continued to watch, and Vignali to pray; whilst the crowd, which increased every hour, were allowed to circulate round these mournful objects.


The Governor himself soon arrived at Longwood, and was shortly afterwards followed by the Admiral and all the civil and military authorities. The weather was beautiful, the roads were crowded with people, and the hills covered with musicians: never had so mournful and solemn a spectacle been before exhibited in the island. At half-past twelve the grenadiers took the coffin, which they could not lift without difficulty, and, after repeated and persevering efforts, succeeded in carrying it to and placing it on the hearse, which was waiting in the great walk in the garden; and it was then covered with a violet coloured velvet cloth, and the cloak which Napoleon wore at Marengo. The Emperor’s household was in mourning; and the funeral procession was arranged, and proceeded in the following order, which had been regulated by the Governor himself:—

Abbé Vignali, habited in the sacerdotal ornaments used
for the celebration of mass, with young Henry
Bertrand, carrying a vase of silver
containing Holy-water and
Doctor Arnott and myself.
The persons appointed to take care of the hearse, which
was drawn by four horses, led by grooms, and
escorted by twelve grenadiers on
each side, without arms.[49]
398Young Napoleon Bertrand and Marchand, both on foot
on each side of the hearse.
Counts Bertrand and Montholon on horseback immediately
behind the hearse.
Part of the Emperor’s suite.
Countess Bertrand, with her daughter Hortense, in a
calash drawn by two horses led by servants
who walked on the side of the
The Emperor’s horse, led by his piqueur Archambaud.
The officers of the marines on foot and on
The officers of the staff on horseback.
General Coffin and the Marquis Montchenu on horseback.
The Admiral and the Governor on horseback.
The inhabitants of the Island.

The procession left Longwood in this order, passed before the guard-house, and the garrison of the island, about two thousand five hundred strong, which lined the whole of the left side of the road as far as Hut’s Gate. Bands of music, stationed at intervals, added by their mournful sounds to the solemn sadness of the ceremony. After the procession had passed before the troops, they followed, and accompanied it towards the place of burial. The dragoons marched first, the 20th regiment of infantry followed; then came the marines, the 66th regiment, the volunteers of St. Helena; and, lastly, the regiment of royal artillery, with fifteen pieces of cannon. Lady Lowe and her daughter were waiting on the road at Hut’s Gate, in a calash drawn by two horses, and afterwards followed the procession at a distance, accompanied by some servants in mourning. The fifteen pieces of cannon were stationed along the road, and the men were near their pieces ready to fire.

At about a quarter of a mile beyond Hut’s Gate the hearse stopped, and the troops halted and ranged themselves in order of battle along the road. The grenadiers then took the coffin on their shoulders, and carried it thus to the grave, by the new road which had been made for that purpose on the side of the mountain. 399Every body then dismounted; the ladies got out of the calash, and the procession followed the corpse without observing any order: Counts Bertrand and Montholon, Marchand, and young Napoleon Bertrand, holding the four corners of the pall. The coffin was deposited on the edge of the grave, which was hung with black, and near to it were the machinery and the ropes with which it was to be lowered: every thing offered a mournful aspect; every thing contributed to increase the grief and affliction which filled our hearts. Our emotion was great, but deep, concentrated and silent. The coffin having been uncovered, Abbé Vignali recited the usual prayers, and the body was consigned to the grave, the feet turned towards the east. The artillery then fired three successive volleys of fifteen guns each. During the march of the funeral procession, the Admiral’s ship had fired twenty-five minute-guns. An enormous stone, which was to have been employed in the construction of the Emperor’s new house, was now used to close his grave. The religious ceremonies being over, that stone was lifted up by means of a ring fixed in it, and was lowered down over the body, resting on both sides on a strong stone wall, so as not to touch the coffin. It was then fastened; the ring was taken away, the hole it had left filled up, and the masonry covered with a layer of cement.


London: Published for Henry Colburn, February, 1836.

The Emperor’s grave is about a league from Longwood. Its shape is quadrangular, but wider at the top than at the bottom; its depth is about twelve feet. The coffin is placed upon two strong pieces of wood, and isolated on all sides. We were not allowed to place over it either a stone, or a modest inscription: the Governor opposed this pious wish; as if a tombstone, or an inscription, could have told the world more than they already knew!




This 15th April, 1821, at Longwood, Island of St. Helena. This is my Testament, or act of my last will.

1. I die in the Apostolical Roman religion, in the bosom of which I was born, more than fifty years since.

2. It is my wish that my ashes may repose on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of the French people, whom I have loved so well.

3. I have always had reason to be pleased with my dearest wife, Maria Louisa. I retain for her, to my last moment, the most tender sentiments—I beseech her to watch, in order to preserve, my son from the snares which yet environ his infancy.

4. I recommend to my son never to forget that he was born a French prince, and never to allow himself to become an instrument in the hands of the triumvirs who oppress the nations of Europe: he ought never to fight against France, or to injure her in any manner; he ought to adopt my motto: “Every thing for the French people.

5. I die prematurely, assassinated by the English oligarchy and its * * *. The English nation will not be slow in avenging me.

6. The two unfortunate results of the invasions of France, when she had still so many resources, are to be attributed to the treason of Marmont, Augereau, Talleyrand, and La Fayette.

I forgive them—May the posterity of France forgive them as I do!

7. I thank my good and most excellent mother, the Cardinal, my brothers, Joseph, Lucien, Jerome, Pauline, Caroline, Julie, Hortense, Catarine, Eugene, for the interest they have continued to feel for me. I pardon Louis for the libel he published in 1820; it is replete with false assertions and falsified documents.

8. I disavow the “Manuscript of St. Helena,” and other works; under the title of Maxims, Sayings, &c., which persons have been pleased to publish for the last six years. Such are not the rules which have guided my life. I caused the Duc d’Enghien to be arrested and tried, because that step was essential to the safety, interest, and honour of the French people, when the Count d’Artois was maintaining, by his own confession, sixty assassins at Paris. Under similar circumstances, I should act in the same way.


1. I bequeath to my son the boxes, orders, and other articles; such as my plate, field-bed, saddles, spurs, chapel-plate, books, linen which I have been accustomed to wear and use, according to the list annexed (A). It is my wish that this slight bequest may be dear to him, as coming from a father of whom the whole world will remind him.

2. I bequeath to Lady Holland the antique Cameo which Pope Pius VI. gave me at Tolentino.

3. I bequeath to Count Montholon, two millions of francs, as a proof of my satisfaction for the filial attentions he has paid me during six years, and as an indemnity for the losses his residence at St. Helena has occasioned him.

4. I bequeath to Count Bertrand, five hundred thousand francs.

5. I bequeath to Marchand, my first valet-de-chambre, four hundred thousand francs. The services he has rendered me are those of a friend; it is my wish that he should marry the widow, sister, or daughter, of an officer of my old Guard.

6. Item. To St. Denis, one hundred thousand francs.

7. Item. To Novarre (Noverraz,) one hundred thousand francs.

8. Item. To Pieron, one hundred thousand francs.

9. Item. To Archambaud, fifty thousand francs.

10. Item. To Cursot, twenty-five thousand francs.

11. Item. To Chandellier, twenty-five thousand francs.

12. To the Abbé Vignali, one hundred thousand francs. It is my wish that he should build his house near the Ponte Novo di Rostino.

13. Item. To Count Las Cases, one hundred thousand francs.

14. Item. To Count Lavalette, one hundred thousand francs.

15. Item. To Larrey, surgeon-in-chief, one hundred thousand francs.—He is the most virtuous man I have known.

16. Item. To General Brayher, one hundred thousand francs.

17. Item. To General Le Fevre Desnouettes, one hundred thousand francs.

18. Item. To General Drouot, one hundred thousand francs.

19. Item. To General Cambrone, one hundred thousand francs.

20. Item. To the children of General Mouton Duvernet, one hundred thousand francs.

21. Item. To the children of the brave Labedoyère, one hundred thousand francs.

22. Item. To the children of General Girard, killed at Ligny, one hundred thousand francs.

23. Item. To the children of General Chartrand, one hundred thousand francs.

24. Item. To the children of the virtuous General Travot, one hundred thousand francs.

40225. Item. To General Lallemand the elder, one hundred thousand francs.

26. Item. To Count Réal, one hundred thousand francs.

27. Item. To Costa de Bastelica, in Corsica, one hundred thousand francs.

28. Item. To General Clausel, one hundred thousand francs.

29. Item. To Baron de Mennevalle, one hundred thousand francs.

30. Item. To Arnault, the author of Marius, one hundred thousand francs.

31. Item. To Colonel Marbot, one hundred thousand francs.—I recommend him to continue to write in defence of the glory of the French armies, and to confound their calumniators and apostates.

32. Item. To Baron Bignon, one hundred thousand francs.—I recommend him to write the history of French diplomacy from 1792 to 1815.

33. Item. To Poggi di Talavo, one hundred thousand francs.

34. Item. To surgeon Emmery, one hundred thousand francs.

35. These sums will be raised from the six millions which I deposited on leaving Paris in 1815; and from the interest at the rate of 5 per cent. since July 1815. The account thereof will be settled with the banker by Counts Montholon and Bertrand, and Marchand.

36. Whatever that deposit may produce beyond the sum of five million six hundred thousand francs, which have been above disposed of, shall be distributed as a gratuity amongst the wounded at the battle of Waterloo, and amongst the officers and soldiers of the battalion of the Isle of Elba, according to a scale to be determined upon by Montholon, Bertrand, Drouot, Cambrone, and the surgeon Larrey.

37. These legacies, in case of death, shall be paid to the widows and children, and in default of such, shall revert to the bulk of my property.


1. My private domain being my property, of which I am not aware that any French law has deprived me, an account of it will be required from the Baron de la Bouillerie, the treasurer thereof: it ought to amount to more than two hundred millions of francs; namely, 1. The portfolio containing the savings which I made during fourteen years out of my civil list, which savings amounted to more than twelve millions per annum, if my memory be good. 2. The produce of this portfolio. 3. The furniture of my palaces, such as it was in 1814, including the palaces of Rome, Florence, and Turin. All this furniture was purchased with moneys accruing from the civil list. 4. The proceeds of my houses in the kingdom of Italy, such as money, plate, jewels, 403furniture, equipages; the accounts of which will be rendered by Prince Eugène and the steward of the Crown, Campagnoni.


(Second Sheet.)

2. I bequeath my private domain, one half to the surviving officers and soldiers of the French army who have fought since 1792 to 1815, for the glory and the independence of the nation; the distribution to be made in proportion to their appointments upon active service; and one half to the towns and districts of Alsace, Lorraine, Franche-Comté, Burgundy, the Isle of France, Champagne Forest, Dauphiné, which may have suffered by either of the invasions. There shall be previously set apart from this sum, one million for the town of Brienne, and one million for that of Méri. I appoint Counts Montholon and Bertrand, and Marchand, the executors of my will.

This present will, wholly written with my own hand, is signed, and sealed with my own arms.


(L. S.)

List (A).
Annexed to my Will.
Longwood, Island of St. Helena,
this 15th April, 1821.

1. The consecrated vessels which have been in use at my Chapel at Longwood.

2. I direct Abbé Vignali to preserve them, and to deliver them to my son when he shall reach the age of sixteen years.


1. My arms; that is to say, my sword, that which I wore at Austerlitz, the sabre of Sobiesky, my dagger, my broad sword, my hanger, my two pair of Versailles pistols.

2. My gold dressing-case, that which I made use of on the morning of Ulm and of Austerlitz, of Jena, of Eylau, of Friedland, of the Island of Lobau, of the Moskwa, of Montmirail. In this point of view it is my wish that it may be precious in the eyes of my son. (It has been deposited with Count Bertrand since 1814.)

3. I charge Count Bertrand with the care of preserving these objects, and of conveying them to my son when he shall attain the age of sixteen years.


1. Three small mahogany boxes, containing, the first, thirty-three snuff-boxes or comfit-boxes; the second, twelve boxes with 404the Imperial arms, two small eye-glasses, and four boxes found on the table of Louis XVIII. in the Tuileries, on the 20th of March, 1815; the third, three snuff-boxes, ornamented with silver medals habitually used by the Emperor; and sundry articles for the use of the toilet, according to the lists numbered I. II. III.

2. My field-beds, which I used in all my campaigns.

3. My field-telescope.

4. My dressing-case, one of each of my uniforms, a dozen of shirts, and a complete set of each of my dresses, and generally of every thing used in my toilet.

5. My wash-hand stand.

6. A small clock which is in my bed-chamber at Longwood.

7. My two watches, and the chain of the Empress’s hair.

8. I entrust the care of these articles to Marchand, my principal valet-de-chambre, and direct him to convey them to my son when he shall attain the age of sixteen years.


1. My cabinet of medals.

2. My plate, and my Sèvres china, which I used at St. Helena. (List B. and C.)

3. I request Count Montholon to take care of these articles, and to convey them to my son when he shall attain the age of sixteen years.


1. My three saddles and bridles, my spurs which I used at St. Helena.

2. My fowling-pieces, to the number of five.

3. I charge my chasseur, Noverraz, with the care of these articles, and direct him to convey them to my son when he shall attain the age of sixteen years.


1. Four hundred volumes, selected from those in my library which I have been accustomed to use the most.

2. I direct St. Denis to take care of them, and to convey them to my son when he shall attain the age of sixteen years.


List (A).

1. None of the articles which have been used by me shall be sold; the residue shall be divided amongst the executors of my will and my brothers.

2. Marchand shall preserve my hair, and cause a bracelet to be made of it, with a little gold clasp, to be sent to the Empress Maria Louisa, to my mother, and to each of my brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, the Cardinal; and one of larger size for my son.

4053. Marchand will send one pair of my gold shoe-buckles to Prince Joseph.

4. A small pair of gold knee-buckles to Prince Lucien.

5. A gold collar-clasp to Prince Jerome.

List (A).
Inventory of my effects, which Marchand will take care of, and| convey to my son.

1. My silver dressing-case, that which is on my table, furnished with all its utensils, razors, &c.

2. My alarum-clock: it is the alarum-clock of Frederic II. which I took at Potsdam (in box No. III.).

3. My two watches, with the chain of the Empress’s hair, and a chain of my own hair for the other watch: Marchand will get it made at Paris.

4. My two seals (one the seal of France, contained in box No. III.).

5. The small gold clock which is now in my bed-chamber.

6. My wash-hand-stand and its water-jug.

7. My night-tables, those I used in France, and my silver-gilt bidet.

8. My two iron bedsteads, my mattresses, and my coverlets, if they can be preserved.

9. My three silver decanters, which held my eau-de-vie, and which my chasseurs carried in the field.

10. My French telescope.

11. My spurs, two pair.

12. Three mahogany boxes, Nos. I. II. III., containing my snuff-boxes and other articles.

13. A silver-gilt perfuming pan.

Here follow lists of Body Linen and Clothes, too minute to claim insertion in this place.

List (B).

Inventory of the Effects which I left in the possession of Monsieur the Count de Turenne.

One Sabre of Sobiesky. (It is, by mistake, inserted in List (A.)
that being the sabre which the Emperor
wore at Aboukir, and which is in the
hands of Count Bertrand.)

One Grand Collar of the Legion of Honour.

One sword of silver-gilt.

One Consular sword.

406One sword of steel.

One velvet belt.

One Collar of the Golden Fleece.

One small dressing-case of steel.

One night-lamp of silver.

One handle of an antique sabre.

One hat à la Henry IV. and a toque.[50] The lace of the Emperor.

One small cabinet of medals.

Two Turkey carpets.

Two mantles of crimson velvet, embroidered, with vests, and small-clothes.

I give to my Son the sabre of Sobiesky.
Do. the collar of the Legion of Honour.
Do. the sword silver gilt.
Do. the Consular Sword.
Do. the steel sword.
Do. the collar of the Golden Fleece.
Do. the hat à la Henry IV. and the toque.
Do. the golden dressing-case for the teeth, which is in the hands of the dentist.

To the Empress Maria Louisa, my lace.

To Madame, the silver night-lamp.

To the Cardinal, the small steel dressing-case.

To Prince Eugene, the wax-candle-stick, silver gilt.

To the Princess Pauline, the small cabinet of medals.

To the Queen of Naples, a small Turkey carpet.

To the Queen Hortense, a small Turkey carpet.

To Prince Jerome, the handle of the antique sabre.

To Prince Joseph, an embroidered mantle, vest, and small-clothes.

To Prince Lucien, an embroidered mantle, vest, and small-clothes.


This 24th April, 1821, Longwood.

This is my Codicil or act of my last Will.

Upon the funds remitted in gold to the Empress Maria Louisa, my very dear and well-beloved spouse, at Orleans, in 1814, she remains in my debt two millions, of which I dispose by the present Codicil, for the purpose of recompensing my most faithful servants, whom moreover I recommend to the protection of my dear Maria Louisa.

1. I recommend to the Empress to cause the income of thirty thousand francs, which Count Bertrand possessed in the Duchy of Parma, and upon the Mont Napoleon at Milan, to be restored to him, as well as the arrears due.

4072. I make the same recommendation to her with regard to the Duke of Istria, Duroc’s daughter, and others of my servants who have continued faithful to me, and who have never ceased to be dear to me: she knows them.

3. Out of the above-mentioned two millions I bequeath three hundred thousand francs to Count Bertrand, of which he will lodge one hundred thousand in the treasurer’s chest, to be employed in legacies of conscience, according to my dispositions.

4. I bequeath two hundred thousand francs to Count Montholon, of which he will lodge one hundred thousand in the treasurer’s chest, for the same purpose as above-mentioned.

5. Item, two hundred thousand francs to Count Las Cases, of which he will lodge one hundred thousand in the treasurer’s chest, for the same purpose as above-mentioned.

6. Item, to Marchand one hundred thousand francs, of which he will place fifty thousand in the treasurer’s chest, for the same purpose as above-mentioned.

7. To Jean Jerome Levi, the Mayor of Ajaccio at the commencement of the Revolution, or to his widow, children, or grand-children, one hundred thousand francs.

8. To Duroc’s daughter, one hundred thousand francs.

9. To the son of Bessières, Duke of Istria, one hundred thousand francs.

10. To General Drouot, one hundred thousand francs.

11. To Count Lavalette, one hundred thousand francs.

12. Item, one hundred thousand francs; that is to say:—

13. Item, one hundred thousand francs; that is to say:—

14. Two hundred thousand francs shall be distributed in alms to the inhabitants of Brienne-le-Chateau, who have suffered most.

15. The three hundred thousand francs remaining shall be distributed to the officers and soldiers of the battalion of my guard at the Island of Elba who may be now alive, or to their widows and children, in proportion to their appointments, and according to an estimate which shall be fixed by my testamentary executors: those who have suffered amputation, or have been severely wounded, shall receive double; the estimate to be fixed by Larrey and Emmery.

408This codicil is written entirely with my own hand, signed, and sealed with my arms.

This 24th of April, 1821, Longwood.
This is my Codicil, or note of my last Will.

Out of the settlement of my civil list of Italy, such as money, jewels, plate, linen, equipages, of which the Viceroy is the depositary, and which belonged to me, I dispose of two millions, which I bequeath to my most faithful servants. I hope that, without availing himself of any reason to the contrary, my son Eugene Napoleon will pay them faithfully. He cannot forget the forty millions which I gave him in Italy, and in the distribution of the inheritance of his mother.

1. Out of these two millions, I bequeath to Count Bertrand three hundred thousand francs, of which he will deposit one hundred thousand in the treasurer’s chest, to be disposed of according to my dispositions in payment of legacies of conscience.

2. To Count Montholon, two hundred thousand francs, of which he will deposit one hundred thousand in the chest, for the same purpose as above-mentioned.

3. To Count Las Cases, two hundred thousand francs, of which he will deposit one hundred thousand in the chest, for the same purpose as above-mentioned.

4. To Marchand, one hundred thousand francs, of which he will deposit fifty thousand in the chest, for the same purpose as above-mentioned.

5. To Count La Valette, one hundred thousand francs.

6. To General Hogendorf, of Holland, my aide-de-camp, who has retired to the Brazils, one hundred thousand francs.

7. To my aide-de-camp, Corbineau, fifty thousand francs.

8. To my aide-de-camp, General Caffarelli, fifty thousand francs.

9. To my aide-de-camp, Dejean, fifty thousand francs.

10. To Percy, surgeon-in-chief at Waterloo, fifty thousand francs.

11. Fifty thousand francs, that is to say:—

12. To Baron De Mennevalle, fifty thousand francs.

13. To the Duke d’Istria, son of Bessières, fifty thousand francs.

14. To the daughter of Duroc, fifty thousand francs.

15. To the children of Labedoyère, fifty thousand francs.

40916. To the children of Mouton Duvernet, fifty thousand francs.

17. To the children of the brave and virtuous General Travot, fifty thousand francs.

18. To the children of Chartrand, fifty thousand francs.

19. To General Cambrone, fifty thousand francs.

20. To General Lefevre Desnouettes, fifty thousand francs.

21. To be distributed amongst such proscribed persons as wander in foreign countries, whether they be French, Italian, Belgians, Dutch, Spanish, or inhabitants of the departments of the Rhine, under the directions of my executors, and upon their orders, one hundred thousand francs.

22. To be distributed amongst those who suffered amputation, or were severely wounded at Lingy or Waterloo, who may be still living, according to lists drawn up by my executors, to whom shall be added Cambrone, Larrey, Percy, and Emmery. The guards shall be paid double; those of the Island of Elba, quadruple; two hundred thousand francs.

This codicil is written entirely with my own hand, signed, and sealed with my arms.


This 24th of April, 1821, at Longwood.
This is a third Codicil to my Will of the 15th of April.

1. Amongst the diamonds of the Crown which were delivered up in 1814, there were some to the value of five or six hundred thousand francs, not belonging to it, but which formed part of my private property; repossession shall be obtained of them in order to dischargedischarge my legacies.

2. I had in the hands of the banker Torlonia, at Rome, bills of exchange to the amount of two or three hundred thousand francs, the product of my revenues of the Island of Elba since 1815. The Sieur De la Perruse, although no longer my treasurer, and not invested with any character, possessed himself of this sum. He shall be compelled to refund it.

3. I bequeath the Duke of Istria three hundred thousand francs, of which only one hundred thousand francs shall be reversible to his widow, should the Duke be dead before payment of the legacy. It is my wish, should there be no inconvenience in it, that the Duke may marry Duroc’s daughter.

4. I bequeath to the Duchess of Frioul, the daughter of Duroc, two hundred thousand francs: should she be dead before the payment of this legacy, none of it shall be given to the mother.

5. I bequeath to General Rigaud, (to him who was proscribed) one hundred thousand francs.

4106. I bequeath to Boisnod, the intendant commissary, one hundred thousand francs.

7. I bequeath to the children of General Letort, who was killed in the campaign of 1815, one hundred thousand francs.

8. These eight hundred thousand francs of legacies shall be considered as inserted at the end of Article thirty-six of my testament, which will make the legacies I have disposed of by will amount to the sum of six million four hundred thousand francs, without including the donations I have made by my second codicil.

This is written with my own hand, signed, and sealed with my arms.

(L. S.)

[On the outside is written:]

This is my third codicil to my will, entirely written with my own hand, signed, and sealed with my arms.

To be opened the same day, and immediately after the opening of my will.


This 24th of April, 1821. Longwood.
This is a fourth Codicil to my Testament.

By the dispositions we have heretofore made, we have not fulfilled all our obligations, which has decided us to make this fourth codicil.

1. We bequeath to the son or grandson of Baron Duthiel, lieutenant-general of artillery, and formerly lord of St. André, who commanded the school of Auxonne before the Revolution, the sum of one hundred thousand francs, as a memento of gratitude for the care which that brave general took of us when we were lieutenant and captain under his orders.

2. Item. To the son or grandson of General Dugomier, who commanded in chief the array of Toulon, the sum of one hundred thousand francs. We, under his orders, directed that siege, and commanded the artillery: it is a testimonial of remembrance for the marks of esteem, affection, and friendship, which that brave and intrepid general gave us.

3. Item. We bequeath one hundred thousand francs to the son or grandson of the deputy of the Convention, Gasparin, representative of the people at the army of Toulon, for having protected and sanctioned with his authority the plan we had given, which procured the capture of that city, and which was contrary to that sent by the Committee of Public Safety. Gasparin, by his protection, sheltered us from the persecution and ignorance of the 411general officers who commanded the army before the arrival of my friend Dugomier.

4. Item. We bequeath one hundred thousand francs to the widow, son, or grandson, of our aide-de-camp Muiron, killed at our side at Arcola, covering us with his body.

5. Item. Ten thousand francs to the subaltern officer Cantillon, who has undergone a trial upon the charge of having endeavoured to assassinate Lord Wellington, of which he was pronounced innocent. Cantillon had as much right to assassinate that oligarchist as the latter had to send me to perish upon the rock of St. Helena. Wellington, who proposed this outrage, attempted to justify it by pleading the interest of Great Britain. Cantillon, if he had really assassinated that lord, would have pleaded the same excuse, and been justified by the same motive—the interest of France—to get rid of this General, who, moreover, by violating the capitulation of Paris, had rendered himself responsible for the blood of the martyrs Ney, Labedoyere, &c.: and for the crime of having pillaged the museums, contrary to the text of the treaties.

6. These four hundred thousand francs shall be added to the six million four hundred thousand of which we have disposed, and will make our legacies amount to six million eight hundred and ten thousand francs; these four hundred and ten thousand are to be considered as forming part of our testament, Article 36, and to follow in every respect the same course as the other legacies.

7. The nine thousand pounds sterling which we gave to Count and Countess Montholon, should, if they have been paid, be deducted and carried to the account of the legacies which we have given him by our testament. If they have not been paid, our notes of hand shall be annulled.

8. In consideration of the legacy given by our will to Count Montholon, the pension of twenty thousand francs granted to his wife is annulled. Count Montholon is charged with the payment of it to her.

9. The administration of such an inheritance, until its final liquidation, requiring expenses of offices, journeys, missions, consultations, and lawsuits, we expect that our testamentary executors shall retain 3 per cent. upon all the legacies, as well upon the six million eight hundred thousand francs, as upon the sums contained in the codicils, and upon the two hundred millions of francs of the private domain.

10. The amount of the sums thus retained shall be deposited in the hands of a treasurer, and disbursed by drafts from our testamentary executors.

11. Should the sums arising from the aforesaid deductions not be sufficient to defray the expenses, provisions shall be made to that effect at the expense of the three testamentary executors and the treasurer, each in proportion to the legacy which we have bequeathed to them in our will and codicils.

41212. Should the sums arising from the before-mentioned subtractions be more than necessary, the surplus shall be divided amongst our three testamentary executors and the treasurer, in the proportion of their respective legacies.

13. We nominate Count Las Cases, and in default of him his son, and in default of the latter, General Drouot, to be treasurer.

This present codicil is entirely written with our hand, signed, and sealed with our arms.