[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.
Words are missing at the end of page 265 / start of page 266.]
RETURN, AND REIGN
Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem habes. SCIPIO.
BY M. FLEURY DE CHABOULON,
Ex-Secretary of the Emperor Napoleon and of his Cabinets, Master of Requests to the Council of State, Baron, Officer of the Legion of Honour, and Knight of the Order of Reunion.
LONDON: JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE-STREET. 1820.
At the same period (May the 1st) the Emperor received a fresh proof of the little confidence, that men deserve, and of the horrible facility, with which they sacrifice their duties and their sentiments, to the suggestions of their covetousness or their ambition.
Of all the ministers of Napoleon there was not one, who, at the time of his return, lavished on him so many protestations of fidelity and devotion to his service, as the Duke of Otranto. "And this fidelity, if he could have doubted it, would have been guarantied by the mandate, under which he (M. Fouche) groaned, at the moment when the return of Napoleon restored him to liberty, and perhaps to life."
[Footnote 1: Fragment of a letter from M. Fouche to the Emperor, on the 21st of March.]
Yet what was the astonishment of the Emperor, when the Duke of Vicenza came to inform him, that a secret agent of M. de Metternich had arrived at Paris from Vienna, and appeared to have had a mysterious interview with M. Fouche! The Emperor immediately ordered M. Real, prefect of the police, to make search after this emissary. He was arrested, and declared:
That, being employed by a banking-house at Vienna, to settle accounts of interest with several bankers at Paris, he had been sent for by M. de Metternich; and that this prince had entrusted him with a letter for the French minister of police:
That he was ignorant of the contents of this letter; but knew it was interlined with sympathetic ink: and the prince had delivered to him a powder for making the hidden characters appear:
That Baron de Werner, diplomatic agent, was to be at Bale on the 1st of May, to receive the answer of the Duke of Otranto:
That a fictitious statement of an account had been given him, which was to serve as a sign, to make known to M. Werner the agent sent by the French minister:
In fine, that he had delivered the letter and the account to the Duke of Otranto, who had told him, to attend quickly to his business, and return to Vienna as soon as possible.
The Emperor immediately sent for M. Fouche, under pretence of conversing with him on affairs of state.
M. Fouche preserved the most profound silence on what had passed with the envoy of M. de Metternich, and displayed no marks of embarrassment or uneasiness.
The first thought of Napoleon was, to seize the papers of his treacherous minister: but persuaded, that he was too adroit, and too prudent, to retain any traces of his treason, he deemed it preferable, in order to come at the truth, to send some one to Bale, who should introduce himself to M. Werner as from the Duke. Napoleon attached great importance to this mission. He condescended to cast his eyes on me to execute it; and, after having disclosed to me "the perfidy of that infamous Fouche," he said to me: "You will go immediately to the Duke of Vicenza: he will give you passports both in the King's name and in mine: you will learn at the frontier, which will avail you most. Here is an order under my own hand, to all the generals, prefects, and lieutenants of police, who may be on the Rhine, to furnish you with the means of leaving and returning to France, and with all the assistance you may require, within the kingdom and even without. I command them, strictly to conform to every thing you may judge proper to direct. I think you will pass. I have never heard of this M. Werner, but M. de Metternich is a man of honour: he would not be concerned in a plot against my life. I do not believe the business is to renew the attempts of Georges, or the snares of the 3d of Nivose. However, you will sound M. Werner on this head. I believe, they are desirous of fomenting disturbances, and forming a conspiracy, rather against my throne, than against my life. This point it is essential to ascertain. I give you no farther instructions: you will act as your own master: I rely entirely on you. If the safety of the state be threatened, or if you discover any thing of importance, apprise me of it by the telegraph, and send off a courier with all speed. If you find there is nothing in it but the commencement of an intrigue, nothing but a trial; waste no time in useless parleying, but frankly avail yourself of the opportunity, to make M. de Metternich acquainted with my situation, and my pacific intentions; and endeavour to establish a reconciliation between me and Austria. I should also like to know, what the allies think of Eugene; and whether they would be disposed to call him to the head of affairs in a regency, if I should lose my life on the field of battle. Go and see the Duke of Vicenza, talk with him, and return in half an hour. I will see if I have any thing more to say to you." Half an hour after, I returned. The Emperor was in his saloon, surrounded by Marshal Ney and several persons of consequence. Making a motion with his hand, he said to me: "I rely upon you: fly."
It was by such expressions, that he knew how to flatter self-love, and animate zeal. I flew to Bale. Had it been necessary for me, in order to justify the expectations of Napoleon, to cross the Rhine under the mouths of the enemy's cannon, I should have done it.
I began to employ the unlimited powers given me by the Emperor, by directing provisionally, that no person coming from Paris should be allowed to quit France. I was not willing to be preceded by the real agent of the Duke of Otranto.
The communication with Bale was not yet interrupted: but it was necessary, to have a permit to enter the city, another to go out of it, and, on the slightest suspicion, you were carried before the director of the police, who, without taking his pipe out of his mouth, gave orders, according to his own good pleasure, either to turn you out at the gate, or to throw you into prison, I had provided myself with a commission of inspector general of provision, and presented myself at Bale under the pretence of making large purchases there. Money will always secure a good reception in Switzerland.
I repaired without meeting any obstacle to the Three Kings inn, where M. Werner had alighted. He was already arrived. I announced to him, that I had been commissioned by a person at Paris, to confer with him. He showed me the account he had as a token; and I showed him at a distance that I had, for I knew it was good for nothing. It had been written out from memory by our prisoner, the token having remained in the hands of M. Fouche.
M. Werner began by expressing to me with all the pomp of diplomatic politeness the pleasure, which he felt at seeing me; that he had expected me ever since the 1st of May (this was the 3d); and that he began to fear, that M. Fouche was indifferent about entering into a conference with the prince. This conjecture led me to suppose, that nothing had yet been agreed upon or proposed. I answered M. Werner, that in fact the Duke of Otranto had shown a little hesitation, because the letter of M. de Metternich left some uncertainty; but that, still filled with esteem and deference for this prince, he would be eager to offer him every proof of his zeal, that should be in his power; that he had chosen me for his interpreter, and that I should take a pleasure in answering with unbounded confidence the new overtures, which M. Werner was no doubt commissioned to make to me. I added, that the Duke of Otranto had recommended to me, to lay aside diplomatic forms, and to explain myself with that complete absence of restraint, which M. de Metternich must inspire. That in consequence, I intreated him, to follow my example, and to tell me without circumlocution, what he expected of us.
He answered me, that M. de Metternich had retained the highest opinion of M. Fouche's merit: that he imagined, a man like him could not suppose, that Napoleon would maintain himself on the throne: that he was persuaded, he had accepted the ministry of police, only to spare France the calamities of a civil and a foreign war: and that, under this persuasion, he hoped M. Fouche would not hesitate, to second the efforts the allies were about to make, to get rid of Bonaparte, and re-establish the Bourbons in France.
I replied, that M. Fouche, whose patriotism was well known, had not been able to contemplate without pain the misfortunes, with which France was threatened; but that hitherto he had not perceived the possibility of remedying them. "Frequently," I said, "people at a distance see more clearly, than those who are nigh: what are the views of M. de Metternich and the allies on this point? what means do they conceive may be employed, to get rid of Napoleon?"
"M. de Metternich," said he, "has not fully communicated to me his views in this respect. I have even reason to believe, that nothing has yet been determined; and that it is in order to arrive at some certain result, that he is desirous of concerting matters with M. Fouche, who must be better acquainted with the true state of affairs than he is. As to the means of getting rid of Bonaparte, there is one, the issue of which cannot be doubtful: this is force: but the allies are unwilling to have recourse to it, unless in the last extremity; and they would have wished, that M. Fouche could have found means of delivering France from Bonaparte, without shedding fresh torrents of blood."
This ambiguous answer giving me some uneasiness, I replied: "I know but two ways of overturning the throne of Napoleon: the first is, to assassinate him!" As I pronounced these words, I turned my eyes a little aside, that I might not embarrass M. Werner, and might observe him at my ease. "Assassinate him!" exclaimed he with indignation: "such a step never entered into the thoughts of M. de Metternich."—"So I presume; and accordingly I began with expressing to you the high veneration, which I feel for M. de Metternich. The second way," I continued, "is of secretly uniting, or, to speak plainly, of conspiring against Napoleon; and I do not see very clearly at present, on whom we can reckon: have M. de Metternich and the allies any connexions yet formed?"
"They have none," he answered: "scarcely have they had time to come to any mutual understanding at Vienna. It is for M. Fouche to prepare and arrange his plans: it is to him, that the allies are desirous of confiding the care and honour of saving France from the calamities of a new war, and from the tyranny prepared for her by the Emperor."
Convinced by the turn the conversation had taken, that there had been no previous connexion between the Duke of Otranto and M. de Metternich; convinced, that the life of the Emperor, and the safety of the state, were not threatened; I changed my style, and proceeded straight to the end, which I had principally in view; that of endeavouring to establish, if not a reconciliation, at least conferences between France and Austria.
"Do the allies then imagine," resumed I, "that it would be easy for M. Fouche to stir France against Napoleon? There was a time, it is true, when the Emperor was not liked; but the Bourbons have treated the nation so ill, that they succeeded in rendering him regretted, so that his enemies are become his partisans."
"What you tell me," answered M. Werner with astonishment, "is completely the reverse of the reports, that reach us from Paris."
"I can assure you," continued I, "that they have deceived you. The acclamations and good wishes, that accompanied Napoleon from the gulf of Juan to Paris, ought however to have informed you, that he had in his favour the unanimous suffrages of the army, and of the nation."—"Say of the army."—"No: I persist in saying of the nation, and of the army. From the moment when Napoleon re-appeared on French ground, he was received with enthusiasm, not only by his soldiers, but by the citizens also. If he had the suffrages of only a few regiments in a state of insubordination, would he have traversed France without any obstacle? Would he have received on his journey that unanimous testimony of love and devotion, which the whole population of Dauphiny, the Lyonese, and Burgundy, emulated each other in displaying?"—"It is possible, that Bonaparte may have been well received in some places; but a few solitary acclamations do not express the wishes of a whole nation; and, had it not been for the army, he would never have re-entered the Tuileries."—"It is certain, that, if Napoleon had had the army against him, he could never have dethroned Louis XVIII. with eight hundred men: but we must not conclude, that, because the army declared for him, it was the army alone, that re-established him on the throne. When he took Lyons, he had with him only two thousand men; he had but eight thousand, when he marched for Paris; and he had only eight hundred with him, when he entered the capital. Had not the nation entertained the same sentiments as the army, could he, with such a contemptible force, have given the law to two millions of individuals scattered on his road; and to the fifty thousand soldiers, national guards and volunteers, who were assembled under the walls of Paris? If indeed the nation had opposed the proceedings and wishes of the army, and the army had overcome the nation, it might have been asserted with reason, that the restoration of Napoleon was the work of the soldiers exclusively: but you know, as well as I, that not a single act of violence was committed, not a single musket was fired, and that they were every where welcomed and feasted as friends and deliverers. I ask you, now, what ought we to conclude from this union, this unanimity of sentiments and actions?"—
"We may infer, that the people, naturally weak and timid, were afraid of the army; and gave it a good reception, that they might not be exposed to its violence: but this does not prove, that in the bottom of their hearts they shared the sentiments of the army for Napoleon."
"God alone knows what passes in the bottom of the heart: we mortals can judge only by appearances, by men's words and actions. Now actions, words, and appearances combine to prove evidently, that the nation approved and shared the enthusiasm of the army. Besides, you are wrong in thinking, that in France the people can entertain sentiments different from those of the army. Under the ancient monarchy, when the army was composed of the dissolute reduced to want, of malefactors pursued by the hand of justice, there did not, and could not, exist any affinity between the army and the nation: but now that the army is a national body, composed of the sons and brothers of our best citizens; and that these sons, these brothers, though separated from their families, remain united with them in heart, mind, and interests; the nation and the army are one. If the allies have founded their hopes solely on a disagreement of opinions and wishes between the nation and the army, they have calculated erroneously: the approach of their troops, far from dividing the French, will only draw their union closer. They will not fight for Napoleon, they will fight for the honour and independence of the nation."—"From what you tell me it would seem, that France is determined to run the hazard of war; and that it is ready, if Napoleon require it, to second as heretofore his schemes of conquest."—"No, sir: the glory of Napoleon has cost us too dear; we desire no more laurels at such a price. Napoleon has the wishes of the nation on his side, less from affection to his person, than because he is a man of the revolution, and his government will secure us pledges, which we have demanded in vain from the Bourbons; but if the Emperor were to suffer himself to be led away by the thirst of conquest, France would abandon him; and then you might reckon on M. Fouche and all true patriots uniting, to get rid of Napoleon for ever."—
"You do not think, then, it appears to me, that M. Fouche is disposed at the present moment, to second the views of the allied sovereigns and M. Metternich?"—"I do not; M. Fouche is convinced, that the Bourbons cannot reign: that the nation has an antipathy to them, which nothing can remove."—"The allies are not so much bent on restoring the crown to Louis XVIII., as on taking it from Napoleon, whose remaining on the throne is incompatible with the safety and repose of Europe: I am even authorized to think, that they would leave the French free to choose whatever sovereign, and whatever government, they might think proper. The Duke of Orleans, for instance, would not he suit the nation? He served formerly in the republican armies; he has been a partisan of the revolution; his father voted for the death of Louis XVI."—"The Duke of Orleans, no doubt, would offer the nation most of the pledges it requires: but his elevation to the throne, far from annihilating our troubles, would increase them; he would have against him the partisans of Louis XVIII., of Napoleon, and of the regency; that is to say, almost the whole nation."—"Well, then, the allies might consent to give you the young prince Napoleon and the regency, or perhaps a federal government."—"At the time of the invasion in 1814, we had several times occasion to debate the question of the regency with M. Fouche. He thought, that, with a regency, France would experience the renovation of those discords, to which minorities commonly give birth. A people, that has been at war with itself, and with its neighbours, has need of being swayed by a man, who knows how to hold the reins of government with a firm hand, and to make himself respected at home and abroad."—"But you have no want of firm and able men; and a council of regency might be composed for you, that would answer the wishes both of the allies and of France."—"I know well, that we have in the archchancellor, in the Duke of Vicenza, and in several of our principal functionaries, statesmen abounding in talents, wisdom, and moderation: but the difficulty would be, to make a choice among the military men. Most of these have equal rights, and their pretensions, their jealousies, their rivalries, could not but be fatal to our tranquillity."—"We should know how to keep them in order; and I do not see one among them whose ambition could prove formidable."—"Their ambition has not displayed itself for want of opportunity. I know but one military man, who could be placed at the head of the government with safety; this is Eugene, the prince who said, in 1814, in his memorable proclamations, that 'they alone are immortal, who know how to live and die faithful to their duty, faithful to gratitude and honour:' this prince, I say, far from aspiring to the throne, would be on the contrary its glory and support: but his family ties, and the duties they impose on him, perhaps would not permit him to quit Bavaria. Perhaps too the allies would not allow the direction of affairs in France, to be entrusted to him: do you think they would?"—"I am perfectly ignorant of what might be the determination of the prince and his family."—"But cannot you guess, what would be that of the allies?"—"Not in the least."—"What men," said I to him jocularly, "you diplomatists are! why are not you as open with me, as I am with you? have I left one of your desires unsatisfied? have I avoided answering one of your questions?"—"I am not endeavouring to dissemble, I assure you: but, as the question you have put to me was not foreseen, I cannot, and ought not, to allow myself to answer it."—"Well, we will say no more of it. As to a federal government, this would too much resemble our republic, and we have paid so dear for the honour of being republicans, that we have no farther inclination for it. A federal government may suit a country with a scanty population, like Switzerland; or a new nation, like America; but it would be a calamity to our old France: we are too volatile, too impassioned; we want a ruler, a master who knows how to make himself obeyed. Hark you, M. Werner, I must continue to speak to you frankly: the only chief, that suits us, is Napoleon: no longer Napoleon the ambitious and the conqueror, but Napoleon corrected by adversity. The desire of reigning will render him docile to the will of France, and of Europe. He will give them both such pledges, as they may require: and I believe the Duke of Otranto will then esteem himself very happy, to be able to concur with M. de Metternich in pacifying Europe, re-establishing harmony between Austria and France, and so restricting the power of the Emperor, that it shall no longer be possible for him, to disturb a second time the general tranquillity. This, I believe, must be the object of the allies; it depends on themselves alone to attain it: but if they reckon upon subjugating us by means of our intestine divisions, they will be deceived; of this you may assure M. de Metternich.
"For the rest, I shall give the Duke of Otranto an account of the overtures you have made me, and particularly of those relating to a regency: but, suppose we should consent to accept either one or the other of your proposals, what is to be done with Napoleon? for, as it is neither your intention, nor ours, to kill him, he must live; and where shall he live? Have the allies come to any determination on this point?"—"I do not know: M. de Metternich did not explain himself on this point: I will submit the question to him. I will acquaint him with your opinion of the state of France, and the situation of Napoleon, and of the possibility of a general arrangement: but I foresee, that the present sentiments of M. Fouche will astonish him greatly. He thought, that he detested Bonaparte."—"Men change with circumstances: M. Fouche may have detested the Emperor, when he tyrannized over France; yet be reconciled to him, since he has been willing to render it free and happy."
We parted, after having exchanged a few supplementary questions, and agreed to return with all speed, he to Vienna, and I to Paris; and to meet again at Bale in the course of a week.
As soon as I arrived at Paris, I presented myself before the Emperor. I had spent only four days in going and returning; and he imagined, on seeing me so quickly, that I had not been able to pass. He was surprised and delighted to learn, that I had seen and conversed with M. Werner; led me into the garden (it was at the Elysee), and there we talked together, if I may use the term, for near two hours. Our conversation was so desultory, that it almost entirely escaped my memory: I could retain only a few fragments of it. "I was fully persuaded," said Napoleon to me, "that M. de Metternich had plotted nothing against my life: he does not like me, but he is a man of honour. If Austria chose it, every thing might be arranged: but she has an expectant policy, that loses every thing: she never knew how to take a decided part at the proper moment. The Emperor is ill advised: he does not know Alexander; and is not aware, how crafty and ambitious the Russians are: if once they get the upper hand, all Germany will be subverted. Alexander will set the good-natured Francis, and all the little kings, to whom I gave crowns, playing at catch-corners. The Russians will become masters of the world when I have nothing to do in it. Europe will not be sensible of my value, till she has lost me. There was no one but myself strong enough, to tame England with one hand, and restrain Russia with the other. I will spare them the trouble of deliberating where they shall put me: if they dared, they would cram me into an iron cage, and show me to their cockneys as a wild beast: but they shall not have me; they shall find, that the lion is still alive, and will not suffer himself to be chained. They do not know my strength: if I were to put on the red cap, it would be all over with them. Did you inquire of M. Werner after the Empress and my son?"—"Yes, Sire: he told me, that the Empress was well, and the young prince a charming boy."—The Emperor, with fire: "Did you complain, that the law of nations, and the first rights of nature, had been violated in respect to me? Did you tell him how detestable it is, to deprive a husband of his wife, a father of his son? that such an action is unworthy a civilized people?"—"Sire, I was only the ambassador of M. Fouche."
After a few moments' silence, the Emperor continued: "Fouche, during your absence, has come and told me the whole affair: he has explained the whole to my satisfaction. It is his interest not to deceive me. He has always been fond of intriguing; we must let him do it. Go and see him, tell him all that has passed with M. Werner; show confidence in him; and, if he question you about me, tell him, that I am perfectly easy, and that I have no doubt of his attachment and fidelity."
[Footnote 2: I have since been assured, that M. Real had warned him, by means of Madame Lacuee, his daughter, that the Emperor knew the whole affair.]
Already the Emperor had had reason to complain of M. Fouche on several important occasions; but, subjugated by I know not what charm, he had always placed more confidence in him than he wished.
Few men, it is true, possess the gift of pleasing and persuading in a higher degree than the Duke of Otranto: equally profound and witty, equally endowed with foresight and ability, his mind embraces at once the past, present, and future: he alternately seduces and astonishes by the boldness of his thoughts, the acuteness of his perception, and the solidity of his judgment.
Unhappily his mind, overstrained by the revolution, has contracted a habit and taste for strong emotions: quiet is tiresome to him: he wants agitation, danger, convulsions: hence that desire of stirring, intriguing, I had almost said of conspiring, which has driven M. Fouche into errors so deplorable, and so fatal to his reputation.
Conformably to the orders of Napoleon, I repaired immediately to the Duke of Otranto's, and told him laughing, that I was come to give him an account of the mission which he had confided to me. "A fine mission, indeed!" said he to me. "It is just like the Emperor; he is always suspicious of those who serve him best. Do you think, for example, that you are sure of him? You deceive yourself. If you should involuntarily be guilty of the slightest inconsistency, and he knew it (these words he pronounced in such a way, as to give me to understand, that it was through him the Emperor might be informed of it), nothing more would be wanting to ruin you. But let us have done with princes, and talk together." Leading me to his sofa, he said: "Do you know, that you gave me some uneasiness? if you had been betrayed, you would probably have been sent to some fortress, and kept there till a peace took place."—"Very true; I certainly ran that risk; but when an affair of such importance is at stake, a man should not think of himself."
I gave him a faithful account of what M. Werner said; but took care, not to let him know the time of our next interview; for I was afraid, that he would play me some trick with the Swiss, or would hasten to undeceive M. de Metternich.
When I had finished my tale, he resumed: "I first thought the whole of this a hum, but I find I was mistaken. Your conference with M. Werner may lead to a reconciliation between us and Austria; what you said must open the eyes of M. Metternich. To convince him completely, I will write to him; and depict with so much clearness and truth the real situation of France, as will make him sensible, that the best thing that can be done is, to abandon the Bourbons to their unlucky fate, and leave us to arrange matters with Bonaparte in our own way. When you are ready to set off, come to me, and I will give you my letter."
He then said, "I did not speak to Napoleon about the letter of M. de Metternich immediately, because his agent had not delivered to me the powder, necessary to make the writing appear; I was obliged to have recourse to chemical experiments, which required time. Here is the letter (he made me read it): you see it says nothing: however, if I could have deciphered it immediately, Napoleon should have known nothing of it; I would have served him, without saying any thing to him. In affairs of this kind secrecy is necessary; and Napoleon is incapable of it: he would have been so much agitated, and have set so many men and so many pens in motion, that the whole would have taken wind. He ought to know my sentiments and opinions; and no person, but himself, could have taken it into his head for a moment, that I could betray him for the Bourbons: I despise and detest them at least as much as he."
The indirect threats of M. Fouche, and the whole of his discourse, persuaded me, that he was not sincere. I imparted my suspicions to the Emperor, who did not agree in them: he told me, that M. Fouche's insinuation of his having it in his power to ruin me was only meant, to give himself an air of importance. That, however, I had nothing to fear from him, or from any other person. In fact, I did not fear; for, when the Emperor had conceived a liking for any one, he took him under his own protection, and no person whatever was allowed to hurt him.
The next day but one I went to the Duke of Otranto's, to receive the letters he had promised me. He appeared surprised, to see me so soon. In fact I had made him believe, that I was not to return to Bale till the 1st of June. To give a colour to this hasty departure, I informed him, that M. Werner, whom I had requested to write to me, in case of any unforeseen occurrence, under cover to M. **** the banker, had just desired me, to repair to Bale immediately. He let me see, that he was not the dupe of this falsehood yet nevertheless delivered me with a good grace two letters for M. de Metternich.
One of these, which has been published in the English newspapers, tended to show, that the throne of Napoleon, supported by the love and confidence of the French, had nothing to fear from the attacks of the coalition.
In the other he went over the proposals of M. Werner: he discussed with admirable sagacity the advantages and inconveniences, that might result from them to the interests of France and of Europe; and he finished, by declaring, after having successively rejected a republic, a regency, and the Duke of Orleans, that Napoleon, whom he loaded with extravagant praises, was evidently the chief best suited to the French, and to the interests of the allied monarchs rightly understood. Nevertheless, he had contrived to turn his expressions with so much art and address, that it was impossible not to perceive, that he thought in the bottom of his heart the Duke of Orleans the only prince, capable of ensuring the happiness of France, and the tranquillity of foreign nations.
I laid this letter before the Emperor, and endeavoured in vain to make him sensible of the treachery. He could see nothing but the eulogiums of his genius: the rest he overlooked.
M. Werner had been punctual to his rendezvous and I hastened to his residence. "I was afraid," said he to me obligingly, "that you had been refused admission into Bale: I have spoken about it to the authorities, and, if you wish it, I will cause to be delivered to you the necessary passport, to enable you to enter Switzerland, depart, or reside in it, without obstacle, and without danger."
I thanked him for this offer, which convinced me, that the Swiss were as well disposed towards our enemies, as they were the reverse to us. We afterwards entered on business. "I related to M. de Metternich," said he to me, "the frank and loyal conversation, which I had the honour of holding with you. He hastened to give an account of it to the allied sovereigns: and the sovereigns have thought, that it ought to produce no alteration in the resolution they have formed, never to acknowledge Napoleon as sovereign of France, or to enter into any negotiation with him individually: but at the same time, I am authorized formally to declare to you, that they renounce the idea of re-establishing the Bourbons on the throne, and that they consent to grant you the young Prince Napoleon. They know, that in 1814 a regency was the wish of France; and they would think themselves happy, to be able to accomplish it now."
"This is direct," answered I: "but what is to be done with the Emperor?"—"Begin you with deposing him: the allies will afterwards come to a suitable determination, according to circumstances. They are great, generous, and humane; and you may depend on it, they will treat Napoleon with the respect due to his rank, his alliance, and his misfortunes."—"This answer does not explain, whether Napoleon will be free, to choose a place of retreat for himself; or remain a prisoner to France and the allies."—"This is all I know."—"I perceive, that the allies want Napoleon to be delivered up to them bound hand and foot: never will the French be guilty of such a cowardly act. Since our interview, the public opinion in his favour has been expressed with fresh strength; and I protest to you, that he never possessed the love of the French to so high a degree. The electors convoked for the Champ de Mai, and the new representatives of France, are arriving at Paris from all quarters. Do you think, that these electors, and these deputies, who are the choice of the nation, would have embraced the perilous cause of Napoleon, were it not the common cause of all France? Do you think, that, if they were not resolved to defend it against all the world, they would be so stupid, or so imprudent, as to come forward in the face of that world, to swear fealty to the Emperor, and proscription and hatred to the Bourbons? The allies subdued us in 1814, because we were then without union, without will, without the means of resistance. But a great nation is not to be subdued two years following; and every thing indicates, that, if a contest take place, it will turn out to the advantage of the French this time."—"If you knew the force, that will be opposed to you, you would hold a different language: you will have twelve hundred thousand men to fight against, twelve hundred thousand men accustomed to conquer, and who already know the road to Paris."—"They know it, because they were taught it by treachery."—"Consider, too, that you are without artillery, without an army, without cavalry."—"The Spaniards resisted all the force of Bonaparte, though they had fewer resources than we have."—"You have no money."—"We shall procure it at the expense of the nobles and royalists, or do without it. The armies of the republic were paid with garlands of oak, yet were they the less able, to overcome the armies of the coalition?"—"You are wrong, I assure you, in viewing your situation under such fine colours. This new war will be more cruel, and more obstinate, than the others. The allies are determined, never to lay down their arms, while Napoleon remains on the throne."—"I by no means look with tranquillity on the war that is preparing. I cannot think of it without alarm. If Napoleon prove victorious, it is possible, that success may turn our brains, and inspire us anew with the desire of revisiting Vienna and Berlin. If he be unsuccessful, it is to be feared, that our defeats will animate the people with rage and despair, and that the nobles and royalists will be massacred."—"The prospect is no doubt extremely distressing; but I have already told you, and I repeat it, nothing will alter the determination of the allied monarchs: they have learned to know the Emperor, and will not leave him the means of disturbing the world. Even would the sovereigns consent, to lay down their arms, their people would oppose it: they consider Bonaparte as the scourge of the human race, and would all shed their blood to the last drop, to tear from him the sceptre, and perhaps his life."—
[Footnote 3: The greater part of the deputies were not yet named; but there was no harm in anticipating events.]
"I know, that the Prussians have sworn him implacable animosity: but the Russians and Austrians surely are not so exasperated as the Prussians."—
"On the contrary, the Emperor Alexander was the first, to declare against Napoleon."—
"Be it so: but the Emperor of Austria is too virtuous, and too politic, to sacrifice his son-in-law, and his natural ally, a second time to vain considerations."—
"The Emperor is not guided by vain considerations: he had to choose between his affections as a father, and his duties as a sovereign; he had to decide between the fate of a wife and child, and the fate of Europe: the choice he would make could not be doubted, and the magnanimous resolution taken by the Emperor is incontestably a noble title to the gratitude of his contemporaries, and the admiration of posterity."—
"I am fully aware, how much it must have cost him, to overturn the throne of his daughter, and of his grandson; and condemn them to lead a painful life on the face of the earth, without father, without husband, without a country. Though a Frenchman, I do justice to the strength of mind, that the Emperor has shown on this memorable occasion: but if the part he then took were proper, it appears to me, that the path he now seems inclined to pursue will be as dangerous, as it is impolitic. Austria, in the critical situation in which it is placed by the vicinity, ambition, and alliance of Prussia and Russia, has need of being protected and supported by a powerful ally; and no prince is more capable of succouring and defending it than Napoleon."—
"Austria has nothing to fear from its neighbours: such harmony reigns between them, as nothing can disturb: their sentiments and principles are the same. M. de Metternich has charged me, to declare to you positively, that he acted only in concert with the allies; and that he would enter into no negotiation without their consent."—
This word, negotiation, struck me. "Since we must not think, M. Werner," answered I, "of re-establishing that union and friendship between Austria and France separately, which their interests, and their family connexion, demand; at least let us not renounce the hope of a general accommodation. Never perhaps was humanity threatened with a war so terrible: it will be a conflict to the death, not between army and army, but between nation and nation. The idea makes me tremble. The name of M. de Metternich is already celebrated; but with what glory would it be surrounded, if M. de Metternich, in becoming the mediator of Europe, should accomplish its pacification! And we, too, M. Werner, do you think we should not obtain a share in the blessings of the people? Let us lay aside our character of negotiators, and examine the situation of the belligerent powers, not as their agents, but as disinterested persons, as friends of humanity. You say, you have twelve hundred thousand fighting men; but we had a million in 1794, and shall have still. The love of honour and independence is not extinct in France; it will fire every heart, when the business is to repel the humiliating and unjust yoke, that you would impose on us.
"If the picture I have drawn you of the state of France, and the patriotism with which she is animated, appear to you unfaithful, or exaggerated, come with me; I offer you a passport, and all the pledges you can require; we will travel together incognito; we will go wherever you please; we will hear, we will interrogate, the peasants, the townspeople, the soldiers, the rich, and the poor; and when you have seen, seen every thing with your own eyes, you may aver to M. de Metternich, that he has been deceived; and that the efforts of the allies, to impose upon us the law, can have no other result, than that of watering the ground in vain with blood."
The emotion, that I could not restrain, had transfused itself into M. Werner: "I wish," said he to me with tenderness, "it was in my power to second your wishes, and to concur with you in stopping the effusion of human blood: but I dare not indulge this hope. However, I will give M. de Metternich an account of the energy, with which you have pleaded the cause of humanity: and, if he can accept the office of a mediator, I know so well the loftiness of his soul, to pledge myself to you, that he will not refuse it."
Thus far, in order to accustom M. de Metternich to treat directly with me, I had avoided bringing forward M. Fouche. However, as he had directed me to make use of his letters, I took an opportunity of mentioning them to M. Werner. I read them to him; and took care to comment on them in such a way, as to destroy the unpleasant impression, which I foresaw the partiality of the praises lavished on Napoleon would make upon him. When we came to the passage, where M. Fouche discussed the inconveniences of a republic, M. Werner stopped me, and said, that I certainly had not conceived him rightly; that he had spoken to me merely indirectly of a republic, as it never entered into the thoughts of the allied monarchs, to give way to its re-establishment; for their endeavours would rather be exerted, to crush the seeds of a republican spirit, than to favour their dangerous germination. I reminded him of the conversation we had had on the subject; but, as it was of little importance to me, to prove myself in the right, I readily admitted myself to be in the wrong.
"At any rate," said he, taking the letters, "the language of M. Fouche will greatly surprise M. de Metternich. He repeated to me again, the evening before I set out, that the Duke of Otranto had on all occasions expressed to him an inveterate hatred of Bonaparte; and that even in 1814 he blamed him, for not having caused him to be confined in some strong fortress; predicting to him, that he would return from the island of Elba, to ravage Europe anew. M. Fouche must be totally ignorant of what passes at Vienna, to believe in the Emperor's security: what he will learn from M. de Montron and M. Bresson will no doubt lead him to adopt a different opinion; and will make him sensible, that it will be for his own interest, as well as that of France, to second the efforts of the allies."
"I know the connexions of the Duke of Otranto with those gentlemen," answered I: "he will not pay much credit to what they tell him. I regret that you were not commissioned to say so much to me on our first interview, it would unquestionably have made a very different impression on him; but what has not yet been done may be done; and, if you wish it, I will readily be your interpreter."
"M. de Metternich," replied M. Werner, "did not positively inform me what he had commissioned those gentlemen to say to the Duke of Otranto; but I presume it could only be a repetition of what he directed me to say to you."
"If this be the case," rejoined I, "you would be wrong, to flatter yourself with the least success. If the question related to Napoleon alone, we should not hesitate to sacrifice the cause of one man to that of a whole people: Napoleon, personally, is nothing to us; but his continuance on the throne is so connected with the happiness and independence of the nation, that we cannot betray him, without betraying our country at the same time; and this is a crime, of which M. Fouche and his friends will never render themselves guilty.
"In short, M. Werner, I hope you will succeed in convincing our enemies, that they would attempt in vain to dethrone Napoleon by force of arms; and that the most prudent part that can be taken is, to be contented with tying his hands in such a manner, as to prevent him from oppressing France and Europe anew.
"If M. de Metternich approve this step, he will find us disposed, secretly or openly to second his salutary views; and to join with him in rendering it morally and physically impossible for Napoleon, to recommence his tyranny. I will then return to Bale, and I will go to Vienna, if you desire it: and in a word I will do every thing, that can be done, to arrive promptly at a secure result.
"But if M. de Metternich will not enter frankly into a conference, and his sole intention be, to instigate treachery, his endeavours will prove fruitless; and M. Fouche requests, that M. de Metternich and the allies will spare him the trouble of convincing them of it."
M. Werner assured me, that he would faithfully report to M. de Metternich all he had heard; and we parted, after promising to meet at Bale again on the 1st of June.
I gave the Emperor an account of this new conference. He appeared, to conceive some hopes from it. "These gentlemen," said he, "begin to soften, since they offer me the regency: my attitude imposes on them. Let them allow me another month, and I shall no longer have any fear of them."
I did not forget to remark to him, that M. M. de Montron and Bresson had been charged with fresh communications for M. Fouche. "He has never opened his mouth to me on the subject," said Napoleon. "I am now persuaded, that he is betraying me. I am almost certain, that he is intriguing both at London and at Ghent: I regret, that I did not dismiss him, before he came to disclose to me the intrigues of Metternich: at present, the opportunity is gone by; and he would every where proclaim me for a suspicious tyrant, who had sacrificed him without any cause. Go to him: say nothing to him of Montron or Bresson; let him prate at his ease, and bring me a full account of all he says."
The Emperor imparted this second interview to the Duke of Vicenza; and directed him, to send for M. de Montron, and M. Bresson, and endeavour to set them talking. The Duke de Vicenza having been able to get nothing out of them, the Emperor, as I have been informed, would see them himself; and, after having questioned and sounded them for four hours, he dismissed them both, without having heard any thing but accounts of the hostile dispositions of the allies, and the conversations they had had at Vienna with M. de Talleyrand and M. de Metternich, the substance of which was the same as that of my conferences with M. Werner.
As the Emperor had rejected my first suspicions with so much indifference, I was flattered to see him sharing my distrust: but this gratification of self-love gave way to the most painful reflexions.
I had conceived the highest opinion of the character and patriotism of the Duke of Otranto; I considered him as one of the first statesmen in France; and I bitterly regretted, that such qualities, and such talents, instead of being devoted to the good of his country, should be employed in favouring the designs of our enemies, and in coolly contriving with them the means of subjugating us.
These reflexions, which ought to have inspired me with horror for M. Fouche, had on me an opposite effect: I was staggered by the enormity of the crime I ascribed to him. No, said I to myself, M. Fouche cannot be guilty of such baseness: he has received too many benefits from the Emperor, to be capable of betraying him, and has given too many proofs of attachment and affection to his country, to conspire its dishonour and ruin. His propensity to intrigue may have led him astray; but his intrigues, if reprehensible, are at least not criminal.
Thus I repaired to the Duke of Otranto's in the persuasion, that I had judged him too severely. But his air of constraint, and his captious endeavours, to penetrate what M. Werner might have said to me, convinced me, that his conscience was not at ease; and I felt my just prejudices revived and increased. The time I staid with him was spent in idle questions and dissertations on the probabilities of peace or war. It would be useless and tiresome, to recite them here.
[Footnote 4: When the Duke of Otranto became minister to the King, and was appointed to make out lists of proscription, I was desirous of knowing, what I had to expect from his resentment; and wrote to him, to sound his intentions. He sent for me, received me with much kindness, and assured me of his friendship and protection. "You did your duty," said he to me, "and I did mine. I foresaw, that Bonaparte could not maintain his situation. He was a great man, but had grown mad. It was my duty, to do what I did, and prefer the good of France to every other consideration."
The Duke of Otranto behaved with the same generosity towards most of the persons, of whom he had any reason to complain; and, if he found himself obliged, to include some of them in the number of the proscribed, he had at least the merit of facilitating their escape from death, or the imprisonment intended for them, by assisting them with his advice, with passports, and frequently with the loan of money.]
The rising of the King of Naples became afterwards the subject of our conversation. "Murat is a lost man," said M. Fouche to me: "he is not strong enough, to contend with Austria. I had advised him, and I have written again lately to the Queen, to keep himself quiet, and wait the course of events: they would not listen to me, and have done wrong: they might have had it in their power to treat; now they cannot; they will be sent about their business without pity, and without any conditions."
The Emperor, who had become uneasy, directed M. de Montron and M. Bresson to be watched. He was informed, that the latter had just been sent to England by order of the minister at war.
The Prince of Eckmuhl, being questioned, said, that an English dealer had forty thousand muskets to sell; and he had commissioned M. Bresson, to go and examine them, and treat for their purchase. This mission, which did not at first excite the Emperor's attention, afterwards recurred to his mind: he first thought it strange, and then suspicious. "If Davoust," said he, "had not had some motive for concealing this business from me, he would have mentioned it: it is not natural: he is acting in concert with Fouche."
This glimpse of light produced no effect. Napoleon contented himself with severely reprimanding the minister at war; and ordering him, never again to send any person whatever out of France, without his consent.
A new incident occurred, to strengthen the Emperor's apprehensions. He was informed by the prefect of police, that M. Bor..., formerly one of the principal agents of the police, and one of the habitual confidants of the minister, had set off for Switzerland with a passport from M. Fouche. An order for arresting M. Bor... was transmitted by telegraph to General Barbanegre, who commanded at Huninguen: but it arrived too late; M. Bor..., as quick as lightning, had already passed the frontier.
The Emperor no longer had any doubt of M. Fouche's treachery; but he was afraid the disclosure of it would occasion alarm and discouragement. In fact, people would not have failed to infer, that the imperial cause was lost; since this minister, whose perspicacity was well known, quitted it to join the Bourbons.
Napoleon foresaw too the approaching commencement of hostilities; and, convinced, that the fate of France would not be decided by the manoeuvres of the Duke of Otranto, he resolved, to wait for a more favourable opportunity of getting rid of him. If the victory of Fleurus had not been followed by the disasters of Waterloo, the first decree the Emperor would have signed, on his arrival at Brussels, would probably have been for displacing the Duke of Otranto.
The time of the rendezvous given me by M. Werner being come, I asked Napoleon for orders. "Fouche," said he to me, "will no doubt have warned Metternich; and it is probable, that his agent will return no more: it is even possible, that measures will be taken, to arrest you. I think, therefore, you may as well remain here."—"I do not think, sire, that M. de Metternich is capable of such an action. The patriotism and frankness, which I displayed in my conferences with M. Werner, appear to have pleased the prince; and M. Werner informed me, that he was particularly directed, to express to me the good opinion (permit me to repeat the terms) which he had conceived of my character and merit. Your Majesty would be wrong, I think, not to allow me to make this last attempt. As the point in question was not a conspiracy, but to set on foot a negotiation, it is possible, that M. Werner may return."—"You have my consent very willingly; but I am afraid, they will lay hold of you: be prudent."
I was afraid so too. I set off.
It happened as the Emperor foresaw. M. Werner appeared no more.
Thus ended this negotiation, which might perhaps have realized many hopes, had not M. Fouche occasioned its failure.
At the period when it took place, England, in its celebrated Memoir of the 25th of April, and Austria, in that it published the 9th of May following, had authentically declared, subsequently to my first interview at Bale, that they had not engaged by the treaty of the 29th of March, to restore Louis XVIII. to the throne; and that their intentions in pursuing the war were not, to impose on France any particular government whatever.
These declarations gave great weight to the proposals of M. Werner. The Emperor thought them sincere; and in one of those moments of openness, which he was not always sufficiently master of himself to suppress, he said at his levee: "Well, gentlemen, they offer me the regency already: it depends only on myself, whether I shall accept it." These inconsiderate words made some impression; and they who remembered them have since asserted, that, if the Emperor had not been enamoured of the crown, he might have placed his son on the throne, and spared France the carnage of Mont St. Jean. The Emperor descending from his throne, to place on it his son, and peace, would have added, no doubt, a noble page to his history: but, ought he to have accepted the loose proposals of M. Werner, and trusted to the faith of his enemies? I think not. The first question to be decided, before treating of a regency, was this: What is to be done with Napoleon? and it has been seen, that on this point the allies held the profoundest silence.
I am far from thinking, that the Emperor would have consented in any case, to lay aside his crown, which he considered as the price of twenty years toil and victory; I only maintain, that he cannot be blamed on this occasion, for having retained it.
This confidential avowal to his courtiers is not the only indiscretion, of which they laid hold, to charge him with imaginary faults. What will appear surprising is, that, with the character for negation and dissimulation ascribed to him, he was capable of indiscretions.
Napoleon conceived in secret, and conducted to their close in mystery, schemes, that did not call his passions into play, because then he never ceased to be master of himself: but it was excessively rare for him, to preserve a continued, and complete dissimulation in affairs, that strongly agitated his soul. The object, on which he was then occupied, assailed his mind, and heated his imagination: his head, continually at work, abounded in ideas, that diffused themselves in spite of him, and displayed themselves externally by broken words, and demonstrations of joy or anger, that afforded a clew to his designs, and entirely destroyed the mystery, in which he would have enveloped them.
This narration, which I would not interrupt, has made me lose sight of Napoleon. I left him meditating the constitution he had promised the French, and now return to him.
Napoleon had at first announced his intention of amalgamating the ancient constitutions with the charter, and composing from the whole a new constitution, which should be subjected to the free discussion of the delegates of the nation. But he thought, that present circumstances, and the agitation of men's minds, would not permit subjects of such high importance, to be debated publicly without danger; and he resolved to confine himself for the moment, to sanction by a particular act, supplementary to the constitutions of the empire, the new guarantees, that he had promised the nation.
Napoleon was swayed also by another consideration. He considered the constitutions of the empire as the title-deeds of his crown; and he was afraid, if he annulled them, that he should effect a sort of novation, that would give him the appearance of beginning a new reign. For Napoleon, such is human weakness, after having devoted to ridicule the pretensions of "the King of Hartwell," was inclined to persuade himself, that his own reign had not been interrupted by his residence in the island of Elba.
The Emperor had entrusted to M. Benjamin Constant, and to a committee composed of ministers of state, the double task of preparing the bases of a new constitution. After having seen and amalgamated their labours, he subjected the result to the examination of the council of state, and of the council of ministers. Toward the end of the discussion, Napoleon suggested the idea of not submitting this constitution to public debate, but presenting it only as an additional act to the preceding constitutions. This idea was combated unanimously. M. Benjamin Constant, the Duke Decres, the Duke of Otranto, the Duke of Vicenza, &c. &c., remonstrated with the Emperor, that this was not what he had promised France; that a new constitution was expected from him, purged from the despotic acts of the senate; and that he must fulfil the expectations of the nation, or prepare to lose its confidence for ever.
The Emperor promised to reflect on it: but, after having weighed in his sagacity the observations, that had been submitted to him, he persisted in his scheme; and the next day the additional act appeared in the Moniteur in the following form:
Paris, April the 24th.
Napoleon, by the grace of God and the constitutions, Emperor of the French, to all present and to come, health.
Since we were called, fifteen years ago, by the wishes of France, to the government of the empire, we have sought to bring to perfection, at different periods, the forms of the constitution, according to the wants and desires of the nation, and profiting by the lessons of experience.
Thus the constitution of the empire has been formed by a series of acts, which have been invested with the acceptance of the people. We had then for our object, to organize a grand European federal system, which we had adopted as conformable to the spirit of the age, and favourable to the progress of civilization. To effect its completion, and give it all the extension and stability, of which it is susceptible, we had adjourned the establishment of several domestic institutions, more particularly designed to protect the liberty of the citizens. Our object is nothing more henceforward, than to increase the prosperity of France by the confirmation of public liberty; whence results the necessity of several important modifications of the constitution, the decrees of the senate, and other acts, by which this empire is governed.
For these reasons, willing, on the one hand, to retain whatever is good and salutary of the past, and on the other to render the constitution of our empire conformable in every respect to the wishes and wants of the nation, as well as to that state of peace, which we are desirous of maintaining with Europe, we have resolved, to propose to the people a series of arrangements, tending to modify and improve its acts, to surround the rights of citizens with all their guarantees, to give to the representative system its full extent, to invest the intermediate bodies with the respectability and powers that are desirable; in a word, to combine the highest degree of political liberty, and personal security, with the strength and concentration necessary, to render the independence of the French people, and the dignity of our crown, respected by foreigners: in consequence, the following articles, forming an act supplementary to the constitution of the empire, will be submitted to the free and solemn acceptance of all the citizens, throughout the whole extent of France.
[Footnote 5: This preamble, which gave the death-blow to the additional act, was, I believe, the work of M. Benjamin Constant.]
ART. 1. The constitution of the empire, consisting of the constitutional act of the 22d of Frimaire, year 8; of the decrees of the senate of the 14th and 16th of Thermidor, year 10; and of that of the 28th of Floreal, year 12; will be modified by the provisions following: all the rest of their provisions are maintained and confirmed.
ART. 2. The legislative power is exercised by the Emperor and by two chambers.
ART. 3. The first chamber, styled the chamber of peers, is hereditary.
ART. 4. The Emperor names its members, who are irremovable, they and their male descendants, from eldest to eldest, in direct descent. The number of peers is unlimited. Adoption does not transmit the dignity of the peerage to the person adopted. The peers take their seats at the age of twenty-one; but have no deliberative voice before the age of twenty-five.
ART. 5. The chamber of peers has for its president the archchancellor of the empire, or, in the case provided for by article 5 of the decree of the senate of the 28th of Floreal, year 12, by one of the members of the chamber appointed by the Emperor.
ART. 6. The members of the imperial family, in hereditary succession, are peers by right. They are seated next to the president. They take their seats at the age of eighteen, but have no deliberative voice before the age of twenty-one.
ART. 7. The second chamber, styled the chamber of representatives, is elected by the people.
ART. 8. The members of this chamber are to the number of six hundred and twenty-nine: they must be twenty-five years of age at least.
ART. 9. The president of the chamber of representatives is appointed by the chamber at the opening of the session. He remains in office, till the chamber is renewed. His appointment is submitted to the approbation of the Emperor.
ART. 10. The chamber of representatives verifies the powers of its members, and decides on the validity of contested elections.
ART. 11. The members of the chamber of representatives receive for travelling expenses, and during the session, the indemnity decreed by the constituent assembly.
ART. 12. They are re-eligible without limit.
ART. 13. The chamber of representatives is entirely renewed, of right, every five years.
ART. 14. No member of either chamber can be arrested, except in case of being taken in the fact of committing a crime; or prosecuted for a criminal or correctional cause, during the sessions, except in consequence of a resolution of the chamber to which he belongs.
ART. 15. No one can be arrested or detained for debt, from the time of convening the meeting till forty days after the session.
ART. 16. The peers are to be tried by their own chamber in criminal or correctional cases, according to the forms prescribed by the law.
ART. 17. The quality of peer and of representative is compatible with all public functions, except those that are responsible (comptables).
All prefects and subprefects are not eligible by the electoral college of the department or circle (arrondissement), for which they are serving.
ART. 18. The Emperor sends to the chambers the ministers of state, and counsellors of state, who sit, and take a part in the discussions, but have no deliberative voice, unless they are members of the chamber, either as peers or being elected by the people.
ART. 19. The ministers, who are members of the chamber of peers, or of that of representatives, or who sit in consequence of being sent by the government, will give the chambers the information deemed necessary, when making it public does not compromise the interests of the state.
ART. 20. The sittings of both chambers are public. Nevertheless, they may resolve themselves into secret committees; the chamber of peers on the demand of ten members, that of deputies on the demand of twenty-five. The government also may demand secret committees for any communications it may have to make. In all cases deliberations and votes can take place only in a public sitting.
ART. 21. The Emperor may prorogue, adjourn, or dissolve, the chamber of representatives. The proclamation, that pronounces the dissolution, convokes the electoral colleges for a new election, and indicates the re-assembling of representatives in six months at the latest.
ART. 22. During the interval between the sessions of the chamber of representatives, or in case of the dissolution of this chamber, the chamber of peers cannot assemble.
ART. 23. The government has the proposal of the law: the chambers may propose amendments: if these amendments be not adopted by the government, the chambers are bound to vote for or against the law, in the form in which it was proposed.
ART. 24. The chambers have the power of inviting the government to propose a law on a given subject, and to draw up what appears to them proper to be inserted in the law. This demand may be made by either of the two chambers.
ART. 25. When a draught of a law is adopted by one of the two chambers, it is carried to the other; and, if it be approved there, it is carried to the Emperor.
ART. 26. No written discourse, except the reports of committees, the reports of ministers on the laws that are presented, and the accounts that are delivered, can be read in either of the chambers.
Of the electoral colleges, and the mode of election.
ART. 27. The electoral colleges of the departments and circles are retained, conformably to the decree of the senate of the 16th of Thermidor, year 10, excepting the following modifications.
ART. 28. The district assemblies (les assemblees de canton) will fill up every year, by annual elections, all the vacancies in the electoral colleges.
ART. 29. From the year 1816, a member of the chamber of peers, appointed by the Emperor, will be president of the electoral college of each department for life, and not removable.
ART. 30. Dating from the same period, the electoral college of each department will appoint, from among the members of the college of each circle, the president and two vice-presidents: for this purpose the assembling of the electoral college of the department will precede that of the college of the circle fifteen days.
ART. 31. The colleges of departments and circles will appoint the number of representatives established for each by the annexed table and act, No. 1.
[Footnote 6: This table, and that mentioned in Art. 33, being of no importance, are not inserted here.]
ART. 32. The representatives may be chosen throughout the whole extent of France indifferently.
Every college of a department or circle, that shall choose a member not belonging to the department or circle, shall appoint a substitute (suppleant), who must necessarily be taken from the department or circle.
ART. 33. Manufacturing and commercial labour and property shall have a particular representation.
The election of commercial and manufacturing representatives shall be made by the electoral college of the department from a list of eligible persons, drawn up by the chambers of commerce and consulting chambers in conjunction, according to the annexed table and act, No. 2.
Of the law of taxation.
ART. 34. Direct general taxes, whether on land or personal property, are voted only for one year: indirect taxes may be voted for several years. In case of a dissolution of the chamber of representatives, the taxes voted in the preceding session are continued, till the chamber meets anew.
ART. 35. No tax, direct or indirect, in money or in kind, can be levied; no loan can take place; no entry of credit in the great book of the public debt can be made; no domain can be alienated or exchanged; no raising of men for the army can be ordered; no portion of territory can be exchanged; except by virtue of a law.
ART. 36. No proposal of a tax, of a loan, or of a levy of men, can be made, except in the chamber of representatives.
ART. 37. It is in the chamber of representatives also, that, 1st, the general budget of the state, containing an estimate of the receipts, and the proposal of the funds assigned for the year to each department of the ministry; and, 2dly, an account of the receipts and expenses of the year, or years, preceding; are to be introduced in the first instance.
Of ministers and their responsibility.
ART. 38. All the acts of the government must be countersigned by a minister having some department.
ART. 39. The ministers are responsible for the acts of government signed by them, as well as for the execution of the laws.
ART. 40. They may be accused by the chamber of representatives, and are to be tried by that of peers.
ART. 41. Every minister, every commander of an army by land or sea, may be accused by the chamber of representatives, and tried by the chamber of peers, for having compromised the safety or honour of the nation.
ART. 42. In this case the chamber of peers exercises a discretionary power, both in assigning the character of the crime, and in the punishment to be inflicted.
ART. 43. Before it is decided, that a minister shall be put upon his trial, the chamber of representatives must declare, that there are grounds for examining into the charge brought against him.
ART. 44. This declaration can be made only on the report of a committee of sixty members drawn by lot. This committee cannot make its report till at least ten days after its nomination.
ART. 45. When the chamber has declared, that there are grounds for examination, it may summon the minister before it, to demand an explanation of him. This summons cannot take place, till ten days after the committee has made its report.
ART. 46. In all other cases, ministers having departments cannot be summoned or sent for by the chambers.
ART. 47. When the chamber of representatives has declared, that there are grounds for examination against a minister, a new committee is to be formed, of sixty members, drawn by lot as the former; and this committee makes a fresh report on the subject of bringing him to trial. This committee does not make its report till ten days after its nomination.
ART. 48. The bringing to trial cannot be decided upon, till ten days after the report has been read, and distributed among the members.
ART. 49. The accusation being resolved upon, the chamber of representatives names five commissioners, chosen from among its own members, to conduct the charge before the chamber of peers.
ART. 50. Article 75 of head 8 of the constitutional act of the 22d of Frimaire, year 8, declaring, that the agents of the government can be prosecuted only in consequence of a decision of the council of state, shall be modified by a law.
Of the judicial power.
ART. 51. The Emperor appoints all the judges. They are for life, and irremovable, from the instant of their appointment; the nomination of judges of the peace, and of commerce, excepted, which will take place as heretofore.
The present judges, appointed by the Emperor agreeably to the decree of the senate of the 12th of October, 1807, and whom he may think proper to retain, will receive appointments for life before the 1st of January next.
ART. 52. The institution of juries is retained.
ART. 53. The debating of criminal causes is to be public.
ART. 54. Military crimes alone are amenable to military tribunals.
ART. 55. All other crimes, even if committed by military men, are under the jurisdiction of the civil tribunals.
ART. 56. All crimes and offences, that were amenable to the high imperial court, and the trial of which is not reserved by the present act for the chamber of peers, are to be carried before the ordinary tribunals.
ART. 57. The Emperor has the right of pardoning, even in correctional cases, and of granting amnesties.
ART. 58. The interpretations of laws demanded by the court of cassation shall be given in the form of a law.
Rights of citizens.
ART. 59. Frenchmen are equal in the eye of the law, both in contributing to the taxes and public expenses, and in regard to admission to employments civil or military.
ART. 60. No one can be taken out of the hands of the judges assigned him by the law, on any pretence.
ART. 61. No one can be prosecuted, arrested, detained in custody, or banished, except in cases provided for by the law, and according to the forms prescribed.
ART. 62. Freedom in religious worship is guarantied to all.
ART. 63. All property possessed or acquired agreeably to the laws, and all debts of the state, are inviolable.
ART. 64. Every citizen has a right to print and publish his opinions, he signing them, without any previous censorship; saving that he is legally responsible, after publication, to be tried by a jury, even though the application of a correctional punishment only should be requisite.
ART. 65. The right of petition is secured to all the citizens. Every petition is that of an individual (est individuelle). These petitions may be addressed, either to the government, or to the two chambers; nevertheless, even the latter must be superscribed "to his Majesty the Emperor." They must be presented to the chambers under the guarantee of a member, who recommends the petition. They are read publicly; and, if the chamber take them into consideration, they are carried to the Emperor by the president.
ART. 66. No place, no part of the territory, can be declared in a state of siege, except in case of invasion by a foreign power, or of civil disturbance.
In the former case, the declaration is made by an act of the government.
In the second case, it can be made only by the law. However, if the case occur, when the chambers are not assembled, the act of government, declaring the state of siege, must be converted into a proposal for a law in the first fifteen days after the meeting of the chambers.
ART. 67. The French people declare farther, that, in the delegation it has made, and now makes, of its powers, it has not intended, and does not intend, to confer the right of proposing the re-establishment of the Bourbons, or of any prince belonging to that family, on the throne, even in case of the extinction of the imperial dynasty; or the right of re-establishing either the ancient feudal nobility, or feudal and seigniorial rights, or tithes, or any privileged and predominant form of worship; or the power of making any infringement of the irrevocability of the sale of national domains: it formally prohibits the government, the chambers, and the citizens, from every proposal in respect to these.
Done at Paris, the 22d of April, 1815.
(Signed) NAPOLEON. By the Emperor, The minister secretary of state, (Signed) The Duke of BASSANO.
* * * * *
This additional act did not answer the general expectation.
The public had hoped, to receive from Napoleon a new constitution, freed from the faults and abuses of the preceding constitutions; and it was surprised, grieved, dissatisfied, when it saw, by the very preamble of the additional act, that it was nothing but a modification of the former constitutions, decrees of the senate, and other acts, by which the empire was governed.
What confidence, people cried, can such a production inspire? What guarantee can it afford the nation? Do we not know, that it was by means of these decrees of the senate, that Napoleon sported with our most sacred laws? and, since they are now maintained and confirmed, may he not employ them, as he formerly did, to interpret after his own fashion his additional act, alter its nature, and render it illusory?
It had been to be wished, undoubtedly, that the additional act had not revived the name, and borrowed the assistance, of all the senatorial acts, become on so many accounts objects of the public contempt and derision: but this was impossible. They were the basis of our institutions; and they could not have been proscribed in a body, without arresting the progress of government, and subverting the established order of things from top to bottom.
[Footnote 7: Notwithstanding the charter, and the laws daily passed, it is found necessary, to recur every day to rules established by the ancient legislation of the senate.]
Besides, the fear of Napoleon's putting them in vigour was founded only on vague suppositions. The oppressive arrangements of the decrees of the senate were annulled, both in fact and in law, by the principles, which the additional act sanctioned: and Napoleon had rendered it impossible for him to augment his authority, or to abuse it, by the immense power, with which he had invested the chambers, the responsibility he had thrown on his agents and ministers, and the inviolable guarantees he had conferred on freedom of opinion and personal liberty. The slightest attempt would have betrayed his secret intentions; and a thousand voices would have been raised, to say to him: "We, who are as good as you, have made you our King, on condition, that you keep our laws: if not, not."
[Footnote 8: The well-known words, in which the cortes of Arragon address the kings of Spain at their coronation.]
The re-establishment of the chamber of peers, imported from England by the Bourbons, excited no less vividly the public discontent.
It was clear, in fact, that the privileges, and peculiar jurisdiction, which the peers exclusively enjoyed, constituted a manifest violation of the laws of equality; and that the hereditary state of the peerage was a formal infraction of the right of all Frenchmen, to be equally admissible to the offices of the state.
Accordingly the friends of liberty and equality with reason reproached Napoleon for having falsified his promises; and given them, instead of a constitution bottomed on the principles of equality and liberty, which he had solemnly professed, a shapeless act, more favourable than the charter, or any of the preceding constitutions, to the nobility and their institutions.
But Napoleon, when he promised the French a constitution, that might be termed republican, had rather followed the political suggestions of the moment, than consulted the welfare of France. Restored to himself, ought he to have adhered strictly to the letter of his promises, or interpreted them merely as an engagement, to give France a liberal constitution, as perfect as possible?
The answer cannot be doubtful.
Now the testimony of the most learned civilians, the experience of England for 125 years, had demonstrated to him, that the government best adapted to the habits, manners, and social relations of a great nation; that which affords the greatest pledge of happiness and stability; in fine, that which best reconciles political liberty with the degree of power necessary to the chief of a state; is a representative monarchical government. It was Napoleon's duty, therefore, as a legislator, and a paternal sovereign, to give this mode of government the preference.
This point granted, and it is incontestable, Napoleon was under the necessity of establishing an hereditary and privileged chamber of peers; for a representative monarchy cannot subsist, without an upper chamber, or chamber of peers; as a chamber of peers cannot subsist without privileges, and without being hereditary.
None therefore but the insincere; or men, who, though good patriots, unconsciously substitute their passions or prejudices in the place of the public welfare; can reproach Napoleon for having introduced this institution into our political organization.
The re-establishment of an intermediate chamber, perhaps, would not have wounded them so deeply, if care had been taken, to give it a name less sullied by feudal recollections: but the revolution had exhausted the nomenclature of public magistracies. Besides, the Emperor thought, that this was the only title answerable to its high destination. Perhaps, too, as Louis XVIII. had had his peers, he was not displeased, to have his also.
A third accusation bore hard on Napoleon. He promised us, it was urged, as a natural consequence of the fundamental truth, the throne is made for the nation, and not the nation for the throne, that our deputies, assembled at the Champ de Mai, should give to France, jointly with him, a constitution conformable to the interests and wishes of the nation; and by an odious breach of faith, he grants us an additional act, after the manner of Louis XVIII; and this he forces us to adopt in the lump, without allowing us to reject those parts, that may wound our dearest and most sacred rights.
Napoleon had proclaimed, it is true, on the 1st of March, that this constitution should be the work of the nation: but since this period circumstances had altered. It was of importance to the preservation of peace at home, and to the relations between Napoleon and foreign powers, that the state should be speedily established and that Europe should find in its new laws those safeguards against the ambition and despotism of the Emperor, and perhaps too against the re-establishment of a republic, that it might deem desirable.
Literally to comply with the words of Napoleon, it would have been necessary, for the electoral colleges to give their deputies written instructions, as in 1789. The assembling of these colleges, the drawing up of their instructions after discussion, the choosing of delegates, their journeying to Paris, the distribution of the labour, the preparation, examination, and discussion of the bases of the constitution, the disputative conferences with the delegates of the Emperor, &c. &c., would have consumed an incalculable portion of time, and left France in a state of anarchy, that would have deprived it of the means or possibility of making peace or war with foreigners.
Thus, then, far from blaming the Emperor for deviating at the moment from this part of his promises, he on the contrary deserves credit for having voluntarily resigned the dictatorship, with which circumstances had invested him, and placed public liberty under the protection of the laws. Had he not been sincere; had he not been honestly disposed, to restore to the people their rights, and confine his own within proper limits, he would not have been in haste, to publish the additional act: he would have been for gaining time, in hopes that victory or peace, by consolidating the sceptre in his hands, would have enabled him to dictate laws, instead of subjecting himself to them.
In fine, the additional act was reproached with having re-established the confiscations abolished by the charter.
The majority of the counsellors of state and ministers, and M. de Bassano more particularly, strongly opposed this renewed provision of our revolutionary laws. But the Emperor considered the confiscation of estates as the most efficacious means of bridling the royalists; and he persisted obstinately in not giving it up; reserving the power of relinquishing it, when circumstances would permit.
Upon the whole, the additional act was not without blemishes; but these blemishes, easy to be removed, no way affected the beauty or goodness of its basis.
It acknowledged the principle of the sovereignty of the people.
It secured to the three powers of the state the strength and independence necessary, to render their actions free and efficacious.
The independence of the representatives was guarantied by their number, and the mode of their election.
The independence of the peers, by their being hereditary.
The independence of the sovereign by the imperial veto, and the happy establishment of the other two powers, which serve him mutually as a safeguard.
The liberties of the people, solidly established, were liberally endowed with all the concessions granted by the charter, and all those subsequently claimed.
The trial of all libels (delits de la presse) by a jury, protected and secured freedom of opinion. It defended patriotic writers from the anger of the prince, and the complaisance of his agents. It even assured them of impunity, whenever their writings are in harmony with the secret opinions and wishes of the nation.
Personal liberty was guarantied, not only by the old laws, and the irremoveableness of the judges, but also by two new provisions; one, the responsibility of ministers; the other, the approaching abolition of the impunity, with which public functionaries of all classes had been invested by the constitution of the year 8, and afterward by the regal government.
It was still farther guarantied by the insurmountable barrier opposed to the abuse of the right of banishment, by reducing the jurisdiction of military courts within their natural limits, and by restricting the power of declaring any portion of the country in a state of siege; a power hitherto arbitrary, and by help of which the sovereign suspended at will the authority of the constitution, and placed the citizens, in fact, out of the pale of the law.
The additional act, in fine, by the obstacles it opposed to the usurpations of supreme power, and the innumerable guarantees it secured to the nation, established public and private liberty on foundations not to be shaken; yet, from the most whimsical of all inconsistencies, it was considered as the work of despotism, and occasioned Napoleon the loss of his popularity.
The writers most celebrated for their understanding and patriotism took up the defence of Napoleon: but in vain did they quote Delolme, Blackstone, Montesquieu; and demonstrate, that no modern state, no republic, had possessed such liberal and beneficial laws: their eloquence and their erudition were without success. The contemners of the additional act, deaf to the voice of reason, would judge of it only from its title; and as this title displeased and alarmed them, they persisted in blackening and condemning the work on the score of its name, according to the vulgar proverb, Give a dog a bad name, and hang him.
Napoleon, far from foreseeing this fatal result, had persuaded himself, on the contrary, that he should receive credit for having so promptly and generously accomplished the hopes of the nation; and he had prepared a long proclamation to the French people in his own hand, in which he sincerely congratulated himself and them on the happiness, that France was about to enjoy under the sway of his new laws.
This proclamation, as may easily be guessed, came to nothing. In its place came a decree for convoking the electoral colleges, in which Napoleon, informed of the public rumours, excused himself, on the ground of the pressure of circumstances, for having abridged the forms he had promised to follow in composing the constitutional act; and announced, that this act, containing in itself the principles of every improvement, might be modified in conformity to the wishes of the nation. By the terms of this decree, the electoral colleges were called on to choose the members of the approaching assembly of representatives; and Napoleon excused himself afresh, for being compelled by the state of affairs, to require them to proceed to the election of deputies previous to the acceptance of the constitution.
[Footnote 9: The Emperor had ordered this proclamation to be burned; but I found it so excellent, that I thought it my duty to preserve it. At the moment when Napoleon set out for the army, I was not in Paris; and one of the principal clerks of the cabinet, M. Rathery, having found it among my papers, had the courage to throw it into the fire.]
It was at the Champ de Mai, that the electors of all the departments were to assemble, and proceed to the collection of votes for its rejection or adoption.
The idea of renewing the ancient assemblies of the nation, as it was first formed by the Emperor, was no doubt a grand and generous conception, and singularly calculated to restore to patriotism its energy and lustre; but at the same time, it must be confessed, it bore the stamp of imprudent daring, and might have given Napoleon an irreparable stroke. Was it not to be feared, that, in the equivocal situation in which he was placed, the electors, having every thing to dread from the Bourbons and foreign powers, would not accept so hazardous a mission, and leave the assembly unattended?
Was it not also probable, that no one would covet the dangerous honour of making part of the new national representation, the first act of which must necessarily be, to proscribe for ever the dynasty of the Bourbons, and acknowledge Napoleon, in spite of the foreign powers, the sole and legitimate sovereign of France?
However, so true it is, that with Napoleon events always belied the most sagacious conjectures, the electors hastened in crowds to Paris; and men most respectable for wealth and character entered the lists to be chosen deputies, soliciting votes with as much ardour, as if France had been tranquil and happy.
[Footnote 10: I speak generally: I know there were departments, the electoral colleges of which, from various causes, were composed only of a small number of individuals.]
And why was it so? Because, in the eyes of the electors and of the deputies, the object at stake was not the fate of a particular man, but of their country. It was because the critical situation of France, instead of intimidating the partisans of the revolution, awakened in their hearts the most courageous sentiments of patriotism.
They, whom I here call the partisans of the revolution, were not, as certain persons endeavour to persuade the world, those sanguinary beings, who were branded with the title of Jacobins, but that immense body of Frenchmen, who, since the year 1789, have concurred more or less in the destruction of the feudal system, with its privileges and abuses; of those Frenchmen, in fine, who are no strangers to the value of liberty, and the dignity of man.
But was the assembly of the Champ de Mai to be deprived of its chief ornament, the Empress and her son? The Emperor was not ignorant, that this princess was carefully watched; and that she had been surprised and threatened into an oath, to communicate all the letters she might receive. He knew, also, that she was surrounded by improper persons: but he thought, that he owed it to himself, and to his affection for the Empress, to exhaust every means of putting an end to her captivity. At first he attempted by several letters, full of feeling and dignity, to move the justice and sensibility of the Emperor of Austria. Entreaties and reclamations proving ineffectual, he resolved, to despatch an officer of the crown to Vienna, to negotiate, or demand publicly, in the name of nature and the law of nations, the deliverance of the Empress and her son. This mission was entrusted to the Count de Flahaut, one of his aides-de-camp. No person was more capable of fulfilling it worthily than this officer. He was a true Frenchman, spirited, amiable, and brave. He shone equally in the field of battle, in a diplomatic conference, and in the drawing-room pleasing every where by the agreeableness and firmness of his character.
M. de Flahaut set out, but could not advance beyond Stutgard. This disgrace converted into painful regret the joy, to which the hope of seeing again the young prince and his august mother had already given birth.
The people who resided near the road they would pass had already made preparations for testifying their love and their respect.
The return of Napoleon had been celebrated by enthusiastic shouts, that resembled the intoxication of victory: that of the Empress would have inspired only tender emotions. Acclamations tempered by tears of joy, the roads strewed with flowers, the village maidens adorned in their best attire and happy looks, would have given this sight the appearance of a family festival; and Marie Louise would have seemed, not the daughter of the Caesars returning to her territories, but a beloved mother, who, after a long and painful absence, is at length restored to the wishes of her children.
Her son, over whose head such high destinies were then depending, would have excited transports not less vivid, or less affecting. Torn from a throne, and from his country, while yet in his cradle, he had not ceased to turn his eyes and his remembrances toward the land that had given him birth: a number of bold and ingenious expressions had disclosed his regrets and his hopes; and these expressions, repeated and learned by heart, had rendered this august infant the object of the dearest thoughts and affections.
With strange inconsistency, the French had deplored the imperious temper and warlike disposition of Napoleon; yet they loved the son, precisely because he gave promise of possessing the genius and audacity of his father; and because they hoped, that he would at some future day restore to France "the lustre of victories, and the language of a master."
[Footnote 11: The following anecdote of the young Napoleon I have never seen published. When he came into the world, he was believed to be dead; he was without warmth, without motion, without respiration. M. Dubois (the accoucheur of the Empress) had made reiterated attempts, to recall him to life, when a hundred guns were discharged in succession, to celebrate his birth. The concussion and agitation produced by this firing acted so powerfully on the organs of the royal infant, that his senses were reanimated.]
The Emperor was deeply afflicted at the arbitrary detention of his wife and her son. He felt all the importance of it. Offers had been made him several times, to carry them off: I myself was employed, by a very great personage, to make him an offer of this nature. But he obstinately persisted in listening to no proposal of the kind. Perhaps his affection, or his pride, forbade him, to expose to the hazards of such an enterprise persons so dear to him, and whom he felt assured of obtaining in a manner more worthy of him by victory, or by a peace. Perhaps he was apprehensive of endangering their fate, should he succumb in the struggle, that was about to take place between him and Europe; for unhappily this struggle, that had so long remained a matter of doubt, had now ceased to be questionable even to himself.
The indirect overtures made to foreign cabinets, and those renewed in every form by the Emperor, and by the Duke of Vicenza, had completely miscarried.
The efforts made in favour of France in the British parliament, by the generous defenders of the independence and rights of nations, had remained without success.
M. de St. L.... and M. de Mont...., who were returned from Vienna, had announced, that the allies would never depart from the principles manifested in their declaration and treaty of the 13th and 25th of March.
M. de Talleyrand, on whom Napoleon had depended, convinced of the triumph of the Bourbons, had refused to betray or abandon them.
M. de Stassard had been stopped at Lintz, and obliged to return. His despatches, which were seized and sent to the Emperor of Austria, had been shown to the foreign monarchs; and these monarchs had unanimously decreed, that they should not be taken into consideration, and that they adhered anew, and more formally than ever, to their declaration.
The Princess Hortense had received from the Emperor of Russia this laconic answer: "No peace, no truce, with that man: any thing except him."
[Footnote 12: The Emperor Alexander, at the time of the affair of Fontainebleau, had guarantied to the Duke of Vicenza, for Napoleon, the possession of the island of Elba. M. de Talleyrand and the foreign ministers remonstrated to him strongly, on the danger of leaving the Emperor on a spot so near to France and Italy; and conjured him, not to oppose their compelling him to choose another place of retreat. Alexander, faithful to his engagements, would not consent to this. When the Emperor returned, Alexander made it a point of honour, to repair the noble fault he had committed; and became, rather from duty than from animosity, the most inveterate enemy of Napoleon and of France.]
The agents maintained by the Emperor in foreign countries informed him, that the troops of all the powers were in arms; and that the arrival of the Russians alone was waited for, to commence the campaign.
[Footnote 13: He had agents in Germany and in England, who informed him, with perfect accuracy, of every thing going on there. It is true, that these agents made him pay dearly for their services. In London, for instance, he had two persons, who cost him two thousand guineas a month. "If my Germans," said he on this subject, "were so dear, I must give them up."]
Thus every hope of conciliation was annihilated: the friends of Napoleon began to doubt his safety: he alone contemplated with imperturbable firmness the dangers, with which he was menaced.
The events of 1814 had disclosed to him the importance of the capital; and it may well be presumed, that he did not neglect the means of putting it into a state of defence. When the moment was arrived, for definitively resolving on the work of the fortifications, which he had already sketched out, M. Fontaine, his favourite architect, was with him, and was going to withdraw. "No," said the Emperor to him, "stay here: you shall help me to fortify Paris." He ordered the map of levels to be brought him; examined the sinuosities of the ground; consulted M. Fontaine on the placing of redoubts, and the erection of crown-works, triple crown-works, lunettes, &c. &c.; and in less than half an hour he conceived and settled, under the approbation of his architect, a definitive plan of defence, that obtained the suffrages of the most experienced engineers.