[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.]
THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE
WILLIAM MILLIGAN SLOANE PH.D., L.H.D., LL.D. Professor of History in Columbia University
Revised and Enlarged With Portraits
NEW YORK THE CENTURY CO. 1916
Copyright, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1910 BY THE CENTURY CO.
Published, October, 1910
PREFACE TO THE LIBRARY EDITION
This life of Napoleon was first published in 1896 as a book: for the years 1895-96 it ran as a serial in the pages of the Century Magazine. Judging from the sales, it has been read by many tens if not hundreds of thousands of readers; and it has been extensively noticed in the critical journals of both worlds. Throughout these fourteen years the demand has been very large and steady, considering the size and cost of the volumes. Both publishers and author have determined therefore that a library edition was desired by the public, and in that confidence the book has been partly rewritten and entirely remade.
In the main it is the same book as that which has passed through so many editions. But in some respects it has been amplified. The portion relating to the period of youth has been somewhat expanded, the personalities of those nearest to Napoleon have been in some cases more broadly sketched, new chapters have been added to the treatment of the Continental system, the Louisiana Purchase, and the St. Helena epoch. In all the text has been lengthened about one-tenth.
Under the compulsion of physical dimensions the author has minimized the number of authorities and foot-notes. There is really very little controversial matter regarding Napoleon which is not a matter of opinion: the evidence has been so carefully sifted that substantial agreement as to fact has been reached. Accordingly there have been introduced at the opening of chapters or divisions short lists of good references for those who desire to extend their reading: experts know their own way. It is an interesting fact which throws great light on the slight value of foot-notes that while I have had extensive correspondence with my fellow workers, there has come to me in all these years but a single request for the source of two statements, and one demand for the evidence upon which certain opinions were based.
The former editions were duplicate books, a text by me and a commentary of exquisite illustrations by other hands. The divergence was very confusing to serious minds; in this edition there can be no similar perplexity since the illustrations have been confined to portraits.
In putting these volumes through the press, in the preparation of the reference lists for volumes three and four, and in the rearrangement of the bibliography I have had the assistance of Dr. G. A. Hubbell to whom my obligation is hereby acknowledged.
William M. SLOANE.
New York, September 1, 1910.
In the closing years of the eighteenth century European society began its effort to get rid of benevolent despotism, so called, and to secure its liberties under forms of constitutional government. The struggle began in France, and spread over the more important lands of continental Europe; its influence was strongly felt in England, and even in the United States. Passing through the phases of constitutional reform, of anarchy, and of military despotism, the movement seemed for a time to have failed, and to outward appearances absolutism was stronger after Waterloo than it had been half a century earlier.
But the force of the revolution was only checked, not spent; and to the awakening of general intelligence, the strengthening of national feeling, and the upbuilding of a sense of common brotherhood among men, produced by the revolutionary struggles of this epoch, Europe owes whatever liberty and free government its peoples now enjoy. At the close of this period national power was no longer in the hands of the aristocracy, nor in those of kings; it had passed into the third social stratum, variously designated as the middle class, the burghers or bourgeoisie, and the third estate, a body of men as little willing to share it with the masses as the kings had been. Nevertheless, the transition once begun could not be stopped, and the advance of manhood suffrage has ever since been proportionate to the capacity of the laboring classes to receive and use it, until now, at last, whatever may be the nominal form of government in any civilized land, its stability depends entirely upon the support of the people as a whole. That which is the basis of all government—the power of the purse—has passed into their hands.
This momentous change was of course a turbulent one—the most turbulent in the history of civilization, as it has proved to be the most comprehensive. Consequently its epoch is most interesting, being dramatic in the highest degree, having brought into prominence men and characters who rank among the great of all time, and having exhibited to succeeding generations the most important lessons in the most vivid light. By common consent the eminent man of the time was Napoleon Bonaparte, the revolution queller, the burgher sovereign, the imperial democrat, the supreme captain, the civil reformer, the victim of circumstances which his soaring ambition used but which his unrivaled prowess could not control. Gigantic in his proportions, and satanic in his fate, his was the most tragic figure on the stage of modern history. While the men of his own and the following generation were still alive, it was almost impossible that the truth should be known concerning his actions or his motives; and to fix his place in general history was even less feasible. What he wrote and said about himself was of course animated by a determination to appear in the best light; what others wrote and said has been biased by either devotion or hatred.
Until within a very recent period it seemed that no man could discuss him or his time without manifesting such strong personal feeling as to vitiate his judgment and conclusions. This was partly due to the lack of perspective, but in the main to ignorance of the facts essential to a sober treatment of the theme. In this respect the last quarter of a century has seen a gradual but radical change, for a band of dispassionate scientific scholars have during that time been occupied in the preparation of material for his life without reference to the advocacy of one theory or another concerning his character. European archives, long carefully guarded, have been thrown open; the diplomatic correspondence of the most important periods has been published; family papers have been examined, and numbers of valuable memoirs have been printed. It has therefore been possible to check one account by another, to cancel misrepresentations, to eliminate passion—in short, to establish something like correct outline and accurate detail, at least in regard to what the man actually did. Those hidden secrets of any human mind which we call motives must ever remain to other minds largely a matter of opinion, but a very fair indication of them can be found when once the actual conduct of the actor has been determined.
This investigation has mainly been the work of specialists, and its results have been published in monographs and technical journals; most of these workers, moreover, were continental scholars writing each in his own language. Its results, as a whole, have therefore not been accessible to the general reader in either America or England. It seems highly desirable that they should be made so, and this has been the effort of the writer. At the same time he claims to be an independent investigator in some of the most important portions of the field he covers. His researches have extended over many years, and it has been his privilege to use original materials which, as far as he knows, have not been used by others. At the close of the book will be found a short account of the papers of Bonaparte's boyhood and youth which the author has read, and of the portions of the French and English archives which were generously put at his disposal, together with a short though reasonably complete bibliography of the published books and papers which really have scientific value. The number of volumes concerned with Napoleon and his epoch is enormous; outside of those mentioned very few have any value except as curiosities of literature.
I. Introduction............................................ 1
II. The Bonapartes in Corsica.............................. 20
III. Napoleon's Birth and Childhood......................... 35
IV. Napoleon's School-days................................. 48
V. In Paris and Valence................................... 60
VI. Private Study and Garrison Life........................ 73
VII. Further Attempts at Authorship......................... 83
VIII. The Revolution in France.............................. 100
IX. Buonaparte and Revolution in Corsica.................. 111
X. First Lessons in Revolution........................... 123
XI. Traits of Character................................... 135
XII. The Revolution in the Rhone Valley.................... 148
XIII. Buonaparte the Corsican Jacobin....................... 160
XIV. Buonaparte the French Jacobin......................... 180
XV. A Jacobin Hegira...................................... 199
XVI. "The Supper of Beaucaire"............................. 212
XVII. Toulon................................................ 222
XVIII. A Jacobin General..................................... 236
XIX. Vicissitudes in War and Diplomacy..................... 247
XX. The End of Apprenticeship............................. 260
XXI. The Antechamber To Success............................ 272
XXII. Bonaparte the General of the Convention............... 287
XXIII. The Day of the Paris Sections......................... 302
XXIV. A Marriage of Inclination and Interest................ 313
XXV. Europe and the Directory.............................. 324
XXVI. Bonaparte on a Great Stage............................ 339
XXVII. The Conquest of Piedmont and the Milanese............. 352
XXVIII. An Insubordinate Conqueror and Diplomatist............ 363
XXIX. Bassano and Arcola.................................... 378
XXX. Bonaparte's Imperious Spirit.......................... 393
XXXI. Rivoli and the Capitulation of Mantua................. 406
XXXII. Humiliation of the Papacy and of Venice............... 419
XXXIII. The Preliminaries of Peace—Leoben.................... 430
XXXIV. The Fall of Venice.................................... 444
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Napoleon Bonaparte in 1785, aged sixteen. Frontispiece
Marie-Laetitia Ramolino Bonaparte "Madame Mere"—Mother of Napoleon I..................................................... 50
Charles Bonaparte, Father of the Emperor Napoleon, 1785.......... 96
Bonaparte, General in Chief of the Army of Italy................ 176
Marie-Josephine-Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, called Josephine, Empress of the French......................................... 276
Map of Northern Italy, illustrating the Campaigns of 1796 and 1797.......................................................... 354
Josephine, Empress of the French................................ 374
Map illustrating the Campaign preceding the Treaty of Campo-Formio, 1797............................................ 414
SI QUID NOVISTI RECTIUS ISTIS, CANDIDUS IMPERTI: SI NON, HIS UTERE MECUM
LIFE OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE
The Revolutionary Epoch in Europe — Its Dominant Personage — The State System of Europe — The Power of Great Britain — Feebleness of Democracy — The Expectant Attitude of the Continent — Survival of Antiquated Institutions — The American Revolution — Philosophical Sophistries — Rousseau — His Fallacies — Corsica as a Center of Interest — Its Geography — Its Rulers — The People — Sampiero — Revolutions — Spanish Alliance — King Theodore — French Intervention — Supremacy of Genoa — Paoli — His Success as a Liberator — His Plan for Alliance with France — The Policy of Choiseul — Paoli's Reputation — Napoleon's Account of Corsica and of Paoli — Rousseau and Corsica.
Napoleon Bonaparte was the representative man of the epoch which ushered in the nineteenth century. Though an aristocrat by descent, he was in life, in training, and in quality neither that nor a plebeian; he was the typical plain man of his time, exhibiting the common sense of a generation which thought in terms made current by the philosophy of the eighteenth century. His period was the most tumultuous and yet the most fruitful in the world's history. But the progress made in it was not altogether direct; rather was it like the advance of a traveler whirled through the spiral tunnels of the St. Gotthard. Flying from the inclemency of the north, he is carried by the ponderous train due southward into the opening. After a time of darkness he emerges into the open air. But at first sight the goal is no nearer; the direction is perhaps reversed, the skies are more forbidding, the chill is more intense. Only after successive ventures of the same kind is the climax reached, the summit passed, and the vision of sunny plains opened to view. Such experiences are more common to the race than to the individual; the muse of history must note and record them with equanimity, with a buoyancy and hopefulness born of larger knowledge. The movement of civilization in Europe during the latter portion of the eighteenth century was onward and upward, but it was at times not only devious, slow and laborious, but fruitless in immediate results.
We must study the age and the people of any great man if we sincerely desire the truth regarding his strength and weakness, his inborn tendencies and purposes, his failures and successes, the temporary incidents and the lasting, constructive, meritorious achievements of his career. This is certainly far more true of Napoleon than of any other heroic personage; an affectionate awe has sometimes lifted him to heaven, a spiteful hate has often hurled him down to hell. Every nation, every party, faction, and cabal among his own and other peoples, has judged him from its own standpoint of self-interest and self-justification. Whatever chance there may be of reading the secrets of his life lies rather in a just consideration of the man in relation to his times, about which much is known, than in an attempt at the psychological dissection of an enigmatical nature, about which little is known, in spite of the fullness of our information. The abundant facts of his career are not facts at all unless considered in the light not only of a great national life, but of a continental movement which embraced in its day all civilization, not excepting that of Great Britain and America.
The states of Europe are sisters, children of the Holy Roman Empire. In the formation of strong nationalities with differences in language, religion, and institutions the relationship was almost forgotten, and in the intensity of later rivalry is not always even now remembered. It is, however, so close that at any epoch there is traceable a common movement which occupies them all. By the end of the fourteenth century they had secured their modern form in territorial and race unity with a government by monarchy more or less absolute. The fifteenth century saw with the strengthening of the monarchy the renascence of the fine arts, the great inventions, the awakening of enterprise in discovery, the mental quickening which began to call all authority to account. The sixteenth was the age of the Reformation, an event too often belittled by ecclesiastics who discern only its schismatic character, and not sufficiently emphasized by historians as the most pregnant political fact of any age with respect to the rise and growth of free institutions.
The seventeenth century saw in England the triumph of political ideas adapted to the new state of society which had arisen, but subversive of the tyrannical system which had done its work, a work great and good in the creation of peoples and the production of social order out of chaos. For a time it seemed as if the island state were to become the overshadowing influence in all the rest of Europe. By the middle of the century her example had fired the whole continent with notions of political reform. The long campaign which she and her allies waged with varying fortune against Louis XIV, commanding the conservative forces of the Latin blood, and the Roman religion ended unfavorably to the latter. At the close of the Seven Years' War there was not an Englishman in Europe or America or in the colonies at the antipodes whose pulse did not beat high as he saw his motherland triumphant in every quarter of the globe.
But these very successes, intensifying the bitterness of defeat and everything connected with it, prevented among numerous other causes the triumph of constitutional government anywhere in continental Europe. Switzerland was remote and inaccessible; her beacon of democracy burned bright, but its rays scarcely shone beyond the mountain valleys. The Dutch republic, enervated by commercial success and under a constitution which by its intricate system of checks was a satire on organized liberty, had become a warning rather than a model to other nations.
The other members of the great European state family presented a curious spectacle. On every hand there was a cheerful trust in the future. The present was as bad as possible, but belonged to the passing and not to the coming hour. Truth was abroad, felt the philosophers, and must prevail. Feudal privilege, oppression, vice and venality in government, the misery of the poor—all would slowly fade away. The human mind was never keener than in the eighteenth century; reasonableness, hope, and thoroughness characterized its activity. Natural science, metaphysics and historical studies made giant strides, while political theories of a dazzling splendor never equaled before nor since were rife on every side. Such was their power in a buoyant society, awaiting the millennium, that they supplanted entirely the results of observation and experience in the sphere of government.
But neither lever nor fulcrum was strong enough as yet to stir the inert mass of traditional forms. Monarchs still flattered themselves with notions of paternal government and divine right; the nobility still claimed and exercised baseless privileges which had descended from an age when their ancestors held not merely these but the land on which they rested; the burgesses still hugged, as something which had come from above, their dearly bought charter rights, now revealed as inborn liberties. They were thus hardened into a gross contentment dangerous for themselves, and into an indifference which was a menace to others. The great agricultural populations living in various degrees of serfdom still groaned under the artificial oppressions of a society which had passed away. Nominally the peasant might own certain portions of the soil, but he could not enjoy unmolested the airs which blew over it nor the streams which ran through it nor the wild things which trespassed or dwelt on it, while on every side some exasperating demand for the contribution of labor or goods or money confronted him.
In short, the civilized world was in one of those transitional epochs when institutions persist, after the beliefs and conditions which molded them have utterly disappeared. The inertia of such a rock-ribbed shell is terrible, and while sometimes the erosive power of agitation and discussion suffices to weaken and destroy it, more often the volcanic fires of social convulsion are alone strong enough. The first such shock came from within the English-speaking world itself, but not in Europe. The American colonies, appreciating and applying to their own conditions the principles of the English Revolution, began, and with French assistance completed, the movement which erected in another hemisphere the American republic. Weak and tottering in its infancy, but growing ever stronger and therefore milder, its example began at once to suggest the great and peaceful reforms of the English constitution which have since followed. Threatening absolutism in the strong contrasts its citizens presented to the subjects of other lands, it has been ever since the moral support of liberal movements the world around. England herself, instead of being weakened, was strengthened by the child grown to independent maturity, and a double example of prosperity under constitutional administration was now held up to the continent of Europe.
But it is the greatest proof of human weakness that there is no movement however beneficent, no doctrine however sound, no truth however absolute, but that it can be speciously so extended, so expanded, so emphasized as to lose its identity. Coincident with the political speculation of the eighteenth century appeared the storm and stress of romanticism and sentimentalism. The extremes of morbid personal emotion were thought serviceable for daily life, while the middle course of applying ideals to experience was utterly abandoned. The latest nihilism differs little from the conception of the perfect regeneration of mankind by discarding the old merely because it was old which triumphed in the latter half of the eighteenth century among philosophers and wits. To be sure, they had a substitute for whatever was abolished and a supplement for whatever was left incomplete.
Even the stable sense of the Americans was infected by the virus of mere theories. In obedience to the spirit of the age they introduced into their written constitution, which was in the main but a statement of their deep-seated political habits, a scheme like that of the electoral college founded on some high-sounding doctrine, or omitted from it in obedience to a prevalent and temporary extravagance of protest some fundamental truth like that of the Christian character of their government and laws. If there be anywhere a Christian Protestant state it is the United States; if any futile invention were ever incorporated in a written charter it was that of the electoral college. The addition of a vague theory or the omission of essential national qualities in the document of the constitution has affected our subsequent history little or not at all.
But such was not the case in a society still under feudal oppression. Fictions like the contract theory of government, exploded by the sound sense of Burke; political generalizations like certain paragraphs of the French Declaration of Rights, every item of which now and here reads like a platitude but was then and there a vivid revolutionary novelty; emotional yearnings for some vague Utopia—all fell into fruitful soil and produced a rank harvest, mostly of straw and stalks, although there was some sound grain. The thought of the time was a powerful factor in determining the course and the quality of events throughout all Europe. No nation was altogether unmoved. The center of agitation was in France, although the little Calvinistic state of Geneva brought forth the prophet and writer of the times.
Rousseau was a man of small learning but great insight. Originating almost nothing, he set forth the ideas of others with incisive distinctness, often modifying them to their hurt, but giving to the form in which he wrote them an air of seductive practicability and reality which alone threw them into the sphere of action. Examining Europe at large, he found its social and political institutions so hardened and so unresponsive that he declared it incapable of movement without an antecedent general crash and breaking up. No laws, he reasoned, could be made because there were no means by which the general will could express itself, such was the rigidity of absolutism and feudalism. The splendid studies of Montesquieu, which revealed to the French the eternal truths underlying the constitutional changes in England, had enlightened and captivated the best minds of his country, but they were too serious, too cold, too dry to move the quick, bright temperament of the people at large. This was the work of Rousseau. Consummate in his literary power, he laid the ax at the root of the tree in his fierce attack on the prevailing education, sought a new basis for government in his peculiar modification of the contract theory, and constructed a substitute system of sentimental morals to supplant the old authoritative one which was believed to underlie all the prevalent iniquities in religion, politics, and society.
His entire structure lacked a foundation either in history or in reason. But the popular fancy was fascinated. The whole flimsy furniture in the chambers of the general mind vanished. New emotions, new purposes, new sanctions appeared in its stead. There was a sad lack of ethical definitions, an over-zealous iconoclasm as to religion, but there were many high conceptions of regenerating society, of liberty, of brotherhood, of equality. The influence of this movement was literally ubiquitous; it was felt wherever men read or thought or talked, and were connected, however remotely, with the great central movement of civilization.
No land and no family could to all outward appearance be further aside from the main channel of European history in the eighteenth century than the island of Corsica and an obscure family by the name of Buonaparte which had dwelt there since the beginning of the eighteenth century. Yet that isolated land and that unknown family were not merely to be drawn into the movement, they were to illustrate its most characteristic phases. Rousseau, though mistakenly, forecast a great destiny for Corsica, declaring in his letters on Poland that it was the only European land capable of movement, of law-making, of peaceful renovation. It was small and remote, but it came near to being an actual exemplification of his favorite and fundamental dogma concerning man in a state of nature, of order as arising from conflict, of government as resting on general consent and mutual agreement among the governed. Toward Corsica, therefore, the eyes of all Europe had long been directed. There, more than elsewhere, the setting of the world-drama seemed complete in miniature, and, in the closing quarter of the eighteenth century, the action was rapidly unfolding a plot of universal interest.
A lofty mountain-ridge divides the island into eastern and western districts. The former is gentler in its slopes, and more fertile. Looking, as it does, toward Italy, it was during the middle ages closely bound in intercourse with that peninsula; richer in its resources than the other part, it was more open to outside influences, and for this reason freer in its institutions. The rugged western division had come more completely under the yoke of feudalism, having close affinity in sympathy, and some relation in blood, with the Greek, Roman, Saracenic, and Teutonic race-elements in France and Spain. The communal administration of the eastern slope, however, prevailed eventually in the western as well, and the differences of origin, wealth, and occupation, though at times the occasion of intestine discord, were as nothing compared with the common characteristics which knit the population of the entire island into one national organization, as much a unit as their insular territory.
The people of this small commonwealth were in the main of Italian blood. Some slight connection with the motherland they still maintained in the relations of commerce, and by the education of their professional men at Italian schools. While a small minority supported themselves as tradesmen or seafarers, the mass of the population was dependent for a livelihood upon agriculture. As a nation they had long ceased to follow the course of general European development. They had been successively the subjects of Greece, Rome, and the Califate, of the German-Roman emperors, and of the republic of Pisa. Their latest ruler was Genoa, which had now degenerated into an untrustworthy oligarchy. United to that state originally by terms which gave the island a "speaker" or advocate in the Genoese senate, and recognized the most cherished habits of a hardy, natural-minded, and primitive people, they had little by little been left a prey to their own faults in order that their unworthy mistress might plead their disorders as an excuse for her tyranny. Agriculture languished, and the minute subdivision of arable land finally rendered its tillage almost profitless.
Among a people who are isolated not only as islanders, but also as mountaineers, old institutions are particularly tenacious of life: that of the vendetta, or blood revenge, with the clanship it accompanies, never disappeared from Corsica. In the centuries of Genoese rule the carrying of arms was winked at, quarrels became rife, and often family confederations, embracing a considerable part of the country, were arrayed one against the other in lawless violence. The feudal nobility, few in number, were unrecognized, and failed to cultivate the industrial arts in the security of costly strongholds as their class did elsewhere, while the fairest portions of land not held by them were gradually absorbed by the monasteries, a process favored by Genoa as likely to render easier the government of a turbulent people. The human animal, however, throve. Rudely clad in homespun, men and women alike cultivated a simplicity of dress surpassed only by their plain living. There was no wealth except that of fields and flocks, their money consequently was debased and almost worthless. The social distinctions of noble and peasant survived only in tradition, and all classes intermingled without any sense of superiority or inferiority. Elegance of manner, polish, grace, were unsought and existed only by natural refinement, which was rare among a people who were on the whole simple to boorishness. Physically they were, however, admirable. All visitors were struck by the repose and self-reliance of their countenances. The women were neither beautiful, stylish, nor neat. Yet they were considered modest and attractive. The men were more striking in appearance and character. Of medium stature and powerful mold, with black hair, fine teeth, and piercing eyes; with well-formed, agile, and sinewy limbs; sober, brave, trustworthy, and endowed with many other primitive virtues as well, the Corsican was everywhere sought as a soldier, and could be found in all the armies of the southern continental states.
In their periodic struggles against Genoese encroachments and tyranny, the Corsicans had produced a line of national heroes. Sampiero, one of these, had in the sixteenth century incorporated Corsica for a brief hour with the dominions of the French crown, and was regarded as the typical Corsican. Dark, warlike, and revengeful, he had displayed a keen intellect and a fine judgment. Simple in his dress and habits, untainted by the luxury then prevalent in the courts of Florence and Paris, at both of which he resided for considerable periods, he could kill his wife without a shudder when she put herself and child into the hands of his enemies to betray him. Hospitable and generous, but untamed and terrible; brusque, dictatorial, and without consideration or compassion; the offspring of his times and his people, he stands the embodiment of primeval energy, physical and mental.
The submission of a people like this to a superior force was sullen, and in the long century which followed, the energies generally displayed in a well-ordered life seemed among them to be not quenched but directed into the channels of their passions and their bodily powers, which were ready on occasion to break forth in devastating violence. In 1729 began a succession of revolutionary outbursts, and at last in 1730 the communal assemblies united in a national convention, choosing two chiefs, Colonna-Ceccaldi and Giafferi, to lead in the attempt to rouse the nation to action and throw off the unendurable yoke. English philanthropists furnished the munitions of war. The Genoese were beaten in successive battles, even after they brought into the field eight thousand German mercenaries purchased from the Emperor Charles VI. The Corsican adventurers in foreign lands, pleading for their liberties with artless eloquence at every court, filled Europe with enthusiasm for their cause and streamed back to fight for their homes. A temporary peace on terms which granted all they asked was finally arranged through the Emperor's intervention.
But the two elected chiefs, and a third patriot, Raffaelli, having been taken prisoners by the Genoese, were ungenerously kept in confinement, and released only at the command of Charles. Under the same leaders, now further exasperated by their ill usage, began and continued another agitation, this time for separation and complete emancipation. Giafferi's chosen adjutant was a youth of good family and excellent parts, Hyacinth Paoli. In the then existing complications of European politics the only available helper was the King of Spain, and to him the Corsicans now applied, but his undertakings compelled him to refuse. Left without allies or any earthly support, the pious Corsicans naively threw themselves on the protection of the Virgin and determined more firmly than ever to secure their independence.
In this crisis appeared at the head of a considerable following, some hundreds in number, the notorious and curious German adventurer, Theodore von Neuhof, who, declaring that he represented the sympathy of the great powers for Corsica, made ready to proclaim himself as king. As any shelter is welcome in a storm, the people accepted him, and he was crowned on April fifteenth, 1736. But although he spoke truthfully when he claimed to represent the sympathy of the powers, he did not represent their strength, and was defeated again and again in encounters with the forces of Genoa. The oligarchy had now secured an alliance with France, which feared lest the island might fall into more hostile and stronger hands; and before the close of the year the short-lived monarchy ended in the disappearance of Theodore I of Corsica from his kingdom and soon after, in spite of his heroic exertions, from history.
The truth was that some of the nationalist leaders had not forgotten the old patriotic leaning towards France which had existed since the days of Sampiero, and were themselves in communication with the French court and Cardinal Fleury. A French army landed in February, 1738, and was defeated. An overwhelming force was then despatched and the insurrection subsided. In the end France, though strongly tempted to hold what she had conquered, kept her promise to Genoa and disarmed the Corsicans; on the other hand, however, she consulted her own interest and attempted to soothe the islanders by guaranteeing to them national rights. Such, however, was the prevalent bitterness that many patriots fled into exile; some, like Hyacinth Paoli, choosing the pay of Naples for themselves and followers, others accepting the offer of France and forming according to time-honored custom a Corsican regiment of mercenaries which took service in the armies of the King. Among the latter were two of some eminence, Buttafuoco and Salicetti. The half measures of Fleury left Corsica, as he intended, ready to fall into his hands when opportunity should be ripe. Even the patriotic leaders were now no longer in harmony. Those in Italy were of the old disinterested line and suspicious of their western neighbor; the others were charged with being the more ambitious for themselves and careless of their country's liberty. Both classes, however, claimed to be true patriots.
During the War of the Austrian Succession it seemed for a moment as if Corsica were to be freed by the attempt of Maria Theresa to overthrow Genoa, then an ally of the Bourbon powers. The national party rose again under Gaffori, the regiments of Piedmont came to their help, and the English fleet delivered St. Florent and Bastia into their hands. But the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) left things substantially as they were before the war, and in 1752 a new arrangement unsatisfactory to both parties was made with Genoa. It was virtually dictated by Spain and France, England having been alienated by the quarrels and petty jealousies of the Corsican leaders, and lasted only as long as the French occupation continued. Under the leadership of the same dauntless Gaffori who in 1740 had been chosen along with Matra to be a chief commander, the Genoese were once more driven from the highlands into the coast towns. At the height of his success the bold guerrilla fell a victim to family rivalries and personal spite. Through the influence of his despairing foes a successful conspiracy was formed and in the autumn of 1753 he was foully murdered.
But the greatest of these national heroes was also the last—Pascal Paoli. Fitted for his task by birth, by capacity, by superior training, this youth was in 1755 made captain-general of the island, a virtual dictator in his twenty-ninth year. His success was as remarkable as his measures were wise. Elections were regulated so that strong organization was introduced into the loose democratic institutions which had hitherto prevented sufficient unity of action in troubled times. An army was created from the straggling bands of volunteers, and brigandage was suppressed. Wise laws were enacted and enforced—among them one which made the blood-avenger a murderer, instead of a hero as he had been. Moreover, the foundations of a university were laid in the town of Corte, which was the hearthstone of the liberals because it was the natural capital of the west slope, connected by difficult and defensible paths with every cape and bay and intervale of the rocky and broken coast. The Genoese were gradually driven from the interior, and finally they occupied but three harbor towns.
Through skilful diplomacy Paoli created a temporary breach between his oppressors and the Vatican, which, though soon healed, nevertheless enabled him to recover important domains for the state, and prevented the Roman hierarchy from using its enormous influence over the superstitious people utterly to crush the movement for their emancipation. His extreme and enlightened liberalism is admirably shown by his invitation to the Jews, with their industry and steady habits, to settle in Corsica, and to live there in the fullest enjoyment of civil rights, according to the traditions of their faith and the precepts of their law. "Liberty," he said, "knows no creed. Let us leave such distinctions to the Inquisition." Commerce, under these influences, began to thrive. New harbors were made and fortified, while the equipment of a few gunboats for their defense marked the small beginnings of a fleet. The haughty men of Corsica, changing their very nature for a season, began to labor with their hands by the side of their wives and hired assistants; to agriculture, industry, and the arts was given an impulse which promised to be lasting.
The rule of Paoli was not entirely without disturbance. From time to time there occurred rebellious outbreaks of petty factions like that headed by Matra, a disappointed rival. But on the whole they were of little importance. Down to 1765 the advances of the nationalists were steady, their battles being won against enormous odds by the force of their warlike nature, which sought honor above all things, and could, in the words of a medieval chronicle, "endure without a murmur watchings and pains, hunger and cold, in its pursuit—which could even face death without a pang." Finally it became necessary, as the result of unparalleled success in domestic affairs, that a foreign policy should be formulated. Paoli's idea was an offensive and defensive alliance with France on terms recognizing the independence of Corsica, securing an exclusive commercial reciprocity between them, and promising military service with an annual tribute from the island. This idea of France as a protector without administrative power was held by the majority of patriots.
But Choiseul, the minister of foreign affairs under Louis XV, would entertain no such visionary plan. It was clear to every one that the island could no longer be held by its old masters. He had found a facile instrument for the measures necessary to his contemplated seizure of it in the son of a Corsican refugee, that later notorious Buttafuoco, who, carrying water on both shoulders, had ingratiated himself with his father's old friends, while at the same time he had for years been successful as a French official. Corsica was to be seized by France as a sop to the national pride, a slight compensation for the loss of Canada, and he was willing to be the agent. On August sixth, 1764, was signed a provisional agreement between Genoa and France by which the former was to cede for four years all her rights of sovereignty, and the few places she still held in the island, in return for the latter's intervention to thwart Paoli's plan for securing virtual independence. At the end of the period France was to pay Genoa the millions owed to her.
By this time the renown of Paoli had filled all Europe. As a statesman he had skilfully used the European entanglements both of the Bourbon-Hapsburg alliance made in 1756, and of the alliances consequent to the Seven Years' War, for whatever possible advantage might be secured to his people and their cause. As a general he had found profit even in defeat, and had organized his little forces to the highest possible efficiency, displaying prudence, fortitude, and capacity. His personal character was blameless, and could be fearlessly set up as a model. He was a convincing orator and a wise legislator. Full of sympathy for his backward compatriots, he knew their weaknesses, and could avoid the consequences, while he recognized at the same time their virtues, and made the fullest use of them. Above all, he had the wide horizon of a philosopher, understanding fully the proportions and relations to each other of epochs and peoples, not striving to uplift Corsica merely in her own interest, but seeking to find in her regeneration a leverage to raise the world to higher things. So gracious, so influential, so far-seeing, so all-embracing was his nature, that Voltaire called him "the lawgiver and the glory of his people," while Frederick the Great dedicated to him a dagger with the inscription, "Libertas, Patria." The shadows in his character were that he was imperious and arbitrary; so overmastering that he trained the Corsicans to seek guidance and protection, thus preventing them from acquiring either personal independence or self-reliance. Awaiting at every step an impulse from their adored leader, growing timid in the moment when decision was imperative, they did not prove equal to their task. Without his people Paoli was still a philosopher; without him they became in succeeding years a byword, and fell supinely into the arms of a less noble subjection. In this regard the comparison between him and Washington, so often instituted, utterly breaks down.
"Corsica," wrote in 1790 a youth destined to lend even greater interest than Paoli to that name—"Corsica has been a prey to the ambition of her neighbors, the victim of their politics and of her own wilfulness.... We have seen her take up arms, shake the atrocious power of Genoa, recover her independence, live happily for an instant; but then, pursued by an irresistible fatality, fall again into intolerable disgrace. For twenty-four centuries these are the scenes which recur again and again; the same changes, the same misfortune, but also the same courage, the same resolution, the same boldness.... If she trembled for an instant before the feudal hydra, it was only long enough to recognize and destroy it. If, led by a natural feeling, she kissed, like a slave, the chains of Rome, she was not long in breaking them. If, finally, she bowed her head before the Ligurian aristocracy, if irresistible forces kept her twenty years in the despotic grasp of Versailles, forty years of mad warfare astonished Europe, and confounded her enemies."
The same pen wrote of Paoli that by following traditional lines he had not only shown in the constitution he framed for Corsica a historic intuition, but also had found "in his unparalleled activity, in his warm, persuasive eloquence, in his adroit and far-seeing genius," a means to guarantee it against the attacks of wicked foes.
Such was the country in whose fortunes the "age of enlightenment" was so interested. Montesquieu had used its history to illustrate the loss and recovery of privilege and rights; Rousseau had thought the little isle would one day fill all Europe with amazement. When the latter was driven into exile for his utterances, and before his flight to England, Paoli offered him a refuge. Buttafuoco, who represented the opinion that Corsica for its own good must be incorporated with France, and not merely come under her protection, had a few months previously also invited the Genevan prophet to visit the island, and outline a constitution for its people. But the snare was spread in vain. In the letter which with polished phrase declined the task, on the ground of its writer's ill-health, stood the words: "I believe that under their present leader the Corsicans have nothing to fear from Genoa. I believe, moreover, that they have nothing to fear from the troops which France is said to be transporting to their shores. What confirms me in this feeling is that, in spite of the movement, so good a patriot as you seem to be continues in the service of the country which sends them." Paoli was of the same opinion, and remained so until his rude awakening in 1768.
The Bonapartes in Corsica.
The French Occupy Corsica — Paoli Deceived — Treaty between France and Genoa — English Intervention Vain — Paoli in England — British Problems — Introduction of the French Administrative System — Paoli's Policy — The Coming Man — Origin of the Bonapartes — The Corsican Branch — Their Nobility — Carlo Maria di Buonaparte — Maria Letizia Ramolino — Their Marriage and Naturalization as French Subjects — Their Fortunes — Their Children.
The preliminary occupation of Corsica by the French was ostensibly formal. The process was continued, however, until the formality became a reality, until the fortifications of the seaport towns ceded by Genoa were filled with troops. Then, for the first time, the text of the convention between the two powers was communicated to Paoli. Choiseul explained through his agent that by its first section the King guaranteed the safety and liberty of the Corsican nation. But, no doubt, he forgot to explain the double dealing in the second section. Thereby in the Italian form the Corsicans were in return to take "all right and proper measures dictated by their sense of justice and natural moderation to secure the glory and interest of the republic of Genoa," while in the French form they were "to yield to the Genoese all 'they' thought necessary to the glory and interests of their republic." Who were the "they"?—the Corsicans or the Genoese? Paoli's eye was fixed on the acknowledgment of Corsican independence; he was hoodwinked completely as to the treachery in this second section, the meaning of which, according to diplomatic usage, was settled by the interpretation which the language employed for one form put upon that in which the other was written. Combining the two translations, Italian and French, of the second section, and interpreting one by the other, the Genoese were still the arbiters of Corsican conduct and the promise of liberty contained in the first section was worthless.
Four years passed: apparently they were uneventful, but in reality Choiseul made good use of his time. Through Buttafuoco he was in regular communication with that minority among the Corsicans which desired incorporation. By the skilful manipulation of private feuds, and the unstinted use of money, this minority was before long turned into a majority. Toward the close of 1767 Choiseul began to show his hand by demanding absolute possession for France of at least two strong towns. Paoli replied that the demand was unexpected, and required consideration by the people; the answer was that the King of France could not be expected to mingle in Corsican affairs without some advantage for himself. To gain time, Paoli chose Buttafuoco as his plenipotentiary, despatched him to Versailles, and thus fell into the very trap so carefully set for him by his opponent. He consented as a compromise that Corsica should join the Bourbon-Hapsburg league. More he could not grant for love of his wild, free Corsicans, and he cherished the secret conviction that, Genoa being no longer able to assert her sovereignty, France would never allow another power to intervene, and so, for the sake of peace, might accept this solution.
But the great French minister was a master of diplomacy and would not yield. In his designs upon Corsica he had little to fear from European opposition. He knew how hampered England was by the strength of parliamentary opposition, and the unrest of her American colonies. The Sardinian monarchy was still weak, and quailed under the jealous eyes of her strong enemies. Austria could not act without breaking the league so essential to her welfare, while the Bourbon courts of Spain and Naples would regard the family aggrandizement with complacency. Moreover, something must be done to save the prestige of France: her American colonial empire was lost; Catherine's brilliant policy, and the subsequent victories of Russia in the Orient, were threatening what remained of French influence in that quarter. Here was a propitious moment to emulate once more the English: to seize a station on the Indian highroad as valuable as Gibraltar or Port Mahon, and to raise high hopes of again recovering, if not the colonial supremacy among nations, at least that equality which the Seven Years' War had destroyed. Without loss of time, therefore, the negotiations were ended, and Buttafuoco was dismissed. On May fifteenth, 1768, the price to be paid having been fixed, a definitive treaty with Genoa was signed whereby she yielded the exercise of sovereignty to France, and Corsica passed finally from her hands. Paoli appealed to the great powers against this arbitrary transfer, but in vain.
The campaign of subjugation opened at once, Buttafuoco, with a few other Corsicans, taking service against his kinsfolk. The soldiers of the Royal Corsican regiment, which was in the French service, and which had been formed under his father's influence, flatly refused to fight their brethren. The French troops already in the island were at once reinforced, but during the first year of the final conflict the advantage was all with the patriots; indeed, there was one substantial victory on October seventh, 1768, that of Borgo, which caused dismay at Versailles. Once more Paoli hoped for intervention, especially that of England, whose liberal feeling would coincide with his interest in keeping Corsica from France. Money and arms were sent from Great Britain, but that was all. This conduct of the British ministry was afterward recalled by France as a precedent for rendering aid to the Americans in their uprising against England.
The following spring an army of no less than twenty thousand men was despatched from France to make short and thorough work of the conquest. The previous year of bloody and embittered conflict had gone far to disorganize the patriot army. It was only with the utmost difficulty that the little bands of mountain villagers could be tempted away from the ever more necessary defense of their homes and firesides. Yet in spite of disintegration before such overwhelming odds, and though in want both of ordinary munitions and of the very necessities of life, the forces of Paoli continued a fierce and heroic resistance. It was only after months of devastating, heartrending, hopeless warfare, that their leader, utterly routed in the affair known as the battle of Ponte Nuovo, finally gave up the desperate cause. Exhausted, and without resources, he would have been an easy prey to the French; but they were too wise to take him prisoner. On June thirteenth, 1769, by their connivance he escaped, with three hundred and forty of his most devoted supporters, on two English vessels, to the mainland. His goal was England. The journey was a long, triumphant procession from Leghorn through Germany and Holland; the honors showered on him by the liberals in the towns through which he passed were such as are generally paid to victory, not to defeat. Kindly received and entertained, he lived for the next thirty years in London, the recipient from the government of twelve hundred pounds a year as a pension.
The year 1770 saw the King of France apparently in peaceful possession of that Corsican sovereignty which he claimed to have bought from Genoa. His administration was soon and easily inaugurated, and there was nowhere any interference from foreign powers. Philanthropic England had provided for Paoli, but would do no more, for she was busy at home with a transformation of her parties. The old Whig party was disintegrating; the new Toryism was steadily asserting itself in the passage of contemptuous measures for oppressing the American colonies. She was, moreover, soon to be so absorbed in her great struggle on both sides of the globe that interest in Corsica and the Mediterranean must remain for a long time in abeyance.
But the establishment of a French administration in the King's new acquisition did not proceed smoothly. The party favorable to incorporation with France had grown, and, in the rush to side with success, it now probably far outnumbered that of the old patriots. At the outset this majority faithfully supported the conquerors in an attempt, honorable to both, to retain as much of Paoli's system as possible. But the appointment of an intendant and a military commander acting as royal governor with a veto over legislation was essential. This of necessity destroyed the old democracy, for, in any case, the existence of such officials and the social functions of such offices must create a quasi-aristocracy, and its power would rest not on popular habit and good-will, but on the French soldiery. The situation was frankly recognized, therefore, in a complete reorganization of those descended from the old nobility, and from these a council of twelve was selected to support and countenance the governor. The clergy and the third estate were likewise formally organized in two other orders, so that with clergy, nobles, and commons, Corsica became a French pays d'etat, another provincial anachronism in the chaos of royal administration. The class bitterness of the mainland could easily be and was transplanted to the island; the ultimate success of the process left nothing to be desired. Moreover, the most important offices were given into French hands, while the seat of government was moved from Corte, the highland capital, to the lowland towns of Bastia and Ajaccio. The primeval feud of highlanders and lowlanders was thus rekindled, and in the subsequent agitations the patriots won over by France either lost influence with their followers, or ceased to support the government. Old animosities were everywhere revived and strengthened, until finally the flames burst forth in open rebellion. They were, of course, suppressed, but the work was done with a savage thoroughness the memory of which long survived to prevent the formation in the island of a natural sentiment friendly to the French. Those who professed such a feeling were held in no great esteem.
It was perhaps an error that Paoli did not recognize the indissoluble bonds of race and speech as powerfully drawing Corsica to Italy, disregard the leanings of the democratic mountaineers toward France, sympathize with the fondness of the towns for the motherland, and so use his influence as to confirm the natural alliance between the insular Italians and those of the peninsula. When we regard Sardinia, however, time seems to have justified him. There is little to choose between the sister islands as regards the backward condition of both; but the French department of Corsica is, at least, no less advanced than the Italian province of Sardinia. The final amalgamation of Paoli's country with France, which was in a measure the result of his leaning toward a French protectorate, accomplished one end, however, which has rendered it impossible to separate her from the course of great events, from the number of the mighty agents in history. Curiously longing in his exile for a second Sampiero to have wielded the physical power while he himself should have become a Lycurgus, Paoli's wish was to be half-way fulfilled in that a warrior greater than Sampiero was about to be born in Corsica, one who should, by the very union so long resisted, come, as the master of France, to wield a power strong enough to shatter both tyrannies and dynasties, thus clearing the ground for a lawgiving closely related to Paoli's own just and wise conceptions of legislation.
The coming man was to be a typical Corsican, moreover. Born in the agony of his fatherland, he was to combine all the important qualities of his folk in himself. Like them, he was to be short, with wonderful eyes and beautiful teeth; temperate; quietly, even meanly, clad; generous, grateful for any favor, however small; masterful, courageous, impassive, shrewd, resolute, fluent of speech; profoundly religious, even superstitious; hot-tempered, inscrutable, mendacious, revengeful sometimes and ofttimes forgiving, disdainful of woman and her charms; above all, boastful, conceited, and with a passion for glory. His pride and his imagination were to be barbaric in their immensity, his clannishness was to be that of the most primitive civilization. In all these points he was to be Corsican; other characteristics he was to acquire from the land of his adoption through an education French both in affairs and in books; but he was after all Corsican from the womb to the grave; that in the first degree, and only secondarily French, while his cosmopolitan disguise was to be scarcely more than a mask to be raised or lowered at pleasure.
This scion was to come from the stock which at first bore the name of Bonaparte, or, as the heraldic etymology later spelled it, Buonaparte. There were branches of the same stock, or, at least, of the same name, in other parts of Italy. Three towns at least claimed to be the seat of a family with this patronymic: and one of them, Treviso, possessed papers to prove the claim. Although other members of his family based absurd pretensions of princely origin on these insufficient proofs, Napoleon himself was little impressed by them. He was disposed to declare that his ancestry began in his own person, either at Toulon or from the eighteenth of Brumaire. Whatever the origin of the Corsican Buonapartes, it was neither royal from the twin brother of Louis XIV, thought to be the Iron Mask; nor imperial from the Julian gens, nor Greek, nor Saracen, nor, in short, anything which later-invented and lying genealogies declared it to be. But it was almost certainly Italian, and probably patrician, for in 1780 a Tuscan gentleman of the name devised a scanty estate to his distant Corsican kinsman. The earliest home of the family was Florence; later they removed for political reasons to Sarzana, in Tuscany, where for generations men of that name exercised the profession of advocate. The line was extinguished in 1799 by the death of Philip Buonaparte, a canon and a man of means, who, although he had recognized his kin in Corsica to the extent of interchanging hospitalities, nevertheless devised his estate to a relative named Buonacorsi.
The Corsican branch were persons of some local consequence in their latest seats, partly because of their Italian connections, partly in their substantial possessions of land, and partly through the official positions which they held in the city of Ajaccio. Their sympathies as lowlanders and townspeople were with the country of their origin and with Genoa. During the last years of the sixteenth century that republic authorized a Jerome, then head of the family, to prefix the distinguishing particle "di" to his name; but the Italian custom was averse to its use, which was not revived until later, and then only for a short time. Nine generations are recorded as having lived on Corsican soil within two centuries and a quarter. They were evidently men of consideration, for they intermarried with the best families of the island; Ornano, Costa, Bozzi, and Colonna are names occurring in their family records.
Nearly two centuries passed before the grand duke of Tuscany issued formal patents in 1757, attesting the Buonaparte nobility. It was Joseph, the grandsire of Napoleon, who received them. Soon afterward he announced that the coat-armor of the family was "la couronne de compte, l'ecusson fendu par deux barres et deux etoilles, avec les lettres B. P. qui signifient Buona Parte, le fond des armes rougeatres, les barres et les etoilles bleu, les ombrements et la couronne jaune!" Translated as literally as such doubtful language and construction can be, this signifies: "A count's coronet, the escutcheon with two bends sinister and two stars, bearing the letters B. P., which signify Buonaparte, the field of the arms red, the bends and stars blue, the letters and coronet yellow!" In heraldic parlance this would be: Gules, two bends sinister between two estoiles azure charged with B. P. for Buona Parte, or; surmounted by a count's coronet of the last. In 1759 the same sovereign granted further the title of patrician. Charles, the son of Joseph, received a similar grant from the Archbishop of Pisa in 1769. These facts have a substantial historical value, since by reason of them the family was duly and justly recognized as noble in 1771 by the French authorities, and as a consequence, eight years later, the most illustrious scion of the stem became, as a recognized aristocrat, the ward of a France which was still monarchical. Reading between the lines of such a narrative, it appears as if the short-lived family of Corsican lawyers had some difficulty in preserving an influence proportionate to their descent, and therefore sought to draw all the strength they could from a bygone grandeur, easily forgotten by their neighbors in their moderate circumstances at a later day. Still later, when all ci-devant aristocrats were suspects in France, and when the taint of nobility sufficed to destroy those on whom it rested, Napoleon denied his quality: the usual inquest as to veracity was not made and he went free. This escape he owed partly to the station he had reached, partly to the fact that his family claims had been based on birth so obscure at the time as to subject the claimants to good-natured raillery.
No task had lain nearer to Paoli's heart than to unite in one nation the two factions into which he found his people divided. Accordingly, when Carlo Maria di Buonaparte, the single stem on which the consequential lowland family depended for continuance, appeared at Corte to pursue his studies, the stranger was received with flattering kindness, and probably, as one account has it, was appointed to a post of emolument and honor as Paoli's private secretary. The new patrician, according to a custom common among Corsicans of his class, determined to take his degree at Pisa, and in November, 1769, he was made doctor of laws by that university. Many pleasant and probably true anecdotes have been told to illustrate the good-fellowship of the young advocate among his comrades while a student. There are likewise narratives of his persuasive eloquence and of his influence as a patriot, but these sound mythical. In short, an organized effort of sycophantic admirers, who would, if possible, illuminate the whole family in order to heighten Napoleon's renown, has invented fables and distorted facts to such a degree that the entire truth as to Charles's character is hard to discern. Certain undisputed facts, however, throw a strong light upon Napoleon's father. His people were proud and poor; he endured the hardships of poverty with equanimity. Strengthening what little influence he could muster, he at first appears ambitious, and has himself described in his doctor's diploma as a patrician of Florence, San Miniato, and Ajaccio. His character is little known except by the statements of his own family. They declared that he was a spendthrift. He spent two years' income, about twelve hundred dollars, in celebrating with friends the taking of his degree. He would have sold not only the heavily mortgaged estates inherited by himself, but also those of his wife, except for the fierce remonstrances of his heirs. He could write clever verse, he was a devotee of belles-lettres, and a sceptic in the fashion of the time. Self-indulgent, he was likewise bitterly opposed to all family discipline. His figure was slight and lithe, his expression alert and intelligent, his eyes gray blue and his head large. He was ambitious, indefatigable as a place-hunter, suave, elegant, and irrepressible.
On the other hand, with no apparent regard for his personal advancement by marriage, he followed his own inclination, and in 1764, at the age of eighteen, gallantly wedded a beautiful child of fifteen, Maria Letizia Ramolino. Her descent, though excellent and, remotely, even noble, was inferior to that of her husband, but her fortune was equal, if not superior, to his. Her father was a Genoese official of importance; her mother, daughter of a petty noble by a peasant wife, became a widow in 1755 and two years later was married again to Francis Fesch, a Swiss, captain in the Genoese navy. Of this union, Joseph, later Cardinal Fesch, was the child. Although well born, the mother of Napoleon had no education and was of peasant nature to the last day of her long life—hardy, unsentimental, frugal, avaricious, and sometimes unscrupulous. Yet for all that, the hospitality of her little home in Ajaccio was lavish and famous. Among the many guests who were regularly entertained there was Marbeuf, commander in Corsica of the first army of occupation. There was long afterward a malicious tradition that the French general was Napoleon's father. The morals of Letizia di Buonaparte, like those of her conspicuous children, have been bitterly assailed, but her good name, at least, has always been vindicated. The evident motive of the story sufficiently refutes such an aspersion as it contains. Of the bride's extraordinary beauty there has never been a doubt. She was a woman of heroic mold, like Juno in her majesty; unmoved in prosperity, undaunted in adversity. It was probably to his mother, whom he strongly resembled in childhood, that the famous son owed his tremendous and unparalleled physical endurance.
After their marriage the youthful pair resided in Corte, waiting until events should permit their return to Ajaccio. Naturally of an indolent temperament, the husband, though he had at first been drawn into the daring enterprises of Paoli, and had displayed a momentary enthusiasm, was now, as he had been for more than a year, weary of them. At the head of a body of men of his own rank, he finally withdrew to Monte Rotondo, and on May twenty-third, 1769, a few weeks before Paoli's flight, the band made formal submission to Vaux, commander of the second army of occupation, explaining through Buonaparte that the national leader had misled them by promises of aid which never came, and that, recognizing the impossibility of further resistance, they were anxious to accept the new government, to return to their homes, and to resume the peaceful conduct of their affairs. This at least is the generally accepted account of his desertion of Paoli's cause: there is some evidence that having followed Clement, a brother of Pascal, into a remoter district, he had there found no support for the enterprise, and had thence under great hardships of flood and field made his way with wife and child to the French headquarters. The result was the same in either case. It was the precipitate naturalization of the father as a French subject which made his great son a Frenchman. Less than three months afterward, on August fifteenth, the fourth child, Napoleone di Buonaparte, was born in Ajaccio, the seat of French influence.
The resources of the Buonapartes, as they still wrote themselves, were small, although their family and expectations were large. Charles himself was the owner of a considerable estate in houses and lands, but everything was heavily mortgaged and his income was small. He had further inherited a troublesome law plea, the prosecution of which was expensive. By an entail in trust of a great-great-grandfather, important lands were entailed in the male line of the Odone family. In default of regular descent, the estate was vested in the female line, and should, when Charles's maternal uncle died childless, have reverted to his mother. But the uncle had made a will bequeathing his property to the Jesuits, who swiftly took possession and had maintained their ownership by occupation and by legal quibbles. Joseph, the father of Charles, had wasted many years and most of his fortune in weary litigation. Nothing daunted, Charles settled down to pursue the same phantom, virtually depending for a livelihood on the patrimony of his wife. Letitia Buonaparte, being an only child, had fallen heir to her father's property on the second marriage of her mother. The stepfather was an excellent Swiss, a Protestant from Basel, thoroughly educated, and interested in education, and for years a mercenary in the Genoese service. On his retirement he became a Roman Catholic in order to secure the woman of his choice. He was the father of Letitia's half brother, Joseph. The retired officer, though kindly disposed to the family he had entered, had little but his pension and savings: he could contribute nothing but good, sound common sense and his homely ideas of education. The real head of the family was the uncle of Charles, Lucien Buonaparte, archdeacon of the cathedral. It was he who had supported and guided his nephew, and had sent him to the college founded by Paoli at Corte. In his youth Charles was wasteful and extravagant, but his wife was thrifty to meanness. With the restraint of her economy and the stimulus of his uncle, respected as head of the family, the father of Napoleon arrived at a position of some importance. He practised his profession with some diligence, became an assessor of the highest insular court, and in 1772 was made a member, later a deputy, of the council of Corsican nobles.
The sturdy mother was most prolific. Her eldest child, born in 1765, was a son who died in infancy; in 1767 was born a daughter, Maria-Anna, destined to the same fate; in 1768 a son, known later as Joseph, but baptized as Nabulione; in 1769 the great son, Napoleone. Nine other children were the fruit of the same wedlock, and six of them—three sons, Lucien, Louis, and Jerome, and three daughters, Elisa, Pauline, and Caroline—survived to share their brother's greatness. Charles himself, like his short-lived ancestors,—of whom five had died within a century,—scarcely reached middle age, dying in his thirty-ninth year. Letitia, like the stout Corsican that she was, lived to the ripe age of eighty-six in the full enjoyment of her faculties, known to the world as Madame Mere, a sobriquet devised by her great son to distinguish her as the mother of the Napoleons.
Napoleon's Birth and Childhood.
[Footnote 1: The indispensable authority for the youth of Napoleon is the collection of his own papers edited, not always judiciously, by Frederic Masson and published by him in cooeperation with G. Biagi under the title Napoleon inconnu. The originals are now in the Laurentian Library at Florence. They were intrusted by the Emperor to Cardinal Fesch as a safe depositary, probably in the hope that they would eventually be destroyed. What the cardinal actually did with them remains obscure. Some time early in the nineteenth century they came into possession of a certain Libri, one of the French government library inspectors, an unscrupulous collector and dealer. From them he excerpted enough matter for an article which, before his disgrace, was published in an early number of the Revue des Deux Mondes, but in the publication there was no statement of authority and the article was forgotten, important as it was. The originals were not found or known until in the sale catalogue of Lord Ashburnham's library appeared a lot entitled merely Napoleon Papers. This fact was brought to the author's attention by a friend, and when after a smart competition between agents of the French and Italian governments the manuscripts were deposited at Florence, he sought permission immediately to examine and study them. This was promptly granted, they proved to be the lost Fesch papers, and for the first time it was possible to obtain a clear account of Napoleon's early years. The standard authorities hitherto had been the works of Nasica, Coston, and Jung: while they still have a certain value, it is slight in view of the reliable deductions to be drawn from the original boy papers of Napoleon Bonaparte. Later on and after the publication of the corresponding portion of this Life, they were edited, printed, and published. In the main there is no room for difference with the transcript of M. Masson, but in some places where the writing is uncommonly bad the author's own transcript presents the facts as stated in these pages. Within a few years M. Chuquet has summed up admirably all our authentic knowledge of the subject—in a book entitled: La jeunesse de Napoleon. His own researches have brought to light some further valuable material. I have not hesitated in this revision to make the freest use of the latest authorities, but it is a gratification that no substantial changes, except by way of slight additions, have been found necessary.]
Birth of Nabulione or Joseph — Date of Napoleon's Birth — Coincidence with the Festival of the Assumption — The Name of Napoleon — Corsican Conditions as Influencing Napoleon's Character — His Early Education — Childish Traits — Influenced by Traditions Concerning Paoli — Family Prospects — Influence of Marbeuf — Upheavals in France — Napoleon Appointed to a Scholarship — His Efforts to Learn French at Autun — Development of His Character — His Father Delegate of the Corsican Nobility at Versailles.
The trials of poverty made the Buonapartes so clever and adroit that suspicions of shiftiness in small matters were developed later on, and these led to an over-close scrutiny of their acts. The opinion has not yet disappeared among reputable authorities that Nabulione and Napoleone were one and the same, born on January seventh, 1768, Joseph being really the younger, born on the date assigned to his distinguished brother. The earliest documentary evidence consists of two papers, one in the archives of the French war department, one in those of Ajaccio. The former is dated 1782, and testifies to the birth of Nabulione on January seventh, 1768, and to his baptism on January eighth; the latter is the copy, not the original, of a government contract which declares the birth, on January seventh, of Joseph Nabulion. Neither is decisive, but the addition of Joseph, with the use of the two French forms for the name in the second, with the clear intent of emphasizing his quality as a Frenchman, destroys much of its value, and leaves the weight of authority with the former. The reasonableness of the suspicion seems to be heightened by the fact that the certificate of Napoleon's marriage gives the date of his birth as February eighth, 1768. Moreover, in the marriage contract of Joseph, witnesses testify to his having been born at Ajaccio, not at Corte.
But there are facts of greater weight on the other side. In the first place, the documentary evidence is itself of equal value, for the archives of the French war department also contain an extract from the one original baptismal certificate, which is dated July twenty-first, 1771, the day of the baptism, and gives the date of Napoleone's birth as August fifteenth, 1769. Charles's application for the appointment of his two eldest boys to Brienne has also been found, and it contains, according to regulation, still another copy from the original certificate, which is dated June twenty-third, 1776, and also gives what must be accepted as the correct date. This explodes the story that Napoleon's age was falsified by his father in order to obtain admittance for him to the military school. The application was made in 1776 for both boys, so as to secure admission for each before the end of his tenth year. It was the delay of the authorities in granting the request which, after the lapse of three years or more, made Joseph ineligible. The father could have had no motive in 1776 to perpetrate a fraud, and after that date it was impossible, for the papers were not in his hands; moreover, the minister of war wrote in 1778 that the name of the elder Buonaparte boy had already been withdrawn. That charge was made during Napoleon's lifetime. His brother Joseph positively denied it, and asserted the fact as it is now substantially proved to be; Bourrienne, who had known his Emperor as a child of nine, was of like opinion; Napoleon himself, in an autograph paper still existing, and written in the handwriting of his youth, thrice gives the date of his birth as August fifteenth, 1769. If the substitution occurred, it must have been in early infancy. Besides, we know why Napoleon at marriage sought to appear older than he was, and Joseph's contract was written when the misstatement in it was valuable as making him appear thoroughly French.
Among other absurd efforts to besmirch Napoleon's character is the oft-repeated insinuation that he fixed his birthday on the greatest high festival of the Roman Church, that of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in order to assure its perpetual celebration! In sober fact the researches of indefatigable antiquaries have brought to light not only the documentary evidence referred to, but likewise the circumstance that Napoleon, in one paper spelled Lapulion, was a not uncommon Corsican name borne by several distinguished men, and that in the early generation of the Buonaparte family the boys had been named Joseph, Napoleon, and Lucien as they followed one another into the world. In the eighteenth century spelling was scarcely more fixed than in the sixteenth. Nor in the walk of life to which the Buonapartes belonged was the fixity of names as rigid then as it later became. There were three Maria-Annas in the family first and last, one of whom was afterward called Elisa.
As to the form of the name Napoleon, there is a curious though unimportant confusion. We have already seen the forms Nabulione, Nabulion, Napoleone, Napoleon. Contemporary documents give also the form Napoloeone, and his marriage certificate uses Napolione. On the Vendome Column stands Napolio. Imp., which might be read either Napolioni Imperatori or Napolio Imperatori. In either case we have indications of a new form, Napolion or Napolius. The latter, which was more probably intended, would seem to be an attempt to recall Neopolus, a recognized saint's name. The absence of the name Napoleon from the calendar of the Latin Church was considered a serious reproach to its bearer by those who hated him, and their incessant taunts stung him. In youth his constant retort was that there were many saints and only three hundred and sixty-five days in the year. In after years he had the matter remedied, and the French Catholics for a time celebrated a St. Napoleon's day with proper ceremonies, among which was the singing of a hymn composed to celebrate the power and virtues of the holy man for whom it was named. The irreverent school-boys of Autun and Brienne gave the nickname "straw nose"—paille-au-nez—to both the brothers. The pronunciation, therefore, was probably as uncertain as the form, Napaille-au-nez being probably a distortion of Napouillone. The chameleon-like character of the name corresponds exactly to the chameleon-like character of the times, the man, and the lands of his birth and of his adoption. The Corsican noble and French royalist was Napoleone de Buonaparte; the Corsican republican and patriot was Napoleone Buonaparte; the French republican, Napoleon Buonaparte; the victorious general, Bonaparte; the emperor, Napoleon. There was likewise a change in this person's handwriting analogous to the change in his nationality and opinions. It was probably to conceal a most defective knowledge of French that the adoptive Frenchman, as republican, consul, and emperor, abandoned the fairly legible hand of his youth, and recurred to the atrocious one of his childhood, continuing always to use it after his definite choice of a country.
Stormy indeed were his nation and his birthtime. He himself said: "I was born while my country was dying. Thirty thousand French, vomited on our shores, drowning the throne of liberty in waves of blood—such was the horrid sight which first met my view. The cries of the dying, the groans of the oppressed, tears of despair, surrounded my cradle at my birth."
These were the words he used in 1789, while still a Corsican in feeling, when addressing Paoli. They strain chronology for the sake of rhetorical effect, but they truthfully picture the circumstances under which he was conceived. Among many others of a similar character there is a late myth which recalls in detail that when the pains of parturition seized his mother she was at mass, and that she reached her chamber just in time to deposit, on a carpet or a piece of embroidery representing the young Achilles, the prodigy bursting so impetuously into the world. By the man himself his nature was always represented as the product of his hour, and this he considered a sufficient excuse for any line of conduct he chose to follow. When in banishment at Longwood, and on his death-bed, he recalled the circumstances of his childhood in conversations with the attendant physician, a Corsican like himself. "Nothing awed me; I feared no one. I struck one, I scratched another, I was a terror to everybody. It was my brother Joseph with whom I had most to do; he was beaten, bitten, scolded, and I had put the blame on him almost before he knew what he was about; was telling tales about him almost before he could collect his wits. I had to be quick: my mama Letizia would have restrained my warlike temper; she would not have put up with my defiant petulance. Her tenderness was severe, meting out punishment and reward with equal justice; merit and demerit, she took both into account."
Of his earliest education he said at the same time: "Like everything else in Corsica, it was pitiful." Lucien Buonaparte, his great-uncle, was a canon, a man of substance with an income of five thousand livres a year, and of some education—sufficient, at least, to permit his further ecclesiastical advancement. "Uncle" Fesch, whose father had received the good education of a Protestant Swiss boy, and had in turn imparted his knowledge to his own son, was the friend and older playmate of the turbulent little Buonaparte. The child learned a few notions of Bible history, and, doubtless, also the catechism, from the canon; by his eleven-year-old uncle he was taught his alphabet. In his sixth year he was sent to a dame's school. The boys teased him because his stockings were always down over his shoes, and for his devotion to the girls, one named Giacominetta especially. He met their taunts with blows, using sticks, bricks, or any handy weapon.
According to his own story, he was fearless in the face of superior numbers, however large. His mother, according to his brother Joseph, declared that he was a perfect imp of a child. She herself described him as fond of playing at war with a drum, wooden sword, and files of toy soldiers. The pious nuns who taught him recognized a certain gift for figures in styling him their little mathematician. Later when in attendance at the Jesuit school he regularly encountered on his way thither a soldier with whom he exchanged his own piece of white bread for a morsel of the other's coarse commissary loaf. The excuse he gave, according to his mother, was that he must learn to like such food if he were to be a soldier. In time his passion for the simple mathematics he studied increased to such a degree that she assigned him a rough shed in the rear of their home as a refuge from the disturbing noise of the family. For exercise he walked the streets at nightfall with tumbled hair and disordered clothes. Of French he knew not a word; he had lessons at school in his mother tongue, which he learned to read under the instruction of the Abbe Recco. The worthy teacher arrayed his boys in two bodies: the diligent under the victorious standard of Rome, the idle as vanquished Carthaginians. Napoleon of right belonged to the latter, but he was transferred, not because of merit, by the sheer force of his imperious temper.
This scanty information is all the trustworthy knowledge we possess concerning the little Napoleon up to his tenth year. With slight additions from other sources it is substantially the great Napoleon's own account of himself by the mouthpiece partly of his mother in his prosperous days, partly of Antommarchi in that last period of self-examination when, to him, as to other men, consistency seems the highest virtue. He was, doubtless, striving to compound with his conscience by emphasizing the adage that the child is father to the man—that he was born what he had always been.
In 1775, Corsica had been for six years in the possession of France, and on the surface all was fair. There was, however, a little remnant of faithful patriots left in the island, with whom Paoli and his banished friends were still in communication. The royal cabinet, seeking to remove every possible danger of disturbance, even so slight a one as lay in the disaffection of the few scattered nationalists, and in the unconcealed distrust which these felt for their conforming fellow-citizens, began a little later to make advances, in order, if possible, to win at least Paoli's neutrality, if not his acquiescence. All in vain: the exile was not to be moved. From time to time, therefore, there was throughout Corsica a noticeable flow in the tide of patriotism. There are indications that the child Napoleon was conscious of this influence, listening probably with intense interest to the sympathetic tales about Paoli and his struggles for liberty which were still told among the people.
As to Charles de Buonaparte, some things he had hoped for from annexation were secured. His nobility and official rank were safe; he was in a fair way to reach even higher distinction. But what were honors without wealth? The domestic means were constantly growing smaller, while expenditures increased with the accumulating dignities and ever-growing family. He had made his humble submission to the French; his reception had been warm and graceful. The authorities knew of his pretensions to the estates of his ancestors. The Jesuits had been disgraced and banished, but the much litigated Odone property had not been restored to him; on the contrary, the buildings had been converted into school-houses, and the revenues turned into various channels. Years had passed, and it was evident that his suit was hopeless. How could substantial advantage be secured from the King?
His friends, General Marbeuf in particular, were of the opinion that he could profit to a certain extent at least by securing for his children an education at the expense of the state. While it is likely that from the first Joseph was destined for the priesthood, yet there was provision for ecclesiastical training under royal patronage as well as for secular, and a transfer from the latter to the former was easier than the reverse. Both were to be placed at the college of Autun for a preliminary course, whatever their eventual destination might be. The necessary steps were soon taken, and in 1776 the formal supplication for the two eldest boys was forwarded to Paris. Immediately the proof of four noble descents was demanded. The movement of letters was slow, that of officials even slower, and the delays in securing copies and authentications of the various documents were long and vexatious.
Meantime Choiseul had been disgraced, and on May tenth, 1774, the old King had died; Louis XVI now reigned. The inertia which marked the brilliant decadence of the Bourbon monarchy was finally overcome. The new social forces were partly emancipated. Facts were examined, and their significance considered. Bankruptcy was no longer a threatening phantom, but a menacing reality of the most serious nature. Retrenchment and reform were the order of the day. Necker was trying his promising schemes. There was, among them, one for a body consisting of delegates from each of the three estates,—nobles, ecclesiastics, and burgesses,—to assist in deciding that troublesome question, the regulation of imposts. The Swiss financier hoped to destroy in this way the sullen, defiant influence of the royal intendants. In Corsica the governor and the intendant both thought themselves too shrewd to be trapped, and secured the appointment from each of the Corsican estates of men who were believed by them to be their humble servants. The needy suitor, Charles de Buonaparte, was to be the delegate at Versailles of the nobility. They thought they knew this man in particular, but he was to prove as malleable in France as he had been in Corsica.
Though nearly penniless, the noble deputy, with the vanity of the born courtier, was flattered, and accepted the mission, setting out on December fifteenth, 1778, by way of Italy with his two sons Joseph and Napoleon. With them were Joseph Fesch, appointed to the seminary at Aix, and Varesa, Letitia's cousin, who was to be sub-deacon at Autun. Joseph and Napoleon both asserted in later life that during their sojourn in Florence the grand duke gave his friend, their father, a letter to his royal sister, Marie Antoinette. As the grand duke was at that time in Vienna, the whole account they give of the journey is probably, though perhaps not intentionally, untrue. It was not to the Queen's intercession but to Marbeuf's powerful influence that the final partial success of Charles de Buonaparte's supplication was due. This is clearly proven by the evidence of the archives. To the general's nephew, bishop of Autun, Joseph, now too old to be received in a royal military school, and later Lucien, were both sent, the former to be educated as a priest. It was probably Marbeuf's influence also, combined with a desire to conciliate Corsica, which caused the herald's office finally to accept the documents attesting the Buonapartes' nobility.
It appears that the journey from Corsica through Florence and Marseilles had already wrought a marvelous change in the boy. Napoleon's teacher at Autun, the Abbe Chardon, described his pupil as having brought with him a sober, thoughtful character. He played with no one, and took his walks alone. In all respects he excelled his brother Joseph. The boys of Autun, says the same authority, on one occasion brought the sweeping charge of cowardice against all inhabitants of Corsica, in order to exasperate him. "If they [the French] had been but four to one," was the calm, phlegmatic answer of the ten-year-old boy, "they would never have taken Corsica; but when they were ten to one...." "But you had a fine general—Paoli," interrupted the narrator. "Yes, sir," was the reply, uttered with an air of discontent, and in the very embodiment of ambition; "I should much like to emulate him." The description of the untamed faun as he then appeared is not flattering: his complexion sallow, his hair stiff, his figure slight, his expression lusterless, his manner insignificant. Moreover, his behavior was sullen, and at first, of course, he spoke broken French with an Italian accent. Open-mouthed and with sparkling eyes, however, he listened attentively to the first rehearsal of his task; repetition he heartily disliked, and when rebuked for inattention he coldly replied: "Sir, I know that already." On April twenty-first, 1779, Napoleon, according to the evidence of his personal memorandum, left Autun, having been admitted to Brienne, and it was to Marbeuf that in later life he correctly attributed his appointment. After spending three weeks with a school friend, the little fellow entered upon his duties about the middle of May.
On New Year's day, 1779, the Buonapartes had arrived at Autun, and for nearly four months the young Napoleone had been trained in the use of French. He learned to speak fluently, though not correctly, and wrote short themes in a way to satisfy his teacher. Prodigy as he was later declared to have been, his real progress was slow, the difficulties of that elegant and polished tongue having scarcely been reached; so that it was with a most imperfect knowledge of their language, and a sadly defective pronunciation, that he made his appearance among his future schoolmates. Having, we may suppose, been assigned to the first vacancy that occurred in any of the royal colleges, his first destination had been Tiron, the roughest and most remote of the twelve. But as fortune would have it, a change was somehow made to Brienne. That establishment was rude enough. The instructors were Minim priests, and the life was as severe as it could be made with such a clientage under half-educated and inexperienced monks. In spite of all efforts to the contrary, however, the place had an air of elegance; there was a certain school-boy display proportionate to the means and to the good or bad breeding of the young nobles, also a very keen discrimination among themselves as to rank, social quality, and relative importance. Those familiar with the ruthlessness of boys in their treatment of one another can easily conceive what was the reception of the newcomer, whose nobility was unknown and unrecognized in France, and whose means were of the scantiest.
During his son's preparatory studies the father had been busy at Versailles with further supplications—among them one for a supplement from the royal purse to his scanty pay as delegate, and another for the speedy settlement of his now notorious claim. The former of the two was granted not merely to M. de Buonaparte, but to his two colleagues, in view of the "excellent behavior"—otherwise subserviency—of the Corsican delegation at Versailles. When, in addition, the certificate of Napoleon's appointment finally arrived, and the father set out to place his son at school, with a barely proper outfit, he had no difficulty in securing sufficient money to meet his immediate and pressing necessities.
[Footnote 2: The authorities for the period are Masson: Napoleon inconnu. Chuquet: La jeunesse de Napoleon. Jung: Bonaparte et son temps. Boehtlingk: Napoleon Bonaparte: seine Jugend und sein Emporkommen. Las Cases: Memorial de Sainte-Helene. Antommarchi: Memoires. Coston: Premieres annees de Napoleon, Nasica: Memoires sur l'enfance et la jeunesse de Napoleon.]
Military Schools in France — Napoleon's Initiation into the Life of Brienne — Regulations of the School — The Course of Study — Napoleon's Powerful Friends — His Reading and Other Avocations — His Comrades — His Studies — His Precocity — His Conduct and Scholarship — The Change in His Life Plan — His Influence in His Family — His Choice of the Artillery Service.
It was an old charge that the sons of poor gentlemen destined to be artillery officers were bred like princes. The institution at Brienne, with eleven other similar academies, had been but recently founded as a protest against the luxury which had reigned in the military schools at Paris and La Fleche. Both these had been closed for a time because they could not be reformed; the latter was, however, one of the twelve from the first, and that at Paris was afterward reopened as a finishing-school. The monasteries of various religious orders were chosen as seats of the new colleges, and their owners were put in charge with instructions to secure simplicity of life and manners, the formation of character, and other desirable benefits, each one in its own way in the school or schools intrusted to it. The result so far had been a failure; there were simply not twelve first-rate instructors in each branch to be found in France for the new positions; the instruction was therefore limited and poor, so that in the intellectual stagnation the right standards of conduct declined, while the old notions of hollow courtliness and conventional behavior flourished as never before. In order to enter his boy at Brienne, Charles de Buonaparte presented a certificate signed by the intendant and two neighbors, that he could not educate his sons without help from the King, and was a poor man, having no income except his salary as assessor. This paper was countersigned by Marbeuf as commanding general, and to him the request was formally granted. This being the regular procedure, it is evident that all the young nobles of the twelve schools enjoying the royal bounty were poor and should have had little or no pocket money. Perhaps for this very reason, though the school provided for every expense including pocket money, polished manners and funds obtained surreptitiously from powerful friends indifferent to rules, were the things most needed to secure kind treatment for an entering boy. These were exactly what the young gentleman scholar from Corsica did not possess. The ignorant and unworldly Minim fathers could neither foresee nor, if they had foreseen, alleviate the miseries incident to his arrival under such conditions.