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British, Colonial, and Foreign Weekly Gazette
New York, Saturday, February 4, 1826
BONAPARTE'S ABDICATION AND JOURNEY TO ELBA
(From the journal of a Detenu, an eye-witness to the events in Paris during the first four months of 1814)
On the 30th of March, at ten o'clock in the morning, the Emperor Napoleon quitted Troyes, on horseback, attended by General Bertrand, Grand Marchal du Palais; Caulaincourt, Duke de Vicenza, Grand Ecuyer; Monsieur St. Aignan; two aide-de-camps, and two orderly officers, (officier d'ordonnance,) one of whom, Captain Lamezan, gave me the following details of the journey. They went the first ten leagues on the same horses, in little more than two hours. The Emperor did not mention whither he was going. They arrived at Sens at 1 o'clock, where, having rested half an hour, they continued the journey. In a wretched Carriole, and arrived, and one in the morning, at the village of Fromanteau, generally called the Cour de France, the second post on the road from Paris to Fontainebleau, and distant from the former four-and-half post leagues: it is between the ninth and tenth borne. Here they met the artillery, at the head of the column of troops which was evacuating the capital. General Belliard accompanied it, and announced the fate of the day to the Emperor, who received the news with the most perfect calmness; walked on the road in conversation with the general for bout twenty minutes; sent Caulaincourt to the head quarters of the Allied Sovereigns; then, entering the post-house, he called for his maps, and devoted himself to marking positions on them, by means of pins with variously coloured heads, (which he habitually made use of, to represent different armies,) until near three o'clock in the morning of the 31st, when he set off, in a carriage, for Fontainebleau, and on arriving there, shut himself up in his closet for the remainder of the day.
In the evening, the Emperor sent for Marshal Marmont, Duke of Ragusa, who, on leaving Paris, had stationed himself at Essonne. The Duke arrived at Fontainebleau at between two and three in the morning of the first of April, and gave him a detailed account of what passed at Paris on the 30th. Napoleon asked him if his army was in a good position, and was informed that it was; notwithstanding, he directed the Marshal to entrench his camp. The Duke told me he appeared undetermined whether to retire on the banks of the Loire, or give battle to the Allies near Paris. In the afternoon, he went to inspect the position of Marmont's army at Essonne, with which the Marshal said he appeared to be satisfied, and determined to remain there, and manoeuvre, with a view to disengage Paris, and give battle. With the greatest coolness he formed plans for the execution of these objects; but while thus employed, the officers, whom the Marshal had left at Paris to deliver up that city to the Allies, arrived, and informed them of the events of the day. The Emperor, on hearing this, became furious; the plan he had just been forming, and all prudent measures, were instantly at an end. He raved about punishing the rebellious city; taking it by storm; putting all the inhabitants to the sword; and giving it up to pillage by his soldiers. With this resolution, he separated from Marmont, and returned to Fontainebleau.
During the time Napoleon was at Essonne, Caulaincourt arrived at Fontainebleau from Paris; his dejected air announcing the ill success of his mission.
Marshal Marmont told me, that receiving at this time a communication of what was going forward in the Senate, he began seriously to reflect, that should Bonaparte, by gaining a battle, obtain the means of exercising his fury on Paris, the Allies would not by that be destroyed; and as their ultimate success from numerical force was certain, that by his declaring for the Senate, there would be a standard of military defection raised, and thus the imperial army so much diminished, that resistance would be deemed useless. He therefore mad arrangements to desert the cause of Napoleon, who, even with Marmont's army, had not more than thirty thousand men.
The head of the advanced column of the army, which Napoleon had left at Troyes, arrived at Fontainebleau at eight o'clock in the morning of the 1st. The rest followed in the course of a few hours, having, as General Letort told me, marched sixty leagues in two days and a half.
On Saturday, the 2nd of April, the Emperor assembled his marshals and generals, to whom he communicated what had taken place at Paris on the entrance of the Allies, at the same time enjoining them not to disclose these events to the army. He then reviewed, in the great court of the Chateau, the second and the seventh corps of the army, and after passing through the ranks, finding them full of enthusiasm, ordered the officers to make known the capitulation of Paris; and, desiring the officers and under officers of his guard to form a circle round him, and addressing them in a very energetic manner, said that the enemy had stolen three days' march upon them and had arrived at Paris. "I have offered the Emperor Alexander peace, purchased by great sacrifices France, with its ancient limits, and to renounce all the conquests made since the Revolution. Not only has he refused, but has listened to the suggestions of a faction composed of emigrants whom he had pardoned, and persons whom he had enriched; who on his entrance, encircled the Emperor of Russia, and by their perfidious insinuations, obtained his permission to assume the white cockade." "But," continued Napoleon, "we will preserve our own in a few days I will march upon Paris. Je compte sur vous: - Ai je tort?" "Paris! Paris! Paris!" was the yell which burst from all the ranks, and the most savage zeal was expressed to march, with the avowed purpose of storming the metropolis, and slaughtering all those of the inhabitants who should not declare for their Emperor.
During the night, the superior officers, instead of retiring to rest, deliberated among themselves on the probable effects of this determination of Napoleon. The city, doomed to destruction, contained the habitations of the parents, wives and families of many of them; its magnificence was the pride of their country; and even should he succeed in re-taking, and wreaking his fury on it, no other result would be obtained than the gratification of his personal vengeance; and that, so far from terminating the war, it would only be the means of removing its horrors into other parts of France, which had not yet experienced them. These considerations determined them not to march against Paris; and, in the morning of the 3rd, some of them intimated this to him. He saw also that indecision had supplanted the ardour of the preceding day in nearly the whole army.
Count Letort, general of division of the dragoons of the Imperial Guard, assured me, it was the general opinion at Fontainebleau, that if Bonaparte, instead of announcing his intention to the army, and giving them time for deliberation, had, on forming his determination, marched them to within four or five leagues of Paris, and there informed them what had taken place, and proposed instantly storming the city, they would have rushed on and perished in the ruins. This attack of Paris was to have been made on the 5th.
On the 4th, the Moniteur of the preceding day, containing the decision of the Senate, and the formation of a government pro tempore, was received at Fontainebleau; when the Marshals Ney, Macdonald, and Oudinot agreed, that, after the review, Bonaparte should be made acquainted with these events. Ney accordingly undertook the task, and accompanied by the other two Marshals, followed the Emperor to his closet, where he made known to him the decree of the Senate, which declared the forfeiture (decheance) of the throne; and at the same time declared it was their determination to adhere to the decision of the government at Paris. Napoleon affected to disbelieve the news. "C'est faux" was his immediate reply. Ney then produced the paper, and advised him to acquiesce, and abdicate. Napoleon took the Moniteur, feigned to read, turned pale, and appeared much agitated, (but did not shed tears as the newspapers reported). He seemed not to know in what manner to act; alternately wheedling, and haughtily threatening them for rebelling against him. Ney told him he might be certain they had not proceeded so far, without being determined not to recede. Napoleon said, the army would remain faithful to him; but Ney replied, they would follow their generals. He then asked, "Que voulez vous?" Ney answered, "Il n'y a que l'abdication qui puisse vous tirer de la." The Emperor proposed a regency, securing to his son, when of age, succession to the throne; and deputed Macdonald, Ney, and Caulaincourt to treat, on this basis, with the allied sovereigns, and the government at Paris. During the altercation, Marshal Lefevre, Duke of Dantzic, came in; and upon the Emperor's expressing astonishment at what had been announced to him, said, in a rough manner, "You see what has resulted from not listening to the advice of your friends to make peace; but you may think yourself well off that affairs have terminated as they have." Napoleon finished by offering to abdicate in favour of his son, and charged Marshals Ney, and Macdonald, and Caulaincourt, to carry this act to Paris. The Marshals even promised, that if they could not obtain this by treaty, to return to him and try to obtain if by force of arms.
At this time, there were four Corps d'Armee at Fontainebleau. The corps of Oudinot, Duke of Reggio, composed of six thousand men; those of Marshal Ney and Macdonald, and General Girard, forming together six thousand more; and the Old Imperial Guard, amounting to between six and seven thousand. That these troops formed the total of force that remained with Napoleon was confirmed to me by many persons who were at Fontainebleau.
On the night of the 4th, some officers of Oudinot's corps observed gens-d'armes lurking about the Duke's quarters. They communicated this circumstance to him, and their suspicions that these fellows were watching for an opportunity to execute some secret order against him. Oudinot went immediately to Bonaparte, declaring to him what had been observed, and boldly advised him to desist from such practices, as the evil might be retorted upon himself. Napoleon flew into a passion, and called Oudinot un miserable; who replied, that, as he was no longer his sovereign, he would not put up with such language. "Vous etes un ingrat," exclaimed Napoleon. The Duke spurned at the accusation, at the same time declaring that he had served him faithfully so long as it was his duty so to act.
On the following day (the 5th) the Emperor appeared on the parade; but finding a marked indifference on the part, not only of the officers, but the troops, he, in about ten minutes, retired to the palace, and appeared no more before the army, as their master.
Oudinot, from motives of personal safety, as well as from apprehension that the Imperial Guard might attempt to seduce the rest of the army, marched the latter towards Essonne.
The deputation returned from Paris at between twelve and one in the morning of the 6th, when Marshal Ney informed the Emperor that an unconditional abdication of the throne was required of him and that his personal safety depended on this measure. This, for some time, Napoleon persisted in refusing to accede to; at length he enquired whither he was expected to go? "To the Isle of Elba, and with a pension of two millions of francs." "This," said he, "was too much; for since I am to become a simple soldier, a Louis d'or per diem is sufficient." The abdication was signed on the eleventh, on a small circular, mahogany table, having a pillar leg painted green like bronze, in a room of white and gold, and hung with red and gold rich silk two windows.
At the audience, which the deputation had with the Emperor of Russia, Marshal Ney expressed some dissatisfaction that the sentiments of the army had not been consulted. Alexander replied, "Je me trait qu'avec des Rois ou es Peuples. Ici je trait avec le Peuple." It was Macdonald who defended the interests of Napoleon the most warmly and earnestly, trying to obtain a regency for the young Napoleon. Michaud, the author, told me that at this time he never quitted Talleyrand, and that at this interview, the Emperor of Russia, notwithstanding his flourish of treating with the people, was so completely persuaded by the Marshals and Caulaincourt, and at the same time influenced by fear of the result of a battle, that he determined to abandon the cause of the Bourbons, and retreat from Paris with his army. Dessoles was the person who persuaded him to remain, saying that if he retreated, he hoped he would grant passports to all the Bourbonists to follow him. On the 6th, the Emperor of Russia went alone to consult with the King of Prussia on this subject.
>From the 1st of April to the 5th, the Emperor appeared in public, and on the parade to review his troops in the accustomed manner. During this period, petitions in greater numbers than usual, were presented to him by his officers. Instead of giving these to an officer in attendance, his ordinary practice on like occasions, he kept them himself, and carried them with him to his own apartment.
During the period of residence at Fontainebleau, after his abdication, Bonaparte confined himself almost entirely to the library, alternately reading or conversing with Maret, Duke of Bassano, who was constantly with him. Sometimes he would come into the gallery and enter into conversation with the officers who were in attendance there, on the events of the day, and what the public prints said of him, admitting the truth of some observations, and denying others. One day he arrived with a newspaper in his hand, and holding it out, exclaimed, with great indignation: "They say 'que je suis lache.'" At other times he would discuss the politics of the day as a person having no more than a common interest in them; and the restored King was a frequent subject of his discourse. With an air of candour he asked M. Lamezan what was meant by insinuations which appeared in the newspapers relative to the death of Pichegru, declaring that he had never heard of them before. In one of the papers were some details of the ill treatment which the Pope had experienced. He said, "C'est vrai le Pape a ete maltraite. Plus mal que je ne voulais." To General Sebastiani he said, "Ce n'est pas les Russes ni les Allies qu'ils m'ont conquises, c'est les idees liberales que j'ai trop opprime en Allemagne." Speaking of the Bourbons to the same general, he said, "The French will be enthusiastic for them for six months, then cold for three, and at the end of the year, adieu."
A few days after his abdication, he walked in the garden of the Palace for two hours with Marshal Macdonald, and spoke of the new constitution, of what he considered its advantages and defects. He said that during the last twelve years, he had been furnished with a daily bulletin of the actions of Louis XVIII, allowed that he was an honest man, and that the opportunities which his residence in England had given him of becoming acquainted with her institutions, would be extremely useful to him; adding, that possibly he should not remain long in Elba, but visit England, and study the great and liberal establishments of that country.
General Sir Edward Paget and Lord Louvain, who were at Paris, both informed me that Lord Castlereagh, at the time also in Paris, told them that, in pursuance of this idea, Bonaparte had written to him for permission to retire to England, "it being the only country of great and liberal ideas."
To some of his officers, on their taking leave of him, Napoleon gave letters of commendation, with injunctions to serve the King with the same zeal and fidelity they had manifested towards himself. In the letter he gave to Monsieur de Caraman, one of his officers d'ordonnance, were these passages: "j'autorise M. de Caraman de me quitter. Je n'ai point de doute que son nouveau souverain n'aurait q'utiles services a tirer de lui et a se louer de son zele, de ses talents, et de son devouement."
He gave a similar letter to Monsieur Lamezan, another of his orderly officers.
For General Kosokouski he wrote, "Je declare avec plaisir mon cher General, que vous m'etes restez attache et fidele j'usqu'au dernier moment."
He told M. de Caraman that he had never had time to study; but that he now should, and meant to write his own memoirs.
On learning that the Emperor of Russia had visited the Empress Josephine, Bonaparte observed, it was doubtless with a view to insult her.
Isabey had made a portrait in water-colours of the Empress Maria Louisa and her son, which she presented to the Emperor on New Year's day, 1814. The drawing was at this time in Isabey's possession, who hearing from Caulaincourt that Napoleon had expressed a desire to have it, repaired to Fontainebleau, and arrived there on the 19th, at noon. On being introduced, he found Bassano and General Bertrand in the apartment; the latter reading aloud the description of some place, but ceased on Isabey's approach. Bonaparte exclaimed, "Hah! Isabey! Quelles nouvelles?" He replied that he had come to thank him for all the favours he had conferred upon him, and to take leave of him; and that, having heard the Duke of Vicenza mention his wish to have the portrait, he had brought it with him. Napoleon received it with an air of indifference; merely saying, "C'est bien."
Isabey, being in the uniform of a lieutenant of grenadiers of the National Guard. Bonaparte, in his habitual rough manner, said, "What? Are you in the National Guard?" He replied that, although he had a son in the army, who had fought in the plains of Champagne, and of whose fate he was ignorant (*He was killed), yet he thought it his duty to serve himself in Paris." Napoleon, making no answer, Isabey retired.
On the 16th, the Commissioners, who, at the desire of Napoleon were appointed by the allied powers to accompany the Emperor, (as they were ordered by their respective courts to style him), to the place of embarkation, arrived at Fontainebleau. General Koller, who was sent by Austria, and, like all those who were attached to the staff of the Continental armies, had the habitual facility of arranging business of police, or other espionage, soon, by his spies, became perfectly acquainted with all that passed in the interior of the palace of Fontainebleau. By this means it was known that Napoleon had contracted a syphilitic complaint since his residence there. This piece of intelligence he instantly communicated to the other Commissioners.
When the Commissioners were presented to the Emperor on the 17th, he received them separately. To Count Schuwaloff, the Russian, and to General Koller, the Austrian Commissioners, he gave an audience to each of five minutes; while to Count Waldbourg-Truchess, the Prussian, of not more than one. But with Colonel Neil Campbell, the audience lasted a quarter of an hour. This, it was believed by them, had been a matter of previous arrangement. The same distinction towards the English Commissioner was kept up during the journey. Sir Neil Campbell told me, that in the course of conversation with him, Napoleon remarked though many considered he ought to commit suicide, yet he thought it was more magnanimous to live. That the Emperor of Russia had conferred the order of St. Anne on Lescourt, one of the greatest Jacobins in France. Be he made no mention of the mandate, which Lescourt pretended was brought to him to blow up the powder magazine at Grenelle, on the 30th of March; though it was his boasted disobedience on this occasion which had procured him the Russian distinction. He expressed some surprise that Maria Louisa did not join him before his departure. He acknowledged that he had cordially hated the English; but that he was now convinced there was more magnanimity and liberality in their actions than in those of any other government. He was very desirous of taking his passage to Elba in an English frigate. Colonel Campbell wrote to Lord Castlereagh on the subject, and received a favourable answer. Napoleon seemed to rely upon England for the fulfillment of the treaty.
The Emperor's departure was fixed for the 20th of April, and expected to be at eight in the morning. The carriages were waiting at that hour. The Imperial Guard was drawn up in the great courtyard called Le Cheval Blanc, before the Palace, and a multitude of the town's-people assembled. Colonel Campbell said he saw him at eight in the morning in deshabille, unshaved, and covered with snuff. He remained in his room, in conversation with those officers who remained with him. At length, General Bertrand observed to him, that it was eleven o'clock, and every thing was ready for their departure. He replied haughtily, "Since when am I to regulate my actions by your watch? I shall set off when I please perhaps not at all."
Colonel Campbell and the other Commissioners were waiting in the ante-room of Napoleon's cabinet, in which he was in conversation with M. de Flahaut and General Ornano. At last, Bertrand announced the Emperor. Those present, ranged themselves on each side of the passage, according to the usual etiquette, which was kept up to the last. The door opened Napoleon was coming forward but suddenly returned. Colonel Campbell, notwithstanding what the Emperor had said, told me that he expected every instant to hear the report of a pistol; but in a short time he came out, passed along the gallery, and, at twelve o'clock, descended the great central steps into the court-yard; the drums rolled as soon as he appeared on the steps. He caused them to cease, by a commanding, dignified motion of his hand; then advancing into the court, the Commissaries attending him, he called the officers around him, and took leave of his troops in the following words:
"Officiers, sous-officiers et soldats de la vielle garde, je vous fais mes adieux. Depuis vingt ans je suis content de vous. Je vous ai tonjours trouve sur le chemin de la gloire. Les puissances allies ont arme toute l'Europe contre moi; une partie de l'armee a trahi ses devoirs, et la France elle meme a cede a des interets particuliers. Avec vous et les autres braves qui me sont restes fideles, j'aurois pu entretenir la guerre civile pendant trois ans; mais la France eut ete malheureuse, et ce n'etoit point le but que je m'etois propose. Je devois done sacrifier mon interet personnel a son bonheur; ce que j'ai fait. Soyez fideles au nouveau souverain que la France s'est choisi; n'abandonnez pas cette chere patric trop longtemps malheureuse. Ne plaignez point mon sort; je seral toujours heureux des que j'apprendrai que vous l'etes. J'aurois pu mourir; rien n'etait plus facile, mais non, je vivrais pour vous aimer encore et j'ecrirai ce que nous avons fait. Je ne puis vous embrasser tous, mais j'embrasserai votre chef. Venez general! (General Petit, whom he them embraced). Qu'on m'apporte l'aigle! (He took the eagle, pressed it to him, and kissed it with emotion). Cher aigle, que ces baisers retentissent dans le coeur de tous les braves! Adieu, mes enfans! Adieu, mes braves!"
Bonaparte shed tears, and the whole army wept. Colonel Campbell acknowledged to Colonel Pelley and to myself, that he and every one who heart it, melted into tears.
The Emperor immediately ascended his carriage, accompanied by Bertrand, and preceded by one, in which was General Drouet, and followed by the four carriages of the Commissioners; and eight of the Emperor's carriages, with his people, closed the train, which employed sixty post horses.
Five carriages had gone forward on the 19th; these crossed Mont Cenis, went by Carmagna, and embarked at Savona.
At five in the afternoon, they all arrived at Montargis, and passed without stopping, through the town, at the further end of which post-horses were in waiting; the Emperor's own horses having brought him from Fontainebleau. About two hundred cavalry were here drawn out to receive him; these he addressed from his carriage, thanked them for their services, which he assured them he should always remember, though he no longer had the power to recompense. They shed tears at this speech, especially the officers; some of whom broke their swords as they re-entered the town. The effect of the scene, the Hon. Algernon Percy, who witnessed it, told me, was heightened by Napoleon's own emotion; who, the instant he ceased to address the troops, ordered the postilions to drive on.
The Emperor arrived at eight o'clock I the evening at Briare, where he slept at the Inn of the Post. On Thursday the 21st, the Emperor invited Colonel Campbell to breakfast, during which he was very inquisitive relative to Lord Wellington's private character; often saying, to the Colonel's answers, "C'est comme moi;" and said he should like very much to be in company with him. He asked if he possessed a great deal of talent in haranguing his troops; and upon the answer that he never did harangue them, expressed great surprise; and still greater, when he told him that if an English officer was to attempt haranguing his troops, they would laugh at him.
They left Briare between one and two in the afternoon, and proceeded to Nevers, where they dined and slept at the Inn of the Post. A hussar of his own guard was placed as sentry at the door of the Emperor's apartment, in which he slept alone. He set off the next morning between six and seven o'clock; in this arrangement he was left perfectly to his own will. The Commissioners waited upon him downstairs. General Bertrand went in the carriage with him. At the foot of the stairs, some persons belonging to the inn, saluted him with "Vive l'Empereur!" but of this he took no notice. About two hundred and fifty persons were assembled in the street, and the cry of "Vive l'Empereur!" was reiterated, without appearing to excite his attention. The white cockades, which the inhabitants had worn when he arrived on the preceding day, they now displaced by their own accord. From hence he was escorted to Villeneuve sur Allier, by fifty hussars of the Imperial Guard; and some infantry who were quartered at Nevers, turned out and presented arms as he passed, but there were no allied troops either in the town or escort.
After his departure, the Commissioners returned to their apartments, having their despatches to finish; Colonel Pelley, who was at Nevers on his return from Moulins, where he had resided as prisoner of war, took charge of these to Lord Castlereagh and the other Plenipotentiaries at Paris. The Colonel, who is an intimate friend of Colonel Campbell, with whom, and the Prussian Commissioners, he supped at Nevers, told me that the Commissioners did not appear to act as if they considered themselves as responsible for Napoleon's person, or as guards upon him; his escape, if he had intended it, being extremely practicable; the sentry being placed at his chamber door as a military honour only. On the Commissioners quitting Nevers, they were hooted by the inhabitants.
On entering Moulins, the Emperor was escorted by some cuirassiers of the allied army. They were met by a carriage, in which was the Mayor and another gentleman, going out on an airing. Two of the cuirassiers rode up to the carriage, and announced to them the approach of the Emperor; telling them, at the same time, to take the white cockades from their hats. He passed through Moulins without even stopping to change horses. Some of the towns-people vociferated, "Vive l'Empereur!" as he went along.
They slept that night at Roanne, and set off the next day at ten in the morning.
On Saturday, the 23rd, Monsieur and Madame Guizot saw him at Tarrare, while he changed horses there. He spoke to the people who were assembled round the carriage, quite en souverain, asking them if they had work? If they suffered by the war? Some cried, "Vive l'Empereur!" There was no escort.
At Dardilly, the last post before arriving at Lyons, they supped. The Emperor having finished before the Commissioners, walked forward on the road, and there, accosted the cure, M. Tillon, and asked him if his parish had suffered from the war; then, pointing to the stars, he said, that formerly he knew the names of all the constellations, but that he had forgotten them; and pointing to one, asked if he knew which it was. The cure replying he never knew, their conversation ended.
The same night, about eleven o'clock, he arrived at Lyons. They did not stop at the post-house in the city; but, from precaution, crossed the Rhone by the Pont de la Guillotiere, and changed horses in the faubourg of that name, at a place called Madelaine; some carriages, belonging to the Emperor, had passed through Lyons in the morning. The people were waiting Napoleon's arrival during the whole day; on his passing the bridge, some few called out, "Vive l'Empereur!"
>From Lyons, Colonel Campbell went forward to see if there was an English ship of war either at Marseilles or Toulon. Finding the Undaunted, Captain Usher, at the former, he showed his authority from Lord Castlereagh to order it to Frejus, whither the frigate sailed, and Colonel Campbell proceeded by land.
On Sunday, the 24th, about twelve o'clock, meeting an avant courier near Valence, Napoleon stopped him and asked to whom he belonged. On replying, to Marshal Augereau; he ordered him to return, and tell the Marshal that the Emperor would speak to him. When the carriages met, they both alighted. Napoleon saluted the Marshal by taking off his hat; then, taking him by the arm, they walked for nearly a quarter of an hour towards Valence. Bonaparte began by, "Ou va tu comme eela; a Paris, a la cour?" Augereau replied, "Sire, pour le moment je vais a Lyons." Bonaparte "Ne te genes pas je ne suis plus Sire pour toi, j'ai lu ta proclamation. Elle est platte; Louis XVIII t'en jugera d'apres cela." This proclamation, dated April 16, was manufactured by the government authorities at Lyons, who sent it to Augereau to sign for, silly as it is, he, poor man, was not capable of writing it, or any thing else. The Emperor then continued reproaching him. Upon which the Marshal began to tutoyer the Emperor, justified himself, and reproached him with having sacrificed every thing to his insatiable ambition; adding, "Il y a une grande verite dans ma proclamation; c'est que tu n'a pas su mourir en soldat." Notwithstanding this altercation, Bonaparte, on quitting him said, "Va, je ne t'en veux pas." I am indebted for this anecdote to the wife of General Letort, and the chief of the letter post-office at Lyons, who saw Augereau on his arrival at that city.
At Donzere, which they passed late in the evening, the outcry against Napoleon began; "A bas Nicholas! A bas le Tyran! A bas le Corse! Le coquin! Le mauvais gueux!" were the only salutations he received during the rest of his journey.
He arrived at Avignon on the 25th, at between five and six in the morning; where the civil authorities had done every thing in their power to prevent tumult, as it was known to be the intention of the people t sacrifice him to their vengeance; yet when the carriages stopped outside the city walls to change horses, about a hundred persons had assembled in a tumultuous manner; sabres were brandished, and positive violence to the person of Napoleon was only prevented by the exertions of the Urban Guards; one of whose officers harangued them with great firmness, which somewhat appeased their fury. In the interval, the horses were put to; the guard tore the people from the wheels; the officers ordered the postilions to drive off, which they did at full gallop. The other carriages, on account of the Allied Commissioners, were respected.
Sir Neil Campbell toldme, that he arrived at Avignon at four in the morning; and notwithstanding that it was not yet light, found the people assembled in a considerable force. They questioned him relative to the Emperor's passage, saying that several thousand persons had waited the whole of the preceding day with the intention of sacrificing him. (*What an assemblage of bigoted, ruffian inhabitants of Avignon is capable of perpetrating, the subsequent unpunished murder of Marshal Brune, has full evinced). The Colonel remonstrated with them, urging that he was no longer dangerous; that he was quitting France by a treaty; and, above all, that he was under the protection of the Allies.
On arriving at the post-house, which stands before the entrance to Orgon, a small town, round whose ancient walls the road winds, they found the people assembled in the most outrageous manner, and a figure in French uniform, covered with blood, suspended to a tree. The rabble, who even in this country of barbarians, are famed for their ruffian manners, surrounded the Emperor's carriage, and loaded him with every kind of abuse, in which the women were particularly violent. When the horses were put to, the figure was dragged to another tree, where it was again suspended, and then shot at. The mob prevented his carriage from proceeding, climbed up on both sides of it, tore off Napoleon's decoration of the Legion of Honour, and spat in his face; one fellow insisted on his crying out, "Vive le Roi!" with which he complied Encore "Vive le Roi!" the Emperor again acquiesced. Some stones were thrown, the marks of which on the carriage, Bertrand pointed out to Colonel Campbell on their way to Elba. Count Schuwaloff harangued the mob, asking them if they were not ashamed to insult an unfortunate being without defence, who, after dictating laws to the universe, was now at their mercy and their generosity! "Leave him to himself; contempt is the only arms you should employ against him." This produced the desired effect, and prevented further violence. An ancient chevalier of St. Louis, named Lambert, contributed also, by addressing them, in some degree to calm their rage. (*So completely are the people of Orgon ashamed of their conduct, that on my questioning them in April, 1825, on the spot where the outrage was committed, they denied it, and said, that it had been the fashion to calumniate their town. On Napoleon's return from Elba, many of the inhabitants of Orgon, fled, conscious of having merited the vengeance of his soldiers.)
M. de St. Perest and Major John Vivian were at Orgon a few days after, and spoke to the man who boasted of having forced the Emperor to cry "Vive le Roi!"
This affair so alarmed Napoleon, that when he had proceeded about a quarter of a league from Orgon, he changed his dress to an old blue great coat and a round hat with a white cockade, quitted his carriage, mounted on horseback, and galloped forward as a courier.
At Saint Canat, his carriage was surrounded by a turbulent rabble, and Bertrand, who alone was in it, was saved from their rage by the energetic conduct of the mayor of that place.
Having preceded his carriage, the Emperor, in company with the courier entered a large, but bad muleteer's inn, called La Calade, situated on the right side of the road, about four miles before arriving at Aix. The courier led the horses to the stable, Napoleon entered the inn, and asked for a room, announcing himself as Colonel Campbell. The landlady showed him one, having, as is usual in the south of France, with those on the ground floor, windows protected by iron bars, apologizing for its being low and dark, saying that it was the only one she had. He replied, it would do. While she was putting it in order, she asked him if he had seen Bonaparte on the road. On his replying, No, (as she told Major John Vivian, a few days after this conversation, from whom I received this information) she poured forth a torrent of abuse against him; saying she hoped that if he escaped being massacred on the road, that he would be thrown into the sea in going to his island. To this abuse he replied that many things were said of him which were not true. This conversation had such effect upon him, that when the Commissioners arrived at the inn, they found him leaning on the table, with his face on his hands, and on raising his head, they perceived his eyes were full of tears. Here they all dined. Sir Neil Campbell told me that the Emperor took a tumbler of water to the fireplace, and there made use of it as an embrocation for the inconvenience he had contracted at Fontainebleau. In consequence of the fears of Napoleon, they did not leave La Calade until near midnight, and he then persuaded the aide-de-camp of General Schuwaloff to put on the old great coat and round hat in which he had arrived, Napoleon determining to pass for an Austrian Colonel; he put on General Koller's uniform, and his order of St. Theresa, with Count Waldbourg Truchess' travelling cap, and General Schuwaloff's cloak. When he was thus accoutred, the whole party went out huddled together, and the assembled spectators who surrounded the door could not discover the object of their solicitude. Some gens d'armes, whom the mayor of Aix had sent to preserve order, drove the crowd from the carriages, and all went off peaceably. Napoleon was fully of the opinion that the French government had arranged the plan to assassinate him at Orgon. After Napoleon's return from Elba, in March, 1815, the inn was repeatedly pillaged by the soldiery. The landlady quitted the country for safety.
The next day they dined at the chateau of Bouillidou, near Luc, belonging to M. Charles, a member of the Chamber of Deputies. Here he met his favourite sister, Pauline, Princess Borghese, who resided there for her health, to whom he recounted all his dangers and disguises. The 27th, they all arrived at Frejus, and there found Colonel Campbell with the Captain, Thomas Usher of the English frigate, of thirty-eight guns, the Undaunted. On the 28th, Napoleon embarked on board the Undaunted at St. Rapheau, and sailed at eleven o'clock at night; taking with him only two horses, one of which Sir Neil Campbell told me he purchased on the road, and two carriages. On arriving on board, Captain Usher took off his hat, and bowed in the most respectful manner; the yards were manned, and the crew gave three cheers, which so affected the Emperor that he burst into tears, saying that no adulation he had ever received from the base sycophant French was so genuine or so grateful to him. Sir Neil Campbell said that Napoleon was in very good spirits during the voyage, but spoke with the greatest bitterness of the French in general; but the individuals he was most inveterate against were Marmont, Talleyrand, and Bernadotte. "The French," said he, "now abuse me in pamphlets and in the newspapers, without ever admitting how willingly they seconded my wishes in every thing, and went beyond them in every act of rigour." Captain Usher was astonished at the quantity of nautical information which Napoleon evinced during the voyage. One day he asked him whether all the sails were set that the frigate could carry, and on being answered in the affirmative; "yet," said the Emperor, "if you were in chase of a French frigate, would you not hoist one more?" "Yes, the sky-scraper." "Oui, oui, do let us have it up." Captain Usher was highly admired by the Emperor, who complained that he had in vain attempted to introduce it in the French navy; "Where," he continued, "the commander will laugh and joke with all the crew, even the cabin boy, and the sailors are suffered to sprawl about the quarter-deck, and play at cards, backgammon, dominos, or what they please." He asked the captain's opinion of the Toulon fleet; who replied, that in bad weather there was plenty of confusion on board of it. Napoleon laughed at this, and said he never intended they should risk an action. Captain Usher said that Napoleon was in good spirits the whole of the voyage. He one day came up to the crew while at dinner and tasted their peas, and made himself very popular with the sailors by his familiar manner. He said, more than once during the voyage; "Ces pauvres Bourbons ils ne resteront pas dix mois, il ne sauront par gouverner les Francais." He often expressed the same idea to Colonel Campbell while at Elba, but he always spoke quietly of them.
The Undaunted arrived before Elba in the afternoon of the 3rd of May. General Drouet was sent on shore that evening to the Governor General Dalesme, and the next day, at two in the afternoon, fixed for the disembarking and entrance of the Emperor. Early in the morning of the 4th, the Emperor, seeing through a telescope a pretty country house on the opposite side of the bay from Porto Ferrajo, he wished to go and visit it; the ship's boat took him there, accompanied by Captain Usher, Colonel Campbell, and General Bertrand. On arriving at the house, they found it shut up. Some one was dispatched to Porto Ferrajo for the key; and while waiting for it, Napoleon evinced the most childish impatience for this trifling delay of the gratification of his whim. While waiting, Campbell and Usher left the Emperor, and strolled up to a vineyard behind the house, where they entered into conversation with a man who was at work. He was aware the vessel had brought the Emperor, but did not know he was then so near. Campbell sounded him on the subject of Napoleon. He worked himself into a most violent passion, and with true Italian pantomime, seized his own throat, and made a motion of cutting it with his pruning-knife, signifying that thus he wished to serve the emperor. The Englishmen had the greatest difficulty in pacifying him. Sir Neil told me that after Napoleon had resided a short time in Elba, the lower classes of the Elbese liked him very much on account of the employment he gave them, but the better sort always held him in aversion.
Napoleon returned on board; and between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, he quitted the ship, and landed at Porto Ferrajo. He was received by the inhabitants, conducted to church, then to his residence at the Hotel de Ville, where Colonel Campbell and Captain Usher dined with him; the latter remarked that he ate very heartily.
May the 26th, the four hundred officers and soldiers who were allowed to the Emperor as his guard by the treaty of April 11th, and who set out from Petiviers two days before he quitted Fontainebleau, proceeded to Lyons, where the officers were invited to a handsome dinner, given at a restaurateur's in the Broteaux, by some young gentlemen of that city; crossed Mount Cenis, and instead of entering Turin, went to Carmagnole, &c., from thence to Savona. On their arrival at that port, General Cambronne sent off a small vessel to Elba, which arrived there two days after. They were conveyed in five English vessels; these were four days getting ready; they beat about the Roads for seven more, and were two upon the voyage. Napoleon declared that the interval between the arrival of the Aviso and that of the transports, was that of the greatest anxiety and misery he very experienced.
Napoleon's carriages and horses, and those of the cavalry, were all disembarked in the course of the morning by the English sailors, without the smallest accident, or the loss of a single screw. Napoleon was present the whole time, and expressed his admiration and astonishment at the style in which this was done. "Had they been French sailors," said he, "they would have been at least four days about it; every carriage would have been broken, and half the horses lamed."
A few days after, Captain Usher quitted Elba. On his taking leave of the Emperor, he presented him with a gold snuff-box, on which was his portrait, surrounded by twenty-two diamonds, each of the value of one hundred pounds. Captain Usher refused five thousand pounds for the box.
Sir Neil Campbell remained at Elba the whole time of Napoleon's stay, with occasional short visits to the Continent, during one of which Napoleon left the island. His intention of so doing, Sir Neil Campbell told me, was most probably known only to Drouet; that none of the other persons of his Court were acquainted with the plan but a few hours before; and that even Napoleon himself had no such intention a fortnight previous.
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