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Bonaparte scrupled not to employ to the utmost all those advantages vhich his power and good fortune had placed in his hands. This: stirred up in the breast of the king that noble species of pride which boldly fronts adversity, nor would he condescend to humble himself before the Emperor of the French; and Bonaparte, who had been accustomed to such homage from others, did not conceal how grating he felt the conduct of the king. In this state of things, those who were about his majesty thought it probable that the presence of the queen might have the effect of smoothing the way to negotiation, and of rendering more favourable the conditions of peace. She was sent for, and. she came. She set out on her journey to the bead-quarters with all that devotion, and that readiness of disposition which led her, in every situation of life, to strive to fulfil to the utmost the duties of her station.. A woman of an ordinary cast of mind would probably have considered it beneath her dignity to appear as a suppliant before the man who had insulted her in so personal a manner ; but the queen, from the uprightness and purity of her character, had a fair right to suppose that her appearance alone would compel her enemy to feel some degree of shame for his conduct, however foreign to him it might be to entertain sentiments of this sort. Judging from the goodness of her own disposition, she was ignorant that there are men who exert themselves to add to the injuries which they commit, in proportion as they are deficient in that generosity which should lead them to acknowledge their errors, and in those good qualities which would enable them to make reparation for their offences. It was impossible for her to foresee that her: journey would prove altogether fruitless, and without any beneficial result whatever. Whilst she exerted her voice as the wife of the king--as the mother of her children and of her people-she could without any degradation whatever submit to become a petitioner to the Emperor of the French. Yet, however painful the sacrifice might be to her, strong affection, and the advantages which she hoped would arise from it, overcame all that disinclination to the journey which she must naturally have felt. The resolution with which she embarked on this expedition, and the feelings which she experienced on the way from Memel to Tilsit, are detailed in her Journal. Those who have seen this book, describe it as being couched in terms at once affecting and dignified. She could not but feel satisfied with her own conduct in the steps she had taken.
• As soon as she had alighted at tlie lodgings prepared for her, the French Emperor waited upon her. To receive with dignity a first visit of this kind was, to one in the queen's situation, no easy task. She received her visiter, however, with great judgment, and that tact which belongs alone to superior minds. She took occasion to express her concern that he had been obliged to come up so steep a Bight of stairs in order to see her, and asked him how the climate of the North had agreed with bis health. It was some time before the queen mentioned to bim that the object of her journey was to request of him less unfavourable terms of peace : the result has shown how this confession was
received. The French Emperor has not a chivalrous feeling belonging to him,-in this he fails more than in any other quality ; so that all the efforts of a noble-minded woman, exerted for the noblest of purposes, could not be otherwise than fruitless. It would be difficult, nay, impossible, to relate the various questions which were put by Bonaparte, and the different points to which be adverted in the course of the conversation, as if purposely to increase the embarrassment of the queen: they alt show in the strongest manner his arrogance, the littleness of his soul, and his complete want of moral principle,-whilst the answers of the queen mark at once her dignified and upright way of thinking. It will be sufficient for our purpose to mention the following reply given by her on this occasion. The French Emperor, among other questions, asked the queen,
“ But how could you think of entering upon a war with me?" (and there was something contemptuous in the tone in which this was said,) to which her majesty replied “Sir, some allowance must be made for us, if the glory of the Great Frederic has led us astray in regard to the actual state of our resources, even if we have been deceived in regard to them.” This answer was retained in' memory by Talleyrand, who was present, and related by him in the pre-sence of several people afterwards.
* After a stay of three days, which the Queen passed partly in Tilsit, and partly in Piktupochnen, (a village on this side Tilsit, where the king had bis quarters,) she returned to Memel, and peace was signed between Prussia and France on the 9th July. In the annals of the Prussian monarchy it can never be forgotten; for by it the power of France appeared to have attained to the highest pinnacle of greatness.
The following letter was written by the queen very shortly after: wards :-“ Peace is concluded; but at how painful a price! Our frontiers will not henceforth extend beyond the Elbe : the king, how. ever, after all, has proved himself a greater man than his adversary. After the battle of Eylau, he could have made an advantageous peace; but then he must, by so doing, have voluntarily entered into terms with the evil spirit, and become connected with him. Now, it is true, be has been compelled by necessity to negotiate with the enemy, but no alliance has taken place between them.---This will one day or other bring a blessing upon Prussia. After Eylau also he would have been compelled to desert a very faithful ally: that would be not do. Again I say the king's just dealing will bring good fortune to Prussia: this is my firm belief.”—The queen did not conceal how pain. fully she felt the peace of Tilsist. Sbe often called to her recollection that part of English history which states that Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII., after the taking of Calais, which had so long been an appendage to the English crown, and wbich had often been attempted in vain by the Duke of Guise, during her reign, and its subsequent cession to France, --was accustoined to say, “ That if her heart could be opened, the name of Calais would be found traced there in characters of blood.” The same might be said of the Queen of Prussia in' regard to Magdeburgh.'
We make no apology for the length of this extract; for, whether
we consider her as a public or private character, no name will be remembered in the history of her times with deeper interest than that of the late Queen of Prussia ; our tears may. flow for her, when they are dry for others; and if, in the midst of the triumphs of later days, a sigh has sometimes escaped us, that she, with some of the master spirits of her age, has not been permitted to witness the successful issue of the great cause which they supported, we trust that pardon will be extended to us for indulging such unavailing regrets.
If the slumbers of Napoleon are ever disturbed by the visions of the dead, the form of this ill-fated queen must occasionally haunt his imagination; for, with a blackness of heart peculiar to himself, he still continues to calumniate her, though dead, who, whilst living, was the object of his slanderous abuse. We know from good authority that since his captivity he has on more than one occasion amused those English officers into whose society he fell, with the grossest falsehoods to her disadvantage. He has asserted that the King of Prussia's imperial ally was the object of bis jealousy and suspicion; that it was a strong feeling of this kind, on the part of the king, which made him extremely unwilling to allow the queen to appear at the conferences at Tilsit;--that his wish to gratify what he knew to be the Emperor's penchant, had inclined him to lend a favourable ear in deciding upon the fate of Prussia ; and that he had even carried his complaisance so far as to become the pander to the pleasures of his imperial brother, by conveniently occupying the attention of the king, and thereby giving Alexander an opportunity of accomplishing without interruption the object he had in view. We must reluctantly confess, that the Emperor of Russia, by the familiar terms in which he condescended to live with Bonaparte whilst at Tilsit, afforded him a plea for such insinuations; and we cannot but think that it would have been more consistent with his dignity, had he imitated the conduct of the King of Prussia, by preserving a more distant behaviour in his intercourse with his new ally: familiarity but too often begets contempt, and great men should, of all others, be the most cautious in not exposing their weaknesses to those who may have the ability, as well as the inclination, to profit by them hereafter. That the King of Prussia was exposed to every species of mortification and insult at the hands of Bonaparte is, unluckily for those who are desirous of exciting our commiseration for the fallen hero, but too evident. Madame de Berg, as we have seen, does not pretend to conceal it; and we find in Mr. James an anecdote which strongly marks the littleness of soul which belonged to him who affected to place, as models for his conduct, the great examples of the Grecian and Roman histories,
1 Among other opinions of Moreau,-for now every word he had uttered was carefully treasured up,--his. last advice to the King of Prussia is on record: it was a recommendation that he should act with more reliance on his own judgment in the conduct of military affairs, in which he had frequently given proofs of that talent which is sometimes accompanied by an amiable but injurious diffidence of mind. Bonaparte himself, from what is said to have fallen from him, had lately made a similar estimate of his merits. It is worth while to place in opposition to this fact, an anecdote that displays the contemptuous light in which he had .formerly affected to regard him.' At a conversation during an interview appointed by him with bis majesty and the Emperor of Russia, he addressed, by way of compliment, some few questions relative to military matters to the emperor, such as in what time a certain regiment of his hussars could charge over so much ground ? and so on; then turning suddenly to the king, “ And how many buttons," said he," do your good men wear on their pantaloons, and how many on their skirts behind ?" - pp. 70, 71.
Yet, however Bonaparte might profess to despise the man whom he had so completely humbled, there was at all times a dignity, a calmness in the king's distress, which ought to have excited feelings of a far different description; and this unbending conduct, however grating to Napoleon, did in fact extort from him, at a subsequent period, a confession which proved clearly that the king was not the object of his contempt, although he cer tainly wąs of his peculiar hatred.
Since the death of the queen, the king has acquired a fresh claim to our interest--the settled melancholy which appears to oppress him, proves but too clearly how irreparable he feels the loss he has sustained, and the falsehood of Bonaparte's calumnies, She was, indeed, every thing to him—his chief solace and support in all the trying circumstances of his fate :
· The rainbow to his sight,
His sun-his heaven-of lost delight.' There is perhaps nothing more affecting than the despondent reply of this unhappy monarch to some one who endeavoured to comfort him with hopes of the queen's recovery a short time previous to her end. Ah!said he, if she were not mine, she might perhaps recover; but as she is my wife, she is sure to die.'
Those who remember the grief displayed by the queen at Memel, when sent for to appear as a suppliant before Bonaparte, will know how to treat the reports to her discredit which we have already noticed. They will be able also to corroborate the truth of the statement which her biographer has given of the extreme mortification which she endured at the failure of her attempts to preserve Magdeburgh to Prussia. As this was the chief object of her
of the queen:
visit to Napoleon, all her powers during the whole of her stay were exerted to overcome his reluctance to concede this point to her. He, on the other hand, like a subtle politician, contented himself with general and evasive answers, with compliments on her dress and the beauty of her person.- Ah! Madame, vous êtes si belle, je n'ose pas, négocier avec vous; ce n'est pas moi qui exige tant, c'est le gouvernement François. Mais tout cela,' as he now tells the story with a smile of self-applause at his own powers of withstanding such blandishments and solicitation, n'étoit pas Magdebourg; and he at that time, when talking on the subject, said that he had granted much out of private friendship to the emperor, but that he would not give up more even to the beaux yeux
At the first dinner given by Bonaparte to her majesty, none but the crowned heads who were present, and Madame de Voss, and Murat, then Grand Duke of Berg, were allowed to sit down, the rest of the company remained standing. We remember to have heard much at that time of the agreeable manners of the latter, of the splendour of his dress, and of his having expressed disapprobation at some harsh language employed by Napoleon to the King of Prussia.
The queen never lost sight of the object she had in view, but continued to urge her suit with all the address and persuasion which her powers of fascination could supply; so that Bonaparté, to put the matter out of all doubt, gave directions for the signature of the Prussian Treaty, early the next morning, before the second visit of his fair petitioner, which was to take place on the following afternoon. Being aware of what had happened, she in the most dignified manner preserved silence the whole of the afternoon on the subject which affected
her so deeply, until, at the moment of her departure, when, as Bonaparte was handing her to the carriage, she could not refrain from expressing her extreme disappointment at the refusal she had received from him; and sending afterwards for Duroc, the Grand Marshal of the palace, she burst into tears, complaining at the same time of the manner in which she had been deceived in the character of his master, and of his conduct towards her. A beautiful woman, and a queen, foiled in the object next her heart, may surely be pardoned for giving way to her feelings on such an occasion; and in no instance has Bonaparte showa more conspicuously the unfeeling and groveling texture of his own composition, than in the language and tone which he at times assumed in his conversations with this interesting person.
In a paltry publication on the life of Bonaparte, professing to be by one who never quitted him for fifteen years, we have noticed the following account of an occurrence that passed at the interview