Imágenes de páginas

relates to an event which will be considerable in history, we do not think we should be justified in omitting to repeat the contradiction and refutation which, in a former number, we gave in detail of this impudent charge. We request our readers to turn to the 82d page of our Fourteenth Volume, and they will there see it proved beyond doubt, that Bonaparte had no intention of coming to England—no hopes from the generosity of England-no confidence in English laws:—that General Beker, who was his keeper, would have prevented him from joining the army of the Loire, even if he had been inclined to do so; that he left Paris, and arrived and remained ten days at Rochfort, with the intention of escaping to America; and that it was only when he found escape to be impossible, that he reluctantly surrendered to the British navy; -thai he attempted to surrender upon terms; that these terms were absolutely rejected, and that he had no alternative but to surrender at discretion. But this is not all-for, strange to say, Mr. Warden, who admits this impudent lie of Bertrand's into his book, with a strong intimation of his believing it, allows that Bertrand himself declined to advise Bonaparte to come to England, because he thought it not impossible that his liberty might be endangered.'—(p. 16.)--How does this tally with the full and consoling confidence? And, again, Mr. Warden gives in another place a complete denial to Bertrand, and a full corroboration of all we have stated, from the lips of the Count de las Cases.

I shall now proceed to give the account of an interesting conversation which I had with the Count de las Cases on the final resolution of Napoleon to throw himself on the generosity of the English govern. ment." He prefaced his narrative with this assurance : “ No page of Ancient History will give you a more faithful detail of any extraordinary event, than I am about to offer of our departure from France, and the circumstances connected with it. The future Historian will certainly attempt to describe it; and you will then be able to judge of the authenticity of bis materials and the correctness of his narration.

• From the time the Emperor quitted the capital, it was bis fixed determination to proceed to America, and establish himself on the banks of one of the great rivers in America, where he had no doubt, a number of bis friends from France would gather round bim; and, as he had been finally baffled in the career of bis ambition, he determined to retire from the world, and beneath the branches of his own fig-tree in that sequestered spot, tranquilly and philosophically observe the agitations of Europe.

On our arrival at Rochfort, the difficulty of reaching the Land of Promise appeared to be much greater than had been conjectured. Every inquiry was made, and various projects proposed ; but, after all, no very practicable scheme offered itself to our acceptance. At length, as a dernier resort, two chasse-marées (small one-masted vessels) were procured ; and it was in actual contemplation to attempt a voyage

across the Atlantic in them. Sixteen midshipmen engaged most willingly to direct their course ; and, during the night, it was thought they might effect the meditated escape.--We met," continued Las Cases,“ in a small room, to discuss and come to a final determination on this momentous subject; nor shall I attempt to describe the anxiety visible on the countenance of our small assembly.--The Emperor alone retained an unembarrassed look, when he calmly demanded the opinions of bis chosen band of followers, as to his future conduct. The majority were in favour of his returning to the army, as in the South of France bis cause still appeared to wear a favourable aspect. This proposition the Emperor instantly rejected, with a declaration delivered in a most decided tone and with a peremptory_gesture,—that be never would be the instrument of a Civil War in France.--He declared, in the words wbich he had for some time frequently repeated, that his political career was terminated; and be only wished for the secure asylum which he had promised himself in America, and, till that hour, bad no doubt of attaining. He then asked me, as a naval officer, whetber I thought that a voyage across the Atlantic was practicable in the small vessels, in which alone it then appeared that the attempt could be made.bad my doubts,” added Las Cases, and I had my wishes: The latter urged me to encourage the enterprise; and the former made me hesi. tate in engaging for the probability of its being crowned with success. My reply indicated the influence of tbem both.-1 answered, that I had long quitted the maritime profession, and was altogether unacquainted with the kind of vessels in question, as to their strength and capacity, for such a navigation as was proposed to be updertaken in them ; but as the young midsbipmen who bad volunteered their services, must be competent judges of the subject, and bad offered to risk their lives in navigating these vessels, no small confidence, I thought, might be placed in their probable security.-- This project, however, was soon abandoned, and no alternative appeared bui io throw ourselves on the generosity of England.

• In the midst of this midnight council, but, without the least appear. ance of dejection at the varying and rather irresolute opinions of his friends, Napoleon ordered one of them to act as secretary, and a letter to the Prince Regent of England was dictated. On the following day I was employed in making the necessary arrangements with Captain Maitland on board the Bellerophon. That officer conducted himself with the utmost politeness and gentlemanly courtesy, but would not enter into any engagements on the part of bis government.'-pp. 60


This avowal of Las Cases is quite sufficient to oppose to the falsehoods which Betrand related to Mr. Warden, and which Bonaparte recorded in the famous protest which we gave in the Article before mentioned. Why, it will be asked, do we, on this occasion, give that credit to Las Cases which we deny him in every other ?-We answer, because his account tallies with undisputed facts, and because Bonaparte's and Bertrand's story is irre. ooncilable with those facts.

Marshal Bertrand is a great favourite with Mr. Warden, and he therefore endeavours to exculpate him from the charge of having, while at Elba, made overtures to the King. On this point Mr. Warden thinks Count Bertrand himself the best witness he could adduce, and he represents him as saying,—the report of my having taken the oath of fidelity to Louis XVIII. is groundless ; for, 1 never beheld a single individual of the Bourbon family of France.' -(p. 45.)-Admirable logic! but M. Bertrand misstates the charge-he was not charged with having sworn allegiance, but with writing a letter to the Duke of Fitzjames, promising allegiance on the honour of a gentleman, and soliciting permission to return to France, where he intended to live as a faithful subject of the King, and under his protection : and it is further charged, that this letter was written at a time when Bonaparte's return was in preparation, and it is therefore reasonably supposed that this profession of honour and high-minded loyalty was a cloak to cover the conspiracy which was hatching, and an insidious attempt to deceive the King and his ministers. This letter, written to the Duke of Fitzjames, (who has the misfortune to be Bertrand's brother-inlaw,) cannot be denied; it was at the time communicated by the Duke to the King, and it has been since verified and officially published in France, and half the journals of Europe.

The contempt in which these folks must have held poor Mr. Warden, is evident from the absurdities with which they crammed his. credulity.

Thus, Bertrand says that Bonaparte was never sensual, never gross.'-(p. 212.) His manners and language were gross in the extreme, and his habits scandalously sensual. We need only recall 10 our readers' recollection the anecdote slightly alluded to in our XXVIIth Number, page 96, the authenticity of which (filthy and disgraceful to Bonaparte as it is) is established by the testimony of the Commissioners that attended him to Elba, and his own confcssions.

Las Cases completes the picture 6“ He never speaks of himself; he never mentions his achievements. Of money he is totally regardless; and he was not known to express a regret for any part of his treasure but the diamond necklace, which he wore constantly in his neckcloth, because it was the gist of his sister, the Princess Hortense, whom he tenderly loved." This he lost after the battle of Waterloo.'-p. 212.

This is no bad instance of Las Cases's veracity :--the necklace in question was stolen or forced from his sister previously to his leaving Paris, when the generous Bonaparte, contemplating the chances of a reverse, determined to collect about his own person as much wealth as possible; he accordingly, as the most portable took all the jewels he could lay his hands on, and, amongst the rest, this necklace of the Princess Hortense; who wished her brother's anxiety for a keep-sake had been contented with a lock of her hair, or a bracelet, or a ring, or any thing, in short, rather than her best diamond necklace, of the value of 20,0001.

But there are four topics connected with the character of Bo. naparte, on which, above all others, a good deal of interest is natusally excited—we mean the murders of Captain Wright and the Duke d'Enghien, the poisoning of his own sick at Jaffa, and the massacre of the garrison of that place; and as Mr. Warden professes to have heard from Bonaparte himself explanations of each of these events, we shall give them as shortly as we can, but always in his own words; stating, however, that Mr. Warden's reports may be in these instances substantially correct, because we have understood that Bonaparte was forward to give similar explanations to other persons.

«« The English brig of war, commanded by Captain Wright, was employed by your government in landing traitors and spies on the West coast of France. Seventy of the number had actually reached Paris ; and, so mysterious were their proceedings, so veiled in impenetrable concealment, that although General Ryal, of the Police, gave me this information, the name or place of their resort could not be discovered. I received daily assurances that my life would be attempted, and though I did not give entire credit to them, I took every precaution for my preservation. The Brig was afterwards taken near L'Orient, with Captain Wright, its commander, who was carried before the Perfect of the De partment of Morbeau, (Morbihan,) at Vannes : General Juliaŋ, then Prefect, had accompanied me in the expedition to Egypt, and recognised Captain Wright on the first view of him. Intelligence of this circumstance was instantly transmitted to Paris; and instructions were expeditiously returned to interrogate the crew, separately, and transfer their testimonies to the Minister of Police. The purport of their examination was at first, very unsatisfactory ; but, at length, on the examination of one of the crew, some light was thrown on the subject. He stated that the Brig had landed several Frenchmen, and among them he particularly remembered one, a very merry fellow, who was called Pichegru. Thus a clue was found that led to the discovery of a plot, which, had it succeeded, would have thrown the French nation, a second time, into a state of revolution. Captain Wright was accordingly conveyed to Paris, and confined in the Temple ; there to remain till it was found convenient to bring the formidable accessaries of this treasonable design to trial. The law of France would have subjected Wright to the punishment of death: but he was of minor consideration. My grand object was to secure the principals, and I considered the English Captain's evidence of the utmost consequence towards coinpleting my object.”—Bonaparte again and again, most solemnly asserted, that Captain Wright died, in the Temple, by his own band, as described in the Moniteur, and at a much earlier period than has been generally believed.'--p. 139–141.

We beg leave to postpone making any observation on this story till we have quoted the Ex-Emperor's denial of the murder of Pichegru, and his defence of that of the Duke d’Enghien.

• Here Napoleon became very animated, and often raised himself on the sofa where he had hitherto remained in a reclining posture. The interest attached to the subject, and the energy of his delivery, combined to impress the tenor of bis narrative so strongly on my mind, that you need not doubt the accuracy of this repetition of it. He began as follows.

“ At this time, reports were every night brought me," (I think, he said, hy General Ryal,)“ that conspiracies were in agitation; that meetings were held in particular houses in Paris, and names even were mentioned ; at the same time, no satisfactory proofs could be obtained, and the utmost vigilance and ceaseless pursuit of the Police was evaded. General Moreau, indeed, became suspected, and I was seriously importuned to issue an order for his arrest; but his character was such, bis namné stood so high, and the estimation of him so great in the public mind, that it appeared, to me, he had nothing to gain, and every thing to lose, by becoming a conspirator against me: I, therefore, could not but exonerate him from such a suspicion.--I accordingly refused an order for the proposed arrest by the following intimation to the Minister of Police. You have named Pichegru, Georges, and Moreau : convince me that the former is in Paris, and I will immediately cause the latter to be arrested.--Another and a very singular circumstance led to the developement of the plot. One night, as I lay agitated and wakeful, I rose from my bed, and examined the list of suspected traitors ; and Chance, which rules the world, occasioned my stumbling, as it were, on the name of a surgeon, who had lately returned from an English prison. This man's age, education, and experience in life, induced me to believe, that his conduct must be attributed to any other motive than that of youthful fanaticism in favour of a Bourbon : as far as circumstances qualified me 10 judge, money appeared to be his object. I accordingly gave orders for this man to be arrested; when a summary inock trial was instituted, by wbich he was found guilty, sentenced to die, and informed he had but sir hours to lide. This stratagem bad the desired effect: he was terrified into confession. It was now known that Pichegru had a brother, a monastic Priest, then residing in Paris. I ordered a party of gendarmes to visit this man, and if he had quitted bis house, I conceived there would be good ground for suspicion.' The old Monk was secured, and, in the act of bis arrest, bis fears betrayed what I most wanted to know,-' Is it,' he exclaimed, because I afforded shelter to a brother that I am thus treated !—The object of the plot was to destroy me ; and the success of it would, of course, have been my destruction. It emanated from the capital of your country, with the Count d'Artois at the head of it. To the West be sent the Duke de Berri, and to the East the Duke d’Enghien. To France your vessels conveyed underlings of the plot, and Moreau became a convert to the cause. The moment was big with evil : I felt myself on a tottering eminence, and I resolved to huri the thunder back upon the Bourbons even to the metropolis of the British empire. My

« AnteriorContinuar »