« AnteriorContinuar »
he declined to become his counseller at that critical moment, because he thought it not impossible that his liberty might be endangered by the resolution of that hour.'-Warden, p. 16.
This forced volition and this free necessity remind us of the reluctant alacrity of Bullcalf, who begins by offering to give up his French Crowns, and concludes by protesting that he is ready to go voluntarily, if he cannot help it.
Good mastert Corporate Bardolph, stand my friend, and here is four Harry-ten shillings in French crowns for you. --In very truth, Sir, I had as lief be hanged, Sir, as go ; and yet, for mine own part, Sir, 1 do not care ; but rather because I am unwilling, and for mine own part have a desire to stay with my friends ; else, Sir, I did not care, for mine own part, so much.'-2d Part Henry IV.
The imperial Bullcalf then goes onThe person of the Emperor Napoleon is actually in the power of England; but he neither has been, nor is, in the power of Austria, Russia, and Prussia, either in fact, or of right, even according to the laws and customs of England, which never included, in the exchange of prisoners, Russians, Prussians, Austrians, Spaniards, or Portuguese, though united to these powers by treaties of alliance, and making war conjointly with them.'-p. 41.
This is an impudent falsehood on a matter now of little importance; but as truth is always worth something, we shall set even this matter right. Buonaparte, in the negotiation for the exchange of prisoners of war in 1810 insisted, as a sine qua non, that Eng. land should exchange her French prisoners for the allied prisoners in the possession of Buonaparte; and to this principle* England agreed. The negotiation broke off
, as will be seen by reference to the papers, on points of detail; but the proposition which Buonaparte now denies, was on that occasion advanced by himself, and conceded by England. So much for his veracity in a plain matter of fact.
Having thus strenuously denied that the three sovereigns have any right over him, he, rather inconsistently, proceeds to say, that if they had, they no doubt would, in consideration of alliance and old friendship, have treated him better. It really excites one's indignation to hear Napolione Buona parte representing himself as four times the benefactor of the Emperor of Austria, because he four times invaded his country, and twice desolated his capital describing as the mere effect of his own good nature and moderation, that the house of Austria had not ceased (like those of Bourbon and Braganza), to reign;' and reproaching to that family the bitterest of all the evils he had inflicted upon it, by a sarcastic allusion to the relations which religion and nature have formed between a father and a child—relations which never are violated with impunity.' (p. 59.) Alas, alas! the Devil can speak truth; and the Emperor of Austria, when he sacrificed his young and innocent child to this bloody Moloch, did indeed violate relations, the contempt of which certainly has not escaped with impunity!
*See the Moniteur of tbe 22 December, 1810.
His claims on the good will of the Emperor of Russia are stated with still more effrontery.
· Had the person of the emperor Napoleon been in the power of the I Emperor Alexander, he would have recollected the ties of friendship contracted at Tilsit, at Erfurth, and during twelve years of daily correspondence.
• He would have recollected the conduct of the Emperor Napoleon the day after the battle of Austerlitz, when, though he could have made bim, with the wreck of his army, prisoner, he contented himself with taking his parole, and allowed him to operate his retreat. He would have recollected the dangers to which the Emperor Napoleon personally exposed himself in order to extinguish the fire of Moscow, and to preserve that capital for bim-assuredly, that Prince would never have violated the duties of friendship and gratitude towards a friend in misfortune. pp. 43, 45.
To this we have only to observe that the impudence of the man who could thus refer to what had passed before his wanton and flagitious invasion of Russia, and allude to this invasion, not as cancelling former connexions, but as giving him new claims on Alexander's gratitude, is only equalled by the ridiculous absurdity of such a proceeding; the mention, above all, of the destruction of Mosco is a sublime trait of egotism and insensibility; it requires no answer, but we gladly subjoin a remark made upon this passage by Count Rastopchin, the heroic governor of that illfated but illustrious capital.
* I was much surprised in seeing, in Buonaparte's Appeal to the British Nation, that he had incurred danger in wishing to save Moscort from the conflagration, in the year 1812. His amazing efforts and greatness
ss of mind were, however, limited to mounting his horse as soon as the fire appeared, and galloping to the distance of two English miles from the town in order to place himself in safety. He passed three days and three nights in a palace in the midst of a corps of troops who bivouacked, and only returned to Moscow on the fourth day, when the conflagration had ceased, after having consumed 7,632 houses. I was well informed of all that was passing in the town by means of six officers disguised, who remained undiscovered during the whole of Buonaparte's stay at Moscow ; but on his quitting it, le set fire to the Palace of the Kremlin among others, and to the castle of Petrovsky, which had served him as an asylum during the great condagration. Perhaps this was done by him as an act of kindness, with the intention of purify. ing them by fire from the evils he had been the source of. From the tone of this Appeal it would seem that he dictated it at the moment
when his mind was guided by the same feelings as during his passage to the island of St. Helena in 1815, and he appears unwilling to forget the style of his bulletins, which serves as a proof that habit is a second na. ture.'
The climax, however, of his audacity, is his claim upon the titude of the king of Prussia, “because after the batile of Fried. land he did not place another prince on the throne of Berlin.' (p. 43.) Does Buonaparte forget the injuries he inflicts, as a generous man forgets the benefits he confers? or does he think hat Prussia can forget what he made her suffer in the three dreadful
years after the treaty of Tilsit? Does he suppose that we can forget his base and unmanly insults of the Queen of Prussia while she lived, or that we are ignorant of the more base and unmanly calumnies with which, in his atrocious jocularity, he still persecutes her memory ?-By the treaty of Tilsit, Prussia was to have been evacuated on the 1st October, 1807. It may be truly said that it never was evacuated till after the battle of Leipsic, and every day of that long and disastrous period afforded fresh instances of the treachery, the rapacity, and the cruelty of Buonaparte and his myrmidons. We do not believe (and it is saying a great deal) that any other portion of this man's public life is more disgraceful to his character as a soldier, a statesman, a man, than the whole of his proceedings in Prussia,--and yet he has claims, forsooth, on the gratitude of her king !
Having thus insulted her allies, he next honours England with reproaches for secluding him in St. Helena-he wished only for retirement in England, under the protection of the English laws, and in the bosom of a 'great, generous, and free people.'
quantum mutatus ab illo
Hectore! How this Hector has lowered his tone we are, it seems, no longer the English of the Moniteurs:-no longer a people without shame or decency ;' no longer the incendiaries of mankind;' no longer an infamous horde of pirates who shudder at the sight of the peace of the world as the devil did at the happiness of our first parents. We have ceased to be the objects of the malediction of every virtuous heart-it is no longer our distinctive character to make a jest of every thing the most sacred to be pusillanimous to our enemies, and treacherous to our allies.' These delicate compliments to the GREAT, GENEROUS, and FREE people, are selected from the very first Moniteur which we happened to open, that of 30th January, 1810. And on what subject will our readers believe that this torrent of Billingsgate is let loose ?-truly upon our base, infamous, pusillanimous, and treacherous determination to assist Spain and Portugal in their ill-judged opposition to the
fraternal embraces of Buonaparte-a fraternity which, as was wittily said of his friend Marat's,* resembled that of Cain to Abel.
Buonaparte now complains that this great and pusillanimousgenerous and treacherous—freeandshameless people, are insensible to the • démarche franche, NOBLE et pleine de confiance of Buonaparte; (we assure our wondering readers we use his own modest expressions;) and have transported him to a rock in the ocean, 2,000 miles from Europe, the climate of which is the most inimical in the whole world to the health of his imperial Majesty. We should like to ask whether it is a much worse climate than Egypt, where he deserted one army? or St. Domingo, where he confesses that he sent another to perish? Is his prison more damp than the tower of the Temple in which Captain Wright was murdered, or closer than the castle of Valencey in which he cooped up Ferdinand ? Is the weather worse or the dungeon damper than those to which he wantonly exposed the Earl of Elgin, whose sacred character of an ambassador only aggravated the virulence of his imperial persecutor ? He was not used to be so nice about climates, this emperor—when the Moniteur was so good as to assuage the anxiety of Europe with grave assurances that in the snows of Russia, and the arid sands of Castille, where his followers were perishing by thousands, sa Majesté Impériale était toujours bien portante. But this story of the climate is, like all the rest, a falsehood; as we shall show in a subsequent part of these observations.
• Rancour only,' says the much injured Napoleon, could have chosen such a residence for me.-P. 49.
The truth is, that with a needless attention to the health and comforts of him who never attended to those of any human being but himself, the island of St. Helena was selected as the place where the greatest security to Europe could be combined with the greatest personal indulgence to the prisoner, an indulgence which, as we shall see by and by, has been carried much too far.
The next complaint is one which, at first, sounds very light, but is, in fact, very serious ; not only on account of the obstinacy and virulence with which it is urged, but of the consequences which vould be deduced from a compliance with Buonaparte's wishes.
He insists on being called EMPEROR and MAJESTY !
He resents with great indignation the title of General Buonaparte, which is given to him, as if the English wished to oblige him to consider himself as never having reigned in France:' (p. 49) to style him General now is to declare that he has neither been
Buonaparte was so obscure during Marat's reign that we dare not assert that there was a personal friendsbip between these two worthies, but it is known that there was a persect congeniality of sentiment; and his Majesty Joachim of Naples, Napolione's brother-in-law, publicly requested permission to change his name from Murat to Maral, in bonour of the deceased patriot..
chief magistrate of the republic, nor a sovereign of the fourth dynasty,' (p.51.) And he asserts with that dashing kind of logic which characterizes his school, that we were bound to give him this title because we sent an envoy to the republic when he was first consul, and in 1807 and 1813 offered to treat with France, by Lords Lauderdale and Castlereagh. To all this the answer is simple,—that this country never did consider him as reigning never did acknowledge the fourth dynasty-never did recognize him in any other character than that of General Buonaparte holding the office of first consul of the French republic; and though he affects to consider that the title of First Consul, which we recognized, obliterated that of General, to which we recur, we can show on his own evidence that it did not. The following extract from the Moniteur, (after the rupture of the peace of Amiens, and only six months before he began to call himself Emperor,) proves that the titles of General and First Consul were not quite inconsistent, and will amuse our readers, as a specimen of the ridiculous insanity and presumptious contempt of the free and generous English, with which he was at that period intoxicated.
Boulogne, 18 Brumaire, an xii. • On Tuesday last, the First Consul reviewed the army, and put it through several manceuvres-the Boulogne Potilla bas been reinforced by 60 vessels carrying twenty-four pounders.'
• It has been remarked, as a happy omen, that in digging the ground for the First Corsul’s camp, a battle-axe was found, which belonged to the Roman army which invaded England. In pitching the First Consul's tent also, at Ambleteuse, medals of William the Conqueror were found. It will be admitted that these coincidences are at least extraordinary; but they will appear much more singular if we recollect that GENERAL BUONAPARTE, on visiting the ruins of Pelusium in Egypt, found an engraved head of Julius Cæsar.' (Mon. 12th Nov. 1803.)
This is really very pleasant; and we entertain ourselves with fancying the grimace which this modern William, this Corsican Cæsar, will make, when this ominous passage is brought to his recollection. We beg to add he has quite as much reason to expect that we should call him William the Conqueror, or Julius Cæsar, as Emperor: as far as we are concerned he has equal claims to all three.
Our refusal, however, to admit this absurd pretension which asks from us, his conquerors and masters, more than he could obtain in the plenitude of his power, is the most grievous of all his griefs, and we suspect that the climate of St. Helena would be greatly improved if Sir Hudson Lowe would only be so good as io intersperse his communications with those two little words Em. peror and Majesty.
But how does this anxious pertinacity to keep the imperial rank accord with his wish to live in retirement, and to occupy a private