« AnteriorContinuar »
chief magistrate of the republic, nor a sovereign of the fourth dynasty.(p. 51.) And he asserts, with that dashing kind of logic which characterises bis 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 shew 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 presumptuous 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 maneuvres--the Boulogne flotilla has 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 Consul'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' (Mun. 12th Nov. 1803.)
This is really very pleasant; and we entertain ourselves with fancying the grimace which this modern William, this Corsican Cæsar will nake, 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 tlie climate of St. Helena would be greatly improved if Sir Hudson Lowe would only be so good as to intersperse his communications with those two little words Emperor and Majesty.
But how does this ansious pertinacity to keep thie imperial rank accord with his wish to live in retirement, and to occupy a private station, of which we hear so much? Is it not, on the contrary, like the whole of his preceding conduct, a reach at political character and power? Why did he walk about the decks of the Bellerophon bareheaded ? but that he might exact an involuntary mark of respect from our countrymen-why, when he endeayoured to play off the same trick on board the Northumberland, and when Sir G. Cockburn put on his hat, did he suddenly and sulleply quit the deck? but that he was resolved to spare no trick to maintain this empty mark of sovereignty-and why does he now so scrupulously exact from bis followers at St. Helena thç full ceremonies of the Tuileries ? - The reason is obvious :-he neither abandons his own schemes of criminal ambition, nor is willing to permit the partisans of revolution in Europe to forget that their emperor is still alive and still an emperor. It is this which makes what would be otherwise ridiculous, important; and we have no hesitation in saying, that this obstinate assumption of a rank which England never recognized imposes an obligation on our government to put an end to this scandal at once, by directing that no such forms and ceremonies shall be used, and that, if those who have accompanied Buonaparte do not choose to conform to our usages, and persist in giving him a title which it were treason to admit, they shall be removed to some situation where their folly can have no other consequences than making themselves ridiculous.
This imperial mummery did no harm while played off in their own private circle, and without any public claim : but it has now been publicly avowed, and an appeal to the world has been made, in behalf of this pretension, and therefore our ministers have no alternative-they can no longer connive at, without approving, the practice—and if they do not iminediately put a period to the farce, they will be responsible for scenes of a more serious nature, which may follow.
Our readers would smile if we had room to enumerate the little arts with which Buonaparte labours after this shadow of a shade. Whenever any visitor approaches Longwood, his coming is watched
- the chairs are put out of the way--bis majesty places himself in great state, with his cocked hat under his arm, leans against a table, pulls out a fine snuff-box, and copies to the minutest particular the attitude in which he used to give his audiences in the Tuileries.When he drives out, in the hottest weather, the obsequious Bertrand and Las Cases sit in the front of the barouche, bareheaded, with their hats under their arms. Poor Mr. Warden, when he went to dine with them, was quite astonished at the forms and ceremonies which they practised, and was particularly surprized and pleased that at table a vacant chair was left for the Empress Maria Louisa to which they all showed great gallantry and attention. The surgeon, our readers will recollect, makes Buonaparte quote Macbeth-we are therefore surprized that the empty chair at his banquet did not rather remind him of Banquo and the Duke d'Enghien, than of the Austrian Arch-duchess.
One of Buonaparte's projects on this point is curious, and characteristic of the fraudulent and tricky turn of his mind : he affected, it seeing, to lament the difficulties which had occurred about this title, and intimated that, if Sir Hudson Lowe would engage to acknowledge it, he would assume what is called an incognito name, such as Colonel Meuron or Baron Duroc. This was accordingly conveyed to Sir Hudson, as a great condescension, and as the proof of a spirit of humility and conciliation ; but Sir Hudson Lowe, it appears, was not to be deceived with these professions of moderation; he knew, we dare say, that none but princes are in the habit of using the incognito-individuals who are not of royal blood, like Napolione Buonaparte or Maximilian Robespierre, have their proper 'christian and surnames, which they have no right to lay down or take up. at pleasure; and he must have seen that an ado mission of Buonaparte's proposition would have contravened our laws, and have led to the very result which Sir Hudson wished to avoid. Buonaparte must, therefore, be content to be neither Colonel Meuron, nor Baron Duroc, nor the Emperor Napoleon, nor Napoleon the Great, but plain Napolione Buonaparte, son of Carlo Buonaparte and Letzia Raniolini, born at Ajaccio in Corsica, on the 5th February, 1768,* heretofore general in the service of the French republic, and now a prisoner both of war and of state in the island of St. Helena.
His next complaint is, of a continuation of the same spirit of malice which dictated • the order by which the Emperor Napoleon was prevented from writing or receiving any letter which had not previously been opened and read by the English Ministers and the officers of St. llelena.
"The possibility of his receiving letters from his mother, his wife, bis son, or his brothers, has thus been interdicted ; and when he wished to remove the inconvenience of having all his 'letters read' by subaltern officers, and to send sealed letters to the Prince Regent, he was informed, that none but open letters could be passed-such were the orders of the Ministry
This is not true. The general and his suite have been told that they shall not send or receive letters except through the hands of the governor, and that these letters must be open for his perusal; but
See the note in page 239 of our 12th volume, in which is shewn that Buonaparte, ou his rise in the world, falsified the date of his birth, his own christian and surnames, and the names of his first wife and of all his family. VOL. XVI. NO. XXXII.
every assurance has been given them that this necessary check on their correspondence shall go no fartber, and that no eye but the governor's should see their contents. It will not, we suppose, be alleged that we are to risk a second edition of Elba, or that Buonaparte is to be allowed an uncontrouled correspondence with America or France; and that St. Helena, instead of being the depository of the peace of the world, should become the workshop of intrigue and the focus of the disaffection and turbulence of all nations. But it is amusing enough to find that there is hardly any restriction of which he complains, of which we happen not to have his own example to plead against him: thus, for instance, we have now before us, the copy of a letter which a British officer, a prisoner at Verdun, endeavoured to transmit to England in the year 1810. The letter contained, as might be expected, nothing of any importance, but even this was not permitted to pass without being read by the imperial spy himself: it was translated into French for his perusal, and, by some mistake in the office in which the letter was made up, the copy, with the assent of Buonaparte to its trans mission, in his own hand-writing, was sent, and is now on our table!
We beg our readers to observe, that we are far from denying that Buonaparte, while exercising the government of France, had a perfect right to inspect the letters written by our prisoners of war; undoubtedly he had; but we quote the anecdote, not merely as a proof of his suspicious temper, but as an example which contrasts strangely with his new fangled doctrines, and practically sefutes his present complaints. He proceeds in the same strain
• Letters have arrived for general officers in the suite of the Emperor; they were broken open and delivered to you; but you refused to coma municate them because they had not been received through the channel of the English Minister. They had to travel back four thousand leagues, and these officers endured the mortification of knowing that there existed on the island accounts of their wives, their parents and their children, of which they could not be informed in less than six months. The heart revolts at such treatment.''
This burst of pathos we shall leave Lord Bathurst to answer - and we beg our readers’ particular attention to his lordship’s closing observation.
• This is a direct falsehood, for which there was not the smallest foundation. Sir Hudson Lowe, on seeing this passage in the Letter, wrote to Montholon, saying there was no foundation for this charge, and calling on him to adduce any one instance. No instances had been given, no answer even had been returned, and the reason was this, that ihe assertion was absolutely false. Indeed, in the voluminous papers which had been transmitted from St. Helena, nothing was more painfully disgusting than the utter indifference to truth shown throughout! ...in Lord Bathurst proceeds to state that, : "The next complaint of General Buonaparte was, that when he had requested to have some books from Europe, those which referred to modern times had been kept back. The fact was this-soon after his arrival at St. Helena he expressed a wish for some books to complete his library, and a list was made out by General Buonaparte himself, and transmitted to this country. This list was sent to an eminent French bookseller in this town, with orders to supply such of the books as he had, and to obtain the rest from other booksellers. As several of the books were not to be obtained in London, the bookseller was desired to write to Paris for them. He accordingly obtained some of them from Paris, but others of them could not be obtained; those which could Mot be procured were principally on military subjects. These books, to the amount of 13 or 14001. worth, (which the Letter calls a few books !) were sent, with an explanation of the circumstances which prevented the others from having been procured.'
Buonaparte next complains that * Permission could not be obtained to subscribe, occasionally, for the Morning Chronicle, the Morning Post, any of the French Journals, or even to get a few detached numbers of the T'imes conveyed to Longwood. The English ministry is not authorized to order any of these vexations. The law, though unworthy of the British Parliament, considers the Emperor Napoleon as a prisoner of war; now a prisoner of war is Never forbidden to subscribe for newspapers, or to receive printed books --Such a prohibition exists only in the cells of the Inquisition. ..
We beg his Imperial Majesty's pardon; this prohibition did exist in a certain prison called the Temple, in the city of Paris, in the case of a prisoner of war of the name of Captain Wright, whose history his Imperial Majesty affects sometimes to forget. We happen to have before us a letter from Captain Wright to a friend, dated in September 1805, eighteen months after his capture, in which he states, that it was but lately that he had the indulgence of books, and of subscribing to the Mouiteur, 'whose fpibles or prejudices (he adds) I assure you I am not in the least danger of adopting. But this was the only journal he was allowed to see; on a strict principle of reciprocity Buonaparte could only demand the London Gazette.
But though we are glad to refute Buonaparte's assertions by his own practice, this restriction is obviously proper, and even necessary, on other and better grounds; for Lord Bathurst states further, that it had been discovered that attempts were inakiug to convey intelligence from Europe to Buonaparte by means of properly declared, that, even had the indulgence not been thus
barnglish abused, the British government would not have thought it safe or proper that this nest of intriguers should be kept regularly informed of the progress of their affairs throughout Europe.