Political Essays (1819)/Mr. Macirone's Interesting Facts on the Fall of Marat
Interesting Facts relating to the Fall and Death of Joachim Marat, King of Naples; the Capitulation of Paris in 1815; and the Second Restoration of the Bourbons: Original Letters from King Joachim to the Author, with some Account of the Author, and of his Persecution by the French Government. By Francis Macirone, late Aid-de-camp to King Joachim; Knight of the Order of the Two Sicilies, &c. &c. London: Ridgways, 1817.
"Come, draw the curtain; shew the picture."
February 3, 1817.
We have here a pretty peep behind "the dark blanket" of Legitimacy. We thank Mr. Macirone for having introduced us once more to the old lady of that name in her dressing-room. What a tissue of patches and of paint! What a quantity of wrinkles and of proud flesh! What a collection of sickly fumes and slow poisons, with her love-powders and the assassin's knife placed side by side! What treacheries and lies upon her tongue! What meanness and malice in her heart! What an old hypocritical hag it is! What a vile canting, mumbling, mischievous witch! "Pah! and smells so." The very wind that kisses all it meets, stops the nose at her. We wonder how any prince should take a fancy to such an old rotten demirep! Yet this is the heroine of all heroines (Mr. Southey will tell you in hobbling illegitimate verse), a greater heroine than even his Joan of Arc—the heroine of Leipsic, of Saragossa, and of Waterloo! It is indeed the same. Look at her again, look at her well, look at her closely, and you will find that it is "that harlot old,"
"The same that was, that is, and is to be;"—
the mother of abominations, the daughter of lies. Dig up the bones of a few of her wretched favourites you may, in Carmelite dresses or any other trumpery; but can you dig up the bones of the men that she has murdered, from the earliest time? can you collect the blood of the millions of men that she has sacrificed in the last twenty-five years alone, and pour it into the Thames, while our merchant-men ride freighted with gold upon the gory stream, and the Editor of The Times (without being called to account for it) applauds with the "sweet thunder" of his pen the proud balance of our exports and our imports, blood and gold? or can you collect the sighs and dried-up tears of wretches that she, Legitimacy, has doomed to pine without a cause in dungeons, to prove that she is the dread sovereign of the human heart? or the groans and shrieks of victims stretched on the rack, or consumed by slow fire, to prove that the minds of men belong to her? or the cries of hunger and pinching cold, the sweat, the rags, the diseases, the emaciated wan looks, by which she proves that the bodies of men are throne, and from which, amidst the groans of the dying and the dead, she utters, laughing, the sacred doctrine of "millions made for one!"—One thing contents us, and sits light upon our hearts, that we have always seen through her disguises: we have known her from first to last, though "she has changed shapes with Proteus," and now gone by the name of Religion, now of Social Order, now of Morality, now been personified at Guildhall as Trade and Commerce, or sat in the Speaker's chair as the English Constitution (the most impudent trick of all)—under none of these respectable alias's and swindling characters, nor when she towered above the conflagration of Moscow, dressed in a robe of flame-coloured taffeta, or sat perched as Victory on the crests of British soldiers, nor when she hovered over the frightened country as the harpy of Invasion; no, nor at any other time did we ever take her for any thing but what we knew she was, the patron-saint of tyrants and of slaves; an adulteress, an impostor, and a murderess. The world, whom she has juggled, begin to find her out too: it will hardly "stand now with her sorceries and her lies, and the blood of men, with which she has made herself drunk;" and we may yet live to see her carted for a bawd.? or can you conjure up the wide spreading desolation which she breathes from her nostrils, the famine and pestilence which she scatters before her for her sport and wantonness, the ruins of cities and of countries which she makes her
Having thus vented the overflowings of our gall against the old lady above-mentioned, we shall proceed to a detail of some of her fraudulent transactions, as they are stated with great clearness and command of temper, in Mr. Macirone's "Interesting Facts." Interesting indeed! But no more comments for the present. We have not time to grace our narrative or confirm our doctrine of "the uses of legitimacy" by giving Mr. Macirone's history of the treatment of his family by the Holy See, which brought his father to this country, and eventually led to his connexion with Murat. It appears that his grandfather, the head of a noble and wealthy family at Rome, was ruined in a large concern, and then robbed of his right by Monsignore Banchieri, treasurer to the Pope, a "gentleman and man of honour" in those times; and that, though the tribunals awarded him reparation, the decisions in his favour were constantly defeated by the interposition of the papal power. The consequence was, that the elder Macirone, after a fruitless struggle of several years with legitimate power and injustice, died of grief and chagrin, and his family were dispersed in various directions: his eldest son came to England and married an English lady, of which union our author was the issue. This short episode shews what Legitimacy, that is, a power above the law, and accountable only to heaven for its exercise, its use or its abuse, always was, and always will be. These tricks were played long before the French revolution, and with a million other tricks of the same legitimate, that is, lawless kind, produced it.—We have here an account of some of the tricks resorted to by the wielders and abettors of mild paternal sway to restore the old right to do wrong with impunity, and to put down the principles and of the revolution, as an example of successful rebellion against power held in contempt of the people, and exercised in disregard of law. Mr. Macirone, a native of England, went to Italy at the age of fifteen, and remained there from 1803 till 1812. Part of this time he was detained as an English prisoner. He was afterwards employed as an aid-de-camp to Murat, and gives the following narrative of his transactions with the Allies:—
1. A Treaty of Alliance, offensive and defensive, was signed between Austria and Naples, on the 11th of Jan. 1814, and the Austrian Plenipotentiary declared that England was ready to accede to a similar Treaty with King Joachim.—2. A Convention was signed by Lord William Bentinck with the Neapolitan Government, which opened the ports of Italy to the British fleet, and placed affairs on a footing of perfect peace.—3. Murat, on the strength of these engagements, opened the campaign in concert with the Allies, when instantly objections were made to the ratification of the Treaty with Austria, not by Austria, but by England, on some pretence of the territorial indemnifications to be granted to Murat at the expense of the Pope.—4. Murat assented to the proposed modifications, and Lord W. Bentinck declared, that the English Government now agreed entirely to the Treaty between Austria and Naples.—5. This declaration of Lord W. Bentinck was confirmed by a declaration of Lord Castlereagh, that it was only from motives of delicacy to the King of Sicily that the English Government delayed the conclusion of a special and separate Treaty with Naples, that a Treaty of Indemnities to the King of Sicily and of Peace with King Joachim might go hand in hand.—6. Murat now joined the campaign of 1814, and turned the scale against France and Napoleon.—In this state of things, Mr. Macirone observes,—
"A variety of circumstances had now combined to induce the King to doubt the sincerity of the Allies. The Emperor of Austria had delayed for many days the transmission of the ratification of the Treaty of the 11th January. Ferdinand of Sicily had published an order of the day to some Sicilian troops about to land at Leghorn, in which they were informed that they were going to recover his kingdom of Naples, which he had never ceded, and never would cede. The English general, Lord William Bentinck, had landed with these troops, under instructions to excite a revolution in Italy, and had insisted on the maintenance of a position (Tuscany) which intercepted the communication between the Neapolitan army and Naples; propositions at the same time were made in a foreign camp to Neapolitan generals and other officers, for the expulsion of the then reigning dynasty from the throne of Naples. The doubts which these circumstances had excited were removed by a declaration of General Sir Robert Wilson, at Bologna; that he considered the letter of Lord Castlereagh, containing the promise of a formal treaty, as of equal value and force with a treaty already signed. And that neither the executive authority, nor the parliament, would hesitate to recognize the validity of such an engagement. Indeed, it was in his opinion more imperative, if possible, than a regular treaty, because it connected an appeal to honour with an obligation on good faith. From that moment the King again made the most zealous efforts in the common cause."—p. 20.
Alas! Sir Robert. "How little knew'st thou of Calista!" as a body may say. But you have in part redeemed your errors, and revenged the trick that was thus put upon your preux chevalier notions of honour!—One would think there was shuffling and paltering and evasion and cant and cunning enough in the foregoing part of this transaction. What follows is worse. After the campaigns which so providentially delivered France and Europe from the hands of illegitimate into those of legitimate power en plein droit, and while the immortal congress was yet assembled at Vienna, "Prince Talleyrand, on the part of King Louis," says Mr. Macirone, "was indefatigable in his exertions to induce the Austrian government to withdraw their alliance from the King of Naples, from whom the allied powers had so recently received the most efficient support. The Austrian government being warmly urged to undertake the holy war of legitimacy against its ally, the King of Naples, at length expressed its willingness to comply, but alleged the exhausted state of the finances of the country. This difficulty was, it is said, immediately removed by the British ministers, who offered to defray all the expense of the expedition, and moreover to furnish a British fleet, in preference to a French fleet, as proposed by Talleyrand in his famous note, which fleet should act in concert with and assist the movements of the Austrian forces."
One would think that after this open and profligate breach of faith, the legitimates had made up their minds to keep no terms with illegitimacy. But, no: expediency turns round once more, and British honour, simplicity, and good faith, with it! Murat, in consequence of the preparations against him, attacked the Austrians "at the very moment, as it afterwards turned out, that the apprehensions of his union with Napoleon, who had just returned to France from Elba, had determined the British cabinet to attend to the invocations of justice in his favour. Lord Castlereagh had written to the Duke of Wellington, who was at that time the plenipotentiary of the British court at Vienna, and informed him, that in consequence of the reappearance of Napoleon at the head of the French nation, the British ministers thought it adviseable to unite all the force they could collect, and had consequently come to a determination immediately to conclude a treaty of alliance with the King of Naples."
Bravo, my Lord Castlereagh! you may one day find, after all, that honesty is the best policy; and we hope the Editor of The Times, in the next number of The Correspondent, will relieve his praises of the allies and his compliments to the Duke of Levis, by a criticism to prove that Jonathan Wild and Count Fathom were "gentlemen and men of honour!"
But the tale of blushing British honour is not ended. At the time when Murat was at the height of his success against the Austrians, "Colonel Dalrymple arrived at Bologna, King Joachim's head-quarters, commissioned by Lord William Bentinck, to request that the territory of his Britannic majesty's ally, the King of Sardinia, might not he violated by the Neapolitan army."—In consequence of Murat's polite attention to this delicate request, he lost his campaign, his crown, and his life; for no sooner was he defeated in his attempts to force the passage of the Po, which he might easily have effected, by infringing upon a small corner of the Piedmontese territory, than "he was surprized at receiving a notification from Lord William Bentinck, that his instructions were to join the Austrians against him."—We know the consequences of this exquisite simplicity of proceeding on both sides. Poor Murat! he well deserved his fate, but not at the hands from which he received it. Foolish fellow! He did not know that legitimacy keeps no faith with illegitimacy. At present, we suppose that point is pretty well settled.
Murat was senseless enough to believe that he, who had been made a king by Bonaparte, would be cordially received in the list of kings by those who were so by divine right; and he was base enough to turn against his benefactor, his country, and the human race but in himself he appears to have been a gallant, generous, and heroic-minded man. The account of his escape from the Austrians, and of his landing in France, is interesting:—
"On the king's approach to Naples with a small remnant of his army, six thousand of the national guard, with General Macdonald, minister of war, at their head, marched forth to meet him. They greeted his return in the most loyal and affectionate manner, exhorting him still to hope for success in the love and devotedness of his subjects, swearing that they were all ready to perish in defence of their king and country; but in consequence of the part England had taken against him, he declined making any further efforts, which would only tend to involve the brave and loyal in his own catastrophe.
"He entered Naples unknown, in the evening of the 19th May, accompanied by his nephew, who was colonel of the 9th regiment of lancers, and four privates. He immediately proceeded to his palace, where he appeared before the queen, pale and emaciated, in the habit of a lancer; tenderly embracing her, he said, 'All is lost, madam, but my life; that I have not been able to lose.'
"Having taken farewell of his children, he caused his hair which he had hitherto worn in long ringlets, to be cut short, and habited in a plain grey suit, accompanied by his nephew, the colonel, he proceeded on foot to the sea-shore, opposite to the island of Nisida. He there embarked in a little boat, and proceeded to the neighbouring island of Ischia. There he remained three days without being known, and on the fourth, as he was walking on the sea-shore on the southern side of the island, in company with the colonel, consulting about the means of effecting their escape to France, they discovered a small vessel to the east, in full sail, approaching the spot where they were standing.
"The king immediately hailed the vessel, and getting into a fishing-boat which was on the shore, ordered the crew to row towards it, and, as soon as they were perceived, a boat was sent from the vessel to meet them. The feelings of all parties may easily be imagined, when, in one of the persons on board, the king recognized his attached and faithful servant the Duke of Roccaromana, to whom the vessel belonged, and who, in company with the Marquis Giuliano, the king's aid-de-camp, had escaped from Naples, and was proceeding in this vessel in search of the king, under the greatest anxiety and apprehension, lest some accident might have befallen him, although, previously to quitting the palace, the king had divided with the duke and marquis a considerable sum in gold, and acquainted them with his plan of going to Ischia, accompanied only by his nephew, and of embarking from thence to France.
"The duke could not succeed in effecting his escape from Naples until three days after the departure of the king. The enemy's flag had been hoisted in Ischia; and it appeared highly improbable, under all circumstances, that the king could have remained there concealed for those three days. It was unsafe for the duke to attempt landing on the island, and yet there appeared no other means of ascertaining whether the king was there or had proceeded on his voyage. In this embarrassment, it happened that the duke, who was most anxiously examining the shore of the island with a glass, perceived and recognized the king. The rest of their voyage proved most prosperous and expeditious. They landed at Cannes the 27th or 28th of May."—p. 30.
We shall in our next give the particulars of Mr. Macirone's interviews with the Duke of Wellington, relating to the convention of Paris; and we shall be cautious what we say of his Grace's observations and conduct on that occasion; for if we were to say what we think of that noble person, there might be some offence in it. But we cannot help having an opinion of him, which all that we hear of him confirms.
Interesting Facts relating to the Fall of Murat, &c. By F. Macirone, &c.
Sta viator, heroem calcas.
Feb. 9, 1817.
We proceed to Mr. Macirone's account of the surrender of Paris. Let it speak for itself:—
"Immediately after the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon returned to Paris, and abdicated the throne in favour of his son, who would have been accepted and proclaimed by the French people, but for the opposition of two celebrated individuals.
"On this abdication, a commission of government, as it was called, was formed, consisting of Fouché, the President, Caulincourt, Carnot, Quinette, and Grenier.
"On the 26th of June, I believe, the Duke of Wellington, at the head of his victorious army, reached Compeigne. In the course of the following night, a deputation of five persons was sent to him from Paris by the two Chambers, to solicit an armistice for a few days. The avowed purpose of this mission was to afford time for the return of another deputation, which had been dispatched to the Allied Sovereigns, to assert the right of the French people to choose their own government, in conformity to the Declaration of the Allies, that they warred against the person of Napoleon only, and not against the French people, or to force upon them any particular government.
"The Chamber of Deputies, the majority of the Commissioners of Government, and the Army, now in great strength in Paris, were determined to resist any attempt to force the Bourbons upon them; while the avowed opinion of Fouché and Caulincourt was, that such a determination could only lead to the destruction of Paris, and the loss of thousands of lives. They therefore sought the means of opening a communication with the Duke of Wellington, in which they might impart to him their views, and avert the calamity which they apprehended from the projects of the other parties. In the expediency of procuring an armistice for a few days, all parties concurred; and Fouché, who had become acquainted with me in my interviews with him respecting King Joachim, solicited me to undertake the task of carrying on a communication between him and the Duke of Wellington, it was sufficient for me to know that the service in which I was to be engaged had for its object the prevention of a sanguinary conflict, which an attempt to take Paris by force would have occasioned, and I therefore consented to be the bearer of Fouché's message to the Duke.
"My feelings as an Englishman entirely influenced my conduct in this instance. I exulted in the success of our army, and in the military glory which the English name had acquired; and it appeared to me, that whatever might tend to prevent the further effusion of blood, must be highly acceptable to my country; and to be selected as an instrument, by which so humane and desirable an object might be accomplished, was highly gratifying to my mind, and I should not have thought myself at liberty to refuse to engage in it, from any opinion I might entertain of the private views of the persons by whom I should be employed. Impressed with these sentiments, I left Paris at midnight. I proceeded to the Barriere de la Villette, where I found some difficulty in getting my carriage over the different entrenchments and abattis, but still more from the French officers, who evinced the greatest reluctance in permitting me to pass, observing that I was probably a person sent out to treat with the enemy, and to betray them; but on my assuring them that the purport of my mission was entirely analogous to their views and interests, I was suffered to proceed without a trumpet. Before I had got beyond the French lines, I was again stopped by a picquet of cuirassiers, who refused to let me pass without an order from the officer commanding the inner posts; and while I was asserting my right to proceed, a cuirassier fortunately happened to hold a light to my face, and very respectfully accosted me with the salutation of "bon voyage, Major:" his comrades immediately asked him who I was? he answered, "it's the Major of the 9th Hussars," for whom I suppose he had mistaken me. This was instantly believed; and, greeted by the salutations and good wishes of the whole troop, I was allowed to continue my journey.
"The Prussian advanced posts were at less than two miles distant, and I was consequently very soon stopped by a Prussian lancer, who, upon my telling him that I was an English officer, proceeding with dispatches to the Duke of Wellington, immediately accompanied me to the next post. Here I learnt with great pleasure, that this advanced guard of cavalry was commanded by Prince William of Prussia, whose first Aid-de-camp, Baron Rochow, was my particular friend.
"I soon arrived at the spot where Prince William and his Staff were sleeping in a field, before a large fire, under some trees. I inquired for my friend. Baron Rochow. His name was called, and I immediately had the pleasure of seeing him. After a few urgent questions, he proposed to introduce me to Prince William, who by this time had raised himself upon his. The Prince received me with the greatest politeness, and directed that I should be presented with refreshments. On my taking leave, he ordered me to be furnished with an escort to General Baron Bulow. I arrived at this General's quarters at break of day, and was soon after introduced to him. While I was at breakfast with him, he told me that he wished me to see Prince Blucher on my way to the Duke of Wellington; and added, that he would send his Aid-de-camp with me. He then ordered his servant to call his Aid-de-camp, Baron Echardstein, to whom I was also particularly known.
"On our arrival at Prince Blucher's, my companion. Baron Echardstein, informed him that I was going on a mission from the French Government to the Duke of Wellington: this did not seem to please the Prince, who immediately retired to rest, and left me to converse with his Chef-d'etat-Major. This gentleman, whose name I believe was Gneisenau, was very indignant on being informed of the desire of the French to treat with the Duke of Wellington; and he completely lost his temper when he observed the coolness with which I listened to his indiscreet and authoritative language.
"On my quitting this choleric soldier, my friend Echardstein thought it necessary to apologise to me for the indelicate behaviour of his countryman. I proceeded on my journey, and soon met numerous columns of English cavalry, and found the five French Deputies, waiting for the Duke's arrival, at a village called Fresnoy. I thought it expedient to endeavour to see the Duke before the Deputies, and therefore passed them on the road. I shortly after met the Duke, and imparted to him the purport of my mission, and delivered to him also a sealed dispatch from Fouché, upon which he desired me to accompany him to the village where the Deputies were. He asked me if I was acquainted with the nature of the mission. I told him that I knew that one part of it, at least, was to request an armistice of some days, until news could arrive from other Deputies, who had been sent to treat with the united Sovereigns.
"On the Duke's arrival at the village of Fresnoy, he conferred with the Deputies for five hours. They adduced, in support of their mission, the solemn Declaration of the British Ministers, "that it was not the intention of the Allies to force the Bourbons, or any other government, on the French people; that they had made war against Napoleon only, and not against the nation," &c. Their mission failed. They received for answer, that the only thing left for the Chambers to do was to proclaim Louis 18th.
"The Duke then proceeded to Plessis, the head-quarters for that day. The Deputies remained behind. I was desired by the Duke to accompany him to Plessis, where I dined with him, and during dinner conversed with him on the object I had to propose respecting an armistice. Before I took my leave of the Duke, I requested that he would give me some answer to the remonstrances of the Commission of Government, which stated, "that as the Allies had declared their hostility to be directed against the person of Napoleon only, it would be but just to await the result of the mission to the Sovereigns, before his Grace undertook to replace Louis 18th on the throne." The Duke, in the presence of Lord March, Colonels Hervey, Freemantle, Abercromby, and several other officers, replied,—"I can give no other answer than that which you know I have just given to the Deputies. Tell them (the Commission of Government) that they had better immediately proclaim the King (Louis 18th). I cannot treat till then, nor upon any other condition. Their King is here at hand: let them send their submission to him."
We are glad the Duke is not an Englishman?
"The Duke was at this time in constant communication with King Louis and Talleyrand, who were together in the rear of the army; and I saw one of the messengers of Louis 18th at the Duke's head-quarters.—I returned to Paris the next morning. Davoust had taken the chief command of the French army, and had fixed his head-quarters at the Barriere de la Villette, by which I entered Paris. On my being introduced to him, he demanded to know the object of my mission to the enemy, and said, that as he then held the supreme command, I must communicate to him any dispatches of which I might be the bearer? I answered him, that I had no written message; that my mission had been nearly similar to that of the Deputies; that I had been sent out by the Commission, and therefore thought it my duty to account with its members only for my proceedings. I could, however, inform him of the declaration, which, in common with the Deputies, I had received from the Duke of Wellington. Hereupon I reported to him the Duke's sine qua non. He immediately declared that my intelligence was incredible, and expressed his disbelief of it in the strongest terms. Then, with the greatest emotion, and with uplifted hands and eyes, he called heaven to witness the perfidy and arrogant injustice of the English Ministry, and of the Allies. "The Duke of Wellington" said he, "surely could never dare to make a declaration so directly contrary to the avowed and solemnly protested intentions of the British Ministry, and of the other Allies. Have not they sworn that they would not impose a sovereign on the French people? However, they will find to their cost, that we are unanimous in our resolution. Napoleon can no longer be the pretext for their hostilities. We will all perish rather than submit to the hateful yoke that Lord Castlereagh would impose upon us! ———— is a traitor! he was about to compromise with the enemy—I have taken his command from him—he shall never again command a corporal's guard—we are an independent nation—England should be the last power to tyrannise over us in our choice of a government."—He then desired me to proceed to lay before the Commission at the Thuilleries the result of my mission, adding, "they know very well that I have now with me more than 100,000 men, with 500 pieces of cannon, and 25,000 cavalry."
"I proceeded to the palace of the Thuilleries, where I was introduced to the Commission. Carnot immediately asked, what my errand to the enemy had been? Fouché quickly answered, that he had sent me. Quinette and Grenier looked as if they were not satisfied with this answer. Carnot continued to address me, and asked whether I had seen the Deputies at the Duke of Wellington's head-quarters? I answered in the affirmative, and that I could give him an account of the result of their mission: upon this they became attentive, and heard my account with dismay and indignation. Carnot expressed the same sentiments that Davoust had recently done; and added, rather roughly, that he could by no means give credit to my account, either as to the Duke of Wellington's sine qua non, or as to the force of the enemy in the vicinity of Paris: he further said, with a sneer, "we shall have, I hope, a very different account on the return of the Deputies." Fouché defended me, and reproved him for so uncivilly questioning my veracity, and assured him that he might put implicit confidence in me. Carnot and Grenier then took me to a topographical map, and questioned me as to the movements of the Duke of Wellington? I answered their interrogatories to the extent to which I thought myself warranted: and it appeared that I informed them of nothing with which they were not already acquainted. Carnot then, in a polite manner, told me I might retire.
"It would appear, that in consequence of having learned from me the nature of the communication which the Deputies would have to make to the Chambers, and dreading its discouraging effects on the members, and on the people at large, their return to Paris had been prevented. Some private orders seem to have been given to that effect; for on the same day that I entered Paris by the Barriere de la Villette, the Deputies approached that part, preceded by Colonel Latour Maubourg, who was attached to their mission, when the French out-posts fired, killed the Prussian trumpeter's horse, and a ball grazed the epaulette of the Colonel. The Deputies turned back, and attempted to enter by the Barriere de St. Dennis, but were refused. They there received fresh instructions to treat, and it was so managed, that they did not return to Paris till after the capitulation.
"In the mean time Fouché and his coadjutors, who opposed the views of the other parties, were in great persona! danger. The three other Members of the Commission more than suspected them of duplicity and treachery; and in consequence impeached them before the Chamber of Deputies. The Duke of Wellington being acquainted with these proceedings, sent a message to the Members of the Commission, as I was informed, assuring them that if any harm Fouché or Caulincourt, he would infallibly hang up the other three on his arrival in Paris.
"It was proposed in the Chamber of Deputies, that its Members should quit Paris with the army, and rally round them all those who would oppose the enemy and the Bourbons. But this measure Fouché was particularly anxious to thwart, whilst Davoust, feeling himself confident in the strength of his army, insisted on attacking Blucher and the Duke of Wellington before other reinforcements should arrive; but as I understood at the time, Fouché succeeded in somewhat softening and in giving a new direction to the policy of Carnot: and it is certain that he managed to gain over Davoust by urging the force of the enemy, and the dreadful consequences that would ensue if Paris should be taken by assault. He pleaded the reliance which might be placed on the faith of the English (for with the Prussians the French would not have treated on any terms). He therefore recommended Davoust to evacuate Paris, and not to listen to the desperate suggestions of the Chambers, observing, that so long as his army remained entire, he might obtain favourable terms for all parties.
"The day before the capitulation of Paris (2d July), I repaired to the British camp with the following memorandum, as my instructions, from Fouché to the Duke of Wellington:—
"'The army opposes, because uneasy—assure it, it will even become devoted.
"'The Chambers are counter for the same reason. Assure every body you will have every body.
"'The army sent away, the Chambers will agree, on according them the guarantee, as added to the charter and promised by the king. In order to be well understood, it is necessary to explain; therefore not to enter Paris before three days, and in the meantime every thing may be arranged.
"'The Chambers will be gained, will believe in their independence, and will agree to every thing. Persuasion, not force, must be used with the Chambers.'
"On my arrival at the British advanced posts, which, owing to the obstructions I met with from the French, I was not able to effect till early in the morning of the 3d July, I was informed that the most positive orders had been given by the duke, not to allow any messenger to pass from Paris without his special permission. I was therefore detained at the English advanced post of guards, commanded by Lord Saltown. I dined with the officers of the advanced piquet, among whom I well remember Captain Fairfield, of the foot guards. These gentlemen informed me that the Duke of Wellington was at Gonnesse, with Sir C. Stuart, Pozzo di Borgo, and Talleyrand. I wrote a letter to the duke, which was forwarded by Lord Saltown. In my letter, I entered into a detail of the line of conduct recommended by Fouché, and contained in the foregoing memorandum. On the receipt of my dispatch, the duke immediately proceeded to St. Cloud, General Blucher's head-quarters; there the capitulation of Paris was signed. The duke returned to Gonnesse and dispatched Lord March to bring me to him: I arrived very early on the morning of the 4th, and found Sir C. Stuart, Talleyrand, and Pozzo di Borgo; they assembled in council, and my presence was required by the duke. Talleyrand observed to me, that this was already settled, and, turning to the Duke of Wellington, requested him to read to me the capitulation that they had just concluded. On my urging the adoption of the line of conduct which Fouché recommended towards the Chambers, the Duke of Wellington proceeded to give me his sentiments in writing, which were as follow:—
"Je pense, que les Allies ayant déclaré le Gouvernment de Napoleon une Usurpation et non légitime, toute autorité qui émane de lui, doit être regardée comme nulle et d'aucun pouvoir. Ainsi, ce qui reste à faire aux Chambres et à la commission, est, de donner de suite leur démission, et de declarer, qu'ils n'ont pris sur eux les responsibilités de gouvernement, que pour assurer la tranquilité publique, et l'intégrité du royaume de S. M. Louis XVIII.
"Talleyrand, Sir Charles Stuart, and Pozzo di Borgo, each took a copy of this document, and each, by way of memorandum, put their names and mine to the paper, by way of recording, as I suppose, the parties present at the discussion.
"I forthwith mounted my horse and returned to Paris; Lord March was appointed by the duke to accompany me. On our arrival at the Barriere de la Villette, we found the French soldiery perfectly frantic, and vociferating "Vive l'Empereur!" "A bas les Anglais!" "A bas les Bourbons!" They were on the point of firing at the Belgian trumpeter who preceded us: it was with the greatest difficulty that some French hussars, under whose escort we had approached the barriers, could prevent the soldiers from firing at Lord March as he was riding off. They were also obliged to exert themselves strenuously in my defence, as many of the infantry pointed their muskets at me, vociferating "Vive l'Empereur!" "Vive Napoleon!" "We are betrayed!" "We have been sold!" "We will fight to the last drop of our blood!"
"Down with the Bourbons!" "Let us kill this traitor!" "He has assisted in selling us!" "We have seen him pass before!" The hussars took me between them, some of the infantry also assisted in parrying off the blows aimed at me, and turning aside the muzzles of the muskets. Thus, after great peril, I was fortunate enough to gain the quarters of a general officer, with only a sabre cut on my left leg. The general dispersed the men, and gave me a strong escort to conduct me to the Thuilleries.
"In consequence of my communicating the documents and assurances I had received from Talleyrand and the Duke of Wellington, the commission of government abdicated its powers that evening; but the Chambers still refused to comply; they continued their sittings, which they declared should be permanent, till the morning of the 6th, when the doors of the Chamber were closed, and guarded by a party of the national guards.
"On this, above one hundred and fifty of the deputies proceeded to the house of M. Lanjuinais, their president, and there framed a solemn protest against the arbitrary and illegal violence which had been used towards them, in violation of the most solemn declarations.
"I have now no doubt that some extraordinary scheme had been contrived to seduce Napoleon into the measure of abdicating the throne in favour of his son. His resources were at that moment immense. The regular army in Paris alone, amounted to more than 80,000 men, every individual of which was animated with the most enthusiastic ardour. The national guard, above 30,000 strong, displayed the firmest resolution to obey the directions of the constituted authorities; numerous volunteers of all classes had taken up arms in the defence of their country. In the departments, the spirit of opposition to the invaders was still greater, particularly in the north, west, and east: in fine, Napoleon, who could not possibly be ignorant of the state of his resources, would never, I am convinced, have sheathed his sword, and abdicated the crown even in favour of his son, had he not been most confidently assured of the validity of the measure, and its being approved and supported by the French senate and people, and by at least some part of the coalition.
"What were the precise representations by which Napoleon was influenced to take this step, is perhaps known only to its contrivers, and their victim. Some future historian may probably unfold this mystery. As far as regards the share I had in the communication between Fouché and the Duke of Wellington, for the avowed purpose of negociating an armistice, as a preliminary measure to the capitulation of Paris; and it was obvious that such a negociation might save the lives of thousands of my countrymen."between the provisional government, the allied armies, and Talleyrand, as minister of Louis XVIII., I feel it due to myself to declare, that I had no suspicion of any deception or intended breach of engagements. I was requested to open a
The Play is over, now let us go to Supper.
John Bull, John Bull, John Bull, read the above account twice over, think well of it, and then say why you should not wear the yoke, which you have put round the neck of others, round your own. Ah! John, thou art not a metaphysician: thou dost lack a concatenation of ideas!—We are not proud of the share which as Englishmen we had in the proceedings recorded by Mr. Macirone: but we have one consolation for our national pride, Fouché and Talleyrand are Frenchmen. These two pettifogging miscreants seem to have made themselves perfect in the advice of the fool in Lear: "Let go thy hold, when a great wheel runs down hill, lest it should break thy neck with following it: but the great one that goes upwards, let it draw thee after. When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again: I would have none but knaves follow it." The great wheel, however, in this instance, kicked off the two knaves, that followed the fool's advice. One of these famous persons now writes letters of apology to the Duke of Wellington, and the other to Lord Castlereagh. They are not so well off as Murat and Berthier, one of whom was legitimately shot through the head, and the other legitimately thrown out of a window, if we are to believe Mr. Macirone, that he might die in the good cause—"a master-leaver, and a fugitive."
- During the retreat, the king was ever seen where the danger was greatest. Foremost in the ranks, he continually charged the Austrians in person. When his affairs grew desperate, it became evident that he sought for death in the field. At the head of a few of his cavalry, whom he constantly preceded, he often charged the enemy to their very cannons' mouth. How he escaped amidst so many dangers appears miraculous. He might well say that "he had sought death, but had not been able to find it."
- Let no country go about to enslave another with impunity. For out of the very dregs of rottenness and debasement will arise a low creeping fog of servility, a stench of corruption to the life of liberty, wherever it comes—a race of fortune-hunting, dastard, busy, hungry, heartless slaves and bloodsuckers, eager to fawn upon power and trample upon weakness, with no other pretensions than want of principle, and a hatred of those who possess what they want. Ireland has given us Castlereagh, Wellington, Burke. Is she not even with us? Let her smile now from her hundred hills, let her shake with laughter through her thousand bogs! Ireland, last of the nations, repose in peace upon thy green western wave! Thou and the world are quits.
- Here the reader may, if he pleases, read over again the last note.
- Encore un coup. This Duke is an Irishman. Pray, suppose the Allies were to declare the Protestant succession illegitimate, and the King of Sardinia, not the Prince Regent, the hereditary proprietor of the English throne and people in perpetuity and in a right line, would this annul the validity of his Grace's grant?