Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Table of Contents
 Memoirs of Joseph Fouche, Duke...
 Memoirs of Joseph Fouche, Duke...
 Short biographical sketches of...

Group Title: The memoirs of Joseph Fouche, duke of Otranto, minister of the General police of France
Title: The memoirs of Joseph Fouchâe, duke of Otranto, minister of the General police of France
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00076569/00002
 Material Information
Title: The memoirs of Joseph Fouchâe, duke of Otranto, minister of the General police of France
Series Title: Historic memoir series. 6th issue
Physical Description: 2 v. : fronts. (ports.) ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Fouchâe, Joseph, 1759-1820
Beauchamp, Alph. de, 1767-1832 ( ed )
Publisher: H.S. Nichols
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1896
Subject: History -- France -- 1789-1815   ( lcsh )
Court and courtiers -- France   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: translated from the French ...
General Note: "Edition strictly limited to 500 copies."
General Note: "Original edition was published in Paris in 1824, and was compiled by A. de Beauchamp. The translation appeared in 1825, and this issue is a reprint of the same without any alteration.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00076569
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 03493945
lccn - 12021840

Table of Contents
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Title Page
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Memoirs of Joseph Fouche, Duke of Oranto
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Memoirs of Joseph Fouche, Duke of Otranto
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
    Short biographical sketches of notable persons mentioned in these memoirs
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
Full Text


Edition strictly limited to 500 copies.
Five extra copies have been printed on Japanese vellum, but
are not offered for sale.












S ......
a '

. .,* *. .. .
.* . .:. : : .
**/* . .. . . . :* ''
. . .


Printed and Published by

: ."

.. *


...i :
.*** .

S* *
*." . ."
0*.0 .**

.0 *0 0 .
0 * * 0
** 0


Fouch6 reflects upon his position 1-5
Appointed governor-general of Rome 6, 7
His opinion of Savary, his successor .8-10
Napoleon demands his private correspondence-The commis-
sioners foiled.... .... 11-14
Interview with Napoleon-The Emperor proof against trickery 15, i6
Fouch6 obstinate-Flies to Tuscany-Conciliates Napoleon's
sister, the Grand Duchess Eliza-Sails for America-Com-
pelled to return through sea-sickness-Submits to the Em-
peror-Retires to Aix 17-24
Amusements during retirement: his private counter-police 25-27
Pauline Borghese-Character and career-Her disgrace 28-30
Louis, King of Holland-His dignified abdication 31, 32
Champagny, Duke de Cadore, advises the usurpation of Holland
-Causes which led to such a step-Details of the secret
negotiations between Napoleon, Fouch6, and the Marquis of
Wellesley which led to Fouch6's disgrace .. 33-38
Colossal gains of the Emperor by the "Continental system"-
Fouch6 defends himself 39-41
Holland, the north of Germany, Hamburg, Bremen, and Liibeck
decreed to belong to France without negotiation 42
Continental uneasiness-Universal monarchy or universal war? 43, 44
King of Rome born-Doubts concerning his nativity 45, 46
Commercial distress in Russia-Misery in France. 47, 48
Savary controls the Press-His dejeuners a la fourchette-Public
opinion stifled . 49-52
Napoleon and Talleyrand-The retort courteous 53, 54
The Emperor esteems the English, but fears their government-
Attributes the Nottingham labour riots to his Continental
system .. 55-56
Bernadotte proclaimed King of Sweden-Napoleon closes Swedish
ports .. .... .. 57, 58
Reflections on the Peninsular War-Massena's ambition-Joseph
Bonaparte demands the independence of Spain 59-62
The Russian war-Events leading up to it-Alexander's awaken-
ing-Count Czernitscheff, his private diplomatist .69


Fouchd permitted to return to France-Clandestine interviews
-Malouet .. 70-72
Alexander evades negotiations-Count Nesselrode succeeds Count
Romanzoff .73
Napoleon visits Holland-Preparations for the Russian campaign
-Fouch6's prophetic memorial to the Emperor on the
chances of the war. .74-79
The memorial anticipated-Fouch6's confusion-How he was
outwitted ... 80-84
Fouch6 and Talleyrand discussed at a private cabinet council. 85
Wholesale conscription-War with Russia determined upon-
Napoleon attempts negotiations with England-Lord Castle-
reagh's reply 86-88
Count Czernitscheff outwits the French police-Precipitate flight
-What his papers disclosed .89, go
Apparent indifference of Napoleon to the state of affairs-Russian
demands-Diplomatic fencing-Napoleon crosses the Niemen 91, 92
Public opinion in Paris 93
The Russian retreat-Battle of the Moskowa-Burning of Moscow
-Russia signs defensive treaties with Sweden, England,
and Cadiz-Interview between Alexander and Bernadotte-
Napoleon waits in vain for Alexander's submission-Disas-
trous retreat from Moscow begun. 94-96
The Malet conspiracy-Attempt to abolish the imperial govern-
ment-Causes of failure of the conspiracy-Malet executed 97-102
Napoleon informed of the conspiracy-The retreating army dis-
banded-Disaster of the Beresina-Flight of Napoleon-
Narrowly escapes capture-Arrives at the Tuileries 103,104
The Emperor more concerned at the conspiracy than at the
loss of his army-A fourth Napoleonic dynasty Io5-1o7
Malouet exiled Napoleon's resources Doubts concerning
Austria-Further conscriptions and supplies granted ro8-II
Napoleon and the Pope-Escape of the King of Prussia 112
Still further conscriptions and supplies demanded-The guard
of honour-Napoleon's subtlety . 123
Further attempts to negotiate with England-Failure-Prussia's
proposals-Napoleon's obstinacy 114
Louis XVIII. issues an address to the French people-Fouch6's
advice concerning it-Regency conferred upon Maria Louisa xI5, II6
Napoleon rejoins the army-Successes at Bautzen and Wurschen
-Armistice-Prussia's demands granted 117, I8
Fouch6's services required by Napoleon-Nature of his mission
-Murat-Fouchd summoned to Dresden-Conversation
with Augereau at Mayence Dresden fortified Fouch6
arrives late-Interview with Napoleon 119-126


French disaster at Vittoria-Soult summoned-Madame Soult
objects-Napoleon's retort-Fouch6 reviews the situation
with Berthier 127, 128
Napoleon's erroneous opinion of Count Metternich-Private
conference-Austrian demands-Napoleon's insulting re-
mark-Berthier's opinion . 129-137
Fouch6 interviews Napoleon-The Emperor still obstinate-
Fouch6 appointed governor-general of Illyria-His con-
clusions .. 138-145
Sets out for Illyria-Arrives at Prague: observations-Congress
of Prague decided upon-Observations in Austria-Reaches
Illyria-Junot a madman: his escapades-Napoleon's views
as to Illyria . 146-153
Austria's demands at the congress of Prague-Napoleon's fatal
delay-Austria abandons the French alliance, crosses the
Save, and assumes the offensive .54-157
French victory at Dresden-Reverses at Katsbach, Grossbeeren,
and Culm-Confidence in the Emperor declining-Bavaria
inactive-Eugene retreats-His critical position 58-r16
Suspense in Italy-Napoleon forced to abandon Dresden-
Disaster at Leipsic-Fouch6 ordered to Rome 162-164
Murat seeks an alliance with Austria-Abandons the "Conti-
nental system "-Declares for the independence of Italy-
Fouch6 ordered to remonstrate with him-Murat's em-
barrassments-Fouch6 quits Naples and arrives at Rome 165-170
Neutrality of Switzerland violated-Napoleon meditates dictator-
ship-Fouch6's letter to the Emperor 171-175
The Emperor dissolves the legislative body 76
Fouch6 asks to be removed from Rome-Stays at Florence-
Condition of the country-British land at Via Reggio, but
re-embark-Bad judgment of the Grand Duchess Eliza 177-181
Insurrection in Rome-The French garrison retires to the castle
of St. Angelo-Joachim enters Bologna and takes possession
of Tuscany 182-184
Fouch6 and Eliza cause Lagarde, the commissary-general of
police, to be waylaid-Secret papers not discovered-The
coach with a false bottom .. 85
Murat irresolute-Interview with Fouch6-Murat's proclamation
against Napoleon-Fouchd detained at Florence-End of his
mission in Italy-Eugene retreats upon the Mincio-Battle
with the Austrians-Napoleon boasts 186-192
English army lands at Leghorn-Weak attempt to fortify Lyons
-Fouch6 expelled from Lyons-Goes to Valence-The day-
break of royalism French disasters Austrians occupy
Lyons-Fouch6 retires to Avignon 193-199


Revolution of March 3Ist, z8S5-Napoleon deposed-A pro-
visional government declared-Restoration of the Bourbons
-Failure of Fouch6's plans concerning the regency 197-202
Fouch6 writes to Napoleon at Elba advising him to quit the
island-Letter to the Count d'Artois. 203-206
Fouch6 corresponds with the court of Louis XVIII. on the state
of affairs-Thirst for office. 207-212
Return of Napoleon desired by the army-Unsettled government
-Fouch6's confession to the Duke d'Havre-Vacillates be-
tween the Bourbons and Napoleon-Decides for Napoleon 213-215
Napoleon disembarks at Cannes-A retrospect-Fouchd's offer
to Louis XVIII. to stop Napoleon's return-Conditions-
The offer declined-Interview with Monsieur 216-220
Fouch6 arrested-Escapes by a ruse. . 221, 222
Napoleon returns to the Tuileries-Fouch6 once more appointed
minister of police-Dissatisfaction-Napoleon suspicious of
him ... 223,224
The new cabinet-Napoleon's forced pledges to the nation-
Liberty of the press restored-Napoleon's ingratitude 225-227
Arrest of the Duke d'Angouleme; proposal to exchange him
for the crown diamonds 228, 229
Napoleon's retention of the throne opposed by the allied powers
-Endeavours to conciliate foreign opinion--Declared an
outlaw at the congress of Vienna-France terrified-
Fouch6 offers his services to Louis XVIII.-Offer accepted
and sanctioned by Lord Wellington-The Wellesley family. 230-232
Napoleon exiles the royalists and proscribes his former ministers
and adherents 233
Declaration of England and Austria regarding Louis XVIII.-
Fouch6's treachery suspected by Napoleon Narrowly
escapes being shot-Carnot's defence of Fouch6 234-237
Fouche's plans upset by an insurrection in La Vendde-The
insurrection suppressed 238
Murat's troops engage the Austrians-Murat a fugitive-A fatal
omen .. 239
Napoleon's extreme measures to gain popular opinion--The
acte additionnel aux constitutions de l'empire his
downfall-The Emperor and the FEidirs-Disgust of the
army-Fouch6's plain statement to Napoleon 240-242
The assembly on the Champ-de-Mars-Napoleon departs for
the army in Belgium-Fouch6 and Lord Wellington-The
French plan of campaign Was Fouch6 a traitor ? -
Napoleon defeated at Waterloo-" He should have died 243-245
Napoleon's nocturnal arrival at the Elys6e-Advised to seize
the dictatorship-Fouch6 abandons him-The Chamber and
the dictatorship-Lafayette's masterstroke 246,247


The Emperor dictates his act of abdication 248
Efforts to proclaim Napoleon II.-Fouch6's counter efforts to
obtain a provisional government successful-Fouch6 the
head of the government 249-251
The war declared national-Plenipotentiaries sent to the allies
-Their secret instructions : Napoleon II., Bernadotte, or
the Duke of Orleans to be crowned, but not Louis XVIII. 252
Louis XVIII. enters Cambray-The French army makes a
stand under the walls of Paris-Advance of the allies on
the capital-Fouchd corresponds with Lord Wellington-
His reply 253.254
Reply of the allied sovereigns to the French plenipotentiaries-
The provisional government's design regarding the Duke
of Orleans frustrated-Wellington and Blucher evade an
armistice. . . .. 255,256
Napoleon formally asks to be appointed a general-Surrenders
to the English-Fouch6's double dealing-He defends his
conduct-Paris in straits-Blucher's demands-Paris sur-
renders 257-264
Interview between Fouch6 and Wellington-Fouch6's letter to
the King-Retains his office under the new rYgime 265-269
Interview with the King-Proposals rejected-The King immov-
able-The Prussians invade the Tuileries-Carnot denounces
Fouch6 as a traitor 270-272
Louis XVIII. publicly enters Paris-Joy of the royalists-
Examples and punishments-Fouch6's dilemma-The tor-
rent of reaction 273-275
Fouch6 publishes his notes and reports to the world-Conclusion 276, 277



Revolution of March 31st, 1815-Napoleon deposed-A pro-
visional government declared-Restoration of the Bourbons
-Failure of Fouch6's plans concerning the regency 197-202
Fouch6 writes to Napoleon at Elba advising him to quit the
island-Letter to the Count d'Artois 203-206
Fouch6 corresponds with the court of Louis XVIII. on the state
of affairs-Thirst for office 207-212
Return of Napoleon desired by the army-Unsettled government
-Fouch6's confession to the Duke d'Havre-Vacillates be-
tween the Bourbons and Napoleon-Decides for Napoleon 213-215
Napoleon disembarks at Cannes-A retrospect-Fouche's offer
to Louis XVIII. to stop Napoleon's return-Conditions-
The offer declined-Interview with Monsieur 216-220
Fouch6 arrested-Escapes by a ruse 221, 222
Napoleon returns to the Tuileries-Fouch6 once more appointed
minister of police-Dissatisfaction-Napoleon suspicious of
him 223, 224
The new cabinet-Napoleon's forced pledges to the nation-
Liberty of the press restored-Napoleon's ingratitude 225-227
Arrest of the Duke d'Angoul&me; proposal to exchange him
for the crown diamonds 228, 229
Napoleon's retention of the throne opposed by the allied powers
-Endeavours to conciliate foreign opinion--Declared an
outlaw at the congress of Vienna-France terrified-
Fouch6 offers his services to Louis XVIII.-Offer accepted
and sanctioned by Lord Wellington-The Wellesley family. 230-232
Napoleon exiles the royalists and proscribes his former ministers
and adherents 233
Declaration of England and Austria regarding Louis XVIII.-
Fouch6's treachery suspected by Napoleon Narrowly
escapes being shot-Carnot's defence of Fouch6 234-237
Fouch6's plans upset by an insurrection in La Vendee-The
insurrection suppressed 238
Murat's troops engage the Austrians-Murat a fugitive-A fatal
omen. .. 239
Napoleon's extreme measures to gain popular opinion--The
acte additionnel aux constitutions de 1'empire his
downfall-The Emperor and the Fgdi7rs-Disgust of the
army-Fouch6's plain statement to Napoleon 240-242
The assembly on the Champ-de-Mars-Napoleon departs for
the army in Belgium-Fouch6 and Lord Wellington-The
French plan of campaign- Was Fouch6 a traitor ? -
Napoleon defeated at Waterloo-" He should have died 243-245
Napoleon's nocturnal arrival at the Elysee-Advised to seize
the dictatorship-Fouch6 abandons him-The Chamber and
the dictatorship-Lafayette's masterstroke 246, 247





I IMPOSE upon myself a great and weighty task
in again offering myself to all the severity of a public
investigation; but I impose it on myself as a duty, to
destroy the prejudices of party spirit and the im-
pressions of hatred. I have, however, little hope that
the voice of reason will have strength enough to make
itself heard in the midst of the clamours of the two
exacerbated factions which divide the political world.
No matter; it is not for the present moment that
I write, but for the sake of a more tranquil period.
As to what concerns the present, let my destiny be
accomplished. And what a destiny, just heaven, has
that been! Of so much greatness and of so enormous
a power-a power which I never abused, except for
the purpose of avoiding still greater evils-what vestige
now remains? That which I least prize, that which
I accumulated for others, indeed remains, and remains
to an individual who, unmoved by passing events,
could have dispensed with wealth altogether-to one
who carried with him into the splendid circle of


official life the moderation of a philosopher and the
sobriety of a hermit. By turns predominant, dreaded
or disgraced, it is true I sought for authority, but I
detested oppression. How many services have I not
rendered ? How many tears have I not dried up?
Dare, if you can, to deny it, you whose united
suffrages I concentred in my own person, notwith-
standing the melancholy events which had so re-
cently passed! Did I not become your protector,
your saviour against your own resentments, and against
the impetuous passions of the chief of the state? I
confess that there never was a more despotic police
than that whose sceptre I grasped; but will you not
also admit that there never was a more protecting
police under a military government, more averse to
violence, more gentle in the means by which it per-
vaded the secret recesses of domestic life, and the
operation of which was less obnoxiously obvious?
Will you not, therefore, admit that the Duke of
Otranto was beyond a doubt the most skilful and the
most moderate of all Napoleon's ministers? I know
that, at the present, you hold a different language-
for this sole reason, that times have changed. You
judge the past by the present; that is not my mode
of judging. I have committed errors-that I grant;
but the good I have done ought to be counterpoised
in the other scale. Plunged in the chaos of public
affairs, occupied with the unravelling of all kinds of
intrigues, I took pleasure in calming hostilities, in ex-
tinguishing passions and conciliating men. It was with
a degree of luxury that I sometimes tasted repose at
the pure spring of my domestic affections, which, in


their turn, did not escape from being poisoned at their
During my recent humiliations, and during my great
misfortunes, can I forget that I was once the supporter
and supervisor of an immense Empire; that my mere
disapprobation endangered its existence, and that it
ran the risk of tumbling to pieces whenever I withdrew
my sustaining hand? Can I forget when, by the effect
of a great reaction, and of a revolution which I fore-
saw, I repossessed myself of the scattered elements of
so much greatness and power, and the whole vanished
like a dream? Yet, nevertheless, I was considered as
far superior, in consequence of my long experience-I
may add, perhaps, of my sagacity-to all those who,
during the catastrophe, suffered the power to escape.
At the present moment, when undeceived upon all
points, I look down from a superior region upon all
the miseries and fallacious splendours of greatness,
when I no longer contend for any object but the
justification of my political intentions, I recognize too
late the extent of the gulf between the contrary parties
who struggle for the government of the universe. I
see and feel that a more powerful First Mover modi-
fies and guides them, with an entire contempt of the
profoundest of our calculations.
It is, nevertheless, but too true that the wounds
of ambition are incurable. In spite of my reason, and
in spite of myself, I am haunted by the delusive chimeras
of power, by the phantoms of vanity. I feel myself
dragged down towards them, as Ixion was riveted to
his wheel. A deep and painful reminiscence weighs
upon my mind.


And will it be said that I refrain from exhibiting
all my weaknesses, all my errors, and all my repent-
ances ? A confession like this, I should think, is a
sufficient pledge of the sincerity of my revelations.
That pledge I owed to the importance of this second
part of the Memoirs of my political life. I am thus
irrevocably placed under the rigorous obligations of re-
tracing all its peculiarities, of unfolding all its secret
mysteries. This is my last labour. I shall, however,
experience some compensating enjoyment in the charms
of reflection, and in the fragrance of a certain number
of recollections: this pleasure I have experienced in
my first narrative.
In preparing these Memoirs, one consoling idea has
never abandoned me: I shall not entirely descend into
the grave-perhaps, I said to myself, into that grave
which already yawns to receive me at the termination
of my exile. I cannot dissemble it from myself. How-
ever I may elude the decay of my spirit, I have but
too strong conviction of the decay of my bodily
strength. Urged as I am to haste by the pursuing
footsteps of destiny, let me proceed with a perfect feel-
ing of sincerity to recapitulate the events which passed
between my disgrace in 181o and my fall in 1815. This
division of the subject is the most serious and the most
thorny of all my political confessions. How many in-
cidents, how many mighty interests, how many con-
spicuous characters, how many acts of turpitude are
associated with the last act of a transitory power! But
fear nothing, enemies or friends; it is not the police
which here denounces; it is history which reveals.
Pretending as I do to raise myself above the in-


fluence of every description of frivolous compromise, I
am not less resolved to place myself beyond the atmo-
sphere of satire and libel, as well as of hypocrisy and
falsehood. That which is disgraceful I will disgrace;
that which is respectable I will respect. In a word, I
will grasp my pen with an unshaking hand; and, in
order that it may not deviate, I will never lose sight
of the synchronism of public events.
From these preliminaries, intended to awaken atten-
tion and stimulate reflection, I am about to pass to
the recital of facts which confirm, of details which
reveal, of traits which characterise. The result will, I
persuade myself, be a picture which may be named, as
the reader pleases, either history or materials for history.
At the end of the first portion of these Memoirs will
be found the discursive point of my history. It is dis-
tinguished by the event of my disgrace, which trans-
ferred the portfolio of the superior state police into the
hands of Savary. It must be borne in mind that the
Empire was then in the zenith of its power, and that
its military limits had no longer any bounds. Possessor
of Germany, master of Italy, absolute disposer of
France, invader of Spain, Napoleon was, moreover, the
ally of the Caesars and of the autocrat of the North.
So dazzling was the halo of his power that the ulcer
of the Spanish war, which was gnawing the vitals of
the Empire in the South, attracted little notice. Every-
where else Napoleon had only to desire in order to
obtain. All moral counterpoise had disappeared from
his government. Everything gave way; his agents,
his functionaries, his dignitaries, exhibited nothing but
a group of flatterers and mutes, anxious to catch the


least sign of his decisions. In short, he had just dis-
missed in me the only individual of his council who
would have dared to restrain his successive encroach-
ments. In me he kept aloof a zealous and watchful
minister, who never spared him useful admonition nor
courageous reproof.
An imperial decree constituted me governor-general
of Rome.1 But I never, for a single moment, thought
that it was the Emperor's wish that I should exercise
so important a trust. This nomination was nothing
but an honourable veil, woven by his policy, in order
to conceal and tone down to the public eye the too
glaring intensity of my disgrace, in the secret of which

1 Letter of the Emperor to M. the Duke of Otranto.
The services which you have rendered us in the difficult
circumstances which have occurred, induce us to confide to you
the government of Rome, until we have provided for the execu-
tion of Article 8 of the Act of the Constitution of the i7th of
last February. We have determined, by a special decree, the
extraordinary powers with which the particular circumstances
in which that department is at present placed require that you
should be invested. We expect that you will continue in your
new post to give us proofs of your zeal for our service and
attachment for our person.
This letter having no other object, we pray God, M. the
Duke of Otranto, to take you into his holy keeping.
(Signed) NAPOLEON.
St. Cloud, the 3rd of June, 181o.

Letter of the Minister of General Police to S.M., I. and R.
I accept the government of Rome to which your Majesty
has had the goodness to raise me, as a recompense for the
humble services which I have been so fortunate as to perform.
I must not, however, dissemble that I experienced a very
poignant regret in quitting your Majesty; I lose at once the


his intimates alone were. I could not be mistaken;
the mere choice of my successor was in itself a
frightful indication. In each saloon, in every family,
in short, throughout Paris, there was a general horror
manifested at seeing the general police of the Empire
thenceforth confounded with the military police of the
chief magistrate ; and, moreover, given up to the
fanatical subserviency of a man who made it his
chief honour to execute the secret orders of his
master. His name alone created a universal mistrust,
a kind of stupor, the impression of which, perhaps,
may have been magnified out of due proportion.
I no longer communicated, except under extreme
precaution, with my intimate friends and private
agents. I soon obtained confirmation of all I had
foreseen. During several days my wife's apartments
were never free from distinguished visits, carefully
masked under the appearance of congratulation on
the subject of the imperial decree which raised me to
the government-general of Rome. I received the con-
fidential testimonies of crowds of exalted personages,
who, while signifying their regrets, assured me that
my retreat would carry with it the disapprobation of
happiness and the information which I daily derived from your
If anything can mitigate that regret, it is the reflection that
I furnish under the circumstances, by my absolute resignation
to the will of your Majesty, the strongest testimony of my
boundless devotion to your person.
I am, with the most profound respect, Sire,
Your Majesty's very humble and most obedient
servant and faithful subject,
Paris, June 3rd, i81o.


all such men as were most esteemed for their in-
fluence or rank in society.
"We are not indeed satisfied," they said, "whether
the regret of the Faubourg St. Germain be not at least
as deep as that displayed by the multitude of conspi-
cuous characters who feel an interest in the fortunes
of the Revolution." Testimonials of this kind offered
to a fallen minister are neither suspicious nor doubtful.
It was necessary for me, in consequence of my
position and the claims of decorum, to put up with
the annoyance of acting in the character of Savary's
mentor during the ddbut of his ministerial noviciate.
It will be readily understood that I did not push my
politeness so far as to initiate him in the upper
mysteries of the political police. I took care not to
give him a key which might one day contribute to
our common safety. Neither did I initiate him in the
tolerably difficult art of arranging the secret bulletin,
the conception and often the digest of which was
properly reserved for the minister alone. The wretched
amount of Savary's experience in this walk was already
known to me. I had previously obtained, without his
being aware of it, copies of the bulletins of his counter-
police. What villainies did they not contain? To
confess the truth, I was so perplexed by his perpetual
questions and stupid self-sufficiency that I amused
myself with telling him old women's tales.'
1 It was, doubtless, this circumstance which since occasioned
the Duke de Rovigo, in referring to Fouch6, to say, "That
personage made us believe a great deal." It must be, however,
understood that this phrase, as we have heard it quoted in
society, comprises all the members of the imperial government.-
Note by the French Editor.


By way of amends, I assumed the air of instructing
him in the forms, the customs, and the traditions of
the office. I particularly magnified the profound views
of the three councillors of state who, under his direc-
tion, were about to search all the recesses of the
administrative police, by quartering France among
them. He was quite dazzled with the measure. I
introduced and frankly recommended to him the chief
agents and missionaries whom I had previously had
under my orders; the only one whom he accepted
was the treasurer, a little round personage, and the
little inquisitor, Desmarets, on whom I never placed
any reliance. This latter individual, endowed with a
certain degree of tact, had instinctively bowed his body
towards the rising sun. To Savary he made a com-
plete stalking-horse.
Nothing in the world was ever more ludicrous than
to see this military minister giving his audiences, spelling
the list of the solicitors, got up by his huissiers of the
ante-chamber, with notes by Desmarets under his eye;
the latter constituted guide-dne for promises and refusals,
which were almost always accompanied by oaths or
invectives. I had not failed to tell him that I had
disobliged the Emperor by being trop bon; and that
he, in order with more efficiency to watch over his
master's valuable days, ought to show himself as replete
with indocility as possible.1 Puffed up by an insolent
self-conceit, he affected, from the first moment of his

1 This would be going much too far for any other individual
but Fouch6; by nature revengeful, and indulging towards the
Duke de Rovigo a hatred, the evidences of which he suffers too
conspicuously to transpire.-Note by the French Editor.


accession to office, to imitate his master in his frequent
fits of passion and his broken and incoherent phrases.
He considered that there was nothing of any utility
in the entire police, but secret reports, espionage, and
the money chest. I had the happiness of beholding
him in the midst of his bouncing fits, as well as of his
mood, on the day when I put in his hands the agreeable
computation of all the budgets which were merged in
the private chest; it appeared to him like a new won-
derful lamp.
I was in positive torture till I got rid of this minis-
terial pedagogueship; but on the other hand I resorted
to pretexts, in order to prolong my stay in Paris.
Ostensibly I carried on my preparations for my departure
for Rome, as if I had never for a moment doubted
that I was about to be installed there. The whole of
my household was arranged upon the scale of a
governor-generalship, and even my equipages were super-
inscribed in large characters, Equipages of the Governor-
general of Rome." Being duly apprised that all my
proceedings for the journey were being watched, I
employed more care in the arrangement of trifles
such as these.
At length, receiving neither decision nor instructions
from court, I requested Berthier to obtain my audience
of leave from the Emperor. The only reply I could
get was that the Emperor had not appointed a day
for my audience, and that it would be prudent, in con-
sequence of the popular gossip, for me to go to my
country-seat, and there await the orders that would
be immediately sent to me. I accordingly went to my


chateau de Ferrieres,1 but not without indulging in
the venial malice of causing it to be inserted in the
Paris journals, by a circuitous means, that I was de-
parted for my new government."
In my last interview with Berthier I had not found
much difficulty in detecting the Emperor's inclinations
towards me. I perceived how impatient he was at
finding public opinion decidedly pronounced against
my dismissal, and as strongly declared against my
successor. Nothing was now recognized in the func-
tions of police but a pro-consulship and a gendarmerie.
All these indications confirmed me in the opinion
that I should with great difficulty escape the con-
sequences of an actual fall.
In fact, I had scarcely reached Ferrieres when a
relation of my wife, who had secretly quitted Paris,
hastened to me at midnight to convey the important
intelligence that I should be arrested on the following

1 The chateau de Ferrieres is distant about three quarters of a
league from the estate of Pont Carr6, emigrant landed property,
about six leagues from Paris, which Fouch6 had acquired from
the state, but for which it is asserted that he had paid the full
value to the proprietor. The chateau of Pont Carr6 being then
in a dilapidated state, it would seem that Fouch6 caused it to
be demolished, and devoted its site to pasture land. Ferrieres
and Pont Carr6, united with immense wooded estates, which are
now attached to them, constitute, according to report, one of
the most magnificent domains in the kingdom; it comprises an
extent of four leagues. It was to the chateau de Ferrieres that
Fouch6 retired immediately after his disgrace, and subsequently
after his return from his senatorship at Aix, as will be seen in
the progress of these Memoirs.-Note by the French Editor.
2 The author almost always neglects dates. We believe that
it was on the 26th of June, i8io.-Note by the French Editor.


day, and that my papers would be seized. Although
the particulars were magnified, the information was
positive; it came from an individual attached to the
Emperor's private cabinet, and long engaged in my
interest. I immediately went to work and stored
away all my most important papers. As soon as the
operation was completed, I resigned myself with stoical
fortitude to whatever might occur; and at eight o'clock
my confidential emissary J- arrived full post with
a letter from Madame de V- in a feigned hand,
informing me that Savary had just told the Emperor
that I had carried off his secret correspondence and
confidential orders to Ferrieres. I saw in the twink-
ling of an eye from whom Madame de V. obtained
her information. It confirmed the first intelligence,
but the papers now appeared to be the only matters
of interest. Although thus reassured as to the subject
of actual violence to my person, I was picturing to
myself the arrival of the chief Sbire and his archers,
when my people informed me that a carriage, preceded
by outriders, was entering the court of the chateau.
But Napoleon, restrained I presume by some remains
of decency, had spared me the mortification of coming
in contact with his police minister. It was Berthier
who entered my apartment, followed by the councillors
of state Real and Dubois.
From their embarrassment I gathered that I had
not entirely lost my influence, and that their mission
was conditional. In fact, Berthier, commencing the
business, told me, with a constrained air, that he came
by the Emperor's orders to demand his correspondence;
that he imperiously insisted upon it; and that if I


refused, the police prefect, Dubois, who was present,
had orders to arrest me and place a seal on my papers.
Real, assuming a tone of persuasion, and addressing
me with more unction as an old friend, begged of me,
nearly with tears in his eyes, to submit to the Em-
peror's wishes. "I," said I calmly, I resist the
Emperor's wishes? Can such a thing enter your
heads ? I who have always served the Emperor with
so great a degree of zeal, although wounded by his
unjust suspicions, even at those times when I served
him most effectually. Come into my closet; search
everywhere, gentlemen. I will give my keys into your
hands; I will myself put you in possession of all my
papers. It is lucky for me that the Emperor has put
me to this unexpected test, from which it is impossible
but that I shall go forth with advantage. The rigorous
examination of all my papers and my correspondence
will give the Emperor means of convincing himself of
the injustice of the suspicions with which the malice
of my enemies alone could have inspired him against
the most devoted of his servants and the most faithful
of his ministers." The calmness and firmness which I
had assumed while making this harangue produced its
effect, and I proceeded in these words: "As to the
private correspondence with me during the exercise of
my functions, as it was of a nature which required its
being buried in eternal secrecy, I partly burned it when
I resigned my office, not wishing to expose papers of
so great an importance to the chances of an indiscreet
investigation. As to the rest, gentlemen, you will still
find, with this exception, the papers which the Em-
peror requires. They are, I believe, in two locked and


ticketed cartons. You will have no difficulty in recog-
nising them, nor will you be likely to confound them
with my private papers, which I give up with the same
frankness to your research. Once more, I fear nothing,
and have nothing to fear from my subjection to this
The commissioners grew perfectly confused with
protestations and excuses. On recovering they pro-
ceeded to examine my papers, or rather I examined
them myself, in the presence of Dubois. I must do
this justice to Dubois, that although he was my per-
sonal enemy, and more especially charged with the
execution of the Emperor's orders, he conducted him-
self with as much reserve as decorum. Whether it
was that he already had a presentiment of his own
disgrace shortly following mine,' or whether he judged
it prudent not to disgust too much a minister who
after two falls could reascend the pinnacle of power.
Influenced probably by my openness,2 the imperial
commission contented itself with some insignificant
papers, which I wished to consign to it; and, in con-
clusion, after the customary forms of politeness, Berthier,
Real, and Dubois re-entered their carriage and returned
to Paris. At the close of night I made my exit by the
little gate in my park, got into the cabriolet of my
homme d'affaires, and, accompanied by a friend, hurried
to Paris, where I was set down incognito at my hotel
1 M. the Count Dubois was succeeded by M. Pasquier, in
his functions of prefect of police, on the i4th of October, 181o.
Fouch6 has intimated one of the motives of his disgrace in the
first part of his Memoirs.-Note by the French Editor.
2The word openness (candeur) was underlined in the original
notes.-Note by the French Editor.


in the Rue du Bac. There I learnt two hours after-
wards (for all my strings were in motion) that the
Emperor, on the report of what had passed at Ferrieres,
had fallen into a violent passion; that after having
broken out in threats against me, he had exclaimed
that I had played off a trick upon the commissioners;
that they were imbeciles; and that Berthier was in re-
gard to state affairs no better than an old woman, who
had suffered himself to be mystified by the craftiest
man in the Empire.
The next day at nine o'clock in the morning, having
concerted my plan, I hastened to St. Cloud, and there
presented myself to the grand marshal of the palace.
" Here I am," said I to Duroc; I am prompted by
the most urgent interest to see the Emperor without
delay, and to prove to him that I am very far from
deserving his cruel mistrust and unjust suspicion. Tell
him, I entreat you, that I am waiting in your closet
till he deigns to grant me a few minutes' audience."
"I will go instantly," replied Duroc, "and I am very
glad to see that you have mixed a little water with your
wine." Such was the exact phrase he used, and it
squared with the idea which I wished to give him of
my deportment. Duroc, returning, took me by the
hand, led me forward, and left me in the Emperor's
closet. From the first aspect and deportment of Na-
poleon, I guessed what was passing in his mind.
Without giving me time to say a single word, he em-
braced me, flattered me, and went even so far as to
testify a kind of repentance for the dissatisfaction he
had expressed with regard to me; then, with an accent
which seemed to say that he himself offered me a


pledge of reconciliation, he concluding by requiring,
and, in short, demanding his correspondence. "Sire,"
I replied with a determined tone, "I have burnt it."
"That is not true; I must have it," replied he, with
compressed vehemence and anger. "It is reduced
to ashes." "Withdraw!" These words were pro-
nounced with a scowling motion of the head and a
withering look. "But, Sire- "Withdraw, I say!"
This was repeated with such emphasis as to dissuade
me from staying. I held ready in my hand a brief
memorial, which I laid on the table as I retired; an
action which I accompanied with a respectful bow.
The Emperor, bursting with anger, seized the paper
and tore it to pieces.
Duroc, who saw me so soon returning, perceiving
neither trouble nor emotion depicted in my appear-
ance, imagined that I was restored to favour. "You
have come off well," said he; "I prevented the
Emperor yesterday from causing you to be arrested."
"You spared him," I returned, "the commission of a
very foolish act-an act which would at all events
have been impolitic, and which would have supplied
malignity with matter to work on. The Emperor by
that means would have scattered alarm among those
individuals who are most devoted to the interests of
his government." I perceived from Duroc's manner
that this was also his opinion, and taking him by the
hand I said, Do not suffer yourself to be alienated,
Duroc; the Emperor stands in need of your prudent
I quitted St. Cloud, somewhat reassured by this
half-confidence of the grand marshal, for which I was


indebted to a mistake; and returned, pondering on the
position of the affair, to my hotel.
I was about to return to Ferrires, after having
dispatched some urgent business, when the Prince de
Neufchttel was announced. "The Emperor," said he,
"is very angry. I never saw him in so violent a
passion; he has taken it into his head that you have
deceived him, and carried audacity so far as falsely to
maintain to his face that you had burnt his letters, in
order to avoid giving them up. He pretends that it
is a punishable misdemeanor to persist in retaining
them." This suspicion," said I to Berthier, is the
most unjust part of the whole affair. The correspond-
ence of the Emperor would, on the contrary, be my
only guarantee, and if I possessed it I would not give
it up." Berthier urgently implored me to yield; but,
finding me silent, he concluded by threats in the
Emperor's name. "Go to him," I replied, "and tell
him that I have been accustomed for these five and
twenty years to sleep with my head on the scaffold;
that I know the extent of his power, but that I do
not fear it; and add, that if he wishes to make a
Strafford of me he is at full liberty to do so." We
then separated; I more than ever resolved to stand
firm, and scrupulously to retain the undeniable proofs
that all which was most violent and iniquitous in the
exercise of my ministerial functions had been imperiously
prescribed, by orders emanating from the cabinet, and
stamped with the seal of the Emperor.
Neither was it the effect of public disgrace which
I so much feared as ambuscades prepared against me
in darkness. Determined by my own reflections, as


well as the entreaties of my friend and of all I held
most dear, I threw myself into a post-chaise, taking
with me only my eldest son and his tutor. I then
took the road to Lyons; there I found my old secre-
tary Maillocheau, general commissary of police, who
was indebted to me for his place. I obtained from
him all the papers I thought I might want, and rapidly
traversed a great part of France. Thence passing with
the same celerity into Italy, I arrived at Florence with
a boldly conceived design, which I thought was calcu-
lated to secure me from the Emperor's resentment.
But such was the state of my physical irritability, and
the excess of the fatigue with which so rapid and
so long a journey had overwhelmed me, that it was
necessary to give up two entire days to repose, before
I could find myself in a proper condition to provide
for my own safety.
It was not unintentionally, and this I will explain
presently, that I had sought refuge in that classic
land, beloved from time immemorial by gods and men.
Beautiful and free Tuscany, which had at first fallen
under the dominion of the Medicis, subsequently under
the sceptre of the house of Austria, princes who had
always governed it rather in the character of fathers
than of kings, was at that time plunged in the gulf
of the French Empire.
I pass over the delusive cession made by Napoleon
to the Infant of Parma, under the title of King of
Etruria, a cession revoked almost as soon as it was
concluded. Tuscany was reserved for other destinies.
Ever since 1807 Eliza, Napoleon's sister, ruled over it
under the title of grand duchess. And it was I, by


inconsistent and extraordinary vicissitudes! it was I
who now came to place myself under the protection of
a woman I disliked; who formerly giving strength to
the Fontanes and Mol6 coterie, had contributed to my
first disgrace; of that woman of whom I shall have to
say in this place more in her favour than against her,
in order to be just; for I have a habit of speaking
and writing according to the associations of the epoch,
but without passion or resentment. Such ought, in
fact, to be the standing maxim of the statesman; the
past ought in his eyes to appear in no other light
than history; everything is comprised in the present.
When, besides, the question concerns women sub-
jected to the influence of strong passions, it admits of
an easy explanation. At my resumption of office I
had found it expedient to conciliate Eliza. I had
successively protected two individuals, Hin- and
Les-, to whom she was much attached, and who,
within a short interval, had rendered themselves in
the strongest degree necessary to her inclinations.
The one, in the character of a broker, had been bitterly
persecuted by the Emperor; the other, more obscure,
had plunged himself into a disgraceful transaction.
It was not without trouble that I succeeded in hush-
ing the matter up.
I had, moreover, persuaded Napoleon in 1805 to
confer on his sister the sovereignty of Lucca and
Piombino. I was, therefore, almost certain of still
finding the heart of Eliza disposed to feelings of
gratitude; and I did not hesitate to assure myself of
the fact on the very day when my disgrace was aggra-
vated by my last interview with the Emperor. Having


presented myself to the grand duchess, who was then
at Paris to assist in the marriage ceremony, I had
solicited from her, without entirely confiding to her
all the thorny points of my position, letters for her
dominions, through which, as I told her, I was about
to pass, in order to proceed to Rome. Eliza assented
with infinite affability, giving me warm recommenda-
tions, and designating me in her letters by the amiable
epithet of the common friend." This it is necessary
to explain. I had in Tuscany some friends, whom
I had stationed there, to their pecuniary advantage,
and the grand duchess gave them all the latitude I
required to serve me. Such was the steadiness of
their character that I could, without risk, reveal to
them all the difficulties of my situation.
The intelligence received nearly at the same time
from Paris, and from my family, who had stopped
at Aix, brought nothing of a reassuring description.
On the contrary, it portrayed the Emperor, goaded by
Savary and inclined to break out into violence against
my alleged obstinacy, which was termed indiscreet and
even mad. No one at that time could entertain the
idea of a single individual daring to resist the will
of him to whom all things, whether potentates or
nations, bowed the knee. Is it your intention,"
wrote one of my friends to me, "to make yourself
more powerful than the Emperor? My head became
giddy with the supposition, and I was in my turn in-
timidated. In my sleepless nights, and in my dreams,
I imagined myself surrounded by executioners, and
seemed as if I beheld in the native country of Dante
the inexorable vision of his infernal gates. The spectre


of tyranny depicted itself on my imagination with
more frightful features than during the most san-
guinary despotism of Robespierre, who had condemned
me to the scaffold. Here I was less in dread of the
scaffold than of a dungeon. I knew, alas! but too
well the man with whom I had to deal.
My head becoming by degrees more and more
heated, I returned to the first idea which had pre-
sented itself to my mind; and I took the desperate
resolution of embarking for the United States, that
common refuge of the unfortunate friends of liberty.
Secure of Dubois,1 director of police in the grand
duchy, who was indebted to me for his place, I
obtained blank passports, and proceeded to Leghorn,
where I freighted a vessel, giving out that I was
going by sea to Naples, whence I intended to pro-
ceed to Rome. I went on board; I even set sail,
fully determined to pass the straits and cross the
Atlantic. But, just heavens! to what a terrible afflic-
tion was my frail, irritable habit of body subjected!
A dreadful sea-sickness loaded my bosom and tore
my entrails. Vanquished by my sufferings, I began to
regret that I had not attended to the remonstrances
of my friends and family, whose future existence I
was about to compromise. I nevertheless struggled
on, and resisted as much as possible the idea of

1 This individual must not be confounded with Count Dubois,
prefect of police. We have been informed that the Dubois,
director of police in Tuscany, and M. Maillocheau, commissary-
general of police at Lyons, were severely reprimanded by the
Duke of Rovigo for having favoured the furtive journey of
Fouch6. The commissary-general of Lyons was even cashiered.
-Note by the French Editor.


yielding to the influence which oppressed me. But I
had already lost my senses, and was about to expire,
when I reached land. Overwhelmed by this rough
trial, I subsequently declined the offer of a generous
English captain, who wished to convey me to his
native island, on board of a commodious vessel and
a good sailer, promising me at the same time such
attention and antidotes as would secure me against
the return of sea-sickness. I had no longer the
means of complying. I was resolved to endure every-
thing sooner than again trust myself to an element
incompatible with my habits of life. This cruel proof
had, besides, changed my ideas; I no longer saw
objects under the same point of view. By degrees I
perceived that there was a possibility of coming to
some kind of compromise with the Emperor, whose
rage pursued me even to the shores of the Tuscan
Sea. I still wandered there for a short time, in order
to mature my plan, and obtain opportunities for its
realisation. At length, my resolution being taken and
my batteries prepared, I returned to Florence. There
I wrote to Eliza, already well disposed to do me
service. I conveyed a letter to the Emperor, under
cover to her, in which, without flattery or humilia-
tion, I confessed that I was sorry for having displeased
him; but that, being in dread of falling a defence-
less victim to the malignity of my enemies, I had
considered myself entitled, perhaps wrongfully, to re-
tain possession of papers which composed my only
guarantee. That on reflection, and in deep sorrow for
having incurred his displeasure, I had placed myself
under the protection of a princess who, by the ties of


blood as well as by the goodness of her heart, was
worthy of being his representative in Tuscany; that to
her I consigned my vindication, and that I entreated
his Majesty to grant me, under the auspices of the
grand duchess, in exchange for the papers which I had
determined to give up in compliance with his wish,
some kind of indemnity for all the measures and acts
which I might have executed by his orders during the
period of my two ministerial functions; that a pledge
of this description, which was necessary to my security
and repose, would constitute a sacred aegis, capable of
defending me against the attacks of envy and the shafts
of malice; that I had already more than one reason to
believe that his Majesty, out of regard to my zeal and
services, would deign to reopen the only access which
remained to his goodness and justice by permitting me
to retire to Aix, the chief place of my senatorship, and
to reside there in the bosom of my family till further
This letter, sent by estafette to the grand duchess,
had a full and entire effect. Eliza interested herself
zealously. The courier's return announced to me that
the Prince de NeufchAtel, vice-constable, was commis-
sioned by an express order from the Emperor to deliver
to me a receipt in exchange for the correspondence and
orders which the Emperor had addressed to me during
the exercise of my ministerial office, and that I might,
with full security, retire to the chief place of my
In this way, through the intervention of the grand
duchess, was effected, not certainly a reconciliation be-
tween me and the Emperor, but a kind of compromise,


which I should have regarded as impracticable three
weeks before. I was less indebted for it to inclination
on my part, or sincere submission, than to the results
of a sea-sickness, the tortures of which I was, from
habit of body, incapable of supporting.
Restored to my family, I was at length enabled at
Aix to enjoy the tranquillity so necessary to the decay
of my strength and the condition of my mind, which
was irritated without being humiliated. It was not
without a very painful internal contest that I had con-
sented to bend my spirit before the violence of the
despot. If at length I decided upon yielding, it was
by capitulation; but sacrifices such as these are not
made without effort by anyone who feels the native
dignity of man, and who has no other wish than to
live under a reasonable government. There were for
me many other motives of bitterness and alarm in con-
templating the secret and hurried march of a power
which was proceeding to devour itself, and the springs
of which were so familiar to me that their results could
no longer escape the foresight of my calculations.
Although I had reason to believe myself condemned
for a tolerably long term to perfect obscurity and
nullity, this mode of life, which might have conducted
me to apathy and indifference, was very ill accordant
with a mind broken in to the habits and exercise of
great affairs.. What others were blind to I perceived;
flashes of light escaped from the insipid and lying
columns of the Moniteur which attracted my notice.
The cause of the diurnal event was revealed to me by
the very announcement of its result; truth was in my
respect almost always supplied by the affectation of


reserve; and the lucubrations of the chief magistrate
revealed to me alternately the joy and torments of his
ambition. I penetrated the most secret actions, even
to the servile eagerness of his intimate partisans and
most tried agents.
Nevertheless details were wanting; I was too far
from the scene of action. How, for example, could I
divine the sudden incidents and the unforeseen acci-
dents which occurred out of the ordinary circle of
things? There was always some commotion or some
storm in the interior of the palace. If some scattered
and broken rumours of these transpired, they seldom
reached the extreme limits of the provinces without
being altered or mutilated through ignorance or passion.
The inveterate custom of desiring to know every-
thing pursued me; and I yielded the more easily to
it, in the midst of the ennui of a tranquil and mono-
tonous state of exile. By the assistance of steady
friends and faithful emissaries I arranged my secret
correspondence, corroborated by regular bulletins, which,
as they reached me from various quarters, might be
reciprocally checked; in a word, I established my
counter-police at Aix. This amusement, which was at
first weekly, was repeated subsequently more than once
a week, and I was informed of all that occurred in a
more piquante manner.
Such were the occupations of my retreat. There,
surrounded by the calm atmosphere of reflection, my
Parisian bulletins arrived in such a manner as to
stimulate my political meditations. Oh! ever courage-
ous, witty, and faithful V-; you who grasped almost
all the threads of the network of information and of

:...'. ... .....

a ** *
: : .
:..... ... ....

.. *.. ...... ... .-.
S.. o. Q . a


truth; you who, endowed with superior sagacity and
reason, and who, always active and calm, remained
faithful under all circumstances to gratitude and friend-
Sship accept the tribute of respect and tenderness
which my heart longs to renew, even to the moment
of my last sigh. You were not, however, the only
agent employed for the common interest, in weaving
the patriotic web which had been preparing for more
than a twelvemonth, to meet the probable chance of
a catastrophe.1 The amiable and profound D-, the
beautiful and alluring R-, seconded your noble zeal.
You also had your knights of secret mystery enrolled
under the banners of the hidden graces and virtues.
It must be confessed; in the midst of social decom-
position, whether under the Reign of Terror or during
the two directorial and imperial tyrannies, whom did
we find so capable of a rare disinterestedness as to
devote themselves for the common good? Some half-
dozen ladies. What do I say ?-a large number of
ladies, who retained the generosity of their ideas un-
infected by that contagion of venality and baseness
which degrades human nature and bastardises nations.
Alas! we were at that time approaching, after
many misfortunes, the boundaries of that fatal cycle
in which we had everything to deplore or fear as a
nation; we were approaching that frightful future, and
more frightful because it was near, in which every-
thing was likely to be compromised and subjected to
question: our fortune, our honour, our repose. We

1 Fouch6 in this place only lifts a corner of the veil; what
follows will apprise the reader of all which the ex-minister at
present conceals.-Note by the French Editor.

... -*':"" ". : /-*.: .."
... . . ...
~ ~ ~ ""e


had been indebted for them, it is true, to the great
man himself; but that extraordinary personage per-
severed, in spite of the lessons of all ages, in
attempting to exercise a power without counterpoise
and without control. Devoured by the fever of domi-
nation and conquest, raised to the pinnacle of human
authority, it was no longer in his power to stop in
his career.
Thanks to my correspondence and secret infor-
mation, I followed him step by step in his public
proceedings as well as in his private actions. If I did
not lose sight of him, the reason was that the whole
Empire was himself; the reason was that all our
power, all our fortune, resided in his fortune and his
power : an alarming incorporation, beyond a doubt,
because it placed at the mercy of a single man, not
only one nation, but a hundred different nations.
Arrived at the zenith of his power, Napoleon did
not even make a single halt. It was during the two
years which I passed in absence from affairs that the
germ of his decline, which was at first imperceptible,
began to develop itself. On that account I thought,
therefore, to advert in this place to the rapid effects
of it, less for the sake of gratifying a vain curiosity
than of contributing to the utility of history. It will,
moreover, be by means of this highly natural tran-
sition that I shall be conducted without any gap to
the subject of my reappearance1 on the stage of the
world, and my direction once more of state affairs.

1 This word [re-apparition], which well expresses what the
author means, is not French: it is borrowed from the English,
and can only be supplied by a paraphrase.-Note by the French


The year 18o1, at first distinguished by the marriage
of Napoleon and Maria Louisa, and afterwards by my
disgrace, was also rendered remarkable by the disgrace
of Pauline Borghese, the Emperor's sister, and by the
abdication of his brother Louis, king of Holland. Let
us investigate these two events, in order to be better
enabled to explain what followed.
Of the three sisters of Napoleon, Eliza, Caroline,
and Pauline, the latter, who was celebrated for her
beauty, was the individual whom he most loved, without,
however, suffering himself to be subjected by her in-
fluence. Full of levity, inconsistency, and laxity of
morals, without talent, but not without some smartness
and some information, she delighted in splendour, in
dissipation, and all kind of flattery. Never had she
conceived so great a hatred for any man as for Leclerc,
her first husband, and still greater for one of the most
amiable of men, Prince Camille Borghese, to whom
Napoleon had united her by her second marriage. Her
first marriage was what is called a garrison marriage.
Being taken ill, and refusing to follow Leclerc in his
expedition to San Domingo, she was carried by Napo-
leon's orders in a litter on board the admiral's ship.
Consumed by the burning heat of that tropical
climate, and banished by the unfortunate result of that
expedition to the island De la Tortue, she, in order
to divert her mind, plunged into every species of
sensuality. On the death of Leclerc, she hastened to
take ship, not like an Artemisia, nor like the wife of
Britannicus, dissolved in tears, and embracing the
funeral urn of her husband, but free, triumphant, and
eager again to revel in all the luxuries of the capital.


There, for a long while eaten up by a complaint, the
seat of which is an accusing witness against incontinence,
Pauline had recourse to all the treasures of Esculapius,
and recovered. Strange effect of her miraculous cure!
far from impairing her beauty, it derived from it a greater
degree of lustre and bloom, like some curious flowers
which are brought to blossom by manure, and rendered
more beautiful by the rottenness out of which they
Desiring nothing but unrestrained and unlimited
enjoyment, but dreading her brother and his rough
severity, Pauline formed a project, in conjunction with
one of her women, of subjecting Napoleon to the full
dominion of her charms. She employed so much art,
and, so much refinement for the purpose, that her
triumph was complete. Such was the intoxication of
the despot that more than once his familiars heard him
exclaim, on emerging from one of his fits of transport,
that his sister was the most beautiful of the beautiful,
and, in short, the Venus of the age. Her beauty, how-
ever, was only of a masculine description. But let us
lay aside these portraits, which are more worthy of
the pencil of Suetonius and Aretin than of the graving-
tool of history. Voluptuous chateau de Neuilly! mag-
nificent palace of the Faubourg St. Honor if your
walls, like those of the palaces of the kings of Babylon,
could reveal the truth, what licentious scenes would
you not depict in characters of exaggerated size !
For more than a year the infatuation of the brother
for the sister maintained its dominion, although unac-
companied by passion; in fact, no other passion but
that of dominion and conquest could master that


haughty and warlike spirit. When, after the battle of
Wagram and the peace of Vienna, Napoleon returned
in triumph to Paris, preceded by the report of his
approaching divorce with Josephine, he went that very
day to his sister, who was in a state of agitation and
the most anxious anticipation of his return. Never
had she displayed so much love and adoration for her
brother. I heard her say on that very day-for she
was not aware that there was any mystery to be pre-
served towards me-" Why do we not rule in Egypt?
We might then act like the Ptolemies. I might
divorce my husband and marry my brother." I knew
her to be too uninstructed to have conceived such an
idea herself, and immediately detected in it an ejacu-
lation of Napoleon.
The bitter and concentrated disappointment which
Pauline felt may be conceived when some months after
that time she saw Maria Louisa, adorned with all her
native frankness, make her appearance at the nuptial
ceremony and take her seat on the throne by the side
of Napoleon. The imperial court then underwent a
thorough reform in its habits, its morals, and its
etiquette. The reform was complete and rigorous.
From that moment the licentious court of Pauline was
deserted; and that woman, who united all the weak-
nesses to all the graces of her sex, considering Maria
Louisa in the light of a fortunate rival, conceived a
mortal jealousy against her, and nourished the most
intense resentment in the recesses of her heart. Her
health was impaired by it. By the advice of her
physician she had recourse to the waters of Aix-la-
Chapelle, as well for the purpose of recovery as for


that of escaping the ennui to which she was a prey.
Having undertaken her journey, she passed the line of
direction in which Napoleon and Maria Louisa were
travelling towards the frontier of Holland. There com-
pelled to appear at the court of the new Empress, and
eagerly seizing an opportunity of insulting her as much
as possible, she went so far as to make, behind her
back, while she was passing through the salon, a sign
with her two fingers, and that accompanied by an
indecent tittering, which the common people apply, in
their gross style of derision, to credulous and deluded
husbands. Napoleon, who witnessed and was shocked
by the impertinence, which the reflection of the mirrors
had even revealed to Maria Louisa, never forgave his
sister: she that day received an order to withdraw from
court. From that time, disdaining submission, she
preferred to live in exile and disgrace, till the period
of the events of 1814, a period which restored her past
affection, and proved her fidelity to the misfortunes of
her brother.
The disgrace of Louis, king of Holland, was of a
more dignified description.
Up to this time the Emperor had only persecuted and
despoiled legitimate sovereigns, as if by that means he
had really intended, according to his own imprudent
disclosure, to make his own family the most ancient
in Europe. But now, preserving no more terms, he
went so far as to depose a king of his own race, whose
brow he himself had bound with the royal diadem. The
question was asked whether he had proclaimed his
brother King of Holland in order to reduce him to the
condition of his prefect. Louis, who was of a mild


character and a friend of justice, beheld with deep
sorrow the ruin of his kingdom, occasioned by the effect
of that continental system which destroyed all industry
and commerce. He secretly favoured a maritime trade,
notwithstanding the threats of his brother, who applied
to his conduct the epithet of fraudeur, exasperated by
seeing himself thus disobeyed, and forgetting that he had
told his brother, when investing him with the royal
office, and in order to vanquish his repugnancy, that
it was much better to die a king than live a prince.
Louis, finding himself incapable of preventing the occu-
pation of his states by the soldiers and custom-house
officers of his brother, abdicated the crown in favour
of his son, announcing his resolution by a message to
the legislative body of Holland in these terms: My
brother, although much exasperated against me, is not
so against my children; he will certainly never destroy
what he has erected for their sakes; he will not take
away their inheritance, since he will never have occasion
to complain of a child who cannot govern for himself.
The Queen, appointed to the regency, will do her utmost
to conciliate the Emperor, my brother. She will be
more fortunate than I, whose exertions have never been
crowned with success; and, who can tell ? perhaps I
may be the only impediment to a reconciliation between
France and Holland. If that be the case, I shall readily
seek consolation in passing the remainder of my life
in wandering and suffering far from the chief objects
of my profoundest affection."
An abdication like this was not undignified. The
message was hardly delivered, when Louis secretly
quitted Holland, and retired to Gratz, in Styria, in the


Austrian states, having nothing more to live upon than
a trifling pension. His wife Hortense, more greedily
disposed, appropriated to herself the two millions of
revenue which Napoleon decreed in favour of his dis-
inherited brother.
This first example of Bonapartean abdication struck
me, and induced me to reflect. Shall I confess the
truth? It gave me the idea of the possibility which
existed of one day saving the Empire, by means of
an abdication imposed upon him who might by his
extravagance compromise its prosperity. It will be
seen in what manner this idea, which was at first
confined to myself, germinated afterwards in other
political heads.
It may be thought that the abdication of Louis
would have disconcerted Napoleon. But was he not
surrounded by men, incessantly occupied with the task
of varnishing over his invasions and encroachments ?
Does anyone want to know what was the rhetoric
employed upon this subject by Champagny, Duke de
Cadore, his minister for foreign affairs, successively
promoted to the highest offices, and of whom Talley-
rand had formed so accurate a judgment when saying
that he was a man fit for every kind of place on the
evening preceding the day of his appointment ? This
minister, so well instructed, commenced by proving, in
a jumble called a report, that the abdication of the
King of Holland, he being incapable of such an act
without the consent of Napoleon, was null by virtue
of that circumstance, and of no effect. From this he
deduced the marvellous inference (and this grand effort
of logic was anticipated) that Holland ought to be


considered as a conquest, and reunited to the French
Empire; an inference which an imperial decree decided
without appeal.
This event had a characteristic scene for its last
act. Napoleon caused the son of Louis, still a child,
and whom he had created Grand Duke de Berg, to be
brought into his presence; and addressed him in the
following short harangue: Come hither, my son!
the conduct of your father afflicts my heart: his dis-
order alone can explain it.1 Come to my arms! I will
be your father; you shall lose nothing by the event;
but never forget, in whatever situation my policy may
place you, that your paramount duty is owing to me;
and that all your duties towards the people committed
to your care are subordinate." .In this manner it was
that Napoleon rent asunder the veil of so measureless
an ambition, that he placed himself above the King of
kings and the sovereignty of all nations.
For the present, let us say a word on the true
cause of the usurpation of Holland: I can speak of
it with so much the more certainty, since it is in some
degree connected with my fall. When the marriage
with an archduchess was resolved on, Napoleon had
a glimpse of a general pacification, which I exerted
myself to mature into a firm and reasonable determi-
nation. I knew by my emissaries that the cabinet of
London was attached to two decisive points: the in-
dependence of Holland and of the Peninsula. With

1 This insinuation of Napoleon against his brother was ca-
lumnious. Louis was melancholy and valetudinarian; but his
sound and right-minded judgment was not affected by that cir-
cumstance.-Note by the French Editor.


Louis at its head, the maintenance of the separation
of Holland might be counted on. As to the Peninsula,
Napoleon would only consent to withdraw his preten-
sions to Portugal, and for this sole reason, that he
found nothing but impediments in the way of his
consummation of the conquest.
I did not, however, despair of filling him with dis-
gust at the occupation of Spain, which had already
cost him so great an effusion of blood, and which
was everything but secure. By his authority, I con-
certed with his brother Louis, during his residence in
Paris, in 18o1, a plan of secret and special negotiation
with London. Louis wrote to his minister of foreign
affairs that Napoleon was so enraged against him and
the English, in consequence of their clandestine trade
with his dominions, that it would be impossible to
prevent the forcible reunion of Holland with France,
unless a maritime peace instantly took place, or, at
least, unless changes in the British system of blockade
and orders of council were effected. He authorised
his minister to come to an understanding with his
colleagues on this head-but always as if acting of
their own accord-and to dispatch to London an
agent, who, being invested with a certain degree of
consideration, might make overtures of negotiation in
their especial names. This agent was instructed in the
first instance to press on the notice of the cabinet of
St. James the immense disadvantage which would
result to the commerce, and even the future safety
of England, should Holland, by means of its union
with the Empire of Napoleon, become an instrument
of aggression in the hands of the latter ; that he


would, doubtless, take measures to preclude it from
all commercial connection.
The ministers of Louis chose for their agent
M. Labouchere, a banker of Amsterdam, who repaired
to London, with instructions to set on foot, in con-
junction with the Marquis of Wellesley, a secret
negotiation. He was more especially to insist on
the necessity of making changes in the execution of
the orders of council of the month of November, 1807.
But the Marquis of Wellesley refused to enter into a
detached negotiation on the subject of Holland, in the
full persuasion that its independence could only be
ensured as long as it was Napoleon's pleasure, and
he till then had shown himself little disposed to
recognize the rights of any of the nations placed
under his influence. However, with a view to sound
the sincere intentions of Napoleon, he authorised,
about the same epoch (April, 18Io), the English com-
missioner Mackenzie, then charged with the function of
continuing the negotiation at Morlaix relative to the
exchange of prisoners, to open a negotiation for a
maritime peace, which was to be concealed by the
ostensible negotiation going on with the French com-
missioner employed to superintend the treaty of ex-
change.' The cabinet of St. James, through the
agency of the commissioner Mackenzie, left to Napo-
leon his choice between three modes of treating; viz.,
Ist. The state of possession before hostilities; 2nd.
The state of present possession; 3rd. Reciprocal
compensation. But Napoleon, intoxicated by his pros-
1 M. the Marquis du Moutier, at this time ambassador from
Charles X., in Switzerland.-Note by the French Editor.


perity, refused to listen to any of these bases of
negotiation, rejecting every description of peace but
that of which he should prescribe the conditions.
From that moment the Marquis of Wellesley
refused to receive any overture from the banker
Labouchere, and even from M. Fagan, whom I had
commissioned to address him with the same view.
The English ministry was too well persuaded of the
efficacy of its system of blockade to accede to any
modification in that respect. The negotiation, there-
fore, was irredeemably broken off; and Napoleon,
perceiving that he could not compel England to yield
to his will, resolved, in the spirit of vengeance, to
invade the kingdom of his brother, hoping by that
means to withdraw Holland for ever from the in-
fluence of English commerce. At the same time he
conceived that he could no longer defer the disgrace
of his minister of police, who incessantly laboured to
bring him back to a reasonable system of administra-
tion and policy. He was the more induced to make
a sacrifice of me in consequence of his private corre-
spondents repeating, in reference to myself, and in
accordance with certain London pamphleteers, "that
he trembled before his own work, without having the
courage to destroy it." He was waiting for the oppor-
tunity for several months past. It has been seen' how
uneasy he was respecting my connection with Berna-
dotte. In this case there appeared to him a more
plausible motive for my disgrace. He pretended that,
under pretext of negotiating on the subject of Holland,
1 In the first part of these Memoirs.-Note by the French


my agents in London had done nothing but abandon
themselves to intrigues and fraudulent speculations:
by that means seeking to make me responsible for
the rupture of a negotiation which had only failed
through his bad faith and domineering spirit. Such
is an elucidation of the true motives of the invasion
of Holland, and of my disgrace, the accuracy of
which I can guarantee.
This system of irreconciliation and violence was
perpetuated by an imperial decree,1 the purport of
which was that all English merchandise which existed
in places subjected to the Emperor's dominions, or
conquered by his arms, should be publicly burnt. This
was an appendix to the Berlin and Milan decrees; that
is to say, that the same steps were to be taken at
Amsterdam and Leghorn as had already been taken
at Berlin, Frankfort, Mayence, and Paris. If the ob-
servation could not here be made, that "to burn was
not to answer," it could at least be said that "to burn
was not to govern."
Such were the consequences of the continental sys-
tem, which, according to silly and dastardly counsel-
lors, was ultimately to put England hors de combat and
deliver the whole world to Napoleon. And this in-
cendiary idea, which became with him in particular a
fixed belief, was nothing but a political tradition, in-
herited by him from the directorial government, which
the jurists of clubs and gazettes had persuaded that
the only way to reduce England was to exclude her
from the ports of the continent.
But in order to do this it was first necessary to
1 From the 19th of October, 181o.


subjugate continental Europe, of which Napoleon did
not yet possess more than one-third; the rest languished
under the dead weight of the kings, his allies, his
friends, or his tributaries. What a spirit reigned in
the notes which the minister Champagny succes-
sively addressed to them, in order to persuade them to
close their ports against all English vessels "That
there was no longer any neutrals for the European
states; that they should not carry on any commerce,
active or passive, on their own account, and that France
alone, by means of licenses negotiated at London, would
provide them with such goods as it was indispensable
for them to receive." Such was the famous continental
system, which tended to abolish the commerce of the
world, and which on that very account was imprac-
ticable. Besides, it would have been soon found neces-
sary to modify it, or rather to merge it in the system
of licenses invented by England.
Bonaparte was, therefore, himself impelled from the
end of 18io to impart a latitude to this system by
granting permission, for a given sum, to introduce into
France a certain quantity of colonial produce; but on
condition of exchanging it for goods of French manu-
facture, which were most frequently thrown into the
sea on account of the difficulties raised by the English
custom-house officers.
And who obtained the greatest profit by this un-
precedented monopoly ? Undoubtedly not the minor
speculators, nor the commissioners tariffs by the great
speculator in chief, who were reduced to little more
than a trivial profit of commission. But the Emperor's
profit was clear and net. Every day he observed, with


an access of joy which he did not disguise, the accu-
mulation of treasure stored in the cellars of the Pavilion
Marsan; they were completely encumbered with them.
These treasures already amounted to near five hundred
millions in specie;' it was a residue of the two milliards
of circulating medium introduced into France by the
effect of conquest. The desire of gold might thus have
superseded eventually the desire of conquest in the mind
of Napoleon, if the inexorable Nemesis had suffered him
to grow old.
To form an idea of the accumulation of wealth
identified with the development of this individual's
power, forty millions of movables and four or five
millions of plate, preserved in the imperial mansions,
must be added to the treasures concealed in the cellars
of the Tuileries; five hundred millions distributed under
the name of dotations to the army; and, finally, the
domain extraordinaire, amounting to more than seven
hundred millions, and which was unlimited, since it
was composed of property "which the Emperor, exer-
cising the right of peace and war, acquired by conquests
and treaties." With such an indefinite text as the
above, it was impossible for anything to escape him.
Already the funds of this domaine extraordinaire were
composed of whole provinces, of states whose fate had
not been decided, and of the produce of confiscations
throughout the Empire. It would have, doubtless,
concluded by absorbing all the public revenues and

1 The voluntary companions of the captive of St. Helena
have since confirmed this disclosure; but they only compute the
especial treasure of their idol in the best times at four hundred
millions.-Note by the French Editor.


property which might chance to escape from the two
other institutions of imperial domains and private
domains. To subject the whole of France to a new
form of vassalage, and attach it to his domain, by
annual fiefs, was also one of the favourite ideas of
What a magnificent regime of military spoliation on
the one hand and of gifts and prodigality on the other!
Whither was it likely to conduct us? To shed our
blood in order to subject the whole world to a state
of vassalage. And, besides, there was but little hope
of satiating the voracity of the favourites and votaries
of an insatiable conqueror.
Such animadversions proceeding from my pen, and
the reflections which accompany them, will occasion
some readers, I doubt not, to smile or sneer. How,
it will be said, was it that this minister, so mortified
because he was disgraced, remained a stranger to the
abuses of lucrative gratuities which he now, perhaps,
exclaims against because their source is dried up ?
Was he not himself loaded with honours and riches?
And who denies it ? What, because a man has shared
in the individual advantages of an outrageous, per-
nicious, and insupportable system, should he abstain
from telling the truth when he has pledged himself
to reveal everything ? The time for reservation is
past. It is, besides, necessary in this place to state
the causes of the fall of the greatest Empire which
ever adorned or desolated the universe.
It will be seen how Napoleon, with very little
interval of delay, voluntarily precipitated himself be-
yond all the bounds of moderation and prudence.


As one consequence of the usurpation of Holland,
he declared in a message addressed to the senate,1
that new guarantees were indispensable to him, and
those which had appeared to him most urgent, was
the reunion of the mouth of the Scheldt, of the
Meuse, of the Rhine, the Ems, the Weser, and the
Elbe; and the establishment of an interior navigation
in the Baltic. Thence resulted a Senatus Consultum,2
decreeing that Holland, a considerable portion of the
north of Germany, and the free towns of Hamburg,
Bremen, and Ltibeck, should thenceforth form an
integral part of the French Empire, and comprise
ten new departments. It was thus that Napoleon,
without thinking of consolidating what he had ac-
quired, incessantly tormented himself with the thirst
for new acquisitions.
This violent incorporation was effected without any
motive of right, even ostensible; without any prepara-
tory negotiation with any cabinet whatsoever; and
under the futile pretext that it was rendered indis-
pensable by the war against England. Napoleon by
this act destroyed even his own creations; neither the
states of the Confederation of the Rhine, nor the
kingdom of Westphalia, nor any other territory were
exempted from furnishing their quota towards this
new spoil of the lion.
But he thus obtained for himself a new frontier
line, which deprived the southern and central pro-
vinces of Germany of all communication with the
northern sea, which passed the Elbe, separated
1 The ioth of December, 181o.
2 Of the 13th of December, 181o.


Denmark from Germany, established itself on the
Baltic, and exhibited a tendency to unite with that
line of Prussian fortresses on the Oder, which we
occupied in spite of treaties.
It will be readily perceived that this of itself was
an act sufficient to disturb the neighboring powers
by thus establishing on the flanks of Germany a new
French dominion; and that by a simple decree, by a
Senatus Consultum, imposed upon a servile senate.
I immediately concluded that the treaty of Tilsit, the
principal object of which was to establish a line of
demarcation between the two empires, was by that
means annulled; and that France and Russia, thus
brought into contact, would not be long before they
would fall to blows.
When I learnt, by means of my correspondents at
Paris, the uneasiness which the junction of the Hanse
towns caused to Russia, Prussia, and even Austria, I
was confirmed in the opinion that there was not only
comprised in that circumstance the germ of a new
universal war, but of a conflict which would finally
decide whether we were to have a universal monarchy
in the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte, or the restoration
of all which the Revolution had dispersed or destroyed.
Alas! with this great question was incorporated
another; namely, the identical question of the interest
of the Revolution, and of the safety of the individuals
who had founded and established it. What was to
become of them? Could I remain cold, alien, and
insensible to so disturbing a future prospect ?
Among the princes recently despoiled was the Duke
of Oldenburg, of the house of Holstein-Gottorp; that


is to say, of the same house as the Emperor of Russia;
and Napoleon thus took away the patrimony of a prince
whom policy urged him to ingratiate. A negotiation
was opened on this subject between the court of St.
Petersburg and the cabinet of the Tuileries. Napoleon,
by way of indemnity, offered the Duke of Oldenburg
the city and territory of Erfurt. When I learnt that
this offer had just been haughtily rejected, that the
Emperor Alexander had, by a formal protest, reserved
the rights of his family from encroachment, and that
his ministers had received orders to present that protest
at the various courts, I no longer entertained a doubt
that war was on the point of breaking out. But, re-
flecting on the circumspect and measured character of
the Emperor Alexander, I concluded that the approach
of the crisis would neither be abrupt nor precipitate.
Let us now pass to the year 1811, during which
all the elements of a frightful tempest were maturing
in the midst of a deceitful calm, the illusions and de-
ceptions of which I detected. From day to day my
Parisian bulletins and my private correspondence be-
came more animated and more unremitting. I will
give a sketch in this place in order to connect the
chain of facts and the most striking details and features,
scarcely allowing myself to combine with them some
short reflections, or some necessary elucidations. I
have, moreover, already said that, anxious as I am to
arrive at the period of my re-entrance into office, an
abridged historical transition, which will conduct us to
the catastrophes of 1813, 1814, and 1815, will be most
accordant with the spirit of my design.
The first event which offers itself to notice is that


of the birth of the child, proclaimed King of Rome on
the 20th of March, 1811, at the first moment of its
existence. As if a son of Bonaparte could not be
born anything else than a king! This sudden revival
of the kingdom of Tarquin the Proud appeared to
some persons in the light of a bad omen. It recalled
too glaringly the spoliation recently operated upon the
Holy See and the oppression exercised upon the person
of the Sovereign Pontiff. Ridiculous reports respecting
the birth of this infant king were propagated, I believe,
in Paris. If these reports-derived at once from the
upper and lower classes-did not prove a hostile state
of public opinion at that epoch against the perpetuity
of the new dynasty, I might dismiss all allusion to
them as unworthy of the dignity of history. Malice
exhibited itself in an ingeniously credulous point of
view. A pretended pregnancy was at first supposed.
As if an archduchess, when becoming barren, could
ever belie the well-known Latin distich. The con-
sequence of this supposition led to another fable,
according to which the King of Rome was identified
with a child lately born from a connection between
Napoleon and the Duchess de M- Some news-
mongers pretended that he was substituted in the place
of a still-born child; others in the room of a female
infant. At all events, the arch-chancellor, Cambac6res,
could not have been mistaken. The calumnies of the
malignant were inexhaustible. It is, however, true that
the labour of Maria Louisa was horribly protracted;
that the accoucheur got bewildered; that the child was
concluded to be dead; and that he was only recovered
from his lethargy by the effect of the repeated report


of a hundred pieces of artillery. As to the Emperor's
transport, it was very natural. Some flatterers inferred
from it, in the first instance, that Napoleon, more
fortunate than Caesar, would have nothing further to
dread from the Ides of March, since the 2oth of
March was distinguished as a day of good fortune
both for himself and the Empire. Napoleon believed
in horoscopes and predictions. What a mistake was
his calculation in March, 1814 and 1815 !
He departed from Rambouillet with Maria Louisa
towards the end of May in order to visit Cherbourg.
On their return to St. Cloud on the 4th of June,
1811, they presided at the baptism of their son, whom
Napoleon, lifting in his arms, himself exhibited to the
numerous assistants. All things seemed to conspire in
announcing the most brilliant destinies for this child.
Three years sufficed to overthrow the colossal power
of his father-and yet the court, the great officers,
the ministers, and the entire Empire went on at that
time in the most unprophetic security. There was
scarcely to be discovered, even by the most sagacious
among us, the least sign of apprehension and vague
Some few days afterwards (the I6th of June, 1811),
Napoleon, opening the session of the legislative body,
announced that the birth of the King of Rome had
accomplished his wishes and fulfilled the prayers of
his people. He spoke of the incorporation of the
Roman states, of Holland, of the Hanse towns, and
of Valois, and concluded by saying that he flattered
himself that the peace of the continent would not be
broken. France easily understood the purport of these


last words, which were not dropped without a design
of preparing the public mind for war.
The ukase intended by the Emperor Alexander to
extricate his Empire out of the embarrassment in
which the continental system retained it was made
known to me. Russia could not renounce her mari-
time commerce for a longer period. I, moreover,
knew that the faction of the old Russians began to
predominate in the councils of Alexander. The ukase
confined the importation of merchandise to certain
specified ports; and among those which were subjected
to tariff no article of French manufacture was found.
I saw in that a retort to the arbitrary seizure of the
Hanse towns.
As to our commerce, compressed from day to day
within our immediate limits, it only existed iri land
carriage; we had no other vessels of burden than
waggons and drays. The great reputation of our in-
dustry was, at that time, based upon the manufacture
of sugar from beetroot. It was a lucky experiment
for certain adventurers in the line of national industry,
who thereby obtained from the government advance
money, premiums, and grants of land. The adminis-
tration exhausted its funds in these juggleries, the
actors of which promised us beetroot sugar at the
same price as colonial. According to my Parisian
correspondents, the Emperor had already under a
glass on his mantelpiece at St. Cloud a loaf of refined
beetroot sugar, which would bear comparison with
the best colonial sugar that ever issued from the
warehouses of Orleans. It was so perfect a specimen
that his minister of the interior had presented it to


him with all the pomp which might correspond with
a rarity worthy of figuring in a museum. Specimens
of it were sent to the prince primate and to all the
little potentates of the Confederation of the Rhine. If
it was beyond the reach of the masses in consequence of
its high price, they had, by way of compensation, under
this policy, syrup of raisins and indigenous coffee of
chicory at a reasonable price. In the midst of this
parsimony of colonial produce, some new manufactures
flourished in the interior, and some hundred manu-
facturers, who shared in the distribution of prizes
and premiums, loudly cried up the activity of our in-
ternal commerce.
All other commerce languished; and, what was
still more deplorable, the people began to suffer from
dearth occasioned by a bad harvest, and aggravated
by the extent of those exportations on which the
government obtained a profit. To say the truth,
indeed, in order to render misery less importunate,
mendicity dep6ts were established in different parts of
the Empire, where one portion of the population was
successively penned up and provided for by means of
economical soups. But the people who persevered in
their panivorous propensities accused the Emperor of
selling our corn to the English. It is certain that
the corn monopoly exercised by Napoleon partly con-
tributed to produce the famine. The spirit which
reigned in the salons was not more favourable to the
Emperor; it was even becoming hostile. Such was
the manner in which public opinion was moulded
since Savary directed it.
That individual, who was dazzled by the pomp of


rank and the illusion of outward circumstances,
imagined that he should arrive at a state of influence
and power, if he possessed creatures, parasites, and
literary men, marshalled at his table and dragooned
to his orders. He conceived that, in order to profit
by my legacy, all that was necessary was to ingratiate
the Faubourg St. Germain without divesting his police
of its odious and irritating qualifications. In a word,
he thought it possible to form the public spirit of the
Empire as Madame de Genlis formed the manners
of the new court. It was then that the famous
dijeaners a la fourchette were established, at which
Savary presided, and at which all the hired jurists,
who corresponded with the Emperor, and all the
journalists who aspired to receive orders and gratifi-
cations, were to be found. It was there that Savary,
animated by his camp habits of dictation and by the
incense of a plentiful breakfast, imparted commands
to each of his guests as to the colour they should
give to the literature of the week.
The direction of this moral portion of the police
was confided to the poet Esmenard, a writer of real
talent, but in so much discredit that I thought it
necessary to keep the bridle constantly in his mouth
whenever I set him to work. Perverting in a short
time the superiority of his position to a bad account,
he completely led the new minister by the nose,
through the application of flattery to his passions and
his absurdities. I had paid due respect to learning
and to letters. My successor, in the very act of pre-
tending to make himself a protector of the Academies,
treated them in a military manner, imposing his own


creatures upon them as candidates; and appearing to
have nothing more at heart than the desire of humiliating
and scandalising the organs of knowledge and of public
opinion. I paid respect to the proprietorship of the
journals; Savary invaded its rights with audacity, and
divided its shares among his familiars and agents. But
in this manner he deprived himself, in consequence of
the degradation of the journals, of one of the principal
levers of public opinion. It was in the same way that
Napoleon took a dislike to Madame de Stael, and, in
concert with the poet Esmenard, did all he could to
injure her; an impolitic persecution, because he thus
made of the numerous coteries of that celebrated woman
a hotbed of opposition to the imperial regime and of
animosity to the Emperor.
In the upper police there was the same system and
the same violence; and there little Desmarets was to be
found acting the part of effective minister. What was
to be expected from a man of such slender talents, and
from the combinations of a minister of his description ?
Awkward inventions, repulsive acts, and a vexatious
practice. Some idea may be formed of it by the follow-
ing example: a certain Baron de Kolly, a Piedmontese,
who was commissioned by the British government to
attempt the liberation of Ferdinand of Spain from his
captivity, disembarked about the beginning of March,
18io, in Quiberon Bay; thence he proceeded to Paris,
where I ordered him to be arrested and conveyed to
the chateau de Vincennes. What, forsooth, does my
successor do ? He imagines a plan of trying Ferdinand's
inclinations, by means of a false Baron de Kolly, supplied
with the papers and the letter of credit belonging to the


real emissary. Ferdinand VII. was, however, upon his
guard; he saw the snare, avoided it, and left Savary
to put the best face he could on his defeat.
The Queen of Etruria, deprived of her states, lived
at Nice, in exile, where she was shamefully treated;
emissaries were sent to induce her to throw herself
into the arms of the English. This unhappy queen,
driven to despair, embraced what appeared to her the
only means of safety; she was arrested and threatened
to be carried before a military commission, and two of
her officers were shot. When there is no conspiracy,
a sham one is easily imagined, or a real one excited.
It was in this manner that some unfortunate inhabitants'
of Toulon, said to be implicated in an obscure plot
against our arsenals, were dragged to punishment in
a city already bleeding with the memory of its past
In the meanwhile opinion remained mute. There
was no more communication; no more confession; no
more confidence among the citizens. It was only in
the interior of the domestic circle, or in the bosom
of friendship, that the public grief dared to express
itself in stifled accents of affliction. In default of
public opinion, the Emperor wished to be supplied
with that which emanated from the salons of Paris.
A factitious opinion was manufactured expressly for
his service by the three hundred police spies, hired
at large salaries. There were, in this manner, several
statistical surveys of public feeling; the five or six
polices supplied theirs. The least insignificant was,
beyond dispute, that of the director-general of posts,
Lavalette. Already a correspondent and confidential


emissary of Napoleon, when he was only a general,
he was au fait to all that was agreeable to him in
this line. The Emperor, who was soon enabled to
appreciate what was wanting in these secret re-
searches, the true spirit of which no one but myself
had seized, demanded facts. These were furnished;
but miserable facts they were ; and he concluded
either by rejecting or not reading them, so tiresome
and incoherent did he find them. In my retreat some
of these bulletins, got up by the pupils of the police
system, were brought to me. At a later period Savary
transcribed from one end to the other all that imme-
diately issued from his own cabinet, believing that he
should by that means impart more importance to his
vague discoveries.
If from the moment of my disgrace the police had
degenerated in its most essential functions, it was the
same with another public office, which was also the
asylum of mystery. I allude to the office of foreign
relations, where, since the resignation of M. de Talley-
rand, the spirit of conquest, of violence, and oppression
were no longer repressed by moderation or restraint.
Napoleon had fallen into the impolicy-and the con-
sequences will be seen by and by-to disgust that
personage, so independent in mind, so brilliant in
talent, and so practised and refined in his taste; who,
moreover, had, by his diplomacy, done him at least
as much service as I myself had been able to render
him in the higher affairs of state, which concerned
the security of his person. But Napoleon could never
forgive Talleyrand for having always spoken of the
war in Spain with a disapproving freedom of speech.


In a short time the salons and the boudoirs of
Paris became the theatre of a secret warfare between
the adherents of Napoleon on the one side and of
Talleyrand and his friends on the other-a war in
which epigrams and bons-mots constituted the artillery,
and in which the victor of Europe was almost always
beaten. This species of satirical encounter contracted
a more serious character, in proportion as the Spanish
war grew more envenomed in its progress. On their
side, M. and Madame de Talleyrand only exhibited
greater kindness to the princes of the house of Spain,
banished to their chateau de Valency by a petty re-
finement of malice on the part of Napoleon. His
pique at Talleyrand's conduct continually augmenting,
he one day perceived him at his levee in the midst
of his courtiers, and hoping, in order to humiliate
him, to take advantage of an affair of gallantry alleged
to have passed at Valency, he put a question to him
which, to a husband, is considered as one of the
greatest of insults. Without exhibiting any emotion
in his countenance, Talleyrand replied in a dignified
manner, "It would be well both for the glory of your
Majesty and myself if the princes of the house of
Spain were never mentioned." Never did Napoleon
display so much confusion as after receiving this
severe lesson, which was couched in the most refined
terms of politeness. All things shortly announced a
complete disgrace, and the position of Talleyrand was
gradually becoming more difficult. His hotel, his
friends, and his servants were given up to a per-
petual espionage, which Savary himself did not even
affect to disguise. He boasted to his familiar partisans

that he kept Talleyrand and Fouch6 in perpetual
alarm. The public drew the inference that the chief
magistrate, by means of his suspicious character, had
deprived himself of the services of two men whose
advice would always have been beneficial; and that
there was not, either in the police department or that
of foreign affairs, sufficient moderation or ability from
the moment of their quitting office. The police was
nothing more than a fruitless and irritating inquisi-
tion. As to foreign affairs, people became accustomed
to look upon treaties as hollow truces or expedients
calculated to lead to new wars. To such a pitch was
this habit brought that no one at last blushed at
making the most scandalous avowals. "We do not
want principles," said Champagny Cadore, who suc-
ceeded Talleyrand, and the same individual who had
presided over the violence exercised on the person of
the Pope and the princes of the house of Spain. Yet,
nevertheless, this same minister, when out of the
diplomatic sphere, or rather beyond the influence of
Napoleon, was one of the mildest men in France in
deportment, and one of the most moderate in opinion.
As it was no longer possible to maintain place except
by flattering the passions of the individual who had
the source of all power and favour, the monopolisers
of imperial policy set themselves briskly to work in
order to accelerate the fall of England and the humilia-
tion of Russia. Memorials and projects followed each
other under cover of the secret police of Desmarets
and Savary, whose function it was to make them-
selves responsible for the daily muster-roll of pro-
jectors. The Emperor no longer received any reports


but those in which the truth of facts and their con-
sequences were either distorted or disguised; he no
longer imbibed any information but such as was derived
from impassioned correspondence, replete with pro-
posals and projects of intrigues, adventures, and acts
of violence.
The idea was at length entertained of manceuvring
England at the same time as Russia. I had endeavoured
without effect, while I held the reins of the superior
police, to calm the Emperor down to more sober ideas
respecting England. The Emperor esteemed the Eng-
lish, and had no especial dislike to England; but he
feared the oligarchy of its government. It was his belief
that England, under a system of this description, would
never suffer him to enjoy a substantial peace, but only
a truce of three years at the utmost, after which it would
be necessary to begin again. I could never succeed
in destroying the prejudices and misapprehensions of the
Emperor on this head. Other persons, by the coarsest
sophistries, inflamed his ruling passion against the nature
of the British constitution, a passion which plunged
him once more into a universal war. It was a revolution
in earnest which Bonaparte wished to effect in England;
he thirsted with a desire to strangle the liberty of the
press and the liberty of parliamentary discussion. In-
duced to wish for the moment when he could behold
that island in her turn delivered up to the horrors of
a political revolution, he sent envoys there, who deceived
him as to its actual condition. I told him a hundred
times that England was as powerful by the effect of
her institutions as of her naval force; but he preferred
believing the representations of interested spies. It was


in the hope of causing internal dissensions to explode
that, during the year 1811, he chiefly occupied himself
with the project of entirely excluding English commerce
from the continent. His emissaries did not fail to
attribute the distress of the manufactures in that king-
dom to the continental blockade, as well as the numerous
bankruptcies, which, during the course of that same
year, struck deadly blows at the stability of English
credit. They announced the approximation of serious
tumults; and maintained that England could not much
longer support a state of war, which cost her more
than fifty millions sterling.
In fact, tumultuous meetings of work-people without
work broke out in Nottinghamshire. The mutineers
assembled in organised bodies, burnt or destroyed the
looms, and committed all kinds of excesses. They de-
scribed themselves to be under the orders of a Captain
Ludd, an imaginary personage, whence they derived
the name of Luddites. The Emperor considered this
in the light of a national wound, which it was his policy
to enlarge like that of Ireland. In a short time, indeed,
the system of insurrection extended its sphere of action,
and involved the neighboring counties of Derby and
Leicester. It was affirmed in the cabinet of Napoleon
that persons of note were not strangers to the com-
motion, and were even its instigators.
In case of serious insurrection, supported by corre-
sponding movements matured in London, the co-opera-
tion, more or less efficacious, of our prisoners, who
amounted to fifty thousand, was calculated upon. Such
was one of the motives which influenced Napoleon in
not consenting to their proposed exchange. As we had


no more than Io,ooo English prisoners in France, but
near 53,000 Spanish and Portuguese, the Emperor
feigned to consent to a cartel, but only in the pro-
portion of one Englishman and four Spaniards or
Portuguese against five Frenchmen or Italians. He
was sure beforehand that England would reject an ex-
change founded upon this principle. In fact, the mere
proposal was scouted by the English ministry.
Napoleon, who increased the rigour of his conti-
nental system, in proportion as he saw the distress of
England increasing, exacted a more complete closing
of the ports of Sweden, to which power he only left
the choice between war with England or with France.
This impolitic rigour exhibited towards an independent
power proceeded in some degree from his discontent
with Bernadotte, who had been proclaimed the year
preceding (the 2Ist of August, 1810), by the unanimous
vote of the Swedish states, prince royal and hereditary
successor of King Charles XIII. This sudden eleva-
tion had not pleased Napoleon at the bottom of his
heart, and his resentment against his old companion in
arms had continually augmented from the period of the
commission, which I had consigned to him in 1809, for
the defence of Antwerp. Napoleon was persuaded that
there was a secret intelligence between Bernadotte and
myself at that time, and that if he had then expe-
rienced any striking reverse, I should have caused
Bernadotte to be proclaimed either First Consul or
Emperor, in order to close the gates of France against
him for ever. It was on this account, on the other
hand, that he saw him depart for the North, in the
first instance, without regret, considering himself too


happy to be delivered from the presence of a man
whom Savary and his familiars represented to him in
the light of an adversary, and who might one day
become formidable. Considering, moreover, for some
months that he should be able to retain him com-
pulsively within the orbit of his own politics, he ad-
dressed note upon note, and injunction upon injunction,
to the government of Charles XIII., to induce it to
keep its ports rigorously closed against English com-
merce. Exasperated that sufficient promptitude was
not exhibited in accomplishing his views, he caused
his privateers to seize such Swedish vessels as were
loaded with colonial produce, and persevered in the
occupation of Pomerania. Mutual complaints being
thus engendered, Napoleon gave new disquietude to
the government of which Bernadotte had become the
hope and the arbiter. The whole of the year 1811
was spent in altercations between the two states.
The knowledge which I had of the character of
Bernadotte gave me sufficient reason to foresee that
he would conclude by throwing himself into the arms
of Russia and England, either to guarantee the in-
dependence of Sweden, or to secure the rights of
inheritance to a crown of which Napoleon plainly re-
vealed that he was envious.
My old ties of connection with the Prince of Sweden,
imparted to the Emperor (as misinterpreted by Savary)
the idea that I secretly excited Bernadotte to maintain
himself in an attitude of opposition to the cabinet of
St. Cloud. I soon learnt, beyond the possibility of
doubt, that I was spied upon, and that my letters were
opened. And here I beg to ask, what would be thought


of me if I had not put myself in a condition to counter-
work the ridiculous investigations of a police, all the
windings of which I was acquainted with ? I was not,
however, ignorant of what was passing at Stockholm,
nor even in the North; I had Colonel V. C-- near
the person of Bernadotte, who supplied me with all
that was necessary to know.
Let us conclude, by some reflections on the Penin-
sular War, our sketch of the political events of 1811,
which will conduct us to the fatal expedition into Russia.
The resistance of the Spanish people had already as-
sumed the character of a national war; and it was
Napoleon himself who had opened this field of battle
on the continent to England's advantage.
Ever since the beginning of 18o1, the war had be-
come so complicated in Spain, it already offered so
many chances to the ambition and the rivalries of the
various generals, that when King Joseph came to Paris
to attend the nuptials of the Emperor, he made an
express demand that all the troops should be with-
drawn, or that they should be placed under his
immediate orders, or rather under the direction of
his major-general. The Emperor took good care
not to grant him the recall of the troops, but he
invested him with their command. Joseph accordingly
took with him from Paris Marshal Jourdan, who bore
the title of major-general to the King of Spain. The
generals-in-chief were subjected to his orders, and were
to hold themselves accountable to King Joseph and to
the Emperor at the same time. But these measures
remedied nothing; there were always several armies,
and the generals depending at once on Paris and


Madrid, took precautions to depend upon neither;
their first and principal object was to remain masters
of the provinces which they occupied, or for which
they were contending with the enemy.
In the meanwhile we had been twice driven from
Portugal, where the English army found infinite re-
sources and a secure place of refuge. All things ought
to have convinced Napoleon that in order to subject
the Peninsula, it was, in the first place, indispensable
to effect the conquest of Lisbon, and compel the
English to re-embark. To this he had, in some sort,
pledged himself in the face of Europe. But his genius
was in fault in this instance, as in many other decisive
circumstances where the irritability and impetuosity of
his character ought to have given way to a greater
breadth of view, or at least to the most ordinary fore-
sight. How could it have escaped his notice that he
was risking not only his Spanish conquest, but even
his own fortune, in suffering a military and hostile
reputation to establish itself in the Peninsula? Europe
had a sufficient number of soldiers; all that she wanted
was a general capable of guiding them, and of making
a stand against the French army, no matter how. It
is incredible how this view of the subject could have
escaped the observation of Napoleon. It was only
through an access of confidence in himself and his
good fortune. With the same fatuity, instead of
marching in person at the head of a formidable
army, to drive Wellington out of Portugal (and this
the state of the continent at that time permitted),
he sent Mass6na there, the most skilful, doubtless, of
his lieutenants, an individual endowed with unusual


courage and remarkable perseverance, whose talent
grew with the increase of danger, and who, when
vanquished, always appeared ready to recommence
the struggle as if he were the victor. But Mass6na,
who was a daring depredator, was also the secret
enemy of the Emperor, who had compelled him to
disgorge three millions of money. Like Soult, he
indulged himself in the belief that he also might be
enabled to win a crown at the point of the sword;
the examples of Napoleon, of Murat, and of Bernadotte
were, besides, so alluring that Mass6na's mind easily
gave way to ambitious visions of reigning in his turn.
Replete with hope, he began his march at the head
of sixty thousand soldiers; but at the very outset of
the first difficulties of the expedition, he received
certain intelligence that the Emperor was disposed to
restore Portugal to the house of Braganza, provided
that England consented to his appropriation of Spain,
and that a secret negotiation was opened for that pur-
pose. Mass6na, piqued and discouraged, suffered the
fire of his military genius to evaporate. Moreover, in
an operation so decisive as that he had undertaken, no
one could supply Napoleon's place ; he alone could
dare to sacrifice from thirty to forty thousand men in
order to carry the formidable lines of Torres Vedras,
which encompassed Lisbon like an actual girdle of
steel. Everything was about to depend, nevertheless,
on the issue of this campaign of 181o, both with re-
ference to Napoleon and to Europe. It showed a real
deficiency of tact and genius to have failed in per-
ceiving this intimate co-relation.
What was the consequence? The campaign failed


Lord Wellington triumphed. Massena, falling into
disrepute, returned to dance attendance in the saloons
of the Tuileries, only obtaining, after a month's solici-
tation, a private audience, in which he detailed the
reverses of the campaign; and, in short, the Peninsular
War, notwithstanding many great exploits, exhibited
upon the whole an alarming aspect. Suchet alone, in
the eastern provinces, transmitted titles of incontest-
able glory to the French name. He effected the
conquest of the kingdom of Valencia, and was always
equal to himself. While he thus rendered himself in
other words independent, Soult, who was not able to
make himself King of Portugal, enacted the part of
king in Andalusia; and Marmont, rallying the wrecks
of the army of Portugal, acted for himself on the
Douro and the Tormes; in a word, the lieutenants of
Bonaparte established distinct military governments,
and Joseph was no more than a fictitious king. He
could no longer quit Madrid without having an army
for his escort ;' more than once he narrowly escaped
being taken by the guerrillas; his kingdom was not
his own; the provinces which we occupied were, in
reality, no more than French provinces ruined by our
armies, or devastated by the guerrillas, who harassed
us without intermission. I lay it down as a position,
that all the reverses subsequent to those of the
Peninsula are attributable to the errors of the cam-
paign of 18io, so falsely conceived and so lightly
undertaken. Towards the end of 1811, Joseph dis-
patched the Marquis of Almenara, invested with full
powers, to sign his formal abdication at Paris, or to
obtain a recognition of the independence of Spain.


But Napoleon, diverting his whole attention towards
Russia, postponed his decision regarding Spain till after
the issue of the great and distant enterprise in which
he was about to engulf himself beyond redemption.
The Russian war was not a war undertaken for
the sake of sugar and coffee, as the vulgar at first
believed, but a war purely political. If the causes of
it have never yet been accurately understood, it is
because they are shrouded by the mysterious veil of
diplomacy; they could only be grasped by enlightened
observers and practical statesmen. The seeds of the
Russian war were inclosed even in the treaty of Tilsit.
In order to prove this position, it will be sufficient for
me to exhibit in this place a sketch of its immediate
results. The foundation of the kingdom of Westphalia
for the Napoleonic dynasty; the accession of the larger
number of the princes of the north of Germany to the
Confederation of the Rhine; the erection of the duchy
of Warsaw, which was meant to be a nucleus for the
entire re-establishment of Poland, a constantly variable
bugbear in the hands of its inventor, and which he
might direct as it best pleased him, either against
Russia or against Austria; the re-establishment of the
republic of Dantzic, of which the independence was
guaranteed, but whose permanent subjection gave to
Napoleon a port and a dep6t of arms on the Baltic;
finally, military roads secured to the French army
across the Russian states, and which broke down
every barrier interposed between France and the
Russian frontiers-such were the conditions to which
the Russian cabinet subscribed in exchange for even-
tual acquisitions in Turkey, which soon turned out


to be illusory. It is true this was not the same
with Finland. How, nevertheless, was it possible to
avoid confessing that if the Russian autocrat acknow-
ledged an equal in Napoleon, he also recognized in
him a conqueror, who, sooner or later, would reap the
benefit of his advantages?
But, in the first instance, directing his ambitious
views towards the South, Spain, Portugal, and Spanish
America became the immediate objects of his cupidity.
Thence, the respite which a captious treaty offered to
the Russian Empire. Besides, Napoleon found little
difficulty in fascinating the eyes of those whom he
caressed while he was concerting their ruin. At one
time I looked with a favourable eye at his views upon
Russia; and I confess that, seduced by the grandeur
of his plans, I had once indulged in the hope of
seeing the re-establishment of Poland founded upon
the base of liberty; but Napoleon, repelling Kosciusko,
or, at least, endeavouring to draw him into a maze,
I perceived that his only object was to extend his
dominion beyond the Vistula, and the example of his
ravages in Spain soon restored a greater degree of
sobriety to my judgment.
In fine, it was well understood that the Emperor
Alexander, in order to preserve peace, found it neces-
sary to temporise in all respects with Napoleon, his
cabinet, his ministers, and his ambassadors; and that
it was incumbent upon him not to deviate, in any
respect, from the obligation of acknowledging his
supremacy and of obeying his will.
While proceeding to the conquest of Spain, Napo-
leon had put the finishing hand to his federal system,


and thus prepared the way to universal monarchy.
The last defeat of Austria followed; next the forced
marriage of an archduchess, and the change brought
about in the policy of the latter power. All hope
then vanished for the capacity of the European con-
tinent to shake off the yoke as long as the Emperor
Alexander remained faithful to his alliance with the
chief of the federal Empire, already named, by way
of eminence, the Great Empire. But how was it pos-
sible to breathe in the neighbourhood of so oppressive
an atmosphere of ambition ? Russia already began to
recognize that the infallible results of the continental
system for every nation which submitted to it was the
ruin of commerce and of industry, the establishment
of excessive imposts, the burden of immense armies
nearly foreign to their princes, and of princes in-
capable of protecting their trembling subjects from
the grip of the usurper of Europe.
The Emperor Alexander, after three years of an
ambiguous and burdensome alliance, at length opened
his eyes. It was found necessary to summon all the
strength of his empire, in order to secure his inde-
pendence. Instructed by his emissaries that the anti-
French party, or that of the old Russians, began to
prevail in the cabinet of St. Petersburg, Napoleon re-
turned, with regard to Russia, to his plan of 1805
and 18o6, which he had only at that time postponed
with the view to the better maturing its eventual
This was his plan: to divide or abolish the Rus-
sian Empire, or compel the Emperor Alexander to
make a humiliating peace, followed by an alliance


between Russia, France, and Austria, the basis and
the price of which were to be the restoration of
Poland and the dissolution of the Empire of the
Crescent. This was to be followed by the accession
of all Europe to the continental system, which, in
the case of Bonaparte, was only another name for
universal domination.
But, in the first instance, it was indispensable to
gain Russia by intimidation, or otherwise to make a
deadly war upon her, for the purpose of abrogating
her power, or expelling her into Asia. Exertions were
made at a distance to shake the fidelity of the Poles,
by preparing their minds through the effects of mys-
terious negotiation.
When Napoleon had determined that all the springs
of his diplomacy should be put in motion towards the
North, he changed his minister of foreign affairs, the
complication of so many intrigues and manoeuvres be-
coming too much, not indeed for the zeal, but for the
energy of Champagny-Cadore. Napoleon did not think
himself secure in confiding the weight of affairs so im-
portant to any other person than Maret, the chief of
his secretariate-that is to say, all external affairs
were from that moment concentrated in the single focus
of his cabinet, and received no other impulse than
from him. Under this point of view, Maret, who was
a true official machine, was the very man whom the
Emperor wanted. Without being a bad man, he really
admired his master, all whose thoughts, secrets, and
inclinations he was acquainted with. He was, more-
over, his confidential secretary, and the individual best
acquainted with the art of connecting or transfusing


into grammatical phraseology his effusions and political
imaginations. It was also he who kept the secret
register in which the Emperor made his notes of such
individuals of all countries and parties who might be
useful to him, as well as of men who were pointed out
to his notice, and whose intentions he suspected. He
also kept the tarif of all the pensioned courts and per-
sonages from one end of Europe to the other; in short,
it was Maret who, for a long time past, had directed
the emissaries of the cabinet. Constantly devoted to
the caprices of Napoleon, and opposing nothing but
the calmness of unconquerable resignation to the vio-
lence of the Emperor, it was in perfect good faith,
and under the impression that he was following the
line of his duty, that Maret unscrupulously lent himself
to proceedings which attacked the security of the state.
Never did it enter his mind to dispute the will of
Napoleon; he therefore enjoyed a constantly augmenting
state of favour.
These mysteries of the cabinet, the unusual tone of
some of the notes in 1811, the indication of great
preparations secretly set on foot, and manoeuvres and
external intrigues, awakened the attention of Russia.
The Czar had already found that the time was come
to penetrate Napoleon's projects, and desiring to obtain
some better guarantee than that of his ambassador,
Kourakin, who was perfectly cajoled at St. Cloud, and
himself a partisan of the continental system, he had
dispatched Count Czernitscheff to Paris, ever since the
month of January, on a confidential mission. This
young nobleman, who was colonel in a regiment of
Cossacks in the Russian imperial guard, attracted the


notice of the court of Napoleon, on his first appear-
ance, by his politeness and chivalrous deportment. He
appeared in all circles and at all festivals; and he ob-
tained there, as well as among the highest ranks, so
great a success that he soon became the rage among
all such ladies as contended for the empire of elegance
and beauty.
They all aspired to the homage of the amiable and
brilliant envoy of the Russian Emperor. For some
time he appeared to be doubtful about his choice, but
at length it was to the Duchess of R- that the
Paris of the Neva gave the apple. This intrigue pro-
duced more stir, inasmuch as it was the Emperor, and
not his minister of police, who first suspected that,
under the mask of gallantry, under the exterior of
amiable and showy accomplishments, the Russian
envoy concealed a mission of political survey. Sus-
picions multiplied when he was found to return upon
a new mission in a month after his departure. Con-
founded at the circumstance of having been anticipated
and forewarned by Napoleon, Savary, in order to please
him, commissioned his factotum, Esmenard, to let fly
some pungent satires at the Czar's emissary. The very
evening previous to his arrival (the IIth of April, 1811),
the semi-official scribe inserted in the Journal de l'Em-
pire an article which recorded the career of an officer
named Bower, in the employ of Russia, whom Prince
Potemkin commissioned at one time to hire a dancer
at Paris, at another time to purchase boutargue in
Albania, water-melons in Astracan, and grapes in the
Crimea. The allusion was obvious. Czernitscheff felt
himself insulted, and complained in common with his


ambassador. The intention of Napoleon not being to
hazard a rupture, he pretended to be exasperated at a
satire of which he had himself supplied the idea; and,
by way of reparation, pronounced the ostensible dis-
grace of Esmenard, who was temporarily banished to
Naples, though loaded at the same time with money
and secret favours. These gifts were fatal to him. He
was two months after (the 25th of June, 1811) run
away with by some over-spirited horses, which dashed
him down a precipice on the road to Fondi, and the
unfortunate man was killed by the fracture of his skull
against a rock.
Meantime Napoleon and his ministers never ceased
complaining at St. Petersburg of the effect produced
by the ukase of the 31st of December, which favoured
the interest of England by permitting the introduction
of colonial goods. The Paris journals went so far as
frequently to announce that English vessels were ad-
mitted into Russian ports. From that time all clear-
sighted men felt convinced that a new rupture was
inevitable. It was well understood that the apparent
causes of irritation merely served as disguises for
political complaints, which had become the subject of
animated debates between the two empires. In the
autumn of 1811 the war was considered even in Eng-
land to be imminent, and the cabinet of London was
persuaded that Napoleon could no longer send to his
armies in Spain the reinforcements which his brother
Joseph solicited.
It was also from this epoch-an epoch vividly
depicted on my memory-that by the sole medium of
rumours and conjectures scattered through society, and


repeated in all classes, public prepossession was created,
accompanied by so eager a curiosity, which, during
six or eight months, absorbing all the attention of
the popular mind, concentrated it upon the immense
enterprise which Napoleon was about to undertake.
I was so deeply interested in its contemplation that
I became possessed with the most vehement desire of
drawing nearer to the capital. I hoped to be enabled
to change my relative position there, and by that
means find myself in a condition to present to the
Emperor, while time remained, some observations
calculated to make him abandon his resolution, or
induce him to modify his projects; for a secret pre-
sentiment seemed to warn me that he was in this
case rushing on to his destruction.
Great difficulties, however, obstructed this design.
In the first instance, I could not disguise from myself
that I had become an object of suspicion and dis-
quietude to the Emperor. I knew that an order to
supervise my conduct had been repeatedly given, but
that the superior police had found itself so much at
fault as to be obliged to allege that my great distance
and mode of life rendered all supervision abortive;
that, in a word, I evaded all kind of search with
infinite adroitness. Upon this datum I founded my
chance of success for the direct demand, which I
addressed to the Emperor, through the intervention
of Duroc; and I caused it very adroitly to be sup-
ported by the Count de Narbonne, who was at that
time rising rapidly in favour.
I alleged that the climate of the South was par-
ticularly prejudicial to my health; that such was the


opinion of my physicians; that, moreover, a residence
of some months at my estate of Pont Carr6 was
rendered indispensably necessary by the interests of
my family; that I should experience great pleasure
from being enabled to retire into seclusion, for which
I had always entertained a decided predilection. I
immediately received permission; but Duroc at the
same time confidentially advised me to live at Fer-
ri&res, in the greatest possible privacy, in order to
give no cause of umbrage, especially as I had the
police, as well as a great body of prejudice, arrayed
against me. I consequently changed my residence,
but without display and, if I may so express myself,
incognito. As soon as I arrived at Ferrieres I began
to live in seclusion, receiving nobody, and ostensibly
occupying myself with no other care than that of
benefiting my health, educating my children, and im-
proving my estate. It was necessary to employ infinite
caution, in order to receive from Paris, in the vicinity
of which I now was, that secret information, a thirst
for which I had now nursed into an invincible habit.
Looking to the importance of the conjuncture, I soon
perceived that nothing could be a sufficient substitute
for those confidential conversations which I possessed
the art of drawing out, without ever having an occasion
to reproach myself with breach of confidence. But,
situated as I was, it was only by stealth, and at long
intervals, that I was enabled to obtain a few clandes-
tine interviews with trusty and devoted persons. When
this happened, they always gained access to me, without
the knowledge of my people, by means of a small door,
of which I myself possessed the key, and under cover of


the shades of night. It was in a secret corner of my
chateau that I received them, and where we ran no
risk of being heard or surprised.
Of all the individuals connected with the govern-
ment, or composing a part of it, the estimable and
worthy Malouet was the only one who possessed the
courage to visit me openly and without disguise. It
was this which enabled me to appreciate all the merit
of that worthy man. I was profoundly affected by thus
seeing him defy authority, in order to extend a friendly
hand to an ancient fellow-pupil and companion of his
youth;1 and that notwithstanding we had held opposite
opinions in politics, and were even now distinguished
by strong shades of difference. He had always been
a prudent and moderate royalist, I had been an
enthusiastic republican. Alas! what am I saying ?
However, Malouet had on this account entertained
prejudices of too well-founded a description against
me on his return to France. Those prejudices were
only dissipated when he was enabled to judge for
himself that I was a different man from what he had
supposed, employing the vast power with which I was
invested for no other purpose than to disarm hostile
passions and heal the wounds of the Revolution. He
then did me justice, and concluded by the profession
of an inviolable friendship. This flattering feeling,
which he carried with him to the tomb, is beyond
a doubt the most honourable pledge that I can offer
either to my enemies or my friends.
How deep and exquisite were our mutual moments
1 Fouch6 and M. Malouet had been fellow-students at the
Oratoire.-Note by the French Editor.


of confidence! Although divided by shades of opinion,
we soon found ourselves united on the same ground,
surveying the encroachments of power with the same
eyes, impressed with the same anxieties, and convinced
that Europe was upon the eve of one of the most
terrible social crises which had ever shaken the
nations of the earth. The Russian war, now con-
sidered inevitable, and the extravagant ambition of the
chief magistrate, composed the text of our commen-
taries and reflections. I learnt from Malouet that
Napoleon had proposed to the Emperor of Russia that
the latter should invest his ambassador, Kourakin, with
powers to enter into negotiations on the subject of the
three points in dispute; namely, first, the ukase of the
31st of December, which, according to our cabinet,
had annulled the treaty of Tilsit, and the conventions
consequent upon it; secondly, the protest of the Em-
peror Alexander against the occupation of the duchy
of Oldenburg, Russia having no right, according to
our cabinet, to meddle with anything that concerned
a prince of the Confederation of the Rhine; thirdly,
the order which Alexander had given his Moldavian
army, to direct its march towards the frontiers of the
duchy of Warsaw. But Alexander, whose eyes were
already open to the consequences of his alliance with
Napoleon, eluded the proposition, at the same time
promising to send to Paris Count Nesselrode, who
had superseded Count Romanzoff in his favour.
On a full examination of the matter, we considered
the point in dispute to be nothing but pleas, mutually
put forward, in order to conceal the real question of
state; that question consisted in the power and rivalry


of two empires which had latterly become too proxi-
mate not to be induced to contend for the continental
supremacy. While he regarded as useless and abor-
tive the representations which I proposed to make to
Napoleon on the subject of the danger of this new
war, Malouet did not endeavour to dissuade me from
the attempt; on the contrary, he told me that it was
a kind of protest which I owed to my country, to
myself, and to the importance of the office I had
filled, and which it was proper to make for the ex-
oneration of my conscience. I showed him my sketch,
which he approved, remarking to me, however, that I
ought not to exhibit too much anxiety, since, as
nothing official nor ostensible could be shown to occa-
sion my solicitude, I should have the air of having
intermeddled with a state secret; that it depended on
myself alone to seize the opportune occasion, for
which, according to all probability, I should not have
long to wait. We took leave of each other, and I
resumed my task.
The Emperor, with a view to ingratiate himself
with his new subjects in Holland, departed in Sep-
tember on a journey along the coast. On his return
he immediately commenced occupying himself with
his immense preparations for the Russian war. For
form's sake, some privy councils were held, at which
none but the most servile instruments of power
attended. Never had Napoleon exerted that power,
materially or morally, in a more despotic manner-
retaining his ministers and council of state in a con-
dition of dependence upon him, by means of Senatus
Consulta which emanated from his cabinet, dispensing


with the legislative body by means of the senate, and
with both by means of the council of state, which was
entirely under his thumb. Besides, he never took
the least heed of the advice of his ministers, and
governed less by means of decrees submitted on their
part to his approbation than of acts secretly suggested
to him by his correspondents, his private agents, and
more frequently by his own impulses or impatience.
It has been seen to what a degree flattery had obtained
possession of his court, of his officers, of his ministers,
and council. Panegyric had become so outrageous that
adoration was a matter of command, and from that
moment it became a matter of disgrace.
The rumours of the Russian war daily increasing
in consistency, became, in consequence of the general
fever of the public mind, the subject of all conversation
and all remark. At length the very acts of the govern-
ment began to lift a corner of the veil. A Senatus
Consultum of the 20th of December placed 120,000
men, of the conscription of 1812, at its disposal. The
harangue of the government orator and the report of
the committee of the senate were not made public, and
this furnished additional motives for ascribing everything
to the approaching rupture.
I had settled my ideas as to the amount of the
danger likely to result from a distant war, which would
admit of no comparison with any other; I had nothing
more to do, therefore, than to make a fair copy of my
memorial, which it was now time to present. It was
divided into three sections. In the first I treated of
the unseasonable period selected for the Russian war,
and I drew my principal inferences from the dangers


which would result from undertaking it, at the very
moment when the flames of war in Spain, instead of
being extinguished, were daily augmenting in the
violence of their conflagration. I proved by examples
that it was a combination entirely adverse to the rules
of policy established by conquering nations. In the
second section I treated of the difficulties inherent,
if I may use the phrase, in the war itself; and I deduced
my arguments from the nature of the country and from
the character of the inhabitants, considered under the
double point of view of nobility and people. I did not
omit to notice the character of the Emperor himself,
which I considered myself warranted in concluding to
be falsely judged, or ill comprehended. Finally, in the
third and last section, I treated of the probable con-
sequences of the war, looking at them under the two
hypotheses of a complete success or an entire reverse.
In the first case, I affirmed that the pretence of
arriving at a universal monarchy, through the conquest
of an empire bordering upon China, was nothing but
a magnificent chimera; that from Moscow the conqueror
would inevitably be drawn on to fall at first upon
Constantinople, and thence to proceed to the Ganges,
by the effect of the same irresistible impulse which had
formerly impelled, beyond the bounds of true state
policy, Alexander the Macedonian; and subsequently
another still more profound and reflecting genius,
namely, Julius Caesar, who, on the eve of undertaking
his war against the Parthians (the Russians of that
period), indulged the frantic hope of making the tour
of the world with his victorious legions. It may be
easily perceived that, with this matter for my text, I


could not sink beneath my subject with respect to
general considerations. Sire," said I to Napoleon,
"you are now in possession of the finest monarchy
upon earth; is it your wish incessantly to enlarge its
boundaries, in order to leave the inheritance of an
interminable war to a weaker arm than your own ?
The lessons of history repel the idea of a universal
monarchy. Take care that too much confidence in
your military genius does not induce you to overleap
all the bounds of nature and shock all the precepts
of wisdom.
"It is full time to pause. You have, Sire, reached
that point of your career in which what you have
acquired is more valuable than all which additional
efforts can add to your acquisitions. All new increase
of your dominion, which already passes reasonable
bounds, not only for France-overwhelmed, perhaps,
as she may be said to be, under the weight of your
conquests-but also for the well-understood interest
of your own glory and security; all that your power
can gain in superficial extent, will be lost in substan-
tial value. Pause while you have the time; enjoy,
in short, the advantages of a destiny which is, beyond
a doubt, the most brilliant of all which in modern
times the spirit of social order has permitted a bold
imagination either to desire or possess.
"And what empire is it which you seek to subject?
The Russian Empire, which is enthroned upon the
Pole and supported by eternal snows; which is only
assailable during one quarter of the year; which offers
to its assailants nothing but hardships, sufferings, and
the privations of a barren soil, and of a region uni-


versally benumbed and dead? It constitutes the true
Antaeus of fable, over whom it was impossible to
triumph, except by strangling him in the uplifted
arms. What, Sire! is it your intention to plunge
into the depths of the modern Scythia, without heed-
ing either the rigour and inclemency of the climate,
or the impoverishment of the country which it will
be necessary to pass; nor the roads, lakes, and forests
which are sufficient to arrest your march; nor the
enormous fatigue and unmeasured dangers which
will exhaust your army, let it be as formidable as it
will? True, no force in the world, beyond a doubt,
can prevent you passing the Niemen and plunging
into the deserts and forests of Lithuania; but you
will find the Dwina a much more difficult obstacle to
surmount than the Niemen, and you will still be a
hundred leagues distant from St. Petersburg. There it
will be requisite for you to choose between St. Peters-
burg and Moscow. What a balance of chances, just
heaven! will that be, which will decide the fate of
your march to one or the other of those two capitals!
In one or the other will be found the destiny of the
"Whatever may be your success, the Russians will
dispute with you inch by inch these desert countries,
in which you will find none of the necessaries of war.
You must draw everything from a distance of two
hundred leagues. Whilst you will have to fight, per-
haps, thirty battles, the half of your army will be
employed in defending your lines of communication,
weakened by extension, and menaced and broken by
clouds of Cossacks. Take care lest all your genius be


unable to save your army, a prey to fatigue, hunger,
want of clothing, and the severity of the climate; take
care lest you be afterwards compelled to fight between
the Elbe and the Rhine. Sire, I conjure you in the
name of France, for the sake of your own glory and
of ours, replace your sword in its scabbard. Think of
Charles XII. It is true that prince could not, like
you, command two-thirds of continental Europe, to-
gether with an army of six hundred thousand men;
but on the other hand, the Czar had not four hundred
thousand men and fifty thousand Cossacks. Perhaps
you will say, his heart was of iron, while nature has
bestowed the mildest character upon the Emperor
Alexander; but do not deceive yourself, mildness is
not incompatible with firmness, especially when such
vital interests are at stake. Besides, will you not have
as opponents his senate, the majority of the nobles,
the imperial family, a fanatical people, hardy and
warlike troops, and the intrigues of the cabinet of
St. James ? Even now, if Sweden escape you, it will
be by the sole influence of British gold. Take care
lest that irreconcilable island should shake the fidelity
of your allies; take care, Sire, that your people do not
reproach you with a mad ambition, and do not antici-
pate too much the possibility of some great misfortune.
Your power and glory have laid asleep many hostile
passions; one unexpected reverse may shake all the
foundations of your Empire."
This memorial being finished, I sought an audience
of the Emperor, and was introduced into his cabinet
at the Tuileries. He had scarcely perceived me when,
assuming an easy manner : Here you are, Duke ;


I know what brings you." "What, Sire ? "Yes,
I know you have a memorial to lay before me." It
is not possible." "Never mind; I know it; give me
the paper, I will read it. I am not, however, ignorant
that the Russian war is no more to your taste than
the Spanish." Sire, I do not think that the present
war will be successful enough for us to fight without
risk, and at the same time, beyond the Pyrenees and
the Niemen. The desire and the necessity of seeing
your Majesty's power secured upon a lasting basis have
emboldened me to submit to your Majesty some ob-
servations upon the present crisis." "There is no
crisis; the present is a war purely political; you can-
not judge of my position nor of the general aspect of
Europe. Since my marriage the lion has been thought
to sleep; we shall see whether he does or not. Spain
will fall as soon as I have annihilated the English in-
fluence at St. Petersburg. I wanted eight hundred
thousand men, and I have them. All Europe follows
in my train, and Europe is no longer anything but an
old rotten strumpet, with whom I may do what I
please, with my eight hundred thousand men. Did
you not formerly tell me that you made genius to con-
sist in finding nothing impossible ? Well, in six or
eight months you shall see what plans upon a vast
scale can effect, when united to a power that can exe-
cute them. I am guided by the opinion of the army
and the people rather than by that of gentlemen who
are too rich and who only tremble for me because they
fear any sudden shock. Make yourselves easy; regard
the Russian war as dictated by good sense and by
a just view of the interests and the tranquillity of


all Europe. Besides, how can I help it, if an excess
of power leads me to assume the dictatorship of the
world? Have not you contributed to it, you and so
many others who blame me now, and who are anxious
to make me a good sort of a king (roi debonnaire). My
destiny is not accomplished; I must finish that which
is but as yet sketched. We must have a European
code, a European Court of Cassation, the same coins,
the same weights and measures, the same laws. I must
amalgamate all the people of Europe into one, and
Paris must be the capital of the world. Such, my
lord duke, is the only termination which suits my ideas.
At present you will not serve me well, because you
imagine that all is again to be placed in doubt; but,
before twelve months are over, you will serve me
with the same zeal and ardour as after the victories
of Marengo and Austerlitz. You will see something
superior to all that; and it is I who tell you so.
Farewell, my lord duke; do not let it appear that you
are either disgraced or discontented, and place a little
more confidence in your sovereign."
I withdrew quite thunderstruck, after having made
a profound bow to the Emperor, who turned his back
upon me. Having recovered from the astonishment I
felt at this singular conversation, I began to conjecture
by what means the Emperor could have been so exactly
informed of the object of my proceedings. Not being
able to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion, I hastened
to Malouet, supposing that, perhaps, some involuntary
indiscretion on his part had put the high police, or one
of the Emperor's confidants, upon the scent. I explained
myself; but soon convinced by the protestations of


the most upright man in the Empire that nothing had
escaped him, I found the circumstance still more ex-
traordinary, as I could not fix my suspicions upon a
third person. How then could the Emperor have learnt
that it was my intention to present a memorial to him ?
I was then subject to espionage at Rome. Suddenly
a thought struck me; I recollected that one day a man
had suddenly entered my room without giving my valet
de chambre time to announce him, and had availed
himself of some specious pretext to keep me in con-
versation. After having weighed all the circumstances,
I inferred that he was an emissary; and upon a review
of all that had taken place, my suspicions became still
stronger. I ordered inquiries to be made, and learnt
that this man, whose name was B- was a returned
emigrant, who had purchased, near my chateau, a small
estate, for which he had not yet paid; that he was
mayor of his commune; but was, to all appearance,
an intriguer and an impostor. I procured some of his
writing, and recognized it as that of a former agent,
commissioned at London to be a spy upon the Bourbons,
the emigrants of rank, and the Chouans. I had his
number of correspondence; and this datum enabled
me to set the bureaux at work respecting this worthy
gentleman. One of my former confidential agents under-
took to come at the fact; and succeeded. The affair
was as follows.
Savary, having been ordered by the Emperor to
inform him how the ex-minister Fouch6 was engaged
in his chateau of Ferrieres, presented a first report,
announcing that he was under the surveillance of an
agent sufficiently qualified to fulfil the intentions of


his Majesty. He, however, remarked to the Emperor
that the investigation was of a very delicate nature,
the ex-minister being invisible to all strangers in person,
not even the country people having access to the
chateau. After some research, Savary cast his eyes
upon the Sieur B- Having sent for this man, who
is tall, well-made, of pleasing manners, and an in-
sinuating character, cunning, adroit, possessing great
volubility, and an imperturbable assurance, he said to
him, Sir, you are mayor of your commune; you know
the Duke of Otranto, or, at least, you have been in
correspondence with him, and you must be able to
form some idea of his character and habits; you must
give me an account of what he is doing at Ferrieres;
this information is absolutely indispensable, for the
Emperor requires it." My lord," answered B-- ,
"you have given me a commission extremely difficult
to execute; I consider it as almost impossible. You
know the man; he is distrustful, suspicious, and con-
stantly on his guard; besides, he is inaccessible; by
what means, or under what pretext, can I gain an
entrance into his house? Indeed, I cannot." "It
does not signify," answered the minister; "this com-
.mission, to which the Emperor attaches great im-
portance, must be executed; I expect you will procure
me this intelligence, as a proof of your devotion to
the person of the Emperor. Go, and do not return
without having accomplished your object; I allow you
a fortnight."
B- in the greatest embarrassment, ran about,
making inquiries, and found, through an indirect
channel, that one of my farmers was prosecuted by


my steward for large arrears of rent. He went to
see him, and pretending to be extremely interested for
him, obtained from him the documents relative to
the affair. Furnished with these papers, he took a
cabriolet, and with a face of great concern, presented
himself at the gate of my chAteau, announcing himself
as the mayor of a neighboring commune, who had
taken a great interest in an unfortunate family unjustly
prosecuted. Being first stopped at the gate, he easily
talked over my porter, who allowed him to reach the
grand steps. There my valet de chambre refused to
let him enter my apartment. Without, however, being
disheartened, B- begged, solicited, and entreated so
earnestly that at last he prevailed upon the valet de
chambre to announce him; but, at the moment when
the valet was entering my room, he pushed him on
one side and entered; I was at my writing-desk with
my pen in my hand.
The sudden entrance of a stranger surprised me.
I asked him what was his pleasure: "My lord," said
B- "I am come to solicit from you a favour, an
act of justice and humanity the most urgent; I am
come to entreat you to save an unhappy father of a
family from total ruin"; and here he employed all his
rhetoric to interest me in favour of his client, and ex-
plained the whole affair to me in the clearest manner
possible. After a moment's hesitation, I rose and pro-
ceeded to search in a portfolio for the papers relative
to my farms. Whilst, my back being turned, I was
searching for the documents, B- still speaking,
succeeded in deciphering a few lines of my writing;
and what particularly struck him were the initials,


V. M. I. et R.; he immediately inferred that I was
preparing a memorial to be presented to his Majesty.
Upon returning to my desk, after two or three minutes'
search, and persuaded by the fine speeches of the man,
I settled the affair with him in favour of his client,
with the utmost simplicity, and wished him adieu,
expressing my thanks to him for having given me an
opportunity of performing a praiseworthy action. B-
left me, and immediately proceeded to Savary, to
whom he related the success of his undertaking, and
Savary immediately hastened to make his report to
the Emperor. I confess that when made acquainted
with the details of this piece of mystification I was
extremely chagrined. I could scarcely forgive myself
at having been thus duped by a scoundrel, who for
a long time had sent me secret intelligence from
London, and in whose favour I advanced annually a
sum of twenty thousand francs. It will be seen later
(1815) that I did not allow myself to be actuated by
too great a resentment.
Although this was a wretched intrigue, I yet de-
rived from it an advantageous position, which gave
me more security and confidence, by making me per-
severe in my system of circumspection and reserve.
It was evident that a great part of Napoleon's sus-
picions respecting me was dissipated, and that I had
no longer any reason to apprehend, at the moment
that he was about to penetrate into Russia, being
made the object of any inquisitorial and vexatious
measure. I knew that in a cabinet council, to which
the Emperor had only summoned Berthier, Camba-
c6res, and Duroc, the question had been discussed


whether it would be advantageous to make sure, either
by arrest or severe banishment, of M. de Talleyrand
and me; and that, upon mature consideration, the
idea of this coup d'etat had been rejected as impolitic
and useless; impolitic, inasmuch as it would have
shaken public confidence too much, and aroused appre-
hensions for the future in the minds of the high
officers and dignitaries of the state; useless, because
no act or deed could be laid to our charge as a
motive for such a measure. Engaged, moreover, in the
preparations for the expedition into Russia, the go-
vernment experienced uneasiness more real and dis-
appointments more distressing. France was daily
S suffering more and more from a scarcity of corn.
Risings had taken place in several places; these had
been repressed by force, and military commissions had
condemned to be shot many unfortunate wretches who
had been urged on by despair. It was not without
feelings of horror the public ascertained that, among
the victims of these bloody executions, a woman in
the town of Caen had been included.
It became, however, necessary to withdraw a part
of the veil which concealed the mystery of the vast
hostile preparations of which all the north of Germany
was already the theatre. An extraordinary meeting of
the senate was ordered, for the purpose of receiving
the communication of the two reports which it was
determined should be presented to the Emperor; the
one by the minister for foreign affairs, the other by
the minister for war. The sole object of this farce,
at once warlike and diplomatic, was to obtain a levy
of such men as had escaped the conscription, and the


formation of cohorts of the first ban, according to a
new organisation of the national guard, which divided
into three bans or classes the immense majority of
our male population.
There was no exaggeration this time in consider-
ing France as one vast camp, whence our phalanxes
marched from all parts upon Europe as upon a prey.
In order to colour this levy of those classes which
had been free from the conscription, fresh motives
and new pretexts were necessary, since it was not
desirable at present to reveal the true motives of such
extraordinary measures. Maret spoke to the senate
of the necessity of compelling England to acknowledge
the maritime rights established by the stipulations of
the treaty of Utrecht-stipulations which France aban-
doned at Amiens. But the levy of the first ban of
the national guards was granted by a Senatus Con-
sultum, and a hundred cohorts were placed at the
disposal of the government; we members of the
senate evincing admirable docility and subserviency.
At the same time two treaties of alliance and reci-
procal assistance were signed with Prussia and Austria.
All doubt was now removed. Napoleon was about
to attack Russia, not only with his own forces, but
also with those of Germany and of all the petty
sovereigns who could no longer move out of the orbit
of his power.
War was fully decided upon, when the Emperor
caused his confidential minister to open fresh negotia-
tions with London; but these proposals not only
came late, but were made without any ability. Some
persons who were in the secret of nearly every intrigue


assured me at this time that the cabinet employed
this clumsy expedient in concert with the principal
Russians of the French party. Seeing themselves on
the eve of being expelled from the councils of St.
Petersburg, they imagined that the Emperor Alex-
ander, alarmed at the possibility of an arrangement
between France and England, would re-enter the con-
tinental system to prevent his being isolated, and that
he would once more submit to Napoleon's will. But
however this may be, Maret wrote to Lord Castlereagh
a letter containing the following propositions: To
renounce all extension of territory on the side of the
Pyrenees; to declare the actual dynasty of Spain inde-
pendent, and to guarantee the independence of that
monarchy; to guarantee to the house of Braganza
the independence and integrity of Portugal, as well
as the kingdom of Naples to Joachim and the king-
dom of Sicily to Ferdinand IV. As to the other
objects of discussion, our cabinet proposed to nego-
tiate them upon this basis-that each power should
keep what the other could not wrest from it by the
war. Lord Castlereagh replied that if, by the actual
dynasty of Spain, the brother of the chief of the French
government was meant, he was commanded by his
sovereign to declare candidly that he could not receive
any proposals of peace founded upon that basis.
Here the matter dropped. Ashamed of its over-
tures, our cabinet, whose only object was to have
drawn Russia into some act of weakness, perceived
too late that it had impressed upon our diplomacy a
character of fickleness, bad faith, and ignorance. As
all was transacted in the utmost secrecy, what most

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs