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proceed immediately after the insertion of the following paragraph, which mentions the great historical work, and the state of its forwardness.
“ I do not recollect whether, in any of my former Letters I mentioned, from the anthority of this gentleman, who is the Amanuensis of the Historian, that Buonaparte was seriously and laboriously engaged in writing the Annals of his Life. I had already been informed by the same person, that the Campaigns of Egypt and Italy, and what he styles My Reign of an Hundred Days, or some such title, were completed ;* and that the intermediate periods were in a progressive state. I, therefore, was looking forward to a very curious morning, and hugging myself on the approaching view of such manuscripts as were to be unfolded to me: but this expectation was disappointed by a message from Napoleon to attend bim in his
As I knew that my visit would not be one of mere ceremony, I prevailed upon my companion to accompany me, his interpretations being always given with such aptitude and perspicuity, and besides, afford me time to arrange my answers.” (p. 130–131.)
In our progress through this work, we shall think it ne. cessary to quote little or nothing upon the habits, temper, or peculiarities of Buonaparte; they are matters of comparative insignificance. Our first attention, at least, will be directed to such extracts as will be deemed extremely important as matters of history. Before we proceed, however, we ought to observe, that the authority of this narrator of dialogues between the Imperial Captive and himself is questionable on several accounts: first, because he himself confesses in the paragraph above given, that he was by no means master of the French language, and next, because, notwithstanding this deficiency, he professes to supply not merely the substance of what past, but the very words employed: this is an attempt to furnish an air of authenticity to the details, which defeats its own purpose. We apprehend, besides, that Mr. Warden has endeavoured to give his own questions and answers, as well as his whole deportment, a cavalier air of familiarity and equality which could not be expressed or felt in the presence of such a man as Buonaparte. With this cavete, we shall now present our readers with some of the details, beginning with those events which from their proximity possess the greater interest, and indeed in themselves are the most important. In the first extract we are let into the secret of Buonaparte's hasty abdication in favour of the King of Rome after the battle of Waterloo.
* “ The interval between the abdication of Fontainbleau and that of Paris.
“ -From the information I received in my conversation with our French guests, it appears that the Emperor's 'abdication in favour of his son, is a matter which, as far at least as my knowledge extends, has been altogether misconceived in England: I mean, as referring to the immediate and proximate causes of it. If the communications made to me were correct, (and I am not willing to imagine that they were invented merely to impose on me,) a grand political scheme was contrived by Fouche to outwit his master, and it proved successful. The name of that crafty politician and ready revolutionist is never mentioned by the members of our little cabin Utica without the accompaniment of execrations, which it is not necessary for you to hear, as it would be ridiculous for me to repeat. Not Talleyrand himself is so loaded with them as the arch-betrayer who has been just mentioned. It was, indeed, a decided opinion of the moment among our exiles, that Fouche would contrive to hang Talleyrand; or that the latter would provide an equal fate for the former; and that, if they both were suspended from the same gibbet, it ought to be preserved as an object of public respect for the service it had done to mankind, by punishing and exposing two as consummate offenders as ever disgraced the social world.—The Historiette to which I have alluded, was thus related :
“ On Napoleon's return to Paris, after his disastrous defeat at Waterloo, and when he may be supposed to have been agitated by doubt and perplexity as to the conduct he should pursue in that ex. traordinary crisis; a letter was offered to his attention by the Duke of Otranto, as having been received by the latter from Prince Meta ternich the Austrian minister. It was dated in the preceding April, and the diplomatic writer stated the decided object of his Imperial Master to be the final expulsion of Napoleon the First from the throne of France, and that the French nation should be left to their uninterrupted decision, whether they would bave a monarchy under Napoleon the Second, or adopt a republican form of govern ment. Austria professed to have no right, and consequently felt no intention to dictate to the French nation. The final and ratified expulsion of the Traitor, (such was the expression) is all the Austrian Emperor demands of France.
Napoleon seized the bait; and immediately abdicated in favour of his son; but he had no sooner taken this step, than he discovered the double game that Fouche was playing. The letter was a forgery, and it soon appeared that the Emperor of Austria had it not in his power, if he had ever indulged the contemplation, to clothe his grandson with political character. (p. 22–25.)
It is known, that on the failure of this scheme, Buonaparte's intention was to have made his escape to the United States, and for this purpose he repaired with all speed to Rochfort : what there took place, and led to a change of determination, was related to the author by the Count de las Cases, in the following terms :
« On our arrival at Rochfort, the difficulty of reaching the Land of Promise appeared to be much greater than had been conjectured. Every enquiry was made, and various projects proposed; but, after all, no very practicable scheme offered itself to our acceptance. At length, as a dernier resort, two chasse-marees, (small one-masted vessels) were procured; and it was in actual contemplation to attempt a voyage across the Atlantic in them. Sixteen midshipmen engaged most willingly to direct their course; and, during the night it was thought that they might effect the meditated escape.-We iet,' continued Las Cases, in a small room, to discuss and come to a final determination on this momentous subject ; nor shall I attempt to describe the anxiety visible on the countenances of our small assembly.— The Emperor alone retained an unembarrassed look, when he calmly demanded the opinions of his chosen band of followers as to his future conduct. The majority were in favour of his returning to the army, as in the South of France his cause still appeared to wear a favourable aspect. This proposition the Emperor instantly rejected, with a declaration, delivered in a most decided tone and with a peremptory gesture,—That he never would be the instrument of a civil uar in France. He declared, in the words which he had for some time frequently repeated, that his political career was terminated; and he only wished for the secure asylum which he had promised himself in America, and, all that hour, bad no doubt of attaining. He then asked me, as a naval officer, whether I thought that a' voyage across the Atlantic was. practicable in the small vessels, in which alone it then appeared that the attempt could be made.- I had my doubts,' added Las Cases, 6 and I had my wishes: the latter urged me to encourage the enterprise, and the former made me hesitate in engaging for the probability of its being crowned with success. My reply implicated the influence of them both.--I answered, that I had long quitted the maritime profession, and was altogether unacquainted with the kind of vessels in question, as to their strength and capacity for such a navigation as was proposed to be undertaken in them; but as the young midshipmen who had volunteered their services must be competent judges of the subject, and had offered to risk their lives in navigating these vessels, no small confidence, I thought, might be placed in their probable security. This project, however, was soon abandoned, and no alternative appeared but to throw ourselves on the generosity of England.'
“?• In the midst of this midnight council, but without the least appearance of dejection at the varying and rather irresolute opinions of his friends, Napoleon ordered one of them to act as secretary, and a letter to the Prince Regent of England was dictated. On the
following day, I was employed in making the necessary arrangements with Captain Maitland on board the Bellerophon. That officer conducted himself with the utmost politeness and gentlemanly courtesy, but would not enter into any engagements on the part of his government; and, with the exception of Lieutenant-Colonel Planat, every person in the suite of Buonaparte buoyed themselves up with the hopes that they should receive, at least, the same treatment which had been manifested to Lucien Buonaparte in your country; and with that consolatory expectation we arrived off the coast of England."" (p. 61-64.)
Most of the particulars of the voyage to St. Helena, which could not be very fruitful in events, had reached this country before the return of Mr. Warden; and the conversations which then occurred between him and Buonaparte and the members of his suite, are comparatively uninteresting. The manner in which arrangements were made at St Helena for the reception and accommodation of this extraordinary and most unexpected prisoner, are also well known ; we shall, therefore, pursue our course in quoting such passages as are important, historically considered.
Nothing has excited a greater horror than the charges brought by Sir Robert Wilson against Buonaparte, for inhumanly poisoning his own sick at Jaffa, and butchering his prisoners of late, however, some doubt has been thrown upon the correctness of that account by the travels of Dr. Clarke: the following is given by Mr. Warden as Napoleon's own account of the former.
“On raising the siege of St. Jean de Acre, the army retired upon Jaffa. It had become a matter of urgent necessity.
The occupation of this town for any length of time was totally impractica, ble, from the force that Jezza Pacha was enabled to bring forward. The sick and wounded were numerous, and their removal was my first consideration. Carriages the most convenient that could be formed, were appropriated to the purpose. Some of these people were sent by water to Damietta, and the rest were accommodated, in the best possible manner, to accompany their comrades in their march through the Desart. Seven men, however, occupied a quarantide hospital, who were infected with the plague, and the report of them was made me by the chief of the medical staff; (I think it was Degenette). 'He further added, that the disease had gained such a state of malignancy, there was not the least probability of their continuing alive beyond forty-eight hours.'-I here exclaimed in a dubious tone, the word-seven! and immediately asked whether I was to understand that there were no more than seven.— I perceive," he replied, that you have heard a different account: Most as suredly: General Sir Robert Wilson states fifty-seven or seventyseven; and speaking more collectively, your whole sick and wounded.--He then proceeded: • The Turks were numerous and powerful, and their cruelty proverbial throughout the army. Their practice of mutilating and barbarously treating their Christian prisoners in particular, was well known among my troops, and had a preservative influence on my mind and conduct; and I do affirm, that there were only seven sufferers whom circumstances compelled me to leave as short-lived sufferers at Jaffa. They were in that stage of disease which rendered their removal utterly impracticable, exclusive of the dissemination of the disease among the healthy troops. Situated as I was, I could not place them under the protection of the English: I therefore desired to see the senior medical officer, and observing to bim, that the afflictions
of their disease would be cruelly aggravated by the conduct of the Turks towards them, and that it was impossible to continue in possession of the town, I desired him to give me his best advice on ihe occasion. I said, tell me what is to be done! He hesitated for some time, and then repeated, that these men, who were the objects of my very painful solicitude, could not survive forty-eight hours. I then suggested (what appeared to be his opinion, though he might not choose to declare it, but wait with the trembling hope to receive it from me) the propriety, because I felt. it would be humanity, to shorten the sufferings of these seven men by administering opium. Such a relief, I added, in a similar situation, I should anxiously solicit for myself. But, rather contrary to my expectation, the proposition was opposed, and consequently abandoned. I accordingly halted the army one day longer than I intended; and, on my quitting Jaffa, left a strong rear-guard, who continued in that city till the third day. At the expiration of that period, an officer's report reached me that the men were dead.'
Then, General,' I could not resist exclaiming, no opium was given !' The emphatic answer I received was— No; none!-A. report was brought me that the men died before the rear-guard had evacuated the city.'” (p. 156—159.)
Many remarks of course suggest themselves after reading the above extract, but we forbear to make them, that we may have space to insert what is infinitely more interesting, viz. the relation of the “ massacre of Jaffa” (as it has always been termed in this country) by the very individual under whose orders it was executed.
“ “Well,' he continued, you shall also hear the particulars of El Arish and the garrison of Jaffa. You have read, without doubt, of my having ordered the Turks to be shot at Jaffa.'— Yes, indeed,' I replied, 'I have often heard of that massacre in England: it was a general topic at the time, and treated as a British mind never fails to consider subjects of that description.'—He then proceeded: * At the period in question, General Desaix was left in Upper Egypt, and