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is no ground for admiration at the facility of his success, or for ascribing a predilection in his favour to the bulk of the nation. His route until he reached Grenoble, was through the least populous and most defenceless part of France. When the public authorities and the rabble declared for him, or the army alone, what could the people including the orderly classes of every description, who had “neither arms, nor magazines, nor chiefs, nor union, nor the possibility of these things among themselves?” “The whole nation,” says Pichon, speaking of the first administration of Bonaparte, “was made a conscriptible population; but at the same time being every where disarmed, was entirely at the discretion of the government and troops. It was so fashioned as to furnish the elements of force to the master, but secured from being able to have recourse to force to defend itself against tyranny however atrocious. This state of things is one of the phenomena of our history not the least worthy of attention.”
A great moralist remarks that very few are able to enter into the effects of mere terror as a principle for the concession and support of power. In proportion as the first government of Bonaparte had struck the nation with terror, was the expedition with which she would submit to his second usurpation, on finding, that the source
and agents of that terror, the army
and the revolutionary worthies, were his accomplices; and on being told (what was rendered plausible by the manner of his escape) that he was in league with the
* State of France under the domination of Bonaparte. See also the narrative of Miss Williams, for full confir
A mation of text.
two leading powers of the consederacy by which she had so recently been overcome. Her firofessions of satisfaction would naturally keep pace with her fears, and correspond to the suddenness and impetus of an excitement, which left neither time nor force for hope and loyalty to rally their reason and their courage. Moreover, the number and rapidity of the vicissitudes of government in France during a space of twenty-five years, all with terror in the van, and violence in the rear, marked with unparalleled treachery and servility, had created a peculiar mind in that country for a crisis of the sort; an instinctive selfishness with a view to momentary security for the individual; a habit of immediate submission to any new usurpation, without reflection, and with the affectation of all possible joy. It is necessary to take this view of the subject, to suppose the prevalence of a political fatalism unconnected with social or domestic morality, a fatalism the piteous result of a long train of illusions and casualties combined—that our human nature may have some excuse, may be contemplated without utter disgust, when we advert to the apostacies and perjuries which mark the last revolution. The peculiar character here mentioned had, no doubt, its part in the manifestations of joy so general on the first accession of the Bourbons; but we cannot persuade ourseives, that it was not almost for the whole in whatever alacrity of acknowledgment can be found at the return of Bonaparte. The war of universal defamation waged against the Bourbons with incredible zeal and ubiquity, may have done something to indispose the body of the nation towards their
dominion. Still, it seems impossible they should not have preferred it, after having tasted of the repose,the exemption from the conscription, the alleviation from many pecuniary burdens, the free scope to commerce and manufactures of which it was productive. With our knowledge and opinion of the administration of Bonaparte, and of the moral condition of the mass of the inhabitants of France, we are ready to assert after Mr. Burk,” that four fifths of them would thankfully have taken protection from the emperor of Morocco, and would never have troubled their heads about the abstract principles of the power which snatched them from imprisonment, robbery and murder. Although the submission to the resuscitated imperial government, soon became general, it was far from being universal, or accompanied with the same indications of satisfaction, as had been given on the re-entry of the Bourbons. The inhabitants of the South of the better class, were disposed to take up arms in the royal cause. The confessions made in the Reports of the imperial ministers on the state of the interior, prove how considerable were the hostile movements, and how formidable they would have become, had not the battle of Waterloo so speedily decided the controversy. The acclamations with which Bonaparte pretended to have been followed on his route from Cannes to Paris, proceeded from the lowest rabble. But we will not anticipate the circumstantial narrative which we propose to give of his journey, and ephemeral reign. Great pains have
been taken in France to collect authentic materials for the history of the first, and such as are before us, seemingly entitled to full credit, furnish an account very different from the tale which he caused to be published in the Moniteur immediately after his arrival in Paris. The reservation of the sovereignty of the island of Elba, was, doubtless, made with a view to something more than his personal comfort, or to the exercise of a mock-majesty. The great sums of money which he took away, and which were stipulated to be annually paid to himself and his family, had a destination, and were successfully employed to a purpose, much beyond the wants of iuxury and pageantry.*"The world smiled with a mixture of pity and disdain at the addresses, proclamations and decrees which inaugurated the reign of the emperor of Elba; but must now be sensible that these mummeries were meant to overshadow and facilitate a great design. His panegyrists cannot admit with consisteney, nor will those who have attentively studied his character, that he could find gratification in this farce of sovereignty, or remain by any possibility, content with his new situation. We are disposed to believe that the resumption of the throne of France was concerted at the moment of his abdication, with those about him at Fontainbleau, and that his recommendation to the soldiery to be faithful to the king, the promise of writing the history of his campaigns, the assurances of perpetual resignation to his fate, were perfectly well un
* Policy of the Allies.
* See Lord Castlereagh’s speech of the 7th April, 1815.
derstood, in the true drift, by many of his old coadjutors. It was enough for him to know how the army was to be cherished, and the offices of the government were to be filled, under the Bourbons, to be sanguine in the expectation of regaining the Thuileries. In the island of Elba, he was, from the outset, not a writer of memoirs, or a fantastical mimic, but a serious and indefatigable conspirator, at once the parent and the subject of innumerable dark intrigues. It was not a Dioclesian, or a Charles V. with whom the allies had to deal. While we reject as extravagant the supposition, that the British cabinet could have connived at the escape of Bonaparter-a conduct which, with possible consequences of such moment so plainly in view, would imply either downright insanity, or the blackest malignity— while, we say, we acquit them of this charge, we hold them chiefly to blame for the event, and are at a loss to account for their supineness. The Terror of Europe, and the Scourge of France was in their custody; France and Europe relied on them, so far, whether fairly or not, for security from a relapse into the military chaos.Their vigilance should have been tenfold what it is now, when the means of flight and ultimate success are incalculably less for their prisoner. However mysteriously devised, or skilfully combined, his plan could scarcely, under all circumstances, have eluded a course of close observation; and, with so much at stake, any degree of unguardedness was but little less pardonable than direct collusion. Colonel Campbell, upon whom was devolved a loose, undefined superintendance of the court of Elba, had been, when Bonaparte set sail on
the 26th February 1815, six days absent from Porto Ferrajo, on a visit of private business to lolorence. We have never seen any satisfactory explanation of this act of remissness, and are sure that none can be adduced as relates to the British government, although their agent might be, according to the confident assurances which he gave in his printed account, able to justify himself completely." But one English vessel was descried by the fugitive on his route from Elba to Gulf St. Juan,—a 74—which gave him no trouble, and seemed to be wholly inattentive. The battle of Waterloo has, indeed, yielded a rich harvest of glory, but how uncertain was such a result! and if certain, how poor a compensation, in the eye of humanity, for so terrible an effusion of blood, and so calamitous a revolution: The officers of Bonaparte's band were at a ball given by the Princess Borghèse, his sister, when the general order for embarkation was issued—Sunday 26th February. All hastened on board the fleet prepared for them, which consisted of nine transports, small vessels. In these were distributed four hundred of the old guard, two hundred infantry, a hundred Polish lancers, and two hundred flankers, making a total of nine hundred men. Bonaparte stationed himself on board of the brig, the Inconstant, which contained the four hundred of the guard, and took with him Generals Bertrand, Drouot, Cambronne, and the other principal officers who had followed him in
* The defence of Lord Castlereagh on this head, in his speech of April 5th, 1815, is far from being sufficient. It furnishes, however, much curious information. The adverse reasonings of Lords Wellesley and Grenville, on the same point, in their speeches of the 12th of April, seem to us irresistible.
his adversity. His departure was announced only on the 28th at Porto Ferrajo, in a proclamation from a General Lafii whom he had left as governor of the Island, and who addresses the inhabitants in a strain of mock heroic, correspondent to that with which they had at first greeted their sovereign. They are assured that the emperor attaches the highest importance to their island; that their glory and their happiness depend on their care of his mother and sister confided to their protection, &c. On the same day, the 28th, Colonel Campbell returned to Porto Ferrajo, and immediately set sail for the coast of France. At two o'clock in the morning of the first of March, he fell in with the Fleur de Lys, the French frigate which we have already mentioned, and apprised her of the escape of Bonaparte. The captain, the Chevalier de Garat, gave signs of incredulity, but the English officer, without taking offence, requested permission to write, in his cabin, a dispatch to the British ambassador at Paris, informing him of the event. With this dispatch under his charge, the captain of the frigate consented to steer towards France, and Colonel Campbell followed in the same direction, until the former hailed him again, and suggested the idea, that Bonaparte, on leaving Elba, might have thrown himself upon one of the neighbouring islands, as a better point of departure. The English colonel coincided in this opinion, and veered about to explore the islands. In the mean time, the object of their pursuit was quietly advancing towards the coast of France. On the 27th—Monday—he fell in with the royal French brig the Zephir,
commanded by a Captain fitdrieur, an acquaintance of Lieutenant Taillade who acted as general pilot of the fleet, on board the Inconstant. The two brigs hailed, interchanged civilities, and continued each on its course. The Zefihir was bound to Corsica, and the bearer, for the second or third time, of the order for the recall of the Chevalier Garat, of which we have already spoken. On Wednesday the 1st of March about one o'clock P. M. the implerial fleet entered Gulf St. Juan, and a debarkation ensued without delay. Only twenty hours afterwards, as we have said, the Fleur de Lys frigate cast anchor in the same Gulf. The first men landed were stationed as videttes, and arrested some individuals whom chance had drawn to the coast. Among these was the commandant of the national guard of Cannes, who, with his wife, had come for the purchase of olives. They, with the commissary of the marine, had remarked the flag of Elba, on its approach, but imagined it to be employed in the transportation of the sick from Porto Ferrajo. His surprise, when he found himself a prisoner in the hands of the supposed valetudinarians, may be easily conceived. The man and his wife were told by the soldiery that they had brought back the Emfieror, and were not released until two companies had been dispatched, one upon Cannes and the other on Antibes. The ass, which the prisoners had borrowed to bear the load of the olives, was, however, unlucky enough to be retained as good prize. On their return to Cannes, which they had left in a state of profound tranquillity, they found all in the utmost agitation and dis
order. General Cambronne had taken it unawares at the head of forty of the vanguard, and posted them at the principal gate with orders to allow of no egress. He had, moreover, called upon the mayor for three thousand six hundred rations, and summoned him to do homage to the emperor at - Gulf St. Juan. The mayor had granted the rations, but refused the allegiance. At the same time, there had happened a circumstance of particular interest at the gates of Cannes. The duc de Valentinois,” on his way to Monaco, with an escort of Gendarmerie, had appeared before them, and to his great astonishment, found a general officer, Cambronne, in person, decorated with the tri-coloured cockade, who civilly told him he was his prisoner, and requested him to alight from his carriage. The duke professed himself at a loss to comprehend this language, and was still more confounded when he looked round on the platoon of chasseurs that were encircling him, with an air of peremptoriness, of which the spirit could not well be mistaken. He was allowed to remain without, under the eye of Cambronne, who spoke of having sent for orders concerning him to head-quarters, without disclosing to whom they belonged, or intimating the arrival of Bonaparte. When these orders were received, the duke and his suite were conducted to an inn of the town, and closely watched as prisoners. The duke relates, that Cambronne and his brother-officers seemed much agitated, and questioned him, from time to time,
* Prince of Monaco, and a peer of France attached to the Bourbons,
with the greatest earnestness, concerning the state of France, and the dispositions of the people of the south. The soldiers who were appointed to guard him, boasted of several debarkations having taken place; of their emperor being supported by the allied powers, and showed the cross of the legion of honour, which he had given to all" of them previous to their departure. They had been promised an unmolested march to Paris, and instructed to abstain from demonstrations of hostility. During these proceedings at Cannes, Bonaparte was occupied in pacing the great road of Nice, near the beach, and interrogating travellers. The well-mounted horsemen were stopped without exception, not so much with a view to the information they could communicate, as to the confiscation of their horses, of which the invaders stood particularly in need. Much solicitude was felt among them for the fate of the expedition against Antibes, and with good reason; for the detachment sent thither, was arrested and disarmed, not by the garrison, but by the mayor and the inhabitants, who were animated with another sort of zeal. Bonaparte, hearing nothing . from this quarter, dispatched an officer to summon the place; he, also, was arrested; a third was deputed, but encountered the same fate. Disconcerted by this early check, he transferred his watch, about midnight, to the gates of Cannes, at the opening of the road to Grasse. At two o'clock he caused the duke de Valentinois to be brought into his presence. The duke found him, standing alone before a large fire, dressed in gray, and having the tri-coloured cockade in his hat. His guards formed a circle at