« AnteriorContinuar »
duction of Buonaparte and his ame damnée Count Las Cases, whose name and qualities are not new to our readers-nor is it to be considered as a single document, standing on its own intrinsic demerit-it is part of a system of fraud, intrigue, and (to use their own term) of mystification, which these worthies-consistent in their objects and their modes of attaining them-are carrying on in little at St. Helena, as they formerly practised them in gross at the Tuileries.
This Letter, purporting to be addressed to Sir Hudson Lowe, the governor of St. Helena, was written for the sole purpose of being printed and circulated in Europe, to keep alive the interest of the Revolutionists about Buonaparte, which he supposed to be flagging; and for the same object, and about the same time, other publications in various shapes, under different names, but all having the same object, have been disseminated throughout Europe. Of these, that which is best known in England are the Letters of Mr. Warden, who has been made (we will not say the innocent, but) the ignorant tool of the cabal. Our readers will recollect that in our review of this man's work, we ventured to assert-1st, that no such Letters were ever written; and 2d, that Mr. Warden only brought home with him certain notes of conversations with Buonaparte and his followers of which the tone and substance were made to fit, not the truth of the facts, but the object which Buonaparte had to accomplish.
These suspicions have been fully realized.-Mr. Warden, though he affects in an Advertisement to a new edition of his work to take notice of our animadversions,* does not venture to affirm that such Letters ever were written. He confesses indeed that he employed a literary man to correct his work, but alleges that this person added nothing of his own: but, we repeat it, he does not and he cannot deny that the character of letters written from St. Helena, which
This poor man is at once so ignorant and so mulish that he has not been able to correct the errors which we pointed out to him. In his late edition, he still misspels almost all the names he mentions, and in one instance he has made what he thought a correction, which, besides out-blundering all his former blunders, is such a happy satire on the Buonaparte dynasty that it will at once amuse our readers and sink Mr. Warden, if possible, into lower contempt.
He had stated, p. 212, that Buonaparte had lost at Waterloo a necklace given him by his sister the Princess Hortense. Somebody, skilled in the Almanach Impérial, informed him that Hortense was Buonaparte's step-daughter, and not his sister, and that as Warden pretended to have heard the story from General Bertrand, so gross a falsehood threw his whole work into utter discredit. To give therefore some degree of consistency to the story, it was necessary that one of the sisters should replace the daughter, and accordingly Madame la Princesse BORGHESE was suggested :--but Mr. Warden is so profoundly ignorant not only of the names of the family, but even of the French language, that he has, with a delightful stupidity, called this illustrious lady, La Princesse BOURGEOISE! Heaven and earth! her Imperial Highness the Princess Borghese, Duchess of Guastalla and Parma, Vice-Queen of Etruria, a ‘princesse bourgeoise!
was intended to give authority to and to vouch for the authenticity of his work, is false, and that the whole foundation and substance of his apology for Buonaparte (for such it is) was information given him by that person and his followers, and given by them for the purpose of publication.
We have been informed that when Mr. Warden had left St. Helena, it was well known to all the French that he was carrying home notes for publication: and that, on the arrival of a ship from England which brought newspapers and books, Buonaparte heedlessly asked if Warden's book was come. Unluckily, Mr. Warden's book was only published in London about the time when Buonaparte asked the question, and was not known at St. Helena for six weeks after. Whether it was by Buonaparte's desire that Warden gave his publication the shape in which we see it, or whether the surgeon acted from a natural tendency to sophistication, we cannot pretend to say,—it is enough for us to repeat, that his book is a gross imposition; the substance of which are the falsehoods of Las Cases and Buonaparte, and the shape of which is the fabrication of the anonymous editor.
Montholon's paper assumes a more formal character: it is rather a Manifesto than a Letter, and must be received less as a complaint of Buonaparte's grievances than a record and register of his pretensions—a word to the wise of both parties, and a plain intimation that he considers himself, de jure, still Emperor of France.
We have already said that the whole of these transactions belong to history, and that it is our duty not to permit misrepresentations and falsehoods, which we have the means of contradicting, to pass by unrefuted. Buonaparte's character is pretty well known at this day; but, hereafter, the system of fraud which this Jupiter-Scapin practises in great and in little-the now mean, now moustrous frauds which he employs on every occasion, will appear almost incredible, and will require, to obtain the credence of posterity, the full weight of contemporary evidence.
The motion in the House of Peers which Lord Holland founded on these publications has done-whatever may have been his lordship's intention-a great deal of good, by leading to the fullest and most complete overthrow of a fabric which Buonaparte and his followers had been building up for upwards of a year past.
The speech of Earl Bathurst, in reply to Lord Holland and in refutation of Buonaparte, was equally victorious over both. It was triumphant on every point, and was alike distinguished by good taste, easy pleasantry, and irresistible argument. It overwhelmed this precious Manifesto with ridicule and disgrace, and left its hearers amazed at the folly and disgusted at the falsehood of this great effort of Napolione's genius. It is much to be regretted that
no full and authentic report of this speech has been published: from the notes, however, which were given in the newspapers, we shall be able to collect some important observations; and though the wit and eloquence will have evaporated, the facts, which are still more valuable, will remain.
Buonaparte sets out with protesting against the Convention for his confinement signed on the 2d August, 1815, between England, Russia, Prussia, and Austria. His first ground of protest is, that he is not the prisoner of England. After having placed his abdication in the hands of the representatives of the nation, for the advantage of the constitution adopted by the French people, and in favour of his son, he repaired VOLUNTARILY and FREELY to England, with the view of living there, as a private individual, under the protection of the British laws.'-p. 41.
We shall not here repeat what we have said about his abdications; we shall only observe of the first that it was un-conditional, and absolute against himself and his descendants-and of the second, in violation of the former, and in favour of his son, that it was the trick of a thief caught in the fact who endeavours to convey his booty to his accomplice. The bare mention of such impudent pretensions is a sufficient refutation. But he repeats, for the ninety-ninth time, and after ninety-nine refutations, the old liethat he repaired voluntarily and freely to England. His pertinacity in this assertion must excuse the repetition of our denial,* which we shall take out of the mouth of his associates. First, let us hear the Count de las Cases in his conversation with Mr. War
When the Emperor quitted Paris, it was with the fixed determination of proceeding to America. On our arrival at Rochefort, the difficulty of proceeding to the Land of Promise appeared to be much greater than had been projected. Every inquiry was made, and various projects proposed, but no very practicable scheme offered itself. At length, as a dernier resort, two chasse-marées were procured, and it was in actual contemplation to attempt a voyage across the Atlantic in them, and it was thought that during the night we might effect our meditated ESCAPE. This project, however, was soon abandoned, (as too dangerous,) and no alternative appeared but to throw ourselves on the generosity of England.'-Warden, pp. 61, 63.
And this same Las Cases came to Captain Maitland's ship in Basque Roads, to ask for passports for America :-they were refused. He next proposed terms of surrender :-they were rejected; and there was no alternative but to surrender at discretion.
General Bertrand also repeated to Mr. Warden, that when Buonaparte consulted him as to surrendering himself to the English,
We beg to refer our readers to Art. III. of our 27th Number, in which this part of the subject is discussed in detail.
he declined to become his counsellor at that critical moment, because he thought it not impossible that his liberty might be endangered by the resolution of that hour.'-Warden, p. 16.
This forced volition and this free necessity remind us of the reluctant alacrity of Bullcalf, who begins by offering to give up his French Crowns, and concludes by protesting that he is ready to go voluntarily, if he cannot help it.—
'Good master Corporate Bardolph, stand my friend, and here is four Harry-ten shillings in French crowns for you.-In very truth, Sir, I had as lief be hanged, Sir, as go; and yet, for mine own part, Sir, I do not care; but rather because I am unwilling, and for mine own part have a desire to stay with my friends; else, Sir, I did not care, for mine own part, so much.'-2d Part Henry IV.
The imperial Bullcalf then goes on
The person of the Emperor Napoleon is actually in the power of England; but he neither has been, nor is, in the power of Austria, Russia, and Prussia, either in fact, or of right, even according to the laws and customs of England, which never included, in the exchange of prisoners, Russians, Prussians, Austrians, Spaniards, or Portugueze, though united to these powers by treaties of alliance, and making war conjointly with them.'-p. 41.
This is an impudent falsehood on a matter now of little importance; but as truth is always worth something, we shall set even this matter right. Buonaparte, in the negociation for the exchange of prisoners of war in 1810, insisted, as a sine qua non, that England should exchange her French prisoners for the allied prisoners in the possession of Buonaparte; and to this principle* England agreed. The negociation broke off, as will be seen by reference to the papers, on points of detail; but the proposition which Buonaparte now denies, was on that occasion advanced by himself, and conceded by England. So much for his veracity in a plain matter of fact.
Having thus strenuously denied that the three sovereigns have any right over him, he, rather inconsistently, proceeds to say, that if they had, they no doubt would, in consideration of alliance and old friendship, have treated him better. It really excites one's indignation to hear Napolione Buonaparte representing himself as four times the benefactor of the Emperor of Austria, because he four times invaded his country, and twice desolated his capitaldescribing as the mere effect of his own good nature and moderation, that the house of Austria had not ceased (like those of Bourbon and Braganza) to reign-and reproaching to that family the bitterest of all the evils he had inflicted upon it, by a sarcastic allusion to the relations which religion and nature have formed beSee the Moniteur of the 2d December, 1810.
tween a father and a child-relations which never are violated with impunity.' (p. 59.) Alas, alas! the Devil can speak truth; and the Emperor of Austria, when he sacrificed his young and innocent child to this bloody Moloch, did indeed violate relations, the contempt of which certainly has not escaped with impunity!
His claims on the good will of the Emperor of Russia are stated with still more effrontery.
Had the person of the Emperor Napoleon been in the power of the Emperor Alexander, he would have recollected the ties of friendship contracted at Tilsit, at Erfurth, and during twelve years of daily correspondence.
He would have recollected the conduct of the Emperor Napoleon the day after the battle of Austerlitz, when, though he could have made him, with the wreck of his army, prisoner, he contented himself with taking his parole, and allowed him to operate his retreat. He would have recollected the dangers to which the Emperor Napoleon personally exposed himself in order to extinguish the fire of Moscow, and to preserve that capital for him-assuredly, that Prince would never have violated the duties of friendship and gratitude towards a friend in misfortune. pp. 43, 45.
To this we have only to observe that the impudence of the man who could thus refer to what had passed before his wanton and flagitious invasion of Russia, and allude to this invasion, not as cancelling former connexions, but as giving him new claims on Alexander's gratitude, is only equalled by the ridiculous absurdity of such a proceeding; the mention, above all, of the destruction of Mosco is a sublime trait of egotism and insensibility; it requires no answer, but we gladly subjoin a remark made upon this passage by Count Rastopchin, the heroic governor of that ill-fated, but illustrious capital.
I was much surprized at seeing, in Buonaparte's Appeal to the British Nation, that he had incurred danger in wishing to save Moscow from the conflagration, in the year 1812. His amazing efforts and greatness of mind were, however, limited to mounting his horse as soon as the fire appeared, and galloping to the distance of two English miles from the town in order to place himself in safety. He passed three days and three nights in a palace in the midst of a corps of troops who bivouacked, and only returned to Moscow on the fourth day, when the conflagration had ceased, after having consumed 7,632 houses. I was well informed of all that was passing in the town by means of six officers disguised, who remained undiscovered during the whole of Buonaparte's stay at Moscow; but on his quitting it, he set fire to the Palace of the Kremlin among others, and to the castle of Petrovsky, which had served him as an asylum during the great conflagration. Perhaps this was done by him as an act of kindness, with the intention of purifying them by fire from the evils he had been the source of. From the tone of this Appeal it would seem that he dictated it at the moment