Imágenes de páginas

above any

Mr. Warden here speaks truly as of himself and his French friends; but it is well known that Sir George Cockburn is as much

such paltry deceit as is here in puted to him, as lie is above giving a person in Buonaparte's situation any intentional offence. The truth, we believe, is, that the newspapers, both English and French, were freely sent to Buonaparte ; and if the contents of the former were ever kept from him, it must have been by Las Cases, who was his usual interpreter; and upon whose veracity in this office, so much of Mr. Warden's own credit infortunately depends.

Mr. Warden affects to relate to us the Abbé de Pradt's famous* account of the interview at Warsaw, and lo! the tall figure who enters the Abbé-Ambassador's hotel wrapped up in fur is--not Caulaincourt-but Cambacérès, poor old gentleman! He cannot even write the name of one of Buonaparte's followers, whom he attended in a dangerous illness, and who studied English under him n; he an hundred times calls General Gourgaud, General Gourgond; and lest this should appear an error of the press, he varies his orthography and calls him General Gourgon! (p. 46); but never does he call him by his proper name; Maret, Duke of Bassano, he confounds with Marat, (p. 209); Count Erlon he calls Erelon; and Colonel Prontowski is always Piontowski; Doctor Corvisart is Corvesart (pp. 184. 190), and sometimes Covisart (p. 80); the Baron de Kolli, a Swiss, is metamorphosed into the Baron de Colai (p. 70), a Pole; Morbilan is Morbeau ; the Duke of Frioul becomes the Duke of Frieuli :-in short, there is no end to these errors, which prove Mr. Warden to be very ignorant or very inaccurate, or, what we believe to be the real state of the case-both.

Such is the blundering, presumptuous and falsifying scribbler, who has dared to speak of the sensible and modest pamphlet of Lieutenant Bowerbank, as 'trash which he is ashamed to repeat, and which he wonders that this Review' (wbich we are sorry to find he calls a respectable work) should condescend to notice.'

Ile takes upon himself even to assert, that some of the facts quoted in our XXVIIth Number from that painphlet and other authentic sources, are mere silly falsehoods, and he endeavours to represent Buonaparte as concurring in this assertion.-We rather wouder that Buona parte did not; it would have been but a lie the more, an additional drop to the waters, another grain of sand to the shores of the ocean; but unluckily for Mr. Warden, the ex-emperor did not take his bait, and only said, with that kind of equivocation which is his nearest advance to truth, Your editors are extremely amusing: but is it to be supposed that they believe what they writer

* Vide Vol. XIV. Art. XXVII. p. 9

@ 3


After this detailed exposure of Mr. Warden's ignorance and inaccuracy, it now becomes our duty to say, that though his letters are a clumsy fabrication, and therefore unworthy of credit, yet there are some of his reports which are substantially correct, and which, as we before said, Mr. Warden may have heard from those who had at once the opportunities and the means of holding a conversation with Buonaparte, and who were not obliged to put up, like Mr. Warden, with second-hand stories from M. de Bertrand, General-Gourgaud, and the Count de las Cases, who seem, in their conversations with Mr. Warden, to have given a more than usual career to their disposition for fabling; and the simplicity with which this gobemouche seems to have swallowed all those fables must have been at once amusing and encouraging to the worthy trio. They evidently saw that the Doctor was a credulous gossip, who would not fail to repeat, if he did not print, all his conversations with them; and they therefore took care to tell him only what they wished to have known--so that even when he means to speak truth, and does actually repeat what he heard, the substance of his story is generally and often grossly false. A few instances of this we shall now offer to our readers.

Count Bertrand is represented as making very pathetic complaints to Mr. Warden on the needless cruelty of their allotment' (lot). He stated that the ex-emperor had thrown himself on the mercy of England, from a full and consoling confidence that he should there find a place of refuge.'

• He asked, what worse fate could have befallen him, had he been taken a prisoner on board an American ship, in which he might have endeavoured to make his


He reasoned, for some time, on the probability of success in such an attempt; and they might now, he added, have cause to repent that he had not risqued it.—He then proceeded.

• Could not my royal master, think you, have placed himself at the head of the army of the Loire? and can you persuade yourself that it would not have been proud to range itself under his command? And is it not possible-nay, more than probable, that he would have been joined by numerous adherents from the North, the South, and the East? Nor can it be denied that he might have placed himself in such a position, as to have made far better terms for himself than have now been imposed upon him. It was to save the further effusion of blood that he threw himselt into your arms; that he trusted to the honour of a nation famed for its generosity and love of justice; nor would it have been a disgrace to England to have acknowledged Napoleon Buonaparte as a citizen. He demanded to be enrolled among the humblest of them; and wished for little more than the Heavens as a covering, and the soil of England, on which he might tread in safety. Was this too much for such a man to ask ?--surely not. - pp. 13, 14. Now as this is a point which affects the national character, and relates to an event which will be considerable in history, we do not think we should be justified in omitting to repeat the contradiction and refutation which, in a former number, we gave in detail, of this impudent charge. We request our readers to turn to the 82d page of our Fourteenth Volume, and they will there see it proved beyond doubt, that Buonaparte had no intention of coming to England-no hopes from the generosity of England-no confidence in English laws :--that General Beker, who was his keeper, would have prevented him from joining the army of the Loire, even if he had been inclined to do so; that he left Paris; and arrived and remained ten days at Rochfort, in the intention of escaping to America; and that it was only when he found escape to be impossible, that be reluctantly surreudered to the British navy;


that he attempted to surrender upon terms; that these terms were absolutely rejected, and that he had no alternative but to surrender at discretion. But this is not all-for, strange to say, Mr. Warden, who admits this impudent lie of Bertrand's into his book, with a strong intimation of his believing it, allows that Bertrand himself declined to advise Buonaparte to come to England, because he thought it not impossible that his liberty might be endangered.'-(p. 16.)-How does this tally with the full and consoling confidence? And, again, Mr. Warden gives in another place a complete denial to Bertrand, and a full corroboration of all we have stated, from the lips of the Count de las Cases.

· I shall now proceed to give the account of an interesting conversation which I had with the Count de las Cases on the final resolution of Napoleon to throw himself on the generosity of the English government. He prefaced his narrative with this assurance: No


of Ancient History will give you a more faithful detail of any extraordinary event, than I am about to offer of our departure from France, and the circumstances connected with it. The future Historian will certainly attempt to describe it; and you will then be able to judge of the authenticity of his materials and the correctness of his narration.

• From the time the Emperor quitted the capital, it was his fixed determination to proceed to America, and establish himself on the banks of one of the great rivers in America, where he had, no doubt, a number of his friends from France would gather round him; and, als he had been finally baffled in the career of his ambition, he determined to retire from the world, and beneath the branches of his own fig-tree in that sequestered spot, tranquilly and philosophically observe the agitations of Europe.

• On our arrival at Rochfort, the difficulty of reaching the Land of Promise appeared to be much greater than had been conjectured. Every inquiry 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-marées (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 they might effect the meditated escape.-We met," 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 War in France.--He declared, in the words which he bad for some time frequently repeated, that his political career was terminated; and he only wished for the secure asyluin which he had promised himself in America, and, till that hour, had 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.-1 bad my doubts,” added Las Cases, " and I had my wishes: The latter urged me to encourage the enterprize; and the former made me hesitate in engaging for the probability of its being crowned with success.My reply indicated 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 thein; 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.'-pp. 60 -64.

This avowal of Las Cases is quite sufficient to oppose to the falsehoods which Bertrand related to Mr. Warden, and which Buonaparte recorded in the famous protest which we gave in the Article before mentioned. Why, it will be asked, do we, on this occasion, give that credit to Las Cases which we deny him in every other ? —We answer, because his account tallies with undisduted facts, and because Buonaparte's and Bertrand's story is irreconcileable with those facts.


Marshal Bertrand is a great favourite with Mr. Warden, and he therefore endeavours to exculpate him from the charge of having, while at Elba, made overtures to the King. On this point Mr. Warden thinks Count Bertrand himself the best witness he could adduce, and he represents him as saying, the report of my baving taken the oath of fidelity to Louis XVIII. is groundless; for, I never beheld a single individual of the Bourbon family of France."

-(p. 45.)--Admirable logic! but M. Bertrand misstates the charge--he was not charged with having sworn allegiance, but with writing a letter to the Duke of Fitzjames, promising allegiance on the honour of a gentleman, and soliciting permission to return to France, where he intended to live as a faithful subject of the King, and under his protection, and it is further charged, that this letter was written at a time when Buonaparte's return was in preparation, and it is therefore reasonably supposed that this profession of honour and high-minded loyalty was a cloak to cover the conspiracy which was hatching and an insidious attempt to deceive the King and his ministers. This letter, written to the Duke of Fitzjames, (who has the misfortune to be Bertrand's brother-inlaw,) cannot be denied; it was at the time communicated by the Duke to the King, and it has been since verified and officially published in France, and in balf the journals of Europe.

The contempt in which these folks must have held poor Mr. Warden, is evident from the absurdities with which they crammed his credulity.

Thus, Bertrand says that · Buonaparte was never sensual, never gross.'-(p. 212.) His manners and language were gross in the extreme, and his habits scandalously sensual. We need only recal to our readers' recollection the anecdote slightly alluded to in our XXVIIth Number, page 96, the authenticity of which (filthy and disgraceful to Buonaparte as it is) is established by the testimony of the Commissioners that attended him to Elba, and his own confessions.

Las Cases completes the picture

6“He never speaks of himself; he never mentions his achievements. Of money he is totally regardless; and he was not known to express a

any part of his treasure but the diamond necklace, which he wore constantly in his neckcloth, because it was the gift of his sister, the Princess Hortense, whom he tenderly loved." This he lost, after the battle of Waterloo.'-p. 212.

This is no bad instance of Las Cases’s veracity:-the necklace in question was stolen or forced from his sister previously to his leaving Paris, when the generous Buonaparte, contemplating the chances of a reverse, determined to collect about his own person as much wealth as possible; he accordingly, as the most portable,


regret for

« AnteriorContinuar »