Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

every assurance has been given them that this necessary, check oui their correspondence shall go no farther, and that no eye but the governor's should see their contents.- It will not, we suppose, be alleged that we are to risk a second edition of Elba, or that Buona. parte is to be allowed an uncontrouled correspondence with America or France; and that St. Helena, instead of being the depository of the peace of the world, should become the workshop of intrigue and the focus of the disaffection and turbulence of all nations. But it is amusing enough to find that there is hardly any restriction of which he complains, of which we happen not to have his own example to plead against him: thus, for instance, we bave now before us, the copy of a letter which a British officer, a prisoner at Verdun, endeavoured to transmit to England in the year 1810. The letter contained, as might be expected, nothing of any importance, but even this was not permitted to pass without being read by the imperial spy himself: it was translated into French for his perusal, and, by some mistake in the office in which the letter was made up, the copy, with the assent of Buonaparte to its transmission, in his own hand-writing, was sent, and is now on our table!

We beg our readers to observe, that we are far from denying that Buonaparte, while exercising the government of France, bad a perfect right to inspect the letters written by our prisoners of war; undoubtedly he had; but we quote the anecdote, not merely as a proof of his suspicious temper, but as an example which contrasts strangely with his new fangled doctrines, and practically refutes his present complaints. He proceeds in the same strain

• Letters have arrived for general officers in the suite of the Emperor; they were broken open and delivered to you; but you refused to coma municate them because they had not been received through the chan; nel of the English Minister. They had to travel back four thousand leagues, and these officers endured the mortification of knowing that there existed on the island accounts of their wives, their parents and their children, of which they could not be informed in less than six months. The heart revolts at such treatment!!

This burst of pathos we shall leave Lord Bathurst to answer -and we beg our readers' particular attention to his lordship's closing observation.

'This is a direct falsehood, for which there was not the smallest foundation. Sir Hudson Lowe, on seeing this passage in the Letter, wrote to Montholon, saying there was no foundation for th

this charge, and calling on him to adduce any one instance. No instances had been given, no answer even had been returned, and the reason was this, that the assertion was absolutely false. Indeed, in the voluminous papers which had been transmitted from St. Helena, nothing was more painfully disgusting than the utter indifference to truth shown ihroughout!' ipina

""? Lord

Lord Bathurst proceeds to state that, : The next complaint of General Buonaparte was, that when he had requested to have some books from Europe, those which referred to modern times had been kept back. The fact was this--soon after his arrival at St. Helena he expressed a wish for some books to complete his library, and a list was made out by General Buonaparte himself, and transmitted to this country. This list was sent to an eminent French bookseller in this town, with orders to supply such of the books as he had, and to obtain the rest from other booksellers. As several of the books were not to be obtained in London, the bookseller was desired to write to Paris for them. He accordingly obtained some of them from Paris, but others of them could not be obtained; those which could not be procured were principally on military subjects. These books, to the amount of 13 or 14001. worth, (which the Letter calls a few books !) were sent, with an explanation of the circumstances which prevented the others from having been procured.'

Buonaparte next complains that

* Permission could not be obtained to subscribe, occasionally, for the Morning Chronicle, the Morning Post, any of the French Journals, or even to get a few detached numbers of the Times conveyed to Longwood. The English ministry is not authorized to order any of these vexa. tions. The law, though unworthy of the British Parliament, considers the Emperor Napoleon as a prisoner of war ; now a prisoner of war is NEVER forbidden to subscribe for newspapers, or to reteive printed books Such a prohibitiot exists only in the cells of the Inquisition.'

We beg his Imperial Majesty's pardon; this prohibition did exist in a certain prison called the Temple, in the city of Paris, in the case of a prisoner of war of the name of Captain Wright, whose history his Imperial Majesty affects sometimes to forget. We happen to have before us a letter from Captain Wright to a friend, dated in September 1805, eighteen months after his capture, in which he states, that it was but lately that he had the indulgence of books, and of subscribing to the Mouiteur, whose foibles or prejudices (he adds) I assure you I am not in the least danger of adopting. But this was the only journal he was allowed to see; on a strict principle of reciprocity Buonaparte could only demand the London Gazette.

But though we are glad to refute Buonaparte's assertions by his own practice, this restriction is obviously proper, and even necessary, on other and better grounds; for Lord Bathurst states further, that it had been discovered that attempts were making to convey intelligence from Europe to Buonaparte by means of advertisements in the English newspapers; and his lordship very properly

declared, that, even had the indulgence not been thus abused, the British government would not have thought it safe or proper that this west of intriguers should be kept regularly informed of the progress of their affairs throughout Europe.

In addition to this, we beg our readers to observe, that here ágain a private and uncontrouled correspondence with Europe is the real object of Buonaparte's intrigues and calumnies. "Why," he asks, subject so innocent a correspondence as an order to his bookseller to the inspection of the governor? Why, we reply, coinplain of the governor's seeing a correspondence which must be of so innocent and indifferent a nature? 'Of all communications which can possibly be imagined, aii order to a bookseller must of necessity be the least confidential; but if an unrestricted and unnecessary permission were to be granted, how long does any one believe that it would be confined to an order for books?

In the same spirit Buonaparte offers to bear the expenses of his own establishment, provided he is allowed an unrestricted correspondence with his banker; and he complains grievously that not only is he deprived of a free communication with persons dear to his heart, (dear to his heart!) but even his letters to his bankers must be read. Upon this Lord Bathurst observes—

I do not deny that in a correspondence between friends the necessity of sending letters open is a most severe restriction, because it is impossible to consign to paper the warm effusions of the heart, under the consciousness that it will be subject to the cold eye of an inspector. But this surely does not apply to a correspondence with a Banker. Who has ever heard of an affectionate draft on a banking-house, or a tender order for the sale of stock?'

But there is one yet more important observation to be made on this point; namely, that Buonaparte is willing to pay twenty thousand pounds a year, (such is the expense he offers to defray,) for permission to correspond secretly with his banker. There cannot be, we think, a more decisive proof of his anxiety to carry this point, and of the absolute necessity of resisting in every shape in which this imperial Proteus may propose it.

Our readers will not be surprized to find that even the attentions which are shewn to this man are warped by the falsehood and malignity with which he surrounds himself, into grounds of complaint and calumny. A remarkable instance of this species of ingratitude we shall give in Lord Bathurst's words :

• It is stated that Sir H. Lowe permitted letters written by General Buonaparte or his followers to be read by subaltern officers on the island. This was not true-Sir Hudson Lowe had exercised the trust reposed in him with the utmost delicacy: and when any letters were transmitted through his hands had never permitted any individual, however confidential, to see them, whether they were addressed to individuals at home or at St. Helena. It is difficult to know on what such general charges are founded, but the following occurrence is the only one which I can conceive to have any reference to it: when Napoleon and his suite were first sent out to St. Helena, from the haste

It so

in which the ships sailed, they were left in want of many necessaries, such as linen and other articles of that kind. It was judged that great inconvenience might be felt if they were obliged to wait till they could send to this country for them, and accordingly a considerable quantity of such articles were sent out in anticipation of their wants. happened, that about the time when these articles arrived, Las Cases wrote a letter to Europe, which of course came under the inspection of Sir Hudson Lowe, who found that it contained an order for some of those very articles which had been sent out. Sir Hudson Lowe then wrote to Las Cases to inform him that he had those articles which he had ordered, and which were much at his service, and observed, that it would not perhaps be necessary to send the letter, or that he might now omit that order. Las Cases returned an answer full of reproaches to Sir Hudson Lowe, for his presumption in reading a letter directed to a lady, and for offering him articles out of a common stock, when he knew that he had been solely supported by the Emperor. Thus was Sir Hudson Lowe treated for his endeavours to accommodate these intractable people, and such was the only foundation for this part of the charge.'

The temporary residence in Mr. Balcombe's cottage is complained of as being ni propre ni commode,' neither clean nor convenient; but it is omitted that this was a residence chosen by Buonaparte himself, and that he insisted ou living there in preference to the best house in James Town, which Sir G. Cockburn bad prepared for him.

The perinanent residence appointed for him at Longwood is next abused. It is too hot, and too cold, and too dry, and too damp; it is too wild and open by nature, and too much narrowed and restricted by the governor's precautions. But why is it so cautiously concealed that the choice of this situation was made with the most delicate regard to Buonaparte's wishes, and that he himself at first concurred in the selection? The great plain (of whose wildness, aridity, and want of shelter he now complains) was its principal recommendation, because it was the only part of the island in which exercise on horseback or in a carriage (which Bưonaparte represented as necessary to his health) could be conveniently had, and Sir G. Cockburn, on a representation from Buonaparte to this effect, not only fixed him at Longwood, but provided him with horses and a carriage to take the air. If he had been placed in one of the shady dingles of the island, we should have heard violent complaints, that by cutting him off from his favourite and necessary exercise, we were endeavouring to shorten his life.

Nay, indeed, he does say, that for the not permitting him to range over the WHOLE island, there can be but one motive, namely,

to prevent his enjoying that exercise, the privation of which must, in the opinion of medical men, shorten the life of the Emperor.'

Here

TIS

[ocr errors]

Here again the truth breaks out through the misrepresentation, and it is evident, that nothing will satisfy him but the uncontrouled tiberty of ranging the whole island, and the consequent facilities of intrigue, and perhaps of escape.

He complains of the climate of Longwood in terms so inconsist, ent that he refutes himself-our readers will have already seen by the extract from Governor Beatson's work,* that it is the most favourable temperature of the whole island, and it appears from the Meteorological Journals, which were accurately kept in the years 1812 and 1813, and which are quoted by Major Barnes, that the medium heat at James-town was 74, and that at Longwood only 66, (p. 123,) which is nearer the mean temperature of Marseilles than any other place we have been able to find in atmospherical tables now before us. And Major Barnes further states, that Longwood is undoubtedly one of the most healthy parts of St. Helena, (p. 35,) a climate which is unquestionably one of the most temperate and salubrious in the universe.---(p. 121.)

We shall conclude upon this point, by quoting the account of the choosing of Buonaparte's residence by Major Barnes.

On the fifteenth day of October, 1815, arrived in James's Bay, His Majesty's ship Northumberland, bearing the flag of Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn, K. C.B. having on board General Napoleon Buonaparte and his suite, consisting of Marshal and Countess Bertrand and three children, General and Countess Montholon and child, General Gourgaud, Count las Cases and his son, and eight servants. The Icarus brig of war, which arrived a few days before, announced his approach, and one of the best houses in the town was prepared to receive him on the evening of the seventeenth, after - sunset, he landed, and was conducted to his quarters, and the next morning early, accompanied by the admiral and General Bertrand, rode into the country to see the place destined for his future residence.

Long Wood House, the official country-seat of the lieutenant-governor, was selected for this purpose, being in every respect the most eligible situation on the island: Buonaparte, it was said, did not seem to think so, but this happening to be a minor consideration, had no effect on the determination of government. On their return Sir George took Napoleon to the Briars, the residence of William Balcombe, Esq. a small but pleasant estate about a mile and a half from town 3: with this place he was much pleased, and particularly requested he might be per mitted to remain at it until Long Wood was ready for his accumịno dation; his wish was complied with, and apartments were immediately prepared for himself, Las Cases, senior and junior, and a few attendants, which they cccupied nearly eight weeks. During this period the most indefatigable exertions

Wete Sir George Cockburn, to improve and enlarge the premises at Long iu ART. VII, No. xxvii,

Wood;

6

made by

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »