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SECOND FUNERAL OF NAPOLEON.
ON THE DISINTERMENT OF NAPO
LEON AT ST. HELENA.
luminous works of Hume and Smollett. The first and the last-named authors, dear Miss Smith, have written each an admirable history,
that of the Rev. Dr. Primrose,
Maskin this world
to distinguis Vicar of Wakefield, and that one roses
between what is great in it, and Robert Bramble, of Bramble Hall, what is mean; and many and many in both of which works you will find is the puzzle that I have had in true and instructive pictures of human reading History (or the works of life, and which you may always think fiction which go by that name), to over with advantage.
But let me know whether I should laud up to caution you against putting any conthe skies, and endeavor, to the best siderable trust in the other works of of my small capabilities, to imitate these authors, which were placed in the remarkable character about whom your hands at school and afterwards, I was reading, or whether I should and in which you were taught to fing aside the book and the hero of believe. Modern historians, for the it, as things altogether base, un most part, know very little, and, worthy, laughable, and get a novel, secondly, only tell a little of what or a game of billiards, or a pipe of they know. tobacco, or the report of the last de As for those Greeks and Romans bate in the House, or any other em- whom you have read of in “ sheepployment which would leave the mind skin,” were you to know really what in a state of easy vacuity, rather than those monsters were, you would blush pester it with a vain set of dates all over as red as a hollyhock, and put relating to actions which are in them- down the history-book in a fury. selves not worth a fig, or with a par- Many of our English worthies are no cel of names of people whom it can better. You are not in a situation to do one no earthly good to remember. know the real characters of any one
It is more than probable, my love, of them. They appear before you in that you are acquainted with what is their public capacities, but the indicalled Grecian and Roman history, viduals you know not. Suppose, for chiefly from perusing, in very early instance, your mamma had purchased youth, the little sheepskin-bound vol. her tea in the Borough from a grocer umes of the ingenious Dr. Goldsmith, living there by the name of Greenacre : and have been indebted for your suppose you had been asked out to knowledge of our English annals to dinner, and the gentleman of the a subsequent study of the more vo- l house had said, “Ho! François ! a
glass of champagne for Miss Smith ;" for it, and there it is still the great Courvoisier would have served you Humbug Plant, stretching its wide just as any other footman would; arms, and sheltering beneath its you would never have known that leaves, as broad and green as ever, there was any thing extraordinary in all the generations of men. Thus, these individuals, but would have my dear, coquettes of your fascinatthought of them only in their respec- ing sex cover their persons with figtive public characters of Grocer and gery, fantastically arranged, and call Footman. This, Madam, is History, their masquerading, modesty. Cowin which a man always appears deal- ards fig themselves out fiercely as ing with the world in his apron, or salvage men,” and make us believe his laced livery, but which has not that they are warriors. Fools look the power or the leisure, or, perhaps, very solemnly out from the dusk of is too high and mighty, to condescend the leaves, and we fancy in the gloom to follow and study
him in his privacy. that they are sages. And many a Ah, my dear, when big and little man sets a great wreath about his men come to be measured rightly, pate, and struts abroad a hero, whose and great and small actions to be claims we would all of us laugh at, weighed properly, and people to be could we but remove the ornament stripped of their royal robes, beggars' and see his numskull bare. rags, generals' uniforms, seedy out And such --(excuse my sermonizat-elbowed coats, and the like-or ing) – such is the constitution of the contrary say, when souls come to mankind, that men have, as it were, be stripped of their wicked, deceiving entered into a compact among thembodies, and turned out stark naked selves to pursue the fig-leaf system as they were before they were born - à l'outrance, and to cry down all who what a strange startling sight shall we oppose it. Humbug they will have. see, and what a pretty figure shall Humbugs themselves, they will resome of us cut! Fancy how we shall spect humbugs. Their daily victuals see Pride, with his Stultz clothes and of life must be seasoned with humbug. padding pulled off, and dwindled Certain things are there in the world down to a forked radish! Fancy that they will not allow to be called some Angelic Virtue, whose white by their right names, and will insist raiment is suddenly whisked over his upon our admiring, whether we will head, showing us cloven feet and a or Woe be to the man who tail! Fancy Humility, eased' of its would enter too far into the recesses sad load of cares, and want, and of that magnificent temple where our scorn, walking up to the very highest Goddess is enshrined, peep through place of all, and blushing as he takes the vast embroidered curtains indisit! Fancy - but we must not fancy creetly, penetrate the secret of sesuch a scene at all, which would be crets, and expose the Gammon of an outrage on public decency. Should Gammons ! And as you must not we be any better than our neighbors ? peer too curiously within, so neither No, certainly. And as we can't be must you remain scornfully without. virtuous, let us be decent. Fig- Humbug-worshippers, let us come leaves are a very decent, becoming into our great temple regularly and wear, and have been now in fashion decently : take our seats, and settle for four thousand years. And so, our clothes decently ; open our books, my dear, History is written on fig- and go through the service with leaves. Would you have any thing decent gravity ; listen, and be decently further? O fie !
affected by the expositions of the Yes, four thousand years ago, that decent priest of the place; and if by famous tree was planted. At their chance some straggling vagabond, very first lie, our first parents made loitering in the sunshine out of doors,
dares to laugh or to sing, and disturb | and conquered and been beaten with the sanctified dulness of the faithful; the great Napoleon, and loved him - quick ! a couple of big beadles rush and his memory. Many more were out and belabor the wretch, and his there who, because of his great genius yells make our devotions more com- and valor, felt excessively proud in fortable.
their own particular persons, and Some magnificent religious cere- clamored for the return of their mouies of this nature are at present hero. And if there were some few taking place in France; and thinking individuals in this great hot-headed, that you might perhaps while away gallant, boasting, sublime, absurd some long winter evening with an French nation, who had taken a cool account of them, I have compiled the view of the dead Emperor's character; following pages for your use. News- if, perhaps, such men as Louis Phipapers have been filled, for some days lippe,and Monsieur A. Thiers, Minister past, with details regarding the Saint and Deputy, and Monsieur François. Helena expedition, many pamphlets Guizot, Deputy and Excellency, had, have been published, men go about from interest or conviction, opinions crying little books and broadsheets at all differing from those of the filled with real or sham particulars; majority; why, they knew what was and from these scarce and valuable what, and kept their opinions to documents the following pages are themselves, coming with a tolerably chiefly compiled.
good grace and flinging a few handWe must begin at the beginning ; fuls of incense upon the altar of the premising, in the first place, that popular idol. Monsieur Guizot, when French Am In the succeeding debates, then, bassador at London, waited upon various opinions were given with Lord Palmerston with a request that regard to the place to be selected for the body of the Emperor Napoleon the Emperor's sepulture.
“ Some should be given up to the French na- demanded,” says an eloquent anonytion, in order that it might find a final mous Captain in the Navy who has resting-place in French earth. To written an “Itinerary from Toulon this demand the English Government to St. Helena," "that the coffin gave a ready assent; nor was there should be deposited under the bronze any particular explosion of sen- taken from the enemy by the French timent upon either side, only some army - under the Column of the pretty cordial expressions of mu- Place Vendôme. The idea was a fine tual good-will. Orders were sent out one. This is the most glorious monto St. Helena that the corpse should be ument that was ever raised in a disinterred in due time, when the conqueror's honor. This column has French expedition had arrived in been melted out of foreign cannon. search of it, and that every respect These same cannons have furrowed and attention should be paid to those the bosoms of our braves with noble who came to carry back to their cicatrices; and this metal — concountry the body of the famous quered by the soldier first, by the dead warrior and sovereign.
artist afterwards - has allowed to be This matter being arranged in very imprinted on its front its own defeat few words (as in England, upon most and our glory. Napoleon might sleep points, is the laudable fashion), the in peace under this audacious trophy. French Chambers began to debate But, would his ashes find a shelter about the place in which they should sufficiently vast beneath this pedestal? bury the body when they got it; and And his puissant statue dominating numberless pamphlets and newspapers Paris, beams with sufficient grandeur out of doors joined in the talk. Some on this place : whereas the wheels of people there were who had fought I carriages and the feet of passengers
would profane the funereal sanctity "It was proposed," says the beforeof the spot in trampling on the soil quoted author with his usual felicity, so near his head."
to consecrate the Madelaine to his You must not take this description, exiled manes”. that is, to his bones dearest Amelia, “at the foot of the when they were not in exile any letter," as the French phrase it, but longer. " He ought to have, it was you will here have a masterly exposi- said, a temple entire. His glory fills tion of the arguments for and against the world. His bones could not contule burial of the Emperor under the tain themselves in the coffin of a man Column of the Place Ñendôme. The - in the tomb of a king!” In this idea was a fine one, granted; but, case what was Mary Magdalen to do? like all other ideas, it was open to “ This proposition, I am happy to objections. You must not fancy that say, was rejected, and a new onethe cannon, or rather the cannon that of the President of the Council balls, were in the habit of furrowing - adopted. Napoleon and his braves the bosoms of French braves, or any ought not to quit each other. Under other braves, with cicatrices : on the the immense gilded dome of the Incontrary, it is a known fact that valides he would find a sanctuary cannon-balls make wounds, and not worthy of himself. A dome imitates cicatrices (which, my dear, are wounds the vault of heaven, and that vault partially healed); nay, that a man alone” (meaning of course the other generally dies after receiving one such vault) " should dominate above his projectile on his chest, much more head. His old mutilated Guard shall after having his bosom furrowed by watch around him : the last veteran, a score of them. No, my love; no as he has shed his blood in his combosom, however heroic, can stand bats, shall breathe his last sigh near such applications, and the author his tomb, and all these tombs shall only means that the French soldiers sleep under the tattered standards faced the cannon and took them that have been won from all the naNor, my love, must you suppose that tions of Europe.” the column was melted : it was the The original words are “sous les cannon was melted, not the column; lambeaux criblés des drapeaux cueilbut such phrases are often used by lis chez toutes les nations ; in Engorators when they wish to give a lish, “under the riddled rags of the particular force and emphasis to their flags that have been called or plucked" opinions.
(like roses or buttercups)* " in all Well, again, although Ne,poleon the nations.” Sweet, innocent flowmight have slept in peace under “this ers of victory! there they are, my audacious trophy,” how could he do dear, sure enough, and a pretty conso, and carriages go rattling by all siderable hortus siccus may any man night, and people with great iron examine who chooses to walk to the heels to their boots pass clattering Invalides. The burial-place being over the stones ? Nor indeed could it thus agreed on, the expedition was be expected that a man whose repu- prepared, and on the 7th July the tation stretches from the Pyramids Belle Poule” frigate, in company to the Kremlin, should find a column, with “La Favorite corvette, quitted of which the base is only five and Toulon harbor. A couple of steamers, twenty feet square, à shelter vast "The Trident" and "The Ocean,' enough for his bones. In a word, escorted the ships as far as Gibraltar, then, although the proposal to bury and there left them to pursue their Napoleon under the column was in- voyage. genious, it was found not to suit; The two ships quitted the harbor in whereupon somebody else proposed the sight of a vast concourse of peothe Madelaine.
ple, and in the midst of a great roar
ing of cannons. Previous to the and landed, in company with Generals departure of the “Belle Poule," the Bertrand and Gourgaud, Baron Las Bishop of Fréjus went on board, and Cases, M. Marchand, M. Coquereau, gave to the cenotaph, in which the the chaplain of the expedition, and Emperor's remains were to be depos- M. de Rohan Chabot, who acted as ited, his episcopal benediction. Na- chief mourner. All the garrison were poleon's old friends and followers, the under arms to receive the illustrious two Bertrands, Gourgaud, Emanuel Prince and the other members of the Las Cases, “companions in exile, or expedition - who forthwith repaired sons of the companions in exile of to Plantation House, and had a conthe prisoner of the infame Hudson,” ference with the Governor regarding says a French writer, were passengers their mission. on board the frigate. Marchand, On the 10th, 11th, 12th, these conDenis, Pierret, Novaret, his old and ferences continued : the crews of the faithful servants, were likewise in the French ships were permitted to come vessel. It was commanded by his on shore and see the tomb of NapoRoyal Highness Francis Ferdinand leon. Bertrand, Gourgaud, Las Cases, Philip Louis Marie d'Orleans, Prince wandered about the island and rede Joinville, a young prince two and visited the spots to which they had twenty years of age, who was already been partial in the lifetime of the Emdistinguished in the service of his peror. country and king.
The 15th October was fixed on for On the 8th of October, after a the day of the exhumation : that day voyage of six and sixty days, the five and twenty years, the Emperor “Belle Poule” arrived in James Napoleon first set his foot upon the Town harbor; and on its arrival, as island. on its departure from France, a great On the day previous, all things had firing of guns took place. First, the been made ready; the grand coffins “ Oreste French brig-of-war began and ornaments brought from France, roaring out a salutation to the frigate; and the articles necessary for the opthen "The Dolphin” English schooner eration were carried to the valley of gave her one and twenty guns; then the Tomb. the frigate returned the compliment The operations commenced at midof “The Dolphin” schooner ; then night. The well-known friends of she blazed out with one and twenty Napoleon before named, and some guns more, as a mark of particular other attendants of his, the chaplain politeness to the shore — which kind- and his acolytes, the doctor of the ness the forts acknowledged by similar “Belle Poule,” the captains of the detonations.
French ships, and Captain Alexander These little compliments concluded of the Engineers, the English Comon both sides, Lieutenant Middle- missioner, attended the disinterment. more, son and aide-de-camp of the His Royal Highness Prince de JoinGovernor of St. Helena, came on ville could not be present because the board the French frigate, and brought workmen were under English comhis father's best respects to his Royal mand. Highness. The Governor was at The men worked for nine hours inhome ill, and forced to keep his room ; cessantly, when at length the earth but he had made his house at James was entirely removed from the vault,
Town ready for Captain Joinville all the horizontal strata of masonry and his suite, and begged that they demolished, and the large slab which would make use of it during their covered the place where the stone sarstay.
cophagus lay, removed by a crane. On the 9th, H. R. H. the Prince This outer coffin of stone was perfect, of Joinville put on his full uniform and could scarcely be said to be damp