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NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
No. LIV.—NOVEMBER, 1854.—VOL. IX.
| * to repel these locust legions. The Allies make BY JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
war upon Napoleon alone. If we give him up,
we shall appease them, save France from the THE SECOND ABDICATION.
horrors of an invasion, and then we can estabTHE Emperor, after communing a short time lish a republic, or choose another Emperor, as
I with his own thoughts in the solitude of his we please.” This language was plausible. The cabinet, took a bath, and then threw himself upon Bourbon party hoped, in the overthrow of Napohis bed for a few moments of repose. But the leon, to replace, by the aid of the Allies, Louis interests at stake were too momentous, and the Stanislas Xavier. The republicans of all shades perils of the hour too terrible, to allow of any hoped for the establishment of republican instituslumber. He soon rose, called for Caulaincourt, tions. The more moderate and judicious of this and, in tones of indescribable calmness and sad-party, like Lafayette, thought that France could ness, spoke of the calamity with which France sustain a healthy and law-abiding republic. The was overwhelmed. His pallid cheek and sunken Jacobin party were ripe for any changes which eye proclaimed the anguish of his mind. might bring the lowest democracy into power.
"I feel,” said the Emperor, in low tones of These factions in the Chambers all combined utter exhaustion, “ that I have received my death against the Emperor. The peril was so immiwound. The blow that has fallen upon me at nent, while hostile squadrons were every hour Waterloo is mortal. The enemies' force quad- rushing nearer to Paris, that there was no time rupled ours. But I had combined a bold man@u- for cool deliberation. All was tumult, excitevre, with the view of preventing the junction of ment, feverish haste. The treacherous Fouché the two hostile armies. The infamous desertion was already in communication with the enemy, of Bourmont forced me to change all my arrange- and plotting, with the most detestable hypocrisy ments. To pass over to the enemy on the eve of and perfidy, for the restoration of the Bourbons. a battle! Atrocious! The blood of his country. He knew that successful intrigue in their behalf men be on his head! The maledictions of France would bring him a rich reward. will pursue him.”
The Chamber of Peers and the Chamber of “Sire !” said Caulaincourt, “you at first re- Deputies, two bodies somewhat corresponding jected that man. How unfortunate that you did to the Senate and the House of Representanot follow your own impulse.”
tives in the United States, were now in session. “Oh! this baseness is incredible," exclaimed The Deputies consisted of five hundred members. the Emperor, bitterly. “The annals of the French Many of them were ardent and ultra democrats, army offer no precedent for such a crime. Jo- young and inexperienced men from the provinces, mini was not a Frenchman. The consequences who had never before sat in a legislative assemof this defection have been most disastrous. It bly. They were easily duped by those wily leadcreated despondency. Grouchy was too late.ers, who were familiar with all the forms of legNey was carried away by enthusiasm. Our army islative halls, courts, and cabinets, and with all performed prodigies of valor, and yet we have the arts of intrigue. In the confusion and anlost the battle. Generals, marshals, all fought archy which ensued, the Peers were almost lost gloriously."
sight of, while the more numerous body of DepAfter a moment's pause he added, “I must uties grasped the reins of power. unite the two Chambers in an imperial sitting. I Lucien and Joseph, informed of the return of will faithfully describe to them the misfortunes their brother, hastened to the Elysée. Soon the of the army, and appeal to them for the means apartments were filled with all the great funcof saving the country. After that I will again tionaries of the Empire. Some advised one thing, return to the seat of war."
and some another. At seven o'clock in the mornBut Paris was now in a state of terrific excite- ing the Emperor assembled the Council of State. ment. An army of a million of men, from va He saw clearly that in that awful crisis it was in rious quarters, were marching upon the doomed vain to rely upon the antagonistic councils and and unarmed Empire. In eight days the con- tardy measures of deliberative assemblies. He joined forces of Blucher and Wellington could knew that the salvation of France depended upon be in Paris. The political adversaries of Napo- the investment of the Emperor with dictatorial leon took advantage of this panic. “France power. Prompt and decisive measures alone must pass through seas of blood," they exclaimed, could save the nation. But he was resolved not
Vol. IX.-No. 54.-Z 2
to assume that power unless it was conferred mense resources, if we know how to profit by upon him by the two Chambers.
them." The dreadful bulletin of Waterloo was read to The Emperor then, with his extraordinary the Council, and then Napoleon, with calmness power of lucid argument, developed an admirable and dignity, thus addressed them:
plan for repairing the disasters of Waterloo. The “The army is covered with glory. Desertions, whole measure, in its minutest details, was all misunderstandings, and an inexplicable fatality distinctly mapped out in his mind. His cheek have rendered unavailing the heroic exertions of glowed with animation. His voice was strong our troops. Our disasters are great ; but they with hope. Every eye was riveted upon him. are still reparable, if my efforts are seconded. I The attention of every mind was absorbed in conreturned to Paris to stimulate a noble impulse. templating the workings of that stupendous intelIf the French people rise, the enemy will be sub- | lect, which, with renewed vigor, was rising from dued. If instead of resorting to prompt meas- the most awful reverses and disasters. The plans ures, and making extraordinary sacrifices, time is of the Emperor were so profound, so maturely wasted in disputes and discussions, all is lost. considered in all their details, so manifestly and The enemy is in France. In eight days he will so eminently the wisest which could be adopted, be at the gates of the capital. To save the coun that “the various shades of opinion,” says Cautry, it is necessary that I should be invested with laincourt, who was present, which had prevailvast power; with a temporary dictatorship. For ed among the members of the Council, at length the interests of all I ought to possess this power. blended into one. All united in approving the But it will be more proper, more national, that it plans of the Emperor." should be conferred upon me by the Chambers." In the midst of these scenes the Council was
Carnot rose and said, with deep emotion, “I interrupted by the entrance of a messenger from declare that I consider it indispensable that, dur- the Chamber of Deputies, presenting some resoing the present crisis, the sovereign should be in- lutions which had passed that body, and which, vested with absolute power."
in their spirit, were very decidedly unfriendly to Many others warmly advocated this view, while the Emperor. Lafayette, whom Napoleon had even the traitor Fouché, who was now the agent released from the dungeons of Olmutz, and reof the Duke of Wellington, and in correspond stored to liberty and his family, introduced, and, ence with him, did not venture openly to oppose by his strong personal influence, carried these it. It was, however, cautiously suggested that a resolutions. His intentions were unquestionably strong opposition to the Emperor had arisen in good, but he erred sadly in judgment. He lived the Chambers, and that it would be probably im- to be convinced of his error, and bitterly to depossible to get a vote in favor of the dictatorship. plore it.
“What is it they wish?" exclaimed Napoleon. Lafayette, a man of sincere patriotism and of “Speak candidly. Is it my abdication they de- warm and generous impulses, thought that since sire ?"
the nation had so decisively rejected the Bour“I fear that it is, Sire!" Regnault answered bons, if Napoleon would abdicate, the Allies sadly. “And though it is deeply repugnant to would sheathe the sword, and allow France to my feelings to tell your Majesty a painful truth, establish a republic. He led the Republican yet it is my belief that were you not to abdicate party. These were weak dreams for a sensible voluntarily, the Chamber of Deputies would re man to indulge in. Those inclining toward the quire your abdication."
Bourbons believed that if Napoleon would abdiTo this declaration, the truth of which all seem- cate, nothing could stand in the way of the resed to apprehend, there was the response on the toration of Louis. The Orleanists had their parpart of others, “ If the Deputies will not unite tisans, who were sanguine in the hope that the with the Emperor to save France, he must save vacant throne, from which Napoleon had been the Empire by his single efforts. He must de- driven by the Allies, and the Bourbons by France, clare himself a dictator. He must pronounce the would receive the Duke of Orleans. All these whole of France in a state of siege ; and he must parties consequently united to overthrow Naposummon all true Frenchmen to arms."
| leon, each hoping, by that event, to attain its “ The nation," exclaimed the Emperor, in tones own end. The friends of the Emperor, discourwhich thrilled in every heart, “ did not elect the aged by this combined opposition, and trembling Deputies to overthrow me, but to support me. before the rapid approach of a million of hostile Woe to them, if the presence of the enemy on bayonets, lost heart, and bowed to the storm. the French soil do not arouse their energy and On the 23d of September, 1824, Lafayette, their patriotism! Whatever course they may then on his triumphal tour through the United adopt, I shall be supported by the people and the States, visited Joseph Bonaparte, at his mansion army. The fate of the Chamber, its very exist at Point Breeze, in New Jersey. The remains ence, depends on my will. Were I to pronounce of the Emperor were then mouldering in the their doom, they would all be sacrificed. They tomb at St. Helena. All popular rights had are playing an artful game. No matter; I have been struck down in France by the despotic no need to resort to stratagem. I have right on sceptre of the Bourbons. In a secret conversamy side. The patriotism of the people, their an-sation with Joseph Bonaparte, Lafayette mag. tipathy to the Bourbons, their attachment to my nanimously acknowledged his regret at the course person, all these circumstances still afford im- he had pursued in the overthrow of the Emperor.
“The Bourbon dynasty,” he then said, “ can not have given orders to stop the retreat, and that I last. It clashes too much with the French na- have come to Paris to concert measures with my tional sentiment. We are all now persuaded in government and with the Chambers; and that I France that the Emperor's son will be the best am at this moment occupied with those measures representative of the reforms of the revolution.” | of public safety which circumstances demand.” He also, at the same interview, suggested that in The Chamber of Deputies was in such a tutwo years, by suitable efforts, Napoleon II. might mult that Regna ult could not even obtain a hearbe placed on the French throne.
ing. The Peers, though in a state of similar comWhen Joseph Bonaparte, with Quinette, visited motion, listened respectfully to the message from the veteran John Adams, the patriotic patriarch the Emperor. In stormy debate the hours of the of Quincy, « Lafayette was wrong," said the day passed, and night again spread its gloom over clear-sighted American republican. The Em- the streets of agitated Paris. peror was the true rallying point. The Deputies The great mass of the population of Paris, and and the country should have stuck to him after the people of the faubourgs, in numbers which the defeat of Waterloo."*
could not be counted, crowded around the Elysée, It is not strange, however, that any mind should and filled the air with shouts of " Vive l'Empehave been bewildered in the midst of events so per reur !" The trees, the walls, the railings of the ilous, so tremendous, so unparalleled. As Napo- palace, and the roofs of the surrounding houses, leon read these unfriendly resolutions he turned were covered with the living mass, all eager to pale, and said, “I ought to have dismissed these catch a glimpse of their beloved Emperor. In the men before I left Paris. I foresaw this. These fac- darkness, and as these enthusiastic acclamations tious firebrands will ruin France. I can measure were filling the air, Lucien, that stern republican the full extent of the evil. I must reflect upon who had refused thrones, walked with the Emwhat is now to be done. If necessary I will abdi- peror beneath the trees of the garden, and encate.” He then dissolved the sitting of the Council. | deavored to rouse him to bid defiance to the Cham
That he might not act hastily, and without a bers, and to grasp that dictatorial power by which knowledge of all the circumstances, he decided to alone France could now be saved. “Look at send a brief communication to each of the Cham- these people,” said he, “ hurrying to you under bers. Regnault was the messenger to the Deputies, the impulse of a disinterested instinct. They see and Carnot to the Peers. “Tell them," said the in you alone, at this moment, their country and Emperor, “that I am here, in deliberation with their independence. Listen to those cries. They my marshals; that my army is rallying; that I call upon you for arms. They supplicate you to * History of the Second War, by Charles J. Ingersoll.
me give à chief to this multitude. It is the same Vol. il. p. 346.
throughout all the empire. Will you then aban
don France to the foreigner, and the throne to the liberty and peace to France, if the nation would factions ?"
abandon Napoleon, it was in vain to hope to save But nothing could induce Napoleon to raise the the country. banner of civil war. He was struggling, not for Many of those who were ready to abandon the himself, but for France. “Am I then more than Emperor had the folly to imagine that the cona man,” said he, "to bring into union and agree-quering Allies would respect the independence of ment with me five hundred deluded deputies? France, and allow them to establish the forms as And am I a miserable factionist, to kindle a fruit- well as the spirit of a republic. In their simplicless civil war? No! never! Persuade the Cham-ity they believed the declaration of the Allies, that bers to adopt a wise course. I ask for nothing they were fighting not against France, but against better. I can do every thing with them. I could Napoleon alone. When Caulaincourt informed do much without them for my own interest, but the Emperor of the tumultuary scene in the Chamwithout them I can not save the country. Go and bers, and of the demand that he should abdicate, try to induce them to co-operate with me. I con- Napoleon exclaimed: sent to that. But I forbid you to harangue these “All is lost. They seem not to be aware that people who are asking me for arms. I am ready by declaring the throne to be vacant they surto try every thing for France, but nothing for render it to the first claimant. The Allies now myself.” .
will not treat. They will dictate their terms, and “ His position at the Elysée,” says Caulain- they must be accepted. The majority of the Chamcourt, " is unexampled in history. He might, had bers is hostile to the Bourbons; and yet there is he been so inclined, have annihilated the traitors no doubt that the Bourbons will be again forced by a single word. The crowds who surrounded upon France. The nation is at the mercy of her him would, at the slightest signal, have overthrown foreign enemies. She will pay dearly for the inany obstacle which stood between Napoleon and capacity of her representatives." the nation. But the Emperor would not consent | This conversation was interrupted by the ento excite scenes of carnage. He well knew the trance of Benjamin Constant, who had urged the terrific nature of popular justice.”
Emperor to arm the masses, and thus put down The emissaries of Fouché were audacious, vi- domestic clamor and repel the foreign foe. He olent, and sanguine in the Chamber of Deputies. now came in to inform the Emperor, with sadness, They endeavored to overwhelm Lucien with clamor that the Chamber of Deputies was about to deand insult, as he conveyed to them the proposition mand his abdication. Napoleon had not been of the Emperor. Caulaincourt, who had followed elected Emperor by the Chambers but by the Lucien, hastened from the Chamber to inform the people. Emperor of what was passing. The crowd was “By what right,” said Napoleon mildly, “does so dense which surrounded the Elysée, that it was the Chamber demand of me my abdication? Where with great difficulty that the carriage of the min- is its authority ?" Then, directing attention to ister could pass along. As he entered the palace, the tumultuous acclamations which were continand was conversing with the Emperor, the shouts ually bursting in thunder peals from the multiof the populace rose awfully on the midnight air, tude who crowded around the Elysée, he added : penetrating, as with appalling thunder, the cab. “These poor people who now come to condole inet of the Elysée.
with me in my reverses, I have not loaded with “This is dreadful,” said Napoleon. “The mob honors and riches. I leave them poor, as I found may be led to the commission of some excess, and them. But the instinct of country enlightens I shall be accused of being the cause. These mis- them. The voice of the nation speaks through taken people wish to serve me, and yet they are their mouths. I have but to say one word, and doing all they can to injure me."
in an hour the Chamber of Deputies would no The judicious and lofty spirit of the Emperor longer exist. But no! not a single life shall be revolted at the idea of arming the lower classes sacrificed for me. I have not returned from Elba against the magistracy of the empire. He had to inundate Paris with blood." been the revered Emperor of the French nation, Even the most hostile pens have been comand he would not stoop, even for an hour, to be pelled to record the singular humanity and magthe leader of a faction. Moreover his eagle glance nanimity which the Emperor manifested through penetrated futurity with far more unerring vision the whole of this fearful trial. Never was there than any one around him enjoyed. He distinctly exhibited more perfect oblivion of self, never more saw all the tremendous peril of the crisis, and that entire devotion to the interests of one's country. France could only be saved by the cordial co- Even Lamartine could not refuse his tribute of operation of the whole nation. Napoleon alone, respect. with the opposition of the powerful Chambers, “History,” he says, “owes this justice to Nacould only extort better terms for himself from the poleon, that, whether from a natural horror of popAllies. He could not save France. He might ular excesses, the sanguinary spectacle of which protract a civil war for months, and cause a great had left a sinister impression in his soul since amount of blood to be shed; but with a million of the 10th of August, the massacres of September, exultant enemies crossing the frontiers, France and the reeking guillotine ; whether from a solunarmed and exhausted, royalists and Jacobins dier-like repugnance to all undisciplined forces, combining against him, the Legislative Bodies pro- or respect for his future fame, he constantly, both nouncing him an usurper, and the Allies offering on his return and on his fall, since the 20th of
March, refused to form an army of the populace, ceive the entrance of the infantile page, who had against the nation. He preferred falling with dig- occasionally before attracted his notice. nity, rather than to raise himself by such auxil- “Eat, Sire," the child at length ventured to iaries. On quitting his isle, and braving the say. “It will do you good.” Bourbons and Europe, he recoiled from the blood The Emperor raised his eyes, looked kindly of seditions, and from crime against civilization. upon his youthful attendant, and said, “ You come Cæsar always, but never Gracchus ; born for em- from the village Gonesse, do you not ?" pire, not for the turbulence of factions.”
“No, Sire," the child replied, "I come from Thus passed the 21st of June. The Chamber Pierrefite.” of Deputies continued its agitated and stormy ses- | “Where your parents," Napoleon added, “ have sion through the night. Napoleon, at a late hour, a cottage and some acres of land ?" sick, exhausted, and woe-stricken, in view of the “ Yes, Sire," the child replied. calamities which were overwhelming his country, “There," exclaimed the world-weary Emperor. retired to his pillow. There was but little sleep is true happiness." in Paris that awful night. Vast masses of men At eight o'clock the two Chambers, in intense were surging through the streets, clamoring for excitement, were reassembled, and the enemies weapons to protect their Emperor and France. of Napoleon, all combining in a majority, were The myriad armies of the Allies had encamped clamorous for his abdication. At an early hour the one day nearer the doomed metropolis. There Emperor convoked the Council of Ministers at the was distraction in council, antagonism in action, Elysée. News had arrived during the night which and all was confusion and dismay. Had the Cham-added greatly to his embarrassment. Marshal ber of Deputies but said the word, the mighty Grouchy had escaped from both Wellington and genius of Napoleon would instantly have evolved Blucher, and with forty thousand troops had reorder from this chaos; the people would have turned to France. Ney and Jerome Bonaparte risen all over the empire against their invaders as had rallied, near the frontier, from the rout of one man, and France might perhaps have been Waterloo, nearly forty thousand more. Ten thousaved. Instead of this the deputies, during the sand well-trained soldiers, from the environs, had night, insanely discarding the energies of the most marched during the night into the city, burning gigantic mind on earth, passed a resolve virtually with enthusiasm, and ready to die in defense of requesting the Emperor to abdicate. Thus was the empire and of the Emperor. From the countFrance delivered over in utter helplessness to the less throng surrounding the Elysée an army of derision and the insults of its foes.
fifty thousand men could in a few hours be arrayThe morning of the 22d dawned. Stormy as ed in martial bands, prepared with desperation to had been the events of the night, still more tem- beat back the invading foe. Napoleon was enpestuous were the scenes which the new day in-treated by many of his friends to grasp these troduced. The Emperor sat in his cabinet, ab- powerful resources for the preservation of France. sorbed in painful thought, with his hand spread Never was a mortal placed before in so torturing over his eyes, when a child entered the room, a dilemma. A refusal to seize the dictatorship presenting before him, on a tray, coffee and re-handed France over, in helplessness and humilifreshments. For a moment Napoleon did not per-| ation, to the Allies. On the other hand, the bold