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“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 París 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
assumption of power involved the necessity of im- regency by a law. Let all unite for the public mediately dissolving the two Chambers by vio- safety, and to remain an independent nation. lence, of imprisoning those whose opposition was “At the Palace of the Elysée, June 22, 1815. to be dreaded, and of exposing France to all the
“ NAPOLEON." horrible calamities of war, in which cities must be The aged and noble Carnot, as he heard this bombarded, vast regions of country ravaged by abdication read, which surrendered France to the hostile armies, and the lives of tens of thousands mercy of her enemies, overwhelmed with anguish, of Frenchmen sacrificed.
buried his face in his hands, and burst into a • The Emperor, though perfectly calm, was se- flood of tears. Napoleon was deeply affected. rious and sad. He weighed every thing in the He immediately went to the grief-stricken statesbalance of judgment and humanity. He decided man, soothingly placed his hand upon his shoulthat, with the co-operation of the Chambers, the der, and said, “My friend, I have not known you chances were still strongly in favor of France. till too late!"* Without that co-operation, he deemed it unjus- The reading of this dignified act created a protifiable to appeal to the awful decisions of the found sensation in the Chamber of Deputies. sword. With this object in view, he sent to the Regnault, inspired by the grandeur of the occaChambers a statement of the resources at hand, sion and the theme, ascended the tribune and and of his willingness to wield them, to the ut- drew a picture so affecting and pathetic of the most of his power, for the preservation of the benefits Napoleon had already conferred upon independence of France.
France, and of the moral sublimity of the act The Chamber of Deputies bewildered, excited, which he had now performed, in sacrificing himand irrational-conscious of the power which the self, without condition and without reserve, to the Emperor still held—after a stormy debate, sent happiness of his country, to wander an exile he back a reply couched in what was intended as knew not where, and to suffer he knew not what, respectful terms.
that the whole assembly was plunged into tears, «The war," said the deputation, “in which and even his most obdurate enemies were meltFrance is again involved, affects the nation much ed. There was after this glowing speech a moless than the Emperor. The Allies have pro- ment of profound silence, interrupted only by the claimed peace to France, and war against Napo- inarticulate murmurs of emotion. The Chamber leon alone. Peace can consequently be imme- then, with entire unanimity, decreed a solemn diately secured for France, if the Emperor will deputation to wait upon Napoleon, and express, once more sacrifice himself to save his country.” in the name of the nation, “ the respect and grat
This appeal to the Emperor's devotion to France itude with which it accepted the noble sacrifice was deciding the question. The Emperor received he had made to the independence and happiness the deputation graciously, and promised an im- of the French people.” In this act the Chamber mediate reply. As they withdrew, he said to his of Peers also united. friends :
| It was now night. The unthroned Emperor "I can do nothing alone. I had called the had retired alone to the solitude of his cabinet. Assembly together hoping that it would impart It was dimly lighted by a few wax candles. Nastrength to my measures. But its disunion de- poleon received the delegation with great courteprives me of the scanty resources at my command. sy, and listened, with melancholy resignation, to The nation is informed that I am the only obsta- their congratulations. With slow and serious cle to peace. The time is too short to enable me accent he thus responded : to enlighten its judgment. I am required to sac- “I thank you for the sentiments you express rifice myself. I am willing to do so. I did not toward me. I hope that my abdication may prove come to France for the purpose of kindling do- for the happiness of France; but I do not expect mestic feuds."
it. It leaves the State without a head, and withThen, requesting Lucien to take the pen, he out political existence. The time wasted in overpaced the floor, and slowly dictated the following turning the monarchy might have been employed act of abdication:
in placing France in a condition to crush the en“Frenchmen! In commencing the war for emy. I recommend to the Chambers speedily to the upholding of national independence, I relied reinforce the armies. Whoever wishes for peace on the union of all efforts and all wills, and upon should make preparation for war. Do not leave the concurrence of all the national authorities. this great nation at the mercy of foreigners. BeI had every reason to expect success; and I ware of being deceived in your hopes. There lies braved the declamations of the Allies against my
* "I had the grief," said the Duke of Gaete, "of being person. Circumstances appear to me changed.
present at the second abdication of Napoleon. He dictated I offer myself in sacrifice to the hatred of the it in the midst of his council, with the same composure enemies of France. May they prove sincere in with which we had heard him, a hundred times, dictate their declamations, and hate only my person !
his orders when he was in the plenitude of power. Only “My political life is ended; and I proclaim my
he choice of his phrases and
in the construction of his sentences. He read the docu. son, under the title of Napoleon II., Emperor of ment over several times, each time making some sligon the French. The present ministers will provi: corrections. When he was satisfied with it he sent it to sionally form the Council of Government. The
the Chamber of Deputies. He then retired to his cabinet.
Count Mollien and I saw him again in the evening. We interest I feel in my son prompts me to request
found him as calm as we had seen him in the morning. the Chambers to organize, without delay, the His last adieus were affectionate and touching."
the danger. In whatever situation I may be ance that Napoleon had abdicated. Fouché had placed, I shall always be satisfied if France is now obtained, through his bribed accomplices, a happy. I recommend my son to France. I hope complete ascendency over the inexperienced and that it will not forget that I have abdicated for perplexed members of the Chamber of Deputies. him. I have also made this great sacrifice for He encountered, however, one great embarrassthe good of the nation. It is only with my dy- ment. The Emperor was at the Elysée. He nasty that France can hope to be free, happy, was the idol of the people. The streets of the and independent."
metropolis continued to resound with the cry The morning of the 23d dawned upon Paris. “ Vive l'Empereur !!" Immense crowds still The allied armies were on the march. France thronged the environs of the palace, demanding was without a chief, without a government. The the Emperor to recall his abdication, and to place Chamber of Deputies was filled with a throng of himself at the head of the people to repel the inexperienced and garrulous men, and a scene Allies. of confusion ensued which beggars description. Two regiments of volunteers, from the fauEvery thing was proposed and nothing done. bourg Saint Antoine, accompanied by a countless Napoleon was a peaceful citizen at the Elysée. multitude, marched to the gates of the Elysée. He felt that he was swept along on billows of A deputation waited upon the Emperor, stating destiny which he could neither guide nor control. that the traitorous Chamber of Deputies was The Bourbonists, the Orleanists, the Republic about to sell France again to the Bourbons, and ans, and the advocates of Napoleon II., were entreating him to take the reins of government plunged into inextricable turmoil and confusion. into his own hands, as on the 18th Brumiaire. This was just what the Bourbonists, headed by The Emperor replied, “You recall to my reFouché, desired. Could this confusion but be membrance the 18th Brumiaire, but you forget perpetuated for a few days, the Allies would set that the circumstances are not the same. On tle the question with their bayonets. “By such the 18th Brumiaire the nation was unanimous in proceedings,” said the Emperor sadly," the Dep- desiring a change. A feeble effort only was uties will soon bring back the Bourbons. These necessary to effect what they so much desired. men will yet shed tears of blood. They flatter Now it would require floods of French blood; themselves that they can place the Duke of Or- and never shall a single drop be shed by me in leans on the throne; but the English will not the defense of a cause purely personal." permit it."
Count Montholon, who was at this time presTo meet immediate emergencies a provisional ent with the Emperor, could not refrain from government was established, with Fouché at its expressing his regret that Napoleon should thus head. This wily traitor, already in correspond refuse to avail himself of the proffered arms of ence with the Duke of Wellington, was manæu- the people to save France from the enemy. The vring, with consummate skill, for the restoration Emperor listened attentively to his representaof the Bourbons. At the same time commission- tions, and then firmly replied: ers were dispatched to the head-quarters of the “Putting the brute force of the mass of the Allies, to propitiate their vengeance by the assur-1 people into action would doubtless save Paris,