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and insure me the crown, without incurring the session. It was purchased with money of my horrors of civil war. But it would likewise be own earning. It was long the abode of happirisking thousands of French lives; for what ness. But she who was its chief ornament is power could control so many various passions, now no more. My misfortunes caused her death. so much hatred, and such vengeance? No! Ten years ago I little foresaw that I should one there is one thing I can not forget. I have been day take refuge here to avoid my persecutors.” escorted from Cannes to Paris in the midst of The Emperor was now making preparations the bloody cries, Down with the priests ! Down to leave France and embark for America. The with the nobles! No! I like the regrets of provisional government bad assembled at Paris France better than her crown."
about 80,000 men. With this force, behind the Fouché and his accomplices in the Chamber of intrenchments of the metropolis, they hoped to Deputies trembled in view of the Emperor's vast compel the Allies to pay some little respect to the popularity, and were very apprehensive that he wishes of France. Napoleon, as usual, entirely might accede to the wishes of the people and devoted to his country and forgetful of himself, frustrate all their plans. Rumors of assassination issued a farewell proclamation to the soldiers, alarmed his friends. The crowd grew more and urging them to be faithful to the new governmore dense, enthusiastic, and clamorous around ment, and to maintain the honor of the nation. the Elysée. On the evening of the 25th, Napo- No one will withhold his tribute of respect from leon, putting on a disguise of a round hat and an the following noble words: ordinary traveling dress—not to escape the en- | | “Soldiers ! While obeying the necessity which mity but the love of the people-left the Elysée, removes me from the brave French army, I carry and entering the carriage of Las Cases, retired with me the happy conviction that it will justify, to Malmaison. As the Emperor left the Elysée, by the eminent services which the country exhe said to Caulaincourt : “Remain where you pects from it, the praises which our enemies are. Do whatever you can to prevent mischief. themselves can not withhold. Carnot will second you. He is an honest man. “Soldiers ! Though absent I shall follow your For me all is at an end. Strive to serve France, steps. I know all the corps, and not one of them and you will still be serving me. Courage, Cau- will ever gain a signal advantage over the enemy laincourt! If you and other honorable men de- without receiving ample credit from me for the cline to take an active part in affairs, that traitor courage it may have displayed. You and I have Fouché will sell France to foreigners."
been calumniated. Men, unfit to appreciate your His devoted stepdaughter, Queen Hortense, labors, have seen, in the marks of attachment had gone before to the chateau, and awaited his which you have given me, a zeal of which I was arrival. “She restrained her own tears," says the sole object. Let your future successes conBaron Fleury, “ reminding us, with the wisdom vince them that in obeying me, it was the counof a philosopher and the sweetness of an angel, try above all things which you served ; and that, that we ought to surmount our sorrows and re- if I had any share in your affection, I owe it to grets, and submit with docility to the decrees my ardent love of France, our common mother. of Providence.” The Emperor wandered sadly " Soldiers ! A few more efforts and the coathrough the rooms, and traversed the beautiful lition will be dissolved. Napoleon will recogwalks endeared to him by the love of Josephine. nize you by the blows which you are about to His demeanor was calm, and to all peculiarly strike. Save the honor, the independence of gentle and affectionate.
France. Be, even to the last, the same men I “Every object here," said he, “revives some have known you for twenty years, and you will touching memory. Malmaison was my first pos- be invincible.
The provisional government immediately ap- | America would be a more suitable retreat. I pointed plenipotentiaries to hasten to the head could live there with dignity. quarters of Wellington and Blucher and sue for | “But, after all, what have I to apprehend in peace. The envoys were instructed that the staying where I am? What sovereign could basis of their negotiations should be, the integ- persecute me without dishonoring himself. To rity of the French territory, the exclusion of the one, I have returned the half of his conquered Bourbons, and the recognition of Napoleon II. states. How many times has the other pressed These instructions, however, were intended mere- my hand, felicitating himself on being the friend ly to deceive the French people. As the pleni- of a great man! I shall see, however. I do potentiaries departed, the government, as a mark not wish to struggle against open force. I arof respect, sent a committee to inform the Emper- rived at Paris to combine our last resources. I or of the instructions given to the envoys. Na- have been abandoned with the same facility with poleon replied, “The Allies are too deeply inter- which I was received. Well, let them efface, if ested in imposing the Bourbons upon you, to possible, the double stain of weakness and frivolnominate my son. He will yet reign over France. ity. They should at least cover it with some But his time has not arrived." This prediction, struggle, some glory. Let them do for their in its spirit, has been fulfilled. The heir of Na- country what they will no longer do for me. But poleon now reigns over France.
I do not hope it. To-day, they give me up to Fouché was at that time the agent of Louis save France; to-morrow, they will give France XVIII. and of the Duke of Wellington for the up to save themselves.” restoration of the house of Bourbon. The very In conversation with Hortense, he said : “Give day on which these negotiators were appointed, myself up to Austria ? Never! She has seized Fouché commissioned M. de Vitrolles to invite upon my wife and my son. Give myself to RusLouis to hasten his return to France. Our read- sia? That would be to a single man. But to ers will remember the treasonable efforts of this give myself up to England ; that would be to royalist when Napoleon was struggling with the throw myself upon a people." Allies on the banks of the Seine.
One of his visitors congratulated the Emperor “You see,” said Fouché to Vitrolles," the ex- that the plenipotentiaries were instructed to urge treme embarrassment of my position. For the upon the Allies the claims of his son. But Nalast three months I have risked my head every poleon was not thus deceived. “The Allies," day for the cause of peace, of France, and of he replied, “ are too much interested in imposing Louis. The Chamber has proclaimed Napoleon the Bourbons upon you to give my son the II. This is a necessary preliminary step to-crown. Most of the plenipotentiaries are my ward the restoration of the Bourbons. This enemies. The foes of the father can not be the name quiets simple men, who imagine, like my friends of the son. Moreover, the Chambers colleague Carnot, that the safety of France and obey the wishes of Fouché. If they had given of liberty exists in this chimera of a republican to me what they have lavished upon him, I empire, under a child who is the prisoner of Eu should have saved France. My presence alone, rope. They must be allowed to indulge in this at the head of the army, would have done more delusion for a few days. It will last long enough than all your negotiations." to enable us to get rid of the Emperor. We can In confidential intercourse with his friends, he then easily lay aside Napoleon II. and the Duke discussed the question of his retreat. He spoke of Orleans."
of England, baving great confidence in receiving Benjamin Constant was one of the envoys respectful treatment from the British people. His who had allowed himself to be thus deluded friends, however, assured him that he could not by Fouché. Before he departed for the head- safely trust himself in the power of the British quarters of the Allies, he went to Malmaison government. He then seemed inclined to go to to take a sorrowful leave of the Emperor. In the United States. Several American gentlethe course of conversation Constant inquired, men in Paris sent him the assurance that he “Where does your Majesty intend to seek an would be cordially received by the government asylum ?"
in Washington, and by the whole American peo“I have not yet decided,” the Emperor re- ple. At the same time the Chamber of Deputies plied, in a tone of great indifference. Flight pressed his departure from France, as essential I disdain. Why should I not remain here? to successful negotiations with the Allies. The What can the Allies do to a disarmed man? Emperor to these applications replied, may continue to live in this retreat with a few “That he was ready to embark, with his housefriends, who will remain attached, not to my hold, for the United States, if furnished with two power, but to my person. If they do not choose frigates." The Minister for Foreign Affairs into leave me here, where would they wish me to stantly ordered the frigates to be equipped ; and go? To England ? But there my residence as the coast of France were thronged with hoswould be disquieting. No one would believe tile British cruisers, he applied to the Duke of that I could be tranquil there. I should compro- | Wellington for a “ safe-conduct.” In the mean mise all my friends. Every mist would be sus- time the provisional government, trembling lest pected of bringing me to the coast of France. the people should yet reclaim their beloved EmBy dint of saying, “There, he is come at last!' peror, sent General Becker to Malmaison, with I should at length be tempted to come in earnest. a strong military force, professedly as a guard of honor, but in reality to hold Napoleon as a pris- of the officers were very anxious that Napoleon oner.
should place himself at the head of these squadNapoleon fully understood the meaning of this, rons, and beat back the foe. General Excelbut pretending to be blind to the truth, received mans sent Colonel Sencier to Malmaison to urge his guard as friends. This movement caused the Emperor to this desperate enterprise. The great consternation at Malmaison. All were ap- Colonel was commissioned to say, in behalf of prehensive that Napoleon might be arrested, ex- those who sent him: posed to captivity, insult, and death. Hortense “The army of the North is unbroken, and full wept bitterly. General Gourgaud, with enthu- of enthusiasm for its Emperor. It is easy to siasm roused to the highest pitch, vowed “to rally around this nucleus every thing that reimmolate the first man who should dare to lay a mains of patriotism and of military spirit in hand upon his master."
France. Nothing is to be despaired of with General Becker was the brother-in-law of Gen- such troops and with such a chief.'' eral Dessaix, who fell at Marengo. He revered Napoleon for a moment paced the floor of his and loved Napoleon. With tears in his eyes he library, absorbed in silent and profound thought. presented himself to the Emperor, bowed in hom- He then said calmly, but firmly: age before the majesty of that moral power which “ Thank your General for me; but tell him was still undimmed. He assured the Emperor that I can not accept his proposition. To give " that he held himself and his troops in entire sub- hope of success I should require the united supjection to the commands of Napoleon.” The port of France. But every thing is unsettled, Emperor kindly took his arm, and walked, in long and nobody cares any thing about the matter. conversation, in the embowered paths of the cha What could I do alone, with a handful of solteau.
diers, against all Europe?" He had now become impatient for his depart- The Allies were now at Compiegne, within two ure. He sent to the government to hasten the days' march of Paris. Portions of the hostile preparation of the two frigates. Fouché replied troops had advanced even to Cenlis. Napoleon, “that they were ready, but that the safe-conducts in the garden of Malmaison, heard rumbling in had not arrived.” “I can not,” said he, “ dis- the distance the deep thunder of their cannonade. honor my memory by an act of imprudence which The sound of hostile artillery enkindled in his would be called treachery should the frigates be soul a fever of excitement. He summoned Gentaken with Napoleon on board when leaving port.” eral Becker into his cabinet, and exclaimed, in But the Duke of Wellington refused to grant any accents of deepest emotion : safe-conduct. And the English government mul- “ The enemy is at Compiegne, at Cenlis! Totiplied their cruisers along the coast to prevent morrow he will be at the gates of Paris ! I can the escape of their victim. On the evening of not understand the blindness of the government. the 27th, Fouché and his colleagues, trembling He must be either an imbecile or a traitor who lest Napoleon should be driven by desperation to doubts for a moment the false faith of the Allies. place himself again at the head of the people, sent Those persons know nothing of their business. him word that the frigates were ready, and begged Every thing is lost! I will apply for the comhim to embark without waiting for a safe-con- mand of the army under the provisional governduct. An hour later, finding that the Allies were ment. Let them appoint me general in their near Malmaison, and that the coast was effect- employ, and I will take the command ; commuually guarded, they revoked this order, and send- nicate my offer to the government. Explain to ing additional troops and gendarmes, ordered Gen- them that I have no intention to repossess myeral Becker to escort Napoleon to Rochefort, self of power. I only wish to fight the enemy, where he was to remain until he had an oppor- and to force him, by a victory, to grant better tunity to embark.
conditions. When this result is obtained, I The region through which the Emperor was to pledge my word of honor that I will quietly repass was thronged with his most devoted friends. tire from France." He had, however, no wish to rouse them to an General Becker presented the message of the unavailing struggle. The provisional govern- Emperor at the Tuileries. Carnot, a sincere pament were apprehensive that his presence might triot, welcomed the generous proposal. The wily excite enthusiasm which it would be impossible Fouché, whose treachery was now nearly conto allay. It was therefore mutually decided that summated, argued that Napoleon was the sole Napoleon should travel in disguise. General cause of the war; that his presence at the head Becker received a passport in which the Ein- of the army would be a defiance to the Allies, peror was designated as his secretary. As the and would provoke them to more severe measGeneral presented the passport to the Emperor, ures; and that if Napoleon were successful, that Napoleon pleasantly said, “ Behold me, then, your success would certainly place him again upon the secretary.” “Yes, Sire,” the noble Becker re-throne. plied, in tones tremulous with grief and affection, Napoleon's energy was, however, thoroughly “but to me you are ever my sovereign." aroused. He hoped that the government, in this
The French army, composed of the remnant of hour of national humiliation, would accept his Waterloo and the corps of Grouchy, sullenly re- services, and allow him to drive the invaders treating before Wellington and Blucher, were from France. Blucher and Wellington, fearing hardly a day's march from Malmaison. Several no enemy, were marching carelessly with their forces scattered. Napoleon felt sure that, with “Sire!" Baron Fleury, with hesitancy replied, the enthusiasm his presence would inspire, he " when I promised yesterday to attend your Macould crush both armies, and thus efface the stain jesty, I only consulted my personal attachment. of Waterloo. He had dressed himself for the When I mentioned my resolution to my mother, campaign. His chargers, saddled and bridled, she implored me, by her gray hairs, not to desert were champing the bit at the gates. His aids her. She is seventy-four years old and blind. were assembled. He had imprinted his parting My brothers are all dead. I alone remain to propaternal kiss upon the tearful cheek of Hortense. tect her. I had not the heart to refuse.” Becker, on returning, presented the reply of the “You have done well," said Napoleon prompt. government, courteously but decidedly declining ly. “You owe yourself to your mother. Reto accept the Emperor's offer. Napoleon re- main with her. Should you at some future poceived the answer without betraying the slightest riod be master of your own actions, rejoin me. emotion, and then said, calmly :
You will be well received." “Very well. They will repent it. Give the “But whither," said the Baron despondingly, necessary orders for my departure for the coast. “ will your Majesty go?" When all is ready let me know."
“The path, in truth," the Emperor replied, “is He afterward said, in confiding friendship, to difficult; but fortune and a fair wind may favor M. Bassano, " These people are blinded by their me. I will repair to the United States. They avidity for power. They feel that were I re- will give me land, or I will purchase some, and placed, they would no longer be any thing more we will cultivate it." than my shadow. They thus sacrifice me and “But will the English,” said Fleury, " allow the country to their own vanity. My presence you to cultivate your fields in peace? You have would electrify the troops, and astound the foreign made England tremble. As long as you are alive, powers like a clap of thunder. They will be or at least at liberty, she will dread your genius. aware that I return to the field to conquer or to The Americans love and admire you. You have die. To get rid of me they will grant all you great influence over them. You might perhaps may require. If, on the contrary, I am left to excite them to enterprises fatal to England." gnaw my sword here, the Allies will deride you, “What enterprises ?” the Emperor replied. and you will be forced to receive Louis XVIII. “The English well know that the Americans cap in hand.”
would lose their lives, to a man, in defense of Then—as if convinced and roused to action by their native soil. But they are not fond of carrythis train of thought-he exclaimed, “I can do | ing on foreign warfare. They are not yet arnothing better for all of you—for my son and for rived at a pitch to give the English any serious myself—than to fly to the arms of my soldiers. uneasiness. At some future day perhaps they If your five emperors"-alluding to the commit will be the avengers of the seas. But that petee of government will not have me save riod, which I might have had it in my power to France, I must dispense with their consent. I accelerate, is now at a distance. The Americans have but to show myself, and Paris and the army advance to greatness slowly.” will receive me a second time as their deliverer.” “Admitting," Fleury continued, “ that they
"I do not doubt it, Sire!” M. Bassano replied; can give England no serious uneasiness at this “but the Chamber will declare against you. Per- moment, your presence in the United States will haps it will even venture to pronounce you out at least furnish England with an occasion to stir lawed. And should fortune prove unfavorable- up Europe against them. The combined powers should the army, after performing prodigies of will consider their work imperfect till you are in valor, be overpowered by numbers—what will their possession. They will compel the Ameribecome of France and of your Majesty? The cans either to deliver you up, or to expel you enemy will abuse his victory; and your Majesty | from their territory." may have occasion to reproach yourself with be- “Well, then,” Napoleon continued, “I will ing the cause of your country's eternal ruin." go to Mexico, to Caraccas, to Buenos Ayres, to
The Emperor remained thoughtful a few mo- California. I shall go, in short, from shore to ments, without uttering a word. His whole soul shore, and from sea to sea, until I find an asylum was absorbed in contemplating the immense in- against the resentment and the persecution of terests to be periled. He then exclaimed: “You men." are right. I must not take upon myself the re-l “But can you reasonably hope," Fleury responsibility of issues so momentous. I ought to plied, “ continually to escape the snares and fleets wait till recalled by the voice of the people, the of the English ?” soldiery, and the Chambers."
| “If I can not escape," the Emperor rejoined, This conversation was interrupted by the en- “ they will take me. The English government trance of Baron Fleury, with the information that has no magnanimity; the nation, however, is the allied troops were rapidly approaching Paris, great, noble, generous. It will treat me as I and that the Emperor was in great personal dan- ought to be treated. But after all, what can I ger.
do? Would you have me allow myself to be “I shall have no fear of them to-morrow," the taken, like a child, by Wellington, to adorn his Emperor replied; “I shall depart to-night. I triumph in London? I have only one course to am weary of myself, of Paris, and of France. adopt, that of retiring from the scene. Destiny Make your preparations to leave immediately." will do the rest. Certainly I could die. I could say, like Hannibal, . Let me deliver them from ness, replied, that he had no authority from his the terror with which I inspire them.' But suicide government to give any reply whatsoever to the must be left to weak heads and souls badly tem- demand for a passport and safe conduct for Napopered. As for me, whatever may be my destiny, | leon Bonaparte." I shall never hasten my natural end by a single The Emperor received this message without moment."
| any apparent emotion, and without any remark. The savage Blucher, plundering and destroy- The morning of the 29th of June dawned cloud. ing wherever he appeared, declared, with mani- | less, and radiant with all the loveliness of the fold oaths, that could he capture Napoleon, he early summer. The gardens, the park, the emwould hang him on a gallows in presence of both | bowered walks of the enchanting chateau of Malarmies. Wellington was ashamed of the con- maison were bathed in a flood of surpassing beauduct and threats of his barbarian ally. General | ty. The Emperor sat in his library, quite exBecker made defensive arrangements upon the hausted with care and grief. Hortense, emularoads leading to Malmaison, to secure the Em- ting the affection and devotion of her noble mothperor from surprise. A little after midnight some er, with pallid cheeks and eyes swollen with friends came from Paris, with information that weeping, did every thing which a daughter's love the Allies had refused the safe-conduct which had could do to minister to the solace of her afflicted been solicited, and that the Emperor had scarcely father. A few faithful followers, with grief. time to escape captivity by flight.
stricken countenances, were also at Malmaison, But where could he find an asylum? Europe determined to share all the perils and sufferings in arms against a single man could afford him of that friend whom they loved with deathless no retreat. England had entire command of the fervor. The Emperor, whose countenance now sea, and consequently escape to lands beyond the betrayed the anguish of his wounded spirit, was ocean seemed impossible. It is generally sup-writing at a table with great earnestness and raposed that Fouché contrived all these embarrass-pidity. Caulaincourt was announced. As this ments that he might deliver Napoleon up, a cap- faithful friend, endeared to the Emperor by a tive and a sacrifice, to the vengeance of the Allies. thousand grateful reminiscences, entered the room, Whatever the motive might have been, the facts Napoleon raised his head, laid aside his pen, and remain undisputed. Napoleon could not escape said, with a faint smile, the vigilance of the British cruisers by sea. He “Well, Caulaincourt, this is truly draining the could not escape the eagle eye of the exasperated cup of misfortune to the dregs. I wished to deAllies on the land. He was helpless. All this fer my departure only for the sake of fighting at he understood perfectly. A kind Providence the head of the army. I desired only to contribmight open some unexpected door for his escape; ute my aid in repelling the enemy. I have had but there was no visible refuge.
enough of sovereignty. I want no more of it-no In answer to the application of the provisional more of it. I am no longer a sovereign, but I government for passports for the Emperor, the am still a soldier. When I heard the cannon Duke of Wellington, with his accustomed curt- roar, when I reflected that my troops were with