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ART. VII. Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de La Vie Privée, du Retour, et du Regne de Napoleon en 1815. Par. M.. FLEURY DE CHABOULON, Ex-Secretaire de l'Empéreur Napoleon et de Son Cabinet, Maitre des Requêtes au Conseil d'Etat, Baron, Officier de la Legion d'Honneur, Chévalier de l'Ordre de la Réunion. 2 vols. 2 vols. 8vo. Pp. 834. London. John

Murray, Albemarle Street. 1819.

WE rejoice to find men writing books of any conceivable degree of literary merit, who, if circumstances did not so engage them, would be much worse employed. We have had more than one occasion to congratulate the world on the important accession to its literature, which has resulted from the failure of employment to the war-makers and king-manufacturers of the French Revolution; and we cordially welcome every fresh proof, in the same sort, of the permanent stagnation of their former trade. Much as we feel for operatives thrown idle, it was certainly consoling to see Messieurs Pillet and Gourgaud, for example, out of work in the glory line, without orders on hand for victories and spoils, and peacefully employing their leisure hours, like ourselves, in shedding ink alone.

M. Fleury de Chaboulon, whose honours, now, alas, blaze only in his title page; who has been left by a flight of et cæteras, like a foiled sportsman by a covey of partridges, "Eheu fugaces;" the same M. Fleury has, at this late hour, taken up his pen to vindicate the cause of truth, and sweep away, as unworthy of credit, all that has been written heretofore on the same subject, by friend or foe. Now the already mentioned M. Gourgaud offered the same pledge; nevertheless, we find M. Fleury entering a caveat against M. Gourgaud himself, who, it turns out, from M. Fleury's better information, could not know things which he most confidently stated. Our readers will recollect that this was quite our opinion of M. Gourgaud; and although the latter, we doubt not, would put in a cross caution against our implicitly believing what we are told by M. Fleury,-whereby, with some, the issue might come to that crisis where the disputants are believed in nothing but their mutual charges of falsehood— we take leave to find for M. Fleury, were it for no other reason than that he joins us against our old enemy, M. Gourgaud.

We do not mean to deny that M. Fleury avers more than he proves; but the reader, relying, as he cannot fail to do, on the most solemn assurances, again and again repeated, coming from M. Fleury himself, of the absence in him, M. Fleury, of prejudice, partiality and passion, must agree with us, that to


have encumbered a flowing, touching, fascinating narrative, with proofs and documents, would have utterly ruined its effect, and left it without admirers, nay, without readers, as much as its author is bared of titles of honour and badges of glory. In sober truth, the history of " the hundred days" needs no vouchers in the hands of M. Fleury de Chaboulon. His narrative is never inconsistent, never self-contradictory. It holds a steady, dignified, candid, moderate, modest course, which sets passion, interest, and even imagination, at defiance. Moral qualities in a historian are, after all, perhaps more valuable than intellectual; but it is only by their happy union, as in M. Fleury, that the beau ideal historique is attained.

"Whatever may be the impartial reader's opinion of this work, I protest, once for all, that I have not suffered myself to be influenced by any private considerations, by any sentiment of hatred, affection, or gratitude; I have followed the dictates of conscience alone, and can say with Montaigne, Ceci est un livre de bonne foi."

There is much naïveté and trust-worthy candour in our author's giving a chronological reason, merely, for having had no share in the horrors of the Revolution.

"Too young to have had it in my power (pour avoir pu,) to participate in the errors and crimes of the Revolution, I have begun and ended my political career without stain or reproach. The places, the titles, the decorations, which the Emperor condescended to bestow upon me, were the price of several acts of great self devotion, and of twelve years of proofs and sacrifices. I never received from him favour or largesse; I entered his service rich; I have come out of it poor."

Now we protest against the prejudice which refuses credit to any thing a man says very highly in his own praise. Why should we doubt the above heroic declaration? There are two ways in which it may be true. A high office-bearer may voluntarily resign a situation, which, during a long period, he has held in all the purity of a dignified poverty; or, having held it a short time, may be driven from it vi majore, and lose his office and his private fortune by the same revolution, before he has had time to satisfy a suspecting world, whether in the long run he was to be poor or rich. Events would not wait-no blame to M. Fleury.

Our author's leading thesis is, that the French revolutionists were never in the wrong; that they were more "sinned against than sinning ;" and that all their movements, martial and political, however apparently violent and contradictory, were the necessary results of the acts and deeds of their enemies operating upon their innocent vis inertia. After demonstrating that, upon.

Napoleon's entry into Lyons from Elba, he, M. Fleury, in joining him, took the right side, because Solon delared those infamous who took no part in the troubles of their country, he adds, with infinite point as well as justice, and with perfect freedom from that egoisme which, systematically as well as habitually, arrogates every thing to the side we choose to adopt,

"If the misfortunes of the 20th of March should fall on the guilty, those will not be, I repeat it, the Frenchmen who abandoned the Royal standard, to return to the ancient colours of their country; but those imprudent and senseless men, who, by their menaces, their injustice, and their outrages, forced us to choose between insurrection and slavery, between honour and infamy."

M. Fleury is likewise a very harmless person; seeing that for the long period of one hundred days, as he himself boasts, for he very modestly limits the period, he did not evil entreat any one. He farther claims the merit of living in tranquillity and solitude under the present government of France; deprived by events, however, of the means of proving his tranquillity to be his own choice; and, therefore, entitled to the benefit of all manner of favourable presumptions.

"This explanation or apology has been considered by me as necessary: it is right the reader should know with whom he has to do." We cordially agree in this last sentiment, which has all the force of a truism; and in fartherance of the author's exposé de soi-meme, we would increase the interest as well as confidence of our readers, by assuring them, on his own high authority, that his sources of information are far more rich and copious than those of all other historians; and that he has a perspicacity in connecting results with causes, and diving into motives, to which they were utter strangers.

M. Fleury's statements and expressions are highly favourable to Napoleon's character and motives; and, assuredly, when we read so much, as we do in the work before us, of that personage's generosity and feeling, and the excellence of his heart, we know not whether we are more puzzled to explain his usage of the human race, or their usage of him. His abdication in 1814, for example, was solely to prevent bloodshed. His return from Elba, hitherto so little understood-some, according to our author, supposing that he was actuated by mere hostility to the Bourbons; and others still more absurdly imagining that he acted from any thing like freewill, (qu'il avait agi de son propre mouvement)-is thus lucidly explained: "The world will learn with surprise, with admiration, perhaps, that that astonishing revolution was the unheard-of work of two men, and of a few words!"

Our author concludes his truly humble preface with a very

prudent salvo, he being actually resident in France. He means to say some severe things of the royal government, but he is always to be understood as speaking of the king's ministers. He then commences his Memoires proper with much virtuous indignation against the ingratitude of the French people to their benefactor Napoleon. And really the two occasions to which he alludes could not have been better selected to demonstrate how thankless a task it is for the well-wishers of mankind to sacrifice to the good of the species. It will scarcely be believed, that, when Napoleon was so beneficent as to carry havoc into the heart of friendly Spain; so generous as to devote half a million of Frenchmen in the enterprise; and, above all, so unhappy as to fail in his virtuous object; "there were who only saw in that war an unjust aggression, even an odious wickedness! Nay," murmurs were heard, and, for the first time, Napoleon, the object of the reproaches of the nation, was accused of sacrificing to a vain and culpable ambition, the blood and the treasures of France !" But who will toil and labour, and fight, for an ungrateful country, if Napoleon, after losing in Russia another half million of men, was very indifferently received by their mourning relatives? Can any thing be more heart-sickening to such a philanthropist than what M. Fleury, with a proper feeling, resents on his account, thus: "The Emperor having escaped almost alone from that disaster, returned to his capital. His countenance was that of a great man above adversity; but that countenance was only considered as the effect of a barbarous insensibility! It irritated instead of reassuring all hearts. From all quarters resounded new murmurs, and new cries of indignation!" We hold all this, on the part of the French people, to be so monstrous, that we were beginning to change our good opinion of them, till the following characteristic passage restored our just estimation of their consistency, moderation, and real feeling. Our readers, to think with us, must keep in mind, that the loss of a million of the flower of the youth of France had thrown the nation into the deepest affliction: "Nevertheless, such was YET the pride with which the triumphs of Napoleon had inebriated France, that, ashamed of her reverses, she implored new victories: Armies were formed by enchantment, and Napoleon re-appeared in Germany as formidable as ever." was doubtless the balm of consolation to a land of mourning. But short was its influence. The already too severely tried people of France were not destined to have their drooping spirits revived by the slaughter of their enemies alone; Frenchmen were yet to be the victims; Leipsic was fought and we do, in reading, drop a tear for every feeling word with which our author




describes "the heart-rending spectacle of the precipitate retreat of a national army in disorder-the last hope of their country." It was then the remembrance of Spain and Russia revived; the tears of mothers and widows flowed afresh; and, Oh, ungrateful France! Nothing was again heard but imprecations against the author of so many ills-against Napoleon !" The Emperor's proposed measure of dying, in his own person, at the head of the survivors of his slaughtered armies, was not considered by the French people as value for their losses; (an incomprehensible miscalculation !) and the offered sacrifice, "hautement annoncé," produced, says our author, " une impression passagère," the French people contemplating with "sang froid" the death which he proposed to go forth to meet!

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We would not do M. Fleury the injustice to leave unlauded, what our readers must have already admired, that correct logic wherewith he steers clear of every thing like a non sequitur, and draws incontrovertible inferences from indisputable premises, in support of his very numerous theories; we cannot therefore avoid applauding the demonstration of his preliminary position, that Napoleon abdicated his throne merely to save bloodshed. "Such was the state of France at the moment when Napoleon, reduced by the public apathy to absolute inability to make either war or peace, consented to lay down his crown." Some inexperienced reasoners, who cannot comprehend a well-built syllogism, may think this last passage proves that the blood of the French was saved by themselves rather than by their Emperor, on the above trying occasion. This, however, is the mere result of a prejudice on the subject; and one very unaccountably prevalent in England. We were ourselves nevertheless, we must confess, perplexed with a note in these words, "The nation, it is true, abandoned Napoleon in 1814." But we are certain that our author assumes the ironical, downright, when he confesses, what his master would have died sooner than acknowledge, "The true cause of the fall of Napoleon was undoubtedly "his hatred to England, and the continental system thence re"sulting. That gigantic system, in oppressing Europe, necessa"rily raised it against Napoleon and France, and thereby occa"sioned the ruin of France and Napoleon. Rome,' says Mon"tesquieu,'" &c.-something pointedly applicable, as follows of course, when French revolutionary authors illustrate from Rome or Greece.

Our author puts the restored government of France upon its trial on the question of fidelity to the charter of its restoration. This was To the army its rank, rewards, honours. To "magistrates and other functionaries the conservation of their employments and distinctions. To the citizens oblivion of the


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