페이지 이미지

out a leader, that they were to endure the humil- | the court-yard. The Emperor advanced to the iation of defeat without having fought, my blood window. The carriages had arrived for his deboiled with indignation. All I wished for myself parture. He heaved a deep sigh, and seemed for was a glorious death amidst my brave troops. a moment much agitated. He advanced toward But my co-operation would have defeated the Caulaincourt, took his hand, gazed for a moment schemes of traitors. France has been sold. She silently and with a look of inexpressible tenderhas been surrendered up, without a blow being ness in his face, when suddenly the warm and struck in her defense. Thirty-two millions of glowing heart of this imperial man was overmen have been made to bow their heads to an whelmed with affection and grief, and his eyes arrogant conqueror, without disputing the victory. were flooded with tears, which he vainly struggled Such a spectacle as France now presents has not to repress. Unable to articulate a word, he pressbeen found in the history of any other nation.” ed the hand of his devoted friend, and, in the si

As the Emperor uttered these words he rose, lent adieu of uncontrollable emotion, departed. and, in his excitement, walked up and down the “I will not attempt,” says Caulaincourt, “ to room. The deep emotion which agitated him describe my feelings on taking my last farewell was betrayed by his rapid utterance and animated of the Emperor. I felt that he was about to engestures. After a moment's pause, he continued, ter upon an endless exile. I rushed from the

“Honor, national dignity,'all, all, now is lost! cabinet, almost in a delirium of despair. Since That miserable Fouché imagines that I would as- then my prosaic life has been utterly devoid of sume the sovereignty in the degradation to which interest. I have been insensible to persecution, it now is reduced. Never! never! The place and have resented injuries only by cold contempt. assigned to the sovereign is no longer tenable. There is one regret which presses heavily upon I am disgusted alike with men and things. I my heart. It is that I can not live long enough am utterly indifferent about my future fate, and to complete the work of conscience and justice I endure life without attaching myself to it by which I am anxious to bequeath to France. By any alluring chimeras. I carry with me from employing the few hours which I can snatch from France recollections which will constitute at once death in portraying the hero whom faction hurled the charm and the torment of the remainder of from the throne, I feel that I am discharging a my days. A bitter and incurable regret must sacred duty to my country. ever be connected with this last phasis of my “The wonderful character of Napoleon can singular career. Alas! what will become of the only be accurately portrayed by those who had army, my brave, my unparalleled army? The re- the opportunity of observing him in the relations action will be terrible. The army will be doomed of private life. They only can paint the thouto expiate its fidelity to my cause, its heroic re- sand traits which characterized his extraordinary sistance at Waterloo. Waterloo! what horrible mind. Napoleon was more than a hero, more recollections are connected with that name! Oh! than an Emperor. A comparison between him if you had seen that handful of heroes, closely and any other sovereign, or any other man, is pressed one upon another, resisting immense impossible. His death has left a void in human masses of the enemy, not to defend their lives, nature which probably never will be filled up. but to meet death on the field of battle where Future generations will bow with respect to the they could not conquer! The English stood age on which the glory of Napoleon Bonaparte amazed at the sight of this desperate heroism. shed its lustre. For centuries to come French Weary of the carnage, they implored the martyrs hearts will glow with pride at the mention of his to surrender. This merciful summons was an exploits. To his name alone is attached inexswered by the sublime cry, · The Guard dies; it haustible admiration, imperishable remembrance." never surrenders! The Imperial Guard has im- The Emperor embraced Queen Hortense, who mortalized the French people and the Empire.” was overwhelmed with grief, and then took a

He paused, overcome by emotion, as his mind melancholy farewell of the other friends whom retraced these memorable scenes. Soon raising he was never to meet again. Every heart seemhis eyes, and fixing them sadly yet affectionately ed lacerated with almost unearthly anguish. As upon Caulaincourt, he added, in tones of peculiar he passed along through the serpentine walk of tenderness,

the enchanting park, embellished with all the ver“* And you, all of you who are here, will be dure, the flowers, and the bird songs of June, and pursued and persecuted. Compromised as you where he had enjoyed so many hours of happiare for your fidelity to my cause, what will be- ness with his much loved Josephine, he stopped come of you! All is over, Caulaincourt. We several times, and turned round to fix his last are now about to part. In a few days I must lingering looks upon the familiar and attractive quit France forever. I will fix my abode in the scene. Little did he then imagine that a dilapiUnited States. In the course of some little time, dated hut, upon the bleak, storm-swept rock of the spot which I shall inhabit will be in a condi. St. Helena, was to be his prison and his tomb. tion to receive the glorious wrecks of the army. At the gate of the park he entered a plain ca. All my old companions in arms will find an asy- leche. General Becker, Count Bertrand, and Salum with me. Who knows but that I may one vary took the three other seats. Several other day or other have a Hospital of Invalids in the carriages followed, occupied by Madame Bertrand United States for my veteran Guards."

and her children, Count Montholon, wife and Suddenly the galloping of horses was heard in child, Las Cases and his son, and several devoted

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

officers who were anxious to share the fortunes from Malmaison. In this antique castle the Emof the dethroned Emperor. These carriages were peror passed the night. to proceed to Rochefort by another road. The At an early hour the next morning, June 30th, Emperor and his companions were habited in the the rapid journey was resumed. After a melansimple traveling dress of private gentlemen. The choly drive of two or three hours, they arrived at distance from Paris to Rochefort, near the mouth Chateaudun. The mistress of the post-house of the Charente, is about three hundred miles. hastened to the carriage door, and anxiously inThe friends of Napoleon were well aware that at-quired if there was any truth in the report that tempts would be made to secure his assassination the Emperor had been assassinated. She had on the way. They were secretly well provided hardly asked the question, ere she recognized the with arms for a desperate defense. The emotions countenance of Napoleon. For a moment she excited in every bosom were too strong for utter- seemed stunned. Then, raising her eyes to ance. The attitude of the Emperor was calm and heaven and clasping her hands, she burst into a dignified. For several hours there was unbroken flood of tears, and retired weeping bitterly. All silence in the carriage. At ten o'clock at night were much moved at this touching proof of affecthey arrived at Rambouillet, about thirty miles tion. Driving rapidly all day and night, and

meeting with no occurrence to disturb the pro- 1 To this Fouché replied, “Napoleon must emfound sadness of the route, they arrived before bark without delay. You must employ every the break of day, on the morning of the 1st of measure of coercion you may deem necessary, July, at Tours.

without failing in the respect due to him. Pressing on some fifty miles further, they ar- “As to the services which are offered, our durived at mid-day at Poitiers. The roads were ties toward France, and our engagements to fordusty, and the heat, from a blazing July sun, eign powers, do not permit us to accept of them." sultry and oppressive. At a little post-house The evidence is now conclusive to almost every outside the town the Emperor remained a couple mind that Fouché had all this time been plotting of hours for repose. At two o'clock he again to betray Napoleon to the Allies. He knew that entered his carriage, and proceeded onward to Europe combined could not maintain the Bourbons Niort, where he arrived just as the glooms of upon the throne, so long as the people of France night were settling down over the city. Here saw any possibility of recalling Napoleon. It was the Emperor remained for a day. He was rec- therefore his design to deliver Napoleon up to his ognized by some persons, and the rumor of his enemies. He was afraid to order his arrest until arrival spread rapidly through the city. Cries of Paris should be engirdled by the bayonets of the Vive l'Empereur ! began to resound through the Allies. The exasperated people would instantly streets. An immense concourse immediately sur- have risen to the rescue. Under pretense of waitrounded the hotel, with enthusiastic acclamations ing for a safe-conduct, and affirming that France and with every expression of respect and love. would be dishonored by the Emperor's capture, he During the whole day his rooms were thronged would not allow the frigates to sail when there with officers of the garrison, public functionaries, was the slightest chance of their escaping the and influential citizens. Here the Emperor was British cruisers. He wished to drive the Emperor also informed that all egress from the roadstead on board one of the frigates, so that he could no of Rochefort, by the two frigates prepared for longer be surrounded by the enthusiasm of the him, was effectually prevented by English ships French people, and then to detain the frigates of war. His position was now in the highest until the English cruisers, by his treachery, should possible degree embarrassing. The officers of be accumulated in such numbers as to render esthe army entreated him to place himself at their cape impossible. While, therefore, he was thus head, assuring him that every soldier in the army urging General Becker to “employ every measand all the masses of the people would rally around ure of coercion” to induce the Emperor to embark, him with deathless fervor.

orders were sent to the maritime prefect at RocheNapoleon might thus have saved himself. fort not to allow the frigates to sail. “ It is utterHe could easily have aroused such enthusiasm ly impossible,” said the order, “ for our two frigthroughout France, and have presented himself ates to attempt sailing while the enemy retains his with such imposing power before the Allies, that present position. It would be proper to wait for it would have required a long and sanguinary civil a favorable opportunity, which can not offer for a war before the hostile invaders could have sub- long time to come.” dued him. In this conflict the Allies would have “The provisional government,” says the Duke been compelled to sacrifice tens of thousands of of Rovigo, “had dispatched agents to the coast, lives, and millions of money. Trembling before and prepared the means of carrying off the Emthe genius of the Emperor, they would have been peror, or at least of preventing his eluding the glad to purchase peace with him upon terms which vigilance of the English cruisers. By this means would secure his personal safety and dignified re- they had it in their power to seize him as soon tirement. But in this conflict France would have as the presence of the foreign troops in Paris been deluged in blood, and Napoleon repeatedly should have rendered unavailing any opposition declared, and persevered in the lofty resolve, that that might have sprung from the enthusiasm still not one single life should be sacrificed merely to created by the Emperor's painful situation." secure benefits or safety to himself. History pre- Early in the morning of the 3d of July the Emsents few parallels to such magnanimity. peror arrived in Rochefort. During his short

He was, however, still sanguine in the belief that reign, with all the despots of Europe striving to if the Chambers would unite with him and with crush him, he had done more to promote the health France, so as to present an united front to the co- and the opulence of this city than all the monarchs alition, the invaders, notwithstanding their locust of France combined who had preceded him. By legions, might still be driven from the empire. his orders the extensive marshes surrounding the General Becker immediately informed the gov- city had been drained and fertilized, and importernment that the roadstead at Rochefort was re- ant works had been erected for defense, and for ported as effectually blockaded ; and reported to the promotion of internal improvements. As they them the enthusiastic desires of the troops, thit rode along, the Emperor pointed out to his comNapoleon would head them to drive out the in- panions the once infectious marshes, now filled vaders. At Napoleon's suggestion, in this des- with ricks of new-mown hay. perate emergence, General Becker added to this “You see,” said he, “that the population cheercommunication, If, in this situation, the English fully recognize the prosperity which I have crecruisers prevent the frigates from putting to sea, ated in their country. Wherever I pass, I receive you can dispose of the Emperor as a General eager- the blessings of a grateful people.” ly desirous only of being useful to his country." The Emperor's arrival at Rochefort produced a profound sensation. The gardens of the prefect- the frigates were not yet permitted to leave the ure, where he took his lodgings, were filled with harbor. Fouché had sent word that the English an enthusiastic crowd. Whenever he appeared government would soon transmit the passports by he was greeted with the most ardent acclamations. an English ship of war, which was cruising off “I believe," says the Duke of Rovigo, who was Rochefort. The Emperor had hoped that his with the Emperor at that time, “that every in- peaceful retirement would not be opposed. He habitant, without a single exception, participated had supposed that his enemies would be satisfied in our feelings." There were several thousand by his self-sacrifice, and his retirement to the troops in the vicinity. They all transmitted to the wilds of the New World. Emperor expressions of devoted attachment, and At day-break on the morning of the 9th the tendered to him their services. There was not a Emperor landed on the Isle of Aix, off which the military officer within thirty miles who did not frigates were anchored. The whole population of hasten to offer his homage to the Emperor. the island, and the regiment of marines in the gar

Napoleon was desirous of embarking immedi- rison, crowded to the shore to greet him, and the ately, and of trusting to his good fortune, and to air was rent with their acclamations. His exile rethe guns of the frigate, for escape from the en- sembled a triumph. In this his last hour upon emy. But many obstacles were thrown in the the soil of France, he was greeted with the warmway, and it was not until after the lapse of five est testimonials of love and homage. As he redays, on the evening of the 8th, that it was an- | turned to the frigate, he was waited upon by the nounced that the frigates were ready for his em- maritime prefect. The Allies were now in posbarkation.

session of Paris. The treacherous Fouché was The two frigates, the Saale and the Medusa, prepared to resign his power into the hands of the which had been assigned for the transportation of Bourbons. The commander of the frigate was inNapoleon and his suite, were at anchor in the bay. formed that “the act of disembarking Napoleon In the mean time the English cruisers, guided by again upon the soil of France would be declared information from Fouché, had been doubled all high treason." along the coast. At four o'clock in the afternoon, The Emperor passed the 10th on board the frigthe Emperor took an affecting leave of his faithful ate, much perplexed in considering the various companions in arms, and amidst the tears of an plans proposed for his escape. “It is however innumerable throng of people, and their cries of evident," says Las Cases, “that in the midst of « Vive l'Empereur !” stepped into one of the this state of agitation he continues calm and resboats of the Saale. The vessels were at a long olute, even to indifference, without manifesting distance from the quay. The wind was boister- the least anxiety." ous and the sea rough as the Emperor, in silence Before the break of day on the 11th of July, the and sadness, thus bade adieu to the shores of his Duke of Rovigo and Las Cases were sent with a beloved France, It was eight o'clock in the even- flag of truce to the commander of the English ing before the boats reached the Saale. The Em- squadron, to inquire if he would feel himself auperor slept on board. He found, however, that thorized to allow the frigates, or any other French

[graphic][merged small]

or neutral vessels, conveying the Emperor, and world to think of saving himself by sacrificing the bound to the United States, to pass free. lives of others. He was grateful for this proof of

About seven o'clock in the morning the envoys affection, but promptly and decisively declined the arrived on board the Bellerophon, under the com- offer. mand of Captain Maitland, which was cruising off The captain of a Danish vessel, the Bayadere, the harbor. Captain Maitland replied that his which was a very rapid sailer, offered the Emperorders were to capture any vessel which should or the protection of his flag, and expressed the attempt to leave the roadstead.

utmost confidence that he should be able to They then inquired, “In the event of the Em- escape the cruisers. He had prepared a secret peror's adopting the idea of going to England, recess in his vessel, with very great skill, where may he depend upon being received on board your the Emperor might be concealed, should the vesship, with those who accompany him?"

sel be searched by the English. Several young Captain Maitland frankly and honestly answer- officers connected with the naval service fitted ed, “I will instantly address a dispatch to the out two small fishing-vessels, with which they Admiral on the subject. Should the Emperor pre- could glide along in the night, near to the shore, sent himself before I receive a reply, I shall receive and thus escape to sea, and perilously cross the him. But in that case I shall be acting on my own Atlantic. Upon consultation, both of these plans responsibility; and I can not enter into any en were rejected. The Emperor was unwilling to gagements as to the reception he may meet in separate himself from his friends, and, in securEngland.”

ing his own escape, to abandon them to Bourbon Captain Maitland promised in two days again vengeance. He also considered it inconsistent to cast anchor in the roads, when he would prob- with his character to attempt escape in disguise ably have received his answer from the Admiral, or concealment. Nearly all of his friends were and when they could again communicate with also of opinion, that if Napoleon would throw him.

himself upon the hospitality of England, he Napoleon, upon receiving this answer, reflect- would meet from the nation a generous receped upon it for some time, and then resolved, not tion. Joseph Bonaparte had made sure of his withstanding the overwhelming force of the En- departure from Bordeaux for the United States. glish, to brave all the peril, and endeavor to escape. He strikingly resembled his brother Napoleon. “Go," said he to the Duke of Rovigo, “and de- He entreated the Emperor to take advantage of sire the captain of the frigate, in my name, to set the close resemblance and escape in his place, sail immediately." Captain Philibert returned the while Joseph should remain in the Emperor's astounding reply, that "he was strictly forbidden stead. Napoleon would not listen to a proposiby the government to sail if the vessels would be tion which exposed his brother to dangers which exposed to any risk.” When the Duke of Ro- belonged to his own destiny. Others urged that vigo, upon receiving this answer, indignantly ex- it was expedient to renew the war. It was obclaimed, “ This is all deception. The government vious to all that the Emperor had but to place is only plotting to deliver up the Emperor to the himself upon the shore, and the army every enemy!” the Captain replied, “I do not know. where, and all the masses of the people, would But I have orders not to sail.”

rally around him. But to this the Emperor perWhen the Emperor was informed of this re- sisted in the reply : sult, he calmly said, “My secret presentiments « Civil war can have no other result than that told me as much. But I was unwilling to believe of placing me as Emperor in a better position to it. I was reluctant to suspect that this Captain, obtain arrangements more favorable to my perwho appeared a worthy man, could have lent him sonal interests. I can not consent to expose my self to so shameful an act of treachery. What a friends to destruction for such a result. I can villain is that Fouché!"

not allow myself to be the cause of the desolation In this fearful emergence the Captain of the of the provinces, and thus to deprive the national Medusa came forward with the following heroic party of its true support, by which, sooner or proposition. Forgetting every other considera- later, the honor and independence of France will tion in devotion to the safety of the Emperor, he be established. I have renounced sovereignty, begged permission, under favor of the night, to and only wish for a peaceful asylum." surprise the Bellerophon at anchor, to engage her On the 14th, the Emperor again sent Las in close combat, and to grapple his vessel to her Cases and Savary on board the Bellerophon. They sides. The sixty-gun frigate could maintain the returned with the report, that Captain Maitland conflict with her powerful adversary of seventy-wished them to say to the Emperor, that “if he four guns for at least two hours before she should decided upon going to England, he was authorbe destroyed. The Bellerophon, impeded and ized to receive him on board ; and that he aecrippled by the action, could not overtake the cordingly placed his ship at the Emperor's disSaale, which could not be effectually opposed by posal.” the English brig alone, and would thus escape. Under these circumstances, the Emperor asThis plan promised success. A single word from sembled his friends in council. Nearly all were the Emperor would have tossed the Captain of the of opinion that it was best to confide in the honor Saale into the sea, and have placed the frigate and the hospitality of England. General Gourunder the command of one of the Emperor's gaud and Count Montholon alone dissented. friends. But Napoleon was the last man in the They urged that the generous feelings of the

VOL. IX.-No. 54.-3A

« 이전계속 »