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with everything he could want in his island. For that purpose I had the Partridge, stationed at Porto Ferrajo, to obey my orders; but I had no men, no means whatever to prevent Bonaparte's doing whatever he chose ; and as the latter had a small frigate, a bomb vessel, and several small boats with a thousand soldiers at his command, I certainly could not be supposed to have any power to prevent his leaving the island whenever he might be so inclined.
“ As far back as October last, I wrote to Lord Castlereagh, stating my belief that if the allies did not pay Bonaparte the salary they agreed to give him, he would make some desperate attempt. Since that, I have been aware that he had constant communications with Murat. I also informed our government of this circumstance. I have been frequently absent from Elba, not conceiving myself under any engagement not to be so. The last time I left the island, I saw that everything was perfectly quiet, and in its usual state. When Captain Aidy came away, on Saturday, the 25th, all was apparently as usual. The soldiers were amusing themselves making a garden before the guard-house, and in Bonaparte's brig there was no appearance of any preparation whatever for sailing. Captain A[-] came to me at Leghorn, to take me back there.
“However, some rumours reached me at Leghorn, which alarmed me, and I waited on the French consul and the English. The latter did not give these reports the least credit, but the former did. I hastened away, but, unfortunately, my intelligence led me to believe that Bonaparte might have fled to Italy; and to Porto Caprai, therefore, we took our course.
When we got there, we heard that such and such vessels full of men had been seen to the westward of the shores of Provence. These answered to the description of Bonaparte's little fleet. In all anxiety we turned, therefore ; but I thought it best to take Elba in our way, to ascertain the fact of his flight. We were becalmed ; and when we reached Porto Ferrajo, Bonaparte had been gone two days. I left the Partridge at the outside of the port, and told Captain Aidy that if I did not return in two hours, he might conclude I was detained prisoner, and make the best of his way to give the intelligence. As I approached the shore, I saw none of the great caps, none of the usual soldiery, but what he calls 'gardes nationales,' in their room.
“I was received by some of the under persons in command, and requested to be led immediately to General Bertrand. 'General Bertrand is not here.' 'To General Oudinot'; he is not here either.' 'To the Emperor.' They looked uncertain what to say. 'Very well, I see how it is ; you need not be so discreet. I knew this plan long ago, and you may depend upon it they are all taken prisoners by this time.'
“I thought it best to pretend this knowledge, in order to appear of some consequence.”
Just as I write these words, [-] tells me, Barzotti, music master, has ridden by, and says, our English officer told him, Bonaparte is taken, with four hundred men. I do not believe it, and go back to my narration.
“ Who is in command here ? ” Sir Neil told me, was his next question. “I was answered, “Monsieur [-].' * Lead me to him.' 'What are your intentions ?' Sir Neil said, as soon as they met, ‘ Do you mean to submit to your lawful sovereign or not?' What sovereign ?' 'The allies, who placed Bonaparte here,' 'I know of no sovereign but Napoleon,' replied Monsieur [-], 'and I have means to defend the island, and shall use them.'
“I had nothing to do but to bow, and say it was well ; that I could remain no longer at Elba ; that my frigate waited for me, and that I must be gone immediately. I thought, however, that I would endeavour to learn all
the intelligence I could, and called at Madame Mère's and the Princess Pauline’s.* They both declined giving any information, if they had any to give. They said they were in the greatest anxiety, and, on the contrary, so far from giving me any news, they requested me to give them some, of their brother.
“I spoke as if I was well acquainted with his plans, whereas I was in perfect ignorance of them ; but I could observe that whenever I mentioned Italy, they seemed much relieved. Princess Pauline took my hand, and, pressing it to her heart, desired me to feel how it beat with anxiety ; but I could not perceive any symptoms of alarm, and, being in haste, I shortened my visit as much as possible.
“Delighted to find I was not detained prisoner, I sailed to Antibes ; but still in a pitiable state of uneasiness of mind, for I was aware how much the imprudence of the nations would be laid to my charge, and how much circumstances might make me seem guilty in the minds of thousands."
Sir N. Campbell coloured violently as he said this, and I was sorry for him. Then he added, that he was going into France, but should return this way, and so we parted.
All these particulars, however, do not lessen my surprise at the conduct of our ministers, as well as at that of the allies; and I regret that one of my countrymen
* Princess Borghese was doubtless very beautiful, but her manners were those of a petite maitresse giving herself the airs of a crowned head. Many were the really great ladies who waited in her drawingrooms, and did not blush to be subservient to her caprices. [Part of original note.)
† If it be true that Sir Neil Campbell was the heart prisoner of a fair lady at Florence, that may account for his having watched his prisoner at Elba so ill
. Certain it is, Sir Neil Campbell seemed very anxious to prove that he was not to blame in having permitted the escape of a man on whose liberty the fate of Europe depended. [Original note.] He died in 1827.