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producing any other advantage than placing the Emperor in a position to treat and obtain stipulations favourable to his interests. But Napoleon had renounced sovereignty; he only wanted a tranquil asylum; he abhorred the thought of seeing all his friends perish to attain so trifling a result; he was equally averse to become the pretext for the provinces being ravaged ; and above all, he did not wish to deprive the national party of its truest supports, which would sooner or later re-establish the honour and independence of France. Napoleon's only wish was to live as a private individual in future : America was the most proper place, and that of his choice. But even England, with its positive laws, might also answer; and it appeared, from the nature of my first interview with Captain Maitland, that the latter was empowered to convey the Emperor and suite to England, to be equitably treated. From this moment we were under the protection of British laws, and the people of England were loo fond of glory to lose an opportunity which thus presented itself, and that ought to have formed the proudest page of their history. It was therefore resolved to surrender to the English cruisers, as soon as Captain Maitland should positively declare his orders to receive us. On renewing the negotiation, he clearly stated that he had the authority of his Government to receive the Emperor, if he would come on board the Bellerophon, and to convey himself as well as his suite to England. Napoleon went on board, not that he was constrained to it by events, since he could have remained in France; but because he wished to live as a private individual ; would no longer meddle with public affairs ; and had determined not to embroil those of France. He would, most assuredly, not have adopted this plan, had he suspected the unworthy treatment which was preparing for him, as every body will readily feel convinced. His letter to the Prince Regent fully explains his confidence and persuasion on the subject. Captain Maitland, to whom it was officially communicated, before the Emperor embarked on board his ship, having made no remarks on the above document, had, by this circumstance alone, recognised and sanctioned the sentiments it contained.”
When the first rumours of their destination reached the fugitives, “ Some person whispered to me,” says Las Cases, “ that the ships were to receive us in the course of the night and to sail for St. Helena. "Never can I portray the effect of these terrible words. A cold sweat overspread my whole frame. Unpitying executioners had seized me; I was torn from all that attached me to life. *** It was like the struggle of a soul that sought to disengage itself from its earthly habitation. It turned my hair grey.-Fortunately, the crisis was short; and, as it happened, the mind came forth triumphant." The Emperor, however, he says, to whom he read all the newspapers, did not betray any
decrease of composure.
He would not at first believe that he was to be sent to St. Helena. When Sir Charles Bunbury and Lord Keith
announce his fate to him, they were admitted alone ; and it is known that he protested against the sentence. A day or two afterwards, whilst he was conversing with Las Cases, Madame Bertrand, without having been called, and even without announcing her name, rushed into the cabin, and in a frantic manner intreated Napoleon not to go to St. Helena, nor take her husband with him. But, observing the astonishment, coolness, and calm answer of Napoleon, she ran out as precipitately as she had en
“ The Emperor, still surprised, turned to me and said, “Can you comprehend all this ? is she not mad ?' In a moment after she attempted to throw herself overboard.” In a subsequent conversation with Las Cases, Napoleon, though calm, seemed affected and absent, and binted at the facility with which he could escape from existence, and save his friends the sacrifice of following him into banishment.
His friend, of course, opposed the suggestion. “But what shall we do in that desolate place ?", said the Emperor. "Sire,” said Las Cases, “ we will live on the past.” “Be it so," rejoined Napoleon: " we will write our memoirs; for occupation is the scythe of Time;" and he reassumed an air of ease, and even gaiety. It is confessed that he betrayed a momentary anger on being informed that he was reduced to the title of General. If his irritation be taxed with weakness, it cannot be said that the act of untitling him displayed magnanimity. The ceremony of taking his purse from him must have been unpleasant even to those who believed it to be necessary for the secure possession of his person. Waving the discussion of that question, we quote our author's description of his mode of living on board the Northumberland. “ The Emperor breakfasted in his own cabin at irregular hours. We (his attendants) took our breakfast at ten o'clock, in the French style, while the English continued to breakfast in their own way at eight. The Emperor sent for one of us every morning to know what was going on, the distance run, the state of the wind, and other particulars connected with our progress. He read a great deal ; dressed towards four o'clock, and then came into the general cabin: here he played at chess with one of the party. At five o'clock, the Admiral, having come out of his cabin a few minutes before, announced that dinner was ready. It is well known that Napoleon was scarcely ever more than fifteen minutes at his dinner. Here the courses alone occupied from an hour to an hour and a half: this was to him a most serious annoyance, though he never mentioned it; his features, his manner and gestures, always evinced perfect indifference. Neither the new system of cookery, nor the difference or quality of the dishes, ever met with his censure or approbation. He was attended by his two valets, who stood behind his chair. At first the Admiral was in the habit of offering to help the Emperor ; but the acknowledgment of Napoleon was expressed so coldly, that this practice was discontinued. The Admiral continued very attentive, but thenceforth only pointed out to the servants what was preferable. They alone attended to these matters, to which the Emperor seemed totally indifferent, neither seeming to seek or notice any thing. He was generally silent, remaining in the midst of conversation as if totally unacquainted with the language, though it was French. If he spoke, it was to ask some technical or scientific question, and to address a few words to those whom the Admiral asked occasionally to dinner. *** * The Emperor always rose from table long before the rest of the company. The Grand Marshal and I always followed him to the quarter-deck, where I was frequently left alone with him, as General Bertrand had often to attend his wife, who suffered excessively from sea-sickness. **** After he had taken eight or nine turns the whole length of the deck, he would seat himself on the second gun from the gangway, on the larboard side. The midshipmen soon observed this habitual predilection, so that the cannon was thenceforth called the Emperor's gun.” The game of chess, we are farther told, was one of his amusements on the voyage. The Emperor was but an indifferent player. There was one very good chess-player on board, however, whom the Emperor always beat. He was shrewd enough to perceive that the victory was yielded to him from politeness; and winking his eye, asked how it happened that he lost with inferior players, and
always gained with him whom nobody else could beat. The midshipmen, our author says, behaved' to Napoleon with a delicacy and respect which touched his feelings. When an unusual bustle occurred on deck, they crowded round him that he might not be incommoded. Early in the voyage, Napoleon began to dictate his memoirs to Las Cases, and thus regularly he employed his mornings on board the Northumberland.
On the 14th of Oct. came in sight of the Island of St. Helena, but they lay-to all night:
“ About seventy days after our departure from England, and an hundred and terr after our departure from Paris, we cast anchor about noon (on the 15th.) “The Emperor, contrary to custom, dressed early and went upon deck;
he went forward on the gangway to riew the island. We beheld a kind of village surrounded by numerous barren and naked bills towering to the clouds. Every platform, every aperture, the brow of every hill, was planted with can
The Emperor viewed the prospect through his glass. I stood behind him. My eyes were constantly fixed on his countenance, in which I could perceive no change; and yet he saw before him, perhaps, his perpetual prison ! -- perhaps, bis grave! ..... How much, then, remained for me to feel and to witness!
“The Emperor soon left the deck. He desired ine to come to him, and we proceeded to our usual occupation. .“ The Admiral, who had gone ashore very early, returned about six o'clock, much fatigued. He had been walking about various parts of the island, and at length thought he had found a habitation that would suit us.
The place, however, stood in need of repairs which might occupy two months. We had now been confined to our wooden dungeon for nearly three months; and the precise instructions of the ministers were, that we should be detained there until our prison on shore was ready for our reception. The Admiral, to do him justice, was incapable of such barbarity; he informed us, at the same time betraying a sort of inward satisfaction, that he would take upon himself the responsibility of putting us ashore next day."
The first night they were lodged in the inn or hotel of the petty town. Next day the Emperor, accompanied by the Admiral, visited Longwood, the spot intended for his residence, when its habitatiou should be repaired. Reluctant to return to the inn, where crowds of persons had annoyed him by assembling beneath his windows, Napoleon took up his abode for a time at the pavilion or summer-house attached to the villa of Mr. Balcombe, a merchant of the Island. Already he had become so much interested in his work on his Campaigns of Italy, that he could not suspend it. In none of his campaigns, we are told, perliaps in no situation of his past life, had he been so wretchedly lodged, or subject to so many privations, as at Mr. Balcombe's pavilion. The summer-house had been merely a retreat to which Mr, Balcombe's family were accustomed to retire to take tea and amuse themselves. Whilst his two valets-de-chambre were bustling about to prepare his bed, the Emperor took a fancy to walk a little; but there was no level ground on any side of the pavilion, which was surrounded by huge pieces of stone and rock. He took my arm,” says Las Cases, * and began to converse in a cheerful strain. Night was advancing, profound solitude and undisturbed silence prevailed on every side; I was in this desert téte-a-téte and enjoying familiar con
versation with the man who had ruled the world. What were my feelings !" To our obtuse taste we must own that this old French nobleman often appears to be a very abject admirer of the pomp and circumstance of power—but in this case we cannot but sympathise with his heart being overpowered by the awful contrast in his master's fate, when he compared him thus situated, with the potentate whose presence at the Tuileries had been approached with anxious dread by ambassadors, princes, and even kings. Next morning the remains of yesterday's dinner were brought to Napoleon for breakfast; at which, according to our author, he had neither tablecloth nor plates. He proceeded, however, to his dictation, and afterwards went out to examine his new dominion, in the garden of which he met with Mr. Balcombe's two daughters, girls about fourteen or fifteen, who presented the Emperor with flowers, and overwhelmed him with ridiculous questions. “We have been to a masked ball," said Napoleon, when the girls retired. For several days our diarist still complains of the table remaining without a cloth. The breakfast continued to be brought from town, and consisted of only two or three wretched dishes. Coffee was almost a necessary of life to the Emperor, but here it proved so bad that, on tasting it, he thought himself poisoned. “St. Helena," he continues, " is a true Siberia; the only difference is its limited extent, and climate, being warm instead of cold. The Emperor Napoleon now occupies a wretched hovel a few feet square, unprovided with furniture, and without either shutters or curtains to the windows; he is obliged to go out when it is necessary to have this one apartment cleaned. His meals are brought to him from a distance, as if he were a criminal in a dungeon: the bread and wine, water, butter, oil, and other articles, are scarcely fit for
A bath, which is so necessary to the Emperor's health, is not to be had, and he is deprived of the exercise of riding on horseback." It is clear that the stomachs of the poor exiles were not likely to be disposed to perfect candour in judging of the viands that were set before them; and in judging of coffee, and bread and butter, &c. as in other matters of taste, there is no estimating the force of prejudice. For the honour of England, as far as it is compromised in Napoleon's treatment, we would fain cling to the idea that the picture of his situation is overcharged. When we read, that on tasting the first tolerable cup of coffee that was brought to him, he put
his hand upon
his stomach and said he felt hinself immediately the better for it, one cannot peruse the anecdote without wishing it untrue.
Whatever we may think of Napoleon, he was our captive, and a helpless victim at our feet. There is no doubt that if our right to secure his person for the safety of Europe be admitted, the security was not to be trifled with, and to maintain a circumspect system of detention was only acting consistently with the principle. But it is equally clear that it concerned the character of his conquerors to abstain from inflicting a single privation that was unnecessary. We may be much mistaken, but cannot help thinking that a system of perfect and secure detention might have been kept up by means of sentinels on the shore, and by signal-posts over the scanty space of the Island, that would have left him no pretext for saying that the accompaniment of an inspecting officer virtually prohibited him from enjoying the exercise of riding.
Nor do we see on what ground Admiral Cockburn had any right to refuse, for a moment, his remonstrance on the subject of his treatment being forwarded to the British Government. Napoleon spoke in these terms of the conduct of the Sovereigns of Europe towards him :-“I entered their capitals victorious, and, had I cherished such sentiments, what would have become of them? They styled me their brother; and I had become so by the choice of the people, the sanction of victory, the character of religion, and the alliances of their policy and their blood. Do they imagine that the good sense of nations is blind to their conduct? What do they expect from it? At all events, make your complaints, gentlemen ; let indignant Europe hear them. Complaints from me would be beneath my dignity and my character. I must command, or be silent."
On the 10th of Dec. the exiles were removed to their newly-finished habitation at Longwood. Past events had created a coolness between the Emperor and the Admiral, but they met on this occasion, and for the present behaved as if reconciled. The place is thus described.
“ The difference of the temperature between this place and the valley where we landed, is marked by a variation of at least ten degrees of the English thermometer. Longwood stands on a level height, which is tolerably extensive on the eastern side, and pretty near the coast. Continual, and frequently violent gales, always blowing in the same quarter, sweep the surface of the ground. "The sun, though it rarely appears, nevertheless exercises its influence on the atmosphere, which is apt to produce disorders of the liver, if due precaution be not observed. Heavy and sudden falls of rain complete the impossibility of distinguishing any regular season. But there is no regulat course of seasons at Longwood. The whole year presents a continuance of wind, clouds, and rain ; and the temperature is of that mild and monotonous kind, which, perhaps, after all, is rather conducive to ennui than disease. Notwithstanding the abundant rains, the grass rapidly disappears, being either nipped by the wind, or withered by the heat. The water, which is conveyed hither by a conduit, is so unwholesome that the Deputy Governor, when he lived at Longwood, never suffered it to be used in his family until it had been boiled; and we are obliged to do the same. The trees which, at a distance, impart a smiling aspect to the scene, are merely gum-trees—a wretched kind of shrub, affording no shade. On one hand, the horizon is bounded by the vast ocean: but the rest of the scene presents only a mass of huge barren rocks, deep gulfs, and desolate valleys; and in the distance appear the green and misty chain of mountains, above which towers Diana's Peak. In short, Longwood can be pleasing only to the traveller, after the fatigues of a long voyage, for whom the sight of any land is a cheering prospect. Arriving at Saint-Helena on a fine day, he may, perhaps, be struck with the singularity of the objects which suddenly present themselves, and may, perhaps, exclaim, • How beautiful! but his visit is momentary; and what pain does not his hasty admiration cause to the unhappy captives who are doomed to pass their lives at Saint-Helena!
“Workmen had been constantly employed for two months in preparing Longwood for our reception; the result of their labours, however, amounted to little. The entrance to the house was through a room which had just been built, and which was intended to answer the double purpose of an antechamber and a dining-room. This apartment led to another, which was made the drawing-room; beyond this was a third room, running in a cross direction and very dark. This was intended to be the depository of the Emperor's maps and books; but it was afterwards converted into the diningroom. The Emperor's chamber opened into this apartment on the right-hand side. This chamber was divided into two equal parts, forming the Emperor's cabinet and sleeping-room: a little external gallery served for a bathing-room.