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Opposite the Emperor's chamber, at the other extremity of the building, were the apartments of Madaine de Montholon, her husband, and her son, which have since been used as the Einperor's library. Detached from this part of the house, was a little square room on the ground-floor contiguous to the kitchen, which was assigned to me. My son was obliged to enter his room through a trap-door and by the help of a ladder; it was nothing but a loft, and scarcely afforded room for his bed. Our windows and beds were without curtains. The few articles of furniture which were in our apartments had evidently been obtained from the inhabitants of the island, who doubtless readily seized the opportunity of disposing of them to advantage for the sake of supplying themselves with better.
The Grand Marshal with his wife and children had been left at the distance of two miles behind us, in a place which even here is denominated a hut (Hut's-gate). General Gourgaud slept under a tent, as did also the Doctor (Dr. O'Meara of the Northumberland) and the officer commanding our guard, till such time as their apartments should be ready, which the crew of the Northumberland were rapidly preparing.
“We were surrounded by a kind of garden; but, owing to the little atteution which we had it in our power to bestow on its cultivation, joined to the want of water and the nature of the climate, it was a garden only by na In front, and separated from us by a tolerably deep ravine, was encamped the fifty-third regiment, different parties of which were posted on the neighbouring heights.-Such was our new abode.”
The situation of the captives was undoubtedly ameliorated, in some respects, by their removal to Longwood; but their complaints every now and then powerfully break out. The spot of Longwood was one of the least healthy on an unhealthy island. 'Las Cases confesses also that the Emperor's suite were not without their jealousies and divisions among themselves. A common principle had brought them together, but still their companionship was not the result of any personal choice of one another as friends. In the mean time an order arrived from England, that an English officer was to sit at the Emperor's table—in other words, they were to be cut off from the solace of free conversation. We can hardly believe this. Las Cases says the order was evaded only by the Emperor's taking his meals in his own chamber. The Emperor wrote, through Montholon, on the subject of his sentinels, to Admiral Cockburn; he was told that nothing was known about an Emperor in St. Helena, and that tlie conduct of the British Government towards the exiles would be the admiration of posterity. The gloom of these complaints is very agreeably relieved by some anecdotes which our diarist gives of Napoleon, though they would be insignificant if they regarded a less important personage, or any one placed in less extraordinary circumstances. Altogether he must be allowed to have behaved very well, and we see his force of character breaking out into vivacity at the time when his constitution had begun to sink towards its last decline. One evening, when at cards, the Emperor told Las Cases that Madame Las Cases was certainly at that moment at the Opera: it was Tuesday—it was nine p. m. in Paris. No," ,” said the other,
" she is too good a wife to be at the theatre whilst I am here." Spoken like a true husband," said the Emperor, ever confident and credulous." Then turning to General Gourgaud, he joked in the like manner about his mother and sisters: Gourgaud's eyes filled with tears. Napoleon in a moment repressed his pleasantry, and said, “ How barbarous I am to sport with such feelings.”
In the midst of their rides they used to fix on a regular restingplace in the middle of the valley. There, surrounded by desert rocks, they saw a girl of fifteen or sixteen with a charming countenance; they were captivated by her the first day in her daily and poor costume. Next day she had been at her toilette, and the pretty blossom of the fields appeared only an ordinary garden-flower: nevertheless they always stopped at her dwelling, and she always approached some paces to catch the few sentences which the Emperor either addressed, or caused to be translated, to her as he passed by. The Emperor gave ber the name of their Nymph. Dr. Warden, according to Las Cases, has been rather romantic in describing the little incident regarding this girl: Napoleon's admiration of her brought her good fortune. It drew attention to her, and she has since become the wife of a rich East India captain.
Of all the visits that were paid to Napoleon from enthusiastic curiosity, that of the English sailor who twice eluded the obstacles of sentinels and the dangers of severe prohibition, in order to gratify himself with a sight of him, is perhaps the most interesting. Another of our tars found means to approach him, and conveyed, through Las Cases, his good wishes to Napoleon." The Emperor,” he says, "evinced some emotion at the salutation of both of those simple men, so strongly did their countenances, accents, and gestures, bear the stamp of truth." A drunken corporal, who mistook his countersign and met them in one of their rides, gave them a different expression of British courtesy : he levelled his piece and ran up to them out of breath. General Gourgaud collared and endeavoured to secure him, but he effected his escape.-The portion of Las Cases diary which we have hitherto seen comes down no farther than the end of March, 1816*. It contains few more incidents than we have mentioned relative to the personal events of his captivity. Napoleon began to study English. “He had a quick understanding," says our author, “but a very bad memory, and was constantly confounding one thing with another.” Another obstacle to his progress (in pronunciation, at least,) was that he would not pronounce the vowels in the English way; , he insisted on pronouncing quite at his own discretion, and when a word had passed his lips, he would never give it a different sound. His teacher, Las Cases, found it best to have the prudence and patience to let this pass. What he spoke as English, his tutor confesses, was a new language, intelligible only to themselves; but he says, that Napoleon could make himself understood in writing English. The scene of his tuition might not have been a bad subject for Matthews.
Our diarist not only endeavours to delineate the soul of Napoleon in the reports of his conversation, but gives us, in the volumes before us, something like a formal synopsis of his early life. The uncle of the hero's family, Lucien, the Archdeacon of Ajaccio, seems to have been its principal protector, to have retrieved the state of their affairs, which the imprudence of Napoleon's father had deranged, and to have supplied to them the place of a parent. Napoleon's mother, according to
* Several Parts are yet to follow.
our author, was an uncommonly beautiful and high-spirited woman: she accompanied her husband in the patriotic war of the Corsicans, and followed him, in sight of the field of warfare, whilst she was pregnant with Napoleon. At the age of ten, Napoleon was sent to the military school of Brienne, where the Corsican pronunciation of his name, Napolioné, got him the nickname of “ Straw in the Nose." Little Straw in the Nose, however, soon distinguished himself as the best mathematician in the school. At Brienne, Las Cases insists, that, contrary to all the lies and libels which have been published against him, he was in his boyhood mild and gentle : at the age of puberty, Napoleon himself confesses that he became morose and reserved. A decided character he certainly early shewed himself to be. General Pichegru was his quarter-master and tutor in arithmetic at this school. Napoleon afterwards recollected little more about Pichegru, than that he was a tall man with a red face. Pichegru remembered his pupil much better: when he joined the royalists at a distant period, he was asked, if he thought General Bonaparte could be got over to the cause ? “No,” he replied, “ you will lose your time in attempting it. I knew him when a boy, and I am certain that his temper is inflexible.” In 1783, Napoleon was removed to the military school of Paris, owing to the high opinion which Keralio, one of the visitants of the public schools, entertained of him ; though the monks of the Brienne academy proposed detaining him another year, saying, that the lad's education was backward in every thing except mathematics. Las Cases tells us what a prodigy the generality of the Professors of the military school at Paris remembered Napoleon to have been. This was to be expected: they were all naturally anxious to prove that they had possessed discernment, and accordingly the Professor of Belles Lettres declared, that the amplifications in Napoleon's themes were like the flaming granites of a volcano. A heavy German teacher, of the name of Bauer, was so unfortunate as to commit himself beforehand in delivering a contrary opinion : on being told one day that young Napoleon was attending his artillery class, he said, “ I am glad he can attend to any thing." Bonaparte had possibly studied German with Mr. Bauer, as he studied English with Mons. Las Cases. Early testimonies of respect for his talents were, however, paid to him by the Abbé Raynal and by General Paoli—the latter of whom used to say, that he was one of Plutarch's men.” Napoleon, on quitting the military school, went to join his regiment at Valence : he was allowed at this time twelve hundred francs a year by his family, and was one of the two individuals in the regiment who could afford to keep a cabriolet. At Valence he was introduced to a Madame du Colombier, whose acquaintance and the introductions to a superior rank of society which it procured him, the Emperor said had a great influence upon his fortune. He conceived an attachment for the daughter, Mademoiselle du Colombier, who was not insensible to his merits. It was the first love of both, and we are informed, that it was that kind of love which might be expected to arise at their age and with their education. “ We were the most innocent creatures imaginable,” the Emperor used to say ; " we contrived little meetings together. I well remember one which took place on a Midsummer morning, just as daylight began to dawn: it will scarcely be believed that all our happiness consisted in eating cherries together.". In 1805, Napoleon, when about to be crowned King of Italy, saw her in his way through Lyons. She was then Madame de Bressieux. He granted a favour which she solicited for her husband, and placed her in the situation of lady of honour to one of his sisters.
At an early age, we are not told the precise date, he gained a prize for an essay given in to the Academy of Lyons. After he became Emperor, Talleyrand presented to him the famous memorial, which he had procured from the archives of the Academy of Lyons. The Emperor threw it into the fire.
“ Napoleon was in garrison at Valence when the revolution broke out. At that time it was a point of particular importance to cause the artillery officers to emigrate; and the officers, on their part, were very much divided in opinion. Napoleon, who was imbued with the notions of the age, possessing a natural instinct for great actions, and a passion for national glory, espoused the cause of the revolution; and his example influenced the majority of the regiment. He was an ardent patriot under the Constituent Assembly'; but the Legislative Assembly marked a new period in his ideas and opinions.
“He was at Paris on the 21st of June, 1792, and witnessed the insurrection of the people of the Faubourgs, who traversed the garden of the Tuileries, and forced the palace. There were but six thousand men; a mere disorderly mob, whose language and dress proved them to belong to the very lowest class of society.
“Napoleon was also a witness of the events of the 10th of August, in which the assailants were neither higher in rank nor more formidable in number.
lo 1793, Napoleon was in Corsica, where he had a command in the National Guards. He opposed Paoli as soon as he was led to suspect that the veteran, to whom he had hitherto been so much attached, entertained the design of betraying the island to the English. Therefore it is not true, as -has been generally reported, that Napoleon, or some of his family, were at one time in England, proposing to raise a Corsican regiment for the English service.
“ The English and Paoli subdued the Corsican patriots, and burnt Ajaccio. The house of the Bonapartes was destroyed in the general conflagration, and the family were obliged to fly to the Continent. They fixed their abode at Marseilles, whence Napoleon proceeded to Paris. He arrived just at the moment when the federalists of Marseilles had surrendered Toulon to the English.”
The biography of Napoleon soon becomes so intermixed with public affairs that he ceases to be a personal and private object of interest, and comes home to our imaginations solely and entirely as an historical personage. We shall defer noticing some passages in Las Cases which regard his individual character, until we enter on the matter of those Memoirs which bring him forward wholly as a public man.
On the whole, we are obliged to Las Cases for an interesting book. It is true that the author, though he thinks himself a great deal more liberal than Englishmen, and though he has shewn himself a disinterestedly devoted man, is an overweening and prostrate admirer of Imperial greatness and military glory. It is true also, that he defends particular acts of Napoleon's career, which admit of no defence: we do not allude to the story of his poisoning the sick at Jaffa, for that point is set at rest and palpably a fable. But the invasion of St. Domingo and the treatment of Toussaint were two bad concerns, the blot of which on Napoleon's memory no dew of panegyric will wash
away. Altogether, however, Las Cases' subject is great, and his account of his master is deeply arresting. He might have spared his reflections on Madame de Staël. A painter once painted a faultless woman, but without a head: Madame de Staël had her faults, but she had both a head and a heart to atone for them. She was any thing in the world but selfish, as Las Cases describes her; and we wish that she were alive at this moment, confident that she would rebuke bis calumny, by forgiving it.
The Memoirs commence with Napoleon's first appearance as a gereral officer at Toulon; he was at that time twenty-four years of age, and even then shewed himself a man born to command. Though only commandant of the artillery, his intelligence took the lead in conducting and consummating the capture of the place. Here his moral, no less than his military courage, was put to the test: the Committee of Public Safety had sent plans and instructions relative to the siegeBonaparte regarded all their suggestions as useless. The popular societies and all the South of France had become impatient that Toulon was not taken ; in Paris itself the Convention was beset with petitions, that the besiegers might be compelled to attack the place more vigorously, and representatives of the people actually arrived to fulfil this charge. It is not true, as the republican prints then pretended, that those representatives joined the besiegers, sword in hand, and contributed to the capture: they arrived only to witness the success of Bonaparte's plan, and were fain to disown a letter of blame which they had written upon the subject. Bonaparte's reputation was now sufficient to shield him against the terrors of a sanguinary executive government, which sent its generals with as little ceremony to the scaffold as to the field. He was made Brigadier-general of artillery, and appointed to the command of that department (the artillery) in the army of Italy. From thence he succeeded to the chief command of the same army. In 1795, he quitted it for a short time, and repaired to Paris : he had been put on the list of generals who were intended to serve in the army of La Vendée; but le refused this appointment, and protested against it.*
The full tide of Bonaparte's glory set in from his Italian campaign in 1796. At the beginning of that year the King of Sardinia, who, from his military and geographical position, had obtained the title of the Porter of the Alps, had fortresses at the openings of all the passes leading into Piedmont. If it had been wished to penetrate into Italy by forcing the Alps, it would have been necessary to gain possession of these fortresses. Now the roads did not allow the carriage of a battering train; besides, the mountains are covered with snow during three quarters of the year-which leaves but little time for besieging these places. A plan was therefore formed for turning all the Alps, and for entering Italy precisely at the point where these high mountains terminate, and where the Apennines begin. In penetrating into Italy in this direction, some hopes might be entertained of separating and inter
• There is a chasm in the Memoirs dictated to Gourgaud from the end of 1795 down to Bonaparte's return from Egypt in 1799. The engraving of the Maps and Plans having, it appears, prevented the editors from following a chronological order, we return for the present to Las Cases, who gives a full account of the Italian campaign of 1796.