Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

no full and authentic report of this speech has been published: from the notes, however, which were given in the newspapers, we shall be able to collect some important observations; and though the wit and eloquence will have evaporated, the facts, which are still more valuable, will remain.

Buonaparte sets out with protesting against the Convention for his confinement signed on the 2d August, 1815, between England, Russia, Prussia, and Austria. His first ground of protest is, that • he is not the prisoner of England. After having placed his abdication in the hands of the representatives of the nation, for the advantage of the constitution adopted by the French people, and in favour of his son, he repaired voLUNTARILY and FREELY to England, with the view of living there, as a private individual, under the protection of the British laws.'— p. 41.

We shall not here repeat what we have said about his abdications; we shall only observe of the first that it was un-conditional, and absolute against himself and his descendantsand of the second, in violation of the former, and in favour of his son, that it was the trick of a thief caught in the fact who endeavours to convey his booty to his accomplice. The bare mention of such impudent pretensions is a sufficient refutation. But he repeats, for the ninety-ninth time, and after ninety-nine refutations, the old liethat he repaired voluntarily and freely to England. His pertinacity in this assertion must excuse the repetition of our denial,* which we shall take out of the mouth of his associates. First, let us hear the Count de las Cases in his conversation with Mr. Warden.

* When the Emperor quitted Paris, it was with the fixed deternination of proceeding to America. On our arrival at Rochefort, the difficulty of proceeding to the Land of Promise appeared to be much greater than had been projected. Every inquiry was made, and various projects proposed, but no very practicable scheme offered itself. At lengih, as a dernier resort, two chasse-marées were procured, and it was in actual contemplation to attempt a voyage across the Atlantic in them, and it was thought that during the night we might effect our meditated ESCAPE. This project, however, was soon abandoned, (as too dangerous,) and no alternative appeared but to throw ourselves on the generosity of England.'-Warden, pp. 61, 63.

And this same Las Cases came to Captain Maitland's ship in Basque Roads, to ask for passports for America :—they were refused. He next proposed terms of surrender :-they were rejected; and there was no alternative but to surrender at discretion.

General Bertrand also repeated to Mr. Warden, that when Buonaparte consulted him as 10 surrendering himself to the English,

* We beg to refer our readers to Art. III. of our 27th Number, in which this part of the subject is discussed in detail.

he

he declined to become his counsellor at that critical moment, because he thought it not impossible that his liberty might be endangered by the resolution of that hour.'-Warden, p. 16.

This forced colition and this free necessity remind us of the reluctant alacrity of Bullcalf, who begins by offering to give up his French Crowns, and concludes by protesting that he is ready to go voluntarily, if he cannot help it.

Good master Corporate Bardolph, stand my friend, and here is four Harry-ten shillings in French crowns for you.-In very truth, Sir, I had as lief be hanged, Sir, as go ; and yet, for mine own part, Sir, I do not care; but rather because I am unwilling, and for mine own part have a desire to stay with my friends ; else, Sir, I did not care, for mine own port, so much.'-2d Part Henry IV.

The imperial Bullcalf then goes on• The person of the Emperor Napoleon is actually in the power of England; but he neither has been, nor is, in the power of Austria, Russia, and Prussia, either in fact, or of right, even according to the laws and customs of England, which never included, in the exchange of prisoners, Russians, Prussians, Austrians, Spaniards, or Portugueze, though united to these powers by treaties of alliance, and making war conjointly with them.-P. 41.

This is an impudent falsehood on a matter now of little importance; but as truth is always worth something, we shall set even this matter right. Buonaparte, in the negociation for the exchange of prisoners of war in 1810, insisted, as a sine qua non, that England should exchange her French prisoners for the allied prisoners in the possession of Buonaparte; and to this principle* England agreed. The negociation broke off, as will be seen by reference to the papers, on points of detail; but the proposition which Buonaparte now denies, was on that occasion advanced by himself, and conceded by England. So much for his veracity in a plain matter of fact.

Having thus strenuously denied that the three sovereigns have any right over him, he, rather inconsistently, proceeds to say, that if they had, they no doubt would, in consideration of alliance and old friendship, have treated him better. It really excites one's indignation to hear Napolione Buonaparte representing himself as four times the benefactor of the Emperor of Austria, because he four times invaded his country, and twice desolated his capital describing as the mere effect of his own good nature and moderation, that the house of Austria had not ceased (like those of Bourbon and Braganza) to reign ;'--and reproaching to that family the bitterest of all the evils he had inflicted upon it, by a sarcastic allusion to the relations which religion and nature have formed be* See the Moniteur of the 2d December, 1810.

tween

tween a father and a child-relations which never are violated with impunity.' (p. 59.) Alas, alas ! the Devil can speak truth; and the Emperor of Austria, when he sacrificed bis young and innocent child to this bloody Moloch, did indeed violate relations, the contempt of which certainly has ļot escaped with impunity!

His claims on the good will of the Emperor of Russia are stated with still more effrontery.

* Had the person of the Emperor Napoleon been in the power of the Emperor Alexander, he would have recollected the ties of friendship contracted at Tilsit, at Erfurth, and during twelve years of daily correspondence.

· He would have recollected the conduct of the Emperor Napoleon the day after the battle of Austerlitz, when, though he could have made him, with the wreck of his army, prisoner, he contented himself with taking his parole, and allowed him to operate his retreat. He would have recollected the dangers to which the Einperor Napoleon personally exposed himself in order to extinguish the fire of Moscow, and to preserve that capital for him-assuredly, that Prince would never have violated the duties of friendship and gratitude towards a friend in misfortune.'--pp. 43, 45.

To this we have only to observe that the impudence of the man who could thus refer to what had passed before bis wanton and flagitious invasion of Russia, and allude to this invasion, not as cancelling former connexions, but as giving him new claims on Alexander's gratitude, is only equalled by the ridiculous absurdity of such a proceeding; the mention, above all, of the destruction of Mosco is a sublime trait of egotism and insensibility; it requires no answer, but we gladly subjoin a remark inade upon this passage by Count Rastopchin, the heroic governor of that ill-fated, but illustrious capital.

I was much surprized at seeing, in Buonaparte's Appeal to the British Nation, that he had incurred danger in wishing to save Moscow from the confiagration, in the year 1812. His amazing efforts and greatness of mind were, hoivever, limited to mounting his horse as soon as the fire appeared, and galloping to the distance of two English miles from the town in order to place himself in safety. He passed three days and three nights in a palace in the midst of a corps of troops who bivouacked, and only returned to Moscow on the fourth day, when the conflagration had ceased, after having consumed 7,632 houses. I was well informed of all that was passing in the town by means of six offcers disguised, who remained undiscovered during the whole of Buonaparte's stay at Moscow; but on his quitting it, he set fire to the Pa. lace of the Kremlin among others, and to the castle of Petrovsky, which had served him as an asylum during the great confiagration. Perhaps this was done by him as an act of kindness, with the intention of purifying them by fire from the evils he had been the source of. From the tone of this Appeal it would seem that he dictated it at the moment

when

when his mind was guided by the same feelings as during his passage to the island of St. Helena in 1815, and he appears unwilling to forget the style of his bulletins, which serves as a proof that habit is a second nature.'

The climax, however, of his audacity, is his claim upon the gratitude of the king of Prussia, because after the battle of Friedland he did not place another prince on the throne of Berlin.' (p. 43.) Does Buonaparte forget the injuries he inflicts, as a generous man forgets the benefits he confers? or does he think that Prussia can forget what he made her suffer in the three dreadful years after the treaty of Tilsit? Does he suppose that we can forget his base and unmanly insults of the Queen of Prussia while she lived, or that we are ignorant of the more base and unmanly calumnies with which, in his atrociius jocularity, he still persecutes her memory?—By the treaty of Tilsit, Prussia was to have been evacuated on the 1st October, 1807. It may be truly said that it never was evacuated till after the battle of Leipsic, and every day of that long and disastrous period afforded fresh instances of the treachery, the rapacity, and the cruelty of Buonaparte and his myrmidons. We do not believe (and it is saying a great deal) that any other portion of this man's public life is more disgraceful to his character as a soldier, a statesman, a man, than the whole of his proceedings in Prussia,-and yet he has claims, forsooth, on the graiitude of her king !

Having thus insulted her allies, he next honours England with reproaches for secluding him in St. Helena-he wished only for retirement in England, under the protection of the English law's, and in the bosom of a great, generous, and free people.'

quantum mutatus ab illo

Hectore! How this Hector has lowered his tone!—we are, it seems, no longer the English of the Moniteurs:-no longer' a people without shame or decency;' no longer the incendiaries of mankind;' no longer ' an infamous horde of pirates who shudder at the sight of the peace of the world as the devil did at the happiness of our first parents. We have ceased to be the objects of the malediction of every virtuous heart'-it is no longer our distinctive character io make a jest of every thing the most sacred--to he pusillanimous to our enemies, and treacherous to our allies.' These delicate compliments to the GREAT, GENEROUS, and FREE people, are selected from the very first Moniteur which we happened to open, that of 30th January, 1810. And on what subject will our readers believe that this torrent of Billingsgate is let loose?-truly upon our base, infamous, pusillanimous, and treacherous determination to assist Spain and Portugal in their ill-judged opposition to the

fraternal

fraternal embraces of Buonaparte-a fraternity which, as was wittily said of his friend Marat's, * resembled that of Cain to Abel.

Buonaparte now complains that this great and pusillanimousgenerous and treacherous-free and shameless people, are insensible to the démarche franche, noble et pleine de confiance of Buonaparte; (we assure our wondering readers we use his own modest expressions ;) and have transported him to a rock in the ocean, 2,000 miles from Europe, the climate of which is the most inimical in the whole world to the health of his imperial Majesty. We should like to ask whether it is a much worse climate than Egypt, where he deserted one army? or St. Domingo, where he confesses that he sent another to perish? Is his prison more damp than the tower of the Temple in which Captain Wright was murdered, or closer than the castle of Valencey in which he cooped up Ferdinand ? Is the weather worse or the dungeon damper than those to which he wantouly exposed the Earl of Elgin, whose sacred character of an ambassador only aggravated the virulence of his imperial persecutor? He was not used to be so nice about climates, this emperor—when the Moniteur was so good as to assuage the anxiety of Europe with grave assurances that in the snows of Russia, and the arid sands of Castille, where his followers were perishing by thousands, sa Majesté Impériale était toujours bien portante. But this story of the climate is, like all the rest, a falsehood; as we shall show in a subsequent part of these observations.

Rancour only,' says the much injured Napoleon, 'could have chosen such a residence for me.'- p. 49.

The truth is, that with a needless attention to the health and comforts of him who never attended to those of any human being but himself, the island of St. Helena was selected as the place where the greatest security to Europe could be combined with the greatest personal indulgence to the prisoner, an indulgence which, as we shall see by and by, has been carried much too far.

The next complaint is one which, at first, sounds very light, but is, in fact, very serious; not only on account of the obstinacy and virulence with which it is urged, but of the consequences which would be deduced from a compliance with Buonaparte's wishes.

He insists on being called EMPEROR and MAJESTY!

He resents with great indignation the title of General Buonaparte, which is given to him, as if the English wished to oblige him to consider himself as never having reigned in France:' (p. 49) to style him General now is to declare that he has neither been

* Buonaparte was so obscure during Marat's reign that we dare not assert that there was a personal frieudship between these two worthies, but it is known that there was a perfect congeniality of sentiment; and his Majesty Joachim of Naples, Napolione's brother-in-law, publicly requested permission to change his uame from Murat to Marat, in honour of the deceased patriot.

« IndietroContinua »