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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 9


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On arriving in Paris, the emperor Alexander took up his quarters at the house of Talleyrand, and there the king of Prussia, prince Schwartzenberg, and others, came to consult.. Talleyrand now spoke out, and declared that it would be madness to treat with Buonaparte; the only course was to restore the Bourbons, under certain limits. As early as the 12th of March the duke of Augouleme had entered Bourdeaux, and had there proclaimed, amid acclamations, Louis XVIII. The Comte d'Artois came along in the rear of the allied army, and had everywhere issued printed circulars, calling on the people to unite under their ancient family, and have no more tyranny, no more war, no more conscriptions. This paper had also been extensively circulated in Paris. On the 1st of April the walls of Paris were everywhere placarded by two proclamations, side by side, one from the emperor Alexander, declaring that the allied sovereigns would no longer negotiate with Napoleon or any of his family, and the other from the municipality of Paris, declaring that, in consequence of the tyranny of Napoleon, they had renounced the allegiance of the usurper, and returned to that of their legitimate sovereign. On the same day the senate, under the guidance of Talleyrand, decreed that he had violated and suppressed the constitution which he had sworn to maintain; had chained up the press, and employed it to disseminate his own false statements; drained the nation, and exhausted its people and resources in wars of mere personal ambition; and, finally, had refused to treat on honourable conditions: for these and other plentifully-supplied causes, he had ceased to reign, and that the nation was absolved from all oaths sworn to him. This decree, on the 2nd and 3rd of April, was subscribed by the public bodies in and around Paris. A provisional government was appointed.

Caulaincourt, who had been sent by Buonaparte from Fontainebleau to the allied sovereigns to treat on his behalf, returned, and informed Buonaparte of all the events. He declared that he would march on Paris; and the next day, the 4th of April, he reviewed his troops, and told them that some vile persons had insulted the tri-colour cockade in Paris, and they would march there at once and punish them. The soldiers shouted, " Paris, Paris!" but, after the review, the marshals produced the Moniteur, told him what had taken place, and that it was necessary that he should submit.. He appeared greatly agitated, and asked them what they wished. Lefebvre said, bluntly, that he had been advised by his best friends to make peace in time, when he would have saved everything; there was nothing for it now but to abdicate. Napoleon then called for a pen, and abdicated in favour of his son. Caulaincourt and Ney were sent to carry this to the allied sovereigns. They inquired what terms they should ask for himself. He replied - " None: I ask nothing." Yet, the moment the commissioners were gone, he started up and vowed that he would fight with Marmont's corps and the guards, and would be in Paris on the morrow.

When Ney and Caulaincourt saw Marmont at Essonne, he informed them that he had entered into a convention with the allied sovereigns on his own account. They begged him to suspend it, and accompany them, and he consented. Whilst the three commissioners were with the emperor Alexander, news was brought that count Souham, with whom Marmont had left the command of his troops, had gone over, and marched the division into the lines of the allies. On this the emperor said they had better return to Napoleon, and assure him that the allies would accept nothing short of an

absolute and unqualified abdication. When they announced this to him, to their surprise, he exclaimed, " But what provisions are made for me? Ho warn I to be disposed of?" They replied that it was proposed by the emperor Alexander that he should retain the title of emperor; should have the island of Elba, a guard, a small fleet, and all the. attributes of royalty, with a suitable income. With a mood of mind incomprehensible in any other person, he immediately called for maps and books about Elba, and began contemplating his future position, as though he had only been changing one France for another; but there can be no doubt that he, in reality, was weighing the facilities of the place for that effort to regain the empire of France, which he certainly never, in his soul, renounced for a moment. The next morning he drew up a form of unconditional abdication, signed, and dispatched it. Yet, the moment it was gone, he commenced a variety of plans for continuing the war. He would carry on the campaign beyond the Loire; he would unite his army with that of Augereau; he would proceed to Italy, make a junction with Eugene, and recommence the war from that quarter. His marshals treated all these schemes as visionary and impracticable, and he then again abandoned them.

Ney, Macdonald, and Caulaincourt arrived with the treaty to which the allied sovereigns had agreed. Elba was assigned to him - an island twenty leagues in extent, with twelve thousand inhabitants - and he was to have an income of six millions of francs, besides the little revenue of the island. Two millions and a half more were assigned as annuities to Josephine and the other members of his family. The empress was to be created duchess of Parma, Placentia, and Guastella, in full sovereignty. The marshals and other officers of his army were received in the same ranks and dignities into the army of the Bourbon sovereign. Lord Castlereagh, who had arrived after the conclusion of this treaty, pointed out the folly of it, which must have been apparent to every man of the slightest reflection; for, to a certainty, Napoleon would not for a day longer than he was compelled, observe it in a place like Elba, in the very vicinity of France. He declined, on the part of Great Britain, any concern in it; but, to avoid a renewal of the war, he offered no formal opposition.

When the treaty was read over to the fallen adventurer, he made a last appeal to his marshals to follow him to the Loire or beyond the Alps, promising them to recover every- thing; but they shook their heads, and remained silent. They showed him that the troops of the allies had already spread as far as the Loire; that they surrounded Fontainebleau; and not only officers, but soldiers, were every hour quitting his service; Paris was shouting, through its whole extent, welcome to the Bourbons; the comte d'Artois was governing there as lieutenant of his brother, Louis XVIII. It was a painful thing for him to see some of his most trusted friends quietly stealing away from him one after another; amongst them Berthier and his Mameluke Roustan. As for his own family, they had remained at Blois as a sort of court round the empress; but now count Schouwalow, one of the Austrian ministers, arrived to conduct Maria Louisa to her father, and Joseph, Jerome, and the rest of his own relatives fled - his brothers to Switzerland, his mother and cardinal Fesch to Rome. Josephine, who had lived to witness his fall; to see his boasted star, when once dissevered from hers, fall rapidly and incessantly to this catastrophe, died soon after, followed to the grave by the whole population of the neighbourhood, to all of whom, according to their degree, she had been a kind neighbour, or a sympathising and benevolent patroness.

Baron Fain, his secretary, states that the night before signing the unconditional abdication, Napoleon took poison, procured for him by Yvan, his surgeon; that, complaining that it did not operate quickly enough, Yvan took alarm, mounted his horse, and rode off at full gallop. After a sharp fit of agony, and a long Stupor, Napoleon came to himself, opened his eyes, and said, " Fate would not have it so." Some have doubted the whole story, but it appears sufficiently clear that he endured a sudden and severe attack of some kind. The next morning he signed the abdication. His last struggle was to take farewell of his celebrated imperial guard, or, at least, of the small remains of it. Both he and the soldiers, who had passed through so many wonderful scenes together, were deeply affected.

On the 20th of April Buonaparte set out for his new Lilliputian empire of Elba. A commissioner of each of the four allied nations was appointed to accompany him to his embarkation - general Schouwalow for Russia, general Köhler for Austria, colonel Sir Niel Campbell for Great Britain, and general the baron Truchsess Waldburg for Prussia. Napoleon received them all with much courtesy, except the Prussian officer. As he had always treated Prussia with much severity and indignity, there was a humiliation in having his fate decided in part by that country which he felt and resented. He chose to be particularly polite to the British commissioner, and to compliment this country, for which he had always expressed so much hatred, and not less contempt, as a nation of shopkeepers - probably because it mortified all the rest. He declared England the only country which had an elevated character, and he had previously written to lord Castlereagh for permission to retire to England, as the only country which possessed great and liberal ideas. These flatteries would have come with a more sterling value at an earlier period.

There were many incidents attending his journey which are very interesting, considering the circumstances under which it was made - for history could present no parallel instance of such a rise and such a fall. Generals Bertrand and Drouet adhered faithfully to his fallen fortunes, and accompanied him to his exile. When the aide-de-camp announced, on the part of Bertrand, that the moment for departure had arrived, he said, " Good; this is something new! Since when is it that my motions are regulated by the watch of the grand marshal? I will not depart till it is my pleasure; perhaps I will not depart at ail! " But the momentary vexation passed, and he entered his carriage. His train consisted of fourteen carriages, and required relays of thirty pairs of post-horses. In the earlier stages of the journey he was well received in the towns, and the people often shouted, " Vive l'Empereur! " but as he affected to call for the prefects and mayors as if still sovereign, he met with some unpleasant reminders of the change which had taken place. He beheld frequent white cockades; and when he remarked on the decay of différent places, the authorities now, without circumlocution, ascribed it to his wars. At Valence he found Augereau, but the meeting was anything but agreeable. As on his other generals, Buonaparte had distributed a portion of his defeat on this plain spoken veteran, and Augereau had issued a proclamation in retaliation, declaring that Buonaparte had brought down his own ruin, and yet was afraid to die. " I have thy proclamation! " said Napoleon, angrily; " thou hast betrayed me!" " No! " replied Augereau; " it is you who have betrayed yourself, France, and the army, by your frantic spirit of ambition! " " Thou hast chosen thyself a new master," said Napoleon. " I have no account to render to you on that score," retorted Augereau. " Thou hast no courage," said Buonaparte. "'Tis thou hast none," replied the general, as he turned his back, and left him.

As he approached Provence affaire became serious. The people assembled in throngs at the different towns to assassinate him. They shouted, "Perish the tyrant - the butcher of our children! " He was compelled to disguise himself as a postillion, a domestic, or an Austrian officer - to have the relays of horses sent to quite different parts of the towns to the usual ones. He begged the commissioners, who travelled in the carriage with him, to whistle, and sing, and smoke in his presence, that he might not be supposed there. At Calade, his own effigy, smeared with blood, was presented to him, and it was all that gendarmes, at different places, could do to prevent his being torn to pieces. These exhibitions of the real public feeling towards him southward, made a great impression on him. He shed tears, and was greatly afraid of assassination, and equally so of being poisoned. This was a true poetical justice, such as rarely occurs except in fiction. The man who had sacrificed millions of human beings to his own mad ambition, and would have sacrificed as many more if he had them, without a touch of compunction, was made to feel the execration in which he was held.

At length he arrived at Frejus, the port at which he had landed on his return from Egypt. He seemed to feel the mighty contrast of the rise and the fall of his fortunes thus brought home to him, and traversed his apartment, in which he had shut himself up alone, with hasty and feverish steps. A French frigate and brig had come from Toulon to carry him over; he declined going in a vessel under a Bourbon flag, and requested permission to cross in the British man- of-war commanded by captain Usher. This was readily accorded, and, on the night of the 28th of April, he embarked, under a salute of twenty-one guns. "Adieu to Caesar and his fortunes! " exclaimed the Russian commissioner, little dreaming that neither Caesar nor his fortunes were yet done with. The British and Austrian commissioners accompanied him.

On the voyage he seemed to recover his spirits, and talked incessantly to captain Usher and Sir Niel Campbell; telling them that, had he continued to rule France, he meant to have a fleet of three hundred sail of the line; that England had renewed the war because he had insisted, in a treaty of commerce with Addington, that England should take as many French goods as France took English. The Bourbons were " poor devils," and would be gulled by England into some most disadvantageous commercial treaty; whereas, in St. Helena, afterwards, he ridiculed lord Castlereagh for not having done this very thing. He said that the allies had been continually defeated by him during the last campaign, but that "that old devil, Blucher," never minded being beaten, was always ready to fight again, and so gave him more trouble than them all. The British sailors, who at first were prejudiced against him, all became won over by his affability, except the old boatswain, Hinton, who, when every one praised Napoleon, always grumbled out - Humbug! "

On the 4th of May he landed at Porto Ferrajo, at first in disguise, and attended by a party of marines, for there had been a tumult there between the soldiers, when commanded to put on the white cockade, and the people, and he was a little uneasy as to his reception. At two o'clock, however, he went ashore in person, and was received by the governor, ' prefect, and other authorities, and conducted to the Hôtel de Ville with a wretched band of fiddlers playing before him, and the people shouting, " Welcome to the emperor of Elba! " What a most miserable burlesque of the man who had domineered over three-fourths of Europe, and hoped to have ruled the whole! Having landed Napoleon in his miniature kingdom, we may leave him there whilst we note what his dethroners and successors were doing during the short interval of quiet that he left them. Had the allied monarchs possessed the smallest portion of sagacity amongst them, they must have been quite sure that this interval would not be long, for they might as well have expected that a wild eagle set down on the rocks of Elba would remain there, as that the restless soul of Buonaparte, that never was quiescent, never resigned anything that was not forced from him, would remain inactive within almost a stone's throw of the coast of Italy, and with vessels allowed him to carry him and his emissaries at any moment to that of France.

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Pictures for The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 9

French forces near Kaya
French forces near Kaya >>>>
Alicante
Alicante >>>>
Battle of Tarragona.
Battle of Tarragona. >>>>
Dividing the spoils
Dividing the spoils >>>>
English forces in France
English forces in France >>>>
Lord Castlereagh
Lord Castlereagh >>>>
Napoleon at Fontainebleau
Napoleon at Fontainebleau >>>>
Oak of Heney IV
Oak of Heney IV >>>>
Marshal Bulow
Marshal Bulow >>>>
Escurial
Escurial >>>>
Banquet given to the Emperor of Russia
Banquet given to the Emperor of Russia >>>>

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