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

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There was one man for whom lie entertained a deep and peculiar jealousy. This was general Moreau. Moreau had acquired a military reputation second only to his own. His famous retreat through the Black Forest, in 1796, and his great victory at Hohenlinden, had made him a wonderful reputation, and the kindness and mildness of his disposition had attached his soldiers to him with an enthusiastic feeling of affection and devotion. At the same time, whilst Moreau had no ambition to seize any power or dignity which was not the legitimate fruit of his military fame, he regarded with undisguised abhorrence the lawless proceedings of Buonaparte. No flattery on the part of Buonaparte could win him to coalesce in and subserve his designs against the republic. He was accustomed, in conversation, to speak freely on this subject, and to say to the old republican officers, who gathered around him at his handsome country house near Paris, that the Corsican would not be allowed to put on the imperial crown without fighting a harder battle than that of Marengo. These incautious speeches were regularly carried by spies to the ears of Buonaparte. It was in vain that he sought to conciliate the honour- able Moreau, who had grown up under the revolution, and was sincerely attached to it. He was the son of a lawyer of Morlaix, in Bretagne, where he was born, in 1763, and had risen by his martial talents and bravery, without any of the arts which Buonaparte had practised. On one occasion, recently, Moreau, having occasion to wait on Buonaparte at the Tuileries, as he was speaking with him, Carnot, the minister at war, brought in a pair of pistols, of beautiful workmanship and enriched with diamonds, which were sent from Versailles, as a present to the first consul. " They arrive in a happy time," said Buonaparte, taking them and presenting them to Moreau. Moreau, so far from accepting the pistols with pleasure, assumed a grave demeanour, returned a cold bow, and left the apartment without a word. It was clear that such a man was not to be won over to a dishonourable purpose by any courtesies, and Buonaparte determined to be rid of him.

In doing this, he and his demonaic agent, Fouché, managed to implicate and get rid of a number of other almost equally dangerous, and quite as unpurchasable, people.

We have it on the authority of Bourrienne, for so many years private secretary to Buonaparte, that, at this juncture, Napoleon had dismissed Fouché from the ministry. Probably he had discovered the espionage of that spider-soul on him- self, and so cut it short. But Fouché was not a man thus to be got rid of. He therefore set on a plot which should compel Buonaparte to take him back. He dispatched to London a renegade royalist named Lajolais, who had formerly fought under Pichegru, and, in 1794, had assisted him in his intrigues with the Bourbon princes. Lajolais, instead of escaping with Pichegru, on the discovery of this secret negotiation, had been seized and imprisoned, and, probably, had been bought over in the dungeon. He was still regarded as a suffering royalist, and therefore the fitting tool for entrapping the leaders of that party. On arriving in London, he had interviews with Pichegru, Georges Cadoudal, the Chouan chief, the Polignacs, the count d'Artois, the duke of Berri, &c., and assured them that such was the feeling against Buonaparte in France, that it only needed the appearance of the royalist leaders, and their forming a league with Moreau, whom he truly represented as greatly disgusted with Buonaparte, to produce a revolution, and crush the aspiring first consul. The statements of the spy were listened to, and a vessel, under the command of captain John Wesley Wright, was dispatched to the coast of Brittany, with general Georges Cadoudal, the marquis de la Rivière, the brothers Armand and Jules Polignac, and some others, whom he put safely ashore in the autumn of 1803. Having effected this piece of base perfidy, Lajolais hastened back to Paris to inform Fouché of the result.

Pichegru, Georges Cadoudal, the Polignacs, de la Rivière, and the rest of the royalists, about thirty in number, had made their way to Paris, and were living there secretly, endeavouring to learn the real state of the public mind, and Pichegru and Cadoudal had been introduced to Moreau. Pichegru saw Moreau at least twice, and, on one of these occasions, he took with him Georges Cadoudal; but Moreau seemed taken by surprise by their communications with him, and was so horrified by the language and proposals of the daring Chouan, that he desired Pichegru not to bring that irrational savage again into his Company. It appeared pretty clear that there was some mistake somewhere; and that Moreau, however much dissatisfied with Napoleon, was by no means disposed to enter into any royalist conspiracy. Had the delegates found things ripe for such a revolution, they were to inform the Bourbon princes in London, and they were to make a strong descent on the coast of Brittany; but they all felt so satisfied that Lajolais had given them false information, that they were about to quit the capital, and to return to England, captain Wright having been lingering with his frigate on the Breton coast for that purpose, when their betrayer, Fouché, pounced upon them. He had been keeping a strict watch on all their movements; he had now established their intercourse with Moreau, and trusted to be able to make sufficient use of that fact to destroy both them and him.

Accordingly, the dénouement was thus brought about. Five Bretons were brought from the Temple as Chouans for trial before the military commission, when two of them were acquitted, and the other three led forth to be shot. On two of them the sentence was executed; but Querelle the third, who is supposed to have been really a spy of the police, begged to speak in private with M. Real, a councillor of state, and a manager of the secret police. This was granted, and he then communicated to him the fact that Pichegru and the rest were in Paris, and had been for some time in communication with Moreau. This, no doubt, was all arranged by Fouché, who now was able to show the first consul that he was in full possession of this great plot, when his own police were ignorant of it - the plot being, in fact, of his own concoction. He thus regained his position with Buonaparte, at the expense of the lives of a number of these men, every one of them a thousand times more morally valuable than his own.

Orders were immediately given by Buonaparte to general Savary to proceed to Brittany to set on foot plans, by false information, to draw the Bourbon princes to that coast, and entrap them; and the police were set on the trail of Pichegru and his companions, to obtain still more damning proofs against Moreau of collusion with them. But Bourrienne assures us that Moreau had soon shown that he would not entertain the views of Pichegru and his associates; and the views of the latter, though extending to a royalist insurrection, never embraced anything so base as the assassination of Buonaparte, which Buonaparte himself wished to fix both on them and on Moreau. " All these persons," says Bourrienne - that is, the royalists, who had come over from England - 11 had come solely to investigate the actual State of affairs, in order to inform the princes of the house of Bourbon, with certainty, how far they might depend on the foolish hopes constantly held out to them by paltry agents, who were always ready to advance their own interest at the expense of truth. These agents, indeed, did conspire, but it was against the treasury of London, to which they looked for pay." But, by this time, Fouché had thoroughly reinstated himself with Buonaparte, and, so soon as the royalist party found that they had been deceived into the belief that Moreau was Willing to co-operate with them, and were ready to make their retreat, it was publicly announced that the English had fresh plans of infernal machines on foot, and had their agents in Paris for the murder of Napoleon. The barriers were simultaneously closed, the guards at the Tuileries were doubled, and all the streets were thronged with gens-d'armerie. These were precisely the measures used during the old reign of terror. A proclamation was then issued, stating that the alarming discovery had been made that general Moreau had been for some time conspiring with a number of royalists, Chouans, and assassins, who were concealed in Paris. Pichegru, the Polignacs, Georges Cadoudal, and several of the other leaders, were mentioned by name. Moreau was the first arrested. This was on the 15th of February, and the arrest of the others was immediate; for the lodgings of them all were well known. On the 17th Fouché made a report, which was communicated to the Senate, the legislative body, and the tribunate, that Pichegru had escaped from his exile in Guiana, and that he, Georges Cadoudal, and others, had come over from London to assassinate the first consul, and had been in frequent communication with general Moreau. The brother of Moreau, who was in the tribunate, arose, and most indignantly denied the participation of his brother in any of these men's plans; he declared that he abhorred them, and he begged them to call to mind the loyalty and the brilliant services of general Moreau, and to dismiss such absurd notions, or, at least, let him at once have a full and open trial.

The arrest of Moreau, as he was quietly living at his country house, and this appeal of his brother, produced a great sensation in Paris. There was an instinctive impression that the jealousy of Buonaparte was aiming at the life of the rival commander. It was well known that he had taken great pains to break up the army of Moreau, which was so enthusiastically attached to him, by sending the soldiers to the pestilent swamps of St. Domingo, and by other means; but there were yet great numbers of soldiers, even in Paris, who regarded Moreau with the utmost admiration, and hence the show of such swarms of guards and gens-d'armerie in the streets.

Pichegru was betrayed by a false friend, whom he trusted in the highest degree, but who had been won over by a large bribe, and who introduced the gens-d'armerie into his bedroom. Before he could wake up and lay his hands on his sword and pistol, they were upon him, or a good many of them would have fallen; but he wrestled with half-a- dozen of them at once, threw several of them to the ground, and trampled on them, before they could secure him. Georges Cadoudal had perceived the police dogging him, and did not venture to his lodgings, but continued for many hours driving about in a cabriolet. At length, however, he was discovered there; the police stopped the vehicle, but Georges shot one of them through the head, mortally wounded another, and was very near making his escape on foot, when he was stopped by two butchers, and kept, by aid of others, till the police came up. The rest of the party, amounting to about forty, and including the two Polignacs, Charles de la Rivière, &c., were captured without much résistance. Captain Wright, who had been hovering on the coast of Brittany, to take off the party of royalists, now lying in prison, was becalmed on the 8tli of May, and then surrounded by a number of armed vessels, consisting of six brigs, six luggers, and five lesser craft, and, after a desperate fight, had been compelled to surrender. He was also conveyed to Paris, and thrown into prison, to be brought up and accused as the English agent in this plot.

But long before the arrival of captain Wright, in whose person England was to be branded as the instigator of assassins, Pichegru and his associates had been closely examined, and some of them, it is confidently asserted by trustworthy French writers, sharply tortured to extort confessions - especially from the servants of the gentlemen against their masters. Some of these endured, it is affirmed, frightful agonies from the thumb-screw. Nothing could be drawn from the leaders, except that they had been informed that France was ready to co-operate with Moreau for the preservation of liberty; that they had come over to ascertain the truth of this, and, having discovered that it was not the fact, were about to return to England. This was the simple and literal truth. When Pichegru was desired to sign the process-verbal of his examination, he refused, saying that he knew enough of the secret practices of the police in France; that they could readily obliterate the existing writing by chemical means, and replace it with whatever they pleased. But he added, the process-verbal is unnecessary; for he was prepared to make disclosures, on his trial, which would astound France and unmask certain great villains. Alas! poor Pichegru! this menace caused him never to come to trial at all! Another of the prisoners, Bouvet de Lozier, was so overcome by the terrors of the reported horrors of the prison, that, though a man of high natural courage, he attempted to hang himself, but was prevented, and afterwards guarded, night and day, with constant vigilance to frustrate his intention. But we must leave these brave men, so diabolically entrapped, in their dungeons, to narrate a still more murderous deed of Napoleon.

As the Bourbons still continued to watch for the over- throw of his power, Buonaparte determined to take a deep revenge on the persons of any of that family whom he could by any means get into his hands. Could he have inveigled the count d'Artois and the duke of Berri, as he attempted, from London to land in Brittany, he would have seized them, and certainly put them to death without ceremony or mercy. He had grasped at more than regal, and was now grasping at imperial, power; and he had shown but too clearly, in his massacres of prisoners' in Syria, and his proposal to poison his own wounded, that he would hesitate at no crimes, however monstrous, which might seem necessary for the accomplishment of his designs. But these princes had avoided his snare, and Louis - now styled Louis XVIII. - was living at Warsaw, under the protection of the emperor of Russia But there was another member of the family, though the farthest off from succession to the throne, who was living on the French frontiers, within a tempting reach of his soldiers in Alsace, and him he determined to kidnap and kill. This proposed victim of a most lawless and wicked vengeance was Antoine-Henri de Bourbon, the son of the duke of Bourbon, and grandson of the prince of Condé. He was born at Chantilly in August, 1772, and was, consequently, now nearly thirty- two years of age. The duke was an amiable and witty Frenchman, of a fine person, and of great bravery. He had fought with much distinction under his grandfather the prince of Condé, in the Netherlands and on the Rhine. Altogether, lie was much admired and esteemed, and regarded as worthy, by his martial spirit and talents, of the great name which he bore. He was the more estimated by the royalist party, as being the last of the Condés. When the emigrant army was disbanded, in compliance with the treaty of Luneville, he retired to Ettenheim, in Baden, which lay a few miles from the Rhine, and on the edge of the Black Forest, in which the duke was fond of hunting. He had chosen this place of abode - too dangerously near to the French garrison of Strasburg - because it was the residence of cardinal de Rohan, so notorious for his criminal conduct in blackening the character of Marie Antoinette. But it was not the society of the cardinal, but that of his niece, the princess Charlotte de Rohan, which had drawn the duke there. He passed his time in hunting, shooting, and in cultivating a flower-garden; and, happy in the Company of the princess, was engaged in no plots against the first consul, though ready, at any moment, like all the family, to prosecute their claims by open and honourable means. It is greatly to the credit of the Bourbons that, on all occasions, they repelled every proposition for taking off those whom they deemed usurpers by clandestine means. Many attempts had been made, by Napoleon and his agents, to implicate them in such measures, but in vain. One of these attempts is recorded by the prince of Condé as taking place in London. He relates the circum- stance in a letter to the count d'Artois, on the 24th of January, 1802. He says, a man of very simple and gentle exterior waited on him, and proposed to rid the Bourbons of the usurper in the shortest way. The prince of Condé would not allow him to conclude his remarks, but told him that all such proposals were hateful to the whole family; that they would never cease to assert their claims by open and legitimate means, but that assassinations did not become princes, and were only fit for jacobins. He advised the man to quit England with all speed, as, should he be arrested, he could afford him no protection. This man was subsequently proved to be au agent of Buonaparte.

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