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


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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.

Could Napoleon have drawn any one of the Bourbons in to assist in such expedients, lie would immediately have blazoned it to the world, and it would have afforded some sanction to his intended assassinations; but, failing, he was compelled to perpetrate his hideous projects without such sanction, and to make up for the want by impudent false-hoods.

Accordingly, he determined to seize the unsuspecting duke d'Enghien. The project was so odious, so certain to cover both Napoleon and France with inextinguishable infamy, that it startled the not very sensitive mind of Talleyrand, who gave the duke secret warning of his danger, and advised him to remove farther from the Rhine. In consequence, the duke applied to Sir Charles Stuart to get him a passport from the Austrian minister, to enable him to cross the Austrian territory to rejoin his grandfather, then at Warsaw with Louis XVIII. Sir Charles Stuart applied to M. de Cobenzel for this purpose, and, had the Austrian court been quicher in its movements than a German court usually is, the duke would have been safe enough from the myrmidoms of Buonaparte; but, whilst lingering at Ettenheim for the necessary passport, the duke had so little suspicion of the prompt and deadly nature of the usurper's design against him, that lie took no means to conceal himself, or he might still have escaped. But, in the middle of the night of the 14th of March, he was aroused by the sound of horses' hoofs, and, looking out, saw that the château was surrounded by a troop of French cavalry. Buonaparte had dispatched his aide-de-camp, Caulaincourt, to Strasburg to execute this capture, and lie had sent on colonel Ordenner to surprise the duke and bring him away.

Throwing on part of his clothes, the duke d’Enghien summoned his servants, and determined to resist to the utmost. His servants were soon armed with fowling-pieces, pistols, and side-arms, and, as there was no hope of pre- venting the French bursting in the outer door, the duke took his post at the head of the stairs, in front of his suite. He ordered the servants to hand the loaded guns to him, that lie might fire them rapidly at the assailants, and thus prevent them scaling the stairs alive. But, at the moment that the French appeared at the foot of the staircase, and the duke was about to fire, the baron Grinstein, the first gentleman of the duke, threw himself upon him, and dragged him into an adjoining room, declaring that the attempt to resist such a troop was madness. Had the duke been allowed to resist, he would, to a certainty, have been shot, and then the full infamy of Buonaparte would never have appeared, for he would have asserted that he contemplated nothing more than the safe detention of the duke's person. It was better as it was.

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