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land of Elba received orders to embark. That the imprudence of the treaty of Fontainbleau might be complete, the mimic emperor had been left in possession of a small flotilla that he might have another chance of becoming master of a real one. The vessels were, a brig called the Inconstant, some zebecks and row-boats, in all seven transports, on board of which nine hundred soldiers were embarked. The final resolution was kept so secret, that even Bertrand was a stranger to it until an hour before its being carried into execution. The officers were most of them engaged at a ball given by Pauline Borghese, the sister of Buonaparte, and only left it to go on board the little squadron. The genetal officers who attended Buonaparte, were Bertrand, Drouet, and Cambronne, together with the director of the mines, Monsieur Porrs de Cette, who had contributed largely to the expence of the expedition. A procla mation from General Lapi, calling himself governor of the island of Elba, frst announced to the inhabitants that their temporary emperor was recalled by Providence to a wider career of glory.
Sir Niel Campbell, appointed by the British government to reside in the isle of Elba at the court of Buoaparte, was absent on a short expedition to the coast of Italy, a circumstance which doubtless had some share in determining the moment of the embarkation; for although the British officer had neither the authority nor the efficient means to prevent Buona, parte and his guards from going whenever they thought fit, yet his absence might be represented as a connivance on the part of England at the step which the ex-emperor of France had adopted, and no means of delusion were now to be omitted. When, on its return, the English sloop of war Partridge, in which Sir Niel
Campbell was, approached the isle, the appearance of the national guard on the batteries, instead of the hel metted grenadiers of the imperial guard, at once apprised the British resident of what had happened. When he landed, he found the mother and sister of Buonaparte in a well-painted agony of anxiety about the fate of their emperor, of whom they affected to know nothing, except that he had steered towards the coast of Barbary. They appeared extremely desirous to detain Sir Niel Campbell on shore. Resisting their entreaties, and repelling the more pressing arguments of the governor, who seemed somewhat disposed to use force to prevent him from reimbarking, Sir Niel Campbell regained his vessel, and set sail in pursuit of the adventurer. But it was too late; they only attained a distant sight of the flotilla, after Buonaparte and his forces had landed.
In their passage the adventurers made a narrow escape, as they fell in with a royal French frigate. The soldiers on board of the Inconstant were commanded to put off their caps and lie down upon the deck, while the captain of the brig exchanged some questions of ordinary civility with the captain of the frigate, to whom he chanced to be known. This done, each vessel followed her own course, and Buonaparte, on the 1st of March, found himself once more on the coast of France, off Frejus, in the gulf of St Juan. Here, in token of his resumed pretensions to the throne of France, he caused his attendants and soldiers assume the tri-coloured cockade, and throw into the sea those which they had worn in Elba. This was done with shouts of Vive l'Empereur ; and under these colours and auspices they commenced their disembarka tion.
It seemed essential to the success of an enterprise, which rested entirely
on popular opinion, that all its first steps should be prosperous; but this was not the case: A party of twenty five men, disembarked as a forlorn hope to possess themselves of Antibes, were arrested by General Corsin, the commandant of the place. The Elbese officer, in an attempt to cscape, precipitated himself into the ditch of the fort, and broke his back. Such another example of fidelity to the Bourbons as that of Corsin, would have entirely ruined the expedition of the Emperor of Elba, but he hastened to seek out men with minds better prepared to receive him. The general disembarkment took place at Cannes, about five in the afternoon, and the adventurers instantly commenced their march, with a band of scarce a thousand men, into the heart of a kingdom, from which their leader had been so lately expelled with execration, and where his rival enjoyed in undisturbed peace a hereditary throne. The people of the country looked on them with doubtful and wondering eyes, fearful alike to hail them as friends, or to resist them as invaders; for if, on the one hand, appearances seemed to declare the attempt desperate, on the other, the very fact of its being adventured, in despite of these appearances, shewed that Buonaparte had some secret grounds for confidence. In their first marches they were avoided by all who had property or reputation to risk. No proprietors appeared, no clergy, no public functionaries. Some of the lower order of peasants assembled and shouted Vive l'Empereur, won by the daring and romantic circumstances of the undertaking; but there was nothing which seemed to give the en terprize the solidity of well-grounded hope. From Cannes they marched to Grasse without halting, and leaving
at Grasse six field-pieces, which retarded their march, pressed forward to Cerenon, where they made a halt on the evening of the 2d of March, after a march of twenty leagues. The marches of the two succeeding days brought Napoleon into Dauphiné, called the cradle of the revolution, and of all the provinces of France most partial to its tenets and its he roes. Here the resort to Buonaparte became more general, and the accla mations of welcome more decided. In the district of the Lower Alps, as the Moniteur afterwards informed the public, the peasants thronged from every quarter, and testified their joy with an energy which left no doubt of its sincerity. Still, however, those who hailed the march with accla mations, were persons of the lowest ranks. All who had anything to ha zard stood aloof and waited the event.
Buonaparte was fast approaching a point where he must come into collision with a considerable body of troops; for the government, long and late in taking the alarm, had at length received intelligence, or rather had listened to that which facts forced upon them, and were adopting mea sures to defeat his enterprise, and directing forces against the invader.
Among all the wonderful circumstances attending this singular revo lution, the stupid insensibility of the royal ministers to the imminent danger in which they were involved, is by far the most remarkable. Repeated intimations of the conspiracy (a conspiracy embracing so wide a circle could hardly be kept secret) had been offered to the government. Yet while the opposite faction were so well informed, that a public journal (Le Naine Jaune) actually alluded enigmatically to Buonaparte's landing at Cannes on the very day when it took place,
It was thus expressed, "Our correspondent writes to-day with a pen made of cane (plume de Canne,) to-morrow he will write with a goose-quill."
repeated informations dispatched to the Abbé Montesquieu by the Marquis de Bouthillier, prefect of the department of Var, had no force to compel the attention of the minister in whose cabinet the dispatches were found unopened. In the mean while, large bodies of troops had received orders from Soult, the minister at war, to move towards Grenoble. In the defence which this officer afterwards published, he allows that this circumstance, joined with the subsequent defection of those troops, which seemed, as it were, thrown into Buonaparte's way on purpose that they might join him, must necessarily excite doubts on the purity of his intentions. But he alleges that the cause of these movements was a request from Talleyrand, then representative of France at the Congress, that an army of 30,000 or40,000 men should be formed in the south, between Lyons and Chamberri, in order that the kingdom's state of military preparation might authorise the high language he had begun to hold to the other powers. If this excuse was more than a mere pretext, Soult unintentionally served Buonaparte as effectually as if he had been in the secret of the conspiracy; for the number, the appointments, and, above all, the spirit, both of soldiers and officers, were such as exactly suited his purposes. The same day brought to Paris an account of these military dispositions, with the astounding intelli. gence that Buonaparte had landed at Cannes. All, therefore, rested on the temper of these troops. If zealous in the royal cause, they were ten times more than sufficient to crush Buonaparte's project in the bud; if they proved disloyal, they might afford him almost the certain means of accom
plishing it with safety. There was a strong garrison at Grenoble, which Buonaparte now approached. seemed to turn upon the manner in which these troops should conduct themselves.
The commandant of Grenoble was General Marchand, a loyal and brave man. The Mareschal-de-camp Des Villiers, who commanded in the neighbouring town of Chamberri, had justly the same character. His force had been augmented on the 7th of March by the junction of the seventh_regiment of the line, under their colonel, La Bedoyere. This man had scarce attained the age of twenty-nine; he was distinguished for personal grace and military accomplishment. His birth was noble; and the romantic misfortunes of some of his ancestors had already furnished a subject for a fictitious narrative,* to which his own story might make a melancholy sequel. Married to a lady of the family of Damas, distinguished for nobility alike and loyalty, La Bedoyere had availed himself of their interest to obtain the command which he now held in the army, and his wife's relations had become guarantees to the king for the loyalty of their relative. With all these motives for maintaining his allegiance, La Bedoyere had engaged frankly and deeply in the conspiracy, seduced by the military talents of Buonaparte, and the distinctions which he had formerly received from him. He entered into the treason with all the boiling audacity of his character, and came prepared to be the first in the path of apostacy. He had secretly brought with his regiment, when it marched from Chamberri, one of those eagles, which, like that of Marius worshipped by Catiline, had been reverently preserved to be, on some fitting occa
See a romance by Arnaud de Baculier, entitled "Le Epoux Malhereux, ou L'Histoire de Monsieur et Mademoiselle La Bedoyere," printed at the Hague in 1778.
VOL. VIII. PART I.
sion, the type and banner of revolt and
The first meeting betwixt Buonaparte and the soldiers of Louis took place near the village of Mure, where the outposts of the garrison of Grenoble were posted. The adventurer advanced towards them, accompanied only by an aid-de-camp, and two or three officers; the soldiers kept their ranks, but seemed irresolute." He that would say his emperor," said Napoleon, advancing and opening his bosom, "let him now act his pleasure." The appeal was irresistiblethe soldiers threw down their arms, crowded around the general who had led them so often to victory, and shouted, with one voice, Vive l'Empereur! This scene was doubtless so prepared as to ensure the probability of its passing with safety to Buonaparte's person; but, allowing all possible precautions to have been taken by the disaffected officers in seducing men of kindred feelings, so many chances might have deranged their calculations, that Napoleon must not be denied the credit of having gone through this trying scene with venturous courage and decision. The soldiers instantly united their ranks with those of Elba, and continued to advance towards Grenoble, whence fresh reinforcements had already sallied to join them.
Des Villiers, commandant of Cham
berri, had reached Grenoble on the
The classical reader cannot have forgotten the passage in Cicero's Oration against Catiline, in which this eagle is mentioned, "Sciam a quo aquilum illam argenteam, quam tibi, ac tuis omnibus perniciosam esse confido et funestam futuram; cui domi tua sacrarium scelerum tuorum constitutum fuit, sciam esse præmissam? Tu ut illa diutius carere possis, quam venerari, ad cædem proficiscens, solebas ? a cujus altaribus sæpe istam dexteram impiam ad necem civium transtulisti ?"
and with a compliment to his fidelity. The magistrates urged the hero of the day to take up his abode in the house of the mayor, but he conceived he owed that distinction to an inn called the Three Dolphins, the master of which, Labarre, had served formerly in his corps of guards. In this place the members of the conspiracy had held many private meetings; and, in the month of January preceding, it was said Bertrand had been his guest, disguised as a waggoner, upon a secret expedition from the Isle of Elba. Grenoble, thus fallen, placed him at the head of a small army of nearly three thousand men of all arms, with a considerable train of artillery, and corresponding magazines of ammunition, which, in the opinion of many, had been deposited in that town in order that they might augment his re
All, meanwhile, was bustle and confusion at Paris. The first news of Buonaparte's arrival on the coast of Provence, reached Paris the day before he occupied Grenoble, and like a distant peal of thunder in a serene day, rather excited surprise and curiosity than apprehension. But when it was known that he had traversed the country with his handful of men without semblance of opposition, mens' minds became agitated with the apprehension of some strange and combined treason. That the Bourbons might not be wanting to their own cause, Monsieur, with the Duke of Orleans, set instantly out for Lyons, to make head against the invader in the south, and the Duke D'Angouleme, who was at Bourdeaux, had instructions to repair to Nismes. Meanwhile, the spirit of the better orders of the legislative bodies, and of the national guards, seemed to be roused, and to express itself decidedly in favour of Louis XVIII. The Count de Viomenil, a royalist, and the Count de Latour-Maubourg, a constitutionalist,
each enrolled a corps of royal volunteers, which were speedily filled up. The ancient noblesse hastened to of fer their services to augment the household troops; and the temporary enthusiasm in favour of the Bourbons rose so high, that a female exclaimed on the staircase of the Tuilleries, as the king shewed himself to the assem bled multitude, "If Louis has not men enough to fight for him, let him summon to arms the widows and childless mothers whom the usurper has rendered miserable." An appeal, drawn up by Benjamin Constant, was remarkable for the eloquence which it breathed, as well as for the subsequent conduct of the author. It placed in the most striking light the contrast between the lawful government of a constitutional monarch, and the usurpation of an Attila, or Genghis, who governed only by the sword of his Mamelukes. It reminded France of the general detestation with which Buonaparte had been expelled, and proclaimed them to be the scorn of Europe, should they again stretch their hands voluntarily to the shackles which they had burst and hurled from them. All Frenchmen were summoned to arms, more especially those to whom liberty was dear; for in the triumph of Buonaparte it must find its grave forever." With Louis," said the address, "was peace and happiness;-with Buonaparte, war, misery, and desolation."
It was resolved to form a camp at Melun for the protection of the capital. Meanwhile, Buonaparte was declared an outlaw by the royal procla mation; addresses poured in to the king from every quarter; the diplomatic body of ambassadors and envoys of foreign powers hastened to assure him of the amity and friendly disposition of their sovereigns; and the most animating proclamations called on the people and army to raily around the sovereign. Distrust, however, speedi