Imágenes de páginas

whom you have done nothing? whom you govern by right of conquest, with forty or fifty thousand foreigners? In general, the less you speak of me, and of France, directly in your state papers, the better it will be. I am sorry to see in your letters that you are captivated by particular services. To be captivated is very dangerous. The Neapolitans behave well; there is nothing extraordinary in that. You have treated them kindly; they expected worse at the hands of a man who was at the head of an army of fifty thousand men, Your disposition is mild and temperate; you have a good understanding, and you are appreciated; but this very far from a national feeling-from a submission and attachment founded on reason and interest. These distinctions ought not to escape you. I do not know why I tell you these things, for they will certainly annoy you. What I want is, that your acts and your language should be decorous, and suitable to your character."


July 26th. I cannot understand how, surrounded as you are by men of military expe rience, there are so few that can give you good advice. Your measures have no life or movement, no organization or method. Till now you have made nothing but mistakes; but I ought not to distress you. For my part, I am not surprised at what happens in Calabria [an English army had landed, and the people were in insurrection]; your policy with regard to Naples is just the reverse of what ought to be pursued towards a conquered nation. Let your troops march together; do not scatter them. I suppose that you have armed all the castles in Naples. What is the meaning of this Neapolitan national guard? It is leaning on a reed-perhaps putting arms into the hands of your enemies. How little you know men!"

"July 30th. You should order two or three of the large villages, that have behaved the worst, to be pillaged. It will be an example, and will restore the gayety and desire of action of your soldiers."

July 31st. Bear in mind what I tell you; the fate of your reign depends on your conduct when you return from Calabria, Grant no pardons; do military execution on at least six hundred rebels; they have murdered a great number of my soldiers. Let the houses of thirty of the principal heads of villages be burnt, and distribute their property among the troops. Disarm all the inhabitants, and pillage five or six of the large villages which have behaved worst. Desire the soldiers to treat well the towns which have remained

faithful. Confiscate the public property of the revolted villages, and give it to the army; above all, disarm vigorously.

"As Calabria has revolted, why should you not seize half the estates in the province, and give them to your army? This measure would be, at the same time, a great help to you, and an example for the future. You will never succeed in changing and reforming a country by weak measures-extraordinary and vigorous expedients are necessary. But if you begin by asserting that Calabria is not in revolt, and that it has always been attached to you, your kindness, or, in other words, your weakness and timidity, will be very mischiev ous to France."

knowledge of men. You do not listen to a man who has done much, seen much, and thought much. Do not carry out your scheme of a national guard; nothing can be more dangerous. You make me laugh, when you say that these men are fifty thousand enemies of the queen. [The queen whom he had dispossessed, and who was chief manager of her husband's affairs.] Naples is a country of intriguers, who change with every wind; you exaggerate their hatred of the queen; you do not know mankind. There are not twenty people who hate her as much as you think, and there are not twenty people who would not yield to one of her smiles, to one of her advances. What a nation most hates is, another nation. Your fifty thousand men all hate the French. Time, prudence, and family alliances, can alone bring them together. You raise fifty thousand men, and make them think themselves necessary; this is to put yourself in a false position.

"Of what use would Neapolitan regiments be to you, if I were beaten on the Isonzo? In all your operations, both civil and military, steer by this possibility, as if it were your pole. star; all your proceedings should have refer ence to it. I only laughed at your fears for Naples during the late events; and although I saw that the army was extremely illplaced, I felt that when the danger came, instinct would teach you to make a better disposition. The only results were the loss of a few men, some tritling landings of the enemy, and partial failures. But it would be otherwise if I were at war, and if I were beaten on the Isonzo.

"Aug. 9th. It pains me to see the system you pursue; those who surround you have no

"I flatter myself that you have nothing to fear at present; you will be king of Naples and Sicily. But you must weigh seriously all your measures. Whenever you sign a document, do you ask yourself, Would the effect of this be good if the French army were driven back to Alexandria? If you are not penetrated with this idea, you will not reign long, and you prepare misfortunes for yourself, and for all the Neapolitans who may join your


"What sort of troops ought you to have? I say Corsicans; who will get on better in Naples than in France, because they will agree better with the Neapolitans than with the French; as many Swiss as you like-they are good and faithful soldiers; perhaps a few German regiments, from Hesse Darinstadt, or from the other states of my German confederation; [the German empire had just been dissolved, and Napoleon had taken the title of "protector" of a new confederation, lately formed, of the German princes near the Rhine] also a few Neapolitans but introduced gradually, almost imperceptibly, and chosen from among the men who have served in France, and who formed part of the army of reserve in the eighth year of the republic, and who have since then been put to the proof; all others would fail you. If Italy were once to raise the cry, 'Drive the barbarians beyond the Alps!' all your army would abandon you. I wish you to consult me on such important matters. It will not do to say that you would take refuge in my camp. An exiled, vagrant king is a contemptible being."


Aug. 17th. I should like very much to hear of a revolt of the Neapolitan populace. You will never be their master till you have made an example of them; every conquered

country must have its revolt. I should see Naples in revolt as a father sees his children in the small-pox; the crisis is salutary, provided it does not too much weaken the constitution."

These specimens will show the tone of this correspondence, during the whole period of two years and a half that Joseph sat on the uneasy throne of Naples. It was, on Napoleon's part, made up mainly of military directions, how to protect the kingdom against the English and the revolting Neapolitans, and how to invade and conquer Sicily-an object on which both Joseph and Napoleon seem to have set their hearts, but which they were never able to accomplish. Indeed, it appears from these letters, that Joseph's pretensions to Sicily, rather than abandon which, Napoleon insisted that he would fight ten years, mainly prevented the English Fox ministry from agreeing to a peace. Interspersed, however, with these military directions, are sharp and bitter criticisms on Joseph's whole system of administration, and a perpetual spurring of him on to exactions totally repugnant to his good-natured soul. Nor was this all. Joseph was a great stickler for the respect due to his rank-a feeling inherited from their mother, and common

to the whole family-and he complained bitterly to Napoleon, that he received. rebukes not only from him, but from his ministers. To which Napoleon coolly replied:

"In your correspondence with my ministers, you inust expect to be treated as commanderin-chief of my army, and to hear of my displeasure, whenever the rules are not followed."

Even to Joseph's professions of personal attachment, pretty cool answers were returned, compared, at least, with earlier letters written while Napoleon was general of brigade. Thus Joseph wrote to Napoleon:

66 Aug. 13, 1806. I remain here till your majesty's birthday, on which I wish you joy. I hope you may receive, with some little pleasure, this expression of my affection. The glorious emperor will never replace to me the Napoleon whom I so much loved, and whom I hope to find again as I knew him twenty years ago, if we are to meet in the Elysian fields."

To which Napoleon replied:

"Aug. 23. I am sorry that you think you will find your brother again only in the Ely sian fields. It is natural that, at forty [he was only thirty-seven], he should not feel towards you as he did at twelve; but his feelings to

wards you have greater strength and truth; his friendship has the features of his mind."

This last sentence was true enough. Napoleon's friendship for Joseph was exactly commensurate with the use he

could make of him as the tool of his ambitious projects, in the accomplishment of which, the exaltation of his family formed a necessary part. He employed them in the erection of a family pyramid, of which he was to be the apex, and in which his own conspicuous elevation was at least as much consulted as their wishes or welfare.

The return of Jerome from his naval cruise is thus mentioned by Napoleon.

"St. Cloud, Aug. 28, 1806. Le Véteran, commanded by Jerome, anchored, two days ago, in the bay of Laforêt, near Quimper. She was separated from her squadron twentyfive days ago in a storm. This news came by telegraph, which, at the same time, tells me that Jerome is well; as yet there are no further details."

The entrance of Jerome's vessel into the small port of Concarneau, to escape reckoned among the exploits of the the blockading English squadron, is French navy. But as French ships of war, since the battle of Trafalgar, could hardly keep the seas, Jerome was now transferred to the military service, in which, as general of division, he followed Napoleon on his march against the Prussians and Russians.

In a letter of Napoleon's to Joseph, written during this campaign, the following family allusions occur:

"Posen, Dec. 5, 1806. Your young aidede-camp is a rake; he will suffer for it in time. Give some news of Borghese to his family; he is at Warsaw, at the head of his regiment. All the strong places in Silesia will soon be in my power.

"Prince Jerome is in command of a German division. Although the declarations of Austria are pacific, I did not like to give precise orders to the queen [Joseph's wife] to join you at Naples. You may, however, do as you like about it; but she does so well in Paris, and I dislike so much to see women and children running into the midst of sedition and rebellion, that in truth I see no objection to her delaying her journey. I have written to tell her that you have sent for her, but that I think she had better pass some more of the winter in Paris.

"Now that you are more at rest, I suppose that you open your palace, and enliven the society of Naples: this is necessary, both for your sake and that of the town. You should have a large circle, and not live too quietly."

In a letter, dated Finckenstein, May 4th, 1807, written during the same campaign, and in the interval between the battles of Eylau and Friedland, Napo

leon, after finding fault with Joseph's disorganization of some of his French regiments, by culling from them the best men to serve in his guard, proceeds as follows:

"I will send you as many French conscripts as you like; but I entreat you to take care of the regiments belonging to the [French] army of Naples, and to keep them in good order. You must resent any chattering or manifestation of discontent. I think that the habit of governing well, with your natural good sense and abilities, will strengthen your character, and render you capable of conducting this vast machine, if it should be your lot to survive me.

"Prince Jerome is doing well; I am very much pleased with him, and am greatly deceived, if there is not stuff in him to make a first-rate man. You may be sure, however, that he has no idea that I think so; for in my letters, I do nothing but find fault with him. He is adored in Silesia. I place him there purposely in a distinct and independent command; because I do not believe in the proverb, that it is necessary to know how to obey,

in order to know how to command.

"I am not ill-pleased with Louis; but he is too kind for the dignity of a crown. He does not pay much attention to my advice; nevertheless, I continue to give it to him, and experience will soon teach him that much of what he has been doing was wrong. I blamed the institution of his order, not that I objected to it itself, but it was premature. This remark is also for your benefit; you must feel its force. Wait till you know something of the men who surround you. Louis has also just permitted the Dutch ladies to reassume their titles; they are given to them even by his chamberlains. I was very angry with him. Nor was I satisfied with his quoting to me your example, as if there were anything in common between a kingdom like yours and a republic which has undergene as many trials as France.

If you have occasion to write, say something

to him about it; for, as all this is supposed to be done by my advice, it has a bad effect in France. As I do not intend to re-establish the old titles in France, I will not have them re

stored in a country to which I have guaranteed a constitutional government, and whose fortunes have so much resembled those of France."

Not long after the date of this letter, the treaty of Tilsit having been signed, Jerome, who had at length conformed to Napoleon's wishes, in, taking a new wife, a princess of the Wirtemberg family, was made king of Westphalia-a new kingdom, erected by Napoleon out of the territory taken from the king of Prussia, and other German princes, and including that part of Northern Germany which lies between the Rhine and the Elbe. His capital was Cassel, where he lived in such a style of luxury as to obtain from his subjects the title of the new Heliogabalus.

It was not till Joseph had been a

year and nine months in Naples, and two or three months after the treaty of Tilsit, that his kingdom was deemed quiet enough to admit of his being joined by his wife. On this subject, Napoleon wrote to her the following


[ocr errors]

"St. Cloud, Sep. 2, 1807. My sister and sister-in-law, I wish you to start for Naples; the present season is the best. I think, therefore, that you should set out on the 15th of September, so as to reach Milan on the 23d or 24th, and to arrive at Naples during the first ten days in October. As this letter has no other object, I pray God, my sister and sisterin-law, that he may have you in his holy and honorable keeping."

It is amusing to see how, in his traveling orders, issued to Joseph and his wife, Napoleon is as exact and peremptory as if they were two marching regiments.

A letter, written by Napoleon during a visit to his kingdom of Italy, relates to a curious interview of his with Lucien, at this time an exile from the empire, and a resident in the Pope's territories. This interview had been arranged by Joseph, who, at Napoleon's request, had met Lucien at Modena, a few days before, and had strongly urged him, but in vain, to submit to Napoleon's wishes. His sister, Eliza, had also written to him in the preceding June, pressing him strongly on the same point. This letter is not given in the English collection; but we translate a part of it from the fourth volume of the Memoirs du Roi Joseph, affording, as it does, a curious exhibition of the light in which Napoleon was regarded by the other members of the family, except Lucien, and of their anxiety lest others, not of the Bonaparte blood, should come in for a share of the good things which Napoleon had to distribute:

"Do you not see, my dear friend, that the only means of putting obstacles in the way of adoptions is, that his majesty should have a family of which he can dispose? In remaining near Napoleon, in accepting a throne from him, you will be useful to him; he will provide husbands for your daughters; and, while he finds in his own family the possibility of executing his projects and his system of policy, which to him is everything, he will not choose among strangers. The master of the world is not to be treated as an equal. Nature made us children of the same father; but his wonderful actions have made us his subjects. Though sovereigns [Eliza herself had lately been appointed duchess of Tuscany], we hold everything from him. I take a noble pride in avowing it; and it appears to me that our only glory ought to be to prove, by our manner of

governing, that we are worthy of him and of our family. Reflect anew, then, on the propositions which have been made to you. Mamma and we all would be so happy to be reunited, and to make but one political family. Dear Lucien, do it for us, who love you, for the people whom my brother will give you to govern, and whom you will make happy."

The letter ends with embraces for Lucien, and for the wife and "amiable family" whom, as a part of that submission to Napoleon's wishes, which this letter was written to urge, Lucien was required to repudiate! Napoleon's letter, which touches on the same subject, was as follows:

"Milan, Dec. 17, 1807. I saw Lucien at Mantua, and had with him a conversation of several hours. He has, no doubt, acquainted

you with the sentiments with which he left me. His notions and his expressions are so different from mine, that I can hardly make out what it is that he wants. I think that he told me that he wished to send his eldest daughter to Paris, to live with her grandmother.. [Napoleon writes as though Lucien had himself made this proposition; in fact, it was one of the very things which Joseph, in Napoleon's name, had demanded of Lucien.] If he still is thus disposed, I desire to be immediately informed of it. The girl must reach Paris in the course of the month of January, either accompanied by Lucien, or under the charge of a governess, who will take her to Madame. [Bonaparte's mother was known as Madame Mère.] It appeared to me that there was in Lucien's mind a contest between opposite feelings, and that he had not sufficient strength to decide in favor of any one of them. I exhausted all the means in my power to induce him, young as he is, to devote his talents to my service, and to that of his country. If he wishes to let me have his daughter, she must set off without delay, and he must send me a declaration, putting her entirely at my disposal; for there is not a moment to lose: events are hastening on, and my destiny must be accomplished. If he has changed his mind, let me know it immediately, for I shall then make other


"Tell Lucien that I was touched by his grief, and by the feelings which he expressed towards me, and that I regret the more that he will not be reasonable, and contribute to his

own comfort and to mine."

According to Thiers, in his History of the Empire, the interview between the brothers had been very stormy. Napoleon had already seized Portugal, and he wanted to make Lucien king of it. Napoleon made it a condition, however, that he should part with his wife, to whom he offered, by way of indemnity, a title and a great fortune; but Lucien refused to accept a crown on this, or, perhaps, on any conditions. Napoleon also had his eye on Spain, and not having yet made up his mind to seize it absolutely, he wanted to

marry Lucien's daughter by his first wife to prince Ferdinand, the heir of Charles IV., and it was for this purpose that he had demanded her. Lucien did send his daughter to Paris-but this project of providing for her fell through, and some time after he demanded her back. When the seizure of the Papal States, by Napoleon, and their annexation to his kingdom of Italy took place in 1809, Lucien expressed himself very strongly in condemnation of Napoleon's conduct, in consequence of which he received an intimation that he must find a residence elsewhere. He embarked, accordingly, in an American ship for the United States, accompanied by all his family; but was captured by an English cruiser, carried into Malta, and thence removed to England, where he was detained under surveillance, as a prisoner of war, till after Napoleon's first abdication. Probably his voyage to America was regarded with suspicion, in the then existing relations of the United States to France and England, as being in fact a disguised diplomatic mission, intended to aid in drawing on the United States to a war against England.

The affairs of Spain took quite another turn from what Napoleon had anticipated at the date of his last quoted letter. On the 31st of March, 1808, he wrote to inform Joseph of the abdication of Charles IV., of the accession of the prince of Asturias under the title of Ferdinand VII., and of the protest of Charles IV. against these proceedings; and, as a great secret, of his intention to go to Spain, where he already had many troops. On the 15th of April he wrote from Bayonne, acknowledging the receipt of letters from the queen of Naples (Joseph's wife), and from Joseph's two daughters, Zenaide and Charlotte; Joseph's family, it would seem, having only then recently joined him. On the 18th of April he writes:

"Thank Julie [Joseph's wife] and Zenaide for their letters. I will answer them, but at present I am too busy. You must have been very glad to see your children again in such good health; they are interesting to me in several respects. [That is to say, he not only loved them as their uncle, but meant to use them as their emperor. The prince of Asturias, who calls himself Ferdinand VII., is at a distance of twenty leagues from the frontier, with a large suite. King Charles IV. and his queen are on their way thither. He has protested, and has appealed to my arbitration.

My troops are at Madrid, Barcelona, Figuéras, Pampeluna, St. Sebastian, and Burgos: the Spanish army is not formidable. The country is in a state of ferment. The Grand Duke of Berg [Murat] and Marshal Moncey are at Madrid. General Dupont is at Toledo, and Marshal Bessiéres at Burgos. I have nearly a hundred thousand men here in provisional regiments. They improve every day by exercise and training: they are all big lads, twenty years old, and I have reason to be satisfied with them. These corps have not been increased by a single man belonging to my grand army, either in cavalry, infantry, or artillery. Up to the present time, all my army in Spain is at my expense, and costs me enormous sums." "It is not impossible that in the course of five or six days I may write to desire you to repair to Bayonne. [This was the first hint to Joseph that he might have to exchange the Neapolitan for the Spanish crown.] You will leave Marshal Jourdan in command of your army, and appoint whomsoever you like regent of your kingdom. Your wife should remain at Naples. Up to the present time, however, all is still uncertain.

The result was announced on the 11th of May, as follows:

"King Charles, by his treaty with me, surrenders to me all his rights to the crown of Spain. The prince has already renounced his pretended title of king, the abdication of King Charles in his favor having been involuntary. The nation, through the Supreme Council of Castile, asks me for a king; I destine this crown for you. Spain is a very different thing from Naples: it contains eleven millions of inhabitants, and has more than a hundred and fifty millions of revenue, without counting the Indies and the immense revenue to be derived from them. It is, besides, a throne which places you at Madrid, at three days' journey from France. At Madrid, you are in France; Naples is the end of the world. I wish you, therefore, immediately after the receipt of this letter, to appoint whom you please regent, and to come to Bayonne by way of Turin, Mount Cénis, and Lyons. You will receive this letter on the 19th, you will start on the 20th, and you will be here on the 1st of June. Before you go, leave instructions with Marshal Jourdan

as to the disposition of your troops, and make arrangements as if you were to be absent only to the 1st of July. Be secret, however; your journey will probably excite only too much suspicion; but you will say that you are going to the north of Italy, to confer with me on important matters."

Madrid, he wrote to Napoleon, still at Bayonne, the following piteous letter:

The obsequious and accommodating Joseph, finding his position at Naples by no means agreeable, and hoping to renew at Madrid, under more favorable auspices, his dream of being a good and popular king, hastened to obey this peremptory summons. But he speedily found that he had only jumped from the frying-pan into the fire. The Spanish people rose in insurrection against him, and within nine days after he entered Spain, while on his way to

"July 18th, 1808.-Sire-It appears to me that no one has told your majesty the whole truth. I will not conceal it, Our undertaking is a very great one; to get out of it with honor, requires vast means. I do not see double from fear. When I left Naples I saw the risks before me, and I now say to myself every day, 'My life is nothing, I give it to you.' But if I am to live without the shame of failure, I must be supplied largely with men and money. Then the kindness of my nature may make me popular. Now, while all is doubtful, kindness looks like timidity, and I try to conceal mine. To get quickly through this task, so hateful to a sovereign, to prevent further insurrections, to have less blood to shed, and fewer tears to dry, enormous force must be employed. Whatever be the result in Spain, its king must lament; for, if he conquers, it will be by force; but as the die is cast, the struggle should be cut short. My position does not frighten me; but it is one in which a king never was before."

It was in vain that Napoleon insisted that Joseph had a great many partisans in Spain-"all the honest people, but they fear to come forward."

"The honest people," wrote Joseph from Madrid (July 24th), are as little on my side as the rogues are. No, Sire, you are deceived. Your glory will be shipwrecked in Spain. My tomb will be a monument of your want of power to support me; for no one will suspect you of want of will. This will happen, for I am resolved under no circumstances to recross the Ebro.

"Yet, fifty thousand good troops and fifty millions, sent before the end of three months, might set things right. The recall of five or six of your generals; sending hither Jourdan and Maurice Mathieu, who are honest men; on your part, absolute confidence in me; on my part, absolute power over the officers who misconduct themselves-the union of all this alone can save the country and the army."

Napoleon was willing enough to furnish men and money; but to give up the entire management of the matter to Joseph was the very last thing in his thoughts or intentions. Joseph had asked for a censure on Caulaincourt, because, in cold blood, he had arranged the pillage of the churches and houses of Cuenza, which had operated, as he alleged, to increase the general exasperation. Napoleon's reply was (July 31):

"Caulaincourt did what was perfectly right at Cuenza. The city was pillaged: this is one of the rights of war, since it was captured while

the defendants were still in arms.

Joseph had actually fled from Madrid (on the 24th of July), after only eight days' residence there, retiring to the left bank of the Ebro, in spite of his heroic protestations against ever recrossing

« AnteriorContinuar »