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Although, however, the dates of composition mark the distinction of these papers, extracts from Herodotus or Plato, are there found mixed with personal adventures, or religious discussion.
Bonaparte's acquaintance with the authors of antiquity, I am bound to say, was wholly derived from the French versions of them; for he little cultivated classical literature, and, as Ben Johnson relates of Shakspere, "had small Latin and less Greek;" but his purpose, the acquirement of knowledge, was substantially answered. In truth, the self-engrossing avocations of his ensuing life necessarily arrested the progress, if they did not extinguish the desire, of further study; although we have abundant proofs
singular drama; and he similarly obtained permission for the representation of Schiller's "Fiesco," and, "Kabale und Liebe," though the poet's recent historian, Dr. Karl Hoffmeister, (Schiller's Leben, &c., 1837, 8vo., Erster Band,) would give us to understand, that this friendship varied with the countenance of the court. In 1788, Dalberg received priestly ordination, in his forty-fifth year, was named archbishop of Tarsus, in partibus infidelium, and afterwards prince-bishop of Constance, one of the richest sees in Germany. In 1802, he succeeded as coadjutor to the electorate of Mentz, which, however, after the conquests of Bonaparte, he exchanged for the archsee of Ratisbon, with the title of primate of Germany, and then attached himself zealously to the conqueror's fortunes. His moral, literary, and historical works, in German and French, are very numerous; and their reader will at once see that it was impossible he could, on the above-mentioned occasion, have erred in the date of the Golden Bull, which defined the Germanic constitution, and formed the most memorable era in the history of the empire, except with the design which I have explained. Besides, that important event was coincident with some peculiar circumstances in connexion with his own family, which, in a person of much inferior learning, would have fixed the precise date in his memory. In fact, there was not a petty noble of the empire who had it not in accurate recollection, like our epochs of Magna Charta, the Reformation, or the Revolution. The well-concerted device succeeded in keeping Napoleon in good humour with its contrivers, and in exciting the admiration of his imperial guest and courtiers. Born in February 1744, Dalberg survived to February 1817, having just completed his seventy-third year. His nephew, the Duke of Dalberg, whom I have met in society, was also a remarkable personage.
that Cæsar and Frederick intermixed the perils of war and soothed the cares of state with the recreations of literature. Still Napoleon's sphere of reading was very extensive, as an all-embracing comprehension, like his, could not limit its aspirations to a narrow circle. For classical letters, or rather their language, he seems to have had little taste, as I have just observed but natural history, in the alluring pages of Buffon, and that of antiquity, in Herodotus, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, &c., much occupied him, while Plutarch, the cherished author of so many eminent Frenchmen, seldom or never appears cited. The East, with England, Germany, &c., but France of course, in special consideration, were studied in their respective annals; and in his "Commentaries on the Liberties of the Gallican Church," composed in 1791, it is easy to discern the germ of his stipulations, ten years afterwards, in framing the Concordat with Pius VII., signed the 15th July, 1801. His attention to chronology has already been noticed; but geography was far more connected with his ambitious pursuits, and his minute knowledge of it was correspondingly conspicuous. Perhaps nothing in graphic delineation exists of superior power to his sketch of the boundaries of the Italian Peninsula, which opens and elucidates his history of the campaigns of 1796 and 1797, dictated by him in his captivity, and presented as a donation to Las Cases. Then, indeed, his style had matured, and acquired every characteristic element of strength, of splendor, and of taste. Other proofs of this improvement might also be produced.
Again, although the eventful career of Napoleon may be supposed to have exhausted, from its absorbing
interest, every channel of inquiry into the incidents of his life, yet I apprehend that it is little, certainly not generally understood, that the earliest declaration of his political principles was decidedly of a conservative or anti-popular hue, perfectly consonant, indeed, and prelusive to their practical exercise under his imperial sway. "Le Souper de Beaucaire," included in Bourrienne's Memoirs, and of an opposite color, is usually considered the first enunciation of his sentiments; but it was preceded in 1790, two or three years before, and when he was scarcely one and twenty, by a published letter to his countryman, Buttafocco, one of the deputies of the Noblesse of Corsica in the Constituant Assembly. The title is, "Lettre de M. Buonaparte à M. Matteo Buttafocco, député de Corse à l'Assemblée Nationale," without place or printer's name, but ascertained to have appeared at Dôle in 1790, from the press of one Joly, when he was a lieutenant of artillery in the Régiment de la Fére, at that town, the former capital of Franche Comté, now in the department of Jura. The following extract is remarkable:-" M. Paoli avait révé de faire le Solon; mais il avait mal copié son original. Il avait tout mis entre les mains du peuple, et de ses réprésentans, de sorte qu'on ne pouvait exister qu'en lui plaisant. Etrange erreur, qui soumet à un brutal, à un mercenaire, l'homme qui, par son éducation, l'illustration de sa naissance, sa fortune, est seul fait pour gouverner! A la longue, un bouleversement de raison si palpable ne peut manquer d'entraîner la ruine et la dissolution du corps politique, après l'avoir tourmenté par tout genre de maux." These last are prophetic words; and the whole tenor
of the letter, in spirit and expression, displays, by anticipation, the restorer of the noblesse, with his innate contempt for popular intellect or action, as well as the early impression on his mind of his axiom, "that the people were the objects, not the source of rule-that all was to be effected for-nothing by them." (Bignon, vii., 256.) I have not seen this interesting memorial of Napoleon's first conceptions noticed in our language; but Boswell's Corsica (1769, 8vo.,) will place in a contrasted light his and Poali's views of government. And yet, the posthumous honors lavished on his remains would show that constitutional liberty is quite as alien to the feelings of the French nation as to his own; for, as with him, their predominant aspiration is martial glory. It is the idol of their worship, on whose altar the calm enjoyments of freedom were an easy sacrifice, and in whose hierophant, crowned with a hundred triumphs-the nurture of their darling passion-all trace of his iron-rule was absorbed in the glare of his conquests. Seldom, it must be admitted, is the victorious soldier the champion of civil right.
The whole series of his juvenile labors will, in a great measure, illustrate the fact, while they abate the wonder, of his luminous conceptions, during the discussion of his various Codes in the council of state; for political economy, national policy, and legislation were his successive and profoundly meditated occupations. Nor was his solid judgment, it appears, in any way dazzled by the brilliant sophisms of Rousseau "On Social Inequality," which we find acutely refuted in a distinct treatise; no common proof of sound reason, when that fascinating author