THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON
THE EMPRESS JOSEPHINE :
LETTERS FROM THE TIME OP THEIR MARRIAGE UNTIL THE DEATH OP
JOSEPHINE, AND ALSO SEVERAL PRIVATE LETTERS PROM THE
EMPEROR TO HIS BROTHER JOSEPH, AND OTHER
WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES AND
JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
PUBLISHED BY MASON BROTHERS,
108 AND 110 DUANE STREET.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of
STEREOTYPED BY PRINTED BY
THOMAS B. SMITH, C. A. ALVOBI>,
82 A 84 Beekman Street. 15 Vandewater St.
THERE is still great diversity of opinion, respect-
ing the true character of Napoleon : a diversity so
great as to excite in many bosoms much angry feel-
ing. It might be supposed that if any question could
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be discussed in the United States with calmness, it
would be the merits of a European sovereign who,
for nearly the third of a century has been in his grave.
But it may still be said of Napoleon, as it has been
said of the great Genevan reformer :
" On Calvin, some think heaven's own mantle fell,
"While others deem him instrument of hell."
The only way in which we can judge of the true
character of a man, is to see what he has done, hear
what he has said, and read what he has written.
The deed, the word, and the writing, constitute the
man, so far as man can judge.
In the History of Napoleon the author has given a
record of the deeds of the Emperor. In Napoleon at
St. Helena, lie lias collected his words. In the vol-
ume now issued will be found his confidential letters.
The authenticity of these letters are "beyond all
controversy. Hortense had received them from her
mother, and authorized their publication. The
French editor, to whom Queen Hortense intrusted
these letters, says : "We publish them without
change. Our love for truth would prompt to this
course, when we know that, too often, to correct is to
profane. However, as there are some persons perhaps
a little too freely condemned, we have only given the
initials of their names."
The confidential correspondence of Napoleon with
his brother Joseph has recently been translated and
published in this country. " These perfectly unre-
served and brotherly confidential letters," says the
Hon. Charles J. Ingersoll, " several hundred in Napo-
leon's own hand-writing, written before he became
great, will demonstrate his real sentiments and char-
acter when too young for dissembling, and quite
unreserved with his correspondent. Joseph relied
upon them to prove, what he always said, and often
told me, that Napoleon was a man of warm attach-
ments, tender feelings, and honest purposes." These
are now before the public. They are mostly purely
business letters. From them a Tew have been select-
ed, for the present volume, which reflect light upon
the social and domestic character of Napoleon.
Napoleon was so extraordinary a character that
every thing which he has said or done excites lively
interest. These letters present him in entirely a new
aspect in an attitude in which he has never before
been seen by the American public. We are familiar
with him as the warrior, the statesman, the great ad-
ministrator but here we behold him as the husband,
the father, the brother, moving freely amid all the
tender relations of domestic life. His heart is here
revealed, with all its intense and glowing affections.
These letters were written in the midst of the tur-
moil of the most busy and tempestuous career
through which a mortal ever passed. They were
often written on the field of battle, enveloped in the
smoke of the conflict, and while the thunders of the
retiring cannonade were still reverberating. Though
often so overwhelmed with pressing responsibilities
and cares that he could allow himself no quiet meal,
no regular, repose, sleeping in the open air for a fort-
night, neither taking oft 7 coat or boots, galloping
from post to post of the army, through mud, and rain,
and snow, he seldom allowed a day to pass without
writing to Josephine, and he often wrote to her twice
The compiler of this volume has very freely intro-
duced such historical facts, and well-authenticated
remarks of the Emperor, as throw light upon the cor-
respondence. He trusts that these illustrative notes
will add not a little to the interest and value of these
pages. Happy is that man whose " eulogy" consists
in the faithful record of what he has written, done,
JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
Brunswick, Maine, 1856.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
I. LETTERS DURING THE FIRST ITALIAN CAMPAIGN. 9
II. LETTERS IN THE YEAR 1800, AT THE TIME OF THE
CAMPAIGN OF MARENGO 33
III. LETTERS DURING THE TEARS 1801 AND 1802, TO JO-
SEPHINE AND JOSEPH 42
IV. LETTERS TO JOSEPHINE IN 1804, DURING A JOURNEY
WHICH THE EMPEROR MADE TO THE SEA-COAST 57
V. LETTERS TO THE EMPRESS IN 1^05, DURING THE CAM-
PAIGN OF AUSTERLITZ 64
VI. LETTERS IN 1806, DURING THE CAMPAIGNS OF JENA
AND AUERSTADT 91
VII. LETTERS IN 1806, DURING THE MARCH TO THE VIS-
VHL LETTERS IN 1807, DURING THE CAMPAIGN OF ETLAU. 126
IX. LETTERS IN THE YEAR 1807, DURING THE WINTER
ENCAMPMENT UPON THE VISTULA 144
X. LETTERS WRITTEN IN 1807, DURING THE CAMPAIGN OF
XI LETTERS DURING NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER OF 1807. 189
XII. LETTERS WRITTEN IN THE SPRING OF 1808, MOSTLY
DURING A BRIEF VISIT TO BAYONNE. . . . . 201
Viii TABLE OF CONTENTS.
CHAPTER p AOB
XIII. LETTERS IN THE YEAR 1808, DURING THE CONGRESS
AT ERFURTH 214
XIV. LETTERS IN 1808 AND 1809, DURING NAPOLEON'S CAM-
PAIGN IN SPAIN 221
XV. LETTERS DURING THE CAMPAIGN IN GERMANY, IN 1809 235
XVI. LETTERS IN THE YEARS 1809 AND 1810, DURING THE
FIRST THREE MONTHS AFTER THE DIVORCE 254
XVII. LETTERS WRITTEN DURING THE YEAR 1810, AFTER THE
MARRIAGE OF THE EMPEROR WITH MARIA LOUISA.. 269
XVIII. LETTERS DURING THE YEAR 1811 302
XIX. LETTERS WRITTEN DURING THE YEAR 1812 324
XX. LETTERS DURING THE YEARS 1813 AND 1814 324
XXI. LETTERS DURING THE EMPEROR'S CAPTITITY AT SAINT
APPENDIX. THE WILL OF NAPOLEON; ms INSTRUCTIONS TO
HIS EXECUTORS", AND A CHRONOLOGICAL ACCOUNT OF
HIS CAREER . . 372
NAPOLEON TO JOSEPHINE,
LETTERS DURING THE FIRST ITALIAN CAMPAIGN.
NAPOLEON was married to Josephine on the 9th of March,
1796. A few days after his marriage, he left his bride in
Paris, and took command of the army of Italy. During this
campaign, which was closed in less than a year, the letters
contained in the present chapter were written. We have
none of the letters which were written during the first three
months of his absence. After the perils of the first assaults
were over, and when, most of the Austrians being driven out
of Italy, Napoleon was besieging Mantua, Josephine came to
Milan, that she might be nearer her husband. The first letter,
in this collection, is dated from a small town in the vicinity
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
ROVERBELLA, July 6, 1796.
I have beaten tfce enemy. Kilmaine will send you the ac-
count. I am dead of fatigue. I entreat you to set out im-
mediately for Verona. I fear that I am going to be very sick..
I give you a thousand kisses. I am in the bed.
10 CONFIDENTIAL LETTERS OF
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
VERONA,' July 11, 1796.
Hardly had I left Roverbella, than I learned that the enemy
had presented himself at Verona. Massena made such dispo-
sition of his army as has been very happy. We have made
six hundred prisoners, and we have taken three pieces of can-
non. General Brune had seven bullets pass through his
clothes, without being touched by one. This is good fortune.
I give you a thousand kisses. I am very well. We have had
only ten men killed and one hundred wounded.
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
MARMIROLO, July 17, 1796, 9 o'clock, P.M.
I have received your letter, my adorable friend. It has
filled my heart with joy. I am grateful to you for the trouble
you have taken to send me the news. I hope that you are
better to-day. I am sure that you have recovered. I earnestly
desire that you should ride on horseback : it can not fail to
Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. - My
happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my
memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude.
The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually
a burning and a glowing flame in my heart. When, free
from all solicitude, all harassing care, shall I be able to pass
all my time with you, having only to love y"ou, and to think
only of the happiness of so saying, and of proving it to you ?
I will send you your horse, but I hope you will soou join me.
1 A fine city on the Adige, about fifteen miles from Mantua.
NAPOLEON TO JOSEPHINE. 11
I thought that I loved you months ago, but since my separa-
tion from you I feel that I love you a thousand fold more.
Each day since I knew you, have I adored you yet more and
more. This proves the maxim of Bruyere, that " love comes
all of a sudden," to be false. Every thing in nature has its
own course, and different degrees of growth.
Ah ! I entreat you to permit me to see some of your faults.
Be less beautiful, less gracious, less affectionate, less good, es-
pecially be not over-anxious, and never weep. Your tears rob
me of reason, and inflame my blood. Believe me it is not in
my power to have a single thought which is noL of thee, or a
wish which I could not reveal to thee.
Seek repose. Quickly re-establish your health. Come and
join me, that at least, before death, we may be able to say,
" We were many days happy." A thousand kisses, and one
even to Fortuna, 1 notwithstanding his spitefulness.
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
MARMIEOLO, July 16, 1796, two hours after midnight.
I have passed the whole night under arms. I should have
taken Mantua 2 by a bold and well directed blow, but the waters
of the lake suddenly fell, and my columns, which were em-
barked, could not reach their landing-place. I shall commence
the attack another way this evening, but this will not produce
results so satisfactory.
I have received a letter from Eugene,' which I send to you.
1 A lap-dog belonging to Josephine.
a "Was the strongest fortress of Italy. It was situated on the Adige,
and surrounded by lakes. It was held by an Austrian garrison, and
Napoleon wag besieging it.
3 When Xapoleon was married to Josephine she was the mother of
12 CONFIDENTIAL LETTERS OF
I beg you to write for me to those lovely children, and send
them some jewels. Assure them that I love them as my own.
Those who are connected with you or with me, are so blended
in my heart that I know no difference.
I am very anxious to know how you are, and what you are
doing. I have been in the home of Virgil, 1 on the borders of
the lake, by the clear silvery light of the moon, and never a
moment did I cease to think of you, my Josephine.
The enemy made a grand sortie. They killed or wounded
two hundred of our men ; they have lost five hundred in re-
treating with precipitation.
I am very well. I am wholly yours, my Josephine, and I
have neither pleasure nor happiness, save in your society.
Three Neapolitan regiments have arrived at Brescia. They
are separated from the Austrian army in consequence of the
agreement I have made with M. Pignatelli. 3
I have lost my snuff-box. Will you select me another,
rather flat, and, upon the lid, have some pretty device with
your hair ?
A thousand kisses, as ardent as you are cold. Love with-
two children, Eugene and Hortense Beauharnais. Hortense subse-
quently married Louis Bonaparte, and became the mother of Louis Na-
poleon, her third child, who is now Emperor of France. It is remark-
able that, notwithstanding the fatal divorce, the crown of France has
descended to the grandchild of Josephine. Eugene became one of the
noblest of men, and his whole brilliant career was resplendent with
honor. There are but few names on the page of history so spotless as
that of Eugene Beauharnais. When but seventeen years of age he
joined the army of Napoleon.
1 This celebrated Latin poet was born near Mantua. Neither the
Italians nor the Austrians had offered any tribute to his memory.
Napoleon erected a beautiful monument in honor of the illustrious
* An embassador from Naples. The King of Naples had joined the
coalition against France. Alarmed by the success of Napoleon, he sent
Prince Pignatelli to treat for an armistice. By this arrangement the
Neapolitan army of 50,000 men were withdrawn from co-operation
with the allies.
NAPOLEON TO JOSEPHINE. 13
out bounds and fidelity in every trial. Before Joseph 1 leaves I
wish to speak to him. BONAPARTE.
. LETTER V.
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
MARMIROLO, July 19, 1796.
For two days I have had no letters from you. Thirty times
to-day have I said this. You know therefore that I am very
sad. You can not doubt the tender and absorbing solicitude
with which you inspire me.
We attacked Mantua yesterday. We bombarded it from
two batteries with red-hot shot and shells. All night the
miserable city burned. The sight was horrible, imposing. We
1 Napftleon's elder brother. Napoleon said of him at St. Helena :
"His virtues and talents are those of a private character, and for
such nature intended him. He is too amiable to be a great man ; he
has no ambition."
Napoleon was ever exceedingly attached to Joseph. But a year
before the date of the above letter, on the 25th of June, 1795, Napo-
leon wrote as follows to Joseph :
" Desiree" (Joseph's wife's sister, who afterward married Bernadotte)
" has requested of me my portrait. I am about to have it taken. You
will give it to her if she still desires it; if not, you will keep it yourself.
In whatever circumstances fortune may place you, you know very well,
my friend, that you can not have a better friend, one to whom you will
be more dear, and who will more sincerely desire your happiness. Life
is a transient dream which dissipates itself. La vie est un songe leger
qui se dissipe.
"If you are about to go away, and think that you shall be absent
long, send me your portrait. "We have lived so many years together
so intimately united, that our hearts are blended in one; and you
know better than any one how entirely mine is devoted to you. I feel,
in tracing these lines, an emotion of which I have experienced few ex-
amples during my life. I fully understand that it will be long before
we shall again see each other, and I am not able to continue my let-
14 CONFIDENTIAL LETTERS OF
have possessed ourselves of several outworks, and we shall open
the tr> nches to-night. I set out for Castiglione 1 to-monow
with the Quartermaster-General, aud I in' end to sleep there.
I have received a dispatch from Paris. There were two
letters for you ; I have read them. However, although this
deed appears to me very simple, and although you gave me
permission the other day to do so, I fear that this will displease
you. This grieves me much. I thought to reseal them, fie !
that would be mean. If T am blameworthy, I ask pardon.
I declare to you I did it not from jealousy; by no means.
I have too liOOil an opinion of my adorable friend for that. I
wish that you would give me leave to read all your letters,
then there would be no anxiety or fear.
Achille has arrived in the mail-coach, from Milan. 3 No
letters from my beloved friend ! Adieu my only love. When
can you come and join me ? I wish I could join you at Milan.
A thousand kisses as burning as my heart, as pure as thine own.
I have sent for the postman ; he tells me that he passed
your house, and that you told him you had nothing for him.
Fie ! you wicked, naughty, cruel, beautiful little monster !
You laugh at my threats, at my nonsense. Ah ! if I could,
1 A town of five thousand inhabitants, about twenty miles north-
west of Mantua. It is celebrated for a decisive victor}- which Napo-
leon there gained over the Austrians, who were marching for the relief
of Mantua, The battle was fought a few days after the date of this
letter. From this battle Augereau derived his title of Duke of Castig-
lione. It is said that for six days and nights preceding this battle,
Napoleon did not take off his boots or lie down on a bed.
a A courier who brought dispatches to Napoleon.
3 This city was the capital of Venetian Lombardy, and is one of the
most beautiful cities in the world. It contained one hundred and fifty
thousand inhabitants. " Milan," says Raumer, " stands in a sea of
green trees, as Venice in a sea of green waters." The French army was
in such peril at Mantua, that it was not safe for Josephine to be in the
vicinity of the contending armies, and Napoleon consequently left her
a hundred miles distant at Milan. It was in this city that Napoleon
was subsequently crowned King of Italy.
NAPOLEON TO JOSEPHINE. 15
you know very well I would inclose you in my heart ; I would
imprison you there.
Tell me that you are happy, well, and very loving.
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
CASTIGLIONE, July 21, 1796; 8 o'clock, A.M.
I hope that on arriving 1 this evening', I shall receive one of
your letters. You know, my dear Josep'iine, how much pleas-
ure they give me, and I am sure you enjoy writing; them. I
shall leave this night for Peschiera, for the mountains, for Ve-
rona, and from thence I shall go to Mantua, and perhaps to
Milan to receive a kiss, since you assure me that they are not
frozen. I hope that you will be perfectly well then, and that
you can accompany me to my head-quarters, no more to leave
me. Are you not the soul of my life, and the joy of my
Your protegees 1 are veiy gay ; they feel very happy. How
grateful I am to them for rendering you those attentions which
make you happy. They shall come to Milan. In every situ-
ation we need some patience.
Adieu, thou beautiful and good one, all unequaled, all divine ;
a thousand loving kisses. BONAPARTE.
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
CASTIGLIONE, July 22, 1796.
The wants of the army require my presence in this region.
It is impossible I should le:ive even to go to Milan. It would
require five or six days, and during that time it might be that
1 Two young ladios who were companions of Josephine.
16 CONFIDENTIAL LETTERS OF
something would occur imperiously demanding my presence
You assure me that your health is good. I entreat you,
therefore, to come to Brescia. I will, at the same time, send
Murat 1 to prepare lodgings for you in the city, as you desire.
I think you had best sleep the 6th at Cassano, setting out
rather late from Milan. Come the 7th to Brescia, where the
most affectionate of lovers waits for you. I am deeply grieved,
my dear friend, that you can believe that my heart can open
itself to any one save to you. This heart belongs to you by
right of conquest, and that conquest will be solid and eternal.
I know not why you allude to Madame T , for whom I
care very little, as also for all the women of Brescia. As to
the letters which it grieves you that I opened, they will be the
last ; your letter had not then arrived.
Adieu, my beloved friend; let me often hear from you.
Come quickly and join me ; be happy and without anxiety.
Every thing goes well, and my heart is yours for life.
Take care to return to Adjutant-General Miollis 2 the casket
of medals which he writes me he has sent you. Men are so
censorious and so bad, that we must adopt one rule toward
1 Murat, the son of an innkeeper, became Napoleon's most conspic-
uous cavalry officer. He accompanied Napoleon to Egypt, and served
him thVough most of his campaigns. He married Napoleon's sister
Caroline, and was made Marshal of France, and was subsequently
placed by Napoleon upon the throne of Naples, after the transfer of
Joseph to Spain. In the dark days of the Emperor's misfortunes Mu-
rat ungratefully forsook'him. After the return of Napoleon from Elba,
Murat made an attempt to regain the throne of Naples, but he was
taken and shot. One of his sons, Lucien, now occupies a conspicuous
post under the government of Louis Napoleon.
2 An efficient officer under Napoleon. During a part of the siege of
Mantua, he had command of a small fortress. The Austrian general
Provera, with six thousand Austrian troops, presented himself before
the fortress and demanded a surrender. Napoleon hastened to the aid
of his general, and so arranged his forces as to surround Provera. Miol-
lis then made a sortie, and the Austrians were compelled to surrender.
NAPOLEON TO JOSEPHINE. 17
Health to you, love, and a speedy arrival at Brescia.
I have a carriage at Milan either for the city or the country.
You will take that to come to me. Bring with you your
plate, and those articles which you will most need. Take
short journeys, and in the cool of the day, that you be not
fatigued. The army needs only three days to reach Brescia. 1
The post comes from there in fourteen hours. I advise you to
sleep the 24th at Cassano. I will go to meet you on the 25th
as far on as possible.
Adieu, my Josephine. A thousand tender kisses.
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
BRESCIA, August 10, 1796
I have arrived here, my adorable friend. My first thought
is to write to you. Your health and your image have not
been out of my mind for one moment during the whole way.
I shall not be happy until I have received letters from you.
I wait for them with impatience. It is not possible that you
can realize my distress. I left you sad, distressed, and half
sick. If love, the most profound and the most tender, could
render you happy, you would be so. I am overwhelmed with
Adieu, my sweet Josephine ; love me, take care of your
health, and think often, often of me. BONAPARTE.
1 Josephine and Napoleon met at Brescia. But the whole region
was swept by surging armies; and after a few hurried interviews, con-
tinued through three or four days, Josephine returned to Milan. As
she was entering her carriage to depart, a wagon loa'led with wounded
soldiers passed by. The awful spectacle touched the heart of Joseph-
ine. She threw herself upon the neck of her husband and wept bit-
terly. "Wurmser," said Napoleon, "shall pay dearly for these tears
which he causes thee to shed."
18 CONFIDENTIAL LETTERS Of
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
BRESCIA, August 31.
I set out in a moment for Verona. I did hope to receive a
letter from you. This distresses me greatly. You were a little
sick at the time of my leaving. I beseech you do not leave
me in such suspense. You promised me more punctuality.
Your language agreed then with your heart. How can you,
to whom nature has given sweetness, amenity, and all that
pleases, how can you forget him who loves you so ardently ?
Three days with no letter from you ! I have, nevertheless,
written you several times. Absence is horrible the nights
are long, dreary, wearisome ; the day is monotonous.
To-day, alone with my thoughts, my labors, my writing,
with men and their pompous projects, I have not even a note
from you to press to my heart.
The quartermaster-general has gone. I go in an hour. I
have received to-night an express from Paris ; there was for
you only the inclosed letter, which will gratify you.
Think pf me ; live for me ; be often with thy well-beloved,
and believe that there can be only one single evil which can
appall him that will be, no more to be loved by his Joseph-
ine. A thousand kisses, very tender, very affectionate, very
Desire M. Monclas to set out immediately for Verona. I
will procure him a situation. He ought to arrive in four
TO JOSEPHINE AT MILAN.
ALA, September 3, 1796.
We are in full campaign, my adorable friend. We have
overthrown the outposts of the enemy. We have taken from
NAPOLEOX TO JOSEPHINE. 19
them eight or ten horses, with an equal number of horsemen.
The troops are in fine spirits, and well disposed. I hope we
shall do well, and enter Trent 1 on the 5th.
No letters from you ; this distresses me truly. I am assured
that you are well, and that you have made an excursion to the
lake of Como." I wait every day, and with impatience, the
courier, who will bring me news from you. You know how