Emperor of the French Napoleon I.

New letters of Napoleon I, omitted from the edition published under the auspices of Napoleon III online

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If you have reason to think the complaints of Escoiquiz
well founded, you must begin by removing him from about
the Princes, and then you must have him arrested, and sent
to Vincennes.


SCHONBRUNN, zyhjune 1809.

THE town of Vienna is not kept in good order. The
popular insolence is the outcome of a neglect of measures of


repression, directed against the excesses committed during
the last month. These excesses are of such a nature, that
not one of them should have received less punishment than
the death of several persons. If some examples had been
made, the populace would have settled down to its duty
more and more every day. The culpable negligence which
has reigned, has ended by making the people insolent.
This is the first occasion on which I have seen my power
set at nought. I have been left in ignorance of these facts,
and none of them have been followed up. All the organisa-
tion of Vienna yet remains to be done, and everything is
still in the hands of the burghers, and of our enemies. The
French are annoyed and criticised ,by the conquered party.
This order of things must be promptly changed.
Every day an absurd and frivolous report is submitted,
relating obscure incidents, which cannot be of any import-
ance to me. Even in Paris, such matters are never brought
to my knowledge. They do not get beyond the local

But the political report on the popular misconduct as
regards the French is not sent to me. It is my intention
that you shall submit to me, every day, a report from the
Commandants of the various Quarters of the town, of the
important incidents of each day, and the measures taken
to maintain order, to discover culprits, and avenge affronts
put upon Frenchmen.

You must first of all make sure that the Commandants of
the different Quarters can talk German ; that is an important
point. To each of these Commandants you will attach an
officer from the Nassau Regiment, with two non-commissioned
officers, and fifteen men, who will form his guard. He will
make use of these Germans to procure full information of
everything that occurs. Every Police Commissary will recog-
nise the Commandant of his Quarter;, will report everything
to him ; and will take every means to carry out his orders.

Each Commandant will also have an officer of the City
Guard, and eight intelligent men, drawn from that Guard,
whom he will employ to keep order amongst the populace,
and to summon the military guard when necessary.

Every Viennese arrested by the City Guard, for any-
ordinary police matter, will be brought before the Police


Any Frenchman arrested for quarrelling with the Viennese,
and any Viennese arrested by a French patrol, will be
brought up before the Commandant of the Quarter, without
any interference from the local authorities.

If the Commandants of Quarters are not sufficiently
numerous, their numbers must be increased. Everything
connected with the order and the surveillance of the city
must depend on them.

No German prisoner of war is to set foot in Vienna, on
any pretext whatsoever. The prison depot will be at Schon-
brunn. This order has already been given several times,
but it is not enforced, because the commanding officers of
military posts, who trangress them, are not punished.

I do not intend the National Guard to exceed 5000 or
6000 men in number. It will not have more than 1500
muskets, and all other muskets, guns, etc., will be taken for
the use of my army. You will report to me on the manner
in which this disarmament should be carried out, and I will
give you the authority to do it to-morrow, 26th. You will
forthwith publish an order, enjoining all persons who have
cannon balls, or cannon, to give them up. Have this order
preceded by the sentence of death pronounced on the person
who was found in possession of three cannon.

You will take measures for the paying of domiciliary visits,
and for discovering those persons who may still hold arms.
You will encourage informers, by desiring the Commandants
of Quarters to reward persons who help them to discover

You will order all Englishmen, foreigners, and vagrants of
any kind, to be arrested.

Have a list drawn up of the principal rich landowners, or
of their men of business, and order them to send for wheat,
of which they have a great quantity at their country places ;
such as Prince Albert, who has corn land a few leagues
from Vienna, and Prince Esterhazy, You will also oblige
the Superiors of convents to bring in corn ; I am certain there
are secret stores within the town. Watch all this most
carefully, and have any corn you find in Vienna, or its neigh-
bourhood, seized. Have it put into store, and make the
Communes responsible for it.

The government of Vienna needs firmness and energy.
To give you an example of the ignorance in which I am


left, I have had no report of the capture of a vehicle, loaded
with muskets, which gave rise to an important incident.
The French patrols are insulted daily. As yet I have no
report on that subject. I send you a report which I asked
for, relative to this business of the muskets. It is of import-
ance that this should be followed up, and that you should
find out whence the arms come, where they were brought in,
and whither they were being sent.




I SEND you a letter from the Duke of Dalmatia, and the
inquiry of a Lieutenant of Gendarmerie into a strange and
altogether extraordinary event. A certain Argenton, an
adjutant-major in the i8th Dragoon regiment in Spain, who
has served with us, who fought through the Egyptian cam-
paign, whom I do not know personally, but who had the
reputation of being a faithful and reliable man, has, how I
know not, been led away by the English. You will see, by
several letters taken from him, and which I send you, that
his wife's relations live at Tours. You will collect informa-
tion as to his family. Colonel Lafitte, who is mixed up in
this business, is one of the most faithful of soldiers, a man
whom every one is ready to answer for. The whole business
is a very strange one. 1



ILE NAPOLEON, yd July 1809.

WRITE General Laroche, that as soon as he can get back
to Nuremberg, he must arrest six ringleaders of the insurrec-
tion, and have them hanged in the public square. Amongst
them, one Reuter, a tinsmith, and Birkner, a vagrant.

1 In connection with this business, see the Moniteur of I4th January 1810.



SCHONBRUNN, Itfh July 1809.

I DESIRE you will see that whenever anything is put on
columns, monuments, or elsewhere, relative to the battle of
Austerlitz, the word ' Austerlitz ' itself shall never be used.
This word causes the Emperor Alexander a great deal of
pain and injury.

You will receive a Decree, by which I appoint a Commis-
sary-General of Police at Wesel. Take care he is a French-
man, and an intelligent and reliable man.

I send you a letter, the subject of which is important. If
this Dessort really is that wretch Argenton, whose docu-
ments I sent you, let him be brought to Paris, with irons on
his feet and hands. This business is worthy of all your
anxiety. I conclude all his papers have been seized. It is
inconceivable that he should have dared to come to Paris.


SCHONBRUNN, i$tkjitty 1809.

ORDER General Miollis to have Cardinal Pacca, and all
the Pope's so-called temporal Ministers arrested, and send
them to France. I approve of your dividing the Roman
State into two Departments, that of the Tiber, and that of
the Trasimenus.



SCHONBRUNN, i6ihfuly 1809.

I HAVE your letter of roth July. Make a severe example
of those who show the worst spirit. If you do not see the
hand of the foreigner in this, you are quite mistaken.
There is no doubt that the English have a regular organisa-
tion all over Europe. Nothing happens by chance, and
when the same news is bandied about simultaneously in
Paris, in the depths of Italy, in Holland, and in Germany, it


is evidently the result of some system. The Police in Paris
ought to be more firm, and more severe. That is what I
should wish to see, and what I do not see.


SCHONBRUNN, \1thjuly 1809.

I HAVE your letter of nth July. Keep that wretch
Argenton safely, in secret confinement ; he is a traitor, sold
to our enemies, and deserves exemplary punishment. I
think you will do well to issue a warrant of arrest, in Spain,
against Colonel Lafitte and his brother. They are men
whom I know to be upright, but yet Argenton could not
have absented himself without their knowledge. Let both
of them appear at your office.



SCHONBRUNN, \ith July 1809.

I HAVE seen an Order of the Day of yours, which makes
you the laughing-stock of Germany, Austria, and France.
Have you not a single friend about you, to tell you a few
truths ? You are a King, and brother to an Emperor
absurd qualifications in war-time. You should be a soldier,
and once more a soldier, and then again a soldier ! You
should have neither Minister, nor Diplomatic Body, nor
display. You should bivouac with your advance-guard, be
on horseback day and night, march with your advance-
guard, so as to secure information. Otherwise you had
better stop at home in your seraglio.

You make war like a satrap. Did you learn that from
me ? Good God ! from me, who, with my army of 200,000
men, lead my own skirmishers, without allowing even Cham-
pagny to follow me, leaving him at Munich or Vienna?

What has happened ? That everybody is dissatisfied with
you ! That Kienmayer, with his 12,000 men, has made game
of you and your absurd pretensions, has concealed his
movements from you, and has fallen upon Junot ! This


would not have happened if you had been with your advance-
guard, and had directed the movements of your army from
that position. Then you would have been aware of his
movements, and you would have pursued him, either by
going into Bohemia, or by following in his rear. You have
a great deal of pretension, a certain amount of wit, a few
good qualities all ruined by your conceit. You are ex-
tremely presumptuous, and you have no knowledge what-
ever. If the armistice had not been concluded at this juncture,
Kienmayer would have attacked you, after having driven
Junot out of the running.

Cease making yourself ridiculous ; send the Diplomatic
Body back to Cassel. Have no baggage and no retinue.
Keep one table only your own. Make war like a young
soldier, who longs for fame and glory, and try to be worthy
of the rank you have gained, and of the esteem of France
and of Europe, whose eyes are upon you. And have sense
enough, by God, to write and speak after a proper fashion !



SCHONBRUNN, l8//fc July iSop.

I HAVE your letter of nth July, which informs me of
the judgment passed by my Criminal Court of the Seine, on
Mons. Victor-Meriadec de Rohan, accused of having borne
arms against France since 1804. I desire you will have
the same thing done with regard to MM. Chasteler and
d'Argenteau, who have had no French domicile for the last
ten years, and against a great number of Generals in the
Austrian service, whom the police will report to you, and
wh6 must be got rid of once for all. These men are still
bearing arms against us.



SCHONBRUNN, mthjuly 1809.

I HAVE received Argenton's examination ; I conclude
you keep the man in secret confinement, and that you have


taken every precaution to prevent his escape. What he says
of Generals Laborde and Loison is nonsense, but what he
says of Colonel Donnadieu astonishes me. Issue a warrant
to bring up Donnadieu and Lafitte. There is something
extraordinary about all this, which is worth clearing up.
Not that I believe the Generals to be implicated, but there
must be a plot by some evil-disposed persons.


* SCHONBRUNN, 2^th Jllly 1809.

THE newspapers are extremely badly edited. In the copy
of the Gazette de France, which 1 now send you, you will
see the public is given to understand that Prussia is anxious
to declare war against us, and that Russia is opposed to us.
Let the editor of the Gazette understand that I shall sup-
press it if he goes on printing such articles, and that I
have actually been upon the very point of signing the neces-
sary order. You will also give positive orders that no
Gazette is to make any mention of the Pope. Who is the
editor of the Gazette de France ? On what data does he
write such letters from Berlin ? Pray, direct the newspapers
better. Why do they refer with emphasis to a pretended
Revolution at Bologna, in Italy? The Italian journals may
refer to that it is their business, but the French newspapers
are not devoid of weight in Europe. The Journal des Debats
might very w r ell have refrained from ascribing importance
to that incident. Generally speaking, our newspapers are
always ready to seize on anything likely to disturb public
tranquillity, and give a false idea of our position.


SCHONBRUNN, zyhjuty 1809.

I HAVE your letter of the 2Oth. The letter you have
received from me since that of the I4th will have informed
you of my position and intentions. I consider that you
have thoroughly misconducted yourself during this cam-


paign. It was no thanks to you that Junot was not well
thrashed, and that Kienmayer did not advance against me
with his 25,000 men ; seeing that, except for the Armistice
of Znai'm, I should have pursued Prince Charles to Prague.

You have ordered a warship ; you have abandoned the
sea, and left your Admiral without orders. You have put
forward all sorts of suppositions, which have not taken in
either myself, or my Minister ; but one ship is a small matter,
and I was overwilling to overlook that incident. I see you
continue to carry on the same system : you think other people
are deceived, but you take in nobody. During the whole of
this campaign you have constantly been just where the
enemy was not. You say the Duke of Abrantes' retreat on
the Danube forced you to take up a position at Schleitz, and
to cease acting on the offensive. The Duke of Abrantes'
retreat was brought about by your absurd manoeuvres. If
you had moved to your right, as I ordered you, to join the
Duke of Abrantes, if, after having driven the enemy out of
Bayreuth, you had marched on Dresden, this would not
have happened. If, instead of remaining three or four days
in the same place, instead of being slower and more irreso-
lute than the Austrians themselves, you had marched with
the alertness and eagerness befitting your age, the enemy
would not have masked his movements, and concealed them
from you. This, as to your first observation ; and now, as
to the second. You were at Schleitz when you received the
news of my great victories, and you add that, from that time,
you had no reason to fear the enemy would attack you.
But you should have feared it might attack Junot ; you
should have feared its falling on me ; and are 25,000 men,
more or less, a matter of so small importance in a battle ?
You should have feared the re-occupation of Dresden by
that corps. Instead of all that, you break up your own, you
content yourself with declaring that Kienmayer's Corps is
dissolved, and finally you run away in shameful fashion, and
bring disgrace on my arms, and on your young reputation.

As for the English, your cunning march on the Baltic
cannot take in any one but fools. You knew very well that
the English had not landed, and if they really had disem-
barked, what else ought you to have done, except join the
Duke of Abrantes and the Saxons, and not dissolve your own
corps? 3000 Saxons, 10,000 men of your own, and 7000


or 8000 belonging to the Duke of Abrantes, would have put
you in a position to drive back the English ; you could not
do anything alone ; a single victory does not decide a war.
According to my calculation, I should have found you at
Dresden, and following the enemy into Bohemia. 1 Your
march on the Baltic was intended to conceal your return to
Cassel, and your shameful desertion of Saxony.

Besides, your letters, like your Cassel Moniteur, are full of
false suppositions. You say you retired from Schleitz because
the enemy had retired into Bohemia. But no ; the enemy
had remained at Plauen. You should have stayed at Schleitz,
have kept the Saxons with you, and have effected a junction
with the Duke of Abrantes. You suppose the enemy not to
have re-entered Dresden, but you know it did re-enter it, on
the 1 4th, as soon as it became aware of your ridiculous man-
oeuvres. I am sorry, for your sake, that you give so little
proof of talent, or even of good sense, in military matters.
It is a far cry from the profession of a soldier to that of a
courtier. 2 I was hardly as old as you when I had conquered
all Italy, and beaten Austrian armies three times as numerous
as mine. But I had no flatterers, and no Diplomatic Body in
my train ! I made war like a soldier, and there is no other
way of making it. I did not set myself up as the Emperor's
brother, nor as a King. I did everything that needed doing,
to beat the enemy.

You are withdrawing the 22nd from the Oder fortresses.
You do wrong, unless you replace this regiment, as I have
ordered, by the 1200 French troops you have at Cassel.
Mons. Reubell has ventured to give orders, and counter orders,
to detachments, such as sappers, miners, etc., sent by me to
the army. If this goes on I will have him arrested in the
middle of your camp, and I will have him tried by a Military
Court for violating my orders, and disturbing my arrange-

As regards the future, I do not desire to disgrace you by
relieving you of your command ; but, nevertheless, I do not
intend to risk the glory of my arms, for the sake of any
foolish family considerations. One war-ship more or less

1 After this word the following sentence in the rough draft is struck out, by
Napoleon's own hand : ' Your tactics do not deceive me ; you are too young
for that.'

2 The word 'courtier' replaces 'satrap,' which has been struck out.


was a trifling matter, but 20,000 men more or less, well
handled, may change the fate of Europe. If, therefore, you
intend to continue as you have begun, surrounded by men
who have never made war, such as d'Albignac, Reubell, and
Fiirstenstein, without a single good adviser, following your
own fancy and not carrying out my orders, you may stop in
your seraglio. Be assured that, as a soldier, I have no
brother, and that you cannot hide the real motives of your
conduct from me, under frivolous and absurd pretexts. I
should be glad, so as to save you from the danger of such
results, to see you make over the command of your troops
to the Duke of Abrantes. You are a spoilt young fellow,
although you are full of fine natural qualities. I very much
fear it is hopeless to expect anything of you.

If you continue in command of your troops, you are to
proceed at once to Dresden. I will send you a Chief of the
Staff possessed of common sense. Mass the Saxon and
Dutch troops, those of the Grand Duchy of Berg, and all
those under your orders, at Dresden. Have the fortress
re-armed, and put in a thorough state of defence. The
Saxons will reorganise there. Withdraw the 22nd Regiment
from the Oder fortresses ; but have it replaced by the 1 200
French conscripts you have at Cassel. Let the Duke of
Abrantes occupy Bayreuth. Let the Staff have news of
you once every day. Do away with your Court and your
retinue, and make war as befits a man of my name, who
thirsts for glory, more than for any other thing. If hostilities
are reopened, Bohemia will be the seat of war, and you will
have to play an active part. If the war should not pro-
ceed, the presence of a considerable body of troops at
Dresden and Bayreuth may facilitate negotiations.

As for the English, you are better placed for marching
against them at Dresden, than anywhere else. Their land-
ing cannot be prevented, but I find it difficult to believe thai
they will come and set themselves between Denmark and
the Confederation. They have quite enough to do in Portu-
gal. Besides, they must disembark, before we can know
what we should do. The King of Holland's letter is mean-
ingless, and I do not believe a word of it. I receive similar
news from my coasts every day. Their having landed 200
men rather leads me to suppose that they do not intend to
land in force, for it would be a mistake to show they intended


to disembark at any particular point. If I were to pay at-
tention to such signs as these, my troops would always be
marching and countermarching, and would have to proceed
to every point on the ocean, the Mediterranean, and the
Adriatic. The man who could not read, and weigh the value
of, reports, and took every molehill for a mountain, would
have very little common sense.


SCHONBRUNN, 26th July 1809.

I SEND you a copy of the Gazette de France, in which you
will find another article about Berlin. Give orders, on re-
ceiving this letter, to have the editor arrested and put in
prison, for having caused several articles from Berlin to be
inserted in his newspaper, the object of which is to cast
doubt on the alliance of France with Russia, and to offend
our allies. You will keep the editor in prison for a month,
and you will appoint somebody else in his place. You will
let me know whence these articles originate. Generally
speaking, the newspapers are horribly badly managed. For
the last two months, the Continent has been kept in a fright
about the great English expedition. It really is as if the
police did not know how to read. They attend to nothing.



SCHONBRUNN, zbthjuly 1809.

I SEND you some intercepted letters, which will inform
you as to the enemy's position in the Tyrol. You will see
by them, that General Buol has only 2000 men, that there
are only 600 in the Vorarlberg, and that the Tyrolese have
never had more than 1200 peasants under arms. The Prince
Royal's division, that of the King, Rouyer's division, that of
Colonel d'Arco, and Beaumont's division, must bring you up
to 18,000 or 20,000 men. I hope, then, you will soon inform
me that you have beaten and dispersed the enemy, and dis-


armed the country. Every ringleader must be treated as
a hostage, and sent to the Citadel of Strasburg, and you
must make an example of the leaders, and burn the
principal villages. As for the Austrians in the Tyrol, you
must give them a certain number of hours, in which to
declare whether they intend to take advantage of the
armistice, and evacuate the Tyrol. If they refuse, you
must execute severe justice, as on men who have disobeyed
their Government.



SCHONBRUNN, 28th July 1809.

IN the Publiciste of the 22nd, I see an account of the
battle of Wagram, in which great praise is given to the
Prince of Ponte-Corvo, who did anything but well. Whence
does this information come, and why cannot people go by
the official news ?

Have Cardinal Pacca arrested, and taken to Fenestrelle ;
he is a man who does not deserve the smallest consideration.
Have his nephew arrested likewise. Have his secretary, a
certain Cosmo Pedicini, brought to Vincennes, so that you
may obtain information from him.



SCHONBRUNN, T&thjuly 1809.

I HAVE received a farrago, which you have sent me, on the
subject of the Corn trade, and which is perfectly ridiculous. I
do not know why you begin there. I wonder you did not begin
by teaching me the alphabet. It is mere political economists'

Online LibraryEmperor of the French Napoleon INew letters of Napoleon I, omitted from the edition published under the auspices of Napoleon III → online text (page 12 of 34)