Emperor of the French Napoleon I.

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

. (page 13 of 34)
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 13 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

chatter. Who is there in France who objects to the Corn
trade? Who opposes exportation? Not the law of the
country. It is the English who prevent neutral nations from
entering our ports and carrying off our vessels (sic). These
arguments are pitiful in themselves, but they have one great
drawback that of encouraging the commercial community


to lecture the Government, to open discussions, and disturb
men's minds. The Administration has nothing to do with
political economy. The principle of the Corn trade is un-
varying. Exportation begins as soon as there are outlets.
There is no exportation without foreign trade. This channel
for trade is blocked by England. I have endeavoured to
replace it by licences, and if these are used, the evil may be

As far as I am concerned, I request you will not send me
such idle tales : I have no need of the twaddle, nor the
advice, of M. Dupont de Nemours, and a few merchants.

I have read the letter from the Chamber of Commerce.
You did wrong to receive it, and v l regret to see the direction
you are giving to the internal government of the country.

We do not need any advice from the Chamber of Com-
merce, and if we did, it would not be M. de Nemours who
should bestow it. Some conversation with certain well-
informed merchants may be useful, but the deliberations
of the Chambers are invariably valueless, and have certain
serious drawbacks. The Chamber of Commerce must be
very ignorant indeed if it is unaware, (ist) that the
Americans have not raised their embargo for France ; (2nd)
that I have never objected to the Americans entering my
ports. It is the English who have objected to that. The
embargo has been raised for Holland. The King thought it
his duty to accept it. I have ceased to allow the introduction
of Dutch merchandise into France, and I have called upon
him to revoke the step he has taken, as I desire France
and Holland shall act on the same principle. And certainly,
if England is willing to allow American vessels to come to
France, I shall be the first to approve her action. The
Chamber of Commerce knows nothing at all, and only
chatters theories. I beg you will not expose me to the
annoyance of receiving such memoirs. I see you have
no experience whatever of internal government. We do not
require any fresh legislation on matters of trade. France is
suffering greatly, I know, not on account of legislation, but
on account of the English blockade. This is because the
Danish, Russian, and Prussian flags, being those of England's
enemy, cannot move about, and because the Americans have
laid an embargo on their own ports, and after that have
proceeded to publish an act of impeachment.


There is no outlet. I have endeavoured to supply it
by patents or licences Let me know the effect of these
measures, and do not disturb the commercial mind by foolish
and unseasonable discussions. There will be a world of
chatter, and nothing worth saying will be said. They have
not even the most elementary notion of the question.



SCHONBRUNN, ^Othjuly 1809, 6 P.M.

I HAVE this moment received your letter, dated 5 A.M., of
28th. I see the Communes of the Taufers 1 have submitted.
I am sorry you have not punished them. My intention is,
that on receiving this present letter, you shall demand 1 50
hostages, taken from all the Tyrolese Cantons ; that you
shall cause at least six large villages, all through the Tyrol,
and the ringleaders' houses to be sacked and burned, and
that you shall let it be known that I will put the whole
country to fire and sword, if all the muskets 18,000 at the
very least are not given up to me, with as many brace of
pistols, which I know to be in existence. You will have
the 150 hostages taken, under good and safe escort, to the
Citadel of Strasburg. When I made my armistice, I did
it principally with the object of reducing the Tyrol.
After what has happened at Taufers, I fear you may allow
yourself to be fooled by that rabble, which will be worse than
ever, the moment your back is turned. Frenchmen and
Bavarians have been massacred in the Tyrol. Vengeance
must be taken, and severe examples made there. As for the
Austrians, I have already made my intention known to you.
They must be aware of the Armistice. They are a most
egregiously false set. They are in far too close relations with
the Austrian headquarters. No parleying! If they do not
evacuate the country promptly, have them arrested. They
are mere ruffians ; they gave authority for the massacres.
Give orders, then, that 150 hostages are to be made over to
you ; that all the worst characters are to be given up, and

1 In the original draft the word is ' Lowfers. '


all the guns, at all events until the number reaches 18,000.
Make a law that any house in which a gun is found, shall be
razed to the ground, and that every Tyrolese found with a
musket shall be put to death. Mercy and clemency are out
of season with these ruffians. You have power in your
hands. Strike terror ! and act so that a part of your troops
may be withdrawn from the Tyrol, without any fear of its
breaking out afresh. Six large villages must be sacked and
burned, so that not a vestige of them remains, and that they
may be a monument of the vengeance wreaked on the
mountaineers. My orderly officer, L'Espinay, has taken you
my orders. I long to hear that you have not allowed your-
self to be caught, and that you have not rendered my
armistice useless; for the chief benefit I desired to draw
from it was to take advantage of the six weeks it gave me,
to reduce the Tyrol. Send columns to Brixen.



SCHONBRUNN, 2nd August 1809.

YOU will let the Bishop of Ghent know that I am
displeased with the manner in which he manages his
diocese, with his weakness, and the small amount of personal
attachment he shows me ; that since he has been made
Bishop of Ghent, the feeling among his clergy, which was
already bad, has grown worse ; that I order the Abbe
Desure, his Vicar-General, to resign and proceed to Paris ;
that he is to change his Council, and compose it of better
disposed people, and take such measures that I may never
in future have to complain of the clergy of Ghent, because if
I once put my hand to the matter, I shall punish them



SCHONBRUNN, 2nd August 1809,

IT is my intention that the Abbe" Desure shall not con-
tinue to be Vicar-General of Ghent. I have ordered the


Bishop to change the composition of his Council ; let me
know what is done.

Have the editor of the Brussels Oracle arrested. If it is
true that two Saxon women ventured to make a scene in the
theatre at Aix-la-Chapelle, have them arrested and taken to
prison, where they are to remain for three months.

Wesel being a fortified town, measures for changing its
population must be submitted to me. My intention would
be to send about one hundred families, amongst those known
as being most attached to the Prussians, to a distance of twenty
leagues from Wesel, and to fill their places by the families
of half-pay soldiers, who will be given an increase of pay,
and obliged to live and settle permanently at Wesel. There
ought to be no prisoners of war in the frontier fortresses ; I
am surprised therefore that there should be prisoners of war
at Wesel.



SCHONBRUNN, 2.d August 1809.

IT appears complaint is being made of the bad feeling
in Belgium. Send reliable men to collect information.
The authorities must be weeded out, bad characters must
be arrested, and 500 or 600 suspected persons must be
sent to live in Burgundy and Champagne. You must sub-
mit a proposal to me, for placing the young men of those
Departments in schools, or in regiments. You are not follow-
ing up this idea, and nothing will have been done by the
time I get to Paris. You confine yourself to two or three
families in Paris, whereas the operation should affect 2000
or 3000 persons.



SCHONBRUNN, $th August 1809.

WRITE to General Beaumont that I conclude him to have
entered the Vorarlberg ; that he is not to busy himself with
issuing absurd proclamations, but to take measures for


insuring tranquillity ; that the most urgent of these is com-
plete disarmament not only as regards guns, pistols, and
swords, but also as regards gunpowder and war material.
That country must give up at least 12,000 weapons. Two
hundred hostages, also, must be taken, and sent to a French
citadel, and ten or twelve houses, belonging to the ringleaders,
must be burnt and sacked by the troops, and all the property
of these ringleaders must be sequestered, and declared con-


SCHONBRUNN, 6tk AtlgUSt 1 809.

I WROTE yesterday to inform you that I would give
definite orders about the Pope, when I was sure of his where-
abouts, and to give you directions to keep close watch on
Cardinal Pacca, who is a schemer and a rogue, and to lodge
him at Fenestrelle. As for the Pope's permanent residence,
what objection would there be to bringing him close to Paris,
and placing him, for instance, in one of my apartments at
Fontainebleau ? I would bring such Cardinals as are my
French and Italian subjects to Paris, and leave them there in
freedom. It would be an advantage to have the head of the
Church in Paris, where he cannot cause any inconvenience.
If he makes a sensation, that will only be a novelty. At
Fontainebleau I would have him served, and waited upon, by
my own people. By insensible degrees, his fanaticism would
die down. Tell me your opinion of these views.



SCHONBRUNN, ^th August 1809.

THIS morning I have seen the nth and I2th provisional
half-brigades. I have ordered them to be disembodied, and
I shall incorporate them with other regiments. I remarked
among them, one or two half-pay officers, whom you have
employed, and whom I had dismissed. They are thorough
good-for-nothings. There is one, especially, who has been
constantly under arrest, ever since Strasburg. He has been


on half-pay since the year V. He cannot have been kept
out of the army for so long, without strong reason. The
army is tainted by the presence of such scamps. Send me
no more half-pay officers.



SCHONBRUNN, tyh August 1809.

YOU did well to prepare the Prefects for furnishing
National Guards. I wrote to you that I had ordered a levy
of 30,000 men for the National Guard ; this will cost me
money, but I have it.

If it was the editor of \he Journal de Paris who published
the article drawn from the Berlin letters, which was copied
by the Gazette de France, that is the editor who must be

There is a mania in Paris for making up news at
random. I know persons attached to me, who go about
everywhere, saying, for instance, that it is Russia who forced
me to make the armistice, and all this, just to make them-
selves important. I am on good terms with Russia, but I
never take advice from her, nor from anybody else. I can
quote the person who said this. It was Regnauld. Who
the devil confided that fact to him ? What fools these over-
important folk are !

Enclosed you will find a report on the English expedition
against Naples. It supplies matter for derisive articles. As
soon as they heard of the victory of Wagram, they took to

If my idiots of sailors have had the sense to run into
Antwerp, my squadron is safe. The English expedition
will come to nothing. They will all perish from inaction
and fever.


SCHONBRUNN, ioth August 1809.

I SEND you the Bishop of Namur's Charge, which seems
to me written with an evil intention. Find out who drew
it up.


I see by your report of the 3rd, that the Commissary-
General of Police at Lyons discloses the fact that on being
informed that the order for the Te Deum^ on the 3Oth was
not, according to the usual custom, to be preceded by my
letter, he pointed out the omission. If this be so, you will have
a conversation with Cardinal Fesch, and you will make him
understand, that unless he instantly withdraws the order he
has given, and causes my letter to be re-incorporated with
his mandate, I shall consider him my enemy, and the enemy
of the State.

Make him understand that there is nothing contrary to
religion in my letter ; that I do not permit any one, and
him least of all, to fail in respect to the authority with
which I am invested. Settle this matter with him, if you can,
and let my letter appear in his mandate. You will send for
Mons. Emery, who is the Cardinal's councillor, and you will
speak to him in this sense : ' Either my letter is contrary to
religion or it is not ; and has any Bishop the right to change
the sense I have given it ? ' I am as much of a theologian
as they are, and even more. I shall not go out of my pro-
vince, but I will allow nobody else to go out of theirs.



SCHONBRUNN, nth August 1809.

I SEND you a letter from one of those travelling preachers.
Is there no means of ridding our Departments of these
vagabonds ? They should be treated as spies.



SCHONBRUNN, \^th August 1809.

THE Minister of Police informs me he has had Cardinal
Pacca arrested, and is sending him to the Castle of Fenes-
trelle. You must issue orders that he is to be treated with

1 For the victory of Wagram.


severity, and not to be allowed to hold communication with
any one at all. Let the Commandant know he will have to
answer for him with his head.

As for the Pope, the Minister is sending him to Savona,
by Aix and Nice. You are at liberty to put him either at
Albenga or Savona. The reason I have preferred sending
him to Savona is because of the citadel, which insures his
safety in any event. You will lodge him in the Bishop's
house, where he will be comfortable. You will form a guard
of some fifty cavalry, headed by a trusty officer, which you
will keep at Savona. You will take care the fort is well
provisioned, and well garrisoned by a small battalion, of 400
men. You will send the Colonel of the Gendarmerie to
Savona, with seven or eight companies. The detachment of
fifty cavalry will be sufficient. The Pope will be allowed to
do as he likes, to give as many benedictions as he chooses ;
but care must be taken, however, to prevent any unusual
communication with Genoa, or with other countries. Take
care that all letters written by himself, or by his suite, are
sent by Turin, where you will have them opened, as well
as any that may be addressed to them, so as to find out
whether they contain anything harmful to the State.



SCHONBRUNN, l6tk August 1809.

I HAVE your letters of the pth and loth. What I foresaw
has come to pass. The King of Holland is establishing his
headquarters at Bergen-op-Zoom. And the Island of Cad-
zand and my Provinces are left without a General. What
excites my gravest displeasure is, that the King takes com-
mand of my troops without orders from me, in virtue of his
quality of Constable. He must be profoundly ignorant of
our Constitution, if he thinks the dignity of Constable gives
him command of my troops.

That is a five-hundred-year-old anachronism. Put a stop
to this absurd comedy, and send a Marshal, since General
Sainte-Suzanne, who is quite capable of managing the whole


thing, is precluded from doing so by the condition of his
health. This step will settle everything. The King of
Holland cannot command our troops ; as a matter of fact,
he has no right to do it, and, besides, he has not the ex-
perience. Where should he have gained it? He never
commanded so much as a regiment, during the war. How
can you believe that any man in France can take command
of my troops without my orders ? You might have conferred
the command on the King of Holland in my name, well
and good ; but the idea of your allowing him to assume it,
is not easy to conceive. The Prince of Ponte-Corvo, Mar-
shals Moncey and Bessieres, are all well fitted for this work,
better than the King of Holland and all the Dutchmen in
the world. Even General Rampon would have been better.

Who is this General Gamier whom you are sending to
command a division ? Is it the man who was at Toulon,
and has made a map since? If so, recall him instantly ; he
is not fit to command a company. General Colaud must
have reached Antwerp. At Metz, at Strasburg, in the
1 2th Military Division, and everywhere else, you have much
better generals than General Gamier. My positive orders
are that this General is to be relieved of every command. Do
not taint my troops with such people. I have been obliged,
during my inspection of the different corps, to get rid of
several officers of this kind, whom you have brought back to
active service.

Further, the King of Holland has enough to do at home.
Let him raise his National Guard, and the 30,000 soldiers he
ought to have. If several thousand English land at the
Texel, or in the island of Goree, the King will march to
defend Amsterdam, and you will have brought a terrible
responsibility on your own head. Indeed I should have
more confidence in General Rampon than in the King ; and
if I had chosen to give the King -command of my troops, I
should have appointed a General to direct him. I hope you
will have received my letter of the 6th ; that you will have
sent off several Marshals forthwith ; and that you will have
saved me from the greatest danger I could have run, that
of leaving the command in the hands of the Dutch. As for
my squadron, the Minister for the Navy must give orders
concerning it. All this confusion passes my comprehen-



SCHONBRUNN, I*Jth Augtist 1809.

I HAVE received your letter. You have the right to
appeal to me against my Minister's decisions, but you have
no right to hinder their execution, in any way. The
Ministers speak in my name. No one has any right to
paralyse, or stop the execution, of the orders they transmit.
Will you, therefore, be good enough to recommence the carry-
ing out of the Minister's decision, and to revoke the prohibi-
tion you have issued ? For the order you gave in this case is
criminal, and, in strict law, an accusation against you might
be founded on it. There is no authority in France superior
to that of the Ministers. I do not intend to go deeply into
the question, because even if my Minister were in the wrong,
I am the only judge of that, and you had no right to put the
smallest difficulty in the way of his action. Even were it
for that reason alone, I approve my Minister's decision. As
for the tone of his letter, I consider it correct, and my
Ministers will always adhere to it, because they all know my
intention in that respect, and that I should not allow them to
show the smallest compliance. So do not expose yourself
to these quarrels, and to such annoyance. You are a subject,
and, like every other French subject, you are obliged to obey
the orders of the Ministers for a writ of Habeas Corpus,
issued by the Minister of Police, would fully suffice to arrest
you and not you only, but the first Prince of the Blood.
And pray what would become of the State, if the police
officer who had to execute this writ believed that the order
or decision of a Minister could be stopped by any other,
except that of the law, or an Imperial decree? If the
Chancery Department has adhered to your order, and not
carried out that of the Minister, it is exceedingly blame-


SCHONBRUNN, \*]th August 1809.

HEREWITH you will find a letter from Mons. Hedouville.
which will show you the stupidity of the newspapers (and


particularly of the Journal de t Empire) which copy reports
circulated by agents of the English, who have such persons
in all the chief commercial towns. It would be a very good
thing if you gave your attention to this subject. If one
editor is not sufficient, two or three should be appointed, to
read the despatches, and cut out everything that should not
be printed. Although we are on good terms with Russia,
the English desire we should be on bad terms with her, and
they work so hard, that they cause it to be believed, in spite
of the evidence of facts. There is a clerk in one of the
Ministerial offices in London, who writes to a dozen agents,
scattered about the chief commercial towns, and these agents
correspond with our newspapers^. It is shameful that they
should still be deceived by this manceuvre, so long after it has
been unmasked. Tell them positively, that I will suppress the
paper of the first editor who is taken in by these reports,
and prints mischievous articles.



SCHONBRUNN, l%th August 1809.

I HAVE your letter of the nth. So now the flower of my
troops are under the orders of Dutch generals ! They will
tempt my soldiers to desert, so as to enrol them in Dutch
regiments. So the Dutch Minister of War is directing the
French forces ! This is glorious indeed, and mighty advan-
tageous to France! Your letter to the King of Holland
contains false views of our national rights. Where did you
find out that I do not give you more authority during
my absence, than when I am present ? I have left all my
own powers with you. Whenever anything has to be done
which exceeds the limit of the Ministerial power, I have
given orders that a Council shall be summoned at the Grand
Chancellor's house, and that you are to avail yourself of
the decision of that Council, as if I had given it myself. It
is really indispensable that our Ministers should know our
Constitution. Your idea is as singular as the belief under
which you labour, that the Constable has a right to command
my troops. According to this, I suppose I have an army of


Brabant, and France is part of Holland ! It would have
been quite easy to appoint the Prince of Ponte-Corvo, or
Marshal Moncey, or even to leave General Rampon. Any-
thing would have been better than to put the French army
into the hands of the Dutch. The idea of sending General
Rousseau and 4000 men to the Island of Walcheren, is a
piece of folly, traceable to the King of Holland's inex-
perience. There are more troops than are wanted in the
Island of Walcheren. The more people there are, the sooner
Flushing will be taken, because the sooner the provisions
will fail. Four thousand extra National Guards will not
drive the English out of the Island of Walcheren, where
they have entrenched themselves. The calculation is easy
enough 4000 more mouths at Flushing, and 4000 fewer arms
at Cadzand. The King of Holland knows nothing of the
force at your disposal. I see he is asking you for seasoned
regiments, and meanwhile, without knowing anything, he
acts at random. Once more I say, General Monnet has
nothing to fear, as he can always cut the dikes. The King
talks of taking up the offensive again, with inferior troops.
That is just what the English wish for. There is madness
in it all. On the very first appearance of an English boat
on his coast, my troops will be sent there.



SCHONBRUNN, 2Oth August 1809.

I SEND you back your courier, who does not bring you
anything of interest. I have received your letter dated
midnight, on the iQth. Mons. de Metternich may possibly
get news from England ; try to find out what he hears, and
especially whether he gets English newspapers. I see no
objection to your sending him the French Gazettes. All
the documents relative to the descent of the English have
not yet been published, because of the time spent in send-
ing them to me. All the telegraphic despatches, reports,
and other official documents, will be in the Moniteur, in a
few days. Give him the news that, in Spain, General

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 13 of 34)