Emperor of the French Napoleon I.

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FINKENSTEIN, i6//fc May 1807.

I HAVE your letter of 7th May. I am sorry you did not
tell me there was a disagreement as to the good to be done
by Princess Pauline's journey to Provence. You know I
opposed it in the first instance, and was averse to it ; but I
was written to the effect that the whole Faculty desired it,
and I have consented. If I had received your letter sooner,
I should certainly not have authorised it.




FINKENSTEIN, i8//fc May 1807.

I HAVE your letter of 24th April. I can only thank you
for the care with which you inform me of the zeal shown by
the different cantons for the recruiting of the Swiss regi-
ments. I trust the four regiments will shortly be complete,
and that the Swiss of our day will, like their fathers, make
a glorious appearance on the field of honour. I value the
bravery, fidelity, and loyalty of the Swiss ; and this feeling
has led me to decide that all these regiments should consist
of citizens of the country, without any admixture of deserters
or other foreigners. For it is not the numerical strength of
soldiers, it is their fidelity and good feeling, which makes the
strength of armies. The Act of Mediation will always be a
sacred law to me ; I shall always scrupulously fulfil the
duties imposed by it, and I cannot but be daily confirmed in
this view, since the work, in which you shared, appears to
me to have been sanctioned by time, and to have considerably
improved the position of your country.

If I could form a wish one which I am sorry not to have
proposed inserting in the Act of Mediation it would be that
the Swiss should not permit any foreign power, except Spain,
Holland, and the States connected with my system, to recruit
in their country. I am the more anxious that this prohibition
should become law, because all enlightened men must be
pained to see brother fighting against brother. Those persons
who have thoughtlessly and wrongly blamed the Swiss for
taking foreign service have laid stress on this drawback,
which is a serious one, and wounds the character of any well-
conditioned man. If you submit this idea to the next Diet,
a decision on the subject would be agreeable to me, because
it will be in conformity with the honour and dignity of the

I recollect with great pleasure the sagacity and dignity of
which you gave proof on the occasion when I knew you.
Never doubt my regard, nor my desire to be agreeable to
you, and assure the Cantons of my friendship, and my constant




FINKENSTEIN, i8M May 1807.

I HAVE your letters of 8th and Qth. That of the 8th
contains such an extraordinary thing touching Gombez that
it must be an anonymous letter.

I have been very much afflicted by the misfortune which
has befallen me. 1 I had hoped for a more brilliant destiny
for that poor child.

I am not astonished at what you tell me of the Prince of
Prussia. I have noticed that he is an extremely insignificant
and narrow-minded man.



ST. CLOUD, 14^ August 1807.

I GREATLY approve the idea that M. Bertin-Devaux should
withdraw from all connection, direct or indirect, with the
Journal de I* Empire. I am too fully informed as to his
former relations with foreign countries not to be pleased at
his present decision. The only way, indeed, in which he can
make himself safe, and provide against all the vicissitudes of
unforeseen circumstances, is to cease all attempts to influence
politics. And even if this were not so, I have the strongest
feeling that there is no man in France who has greater
need to behave prudently, and avoid everything that might
tend to mix him up with politics.

For it is time, at last, that those who have taken up the
Bourbon cause, directly or indirectly, should remember their
Scripture history, and what David 2 did to the house of
Ahab. This observation also applies to M. de Chateaubriand
and his clique. The slightest doubtful conduct on their part
will put them outside the pale of my protection.

As regards the position of stockbroker, I will make in-
quiries. If M. Bertin's financial reputation is good, as I believe
it to be, I will appoint him, and shall be glad that M. Fieve'e
should acquire the two twelfth-shares of the newspaper from

1 The death of the eldest son of King Louis of Holland.

2 He


him by purchase. I conclude him to be well acquainted,
by this time, with the spirit in which I desire the paper to be
directed, and to be thoroughly convinced that a man who
receives my bounty, and whose writings have a direct in-
fluence on public opinion, must steer a straight and open
course, without any backsliding, act and speak, in fact, as
one of David's faithful servants would have spoken to the
partisans of the preceding dynasty.



ST. CLOUD, zWi Attest 1807.

HAVE articles written, bringing the conduct of the King of
Sweden, who has shamefully abandoned one of his towns to
the enemy, into strong relief. The articles must be conceived
in a serious tone, and must make it evident that to surrender a
town, and leave it to the enemy's mercy, is not only an action
unworthy of a prince, but a violation of his duty to the
people, even in a conquered country ; that to give up 400
pieces of artillery and a town, the counterscarp of which has
not been crossed, nor even a breach made in the walls, is to
disgrace his arms, and be false to his honour. You must
have long articles, which develop these two ideas, and faith-
fully depict the King of Sweden's weakness, inconsistency,
and folly. You must have one specially long article which
will be a sort of indictment of him.



ST. CLOUD, 1st September 1807.

THAT man Partarieux of Bordeaux has been long noted as
a worthless fellow. I know the Police Commissary's reports
are not very much to be depended on, because of the well-
known enmity between the two men. You must write to the
President, to the Imperial Commissary, and to the Mayor,
and get me their opinion of the man, and about the incident
of the blood on the Emperor's bust, and the still more
important one of his having refused to take the oath, and


having torn up the voting paper. If either of these two
facts be true, he must be arrested and taken to Paris, under
a police warrant.

My intention is that the income of the Spa play-tables,
from 1st January 1807 (seven months) shall be paid over, on
the spot, for the relief of the sufferers by the fire. By the
Decree which you will receive from the Minister-Secretary of
State, I grant the next ten years' revenue of the gaming-
tables to repair the damage caused by the said fire.

I cannot conceive how the Archbishop of Lyons came to
send to Rimini for priests, nor how you can have permitted
and approved his behaviour. Send me a report on this
subject. The fact appears in the reports for the 3Oth and
3 1 st.

You will have the man Dufour, aide-de-camp to Georges,
arrested, together with the two brothers Lalande, and Geslin
and Beauchamp. These five persons will be arrested at the
same time, and sent with post-horses to the Temple, that
very clay. Whether they are guilty or not of the act they
are now accused of, I have been displeased with them for a
long time.

You will inform me whether the Prefect's report shows
that La Crochaix, (?) Tromelin, and the three others have
unmasked their evil intentions on this occasion.

Last winter certain individuals in the Morbihan, the Cotes-
du-Nord, and Ille-et-Vilaine, showed themselves ill-disposed.
Make out a list of some score of those who seemed most
inclined to disturbance.



* Memorandum on the present state, of Continental Affaiis?

RAMBOUILLET, ^th September 1807.

THE step taken by England against Copenhagen would
seem to have failed, since on the 28th of August, twelve days
after the troops were landed, they had gained no success,
had allowed the garrisons of Copenhagen and Cronenburg
time to man those fortresses, and had given the Prince- Royal
time to make arrangements for arming all the militia. But


if England were to succeed, the greatest loss would be the
Danish ships she would destroy.

This operation by England seems to have been a false
calculation. She expected to take Copenhagen without any
resistance, and even without having to declare war, for she
unquestionably allowed the Danish ships free navigation up
till the 1st of September. More probably yet, England has
not dared to take any hostile step against the Russian flag.
What harm can she do Russia? All she can do her is to
intercept her Mediterranean squadron. But I sent orders
long ago to Cadiz and Corfu, that the admiral command-
ing the Russian squadron was to be warned of the new
position of affairs, and to be advised, as from me, to retire
into my ports, or those of Spain, until the whole matter
was cleared up. I shall have one great anxiety the less
when I hear the Russian admiral has taken my advice. I
am sorry the Russian Ambassador is not yet arrived, for he
could have given positive orders. I have reason, however,
to think that when these lines are read the ships of the
Russian squadron will be in safety, either at Cadiz or at

The garrison of Cattaro has arrived safely at Venice, that
of Corfu is on the road. The Emperor Alexander need have
no anxiety about his troops, which will be properly treated.
As soon as I received news of the English expedition against
Copenhagen, I caused Portugal to be informed that all her
ports must be closed to England, and I massed an army of
40,000 men at Bayonne, to join the Spaniards in enforcing
this action, if necessary. But a letter I have just received
from the Prince Regent leads me to presume this last measure
will not be necessary, that the Portuguese ports will be closed
to the English by the time this memorandum is read, and
that Portugal will have declared war against England.

On the other hand, my flotilla will be ready for action on
1st October, and I shall have a large army at Boulogne,
ready to attempt a coup de main on England.

England can thus do nothing against Russia. If she
persists in her present plans, the following course should be
adopted against her :

Drive all English diplomatic establishments out of Europe.
The Viennese Court stands alone ; it must be forced to join
the common cause, and the moment events have led Russia


to drive the English Legation out of St. Petersburg, the
Russian Ambassador at Vienna, in concert with mine, must
present a note requesting that the English Ambassador may
be sent out of Vienna, and that the port of Trieste may be
closed to the English. This expulsion of all English Minis-
ters from the Continent will make a great impression in
London, and will especially and strongly affect their trade.

The Emperor Alexander must endeavour by negotiation
to force Sweden into making common cause with us ; and
that Power can hardly resist Russia, France, and Denmark.
Such negotiations may suffice to draw Sweden into the
common cause. If she refuses, the prospect of a rupture
with Russia would suffice to persuade her. The Swedish
nation is too much opposed to the English system for the
Prince, foolish as he is, to care to run so heavy a risk.



RAMBOUILLET, "jtk September 1807.

HEREWITH you will find a letter from M. Daru. Reply
that I have been shocked by the incident to which his letter
refers ; l that I order him to present a Note demanding ex-
emplary justice on the officers who committed the insult ;
that I shall refuse all evacuation until the two ringleaders
have been shot ; and that if the King of Prussia proposes to
offer me such insults, he need not take the trouble of going
to Berlin, for he will not stay there long. You, on your
part, will send for the two Prussian envoys who are in Paris ;
you will make them aware of all the indignation I feel at
this outrage on the part of the Prussians, with whose im-
pertinence I am well acquainted ; you will say that I demand
that the two ringleaders shall be shot ; that this affair is no
slight matter ; that it is of much more importance to me
than the getting in of the taxes ; that the King's weakness
has already caused the war which has just come to an end ;
and that if a set of blackguards, who are as cowardly on
the battle-field as they are arrogant behind the scenes of the
theatres, go on behaving themselves after this fashion, the

1 Two actors who had appeared on the Konigsberg stage, dressed as French
officers, had been hissed by the German officers present.



Prussian Monarchy will have a short lease of life. You will
express yourself in the strongest terms ; you will let it be
known that the country will not be evacuated unless I am
given satisfaction, and that if there is any delay about it, I
will declare war against Prussia.



RAMBOUILLET, >]th September 1807.

I SEE, by your report of the 25th, that a certain Fremont,
a priest in the Department of Seine-et-Marne, exercises his
functions without having made his submission, in the village
of Bois-le-Roi. Have him arrested ; have him examined by
my Procurator-General at the criminal court, and let me see
everything relating to this priest, so that I may go on to
decide what should be done about him. A priest who per-
forms his functions without his bishop's cognisance revolts
against the State, and must be punished. Let the Imperial
Procurator understand that you are employing him, in this
case, on a confidential, and not on an official mission. Make
him acquainted with my principles on the subject.

I see the names of various Emigres in your list of 2 5th
August. Let me know whether they are borne on the first
list, and if it is not to hand, give me the names of some
sixty people whose residence near the Comte de Lille is well
known to you, with such fully detailed notes that no mistake
can be made.

Give orders to have Mr. Kuhn, the American Consul at
Genoa, put under arrest, for wearing a Cross of Malta given
him by the English, and as being an English agent. His
papers will be seized, and an abstract of them made, and he
will be kept in secret confinement until you have made your
report to me. This man, having received a foreign decora-
tion, ceases to be an American. I am sorry, by the way,
you should have communicated with the Ambassador of the
United States. My police knows no Ambassadors. I am
master in my own house. If I suspect a man I have him
arrested. I would even have the Ambassador of Austria
arrested, if he was hatching anything against the State.

Draw me up a report on the 'white penitents/ 'blue


penitents/ etc., and on the places in France where they exist,
so that I may judge whether measures ought to be taken
with respect to them.

I see in your report of the 26th, one from the Police
Commissary at Bordeaux, to the effect that the nobility did
not attend the ball given by M. Lamartiniere, Senator. I
wish for details on the subject, and desire to be informed,
family by family, as to the persons referred to in this
document, and to know whether they were in Bordeaux ;
for, at this fine season, they might have been in the country,
and, in that case, the Commissary-General does wrong to
impute this fact to them as a crime. If, on the contrary,
any of these lordlings have ventured to fail in the respect
due to the Senator, it will be well for me to know the fugle-
men, so that the police may remove them from Bordeaux.


FONTAINEBLEAU, 2<)tk September 1807.

You must make sure whether M. Lahaye, formerly a
Deputy, is settled at Antwerp. If he is, you will have him
arrested and taken to the Temple, and you will have his
papers seized.

Order the goods of the Abbe" Ratel to be sequestered. I
am informed he still has something left under other people's

Certain members of La Haye-St.-Hilaire's family have
come from Rennes to Paris, to sue my mercy for that wretch.
Order them not to venture into my presence. They should
hide their faces for shame at having produced such a monster.

You will give similar orders to Madame Polignac, and you
will make her aware that if she prefers the smallest request
for leave to present herself before me, she will be exiled
from Paris. >



FONTAINEBLEAU, 12th October 1807.

I HAVE your letter of 3rd October. The reckoning given
you by the Prussians is absurd. If they want to count all


the possible pilferings by individual officers, very soon I
shall be owing them money instead of their owing it to me !
As to the property of private individuals, if that had not
been contrary to my honour and my principles, I might
have taken it all. It would be comical if the victor's con-
duct had to be justified to the vanquished ! All that is a
very poor joke. I intend that nothing which has been
taken, whether from the Savings bank, Mines' department,
that of firewood, etc., shall be deducted.

As for what they say about M. de Knobelsdorp, he is not
the Prussian Minister, and nobody listens to him. It is true
that he made a proposal to M. de Champagny, seven or eight
days ago, to pay nineteen millions for the evacuation of
Berlin. We laughed in his face, and he doubtless wrote that
if terms were not made with you, the evacuation would be



FONTAINEBLEAU, \2>th October 1807.

I HAVE been distressed to observe that you did not pay
the expenses of the theatres for 1806. It is my intention
that in future, when, for any reason, a diminution occurs
in the Police receipts, the reduction, until I may order
otherwise, shall be made on every head, at so much in the
pound, and not on any special one.

Great inconvenience has been caused by your failure to
pay the Fonts et Chaussees. This having been reckoned on,
and the season having run on too far, the confusion caused
in the works of that Department, by the interruption in the
payments, will cost us 200,000 francs extra ; whereas if you
had reduced equally, under every head, nothing would have
suffered seriously, and I could have supplied the deficit out
of other funds. The Budget is my law. It must be com-
plied with, because the finance of every branch of the Ad-
ministration is the most important point of my affairs.

I do not know enough about the receipts. I must have a
statement of the earnings of the gambling-tables, of what
has been collected in the towns where such tables exist, and
of what has been brought in by sporting licenses and passports
in the Departments for the years 1806 and 1807.


My approbation should have been obtained before the
Farmers-general of the tables were changed, and so con-
siderable a reduction should not have been made without
any warning to me. This rule must be adhered to in future,
it being my firm intention not to permit any confusion or

When I turned my attention to the details of the accounts
they struck me as being insufficient. M. Miot should not
have been paid beyond the day on which he left, yet he was
given 15,000 francs. M. Demarest appears too frequently in
these accounts. The expense of letter-transport should form
a separate account. The greatest confusion results from
expenses being entered under heads to which they do not
belong. The cost of sending letters should not appear
under the head of ' Unforeseen Expenses.' Besides the
assistance given to colonists, wives of deported persons, etc.,
which are under separate headings, there is assistance given
to a certain M. St. Aubin, to a General Besneval, etc. etc.,
entered in the expenses of the Inspector-General and his
agents. In the Unforeseen Police Expenses, I see assistance
given to this same General Besneval, to Neapolitan refugees,
etc. All this is not orderly. I have already informed you
that I desire the sum for assisting colonists to be fixed every
year, and distributed as fairly as possible. The same system
must hold good in every ministerial department. The War
Minister does not give fifty francs to an officer without my
signature. Therefore 300,000 francs at a time must not be
given to people who believe they receive them from other
persons than myself. This is contrary to the welfare of the
Services, and of the internal administration of the State.
Let me have the Budget for 1808 thts very month. Add
explanatory observations as to every account, for I will have
a real Budget. Cut down every useless expense. I do not
intend to permit any but useful expenditure, either for the
town of Paris or for other objects.

Indemnities have been granted to head officials and
cashiers. That was well enough when your accounts were
kept in a capricious and quite irregular manner. But now
that no difference is made between the receipts of the Police
Treasury, and those of the other departments in the Empire,
I do not see why these officials should enjoy special privileges.
The officials employed on these accounts are to receive pay


corresponding with that of the officials of the Public Trea-

It is very important that a large general diminution should
be made in the Police expenses. Many of these are abuses,
and the Prefects and other agents are not the persons who
benefit the most.

The receipts for 1808 will be at least 4,400,000 francs.
Send me the rough draft of a Budget, with a saving of at
least one-fourth for every heading, the expenditure under
which I fixed by the Budget for 1807 apart, however, from
all salaries.

Good order demands, also, that the Minister for the
Treasury should be informed as to these funds. Every
State expenditure must be verified by that Minister.

Get secret information as to what I have granted for the
Governor of Paris, the Prefect of Police, and the Chief In-
pector-General of the Gendarmerie. Does the sum I gave
them for office expenses really reach that destination ? Or
did I give it in the form of a gratuity ?



FONTAINEBLEAU, tfth October 1807.

I DESIRE you will draw up despatches (which you will
bring me to-morrow) to my Minister at Madrid, in which
you will inform him that my intention is that my troops
shall go to Lisbon ; that he must try to arrange that they
shall come in a friendly manner, and seize the squadron ;
that such a thing is only possible so long as the Court of
Portugal continues to deceive itself, and that being the case,
he must back up that inclination.

It is very probable in the extreme difficulty in which
Portugal will shortly be placed rthat the Minister of that
Court at Madrid will be sent to speak to him. General
Junot's army will hardly have reached the position of Ciudad-
Rodrigo before loth November ; there will therefore be no
difficulty, when he is addressed, about his replying that he
thinks the whole matter may easily be arranged. He must
not discourage that Power, and must give a hope that every-
thing may be settled, if the Prince consents to receive


French troops as auxiliaries, on the same footing as in
Bavaria and other European countries.

But he must not settle anything, nor ever make any
attempt to retard the march of the Army, but only speak in
that sense, and do all he can to help the Army to get to
Lisbon, and seize the fleet. He should even cause the
selection of General Junot to be considered a pleasing one.



FONTAINEBI.EAU, 2$tk October 1 807.

YOU will send a courier to General Junot with orders, the
moment his leading troops have reached Salamanca, to fix
his headquarters there, so as to be in a position to corre-
spond with my Ambassador at Madrid, and with the Portu-
guese Ministers.

I have given Hermann orders to join him. He will em-
ploy him as Secretary-General, and will make use of his
experience. You will inform him that I desire Hermann
shall have knowledge of all communications that pass, so

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 5 of 34)