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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

RIVERSIDE



THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON




NAPOLEON IN CORONATION ROHKS

I'.V ROHERT I.EFEVRE



THE LIFE OF
NAPOLEON



ARTHUR HASSALL, M.A.

STUBMT OF CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD



WITH TWENTY-SINK ILLUSTRATIONS



BOSTON

LITTLE, BROWN, & COMPANY
1911



OC205



PREFATORY NOTE

TOURING the years from Napoleon's birth in 1769
to 1796, when the Directory was firmly es-
tablished, Europe passed through a period of great
importance. In the East of Europe the Partitions of
Poland, 1772, 1793, 1795, and the successful wars of
Catherine II, against Turkey, ending in the Treaties
of Kainardji, 1774, and Jassy, 1792, had marked
the rise of Russia. That event tended to change
entirely the views hitherto held as to what should
constitute the balance of power in Europe, and had
led to important modifications in the foreign policy of
the chief European States.

The rise of Russia to a leading place in Europe
had to be recognized, while her intention to take
part in Western politics was unmistakably shown in
1799, when Suvorov, at the head of a Russian
army, entered Italy. While this revolution was in
progress in the North of Europe, other revolutions
of a different character were taking place elsewhere.
In Poland the years 1789-93 witnessed an attempt to
carry out a revolution, which, if effected, would have



vi THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

given Poland an hereditary monarchy and a stable
Government. As Poland was a country of similar ex-
tent to that of France, the effect of the establishment
of a consolidated kingdom in the East of Europe
would have been immense. The year 1789 also
witnessed revolutions in Belgium and France that
in the former country being the result of Joseph II 's
attempts to change the character of the Government,
and to introduce reforms, while that in the latter
country was due to a desire not only to change the
form of the Government, but also to bring about
drastic reforms.

While the efforts of the Polish reformers and of
Joseph II ended in failure, the revolutionary party in
France succeeded beyond their wildest hopes.

The overthrow of the monarchy, the rise of the
war party, the desire of the revolutionists to spread
their doctrines all over Europe, and, during the pro-
cess, to vanquish England, rendered all other revolu-
tionary movements in Europe of little account, as
compared with the French Revolution. That Revo-
lution passed through a series of stages. In 1791
France had received a Constitution which the majority
of Frenchmen regarded as adequate. But the pre-
dominance, first of the Girondist party, and then of
the Jacobin party, together with the outbreak of war,
resulted in a system of terror in France which did
not come to an end till the safety of France from all



PREFATORY NOTE vii

danger of foreign invasion was secured. In 1795
the Government of the Directory which ruled France
till 1 799 was established, and it was during a struggle
in Paris which preceded its advent to power that
Napoleon Bonaparte came prominently forward as
Barras' lieutenant.



" I "HIS book does not presume to give a final
verdict upon the character of Napoleon.
It simply aims at conveying as far as possible an
accurate impression of the man and his times. One
writer has truly said that "there is no age, no per-
sonality in history of greater interest, either to France
or to the world, than the Napoleonic era and Na-
poleon". Both as a soldier and as a statesman he
rose superior to all his contemporaries. He waged
war on a scale hitherto unheard of ; his reorganiza-
tion of France, and his arrangements for the govern-
ment of the client states, bear evidence of the
possession of statesmanlike qualities of a very high
order.

The pictures of Napoleon, given us by Madame
de Stael and Madame de Remusat, are now recognized
as being untrustworthy, and, therefore, of no historical
value.

The reader who has not sufficient leisure to study
the works of Sorel, Vandal, Thiebault and Fournier
cannot do better than read Mr. Rose's " Life of



viii THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

Napoleon " ; Lord Rosebery's, " Napoleon : the
Last Phase"; and Gourgaud's "Diary". By the
perusal of these works he will at anyrate obtain not
only something more than an outline of the history of
Europe during the years 1789-1815, but he will also
be enabled to form an estimate of Napoleon as a
Statesman and as a General.

Of the greatness of his genius there can be no
question, and Europe owes him an unspeakable debt
of gratitude. Without this "scavenger of God," it
is difficult to see how the sense of nationality in Italy
and Germany could have been aroused and stimu-
lated. Napoleon was not making an extravagant
statement when he said, " Centuries may pass before
circumstances combine to produce another such as
I was".

The Bibliography of the Napoleonic period is
rapidly increasing. The list of works connected
with the history of Europe during that period, and with
the life of Napoleon, fills 120 pages of Volume IX of
the " Cambridge Modern History ". Mr. Rose's " Life
of Napoleon " is probably the best known to English-
men, and well deserves its high reputation. Of
French works, Sorel's " History of Europe during the
Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era" is invaluable to
the student of the general history of the period.
Fournier's " Life of Napoleon," and Vandal's " Na-
pole"on et Alexandre I," have also a well-deserved



PREFATORY NOTE ix

popularity in England, and add considerably to our
knowledge of the aims of Napoleon at various crises
in his career.

The perusal of these works, together with some
of the Memoirs of the time, will supply the reader
with very accurate information regarding Napoleon's
life and the times in which he lived. Of these
Memoirs, those of Generals Marbot, Junot, and Rapp
will be found especially interesting. Seeley's " Life
of Stein" and Oman's "History of the Peninsular
War" throw ample light upon the situation in
Germany and Spain during the critical years which
preceded and witnessed the fall of Napoleon.

Vol. IX - - " Napoleon" of the " Cambridge
Modern History " is in itself a mine of information,
and should be used as a guide-book for the whole
of the Napoleonic period.

For the early years of Napoleon's career I have
found " The Growth of Napoleon," by Mr. Norwood
Young, most suggestive. To Mr. H. A. L. Fisher,
of New College, Oxford, and to Mr. J. Holland Rose,
of Christ's College, Cambridge, I am under deep obli-
gations. Their writings upon the Napoleonic period
must be constantly consulted by any one who is
studying the history of Europe between 1789 and
1815.

" The Account of Napoleon's Life on St. Helena,"
by Mr. Fisher, in Vol. IX of the "Cambridge



x THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

Modern History," and the publication by Lord
Rosebery of his brilliant description of the later days
of Napoleon in the volume entitled, " Napoleon : the
Last Phase," would, under ordinary circumstances,
have rendered any account by me of Napoleon's
captivity unnecessary.

Fortunately, the late Mr. John C. F. Ramsden,
of Willinghurst, Guildford, most kindly presented me
with a copy of Captain Henry Meynell's " Memoranda
of Conversations with Napoleon," which was pri-
vately printed in 1909, and of that volume I have
made considerable use in the last chapter of this book.
Captain Meynell's " recollections undoubtedly contain
fresh matter, in addition to what is related by Sir
Pulteney Malcolm," and will be of interest to all
students of the Life of Napoleon.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

PAGE

THE YOUTH AND RISE OF NAPOLEON, 1769-1795 . . i

CHAPTER II
THE ITALIAN AND EGYPTIAN CAMPAIGNS, 1796-1799 . 22

CHAPTER III
THE CONSULATE AND THE EMPEROR, 1799-1804 . . 50

CHAPTER IV
WAR WITH EUROPE, 1803-1806 91

CHAPTER V
THE TREATY OF TILSIT, 1807 146

CHAPTER VI

THE BEGINNING OF NAPOLEON'S INTERVENTION IN SPAIN

AND THE CONGRESS OF ERFURT, 1807-1808 . . 174

CHAPTER VII

NAPOLEON AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS POWER, 1808-1812 . 202

xi



xii THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

CHAPTER VIII

PAGE

THE FALL OF NAPOLEON, Moscow, LEIPZIG, WATERLOO,

1813-1815 . . ... 236

CHAPTER IX
SUMMARY OF NAPOLEON'S CAREER 274

CHAPTER X
ST. HELENA, 1815-1821 284

APPENDICES ......... 303

INDEX 3x3



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



NAPOLEON IN CORONATION ROBES . . . Frontispiece

From the Painting by Robert Lefevre

FACING PAGE

CONTEMPORARY CRAYON PORTRAIT OF BONAPARTE, by one

of his fellow-pupils (1785) ..... 6

In the possession of M. de Beaudricourt

MARIA LETIZIA BONAPARTE, " MADAME MERE " . . 12
From the Painting by Gerard at Versailles

NAPOLEON AS A GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC ... 24

From the Painting by H. E. P. Philippoteaux at Versailles.
(Photograph by W. A. Mansell & Co.)

NAPOLEON AT THE BATTERY ...... 26

From a Water-colour Drawing of the period

THE i8TH BRUMAIRE 56

After a Contemporary English Engraving

THE FIRST CONSUL AT MALMAISON . . . .72

From the Painting by J. B. Isabey at Versailles. (Photograph by
Neurdein freres)

JOSEPHINE AT MALMAISON 88

From the Painting by Prud'hon at Versailles. (Photograph by
Neurdein freres)

NAPOLEON'S REDINGOTE AND COCKED HAT . . .128

From the Collection of Prince Victor

FACSIMILE LETTER FROM NAPOLEON TO GENERAL MASSENA,

1 8 September, 1805 . . . . . . .136

THE KING AND QUEEN OF PRUSSIA, WITH NAPOLEON AND

THE EMPEROR OF RUSSIA, AT TILSIT . . .152

From the Painting by Gosse at Versailles. (Photograph by Neur-
dein freres)



xiv THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

FACING PAGE

PAULINE BONAPARTE, PRINCESS BORGHESE . . .182

From the Statue by Canova in the Villa Borghese, at Rome.
(Photograph by Anderson)

JOSEPH BONAPARTE . . . . . . .196

From a Lithograph. (Photograph by Neurdein)

"THE EMPEROR" ........ 202

From an Engraving by Henry after the drawing by Vigneux.
In the possession ot Count Primoli

THE EMPRESS JOSEPHINE . . . . . .218

From the Painting by Gerard at Versailles. (Photograph by
Neurdein freres)

THE EMPRESS MARIE LOUISE 222

From the Painting by Ge'rard at Versailles. (Photograph by Le'vy)

MARSHAL NEY COVERING THE RETREAT .... 244

From the Pointing by Yvon at Versailles. (Photograph by Neur-
dein freres)

FAREWELL TO THE OLD GUARD AT FONTAINEBLEAU . 258

From the Painting by Horace Vernet in the Bibliotheque Nationale

RECEPTION BY THE SOLDIERS ...... 266

After the Painting by Steuben

THE KING OF ROME . . . . . . .270

From the Painting by Sir T. Lawrence, in the collection of the
Duke of Bassano

"SlRE, YOU MAY RECKON ON US AS ON YOUR OLD GUARD " 272
From a Lithograph by Raffet

NAPOLEON AT LONGWOOD 284

From a Sketch by General Gourgaud

THE EXILE 286

From a Water-colour Sketch made by an English Officer at Long-
wood, 24 July, 1820

NAPOLEON ON ST. HELENA 288

From a Lithograph by Horace Vernet

PORTRAIT CAMEO OF NAPOLEON AND SPECIMEN OF HIS

WRITING FROM ST. HELENA, 1818 . . . .294

NAPOLEON'S LAST DAY 298

From the Sculpture by Vicenzo Vela at Versailles



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xv

FACING PAGE
ON HIS DEATHBED 301

From a Sketch made by Captain Marryat, by the order of Sir
Hudson Lowe

RECEPTION OF THE BODY AT THE INVALIDES . . . 302

From a Drawing by Ferrogio and Gerard

THE TOMB OF NAPOLEON . . . . . .314

From an anonymous Lithograph



THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

CHAPTER I

THE YOUTH AND RISE OF NAPOLEON, 1769-1795

Birth and parentage of Napoleon Early life At the military
school in Paris Joins the army His views on religion In Corsica,
1789 In Paris, 1792 Corsica and Sardinia, 1792-3 "LeSouper
de Beaucaire " The Siege of Toulon, 1793 Italy, 1794 Vende-
miaire.

"NT APOLEON was to all intents and purposes an
* ^ Italian and one of the most remarkable Italians
that the world has ever seen. In one sense he was the
last as he was the greatest of that remarkable race
of adventurers who flourished in all parts of Europe
during the eighteenth century. 1

But the period from 1789 to 1815 which witnessed
the rise and fall of Napoleon cannot be said to belong
to any century. It certainly had few of the character-
istics of the eighteenth ; it was in no sense part of the
nineteenth century. It is the period which saw the

1 For a summary of the evidence bearing on the date of
Napoleon's birth, see Baring Gould, "Life of Napoleon Bona-
parte," p. 6.

i



2 THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

birth of Modern Europe, which event was directly
hastened by the instrumentality of Napoleon, who
acquired a most remarkable ascendancy over, and
exercised a most profound influence upon, France and
indeed Europe. France at the time of the beginning
of his ascendancy required order and organization,
and Europe needed reconstruction. The rule of the
benevolent despots had proved inadequate to the needs
of the time, and till the Peace of Tilsit Napoleon in
destroying the effete system of the Holy Roman Em-
pire, in expelling the Austrians from Italy and in ex-
posing the stagnation which had settled upon Prussia,
was laying the foundations of Modern Europe. After
Tilsit the inevitable though to him unexpected results
of his work began gradually to be seen in the rise of
national feeling in the countries which he had conquered
or overrun ; and the steady growth of that national
feeling in Europe led inevitably to his downfall.

Napoleon was born on 15 August, 1769, the
year of the birth of Castlereagh and Wellington. It
has, however, been asserted that he was born on 7
January, 1768, when the French authority over Corsica
was by no means fully established, and, therefore, if
Napoleon was born in 1768 it is incorrect to say that
Napoleon was born a French subject.

Napoleon was the second son of Charles Bona-
parte and Laetetia Ramolino, both members of Corsi-
can families. Charles Bonaparte was himself the son
of Joseph who had secured from the Grand Duke of
Tuscany the right to bear the Buonaparte arms.



THE RISE OF NAPOLEON 3

This right was gained on 28 May, 1757, and in 1760
Joseph died. His son Charles was born at Ajaccio in
1746 and in June, 1764, married the beautiful Laetetia.

Corsica was at that time under the influence of
Paoli, who in 1767 invited Charles Bonaparte to leave
Italy and to take up his residence in Ajaccio. Conse-
quently Charles and Laetetia returned to Corsica in
1767, and, as has been stated, it is declared by some
writers that at Corte, on 7 January in the following
year, their first son Napoleon was born, and that Paoli
was his godfather. Madame Junot, however, relates
that on 9 November, 1799, she had a long conversa-
tion with Napoleon's mother who spoke emphatically
on the subject. " I know not why," she said, " it has
been reported that Paoli was Napoleon's godfather.
It is not true ; Laurent Jiubega (a relation of Na-
poleon) was his godfather." 1 Geltruda, wife of
Nicolo Parivisino, was his other godparent. Napo-
leon's elder brother, Joseph Nabulione, was born on
7 January, 1768, at Corte, and no doubt his second
Christian name is partly answerable for the confusion
between his birth and that of the great Napoleon.

In the struggle headed by General Pascal Paoli
against the forces of Louis XV, Carlo Bonaparte took
a conspicuous part, and was given the rank of Major.
On the final conquest of Corsica by the French, Carlo
was only persuaded to remain on the island through
the efforts of his uncle, a canon of the Church. In

1 " Memoirs of Napoleon," by the Duchess d'Abrantes, Vol. I,
p. 194. London, Bentley, 1836.



4 THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

1773 Carlo represented the Corsican nobles when a
deputation of the three estates was sent to the King
of France. Shortly after this visit he became pro-
curator e reale of Ajaccio.

On i January, 1779* Napoleon and his brother
Joseph were placed in a school at Autun under the
Abbe de Chardon in order that they might learn
French.

The Abbe in his Reminiscences tells us that
Napoleon's character was thoughtful, gloomy, and
imperious. In three months he had acquired a
satisfactory knowledge of French.

Fortunately for his family, Charles Bonaparte had
secured the friendship of General Count Marbceuf,
the Governor of Corsica, and it was owing to the
latter's influence that Carlo's second son, Napoleon,
was on 19 May, 1779, placed by the Marshal de
Sgur, the French Minister at War, as an Eleve du
Roi in the Ecole Militaire at Brienne in the province
of Champagne. At the Military College, where he
remained till October, 1784, his individuality at once
made itself, felt.

The Jicole Militaire was under the direction of
the fathers called Minims. There, under the supervi-
sion of Father Petrault, Napoleon learnt the rudiments
of mathematics, and at the same time studied ancient and
modern languages, geography, literature, history, and
every branch of military science. While at the Royal
Military Academy of Brienne Napoleon devoted him-
self to his studies. He showed moroseness of temper,



THE RISE OF NAPOLEON 5

courted solitude, was absorbed in his own pursuits and
studies, and was unpopular with his schoolfellows. He
gloried in being a Corsican, and declared that he would
deliver Corsica from its dependence upon France.

His moods apparently varied ; at one time he
appeared to be a quiet, hard-working student, at
another time he would be quarrelsome and head-
strong. The general opinion, however, was that it
was impossible to persuade him to change his opinion
when once he had made up his mind. His character,
said Pichegru, who afterwards conquered Holland,
and was then on the staff of teachers, was inflexible.

In 1783 Keralio, a royal inspector of military
schools, recommended Napoleon, whose conduct he
described as most exemplary, and whose work showed
thought, for promotion to the Military School of Paris.
Before the recommendation could take effect Keralio
was succeeded by Reynaud who, however, in 1784
selected Napoleon with four others to go to the
Military College in Paris. There he remained from
October, 1784, to October, 1785, and was treated with
contempt by the noble students whose indolence and
extravagance contrasted markedly with the quiet
and studious character of the life led by the future
Emperor.

In August, 1785, after his final examination,
Napoleon received the appointment of sub-lieutenant
in the Artillery. He was thereupon ordered to join
the regiment of La Fere then stationed at Valence.
At Valence he remained with his regiment La Fere



6 THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

till September, 1786, when he left for long leave, and
returned to Corsica. He was still an ardent Corsican
and an admirer of Paoli, burning with a desire to
avenge his country's wrongs. He continued his
studies, working chiefly at mathematics and Italian,
and was a constant reader of the works of Corneille,
Racine, Voltaire, and Rousseau.

In Corsica he remained for a year, till September,
1787, when, owing to the possibility of war with
Prussia he was recalled. But Vergennes being dead,
French foreign policy under Montmorin entered upon
a tranquil period and all danger of war passed away.
Bonaparte therefore was able to visit Paris, where he
remained from September to December, 1787, when
he returned to Corsica, arriving at Ajaccio early in
January, 1788. His father died in the following
month. Bonaparte only remained in the island till
June when he rejoined his regiment at Auxonne.
While in Corsica he dined with the officers of the
French artillery garrison, and his conversation as
described by a brother officer makes it quite evident
that, though only eighteen years old, Bonaparte
showed himself far better informed than his brother
officers in knowledge of ancient and modern history. 1
It was evident that he was still a patriotic Corsican,
resenting the French occupation of his island home.
It was also quite evident that he was already far
better educated than the ordinary French officer, and
that he was always revolving in his mind social pro-

1 See Norwood Young, " Growth of Napoleon," pp. 157-8.




THE FIRST PORTRAIT FROM LIFE TAKEN OF NAPOLEON

FROM A CRAYON SKETCH BY ONE OF HIS FELLOW PUPILS

ON IT is WRITTEN: "MIO CARO AMICO BUONAPARTE, PONTORMINI, DEL 1785, TOURNOXE'



THE RISE OF NAPOLEON 7

blems. He remained with his regiment at Auxonne
from June, 1788, to September, 1789. Those months
mark an epoch in his career, for he now fell under
the influence of Baron J. P. du Teil, the Commander
of the Artillery School at Auxonne.

The outbreak of the Revolution in May, 1789,
was followed by mutinous acts on the part of the
regiment. On 23 August the officers took an oath
not to employ troops against the citizens unless
authorized to do so by the civil or municipal officers.

During these years from 1785 to 1789 Napoleon
had had some experience of the world, and had worked
hard. While at Valence and Auxonne the young
Corsican studied not only mathematics, in which he
acquired great proficiency, but also history. He was
also much influenced by Rousseau's writings, and de-
fended the latter's attack on Christianity in the " Social
Contract " against the criticisms of a Protestant pastor
of Geneva. In his view the perfection of society and
the welfare of mankind could be secured without the
aid of religion. He advocated the adoption of a
general uniformity of life, which could only be attained
by means of the State. According to him " the
Christian creed was directly hostile to a perfect polity,"
for it encouraged individual liberty of thought, and
"by bidding men look forward to another life it
rendered them too submissive to the evils of the
present ". l

The adherence to these opinions explains not only

l See "Quarterly Review," No. 396, p. 340.



8 THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON

Napoleon's sympathy with the French Revolution,
but also his admiration of Robespierre, and his friend-
ship with the younger Robespierre.

His arrival in Corsica from Auxonne in the autumn
(September) of 1789 was followed by many stirring
events. He was already imbued with the revolution-
ary doctrines and at once joined a small party in Corsica
in organizing a revolutionary committee and a national
guard. In adopting these measures he encountered
much opposition. In Ajaccio the royalist party were
supreme, and De Barrin, the Commandant, suppressed
all revolutionary movements. In Bastia, the capital of
the island, however, the revolutionists prevailed. Sup-
ported by Paoli who had been amnestied, and facilitated
by the definite incorporation of Corsica with France
(decreed on 30 November, 1789, by the National
Assembly of France), revolutionary doctrines spread
in the island. A General Assembly met at Orezzo in
the autumn of 1790, Paoli being elected president,
and Napoleon took a leading part in the debates. 1 In
February, 1791, he rejoined his regiment at Auxonne,
taking with him his brother Louis, the future King of
Holland. He was not liked by his brother officers,
partly owing to his foreign extraction, partly to his
political views and bitter tongue. In June, 1791, he
was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, and was

1 " A young artillery officer, extremely thin, very brown, with
piercing eyes, a serious expression, and a slight Italian accent."
Such is a description of Napoleon at this time. (See Norwood
Young, "The Growth of Napoleon," p. 224.)



THE RISE OF NAPOLEON 9

sent to join the Fourth Regiment, then stationed at
Valence, a town which embraced with fervour the re-
volutionary cause. Bonaparte was now an avowed
supporter of the Republican party. He was a member
of the Revolutionary Club where he delivered in-
flammatory speeches, and on 14 July, the anniversary
of the fall of the Bastille, he and the other officers took
an oath of fidelity to the nation and the new Constitu-
tion. In September of the same year he again visited
Corsica, and found Ajaccio in a state of tumult. He
at once took part in the disputes that rent the town,
behaved with "unscrupulous violence," and was de-
nounced to the authorities in Paris by the Commander
of the garrison for instigating the disturbances of the
public peace. The French War Office took the view
of the Commander, declared that Bonaparte had
ignored the orders for his return to his regiment, and
struck him off the list of the army. Meanwhile, on
i April he had been promoted to second lieutenant-
colonel of the 2nd Battalion of Corsican Volunteers.

Nothing, however, remained for Bonaparte but to
get the order of the War Office rescinded, and accord-
ingly he left Corsica in May, 1792, and proceeded to
Paris. War against the Emperor had been declared
on 20 April, and officers would in all probability be


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