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MlSli*T t^CMSE ST€FH4C«i


V. I


The volumes here presented to the pubUc con-
tain a faithful record of Conversations which the
author had the happiness to enjoy with the dis-
tinguished personages whose names authenticate
the extraordinary facts they related.

The evening p{Wl>f*>^,**'to whicfh 'Pi^tt^^ Cambaceres
had the kindness to admit me, were composed
of the old friends of the ex- chancellor of the
Empire. In summer in his garden, and in winter
in his saloon or his cabinet, Prince Cambaceres
was the soul of an interesting circle, presenting
an intellectual feast — to which, each visitor
contributed his contingent.

The old and the new systems, the Republic,
the Directory, the Consulate, the Empire and the
incipient Restoration, furnished the texts of these
Conversations. The most important events often
formed subjects of narration and discussion ; as for
example — the death of the Duke d'Enghien ; the
cabal which gave birth to the imperial govern-
ment ; the misunderstandings with the Pope ; the
invasion of Spain ; Napoleon's divorce ; scenes


ill the Tuileries, Saint-Cloud, Malinaison, Fon-
tainebleau ; and finally, as it were by way of
c])isodes, came the marvels of the campaigns of
Italy and Egypt.

It was my good fortune to hear events of the
most deep and stirring interest described by per-
sons who had witnessed them, and, in many in-
stances, by those who had acted conspicuous parts
in them. These descriptions, instead of being
introduced by the dull common -place preliminary
— It is said, or, / have heard, rivetted the attention
of the listener by such words as : — One day, when the
Emperor sent for me, or, Robespierre, addressing me,
said, S)C. S)C. The distinguished visitors of Prince
Cambaceres could truly say, in reference to the
scenes they described: — '' J'etais la quand telle
chose advint.'^

In the arrangement of my materials, I have
not observed any chronological regularity. I pre-
sent them to the reader nearly in the order, or,
to speak more correctly, the disorder, in which
I find them collected in my notes. I give the
Conversations as they occurred, and, consequently,
without regard to unity of time, place, or subject.
The merit of the work rests solely on the value of
the materials of which it is composed ; and, in sub-
mitting those materials to the press, I have been
actuated by the spirit of truth, and not by the
vanity of authorship.

L. L. L.





The author visits Prince Cambacer^s in 181 4 — Count Jules
de Polignac — Count Real — Count Fabre de I'Aude — Dis-
closure of the circumstances "which caused the trial of
Louis XVI to terminate in the sentence of death — Scene
in the National Convention — The tvpo Robespierres, Le-
gendre, Saint-Just, Lebas, Couthon, CoUot d'Herbois,
Barr^re, Fouquier-Tinville, Santerre, Carrier and Lebon —
Cambac^res and the Duke of Orleans — Extraordinary
statement made by the Duke — First interview between
Cambaceres and General Bonaparte — Bonaparte and Count
Fabre de I'Aude — Unpublished correspondence — A re-
miarkable phrase twice repeated — An anecdote of 1797
— Napoleon at the Museum in 1807 — The Author's con-
versation with him — Political sentiments of the youth of
France in 1814.


Cambacerfes and Carnot at the Palais Royal on the 10th
of August 1792 — David the Painter — His disavowal of a



pliraso often attributed to liim — Pretended list of the con-
demned — Alarm of the Jacobins — Theroigne de Mericourt

— Unpublished details relating to the 10th of August

— Count Rocderer's visit to the Tuileries — A mysterious
message — A Conversation with Marie-Antoinette — Louis
XVI — Curious disclosures — Roederer's account of the
events of the 10th of August — Cambac^res relates the
circumstances which preceded the 18th Fructidor — Con-
sultation between Cambacer^s, Talleyrand, Barras, Ma-
dame de Stael and Benjamin Constant^ — Dialogue between
Cambaceres and Barras — An interview with Barthelemy
— The Pi-ince de C . . . . — Anecdotes — The Royalists' plot
discovered — Carnot's account of his escape — Details not
published in his Memoirs — Interview between Napoleon
and David the Painter — The picture of the coronation
— Discussion between Napoleon and Count Fabre de
I'Aude respecting the restoration of titles and armorial
bearings — The cock and the eagle — Napoleon suggests

the re-establishment of monarchy — Curious details. . 53


Secret audience granted by His Majesty Louis XVIII to
Cambaceres — Carnot's Memorial — Gloomy forebodings —
How their fulfilment might be avoided — A comic scene
with three serious characters — Freemasons and White
Penitents — Anecdote of the Princess Borghese — Madame
Mere — Story of a Vampire related by Fouche, when
Minister of the Police — The Lady of the Forest, a Lan-
guedocian anecdote — Mysterious disappearances — Baron
Pasquier, the Prefect of Police — Parisian thieves and swin-
dlers — The diamond shoe-buckles — The pretended Russian
Prince and the parure of diamonds — The snufF-box and
the robber duped — Robespierre and the English — A pro-
posed marriage between Robespierre and a Roval Princess
— Robespierre's blue coat, and bouquet of tri-coloured



flowers — A story related by Tallien — A second pro-
position for a marriage between Robespierre and a Princess
— True cause of the death of tlie Duke of Orleans. , 1S2


The Duke of Otranto — Police disclosures — A lady of quality
in the pay of the police — Snare laid to entrap the Po-
lignacs — A gang of thieves betrayed — Love and Police
—A mysterious billet — Fouch^'s rendez-vous — The dis-
creet porter — Discovery of murders committed by the
Countess Polv^re — Poison and somnambulism — The dou-
ble lady, an optical phenomenon — The General and the
Pilgrim — The brigands and the crucifix — Singular vision
of Louis- Sebastian Mercier — Apparition seen by Napoleon
and Josephine. . . . . .187


The Marquis de Maniban — Remarks on the old French Ma-
gistracy — Emoluments and duties of a Parliament Coun-
sellor — The Doyen's mule, a Toulousian anecdote — Opi-
nions respecting the guilt of the Calas family — Victims
sacrificed by the Jacobins to revenge Calas — Napoleon's
intention of restoring the old Parliaments — His conversa-
tion with Cambacerfes on that subject — Remarks of the
Duke d'Angouleme relative to the old Parliaments —
Scheme for a gallant intrigue at the Court of the Tuileries
— Base speculations on Napoleon's gallantry — Beautiful •
reply of the Emperor to a petition of the Empress Jo-
sephine — Military anecdotes — Secret mission to England
in 1 8 1 1 — Plan for inducing the Bourbons to renounce
their claim to the throne of France — Prince Talleyrand's
loss of memory — Madame de N. - . . — Unpublished letter
of Fouche — Madame de N. . . .'s visit to Hartwell — Her
letter to Prince Cambaceres — The Count de La Chatre —



The Duke of Orleans — The Count de Blacas — Description
of His Majesty Louis XVIII — Pfere Elysee — The Duchess
d'Angouleme — Her charitable disposition — The Duke de
Berry — His morganatic marriage — His two daughters —
Napoleon's reception of the Royal message — A celebrated
remark of Napoleon — Explanation of the occasion on which
it was made. . . . . . ,231


Louis Sebastien Mercier — Details hitherto unpublished, re-
lating to the assassination of Marat — Trial and execution
of Charlotte Corday — The source of her fanaticism ex-
plained — Napoleon's belief in fatahty — His courage and
disregard of personal danger — The Imperial Chamberlains
— Example of courtly meanness — The gilded weathercock
— An ungrateful chamberlain on the 20th of March — An
anecdote for the edification of honest men — Wise maxims
of Cambaceres — Adventures of a courtier from 17 S7 to
1830 — Amusing letter from a provincial lady to a friend
in Paris — Missive from an ambitious poet — Literary
discussion — The classic school and the romantic school —
Cause of literary failures and disappointments — Prevalence
of suicide — Literary opinions of Cambaceres — Retif de
la Bretonne — Chenier and his Epistle to Voltaire — Na-
poleon's displeasure, and Chenier's punishment. . 288


Count Regnauld de Saint- Jean d'Angely — His portrait and
character — Special value set upon him by Napoleon —
Sharp and unpublished sayings of the Emperor — Count
Regnauld in 1814— The five assassinations — Romantic
chapter in the life of a counsellor of state — Poison and
chocolate, an anecdote of the days of the Empire — Baron



de Puymaurin — M, de C — Story of an imperial

spy related by M. de Puymaurin — Incredible and disin-
terested language of M. Benoit, an ex-minister of state
— Conversation with Cambac^res on the probable return of
' Napoleon — Unpublished letter of the latter written at the
close of 1814 — Tribulations of an ex-grand dignitary — The
female chapter, an anecdote of the Restoration — The dearly
paid bride's clothes of a maiden espoused without a por-
tion — Persons going a-begging — The actress and the win-
dow — A beggar who has lost his memory ; stories of the
present day — The Emperor and a grognard — Unpublished
and anecdotical letters of Napoleon to Josephine concern-
ing the battle of Austerlitz — The black leg and the joke, a
fantastic anecdote. . . . . .337



Portrait of Napoleon.


Portrait of Prince Cambacer^s.




The author visits Prince Cambac^rfes in 1814 — Count Jules
de Pohgnac — Count R6al — Count Fabre de I'Aude — Dis-
closure of the circumstances which caused the trial of
Louis XVI to terminate in the sentence of death' — Scene
in the National Convention — The two Robespierres, Legen-
dre, Saint-Just, Lebas, Couthon, Collot d'Herbois, Barr^re,
Fouquier-Tinville, Santerre, Carrier and Lebon — Cambaceres
and the Duke of Orleans — Extraordinary statement made by
the Duke — First interview between Cambaceres and General
Bonaparte — Bonaparte and Count Fabre de I'Aude — Unpub-
lished correspondence — A remarkable phrase twice repeated
— An anecdote of 1797 — Napoleon at the Museum in 18 07
— The Author's conversation with him — Political sentiments
of the youth of France in 1814.

The consequences of the European war having
compelled me to leave Italy in February 1814,



I returned to France and took up my residence
at Carcassonne. The restoration ensued, and,
in the August following, I proceeded to Paris.
On my arrival in that capital, I lost no time
in calling on Prince Cambaceres. He still
resided at the old Hotel de Monaco, where he
fixed his abode when the demolition of the Hotel
d'Elbeuf compelled him, in 1809, to remove from
the Place du Carrousel. His new residence was
situated in the Rue Saint-Dominique. Her Royal
Highness the Duchess dowager of Orleans pur-
chased it from him after the Hundred Days ;
and she died there. The council of state now
holds its sittings in that hotel. What next will
be its destiny? Houses, like empires, often
change masters. The chronicles of the palaces
and hotels of Paris might furnish matter for a
few amusing volumes.

When, on saluting the Prince, I recollected
the many stirring events which had occurred
within the space of a few short months, 1 felt
unable to conceal my emotion. His manner was
marked by his accustomed kindness and amia-
bility :

** How is this ?" said he. " You turn to
the setting sun ! Do you profess the worship
of sinking stars ?"

" Monseigneur," replied I, " your highness
overwhelmed me with favours in the days of


your power. I can never cease to cherish a
grateful remembrance of them."

*' Leon," said he, " if you knew how basely
I have been forsaken. Messieurs so and so,
(he named about ten or a dozen persons,) are
at the Tuileries . . . But, I am delighted to see
you. Whenever you have an hour to spare,
especially in the evening, come and see me,
and we will talk over the past."

" Yes, and we will build in the regions of
chimera, castles in the air for the future."

" The future ! Alas ! we have nothing to
look for in the future. The Emperor has closed
every chance against himself. The Bourbons
will reign for ever."

" I do not think so."

*' Indeed ! and pray what inspires you with
that doubt?"

" A line of La Fontaine ; that writer whose
works are an inexhaustible mine, in which every
thing is to be found. In the fable of VOurs et
V Amateur, you will find this maxim :

' Rien n'est si dangereux qu'un ignorant ami.' "

" It is very true."

" For example, I passed a few days at Car-
cassonne with Count Jules de Polignac, Two
strange hallucinations have taken possession of
his mind : one is the complete return to the old

B 2


regime ; and the other, that France can never
be saved until he himself is made prime minister.
He repeated this nonsense over and over, and
made it the subject of a hundred arguments."

" What a singular man he is !"

" He is a pure specimen of loyalty and of
exalted piety ; a man of the most amiable dis-
position and manners, but of the most complete
incapacity. There is no junior clerk in any of
our public offices, who is not better qualified to
be a minister than the Count."

" So much the worse, for he is very in-
fluential now, and will be very powerful by
and bye. But he will see — he will reflect, and
will learn to judge of things more accurately."

" Monseigneur, there are people who close
their eyes that they may not see, and stop
their ears that they may not hear. We have
many such in France, now."

Count Real was announced. His highness
uttered an exclamation of joy.

" How, Count ! is it you ? I have not seen
you this age."

R^AL. — I go out but little : the weather is so

He looked at me with an air of doubt.

The Prince. — Oh ! he is one of ourselves.
You may speak freely.

He introduced me. My humble name was


unknown to Count Real ; but his Serene
Highness' guarantee was of course sufficient to
insure full confidence in me. The Count again
made some remarks upon the weather, which
he intended to be figurative, and expressed his
fears that it would be very stormy. The re-
publicans distrusted the Bourbons, and cer-
tainly without reason ; for their forbearance,
indulgence, and clemency, knew no bounds ; and,
in 1814, it might have been truly said that the
Bourbons alone had forgotten every thing.

Count Fabre de I'Aude next dropped in.
The Count was a magistrate and a politician of
the good old school, distinguished for probity
and parsimonious economy ; but, at the same
time, a warm hearted man, and ever ready to
serve his friends : in short, he had no enemies,
except those who were ungrateful for his kind-
ness. He was an able financier and a most
accurate calculator. Accounts never became
confused in his hands. Napoleon esteemed and
appreciated his merit, and frequently appealed
to his advice in private ; though he never con-
ferred on him any other reward than the func-
tionless post of procureur-general of the conseil
des sceaux des titres. After being president of
the tribunal, he, of necessity, became a senator :
he was created a count with the rest of his
colleagues en masse, and, at the same time, he


obtained the title of commander of the legion of
honour. He was the friend of Cambacer^s, and
he honoured me with his particular regard, on
account of his connexion with my father-in-law,
who, during the empire, was a counsellor of the
criminal court of Toulouse.

We all entered into conversation without
reserve. We spoke of the royal family. Prince
Cambaceres, who took every opportunity of
clearing himself from the charge of being a
regicide, introduced the subject of the King's
death. Some observations were made on the
political error committed by the Girondins in
consenting to the death of Louis XVI.

" I should like," said Real, " to tell some-
thing which 1 dare say you do not know. I
can inform you why, and through whose influ-
ence, it was determined that the sentence on the
King should be attended by a tragical result."

We all manifested our curiosity.

Real stationed himself with his back to the
fireplace ; there was no fire. The Prince took
his seat in a large arm-chair ; Fabre de I'Aude
in another of smaller dimensions ; and I in a
chair without arms. The hierarchy being thus
arranged, Real commenced :

" On the 21st September 1792, about mid-
night, the National Convention, which had been
installed since the morning, had, as a first



operation, and on the proposition of Count Gre-
goire, resolved to terminate the monarchy by pro-
claiming the creation of the republic, single and
indivisible. I can fancy myself, even now, in
that apartment of Robespierre. It was a room
on the ground-floor, the entrance to which was
through a very shabby antichamber. On the
day I have mentioned, there were assembled in
the room, Saint- Just, Lebas, Couthon, Collot
d'Herbois, Barrere, Fouquier-Tinville, Carrier
Lebon, Legendre, Santerre, the two Robes-
pierres, (Maximillian and Augustin,) and my-
self — thirteen in all — an unlucky number.
Robespierre the elder made the remark."

"He, Sir?" exclaimed I.

" Yes, he," replied Count Real.

" Does that surprise you, my young friend?"
said Prince Cambac^res. " It is a superstition, to
be sure ; but there are many similar examples !"

I know one more, thought I to myself, and I
recollected certain dinners .... but I shall come
to this subject hereafter.

" The two sittings of ^the Convention," mur-
mured Real, " had been stormy, and, though the
proclamation of the republic had been carried al-
most unanimously, yet it met with opposition
from a few discontented spirits, who complained
that the important measure had not been suffi-
ciently matured and discussed. Carrier alluded


to the dissatisfaction of Gensonne, upon which
MaximilUan Robespierre observed :

" Gentlemen, this Gironde is an assemblage

Legendre. — No matter; on the 10th of
August, they i)ut their shoulders to the wheel

Robespierre. — Parbleu ! They did indeed.

And, if the Chateau had gained the day, they

would all have been hanged and we with them.

Legendre. — Then they are not for the tyrant ?

Robespierre. — They are for the monarchy.

They want a king.

Barr^re. — Or a president.
AuGUSTiN. — It is the same thing.
R^AL. — No.

Saint-Just. — Yes. It matters not, king or
president ; two heads in one cap ; a Philip VII.,
instead of a Louis XVI. If such are to be the
results, what have we been labouring for ? Those
gentlemen of the Gironde are not quite so great
as their own ambition. I would lay a good wager
that they have already disposed of all the posts
in the ministry, and sent us a-packing.

A discussion now arose on another subject.
None of the assembly were favourable to Egalite,
who had just then assumed that absurd title.
All vowed to unite firmly against him.

Robespierre (with a look like that of a wolf


thirsting for blood). — Parbleu ! gentlemen, we
might strike a grand blow.

All. — How ?

Robespierre (lowering his voice). — This is
among ourselves. What would you give to him
who would furnish you with the means of so
completely degrading Egalite, . that he should
have no refuge but the grave ; and so deeply
embroil the royalists with the Gironde, that any
treaty, armistice, or adjustment, should become
impossible ?

Lebas. — Diable ! That would be excellent !
and have you discovered such a plan ?

Robespierre. — Yes, if you are not faint-

CoLLOT d'Herbois. — Pfoofs of Our courage
are not wanting !

Barrere (with an expression of alarm). — This
is something serious.

Robespierre. — Gentlemen, to serious evils,
we must apply serious remedies. By proclaim-
ing the republic, we have passed the rubicon.
Let us continue our march ; Louis must be
brought to judgment, condemned to death, and

All.— Ah !

Santerre. — The King condemned to death !
the constitution declares him inviolable.

Robespierre. — Lebas, Couthon, R^al, Saint-


Just, in short all of us here, except Fouquier and
yourself, are also inviolable, by virtue of the
same constitution; and yet, if the republic
should demand our heads, we must forfeit them,
in spite of that same constitution.

Real. — Gentlemen, it appears to me that
Robespierre is in the wrong. The King cannot
be tried.

AuGUSTiN. — Silence, aristocrat ! Agent of Pitt
and Coburg !

Real. — I say we are overstepping our power.

Carrier. — We are all-powerful against a

FouQuiER-TiNviLLE. — It is Certain that if
the head of Capet fall with the concurrence
of Egalite and the Girondins, they will get
into terrible disgrace with the respectable class
of people.

Saint-Just. — What do you mean, by res-
pectable people, Fouquier ? Are we brigands ?

Fouquier. — Words have changed their mean-
ings. The term respectable people fgens de
bienj is synonymous with traitors ;— canaille
means good citizens.

Barrere. — Take the life of the King ! It
is a grand — patriotic idea ! Will it be popular ?

Robespierre. — Yes ! with the aid of Sainte
Peur. (Laughter.) That Saint whom Danton
created on the 2nd and 3rd instant, and who


now keeps Paris in awe. Frighten the Plain,
and it will vote with us ; the Girondins will
be for the cause of liberty. As to Egalite, he
will commit

Real. — What is the Plain ?

Robespierre. — The lower benches of the
assembly — which are occupied by the insane
moderates, those monsters who recommend con-
cord, when blood ought to flow in torrents. The
Mountain shall be the high benches, whence we
will overwhelm the plain, and command the
marsh. By the latter term, I mean the centre,
which is occupied by those sleepers, who awake
only to vote with the majority.

" It was," continued Real, addressing us,
" the elder of the Robespierres who, on the very
first day of the Convention, created those terms
which subsequently became the watch-words of
so much agitation and crime. As to me, I felt
myself ill at ease in this conventicle. It was
urged that the question was inopportune, and a
warm discussion ensued on this point. Robes-
pierre knew that Danton, Fab re d 'Eglantine,
Camille-Desmoulins, Hebert, Brissot, Louvet,
Condorcet, Dumouriez, Valence, Gorsas, Fon-
frede, Barras, Tallien, Marat, Manuel-Petion,
Voidel, Genlis, Le Pelletier-Saint-Fargeau, Cha-
teau-Neuf, Randon-Vadier, and others belonged
to the Egalite faction, round whom the Giron-


dins, in despair of success, would rally. To put
the King to death, was to complete the anni-
hilation of royalty : to oblige Egahte to co-
operate in the regicide, was to render him for
ever incapable of wearing the crown, by what-
ever title it might be offered to him. Thus
Egalite, though a participator in the crime,
would reap no advantage from it : the whole
benefit would revert to Robespierre and his

These considerations had their due weight
in the minds of the majority of the assembly,
and determined them to take the decisive step.
It was resolved that the King should be brought
to trial, as soon as the urgent business, then in
progress, could be settled ; and that the trial,
when once commenced, should be actively car-

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