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catastrophe, which he thinks near at hand. He is
a Republican, and is very anxious that Napoleon's
desiens should be understood in advance, and due
provision made against them. Colonel Stebbins

* The reader must remember that, while there is no doubt
of the correctneM of M r. Raymond's report of this conversation,
the statements here made are sevoal removes from direct evi-
dence, and must be taken with caution.— Eo. S. M.

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thought French intervention by force very probable.
He thought the effect would be to end the war by
impressing our people with the hopelessness of the
struggle. I thought the effect would be (i) to
nnite all the North, and override all the minor
questions that now divide and dbtract the people ;
(2) to infuse a spirit of enthusiasm into our armies,
which they could never feel when fighting their own
countrymen, and thus double our military force, (3)
to bring England to our aid, and (4) to bring the
great mass of the Southern people (when they see
tnat the purpose of Napoleon is to acquire control
of their cotton districts) to overthrow their rulers
and join the North. I told him I would not be at
all surprised if French intervention should prove
the salvation of the country. I wrote to Seward,
telling him that I had heard of Merder's say-
ing uat France would break the blockade before
spring. • • •

** Thursday^ tgth, A dull, rainy, dismal day. No
news from any quarter, except a rumor from rebel
sources that Banks had been repulsed from Port
Hudson, whidi obtains no credit. Saw General
Bumside as he passed through the city to Washing-
ton, having received orders to report himself there
ten dajTS before the expiration of nis furlough. He
said he did not know his destination.* * lOn the
26th of April General Bumside, assumed command
of the Department of the Ohio.— H. W. R.] A
good deal of talk in the streets about the pros-
pects of French intervention. There is a rumor
that some of the leading French merchanu have
been preparing for it for some weeks. Received a
letter from &ward expressing incredulity about
Mercier's having told Judge Pierrepont that France
would break the blockade, but evincing som» anx-
iety and wishing me to make inquiries.

» ## • » # • #

•* Monday, Afarch a, — At the office all day. For
the last few days I have been in a controversy with
the 'Tribune' on their assertion that Mr. ^ward
had sent dispatches from the State Department in
the President's name, without first submitting them
for his approval. As I had conversed with Mr.
Seward about this I denied it, and he confirmed the
denial in a telegram which I published. The
'Tribune ' mainly through a correspondent (Judge

White) penists in iu statement The root of the
whole a£^r, I believe is this: Mr. Sumner dis-
covered a short letter from Seward to Adams in the
volume of Diplomatic Correspondence for 1862,
marked 'confidential' and saying that the pro.
slavery secessionists and the aboUtionists seemed
combined to bring about a servile insurrection.
This stung Sumner, and it was said at the time
that he went to the President about it and that he
disavowed all knowledge of it— Voild touU Read
Law on Financial History of England during wars
of 1 792-1815.

" Tkursdav, March ^.— At lunch to-day had m,
talk with Mr. Forbes. He said he had very good
reasons for saying that the famous disease at the
National Hotel in Washington in 1857, from which
so many persons suffered, was the result of an
attempt on the part of southern disunionists to
poison Buchanan, in order to bring in Breckenridge
as President, who was in their councils and would
throw the whole power of the government into their
scale. He said that soon after he visited a promi-
nent southern politician, living at Culpepper Court
House in Virginia, and that from what tnere trans-

Sired he was convinced he was in the plot He
id not mention his name and I did not think it
proper to ask it.

"I called to see S. L. M. Barlow. Told him I
should eo to Washington soon. He urged me to-
advise the government not to make any arbitrary
arrests here, because he said he knew there was an
organization of some thousands of persons here
anxious to raise such an issue between the general
government and the local authorities, for the pur-
pose of getting up a fight in the dty of New York.
He spoke very warmly and very sensibly about it.
He read me a letter ne wrote to Buchanan, Dec
30, i860, urging him to thwart the movement of
southern secessionists to bring about dvil war. He
thought M'Clellan ought to resign, and said the war
must be fought out In the stock market to-day
there was great excitement from the (all of gold
from 170 to 156. Feeling in town is much more
confident and hopeful. The arrangements for a gen-
eral meeting to-morrow night, to include war men
of all parties meets with general approvaL"


Wise was the word the wise man spake who said :

"Angelo was the only man to whom God gave

Four souls : " — the soul of sculpture and of song,

Of architecture and of art; these all.

For so God lovM him as if he were

His only child, and grouped about his brows

Ideals of himself, — ^not angels mild

As those that flit and beckon other lives,

But cherubim and seraphim ; tall, strong,

Unsleeping, terrible; with win^ across

Their mighty feet, and eyes — if we would look

Upon their blazing eyes, these too are hid —

Some angels are all wings! Oh, shine and fly I

Were ye not angels ye would strike us blind.

And yet they did not, could not dazzle lier —
That one sweet, silent woman imto whom

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He bent as pliant as the marble turned
To life immortal in his own great hand.
Steadfast Vittoria looked on Angelo.
She Ufted lonely eyes. The years stepped slow.
Fourfold the reverence which he gave to her.
Fourfold the awful tenderness, the trust,
The loyalty, the loss. And oh, fourfold
The comfort, beyond all power of comforting
Whereby a lesser man may heal the hurt
Of widowhood.

Pescara had one soul —
A little one; and it was stained. And he —
It, too, perhaps (God knows!) — was dead.
The dead are God's.

Vittoria had one heart.
The woman gave it, and the woman gives
Once. Angelo was too late. And one who dared
To shed a tear for him has dropped it here.


Memoirs of the highest importance, the
contents of which have been awaited with
eagerness, in the hope that they might throw
more light on the time and character pf the
first Napoleon, have long been known to
exist in the families of Metternich and R6-
musat. The reasons given for withholding
them from the public have been the same
in either case and have produced the same
result, namely, to whet expectancy the more.
For what could arouse curiosity better than
the statement that persons and prejudices
had been handled so freely in these docu-
ments that it would be necessary to
allow a whole generation to die out be-
fore committing them to history ? Yet this
was the plea on which the memoirs of
Prince Metternich and Madame de R6mu-
sat were withheld from publication and de-
nied to those engaged in historical research.
Lately they have been issued in quick suc-
cession. The first part of that of Madame
de R^musat is well spread in this country
and widely commented upon ; that of Prince
Metternich, on the other hand, is at the pres-
ent writing not yet published here, the ad-
vance sheets of the English edirion having
just made their appearance on this side of
the Atlanric. Madame de R6musat knew
Napoleon as a domestic man ; Prince Met-

ternich, as a sovereign. The one was a con-
fidante and perhaps a friend of Josephine ;
the other conducted and possibly originated
the marriage of Napoleon with Maria Louisa
of Austria, for which purpose Josephine was
divorced. While Madame de R^musat re-
ceived the outpourings of jealousy on the part
of Josephine at a time when the divorce was
not thought of. Prince Metternich had to
bear the insolence of the European autocrat
in those prearranged scenes when Napoleon
sought to intimidate the Powers by brow-
bearing their ministers. The Lady of the
Palace played chess with Napoleon, talked
with him, and possibly had a serious and
most intellectual flirtation with him on the
sly — at least naughty people charged her
with it and bitterly wounded the good wom-
an thereby — while Metternich was the evil
genius of Napoleon in the days after the
retreat'from Moscow, and had the satisfac-
tion not only of telling him to his face how
he was lost and why he was lost, but also,
subsequently, of conducting affairs to the
entire discomfit of Napoleon in his retreat
to Paris. One memoir therefore reinforces
the otlier ; for we have two keen intellects
entirely different firom each other at work
under entirely different circumstances upon
the problem which has proved of an interest

* Memoirs of Madame de Rteusat. 1 802-1 808. Edited, with a preface and notes, by her grandson,
Paul de R^musat, Senator. Part I. Translated by Mrs. Cashel Hoey and Mr. John Lillie. New York :
D. Appleton & Co., and Harper & Brothers. Part II. (French edition). New York: Christern.

Memoirs of Prince Metternich. 1773-18 15. Edited by Prince Richard Metternich. Translated by
Mrs. Alexander Napier. Two volumes. New York : Charles Scribner's Sons.

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second to none in history — the character of
Napoleon Bonaparte.

It should be remembered that for the last
fifty years a swarm of memoirs has been ris-
ing out of France, having for their subjects
the persons of fame or notoriety in genera-
tions nearly or immediately before. Some have
borne on their faces the stamp of genuine-
ness ; others have been at once rejected as
Ealpable forgeries; a third class stands
etween these two, and are either for-
geries of great cleverness, or else contain
Sie truth mixed so inextricably with false-
hood that the two are incapable of separa-
tion. Plainly, the memoirs of Prince Met-
temich belong to the first category. They
are as authentic as an official document
or a piece of red tape. We see the old
bureaucrat pigeonholing letters and endors-
sing protocols with the most intense regard
for the proprieties of an Ambassadry ; every
thing must be submitted in writing, and all
thoughts digested in numbered categories.
One might as soon doubt the genuineness
of a register of births. But how is it with
the memoirs of Madame de R^musat, which
her grandson, Paul de Remusat, " Senator,"
has been publishing in the " Revue des
deux Mondes?" Do these belong to the
genuine, or the forged, or the mixed type
of memoirs ? It is certain that Madame
de Remusat did write a book in episto-
lary form which contained aU the tittle-
tatde of the household of Napoleon during
her presence therein as Lady of the Palace.
But we know that the original was burned
by her in a moment of panic on the return
of Napoleon from Elba. Being a serious per-
son, according to the testimony of others as
well as herself, Madame de Remusat en-
joyed scandal quite as much as those frivo-
lous members of the household against whose
ignorance she takes care that her own litde
lamp shall be made to shine. She had been
married at sixteen to a man whose solemn
air and worthy mien marked him out by
nature for a French judge. Now Napoleon
wanted an antidote to the free and easy
manners of his generals, and the R^musats
also had other important uses. The re-
lations of both M. and Mme. de Remusat
to the old nobility were sufficiendy strong
to make them appropriate instruments for
the ambition of Napoleon. They were
used as the entering edge of the tool.
Being of the nobility, and yet not exiled,
moderate people withal, who were content
with small gains. Napoleon used them as an
example of good-breeding to the brave but

vulgar soldiers and to their wives, who
perforce about him; he thought he saw in
them stepping-stones to the disaffected no-
bility ofhigher lineage whom he hoped to lure
back to France to consolidate his throne.
But when that had been partially accom-
plished there was no more use for the
R6musats. They were forced to see new
arrivals obtaining honors and rewards, when
they, who had been the first to sacrifice
themselves in the eyes of their noble friends
and relations by taking office under the
usurper, remained stationary, or even lost in
favor at Court. Madame de Remusat has
left traces of this very natural but not too
noble resentment :

" Yet I had my own little ambition, too, but it y
moderate and easy to satisfy. The Emperor had
made known to me through tne Empress, and M. de
Caulaincourt had repeated it to my husband, that, on
the consolidation ot his own fortunes, he would not
forget those who had from the first devoted them-
selves to his service. Relying on this assurance,
we felt easy with regard to our future, and took no
steps to render it secure. We were wrong, for
every one else was actively at work. M. de K6ma-
sat bad always kept aloof from any kind of schem-
ing, — a defect in a man who lived at a court. Certain
eood qualities are absolutely a bar to advancement in
the favor of sovereigns. They do not like to find
generous feeling^s and philosophical opinions which
are a mark of independence of mind in their sur-
roundings ; and they think it still less pardonable
that those who serve them should have any means
of escaping from their power. Bonaparte, who was
exacting in the kind of service he required, quickly
perceived that M. de Remusat would serve him
faithfully, and yet would not bend to all his caprices.
This discovery, together with some additional cir.
cumstances which I shall relate in their proper
places, induced him to discard his obligations to hnn.
He retained my husband near him ; he made use of
him to suit his own convenience ; but he did not
confer the same honors upon him which he bestowed
on many others, because he knew that no favors
would procure the compliance of a man who was in-
capable of sacrificing self-respect to ambition. The
arts of a courtier were, besides, incompatible with
M. de R^musat's tastes."

The truth seems to have been that the
R^musats took office under Napoleon with
the feeling of martyrs. They knew that the
men of the old regime would not forgive
their desertion from the sacred cause. The
memoirs begin with a justification of their
course in making the best of actualities
and declining to sulk forever in a cause
which was hopeless, because no longer suita-
ble to the age or the temper of France. Un-
comfortable with the old nobility, how could
they help being bitter toward the parvenu
who used them and then failed to reward
them as fully as he did others ? These con-
siderations must never be lost sight of for




one instant while reading the curious mixt-
ure of honey and gall which purports to be
the actual, unadulterated memoirs of the
first Lady of the Palace to Napoleon and
Josephine. It may not account for all the
villainous charges brought against the Bon-
apartes ; but it will explain the animus which
prevails in the book. It explains, if it do
not excuse, the ingratitude which will nat-
urally shock the reader.

In support of this criticism of Mme. de
R^musat, a singular coincidence may be ad-
duced. Of all the members of the Bonaparte
and Beauhamais families, remark that only
two persons escape scot free from the charges,
either simply slanderous or horrible, which
Madame de R^musat pours upon them.
And who are these two ? Eugene and
Hortense de Beauharnais. But remark,
further, that these two are the only ones
who had in their veins the blood of that
old French nobility to which the R^musats
belonged ! Although they were servants of
the usurper, the R^musats could not eradicate
their inborn contempt for the vulgar and
doubtless in some cases licentious family
which the Great Napoleon had placed over
Europe. Yet they were forced to admire
Napoleon, in spite of every thing. " I found
the crown of France lying on the ground,"
said Napoleon, " and I took it up on the
point of mv sword." Also, they teU us that
he claimed he was no Oliver Cromwell, but
a sovereign by natural right, who had
usurped no throne, but erected one where
none existed. Mme. de R^musat does jus-
tice to this claim of Napoleon, yet her
instincts for the old system as against the
new, enlivened by bitterness, gained the
upper hand, and his whole family had to
suffer along with him.

It is singular that other persons equally
intimate with Napoleon should have united
in suppressing the vile slanders brought here
against him and every member of his family.
This leads one to inquire whether Madame
de R^musat may not be guiltless of some
of the worst of them; whether Paul de
R^musat may not have heightened the flavor
of the book, instead of omitting, as he
claims to have done, many things of doubt-
ful morality regarding ladies of the Court.
In a foot-note which casts doubt on the
paternity of Napoleon III., and destroys the
efforts of Madame de R^musat to shield
even Hortense de Beauhamais from the
accusations which have been made against
her, the editor says :
"It is unnecessary to say that on this point I pre-

serve the exact text of the Memoirs, as they were
written by the hand of their author. / have only
thought it right to suppress comments of an opposite
nature on certain ladies of the Court. The reader
will, perhaps, be surprised to find no mention in
these portraits of the family of either Queen Caro-
line or Princess Pauline Bonaparte. 1 leave out
certain matters in relation to tnem which have no
bearing on the Emperor himself. Mv father partic-
ularly desired that the text of his motner's Memoirs
should be scrupulously respected. It seemed to me,
however, that on this point I might fairly depart from
the rules of strict editmg. Habits, tastes, customs be-
come modified by time, and mudi that seemed nat-
ural to a clever woman in high life at that period
would give scandal in our more punctilious day.''

The man who professes such delicacy, and
yet prints what he does print, is open to
suspicion. Furthermore, we are told just
how the original memoirs in letter form
happened to be destroyed, and how, many
years after, Madame de R6musat set about
retrieving the loss by hunting up old letters,
and consulting people who knew the affairs
of those days. These memoirs, therefore,
are the result of the ransacking of the
memory of Madame de R^musat and her
friends at a time when the name of Napo-
leon was held in horror in France among
the people to whom she belonged, and
when all the worst accusations of a ven-
omous press in England, inflamed both by
patriotism, governmental pressiu-e, and the
gall of the emigrisy had obtained credence
in Paris. Every jackass in France as well
as England had his kick at the dead lion.
How could Madame de R^musat remember
the long harangues she puts into the mouth
of Napoleon ? In semi-barbarous times
such things are possible, because semi-bar-
barians say things after set formulas, and
repeat speeches they have heard with aston-
ishing fidelity; but in modem times the
thing is almost impossible. Chateaubriand
wrote: "The memoirs of Madame de
Remusat, with whom I was acquainted,
were full of exceedingly curious details of
the private life of the Imperial Court.
Their author burned them during the
Hundred Days, but afterward rewrote them.
They are runv but recollections of former
recollections ; the colors are faded ; but Bona-
parte is always clearly depicted and impar-
tially judged ''

Reasons for suspecting bias in Madame
de Remusat, are, then, as follows : Her evi-
dent class instincts ; her disappointed hopes
of wealth or other preferment ; the bitterness
natural to a political change-coat ; the time
that had elapsed between the facts and their
recording the influence of the ante-Napo-
leonic times, when the memoirs were re-

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written; her exemption of the only two
members of the Bonaparte connection who
were noble and French by birth from accu-
sations of criminality. Add to this any-
thing which Paul de R^musat might assume
to be warranted in order to re-inforce and
make more piquant the work of his grand-
mother, and we get the present mixture —
peppery, it is true, but all the more read-
able and vendibre for that.

As one of the greatest miUtary geniuses
in history, let us see what Madame de
R^musat has to say of Napoleon the general :

" It was well worth seeing how he talked to the
soldiers — ^how he questioned them one after the
other respecting their campaigns or their wounds ;
taking particular interest in the men who had ac-
companied him to Egypt. I have heard Madame
Bonaparte say that her nusband was in the constant
habit of poring over the list of what are called the
cadres of the army, at night, before he slept. He
would go to sleep repeating the names of the corps,
and even those of some of the individuals who com-
posed them ; he kept those names in a corner of his
memory, and this habit came to his aid when he
wanted to recognize a soldier, and to give him the
pleasure of a cheering word from his general. He
spoke to the subalterns in a tone of good-fellow-
snip, which delighted them all, as he reminded
them of their common feats of arms. Afterward,
when his armies became so numerous, when his
battles became so deadly, he disdained to exercise
this kind of fascination. Besides, death had ex-
tinguished so many remembrances, that in a few
years it became difficult for him to find any great
number of the companions of his early exploits;
and when he addressed his soldiers before leading
them into battle, it was as a perpetually renewed
posterity, to which the preceding and destroyed
armv had bequeathed its glory. But even this
sombre style of encouragement availed for a long
time with a nation which believed itself to be fulfill-
ing its destiny while sending its sons year after

year to die for Bonaparte.

• «••••

" < Military science,' said Bonaparte, ' consists in
calculating all the chances accurately in the first
place, and then in giving accident exactly, almost
mathematically, its place in one's calculations. It
is upon this point that one must not deceive one's
self, and that a decimal more or less may change all.
Now, this apportioning of accident and science can-
not get into any heacf except that of a genius, for
genius must exist wherever there is a creation ; and
assuredly the erandest improvisation of the human
mind is the gift of an existence to that which has it
not. Accident, hazard, chance — whatever you
choose to call it — a mystery to ordinary minds, be-
comes a reality to superior men. Turenne did not
think about it, and so he had nothing but method.
I think,' he added, with a smile, < I should have
beaten him. Cond^ had a better notion of it than
Turenne, but then he gave himself up to it with
impetuositv. Prince Eugene is one of those who
understooa it best. Henry IV. always put bravery
in the place of everything; he only fought actions —
he would not have come well out of a pitdi battle.
Catinat has been cried up chiefly from the demo-
cratic point of view; I have, for my own part,
tirried off a victory on the spot where he was

beaten. The philosophers have worked up his rep-
utation after their own fancy ; and that was all the
easier to do, because one may say anything goc^
likes about ordinary people who have been lifted
into eminence by circumstances not of their owa
creating. A man, to be really great, no matter in
what order of ^eatness, must have actually im-
provised^ a portion of his own glory — must have
shown himself superior to the event which he has
brought about. For instance, Csesar acted now and
then with weakness which makes me suspect the
praises that are lavished on him in history.' "

Rather elaborate portraits of the chief
members of the Bonaparte family form a
sort of introduction to the memoirs. No
part of the work contains harsher com-
ments :

** Napoleon Bonaparte is of low stature, and rather
ill-proportioned; his bust is too Ion ^, and so shortens
the rest of his figure. He has thin chestnut hair»
his eyes are grayish blue, and his skin, which was
yellow while he was slight, became in later years a

Online LibraryGeorge Streynsham MasterThe Century, Volume 19 → online text (page 120 of 160)