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lightened for self-government. Thus he was
not at all disposed to favor any insurrectionary
movements in Rome ; neither was he disposed
to render any aid whatever to the Papal Gov-
ernment in opposing those who were struggling
for greater political liberty. He only demand-
ed that France should be left by the other gov-
ernments in Europe in entire liberty to choose
her own institutions. And he did not wish
that France should interfere, in any way what-
ever, with the internal affairs of other nations.
While Joseph was officiating as ambassador
at Rome, endeavoring to promote friendly re-
lations between the Papal See and the new
French Republic, he was much embarrassed by
the operations of two opposite and hostile par-
ties of intriguants at that court. The Aus-
trians, and all the other European cabinets,
were endeavoring to influence the Pope to give
his powerful moral support against the French
Revolution. On the other hand there was a
party of active revolutionists, both native and
foreign, in Rome, struggling to rouse the popu-


The revolutionary Spirit. Anecdote.

lace to an insurrection against the Government,
to overthrow the Papal power entirely, as
France had overthrown the Bourbon power,
and to establish a republic. These men hoped
for the countenance and support of France.
But Joseph Bonaparte could lend them no
countenance. He was received as a friendly
ambassador at that court, and could not with-
out ignominy take part with conspirators to
overthrow the Government. He was also
bound to watch with the utmost care, and
thwart, if possible, the efforts of the Austrians,
and other advocates of the old rdgime.

On the 27th of December three members of
the revolutionary party called upon Joseph
and informed him that during the night a rev-
olution was to break out, and they wished to
communicate the fact to him, that he might not
be taken by surprise. Joseph reproved them,
stating that he did not think it right for him,
an ambassador at the Court of Eome, to listen
to such a communication ; and moreover h&
assured them that the movement was ill-tinned,
and that it could not prove successful.

They replied that they came to him for ad-
vice, for they hoped that republican France
would protect them in their revolution as soon


Joseph in Rome. The Revolutionist*.

as it was accomplished. Joseph informed them
that, as an impartial spectator, he should give
an account to his Government of whatever
scenes might occur, but that he could give them
no encouragement whatever ; that France was
anxious to promote a general peace on the Con-
tinent, and would look with regret upon anjr
occurrences which might retard that peace.
He also repeated his assurance that the revo-
lutionary party in Home had by no means suf-
ficient strength to attain their end, and he en-
treated them to desist from their purpose.

The committee were evidently impressed by
his representations. They departed declaring
that every thing should remain quiet for the
present, and the night passed away in tranquil-
lity. On the evening of the next day one of
the Government party called, and confidential-
ly informed Joseph that the blunderheads were
ridiculously contemplating a movement which
would only involve them in ruin. The Papal
Government, by means of spies, was not only
informed of all the movements contemplated,
but through these spies, as pretended revolu-
tionists, the Government was actually aiding
in getting up the insurrection, which it would
promptly crush with a bloody hand.


Conflict with the dragoons. Prudence of Joseph.

At 4 o'clock the next morning Joseph was
aroused from sleep by a messenger who in-
formed him that about a hundred of the rev-
olutionists had assembled at the villa Medici,
where they were surrounded by the troops of
the Pope. Joseph, who had given the revolu-
tionists good advice in vain, turned upon his
pillow and fell asleep again. In the morning
he learned that there had been a slight con-
flict, that two of the Pope's dragoons had been
killed, and that the insurgents had been put to
flight; several of them having been arrested.
These insurgents had assumed the French na-
tional cockade, implying that they were acting,
in some degree of co-operation, with revolu-
tionary Franca

Joseph immediately called upon the Secreta-
ry of State, and informed him that far from *
complaining of the arrest of persons who had
assumed the French cockade, he came to make
the definite request that he would arrest all
such persons who were not in the service of
the French legation. He also informed the
secretary that six individuals had taken refuge
within his jurisdiction. At Home the residen-
ces of the foreign ambassadors enjoyed the
privilege of sanctuary in common with most


Duphot's contemplated Marriage.

of the churches. Joseph informed the secreta-
ry, that if those who had taken refuge in his
palace were of the insurgents, they should be
given up. As he returned to his residence he
found General Duphot, a very distinguished
French officer, who the next day was to be
married to Joseph's wife's sister, and several
other French gentlemen, eagerly conversing
upon the folly of the past night. Just as they
were sitting down to dinner, the porter inform-
ed him that some twenty persons were endeav-
oring to enter the palace, and that they were
distributing French cockades to the passers-by,
and were shouting " Live the Republic." One
of these revolutionists, a French artist, burst
like a maniac into the presence of the ambas-
sador, exclaiming " We are free, and have come
to demand the support of France."

Joseph sternly reproved him for his sense-
less conduct, and ordered him to retire imme-
diately from the protection of the Embassy, and
to take his comrades with him, or severe meas-
ures would be resorted to. One of the officers
said to the artist scornfully, " Where would
your pretended liberty be, should the governor
of the city open fire upon you ?"

The artist retired in confusion. But the tu-


Invasion of the Palace.

mult around the palace increased. Joseph's
friends saw, in the midst of the mob, well-known
spies of the Government urging them on, shout-
ing Vive la Republique, and scattering money with
a liberal hand. The insurgents were availing
themselves of the palace of the French ambas-
sador as theirplace of rendezvous, and where, if
need be, they hoped to find a sanctuary. Joseph
took the insignia of his office, and calling upon
the officers of his household to follow him, de-
scended into the court, intending to address the
mob, as he spoke their language. In leaving
the cabinet, they heard a prolonged discharge
of fire-arms. It was from the troops of the Gov-
ernment ; a picket of cavalry, in violation of the
established usages of national courtesy, had in-
vaded the j urisdiction of the French ambassador,
which, protected by his flag, was regarded as the
soil of France, and, without consulting the am-
bassador, were discharging volleys of musket-
ry through the three vast arches of the palace.
Many dropped dead ; others fell wounded and
bleeding. The terrified crowd precipitated it-
self into the courts and on the stairs, pursued
by the avenging bullets of the Government.
Joseph and his friends, as they boldly forced
their way through the flying multitude, en


Account of the Insurrection.

countered the dying and the dead, and not a
few Government spies, who they knew were
paid to excite the insurrection and then to de-
nounce the movement to the authorities.

Just as they were stepping out of the vesti
bule they met a company of fusileers who had
followed the cavalry. At the sight of the
French ambassador they stopped. Joseph de-
manded the commander. He, conscious of the
lawlessness of his proceedings, had concealed
himself in the ranks, and could not be distin-
guished. He then demanded of the troops by
whose order they entered upon the jurisdiction
of France, and commanded them to retire. A
scene of confusion ensued, some advancing, oth-
ers retiring. Joseph then facing them, said, in
a very decisive tone, " that the first one who
should attempt to pass the middle of the court
would encounter trouble."

He drew his sword, and Generals Duphot and
Sherlock and two other officers of his escort,
armed with swords or pistols and poniards,
ranged themselves at his side to resist their ad-
vance. The musketeers retired just beyond
pistol-shot, and then deliberately fired a general
discharge in the direction of Joseph and his
friends. None of the party immediately sur-


Death of Duphot

rounding the ambassador were struck, but sev-
eral were killed in their rear.

Joseph, with General Duphot, boldly ad-
vanced as the soldiers were reloading their
muskets, and ordered them to retire from the
jurisdiction of France, saying that the ambas-
sador would charge himself with the punish-
ment of the insurgents, and that he would im-
mediately Bend one of his own officers to the
Vatican or to the Governor of Rome, and that
the affair would thus be settled. The soldiers
seemed to pay no regard to this, and continued
loading their muskets. General Duphot, one of
the most brave and impetuous of men, leaped
forward into the midst of the bayonets of the
soldiers, prevented one from loading and struck
up the gun of another, who was just upon the
point of firing. Joseph and General Sherlock,
as by instinct, followed him.

Some of the soldiers seized General Duphot,
dragged him rudely beyond the sacred pre-
cincts of the ambassador's palace and the flag of
France, and then a soldier discharged a musket
into his bosom. The heroic general fell, and
immediately painfully rose, leaning upon his
sabre. Joseph, who witnessed it all, in the
midst of this scene of indescribable confusion


Peril of Joseph.

called out to his friend, who the next day was
to be his brother-in-law, to return. General
Duphot attempted it, when a second shot pros
trated him upon the pavement. More than
fifty shots were then discharged into his lifeless

The soldiers now directed their fire upon
Joseph and General Sherlock. Fortunately
there was a door through which they escaped
into the garden of the palace, where they were
for a moment sheltered from the bullets of the
assassins. Another company of Government
troops had now arrived, and was firing from
the other side of the street. Two French offi-
cers, from whom Joseph had been separated,
now joined him and General Sherlock in the
garden. There was nothing to prevent the sol-
diers from entering the palace, where Joseph's
wife and her sister, who the next day was to
have become the wife of General Duphot, were
trembling in terror. Joseph and his friends re-
gained the palace by the side of the garden.
The court was now filled with the soldiers,
and with the insurgents who had so foolishly
and ignominiously caused this horrible scene.
Twenty of the insurgents lay dead upon the


Note to Talleyrand.

"I entered the palace," Joseph writes in
his dispatch to Talleyrand ; " the walks were
covered with blood, with the dying, dragging
themselves along, and with the wounded, loudly
groaning. We closed the three gates fronting
upon the street. The lamentations of the be-
trothed of Duphot, that young hero who, con-
stantly in the advance-guard of the armies of
the Pyrenees and of Italy, had always been vic-
torious, butchered by cowardly brigands ; the
absence of her mother and of her brother,
whom curiosity had drawn from the palace to
see the monuments of Rome ; the fusillade which
continued in the streets, and against the gates
of the palace ; the outer apartments of the vast
palace of Corsini, which I inhabited, thronged
with people of whose intentions we were igno-
rant: these circumstances and many others ren-
dered the scene inconceivably cruel."

Joseph immediately summoned the servants
of the household around him. Three had been
wounded. The French officers, impelled by
an instinct of national pride, heroically emerged
from the palace, with the aid of these domestics,
to rescue the body of their unfortunate general
Taking a circuitous route, notwithstanding the
fusillade which was still continued, they sue-


Imbecility of the Papal Government.

ceeded in reaching the spot of his cowardly as-
sassination. There they found the remains of
this truly noble young man, despoiled, pierced
with bullets, clotted with blood, and covered
with stones which had been thrown upon him.

It was six o'clock in the evening. Two
hours had elapsed since the assassination of
Duphot ; and yet not a member of the .Eoman
Grovernment had appeared at the palace to
bring protection or to restore order. Joseph
was, properly, very indignant, and resolved at
once to call for his passports and leave the city.
He wrote a brief note to the Secretary of State,
and sent it by a faithful domestic, who succeed-
ed in the darkness in passing through the crowd
of soldiers. As the firing was still continued,
Joseph and his friends anxiously watched the
messenger from the attic windows of the palace
till he was lost from sight.

An hour passed, and some one was heard
knocking at the gate with repeated blows.
They supposed that it was certainly the gov-
ernor or some Roman officer of commanding
authority. It proved to be Chevalier Angio-
lini, minister from Tuscany, the envoy of a
prince who was in friendly alliance with the
French Republic. As he passed through the


The Ministers of Tuscany and Spain.

soldiery they stopped his carriage, and sarcas-
tically asked him " if he were in search of
dangers and bullet-wounds." He courageous-
ly and reproachfully replied, " There can be
no such dangers in Rome within the jurisdic-
tion of the ambassador of France." This was
a severe reproach against the officers of a na-
tion who were indebted to the moderation of
the French Republic for their continued polit-
ical existence. The minister of Spain soon also
presented himself, braving all the dangers of
the street, which were truly very great. They
were both astonished that no public officer
had arrived, and expressed much indignation
in view of the violation of the rights of the

Ten o'clock arrived, and still no public offi-
cer had made his appearance. Joseph wrote
a second letter to the cardinal. An answer
now came, which was soon followed by an offi-
cer and about forty men, who said that they
had been sent to protect the ambassador's com-
munications with the Secretary of State. But
they had no authority or power to rescue the
palace from the insurgents, who were crowd-
ed into one part of it, and from the Govern-
ment troops, who occupied another part. No


Joseph leaves Rome.

attention had been paid to Joseph's reitera-
ted demands for the liberation of the palace
from the dominion of the insurgents and the

Joseph then wrote to the secretary, demand
Ing immediately his passport. It was sent to
him two hours after midnight At six o'clock
in the morning, fourteen hours after the assas-
sination of General Duphot, the investment of
the palace by the troops and the massacre of
the people who had crowded into it, not a sin-
gle Eoman officer had made his appearance
charged by the Government to investigate the
state of affairs.

Joseph, after having secured the safety of
the few French remaining at Rome, left for
Tuscany, and in a dispatch to the French Gov-
ernment minutely detailed the events which
had occurred. In the conclusion of his dis-
patch he wrote:

" This Government is not inconsistent with
itself. Crafty and rash in perpetrating crime,
cowardly and fawning when it has been com-
mitted, it is to-day upon its knees before the
minister Azara, that he may go to Florence
and induce me to return to Rome. So writes
to me that generous friend of France, worthy



Letter of Talleyrand.

of dwelling in a land where his virtues and his
noble loyalty may be better appreciated."

In reply to this dispatch the French minis-
ter, Talleyrand, wrote to Joseph, "I have re-
ceived, citizen, the heart-rending letter which
you have written me upon the frightful events
which transpired at Rome on the 28th of De-
cember. Notwithstanding the care which you
have taken to conceal every thing personal to
yourself during that horrible day, you have
not been able to conceal from me that you
have manifested, in the highest degree, courage,
coolness, and that intelligence which nothing
can escape ; and that you have sustained with
magnanimity the honor of the French name.
The Directory charges me to express to you,
in the strongest and most impressive terms, its
extreme satisfaction with your whole conduct.
You will readily believe, I trust, that I am hap-
py to be the organ of these sentiments."


Elected to the Council of Five Hundred




OSEPH, after a short tarry at Florence, re-
turned to Paris, where he again met his
brother. Napoleon was much disappointed
with the result of the embassy to Eome, for
he had ardently hoped to cultivate the most
friendly relations with that power. Joseph
was favored with a long interview with the
Directory, by whom he was received with
great cordiality. In testimony of their satis-
faction, they offered him the embassy to Ber-
lin. He, however, declined the appointment,
as he preferred to enter the Council of Five
Hundred, to which office he had been nomina-
ted by the Electoral College of one of the de-
partments. The Government of France then
consisted of an Executive of five Directors, a
Senate, called the Council of Ancients, and a
House of Representatives, called the Council
of Five Hundred.

Preparations were now making for the ex-



Remarks of Napoleon.

pedition to Egypt. The command was offered
to Napoleon. For some time he hesitated be-
fore accepting it One day he said to his
brother Joseph,

"The Directory see me here with uneasi-
ness, notwithstanding all my efforts to throw
myself into the shade. Neither the Directory
nor I can do any thing to oppose that tenden-
cy to a more centralized government, which is
so manifestly inevitable. Our dreams of a re-
public were the illusions of youth. Since the
ninth Thermidor, 1 the Eepublican instinct has
grown weaker every day. The efforts of the
Bourbons, of foreigners, sustained by the re-
membrance of the year 1793, had reunited
against the Republican system an imposing
majority. But for the thirteenth Vendemiaire*
and the eighteenth Fructidor,* this majority

1 9th Thermidor, 28th of July, 1794. This was the date
of the overthrow of Robespierre, and of the termination of
the Reign of Terror. The enormous atrocities perpetrated
under the name of the Republic had excited general distrust
of republican institutions.

4 13th Vendemiaire, 5th of October, 1795, when Napoleon
quelled the insurgent sections.

3 18th Fructidor, 4th of September, 1 797. On this day th
majority of the French Directory overthrew the minority,
who were in favor of monarchical institutions. Sixty-thre*
Deputies were bnnished for conspiring to introduce monarchy.
Both councils renewed their oath of hatred against royalty.


Remarks of Napoleon.

would have triumphed a long time ago. The
feebleness, the dissensions of the Directory,
have done the rest. It is upon me that all
eyes are fixed to-day. To-morrow they will
be fixed upon some one else. While waiting
for that other one to appear, if he is to appear,
my interest tells me that no violence should be
done to fortune. We must leave to fortune
an open field.

" Many persons hope still in the Republic
Perhaps they have reason. I leave for the
East, with all means for success. If my coun-
try has need of me if the number of those
who think with Talleyrand, Sieyes, and Roe-
derer should increase, should war be resumed,
and prove unfriendly to the arms of France, I
shall return more sure of the opinion of the
nation. If, on the contrary, the war should be
favorable to the Republic, if a military states-
man like myself should rise and gather around
him the wishes of the people, very well, I
shall render, perhaps, still greater services to
the world in the East than he can do. I shall
probably overthrow English domination, and
shall arrive more surely at a maritime peace,
than by the demonstrations which the Direc-
tory makes upon the shores of the Channel.


Napoleon's Patriotism.

" The system of France must become that
of Europe in order to be durable. We see
thus very evidently what is required. I wish
what the nation wishes. Truly I do not know
what it wishes to-day, but we shall know bet-
ter hereafter. Till then let us study its wishes
and its necessities. I do not wish to usurp any
thing. I shall, at all events, find renown in the
East; and if that renown can be made servicea-
able to my country, I will return with it. I will
then endeavor to secure the stability of the hap-
piness of France in securing, if it is possible, the
prosperity of Europe, and extending our free
principles into neighboring states, who may be
made friends if they can profit from our mis-

" Such," says Joseph, " were the habitual
thoughts of General Bonaparte. His happi-
ness was not to depend merely upon the pos-
session of power. He wished to merit the
gratitude of his country and of posterity by his
deeds, and to conform his life to duty, sure that
it was by such renown alone that his name
could pass down to future ages."

Joseph was now a member of the Council
of Five Hundred. His brother Lucien, though
he was still very young, had also been elected


The Directory. State of Franc*.

a member of the same body. The brilliant
achievements of the young conqueror in the
East roused the enthusiasm of France. The
conquest of Malta, the landing at Alexandria,
the battle of the Pyramids, and the entrance into
Cairo, had been reported through France, rous-
ing in every hill and valley shouts of exulta-
tion. Napoleon was rapidly gaining that re-
nown which would enable him to control and
to guide his countrymen.

The Directory still nominally governed
France, though the affairs of the nation, under
their inefficiency and misrule, were passing rap-
idly to ruin. The Directors contemplated with
alarm the rising celebrity which Napoleon was
acquiring in the East. They made a formida-
ble attack upon him, through a committee, in
the Council of Five Hundred. Joseph defend-
ed his absent brother with so much eloquence
and power, as to confound his accusers, and he
obtained a unanimous verdict in his favor.

The state of things in France was now
very deplorable. The Allies with vigor had
renewed the war. The Austrian armies had
again overrun Italy, and were threatening to
scale the Alps, and to rush down upon the
plains of France. The British fleet, the most


Anarchy. Joseph sends to Napoleon.

powerful military arm the world has ever
known, had swept the commerce of France
from all seas, had captured many of her colo-
nies, and was bombarding, with shot and shell,
every city of the Kepublic within reach of its
broadsides. The five Directors were quarrel-
ling among themselves, some favoring monar-
chy, others republicanism. The two councils,
that of the Ancients and that of the Five Hun-
dred, were at antagonism. Many formidable
conspiracies were formed, some for the support
of the Allies and the restoration of the Bour-
bons, others for the re-introduction of the Jac-
obinical Keign of Terror.

France was in a state of general anarchy.
There was no man of sufficient celebrity to gain
the confidence of the people, so that he could
assume the office of leader, and bring order out
of chaos. The once mighty monarchy of France
was in the condition of a mob, without a head,
careering this way and that way, in tumultuous
and inextricable confusion. Joseph sent a spe-
cial messenger, a Greek by the name of Bour-

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Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottJoseph Bonaparte → online text (page 3 of 19)