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^HE LIFE



OF



* NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE



BY



WILLIAM llAZLITT.

»/

REVISED BY HIS SON.



IN FOUR VOLUMES.

VOL. IIL



LONDON:

OFFICE OF THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON LIBRARY,

227, STRAND.

MDCCCLIl.



riSAAC FOOT f
LIBRARY



PR

Y^Kfi, CONTENTS

THE THIRD VOLUME.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

PA(iE

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EMPIRE 1

CHAPTER XXXV.

BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ . 22

CHAPTER XXXVI.

THE TREATY OP PRESBURG 47

CHAPTER XXXVII.

BATTLE OF JENA .\ND ENTRANCE INTO BERLIN . . 6S

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

BATTLES OF EYLAU AND FRIEDLAND, AND PEACE OF

TILSIT 85

CHAPTER XXXIX.

AFFAIRS OF SPAIN ,^ 108

CHAPTER XL.

AFFAIRS OF SPAIN (CONTINUED) 135



iv CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XLI.

PAOB

CAMPAIGN IN 1809 165

CHAPIER XLII.

napoleon's divorce from JOSEPHINE AND MAR-
RIAGE WITH MARIE-LOUISE 188

CHAPTER XLIII.

EXPEDITION INTO RUSSIA 209

CHAPTER XLIV.

EXPEDITION INTO RUSSIA (CONTINUED) 243

CHAPTER XLV.

BATTLE OF THE MOSKWA — RETREAT OF THE RUS-
SIANS ON MOSCOW 264

CHAPTER XLVI.

BURNING OF MOSCOW 279

CHAPTER XLVII.

THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW 297

CHAPTER XL VIII.

THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW (CONTINUED) .... 323

CHAPTER XLIX.

CAMPAIGN IN SAXONY IN 1813 363

CHAPTER L.

THE BATTLE OF LEIPSTC 3^7



THE



LIFE OF NAPOLEON.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EMPIRE.

Efltablishment of the French empire ; origin of the design ; the First
Consul becomes Emperor by a nearly unanimous vote of the
people ; his inauguration ; sets out for Boulogne ; joins the em-
press at Belgium, and visits Mentz ; returns to Paris ; prepara-
tions for the coi'onation ; arrival of the Pope to perform the cere-
mony ; his reception by Napoleon ; the coronation ; Lombardy
erected into a kingdom, witli Buonaparte for its emperor ; is
crowned at Milan ; Napoleon returns through Italy by Genoa, to
his capital ; his private habits and mode of life.

There is sometliing in the form of monarchy tliat
seems vastly adapted to the constitution and weak-
nesses of human nature. It as it were puts a stop
by a specific barrier to the tormenting strife and
restless importunity of the passions in individuals,
and at the same time happily discharges the under-
standing of all the labour and turmoil of its concern
for the public good. The crown, the emblem of
precedence and sovereignty, for which all are con-
tending, is snatched from the reach of all to be placed
on the brow of a baby yet unborn ; the troublesome
differences of right and wrong, which produce such
infinite agitation of opinion and convulse the bosom
of states, are set at rest by the maxim that the king
can do no wrong ; and a power whose origin is lost in
the distance of time and that acts upon no other
warrant than its own will, seems in a manner self-
VOL. III. B



2 LIFE OF NAPOLEON.

existent, and baffles alike resistance or censiu'e. Once
substitute the lineal distinctions of legitimacy and
illegitimacy for those of right and wrong, and the
world, instead of being turned upside down, runs on
in a smooth and invariable course. That a thing is,
is much easier to determine than whether it is good
or bad ; and the first question is the only one at stake
in a monarchy ; it is the last that is always pending
in commonwealths, that makes them so difficult of
establishment and so soon unhinges them. Lc Roi
le veut stops all mouths ; and if we only admit that
Avhatever is, is right, there is nothing more to be done,
neither good nor hann ; though there may be a great
deal of the latter to be suffered. A name, a prejudice,
a custom are self-evident things : tlie inquiry after
truth and good is " long, obscure, and infinite." If a
ray of light breaks in upon it, it does not penetrate
the mass of ignorance and folly ; or if the flame of
liberty is kindled it is extinguished by the sword. A
hundred freemen only differ with and defeat one ano-
ther ; ninety-nine slaves follow one t}Tant, and act all
together. Whatever is great and good is seated on a
steep ascent ; the base and selfish is placed on an
inclined plane below. If in this disadvantage of the
ground on which the cause of improvement and eman-
cipation rests, we can keep it susjDended halfway down,
or from being ^precipitated with scorn and loud im-
precations into the abyss, it is doing something.

Let any one look at those four men in the last
chapter, the first of them one of the earhest defenders
and earliest betrayers of the Republic ; the second who
had formerly denounced him now courted by him to
league with a third, an assassin, outlaw, and desperado
in the royal cause, whose ignorance and incapacity
to conceive of any thing else made him true to his first
engagements, against a fourth who excited the envy
and resentment of the two first for having outstripped
them in the career of popularity and power, and was
obnoxious to the hatred and vengeance of the tbird
for being a main obstacle to the return of the



THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EMPIRE. 3

Bourbons. And then I would ask, in this state of
things, when reason, patriotism was divided against
itself and torn in a thousand pieces, when the
blindfold and furious bigot was alone faithful, and
when the great principle of the Revolution found its
firmest support and most unflinching ally in pei'sonal
aggrandisement and soaring ambition, that preferred
grasping at the supreme authority itself sooner than
let it revert into the old, impure channels : I would
ask, in this state of things, what better could be hoped
by the most sanguine than to gain time, to hurl back
and set at defiance to the uttermost that abomination of
abominations, the evils of an endless strus^orle with which
had almost made the thing itself seem endurable, and to
make a drawn battle for the present, a compromise
between the establishment of a great principle in
theory, and the imperfect adherence to it in practice ?
Those who are most sincerely and unalterably attached
to the rule will not be most apt to take umbrage
at the departure from it, for still it was in the nature
of an exception, and not the admission of the opposite
doctrine. " Entire affection scorneth nicer hands."
Mr. Landor, whom I conceive to be capable of all the
fervour and steadiness of the love of liberty and hatred
of tyranny, says, that " the two worst crimes of the
Revolution were the death of Malesherbes and the
coronation of Buonaparte." I do not see that point
with his eyes. I have nowhere in any thing I may
have written declared myself to be a Republican ; nor
should I think it worth while to be a martjn: and a
confessor to any form or mode of government. But
what I have staked health and wealth, name and
fame upon, and am ready to do so again and to the
last gasp, is this, that there is a power in the people
to change its government and its governors. That is,
I am a Revolutionist : for otherwise, I must allow that
mankind are but a herd of slaves, the property of
thrones, that no tyranny or insult can lawfully goad
them to a resistance to a particular family, or impair

b2



4 LIFE OF NAPOLEON

in any possible degree the sacred and inalienable
right of insolent, unmitigated control over them ; —
and it is not in the power of mortal man to bring me
to that acknowledgment on the part of myself and
my fellows. This is the only remedy mankind have
against oppression : if this is not enough, yet I am
contented with it. While this right remains in force,
not va-itten indeed in the preambles of acts of par-
liament, but engraved in a nation's history, proved
in the heraldry of its kings, a country may call itself
free. The French changed from a monarchy to a
republic, and from a republic to the empire, but they
changed in either case ; nor was the breach made in
the doctrine of passive obedience and hereditary right
any more healed or soldered up by this means, than
if at the time of the beheading of Louis XVI. they
had sent to a needy German Elector, or to the Prince
of Orange to succeed him with the same title and
with certain conditions of their own. If the new
dynasty ever became a race of rois faineans, existing
only for themselves, or to injure and molest the people,
they would have the highest example and authority
to expel and overturn them. The change of the form
of government might be considered as an advance
towards an accommodation with the old aristocracies ;
but they did not receive it so either at first or at hast.
On the contrary, if the reign of terror excited their
fears and horror, the establishment of the Emj)ire
under Buonaparte seemed even a gi-eater affront and
encroachment on their pride and privileges ; and so far
from being an atonement for the ravages of Jacobin-
ism, was the seal and consummation of them. The
fellowship l^etween him and the allies was that between
the panther and the wolf. If they did not consider
him as the legitimate successor of Louis XVI. and as
having stopped up the volcano of the French Revolu-
tion, neither can I : if they still looked upon him as
one of the people raised by their choice, or who had
usurped that power, so must I ; for it was only by



THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EMPIRE. 5

their triumph over him that that image of the " divine
and human majesty" joined together and hallowed by
prejudice and superstition could be restored, of which
no efforts of his could produce more than a splendid
and mortifying counterfeit — if mortifying to repub-
lican stoicism, how much more so to royal fortitude !
The balance of the account, if not quite on our side,
was not quite and for ever closed against us.

The repeated attempts made against the life of the
Fhst Consul gave a handle for following up the design,
which had been for some time agitated, of raising him
to the imperial throne and making the dignity here-
ditary in his family. Not that indeed this would
secure him from personal danger, though it is true
that " there's a divinity doth hedge a king ;" but it
lessened the temptation to the enterprise and allayed
a part of the public disquietude by providing a suc-
cessor. All or the greater part were satisfied (either
from reason, indolence, or the fear of worse) with
what had been gained by the Revolution ; and did
not wish to see it launch out again from the port in
which it had taken shelter to seek the perils of new
storms and quicksands. If prudence had some share
in this measure, there can be little doubt that vanity
and cowardice had theirs also — or that there was a
lurking desire to conform to the Gothic dialect of
civilized Europe in forms of speech and titles, and to
adorn the steel arm of the Republic with embroidered
drapery and gold-tissue. The imitation, though pro-
bably not without its effect,* would look more like a
burlesque to those whom it was intended to please,
and could hardly flatter the just pride of those by
whom it was undertaken. The old Republican party
made some stand : the Emigrants showed great zeal
for it, partly real, partly affected. Fouche canvassed
the senate and the men of the Revolution, and was
soon placed in consequence at the head of the police,

* For instance, would the Emperor of Austria have married his
daughter to Buonaparte if he had beeu only First Consul '<



6 LIFE OF NAPOLEON.

which was restored, as it was thought that fresh in-
trigues might break out on the occasion. The army
gave the first impulse, as was but natural ; to them
the change of style from Imperator to Emjperor was
but slight. All ranks and classes followed when the
example was once set: the most obscure hamlets
joined in the addresses; the First Consul received
wagon-loads of them. A register for the reception of
votes for or against the question was opened in every
parish in France ; from Antwerp to Perpignan, from
Brest to Mont Cenis. The proces-verhal of all these
votes was laid up in the archives of the senate, who
Avent in a body from Paris to St. Cloud to present it
, to the First Consul. The second Consul, Cambaceres,
read a speech, concluding with a summary of the
number of votes ; whereupon he in a loud voice pro-
claimed Napoleon Buonaparte Emperor of the French.
The senators, placed in a line facing him, vied \vith
each other in repeating Vive V Emiiereur ! and re-
turned with all the outward signs of joy to Paris,
where people were already -writing epitaphs on the
Eepublic* Happy they whom epitaphs on the dead
console for the loss of them ! This was the time, if
ever, when they ought to have opposed him, and
prescribed limits to his power and ambition, and not
when he returned weather-beaten and winter-flawed
from Russia. But it was more in character for these
persons to cringe when spirit was wanted, and to show
it when it was fatal to him and to themselves.

Thus then the First Consvil became Emperor by a
majority of two millions some hundred thousand votes
to a few hundreds. The number of votes is complained
of by some persons as too small. Probably they may
think that if the same number had been against the
measure instead of being for it, this would have con-
ferred aright as being in opposition to and in contempt
of the choice of the people. What other candidate

* M. Cambaceres waf? said to be tbe first "qui cira (Sir) les bottos
de Buonaparte"— grea^sed his boots, or Sired him.



THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EMPIRE. 7

was there that would have got a hundred? What
other competitor could indeed have come forward on
the score of merit ? Detur optlmo. Birth there was
not : but birth supersedes both choice and merit. The
day after the inauguration, Buonaparte received the
constituted bodies, the learned corporations, &c. The
only strife was who should bow the knee the lowest
to the new-risen sun. The troops while taking the
oath rent the air with shouts of enthusiasm. The
succeeding days witnessed the nomination of the new
dignitaries, marshals, and all the usual appendages of
a throne, as well with reference to the military ap-
pointments as to the high offices of the crown. On
the 14th of July, the first distribution of the crosses
of the Legion of Honour took place ; and Napoleon
set out for Boulogne to review the troops stationed in
the neighbourhood and distribute the decorations of
the Legion of Honour among them, which thence-
forth were substituted for weapons of honour, which
had been previously awarded ever since the first war
in Italy.

The Emperor arrogated nothing to himself in con-
sequence of the change in his situation. He had
assumed the mock-majesty of kings, and had taken
his station among the lords of the earth ; but he was
still himself, and his throne still stood afar off in the
field of battle. He appeared little more conscious of
his regal style and title, than if he had put on a mas-
querade-dress the evening before, of which if he was
not ashamed (as it was a thing of custom) he had no
reason to be proud ; and he applied himself to his
different avocations with the same zeal and activity as
if nothing extraordinary had happened. He thought
much less, it was evident, of all these new honours
than of the prosecution of his operations at Boulogne,
on which he laboured incessantly. The remoteness
or doubtfulness of success did not relax his efforts,
having once determined on the attempt, all the inter-
mediate exertions between the will and its accomp lish-



8 LIFE OF NAPOLEON.

inent with him went for nothing, any more than so
much hoHday recreation. Something more of the
vis inertia] would have ahayed this inordinate impor-
tunity of vohmtary po^ver, and led to greater security
and repose.

From Boulogne the Emperor went a second time
to Belgium, where the EmjDress joined him ; they
occupied the palace of Lacken near Brussels, which
had formerly belonged to the Archduke Charles.
He this time extended his journey to the Rhine ; and
from Mentz he dispatched General CafFarelli to Rome
to arrange the visit of the Pope to Paris. It was
from Mentz likewise he sent orders for the departure
of the Toulon and Rochefort squadrons as a first step
towards carrying into effect the invasion of England ;
but owing to unforeseen circumstances, it was winter
before they sailed.

Buonaparte returned from his tour at the end of
October ; his attention was engaged during the month
of November with the preparations for the coronation,
the Pope ha^dng set out from Rome for the purpose
of performing the ceremony. The court was ordered
to Fontainebleau to receive him, the palace there
which had fallen into ruins having been repaired and
newly fitted up by Napoleon. He went to meet the
Pope at Nemours ; and to avoid fonnality, the pretext
of a hunting party was made use of, the Emperor
coming on horseback and in a hunting-dress, with his
retinue, to the top of the hill, where the meeting took
place. The Pope's carriage drawing up, he got out at
the left door in his white costume ; the ground was
dirty, and he did not like to tread upon it with his
white silk shoes, but was at last obliged to do so.
Napoleon alighted from his horse to receive him.
They embraced. The Emperor's carriage had been
driven up and advanced a few paces, as if by accident ;
but men were posted to hold the two doors open, and
at the moment of getting in, the Emperor took the
right door, and an officer of the court handed the



THE ESTABLISEMENT OF THE EMPIEE. 9

Pope to the left, so that they entered the carriage by
the two doors at the same moment. The Emperor
naturally seated himself on the right ; and this first
step decided without negotiation upon the etiquette
to he observed during the whole time of the Pope's
stay at Paris. This interview and Buonaparte's be-
haviour was the very highest act and acme of audacity.
It is comparable to nothing but the meeting of Priam
and Achilles ; or a joining of hands between the
youth and the old age of the world. If Pope Pius
VII. represented the decay of ancient superstition,
Buonaparte represented the high and palmy state of
modern opinion ; yet not insulting over but propping
the fall of the first. There were concessions on both
sides, from the oldest power on earth to the newest,
which in its turn asserted precedence for the strongest.
In point of birth there was no difference, for theocracy
stoops to the dregs of earth, as democracy springs
from it ; but the Pope bowed his head from the rains
of the longest-established authority in Christendom,
Buonaparte had himself raised the platform of
personal elevation on which he stood to meet him.
To us the condescension may seem all on one side, .
the presumption on the other ; but history is a long
and cvradual ascent, where sfreat actions and characters
in time leave borrowed pomp behind and at an im-
measurable distance below them ! After resting at
Fontainebleau, the Emperor returned to Paris ; the
Pope, who set out first and was received with
sovereign honours on the road, was escorted to the
Tuileries and was treated the whole time of his resi-
dence there as if at home. The novelty of his situa-
tion and appearance at Paris excited general interest
and curiosity ; and his deportment, besides its flowing
from the natural mildness of his character, was marked
by that fine tact and sense of propriety which the air
of the ancient mistress of the world is known to inspire.
Manners have there half maintained the empire which
opinion had lost. The Poj^e was flattered by his re-



10 LIFE OF NAPOLEON.

ception and the sentiments of respect and good-will
his presence seemed everywhere to create, and gave
very gracious audiences to the religious corporations
which were presented to him, and which were at this
time but few in number. To meet this imposing
display of pomp and ceremony, Buonaparte was in a
manner obliged to oppose a host of ecclesiastics, of
old and new nobility, and to draw the lines of form
and etiquette closer round him, so as to make the
access of old friends and opinions less easy. This
effect of the new forms and ceremonies was at least
complained of ; but if they thus early kept out his
friends, they did not in the end keep out his enemies.
The day fixed for the coronation arrived. It was
the 2nd of December, 1804. Notwithstanding the
unfavourableness of the weather, the assemblage of
the deputations from all the departments, from all
the chief towns, and all the regiments of the army,
joined to all the public functionaries of France, to all
the generals, and to the whole population of the
capital, presented a fine and imposing sight. The
interior of the church of Notre-Dame had been mag-
nificently embellished ; galleries and pews erected for
the occasion were thronged with a prodigious con-
course of spectators. The imperial throne was placed
at one end of the nave, on a very elevated platform ;
that of the Pope was in the choir, beside the high
altar. I am not averse to be thus particular in pre-
serving " the memory of what has been, and never
more will be." If these were false triumphs and
false pomps of that cause which was ever next my
heart (since a little child I knelt and lifted up my
hands in prayer for it), they were better than the total
ruin and grinning infamy that afterwards befel it.
The Pope (who was made the antic of the day) set
out from the Tuileries, preceded by his chamberlain
on an ass (which there was some difficulty in procur-
ing at the moment), and who kept his countenance
with an admhable gravity through tlie crowds of ob-



THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EMPIRE. 11

servers that lined the streets. The Pope arriving at
the archiepiscopal palace, repaired to the choir of the
cathedral by a private entrance.

The Emperor set out Avith the Empress by the
CaiTOUsel. In getting into the carriage, which was
open all round and without panels, they at first seated
themselves with their backs to the horses — a mistake
which, though instantly rectified, was remarked as
ominous; and it had all the ominousness which hangs
over new power or custom. The procession passed
along the Rue St. Honore to that of the Lombards,
then to the Pont au Change, the Palace of Justice,
the court of Notre-Dame, and the entrance to the
archiepiscopal palace. Here rooms were prepared for
the whole of the attendants, some of whom appeared
dressed in their civil costumes, others in full uniform.
On the outside of the church had been erected a
long wooden gallery from the archbishop's palace to
the entrance of the church. By this gallery came
the Emperor's retinue, which presented a truly mag-
nificent sight. They had taunted us with our sim-
plicity and homeliness ; well, then, here was the
answer to it. The procession was led by the already
numerous body of courtiers ; next came the marshals
of the empire, Avearing their badges of honour ; then
the dignitaries and high officers of the crown ; and
lastly, the Emperor in a gorgeous state- dress. At
the moment of his entering the cathedral, there was
a simultaneous shout, which resembled one vast ex-
plosion, of Vive V Empeveur. The immense quantity
of figures to be seen on each side of so vast an edifice
formed a tapestry of the most striking kind. The
procession passed along the middle of the nave, and
arrived at the choir facing the high altar. This part
of the spectacle was not the least imposing. The
galleries round the choir were filled Avith the hand-
somest Avomen which France could boast, and most
of whom surpassed in the lustre of their beauty that
of the rich jeAvels Avith Avhich they Avere adorned.



12 LIFE OF NAPOLEON.

His holiness then went to meet the Emperor at a
desk, which had been placed in the middle of the choir ;
there was another on one side for the Empress. After
saying a short prayer there, they returned, and seated
themselves on the throne at the end of the church
facing the choir : there they heard mass, which was said
by the Pope. They went to make the offering, and
came back ; they then descended from the platform
of the throne, and walked in procession to receive
the holy unction. The Emperor and Empress, on
reaching the choir, replaced themselves at their
desks, where the Pope performed the ceremony. He
presented the crown to the Emperor, Avho received
it, put it himself upon his own head, took it off,
placed it on that of the Empress, removed it again,
and laid it on the cushion where it was at first. A
smaller crown was immediately put upon the head
of the Empress, who being surrounded by her ladies,
everything was done so quickly that nobody was



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