Page images
PDF
EPUB

and all the allied courts *. The plenipotentiaries were not suffered to remain in the rear of the armies, which were advancing, but received an escort that conveyed them, the next day, towards Bâle. The inference to be drawn was unavoidable, for, although, as the government told the chambers, the sovereigns had not at first appeared to be agreed in the choice of a sovereign for France, yet it was clear she would not be left to choose for herself.

In sych an extremity, it would be difficult to point out what line of conduct those placed at the head of the government could pursue, except that which M. Fouché and his colleagues chose to adopt. Nothing was left for them but to save their fellow-citizens from themselves and from the foe, as Waller said of Cromwell; and the president of the executive still, in some sort, was but the chief of the national police. It is asserted, that M. Carnot inclined to attempting a protracted defence, and that a dispute arose between him and the president, which was carried on in terms of no little asperity. Paris was in. defensible. M. Carnot and the chiefs of the army, together with the chambers, might have

The imperial gazette of the 10th of July gives a pretended copy of that note, in which a positive demand is made for the person of Napoleon.

taken post in the departments; but such a desperation was not to be expected, after Napoleon himself, and his second in command, had been the first to succumb under the panic. The commission of government, although they might be justified in keeping back the knowledge of the intentions of the allied sovereigns for purposes of public tranquillity, did their duty in telling the plain truth in their last communication to the chambers, and in putting their dissolution on the right footing; a submission to the laws of conquest, and to the exertion of force. They were right in talking of the king as the sovereign chosen for them by the allies, although, I see, the Courier of the 11th denies that there was ever any difference of opinion between the monarchs, as to the person whom they should desire to see replaced on the throne of France. But the remainder of the official article in this authentic journal is astounding. “ And we know, also, that nothing has passed “ in the conferences which have preceded or “ followed the entry of the allies into Paris, qui « soit en contravention aux declarations publiées anterieurement par les alliés, pur lesquelles ils avaient annoncé ne vouloir point imposer à la ss France un gouvernement interieur qui ne lui conviendrait pas." I quote without the original, and am therefore almost incredulous of such an audacious assertion being contained in the English text. What! did the allies, in their original declaration, say any thing of this suitable interior government? Was not the objection to the eighth article founded upon the principle of the rights of nations to choose their own government and governor, without the interposition of foreigners, pretending to judge of the suitableness of such king or constitution ? According to this modification of the declaration, it is impossible to say, that the allied sovereigns might not lop off some of the excrescences of France, and lower the temperament of her remaining members, by copious phlebotomy, and reducing diet, and wholesome restraint, such a treatment being judged suitable for her dangerous plethora. After the deposition of Napoleon, France implored of these conquerors only one favour—to be .permitted to be independent. The response was like that of the generous soldier, who, hearing an enemy, on his knees before him, beg for his life, exclaimed, Demandez toute autre chosemais pour votre vie, il n'y a pas moyen.The writer of this positive assurance means, then, that the allies are to judge of the interior government suitable for France, and, I presume, that with the kindest views towards this propriety and excel,

VOL. II.

lence of adaptation, he thinks Louis has been helped to the throne of France. He will not have the boldness to say, that monarch was not imposed upon his subjects,

LETTER XXXVII.

Thursday, July 20.

On the day the allies occupied the barriers, it was notified that Napoleon had passed through Niort on the morning of the 2d of July, and three days afterwards it was known that he had reached Rochefort. Since that period no notice was taken of him in any of the public journals until the 16th, when the evening papers proclaimed the departure of Napoleon Bonaparte from Rochefort. This was not confirmed until the 18th, when the fact of his having surrendered himself to the Bellerophon, to which he was pursued by two royalist prefects, was announced in the Moniteur in the following terms:

Des mesures avaient été prises pour prévenir l'evasion de Napoléon Bonaparte; on verra par l'extrait suivant, d'une lettre du prefet maritime de Rochefort, à son excellence le ministre de la « marine, que le résultat a été tel qu'on avait lieu de l'espérer.

« PreviousContinue »