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better judgment to hazard the experiment. In this case, consent is not to be distinguished from conviction-the fault and the consequence are the same.
They reached Philipville at five in the morning. Arriving at Paris, Napoleon repaired to the Elysée : he sent for the minister of war.
The marshal attended the summons, and found him in his bath: he was eating a bouillon, and saluted the minister with the information that he wanted 300,000 men, and more money. He had taken 12,000,000 of francs, partly his own treasure, in specie, into Belgium ; intending to open the war magnificently, and to pay for every thing on demand: nearly the whole was seized, with the imperial equipages, by the Prussians. The marshal's answer was not satisfactory, and the Emperor ordered a council of ministers to be called. It is said, that in the meanwhile, Prince Lucien recommended him instantly to return to the
army, and in case of any refractory conduct on the part of the chambers to leave them to the disposal of a battalion. When the council assembled, the Emperor was plainly told by some of them that he must abdicate. Two of the members of the chamber of representatives, one of them being his own minister, Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely, and the other the General Solignac, urged the same measure. Napoleon started at the word, and turned pale, and at first gave them positively to understand that he would never comply. His words were to this purport, -“ I do not think that things are come to that extremity." But he soon recovered himself, and entered calmly into the discussion ; which ended in a determination to feel the pulse of the two chambers, by a communication through the ministers and Prince Lucien.
That transaction you are already acquainted with, and have seen that neither from the representatives nor the peers could Napoleon promise himself any hopes even of a respectable minority to enable him to repair his fault. The conduct of the chambers convinced the majority oshisministers, who assembled in full council during the night, that the abdication was inevitable; and however inclined some of them might have been to adjourn the chambers, rather than dethrone their prince, they did not proceed to a division. There was a momentary hope entertained that a dictatorship might be adopted, as a middle term; but the Emperor did not encourage that expedient, which was dropped almost as soon as proposed. The declaration that the chamber of representatives was indissoluble; the obtruded visit of Mr. Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely and General Solignac, with the painful advice of an immediate retreat from the throne; the speech of Mr. Jai in the secret committee, directly proposing that measure ; every consideration and appearance seemed to show, that without bloodshed the sceptre was not to be retained. Napoleon could not have dissolved the chamber except by employing an armed force, which would have met with opposition from the national guards. He confessed this to his personal friends; and although persuaded that the infraction of the constitution on their parts, by the declaration of their permanence, had given him the right to resort to violence, he did not for a moment contemplate the renewal of such revolutionary horrors as must have thence ensued. The measures taken by the chambers, in putting a committee of safety into activity during the night, convinced him that he must be prompt in his resolves; but when the great council broke up, at three in the morning, he had not declared his decision, although the nature of it was not difficult to be divined. Napoleon hesitated to execute that act on which he was resolved, until a repeated notification of the impatience of the chamber, in the morning sitting, convinced him that he might compromise his dignity by a longer delay. I received positive information, and
that through two intermediate persons, from Napoleon's own mouth, that actual violence was employed before he would consent to step for the last time from the throne ; and that a deputation of representatives, of whom General Marescot was one, declared they would not quit the imperial closet until the abdication was signed. But I have reason to think, that, although there is nothing out of rule in such an incident, in the last scene of a falling monarch, my informant misheard or mistook a metaphor for a fact, a comparison for a reality. The violence used by the deputies and ministers was no other than enforcing the conviction that resistance might retard but could not prevent his deposition. By mid-day he had ceased to be an Emperor-he nevertheless received the deputation of the chambers, signifying their acceptance of his abdication, in great state, surrounded by his household and ministers of state.
It appears that Napoleon, both before and some time after he had signed his abdication, hung by the hope of retaining the crown in his family. His answer to the messages of the two chambers shewed his anxiety for his son, perhaps, more prominently than became him ; for he must have known that the fact of his reminding them, that he abdicated only for
his son, would not add one figure to the chance of Napoleon the Second : indeed, it has hitherto only given occasion for the intemperate and officious zeal of M. Labédoyère. When he said, in his address to the French, “ I proclaim my son
Napoleon the Second Emperor of the French,” he erred both in form and substance: a constitutional monarch, stepping from his throne, proclaims not his successor: the constitution awards the crown, and in virtue of that constitution is the sovereign proclaimed. If the son should not succeed, this proclamation of the father will be considered as the last impotent effort of expiring usurpation. Such solicitude for his family may appear natural, but, as it was totally ineffectual, it would have contributed to the dignity of the monarch to have concealed those feelings that betrayed the man, and to have wrapt up from the public view those last emotions of humanity which lessened the decency of his fall. Napoleon so far forgot himself in this struggle, as to apprehend dangers where none could possibly exist, and to take measures for the accomplishment of his forlorn hope, and in the behalf of his son, which he had not employed for himself in his late reign. The last exercise of his authority, on the morning of the 22d, was to give orders that a British nobleman, resident at Paris,