Page images
PDF
EPUB

pital of Calabria. On his way, he met rushed upon him, and tore off his dea colonel of gens d'armes, by name corations, and he was conveyed before Trentacapelli, whom he commanded General Nanziante, the commander to follow him. The officer eluded the of Calabria, where he underwent a request, afraid, probably, of being de- short examination. tained had he given a direct refusal. News of the capture of Murat was "My king," he replied, “ shall be he carried to Naples by telegraph, and by whose fag shall be displayed on the the same expeditious means an order castle of Monteleone.". Murat per- was conveyed to the commandant of mitted him to proceed on his journey. the military district in which he had On arriving at Pizzo, Trentacapelli landed, to subject bim to a trial by found the inhabitants taking arms in martial law. His trial and condemnathe cause of Ferdinand, under com- tion were very summary; for the lot mand of Seignior Alcala, the steward of a captive and defeated pretender is of the Duke del Infantado, to whom seldom long dubious. He was found the village belongs. Colonel Trenta- guilty by the court-martial, unaniçapelli put himself at their head, and mously, of having attempted to excite hastened to pursue Murat, who was rebellion and civil war, and the presi, already half way on his journey to dent, General Nanziante, passed sen. Monteleone. With the fool-hardy in- tence of death accordingly. The jusfatuation that seems to have charac- tice of this doom is vindicated by the terized most of his measures, Joachim general law of nations; yet, considerconcluded that the strong party which ing that Murat, though now unques, advanced from Pizzo, were following tionably a private man, had been so with the purpose of joining him, and lately 'numbered among those who determined to wait their arrival. On make peace or war at their pleasure, their approach, the shout of Viva il Re a firm goveroment would have disGioachino! which was raised by his dained, and an humane monarch hesiattendants, was answered by a volley tated, to execute the sentence. It is of musketry. A smart skirmish ensued, said, accordingly, that Ferdinand exin the course of which Murat fired his pressed some scruples at signing the Jast pistol in the face of Trentacapelli, fatal warrant, until reminded that the but without killing him; and at length, unsettled state of his newly recovered breaking through the enemy, with kingdom did not permit him in pruabout twelve followers, all of whom, dence to spare the forfeit life of his save himself, were wounded, he regain- unhappy rival. The sentence of death ed, at full gallop, the sea-beach, near was executed in the same day. Murat the place where he had disembarked. made it his request that lie should be Here all hopes of escape terminated. shot by a party of his own guard, The commander of the felucca, from which was of course resused. With which he had disembarked had taken unnecessary cruelty, the Neapolitan the alarm ou hearing the firing, and, officer denied him the use of scissars giving up Murat for lost, bore away to cut off his hair, which he wished to from the coast. Joachim threw him. send to his family. At the last fatal selt into a tishing boat, and endeavour. moment he behaved with the courage ed to get it launched. The fisherman to be expected from Le beau sabreur, and his comrades pulled the boat to placed on his breast a picture of his the beach, and surrounded him. As wite, refused to bave his eyes banda last effort, he produced the passport aged, or to use a seat, received six balls for Trieste. It was too late. A female through his head, and fell without a

groan. His remains were interred in strangers; as a soldier, he led his the chapel belonging to the castle in men in person against the cannon to whose hall the execution had taken which he exposed them, and as a geplace.

neral, he never forsook his army until Thus fell Murat, who, from the it abandoned bim. The circumstanmeanest rank of society, had raised ces of his death he had himself forehimself by military courage alone,for told, when he weighed in his rashness, he wasdevoid of talents,-to the throne and instigated, probably, by the pas. of one of the most delightful coun. sions of others as well as his own, the tries in Europe. Had he made active various dangers by which he was surwar during the campaign of 1814, he rounded. " A king," he said, " who would have avoided the suspicions of could not keep his sovereignty, had Britain and Austria, or had he remain- no alternative but a soldier's death; ed at peace in the subsequent year, he and though a prison might be offered would have appeased their resentment, to him as an asylum, a grave would and, in either case, retained his rank be at no great distance." among the kingdoms of Europe. His His fall, in a political point of view, remarkable history is less striking, from was of importance to the tranquillity its being interwoven with that of Buo- of Europe;

for while Murat continued naparte, to which it forms but an epi. to live and reign, his court must have sode. Future times, however, could been the natural asylum of the disafthey forget the massacres of Septem- fected French, and, liable as Joachim ber at Paris, and the 4th of May in was to be acted upon by the insinuaMadrid, might assign to Marat a faire tions of others, there can be little er rank than his patron and relative. doubt that, at some future time, he As a king, he conferred many bene- would have adventured upon schemes fts on his subjects, and was generous of ambition for revolutionizing Italy. and hospitable in his intercourse with

CHAP. XII.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Buonaparte attempts to conciliate Foreign Powers.--His Decrees for educa.

ting Youth, and abolishing the Slave Trade.-A Plot to carry off the Empress and her child is detected at Vienna.- Versatility of the French Men of Letters.-Disputes between Buonaparte and his Ministers.Proclamations of Louis XVIII.- Activity of the Royalists of Paris.-Buonaparte pays Court to the Federates.-Their Procession and Review.-Preparations for War.-Commissioners sent into the Departments.Disinclination to the War, and Disaffection, prevail generally. Fouché's Report on these Particulars.-Buonaparte leaves the Tuilleries, and goes to the Palace of Elysee-Bour. bon.He Publishes the additional Act to the Constitutions of the Empire.Objected to as not originating with the NationAnd as being only an Appendix to the Imperial Code of Constitutions.It is generally dislikedBut subjected to the Votes of the French People. Illusory Nature of the Sanction thus obtained.-Buonaparte's Brothers arrive at Paris.--Ceremony of the Champ de Mai.-- Acceptance of the Constitution.-Delivery of the Eagles to the Troops. Meeting of the Legislative Chambers.Character of the Chamber of Peers-of Representatives.- The Chamber of Representatives disputes with Napoleon on Points of Form.-Speech of Buonaparte to the Chambers.--Address of the Peers.-Address of the Representatives.Buonaparte's Reply to that Address.

W,

HILE Murat was struggling and ably construed by some of our legissinking under his evil fate, Buona- lators, and that they were so is a comparte was actively preparing for the plete proof that Buonaparte underapproaching contest. His first at- stood the temper of our nation. To tempt, as we have already seen, was to suppose, that, during his ten months conciliate the allied powers. To satisfy of retirement, his mind was actively Great Britain, he passed an act abo- employed upon the miseries of the lishing the slave trade, and some re- negroes, or the deplorable state of iggulations concerning national educa- norance to which his own measures, tion, in which he spoke highly of the and the want of early instruction, systems of Bell and Lancaster. But had reduced the youth of France, this approximation of sentiments was would argue but little acquaintance too obviously designed to flatter Bri- with his habits of ambition. Το tish habits of thinking, to produce believe, on the contrary, that he much good effect. We have seen, would, at his first arrival in France, hat these measures were more favour. make any apparent sacrifices which might attract the good-will of his where he had spent part of the night powerful and dangerous neighbours, in preparing for the execution of the is more consonant with his schemes, plan. He imprudently offered the pohis interest, and his character. The lice such a bribe, as inferred, by its path to our esteem which he chose, amount, the importance of his private was by no means injudicious. The business in the place. The plot was abolition of negro slavery, and the discovered and prevented, and the instruction of the poor, have (to the most public steps were immediately honour of our legislature) been fre- taken, to show that Austria consider. quent and anxious subjects of delibe ed all ties with Buonaparte as dissolration in the House of Commons; and ved for ever. Maria Louisa, by her. to mankind, whether individually or father's commands, laid aside the arms collectively, no species of flattery is and liveries of her husband, hitherto more pleasing than that of assent and displayed by her attendants and carimitation. By his decree against the riages, and assumed those of the house slave-trade, Buonaparte also placed of Austria. All French men and wohimself in advantageous contrast with men in attendance upon her person, the Bourbons, making voluntarily that and that of the young Napoleon, were very sacrifice to gain British friend. dismissed, and precautions taken for ship, which they, secure in possessing the.security of both. The secret overit, had been prevailed upon by the tures, by which Buonaparte, abandonmercantile interest of France to refuse ing Murat to his fate, and even offerto our express and earnest solicita- ing to aid in suppressing him, propotion. But the British public enter. sed to extend and confirm the Austained too just a suspicion of Buona. trian power in Italy, were coldly and parte's sincerity, to give him the ge- peremptorily rejected. It has been neral credit for these measures, which said, that Austria was fixed to the it was probably his principal wish to general cause by the insults which obtain by their promulgation. Buonaparte had offered to her prime

With Austria, Napoleon acted dif- minister, as well as by her own inteferently. He was aware no impression rest and that of Europe.* could be made on the Emperor Fran

Thus baffled in his overtures alike cis, or his minister Metternich, and and intrigues at foreign courts, Buothat it became impossible that, with naparte was compelled to rest his their consent, he should fulfil his pro- newly-acquired power upon the atmise of presenting his wife and son tachment and energy of the French to the people on the Champ de Mai. nation, which was now to be conciliaStratagem remained the only resource; ted in every possible manner. and the Frenchmen at Vienna, with successful march from Cannes had of those in Maria Louisa's train, formed itself arranged under his banners maa scheme of carrying off the Empress ny of those who had been the foreof France and her child. Their ma- most to reprobate his attempt as treanæuvres attracted the attention of the son to France, so long as it seemed police. A French officer was arrested impossible he should have the means coming out of a window in the palace, of effecting it. Benjamin Constant,

His

* He used to say, “ I have Metternich in my sleeve, who has the Emperor of Austria in his pocket." And at Dresden, he opened the conference by abruptly asking Metternich, what bribe be had received from the allies ?-a brutal arrogance, which he could scarce expect would be either forgotten or forgiven.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

who had pronounced against the re.. jacobins had been cemented by mu. turn of the Exile of Elba so animated tual hatred of the Bourbons, and was a philippic, accepted without a blush still kept together by apprehension of the office of Counsellor of State, which their adherents within, and their al: he offered him a few days after; read lies in the exterior, seeds of discord his palinode, and lent his valuable as. were soon visible between the empe: sistance to the other statesmen and ror and the popular leaders. While sçavants who were to form the new the former was eager once more to constitution of regenerated France, wield with full energy the sceptre he The journalists gave in their adhesion had recovered, the latter were conti, to the new order of things without a nually reminding him, that he had moment's hesitation, and the pens, only assumed it in a limited and reo which the week before denounced stricted capacity, as the head of a free Buonaparte as an Ogre, who had de government, exercising indeed its exevoured the youth of France, now wrote cutive power, but under the restraint him down a hero and a liberator. Of of a popular constitution. Napoleon, sixty Parisian writers, engaged con- in the frequent disputes which arose stantly or occasionally in composing on these important points, was obliged for periodical publications, only five to concede to the demagogues the could be counted who remained faith- principles which they insisted upon. ful to the king. Most of the other But then, for the safety of the state, men of letters showed the same dis- involved in foreign and domestic dangraceful versatility. But it was not gers, he contended it was necessary to by the assistance of such political invest the chief magistrate with a vi. weather-cocks that. Buonaparte could gour beyond the law, a dictatorial au. hope to prop his re-established throne. thority, temporary in its duration, but It was necessary to conciliate the peo- nearly absolute in its extent, as had ple's hearts, and to increase and ani. been the manner in the free states of mate the strength and spirits of the antiquity, when the republic was in army,

imminent danger. Carnot aod Fouché, It was in the first task that he en- on the other hand, considered, that deavoured to employ the service of although it seemed easy and natural his republican adherents, and his mi. to conter such power at the present nisters Fouché and Carnot; and in the moment, the resumption of it by the beginning of his brief reign, he cer. nation, when it was once vested in the tainly received and profited by many hands of Buonaparte, would be a mast of their lessons. The unlimited li- hopeless experiment. The emperor, berty of the press was instantly ac- therefore, and his ministers, proceedcorded, and the censorship removed; ed to their mutual tasks with no mubut it was not long ere Buonaparte, tual confidence; but, on the contrary, by appointing inspectors of the book with jealousy, thinly veiled by an af sellers, endeavoured in some degree fectation of deference on the side of to indemnify himself for the license Buonaparte, and respect on that of his he had given to the press. Indeed, counsellors. his interest and inclination alike made These appearances of dissention did him desire an extension of his powers not escape the eyes of the watchful at this interesting crisis, and we shall Parisians, and augured ill for the subpresently find him complaining of the sistence of the existing league between inconvenient effects of the freedom the two parties, whose coalition had which he had restored. But, how- now placed them uppermost. The ever the union of the imperialists and royalists did not fail to profit by these

« PreviousContinue »