Imágenes de páginas

dare to murmur, I shall, within three months, also incorporate the ci-devant Republic of Venice, with my kingdom of Italy l’” “But—but—Sire P’ uttered the Minister, trembling, “There exists no but, and I will listen to no but,” interrupted his Majesty—“Obey my orders without further discussions. Should Austria dare to arm, I shall, before next Christmas, make Vienna the head-quarters of a fiftieth military division. In an hour, I expect you with the dispatches ready for Salicetti.” This Salicetti is a Corsican of a respectable family, born at Bastia, in 1758, and it was he, who, during the siege of Toulon, in 1793, introduced his countryman, Napoleone Buonaparte, his present sovereign, to the acquaintance of Barras ; an occurrence which has since produced consequences so terribly notorious. Before the Revolution, an advocate of the superior council of Corsica, he was elected a member to the first National Assembly, where, on the 30th November, 1789, he pressed the decree which declared the island of Corsica an integral part of the French monarchy. In 1792, he was sent by his fellow-citizens as a deputy to the National Convention, where he joined the terrorist faction, and voted for the death of his King. In May, 1793, he was in Corsica, and violently opposed the partisans of general Paoli. Obliged, to save himself, to make his escape in August from that island, he joined the army of general Carteaux, then marching against the Marseilles insurgents, whence he was sent by the National Convention with Barras, Gasparin, Robespierre the younger, and Ricrod, as a representative of the people to the army before Toulon, where, as well as at Marseilles, he shared in all the atrocities committed by his colleagues and Buonaparte ; for which, after the death of the Robespierres, he was arrested with him as a terrorist. He had not known Buonaparte much in Corsica, but finding him and his family in great distress, with all the other Corsican refugees, and observing his adroitness as a captain of artillery, he recommended him to Barras, and upon their representation to the committee of Public Safety, he was promoted to a chef de brigade, or colonel. In 1796, when Barras gave Buonaparte the command of the army of Italy, Salicetti was appointed a commissary of government to the same army, and in that capacity behaved with the greatest insolence towards all the princes of Italy,

and most so, towards the Duke of Modena, with whom he and Buonaparte signed a treaty of neutrality, for which they received a large sum in ready money; but shortly afterwards the duchy was again invaded, and an attempt made to surprise and seize the duke. In 1797, he was chosen a member of the Council of Five Hundred, where he always continued a supporter of violent II leasures. * When, in 1799, his former protege, Buonaparte, was proclaimed a First Consul, Salicetti desired to be placed in the Conservative Senate; but his familiarity displeased Napoleone, who made him first a commercial agent, and afterwards a minister to the Ligurian Republic, so as to keep him at a distance. During his several missions, he has amassed a fortune, calculated, at the lowest, at six millions of livres (250,000l.) The order Salicetti received to prepare the incorporation of Genoa with France, would not, without the presence of our troops, have been very easy to execute, particularly as he, six months before, had prevailed on the Doge and the senate, to resign all sovereignty to Lucien Buonaparte, under the title of a grand duke of Genoa. *. The cause of Napoleone’s change of opinion, with regard to his brother Lucien was, that the latter would not separate from. a wife he loved; but preferred domestic happiness to external splendour, frequently accompanied with internal misery. So that this act of incorporation of the Ligurian Republic, in fact, originated, notwithstanding the great and deep calculations of our profound politicians, and political schemers, in nothing else, but in the keeping of a wife, and in the refusal of a riband. That corruption, seduction, and menaces seconded the intrigues and bayonets, which convinced the Ligurian government of the honour and advantage of becoming subjects of Buonaparte, I have not the least doubt; but that the Doge, Jerome Durazzo, and the senators Morchio, Maglione, Travega, Maghella, Roggieri, Taddei, Balby, and Langlade, sold the independence of their country for ten millions of livres (430,000l.) though it has been positively asserted, I can hardly believe ; and indeed money: was as little necessary, as resistance would have been unavailing; all the forts and strong positions being in the occupation of our o. 2.

[ocr errors]

troops. A general officer, present when the Doge of Genoa, at the head of the Ligurian deputation, offered Buonaparte their homage at Milan, and exchanged liberty for bondage, assured me that this ci-devant chief magistrate spoke with a faultering voice, and with tears in his eyes; and that indignation was read on the countenance of every member of the deputation, thus forced to prostitute their rights as citizens, and to vilify their sentiments as patriots. When Salicetti, with his secretary Milhaud, had arranged this honourable affair, they set out from Genoa, to announce to Buonaparte, at Milan, their success. Not above a league from the former city, their carriage was stopped, their persons stripped, and their papers and effects seized by a gang called, in the country, the gang of PATRIoT1c Rob BERs, commanded by Mulieno. This chief is a descendant of a good Genoese family, proscribed by France, and the men under him are all above the common class of people. They never commit any murders, nor do they rob any but Frenchmen, or Italians, known to be adherents of the French party. Their spoils they distribute among those of their countrymen, who, like themselves, have suffered from the revolutions in Italy, within these last nine years. They usually send the amount destined to relieve these persons, to the curates of the several parishes, signifying in what manner it is to be employed. Their conduct has procured them many friends among the low and the poor, and though frequently pursued by our gens-d’armes, they have hitherto always escaped. The papers captured by them on this occasion, from Salicetti, are said to be of a most curious nature, and throw great light on Buonaparte's future views on Italy. The original act of consent of the Ligurian government, to the incorporation with France, was also in this number. It is reported that they were deposited with the Austrian minister at Genoa, who found means to forward them to his court; and it is supposed that their contents did not a little hasten the present movements of the emperor of Germany. Another gang, known under the appellation of PATRIOTIc Avengers, also desolates the Ligurian Republic. They never rob, but always murder those whom they consider as enemies of their country. Many of our officers, and even our sentries on duty, have been wounded or killed by them ; and after dark, therefore, no Frenchman dares walk out unattended. Their chief is supposed to be a ci-devant abbe Sagati, considered a political as well as religious fanatic. In consequence of the deeds of these patriotic avengers, Buonaparte's first act as a sovereign of Liguria, was the establishment of special military commissions, and a law, prohibiting, under pain of death, every person from carrying arms, who could not show a written permission of our commissary of police. Robbers and assassins are, unfortunately, common to all nations, and all people of all ages; but those of the above description are only the production and progeny of revolutionary and troublesome times. They pride themselves, instead of violating the laws, on supplying their inefficacy, and counteracting their partiality.

LETTER xxxvi.

Paris, Señtember, 1805.

- MY LORD, BUONAPARTE is now knight of more royal orders, than any sovereign in Europe, and were he to put them on all at once, their ribands would form stuff enough for a light summer coat, of as many different colours as the rainbow. The kings of Spain, of Naples, of Prussia, of Portugal and of Etruria, have admitted him a knight-companion, as well as the electors of Bavaria, Hesse, and Baden, and the Pope of Rome. In return, he has appointed these princes his grand officers of HIs Legion of Honour, the highest rank of his newly instituted Imperial order. It is even said, that some of the sovereigns have been honoured by him with the grand star and broad riband of the order of His Iron Crown of his kingdom of Italy. Before Napoleone's departure for Milan, last spring, Talleyrand intimated to the members of the foreign diplomatic corps here, that their presence would be agreeable to the emperor of the French, at his coronation at Milan, as king of Italy.— In the preceding summer, a similar hint or order, had been given by him, for a diplomatic trip to Aix-la-Chapelle, and all their excellencies set a packing instantly ; but some legitimate sove

reigns, having since discovered, that it was indecent for their representatives to be crowding the suite of an insolently and proudly travelling usurper, under different pretences, declined the honour of the invitation and journey to Italy. It would, besides, i.ave been pleasant enough, to have witnessed the ambassadors of Austria and Prussia, whose sovereigns had not acknowledged Buonaparte's right to his assumed title of king of Italy, indirectly approving it, by figuring at the solemnity which inaugurated him as such. Of this inconsistency and impropriety, Talleyrand was well aware ; but audacity on one side, and endurance and submission on the other, had so often disregarded these considerations before,that he saw no indelicacy or impertinence in the proposal. His master had, however, the gratification to see at his levee, and in his wife's drawing-room, the ambassadors of Spain, Naples, Portugal, and Bavaria, who laid at the imperial and royal feet, the Order-decorations of their own princes, to the no little entertainment of his imperial and royal majesty, and to the great edification of his dutiful subjects, on the other side of the Alps. The expenses of Buonaparte's journey to Milan, and his coronation there, (including also those of his attendants, from France) amounted to no less a sum than fifteen millions of livres, (625,000l.) of which, one hundred and fifty thousand livres, (6,000l.) were laid out in fireworks; double that sum in decorations of the royal palace and the cathedral; and three millions of livres (125,000l.) in presents to different generals, grand officers, deputations, &c. The poor also shared his bounty; medals to the value of fifty thousand livres, (2,100l.) were thrown out among them on the day of the ceremony, besides an equal sum given by Madame Napoleone to the hospitals and orphan houses. These last have a kind of hereditary or family claim on the purse of our sovereign; their parents were the victims of the Emperor's first steptowards glory and grandeur. Another three millions of livres were expended for the march of troops from France, to form fleasure camps in Italy; and four millions more were requisite for the forming and support of these encampments during two months; and the Emperor distributed among the officers and men composing them, two millions worth of rings, watches, snuff-boxes, portraits set with dia

« AnteriorContinuar »