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parte's minister at Munich, Otto, was acquainted with the treacherous part Mehee de la Touche played against your minister, Drake; and that it was planned between him and Talleyrand, as the surest means to break off all political connexions between your country and Bavaria. Mr. Drake was personally liked by the Elector, and was not inattentive either to the plans and views of Montgelas, or the intrigues of Otto. They were, therefore, both doubly interested to remove such a troublesome witness. M. de Montgelas is now a grand officer of Buonaparte's Legion of Honour, and he is one of the few foreigners nominated, the most worthy of such a distinction. In France he would have been an acquisition either to the factions of a Marat, of a Brissot, or of a Robespierre ; and the Goddess of Reason, as well as the God of the Theophilanthropists, might have been sure of counting him among their adorers. At the clubs of the Jacobins or Cordeliers, in the fraternal societies, or in a revolutionary tribunal; in the Committee of Public Safety, or in the Council Chamber of the Directory, he would equally have made himself notorious, and been equally in his place. A stoic sans-culotte under Du Clots, a staunch Republican under Robespierre, he would now have been the most pliant and brilliant courtier of Buonaparte.
NO Queen of France ever saw so many foreign princes and princesses in her drawing-rooms as the first Empress of the French did last year at Mentz; and no Sovereign was ever before so well paid, or accepted with less difficulty donations and presents for her gracious protection. Madame Napoleone herself, on her return to this capital last October, boasted that she was ten millions of livres (420,000l. richer in diamonds; two millions of livres (62,000l.) richer in pearls, and three millions of livres (125,000l.) richer in plate and china, than in the June before, when she quitted it. She acknowledged that she left behind her some creditors and some money at Aix la Chapelle; but at Mentz she did not want to borrow, nor had time to gamble; the gallant ultra Rhonians provided every thing, even to the utmost extent of her wishes; and she, on her part, could not but honour those with her company as much as possible, particularly as they required nothing else for their civilitics. Such was the Empress’s expression to her lady in waiting, the handsome Madame de Seran, with whom no confidence, no tale, no story, and no scandal expires; and who was in a great hurry to inform, the same evening, the tea party at Madame de Beauvais of this good news; complaining at the same time of not having had the least share in this rich harvest. No where, indeed, were bribery and corruption carried to a greater extent, or practised with more effrontery, than at Mentz. Madame Napoleone had as much her fixed price for every faycurable word she spoke, as Talleyrand had for every line he wrote. Even the attendants of the former, and the clerks of the latter, demanded or rather extorted douceurs from the exhausted and almost ruined German petitioners; who, in the end, were rewarded for all their meanness, and for all their expenses, with promises at best; as the new plan of supplementary indemnities was, on the very day proposed for its final arrangement, postponed by the desire of the Emperor of the French until further orders. This firovoking delay could no more be foreseen by the Empress, than by the minister, who, in return for their presents and money, almost overpowered the German princes with his protestations of regret at their disappointments. Nor was Madame Buonaparte less sorry or less civil. She sent her chamberlain, Daubusson la Feuillad, with regular compliments of condolence, to every Prince who had enjoyed her protection. They returned to their homes, therefore, if not wealthier, at least happier; flattered by assurances and condescensions, confiding in hope as in certainties. Within three months, however, it is supposed, that they would willingly have disposed both of promises and expectations, at a loss of fifty per cent. By the cupidity and selfishnessofthese and other German Princes, and their want of patriotism, Talleyrand has become perfectly acquainted with the value and production of every principality, bishopric, county, abbey, barony, convent, and even village in the German empire; and though most national property in France
years purchase-money for all the estates and lands on the other side of the Rhine; of which, under the name of indemnities, he stripped the lawful owners, to gratify the ambition, or avidity of intruders. This high price has cooled the claims of the bidders, and the plan of the supplementary indemnities is still suspended, and probably will continue so until our minister lowers his terms. A combination is supposed to have been entered into by the chief demanders of indemnities, by which they have bound themselves to resist all further extortions. They do not, however, know the man they have to deal with ; he will, perhaps, find out some to lay claim to their own private and hereditary property, whom he will produce and support, and who certainly will have the same right to pillage them, as they had to the spoils of others. It was reported in our fashionable circles last autumn, and smiled at by Talleyrand, that he promised the Countess de L. an abbey, and the Baroness de S–z, a convent, for certain personal favours, and that he offered a bishopric to the Princess of H— on the same terms; but this lady answered, “that she would think of his offers after he had put her husband in possession of the bishopric.” It is not necessary to observe, that both the Countess and the Baroness are yet waiting to enjoy his liberal donations, and to be indemnified for their prostitution. Napolcone Buonaparte was attacked by a fit of jealousy at Mentz. The young nephew of the Elector Arch-Chancellor, Count de L-ge, was very assiduous about the Empress, who, herself, at first mistook the motive. Her confidential secretary, Deschamps, however, afterwards informed her, that this nobleman wanted to purchase the place of a coadjutor to his uncle, so as to be certain of succeeding him. He obtained, therefore, several private audiences, no doubt to regulate the price; when Napoleone put a stop to this secret negotiation, by having the Count carried by gens-d'armes, with great foliteness, to the other side of the Rhine. When convinced of his error, Buonaparte asked his wife what sum had been proposed for her firotection, and immediately gave her an order on his minister of the treasury, Marbois, for the amount. This was an act of justice, and a reparation worthy of a good and tender husband; but when, the very next day, he recalled this order, threw it into the fire before her eyes, and confined her for six hours in her bed-room, because she was not dressed time enough to take a walk with him on the ramparts, one is apt to believe that military despotism has erased from his bosom all connubial affection ; and that a momentary effusion of kindness and generosity can but little alleviate the frequent pangs caused by repeated insults and oppression. Fortunately, Madame Napoleone's disposition is proofagainst rudeness as well as against brutality. If what her friend and consoler, Madame Dulaçay, reports of her is not exaggerated, her tranquillity is not much disturbed, nor her happiness affected, by these explosions of passionate authority; and she prefers admiring in undisturbed solitude her diamond box, to the most beautiful prospects in the most agreeable company; and she inspects with more pleasure in confinement her rich wardrobe, her beautiful china, and her heavy plate, than she would find satisfaction, surrounded with crowds, in contemplating nature even in its utmost perfection. “ The paradise of Madame Napoleone,” says her friend, “must be of metal, and lighted by the lustre of brilliants, else she would decline it for a hell, and accept Lucifer himself for a spouse, provided gold flowed in his infernal domains, though she were even to be scorched by its heat.”
** . . .
Paris, August, 1805.
I BELIEVE that I have mentioned to you, when in England, that I was an old acquaintance of Madame Napoleone, and a visitor at the house of her first husband. When introduced to her after some years absence, during which, fortune had treated us very differently, she received me with more civility than I was prepared to expect; and would, perhaps, have spoken to me more than she did, had not a look of her husband silenced her. Madame Louis Buonaparte was still more condescending, and recalled to my memory, what I had not forgotten, how often she had been seated, when a child, on my lap, and played on my knees with her doll. Thus they behaved to me, when I saw them for the first time in their present elevation; I found them. afterwards in their drawing-rooms, or at their routs and parties, more shy and distant. This change did not much surprise me,
as I hardly knew any one, that had the slightest pretensions to their acquaintance, who had not troubled them for employment, or borrowed their money; at the same time that they complaincd of their neglect, and their breach of promises. I continued, however, as much as etiquette and decency required, assiduous, but never familiar; if they addressed me, I answered with respect, but not with servility; if not, I bowed in silence when they passed. They might easily perceive that I did not intend to become an intruder, nor to make the remembrance of what was past, an apology or a reason for applying for present favours. A lady, on intimate terms with Madame Napoleone, and once our common friend, informed me, shortly after the untimely end of the lamented Duke d'Enghein, that she had been asked, whether she knew any thing that could be done for me, or whether I would not be flattered by obtaining a place in the Legislative Body, or in the Tribunate? I answered as I thought, that were I fit for a public life, nothing could be more agreeable, or suit me better; but having hitherto declined all employments, that might restrain that independence, to which I had accustomed myself srom my youth, I was now too old to enter upon a new career. I added, that though the Revolution had reduced my circumstances, it had not entirely ruined me. I was still independent, because my means were the boundaries of my wants. A week after this conversation, General Murat, the governor of this capital, and Buonaparte's favourite brother-in-law, invited me to a conversation, in a note delivered to me by an aide-de-camp, who told me that he was ordered to wait for my company, or, which was the same, he was ordered not to lose sight of me, as I was his prisoner. Having nothing with which to reproach myself, and all my written remarks being deposited with a friend, whom none of the Imperial functionaries could suspect, I entered a hackney coach without any fear or apprehension; and we drove to the governor's hotel. w From the manner in which General Murat addressed me, I was soon convinced, that if I had been accused of any error or indiscretion, the accusation could not be very grave in his eyes. He entered with me into his cabinet, and inquired whether I had any enemies at the police office : I told him not, to my knowledge. “Is the police minister and senator, Fouche, your friend?”