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continued he. “Fouche,” said I, “has bought an estate that formerly belonged to me: may he enjoy it with the same peace of mind as I have lost it. I have never spoken to him in my life.” —“Have you not complained at Madame de la Force's, of the execution of the ci-devant Duke d'Enghein, and agreed, with the other members of her coterie, to put on mourning for him.”—“I have never been at the house of that lady since the death of the Prince; nor more than once in my life.”— “Where did you pass the evening last Saturday :"—“At the hotel, and in the assembly of Princess Louis Buonaparte.”—Did she see you?” “I believe that she did, because she returned my salute.”—“You have known her Imperial Highness a longtime 2" “From her infancy.”—“Well, I congratulate you. You have in her a generous protectress. But for her, you would now have been on the way to Cayenne. Here you see the list of persons condemned yesterday, upon the report of Fouche, to transportation. Your name is at the head of them. You were not only accused of being an agent of the Bourbons, but having intrigued to become a member of the Legislature, or of the Tribunate, that you might have so much the better opportunity to serve. them. Fortunately for you, the Emperor remembered, that the Princess Louis had demanded such a favour for you, and heinformed her of the character of her firotege. This brought forward your innocence; because it was discovered that, instead of asking for, you had declined, the offer she had made you through the Empress.-Write the Princess a letter of thanks.-You have indeed had a narrow escape, but it has been so far useful to you, that government is now aware of your having some secretenemy in power, who is not delicate about the means of injuring you.” In quitting General Murat, I could not help deploring the fate of a despot, even while I abhorred his unnatural power. The curses, the complaints, and reproaches for all the crimes, all the violence, all the oppression perpetrated in his name, are entirely thrown upon him; while his situation and occupation do not admit the seeing and hearing every thing and every body himself; he is often forced therefore to judge, according to the report of an impostor; to sanction with his name the hatred, malignity, or vengeance of culpable individuals; and to sacrifice innocence to gratify the vile passions of his vilest slave. I have not so badan. opinion of Buonaparte, as to think him capable of wilfully conF 2.
demning any person to death or transportation, of whose innocence he was convinced, provided that person stood not in the way of his interest and ambition ; but suspicion and tyranny are inseparable companions, and injustice their common progeny. The unfortunate beings on the long list General Murat showed me, were, I dare say, most of them as innocent as myself, and all certainly condemned unheard. But suppose even that they had been indiscreet enough to put on mourning for a prince of the blood of their former kings, did their imprudence deserve the same punishment as the deed of the robber, the forger, or the house-breaker 2 and indeed it was more severe than what our laws inflict on such criminals, who are only condemned to transportation for some few years, after a public trial and conviction ; while the exile of these unconvicted, untried, and most probably innocent persons, is continued for life, on charges as unknown to themselves, as their destiny and residence remain to their families and friends. Happy England! where no one is condemned unheard, and no one dares attempt to make the laws subservient, to his passions or caprice. As to Fouche's enmity, at which General Murat so plainly hinted, I had long apprehended it, from what others, in similar circumstances with myself, had suffered. He has, since the Revolution, bought no less than sixteen national estates, seven of the former proprietors of which have suddenly disappeared since his ministry, probably in the manner he intended to remove me. This man is one of the most immoral characters the Revolution has dragged forward from obscurity. It is more difficult to mention a crime that he has not perpetrated, than to discover a good or just action that he ever performed. He is so notorious a villain, that even the infamous National Convention expelled him from its bosom, and since his ministry no man has been found base enough, in my debased country, to extenuate, much less to defend, his past enormities. In a nation so greatly corrupted and immoral, this alone is more than negative evidence. As a friar before the Revolution, he has avowed, in his correspondence with the National Convention, that he never believed in a God; and as one of the first public functionaries of a Republic, he has officially denied the existence of virtue. He is therefore as unmoved by tears as by reproaches, and as inaccessible to remorse as hardened against repentance. With him interest and bribes are every thing, and honour and honesty nothing. The suppliant, or the pleader, who appears before him with no other support than the justice of his cause, is fortunate indeed, if, after being cast, he is not also confined or ruined, and perhaps both ; while a line from one of the Buonapartes, or a purse of gold, changes black to white, guilt to innocence, removes the scaffold waiting for the assassin, and extinguishes the faggots lighted for the particide. His authority is so extensive, that, on the least signal, with one blow, from the extremities of France to her centre, it crushes the cot and the palace; and his decisions, against which there is no appeal, are so destructive, that they never leave any traces behind them, and Buonaparte, Buonaparte alone, can prevent or arrest their effect. Though a traitor to his former benefactor, the ex-director Barras, he possesses now the unlimited confidence of Napoleone Buonaparte, and, as far as is known, has not yet done any thing to forfeit it; if private acts of cruelty cannot, in the agent of a tyrant, be called breach of trust or infidelity. He shares with Talleyrand the fraternity of the vigilant, immoral and tormenting seeret police ; and with Real and Dubois, the prefect of police, the reproduction, or rather the invention of new tortures and improved racks ; the outliettes, which are wells or pits dug under the Temple, and most other prisons, are the works of his own infernal genius. They are covered with trap doors, and any person whom the rack has mutilated, or not obliged to speak out ; whose return to society is thought dangerous, or whose discretion is suspected ; who has been imprisoned by mistake, or discovered to be innocent; who is disagreeable to the Buonapartes, their favourites, or the mistresses of their favourites; who has displeased Fouche, or offended some other placeman; any who have refused to part with their property for the recovery of their liberty, are all precipitated into these artificial abysses—there to be forgotten ; or worse, to be starved to death, if they have not been fortunate enough to break their neck, and be killed by the fall. The property Fouche has acquired by his robberies, within these last twelve years, is, at the lowest rate, valued at fifty millions of livres, (2,100,000l.) which mustincrease yearly; as a mar; * . .
who disposes of the liberty of fifty millions of people, is also, in a great part, master of their wealth. Except the chiefs of the governments, and their officers of state, there exists not an inhabitant of France, Italy, Holland, or Switzerland, who can consider himself secure for an instant, of not being seized, imprisoned, plundered, tortured, or exterminated, by the orders of Fouche, and by the hands of his agents. You will no doubt exclaim, how can Buonaparte employ, how dares he confide in such a man 2 Fouche is as able as unprincipled, and with the most unfeeling and perverse heart, possesses great talents. There is no infamy he will not stoop to, and no crime, however execrable, that he will hesitate to commit, if his Sovereign orders it. He is therefore a most useful instrument in the hand of a despot, who, notwithstanding what is said to the contrary in France, and believed abroad, would cease to rule, the day he became just, and the reign of laws and of humanity banished terror and tyranny. It is reported that some person, pious or revengeful, presented some time ago, to the devout mother of Napoleone, a long memorial, containing some particulars of the crimes and vices of Fouche and Talleyrand ; and required of her, if she wished to prevent the curses of Heaven from falling on her son, to inform him of them, that he might cease to employmen so unworthy of him, and so offensive to religion. Napoleone, after reading through the memorial, is stated to have answered his mother, who was always pressing him to dismiss these ministers: “The memorial, Madame, contains nothing of which I was not previously informed. Louis XVI. did not select any but those whom he thought the most virtuous and moral of men, for his ministers and counsellors; and where did their virtues and morality bring him : If the writer of the memorial will mention two honest and irreproachable characters, with equal talents, and
zeal to serve me, neither Fouche nor Talleyrand shall again be admitted into my presence.”
Paris, August, 1805. MY LORD, YOU have with some reason, in England, complained of the conduct of the members of the foreign diplomatic corps in France, when the pretended correspondence between Mr. Drake and Mehee de la Touche was published in our official gazette. Had you however, like myself, been in a situation to study the characters, and appreciate the worth of most of them, this conduct would have excited no surprise; and pity would have taken the place both of accusation and reproach. Hardly one of them, except Count Philippe de Cobentzel, the Austrian Ambassador (and even he is considerably involved) possesses any property, or has any thing else but his salary to depend upon for his subsistence. The least offence to Buonaparte or Talleyrand would instantly deprive them of their places; and, unless they were fortunate enough to obtain some other appointment, reduce them to live in obscurity, and perhaps in want, upon a trifling pension in their own country. The day before Mr. Drake's correspondence appeared in the Moniteur, in March, 1804, Talleyrand gave a grand diplomatic dinner; in the midst of which, as was previously agreed with Buonaparte, Duroc called him out on the part of the First Consul. After an absence of near an hour, which excited great curiosity and some alarm among the diplomatists, he returned very thoughtful, and seemingly very low spirited. “Excuse me, gentlemen,” said he, “I have been very unpolite, against my inclination. The First Consul knew that you honoured me with your company to day, and would therefore not have interrupted me by his orders, had not a discovery of a most extraordinary nature against the law of nations just been made; a discovery which calls for the immediate indignation againstthe cabinet of St. James, not only of France, but of every nation, that wishes for the preservation of civilized society. After dinner I shall do myself the honour of communicating to you the particulars, well convinced that you will all enter with warmth into the just resentment of the First Consul.” During the repast, the bottle went freely round, and as soon as they had drank their coffee and liqueurs;