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Absurdity and incoherence of the plan of the campaign of the Aus-
Another great revolution supposed necessary to counterbalance that of
Account of Madame de Stael, Annette La Vigne, Martha Glar, Ma-
- o F THE
COURT AND CABINET
I PROMISED you not to pronounce in haste on persons and events passing under my eyes: thirty-one months have quickly passed away, since I became an attentive spectator of the extraordinary transactions, and of the extraordinary characters, of the extraordinary Court and Cabinet of St. Cloud. If my talents to delineate equal my zeal to inquire, and my industry to examine ; if I am as able a painter as I have been an indefatigable observer, you will be satisfied, and with your approbation at once sanction and reward my labours.
With most princes, the supple courtier and the fawning favourite have greater influence than the profound statesman and subtle minister ; and the determinations of cabinets are therefore frequently prepared in drawing-rooms, and discussed in the closet. The politician and the counsellor are frequently applauded or censured for transactions, which the intrigues of anti-chambers conceived, and which cupidity and favour gave power to promulgate.
It is very generally imagined, but falsely, that Napoleone Buonaparte governs, or rather tyrannizes by himself; according to his own capacity, caprices, or interest: that all his acts, all his changes, are the sole consequence of his own exclusive. unprejudiced will, as well as unlimited authority; that both his greatness and his littleness, his successes and his crimes, originate entirely with himself; that the fortunate hero, who marched triumphant over the Alps, and the dastardly murderer that disgraced human na
ture at Jaffa, because the same person, owed victory to himself B
:: . : : SECRET. HISTORY OF THE alone, and by himself alone commanded massacre; that the same genius, unbiassed and unsupported, crushed factions, erected a throne, and reconstructed racks; that the same mind restored and protected Christianity, and proscribed and assassinated a d'Enghien. All these contradictions, all these virtues and vices, may be found in the same person ; but Buonaparte, individually, or isolated, has no claim to them. Except on some sudden occasions, that call for immediate decision, no sovereign rules less by himself than Buonaparte; because no sovereign is more surrounded by favourites and counsellors, by needy adventurers and crasty intriguers. What sovereign has more relatives to enrich, or more services to recompense; more evils to repair, more jealousies to dread, more dangers to fear, more clamours to silence; or stands more in need of information and advice : Let it be remembered, that he who now governs empires and nations, ten years ago commanded only a battery; and five years ago was only a military chieftain. The difference is as immense, indeed, between the sceptre of a monarch and the sword of a general, as between the wise legislator, who protects the lives and property of his contemporaries, and the hireling robber, who wades through rivers of blood to obtain plunder at the expense and misery of generations. The lower classes of all countries have produced persons, who have distinguished themselves as warriors; but what subject has yet usurped a throne, and by his eminence and achievements, without infringing on the laws and liberties of his country, proved himself worthy to reign : Besides, the education which Buonaparte received was entirely military ; and a man (let his innate abilities be cver so surprising or excellent) who, during the first thirty years of his life, has made either military or political tactics or exploits his only study, certainly cannot excel equally in the cabinet and in the camp. It would be as foolish to believe, as absurd to expect, a perfection almost beyond the reach of any man ; and of Buonaparte more than any one else. A man who, like him, is the continual slave of his own passions, can neither be a good nor a just, an independent nor immaculate, master.