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On May 9, 1821, the mortal remains of the Exile were interred at a spot called the Valley of Napoleon.  He had selected this spot in the event of the Powers not allowing his remains to be transferred to France or Ajaccio.  Lowe desired to put on the lid of the coffin “Napoleon Bonaparte,” but his followers very properly disdained committing a breach of faith on the dead Emperor, and insisted on having “Napoleon” and nothing else.  The Governor was stubbornly opposed to it, so he was buried without any name being put on the coffin.

Perhaps one of the most terrific passages of unconscious humour is related by Forsyth (vol. iii. , where Lowe is made to say to Major Gorrequer and Mr. Henry, as they walked together before the door of Plantation House discussing the character of Napoleon, “Well, gentlemen, he was England’s greatest enemy and mine too; but I forgive him everything.  On the death of a man like him we should only feel deep concern and regret.”  Forsyth thinks this splendid magnanimity on the part of his hero.

It is not recorded what the gallant Major thought of it, but it may be taken for granted that if Mr. Henry and Gorrequer had any sense of humour at all, Lowe’s comment must have sounded very comical, knowing what they did of the relations between the dead monarch and his custodian, though it must be said that Henry seems to have been the only person who could work up a sympathetic word for Sir Hudson.  Forsyth, in vol. iii. , says:  “No one can study the character of Napoleon without being struck by one prevailing feature, his intense selfishness.”  This is a remarkable statement for any man who professes to write accurate history to make, and proves conclusively that Forsyth had not “studied” Napoleon’s “character,” or he would have found, not only his closest friends, but some of his bitterest enemies doing him the justice of stating the very opposite of what this writer says of him.

Mr. Henry, who took part in the dissection of the corpse, says that Napoleon’s face had a remarkably placid expression, and indicated mildness and sweetness of disposition, and those who gazed on the features as they lay in the still repose of death could not help exclaiming, “How beautiful!” After this very fine description from Sir Hudson’s friend, Forsyth adds a footnote:  “It may interest phrenologists to know that the organs of combativeness, causativeness, and philoprogenitiveness were strongly developed in the cranium”!  In order to prove the charge of selfishness he brings in the old familiar story of the divorce:  “A memorable example of this (i.e., selfishness) occurs in his treatment of the nobleminded Josephine.”

This outburst is obviously intended for effect, but Forsyth does not score a success in bringing the amiable Empress to his aid; for, whatever virtue she may have possessed, authentic history reveals her as the antithesis of “nobleminded.”  Those who knew the lady intimately speak with marked generosity of her graces, but they also record a shameless habit of faithlessness to her husband at a time when he was pouring out volumes of love to her from Italy.  And she seems to have let herself go without restraint during his stay in Egypt.  The wayward, weak Josephine had many lovers, who were not too carefully selected.

From the time of her marriage with Napoleon until she heard of him being on his way from Egypt to France, her love intrigues were well known, and her lovers were certainly not men of high public repute.  In short, Josephine was anything but “nobleminded.”  She was a confirmed and audacious flirt until the stern realities of the dissolution of her marriage brought her to her senses, and from that time until the great political divorce took place, she appears to have kept free from further love entanglements.  Napoleon’s attachment to her was very genuine, and remained steadfast up to the time of her death, and even at St. Helena he always spoke of her with great reverence.  Forsyth does not enhance Lowe’s reputation or damage Napoleon’s by the popular use he makes of the annulment of the little Creole lady’s marriage, the merits of which may be referred to at greater length hereafter, as it is a subject of itself and this reference to a momentous incident of her husband’s history is only by the way.

Meanwhile the Emperor’s remains, in layers of coffins composed of wood, tin, and lead, were hermetically sealed, and the tomb, having been securely battened down with cement and slab, was substantially railed in to prevent the intrusion of a sympathetic and curious public.  His tomb was left in charge of a British garrison, and the heroes who followed him to his grave, and shared his martyrdom and exile on that fatal rock for six mortal years, were shipped aboard the Camel and conveyed to England, there to be received by a set of mildew-witted bureaucrats smitten with suspicion that the exiles may have brought with them the spirit of their dead master, with the object of invoking a sanguinary reaction in his favour by disturbing the peace of Europe-as though Europe had experienced a single day of real peace since the downfall of the Empire!

These exemplary men had faced and borne with magnificent fortitude hardships well-nigh beyond human endurance.  Their mission was to carry out the dying command of the hero whom they adored, and who had succumbed to the hospitable treatment of Bathurst, Castlereagh, Liverpool, and Wellington, and their accomplices.  These guilty men, whose names, strange to say, are as undying as that of their victim, would fain have made it appear that had he not died of cancer of the stomach, it were not possible that he could have died of anything but robust health, owing to the salubrity of the climate they had selected and the unequalled care they had taken of his person through the immortal Lowe.

It is a remarkable thing that these men had no conception of the great being they were practising cruelty upon.  It is indeed a strange freak of nature that makes it possible that the human mind can think of Napoleon and these bureaucrats at the same time, but that is part of the mystery that cannot at the present stage be understood.  Time may reveal the phenomenon, and in the years to come the spirits of the just will call aloud for a real vindication of the character of the man of the French Revolution, and, forsooth, it may be that a terrible retribution is gathering in the distance.  Who knows?  Waterloo and St. Helena may yet be the nemesis of the enemies of the great Emperor.  Obviously, he had visions, as had his compatriot Joan of Arc, who suffered even a crueller fate than he at the hands of a few bloodthirsty English noblemen, who disgraced the name of soldier by not only allowing her to be burnt, but selling her to the parasitical Bishops with that object in view.  It is not strange that the Maid of Orleans, who suffered martyrdom for the supernatural part she took in fighting for her King and country, should, on April 18, 1909, become a saint of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world, nor that the Pope should perform the ceremony.  The English sold her.  An ecclesiastical court, headed by the infamous Bishop of Beauvais, condemned her to be burnt as a witch, and when the flames were consuming her a cry of “Jesus” was heard.  An English soldier standing by was so overcome by the awful wickedness that was being perpetrated by the Anglo-French ecclesiastical alliance, that he called out, “We are lost!  We have burnt a saint!”

The soldier saw at once that the child of the Domremy labourer was a “saint,” but it has taken five centuries for the Church to which she belonged, and whose representatives burnt her as a witch, to officially beatify her.  True, this stage has been gradually worked up to by the erection of monuments to her honour and glory.  Chinon distinguished itself by this, presumably because it was there that Joan interviewed the then uncrowned Charles, and startled him into taking her into his service by the story she told of hearing the heavenly voices at Domremy farm demanding that she should go forth as the liberator of France.

The recognition of Napoleon’s claim, not to “sanctity,” but as a benefactor of mankind, will also surely come, but in his case the demand will come from no Church, but with the irresistible voice of all Humanity.

Joan’s country had been at war for one hundred years.  Ravaged by foreign invaders and depopulated by plague, it was foaming with civil strife and treason to the national cause, many of the most powerful men and women, both openly and in secret, taking sides with the enemy.  The crisis had reached a point when this modest, uneducated, clear-witted, fearless maiden was launched by her “voices” to the scene of battle, there to inspire hope and enthusiasm in the hearts of her people.  In a few weeks she had established confidence, smashed the invader, and crowned the unworthy Charles VII. as King.  Twenty years after they had burnt her, there was scarcely a foreign foot to be found on French soil.

There is a further similarity between the peasant girl and Napoleon. She was brought to the aid of her country by the voices of the unseen, and four hundred years after, when her country was again in dire trouble, he was found in obscurity and in an almost supernatural way flashed into prominent activity to save the Revolution.  It was the voices of the living, seen and unseen, that called aloud for the little Corporal to lead to battle, conquer, and ultimately govern.  It was some of the self-same voices that intrigued and then burst forth in declamation and demanded his abdication on the eve of his first reverse.  The Church, which owed its rehabilitation to him after he had implanted a settled government in France, had no small share in the conspiracy for his overthrow.  He said, “There is but one means of getting good manners, and that is by establishing religion.”  He believed it, and did it in spite of a storm of opposition that would have hurled a less resolute man from power, but he knew full well his strength, and was sure then, as he ever was, of his opinions.

The Church and those of the people who become allied to its material policy are prone to destroy those who have been of service to their cause.  There is indeed no society of men and women who are so vindictive, nay, revengeful, once they are seized with the idea that they are being neglected, or their interests not receiving all the patronage they think they deserve, and then, after a few generations of reflection, they become overwhelmed with unctuous sanctity and remorse, and proceed to make saints of the victims of their progenitors in order that the perfidy they are historically linked to shall be whitewashed and atoned for.

Napoleon believed that “No physical force ever dies; it merely changes its form or direction”-and could we but get a glimpse behind the veil, we might see his imperishable soul fleeting from sphere to sphere, struggling with cruel reactionary spirits who forced him into eternity before the work he was sent to do was completed.

Wieland, the German writer, had an interview with him on the field of Jena.  He says:-“I was presented by the Duchess of Weimar.  He paid me some compliments in an affable tone, and looked steadfastly at me.  Few men have appeared to me to possess in the same degree the art of reading at the first glance the thought of other men.  He saw in an instant that, notwithstanding my celebrity, I was simple in my manners and void of pretension, and as he seemed desirous of making a favourable impression on me, he assumed the tone most likely to attain his end.  I have never beheld anyone more calm, more simple, more mild, or less ostentatious in appearance; nothing about him indicated the feeling of power in a great monarch; he spoke to me as an old acquaintance would speak to an equal, and what was more extraordinary on his part, he conversed with me exclusively for an hour and a half, to the great surprise of the whole assembly.”

Then Wieland goes on to relate what the conversation was.  Napoleon “preferred the Romans to the Greeks.  The eternal squabbles of their petty republics were not calculated to give birth to anything grand, whereas the Romans were always occupied with great things, and it was owing to this they raised up the Colossus which bestrode the world....  He was fond only of serious poetry, the pathetic and vigorous writers, and above all, the tragic poets.”

Wieland had been put so much at his ease (so he says) that he ventured to ask how it was that the public worship Napoleon had restored in France was not more philosophical and in harmony with the spirit of the times.  “My dear Wieland,” was the reply, “religion is not meant for philosophers! they have no faith either in me or my priests.  As to those who do believe, it would be difficult to give them, or to leave them, too much of the marvellous.  If I had to frame a religion for philosophers, it would be just the reverse of that of the credulous part of mankind."

Mueller, the Swiss historian’s private interview with him at this period is quite remarkable, and shows what a vast knowledge and conception of things the Emperor had.  Nothing shows more clearly his own plan of regulating and guiding the affairs of the universe for the benefit of all.  He tells Mueller that he should complete his history of Switzerland, that even the more recent times had their interest.  Then he switched from the Swiss to the old Greek constitutions and history; to the theory of constitutions; to the complete diversity of those in Asia, and the causes of this diversity in the climate, polygamy, the opposite characters of the Arabian and the Tartar races, the peculiar value of European culture, and the progress of Freedom since the sixteenth century; how everything was linked together, and in the inscrutable guidance of an invisible hand; how he himself had become great through his enemies; the great Confederation of Nations, the idea of which Henri IV. had; the foundation of all religion and its necessity; that man could not bear clear truth and required to be kept in order; admitting the possibility, however, of a more happy condition, if the numerous feuds ceased which were occasioned by too complicated Constitutions (such as the German) and the intolerable burden suffered by States from excessive armies.

These opinions clearly mark the guiding motives of Napoleon’s attempts to enforce upon different nations uniformity of the institutions and customs.  “I opposed him occasionally,” says Mueller, “and he entered into discussion.  Quite impartially and truly, as before God, I must say that the variety of his knowledge, the acuteness of his observations, the solidity of his understanding (not dazzling wit), his grand and comprehensive views, filled me with astonishment, and his manner of speaking to me with love for him.  By his genius and his disinterested goodness, he has also conquered me." The remarkable testimony of Wieland and Mueller, both men of distinction, is of more than ordinary value, seeing that they were not his countrymen, but on the side of those who waged war against him.  Mueller admits that he conquered him, and the world must admit that he is gradually, but surely, conquering it in spite of the colossal libels that have been spoken and written of him for the ostensible purpose of vindicating the Puritans and making him appear as the Spoliator and Antichrist whose thirst for blood, so that he might attain glory, was an inexhaustible craze in him.  To them he is the Ogre that staggers the power of belief, and yet he defies the whole world to prove that he ever declared war or committed a single crime during the whole carnival of warfare that drenched Europe in human blood.

Up to the present, the world has lamentably failed to do anything of the sort.  His opponents, libellers, and progeny of his mean executioners, are all losing ground, and he is gaining everywhere.  There is an unseen hand at work revealing the awful truth.  This dignified, calm, unassuming man, while surrounded by a crowd of Kings and Princes, who were competing with each other to do him homage and show their devotion, startles them by telling a story of when he was “a simple Lieutenant in the 2nd Company of Artillery.”  Possibly some of his guests were observed to be putting on airs that were always distasteful to the Emperor, and this was his scornful way of rebuking them.  Or it might be that he wished to take the opportunity of informing Europe that he had no desire to conceal his humble beginning, though at that time he was recognised first man in it.  Historians, when he was at the height of his power, ransacked musty archives assiduously to find out and prove that he had royal blood in him.  They professed to have discovered that he was connected with the princely family of Treviso, and the comical way in which he contemptuously brushed aside this fulsome flattery must have lacerated the pride of courtiers who sought favours by such methods.

Bearing on the royal blood idea, Gourgaud in his Journal relates that the Emperor told him the following stories:-

“At one time in my reign there was a disposition to make out that I was descended from the Man in the Iron Mask.  The Governor of Pignerol was named Bompars.  They said he had married his daughter to his mysterious prisoner, the brother of Louis XIV., and had sent the pair to Corsica under the name of ‘Bonaparte,’” and then with fine humour he adds:-“I had only to say the word and everybody would have believed the fable.”

He never forgot that he was Napoleon, hence never said the word.

His insincere father-in-law has been industriously searching for royal blood too, and this is what his son-in-law says of him:-

“When I was about to marry Marie Louise, her father the Emperor sent me a box of papers intended to prove that I was descended from the Dukes of Florence.  I burst out laughing, and said to Metternich, ’Do you suppose I am going to waste my time over such foolishness?  Suppose it were true, what good would it do me?  The Dukes of Florence were inferior in rank to the Emperors of Germany.  I will not place myself beneath my father-in-law.  I think that as I am, I am as good as he.  My nobility dates from Monte Notte.  Return him these papers.’  Metternich was very much amused.”

Francis of Austria must have felt confounded at the rebuke of his unceremonious relative, who was always the man of stern reality-too big to be dazzled by mouldy records of kingly blood.  Neither did pomp or ceremony attract him, except in so far as it might serve the purpose of making an impression on others.  Bourrienne, a shameless predatory traitor, has said in his memoirs that when the seat of government was removed from the Luxembourg to the Tuileries, the First Consul said to him, “You are very lucky; you are not obliged to make a spectacle of yourself.  I have to go about with a cortege; it bores me, but it appeals to the eye of the people.”

Roederer in his memoirs relates pretty much the same thing, only that it bears on the question of title, and presumably the researches for confirmation of his royal descent.

Here again, his strong practical view of things, and his utter indifference to grandeur or genealogical distinction, are shown.  He says:  “How can anyone pretend that empty names, titles given for the sake of a political system, can change in the smallest degree one’s relations with one’s friends and associates?  I am called Sire, or Imperial Majesty, without anyone in my household believing or thinking that I am a different man in consequence.  All those titles form part of a system, and therefore they are necessary.”  He always ends his ébullitions of convincing wisdom by making it clear precisely where he stands.

The writer might quote pages of eulogies of him from the most eminent men of every nationality.  There is no trustworthy evidence that he ever sought the flattery that was lavished on him; indeed, he seems to have been alternately in the mood for ignoring or making fun of it.  On one occasion he writes to King Joseph, “I have never sought the applause of Parisians; I am not an operatic monarch."

Seguier says:-

“Napoleon is above human history.  He belongs to heroic periods and is beyond admiration."

A notable Englishman, Lord Acton, says (like Mueller) that “his goodness was the most splendid that has appeared on earth.”  And there are innumerable instances which prove that his sympathies and goodness to those who were notoriously undeserving was a fatal passion with him.  But there is no opinion, blunt though it be, that so completely touches one as that of the plain English sailors who said at Elba that “Boney was a d -d good fellow after all.”  “They may talk about this man as they like,” said one of the crew of the Northumberland, “but I won’t believe the bad they say of him,” and this view seems to have been generally held by the men who composed the crew of the vessel that took the Emperor to St. Helena.  It is noteworthy that English man-of-war’s-men, and also merchant seamen of these stirring times, should have formed so favourable an impression of Napoleon, especially as the Press of England teemed with hostility against him.  Articles attributing every form of indescribable bestiality, corruption, gross cruelty to his soldiers, subordinate officers, and even Marshals, appeared with shameful regularity.  In these articles were included the most absurd as well as the most serious charges.

I include the following story as a specimen, and take it in particular as being quoted quite seriously by certain anti-Napoleonic writers in the endeavour to bolster up a feeble case.  Prejudice and distorted vision prevented them from seeing the absurdity of such attempts to blacken the character of Napoleon.  Let the reader judge!

It is related that, at the time of the Concordat, Napoleon remarked to Senator Volney, “France wants a religion.”  Volney’s courageous (!) reply was, “France wants the Bourbons,” and the Emperor is thereupon supposed to have been attacked by a fit of ungovernable fury, and to have kicked the Senator in the stomach!

The more serious charges included incest with his sister Pauline and his stepdaughter Hortense, and the poisoning of his plague-stricken soldiers at Jaffa.

His palaces were said to be harems, and his libertinism to put Oriental potentates to the blush.  So industrious were these foes to human fairness that they manufactured a silly story just before the rupture of the Treaty of Amiens, to the effect that Napoleon had made a violent attack on Lord Whitworth, the British Ambassador.  So violent was he in his gestures, the Ambassador feared lest the First Consul would strike him.  Even Oscar Browning is obliged to refute this unworthy fabrication as being absurd on the face of it, but it has taken ninety years to produce the authentic document from the British Archives which disproves the scandal.  Napoleon was too much absorbed in things that mattered to take notice of the stupid though virulent stories that were constantly being concocted against him.  When he was appealed to by his friends to have the libels suitably dealt with, he merely shrugged his shoulders, as was his custom, and said, “All this rubbish will be answered, if not in my time, by posterity.  It pleases the chatterers and scandalmongers, and I haven’t time to be perturbed, or to meddle with it.”

It ill became the subjects of George IV. to attack Napoleon on the side of morality.  It is well enough known that the French Court during the Empire was the purest in Europe.  In his domestic arrangements, the one thing that Napoleon was jealous of, above all others, was that his Court should have the reputation of being clean.  He took infinite pains to assure himself of this.  His private amorous connections are fully described by F. Masson, a Frenchman, and a staunch admirer of his.  But to accuse him of libertinism is an outrage.  He had mistresses, it is true, and it is said he would never have agreed to the divorce of Josephine had it not been that Madame Walewska (a Polish lady) had a son by him. (This son held high office under Napoleon III.) But even in the matter of mistresses he was most careful that it should not be known outside a very few personal friends.  As a matter of high policy it was kept from the eye of the general public, and he gives very good reasons for doing so.  Not merely that it would have brought him into serious conflict with Josephine, but he knew that in order to maintain a high standard of public authority food for scandal must be kept well in hand.

His enemies, however, were adepts at invention, and although the moral code of that period was at its lowest ebb, they pumped up a standard of celibacy for the French Emperor that would have put the obligation under which any of his priests were bound in the shade.  So shocked were they at the breaches of orthodoxy which were written and circulated by themselves without any foundation to go upon, that they advocated excommunication, assassination, anything to rid the world of so corrupt a monster.  But the moral dodge fell flat.  It was not exactly in keeping with the unconventionalities of the times, and, in fact, they had carried their other accusations and grievances to so malevolent a pitch, the straightforward and rugged tars aboard the Bellerophon and Northumberland were drawn in touching sympathy towards the man who had thrown himself into their hands in the fervent belief that he would be received as a guest and not as a prisoner of war.

We know that he had other means of escape had he chosen to avail himself of them.  He had resolved after his abdication to live the time that was left to him in retirement, and believing in the generosity of the British nation, he threw himself on their hospitality.  He had made his way through a network of blockade when he returned from Egypt and Elba, and looking at the facts as they are now before us, it is preposterous to adhere to the boastful platitude that he was so hemmed in that he had no option but to ask Captain Maitland to receive him as the guest of England aboard the Bellerophon, and it may be taken for granted that the resourceful sailors knew that he had many channels of escape.  They knew the Bellerophon was a slow old tub, and that she would be nowhere in a chase.

Besides, it was not necessary for Napoleon to make Rochefort or Rochelle his starting-point.  The troops and seamen at these and the neighbouring ports were all devoted to him, and would have risked everything to save him from capture.  He knew all this, but he was possessed of an innate belief in the chivalry of the British character, and left out of account the class of men that were in power.  He knew them to be his inveterate foes, but was deceived in believing they had hearts.  Their foremost soldier had taken an active share in his defeat, and he acknowledged it by putting himself under the protection of our laws.  The honest English seamen who were his shipmates on both ships were not long in forming a strong liking to him, and a dislike to the treatment he was receiving.  They felt there was something wrong, though all they could say about it was that “he was a d -d good fellow.”

Lord Keith was so afraid of his fascinating personality after his visit to the Bellerophon that he said, “D -n the fellow! if he had obtained an interview with His Royal Highness, in half an hour they would have been the best friends in England.”  In truth, Lord Keith lost a fine opportunity of saving British hospitality from the blight of eternal execration by evading the lawyer who came to Plymouth to serve a writ of Habeas Corpus to claim the Emperor’s person, and the pity is that an honoured name should have been associated with a mission so crimeful and an occasion so full of illimitable consequences to England’s boasted generosity.  Except that he too well carried out his imperious instructions, Lord Keith does not come well out of the beginning of the great tragedy.  The only piece of real delicacy shown by Lord Keith to the Emperor was in allowing him to retain his arms, and snubbing a secretary who reminded him that the instructions were that all should be disarmed.  This zealous person was told to mind his own business.

Napoleon asks the Admiral if there is any tribunal to which he can apply to determine the legality of him being sent to St. Helena, as he protested that he was the guest and not the prisoner of the British nation; and Keith, with an air of condescending benevolence, assures him that he is satisfied there is every disposition on the part of the Government to render his situation as comfortable as prudence would permit.  No wonder Napoleon’s reply was animated, and his soul full of dignified resentment at the perfidy that was about to be administered to him under the guise of beneficence.

Scott describes the interview with Keith as “a remarkable scene.”  He says:  “His (Napoleon’s) manner was perfectly calm and collected, his voice equal and firm, his tones very pleasing, the action of the head was dignified, and the countenance remarkably soft and placid, without any marks of severity.”  That is a good testimony from the author of the “Waverley Novels,” who was anything but an impartial biographer.  Not even the novelist’s most ardent admirers (and the writer is one of them) can give him credit for excessive partiality towards the hero who was the first soldier, statesman, and ruler of the age, who not only knew the art of conquering men as no other (not even Alexander) had ever known it, but had the greater quality of knowing how to conquer and govern himself under conditions that were unexampled in the history of man.

I say again, that apart from the violence of the treatment of the Powers towards him (and they all had a shameful share in it), it was a fatal blunder to send this great mind to perish on a rock when, by adopting a more humane policy, his incomparable genius might have been used to carry out the reforms he had set his mind on after his return from Elba.  The tumult which surrounded his career had changed; he saw with a clear vision the dawn of a new era, and at once proclaimed to Benjamin Constant and to the French nation his great scheme of renewing the heart of things.  He knew it would take time, and he foresaw also that a combination of forces was putting forth supreme efforts to destroy him.  They were out for blood, and he was in too great a hurry.

In one of his day-dreams at St. Helena he exclaimed, “Ah! if I could have governed France for forty years I would have made her the most splendid empire that ever existed!”

His demand on fortune was too great, and notwithstanding the knowledge he had of human nature, he could not check the torrent of treason that had been sedulously nursed against him by his enemies until it ignited the imagination of those whom he had a right to expect would stand loyally by him in an hour of tribulation such as no other man had ever experienced.

It is true that he made history (brilliant history if you like) in those latter days, but oh! the anguish and the baseness of it all.

Cæsar made history too; neither did this ruler succeed altogether.  Brutus, his friend, forsook and dispatched him, and possibly that was the most enviable finish to a great career.  Did Napoleon fare better than his prototype, inasmuch as he was not the victim of the assassin’s dagger?  Intoxicated with the spirit of charity, his conquerors decreed that he should be deported to a secluded place of abode on a barren and unhealthy rock, there to be maintained at a cost to the nation of L12,000 a year, and succumb as quickly as possible like a good Christian gentleman.

The presumption of Lord Keith in observing to Napoleon that it was preferable for him to be sent to St. Helena than to be confined in a smaller space in England or sent to France or Russia, and the Emperor’s supposed reply-“Russia!  God preserve me from it!”-is almost unbelievable, and in the light of what he constantly asserted while England’s captive, this expression may be regarded as a fabrication.

Whether it was an innate belief that Alexander of Russia was his friend, or the fact that Francis of Austria was his father-in-law, he certainly avowed-according to the St. Helena chroniclers-that if he had surrendered to either of them he would have been treated, not only with kindness, but with a proper regard as befitted a monarch who had governed eighty-three millions of people, or more than the half of Europe.  But even if he were merely soliloquising, or wished to convince himself and those he expressed this opinion to, it is hard to think that any of the continental Powers would have risked the certain consequences of having him either shot or ill-treated, and it is extremely doubtful whether even in France there could have been found a soldier that would have obeyed an order to shoot his former Emperor, who had been requisitioned to return from Elba, and who so recently, with only six hundred soldiers, made war against Louis with his two hundred thousand and defeated and dethroned him.

Nothing so magnificent has ever been known.  This great man had complete hold of the imagination and devotion of his common people and soldiers.  Even in the hour of defeat their loyalty was amazing.

Various instances are given of this deep-rooted loyalty and affection.  Some of his Imperial Guards who were wounded at Waterloo killed themselves on hearing that he had lost the battle, and many, who had been thought to be dead, when brought to consciousness shouted “Vive l’Empereur.”  The hospitals were full of dying men who uttered the same cry.  One was having his leg amputated, and as he looked at the blood streaming from it, said that he would willingly give it all in the service of Napoleon.  Another, who was having a ball extracted from his left side near the heart, shouted, “Probe an inch deeper and there you will find the Emperor.”

The story of the old woman whom he and Duroc met during the second campaign in Italy, and while climbing Mont Tarare, is a striking illustration of how he was regarded by the poorer classes.  She hated the Bourbons and wanted to see the First Consul.  Napoleon answered, “Bah! tyrant for tyrant-they are just the same thing.”  “No, no!” she replied; “Louis XVI. was the king of the nobles, Bonaparte is the king of the people.”  This idea of the old woman was the universal feeling of her class right through his reign.  No writer has been able to give proof that it was withdrawn, even when he was overwhelmed with disaster which drained his empire of vast masses of its population.  No cruel inhuman despot could magnetise with an enduring fascination multitudes of men and women as he did.  It was not his incomparable genius, nor his matchless military successes in battle.  He was loved because he was lovable, and was trusted because he inspired belief in his high motives of amelioration of all down-trodden people.  He ruled with a stern but kindly discipline, and put a heavy hand on those who had despotic tendencies.

The Duchess of Abrantes, who smarted under some severe comments he had made about her husband (Junot), the Duke of Abrantes, while at St. Helena, has been generous enough to say many kind things of him in her memoirs.  One of her references to him is to this effect:-“All I know of him” (and she knew him well from childhood) “proves that he possessed a great soul which quickly forgets and forgives.”  She is very fond of repeating in her memoirs that Napoleon proposed marriage to her mother, Madame Permon, who was herself a Corsican and knew the Bonaparte family well.

Madame Junot relates another story which is characteristic of Bonaparte.  Such was the enthusiasm of the people on his march towards Paris after landing from Elba, that when he was holding a review of the National Guard at Grenoble, the people shouldered him, and a young girl with a laurel branch in her hand approached him reciting some verses.  “What can I do for you, my pretty girl?” said the Emperor.  The girl blushed, then lifting her eyes to him replied, “I have nothing to ask of your Majesty; but you would render me very happy by embracing me.”  Napoleon kissed her, and turning his head to either side, said aloud, with a fascinating smile, “I embrace in you all the ladies of Grenoble.”

That Napoleon made mistakes no one will dispute; indeed, he saw clearly, and admitted freely, in his solitude, that he had made many.  His minor fault (if it be right to characterise it as such) was in extending clemency to the many rascals that were plotting his ruin and carrying on a system of peculation that was an abhorrence to him.  Talleyrand, Fouche, and Bourrienne frequently came under his displeasure and were removed from his service, but were taken back after his wrath had passed.

Miot de Melito speaks of them as “Bourrienne and other subordinate scoundrels,” and, indeed, Miot de Melito does not exaggerate in his estimate of them.  Fouche says that Bourrienne kept him advised of all Napoleon’s movements for 25,000 francs per month, besides being both partner and patron in the house of Coulon Brothers, cavalry equipment providers, who failed for L120,000.

In 1805, Bourrienne was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary at Hamburg, and during his stay there he made L290,000 by delivering permits and making what is known as “arbitrary stoppages,” and besides betraying Bonaparte to the Bourbons, this vile traitor wrote to Talleyrand, a few days after the abdication at Fontainebleau:  “I always desired the return of that excellent Prince, Louis XVIII., and his august family.”  But these things are mere shadows of the incomparable villainy of this thievish human jackdaw.

His memoirs are said to have been written by an impecunious and mediocre penman called Villemarest, who also wrote “Mémoires de Constant” (the Emperor’s valet), and both books have been very extensively read and believed.  Men have got up terrific lectures from them, authors have quoted from them whenever they desired an authority to prove that which they wished themselves and their readers to believe of trumped-up stories of Napoleon’s despotism and evildoings.  Certainly, Bourrienne is the last and most unreliable of all the chroniclers that may be quoted when writing a history of the Emperor.  Neither his character nor any of his personal qualities imbues the impartial reader with confidence in either his criticisms or historical statements.

Men like Fouche, Talleyrand, and Bourrienne, and political women like Madame de Remusat and Madame de Stael, all of whom were brought under the Emperor’s displeasure by their zealous aptitude in one way and another for intrigue, disloyalty, and, so far as the men are concerned, glaring dishonesty in money matters, have assiduously chronicled their own virtues and declaimed against Napoleon’s incalculable vices, and this course was no doubt chosen in order to avert the public gaze from too close a scrutiny into their own perfidy.  Their plan is not an unusual one under such circumstances; rascals never scruple to multiply offences more wicked than those already committed in order to prove that they are acting from a pure sense of public morality and historical truth.  If the object of their attack be a benefactor, and one who has been obliged to rebuke or dismiss them for misdeeds, great or small, then they assail him with unqualified hostility.

This unquestionably was the penalty paid by Napoleon for extending clemency to men who, if they had been in the service of any other monarch in Europe, would have been shut up in a fortress, or shot, the moment their perfidies had been discovered.  The pity is that so much of this declamatory stuff has been so willingly believed and made use of in order to defame the name of a sovereign whose besetting fault was in relaxing just punishment bestowed on those who, he could never altogether forget, were his companions in other days.