The Life of Napoleon I (Complete)
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The Life of Napoleon I (Complete)


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) by John Holland Rose This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) Author: John Holland Rose Release Date: December 8, 2004 [EBook #14300] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON I *** Produced by Paul Murray, and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team. THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON I "Let my son often read and reflect on history: this is the only true philosophy."—Napoleon's last Instructions for the King of Rome . THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON I CONTENTS INCLUDING NEW MATERIALS FROM THE BRITISH OFFICIAL RECORDS BY JOHN HOLLAND ROSE, LITT.D. LATE SCHOLAR OF CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE LONDON G. BELL AND SONS, LTD. 1910 POST 8VO EDITION, ILLUSTRATED First Published, December 1901. Second Edition, revised, March 1902. Third Edition, revised, January 1903. Fourth Edition, revised, September 1907. Reprinted, January 1910. CROWN 8VO EDITION First Published, September 1904. Reprinted, October 1907; July 1910. DEDICATED TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD ACTON, K.C.V.O., D.C.L., LL.D. REGIUS PROFESSOR OF MODERN HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, IN ADMIRATION OF HIS PROFOUND HISTORICAL LEARNING, AND IN GRATITUDE FOR ADVICE AND HELP GENEROUSLY GIVEN. PREFACE An apology seems to be called for from anyone who gives to the world a new Life of Napoleon I. My excuse must be that for many years I have sought to revise the traditional story of his career in the light of facts gleaned from the British Archives and of the many valuable materials that have recently been published by continental historians. To explain my manner of dealing with these sources would require an elaborate critical Introduction; but, as the limits of my space absolutely preclude any such attempt, I can only briefly refer to the most important topics. To deal with the published sources first, I would name as of chief importance the works of MM. Aulard, Chuquet, Houssaye, Sorel, and Vandal in France; of Herren Beer, Delbrück, Fournier, Lehmann, Oncken, and Wertheimer in Germany and Austria; and of Baron Lumbroso in Italy. I have also profited largely by the scholarly monographs or collections of documents due to the labours of the "Société d'Histoire Contemporaine," the General Staff of the French Army, of MM. Bouvier, Caudrillier, Capitaine "J.G.," Lévy, Madelin, Sagnac, Sciout, Zivy, and others in France; and of Herren Bailleu, Demelitsch, Hansing, Klinkowstrom, Luckwaldt, Ulmann, and others in Germany. Some of the recently published French Memoirs dealing with those times are not devoid of value, though this class of literature is to be used with caution. The new letters of Napoleon published by M. Léon Lecestre and M. Léonce de Brotonne have also opened up fresh vistas into the life of the great man; and the time seems to have come when we may safely revise our judgments on many of its episodes. But I should not have ventured on this great undertaking, had I not been able to contribute something new to Napoleonic literature. During a study of this period for an earlier work published in the "Cambridge Historical Series," I ascertained the great value of the British records for the years 1795-1815. It is surely discreditable to our historical research that, apart from the fruitful labours of the Navy Records Society, of Messrs. Oscar Browning and Hereford George, and of Mr. Bowman of Toronto, scarcely any English work has appeared that is based on the official records of this period. Yet they are of great interest and value. Our diplomatic agents then had the knack of getting at State secrets in most foreign capitals, even when we were at war with their Governments; and our War Office and Admiralty Records have also yielded me some interesting "finds." M. Lévy, in the preface to his "Napoléon intime" (1893), has well remarked that "the documentary history of the wars of the Empire has not yet been written. To write it accurately, it will be more important thoroughly to know foreign archives than those of France." Those of Russia, Austria, and Prussia have now for the most part been examined; and I think that I may claim to have searched all the important parts of our Foreign Office Archives for the years in question, as well as for part of the St. Helena period. I have striven to embody the results of this search in the present volumes as far as was compatible with limits of space and with the narrative form at which, in my judgment, history ought always to aim. On the whole, British policy comes out the better the more fully it is known. Though often feeble and vacillating, it finally attained to firmness and dignity; and Ministers closed the cycle of war with acts of magnanimity towards the French people which are studiously ignored by those who bid us shed tears over the martyrdom of St. Helena. Nevertheless, the splendour of the finale must not blind us to the flaccid eccentricities that made British statesmanship the laughing stock of Europe in 18013, 1806-7, and 1809. Indeed, it is questionable whether the renewal of war between England and Napoleon in 1803 was due more to his innate forcefulness or to the contempt which he felt for the Addington Cabinet. When one also remembers our extraordinary blunders in the war of the Third Coalition, it seems a miracle that the British Empire survived that life and death struggle against a man of superhuman genius who was determined to effect its overthrow. I have called special attention to the extent and pertinacity of Napoleon's schemes for the foundation of a French Colonial Empire in India, Egypt, South Africa, and Australia; and there can be no doubt that the events of the years 1803-13 determined, not only the destinies of Europe and Napoleon, but the general trend of the world's colonization. As it has been necessary to condense the story of Napoleon's life in some parts, I have chosen to treat with special brevity the years 1809-11, which may be called the constans aetas of his career, in order to have more space for the decisive events that followed; but even in these less eventful years I have striven to show how his Continental System was setting at work mighty economic forces that made for his overthrow, so that after the débâcle of 1812 it came to be a struggle of Napoleon and France contra mundum. While not neglecting the personal details of the great man's life, I have dwelt mainly on his public career. Apart from his brilliant conversations, his private life has few features of abiding interest, perhaps because he early tired of the shallowness of Josephine and the Corsican angularity of his brothers and sisters. But the cause also lay in his own disposition. He once said to M. Gallois: "Je n'aime pas beaucoup les femmes, ni le jeu—enfin rien: je suis tout à fait un être politique ." In dealing with him as a warrior and statesman, and in sparing my readers details as to his bolting his food, sleeping at concerts, and indulging in amours where for him there was no glamour of romance, I am laying stress on what interested him most—in a word, I am taking him at his best. I could not have accomplished this task, even in the present inadequate way, but for the help generously accorded from many quarters. My heartfelt thanks are due to Lord Acton, Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge, for advice of the highest importance; to Mr. Hubert Hall of the Public Record Office, for guidance in my researches there; to Baron Lumbroso of Rome, editor of the "Bibliografia ragionata dell' Epoca Napoleonica," for hints on Italian and other affairs; to Dr. Luckwaldt, Privat Docent of the University of Bonn, and author of "Oesterreich und die Anfänge des Befreiungs-Krieges," for his very scholarly revision of the chapters on German affairs; to Mr. F.H.E. Cunliffe, M.A., Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford, for valuable advice on the campaigns of 1800, 1805, and 1806; to Professor Caudrillier of Grenoble, author of "Pichegru," for information respecting the royalist plot; and to Messrs. J.E. Morris, M.A., and E.L.S. Horsburgh, B.A., for detailed communications concerning Waterloo, The nieces of the late Professor Westwood of Oxford most kindly allowed the facsimile of the new Napoleon letter, printed opposite p. 156 of vol. i., to be made from the original in their possession; and Miss Lowe courteously placed at my disposal the papers of her father relating to the years 1813-15, as well as to the St. Helena period. I wish here to record my grateful obligations for all these friendly courtesies, which have given value to the book, besides saving me from many of the pitfalls with which the subject abounds. That I have escaped them altogether is not to be imagined; but I can honestly say, in the words of the late Bishop of London, that "I have tried to write true history." J.H.R. [NOTE.—The references to Napoleon's "Correspondence" in the notes are to the official French edition, published under the auspices of Napoleon III. The "New Letters of Napoleon" are those edited by Léon Lecestre, and translated into English by Lady Mary Loyd, except in a very few cases where M. Léonce de Brotonne's still more recent edition is cited under his name. By "F.O.," France, No.——, and "F.O.," Prussia, No.——, are meant the volumes of our Foreign Office despatches relating to France and Prussia. For the sake of brevity I have called Napoleon's Marshals and high officials by their names, not by their titles: but a list of these is given at the close of vol. ii.] PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION The demand for this work so far exceeded my expectations that I was unable to make any considerable changes in the second edition, issued in March, 1902; and circumstances again make it impossible for me to give the work that thorough recension which I should desire. I have, however, carefully considered the suggestions offered by critics, and have adopted them in some cases. Professor Fournier of Vienna has most kindly furnished me with details which seem to relegate to the domain of legend the famous ice catastrophe at Austerlitz; and I have added a note to this effect on p. 50 of vol. ii. On the other hand, I may justly claim that the publication of Count Balmain's reports relating to St. Helena has served to corroborate, in all important details, my account of Napoleon's captivity. It only remains to add that I much regret the omission of Mr. Oman's name from II. 1213 of page viii of the Preface, an omission rendered all the more conspicuous by the appearance of the first volume of his "History of the Peninsular War" in the spring of this year. J.H.R. October, 1902. Notes have been added at the end of ch. v., vol. i.; chs. xxii., xxiii., xxviii., xxix., xxxv., vol. ii.; and an Appendix on the Battle of Waterloo has been added on p. 577, vol. ii. CONTENTS CHAPTER PREFACE NOTE ON THE REPUBLICAN CALENDAR VOLUME I I. PARENTAGE AND EARLY YEARS II. THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND CORSICA III. TOULON IV. VENDÉMIAIRE V. THE ITALIAN CAMPAIGN (1796) VI. THE FIGHTS FOR MANTUA VII. LEOBEN TO CAMPO FORMIO VIII. EGYPT IX. SYRIA X. BRUMAIRE XI. MARENGO: LUNÉVILLE XII.THE NEW INSTITUTIONS OF FRANCE XIII. THE CONSULATE FOR LIFE XIV. THE PEACE OF AMIENS XV. A FRENCH COLONIAL EMPIRE: ST. DOMINGO--LOUISIANA--INDIA--AUSTRALIA XVI. NAPOLEON'S INTERVENTIONS XVII. THE RENEWAL OF WAR XVIII. EUROPE AND THE BONAPARTES XIX. THE ROYALIST PLOT XX. THE DAWN OF THE EMPIRE XXI. THE BOULOGNE FLOTILLA XXII. APPENDIX: REPORTS HITHERTO UNPUBLISHED ON (a) THE SALE OF LOUISIANA; (b) THE IRISH DIVISION IN NAPOLEON'S SERVICE ILLUSTRATIONS, MAPS, AND PLANS THE SIEGE OF TOULON, 1793 MAP TO ILLUSTRATE THE CAMPAIGNS IN NORTH ITALY PLAN TO ILLUSTRATE THE VICTORY OF ARCOLA THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF RIVOLI 51 81 125 133 1 24 44 57 77 105 140 174 201 216 240 266 302 331 355 386 401 430 446 465 462 509 page VII XV FACSIMILE OF A LETTER OF NAPOLEON TO "LA CITOYENNE TALLIEN," 1797 CENTRAL EUROPE, after the Peace of Campo Formio, 1797 PLAN OF THE SIEGE OF ACRE, from a contemporary sketch THE BATTLE OF MARENGO, to illustrate Kellermann's charge FRENCH MAP OF THE SOUTH OF AUSTRALIA, 1807 VOLUME II XXII. ULM AND TRAFALGAR XXIII. AUSTERLITZ XXIV. PRUSSIA AND THE NEW CHARLEMAGNE XXV. THE FALL OF PRUSSIA XXVI. THE CONTINENTAL SYSTEM: FRIEDLAND XXVII. TILSIT XXVIII. THE SPANISH RISING XXIX. ERFURT XXX. NAPOLEON AND AUSTRIA XXXI. THE EMPIRE AT ITS HEIGHT XXXII. THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN XXXIII. THE FIRST SAXON CAMPAIGN XXXIV. VITTORIA AND THE ARMISTICE XXXV. DRESDEN AND LEIPZIG XXXVI. FROM THE RHINE TO THE SEINE XXXVII. THE FIRST ABDICATION XXXVIII. ELBA AND PARIS XXXIX. LIGNY AND QUATRE BRAS XL. WATERLOO XLI. FROM THE ELYSÉE TO ST. HELENA XLII. CLOSING YEARS APPENDIX I: LIST OF THE CHIEF APPOINTMENTS AND DIGNITIES BESTOWED BY NAPOLEON APPENDIX II: THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO INDEX MAPS AND PLANS BATTLE OF ULM BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ BATTLE OF JENA BATTLE OF FRIEDLAND BATTLE OF WAGRAM CENTRAL EUROPE AFTER 1810 CAMPAIGN IN RUSSIA BATTLE OF VITTORIA 156 171 205 255 378 1 29 51 79 103 125 159 174 189 208 231 267 300 329 368 399 435 453 487 512 539 575 577 579 15 39 95 121 196 215 247 310 THE CAMPAIGN OF 1813 BATTLE OF DRESDEN BATTLE OF LEIPZIG THE CAMPAIGN OF 1814 PLAN OF THE WATERLOO CAMPAIGN BATTLE OF LIGNY BATTLE OF WATERLOO, about 11 o'clock a.m. ST. HELENA FOOTNOTES INDEX to face to face 336 343 357 383 458 465 490 540 VOLUME I NOTE ON THE REPUBLICAN CALENDAR The republican calendar consisted of twelve months of thirty days each, each month being divided into three "decades" of ten days. Five days (in leap years six) were added at the end of the year to bring it into coincidence with the solar year. An " " " I began Sept. 22, II " " III " " IV (leap year) * " " " VIII IX X * " XIV * * 1792. 1793. 1794. 1795. * * began Sept. 22, 1799. " Sept. 23, 1800. " " 1801. * " " * * 1805. * The new computation, though reckoned from Sept. 22, 1792, was not introduced until Nov. 26, 1793 (An II). It ceased after Dec. 31, 1805. The months are as follows: Vendémiaire Brumaire Frimaire Nivôse Pluviôse Ventôse Germinal Floréal Prairial Messidor Thermidor Fructidor Sept. 22 Oct. 22 Nov. 21 Dec. 21 Jan. 20 Feb. 19 Mar. 21 April 20 May 20 June 19 July 19 Aug. 18 to " " " " " " " " " " " Oct. 21. Nov. 20. Dec. 20. Jan. 19. Feb. 18. Mar. 20. April 19. May 19. June 18. July 18. Aug. 17. Sept. 16. Add five (in leap years six) "Sansculottides" or "Jours complémentaires." In 1796 (leap year) the numbers in the table of months, so far as concerns all dates between Feb. 28 and Sept. 22, will have to be reduced by one , owing to the intercalation of Feb. 29, which is not compensated for until the end of the republican year. The matter is further complicated by the fact that the republicans reckoned An VIII as a leap year, though it is not one in the Gregorian Calendar. Hence that year ended on Sept. 22, and An IX and succeeding years began on Sept. 23. Consequently in the above table of months the numbers of all days from Vendémiaire 1, An IX (Sept. 23, 1800), to Nivôse 10, An XIV (Dec. 31, 1805), inclusive, will have to be increased by one, except only in the next leap year between Ventôse 9, An XII, and Vendémiaire 1, An XIII (Feb. 28-Sept, 23, 1804), when the two Revolutionary aberrations happen to neutralize each other. THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON I CHAPTER I PARENTAGE AND EARLY YEARS "I was born when my country was perishing. Thirty thousand French vomited upon our coasts, drowning the throne of Liberty in waves of blood, such was the sight which struck my eyes." This passionate utterance, penned by Napoleon Buonaparte at the beginning of the French Revolution, describes the state of Corsica in his natal year. The words are instinct with the vehemence of the youth and the extravagant sentiment of the age: they strike the keynote of his career. His life was one of strain and stress from his cradle to his grave. In his temperament as in the circumstances of his time the young Buonaparte was destined for an extraordinary career. Into a tottering civilization he burst with all the masterful force of an Alaric. But he was an Alaric of the south, uniting the untamed strength of his island kindred with the mental powers of his Italian ancestry. In his personality there is a complex blending of force and grace, of animal passion and mental clearness, of northern common sense with the promptings of an oriental imagination; and this union in his nature of seeming opposites explains many of the mysteries of his life. Fortunately for lovers of romance, genius cannot be wholly analyzed, even by the most adroit historical philosophizer or the most exacting champion of heredity. But in so far as the sources of Napoleon's power can be measured, they may be traced to the unexampled needs of mankind in the revolutionary epoch and to his own exceptional endowments. Evidently, then, the characteristics of his family claim some attention from all who would understand the man and the influence which he was to wield over modern Europe. It has been the fortune of his House to be the subject of dispute from first to last. Some writers have endeavoured to trace its descent back to the Cæsars of Rome, others to the Byzantine Emperors; one genealogical explorer has tracked the family to Majorca, and, altering its name to Bonpart, has discovered its progenitor in the Man of the Iron Mask; while the Duchesse d'Abrantès, voyaging eastwards in quest of its ancestors, has confidently claimed for the family a Greek origin. Painstaking research has dispelled these romancings of historical trouveurs, and has connected this enigmatic stock with a Florentine named "William, who in the year 1261 took the surname of Bonaparte or Buonaparte. The name seems to have been assumed when, amidst the unceasing strifes between Guelfs and Ghibellines that rent the civic life of Florence, William's party, the Ghibellines, for a brief space gained the ascendancy. But perpetuity was not to be found in Florentine politics; and in a short time he was a fugitive at a Tuscan village, Sarzana, beyond the reach of the victorious Guelfs. Here the family seems to have lived for wellnigh three centuries, maintaining its Ghibelline and aristocratic principles with surprising tenacity. The age was not remarkable for the virtue of constancy, or any other virtue. Politics and private life were alike demoralized by unceasing intrigues; and amidst strifes of Pope and Emperor, duchies and republics, cities and autocrats, there was formed that type of Italian character which is delineated in the pages of Macchiavelli. From the depths of debasement of that cynical age the Buonapartes were saved by their poverty, and by the isolation of their life at Sarzana. Yet the embassies discharged at intervals by the more talented members of the family showed that the gifts for intrigue were only dormant; and they were certainly transmitted in their intensity to the greatest scion of the race. In the year 1529 Francis Buonaparte, whether pressed by poverty or distracted by despair at the misfortunes which then overwhelmed Italy, migrated to Corsica. There the family was grafted upon a tougher branch of the Italian race. To the vulpine characteristics developed under the shadow of the Medici there were now added qualities of a more virile stamp. Though dominated in turn by the masters of the Mediterranean, by Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, by the men of Pisa, and finally by the Genoese Republic, the islanders retained a striking individuality. The rockbound coast and mountainous interior helped to preserve the essential features of primitive life. Foreign Powers might affect the towns on the sea-board, but they left the clans of the interior comparatively untouched. Their life centred around the family. The Government counted for little or nothing; for was it not the symbol of the detested foreign rule? Its laws were therefore as naught when they conflicted with the unwritten but omnipotent code of family honour. A slight inflicted on a neighbour would call forth the warning words—"Guard thyself: I am on my guard." Forthwith