« ElőzőTovább »
scene in fiction - if it be fiction which | They commence with the brief announce the event most closely resembles, is that ment, as an excuse for failing to come to of the hurried destruction of the most pri. dinner with Barras: “Bonaparte est are vate papers of the Duc de Mora in the rivé cette nuit," written by Josephine, who terrible eighteenth chapter of Alphonse signs herself Lapagerie Bonaparte, to Daudet's tale, "Le Nabab.” No more Botot, secretary to Barras, then director, characteristic instance of the mutability at the Luxembourg, on December 5, 1797. “of fate, and chance, and change in human of this curious letter, containing the life” has been inscribed on the pages of words, "Vous connaissez mieux que per. history since “the lofty grave tragedians” sonne, mon cher Botot, me position,” a of Greece first showed how powerful a facsimile is given in the volume. The charm the tale of the reverses met by the last entry is a despairing telegram, headed most conspicuous actors on the world's Maire à Guerre, Paris ” (“Guerre" bestage exercises on the human mind. The ing the minister for war), dated Sainterapacity of the solicitors that begirt the Marie, September 3, 1870, 4.30 P.M., to temporary throne; the more than ques- the following effect: “In a few days tionable titles by which in many cases the Strasburg will be nothing but a heap of imperial charity was drained; the mystery ruins. Schlestadt, which has just been hanging over some entries; the broad, invested, will doubtless share the same fierce, garish light in which others stand fate. Have we no one to come to the revealed; the magnitude of the sums de- succor of our unhappy Alsace ?” Later rived by the Bonaparte family, its depen. in actual time, though earlier in the book, dants, its tools, and its flatterers, from the comes a despatch from the director of the taxpayers of France, during a term of telegraph at Lyons to the director general eighteen years; the base servility of the at Paris, dated 1.50 P.M. on September 4: applicants; the utter nakedness to which France was stripped by a horde of plun despatch : " French Republic, Commune of
I am compelled to transmit the following derers, as was shown in the time of her
Lyons. The Provisional Committee of Public need, — these things are well adapted to Safety of Lyons to the Municipal Council of overcome us with special wonder. It was Marseilles: Republic proclaimed at Lyons. in the court of Louis XIV. that the creed Immediate organization of a Republican Govof the courtier was thus briefly formu- ernment, and of necessary measures for the lated :
defence of the country.” A commissary of the Toujours prendre,
Provisional Committee is in permanence in my Jamais rendre,
cabinet. Armed men guard the entry of the Et encore prétendre.
post. What are your orders ? The advice was followed by the ravenous In 1815 events marched almost as rapidly, pack of place-hunters under the empire - though revolution then lacked the magic from the mock disinterestedness of those aid of the electric telegraph. But we who vaunted that they only sought to now turn to the papers which relate more serve the emperor or to save France, to especially to the second empire. the most barefaced and unblushing inen- The third document printed is a facdicancy — that surrounded the throne of simile receipt, dated Elysée National, the emperor Napoleon III.
April 26, 1851, and signed “ Louis-Napo.. The papers and correspondence of the léon Bonaparte,” acknowledging a loan of imperial family form two volumes, one of five hundred thousand francs from Mar. four hundred and eighty, and the other shal Narvaez, then chief of the Spanish of two hundred and eighty-eight pages. ministry; a loan repaid on June 2, 1832.
This is followed by a series of notes, with. in the celebrated coffre de fer of Louis XVI. were used against himn on his trial, though in fact they contained out either signature or date, but appearing nothing to support a capital accusation; and the docu- from internal evidence to have been writ. ments found in the cabinet of Louis Philippe were pubo ten between the months of July and Au. lished in the Revue Retrospective in 1848. But these papers contained absolutely nothing which was not gust, 1852, on the characters of the precreditable to the family of the fugitive king.
fects of the republic after the coup d'état
of December, 1851. These functionaries Sire, — It is I again, but I come all in a are divided into “prefects to dismiss” tremble; for this time I am very frightened. (those of whom the dismissal is urgent | Your Majesty will perhaps weary of his bounty, and indispensable being distinguished by and send me roughly away. I beg him not to an asterisk); “ prefects to change;" “pre
be angry, and to pardon me if I am really
tiresome. fects whose situation does not for the moment require either dismissal or change, of chamberlain vacant at this moment; and as
I have learned that there are several places but with whom one or other measure will this position was occupied by my grandfather, soon become proper," and "prefects who the Count de -, under the Emperor Napo. can be, for the present, maintained at leon I., I have always hoped to obtain one day their posis, some of them being advanced.” | of your Majesty this great favor for my hus. The first quality which appears to be re-band, who is so ardent in his desire and ambigarded by the reporter is that of " devotion to obtain it. Sire, pray grant me this tion,” a word the use of which is enough favor! My husband is not too young; he is to show that the speedy proclamation of thirty-three, and the livery of your servants the empire was in contemplation in July, would become him so, Sire. It is so easy for 1852. The notes do not err either by cir- you, Sire, to make people happy, and you cumlocution or by excess of courtesy: family. Sire, do not refuse me
know how a charge of this kind Matters a whole
at once, at Thus of Ponsard (Loire) it is written :
all events. I have such an ardent desire to "Neither brilliant qualities nor prominent succeed. Pardon me, I conjure you, and give
I defects; has recently committed faults in
your poor little subject a pretty word of conhis department which prove a want of sent. I lay at the feet of your Majesty my political tact that comproinises his situatender and respectful homage. tion in the Loire.” First for character (such as it is) comes Foy (Ardennes). It is not only from poor little subjects of • Absolute devotion ; character frank and the gentler sex that the cry, “Give, give,” loyal; good sense; active and laborious; eehoes through the imperial correspon. thoroughly knows his department, where dence. Not that the ladies had by any he is loved and esteemed.” Another runs means less than their fair share of the thus : Féart (Gers). Sincere devotion, bounty. A “note of the sums paid by intelligent and active administrator; of the emperor to Miss Howard” (created fends by excess of ardor, and by too much Comtesse de Beauregard), between March care of bis personality.” At the head of 24, 1853, and January 1, 1855, amounts to the prefects whoin it is urgent to change five million, four hundred and forty-nine comes “ De Saulxure (Ardèche). Nature thousand francs. On July 24 following, mediocre and vulgar; bas created, by his however, we find a letter from this lady to maladresse and want of tact, a situation an unnamed friend (probably Mocquard), which it will be inconvenient for the gov. which she begs him to burn, complaining ernment to prolong in the Ardèche.” In- of the non-sulfilment of engagements to. tended, no doubt, for few eyes but those wards her, and apparently wanting two of the prince president, this cynical and million five hundred thousand francs more. measured document bears the heading “ You know,” she says, “my position.
Ministry of General Police.” The min. I pray God that there may be no more ister must have required perfect command question of money between me and him of his features when politely receiving who has quite another kind of interest in public officers whose fates were thus indi- my heart.” A brief note sans date runs: cated, and whose characters were thus “ There has been sent into Spain to Madissected and weighed, in a report that dame the Comtesse de Montijo, by the may have lain on his desk during the means of MM. de Rothschild, (1) on Feb. interview.
ruary 4, six hundred thousand francs ; (2) With unusual gallantry the commission on April 2, eighty-nine thousand seven has suppressed the name of a great lady hundred and thirty-nine francs ; (3) on who adopts the coaxing style of mendi- May 27 (Mocquard), six hundred and sixty. cancy.
eight thousand sour hundred and twenty:
one francs. The empress had regularly | If we add to this sum the capital given, one hundred thousand francs per month.”
5,200,000 fr., we find more than fifty-eight
millions absorbed, without any utility for the After official figures which the Civil List country, by the family of those who have led Commission has furnished us (say the Com- us to Leipsig, to Waterloo, and to Sedan. mission for the publication of the correspondence] the balance-sheet of the Imperial mu
Fifty-eight millions of francs, however, nificence may be thus stated for the whole respectable an item as it may be considreign :
ered, is far from exhausting the debit side
fr. c. of the account opened with France for the Allocations, subventions, and
“ Imperial family” on December 2, 1852. pensions
19,857,374 72 The fixed and regular resources of which Gifts, succors, and indemni
the head of that family disposed, from that ties
28,881,895 55 date to September 4, 1870, comprised (1) Encouragement to art, science, literature
the dotations of the Civil List, twenty2,566,941 53
five million francs; (2) the dotations of To this total of a little over two inillions the imperial family, one million five hun. sterling have to be added
dred thousand francs; (3) dotations of various allocations on the privy purse, a spe hundred and fifty thousand francs ; (4)
the Palais Royal and of Meudon, three cial fund which the Emperor reserved for his personal use. Under this head was annually dotations, movable and fixed, of the crown,
Oo distributed about a million of francs by the from four to eight million francs. hands of M. Ch. Thélin, keeper of the privy the average the receipts of the Civil List pixse. Account should also be taken of cer- constantly exceeded the sum of thirty-two tain expenses met, at least in 1863, under the million francs annually, which hardly covMinister Persigny, by the Department of the ered the expenses of the court and of the Interior, of which we have found some traces great officers of the crown. in the papers submitted to our examination,
The final" recapitulation" arrived at by under the title of “Political Fund."
the commission runs thus: 300,000 francs a year for this, we obtain a total of about three millions, and adding the So, without keeping count of certain hun. different items together we arrive at a general | dreds of thousands of francs annually pocketed total of 74,306,211 francs So centimes, or, re. for an unknown number of years, the balancemaining within the limits of the Civil List, sheet of the Bonaparte family is as follows: seventy or seventy-one millions; a sum equal to that which we have previously attributed, Jérôme Bonaparte (4 persons) 37,073,364 on vouchers, to the Imperial family.
Baciocchi family (I person). 6,244,626 As to this we are told in a "note on the Murat family (12 persons)
Lucien Bonaparte (22 persons) 12,762,500
13,577,933 expenses of the Civil List of Napoleon Mmes. B. Centamori and BarthoIll. from 1853 to 1870:”
lini (2 persons).
524.375 It is easy to form a rough estimate of the
70,187,796 money pocketed, since 1852, by the Bonaparte family. It is enough to add to the dotations This sum, amounting to upwards of two paid for some of its members the regular allo- million, eight hundred thousand pounds cations of which the Commission has already sterling, was paid by the French nation to published the table, of which the annual total the Bonaparte family, without any utility varies from 1,200,000 to 1,400,000 francs. to France, on the ground of relationship This subvention commenced on December 25, to the chief of the State. 1852, and only closed with the Empire. ACcount must also be taken of a capital of
Compared with the mendicants and flat5,200,000 francs, distributed by decree of April terers by whom he was surrounded, the 1, 1852, to a certain number of favored rela- irresponsible distributor of this golden tives. Without speaking of gratifications, shower looks almost respectable by force debts paid, and other liberalities, of which the of contrast. We have touched on ihe del. detail will follow, the general account of the icate question of bounty to feminine claimImperial family is as follows, according to the The volume beiore us gives proof official tables of the Civil List:
that the number of these was by no means
fr. Dotations (1860-1870).
very restricted, although particulars of the Dotations of the Palais Royal and
payments are rarely on record. Two let. of Meudon (1857-1870) 4.953,639
ters signed Marguerite Bellanger indicate Allocations (1853–1870)
a lacuna of this kind of no inconsiderable
30,033,531 Divers expenses
And if the statement be correct
that certain portions of the landed estates General total.
53,595,285 of the crown were alienated in the direc
tion indicated, it is obvious that large do. This million, however, is only one out of nations may have escaped the notice of nearly six given to the same individual. the commission. An alphabetical list, The Comtesse Emile Campana accepted filling sixty octavo pages of small print, is on July 29, 1851, a bill drawn by the presi. printed by the commission “as the fruit dent of the French republic for thirty of long and minute study.”
three thousand francs. By 1870 she bad It is not (the authors add] a complete list of received "approximately four hundred the pensioners of the Empire. Who
ould thousand francs.” Miss Mary Gwynne hope to draw up such a list?' We find in it by received between 1846 and 1868 at least no means all the high dignitaries and great one hundred and thirty-two thousand officers the public knows them well enough francs by way of pension, besides twenty- nor the multitude of smail suppliants whom five thousand francs as an "establishthe necessities of life have brought under the ment” on her marriage in 1852, and Caudine Forks of the Imperial charity. We twelve thousand five hundred francs by have only been able to present specimens of each category to which the liberalities of the way of “succor" in 1868. An unknown Civil List have applied: avowed complicities; lady, under the initial T., received in 1857 services rendered to the person, the ideas, the the sums of ninety thousand francs, thirty relatives, or the friends of the prince; solicita thousand francs, and eighty thousand tions supported by military, clerical, or domes. francs. Alexandrine Vergeot figures as tic influences ; lastly, aid to merit or to misfor- recipient of numerous sums of varying tune. It is remarkable how small are the last, amount, finishing with twenty.five thou. without, however, being few. Among so many sand francs in August, 1852. These are benefactions there are few which do not hide, only some of the most salient figures on or rather betray, some arrière-pensée. This the face of the alphabetical abstract. The will be readily seen by a glance at the bio-list is of enormous length, and contains graphical and anecdotic remarks which accompany most of the names cited in these pages.
some names we are surprised to find We hope to be pardoned for having trans- there, with singular details as to the nagressed the bounds of the Civil List in order ture of the claims on the imperial purse. to trace the secrets of the Presidency and the In 1866 the emperor appears to have had vicissitudes of that adventurous life which led nearly a million sterling in money and Louis-Napoleon from Strasburg and Boulogne securities deposited with Messrs. Baring: to the Tuileries and to Wilhelmshöhe. Only This, however, was the nominal value of thus can we show the origin of certain for the securities, which was contested by M. tunes and of certain devotions. By the way, Piétri. At page 152 we find Messrs. Bartoo, we have perhaps illuminated some obscure points, so much the more interesting to those ingy' list of the investments. who wish to know thoroughly the man, as to
The demands on the bounty ihus freely his habits, his friends, and his family, avowed distributed can be compared to nothing or clandestine. We have thought it right to so aptly as to the consentaneous howl profit by the vouchers which fell into our with which the great array of professional hands, and have thus brought under contribu- beggars, at Pozzuoli, at Pisa, or at any tion the private accounts of Louis-Napoleon great centre of Continental mendicancy, from 1844 to 1848, following the variations of are wont to set off in pursuit of a newly his private fortune before and during his cap. I arrived visitor. "I drown, at this motivity, and finding even the price of the work. ment, for want of four banknotes of one man's clothes in which he escaped from Ham. thousand francs," writes Albéric Second These were not costly — a blouse, a shirt, to M. Conti. “Ah! if you could only a pair of pantaloons, a cap, an apron, a make my cry of anguish reach the ear of necktie, and a handkerchief, costing all the emperor !” However, the result is together exactly a sovereign.
highly gratifying from the point of view The services rendered to the adventurer of inessieurs les mendiants. This is the in the early part of his career seem to acknowledgment of the imperial munifi. have been paid for with no niggard hand. cence:The first receipt from Miss Howard for one million francs on March 25, 1853, is
Dear Sir, — The Emperor has deigned to in discharge of all her rights and interest hear and to attend to my cry of distress. Make, in the domain of Cività Nuova in the his Majesty, and believe in the sentiments of
I beg you, my cry of joy and gratitude reach March of Ancona. On this property, in high consideration of your devoted servant, 1850, a sum of three hundred and twenty, Albéric Second. four thousand francs was lent to Louis Napoleon by the Marquis Pallavicino, From the cry of distress, pure and simwbich was repaid in 1852, with interest, ple, we pass to the cry of importunity. through the bands of the Duke of Galliera. M. Pierre Bonaparte, as M. Conti calls
him -“the Prince Pierre-Napoléon Bona | your Majesty to give me 5,000 francs per parte,” as he styles himself - received month. I have suffered too much from the from the bounty of his cousin, between malignant fevers of Corsica to think of returnApril 1, 1852, and the close :of 1863, the ing there during the malaria, that is to say, respectable sum of two million, two hun before the end of October. But the need of dred and seventy-three thousand francs. activity, which is an imperious law of my naFrom the commencement of 1864, his where I have rented some hunting.grounds. I
ture, will call me next month into the Ardennes, monthly allowance was reduced from must house myself there, well or ill, to avoid twenty-five hundred to two thousand expense; but if your Majesty will kindly give francs. In 1867 it appears that the em me, in the Ardennes, the 2,500 francs addi. peror expressed his disapproval of the tional which you gave me in Corsica, it will intention of Pierre Bonaparte to legiti. allow me a different kind of establishment. matize certain natural children by marry
I shall be very grateful to your Majesty; and ing their mother. Having failed at the I do not hesitate, Sire, to present this request
because same time to become a representative for
you ought to be persuaded Corsica, M. Pierre Bonaparte writes thus: tion, I shall be happy to consecrate to your
that, if you please to put an end to my inacDeprived of all credit, of all participation in glorious enterprises all that remains to me of affairs, of all chance of improving my condi- aptitude and energy. tion, l'hope for the assistance of your Majesty. It is mournful to find that this seducing If, Sire, you would buy my property in Corsica, I could complete my modest establishment in appeal - the writer was then in his forty. the Ardennes. This Corsican estate would be sixth year-only elicited the reply, writ. admirably situated for the establishment of a ten in pencil on the margin: Mocquard, model farm, a police barrack, or any other ad refuse politely." ministrative foundation, I must sell it, and I “ The Prince Achille Murat" received do not expect to get much for it, unless your by gift of April 1, 1852, the sum of two Majesty agrees to my proposal. It would be hundred thousand francs, payable by in. a benest that I should never forget.. Of your stalments of ten thousand francs each with Majesty, Sire, the devoted cousin, Pierre-Na-interest at five per cent. He also received poléon Bonaparte.
an annual subvention of twenty-four thou. The reply, drafted by M. Conti, states sand francs. In 1864 his debts, amountthat it is impossible to grant M. Pierre ing to upwards of eighty-three thousand Bonaparte's new demands, that the Corsi-francs, were paid for him, and Madame can property would be useless to the em. Achille Murat received in 1852 a don of peror and only an expense, and that the two hundred thousand francs. 10. Sepbudget is too heavily charged to allow of tember, 1869, this personage, who, at the such a sacrifice. On this the claimant same date in the following year, had re. invokes the aid of the Church, and beys ceived in all the sum of nine hundred and the emperor to receive the Archbishop of thirty-six thousand eight hundred and Paris, whom he has acquainted with "his seventy francs out of the five and a quar. situation."
ter millions of francs “absorbed by the Later in publication, although earlier in Lucien-Murat family,” thus represents his point of time, are three letters from this hard case: same irrepressible member of the LucienBonaparte branch of the imperial family,
After eight months spent in the Caucasus, who, besides an annual subvention of one Sire, I have returned to join in Africa the new hundred thousand francs, is credited with your Majesty has deigned to place me, per
regiment in which, at my brother's request, a monthly allowance of five thousand suaded that the arrangements made during my francs from 1856 to 1859. In the latter absence would permit me to resume my seryear, doubtless for reasons, this monthly vice, and thus to efface by my conduct, in the allowance is reduced to twenty-five hun. opinion of your Majesty, my past faults. Sire, dred francs. In June, 1861, Pierre Bona. nothing or almost nothing is changed in my parte writes to the emperor:
sad situation. To the present time the funds
employed have hardly been enough to extinYour Majesty having left Paris without guish the debts contracted on promises to pay, granting me the audience which I solicited, I in which the honor of my name was engaged, take the respectful liberty of writing in all so that all the annoyance, all the scandal, with confidence. Your Majesty has kindly allowed which I was menaced before my departure, me 2, 500 francs more per month as long as I menace me still. In Africa, as at Paris, my stay in Corsica. This addition, half of that presence will awaken the animosity of my which your Majesty granted me at first, does creditors. I shall be followed, hunted, ar. not allow me to live on the footing which I rested, exposed to daily claims, incessant and have adopted. I am not now again asking threatening, which ill-will will not fail to stir