LIFE OF NAPOLEON
By SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.
Napoleons Logement Qua Cont
EDINBURGH; A. & C. BLACK.
The extent and purpose of this Work, have, in the course of its progress, gradually but essentially changed from what the Author originally proposed. It was at first intended merely as a brief and popular abstract of the life of the most wonderful man, and the most extraordinary events, of the last thirty years; in short, to emulate the concise yet most interesting history of the great British Admiral, by the Poet-Laureate of Britain. The Author was partly induced to undertake the task, by having formerly drawn up for a periodical work—"The Edinburgh Annual Register"—the history of the two great campaigns of 1814 and 1815; and three volumes were the compass assigned to the proposed work. An introductory volume, giving a general account of the Rise and Progress of the French Revolution, was thought necessary; and the single volume, on a theme of such extent, soon swelled into two.
As the Author composed under an anonymous title, he could neither seek nor expect information from those who had been actively engaged in the changeful scenes which he was attempting to record; nor was his object more ambitious than that of compressing and arranging such information as the ordinary authorities afforded. Circumstances, however, unconnected with the undertaking, induced him to lay aside an incognito, any farther attempt to preserve which must have been considered as affectation; and since his having done so, he has been favoured with access to some valuable materials, most of which have now, for the first time, seen the light. For these he refers to the Appendix at the close of the Work, where the reader will find several articles of novelty and interest. Though not at liberty, in every case, to mention the quarter from which his information has been derived, the Author has been careful not to rely upon any which did not come from sufficient authority. He has neither grubbed for anecdotes in the libels and private scandal of the time, nor has he solicited information from individuals who could not be impartial witnesses in the facts to which they gave evidence. Yet the various public documents and private information which he has received, have much enlarged his stock of materials, and increased the whole work to more than twice the size originally intended.
On the execution of his task, it becomes the Author to be silent. He is aware it must exhibit many faults; but he claims credit for having brought to the undertaking a mind disposed to do his subject as impartial justice as his judgment could supply. He will be found no enemy to the person of Napoleon. The term of hostility is ended when the battle has been won, and the foe exists no longer. His splendid personal qualities—his great military actions and political services to France—will not, it is hoped, be found depreciated in the narrative. Unhappily, the Author's task involved a duty of another kind, the discharge of which is due to France, to Britain, to Europe, and to the world. If the general system of Napoleon has rested upon force or fraud, it is neither the greatness of his talents, nor the success of his undertakings, that ought to stifle the voice or dazzle the eyes of him who adventures to be his historian. The reasons, however, are carefully summed up where the Author has presumed to express a favourable or unfavourable opinion of the distinguished person of whom these volumes treat; so that each reader may judge of their validity for himself.
The name, by an original error of the press, which proceeded too far before it was discovered, has been printed with a u,—Buonaparte instead of Bonaparte. Both spellings were indifferently adopted in the family; but Napoleon always used the last, and had an unquestionable right to choose the orthography which he preferred.
Edinburgh, 7th June, 1827.
ADVERTISEMENT TO EDITION 1834.
Sir Walter Scott left two interleaved copies of his Life of Napoleon, in both of which his executors have found various corrections of the text, and additional notes. They were directed by his testament to take care, that, in case a new edition of the work were called for, the annotations of it might be completed in the fashion here adopted, dates and other marginal elucidations regularly introduced, and the text itself, wherever there appeared any redundancy of statement, abridged. With these instructions, except the last, the Editor has now endeavoured to comply.
"Walter Scott," says Goëthe, "passed his childhood among the stirring scenes of the American War, and was a youth of seventeen or eighteen when the French Revolution broke out. Now well advanced in the fifties, having all along been favourably placed for observation, he proposes to lay before us his views and recollections of the important events through which he has lived. The richest, the easiest, the most celebrated narrator of the century, undertakes to write the history of his own time.
"What expectations the announcement of such a work must have excited in me, will be understood by any one who remembers that I, twenty years older than Scott, conversed with Paoli in the twentieth year of my age, and with Napoleon himself in the sixtieth.
"Through that long series of years, coming more or less into contact with the great doings of the world, I failed not to think seriously on what was passing around me, and, after my own fashion, to connect so many extraordinary mutations into something like arrangement and interdependence.
"What could now be more delightful to me than leisurely and calmly to sit down and listen to the discourse of such a man, while clearly, truly, and with all the skill of a great artist, he recalls to me the incidents on which through life I have meditated, and the influence of which is still daily in operation?"—Goëthe's Posthumous Works, vol. vi., p. 253.
Sed non in Cæsare tantum
Nomen erat, nec fama ducis; sed nescia virtus
Stare loco: solusque pudor non vincere bello.
Acer et indomitus; quo spes quoque ira vocasset,
Ferre manum, et nunquam temerando parcere ferro:
Successus urgere suos: instare favori
Numinis: impellens quicquid sibi summa petenti
Obstaret: gaudensque viam fecisse ruina.
Lucani, Pharsalia, Lib. I.
VIEW OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
Chap. I.—Review of the state of Europe after the Peace of Versailles—England—France—Spain—Prussia—Imprudent Innovations of the Emperor Joseph—Disturbances in his Dominions—Russia—France—Her ancient System of Monarchy—how organised—Causes of its Decay—Decay of the Nobility as a body—The new Nobles—The Country Nobles—The Nobles of the highest Order—The Church—The higher Orders of the Clergy—The lower Orders—The Commons—Their increase in Power and Importance—Their Claims opposed to those of the Privileged Classes, 1
Chap. II.—State of France continued—State of Public Opinion—Men of Letters encouraged by the Great—Disadvantages attending this Patronage—Licentious tendency of the French Literature—Their Irreligious and Infidel Opinions—Free Opinions on Politics permitted to be expressed in an abstract and speculative, but not in a practical Form—Disadvantages arising from the Suppression of Free Discussion—Anglomania—Share of France in the American War—Disposition of the Troops who returned from America, 22
Chap. III.—Proximate Cause of the Revolution—Deranged State of the Finances—Reforms in the Royal Household—System of Turgot and Necker—Necker's Exposition of the State of the Public Revenue—The Red-Book—Necker displaced—Succeeded by Calonne—General State of the Revenue—Assembly of the Notables—Calonne dismissed—Archbishop of Sens Administrator of the Finances—The King's Contest with the Parliament—Bed of Justice—Resistance of the Parliament and general Disorder in the Kingdom—Vacillating Policy of the Minister—Royal Sitting—Scheme of forming a Cour Plénière—It proves ineffectual—Archbishop of Sens retires, and is succeeded by Necker—He resolves to convoke the States-General—Second Assembly of Notables previous to Convocation of the States—Questions as to the Numbers of which the Tiers Etat should consist, and the Mode in which the Estates should deliberate, 39
Chap. IV.—Meeting of the States-General—Predominant Influence of the Tiers Etat—Property not represented sufficiently in that Body—General character of the Members—Disposition of the Estate of the Nobles—And of the Clergy—Plan of forming the Three Estates into two Houses—Its advantages—It fails—The Clergy unite with the Tiers Etat, which assumes the title of the National Assembly—They assume the task of Legislation, and declare all former Fiscal Regulations illegal—They assert their determination to continue their Sessions—Royal Sitting—Terminates in the Triumph of the Assembly—Parties in that Body—Mounier—Constitutionalists—Republicans—Jacobins—Orleans, 58
Chap. V.—Plan of the Democrats to bring the King and Assembly to Paris—Banquet of the Garde du Corps—Riot at Paris—A formidable Mob of Women assemble to march to Versailles—The National Guard refuse to act against the Insurgents, and demand also to be led to Versailles—The Female Mob arrive—Their behaviour to the Assembly—To the King—Alarming Disorders at Night—La Fayette arrives with the National Guard—Mob force the Palace—Murder the Body Guards—The Queen's safety endangered—Fayette's arrival with his Force restores Order—Royal Family obliged to go to reside at Paris—The Procession—This Step agreeable to the Views of the Constitutionalists, Republicans, and Anarchists—Duke of Orleans sent to England, 88
Chap. VI.—La Fayette resolves to enforce order—A Baker is murdered by the Rabble—One of his Murderers executed—Decree imposing Martial Law—Introduction of the Doctrines of Equality—They are in their exaggerated sense inconsistent with Human Nature and the progress of Society—The Assembly abolish titles of Nobility, Armorial bearings, and phrases of Courtesy—Reasoning on these Innovations—Disorder of Finance—Necker becomes unpopular—Seizure of Church lands—Issue of Assignats—Necker leaves France in unpopularity—New Religious Institution—Oath imposed on the Clergy—Resisted by the greater part of the Order—General View of the operations of the Constituent Assembly—Enthusiasm of the People for their new Privileges—Limited Privileges of the Crown—King is obliged to dissemble—His Negotiations with Mirabeau—With Bouillé—Attack on the Palace—Prevented by Fayette—Royalists expelled from the Tuileries—Escape of Louis—He is captured at Varennes—Brought back to Paris—Riot in the Champ de Mars—Louis accepts the Constitution, [email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected][email protected]#Page_102" class="pginternal"