Hortense - John S. C. Abbott

Birth of Louis Napoleon
and the Divorce of Josephine


The latter part of July, 1807, Hortense, in the state of anguish which the preceding chapter develops, was, with her husband, at the waters of Cauterets, in the south of France. They were united by the ties of a mutual grief. Napoleon was more than a thousand miles away in the north of Europe. In considerably less than a year from that date, on the 20th of April, 1808, Hortense gave birth, in Paris to her third child, Louis Napoleon, now Napoleon III., Emperor of the French. Josephine was then at Bordeaux, and wrote as follows to Hortense:

"Bordeaux, April 23d, 1808.

"I am, my dear Hortense, in an excess of joy. The tidings of your happy accouchement were brought to me yesterday by M. de Villeneuve. I felt my heart beat the moment I saw him enter. But I cherished the hope that he had only good tidings to bring me, and my presentiments did not deceive me. I have received a second letter, which assures me that you are very well, and also your son. I know that Napoleon will console himself in not having a sister, and that he already loves very much his brother. Embrace them both for me. But I must not write you too long a letter from fear of fatiguing you. Take care of yourself with the utmost caution. Do not receive too much company at present. Let me hear from you every day. I await tidings from you with as much impatience as I love you with tenderness.


The birth of this prince, Louis Napoleon, whose renown as Napoleon III. now fills the world, and respecting whose character and achievements there is so wonderful a diversity of sentiment among intelligent men, took place in Paris. Napoleon was at that time upon the highest pinnacle of prosperity. The Allies, vanquished in every conflict, seemed disposed to give up the attempt to reinstate the Bourbons upon the throne of France. The birth of Louis Napoleon, as a prince of the Empire, in the direct line of hereditary descent, was welcomed by the guns of the Invalides, and by military salutes all along the lines of the Imperial army, from Hamburg to Rome, and from the Pyrenees to the Danube. The important event was thus announced in the Moniteur of April 21st:

"Yesterday, at one o'clock, her Majesty the Queen of Holland was safely delivered of a prince. In conformity with Article 40, of the Act of the Constitution of 28 Floreal, year 12, the Chancellor of the Empire attested the birth, and wrote immediately to the Emperor, the Empress, and the King of Holland, to communicate the intelligence. At five o'clock in the evening, the act of birth was received by the arch chancellor, assisted by his eminence, Reynault de St. Jean d'Angely, minister of state and state secretary of the Imperial family. In the absence of the Emperor, the new-born prince has not yet received his name. This will be provided for by an ulterior act, according to the orders of his Majesty."

By a decree of the Senate, these two children of Louis Bonaparte and Hortense were declared heirs to the Imperial throne, should Napoleon and his elder brother Joseph die without children. This decree of the Senate was submitted to the acceptation of the French people. With wonderful unanimity it was adopted. There were 3,521,675 votes in the affirmative, and but 2599 in the negative.

Napoleon ever manifested the deepest interest in these two children. At the time of the birth of Louis Napoleon he was at Bayonne, arranging with the Spanish princes for the transfer of the crown of Spain to Joseph Bonaparte. Josephine was at Bordeaux. From this interview he passed, in his meteoric flight, to the Congress of Kings at Erfurt, but a few miles from the battle-field of Jena. It was here that the celebrated historian Méller met the Emperor and gave the following testimony as to the impression which his presence produced upon his mind:

"Quite impartially and truly, as before God, I must say, that the variety of his knowledge, the acuteness of his observation, the solidity of his understanding, filled me with astonishment. His manner of speaking to me inspired me with love for him. It was one of the most remarkable days of my life. By his genius and his disinterested goodness he has conquered me also."

Hortense, with a saddened spirit, now lived in great seclusion, devoting herself almost exclusively to the education of her two sons, Napoleon Louis and Louis Napoleon. Her bodily health was feeble, and she was most of the time deeply dejected. In May, 1809, Hortense, without consulting the Emperor, who was absent in Germany, took the two princes with her to the baths of Baden, where they were exposed to the danger of being seized and held as hostages by the Austrians. The solicitude of the Emperor for them may be seen in the following letter:

"Ebersdorf, May 28th, 1809.

"MY DAUGHTER,—I am very much displeased, (trés mécontent) that you should have left France without my permission, and particularly that you should have taken my nephews from France. Since you are at the waters of Baden, remain there. But in one hour after the reception of this letter, send my two nephews to Strasbourg, near to the Empress. They ought never to leave France. It is the first time that I have had occasion to be dissatisfied with you. But you ought not to dispose of my nephews without my permission. You ought to perceive the mischievous effects which that may produce.

"Since the waters of Baden are beneficial to you, you can remain there some days. But I repeat to you, do not delay for a moment sending my nephews to Strasbourg. Should the Empress go to the waters of Plombiéres they can accompany her there. But they ought never to cross the bridge of Strasbourg. Your affectionate father,


This letter was sent to Josephine to be transmitted by her to Hortense. She received it on the first of June, and immediately sent it to her daughter, with a letter which implies that Hortense had already anticipated the wishes of Napoleon, and had sent the princes, after a brief visit, to Josephine at Strasbourg. Soon after this it would seem that little Louis Napoleon, who was evidently the favorite of his grandmother, perhaps because he was more with her, accompanied Josephine to St Cloud. About a fortnight after this she wrote to Hortense from that palace:

"I am happy to have your son with me. He is charming. I am attached to him more and more, in thinking he will be a solace to you. His little reasons amuse me much. He grows every day, and his complexion is very fine. I am far from you, but I frequently embrace your son, and love to imagine to myself that it is my dear daughter whom I embrace."

And now we approach that almost saddest of earth's tragedies, the divorce of Josephine—the great wrong and calamity of Napoleon's life. The event had so important a bearing upon the character and the destiny of Hortense as to demand a brief recital here.

It is often difficult to judge of the motives of human actions; but at times circumstances are such that it is almost impossible to misjudge the causes which lead to conduct. General Savary, Duke of Rovigo, the intimate personal friend of the Emperor, and one better acquainted with his secret thoughts than any other person, gives the following account of this momentous and fatal act:

"A thousand idle stories have been related concerning the Emperor's motives for breaking the bonds he had contracted upwards of fifteen years before, and separating from one who was the partner of his life during the most stormy events of his glorious career. It was ascribed to his ambition to connect himself with royal blood; and malevolence has delighted in spreading the report that to this consideration he had sacrificed every other. This opinion was quite erroneous, and he was as unfairly dealt with, upon the subject, as all persons are who happen to be placed above the level of mankind.

"Nothing can be more true than that the sacrifice of the object of his affections was the most painful that he experienced throughout his life; and that he would have preferred adopting any course than the one to which he was driven by the motives which I am about to relate. Public opinion in general was unjust to the Emperor, when he placed the imperial crown upon his head. A feeling of personal ambition was supposed to be the main-spring of all his actions. This was, however, a very mistaken impression. I have already mentioned with what reluctance he had altered the form of government, and that if he had not been apprehensive that the State would fall again a prey to those dissensions which are inseparable from an elective form of government, he would not have changed an order of things which appeared to have been the first solid conquest achieved by the revolution. Ever since he had brought back the nation to monarchical principles, he had neglected no means of consolidating institutions which permanently secured those principles, and yet firmly established the superiority of modern ideas over antiquated customs. Differences of opinion could no longer create any disturbance respecting the form of government, when his career should be closed.

"But this was not enough. It was further requisite that the line of inheritance should be defined in so clear a manner that, at his death, no pretense might be made for the contention of any claimants to the throne. For if such a misfortune were to take place, the least foreign intervention would have sufficed to revive a spirit of discord among us. This feeling of personal ambition consisted in this case, in a desire to hand his work down to posterity, and to resign to his successor a state resting upon his numerous trophies for its stability. He could not have been blind to the fact, that the perpetual warfare into which a jealousy of his strength had plunged him, had, in reality, no other object than his own downfall, because with him must necessarily crumble that gigantic power which was no longer upheld by the revolutionary energy he himself had repressed.

"The Emperor had not any children. The Empress had two, but he never could have entertained a thought of them without exposing himself to the most serious inconveniences. I believe, however, that if the two children of Josephine had been the only ones in his family, he would have made some arrangement for securing the inheritance to Eugene. He however dismissed the idea of appointing him his heir, because he had nearer relations, and it would have given rise to dissensions which it was his principal object to avoid. He also considered the necessity in which he was placed of forming an alliance sufficiently powerful, in order that, in the event of his system being at any time threatened, that alliance might be a resting-point, and save it from total ruin. He likewise hoped that it would be the means of putting to an end that series of wars, of which he was desirous, above all things, to avoid a recurrence. These were the motives which determined him to break a union so long contracted. He wished it less for himself than for the purpose of interesting a powerful state in the maintenance of the order of things established in France. He reflected often on the mode of making this communication to the Empress. Still he was reluctant to speak to her. He was apprehensive of the consequences of her tenderness of feeling. His heart was never proof against the shedding of tears."

The arch-chancellor Cambaceres states that Napoleon communicated to him the resolution he had adopted; alluded to the reasons for the divorce, spoke of the anguish which the stern necessity caused his affections, and declared his intention to invest the act with forms the most affectionate and the most honorable to Josephine.

"I will have nothing," said he, "which can resemble a repudiation; nothing but a mere dissolution of the conjugal tie, founded upon mutual consent; a consent itself founded upon the interests of the empire. Josephine is to be provided with a palace in Paris, with a princely residence in the country with an income of six hundred thousand dollars, and is to occupy the first rank among the princesses, after the future Empress. I wish ever to keep her near me as my best and most affectionate friend."

Josephine was in some degree aware of the doom which was impending, and her heart was consumed by unmitigated grief. Hortense, who also was heart-stricken and world-weary, was entreated by the Emperor to prepare her mother for the sad tidings. She did so, but very imperfectly. At last the fatal hour arrived in which it was necessary for the Emperor to make the dreaded announcement to the Empress. They were both at Fontainebleau, and Hortense was with her mother. For some time there had been much constraint in the intercourse between the Emperor and Empress; he dreading to make the cruel communication, and her heart lacerated with anguish in the apprehension of receiving it.

It was the last day of November, 1809, cold and cheerless. Napoleon and Josephine dined alone in silence, not a word being spoken during the repast. At the close of the meal, Napoleon, pale and trembling, took the hand of the Empress and said:

"Josephine, my own good Josephine, you know how I have loved you. It is to you alone that I owe the few moments of happiness I have known in the world. Josephine, my destiny is stronger than my will. My dearest affections must yield to the welfare of France."

All-expected as the blow was, it was none the less dreadful. Josephine fell, apparently lifeless, to the floor. The Count de Beaumont was immediately summoned, and, with the aid of Napoleon, conveyed Josephine to her apartment. Hortense came at once to her mother, whom she loved so tenderly. The anguish of the scene overcame her. In respectful, though reproachful tones, she said to the Emperor, "My mother will descend from the throne, as she ascended it, in obedience to your will. Her children, content to renounce grandeurs which have not made them happy, will gladly go and devote their lives to comforting the best and the most affectionate of mothers."

Napoleon was entirely overcome. He sat down and wept bitterly. Raising his eyes swimming in tears to his daughter, he said:

"Do not leave me, Hortense. Stay by me with Eugene. Help me to console your mother and render her calm, resigned, and even happy in remaining my friend, while she ceases to be my wife."

Eugene was summoned from Italy. Upon his arrival his sister threw herself into his arms, and, after a brief interview of mutual anguish, led him to their beloved mother. After a short interview with her, he repaired to the cabinet of the Emperor. In respectful terms, but firm and very sad, he inquired if Napoleon intended to obtain a divorce from the Empress. Napoleon, who tenderly loved his noble son, could only reply with the pressure of the hand. Eugene immediately recoiled and, withdrawing his hand, said:

"In that case, Sire, permit me to retire from your service."

"How," exclaimed Napoleon, looking sadly upon him. "Will you, my adopted son, forsake me?"

"Yes, Sire," Eugene replied. "The son of her who is no longer Empress, can not remain viceroy. I will follow my mother into her retreat. She must now find her consolation in her children."

Tears filled the eyes of the Emperor. "You know," said he, "the stern necessity which compels this measure. Will you forsake me? Who then, should I have a son, the object of my desires and preserver of my interests, who will watch over the child when I am absent? If I die, who will prove to him a father? Who will bring him up? Who is to make a man of him?"

Napoleon and Eugene then retired to the garden, and for a long time walked, arm in arm, up and down one of its avenues, engaged in earnest conversation. Josephine, with a mother's love, could not forget the interests of her children, even in her own anguish.

"The Emperor," she said to Eugene, "is your benefactor, your more than father; to whom you are indebted for every thing, and to whom therefore you owe boundless obedience."

A fortnight passed away and the 15th of December arrived; the day appointed for the consummation of this cruel sacrifice. The affecting scene transpired in the grand saloon of the palace of the Tuileries. All the members of the imperial family were present. Eugene and Hortense were with their mother, sustaining her with their sympathy and love. An extreme pallor overspread the countenance of Napoleon, as he addressed the assembled dignitaries of the empire.

"The political interests of my monarchy," said he, "and the wishes of my people, which have constantly guided my actions, require that I should transmit to an heir, inheriting my love for the people, the throne on which Providence has placed me. For many years I have lost all hope of having children by my beloved spouse the Empress Josephine. It is this consideration which induces me to sacrifice the dearest affections of my heart, to consult only the good of my subjects, and to desire the dissolution of our marriage. Arrived at the age of forty years, I may indulge the reasonable hope of living long enough to rear, in the spirit of my own thoughts and disposition, the children with which it may please Providence to bless me. God knows how much such a determination has cost my heart. But there is no sacrifice too great for my courage when it is proved to be for the interest of France. Far from having any cause of complaint, I have nothing to say but in praise of the attachment and tenderness of my beloved wife. She has embellished fifteen years of my life, and the remembrance of them will be forever engraven on my heart. She was crowned by my hand. She shall always retain the rank and title of Empress. Above all, let her never doubt my affection, or regard me but as her best and dearest friend."

Josephine now endeavored to fulfill her part in this sad drama. Unfolding a paper, she vainly strove to read her assent to the divorce. But tears blinded her eyes and emotion choked her voice. Handing the paper to a friend and sobbing aloud, she sank into a chair and buried her face in her handkerchief. Her friend, M. Reynaud, read the paper, which was as follows:

Josephine and Hortense


"With the permission of my august and dear spouse, I must declare that, retaining no hope of having children who may satisfy the requirements of his policy and the interests of France, I have the pleasure of giving him the greatest proof of attachment and devotedness which was ever given on earth. I owe all to his bounty. It was his hand that crowned me, and on his throne I have received only manifestations of love and affection from the French people. I respond to all the sentiments of the Emperor, in consenting to the dissolution of a marriage which is now an obstacle to the happiness of France, by depriving it of the blessing of being one day governed by the descendants of that great man who was evidently raised up by Providence to efface the evils of a terrible revolution, and to restore the altar, the throne, and social order. But the dissolution of my marriage will in no respect change the sentiments of my heart. The Emperor will ever find in me his best friend. I know how much this act, commanded by policy and exalted interests, has rent his heart. But we both glory in the sacrifices we make for the good of the country."

"After these words," says Thiers, "the noblest ever uttered under such circumstances—for never, it must be confessed, did vulgar passions less prevail in an act of this kind—Napoleon, embracing Josephine, led her to her own apartment, where he left her, almost fainting, in the arms of her children."

The next day the Senate was convened in the grand saloon to sanction the legal consummation of the divorce. Eugene presided. As he announced the desire of the Emperor and Empress for the dissolution of their marriage, he said: "The tears of his Majesty at this separation are sufficient for the glory of my mother." The description of the remaining scenes of this cruel tragedy we repeat from "Abbott's Life of Napoleon."

"The Emperor, dressed in the robes of state, and pale as a statue of marble, leaned against a pillar, careworn and wretched. Folding his arms upon his breast, with his eyes fixed upon vacancy, he stood in gloomy silence. It was a funereal scene. The low hum of mournful voices alone disturbed the stillness of the room. A circular table was placed in the centre of the apartment. Upon it there was a writing apparatus of gold. A vacant arm-chair stood before the table. The company gazed silently upon it as the instrument of the most soul-harrowing execution.

"A side door opened, and Josephine entered. Her face was as white as the simple muslin robe which she wore. She was leaning upon the arm of Hortense, who, not possessing the fortitude of her mother, was sobbing convulsively. The whole assembly, upon the entrance of Josephine, instinctively arose. All were moved to tears. With her own peculiar grace, Josephine advanced to the seat provided for her. Leaning her pale forehead upon her hand, she listened with the calmness of stupor to the reading of the act of separation. The convulsive sobbings of Hortense, mingled with the subdued and mournful tones of the reader's voice, added to the tragic impressiveness of the scene. Eugene, pale and trembling, stepped forward and took a position by the side of his adored mother, to give her the moral support of his near presence.

"As soon as the reading of the act of separation was finished, Josephine, for a moment, in anguish pressed her handkerchief to her eyes, and rising, in tones clear, musical, but tremulous with repressed emotion, pronounced the oath of acceptance. She sat down, took the pen, and affixed her signature to the deed which sundered the dearest hopes and the fondest ties which human hearts can feel. Eugene could endure this anguish no longer. His brain reeled, his heart ceased to beat, and fainting, he fell senseless to the floor. Josephine and Hortense retired, with the attendants who bore out the inanimate form of the affectionate son and brother. It was a fitting termination of the heart-rending yet sublime tragedy.

"Josephine remained in her chamber overwhelmed with speechless grief. A sombre night darkened over the city, oppressed by the gloom of this cruel sacrifice. The hour arrived at which Napoleon usually retired for sleep. The Emperor, restless and wretched, had just placed himself in the bed from which he had ejected his faithful and devoted wife, when the private door of his chamber was slowly opened, and Josephine tremblingly entered.

"Her eyes were swollen with weeping, her hair disordered, and she appeared in all the dishabille of unutterable anguish. Hardly conscious of what she did, in the delirium of her woe, she tottered into the middle of the room and approached the bed of her former husband. Then irresolutely stopping, she buried her face in her hands and burst into a flood of tears.

"A feeling of delicacy seemed, for a moment, to have arrested her steps—a consciousness that she had now no right to enter the chamber of Napoleon. In another moment all the pent-up love of her heart burst forth, and forgetting every thing in the fullness of her anguish, she threw herself upon the bed, clasped Napoleon's neck in her arms, and exclaiming, 'My husband! my husband!' sobbed as though her heart were breaking. The imperial spirit of Napoleon was entirely vanquished. He also wept convulsively. He assured Josephine of his love—of his ardent, undying love. In every way he tried to soothe and comfort her. For some time they remained locked in each other's embrace. The valet-de-chambre, who was still present, was dismissed, and for an hour Napoleon and Josephine continued together in this their last private interview. Josephine then, in the experience of an intensity of anguish such as few human hearts have ever known, parted forever from the husband whom she had so long and so faithfully loved."

Josephine having withdrawn, an attendant entered the apartment to remove the lights. He found the Emperor so buried beneath the bedclothes as to be invisible. Not a word was uttered. The lights were removed, and the unhappy monarch was left alone in darkness and silence to the melancholy companionship of his own thoughts. The next morning the death-like pallor of his cheek, his sunken eye, and the haggard expression of his countenance, attested that the Emperor had passed the night in sleeplessness and in suffering.

The grief of Napoleon was unquestionably sincere. It could not but be so. He was influenced by no vagrant passion. He had formed no new attachment. He truly loved Josephine. He consequently resolved to retire for a time to the seclusion of Trianon, at Versailles. He seemed desirous that the externals of mourning should accompany an event so mournful.

"The orders for the departure for Trianon," writes the Baron Meneval, Napoleon's private secretary, "had been previously given. When in the morning the Emperor was informed that his carriages were ready, he took his hat and said, 'Meneval, come with me.' I followed him by the little winding staircase which, from his cabinet, communicated with the apartment of the Empress. Josephine was alone, and appeared absorbed in the most melancholy reflections. At the noise which we made in entering, she eagerly rose and threw herself sobbing upon the neck of the Emperor. He pressed her to his bosom with the most ardent embraces.

"In the excess of her emotion she fainted. I rang the bell for succor. The Emperor wishing to avoid the renewal of scenes of anguish which he could no longer alleviate, placed the Empress in my arms as soon as she began to revive. Directing me not to leave her, he hastily retired to his carriage which was waiting for him at the door. The Empress, perceiving the departure of the Emperor, redoubled her tears and moans. Her women placed her upon a sofa. She seized my hands, and frantically urged me to entreat Napoleon not to forget her, and to assure him that her love would survive every event.

"She made me promise to write her immediately on my arrival at Trianon, and to see that the Emperor wrote to her also. She could hardly consent to let me go, as if my departure would break the last tie which still connected her with the Emperor. I left her, deeply moved by the exhibition of a grief so true and an attachment so sincere. I was profoundly saddened during my ride, and I could not refrain from deploring the rigorous exigencies of state which rudely sundered the ties of a long-tried affection, to impose another union offering only uncertainties. Having arrived at Trianon, I gave the Emperor a faithful account of all that had transpired after his departure. He was still oppressed by the melancholy scenes through which he had passed. He dwelt upon the noble qualities of Josephine, and upon the sincerity of the affection which she cherished for him. He ever after preserved for her the most tender attachment. The same evening he wrote to her a letter to console her solitude." The letter was as follows:

"My love, I found you to-day more feeble than you ought to be. You have exhibited much fortitude, and it is necessary that you should still continue to sustain yourself. You must not yield to funereal melancholy. Strive to be tranquil, and, above, all, to preserve your health, which is so precious to me. If you are attached to me, if you love me, you must maintain your energy and strive to be cheerful. You can not doubt my constancy and my tender affection. You know too well all the sentiments with which I regard you to suppose that I can be happy if you are unhappy, that I can be serene if you are agitated. Adieu, my love. Sleep well. Believe that I wish it.


After the departure of the Emperor, at eleven o'clock in the morning all the household of the Tuileries were assembled upon the grand staircase, to witness the retirement of their beloved mistress from the scenes where she had so long been the brightest ornament. Josephine descended from her apartment veiled from head to foot. Her emotions were too deep for utterance. Silently she waved an adieu to the affectionate and weeping friends who surrounded her. A close carriage with six horses was before the door. She entered it, sank back upon the cushions, buried her face in her handkerchief, and, sobbing bitterly, left the Tuileries forever.

After the divorce, Josephine spent most of her time at the beautiful chateau of Malmaison, which had been assigned to her, or at the palace of Navarre, which was embellished for her at an expense of two hundred thousand dollars. She retained the title of Empress, and received a jointure of about six hundred thousand dollars a year. Almost daily letters were exchanged between her and the Emperor, and he frequently visited her. But from motives of delicacy he never saw her alone. We know of nothing more pathetic in history than the gleams we get of these interviews, as revealed in the "Confidential letters of Napoleon and Josephine," whose publication was authorized by Queen Hortense, after the death of her mother. Josephine, in the following words, describes one of these interviews at Malmaison. It was after the marriage with Maria Louisa.

"I was one day painting a violet, a flower which recalled to my memory my more happy days, when one of my women ran towards me and made a sign by placing her finger upon her lips. The next moment I was overpowered—I beheld Napoleon. He threw himself with transport into the arms of his old friend. Oh, then I was convinced that he could still love me; for that man really loved me. It seemed impossible for him to cease gazing upon me, and his look was that of tender affection. At length, in a tone of deepest compassion and love, he said:

"'My dear Josephine, I have always loved you. I love you still. Do you still love me, excellent and good Josephine? Do you still love me, in spite of the relations I have again contracted, and which have separated me from you? But they have not banished you from my memory.'

"'Sire,' I replied—

"'Call me Bonaparte,' said he; 'speak to me, my beloved, with the same freedom, the same familiarity as ever.'

"Bonaparte soon disappeared, and I heard only the sound of his retiring footsteps. Oh, how quickly does every thing take place on earth. I had once more felt the pleasure of being loved."

In reference to this melancholy event, Napoleon said, at Saint Helena:

"My divorce has no parallel in history. It did not destroy the ties which united our families, and our mutual tenderness remained unchanged. Our separation was a sacrifice, demanded of us by reason, for the interests of my crown and of my dynasty. Josephine was devoted to me. She loved me tenderly. No one ever had a preference over me in her heart. I occupied the first place in it, her children the next. She was right in thus loving me; and the remembrance of her is still all-powerful in my mind. Josephine was really an amiable woman: she was so kind, so humane. She was the best woman in France.

"A son, by Josephine, would have completed my happiness, not only in a political point of view, but as a source of domestic felicity. As a political result it would have secured to me the possession of the throne. The French people would have been as much attached to the son of Josephine as they were to the King of Rome, and I should not have set my foot on an abyss covered with a bed of flowers. But how vain are all human calculations! Who can pretend to decide on what may lead to happiness or unhappiness in this life!"

The divorce of Josephine, strong as were the political motives which led to it, was a violation of the immutable laws of God. Like all wrong-doing, however seemingly prosperous for a time, it promoted final disaster and woe. Doubtless Napoleon, educated in the midst of those convulsions which had shaken all the foundations of Christian morality, did not clearly perceive the extent of the wrong. He unquestionably felt that he was doing right; that the interests of France demanded the sacrifice. But the penalty was none the less inevitable. The laws of God can not be violated with impunity, even though the violation be a sin of ignorance.