Hortense - John S. C. Abbott

Letter from Louis Napoleon to his Mother


"MY MOTHER,—To give you a detailed recital of my misfortunes is to renew your griefs and mine. And still it is a consolation, both for you and for me, that you should be informed of all the impressions which I have experienced, and of all the emotions which have agitated me since the end of October. You know what was the pretext which I gave when I left Arenemberg. But you do not know what was then passing in my heart. Strong in my conviction which led me to look upon the Napoleonic cause as the only national cause in France, as the only civilizing cause in Europe, proud of the nobility and purity of my intentions, I was fully resolved to raise the imperial eagle, or to fall the victim of my political faith.

"I left, taking in my carriage the same route which I had followed three months before when going from Urkirch to Baden. Every thing was the same around me. But what a difference in the impressions with which I was animated! I was then cheerful and serene as the unclouded day. But now, sad and thoughtful, my spirit had taken the hue of the air, gloomy and chill, which surrounded me. I may be asked, what could have induced me to abandon a happy existence, to encounter all the risks of a hazardous enterprise. I reply that a secret voice constrained me; and that nothing in the world could have induced me to postpone to another period an attempt which seemed to me to present so many chances of success.

"And the most painful thought for me at this moment is—now that reality has come to take the place of suppositions, and that, instead of imagining, I have seen—that I am firm in the belief that if I had followed the plan which I had marked out for myself, instead of being now under the Equator, I should be in my own country. Of what importance to me are those vulgar ones which call me insensate because I have not succeeded, and which would have exaggerated my merit had I triumphed? I take upon myself all the responsibility of the movement, for I have acted from conviction, and not from the influence of others. Alas! if I were the only victim I should have nothing to deplore. I have found in my friends boundless devotion, and I have no reproaches to make against any one whatever.

"On the 27th I arrived at Lahr, a small town of the Grand-duchy of Baden, where I awaited intelligence. Near that place the axle of my carriage broke, and I was compelled to remain there for a day. On the morning of the 28th I left Lahr, and, retracing my steps, passed through Fribourg, Neubrisach, and Colmar, and arrived, at eleven o'clock in the evening, at Strasburg without the least embarrassment. My carriage was taken to the Hotel de la Fleur, while I went to lodge in a small chamber, which had been engaged for me, in the Rue de la Fontaine.

"There I saw, on the 29th, Colonel Vaudrey, and submitted to him the plan of operations which I had drawn up. But the colonel, whose noble and generous sentiments merited a better fate, said to me:

"'There is no occasion here for a conflict with arms. Your cause is too French and too pure to be soiled in shedding French blood. There is but one mode of procedure which is worthy of you, because it will avoid all collision. When you are at the head of my regiment we will march together to General Voirol's. [The commanding officer of the garrison] An old soldier will not resist the sight of you and of the imperial eagle when he knows that the garrison follows you.'

"I approved his reasons, and all things were arranged for the next morning. A house had been engaged in a street in the neighborhood of the quarter of Austerlitz, whence we all were to proceed to those barracks as soon as the regiment of artillery was assembled.

"Upon the 29th, at eleven o'clock in the evening, one of my friends came to seek me at the Rue de la Fontaine, to conduct me to the general rendezvous. We traversed together the whole city. A bright moon illuminated the streets. I regarded the fine weather as a favorable omen for the next day. I examined with care the places through which I passed. The silence which reigned made an impression upon me. By what would that calm be replaced to-morrow!

"'Nevertheless,' said I to my companion, 'there will be no disorder if I succeed. It is especially to avoid the troubles which frequently accompany popular movements that I have wished to make the revolution by means of the army. But,' I added, 'what confidence, what profound conviction must we have of the nobleness of our cause, to encounter not merely the dangers which we are about to meet, but that public opinion which will load us with reproaches and overwhelm us if we do not succeed! And still, I call God to witness that it is not to satisfy a personal ambition, but because I believe that I have a mission to fulfill, that I risk that which is more dear to me than life, the esteem of my fellow-citizens.'

"Having arrived at the house in the Rue des Orphelins, I found my friends assembled in two apartments on the ground floor. I thanked them for the devotion which they manifested for my cause, and said to them that from that hour we would share good and bad fortune together. One of the officers had an eagle. It was that which had belonged to the seventh regiment of the line. 'The eagle of Labédoyére,'* one exclaimed, and each one of us pressed it to his heart with lively emotion. All the officers were in full uniform. I had put on the uniform of the artillery and the hat of a major-general.

[* NOTE: Colonel Labédoyére was a young man of fine figure and elegant manners, descended from a respectable family, and whose heart ever throbbed warmly in remembrance of the glories of the Empire. Upon the abdication of Napoleon and his retirement to Elba, Labédoyére was in command of the seventh regiment of the line, stationed at Grenoble. He fraternized with his troops in the enthusiasm with which one and all were swept away at the sight of the returning Emperor. Drawing a silver eagle from his pocket, he placed it upon the flag-staff and embraced it in the presence of all his soldiers, who, in a state of the wildest excitement, with shouts of joy, gathered around Napoleon, crying Vive l'Empereur!")?>

After Waterloo and the exile to St. Helena, Labédoyére was arrested, tried, and shot. It is said that the judges shed tears when they condemned the noble young man to death. His young wife threw herself at the feet of Louis XVIII., and, frantic with grief, cried out, "Pardon, sire, pardon!" Louis replied, "My duty as a king ties my hands. I can only pray for the soul of him whom justice has condemned."—Abbott's Life of Napoleon, vol. ii. p. 110.]

"The night seemed to us very long. I spent it in writing my proclamations, which I had not been willing to have printed in advance for fear of some indiscretion. It was decided that we should remain in that house until the colonel should notify me to proceed to the barracks. We counted the hours, the minutes, the seconds. Six o'clock in the morning was the moment indicated.

"How difficult it is to express what one experiences under such circumstances. In a second one lives more than in ten years; for to live is to make use of our organs, our senses, our faculties—of all the parts of ourselves which impart the sentiment of our existence. And in these critical moments our faculties, our organs, our senses, exalted to the highest degree, are concentrated on one single point. It is the hour which is to decide our entire destiny. One is strong when he can say to himself, 'To-morrow I shall be the liberator of my country, or I shall be dead.' One is greatly to be pitied when circumstances are such that he can neither be one nor the other.

"Notwithstanding my precautions, the noise which a certain number of persons meeting together can not help making, awoke the occupants of the first story. We heard them rise and open their windows. It was five o'clock. We redoubled our precautions, and they went to sleep again.

"At last the clock struck six. Never before did the sound of a clock vibrate so violently in my heart. But a moment after the bugle from the quarter of Austerlitz came to accelerate its throbbings. The great moment was approaching. A very considerable tumult was heard in the street. Soldiers passed shouting; horsemen rode at full gallop by our windows. I sent an officer to ascertain the cause of the tumult. Had the chief officer of the garrison been informed of our projects? Had we been discovered? My messenger soon returned to say to me that the noise came from some soldiers whom the colonel had sent to fetch their horses, which were outside the quarter.

"A few more minutes passed, and I was informed that the colonel was waiting for me. Full of hope, I hastened into the street. M. Parguin,* in the uniform of a brigadier-general, and a commander of battalion, carrying the eagle in his hand, are by my side. About a dozen officers follow me.

[* NOTE: M. Parguin was the gentleman to whom we have before alluded, who was a highly esteemed young officer under Napoleon I., and who, having married Mademoiselle Cotelet, the reader of Queen Hortense, had purchased the estate of Wolfberg, in the vicinity of Arenemberg, and became one of the most intimate friends of Prince Louis Napoleon.]

"The distance was short; it was soon traversed. The regiment was drawn up in line of battle in the barrack-yard, inside of the rails. Upon the grass forty of the horse-artillery were stationed.

"My mother, judge of the happiness I experienced at that moment. After twenty-years of exile, I touched again the sacred soil of my country. I found myself with Frenchmen whom the recollection of the Empire was again to electrify.

"Colonel Vaudrey was alone in the middle of the yard. I directed my steps towards him. Immediately the colonel, whose noble countenance and fine figure had at that moment something of the sublime, drew his sword and exclaimed:

"'Soldiers of the Fourth Regiment of Artillery! A great revolution is being accomplished at this moment. You see here before you the nephew of the Emperor Napoleon. He comes to reconquer the rights of the people. The people and the army can rely upon him. It is around him that all should rally who love the glory and the liberty of France. Soldiers! you must feel, as does your chief, all the grandeur of the enterprise you are about to undertake, all the sacredness of the cause you are about to defend. Soldiers! can the nephew of the Emperor rely upon you?'

"His voice was instantly drowned by unanimous cries of Vive Napoleon! Vive l'Empereur! I then addressed them in the following words:

"'Resolved to conquer or to die for the cause of the French people, it is to you first that I wish to present myself, because between you and me exist grand recollections. It is in your regiment that the Emperor, my uncle, served as captain. It is with you that he made his name famous at the siege of Toulon, and it is your brave regiment again which opened to him the gates of Grenoble, on his return from the isle of Elba. Soldiers! new destinies are reserved for you. To you belongs the glory of commencing a great enterprise; to you the honor of first saluting the eagle of Austerlitz and of Wagram.'

"I then seized the eagle-surmounted banner, which one of my officers, M. de Carelles, bore, and presenting it to them, said,

"'Soldiers! behold the symbol of the glory of France. During fifteen years it conducted our fathers to victory. It has glittered upon all the fields of battle. It has traversed all the capitals of Europe. Soldiers! will you not rally around this noble standard which I confide to your honor and to your courage? Will you not march with me against the traitors and the oppressors of our country to the cry, Vive la France! Vive la liberté!?'

"A thousand affirmative cries responded to me. We then commenced our march, music in front. Joy and hope beamed from every countenance. The plan was, to hasten to the house of the general, and to present to him, not a dagger at his throat, but the eagle before his eyes. It was necessary, in order to reach his house, to traverse the whole city. While on the way, I had to send an officer with a guard to publish my proclamations; another to the prefect, to arrest him. In short, six received special missions, so that when I arrived at the general's, I had voluntarily parted with a considerable portion of my forces.

"But had I then necessity to surround myself with so many soldiers? could I not rely upon the participation of the people? and, in fine, whatever may be said, along the whole route which I traversed I received unequivocal signs of the sympathy of the population. I had actually to struggle against the vehemence of the marks of interest which were lavished upon me; and the variety of cries which greeted me showed that there was no party which did not sympathize with my feelings.

"Having arrived at the court of the hotel of the general, I ascended the stairs, followed by Messieurs Vaudrey, Parguin, and two officers. The general was not yet dressed. I said to him,

"'General, I come to you as a friend. I should be sorry to raise our old tri-color banner without the aid of a brave soldier like you. The garrison is in my favor. Decide and follow me.'

"The eagle was presented to him. He rejected it, saying, 'Prince, they have deceived you. The army knows its duties, as I will prove to you immediately.'

"I then departed, and gave orders to leave a file of men to guard him. The general afterwards presented himself to his soldiers, to induce them to return to obedience. The artillerymen, under the orders of M. Parguin, disregarded his authority, and replied to him only by reiterated cries of Vive l'Empereur. Subsequently the general succeeded in escaping from his hotel by an unguarded door.

"When I left the hotel of the general, I was greeted with the same acclamations of Vive l'Empereur. But this first check had already seriously affected me. I was not prepared for it, convinced as I had been that the sight alone of the eagle would recall to the general the old souvenirs of glory, and would lead him to join us.

"We resumed our march. Leaving the main street, we entered the barracks of Finkematt, by the lane which leads there through the Faubourg of Pierre. This barrack is a large building, erected in a place with no outlet but the entrance. The ground in front is too narrow for a regiment to be drawn up in line of battle. In seeing myself thus hedged in between the ramparts and the barracks, I perceived that the plan agreed upon had not been followed out. Upon our arrival, the soldiers thronged around us. I harangued them. Most of them went to get their arms, and returned to rally around me, testifying their sympathy for me by their acclamations.

"However, seeing them manifest a sudden hesitation, caused by the reports circulated by some officers among them who endeavored to inspire them with doubts of my identity, and as we were also losing precious time in an unfavorable position, instead of hastening to the other regiments who expected us, I requested the colonel to depart. He urged me to remain a little longer. I complied with his advice.

Napoleon III


"Some infantry officers arrived, ordered the gates to be closed, and strongly reprimanded their soldiers. The soldiers hesitated. I ordered the arrest of the officers. Their soldiers rescued them. Then all was confusion. The space was so contracted that each one was lost in the crowd. The people, who had climbed upon the wall, threw stones at the infantry. The cannoneers wished to use their arms, but we prevented it. We saw clearly that it would cause the death of very many. I saw the colonel by turns arrested by the infantry, and rescued by his soldiers. I was myself upon the point of being slain by a multitude of men who, recognizing me, crossed their bayonets upon me. I parried their thrusts with my sabre, trying at the same time to calm them, when the cannoneers rescued me from their guns, and placed me in the middle of themselves.

"I then pressed forward, with some subaltern officers, towards the mounted artillery men, to seize a horse. All the infantry followed me. I found myself hemmed in between the horses and the wall, without power to move. Then the soldiers, arriving from all parts, seized me and conducted me to the guard-house. On entering I found M. Parguin. I extended my hand to him. He said to me, speaking in tones calm and resigned, 'Prince, we shall be shot, but it will be in a good cause.'

"'Yes,' I replied, 'we have fallen in a grand and a glorious enterprise.'

"Soon after General Voirol arrived. He said to me, upon entering,

"'Prince, you have found but one traitor in the French army.'

"'Say rather, general,' I replied, 'that I have found one Labédoyére.' Some carriages were soon brought, and we were transported to the new prison.

"Behold me, then, between four walls, with barred windows, in the abode of criminals. Ah! those who know what it is to pass in an instant from the excess of happiness, caused by the noblest illusions, to the excess of misery, which leaves no hope, and to pass over this immense interval without having one moment to prepare for it, alone can comprehend what was passing in my heart.

"At the lodge we met again. M. de Querelles, pressing my hand, said to me in a loud voice, 'Prince, notwithstanding our defeat, I am still proud of what we have done.' They subjected me to an interrogation. I was calm and resigned. My part was taken. The following questions were proposed to me:

"'What has induced you to act as you have done?'

"'My political opinions,' I replied, 'and my desire to return to my country, from which a foreign invasion has exiled me. In 1830, I demanded to be treated as a simple citizen. They treated me as a pretender. Well, I have acted as a pretender.'

"'Did you wish,' it was asked, 'to establish a military government?'

"'I wished,' was my reply, 'to establish a government based on popular election.'

"'What would you have done if successful?'

"'I would have assembled a national Congress.'

"I declared then, that I alone having organized every thing, that I alone having induced others to join me, the whole responsibility should fall upon my head alone. Reconducted to prison, I threw myself upon a bed which had been prepared for me, and, notwithstanding my torments, sleep, which soothes suffering, in giving repose to the anguish of the soul, came to calm my senses. Repose does not fly from the couch of the unfortunate. It only avoids those who are consumed by remorse. But how frightful was my awaking. I thought that I had had a dreadful nightmare. The fate of the persons who were compromised caused me the greatest grief and anxiety. I wrote to General Voirol, to say to him that his honor obliged him to interest himself in behalf of Colonel Vaudrey; for it was, perhaps, the attachment of the colonel for him, and the regard with which he had treated him, which were the causes of the failure of my enterprise. I closed in beseeching him that all the rigor of the law might fall upon me, saying that I was the most guilty, and the only one to be feared.

"The general came to see me, and was very affectionate. He said, upon entering, 'Prince, when I was your prisoner, I could find no words sufficiently severe to say to you. Now that you are mine, I have only words of consolation to offer.' Colonel Vaudrey and I were conducted to the citadel, where I, at least, was much more comfortable than in prison. But the civil power claimed us, and at the end of twenty-four hours we were conveyed back to our former abode.

"The jailer and the director of the prison at Strasburg did their duty; but they endeavored to alleviate as much as possible my situation, while a certain M. Lebel, who had been sent from Paris, wishing to show his authority, prevented me from opening my windows to breathe the air, took from me my watch, which he only restored to me at the moment of my departure, and, in fine, even ordered blinds to intercept the light.

"On the evening of the 9th I was told that I was to be transferred to another prison. I went out and met the general and the prefect, who took me away in their carriage without informing me where I was to be conducted. I insisted that I should be left with my companions in misfortune. But the Government had decided otherwise. Upon arriving at the hotel of the prefecture, I found two post-chaises. I was ordered into one with M. Cuynat, commander of the gendarmerie of the Seine, and Lieutenant Thiboutot. In the other there were four sub-officers.

"When I perceived that I was to leave Strasburg, and that it was my lot to be separated from the other accused, I experienced anguish difficult to be described. Behold me, then, forced to abandon the men who had devoted themselves to me. Behold me deprived of the means of making known in my defense my views and my intentions. Behold me receiving a so-called favor from him upon whom I had wished to inflict the greatest evil. I vented my sorrow in complaints and regrets. I could only protest.

"The two officers who conducted me were two officers of the Empire, intimate friends of M. Parguin. Thus they treated me with the kindest attentions. I could have thought myself travelling with friends. Upon the 11th, at two o'clock in the morning, I arrived at Paris, at the hotel of the Prefecture of Police. M. Delessat was very polite to me. He informed me that you had come to France to claim in my favor the clemency of the king, and that I was to start again in two hours for Lorient, and that thence I was to sail for the United States in a French frigate.

"I said to the prefect that I was in despair in not being permitted to share the fate of my companions in misfortune; that being thus withdrawn from prison before undergoing a general examination (the first had been only a summary one), I was deprived of the means of testifying to many facts in favor of the accused. But my protestations were unavailing. I decided to write to the king. And I said to him that, having been cast into prison after having taken up arms against his Government, I dreaded but one thing, and that was his generosity, since it would deprive me of my sweetest consolation, the possibility of sharing the fate of my companions in misfortune. I added that life itself was of little value to me; but that my gratitude to him would be great if he would spare the lives of a few old soldiers, the remains of our ancient army, who had been enticed by me, and seduced by glorious souvenirs.

"At the same time I wrote to M. Odillon Barrot [An advocate in Paris] the letter which I send with this, begging him to take charge of the defense of Colonel Vaudrey. At four o'clock I resumed my journey, with the same escort, and on the 14th we arrived at the citadel of Port Louis, near Lorient. I remained there until the twenty-first day of November, when the frigate was ready for sea.

"After having entreated M. Odillon Barrot to assume the defense of the accused, and in particular of Colonel Vaudrey, I added:

"'Monsieur, notwithstanding my desire to remain with my companions in misfortune, and to partake of their lot, notwithstanding my entreaties upon that subject, the king, in his clemency, has ordered that I should be conducted to Lorient, to pass thence to America. Sensible as I ought to be of the generosity of the king, I am profoundly afflicted in leaving my co-accused, since I cherish the conviction that could I be present at the bar, my depositions in their favor would influence the jury, and enlighten them as to their decision. Deprived of the consolation of being useful to the men whom I have enticed to their loss, I am obliged to intrust to an advocate that which I am unable to say myself to the jury.

"'On the part of my co-accused there was no plot. There was only the enticement of the moment. I alone arranged all. I alone made the necessary preparations. I had already seen Colonel Vaudrey before the 30th of October, but he had not conspired with me. On the 29th, at eight o'clock in the evening, no person knew but myself that the movement was to take place the next day. I did not see Colonel Vaudrey until after this. M. Parguin had come to Strasburg on his own private business. It was not until the evening of the 29th, that I appealed to him. The other persons knew of my presence in France, but were ignorant of the object of my visit. It was not until the evening of the 29th that I assembled the persons now accused; and I did not make them acquainted with my intentions until that moment.

"'Colonel Vaudrey was not present. The officers of the engineers had come to join us, ignorant at first of what was to transpire. Certainly, in the eyes of the established Government we are all culpable of having taken up arms against it. But I am the most culpable. It is I who, for a long time meditating a revolution, came suddenly to lure men from an honorable social position, to expose them to the hazards of a popular movement. Before the laws, my companions are guilty of allowing themselves to be enticed. But never were circumstances more extenuating in the eyes of the country than those in their favor. When I saw Colonel Vaudrey and the other persons on the evening of the 29th, I addressed them in the following language:

"'GENTLEMEN,—You are aware of all the complaints of the nation against the Government. But you also know that there is no party now existing which is sufficiently strong to overthrow it; no one sufficiently strong to unite the French of all parties, even if it should succeed in taking possession of supreme power. This feebleness of the Government, as well as this feebleness of parties, proceeds from the fact that each one represents only the interests of a single class in society. Some rely upon the clergy and nobility; others upon the middle-class aristocracy, and others still upon the lower classes alone.

"'"In this state of things, there is but a single flag which can rally all parties, because it is the banner of France, and not that of a faction; it is the eagle of the Empire. Under this banner, which recalls so many glorious memories, there is no class excluded. It represents the interests and the rights of all. The Emperor Napoleon held his power from the French people. Four times his authority received the popular sanction. In 1814, hereditary right, in the family of the Emperor, was recognized by four millions of votes. Since then the people have not been consulted.

"'"As the eldest of the nephews of Napoleon, I can then consider myself as the representative of popular election; I will not say of the Empire because in the lapse of twenty years the ideas and wants of France may have changed. But a principle can not be annulled by facts. It can only be annulled by another principle. Now the principle of popular election in 1804 can not be annulled by the twelve hundred thousand foreigners who entered France in 1815, nor by the chamber of two hundred and twenty-one deputies in 1830.

"'"The Napoleon system consists in promoting the march of civilization without disorder and without excess; in giving an impulse to ideas by developing material interests; in strengthening power by rendering it respectable; in disciplining the masses according to their intellectual faculties; in fine, in uniting around the altar of the country the French of all parties by giving them honor and glory as the motives of action."

"'"No," exclaimed my brave companions in reply, "you shall not die alone. We will die with you, or we will conquer together for the cause of the French people."

"'You see thus, sir, that it is I who have enticed them, in speaking to them of every thing which could move the hearts of Frenchmen. They spoke to me of their oaths. But I reminded them that, in 1815, they had taken the oath to Napoleon II. and his dynasty. "Invasion alone," I said to them, "released you from that oath. Well, force can re-establish that which force alone has destroyed."'

"I went even so far as to say to them that the death of the king had been spoken of. I inserted this, my mother, as you will understand, in order to be useful to them. You see how culpable I was in the eyes of the Government. Well, the Government has been generous to me. It has comprehended that my position of exile, that my love for my country, that my relationship to the great man were extenuating causes. Will the jury be less considerate than the Government? Will it not find extenuating causes far stronger in favor of my accomplices, in the souvenirs of the Empire; in the intimate relations of many among them to me; in the enticement of the moment; in the example of Labédoyére; in fine, in that sentiment of generosity which rendered it inevitable that, being soldiers of the Empire, they could not see the eagle without emotion; they preferred to sacrifice their own lives rather than abandon the nephew of the Emperor Napoleon, than to deliver him to his executioners, for we were far from thinking of any mercy in case of failure?

"In view of Madeira, December 12, 1836.

"I remained ten days at the citadel of Port Louis. Every morning I received a visit from the sub-prefect of Lorient, from the commander of the place, and from the officer of the gendarmerie. They were all very kind to me, and never ceased to speak to me of their attachment to the memory of the Emperor. The commander, Cuynat, and Lieutenant Thiboutot, were unfailing in their attentions to me. I could ever believe myself in the midst of my friends, and the thought that they were in a position hostile to me gave me much pain.

"The winds remained contrary and prevented the frigate from leaving port. At last, on the 21st, a steamer towed out the frigate. The sub-prefect came to tell me that it was time to depart. The draw-bridge of the citadel was lowered. I went forth, accompanied by the hospitable officers of the place, in addition to those who brought me to Lorient. I passed between two files of soldiers, who kept off the crowd of the curious, which had gathered to see me.

"We all entered the boats which were to convey us to the frigate, which was waiting for us outside of the harbor. I took leave of these gentlemen with cordiality. I ascended to the deck, and saw with sadness of heart the shores of France disappear behind me.

"I must now give you the details of the frigate. The commander has assigned me a stateroom in the stern of the ship, where I sleep. I dine with him, his son, the second officer, and the aide-de-camp. The commander, captain of the ship, Henry de Villeneuve, is an excellent man, frank and loyal as an old sailor. He pays me every attention. You see that I have much less to complain of than my friends. The other officers of the frigate are also very kind to me.

"There are two other passengers who are two types. The one, an M. D., is a savant, twenty-six years of age. He has much intelligence and imagination, mingled with originality, and even with a little eccentricity. For example, he believes in fortune-telling, and undertakes to predict to each one of us his fate. He has also great faith in magnetism, and has told me that a somnambulist had predicted to him, two years ago, that a member of the family of the Emperor would return to France and would dethrone Louis Philippe. He is going to Brazil to make some experiments in electricity. The other passenger is an ancient librarian of Don Pedro, who has preserved all the manners of the ancient court. Maltreated at Brazil, in consequence of his attachment to the Emperor, he returns there to obtain redress.

"The first fifteen days of the voyage were very disagreeable. We were continually tossed about by tempests and by contrary winds, which drove us back almost to the entrance of the Channel. It was impossible during that time to take a single step without clinging to whatever could be seized with one's hand.

"For several days we did not know that our destination was changed. The commander had sealed orders, which he opened and which directed him to go to Rio Janeiro; to remain there as long as should be necessary to re-provision the vessel; to retain me on board during the whole time the frigate remained in the harbor, and then to convey me to New York. Now you know that this frigate was destined to go to the southern seas, where it will remain stationed for two years. It was thus compelled to make an additional voyage of three thousand leagues; for from New York it will be obliged to return to Rio, making a long circuit to the east in order to take advantage of the trade-winds.

"In view of the Canaries, December 14th.

"Every man carries within himself a world, composed of all which he has seen and loved, and to which he returns incessantly, even when he is traversing foreign lands. I do not know, at such times, which is the most painful, the memory of the misfortunes which you have encountered, or of the happy days which are no more. We have passed through the winter and are again in summer. The trade-winds have succeeded the tempests, so that I can spend most of my time on deck. Seated upon the poop, I reflect upon all which has happened to me, and I think of you and of Arenemberg. Situations depend upon the affections which one cherishes. Two months ago I asked only that I might never return to Switzerland. Now, if I should yield to my impressions, I should have no other desire than to find myself again in my little chamber in that beautiful country, where it seems to me that I ought to be so happy. Alas! when one has a soul which feels deeply, one is destined to pass his days in the languor of inaction or in the convulsions of distressing situations.

"When I returned, a few months ago, from conducting Matilde, [Louis Napoleon's cousin, with whom it is supposed he then contemplated marraige.] in entering the park I found a tree broken by the storm, and I said to myself, our marriage will be broken by fate. That which I vaguely imagined has been realized. Have I, then, exhausted in 1836 all the share of happiness which is to be allotted to me?

"Do not accuse me of feebleness if I allow myself to give you an account of all my impressions. One can regret that which he has lost, without repenting of that which he has done. Besides, our sensations are not so independent of interior causes, but that our ideas should be somewhat modified by the objects which surround us. The rays of the sun or the direction of the wind have a great influence over our moral state. When it is beautiful weather, as it is to-day, the sea being as calm as the Lake of Constance when we used to walk upon its banks in the evening—when the moon, the same moon, illumines us with the same softened brilliance—when the atmosphere, in fine, is as mild as in the month of August in Europe,—then I am more sad than usual. All memories, pleasant or painful, fall with the same weight upon my heart. Beautiful weather dilates the heart and renders it more impressible, while bad weather contracts it. The passions alone are independent of the changes of the seasons. When we left the barracks of Austerlitz, a flurry of snow fell upon us. Colonel Vaudrey, to whom I made the remark, said to me, 'Notwithstanding this squall, we shall have a fine day.'

"December 29th.

"We passed the line yesterday. The customary ceremony took place. The commander, who is always very polite to me, exempted me from the baptism. It is an ancient usage, but which, nevertheless, is not sensible, to féte the passage of the line by throwing water over one's self and aping a divine office. It was very hot. I have found on board enough books to occupy my time. I have read again the works of M. de Chateaubriand and of J. J. Rousseau. Still, the motion of the ship renders all occupation fatiguing."

"January 1, 1837.

"MY DEAR MAMMA, MA CHERE MAMAN,—This is the first day of the year. I am fifteen hundred leagues from you in another hemisphere. Happily, thought traverses that space in less than a second. I am near you. I express to you my profound regret for all the sorrows which I have occasioned you. I renew to you the expression of my tenderness and of my gratitude.

"This morning the officers came in a body to wish me a happy new year. I was much gratified by this attention on their part. At half-past four we were at the table. As we were seventeen degrees of longitude west of Constance, it was at that same time seven o'clock at Arenemberg. You were probably at dinner. I drank, in thought, to your health. You perhaps did the same for me. At least I flattered myself in believing so at that moment. I thought, also, of my companions in misfortune. Alas! I think continually of them. I thought that they were more unhappy than I, and that thought renders me more unhappy than they.

"Present my very tender regards to good Madame Salvage, to the young ladies, to that poor little Clair?, and to M. Cottrau, and to Arséne.

"January 5th.

"We have had a squall, which struck us with extreme violence. If the sails had not been torn to pieces by the wind the frigate would have been in great danger. One of the masts was broken. The rain fell so impetuously that the sea was entirely white. To-day the sky is as serene as usual, the damages are repaired, and the tempestuous weather is forgotten. But it is not so with the storms of life. In speaking of the frigate, the commander told me that the frigate which bore your name is now in the South Sea, and is called La Flora.

"January 10.

"We have arrived at Rio Janeiro. The coup d'oeil of the harbor is superb. To-morrow I shall make a drawing of it. I hope that this letter will soon reach you. Do not think of coming to join me. I do not yet know where I shall settle. Perhaps I may find more inducements to live in South America. The labor to which the uncertainty of my lot will oblige me to devote myself, in order to create for myself a position, will be the only consolation which I can enjoy. Adieu, my mother. Remember me to the old servants, and to our friends of Thurgovia and of Constance. I am very well. Your affectionate and respectful son,