Memoirs of the Private Life, Return, and Reign of Napoleon in 1815, Vol. I

Pierre Antoine Edouard Fleury de Chaboulon
Memoirs of the Private Life,
Return, and
by Pierre Antoine
Edouard Fleury de Chaboulon

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Reign of Napoleon in 1815, Vol. I, by Pierre Antoine Edouard Fleury
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Title: Memoirs of the Private Life, Return, and Reign of Napoleon in
1815, Vol. I
Author: Pierre Antoine Edouard Fleury de Chaboulon
Release Date: August 17, 2007 [EBook #22345]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all
other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has
been maintained.]
IN 1815.
Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem habes. SCIPIO.
Ex-Secretary of the Emperor Napoleon and of his Cabinets, Master of
Requests to the Council of State, Baron, Officer of the Legion of
Honour, and Knight of the Order of Reunion.

The revolution of the 20th of March will form unquestionably the most
remarkable episode in the life of Napoleon, so fertile as it is in
supernatural events. It has not been my intention, to write the history of
it: this noble task is above my powers: I have only attempted, to place

Napoleon on the stage of action, and oppose his words, his deeds, and
the truth, to the erroneous assertions of certain historians, the
falsehoods of the spirit of party, and the insults of those timeserving
writers, who are accustomed to insult in misfortune those, to whom
they have subsequently paid court.
Hitherto people have not been able to agree on the motives and
circumstances, that determined the Emperor, to quit the island of Elba.
Some supposed, that he had acted of his own accord: others, that he had
conspired with his partisans the downfal of the Bourbons. Both these
suppositions are equally false. The world will learn with surprise,
perhaps with admiration, that this astonishing revolution was the work
of two individuals and a few words.
The narrative of Colonel Z***, so valuable from the facts it reveals,
appears to me to merit the reader's attention in other respects. On
studying it carefully, we find in it the exhibition of those defects, those
qualities, those passions, which, confounded together, form the
character, so full of contrasts, of the incomprehensible Napoleon. We
perceive him alternatively mistrustful and communicative, ardent and
reserved, enterprising and irresolute, vindictive and generous,
favourable to liberty and despotic. But we see predominant above all,
that activity, that strength, that ardour of mind, those brilliant
inspirations, and those sudden resolves, that belong only to
extraordinary men, to men of genius.
The conferences I had at Bâle with the mysterious agent of Prince
Metternich have remained to this day buried in profound secrecy. The
historians, who have preceded me, relate, without any explanation, that
the Duke of Otranto laid before the Emperor, at the moment of his
abdication, a letter from M. de Metternich; and that this letter, artfully
worded, had determined Napoleon to abdicate, in the hope that the
crown would devolve to his son. The particulars given in these
Memoirs will entirely change the ideas formed of this letter, and of its
influence. They confirm the opinion too, pretty generally prevalent, that
the allied sovereigns deemed the restoration of the Bourbons of little
importance, and would willingly have consented, to place the young

Prince Napoleon on the throne.
It had been supposed, that the famous decree, by which Prince de
Talleyrand and his illustrious accomplices were sent before the courts
of justice, was issued at Lyons in the first burst of a fit of vengeance. It
will be seen, that it was the result of a plan simply political: and the
noble resistance, which General Bertrand (now labouring under a
sentence of death) thought it his duty to oppose to this measure, will
add, if it be possible, to the high esteem, merited on so many accounts
by this faithful friend to the unfortunate.
The writings published previously to this work, equally contain nothing
but inaccurate or fabulous reports, with regard to the abdication of
Napoleon. Certain historians have been pleased, to represent Napoleon
in a pitious state of despondency: others have depicted him as the sport
of the threats of M. Regnault St. Jean d'Angely, and of the artifices of
the Duke of Otranto. These Memoirs
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