Page One Youth

Napoleon In Paris

Out Of Work

The First Italian Campaign

The Egyptian Campaign

Statesman And Lawgiver

The Concordat

Code Napoleon

General Prosperity

Preparations For War With England

Sale Of Louisiana

Establishment Of The Empire

King of Italy

Campaign Of 1805-1806-1807

The Peace Of Tilsit

Napoleon's Empire

Family Affairs

The Berlin Decree

War In The Peninsula

Bonapartes On The Spanish Throne

Disaster In Spain

Alexander And Napoleon In Council

Napoleon At Madrid

Talleyrand's Treachery

The Campaign Of 1809


The Divorce

A New Wife

An Heir To The Crown

The Pope


Evasions Of Blockade

Tilsit Agreement Broken

The Russian Campaign

The Burning Of Moscow

A New Army

Campaign Of 1813

Campaign Of 1814


Ruler Of Island Of Elba

Return To Paris

Hundred Days

Second Abdication

Napoleon's Surrender

Sent To St. Helena

Life In Exile

Death Of Napoleon

Second Funeral Of Napoleon

Related Information

Wellington and Nelson

Napoleon and the French Revolution



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Life Of Napoleon Bonaparte With A Sketch Of Josephine

Book:        Life Of Napoleon

Author:      Tarbell, Ida

Chapter XIII.

Extension Of Napoleon's Empire - Family Affairs

Napoleon's influence in Europe was now at its zenith. He was
literally "king of kings," as he was popularly called, and the Bonaparte
family was rapidly displacing the Bourbon. Joseph had been made King of
Naples in 1806. Eliza was Princess of Lucques and Piombino. Louis,
married to Hortense, had been King of Holland since 1806. Pauline had
been the Princess Borghese since 1803; Caroline, the wife of Murat, was
Grand Duchess of Cleves and Berg; Jerome was King of Westphalia; Eugene de
Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy, was married to a princess of Bavaria.

The members of Napoleon's family were elevated only on condition that
they act strictly in accordance with his plans. They must marry so as to
cement the ties necessary to his kingdom. They must arrange their time,
form their friendships, spend their money, as it best served the interests
of his great scheme of conquest. The interior affairs of their kingdoms
were in reality centralized in his hands as perfectly as those of France.
He watched the private and public conduct of his kings and nobles, and
criticised them with absolute frankness and extraordinary common sense.
The ground on which he protected them is well explained in the following
letter, written in January, 1806, to Count Miot de Melito:

"You are going to rejoin my brother. You will tell him that I have
made him King of Naples; that he will continue to be Grand Elector, and
that nothing will be changed as regards his relations with France. But
impress upon him that the least hesitation, the slightest wavering, will
ruin him entirely. I have another person in my mind who will replace him
should he refuse. . . . At present all feelings of affection yield to
state reasons. I recognize only those who serve me as relations. My
fortune is not attached to the name of Bonaparte, but to that of Napoleon.
It is with my fingers and with my pen that I make children. To-day I can
love only those whom I esteem. Joseph must forget all our ties of
childhood. Let him make himself esteemed. Let him acquire glory. Let
him have a leg broken in battle. Then I shall esteem him. Let him give
up his old ideas.  Let him not dread fatigue. Look at me: the campaign I
have just terminated, the movement, the excitement, have made me stout. I
believe that if all the kings of Europe were to coalesce against me, I
should have a ridiculous paunch."

Joseph, bent on being a great king, boasted now and then to Napoleon
of his position in Naples. His brother never failed to silence him with
the truth, if it was blunt and hard to digest.

"When you talk about the fifty thousand enemies of the queen, you
make me laugh. . . . You exaggerate the degree of hatred which the queen
has left behind at Naples: you do not know mankind. There are not twenty
persons who hate her as you suppose, and there are not twenty persons who
would not surrender to one of her smiles. The strongest feeling of hatred
on the part of a nation is that inspired by another nation. Your fifty
thousand men are the enemies of the French."

With Jerome, Napoleon had been particularly incensed because of his
marriage with Miss Patterson. In 1804 he wrote of that affair:

". . . Jerome is wrong to think that he will be able to count upon
any weakness on my part, for, not having the rights of a father, I cannot
entertain for him the feeling of a father; a father allows himself to be
blinded, and it pleases him to be blinded because he identifies his son
with himself. . . . But what am I to Jerome? Sole instrument of my
destiny, I owe nothing to my brothers. They have made an abundant harvest
out of what I have accomplished in the way of glory; but for all that,
they must not abandon the field and deprive me of the aid I have a right
to expect from them. They will cease to be anything for me, directly they
take a road opposed to mine. If I exact so much from my brothers who have
already rendered many services, if I have abandoned the one who, in mature
age [Lucien], refused to follow my advice, what must not Jerome, who is
still young, and who is known only for his neglect of duty, expect? If he
does nothing for me, I shall see in this the decree of destiny, which has
decided that I shall do nothing for him. . . ."

Jerome yielded later to his brother's wishes, and in 1807 was
rewarded with the new kingdom of Westphalia. Napoleon kept close watch of
him, however, and his letters are full of admirable counsels. The
following is particularly valuable, showing, as it does, that Napoleon
believed a government would be popular and enduring only in proportion to
the liberty and prosperity it gave the citizens.

"What the German peoples desire with impatience [he told Jerome], is
that persons who are not of noble birth, and who have talents, shall have
an equal right to your consideration and to public employment (with those
who are of noble birth); that every sort of servitude and of intermediate
obligations between the sovereign and the lowest class of the people
should be entirely abolished. The benefits of the Code Napoleon, the
publicity of legal procedure, the establishment of the jury system, will
be the distinctive characteristics of your monarchy. . . . I count more
on the effect of these benefits for the extension and strengthening of
your kingdom, than upon the result of the greatest victories. Your people
ought to enjoy a liberty, an equality, a well-being, unknown to the German
peoples. . . . What people would wish to return to the arbitrary
government of Prussia, when it has tasted the benefits of a wise and
liberal administration? The peoples of Germany, France, Italy, Spain,
desire equality, and demand that liberal ideas should prevail. . . . Be a
constitutional king."

Louis in Holland was never a king to Napoleon's mind. He especially
disliked his quarrels with his wife. In 1807 Napoleon wrote Louis,
apropos of his domestic relations, a letter which is a good example of
scores of others he sent to one and another of his kings and princes about
their private affairs.

"You govern that country too much like a Capuchin. The goodness of a
king should be full of majesty. . . . A king orders, and asks nothing
from any one. . . . When people say of a king that he is good, his reign
is a failure. . . . Your quarrels with the queen are known to the
public. You should exhibit at home that paternal and effeminate character
you show in your manner of governing. . . . You treat a young wife as you
would command a regiment. Distrust the people by whom you are surrounded;
they are nobles. . . . You have the best and most virtuous of wives, and
you render her miserable. Allow her to dance as much as she likes; it is
in keeping with her age. I have a wife who is forty years of age; from
the field of battle I write to her to go to balls, and you wish a young
woman of twenty to live in a cloister, or, like a nurse, to be always
washing her children. . . . Render the mother of your children happy.
You have only one way of doing so, by showing her esteem and confidence.
Unfortunately you have a wife who is too virtuous: if you had a coquette,
she would lead you by the nose. But you have a proud wife, who is
offended and grieved at the mere idea that you can have a bad opinion of
her. You should have had a wife like some of those whom I know in Paris.
She would have played you false, and you would have been at her feet. . .


With his sisters he was quite as positive. While Josephine adapted
herself with grace and tact to her great position, the Bonaparte sisters,
especially Pauline, were constantly irritating somebody by their vanity
and jealousy. The following letter to Pauline shows how little Napoleon
spared them when their performances came to his ears:

"Madame and Dear Sister: I have learned with pain that you have not
the good sense to conform to the manners and customs of the city of Rome;
that you show contempt for the inhabitants, and that your eyes are
unceasingly turned towards Paris. Although occupied with vast affairs, I
nevertheless desire to make known my wishes, and I hope that you will
conform to them.

"I love your husband and his family, be amiable, accustom yourself to
the usages of Rome, and put this in your head: that if you follow bad
advice you will no longer be able to count upon me. You may be sure that
you will find no support in Paris, and that I shall never receive you
there without your husband. If you quarrel with him, it will be your
fault, and France will be closed to you. You will sacrifice your
happiness and my esteem.


This supervision of policy, relations, and conduct extended to his
generals. The case of General Berthier is one to the point. Chief of
Napoleon's staff in Italy, he had fallen in love at Milan with a Madame
Visconti, and had never been able to conquer his passion. In Egypt
Napoleon called him "chief of the lovers' faction," that part of the army
which, because of their desire to see wives or sweethearts, were
constantly revolting against the campaign, and threatening to desert.

In 1804 Berthier had been made marshal, and in 1806 Napoleon wished
to give him the princedom of Neufchatel; but it was only on condition that
he give up Madame de Visconti, and marry.
"I exact only one condition, which is that you get married. Your
passion has lasted long enough. It has become ridiculous; and I have the
right to hope that the man whom I have called my companion in arms, who
will be placed alongside of me by posterity, will no longer abandon
himself to a weakness without example. . . . You know that no one likes
you better than I do, but you know also that the first condition of my
friendship is that it must be made subordinate to my esteem."

Berthier fled to Josephine for help, weeping like a child; but she
could do nothing, and he married the woman chosen for him. Three months
after the ceremony, the husband of Madame de Visconti died and Berthier,
broken-hearted, wrote to the Prince Borghese:

"You know how often the emperor pressed me to obtain a divorce for
Madame de Visconti. But a divorce was always repugnant to the feelings in
which I was educated, and therefore I waited. To-day Madame de Visconti
is free, and I might have been the happiest of men. But the emperor
forced me into a marriage which hinders me from uniting myself to the only
woman I ever loved. Ah, my dear prince, all that the emperor has done and
may yet do for me, will be no compensation for the eternal misfortunes to
which he has condemned me."

Never was Napoleon more powerful than at the end of the period we
have been tracing so rapidly, never had he so looked the emperor. An
observer who watched him through the Te Deum sung at Notre Dame in his
honor, on his return from Tilsit, says: "His features, always calm and
serious, recalled the cameos which represent the Roman emperors. He was
small; still his whole person, in this imposing ceremony, was in harmony
with the part he was playing. A sword glittering with precious stones was
at his side, and the glittering diamond called the "Regent" formed its
pommel. Its brilliancy did not let us forget that this sword was the
sharpest and the most victorious that the world had seen since those of
Alexander and Caesar."

Certainly he never worked more prodigiously. The campaigns of 1805-
1807 were, in spite of their rapid movement, - indeed, because of it, -
terribly fatiguing for him; that they were possible at all was due mainly
to the fact that they had been made on paper so many times in his study.
When he was consul the only room opening from his study was filled with
enormous maps of all the countries of the world. This room was presided
over by a competent cartographer. Frequently these maps were brought to
the study and spread upon the floor. Napoleon would get down upon them on
all fours, and creep about, compass and red pencil in hand, comparing and
measuring distances, and studying the configuration of the land. If he
was in doubt about anything, he referred it to his librarian, who was
expected to give him the fullest details.

Attached to his cabinet were skilful translators, whose business was
not only to translate diplomatic correspondence, but to gather from
foreign sources full information about the armies of his enemies. Meneval
declares that the emperor knew the condition of foreign armies as well as
he did that of his own.

The amount of information he had about other lands was largely due to
his ability to ask questions. When he sent to an agent for a report, he
rattled at him a volley of questions, always to the point; and the agent
knew that it would never do to let one go unanswered.

While carrying on the Austrian and Prussian campaigns of 1805-1807,
Napoleon showed, as never before, his extraordinary capacity for attending
to everything. The number of despatches he sent out was incredible. In
the first three months of 1807, while he was in Poland, he wrote over
seventeen hundred letters and despatches.

It was not simply war, the making of kingdoms, the directions of his
new-made kings; minor affairs of the greatest variety occupied him. While
at Boulogne, tormented by the failure of the English invasion and the war
against Austria, he ordered that horse races should be established "in
those parts of the empire the most remarkable for the horses they breed;
prizes shall be awarded to the fleetest horses." The very day after the
battle of Friedland, he was sending orders to Paris about the form and
site of a statue to the memory of the Bishop of Vannes. He criticised
from Poland the quarrels of Parisian actresses, ordered canals, planned
there for the Bourse and the Odeon Theatre. The newspapers he watched as
he did when in Paris, reprimanded this editor, suspended that, forbade the
publication of news of disasters to the French navy, censured every item
honorable to his enemies. To read the bulletines issued from Jena to
Friedland, one would believe that the writer had no business other than
that of regulating the interior affairs of France. This care of details
went, as Pasquier says, to the "point of minuteness, or, to speak plainly,
to that of charlatanism;" but it certainly did produce a deep impression
upon France. That he could establish himself five hundred leagues from
Paris, in the heart of winter, in a country encircled by his enemies, and
yet be in daily communication with his capital, could direct even its
least important affairs as if he were present, could know what every
person of influence, from the Secretary of State to the humblest newspaper
man, was doing, caused a superstitious feeling to rise in France, and in
all Europe, that the emperor of the French people was not only omnipotent,
but omnipresent.

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