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ble being. Incomprehensible we term with a devotedness which aspires to him, for with all his faults and all his immolation, those who are best acfoibles, it is a mystery that we cannot quainted with the first, and most famipenetrate, by what charm he is able to liar with the last. attach to his person and his service, E. ART. 2. Letters written on board His Majesty's ship the Northumberland, and
at St. Helena ; in which the conduct and conversations of Napoleon Bonaparte, and his suite, during the voyage, and the first months of his residence in that Island, are faithfully described and related. By William Warden, Surgeon on board the Northumberland. London : Published for the Author. No date. 8vo. T is extremely difficult to determine try, are calculated to persuade the in
raries. There are few cases where we memoirs is “a man more sinned against can bring to the trial an unbiassed mind. than sioning.' Sympathy for the unWe weigh, with exactness, the worth of fortunate, is so natural a sentiment, that those only with whose character we we cannot find it in our hearts to conhave immediate concern, and our judg. demo it. Indeed, we should be ashamed ment is apt to incline to the side to- not to have shared it in some degree. wards wbich our wishes preponderate. But it is a ' failing,' that hardly • Jeans But the difficulty of correct decision to virtue's side,' in our commiseration is incalculably augmented, when the of the suffering, quite • to forget their subject of our scrutiny has exercised vices in their wo.' We should be caresuch a sway over political events, as to ful that pity for the criminal do not have materially affected the condition lessen our detestation of crime. Still of every individual in the community. we do not mean to prejudge the quesIt is not only that we are ourselves fa- tion in regard to Bonaparte. For his vourably, or unfavourably, impressed in ambition we can easily find an excuse regard to him, by the benefit expe- in the circumstances that conspired to rienced or hoped from his success, and inflame it. It is for his abuse of power the injury felt or dreaded from his de- that he stands arraigned, not for its acpression-it is not with our own pre- quisition. Or if the latter be involved, dilections, merely, that we have to it is rather in reference to the turpitude contend-every avenue through which of the means by which it is charged the evidence is derived, that must in- to have been sought and attained, than fuence our estimate, is tinged with to the atrocity of the aim. prejudice and communicates its taint. Many of the more important accuBut, happily, facts survive opinions, sations that have been alleged against and the sentence of posterity will re- him are discussed, and plausibly exteverse error, if it cannot compensate for nuated, in Mr. Warden's pretended injustice. To them we shall leave it, Conversations. The Quarterly Reto settle the mooted character of Bona- viewers have cross-examined this voparte.
lunteer witness, with legal acumen, and It is our duty, however, to exhibit have detected him in falsehood from as impartially as possible, the grounds his own testimony. We trust that on which his vindication, or conviction their very able critical investigation rests. Mr. Warden's letters, which are will be generally interesting; and that the subject of the following review, and this will prove no unacceptable accom which have been published, at length, paniment to the preceding article. in most of the newspapers in this coun- • Anecdotes of the private life of reVol. 1,--No. 11.
markable persons are one of the most correct. It will not, I trust, be thought amusing and not least valuable departo necessary for me to say more, and the ments of history; they bring the read- justice I owe to myself will not allow er more intimately acquainted with me to say less.” Int. vii. the character of the individual than Now we are constrained to say, that public events can do. The latter are notwithstanding this pompous asseve. never entirely a man's own; a thou- ration, we shall be able to prove that sand circumstances generally influence this work is founded in falsehood, and or contribute to them; it is in familiar that Mr. Warden's profession of scrulife alone that a man is himself; there pulous accuracy is only the first of the his character exhibits all its various many fictions which he has spread over shades, and thence we become best his pages. “ It will not, we trust, be acquainted with the familiar chivalry of thought necessary for us to say more, Henry the Fourth—the ingenuous and and the justice we owe to our readers simple magnanimity of Turenne—the will not allow us to say less." phlegmatic temper and fiery courage Our first proof will astound our of William the Third-the mean and readers, and, perhaps, decide the affair. audacious spirit of Bonaparte. But of • Mr. Warden's first letter is dated at this species of history, minute truth sea; he has indeed cautiously omitted and accuracy ought to be, more than to prefix to any of his letters the day any other, the essential characteristics: or the month, the latitude or the lonbecause the portraits are painted by gitude; but this prudence will not save faint and scattered touches, the false- him from detection. In this be announces hood of any one of which tends to des- to his correspondent the surprise he troy the value of the whole; and because must feel “ at receiving a letter wbich, the most important anecdote may de- instead of the common topics of a sea pend on the single testimony of an in- voyage, should contain an account of dividual; and we know, in the most the conduct and information respectordinary occurrences of life, how much ing the character of Napoleon Bona. men are in the habit of colouring their parte, from the personal opportunities report of any particular event. which Mr. Warden's situation so unex
It has been under these impressions pectedly afforded him.” (p. 2.) And that we have hitherto* traced the again he says, “ such has been the ge. course of Bonaparte, from the Russian neral curiosity about Bonaparte, that campaign down to his seclusion in St. he feels himself more than justified in Helena, While we have admitted all supposing that particulars relative to those interesting and authenticated him and his suite, will be welcome to the facts, which displayed his real charac. correspondent and those of their comter, we have rejected all that was mon friends to whom he may choose to apocryphal, and have not condescended communicate the letters." p. 3. to repeat even the minutest circum- • From this it is evident that Mr. stance, of the truth of which an ac- Warden is addressing a person who curate inquiry had not previously satis. had not expected such a communicafied us.
Of the necessity for this pre- tion, and he accounts to him for his cision, Mr. Warden is so convinced, motive in commencing a series of letthat of the Letters before us, he says, ters so different from what might have “every fact related in them is true; been expected. All this is very well: and the purport of every conversation but when the second letter, also dated
at sea, came to be fabricated, Mr. War* Art. x. vol. x.
Art. xi. vol. xii.----Art. den had forgot his first professions, and xxüi. vol. xiv.
writes as if be were answering the in
quiries of a person who had entreated return of Mr. Warden-be returned inhim to give a daily journal of Bona- dred before these precious letters from parte's proceedings:
St. Helena were concocted ; and Mr. “ My dear
Warden, or the person employed by “ I renew my desultory occupation him to forge the correspondence, mis-la tache journaliere, telle que vous la took the period at which he wrote for voulez,” (p. 27.)" the daily task that at which he affected to write. which you enjoin me.” Mr. Warden · These are minute circumstances, did not recollect that between the first but it is only by such that imposition letter at sea and the second letter at sea, can be detected ; a liar arranges all the he could not possibly have had an an. great course of his story, and it is only swer from his correspondent "enjoin- by dates which he omits, and trifles ing the daily task.” In a subsequent which he records, that he is ever detectletter he falls into the same blunder, ed. This original imposture throws a by calling Bonaparte the object of his general discredit over Mr. Warden's friend's “ inquisitive spirit,” (p. 93.)- subsequent relations; some of them and he in consequence gives a descrip- may be, and we know, are well-found. tion of his person.
ed ; but they are to be credited on bet. • In another letter, dated from St. ter grounds than those of Mr. Warden's Helena, but without a date of time, veracity. In fact we have heard, and there is this passage :
we believe, that he brought to England “ I answered Bonaparte, that there a few sheets of notes, gleaned for the was not, I thought, a person in England most part from the conversation of his who received Sir Robert Wilson, or better informed fellow-officers, and his companions, with a diminution of that he applied to some manufacturer regard for that part they had taken in of correspondence in London to spin La Valette's business.” p. 165. them out into “ Letters from St. He
"Now this answer to Bonaparte must lena ;" a task which, it must be allowed, have been made some time prior to the the writer has executed with some 10th of May, 1816, for a subsequent talent, and for which we hope (as the letter states itself to be written after labourer is worthy of his hire) Mr. Warthe arrival of the fleet from India in den has handsomely rewarded him. which lady Loudon was embarked, and • Mr. Warden says, that in publishthis fleet arrived at St. Helena at the ing these Letters " he has yielded, ratime we have just mentioned ; when ther reluctantly to become an author, Sir R. Wilson, so far from being in from persuasion he scarce knew how to London, enjoying the congratulations resist, and to which he had some reaof his acquaintance for his success in son to suspect resistance might be vain.” La Valette's escape, was still a prison- (p. vi.) le consented reluctantly to beer in the Conciergerie ; his sentence come an author !--if the letters had was pronounced only on the 24th April; been written, he was already an author, and could not, of course, have been though his work was unpublished; the known at St. Helena prior to the 10th fact is, no such litters existed. We of May; so that all Mr. Warden's have also reason to believe ihat he did statement, and Bonaparte's subsequent not yield reluctantly, but that he had, reply, (which conveys an infamous im- from the first moment, resolved to puhputation against Sir Robert,) must be lish, and that he recrived with great wholly and gratuitously false ; nay, dissatisfaction some advice which was what makes the matter quite ridicu- given him to the contrary. How he lous, is that Sir Robert did not, we be- could be forced, by an irresistible power, lieve, return to England till after the to publish is more than we can com
prehend, apless, as we shrewdly sus- ly,” (p. 131.) and is so far encouraged pect, that irresistible power was a ta- by the easy communicative manners of lismanie paper inscribed with certain the ex-emperor, (not a word of the infigures of pounds, shillings, and pence, terpreter,) that he continues to make which were at once the object and his observations without reserve. ip. reward of the imposture.
142.) “ I was resolved (he says) to • He affects to write colloquial French, speak my sentiments with freedom; and relates with great effrontery his and you may think I did not balk my direct conversations with Napoleon and resolution." his suite. The fact is, the surgeon is Again,' wholly ignorant of that language; and “Here Napoleon became very aniof this we find positive proof in his mated, and often raised himself on the own book.
sofa where he had hitherto remained • In the first place, no man who un- in a reclining posture. The interest derstood French could have written attached to the subject, and the enerthe words tâche journalière as he has gy of his delivery, combined to impress done; in his mode they mean a spot, the tenor of his narrative so strongly on and not a task.
my mind, that you need not doubt the • In the next place, Mr. Warden lets accuracy of this repetition of it." p. 144. slip the arowal, (page 130,) that he As if Mr. Warden wished us to spoke to Bonaparte by an interpreter, suppose that he gave the very words and that this interpreter was the vera of the man. cious count de Las Cases, a kind of All these are, we admit, only insisecretary and ame damnée of the ex- nuations and equivocations; but in the emperor, (who is now said to be under second letter there is a direct and palarrest for attempting a secret corres. pable falsehood. pondence,) and who seems to be, of • Bonaparte is represented as inquirthe whole suite, the person who is the ing after the health of Madame de most careless of truth, and the most Montholon, and attributing her illness ready to say, not what he believes or to her horror of the idea of St. Helena knows, but what he thinks most con- --Mr. Warden says he repeated to his venient at the moment. “ This wor- doctor the quotation of Macbeth in the thy person,” says Mr. Warden,“ inter- following manner: preted with great aptitude and perspi- "Can a physician minister to a mind diseased, cuity, and afforded me time to arrange “Or pluck froin memory a rooted sorrow?" my answers.” Notwithstanding this " At this time Bonaparte could not avowal, Mr. Warden describes himself have pronounced the three first words as conversing with ease and volubility of this quotation; he could as well have with Bonaparte, whom he represents written Macbeth. Nay, in one of his as speaking English.
last interviews, Mr. Warden represents “ The moment his eyes met mine, his utmost efforts in English to be a he started up and exclaimed in Eng, stammering attempt to call madame lish, · Ab, Warden, how do you do?" Bertrand his love, or his friend.-p.161. I bowed in return, when he stretched • Mr. Warden says, “ that the Briout bis hand, saying, "I've got a fever.' tish government proscribed Bertrand I expressed," &c. (page 131.) And so from accompanying Bonaparte," and on for a long conversation, in which “ that Lord Keith took on himself the the interpreter is entirely sunk. When responsibility of including such an atthe Doctor replies, he replies not tached friend iu the number of his at. . like a person who “wanted time to tendants." (p. 20.) This is notoriously arrange his answer," but " rather quick- false,
• Again he says,'
in short, there is no end to these errors, “A
delicacy was maintained in com- which prove Mr. Warden to be very igmunicating to Bonaparte the contents norant or very inaccurate, or what we of the English Journals. That truth is believe to be the real state of the case pot to be spoken, or in any way impart- ---both. ed at all times, is a proverb which was • Such is the blundering, presumpnow faithfully adhered to on board the tuous and falsifying scribbler, who has Northumberland.”—p. 26.
dared to speak of the sensible and moMr. Warden here speaks truly as dest pamphlet of lieutenant Bowerbank, of himself and his French friends; but as “trash which he is ashamed to reit is well known that Sir George Cock- peat, and which he wonders that this burn is as much above any such paltry Review” (which we are sorry to find deceit as is here imputed to him, as he he calls a respectable work) “ should is above giving a person in Bonaparte's condescend to notice.” situation any intentional offence. The • He takes upon himself even to as. truth, we believe, is, that the newspa- sert, that some of the facts quoted in pers, both English avd French, were our 27th Number from that pamphlet freely sent to Bonaparte; and if the and other authentic sources, are mere contents of the former were ever kept silly falsehoods, and he endeavours to from bim, it must have been by Las represent Bonaparte as concurring in Cases, who was his usual interpreter; this assertion. We rather wonder that and upon whose veracity in this office, Bonaparte did not ; it would have been so much of Mr. Warden's own credit but a lie the more, an additional drop unfortunately depends.
to the waters, another grain of sand to • Mr. Warden affects to relate to us the shores of the ocean; but unluckily the Abbé de Pradt's famous* account for Mr. Warden, the ex-emperor did of the interview at Warsaw, and lo! not take his bait, and only said, with the tall figure who enters the Abbé- that kind of equivocation which is his Ambassador’s hotel wrapped up in furis nearest advance to truth, “Your editors —not Caulaincourt—but Cambacérès, are extremely amusing ; but is it to be poor old gentleman! He cannot even supposed that they believe what they write the name of one of Bonaparte's write ?" followers, whom he attended in a dan- • After this detailed exposure of Mr. gerous illness, and who studied English Warden's ignorance and inaccuracy, it under him; he an hundred times calls now becomes our duty to say, that general Gourgaud, general Gourgond; though his letters are a clumsy fabriand lest this should appear an error of cation, and therefore unworthy of cre• the press, he varies his orthography dit, yet there are some of his reports and calls him general Gourgon! (p. 46;) which are substantially correct, and but never does he call him by his pro- which, as we before said, Mr. Warden per name ; Maret, Duke of Bassano, may have heard from those who had be confounds with Marat, (p. 209;) at once the opportunities and the count Erlon he calls Erelon ; and colo- means of holding a conversation with nel Prontowski is always Piontowski; Bonaparte, and who were not obliged doctor Corvisart is Corvesart, (pp. 184. to put up, like Mr. Warden, with second190,) and sometimes Covisart, (p. 80;) hand stories from M. de Bertrand, gethe baron de Kolli, a Swiss, is meta- neral Gourgaud, and the count de Las morphosed into the baron de Colai, (p. Cases, who seem in their conversa70,) a pole; Morbihan is Morbeau ; tions with Mr. Warden, to have given the duke of Frioul becomes Frieuli :- a more than usual career to their dis
* Vid. Vol. XIV. Art. XXVII. p. 65. positions for fabling; and the simplicity