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each other, or that any of them were ancestors' to Napoleon. Nay, the very last entry of the series, which comprises the pretty important period of 112 years, proves that the genealogist' did not know very exactly who his own grandfather was :
61648. Sebastien Charles, Joseph, Sebastien, Joseph Buonaparte, sont nommés successivement chefs des anciens de la ville d’Ajaccio depuis 1648 jusqu'en 1769.
• Charles fils de l'un d'eux né en 1740,' &c.-i. 110. What dignity the family might derive from having furnished the corporation of Ajaccio with five aldermen in 120 years, and whether the other dozen of Buonapartes, scattered over a period of 500 years, ever existed at all, or were any otherwise related to one another-except, as Madame de Staël wittily said of such pretensions to old names, du côté de l'alphabet-may be themes for the flatterers of the new empire, as they were for those of the old, but with, we anticipate, no better success. The 'ancient but—even if it were ancient ignoble blood' of the Jeromes and Gabriels and the other aldermen of Ajaccio could have added no illustration to the conqueror of Marengo and Austerlitz, though it might be suspected to have broken out a little in the husband of Madame de Beauharnais, and the fugitive from Egypt, Moscow, Leipzig, and Waterloo. Napoleon himself affected, in the sardonic and calumnious spirit of all his St. Helena conversations, to sneer at the Emperor of Austria's having, after his marriage with the Arch-Duchess, had a pedigree made for him, showing that the house of Buonaparte had been the ancient sovereigns of Trévise.' This, he says, he contemptuously rejected, telling his imperial father-in-law that he was prouder of being the Rodolph of his race; and he over and over again boasted to O'Meara that he was one of the canaille.' But all this was at St. Helena, where indeed a well-regulated mind might have abandoned such pretensions ; but he never did; for though he thus associated himself with the canaille' for the purpose of keeping up a revolutionary spirit against the Governments that had dethroned him, his anxiety to cling to this fabulous ancestry is constantly visible (see and compare Las Cases, i. 107, 115; O'Meara, i. 296). The complaisant pedigree imputed to the Emperor Francis we totally disbelieve. Where is it? What has become of it? To be sure, Las Cases relates that Napoleon had such a contempt for these things-(though he was for ever talking about them)—that he would never look at these family parchments, but handed them all over to · Joseph the genealogist.' Very well! But have the genealogy-the best, we must suppose, that Joseph possessed—in the solemn form of a “pièce justificative, and what
do we find ? Simply that it does not bear out, in the most remote degree, the account given of it; that it does not even pretend to be a pedigree; that it is no more the result of any heraldic inquiries than Malbrouck' or 'la Carmagnole;' and that the solitary mention of the name “ Trévise,' the seat of the imaginary sovereignty, is, that 500 years ago one Buonaparte was employed to make peace between that town and a neighbouring one, but it is not even stated to which of them the supposed negotiator belonged :
•1279. Bonsemblant Buonaparte est nommé plénipotentiaire pour faire la paix entre Trévise et Padoue.'—i. 10. Now a person sent as a negotiator would obviously not be the Sovereign of the state, so that this passage contradicts the fact for which it is cited. But enough, and more than enough, of these attempts at a fabulous pedigree,
Joseph is equally unlucky in his attempts to exalt the more recent condition of the family'into nobility and wealth. It would be useless to enter into a detailed exposure of all the fictions that have been accumulated by vanity, flattery, and fraud on these points; it will suffice to state two admitted facts :—First, that Charles the father was, in the year 1779, dans l'indigence;' and secondly, that it was not till this indigence' became the plea for soliciting eleemosynary education for his children in the royal schools founded in France for the poor noblesse, that he attempted to pass himself off as noble by assuming the French feudal prefix of de before his patronymic, signing his petition for the children's admission de Buonaparte.' This, and some similar and equally futile devices, were only the colourable pretexts under which the influence of M. de Marbæuf, who had been governor in Corsica, and was a declared protector of the family, really procured the admission of the children. M. de Marbæuf was so intimate with the family, that Buonaparte himself confessed to Las Cases (i. 117) that it had created some scandal against Madame Letitia, who was young and handsome, and it was even said that M. de Marbæuf had special reasons for taking an interest in Napoleon. This imputation he very naturally denies, and there is no reason to disbelieve him; but he admits, at the same time, the obligations that the children had to M. de Marbæuf's kindness and protection, and there is no doubt that it was through kis influence that the children were received into the schools, in
of the father's factitious certificates of The fact is, that the Buonapartes had neither the rank nor title of nobility, but were at best small gentry—in contradistinction to being neither peasants nor artizans-gentilatres, as the “Revue
spite, we may noblesse.
Historique de la Noblesse' describes them: that class which supplied the municipal officers, lawyers, doctors, and clergy of the very primitive and equalized state of Corsican society. In this middle condition of life there was nothing to be ashained of; it was really much more respectable than Napoleon, in his moments of morbid candour at St. Helena, affected to represent it when he said he sprung from the canaille. All that is discreditable is the vanity and obstinacy with which the Buonapartes invented and clung, and still cling, to these idle fables. while they pretended to despise them. We have already hinted at some resemblance between Joseph and Tartuffe; and when he talks of his nobility' and of the acclamations of the people as he used to pass through the suburbs of Ajaccio pour visiter nos terres' (i. 31), he reminds us still more strongly of that hypocritical pretender
• Ces fiefs qu'à bon titre, au pays on renomme;
Et, tel qu'on le voit, il est bien gentilhomme! The fiefs and the nobility of the Buonapartes were just as. real as those of M. Tartuffe.
When we arrive at the more personal points of the Autobiography we find that the paucity of dates—the inaccuracy, as we believe, of most of those that are given -and the natural obscurity of the writer's style increased by his elaborate efforts to pervert and mislead, render it exceedingly dull, and nearly worthless for any other historical or even biographical purpose than that of cross-examining it, as the lawyers do a reluctant and prevaricating witness, to endeavour to get at the truth by bis inadvertencies and contradictions. We have had some specimens of this already on the comparatively trivial point of birthday dates, -here are some on more important matters.
By a marginal date added by the editor we learn that in 1788 Napoleon received his commission as Lieutenant in the regiment of La Fère— which is erroneous—the commission was of the 1st of September, 1785; by another that he visited Corsica on leave of absence in 1787; after which he rejoined his regiment, but when is not stated. Two other marginal dates intimate that he was again in Corsica in 1788 and 1789, probably, though not so stated, on leaves of absence ; but there is not after the latter date any notice of his regimental life, or any allusion to his being a military man. There is no mention of him in 1790. It seems that he spent the greater part, if not the whole, of 1791 in Corsica; and the mode in which Joseph describes this period is as if he was leading the life of a civilian. It may be a startling inference, but, if we were to abide by Joseph's evidence, we should be forced to conclude that
Napoleon had been from 1789 to 1793 altogether out of the service, as he certainly was, as we shall show, for a portion of that time. We know aliundè that his name continued on the printed army-list, but we very much doubt whether there could be found in the whole French armies any other officer who contrived to shirk so completely all regimental duty, and who had the ill-luck to get into such a succession of disagreeable scrapes-charges of desertion and even of treason-arrest, imprisonment, suspension, two or three dismissals ! Such was the cloudy dawn of that resplendent day destined to end as darkly as it began.
We have before us a pamphlet by M. Libri (first published as an article of 'La Revue des Deux Mondes'), which gives a short account of a batch of early autograph notes and diaries of Napoleon, which had been confided to Cardinal Fesch. In these is found a correspondence, which proves, what,' says M. Libri, had been before only vaguely suspected,' that Napoleon was dismissed the service in 1791, for having been absent without leave in Corsica, and was early in 1792 soliciting the War-office for his restoration, which, it is added, “he shortly after obtained at the solicitation of several persons.' (Lib. 15.) It was, we presume, at this period that Bourrienne's Memoirs take him up; but his account shows that the affair was not arranged so shortly as M. Libri believes.
In April, 1792 (says Bourrienne), I arrived in Paris, where I found Buonaparte; our school and college friendship revived undiminished. I was not very well off–he was in absolute poverty (l'adversité pesait sur lui). He was often quite destitute. We passed our time like young men of twenty-three do who have nothing to do and very little money. He had even less than I. We made projects and thought of profitable speculations, such as hiring houses and under-letting them to lodgers, but the terms of the owners were too high and we failed everywhere. During all this rather vagabond life (vie un peu vagabonde) he was soliciting employment (du service) at the War Department and I at the Foreign Office. I was more fortunate on this occasion than he. I was appointed, some days after the 20th of June, Secretary of Legation at Stutgard. I left Paris on the 2nd August-and some time after the 10th Buonaparte went to Corsica, and did not return till 1793.-Bourrienne, i. 52. This
passage of Bourrienne had long puzzled us. Napoleon's commission as captain of artillery is dated 6th February, 1792, and we could not understand how he could have been at that crisis of the war absent from his regiment-how he could be in absolute want-seldom able to pay for his dinner, and forced to pawn his watch (ib. 49)—how he could have no resource but a speculation in letting lodgings—how he could have been soliciting employment à la guerre—the War-office—if he was already a
captain captain of artillery? The papers cited by M. Libri solve the riddle, and give additional authority to Bourrienne's anecdotes of this period, which had been very much questioned, and especially in these volumes by Joseph.
There can be no doubt that Napoleon was in Paris on the 20th June and 10th August, 1792, and an eye-witness, ‘témoin,' he says, of both those execrable insurrections. We should not have been surprised to have found the ardent, ambitious, distressed, and discontented young man taking an active part in those movements; and it is not a little suspicious to find him, as he certainly was, on the morning of the 10th August in the Carrousel, in the very focus of the main attack on the châtean, But we have Bourrienne's evidence that he disapproved of the previous riot of the 20th June; and there is no reason to suppose that he had changed it so suddenly as to have joined in the attack of the 10th August; and his suspicious presence at the scene of action is naturally accounted for by the fact that Bourrienne's brother, Fauvelet, had a kind of broker's shop which looked out on the Carrousel, and from which Napoleon says he was a passive witness of the affair. Joseph's account of the matter, however, is calculated to revive the contrary suspicion. He says that Napoleon, on the evening of that day, wrote to him (then in Corsica) a very full detail of the event. He does not give us the letter in extenso; we wish he had; but he copies out from it a passage which seems to us to mix Napoleon more personally in the affair than as a mere témoin :
• After the victory of the Marseillais, I saw one of them on the point of killing a Garde du corps ; I said to him, “ Man of the South, let us save the poor fellow !”—“ Are you of the South?”—“Yes."
“ Well then, let us save him !”'-i. 47.
If this had been a part of Joseph's narrative for which his memory would be only responsible, we should not have noticed it; but, being given as an extract from the written letter, and given with all the typographical marks of quotation, it seems worth while to observe that this actual intervention in that awful conflict is essentially different from having been a wholly inactive témoin from Fauvelet's window. Nor can we believe that these savage and bloodthirsty hommes du midi' would have been very likely to listen to an unknown young gentleman who should have just stepped out of a shop to preach sentimenitality and mercy at such a moment. But there is another more serious flaw in the story. Napoleon is made to say he saved a
Garde du corps. He could not have been ignorant that there was not then, nor had there been for above two years, any such thing