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Orders usually ship within 1 business days. If your book order is heavy or oversized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required. List this Seller's Books. Payment Methods accepted by seller. Why and How are such important questions one cannot put them to one's self too often. His method, that of the experimental sciences, consists in testing every hypothesis or deduction by some positive fact, observed by him under definite conditions; a physical force being ascertained and accurately measured through the deviation of a needle, or through the rise and fall of a fluid, this or that invisible moral force can likewise be ascertained and approximately measured through some emotional sign, some decisive manifestation, consisting of a certain word, tone, or gesture.
It is these words, tones, and gestures which he dwells on; he detects inward sentiments by the outward expression; he figures to himself the internal by the external, by some facial appearance, some telling attitude, some brief and topical scene, by such specimen and shortcuts, so well chosen and detailed that they provide a summary of the innumerable series of analogous cases.
In this way, the vague, fleeting object is suddenly arrested, brought to bear, and then gauged and weighed, like some impalpable gas collected and kept in a graduated transparent glass tube. There must be some curb on women who commit adultery for trinkets, poetry, Apollo, and the muses, etc. But if divorce be allowed for incompatibility of temper you undermine marriage; the fragility of the bond will be apparent the moment the obligation is contracted;. Nullity of marriage must not be too often allowed; once a marriage is made it is a serious matter to undo it. She bears me children, and I then discover she is not my cousin—is that marriage valid?
Does not public morality demand that it should be so considered? There has been a mutual exchange of hearts, of transpiration. A father worth 60, francs a year might say to his son, 'You are stout and fat; go and turn plowman. Strike out their right to be fed, and you compel children to murder their parents. It is not a civil contract nor a judicial contract.
The analysis of the jurist leads to vicious results. Man is governed by imagination only; without imagination he is a brute. It is not for five cents a day, simply to distinguish himself, that a man consents to be killed; if you want to electrify him touch his heart. A notary, who is paid a fee of twelve francs for his services, cannot do that. It requires some other process, a legislative act. Adoption, what is that? An imitation by which society tries to counterfeit nature. It is a new kind of sacrament Society ordains that the bones and blood of one being shall be changed into the bones and blood of another.
It is the greatest of all legal acts. It gives the sentiments of a son to one who never had them, and reciprocally those of a parent. Where ought this to originate? From on high, like a clap of thunder! All his expressions are bright flashes one after another. He does not hammer them out laboriously, but they burst forth, the outpourings of his intellect, its natural, involuntary, constant action. And what adds to their value is that, outside of councils and private conversations, he abstains from them, employing them only in the service of thought; at other times he subordinates them to the end he has in view, which is always their practical effect.
Ordinarily, he writes and speaks in a different language, in a language suited to his audience; he dispenses with the oddities, the irregular improvisations and imagination, the outbursts of genius and inspiration. He retains and uses merely those which are intended to impress the personage whom he wishes to dazzle with a great idea of himself, such as Pius VII. In this case, his conversational tone is that of a caressing, expansive, amiable familiarity; he is then before the footlights, and when he acts he can play all parts, tragedy or comedy, with the same life and spirit whether he fulminates, insinuates, or even affects simplicity.
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When he is with his generals, ministers, and principal performers, he falls back on the concise, positive, technical business style; any other would be harmful. The keen mind only reveals itself through the brevity and imperious strength and rudeness of the accent. For his armies and the common run of men, he has his proclamations and bulletins, that is to say, sonorous phrases composed for effect, a statement of facts purposely simplified and falsified, in short, an excellent effervescent wine, good for exciting enthusiasm, and an equally excellent narcotic for maintaining credulity, a sort of popular mixture to be distributed just at the proper time, and whose ingredients are so well proportioned that the public drinks it with delight, and becomes at once intoxicated.
A series of brief, accurate memoranda, corrected daily, enables him to frame for himself a sort of psychological tablet whereon he notes down and sums up, in almost numerical valuation, the mental and moral dispositions, characters, faculties, passions, and aptitudes, the strong or weak points, of the innumerable human beings, near or remote, on whom he operates. Let us try for a moment to show the range and contents of this intellect; we may have to go back to Caesar to his equal; but, for lack of documents, we have nothing of Caesar but general features—a summary outline.
Of Napoleon we have, besides the perfect outline, the features in detail. Read his correspondence, day by day, then chapter by chapter; for example, in , after the battle of Austerlitz, or, still better, in , after his return from Spain, up to the peace of Vienna; whatever our technical shortcomings may be, we shall find that his mind, in its comprehensiveness and amplitude, largely surpasses all known or even credible proportions.
He has mentally within him three principal atlases, always at hand, each composed of "about twenty note-books," each distinct and each regularly posted up. The first one is military, forming a vast collection of topographical charts as minute as those of an general staff, with detailed plans of every stronghold, also specific indications and the local distribution of all forces on sea and on land—crews, regiments, batteries, arsenals, storehouses, present and future resources in supplies of men, horses, vehicles, arms, munitions, food, and clothing.
The second, which is civil, resembles the heavy, thick volumes published every year, in which we now read the state of the budget, and comprehend, first, the innumerable items of ordinary and extraordinary receipt and expenditure, internal taxes, foreign contributions, the products of the domains in France and out of France, the fiscal services, pensions, public works, and the rest; next, all administrative statistics, the hierarchy of functions and of functionaries, senators, deputies, ministers, prefects, bishops, professors, judges, and those under their orders, each where he resides, with his rank, jurisdiction, and salary.
The third is a vast biographical and moral dictionary, in which, as in the pigeon-holes of the Chief of Police, each notable personage and local group, each professional or social body, and even each population, has its label, along with a brief note on its situation, needs, and antecedents, and, therefore, its demonstrated character, eventual disposition, and probable conduct.
Each label, card, or strip of paper has its summary; all these partial summaries, methodically classified, terminate in totals, and the totals of the three atlases, combined together, thus furnish their possessor with an estimate of his disposable forces. Now, in , however full these atlases, they are clearly imprinted on Napoleon's mind he knows not only the total and the partial summaries, but also the slightest details; he reads them readily and at every hour; he comprehends in a mass, and in all particulars, the various nations he governs directly, or through some one else; that is to say, 60,, men, the different countries he has conquered or overrun, consisting of 70, square leagues In like manner he rates the energy of national sentiment in Spain and Germany too low.
He rates too high his own prestige in France and in the countries annexed to her, the balance of confidence and zeal on which he may rely. But these errors are rather the product of his will than of his intelligence, he recognizes them at intervals; if he has illusions it is because he fabricates them; left to himself his good sense would rest infallible, it is only his passions which blurred the lucidity of his intellect.
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But this multitude of information and observations form only the smallest portion of the mental population swarming in this immense brain; for, on his idea of the real, germinate and swarm his concepts of the possible; without these concepts there would be no way to handle and transform things, and that he did handle and transform them we all know. Before acting, he has decided on his plan, and if this plan is adopted, it is one among several others, after examining, comparing, and giving it the preference; he has accordingly thought over all the others.
Behind each combination adopted by him we detect those he has rejected; there are dozens of them behind each of his decisions, each maneuver effected, each treaty signed, each decree promulgated, each order issued, and I venture to say, behind almost every improvised action or word spoken. For calculation enters into everything he does, even into his apparent expansiveness, also into his outbursts when in earnest; if he gives way to these, it is on purpose, foreseeing the effect, with a view to intimidate or to dazzle. He turns everything in others as well as in himself to account—his passion, his vehemence, his weaknesses, his talkativeness, he exploits it all for the advancement of the edifice he is constructing.
At the very beginning we feel its heat and boiling intensity beneath the coolness and rigidity of his technical and positive instructions. I over exaggerate to myself all the dangers and all the evils that are possible under the circumstances. I am in a state of truly painful agitation. But this does not prevent me from appearing quite composed to people around me; I am like a woman giving birth to a child.
Passionately, in the throes of the creator, he is thus absorbed with his coming creation; he already anticipates and enjoys living in his imaginary edifice. I am always living two years in advance. What he has accomplished is astonishing, but what he has undertaken is more so; and whatever he may have undertaken is far surpassed by what he has imagined. However vigorous his practical faculty, his poetical faculty is stronger; it is even too vigorous for a statesman; its grandeur is exaggerated into enormity, and its enormity degenerates into madness.
In Italy, after the 18th of Fructidor, he said to Bourrienne:. I stir up and arm all Syria I march on Damascus and Aleppo; as I advance in the country my army will increase with the discontented. I proclaim to the people the abolition of slavery, and of the tyrannical government of the pashas. I reach Constantinople with armed masses. I overthrow the Turkish Empire; I found in the East a new and grand empire, which fixes my place with posterity, and perhaps I return to Paris by the way of Adrianople, or by Vienna, after having annihilated the house of Austria.
Become consul, and then emperor, he often referred to this happy period, when, "rid of the restraints of a troublesome civilization," he could imagine at will and construct at pleasure. Confined to Europe, he thinks, after , that he will reorganize Charlemagne's empire. I mean that every king in Europe shall build a grand palace at Paris for his own use; on the coronation of the Emperor of the French these kings will come and occupy it; they will grace this imposing ceremony with their presence, and honor it with their salutations.
Where could the Holy See be better off than in the new capital of Christianity, under Napoleon, heir to Charlemagne, and temporal sovereign of the Sovereign Pontiff? Through the temporal the emperor will control the spiritual, and through the Pope, consciences. Paris will extend out to St. To render Paris the physical capital of Europe is, through his own confession, "one of his constant dreams.
Archimedes proposed to lift the world if he could be allowed to place his lever; for myself, I would have changed it wherever I could have been allowed to exercise my energy, perseverance, and budgets. At all events, he believes so; for however lofty and badly supported the next story of his structure may be, he has always ready a new story, loftier and more unsteady, to put above it.
A few months before launching himself, with all Europe at his back, against Russia, he said to Narbonne: Alexander started as far off as Moscow to reach the Ganges; this has occurred to me since St. Jean d'Acre To reach England to-day I need the extremity of Europe, from which to take Asia in the rear Suppose Moscow taken, Russia subdued, the czar reconciled, or dead through some court conspiracy, perhaps another and dependent throne, and tell me whether it is not possible for a French army, with its auxiliaries, setting out from Tiflis, to get as far as the Ganges, where it needs only a thrust of the French sword to bring down the whole of that grand commercial scaffolding throughout India.
It would be the most gigantic expedition, I admit, but practicable in the nineteenth century. Through it France, at one stroke, would secure the independence of the West and the freedom of the seas. While uttering this his eyes shone with strange brilliancy, and he accumulates subjects, weighing obstacles, means, and chances: the inspiration is under full headway, and he gives himself up to it.
The master faculty finds itself suddenly free, and it takes flight; the artist, locked up in politics, has escaped from his sheath; he is creating out of the ideal and the impossible. We take him for what he is, a posthumous brother of Dante and Michael Angelo. In the clear outlines of his vision, in the intensity, coherency, and inward logic of his dreams, in the profundity of his meditations, in the superhuman grandeur of his conceptions, he is, indeed, their fellow and their equal.
His genius is of the same stature and the same structure; he is one of the three sovereign minds of the Italian Renaissance. Only, while the first two operated on paper and on marble, the latter operates on the living being, on the sensitive and suffering flesh of humanity. This correspondance, unfortunately, is still incomplete, while, after the sixth volume, it must not be forgotten that much of it has been purposely stricken out. The above-mentioned savant estimates the number of important letters not yet published at 2, Estimating the character of Napoleon by what he saw of it through personal observation, Paoli said to him, "Oh, Napoleon, there is nothing modern in you, you belong wholly to Plutarch!
The same account, slightly different, is there given: "Oh. Napoleon," said Paoli to me, "you do not belong to this century; you talk like one of Plutarch's characters. Courage, you will take flight yet! He is just from the army and talks like one who knows what he is talking about. On the various branches and distinguished men of the Bonaparte family. Documents on the Bonaparte family, collected on the spot by the author in On the Bonapartes of San Miniato : "The last offshoot of this branch was a canon then still living in this same town of San Miniato, and visited by Bonaparte in the year IV, when he came to Florence.
Indolence was the dominant spirit of all classes.. Almost everywhere I saw only men lulled to rest by the charms of the most exquisite climate, occupied solely with the details of a monotonous existence, and tranquilly vegetating under its beneficent sky. Stendhal, introduction to the "Chartreuse de Parme. This was due to excess of foresight on her part; she had known want, and her terrible sufferings were never out of her mind Paoli had tried persuasion with her before resorting to force Madame replied heroically, as a Cornelia would have done From 12 to 15, peasants poured down from the mountains of Ajaccio; our house was pillaged and burnt, our vines destroyed, and our flocks.
In other respects, this woman, from whom it would have been so difficult to extract five francs, would have given up everything to secure my return from Elba, and after Waterloo she offered me all she possessed to restore my affairs. No knowledge whatever of the usages of society The Bonaparte family submitted May 23, , and Napoleon was born on the following 15th of August.
About eight years before this one of the inhabitants of the canton had killed a neighbor, the father of two children On reaching the age of sixteen or seventeen years these children left the country in order to dog the steps of the murderer, who kept on the watch, not daring to go far from his village Finding him playing cards under a tree, they fired at and killed him, and besides this accidentally shot another man who was asleep a few paces off. The relatives on both sides pronounced the act justifiable and according to rule.
Letter of Bonaparte to Paoli, June 12, ; I. Perfection grows out of reason as fruit out of a tree Reason's eyes guard man from the precipice of the passions The spectacle of the strength of virtue was what the Lacedaemonians principally felt Must men then be lucky in the means by which they are led on to happiness?
My rights to property are renewed along with my transpiration, circulate in my blood, are written on my nerves, on my heart Proclaim to the rich—your wealth is your misfortune, withdrawn within the latitude of your senses Let the enemies of nature at thy voice keep silence and swallow their rabid serpents' tongues The wretched shun the society of men, the tapestry of gayety turns to mourning Such, gentlemen, are the Sentiments which, in animal relations, mankind should have taught it for its welfare.
The word King then possessed a magic, a force, which nothing had changed in pure and honest breasts This religion of royalty still existed in the mass of the nation,, and especially amongst the well-born, who, sufficiently remote from power, were rather struck with its brilliancy than with its imperfections This love became a sort of worship.
In , at Paris, Bonaparte, being out of military employment, enters upon several commercial speculations, amongst which is a bookstore, which does not succeed. Stated by Sebastiani and many others. Original text of the "Souper de Beaucaire. Words of Charlotte Robespierre. Bonaparte as a souvenir of his acquaintance with her, granted her a pension, under the consulate, of francs. Letter from Bonaparte to Tilly, Aug. Memoirs of Lucien. He states the reasons for and against, and adds, speaking of himself: "These sentiments, twenty-five years of age, confidence in his strength, his destiny, determined him.
Then the first spark of lofty ambition gleamed out. Letter of M. Report of d'Entraigues to M. Bonaparte to Montebello, before Miot and Melzi, June, Ibid, I. Bonaparte to Miot, Nov. Words of M. Cacault, signer of the Treaty of Tolentino, and French Secretary of Legation at Rome, at the commencement of negotiations for the Concordat. In , Vandamme said to Marshal d'Ornano, one day, on ascending the staircase of the Tuileries together: "My dear fellow, that devil of a man speaking of the Emperor fascinates me in a way I cannot account for.
I, who don't fear either God or the devil, when I approach him I tremble like a child. He would make me dash through the eye of a needle into the fire! Napoleon himself says, February 11, : "I, military! I am so, because I was born so; it is my habit, my very existence. Wherever I have been I have always had command. I was born for that. Speaking of his brothers and sisters in the "Memorial" Napoleon says : "What family as numerous presents such a splendid group?
This author, a young magistrate under Louis XVI. But what especially distinguishes them is a stubborn will, and inflexible resolution All possessed the instinct of their greatness. Nothing in the incredible good fortune of Joseph astonished him; often in January, , I heard him say over and over again that if his brother had not meddled with his affairs after the second entry into Madrid, he would still be on the throne of Spain.
As to determined obstinacy we have only to refer to the resignation of Louis, the retirement of Lucien, and the resistances of Fesch; they alone could stem the will of Napoleon and sometimes break a lance with him. Elisa, in Tuscany, had a vigorous brain, was high spirited and a genuine sovereign, notwithstanding the disorders of her private life, in which even appearances were not sufficiently maintained.
As to Pauline, the most beautiful woman of her epoch, "no wife, since that of the Emperor Claude, surpassed her in the use she dared make of her charms; nothing could stop her, not even a malady attributed to the strain of this life-style and for which we have so often seen her borne in a litter. The psychology of Napoleon as here given is largely confirmed by them. X, and 5.
He governs, administrates, negotiates, works eighteen hours a day, with the clearest and best organized head; he has governed more in three years than kings in a hundred years. The words of Napoleon's secretary on Napoleon's labor in Paris, after Leipsic "He retires at eleven, but gets up at three o'clock in the morning, and until the evening there is not a moment he does not devote to work. It is time this stopped, for he will be used up, and myself before he is. Account of an evening in which, from eight o'clock to three in the morning, Napoleon examines with Gaudin his general budget, during seven consecutive hours, without stopping a minute.
He seems to take pleasure in perpetual motion and in seeing those who accompany him completely tired out, which frequently happened in my case when I accompanied him.. Yesterday, after having been on his legs from eight in the morning to three in the afternoon, visiting the frigates and transports, even to going down to the lower compartments among the horses, he rode on horseback for three hours, and, as he afterwards said to me, to rest himself.
This study is wholly lacking in the ordinary zoologist or botanist, whose mind is busy only with anatomical preparations or collections of plants. In every science, the difficulty lies in describing in a nutshell, using significant examples, the real object, just as it exists before us, and its true history.
Claude Bernard one day remarked to me, "We shall know physiology when we are able to follow step by step a molecule of carbon or azote in the body of a dog, give its history, and describe its passage from its entrance to its exit. Apropos of the tribunate : "They consist of a dozen or fifteen metaphysicians who ought to be flung into the water; they crawl all over me like vermin. He knew nothing of the great principles discovered within the past one hundred years," and just those which concern man or society.
This ignorance of the Emperor's was not perceptible in conversation, and first, because he led in conversation, and next because with Italian finesse no question put by him, or careless supposition thrown out, ever betrayed that ignorance. It is inconceivable how any capable man ever graduated from this educational institution. This report was to be ready in two days.
What is truly wonderful is, that amidst so many different occupations and preoccupations Nobody had any excuse for not answering him, for each was questioned in his own terms; it is that singular aptitude of the head of the State, and the technical precision of his questions, which alone explains how he could maintain such a remarkable ensemble in an administrative system of which the smallest threads centered in himself. We are entitled to have faith in our procedure just so long as it does the work it is designed to do—that is, enables us to predict future experience, and so to control our environment.
The surest way to end them is to establish beyond question what should be the purpose and the method of philosophical inquiry. Read the admirable examination of Roederer by Napoleon on the Kingdom of Naples. His queries form a vast systematic and concise network, embracing the entire subject, leaving no physical or moral data, no useful circumstance not seized upon. Nevertheless, you forgot at Osten two cannon out of the four. I leave every other occupation to read them over in detail, to see what difference there is between one month and another. I take more pleasure in reading those than any young girl does in a novel.
On his reviews at Schoenbrunn and his verification of the contents of a pontoon-wagon, taken as an example. I remember that, on the way from Paris to Toulon, he called my attention to ten places suitable for giving battle It was a souvenir of his youthful travels, and he described to me the lay of the ground, designating the positions he would have taken even before we were on the spot.
Daru to M. Daru the complete plan of the campaign against Austria : "Order of marches, their duration, places of convergence or meeting of the columns, attacks in full force, the various movements and mistakes of the enemy, all, in this rapid dictation, was foreseen two months beforehand and at a distance of two hundred leagues The battle-field, the victories, and even the very days on which we were to enter Munich and Vienna were then announced and written down as it all turned out Daru saw these oracles fulfilled on the designated days up to our entry into Munich; if there were any differences of time and not of results between Munich and Vienna, they were all in our favor.
He was postmaster-general : "It often happened to me that I was not as certain as he was of distances and of many details in my administration on which he was able to set me straight. Both texts are given in separate columns. And passim, for instance, p. They show no life. We don't hear the rattle of crown pieces pouring into the public treasury.
On the physiological differences between the English and the French. The hope of advancement in the world should be cherished by everybody Keep your vanity always alive The severity of the republican government would have worried you to death. What started the Revolution? What will end it? Vanity, again. Liberty is merely a pretext.
I never heed it. I pay attention only to what rude peasants say. Because I played vingt-et-un and was satisfied with twenty. It is easy to select other chapters not less instructive: one on foreign affairs letters to M. Gaudin and to M. Portalis and to M. To Gen. Dejean, April 28, on the war supplies ; June 27, on the fortifications of Peschiera July 20, on the fortifications of Wesel and of Juliers.
I worked all night and they were ready at the appointed hour. He read them over and pronounced them correct, but not complete. He bade me take a seat and then dictated to me for two or three hours a plan which consisted of five hundred and seventeen articles. Nothing more perfect, in my opinion, ever issued from a man's brain. She is a good-natured, easy-going woman and must have her route and behavior marked out for her. Write it down. Other letters, ordering the preparation of two treatises on military art Oct. Even his passions escape you, for he finds some way to counterfeit them, although they really exist.
His countenance changes like that of an actor when the scene shifts. He seems to turn pale at will and his features contract"; he rises, steps up precipitately to the English ambassador, and fulminates for two hours before two hundred persons. Hansard's Parliamentary History, vol. Anger with me never mounts higher than here pointing to his neck.
Conversation with Bourrienne in the park at Passeriano. Written down by Bourrienne the same evening. Napoleon's own words on the eve of the battle of Austerlitz : "Yes, if I had taken Acre, I would have assumed the turban, I would have put the army in loose breeches; I would no longer have exposed it, except at the last extremity; I would have made it my sacred battalion, my immortals.
Instead of one battle in Moravia I would have gained a battle of Issus; I would have made myself emperor of the East, and returned to Paris by the way of Constantinople. The masterpieces of science and of art, the museums, all that had illustrated past centuries, were to be collected there. Napoleon regretted that he could not transport St.
Peter's to Paris; the meanness of Notre Dame dissatisfied him. Napoleon's statement to M. The wording is at second hand and merely a very good imitation, while the ideas are substantially Napoleon's. I had often heard him, but under no circumstances had I ever heard him develop such a wealth and compass of imagination. Whether it was the richness of his subject, or whether his faculties had become excited by the scene he conjured up, and all the chords of the instrument vibrated at once, he was sublime. But I love it as an artist I love it as a musician loves his violin, for the tones, chords, and harmonies he can get out of it.
On taking a near view of the contemporaries of Dante and Michael Angelo, we find that they differ from us more in character than in intellect. In Italy, in the Renaissance epoch, they were still intact; human emotions at that time were keener and more profound than at the present day; the appetites were ardent and more unbridled; man's will was more impetuous and more tenacious; whatever motive inspired, whether pride, ambition, jealousy, hatred, love, envy, or sensuality, the inward spring strained with an energy and relaxed with a violence that has now disappeared.
All these energies reappear in this great survivor of the fifteenth century; in him the play of the nervous machine is the same as with his Italian ancestors; never was there, even with the Malatestas and the Borgias, a more sensitive and more impulsive intellect, one capable of such electric shocks and explosions, in which the roar and flashes of tempest lasted longer and of which the effects were more irresistible.
In his mind no idea remains speculative and pure; none is a simple transcript of the real, or a simple picture of the possible; each is an internal eruption, which suddenly and spontaneously spends itself in action; each darts forth to its goal and would reach it without stopping were it not kept back and restrained by force Sometimes, the eruption is so sudden, that the restraint does not come soon enough. One day, in Egypt, on entertaining a number of French ladies at dinner, he has one of them, who was very pretty and whose husband he had just sent off to France, placed alongside of him; suddenly, as if accidentally, he overturns a pitcher of water on her, and, under the pretence of enabling her to rearrange her wet dress, he leads her into another room where he remains with her a long time, too long, while the other guests seated at the table wait quietly and exchange glances.
Another day, at Paris, toward the epoch of the Concordat, he says to Senator Volney: "France wants a religion. His explosions of anger, half-calculated, half-involuntary, serve him quite as much as they relieve him, in public as well as in private, with strangers as with intimates, before constituted bodies, with the Pope, with cardinals, with ambassadors, with Talleyrand, with Beugnot, with anybody that comes along, whenever he wishes to set an example or "keep the people around him on the alert.
At Saint Cloud, caught by Josephine in the arms of another woman, he runs after the unlucky interrupter in such a way that "she barely has time to escape"; and again, that evening, keeping up his fury so as to put her down completely, "he treats her in the most outrageous manner, smashing every piece of furniture that comes in his way. Berthier, in eager haste, crosses the drawing-room full of company, accosts the master of the house and, with a beaming smile, "congratulates him. Grasping Berthier by the throat, he pushes him back against the wall, exclaiming, "You fool!
Another time don't come on such errands. Accordingly, when dictating in his cabinet, "he strides up and down the room," and, "if excited," which is often the case, "his language consists of violent imprecations, and even of oaths, which are suppressed in what is written. Never was there such impatient touchiness. On gala-days and on grand ceremonial occasions his valets are obliged to agree together when they shall seize the right moment to put some thing on him He tears off or breaks whatever causes him the slightest discomfort, while the poor valet who has been the means of it meets with a violent and positive proof of his anger.
No thought was ever more carried away by its own speed. At last, he becomes almost incapable of producing a handwritten letter, while his signature is a mere scrawl. He accordingly dictates, but so fast that his secretaries can scarcely keep pace with him: on their first attempt the perspiration flows freely and they succeed in noting down only the half of what he says. Bourrienne, de Meneval, and Maret invent a stenography of their own, for he never repeats any of his phrases; so much the worse for the pen if it lags behind, and so much the better if a volley of exclamations or of oaths gives it a chance to catch up.
Even at the Council of State he allows himself to run on, forgetting the business on hand; he starts off right and left with some digression or demonstration, some invective or other, for two or three hours at a stretch, insisting over and over again, bent on convincing or prevailing, and ending in demanding of the others if he is not right, "and, in this case, never failing to find that all have yielded to the force of his arguments. Nevertheless he has enjoyed his intellectual exercise and given way to his passion, which controls him far more than he controls it.
The tension of accumulated impressions is often too great, and it ends in a physical break-down. Strangely enough in so great a warrior and with such a statesman, "it is not infrequent, when excited, to see him shed tears.
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Before the emotion of Dandolo, who pleads for Venice his country, which is sold to Austria, he is agitated and his eyes moisten. He is aware of this, for he knows himself well; he is afraid of his own nervous sensibility, the same as of an easily frightened horse; at critical moments, at Berezina, he refuses to receive the bad news which might excite this, and, on the informer's insisting on it, he asks him again, "Why, sir, do you want to disturb me? In the inn at Calade, "he starts and changes color at the slightest noise"; the commissaries, who repeatedly enter his room, "find him always in tears.
To measure its power, it does not suffice to note its fascinations; to enumerate the millions of souls it captivates, to estimate the vastness of the obstacles it overcomes: we must again, and especially, represent to ourselves the energy and depth of the passions it keeps in check and urges on like a team of prancing, rearing horses—it is the driver who, bracing his arms, constantly restrains the almost ungovernable steeds, who controls their excitement, who regulates their bounds, who takes advantage even of their viciousness to guide his noisy vehicle over precipices as it rushes on with thundering speed.
If the pure ideas of the reasoning brain thus maintain their daily supremacy it is due to the vital flow which nourishes them; their roots are deep in his heart and temperament, and those roots which give them their vigorous sap constitute a primordial instinct more powerful than intellect, more powerful even than his will, the instinct which leads him to center everything on himself, in other words egoism.
It is egoism, not a passive, but an active and intrusive egoism, proportional to the energy and extension of his faculties developed by his education and circumstances, exaggerated by his success and his omnipotence to such a degree that a monstrous colossal I has been erected in society. It expands unceasingly the circle of a tenacious and rapacious grasp, which regards all resistance as offensive, which all independence annoys, and which, on the boundless domain it assigns to itself, is intolerant of anybody that does not become either an appendix or a tool.
When my comrades were disposed to drive me out of this corner I defended it with all my might. My instinct already told me that my will should prevail against other wills, and that whatever pleased me ought to belong to me. Referring to his early years under the paternal roof at Corsica, he depicts himself as a little mischievous savage, rebelling against every sort of restraint, and without any conscience.
I beat my brother Joseph; I bit him and complained of him almost before he knew what he was about. His talent for improvising useful falsehoods is innate; later on, at maturity, he is proud of this; he makes it the index and measure of "political superiority," and "delights in calling to mind one of his uncles who, in his infancy, prognosticated to him that he would govern the world because he was fond of lying. Remark this observation of the uncles—it sums up the experiences of a man of his time and of his country; it is what social life in Corsica inculcated; morals and manners there adapted themselves to each other through an unfailing connection.
The moral law, indeed, is such because similar customs prevail in all countries and at all times where the police is powerless, where justice cannot be obtained, where public interests are in the hands of whoever can lay hold of them, where private warfare is pitiless and not repressed, where every man goes armed, where every sort of weapon is fair, and where dissimulation, fraud, and trickery, as well as gun or poniard, are allowed, which was the case in Corsica in the eighteenth century, as in Italy in the fifteenth century.
Afterwards, on leaving the French schools and every time he returns to them and spends any time in them, the same impressions, often renewed, intensify in his mind the same final conclusion. In this country, report the French commissioners, "the people have no idea of principle in the abstract," nor of social interest or justice.
The institution of juries has deprived the country of all the means for punishing crime; never do the strongest proofs, the clearest evidence, lead a jury composed of men of the same party, or of the same family as the accused, to convict him; and, if the accused is of the opposite party, the juries likewise acquit him, so as not to incur the risk of revenge, slow perhaps but always sure. One is not a Corsican without belonging to some family, and consequently attached to some party; he who would serve none, would be detested by all All the leaders have the same end in view, that of getting money no matter by what means, and their first care is to surround themselves with creatures entirely devoted to them and to whom they give all the offices The elections are held under arms, and all with violence The victorious party uses its authority to avenge itself on their opponents, and multiplies vexations and outrages The leaders form aristocratic leagues with each other They impose no assessment or collection of taxes to curry favor with electors through party spirit and relationships Customs-duties serve simply to compensate friends and relatives Salaries never reach those for whom they are intended.
The rural districts are uninhabitable for lack of security. The peasants carry guns even when at the plow. One cannot take a step without an escort; a detachment of five or six men is often sent to carry a letter from one post-office to another. Interpret this general statement by the thousands of facts of which it is the summary; imagine these little daily occurrences narrated with all their material accompaniments, and with sympathetic or angry comments by interested neighbors, and we have the moral lessons taught to young Bonaparte.
Left to himself the rest of the day, to the nurse Ilaria, or to Saveria the housekeeper, or to the common people amongst whom he strays at will, he listens to the conversation of sailors or of shepherds assembled on the public square, and their simple exclamations, their frank admiration of well-planned ambuscades and lucky surprises, impress more profoundly on him, often repeated with so much energy, the lessons which he has already learned at home.
These are the lessons taught by things. At this tender age they sink deep, especially when the disposition is favorable, and in this case the heart sanctions them beforehand, because education finds its confederate in instinct. Accordingly, at the outbreak of the Revolution, on revisiting Corsica, he takes life at once as he finds it there, a combat with any sort of weapon, and, on this small arena, he acts unscrupulously, going farther than anybody.
A second blow of the coining-press gives another impression of the same stamp on this character already so decided, while French anarchy forces maxims into the mind of the young man, already traced in the child's mind by Corsican anarchy; the lessons of things provided by a society going to pieces are the same as those of a society which is not yet formed.
After the 9th of Thermidor, the last veils are torn away, and the instincts of license and domination, the ambitions of individuals, fully display themselves. There is no concern for public interests or for the rights of the people; it is clear that the rulers form a band, that France is their prey, and that they intend to hold on to it for and against everybody, by every possible means, including bayonets.
But to feel brave and to prove that one is so, to face bullets for amusement and defiantly, to abandon a successful adventure for a battle and a battle for a ball, to enjoy ones-self and take risks to excess, without dissimulating, and with no other object than the sensation of the moment, to revel in excitement through emulation and danger, is no longer self-devotion, but giving one's-self up to one's fancies; and, for all who are not harebrained, to give one's-self up to one's fancies means to make one's way, obtain promotion, pillage so as to become rich, like Massena, and conquer so as to become powerful, like Bonaparte.
One moral is derived from their common acts, vague in the army, precise in the general; what the army only half sees, he sees clearly; if he urges his comrades on, it is because they follow their own inclination. He simply has a start on them, and is quicker to make up his mind that the world is a grand banquet, free to the first-comer, but at which, to be well served, one must have long arms, be the first to get helped, and let the rest take what is left. So natural does this seem to him, he says so openly and to men who are not his intimates; to Miot, a diplomat, and to Melzi a foreigner:.
Do you suppose also that it is for the establishment of a republic? What an idea! A republic of thirty million men! With our customs, our vices, how is that possible? It is a delusion which the French are infatuated with and which will vanish along with so many others. What they want is glory, the gratification of vanity—they know nothing about liberty. Look at the army! Our successes just obtained, our triumphs have already brought out the true character of the French soldier. I am all for him. Let the Directory deprive me of the command and it will see if it is master.
The nation needs a chief, one who is famous though his exploits, and not theories of government, phrases and speeches by ideologists, which Frenchmen do not comprehend As to your country, Monsieur de Melzi, it has still fewer elements of republicanism than France, and much less ceremony is essential with it than with any other In other respects, I have no idea of coming to terms so promptly with Austria. It is not for my interest to make peace. You see what I am, what I can do in Italy. If peace is brought about, if I am no longer at the head of this army which has become attached to me, I must give up this power, this high position I have reached, and go and pay court to lawyers in the Luxembourg.
I should not like to quit Italy for France except to play a part there similar to that which I play here, and the time for that has not yet come—the pear is not ripe. To wait until the pear is ripe, but not to allow anybody else to gather it, is the true motive of his political fealty and of his Jacobin proclamations: "A party in favor of the Bourbons is raising its head; I have no desire to help it along.
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One of these days I shall weaken the republican party, but I shall do it for my own advantage and not for that of the old dynasty. Meanwhile, it is necessary to march with the Republicans," along with the worst, and' the scoundrels about to purge the Five Hundred, the Ancients, and the Directory itself, and then re-establish in France the Reign of Terror.
I did—not want a return of the Bourbons, and especially if brought back by Moreau's army and by Pichegru Finally, I will not take the part of Monk, I will not play it, and I will not have others play it As for myself, my dear Miot, I declare to you that I can no longer obey; I have tasted command and I cannot give it up.
My mind is made up. If I cannot be master I will leave France. There is no middle course for him between the two alter natives. On returning to Paris he thinks of "overthrowing the Directory, dissolving the councils and of making himself dictator"; but, having satisfied himself that there was but little chance of succeeding, "he postpones his design" and falls back on the second course. Here, absolute sovereign, free of any restraint, contending with an inferior order of humanity, he acts the sultan and accustoms himself to playing the part.
A master is as necessary to one as to the other—a magician who subjugates his imagination, disciplines him, keeps him from biting without occasion, ties him up, cares for him, and takes him out hunting. He is born to obey, does not deserve any better lot, and has no other right. Become consul and afterward emperor, he applies the theory on a grand scale, and, in his hands, experience daily furnishes fresh verifications of the theory. At his first nod the French prostrate themselves obediently, and there remain, as in a natural position; the lower class, the peasants and the soldiers, with animal fidelity, and the upper class, the dignitaries and the functionaries, with Byzantine servility.
The difference between the delegate of the Committee of Public Safety and the minister, prefect, or subprefect under the Empire is small; it is the same person in two costumes: at first in the carmagnole, and later in the embroidered coat. If a rude, poor puritan, like Cambon or Baudot, refuses to don the official uniform, if two or three Jacobin generals, like Lecourbe and Delmas, grumble at the coronation parade, Napoleon, who knows their mental grasp, regards them as ignoramuses, limited to and rigid inside a fixed idea.
Napoleon does not accept the denial thus given to his theory; when he talks with people, he questions their moral nobleness. Now, take Massena. He has glory and honors enough; but he is not content.
He wants to be a prince, like Murat and like Bernadotte. He would risk being shot to-morrow to be a prince. That is the incentive of Frenchmen. His system is based on this. The most competent witnesses, and those who were most familiar with him certify to his fixed idea on this point.