A Diary of Napoleon's Life in His Own Words
1804 March 1st. Pichegru was arrested yesterday. He was not able to use either his pistols or his dagger. He fought with his fists for half an hour against three or four picked policemen.
We are making arrests every day. I think it is certain that Georges and a few of his men are still in Paris.
The case against Moreau and Pichegru is being worked up by the Criminal Tribunal of the Seine.
10th. (To General Berthier.) Please give orders to General Ordener, whom I place at your disposal, to start to-night for Strassburg. He is to proceed to Ettenheim, to surround the city, and to seize the Duke d'Enghien, Dumouriez, an English colonel, and any other persons in the party.
(To General Soult.) Paris is still held closed by the police, and will be kept so until these ruffians are all under arrest. I may tell you, in the strictest confidence, that I hope to get Dumouriez. The rascal is near our frontiers.
(To General Marmont.) As soon as you reach the camp, form a line of battalions, and spend eight hours in reviewing the men one by one; listen to their complaints, inspect their arms, and see that nothing is missing. These reviews of seven or eight hours are very profitable; they accustom the men to remain under arms, and show them that their officers are not dissipating, but are concerned for their welfare, a thing that inspires the soldier with much confidence.
14th. In the present situation of Europe my policy aims straight at England. I have at Boulogne 1000 gun-boats and flatboats that will carry 100,000 men and 10,000 horses.
19th. Citoyen General Murat: I have received your letter. If the Duke de Berry were in Paris at the house of M. de Cobenzl, and if M. d'Orleans were staying with the Marquis di Gallo, not only would I have them arrested this very night and shot, but I would also have these ambassadors arrested and make them suffer the same fate; the law of nations would not be seriously affected.
There is no other prince in Paris than the Duke d'Enghien, who will arrive at Vincennes to-morrow. Get that well into your head, and don't listen to anything you may hear to the contrary.
20th. The ci-devant Duke d'Enghien, accused of having carried arms against the Republic, of having been and still being in the pay of England, of plotting with that Power against the security, internal and external, of the Republic, shall be tried by a court-martial of seven members appointed by the governor of Paris, assembled at Vincennes.
(To General Murat.) The Duke d'Enghien is to be taken to the fort of Vincennes, where arrangements have been made to receive him. He is travelling under the name of Plessis.
4.30 P. M.
(To citoyen Harel.) A person whose name is to remain unknown to you is to be sent to the fort which you command; place him in the room that is vacant, taking proper precautions against his escape. The intention of the Government is that everything relating to him should be kept very secret, and that no questions should be addressed to him as to his identity, or the reason for his arrest.
(To citoyen Real.) Apparently the Duke d'Enghien started at midnight on the 17th. He will therefore soon be here. I have just issued the decree of which I enclose you a copy. Proceed to Vincennes at once to examine the prisoner. Here are the questions to put to him:
Have you borne arms against your country?
Have you accepted the pay of England?
What knowledge have you of the plot formed by England for overturning the Government of the Republic? On that plot meeting with success, were you not to enter Alsace, and even march on Paris, in given circumstances?
You must take with you the public prosecutor, who is to be the major of the special gendarmerie, and you must instruct him to put things through quickly.
21st. Execution of the Duke d'Enghien.
I will respect the judgment of public opinion when it is well founded; but when capricious it must be met with contempt. I have behind me the will of the nation and an army of 500,000 men. With that 1 can command respect for the Republic. I could have had the Duke d'Enghien shot publicly; and if I have not done so, I held back not from fear, but to prevent the secret adherents of his House from breaking out and ruining themselves. They have kept quiet; it is all I ask of them.
I will not consent to a peace with England unless she expels the Bourbons, just as Louis XIV expelled the Stuarts, because their presence in England will always be dangerous for France. Russia, Sweden, Prussia have driven them out.
22d. These people wanted an upheaval in France, and by killing me to kill the Revolution; it has been for me to defend and to avenge it. I have shown what it can do. The Duke d'Enghien was a conspirator just like any other, and it was necessary to treat him as any other might be treated. The Bourbons will always look at things through the ?il de B?uf, and are fated to live under an eternal delusion. Ah! it would have been a different matter had they appeared like Henry IV on a battlefield, all covered with dust and with blood. Kingdoms are not won by letters dated "London" and signed "Louis." I have shed blood, I shall perhaps shed more, but never in anger, and merely because bloodletting enters into the practice of political medicine.
1804 April 5th. Mr. Edward Livingston, President of the Academy of Arts of New York: I have learned with interest of the formation of a literary society in New York; and as your Academy has been so kind as to elect me a member, pray inform it that I accept with pleasure, and that I am grateful for its good opinion of me.
6th. (To Pauline Borghese.) Madam and dear sister: I learn with regret that you have not enough good sense to conform with the customs and habits of the city of Rome; that you show contempt for the inhabitants, and that Paris is your constant model. Although busy with matters of grave importance, yet I have thought it best to inform you of my views, hoping that you will conform with them.
Love your husband and your family; be obliging; accustom yourself to the habits of the city of Rome; and be persuaded that if at the age you have now reached you give way to bad advice, you can no longer count on me.
14th. The General Councils of Departments, the Electoral Colleges, and all the great Bodies of the State, demand that an end should be made of the hopes of the Bourbons by securing the Republic from the upheavals of elections and the uncertainty attending the life of an individual.
15th. It is not as a general that I rule, but because the nation believes I have the civilian qualifications for governing. My system is quite simple. It has seemed to me that under the circumstances the thing to do was to centralize power and increase the authority of the Government, so as to constitute the Nation. I am the constituent power.
I can best compare a constitution to a ship; if you allow the wind to fill your sails, you go you know not whither, according to the wind that drives you; but if you make use of the rudder, you can go to Martinique with a wind that is driving you to San Domingo. No constitution has remained fixed. Change is governed by men and by circumstances. If an overstrong government is undesirable, a weak one is much worse. Source