« PreviousContinue »
one francs. The empress had regularly | If we add to this sum the capital given, one hundred thousand francs per month." 5,200,000 fr., we find more than fifty-eight millions absorbed, without any utility for the country, by the family of those who have led us to Leipsig, to Waterloo, and to Sedan.
After official figures which the Civil List Commission has furnished us [say the Commission for the publication of the correspondence] the balance-sheet of the Imperial munificence may be thus stated for the whole reign:
To this total of a little over two millions sterling have to be added
various allocations on the privy purse, a special fund which the Emperor reserved for his personal use. Under this head was annually distributed about a million of francs by the hands of M. Ch. Thélin, keeper of the privy purse. Account should also be taken of certain expenses met, at least in 1863, under the Minister Persigny, by the Department of the Interior, of which we have found some traces in the papers submitted to our examination, under the title of "Political Fund." 300,000 francs a year for this, we obtain a total of about three millions, and adding the different items together we arrive at a general total of 74,306,211 francs 80 centimes, or, remaining within the limits of the Civil List, seventy or seventy-one millions; a sum equal to that which we have previously attributed, on vouchers, to the Imperial family.
It is easy to form a rough estimate of the money pocketed, since 1852, by the Bonaparte family. It is enough to add to the dotations paid for some of its members the regular allocations of which the Commission has already published the table, of which the annual total varies from 1,200,000 to 1,400,000 francs. This subvention commenced on December 25, 1852, and only closed with the Empire. Ac count must also be taken of a capital of 5,200,000 francs, distributed by decree of April I, 1852, to a certain number of favored relatives. Without speaking of gratifications, debts paid, and other liberalities, of which the detail will follow, the general account of the Imperial family is as follows, according to the
official tables of the Civil List:
Fifty-eight millions of francs, however, respectable an item as it may be consid ered, is far from exhausting the debit side of the account opened with France for the "Imperial family" on December 2, 1852. The fixed and regular resources of which the head of that family disposed, from that date to September 4, 1870, comprised (1) the dotations of the Civil List, twentyfive million francs; (2) the dotations of the imperial family, one million five hun dred thousand francs; (3) dotations of hundred and fifty thousand francs; (4) the Palais Royal and of Meudon, three dotations, movable and fixed, of the crown, from four to eight million francs. On the average the receipts of the Civil List constantly exceeded the sum of thirty-two million francs annually, which hardly cov ered the expenses of the court and of the great officers of the crown.
The final "recapitulation " arrived at by the commission runs thus:
So, without keeping count of certain hundreds of thousands of francs annually pocketed for an unknown number of years, the balancesheet of the Bonaparte family is as follows:
Jérôme Bonaparte (4 persons)
This sum, amounting to upwards of two million, eight hundred thousand pounds sterling, was paid by the French nation to the Bonaparte family, without any utility to France, on the ground of relationship to the chief of the State.
Compared with the mendicants and flatterers by whom he was surrounded, the irresponsible distributor of this golden shower looks almost respectable by force of contrast. We have touched on the delicate question of bounty to feminine claimants. The volume before us gives proof that the number of these was by no means very restricted, although particulars of the payments are rarely on record. Two letters signed Marguerite Bellanger indicate 4,953,639 a lacuna of this kind of no inconsiderable 30,033,531 1,758,116 extent. And if the statement be correct that certain portions of the landed estates 53.595,285 of the crown were alienated in the direc
tion indicated, it is obvious that large donations may have escaped the notice of the commission. An alphabetical list, filling sixty octavo pages of small print, is printed by the commission "as the fruit of long and minute study.”
This million, however, is only one out of nearly six given to the same individual. The Comtesse Emile Campana accepted on July 29, 1851, a bill drawn by the presi dent of the French republic for thirtythree thousand francs. By 1870 she had It is not [the authors add] a complete list of received "approximately four hundred the pensioners of the Empire. Who could thousand francs." Miss Mary Gwynne hope to draw up such a list? We find in it by received between 1846 and 1868 at least no means all the high dignitaries and great one hundred and thirty-two thousand officers the public knows them well enough francs by way of pension, besides twentynor the multitude of small suppliants whom five thousand francs as an "establishthe necessities of life have brought under the ment" on her marriage in 1852, and Caudine Forks of the Imperial charity. We twelve thousand five hundred francs by have only been able to present specimens of each category to which the liberalities of the way of "succor" in 1868. An unknown Civil List have applied: avowed complicities; lady, under the initial T., received in 1857 services rendered to the person, the ideas, the the sums of ninety thousand francs, thirty relatives, or the friends of the prince; solicita- thousand francs, and eighty thousand tions supported by military, clerical, or domes- francs. Alexandrine Vergeot figures as tic influences; lastly, aid to merit or to misfor-recipient of numerous sums of varying tune. It is remarkable how small are the last, without, however, being few. Among so many benefactions there are few which do not hide, or rather betray, some arrière-pensée. This will be readily seen by a glance at the biographical and anecdotic remarks which accom. pany most of the names cited in these pages.
We hope to be pardoned for having transgressed the bounds of the Civil List in order to trace the secrets of the Presidency and the vicissitudes of that adventurous life which led Louis-Napoleon from Strasburg and Boulogne to the Tuileries and to Wilhelmshöhe. Only thus can we show the origin of certain fortunes and of certain devotions. By the way, too, we have perhaps illuminated some obscure points, so much the more interesting to those who wish to know thoroughly the man, as to his habits, his friends, and his family, avowed or clandestine. We have thought it right to profit by the vouchers which fell into our hands, and have thus brought under contribution the private accounts of Louis-Napoleon from 1844 to 1848, following the variations of his private fortune before and during his captivity, and finding even the price of the workman's clothes in which he escaped from Ham. These were not costly-a blouse, a shirt, a pair of pantaloons, a cap, an apron, a necktie, and a handkerchief, costing all together exactly a sovereign.
The services rendered to the adventurer in the early part of his career seem to have been paid for with no niggard hand. The first receipt from Miss Howard for one million francs on March 25, 1853, is in discharge of all her rights and interest in the domain of Cività Nuova in the March of Ancona. On this property, in 1850, a sum of three hundred and twentyfour thousand francs was lent to Louis Napoleon by the Marquis Pallavicino, which was repaid in 1852, with interest, through the hands of the Duke of Galliera.
amount, finishing with twenty-five thousand francs in August, 1852. These are only some of the most salient figures on the face of the alphabetical abstract. The list is of enormous length, and contains some names we are surprised to find there, with singular details as to the nature of the claims on the imperial purse. In 1866 the emperor appears to have had nearly a million sterling in money and securities deposited with Messrs. Baring. This, however, was the nominal value of the securities, which was contested by M. Piétri. At page 152 we find Messrs. Barings' list of the investments.
The demands on the bounty thus freely distributed can be compared to nothing so aptly as to the consentaneous howl with which the great array of professional beggars, at Pozzuoli, at Pisa, or at any great centre of Continental mendicancy, are wont to set off in pursuit of a newly arrived visitor. "I drown, at this mo ment, for want of four banknotes of one thousand francs," writes Albéric Second to M. Conti. "Ah! if you could only make my cry of anguish reach the ear of the emperor!" However, the result is highly gratifying from the point of view of messieurs les mendiants. This is the acknowledgment of the imperial munificence:
ing there during the malaria, that is to say, before the end of October. But the need of activity, which is an imperious law of my nature, will call me next month into the Ardennes, where I have rented some hunting-grounds. I must house myself there, well or ill, to avoid expense; but if your Majesty will kindly give me, in the Ardennes, the 2,500 francs additional which you gave me in Corsica, it will allow me a different kind of establishment.
him"the Prince Pierre-Napoléon Bona- | your Majesty to give me 5,000 francs per parte," as he styles himself - received month. I have suffered too much from the from the bounty of his cousin, between malignant fevers of Corsica to think of returnApril 1, 1852, and the close of 1863, the respectable sum of two million, two hundred and seventy-three thousand francs. From the commencement of 1864 his monthly allowance was reduced from twenty-five hundred to two thousand francs. In 1867 it appears that the emperor expressed his disapproval of the intention of Pierre Bonaparte to legitimatize certain natural children by marrying their mother. Having failed at the same time to become a representative for Corsica, M. Pierre Bonaparte writes thus: Deprived of all credit, of all participation in affairs, of all chance of improving my condition, I hope for the assistance of your Majesty. If, Sire, you would buy my property in Corsica, I could complete my modest establishment in the Ardennes. This Corsican estate would be admirably situated for the establishment of a model farm, a police barrack, or any other administrative foundation. I must sell it, and I do not expect to get much for it, unless your Majesty agrees to my proposal. It would be a benefit that I should never forget. Of your Majesty, Sire, the devoted cousin, Pierre-Napoléon Bonaparte.
The reply, drafted by M. Conti, states that it is impossible to grant M. Pierre Bonaparte's new demands, that the Corsican property would be useless to the emperor and only an expense, and that the budget is too heavily charged to allow of such a sacrifice. On this the claimant invokes the aid of the Church, and begs the emperor to receive the Archbishop of Paris, whom he has acquainted with his situation."
Later in publication, although earlier in point of time, are three letters from this same irrepressible member of the LucienBonaparte branch of the imperial family, who, besides an annual subvention of one hundred thousand francs, is credited with a monthly allowance of five thousand francs from 1856 to 1859. In the latter year, doubtless for reasons, this monthly allowance is reduced to twenty five hun dred francs. In June, 1861, Pierre Bonaparte writes to the emperor:
Your Majesty having left Paris without granting me the audience which I solicited, I take the respectful liberty of writing in all confidence. Your Majesty has kindly allowed me 2,500 francs more per month as long as I stay in Corsica. This addition, half of that which your Majesty granted me at first, does not allow me to live on the footing which I have adopted. I am not now again asking
I shall be very grateful to your Majesty; and do not hesitate, Sire, to present this request to you, because you ought to be persuaded that, if you please to put an end to my inac tion, I shall be happy to consecrate to your glorious enterprises all that remains to me of aptitude and energy.
It is mournful to find that this seducing appeal - the writer was then in his fortysixth year-only elicited the reply, writ ten in pencil on the margin: "Mocquard, refuse politely."
"The Prince Achille Murat " received by gift of April 1, 1852, the sum of two hundred thousand francs, payable by instalments of ten thousand francs each with interest at five per cent. He also received an annual subvention of twenty-four thou sand francs. In 1864 his debts, amounting to upwards of eighty-three thousand francs, were paid for him, and Madame Achille Murat received in 1852 a don of two hundred thousand francs. In September, 1869, this personage, who, at the same date in the following year, had received in all the sum of nine hundred and thirty-six thousand eight hundred and seventy francs out of the five and a quar ter millions of francs "absorbed by the Lucien-Murat family," thus represents his hard case:
Sire, I have returned to join in Africa the new After eight months spent in the Caucasus, regiment in which, at my brother's request, your Majesty has deigned to place me, persuaded that the arrangements made during my absence would permit me to resume my ser vice, and thus to efface by my conduct, in the opinion of your Majesty, my past faults. Sire, nothing or almost nothing is changed in my sad situation. To the present time the funds employed have hardly been enough to extin guish the debts contracted on promises to pay, in which the honor of my name was engaged, so that all the annoyance, all the scandal, with which I was menaced before my departure, menace me still. In Africa, as at Paris, my presence will awaken the animosity of my creditors. I shall be followed, hunted, arrested, exposed to daily claims, incessant and threatening, which ill-will will not fail to stir
up; and your Majesty is too just to wish that, under such conditions, I should rejoin my regiment, in which the disrepute by which I should be surrounded would deprive me of the esteem of my comrades, and render my exist ence and my service in the midst of them completely impossible.
Monsieur Achille concludes by asking for an audience to submit to his Majesty his véritable condition. It is painful to find a pencil note, in the handwriting of the emperor, traced on the margin of this appeal: Refuse. The emperor will not mix himself up with his affairs."
A munificence (however vicarious) that descended so freely on the somewhat nu merous objects of a tender, if a discursive, affection, and that was so readily awak ened by the claims of relationship, however distant, was naturally extended to a large class of friends, whom the commissioners for the arrangement of the imperial correspondence call by the rude name of accomplices. As to this, however, it is obvious that the papers collected indicate but a very small part of the benefits reaped by this special category of claimants. Morny, Magnan, Maupas, Fialin, and Fleury, as M. de Kisselef informed Lord Malmesbury, were the confidants of the coup d'état in 1821. Of the first, whose influence and great wealth became notorious, few traces are found in the papers of the Tuileries. There is, however, a letter from M. Jecker to M. Conti, chief of the emperor's Cabinet, dated December 8, 1869, which throws some light on M. de Morny's command and use of a more rapid road to wealth than by the solicitation of "gratifications" or of pensions.
had ordered M. Jecker out of his room; but the commissioners reply that, as the banker had then lost his chief support, not to say his most powerful accomplice, it does not follow that the facts averred by M. Jecker are imaginary. We related the fate of poor Jecker, who was shot by the Commune, in a recent number of this journal.
Of Magnan we do not find in the papers before us traces at all proportionate to the part he played in the conspiracy. But the bâton of a marshal of France is no trifling guerdon, and neither military nor diplomatic appointments are included in the analysis given in the "note on the expenses of the Civil List of Napoleon III." A remarkable note, signed L. Magnan, informs M. Piétri that on the death of the marshal his debts amounted to eight hundred and thirty-five thousand francs, towards which funds were forthcoming, from specified sources, to the amount of six hundred and eighty-five thousand francs, while, "as you see, we remain in face of a difference of one hundred and fifty thousand francs, for which we do not fear to solicit the intervention of his Majesty." As a testimony to the military claims of Magnan on his country, we find, in a "private report," the uncomplimentary note: "Some of the marshals are abhorred by the soldiers: Castellane, Pélissier, Magnan."
The name of Maupas we have only found in this part of the correspondence in a report of M. Rouher, in which the former is qualified as an ex-minister, not worthy of the attention of the emperor in a contemplated creation of senators. The You are no doubt ignorant [writes the memoirs of this person are before us, banker] that I had as partner in this affair showing how wise, good, and disinter[the claims on the Mexican Government, "mon ested he always was. They form an adaffaire des bons"] M. le Duc de Morny, who mirable pendant to the memoirs of M. engaged, in consideration of 30 per cent. of Claude, chief of the private police, the the profits of the affair, to compel acknowl-weak point of each (beyond their mutual edgement and payment by the Mexican Government, as at first. There is a voluminous correspondence on the subject with his agent, M. de Marpon. As soon as this arrangement was concluded, I was perfectly supported by the French Government and its legation in Mexico. . . . Under the empire of Maximilian, and at the instance of the French Government, the settlement of my business was taken in hand.... At the same time M. le Duc de Morny died, so that the dazzling protection which the French Government had granted me ceased completely.
M. Conti, indeed, wrote to the commission to say that on the receipt of this letter he
Memoirs, vol. i., p. 394.
contradictions) being our hesitation as to accepting, on any point, the unconfirmed word of either writer.
Of Fialin, afterwards dignified by the style of Comte, and later of Duc, de Persigny, the notices are many. It is equally certain that they are not exhaustive. There is no reference to his ministerial appointments, with a palace in Paris and a large salary, or as ambassador to England. In the alphabetical list contained in the note on the civil list, the payments made directly to this active Bonapartist amount to only four hundred and fortytwo thousand five hundred francs. But "we find among the papers of M. Bure a
pencil note, which is suggestive. It runs thus: Secret offer to Persigny of one hundred thousand francs, for the authorization by the prince of the enterprise of the docks for the Rouen Railway.'" The word "prince" shows that this kind of traffic, of which M. Jecker gives so flagrant an instance in 1869, was in full operation under the presidency of Louis Bonaparte. And it throws a sudden and fitful gleam of light on a remarkable anomaly, namely, that while only from ten thousand francs to fifteen thousand francs per month is allowed in the accounts of the cassette particulière de l'empereur for current expenses, of which the items are not otherwise specified, evidence is given further on that, in about fourteen years of imperial rule, Louis Napoleon had been able to invest in diamonds and in various specified stocks no less a sum than 933,000l., a sum which, in this instance alone, is noted in English currency. It must be said, however, for M. de Persigny, that with all his faults he was the most faithful and devoted friend of the emperor, and that he died poor.
To pursue the fortunes of the select band of friends most devoted to the empire :
Fleury [says the note on the expenses of the Civil List] (commandant, then general), orderly officer of the President, first equerry, then grand equerry, and director of the stud, finally ambassador to Russia, has disposed of enormous sums. The minimum of his regular budget may be valued at the sum of 1,200,000 francs. In July, 1850, Baring is ordered to pay him, in London, 45,000 francs. On April 9, 1852, Fleury received 48,000 francs for the establishment of the stables. This sum and many others do not form part of an allocation of 400,000 francs for the same object.
In 1869 it appears that the supervision of the press is in the hands of Fleury. His attaché, M. de Verdière, writes on January 21, 1870: "Our poor emperor gives hardly a sign of life. Perhaps he fears to displease his new ministers, or else he is simply the cold man whom we ought to know."
A perennial munificence, which no avowed sources of income are at all adequate to maintain, did not exclude the exercise of special displays of bounty on certain occasions. The twenty-fifth of the papers published by the commission, under the title "Cost of a Christening," gives an account of the expenditure on the occasion of the birth and baptism of the prince imperial. Medals in diamonds
head the list, at a cost of twenty-five thou sand francs. Doctors and sages femmes received sixty-eight thousand francs. The layette cost one hundred thousand francs. The several societies of dramatic authors and composers, men of letters, dramatic artists, musicians, painters and sculptors, industrial inventors, and medical men of the department of the Seine, received ten thousand francs each. Ninety-three thou sand francs were given to the benevolent bureaux of the department of the Seine, and of the communes in which lay the estates of the crown. The "agents of the interior service" of the empress, received gratifications equal to four months' wages, amounting to eleven thousand francs. Forty-four thousand francs were allotted to giving gratis performances at the theatres on March 18, 1856. The parents of children born on the 16th of that month shared among them fifty thousand francs. For medals to be given to authors and composers of verses and cantate addressed to their Majesties, and to the pupils at the Lycées, eighty-five thousand francs were allowed. The relatives of the godchildren of their Majesties received twenty thousand francs. The service of the stables, for the baptismal cortège, is set down at one hundred and seventy-two thousand francs; and one distributed in gratifications to the hired hundred and sixty thousand francs were servants of their Majesties' household. The total comes to the modest sum of eight hundred and ninety-eight thousand francs.
To support a régime so beneficent to those who had introduced it into France, an organization existed as to which, apart from any reference to morality or to per manent policy, it would be hard to speak too highly. We catch, indeed, but one or two glimpses of this system, but they are enough to reveal the magnitude, as well as the symmetry, of certain distinct departments of the organic whole. There can be little doubt that the method was inherited from the first Napoleon, who to his almost unrivalled military genius is known to have added the talent of widereaching and yet detailed organization. The portions of the imperial method which come most fully into relief, from the important documents printed by the commission, are those which regard the ap plication of systematic pressure to the formation, or at all events to the expres sion, of public opinion. Under this head rank two distinct agencies, the intimate relation of each of which to the other and