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N.M. Crouse 

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List of Illustrations . . . . . ix 

Introduction . . . . • . xi 

A CADET OF GASCONY (1763-1780) 


I. Bernadotte's Bearnais Birthplace and 

Gascon Raciality . . . .3 

II. Boyhood and Enlistment . . . 8 

IN THE RANKS (1780-1791) 

III. The Young Recruit . . . 15 

IV. Corporal — Sergeant — Sergeant - Major — Non- 

commissioned Adjutant . . .21 

V. The French Revolution — Bernadotte's Ex- 
periences at Grenoble and Lambesc . 28 
VI. After Eleven Years in the Ranks, Bernadotte 

becomes Lieutenant in the 36TH Regiment . 38 



VII. The Outbreak of the Wars of the Revolution 45 
VIII. Bernadotte sent to the Front . . 50 

IX. General Custine's First Campaign — The Execu- 
tion of the King . . . -S3 
X. General Custine's Second Campaign, and 

Execution . . . . 56 

XI. Bernadotte serves]] under General Beau- 
harnais, and becomes Captain — Beauhar- 
nais' Campaign and Execution . . 62 

XII. Bernadotte serves under General Houchard 
in the North, and becomes Lieutenant- 
Colonel — The Execution of Houchard and 68 
of the Queen .... 

XIII. Bernadotte Becomes Colonel — " Jupiter 

Stator des Mutins " . . -73 

XIV. Bernadotte, Kleber, and Marceau . . 78 
XV. Bernadotte and St. Just . . .82 



XVI. The Army of Ardennes — A strenuous Cam- 
paign on the Banks of the River Sambre 
in May and June 1794 . • -89 

XVII. The Battle of Fleurus — Bernadotte be- 
comes General in the Army of Sambre 
and Meuse . . . .92 



XVIII. The Conquest of Belgium . . .101 

XIX. The Siege of Maestricht . . .107 

XX. The Army of Sambre and Meuse on the 

Banks of the Rhine in 1795 . .112 

XXI. The Invasion of Germany in 1795 . . 117 

XXII. The Constitution of 1795— The Directory . 121 

XXIII. The Winter Campaign of 1795 in the Huns- 

ruck — Bernadotte at Creuznach . 125 

XXIV. The Six Months' Armistice in 1796 — Berna- 

dotte saves his Cousin from the Galleys 130 
XXV. The Second Invasion of Germany, May and 
June 1796 — Bernadotte covers the Re- 
treat . . . . .136 
XXVI. The Third Invasion of Germany in July i 796 139 
XXVII. Bernadotte's Raid on Ratisbon — The 

Battle of Teining . . . 145 

XXVIII. The Retreat to Schweinfurt, and the 

Battle of Wurzburg . . 155 

XXIX. The Retreat from Wurzburg — The Death 

of Marceau .... 163 

XXX. The Recall of General Jourdan . . 168 

XXXI. Winter Quarters at Coblenz, 1796 . 172 



XXXII. General Bernadotte sent to' Italy to 
reinforce Bonaparte — The March from 
Coblenz to Milan . . .181 

XXXIII. From Milan to Padua . . .188 

XXXIV. The First Meeting of Bonaparte and 

Bernadotte — Bernadotte quarrels 
with Berthier .... 193 
XXXV. The Crossing of the Tagliamento. . 199 

XXXVI. The Storming of Gradisca , . . 206 

XXXVII. The Invasion of Austria, and the Pre- 
liminaries of Leoben . . .212 
XXXVIII. Jealousy and Quarrels between Berna- 
dotte's Division and those of Massena 
and Augereau . . . .219 


This book is a study of the character, and of the first 
phase of the career, of Bernadotte. His character 
has been described as " une enigme indechiffrable " ; h 
and his career has hardly a parallel for adventure 
and variety. 

A lawyer's son, a youth of seventeen years of age, 
ran away in 1780 from his home at Pau, and enlisted 
in a marching regiment. He served for more than 
ten years in the ranks of the army of King Louis xvi. ; 
rose, after the outbreak of the Revolution, to the 
rank of general ; held, under the Directory, the posts 
of general-in-chief, ambassador, and Minister of 
War ; became a Marshal and a Prince of the First 
Empire ; and, after taking part in nearly all the 
great events of one of the most eventful epochs in the 
world's history, was, in 18 10, elected Crown Prince of 
the Kingdom of Sweden. Having added the crown of 
Norway to that of Sweden, he remained the real ruler 
of Scandinavia until his death in 1 844 ; and left 
behind him, in his adopted country, a good name, and 
a dynasty which has taken root. 

More than one of his contemporaries climbed to 
giddier heights ; but none, after a steeper ascent, 
obtained a surer footing. 

To satisfy curiosity about Bernadotte is no easy 
matter/ ( x ) The materials in the English language are 
scanty, consisting of some slight memorials, which 
were published after he became England's ally in the 

" Letters refer to footnotes ; figures, to notes in Appendix. 

* Alfred Rambaud, Revue Bleue, Jan. 1902. J 

1 See Bibliographical Note, App. Note ( x ). 


War of Liberation, and a few notices in newspapers, 
magazines, and books of reference, which are ad- 
mirable within their limitations. 

When we turn to French literature, the difficulty 
arises less from lack of materials, than from the dis- 
turbing circumstance that, in the War of Liberation, 
Bernadotte fought against the country of his birth ; 
commanded armies which defeated her in battle ; 
entered France in the train of the invading Allies ; 
and contributed powerfully to the fall of the Empire. 

When the fabric of Napoleonic splendour had 
crumbled away, Bernadotte remained firmly seated 
on his throne. The durability of his success offered 
such a striking contrast to the oblivion and exile, 
which were the lot of most of his old comrades in 
arms, that we cannot feel much surprise, when we 
find one of them, Philippe de Segur, declaring that 
Bernadotte 's good fortune seemed to him to afford 
conclusive evidence of the existence of another 
world ."CO 

France has not forgiven, and perhaps will never 
quite forgive, Bernadotte. Who can blame her ? If 
the Duke of Wellington had become a foreign sove- 
reign, and, as such, had fought against our nation, we 
should be better able to appreciate her frame of mind. 
The resentment, excited in 1813 among his former 
countrymen, by the presence of the ex-Marshal of the 
Empire in the enemy's camp, is illustrated by what 
the French Commandant of Stettin said, when asked 
for an explanation of a shot from the city walls, which 
grazed the Swedish Crown Prince. " A simple police 
affair," said the Commandant. "A deserter was 
signalled, and the guard fired." 

Until the passions of the hour were allayed, there was 
" Segur, Melanges, 203 ; see App. Note (*). 


no chance of a fair hearing for Bernadotte's defence — 
that he was a Swede carrying out the policy of his 
adopted country. " Excuse banale," said Napoleon at 
St. Helena, ..." pour prendre femme on ne renonce 
point a sa mere.'" 1 To Dr. O'Meara, however, the ex- 
Emperor said in a more candid moment, " Bernadotte 
was ungrateful to me, as I was the author of his 
greatness ; but I cannot say that he betrayed me. 
He, in a manner, became a Swede, and never promised 
that which he did not intend to perform." * 

For many years after the fall of the Empire, 
Bernadotte was severely satirised by French historians, 
journalists, and playwrights. The culmination of 
these attacks took the form, in 1833, of a vaudeville 
acted at the Palais- Royal, which represented the King 
of Sweden meeting an old comrade of the Revolution, 
and exhibiting to him his arm, indelibly tattooed with 
the words, " Liberty or Death." This play, which 
was not the only one of the kind, led to a diplomatic 
protest and to international complications, and served 
to give currency to a story that Bernadotte was 
tattooed with Revolutionary mottoes. England inter- 
vened, and helped to smooth the relations between 
France and Sweden, and to terminate a campaign of 
comedies/ ( 3 ) 

Time has softened the asperity of his former 
countrymen towards Bernadotte. His name is 
inscribed upon the Arc de Triomphe ; and one of 
his successors has been officially welcomed by the 
French Government as a " grandson of France." He 
is certain to receive a just appreciation, sooner or 
later, in the country of his birth, where historic truth 

" Las Cases, iii. 154, 155. i O'Meara, ii. 364. 

' Pingaud, 409-41 1 ; and see App. Note ( 3 ). 


is so much valued and is so scrupulously pursued. 
M. Schefer in Bemadotte Roi has confirmed the opinion 
prevalent in Sweden, that Bernadotte was a good, and 
even a great, king. M. Dry in Soldats Ambassadeurs" 
has said that if he had died before the end of the 
Directory (November 1799) his name might now be 
cited in France with pride and affection. M. Sorel 
considers that he was spoiled by success, but sums up 
his early life in three words: " Bernadotte commenca 
noblement." * 

If it be conceded that he began nobly, that he 
deserved well of his country until the end of 1799, 
and that he ended as a good king, there remains 
an interval coeval with the period of Napoleon's 
ascendancy ; and his admirers have not been slow to 
draw the inference that the shadows, which, during 
that interval, dimmed Bernadotte's reputation, were 
cast by the ascendant figure of his great rival. The 
history of the relations between Napoleon and Berna- 
dotte makes a tangled web, towards the unravelling 
of which this book offers a slight contribution. 

Bernadotte bore, both in Germany and in Italy, 
a good reputation as a soldier and an administrator. 
In the British Empire and in America there is no 
prejudice against him ; but there is, perhaps, some 
perplexity, and a final judgment has not been pro- 
nounced. One reason may be that the evidence 
is incomplete. Nearly every writer, who has ap- 
proached the subject, passes lightly over the first 
phase of his career, and begins to be interested in 
him in November 1 799, when Bonaparte seized power, 
and became his master. But Bernadotte, in 1799, 
was in his thirty-seventh year. The best, the most 
unfettered, the most formative, and not the least 
• Dry, ii. 465. * Sorel, ii. 547. 


interesting, stages of his life-journey were behind 

It has been noticed by independent writers and 
thinkers that the study of the first phase of Bernadotte's 
life has been neglected. For example, a competent 
critic of a book dealingwith his later years observed that 
"the drama has no prologue . " " Those words suggested 
the idea of this book to the present writer. The third 
and fourth and fifth acts of Bernadotte's life-drama 
developed amazingly, but their interest cannot be fully 
appreciated, and their significance cannot be fully 
understood, without the prologue and the earlier scenes, 
which consist of his experiences as a soldier under the 
ancien regime, as an officer who rose to be a general 
in the tumultuous wars of the Revolution, and as a 
military statesman, who played a prominent part, 
during those four years of " organised anarchy," * when 
the reins of government in France were handled by 
the Executive Directory. 

To fill a gap by presenting a study of the prologue 
and the opening scenes of Bernadotte's life-drama, 
and, to that extent, to contribute to the solution of 
a complex character-problem, are the aims of this 

" Bulletin Critique, Nov. 1899. * Sorel, iv. 470. 

' Notes ( 1 ), ( 2 ), and ( 3 ) in the Appendix relate to the subject- 
matter of this Introduction. 




Les Gascons . . . ils doivent etre fous. 
Rien de plus dangereux qu'un Gascon raisonnable." 
Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte iv., Sc. 3. 





I. Bernadotte's Bearnais Birthplace and Gascon 

Raciality . . . . .3 

II. Bernadotte's Boyhood and Enlistment . . 8 

The House at Pau in which Bernadotte was Born . 4 



Bernadotte's Bearnais Birthplace and Gascon 

" (Bernadotte) exemplaire de la race si complete, qu'il reproduit 
sur une seule physiognomie les traits saillants de vingt figures 
characteristiques, Montluc et Cyrano, Henri iv. et d'Artagnan." 
— E. M. de Vogue, Le Gaulois, 22nd May 1901. 

In the last week of January 1763, the town of Pau — 
the capital of the ancient principality of Beam — was 
given up to the excitement of a carnival. Among the 
absentees from the prevailing amusements was the 
wife of a local lawyer, Madame Henri Bernadotte, who 
expected in a few weeks to become a mother. A sur- 
prise visit of masqueraders, in bizarre costumes, 
caused a premature confinement/ and hurried into 
existence, on the 26th of January 1 763, a boy, who had 
before him eighty years crowded with action. The 
carnival scene was a fitting prelude to a life which was 
to be a medley of incidents and of adventure. ( 4 ) 

It would not be possible to appreciate, still less to 
solve, the character-problem, which Bernadotte's career 
presents for investigation, without bearing in mind 
his Bearnais extraction and his Gascon raciality. 
Napoleon described him as " un vrai Gascon." E. M. 
de Vogue, in a passage placed at the head of this 
chapter, has said that Bernadotte " is so complete an 
example of his race that he reproduces in his single 

" Letters refer to a footnote ; figures, to the notes in the 
Appendix at the end, p. 477. 
* Lafosse, 31 ; Sarrans, 1. 

4 A CADET OF GASCONY [chap, i 

personality twenty characteristic figures, Montluc and 
Cyrano, Henri iv. and dArtagnan." Leonce Pingaud 
sums him up as " the most daring, the most extra- 
ordinary, the most fortunate of the cadets of Gascony." 
Albert Sorel calls him " un pur Gascon de Gascogne," 
and has thought it worth while to point out that he 
was " put to nurse near the manor of dArtagnan." 
The same note has been struck by so many critics and 
historians, as to support the inference that it is a key- 
note, and that, in order to understand Bernadotte, it is 
necessary to know something of the Gascons of Beam." 
Although Beam lay outside the geographical 
boundaries of ancient Gascony, its inhabitants were 
Gascons with certain pronounced traits of their own. 
They were not without those showy yet attractive 
qualities, which we are accustomed to associate with 
Dumas's Musketeers and Cyrano's Cadets. But, side 
by side with the foibles, which they shared with other 
Gascons, they exhibited a strength and dignity that 
was all their own. They had less about them of that 
entertaining braggart " le Gascon fou," than of another 
type, which Rostand has hit off in the phrase, " le 
Gascon souple et froid, celui qui reussit."( 5 ) Their 
peculiar traits are said to be traceable to a mixed 
ancestry, and to a strenuous history. There were 
Spaniards and Moors as well as French among the 
forbears of the Bearnais ; and their little principality 
— placed at the foot of the Pyrenees, in the track 
of border foray, rapine, and invasion — preserved its 
independence for centuries by the exercise not alone 
of courage, but also of vigilance, dexterity, and 
presence of mind. As time went on, it came about 
that the inhabitants of Beam were braced and forti- 
fied, and their native exuberance of imagination was 
" Pingaud, 428; Gourgaud, i. 58; Sorel, vii. 218, 455. 

The House in Pau where Bernadotte was Born, 
January 1763. 

" A bourgeois house in the town below " (page 5). 

To /ace page 4. 

1763] bearn and THE BEARNAIS 5 

tempered by a touch of sterner purpose and more 
level judgment. Upon the Gascon stock were grafted 
qualities of coolness and caution, which they possessed 
to a degree rarely to be found in Southern climes. The 
mobile temperament of the race was ' ' pithed with hardi- 
hood," and the result was a type fitted, above every- 
thing, for success in the battle of a strenuous life. 

A mark of a Gascon is a certain blend of weakness 
and of strength, a strange reconcilement of opposite 
qualities. We are surprised to find that he may over- 
flow with bluff and bravado, and yet be the bravest of 
the brave. Among the B^arnais we meet, here and 
there, with even more astonishing contrasts— ir- 
resolution mated with tenacity, excitability with sang- 
froid, egoism with a chivalrous and compassionate 
attitude towards the rest of mankind, the power to 
command with an inability to obey. We are puzzled 
when we come across an individual who exhibits both 
impetuosity and self-control ; who is adventurous, 
yet patient in adventures, to the extremity of caution ; 
who is prudent and circumspect, yet fills the stage 
with a part that is dashing, dramatic, and picturesque. 

There have been two historical personages who 
stand out in bold relief as conspicuous types of the 
Bearnais race. These were Henri iv., the first of the 
Bourbon line of French kings, and Jean Baptiste 
Bernadotte, beside whose cradle we are lingering in 
this chapter. The homes of their childhood are to be 
seen at Pau, standing in sight of each other ; a stately 
castle on a hill, and a bourgeois house in the town 
below. ( 6 ) Their careers ran on lines which were 
strangely alike. Both won thrones, and changed 
religion ( 7 ) to win them. Both did more than win 
thrones. They kept their thrones and transmitted 
them to generations of descendants. They differed 

6 HENRI IV. [chap, i 

widely in mind, in manners, and in methods, but both 
were Gascons of Beam ; and, in the case of both of 
them, their Gascon and Bearnais qualities contri- 
buted powerfully to their success. 

Henri iv. has been so widely recognised as a type 
of his race, that the name of " Le Bearnais " has been 
commonly applied to him in history and in literature. 
He had, as Lord Acton has said, " not only brilliant 
qualities as a soldier and a statesman, but also a charm 
and gladness of character in which he has hardly a 
rival among crowned heads." He has left behind him 
a legend full of contrast and of colour — a legend which 
lingered long and captivated both the many and the 
great. To the end of his life it had an attraction for 
Napoleon, who, at The Briars, was overheard humming 
to himself " Vive Henri iv." The " good King," as 
he was called, was naturally brave, impetuous and 
humane ; yet he could, on occasions, be so cold and 
calculating as to expose him to the imputation of 
injustice or ingratitude. He combined the utmost 
frankness of speech and manner with remarkable tact 
and adroitness in not committing himself. He was 
constitutionally imperious and autocratic ; yet his 
personality made such an enduring impression, that he 
has been handed down to posterity as " le seul roi dont 
le peuple ait garde" la memoire." He was keenly 
sensible of the tenacity and adaptability, which he 
shared with all his race. When his gardener com- 
plained that nothing would grow upon a particularly 
sterile spot in the garden of Fontainbleau, he said with 
a laugh, " Sow it with Gascons ; they will take root 
anywhere." He was a master of happy and inspiring 
phrases. When his accession as King of France in- 
volved the incorporation of his tiny principality in 
his new kingdom, he soothed his countrymen's love of 


independence by declaring, " I am not giving Beam 
to France ; I am giving France to B£arn." He was 
born to command ; and nobody knew better how to 
rouse the drooping spirits of an army. More stimu- 
lating than martial music, was the famous order of 
the day, in which he told his followers that " if they 
lost their ranks or cornets, they were to rally round 
his white plume, which they would always find on 
the road to victory and honour." 

The personality of Henri iv. prepares us for that 
of Bernadotte. Although a princely enchantment at- 
tached itself to the young Bourbon, which the bourgeois 
boy had no chance of inheriting or of acquiring, yet, in a 
fashion less debonair, but more suited to the Revolu- 
tionary time in which he lived, Bernadotte drew from 
his race a natural charm, a dexterity, a tenacity, and 
a power of leading men, not less remarkable than those 
which marked his greater compatriot. Henri iv. 
stepped into a higher place ; but it may be doubted 
whether he could have climbed the steep ladder, at 
the foot of which Bernadotte began. 

Bernadotte 's life is full of passages, which cannot 
be understood, unless account is taken of the influence 
of raciality. It was by the qualities, which he drew 
from his race, that he won his way ; and it was owing 
to the defects of those qualities that he often faltered 
and failed. His biography is the story of a typical 
Gascon of Beam, passing through every rank of the 
army, and many high offices of state ; living and 
moving in the front of the fighting line of a fighting 
age ; sometimes pressing forward, sometimes holding 
back, and ultimately outstaying the swiftest and 
strongest of his contemporaries." 

" Notes ( 4 ) to (') in the Appendix relate to the subject-matter 
of this chapter. 


Bernadotte's Boyhood and Enlistment 
i 763-1 780 

" (Bernadotte) Le plus hardi, le plus extraordinaire, le plus 
heureux des Cadets de Gascogne." — Leonce Pingaud. 

Stories of boyhood are dull, and unprofitable, unless 
they serve to indicate predisposition, or to throw a 
light upon the shadows of coming problems of char- 
acter. From that point of view let us glance at Berna- 
dotte's boyhood. 

Bernadotte's father was a lawyer holding an 
official position (procureur au senechal) in the King's 
Court at Pau.( 8 ) His mother belonged to a family 
named St. Jean, which had for several generations 
resided near Pau in the district or parish of Boeiul, 
and was connected with the nobility of that neighbour- 
hood. His parents were married on 20th February 
1754, and he was the fifth and youngest child of the 
marriage. A brother and a sister died in infancy. At 
the date of his birth there were living a brother, John, 
who was nine years old, and a sister, Marie, who was 
in her fourth year. He was given the same name as his 
elder brother, with the addition of Baptiste. The 
naming of two brothers after St. John the Evangelist 
and St. John the Baptist was not uncommon, and is the 
explanation of the name of Jean Baptiste being given 
to the younger Bernadotte. The Bernadottes occu- 
pied an agreeable position in their native town» 
belonging to the " bourgeoisie honorable de la Robe " ; 
and, so long as the father was alive, they lived in 
comfortable circumstances. One of his comrades in 


arms tells us something about his bringing up, which 
may explain many things which he afterwards said 
and did — namely, that his father " took care early to 
inspire his son with noble sentiments.'" 1 

Old inhabitants of Pau, when in after years Berna- 
dotte became celebrated, recorded their recollections 
of his boyhood. We are told of a nurse, in whom he 
always took an affectionate interest ; and of youthful 
combats, of which, to the end of his life, two scars on 
his forehead remained to remind him. The tradition 
that he was educated by the Benedictines at the Lycee 
at Pau is probably well founded. He was intended 
for the Bar, but he preferred the saddle to the lawyer's 
stool. The post-house was a favourite resort, and his 
chief delight was to be allowed to ride the post-horses 
as postilion. The old postmaster, who in later years 
delighted in telling the story, added, that on these 
occasions the future king took pleasure in acting his 
part so well as to earn and pocket the usual postilion's 
pourboire. It is not to be inferred that young Berna- 
dotte kept low company or indulged in dissipation, but 
rather that he was a manly, adventurous, combative 
boy. Two points, which afterwards characterised 
him, were marked in those days. While he showed 
good feeling in his social relations, he also displayed a 
jealous self-concern, which made him quick to imagine 
a slight, and to resent neglect. 

At the age of fourteen he became a law student 
and apprentice, with the intention of following his 
father and his elder brother to the profession of the 
Bar, for success at which, his readiness, presence of 
mind, and a gift of spontaneous eloquence seem 
eminently to have fitted him.(°) 

In spite, however, of prospects apparently so 
" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 2. 


suitable and favourable, his early years were clouded 
by unhappiness. Although he grew up to be a man of 
robust physique, he was a delicate boy, for whom there 
seemed but little hope of a long or useful life. A cir- 
cumstance, which is said to have embittered his boy- 
hood, was a preference, which seemed to him to be dis- 
played by his parents, and especially by his mother," 
for the elder brother, who attracted notice in the social 
circle, in which the Bernadottes moved, by a caustic 
wit which amused everyone except those who became 
its objects. The younger Bernadotte was conspicuous 
for courtesy and considerateness in his relations with 
everyone around him ; and is said to have felt, and 
to have expressed, annoyance at his elder brother's 
habit of making a venerable old friend of the family 
the butt of his banter and ridicule. When Bernadotte 
rose to high positions, his deferential manner towards 
older men was remarked by observers. There may, 
therefore, be some foundation for the story. But his 
delicate health and sensitive temperament probably 
had more to do with his unhappiness than his mother's 
preference or his brother's witticisms. 

These stories of Bernadotte's youth reveal con- 
ditions of home life which may have helped to inure 
him to the hardships of a strenuous career, and to 
prepare him for those prolonged absences from his 
country and from his home, which he afterwards ex- 
perienced in the wars of the Revolution and of the 
Empire. He will be found bearing these incon- 
veniences with more equanimity than some of his com- 
rades, who, in their conversation and correspondence, 
made no secret of their surfeit of campaigning, and of 
their desire for more frequent intervals of peace and 
of domestic repose. 

° Lafosse, 32 ; Sarrans, 2. 


We also see in these glimpses of his early days, 
indications both of that jealousy of disposition, which 
was one of his defects, and of a chivalrous bearing' 
which was as natural to him as the Gascon bravado 
to which it afforded a contrast. 

However deeply the boy may have been wounded 
by comparative neglect in the home circle, no scar 
remained to mar his relations with his family. His 
letters written during his early military career, are the 
letters of an affectionate son and brother. His mother 
was always the object of his tender solicitude. She 
lived to see him a Marshal and a Prince of the Empire, 
and died a few months before he became Crown Prince 
of Sweden. ( 10 ) 

Young Bernadotte's prospects were seriously 
affected by the death of his father, which took place 
on 31st March 1780." He was in his second year of 
apprenticeship, and had to look forward to a long 
period of dependency, before he could hope to attain 
to the means of self-support. It was under these cir- 
cumstances that he left his home in September 1780, 
and sought out a recruiting officer of the Royal-la- 
Marine Regiment of Infantry, to whom he offered 
himself for enlistment. He was probably influenced 
more by unwillingness to be a burden upon his mother 
and his brother than by military ardour. It was 
necessary to have the vise of the civil authority to the 
formal document of his enlistment, and, to avoid 
discovery, he had his papers vised by the Mayor of 
the neighbouring municipality of Billeris. Attached 
to his enlistment there is a tradition of a kind to be 
met with frequently in the lives of famous soldiers. 
It is said that he exchanged clothes with a veteran 
of the regiment, who laughingly exclaimed that 
" Wrangel, 23. 

12 FRANCE IN 1780 [chap. 11 

he was sending him forth to become a Marshal of 
France. ( n ) 

Bernadotte had now plunged, as a runaway recruit, 
into a vortex, from which he was to extricate himself, 
thirty years on, as Crown Prince of Sweden. Before 
we follow the next stage of his journey, let us note, in a 
sentence or two, what had been the course of public 
events during his sixteen years of childhood and youth, 
and how France stood at the date of his enlistment. 

At the date of Bernadotte 's birth Louis xv. was 
king ; and, when the boy was eleven years old, Louis 
xvi. came to the throne. Then came the ministries 
of Turgot and of Necker, who strove, in their several 
ways, to save France and the Monarchy by pursuing 
a policy of social, political, and economic reform. At 
the date of Bernadotte's enlistment, Necker was on 
the eve of failure and of retirement ; and France was 
about to experience eight years of reaction and 
extravagance, before being engulfed in the pent-up 
deluge of the Revolution. Bernadotte, during that 
interval, will be found serving in the ranks of the army 
of King Louis xvi." 

Notes ( 8 ) to (") in the Appendix relate to the subject-matter 
of this chapter. 




" Cette armee de l'ancien regime, oil il n'y avait aucun avenir 
pour ceux qui n'etaient pas nes." — Camille Pelletan. 

" To climb steep hills requires slow pace at first." — Henry viii. 




III. The Young Recruit — Corsica — A long Furlough 

— A hopeless Outlook under the Ancien 
Regime . . . . . 15 

IV. Bernadotte in Garrison at Grenoble — Corporal, 

Sergeant, Sergeant-Major, Non-Commissioned 
Adjutant . . . . .21 

V. The French Revolution — Bernadotte's Experi- 
ences at Marseilles and Lambesc . . 28 
VI. Bernadotte, after Eleven Years in the Ranks, 

becomes Lieutenant in the 36TH Regiment . 38 

Bernadotte, Soldier of King Louis xvi. . . 40 


The Young Recruit — Corsica — A long Furlough 
— Bernadotte's hopeless Outlook under 
the Ancien Regime 

i 780-1 784 

" Dark hair and eyebrows, brown deep-set eyes . . . long 
pointed nose, etc." — Official description of young Bernadotte, 1780." 

A young Gascon, " the eye open and intelligent ; the nose 
hooked but finely chiselled." — Dumas's description of young 

" By the law of the case, no man can pretend to be the 
pitifulest Lieutenant of Militia till he have first verified, to the 
satisfaction of the Lion King, a nobility of four generations." — 
Carlyle (referring to the aristocratic exclusiveness of the ancien 
regime), bk. ii. chap. 1. 

Bernadotte, after his enlistment, joined the depot of 
the regiment, at Collioure on the Mediterranean coast. 
His official description comprises : " Dark hair and 
eyebrows, brown deep-set eyes, full round face, long 
pointed nose, small thin-lipped mouth, short rounded 
chin, narrow forehead with two scars — one in the 
middle, the other over one eyebrow, caused by a 
stone."" This catalogue contains items which bear 
a curious resemblance to Dumas's description of young 
d'Artagnan, and tell the tale of his combative boyhood. 

From the depot he was sent to Toulon, and 
thence to Bastia, in the island of Corsica, where the 
Royal-la-Marine Regiment was doing garrison duty. 

The Royal-la-Marine ( u ) was a light infantry 
regiment, which had been raised in 1762 for service in 
harbours, islands, and colonies. In 1768 Corsica had 
" Hans Kloeber, 1 1, quoting Wrangel. 

16 A RECRUIT IN CORSICA [chap, hi 

been disposed of to France by Genoa, under an agree- 
ment, which Rousseau denounced as an iniquitous 
transaction. Whether it was iniquitous or not, it 
was followed by disquiet in the island, which the 
Royal-la-Marine Regiment had been sent to put 
down. The regiment is said to have borne a 
good reputation, and to have been largely recruited 
in the South of France. There was a touch of Gas- 
cony about its motto, which was, " Les coups de 
mousquet ne nous arreteront point ! Marchons ! " 

The young recruit appears to have spent about 
two years in Corsica. The Governor of the island 
was M. de Marboeuf, known to history as the friend 
and patron of the Bonaparte family. There is a 
story of Bernadotte's only meeting with Mar- 
boeuf, which would not be unworthy of a place 
among the adventures of d Artagnan. The Governor's 
chef came from Pau, and, hearing that a fellow-towns- 
man had arrived in the island, took the first oppor- 
tunity of inviting his presumably hungry compatriot 
to the hospitality of the viceregal kitchen. While 
the two Bearnais were making themselves at home, 
M. de Marboeuf was heard approaching. To crown 
young Bernadotte with a white cap, and to introduce 
him as a kitchen assistant, was the work of a moment. 
The Governor appears to have accepted the situation ; 
and the young recruit learned that a cook's cap might 
be as convenient a headpiece in an emergency as a 
helmet or a crown." 

It is an interesting reflection that young Bernadotte 
was stationed for a year and a half in the same island, 
sometimes in the same town, as the Bonaparte 
family, who were destined to be so strangely 
mixed up with his career. His future brother-in- 
• Hans Kloeber, 14, quoting Wrangel. 

1 780-1782] A FURLOUGH AND A DUEL 17 

law, Joseph, and his future rival and sovereign, 
Napoleon, were at school, at Autun and Brienne 
respectively. Caroline and Jerome were not yet 
born. But Lucien, Eliza, Louis, and Pauline, who 
were to be his intimate friends in the dazzling days 
of the Consulate and of the Empire, were children 
living in the Bonaparte home at Ajaccio. Corsica 
was, unawares, the nursery and the resort of future 
kings and princesses. 

After a couple of years of garrison life in Corsica, 
young Bernadotte fell ill, and returned to Pau on 
furlough. Before leaving Corsica, he received his 
first promotion. On 20th May 1782 he became a 
grenadier. This means that he was placed in the 
grenadier or " crack " company of the regiment, to 
which the smartest men were transferred on the 
recommendation of their captains.( la ) 

He did not, while on furlough, allow his weapons 
to rust ; for he found time and health to fight a duel 
with swords, in the Bosquet des Cordeliers near Pau, 
with one Castaing, afterwards an officer of gendarmerie. 
We do not know the occasion, or the details, of the en- 
counter, except that Castaing received a severe wound." 

During this furlough the young recruit read the 
biographies of Cortes, and of two famous marshals, 
Catinat and Fabert i — books calculated to stimulate 
the ambition of a youth of his character and bent. 
Shortly before this period, the celebrated La Harpe 
had gained an academic prize for an essay on Catinat 's 
life; and the Marquis de Crequi had published his 
Memoirs. A Life of Fabert had appeared in 1779. 
If the life of Cortes was likely to encourage a spirit of 
adventure, those of Catinat and Fabert were, for a 
young French soldier, treasure-houses of the " fortitude 
" Hans Kloeber, 13, quoting Wrangel. * Lafosse, 36. 


1 8 CATINAT AND FABERT [chap, hi 

and wisdom " which Lord Morley has said are some of 
the fruits of well-directed reading. 

Catinat's life, on account of its beginning, was 
calculated to appeal to the imagination of the 
young Gascon, although he could not have foreseen 
its remarkable resemblance to all that lay before 
himself. Catinat, a lawyer's son, renounced his 
father's profession, enlisted in the ranks of the 
French army ; in due course won his commission 
as an officer ; and, after an honourable career, became 
Marshal of France. Fabert, who has been described 
as " le premier Marechal de France plebeien," was 
the son of a printer and publisher at Metz, who rose 
through all the ranks of the French army to the 
same coveted position. Albert Sorel says of Fabert 
that in the whole range of military biography there 
was no one more fit to inspire enthusiastic young 
soldiers with the traditions of " 1 'antique honneur 
francais."" Both these generals were as remarkable 
for prudence and good sense as for courage and 
sang-froid. Catinat was especially distinguished for 
his chivalrous conduct towards vanquished enemies 
and conquered territories. 

If Bernadotte arose from the study of the biog- 
raphies of these great captains with any ambition 
to emulate their achievements, it must have been a 
galling reflection for a man of his temperament that he 
could have no hope of realising such aspirations under 
the exclusive system which prevailed at that time. 

At the date of Bernadotte's enlistment, in 1780, 
he could, under the regulations then in force, have 
looked forward to reaching the rank of captain. But, 
when he returned home on furlough, there remained 
no glimmer of hope of promotion from the ranks for 
Sorel, ii. 541, 542. 

1 780-1784] A HOPELESS OUTLOOK 19 

a lawyer's son, however brave and talented he might 
be ; for in 1781 the edifice of aristocratic exclusiveness 
was crowned by certain ordinances introduced by the 
Marquis de Segur, the grandfather of Count Philippe 
de S£gur, which laid it down that no man, who did 
not possess four quarters of nobility, could be 
qualified to serve his country in any of the superior 
ranks of the French army. It was of this arbitrary 
code that Carlyle wrote : " By the law of the case, 
no man can pretend to be the pitifullest Lieutenant 
of Militia till he have first verified, to the satisfaction 
of the Lion King, a nobility of four generations.'" 2 

Napoleon at St. Helena referred to the upholders 
of this system as having been a chief cause of the 
Revolution, and remarked that most of the generals, 
of whose deeds France was so proud, had sprung from 
that very class of plebeians which was so much 
despised under the ancien regime. b 

This is one of the governing facts of Bernadotte's 
life. Nothing else contributed so directly to shape 
his attitude of mind towards public affairs. Nothing 
else offers an adequate explanation of some of the 
most interesting passages of his career. It was not by 
reading Montesquieu, Voltaire or Rousseau that men 
like Bernadotte became enthusiastic adherents of the 
cause of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, but by 
experiencing the humiliating injustices which were 
illustrated by the decrees of the Marquis de Segur. 
These glaring inequalities drove Massena, Oudinot, 
and other brave and competent soldiers out of the 
ranks of the King's army, leaving behind them many 
who were discouraged and resentful. It should 
always be remembered that, shortly after his enlist- 
ment, the door of entry to the rank of officer was 
" Carlyle, 311. * O'Meara, i. 219. 


slammed in Bernadotte's face, and that, until it was 
opened to him by the Revolution,( u ) he spent the most 
impressionable decade of his life under the ban, which 
the military law cast upon every soldier, whatever his 
merits might be, who could not point to four quarters 
of nobility. It was in reference to these ordinances, 
that the historian, Henri Martin, has said that 
" citizens and sergeants remembered the insult thus 
thrown at the middle class, when they joined hands 
under the walls of the Bastille." The memory of his 
hopeless outlook under the ancien regime supplies the 
key to Bernadotte's political attitude in later years, 
when he drifted into an alliance with the Jacobins,* 
rather than risk a return to the odious contrasts and 
discrepancies, which were associated with his recol- 
lection of the Monarchy/ 

" Chapter LXV., 401 et seq. 

b Note ( 1S ) in the Appendix relates to the subject-matter of 
this chapter. 


Corporal — Sergeant — Sergeant-Major — Non- 
commissioned Adjutant — In Garrison at 
Grenoble and Marseilles 

January 1785-ocTOBER 1788 

" If I become Sergeant-Major, as they lead me to hope, I shall 
receive at least thirty- two sols (halfpence) a day." — Bernadotte's 
letter to his brother, March 1786. 

The Regiment Royal-la-Marine left Corsica early in 
1784, disembarked at Toulon and proceeded to 
Grenoble by way of Brian con." 

Grenoble, the capital of the old province of 
Dauphiny, was a fortified town, situate near the 
frontiers of Switzerland and Savoy, within sight of 
the snow-clad summits of the Dauphiny Alps. It 
was a place, which treasured a traditional pride in its 
history and in its local institutions ; and was easily 
roused by an appeal to popular passions. In 1784, 
when the Regiment Royal-la-Marine formed part of its 
garrison, it was enjoying the calm which preceded the 
revolutionary storm. 

Books of more or less authority have stated that 
Bernadotte, in these early days, fought in America 
under Lafayette and Rochambeau ; while it has been 
still more frequently recorded that he served in India, 
and distinguished himself at the siege of Cuddalore. 
The latter story originated in a characteristic 
gasconade,( 13 ) in which, when a marshal, he was 
tempted to indulge during his administration in North 
Germany. There seems to be no foundation for any 
" Hans Kloeber, 12. 

22 CORPORAL— SERGEANT [chap, iv 

of these statements. He never served in America 
or in India. 

The French army had been reduced by about a 
half, and promotion was slow. Bernadotte obtained 
two steps in the year of his return to duty. On 
1 5th June 1 785 he became a corporal. On 3 1st August 
1785 he became a sergeant. A sergeant's pay was 
ten or eleven sous, or about sixpence a day. It had 
taken him five years to reach that rank. 

It was at Grenoble that Bernadotte had a narrow 
escape of being buried alive.' 1 In the course of a 
severe illness he fell into unconsciousness so complete 
that he was officially declared by the medical officer 
(who happened to be Elisee, afterwards physician to 
Louis xvni.) to be dead, and ordered to be removed 
to the Morgue. A young doctor named Millars, 
whether for the purpose of experiment or from a 
doubt as to his lifelessness, obtained leave to have 
him removed to his quarters, where he came to him- 
self. Bernadotte made enemies in the course of his 
career, who would not have been disposed to regard 
Doctor Millars as a public benefactor. 

The young sergeant's duties, anxieties, and hopes 
are expressed in the following letter to his brother. 
One characteristic phrase defies translation : — 

" My dear Brother, — I have received your 
letter. . . . They have made me several offers, which 
they have promised to take the first opportunity of 
effectuating. Following your advice, ' Je me jetterai 
a corps perdu sur les promesses qu'on ne cesse de 
faire. I look forward to some more settled position, 
because I must confess that my present condition is 
subject to many vicissitudes. In truth one enjoys 
but few moments to compensate one for the anxieties 
which the service exacts. Eight days ago I returned 
from Avignon, where I was sent on duty, in pursuit 

" Sarrans, 3, 4. 

1 785-1 786] SERGEANT-MAJOR 23 

of a young man of rank who had deserted from the 
regiment. I arrested him alone in the presence of 
nine soldiers of the Toulon Marines who were 
conducting him to their corps. I received the praise 
of the major of my regiment, and of all the officers. 
They have held out hopes that I shall receive a 
gratuity on the occasion of the Review. I have 
certainly earned it well. In three months I have 
effected three arrests. In two cases the fugitives 
were within half an hour of Chambery {i.e. the 
frontier). ... If I become Sergeant-Major, as they 
lead me to hope, I shall receive at least thirty-two 
sols (halfpence) a day. ... I am for life your 
devoted brother 

" Bernadotte, 
" Sergeant of Light Infantry. 
" Grenoble, gth March 1786. 

" Give my respects to my dear mother, and my 
love to my sister."" 

Bernadotte had to wait nearly two years before 
he attained the coveted rank of sergeant-major 
with its princely pay. In the meantime, he realised 
his wish to have a more settled post than that of 
sergeant. On 21st June 1786 he was appointed 
" fourrier ^crivant," or quarter - master. After 
serving as quarter-master for nearly two years, he 
was appointed sergeant-major on nth May 1788. 

Bernadotte now began to come into touch with 
the general unrest, which marked the years immedi- 
ately preceding the outbreak of the Revolution. 
Grenoble shared the prevailing inquietude, and was the 
scene of several local outbreaks, in the checking or 
quelling of which his regiment had to take a part. 

One of these emeutes created a tremendous stir 

at the time, and still holds a place as an historic 

episode in the annals of Dauphiny. A struggle 

between the royal authority and the local parlement 

MVrangel, S3 n. 

24 " THE DAY OF THE TILES " [chap, iv 

led to a riot (7th and 8th June 1788), in the course 
of which the troops of the garrison of Grenoble 
came into collision with the people, and were pelted 
with tiles from the roofs of the houses. On this 
account the occasion is commemorated under the 
name of La Journee des Tuiles (The Day of the 
Tiles), and has a literature and bibliography of its 
own. Bernadotte's name has been linked by tradition 
with one of the events of the day. An adjutant 
or ensign of the Royal-la-Marine Regiment with 
a patrol of four men was attacked and gave an 
order to fire, resulting in loss of life. The adjutant 
or ensign of the regiment, who gave the order to fire, 
was imprisoned. A legend sprang up that Bernadotte 
was the adjutant in question, or the fixer of the shot. 
Michelet, in his History of France, paints a dramatic 
word-picture of the future king exciting the indigna- 
tion of the mob by his " hooked nose and vulture-like 
visage," and receiving a box on the ear from a woman 
in the crowd. But this interesting passage, which 
has been followed by several subsequent writers, is 
dismissed by others as a flight of the popular historian's 
imagination. It has been pointed out that Bernadotte 
did not become adjutant until two years afterwards, 
and that a sergeant-major is not likely to have been 
one of a small patrol ; and it has been suggested that 
the story attached itself to Bernadotte, after he 
became king. The question of the authenticity of 
this tradition cannot be said to be settled .( 14 ) 

One result of the " Day of the Tiles " was to lead 
to a violent popular outcry against the governor of 
the city( 15 ) and against the Regiment Royal-la- 
Marine, and to a demand for its removal. The 
regiment appears to have departed from Grenoble in 
the following October for Vienne, and to have left the 

1 789-1790] A STRANGE RENCONTRE 25 

latter place in April 1789, arriving at Avignon the 
13th May 1789. Thence the first battalion, to which 
Bernadotte belonged, proceeded to Marseilles, arriving 
there on or before 6th September i789.( 16 ) 

It may have been on the arrival of the regi- 
ment at Marseilles in September 1 789 a that the 
incident occurred, which, to the end of her life, Queen 
Desiree of Sweden was fond of relating. She was 
the daughter of M. Francois Clary, a rich and pro- 
minent merchant of Irish descent, resident in Mar- 
seilles. Her chamberlain* has related the story in her 
own words : " One day a soldier presented himself 
with a requisition billeting him in our house at Mar- 
seilles. My father, who had no wish to be disturbed 
by the noise which soldiers usually make, politely 
sent him back with a letter to his colonel, requesting 
that an officer might be billeted on us instead of a 
soldier. The soldier who was sent back in this way 
was Bernadotte, who was afterwards to marry me and 
become a king." The date of this incident has not 
been very clearly identified. It is sometimes stated 
to have occurred in 1784, when the regiment returned 
from Corsica . The date, however, is of less importance 
than the remarkable coincidence of Bernadotte being 
billeted upon, and rejected by, the fastidious house- 
holder whose daughter he was destined to make a 
queen. The picture of the little Desiree seeing her 
future lord and king turned away as " an undesirable," 
is one of the many strange tableaux in the drama of 
Bernadotte 's life. 

Bernadotte was, on account of his handsome 

appearance, known as " Sergeant Belle-jambe." But, 

this nickname was not a badge of coxcombry or of 

inefficiency ; for, on 7th February 1 790, he was 

" Hans Kloeber, 18. * Desiree, par Hochschild, 2. 

26 " SERGEANT BELLE- JAMBE " [chap, iv 

appointed to the post of adjutant, which was the 
highest post to which a non-commissioned officer 
could attain, and was a position of importance, supply- 
ing the link between the officers and the lower ranks. 
On the occasion of an inspection of the garrison, the 
colonel of the Royal-la-Marine, according to custom, 
presented the adjutant to the inspecting general, the 
Marquis de Boutilliers, who, turning to the colonel, 
remarked, " If your adjutant is as smart as he looks, 
he is a credit to the regiment." " I can assure you," 
replied the colonel, " that his smart appearance is 
the least of his merits." Other officers who were 
standing by confirmed this opinion." 

Bernadotte, in spite of his non-commissioned rank, 
appears to have been recognised, and to have been 
treated as a gentleman, and to have enjoyed, to an 
unusual degree, the friendship of the officers. In his 
later career there is hardly any reference to his former 
fellow-soldiers, but there are many references to 
Royalist officers, to whom on several occasions he 
was in a position to render service. He proved a 
" friend in need " to M. de Vitrolles, to whom as a 
sergeant he had taught fencing, when the fencing- 
master had become a general and his aristocratic pupil 
an outlaw/ He took pleasure in belying the judgment 
of one of his captains, who had called the young Gascon 
" une mauvaise tete." Bernadotte, twenty years 
afterwards, when Marshal and Governor of Anspach, 
met the old captain and invited him to dinner. After 
dinner he reminded his former commander of their 
quarrel, and said, " Vousvoyezque malgre ma mauvaise 
t€te, je n'ai pas trop mal fait mon chemin." On 
another occasion we shall find Bernadotte, when 
Ambassador of France to the Austrian Court, 
"'Lafosse, 39. * Talleyrand, MSmoires, i. 138 (transl.), i. 105. 


displaying respect and deference towards a former 
colonel of his regiment, an imigrS and exile at 
Vienna ." When King of Sweden, he found an oppor- 
tunity of conferring a Swedish decoration upon Morard 
d'Arces, one of his old officers/ 

We find references to four colonels, or lieutenant- 
colonels, under whom Bernadotte served in the 
Royal-la-Marine — the Comte de Lons, the Marquis de 
Bethisy, the Marquis d'Ambert, and the Comte de 
Boulard. With the Marquis d'Ambert he was on 
terms of cordial friendship , and he twice ran serious 
risks to save Colonel d'Ambert's life. Barras, who 
was an unbeliever in disinterested friendship, suggests 
that Madame la Marquise d'Ambert took an interest 
in the handsome adjutant. But, a gossipy tale of 
that kind, depending solely on Barras' authority, does 
not deserve to have much weight attached to it. 

The first occasion upon which Bernadotte exerted 
himself to rescue his colonel will be related in the next 

" Chapter L. infra. b Pingaud, 413. 

' Notes ( 13 ) to ( le ) in the Appendix relate to the subject-matter 
of this chapter. 


The French Revolution — Bernadotte's Experi- 
ences at Marseilles and Lambesc 
february 1 79o-april i 792 

" The white cockade remains there until my military chiefs 
command me to change it." — Bernadotte's reply to a revo- 
lutionary crowd who call on him to remove the Royal emblem. 

"Monsieur l'adjutant vous irez loin." — Barbaroux to 
Bernadotte, 21st March 1790. 

The interval between Bernadotte's departure from 
Grenoble (October 1788) and his promotion, at 
Marseilles, to the rank of non-commissioned adjutant 
(February 1790), covered the momentous period, in 
which were enacted at Versailles and in Paris the 
opening scenes of the French Revolution. 

Bernadotte was far away from the metropolitan 
theatre in which this stupendous political drama 
was being unfolded. But, as the first non-com- 
missioned officer of a royal regiment, in a great 
provincial city, he found himself face to face with 
the visible signs of the breaking-up of the old order 
of things and of the springing up of the new. 

The young adjutant was placed in a situation 
which created a conflict between his political inclina- 
tions and his duty. He was a soldier of the King; 
but he could not fail to be attracted by the prospect, 
offered by the Revolution to a man of his birth and 
station, of that equality of opportunities, from the 
lack of which he and his class were the most un- 
deserving sufferers. The situation was a delicate one ; 

but his Gascon temperament carried him through the 


mar. 1790] THE TRICOLOR 29 

troubles of the time, without either hurt or dis- 

Of all the provincial cities, none were more 
deeply moved by the new ideas than Marseilles. The 
citizens, whom the adjutant of the Royal-la-Marine 
Regiment met and elbowed every day in the streets, 
were of the same grim fire and fibre as their towns- 
men, who, a little more than two years afterwards, 
marched to Paris under Barbaroux to the music of 
Rouget de Lisle 's celebrated hymn. 

One of the symptoms of public ferment was the 
display, almost everywhere and by almost everybody, 
of the popular badge of the new order of things, the 
national tricolored cockade. As the young adjutant, 
with some comrades, was walking along a crowded 
street, an excited gang of citizens presented him with 
a tricolor ribbon. He took it and fastened it to the 
hilt of his sword. They were not satisfied, and 
pointed to his hat, on which was the white cockade. 
Bernadotte exclaimed, " No; the white cockade re- 
mains there until my military chiefs command me to 
change it. A soldier cannot follow his feelings as you 
do. He must obey and observe discipline ; otherwise 
there is no guarantee for your defence or for that 
of the nation." His listeners, attracted by the force 
and the readiness of the reply, applauded ; and the 
adjutant and his companions were allowed to pass 
on." This story is characteristic of the peculiar power, 
which Bernadotte possessed, of presenting, on the spur 
of the moment, the point of view of Order and 
Obedience in terms so direct and so happy, as to 
catch the fancy and to win the assent of an undisci- 
plined crowd. 

Another incident was illustrative of the discordant 
" Lafosse, 40. 


relations which sprang up in 1790 between the old 
army and the new. After the fall of the Bastille, 
the municipality of Paris had instituted a civic force 
under the name of the National Guards ; and the other 
municipalities of France had followed the example. 
A huge municipal corps of National Guardsmen 
paraded and patrolled Marseilles, sharing the military 
duties of the place with the regular garrison, which 
comprised a few thousand royal troops. So wide was 
the divergence between the respective traditions and 
ideals of these two armies of occupation, as to 
render impossible any effective co-operation. There 
might have been a chance of unison among the rank 
and file. But an irreconcilable incompatibility of 
method and of temper sprang up between the new 
municipal militia and the aristocratic officers of the 
King's army, who, like so many of their caste, had 
forgotten nothing and had learnt nothing. 

These jarring elements were in hourly danger of 
breaking out in open quarrel ; and the hour struck 
when Colonel dAmbert returned suddenly, on the 
20th March 1 790, from a visit to Avignon, on account 
of the disturbed condition of Marseilles. He arrived 
at one of the city gates, known as the gate of Aix, at 
which there were two sentry-posts, one composed of 
regular troops, and the other of National Guards. 
Different versions of what ensued have been given. 
The following is the account, which was adopted by 
the report of a committee of the National Assembly." 

When the colonel arrived at the city gate, the 
sentry stopped his carriage, and asked for the names of 
the occupants. " That is no business of yours," was 

" The Tiers Etat, in June 1789, declared itself the National 
Assembly, which, on account of its powers, was also known as the 
Constituent Assembly. 


the reply. " I am a soldier of the National Guards," 
said the sentry, " and am executing my instructions." 
" Who are the National Guards ? I don't know them!" 
exclaimed the colonel, and ordered his coachman to 
drive on. After some further parley, a captain 
came forward, and said that the stranger should 
give his name instead of getting into a rage. 
" Who are you who ask my name? " said the colonel. 
" I am a captain of the National Guards," was the 
reply. " You have no uniform," said d'Ambert. "I 
don't know you in that grey costume and those 
feathers." He then appealed to the regular guard, 
who identified him as the colonel of the Royal-la- 
Marine Regiment. The colonel is said to have 
proceeded to call the National Guards canaille ; to 
have challenged them to combat in the plain of St. 
Michael, near Marseilles ; and to have declared that, 
with one company of his troops, he would wipe out their 
whole corps, adding that they might take that message 
to the mayor and to the municipality.' 1 The officers 
of the National Guards at once reported their version 
of the matter to the civic authorities, who resolved to 
make it the ground for a petition to the Government 
for the removal of the regular troops from the city. 

It is just to Colonel d'Ambert to say that he is 
elsewhere represented as having acted, throughout the 
entire transaction, with dignity and courtesy/ A 
different story was, however, told and believed ; and 
the news spread like wildfire, that the colonel of the 
Royal-la-Marine had insulted the National Guards, 
and had threatened to lead the regular troops against 
the citizens. Nothing could have been more calcu- 
lated to inflame the public mind. Popular feeling 
was rapidly roused against the regular troops, and in 
a Moniteur, 29th March 1790. * Lafosse, 41. 


particular against the Regiment Royal-la-Marine and 
its colonel. 

On the following morning, 21st March, Bernadotte 
volunteered to go, at the head of other non-commis- 
sioned officers of the regiment, to the City Hall, 
to make peace, on behalf of the colonel and of the 
regiment, with the municipality. 

It is not easy to disentangle the details of the 
turbulent scene which ensued. It would appear that 
Bernadotte addressed the city fathers and the popu- 
lace, and had succeeded in bringing about a fraternisa- 
tion with the National Guards, when the colonel himself 
was heard approaching the City Hall, surrounded by 
a crowd, who were threatening to hang him to the 
nearest lamp-post. 

Bernadotte went to the colonel's assistance and 
extricated him from his assailants. Then, having 
collected his comrades, he addressed the crowd, 
and fastened their attention by his striking 
appearance and ringing voice. " Citizens of Mar- 
seilles," he said, " surely you do not wish to stain 
the honour of your city by an assassination. If the 
colonel has done wrong, let the law, of which your 
magistrates are the guardians, judge him. If, how- 
ever, you attempt any illegal violence against him, 
it shall be over the dead bodies of myself and my 
comrades.'" 1 This speech won its cause. The colonel 
was rescued, and conveyed into the City Hall, where 
the municipal authorities decided to submit to the 
Government the question of his custody and mode 
of trial, and, in the meantime, to make themselves 
responsible for his safety. 

The decision of the municipal authorities was 
communicated to the crowd by a remarkable man, 
" Lafosse, 43. 


who happened to be one of the city officials. This 
was Barbaroux, whom Carlyle has described as the 
" young Spartan ripe in energy, not ripe in wisdom, 
over whose black doom there shall float nevertheless 
a certain ruddy fervour, streaks of bright Southern 
tint not wholly swallowed of death."" Later on, he 
became noted as one of the orators of the ill-fated 
Girondist party. 

Barbaroux came forward, and, grasping Berna- 
dotte's hand, said, " Monsieur l'Adjutant, you will 
go far ; and I predict that, if circumstances are 
only favourable, you will have a glorious future." 
Another witness has recorded his impressions of the 
scene. Nearly thirty years afterwards, when Berna- 
dotte was King of Sweden, a citizen of Marseilles, 
M. Ricard d'Allaux, recalled the incident, at which 
he had been present, and claimed to have, no less 
than Barbaroux, predicted great things for the young 

Although the colonel had escaped from the mob, 
his danger was by no means past . He was detained 
in the City Hall, pending the reference of his case to 
the National Assembly ; and he ran a serious risk of 
being misrepresented to, and sacrificed by, the popular 
Government of the day. The case might go against 
him by default, and without his being heard. In 
view of this fresh source of danger, Bernadotte and 
his comrades took a somewhat daring course. They 
resolved to address the National Assembly on their 
colonel's behalf. But how were a group of non- 
commissioned officers in Marseilles to reach the ears 
of an Assembly sitting far away in Paris, or to catch 
the eye of its President ? Gascon resourcefulness was 
equal to the occasion. It had been announced that 
" Carlyle, 433. b Lafosse, 44, 45. 


34 "L'AFFAIRE D'AMBERT" [chap, v 

the municipality of Marseilles had decided to 
transmit, by special courier, a message to the 
National Assembly, asking for directions as to the 
tribunal, before which Colonel d'Ambert should 
be brought, and pressing for the removal of the 
regular troops from Marseilles. The non-com- 
missioned officers succeeded in sending by the same 
special courier a memorial in defence of the colonel, 
with a covering letter to the President of the 
National Assembly, written by Bernadotte and signed 
by them all. 

The scene now changes to Paris, where the 
question of the affaire d'Ambert was brought before 
the National Assembly at their morning sitting 
on Saturday, 27th March, by M. de Castallanet, 
one of the deputies of Marseilles, and was referred by 
the Assembly to a committee, which was directed 
to report on it to the evening sitting. A report of 
the morning debate on the affair is to be found in the 
journals of the day." M. de Castallanet, in describing 
the incident, referred to the visit of the non-com- 
missioned officers to the City Hall, and to the applause 
with which their declaration, of which Bernadotte 
had been the spokesman, was received. It appears, 
from the report of the debate in the Moniteur, that 
the President of the National Assembly announced 
that he had received a memorial by the same courier, 
representing that the colonel had come to the City 
Hall for the purpose of making reparation for what 
had occurred. 

The covering letter of the memorial is interesting, 
for it is the first of the many documents of State 
which issued from Bernadotte's resourceful mind and 
ready pen. It runs as follows : — 

" e.g. Moniteur, 28th March 1790. 


" The non-commissioned officers of the Regiment 
Royal-la-Marine have the honour to address to you 
an accurate account of the unhappy occurrence which 
has befallen their colonel on the occasion of his arrival 
in the city. It contains the exact truth as regards 
those events, and as regards his detention in the City 
Hall, where he had gone in order to support the 
declaration which his non-commissioned officers had 
just made to make clear to the people their ardent 
wishes for union and peace. . . . We beg of you, 
M. le President, and we dare to hope from your 
kindness and goodness, that you will suspend all 
judgment until the reports have reached you from 
both sides. We have the honour to be, M. le President, 
your very humble and obedient servants, the non- 
commissioned officers of the Regiment Royal-la- 
Marine. — Bernadotte, Adjutant." Then follow the 
other signatures, twelve in all." 

The discussion of the d Ambert affair was resumed 
at the evening sitting of the Assembly, when the 
report of the Committee was presented. A short 
debate ensued/ which was rendered interesting by 
the intervention of the celebrated Mirabeau, who 
supported the Committee's recommendation that 
Colonel d Ambert should be handed over to the local 
tribunal. The Assembly, however, rejected this 
advice, and adopted an amendment which was 
moved by the Marseilles deputy, leaving it to the 
King to decide what tribunal should try the colonel. 

In this way Colonel d Ambert 's life was saved 
from the grip of the Revolution, which he so feebly 
understood. But it was only a reprieve. He 
was executed, eight years afterwards, as a returned 
emigre ; and the influence of Bernadotte, then a general 
Wrangel, 69, 70. s Moniteur, 29th March, 1790. 


and ex-ambassador, was again — but on that occasion 
not successfully — exerted to save him." 

The Regiment Royal-la-Marine left Marseilles on 
21st April 1790, a few weeks after the d'Ambert 
trouble ; and the first battalion proceeded to Lambesc, 
where a new phase of the revolution exhibited itself. 
At Marseilles the evil had been traceable to the quarrels, 
which sprang up between the old army and the new. 
At Lambesc the fever of revolt began to attack the 
non-commissioned officers and men of the old army. 
The Royal-la-Marine Regiment caught the spreading 
infection/ and initiated a regimental revolution in 
accordance with what they understood to be the 
spirit of the age. 

In the church at Lambesc, which had been con- 
verted into a barrack, the rank and file of the 
regiment proposed to elect the senior non-com- 
missioned officer, Adjutant Bernadotte, to be colonel 
of the regiment. Bernadotte suited his action to the 
place. He mounted the pulpit, and having thanked 
his fellow-soldiers for the expression of their con- 
fidence, persuaded them to return to the path of 
discipline and obedience. This was one of the 
incidents of his early career which, when King of 
Sweden, he was fond of recalling. 

From Lambesc the regiment was in June trans- 
ferred to the island of Oleron, on the western coast ; 
from Oleron to Rochefort on the mainland ; and after- 
wards to the adjacent island of Re, where it remained 
until the spring of 1792. One of the few memorials 
of this period of Bernadotte 's life is his signature to 
the registration of a marriage which took place, on 
1 5th November 1 79 1 , between the bandmaster and the 

" Chapter LIII. infra. 

b Monitew, 12th and 14th June, nth July 1790. 

1790-1792] A WAR-CLOUD 37 

vivandiere of the Royal-la-Marine Regiment, from 
which it appears that this presumably well-matched 
pair were honoured by the presence at their wedding 
of His future Majesty of Sweden. 

The Revolution had, during this period of nearly 
two years , forged ahead of all the plans and expecta- 
tions of its creators. The National Assembly had 
come to an end, after demolishing the whole structure 
of French society and government. The Legislative 
Assembly had taken its place with a majority which 
was really, if not outspokenly, Republican. The King 
had tried to escape, and had been brought back to 
his palace-prison. Thenceforward it mattered little 
whether he vetoed or accepted the violent measures 
of the Assembly. Quacunque via, he was journeying 
towards the scaffold. Bernadotte, during this fateful 
period, was doing regimental duty on the western 
coast. Meanwhile a new cloud appeared on the 
national horizon. Hitherto France had been only 
harassed by internal troubles ; now she was menaced 
by the calamity of a war, which was to open the door 
to his marvellous career. 


After Eleven Years in the Ranks, Bernadotte 
becomes Lieutenant in the 36TH Regiment 

NOVEMBER 1791-APRIL 1 792 

" I have only time to tell you that I have been appointed 
Lieutenant in the 36th Regiment. ... I have the happiness to 
owe my promotion to my conduct and to my country." — 
Extract from Bernadotte 's letter to his brother, dated 3rd April 

During the winter of 1 791-1792 Bernadotte remained 
in the Isle de Re as non-commissioned adjutant. 
One of the military reforms of this revolutionary era 
was to abolish the old regimental names ; and under 
the new regulations the Royal-la-Marine Regiment 
became the 60th Regiment of Infantry. Another 
result of the Revolution was to open the door of 
promotion to efficient non-commissioned officers. 
Under the new military law, a certain proportion of 
the lieutenants and sub-lieutenants were elected by 
the votes of the regimental officers, while the rest 
were appointed directly by the Minister of War. 

Early in 1792 a sub-lieutenancy had to be 
filled up by the votes of the officers of the corps. 
Bernadotte, being the principal non-commissioned 
officer of the regiment, had every reason to expect 
that he would be elected ; but he failed to obtain 
a majority of the votes. He did not remain silent 
or quiescent under this rebuff, as is shown by the 
following letter written to his brother on 23rd 
February 1 792 : — 

" You certainly have reason to complain, my 
dear brother, of my neglect to answer your letter, 



which would be indeed inexcusable if I had not 
only too many reasons to offer for my justification. 
(He then speaks of a severe attack of rheumatism 
which confines him to bed.) . . . There has been an 
election to a sub-lieutenancy for which I failed to 
obtain a majority of votes. A sergeant-major, a 
gentleman whom I myself promoted to the rank, 
obtained more votes than I did. Nevertheless, all 
the officers expressed to me their regret at having 
had to yield to certain considerations, and assured 
me that, in the promotion which must soon take 
place, I shall have the first choice of employment. 
I have not been deluded by these empty promises, 
and I have not allowed them to ignore the injustice 
which they have done me . I have put forward the good 
order and discipline of the 1st battalion, which is 
the result of my personal work. Without any 
bitterness I reproached some of these gentlemen 
with their ingratitude. The dangers and risks 
which I have run on their account were not forgotten. 
The commanding officer and senior captains united 
in assuring me that the result was contrary to their 
votes. They positively declared that I shall be 
included in the promotions which will be made at an 
early date. Adieu, my dear brother. . . . To cease 
to love you, I must cease to live. 

"J. B. Bernadotte. 

" St. Martin, Island of Re, 
" 23rd February 1792." " 

A few weeks after this disappointment, another 
vacancy occurred among the sub-lieutenants, to which 
the officers unanimously nominated Bernadotte ; and 
the colonel was about to appoint him adjutant-major 
of the regiment, when a commission came from 
another quarter. On 26th March the Minister for 
War appointed Bernadotte to a lieutenancy in the 
36th Regiment, previously the Regiment of Anjou. 
On 31st March the colonel wrote to Bernadotte 
" Wrangel, 74, 75, 


informing him of his appointment, which was ante- 
dated to 9th November 1791, and adding — 

" I regret, sir, that this event compels you to leave 
the 60th Regiment, where your zeal for the good of 
the service has been turned to the advantage of 
the State, and has won for you the esteem of the 
whole corps. They had unanimously chosen you 
for a sub-lieutenancy, and I had hoped to immediately 
appoint you adjutant-major. Console yourself, sir, 
with the confident assurance that, when your new 
chiefs have time to know your merits, they will un- 
doubtedly choose you for that position. 

" Colonel of the 60th Regiment, 

" Boulard." 

On 3rd April Bernadotte wrote to his brother : — 

" I have only time to inform you that I have 
been appointed lieutenant in the 36th Regiment, 
formerly known as the Regiment of Anjou, which is 
quartered at St. Servan. I enclose a copy of the 
letter which I have just received from our Colonel. 
It will let you know that, in spite of the Minister's 
good intentions towards me, I suffer a serious loss 
in having to leave the 60th Regiment, in which I 
have learnt the first elements of the military pro- 
fession, and had hoped to spend an agreeable career 
awaiting my promotion to the rank of captain. 
Nevertheless, I render a willing obedience to the 
order which I have received ; and I have the happi- 
ness to owe my promotion to my conduct and to my 
country. . . . Believe me, I beg of you, for life your 
dear brother and friend, 

" Jean Bernadotte, Adjutant. 
" St. Martin, Island de Re, 
" 3rd April 1792."" 

The shut door which had barred Bernadotte 's 
career was open at last. He had been nearly eleven 
years in the ranks, and had passed through every 
" Wrangel, 77. 

Bernadotte, Soldier of King Louis XVI. 

To face page 40. 


non-commissioned grade. Few of the distinguished 
soldiers of his day won their epaulettes after a longer 
apprenticeship. Only two of Napoleon's marshals 
could make that claim. Marshal Lefebvre served for 
nearly sixteen years in the ranks of the Gardes 
Francaises. It is on that account that he is some- 
times alluded to as " le vieux Garde Francais." 
Marshal Massena spent about fourteen years as a 
soldier or non-commissioned officer in the Royal 
Italian Regiment. Six other marshals of the Empire 
began as " rankers " in the royal army — namely, 
Murat, Victor, Jourdan, Oudinot, Soult, and Ney ; 
but their periods of service, as such, were shorter 
than Bernadotte's. 

When Bernadotte became King of Sweden, he 
delighted in recalling his experiences in the ranks ; 
and many an anecdote, told by him in his palace at 
Stockholm, was introduced with the words, " Lorsque 
j'etais sergent," or " A cette epoque je venais d'etre 
nomme ofhcier." Yet it was the least adventurous 
stage of his life. It had taken him more than ten 
years to win a commission. In less than twenty years 
he was to find himself on the steps of a throne. 




" La Republique, c'etait la guerre nationale, et l'avancement 
ouvert a tous." — Albert Sorel. 

" The bright side of the Revolutionary army was the passionate 
patriotism of the volunteers. Its dark side was their mutinous 
indiscipline." — Infra, p. 47. 





VII. The Outbreak of the Wars of the Revolution — 
Lieutenant Bernadotte's Comments on the 
Assassination of General Dillon . . 45 

VIII. Bernadotte sent to the Front — He learns 

" the Precious Worth of Liberty " . 50 

IX. General Custine's First Campaign . -S3 

X. General Custine's Second Campaign, and 

Execution . . . . -56 

XI. Bernadotte serves under General Beauharnais, 

and becomes Captain . . .62 

XII. Bernadotte becomes Lieutenant-Colonel and 
serves at Hondschoote under Houchard — 
The Death of Houchard — The Death of the 
Queen . . . . . .68 

XIII. Bernadotte becomes Lieutenant-Colonel — 

" Jupiter Stator des Mutins " . -73 

XIV. Kleber, Marceau, and Bernadotte . . 78 
XV. Bernadotte and St. Just — Bernadotte refuses 

Promotion to the Rank of General, which 
is offered to him by St. Just . . 82 

XVI. The Campaign on the Sambre in May and June 

1794 • • • . . .89 

XVII. The Battle of Fleurus . . . .92 


The Theatre of War in Germany, 1792-1799 . . 52 


Two Phases of the Revolutionary Army in 1792 
General Custine and General Houchard 
General Kleber ..... 

St. Just .... . 

The Battle of Fleurus .... 




The Outbreak of the Wars of the Revolution — 
Lieutenant Bernadotte's Comments on the 
Assassination of General Dillon 

april-may 1792 

" The limits of France are defined by Nature. We shall 
reach them at four points— the ocean, the banks of the Rhine, 
the Alps, and the Pyrenees." — Danton. 

" Nature has fixed the Rhine as a frontier of France." — 
Catchword of the French Revolution. 

" My honour and my duty shall always be my guiding motives 
. . . believe me I shall always follow the call of my conscience." 
— Extract from Bernadotte's letter to his brother, 6th May 1792. 

Bernadotte, having obtained his commission as 
lieutenant in the 36th Regiment, bade farewell to 
the officers and men of the 60th, and arrived at 
St. Servan in Brittany, where his new regiment was 
stationed, at the end of April or beginning of May. 

Thischange in the young Gascon's rank andregiment 
coincided with the declaration, on 20th April 1792, of 
the war, which, in one shape or another, continued 
almost unbrokenly, until the fall of Napoleon. We 
shall better understand both his career, and the 
military theatre, in which he played his part, if we 
remind ourselves of the causes of the first outbreak 
of hostilities and of their long continuance. The 
immediate casus belli was, as often happens, compara- 
tively trivial ; but there were wider and deeper 
differences of aim and of ideals between France and 
Europe, which explain the fact that the war-dogs, 
which were unleashed in April 1792, were not re- 
kennelled until after the lapse of twenty-three years. 


46 THE CAUSES OF WAR [chap, vii 

The immediate pretexts of quarrel were two- 
fold, namely, the abolition by the French Govern- 
ment of certain feudal privileges enjoyed in Alsace 
and Lorraine by a group of German princelings, and 
the hospitality and protection extended in Germany 
to French emigres. But, behind these transient 
pretexts was a real and enduring cause of war — 
namely, the aggressive foreign policy which became 
an outstanding feature of the French Revolution. 

The Assembly, in the early stages of the Revolu- 
tion, had renounced all idea of conquest, and had 
proclaimed an era of universal peace and brother- 
hood. But these delusive dreams were soon dispelled 
by the force of circumstances and by the elation of 
national sentiment. The leaders of opinion became 
interested in fanning the flame of war ; and it was 
fanned by the popular phrases, of which the revolu- 
tionary lexicon contained an inexhaustible store. 

Among the favourite catchwords of the time, few, 
if any, had more influence upon the external relations 
of France than the phrase " Natural Boundaries." It 
embodied the doctrine that France should be bounded 
by seas, mountains, and rivers. It voiced a national 
aspiration ; summed up an attractive foreign policy, 
which could be understood by every man in the street 
and by every soldier in the ranks ; and turned a 
war of conquest into a crusade. Danton raised a 
battle-cry, which appealed less to territorial greed, 
than to patriotic faith and conviction, when he 
declared : " The limits of France are denned by 
Nature. We shall reach them at four points — the 
ocean, the banks of the Rhine, the Alps, and the 

Of the four points, which Danton declared to be 
" Sorel, ii. 279. 


natural boundaries of France, the Rhine was the one 
for which Bernadotte was now called upon to fight. 
For the next four years we shall find him engaged in 
a succession of wars, some offensive and some defensive, 
sometimes in the Netherlands and sometimes in 
Germany, but all waged for the purpose of winning 
and holding the Rhine as a boundary of France. 

Bernadotte had hardly reported himself at St. 
Servan, when the news arrived of a serious disaster 
on the northern frontier. The French had invaded 
the Austrian Netherlands, and had been repulsed, on 
29th April, at Mons and at Lille. At the latter place 
the troops threw the blame upon their commander, 
General Theobald Dillon, one of two gallant brothers 
of Irish descent, and accused him of treason. The 
charge was utterly unfounded ; but the general was 
unable to cope with the emergency. Before order 
could be restored or justice could be vindicated, the 
soldiers and the mob of Lille inflicted upon him 
what they were pleased to call the " punishment " of 
death, and sent him summarily to his last account f 

The tragical death of General Dillon is referred 
to in a letter which the young lieutenant wrote to 
his brother on the 6th of May. The letter emphasises 
both the bright side and the dark side of the 
Revolutionary army. Its bright side was the 
passionate patriotism of the volunteers. Its dark 
side was their mutinous indiscipline. He writes on 
6th May : — 

" Before leaving La Rochelle I received the letter 
which you did me the honour and favour of writing 
to me. I perceived in it a fresh proof of your affection 
for me. I was not surprised, because I knew how 
tender-hearted and kind you are. . . . 

" Cf. Victoires, Conqu&tes, i. 9; Lahure, 15, 16. 


" You know, I suppose, that the fortune of war 
has been against us in an opening engagement, near 
Mons. It is said that M. Dillon has paid with his 
life for either his inexperience or his treachery. I 
express neither blame nor approval of M. Dillon's 
conduct. Until I am better informed, I suspend 
my judgment upon an incident, which may bring 
in its train the greatest misfortunes. Unless the 
Government bestirs itself to obviate the incalculable 
evils which licence and frenzy carry in their train, 
punishments of this kind, which troops may claim 
the right to inflict on their chiefs, may deprive us of 
good generals as well as of bad ones. If the French 
officers are deficient in energy and courage, I see no 
resource that can save the army from destruction. 
Having been a soldier since my boyhood, I know the 
errors and follies, of which soldiers are capable. I 
also know something of the way in which their affec- 
tion and respect can be won, when it is not too late 
to recall them to their duty. But, unfortunately, 
those, who are entrusted with the highest command, 
either dare not, or will not, show themselves in critical 

He proceeds in the same letter to discuss the 
question of his regimental prospects, and concludes 
by making a declaration as to the rules of life in 
obedience to which he intended to shape his conduct. 

" Whatever happens, I shall not desert my post ; 
and my honour and my duty shall always be my 
guiding motives. . . . Farewell, my dear brother. 
I beg of you to express to my dear mother and 
sister my affectionate feelings for them. Embrace 
them for me. . . . Receive my affectionate regards, 
and believe me that I shall always follow the call of 
my conscience (le cri de mon conscience)." 

There is no reason to suppose that the writer of 

this intimate letter was posing, or that he was 

indulging in affected heroics, when he assured his 

brother that he would always be guided by lofty 

• Wrangel, 84-86. 


The Volu.viv.ers ok 1792. 
After a picture in the Gallery at I "ersailles. 

The Assassination of General Dillon, April 1792. 
After the picture by Prieur. 

" The revolutionary army had its bright side and its dark side. Its bright side was in the 
passionate patriotism of the volunteers. Its dark side was their mutinous indiscipline " (p. 47). 

To face page 48. 


motives, and that he would follow the call of his con- 
science. We shall find this phrase, cri de conscience, 
recurring more than once in Bernadotte's correspond- 
ence.' 1 It is characteristic of the Gascon point of 
view, that the word " cri " should be applied to what 
we are in the habit of referring to as "a still small 
voice." But, although there was in this letter a touch 
of racial emotionalism, is there any reason to doubt 
that this young officer sincerely regarded his new rank 
as a post of duty and of honour ? 

The defeat of the French invaders at Mons, and 
the death of General Dillon under a charge of treachery, 
helped materially to aggravate the growing spirit of 
military insubordination and popular distrust. The 
army suspected their aristocratic generals. The 
unfortunate King and Queen were drifting into a 
hopelessly false position, because France was being 
invaded for the ostensible purpose of rescuing them 
from their own ministers and from their own subjects. 
Thenceforward the course of events in the capital 
moved more swiftly to their inevitable catastrophe. 
" Chapter XLV., page 266; and Chapter LXVIIL, page 366. 


Bernadotte sent to the Front — He learns 
"the Precious Worth of Liberty" 

july-september i 792 

" I hope soon to be captain. I am at present the fourth lieu- 
tenant. But these reflections do not please me so much as 
the thought of Liberty, of which I know to-day the precious 
worth." — Extract from letter of Bernadotte to his brother, 
20th July 1792. 

The 36th Regiment started from St. Servan, for 
service at the front, on 15th July 1792 ; a and on 20th 
July were at Mayenne, where Bernadotte wrote the 
following letter to his brother : — 

" My dear Brother, — I have been since the 
15th instant on the march to join the army of the 
north. Cambrai is the point where several regiments 
are to muster ; and the 36th Regiment is due there 
on the 6th proximo. Although my health is not yet 
re-established ... I am delighted to enter upon active 
service, and to fight for such a righteous cause. I 
have the good fortune to be in a regiment which is 
not divided. Discipline is regularly observed, and 
the purest patriotism animates them. I hope soon to 
be captain. I am at present the fourth lieutenant. 
But these reflections do not please me so much as the 
thought of Liberty, of which I know to-day the precious 
worth. I do not know, my dear brother, whether I 
shall ever see you again. . . . Perhaps I shall swell 
the number of brave men who have perished in 
defence of their country. Take charge of a thousand 
embraces for my dear mother and sister, and accept 
the friendship of a brother, who loves you beyond 
the power of words, and who will always be worthy 
of belonging to you. 

" J. B. Bernadotte, 
" Lieutenant of 36th Regt. Infty. 

" Mayenne, 20th July 1792." l 

" Hans Kloeber, 27. * Wrangel, 87, 88. 


This letter reflects Bernadotte's outlook at this 
point of his career. He was in his thirtieth year. 
He had just won his commission on his merits from 
the Minister of War, when he was about to receive it 
from the unanimous vote of the officers of his regiment. 
He had passed through every non-commissioned rank, 
and knew every detail of the routine and practice of 
his profession. He had lived under a regime, which 
excluded him from all hope of promotion ; and he 
had served it loyally, risking his life, spending his 
popularity, and exerting his presence of mind to 
protect his colonel and officers. 

The exclusive system was gone, and with it had 
passed away what was for men like him the galling 
bondage of an artificial serfdom. " The thought of 
Liberty, of which I know to-day the precious worth." 
That sentence in his letter of 20th July summed up 
his political creed. The word liberty was on every- 
one's lips in 1792, and was soiled by much ignoble 
use. It has been truly said that its worshippers 
" deified the name and proscribed the thing." But 
the word rang true in the ears of emancipated citizen- 
soldiers like Bernadotte. The Revolution carried to 
them an inspiring message, by calling upon them to 
fight for the independence of the nation, and by 
promising them all the advancement, of which they 
might prove themselves worthy. They responded to 
that message, in the spirit of this letter, and entered 
upon the wars of the Revolution, animated by 
patriotic ardour, and fired by the fresh fascination of 
an unfettered future. 

When the 36th Regiment reached Cambrai, they 
were directed to join the army of General Custine on 
the frontiers of Alsace. 

During the summer months the Revolution had 


ripened with rapidity ; and the war, after a brief lull, 
had broken out again. It was the period of Danton's 
ascendancy. The Prussians published a violent and 
ill-conceived proclamation which was intended to 
intimidate, but only served to exasperate, the 
Revolutionary forces of Paris. They invaded France 
and were repulsed at Valmy, after Danton had flung 
at them his passionate declaration of foreign policy : 
" II nous faut de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, 
et toujours de l'audace." ° Meanwhile, the storming 
of the Tuileries, the suspension of the King, the 
imprisonment of the Royal Family, and the horrors 
of the September Massacres, marked the downfall of 
the Monarchy and the enthronement of Anarchy. 

Bernadotte had no influence upon, or part in, the 
political events of 1792. While they were being en- 
acted in Paris, he was a lieutenant marching with 
his regiment from Brittany to the Rhine. He is free 
from responsibility for events, which he did not even 
witness, as Bonaparte did, and could, no more than 
Bonaparte, prevent or mitigate. 

" Sorel, ii. 33. 



General Custine's First Campaign" 
september i 792-february i 793 

" Le General Moustache." — Custine's nickname in the army. 

Bernadotte now became a subaltern officer in the 
army of General Custine, whose remarkable per- 
sonality deserves more than a mere passing reference/ 
General Count Adam- Philippe de Custine de 
Sarrack — such was his full nomenclature — was an 
aristocrat, who had, under the old regime, enjoyed to 
the full the peculiar rights of the privileged class to 
which he belonged. The pace of his advancement may 
be contrasted with that of a bourgeois soldier like 
Bernadotte. He obtained a lieutenant's commission 
at the tender age of seven, and received his baptism 
of fire at the age of eight. At the age of twenty- three 
he stepped into the command of a regiment of 
dragoons, which was called, after their youthful 
commander, the Custine Dragoons. He served with 
distinction in the American War of Independence, 
and was fond of boasting that he had fought in two 
hemispheres, under Maurice de Saxe and under 
Washington. Elected in 1789 by the nobility of his 
province as a Deputy to the States-General, he 
plunged with enthusiasm into the vortex of the 
French Revolution, and espoused all its theories, 
without knowing what they meant, until he learnt 
the grim lesson, four years afterwards, from the 
public executioner. In the meantime, the emigration 
of his own class had cleared his way to rapid promotion, 
and had raised him to the command of the army, 

" See p. 61 infra, n. ' Les Franfais sur le Rhin, 177, 178. 


54 "GENERAL MOUSTACHE" [chap, ix 

which Bernadotte's regiment had been sent to rein- 
force. His portrait explains the nickname of " General 
Moustache," by which he was generally known." 

The 36th Regiment joined Custine's army at 
Weissenburg about the 22nd September, and crossed 
the Alsatian frontier on the 29th. A campaign of 
three weeks resulted in the capture of the three great 
Rhenish cities of Spires, Worms, and Mainz, and in 
making the Rhine the boundary of France as far as 
Bingen. Bernadotte was present at the taking of Spires 
and Mainz. After the capitulation of Mainz (21st 
October) his battalion was sent to garrison Bingen, 
the northern outpost on the Rhine. 

After the taking of the Rhenish cities, General 
Custine made a serious blunder. Instead of being 
content to confine his operations to the western bank 
of the Rhine, he sent a detachment into Germany, 
which took Frankfort by surprise. The rashness of 
this raid was soon made apparent. The Germans 
quickly collected themselves, retook Frankfort, and 
drove the French back again behind the Rhine. Such 
was Custine's first campaign. His invasion of Ger- 
many had miscarried. But he retained the three 
Rhenish cities, and the Rhine remained the frontier 
of France from Lauterburg to Bingen. It suited the 
politicians in Paris to magnify his achievements. His 
admirers dubbed him Germanicus ; and he became the 
protege of Danton, and the military hero of the hour. 

Bernadotte's battalion did not take part in the raid 
on Frankfort, but remained at Bingen, where he was 
given his first independent command. He led a foray 
and captured a rich convoy . The best proof of his having 
done his duty in the campaign is afforded by the fact 
that he was on the 30th November appointed adjutant - 
" V Expedition de Custine, 33 et seq. 

jan .-feb. 1793] THE KING'S EXECUTION 55 

major of the regiment . He was also made adjutant of the 
garrison of Bingen. He gives an account of his duties 
and of his outlook in the following letter to his brother :— 

" I have received, my dear brother, the letter 
which you were so kind as to write to me. I was 
uneasy on your account, and on that of my dear 
mother and sister. ... I am grateful for the good 
advice which you have given me. ... I shall avail 
myself of it by always regarding it as an obligation 
of duty to obey the sentiments, with which you have 
inspired me. . . . The proximity of the Prussians, 
who passed the Rhine on the day before yesterday, 
serves to rouse my spirits. I am discharging the 
duties of garrison adjutant at Bingen. In addition to 
my special functions as adjutant-major of my regiment, 
the superintendence of the boats on the left bank 
of the Rhine has been entrusted to me. You can 
see that I have no time to spare. I expect that 
within two or three days we shall be in grips with 
' Messieurs les stipendiaries.' I am delighted, because, 
although I was present at the taking of Spires and 
Mainz, I did not see the enemy at close quarters. 
However, I took part in the operations, and also 
as commandant, although only a subaltern, at the 
taking of a convoy. Give my love to my sister and 
my respects to my mother. Farewell. I write in 
haste. I embrace you all. 

" J. Bernadotte, Adjutant. 

" Bingen, 20th Feb. 1793." " 

A few weeks before the writing of this letter, the 
news of the execution of the King had reached the 
army. Ignorance or prejudice has led some writers to 
say of Bernadotte, after he became a king, that he had 
been a regicide. Few men of the time could offer a 
better alibi to such a charge. During the whole of 
the events which led up to, and culminated in, the 
death of the King, Bernadotte was serving with his 
regiment on the Rhine frontier. 

" Wrangel, 89, 90. 


Custine's Second Campaign, and Execution 
march-may 1 793 

" All the officers congratulate me on my zeal and success. The 
soldiers speak of me with enthusiasm. But everything stops there, 
because nobody informed the commander-in-chief of my con- 
duct. The actions of subalterns often remain unnoticed, while 
the mistakes of commanders pass for high achievements. How- 
ever, I shall not, on that account, render less faithful service 
to the Republic." — Extract from Bemadotte's letter to his 
brother, dated 26th May 1793. 

Bernadotte in his letter of 20th February expressed the 
hope soon to be in grips with the enemy. The speedy 
fulfilment of his wish was followed by disaster. The 
Germans, in March, recrossed the Rhine in superior 
numbers, and, in spite of a gallant but ineffectual 
stand, which General Houchard made at Niedersfor- 
sheim, carried all before them, driving Custine's army 
back to the lines of Weissenburg, where Bernadotte 
had found them in the previous September. Such 
was the inglorious end of Custine's second campaign. 
Nothing remained of the conquests of the preced- 
ing six months except the now beleaguered city of 

Bernadotte , who was serving in Houchard 's brigade , 
was, in the course of this retreat, for the first time, a 
witness of a mutiny in the field. A battalion of his 
regiment, encouraged by one of their captains, halted 
on the march, and declared General Custine a traitor 
to his country. It appears from Custine's despatch 

"'.Moniteur, 19th April 1792. 


that he was informed of the emeute by the adjutant 
of the 36th Regiment, presumably Bernadotte ." The 
mutinous captain, after an altercation with Custine, 
left the army and denounced the general to the 
authorities in Paris. But Danton was still in power, 
and Custine 's hour of trial had not come. 

In May we find Bernadotte in the camp of Roth, 
near Weissenburg, asking his brother, in the following 
letter, dated 16th May, to obtain for him the lieu- 
tenant-colonelcy of a battalion : — 

" I would have put off writing until to-morrow, if an 
order had not just reached us to be ready to march at 
seven o'clock. I presume that we are going beyond 
Landau to take part in some coup de main. I have 
such a multiplicity of military duties that I have 
only time to thank you for all the trouble you are 
taking to obtain a speedy realisation of my desires. 
This new proof of your affection does not surprise 
me, and I am deeply grateful. If you can procure 
my appointment to one of the battalions which is 
about to be formed, it will suit me perfectly, because, 
with my experience and my knowledge of the details 
of my profession, I hope to be able to make myself 
useful. I count on you, and I am confident that 
you will support me strongly. Embrace for me my 
dear mother and sister. Receive my kind regards. 
The hour approaches. I am called away to my duty. 
— I am your brother and friend, 

" J. Bernadotte. 

" The Army of the Rhine, 
" The Camp of Roth. 

" As the generals do nothing without a memoire 
of services, I enclose a form of memoire which you 
can make use of, if you apply to them or to the 
Minister of War." " 

Enclosed was Bernadotte 's record of his services 
° Wrangel, 92, 94. 


up to date, written in his own handwriting. It ran 
as follows : — 

" Army of the Rhine, 36th Regiment of 

" Memoire to obtain a Lieutenant- 
Colonelcy in the new corps which are 
to compose the Army of the Pyrenees. 

" Jean Baptiste Bernadotte. 

" Record of Services 

" Born 26th January 1763, at Pau, in the depart- 
ment of Basses Pyrenees. Enlisted as a soldier 3rd 
November 1780 ; grenadier, 20th May 1782 ; cor- 
poral, 13th June 1785 ; sergeant, 31st August 1785 ; 
quarter-master, 21st June 1786; sergeant-major, nth 
May 1788; adjutant, 7th February 1790, in the 60th 
Regiment . 

" Transferred from the 60th Regiment to be 
lieutenant in the 36th Regiment, 6th November 
1 79 1 ; adjutant-major, 30th November 1792 ; rank 
of captain by virtue of the law of 24th December, 
which assimilated troops of the line to the volunteers, 
the adjutant-major of the latter corps having the rank 
of captain under the decree which created them.'" 1 

Then follows his application for promotion :— 

" Jean Baptiste Bernadotte seeks employment as 
lieutenant-colonel in the new corps which are to 
compose the Army of the Pyrenees, and relies, in 
support of his application, upon thirteen years' 
continuous service, two campaigns, and more par- 
ticularly upon the experience, which he has gained 
in all the grades, through which he has passed from 
soldier to adjutant-major, of the theory and practice 
of the service, which qualifies him to instruct a bat- 
talion in the details of manoeuvres, military police, 
and discipline,"" 

It will be observed that, in this memoir of his 

services, Bernadotte claimed, as adjutant-major, to 

possess the rank of captain. This claim was open 

to a doubt, which was removed in his case by the 

" Wrangel, 92-94 


action of his corps in electing him captain, as will be 
related in the next chapter. 

In his letter of 16th May, Bernadotte informed 
his brother that he was to take part in an expedition- 
ary coup de main on the following day. This was 
an ill-designed, ill-executed, and ill-fated attack 
which Custine, for the purpose of relieving Mainz, 
directed against the Austrian position at Riilzheim 
on 17th May. 

In the course of this operation some raw 
volunteers mistook some of their own chasseurs for 
Austrians, and fired on them, with the result that 
a panic seized the troops at the head of the line. 
Murmurs were heard, followed by shouts of "Sauve qui 
peut " and " We are lost." Some mounted troops 
turned and fled, throwing the columns into confusion 
and consternation." The artillery took to flight, and 
the disorder seemed complete, the troops in front falling 
back upon those behind, and the line of battle 
degenerating into a mixed melee. The commanding 
officers were unable to restore order. Now came 
the young Gascon adjutant-major's chance. The 
scene may be best described in his own graphic 
account, written to his brother in a letter dated 
26th May 1793 : — 

" While others sought safety in flight, I was over- 
whelmed with a feeling of indignation and fury at 
this humiliating spectacle. Seeing no superior officer 
capable of restoring discipline, I rush to the centre 
of the disordered battalion — I shout, I protest, I 
implore, I command. The noise and confusion was 
so great that the men could not hear me. A thousand 
musket-shots are heard , some of which I avoid by deflect- 
ing musket-barrels with the point of my sword. I rush 
to the rear of the battalion, which had become the head. 
My horse is knocked down, but I keep my position, and 

* Wissembourg (Chuquet), 18. 


say to the men : ' Soldiers, this is the rallying-point . 
You have been thrown back to this point in spite 
of yourselves. You will go back no farther. I am 
confident that you will hold your ground. Your 
ramparts are your bayonets and your courage. Let 
others by a cowardly flight show themselves unworthy 
of liberty ; but let us, if necessary, die at our post 
shouting "Vive la Republique, vive la Nation." Let 
us rally, my friends, and march against those hired 
slaves . Let us march resolved to conquer, and it will 
be no easy task to defeat us.' To speak, to think, to 
act, to be obeyed was the work of a minute. The 
soldiers heard me, and several voices exclaimed, ' Let 
us march against the enemy led by the adjutant- 
major.' I formed them in order of battle, and I 
checked the confusion, which would have affected 
six other battalions behind me. I made the gunners 
return to their post, and I placed men on guard with 
orders to fire on the drivers if they turned to fly. The 
enemy did not dare to continue the pursuit. Calm 
was restored . The coup which had been in contempla- 
tion failed, but we remained masters of the field of 
battle. The enemy suffered heavy losses, and so 
did we. The army returned to Wissembourg after 
having marched eighteen leagues without a halt. All 
the officers congratulated me on my zeal and success. 
The soldiers speak of me with enthusiasm. But 
everything stops there, because nobody informed the 
commander-in-chief of my conduct. The actions of 
subalterns often remain unnoticed, while the mis- 
takes of commanders pass for high achievements. 
However, I shall not, on that account, render less 
faithful service to the Republic ... to which I am 
devoted. Adieu. Embrace my dear mother. 

" J. Bernadotte. 
" Wissembourg, 26th May 1793." "* 

In an earlier part of the same letter, Bernadotte 

deplores his bad luck in not having been mentioned 

in the despatch, which was sent by Custine to the 

Convention describing this affair. His conduct did 

" Wrangel, 99-100. 


not, however, escape notice so entirely as he imagined. 
His men soon took an opportunity of rewarding it. 

Let us follow Custine to his end. He was transferred 
to the command of the army of the North, where a 
military reverse was followed by the fall from power 
of his political patron, Danton. He was summoned 
to Paris in July, and was arraigned before the Revo- 
lutionary Tribunal on a charge of treason, which was 
so groundless that the Revolutionary Tribunal itself 
appears to have hesitated, after a protracted trial, to 
convict him ; but the orators of the Convention and of 
the Clubs demanded his life, and his fate was sealed. 
He defended himself with courage and ability. He 
had always been overbearing with his officers, several 
of whom testified against him. There was one note- 
worthy exception — namely, Kleber, who showed 
characteristic fortitude and independence by giving 
evidence in his favour, regardless of Fouquier Tinville 's 
gestures of disapproval. A feature of the trial was the 
courage and devotion of Custine 's daughter-in-law, 
Delphine de Sabran, Marquise de Custine, who attended 
the terrible Tribunal every day and supported him 
to the end by her presence and by her sympathy. He 
was guillotined on 28th August. Thus perished poor 
" General Moustache," Bernadotte's first commander- 

Information about General Custine, his two campaigns, and 
his trial and execution, is to be found in Les Franpais sur le Rhin, 
par Alfred Rambaud ; Custine et Houchard, par Gay de Vernon ; 
in three of Arthur Chuquet's admirable volumes on the wars of 
the Revolution, L 'Expedition de Custine, Mayence, and Wissem- 
bourg ; and in Delphine de Sabran, Marquise de Custine, par Maugars 
et de Croze, chap. xiv. 


Bernadotte serves under General Beauharnais 
and becomes captain 

JULY I793 

" Beauharnais, who shall get kings, though he be none." — 

" Our generals shout, ' Hatred to Kings,' ' War on Tyrants.' " — 
Extract from Bernadotte' s letter to his brother, July 1793. 

Custine was, after a brief interval, succeeded in 
command of the Army of the Rhine by General 
Alexandre de Beauharnais, the first husband of the 
lady known to history as the Empress Josephine ; 
and Bernadotte served under that ill-fated general 
until the close of July. 

Beauharnais, like Custine, was one of the aristo- 
cratic officers of the old regime, who had rallied to the 
Revolution ; but he was a different type from Custine. 
He was a modest gentleman, a formal sentimentalist, 
who took the Revolution seriously, and paid the 
penalty. He has thus been summed up by a com- 
petent authority: " Beauharnais was a well-trained 
soldier, but a poor one. He lacked the coup d'ceil and 
instinct requisite for the field of battle. He was weak, 
timid, wanting in nerve and resolution, . . . afraid 
of compromising himself, and deficient in self-confid- 
ence.'" 1 Custine had left behind him a legacy of 
disaster, which a stronger man than Beauharnais 
might have found it difficult to retrieve. His object 
was to relieve the beleaguered city of Mainz ; and 
military critics are of opinion that, if he had 

" Wissembourg (Chuquet), 44. 

july 1 793] BEAUHARNAIS' FAILURE 63 

concentrated his troops, instead of scattering 
them in an extended line, he might have struck a 
decisive blow. But Beauharnais failed to strike. 3 
Precious time slipped away, until the garrison of 
Mainz, having eaten their horses, were forced to 
surrender on 23rd July. 

Two letters of Bernadotte's, written in July 1793, 
present a picture of the occupations and ambitions 
of the young officer, when he was serving under 
Beauharnais : — 

" My dear Brother, — Yesterday I received your 
letter of 16th June. I had begun to feel anxiety at 
your silence. I was disturbed by a thousand painful 
apprehensions. The knowledge that the town, in 
which you live, is so near the theatre of war filled me 
with alarm on your account and that of my dear 
mother and sister. Happily, all my fears are now 
set at rest. . . . Although the confidence, which the 
soldiers of the battalion display towards me, should 
partly make up for the delay in my promotion which 
has been caused by the dismissal of General Servan, I 
confess frankly that I hold strongly to the hope of 
finding myself near you . My knowledge of the country , 
my familiarity with the language of the people, and 
my desire to make myself useful, all these things 
make me hope that I could fill with some success 
a place in your army. You seem to be more inclined 
to apply for a staff appointment than for the 
command of a battalion. But the latter would suit 
me best, because I am broken into all the details 
of that kind of work, particularly in manoeuvres and 
other departments of military discipline. Whatever 
you do for me will be agreeable to me, and you may 
be sure that my gratitude will equal your good in- 
tentions on my behalf. . . . My duties prevented 
me continuing my letter of the 1st inst. Since then 
our brigade has been the victim of a false alarm. 
The 1 st battalion had been sent to reconnoitre the 
enemy, and I had as usual to point out to the com- 
manding officer the position which he should take up, 

» Gouvin St. Cyr, par Gay de Vernon, 10. 

64 " HATRED TO KINGS " [chap, xi 

and the spot on which to post his batteries. The enemy 
did not show themselves, and the battalion returned 
in the vain hope of getting some rest. Hardly had 
the men laid down their arms than they heard the 
alarm sounded. I formed them in order of battle 
in two minutes. The generals came up and an- 
nounced that we were to change camps on the next 
day, the 3rd. The army struck camp yesterday, 
the 3rd, at 3 a.m., and after marching for four leagues 
in front of the enemy, and preserving order under 
difficulties, occupied the plains of Maintfel. . . . The 
soldiers appeared to be in the best heart and to be 
ready to give a good account of themselves in battle. 
Our generals shout, ' Hatred to Kings,' ' War on 
Tyrants,' ' Vive la Republique.' . . . But Dumouriez, 
the infamous Dumouriez, has betrayed us. Adieu, my 
dear brother. I love you very sincerely. Embrace 
for me my dear mother and sister. 

" Camp of Maintfel, 4th July 

I 793- The 2nd year of the French Republic, 
one and indivisible."" 

Bernadotte mentions, in this letter, that his pro- 
motion had been delayed by the dismissal of General 
Servan. This individual was an ex- War Minister, and 
a Girondist, who, in consequence of the fall of his 
party, had been suspended from his post as general 
of division. The fall of the Girondists was the 
main episode of Revolutionary history in the months 
of May and June 1793. To the young officer on 
the north-eastern frontier the fall of the Girondists 
meant nothing more than a consequential delay in 
his promotion. 

In this letter Bernadotte also refers to another 
event of historical importance — the " treason " of 
General Dumouriez. Three months had passed since 
the happening of that event (5th April), but the full 
effect of his desertion to the enemy was only now 
" Wrangel, 103, 104. 


beginning to be felt. It had led to a surveillance 
being exercised over all the officers of the Republic. 
The Military Terror, of which General Custine's 
execution was one of the object-lessons, received an 
impetus from General Dumouriez's defection. 
' Another allusion in this letter, which deserves to 
be noted, is the first appearance in his correspondence 
of a reference to the Revolutionary Calendar. The 
letter is dated " the 4th July 1793, the 2nd year 
of the French Republic, one and indivisible." The 
National Convention had, on 22nd September 1792, 
declared that all public acts should be dated as of the 
first year of the Republic ; but the Revolutionary 
Calendar was not officially introduced until Novem- 
ber 1793, when it was reckoned not from 1st 
January 1793, but, for reasons both zodiacal and 
political, from 22nd September 1792. Accordingly, 
Bernadotte turned out not to be correct in dating 
his letter " in the second year " of the Republic. His 
way of dating it, by naming the year and month of 
the Christian calendar, with an added reference to the 
Republican year, seems to offer an illustration of the 
transition stage, through which the public mind was 
passing in reference to the calendar. The idea of a 
Republican year had seized upon the imagination 
of citizens and soldiers ; but the calendar itself, 
with its arbitrary New Year's Day, and its fantastic 
catalogue of months and weeks, had not yet been 
drawn up by the poets and scientists, whose ideas 
were afterwards embodied in the decree of the Con- 

A few days afterwards, Bernadotte wrote another 
letter to his brother, in which he describes the arduous 
duties of a regimental adjutant at this period. The 

letter is dated 8th July, and is from the same camp : — 


" My dear Brother, — Do all you can to get 
me one of the battalions to be composed of the new 
companies which are without commanding officers. 
It is still doubtful whether adjutant-majors have 
the rank of captain. The law is not clear upon the 
point. I am terribly hard worked. The lieutenant- 
colonel of the brigade has just asked the general tp 
let me help him in the work of his command. Be- 
sides that, I instruct the battalion, and have also 
to superintend the instruction of the non-commis- 
sioned officers, as well as of about 300 recruits who 
arrived lately. The highly placed officers do nothing, 
so to speak, except canter their horses up and down. 
The soldiers and the non-commissioned officers show 
towards me an attachment which is very gratifying. 
But you know men. When intrigue is at work, they 
overthrow the idolj which they worshipped a moment 
before. I know citizen Champeaux, Deputy of the 
Department des Cotes du Nord, President of the 
Committee of Marine. Bear this in mind, if it should 
be necessary to seek his influence. At all events, 
leave nothing undone to get me a battalion, because 
one must try to take the ball on the bound. 
" Uhjuly 1793." a 

Ten days after the writing of this letter, all doubt 
was removed as to Bernadotte's right to the rank of 
captain. At this period of the Revolution, two-thirds 
of regimental promotions were decided by election. 
He now received his reward for his services in Custine's 
campaigns, and for his action in rallying his regiment 
on 17th May, for on 18th July, in the camp behind 
the lines of Weissembourg, he was elected captain by 
the votes of his corps. 

Beauharnais was never forgiven for his failure/ 5 to 
relieve Mainz. Popular vengeance loitered, as he had 
loitered; but, unlike him, did not fail to strike. He 
was arrested during the Terror, and fell by the guillo- 
tine, little thinking that his widow, Josephine, was 
to be Empress of the French ; his son, Eugene, 
'« Wrangel,- 105, 106. 


Viceroy of Italy ; and his daughter, Hortense, 
Queen of Holland. Still less could he have dreamed 
that a grandchild of his would become Queen of 
Sweden, by virtue of her marriage to the son of 
Captain Jean Baptiste Bernadotte of the 36th Regi- 
ment, lately serving under him in the army of the 
Rhine. This grandchild was a daughter of Eugene 
Beauharnais, who was by Napoleon's order named 
after her grandmother, the Empress Josephine. She 
married Bernadotte 's son, and became Queen Josephine 
of Sweden. 


Bernadotte serves under General Houchard in 
the North, and becomes Lieutenant-Colonel 
— The Execution of Houchard and of the 

august-december 1 793 

" Bernadotte Chef de Bataillon (elu par 660 voix le 8 Ao(it 
1793, confirme le 8 Fevrier 1794)." — Archives Administratives du 
Ministdre de la Guerre. 

At the close of General Beauharnais' abortive cam- 
paign, the 36th Regiment was ordered to proceed 
from the Rhine to the Belgian frontier, to reinforce 
the army of the North. While on his march to the 
north, Bernadotte received a fresh mark of confidence 
from his regiment. On the 8th August, within three 
weeks after his election as captain, he was chosen by 
660 votes to be lieutenant-colonel of his battalion. 

On or about 1st September, Bernadotte 's battalion, 
after its long wagon march from the Alsatian frontier, 
filed into the camp at Gavrelle, near Biache, on the 
river Scarpe, between Arras and Douai. This position 
formed a link in a chain of camps and fortresses, 
which dotted the Belgian frontier from the sea to the 
river Sambre. The frontier was defended, to the east 
of the river Sambre, by the army of the Ardennes, 
and to the west of the Sambre by the army of the 
North, of which General Houchard, who had been 
Custine's vanguard leader, was the commander-in- 
chief. His was a perilous position ; but the perils of 
war were the least of its dangers. 

General Houchard was a different type from 



Custine or Beauharnais. He was a man of the 
people, a plebeian, a soldat parvenu. His conspicuous 
valour in the field led to his promotion to a position, 
which was beyond his capabilities. He appears to 
have been a gallant officer, well qualified to lead a 
vanguard, but unequal to the command of a large 
army. He had asked for reinforcements ; and the 
36th Regiment was one of the corps sent to his 
assistance. The moment was a critical one, and his 
life was staked on the issue. 

The immediate object of French strategy was the 
relief of Dunkirk, which was closely invested by the 
Allies, some of whose troops were posted along the 
little river Yser. The 36th Regiment, immediately 
after its arrival, was sent to this point, and on the 
4th and 5th September, was engaged with the enemy 
on the banks of the Yser. Then followed several 
days' severe fighting, known in history as the battle 
of Hondschoote, which culminated in the taking of 
the village of that name on 8th September, and was 
followed by the retreat of the Allies. The 36th 
Regiment took part in the battle ; and, having been 
sent in pursuit with some cavalry, took five hundred 
prisoners, and assisted at the capture of two fortified 
places, Wervick and Menin. 

It seemed, for the moment, that Houchard had 
won a great victory, and that the Allies were routed. 
But the exaltation, caused by the victory of Hond- 
schoote, was quickly dispelled by the disasters, which 
befell three other frontier fortresses, one of which 
capitulated, while the garrisons of two others were 
nearly cut to pieces, as the result of ill-executed sorties. 
Owing to these reverses, all the fruits of Hondschoote 
were lost as quickly as they had been won. The 
rejoicings, which followed on Houchard's victory, 


had hardly died away, when reproaches for his failure 
to reap its fruits began to assail him. On 13th 
September Carnot wrote to Houchard congratulating 
him upon his brilliant success." In less than ten days 
he was disgraced and doomed. 

Houchard was arrested on 23rd September, con- 
ducted to Paris, and sent first to the Abbaye, and then 
to the Conciergerie, where twenty-four generals were, 
at this period, imprisoned. He seems to have been 
pursued with exceptional fury and unfairness. The 
public mind was saturated with suspicion ; and the 
politicians were blinded by political passion. One 
day's trial sufficed to bring this gallant and un- 
fortunate soldier to the scaffold. When one of the 
judges of the Revolutionary Tribunal added insult 
to injury by attributing cowardice to him, Houchard 
bared his breast, which was furrowed with three 
sabre-cuts, and exclaimed, " Look, and read my 
reply." Of all the judicial murders, which were 
perpetrated upon the generals of the Republic in 
the years 1793 and 1794, none appears to have been 
more unjustified even by any scintilla of suspicion 
than that of Houchard. None more deeply shocked 
and alarmed the higher ranks of the army. 

Bernadotte now came under the command of a 
general, of whom we shall hear much in this volume. 
This was General Jourdan, who had risen in a few 
months from the rank of colonel to that of com- 
mander-in-chief. Jourdan was a brave soldier, who 
had, like Bernadotte, served in the ranks of the royal 
army, and was a competent, if not a brilliant, com- 
mander. He was, what was more rare in those days, 
a modest, straightforward man, who desired nothing 
less than the command, which was now thrust upon 
" Bonnal de Ganges, i. 483. 


him. But a refusal would have been looked upon 
as proof positive of treachery. He had no alternative 
but to accept. 

On 1 7th October, Jourdan won the battle of 
Wattignies, at which Bernadotte's regiment was 
present in the reserve. Jourdan had a narrow escape 
of arrest at the close of the campaign, and appears 
to have owed his immunity to a modesty and self- 
effacement, which disarmed jealousy. After Wat- 
tignies the army took up winter quarters, and Berna- 
dotte's regiment returned to the camp of Gavrelle. 

In the meantime, the Revolution had been 
running its riotous course. In October came its 
crowning infamy, the execution of Queen Marie 
Antoinette. The personality of the Queen had lost its 
political significance ; but hardly any event more deeply 
offended the sentiment of the British Isles, which 
was voiced by Edmund Burke, when he lamented, 
in words, which time and repetition have failed to 
hackney, that the age of chivalry was gone and 
the glory of Europe extinguished. Public opinion, 
which had been shocked at the September Massacres, 
and deeply affected by the execution of the King, 
became definitely alienated from all the ideas and 
methods of the French Revolution ; and few, if any, 
remained who would have ventured to repeat Thomas 
Paine 's old taunt that Burke was only touched by the 
showy resemblance of distress ; that he " pitied the 
plumage, and forgot the dying bird." The Queen was 
executed in October 1793. In November she was fol- 
lowed to the scaffold by a host of her enemies, in- 
cluding the Girondists, Madame Roland, and Philippe 

It is not surprising that the recollection of all the 
horrors, which were enacted in Paris and in the pro- 


vinces in 1793 and 1794, should have prejudiced the 
public mind against any personage who, like Berna- 
dotte, could be regarded as a child of the Revolution. 
He was its offspring, in the sense that the overthrow 
of the old regime opened a career to his merits. 
But what responsibility for these horrors can attach 
to a young officer in a marching regiment, who was 
fighting on the frontier, as in duty bound, in a 
national war ? If he was a child of the Revolution, 
he had no share in the crimes of his parent." 

Information about General Houchard's campaign and tragical 
death is to be found in Custine et Houchard, par Gay de Vernon ; 
Hondschoote, par Arthur Chuquet ; Victoires, ConquUes, ii. 9-20, 
74-93; Lahure, 55-63. 


Bernadotte becomes Colonel — " Jupiter Stator 
des Mutins " 

february-april 1794 

" To obey the laws and the military regulations, to main- 
tain liberty, equality, the Constitution, and the unity and 
indivisibility of the French Republic — or to die." — Oath taken 
by Colonel Bernadotte and the jist demi-brigade, 4th April 

" If you dishonour yourselves by flight, I refuse to remain your 
colonel." — Colonel Bernadotte to his men, April 1794. 

Bernadotte appears to have spent the winter 
months, from the end of October 1793 to the end of 
March 1 794, in the camp of Gavrelle between Arras 
and Douai. The opposing armies confronted each 
other along the Belgian frontier. There were up- 
wards of 130,000 men on each side extended from 
the river Sambre to the sea. 

In February 1794 Bernadotte's election as lieu- 
tenant-colonel of his battalion was officially confirmed 
by the Minister of War ; but he was not allowed to 
remain for many weeks in that position. 

In the spring of 1794 certain drastic changes 
in the distribution of the various corps of the 
French army, which had been decreed by the 
National Convention, were carried into effect in the 
army of the North. The main object of these changes 
was to weld into one homogeneous whole the diverse 
elements of which the new Republican army was 
composed. The infantry was to be reconstituted into 
units, each of which was to consist of three battalions 

instead of two. These new corps were called half- 


74 COLONEL OF THE 71ST [chap, xm 

brigades. Each half-brigade was composed of three 
battalions, drawn respectively from the regular troops, 
the volunteers, and the other new levies. This fusion 
of the old and the new elements of the Revolutionary 
army was effected by the Law of Embrigadement, and 
was popularly known as The Amalgam. 

In consequence of these reforms, the battalion, 
of which Bernadotte was lieutenant-colonel, became 
part of the new 71st half-brigade, being linked with 
the " 2nd battalion de la Meuse " ; with the " 13th 
battalion des Federes " consisting largely of new 
volunteers ; and with a company of artillery. Berna- 
dotte, a few weeks after the official confirmation of 
his promotion to the lieutenant-colonelcy of his 
battalion, was on the 4th April appointed colonel of 
the 71st half-brigade. 

The law provided that the incorporation of each 
new half-brigade was to be made the occasion of an 
impressive ceremony. Let us describe what occurred 
in the case of the incorporation of the 71st/ 1 

The new corps assembled, and, after hearing the 
law read by the Representatives of the People, the 
officers and men joined in taking the prescribed oath, 
which bound them " to obey the laws and the military 
regulations, and to maintain liberty, equality, the 
Constitution, and the unity and indivisibility of the 
French Republic — or to die." After the oath had 
been taken, all weapons were laid aside ; the three 
battalions and the artillery company mixed with one 
another ; officers and soldiers exchanged the kiss of 
brotherhood. Then, at a given signal, the soldiers 
resumed their arms and places ; and the newly formed 
71st half-brigade, under command of Colonel Berna- 
dotte, marched past the Representatives of the People. 
".Coutanceau, 537. 

april 1794] THE DEFENCE OF PREMONT 75 

Bernadotte had reached the limit of his ambition 
and, as he believed, of his usefulness. He neither 
dreamed nor hoped that, in less than three months, 
he would be a general. 

The 71st half-brigade formed, in April 1794, part 
of the army of the North. Jourdan had been re- 
placed in the command of that army by General 
Pichegru. Bernadotte, who was in General Goguet's 
division, remained with the army of the North for 
the greater part of April, and was entrusted with the 
command of the fort of Premont , which covered the 
road to St. Quentin. 

On 17th April the allied forces advanced, attacking 
the French positions all along the line. Premont, 
of which Bernadotte had charge, was one of the 
most important of these positions. The place was 
attacked by a column of the Austrian army consist- 
ing of eleven battalions of infantry, six squadrons 
of cavalry, and a formidable artillery. Bernadotte's 
detachment was a comparatively small one, consisting 
of three battalions, six guns, and a regiment of 
cavalry. Placed in a position of serious danger, he 
sustained the courage of his men by his personal 
example and by floods of Gascon oratory, and only 
retreated after he had kept the enemy in check for 
seven hours. In the evening the Representatives ot 
the People and several of the generals came to Berna- 
dotte and heartily congratulated him upon the day's 

A few days afterwards, on 21st April, the French 
army was advancing along the river Helpe to the 
relief of Landrecies, when the right and centre of 
General Goguet's division suddenly gave way and 
retired in the face of the enemy. Bernadotte, 
" Lafosse, 53, 54; Sarrans, 6. 


commanding the left wing, was advancing steadily, 
until he was ordered to turn back and cover the 
retreat of the rest of the division. When he had 
executed this movement, he found that the troops had 
broken out into a mutiny, which Goguet had been un- 
able to quell, and that a soldier had shot the general. 
The whole division was disorganised, and the troops 
showed a disposition to sympathise with the mutineers. 

Bernadotte assumed command, and having formed 
the troops in order of battle, delivered an harangue, 
in which he pointed out the disastrous consequences 
of such insubordination : how advantageous it was 
to the enemy, and how dishonourable to the French 
troops. So effective was the speech that the danger- 
point shifted, and some of his listeners were on the 
point of summarily executing those, whom they 
suspected of being responsible for the death of the 
general, if Bernadotte had not intervened to prevent 
what might have been an act of indiscriminate vio- 
lence. He took care afterwards to have the guilty 
party made amenable to justice." 

Another scene of the same kind occurred during 
this short campaign. Bernadotte's men were giving 
way ; and an impassioned gasconade failed to rally 
them. Tearing off his epaulettes, Bernadotte threw 
them on the ground before his men, and said, " If you 
dishonour yourselves by flight, I refuse to remain your 
colonel." Some soldiers left the ranks, picked up the 
epaulettes, pressed them into the hand of the colonel, 
and the situation was saved." 

Such incidents serve to remind us that the 

Revolutionary army partook of the nature of a 

military mob, and, like a mob, was liable to be 

carried away by gusts of panic or of passion. Where 

" Lafosse, 55-60; Sarrans, 7. 


Bernadotte surpassed his contemporaries was in his 
peculiar power of " wielding at will that fierce de- 
mocratic" When ominous signs of scare or of mutiny 
were observed, he never proved unequal to the emer- 
gency. A torrent of well-directed Gascon eloquence 
was usually sufficient. If words were unavailing, a 
dramatic act, calculated to strike the imagination of 
his men, was conceived and carried out. When both 
words and dramatic acts failed to restore order, 
he did not hesitate to draw his sword, which a 
general had the right to use against a mutineer. 
He has been sometimes referred to, in the exaggerated 
language of that age, as the " Jupiter Stator des 
mutins " ; and hostile critics, who have called in 
question his military talents, have admitted that 
he had few, if any, equals as an " entraineur des 
hommes."" His soldiers are said to have called him 
" Le dieu des armees." *( 17 ) 

While Bernadotte was commanding the 71st half- 
brigade on the Belgian frontier, the Terror had in the 
capital been strengthening its sanguinary supremacy ; 
and when Danton had been struck down, Robespierre, 
St. Just, and their faction, became the masters of 

" e.g. " II savait mieux entrainer les troupes que les faire 
manoeuvrer " (H. Primbault, La Revue GeWrale, April 1902). 
* Pingaud, p. 5. See note ( 17 ) in Appendix. 


Kleber, Marceau, and Bernadotte 
april-may 1794 

" Kleber le dieu Mars en uniforme." — Bonaparte. 

" Rien est beau comme Kleber, un jour de bataille."— 

" Nul General n'a ete plus poetise, et n'a plus merite que 
Marceau." — Bonnal de Ganges, iv. 367. 

" Marceau shared with Hoche the reputation of being not only 
a commander of brilliant audacity, but a man of honourable and 
generous character." — Cambridge Modern History, vol. viii. p. 197. 

At the end of April 1794, the part of the right wing, 
of the army of the North, in which Bernadotte was 
serving, was ordered to unite with the army of the 
Ardennes, which was operating on the banks of the 
river Sambre, in the district which lies near the con- 
fluence of the rivers Sambre and Meuse. The two 
corps joined forces, but did not coalesce, retaining 
their separate organisations, and their separate com- 
manders," with the result that they were crippled by 
divided counsels and by want of concentration. 

A new turn was given to the campaign, and a new 
interest was introduced into Bernadotte's life, when 
two generals of exceptional merit were sent from the 
civil war in the Vendee to the Belgian frontier. These 
were Kleber and Marceau, both magnetic men, whose 
presence quickly braced the slackened energies, and 
invigorated the drooping spirits, of the army of 

a Generals Des-Jardins and Charbonier. 

General Ki.eber. 
"The god Mars in uniform." 
After the portrait by Ansiaux. 

To face page 78. 

april-may 1794] MARCEAU 79 

Kleber " belonged to the professional class, which 
the military system of the old regime hurt so severely. 
Having no chance of promotion in the service of his 
own Sovereign, he drifted into the Austrian army, in 
which he held a commission for several years. Having 
retired to his native province of Alsace, he was, after 
the outbreak of the Revolution, elected colonel of a 
volunteer regiment, and distinguished himself in the 
defence of Mainz during and after Custine's second 
campaign. After the fall of Mainz, he was arrested, 
and narrowly escaped the guillotine. In recognition 
of his services at Mainz he was released ; and was sent 
to the command of an army in the Vendee. Kleber 
was cast by nature for the role of a military hero ; and 
he looked the part. Napoleon called him " the god 
Mars in uniform," and declared that there was no 
grander sight than Kleber on the day of battle ." 

Marceau, like Bernadotte, came of a legal family, 
enlisted at sixteen, and was a sergeant at the outbreak 
of the Revolution. He retired, and subsequently re- 
entered the army. His was a singularly attractive 
personality. His portrait shows an hussar of the 
Revolution with a face like Robert Louis Stevenson/ 
His brief career made a romance of war, in which 
there were episodes which read like pages from 
Woodstock or Quentin Durward. His chivalrous effort 
to save the life of a Vendean prisoner, Angelique de 
Mesliers ; his engagement to the Royalist, Agatha 
de Chateau-Giron, which ran the proverbial course of 
true love ; and his tender regard for his sister Emira, 
render his life a sympathetic study, and confirm the 
judgment of a work of high authority, placed at the 
head of this chapter, that " Marceau shared with Hoche 

" Con. de N. xxxii. 387, Autommarchi, ii. 65. 
* See portrait, p. 166 infra. 

80 KLEBER AND MARCEAU [chap, xiv 

the reputation of being not only a commander of 
brilliant audacity, but a man of honourable and 
generous character." 

There was a wide difference of age and tem- 
perament between Kleber and Marceau, which for a 
time kept them apart. A good understanding sprang 
up in the storm and stress of a critical battle, when 
Kleber's admiration for Marceau's courage and cool- 
ness found expression in a spontaneous grasp of the 
hand, and led to a friendship of which Camille Pelletan 
has written : " I see nothing so grand as the friendship 
of Kleber and Marceau, which perhaps saved France 
by stemming the Vendean insurrection." a 

Kleber and Marceau had no taste for civil war, 
and were glad to obtain a transfer from the Vendee to 
the army of Ardennes. Bernadotte quickly formed a 
friendship with them, and especially with Kleber, 
whom he had met in Custine's campaign. They re- 
sembled each other in their independence of character, 
and in their power of attracting and dominating their 
officers and men. Kleber came as a staff officer, but 
was soon appointed to the command of a division, the 
vanguard of which he entrusted to Bernadotte. 

Bernadotte 's peculiar power of managing mutinous 
troops is said to have enabled him to serve Marceau 
in an emergency. Marceau, in arresting some 
mutineers, was resisted, and was in danger of being 
overpowered. In an instant Colonel Bernadotte was 
among them, with drawn sword and a torrent of apt 
declamation. Kleber arrived on the scene, but, seeing 
Bernadotte in the middle of the melee, pulled up and 
exclaimed, " Let us leave him alone ; we might spoil 
everything by interfering." Kleber and his com- 
panions stood by and looked on, while Bernadotte 
* Pelletan, xxiv. 

april-may 1794] KLEBER AND MARCEAU 81 

quickly succeeded in winning the majority of the 
military mob to the side of order ." 

Bernadotte's relations with Kleber and Marceau, 
so long as they served together, were those of comrade- 
ship, which ripened into a warm friendship. There 
has been a disposition in some quarters to ignore and 
to deny an intimacy, which, if there is anything in the 
maxim, " noscitur a sochs," throws a favourable light 
upon this stage of Bernadotte's life. But Kleber's 
correspondence and Marceau's biography, written by 
his brother-in-law, Marceau-Sargent, testify to the ties 
of sympathy and good understanding, which united 
them to Bernadotte. 

If Kleber and Marceau had lived to see Napoleon 
Emperor, he must have made them Marshals, and he 
might have raised them far higher. But Marceau was 
destined to fall in the German campaign of 1796 ; 
and in 1800 an Egyptian assassin was to give Kleber 
his summons to join the " innumerable caravan." A 
paler, but a purer, light attaches to the memory of 
those who, like Kleber and Marceau, died before the 
period, when honours and rewards were showered upon 
all soldiers of their calibre. As compared with Berna- 
dotte, their candles were extinguished early, while his 
burnt to the socket. Yet, in all his long career, he 
achieved few things, of which it could be more unjust 
to rob him, than the title of having been, in his early 
campaigns, the tried and trusted friend of Kleber and 
of Marceau/ 

" Lafosse, 64; Sarrans, 8. 

* Biographies of Kleber have been written by Ernouf, Pajol. 
Reaulx, and Liebert d'Hericourt, and of Marceau by Parfait, 
Hippolyte Maze, T. C. Johnson, and Marceau-Sargent, the 
brother-in-law of the general. 


Bernadotte and St. Just — Bernadotte refuses 
Promotion to the Rank of General which 

MAY-JUNE 1794 

" Young St. Just . . . more like a student than a senator 
... a youth of slight stature, with mild, mellow voice, en- 
thusiast olive complexion, and long black hair." — Carlyle. 

" Aux defaites des armees, la Convention opposait la Terreur. 
Les Dieux avaient soif." — Anatole France. 

" Tous s'inclinaient devant ces terribles representants, qui 
tuaient sans pitie, qui destituaient sans raison, mais qui personi- 
fiaient . . . le sou verain pou voir de la nation." — Gay de Vernon. 

The campaign on the Belgian frontier in April, May, 
and June 1794, brought Bernadotte into direct re- 
lations with one of the strangest aspects of the 
Revolution, the death-dealing despotism of the 
Representatives of the People, who were officially 
attached to the armies. In order to realise the extent 
of their power, it is necessary to understand its source. 
They were, in 1 794, no mere agents of the Government. 
They were delegates of the Convention, endowed with 
a large share of the sovereign power of that omni- 
potent assembly. They carried to the armies a sys- 
tem of espionage and of terror. The justification 
of their employment was the National Peril. They 
were taskmasters and spies. Massena acknowledged 
that they gained victories ; for they made the 
generals run risks, which prudence often forbade, but 
success as often rewarded." An officer who saw a 
great deal of them has written, in a passage placed at 
the head of this chapter : " Everyone bowed before the 
" Bonnal de Ganges, i. 38. 


may-june 1794] A NARROW ESCAPE 83 

terrible Representatives who slew without pity, de- 
prived men of their rank without cause, but who 
personified . . . the sovereign power of the nation."" 
When the executive power of the National Convention 
became concentrated in the Committee of Public 
Safety, the power of the Representatives of the People 
became more direct and indisputable. 

In April, Bernadotte had a narrow escape of 
following Custine and Houchard to the scaffold. It is 
said that the strict discipline, which he maintained, 
was represented, according to the Revolutionary jargon 
of 1794, as a " despotic interference with the liberty " 
of his Republican subordinates. At all events, the 
Representatives of the People visited his quarters, and 
offered criticisms, to which he replied that, in view 
of the anxiety attaching to the position of a command- 
ing officer, he was ready to return to the ranks and 
shoulder his musket, if they wished to find another 
colonel to lead his troops. 3 

Soon afterwards, an order for his arrest arrived 
from Paris. The Representative of the People post- 
poned his arrest, as the army was on the eve of a 
critical engagement ; but he instructed a police agent 
to watch him throughout the day. It was the day, in 
April, upon which, as already mentioned, he saved 
a rout and rallied his troops by tearing off his 
epaulettes and appealing successfully to a sense of 
shame. That was one incident in a long day's fighting. 
In the evening the agent was obliged to report that 
he had been a witness of most brilliant valour and 
skill on the part of the officer, whom he had been 
instructed to watch, with the result that the order 
for his arrest was cancelled.* 

" Gay de Vernon, Vie de Gouvin St. Cyr, 24, 25. 
* Lafosse, 61, 62. 

84 ST. JUST [chap, xv 

Other generals on the northern frontier were less 
fortunate than Bernadotte. Three gallant Irishmen 
— Generals O'Meara, O'Moran, and Kilmaine — were 
arrested during these months of military terror. Their 
foreign extraction, and their reputed loyalty to their 
faith and to the late king, helped to expose them to 
unfounded suspicions. O'Moran was guillotined in 
March. O'Meara survived a long imprisonment, and 
was afterwards ennobled by Napoleon when emperor. 
Kilmaine was suspended and narrowly escaped exe- 
cution, but lived to do good service as a cavalry leader. 

Of the Representatives of the People with the 
armies, the most powerful was St. Just." He was 
Robespierre's pen and mouthpiece. A strange phe- 
nomenon was the spectacle of a hundred thousand 
armed men under the absolute sway of this young 
civilian, whom Carlyle has portrayed as " more like a 
student than a senator ... a youth of slight stature, 
with mild, mellow voice, enthusiast olive com- 
plexion, and long black hair." Behind him stalked, 
like a grim spectre, the whole demoniac force of the 
Revolution, concentrated in the Committee of Public 
Safety ; and here lay the secret of his mysterious 

Young and handsome, with powdered hair and 
large blue eyes, " portant sa tete comme un Saint 
Sacrament," to quote Camille Desmoulins's satirical 
phrase, St. Just was the most picturesque and pitiless 
of the leaders of the Reign of Terror. He had 
brought to the guillotine a long procession of his 
enemies ; and when he undertook a mission to the 
armies, it took the form of a Revolutionary assize.* 

Two occasions are recorded, upon which St. Just 

" Orateurs de la Revolution, ii. 449, 482. 

* Madelin, 342 ; Bonnal de Ganges, i. 23, 316. 

may-june 1794] ST. JUST AND BERNADOTTE 85 

and Bernadotte met. They must have been in the 
months of May or June, in the course of which 
St. Just paid two visits to the army on the Belgian 

On one of these occasions Bernadotte surprised 
St. Just by the ease with which he kept unruly men 
in order. Kleber and Marceau were approached by a 
deputation of twelve sergeants, complaining of discom- 
forts, and asking to be quartered in some neighbouring 
villages , which offered better attractions . St . Just was 
present. Kleber called Bernadotte from another room 
and said to him, " Teach your grenadiers that a camp is 
not a club." The sergeants, undismayed, repeated their 
complaints to Bernadotte, and pointed out on a map 
the villages, which they wished to occupy. Berna- 
dotte 's answer was to fall upon them with the flat of his 
sword, and to conduct them back to their camp, where 
their return from their fruitless mission was greeted 
with banter and ridicule." 

On another day Kldber was engaged in an assault 
upon an Austrian position, which ended successfully. 
Bernadotte led the vanguard, and the enemy was forced 
to retire. St. Just and Duquesnoy, the two Repre- 
sentatives of the People with the army, had sheltered, 
during the fight, in a neighbouring inn. When the 
day was over, they rejoined the troops, and thanked 
Kleber in the name of the Convention. K16ber 
presented Bernadotte to them as having contributed 
to the success of the attack by his coolness and presence 
of mind. St. Just and his colleague condescended to 
honour the Gascon colonel with a fraternal embrace, 
and proposed to exercise their power of appointing 
him to the rank of general." 

Bernadotte refused this offer of promotion, saying 

" Sarrazin, Mimoires, 29, 30; ib. Guerres civiles, 301. 


that he had no experience of the command of armies, 
or of the movement of large bodies of troops, and 
begged the Representatives of the People to leave him 
in the rank of colonel. It is clear that at this period 
of his life, Bernadotte felt himself at home in the posi- 
tion of a regimental commander, and believed that he 
had reached the limit of his capacity, of his usefulness, 
and of his ambition. Although in later years he gained 
more self-confidence, and enlarged the horizon of his 
hopes, it was characteristic of him to shrink from any 
post, which he doubted his ability to fill with credit and 
success, and his subsequent career will offer several 
examples of similar refusals of high employment . a 

Of Bernadotte 's refusal of the rank of general, 
and of his motives for refusal, we have the following 
account from Kl£ber 's staff officer, General Sarrazin/( 18 ) 
written many years afterwards, when Bernadotte 
became Prince of Sweden : — 

" About the end of May 1794, the French army, 
called of Ardennes, was encamped by the river Sambre 
. . . where was established the headquarters of General 
Kleber. General Bernadotte, now Prince Regent of 
Sweden, and then a colonel, commanded the vanguard 
of the army. Having called on General Kleber for 
the service of his troops, he was informed that the army 
was to execute a movement. ' Go to the staff 
officer,' said Kleber to Bernadotte, ' ask Sarrazin to 
deliver you the order for your column, and bring it to 
me that I may sign it.' I then saw Bernadotte for 
the first time. His Gascon accent convinced me that 
he was my countryman, and his handsome appearance 
inspired me with the hope of forming a friendship with 
him. It may be readily supposed that our acquaint- 
ance was quickly settled. We promised to visit each 
other as often as possible. As soon as he had ac- 
quainted me with the intentions of K16ber, I wrote the 

' See pp. 265 and 357 infra. 

* See note on General Sarrazin in App. Note ("). 

may-june 1794] GASCON MODESTY 87 

order, which was dispatched very soon, without dis- 
turbing our conversation. He brought it to Kleber, 
who signed it immediately without perusing it. 
Bernadotte returned to the office with such a look of 
astonishment that I feared that Kleber had found some 
fault with the order. I begged him to explain the 
matter. He confessed that he was stupefied that 
Kleber should sign so confidently. He asked my name 
and age, and begged me to explain how it was possible 
that, although so young, I could be able to put in 
motion a great army. Not wishing to impose upon 
him, I showed him the Flemish campaign of the 
Marshal de Luxemburg by the Chevalier de Beaurain, 
the excellent maps of Ferrari, and the atlas of the 
principal strong town of the Low Countries.'" 1 

Sarrazin then refers to the offer of promotion made 
to him by St. Just, and proceeds : — 

" Bernadotte refused the promotion, saying that 
he had not the talents necessary for so high a rank, 
and he begged the Representatives of the People to 
leave him in his rank of colonel, in which he enjoyed 
the confidence of officers and men. Kleber 's per- 
suasion failed to shake his resolution. I was, however, 
more successful on a subsequent occasion. With a 
tone rather of regret, he said to me that he had 
refused the rank of general, because he thought himself 
not learned enough to fulfil the duties of that situation. 
I laughed heartily at his modesty, so seldom practised 
by the Gascons, and I assured him that, should he 
accept, he would be a great deal superior to several 
generals, whom I mentioned, and that he would have 
reason to regret his refusal, when he found himself 
compelled to carry out their ill-devised orders, which 
would be equally injurious to his own reputation and 
to the service of the Republic. Having slept over my 
advice, he came to me next day and said, ' Since such 
is your opinion, should I be offered again, I shall 
accept.' I communicated this avowal to K16ber." a 

"Sarrazin, Mfmoires, 28-30 ; Guerres civiles, 302; Memorial 
{Supplement), 11, 12. These three passages from Sarrazin's writ- 
ings are embodied in the above extracts. 

88 THE TERROR [chap, xv 

In another place the same officer gives the following 
description of Bernadotte at this period : — 

" Gifted by nature with a handsome bearing and 
a commanding aspect, he was beloved by his troops, 
because he knew all the details of his duties as com- 
mander, and was successful in looking after the well- 
being of his subordinates. His kindness was not more 
marked than his firmness in preserving discipline." 

While these events were happening on the Belgian 
frontier, the Terror was assuming a more intense and 
violent form in the capital. The only connection 
which soldiers like Kleber, Marceau, and Bernadotte 
had with the Terror was that they, in turn, narrowly 
escaped becoming its victims. The attitude of the 
generals of the Revolution towards its horrors was 
thus expressed by General MacDonald, when he had 
become a marshal and duke : " I detest the men 
and the crimes of the Revolution. The army took no 
part in them. It never looked behind, but always 
ahead at the enemy, and deplored the excesses that 
were being committed." In the same spirit young 
Marbot wrote that his father continued to serve the 
Revolutionary Government, " because he held that 
to repel the enemy from French soil was, under all 
the circumstances, an obligation of honour, and in no 
way pledged a soldier to approve of the atrocities 
committed by the Convention in its internal adminis- 
tration.'" 2 Kleber, Marceau, and Bernadotte were as 
free as MacDonald and Marbot were from any responsi- 
bility for the crimes which were being committed in 
France while they were far away on active service. 

"IMarbot, i. 15, 16. 


The Campaign on the Sambre in May and June 

i 794" 
may io-june 1 6, i794 

" The Republic requires a victory to-morrow. You may 
choose between a siege or a battle." — St. Just at the Council of 
War, 25th May 1794. 

" By the help of General Duhesme and Colonel Bernadotte, 
everything was so well prepared that the enemy was checked 
at Fontaine l'Eveque . . . and I can say, in praise of both 
commanders and soldiers, that better discipline in moving 
and marching was never seen. Neither shot nor shell nor the 
enemy's marked superiority in numbers caused a single man to 
leave the ranks." — General Marceau's report, dated $th June, on 
the battle of the $rd June 1794. 

Seldom has a more strenuous series of engage- 
ments been fought than in the brief campaign on 
the river Sambre, in which Kleber, Marceau, and 
Bernadotte took part in May and June 1 794. General 
Jourdan was known to be conducting to their relief 
upwards of 40,000 men from the army of the Moselle ; 
and it would have been more prudent for the French 
to remain on the defensive until his expected arrival. 
But St. Just decided otherwise ; and under the crack 
of his relentless whip, the army engaged in a series of 
desperate and hopeless attacks upon the Austrian 
positions. Some incidents of these five weeks' fighting 
have been related in the preceding chapters. It re- 
mains to sketch the outline of these fruitless operations, 
Four times during this brief period the army crossed 
the Sambre ; and four times they were driven back 
with heavy losses. On each occasion Colonel Berna- 
dotte crossed the river with the vanguard, and re- 
crossed it with the rear-guard, covering the retreat. 
" Les operations militaires sur le Sambre, par Dupuis. 



The first crossing was on ioth May. After holding 
their position for two days, the French were attacked 
and forced to retire. After a week's rest, they crossed 
the Sambre for the second time on the 20th May, and 
again held their position for a few days. But the 
Austrians, taking advantage of Kleber's temporary 
absence on a foraging expedition, attacked and routed 
them, inflicting a loss of 4000 men. The defeated 
army might have been annihilated, if Kleber had not 
returned in time to protect the retiring movement. In 
the course of this operation, finding it necessary to 
dislodge an Austrian battery from a commanding posi- 
tion, Kleber sent Bernadotte along the Sambre in 
command of a brigade to turn the enemy's right, while 
three battalions attacked in front. Jomini tells us that 
the success of the manoeuvre, hazardous although it 
appeared to be, left nothing to be desired." The 
Austrians were dislodged with the loss of two guns, and 
the retreat of the French was effectually covered. 

On the night of the 25 th May, a council of war was 
held, at which all the generals, including Kleber, were 
of opinion that the army should remain on the 
defensive until reinforced by General Jourdan. But 
St. Just rejected their unanimous advice, declaring, 
" The Republic requires a victory to-morrow. You 
may choose between a siege or a battle." 

Accordingly, the Sambre was again crossed on the 
the 26th, with the result that the army was repulsed 
for the third time. St. Just multiplied his threats, 
and ordered a fourth attack. 

On the 29th May, the French crossed the Sambre 
for the fourth time ; but the Austrians, having re- 
ceived reinforcements, attacked them at P^chant, on 
3rd June, and drove them back across the Sambre to 
" Jomini, v. 69, 70. 


St. Just (ihefidiis Achates of Robespierre). 

In the uniform of a Representative of the People with the Army. 

After the portrait by Raffet. 

To face j>ug£ 90. 


their former positions. In this engagement, Berna- 
dotte served in the left wing, which was commanded 
by General Marceau. It appears, from Marceau's 
report, dated 5th June," an extract from which is placed 
at the head of this chapter, that it was largely due to 
the skill and coolness of Colonel Bernadotte, that the 
retreat was covered. 

On their return from this defeat , the beaten army met 
General J ourdan with Generals Lefebvre and Champion- 
net, and 40,000 men. The whole aspect of affairs was 
changed ; but the tide of victory was not turned, until 
three weeks had been spent in fighting and preparation. 

Jourdan, having been invested with the supreme 
command, crossed the Sambre on 12th June, and re- 
sumed the investment of Charleroi. He was attacked 
on the 1 6th, and repulsed in an engagement which was 
suspended for some hours by a heavy fog, and on that 
account was called " l'affaire de brouillard," or the 
" Affair of the Mist." In this engagement Colonel 
Bernadotte distinguished himself, first by recapturing 
the position of Trasignies at the point of the bayonet ; 
then by contributing to the turning of the enemy's 
position by a flank movement ; and, finally, by helping 
to cover the retreat of the army across the Sambre.* 
Kleber in his report wrote that " Bernadotte and his 
half-brigade have strengthened the opinion which I 
had already formed of their courage and bravery.'"* 

After the " Affair of the Mist," St. Just ordered a 
number of officers, whom he held responsible for the 
reverse, to be arrested and tried by court martial. 
Jourdan only succeeded in saving them by virtually 
making himself their hostage. He promised a speedy 
victory, and staked their lives, and perhaps his own, 
upon the performance of his bond. 

" Dupuis, 207-209, 501-503, 556. ' Jomini, v. 106. 


The Battle of Fleurus 
june 26, 1794 

" Bernadotte General de brigade (nomme a titre provisionaire 
par les representants du peuple a l'armee de Sambre et Meuse), 
29 Juin 1894." — Extract from Archives of the Ministry of War. 

" Pour traits de bravoure et actions d'eclat." — Bernadotte' s 
brevet as General of Brigade. 

On 1 8th June, General Jourdan, under the grim 
shadow of St. Just's threats, again crossed the river 
Sambre, in the teeth of severe resistance, and laid 
siege to the fortress of Charleroi, which held the key 
to Belgium. His army formed a semicircle round 
Charleroi, with two points of the semicircle resting on 
the river Sambre. The fortress was, in this way, 
completely surrounded by the army and by the river. 
For several days the siege was pressed with vigour," 
until on 25th June the batteries of the garrison were 
silenced, and the place capitulated. The garrison 
had hardly filed out, when the sound of distant 
cannon was heard, which heralded the arrival of the 
Duke of Coburg with a relieving army of 70,000 
Austrians. Coburg, being unaware of the capitulation, 
gave battle on the following day, 26th June, and 
attacked the French semicircle all along the line, with 
the intention of raising the siege. 

The plain of Fleurus, one of the most important 
of the disputed positions, gave its name to the battle, 
which commenced at daybreak on 26th June, and was 
maintained throughout the day. The losses in killed 

■ Dupuis, 571-580. 

june 1794] FLEURUS 93 

and wounded were almost evenly divided : and, at the 
close of the day's fighting, the result was by no means 
decisive. But the Austrian general, when he ascer- 
tained that Charleroi had capitulated, retired, leaving 
the victory to the French. 

Some writers have described the battle as " drawn "; 
but a battle must be judged by its results ; and, 
as this one was immediately followed by the retreat 
of the Austrians towards the Rhine, and by the con- 
quest of Belgium, it had for France all the significance 
of a striking victory. 

All accounts of the fighting agree in attributing to 
Colonel Bernadotte an important share in the day's 
work. The French left wing included the division of 
General Kleber ; and Bernadotte commanded Kleber's 
vanguard. They were opposed by the Prince of 
Orange and General Latour, who were in command of 
the Austrian right wing. The object of the Austrian 
generals was to seize the woods of Monceaux (or 
Courcelle) . These woods afforded a favourable position 
for attacking the heights of Marchiennes au Pont, 
which commanded Charleroi. After some indecisive 
fighting, the Austrians succeeded in occupying the 
woods, and in directing a heavy fire upon the heights, 
where the French were finding it difficult to hold their 

Kleber saved the situation by creating a diversion. 
He strengthened the artillery on the heights, and 
despatched Colonel Bernadotte to attack the village 
of Baymont, which was a position on the Austrian 
flank." The Austrians wavered. Kleber saw his 
opportunity, and ordered Bernadotte to attack them 
on the right, while he himself engaged them on the left. 
Bernadotte carried out the order with success. He 

" Jomini, v. 116, 124; Victoires, Conquetes, iii. 54, 55. 


penetrated, and drove the Austrians out of the woods, 
and pursued them to their camp, taking many 

The details of this operation are described by 
Bernadotte in his written report to Kldber." It appears 
that he originally planned a flank attack with four 
companies of his first battalion, and a frontal attack 
with his second battalion and his cavalry, while the 
rest of his men were to form a reserve. He was forced 
to change this plan, owing to news of the approach, on 
the right, of 3000 Dutch infantry and four squadrons 
of cavalry. He then detached the four companies 
of the first battalion to defend his right from this 
formidable danger, called up his small reserve to carry 
out the flank attack, and himself led the assault on 
the front of the enemy's position. Twice his cavalry 
were repulsed, but the third charge was successful, 
and carried the woods. 

Kleber was now left master of this part of the field, 
and was thus enabled to reinforce the centre, where 
Lefebvre and Championnet, in a day of varying 
fortunes, succeeded in holding their own, and to help 
Marceau, who, with the right wing of the French army, 
offered a desperate resistance to the Austrian left. 

This is the first occasion upon which Bernadotte 
emerges from the crowd of undistinguished com- 
batants, and takes an acknowledged place among the 
principal actors in a battle-scene. The chief honours 
of this battle are probably due to General Lefebvre 
for his resolute defence of the centre position, but all 
the accounts of the battle accord to Bernadotte 's 
attack on Baymont and the woods of Monceaux a 
place among the decisive incidents of the day. He is 
described by spectators as advancing sword in hand at 
* Dupuis, 340, 341. 

June 1794] " SAMBRE AND MEUSE " 95 

the head of his troops, charging the enemy's position, 
retaking lost ground, clearing and carrying the woods, 
and pursuing the enemy to their camp. Of the 3000 
prisoners taken during the day, the greater number 
surrendered to Bernadotte. K16ber, who, in his report, 
described himself as " voyant dans la plaine Berna- 
dotte attaquer avec sa zele et son valeur habituels," " 
named him a general of brigade on the field of battle. 
The military archives record that, three days after- 
wards, on the 29th June, he was provisionally ap- 
pointed to that rank by the Representative of the 
People. In the brevet of promotion which reached 
him soon afterwards, it was stated that he had received 
the rank of general of brigade " pour traits de bravoure 
et actions d'eclat."* 

It was after the battle of Fleurus that the National 
Convention, by a decree of 29th June, gave the name 
of " The Army of Sambre and Meuse " to the vic- 
torious army of Fleurus /( 19 ) 

The army of Sambre and Meuse was so called, 
because its first operations took place in the district, 
which lies near the confluence of the rivers Sambre 
and Meuse ; and it preserved this distinctive title 
until the year 1799, although after 1794 it was em- 
ployed far away from the rivers, from which its name 
was originally taken. Frenchmen speak and write 
of the army of Sambre and Meuse with an admiration 
only less than that, which they bestow upon the army 
of Italy, or upon the grand army of Napoleon. This 
is not surprising. It was the army which first turned 
the tide of victory for the new Republic ; saved the 
northern frontier and the capital from invasion ; broke 
up the alliance of so many European nations ; and 

" Dupuis, 339, 340. * Sarrans, 9 n. 

' Moniteur, 30th June 1794, and see App. Note("). 


preserved the integrity of France. The saying that 
" all the virtues had fled to the army," was in a special 
degree applicable to the army of Sambre and Meuse. 
Among its officers were many patriotic citizens, who 
turned their back upon the horrors and excesses of 
the Revolution, and took refuge in the army as the 
only place in which they could honourably serve their 
country." As compared with other branches of the 
service, the army of Sambre and Meuse was animated 
by an enthusiasm less red and relentless, and more 
coloured by all that was spiritual and idealistic in the 
Republican sentiment of the day. The success of its 
operations was due to the ability and efficiency of a 
brilliant group of generals, who, like Bernadotte, won 
their position by merit displayed upon the field of battle. 
Before we pass to the campaign in Belgium, which 
was the sequel to Fleurus, let us follow St. Just and 
the Terror to their end. Although St. Just may be 
said to have contributed, by his vigorous insistence, 
to the victory of Fleurus, that victory was one of the 
causes, which indirectly led to his ruin and to that of 
Robespierre. The main justification of the Terror in 
the public mind was the national danger. While 
foreign armies menaced the frontiers with invasion, 
and Paris itself with the perils of a siege, it was possible 
for the public to shut its eyes to the horrors, which 
were being enacted in the capital, and to accept the 
Terrorist doctrine that it was necessary to strike the 
enemies of the State at home as well as abroad. But 
when the Allies were in retreat, and the national 
danger was past, the activity of the Revolutionary 
Tribunal came to be regarded as an anachronism, and 
the suppressed indignation and fear, which had lurked 
in the public mind, were allowed to find some ex- 
" Cf . Bonaparte et Hoche, 311. 


pression. The general sense of public security, which 
followed the battle of Fleurus, presented a contrast 
to the appalling danger-cloud which overhung the 
individual life of every citizen. This change in public 
opinion strengthened the hands of Robespierre's 
enemies in the Convention. In this way the success 
of the army on the Sambre was one of the circumstances 
leading up to the fall of Robespierre and St. Just. 
On the 9th Thermidor (27th July), just one month 
after the battle of Fleurus, their despotism was over- 
thrown ; and on the following day, St. Just, who in 
May and June held in the hollow of his hand the lives of 
a hundred thousand men, himself met his death by 
the guillotine, and became one of that " bruised, 
begrimed band," who, to quote Lord Morley's vivid 
words, " walked the via dolorosa of the Revolution on 
the 10th Thermidor." 


JULY 1794-DECEMBER 1796 

"The family of Sambre and Meuse." — Kl£ber. 


JULY 1794) DECEMBER 1796 


XVIII. The Conquest of Belgium . . . 101 

XIX. The Siege of Maestricht . . .107 

XX. The Army of Sambre and Meuse stationed 
along the Rhine — Kleber asks for 
Bernadotte . . . .112 

XXI. The First Invasion of Germany, September- 
October 1795 . . . -117 
XXII. The New Constitution — The Establishment 

of the Directory . . .121 

XXIII. The Winter Campaign in the Hunsruck — 

The Capture of Creuznach . .125 

XXIV. The Six Months' Armistice — -Bernadotte 

saves a Cousin from the Galleys . . 1 30 

XXV. The Second Invasion of Germany, May-June 

1796 . . . . .136 

XXVI. The Third Invasion of Germany, July 1796 . 139 
XXVII. Bernadotte's Raid on Ratisbon — The Battle 

of Teining . . . .145 

XXVIII. The Retreat to Schweinfurt and the Battle 
of Wurzburg — Bernadotte's Absence 
from Wurzburg . . . 155 

XXIX. The Retreat from Wurzburg — The Death of 

Marceau . . . . .163 

XXX. Jourdan's Recall — Bernadotte's Reputation 

at its Zenith . . . .168 

XXXI. Winter Quarters at Coblenz, October- 
December 1796 .... 172 


General Lefebvre and General Ney . . • 1 36 

Bernadotte at the Battle of Teining . . . 1 50 

General Marceau . . . . .166 

Four Portraits of General Bernadotte . .176 


The Conquest of Belgium 
july-october 1 794 

" Je ne puis trop me louer du General Bernadotte; toujours 
sous le feu le plus vif, il dirigeait ses dispositions avec un sang- 
froid heroique ; son courage infatigable et son intrepidity ont 
decide du sort de la bataille." — KUber's despatch after the battle 
of the Roer, 3rd October 1794. 

The victory of Fleurus, followed by the retreat of the 
Austrians, threw open the door to the Netherlands. 
The Republican Army poured over the frontier, and 
dispersed itself in a scattered pursuit. Kl£ber, with 
Bernadotte in the van, made for Mons, the capital of 
the province of Hainault, carried the heights of Havre, 
which commanded that place, and drove the Austrians 
out of the city. Having overrun Hainault, they 
turned northwards, and advanced upon Brussels. It 
is interesting to note that, in the course of these 
operations, on the 6th July, an engagement was fought 
on the field of Waterloo, where, twenty-one years after- 
wards, the last scene of the dramatic epoch, which 
was now opening, was to be enacted. This was 
Bernadotte 's only chance of seeing La Belle Alliance, 
La Haye Sainte, Hougoumont, and Mt. St. Jean, for 
he was not destined to fight at Waterloo in 1815. 

On the 10th July, just a fortnight after the battle 
of Fleurus, Brussels was occupied ; and it was re- 
solved to complete the conquest of Belgium. This 
task was allotted to the army of Sambre and Meuse. 
Kl£ber was appointed to be the commander of the left 
wing, and Bernadotte, who was already his senior 
• Jomini.Jv. 132. 


102 BATTLE OF THE OURTHE [chap, xvm 

brigadier, became leader of his vanguard. After two 
engagements fought at Louvain and Tirlemont, the 
Austrians were driven out of Brabant, and, before the 
end of July, found themselves compelled to retire 
behind the line of the river Meuse." 

When the Austrians had been driven beyond the 
Meuse, the French army halted, while the greater part 
of August was occupied in recovering the fortresses on 
French territory, which had remained in the hands of 
the enemy. When this had been accomplished, the 
campaign was resumed. Kleber took up a position 
upon the high lands commanding Maestricht ; and 
the heights of Bilsen became the headquarters of 
Bernadotte, who was now in touch both with the re- 
treating enemy and with the garrison of Maestricht. 
Several desperate engagements ensued, of which the 
most important was the battle of the Ourthe, fought 
a I'outrance on the 17th. 

Bernadotte 's description of his share in the battle 
of the Ourthe is contained in the following letter, ex- 
pressed in the fierce jargon of the Revolutionary wars, 
with a touch of Gascon imagery, which came naturally 
to the writer, who, in despatching Ney, during this 
campaign, in pursuit of the enemy, gave him the 
following order : " Let them fall before you like corn 
before the reaper's sickle." 

" To General Kleber, 

commanding the left wing. 
Equality. Liberty. 

Bilsen, the 1st of the Sansculottides, b 
9 o'clock in the evening. 

" I have just returned, my dear General. I was 
obliged to remain in action longer than you prescribed, 

a Victoires, ConquHes, iii. 72-91, 162-172. 
* 17th September 1794. 

sept. 1794] BERNADOTTE AND NEY 103 

because the enemy, when I was on the point of retiring' 
made a forward movement. I collected my cavalry, 
and charging the enemy, put them to flight. The day 
went well for us . Although the columns of Bounamir 
could not do all that you intended, I have nevertheless 
carried out your object. The villages of Welversert 
and Lonaken and the redoubts which defended them 
were carried with the rapidity of lightning. The 
cavalry behaved with gallantry. They were attacked 
on the left flank, but held their ground firmly, and 
twice repulsed the enemy. I drove the enemy out of 
Welversert and massacred pitilessly a company of 
chasseurs which obstinately held its ground there. 
The 1st battalion of the 71st had to deal with them, 
and would take no prisoners. The light horse of 
Carakin lost heavily. I had to encounter a large 
column which had made a sortie from Maestricht. I 
shall send you a full report to-morrow. I have lost 
several men, including the adjutant-major of the 71st. 
I am satisfied with the artillery, which, although 
surrounded by the enemy, held its ground. — Health, 
esteem, and friendship. 

" J. B. BERNADOTTE." a ( 2 *) 

Jourdan now abandoned his plan of an immediate 
siege of Maestricht, and summoned Kleber and Berna- 
dotte from the investment of that place to the banks 
of the river Roer , where a battle was expected . Before 
the end of September, Bernadotte, commanding 
Kleber's vanguard, and ably seconded by Ney, 
fought his way from Maestricht to the Roer. Between 
Bernadotte and Ney a friendship sprang up, during 
this campaign, which lasted as long as they remained 
companions in arms ; and a time came, when some of 
Ney's family found a safe retreat in Bernadotte 's 
kingdom of Sweden. 

In the course of this march Bernadotte received 
the following letter from Kldber : — 

' See App. Note ("*). 

104 BATTLE OF THE ROER [chap, xviii 

" gth Vendemiaire, An III. 
{?,oth September 1794). 
" On receipt of this letter, my dear comrade, you 
will direct Adjutant-General Ney ... to ascertain 
the width of the Roer, and whether it is fordable, and, 
if so, at what point. ... In any event, you will 
requisition all procurable carpenters, and collect . . . 
materials for throwing a bridge over that river. Do 
not stand on ceremony, my dear comrade. Use, if 
necessary, the flooring of the houses. If you could 
seize Heinsberg to-day, it would be a good step forward, 
and a fine vanguard stroke. . . . Health and brother- 

hood - " KlSber.'" 1 

So well were these instructions carried out that in 
the evening Kleber was able to write to Bernadotte : 
" Bravo, my dear comrade ! That was a surprise 
attack, which will delight the general-in-chief . I shall 
take the first opportunity of reporting it to him.'" 1 

On 2nd October was fought the battle which 
decided the issue of this campaign. The Austrian 
centre was stationed at Aldenhoven, behind the Roer, 
and the immediate effect of the battle was the taking 
of Juliers. It has been variously referred to in 
military and historical books as the battle " of 
Aldenhoven," or " of Juliers," or " of the Roer." 

Kleber commanded the left wing, Bernadotte 
leading Kleber 's vanguard. Bernadotte and his 
vanguard occupied the banks of the Roer, under a 
heavy fire from the enemy, who were favourably 
posted on the opposite side. A bridge had been made, 
but turned out to be too short to span the river. 
Bernadotte called on his troops to jump into the water, 
exclaiming, " The bravest to the front, as an example 
to the others ! " Led by their officers, among whom 
was Lieutenant, afterwards Marshal, Gerard, the men 
* Lafosse, 69, 70. 

oct. 1794] " HEROIC SANG-FROID " 105 

of the 71st Regiment plunged into the stream. Some 
were killed and some drowned, but, before the day was 
over, they established a sufficient force on the opposite 
bank, and held their ground until the army followed 
them next morning. They were rewarded by having 
" Aldenhoven " inscribed on the regimental standards, 
which were preserved by the corps for eighty-six years, 
until they were lost at the capitulation of Metz in 
October 1 870. Of Bernadotte's conduct during this 
battle, Kleber wrote in his report : " I cannot suffi- 
ciently praise General Bernadotte. Always under a 
heavy fire, he directed the movements of his troops 
with heroic sang-froid. His courage and intrepidity 
decided the result of the battle."" 

After the battle of the Roer, the French pursued 
the Austrians to Diisseldorf, Bernadotte commanding 
the vanguard, and Ney the vanguard of the vanguard. 
On 3rd October Bernadotte found in the village inn at 
Guerack, just evacuated by the Austrian commander- 
in-chief, a copy of a despatch describing the route of 
the Austrian supply train, the capture of which 
resulted from the following order, which he sent to 
Ney : — 

" The general who commands an army, in which 
you are employed, is a fortunate man. I have that 
good luck, and I fully appreciate it. Continue to 
pursue and hussar the enemy, and I shall second you 
to the utmost of my means. . . . 

" I must inform you, my dear friend, that there is 
something of great importance to be attempted. The 
honour of the attempt is reserved for you, and to you 
shall be attributed all the merit of its success. You 
must, if possible, obtain possession of the flour which 
Field-Marshal Werneck is sending, under an escort, 
along the heights on the other side of Vegong, whence 
it is to enter the high road, for the purpose of reaching 

" KUber, par Reaulx, 72. 

106 " THE BRAVE BERNADOTTE " [chap, xviii 

Neuss and Dusseldorf . The undertaking will, perhaps, 
be hazardous — but no matter. . . . 

" I am going to take a few hours' rest ; I advise you 
to do the same, for I fancy we shall have no time for 
sleep to-morrow. 

" Bernadotte. 

" Guerack, 12th Vendemiaire, 

" Year III. (3rd October 1794)"" 

On the 6th October the French army arrived 
before Dusseldorf. As the Rhine had been reached, 
and had been made a frontier river, General Jourdan 
sent Kldber and Bernadotte to resume the siege of 
Maestricht, which had become the essential object 
of French strategy. Meanwhile, the Representative 
of the People, with the army, sent to Paris, on 16th 
October, the following report :* — 

" I wish specially to recommend for the rank of 
general of division the brave Bernadotte, recently 
promoted by Guyton and myself to be brigadier- 
general. It was he who commanded Kleber's van- 
guard on the Roer. He is an officer who is as efficient 
as he is courageous ; and he is greatly beloved by his 
men. He has not yet received a patent of appoint- 

" Gillet." 

" Ney, par Bonnal, 34. * Hans Kloeber, 48, quoting Hardy. 


The Siege of Maestricht 
october-november i 794 

" Be assured that courage does not suffice to ensure victory. 
Our reverses have proved that it cannot avail us without steady, 
just, and rigorous discipline." — Extract from Bernadotte's order 
of the day at the siege of Maestricht, 21st October 1794. 

On the nth October, Kleber arrived before Maestricht, 
and took command of the besieging force. Berna- 
dotte was entrusted with the attack on the suburb of 
Wyck, which, being separated by the river from the 
rest of the city, was a post calling for considerable 
independence of action. Under him was serving 
General Hardy, who has written an interesting diary 
of the siege." As this was Bernadotte's first ex- 
perience of the kind, he wisely gave a free hand to the 
officers of the Artillery and of the Engineer Corps in 
their respective departments. The following was his 
general order — a characteristic document, bringing 
Gascon fire to the aid of military discipline : — 

" Army before Maestricht. Liberty. Equality. 
Attacking Division Headquarters of Man- 

of Wyck. denhoven, 

The 30th Vendimiaire, $rd 
Year (21st Oct. 1794). 
" Bernadotte, General of Brigade, 

commanding provisionally the attacking division 
of Wyck, 

" To the Troops under his Orders." 
" Your valour and courage forbid me to have any 
doubt of the speedy surrender of the place, the attack 

" Le Siige de Maestricht, par Hardy ; cf . Victoires, ConquStes, 
vol. iii. pp. 203-215. 


upon which is committed to your charge. Hired 
soldiers, under the influence of force and fear, have 
the audacity to insult you from their battlements. 
Your Republican pride is wounded by the con- 
templation of an enemy, whom your triumphant arms 
have not yet overthrown. The moment approaches 
when the ramparts, which oppose a barrier to your 
fierce attack, will crumble before your eyes. 

" But be assured that courage does not suffice to 
ensure victory. Our reverses have proved that it 
cannot avail us without steady, just, and rigorous 
discipline. It is, above all, during a siege that austere 
discipline must be scrupulously observed. For I must 
warn you that the slightest murmur would be a crime 
against the Republic. 

" I require of you to observe absolute silence in 
the trenches, trusting in your chiefs, who will share your 
labours and fatigues, and will by their example help 
you to accelerate the operations of the siege. 

" J. B. Bernadotte."" 

General Sarrazin gives an eye-witness's description 
of Bernadotte's conduct in the trenches. 

" He, Bernadotte, every day, whatever might be 
the weather, visited the trenches, and encouraged the 
workmen. They entreated him to retire, observing 
to him that he ran very great risk, without any prospect 
of advantage. His answer was, ' that considering 
his soldiers as his children, it was his greatest pleasure 
to share in their dangers, and to witness their zeal 
in executing his orders.' This behaviour received a 
double recompense : first, by attaching more and 
more the officers and soldiers, who, whatever they 
may say, are always fond of seeing their generals at 
their head ; and secondly, by inducing the workmen 
to hasten their work. They all responded with 
one voice : ' Let us be of good cheer, and work 
double tides, to shelter our brave general, who thus 
exposes himself as one of us.' I have seen Bernadotte 

" The author possesses a copy of the original issue of this 
order ; but, as it is to be found elsewhere, it has not been printed 
in the Appendix. 

oct -nov. 1794] IN THE TRENCHES 109 

shedding tears of the sweetest sympathy in seeing 
himself thus beloved by his troops."" 

General Hardy publishes the elaborate instructions 
which he received from Bernadotte, and remarks that 
such careful preparations deserved the success by 
which they were crowned. 

Those who care to follow the digging of the 
trenches, with their zigzags and parallels and advance 
batteries, will find them all described in Hardy's diary. 
Suffice it to say that the work commenced upon 23rd 
October, and that all was ready for a general attack 
on the 2nd November. On that day Bernadotte 
announced to his troops that the batteries would begin 
to fire, and expressed the hope that they would be the 
first to strike the blow. The attack was successful, 
and the capitulation was signed on 4th November. 

Kleber showed his appreciation of Bernadotte 's 
services by conferring on him all the honours of which 
the occasion admitted. He was selected to receive the 
arms of the surrendered garrison. Bernadotte, in his 
order of the day, told his troops that, when the enemy 
marched out and laid down their arms, the French 
soldiers were to observe a proud and military bearing, 
and to receive the Austrians without moving a muscle 
of the face. They were not to leave their ranks or to 
communicate with the enemy, on pain of the severest 
punishment, and at the same time they were not to 
allow any word or look of insult to escape them, for 
they were to remember that if the Republican troops 
could inspire terror in a battle, they could be generous 
and chivalrous after a victory. 

This was not the only mark of esteem which Berna- 
dotte received. He was appointed governor of Maes- 

Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 11; ib. Memoires, 37. 

no AN ANNUS MIRABILIS [chap, xix 

tricht with a garrison of 4000 men. By his strict 
discipline he enforced respect for the persons, pro- 
perty, and religion of the townspeople, until he was 
summoned away, to join the main body of the 
army, which was stationed along the banks of the 

During the siege of Maestricht effect was given to 
the recommendation of General Jourdan, and of the 
Representative of the People, by the appointment of 
Bernadotte to the rank of general of division. The 
year had been for him an annus mirabilis. In 
January he was a captain, in February he was lieu- 
tenant-colonel, in April he became colonel, in June 
general of brigade, in November general of division. 
He had distinguished himself on the Sambre, at 
Fleurus, at the battles of the Ourthe and of the Roer, 
and at the siege of Maestricht. 

In the following year, 1795, a report was pre- 
sented to the National Convention, on behalf of the 
Committee of Public Safety, by Dubois Crance, 
giving a list of the generals of the Republic, with 
observations upon each of them. Among the 
generals of division of the army of Sambre and 
Meuse occurs the name of Bernardo tte [sic], with 
the following observations : — 

" Soldier in the 60th Regiment in 1 780 ; has passed 
through all the ranks ; general of division the 1st 
Brumaire an 3 (22nd October 1794). A good officer, 
commended by the Representatives of the People, 
Richard, Merlin de Thionville, and Gillet, and by 

The conquest of Belgium, and the retreat of the 
Austrians after Fleurus, discouraged the Allies. 

* Tableau et Rapport, etc., Dubois Crance (Brit. Museum 

oct .-nov. 1794] ENGLAND AND AUSTRIA in 

Prussia now turned her attention to Poland, and pre- 
pared to make peace with the French Republic. The 
spirit of England, as represented by the government of 
Pitt, remained unshaken, and found encouragement in 
a series of brilliant naval successes. So far as the 
Continent was concerned, Austria remained, for the 
time being, the only formidable enemy of the Republic; 
and as a result of the recent campaign, the theatre of 
war was shifted from the Netherlands to the Rhine. 


With the Army of Sambre and Meuse on the 
Rhine in 1795 

november 1 794-august 1 795 

" You propose to send me reinforcements. I accept with 
pleasure, if at their head you will send me a man who is devoted 
to his duty, who understands my methods of operation, upon 
whom I can depend with absolute confidence, who is capable of 
transmitting to his troops the electric fire with which I would 
inspire him. . . . You know very well that it is of Bernadotte 
that I speak." — Extract from General K liber's letter to General 
Jourdan, dated 16th August 1795. 

While General Jourdan had been annexing Belgium, 
General Pichegru had effected the conquest of Holland, 
which resulted in the establishment of the Batavian 
Republic on a footing of alliance with France. With a 
friendly government installed in Holland, it became no 
longer necessary to have a strong garrison in Maes- 
tricht. Accordingly, Bernadotte was ordered, early 
in 1795, to return to the army of Sambre and Meuse, 
which was stationed along the Rhine for a stretch of a 
hundred miles or more from Diisseldorf to Bingen. 

" The Army of Sambre and Meuse " will now be 
found fighting for several years far away from the 
two rivers from which it derived its name. In order 
to understand how this came about, it is necessary 
to remember that the title of " Sambre and Meuse " 
was given by a decree of the National Convention to 
this army, in order to commemorate the victory of 
Fleurus and the other combats which were fought 
near the confluence of the rivers Sambre and Meuse, 
and were followed by the conquest of Belgium." 
■ See p. 95 supra, and App. Note (") 

aug. 1 795] A MILITARY " FAMILY " 113 

Just as a clan or sept is consolidated by the 
common possession of some territorial title, so the 
officers and men, who fought together under this 
special and inspiring appellation, became bound to 
each other " with hoops of steel." Jourdan its com- 
mander-in-chief ; Kleber, Marceau, Lefebvre, Berna- 
dotte, Championnet, Colaud, and other divisional 
generals ; Ney and Soult, and many a brave officer 
of lesser rank, spoke of the army as their " family," 
and of each other as its members. It would not be 
possible for the reader to understand the intensity 
of the esprit de corps which this army generated, and 
of the jealousies which it excited, without realising 
that it constituted a remarkable military unit, dis- 
tinguished by a peculiar title of honour, which was 
conferred upon it by the nation in recognition of 
special and conspicuous services to the State. 

An example of the spirit of clanship, which animated 
this army, is afforded in the case of K16ber, who was 
sent after the capture of Maestricht to command a 
wing of the army of the Rhine and Moselle, which was 
besieging Mainz. He wrote to the Government asking 
to be allowed to return to " the family " of Sambre 
and Meuse ; and he assured General Jourdan in a letter 
of 7th June, that he would prefer to serve under him 
in a subordinate position, than to be commander-in- 
chief elsewhere. Kleber 's request was granted. He 
was appointed to the centre of the army of Sambre 
and Meuse, in which Bernadotte was serving ; and 
subsequently was given the command of the left wing, 
which was stationed near Diisseldorf. This change 
separated him from Bernadotte, who had been his 
vanguard leader throughout the campaign of 1 794." 

Bernadotte received a great deal of praise in the 
* Ney, par Bonnal, 42, 43. 

ii4 PRAISE FROM KLEBER [chap, xx 

course of his career ; but no higher tribute was ever 
paid to him than was contained in the following letter, 
written to Jourdan by Kleber, when active opera- 
tions seemed imminent. It is dated 16th August 
1795, and contains the following reference to Berna- 
dotte : — 

" You propose to send me reinforcements. I 
accept with pleasure, if at their head you will send me 
a man who is devoted to his duty, who understands 
my methods of operation, upon whom I can depend 
with absolute confidence, who is capable of trans- 
mitting to his troops the electric fire with which I 
would inspire him. . . . You know very well that it 
is of Bernadotte that I speak. I ask you, my dear 
Jourdan, to send me him. . . . Once the Rhine is 
crossed I will send him back to you. . . ." " 

General Jourdan did not comply with this request. 
Perhaps he did not wish to send all the " electric fire " 
to the left wing. At all events, he retained Berna- 
dotte, whose division now formed part of the right 
wing and extended along the Rhine from Cologne to 

The spring and summer of 1795 were spent by 
Bernadotte and his comrades in an inactivity, which 
was not due to any want of energy on their part. The 
causes were political and the fault lay with the Govern- 

The historic days of the 9th and 10th Thermidor 
(27th and 28th July 1794), upon which Robespierre, 
St. Just, and their companions were arrested and 
executed, had ended the Terror ; but had also ended 
the virile force, which coincided with the Terror. In 
St. Just there passed away a cruel and relentless 
tyrant ; but there also passed away the type of man, 
who knew how to make an army fight and win/ St. 
a Kleber, par Pajol, 173. * See p. 82 supra. 

aug. 1795] A COUNCIL OF WAR 115 

Just, and other Representatives of the People like 
him, acted like jockeys getting the very utmost out 
of their horses, and not sparing whip or spur. 

Another result of Thermidor was the retirement of 
Carnot, who had been the real organiser of victory. 
His life was spared on account of his great public 
services, but his public services were temporarily 
dispensed with. If the new Government was more 
mild than its predecessor, it was also more weak. 
Nothing was done to organise victory or to strengthen 
the armies. At the same time the Government was 
pressing the armies to win victories and blaming them 
for not doing so. 

The army of Sambre and Meuse during 1 795 drifted 
into a position which was well-nigh intolerable. It 
was expected to cross the Rhine, but no materials 
were provided for bridging the river. It was expected 
to invade Germany, but there were no stores or 
ammunition. The condition of the soldiers became 
deplorable, and their spirit became dangerous. As the 
Government did nothing, General Jourdan himself 
organised materials for bridging the Rhine, but there 
still remained an entire absence of the munition 
and supplies necessary for a serious campaign." 

Beset by these difficulties, General Jourdan sum- 
moned a council of war, at which Bernadotte made 
the following speech, which is said to have influenced 
the decision of the council : — 

" Exposed as we are on the one hand to the 
desperate complaints of our soldiers, the result of 
their sufferings and privations, and on the other hand 
to the malevolence of the agitators and the exacting 
requirements of the Government, it is better for us to 
perish by drowning in crossing the Rhine, or by the 

" Victoires, Conquetes, iv. 281, 285 ; Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 12. 


sword of the Austrian after having crossed it, than to 
give the enemies of our glory a favourable opportunity 
of saying that we have not dared to face courageously 
the danger which awaited us. So far as the materials 
and organisation of the army are concerned, I admit 
the odds are all against us ; but the circumstances 
in which we are placed leave us no alternative. If 
we resolutely strive for victory, she may be ours. If 
she should fail us, death at all events will be our 
refuge.'" 1 

It was decided, in the desperate spirit of this gascon- 
ade, to cross the Rhine and to enter upon the autumn 
campaign of 1795. 

Bernadotte is now entering, as a general of division, 
upon a period of strenuous campaigning in Germany 
with the army of Sambre and Meuse. Let us pause 
for a moment, and inquire how his future rival, 
Napoleon Bonaparte, was situated at this point of time 
(September 1795). Bonaparte had distinguished 
himself at Toulon, and had won promotion, but he 
was still only a general of brigade, and, therefore, 
ranked in the army below Bernadotte. He was a 
suitor for the hand of Eugenie Desiree Clary, who 
afterwards married Bernadotte, and his courtship was 
drawing to a close. On 6th September he wrote to 
his brother Joseph : " The affair with Eugenie must 
be concluded or broken off." It was broken off; and 
in a few weeks a sudden opportunity was to open to 
him the door to fame and fortune. Bonaparte and 
Bernadotte had not met each other, and were not to 
meet for another eighteen months. 

* Lafosse, 76, 77 ; Sarrans, 10. 


The Invasion of Germany by the Army of Sambre 
and Meuse in the Autumn of 1 79S 


" Yesterday, with my division, I repulsed the troops who 
threaten you. With Kleber to command us to-day, who can 
defeat us ? " — Bernadotte's address to KUber's troops, \gth October 

The army of Sambre and Meuse invaded Germany- 
three times during the years 1795 and 1796, and 
Bernadotte took part, as a general of division, in these 
three campaigns. There was a resemblance between 
the plans of these three invasions, because the French 
army always started from the same point, and took 
the same direction." 

The strategy of these campaigns has been the 
subject of keen discussion among military authorities, 
French and Austrian ; but there was one point about 
them, which any civilian can appreciate. They were 
effective methods of carrying the war into the enemy's 
country. The French, by these raids into Germany, 
forced the Austrians to defend themselves on German 
territory, instead of invading the " natural " frontier 
of France or attempting to recover Belgium. 

Let us briefly follow Bernadotte through the first 
of these three incursions into Germany — the autumn 
campaign of 1795. 

On the 6th September, General Kleber crossed the 

Rhine at Diisseldorf, and marched southwards to the 

river Lahn. His march drew away the Austrians, 

who were stationed on the German side of the Rhine, 

" For map of the theatre of these campaigns, see p. 52 supra. 

n8 NASSAU AND BIEBRICH [chap, xxi 

and enabled the rest of the army to cross the river 
at Neuwied. Bernadotte facilitated the passage by 
seizing and holding an island . He then crossed with 
his own troops, occupied Montabaur and Heilteit, and 
took his place on the 20th September with the rest of 
the army along the line of the river Lahn. 

The next step was to cross the river Lahn where 
the enemy barred the way at Nassau. The operation 
of crossing the Lahn was described in General 
Jourdan's despatch of 22nd September in the following 
terms : " We found the enemy's army on the left bank 
of the Lahn, occupying a strong position. General 
Bernadotte attacked the outposts, which were at 
Nassau. The enemy was driven out with loss. . . . 
The whole army crossed yesterday." " 

After the Lahn was crossed, the French on the 23rd 
September marched to the river Main and invested 
Mainz. Bernadotte was charged with the blockading 
of Castel, a suburb of Mainz situate on the east bank of 
the Rhine. He had his headquarters at Biebrich in 
the castle of the Prince of Nassau, who had fled at the 
approach of the French army. During his stay at 
Biebrich he exhibited his usual moderation. One of 
the officers of his army writes as follows : " Not a 
single devastation was made, nor was any contribu- 
tion exacted. The Prince's steward was compelled to 
praise the honourable proceedings of Bernadotte, who 
confined himself to obtaining the mere necessaries for 
the troops of the division." * 

So far the French army had completely carried 
out the plan of campaign. But now their position 
became a very perilous one. One of the objects of the 
campaign had been to effect a junction with General 

" Moniteur, 30th September, 24th October 1795. 
* Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 12. 

oct. 1795] REAR-GUARD TACTICS 119 

Pichegru, who at this time was in command of the 
army of the Rhine and Moselle, and to unite with 
him in investing Mainz. But Pichegru failed to give 
any effective co-operation. His inaction seemed un- 
accountable, until it afterwards transpired that he 
was entering into relations with, the enemy, and was 
negotiating for a Bourbon restoration, in which he 
was to play the part of General Monk. 

Deserted by Pichegru, the army of Sambre and 
Meuse was threatened by an Austrian flanking move- 
ment carried out through neutral territory, in violation 
of one of the conditions of the Treaty of Basel. Under 
these circumstances, a council of war was held on 14th 
October, at which it was decided to retreat. 

In the retreat, which commenced on the night of 
1 6th October, Bernadotte commanded the rear-guard of 
the army. After crossing the Lahn near Ehrenbreit- 
stein, 4000 of his men were cut off from the main body 
and exposed to a heavy fire from a plateau occupied by 
the enemy. He ordered a battalion to take the plateau . 
The battalion, a mere handful of men, wavered under 
a murderous fire. Bernadotte, galloping up the hill, 
joined the battalion, shouting, " Take the plateau, or 
never come back." The plateau was taken.' 1 

On the 1 8th of October, at Caudenbach, he was 
attacked by a superior force, which he repulsed and 
by a series of brilliant manoeuvres drove back across 
the Lahn. Writing the next day to Jourdan, Kleber 
in a postscript said : " Bernadotte has gained an 
advantage over the enemy." " 

When the retreating army reached the Rhine, they 
were met by an unforeseen disaster. As they ap- 
proached the river, the whole sky was seen to be 
illuminated/ It turned out that the bridge of boats 
" Lafosse, 79, 80; Sarrans, 11. * Lafosse, 81-85. 

120 THE BRIDGE OF BOATS [chap, xxi 

was in flames, owing to an unfortunate mistake, 
through which some burning barges had been allowed 
to drift down the river. While the bridge was being 
reconstructed, the enemy had to be kept at bay, and 
in the meantime the army was placed in a position 
of extreme peril. Bernadotte came up fresh from his 
success of Caudenbach, and, with General Kleber's 
consent, seized the opportunity of rousing the drooping 
spirit of the troops by a characteristic gasconade. He 
exclaimed, " Yesterday, with my division, I repulsed 
the troops who threaten you. With Kleber to com- 
mand us to-day, who can defeat us ? " The rear-guard, 
by presenting a bold front, held the enemy in check ; 
and in the evening Kleber was able to write to Jourdan : 
" The mischief is repaired. Instead of despondency I 
find everywhere the utmost energy, and all our troubles 
will soon be over." A bridge was put together before 
midnight ; and on the following day, 20th October, the 
river was crossed and the French army were safely on 
their own side of the Rhine. 

The burning of the bridge of boats appears to have 
been due to a blunder on the part of one of Marceau's 
officers. Marceau was quite blameless in the matter ; 
but, holding himself responsible for the mistake of his 
subordinate, he wrote a despairing letter to Jourdan, 
and, in the extremity of his despair, would have shot 
himself, if his aide-de-camp Maugars had not removed 
his pistols." 

Thus terminated the first of Jourdan 's three in- 
vasions of Germany, in which Bernadotte had dis- 
tinguished himself at the taking of Nassau, and as 
rear-guard commander during the retreat. 

" Marceau, par Parfait, 273; par Marceau-Sargent, 74; Vic- 
loir es, Conquetes, v. 15, 16. 


The Constitution of 1795 and the Executive 

October 1795 

" The Directory with the two Councils was nothing but 
organised anarchy. The conquest of the natural frontiers was 
nothing but systemised war. War and anarchy conducted a 
nation, which desired order and victory, to a military dictatorship." 
— Albert Sorel, L'Europe et la Revolution Franpaise, iv. 472, 473. 

The army of Sambre and Meuse, after its incursion 
into Germany, found itself, on the evening of the 
20th October 1795, back again on the left bank of the 
Rhine. For the next five weeks General Jourdan was 
forced to take up an attitude of inaction. 

The explanation of General Jourdan's inactivity 
is to be found in the circumstance that a change of 
Constitution was being carried out at Paris. The 
National Convention had for three years, ever since 
the abolition of Royalty, governed France as a sove- 
reign assembly, executing its decrees through its own 
committees. It was now replaced by the " Executive 
Directory," which came into operation in October 
1795, and was known as the " Constitution of the 
Year 3." 

This is not the place to discuss, at any length or 
with any elaborateness, the Directorial Constitution. 
But, in order to follow Bernadotte's life intelligently 
through the remainder of this volume, it is necessary 
to remind ourselves of some of the characteristics of 
the Government which he served in various capacities . 

The Directorial Constitution consisted of two 
chambers — the Council of Ancients, numbering 250, 

122 A NEW CONSTITUTION [chap, xxii 

and the Council of 500, so called from the number of 
its members. Laws were initiated by the Council of 
500, but did not become law until adopted by the 
Council of Ancients. The Executive was vested in 
five directors selected by the Council of Ancients from 
a list compiled by the Council of 500. In every year 
a third of the legislature was to retire, and to be 
renewed by popular election ; and in every year a 
director was to retire by lot, and to be replaced by 
a successor selected in the same way as the original 
directors. Each director took the presidency in turn 
for periods of three months. 

The Directorial Constitution was dependent, from 
first to last, in the ultimate resort, upon military force. 
This dependence was a birthmark ; for the new Con- 
stitution was born amid the crash of the military coup 
d'etat of the 13th Vendemiaire (3rd of October 1795). 
It was the carrying out of this coup d'etat which opened 
the door to the marvellous career of the young artillery 
officer, Napoleon Bonaparte. From that day's work 
flowed, in regular succession, the campaigns of Italy 
and of Egypt, the glory and the power which lit up the 
Consulate and the Empire, the banishments to Elba 
and St. Helena, the tomb in the Pantheon, and the 
legend that will never die. 

The coup d'etat of Vendemiaire was the first of a 
series of military coups d'etat, by which the Directory 
was kept alive during its brief existence of four years. 
Two causes exposed it to liability to military interven- 
tion. One cause was the absence of any constitutional 
means of preserving an equilibrium between the 
legislature and the Executive . The directors were liable 
to find themselves, after an annual election of a third 
of the legislature, face to face with a hostile majority in 
the chambers. The Constitution provided no means 

oct. 1 795] THE DIRECTORY 123 

of adjusting a conflict between the directors and the 
chambers, except an appeal, by one side or the other, 
to military force. The other cause was the aggressive 
foreign policy of the Republic, — the policy of Natural 
Boundaries, — which by committing France to a con- 
tinuous European war, and to the maintenance of 
immense armaments, aptly served to pave a path to 
power for some soldier of fortune. 

Albert Sorel, in the passage placed at the head 
of this chapter, describes the Directorial Constitution 
as " organised anarchy," and its foreign policy as 
" systematised war," and says that it led the nation 
to a military dictatorship. He names five generals, 
besides Napoleon Bonaparte, who, by their services 
to the Republic and their military attainments, be- 
came, in his opinion, possible aspirants to supreme 
power. These were Carnot, Hoche, Moreau, Berna- 
dotte, and Pichegru. He attributes Bernadotte's 
failure to his caution in waiting for power to come to 
him, instead of seizing it when the opportunity 
offered ; and Bonaparte's success to the fact that he 
was the one man who had, besides the ambition to 
aspire to sovereign power, the daring to grasp it, and 
the skill to hold it." 

But in October 1795, Bernadotte had not begun 
to dream of sovereign power. He was only a divisional 
general, a soldier of the second rank in one of the 
armies of the Republic. 

Some reference is due to the personality of the 
five directors, who constituted the new Executive 
Government, and possessed, among other powers, the 
right of appointing ministers, ambassadors, and generals 
of the Republic. The director best known to history, 
as such, was Barras, a man of action and of pleasure, 
■ Sorel, iv. 473 et seq. 

124 THE DIRECTORS [chap, xxn 

whose frankly unscrupulous personality typified the 
system of which he was a principal figure . He was the 
only one of the original directors, who retained office 
during the four years of the continuance of the 
Directory. The other members of the Directory, 
as originally constituted, were LarevelliSre-Lepeaux 
and Rewbell — two regicides of the second rank — 
and Carnot and Latourneur, two engineer officers, 
who represented the moderate Republicans of that 
day. Carnot was the celebrated " organiser of 
victory," who had now returned to public life. 
Latourneur was acquainted with Bernadotte, and there 
appear to have been friendly relations between them. 
Otherwise, Bernadotte was as yet unknown to the 
new Executive, except as a distinguished divisional 
general in the army of Sambre and Meuse." 

" For information about the establishment of the Directory 
reference may be made to Sorel, iv. 435-473 ; L'Histoire Genirale, 
viii. 374-376 ; L'Histoire politique de la Revolution, par Aulard, iii. 
557 et seq. ; Cambridge Modern History, viii. 392-397. 


The Winter Campaign in the Hunsruck — The 
Capture of Creuznach 

october-december i 795 

"Send for the 71st. It will repair the disgrace with which 
this regiment has covered itself." — Bernadotte at Creuznach, zgth 
November 1795. 

" I am not weak enough to wish for death, but I believe that, 
unless the Government takes some severe measures, a glorious 
death will be the greatest benefit that can befall a French 
general." — Bernadotte's letter to General Jourdan, 3rd 
December 1795. 

While history was being made in Paris, the army 
of the Sambre and Meuse was marking time on the 
Rhine. Jourdan was willing to take the field ; 
but there was no effective Government capable of 
giving him instructions. Meanwhile, the Austrians 
had crossed the Rhine in the south, and were advancing 
northwards towards the river Nahe. Between the 
Nahe and the Moselle lay a district called the Huns- 
nick (or the Hundsriick), which was now threatened 
by the advancing Austrian force. At this danger-point 
Marceau was in command ; and we find him writing 
letters to the commander-in-chief on 23rd October 
and 1 st November, asking that Bernadotte should be 
detached to his assistance." 

When the Executive Directory were installed in 
office at the end of October, they were not prepared 
with any plan of campaign. After some vacillation, 
they sent orders to General Jourdan to stop the 
enemy's advance, leaving him free to use his own 
discretion as to his method of doing so. 

" Marceau, par Parfait, 373 ; ib. par Maze, 198-200. 


Jourdan collected 40,000 men near Simmern, 
in the Hunsruck, and marched southwards to meet 
the enemy. Bernadotte, in the centre of the army, 
was charged with the attack on Creuznach, on the 
river Nahe, which was garrisoned by Pandours. 
These Pandours were Hungarian infantry from a 
district or tribe, which was noted in those days for 
ferocity and barbarity. 

Creuznach had been a fortress of note in the Roman 
and Carlovingian ages, but in the seventeenth century a 
French army had raided it, and a ruined castle, which 
overlooked the town, remained as a memorial of their 
visit. The officer commanding Bernadotte 's van- 
guard presuming that the old town was feebly defended, 
dashed into its streets without taking any precaution 
against surprise. The Pandours, issuing from a well- 
laid ambuscade, repulsed the vanguard, taking some 
French prisoners, whose heads they immediately cut 
off before the eyes of their retreating comrades. 

Mortified at the repulse of his vanguard, and 
indignant at these barbarities, Bernadotte, putting 
himself at the head of his infantry, drove the Austrians 
out of Creuznach, at the point of the bayonet, and 
pursued them so closely that he was on their heels as 
they crossed the bridge, which spanned the Nahe. An 
officer's leg was carried off by a cannon ball at Berna- 
dotte's side.* Three hundred Austrians were killed, 
and five hundred prisoners were taken/ 

On this occasion Bernadotte did not succeed in 
rallying the retreating vanguard without a resort to 
his Gascon readiness of speech. The men were 

Sarrazin says that the officer was Cafarelli. 

* Jomini, vii. 223 ; Victoires, Conquetes, v. 98 ; Sarrazin, Phil. 
ii. 13, 14 ; ib. M&moires, 43-45 ; Lafosse, 85, 86 ; Capitaine 
Francais, 101. 

nov. 1 795] STORMING OF CREUZNACH 127 

at first indisposed to return to Creuznach and face 
the Pandours . Bernadotte, observing their hesitation, 
turned round to one of his aides-de-camp, and ex- 
claimed, " Send for the 71st. It will repair the dis- 
grace with which this regiment has covered itself." 
The incident is referred to in a work devoted to collect- 
ing examples of military eloquence. The writer adds : 
" At these words the men shouted ' Forward,' and 
the same troops, who a few minutes before had been 
struck with panic, now turned round and forced their 
way back into Creuznach, carrying all before them, 
and inflicting a severe loss upon the enemy." a 

We are afforded a glimpse of the desperate con- 
dition of the French army in the Hunsriick, at the 
end of November and the beginning of December, in 
the contents of two letters, which were addressed by 
Marceau and Bernadotte to General Jourdan. 

General Marceau, in a letter of 30th November 
addressed to the commander-in-chief from Messen- 
heim, wrote as follows : "I am so disgusted that 
nothing restrains me from quitting the service and my 
command except my honour and my regard for you. 
I prefer to die in battle, even if I am alone there, rather 
than to fail in carrying out your intentions. But . . . 
I can no longer place any reliance upon my troops 
or upon anything else except my own readiness to 
die. That is all I think I can assure you of." On 
the same day he wrote : " I have to face obstacles a 
hundred times more terrible than any that the enemy 
can present. My men have neither bread nor boots, 
and the roads are in such a condition that the soldiers 
sink into the mud up to their knees." * 

Almost on the same day Bernadotte was writing 

to the commander-in-chief from another district of 

" L'Eloquence Militaire, ii. 123. b Marceau, par Maze, 219, 221. 

128 " YOU MEAN BELGIANS ! " [chap, xxm 

the Hunsriick, complaining bitterly of the impossi- 
bility of maintaining proper discipline under the exist- 
ing conditions, and under the regulations imposed 
by the Government upon the generals of the army. 
He says that, unless he is given more stringent powers 
of stopping brigandage and disorder, he cannot pre- 
vent its spread, and he concludes in these words, which 
bear a strange resemblance to the passage just quoted 
from the letter of Marceau. Bernadotte writes : " I am 
not weak enough to wish for death, but I believe that, 
unless the Government takes some severe measures, 
a glorious death will be the greatest benefit that can 
befall a French general.'" 1 

Another incident connected with the taking of 
Creuznach deserves to be recorded. It illustrates one 
of the fierce phases of the Revolutionary wars. An 
inexorable law condemned to the scaffold all French 
emigres, who were taken prisoners under arms, as well 
as those who harboured or helped them. 

After the taking of Creuznach, Bernadotte was 
going his rounds, as was his habit, questioning the 
prisoners, and seeing to their wants and com- 
forts. He came to a group, and asked them what 
corps they belonged to. " You see we are French," 
was the reply. " You mean Belgians," said Berna- 
dotte, with a significant look ; and before the day was 
over he arranged their exchange for some prisoners 
of his division/ 

The engagement at Creuznach took place on 
29th November. The army continued to hold their 
position on the Nahe for another fortnight ; and 
General Marceau gained a brilliant success on 10th 
December. But General Jourdan had good reason 
to fear that his line of retreat and of communica- 
" Lafosse, 86, 87. * Sarrans, 11, 12. 

nov .-dec. 1795] AN ARMISTICE 129 

tions might be cut off; and he considered himself 
very fortunate to have the opportunity of accepting 
an armistice which the Austrians offered on 19th 

The campaign in the Hunsruck accomplished 
little except to enhance the reputation of Marceau 
and of Bernadotte, whose coup de main at Creuznach 
is referred to in several places as a noteworthy feat 
of arms. 



The Six Months' Armistice — Bernadotte saves 
his Cousin from the Galleys 

" People in Paris sometimes know how, for the sake of 
worthy friends, to put the laws to sleep." — The President of the 
Court of Cassation to Bernadotte' s messenger, June 1796. 

" Allow me to assure you that you have rendered us a greater 
service than if you had saved one of our lives, since you have 
preserved our honour." — Extract from letter front Bernadotte' s 
brother to General Sarrazin, 6th June 1796. 

During the armistice of 1 796, which lasted for about 
six months, Bernadotte's division remained on the 
banks of the Rhine with head-quarters at Boppard, 
to the south of Coblenz. One of his officers tells us 
that the general occupied himself visiting all the 
quarters of his division ; reviewing and instructing 
them ; giving particular attention to the comfort 
and subsistence of his army ; conversing, mainly on 
military topics, with the officers of his staff, with 
whom he shared his meals. He is described as taking 
walks with his comrades along the banks of the 
Rhine in a blue mufti with a cap of fox-skin fur, 
indulging in day-dreams, which at this period of his 
life did not soar beyond a hope to be enabled ulti- 
mately to retire on half-pay and end his days in his 
native town of Pau. a 

It was towards the end of this armistice that 
an incident occurred which is often alluded to by 
General Sarrazin. One day, while General Berna- 
dotte and his staff were at table, a letter arrived 
from the capital informing him that a cousin and 
friend, Titou Bernadotte, had been condemned to the 

a Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 12-18. 


galleys for eight years. His crime was of the same 
kind as that, of which Bernadotte had himself been 
guilty, when, in violation of the laws of the Republic, 
he saved the emigres from the penalty of death, by 
declaring them to be Belgians, and exchanging them, 
before their identity could be discovered. It appears 
that Titou Bernadotte had attempted to save a friend, 
who was an emigre, from the scaffold by means of a 
false certificate of civism. 

Bernadotte was much distressed, and wished to 
set off for Paris at once. The commander-in-chief, 
however, could not spare him, as a renewal of hos- 
tilities might occur any day. It was accordingly 
arranged that Bernadotte 's chief of the staff, General 
Sarrazin, should go, armed with letters from General 
Jourdan for the Minister of War," and from Bernadotte 
himself to his relatives and connections in Paris, and 
to the only director with whom he was acquainted, 
Latourneur de la Manche. 

Sarrazin started for Paris on the 19th May 1796, 
and on 26th May Bernadotte wrote to him the following 
letter from Boppard : — 

" Equality, Liberty 

" Army of the Sambre and Meuse, Boppard. The 
3rd of Prairial, the Fourth Year of the Republic 
(the 24-th of May 1796) 
" Bernadotte to his Friend Sarrazin, now at Paris. 

" Citizen Loubix, brother-in-law to Titou Berna- 
dotte, must now be in Paris, and I should be glad if 
you would speak to him. Citizen Claverie, who, as it 
appears from his direction, still lives at Paris, rue de la 
Revolution, No. 7, will give you the necessary informa- 
tion about him. Write as soon as you possibly can, 
and tell me how my relation's affair is going on. 

" The armistice was broken yesterday by the 

" Sarrazin, Guerres civiles, 524. 

1 32 SARRAZIN'S MISSION [chap, xxiv 

Austrians. We are again, my dear Sarrazin, fol- 
lowing the fortune of battles. I am collecting my 
troops in the Hundsriick, and shall advance under the 
auspices of victory. Pray to Heaven that success 
may crown our efforts. Our cause is good. Our 
enemies, in their vain rage, still pretend to lay down 
the law to a great nation ! Well, my dear Sarrazin, we 
shall once more convince them of their impotence. 
The moment for striking a blow is drawing near. 
The soldiers only await the signal. 

" Adieu ! Direct your letters to Simmern. Next 
mail will bring you fifteen hundred livres in mandats, 
and the following another fifteen hundred. Inform 
me whether I must send you more. Should you have 
an opportunity of seeing the director Latourneur 
de la Manche, pray apologise to him for my impor- 
tunities, and request him to accept the assurance of 
my respectful devotion. . . . 

"J. Bernadotte. 

" P.S. — My best compliments to Hatry and 
Charpentier. I shall be at Simmern on the 6th ; send 
me your letters to that place.'" 1 

General Sarrazin in several places describes the 
success of his mission. He writes : " Two hours 
afterwards I was on my way to Paris, with letters for 
the principal authorities. Everywhere that I was 
announced as Bernadotte 's chief of the staff, I was 
received in the most distinguished manner. I was 
loaded with attention from all the members of the 
Directory, and particularly by Latourneur de la 
Manche, who entered warmly into the interests 
of Bernadotte 's unfortunate relative. Fifteen days 
sufficed to annul the sentence, and to restore to liberty 
a man, who had only been deprived of it through his 
love of justice and zeal for the cause of humanity." 

In another place General Sarrazin supplements 
this account of his mission by relating that the 
president of the Court of Cassation, observing his 

" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 1 8. 

june 1796] LAWS PUT TO SLEEP 133 

surprise at his success in procuring the discharge of 
the accused, said with a laugh, " People in Paris 
sometimes know how, for the sake of worthy friends, 
to put the laws to sleep (faire dormir les lots)." " 

Sarrazin gives an extract from a letter, dated 
6th June 1796, which he received from Bernadotte's 
elder brother, the advocate of Pau. It concluded 
with the following passage : " Allow me to assure 
you that you have rendered us a greater service than 
if you had saved one of our lives, since you have 
preserved our honour. I am, in saying this, the 
interpreter of the feelings of all my family, which is 
very numerous and is much respected in Pau and in 
its neighbourhood. We shall not be happy until we 
have found some opportunity of testifying to you our 
lively recognition of this signal service, the recollection 
of which shall be for ever graven on our hearts."" 

This passage, in language and tone, bears a family 
resemblance to the writings and utterances of the 
writer's soldier brother. It suggests the reflection 
that General Bernadotte's exuberance of thought and 
speech, and his oft-declared fidelity to the obligations 
of honour, were marks of his Bearnais birth, and in 
harmony with the spirit and atmosphere of his home. 

General Sarrazin appears to have relieved the 
monotony of his visit to the capital by proceedings, 
which caused some scandal and annoyance to Berna- 
dotte's friends and relatives, to whom the purpose of 
his mission had procured him an introduction. Ber- 
nadotte was, of course, informed of Sarrazin's pro- 
ceedings, and we are not surprised to learn that, when 
the latter returned to the army, he was received by 
Bernadotte with a marked coldness, of which Sarrazin 
expresses himself unable to divine the cause." He 
" Sarrazin, Mem. 48-51. 

134 QUIXOTE AND SAN CHO [chap, xxiv 

was all the more puzzled and hurt by the chilliness of 
his reception, when he observed the general display- 
ing his accustomed cordiality to the other officers, 
and showing unrestrained emotion, when one of his 
captains fell mortally wounded at his side in an 
engagement on the Lahn. 

This falling out between Bernadotte and Sarrazin 
had the following development, which is recorded by 
the latter, and is not without a touch of humour." 

The inhabitants of Selingstadt, delighted at having 
escaped any billeting of troops, sent a deputation to 
Bernadotte for the purpose of expressing their grati- 
tude, and of presenting him with two fine chargers in 
acknowledgment of his considerate treatment of their 
town. Bernadotte refused to accept the horses, reply- 
ing to the deputation that " the Republicans made war 
for the purpose of spreading the blessings of liberty, 
and not for the purpose of receiving gifts." 

Sarrazin, who is sometimes found, in his relations 
with Bernadotte, playing the part of a Sancho Panza 
to a Don Quixote, describes himself as having been 
deeply grieved at the disappointment, which the 
general's refusal seemed to him to have caused to the 
German deputation. He accordingly offered to con- 
sole the inhabitants of Selingstadt by accepting the 
horses for their value in mandats, in which undesirable 
currency the French officers were themselves paid. 
The Germans assented, and Sarrazin having joyfully 
unburdened himself of a handful of mandats, appropri- 
ated the two chargers, and took the first opportunity 
of appearing on parade mounted upon one of them. 

Bernadotte recognised the horse, and instantly 
placed Sarrazin under arrest. Sarrazin indignantly 
protested, and produced his receipt. No Republican 

• Sarrazin, Mem. 52, 54. 

june 1796] AN AFFAIR OF HONOUR 135 

could lawfully challenge the face value of a mandat, 
and Sarrazin was released from arrest. 

Having exculpated himself in this way, Sarrazin 
now assumed an attitude of injured innocence. He 
bitterly complained of having been arrested without 
being given an opportunity of explanation, and 
offered to resign his commission, and to challenge Ber- 
nadotte to a duel with swords. He claims that this was 
a generous proceeding on his part, because he himself 
excelled in the use of a pistol, while Bernadotte had 
been fencing master in the Royal-la-Marine Regiment, 
and was a finished swordsman. 

Sarrazin 's account of what ensued is worth quoting. 
It only requires a little sense of humour to read between 
its lines. He writes : " My action astonished him. 
I was acting within my rights, because I only chal- 
lenged him after offering to resign my commission. 
In that way honour could be vindicated without any 
violation of discipline. He was too just and loyal 
not to recognise that he was in the wrong. He had 
no reason to fear the result, because he was a better 
swordsman than I was. ... As I was leaving for 
Frankfort, to proceed to Jourdan's head-quarters, he 
came to me with Adjutant-General Mireur, returned 
me my letter of resignation, and said that he 
regretted his hastiness. He admitted that he was 
in the wrong and requested me to forget it. I 
tore up my resignation. We embraced, and all was 

We must now return to the army of Sambre and 
Meuse, which, when Sarrazin started for Paris, was 
about to recommence hostilities." 

" The incidents, which are the subject of this chapter, are 
alluded to by Sarrazin in several places, e.g. Phil. ii. 15-18; 
Memoires, 46-54; Guerres civiles, 524; Guerre de 24 ans, 483. 


The Second Invasion of Germany in May and 
June 1796 — Bernadotte covers the Retreat 

may and june 1 796 

" Bernadotte fut charge de couvrir la retraite. . . . Son sang- 
froid et la precision de ses manoeuvres exciterent Padmiration 
de tous." — MSmoires de la Campagne de Ijg6 par General 
Jourdan, p. 40. 

" Bernadotte formant l'arriere-garde avec le yy regiment et 
la cavalerie, en imposa a l'ennemi par sa bonne contenance : 
et l'armee, revenue sans perdre un homme dans Hie de 
Neuwied, leva le pont qui y conduit." — Jomini, vol. viii. p. 155. 

On 2 1 st May the Austrians gave notice determin- 
ing, at the end of ten days, the armistice ; and on 3 ist 
May, General Kleber started on his march up the 
eastern bank of the Rhine, from Diisseldorf to the 
river Lahn. In the course of this march he fought and 
won a brilliant victory at Altenkirchen. He was sup- 
ported in this engagement by three future Marshals of 
the Empire — Lefebvre, Soult, and Ney. With their 
help he overcame all resistance, and took up a position 
which enabled the main body of the French army, 
including Bernadotte 's division, which had hurried up 
from the Hunsriick by forced marches, to commence 
on 7th June to cross the Rhine at Neuwied. 

Having crossed the river, the whole French army 
marched southwards, and on 1 2th June were stationed 
along the river Lahn. Bernadotte, on the right of the 
army, occupied the heights from Lahnstein to Nassau, 
from which he had dislodged a detachment of troops 
of Hesse-Darmstadt. 

The army remained in this position until 15 th 


<d bfl 


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O rt 

f Q 







" -, 0) 



rt 3 





T3 T3 




O g 



<D (_ 



june 1796] THE BRIDGE OF BOATS 137 

June. Jourdan has been blamed for this delay. He 
is said to have missed the tide by not striking sooner. 
At all events, he was attacked on the 15th, and 
suffered defeat at Wetzlar. 

The French army now retired to the Rhine, Kleber 
and the left wing to Diisseldorf, Jourdan with the 
rest of the army to Neuwied. 

Bernadotte, during this retreat, wrote on 17th 
June to the commander-in-chief a letter, which 
illustrates the anxieties, which are incidental to a 
retreat of the kind, and contains a reference to Maison, 
who became a marshal after the Restoration : — 

" I beg of you, General, to send me my orders 
as soon as possible. I must frankly confess that 
I am afraid of leaving some of my light infantry 
behind me. They are so scattered, that I have to 
employ all the officers of my staff to find and collect 
them. Maison, who commanded a flank corps, and had 
to remain at Nassau until five o'clock, reports that 
the enemy have established a bridge at Nassau." a ( 24 ) 

Upon the following day, 18th June, three divi- 
sions, of which Bernadotte 's formed the rear-guard, 
were ordered to recross the Rhine at Neuwied. When 
the retreating army reached the river, it was found 
that their bridge of boats had failed them again. On 
this occasion the enemy had succeeded in break- 
ing the bridge by driving heavy rafts against the 
boats. It became necessary to hold the enemy in 
check, while the bridge was being repaired. General 
Jourdan writes : " The bridge having been repaired, 
the army crossed to the left bank in the best possible 
order. General Bernadotte was charged with the 
duty of covering the retreat with all the cavalry and 
with the 30th Regiment of infantry. This rear-guard, 

" From letter in writer's possession. See App. Note (" B ). 

138 "BONNE CONTENANCE" [chap, xxv 

although closely pressed by the Austrian cavalry, 
who were protected by the fire of their artillery, 
effected the retreat without losing a single man. 
Its sang-froid and the precision of its manoeuvres 
excited the admiration of everyone.'" 1 A military 
history declares that the coolness and steadiness 
displayed by Bernadotte's rear-guard astonished the 
Austrians; and Jomini, in the passage placed at the 
head of this chapter, says that Bernadotte overawed 
the enemy by the bold front which he presented 
{par se bonne contenance) ." 

After the rest of the army had recrossed the 
Rhine at Neuwied, Kleber continued his march to 
Diisseldorf with the left wing. On his way he gave 
battle and was defeated with heavy loss. Jourdan 
blamed him severely for his imprudence in having run 
this risk, and this was the beginning of a rift between 
Jourdan and Kleber, which, as we shall see, widened 
later on. 

Kleber's reverse during the retreat did not wipe 
out his victory at Altenkirchen ; and the chief 
honours of this short campaign remained with the 
victors of Altenkirchen — Kleber, Lefebvre, Soult, 
Ney, and the other chiefs of the left wing. After 
Altenkirchen, the best feat of arms of the campaign 
was the rear-guard action by which Bernadotte 
covered the retreat across the Rhine. 

He now returned to his head-quarters at Coblenz, 
and gave his troops a brief rest before the resumption 
of hostilities. 

" Jourdan, Campagne de 1JQ6, 40 ; Victoires, Conquetes, vi. 42'; 
Jomini, viii. 155. 


The Third Invasion of Germany in July 1796 
july-august 1 796 

" Une pareille erreur pouvait faire echouer l'operation — mais 
elle fut reparee par la valeur des troupes et l'intrepidite des 
chefs." — Jourdan's Mdmoires de la Campagne de 1796, p. 54 (with 
reference to Bernadotte's third crossing of the Rhine on 2nd July 

"Mark my words: you will do as you are ordered to do, or 
I'll have this place burnt down about your ears." — Bernadotte 
to the Professors of Nuremberg University, Altdorf, August 1796. 

After taking ten days' rest on the western bank of the 
Rhine, the army of Sambre and Meuse received orders 
to recross the river and to invade Germany for the 
third time, with the object of preventing the Austrians 
from uniting against General Moreau, who had 
succeeded General Pichegru as French commander-in- 
chief on the Upper Rhine. 

The plan of campaign and the opening moves in 
the game were the same as in the two previous 
campaigns. General Kleber, with the left wing, 
started from Diisseldorf on 28th June, and marched 
southwards along the eastern bank of the Rhine to 
the river Lahn. When he had sufficiently advanced, 
the main body of the army proceeded to cross at 
Neuwied, with Bernadotte's division as the vanguard. 

Some five or six thousand Austrians, under General 
Finke, were protecting the right bank of the Rhine, 
with headquarters at the village of Bendorf. The 
French transport barges were supposed to carry 800 
men, besides cavalry and artillery ; and, upon this 
assumption, they would, if sufficient in numbers and 

140 THE AFFAIR OF BENDORF [chap, xxvi 

if properly equipped, have transported Bernadotte's 
whole division in two hours. It turned out at the last 
moment that only two barges were available, capable 
of carrying no more than 400 men, and so badly 
provided with oars as to be slow in their movements. 
Bernadotte, however, resolved not to abandon the 
attempt, and ordered a boat-load of grenadiers at 
3 a.m. in the morning of 2nd July to make a dash 
for Bendorf. This boat-load of grenadiers was 
commanded by Adjutant-General Mireur, who on 
landing divided his small force into three columns, 
led respectively by Maison, Maurin, and himself. The 
three officers had careers before them, which went near 
being cut short that night. The Austrians were sur- 
prised in their beds. General Finke escaped in his shirt 
through a window ; and when he had rallied his men, 
found that Bernadotte had reinforced his first boat- 
load with another. This made it impossible for Finke 
to regain Bendorf. On the contrary, Bernadotte drove 
the Austrians out of the place, and pursued them to 
Vallendar, where he met and repulsed some troops 
from the garrison of Ehrenbreitstein, who had made 
a salty from their eagle's nest. 

It was a daring and useful operation, by which, 
in Jourdan's words, the mistake about the transport 
arrangements was repaired " par lavaleur des troupes 
et l'intrepidite des chefs."" 

At Vallendar, in the course of a conversation about 
the novel attitude of autocratic independence which 
General Bonaparte was beginning to adopt in Italy, 
Bernadotte was heard to drop the phrase, " These 
changes will excite no surprise so long as men still 
stand in our way." This observation was repeated, 

" Jourdan, Campagne de 17Q6, 54; Lafosse, 89, 90; Sarrazin, 
Phil. ii. 

july 1796] IN HESSE-DARMSTADT 141 

and understood to mean that Bernadotte had in his 
mind a military dictatorship under Bonaparte. It 
would appear more probable, as a German writer has 
suggested, that he was giving vague expression to 
resentment at the Directory's neglect of military 
requirements, which was regarded by the army as 
standing in the way of military success." 

For the next six weeks the army was advancing 
into the heart of Germany. The first obstacle was the 
river Lahn. Bernadotte, after occupying the heights 
of Hirscheid and Montabaur, had a sharp engagement 
on 6th July with the Austrians, attacking them before 
Limburg and driving them out of their position, to 
quote Jourdan, " avec son impetuosite ordinaire." 
This day's work helped to make the French masters of 
the northern bank of the river Lahn, but not without 
further severe fighting on the 7th/ 

Having, on the 9th July, crossed the Lahn near 
Limburg, he drove the enemy before him ; and passing 
Wiesbaden, he took up, on the 1 ith, a position which 
commanded Castel, the principal suburb of Mainz, and 
so prevented the garrison of Mainz from embarrassing 
the movement of the army. 5 

Bernadotte 's next move was to bridge the river 
Main, and to send a detachment across the river 
towards Darmstadt. The troops of Hesse-Darmstadt 
had given him a great deal of trouble, and the people 
expected to experience retribution. They were sur- 
prised to find that perfect discipline was preserved. 
The Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt, who had fled to 
Dresden, sent Bernadotte a charger from his stables 
as a mark of his gratitude and regard. Bernadotte 

* Hans Kloeber, 58-61. 

* Moniteuv, 17th and 20th July 1796; Jourdan, Campagne de 
1796, 67-71. 

142 A RIVER PATROL [chap, xxvi 

insisted on paying for the animal." 1 The acquisition was 
a fortunate one, as the horse, by jumping a big fence 
at an emergency, saved his life later on. 

Frankfort having capitulated to General Jourdan 
on 1 6th July, Bernadotte was sent to Aschaffen- 
burg to cover the line of communication between 
Frankfort and Wurzburg. At Aschaffenburg he re- 
mained for some days patrolling the banks of the 
river Main, and it appears from the Austrian history 
of the campaign that this patrol was part of a general 
movement which had the effect of compelling the 
Austrians to retreat/ 

During this patrol, Bernadotte made important 
captures of stores, including forty-five boats loaded 
with flour and forage, and valued, according to the 
despatches of General Jourdan, at a million francs/ 

Before the end of July Bernadotte was ordered to 
join the main army, which, at the beginning of August, 
owing to the illness of General Jourdan, was for a few 
days (2nd-7th August) commanded by General Kleber. 
In Kleber's despatch of 3rd August we read that in the 
early days of August, Bernadotte, on the road from 
Bamberg to Berg Ebrach, " met an Austrian force 
superior in numbers, and that he attacked all in his 
path with impetuosity, and forced the enemy to 
abandon the country which he had been ordered 
to occupy." On 6th August Bernadotte's division 
helped to drive the enemy behind the river Aisch. On 
7th August Jourdan returned to duty, and Kleber had 
to retire on sick leave. Bernadotte advanced rapidly, 
taking possession of Nuremberg on 10th August, and 
on the 14th reaching Altdorf, where the following 
incident occurred. 

" Hans Kloeber, 58-61. 

4 Archduke Charles, Campagne de 1796, 191, chap. x. 

c Moniteur, 4th, 8th, and 14th August 1796. 


Altdorf, which was a small place with only a few 
hundred inhabitants, was at this period the seat of the 
University of Nuremberg. The University authori- 
ties had petitioned the French commander-in-chief, 
General Jourdan, that the University and the pro- 
fessors' houses might be exempt from billeting. 
Jourdan's chief of the staff had given the University 
authorities a letter of exemption from billeting by 
" volunteers." Bernadotte's officers refused to act on 
the letter of exemption. " We are not volunteers," 
they said ; " the letter does not refer to us." 

Two professors appealed to Bernadotte, whom 
they found engaged upon the difficult task of finding 
quarters for 8000 officers and men in a place little 
larger than a village. Bernadotte was well known 
for his lenity in dealing with conquered or occupied 
places, and especially for the respect which he dis- 
played on several occasions to universities and seats 
of learning. But his officers had to be housed ; and 
it was no great hardship for the University to have to 
house them. When the professors arrived to press 
their claim for exemption, the usually polite general 
received them with a profusion of Gascon declamation, 
of which the following was the discouraging perora- 
tion : " Very well," he exclaimed ; " we won't behave 
in Germany as Germans behaved in France. But 
mark my words : you will do as you are ordered to 
do, or I'll have this place burnt down about your 
ears." The professors retired, and the University 
was probably none the worse for having lodged 
some French officers for two nights ." 

A German writer gives the following comment 
upon this incident. He writes : — 

" Considering Bernadotte's humane disposition, 
" Hans Kloeber, 62. 

144 THE DONS OF NUREMBERG [chap, xxvi 

and in view of his behaviour to Universities on later 
occasions, one can only assume as the reason for this 
scene that there was some excitement on both sides 
and some misunderstanding in consequence of it. 
With regard to the letter of protection, it seems that 
some staff officer of Jourdan's had played a joke upon 
the professors, who wanted to study in dressing-gowns, 
with long pipes in their mouths, during the roar of the 
cannon, the clamour of the storming soldiery, and the 
groaning of the wounded ; and in their egotism wished, 
to the injury of their fellow-citizens, to be free from 
the burden of quartering soldiers. Perhaps, too, when 
they asked for exemption, they did not describe their 
town at Jourdan's head-quarters quite in accordance 
with the truth. Where were the superior officers to 
be quartered if not in the college and at the professors' 
houses? No one, who understands war, could promise 
seriously what stood in the letter of protection."* 

The same German writer is of opinion that it was 
this animated conversation in Altdorf with the two 
professors of Nuremberg University, that gave rise to 
a fable that Bernadotte had sacked Nuremberg and 
had been court-martialled for it/ 1 There was no sack- 
ing of Nuremberg, and the story of the court martial 
originated, perhaps, in a college meeting at which it 
is highly probable that the general was severely 
handled by the Board of Studies. 

It was during the operations, which have been 
recorded in this chapter, that the Government wrote 
to Bernadotte : " The Directory have become accus- 
tomed to see victories won by those of their defenders 
who obey your orders." b Bernadotte was now about 
to meet what was perhaps the most stirring military 
experience of his life. How it happened, and how he 
bore himself, will be related in the next chapter. 

" Hans Kloeber, 63. * Lafosse, 95. 


Bernadotte's Raid on Ratisbon — The Battle 
of Teining 

AUGUST 15-27, I796 

" You know, my friends, what care I have always taken of your 
welfare, since I had the happiness of commanding such brave 
fellows as yourselves. The opportunity now presents itself 
of testifying your grateful sense of it, of deserving well of your 
country, and of covering yourselves with glory." — Bernadotte's 
address to his troops before the battle of Teining. 

" The rest of the campaign would have been still more disastrous 
had it not been for the intrepid resistance to the Austrians made 
by Bernadotte, the general of the vanguard, who had become 
the general of the rear-guard. . . . Foreign and French military 
men said at the time that there was something of Xenophon 
in Bernadotte." — Extract from Memoirs of Barras. 

We now approach what was, perhaps, the best per- 
formance in the whole of Bernadotte's military 
career — namely, the raid on Ratisbon and the battle 
of Teining. 

In the middle of August, Bernadotte being in com- 
mand of an advance guard at Altdorf, was ordered 
to detach his corps and to proceed in a southerly 
direction towards Ratisbon, while General Jourdan 
and the rest of the army marched eastwards towards 
the frontiers of Bohemia. 

Jomini truly says" that a glance at the map will 
show how hazardous was this move. It was not, 
however, contemplated, or intended, by the com- 
mander-in-chief to expose the little force to the perils 
which met it. General Jourdan did not anticipate 
those perils. His despatch of 18th August shows 
that he detached Bernadotte's vanguard to act as a 
scouting or skirmishing force, with a double duty/ 

" Jomini, ix. 11 ; and see map, p. 52 supra. 
b Moniteur, 27th August 1796. 

146 THREE TO ONE [chap, xxvn 

It was, in the first place, to protect the right 
flank of the army of Sambre and Meuse, and, in the 
second place, to get into touch with the army of the 
Rhine and Moselle, which under General Moreau 
was supposed to be near the Danube. This is not 
the place to discuss the military aspect of this desper- 
ate enterprise, because Bernadotte was not respon- 
sible for the design, but only for its execution. Suffice 
it to say that the result was to lead Bernadotte and 
his division into a trap, from which it required a 
singular combination of skill, courage, and good 
fortune to enable him to escape. 

The Archduke Charles, upon hearing of the ap- 
proach of this feeble vanguard, immediately started 
with 20,000 men, and, having been reinforced by 
other troops on the way, advanced to meet Berna- 
dotte. The extraordinary disproportion between 
the numbers of the two opposing forces, which now 
were advancing towards each other, would be in- 
credible if it was not practically undisputed. The 
Austrian memoirs of the campaign estimate the 
army of Bernadotte as 9000, and that of the Arch- 
duke Charles as 28,000. Sarrazin's figures are less 
than 10,000 against 25,000. We may fairly conclude 
that the Austrian force was almost, if not quite, treble 
that of Bernadotte. 01 

Bernadotte advanced from Altdorf, and, passing 
Neumarkt, arrived at the village and heights of 
Teining on the road to Ratisbon, where he estab- 
lished himself on 20th August. He had to fight 
every inch of his way, but held his own, and succeeded 
in cutting the communications between the Arch- 
duke's main army and his vanguard. It was in the 
course of his march from Altdorf to Teining that 
" Archduke Charles, Campagne de 1796, chap. xvi. 157 (chart). 

aug. 1796] NO CHANCE OF HELP 147 

he came to realise for the first time the gravity of 
the task, which had been allotted to him. On the 
20th he wrote to Jourdan pressing for reinforcements, 
and he sent the following letter to General Moreau, 
which conveyed information, and perhaps also a 
hint to that general to co-operate, or to come to his 
assistance. More than a hint from a general of 
division to a commander-in-chief would have been 
out of place. The hint, however, was not taken, 
and Bernadotte was left to fight it out unaided : — 

" Neumarkt, 20th August 1796. 

" Citizen-General, — Information reaches me to 
the effect that Prince Charles has only left a small 
body of troops on the right bank of the Danube, and 
that, hoping to conceal his movements from you, he 
is advancing with 20,000 men by forced marches 
against the army of Jourdan. Yesterday I was 
fighting all day with his troops. I make haste to 
give you this information, the correctness of which 
I guarantee ; and I add that orders have been given 
for a general attack at midday to-day against the 
right wing of the army of Sambre and Meuse. You 
will see, General, if your position will permit you to 
make Prince Charles repent his daring movements. 
It is from fear that your scouts may have failed to 
acquaint you that I send you this information." a 

General Jourdan despatched General Bonnaud 
to Bernadotte 's assistance; but Bonnaud was de- 
layed by the condition of the roads, and was unable 
to accomplish his errand. Meanwhile, Jourdan in the 
following letter ordered Bernadotte to retire slowly, 
so as to cover the right flank of the army : — 

" 2 a.m., 2 is/ August 1796. 

" I have just received your report of yesterday, 
and I send you a copy of the order. We have been 
fighting all day,- and shall certainly be fighting all 
.....: "Lftfosse, 97,98, ;.'. : ■ . * 

148 THE HEIGHTS OF TEINING [chap.xxvii 

to-morrow. Do not advance any farther until you 
hear from me. Watch the enemy closely, and, if 
you are obliged to retire, retreat upon Nuremberg ; 
but do so in good order and as slowly as possible, so 
as not to uncover my right flank, and keep me in- 
formed of your operations. Correspond with Cham- 
pionnet by means of patrols, and try to communicate 
with the army of the Rhine and Moselle so as to 
discover where it is.'" 1 

Meanwhile, Bernadotte's letter to Moreau had 
reached General Delmas on the banks of the Danube, 
who had sent copies to Moreau and Desaix. But 
they were unable to co-operate or to make a diver- 
sion, or to offer any assistance. There are letters of 
Jourdan's of 22nd August to Generals Moreau and 
Bonnaud which show that the commander-in-chief 
felt anxiety about Bernadotte's position. In his 
letter to Moreau, Jourdan wrote that if the Archduke 
Charles should succeed in defeating Bernadotte at 
Teining, he (Jourdan) was in danger of having the 
lines of retreat and communication cut off." 

It was under these circumstances that Bernadotte 
was left alone, near Teining, with the odds nearly 
three to one against him. 

On 2 1 st August the advance guard of the Austrian 
army came into contact with Bernadotte's outposts, 
which, after an engagement, fell back on the main 
position on the heights of Teining. It would appear 
from Jomini's description that this position was a 
strong and well-selected one, but it is the opinion of 
that eminent writer that, with his superior numbers, 
the Archduke ought to have had no difficulty in 
annihilating Bernadotte and his division/ 

On the 22nd of August the Archduke attacked 
Bernadotte, and throughout the whole day there 

" Jourdan, Campagne de 1796, 312-314. s Jom. ix. 12. 

aug. 1796] THE BATTLE OF TEINING 149 

was fought the battle of Teining, which was per- 
haps the best performance of Bernadotte's military 
career. We prefer to describe it in the words 
of an eye-witness, General Sarrazin, who took part 
in the battle, and has given the following account of 
the day, and of what led up to it : " — 

" Jourdan having decided upon pursuing the 
Austrian army, ordered Bernadotte's division to- 
wards Ratisbon, to endeavour to establish a com- 
munication with Moreau. The Archduke Charles 
took a skilful advantage of the error, which Jourdan 
committed in not marching with the whole of his 
troops to form a junction with the army of the Rhine. 
The Archduke crossed the Danube with a chosen 
corps ; his advanced guard attacked Bernadotte's 
outposts on the 21st of August, and forced them to 
retreat upon the main position of the division, en- 
camped on the heights near the village of Teining. 
On the 22nd the Archduke attacked the French. 
The engagement was a sanguinary one, and success 
was diversified during the whole day. The village of 
Teining was taken and retaken several times ; the 
streets were strewed with dead bodies, and towards 
the evening the village was set on fire, the enemy 
being persuaded that that was the only means of 
dislodging the troops which were entrenched in the 
houses. Meanwhile, the Archduke ordered his right 
wing to attack Bernadotte's left. The 88th Regi- 
ment of line infantry which was upon that point was 
obliged to retreat. Bernadotte's position became very 
critical, as the Austrians, by the advantage they 
had obtained, found themselves masters of the main 
road of Neumarkt, the only one by which the French 
could retreat. Convinced of the necessity of re- 
taking the ground lost by his left, Bernadotte placed 
himself at the head of his reserve, consisting of a 
battalion of grenadiers of the 37th Regiment of 
line infantry, and of the 7th Regiment of dragoons, 
which composed a force of about four thousand 
strong. ' You know, my friends,' said the general 
to them, ' what care I have always taken of your 

* Sarrazin, Phil. 22-24. Ju 

ISO A NIGHT MARCH [chap, xxvn 

welfare, since I had the happiness of commanding 
such brave fellows as yourselves. The opportunity 
now presents itself of testifying your grateful sense 
of it, of deserving well of your country, and of cover- 
ing yourselves with glory.' 

" Although they had fought from daybreak, and 
it was then nearly night, these few words served to 
reanimate the soldiers, and caused them to forget 
the fatigues of the day. They all exclaimed, with 
the greatest enthusiasm, that they were ready to 
follow their general to the very bottom of hell. Berna- 
dotte then gave orders to beat the charge, and marched 
in close column against the centre of the enemy's line 
who, staggered by the daring movement, though three 
times more numerous, made but a weak resist- 
ance, and retired in disorder to their former position. 
The Archduke, despairing of carrying Bernadotte's 
position by main force, ordered the firing to stop, 
and detached General Starray's division, threatening 
to turn the left of the French, whilst the columns of 
cavalry scoured the country upon the right, pushing 
the light troops towards Neumarkt . These movements 
occasioned Bernadotte well-founded anxiety as regards 
his line of operations, and at ten o'clock in the evening 
of the same day he retreated to Neumarkt." 

The night march after the battle of Teining was 
marked by an incident which deserves to be told in 
the words of the same eye-witness : — 

" During this march an accident occurred, which, 
with less disciplined troops, might have been attended 
with the most fatal consequences. Towards midnight a 
howitzer caisson took fire, in the centre of the column. 
There was a succession of explosions, similar to 
the running fire of artillery. The troops in the van 
and in the rear, conceiving the centre attacked, 
formed themselves in battle array, as if exercising, 
loudly requiring to be led forward to the enemy. I 
have often heard Bernadotte say that this confi- 
dence of the troops, notwithstanding the darkness of 
the night and the great losses they had experienced 
in the affair of the day, would always appear to him 
as the most pleasing moment of his life. The Arch- 

aug. 1 79 6] SECOND DAY OF TEINING 151 

°^ke Charles had under his command twenty-five 
thousand men ; Bernadotte had less than ten 
thousand. It is evident that, with proper ability 
and boldness, not one Frenchman would have 
escaped, particularly considering the nature of the 
ground around Neumarkt, which is a vast plain, and 
the great superiority of the Austrian cavalry, which 
was four to one." 

Jourdan was severely blamed for ordering the 
movement which led to the battle of Teining. With 
his usual candour, he does justice, in his memoirs, to 
Bernadotte, of whom he says that " with a handful 
of men " he held his position and inflicted loss on 
the enemy;" and, in his despatch of 24th August, he 
reported to the Government that, on this occasion, 
Bernadotte had given " fresh proofs of his talents and 
his courage." b 

On the next day the fighting was resumed, 
with the following result : c — 

" On the 23rd, the whole of the Austrian cavalry 
poured upon the plain of Neumarkt, preceded by a 
numerous artillery. After a hot and destructive 
fire, Bernadotte did not think fit to await'the general 
attack, which the Archduke took a considerable 
time in preparing. This slowness saved Bernadotte, 
who had committed a mistake in not quitting 
Neumarkt previous to the Archduke's arrival. The 
retreat was made in very good order : Bernadotte 
protected it at the head of three regiments of cavalry. 
Prince Charles manoeuvred as though he had been 
unacquainted with the force opposed to him. The 
day of the 22nd, in which Bernadotte had supplied 
the defect of number by his ability and resolution, 
had induced the belief that our troops were more 
numerous than they really were." 

« Jourdan, Campagne de ijg6, 123. 

t Moniteur, 4th Sept. 1796. c Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 23. 

1 52 A SLOW RETREAT [chap, xxvii 

The fight lasted all day. Captain Francais, then 
serving in the right wing of the French army, heard 
the distant cannonading, and tells us that it lasted 
until nightfall. 3 

Bernadotte had intended to retreat towards 
Nuremberg, but he found the road blocked by 
the enemy and had to change his plan and turn 
away to the right. Accordingly, he retired by way of 
Berg until he reached Lauf , and secured his position 
behind the river Pegnitz. It was necessary, how- 
ever, to prevent the enemy advancing beyond 
Nuremberg, and Bernadotte employed the night in 
making an expedition in that direction, in which, by 
a lively cannonade, he informed his friends of the 
garrison of Nuremberg of his presence, and stopped 
the enemy from a further advance. On the following 
day, 24th August, he repelled an attack of General 
Hotze, and retreated at night to Forchheim, on the 
river Wiesent. An Austrian force under General 
Starray was on the Nuremberg-Forchheim road ; but 
he succeeded in keeping them at bay. Meanwhile 
Generals Championnet and Grenier had established 
themselves at Forchheim, and in this way Berna- 
dotte, upon 27th August, got into touch with the 
main body of the army, which had begun to retreat, 
having abandoned the forward movement towards the 
Bohemian frontier. 

The historian of the army of Sambre and Meuse * 
describes the battle of Teining and its consequences 
as " a glorious combat and a slow retreat." How 
steady had been the retirement in the face of over- 
whelming numbers is proved by comparing time and 
distance. In seven days the retreating force had 
covered a distance of about forty English miles, dis- 
" Capitaine Franfais, 133. * Desprez. 

aug. 1796] COMPARED TO XENOPHON 153 

puting every inch of the ground with an enemy which 
outnumbered his forces in the proportion of three 
to one." 

It is only natural that the retreat from Ratisbon 
was seized upon by the people and Government of 
France as a bright spot in an otherwise disastrous 
campaign. Barras, who was the principal director 
and head of the Executive Government at the time, in 
describing the misfortunes that had occurred, says : 
" The rest of the campaign would have been still more 
disastrous had it not been for the intrepid resistance 
made to the Austrians by Bernadotte, the general 
of the vanguard, who had become the general of the 
rear-guard. During this retreat, as skilful as it was 
daring, Bernadotte drew upon himself for the re- 
sources which it was necessary to improvise in order 
to meet events unforeseen by the general-in-chief. 
On this most critical occasion Bernadotte displayed 
skill and resourcefulness which some day, applied on 
a larger scale, will reveal to Europe one of its greatest 
generals. May France preserve to its glory the 
generous soldiers who are now springing from the 
bosom of the soil of liberty ! Foreign and French 
military men said at the time that there was some- 
thing of Xenophon in Bernadotte." b Barras in this 
tribute of praise probably included some further 
events in the retreat which we have not yet reached ; 
but the most critical and difficult part of Berna- 
dotte 's task was over. 

Probably seldom in history has so small a force 
held its own for so long a time against such over- 
whelming odds. The Austrian memoirs of the cam- 
paign describe his resistance as an obstinate one ; and 
by stating that the Archduke's superiority of numbers 
a Desprez, 67. * Barras, ii. 155 ; (E.) ii. 186. 

iS4 "BONNE CONTENANCE" [chap, xxvn 

seemed to assure him the victory, appear to admit 
that the Archduke ought to have done better than he 
did with the numbers which he had at his disposal." 

It may be doubted whether Bernadotte at any 
stage of his military career — whether as General 
of the Revolution, Marshal of the Empire, or Crown 
Prince of Sweden — carried out any operation more 
successfully than his retreat from Ratisbon and his 
rear-guard action at Teining. 

A characteristic of Bernadotte was that he was 
able to exemplify his native power of " bluff " in 
his manner of manoeuvring his troops. He is fre- 
quently found concealing his numerical weakness 
from the enemy by presenting a bold front, or, to 
use Jomini's phrase, already quoted, overawing 
them " par sa bonne contenance." In the retreat 
from Ratisbon he was particularly successful in thus 
misleading the enemy. A French writer says that 
the Austrian army " manoeuvred as if it had the 
whole French army before it. If it had dared, it 
would have overwhelmed the French." * It did not 
dare, because it never realised the weakness of the 
little force which was being handled with such 
apparent confidence. 

Thiers, who is not always quite fair to Bernadotte, 
admits that on this occasion he made an honourable 
resistance to superior numbers, and severely criticises 
Jourdan for having so uselessly compromised this 
small corps/ 

■ Archduke Charles, chap. xvii. b France militaire. 

e Thiers, iv. 451, 452. 

The Retreat to Schweinfurt and the Battle 


" Le General Colaud n'etant plus en etat de supporter les 
fatigues de la campagne re9ut l'autorisation de se retirer pour 
soigner sa sante ; . . . Kleber devait conserver le commande- 
ment de . . . l'aile gauche, mais sa sante ne lui permit pas de 
continuer ses services. . . . Bernadotte ayant annonc6 au 
general en chef, qu'il etait oblige de s'eloigner momentane- 
ment de l'armee, pour soigner sa sante, le general de brigade 
Simon prit le commandement de sa division." — Jourdan's 
Memoires de la Campagne de 1796, part ii. chap, ii., Paris 18 18, 
pp. 152-156. 

Bernadotte 's stubborn retreat came to an end on 

27th August, upon which day he rejoined the main 

army on the plains of Forchheim. He had sustained 

an injury to his forehead ; and both he and his troops 

were worn out with fighting and fatigue. If ever 

men had earned rest, they had done so. But they 

found the main army in a critical position. The 

Austrians were in possession of the road which led 

from Bamberg to Schweinfurt and thence to Wiirz- 

burg ; and it was essential to open this road, and 

keep it open, if the French army was to effect its 

retreat to the Rhine. Bernadotte was at once 

employed upon this duty, which occupied him for 

a week after his junction with Jourdan." 

In order to clear the road to Wiirzburg, it was 

necessary to make sure of Bamberg, of the wooded 

heights of Burg Ebrach, and of Schweinfurt ; and 

for this purpose two rivers had to be crossed, the 

" Jourdan, Campagne de 1796, 142. 

iS6 THE ROAD TO WURZBURG [chap, xxvm 

Regnitz and the Main. On 28th August he sent 
from Forchheim a detachment, which succeeded in 
clearing the enemy out of Bamberg. On the 29th 
he crossed the Regnitz, and manoeuvred to drive 
the enemy out of Burg Ebrach on the main road 
from Bamberg to Wiirzburg. Here the troops, 
which were to have supported him, failed to come up 
in time, owing to a change of route taken by Kl£ber, 
who at this period was in open disagreement with 
the commander-in-chief. Bernadotte, after a heavy 
engagement, found himself unsupported, and was 
obliged to fall back in the direction of Bamberg. 
He then took up his position in the forest of Dunkig, 
which commanded Burg Ebrach, and waited there, 
until the expected supports arrived at night. On 
the following day, 30th August, he crossed the 
Main and advanced on Zeil ; and on the 31st he 
established himself in the environs of Schweinfurt." 

General Sarrazin gives the following description 
of the engagement at Burg Ebrach, the tone of which 
marks the growing dissatisfaction of the army with 
the commander-in-chief, Jourdan, who after three 
years of hard fighting was beginning to lose nerve 
and prestige : — 

" General Jourdan came down at length from 
the mountains, with the forty thousand men, whom 
he had so unskilfully conducted thither. He joined 
us on the 27th, in the plain of Forchheim. On the 
29th, Bernadotte was ordered to overthrow the 
Austrian corps, which had possessed itself of the 
great road from Bamberg to Wiirzburg. . . . Many 
brilliant attacks of infantry and cavalry took place, 
but without any decisive success. Loevener's regiment 
of light horse had succeeded in beating a battalion 
of the 37th Regiment. Bernadotte, who had an eye 
to everything, foreseeing this event, had despatched 

" Jourdan, Campagne de 1796, 143-147. 

aug. 1796] JOURDAN AND KLEBER 157 

the third regiment of mounted chasseurs to their aid. 
The Austrians were attacked at the very moment 
that they were going to cut to pieces the battalion 
of the 37th Regiment, which they had routed. The 
commandant of the mounted chasseurs, called Gros 
Jean, a lieutenant-colonel, very skilful in his profession, 
seeing the Austrian officers of the light horse stationed 
before the ranks, . . . gave the order, ' Rush upon the 
Austrian officers, who are covered with gold.' The 
struggle was severe, but in three minutes Loevener's 
regiment was overpowered, although more numerous 
than the chasseurs. Almost all the officers were 
killed. Bernadotte, an eye-witness of this engage- 
ment, was so delighted with it that he galloped up to 
the regiment, returned his thanks, and promoted Gros 
Jean to the rank of colonel upon the field of battle."" 

Jomini says of Bernadotte's fight at Burg Ebrach 
that although, on account of the supports not coming 
up, it failed in its object, it was a very useful day's 
work, because it drew away the enemy from the 
Schweinfurt-Bamberg road, and opened the way to 
Schweinfurt for General Jourdan/ 

The generals of the army of the Sambre and 
Meuse had for two years been cordially united in 
the brotherhood of arms, and in loyalty to the com- 
mander-in-chief, General Jourdan. Jourdan was on 
particularly friendly terms with Kldber, who ranked 
as his principal lieutenant. A rift became observable 
in the summer of 1796/ and widened until, in August, 
their relations ceased to be harmonious. Kleber freely 
criticised Jourdan 's errors of judgment, and reproached 
him with being responsible for the reverses which had 
befallen the army. Jourdan is found, in his memoirs 
of the campaign, complaining of Kleber 's failure 
to support him, and in particular attributing to 
him inconceivable remissness (" une lenteur incon- 

- Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 81, 82; ib. Mitn. 56. 

* Jomini, ix. 22 n. ■ : ..* See p. 1 38 supra. 

158 A LIVELY DEBATE [chap, xxvm 

cevable ") on 29th August when he failed to rein- 
force Bernadotte at Burg Ebrach. In some places 
it is stated that matters went so far that Jourdan 
took steps to place Kleber under arrest ; and that 
Kldber, losing patience, ended by refusing to serve 
under Jourdan ." It is difficult to disentangle facts from 
gossip. At all events, there was an open notorious 
disagreement between the general-in-chief and his 
second in command/ 

The disagreement between Jourdan and Kleber 
came to a head when Jourdan, on his arrival at 
Schweinfurt, made a sudden change in his plan of 
retreat. Instead of continuing to retire towards the 
Rhine, he resolved to give battle at Wurzburg. Mili- 
tary critics are almost unanimous in the opinion that 
this resolution was utterly unjustifiable from a military 
point of view. Jourdan was in a position of great 
difficulty. Attached to his head-quarters was a Repre- 
sentative of the People, Joubert de l'Herault, who 
shadowed the general in the double capacity of spy 
and task-master, and declared that the Government 
and public opinion would condemn him if he did not 
strike a blow. 

A council of war was held at Schweinfurt on 
1st September, when Jourdan declared his intention 
of giving battle at Wurzburg. A lively debate 
ensued. Jourdan was supported by Joubert de 
l'Herault. Kleber led the opposition. He reproached 
Jourdan with having missed many opportunities of 
attacking the enemy when separated, and denounced 
the folly of returning to attack them now when they 
were united . Kleber 's views appear to have been shared 
by General Ernouf, the chief of the staff, and also 
by Generals Bernadotte, Colaud, and Championnet. 
* Kleber, par Reaulx, 103. * De Reiset, 47, 48. 

sept. 1796] INDISPOSED 159 

In fact, there was practical unanimity among the 
generals that the resolution was a reckless one ; and 
we know from the journal of Captain Francais that the 
whole army was of the same opinion. 

On the same or the following day, Kleber, Berna- 
dotte, and Colaud were relieved of duty on the ground 
of ill-health , a In the case of more than one of these 
generals, it was regarded, in some quarters, as a sus- 
picious coincidence that they should have retired at 
this moment. One writer says, " They were indisposed, 
it is true ; but it was against the general-in-chief."* 
In the Archduke's memoirs Colaud 's retirement was 
attributed to a difference with Jourdan, who in his 
memoirs contradicted the statement. In Bonnal's 
Life of Ney it is stated that both Kleber's and 
Colaud 's ill-health was a pretext, and that their 
absence was due to disapproval of J our dan's strategy/ 
These writers do not make any such suggestion in the 
case of Bernadotte. He was known to have been fight- 
ing rear-guard actions against superior numbers every 
day for a fortnight, and the injury to his forehead was 
visible to every eye. 

General Sarrazin, however, in the following 
passage, tells us that Bernadotte identified himself 
with Kleber:'— 

" Jourdan, who knew of my connection with 
Kleber and Bernadotte, sent for me, and requested 
me to represent to those two generals how much their 
absence would hurt the service in the operations he 
had resolved upon, and that he besought them, in the 
name of friendship and of their love of their country, 
to assist him with their talents and their experience. 
I acquitted myself of this commission, and as I had 
foretold Jourdan, my attempts were unsuccessful. 
Kleber said ' that it was necessary to leave some 

" Jourdan, Campagne de 1796, 152-156. 

* Revue de la Revolution, i. 122. * Ney, Bonnal, 86, 

160 WURZBURG [chap, xxviii 

troops at Schweinfurt, and that he should take 
the command of them.' Bernadotte answered me 
' that he was unwell, a very large lump having 
formed on his forehead.' He added ' that they 
were leading us to certain slaughter ; that he loved 
his troops too well to be able to resolve to see them 
perish, the victims of ignorance and caprice ; and 
that, with respect to me, he took a final farewell, 
despairing of ever seeing me again, as I should either 
be killed or conducted to a Bohemian prison.' When 
I gave Jourdan an account of my mission, he 
answered very angrily, ' Ah ! ah ! these gentlemen 
want to make themselves of consequence ; but I will 
show them that I can gain battles without them ! ' 
The representative of the people, who was present, ex- 
claimed, ' Let us march upon the enemy, and reply by 
victories to the observations of the rivals of our glory.' 
It was with difficulty that I refrained from laughing 
aloud at the impudent sally of the lawyer Joubert."" 

The battle of Wurzburg was fought and lost on 
the 2nd and 3rd of September, and Bernadotte did 
not return to duty until the nth. His reception is 
described in the following terms by Sarrazin : — 

" The soldiers received him with acclamations 
of joy, as a beloved father. The officers behaved 
more coldly, as they saw with regret that he with- 
drew himself from them on a critical occasion, 
in which he could have rendered great service, had 
he been able to have subdued his self-love by for- 
getting a slight indisposition, and partaking the 
dangers of his soldiers, whose inconveniences would 
have been much diminished by his talents."" 

If blame attaches to Bernadotte for his absence 
from Wurzburg, it attaches in at least the same degree 
to Kleb>er. But, in Bernadotte's case there is a temp- 
tation to find a parallel in his absence, ten years later, 
in July 1806, from the battle of Auerstadt, which has 
been attributed, in many quarters, to jealousy of 

"Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 83-86: Guerres de 24. ans, 475, 476; 
MSmoires, 57. 

sept. 1796] WURZBURG 161 

Davout, or to an unwillingness to spend himself for 
Davout's glory. 

Sarrazin appears to be the only writer who suggests 
that Bernadotte could have led his division in the field 
at Wiirzburg. In forming a judgment on the incident, 
it should be remembered that Sarrazin, although 
a competent witness, is not by any means reliable, 
where he is indulging in suspicions about other men's 
motives of action;" and that Jourdan and Joubert, 
whose policy Bernadotte opposed, have both told 
the story of the battle, and of all that preceded and 
followed it; and have both spoken of Bernadotte 's 
action throughout the campaign in terms of unbroken 

Perhaps a fair inference from the evidence, so far 
as Bernadotte is concerned, may be, that, while 
his indisposition fully justified his absence from 
the battle/ yet those who, like Sarrazin, knew him 
well, and had served under him so recently in many 
a dangerous enterprise, were to be excused for sup- 
posing that, if he had been himself commander-in- 
chief, or if he had been in agreement with the com- 
mander-in-chief, even a more serious injury might not 
have kept him away. He knew, as well as others, how 
to fight when sick or wounded. Augereau had him- 
self strapped to his horse at Eylau ; and a couplet, in 
Rostand's L'Aiglon, serves to remind us that Massena 
at Wagram directed his troops from his carriage : 

" On se bat, on se bat, MacDonald se depeche, 
Et Massena blesse passe dans son caleche." 

Bernadotte was as impervious to fatigue or fear as 
any of his contemporaries, very few of whom could lead 

■ See note ( 1S ) on Sarrazin in Appendix. 

* Sarrazin refers to it in two places as " une forte tumeur qui 
lux etait sortie an milieu du front" (Memoires, 57 ; Phil. ii. 83-86). 

162 WURZBURG [chap, xxviii 

vanguards with greater daring, or handle rear-guards 
with a better blend of audacity and caution. But he 
did not always follow the rule that, when a soldier 
receives a call, he should never stop to ask the 
reason why, but should render an unhesitating and 
unquestioning obedience. The influence and example 
of Kleber, whose "military pupil"" he was, en- 
couraged this tendency. When his confidence in 
his superiors was shaken, or his reason was un- 
convinced, Bernadotte's energies and enthusiasm 
slackened ; and that chord of self was sometimes 
struck, which, in the diapason of human action and 
endeavour, can mar the noblest music/ This side of 
his character has been commented on, perhaps too 
severely, by Count Philip*pe de Segur.( 20 ) 

Bernadotte employed the period of convalescence 
in collecting stragglers, and forming them into a corps. 
Upon his return to the army his peculiar powers of re- 
animating his troops and of conciliating the peasantry 
of the surrounding country were vigorously exerted, 
and their good effect is acknowledged in the memoirs 
of his comrades in arms/ 

" Barras, iii. 92 ; (E.) ii. 1 17. 

* The author has found some difficulty in investigating this 
incident. In some works, which are usually accurate, Bernadotte 
is represented as having commanded his division at Wurzburg. 
Elsewhere his absence is attributed to his indisposition, which 
was of a kind observable by everyone. Sarrazin's suggestion 
that he might have taken part in the battle does not appear to 
have been noticed, but cannot be passed over. 

c Championnet, 84, 85 ; Bricard, 245, 246. 


The Retreat from WUrzburg — The Death 
of Marceau 

september i i — i 8, i 796 

" Go, my comrade, ... do not let me see, before I die, my 
troops forced to retire in disorder. The mere idea kills me." — 
Marceau' s dying words to Bernadotte, igth September 1796. 

When Bernadotte returned to duty on nth Sep- 
tember, he found his division, forming with Marceau 's 
the right wing of the army, which was stationed along 
the river Lahn from its confluence with the Rhine to 

During the first few days after his arrival, Berna- 
dotte was engaged in assisting and reinforcing 
Marceau/ and there is a letter of 1 3th September from 
Bernadotte to the general-in-chief, describing a 
reconnaissance, in which he and General Marceau 
took part. In the course of this reconnaissance, 
Marceau, wearing a hussar's uniform to conceal his 
rank, actually rode up to the enemy's outposts and 
entered into conversation with an officer, obtain- 
ing thereby some important information. There is 
also a letter from Marceau to Jourdan, dated 13th 
September, describing an attack by the Austrians, 
which was repulsed by Bernadotte and himself 
against superior numbers. 

Jourdan now made a mistake, which increased the 
dissatisfaction of his army, and deepened the dis- 
trust of his capacities, which was shared by both 
the generals and the troops. He called Berna- 

" Moniteur, 20th Sept. 1796. ' Marceau, par Maze, 364. 


1 64 JOURDAN'S BLUNDER [chap, xxix 

dotte away from his right, and sent him to strengthen 
the left of the line, with the result that Marceau 
was left to sustain a severe engagement against a 
superior force of the enemy. He then recalled Berna- 
dotte to the assistance of Marceau, who had, in the 
meantime, retired as the result of Jourdan's first 
mistake. When Bernadotte arrived (17th Septem- 
ber) before Limburg, he found, to his astonish- 
ment, not his friend Marceau, whom he came to 
assist, but the Austrians in full force on the plains 
before Limburg. The position of the whole army 
became a critical one, the right wing having re- 
treated, and the centre being consequently exposed 
to immediate danger. What occurred is thus de- 
scribed in the words of Jomini : — 

" Bernadotte resolved to engage the enemy in 
order to give time to the French army to retire, 
and he fought with much bravery until midday. 
It was only then that he retired and was hotly 
pursued. He was again attacked at Mehrenberg 
by the enemy's vanguard, and continued fighting 
until eight o'clock in the evening, when his 
division took up their position at Waldenbach. He 
thus held his ground for the day, and enabled 
Marceau to retake the faubourgs of Limburg, and 
the left and centre of the army to make good their 
retreat that night."" 

Jourdan, in his memoirs of the campaign of 1796, 
and elsewhere, applies the epithet "intrepide" to 
Bernadotte's action on this occasion ; and Desprez, 
the historian of the army of Sambre and Meuse, says 
that " il fit bonne contenance," an expression fre- 
quently used in military books and despatches to 
convey an idea of Bernadotte's power of presenting a 
confident front when in a disadvantageous position/ 
" Jomini, ix. 36. * Jourdan, Campagne de 1796, 200 ; Desprez, 83. 

sept. 1796] CASTELVERD'S MISTAKE 165 

It will be observed that Bernadotte here, as at 
Teining, was holding his ground all day in order 
to save the rest of the army. The charge of 
mauvaise camaraderie has sometimes been brought 
against Bernadotte. It cannot, however, be denied 
that, at this period of his military career, whenever he 
was, so to speak, " on his own," no general of his time 
was more tenacious in covering a colleague's advance 
or retreat. All his best performances in the German 
campaigns were of that kind. 

On the following day, 18th September, Marceau 
made a similar resistance, slowly retiring to Frei- 
lengen ; and these two days' fighting by the right 
wing enabled the left and centre of the army to unite 
forces. This retiring movement, carried out by 
Bernadotte and Marceau, was gravely embarrassed by 
the latter's right flank having been uncovered by the 
sudden retreat of General Castelverd. In letters of 
1 7th and 1 8th September both Marceau and Berna- 
dotte complain of Castelverd's retirement, which seems 
to have been a serious and unexplained mistake." 

The following letter to Marceau, the date of which 
is not fixed with certainty, illustrates the comradeship 
between the writer and Marceau : — 

" Veilburg. 

" My presentiment, my dear General, has, alas ! 
been verified. They would not attend to our warn- 
ings. We, at all events, cannot be blamed. I left 
my regiment of infantry two leagues from Limburg, 
on the main road leading to Veilburg. It is posted 
between Allendorf and Wiesbaden. If you are in 
want of men, make use of all or any part of it. I 
am writing to General Simon, and am directing him 
to send you a hundred or a hundred and fifty cavalry, 
which I shall replace, if he lets me know that you 

" Marceau, par Parfait, 236, 237 ; Jourdan, Campagne de 17Q6, 

1 66 THE DEATH OF MARCEAU [chap, xxtx 

require them. Farewell, my dear General. Be 
assured that whatever good fortune attends you will 
give me the keenest pleasure. — Salut et f rater nite, 

"J. Bernadotte. 

" P.S. — I have found the enemy within pistol- 
shot of the town. Our vedettes are so near each 
other that they could shake hands."" 

We now come to the day — one of the saddest 
in French military history — of the death of General 
Marceau, who, at the age of twenty-seven, was 
already one of the most distinguished generals in 
the French army. It is characteristic of Marceau 's 
chivalrous character that he had abstained from 
joining in the dispute with Jourdan, although there 
is reason to infer that he disapproved of his plan 
of action as strongly as any of his colleagues. 

On the 19th September Bernadotte and Marceau 
continued to retire slowly and steadily, in order to 
cover the retreat of the rest of the army, and took up 
positions near Altenkirchen. Marceau, with his re- 
serve of cavalry, bivouacked behind the centre of his 
position. It was Marceau 's last bivouac ; for it was 
here that he was shot by a Tyrolese soldier, who fired 
at him from the cover of a neighbouring wood. 

Bernadotte was one of the first to gallop to the 
side of his young comrade. Marceau-Sargent, the 
brother-in-law and the biographer of Marceau, thus 
describes the last conversation between him and 
Bernadotte/ Marceau, taking Bernadotte 's hand, 
said : " Go, my comrade, to perish for others' faults. 
We shall never meet again. But do not let me see, 
before I die, my troops forced to retire in disorder. 
The mere idea kills me." "No, my dear friend," 
replied Bernadotte, " you will not have that 

° Marceau, par Parfait, 390. *. Marceau-Sargent, 47. 































sept. 1796] THE DEATH OF MARCEAU 167 

chagrin. So long as the troops are under your eyes, 
they will defend themselves with courage. Be 
calm. The retreat has been carried out in good 
order." a Marceau had to be left on the field of battle, 
and was treated with respect and tender care by the 
Austrians. He died upon 21st September. The 
Archduke Charles sent his remains to Neuwied escorted 
by Austrian cavalry, and asked to have notice of the 
day of his funeral, so that the Austrian army might 
join in paying respect to his memory. Albert Sorel 
truly says that " Marceau 's funeral recalls the finest 
traits of the ages of chivalry, for the same respect 
was paid to the same virtues." b 

Bernadotte, at a later date, finding himself 
military governor of Coblenz, had the funeral urn 
opened, and sent some of Marceau's ashes to his 
sister Emira, who distributed them to members of 
his family. In 1892 these ashes were still preserved 
in several places/ 

In the week preceding Marceau's death, Jourdan 
had proposed to unify the command, on the Lower 
Lahn, under Marceau or Bernadotte ; but, out of 
deference to each other, both generals refused the 
post/ Save for a brief misunderstanding, for which 
Marceau-Sargent blames Sarrazin, their relations, since 
their first meeting in May 1794, had been intimate and 

" Marceau, par Parfait, 244, 245 ; Le Mort de Marceau, par 
Hardy, 14. 

b Sorel, i. 170. ' : Marceau, par Parfait, 453. 

d Marceau-Sargent, 63 ; Championnet, 85. 


Jourdan's Recall — Bernadotte's Reputation 
at its Zenith 

" Everybody knows that you are an honest man, a brave 
soldier, and a good citizen ; but it is for the public interest that 
the Government should know that you are incapable of suc- 
cessfully commanding-in-chief even four men and a corporal." — 
Bernadotte to Jourdan, October 1796. 

After Marceau's death the army recrossed the Rhine ; 
and General Jourdan was relieved of his command. 
The change was in accordance with Jourdan's wishes. 
He had lost the confidence of his army, and he had 
lost confidence in himself." After the council of war 
at Schweinfurt, when his plans were opposed by 
Kleber and his other divisional generals, he wrote to 
the Government : — 

" I feel it my duty to inform you that the interests 
of the public service make it desirable that I should 
cease to command the army of Sambre and Meuse, 
because I have lost the confidence of my generals, 
who no longer regard me as capable of acting as 
their chief." b 

This was a plain, unvarnished statement of the 
position, as simple and modest as the writer himself. 
He wrote again on 25 th September from Cologne : — 

" For five years I have had the honour to serve 
the Republic in different ranks. I have done my 
best to do my duty. I know not by what chance I 
was raised to the rank of general of brigade, and then 
to that of general-in-chief. Nobody has ever seen 
me seek promotion, and I have always declared that 
I was unworthy to hold so important a position." b 

" Desprez, 87. * Ney, par Bonnal, 86, 91. 

sept. 1796] JOURDAN'S RECALL 169 

In their attitude towards Jourdan, on the occasion 
of his recall, Kleber and Bernadotte acted together, 
as they had done throughout. It is evident that they 
were convinced that Jourdan's usefulness was at an 
end, and that his continuance as commander-in-chief 
was a danger to the army and to the country. When 
Jourdan received from the Directory the order for his 
recall, he called the generals together in the castle of 
Hakenburg,and requested them to forward a certificate 
to the Government. Kl£ber and Bernadotte refused 
to join in doing so. Sarrazin says that, when Berna- 
dotte came to give his opinion, he gave vent to the 
indignation which the loss of so many of his best 
troops, owing to the commander-in-chief's blunders, 
had occasioned him, and went so far as to say : " Every- 
body knows that you are an honest man, a brave 
soldier, and a good citizen ; but it is for the public 
interest that the Government should be made aware 
that you are incapable of successfully commanding- 
in-chief even four men and a corporal."" 

Kl£ber and Bernadotte were probably apprehensive 
that a testimonial from them might have led to the 
reappointment of Jourdan at a moment when, from 
loss of nerve and reputation, he had ceased to be 
capable of leading men. To contribute to any such 
result would have been an abuse of friendship and of 
personal loyalty. At the same time, there is a harsh- 
ness of tone about this Gascon speech, which makes 
one hope that Sarrazin, writing many years after the 
event, may not have reported him quite correctly. 
Sarrazin adds that, although they refused to sign the 
certificate, Kleber and Bernadotte afterwards repaired 
this omission beyond Jourdan's expectations. 

It may be inferred that Bernadotte exerted himself 
" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 87, 88. 


in some other way to set Jourdan right with the 
Government. At all events, no scar remained on 
either side to remind them of this quarrel. They met 
again in 1 799, and acted together with cordiality, both 
in war and in politics. Jourdan has left several works 
giving an account of his military and political experi- 
ences, and he loses no opportunity of expressing his 
regard and admiration for Bernadotte. 

Bernadotte, at the end of these three years' cam- 
paigning in Belgium and on the Rhine, had reached 
the zenith of his military reputation . In later years 
his prestige declined, for reasons which it would be 
outside the scope of this volume to discuss ; and when 
he fought against Napoleon, the Emperor went so far 
as to say that he had only been the twentieth of his 
generals. But, in 1796, Bernadotte was recognised as 
one of the best divisional commanders of the day. 

In the following passage Barras tells us the informa- 
tion which the Government had on the subject, and 
the view which they took in October 1 796 : — 

" Joubert, who comes straight from the army, is 
received at a sitting of the Directorate. He declares 
that Jourdan has not preserved his steadiness ; that 
he has all but lost his wits. He says that 
Jourdan is a general who no longer has a firm seat 
in his saddle, since the fear of the Committee of 
Public Safety no longer sits behind him. The same 
may be said of other commanders-in-chief, but the 
army of Sambre and Meuse may once more march to 
victory. It has not lost more than 6000 men, while 
the great divisional commanders, such as Lefebvre, 
Kl£ber, and Bernadotte, possess and deserve the 
confidence of the soldiers. They will yet make 
heroes of them."" 

It appears that Barras wished to have Kleber 
or Bernadotte appointed to the chief command 
a Barras, ii. 214; (E.) ii. 260. 


in succession to Jourdan. Kldber was unwilling to 
accept a chief command ; other employment was in 
store for Bernadotte ; and the choice fell on Beurnon- 
ville. Immediately on his appointment Beurnon- 
ville wrote to Kldber, on 21st September, that in view 
of Marceau's loss the only thing to be done was to 
send Bernadotte into the Hunsriick. 

Before the end of the year Bernadotte success- 
fully defended the bridge of Neuwied from an attack 
by General Kray ; and towards the end of October 
he helped, for a second time, to drive the Austrians 
across the river Nahe, and forced them to retire to 
Mainz." These operations terminated his active ser- 
vice in the army of Sambre and Meuse, of which 
General Zurlinden has said that Bernadotte " served 
brilliantly on the Rhine in the army of Jourdan." b 

" Victoires, ConquHes, viii. 4. i Zurlinden, 61. 


Winter Quarters at Coblenz, 1796 
october-december i 796 

" I admit that you might be happy for a month in your rural 
life, but no sooner would you hear the sound of the drums of the 
National Guards, than recollections dear to your heart would 
make you regret the army. . . . We have for three years 
fought together in the same ranks ; I always felt a brother's 
tenderness for you ; and, as a sincere friend, I request you to 
continue with us." — KUber dissuading Bernadotte from retiring 
on half -pay, November 1796. 

During the winter of 1796 Bernadotte remained on 
the left bank of the Rhine in command of 20,000 
men, with head-quarters at Coblenz. 

At Coblenz he made the acquaintance of the family 
of a rich banker named Potgeisser, meeting him and 
his two daughters at their own home, and at the 
house of a common friend, Count Boos. French and 
German writers seem to agree that one of the banker's 
daughters went very near becoming Queen of Sweden. 
Bernadotte's staff officer expresses the opinion that 
Bernadotte was deterred from matrimony by disparity 
in years, as the young lady was eighteen and the general 
was thirty-three ; and by the inequality in their fortunes , 
for the general had nothing except his pay . a A German 
writer gives a patriotic colour to the incident : — 

" Whether Trantchen with the brown eyes like a 
doe, or Lischen with the blond tresses, was the more 
charming was hard to decide. Neither was it worth 
while to attempt it, as the father made no secret of 
the fact that he would never give one of his daughters 
to a French officer. Bernadotte had therefore to 
console himself with the knowledge that both preferred 
him to all other admirers." 15 

" Sarrazin, Phil. 88, 89 b Hans Kloeber, 68. 


It was at this period that Bernadotte's peace of 
mind was seriously disturbed by an accusation, 
which was levelled against him in a Paris newspaper 
by one Duperron, of having, in the recent campaign, 
plundered and exacted contributions from the people 
of Nuremberg. As a matter of fact, the burgo- 
masters of that city had offered him a considerable 
sum of money, and it had been conveyed to him 
that the Austrian and Prussian generals were in the 
habit of accepting such douceurs. Bernadotte had 
replied " that everyone was master of his own 
actions, and that the only reward he required of the 
city magistrates, in return for keeping his troops in 
good discipline, was that they would pay the greatest 
attention to his sick and wounded." 

It is probable that this libel had no better 
foundation than Bernadotte's gasconading reply to 
the professors of the University of Nuremberg, who 
protested against his officers being billeted upon their 
houses at Altdorf." At all events, the aspersion 
caused him the deepest pain and annoyance ; and he 
wrote the following letter to the Directory, which was 
published in the Moniteur of the 20th Brumaire, An 5 
(10th November 1796). Bernadotte's high-flown gas- 
conisms are difficult to translate : — 

" General of Division, Bernadotte, 


The Executive Directory. 

" Coblenz, yth Brumaire, An 5 
(2?>th October 1796). 

" Citizen Directors, — A certain Duperron has 
caused to be published in No. 22 of the Messager du Soir 
or Gazette Generate de I'Europe the most revolting 
calumnies. My regard for my honour (ma delica- 
tesse) compels me to inform you of this fact and to 

- See Chapter XXVI. 

174 A. LETTER TO THE PRESS [chap, xxxi 

make my complaint to you, since, owing to your 
opportunities, you are able to make known the truth 
in the full light of day (dans tout son dclat) . 

" This Duperron alleges that the fine city of ' Nu- 
remberg was for twenty-four hours given over to 
plunder, and that General Bernadotte, on entering it, 
exacted a contribution within a given number of 
hours ; threatening in default to deliver the city 
over to the fury of his army.' He offers to produce 
mathematical proofs of his assertions. I shall not 
speak of the indignation shown by the military men, 
who know me, on hearing of this mendacious asser- 
tion. I shall say nothing of what the troops under 
my command, as well as the officers who lead them, 
have felt. But I must claim from you the just 
reparation which is due to me. So infamous a deed 
cannot remain unpunished, and I venture to hope 
that the Government will expose it in all its black- 
ness (touie la noirceure). 

"Bernadotte.'" 1 

In the same number of the Moniteur there is a 
letter of Bonaparte's written from Milan with reference 
to some Genoese question of the moment. The two 
letters reflect the difference between the temperaments 
of the two men. Side by side we see the cold concise- 
ness of the Corsican and the high-flown rhetoric of the 
Gascon. Bonaparte would never have troubled him- 
self to claim reparation from the Government for a 
calumnious paragraph in an evening newspaper. 

The Directory did not, at first, take Bernadotte's 
complaint very seriously, and the latter resolved to 
relinquish a position which exposed him to such 
imputations. He asked to be allowed to retire on 
half-pay. The Directory refused to accept his retire- 
ment, and addressed to him a laudatory letter, in 
which they advised him to treat with silent contempt 
the unfounded reports of the enemies of his glory, 
and added that the Government " relied on his 
" Moniteur, ioth November 1796. 

oct. 1796] KLEBER'S ADVICE 175 

talents and patriotism to continue ably serving his 

General Sarrazin tells us that this letter did not 
by any means restore the equanimity of its recipient, 
and that it was Kleber who succeeded in dissuading 
him from leaving the army. He puts into Kleber's 
mouth the following observations, which he says were 
made to Bernadotte upon this subject. They exem- 
plify Kleber's well-known indulgence in outspoken 
and sometimes exaggerated denunciation of all " the 
powers that be " : — 

" ' If you return to France, my dear Bernadotte, 
with your frank disposition and love of justice, I 
foretell,' said Kleber, ' that you will perish before 
three months are over. Not only is the Govern- 
ment composed of five robbers, but every little 
village is governed by a mayor of the same stamp. 
Like master, like man. The secret police — which is, 
in regard to politics, what the science of mining is to 
the art of war — is confided to a set of scoundrels, who 
abuse their power to glut their vengeance, and to 
cause the most virtuous character to perish, or at 
least to suffer disgrace. In vain will you conduct 
yourself as an honest citizen : they will counterfeit 
your handwriting ; they will accuse you of a 
traitorous correspondence of which you had never 
the least idea ; and, through the perfidy of enemies, 
whom those envious of your merit will not fail to 
raise against you, all your fine projects of philosophy 
and retreat will only tend to cause you to perish 
on a scaffold as a traitor to your country, as was 
the case with Luckner, Custine, Beauharnais, Hou- 
chard, and many other brave military men. Our 
governors are lawyers, jealous of the glory of their 
generals ; they are base, uninformed, proud, vin- 
dictive, and cruel — in a word, possess only a genius 
for doing evil. Their dominion cannot last long; 
Providence always, sooner or later, does justice on 
the wicked and recompenses the good. Await 
patiently that happy period in the bosom of your 
friends, and do not go and offer yourself up to 

176 KLEBER'S ADVICE [chap, xxxi 

those tigers, thirsting for blood, who have for four 
years preyed upon the vitals of our unhappy country. 
I admit that you might be happy for a month in your 
rural life, but no sooner would you hear the sound of the 
drums of the National Guards, than recollections dear 
to your heart would make you regret the army. You 
were born to live in camps, and to die upon the field 
of battle . Do you really believe that the vociferations 
of the Jacobins of your village will not make you 
again wish to hear the acclamations of applause, 
with which your grenadiers have so often hailed the 
excellent manoeuvres you have caused them to 
execute on the day of battle ? . . . We have for 
three years fought together in the same ranks ; I 
always felt a brother's tenderness for you ; and, 
as a sincere friend, I request you to continue with 

Another conversation, of the same period, is 
related by Marceau's brother-in-law and biographer. 
A group of generals were met at Kleber's quarters 
at Coblenz. Bernadotte, who was peculiarly sensitive 
upon the subject of his good name and personal 
renown, complained that " many of their feats of arms 
were unrecorded and unknown beyond the spot where 
they had taken place; that many of them were 
misrepresented in France ; and that deeds were 
frequently attributed to the wrong person." Kldber 
replied : "In a hundred years we shall be known 
in our fatherland, justice will be done to us, and 
each will be credited with what is due to him. 
Then history will set aside some who at present 
are leading the van." Kleber walked towards the 
window, which overlooked the Rhine, and pointing 
to the opposite banks, added : " It is there, my 
comrade, that the materials are collecting ; it is there 
that historians will go to learn what we have done. 
Those are the people who are writing for us." b 

" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 90-92. b Marceau-Sargent, 19, 20. 

After the portrait by Bonneville. 

After the portrait by LevachezJ- 

After the portrait by Gue'rin. After the portrait by Favchery. 

Four Portraits of General Bernadotte. 

1 The portrait by Levactiez is of the period of the Consulate. 

To face page 176. 

oct. 1796] A PARALLEL 177 

Bernadotte's sister died on 15th October 1796, 
leaving his mother and elder brother, the only 
remaining members of his family. To return to Pau, 
and spend the remainder of his days with them, on a 
general's half-pay, was still the limit of his ambition. 
But he now received a fresh call of duty, which was to 
link his career with that of the greatest man of his 
time, and to open a path to amazing rank and 
fortune. From this starting-point, a progressive 
series of high employments, civil and military, lay 
before him ; yet, we may be permitted to doubt 
whether he was ever to become, in the simplest sense 
of the term, a better or greater man. 

If Bernadotte had fallen, like Marceau, in the 
German campaign of 1796, how different would be 
the legend associated with his memory ! The same 
reflection is suggested by every remarkable career, in 
the path of which there occurs some sudden turn. 
The events leading up to our own revolution supply 
an example in the case of Wentworth. If Wentworth 
had died in 1627, he would be remembered in history 
with Pym and Eliot, as one of Hampden's fearless 
group, instead of standing apart, a tragical figure in 
Strafford's solitary niche. Similarly, if Bernadotte 
had died in 1 796, his place to-day would not be among 
marshals, princes, and kings, but with Kleber, Mar- 
ceau, and Desaix, as one of the single-minded soldiers 
of the army of the First Republic. 




" L'aigle ne marche pas, il vole, charge des bandarolles de 
victoires suspendues a son cou et a ses ailes." — Chateaubriand, 
MSmoires d'outre tombe, i. 49 (writing of Bonaparte's campaigns 
in Italy). 

" Bernadotte jeune, plein de feu, de vigueur, de belles passions, 
de caractere surtout, tres estimable, il n'est pas aim6 parce qu'il 
passe pour enrage ; ses troupes les mieux tenues de l'armee." — 
Journal du Voyage du Giniral Desaix (1797), p. 70. 




XXXII. Bernadotte is sent tq Italy to Reinforce 
Bonaparte — The March from Coblenz 
to Milan . . . .181 

XXXIII. From Milan to Padua . . .188 

XXXIV. The First Meeting of Bonaparte and 

Bernadotte — '■ Bernadotte quarrels 
with Berthier . . . 193 

XXXV. The Crossing of the Tagliamento . 199 

XXXVI. The Storming of Gradisca . . 206 

XXXVII. The Invasion of the Austrian States, and 

the Preliminaries of Peace at Leoben 212 
XXX VIII. The Return to Italy — The Quarrels 
between Bernadotte's Troops and 
those of Messina and Augereau . 219 

General Berthier and General Kellermann 
Bonaparte and Bernadotte 
The Crossing of the Tagliamento 
The Storming of Gradisca 


• Bo 


Bernadotte is sent to Italy to reinforce 
Bonaparte — The March from Coblenz to 

january-february 1 797 

"As to generals of division, I beg of you to send me none 
but distinguished officers, for our methods of warfare here are so 
different from all others, that I cannot trust a division to any 
general until I have tried him in two or three engagements." — 
Bonaparte's demand for reinforcements, 20th January 1797. 

" The general of division, Bernadotte, who is conducting to 
you the troops . . . has already won from us proofs of our 
approval, and we hope that you will be able to report favourably 
of his services." — The reply of the Directory, 4th February 1797. 

" An officer who is firm and capable of leading and 
electrising his troops." — KUber describing Bernadotte to General 
Moreau, 7th January 1797. 

" I espouse the glory of the army of Italy. I attach myself 
to that of its young general. I hope he may not be ungrateful." — 
Bernadotte to General Kellermann, March 1797. 

The scene now shifts to Northern Italy, where Bona- 
parte, having completed the brilliant campaign of 
1796, — the campaign illuminated by the glory of 
Lodi, Castiglione, Areola, and other victories, — was 
now eagerly awaiting reinforcements, without which 
he was unable to strike a decisive blow, or to venture 
upon the invasion of Austria. 

His demands on the home Government had been 
frequent and forcible. On 14th November 1796 he 
had written to the Directory from Verona : " I am 
doing my duty and the army is doing its duty. My 
heart is broken, but my conscience is clear. Rein- 
forcements I Send me reinforcements ! But do not 
make game of me. I do not want reinforcements on 


1 82 " SEND REINFORCEMENTS ! " [chap, xxxii 

paper. I want them here now and under arms.'" 1 
Can anyone picture General Jourdan adopting this 
tone towards the Executive Government ? There 
is little wonder that the campaigns of Italy were 
made more interesting than those on the Rhine. 
On 6th December General Bonaparte wrote from 
Milan : " Send me 10,000 men from the Rhine, 
10,000 men from the sea-coast, and 1500 cavalry;" 
and he adds that, if his requests are complied with, 
" you may expect millions, victories, and an advan- 
tageous peace.'" 1 On 28th December he wrote again 
to the same effect. The Directory at last gave way. 
Perhaps that dexterous suggestion of a harvest of 
" millions " had some weight. 

Bonaparte now turned his attention to the 
personnel of the reinforcements. On 20th January 
he wrote to the Directory : " As to generals of 
division, I beg of you to send me none but distin- 
guished officers, for our methods of warfare here are 
so different from all others, that I cannot trust a 
division to any general until I have tried him in 
two or three engagements."" On 4th February the 
Directory replied : " The general of division, Berna- 
dotte, who is conducting to you the troops which 
have been despatched from the army of Sambre and 
Meuse, will remain in Italy under your orders. He 
has already won from us proofs of our approval, 
and we hope that you will be able to give a favourable 
report of his services." 

Lavalette in his memoirs says that every officer 
was desirous of serving under General Bonaparte/ 
Bernadotte's appointment was helped by the recom- 
mendation of Kleber, who, in a letter to Moreau, dated 
7th January 1797, wrote that he had supported 
" Corr. de N. ii., Nos. 1182, 1235, 1402. » Lavalette, 115. 

jan. 1797] FROM THE RHINE TO ITALY 183 

Bernadotte's selection, because it was necessary to 
have at the head of such a force " un officier ferme 
et capable de conduire et d'electriser une troupe."" 
The two friends were now separated, after having 
fought together since the spring of 1794. 

Bernadotte's transfer to the army of Italy was a 
turning-point in his life. Thenceforward his experi- 
ences became more vivid and interesting, and his 
capacities rapidly developed. There is every reason to 
suppose that the appointment accorded with his own 
wishes. He was returning to the sunny south, which 
was more congenial to his nature, and more suitable 
to his constitution than the scenes of his recent 
service. He was leaving friends behind him, but the 
army of Sambre and Meuse was not what it had been . 
The " family " had been broken up by the death of 
Marceau and by the recall of Jourdan. 

Bernadotte left Coblenz in January 1797. His 
force was nominally 20,000 strong, but probably did 
not contain 19,000 combatants. It consisted of two 
divisions, one from the army of Sambre and Meuse 
under his own immediate command, and the other 
from the army of Rhine and Moselle under the 
divisional command of General Delmas. He was 
joined at Metz by some outlying troops, including the 
15th Regiment, commanded by Lahure, who tells us 
in his memoirs that " General Bernadotte enjoyed a 
distinguished reputation for courage and coup d'ceil 
on the field of battle. He was adored by his soldiers 
on account of his solicitude for their health and comfort 
and the trouble which he took for their welfare." * 

It was a long march from Coblenz to Metz, from 
Metz by Langres to Dijon, from Dijon to Lyons, from 
Lyons to Chambery, from Chambdry and Modane 
* KISber, par Pajol, 258. * Lahure, 117. 

1 84 FROM COBLENZ TO PADUA [chap, xxxn 

across the Alps over Mont Cenis to Turin, then through 
Piedmont and Lombardy to Milan, and finally from 
Milan to Verona, and thence to Padua." A glance at 
the map shows that the distance covered was not less 
than 600 English miles, probably a great deal more. 
The main difficulties, in French territory, were to 
maintain discipline, and to prevent desertion, in 
the case of soldiers who, after years of hard ser- 
vice, found themselves near their homes again. 
Bernadotte resorted to the bold plan of giving 
furlough to 6000 men, whose homes were within 
reasonable distance of the march, with orders to 
rejoin the army at points convenient to them. 
He took a risk in thus sending away nearly one- 
third of his army, but the step proved completely 
successful. Out of the 6000, only thirty failed 
to turn up at the appointed time and place, and 
they were bad characters of whom the army was 
well rid/ 

But, if Bernadotte yielded to the desire of his 
soldiers to visit their homes, he also exemplified his 
habitual severity in the enforcement of discipline. 
Near Dijon, at the end of January, the murder of 
a peasant was brought home to a soldier. The 
general had the guilty party arrested and handed 
over to justice. Having given 800 francs, and col- 
lected 5000 francs for the family of the peasant, he 
seized the opportunity, in an address to his soldiers, 
of contrasting the conduct of the murderer with the 
honourable reputation of the army of Sambre and 
Meuse. The incident increased his influence with his 
troops, and created a favourable impression in the 
locality where the crime occurred." 

" Lahure, 1 1 8 ; Sarrazin, MSmoires, 60. * Lafosse, 120, 121. 
c Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 94, 95 ; ib. Memoires, 62. , , 

feb. 1797] CROSSING THE ALPS 185 

The Alps were crossed in the depths of winter. 
Captain Frangais in his journal tells us that the ascent 
of one peak occupied six hours, the descent four hours ; 
and that on the summit the monks supplied the army 
with food and refreshment. No painter has repre- 
sented Bernadotte crossing the Alps, but we may quote 
Alison's word-picture : " These brave men crossed 
the Alps in the depths of winter. In ascending Mont 
Cenis, a violent snowstorm arose. The guides recom- 
mended a halt, but the officers ordered the drums to 
beat, and they faced the tempest as they would have 
rushed on the enemy."" 

Before leaving French territory, Bernadotte stayed 
with old General Kellermann (afterwards the Duke 
of Valmy), who was in command of the frontier 
station of Chambery. After crossing the border, there 
might have been considerable danger, during the 
march to Milan, if the Austrians had been well 
informed, or if the Piedmontese had been resolute 
in taking up a hostile attitude/ But the intelligence 
department of the Austrian army, at this time and 
place, seems to have been singularly defective; and 
the King of Sardinia preferred to enter upon negotia- 
tions, which resulted in a treaty of offensive and 
defensive alliance. 

The Milanese were astonished, — when the reinforce- 
ments filed into the Lombard city, after their long 
march, and after crossing theAlps in winter, — to observe 
their fine bearing, their smart uniforms, and their 
orderly behaviour, which presented a striking contrast 
to the comparatively wild ways and uncouth appear- 
ance of the soldiers of the army of Italy. This con- 
trast was noticed by others besides the inhabitants 
of Milan. Lavalette tells us that "a refined polite- 
" Alison, vi. 2. * Jomini, x. 21. 

1 86 "CITIZENS"— "GENTLEMEN" [chap.xxxii 

ness distinguished the general (Bernadotte) and his 
staff." a From the date of the entry of Bernadotte 's 
troops into Milan, there commenced a jealousy and a 
rivalry between the old army of Italy and the new- 
comers from the Rhine, which had serious consequences 
for all concerned. 

As evidence of these rising jealousies we may 
quote a passage from the memoirs of General 
Thiebault, who was at this time an officer in 
Massena's army in Italy : " The old corps of the 
army of Italy, largely recruited in our southern 
provinces, claimed to be especially the ' citizens' army." 
They called the army of the Rhine the ' gentlemen's 
army,' and they applied this nickname to Bernadotte's 
division as soon as it arrived from the Rhine. The 
unpopularity of that division was increased by the 
fact that its handsome appearance, its discipline, the 
respect of the men for the officers, formed a striking 
contrast with troops who recognised no duty but that 
of beating the enemy." 6 

These sectional disputes had little if anything to 
say to the coldness which, as time went on, grew up 
between Bonaparte and Bernadotte. Bonaparte was 
himself above all petty differences of that kind, 
although he is said to have encouraged them among 
his generals, as helping his path to domination. The 
following letter, written to General Kellermann on 
Bernadotte's arrival at head-quarters, offers strong 
evidence that the writer was entering upon his new 
duties with every intention of loyally serving his 
new commander-in-chief. For that purpose we 
introduce the letter here ; although, in point of 
date, it would come in more fittingly in the next 
chapter : — 

"ILavalette, 115. * Thiebault (Engl.), i. 325, 326. 

mar. 1 797] LETTER TO KELLERMANN 1 87 

" Equality. Liberty. 

" Padua, the 18 Ventose, $th year of the Republic 
(Sth March 1797). 

" You are indulgent, my dear respected General. 
I beg of you to forgive my tardiness. My letter is 
overdue, but believe me that, although I have neg- 
lected writing to you, the remembrance of your kind- 
ness has not been effaced from my memory. I shall 
preserve it as long as I live, esteeming myself fortu- 
nate to have your friendship. 

" I have nothing to complain of as regards my 
reception in the army. If I may judge by appear- 
ances , my service therein will be a pleasant one . Should 
it prove to be otherwise, I shall have learnt a lesson, 
and shall suffer heavily by my transfer ; for I was, 
vanity apart, respected in the army of the Sambre 
and Meuse. I shall endeavour to gain the good- 
will of my comrades. I shall turn to good advantage 
the advice which you were so kind as to give me, and 
I shall bow to fate in coming events, striving always 
to rise superior to them. I espouse the glory of the 
army of Italy. I attach myself to that of its young 
general. I hope he may not be ungrateful, for I have 
his happiness greatly at heart. 

" I have not yet seen your son ; I am hoping to 
make his acquaintance. Farewell, my brave General. 
Continue to grant me your friendship. 

" J. B. Bernadotte."" 

The same spirit seems to have animated Berna- 
dotte's officers and men. Colonel Lahure says that 
the regiments of the army of Sambre and Meuse, one 
of which he was commanding, were proud to serve 
under Bonaparte, and were eager to emulate the 
achievements of the army of Italy, and to show them- 
selves worthy of fighting in its ranks.* 

" Revue des Documents Historiques , Annie VI. 86, 87. 
4 Lahure, 118. 


From Milan to Padua 
February-March, 1797 

" Have you forgotten that but for me you would be slaves 
working in the pestilential marshes of Hungary, instead of being 
soldiers in a victorious army ? You shall either suffer the 
ignominy of having assassinated the general who has been 
a father to you, or I shall run my sabre through the body of 
every mutineer." — Bernadotte's gasconade to the mutineers at 
Milan, February 1797. 

On the day of Bernadotte's arrival at Milan, there 
occurred the first of a series of incidents, which served 
to accentuate the nascent spirit of jealousy between 
the soldiers from the Rhine and those of the army of 
Italy. His troops were told that, instead of being 
billeted on the inhabitants, they were to be quartered 
in the deserted convents, where the only furniture was 
dirty straw, which had already served as bedding for 
Austrian prisoners. The medical officers declared that 
these quarters could not be occupied without serious 
danger to the health of the troops ; and the regimental 
commanders at once reported the facts to Bernadotte. 
Bernadotte was careful of the health and comfort 
of his troops ; and thereby, although a severe disci- 
plinarian, he won not only their respect, but also 
their affection. He at once ordered the Com- 
mandant of Milan, Colonel Dupuy, to alter his 
arrangements, and to billet the troops on the in- 
habitants. Colonel Dupuy, like many of his brother- 
officers in Bonaparte's army of Italy, had a 
supreme contempt for all other armies and for 
all other generals. He went to Bernadotte and told 
him in a slighting tone " that these convents had 
been found good enough for the citizens of the army 

feb.-march 1 797] COLONEL DUPUY 189 

of Italy, and that consequently the gentlemen of the 
army of the Rhine might very well put up with them." 
Bernadotte answered that " he could dispense with 
such observations, and he would recommend him to 
execute promptly the orders he had given him to 
quarter the troops on the inhabitants." Dupuy 
replied " that he had his instructions from General 
Bonaparte, and he would make no alteration in them, 
until he had received the orders of the same general." 
Bernadotte hinted that he might be obliged to have 
him arrested. " Learn, I would have you to know, 
General," said Colonel Dupuy, " that I belong to the 
army of Italy, and that I am not to receive orders from 
you, a general of the army of the Rhine." At the same 
time he cast a furious glance at Bernadotte, dragging 
his sabre along the ground. The general replied in 
a calm, dignified tone : " The Republic has but one 
army, of which I am a general and you a colonel. I 
punish you conformably to the penal code, which is 
the same for the officers of the Rhine and of Italy. 
With regard to the petulance you very unseasonably 
exhibited, be well assured that my only regret is that 
you are not a general of division like myself, as I would 
then have given you a lesson you would not soon forget . " 
Colonel Dupuy was himself a fiery Gascon, a noted duel- 
list, and a gallant and popular officer ; and his arrest 
served to embroil Bernadotte with Dupuy 's friends.' 1 

The next incident occurred on the day of the 
departure of Bernadotte's army from Milan. The 30th 
Regiment refused to march, claiming its pay, which 
was in arrears. The mutiny was so serious that the 
general of brigade, who happened to be General Friant, 
was unable to cope with it. Friant informed Berna- 

" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 95-97 ; and, for Colonel Dupuy, see Thie- 
bault, i. 328, 334. 

190 A MUTINY [chap, xxxiii 

dotte, who galloped to the scene of the occurrence, and 
found the 30th Regiment resolute in their refusal to leave 
Milan without their pay. Bernadotte ordered them 
to march, and at the same time assured them that 
they would receive their pay on their arrival at 
Mantua. The regiment refused to budge an inch, 
and a grenadier, who was evidently a ringleader, 
was heard to exclaim that the only pay they had any 
chance of getting at Mantua would be " Austrian 
lead and iron.'"* 

The moment was critical ; and Bernadotte called 
into requisition the arts of quelling insubordination, 
which in 1794 had gained for him the title of " Jupiter 
Stator des mutins." In a voice of thunder, accom- 
panied by dramatic gesticulation, he poured out the 
following gasconade : " Unhappy men, I would not 
have brought you so far, if I had ever dreamt I was 
to become a witness of your dishonour. The law 
authorises me to kill everyone who refuses to march 
against the enemy. You must obey me or assassinate 
me. But you will never strike the general to whom 
you owe your lives. Have you forgotten that but for 
me you would be slaves working in the pestilential 
marshes of Hungary, instead of being soldiers in a 
victorious army ? You shall either suffer the ignominy 
of having assassinated the general who has been a 
father to you, or I shall run my sabre through the 
body of every mutineer." He then advanced to the 
first grenadier of the 30th Regiment and shouted, 
" March, or I will kill you." The grenadier happened, 
fortunately, to be an orderly character ; and it is not 
impossible that the Gascon general knew his man, 
and selected him as a likely subject for his hypnotic 
oratory. At all events, the grenadier marched off like 
" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 97, 98; Lafosse, 123, 124. 

feb.-march 1797] MILITARY ELOQUENCE 191 

a lamb ; the next grenadiers followed ; and the whole 
division proceeded on the march without a murmur 
and without their pay. 

If we had not many undeniable proofs of similar 
scenes," it would be difficult to believe that a general 
should have dealt with a mutiny in such a fashion ; 
and we cannot be surprised to find that some of the 
other generals of the army of Italy criticised Ber- 
nadotte's methods of preserving discipline. The 
incident is twice related, with some slight variation 
of detail, in a book published in 1888, and devoted 
to examples of military eloquence ; i and the scene 
in its main features is well authenticated. It is re- 
corded by one of his officers who was present ; and 
Bonaparte is said to have complimented him upon its 
successful issue. It must be admitted that Berna- 
dotte never indulged in rhetoric for its own sake or 
without a sufficient cause, and always adapted the line 
of argument to the level of his hearers and the require- 
ments of the emergency. On the present occasion, this 
torrential gasconade did not flow in vain. The ring- 
leaders were given up, and marched in front of the 
army in disgrace ; and order was completely restored. 

After leaving Milan, Bernadotte pursued his march 
to Padua, passing through Mantua, Verona, and Porto 
Lignago. The latter place was designated as the 
depot of his division. Wherever his army appeared, 
their smartness and good conduct was admired. 

The following observations, addressed by the Abbe 
de Pons, a Royalist spy, to the Comte de Provence, the 
exiled " King," inform us of the impression which 
Bernadotte 's troops created upon a hostile witness : — 

" The columns succeed each other daily in Pied- 
mont. I made a secret expedition to satisfy myself 

" Cf. Roch-Godard, 52. * U Eloquence militaire, i. 288, 289. 

192 WHAT A SPY SAW [chap, xxxiii 

upon the subject of this report. The army of rein- 
forcement, commanded by Bernadotte, comprises an 
efficient corps of fine young troops (effectivemenl 
composde de la plus belle jeunesse). The column, 
which I saw, belongs to the division from the army 
of Sambre and Meuse, and comes from Coblenz. 
The soldiers march gaily, without any appearance of 
fatigue. I spoke to two subaltern officers. . . . They 
were very guarded in what they said. They seemed 
tired of the war, and only continue it because they 
feel bound to bring to a successful conclusion what 
they have commenced. This army crosses Piedmont 
without causing any trouble or making any depre- 
dation. Everything is done with a good discipline 
which is very surprising." 3 

While Bernadotte had been conducting his troops 
from Coblenz to Padua, Bonaparte had been paving 
the way to the Treaty of Tolentino. On 7th 
February he had written a letter to Bernadotte, 
addressed to the frontier town of Chambery, instruct- 
ing him to provide his troops with accoutrements 
which could not be procured in Italy, congratulating 
him on the discipline which he was reported to have 
established among his troops, and expressing a desire 
to deserve his friendship/ On 17th February he 
wrote again from Tolentino assuring Bernadotte of 
a welcome, and adding : " I greatly desire to make 
your acquaintance. I am three days from Rome ; 
but we are coming to a treaty with the Pope." 6 
On 19th February the Treaty of Tolentino was 
agreed to with the Pope ; and Bonaparte was soon 
speeding to join his army, and to meet the reinforce- 
ments, which he had been awaiting with such feverish 
anxiety. In the first week in March, Bonaparte was 
on his way from Rome to Padua ; and Bernadotte was 
on his way from Milan to the same rendezvous. 

■ Bonaparte et son temps, par Jung, iii. 1 57. 
* Corr. de N. ii., Nos. 1469, 1503- 


The First Meeting of Bonaparte and Berna- 
dotte bernadotte's quarrel with ber- 


MARCH 1797 

" I saw in him a young man of twenty-five or twenty-six 
years of age, who assumes the airs of a man of fifty, and in my 
opinion that does not bode well for the Republic." — Bernadotte 
speaking of his first meeting with Bonaparte. 

" He possesses a French head and a Roman heart."— Bona- 
parte speaking of his first meeting with Bernadotte. 

" A Republican grafted upon a French cavalier." — lb. 

The result of the first meeting of Bonaparte and 
Bernadotte, in March 1797, has been told by several 
writers in substantially the same terms. Bernadotte 
either said or wrote of the interview : " He received 
me very well, but I saw in him a young man of 
twenty-five or twenty-six years of age, who assumes 
the airs of a man of fifty, and in my opinion that 
does not bode well for the Republic." " Bonaparte, on 
the other hand, is said to have criticised Bernadotte's 
extravagance of style — " sa jactance meridionale "; 
to have said of him that he possessed " a French head 
and a Roman heart " ; and to have described him as 
" a Republican grafted upon a French cavalier." b 

Bonaparte had the faculty of reading the minds 
and characters of men with an X-ray penetration, 
What did he mean by these mysterious phrases ? 

On the one hand there was Bernadotte's Southern 
loquacity, rising on occasions to eloquence, — a 
racial loquacity, the key to which is the Provencal 
" Lafosse, 125. * Pingaud, 9. 


194 BONAPARTE— BERNADOTTE [chap.xxxiv 

phrase, " Quand je ne parle pas; je ne pensepas"; 
his love of praise and glory for their own sakes ; the 
timidity and irresolution, which we shall often find him 
displaying in political crises, affairs, and enterprises ; 
his exaggeration of thought and speech ; his Gascon 
bluff, tempered by Bearnais caution ; his emotional 
excitability, finding expression in tears of joy or of 
chagrin ; and the tendency to a jealous self-regard 
which accompanied his Southern temperament. On 
the other hand there was his singular sang-froid and 
presence of mind in moments of danger or emergency ; 
his indomitable energy and strength, when the 
responsibility for action fell upon himself alone ; the 
indefinite but lofty sentiments of honour and of 
conscience, which he always claimed and believed to 
be his guiding stars ; a chivalry springing from within 
and giving dignity and grace to his conduct and to 
his bearing ; his extraordinary power of magnetising 
the wild soldiers of the Revolution, and his still more 
extraordinary power of checking and holding back his 
own impetuous personality. How could so strange a 
medley of conflicting qualities be better epitomised 
than in Bonaparte's compendious judgment ? 

De Quincey, in the fourth of his " Letters to a 
Young Man," discusses the true Roman mind and 
character, and exemplifies them by the story of 
Marius in chains driving from his presence, by the 
magical effect of his voice and eye, the slave, who 
was sent to put him to death. Just such a strain of 
Roman strength was mated with the racial foibles of 
this Gascon from Beam . Napoleon 's expressive phrases 
sum up the blend of weakness and of force, which 
gave to Bernadotte his peculiar power of both 
attracting and dominating his subordinates. 

Some writers have drawn a hasty inference that an 

march 1797] GERMS OF JEALOUSY 195 

immediate antipathy or dissension sprang from the 
first meeting of these two remarkable men." There 
was no open breach until the following October, and 
no definite quarrel until the Revolution of Brumaire. 
In the meantime, Bonaparte showed Bernadotte many- 
marks of favour and confidence ; and Bernadotte 's 
attitude towards Bonaparte was, on the whole, one of 
respect and of loyalty. 

But the germs of jealousy and suspicion had already 
found a place in Bernadotte 's mind — jealousy of this 
astonishing young man more than six years younger 
than himself, yet his superior in education, in knowledge 
of the world, in military attainments, and in military 
fame ; and suspicion of this young man's ambition, so 
different from the genuine Republicanism of his late 
chiefs, Jourdan and Kldber. On the other hand, 
Bonaparte saw, in this strange, eloquent, impetuous 
Gascon, a stronger personality than that of any of his 
other comrades in arms. Such a man was not to be led, 
driven, or managed like Massena, Murat, or Augereau, 
and might turn out to be an obstacle, rather than an 
aid, to Bonaparte's already fixed resolve to pluck the 
fruit of absolute power, as soon as it was ripe. 

Next to Bonaparte, the most important man in 
the army, and the only one who enjoyed his abso- 
lute confidence, was his principal staff officer, General 
Berthier, whose attitude towards his chief was the 
reverse of Bernadotte's. He was an older man than 
either of them — sixteen years older than Bonaparte, 
ten years older than Bernadotte. Instead, however, 
of being jealous of the young Corsican, he at once per- 
ceived his genius, believed in his future, and attached 
himself to his fortunes . It was said in later years that he 
loved Napoleon as a nurse loves a child. He became 
* e.g. Guillon, 11. 

1 96 BERNADOTTE— BERTHIER [chap, xxxiv 

the Emperor's staff officer and right hand in nearly all 
his great campaigns, and, as a reward, was included 
for eight years, as Sovereign Prince of Neuchatel, 
among the crowned heads of Europe. 

Colonel Dupuy had informed both Bonaparte and 
Berthier of his quarrel with Bernadotte over the 
billeting arrangements at Milan." Between Bona- 
parte and Bernadotte the incident became the subject 
of a reproof and an explanation. Between Berthier 
and Bernadotte it nearly led to a duel. Berthier, in 
speaking about it, assumed an ironical tone, and 
implied that Bernadotte had treated with indignity 
a good officer of the army ; but he quickly found 
that this Gascon newcomer was not to be trifled with. 
" I have punished," said Bernadotte, " one who was 
insubordinate. If you are minded to take his part, I 
am your man. You are, like me, a general of division. 
I am far from being inclined to quarrel, but I have a 
hearty wish to call those of my equals to account 
who, like you, think fit to assume a dictatorial air." 
Berthier thereupon apologised, said he had only 
mentioned Dupuy 's complaint, in order to be better 
informed of his fault, and assured Bernadotte that 
he would be delighted to cultivate his friendship/ 

One more passage of arms occurred between 
these two men, before the campaign began. After 
Bonaparte's first review of Bernadotte's troops, 
everyone, including the general-in-chief, noticed 
and praised the precision of their movements and 
the smartness of their appearance. Bonaparte never 
forgot it. Montholon records that at St. Helena he 
said of Bernadotte's troops : " Elles etaient belles, 
en bon etat, et bien disciplinees." Berthier, on the 
occasion of the review at Padua, said in Berna- 
" pp. 188, 189. * Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 99, 100. 

march 1797] BERNADOTTE— DESAIX 197 

dotte's hearing," " I am anxious to see whether 
these fine gentlemen are not fearful of the cannons 
deranging their elegant dress." Bernadotte turned 
to him, and with a fierce look exclaimed, " Rest 
assured that there is not an individual in my division, 
who is not ready to prove to you that he is as brave 
as yourself." He never afterwards made friends with 
Berthier ; and, in later years, the absence of cordiality 
between them was not calculated to smooth matters 
between Bernadotte and Napoleon. 

These incidents at Milan and at Padua show what 
an impetuous, unsophisticated Gascon Bernadotte 
was at this time. Before he had passed a month 
in the army of Italy, he had been on the brink of 
fighting two duels, and had succeeded in exciting 
enmity in powerful quarters. 

The hostility which Bernadotte could arouse is 
reflected in the judgment passed on him by General 
Caffarelli, who described him as " very ardent, noted 
for his courage, possessing the powers of electrising 
his officers and men ; but a despot in his division, 
believed to be a flatterer of those of whom he had 
need, a treacherous and dangerous enemy ; a looter 
like the rest." h Let us compare this picture with the 
opinion which General Desaix, who earned the title of 
" le Bayard de notre armee," c recorded in his journal : 
" Bernadotte — young, full of fire, of vigour, of fine 
enthusiasms, above all of character ; very estimable. 
He is not popular, because he is supposed to be mad 
{passe pour enrage). His troops are the best in the 
whole army in bearing and appearance." d 

These judgments of Caffarelli and Desaix — both 
brave and gallant officers — prove that, if Bernadotte 

• Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 99, 100. 4 ,Pingaud, 8. 

' Segur ii. 59. * Desaix, Journal de Voyage, 70. 

198 BONAPARTE— BERNADOTTE [chap, xxxiv 

was, on the one hand, the object of jealousy and hos- 
tility, he also won his share of admiration and esteem. 
But the friendships and enmities of his equals were of 
small importance, when compared with his relations 
with his new commander-in-chief, whose personality 
was to colour the rest of his life, and was to cast upon 
his path both lustre and shadow. Their direct relations 
covered thirteen years, from their first meeting in 
March 1797, down to their last meeting in the summer 
of 1 8 10, when Napoleon, Emperor of the French, 
allowed Bernadotte, Marshal and Prince of the Empire, 
to accept election as Crown Prince of Sweden. From 
the hour when the two men first met and looked 
each other in the face, their careers continued to be 
strangely related, until a day came, when Bernadotte, 
in his palace at Stockholm, was told of the death, on 
the rock of St. Helena, of his old commander and 


The Crossing of the Tagliamento 
march 10-18, 1797 

" Soldiers, do not forget that you come from the army of 
Sambre and Meuse, and that the eyes of the army of Italy are 
fixed on you." — General Bernadotte's address to his troops on the 
banks of the Tagliamento, 16th March 1797. 

Bernadotte and his troops had only been in Italy 
for a few weeks, and had already provoked jealousy 
and ill-will among their new comrades — the officers and 
men of the army of Italy. But these rivalries were 
now to be laid aside, or to be turned to a useful 
purpose in face of the enemy ; for the invasion of 
Austria was about to begin. 

The French army of invasion was more than 
60,000 strong, and its line extended from the Tyrolean 
Alps almost to the shores of the Gulf of Venice. The 
left wing was far away to the north in Tyrol, under the 
command of General Joubert, one of the few generals 
in whose ability to command an independent corps 
Napoleon frequently expressed his confidence. The 
centre was near the confines of Tyrol and the Venetian 
states, under General Massexia, who had already won 
the popular title of " the spoiled child of victory." The 
right wing, which extended almost to the shores of the 
Gulf of Venice, was under the personal command of 
General Bonaparte himself." 

It may be safely inferred that no unimportant 
share of the burden of the campaign was expected 
to fall upon the right wing, otherwise General Bona- 
parte would not have personally taken command of 

" Jomini, x. 23 ; Victoires, Conquetes, viii. 81, 82. 


aoo BERNADOTTE— MURAT [chap, xxxv 

it. It consisted of the divisions of General Serrurier 
and General Bernadotte ; and General Bernadotte's 
division, which was about 9900 strong, was made the 
vanguard of the army. Bonaparte could not have 
paid Bernadotte a higher compliment, or have con- 
ferred upon him a greater favour, than by giving him 
the post of honour — the command of the vanguard of 
that wing of the army, upon which the main burden 
of the campaign was expected to fall. Massena and 
Joubert creditably discharged their duty on the left 
and in the centre, but no general won more renown 
in this short campaign than Bernadotte. He owed 
this opportunity to Bonaparte's selection of him to 
command the vanguard of the right wing. 

Bonaparte placed under Bernadotte a young 
general, who was destined to win a greater military 
reputation than his commander, and, like him, to wear a 
crown — General Joachim Murat. A writer has sug- 
gested that Murat was placed as a spy on Bernadotte," 
but there is no necessity for any such explanation. 
Murat was given the command of the advance guard 
of Bernadotte's division, and who could have been 
more worthily or wisely chosen to lead the vanguard 
of a vanguard than that Murat " of the snow-white 
plume," the subject of Byron's fine lines written 
after his pathetic end ? — ■ 

"There where death's brief pang was quickest, 
And the battle's wreck lay thickest, 

While the broken line enlarging 

Fell or fled along the plain, 
There be sure was Murat charging I 

There he ne'er shall charge again." 

This was the first meeting of Bernadotte and 
Murat, who, in later years, became friends, rivals, and 
* Sarrazin, Phil, ii. 103. 

march 1797] " AN OBSTACLE RACE " 201 

kings. Colonel Lahure, whose regiment was in 
Murat's vanguard, does justice to both of them. 
He frequently commends Bernadotte for his strong 
qualities as a commander ; and he also speaks, in 
his memoirs, in high praise of Murat's frankness 
and valour. " How many evenings," he writes, 
" we spent in the same tent, smoking the same 
pipe (fumant dans la meme pipe), never dreaming of 
the high destiny which awaited him, or of its tragic 
termination.'" 1 Among the other generals with 
Bernadotte were General Friant, a gallant officer, 
who afterwards gained distinction ; General Fiorella, 
a cousin and protege of Bonaparte's ; and General 
Sarrazin, the chief of the staff. 

The campaign opened on 10th March, and it was 
practically finished in a month. Although it turned 
out a triumphant success, and involved compara- 
tively little fighting, it was a daring enterprise ac- 
companied by considerable risk. In the path of the 
French army lay a succession of rivers, of which the 
principal were the Piave, the Tagliamento, and the 
Isonzo. The line of march may be compared, not in- 
aptly, to " an obstacle race." Beyond these rivers lay 
a mountainous country, into which Bonaparte was 
about to penetrate with a force altogether insufficient 
to keep up a line of communications or to sustain a 
prolonged struggle. Everything depended on the 
rapidity and dash of the movement. Austrian rein- 
forcements were expected from the Rhine. Bonaparte 
was resolved to finish the campaign, and did finish it, 
before the reinforcements arrived. 

The first river to be crossed was the Piave, but 
no attempt was made to oppose its passage ; and the 
first stage of the campaign, from nth March to 16th 
* Lahure, 118, 


March, consisted of a rapid and practically unopposed 
advance by way of Castel Franco, Treviso, and Sacile. 
On the morning of the 16th, Bernadotte, with the 
vanguard, left Sacile, and at midday reached Valva- 
sone, on the banks of the Tagliamento, with the 
enemy in full view on the other side. 

The Austrians were in a strong position ; and, 
in order to attack them, the French had to cross 
a bridgeless but fordable river. Bonaparte had 
recourse to a simple but successful stratagem. 
He ordered his troops to retire beyond the reach 
of the enemy's fire, to establish a bivouac, and to 
begin to cook their midday meal. The Archduke 
fell into the trap ; and, coming to the conclusion 
that the French were not going to attack on that 
day, withdrew his forces to the camp, which was at 
some distance away. Hardly had they retired, 
when Bonaparte gave the signal. The soldiers dropped 
their pots and pans, and ran to arms. Forming 
rapidly, they advanced in columns by echelons, and 
were soon drawn up on the water's edge." 

The two divisions of the army were ordered to 
cross with Bernadotte 's corps on the right. The cavalry 
leaders, Duphot and Murat, led the van ; and the army 
crossed in the face of a heavy fire and of some vigorous 
but ineffectual charges by the Austrian cavalry. Two 
incidents, in which Bernadotte figured, are associated 
with the passage of the Tagliamento. 

When the moment came for fording the river in 
face of the enemy, Bernadotte addressed a few stirring 
words to his division. " Soldiers," he exclaimed, 
" do not forget that you come from the army of 
Sambre and Meuse, and that the eyes of the army 
of Italy are fixed on you." He thus seized upon the 
• Alison, vi. 8; Lahure, 119; Sarrans, 17. 

march 1797] A CONTRAST IN ELOQUENCE 203 

jealousies and rivalries of the moment, and used them 
for the purpose of stimulating the energies of his 
troops. Several eye-witnesses have testified to the 
electrical effect which they produced on his hearers." 
They were frequently quoted at the time, and 
passed into common currency as a stock phrase. 
Barras in his memoirs records an occasion, when 
they were utilised in a parliamentary debate. In 
the Council of 500, a scene of confusion, when 
threats were bandied about and blows were 
imminent, was quieted in an instant by an ex- 
clamation from a deputy : " Remember that the 
Royalists have their eyes on you, and that they 
will take advantage of our divisions ; " and he 
adds that this was a paraphrase of Bernadotte's 
famous address to his troops on the banks of the 

A reasoned comparison of the military speeches, 
which were delivered from time to time by Bonaparte 
and by Bernadotte respectively, would not be the least 
interesting of the contrasts which their personalities 
suggest. Perhaps the difference between these two 
military orators may be explained in this way — that 
Bonaparte usually addressed himself less to his imme- 
diate audience, than to a wider public and to posterity, 
while Bernadotte always spoke for the purpose of elec- 
trising his listeners in an emergency. The address to the 
troops, before crossing the Tagliamento, was conceived 
in that spirit, and was a perfect example of the kind. 
Let us compare it with Bonaparte's equally simple, 
but far grander, exclamation to his troops before 
the battle of the Pyramids : " Remember that forty 
centuries are looking down upon you." It is almost 

" Lahure, 119; Capitaine Frar^ais, 153, 154. 
s Barras, iii. 332 ; (E.) iii. 282. 


impossible to suppose that the rank and file of the 
army of Egypt could have been deeply touched by such 
an appeal ; but it was certain, when bruited abroad, 
to strike the imagination of France, and, when re- 
corded, to become historical. It was in the same 
spirit that Bonaparte, on leaving Egypt, wrote to 
Kleber that he " was accustomed to look for a recom- 
pense for the toil and privation of life in the opinion 
of posterity." ° But Bernadotte, on the banks of the 
Tagliamento, had no thought of posterity. His object 
was to get his troops to the other side of a wide 
channel, under the eyes of a critical commander and 
of carping colleagues. 

Something more than a speech was necessary, in 
order to carry out the rapid passage of the bridgeless 
river. The first regiment hesitated to enter the water. 
Bernadotte shouted to them that the stream was not 
higher than their waists. A voice from the ranks 
replied, " We are not on horseback." The Gascon, 
without hesitation, leaped from his horse, though in 
the middle of the torrent, and cried, " Advance for- 
ward!"* The troops followed on with loud cries 
of " Long live our general ! " Generals Duphot and 
Andreossy also plunged into the current at other points. 
It was a bitter March day, the air was piercing, and 
the water was cold ; but who could complain when the 
generals set the example ? Lavalette describes Berna- 
dotte as " crossing the numerous branches of the 
river under the most murderous fire."* Before the 
enemy could collect themselves for an effective de- 
fence, the French were drawn up on the left bank. 
After a vigorous fusilade, the Austrians retired leaving 

" Corr. de N. v., 4374. 

* Sarrazin, Memo-ires, 64; ib. Phil. ii. 100, 101. 

c Lavalette, ii., 224. 


500 prisoners and some cannon in the hands of their 
pursuers . 

The passage of the Tagliamento was a turning- 
point in the campaign, and might have been a very 
sanguinary conflict, if the French had been forced to 
attack the enemy strongly posted on the other side 
of the river. Thanks to Bonaparte's successful 
stratagem, and not a little to Bernadotte's inspiring 
leadership of the vanguard, the river was crossed with 
comparatively little loss, and in excellent order. 
Captain Francais tells us that Bonaparte " congratu- 
lated us and the Gascon general of our division on 
our valour."" 

" Capitaine Francais, 152. 


The Storming of Gradisca 
march 19, 1797 

" There is the enemy you are to attack ; you must either take or 
blockade Gradisca, and join me again before night on yonder 
hills." — Napoleon's order to Bernadotte, igth March 1797. 

After a day's rest on the banks of the Tagliamento, 
and two days' march by way of Palma Nova, Berna- 
dotte reached the next obstacle in the path of the 
invading army. This was the river Isonzo, which 
was sentinelled by the fortress of Gradisca, with a 
garrison of 3000 picked Austrian troops. On the 
morning of 19th March he occupied the hills which 
overlooked the river and the fortress, and halted, so 
as to await the main body of the army. 

Towards 10 a.m. General Bonaparte arrived with 
his staff, about forty officers of rank and an escort of 
light dragoons. He rode up the line at full gallop, 
halted at the left, examined the country, and said 
to Bernadotte, pointing to the plain below : " There 
is the enemy you are to attack ; you must either take 
or blockade Gradisca and join me again before night 
on yonder hills, whither I am going with General 
Serrurier." He had no sooner uttered these words 
than he spurred his horse and set off at full speed." 

Bernadotte was unaccustomed to receiving such a 
laconic and ambiguous order. For a similar occasion, 
his late commander-in-chief, General Jourdan, would 
have given him precise written instructions, providing 
for every contingency. Bonaparte, by ordering him 
to take or blockade Gradisca, had thrown upon him the 

" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 101 ; ib. Bonaparte's Confession, App. 245, 247. 


march 1797] STORMING OF GRADISCA 207 

responsibility of deciding which he was to do. He felt 
that, if he were to blockade Gradisca, he would be 
blamed for not having stormed it ; and that, if he pro- 
ceeded to storm it, he would be told that he ought to 
have blockaded it. " I see it all," he said, with tears in 
his eyes, to the chief of the staff (who himself describes 
the scene) : " he is jealous of me, and wants to disgrace 
me. I have no resource left but to blow my brains 
out. I have no written orders to protect me in the 
discharge of my duty." The chief of the staff replied 
that this was doubtless Bonaparte's usual way of 
giving orders, and that at the end of the day it 
would be time enough to think of accounting to him 
for their action. 

There was only one course for Bernadotte to adopt 
under these circumstances . With the taunts of General 
Berthier still ringing in his ears, and with the know- 
ledge of the sentiments of rivalry and jealousy which 
existed in the army of Italy towards himself and his 
division, he could not afford to hesitate. He 
quickly resolved to carry the place by a coup de 
main, if it did not capitulate at once. Accord- 
ingly, his first step was to send Colonel Lahure to 
summon the garrison to surrender, instructing him 
at the same time to keep his eyes open, and to 
report on his return the exact condition of the forti- 
fications. The colonel faithfully discharged his duty. 
He brought back the reply of the commandant of 
Gradisca that " he would not surrender, but would 
so comport himself as to win the respect of the 
French," and he reported that the outworks of the 
fortress were in bad condition and the ditches dry, 
and that the walls could be easily scaled with the 
help of ladders." This was poor comfort to Berna- 
• Lahure, 121, 122. 

208 STORMING OF GRADISCA [chap, xxxvi 

dotte, as he had with him either no ladders or no 
adequate and available supply of that necessary com- 
modity. But this did not alter his resolution. He 
proceeded to storm the town, and in Lahure's memoirs 
we read an account of this hardy enterprise. 

In the absence of scaling-ladders, recourse was 
had to the primitive methods of forcing the gates 
by cannonading, burning, and striking them with 
hatchets. His troops displayed reckless bravery, 
and 500 French soldiers lost their lives in the course 
of the day's fighting. The general did not spare 
himself. Colonel Lahure describes how Bernadotte 
remained for three hours exposed to a murderous fire 
encouraging his troops : " Pendant trois heures il resta 
la, expose a une fusillade meurtriere et animant les 
travailleurs par son exemple.'" 1 

The following was the text of Bernadotte 's 
ultimatum to the Austrian commander : — 

" You have defended yourself, sir, like a brave 
man, and have thereby won the esteem of soldiers ; 
but any further resistance on your part would be a 
crime which I should visit principally upon yourself. 
In order to justify myself to posterity, I must summon 
you to surrender yourself within ten minutes ; other- 
wise, I shall put your troops to the sword. Prevent 
the bloodshed that you would thus cause. The philan- 
thropic principles, which must actuate a commander, 
impose this duty upon you. The scaling-ladders are 
ready ; the grenadiers and light infantry are eagerly 
awaiting the signal for the assault." b 

There is a touch of Gascony about Bernadotte's 
threat to put the garrison to the sword, as well as 
about his allusion to the scaling-ladders being ready. 
" C'etait une bravade," writes Lahure, " car nous ne 
possedions pas une seule echelle . " a Yet , scaling-ladders 

* Lahure, 122, 123. * Moniteur, 31st March 1797. 



/JStilb ^ 



m 3 B 

^ > 

e> : 



march 1797] A SCENE WITH BONAPARTE 209 

are given a place in this ultimatum, and figure in 
the pictures of the storming of Gradisca, which were 
published in later years. But, if all is fair in war, a 
similar latitude may perhaps be extended to the art of 
military painting. 

Bernadotte's ultimatum was aided by circum- 
stances. The ammunition of the garrison began to 
fail, and General Serrurier's division was seen lining 
the hills. The governor's proposal to surrender 
commenced as follows: "The garrison will pass out 
to-morrow morning at five a.m.," to which Bernadotte 
replied : " The garrison will pass out in a quarter of 
an hour."" 

Leaving his officers to carry out the details of 
the capitulation, Bernadotte galloped off to the 
heights where Bonaparte and his staff were to be 
found, and reported the taking of Gradisca with 
the loss of 500 men. Bonaparte received him 
coldly. While the Gascon general poured forth 
his graphic description of the day's proceedings, 
Bonaparte stood opposite him with arms crossed, 
with knitted brow, and with pressed lips. He re- 
plied that Bernadotte had acted most imprudently ; 
that he ought not to have lost a single man ; and 
that it would have been quite sufficient to blockade 
the place, until Serrurier's division had taken up 
their position upon the hills, when the Austrians 
must have soon surrendered from want of provisions/ 

There was probably some truth in this criticism 
of Bonaparte's, but he had himself contributed to 
the result by giving ambiguous orders to a general, 
who was in a position which disabled him from 

" Des-Jardins, v. 197. 

4 Sarrazin, MSmoires, 65 ; ib. Confession of General Bonaparte, 


210 BONAPARTE'S DESPATCH [chap, xxxvi 

taking any but the most courageous course. At 
St. Helena Napoleon more than once referred to the 
events of this day. In one place he showed a disposi- 
tion to attribute the success of the day to Serrurier ; 
and it has been suggested in some quarters that Berna- 
dotte's precipitancy was due to a desire to forestall 
Serrurier. 11 But in a more candid moment Napoleon 
acknowledged to Montholon that Bernadotte's impru- 
dence on this occasion was excusable. " Cet exces 
d'ardeur," he said, " etait Justine" par l'envie qu'avaient 
les troupes de Sambre et Meuse de se signaler, et par 
la noble Emulation d'arriver a Gradisca avant les 
anciennes troupes d'ltalie." * 

Most of the historical accounts of the taking of 
Gradisca are founded upon Bonaparte's despatch 
to the Directory, in which he implies that the 
troops were carried away by their ardour, and that 
the general was forced to sustain them by cannonad- 
ing the Palma Nova gate. In that despatch he 
adds : " General Bernadotte's division has con- 
ducted itself with a courage which is a guarantee 
of future successes. General Bernadotte, his aides- 
de-camp, and his generals braved every danger." 
He selected, among others, for honourable mention 
General Murat and Colonel Lahure/ 

Whatever doubt there may have been in the 
minds of the commander-in-chief and of his staff 
as to the prudence of Bernadotte's action, there 
was no doubt in the minds of the public as 
to the merits of his performance. Massdna and 
Joubert, who commanded respectively the centre 
and left wing of the army of invasion, carried out 
their operations with distinction and success ; but 

" Pingaud, 10. b Montholon, iv. 82. 

c Corr. de N, ii., No. 1600; Moniteur, 31st March 1797. 


the crossing of the Tagliamento and the storming 
of Gradisca were the most notable, and the most 
noted, incidents of this short campaign, the honours 
of which— overshadowed, of course, by those which 
were due and were rendered to Bonaparte himself — 
rested with Bernadotte. The 16th and 19th of March 
added substantially to his reputation. He had al- 
ready made his name on the banks of the Sambre, 
the Roer, the Rhine, and the Nahe, at Fleurus, 
Juliers, Maestricht, Neuwied, Creuznach, and 
Teining. He had now, in the passage of the Taglia- 
mento and the storming of Gradisca, gained similar 
distinction in Italy. Public opinion is not disposed 
to look severely upon the imprudence of a successful 
operation, when accompanied by personal valour and 

Bernadotte's own account of the taking of Gradisca 
is contained in his written report to Bonaparte, dated 
19th March, in which he describes his officers and 
men as advancing with an impetuous bravery, which 
seemed to be stimulated by the heavy fire from the 
ramparts. He selects for special praise Generals 
Murat, Mireur, and Friant." 

* Corr. inid. de N. ii., 513, 516; Bonaparte's Letters 'and 
Despatches, i. 268-270. 


The Invasion of Austria, and the Preliminaries 
of Peace at Leoben 

march 20-april 26, 1 797 

" You in particular have proved, Citizen General, that you have 
made yourself familiar with this new theatre of war, and with 
the wise manoeuvres which it demands. The Prince Charles 
must have recognised at Gradisca him, whose daring and 
skill he so often experienced in Germany." — Extract from 
letter from the Directory to General Bernadotte, April 1797. 

After the surrender of Gradisca, the right wing of the 
French army marched northwards to Goritz, the capital 
of the Austrian province of that name. On the way 
from Gradisca to Goritz, Bernadotte's vanguard was 
in touch with the enemy's rear-guard, engaging them 
at Carinthia and taking a number of prisoners." 
Goritz was entered on 21st March, and a vast amount 
of provisions and ammunition of war fell into the 
hands of the French. Here Bonaparte made a new 
departure. He separated the two divisions. He 
himself, with General Serrurier's division, marched 
northwards in order to effect a junction with the 
centre of the army which was invading the province 
of Carinthia under General Massena. At the same 
time he detached Bernadotte with his division, and 
ordered him to pursue the column of the Prince of 
Reuss, which was retiring eastwards into the other 
great Austrian province of Carniola. Thus the 
French army was advancing on Vienna in three great 
bodies. General Joubert was marching far away 
in the north through Tyrol, Bonaparte and Mass£na 
in the centre through Carinthia, and Bernadotte on 
the right through Carniola. 

" Moniteur, 3rd April 1797. 

march 1797] ANOTHER LACONIC ORDER 213 

Sarrazin tells us that Bonaparte, having learnt 
from Murat that Bernadotte had complained of 
receiving verbal and ambiguous orders, sent him a 
written order, which, according to his recollection, 
consisted of a single sentence : " The division Berna- 
dotte is ordered immediately to depart for Klagenfurt, 
passing by Laybach." 3 Sarrazin's recollection is not 
far out ; for the order appears in the correspondence of 
Napoleon as follows : " Klagenfurt, 10 Germinal, An.V. 
(30th March 1797). The enemy having evacuated 
Laybach, the commander-in-chief orders you to pro- 
ceed thither with the whole of your division ; you will 
there await further orders ; you will take up your 
position there, and inform yourself upon all points." * 
Bernadotte could not complain that this order was 
verbal or that it was ambiguous ; but its brevity 
astonished him, and he insisted upon regarding it 
as another attempt to place him in a false position. 
He also complained that this separation of his division 
from the rest of the army was a most risky pro- 
ceeding, which might involve its annihilation. It 
appears, however, that the commander-in-chief was 
better informed ; and the result justified the audacious 
conception of this plan of invasion. 

However much Bernadotte might complain, criti- 
cise, or grumble, he did not fail to carry out the 
orders which he had received. On 20th March he 
advanced to Camagna, and drove the Austrian rear- 
guard out of that place. Proceeding by Wipbach, 
Prewald.and Adelsberg he entered Laybach, the capital 
of Carniola, about 1st April. During this ten days' 
march he penetrated the defiles of the Julian Alps, 
fought several skirmishes, and took some 1 500 prisoners 
from the retiring Austrian rear-guard. 
" Sarrazin, MSmoires, 66; ib. Phil. ii. 103. b Corr. de N., 1661. 

2i4 MURAT RECONNOITRES [chap, xxxvii 

Two incidents occurred, during the march from 
Goritz to Laybach, which illustrate the ways of the 
army of Italy in dealing with conquered places, and 
also mark a fall from the high standard, that 
had hitherto marked Bernadotte's conduct in that 
respect. One of Bonaparte's methods of rewarding a 
general appears to have been to assign to him a town, 
and to allow him to enrich himself at the expense of 
the inhabitants. In this way he had assigned the 
seaport of Trieste to General Dugua, the com- 
mandant of the reserve of cavalry." Trieste hap- 
pened to be situate at no very great distance from 
Bernadotte's line of march, and General Murat, being 
aware of this circumstance, asked Bernadotte to 
allow him to push a reconnoitring party to that 
place. Bernadotte, who was ignorant of Bonaparte's 
arrangements and of Murat 's motives, consented. 
Murat entered Trieste on 23rd March, driving out 
the Austrian hussars whom he found there, and pro- 
ceeded to reconnoitre it in his own way for about 
three hours. He seized all the booty he could find, 
and retired at one gate, as General Dugua was entering 
it at the other. Dugua was indignant at the trick, and 
denounced Murat in unmeasured terms as a robber and 
a plunderer. He also blamed Bernadotte, who knew 
nothing of the transaction until it was all over. When 
it came to his ears, his first impulse was to do what he 
would have done in the army of Sambre and Meuse, 
namely, to censure both Dugua and Murat, and bring 
them to account ; but he was told that this way of dealing 
with conquered cities was a recognised custom in the 
army of Italy, and that he, in his turn, would be entitled 
as a matter of course to his share of the spoils of war/ 

° Corr. de N. ii., 1640, 1641. 

* Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 104, 105 ; ib. Mimoires, 66. 

march 1797] THE MINES OF IDRIA 215 

Bernadotte seems to have come to the conclusion 
that when in the army of Italy one must do as the 
army of Italy does ; and his own turn soon came 
round. The quicksilver mines of Idria lay near his 
line of march, and, in pursuance of orders from Bona- 
parte he sent a detachment of troops to seize what 
was to be found there. They were just in time to 
annex an immense store of quicksilver, for the ex- 
portation of which four Spanish ships were lying in 
Trieste roads. Bonaparte had sent a commissary to 
superintend the carrying away of the treasure, with in- 
structions that Bernadotte was to take what he wanted 
for himself and his staff. It is difficult to ascertain 
what exactly ensued . Bernadotte undoubtedly received 
part of this booty, and distributed shares to his staff, 
one of whom considered that his was proportionately 
inadequate. The amount has been variously stated. 
It appears, at all events, that Bernadotte, in complying 
with these orders and taking this first downward step, 
acted with a moderation which, in a subsequent 
conversation with the Director Barras, he spoke of 
rather regretfully," while his staff also blamed him for 
being, or wishing to appear, moderate at their expense/ 

It is not easy to ascertain what were the rules 
regulating " booty of war " in the army of Italy. There 
is, however, some reliable testimony from Austrian 
sources, which is to the effect that private property 
was not treated without respect by Bernadotte. We 
have a glimpse of the passing of Bernadotte 's division 
through Carniola in an account given by the cure ol 
Adelsberg (Joseph Weiniger). He describes the entry 
into that town, on 27th March, of the vanguard, with 
Murat at their head " riding majestically in front of his 

" Barras, iii. 148; (E.) iii. 188. 

* Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 105, 106; ib. Memoires, 66. 

216 THE CUR£ OF ADELSBERG [chap.xxxvii 

cavalry," and, on 2nd April, of the main body of the 
division " led by Bernadotte, with bands playing and 
banners flying ." He records the surprise of the inhabit- 
ants, when they discovered that they had nothing to 
fear from the invading force, and his own surprise when 
informed that he was to continue his religious duties 
as if nothing had happened. " They exacted nothing," 
he says, " either in money or goods. The church was 
respected by them ; and when, on Sundays, they were 
present at the service, their behaviour was Christian 
and becoming.'" 1 Bernadotte had, on 29th March, 
issued a proclamation promising the people of 
Carniola protection from any form of injury or insult ; 
assuring them of respect for their property, person, 
life, and religion ; and declaring that any violation of 
his proclamation by his soldiers would be punished by 
death. These promises appear to have been fulfilled. 
The quicksilver of Idria was the only source from which 
he benefited ; and his action in appropriating a share 
of that booty was authorised by his commander-in- 
chief, and communicated to his Government. 

While Bernadotte had penetrated with his division 
to Laybach, the capital of Carniola, Bonaparte and 
Massena had reached Klagenfurt, the capital of 
Carinthia ; and, before the end of March, the two 
provinces of Carniola and Carinthia were in the hands 
of the French. From Klagenfurt Bonaparte wrote to 
Bernadotte on 1st April : — 

" You will find annexed, my dear General, 
an order for the organisation of the government of 
Carniola. You will choose the ten members of the 
Government. Instal them and make them take 
the oath of obedience to the French Republic. You 
will take great care that no contribution is levied in 
the country. You will take only necessary pro- 

• Chelard, i. 13. 

april 1797] CARNIOLA 217 

visions, and you will do all in your power to render 
the inhabitants of Carniola contented." " 

He was not given much time to carry out these 
instructions, for, on 3rd April Bonaparte wrote from 
Freisach ordering him to leave Laybach on the follow- 
ing day for Klagenfurt, and then to follow the rest of 
the army on the road to Vienna." 

Bernadotte instantly obeyed this order, and was 
at Klagenfurt on 5th April. He then followed Bona- 
parte to Judenberg, in the province of Styria, whither, 
on 7th April, the Austrian plenipotentiaries came 
praying for peace." An armistice was granted for a few 
days, and at the same time Bonaparte advanced his 
head-quarters to Leoben. This was the farthest point 
which was reached by the French army on the occasion 
of this invasion of Austria. On the map it appears to 
be about 70 or 80 miles from Vienna and not much less 
than 1 50 miles from the place where the French army 
had crossed the frontiers of Austria. It had been a 
successful campaign, and the result had justified 
Bonaparte's daring plan and its brilliant execution. 

While Bonaparte remained at Leoben, Bernadotte 
established his camp beside the neighbouring village 
of St. Michael, and the rest of the French army was 
concentrated at various posts within easy distance of 
the head-quarters. The negotiations for peace pro- 
ceeded between the Austrian plenipotentiaries and 
General Bonaparte, who took nobody into his con- 
fidence except his chief of the staff, Berthier, and 
Generals Massena and Bernadotte. He kept them 
fully informed of the principal terms of the negotia- 
tions, which included the transfer to Austria of the 
Venetian States in return for the relinquishment of 
Belgium to France. After the commander-in-chief, 
" Con. de N. ii., 1673, 1677, 1704. 

2i 8 THE PEACE OF LEOBEN [chap, xxxvii 

the honours of the campaign rested with Bernadotte, 
and after Bernadotte with Massdna, who had done ex- 
tremely well at the combat of Tar vis, and at other 
stages of his march. 

The Austrian plenipotentiaries showed a marked 
preference for Bernadotte 's troops. Their dress and 
manners contrasted favourably with the slovenliness 
and ribaldry of the soldiers of Massena and of the other 
generals. The plenipotentiaries used to ask to be 
allowed to follow Bernadotte 's division on public 
occasions. It can be readily understood that these 
compliments and preferences did not serve to stem 
the rising feud between the soldiers from the Rhine 
and the rest of the army of Italy ." 

The articles of peace, which are known in history 
as the preliminaries of Leoben, having been signed at 
that place on 1 8th April, and having been ratified at 
Vienna on 26th April, the Government sent letters to 
the leading generals, thanking them for their services 
and distributing to each appropriate praise. We may 
close this chapter with a quotation from the letter 
which they sent to Bernadotte. Its language suffi- 
ciently indicates the way in which public opinion 
in Paris regarded his military position at this time : — 

" The brave divisions, which you have led from 
the river Main, have signalised their junction with the 
army of Italy, Citizen General, by their successes ; 
and their commanders have shown themselves worthy 
to associate the laurels which they won on that river 
with those which their brothers in arms have reaped 
on the banks of the Adige. You in particular have 
proved, Citizen General, that you have made yourself 
familiar with this new theatre of war, and with the 
wise manoeuvres which it demands . The Prince Charles 
must have recognised at Gradisca him, whose daring 
and skill he so often experienced in Germany." b 

* Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 108. * Lafosse, 132; Sarrans, 18. 


Jealousy and Quarrels between Bernadotte's 
Troops and those of Massena and Augereau 

april-may 1797 

" One division brought by Bernadotte from Germany to Italy, 
and distinguished by its polished manners and by the denomination 
of ' gentlemen,' became a subject of sharp jesting, often degenerat- 
ing into serious quarrels." — Mimoire du Count Miot de Melito. 

" The army of Italy prided itself upon being a Revolutionary 
army composed only of 'citizens ' and not of 'gentlemen.' A 
division which Bernadotte brought from Germany to Italy 
especially singled itself out by its more polished manners, and 
the two armies presented a striking contrast." — Souvenirs de 
Vicomte de Reiset. 

When the preliminaries of peace had been ratified, the 
French army proceeded, before the end of April, to 
evacuate Austria and to return to Italy. General 
Bonaparte's orders, directing the details of the evacua- 
tion, were issued on 24th April. By these orders it was 
contemplated that Mass£na's division was to follow 
Bernadotte's from town to town. Meanwhile, the feud 
between the old corps of the army of Italy and the 
newcomers from the armies of the Rhine, and espe- 
cially between the divisions of Generals Massena and 
Bernadotte, had become more serious and acute. 
During the rapid invasion of Austria, these two 
divisions had been fully occupied, and had been 
separated from each other ; but one of the effects of 
the peace of Leoben was to bring about an enforced 
leisure and juxtaposition, which facilitated the de- 
velopment of their mutual hostility. When they 
started on their march to Italy, the smouldering fires of 
jealousy were upon the point of bursting into flames. 

The flames made their appearance at Laybach,the 


220 "MONSIEUR"— "CITOYEN" [chap, xxxvin 

first important halting-place, where a considerable 
number of both divisions found themselves, without 
their generals. Massena was on his way to Paris 
carrying the preliminary articles of peace to the 
Government, and had left General Brune in command 
of his division. Bernadotte had gone forward to 
Trieste, leaving General Sarrazin in charge of his troops. 
These substitutes were quite unequal to the task of 
controlling the angry passions of the soldiers, which 
could only be held in check by the personal popularity 
which Bernadotte enjoyed among all ranks, and by 
the respect and awe with which Massena 's division 
regarded their " spoiled child of victory." 

Shortly after the arrival of the troops in Laybach, 
General Duphot, one of Massena's brigadiers, during 
a game of billiards, addressed a subaltern of Berna- 
dotte 's division as " Citoyen," while the latter, in 
speaking to the general, used the word " Monsieur." 
Duphot said that he wished to be addressed as 
" Citoyen," and the other refused to do so, saying that 
he knew of no " Citoyen " except before the civil 
tribunals, and that " Monsieur " seemed to him the 
proper way for one officer to address the other in society. 
Duphot instantly challenged him, and the challenge 
was accepted. There was nothing in their uniforms to 
mark their respective ranks, but when it was disclosed 
that one was a general and the other a subaltern, a duel 
between them became impossible. The young officer, 
however, declared that he was ready to fight anyone 
of his own rank who objected to be called " Monsieur." 
He was quickly taken at his word, and in the duel 
which ensued he killed a young officer of Massena's 
with a sword-thrust in his lungs, in the presence of a 
number of the officers and men of both divisions." 

" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 108-m. 

apr.-may 1 797] " LES RIXES DE LAYBACH " 22 1 

The news of the duel and of its fatal termination 
quickly spread, and led to other encounters between 
officers, as well as to affrays between soldiers. 
General Brune called on General Sarrazin to issue 
an order forbidding the use of the word " Monsieur " as 
a form of salutation, and requiring instead the use of 
the term ' ' Citoyen . ' ' Sarrazin replied that he could not 
issue such an order, as Bernadotte would disapprove 
of it, and the troops would disobey it ; but he offered 
to fight Brune. In fact, the commanders and 
officers, instead of separating the combatants, took 
sides with them. Between duels and affrays, more 
than fifty were killed, and about three hundred 
wounded . In order to avert a pitched battle, the drums 
were beaten, all troops were confined to barracks, and 
Massena's division was got out of the town before 
daybreak next morning. General Brune sent Thiebault 
post-haste to Bonaparte with a despatch giving his 
version of the incident, so as to prevent its being 
turned to his disadvantage. General Sarrazin, on his 
arrival at Trieste, reported the occurrence to Berna- 
dotte, who approved of what he had done, and said 
that he would not have retained him in his division, 
if he had issued the order which Brune had required ." 

Thiebault, who was one of Massena's officers, was 
of opinion that Mass6na's division was entirely in the 
wrong/ But, whatever may have been the merits of 
these " rixes," as they were called, there can be no 
question that they were serious and notorious. 
Frequent references to them are to be found 
in the memoirs of that day. It will suffice to 
cite the evidence of two witnesses, Count Miot de 
Melito and Vicomte de Reiset. The point is worth 

" Sarrazin, MSmoires, 68, 69 ; L'Art de la guerre, 253. 
* Thi6bault (tr.), i. 321, 322. 

222 "CITIZENS"— " GENTLEMEN" [chap, xxxviii 

dwelling upon. These quarrels led to a permanent 
estrangement between Massena and Bernadotte ; ° and, 
occurring at an impressionable stage of his life, they 
tended to foment the jealous side of Bernadotte's 

Count Miot de Melito, who was at Milan twice in the 
course of the summer of 1797, thus describes the im- 
pression which he formed upon this subject : " Bona- 
parte encouraged the angry rivalry between the army 
of the Rhine and the army of Italy, which arose out of 
the outward forms and ceremonies adopted in each. 
The army of Italy gloried in being a Revolutionary 
and citizen body, while that of the Rhine passed for 
an army of ' Messieurs,' as it was called at Milan. . . . 
One division brought by Bernadotte from Germany 
to Italy, and distinguished by its polished manners and 
by the denomination of ' Messieurs,' at that time con- 
sidered to be an aristocratic form, became a subject of 
sharp jesting, often degenerating into serious quarrels 
between the officers and men of the two armies." * 

The Vicomte de Reiset places it on record that 
he had frequent opportunities of observing the differ- 
ence between the exterior forms adopted by the armies 
of the Rhine and of Italy respectively. " The army 
of Italy," he says, " prided itself upon being a Revo- 
lutionary army composed only of citizens and not 
of gentlemen, as they contemptuously designated 
us. A division which Bernadotte brought from 
Germany to Italy especially singled itself out by 
its more polished manners, and the two armies 
presented a striking contrast.'" 7 

These rivalries were widely noticed and discussed 

in the Press of the day. For example, the following 

" Massena, par Dabbadie, 45. * Miot de Melito, i. 210. 

' De Reiset, 62. 

april-may 1797] CAUSE OF QUARREL 223 

passage occurs in a philosophic journal belonging to 
the moderate party — L'Historien ou I'Historique of a 
later date : " It is sad to see the conquerors, who we 
hope soon will earn the title of pacificators, shedding in 
useless quarrels the blood which ought to be shed only 
for their country. The divisions of Bernadotte and 
Augereau have fought with loss of life, say the Italian 
newspapers, over the title of Monsieur and Citoyen, 
the former being used by Bernadotte's division, and 
the latter by Augereau 's. Thanks are due to General 
Bonaparte for having annulled an order of Augereau 's 
that anyone using the term Monsieur is incapable of 
serving in the army, and thus forbidding penalties 
not recognised by the penal code." It would appear 
from this passage that Bernadotte's division was re- 
ported to be in hot water with the troops of Augereau, 
as well as with those of Massena." 

A modern writer of distinction, M. A. Dry, ex- 
culpates Bernadotte from blame in the following 
passage : " Bernadotte was not responsible for this 
state of feeling. In the army of Italy, as in that of 
the Rhine and of the Sambre and Meuse, he did his 
duty very brilliantly, and in the short campaigns of 
Austria, at the Tagliamento, at Gradisca, at Trieste, 
and Laybach, his division distinguished itself by its 
discipline and by its courageous attitude." b 

The cause of quarrel, in any view, was not one 
which casts much discredit upon Bernadotte or upon 
his division. The head and front of their offending, 
in the eyes of the army of Italy, appears to have been 
that they strove to reconcile the formalities of old 
politeness with the manners of a Republican camp. 

The firmness with which Bernadotte conducted 
this curious campaign on behalf of the courtesies of 

■ L'Historien, etc., 20th July 1797. * Dry, ii. 340, 341, 

224 A REPUBLICAN CAVALIER [chap, xxxviii 

camp life reminds us of Bonaparte's description of 
him as " a Republican grafted on a French cavalier," 
and prepares us for one of the puzzles which his later 
career presented. How did it come about that this 
ex-ranker from Gascony, this child of the Revolution, 
bred, as he had been, in barracks and battlefields, 
succeeded, during more than thirty years, in charm- 
ing the aristocratic court of Sweden by the grace 
and dignity of his bearing as their Crown Prince 
and King ? His enemies would explain it all away, 
by reference to the dramatic adaptability of his race. 
But, when a man is found acting the same part, 
without effort or affectation, under various conditions 
and circumstances, during a long and strenuous life, 
his friends may be excused for asking us to believe 
that his natural refinement and charm of manner 
were the outward signs of those chivalrous qualities, 
which were exemplified in the solicitude which he 
always displayed for the welfare and comfort of 
subordinates, prisoners, and conquered countries. 



MAY 1797-JANUARY 1798 

" Bernadotte etait-ce instinct de roi latent ? se montra seul 
modere." — Albert Sorel. 

" Un des officiers les plus essentials a la gloire de l'armee 
d'ltalie, un des amis les plus solides de la Republique, incapable 
par principes comme par caractere de capituler avec les ennemis 
de la liberte pas plus qu' avec l'honneur." — Bonaparte's description 
of Bernadotte, gth August 1797. 









MAY 1797-JANUARY 1798 



XXXIX. Bernadotte, Governor of Friuli — The 

Arrest of Count d' Antraigues . 


XL. Bernadotte's Administrative and Military 

Activity as Governor of Friuli— His 

Interview with Thiebault 


XLI. Bernadotte's First Relation with Politics — 

The Addresses sent by the Army of 

Italy to the Executive Directory — 

Bernadotte's Independent Action 


XLII. Bernadotte's Mission to Paris on the Eve of 

the Coup d'Etat of the i8th Fructidor 


XLIII. Bernadotte's Reception by the Directory . 


XLIV. The Coup d'Etat of the i8th Fructidor 


XLV. After Fructidor — Bernadotte refuses a 

Command-in-Chief, and returns to Italy 


XL VI. A Remarkable Conversation between Bona- 

parte and Bernadotte — The Peace of 

Campo Formio .... 


XLVII. The First Serious Rift with Bonaparte 


XL VIII. Bernadotte, after accepting two Commands- 

in-Chief, becomes Ambassador to Austria 



General Massena and General Augereau 


Carnot and Barras ..... 




Bernadotte, Governor of Friuli — The Arrest 
of Count dAntraigues 

MAY 21, 1797 

" But, sir, the law of nations has no application to the Count 
d'Antraigues, who is said to be the agent of Louis xviii., our 
enemy, and in consequence I declare him under arrest. If he 
had been the stronger, he would have had us all shot ; now that 
we are the stronger here, we exercise the right of the stronger." 
— Bernadotte' 's gasconade on the occasion of the arrest of Count 
d'Antraigues, 21st May 1797. 

The peace of Leoben was agreed to in April ; but was, 
in itself, little more than a truce or armistice. It 
served as a provisional basis for pourparlers, which 
dragged along for six months. Pending these con- 
ferences, the Venetian States were occupied by French 
troops and governed by French generals, who were 
instructed to be ready to renew hostilities at any 
moment, in the event of any diplomatic hitch or of 
any breakdown in the negotiations." 1 

During this interval of suspended activity, Berna- 
dotte held the positions of Governor of Friuli, the fron- 
tier province of the Venetian States, and of commander 
of three divisions of French troops with head-quarters 
at Udine, the provincial capital. Friuli was a post of 
special importance . Bonaparte , in a letter of 2 1 st May 
ordering Bernadotte to leave Trieste and move to Udine, 
wrote : " The gorges of Carinthia will form part of your 
command , and you will be the rear-guard of the army . ' ' a 

Before he left Trieste for Udine, Bernadotte be- 
came involved in an incident which entailed serious 

a Corr. de N. iii., 1781, 1818. 

228 A VENETIAN REVOLUTION [chap, xxxix 

political consequences, and exposed him to a great 
deal of criticism. 

The dominant party, in the Venetian States, had 
taken advantage of the absence of the main body 
of the French army, during the invasion of Austria, 
to massacre isolated French garrisons, as well as 
wounded and sick, who had been left behind in the 
hospitals. Bonaparte had warned them that, if they 
did anything of the kind, it would go hard with " le 
Lion valetudinaire de Saint Marc"; and, after the 
peace of Leoben , he sent them the following message : 
" I will be to Venice a second Attila. I will have no 
more Inquisitions, no more Livre d'Or. These are 
barbarous institutions. Your Government is too old. 
It must fall to pieces." He kept his word by hand- 
ing Venice over to the tender mercies of the local 
democrats, with the immediate result that the aristo- 
cratic oligarchy was compelled to abdicate, and even 
to invite French troops to come and temper the 
terrors of a local revolution. 

One of the consequences of this revolution was the 
departure, on the eve of the entry of the French troops, 
of the Russian Minister, Mordninov, to whose legation 
belonged a certain Count d Antraigues, who was not a 
youngRussian attache,but an elderly French aristocrat ." 

DAntraigues had been one of the nobles, who, 
in 1789, associated themselves enthusiastically with 
the first stages of the French Revolution. He 
wrote a memoir upon " The States-General," which 
had a vogue only second to that of Sieyes' celebrated 
brochure. He was a personal friend of Rousseau, 
and he cherished the vain dream of reconciling the 
new ideas with the maintenance of a monarchical 
constitution. Having quickly been disillusioned, he 

" Le Cotnte d' Antraigues , par Pingaud. 

may 1797] A PAN-EUROPEAN SPY 229 

devoted himself to the service of the Royal Family 
as a sort of wandering diplomat in partibus. It 
appears from his own statements that he had been 
officially appointed attache to the Russian Legation 
at Venice on 15 th December 1795, and that he had 
resided with the Minister, and had been recognised, in 
his diplomatic capacity, by the Senate of the Venetian 
Republic. But there seems no reason to doubt that 
his diplomatic character was a mere cloak to cover 
his true position as an active agent of the" King," or, 
as Bernadotte was bound to regard him, the Pre- 
tender. His services were not monopolised by Russia. 
He was, or became, also an agent of the Austrian 
Foreign Office ; and was, in fact, a sort of pan- 
European spy, with agents and correspondents in 
many quarters. 

Mordninov applied to the French Legation for pass- 
ports, which were granted with the proviso, that they 
would not be available for "a certain d'Antraigues, 
agent of a French emigre, who is pretended heir to the 
throne of France." At the same time a description 
of d'Antraigues was sent to all the frontier places, in- 
cluding Trieste, with directions to have him arrested. 

On 1 6th May d'Antraigues left Venice in the suite 
of the Russian Minister. For the first few days all went 
well. At the French posts the travellers were allowed 
to pass, and were even treated with attention. This 
reception led them to think they could safely stay at 
Trieste, which place they entered on the evening of 
Sunday, 21st May. When, however, their carriage 
stopped before the principal hotel, in the large square 
of Trieste, it was surrounded by soldiers, and Mord- 
ninov and his suite had to alight, and were instantly 
brought before General Bernadotte, the Governor of 
the province. 

230 A GARBLED GASCONADE [chap, xxxix 

Some Royalist writers, in the accounts which they 
have given of what ensued, have accused Bernadotte 
of saying, when the Count pleaded the law of nations 
and his diplomatic character, that " there was no 
longer any question of justice and reason, but only 
the right of the stronger." Fortunately everyone can 
judge for himself how far the accusation is well 
founded, because Mordninov, immediately after the 
incident, sent to his Government the following report 
of the dialogue between himself and Bernadotte : — 

General Bernadotte (turning to Mordninov) : 
" Are you, sir, the Russian Minister at Venice ? " 

Mordninov : " Yes, sir, as my passports show, 
and I protest against the indignity with which I 
have been treated in defiance of the law of nations." 

General Bernadotte : " Although you are the 
Minister of a Power which is the enemy of the French 
Republic, you will be treated with all the respect 
which the circumstances allow. But there is, I 
believe, in your suite a person, who is under the sus- 
picion of my Government. Will you be so good as to 
tell me the official position of the gentlemen who 
compose your suite ? " 

Mordninov : "I have with me a Councillor, and 
a Secretary of Legation, an Attache, and a Major." 

General Bernadotte (pointing to dAntraigues) : 
" I must request you, sir, to tell me the name of that 

Mordninov : "I would deem myself wanting in 
respect to my own Court if I concealed the name of a 
gentleman attached to my mission by the express 
order of my Sovereign. That, sir, is the Count 
dAntraigues, for whom I claim the respect, which the 
law of nations accords to all the members of a public 

General Bernadotte : " But, sir, the law of nations 
has no application to Count dAntraigues, who is 
said to be the agent of Louis xviii., our enemy, and 
in consequence I declare that he is under arrest. If 


he had been the stronger, he would have had us all 
shot ; now that we are the stronger here, we exercise 
the right of the stronger." 

Mordninov : " Since you yourself declare that you 
are using the right of the stronger, I have nothing 
to do except to repeat my protest against the way 
in which I am being treated. In arresting M. d'An- 
traigues you are wanting in respect to the Sovereign 
who placed him on my staff. My official passport does 
not except any of the staff of my Legation, and I 
must send a courier to His Majesty the Emperor of 
Russia to inform him of what has happened." 

General Bernadotte : "I have only to say that, 
so far as the arrest of M. d'Antraigues is concerned, I 
carry it out under the express order of my Govern- 
ment. So far as you are personally concerned, I 
have directed that suitable lodgings shall be supplied 
to you and your suite, and you are at liberty to 
remain here, or to continue your journey, as you 
think fit." 

It will be observed that Bernadotte did not say that 
there was ' ' no longer any question of justice and reason , ' ' 
as was alleged against him. But his reference to the 
" right of the stronger " naturally exposed him to mis- 
understanding and misrepresentation. In a rough 
Gascon form he was reminding Mordninov of that rude 
law of men and of nations, which Lord Morley has 
recently alluded to as " the mighty fundamental that 
the State is force."" It is admitted by d Antraigues that 
Bernadotte treated him with courtesy and consideration 
both at Trieste and in the arrangements which were 
made for his journey to Bonaparte's head-quarters. 

D Antraigues was conveyed to Milan, and, in a 
few days, was safely lodged in that city under Bona- 
parte's immediate observation. Some suspicion was 
aroused that Bonaparte came to an understanding 
with his prisoner, which was not removed when 

Politics and History, 93. 

232 A DAMNING DOCUMENT [chap, xxxix 

dAntraigues, after a brief detention, was allowed to 
escape. In the meantime there was discovered — 
either in his portfolio, or in a packet which was posted 
by him from Milan, and seized by Bonaparte's orders — 
some damning evidence of the treachery of General 
Pichegru, the leader of the moderate or reactionary 
party in France. The incriminating document is said 
to have consisted of a resume of a conversation 
between dAntraigues and another Royalist agent, 
Montgaillard, in the course of which Pichegru was 
mentioned as having bargained for the restoration of 
the Bourbons. Pichegru was to receive, as his reward, 
the Castle of Chambord, a million, a house in Paris, the 
exemption of his native district from taxation for fifteen 
years, a pension for his wife, and an annuity for his 
descendants until the extinction of his line. This docu- 
ment was sent by Bonaparte to the Directory on 3rd 
July, and was used afterwards as a justification for 
the coup d'etat of the 1 8th Fructidor (4th September) . 
There was, in this incident, an element of romance, 
which deserves to be rescued from oblivion. DAn- 
traigues was accompanied by a lady known as Madame 
de St. Huberty . She had been an opera singer, to whom 
dAntraigues had been privately married in the year 
1790. The marriage had been kept secret for family 
reasons ; but dAntraigues now found it convenient to 
acknowledge her as his wife, in order to obtain leave for 
her to accompany him to Milan. It's an ill wind that 
blows nobody some good, and Madame de St. Huberty 
owed her recognition as the Countess d 'Antraigues to the 
circumstance of her husband's arrest by Bernadotte." 

The materials for this chapter include Un agent secret sous la 
Revolution, le Comte a" Antraigues, par Leonce Pingaud; Corr. 
inid. de Mallet du Pan, 338 ; Bourrienne, i. 351 ; Corr. de N. iii., 
1861, 1885, 1982. 


Bernadotte's Administrative and Military Ac- 
tivity as Governor of Friuli — His Interview 
with Thiebault 

MAY-JUNE 1797 

" Bernadotte expressed his regret at not having an A.D.C.'s 
place to offer me. ... I should not have hesitated to attach 
myself to Bernadotte, but . . . everybody was bidding for me, 
except the one to whom I would have knocked myself down." — 

The position of military governor of a conquered 
province was a delicate one. Bernadotte appears, in 
the first instance, on 27th May, to have issued an order 
which offended local public opinion, and Bonaparte 
wrote, directing him to let the lay municipalities send 
one or two deputies to Udine as a provisional arrange- 
ment.' 1 When Bonaparte proceeded to prescribe in- 
stitutions for Friuli, he adopted the characteristic 
course of resting Revolutionary forms upon the 
secure, if incongruous, basis of the nomination of 
so-called popular representatives by the general 
in command. It is easy to see that the democratic 
tinge, which was given to this new order of things, 
was a transparent sham, and that they resolved 
themselves into administration by a military chief. 

Two incidents, which occurred shortly after the 
return to Italy of the French army, will serve as 
illustrations of Bernadotte's attitude towards the 
province, of which he was the military governor. 
On 2nd June Napoleon ordered him to put certain 
fortresses in a state of defence. This proceed- 
ing was intended as a demonstration to affect 

".Corr. de N. iii., 1058. 


the pending negotiations, and was followed by the 
sending of cannon to these places. Bernadotte, in 
the course of the duty thus assigned to him, was 
obliged, upon the advice of his engineers, to demolish 
two villages. At the same time some stores of salt, 
which had been seized during the recent campaign, had 
to be distributed or disposed of ; and he was asked how 
they were to be dealt with . Without hesitation he 
ordered the salt to be sold, and the proceeds to be 
applied for the relief of the dispossessed villagers. 

He showed his good feeling in another direction. 
During his occupation of Friuli, some Venetians 
offered to join the French, and to form volunteer 
battalions. Bernadotte knew that the preliminaries 
of Leoben provided for the handing over of the 
Venetian States to Austria, and, without giving 
his reasons, he dissuaded the Venetian volunteers 
from a course, which might be so injurious to them in 
future contingencies. 

During his residence at Udine, Bernadotte was 
indefatigable in the training of his troops. He used 
to hold grand manoeuvres twice a week in a large 
plain in the neighbourhood of Udine." In so doing, he 
was both carrying out the instructions of Bonaparte, 
and giving effect to his habitual practice and to 
his inclination. His officers and men had a little too 
much of these peaceful exercises, and would have pre- 
ferred to be allowed to enjoy the pleasures of Udine, 
which was by no means a disagreeable place to be 
quartered in. 

There was a Spanish fleet in the Gulf of Venice, 
and the Admiral Marquis de Spinola, who came 
from Trieste to pay a visit to Bernadotte, took 
pleasure in accompanying him on these long field- 

" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 113. 

may-june 1797] FRIANT'S REVENGE 235 

days, at one of which a prominent general of brigade 
— no less a personage than the distinguished General 
Friant — made a mistake in his movements. Berna- 
dotte instantly ordered him under arrest, and the 
general at once gave up his sword and returned to 
Udine. It is probable that Friant was not sorry to 
escape the rest of the day's hard work, and, being 
accustomed to Bernadotte's gasconades, thought 
very little of the occurrence. The Spanish admiral, 
however, was astonished, and could talk of nothing 
else than this extraordinary scene ; and he was still 
more surprised that it was not followed by a duel. 
Sarrazin, who records the incident, says that neither 
Massdna nor Augereau would have dared to treat one 
of their brigadiers in this fashion." 

Some fifteen years afterwards, General Friant 
had his revenge, because it fell to him, in 1812, to 
take possession of Swedish Pomerania on behalf of 
the French Government, and to oblige his old com- 
mander to surrender one of the provinces of the 
kingdom, of which he was then Crown Prince. 

As it sometimes helps one to understand the per- 
sonality of an historical character, when we have the 
testimony of someone who met him and conversed 
with him, we may here quote a passage from the 
memoirs of General Thi6bault, then a young officer in 
Massena's army, who gives the following account of a 
meeting with Bernadotte at Udine : — ■ 

" I went to pay my respects to General Berna- 
dotte. He received me very well, and was kind 
enough to make me dine with him. After dinner, 
in a burst of confidence which touched me very much, 
and which I feel it an honour to remember, he had a 
private and confidential talk with me over all matters 
relating to the situation of France. As he reckoned 

" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 113. 

236 THIEBAULT [chap, xl 

up all the dangers which still threatened her political 
existence and her internal happiness, he was moved 
to tears. That moment, in which he showed the 
purity of his aims, the loftiness of his devotion, his 
unlikeness to so many other commanders with whom 
one could have reckoned only their own military 
glory, their own ambition, their own convenience, 
their own future, raised in me an admiration for him 
which I must confess later events may seem hardly 
to have justified. Bernadotte expressed his regret 
at not having an aide-de-camp's place to offer me, 
but, at a word from him, General de Beaumont 
offered me a place on his staff. I should not have 
hesitated to attach myself to Bernadotte, but I did 
not accept de Beaumont's offer. Bernadotte 's good 
opinion also led General Dugua of the cavalry to ask 
me to become an assistant on his staff in view of the 
early promotion of one of his aides-de-camp. I laugh 
sometimes to think how I had the air of being put 
up to auction during the two days I spent at Udme. 
Everybody was bidding for me, except the one to 
whom I would have knocked myself down."" 

Thiebault's testimony accords with the impressions, 
which Bernadotte seems to have created, wherever 
he held any post of civil or military authority. His 
personality sometimes roused distrust among his 
superiors, and often excited jealousy among his rivals ; 
but he hardly ever failed to attract his subordinates, 
and to win their loyal devotion and obedience. 
" Thi6bault (E.), i. 325, 326. 


Bernadotte's First Relation with Politics — The 
Addresses sent by the Army of Italy to the 
Executive Directory — Bernadotte's Inde- 
pendent Action 

july 1797 

" Bernadotte, etait-ce instinct de roi latent ? se montra seul 
modere." — Albert Sorel, L' Europe et la Revolution frangaise, 
v. 213. 

The establishment of the Executive Directory as 
the Government of France, in October 1795, has 
been described in a previous chapter," where it was 
pointed out that it was inevitable that the periodical 
renewal of the two Legislative Chambers, by the 
annual retirement of one-third of their members, 
would sooner or later lead to a constitutional crisis 
and to a military intervention. The crisis came in 
the summer of 1797, when, after the May elections, 
the majority of the Council of 500 assumed a 
moderate or Royalist complexion, and proceeded to 
the election of a President. 

The two candidates for the Presidency of the 
Council of 500 were General Jourdan, who was 
a Republican, and in favour of maintaining the exist- 
ing Constitution, and General Pichegru, who figured 
as the leader of the reactionary or Royalist party, 
and was, behind the scenes, engaged in a treasonable 
correspondence with the exiled" King "and the Bourbon 
princes. General Pichegru was elected President by 
a large majority ; but he was in a perilous position, 

"■ Chapter XXlL, page 121 supra. 

2 3 8 THE TRIUMVIRS [chap, xli 

because his treason might be discovered at any 
moment, and he was a general without an army. 

Soon after the election of Pichegru as President 
of the Council of 500, the time came round for one 
of the five directors to retire, and for the legis- 
lative bodies to appoint a successor. They selected 
Barthelemy, a man of reactionary sympathies. 
The Directory were now divided among them- 
selves. Two of them — Carnot and Barthelemy — 
sympathised with the majority of the Legislative 
Councils, and were opposed to all the extreme 
tendencies of the Revolution. The other three— 
Barras, Rewbell, and Larevelliere-Lepeaux — were 
convinced and determined Republicans of the most 
advanced type. They formed a majority of the Ex- 
ecutive, and were nicknamed the Triumvirs ; but it 
was a majority of one, which would disappear upon 
the occurrence of the next vacancy. Under these 
circumstances the existing Revolutionary Government 
hung by a single and a slender thread, and could not 
be maintained, unless the Triumvirs used their ex- 
piring powers to purge the legislature by means of 
some desperate coup d'etat. 

The Government, not having any moral support 
in the Chambers or in the country, was compelled 
to turn to the army for encouragement and assistance ; 
and, so far as the army of Italy was concerned, they 
did not turn in vain. Bonaparte had every motive 
to support them at this moment." The Moderate or 
Royalist party were bitterly opposed to his policy in 
Italy ; and, in the course of the pending negotiations 
with Austria, upon which depended all the fruits 
of his Italian campaigns, Bonaparte's hands were 
weakened by the notoriety of the fact that a 
" Cambridge Modern History, viii. 508. 

july 1797] THE ADDRESSES 239 

majority in the Legislative Councils was opposed 
to the foreign policy of the Directory. Besides, 
Bonaparte's ultimate aims and ambitions moved 
him to prop up the falling Government. He was 
resolved that nobody should upset them, until he 
was in a position to do so himself. A military coup 
d'dtat was the very thing to suit his plans. It would 
be a precedent for the coup d'etat on his own account, 
of which he was already dreaming. 

In order to cow the opposition and to give to the 
Triumvirs some semblance of public support, Bonaparte 
now proceeded to have addresses drawn up on 14th 
July, by the different divisions of the army of Italy, 
to be sent to the Government and to be published on 
the 10th of August, the anniversary of the abolition 
of royalty. The addresses were to breathe fire and 
fury against the Royalist party, to denounce them as 
conspirators, and to threaten them in unambiguous 
terms with military violence. 

The Generals Massena, Serrurier, Joubert, and 
Augereau did not hesitate to comply with Bonaparte's 
orders, and drew up addresses of the most uncom- 
promising character, which they obediently forwarded 
to Bonaparte to be despatched by him to Paris." 

On this occasion Bernadotte displayed an in- 
dependence and a moderation, which were singular 
in a man hitherto unversed in public affairs. Bona- 
parte sent to him copies of the addresses of the 
other generals, so that he might have a similar 
manifesto forwarded from his division. Bernadotte 
sent word to Bonaparte that in his opinion such 
a step was an infraction of the Constitution and 
of good order, and that he did not think that 
a commander-in-chief had any power to give him 
' Dry, ii. 336. 

240 BERNADOTTE— AUGEREAU [chap, xli 

directions on such a subject. Bonaparte replied that 
his refusal would cause a belief that there was a dis- 
agreement among the generals, and that the enemies 
of the Republic would make capital out of it. Berna- 
dotte yielded to these considerations ; but he declined 
to endorse the addresses of his colleagues, and the 
address from his own division was framed upon dif- 
ferent and relatively moderate lines. The signatories 
to it declared that they doubted the existence of a 
Royalist conspiracy, but they offered their arms to 
the Directory if it should turn out that such a 
conspiracy existed." We cannot do better than 
compare Bernadotte's address on this occasion with 
a passage from the address drawn up by Augereau. 
They will illustrate the difference between Berna- 
dotte's attitude and that of the other generals of the 
day, and perhaps they will help us to understand why 
his success was more enduring than theirs. 

" To the Executive Directory. 

" Rumours of counter-revolution are heard on 
all sides, to which the men, whom I command, refuse 
to give the slightest credence ; but, if they turn out 
to be true, if conspirators have planned to lay a 
sacrilegious hand on the Government which is the safe- 
guard of the laws and the sentinel of the people, then 
be assured that there still exist the arms, which have 
served the cause of national independence, and the 
chiefs, who have led the phalanxes of the Republic. 
With such supports as these you have only to express 
the wish in order that the enemies of the State and 
of liberty may disappear. 

"J. B. Bernadotte." 

We may compare with this the following passage 
in Augereau 's address : — 

" Victoires, ConquStes, viii. 168; Moniteur (25 Therm.), 12th 
August 1797. 





























S 1 

































< ° Q 





























july 1797] LE GRONDEUR 241 

" O conspirators," it ran, " tremble. There is 
only one step from the Adige and the Rhine to the 
Seine. Your iniquities are numbered, and their 
recompense is to be found at the points of our 

Not only did Bernadotte frame an address on 
his own lines, but he forwarded it direct from himself 
to the Government in Paris, sending a copy to 
Bonaparte, who had been the medium of forward- 
ing all the other addresses, thus doubly dissociating 
himself from the action of his colleagues/ 

This incident did not cause any immediate breach 
between Bonaparte and Bernadotte ; but it marks a 
stage in the history of their relations with each other. 
Since their first meeting in March there had been 
signs of divergence of temperament and of methods. 
But there had not been any open disagreement. 
This appears to have been the first occasion upon 
which Bonaparte was afforded grounds for appre- 
hending any danger to his own policy and plans from 
the personality of Bernadotte. It was made clear to 
him that there was one general in his army, who had 
a mind and a will of his own, and on occasions might 
have to be counted with. 

The difference between Bernadotte's address and 
those of the other generals did not escape notice 
in Paris. A Royalist, or Moderate journal, Le 
Grondeur, referred to it, and claimed Bernadotte as a 
sympathiser with their party. He repudiated the 
suggestion in a letter, which was thought of sufficient 
importance to be translated and copied into the 
London Morning Chronicle of 6th September 1 797 : — 

" Victoires, Conquetes, viii. 168; Moniteur (25 Therm.), 12th 
August 1797. 

b Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 117. 

242 " A REPUBLICAN 1 " [chap, xu 

" To the Editor of ' Le Grondeur.' 

" You say, sir, in your journal, that I have 
not signed the addresses which the army of Italy 
have transmitted to the Directory ; permit me to 
correct this error. I have signed that in which 
the wish of my division, which is also my own wish, 
is expressed. 

" I desire, sir, that you will honour me with 
perpetual oblivion ; my opinion and yours do not 
accord. A Republican, both by principle and con- 
viction, I will, to the moment of my death, oppose 
all Royalists and enemies to the Directory. If 
moderation has ever been the rule of my conduct, it 
is because a life almost entirely dedicated to military 
labours has compelled me to submit to the duties of 
my station ; but whenever the enemies of my Govern- 
ment and of the Republic are to be opposed, I shall 
place myself in the front rank of the defenders of the 
Government and the Republic, and shall call to my 
assistance those brave men who have so often heard 
my voice in the field of glory. 

" Bernadotte." 

Such was the first connection of Bernadotte 
with politics. It is obvious that he was not in 
the secrets of the politicians, and that his action 
had no serious influence upon the course of events. 
But the incident serves to remind us that his Gascon 
turgidity concealed a relative moderation, a quick 
discernment, and a sanity of judgment which raised 
him above his colleagues, and prompts so serious a 
writer as Albert Sorel to ask the question, " Etait-ce 
instinct de roi latent ? "" 

" Sorel, v. 213. 


Bernadotte's Mission to Paris on the Eve 
of the Coup d'Etat of Fructidor 

july-august, i 797 

" I now send you, by General Bernadotte, the other banners 
which had been left by mistake at Peschiera. That excellent 
general, who has made his reputation on the banks of the 
Rhine, is to-day one of the officers who are most necessary to 
the glory of the army of Italy. . . . On every occasion they 
(Bernadotte and his division) have overthrown whatever was 
opposed to them. At the passage of Tagliamento and at the 
capture of Gradisca they have shown that courage and that 
zeal for military glory which distinguish the armies of the 
Republic. You see in General Bernadotte one of the fore- 
most friends of the Republic, incapable alike by his principles 
and by his character of sacrificing the cause of liberty or the 
obligations of honour." — Bonaparte's letter to the Directory, 
gth August 1797. 

The incident, described in. the preceding chapter, took 
place in the middle of July ; and before the end of 
that month, Bonaparte sent Bernadotte to Paris for 
the ostensible purpose of carrying to the Directory 
some flags, which had been taken in the previous year 
at the battle of Rivoli, and had not been yet trans- 
mitted to the Government . 

As the scene of action now shifts to Paris, let us 
note the course of events which, in the capital, were 
rapidly nearing a catastrophe. 

We have seen, in the preceding chapters, that 
the Triumvirs — -Ban-as, Rewbell, and Larevelliere- 
Ldpeaux, who formed the majority of the five directors, 
were faced by a hostile Legislature, headed by General 
Pichegru, the president of the Council of 500. How 
were the Triumvirs to preserve power ? Nay, more, 

244 AUGEREAU'S MISSION [chap, xlii 

how were they to save their necks ? Before the end of 
June they had made up their minds that there was no 
way out of the impasse, save a military coup d'itat. 
Their resolve had been confirmed, and their hands 
had been strengthened, by obtaining the evidence of 
General Pichegru's treachery , which was found among 
Comte d'Antraigues' papers, and by the receipt of 
the addresses from the army of Italy. 

At first, they were disposed to look to General 
Hoche. But this plan miscarried, and Hoche re- 
tired to Germany, to end his life in a few weeks. 
Hoche 's name is familiar to us on account of his 
abortive expedition to Ireland ; but his life would 
repay close study. His rapid rise in the army, his 
imprisonment under the Terror, his pacification of 
La Vendee, his gallant and striking personality, and 
his early and mysterious death, render his career 
an interesting and pathetic one. 

Hoche having failed them, they tried Massdna, 
who shrank from civil strife, and declined the task. 
Then they turned to Bonaparte, and invited him to 
send them the General best suited for the purpose. 
Accordingly, before the end of July, Bonaparte 
despatched General Augereau to Paris, ostensibly 
to permit him to attend to his private affairs," but 
really to place him at the disposal of the Triumvirs 
for the purpose of the projected coup d'etat. 

Bonaparte had already (nth July) sent to Paris 
his aide-de-camp Lavalette, a man of moderate 
views, who was in touch with Carnot and the 
reactionary party/ Augereau and Lavalette were 
both in correspondence with Bonaparte. Augereau 

" Corr. de N. Hi., 2043. 

* Corr. de N. xxix., 305 ; Barante, ii. 333, 339; JBourrienne, 
i. 236. 

july 1797] LAVALETTE'S MISSION 245 

objected to Lavalette's presence, and Lavalette 
imagined that Bonaparte had sent Augereau merely 
to get rid of him. In this way, Bonaparte had agents 
in both camps, and was prepared to take advantage 
of whatever turn circumstances might take. He now 
sent a third emissary of a different type. 

Various theories have been put forward as to 
Bonaparte's exact reasons for sending Bernadotte 
to Paris at this moment ." Was it as another counter- 
poise to Augereau ? Bernadotte was more moderate 
than Augereau, but more pronounced in his Re- 
publicanism than Lavalette. Bonaparte was not 
above taking care to be represented in every camp. 
Was it as a substitute for Augereau, in the event of that 
general becoming impossible ? We shall find that 
the Government would have employed Bernadotte as 
a substitute, if the wary Gascon had been willing. Was 
it to get rid of an independent subordinate from the 
army of Italy ? Was it to compromise him in the 
approaching coup d'etat ? These and other reasons 
have been suggested ; and perhaps they all found a 
place in Bonaparte's mysterious mind. On one point 
everyone is agreed : the sending of a remnant of 
flags was not the real occasion of his mission . a 

The opportunity of visiting the capital was 
agreeable to Bernadotte himself. That he had for 
some time been anxious to pay a visit to Paris we know 
from several sources. After the peace of Leoben he 
had requested leave for that purpose, but the 
general-in-chief had on 18th May written in reply 
that it was impossible at that time/ He had also 
confided the same wish to the members of his 

" Jung, iii. 205 ; Lafosse, i. 139, 140; Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 117; 
Segur, i. 334; Pingaud, 14. 
b Con. de N. iii., 1808. 

246 BERNADOTTE'S MISSION [chap, xlii 

staff. There was nothing unreasonable in such a 
desire. In April, after the peace of Leoben, Massena 
had carried to the Government the preliminary articles 
of peace . On 3rd J une , General Serrurier had been the 
bearer of banners to be presented to the Directory. 
Augereau was now paying his second official visit to 
the capital. Joubert and other generals had all been 
sent in the same way." Accordingly, if Bernadotte 
wished to go to Paris, it was his turn to do so. 

The following extract from a letter written to the 
chief of his staff shows that Bernadotte started in a 
frame of mind, friendly and grateful to Bonaparte, 
who had done all in his power to ensure for Bernadotte 
a distinguished welcome : — 

" Milan, gth Thermidor, $th Republican Year 
(10th August 1797). 

" I shall start in two hours for Paris. The com- 
mander-in-chief behaved very well to me. He has 
ordered me to carry five stands of colours to Paris, 
and has paid me the expenses of my journey. _ ... 

" I recommend thee to take care of the division, 
and to look well after its subsistence . The commander- 
in-chief has promised to come to our help. I re- 
mitted to him the letter of the Central Government 
of Udine. He has assured me that he will do all he 
possibly can to diminish the charges of that country. 
The circumstances are such that the troops must live 
on the countries they occupy ; nevertheless, the com- 
mander-in-chief is determined to do all he can in 
favour of Friuli. Inform the President of this. . . . 

' ' The commander-in-chief has given orders that the 
hospitals may be more carefully attended to ; he has 
created three general inspectors for that purpose. . . . 

" J. Bernadotte." b 

" Corr. de N. iii., April-July 1797. 
*.Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 116, 117. 

aug. 1797] NO RIFT AS YET 247 

This letter illustrates the attention which Berna- 
dotte always paid to the protection of conquered 
countries, the subsistence of his troops, and the 
details of military and local administration. It also 
seems to indicate that although, as we know, he had 
begun to suspect Bonaparte's ambition, and Bona- 
parte had begun to dislike his independence, the two 
men were from different motives in political sympathy 
at this particular time, and that no breach had yet 

The following was the letter in which Bonaparte 
announced Bernadotte's mission to the Directory :— 

" Milan, 22nd Thermidor, Year V. 

(gtk August 1797). 

" I announced to you after the battle of Rivoli 
the capture of twenty-one banners, and I sent you 
fifteen or sixteen. I now send you by General Berna- 
dotte the others, which had been left by mistake at 
Peschiera. That excellent general, who has made 
his reputation on the banks of the Rhine, is to-day 
one of the officers who are most necessary to the 
glory of the army of Italy. He commands the three 
divisions which are on the frontiers of Austria, and I 
beg of you to be so good as to send him back as soon 
as possible to the army of Italy. I cannot allow the 
opportunity to pass of expressing the tribute of praise 
which I owe to the services of his brave division, and 
of the troops which came from the Rhine and the 
Sambre and Meuse to the army of Italy. On every 
occasion they have overthrown whatever was opposed 
to them. At the passage of the Tagliamento and 
at the capture of Gradisca they have shown that 
courage and that zeal for military glory which dis- 
tinguish the armies of the Republic. You see in 
General Bernadotte one of the foremost friends of the 
Republic, incapable alike by his principles and by his 
character of sacrificing the cause of liberty or the 
obligations of honour."" 

" Corr. de N. iii., 2083. 


Bernadotte left Udine on 30th July and proceeded 
to Milan, where he spent a few days with General 
Bonaparte, who seems to have taken pains to show 
him every mark of favour and consideration, and to 
send him to Paris in a grateful and friendly mood 
towards himself. He gave him the instructions, which 
commanders-in-chief usually give on such occasions 
— namely, to use all his efforts to get reinforcements. 
He was to ask General Kellermann, who was at Cham- 
bery, on the French side of the Alps, to send all the 
men he could spare, and he was to use all his influence 
with the Government in Paris to forward more troops 
without delay. Bernadotte was also instructed to 
keep his commander-in-chief fully informed of the 
situation of affairs in the provinces and at the capital. 

Bernadotte left Milan on 9th August. After 
crossing the Alps, he stayed with General Kellermann 
at Chambery, and during his journey he appears 
to have made careful inquiries and observations as 
to the state of public feeling in the provinces of 
France, which he afterwards embodied in a letter 
to Bonaparte. He was in Paris on or before the 20th 
of August . 

Bernadotte's Reception by the Directory 

AUGUST 21-30, 1797 

" Paris is a horrible place for a man of honour. I am already 
wearied to death of it. ... I salute you, and I love you as 
much as I esteem you." — Bernadotte to Bonaparte, 21st August 

"Equally famous on the banks of the Rhine and of the 
Tagliamento." — The President of the Directory to Bernadotte, 28th 
August 1797. 

In Paris Bernadotte found his old friend General 
Kleber, at whose house he met several of his former 
comrades. He was also admitted to the salon of 
Madame de Stael, where he made the acquaintance of 
Benjamin Constant, and the brilliant group known as 
" the constitutional circle," of which Madame de Stael 
was the high-priestess. It acted as a counterpoise to 
the " Clichian circle," which was the social organisation 
and rendezvous of the Royalist party." 

The following letter, written to Bonaparte on 21st 
August, probably reflects the political views of the 
salon of Madame de Stael and the military gossip, 
picked up at Kleber 's house. The friendly tone of 
the letter was sincere enough ; for we know from 
several sources that, wherever he went, he expressed 
admiration for his commander-in-chief, General Bona- 

" Paris, 4th of Frudidor, Year V. 
(21st August 1797). 
" To General Bonaparte. 

" On my journey to Paris I saw at Chambery 
General Kellermann. I gave him your message. . . . 

" Norvins, Histoire de France, 417. 

2 so A LETTER TO BONAPARTE [chap, xliii 

In the provinces I found the Republican spirit de- 
cidedly lukewarm. Since my former journey across 
France the counter-revolution had made way. The 
laws are feebly administered. The emigres are 
returning. The courts either acquit them, or abstain 
from proceeding against them. 

" I hear from several deputies that there is in 
the Council of 500 a party bent on re-establishing 
Royalty. There is another party meditating some 
active movement for the purpose of counteracting 
the Royalist faction. If they carry out their inten- 
tion, there will be a terrible commotion, and those at 
the head of the movement will not be able to control 
it. Between these two extremes there are men who 
fear anarchy as much as Royalism. These say little, 
and keep in the background, but they are waiting 
for the fitting moment to crush both anarchists and 
Royalists, by pitting them against each other. 
These men try to smooth matters, so as to gain time, 
in the hope that the Government may be able to con- 
solidate its strength and resources. The Council of 
500 are afraid of the directors, who have the upper 
hand of them. But, in order to maintain the upper 
hand, the directors must seize and create their 
opportunities, and, by their attitude, overawe those 
members of the Council of 500, who are working 
with unparalleled audacity for the re-establishment 
of the throne. 

" The hopes of these gentry are fixed on Pichegru. 
They flatter, cajole, pamper, and fool him ; but, as 
a matter of fact, I believe that those, who put 
him forward, know well that he is a very ordinary 
man. Pichegru has the baseness to abandon the 
cause of the Republicans. He places men before 
principles. Efforts have been made to reclaim him, but 
they were in vain. When pressed to explain himself, 
he has given foolish and illogical answers, with the 
tone of a man swollen with pride, who has brought 
himself to think that his name is worth an army. 
Poor man, how weak he is ! The ice is broken. His 
true character is known. His old friends desert him. 
Every day he is losing his colossal reputation. I 
saw him at Kleber's, with several generals of the 
army of the North. I hardly spoke to him. I have 
no doubt he was well aware of the opinion, which I 


have expressed about him. We showed the utmost 
reserve towards each other. 

" Three generals are mentioned for the command 
of the guard of the Council of 500 — Kleber, Desaix, 
and Serrurier. Everybody agrees that such a com- 
mand would be a poor compliment to any of these 
three generals. . . . Kleber will not accept such a 
post. A philosophic Republican, he laughs at the 
weakness of one party and at the strength of the 
other. But if the occasion arises, Kleber will make 
his choice between the two parties, and will range 
himself on the side of the tricolour. He wishes to 
see the scenes of our glory. I will take him with me, 
and he will be enchanted to know the man, whose 
exploits on the battlefield, and still more in the sphere 
of government, he has so often admired. 

" Paris is a horrible place for a man of honour. 
I am already wearied to death of it, and I shall soon 
leave it. I shall do my best to send you cavalry, 
and, if it is possible, the division of General Richepanse. 
Carnot is convinced that, if there is a renewal of war, 
you must have reinforcements. I shall speak about 
it to-morrow to Barras and to Rewbell. 

" I salute you, and love you as I esteem you. a 

" Bernadotte." 

The sending of Bernadotte to Paris, at this parti- 
cular moment, seems to have puzzled and perplexed 
General Augereau, who had been appointed governor, 
and commander-in-chief of the garrison, of Paris, 
and was expecting orders to execute the contemplated 
coup d'etat. He was heard to express the opinion 
that Bernadotte's presence in Paris was unnecessary, 
and that the commander-in-chief ought to have known 
that the only possible saviours of the State were 
" Bonaparte in Italy and Augereau at Paris." b On the 
24th August he wrote to Bonaparte, a letter in 
which the following passage occurs : " General 
Bernadotte arrived here three days ago, and has 
been received with demonstrations of surprise 
" Corr. ined. de N. vi., 1 14-1 17 ; Sorel, v. 220. * Bourr. i. 246. 

252 RECEIVED BY DIRECTORY [chap, xliii 

and fear. Meanwhile, he has seen Pichegru, Kleber, 
and the Minister of War. He seems anxious to 
return soon. I do not know the motives which 
have brought him to Paris, or whether he will remain 
long. The patriots see him with pleasure. I am 
glad to believe that he has justified by his conduct the 
good opinion they have formed of him." 

On the 23rd August Bernadotte dined with General 
Scherer, the Minister of War. Thibaudeau, who was 
present, says that Bernadotte joined with Kleber in 
denouncing the reactionary majority in the Council of 
500 for their hostility to the army ; and that he criti- 
cised the addresses of the other generals of the army of 
Italy, and plumed himself upon the independence and 
moderation of his own address , a 

On the 27th August Bernadotte was received in 
solemn audience by the directors, and formally 
presented to them the banners from the army of 
Italy, of which he was the bearer. It was his duty 
to accompany the presentation of the banners by a 
speech, and, in discharging this function, he showed 
considerable adroitness. The address, which he 
delivered, advocated peace ; carefully avoided any 
direct allusion to the political crisis of the moment ; 
and referred, in rather vague terms, to the external 
rather than the internal enemies of the Republic. 
Barras, who as one of the directors was present on 
the occasion, says that " Bernadotte presented the 
banners with the modesty and unassuming bearing 
ever characteristic of him throughout life."* He 
tempered the modesty of his personal bearing by 
plenty of Gascon bravado ; and made up for the com- 
parative moderation of his language by his declama- 
tory tones, his fiery glances, and his dramatic gestures/ 
" Dry, ii. 343 ; Sorel, v. 220. * Barras, iii. 6. c Barante, ii. 370. 

aug. 1797] BERNADOTTE'S SPEECH 253 

In this way he appears to have succeeded in pleasing 
almost everybody. 

The following is a sample of the address which 
Bernadotte delivered on this occasion : — 

" Supreme Depositaries of the Laws, rest assured 
of the respect and constitutional obedience of the 
soldiers of the country, and continue to excite the 
admiration of Europe. Suppress the factions and 
the factious. Complete the great work of Peace. 
Humanity appeals to you that the torrents of blood 
may cease to flow. But if, counting on our internal 
divisions, and still more on their understanding with 
the deserters from the cause of liberty, if, I say, our 
enemies form exaggerated demands, we shall take 
up our arms again, and march to battle with all the 
dread panoply of war, putting our trust in the justice 
of our cause, and preceded by the auguries of victory."" 

The President of the Directory, Larevelliere- 
Lepeaux, in his reply, seized the opportunity of 
indulging in a violent manifesto against the Royalist 
party, which was couched in such menacing terms as to 
be generally regarded as a prelude to some act of 
violence. Larevelliere - Lepeaux boasted that his 
utterances on this occasion " avaient rompula glace." b 
We need not rescue them from a well-deserved oblivion, 
except to quote the concluding observations of the Pre- 
sident, which were personal to Bernadotte himself : — 

" Such, brave general, are the sentiments which 
animate the Executive Directory. . . . How agreeable 
it is for the directors to have, as interpreter between 
them and the defenders of the country, one of those 
illustrious generals who has so often led them to 
victory, one whose name is equally famous on the 
banks of the Rhine and of the Tagliamento ! How 
pleasing it is for me to be the mouthpiece of my 
colleagues, for the purpose of expressing their gratitude 
to your intrepid comrades and to you, and to be able 
to press to my heart the brave General Bernadotte.'" 1 

" Moniteur, 30th August 1797. ", L6peaux, ii. 126. 


Barras has given an account of this ceremony. 
Deeply involved as he was in the impending coup 
d'etat, he regarded Bernadotte's attitude as timid 
and irresolute, and he takes pleasure in describing 
the annoyance of the Gascon general, when the 
President at the close of his violent manifesto accorded 
him an affectionate embrace. The other Triumvirs, 
Rewbell and Barras, then proceeded to invite him to 
dinner in a manner which seemed publicly to mark 
him as their friend. Barras adds: "Rewbell and I 
enjoyed a laugh at seeing how impossible it was for 
him to decline our invitations."" 

On the other hand, Bernadotte's moderation seems 
to have been appreciated in more quarters than one. 
Evidence of the appreciation is to be found in the 
French Revolution tracts, which are preserved in 
the British Museum. One of these tracts, dated the 
31st August, four days after the ceremony, and 
written from the point of view of the constitutional 
group, which repudiated Royalism but was op- 
posed to the tyrannical policy of the Revolutionary 
Government, condemned the violent speech of the 
President of the Directory, describing it as an incite- 
ment to civil war, but praised Bernadotte's address 
in the following terms : — 

" We must add that the spirit which dictated the 
discourse of the President . . . was entirely absent 
from that of General Bernadotte. That general showed 
himself worthy of the reputation which he enjoys. He 
has dared to risk dismissal, because he has expressed 
his preference for peace at home and abroad, and has 
actually gone so far as to say that he only promises a 
constitutional obedience." b 

It appears from the following passage in the Clef 
du Cabinet of 30th August that this ceremony was the 
" Barras,iii.6. b Fr. Rev.Tracts, Brit. Mus., 117 (i8Fruct. An. V.). 

aug. 1797] BERNADOTTE— AUGEREAU 255 

occasion of a rapprochement between Bernadotte and 
Augereau : — 

" At the public sitting of the Directory we saw 
Generals Bernadotte and Augereau show, by the 
demonstrations of mutual cordiality, that the re- 
ports which have appeared in the newspapers are 
false. The reception, which they gave each other 
on this occasion, is an example of the unity which 
prevails among all the brave defenders of our country, 
and testifies to the community of sentiment which 
animates them for the defence of liberty."" 

Augereau, in a letter to Bonaparte of 28th August, 
refers to Bernadotte 's speech and says that it was full 
of energy, "and that it evoked frequent applause in 
the hall."' 5 He had perhaps realised that there was 
no danger of Bernadotte's ousting him from the prin- 
cipal role in the approaching coup d'etat. Bernadotte 
had no ambition for that role. Barante, the historian 
of the Directory, in drawing a comparison between 
Augereau and Bernadotte, remarks that Bernadotte 
" avait plus de lumieres, plus d'esprit de conduite, un 
caractere plus eleve."" 

" La Clef du Cabinet, 30th August 1797. 
4 Cory. ined. de N. iv., 123. 
c Barante, ii. 341. 


The Coup d'Etat of the i8th Fructidor 
september 4, i 797 

" Farewell, my General. Enjoy the delights of life. Do not 
poison your existence with melancholy thoughts. The eyes 
of the Republicans are turned towards you. They press your 
image to their hearts. Royalists look at it with respect and 
awe. My friendship for you is unchangeable." — From Bernadotte 
to Bonaparte, 1st September 1797. 

The Triumvirs did not take Bernadotte into the secret 
of the contemplated revolution ; but they consulted a 
few trusty sympathisers, including Fouche, who was at 
this time beginning to make his influence felt in public 
affairs. In the consultations, which ensued, there 
was a division of opinion. It was obvious that a trial 
according to due process of law was the just and 
proper way of dealing with a conspiracy, if con- 
spiracy there was ; and this course was advocated 
by some of the consultants. But Fouche" met 
these scruples in a spirit of characteristic effrontery, 
by putting a question, which under the circumstances, 
was unanswerable. " Where," he said, " are you to 
find proofs or judges ? The accused will soon become 
the accusers. Public opinion is in too bad a state 
to admit of such a perilous undertaking."" This 
view prevailed, and it was resolved that the only 
way of saving the directorial constitution was to 
violate it. The coup d'etat of the 18th Fructidor 
has never been defended upon any other than these 
cynical grounds. 

Although Bernadotte was not in the secret of the 
Triumvirs, the following letter shows that he knew that 

" Fouche, par Madelin, i., 211. 

sept. 1797] "A YOUNG COLT" 257 

some strong action might be imminent. No navigator 
of the political waters, however inexperienced, could 
fail to realise that the rapids were near. 

" Paris, i$th Fructidor, Year V. 
{1st September 1797). 
" To the Commander-in-Chief. 

" The Directory has received me at a public 
audience. The speeches which were delivered have 
reanimated the Republicans. I send you a report 
of them, although I dare say you have already received 

" The Royalist party has changed its tactics. 
It no longer dares to tilt against the Directory. Yet, 
in my opinion, it should be pursued and denounced, 
in order that the patriots may be able to direct public 
opinion on wise and prudent lines, and thus to 
ensure the results of the coming elections. But, 
in order to succeed in that task, wisdom and prudence 
are necessary. Any violent and ill-directed movement 
must necessarily be fatal to liberty, because the 
abuses of power always increase, when the will of 
individuals is substituted for the law of the land. 
We are in danger of being obliged to invest the 
Depositaries of the Law with a consular power, and 
to declare the temporary suspension of the two other 
authorities of the State. I sincerely desire that 
these troubles may be composed to the advantage of 
my country and to the satisfaction of the Republicans. 
At present the Republic seems like a young colt, 
which prances and bounds after having been kept too 
long in the stable. I can plainly see that the ad- 
dresses from the army have reawakened the patriotism 
of certain timorous and faint-hearted men. Nay, 
more, that clear and formal pronouncement of 
opinion has terrified the partisans of Royalty, 
who believed that they could quietly bring about a 
counter-revolution and load us all with chains. I 
cannot help laughing at the folly of these men. 
They must indeed know little of the commanders of 
our armies, and of the armies themselves, if they hope 
to muzzle them so easily, and if they believe that we 
can be led away by orators more or less learned or 
more or less venal. These deputies, who speak with 

258 "COULD ENSLAVE EUROPE" [chap.xliv 

such impertinence, are far from dreaming that we 
could enslave Europe, if you wished to form the 

" Although it is rumoured here that you have 
concluded a peace with the Emperor, I shall leave 
between the 20th and 25th Fructidor (6th and nth 
September), in order to rejoin you. This home of 
intrigue is altogether repugnant to the character 
of a soldier, whose sole aim is the prosperity of 
his country, and is not to my taste. Farewell, 
my General. Enjoy the delights of life. Do not 
poison your existence ' with melancholy thoughts. 
The eyes of the Republicans are turned towards you. 
They press your image to their hearts. Royalists 
look at it with respect and awe. My friendship 
or you is unchangeable. Bernadotte. 

" P.S. — In spite of the efforts of Pichegru and Co., 
the National Guard is not being organised. That 
hope of the Clichians falls to the ground. I send 
you a precis of the life of Pichegru. Before my 
departure I shall do my best about the reinforcements 
to be sent to you to Italy." a 

This letter from Bernadotte to Bonaparte, written 
on the 1 st September, five days after his reception 
by the Directory, and three days before the coup 
d'etat, reflects the writer's outlook at this crisis. It 
is the crude feverish effusion of a Gascon soldier of 
the Republic passing through his first political ex- 
perience. He is still animated by feelings of friend- 
ship and gratitude towards his commander-in-chief, 
and it is curious to find him vaguely forecasting a 
consular regime, and the conquest of Europe by 
Napoleon. It is clear that he would favour a military 
intervention, if necessary, in order to avert a return 
to the old regime, from which he feared the worst for 
himself and for his country. But his natural caution 
and moderation held him back from advising or parti- 

a Cow. tried, de N. vi., 133, 134. 


sept. 1 797] THE 18TH FRUCTIDOR 259 

cipating in any civil violence. It appears that Barras 
desired Bernadotte's co-operation, and sounded him 
upon the subject. He thus describes the inci- 
dent : "I had thought of associating with Aug- 
ereau General Bernadotte, whom Bonaparte had 
sent to Paris with that object in view ; but, having 
sounded Bernadotte several times during his repeated 
visits to me, I had been unable to obtain anything 
from him except vain protestations of a boundless 
devotion that would stop at nothing." a Accordingly, 
Barras determined to entrust the critical enterprise 
to Augereau alone. 

On the night of 3rd September, 12,000 troops, 
under General Augereau, with forty pieces of cannon, 
occupied all the avenues to the Tuileries. The guard 
of the Legislative Councils quickly fraternised with 
Augereau 's soldiers, and the Tuileries were seized 
on the 1 8th Fructidor (4th September) without a 
struggle, and without the shedding of a drop of blood. 
Augereau proceeded to arrest General Pichegru and 
many other members of the two councils. Barthe- 
lemy, one of the two dissentient directors, was also 
arrested. His colleague, Carnot, escaped, or was 
allowed to escape, in the nick of time by a back door/ 
Then followed what was the usual sequel of a revolu- 
tionary journee — 3. cruel proscription of the van- 
quished party. Barthelemy, Pichegru, and some 
fifty other members of the Legislative Councils were 
condemned to transportation, and were conveyed in 
iron cages across France to the port of embarkation . 
It was at first intended to send them to Madagascar, 
but the Government ultimately resolved that Guiana 
should be their place of detention/ Carnot, in his 
published apologia, suggested that the reason of this 
* Barras, iii. 16; (E.) iii. 20. * Carnot, par Tissot, 264, 265. 

260 AFTER FRUCTIDOR [chap, xliv 

change of destination was that the Government 
ascertained that " the inhabitants of Madagascar no 
longer devoured men."" It may be inferred, at all 
events, that the motive was not a merciful one. 
Such was the revolution of the 18th Fructidor. The 
Triumvirs, by this violent and unconstitutional act, 
forcibly overthrew the majority of the representa- 
tives of the people. While they secured a fresh lease 
of power, they provided a precedent for a series of 
coups d'etat, the last of which was to accomplish their 
own overthrow at the hands of General Bonaparte. 

The persons mainly responsible for this violation 
of the Constitution were Barras and Bonaparte, with 
Auger eau as their instrument. The following corre- 
spondence between Bonaparte and Augereau makes 
their complicity very clear . On the evening of the fateful 
day, Augereau wrote to Bonaparte : " At last, my 
General, my mission is accomplished, and to-night the 
promises of the army of Italy are fulfilled." h On 23rd 
September Bonaparte replied in the following terms : 
' ' The whole army has applauded the wisdom and energy, 
which you have displayed on this most important 
occasion. . . ." c 

Although Bernadotte had refused Barras' invita- 
tion to take part in the coup d'etat, he endorsed it with 
his approval, when it had become an accomplished 
fact. On the following day, he wrote : — 

" I should certainly have acted if the cause of 
the Republic had been compromised. But, as there 
was never for an instant any ground for fearing such a 
calamity, I did not think it my duty to mix up another 
sword in an enterprise which was already too military 
in its character."' 1 ' 

" Carnot's Reply, 102. * Bourrienne, i. 249. 

' Bourrienne, i. 265, 266; Corr. de N. iii., 2254. 
rf Dry, ii. 365. 








O 1 


























sept. 1797] "LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC" 261 

On the same day, 5th September, he wrote the 
following letter to the chief of his staff : — 

" I write in haste to inform you that a new Royal 
conspiracy was on the eve of breaking out, but has 
been forestalled by the foresight of the Directory, 
who were on the point of being overthrown . Pichegru 
and others are arrested. The grenadiers of the 
legislative body have fraternised with the troops. . . . 
The Republicans have triumphed. Not a drop of 
blood has been spilt ; consequently, no tears have 
been shed. Guilt sheds none, but it shall be punished. 
Everything goes on wonderfully well. The Councils 
have assembled ; meanwhile the Directory, in un- 
veiling the conspiracy, has proclaimed the penalty of 
death against whosoever should exclaim, ' Long live 
the King,' or ' the Constitution of '93.' This proves 
the wisdom and the justice of the measures taken. 
All the people cry, ' Long live the Republic,' and so 
do I. — Your friend," Bernadotte." 

On the 10th September he wrote to Bonaparte : — 

" Paris, 24th. Fructidor, Year V. 
" I wrote you very briefly on the 18th Fructidor, 
because I thought that the Directory, General 
Augereau, and your aide-de-camp Lavalette would 
inform you fully of the results of that day. In the 
meantime, the arrested deputies have left for Roche- 
fort, whence they are to embark for the island of 
Madagascar. Paris is quiet. The people, in the 
first instance, learnt of the arrest of the deputies with 
indifference. A spirit of curiosity soon caused them 
to flock into the streets. Thereupon followed a burst 
of enthusiasm, and for the first time in many days the 
air was rent with cries of ' Long live the Republic ! ' 
in all the thoroughfares. . . . The Government 
has now the opportunity of reanimating the public 
spirit, but everybody feels that it must surround itself 
with honest and energetic Republicans. Unfortu- 
nately, a crowd of men without talents or usefulness 
already believe that the movement was made for 
their benefit alone. They haunt the avenues of the 
directorial palace, and carry on the most shocking 

" Sarrazin, Guerres civiles, 403 ; Phil. ii. 118. 


intrigues with the purpose of getting places. . . . The 
time is opportune for putting everything in order. 
The armies have recovered their position. Les 
militaires de Vinterieur sont consideres ou du moins 
craints. . . . Never was a better opportunity for 
consolidating the Republic. If the opportunity 
is not seized, we are threatened with the danger of 
being forced to make a new movement before the 
next elections. The legislative body has conferred 
full powers on the Directory. Some people think 
it would be better to adjourn the sittings of the 
council for a specified time, and to leave the Directory 
the duty of guiding the Constitution for a certain 
period, but there is much difference of opinion on this 
point. Nevertheless, the Directory and the legis- 
lative body are now united. No doubt there remains 
in the two Councils a party, which is not loyal to the 
Republic, and which will do all in its power to destroy 
us, as soon as the effects of the recent events have 
passed away. The Government knows this very well, 
and will, in all probability, take measures to avoid it, 
and to protect the patriots from a new persecution. 
I saw Barras this evening. I have also had a con- 
versation with the Minister of War. They are going 
to send you 3000 unmounted cavalry from the army 
of Rhine and Moselle, with one or two regiments of 
chasseurs. I am doing my best to get four regiments, 
but I find much opposition, and I see little chance of 
success. I shall leave this in four days at the latest, 
and shall visit on my way the army of Sambre and 
Meuse on the Upper Rhine."" 

It will be seen from this letter that Bernadotte 
was on the point of leaving Paris for Italy, but his 
departure was postponed from day to day, and he 
remained in the capital for three weeks. 

Bourrienne tells us that Bonaparte was intoxicated 
with j oy when he heard of the success of the coup d'etat of 
the 1 8th Fructidor .* Nobody benefited by it more imme- 
diately and more lastingly than he did . It strengthened 
his hands in his negotiations with Austria, because the 

" Corr. inid. de N. vi., 147, 149. * Bourrienne, i. 264. 


Government was no longer embarrassed by a hostile 
majority in the Councils. It foiled the party which, by 
advocating peace with Europe and a return to the old 
frontiers of France, threatened to block his career, and to 
sacrifice the fruits of his victories. It paved the way 
for the coup d'etat which he was resolved to carry out 
sooner or later on his own behalf. It was a precedent, 
which he only awaited the opportunity of following. 
While it defeated Pichegru's Royalist plot, it only did 
so in order to keep the throne vacant for Bonaparte. 

Nobody comes gloriously out of the coup d'etat 
of the 1 8th Fructidor ; and Bernadotte is no exception. 
He was an enthusiast for the maintenance of the exist- 
ing regime, which was the object and purpose of its 
organisers. His habit of discipline and order, his 
respect for civil authority, and his Bearnais caution 
held him aloof from civil violence, and made him the 
advocate of moderate courses and of constitutional 
remedies." But when civil violence had received con- 
stitutional confirmation, his scruples were quickly 
satisfied ; he readily accepted the view that a con- 
spiracy against the State had been forestalled ; and 
he was not slow to rejoice in the results of the coup 
d'etat, or reluctant to enjoy its fruits. Bourrienne says 
that Bernadotte " n'a pas joue un grand role dans 
cette affaire. II a toujours ete prudent."" 

It is interesting to note the manner in which Talley- 
rand justified his participation in this violent proceeding . 
Writing to Bonaparte on 6th September, he covered 
up the affair with a characteristic euphemism : " On 
est sorti un instant de la Constitution, on y est retire, 
j 'espere pour toujours." b Before the end of this volume, 
Talleyrand will be found aiding Bonaparte to balk 
the hope to which expression is given in this passage. 
" Bourrienne, i. 234. b Le Ministire de Talleyrand, 139. 


After Fructidor — Bernadotte refuses a Com- 

mand-in-Chief, and returns to Italy 

september 5-october 3 

" My honour, the voice of my conscience, and my desire to 
be useful to my country bid me refuse the offer. Do not insist 
on converting a good soldier into a bad chief." — Extract from 
Bernadotte' s letter to Barras, refusing the post of commander-in-chief 
in Southern departments, 2jth September 1797. 

Bernadotte remained in Paris for a month after 
the coup d'etat, and was the recipient of several 
marks of approval — both from the Government and 
the public. The directors, on the 9th September, sent 
to him, through the Minister of War, four valuable 
horses, two pistols of Versailles make, and a sword of 
honour ." On the same or the following day he received 
a deputation of veteran national volunteers, who came 
to express their pleasure at seeing him in Paris and 
their appreciation of his military achievements/ 

During the remainder of his stay in Paris, Berna- 
dotte was a frequent visitor at the Luxembourg Palace, 
where the directors resided ; and in Barras' memoirs 
we find a cynical description of these visits. In view 
of the fact that Bernadotte refused the directors' 
offer of a command-in-chief, Barras perhaps judges 
him a little harshly. 

" Bernadotte has daily tendered us his services, ex- 
cept on the day when we might have been likely to 
accept them. He never came near the Directorate on 
the 1 8th Fructidor, nor on the preceding or following 
days, but he reappears now that the triumph is assured; 

" Dry, ii. 345. * La Clef du Cabinet, 10th September 1797. 


sept.-oct. 1797] OFFER OF A COMMAND 265 

and, from all he declares to us, it seems that we 
should have greatly depended on him, and that 
we are even greatly in the wrong for not having sent 
for him. We are pleased to accept his protestations 
of devotion, and, without seeking to fathom the 
bluster characterising his utterances, we consider we 
are giving him a proof of our confidence by offering 
him the command of the departments of the South." " 

The Southern command included the 8th, 9th, 
10th, and 20th military divisions. The South was 
in a disturbed condition, and Marseilles was the 
centre of serious trouble. The Directory did more 
than offer this command to Bernadotte. Assuming 
that he would accept promotion to a command-in- 
chief, and without consulting him, they signed 
his appointment on 20th September/ As a conse- 
quence, his post at the army of Italy was filled up/ 
and had to be subsequently restored to him; he 
figures in reference books, including the National 
Almanac for the ensuing year, as commander-in-chief 
of the Southern division ; and several historical works 
represent him as having pacified the South. We find 
his appointment announced in a Paris journal of 26th 
September, and contradicted on 27th September/ 

In a letter, dated 27th September, Bernadotte gives 
his reasons for refusing the appointment. 

" To Citizen Barras, Member of the Executive 
" Citizen Director, — You have requested me to 
think over the command with which the Directory 
desire to entrust me. I have accordingly again 
searched my conscience (Je me suis de nouveau in- 
terroge), and have carefully considered the duties 
which it would involve, and the means necessary for 
fulfilment. However painful it may be to me to have 

" Barras, iii. 35, 36. b Dry, ii. 348. c Corr. de N. iii., 2282, 2296. 
d La Clef du Cabinet, 26th and 27th September 1797. 

266 HONOUR— CONSCIENCE [chap, xlv 

to acknowledge my inability to bear such a burden, 
I owe it to you to make a frank avowal, because 
I should be very much to blame, if I had the rash 
ambition to dare to accept an employment requiring 
profound knowledge, close study of human nature, 
and a character at once firm and conciliatory. My 
honour, the voice of my conscience (Mon honneur, le 
cri de mon conscience), and my desire to be useful to 
my country bid me refuse the offer. Do not insist 
on converting a good soldier into a bad chief. I beg 
you to accept and to convey the regrets, which accom- 
pany my refusal to the Directory, and I hope person- 
ally to have the honour of expressing my gratitude 
to them. — With compliments and respect, 

" Bernadotte. 

" P.S. — If it were necessary to subdue a faction I 
should consult nothing but my courage and my 
ardent Republicanism, but, at a time when the crisis 
is passed, I owe to the Government the result of a 
frank estimate of my capacities for such duties as are 
proposed to me."" 

It has been said of Bernadotte that " il aimait 
s'empanacher d'un beau sentiment." There is, how- 
ever, some consistency in the standards by which he 
claimed, in his rhetorical style, to be guided. Here 
we find him claiming to follow the dictates of " Mon 
honneur et le cri de mon conscience," to which, on 
receiving his commission as lieutenant, he promised 
his brother, in his letter of 4th March 1 791 , that 
he would always be obedient/ 

Barras attributes Bernadotte 's refusal of this com- 
mand to a timidity and a caution in civil affairs, which 
prevented him from mixing himself up in internal dis- 
orders, and to ambitious views which soared beyond 
the limits of a provincial command. Barras then 
proceeds : — 

" See App. Note (" c ). * See Chapter VII., page 48 supra. 

sept .-oct. 1797] A DREAM OF THE INDIES 267 

" So it is settled that Bernadotte is to return to 
Italy to resume command of his division and rejoin 
his brothers-in-arms, whom he says he longs for con- 
tinually, and from whom he cannot remain separated 
without shedding tears ; but, before starting for Italy, 
Bernadotte desires to have a few confidential conver- 
sations with me." 

Barras adds, in his cynical fashion : — 

" One who held high positions, and has seen 
ambitious men come to him, in order to prefer their 
requests, knows that their ordinary formula is to 
begin by saying that they have no ambition. Some- 
times they even submit distant projects, which they 
seek to represent as born of a disgust for grandeur 
and for the whole human race. And yet this 
assumed disgust consists in a desire to obtain a dis- 
tant command — in other words, to be the first 
somewhere, in consequence of the chagrin they feel 
at their inability to be first at home. So it was 
with Bernadotte, who, before leaving Paris to 
rejoin the army of Italy, suggests an expedition to 
India to us. Of course the scheme has doubtless no 
other object than the welfare of France, but also, of 
course, no one better than the author of the scheme 
can obtain this national benefit."" 

The command-in-chief of the two armies, which 
were stationed on the Rhine, became vacant in Sep- 
tember, owing to the sudden death of General Hoche ; 
and General Augereau received this command as the 
reward of his share in the recent coup d'etat. The 
following letter, written by General Kleber to the 
painter Guerin, who happened to be painting the 
portraits of Kleber and Lefebvre, affords evidence 
that Bernadotte was supposed by his friends to have 
had the refusal of this command : — 

" Vendemiaire, An VI. 
(Sept. 1797). 
" Bernadotte has been offered the command of 
the two armies on the Rhine ; he had the wisdom 

" Barras, iii. 37 ; (E.) iii. 48, 49. 

268 A DISQUIETING RUMOUR [chap, xlv 

and modesty to refuse. That burden has since been 
laid upon Augereau, who, not suspecting anything, 
has accepted it. Do not be anxious about me, my 
friend, I have in the Luxembourg an enemy who 
daily renders me the greatest service by keeping me 
out of all the commands, and you know, of course, 
that I shall not ask for any myself. That will not 
prevent my cabriolet from bringing to your house 
to-morrow, with gleaming swords, Lefebvre and your 

" Kleber. 
" To Citizen Jean Guerin, Quai Voltaire, etc." a 

On 27th September Bernadotte wrote to Bonaparte 
announcing his refusal of the Southern command, and 
protesting against a rumoured dispersion of his division 
of the army of Italy. He does not as yet believe 
the rumour ; but we shall find that this apparently 
trivial act of Bonaparte's contributed, more than 
anything else, to the widening of the breach between 
the two men. It has been thought that what 
Bernadotte objected to was the reduction of the 
numbers of his command, and the consequent 
lessening of his own importance. But this is a 
superficial view. He had just refused a command- 
in-chief which comprised four divisions. The reason 
given in the letter is more likely to be the true 
one. Bernadotte was attached to the troops, with 
whom he had fought in the Netherlands, on the 
Rhine, and in Italy. They were " his family," and 
the proposal to break them up wounded the senti- 
mental side of his Gascon nature. His letter to Bona- 
parte is as follows : — 

" Paris, 27th September. 

" I have been informed that there is a rumour 
that you intend to dissolve my division and to form 
a new one out of it. I cannot believe it, because you 

" Chuquet, Quatre g&neraux de la Revolution, 212, 213. 

sept .-oct. 1797] " MY MILITARY FAMILY" 269 

promised me the contrary before my departure from 
Milan. Besides, you know, my General, that my 
division is my military family and I am attached 
to it. I have refused the command of the 8th, 9th, 
and 10th, and 20th military divisions. I shall be 
with you in eleven days, that is to say, as soon as my 
letter.'" 1 

But Bernadotte again postponed his departure, 
and on 1st October he took part in the funeral of 
General Hoche, and with Generals Augereau, Hedou- 
ville, and Tilley acted as a pall-bearer on that occasion .* 
It was about the 3rd of October that he started to 
rejoin his division in Italy. Before he left the capital, 
the question of appointing him Minister of War had 
been seriously mooted, and had been laid aside on 
account of the reputation which he had acquired for 
moderation in civil affairs / At his farewell audience 
the directors gave him their parting instructions for 
General Bonaparte. These were to the effect that 
they wished him to recommence the war, to set up new 
governments in Northern Italy, and on no account to 
cede Venice to Austria. 

Corr. ined. de N. vii., 332. * Moniteur, October 1797. 

" Bourrienne, i. 246. 


Remarkable Conversation between Bonaparte 
and Bernadotte — The Peace of Campo Formio 

OCTOBER 3-17, 1797 

" Thanks to the good reinforcements which you brought to 
us from Germany, everything points to a treaty which will be 
glorious to France." — Madame Josephine Bonaparte to Berna- 
dotte, October 1797. 

For some reason or other Bonaparte seems to have be- 
come uneasy at the continuance of Bernadotte's stay 
in Paris. His A.D.C., Lavalette, says that he was dis- 
turbed by a rumour that the Directory contemplated 
making Bernadotte Minister of War." Perhaps this 
may account for his anxiety for the return of the 
Gascon general to the army of Italy. There is reason 
to believe that it was owing to Bonaparte's influence 
that the Directory offered Bernadotte the command at 
Marseilles. It would have been one thing to relegate 
Bernadotte to a provincial command in France ; it 
would have been a very different thing to have 
seen him installed as Minister of War. Evidence 
of Bonaparte's anxiety upon this subject is to be 
found in a letter of the 21st October from the 
President of the Directory to Bonaparte, in which 
occur the following words : " You complain of the 
absence of General Bernadotte. He must have 
already rejoined you and have communicated to you 
the true intentions of the Directory more clearly 
than any mere despatches can do." * Again, on 22nd 
October, Barras' secretary wrote to Bonaparte : — 

" Lavalette, 142. » Corr. ined. de N. iv., 246. 



" You are mistaken, Citizen General, in your 
estimate of the Directory. Perhaps the Govern- 
ment commits many faults, perhaps it does not 
always take such a correct view of affairs as you 
do. But with what Republican docility has it 
received your observations ? . . . You complain of 
Bernadotte ! He is already with you. . . ." a 

The writer of this note was not mistaken in suppos- 
ing that Bernadotte had already reached his post ; for 
he had arrived at Udine, the head-quarters of his 
division in Friuli, in the middle of October. Bona- 
parte had been in the vicinity at the Castle of 
Passariano, since the end of August, engaged in 
negotiations with the Austrian plenipotentiaries . On 
one occasion, during Bernadotte 's absence, Bonaparte 
had gone to Udine to pay a formal visit to Count 
Cobenzl, the Austrian plenipotentiary. Bernadotte's 
staff officer in Udine had escorted Bonaparte with 
two regiments of cavalry and with a hundred officers 
in grand uniforms ; and had lined all the streets with 
soldiers under arms. Bonaparte thanked the staff 
officer, who, wishing to promote good feeling between 
his general and Bonaparte, drew so far upon his ima- 
gination as to reply that he was merely fulfilling the 
intentions that General Bernadotte had expressed 
before his departure for Paris. 

On the day that Bernadotte returned to Udine, 
Bonaparte came from Passariano to see him, and 
thanked him for the arrangements which he had 
thoughtfully directed to be made for his reception 
during his absence. As Bernadotte had made no 
arrangements at all, he laughed and said that it was 
the first that he had heard of it, but that he was 
very glad that his officer had divined his wishes on 
the subject. The remark, and the laugh which 
" Bourrienne, i. 306, 307. 


accompanied it, displeased Bonaparte, and did not 
help to smooth matters between them." 1 

Bonaparte then questioned Bernadotte as to the 
views of the Directory, and as to their bearing on his 
pending negotiations with the Austrians. Berna- 
dotte informed him that the Directory's instructions 
were to find some excuse for recommencing the war ; 
but, when pressed for his own advice, he expressed 
a strong opinion in favour of peace. He pointed out 
that the directors, conscious of their own weakness, 
considered that the best means of preserving their 
existence was to keep the fate of the Republic in a state 
of peril and uncertainty, but that the Republic would 
gain by a peace, one of the conditions of which would 
be its recognition by the Austrian Empire. 

Bonaparte asked him what was thought of him- 
self, and Bernadotte replied with frankness : " The 
Directory is annoyed at the want of respect which 
you show them ; the army of Sambre and Meuse is 
opposed to you ; the army of the Rhine believes you 
to be the cause of Moreau's disgrace ; the Royalists 
know that the events of Fructidor have put a stop to 
their plans, and that one of the motives of that coup 
d'etat was the desire to save you from the charges 
which they wished to bring against you. The Re- 
publicans suspect you, and have become cool even 
about your fame. But, the people of Paris are 
enthusiastic about you ; the blood, that was shed on 
the 13th Vendemiaire, is washed away from the walls ; 
you are to-day the idol of that populace, who would 
willingly have seen you carried to the scaffold on 
the 13th of Vendemiaire. For your own sake I 
advise you to make peace. If you have reverses, 
you cannot count on protection or help in any 
" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 119, 120. 

oct. 1797] A STROLL IN THE GARDEN 273 

quarter, and nearly all parties would rejoice if you 
met with defeat.'" 1 Bernadotte further expressed 
the opinion, that war could not be renewed advantage- 
ously in the present disorganised state of the country, 
unless the Directory were invested with a dictatorship ; 
but he pointed out that, in that case, Bonaparte's 
position would be jeopardised. Whether victorious or 
defeated, he would become an object of suspicion in the 
eyes of a Government invested with dictatorial powers. 

Bonaparte invited Bernadotte to dinner at Passa- 
riano, requesting him to come early/' Bernadotte took 
the word " early" too literally, and, instead of taking 
care to arrive shortly before the five o'clock dinner 
hour, presented himself, with his staff officer, General 
Sarrazin, at three o'clock in the afternoon. Duroc, the 
aide-de-camp on duty, asked him to wait, as Bonaparte 
was engaged writing his letters for the post. Berna- 
dotte replied : " Tell the commander-in-chief that it 
does not suit General Bernadotte to wait in the 
anteroom. Even the Directory in Paris never sub- 
j ected him to such a mortification . ' ' Before Duroc had 
time to reply to this gasconade, Bonaparte made his 
appearance, and proposed a walk in the garden. He 
explained that, as soon as he had heard Bernadotte 's 
voice, he had come forward to assure him that he had 
no intention of standing upon ceremony with a general, 
whom he considered to be the right hand of his army. 
General Sarrazin adds that, while Bonaparte received 
Bernadotte " avec une douceur angelique," he bit his 
lip with anger and annoyance, and took an ample 
revenge in the course of the conversation which ensued ." 

Bernadotte replied that he came from a country 

" Lafosse, i. 144, 145 ; Sarrans, 20. 

* Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 121 ; ib. Guerre de la Restauration, Preface, 


274 A PREPRANDIAL DEBATE [chap, xlvi 

where men's confidence could only be gained by gentle 
means, and that Bonaparte had always treated him 
with such courtesy, that he could not help expressing 
surprise when Duroc told him to wait. Bonaparte 
and Bernadotte then sallied forth for a preprandial 
stroll in the garden of Passariano, accompanied by 
General Sarrazin, who has recorded the conversation, 
or rather the debate, to which he was a listener." 

In answer to a question from Bonaparte, Berna- 
dotte expressed admiration for Hoche, and spoke of 
the opinion entertained of him in Paris, where he was 
regarded as being in war what Mirabeau had been in 
politics. He took the opportunity of contrasting the 
honour paid to Hoche 's memory, with the compara- 
tive oblivion to which his own brave comrade 
Marceau had been relegated. Bonaparte, on the other 
hand, disparaged Hoche as a man lacking judgment and 
distinction ; and Marceau, as having been a mere van- 
guard leader, without any larger experience. 

The conversation then turned on Augereau, who 
had just been appointed commander-in-chief of the 
army of Sambre and Meuse . Bernadotte criticised the 
appointment, referring to Augereau's reputation for 
roughness and illiteracy, and adding that Kleber or 
Beurnonville ought, in his opinion, to have been selected 
for that command instead of Augereau. Bonaparte, 
who, as we know from other sources, strongly disap- 
proved of Augereau's appointment/ chose, upon this 
occasion, to take Augereau's part. He said that Auge- 
reau was not an " academician, a coxcomb, or a monk," 
but that such characters were little suited for a field of 
battle or a bivouac ; and he went on to depreciate 
Kleber for insubordination to the civil government, 

" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 121-131, 153-174. 

* Bonaparte et Hoche, 222 ; Lavalette, 142, 143. 

oct. 1797] OUT OF HIS DEPTH 275 

and Beurnonville as a carpet knight. Of the latter he 
said, " If I govern France, I think I shall employ him 
as an ambassador. He has the style and manner 
necessary for a drawing-room or a great dinner-party." 

Sarrazin describes Bonaparte as taking a malignant 
pleasure in tantalising Bernadotte. He discussed the 
merits of other generals, but studiously avoided any 
reference or compliment to Bernadotte himself. Of 
Massena he said that he was a good general of a van- 
guard, but required to be kept under direction ; of 
Joubert, that he had all the requisite talents for a 
command-in-chief ; of Serrurier, that he was a capable 
commander of a reserve ; of the Irishman, Kilmaine, 
that he was an excellent leader of heavy cavalry. 

The conversation then turned to a comparison 
between the wars on the Rhine and in Italy, and here, 
again, the two generals took opposite sides — Berna- 
dotte declaring that the victories in Italy had been 
unduly magnified, and Bonaparte attributing those on 
the Rhine to the mistakes of the Austrians. 

Bonaparte then proceeded to enumerate the 
qualities which ought to be united in a successful 
commander-in-chief, and to discuss the relative merits 
and achievements of Alexander, Csesar, Hannibal, and 
all the greatest captains of all ages. Every now and 
then he was malicious enough to ask Bernadotte 
questions, which he well knew the untutored Gascon 
was unable to answer. He enlarged upon the forma- 
tion of the Grecian phalanx, and upon the organisation 
of the Roman legion. Bernadotte, although an excel- 
lent practical soldier, was unacquainted with these 
subjects, and is described by the eye-witness as be- 
coming greatly agitated, and perspiring copiously. 

Both generals must have been relieved at the sound 
of that " tocsin of the soul," the dinner-bell. At 

276 HE EDUCATES HIMSELF [chap, xlvi 

dinner one of the guests was General Marfeldt, 
the Austrian plenipotentiary, and the conversation 
again turned upon military science. General Mar- 
feldt, who had contracted a friendship with Berna- 
dotte since their meeting at Leoben, and saw that his 
friend was out of his depth, turned the conversation 
to infantry manoeuvres. This gave Bernadotte his 
chance, and Bonaparte himself had to yield to him, 
when he got upon his own familiar ground . a 

It may be inferred that this dinner-party was not 
an unqualified success. After dinner, Bernadotte 
remarked to his staff officer that Bonaparte must 
have extraordinary aptitude for learning, to be so 
well-informed at his age ; and that, if he (Bernadotte) 
were not so old, he would not hesitate to give himself 
up to study. The staff officer replied that there 
was always time enough to learn, that Bernadotte was 
only thirty-five years of age, and that he would learn the 
theory of war all the more easily from his thorough 
knowledge of its practical side. 

A new era in Bernadotte 's life commenced from 
this moment. The man, who the day before would 
have yawned with ennui if by chance he had taken 
up a book, now began to pass days and nights in 
mastering all the best works on military and political 
history and science." In his leisure moments he would 
send for some of his officers, and would discuss with 
them the books which he was reading. We shall 
find, in his subsequent letters and pronouncements, 
evidence of these studies. Two years afterwards, his 
companion of the dinner-party at Passariano met him 
again, and was thunderstruck to hear him discoursing 
on history with Garat, on politics with Talleyrand, 
and on war with the ablest scientific experts ; and 
" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 174, 175. 


Bernadotte candidly admitted to him that all his 
studies, and all the knowledge, that he had acquired 
from them, were traceable to that evening in October 
1797, when he went to General Bonaparte too early 
for dinner, and made the discovery of the depth of his 
own ignorance. 

It was a mark of Napoleon's personality, that 
he had a singular power of stimulating his subordi- 
nates to improve themselves. A case in point was 
Marshal Lannes, of whom Napoleon truly said, 
" When I found him he was a pigmy, when I lost him 
he was a giant."" 

At the Castle of Passariano, Bernadotte made the 
acquaintance of Madame Bonaparte, under whose 
first husband, General Beauharnais, he had served on 
the Rhine in 1 793 . Josephine seized an opportunity 
of heartily concurring with Bernadotte 's wishes for 
the conclusion of peace. She added, in her gracious, 
caressing way, " Thanks to the good reinforcements 
which you brought to us from Germany, everything 
points to a treaty which will be glorious for France." b 

A few days after Bernadotte's return to the army, 
Bonaparte brought the negotiations for peace to a 
point ; and the Treaty of Campo Formio was concluded 
between Austria and the French Republic. Some 
writers have drawn the natural inference that Bona- 
parte, in precipitating the peace arrangements, was 
influenced by the information and advice which he 
had just received from Bernadotte. But Bonaparte's 
motives were probably so mixed as to defy analysis. 
Two of his household, who saw him every day, have 
recorded their opinions upon the subject. These 
were his secretary Bourrienne, and his aide-de-camp, 

" Las Cases, ii. 43. b Lafosse, 146, 147. 

278 WHAT A COUNTRY ! [chap, xlvi 

Bourrienne says that it was the early appearance 
of winter that precipitated the signing of the treaty. 
He relates that on the 13th October, at daybreak, 
after a superb summer evening, he saw the mountains 
covered with snow. He awakened Bonaparte, who 
leaped from his bed, ran to the window, and 
exclaimed : " What, snow before the middle of 
October ! What a country is this ! Well, we must 
make peace.'" 1 

Lavalette says that the prospect of seeing Berna- 
dotte Minister of War contributed to fix Bonaparte's 
plans. He writes: " Bernadotte had returned from 
Paris. The Directory had loaded him with praise ; 
the Ministry of the War had been promised him, and 
when the general-in-chief learned of the nomination of 
General Augereau to the command of the army on the 
Rhine, he felt that, with so weak a commander on 
the Rhine and so ambitious a Minister at Paris, it 
would be impossible for him to obtain glorious results, 
and he consequently resolved to make peace." b 
" Bourrienne, i. 309. * Lavalette, 142, 143. 


The First Serious Rift with Bonaparte 
october-november 1797 

" Your Bernadotte is a very weak person. I cannot do better 
than compare him to an old corporal, who complains lustily 
when a man is taken from his file. When you see him again, 
tell him my only answer is that I never dined out of the 
wooden bowl." — Bonaparte' s reply to Bernadotte's protest against 
the breaking-up of his division, November 1797. 

Bernadotte, upon his return to Udine, received a 
cordial welcome from the officers and troops of his 
division. In his absence his place had been taken by 
General Victor (afterwards Marshal of the Empire and 
Duke of Belluno). Victor had sometimes expressed 
to those about him the hope that, in the rumoured 
event of Bernadotte's promotion to a command-in- 
chief, he might himself succeed him. These remarks 
were received in dead silence, and it was observed by 
those, who were present, that no higher tribute 
could have been paid to Bernadotte than the attach- 
ment to him, which was exhibited by his subordinates, 
when he was far away and was not expected to return. 
Not a man was found to pay a compliment at his 
expense to his probable successor, or to disguise his 
regret at the prospect of losing their general." 

A funeral ceremony, in memory of General Hoche, 
was, by order of the Directory, celebrated at home and 
abroad by all the armies of the Republic, in October 
1797/ Thiebault, in his memoirs, tells us that, in all, 
save one, of the divisions of the army of Italy this 
memorial ceremony was managed with the worst pos- 
sible grace. He was a captain in General Massena's 
" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 118. h Corr. de N. hi., 2301. 


280 PAYS HONOUR TO HOCHE [chap.xlvii 

division, and was ordered to deliver an address, his 
only instructions being, " Be short." Nobody listened, 
or seemed to know or care what was going on. In his 
opinion, this exhibition of indifference was due to 
jealousy of the reputation of Hoche,who was regarded 
as having been a rival of Bonaparte. On this occasion 
Bernadotte and his division again singled themselves 
out from the rest of the army by a display of good 
manners and good feeling ; and it was noticed by others 
besides Thiebault that, so far as the army of Italy 
was concerned, Bernadotte 's division was the only 
one to pay fitting respect to Hoche's memory." 

Soon after this funeral fete, an event occurred, 
which caused the first open breach between Bona- 
parte and Bernadotte. On the 9th of November 
Bonaparte issued from Milan an order reorganising 
his army, detaching a number of generals for service 
in the army of England, and at the same time leaving 
sufficient troops for the occupation of Italy. One of 
these orders ran as follows : — 

" Head-Quarters, Milan, 
gtk November. 
" To the Chief of the Staff. 

" You will give orders to Generals Massena, Berna- 
dotte, Brune, Joubert, Victor, etc., to hold themselves 
in readiness to join the army of England." b 

The following order had the effect of breaking up 
Bernadotte's division : — 

" General Bernadotte will start from Udine on 
the 1st Brumaire (i.e. 21st November) with the 61st 
Regiment, the 30th Regiment, and the 88th Regiment, 
to take up his position at Treviso. He will leave 
his artillery, the 15th Regiment of Light Infantry, 
the 55th Regiment of the Line, and the 16th and 
19th Chasseurs, which will form part of the division 
of General Baraguay d'Hilliers." i 

" ThiSbault (E.), i. 329, 330. >' Con. de N., 2332, 2334. 

oct.-nov.i797] RIFT WITH BONAPARTE 281 

It has been mentioned, in a previous chapter," that 
Bernadotte wrote from Paris in September, calling 
attention to a rumour that his division, which he 
then referred to as his " military family," was to be 
broken up, protesting against that course, and 
reminding Bonaparte of his promise to the contrary. 
It appears that the breaking-up of his division annoyed 
Bernadotte to an almost incredible degree. There 
does not seem to be any ground for inferring that, in 
this re-shuffling of troops and commands, Bernadotte 
was specialty aimed at. The divisions of other generals 
were broken up in a similar way ; and no protest came 
from them. 

In forming a judgment upon this incident, it 
should be remembered that Bernadotte and his 
division had served together since June 1 794, in both 
Northern and Southern Europe ; under Jourdan and 
under Bonaparte ; in the army of Sambre and Meuse,, 
and in the army of Italy. They had been drawn more 
closely together by their quarrels with the soldiers of 
Massena and of Augereau . Their discipline, independ- 
ence, smartness, and esprit de corps had provoked 
comparisons and contrasts, which had served to inten- 
sify their pride in themselves and in their commander. 
It should also be remembered that Bernadotte had few 
other ties. For seventeen years he had led a wandering 
life in camps, garrisons, and battle-fields. All the 
enthusiasm and sympathy, which were part of his 
southern nature, were centred in the officers and men 
of his division. They were, in truth, his family. 

Bonaparte could not understand such sentiments. 

To him armies, divisions, regiments, and soldiers were 

so many counters in a great game of war, policy, 

and ambition. In conversation with one of Berna- 

" Chapter XLV., pages 268 269 supra. 

282 HIS "WOODEN BOWL" [chap, xlvii 

dotte's officers, he ridiculed that general's sensitiveness 
about his corps, treating it as the idiosyncrasy of an 
ex-ranker. He said : " Your Bernadotte is a very 
weak person. I cannot do better than compare him 
to an old corporal, who complains lustily when 
a man is taken from his file. When you see him 
again, tell him my only answer is that I never dined 
out of the wooden bowl.'" 1 This was, of course, a 
slang allusion to Bernadotte 's long service "in the 
ranks." The Executive Directory were equally 
incapable of appreciating Bernadotte's feelings, and 
regarded his complaints as the grumblings of a 
" peevish child." However, if he was a peevish child, 
he was sufficiently important to be worth humouring. 
The manner of Bernadotte's leave-taking ex- 
emplified his cordial relations both with his troops 
and with the people of Friuli. In the memoirs of 
Lahure, who was colonel of the 13th, one of the regi- 
ments which was now being taken from Bernadotte's 
command, we read the farewell letters written by 
Bernadotte to the colonel and to the men : — 

" Head-Quarters, Udine, 
1 7 th November 1797. 

" I send you, my dear Lahure, a letter for the 
troops forming your regiment. I beg that you will 
convey it to them, by putting it in the orders of your 

"In leaving you, my dear Lahure, accept the 
assurance of my sincere friendship, and believe that 
I shall do all in my power to have you reappointed 
to my division. If I cannot succeed, I shall make a 
strong appeal on your behalf to have you sent to the 
north of France, which I know is the place to which 
you are bound by your affections and associations. 

" Farewell, my dear Lahure. I embrace you 
with all my heart. Bernadotte."^ 

" Sarrazin, Confession of Bonaparte, App. 256. * Lahure, 129. 

nov. 1797] FAREWELL TO FRIULI 283 

" ijth November 1797 . 
" The General of Division, Bernadotte, to the 
Troops composing the 13TH Regiment. 

" I leave you with regret. I depart to join the 
army of England, and am deprived of the advantage 
of taking you with me. I leave you under the orders 
of General Baraguay d'Hilliers, a wise and prudent 

" Continue to maintain your reputation by that 
discipline, which I assure you was not too exacting. 
Be generous and good. Make the burdens of the 
inhabitants as light as possible. Always preserve 
the happy recollection of your conquests on the 
Rhine and of your triumphs in Italy. Lift your 
souls to lofty ideals. Remember that most of your 
generals have risen from your ranks. Keep unsullied 
the laurels which crown your heads. You can pre- 
serve your glory ; it would be difficult to increase it. 

" I have not lost the hope of having you with me 
again. The day, when you are once more under my 
command, will be one of the brightest and happiest 
of my life. Bernadotte."" 

The following address, which he received from the 
president, on behalf of the States, of Friuli, affords 
evidence of his success in the administration of that 
province. Throughout his career, he never failed to 
win the goodwill of the many countries and cities, the 
administration of which fell to him from time to time : — 

" The new sphere of glory which has been offered 
to you cannot console us for the prospect of losing 
you. May the genius of France accompany and 
guard you. We shall hear of your achievements 
with the pride, with which we have been inspired 
by the honour of having been confided to your Rule. 
It is among us and in our territory that, by your 
beneficent care for our prosperity, you have acquired 
a reputation, which is all the more precious, because 
it belongs to you alone. Your officers and soldiers 
cannot aspire to share it, as they can to share your 
military glory. The recollection of your conduct 
will remain for ever graven upon our hearts." b 

" Lahure, 129. h Lafosse, 154, 155. 


Bernadotte, after accepting two Commands-in- 
Chief, becomes Ambassador to Austria 

november 1797-january 1 798 

"Although I have grounds for complaint against you, I shall part 
from you without ceasing to have for your talents my greatest 
esteem." — Bernadotte to Bonaparte, November 1797. 

"No one more appreciates than I do the purity of your 
principles, the loyalty of your character, and the military talents, 
which you have developed while we have served together. You 
will do me an injustice, if you doubt it for a moment." — Bona- 
parte to Bernadotte, December 1797. 

In November 1797, Bernadotte moved, to Treviso, 
where his manoeuvres attained such a reputation as 
to attract a number of military visitors, including 
Mack, the well-known Austrian general, who became 
his guest and friend. Mack, who was noted for his 
prodigious memory of the dates and events of the 
Belgian and German campaigns, delighted in fighting 
past battles over again, and in paying compliments to 
his host's prowess." 

These occupations and distractions failed to re- 
concile Bernadotte to the break-up of his division. 
His correspondence at this date (the end of November 
1797) shows that he was in a restless and discontented 
mood. On 28th November he wrote to the Directory 
asking for a command in the Isle of France (i.e. 
Mauritius) or the Island of Reunion, or in India, or in 
the Ionian Islands. Failing one of these appointments, 
he asked for an inspectorship of infantry, or for employ- 
ment in the army of Portugal, or for his retirement/ 

■ Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 177, 178. 

* Lafosse, 149, where this letter is misdated. 

nov. 1797] A RESTLESS MOOD 285 

He concluded the letter with protestations of devotion 
to the Directory and to the Republic. By the same 
post, 28th November, he wrote to Bonaparte : — 

" I send you, General, a copy of a request which 
I have made to the Directory, and of the letter which 
I have written to the president. If my retirement 
is granted me, I beg you will employ in the army of 
England the citizens Villate and Maurin, my aides-de- 
camp. They are good subjects. They will serve 
the Republic with the same zeal and ardour which 
have always characterised the troops from the Rhine. 
They will, like me, bow to superior talents, but never 
to mere audacity. Although I have grounds for 
complaint against you, I shall part from you without 
ceasing to have for your talents my greatest esteem."" 

This letter has been described as an " insolent " one/ 
It certainly breathes a spirit of independence, and com- 
mends his aides-de-camp in a way, which was more 
likely to do them harm than good with Bonaparte. 

Barras, in his memoirs, tells us that the Directory 
looked upon Bernadotte's offer of retirement as an 
outburst of ill-temper or an indirect request for 
other employment. He describes Bernadotte as 
the "pupil of Kl£ber," c and as having learnt from 
his master the lessons of military insubordination. 
He adds, however, that the Government, having a high 
opinion of Bernadotte, wrote to him (18th December) 
that they had intended that he should command one 
of the divisions of the army of England, but that, if 
he should prefer the command of the Ionian Isles, 
they would entrust him with it/ On the same day 
Bonaparte wrote to him from Paris : — 

" I have received, Citizen General, your last 
letter. The Executive Directory assure me that 

■ Lafosse, 149, 150. * Dry, ii. 251. 

c Barras, iii. 92, 149; (E.^iii. 117,1190. 

286 ITALIAN COMMAND [chap, xlviii 

they will be eager to seize every opportunity of 
doing what will be pleasing to you. 

" They have decided to give you the choice of 
the command of the Ionian Islands, or of a division 
of the army of England, which will be augmented 
by the addition of your old troops of the army of 
Sambre and Meuse, or even of a territorial division, 
for example the 17th {i.e. the division of which Paris 
is the centre). 

" No one more appreciates than I do the purity of 
your principles, the loyalty of your character, and 
the military talents, which you have developed while 
we have served together. You will do me an in- 
justice, if you doubt it for a moment. 

" In all circumstances I shall count on your 
esteem and friendship. I salute you. 

" Bonaparte."" 

These soft words seem to have mollified Bernadotte, 
who accepted, by letter of 31st December/ the 
command of the Ionian Islands ; and responded to 
Bonaparte's cordiality by sending him a report upon 
the military organisation of those islands. 

Within a week of Bernadotte 's acceptance of the 
command of the Ionian Islands, the directors suddenly 
changed their minds, and resolved to appoint him to 
be commander-in-chief of the army of Italy ; and on 
the 6th of January they informed Bonaparte of their 
decision. Their object seems to have been to put 
forward Bernadotte as a counterpoise to Bonaparte's 
growing predominance. At all events, Bonaparte saw 
some danger or injury to himself in such an appoint- 
ment, and exerted all his influence to prevent it. In 
the meantime, he wrote on 6th January the following 
letter to Bernadotte : — 

I thank you, Citizen General, for the notes 
which you sent me on the French establishments in 
the Ionian Sea. You are not wasting your time. 
" Corr. de N. iii., 2390. * Dry, ii. 354. 

jan. 1798] DEATH OF DUPHOT 287 

You are devoting to the collection of useful informa- 
tion the hours which peace enables you to snatch 
from the field of battle. 

" I should have greatly wished to have you with 
me in England ; but it appears that the Government 
thinks that it is necessary for you to remain where you 
are, in order to command the army of Italy. That post 
is of such enormous importance that I could not with a 
good grace oppose their wish. Believe me that in all 
circumstances I shall give you proof of the esteem 
with which you have inspired me. I salute you." a 

While Bonaparte was writing these honeyed words, 
he was leaving no stone unturned to have Bernadotte's 
new appointment cancelled. In the first instance, he 
tried to depreciate Bernadotte by representing him to 
the Directory as an ordinary soldier with limited 
intellectual capacities, who could be nothing more 
than a general of division, and lacked the necessary 
qualifications for a command-in-chief, and by urging 
that the command in Italy should be given to a man 
more trained to understand and manage the Italians. 
He recommended Berthier, or, failing him, Brune, or 
anyone rather than Bernadotte/ 

While Bonaparte was engaged in these active in- 
trigues, an event happened which strengthened his 
hands. The news reached Paris of serious disturbances 
at Rome. An emeute had occurred on 28th December, 
outside the palace of the French ambassador, who 
happened to be Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of the 
general. In the course of the disturbance General 
Duphot, who was the fiance of the ambassador's 
sister-in-law, Desiree Clary, was killed ; and the 
necessity at once arose for strong measures against 

The Roman emeute and the death of Duphot had 

" Corr. de N. iii., 2400. b Barras, iii. 150 ; (E.) iii. 191. 

288 " DIPLOMATE MALGRE LUI " [chap.xlviii 

important consequences for Bernadotte. They led 
to his becoming an ambassador instead of a com- 
mander-in-chief. They also affected the whole cur- 
rent of his future life, for within a twelvemonth he 
was married to the young lady to whom Duphot had 
been affianced. 

Bonaparte, whose close relationship with the ambas- 
sador at Rome increased his influence at this crisis, 
now altered his tactics with reference to Bernadotte's 
appointment. Having failed to oust him by dispar- 
agement, he lavished praises upon his good qualities. 
He pointed out that Bernadotte was amiable, full 
of seductive power, shrewd, and crafty, and that 
diplomacy claimed him for its own. He said that, in 
view of the Roman emergency, it would be absolutely 
necessary to send to Vienna an ambassador with a 
great military reputation, and he suggested Berna- 
dotte. He pointed out what a triumph it would be 
for the Directory to impose upon the haughty aristo- 
cratic Austrian Government a plebeian general as the 
ambassador of the French Republic ; and he finally 
succeeded, by these persistent intrigues, in having the 
command of the army of Italy taken away from Berna- 
dotte, and in having him appointed to the Viennese 
Embassy. Barras, who was one of the directors at 
this time, records these particulars in his memoirs, 
and tells us that he recollects them as well as the day 
they happened." 

When Bernadotte was on his way to Milan, in 
January 1798, to take up the command of the army 
of Italy, he received the news of his appointment as 
ambassador to Vienna. The change was most dis- 
tasteful to him. He regarded it as a disgrace. It 
was pointed out to him by Berthier, who was at Milan, 
■ Barras, iii. 150, 151 ; (E.) iii. 192. Vers Brumaire, 91, 92. 


jan. 1798] "DIPLOMATE MALGRE LUI " 289 

that the situation was urgent, and that his presence at 
Vienna was an immediate and important public duty 
Bernadotte appears to have yielded to these considera- 
tions with reluctance and misgiving ; and the incident 
did not improve his relations with Berthier." 

The Viennese ambassadorship had been, in old 
France, the blue riband of the diplomatic service. 
After nearly a decade's desuetude it was being revived 
in the person of Bernadotte, ex-ranker of the Royal- 
la-Marine Regiment, ex-general of the army of the 
Revolution. How he played his part upon this new 
stage will be related in the following chapters of this 

" Pingaud, 20. 





"C'etait la revolution, en la personne de Bernadotte, qui 
faisait son entree a Vienne. C'etait une bravade" . . . — 
Frederic Masson, Les Diplomates de la Revolution, 153. 

"Nullement emu, le chapeau de feutre noir cranement enfonce 
sur la t£te, la main sur la garde de son sabre, avec l'allure decidee 
que Ton prete aux cadets de Gascogne, le General Bernadotte, 
representant la Revolution triomphante, monte glorieusement les 
marches de l'antique demeure des empereurs." — A. Dry, Soldats 
Ambassadeurs sous le Directoire, ii. 376. 

" This is the only part of Bernadotte's early career that has 
hitherto received any serious attention. There have been two 
admirable studies of the episode of Bernadotte's Viennese 
Embassy — in Frederic Masson's Les Diplomates de la Revolu- 
tion, pp. 147-248, and in A. Dry's Soldats Ambassadeurs sous 
le Directoire , ii. pp. 359-468. In addition to these two works, the 
author has made use of Les Memoires Tires des Papiers d'un 
Homme d'Etat, v. 492 et seq. ; the newspapers of the day, e.g. Le 
Moniteur, La Gazette de France, and La Clef du Cabinet; the 
memoirs of Barras ; Vers Brumaire, par Albert Espitalier ; and 
M. Sorel's L' Europe et la Revolution frangaise. 





XLIX. Bernadotte, Ambassador of the Republic at 

the Court of Vienna — His Entourage — 

His Reception .... 293 

L. The Viennese Embassy . . . .301 

LI. The Viennese Mob and the Tricolour Flag . 313 

LII. An Ambassador's Disgrace with Honour . 321 


Facsimile of Bill of Exchange drawn by Berna- 
dotte . . ..... 297 

Bernadotte, Soldier Ambassador . . 318 



Bernadotte, Ambassador of the Republic at the 
Cotrt of Vienna— His Entourage — -His Re- 

january-february i 798 

" Propre a entrer dans toutes les carrieres." — The Directory's 
description of Bernadotte when appointing hint ambassador. 

" The Republic is like the sun : whoever cannot see it is blind." 
The international point of view of the French Republic. 

" I have said to myself that, in a young Republic, the men, 
who cherish the love of serving her, should approach high office 
as they would approach death — neither desiring it nor fearing it." 
— Bernadotte to Talleyrand, 2$th January 1798. 

For the French Republic to send an ambassador 
to Vienna was a startling and incongruous event. 
Five years had hardly gone by, since Marie Antoinette, 
Archduchess of Austria, had perished under the 
guillotine, at the behest of the political party which 
was now ascendant in France. The interval had been 
employed by Austria and France in a ceaseless suc- 
cession of sanguinary campaigns, during which all 
diplomatic relations between the two countries had 
been suspended. The Emperor and the Austrian 
Government, not satisfied with maintaining war 
against the Republic, had omitted no opportunity 
of exhibiting their sympathy with the fallen French 
Monarchy. Many distinguished French aristocrats 
and emigres, who were regarded by the Republican 
Government as outlaws and fugitives from justice, 
were received in Vienna with every mark of distinction ; 
and their ci-devant rank, orders, and decorations 
were recognised and respected at the Austrian Court, 
as if the exiled " Pretender" was really King of France. 

294 AUSTRIA AND FRANCE [chap, xlix 

Public opinion and popular feeling ran strongly in the 
same direction. In no capital in Europe was there 
less sympathy with the ideas, and more hatred of 
the horrors, of the French Revolution. The city had 
contributed thousands of volunteers, and millions of 
money, for the defence of the frontiers of the Empire 
from the French invaders. 

Nothing was done, upon this occasion, to conciliate 
Austrian opinion, or to ease the difficulties which 
awaited the new ambassador. The Directory did not 
consult the Austrian Government as to the sending, 
or as to the selection, of their representative, or even 
make the usual request for his passports. They 
carried out the appointment in a spirit of bravado, 
and with a total disregard for the ordinary rules of 
international courtesy. This was in accordance with 
the attitude of audace which France had taken up 
towards the old monarchies of Europe, treating with 
disdain the question of foreign recognition, and forcing 
herself upon the notice of other countries with the 
defiant declaration that the Republic was " like the 
sun, and that whoever could not see her was blind.'" 1 
It was in this insolent spirit that the Directory hurled 
Bernadotte into the corps diplomatique of the most 
aristocratic and anti-Republican Court in Europe. 

Bernadotte was not responsible for the manner, or 
rather the unmannerliness, of his appointment. He 
was unversed in diplomatic usage ; and his corre- 
spondence with the Directory, and with Talleyrand, the 
Foreign Minister, proves that he was conscious of the 
difficulty of his new post, and of his own shortcom- 
ings in point of knowledge and experience. To the 
Directory he wrote, in accepting the appointment : 
" The first quality of a soldier, which is obedience, 
• Masson, 150-154. 


forbids me to hesitate ; but I fear that I shall meet 
greater difficulties in diplomacy than any which I 
have had to overcome in my military career."" 

To Talleyrand, the Foreign Minister, he addressed 
several letters, in which he sought counsel and advice 
from the ruse ex- Bishop of Autun. The following 
epistle, dated the 28th January, will serve as an 
example of his letters to Talleyrand : — 

" In accepting the important mission which the 
Government has just confided to me, I have con- 
sulted my capacity less than my desire to be useful 
to the Republic. The latter motive has elevated 
my soul and exalted my imagination. I have said 
to myself that, in a young Republic, the men, who 
cherish the love of serving her, should approach high 
office as they would approach death — neither desiring 
it nor fearing it. I confess, and I do so without a 
blush, that, although the events of my life, which 
have so rapidly succeeded each other, have been such 
as to fortify the courage of my soul, that courage, 
which has served me in my military career, would 
now have abandoned me, and I should, in spite of my 
unalterable wish to sacrifice my tranquillity on the 
altar of my country, have shrunk from so delicate a 
task, if the hope of being aided by your counsel had 
not set my mind at ease. I place boundless reliance 
upon your willingness to advise me, because I believe 
that you have contributed to my appointment."" 

This was the first occasion upon which Berna- 
dotte was brought into relations with Talleyrand ; 
and it did not lead to any sympathy or intimacy be- 
tween them. Bernadotte's Gascon exuberance was not 
calculated to harmonise with Talleyrand's intolerance 
of zeal and enthusiasm ; and his high-flown letters 
may well have puzzled and amused the phlegmatic 
and passionless Minister for Foreign Affairs . Nobody 
knew better than Talleyrand what a hornet's nest 
of social and diplomatic difficulties was awaiting the 
" Masson, 161, 162 ; Dry, ii. 361. 

296 A NOTE OF HAND [chap.xlix 

representative of Republican France in the conserva- 
tive atmosphere of Vienna. 

The Government did all in their power to recon- 
cile Bernadotte to his new position. In announcing 
his appointment, they paid a high tribute to his 
military services, and described him as one who had 
shown himself " propre a entrer dans toutes les 
carrieres." They fixed his salary at 140,000 francs, 
£5600 of our money, with ample allowances for his 
j ourney and equipment . Bernadotte 's private fortune 
at this period consisted of about 50,000 francs (£2000), 
mainly derived from his share of the booty from the 
mines of Idria." 

A document of this period is in the writer's pos- 
session, which is not without some personal interest on 
account of its date and of the names which it contains. 
It is a bill of exchange, dated Milan, 10 Pluviose, 
6 annee (29th January 1798), drawn by Bernadotte 
upon General Ernouf, who was then director at the 
War Office, in favour of General Marbot, whose name 
is spelt " Marboz." The bill is for 11,000 " livres 
Tournois " (£440), and Marbot is asked to apply it 
in discharging the balance of the purchase money 
of some landed property (bien fonds), which Berna- 
dotte had acquired in the neighbourhood of Paris. 
It is endorsed by Marbot. This was, of course, the 
elder Marbot, father of the author of the memoirs. 
Ernouf and Marbot were personal friends of Berna- 
dotte ; and we shall find that Marbot was closely 
identified with Bernadotte in the political events of 
1 799 . A facsimile of this document is reproduced upon 
the opposite page. This bill was drawn on the eve, if 
not on the day, of his departure from Milan for Vienna, 
and being addressed to General Ernouf, director of the 

* Barras, iii. 148 ; (E.) iii. 188. 

jan. 1798] BILL OF EXCHANGE 


War Office, probably represents the investment of pay 
coming to him as general of division. 

O — ' 

The question of the new ambassador's suite 

298 THE AMBASSADOR'S A.D.C.'S [chap, xlix 

became a burning one between the Government 
and Bernadotte, who was by no means pre- 
pared to merge the soldier in the diplomat. He 
wished for a large and distinguished military staff, 
and asked for Generals Mireur and Sarrazin. But 
the Government drew the line at general officers, 
and refused to give them leave. He then included in 
his suite his A.D.C.'s, Captain Maurin and Captain 
Villate, as well as two officers of his division, Captains 
Gerard and Toussaint. These military attaches of 
Bernadotte made a distinguished group. Gerard 
afterwards became a marshal of France under Louis- 
Philippe, Villate became a general and was created 
Count of Outremont, Maurin and Toussaint became 
generals and barons of the Empire. 

Talleyrand raised objections to the presence in the 
ambassador's retinue of these military attaches, and 
obtained an order from the Directory excluding them. 
Bernadotte protested in characteristic Gascon fashion. 
He appealed to the Government in a letter of 24th 
February (6th Ventose), " not to deprive me of the 
pleasure of the society of some comrades-in-arms, with 
whom I may converse about those glorious epochs, 
which have shed such lustre and eclat upon the people 
and the Government of France." a 

The ambassador, on the same day, wrote the 
following letter to the Director Barras : — 

" Vienna, the 6th Ventose, 
Year 6 of the French Republic. 
Liberty. Equality. 

" The Ambassador of the French Republic at 
the Court of Vienna, to the Citizen Barras. 
" Citizen Director, — -In asking the Executive 
Directory the favour of keeping with me, on active 

" Masson, 163, 164 ; Dry, ii. 364, 365. 

jan.-feb. 1798] SABREURS— SECRETARIES 299 

service, but without diplomatic title, my two aides- 
de-camp and Citizen Gerard, captain of the 30th 
Regiment of infantry, I do not disguise from you 
that I indulge in the hope, not to say the certitude, 
that your good offices will support my application 
to the Government. These officers have served 
with me for a long time. ... I regard their presence 
at Vienna as useful. I shall not speak to you of the 
friendship which binds me to them ; and I shall only 
observe that their removal from the Embassy would 
be very disagreeable to me. — Greeting and respect. 

" J. B. Bernadotte."" 

He also wrote to General Ernouf , declaring that he 
would consider himself disgraced, if deprived of his 
military companions. Talleyrand had to yield, and to 
content himself with adding to Bernadotte's military 
household two young civilian secretaries, Villet-Freville 
and Gaudin, the eldest of whom was not twenty-five. 

There was also attached to the Embassy a Polish 
emigrant named Malechuski, an enthusiast upon one of 
the most delicate problems of Austrian foreign policy/ 

Thus the new ambassador entered upon his diplo- 
matic novitiate, with a staff consisting of four young 
sabreurs, two youthful secretaries, and a Polish propa- 
gandist. His ship was about to navigate troubled 
waters, better equipped with swords and with sails than 
with ballast or steering-gear. 

Bernadotte's personality was the one element which 
offered any hope for the success of his mission. His 
reputation stood high in Austria both as a soldier and 
as an administrator. In one respect he was, of all 
the generals of the Republic, after Bonaparte, the 
most notable in Austrian eyes. Generals of higher 
reputation had invaded the territory of the Empire 
in recent years from Germany and Italy respectively. 
" App. Note ( 24D ). * Masson, 164 ; Dry, ii. 365, 366. 

300 " CONVENABLE ET DECENT " [chap, xlix 

But Bernadotte was the only general of distinction 
who had fought against Austria in both theatres 
of war, and had led his troops towards the gates of 
Vienna both from the north and from the south. 

Great was the surprise of Count Cobentzel, the 
Austrian plenipotentiary at Rastadt, when, on 21st 
January, he received a letter from Bonaparte, inform- 
ing him that the Directory had appointed General 
Bernadotte to be ambassador of the French Republic 
at Vienna. Cobentzel despatched a courier to the 
Austrian Foreign Minister with the news . He described 
Bernadotte, whom he had known personally in Italy, 
as " a parvenu who had risen from the ranks," but did 
him the justice to say that those who had been brought 
into relations with him, had found him " convenable et 
decent." He added, with a touch characteristic of the 
Austrian aristocrat of that day, " Malgre cela il £tait, 
de ceux hommes dont le meilleur ne vaut rien."" 

The Austrian Foreign Minister at once instructed 
Cobentzel to write protesting against the appointment, 
which Cobentzel did in a despatch dated 1 oth February. 
In this despatch he stated that the Emperor, in view of 
" la reputation des qualitds estimables du General Ber- 
nadotte," had learnt with much satisfaction of his 
nomination to Vienna, but he represented that the 
appointment of an ambassador at this moment was 
inopportune, and that it was contrary to all pre- 
cedent to nominate an ambassador without a previous 
exchange of communications. The protest, however, 
came too late. Before this despatch left Rastadt, 
Bernadotte had suddenly and unexpectedly arrived 
at the Austrian capital. " It was the Revolution," 
writes Frederic Masson, "which, in the person of 
Bernadotte, made its entry into Vienna." b 
" Masson, 151. » lb. 152, 153. 


The Viennese Embassy 
february 8-april 1 3, 1 798 

" It will be my principal object to convince your Majesty that 
the Directory of the French Republic is sincerely attached to its 
friends, and that it gives unqualified support and protection to 
its allies." — Extract from Ambassador Bernadotte's address, on the 
occasion of his presentation to the Emperor, March 1798. 

"What matters the mad fury of that tyrant of the north ? 
The French Republic defies and despises his threats. The time 
will soon come when that tiger in human shape will himself be 
attacked in the heart of his dominions." — Ambassador Berna- 
dotte's gasconade against the Czar of Russia, March 1798. 

Bernadotte travelled from Milan to Vienna by very- 
much the same route as he had pursued in the Italian 
campaign of the preceding year. When he reached 
the Austrian frontier on 5th February, and was asked 
for his passports, he replied that he would regard it as 
an act of war, if he was not allowed to continue his 
journey ; and the frontier officer did not dare to stop 
him. His progress was more like that of an invader 
than a diplomatist ; and the Viennese Court and 
official world were astonished when he arrived in the 
Austrian capital, on the afternoon of Tuesday the 8th 
February, hardly a month after his appointment.' 1 

Nobody had heard of the approach of the ambassa- 
dor ; and, when he drove into Vienna with his suite 
occupying three travelling carriages, a crowd collected 
and wondered who they were. Bernadotte sent one 
of his secretaries, Freville, to the Foreign Minister to 
announce his arrival and to demand an audience. 
The Foreign Minister was stupefied. He had assumed 

' Dry, ii. 367, 368. 


that Cobentzel's letter to Bonaparte would have pre- 
vented, or at all events delayed, such an event. He 
was utterly unprepared for the unheralded appearance 
of the envoy of the Directory. 

It probably was fortunate for all concerned that 
the principal secretary of Embassy, Gaudin, the bearer 
of Bernadotte's credentials, had not yet arrived, so 
that it was impossible for the ambassador to act, or 
to be received, in his official capacity. This gave him 
time to purchase horses, equipages, and plate, and 
to overcome the difficulty of obtaining a suitable 
residence. Several magnates of the capital, including 
the Metternichs, refused to let their town houses to 
the ambassador, who finally succeeded in establishing 
himself in a former palace of the Princes of 
Lichtenstein, then belonging to Baron de Brandau, 
and situate in a much-frequented thoroughfare — the 
Wallner Street." 

The news of the ambassador's arrival spread like 
wildfire, and we find it recorded in a Viennese news- 
paper of ioth February that his doings and sayings, and 
comings and goings, were a universal topic of conver- 
sation and a general object of interest and curiosity. 
His striking appearance, easy manners, and simple 
uniform attracted notice everywhere. A dark mili- 
tary frock, with no ornament except some gold on 
the collar, and a French general's hat with large 
tricolour plume, presented a spectacle to which the 
Viennese were little accustomed in a soldier, still less 
in an ambassador." 

The ambassador's credentials did not arrive for 
a fortnight (22nd February), and it was not until 
27th February that he was in a position to ask for an 
audience, which he obtained on 2nd March. A writer, 

" Dry, ii. 369-371. 

feb. 1798] THE EMPEROR 303 

who has made a special study of the history of this 
Embassy, describes in graphic terms how Bernadotte 
with all the easy assurance of a cadet of Gascony," 
acted the part which, under the old regime, would 
have fallen to a scion of the Rohans, or Choiseuls, or 
Noailles, or of some other noble house, and in confident 
tones, which rang out through the audience-chamber 
delivered the following address to the Emperor : 
" The peace signed at Campo Formio between the 
French Republic and your Imperial Majesty has 
caused the Directory to entrust me with the post 
of ambassador to your Majesty. In accepting 
that honourable and important mission I have yielded 
to the desire to contribute to a friendship and a just 
Understanding between the Powers, who, in critical 
times, have measured each other's strength and 
have learnt the lesson of mutual respect. It will be 
my principal object to convince your Majesty that the 
Directory of the French Republic is sincerely attached 
to its friends, and that it gives unqualified support and 
protection to its allies. I shall be doubly happy, if I 
can convince your Majesty of the sincerity of my wishes 
that your Majesty may enjoy peace and happiness." 

The Emperor replied to the following effect : 
" I am pleased to have made peace with your 
Republic. It depends upon the Directory to main- 
tain it. I have fought frankly, although my allies 
deserted me. You are a witness, because you came 
very near to this place. I have wished for peace. 
It exists, and I shall preserve it, because I love it, 
and humanity makes for it. As for yourself, you 
can do much. I wish you to enjoy yourself here." * 

The instructions, which Secretary Gaudin handed 
to Bernadotte on 22nd February, were calculated to 
" Dry, ii. 376. * Masson, 171. 


make the ambassador's position even more disagree- 
able than might have been anticipated. 

He was to procure the removal from office of 
Baron von Thugut, the Austrian Foreign Minister, 
who was regarded as the particular enemy of the 
French Republic. To procure the dismissal of the 
Minister, with whom he was in daily official com- 
munication, was a delicate task to throw upon the 
new ambassador. However, Bernadotte did not 
shrink from obeying his instructions ; and his efforts 
in this direction bore fruit, but not until he had him- 
self departed from Vienna. He was also to obtain 
the appointment of an Austrian ambassador to 
France. He lost no time in pressing this demand ; 
but the Austrian Government excused themselves 
from compliance, upon economical and other 
grounds, offering, instead of an ambassador, to 
send to Paris a Minister in the person of Baron 
von Degelmann. 

The ambassador was directed to assume an aggres- 
sive and defiant attitude, whenever the foreign policy 
of the Republic was involved. He was to take a high 
and firm tone about Italian affairs, and was to threaten, 
and if necessary to declare, war, if any intention should 
be signified of opposing the march of the French 
army upon Rome. He was to regard himself as 
placed in the centre of Europe, and as charged with 
the duty of watching and reporting upon all that 
was going on in Germany and in the East. 

As regards etiquette, he was directed to claim all 
the prerogatives of the old Monarchy of France — 
namely, precedence over all ambassadors except the 
Pope's nuncio. He was to treat the emigres as 
outlaws and fugitives from French justice, and to 
protest against any recognition of the Bourbon 

mar. 1798] "THE BARON OF THE WAR" 305 

" Pretender," or of the orders and decorations which 
symbolised the ci-devant Monarchy of France." 

The statesman, into direct conflict with whom 
the ambassador was thrown by his embarrassing in- 
structions, was Baron von Thugut, the Austrian Foreign 
Minister, a man of plebeian origin who had risen 
from the lowest to the highest rank in the diplomatic 
service. When a young man, he had, through a 
knowledge of Oriental languages, obtained a place 
as dragoman to the Austrian Embassy at Constanti- 
nople, in which position he had supplemented his 
small salary by taking a pension for secret service 
from the King of France. This incident of his early 
life was a skeleton in his cupboard, which is said to 
have embarrassed him throughout his career. Berna- 
dotte knew of his secret. Thugut was particularly 
obnoxious to the French Government, and was soon 
made aware that the French ambassador was in- 
structed to procure his removal from office, and that 
he held in reserve, as one of his weapons, the know- 
ledge of the baron's former pension from France. 

Thugut 's diplomacy consisted in gaining time by 
multiplying points of detail. His Fabian tactics had 
kept Austria in chronic hot water. The witty Prince 
de Ligne nicknamed him " The Baron of the War," in 
contrast to the title of " Prince of the Peace," which 
had been conferred in Spain upon Godoy, the favourite 
of the Spanish King and Queen.* 

It is interesting, in view of the remarkable 
circumstances under which Bernadotte's mission 
terminated, to observe what a large part the emblems 
of Republican rule played in the politics of the hour/ 
For example, we find him protesting against insults 

"Masson, 155 ; Dry, ii. 373-375- * Dry. "• 3 82 - 

c Masson, 173, 174. 


offered at Venice to some French citizens from the 
island of Zante for wearing the tricolour cockade, 
and demanding an exemplary punishment (20th 
March) ; also requiring reparation for disrespect 
displayed at Venice to an allegorical device placed 
over the door of the French Embassy (22nd March). 
In the same spirit, he demanded for Republicans the 
privileges, which in Roman history had been claimed 
for a civis Romanus ; and among the burning ques- 
tions, which he raised, the release from detention of 
French Republican prisoners occupied a prominent 
place. Numerous and peremptory were the requisi- 
tions, which poured into the Austrian Foreign Office 
from the French Republican Embassy ; and it would 
appear that Bernadotte's audacity met with a large 
measure of success. The Austrian Government 
wanted peace ; and compliance with most of his 
demands was granted or promised. It is due to the 
ambassador to say that the French Government was 
continually pressing these questions on his attention, 
and blaming him for undue moderation. 

No part of Bernadotte's instructions caused more 
difficulty than the persistence of the Directory in 
requiring, through their ambassador, that the French 
emigres should not be permitted to display the 
Bourbon decorations, such as the Cross of St. Louis, 
the white cockade, the cordon rouge, and the cordon 
bleu." At the same time he was instructed to protest 
against the names of the Bourbon family being 
inscribed in the Austrian official Almanack as the 
Royal Family of France . So long as Baron von Thugut 
fell back upon the personal feelings of the Emperor 
as being involved in these questions, the ambassador 
could do no more than politely protest, and insist 
" Masson, 173, 174. 

mar. 1798] A GASCON OUTBURST 307 

that the mutual relations between Austria and the 
Republic were involved in the recognition of titles 
and symbols, which France " had cast out for ever." 

But when Thugut imprudently shifted his 
ground from the personal feelings of the Emperor to 
the necessity of conciliating the Czar of Russia, the 
Gascon ambassador saw his opportunity, and made 
it the occasion for a characteristic outburst : "What 
matters," he exclaimed, " the mad fury of that tyrant 
of the north ? The French Republic defies and 
despises his threats. The time will soon come when 
that tiger in human shape will himself be attacked 
in the heart of his dominions. All classes of his 
subjects are weary of his yoke. His extravagant 
schemes are known to the French people. His 
intimacy with the Court of London is evidence of 
his barbarous designs, but his race will soon be run. 
Poland offers a vast field of glory. High and low 
alike seek to break their chains. The French 
Republic has not yet spoken the word, but they 
reserve the right to do so, when the time arrives.'" 1 

Thugut was quick to take advantage of the allusion 
to Poland, and to ask whether the French intended 
to dispute His Imperial Majesty's right to the 
Polish territory which he had recently acquired. 
This query was the occasion for a fresh torrent of 
Gascon eloquence : " The way in which the French 
Republic has treated His Majesty the Emperor in 
the Treaty of Campo Formio, and the immense 
possessions, which they have relinquished to him, 
are the best proof of their good intentions towards 
His Majesty, and afford a guarantee that the French 
Government, when Poland becomes an independent 
State, will do something agreeable and advantageous 
• Masson, 180. 


for the House of Austria. But the Directory is not 
blind to the ambitious projects of the Cabinet of St. 
Petersburg, whose policy is always to divide its 
neighbours and embroil them in wars, while taking 
care to keep out of them itself. When Russia finds 
her neighbours exhausted and enfeebled by bitter 
and bloody conflicts, she will follow her crafty system 
and devastate North Germany like a torrent. The 
Directory has fathomed her secret designs. They 
know of the relations which exist between Russia and 
England. At the same time they treat with con- 
sideration the faithful allies, who are bound to France 
by community of interest. If the Court of Vienna 
reflects carefully upon her present position, the 
exhaustion of her military forces, the ruined con- 
dition of her finances, the loss of her credit, she will 
repel the advances made to her by those ambitious 
neighbours, who desire nothing better than her ruin 
and her downfall."" 

What must the Austrian Foreign Minister's 
feelings have been in listening to this flood of revolu- 
tionary rhetoric ? What would either of the con- 
tending diplomatists have said, if some prophet had 
foretold that fifteen years would not pass, before 
the speaker of this diatribe was to march, in the 
capacity of Crown Prince of the ancient Monarchy of 
Sweden, across North Germany against France, as the 
ally of Russia, Austria, and England ? 

The burning question of the French emigres 
rendered the ambassador's relations with Austrian 
society the reverse of smooth and satisfactory. 
For example, the Princess of Nassau, one of the 
grandes dames of Viennese society, invited Berna- 
dotte's staff to her private theatricals. The ambas- 
* Masson, 181 ; Dry, ii. 391, 392, 

mar.-apr. 1798] HIS OLD COLONEL 309 

sador, having become aware that some French emigres 
would be among the guests, forbade his attaches to 
avail themselves of the Princess's invitation." 

The French Embassy, if not frequented by the 
aristocrats of Vienna, became the rendezvous of several 
celebrated artists and musicians. Beethoven and his 
fellow-student Hummel were constant habituds, and a 
friendship sprang up between them and the French 

The ambassador, in spite of his Republican 
sensitiveness, appears, personally, to have made a 
favourable impression wherever he appeared. His 
relations with the Emperor and his Court were 
marked by courtesy and even cordiality. There was 
something chivalrous and picturesque about Berna- 
dotte's bearing, which led those who had relations 
with him to overlook the extravagance of his national 
and political susceptibilities. 

It was observed and recognised that this Gascon 
soldier of the Revolution, whom Bonaparte had 
described as "a Republican grafted on a French 
cavalier," possessed the mind and manners of a 
gentleman. An incident, which was spoken of every- 
where, afforded evidence that, in his demands in 
reference to the emigres, Bernadotte was merely 
discharging a diplomatic duty. Among the French 
exiles who were residing in Vienna was M. de Bethisy, 
who had been colonel of the Royal-la-Marine 
Regiment, when Bernadotte was serving in its ranks. 
Baron von Thugut availed himself of an opportunity of 
saying to Bernadotte in the hearing of a Court circle, 
" We have in Vienna a former French officer, an 
emigre, who tells everyone that he once knew you very 
well." " May I ask his name ? " said Bernadotte. 

* Dry, ii. 396, 397. * Masson, 182; Dry, ii. 392. 


" M. de Bethisy," replied Thugut. " Yes," said the 
ambassador, " I knew him very well. He was my 
colonel, and I had the honour of serving under his 
orders in the ranks of the Royal-la-Marine Regiment. 
I owe to the kindness and encouragement of that 
brave commander whatever qualities I possess. I 
regret that the obligations of my position do not 
permit me to receive him at the French Embassy, 
but please tell him that Bernadotte, his old soldier, 
preserves for him sentiments of respect and gratitude." 
This incident was repeated everywhere, and created 
an excellent impression.' 1 

The extreme sensitiveness which his instructions 
imposed upon the Republican ambassador was 
illustrated in an incident, which occurred between 
him and the Archduke Charles, the distinguished 
military commander, who fixed an hour on 17th 
March to receive his old antagonist, the French 
ambassador, in a special audience. The Emperor 
happened to arrange a hunting-party for 17th 
March, and commanded the attendance of the 
Archduke, who postponed the ambassador's audience 
until the following day. Bernadotte, suspecting a 
slight to his office, intimated that he withdrew his 
request for an audience, and no longer wished to be 
received by His Imperial Highness ; and the Archduke 
left Vienna without meeting the ambassador/ 

The Empress was a Neapolitan princess ; and her 
influence was all-powerful at the Viennese Court. 
She had not been able to receive the French ambas- 
sador, having on the 2nd of March given birth to a 
daughter. She intimated, through the Neapolitan 
charge" d'affaires, that she was desirous of taking the 
earliest opportunity of receiving General Bernadotte, 
" Dry, ii. 370; Lafosse, 159. * Masson, 172; Dry, ii. 394. 

april 1798] THE EMPRESS 311 

and fixed her first reception, on the 10th of April, as 
the occasion of a special audience. This manner of 
receiving the French envoy was regarded as a marked 
favour, and was deeply resented by the Russian am- 
bassador, Rasumowski, who went so far as to speak of 
resigning ." The latter incident suggests that Berna- 
dotte was not eccentric in displaying national sensitive- 
ness, and in standing upon his dignity about trifles. 

The Empress was keenly concerned about Nea- 
politan affairs, and felt anxiety about the fate of her 
mother, Queen Marie Caroline of Naples. After some 
conventional phrases had been exchanged about the 
relations of Austria and France, the Empress observed 
that she had no belief in the alarming rumours which 
had been circulated, and referred to the deep interest 
which she took in Naples and the Neapolitan Royal 
Family. Bernadotte replied that the appointment, 
as ambassador to Naples, of Citizen Garat, so well 
known for his moderation, evidenced the desire of 
his Government to be agreeable to King Ferdinand 
and to the Queen, and that this appointment was a 
conclusive answer to the mischief-makers who endea- 
voured to embroil France and Naples. He added some 
observations about the greatness and generosity of 
the Republic. The Empress was delighted at these 
reassuring remarks upon the subject nearest to her 
heart. She changed the conversation, chatted about 
music to the general, who was known to be the friend 
of Beethoven and of Hummel, interested herself in his 
tastes and occupations, and flattered the ambassador 
by the graciousness of her reception.* 

Bernadotte 's audience with the Empress is de- 
scribed by annalists of Court ceremonials as " un 
veritable succes " ; c but no personal impression, however 

" Dry, ii. 398. * Masson, 177-199. c Dry, ii. 399. 

312 HE ASKS FOR HIS RECALL [chap, l 

favourable, could prevent his position as Republican 
ambassador at Vienna from being glaringly incon- 
gruous. Although the ambassador, in spite of his 
gasconading diplomacy, did not personally offend the 
Austrian Court or Austrian society, some of his staff 
gave cause for serious complaint. They flaunted the 
tricolour cockade in public places, hissed monarchical 
allusions in the theatre, and intrigued with the mal- 
content Polish subjects of the Austrian crown. 
Responsibility for these extravagances was not 
imputed to the ambassador himself. But it is not 
surprising that he felt himself in a false position, and 
that we find him in April asking the French Govern- 
ment to recall him." His release came, however, sooner 
than he had hoped or expected. 

•Masson, 182, 183 ; Dry, ii. 402, 403. 


The Viennese Mob and the Tricolour Flag 
april 13, 1798 

" . . . ce drapeau (tricolore) 
Plein de sang dans le bas, et de ciel dans le haut, 

Cette tache de ciel, cette tache de sang." 

Rostand, L'Aiglon, Acte iii. Sc. 3. 

Any competent observer might have foreseen that 
Bernadotte's mission would come to an untimely- 
end. A bomb had been thrown at a powder 
magazine, and an explosion was sure to ensue. The 
denouement was precipitated by taunts and criticisms, 
which were directed against Bernadotte in the French 
and German Press. The newspapers began to revive 
stories of his independent address from the army of 
Italy, and of the quarrels between the " gentlemen " 
of his division and the " citizens," who served under 
Massena and Augereau. In this way suspicion was 
thrown upon the sincerity of Bernadotte's repub- 
licanism, and upon his reliability as the representative 
of the Revolutionary Government at the Viennese 
Court ; and these suspicions soon took shape in a 
specific charge that he and his suite were ashamed of 
displaying the national colours." 

One of the first steps, which the ambassador had 
taken, had been to order a picture of " Liberty " from 
an Austrian artist to be hung over the door of the 
Embassy. It is said that the police arranged with 
the artist to supply a wretched caricature." At all 
events, the picture was rejected Meanwhile, the 
" Masson, 185 and note. 


Directory sent despatches to Bernadotte, in which 
they enjoined the display of the national colours, 
and required him to give a contradiction to some 
newspaper paragraphs, which had represented the 
members of his staff as neglecting to wear the 
tricolour outside the walls of the Embassy" 

Bernadotte, in a despatch of 13th April, repelled 
this charge, explained the delay in setting up the 
picture of " Liberty," and added : " A tricolour flag 
occupies temporarily the place destined for the 
Republican emblem.'" 1 Upon this day, 13th April, 
an immense tricolour flag, suitably inscribed, was, 
between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, which 
was the Viennese dinner hour, hung out over the 
door of the Embassy. It is not clear whether this 
particular mode of displaying the Revolutionary 
colours was expressly ordered by the French Govern- 
ment, or whether their instructions had been limited 
to the wearing of the cockade by members of the 
staff/ Even if the hanging out of the flag was the 
spontaneous act of the ambassador, it certainly 
accorded with the spirit of his instructions. 

It was Easter week ; and the youth of Vienna were 
engaged in organising, either* for this very day or for 
some day in the near future, a fete in honour of the 
Austrian volunteers, who had come forward in the pre- 
ceding year for the defence of Vienna against the French 
army, in which at that time the ambassador had been 
serving as a general. After the dinner hour the 
demonstrators paraded the streets, and, when the Re- 
publican flag was observed hanging from the balcony of 
the Embassy, a crowd collected and soon began to hoot 
and call for the removal of the objectionable emblem. 

" Masson, 185, 186; Dry, ii. 405. 

* Compare Masson, 187, with Lafosse, i. 162. 


It is not easy to ascertain the sequence of events 
in a scene of tumult and popular excitement. The 
task is not rendered less difficult, when we have to 
pick our steps amid conflicting accounts. 

The ambassador and his staff, while at dinner, were 
disturbed by a noise in the street, followed, as they 
alleged, by the crashing of stones through the 
window." Nobody, who has followed Bernadotte's 
career up to this point, will be surprised to learn 
that the ambassador descended to the porch and 
proceeded to harangue the crowd in characteristic 
Gascon style. Unfortunately, very few, if any, of 
them were able to understand a word of his speech. 
According to the French account, he delivered an 
eloquent protest against the perpetration of such an 
outrage upon a friendly nation. According to the 
Austrian account, he called the crowd canaille, and 
threatened that, if they did not depart, he would kill 
at least six of them. At all events, his speech had 
no effect upon the people. The tumult increased. 
The police prayed the ambassador not to expose him- 
self to danger, and were met with a firm refusal/ 

The ambassador proceeded to write a protest to the 
Austrian Government, demanding the punishment of 
the offenders, and threatening to repel all insults with 
energy. Meanwhile, one of the crowd climbed the bal- 
cony and tore down the flag, which was carried in triumph 
to an open space. The flag was then burnt, and its ashes 
were carried to the Imperial Palace, before which a 
demonstration was made in honour of the Emperor/ 

The crowd were not satisfied with burning the 
flag. They broke into the Lichtenstein Palace, and 
having sacked the ground floor, proceeded to mount 
the stairs. Here they were met by the ambassador 
" Compare Masson, 189, with Dry, ii. 407. * Masson, 189-191. 


and his staff, who stood at the head of the staircase 
with drawn swords, and warned the people that 
they would sell their lives dearly. Some shots were 
fired, and two or three persons were wounded. At 
last, between eleven and one o'clock, a squadron of 
cuirassiers arrived and dispersed the rioters." 

Before the riot was suppressed, Bernadotte had 
sent three peremptory letters to the Foreign Minister, 
insisting upon the repudiation of the outrage by pro- 
clamation in the streets of Vienna, and upon the 
arrest and exemplary punishment of its perpetrators. 
The ambassador declared that he would not remain in 
Vienna, unless these conditions were complied with, and 
unless the Government caused the tricolour flag to 
be replaced by an Austrian civil or military officer." 

Thugut sent a reply, in which he expressed his 
sorrow at the disorder that had taken place ; promised 
to represent the matter immediately to the Emperor ; 
and undertook to have the occurrence investigated 
with the requisite rigour, and with the sincere 
interest which the Austrian Government attached to 
the maintenance of the friendship so happily concluded 
between the two Powers. Baron von Degelmann 
carried the letter to the ambassador at 3 a.m. in the 
morning ; but Bernadotte replied that it was utterly 
inadequate and unacceptable." 

Having failed to obtain satisfaction from the 
Foreign Minister, Bernadotte addressed a letter to 
the Emperor, demanding his passports and concluding 
with the following passage, which was evidently in- 
tended to be as respectful as the situation allowed : — 

" In leaving Vienna, he (the ambassador) will 
carry away the consoling consciousness of having left 
nothing undone to convince His Imperial Majesty 

■ Masson, 193-196; Dry, ii. 409-414. 

april 1 79 8] A LETTER TO THE EMPEROR 317 

of the peaceful and friendly disposition which the 
French Government entertain for him. He also 
rejoices in the belief that His Majesty is profoundly 
grieved at the attack directed against the repre- 
sentative of a friendly Power, and that all the measures 
which propriety demanded would have been taken, 
if His Majesty's intentions had been faithfully 
fulfilled. The ambassador hopes that the future 
will confirm his opinion in some striking manner, 
and that a just reparation will prove to the Executive 
Directory that His Imperial Majesty is no less 
desirous, than they are, for the maintenance of a 
good understanding between the two nations."" 

Bernadotte sent this by the hand of his young aide- 
de-camp, Captain Gerard, who, in uniform and wear- 
ing the tricolour cockade, proceeded to the palace, and 
ran considerable danger in carrying out his mission." 

The Emperor sent a reply by Count Colleredo, in 
which he represented his sincere regret at the excesses 
and disorders of the preceding night, and stated that he 
had himself commanded them to be put down . He ex- 
pressed the hope that Bernadotte would not insist upon 
demanding his passports ; promised an inquiry ; and 
assured the ambassador of his anxiety to preserve the 
good understanding established between the two 

Bernadotte replied that it was no longer possible 
for him to remain at Vienna ; that the flag, which 
recalled to French citizens the foundation and 
glory of the Republic, had been outraged ; and that 
he could not represent his Government in a city, in 
which he had received so gross an insult, unless it 
was disclaimed in the most formal and public 
manner. He concluded by insisting on an ample 
reparation, which must include the reinstallation of the 
flag on the Lichtenstein Palace, — or his passports." 
" Masson, 198-203 ; Dry, ii. 413-416. 

318 THE AMBASSADOR'S EXIT [chap, li 

On the evening of the 14th of April, the passports 
were sent to the ambassador, accompanied by an 
earnest request that he would leave the city quietly 
and at night, so as to avoid the risk of a hostile 
demonstration. Bernadotte replied that he in- 
tended to leave on the morrow at noon, " in all the 
solemnity of broad daylight.'" 1 At the stated hour 
he and his staff entered their carriages with their 
tricolour plumes and cockades displayed in the face 
of the assembled crowds. The Government sent a 
cavalry escort, and lined the streets with infantry, in 
order to prevent any further disturbance. We may 
safely surmise that the " Baron of the War " heaved 
a sigh of relief, when the Gascon diplomat had de- 
parted with his passports and his tricolours, although 
he left behind him a quarrel which had all the appear- 
ance of a casus belli. Thugut himself was under 
notice to quit. As the result of Bernadotte 's repre- 
sentations, he had been replaced as head of the 
Foreign Office by Count Gobentzel, who had been 
summoned to Vienna from Rastadt for that purpose. 

A number of the foreign ambassadors and 
ministers at the Court of Vienna signed a declaration, 
laying the blame for the riot upon Bernadotte 's impru- 
dence. It was pointed out that it was not the custom 
for ambassadors in Vienna to hoist flags, and that 
no French ambassador under the ancien regime had 
ever done so/ Bernadotte 's answer to the charge of 
innovation was, from his point of view, a sufficient 
one, namely, that he was acting in accordance with 
his instructions. 

The accounts of the incident, which were pub- 
lished in England, came principally from Viennese 
sources. In some of them the ambassador was repre- 
Masson, 204; Dry, ii. 417. * Moniteur, 10th May 1798. 


■E ' 




^^^SHMkN ^Skc 

^ v - ■.■■'. ; 4 

i' jj 

F' ' 

.■'"■' : *S3i 

Bl 'vsisB ^(l 

General Bernadotte, Soldier Ambassador. 
Aflcr the picture by Hilaire Le Dm. 

To face page 318. 

april 1 798] WAS BERNADOTTE TO BLAME ? 3 1 9 

sented as having provoked the riot in order to find an 
excuse for retreat from an uncongenial post." Misre- 
presentations and exaggerations were indulged in on 
both sides. For example, unfounded charges of 
intoxication were levelled by the Austrians against 
the ambassador and his staff, and by the French 
against the rioters. Both sides were drunk, but not 
with wine. They were blinded by passions, which 
were symbolised by the tricolour flag, and were in- 
flamed by five years of hate and of conflict. 

Much has been said from different standpoints as 
to the cause of this emeute. The truth appears to be 
that the affair was unpremeditated on both sides, and 
arose out of a bizarre and incongruous situation. 
The position of an ambassador of the French Republic 
in Vienna was an impossible one. The wisest and 
most experienced of diplomats would have failed to 
reconcile the aggressive spirit of revolutionary France 
with the unsympathetic atmosphere of aristocratic 
Vienna. There was no chance of success for the inex- 
perienced Gascon, whom it had pleased Bonaparte to 
pitchfork from a camp into a court. 

Similar scenes, arising out of the same incongruity 
of national aims and methods, occurred in other 
European capitals. The ambassadors of the Republic, 
at Berlin, Rome, and Madrid met with adventures of 
the same kind. But none of them created such a 
widespread sensation. The Viennese affaire was a 
nine days' wonder all over Europe, and was not quickly 
forgotten. The incident rehabilitated Bernadotte 
with the Republicans of France, by whom his atti- 
tude was regarded as the embodiment of what they 
admired under the name of fierte republicaine. On 

" See A Faithful Account of the Riot in Vienna, from the Ger- 
man, London, 1798. 


the other hand, it caused him to be looked on by 
moderates and monarchists as a type of what they 
detested, under the name of " Republican insolence." 
They dubbed him " the man of Vienna with the little 
flag." In England the same note was struck and dwelt 
upon. For example, we find the Times of a later date, 
in an article headed " Peace " (9th October 1 798), using 
Bernadotte's Viennese ambassadorship as a powerful 
argument against coming to terms with France . ' ' What 
would a peace avail us which would grant protection 
for other Bernadottes to come to this country and 
diffuse among us the seeds of a revolution, as the 
French ambassadors have done in Spain and other 
countries ?"" 

Metternich was a young man at the time, on the 
lower rungs of the diplomatic ladder. He seems to 
have derived some consolation from the reflection 
that it was the Lichtenstein Palace, and not the 
Metternich town-house, which had suffered in the riot ; 
for we find him writing to his wife on 22nd April : 
" Thank Heaven we did not let our house to the 
ambassador ; there is no depending on these men." J 

We are all familiar with the cynical definition of 
an ambassador as a statesman who is " sent abroad 
to lie for his country " ; and Lord Morley has recently 
reminded us that diplomacy " has somewhere been 
called the art of passing bad money." " These happy 
phrases do not fit Bernadotte's Viennese ambassador- 
ship. Apart from bluff and bravado, his diplomatic 
methods were not lacking in directness ; and, if he 
jingled his money in true Gascon fashion, it was all of 
the current coinage, and came fresh from the Mint of 
the Republic which he represented. 

" The Times, 9th October 1798. 

* Metternich, i., 22nd April 1798. c Politics and History, no. 


An Ambassador's Disgrace with Honour 
april 15-MAY 29, 1798 

" I receive with respect your approbation of my military 
and diplomatic conduct. ... It gives me pleasure to think 
that the time is not far distant when the policy of the 
Government will permit them to inform the French people 
of the exact truth." — Extract from Bemadotte's letter refusing 
the offer of the ambassadorship to the Batavian Republic, zgth 
May 1798. 

Bernadotte left Vienna 15th April. At Markel he 
passed Count Cobentzel. The Count was on his way to 
Vienna to succeed Thugut, who, owing to Bemadotte's 
representations, had ceased to be Foreign Minister. 
Bernadotte had met Cobentzel in Italy, and was 
about to address him from his carriage window, 
but the Austrian, being ill-informed as to what had 
occurred, and feeling embarrassed as to what to 
say or do, crammed his hat over his eyes, and passed 
without recognition . The indignant Gascon attributed 
this discourtesy to either shame or cowardice." 

Bernadotte reached Rastadt on 23rd April, and 
was obliged to stay there for nearly a month. He 
sent to the Directory an emphatic letter, demanding 
his justification and his recall to Paris.' 1 Metternich, 
writing from Rastadt, speaks of having met him, and 
of his evident annoyance at the humiliation to which 
he was subjected by the Directory's hesitation to 
vindicate his action / 

The Viennese imbroglio came to a crisis in the 
delicate game, which was being played between Bona- 
" Masson, 215 ; Dry, ii. 433-436. 
* Metternich, i., 30th April 1798. 


parte and the Directory; and the players in that game 
found it no easy matter to decide how the affair of 
the flag could be best turned to advantage. Bonaparte 
was, at this moment, the designated commander of the 
expedition to Egypt. Troops and stores were being 
collected at Toulon, and the fleet was in readiness to 
weigh anchor. The Directory favoured the Egyptian 
enterprise, in order to rid themselves of the ambitious 
general and of his devoted followers. Bonaparte 
was in doubt as to which way his star led ; and 
the Viennese incident increased his hesitation. He 
had a good understanding with Cobentzel, with whom 
he had arranged the Treaty of Campo Formio. He 
received confidential communications from the 
Austrian authorities, giving their account of the 
matter, and he took up their case. Talleyrand, to 
whom Thugut had promptly transmitted his version 
of the affair, associated himself with Bonaparte. 
With Bonaparte and Talleyrand hunting in couples, 
Bernadotte ran a serious risk of being sacrificed by 
a vacillating Government." 

When the Directory, on 23rd April, received Berna- 
dotte 's despatch informing them of the affair, and also 
heard a full account of the transaction from the lips 
of Villet-Freville, the attache, and Maleshuski, the 
Pole, whom the ex-ambassador had sent to carry the 
news to his Government, their first impulse was to 
treat the incident as a national affront, and to demand 
a public reparation. But, before they had adopted 
any definite plan of action, Bonaparte came to them 
with Talleyrand, and severely censured Bernadotte for 
imprudence, hotheadedness, and failure to understand 
the popular sentiment of the Viennese . Barras replied : 
" What would you have had him do ? Should he have 
" Barras, iii. 207-213 ; (E.) iii. 362-370. Dry, ii. 421-424. 

april 1798] THE DIRECTORY'S DILEMMA 323 

died ? It would truly have been a Roman act, worthy 
of ancient Rome, at least, if not of modern Rome. 
Well, then, citizens " (addressing Bonaparte and Talley- 
rand), "you may put such high-flown maxims into prac- 
tice yourselves. Moreover" (addressing Bonaparte), 
" was it not you who worried us to make a diplomat 
of Bernadotte, and who had him deprived of the 
command of the army of Italy?'" 1 

The Directory were puzzled how to act. On the 
one hand, there was the insult to the sensitive national 
honour ; on the other hand, there was the seriousness 
of entering upon a war, in which Bonaparte would be 
the only possible commander-in-chief. They wavered 
from day to day. Yielding for a short time to Bona- 
parte's representations, they modified their " first 
thoughts " of demanding reparation, and directed 
Talleyrand to write a conciliatory letter to the 
Austrian Foreign Minister, announcing that Bona- 
parte was repairing to Rastadt with full powers to 
terminate all differences between the two countries. 
This letter delighted the Austrian Court, who resolved 
to send Cobentzel to Rastadt to meet Bonaparte/ 

The Directory did not, however, adhere to this 
line of policy. Alarmed at the dictatorial tone, which 
Bonaparte was adopting in his relations with his own 
and foreign governments, and fearing that he was 
seeking a fresh opportunity for gliding into pro- 
minence and power, they resolved to hasten his 
departure for Toulon/ When, in the course of a 
heated interview, he threatened the resignation of 
his command, Rewbell, taking up a pen, handed 
it to him, and coolly observed : " Sign, Citizen 
General." Bonaparte did not sign, and for once 
retired worsted. Barras followed up this rebuff by 

" Barras, iii. 207-213. b Dry, ii. 421-427. c Sorel, v. 308, 309. 

3 2 4 AN AMENDE HONORABLE [chap, lii 

giving him a private hint that his destination was 
Egypt, not Rastadt, and that he had no time to lose. 

Bonaparte was not sorry to go. He had come to 
the conclusion that there was no glory to be gained 
from a diplomatic duel over the affair of the flag. He 
knew that for him " the pear was not yet ripe " ; but 
he calculated, with unerring foresight, that it would 
ripen under the rays of an Eastern sun. This was 
about the beginning of May. In a few days he started 
for Toulon, leaving with Talleyrand a letter of ex- 
planation for Cobentzel. He had embarked, and was 
at sea before the 20th of May." 

Bonaparte had not been many days at sea, before 
the attitude of the French Government towards the 
Viennese incident took a sudden change. On 13th 
May, just a month after the emeute in Vienna, 
Bernadotte received a letter from Talleyrand inform- 
ing him of his appointment to the command of the 
5th Military Division, the head-quarters of which were 
at Strasburg. But the ex-ambassador was not to be 
pacified so easily. On 16th May he replied, refusing 
the command, and started for Paris. His frame of 
mind is expressed in a letter to Joseph Bonaparte/ in 
which he complained of the Government's ingratitude 
and silence, which might compel him to publish a true 
account of the incident; and he pointed to Thugut's 
retirement from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs as a virtual triumph, which the Government 
should follow up by firm action. 

The Directory were unable, or unwilling, to take 
any decided course ; and, when Bernadotte arrived in 
Paris, on about the 24th of May, Talleyrand told him 
that " une reparation eclatante " was impossible. 

" Dry, ii. 428, 429 ; Vers Brumaire, 281, 282 n. 
* Mimoires, etc., d'un Homme d'&tat, v. 519, 520. 


At the same time the wily Foreign Minister devised 
a way of making public amends to Bernadotte without 
offending Austria. On 27th May Bernadotte received 
an offer of the appointment of ambassador to the newly 
created Batavian Republic. It was conveyed by a 
letter of Talleyrand's, in which the Minister repre- 
sented the Directory as " always mindful of the 
services which you have rendered in the two careers 
to which you have been successively called," and as 
" being unwilling to allow your zeal and your talents 
to remain inactive." a To this offer Bernadotte replied 
in a characteristic letter, dated 29th May. 

" Citizen Directors, — The Minister of Foreign 
Relations has informed me that you have nominated 
me Minister Plenipotentiary to the Batavian Republic. 
The offer of such an honourable employment cannot 
but afford gratification. The inestimable advantage 
of living, although separated from my native land, 
among men who know the value of the social guaran- 
tee, would be a motive to lead me to accept. But, 
you have already been made acquainted with my 
wishes, and with my disinclination for the diplomatic 
career. I have had the honour to explain myself to 
you on that subject in a despatch anterior to recent 
events at Vienna. You know that the Embassy 
to the Imperial Court was not wished for by me, 
and that my acceptance of it was intended by me as 
an act of obedience, and as a fresh mark of devotion to 
the Republic. If it were my destiny to reside with 
the inheritors of the fame of John de Witt and of 
van Tromp, the Batavian Republic would find in me 
a sincere lover of their glory, and a warm champion 
of their welfare. Your knowledge of men will not 
fail to enable you to find in my successor the same 
purity of intention and zeal for duty. I receive 
with respect your approbation of my military and 
diplomatic conduct. All that concerns my diplo- 
matic career has a certain interest for me on account 
of the errors, into which several newspapers have fallen, 

" Mimoires, etc., d'un Homme d'£tat, v. 521, 522. 


in the accounts which they have given to the public. 
It gives me pleasure to think that the time is not far 
distant when the policy of the Government will 
permit them to inform the French people of the 
exact truth. I beg you, Citizen Directors, to receive 
the tribute of my gratitude. You have rightly felt 
that the reputation of a man, who had contributed 
to place upon its pedestal the statue of liberty, was 
a national property."" 

These letters were published in the Moniteur, and 
were given an official character. There seems to be 
no reason to doubt that their publication was arranged 
with Bernadotte, and sanctioned by the Government ; 
and that it was intended, in this way, to give to the 
chagrined and indignant ex-ambassador the best re- 
paration that the circumstances admitted of. He left 
the Directory under an obligation to him by his dig- 
nified reserve under the shower of misrepresentations, 
by which he had been assailed ; while his public refusal 
of a high command and of another ambassador- 
ship stamped him as a man, who was considered by 
his Government fit for the highest positions in the 
military and diplomatic services. 

It remains to follow the Viennese incident to its 
close. France and Austria sent their respective envoys 
to a conference, which was held at Seltz. The Austrian 
plenipotentiary took up the attitude that the Berna- 
dotte incident should be dealt with as one of the 
numerous differences, which had accumulated between 
the two countries since the Treaty of Campo Formio ; 
while the French plenipotentiary demanded, inter alia, 
the replacement of the tricolour flag, the punishment 
of the leaders of the entente, and a full apology. 

It is needless to say that these demands were not 
complied with. The limit to which Austria would go 

■ Moniteur, ist June 1798 ; Dry, ii. 439, 440. 

may 1798] THE FLAG'S LAST FLUTTER 327 

was to declare that the Emperor was willing to pro- 
ceed against the parties responsible for the emeute, on 
condition that the Directory, at the same time and 
in some striking way, should express their disappro- 
bation of General Bernadotte's conduct. 

After seven weeks, spent in prolonged interviews 
and in the exchange of diplomatic notes, the con- 
ference broke up. No serious effort was afterwards 
made to revive this particular controversy; and the 
incident of the Viennese flag passed into history. 
When the Directory declared war against Austria in 
the following year, it was raked up, and was included 
in a long list of casus belli. But, after eleven months 
of tolerant acquiescence, it must have appeared to 
the belligerents as the rechauffage of a very cold dish." 

" Sorel, v. 324, 325 ; Masson, 223-248 ; Dry, ii. 440-446. 



july 1798-june 1799 

" J'ai consenti a epouser Eernadotte, lorsqu'on m'a dit qu'il 
etait homme a tenir tete a Napoleon." — Desiree Clary. 



july 1798-june 1799 


LIII. The Trial and Execution of Colonel d'Ambert 331 

LIV. The Girlhood of Desiree Clary . . 336 

LV. Bernadotte's Marriage to Desiree Clary . 342 

LVI. The Army of Mainz .... 348 

LVII. Bernadotte Refuses the Command of the Army 

of Italy ..... 354 
LVIII. A Gascon General-in-Chief of a Phantom 

Army. . . . . -359 

LIX. The Coup d'etat of the 30TH Prairial . . 367 


Desiree Clary . . . . . -33% 

General Jourdan in 1799 .... 360 

General Joubert ..... 370 


Trial and Execution of Colonel d'Ambert — 
Bernadotte's Unsuccessful Intercession 

july 1798 

" It is the only price I ask for my services." — Bernadotte inter- 
ceding for Colonel d'Ambert, July 1798. 

Shortly after Bernadotte's return from Vienna, an 
incident occurred, which sheds light both upon the 
temper of the time, and upon the character of the 
man. It concerns the Marquis dAmbert, ex-colonel 
of the Royal-la-Marine Regiment, whom Bernadotte, 
when a non-commissioned officer, had saved from the 
fury of a Marseilles mob." After that incident, which 
occurred in 1 790, the Marquis retired from the army 
and left France. 

DAmbert returned to France, after a brief 
absence ; but, in the meantime, his name had been 
inscribed on the list of emigres. It was always 
asserted by him and by his family, that he had not 
emigrated, and that the inclusion of his name on the 
fatal list was made in a department, where he had no 
property, and that it never came to his knowledge. 

One of the consequences of the coup d'e'tat of the 
1 8th Fructidor (4th September 1797) had been the 
passage of a law, under which any individual, whose 
name was on the list of emigres, was liable, if found in 
France, to be brought before a Military Commission, 
and to be sentenced to death. 

This terrible law was a sequel of the confiscations 
of the Revolution. It was dictated by the appre- 
" See Chapter V., pages 30-35 supra. 


332 THE LAW AGAINST EMIGRES [chap, liii 

hension of claims and reprisals, and by overpowering 
motives of self-interest. Much of the property of the 
emigres had been converted to public or private 
purposes ; and the new proprietors did not wish 
their possessions to be haunted by the apparition 
of these grim revenants. 

In February 1 798 somebody had put this law in 
motion against d Ambert. An order was made for his 
arrest, and he became the object of a police search, 
which, in the first instance, was not a very active one. 
His old sergeant and friend, Bernadotte, had just been 
sent as ambassador to Vienna ; and d Ambert foolishly 
supposed that he might serve himself by advertising his 
association with the popular Republican general. He 
accordingly took up his pen and wrote a letter, 
which appeared in the Ami des Lois of the 1 1 th Ven- 
tose, An. V. (1st March 1798), in which he claimed the 
credit of having promoted Bernadotte to the rank of 
adjutant, when he was serving in the ranks of the old 
Royal-la-Marine Regiment, and of having received him 
as a guest in his house in the winter of 1790 and 
1 791. He added, with a touch of feeling: "His 
good fortune gives me some consolation for the un- 
merited persecution, to which I have been subjected 
for the last month. ..." 

If d Ambert had remained quiet, he might have 
escaped discovery. But, by drawing attention to him- 
self, he sealed his fate. The Directory ordered the 
Minister of Police to bring him to justice, and every 
effort was made to track the unfortunate Marquis to 
his hiding-place. D Ambert succeeded in eluding 
his pursuers for nearly three months ; and it was 
not until 22nd June that the Minister of Police was 
able to announce his arrest, and to bring him before 
the Military Commission, which made no difficulty 

july 1798] CONDEMNED TO DEATH 333 

about finding him guilty and condemning him to be 
shot in the Field of Mars." 

D'Ambert's daughter presented a petition to the 
Council of 500, praying for a reprieve and for a refer- 
ence of the case to a committee for reconsideration 
and report. The petition, which came before the 
Council on 2nd July 1798, stated that d'Ambert had 
never emigrated ; and that the inscription of his 
name on the list of emigres was made in a depart- 
ment, where he had no property and had never 
resided. It appealed to the Council not to allow 
persons to be struck down by hasty and mistaken 
applications of the law. 

The debate b upon this petition serves to remind 
us that at this period (July 1798), four years after the 
fall of Robespierre, the merciless passions, that had 
filled the tumbrils, were still awake. Only one deputy, 
Deschamps, had the courage to support the petition ; 
and the Council followed the lead of the Jacobin, 
Briot, who employed the stock arguments, which, in 
moments of political panic and passion, have often 
availed to prevent the scrupulous and discriminating 
consideration of individual cases. Briot 's exordium 
might be taken as a model for such an occasion : 
" If ever the function of a legislator is painful, it is 
when the law orders him to shut his ears and steel 
his heart to the cry of suffering. There can be no 
doubt that suffering is worthy of respect, that the 
cries of the victims of misfortune are made to rend the 
heart, and that the shades of those who perish deserve 
our pity. But the shades of our defenders, who 
have fallen on our frontier, speak still more eloquently. 
Their wandering Manes cry to us for vengeance. It 
is the emigres who have plunged the dagger in our 
* Paris pendant 1798, xix. 55. 6 Moniteur, 6th July 1798. 


hearts." Proceeding in this strain, the orator quickly 
diverted the attention of the House from the facts and 
merits of d'Ambert's case, and induced them to pass 
unanimously to the order of the day. 

Bernadotte went to the Directory, and asked the 
life of Marquis dAmbert as the only reward of his 
services to the Republic. The episode had better be 
described in the words of Barras, who, as a Director, 
took part in it : — 

" After having revealed," he writes, " perhaps 
somewhat severely, the weak side of Bernadotte 
as a public man, I should consider myself worthy 
of censure, were I to overlook traits, which reflect 
credit on the private individual. Bernadotte had 
heard of the arrest of the colonel of his old regi- 
ment of Royal-la-Marine, in which he had served as 
a private and as a sergeant ; this was the Marquis 

d'A , who, proscribed pursuant to the law against 

the emigres, had been recognised while strolling about 
Paris, arrested, and turned over to a Military Com- 
mission. It was on this occasion that Bernadotte's 
sincere and generous soul stood revealed to us. He 
promptly called on the Directorate to beg that his 
former colonel's offence might be condoned. ' It 
is,' he said, ' the only price I ask for my services.' 
Bernadotte had already, on a former occasion, at the 

time of a riot in Marseilles, saved the life of M. d'A ; 

in those days he was nothing more than a sergeant. 
Bernadotte, who had in the meanwhile become a 
general, was not to be so successful on this occasion. 
He had to deal with a director, Merlin, a former 
Minister of Justice, a man far more terrible than the 
popular fury of the early days of the Revolution. I 

moved that M. d'A be conducted to the frontier. 

Merlin called for his execution, which took place."" 

Madame de Stael refers to the incident in the 
following passage : — 

" I returned to Paris ; every day made us tremble 
for some new victims, who were involved in the 
" Barras, iii. 151, 152; (E.) iii. 193. 

july 1798] D'AMBERT'S LAST CHANCE 335 

general persecution that was carried on against 
emigrants and priests. The Marquis d'Ambert, who 
had been Bernadotte's colonel previous to the Revo- 
lution, was arrested and brought before a Military 
Commission — a terrible tribunal, the existence of 
which is sufficient to prove the tyranny of the Govern- 
ment. Bernadotte sought the directors and asked of 
them, as the sole reward of all his services, the pardon 
of his colonel. They were inflexible ; they gave the 
name of justice to an equal distribution of misery.'" 1 

Madame de Chastenay, a friend of Madame 
d'Ambert, writes: "Bernadotte ran to the aid of 
his old comrade. I must do justice to his goodness 
of heart. He spared no possible effort. . . . He 
implored the Directory, with tears in his eyes, to 
accord him the life of M. d'Ambert as the only 
recompense of his services."* 

Bernadotte was not satisfied with interceding for 
his old colonel with the Government. He induced 
the gendarmes, who formed d'Ambert 's escort, to lose 
sight of their prisoner, who was thus afforded an 
opportunity for escape. D'Ambert preferred to trust 
to the merits of his case, and to some safe-conduct, 
in the efficacy of which he placed an unfounded 
reliance. He allowed himself to be retaken, and 
missed his last chance of eluding the fate, from which 
his old adjutant did his best to save him/ 

" Considerations on the French Revolution (transl.), ii. 190, 191. 
Larevelliere-Lepeaux attempted to defend the Directory from 
these observations of Madame de Stael (Lepeaux, ii. 141). 

* Madame de Chastenay, i. 352. This lady met Bernadotte at 
a reception at Barras', and describes him thus: "Bernadotte, 
with his tall figure and black hair, and teeth of dazzling white, 
but without brilliancy of wit. He was a man, whom one could 
not meet in a salon without remarking him and inquiring his 
name" (i. 367). 

' Pingaud, 36. 


The Girlhood of Desiree Clary 
i 777-1 798 

" Desiree Clary was intended for earthly honours. . . . She 
is betrothed to Joseph, then to Napoleon, then to Duphot ; 
she refuses Junot and would be glad to accept Marmont ; at 
last she marries Bernadotte. . . . Bernadotte, the former ser- 
geant . . . places the crown of Sweden on the head of the 
little bourgeoise of Marseilles." — M. H. Houssaye. 

" II etait dans ma destinee d'etre recherch6e par des heros." — ■ 
Desiree Clary. 

In the summer of 1798 Bernadotte enjoyed a brief 
rest, which enabled him to take part in the social life 
of Paris. Among the foremost families of the new 
Parisian society were those of Joseph and Lucien 
Bonaparte, both members of the Council of 500. They 
were the best known of that remarkable group of 
brothers and sisters, who were beginning to bask in 
the rays of the rising sun. Bernadotte became a friend 
of Joseph Bonaparte, whose family circle included his 
sister-in-law, Desiree Clary . She was in her twenty-first 
year, and the story of her girlhood has few parallels, 
even in the wild annals of the Revolution. 

Desiree 's father, Francois Clary, said to be of 
Irish descent, was a prosperous merchant of Marseilles, 
who married twice and had thirteen children. Two 
of the younger children of the second marriage were 
Julie and Desiree. Marseilles was a hotbed of 
revolutionary fever ; and in the years 1 793 and 1 794 
the local terror reached its height. Many citizens 
of Marseilles were imprisoned, and more than four 

hundred were executed. The Clary family were the 



object of distrust and suspicion. Madame Clary's 
brother was an emigre. Francois Clary was known 
to be rich, and to have applied for letters of 
noblesse. The household lived in perpetual fear. 
One of the boys was driven to commit suicide by the 
horrors of his surroundings. The finding of his body 
in the garden well, plunged the family in grief and 
mourning. Francois Clary died, and his wealth and 
unpopularity descended upon his son Etienne. 

Nothing seemed more probable than that Julie 
and Desiree might experience the fate, from which 
youth and innocence failed to save many young ladies 
of their station. It is strange to reflect that the 
Terror, instead of sending them to the guillotine, led 
to an acquaintanceship, which made Julie Queen of 
Naples and afterwards of Spain, and opened DesireVs 
path to the throne of Sweden. 

Etienne Clary was twice arrested ; and it was his 
second arrest which led to the acquaintance of the 
Bonapartes and Clarys, and brought in its train 
such strange and dazzling consequences for Julie 
and Desiree. Etienne's wife sought and obtained 
an interview with Albitte, the Representative of 
the People, who for the moment was the most 
powerful man in the city. Madame Etienne Clary 
was accompanied, upon her errand, by her sister-in- 
law Desiree. When the anxious wife was introduced 
into the office of Albitte, Desiree was left in the outer 
hall or waiting-room, where she fell asleep, overcome 
by fatigue. Madame Clary, in her eagerness to 
obtain her husband's release, for which Albitte 
gave her an order, hurried away, leaving the girl 

Desiree slept on, until she was awakened by 
the opening of the door of the audience-room and 

338 DESIREE AND NAPOLEON [chap, liv 

the approach of a young assistant of Albitte, who 
offered to escort her to her home, and in that way 
made the acquaintance of her family. This was Joseph 
Bonaparte, a man of gracious and courteous manners, 
who quickly ingratiated himself with the Clarys, and 
introduced to them his younger brother, the general, 
Napoleon. The Bonapartes were at this time ruined 
refugees from Corsica. The general had not yet 
begun to mount the ladder of fame. The fortunes 
of the family were at their lowest ebb. 

Joseph wished to marry Desiree, and, as she 
was hardly of marriageable age, was ready to wait 
for his bride. Napoleon formed different plans. He 
pronounced the elder sister, Julie, better suited for 
Joseph, and designed Desirde for himself. Joseph 
deferred to the wishes and commands of his imperious 
younger brother, and married Julie Clary on ist August 
1794. This is not the place to speak of the tender 
feelings with which Desiree inspired Napoleon. They 
are evidenced by his letters written to Joseph between 
May and September 1795, in the last of which (6th 
September) he intimated that the affair " must be 
either concluded or broken off." a Suffice it to say that 
those tender feelings were deep enough, and lasted 
long enough, to leave an enduring impression upon 
the memory of the future Emperor. Napoleon, 
throughout the whole period of his predominance, 
felt and showed an affectionate interest in Desiree ; 
and, as sister-in-law of King Joseph, she was treated 
as apparentee to the Imperial family. 

" Desiree," wrote Montholon at St. Helena, " avait 
ete la premiere inclination de Napoleon." l She re- 
mained so until he came under the fascination of 
Josephine de Beauharnais . After Napoleon's marriage, 
* Roi Joseph, i. 129-153. * Montholon, Melanges, i. 217. 

Desiree Clary. 

Who married General Bernadolte, August 17, 1 79S, and became 

Oueen of Sweden. 

After the portrait by Gerard. 

To face page 338. 


Desiree joined the family circle of her brother-in-law 
Joseph Bonaparte, who held a diplomatic post at 
Genoa, where General Duphot became a suitor for her 
hand. Napoleon said of Duphot that he was " un 
general de la plus belle esperance " ;" and when Joseph 
Bonaparte became ambassador at Rome, Napoleon 
sent Duphot to Rome, with a letter commending his 
suit/' An engagement ensued between Duphot and 
Desiree" which was cut short by a tragedy. 

An emeute occurred outside the Roman Embassy, 
arising out of the bitter animosity which existed 
between the French invaders and the Roman patriots. 
Duphot sallied forth, sword in hand. Desiree and the 
other ladies of the Embassy assembled on the stair- 
case, listening anxiously to the firing and noise. Pre- 
sently Duphot 's body was carried into the courtyard, 
and Desiree saw her suitor die from his wounds at 
the foot of the stairs. It has already been related c 
how it came about that Duphot 's death, which 
occurred in December 1797, precipitated Bernadotte 
into a diplomatic career. Joseph Bonaparte soon 
afterwards obtained his recall from Rome, and settled 
in Paris, where Bernadotte, on his return from very 
similar experiences at Vienna, was admitted to the 
intimacy of his family circle. 

Desiree was not without suitors in Paris. Junot, 
afterwards Duke of Abrantes and husband of the 
celebrated authoress of delightful memoirs, was one 
of them. He sent Marmont, afterwards Marshal and 
Duke of Ragusa, to convey his proposals. Desiree 
declined them, but is said to have confessed that she 
might have given a different answer, if the messenger 
had spoken for himself. 

■ Las Cases, iv. 103. '' Corr. N., nth November 1797. 
c Chapter XL VIII., pages 287, 288 supra. 

34Q DESIRfiE'S PERSONALITY [chap, liv 

M. Houssaye has alluded to Desiree 's suitors in 
an interesting passage : — 

" Desiree Clary," he writes, " was intended for 
earthly honours, and at least they rested lightly on 
her head. Let us recapitulate. She is betrothed 
to Joseph, then to Napoleon, then to Duphot ; 
she refuses Junot and would be glad to accept 
Marmont ; at last she marries Bernadotte. With 
Joseph she would have been an Imperial princess, 
Queen of Naples and of Spain ; with Napoleon, 
Empress of the French ; with Duphot, probably, 
marechale and duchess ; with Junot, Duchess 
d Abrantes ; with Marmont, marechale and Duchess 
of Ragusa. Bernadotte, the former sergeant of 
marines, places the crown of Sweden on the head of 
this little bourgeoise of Marseilles." 

Desiree said of herself, " II etait dans ma destined 
d'etre recherchde par des heros." She has been hit off 
by Emile Faguet as " la petite Marseillaise gaie et 
rieuse." a Her personality will be better understood 
if we look forward and observe her, when she was trans- 
formed into a crown princess. A lady, presenting her 
daughters, remarked proudly," Your Royal Highness 
knows that they are the daughters of a prince of the 
Holy Roman Empire." " I know," replied the Crown 
Princess, " that I am the daughter of a merchant 
of Marseilles." l If, in 1 810, it had been necessary for 
Desiree to change her religion, Bernadotte would never 
have become a king. He followed the example of his 
compatriot Henri iv., thinking perhaps that "Stock- 
holm valait bien la confession d Augsburg." But 
Desiree thought differently ; and the Mass was always 
celebrated for the Queen in her Swedish Palace . It may 
be inferred that, if Desiree was not a striking person- 
ality, she was frank, unaffected, single-minded, sincere, 

" Revue Bleue, July 1899. * Lady Sarah Lyttelton, 545. 


and quite unspoiled by her extraordinary elevation from 
one high position to another. Perhaps she was in a 
sense " to the manner born " ; for, if the tradition of 
her Irish ancestry be well founded, she could claim 
kinship with a race not less ancient than the Vasas. 


Bernadotte's Marriage to Desiree Clary 
august 17, 1798 

"Un seduisant cavalier, et semblant destine a un grand 
avenir."— A. Dry. 

" C'etait un charmeur pour ceux qui a vaient a lui obeir. Mais 
lui-meme ne savait pas obeir." — General Zurlinden, writing of 

" Bernadotte looked astonishingly like all the portraits of the 
great Conde. His fine appearance, the nobleness of his manners, 
and his politeness aided the resemblance, which he completed in 
other respects." — Madame de Genlis. 

"He was tall and slight ; his eagle countenance was exactly like 
that of the great Conde. His thick black hair harmonised with 
the colourless complexion of the inhabitants of Beam, his native 
province. . . . It is impossible to meet a man of more seductive 
manners and conversation. . . ." — Count de Rochechouart. 

It was after the crowded experiences, which have 
been related in the last chapter, that Desiree's path 
was crossed by General Bernadotte. He was then 
thirty-five years of age. M. A. Dry paints him as 
" un seduisant cavalier, et semblant destine a un 
grand avenir.'" 1 His military reputation was at its 
zenith, standing at a higher level than it ever reached 
under the Empire. Barras tells us that after the 
departure of the Egyptian expedition Bernadotte 
was undoubtedly in the front rank of the generals 
who remained in France/ He was also a man, if 
not the man, of the hour, fresh from the dramatic 
scene in Vienna, of which he had been the 
central figure. Although the Government had, to 
some extent, sacrificed him to the exigencies of their 

" Dry, ii. 450. * Barras, iii. 311 ; (E.) iii. 392. 


aug. 1798] " C'ETAIT UN CHARMEUR " 343 

policy, he was known to possess the sympathy of the 
army and of the public, and he had been offered an 
Embassy and a high command. 

There was also about Bernadotte a charm of 
manner which was acknowledged by everybody, ex- 
cept his military and political rivals. General Zur- 
linden happily hits him off in the following sentence : 
" C'etait un charmeur pour ceux qui avaient a lui 
obeir. Mais lui-mSme ne savait pas obelr.'" 1 Military 
and political rivalry did not affect the impression 
which he created in society. When he became Crown 
Prince, Madame de Stael and his courtiers saw in 
him a combination of Francis 1. and Louis xiv. ; and 
it was to him that Madame de Stael wrote, when 
an exile : " Your fiery glance is my fatherland." 
Madame Recamier always admired him, and ad- 
mitted him to the circle of her intimate friends. 
Madame de Genlis, who knew what was best both 
of the old and the new regime, said of him : 
" Bernadotte looked astonishingly like all the por- 
traits of the great Conde, — his fine appearance, 
the nobleness of his manners, and his politeness 
aided the resemblance, which he completed in other 
respects."' 5 He made a host of enemies; but he was 
successful in winning and keeping the friendship of 
Kleber, Marceau, Jourdan, Championnet, Ney, and of 
many others. A surprising example of his power of 
gaining and retaining affection was his complete and 
lasting conquest of his adopted father and mother, the 
old King and Queen of Sweden, who loved him as a 
son, from the day when this strange child of the 
Revolution was received as Crown Prince of their 
ancient kingdom/ Even the Queen-Dowager, the 

" Zurlinden, 64. i Madame de Genlis (transl.), v. 122. 

c La Fin d'wne Dynastie, 487. 


widow of Gustavus in., said of him : " C'est un prince 
tout a fait aimable.'" 1 A pleasing pen-portrait was 
drawn by the Count de Rochechouart, a French 
aristocrat and A.D.C. of the Emperor of Russia who 
met him in 1813/ The Count de Rochechouart 
wrote : — 

" He was tall and slight ; his eagle countenance 
was exactly like that of the great Conde ; his thick 
black hair harmonised with the colourless complexion 
of the inhabitants of Beam, his native province. 
His appearance on horseback was very martial, 
perhaps a little theatrical, but his daring and coolness 
on the bloodiest battlefields made one willing to 
forget this defect. It is impossible to meet a man 
of more seductive manners and conversation ; he 
captivated me entirely, and if I had been attached 
to his person, I should have been sincerely devoted 
to him." b 

Thiebault, a Republican officer who met him in 
1797, used similar language, when describing the 
impression which Bernadotte made upon him/ A 
vivid sentence may be added from the pen of General 
Zurlinden, a distinguished soldier and writer of the 
present day, who describes Bernadotte as " tall, well- 
built, with a handsome appearance. His eyes were 
bright and piercing. His features were energetic, 
clear cut, in the style of Conde. He worked hard, 
was eloquent, and a leader of men."'' 

It has also to be remembered that Bernadotte, with 
all his Gascon extravagance, had much dignity and 
nobility of character. He set before himself in- 
definite but lofty ideals of conscience, honour, and 
chivalry ; and the story of his life, from the time that it 
came under the searchlight, was singularly free from 
personal blemish. 

" Schefer, 56. * Rochechouart, 248. 

c Thiebault (E.), i. 325, 326. * Zurlinden, 61. 


But what, more than anything else, excited 
Desiree's interest in Bernadotte, and opened the way 
to her heart, was the reputation which he had acquired 
of having the courage and force of character to stand 
out against the great man, who had been her fiance, 
and was now the husband of Josephine. She after- 
wards said that she had consented to marry Berna- 
dotte, when they told her " qu'il etait homme a tenir 
tete a Napoleon.'" 1 

Among those who signed the marriage register, on 
17th August 1798, were Joseph Bonaparte and his 
wife Julie, and Lucien Bonaparte and his wife 
Christine. Madame Junot, then Mademoiselle Louise 
Permon, was present at the wedding. She criticises 
Desiree for her lack of will and force of character, 
and denies to Bernadotte any halo of romance ; but she 
gives a not discouraging glimpse of the commence- 
ment of the Bernadotte menage : — 

" When she met Bernadotte, she (Desiree) had a 
face of which I shall say nothing, because we were then 
thought to be exceedingly like each other. She had 
very fine eyes and a most pleasing smile. Lastly, she 
had not so much embonpoint as at the time of her 
departure for Sweden. She was altogether a very 
agreeable person. She was fond of her husband, which 
was natural enough, but that fondness became a down- 
right annoyance to the poor Bearnais who, having 
nothing of a halo of romance in his composition, was 
sometimes extremely perplexed by the part. She was 
continually in tears, when he had gone out, because 
he was absent, when he was going out more tears, 
and when he came home she wept because he might 
have to go away again — perhaps in a week, but, at 
any rate, he would have to go."^ 

Bernadotte 's marriage smoothed his path to a 

" Desiree, par Hochschild, 32. 

* D'Abrantfes, Mgmoires, ii. 154, 155 ; (transl.) i. 286, 287. 


dazzling future ; but it placed him in a position, which 
was calculated to damp his fine enthusiasms, and to 
check the coherent development of the nobler side 
of his character. His marriage brought him into 
close and intimate relations with all the Bonaparte 
family. Lucien, Louis, Eliza, Pauline, and Caroline 
quickly came to look upon the fiery, fascinating 
Gascon as a brother and a friend. Hence arose a 
strange situation. The role, for which Bernadotte 
was cast in the drama of his day, was that of 
Napoleon's rival and obstacle. How could the 
bosom friend of Napoleon's brothers and sisters 
play such a part with credit or consistency? He 
lived in an atmosphere, in which Napoleon was 
adored ; and when the great man was far away, 
he sometimes joined in the family worship. When 
Napoleon returned, dominating the scene, and ab- 
sorbing all glory and power, Bernadotte became 
the lion in his path. But, besides his natural 
caution and irresolution in civil affairs, he was 
held back by family influences, which were always at 
work to weaken his hostility, and to obtain for him 
forgiveness, reconcilement, and even rewards. As a 
result, Napoleon sometimes found that this lion in 
his path resembled less the " king of beasts" than 
Androcles' tame deliverer. There could be no nobility 
in such a role under such conditions. 

But, if family ties restrained Bernadotte from 
resolutely resisting Napoleon, they also restrained 
Napoleon from proceeding to extremities against 
Desiree's rebellious husband. Bonaparte more than 
once declared that, on three separate occasions, a he 

" He probably referred to the conspiracy of Rennes (1802), 
Bernadotte's absence from Auerstadt (1806), and the Wagram 
gasconade (1 809). 

aug. 1798] BERNADOTTE'S MASCOT 347 

would have had Bernadotte shot, if it had not been 
for Desiree. We need not take too seriously so highly 
coloured a figure of speech. But, from time to time, 
Desiree undoubtedly proved Bernadotte's mascot ; and 
it is not improbable that, but for her, he might have 
shared Pichegru's fate, or Moreau's banishment, or 
the neglect which was meted out to other distinguished 
soldiers, who, like Jourdan and Brune, were not the 
chiens fiddles of the dispenser of all favours. 


The Army of Mainz — Bernadotte in Hesse- 
Darmstadt — His Frame of Mind towards 
Bonaparte in November 1798 

november i 798-february i 799 

An Interesting Letter 

" Since the general [Bonaparte] has not been able to remain 
in his country to enjoy the glory of his many high achieve- 
ments and the admiration of his fellow-citizens ; since all the 
gifts, with which fortune and nature have endowed him, have 
failed to make him happy ; since, in fine, in order to satisfy 
the aspirations of his energetic soul, made for great ends and 
projects, he has turned his steps to a land once bedewed with 
the blood of Antony and of the mighty Pompey, we must, 
my dear Joseph, not confine ourselves to barren wishes." — 
Extract from letter from Bernadotte to Joseph Bonaparte, 26th 
November 1798. 

" Very brave, very prudent, very worthy of respect, very 
clement towards our country while it was occupied by his troops." 
— Extract from address to Bernadotte from the Academy of Hesse, 
December 1798. 

" Do you take me for a Jew ? I only act from humanity. 
Not a word more — hasten to Darmstadt, and relieve the anxiety 
of the Landgravine." — Bernadotte 's reply to the Landgrave of 
Hesse's offer of a domain, February 1799. 

Two months after Bernadotte 's marriage he was ap- 
pointed, on the 20th October, to command the left wing 
of the army of Mainz, and was stationed, at the end 
of November, at Giessen, a university town in Hesse- 
Darmstadt. There was a lull in the war-storm. The 
negotiations at Rastadt were giving the combatants 
time to take breath ; and the Gascon general at 
Giessen occupied himself writing letters and con- 
ciliating the Hessians. His commander-in-chief 


nov. 1798] A LETTER TO JOURDAN 349 

was General Jourdan, who had recovered the nerve 
and the reputation, which had been so severely 
shattered in the autumn and winter of 1796. 

In a letter to General Jourdan, dated from Giessen, 
28th November," Bernadotte forwarded to his chief 
some information, which had reached him from 
friends in Vienna, with whom he kept up a corre- 
spondence since his ambassadorship in that city. The 
information was to the effect that Russia and England 
were urging the Austrian Government to re-declare 
war against France, and that the Viennese Cabinet 
was pleading, as an excuse for non-compliance, the 
pendency of the Rastadt conference, and the un- 
preparedness of the Austrian army for offensive 

Bernadotte wrote from Giessen another letter, 
dated 26th November, to his brother-in-law Joseph 
Bonaparte, which has a special interest, because it 
bears upon his frame of mind towards Napoleon, who 
was then in Egypt. It is to be inferred from this letter 
that Bernadotte entertained at this time no personal 
animosity towards Napoleon, who had taken the 
opportunity of writing a friendly and congratulatory 
message on the occasion of his marriage. Bernadotte 
had now become a close personal friend of Napoleon's 
brothers and sisters, and he lived in a circle, 
in which the absent general was regarded as a 
hero. Perhaps distance lent enchantment to his 
view. At all events, he was prepared to forget 
the rift which arose in November 1797, and his 
grievances over the Viennese Embassy. His per- 
manent cause of quarrel with Napoleon was the 
latter's ambition for supreme power ; and if Napoleon 
had been content to be the first general of the 
" Revue de la Revolution, v. 88, 89. 


Republic, he might not have found Bernadotte an 
obstacle in his path. 

" Giessen, 6 Brumaire, 

yth Annee de la Republique 
(26th November 1798). 

" I hasten, my dear Joseph, to let you know that 
private letters, recently received from Constantinople 
by merchants at Frankfort, announce that all the 
Beys have joined your brother. . . . 

"If it were necessary now to consider whether 
there should be an expedition to Egypt, my advice 
would be to think twice before embarking upon it. 
Perhaps I should be against it. ... I explained 
my views on that subject to Treilhard at Rastadt. . . . 
But the Government would have it. . . . That being 
so, we must obey our destinies, or the caprice of 
certain individuals. 

" Since the general has not been enabled to remain 
in this country to enjoy the glory of so many high 
achievements, and the admiration of his fellow- 
citizens ; since all the gifts, with which fortune and 
nature have endowed him, have failed to make him 
happy ; since, in fine, in order to satisfy the aspira- 
tions of his energetic soul, made for great ends 
and projects, he has turned his steps to a land once 
bedewed with the blood of Antony and the great 
Pompey, we must not, my dear Joseph, confine our- 
selves to mere barren wishes. We must devise 
means by which the army of the Republic may be 
made to triumph in Africa. To attain that object 
the Directory must be overwhelmed with demands. 
They have chosen to embark on this expedition, 
and they are bound to see it through. Their honour 
and the heavy responsibility, which will perhaps 
soon fall upon them, point out to them their im- 
perative duty. 

" Forty thousand Republicans, led by chiefs who 
are the honour and glory of the nation, extend to us 
their arms. . . . They count upon our constant per- 
severance. . . . But have they not grounds for fearing 
that they may be abandoned, like lost children, 
in a country where the necessaries of life cannot 
be obtained ? Such an apprehension, even if an 

nov. 1798] HELP FOR BONAPARTE 351 

unreal one, would be enough to discourage an army, 
which, although to-day it strikes terror into the 
crescent, may in an interval of four months become 
itself an object of compassion. 

"To prevent such misfortune, the consequences 
of which would be fatal and disastrous for the 
Republic, you must avail yourself of the friendship 
which binds Barras to your family. Rewbell must 
be won over. The Minister of Marine must not 
be forgotten ; and that man, whom a fatality has 
initiated in the great secrets of State, and whom 
a blind fortune maintains in office, must also help 

"It is manifest to the least clear-sighted that the 
army of Egypt, if it has to depend upon its own un- 
aided resources, cannot support itself, in spite of 
the genius and indefatigable activity of its com- 
mander, the brilliancy of its generals, and the 
bravery of its soldiers. It must succumb in the end, 
unless the mother country comes to its aid. I propose 
that the King of Sardinia be ordered to send to 
the island of that name 3000 men, under the pre- 
text of maintaining tranquillity and protecting the 
island from the Corsairs of Barbary ; that the King 
of Spain be requested to place at our disposal 6000 
men at the ports of Cartagena and Alicante with 
suitable transport ; that a Cisalpine legion, a Roman 
legion, and a Polish legion be collected and em- 
barked at Genoa, Leghorn, Ancona, Civita Vecchia, 
and be sent off about the 25th or 30th Nivose (i.e. 
14th or 19th January 1799). If possible, some 
Swiss and Ligurians should be added. Some of these 
different expeditions, starting from different points, 
will reach their destination, even if they do not all 
succeed in doing so. The army will be encouraged, 
their enthusiasm will be tripled, while the Mussul- 
man will be proportionately dismayed. Its natural 
timidity will resume its sway over the Divan. The 
effect of the arrival on the banks of the Nile of 
soldiers of so many different nations, to share the 
fortune of France, and to identify themselves with 
our success and our enterprise, will be incalculable. 

" It would be indeed humiliating, if a defeat sus- 
tained by Bruix and Bonaparte forced our governors 
" Talleyrand. 

352 ACADEMIC HONOURS [chap, lvi 

to have recourse to means unworthy of our national 
dignity and pride. They must give all their attention 
to the requirements of the war, if they wish to 
preserve the spirit of such an honourable and endur- 
ing peace, as their weak and halting diplomacy" is 
unable to procure. They will never obtain it, what- 
ever sacrifices they make, unless they maintain 
powerful armies. 

" If they adopt this course, more than one bourgeois 
at London and Paris will remember the language 
which the famous Hannibal addressed to the senate 
of Carthage after the battle of Cannse. 

" Why should not our Republic act as Rome did 
after the event, which plunged in mourning the 
capital of the world ? And why should not we rise 
superior to the caprice of fortune ? 

" Good-bye, my dear brother-in-law. Excuse this 
scrawl, if you have had the patience to read so far as 
this. A thousand tender messages to Desirde. Do 
not forget to give my regards to Julie/ and to 
Christine/ Remember me to Lucien, Polette/ and 
Leclerc. I embrace you with affection.'" 

Bernadotte's suggestion for the relief of Egypt, 
by a shower of expeditions from the various nations 
of Europe, may appear to be somewhat fantastic. 
One thing, however, is quite clear. The writer's 
mind is, in regard to General Bonaparte, entirely 
friendly and appreciative. 

Bernadotte's success in conciliating the Hessians 
is evidenced by the honours conferred upon him by 
the Universities of Giessen and of Heidelberg, and by 

" "Halting" diplomacy conveys a covert allusion to Talley- 
rand's lameness. 

1 Madame Joseph Bonaparte. 

c Madame Lucien Bonaparte (Lucien's first wife, Christine 

d Pauline Bonaparte, then Madame Leclerc, afterwards Prin- 
cess Borghese. 

' This letter is printed in the Catalogue of the Morrison Collec- 
tion of Autograph Letters, 170-172. 

feb. 1 799] "DO YOU TAKE ME FOR A JEW?" 353 

the Academy of Hesse. The latter body elected him 
a member, and described him, in an official document, 
dated 18th December 1798, as : — 

" JeanBaptiste Bernadotte, General of Division of 
the French Republic, very celebrated for his exploits, 
very brave, very prudent, very worthy of respect, 
very clement towards our country while it was 
occupied by his troops, very generous and liberal 
towards our Academy, very benevolent towards all 
those who cultivate the Muses, illustrious protector 
of Science and of Art." a 

His popularity soon afterwards bore fruit in the 
shape of a treaty between Hesse-Darmstadt and France , 
under which the Hessians withdrew their troops, 
numbering about three thousand, from the service of 
Austria, and made peace with the French Republic. 
After the conclusion of peace, Professor Crome, the 
envoy of the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, thanked 
Bernadotte for his clemency, and said : " General, 
my sovereign makes you the offer of a domain. Our 
treasury is too exhausted to give you a gift of money." 
" Do you take me for a Jew?" replied Bernadotte, 
" I only act from humanity. Not a word more — hasten 
to Darmstadt, and relieve the anxiety of the Land- 
gravine.'" 1 

"Hans Kloeber, 109, 113; V ' Intermediare des chevcheurs et 
curieux, vii. 614. 



Bernadotte refuses the Command of the Army 
of Italy 

february i 799 

" He [General Bernadotte] feels bound to submit to the 
Government the resources, without which he has not the presump- 
tion to believe himself capable of achieving success." — Conclusion 
of Bernadotte' s report specifying the conditions on which he will alone 
accept the command of the army of Italy. 

In February 1 799 the Directory had to fill the post 
of general-in-chief of the army of Italy, vacated by 
the retirement of General Joubert from that com- 
mand. Director Barras describes their difficulty in 
finding a suitable successor. The ranks of the young 
generals had been thinned by Hoche's death, and 
by the absence of Bonaparte and of Kldber in Egypt. 
Massena was on active service ; Moreau was ineligible 
on political grounds. He adds : " In the front line of 
the best we had retained was Bernadotte.'" 1 

For the vacant post Barras proposed Bernadotte, 
who, on the 25th January, had left the army of 
Mainz for Paris/ The other directors rejected the 
proposition — influenced, says Barras, " by prejudices 
bequeathed by Bonaparte and carefully nourished by 
Talleyrand." " But," he adds," as the need of military 
talents, which all governments would like to ignore, 
but with which they cannot dispense when they 
have to carry on a war, soon brought them round 
to agreement with me, my colleagues authorised 
me to offer the command of the army of Italy to 

a Barras, iii. 311 ; (E.) iii. 392. * Ney, par Bonnal, 121. 



What follows is related by Barras, who was re- 
presenting the Executive Government in the matter. 
Accordingly, we cannot do better than follow, and, 
where necessary, quote his narrative." 

Bernadotte, in the first instance, inquired what 
forces would be placed at his disposal. Barras could 
not promise him any greater number than were at 
present in the field. Bernadotte said," That will not 
suffice," and pointed out that it was a mistake to 
suppose that Bonaparte's great achievements, in the 
campaigns of Italy, had been accomplished with small 
means. He declared that Bonaparte always had at 
his disposal immense resources, among which were 
the notable reinforcements which he (Bernadotte) had 
himself conducted from the Rhine . 

" Bonaparte," he said, " never ceased calling for 
more troops ; and you. Citizen Director, never ceased 
granting them to him. The 20,000 men, whom 
I conducted from the army of Sambre and Meuse, 
amounted to something, although he enjoyed hear- 
ing them called ' Messieurs ' by the citizen soldiers of 
Massena and Augereau. I think they proved, at the 
Tagliamento and at Gradisca, that they had not to 
fall back upon ' the citizens ' for carrying out their 
operations. Our troops are excellent. They are the 
best in Europe. They have all the qualities. One 
can go with them to heaven or to hell. But there is 
a certain numerical force, which cannot be altogether 
dispensed with in war, in the immense developments 
which occur nowadays, when one has to guard an 
extended line of territory, garrison fortified places, 
and, at the same time, advance to give battle. Rest 
assured, Citizen Director, that Bonaparte did not do 
something with nothing ; and that, without being 
such an executioner of men as he is, there is a certain 
number of combatants requisite, nay, indispensable, 
when one has to meet warlike nations, who are always 
being reinforced, and have at their command a 
very deluge of population." 

* Barras, iii. 311-315 ; (E.) iii. 393-396. 


Barras tells us that Bernadotte's statement was 
delivered with great animation, and with a plentiful 
sprinkling of picturesque phrases. The director asked 
the general to put his views in writing, so that he 
might be able to submit them to his colleagues ; and on 
the following day Bernadotte presented a minute con- 
taining his written observations , of which Barras says : — 

" It was a document more remarkable for its logic 
and convincing eloquence than any that I have ever 
read in critical moments."" 

Bernadotte, in his written observations, pointed 
out that the army of Italy consisted of 103,000 men, 
of which 50,000 were swallowed up in garrisons and 
fortresses, leaving 53,000 combatants, who would, by 
casualties and by necessary detachments, be further 
reduced, before the actual invasion of Austria could 
begin. The campaign would then have to be opened 
under very different conditions from those, under 
which the campaign of 1797 had been conducted by 
Bonaparte, who had the control of the Venetian 
fortresses, and was opposed to a discouraged and 
scattered enemy. The Austrians were now in posses- 
sion of the Venetian fortresses, and had 120,000 men 
with which to resist an invasion. Nevertheless, he 
offered to accept the command, if supplied with 20,000 
more men, or, in other words, with 73,000 combat- 
ants. His memorandum ends characteristically : — 

" The general, admitting that the Directory 
cannot draw from the interior the 20,000 men . . ., 
asks authority to summon to his right 20,000 men 
from the army of Naples. That country will only 
be evacuated temporarily, and will be reoccupied 
when the army of Italy has succeeded in its 
object. General Bernadotte, flattered by the con- 

a Barras, iii. 314; (E.) iii. 395. 


fidence in him, which the Government has testified, 
has applied himself to the task of exhaustively 
scrutinising the plan of campaign which they pro- 
pose to him to pursue. He must candidly admit 
to the Directory that, if he had not been so fully 
informed of the position of the French army in Italy, 
and of the obligations which have to be fulfilled, the 
seductive and persuasive eloquence of the Minister 
of War would have completely convinced him. But, 
while he has been compelled to admire the superior 
talents, which the Minister displayed in that discus- 
sion, he feels bound to submit to the Government the 
resources, without which he has not the presumption 
to believe himself capable of achieving success.'" 1 

Barras presented Bernadotte's report to his col- 
leagues, who turned to General Scherer, the Minister of 
War, and asked him what he had to say. Scherer re- 
plied that there was much truth in Bernadotte's memo- 
randum, but that a great deal of it was theoretical, 
and would have to stand the test of experience ; that the 
army of Italy had all the troops that the Government 
could provide ; and that, if led by a good general, that 
army could not fail once more to obtain striking 
successes ." Director Merlin turned to the Minister and 
said, " Would you undertake the command upon 
these conditions ? " " Yes, Citizen Director," replied 
Scherer, " I could not refuse the burden which I wish 
to impose upon another." " Well, then why not your- 
self undertake the command of the army of Italy ? " 
" Citizen Directors, my only duty is to obey," replied 
the Minister, who, on the spur of the moment, was 
appointed to be general-in-chief of the army of Italy. 
The campaign turned out very much as Berna- 
dotte had predicted. Scherer tried to repeat the 
tactics of Bonaparte, without his genius and without 
his advantages ; and in less than two months, on 

* Lafosse, 168-175 ; Le Spectateur Militaire, i ro serie, vol. xlv. 
pp. 578 et seq. 

358 JOMINI CONCURS [chap, lvii 

5th April, sustained a crushing defeat at Magnano — 
by which France lost all its conquests in Italy. 

Jomini makes the following comment on this 
campaign, which accords with Bernadotte's opinion, 
and with the condition which he laid down : " What 
different results France would have obtained, from 
the opening of that campaign, if, summoning the 
army of Naples, . . . they had hurled 80,000 com- 
batants by Albaredo upon Kray's centre.'" 1 This 
approximates to what Bernadotte stipulated for, ex- 
cept that he asked for only 73,000 combatants. 

Barras never forgot this incident . He subsequently 
returned to it and observed that the conditions, 
which Bernadotte laid down, were justified by events, 
and that his advice to the Government turned out to 
have been well-informed and sound/ 

The date of the events, which are related in this 
chapter, is fixed by a letter, from Bernadotte to Scherer, 
of 25 Pluviose, An. VII. (13th February 1799), from 
which the following is an extract : — 

"General Bernadotte to Citizen Scherer, 
Minister of War. 

" I enclose, Citizen General, a copy of the notes, 
which I sent yesterday to Director Rewbell and to the 
President of the Directory. I beg of you to take 
their commands with reference to the observations 
which I have made. ... I lay great stress, Citizen, 
upon not having a civil commissary in Italy. . . . 
If I were to command the army of Observation, I 
should not have so much objection ; because, being 
nearer to you and to the Government, I could take 
instructions from you and from them. . . . — Friend- 
ship and respect, J. B. Bernadotte." c 

This letter, which is in the author's possession, was 
evidently written after Bernadotte had laid down his 
conditions, and before they had been rejected. 
" Jom. xi. 166. » Barras, iii. 385-388; (EO489. ' App. Note ( ME ). 


The Army of Observation — A Gascon General- 
in-Chief of a Phantom Army 

february-april 1799 

" So far as I am concerned, if you force me to scale your ram- 
parts, I have the men and the means to enable me to do so. But 
tremendous will be the punishment for him, who constitutes 
himself the enemy of the French Republic. I shall not re- 
strain the fury of my troops. Its full force will be directed 
against him." — Bernadotte' s summons to surrender Philippsburg, 
ist March 1799. 

" General Bernadotte did everything that depended upon him 
to second me." — Extract from General Jour dan's Precis des opera- 
tions de 1799. 

Bernadotte, having refused the Italian command, 
returned to the seat of war in Germany, where he 
was the designated chief of a new army, to which 
was given the name of the " Army of Observation." 
This appointment, which he took up in the course of 
February, placed him in a somewhat equivocal posi- 
tion. The rank of a general-in-chief was accorded 
to him, and also to Massena, who commanded the army 
of Helvetia. But the armies of Observation and of 
Helvetia were placed under the orders of General 
Jourdan, who was the general-in-chief of a third 
army (sometimes called the " Army of the Danube ") 
operating between the other two. It is evident that 
this arrangement was calculated to cause friction and 
misunderstanding . 

The Minister of War wrote to the three generals 
uncandid and inconsistent letters." To General 
Jourdan he wrote, on 8th February, asking him " not 

* Gachot, 36 n. 


360 CHIEF OF A PHANTOM ARMY [chap, lviii 

to believe that the titles of generals-in-chief held 
by Massena and Bernadotte exempt them from your 
authority in the matter of operations of war. The 
Directory recognises, as I do, the necessity for a 
unified command on the Rhine. Therefore, do 
not be alarmed at the word ' armies.' Look upon 
the two armies (i.e. of Observation and Helvetia) as 
two great divisions of your army. Massena, on the 
right, will second you vigorously. Bernadotte will 
do the same on the left. Believe me, the Directory 
will suffer no disobedience to your order from the 
one or the other of them." At the same time the 
Minister told Massena that he was absolutely inde- 
pendent, but that he must appear deferential towards 
Jourdan, so as to please the Directory. 

Bernadotte made no difficulty about serving under 
Jourdan;" and Jourdan tells us, in his Precis of the 
campaign, that he only consented to run the risks 
of a divided command, when he learnt that he was to 
share them " avec un militaire eclair^, un vrai repub- 
licain, un ami sincere, — le Gdndral Bernadotte." l 

In February Bernadotte took up his duties, as 
the general-in-chief of the army of Observation, with 
head-quarters at Germersheim, near the fortress of 
Philippsburg on the Rhine. But the Directory failed 
to support him. The promised army of 48,000 men 
never actually existed. Small detachments reached 
him in driblets. It was in vain that he appealed, with 
all his usual vehemence, for the promised troops. He 
was left to carry out a formidable plan of campaign, 
with a wholly inadequate force. 

Bernadotte, finding himself in the nominal com- 
mand of a phantom army, fell back upon his Gascon 
resources. He made up for lack of battalions by 
" Barras, iii. 325 ; (E.) iii. 410. " Jourdan's Precis, 63, 64. 

■li ■iiiBii iiiimV'lLI uu.„ ii ii ii 1 1 ■ ii II 


After a contemporary portrait. 

To face page 360. 

mar. 1799] A SUMMONS TO SURRENDER 361 

a correlative superfluity of bluff. Crossing the Rhine 
at the beginning of March, he proceeded to lay siege to 
Philippsburg, which was defended by a formidable 
garrison under the Rhinegrave of Salm ; and, having 
neither men, materials, nor siege equipment, he made 
up for the weakness of his bombardment by the 
vigour of his summons to surrender, the tone and 
language of which have been severely criticised. 

One of his officers gives an explanation of the in- 
cident, which is probably the true one." The French 
general found himself before Philippsburg, with in- 
structions imposing upon him the obligation of 
taking the place, but without soldiers to storm the 
fortress, or siege artillery to bombard it. He was ex- 
pecting reinforcements, and he launched this mani- 
festo for the purpose of necessitating an exchange of 
official communications, and of thus gaining time and 
keeping up appearances. It was, however, taken 
seriously by the enemies of the French Republic. They 
recalled the emeute, which terminated Bernadotte's 
career as ambassador to Austria ; and they seized upon 
the Philippsburg summons as another glaring indiscre- 
tion of the " man of Vienna with the little flag." As 
the document created a European sensation at the 
time of its issue, it deserves, for that, if for no 
other reason, to be rescued from oblivion. 

" 12 VentSse, year 7 of the French Republic 
(2nd March 1798). 
" Bernadotte, General-in-Chief of the Army of 
Observation, to the General commanding 
the Fortress of Philippsburg. 

" General, — The Austrian Government has, in 
violation of the Treaty of Campo Formio, caused the 
fortress of Ulm to be occupied. That step compels me 
to place a garrison in the fortress which you command. 

a Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 186-188. 

362 A SUMMONS TO SURRENDER [chap, lviii 

It would be useless, General, for you to attempt to 
oppose me. . . . Your garrison is too weak to resist 
an escalade. ... I must also inform you, General, 
that your garrison is discontented, that your 
officers are too wise and enlightened to shed their 
blood for the sake of the caprice and fancy of 
a few extravagant individuals, and that your 
soldiers are only awaiting the signal to give expression 
to their true wishes. The inhabitants, rather than 
see their houses devoured by flames, will also take 
their part. The artillery of Laudau, which is ad- 
vancing to fire their town, will give them the excuse, 
for which they have for a long time been waiting, to 
force the commandant to surrender its keys. The 
terrible example, which General Mack has given to 
all men, who, like you, General, lead soldiers to fight 
against their will, ought to furnish you with materials 
for serious reflections. My army, without having its 
full strength, is strong enough to reduce your fortress. 
I hope that no obstinacy or resistance on your part 
will compel me to shed human blood, and to expose 
to desolation the innocent inhabitants of Philipps- 
burg. . . . You hold in your hands, General, the 
lives of many men and the existence of the 
inhabitants of Philippsburg. You will be account- 
able for them not only to your contemporaries, but 
also to posterity, by which you will be judged. So 
far as I am concerned, if you force me to scale 
your ramparts, I have the men and the means 
to enable me to do so. But tremendous will be 
the punishment for him, who constitutes himself the 
enemy of the French Republic. I shall not restrain 
the fury of my troops. Its full force will be directed 
against him. I have the honour to salute you. 

" Bernadotte."" 

The Rhinegrave of Salm was not to be cowed by 
batteries of this description. Bernadotte's clemency 
in dealing with conquered places was so well known 
in Germany, that there was no danger of his threats 
being taken seriously by the inhabitants or by the 
garrison. They regarded it and treated it as a piece 
■ Paris pendant iygg, xxi. 356. 

mar. 1799] " VERBA VOLANT " 363 

of transparent bravado. The Rhinegrave responded 
with a dignified refusal to surrender, and calmly awaited 
events. The European press condemned Bernadotte's 
summons as a sample of Revolutionary bad manners, 
and lauded the Rhinegrave to the skies as an heroic 
soldier and gentleman. Bernadotte, however, accom- 
plished his object by gaining time and diverting atten- 
tion from the weakness of his army. 

Meanwhile, Ney, who was a general of brigade in 
the army of Observation, took possession of Mann- 
heim, where he met with little or no resistance ; and 
Bernadotte arrived at that place on 3rd March. 

As there was no sign or prospect of the arrival 
of any of the promised reinforcements, Bernadotte 
proceeded to issue inflammatory proclamations from 
Mannheim, addressed to the people of Germany, 
which impelled the Austrian Government to retaliate 
by issuing counter-manifestoes. This campaign of 
proclamation and counter-proclamation occupied the 
first half of March. The French commander, without 
men or materials, was in the position of a watchdog 
without teeth. He was making up for his inability to 
bite by the loudness and ferocity of his bark. 

Bernadotte's instructions toNey showthe desperate 
straits to which he was reduced. He points out that 
" when one is weak, one is driven to be ruse." b He 
rests his hopes upon treachery and venality in the ranks 
of the enemy, and he is careful to warn the " bravest of 
the brave " not to commit his engagements to writing. 
Ney appears to have followed these instructions ; for, in 
one of the publications of the day, the phrase " Verba 
volant " was applied to the professions and promises, in 
which Ney freely indulged during these operations/ 

" Moniteur, ist, 3rd, 5th, 10th, and 12th April 1799. 

b Ney, par Bonnal, 133. ' Paris pendant ifgg, xxi. 268. 

364 BERNADOTTE ON SICK LEAVE [chap, lviii 

In the middle of March, Bernadotte was in Paris, 
protesting against the Government's failure to send 
him the promised troops. Before the end of March 
the Directory had come to the conclusion that it was 
useless to maintain these three spectral corps d'armees 
with high-sounding titles, suppressed the armies of 
Observation and of Helvetia, and converted them 
into wings of the army of the Danube, with Jourdan 
as commander-in-chief. This was a change, but 
only a change in name. The left wing of the army of 
the Danube was just as shadowy as the army of Obser- 
vation had been. General Jourdan, after fighting a 
gallant but disastrous engagement at Stockach, was 
obliged to beat a retreat, which involved the retire- 
ment of Bernadotte 's small force, now reduced 
to three regiments of infantry and five of cavalry. 
The two generals could no longer conceal their 
desperate situation, or tolerate the supineness of the 
Directory. The fragment of a corps, which Bernadotte 
commanded, was without pay or supplies, and it 
became impossible to preserve discipline or to prevent 
pillage. Napoleon said at St. Helena that it only 
existed on paper." A general cannot creditably com- 
mand a phantom army, or conduct a campaign with 
pen and ink, for an indefinite period. A time arrived, 
when the unaided resources of Gascony proved unequal 
to the task of invading an empire. 

Jourdan, early in April, relinquished his command, 
having previously given Bernadotte leave of absence, 
on the ground of ill-health. The three armies were 
now unified under Mass6na, to whom Bernadotte fired 
off this parting gasconade : — 

" A haemorrhage caused by the delicacy of my 
lungs has obliged me to allow myself a brief rest, 

" Corr. de N. xxx. 263. 

april 1799] JOURDAN'S TRIBUTE 365 

and to take advantage of a leave granted by General 
Jourdan. When my health has improved, I shall 
hasten to join my post, and either to die a glorious 
death with my comrades-in-arms, or else with them 
to conquer the enemies of the Republic. 

" Greeting and esteem. „ j Bernadotte.'" 1 

Bernadotte, who retired on sick leave i to a country- 
house at Simmern belonging to the father-in-law of 
his aide-de-camp, Maison, felt deeply aggrieved at the 
failure of the Government to support him. Jourdan, 
his commander-in-chief, and Barras, the director, have 
testified that he was not to blame for the shortcomings 
of the army of Observation . 

General Jourdan has written a Precis of the 
campaign of 1799. The following passage seems to 
be conclusive upon the question of Bernadotte 's 
behaviour. He writes : — 

" General Bernadotte did everything that depended 
upon him to second me. What succour could he 
have given me ? He had to conduct the siege of 
Philippsburg. He took possession of Mannheim. He 
urged forward as rapidly as possible military fieldworks 
at several points on the Rhine. He occupied himself 
in provisioning Mainz and Ehrenbreitstein, and in 
arming and equipping the conscripts. He pressed 
the Minister and the Directory with vigour for the 
reinforcements, both of infantry and cavalry, which 
had been promised to him for so long a time. It is 
unnecessary to repeat that his requests and pressure 
were useless. The troops never reached the Rhine, 
until after we had both relinquished our commands." c 

Barras, who compares Bernadotte in his retirement 
to " Achilles sulking in his tent," admits that he 
" acted promptly and skilfully under the circum- 

" Massena, par Koch, 464. * Ney, par Bonnal, 140. 

' Jourdan's Precis, no. 

366 A LETTER TO NEY [chap, lviii 

stances " ; and that the Government, instead of the 
promised troops , only sent him a few untrained recruits . 
He adds : " It required all Bernadotte's talent to make 
something of them, and yet, with this phantom of 
an army, he succeeded in temporarily commanding 
respect." 2 

A campaign conducted under such conditions could 
not enhance Bernadotte's reputation. Meanwhile, 
Bonaparte's star was acquiring fresh brilliancy ; and 
both the sympathy and the curiosity of the public were 
aroused by the movements of the commander of the 
army of Egypt, who could boast that he " rose in the 
morning in Africa, and lay down at night in Asia." * 

Bernadotte's letters to Ney during this period are 
of an intimate and cordial character — one of them, 
which is in the author's possession, is printed in the 
Appendix ; c another, written during Bernadotte's sick 
leave, on 5th May, contains the following interesting 
passage : — 

" I advise you not to oppose the wishes of the 
Directory by persisting in a refusal to accept the rank 
of General of Division. Question yourself, my dear 
Ney, and answer in all good faith whether the call of 
your conscience {le cri de voire conscience) does not bid 
you lay aside a modesty which becomes misplaced and 
even dangerous, when it is carried to excess. . . . You 
see that in my retreat ... I write paternally, but you 
will understand everything that comes from a man, who 
is attached to you by bonds of the strongest friend- 
ship, and the most unbounded esteem."'' 

This is the third of Bernadotte's letters in which 
" le cri de conscience" is pointed out as a guide of 
conduct for himself or others/ 

- Barras, iii. 324, 337. 

* Chateaubriand, Memoires d'outre Tombe, i. 70. 

c App. Note ( 24F ). d Ney, par Bonnal, 154. 

' See pages 48 and 266 supra. 


Bernadotte and the 30TH Prairial : 13TH-30TH 
Prairial, An VII. 

June 1— 18, 1799 

"Pour eviter un Cesar, on chercha un augure." — Sorel, v. 
426, 427 (referring to the election of Sieyes to be a director). 

" A corporal's guard is enough to dispose of the lawyers."— 
Bernadotte' s gasconade before the yith Prairial. 

While Bernadotte was absent from France a group 
of electors purported to elect him to the Council of 
500 for his native department of Basses-Pyrenees. 
His election was part of a movement, to which the 
name of " Scissions " was given. Bernadotte does 
not appear to have been consulted about the matter 
by his supporters, and the election was annulled. 
The incident has no importance, and did not affect 
his career." 

After six weeks' rest, Bernadotte returned to Paris, 
at the end of May . b In the meantime two public events 
had occurred which were of grave significance. 

On the 28th April the three French representatives 
at the Congress of Rastadt were attacked by Austrian 
hussars as they were leaving that place. Two of 
them were murdered ; and the third was left for dead. 
This event still further embittered the relations 
between Austria and France, and increased the 
difficulties of the French Government/ 

In Paris a momentous change had taken place 
in the personnel of the Directory . The retiring director, 
Rewbell,was on the 20th May replaced by Sieyes, the 

■ Pingaud, 31. * Gazette de France, 30th May 1799. 

c Sorel, v. 398. 



French ambassador at Berlin," who, alone among the 
non-military statesmen of the day, retained a mys- 
terious prestige. " Pour eviter un Cesar," writes Sorel, 
" on chercha un augure." b 

Sieyes, ci-devant abbe and vicar - general, had 
won a foremost place among the founders of the 
Revolution by the publication in 1789 of his 
famous brochure, What is the Third Estate? Having 
thus established a certain renown, he managed, by 
speaking seldom and to the point, and by observing 
timely absences and well-selected periods of self- 
effacement, to survive the Terror, without losing 
either his head or his popularity. He enjoyed the 
reputation of being a clever coiner of Republican 
phrases, and a skilful spinner of ideal constitutions. 
He had always decried the Directorial constitution, 
and had refused election as a director in 1795. He 
now became a director, resolved to undermine and 
destroy the Directory ; and in less than six months 
he helped to carry out his resolve. His first step in 
that direction was to co-operate with the Legislature 
in getting rid of three out of his four colleagues . 

Sieyes' four colleagues were Barras, Larevelliere- 
Lepeaux, Merlin, and Treilhard. Barras was the only 
one of this quartette, who retained any dregs of 
influence and popularity. The others were friendless 
and discredited lawyers, who had played a game of 
see-saw between the two parties in the State, first 
striking one and then the other, with the result that 
both Moderates and Jacobins were now united in 
demanding their removal. 

Sieyes and Barras quickly made up their minds 
to throw their unpopular colleagues to the wolves. 
Treilhard was got rid of by a belated objection being 

• Sorel, v. 398. b lb. v. 426, 427. 

june 1799] A GAME OF BLUFF 369 

raised to the validity of his election as director, 
after he had held office for a year. It remained 
to deal with Larevelliere-L£peaux and Merlin. The 
Constitution provided no means of removing them. 
The only way of doing so was to expel them forcibly 
by a coup d'ttat, with the co-operation of the army 
and of a general appointed ad hoc. 

On this occasion Bernadotte showed the caution, 
or irresolution, which so often overtook him in a 
political crisis. He went to the directors with 
Generals Jourdan and Joubert to represent the needs 
of the army. Sieyes sounded his visitors upon the 
subject of a constitutional change. Jourdan and 
Bernadotte gave evasive replies, while Joubert offered 
himself to Sieyes." 

A similar incident occurred, when the time for 
action approached . The situation was being discussed 
by a group of generals. Joubert, who had already 
carried out civil revolutions in Holland and in Italy, 
exclaimed, "A lot of time is being wasted in talk. 
I shall put an end to it all, whenever it is wished, 
with twenty grenadiers ! " Bernadotte, who was not 
to be outdone at a game of bluff, remarked," Twenty 
grenadiers 1 It is too many — a corporal's guard is 
enough to dispose of the lawyers." 

This remark was reported to Barras, who was 
looking out for a general to superintend the expulsion 
of his three colleagues. He proposed to take Berna- 
dotte at his word : " Well, then, General," he said, 
" we shall give you the command of the 1 7th division ; 
you shall have no violent operation to perform. All 
that is required is to preserve order and prevent ex- 
cesses on the part of the Republicans against the recal- 
citrants." Bernadotte was taken aback. Barras 
".Jourdan, Mimoires intdits Le Carnet, vii. 161, 163. 


describes him as showing embarrassment, and irresolu- 
tion , and an obvious desire to extricate himself from the 
position in which his gasconade had placed him. After 
a few minutes' silence, which contrasted with his usual 
readiness in reply, he said, " Citizen Director, General 
Joubert came to Paris before me ; he has taken, in 
this connection, an initiative, which I might perhaps 
be showing but little delicacy in disputing. I beg you 
to permit me to go to him myself, and to lay your 
offer before him, as behoves a comrade." 

Before seeking Joubert, Bernadotte confided to his 
aides-de-camp, Colonel Maison and Captain Maurin, 
the offer which had been made to him and his disin- 
clination to accept it. They urged him to take the 
opportunity. " Accept the honour which seeks thee. 
Do not go after Joubert, just to give him precedence 
over thyself. Thou sayest and believest that thou art 
without ambition ; thou wouldst prove it all the better 
by doing, on the day that is approaching, what shouldst 
be done for the common weal, and by doing nothing 
in thine own interest."" 

Something, which never deserted him, kept him 
aloof from all the coups d'etat of his time. Was it 
" must not " whispered by conscience ? Or, was it " do 
not "dictated by habits of discipline, a natural caution, 
and a consciousness of his inexperience ? Or, was it 
"I dare not" waiting upon "I would"? Or, 
was it a blend of "must not" and "do not" and 
"dare not"? At all events, upon this as on other 
occasions, he declined a pressing invitation from high 
quarters to join in an assault upon the civil authority. 
Joubert, who had no such scruples, accepted the 
opportunity without hesitation, and assumed the com- 
mand of all the troops in the capital. 

" Barras, iii. 361, 362 ; (E.) iii. 458, 459. 

General Joubert. 

Killed at the Battle of Novi, August 15, 1799. 

After the portrait by Bouchot. 

Tofaccjxige 370. 

june 1799] THE 30TH PRAIRIAL 371 

The journe'e of the 30th Prairial was a bloodless 
one. General Joubert's only duty was to overawe 
the unruly elements of the Parisian populace. Not 
a shot had to be fired ; and no necessity arose for 
any action on the part of the troops. The two Legis- 
lative Councils, on the motion of Lucien Bonaparte, 
took the grave step of declaring their intention to sit 
in permanence. Backed by the moral force of parlia- 
mentary pressure, Barras bullied Larevelliere-L£peaux 
and Merlin into a reluctant resignation. Such was the 
coup d'ktat of the 30th Prairial." 

Larevelliere-Lepeaux retired to an obscurity, 
from which he never afterwards emerged. Treilhard 
and Merlin, who were eminent lawyers, returned 
to public employment in later years. The three 
vacant places in the Directory were filled by the 
election of Gohier, a judge highly and justly esteemed 
but with no following and little force of character ; 
Moulins, an obscure general ; and Roger Ducos, a 
creature of Sieyes. Roger Ducos was one of a group 
of politicians, who, throughout the Revolutionary 
era, always drifted with the tide. It was said of them 
that they voted imperturbably on the winning side in 
every political crisis from the death of Louis xvi. to 
the fall of Napoleon. Gohier and General Moulins 
were loyal to the existing Constitution. Sieyes was 
bent upon overthrowing it. Barras for the time being 
held the balance/ 

The new Directory were now faced with the task 
of forming a Ministry ; and Bernadotte found himself 
suddenly called to a new sphere of duty. 

"Vandal, i. 85-88; L'Histoire ge'ne'rale, viii. 394-396; Cam- 
bridge Modern History, 669-670. 
4 Sorel, v. 428. 


JULY 2-SEPTEMBER 14, 1799 

" Bernadotte [as Minister of War] was indefatigable with 
tongue and pen. His speeches, proclamations, and circulars 
constitute a curious monument of Revolutionary and Gascon 
eloquence, a strange mixture of military ardour and incoherent 
pathos. He displayed remarkable intelligence and enthusiasm 
and a prodigious power of work. Rising at three o'clock every 
morning, he left his small house in the Rue Cisalpine, and was 
first to arrive at the Ministry. He attended to everything, 
exerted himself to repair the service thoroughly, to push forward 
the enlistment of recruits, to refresh the military stores, to re- 
organise the armies, to cheer the drooping spirits of officers and 
men. He struggled with restless activity against the chaos 
of difficulties which faced him." — Albert Vandal, L'Avdnement 
de Bonaparte, chap, ii.-i." 

" Cf. Sorel, v. 306. 




JULY 2-SEPTEMBER 14, 1799 




Bernadotte becomes Minister of War — His 

tireless Energy and fiery Gasconades . 



The Minister of War and the Chancellor of 
the Exchequer — Bernadotte and Robert 

Lindet ..... 



The Minister of War and the Army of Italy 

— Bernadotte, Joubert, and Championnet 



The Minister of War and the Army in 

Switzerland — Bernadotte and Massena 



The Minister of War and the Army of 

Holland — -Bernadotte and Brune 



Bernadotte, Fouche, and the Jacobin Club . 



The Temptations of a Minister of War in i 799 
— Bernadotte rejects Overtures from 

Royalists, Jacobins, and Bonapartists . 



Bernadotte and Sieyes — Sieyes resolves to 

get rid of Bernadotte 



The End of Bernadotte's Ministry — Was it 

Resignation or Dismissal ? 



Judgments passed on Bernadotte's Ministry 
of War by Bonaparte, Barras, Berna- 
dotte himself, and by the Swedish 

Charge d'affaires 



General Moreau and General Championnet . 






Bernadotte, Minister of War — His tireless 
Energy and his fiery Gasconades 

july 2-september 1 4, 1 799 

" The army had need of a Minister capable of restoring its 
moral force and animating it with fresh enthusiasm. The General 
of Division, Bernadotte, appeared to be singularly fitted for that 
great and noble duty." — Director Gohier. 

" We want a man esteemed for his achievements and for his 
character. ... I propose Bernadotte as Minister of War." — 
Director Barras. 

" Un Gascon par excellence . . . il est du pays d'Henri iv. et 
un menteur comme le bon roi."— Directeur Sieyes. 

In July 1799, the Republic was confronted with the 
impendency of war in Italy, in Switzerland, and in 
Holland. The coup d'etat of Prairial had smoothed 
matters by bringing the legislature into harmony with 
the Executive ; and the Legislative Councils hastened 
to raise fresh armies, and to testify their confidence in 
the newly constituted Directory, by decreeing a general 
conscription and a forced loan of a hundred millions. 
But the decrees were in themselves of little force or 
value. So feeble was the authority of the Councils, so 
universal was the decay of public spirit, and so wide- 
spread was the wane of military enthusiasm, that the 
Directors were compelled to recognise that the con- 
scripts would not come, and that the millions would 
not be forthcoming, unless they could find some 
popular and capable public man to fill the office of 
Minister of War. 

Carnot, if he had not been an outlaw and an exile, 
would have been the man best fitted for the emergency. 

376 WANTED, A MINISTER OF WAR ! [chap, lx 

Failing him, the choice of the Directory fell upon 
Bernadotte. Two directors, Gohier and Barras, have 
recorded their reasons. Gohier writes that " in the 
deplorable position in which France was placed the 
army had need of a Minister capable of restoring its 
moral force and animating it with fresh enthusiasm. 
General Bernadotte appeared to be singularly fitted 
for that great and noble duty." ° He adds that the ap- 
pointment had been settled, before Joseph and Lucien 
Bonaparte came to recommend their brother-in-law. 
Barras tells us that " the armies of the Republic were 
disheartened and dejected. The generals were dis- 
contented, and the soldiers worn out and depressed. 
What was wanted was a man, who possessed the con- 
fidence of the army, and a reputation founded upon 
character and achievement. Such a man was Berna- 
dotte, who had passed through every rank from the 
lowest to the highest, and had shown himself an 
upright and enlightened administrator as well as an 
able organiser." h 

The appointment was opposed by Sieyes, who ob- 
jected to a soldier, and urged that what was wanted 
was a civilian administrator. Besides, he took 
exception to Bernadotte personally, as a man who 
had been " a Moderate " and had only recently 
become a patriot. He summed him up as : 
" Un Gascon par excellence . . . il est du pays 
d'Henri iv. et un menteur comme le bon roi."* 
Barras argued that a good general was bound to be 
a good administrator ; for, in order to make an army 
win a victory, the first thing to be done was to feed, 
clothe, and arm it. He also referred to the wise 
advice, which the Gascon general had given when 
refusing the command of the army of Italy in the 
" Gohier, i. 40, 41. * Barras, iii. 385-388 ; (E.) iii. 488-490. 


previous February, — advice which events had justified. 
Sieves remained unconvinced, but a majority of the 
Directory carried the proposal, and Bernadotte was 
appointed Minister of War on 2nd July. 

The appointment of a distinguished and energetic 
soldier to a post, which had been usually filled by 
obscure civilians, acted like a tonic upon the officers 
and men of the armies. In the correspondence of the 
time are to be found letters of soldiers expressing 
satisfaction at the appointment of so brave and 
popular a commander." Among the generals there 
were differences of opinion. For example, Joubert 
and Jourdan were pleased at the selection of Berna- 
dotte for the post ; while Mass^na and Marbot (the 
elder) were doubtful as to his suitability.* 

Bernadotte 's Ministry lasted only from 2nd 
July to 14th September 1799. Yet, a large- 
sized volume might be filled with all that he said 
and wrote and did during that brief period, and 
with the flood of proclamations, circulars, and mani- 
festoes, by which he endeavoured, with a large 
measure of success, to reanimate the corpse of 
military enthusiasm. If any reader has the curiosity 
to glance through the columns of the Moniteur, or to 
search, in the British Museum or elsewhere, the files, 
from July to September 1799, of such newspapers 
as La Gazette de France, or La Clef du Cabinet, they 
will find upwards of forty addresses, proclamations, 
circulars, and official letters, published over Berna- 
dotte 's name, during these ten strenuous weeks. 
Hardly a day passed without some stirring appeal 
to patriotism, or some confident message of en- 

" Pierre Girardon, 45. 

b Gohier, i. 54 ; MassSna, par Koch, iii. 339-342 ; Marbot, i. $6. 

378 A GASCON MINISTER [chap, lx 

In a normal condition of public affairs, these 
fierce and fiery gasconades would have been utterly 
out of place. But the maladies of the moment were 
the decay of public spirit and the cooling of patriotic 
ardour. In the treatment of such diseases Bernadotte 
was a specialist ; and that was why he had been called 
to the sick-room of the State. To the task of reviving 
the ebbing activities of the armies of the Republic, 
the Gascon Minister devoted the natural gifts, with 
the help of which he had so often, to quote Kleber's 
phrase, " electrised " the troops under his command 
in Belgium, in Germany, and in Italy. 

Bernadotte's addresses and proclamations are of 
varying merit. They have the appearance of having 
been rapidly penned or dictated, with no more care, 
than the Minister would have given to some impromptu 
speech to a mutinous mob, or to a regiment on the 
field of battle. Some of them are crude and common- 
place. But they contain passages marked by earnest- 
ness and sincerity, where he idealises the blessings 
of liberty, under a free constitution, a belief in 
which still captivated his imagination. There is 
a rough melody in the sentences, in which he recalls 
the pure spirit of patriotism, that had animated his 
old comrades in the army of Sambre andMeuse. It 
is the music of Memory playing an old tune on the 
heart. There are also some flashes of fiery originality, 
which caught the fancy, and fixed the attention of his 

How the Minister said and did and wrote so 
much in so short a time would be a mystery, if we did 
not know that he turned night into day, and worked 
at such high pressure, as to strain to the uttermost even 
his exuberant energy and remarkable strength of body 
and mind. 

july 1799] A MINISTER AT WORK 379 

Barras, who was in constant communication with 
him, gives the following account of the daily life 
and labours of the Minister. The passage carries a 
double weight of authority, because the editor of 
Barras' memoirs, Rousselin de St. Albin, was secre- 
tary of the War Department under Bernadotte : " — 

" Bernadotte, who lived in the Rue Cisalpine, at 
the extremity of the Faubourg de Roule, did not 
take up his residence at the Ministry, but continued 
to reside at his home, which was a maisonnette 
that hardly cost 20,000 francs. But he was 
attached to it, both because he had purchased 
it with his military savings . . . and because it was 
there that his wife had just given birth to a son, 
the only one they ever had, who is now " (i.e. at the 
date of the writing of the memoirs) " Crown Prince 
and heir presumptive to the throne of Sweden. 
Continuing to sleep at the Rue Cisalpine, Bernadotte 
rose every morning at 3 a.m., and reached the 
Ministry of War at 4 a.m., with his secretary, for 
whom he called on his way at his residence in 
the Faubourg St. Honore. His aides-de-camp, who 
were in Paris at the time, were utilised for admin- 
istrative work. He had given orders, on entering 
upon his Ministry, that nothing should remain for 
more than twenty-four hours undisposed of, or, at 
all events, unconsidered and unanswered, and had 
infused such energy into the Department that this 
order, which appeared at first hardly possible of 
execution, was rigorously carried out, and everything 
was up-to-date. In this way, as he said in his 
proclamations, he had to reorganise and create 
everything, to raise a hundred battalions of a thousand 
men each, forty thousand cavalry, etc. After having 
given to his work, and to the reports which he made 
daily to the Directory, fifteen or sixteen hours, he 
returned at about 7 p.m. to dine at home at the Rue 
Cisalpine, with his secretaries and his aides-de-camp 
on duty. His wife was recovering from her con- 
finement, and when the Minister returned he always 
found here, on pretence of inquiring after Madame 

" Barras, iii. 417; (E.) 529, 530. Vandal, i. 97. 


Bernadotte's health, the brothers Bonaparte," or, at all 
events, Joseph and his wife." 

Let us look over the Minister's shoulder, as he sits 
at his desk, wielding his pen with feverish activity. 
Immediately upon taking office, he issued, in quick 
succession, a series of passionate proclamations, of 
which we may take, as a sample, the following circular 
addressed to the Generals of Division : — 

" Le 20 Messidor (8(h July). 
" To the Generals of Division. 

" The Directory has just confided to me the 
Department of War. If, at a moment of national 
danger, it were allowable to consult my own pre- 
ferences, you will be right in believing that I should 
have refused the Ministry, and have already rejoined 
my comrades at the front. But in view of the 
ruinous condition of every branch of military ad- 
ministration, I have felt that the very difficulty of 
the enterprise imposed upon me the obligation to 
accept. My vigils are entirely devoted to the task 
of relieving the necessities of my brothers in arms." 
(He then appeals to the generals to revive the old 
spirit of unity and enthusiasm which won the first 
victories of the Republic.) . . . " I have seen those 
glorious days when the generals did their duty six 
times over on the field of battle, and the promotion, 
which was conferred upon us, was the reward of those 
extraordinary exertions. It is by the same virtues 
and the same energy that liberty is to be reconquered. 
To win success, you have only to recall your past 
achievements. Resume once more the courageous 
attitude of former days. Awaken lofty sentiments. 
At your voice there will issue from the ranks those 
children of Liberty, who are bound to be her pre- 
servers. Spare no pains in seeking them out. Lose 
no time in pointing them out to me. They shall be 
promptly promoted. They are the men who will 
conquer Europe. ... 

" Friendship and confidence. 

" The Minister of War, Bernadotte."* 

■ Joseph and Lucien. * Moniteur, 9th July 1799 ; Gohier, i. 371. 


The writer of this circular retained, in all its 
pristine freshness, the enthusiasm, which had stirred 
him ever since the Revolution lifted him out of the 
obscure ranks of the old Royalist army. He had not 
— perhaps he never — realised the truth of the judg- 
ment passed upon the theories of the Revolution by 
a philosophic historian, — " toujours le meme contraste 
entre le nom et les choses, les memes phrases pour re- 
couvrir les memes mefaits.'" 1 He had not shared the 
general disillusionment, which had dogged the down- 
ward path of the Directory. His dream of liberty had 
turned out to be no " shadowy lie." But, to many of 
his readers this enthusiasm for liberty must have 
seemed to be an anachronism, and must have struck 
them as unseasonable and out of date. 

Another notable encouragement was conveyed 
to the army, when Bernadotte reinstated several 
generals who had been disgraced by his predecessor. 
Vandamme/ who was under the cloud of a pending 
prosecution, was reinstated, and was given a division 
in the army of Holland. Championnet, one of Berna- 
dotte's old comrades in the army of Sambre and 
Meuse, had been arrested at Naples and had been sent 
for trial before a court martial. Bernadotte had 
already offered to undertake the defence of his old 
comrade at his trial ; ' and one of his first official acts 
was to order Championnet's release, to appoint him 
to the command of the army of the Alps, and to 
vindicate him by the following letter, which was 
published as a sort of proclamation : — 

" Paris, le 20 Messidor (8th July). 
" To General Championnet. 

" The Directory, by its order of the present month, 
appoints you commander-in-chief of the army of the 

" Taine, 607. b Vandamme, i. 515. ' Championnet, 226. 


Alps. Thirty thousand brave men await you, im- 
patient to resume the offensive under your orders. 
A fortnight ago you were in chains. The 30th 
Prairial has delivered you. To-day public opinion 
condemns your persecutors. Your cause has become, 
so to speak, the cause of the Nation. Could you 
wish for a happier lot ? There are some who find 
in the accidents of the Revolution a pretext for 
calumniating the Republic. For men like you the 
suffering of injustice only intensifies the love of 
country. . . .Go, my friend, cover the traces of 
your chains with new laurels. Efface those traces . . . 
or rather preserve those marks of honour. It is 
useful to liberty to keep continually before our eyes 
the crimes of despotism. I embrace you as I love you. 

" Bernadotte."" 

However severely these effusions may be judged 
by a modern critic, who peruses them in cold blood, it 
is easy, even in cold blood, to understand how well 
calculated they were, in July 1799, to inspirit the 
dejected armies of the Republic. 

" Moniteur, 10th July 1799; Gohier, i. 370. 


The Minister of War and the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer — Bernadotte and Robert 

july-august i 799 

" La chronique contemporaine ne le montre tirant Tepee 
que pour menacer le ministre des finances, Robert Lindet, qui 
se d6fend en ouvrant silencieusement devant lui les caisses de 
l'etat et en les lui montrant completement vides." — Berna- 
dotte, Napoleon, et les Bourbons, par Leonce Pingaud, p. 34 
(referring to the scene between Bernadotte and Lindet). 

" Draw on me or on the National Treasury to the amount of two 
millions at 20, 30, and 40 days from this date. . . ." — Extract 
from letter addressed by Bernadotte, Minister of War, to General 
Joubert, general-in-chief of the army of Italy, 3rd August 1799. 

One of the first and most urgent of the questions, 
which faced Bernadotte in his new sphere of duty, 
was " that cursed want of pence which vexeth 
public men," and, of all public men, vexeth none 
more severely than a Minister of War. The armies 
were clamouring for food, clothes, materials, and 
arrears of pay. Their situation was perilous every- 
where, and not least in Italy, where the Austrians 
were supported by a Russian army under the famous 
Marshal Suvarov. Bernadotte did not hesitate to 
promise, in his proclamations to the generals and to 
the armies, that the necessary funds would be forth- 
coming, and that he would not rest until that.; happy 
result had been accomplished. Then followed one of 
those incidents, which must be of common occurrence 
in all Cabinets, — namely, an onslaught by the chief of 
a great spending department upon his colleague the 

a "La Revolution francaise," Revue historique, October 1897, 



384 ROBERT LINDET [chap, lxi 

guardian of the public purse. Rarely, perhaps, has 
it happened that a more vigorous assault has had 
to be made upon an emptier exchequer. The credit 
of the Republic was at its lowest ebb, and of ready 
money there was none. 

The new Minister of Finance was Robert Lindet/ 1 
one of the most interesting of the lesser lights 
of the Revolution. Robert Lindet had been Car- 
not's colleague and understudy in the organisation 
of the first victories of the Republic. He has been 
described by Thiers as " beloved by the patriots 
and respected by all parties." He had been a 
member of the terrible Committee of Public Safety ; 
but, like Carnot, had been as free from its bloodstains 
as a member of that Committee was capable of being. 
After the fall of Robespierre, he ran the gauntlet of 
parliamentary denunciation and of a criminal prose- 
cution. Having been acquitted, after a prolonged 
trial, he married happily, and retired to a restful seclu- 
sion, which the Directory, in July 1799, cut short by 
peremptorily calling upon him to take up the thank- 
less office of Chancellor of an empty exchequer. His 
appointment seems to have been due to the influence 
of Gohier, who was an honest man, and liked honest 
men. Lindet raised objections, which were quickly 
cleared away. He was appointed on 23rd July ; and 
one of his first experiences, after his installation, was 
to make the acquaintance of his colleague, the Minister 
of War, who was impatiently awaiting his arrival. 
Both Ministers were earnest, upright, patriotic men. 
But before they came to an understanding, they acted 
a little scene of comedy which has passed into history. 

Robert Lindet had no sooner entered upon his 
new office, than Bernadotte repaired to the Ministry 
" Aulard, Les Orateurs de la Revolution, ii. 536-539, 

july-aug. 1799] BERNADOTTE— LINDET 385 

of Finance, for the purpose of demanding from his 
colleague the necessary funds for placing the army 
in an effective state. A dramatic interview ensued. 
Bernadotte depicted the miserable condition of the 
armies of the Republic in wild and gloomy colours, 
and demanded instant reparation from the guardian 
of the national purse. Lindet painted, in no less 
dismal hues, a companion picture of the lamentable 
embarrassments of the national finances, and politely 
pointed out the impossibility of compliance with Ber- 
nadotte 's impassioned demands. Bernadotte then 
drew his sword and, in a fiery gasconade, threatened 
to transfix somebody — either Lindet, or, as is more 
probable, himself — if the necessary funds could not 
be immediately provided. 11 

There was nothing to be got by addressing Lindet, 
as if he were a military mutiny. The Finance Minister 
summoned his heads of departments, and soon con- 
vinced Bernadotte of the emptiness of the National 
Treasury. The problem was how to fill it, or how to 
supply its deficiencies . The bankers were approached/ 
and the Ministers were so far successful, that we find 
the following passage in a letter, of the 3rd August 
(i6thThermidor), addressed by Bernadotte to General 
Joubert, commander-in-chief of the army of Italy : — 

" Draw on me or on the National Treasury to the 
amount of two millions at 20, 30, and 40 days from 
this date. . . . You may give positive assurances 
to the bankers of Genoa, and to all others who shall 
provide you with these funds, that they will be 
fully satisfied here by the National Treasury. I 
shall soon let you know what I have done to obtain 
the means which I am giving you. 

" Bernadotte.'"" 

a Cf. Pingaud, 34. b See Chapter LXVII. infra. 

c Redon de Belleville, ii. 92. 

386 " COURAGE, BERNADOTTE ! " [chap, lxi 

The bankers of Genoa, and the others, who provided 
the funds, were not as quickly satisfied as they might 
have desired. Bernadotte remained in office for barely 
six weeks after writing this letter . We find that, nearly 
two years afterwards, so late as February and June 
1 80 1, Italian creditors were pressing the National 
Treasury for payment of two orders of 10,000 francs 
each, payable to them for money advanced for the 
army of Italy in pursuance of Bernadotte 's letter of 
3rd August 1 799 ; and the Treasury were holding out 
confident hopes of soon being able to meet these 
obligations." It is safe to assume that they were 
soon afterwards met with interest, and that, like 
Robert Lindet, they all escaped without a scratch. 

Enough has been said to show that Bernadotte 
was not slow or unsuccessful in exerting himself to 
keep his promise to send moneys to the army of 
Italy. He had already redeemed his promise to 
send materials. We find in the Paris newspapers, 
within a fortnight after his appointment, the announce- 
ment that the Minister of War had sent 100,000 
muskets to the army of Italy. To this announce- 
ment an editorial note was added : " Courage, Berna- 
dotte, the reward of thy activity will be the triumph 
of the Republican armies, peace, and the grateful 
affection of all Frenchmen 1 " l 

" Redon de Belleville, ii. 120, 140. 

* La Gazette de France (28th Mess.), 16th July 1799. 


The Minister of War and the Army of Italy — 
Bernadotte, Joubert, and Championnet 

july-august i 799 

" Joubert has perished in your midst, in the flower of his age. 
You heard his dying words. You have sworn on his tomb to 
avenge him. Your tears will not have been shed in vain." — 
Extract from Bernadotte' s address to the army of Italy after Joubert' s 
death at Novi, August 1799. 

Foremost among the generals, with whom the Minister 
of Warwasbrought into direct relation, was Barthelemy 
Joubert, the general-in- chief of the army of Italy. 
If ever the pathetic words, " What shadows we are, 
what shadows we pursue," fitted an episode of real 
life, that episode was the brief dream of happiness, 
glory, and power, which mocked young Joubert in 
the summer of 1799. 

At this point of time General Joubert was in his 
thirty-first year. His career had been like that of 
Bernadotte. He had run away from school at the 
age of fifteen, had enlisted as a volunteer, and had 
reached in a few years the rank of general. In the 
Italian campaign of 1796 he so conducted himself 
that Bonaparte, then and afterwards, bestowed 
greater praise upon him than upon Massena or any 
other general of his army, and said to the Directory, 
when starting for Egypt, " I leave you Joubert." 

We have seen how Bernadotte rejected Barras' 
invitation to become the military " sword " behind 

the coup d'etat of the 30th Prairial, and how 



Joubert eagerly seized the reversion of that oppor- 
tunity." Sieyes was looking everywhere for a general to 
help him in reconstituting on a new basis the Govern- 
ment of France, — in fact, to accomplish what Bona- 
parte did six months afterwards. He now made up 
his mind to select Joubert to play that part ; but 
Joubert's military reputation was not ripe for so great 
an experiment/ It was necessary to encircle his head 
with an aureole. It was with this object that Joubert 
was given the command-in-chief of the army of Italy/ 
Bernadotte was not in the secret of the Sieyes- Joubert 
enterprise. He would not knowingly have aided it. 
He was not prepared himself to embark, or to help 
anyone else to embark, in any such adventure. 

Young Joubert was on the point of being married 
to Mademoiselle de Montholon, stepdaughter of a 
prominent diplomat, M. de Semonville. He lingered 
too long in Paris over his wedding and brief honey- 
moon ; and, on his arrival at the head-quarters of his 
army, where he received loyal advice and help from 
General Moreau, found himself placed in a position 
of great perplexity. The surrender of some fortresses 
in North Italy by French garrisons had just released 
the besiegers, who were hurrying up to reinforce 
the enemy. In a few weeks Joubert would himself 
receive important reinforcements. What was he to 
do ? He decided not to wait, but to give battle 
at once against superior numbers. This was the 
battle of Novi, fought on 15th August. In leading 
a gallant charge, Joubert fell, mortally wounded, 
and, after murmuring his young bride's name, and 
exclaiming, " Forward, my men ! Forward ! " to 
his troops, he expired on the field. Thus perished 

" Chapter LIX., pages 369-371 supra. 
r b Sorel, v. 429, 430. c Vandal, i. 113. 

july-aug. 1799] JOUBERT FALLS AT NOVI 389 

Sieyes' deep-laid design, and the baseless fabric of 
young Joubert's brief dream of glory and of power. 

In the moment of national dejection, which 
succeeded the defeat of Novi and the death of 
Joubert, when Paris was draped in mourning," and the 
Directory was plunged in the depths of despondency, 
the Gascon Minister blazed forth with a vibrant 
address, which appeared in the Paris newspapers of 
30th August. It was much praised and admired, 
and served to turn the tide of public feeling, and to 
extract encouragement out of misfortune and defeat. 

" To the Army of Italy. 

" For three years Joubert remained unknown and 
unrecognised in the obscure ranks of the army ; and 
now his death has riveted the respectful attention of 
Europe. What is the secret of so great a reputation ? 
Soldiers of the fatherland, this is another of Liberty's 
miracles. She raises to the skies her generous de- 
fenders. . . . He has perished in your midst, in the 
flower of his age. As he fell from his horse, he 
exclaimed to you with his last breath, ' Forward, my 
comrades ! Forward ! ' You heard his dying words. 
You have sworn on his tomb to avenge him. Your 
tears will not have been shed in vain. . . . Rally round 
that eternal principle of victory — discipline ! It will 
bring back to you the success which is only delayed. 
Numerous reinforcements representing every arm of 
service are on their way to support you. Let the old 
soldiers give to the young conscripts the example of 
order and of duty. . . . Brave friends. The stock 
of brave generals is not exhausted. When we lived 
under kings, it was possible for men to say that 
nature requires repose after having produced a 
great man. But I see among you more than one 
Joubert, more than one Bonaparte. Liberty has 
transformed nature/ Bernadotte." 

It has been said that the concluding passage was 
praised by Bonaparte, when he read it afterwards. 
Vandal, i. 76. * Moniteur, 30th August 1799. 


Perhaps the complimentary reference to himself, 
coming from such a quarter, gratified him. It shows 
that Bernadotte, hardly ten weeks before the Revolu- 
tion of Brumaire, was proclaiming to the world his 
high appreciation of Bonaparte as the first General of 
the Republic ; and it confirms M. Dry's judgment 
that " ce que Bernadotte va detester en Bonaparte, 
ce n'est pas 1'homme mais le maitre.'" 1 

In consequence of Joubert's death, the army of 
Italy was united to that of the Alps, and the command 
of the two armies was conferred upon General 
Champ ionnet. The Minister embodied this appoint- 
ment in an impassioned proclamation, in which he 
reminded his old comrade of the spirit which had 
animated the army of Sambre and Meuse : — 

" You were one of the brave soldiers of that 
glorious army of Sambre and Meuse, in which we saw 
so many thousands of men presenting the picture 
of a single family, with no rivalry save emulation in 
the service of the commonweal. Honesty, Sobriety, 
and Discipline, austere and vigorous — these were the 
powerful forces which won for that army its high 
renown. They will again be your guides to Victory. 

" The Minister of War, Bernadotte."* 

But the Minister's messages to the army of Italy 
were not always messages of encouragement. There 
were others which were sent with a sterner purpose. 
The surrender of the fortresses in North Italy proved 
disastrous to France, because the besieging forces 
were thus set free to take the field. Bernadotte 
ordered the commandants to be brought before a 
court martial in a letter which concluded as follows : — 

"... It is, undoubtedly, to be regretted that 
signal examples should be necessary in order to en- 

" Dry, ii. 458. * Moniteur, 30th August 1799; Gohier, i. 375. 

july-aug. 1799] STERN MEASURES 391 

force military laws. No commandant can have been 
ignorant of the fact that those laws forbid capitulat- 
ing, before the town has stood an assault. Even if 
the laws had not so decreed, should not a French- 
man and a Republican find such a prohibition in his 
heart ? Do not courage and honour anticipate the 
law's decrees ? " a 

The fall of the fortresses reached a culminating 
point, when Mantua was surrendered by General 
Foissac-Latour, who was never afterwards forgiven. 
Thereupon the Minister wrote to the general-in- 
chief in Italy : — 

" The newspapers, Citizen General, published, some 
days back, the rumour of the surrender of Mantua. 
Such news is too extraordinary to find credence 
from those who know French valour. If, contrary 
to all probability, that surrender has taken place, 
whatever be the conditions, it must have been the 
result of treason. I order you, in the name of the 
Republic and of its interests and glory, to bring 
General Foissac-Latour and all his staff without 
delay before a court martial. 

" Health and brotherhood. 

" Bernadotte."^ 

" Barras, iv. 6, 7 ; (E.) iv. 6. b Moniteur, 22nd August 1799. 


The Minister of War and the Army in Switzer- 
land — Bernadotte and Massena 

august-september i 799 

" As a friend and a brother in arms it is my duty to remind 
you, and as a Minister I invite you to consider, that the orders of 
the Directory do not admit of delay." — Extract from despatches 
from Bernadotte to Massena, $th September 1799. 

" Although brave and skilful in the field of battle he 
(Bernadotte) did not possess the powerful breadth of vision and 
wealth of combinations demanded by a vast chess-board." — 
Memoires de Massena, par Koch. 

In the last chapter we described the relation of the 
Minister of War with the army of Italy. Let us now 
turn our attention to the army, which was operating 
in Switzerland. When Bernadotte was Minister of 
War, Massena was the general in command of the 
army " of the Danube," also called " of Helvetia," 
which occupied lines extending from Bale to the 
Alps." Massena had, in the first Italian campaign, 
earned the popular title of the " spoiled child of vic- 
tory " ; and his right to bear it was never challenged, 
until, in after years, he met Wellington in Spain. In 
1799 he was at the height of his reputation. 

There was no love lost between Massena and 
Bernadotte. We have seen, in a former chapter/ 
that when they met, for the first time, in the Italian 
campaign of 1797, their respective divisions became 
involved in violent controversies with each other, as 
a result of which good blood was shed, and bad 

" Massena en Sttisse, par Hennequin, 448-462. 
* Chapter XXXVIII., pages 219 et seq. 


blood remained. The two generals were not to 
blame ; but their personal relations were necessarily 
affected. Their tastes and characters were anti- 
pathetic. Bernadotte was energetic, with gracious 
and popular manners, inclined to be comparatively- 
just and upright in his dealings with conquered places, 
and with a decided disposition to try his luck in the 
field of politics as well as of war. Massdna was 
indolent and morose, fond of money and good living, 
and laid himself open from time to time to charges of 
rapacity. He always kept aloof from politics, saying 
to his comrades, " I have no taste for that kind of 
business, arrange it among yourselves." The only 
influence, that ever brought them together, was that 
of Madame Recamier, who, in the days of the Con- 
sulate, admitted them both to her intimate circle. 
Massena was the greater soldier of the two. He 
lacked the imagination which is necessary to make 
a great strategist. But he was a resourceful tactician. 
His energies might flag in the course of a campaign, 
but they were stimulated by the approach of the 
enemy, and he became inspired, when the time for 
action came. 

Bernadotte was so much occupied with the task 
of reorganising and reanimating the armies of the 
Republic, that he did not turn his attention to the 
strategy of the Swiss campaign, until the middle of 
August, when he made a report to the Directory 
sketching a general plan of operations for the army 
of the Danube." His proposals, which were adopted 
by the Directory, included two flank movements on a 
large scale. One of these movements, which involved 
the occupation of the Grisons and of St. Gothard on 
Massena 's right or southern flank, was carried out with 
* Jomini, xii. 355. 

394 MASSENA PROTESTS [chap, lxiii 

gallantry and success by General Lecourbe. But the 
other branches of Bernadotte's plan of campaign 
caused acute differences between Massena and the 
Government. Massdna resented a proposal to create 
a diversion on his left flank by sending 18,000 men 
to the Rhine from his main army ; and he resisted the 
pressure, which was put upon him by the Govern- 
ment, through the Minister, to give battle at once. 

The verdict, both of military critics such as 
Jomini, and of historians such as Thiers, seems to be 
that Massena was right in objecting to having his 
main army enfeebled by the subtraction of so large 
a detachment. On the other hand, Massena has been 
blamed by the same writers for his delay ; and his 
subsequent success has been said to have been 
accomplished in spite of that delay rather than in 
consequence of it." This is not the place to discuss 
these strategical problems, save in so far as they 
illustrate the relations of Bernadotte and Massena, 
upon which some light is thrown by the Gascon 
Minister's despatches of the 17th and 26th August 
and 5th September. 

On 17th August Bernadotte sent an urgent 
despatch to Massena giving him the alternative of 
giving battle at once, or of sending the detachment 
to the Rhine. He wrote : — 

" You must not delay an instant in carrying out 
the wish of the Directory. The first and last virtue 
of a soldier is obedience. I cannot too emphatically 
repeat that, if you have not the intention of fighting 
the battle, which France expects and the Directory 
desires, you are to order, on receipt of this letter, 
the departure of the 18,000 men."* 

Massena, indignant at this proposal to weaken his 
" Jomini, xii. 52-55 ; Thiers, v. 381-383. * Jomini, xii. 361. 

aug .-sept. 1799] BERNADOTTE INSISTS 395 

main army, at once tendered his resignation, hinting 
at ill-health and requesting the Government to appoint 
a successor. The Government were not in a position 
to press their views ; and we find Bernadotte writing 
on the 26th August : — 

" You will have perceived, by my letter of yester- 
day, that the sending of troops to the Rhine, which 
you were to have carried out, has been postponed. . . . 
I know well enough, Citizen General, your devotion to 
the Republic, to believe that you have forgotten the 
state of your health, and that you have no other 
wish than to justify the hope of the fatherland in 
this important crisis."" 

In a letter of 5th September the Minister again 
pressed Massdna to take the field. The " spoiled 
child of victory " cannot have been gratified at the 
following passages in Bernadotte's despatch : — 

" Do not prolong, Citizen General, the national sus- 
pense. The eyes of the Republic are turned towards 
you. They are impatient to see the new trophies 
which await the noble army of the Danube. . . . 
The Directory have informed me of your letter, in 
which you speak of a successor. They think, as I 
do, Citizen General, that you can have no successor, 
at this crisis, other than yourself ; that your glory bids 
you not to postpone the hour of victory ; and that 
the interests of liberty stand in need of your devoted 
services. The moment to fight and to conquer has 
arrived. ... As a friend and a brother in arms it 
is my duty to remind you, as a Minister I invite 
you to consider, that the orders of the Directory do 
not admit of delay (sont pressants) ." " 

It is not surprising to find that Mass^na's aide- 
de-camp, who wrote his biography, deals somewhat 
severely with Bernadotte's Ministry, and says of the 
Minister's strategy that " although brave and skilful 
in the field of battle he (Bernadotte) did not possess 
Jomini, xii. 365-367. 

396 A GUST FROM GASCONY [chap, lxiii 

the powerful breadth of vision and wealth of com- 
binations demanded by a vast chess-board.' "* 

Massena's friends accused Bernadotte of intriguing 
against a rival. The suggestion was as unworthy and 
absurd, as was Sarrazin's suspicion that Massena's 
delay was due to personal jealousy of Bernadotte.* 
Both Massena and Bernadotte were actuated by a 
sense of duty. We know from the memoirs of Barras 
and of Marbot that, when the directors went so far as 
to propose to remove Massena from his command, 
Bernadotte, acting apparently upon the advice and 
at the suggestion of the elder Marbot, persuaded 
them to suspend his recall/ Bernadotte also helped 
Massena by carrying out his idea of creating a diver- 
sion on his left flank. Not being able to get the 
18,000 men from Massena's main army, he improvised 
an emergency force ; gave to it the high-sounding 
title of the army of the Rhine ; and blazoned abroad 
the project of a serious invasion of Germany. So 
well did he succeed in the game of bluff that the 
Archduke Charles of Austria was called away from 
Switzerland with 15,000 men to repel the invasion, 
and, before he could get back to the theatre of war 
in Switzerland, Massena was able to win the battle 
of Zurich/ In this way Bernadotte blew a gust from 
Gascony into the sails of Massena's conquering ship/ 

" Massena, par Koch, iii. 297-299. 

4 Sarrazin, Guerre de 24. ans, 149. 

c Barras, iii. 471 ; Marbot, i. 34. 

d Sarrans, 32, 33 ; Lafosse, 192, 193. ' Jomini, xii. 55. 


The Minister of War and the Army of 
Holland — Bernadotte and Brune 

july-september i 799 

" It is to him (Bernadotte) that we owe the prompt help 
which was sent to Holland, nay, more, all the triumphs which the 
Republic has gained over its enemies." — Extract from letter from 
General Boudet to General Vandamme, 2,0th October 1799. 

" You are a man, a general, a Republican. You have proved 
that you are worthy of those three great titles." — Extract from 
letter from General Vandamme to Bernadotte, September 1799. 

While Bernadotte's efforts at the Ministry of War 
gave offence to Massena, they received a more grateful 
acknowledgment from the army of Holland, of which 
General Brune was the general-in-chief . Bernadotte 
and Brune had never come into collision ; and the 
Minister does not appear to have imposed upon 
Brune any strategical directions, but to have limited 
his energies to finding and forwarding the requisite 
men and materials. 

The proclamation, which Bernadotte addressed to 
General Brune, is an excellent sample of his circulars 
to the individual generals-in-chief . 

" To General Brune, General-in-Chief of the 
Army of Holland. 

" Victory, faithless for a time, cannot delay much 
longer revisiting the banners of the Republic. . . . 
I have been keenly sensible of your position. I 
have painted it in its true colours. I have pointed 
out to the Directory that the soldiers' subsistence has 
been withdrawn and wasted, and that instead of 
clothes, they have been given squalid rags. I have 
pointed out how deeply in arrears has been their pay, 


398 BERNADOTTE TO BRUNE [chap, lxiv 

how the cavalry has been neglected, the artillery- 
abandoned, the hospitals left derelict, how, in a word, 
every branch of the service has become disorgan- 
ised. . . . You can announce that speedy results 
will ensue. . . . The pay will be forwarded. The 
cavalry will be remounted. The artillery will be 
strengthened and set in motion. The subsistence of 
the soldiers will be assured. Sufficient funds will be 
provided to support the war until it is able to support 
itself. . . . Tell the army that they will be no longer 
the prey of famine and nakedness. . . . Generals and 
soldiers, you have come to the end of your sufferings, 
but not of your courage. The harvest time is at 
hand. A few more exertions, and you will give peace 
to the world. If your destinies are glorious, are they 
not also sweet, when crowned by such results."" 

Barras describes how the promises, which were 
proclaimed in this manifesto, were carried out. 
He tells us that Bernadotte, when attending the 
Directory, at the Luxembourg Palace, as Minister of 
War, suddenly rose from his seat, walked up to a map, 
which hung upon the wall, and delivered an im- 
passioned speech to the five assembled " kings " of 
France. After referring to the situation in Italy 
and in Switzerland, he devoted his peroration to the 
requirements of the army in Holland : — 

" See, Citizen Directors, what is going on at the 
other extremity of the Rhine. The English have 
landed in Holland, and General Brune is clamouring 
for reinforcements. You know my actual resources. 
What have I at my disposal? Nevertheless, they 
must be found, because, above all things, Holland 
must be saved. The consequences of its loss will be 
too deplorable. We must sacrifice everything for that 
supreme purpose. We shall save Holland — I swear it 
to you. As yet, I have only been able to send Brune 
fair promises. I have made promises to him, and I 
shall keep them. I am ransacking my reserves in 
every imaginable quarter. All that I can find, I cause 

• Lafosse, i. i86, 187, 193 ; Sarrans, i. 29. 

july-sept. 1799] SIEYES' CELL i 399 

to go, or rather to fly down the Rhine by express boats. 
I shall invent means — I shall create forces. . . . 
Holland must be saved." 

Barras says that Bernadotte carried his audience 
with him, and that Sieyes himself exclaimed : 
"General Bernadotte 's reasoning is unanswerable! 
His words are golden. Holland must be saved."" 

Sieyes required further pressure, before he was in- 
duced to comply with all the Minister's requirements. 
General Sarrazin, who was in charge of the department 
of the War Office dealing with the movement of troops, 
was sent by Bernadotte late at night to the Luxem- 
bourg Palace to obtain authority for the despatch of 
reinforcements for Holland. Sieyes was president, 
and had retired to rest. His servants refused to dis- 
turb their master, but his private secretary, recog- 
nising the pressing nature of the business, conducted 
Sarrazin to a remote apartment on the fifth storey, 
where he knocked several times at the wainscoted 
partition. A secret door opened in the wainscoting, 
and disclosed Sieyes occupying a cell, in which there 
was only room for a small bed. Sarrazin could not 
help laughing at the spectacle of one of the five 
governors of France sleeping in such a place ; 
but the required authority was obtained ; and the 
reinforcements were sped to Holland/ 

There is undeniable evidence that Bernadotte 's 
Ministry was highly appreciated by the army of 
Holland. Brune's victories at Bergen (19th September) 
and at Castricum (6th October) were won after the 
Minister's retirement ; but they were rendered possible 
by the promptitude and energy with which Berna- 

" Barras, iii. 467-470; (E.) 591-596. 

* Sarrazin, MSmoires, 118, 119; Guerres civiles, 419; Phil. ii. 
192, 193. 

4 oo BOUDET AND VANDAMME [chap, lxiv 

dotte, to use his own words, caused supplies and 
reinforcements " to go, or rather to fly " to Brune's 
assistance. The opinion of the army of Holland is 
expressed in two letters of Generals Boudet and 
Vandamme, two of Brune's best divisional com- 
manders, foemen worthy of the steel of Abercromby 
and Dundas, to whom they were opposed. 

General Boudet, who was sent by Brune to Paris 
with the treaty of peace, which concluded the cam- 
paign, wrote to his comrade Vandamme : " It is to him 
(Bernadotte) that we owe the prompt help which was 
sent to Holland, nay, more, all the triumphs which the 
Republic has gained over its enemies.'" 1 Vandamme 
himself wrote to Bernadotte from Holland : — 

"... You are a man, a general, and a Republican. 
You have proved that you are worthy of those three 
great titles." a 

" Vandamme, ii. 20, 21, 46. 


Bernadotte, Fouche, and the Jacobin Club 
july-september i 799 

"Des hommes fort etrangers aux exces de 1793 se rap- 
prochaient des Jacobins en presence des dangers de la patrie." 
— Martin, Histoire de France, iii. 43-45. 

On the 9th July 1799, a few days after Bernadotte 's 
appointment to the Ministry of War, the following 
announcement appeared in the columns of the 
Moniteur : — 

" The day before yesterday (i.e. 7th July) there was 
established in the Riding Hall (le Manege), attached 
to the Palace of the Council of Ancients, a society 
which occupies itself with political questions.'" 1 

This bald and indefinite statement covered the re- 
incarnation of the Jacobin Club, under the name of 
" The Society of the Friends of Equality and Liberty." 
The majority of orderly people shuddered at the 
revival of the grim memories, with which the name 
" Jacobin " was associated. The club was unable 
to find a suitable rendezvous, until the weakness of 
the authorities of the Council of Ancients admitted 
them to the very precincts, in which the Constituent 
and Legislative assemblies, and for a time the Con- 
vention itself, had held their sittings. Its admission 
to this historic meeting-place gave to the new society 
a wide advertisement ; and it came to be known as 
the Club of the Riding Hall (Club du Manege). These 
neo-Jacobins were strengthened by the countenance 

" Moniteur, 9th July 1799. 

402 THE " CLUB DU MANEGE " [chap, lxv 

extended to them by three well-known generals — 
Jourdan, Augereau, and Marbot, the latter the 
Commandant of Paris. These generals had no 
sympathy with Jacobinism, of which, in 1793 and 
1794, they had narrowly escaped being victims. But 
they feared a Royalist reaction, and deplored the 
decay of military enthusiasm and prestige. They 
saw in the club a Republican stronghold and a means 
of resuscitating some of the old driving force, by 
which the frontiers of France had been defended and 
her battles had been won. 

Whether Bernadotte was enrolled as a member, or 
ever entered its portals, is not very material. He was 
regarded by the Government, by the club itself, and 
by the public, as one of them ; and he did not conceal 
his belief in the usefulness of an institution, which he 
looked upon as a Republican fortress. The following 
appears to have been one of the few occasions, upon 
which, as Minister of War, he gave any official en- 
couragement to the club. On the 19th July the club 
orators complained that the officials at the War Office 
insulted the poor soldiers of the Republic, who came 
to the department for help or information. A few 
days afterwards a deputation from the club embodied 
their complaints in an address which they presented 
to " Bernadotte, Minister of War , Brother and Friend ."" 

Bernadotte responded by the issue of a circular 
which was not in itself objectionable : — 

" Bernadotte to the Heads of Departments in 
the Ministry of War. 

" Men who are deserving of trust complain that 
the defenders of their country have been badly 
received at the War Office. Please at once find out 
who is responsible for such unworthy conduct, and 

" Moniteitr, 19th, 2jst, 22nd, and 23rd July 1799. 

july-sept. 1799] THE RUE DU BAC 403 

inform me of the result of your inquiries. Is not 
the lot of the brave men who have been wounded in 
defence of their country already bad enough ? They 
are compelled to seek, and they have merit to receive, 
the pity of the nation. But, if they have been refused 
it, and if they have been turned away from the place, 
which ought to offer them refuge and help, what 
shall be their consolation ? What poor encourage- 
ment does such treatment give to those who risk 
their lives in fighting our battles ! With men of 
honour respect for misfortune is a sentiment before 
it is a duty. In the case of comrades-in-arms it is an 
imperative duty. For my part I cannot retain as 
colleagues men, who are capable of such disregard 
of duty and humanity. The Republic will not extend 
its favours to those, who show themselves so utterly 
devoid of natural good feeling. 

" Bernadotte." a 

This cautious circular, and the granting of a 
petition recommended by the club/ appear to have 
been almost the only official steps which Bernadotte 
is reported to have taken to meet its demands. 

Meanwhile, the club attained such unenviable noto- 
riety that it was ejected by the Council of Ancients 
from the Riding Hall, and was forced to find a new 
and incongruous home in the vacant Church of St. 
Thomas Aquinas, in the Rue du Bac. Its numbers 
rapidly increased, and at the beginning of August 
reached 3000. 

In view of this formidable awakening of Jacobin 
energy and organisation, the Directory, — upon the 
principle of " setting a thief to catch a thief," — re- 
called to Paris, Fouch£, their ambassador at the 
Hague, and appointed him Minister of Police. His 
mode of dealing with the Jacobin Club was cunning 
and quick. He began by striking a severe blow at the 
Moderates ; and, having thus established his character 
" Moniteur, 26th July 1799. * lb. 27th July 1799. 

4<m FOUCHF [chap, lxv 

as an unrelenting anti- Royalist, he turned his attention 
to the Jacobin Club in the Rue du Bac. 

The first step towards breaking up the Jacobins 
was to get rid of General Marbot, the Commandant 
of Paris, who was their formidable ally, and to appoint 
in his place General Lefebvre, in whom both Barras 
and Si eyes had reliance. 

It was not possible to get rid of Bernadotte at 
such short notice, but Fouche subsequently claimed 
to have disarmed him in another way. Ten years 
afterwards, Fouche told the story to Count Philippe 
de Segur during a saunter in the forest of Fontaine- 
bleau. His version of the incident ran as follows : — 

" I sent for Bernadotte, and said to him : ' Idiot ! 
where are you going to, and what do you want to do ? 
It would have been all right in 1793, when there was 
everything to gain by unmaking and remaking. But, 
what we wanted then, we possess to-day. And as we 
have got what we wanted, and should only lose by going 
on, why do so ? ' He had nothing to answer to this, 
and yet he persisted. Then I added : ' Do as you 
please, but just remember this : that after to-morrow, 
when I shall have something to say to your club, 
if I find you at the head of it, your own shall tumble 
off your shoulders. I give you my word of honour, 
and I shall keep it.' This argument brought him 
to a decision.'" 1 

There is no reason to doubt that Count Philippe de 
Segur has faithfully reported this remarkable state- 
ment of Fouche's. But we may be forgiven, if we 
suspect that Fouche slightly coloured the tone and 
substance of his allocution to Bernadotte. In the first 
place, Bernadotte, although a supporter of, and sup- 
ported by, the Jacobin Club, did not resort there, and 
was not likely to be found at its head. In the second 
place, he was not a person to be easily bluffed. Bluff 

S6gur, iii. 407 ; Vandal, i. 194 ; Fouche, par Madelin, i. 251. 

july-sept. 1799] MADAME DE STAEL 405 

was a game at which the Gascon was a past master. 
That the Minister of War was brought to his senses by 
a threat of decapitation by the Minister of Police pre- 
sents a situation, which does not seem to fit the two 
men who constituted it. It is more probable that 
Fouchd advised his colleague Bernadotte to " keep his 
head " in a less serious and more conventional sense. 

This appears to have been the first occasion upon 
which Bernadotte and Fouche were brought into per- 
sonal relations . Who could have foreseen that a time 
would come when the family of the Minister of Police 
were to find a home as subjects of the Minister of 
War ? But so it turned out ; and the descendants of 
Fouche reside to-day in Sweden under the sovereignty 
of a descendant of Bernadotte. 

Madame de Stael was, at this period, living in 
the Rue de Bac, not far from the meeting-place of 
the Jacobin Club. Both she and her friend, Benjamin 
Constant, came in for some rough handling from the 
orators of the club ." This did not, however, disturb her 
relations with Bernadotte. Writing of this period, she 
observed that, among the French generals, " one only, 
General Bernadotte, united, as the sequel has proved, 
the qualities of statesman and of a distinguished soldier. 
But he was then wholly devoted to the Republican 
party, which would no more approve of the subver- 
sion of the Republic, than the Royalists approved of 
the subversion of the throne."* 

Bernadotte's association with the Jacobins has, 
in other quarters, been exaggerated and misrepre- 
sented. The truth appears to be that he associated 
himself with the Jacobins at the same time, and for 
the same reasons, as his old chief, General Jourdan. 

" D'Abrant£s, Salons, ii. 415. 

* Considerations on the French Revolution, ii. 231. 

406 STILL A REPUBLICAN [chap, lxv 

Their attitude is referred to by the historian Martin 
in a passage, which is placed at the head of this 
chapter. They allied themselves with the Jacobins, 
because they appeared to be the only uncompromising 
Republicans. Bernadotte owed everything to the Re- 
public, and was grateful to her. " The iron " of the 
ancien regime had " entered into his soul." He revelled 
in the freedom of opportunity, which the Republic had 
bestowed upon himself, and, as it seemed to him, on 
others. Liberty and equality were concepts, which, 
though they may have been out of date and out of 
fashion, still fired his imagination, coloured his out- 
look, and dominated his will. 


The Temptations of a Minister of War in 1799 
— Bernadotte rejects Overtures from 
Royalists, Jacobins, and Bonapartists 

july-september i 799 

"The force of a temptation is not from without, but within." 
— Lord Morley. 

" For seven years France has been a Republic, and, as in duty 
bound, I have taken the oath to obey its laws. My heart repels 
falsehood, and is devoted to the maintenance of the Constitution 
and glory of my country." — Bernadotte' 's reply to the Royalist 

" Having been consulted by me on behalf of my friends, he 
(Bernadotte) declared that he was ready to take his place in our 
ranks, and to use his influence over the troops, but that, before 
doing anything, he would have to give up his portfolio, not 
wishing to abuse the confidence of the Directory for the purpose 
of overthrowing it." — General Jourdan's account of Bernadotte's 
reply to the Jacobin overtures. 

" Your brother (i.e. Napoleon) has no right to quit the army. 
He knows the military laws, and I do not think he will expose 
himself to punishment under them. He is too well aware of the 
consequences of such a proceeding." — Bernadotte's reply to Joseph 
Bonaparte's overtures. 

Bernadotte, during his Ministry of War, was ap- 
proached and tempted with the bait of rich rewards 
by all the parties in the State. 

Shortly after his appointment, Chiappe, an ex- 
Conventional of character and independence, who, 
on the occasion of the trial of the King, had the 
courage to declare that he would not " as a legislator 
assume the functions of judgment and condemnation," 
asked Bernadotte for an interview upon a subject 

which, he said, affected the public weal ; and Berna- 


408 A ROYALIST INVITATION [chap, lxvi 

dotte received him at the, for him, late hour of 
5 a.m. the following morning. 

Chiappe referred to the sad condition of France, 
and to the unstable position of the Republic. He said 
that a Royalist movement had been organised and 
would infallibly soon take shape in the return of the 
King. He added that the Due d'Enghien, as lieu- 
tenant-general of the royal army, was in Paris, and 
that he (Chiappe) was authorised to inform Berna- 
dotte of the state of affairs, and to add that the Prince 
was ready to accept such conditions as Bernadotte 
might make. It is said that the title of Constable 
of France was mentioned. In plain language, Berna- 
dotte was invited to play the part of General Monk 
and to bring back the Bourbons." 

This communication placed Bernadotte in a 
perilous position. A Minister of the Republic, he 
became the trusted recipient of treasonable confid- 
ences ; and was made aware of the presence in France 
of the outlawed Due d'Enghien, which was a crime pun- 
ishable with death. It is doubtful whether the Duke 
was really in Paris. Be that as it may, the situation 
in which the Minister was placed was one which might 
puzzle a casuist and embarrass any man of courage 
and of honour. Bernadotte dealt with it in his own 
rhetorical way, which had something about it, that 
was daring, dexterous, and chevaleresque . His reply 
was as follows : — 

" The Due d'Enghien will have no reason to 
repent the esteem he has exhibited for me. But how 
could he suppose that the loyalty of character, which 
he attributes to me, and to which he trusts, could 
allow me to listen to his proposals ? It speaks to me 
a different language, and tells me that, as a Minister 
of the French Republic, I can have no relations with 

" Sarrans, i. 36. 

july-sept. 1799] A JACOBIN PROPOSAL 409 

Royalists, except to oppose them. . . . For seven 
years France has been a Republic, and, as in duty 
bound, I have taken the oath to obey its laws. My 
heart repels falsehood, and is devoted to the main- 
tenance of the Constitution and glory of my country. 
. . . That was my rule of conduct under the old 
Monarchical Government ; that will always be my 
rule of conduct under the Republican regime. Take 
back this answer to him who sent you, and say that 
it is sincere and unalterable. . . . Add that for three 
days I shall keep the secret which you have com- 
municated to me. That will enable him to cross the 
frontier. But on the morning of the fourth day, I 
shall inform the Directory of all that has taken 
place. In the meantime, as this secret might reach 
the Directory through some other channel, I shall 
watch the departure of couriers and telegraphic 
despatches, and protect the escape of the Prince. 
But remember that to-day is the first of the three 
days that I give him. Bestir yourself in the matter, 
and recollect that the least indiscretion may be fatal 
to yourself."" 

From the Jacobin side Bernadotte was approached 
by a deputation, headed by General Jourdan, who 
waited on the Minister for the purpose of communi- 
cating their suspicions of Barras and Sieyes, inviting 
him to co-operate in emancipating the Republic from 
the influence of the suspected directors, and offering 
him the reward of high place. 

We have both Bernadotte's and Jourdan 's account 
of this incident. According to Bernadotte/ he 
stopped the discussion when he saw that it was 
approaching a perilous point, asked for proofs, 
which were, of course, not forthcoming, declined to 
associate himself, while a Minister, with any illegal or 
unconstitutional action, and delivered a speech which 
concluded in these terms : " No, citizens, I cannot 
agree to what you propose to me. It is not by a 

" Lafosse, i. 202-206. b Note historique. 

410 A BONAPARTIST BAIT [chap, lxvi 

succession of violent shocks that the Republic will be 
consolidated. The blood of a million Frenchmen has 
cemented this system of Government. I shall not 
lend myself to anything which tends to its destruc- 
tion." He then promised to observe secrecy on con- 
dition that his visitors abandoned their design. 

General Jourdan twice refers to the matter. In 
one place he says that Bernadotte declared that his 
conscience would not permit him to employ, against 
the constituted authorities of the State, powers which 
he held from them, but that, whenever he should leave 
the Ministry, he would return to his political friends, 
associate himself as a plain citizen with their hardiest 
enterprises, and take his place in their fighting ranks/ 1 
In another place Jourdan writes : — 

" I ought to relate, in reference to this subject, 
a characteristic trait of Bernadotte, which shows 
his loyalty of character. Having been consulted by 
me on behalf of my friends, he declared that he was 
ready to take his place in our ranks, and to use his 
influence over the troops, but that, before doing 
anything, he would have to give up his portfolio, 
not wishing to abuse the confidence of the Directory 
for the purpose of overthrowing it." h 

There remained a third quarter from which the 
Minister of War was tempted. Sieyes sounded him 
upon the subject of recalling General Bonaparte from 
Egypt, but was met by the question, "Would not 
that amount to offering him a dictatorship ? " Joseph 
Bonaparte then approached him, and began by 
remarking that Barras had, on several occasions, ex- 
pressed his regret that Napoleon was not in France. 
" But," added Joseph, " he may arrive any day." 
A look of such lively astonishment crossed Berna- 

* Jourdan, Notice sur le 18' Brumaire. 

b lb. Mim. inedits Le Carnet, vii. 161-163. 

july-sept. 1799] JOSEPH AND LUCIEN 411 

dotte's face, that Joseph, afraid that he had shown 
his hand too openly, hastened to add : " I am merely 
hazarding a guess. But such a thing may become 
probable or even be realised. As he has conquered 
Egypt, his work is done, and nothing remains for him to 
do out there." Bernadotte was not prepared to accept 
this view of the effect of the Egyptian campaign. He 
denied that Egypt had been conquered. " Besides," 
he added, " your brother has no right to quit the 
army. He knows the military laws, and I do not 
think he will expose himself to punishment under 
them. He is too well aware of the consequences of 
such a proceeding."" 

Joseph and Lucien Bonaparte now apprehended 
that their brother-in-law, Bernadotte, would be an 
obstacle, and, if in possession of the Ministry of War, 
a very formidable obstacle, to any unconstitutional 
enterprise. They communicated their fears to Sieyes, 
who, since the death of General Joubert, had begun 
to think of General Bonaparte as " the sword," by 
which his dream of a new Constitution was to be 
realised. Joseph was an easy-going man, but Lucien 
and Sieyes were ambitious, and vainly imagined that 
Napoleon would be content to be the military instru- 
ment of a revolution, of which they were to reap a 
substantial share of the political benefits. They did 
not foresee that Bonaparte would quickly absorb all 
the power of the State. Bernadotte, with a keener in- 
sight, perceived that, within the radius of Napoleon's 
ambit, there would be no room for any other star of 
the first magnitude. 

To a student of Bernadotte's life there is nothing 
incredible in this chapter of dramatic interviews and 
high-flown speeches. Benjamin Constant, who met 

" Note historique ; Lafosse, 208 ; Pingaud, 37. 

412 " DIEU VIVANT 1 " [chap, lxvi 

him frequently, on intimate terms, in the circle of 
Madame de Stael, has given a description of his 
eloquent conversation. When a subject interested 
him, he became an impassioned orator, giving rein 
to a vivid imagination and a rich vocabulary, holding 
his listeners' attention by dramatic gestures, a not 
unpleasing Bearnais " brogue," and a liberal sprinkling 
of " Entendez-vous ? " " Dieu vivant ! " and other 
Gascon phrases and terms of expression. Madelin 
calls him " le Bearnais aux beaux gestes " ; and it has 
been truly said of him that he was " peroreur par 
temperament, grandiloquent sans repit.'" 1 

Temptations have been said to come for men to 
" meet and master them " and " so be pedestaled in 
triumph." But there was no pedestal of triumph 
reserved for the Minister of War, who resisted tempta- 
tion in 1799. There was a coup d'etat in the air. Nearly 
every influential politician was conspiring for a coup of 
one sort or another. There was no use for a Minister 
of War, who was not prepared to be a conspirator, or 
a creature of conspirators. Bernadotte had rejected 
these roles ; and his days as Minister of War were 

a Madelin, Le Revolution, 548 ; Annates des Sciences Politiques 
(July 1799), 525-527. 





" We are no longer of any account. Nobody takes any notice 
of us. It is the Minister of War who constitutes the Govern- 
ment." — Siey&s speaking of Bernadotte, September 1799. 

" ' Feez et cortez ' (False and courteous)." — lb. 

" It has been made clear to me that you are all ice, when you 
ought to be all fire." — Bernadotte to Siey&s, September 1799. 

Taine says that Sieves, in his search for a " sword," 
to help him in a coup d'etat, " thought of" several 
generals, and, amongst others, of Bernadotte." If the 
ex-abbe thought of the Gascon, he soon realised that 
the " sword," which he was looking for, was not in that 
scabbard . Sieves had opposed the choice of a soldier 
for the Ministry of War ; and, as time went on, the 
Minister's proceedings made him more and more dis- 
satisfied/ He soon began to take umbrage at Berna- 
dotte's energy and growing popularity, which received 
a striking exemplification, when 600 veterans pro- 
ceeded to the Ministry of War and offered their 
services to the Minister/ 

Among the activities, which excited Sieyes' appre- 
hension, was the Minister's success in stimulating the 
national conscription, and in sending the conscripts 
to the frontiers fired with military ardour. Public 
spirit had fallen so low that the call for conscripts 

" Taine, 628. * Lucien Bonaparte, par Jung, i. 241. 

c Sarrazin, Guerres civiles, 422. 

414 THE CONSCRIPTS [chap, lxvii 

was met with widespread evasion and desertion ; 
and the young men, who responded to the call, 
lacked the zeal and elan, that had thrilled the 
volunteers in 1792. In this branch of his work the 
Minister was thoroughly at home ; and, addressing 
them as a soldier, who had himself risen from the 
ranks, he succeeded in striking the imagination, and 
in rousing the enthusiasm, of the recruits. 

The following is an example of his addresses to 
conscripts, when sending them to the front :— 

" Young Conscripts, — The moment approaches 
when you are to muster. The law summons you to 
the standards. A few days ago I reminded your 
chiefs of their duties. To-day I come to speak to 
you of yours. A soldier, whom the Revolution has 
drawn from the obscure ranks of the army, is able to 
trace for his young comrades the path, which he has 
pursued. If order is necessary in social life, the 
necessity is more rigorous in military life. The 
military career has its pains and fatigues. But it 
has pleasures which surpass them. If upon you 
falls the duty of securing the triumph of Liberty, 
you are the first who are invited to enjoy its ad- 
vantages. . . . The soldier of liberty takes up arms, 
only to defend his rights. The knowledge that this 
is so is the incentive to great actions ; and Liberty 
is their lever. To this creative inspiration we owe 
all the illustrious men, who are at this moment 
the glory of the Republic. The Coalition trembles at 
their irresistible ascendancy. They know that there 
are among you soldiers such as Bonaparte, Hoche, 
Joubert, Championnet, and many others their worthy 
rivals. ... I have laid bare the secret of your 
strength. . . . Think of the mightiness of France in 
the days of her slavery. How mighty shall she be 
now that she has become free ! . . . 

" The Minister of War, Bernadotte."" 

On 1 st September he held a review of conscripts 
at Courbevoye, to whom he said : a — 

" Moniteur, 15th August and 4th September. 

aug.-sept. 1799] SIEYES ALARMED 41 5 

"My children, you are the hope of the father- 
land. . . . There are among you great captains. It 
is your duty to give peace to Europe." 

The review took the form of a demonstration, of 
which the Minister was the object. The simple phrase, 
" There are among you great captains," hit the popular 
fancy, and gave an impetus to the conscription. 

Sieyes became every day more alarmed at the im- 
pression which Bernadotte was making upon public 
opinion. " His proclamations," he used to say, 
" animate and inflame France. We are no longer of 
any account. Nobody takes any notice of us. It is 
the Minister of War who constitutes the Government." 
Barras makes the following comment : — 

"It is quite true that Bernadotte was actually 
governing by his vigorous action. He was the only 
military, patriotic, and administrative bond, which 
prevented at this moment the breaking-up of the Re- 
public. Bernadotte was as simple-minded and loyal as 
he was energetic. All his plans and acts tended to the 
benefit and the defence of the Republic. They were 
marked by the utmost frankness, and would have 
served to strengthen the Directory, if the Direc- 
tory had been susceptible of union amongst its 

A further element of discord began to show 
itself, when the Minister's demands for men and 
materials were rejected by the director. On one 
occasion Sieyes dangled the command of an army 
before Bernadotte, who replied that he was not dis- 
posed to accept a command, while the chair of the 
Directory was occupied by a president, who could not 
be relied upon to afford the means necessary for win- 
ning a victory. " It has been made too clear to me 
that you are all ice, when you ought to be all fire," 
" Barras, iv. 5. 

416 " FEEZ ET CORTEZ " [chap, lxvii 

said the Gascon." This phrase hit off very happily 
the incompatibility of temperament, which divided the 
two men. Except on the occasion of these official 
encounters, the Minister always treated the director 
with the deference due to his age and his rank in 
the State. But this did not conciliate Sieyes, 
who quoted an old saw applied by the Spaniards 
to the Bearnais, " Feez et cortez," and used to say, 
" He is a Bearnais, and fully illustrates the truth and 
aptness of the proverb which sums up the character 
of the men of his country, ' False and courteous.' " 

Bernadotte's popularity with the Jacobins increased 
the uneasiness of Sieyes, who used to mutter, when 
the Minister entered with his portfolio, " What next 
is coming out of this box of the Jacobins ? " or, " Here 
comes Catiline." When plans for reviving public 
spirit came out of the box, the director used to say 
that the remedy was worse than the disease, and to 
complain that " Bernadotte, a former Chouan, would 
like to pose nowadays as a better patriot than my- 
self." Alluding to Bernadotte's beak-like nose, he 
once described him as " a thrush who imagined him- 
self an eagle," and declared that he (Sieyes) could no 
longer endure him/ 

The directors had many ears, and were informed 
of the propositions, which had been made to Berna- 
dotte. The reports, which reached them, were highly 
coloured ; c and more credence was given by Sieyes to 
the dangerous nature of the Jacobin overtures, than 
to the sincerity of their rejection by the Minister. 

Sieyes' apprehensions were strengthened by Berna- 
dotte's good repute among the more stable classes of 

" Lafosse, 206. 

* Barras, iii. 472, 473, iv. 10; (E.) iii. 598, iv. 11. 

e Sarrazin, M6moires, 117, 118; Guerres civiles, 413. 

CT- W 

M O 



£u o 

s ■= 



S Q 

aug. -sept. 1799] JOURDAN'S MOTION 417 

society." The directors were kept informed of all that 
went on at the War Office, where it was reported 
that, when the bankers of Paris were approached 
by the Ministers of Finance and of War with a view 
to a loan for war purposes, Perregaux, their spokes- 
man, said that they were willing to advance money 
to Bernadotte at his personal risk or peril, but, 
if he asked it as Minister, they would not advance 
fifty francs, so discredited was the Directory's paper/ 

The crowning event, which impelled Sieyes to 
take strong measures for the removal of Bernadotte, 
was a parliamentary crisis, in which the director saw 
a danger so urgent, as to require that the Ministry of 
War should be in more dependable custody. 

The Jacobins, having failed to induce Bernadotte 
to lend his aid to a coup d'etat, resolved to attain their 
objects by parliamentary methods. General Jourdan 
proposed, on the 13th September, that the Council of 
500 should declare the country in danger/ A motion of 
this kind had the gravest possible significance. Its 
effect would be to suspend the Constitution, and 
to justify a resort to extraordinary measures, which 
might be all the more terrible because they were un- 
defined. A similar parliamentary resolution had been 
utilised in 1792, in order to overthrow the Monarchy. 
It had about it the ring of a tocsin-bell of terror. The 
anti-Directorial party in the Council was in a majority ; 
but, it included a considerable number of moderate 
men, who were disposed to shrink from unsheathing 
a weapon, which was associated in their minds with 
grim memories and vague alarms. 

In order to influence the waverers, the Jacobins 

" Sarrazin, Guerres civiles, 417. 

* lb. Memoir es, 116; Guerres civiles, 416; Phil. ii. 189. 
c Moniteur, 16th September 1799. 

4i 8 A PARLIAMENTARY CRISIS [chap, lxvii 

organised a demonstration which was to assemble 
near the Council chamber, and to personify the force 
of public opinion. The Directory realised the danger, 
and gave specific directions to General Lefebvre, the 
commander of the garrison of Paris, for the preser- 
vation of order and for the protection of deputies from 
mob interference. When Bernadotte, in the regular 
course of his duty, came to give his instructions, 
Lefebvre observed that he had already received his 
commands from the Directory. Bernadotte fired off 
a volley of gasconades, which were promptly reported 
to Sieyes, and increased the latter 's perturbation." 

Sieyes was now resolved that before the pending 
parliamentary crisis came to a head, Bernadotte 
should be got rid of. How he carried out his purpose 
will be related in the next chapter. 

■ Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 193, 194. 


The End of Bernadotte's Ministry — Was it 
Resignation or Dismissal? 

september i 3— i 5, 1799 

" The Executive Directory, Citizen Minister, in accordance 
with the wish, which you have so frequently expressed, to 
resume active service with the armies, has replaced you at the 
Ministry of War." — Sieyis, President of the Directory, to Berna- 
dotte, September 14, 1799. 

" Citizen Director . . . you accept a resignation which I 
have not given." — Bernadotte's reply. 

" II est au moins certain que le Bearnais fut, pour cette fois, 
le dupe de sa Rhetorique." — Albert Vandal, V Avenement de 
Bonaparte, i. 190. 

Sieyes, in pursuance of his resolve that Bernadotte 

must go, summoned a meeting of his colleagues to 

consider the urgent necessity of a change at the 

Ministry of War. As two of the directors, Gohier 

and Moulins, were opposed to a dismissal, Sieyes 

endeavoured, in the first instance, to negotiate the 

Minister of War's resignation. It was, however, 

no easy matter to find a suitable and willing 


The first go-between, whom the Directory hit 

upon, was Cambaceres, Minister of Justice.* They 

proposed to him to undertake the Ministry of War 

ad interim, and to arrange with Bernadotte for his 

retirement. Cambaceres was an accomplished lawyer, 

and a skilful manager of popular assemblies. But it 

was one thing to undertake to draft a code, or to 

handle an assembly. It was a very different thing 

' Vandal, i. 189. 

420 SIEYES TRIES CAJOLERY [chap, lxviii 

to be suddenly called upon to break it gently to a 
fiery Gascon, that, in the opinion of the Executive 
Government, his services as Minister were no longer 
necessary or advantageous to the welfare of the army 
or the State. Cambaceres politely declined to act 
as the honest broker in such a delicate deal. 

Sarrazin was next sent for, and was told that it 
was painful to the Directory to occasion any morti- 
fication to Bernadotte, whom they highly valued ; that, 
unfortunately, he had been misled into acting the part 
of a Jacobin against the Government, who could no 
longer continue him as War Minister ; but that, if he 
agreed to resign, they would appoint him commander- 
in-chief of the army of the Rhine." 

Bernadotte required time to consider this proposal . 
But Si eyes would not brook delay ; and, as negotia- 
tions through agents had failed, himself tried his 
hand at cajoling the Minister into a voluntary re- 
signation. There ensued a characteristic scene of 
comedy between the director and the Gascon. 

Having summoned the Minister, on the pretext of 
consulting him about the organisation of an army, 
Sieyes launched into some insincere compliments and 
congratulations, and added : " We are not surprised 
that you have always preserved the wish to take 
command, on leaving the Ministry, of one of those 
armies, which you have fired with the enthusiasm 
which animates them . ' ' Bernadotte replied that , when 
he had completely reorganised the armies, re-estab- 
lished order in all branches of his department, and 
rendered an account of his stewardship, his best recom- 
pense on leaving the Ministry would be an order from 
the Government to rejoin his old comrades in arms/ 

■ Sarrazin, Memoires, 122 ; Phil. ii. 195 ; Guerres civiles, 421. 
* Gohier, i. 139-140; Lafosse, i. 213, 214. 

sept. 1799] BARRAS INTERVENES 421 

Some writers have stated that Sieves proceeded 
forthwith to treat this conditional reply as an im- 
mediate offer of resignation." But Barras tells us 
that he (Barras) now stepped in, and took up the 
negotiations for the Minister's retirement. 

Barras frankly proclaims the motive, which led 
him to unite with Sieyes in getting rid of Bernadotte. 
He came to the conclusion that either Sieyes or Berna- 
dotte must go. He selected the line of least resist- 
ance. He saw that it would require a coup d'Mat to 
displace Sieyes, while it would be comparatively easy 
to induce Bernadotte to give way by an appeal to 
" his heart," which was so " capable of noble emotion." 
So, he sent for Bernadotte, and proceeded to extricate 
the Government from their difficulty by playing upon 
the Gascon's moral sensibilities. 

Barras opened the attack by telling Bernadotte 
that Sieyes was alarmed at his continuance in office, 
regarding it as a source of public danger, and be- 
lieving that Bernadotte was on the point of doing 
him some grievous mischief. He assured the Minister 
that he (Barras) had tried in vain to disabuse Sieyes' 
mind of these apprehensions. Such a situation could 
not be allowed to continue ; and, as Sieyes would not 
retire, nothing but a coup d'etat removing Sieyes, or the 
resignation of Bernadotte, would solve the difficulty. 
He implored the Minister to give way in order to pre- 
vent public trouble and scandal. He then appealed 
to his military spirit : — 

" Is the occupation of a Ministerial arm-chair 
equal to being on horseback in command of an army ? 
Is it not at the head of an army that true fame is to 
be won, especially in the case of a soldier who has 
shown what manner of man he is, and who knows 

" Lafosse, i. 214 ; Sarrans, i. 37 ; Gohier, i. 140. 

422 BARRAS HITS THE TARGET [chap, lxviii 

of no glory superior to his own, except that which 
still remains for him to win ? " 

Barras' shots were well directed, and hit their 
target at the centre. His appeal to Bernadotte to 
sacrifice himself for the sake of securing public peace 
touched the emotional Gascon, who delivered a 
rhetorical reply, from which we may quote some 
sentences : — 

" You speak of commanding troops — I not only 
command them at present, but I direct them all ; 
and we are on the eve of attaining great results .... 
After all my well-laid plans, we cannot but be vic- 
torious. At the moment when I have carried the 
game so far, it would be very painful for me to 
abandon the chess-board, with which the Directory 
has intrusted me. . . . Do you ask me to re- 
linquish my office to another ? I have no thirst for 
office. Let him who has that thirst, come and slake 
it. Do they want my resignation for the sake of 
peace? Very well ; I will give you my resignation." 

Barras says that Bernadotte was moved to tears, 
and that he himself, cynic though he was, was so 
deeply touched by the magnitude of the sacrifice, 
which the Minister was making, and by his manner 
of offering to make it, that he did not like to take 
him too promptly at his word. He accordingly pre- 
vented him writing his resignation on the spot, leaving 
him to act freely and in his own way." 

Barras, on his return from this interview, said to 
Sieyes, whom he found alone, " Your distrust of Berna- 
dotte will now be removed. I have just left him. It 
is impossible to find a Minister less attached to power, 
or a citizen more devoted to his country, or more deter- 
mined to save it. He has offered me his resignation. 
He is about to give it." " I shall not believe it," said 
• Barras, iv. 12, 13 ; (E.) iv. 14, 15. 

sept. 1799] TAKEN AT HIS WORD 423 

Sieyes, " until I see it signed by his hand. He is one of 
those changeable Gascons, from whom nothing is ob- 
tained, unless they are taken at their word." " There 
is no necessity for doing so," said Barras. " He has 
been taken at his word and has shown the most 
entire disinterestedness." 

Sieyes, however, regarded every moment that 
Bernadotte remained in office as a possible source 
of public and of personal danger. "We must," he 
said, " take him at his word again. We shall make a 
mistake, if we await his resignation. Let us make an 
order at once, as if the resignation had been already 
received. Or, rather, let us treat it as having been 
received." Sieyes, having procured Barras' agree- 
ment to this course, sent for his colleague and faithful 
henchman Roger Ducos. These three directors, con- 
stituting a majority of the Directory, adopted the 
following letter, which Sieyes wrote out and signed 
as president : — 

" Paris, 28 Fructidor,An. VII. (14th Sept. 1 799). 

" The Executive Directory, Citizen Minister, 
in accordance with the wish, which you have so 
frequently expressed, to resume active service with 
the armies, has replaced you at the Ministry of War. 
They intrust the portfolio of war ad interim to General 
Milet-Mureau. You will deliver it to him. The 
Directory will receive you with pleasure during your 
stay in Paris, in order to confer with you about the 
command for which they destine you. 

"Sieyes, President."" 

Barras tells us that never was a poet prouder of 
his verses than Sieyes of this letter, which was accom- 
panied by the following decree : — 

" Moniteur, 17th September 1799. 

424 SECOND THOUGHTS [chap.lxviii 

" The resignation given by the Citizen General 
Bernadotte of his office of Minister of War has been 
accepted.'" 1 

When Bernadotte received these communications, 
he wrote, in the first instance, a comparatively tame 
and respectful letter expressing his regret for having 
lost the confidence of the Government through 
misrepresentation, and assuring them of his zeal in 
the service of the Republic ; and handed it to General 
Sarrazin, to be transmitted to the Directory/ 

Before this letter was despatched, his secretary, 
Rousselin de St. Albin, came to inform him of the 
arrival of a general, with instructions to take over the 
charge of the Ministry until the appointment of a new 
Minister. In view of this summary and uncere- 
monious procedure, the Minister told his secretary 
of his conversation with Barras, and of the letter 
which he had just written. Rousselin de St. Albin, 
who— as was the case with all Bernadotte 's aides-de- 
camp and subordinates — was much attached to his 
chief, considred that the proposed reply was un- 
worthy of his reputation for courage and independ- 
ence. He advised the Minister to withdraw the 
answer, which he had written, and proposed to tear up 
the letter, reminding him of the case of Sully tearing 
up the promise, which Henri iv. wrote to Madame de 
Verneuil. The Secretary could not have selected an 
historical parallel more likely to weigh with the Bearn- 
ais, who, accepting his advice, withdrew the first 
letter, and substituted the following epistle, which 
was published in all the newspapers, and passed into 
history : ' — 

Barras, iv. 14; (E.) iv. 16. Gohier, i. 136-139. 

Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 196. c Barras, iv. 16, 17 ; (E.) iv. 18, 19. 

sept. 1799] "THE VERDICT OF HISTORY" 425 

" Citizen Director, — I have received your decree 
and the polite letter which accompanied it. You 
accept a resignation which I have not given. I have, 
on several occasions, represented to you the cruel 
situation of my brothers in arms. Deeply afflicted at 
the insufficiency of the means at the disposal of the 
War Department, I may have desired to escape from a 
position in which I am powerless to help them, and 
tormented by that sad reflection I may have expressed 
the wish to return to the armies. Now, when I am 
preparing to render the account of my Ministry up to 
1 st Vendemiaire (22nd September) you inform me that 
you destine me for a command. You add that you 
appoint the Citizen Milet-Mureau ad interim, to hand 
over my portfolio to my successor. 

" I have felt bound to state the facts for the sake of 
Truth, which is beyond our control, Citizen Director. 
It belongs to our contemporaries and to the verdict 
of history which awaits us. 

" After twenty years of uninterrupted labours you 
will be able to judge whether or not I have earned 
retirement on half-pay. I do not conceal from you 
that I stand in need of repose. 

" Citizen Milet-Mureau shall receive all the in- 
formation from me that he may require. 

" Bernadotte."" 

The directors Gohier and Moulins appear to have 
signed the official minute of the meeting of the 
Directory of the 14th September, which, written 
in Sieyes' handwriting, records the acceptance of 
Bernadotte's resignation/ Their indorsement of the 
minute may have been a mere official formality, as was 
sometimes the case in the era of the Revolution/ At 
all events they publicly dissociated themselves from 
it. Gohier, in his memoirs, tells us that the transac- 
tion was carried out in his absence, and that Moulins 
only heard of the dismissal on the following day. 

When Gohier and Moulins became aware of what 

" Moniteur, 17th September 1799. * Vandal, i. 577. 

c See Carnot's Reply to Bailleul, 147. 

426 SIEYES HAS THE LAST WORD [chap, lxviii 

had happened, they at once repaired to their colleagues 
and asked whether Bernadotte was still Minister." 
" We have received his resignation," said Sieves. 
" It is not true that he gave it," said Moulins. 
" And even if he did," said Gohier, " had you any 
right to accept it in the absence of two colleagues, 
who, as you are aware, had entire confidence in 
him ? " Barras replied that the majority of the 
directors could legally act in the absence of the 
minority. He admits, however, in his memoirs, that 
Gohier was justified in replying that this was one of 
those grave matters upon which all the directors 
should have been consulted. Sieyes, in explaining his 
motives to Gohier, referred to Bernadotte as one of 
the "premiers coryphees" of the Jacobins. Gohier 
retorted, " Has not Bernadotte given us sufficient 
proof of his zeal and fidelity ? If our army is ready 
to take the offensive, to whom do we owe it ? If 
twenty thousand conscripts are taking their places 
under our banners, to whose call have they re- 
sponded ? " Sieyes replied, " I have not forgotten what 
Bernadotte has done. But if the fatal declaration (i.e. 
that the country was in danger) puts arms into the 
hands of the Jacobins, I know what he could do at 
the head of a party who wish to dominate us all." i 

Gohier and Moulins were not satisfied with mere 
protests. They made a State visit to Bernadotte. 
Arrayed in their robes of office, and escorted by 
the Directorial guard, they proceeded, through the 
streets and boulevards, to Bernadotte's little house in 
the Rue Cisalpine, and expressed to the ex-Minister 
their sympathy and their appreciation of his services/ 
This public visit rendered Bernadotte's dismissal a 

" Gohier, i. 143. * Barras, iv. 20; Gohier, i. 127. 

c Barras, iv. 20; Lafosse, i. 218. 

sept. 1799] "DUPEOFHISOWN RHETORIC" 427 

disgrace with honour, which, like his retirement from 
the Viennese Embassy, served to increase his popu- 
larity and to enhance his reputation for independence 
of character. 

Sieyes' object was attained. The news of Berna- 
dotte's dismissal reached the Council of 500 on the 
second day of the debate upon General Jourdan's 
motion to declare the country in danger. A scene of 
intense excitement ensued. The Republican party 
took it as a blow directed against themselves and 
as the prelude to some coup d'etat." But the victory 
rested with Sieyes ; for the incident helped to dis- 
hearten the waverers, and to bring about the defeat of 
General Jourdan's motion, which was rejected by 245 
votes to 172/ We may rest assured that the triumph- 
ant president experienced considerable satisfaction, 
when, again taking the Gascon at his word, he indited 
and transmitted to him the following laconic decree : — 

" 30 Fructidor, An VII. (16th Sept. 1799). 

" In view of the letter of the Citizen Bernadotte, 
General of Division, of the 29th instant, in which he 
requests his retirement on half-pay, retirement on 
half-pay is accorded to the Citizen Bernadotte, 
General of Division. „ ^^ p resident .„, 

Thus ended an incident in which Bernadotte was 
out-played at every point by cooler antagonists. 
" The Bearnais," as Vandal observes, " was, on 
this occasion, the dupe of his own rhetoric." d Was 
it a case of dismissal or of resignation ? The question 
has been happily answered by describing Bernadotte 
as " demissionnaire malgre lui." ' 

" Gohier, i. 136, 137. b Moniteur , 19th Sept. 1799. 

c Barras, iv. 18 ; (E.) iv. 20. d Vandal, i. 190. 
* Pingaud, 40. 


Judgments passed upon Bernadotte's Ministry 
of War by Bonaparte, Barras, Berna- 
dotte himself, and by the swedish charge 

" During the time that Bernadotte was Minister, he com- 
mitted nothing but blunders, and organised nothing." — 

"Bonaparte lived and made armies live for several years 
on the immense materials which Bernadotte, with his patriotic 
ardour and eloquence, had created by a few months' labour." — 

"The glory of battles won belongs in the first place to the 
generous soldiers who lose their lives in daily engagements, 
next to the intrepid generals who electrify them and stimulate 
their courage, and, in the last place only, to the Ministers." — 

" Known, if not as an anarchist, at least as an enthusiast 
for unlimited liberty." — Baron Brinkmann, the Swedish Charge" 
a" Affaires, writing of Bernadotte in September 1799. 

Napoleon said at St. Helena that " during the 
time that Bernadotte was Minister, he committed 
nothing but blunders, and organised nothing."" 
Barras, on the other hand, declared that Bonaparte 
owed all the victories of the Marengo and Hohenlinden 
campaigns to " the material and personnel prepared 
by Bernadotte," and that the First Consul " lived and 
made armies live for several years on the immense 
materials which Bernadotte, with his patriotic ardour 
and eloquence, had created by a few months' labour." 
Gohier's opinion is to the same effect/ 

That Napoleon should depreciate Bernadotte's 

" Corr. de N. xxx., 317. 

* Barras, iv. 127 ; (E.) iv. 162. Gohier, i. 88 et seq. ' 


Ministry was necessary to his case, which was summed 
up in the celebrated allocution which he hurled at the 
head of Barras' secretary, as his justification of the 
revolution of Brumaire. " What have you done with 
that France which I left you in such a glorious posi- 
tion? I left you peace, I have found war. I left you 
victories, I have found defeats. I left you the millions 
of Italy, I have found everywhere spoliation and 
misery. What have you done with the hundred 
thousand Frenchmen whom I knew, the companions 
of my glory? They are dead."" It did not suit 
Bonaparte to admit that there was a single gleam of 
sunshine in the picture, which he was interested in 
painting in the gloomiest colours. On the other hand, 
Barras and Gohier were driven to exaggerate the 
merits of Bernadotte's Ministry, because it was the 
only good asset in the Directorial balance-sheet. We 
may set off their judgment against that of Bonaparte. 

Contemporary military opinion was divided. 
General Servan, an ex-Minister of War and a military 
historian, praises Bernadotte's firmness and resource- 
fulness. We have seen that he was appreciated in 
Brune's army, and criticised in Massena's/ Massena's 
biographer makes the mistake of attributing Berna- 
dotte's dismissal to his difference with Massena ; c and 
does not seem to have been aware that the Directory 
would have recalled Massdna, if Bernadotte had not 
dissuaded them. 

Bernadotte's judgment upon himself is contained 
in his official report to the Government, in which 
he claimed that, by his appeals to the army, he had 
electrified soldiers worn out with fatigue ; that he had 

* Vandal, i. 306. 

* Servan, quoted by Sarrazin, Guerre de 24. ans, 170. 
c Massena, par Koch, iii. 301, 342. 

43o GASCON MODESTY [chap, lxix 

clothed, equipped, and armed 91,000 conscripts; that 
he had raised 40,000 horses, of which 15,000 had 
already been used as remounts ; and that he had sent 
food, clothing, equipments, and reinforcements to 
the armies. He concluded with a modest disclaimer, 
which deserves to be quoted : — 

" Some Republicans have seen fit to think that the 
moral strength , which I had imparted to the armies , had 
exercised no little influence over the brilliant successes 
which followed immediately upon my exit from the 
Ministry. I am far from acquiescing in this opinion. 
Granting that I contributed to a few useful 
combinations, to the creation of an army on the 
Lower Rhine, the diversion created by which so 
opportunely induced Prince Charles to march out of 
Helvetia ; granting that I warded off an attack on 
a fortified town, that I hastened the provisioning 
of some of them, and unceasingly urged upon the 
Directorate the necessity of furnishing resources to the 
army of Italy, I would still refuse to accept the share, 
which it is sought to attribute to me in these memor- 
able events. Ministers are doubtless performing their 
duty when they feed, clothe, and equip armies, and 
when they direct a few measures favourable to their 
combined progress ; but it gives me pleasure to state 
openly that the glory of battles won belongs in the first 
place to the generous soldiers who lose their lives in 
daily engagements, next to the intrepid generals .who 
electrify them and stimulate their courage, and, in the 
last place only, to the Ministers.'" 1 

Barras, commenting upon this extract from Berna- 
dotte's report, adds : " The noble sentiment of 
justice and disinterestedness, which pervades this 
report, will reveal the principle of my estimation, 
and the reason of my praise." The modesty of this 
report of Bernadotte's is certainly very striking. 
But he seldom indulged in gasconades for the 
sake of boasting. He turned his native power of 
" Barras, iv. 132 ; (E.) iv. 168, 169. Blomberg, ii. 31. 

sept. 1799] BARON BRINKMANN 431 

bluff and bravado to more practical purposes. They 
were weapons of offence and defence, which he 
wielded in conversation, debate, diplomacy, and 
even in campaigning. Sometimes they got out of 
hand, or missed fire ; and brought him sadly to grief. 
But, as a rule, they were not resorted to for mere self- 
glorification . 

The Swedish charge d'affaires in Paris, in September 
1799, was Baron Brinkmann. Five days after the 
retirement of Bernadotte he wrote to his Government 
a report upon the fall of the Minister of War. He refers 
to Bernadotte 's administrative virtues, disinterested- 
ness, personal rectitude, activity, and popularity, 
and he attributes his fall to the rumours, which were 
carried to the directors, that he was about to use 
his position for the overthrow of the Directory. He 
goes on to describe him as " known, if not as an anarch- 
ist, at least as an enthusiast for unlimited liberty.'" 1 
Hardly ten years passed away before the time came, 
when Baron Brinkmann was summoned to Helsingfors 
from the Swedish legation in London to join in wel- 
coming this enthusiast for unlimited " liberty," on his 
arrival in Sweden in the character of Crown Prince of 
that ancient kingdom ; and the Baron lived long 
enough to realise that Bernadotte could be an 
enthusiast for Order as well as for Freedom. 

■ Corr. diplomatique du Baron de Stael-Holstein, 322. 




" His " (Bernadotte's) " popularity remained a real one ; his 
striking appearance, his eloquence, his cordial manners, something 
grand and sumptuous in his greeting, gave him influence and 
hold over men. To all appearance . . . nobody appeared more 
closely connected with Bonaparte, as he had married Desiree 
Clary, Joseph's sister-in-law. Yet nobody was less to be relied 
upon than this quasi-relative." — Vandal, i. 280, 281. 

" L'homme obstacle." — Name given to Bernadotte by Bonaparte 
in connection with the coup d'dtat of Brumaire. 






LXX. Bernadotte takes a Rest — The Return of 

Bonaparte from Egypt . . . 435 
LXXI. Bonaparte and Bernadotte before the 

1 8th Brumaire .... 440 

LXXII. Bernadotte on the i8th Brumaire . . 449 

LXXIII. The Morning of the icjth Brumaire . 457 

LXXIV. The Afternoon of the iqth Brumaire . 461 

LXXV. The Flight of the Bernadottes after 

Brumaire — The Forest of Senart . 469 

L'Envoi ..... 475 

The Afternoon of the 19TH Brumaire — " Hors la loi " 464 



Bernadotte takes a Rest — The Return of 
General Bonaparte from Egypt 

september i j -october 1 6, i 799 

" I cannot attribute to myself any share in these victories. . . . 
They were prepared by my predecessor." — Dubois Cranci 
(Minister of War in succession to Bernadotte) announcing the vic- 
tories of Zurich and Bergen to the Directory, October 1799. 

" I have no fear that Bernadotte will consent to my assassina- 
tion. But he will harangue the troops, and that is what gives 
me anxiety." — Bonaparte before Brumaire. 

After his retirement from the Ministry of War 
Bernadotte enjoyed a month of complete repose in 
his little house in the Rue Cisalpine. He lived in 
seclusion, receiving a few friends, among whom were 
Joseph and Lucien Bonaparte. One of his military 
subordinates has given an interesting account of the 
ex-Minister's simple life." 

Bernadotte 's greatest pleasure was to play with 
his little son, Oscar, who was hardly three months old. 
He kept a pet hind in his garden, which ate out of 
his hand and slept at his feet. He had other com- 
panions who were not so innocent as Oscar or so 
tame as the hind ; for among his visitors were some of 
the Jacobin party, who were working to have him 
recalled to the Ministry of War. When Desired 
tried to induce him to break off his connection with 
men, whose views were so different from his own, 
Bernadotte replied that they were the pillars of that 
Revolution, without which he would have remained 
a poor lieutenant of infantry, and that he regarded 
" Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 199, 200; Mtm. 125, 126. 


436 CONSOLATORY NEWS [chap.lxx 

them as lovers of liberty, who had no other aim than 
to oppose royalty. It was the recollection of the old 
regime, with its hopeless outlook for a bourgeois 
soldier, that drove Bernadotte into political alliance 
with a party, from the application of whose principles 
he would have been the first to shrink. 

The course of public events brought consolation 
to the ex-Minister. In the course of the three 
weeks immediately following his retirement, the 
victories of Bergen and Castricum in Holland, and 
of Zurich in Switzerland followed each other in 
rapid succession ; and when Dubois Crance, the new 
Minister of War, presented the first of the captured 
flags to the Directory, he concluded his address with 
the following passage : " I cannot attribute to myself 
any share in these victories nor in those successes 
which have followed. They were prepared by my 
predecessor.'" 1 

About the same time tidings came from Egypt, 
which created an even greater sensation in Paris. On 
the 8th of October, at two o'clock, a salute of cannon 
communicated to the city the arrival of good news 
in the shape of a rose-coloured despatch from Bona- 
parte announcing that Aboukir had been retaken, 
and that the last Turk had been driven from the coasts 
of Egypt/ Paris gave way to enthusiasm ; and there 
was a return of that appetite for glory which grows 
with being fed. But, side by side with this renascent 
military ardour, there burned everywhere the paler 
fire of political despair. Public opinion was pro- 
foundly dissatisfied with the weak and discredited 
Government of France. The want of a deliverer 
was widely felt — and quickly filled. The news of a 
victory in Egypt brought to men's minds the name 
» Barras, iv. 24 ; (E.) iv. 27. * Vandal, i. 231. 


of the victor. If Bonaparte had timed his return so as 
to suit his plans, he could not have selected a moment 
more psychologically favourable. On one day in 
October men were muttering to each other, " C'est 
Bonaparte qui nous manque " ; the next day they were 
complimenting each other on the opportune event, 
" C'est Bonaparte qui arrive." On 9th October General 
Bonaparte, after an absence from France of fifteen 
months, and a voyage from Egypt of forty-seven days, 
disembarked at Frejus. On 16th October he was 
in Paris. 

The saying has often been repeated that Bona- 
parte, on his return from Egypt, " found the crown 
of France lying in the gutter and picked it up on 
the point of his sword." But during the twenty-four 
days, which intervened between his arrival and his 
coup d'etat, he did much search-work with his sword- 
point, before he picked up the crown. 

He surveyed all the political parties and coteries 
with his unerring coup d'osil; and before the end of 
October he had made up his mind to ally himself with 
Sieyes and the Moderate party in the Councils. He 
knew that he would be able to shake off the ex- 
abbe, whenever it might suit him to do so, and that 
the majority of the Moderate party would be easily 
reconciled to a dictatorship, if accompanied or followed 
by a generous distribution of places and rewards. 

There were only two soldiers, from whom Bona- 
parte apprehended any risk of formidable opposi- 
tion. 2 These were Moreau, who, as a general of the 
Republic, stood only second in reputation to himself, 
and Bernadotte, who was the only general except him- 
self who cherished any political ambition, possessed 
any political aptitude, or enjoyed any marked popu- 
"i Vandal, i. 280. 

438 ' L'HOMME OBSTACLE " [chap, lxx 

larity with the armies and the public. Moreau was a 
distinguished commander in the field, but he had no 
force of character, and little influence or following. 
Bonaparte had never met Moreau ; but he quickly- 
won him over by paying him adroit compliments, and 
by publicly presenting him with a beautiful Damascene 
sword, a trophy from the East. 

Bernadotte was not to be won by compliments or 
gifts. Albert Vandal, in the following passage, con- 
trasts him with Moreau, and sketches him as " l'homme 
obstacle " in the path of Bonaparte's designs. He says 
of Moreau that there was nothing about him to 
attract or rouse enthusiasm. He lacked prestige, and 
had more reputation than popularity. 

" A very different personage was Bernadotte, 
that political general, who had during his recent term 
of office as Minister of War stood forth in a blaze 
of limelight, and had seemed for the moment to 
be the incarnation of National Defence. His popu- 
larity remained a real one ; his striking appearance, 
his eloquence, his cordial manners, something grand 
and sumptuous in his greeting, gave him influence 
and hold over men. To all appearance, although 
he was always classed with the Jacobins, nobody 
appeared more closely connected with Bonaparte, 
as he had married Desiree Clary, Joseph's sister-in- 
law. Yet nobody was less to be relied upon than 
this quasi-relative. He did not forget that he could 
have seized power when a Minister, and that he had 
allowed it to escape from weakness of character. 
Would he consent to help another to seize it?'"" 

Bonaparte himself said of Bernadotte : "I have 
no fear that Bernadotte will consent to my assassina- 
tion ; but he will harangue the troops, and that is 
what gives me anxiety." This observation illus- 
trates Bonaparte's singular power of measuring the 
" Vandal, i. 280, 281 ; cf. Rovigo (transl.), i. 151. 

oct. 1799] A LOST OPPORTUNITY 439 

strength and weakness of the men, with whom he had 
to deal. He saw clearly where his danger lay. A stir- 
ring appeal delivered to the troops at the right moment 
might upset all his plans. He had left his own army 
behind him in Egypt ; and had been for fifteen 
months out of touch with the troops in France, who, 
unlike the praetorians of the Roman Empire, were 
genuinely Republican, and were not prepared to lend 
themselves to set up a military dictatorship ." In 
spite of the greater glamour of Bonaparte's military 
fame, Bernadotte was more in sympathy and accord 
with the views and aspirations of the men in 
the ranks ; while, as an " entraineur des hommes," 
the Gascon had no equal among the generals of the 
Republic. Bonaparte has been described as " un 
mauvais harangueur " ; 6 while Bernadotte knew 
instinctively how to win the ears and how to catch 
the concurrence of a military audience. Here lay 
Bernadotte's strength, and, if he had dared to use it 
resolutely, Europe might have been spared some of 
the sixteen years of war which Bonaparte's supremacy 
entailed, and history might have been robbed of one 
of its most fascinating chapters. 

" Vandal, i. 278. b lb. i. 317. 


Bonaparte and Bernadotte before the i8th 

october i6-november 8, 1799 

" Bernadotte ... is an obstacle. . . ." 

" Bernadotte has Moorish blood in his veins. He is bold and 
enterprising. He is allied to my brothers. He does not like 
me, and I am almost certain that he will oppose me. . . . He 
is disinterested and clever." — General Bonaparte to Bourrienne, 
October 1799. 

"I do not despair of the Republic, and I am convinced that 
she will resist her enemies, both domestic and foreign." — Bernadotte 
to Bonaparte, October iygg. 

Bonaparte had been in Paris for about ten days 
before he met Bernadotte. But the two men were, 
in the meantime, much concerned with each other's 
plans and proceedings. 

Bernadotte, on hearing of the landing at Fr£jus, 
sent a message to the Directory, urging them to bring 
Bonaparte before a military tribunal for having 
deserted his army and for having violated the quaran- 
tine law, and he volunteered to take the Directory's 
commands in the matter. The President of the 
department of the Seine also proposed the arrest of 
Bonaparte, and the appointment of Bernadotte as 
commandant of Paris. But Barras replied that the 
Government was not strong enough to take such a 
step, and would give no answer except " Attendons " 
— " Let us wait and see." 3 

Bernadotte, although living in the inner circle 

of the Bonaparte family, avoided meeting the general, 

and freely expressed to his friends the disapproval and 

* Lafosse, i. 220; Pingaud, 44. 

oct. 1799] " WHAT A SINGULAR MAN ! " 441 

distrust, with which he regarded this return of the 
" deserter of Egypt." It was proposed to give Bona- 
parte a banquet. Bernadotte declined to be a party 
to it, and advised the organisers to adjourn the 
dinner, until the general justified his abandonment of 
his army." 

Bonaparte made many inquiries about Berna- 
dotte, and endeavoured, by adroit disparagement, 
to counteract his opposition. His inquiries elicited 
all that happened during Bernadotte 's Ministry of 
War, and he expressed much surprise at Bernadotte's 
refusal to take the opportunities, which had been 
offered to him, of seizing power by a coup d'etat. 

To Bourrienne, Bonaparte observed : " I have 
already learned many things. . . . What a singular 
man is Bernadotte ! When he was Minister of War, 
Augereau, Jourdan, and some others sought him out, 
and told him that the Constitution was in danger, 
and that they must get rid of Sieyes, Barras, and 
Fouche, who were implicated in a conspiracy. What 
did Bernadotte do ? Nothing. He asked for proofs. 
They could not give him any. He asked also for 
powers. Who could give him any? Nobody. He 
should have seized them. But he did not dare. He 
wavered. He said that he could not enter upon the 
plans which they proposed to him. He only promised 
to be silent on condition that they renounced their 
projects. Bernadotte is not a help, he is an obstacle. 
One of the deputation informed me that they told 
Bernadotte that a great number of influential persons 
wished to invest him with extensive power in order 
to save the State. But he was obstinate. He would 
listen to nothing." 6 

" Note Historique ; Pingaud, 45. 

* Bourr. iii. 42, 43 ; and see App. Note ("). 

442 BERNADOTTE AND MOREAU [chap, lxxi 

On the same occasion Bonaparte instituted the 
following comparison between Bernadotte and Moreau , 
in which he again showed his remarkable power of 
appraising the relative value of the men, with whom 
he had to count. He said : " I believe I shall have 
Bernadotte and Moreau against me. But I do not fear 
Moreau. He is devoid of energy. I know he would 
prefer military to political power. The promise of 
the command of an army would gain him over. 
But Bernadotte has Moorish blood in his veins. He 
is bold and enterprising. He is allied to my brothers. 
He does not like me, and I am almost certain that he 
will oppose me. If he should become ambitious, 
he will venture anything, and yet you recollect in 
what a lukewarm way he acted on the 1 8th Fructidor, 
when I sent him to second Augereau . This devil of a 
fellow is not to be seduced. He is disinterested and 
clever. But, after all, we have but just arrived and 
know not what may happen." " 

Some ten days passed in this fashion. All the 
generals and statesmen of Paris vied with each other 
in paying court to Bonaparte. Bernadotte alone 
kept aloof. At last he yielded to the pressure, which, 
at Josephine's suggestion, was brought to bear upon 
him by Joseph Bonaparte, Madame Joseph, and 
Pauline Leclerc. Bonaparte received him in a friendly 
and affable way ; and the conversation turned upon 
the Egyptian campaign and the political situation. 
When Bonaparte referred to the deplorable position 
of France in the terms of exaggeration, which it 
suited his purposes to adopt, Bernadotte instantly 
bridled up, and poured forth a vehement apologia, to 
which Bonaparte listened with impatience. " Never- 
theless, General," said Bernadotte, " the Russians 
" Lafosse, i. 222 ; Bourr. iii. 43, 44. 

oct. 1799] "A DOMESTIC ENEMY" 443 

have been beaten in Switzerland, and have retired 
to Bohemia. The line of defence between the 
Alps and Apennines is maintained, and we are in 
possession of Genoa. Holland is saved. The Russian 
army has been destroyed, and the English army 
has been forced to capitulate at Helder. . . . Two 
hundred auxiliary battalions, each a thousand strong, 
and forty thousand horses have been raised. In 
eight months or more we shall not know what to do 
with such a multitude of men, unless we pour them 
into Germany and Italy, like torrents. Indeed," 
added Bernadotte sarcastically, " if you had brought 
back the army of Egypt with you, the veterans of that 
corps would perhaps be very useful to provide us 
with officers. But although we must regard that 
army as lost, or at least as not likely to return except 
under the shadow of a treaty, I do not despair of the 
Republic, and I am convinced that she will resist 
her enemies, both domestic and foreign." Bonaparte 
winced at the reference to the domestic enemies of 
the Republic, and retorted that, if it was true that 
200,000 men had been raised, the absence of the 
army of Egypt mattered very little. At this point 
Madame Bonaparte tactfully changed the conver- 
sation. 01 

After this interview Bonaparte rejoined his secre- 
tary Bourrienne, who says that he was agitated, and 
that he repeated Bernadotte 's rhetorical outburst, 
adding that when the Gascon spoke of enemies " both 
domestic and foreign," he looked significantly at him 
(Bonaparte), and was met with a defiant glance. 
Josephine confirmed his account of the scene, and 
added that Bernadotte's look, when he referred to 
" domestic enemies," made her shudder, and that she 
"Note Historique; Lafosse, i. 223. 

444 DESIREE ACTS AS SPY [chap, lxxi 

was afraid that Bonaparte had said too much about 
the necessity of changes in the Government.' 1 

On returning to the Rue Cisalpine, Bernadotte 
was questioned by his wife as to what had happened. 
Desiree appears to have acted, during this critical 
period, as a sort of involuntary spy, not for the 
last time, upon her husband. Her sister, Madame 
Joseph Bonaparte, as well as Joseph and Lucien, 
plied her with questions, which she answered very 
frankly. It is probable that she did not sympathise 
with her husband's opposition to projects, in which 
the Bonaparte family were so deeply interested/ 

Joseph and Lucien induced Bernadotte to visit 
Bonaparte again ; and he did so accompanied by 
Rousselin de St. Albin, who had been his secretary 
at the Ministry of War. At this interview Bonaparte 
indulged in a tirade against the Jacobins and the 
Club of the Riding Hall/ The cudgels were taken up 
— whether by Bernadotte or by Rousselin de St. 
Albin is not quite certain. It was pointed out that 
some of Bonaparte's confederates were more mixed up 
in the club than Bernadotte, who was not one of its 
originators and did not attend its meetings. Bona- 
parte suddenly exclaimed : " Well, General, I will tell 
you plainly — I should prefer to live wild in the woods 
than in a state of society, which affords no security." 
Bernadotte replied : " My God, General, what security 
would you have ? " Before Bonaparte had time to 
reply, Josephine once more intervened, and turned 
the tide of conversation into a less dangerous channel/ 

Bernadotte everywhere proclaimed his opposition 

to Bonaparte. For example, meeting Guerin, the 

artist, at the opera, he told him that there was a 

conspiracy on foot against the Republic, and that 

" Bourr. iii. 47-52. * Note Historique ; Pingaud, 42-44. 

oct. 1799] DESIREE'S DEJEUNER 445 

the Corsican was about to overthrow the Directory, 
adding: "Maisjeconnaismon devoir et nous verrons."" 

The next meeting of Bernadotte with Bonaparte 
was by chance at the Theatre Francais. Bonaparte 
shook hands and asked him whether he was to be at a 
party, which his brother Joseph was giving at Morte- 
fontaine on the following day. Bernadotte replied in 
the affirmative . ' ' Very well , " said Bonaparte . ' ' Will 
you allow me to take coffee with you in the morning. 
I must pass your house. I should like to look in on you 
for a few minutes on my way." Bernadotte gave a 
polite assent. 

Bonaparte, on the following morning, told Bour- 
rienne of this incident, and added, " Never fear, never 
fear. I know what I am about. This will compro- 
mise him with Gohier. Remember, you must always 
meet your enemies with a bold face, otherwise they 
think they are feared, and that gives them confidence." 

Bonaparte proceeded to the Rue Cisalpine, where 
Desiree prepared a sumptuous dejeuner, and filled the 
little "cot" to overflowing. Bernadotte was not 
pleased, but had to accept her playful explana- 
tion that " it was to make General Bonaparte forget 
the delights of Egypt." After taking coffee, while 
Desiree entertained Josephine with what an eye- 
witness describes as " une amiabilite de convention," 
the two generals retired to an arbour, and were observed 
to engage in animated conversation. Sarrazin says 
that Bonaparte on this occasion, for the second time 
since his return to Paris, tried to lull Bernadotte 's 
hostility by holding out the hope that he would take 
him as a colleague in the new Government/ 

" U Intermidiaire des chercheurs et curieux, vii. 182, 282. 
b ,Note Historique; Bourr. iii. 52, 53; Sarrazin, Mem. 130, 
131; Guerres civiles, 423. 

446 THE EVE OF BRUMAIRE [chap, lxxi 

From the Rue Cisalpine the breakfast-party 
found their way to Mortefontaine, Joseph Bonaparte's 
country house, where were assembled Talleyrand, 
Roederer, Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely, and other 
leaders of the grand conspiracy, which was to make 
history in a few days. Bernadotte could not fail to 
observe that some enterprise was on foot, in which 
he had no part. Groups gathered mysteriously and 
conversed with animation, but became silent or 
broke up when he approached. 

Bernadotte returned to Paris with the conviction 
that mischief was brewing. On the following day 
he met General Moreau, who asked him whether he 
had been at Mortefontaine, and whether he had con- 
versed with Bonaparte. Bernadotte replied in the 
affirmative. " That is the man," said Moreau, " who 
has done the most harm to the Republic." " Yes," 
said Bernadotte, " and who is preparing to do more 
harm." " We shall stop him," said Moreau. The two 
generals promised to support each other in opposition 
to the " deserter of Egypt." But Bonaparte had 
taken Moreau 's measure, and had nothing to fear 
from him." 

At the end of October the Jacobin party met 
at Bernadotte's house, where Jourdan and Augereau 
were present, and the policy of the party was dis- 
cussed. There was much difference of opinion. 
Jourdan proposed that he should approach Bona- 
parte on behalf of the party, and offer to place him 
at the head of the Executive, if guarantees were 
given for the maintenance of representative Govern- 
ment and of liberty . On the i oth Brumaire ( 3 1 st Oct .) 
Jourdan called on Bonaparte, who, on finding his 
card, invited him to dinner for the 16th Brumaire 

" Note Historique ; Pingaud, 44. 



(6th Nov.). He invited Bernadotte for the same 
evening. Jourdan and Bernadotte accepted the invita- 
tion in ignorance that the coup d'etat was fixed for the 
1 8th Brumaire (8th Nov.), and that the invitation 
to them was intended to aid their host's designs." 

At Bonaparte's dinner-party, on 6th November, 
the conversation turned upon military topics. 
Bonaparte advocated his favourite military system 
— the War of Invasion. His view was based partly 
upon the wide extent of the frontiers, which had to 
be protected in a defensive campaign, as contrasted 
with the concentration of force, which an aggressive 
campaign developed. Bernadotte took the opposite 
side, and concluded an animated argument with a 
home-thrust — exclaiming that it was easier to invade 
territory than to keep it. The dinner, however, passed 
off amicably. Bourrienne and Josephine had entered 
into a compact to be on the alert, to prevent any 
exchange of angry words between the host and his 
Gascon guest/ 

After dinner, Bonaparte held a crowded reception, 
and took an opportunity of pointing in a bantering 
way to Bernadotte, and describing him as a Chouan. 
Bernadotte replied : " You should be consistent, 
General. A few days ago you accused me of showing 
favour to the most extreme Republicans. Now you 
accuse me of protecting the Chouans. The contradic- 
tion is too obvious."* 

On the following evening, 17th Brumaire 
(7th Nov.), Joseph Bonaparte left word at the Rue 
Cisalpine that Bernadotte might expect him early 
the following morning. Bernadotte did not know 
that the message heralded a new era in the history 
of France. Bonaparte, before retiring to rest, told 

" Vandal, i. 272, 294. b Note Historique; Bourr. iii. 54-55. 

448 CHATEAUBRIAND [chap, lxxi 

Bourrienne that Joseph was going to call on Berna- 
dotte to ask him to come in the morning. Bourrienne 
said that he believed that Bernadotte would not be on 
their side. " I believe so too," said Bonaparte ; " but 
he can no longer injure me, and that is enough." " 

Chateaubriand says that, when Bonaparte returned 
from Egypt, there were only four men capable of 
barring his path to power, namely, Barras, Sieyes, 
Bernadotte, and Moreau/ In less than three weeks 
Bonaparte had succeeded in isolating Barras, in 
coming to an understanding with Sieyes, and in dis- 
arming Moreau. Bernadotte was the only man of 
character and influence, who continued to stand in 
his way. 

" Bourr. iii. 67. 

* Chateaubriand, MSmoires d'outre Tombe, livre i. 97. 



Bernadotte on the i 8th Brumaire 
november 8, i 799 

" You are not in uniform ! " "I am not on duty." " But 
you soon will be." " I think not." — Conversation between Bona- 
parte and Bernadotte on the morning of the iSth Brumaire. 

" Promise me that you will undertake nothing against me." 
" Yes, as citizen, I promise." " What do you mean by ' as 
citizen ' ? " "I mean that I shall not of my own initiative 
go to the barracks and harangue the troops, or to the public 
places to excite the national guard or the people. But if the 
Directory calls on me, or if the legislative body gives me the 
command of its guard, I shall be prepared to take the field 
against those who may seek to overthrow illegally the existing 
Constitution." — lb. 

Sieyes and Bonaparte had fixed the 18th and 19th 
Brumaire (8th and 9th November 1799) as the days 
for carrying out their coup d'etat. The governing 
idea of the conspiracy was that the directors and the 
Councils were to be utilised as the instruments of 
their own destruction. In the Constitution itself 
were to be found the materials and machinery 
for its overthrow. Their plan required two days 
for its accomplishment." On the 18th the Council 
of Ancients, or rather a fraction of that assembly, 
selected as reliable, were to meet early in the morning. 
This packed gathering was to pass a decree trans- 
ferring the corps Ugislatij from Paris to St. Cloud, 
and appointing General Bonaparte to command 
the guard of the Council and all the troops in Paris. 
On the following day, the 19th, the Councils were to 
meet at St. Cloud, far away from public observa- 
" Vandal, i. 268-270. 

450 THE RENDEZVOUS [chap, lxxii 

tion, and from the Jacobin atmosphere, which was 
incidental to a sitting of Parliament in the capital. 
It was hoped that the Councils might be induced 
by persuasion and by intrigue to sanction the pre- 
arranged Constitution. But they were to be sur- 
rounded by troops under the command of General 
Bonaparte. If persuasion and intrigue failed, the 
troops would be ready to intervene, and to apply 
whatever force might be necessary to effectuate the 
purpose of the conspirators. 

The rendezvous of the generals, and of the superior 
officers, who were to take part in the first day's 
work, was at General Bonaparte's house in the 
Rue Chantereine, where they were to await the 
arrival of the decree appointing the general to 
the command of the troops. 

Early on the morning of the 18th Brumaire 
(8th November) Joseph Bonaparte called at the 
" cot " in the Rue Cisalpine, and told Bernadotte 
that General Bonaparte wished to see him, and to 
consult him upon the steps which should be taken 
in the impending crisis." Bernadotte, who was not 
in the confidence of the conspirators, followed his 
brother-in-law. They found Bonaparte's house and 
courtyard thronged with generals and other officers 
of high rank, who overflowed into the street and 
were obviously affected by an excitation of feeling 
which was proportionate to the hazard of the day's 
work that lay before them/ 

It was with difficulty that Bernadotte threaded 
his way to the room in which Napoleon was break- 
fasting with an aide-de-camp, while General Lefebvre, 
the Military Governor of Paris, stood by in an 
awkward attitude, as if he were a prisoner or 
' Lafosse, i. 233. b Vandal, i. 304-306. 


Nov. 8, 1799] BERNADOTTE IN MUFTI 451 

a lackey. Lefebvre was regarded as Barras' 
" homme a tout faire," and had been induced to 
join the movement by the unfounded allegation 
that Barras was with it. He was now committed 
to Bonaparte irrevocably. Bernadotte took a seat 
and motioned to Lefebvre to do likewise. The old 
guardsman sat down with a look of awe and respect 
directed towards Napoleon. 

Napoleon, observing that Bernadotte was in 
mufti, exclaimed : " You are not in uniform ! " "I 
am not on duty," was his reply. " But you soon will 
be," said Napoleon. " I think not," said Bernadotte. 
Napoleon then drew Bernadotte into an adjoining 
room and said : " The Directory is governing badly. 
It will ruin the Republic, unless we set it to rights. 
The Council of Ancients has appointed me Com- 
mandant of Paris, of the National Guards, and of 
all the troops of the metropolitan division. Go, 
put on your uniform, and rejoin me at the Tuileries, 
whither I am just going."" 

Bernadotte declined this invitation. Napoleon 
then proceeded : " Ah, I see how it is. You think 
you can count upon Moreau, Beurnonville, and the 
other generals ! You are mistaken. You will see 
them all come to me, even Moreau." He then men- 
tioned about thirty of the members of the Council of 
Ancients, whom Bernadotte believed to be entirely loyal 
to the Directorial Constitution. " You do not know 
men," he added. " They promise much and perform 
little. Do not trust them." " I do not wish to take 
part in a rebellion," replied Bernadotte firmly, " nor to 
upset a Constitution cemented with the blood of so 
many men." " Very well," said Bonaparte, " stay 
here until I have received the decree of the Council 

" Note Historique ; Lafosse, i. 233 ; Pingaud, 45 ; Bourr. iii. 69. 

452 "AS CITIZEN, I PROMISE" [chap, lxxii 

of Ancients. Until then I have no authority." 
" General," said the Gascon, raising his voice, and 
brandishing his sword-cane, " I am a man who may 
be killed, but who cannot be detained against his 

If we are to believe Sarrazin, Bonaparte informed 
Bernadotte of the arrangement to associate with 
himself in the Government Sieyes and Roger Ducos, 
and added that he wished Bernadotte to be assured 
of his desire to do everything that might be personally 
agreeable to Bernadotte and his friends. Sarrazin 
was of opinion that Bernadotte's indignation was 
increased by the fact that Napoleon had tried to win 
him by holding out hopes that he would be one of his 

Bonaparte, seeing that Bernadotte was not to be 
won to his side, sought to neutralise his opposition. 
" Promise me," he said, " that you will not under- 
take anything against me." " Yes," said Bernadotte, 
" as citizen, I promise." " What do you mean by ' as 
citizen'?" " I mean," replied Bernadotte, " that I 
shall not of my own initiative go to the barracks 
to harangue the soldiers, or to any public places to 
excite the national guard or the people. But if the 
Directory calls on me, or if the legislative body 
gives me the command of its guard, I shall be pre- 
pared to take the field against those, who may seek to 
overthrow illegally the existing Constitution." " Oh, 
I feel quite easy on that score," said Bonaparte. " I 
have taken every precaution, and you will not receive 
any such command. They fear your ambition more 
than mine. Besides, believe me, that my only 

" Vandal, i. 306; Note Historique ; Lafosse, i. 235. 
6 ] Sarrazin, Phil. ii. 201, 202; Gnerres civiles, 24; L'Art de la 
guerre, 236. 

Nov. 8, 1799] A DEJEUNER OF DUPES 453 

wish is to save the Republic. I want nothing for 
myself. I shall retire to Malmaison, after surrounding 
myself with the society of my friends. If you wish 
to be one of the number, you will be very welcome." 
" Good friendship," said Bernadotte, " is possible, 
but I believe that you will always be the most im- 
perious of masters." 3 

Bernadotte retired, and, as he walked away 
through the crowd of uniformed generals, he per- 
ceived Moreau and Beurnonville, but not Jourdan 
or Augereau. As he was leaving the Rue Chantereine, 
the messenger of the Council of Ancients arrived, 
carrying to Bonaparte his letter of command, and 
he heard the order given to the assembled officers 
to proceed to the Tuileries. 11 

Joseph, who had followed Bernadotte by 
Napoleon's directions, brought him to his house to 
breakfast. Here Joseph had collected some members 
of the Council, whom it was thought prudent to keep 
away, until the decree of translation to St. Cloud had 
been agreed to . The breakfast-party was a dejeuner of 
dupes. Joseph assured his guests that his brother had 
no other aim than to procure the consolidation of 
liberty, and no other ambition than to live in seclusion 
at Malmaison. Bernadotte warned his brother-in-law 
that the coup d'etat was doomed to failure, and predicted 
that, later on, he might be in a position to save Joseph 
from the consequences of his treason." 

When Joseph's dejeuner of dupes broke up, Berna- 
dotte proceeded to the Tuileries garden. He was 
well received by the troops along the boulevards. 
At the Tuileries he found the 79th demi-brigade 
drawn up. They were attached to him, having 

"Note Historique; Lafosse, i. 235-237; Barras, iv. 81-83; 
Vandal, i. 386. 

454 "THE CROMWELL OF FRANCE" [chap. lxxii 

served with him at the siege of Maestricht and 
elsewhere. The officers questioned him as to what 
was going to happen, and as to why he was in 
mufti, and not in the company of the other generals, 
who were known to be engaged upon some grave 
public enterprise. This was an opportunity, of which 
his promise to Bonaparte debarred him from availing 
himself. Bernadotte gave an evasive reply, and 
repaired to General Jourdan, to inform him of his 
reception by the troops, and to confer with him 
as to the course which they should pursue. At 
Jourdan's he met a number of the Republican 
deputies, who were indignant at the decree of trans- 
lation of the corps legislatif to St. Cloud." 

From Jourdan's Bernadotte went home and was 
informed that Bonaparte and Moreau had sent an 
officer to invite him to join his friends at the 
Tuileries, and to tell him that they were as patriotic 
as he was, and that they eagerly wished for his co- 
operation in saving their country. Bernadotte took 
no notice of the invitation." 

Bonaparte made another effort to win over I'homme 
obstacle, through General Sarrazin, who went to Berna- 
dotte,;withwhomhe found Augereau, Jourdan, andsome 
of the extreme Republican deputies. He drew Berna- 
dotte aside and told him " that everything seemed to 
be settled ; that it would be absurd to see him censure 
the part adopted by the army, of which he was one of 
the principal chiefs ; and that he might be assured, 
notwithstanding his warmth in the morning, that 
Bonaparte would give him the sincerest welcome." 
Bernadotte replied " that he had already formed his 
resolution, and that he would prefer to be cut in pieces 
rather than to contribute to enslave his country ; and 
'.Note Historique; Lafosse, i. 239, 240. 

nov. 8, 1799] BERNADOTTE AND MOREAU 455 

he begged Sarrazin not to mention the name of Bona- 
parte, who, in his eyes, was only the Cromwell of 
France." These words were pronounced in a very 
high tone, and were heard and applauded by the 
assembled company." 

Later in the day Moreau, who was entrusted with 
the duty of keeping guard over the two Republican 
directors, Gohier and Moulins, and felt the inglorious- 
ness of his allotted task, sent a message to Bernadotte, 
asking him to come to the Luxembourg Palace and 
confer with him as to the steps to be taken to prevent 
Bonaparte seizing the dictatorship/ 

Bernadotte replied that, not being invested 
with any command, he considered himself bound 
by the promise which he had given to Bonaparte 
not to undertake anything in his character of a 
citizen, but that he was prepared to respond to the 
appeal of a public man claiming his assistance with 
apparent legality. He regarded Moreau as a man 
who occupied that position, being commandant of 
the Directorial bodyguard. " Let General Moreau," 
he added, " present himself at my door at the head of 
a detachment, however small. Let him summon me 
in the name of the public good to make common 
cause with him to defend liberty and the Constitution. 
Then I shall mount my horse with my aides-de-camp, 
and place myself under his orders. I shall harangue 
the troops, cause Bonaparte to be arrested and tried 
for having deserted the army of Egypt, and for 
having violated the Constitution in having accepted 
a command given to him by a fraction of the corps 
Ugislatif." Moreau, of course, declined to take so 
bold an initiative/ 

" Sarrazin, Mem. 133 ; Phil. ii. 206. 
* Note Historiqice ; Lafosse, i. 242, 243. 

456 A COUNTERPLOT [chap, lxxii 

In the evening a conference of Republicans was 
held, at which Jourdan, Bernadotte, Augereau, Salicetti, 
and others were present ; and it was arranged that, at 
the meeting of the Councils, on the following day, at St. 
Cloud, Bonaparte should be declared an outlaw, and 
that Bernadotte should be appointed commander of 
the Guard of the Council of 500 and of all the troops of 
Paris. By consenting to this proposal, Bernadotte was 
not breaking his promise to Bonaparte. He had stipu- 
lated that he would act, if called upon by the Legis- 
lature. Salicetti hastened to give information of this 
counterplot to Bonaparte," who told him to rejoin the 
recalcitrant deputies, and tell them that he (Bona- 
parte) was using his influence to prevent the passing 
of a decree for their deportation. He calculated 
that this announcement would frighten, or draw to 
himself, some of Bernadotte 's supporters — and he 
was not mistaken in this anticipation/ Bonaparte 
appears to have been kept informed by Salicetti of 
the plans of the Opposition, just as Cromwell in 1644 
was kept informed by Whitelocke of the plots of 
the Presbyterians. 

Thus closed the 18th Brumaire, a day of plots 
and counterplots, of force and audacity on one side, 
and of irresolution and vacillation on the other/ 

" Sorel, v. 474 ; Sloane, ii. 74. * Vandal, i. 341-343. 

c Savary says that, on the morning of the 1 8th Brumaire, 
Bernadotte, meeting Bonaparte on his way to review his troops 
on the Champs Elysees, warned him that he was on the way to 
the guillotine, and that Bonaparte replied laconically, " Nous 
verrons." Savary was not in Paris at the time, and the story 
does not seem to have received any confirmation. — Rovigo 
(transl.), i. 152. 


The Morning of the 19TH Brumaire 

NOVEMBER 9, 1 799 

" Let one of you ascend the tribune . . . and propose that the 
Council of Five Hundred appoint General Bernadotte to be the 
colleague of General Bonaparte. . . . Send me such a decree, and 
in twenty minutes after its receipt I shall be with my aides-de- 
camp in your midst. ... If it is necessary to declare General 
Bonaparte an outlaw, you will have at your side a general, and, 
at the very least, a great portion of the troops." — Bemadotte's 
offer to the Jacobin deputies on the morning of the igth Brumaire. 

The 19th Brumaire was an epoch-making day. But 
the proceedings at St. Cloud had more of the air of 
a comedy about them than is usually characteristic 
of those famous days of history, in which epochs have 
been inaugurated. The public treated it in this 
spirit ; and, after the coup d'etat was over, the theatres 
made it the topic of farces and burlesques." 

It is true that great risks were being run, and 
that some of the actors knew it. Sieyes' horses 
were harnessed all day to his carriage, and remained 
near the Palace of St. Cloud, so as, if necessary, to 
facilitate his escape/ With a similar object in view, 
one of the conspirators had concealed his children 
in the park. Bourrienne, the private secretary, 
driving through the Place de la Concorde with 
Lavalette, the aide-de-camp, pointed to the scene 
of so many executions, and remarked, " To-morrow 
we shall either sleep at the Luxembourg Palace, or 
we shall make an end of it here." c 

But the pessimists were in a minority. The 

well-informed were, as a rule, confident and in high 

" Pingaud, 47. ' Sorel, v. 476. ' Vandal, i. 349, 350. 


458 TALLEYRAND'S PICNIC [chap, lxxiii 

spirits. Fouche was believed to be policing Paris 
in their interests. Troops were filing through the 
streets to the rendezvous, under the faithful Lefebvre. 
Poets, artists, literary men were among the curious 
crowd who wended their way in the same direction. 
Talleyrand, with characteristic insouciance, had 
arranged a sort of picnic-party in a neighbouring 
country house." 

Bonaparte started in a carriage from his house in 
the Rue Chantereine, where a crowd of generals were 
congregated. He was in high spirits. He called 
Berthier, his inseparable chief of his staff, and then 
turned to the corpulent General Gardanne, a popular 
and gallant officer, and with a gentle rap, exclaimed, 
" Vous aussi, gros papa ! " Josephine wished to 
accompany him, but it was not a ladies' day, and 
he drove off with Berthier and Gardanne." 

Meanwhile, the hopes of the forces of the Opposi- 
tion centred upon Bernadotte/ They had plenty of 
materials to work upon, if there had been any- 
body capable of skilfully organising and resolutely 
handling them. The majority of the Council of 500 
were opposed to the projected coup d'etat, but were 
without any leader of sufficient authority or prestige. 
Bernadotte enjoyed their confidence ; and the 
public, discounting his Gascon exuberance of language 
and thought, believed him to be disinterested and 
patriotic, and knew him to be brave and energetic. 
The spirit of the troops was Republican, not prsetorian. 
Bernadotte 's popularity with all ranks had been 
enhanced by the circumstances under which he had 
been recently dismissed from the Ministry of War. 
He had no equal in the power of carrying soldiers 
with him in moments of emergency and excitement. 
• Vandal, i. 349-352, 392. * lb. i. 341. 

nov. 9, 1799] AN OPPOSITION MEETING 459. 

Now was his opportunity, if he dared, or could bring 
himself, to seize it. 

At 5 a.m. on the morning of the 19th Brumaire, 
Generals Jourdan and Augereau met some of the 
leading deputies of the Council of 500, and repaired 
to Bernadotte's house in the Rue Cisalpine. Their 
object was to ascertain what Bernadotte recommended, 
and what he was prepared to do." 

Bernadotte was not prepared to take any action 
without a command or summons from the legislature, 
or from some other superior authority. Bonaparte's 
appointment by the Council of Ancients to be com- 
mander of their guard had been procured by an 
obvious trick ; but it had become an act of State, and 
was a fait accompli. Bernadotte was willing to obey 
a similar call, if sent to him by the other branch of 
the legislature. If invested with authority by the 
Council of 500, he was prepared to mount his horse ; 
but he could not bring himself, without some such 
authority, to act upon his own initiative. This re- 
presented the rule of duty, which he had laid down 
for himself, and accorded with the promise, which he 
had given to Bonaparte. 

His offer to the deputies is reported to have been 
made in the following terms : — 

" Let one of you ascend the tribune, and describe 
succinctly the external and internal situation of France. 
He will be able to prove easily that we are in a position 
to obtain a peace as honourable as that of Campo 
Formio, and that, in order to maintain such a peace, 
we have only to preserve the commanding position, 
which we occupy. Then speak of the necessity for 
reciprocal confidence. After having pointed out 
that Bonaparte's investiture by a fraction of the 
Council of Ancients is a violation of the Constitution, 

"Note Historique; Lafosse, i. 243. 

460 BERNADOTTE'S PLAN [chap, lxxiii 

disclaim on the part of the Council of Five Hundred 
any intention of discussing the violation, but only 
of giving security to the nation, the Legislature, 
and the Government. Propose, with this object in 
view, that the Council of Five Hundred shall appoint 
General Bernadotte to be the colleague of General 
Bonaparte ; so that the two generals shall act in 
concert in employing armed force, if it becomes 
necessary to have recourse to such force, and 
in the distribution of commands ; conclude by 
giving the assurance that a tranquillity reigns in 
Paris and its vicinity, which justifies the presumption 
that there will be no necessity to bring the troops 
into action. Send me such a decree," said Bernadotte ; 
" twenty minutes after its receipt I shall be with my 
aides-de-camp in your midst. I shall take command 
of the corps I meet on my path, and we shall then 
see what there is to be done. If it is necessary to 
proclaim Bonaparte an outlaw, you will have at your 
side a general and at the very least a great portion 
of the troops."" 

The conference broke up, and the deputies left for 
St . Cloud . If Bernadotte had himself been willing and 
able to carry out his programme, it is possible that the 
events of this fateful day might have taken a different 
course. But he was not a member of the Councils ; 
and the Jacobin deputies were unequal to carrying 
out the plan of campaign, which he had sketched for 
them. So Bernadotte remained in Paris, far away 
from the scene of action — agitated, irresolute, and 
waiting upon events. 

"Note Historique; Lafosse, i. 244, 246; Vandal, i. 342. 


The Afternoon of the 19TH Brumaire 

"It was observed that some deputies remained at the door 
of the Orangery looking out as if they expected somebody. 
Was it Bernadotte on whom they counted ? But Bernadotte 
remained at home, and waited for fortune, instead of seeking, 
and taking her by storm." — Albert Vandal, L'Av&nement de 
Bonaparte, t. i. 366. 

" He's honest. But for his obstinacy, my brothers would 
have brought him over." — Bonaparte in reference to Bernadotte, 
19th Brumaire (gth November 1799). 

It would have been difficult for the organisers of the 
coup d'etat of Brumaire to have staged the last 
scenes of their comedy amidst more interesting 
and picturesque surroundings. The Palace of St. 
Cloud stood in a wooded park, perched on a sloping 
hill, which overlooked the winding river and com- 
manded a distant view of the roofs and towers of 

The Council of Ancients was to hold its meeting 
in the gorgeous gallery of Apollo, which was decorated 
with the paintings of Mignard, the rival of the 
celebrated Le Brun. The Council of 500 were to 
meet in the Orangery, which formed part of one of 
the wings of the palace and opened by large windows 
upon the gardens. The Councils were to meet at 
noon. But the workmen were busy fixing up benches, 
tribunes, and presidential chairs. For fully an hour 
after the appointed time, deputies and soldiers hung 
about, discussing the situation in animated groups, 
while the stage was being prepared for the play." 

While the Councils are waiting, we may recall 

« Vandal, i. 355,356. 

462 THE HISTORY OF ST. CLOUD [chap, lxxiv 

something of the history of their momentary habita- 
tion. St. Cloud had once been an ecclesiastical 
fief of the metropolitans of Paris, and in bygone 
days, De Retz, frondeur and cardinal, knew it well 
when he was a young abb£, and the chateau was 
the residence of that easy-going prelate, his Uncle 
Peter. Then it became the country residence of the 
Orleans branch of the royal family. It was here that 
Charles i.'s daughter, Henrietta d'Orleans, died that 
mysterious death, the circumstances of which have 
never been cleared up. Here lived Philip d'Orleans, 
afterwards Regent ; and it was in the Orangery, 
in which the Council of 500 were about to hold 
their stormy sitting, that St. Simon has recorded 
that he discussed with " Mademoiselle d'Orleans," 
her betrothal to the Duke de Berry. Here, 
during the Regency, lived the Regent's wife, 
and his mother, the Princess Palatine. Here was 
born Philip Egalite, who lived to see his birthplace 
become the property of his enemy Marie Antoinette, 
before he followed her to the scaffold. Under the 
Revolution it became State property, haunted, like 
many another deserted chateau, with memories of 
old France. To-day a new era in its history was 
opening. The little general, who moves about un- 
easily amid cheers from one party, and murmurs 
of " Cromwell " and " tyrant " from another, was 
soon to make it an emperor's palace, and, in less 
than ten years, the scene of his marriage to Marie 
Antoinette's niece. 

This is not the place to describe the course of 

events on the 19th Brumaire. Nowhere is the story 

better told than in Albert Vandal's Avknement de 

Bonaparte. a The questions, which concern Bernadotte 

■ Vandal, i. chap. ix. 

Nov. 9,1799] QV1S CUSTOD1ET? 463 

in connection with this day, are whether there was 
anything that he could have done, if he had been 
present, and if so, what he could have done, and 
when he could have done it. 

The answers to these questions turn mainly on 
the personnel of the troops, who were on duty at 
St. Cloud ; because, without the co-operation of some 
of the troops, he could have done nothing. 

There were two classes of troops stationed in and 
about the palace. A formidable body of grenadiers 
formed the guard of the Directory and of the Councils . 
They were bound, alike by duty and by habit, to serve 
their masters, the Legislative Councils ; and they were 
not to be relied upon by Bonaparte and his fellow-con- 
spirators. There was, however, another force, com- 
posed of dragoons and of infantry of the line, upon 
whom Bonaparte could safely depend in the last resort, 
if the Councils, or either of them, should prove 

The Councils showed themselves unwieldy instru- 
ments of revolution. The majority of the Ancients 
were in substantial accord with Bonaparte ; but they 
were neither unanimous nor enthusiastic, and they 
had no settled plan of action. From force of habit 
they proceeded to occupy time in debating, and 
showed no signs of quickly coming to an agree- 
ment. The Council of 500, in true revolutionary 
fashion, made a dramatic protest against the antici- 
pated coup d'etat, by proceeding one by one to take a 
solemn oath of fidelity to the disappearing Constitu- 
tion. Some deputies seemed to be expecting a 
deliverer. But the only possible deliverer was waiting 
for Fortune to come to him, instead of daring to go 
forth to meet her/ 

" Vandal, i. 277, 278. * lb. i. 366. 

464 " HORS LA LOI I " [chap, lxxiv 

Bonaparte, seeing that precious time was slipping 
away, became impatient, and visited both chambers, 
with the object of impelling them to commit their 
destinies to him. In both chambers his address was 
ineffective, and from the Council of 500 he escaped 
with difficulty, amid shouts of "Hors la lot! " Bona- 
parte might have perished, if these threats had been 
followed up by a decree of outlawry, the horror of 
which has been hit off by Anatole France in a fine 
sentence : " La mise hors la loi, la mort sans jugement ! 
La seule idee en fait palir les plus determines." 

It was at this point in the day's proceedings that 
the opportunity arose for the intervention of a 
military chief, capable of rallying the grenadiers of the 
guard of the Directory and of the Councils, in defence 
of the corps ligislatif, and of the Constitution. Three 
eye-witnesses have testified to the disposition, which 
these grenadiers displayed to defend their masters, 
even to the extent of attacking General Bonaparte 
himself. These three witnesses were Sieyes, Lava- 
lette, and Thibaudeau. 

Sieyes, looking out of a window, observed signs 
of hesitation among the grenadiers. It seemed to him 
that there was a movement to envelop and overpower 
Bonaparte." He sent a message of warning to the 
general, who quickly betook himself to the dragoons 
and to the infantry of the line, who received him with 
acclamations ; and the peril, if any, was past. The 
aide-de-camp, Lavalette, who was one of a crowd, 
watching the course of events from a flight of steps, 
declares that, if any leader had presented himself to 
the grenadiers, and had roused them to opposition with 
sufficient audacity, it was impossible to say how things 
might have turned out." Thibaudeau, who saw Bona- 
° Vandal, i. 380, 382. 

The Afternoon of the 19TH Brumaire. 

Bonaparte threatened with outlawry in the Cotincil of 500. 

St. Cloud, 19th Brumaire (Nov. 10th), 1799. 

After the picture in the Louvre. 

Tofacefiage 464. 

Nov. 9,i799] A LOST OPPORTUNITY 465 

parte escape from the Council of 500, and followed 
him to the courtyard, says that, if the Council had 
passed, instead of merely threatening, a decree of 
outlawry, Jourdan, Augereau, and Bernadotte might, 
if present, have been able to rally the grenadiers of 
the guard, whose duty it would have been to give 
effect to such a decree." 

The opportunity was let slip. The Council con- 
fined itself to menaces. Jourdan and Augereau re- 
mained passive and irresolute, while Bernadotte 
waited in Paris for an invitation which never came. 
During the tumult, which raged in the Council of 500, 
his name was used as a rallying cry ; and shouts 
of "Bernadotte!" were heard above the uproar/ 
It is possible that, if he had been on the spot 
and in earnest, he might have spoilt the coup. 
But what is the use of such hypothetical specu- 
lation? He never could or would have taken 
such a part. His promise to Bonaparte to do 
nothing on his own initiative, without an order 
from some higher authority, was only the expression 
of his temperament. He lacked the political vigour, 
and he shrank from the military violence, without 
which a revolution, such as that of Brumaire, could 
neither be accomplished nor defeated. 

The lost opportunity did not recur. But the pro- 
ceedings might have terminated differently, if Lucien 
Bonaparte had not, in his capacity of president of 
the Council of 500, precipitated the denouement by a 
daring coup de theatre,' the success of which makes 
us wonder what might have been accomplished , if a 
popular general had played a resolute part. When 
matters seemed at their worst, Lucien sent an 

" Thibaudeau, 6. * Sorel, v. 482. 

' Vandal, i. 384,385. 

466 " LA FARCE EST JOUEE " [chap, lxxiv 

urgent message for help to his brother, as a result 
of which he was rescued, in a highly dramatic 
manner, by military force from a supposed peril of 
death at the hands of some members of the assembly. 
He then mounted a horse, harangued the soldiers, 
and represented to them that the majority of the 
Council of 500 were in imminent danger of being 
assassinated by the daggers of a murderous minority, 
— an ingenious misrepresentation, which made it the 
duty of the guards of the Legislative Councils to 
defend the lives of their masters. Now was the time 
for the sword to intervene. The call thus given by 
Napoleon's brother was responded to by his brother- 
in-law General Leclerc, and his future brother- 
in-law General Murat, who, with a few soldiers, 
quickly cleared the Orangery of the deputies, driving 
them pell-mell into the gardens through doors and 
windows ." 

After the Council of 500 had been forcibly broken 
up, much remained to be done ; and it was Lucien 
Bonaparte who, " playing twenty parts in one day," 
accomplished the remainder. Having secured the co- 
operation of the Council of Ancients, he succeeded in 
collecting a reliable fragment of the Council of 500. 
With the help of this mutilated corps Ugislatif, the 
necessary steps were taken for sanctioning a new 
Constitution, and nominating a provisional Consulate, 
consisting of Napoleon Bonaparte, Sieyes, and Roger 
Ducos, to form the new Executive. 

Then came the preparation of concerted reports of 
speeches, of a public proclamation, and of tales about 
daggers and assassins, which were furbished up for 
the enlightenment of the public, and of the historian.* 
The curtain descended. The comedy was concluded. 
" Vandal, i. 387-391, * Sorel, v. 486. 

nov. g, 1799] "HE IS HONEST" 467 

The coup had come off. " La farce est jouee," said 
Real, one of the well-informed actors in the piece." 

Bonaparte drove back to Paris at 3 a.m. with 
Bourrienne. They went to Josephine's room, where 
the general gave her an account of the events of the 
day. During the conversation Bernadotte's name 
was mentioned . Bourrienne describes, in the following 
terms, what was said by Napoleon about him : " Have 
you seen him, Bourrienne ? " said Bonaparte to me. 
" No, General." " Neither have I. . . . Would you 
imagine it, I had intelligence to-day of many 
intrigues, in which he is concerned. Would you be- 
lieve it, he wished nothing less than to be appointed 
my colleague in authority ? He talked of mounting his 
horse and marching with the troops, that might be 
placed under his command. He wished, he said, to 
maintain the Constitution ; nay, more, I am assured 
that he had the audacity to add that, if it were 
necessary to outlaw me, the Government might come 
to him, and he would find soldiers capable of carrying 
the decree into execution." " All this, General, should 
give you an idea how inflexible his principles are." 
" Yes, I am well aware of it ; there is something in 
that ; he is honest. But for his obstinacy, my 
brothers would have brought him over. They are 
allied with him. As for me, have I not, I ask you, 
made sufficient advances to him ? You have wit- 
nessed them. Moreau, who has a higher military 
reputation than he, came over to me at once. How- 
ever, I feel sorry for having practised some cajolery on 
Bernadotte ; and I am thinking of separating him from 
his coteries without anyone being able to find fault 
with the proceeding. I cannot revenge myself in any 
other manner. Joseph likes him. I should have 
" Vandal, i. 387-391, 400-401. 

468 " IF " [chap, lxxiv 

everybody against me. These family considerations 
are follies ! Good-night, Bourrienne. By the way, 
we shall sleep in the Luxembourg to-morrow." a 

To the coup d'etat of Brumaire Bernadotte had 
been a troublesome obstacle, nothing more. It 
might have been very different if he had continued 
to be Minister of War. He would have been armed 
with a Constitutional authority, the want of which 
restrained him from acting as a private citizen. 
Gohier, who was president of the Directory at the 
date of the coup, says in his memoirs : — 

" If the administration which was formed after the 
30th Prairial had not been mutilated ; if at the Ministry 
of Police . . . Bourguignon had not been replaced by 
. . . Fouche ; if Bernadotte had remained at the 
Ministry of War ; if Marbot had not ceased to com- 
mand the 1 7th division ; assuredly the 1 8th Brumaire 
would not have taken place." b 

When Sieyes, as already described/ succeeded in 
removing Bernadotte from the Ministry of War, he 
at the same time cleared away the only formidable 
barrier that lay in the path of Bonaparte's ambition. 
" Bourr. iii. 106-108. * Gohier, i. 227. 'Chapter LXVIII. 


The Flight of the Bernadottes after Brumaire 
— The Forest of Senart 

" Bernadotte disparait avec sa femme deguisee en muscadin." — 
Alfred Rambaud, Revue Bleue, January 1902. 

" In the evening at my country house I found Bernadotte and 
a little youth . . . whom I found to be Madame Bernadotte in 
boy's clothes." — General Sarrazin describing the evening of the 
igth Brumaire. 

"When shall we have the pleasure of embracing our dear 
Oscar ? The poor child loves us so much ; he must pine at being 
so long without us." — Madame Bernadotte to Bernadotte at General 
Sarrazin' s country house, where they are hiding after the igth 

The invariable sequel to a revolutionary coup d'etat 
or journee, as it was called, was the proscription of 
the most dangerous of the defeated party. On the 
night of the 19th Brumaire, seventy of the members 
of the Council of 500 were declared to be excluded 
from that body . This was a mild premonitory measure . 
On the same night the police were searching Paris for 
prominent Jacobins. Some were arrested ; but the 
majority were careful not to be at home. A few days 
afterwards, an official list of the proscribed persons was 
published. Thirty-seven were condemned to deporta- 
tion to Guiana ; and twenty- two, including General 
Jourdan, to a penal island nearer home." More merciful 
counsels prevailed when the storm of passions had 
calmed down . In the meantime, on the night of the 1 9th 
Brumaire, General Jourdan took refuge at the house of 
a friend. General Augereau made his peace before 

" Vandal, i. 426. 

470 BERNADOTTE'S PERIL [chap, lxxv 

it was too late. When he saw how the day had gone, 
he " came to heel." Towering like a giant over 
Bonaparte, he reminded him of Fructidor, by saying 
reproachfully, " What, General, do you make a coup, 
and forget to call to your aid your little Augereau ?"" 

But what of Bernadotte ? His name was not 
upon the published list of proscripts ; but he was 
well aware that Bonaparte, Sieyes, and the other 
victorious " Brumarians " knew of all his proceedings 
since the return from Egypt. There had been no 
concealment about his attitude. They knew of his 
offer to the Directory to arrest Bonaparte for deserting 
his army and for breaking the quarantine laws ; of his 
invitation to Moreau to give him a call to arms against 
the usurper ; of his advice to the deputies to appoint 
him commander of their guard of the Council of 
500, so that he might counteract the ambitious 
Corsican. Many a man, after one of the " days " of 
the Revolutionary era, had gone to the scaffold or to a 
penal colony for far less than Bernadotte had said 
and done. He had a faithful and powerful friend 
in his brother-in-law Joseph Bonaparte. But Paris 
was seething with political passion, and the cauldron 
must have time to cool. 

Of Bernadotte 's doings on the evening of the 19th 
Brumaire we have the most direct evidence. General 
Sarrazin gives the following account of what met his 
eyes when he returned home after the events of St. 
Cloud : — 

" My astonishment was excessive when, arriv- 
ing in the evening at my country house, called 
Chateau Fraguier, near Villeneuve St. George, I 
found Bernadotte and a little youth, whom I did 
not recollect at first sight, and whom I found to be 

" Barras, iv. 90; (transl.) iv. 116. 


Madame Bernadotte in boy's clothes. The general 
told me that, after having thought for a long time 
upon the retreat he should choose, to give Bonaparte 
time to cool from the first fit of his rage, he had 
determined to come to me ; in the first place, because 
he was sure I would keep his secret ; and, secondly, 
because, my chateau being contiguous to the forest 
of Senart, it was easy for his wife and him to 
conceal themselves there, with the certainty of not 
wanting the means of living. I thanked him for 
having given me the preference, and assured him 
that his confidence should be amply justified."" 

The Bernadottes remained, for three days, in 
hiding at General Sarrazin's country house. Mean- 
while, Joseph Bonaparte was exerting himself to 
bring about a reconciliation between Bernadotte and 
Napoleon. Desiree was corresponding with her sister, 
Madame Joseph, and was every day becoming more 
unhappy and home-sick. She was concerned about 
her son, and was continually saying to Bernadotte, 
" When shall we have the pleasure of embracing 
our dear Oscar ? The poor child loves us so much ; 
he must pine at being so long without us." 

We leave Bernadotte, in his thirty-seventh year, in 
his hiding-place near the forest of Senart. How he 
got on his feet again is another day's story. The 
present volume is confined to the history of his life, 
before it came under the domination of Napoleon 
Bonaparte. After 9th November 1799, until he was 
elected Crown Prince of Sweden, in August 18 10, 
Bernadotte was the servant of his successful rival. 

Can anyone, who has followed all that occurred 
between Bernadotte and Bonaparte since their first 
meeting in March 1797, be surprised that the rela- 
tions between master and servant, during the eleven 
years which followed 1 799, were marked from time to 
"Sarr. Mem. 134; Phil. ii. 205, 206. 

472 THE SOLDIER AND CITIZEN [chap, lxxv 

time by suspicion on one side and by disaffection 
on the other ? Can anyone be surprised to find 
Bernadotte losing much of the energy and the en- 
thusiasm, which were mingled with gratitude to the 
Republic for having opened a career to his talents? 
When France became centred in Napoleon, the 
passion died out of Bernadotte's patriotism, and he 
ceased to be the sympathetic study for his country- 
men that he was under the Republic. 

It would be premature, at this stage, to attempt a 
final judgment on Bernadotte ; and any estimate of 
the first phase of his career must be merely provisional 
and tentative. His capacity and energy have not 
been questioned. While in the King's army he never 
failed in his duty. When the Revolutionary deluge 
descended, it surprised no swimmer more capable of 
buffeting its waves. As a Republican soldier he com- 
manded no large army in the field ; but as a leader 
of from 7000 to 10,000 men, whether in the van or in 
covering a retreat, he was surpassed by few, if any, 
of the generals of that day. In the political arena he 
found himself, an uneducated novice, pitted against 
such trained gladiators as Barras, Talleyrand, Fouch6, 
Sieyes, and the Bonapartes. They played upon his 
Gascon foibles, and fooled him more than once ; but 
they never succeeded in drawing him into any of the 
unconstitutional acts of violence, in which, from time 
to time, they were so deeply involved. As ambas- 
sador and Minister he displayed public spirit and 
independence both in his manner of filling and of 
leaving offices, which he neither sought nor clung to. 
He was a fierce fighter in the field, and a " despot in 
his division " ; but in the administration of conquered 
territory he showed himself sympathetic, clement, 
upright, and just. 

1 763-1 799] THE MAN 473 

When we turn from Bernadotte the soldier and 
the citizen to Bernadotte the man, we are met by 
a trait which acted as a counterpoise to his Gascon 
extravagances. From the day of his enlistment, this 
adventurous soldier of fortune was keenly sensible 
of the imperative force of restraining influences 
within him, which served, like "the charioteer" in 
the old myth of Plato's day, to rein and curb his 
fiery personality. The voices of " Honour," " Duty," 
and " Conscience " were always ringing in his ears. 
They did not always ring true. Sometimes they 
gave an uncertain sound. But they were loud 
enough and clear enough to keep in check upon 
many a critical occasion this impetuous Southerner, 
in whom the emotional element so largely pre- 
dominated, and the mind worked through imagina- 
tion rather than reflection. 

He tamed the wild troops of the Revolution not so 
much by severity as by appealing to their better side, 
and to the impulsion of noble and manly instincts. 
" Do not courage and honour anticipate the law's 
decrees ? " " With men of honour respect for mis- 
fortune is a sentiment before it is a duty." " Character- 
istic of Bernadotte was this firm belief in an inward 
arbiter, whose awards were so swift as to forestall and 
to outrun all external rules and obligations. It has 
been said of him that " il aimait s'empanacher d'un 
beau sentiment," and that he was the facile dupe of 
his own rhetoric. These were signs of weakness, but 
not of insincerity. Desaix, the Bayard of his military 
contemporaries, did not doubt that he was sincere, 
when, after describing him as " pleine de feu, de 
vigeur, de belles passions," he added, " de caractere 
surtout." b 

"Pp. 391, 403, supra. 'Desaix, Journal de Voyage, 70. 

474 THE MAN [chap, lxxv 

If Bernadotte is to be judged by the absolute and 
unbending standards, which a Rhadamanthine school 
of modern thought insists upon, he will suffer by com- 
parison with generals or statesmen of more settled 
times, heirs of centuries of culture and education, 
whose careers trod comparatively beaten tracks. But, 
if his life and character be subjected to relative 
tests ; if due allowance be made for race, for origin, 
for atmosphere ; for the absence of any educational 
advantages or of any adventitious aid ; for the 
magnitude of the events, the variety of the emer- 
gencies, the delicacy of the situations, the strength 
of the temptations, and the calibre of the men, which 
formed his environment ; and then, if all that he did 
and all that he refrained from doing, be counted up, 
we shall better understand the verdict, which de Segur " 
and SoreH have agreed to, that, in spite of all his 
shortcomings, he " began nobly," and Pingaud's c saying 
that he was " the most daring, the most extraordinary, 
and the most fortunate of the cadets of Gascony." 

He was not a hero without fault or blemish, as his 
apologists have painted him ; nor a mixture of Iago 
and Catiline, as his enemies would like to represent 
him. He was a typical Bearnais, — brave, resourceful, 
impetuous in action, cautious in affairs. It is true 
that he was ambitious, jealous, egoistic ; a better 
master than servant ; a better ruler than subject. 
But if he had self-love, he also had " self-reverence " 
and "self-control," qualities which Tennyson ranks 
among the forces that " lead life to sovereign power." 
In the end, they led his life to sovereign power ; and, 
at the beginning, in an age, when all the conventional 
restraints of manners, laws, and religion were relaxed, 
they enabled him to discipline himself as well as others. 

" Segur, i. 491. * Sorel, ii. 547. ' Pingaud, 428. 


The writer hopes, if vouchsafed another vacant 
holiday, to follow Bernadotte through the later and 
more interesting stages of his career. How did he 
bear himself under the Consulate as Councillor of 
State and Commander in the West ? What part, 
if any, did he take in the conspiracies of Arena, of 
Donnadieu, of the malcontent generals, of the placards 
of Rennes ? What were his relations, under the 
Consulate, with Moreau ? How did his friendship 
commence with Madame Recamier, and how did it 
progress with Madame de Stael ? Under what circum- 
stances did he rally to the Empire? Why did the 
Emperor give to his former rival a baton and a princi- 
pality ? How did he govern Hanover, Anspach, and 
the Hanseatic towns ? What did he do or leave un- 
done at Austerlitz, Schleitz, Auerstadt, Halle, Lubeck, 
Mohringen, Eylau, Spandau, Wagram, Walcheren ? 
How did La Romana escape him? What was the 
significance of the Fouche- Bernadotte rapprochement 
in 1 809 ? What share had Napoleon in his election as 
Crown Prince of Sweden ? What was the explanation 
of that extraordinary event ? Was he, in 181 3 and 
1 8 14, a traitor to France, or only a loyal son of his 
adopted country ? How did he drift into the alliance 
against Napoleon? What was his share in the 
victories of Grossbeeren, Dennewitz, and Leipsic ? 
What were his relations with the Emperor Alexander, 
King Louis xvin., Blucher, Bennigsen, Pozzo di 
Borgo, Lord Londonderry, the Count de Rocheouart ? 

How did he win the Crown of Norway, and how far was 


476 L'ENVOI [1800-1844 

he from winning the Crown of France ? What sort 
of a king did he make? What did the Bourbon 
ambassadors say about him? What did his subjects 
think of him ? By what methods did he succeed, to 
the disappointment of his enemies, in holding his 
throne and transmitting it to his descendants ? These 
and many other questions present themselves to a 
student of this strange career. If the writer cannot 
find time to pursue them, he trusts that they may 
be taken up by somebody more competent to do 
them justice. 




(i) Bibliographical Note on Bernadotte's Early Life . 478 

(2) Count Philippe de Segur's Comment on Bernadotte's 

Extraordinary Success .... 480 

(3) " Le Tatouage de Bernadotte " . . . . 481 

(4) The Register of Bernadotte's Birth and Baptism . 483 

(5) Two Stories Illustrative of the Difference between 

" Le Gascon fou " and " Le Gascon qui reussit " . 483 

(6) The House in which Bernadotte was Born . . 484 

(7) The Religion of the Bernadottes . . . 484 

(8) Bernadotte's Pedigree ...... 485 

(9) A Memento of Bernadotte's Legal Apprenticeship . 485 

(10) Bernadotte's Mother ..... 485 

(11) Bernadotte's Captains in the Royal-la-Marine Regi- 

ment ....... 486 

(12) Bernadotte's Public Services down to November 1799 . 487 

(13) Bernadotte's Gasconade about the Siege of Cuddalore 488 

(14) The Day of the Tiles (La Journee des Tuiles) . . 489 

(15) Poem Attributed to Bernadotte . . . 489 

(16) An Entry in the Archives of the Department of the 

Lower Pyrenees ..... 490 

(17) Bernadotte " Dieu des armees " ... 490 

(18) General Sarrazin ...... 490 

(19) The Christening of the Army of Sambre and Meuse . 492 

(20) Count Philippe de Segur on Bernadotte's Alleged 

Jealousy of Disposition .... 492 

(21) The Register of Bernadotte's Marriage . . 493 

(22) Bernadotte and Thiebault .... 493 

(23) The Memoirs of Bourrienne and the i8th Brumaire . 494 

(24) Some Letters of Bernadotte's (1794-1799) . . 495 



An English book on Bernadotte, Philippart's Memoirs and 
Campaigns of Charles John, Prince Royal of Sweden, was 
published in 1814, when the evidence was scanty, and had 
not been sifted. Very little help can be derived from it. 

Two French biographies have appeared, one by Sarrans 
(1845) and the other by Touchard Lafosse (1858). Sarrans 
dismisses the period, which is covered by the present volume, 
in less than fifty pages. Touchard Lafosse was an apologist. 
He passes over the weak spots, and paints Bernadotte as an 
almost impossible hero. The narrative, so far as it goes, is 
not, as a general rule, inaccurate, and is cited occasionally by 
so careful a writer as Albert Vandal ; but the picture is all 
light and no shade. 

Four writers of distinction have, in the course of the last 
forty years, dealt with certain special aspects of Bernadotte's 
career. M. Frederic Masson (1882), in Les Diplomates de la 
Revolution (pp. 149-248), and M. A. Dry (1906), in Soldats 
Ambassadeurs sous le Diredoire (vol. ii. pp. 333-468), have 
described the Viennese Ambassadorship. This episode, 
which occupied nine weeks in 1798, is dealt with in Part VII. 
of the present volume, where the author's debt to MM. Masson 
and Dry is acknowledged in the footnotes. M. Christian 
Schefer (1899), in Bernadotte Roi, and M. Leonce Pingaud 
(1901), in Bernadotte, Bonaparte, et les Bourbons, have made 
studies of later periods of Bernadotte's life, which are not 
reached in the present volume. M. Pingaud devotes fifty 
introductory pages to the earlier stage of his career ; and 
has also written a valuable monograph on the Comte 
d'Antraigues, which has been utilised by the present author 
in Chapter XXXIX. 

Many excellent Swedish books have been written about 
Bernadotte, which are mainly occupied with his Swedish 
career. Wrangel, Blomberg, Almen, and Sjogren are among 
those who have also, by their investigations, thrown light 
upon his early life. 

A German writer, Hans Kloeber, published a biography 

« N.B.— This note refers only to the first phase of Bernadotte's life, 
covered by the present volume. 

NOTES 479 

in 1911, which contains useful information, especially where 
Bernadotte's German campaigns and experiences are con- 

Bernadotte and his Swedish ministers, from time to 
time, approached writers of histories and memoirs, and 
supplied them with information. For example, we know 
from Lockhart's Life of Scott (vol. ix. pp. 88, 89) that Sir 
Walter received, in this way, materials, which were embodied 
in the appendices to his life of Napoleon. His admirers 
declared that Bernadotte was defending himself against a 
campaign of calumny ; his critics accused him of organising 
an office de publicite (see Pingaud, chap, xxiii. p. 376). In 
view of the suspicions, which this controversy has engendered, 
no use has been made of the writings of St. Donat and Roque- 
fort, Chateauneuf, the brothers Montgaillard, or of those 
biographical dictionaries, which have been the object of 
criticism, upon the justice of which the present writer offers 
no opinion. 

A cautious use has been made of the Memoirs of Berna- 
dotte's contemporaries. Bourrienne's are no longer regarded 
as apocryphal, and can be checked by Bourrienne et ses 
Erreurs, some of the editors of which were as hostile, as 
Bourrienne himself was friendly, to Bernadotte (see Note (22)). 
Barras' Memoirs were, as Aulard has put it, " rediges par St. 
Albin " (Aulard's Etudes et Lefons, vi. 298). St. Albin was 
secretary at the Ministry of War, in 1799, under Bernadotte, 
and admired his chief. But he was not a partisan. On the 
contrary, he bitterly complains that Bernadotte, when he 
became king, neglected and forgot him (see Barras, iv. 19; 
Eng. trans., iv. 22, 23). Similarly, General Sarrazin, who 
served in several campaigns with Bernadotte between 1794 
and 1804, and wrote some memoirs and military histories, 
admired Bernadotte while serving with him, but afterwards 
reproached him indignantly, when he was refused asylum in 
Sweden (see Note (18)). Some excuse may be offered for 
Bernadotte. He received in Sweden the families of several 
old colleagues and comrades — e.g. Ney, Fouche, and Drouet 
d'Erlon. If he had planted his realm with many more of his 
old friends, he might, perhaps, himself never have taken root. 

For military events, use has been made of M. Arthur 
Chuquet's series of books on the Wars of the Revolution ; 
of Jomini's History of those wars ; of the historical compila- 


tion known as Victoires, Conquetes, Desastres, Revers et Guerres 
civiles des Franfais ; of the military memoirs of General 
Jourdan, and of the Archduke Charles of Austria ; of the 
correspondence of Napoleon, Jourdan, Kleber, Marceau, and 
other comrades of Bernadotte ; and of the studies of particular 
campaigns, which have been published from time to time, 
including those written in recent years by Dupuis, Coutanceau, 
and Hennequin. 

For public and political events, besides the standard 
English and French histories, the author has consulted 
the modern writings of MM. A. Aulard, Albert Sorel, Albert 
Vandal, and Louis Madelin ; the works of Carlyle, Lord 
Acton, Lord Morley, and Mr. Rose ; L'Histoire Generate, 
edited by Ernest Lavisse and Alfred Rambaud (vol. viii.) ; 
and the Cambridge Modern History (vol. viii.). 

The letters, which were written by Bernadotte to his 
brother between 1786 and 1793, have been translated from 
the copies published by the Swedish writer Wrangel ; and a 
selection has been made from letters, which have been 
collected, from time to time, by the author. 

The book has been a holiday task. The writer has not 
had access to State papers or archives, but has used all the 
materials that he could find in the British Museum Library, 
the Library of the University of Dublin, and the National 
Library of Ireland. He desires to acknowledge gratefully 
the courtesy and help, which he has received from the 
guardians of those treasure-houses. 


" Surely, of all the biographies of our contemporaries, the 
most curious, the most singular to study philosophically, would 
be that of the soldier who rose to the rank of Marshal, and 
remained a warrior of renown, although found wanting so 
often on the day of battle,— of that fierce and stubborn 
Republican, who became, by adoption, the continuer of 
a Royal Dynasty famous for heroic valour and for the 
antiquity of its aristocratic source, yet not sufficient to 
satisfy the incredible ambition of one, who indulged in other 
dreams. Surely never were what we call worldly success 

NOTES 481 

and fortune more completely attained, but by such means, 
that never did success and fortune on this earth so clearly 
prove that of necessity there must exist another world." — 
Melanges, par C TE Philippe de Segur, pp. 202, 203. 

The writer of this passage, Count Philippe de Segur, does 
not belong to the period covered by this volume. He was 
born in 1780 and joined the army in 1800. We quote him 
here and in Note (20), because he is a good type of Berna- 
dotte's hostile critics. He was a gallant officer, but it was 
not easy for an ex-A.D.C. of Napoleon, who had fought with 
distinction for France in the War of Liberation, to be quite 
just to the ex-Marshal of the Empire, who fought in that 
war on the side of the Allies, and helped them to win the 
battle of Leipsic. 

A tradition that Bernadotte was tattooed on the arm with 
a revolutionary device and motto served to provide a plot 
for a comedy, or vaudeville, which was produced at the 
Palais Royal on 10th May 1833. The play appears to have 
been amusing and extravagant. A carpenter, to whom 
the honoured name of Thiebault was given on the play-bill, 
an ex-grenadier of the Royal-la-Marine Regiment, is repre- 
sented as going to Sweden, in order to renew his acquaintance 
with his former comrade, King Bernadotte. They meet in one 
of the Royal parks, and agree to dine together, and, in 
honour of the occasion, to put on the uniform of their old 
regiment once again. The two veterans indulge in reminis- 
cences, in the course of which the carpenter recalls the circum- 
stance that he had once tattooed his comrade's arm with 
gunpowder. Carried away by old associations, the King 
pulls up his sleeve, and displays the indelible imprint of the 
Phrygian cap and of a revolutionary motto. The dis- 
closure of this revolutionary tatouage places the King in such 
a dilemma, that he only escapes from the necessity for abdi- 
cation by sanctioning the marriage of the hero and heroine 
of the piece, which is thus brought to a happy conclusion. 
The motto displayed by the King in the comedy was, accord- 
ing to one writer, Liberie ou la Mort. In another place it is 
stated to have been Vive la Republique. 

The story, to which this comedy gave currency, is usually 
told in another form. For example, in L'Intermediaire des 


Chercheurs et Curieux (vol. xx. ioo, 156, 157), reference is made 
to an article on " L'Histoire du tatouage " in the Dictionnaire 
Encyclopedique, where it is stated that, during a voyage round 
the world, an English prince, when the conversation turned 
upon tattooing, told the anecdote as follows. He said that 
it was noticed that the King of Sweden always objected, 
for some mysterious reason, to exposing his arm. When a 
serious illness made bleeding necessary, he exacted a promise 
of secrecy from his physician, who gave and broke the promise, 
after seeing the Phrygian cap and the words Mort au Rois 
tattooed on the King's arm. It would be interesting to 
inquire whether this anecdote can be traced to any source 
earlier than the Palais Royal comedy of 10th May 1833. 

As regards the question whether the story is credible or 
not, a study of Bernadotte's early life suggests the following 
observations. If Bernadotte was ever tattooed with a 
revolutionary motto, it is improbable that it occurred while 
he was in the Royal-la-Marine Regiment. He left that 
regiment in April 1792, before the Republic had been estab- 
lished or its mottoes had come into vogue among soldiers like 
Bernadotte. The Monarchy was suspended in the following 
August, and abolished in September 1792. Then came the 
Republic, which became every day more popular with the 
army (Sorel, iii. 83). If le tatouage de Bernadotte ever 
happened, the incident best fits the temper of the time and of 
the man in the spring or summer of 1793, when he was serving 
as a subaltern officer, first under Custine and then under 
Beauharnais. The Republic was in the first year of its 
existence, and that stage of the war, which is known as "La 
Guerre aux Rois " was in full swing. It was a period of 
popular exaltation, when Republican mottoes were on every 
soldier's lips. It appears from Bernadotte's letter to his 
brother, dated 4th July 1793 (see Chapter XI. p. 64 supra), 
that the generals of the Republican Army, at that period, used 
to shout " Hatred to Kings " and " Vive la Republique " in the 
hearing of their subalterns. There is nothing inherently im- 
probable in the story that a young lieutenant of that day was 
tattooed with a Republican device and motto. Such an 
incident might have occurred beside any camp-fire on the 
Rhine. But the story will remain an anecdote and nothing 
more, until some satisfactory evidence of its authenticity has 
been produced. 

NOTES 483 


The following is a translation of the register of Bernadotte's 
birth (26th January 1763) and baptism (27th January 1763). 
A facsimile is given in Hilarion Barth6ty's La Maison natale 
de Bemadotte : — ■ 

Extract from the Administrative Records of the Town 
of Pau (Lower Pyrenees) 
" In the year seventeen hundred and sixty-three, on the 
twenty-sixth January was born and on the twenty-seventh 
was baptized, John, legitimate son of the Sieur Henry de 
Bemadotte, procureur at the Court of the Senechal, and of the 
Demoiselle Jeanne St. Jean (his wife), inhabitants of this town, 
sponsors John Bemadotte, the younger, procureur at the Court 
of the Senechal, and Marie Besbedes," his wife. Witnesses, 
Jean Borda, procureur, and Bernard Luc, crier of the said 
Court of the Senechal, who have signed with the godfather 
and with us, but not the godmother, as she cannot write 
(pour ne savoir). 

" Jean Bernadotte, the younger. 

" Luc, Borda, Procureur. 

" Poeydavant, Vicar of Pau." 


The " Gascon fool " is typified in the story of a Gascon 
dragoon at a review. His restive horse was endangering the 
safety of a peaceable crowd of onlookers, one of whom court- 
eously requested him to retire a few paces. " Gentlemen," he 
said, drawing himself up pompously in his saddle, " my horse 
is from my country. He does not know how to retire." On 
the other hand, Gascon wit and dexterity are exemplified by 
a story of a young officer in the army of Marshal de Villars, 
who announced to some comrades, " I dine to-night with 
Villars." The Marshal overheard him, and said, " Sir, out of 
respect for my rank, you should speak of me as Monsieur de 
Villars." " Surely not, sir," replied the young Gascon; "we 
do not speak of Monsieur de Cesar ! " Bernadotte was a 
Gascon of the latter type. 

• Name not clearly legible. 



An old controversy with reference to the identity of the house 
at Pau, in which Bernadotte was born, has been settled in 
favour of the " Maison Balague," which opens to two streets, 
and is now 6 Rue Tran and 5 Rue Bernadotte. When 
Bernadotte was five years of age, the family moved to the 
" Maison Dupouey," also in the Rue Tran, and in 1780, in 
the year of his enlistment, they moved to the " Maison 
Claverie " in the same street. It was in the latter house that 
Bernadotte spent his first furlough, which is referred to in 
Chapter III. — La Maison de Bernadotte, par Hilakion 
Barthety (Pau, 1879). 

After Bernadotte became Crown Prince of Sweden, and 
conformed to the religion of his adopted country, some 
writers, wishing to attribute to him more consistency than 
could be claimed for his compatriot, Henri iv., asserted that 
he came of Huguenot ancestry, while M. Henri Rochefort 
declared that he was a Jew, but offered no evidence except 
an alleged Jewish caste of countenance in Guerin's portrait 
(for which see p. 176 supra). A discussion upon the subject 
was started in the French Notes and Queries (L ' Intermediaire 
des chercheurs et curieux, for 1888-1893). A correspondent, 
le Comte F. V. Derangel, communicated the result of his 
researches among the records of baptisms and marriages 
in the Bernadotte family, from which it appears that his 
parents and ancestors were Catholics. This is consistent 
with a statement, which is made in several places, that his 
mother had Huguenot relatives. Bernadotte's wife, Desiree 
Clary, never changed her religion, and, while Crown Princess 
and Queen of Sweden, always remained a Catholic (L Inter- 
mediaire des chercheurs et curieux, vol. xxviii., November- 
December 1893, pp. 703-704, 765-768). The atmosphere of 
Bernadotte's home seems to have been noble and elevating. 
He is believed to have been educated at the Benedictine school 
at Pau, which had a high reputation. These home and school 
influences doubtless fostered the lofty strain which was an 
element of his character. During the period covered by this 
volume, he appears to have showed respect to religion and 
to religious institutions wherever he wielded power, e.g. at 
Maestricht, Adelsburg, Udine, and Mannheim. 

NOTES 485 


In the note to Wrangel's Biographical Sketch (Stockholm, 
1899), and in vol. xxviii. of L' Intermediate des Chercheurs 
et Curieux, pp. 765-768, information is collected about the 
pedigree of the Bernadotte family. It appears that Berna- 
dotte's father (1711-1784) was the son of Jean Bernadotte 
and Marie Puchen, dite Sarton or de Sarthon (marriage- 
contract dated 1st May 1707), and the grandson of Jean de 
Bernadotte and Marie de Grange 1 (marriage-contract, 26th 
January 1671). It seems probable that the father of the last- 
named Jean de Bernadotte was Pierre de Pouey, son of 
Jouandot de Pouey, whose wife (marriage-contract, 5th July 
1615) was daughter of Jean de Lajuins and of Estebene de 
Buleret, and was known as Germaine de Bernadotte from a 
house of that name which was her property. Pierre de 
Pouey succeeded to his mother's property and took the name 
of Bernadotte. The house appears, according to the Archives 
of Pau, to have belonged in 1546 to Armande de Bernadotte, 
and previously to one Bernadotte de Labarthe. Armande 
was believed to have been an ancestor of Germaine, and the 
name Armande was given to one of Bernadotte's brothers, 
who died young, and to several of his cousins. Bernadotte's 
mother, Jeanne de St. Jean, was the daughter of Jean St. Jean 
(d. 1762) and Marie Dabbadie (d. 1752), and the granddaughter 
of Bernard St. Jean (d. 1724) ; they belonged to the neighbour- 
ing parish or district of Boeil. It appears from the register 
of the marriage of Bernadotte's parents (Wrangel, 22, 23 n.) 
that she was the niece of a noble named Gedebn de Labastide, 
who was present at the ceremony and signed the register. 


A memento of Bernadotte's legal apprenticeship is preserved 
in the Royal Library of Stockholm — namely, a copy of 
Bretonnier's Les Questions de Droit, inscribed on the title page 
" Ex Libris Johannis Bernadotte Palensis, minoris natu, 


Bernadotte's mother died on 8th January 1809, when 
Bernadotte was one of Napoleon's marshals, and held the 


rank of Prince of Ponte-Corvo. A copy of the register of 
Madame Bernadotte's death is given by Wrangel (pp. 27-28 n.). 
She is described in it as " mere de S.A.S. le Prince de Ponte- 
Corvo." The following reference to her death appeared in 
the Journal des Basses-Pyrenees, 10th January 1809 : — 

" Madame Bernadotte, mother of our illustrious compatriot, 
H.S.H. the Prince of Ponte-Corvo, died on the 8th of this 
month . . . leaving behind her the example of a simple and 
a virtuous life. The administrative and judicial authorities 
assisted at her obsequies, and availed themselves of the sad 
opportunity of once more testifying their esteem and attach- 
ment to a Prince, who will always be dear to the people of 
Beam." — Wrangel, pp. 28-29 n. 


The following list of the superior officers of the Royal-la- 
Marine Regiment is extracted from the Army List (L'Etat 
militaire de France, pp. 229-230) for the year 1780 : — 


Col. L. Comm. . M. le Comte de Lons. 

Col. L. en sec. . . M. le Baron de Bruyere 

Saint Michel. 
Lt.-Colonel . . . M. de Trestondan. 

Major . . . . M. le Chev. de Rochegude. 

Qr. Me Tres. . . . M. Paquet. 


MM. de la Boneville. MM. de Meric, Grenadiers. 

de Jugeals. Duvernet. 

de la Cassine, Grenadiers. Ch. de Belcastel. 

Ch. de Brassac. Desruaux de Tarsac. 

Donnous, Chasseurs. Ch. de Couetus. 

de Chateaubodeau. de Belleforest, Chasseurs. 

Baron de Chalabre. Deschampsneuf. 

de Jean. de Monty. 

Saint-Hilaire. de Coatlez. 

de Raymond. Langevin. 

It appears from Bernadotte's " Etats de Service " (see 
next Note), which have been published from the Archives 
of the Ministry of War, by Pingaud and by Hans Kloeber, 
that Bernadotte served from time to time in the companies 
of Captains de la Boneville, de Brassac, de Chalabre, Saint- 

NOTES 487 

Hilaire, Duvernet, and Belcastel, all of whose names appear 
in tlie above list. 

CIVIL EMPLOYMENTS DOWN TO 1799 (Pingaud, p. 429) 

[From the Archives of the Ministry of War] 


Bernadotte (Jean de), fils de Henry de Bernadotte, procureur au 

senechal, et de demoiselle Jeanne de Saint-Jean (le parrain 

Jean Bernadotte cadet, aussi procureur au senechal, la mar- 

raine demoiselle Marie de Besbedes, son epouse) , 
Ne a Pau (et baptise le meme jour) le 26 Janvier 1763 . . 3 

Mort a Stockholm le 8 mars 1844. 
Marie le 17 aoiit 1798, a Sceaux-l'Unite, a Bernardine-Eugenie- 

Desiree Clary . . . . . . 342 

Taille de 5 pieds 5 pouces 9 lignes. 

Soldat au regiment d'infanterie Royal-la-Marine (compagnie 

Brassac) 3 septembre 1780 . . . . .11 

Grenadier, 20 mai 1782 . . . . . 17 

Caporal (compagnie Saint-Hilaire) , 16 juin 1785 . . .22 

Sergent (compagnie de chasseurs), 31 aoiit 1785 . . .22 

Fourrier (compagnie de Chalabre), 21 juin 1786 . . -23 

Sergent-major (compagnie de Belcastel), n mai 1788 . . 23 

Adjudant, 7 fevrier 1790 . . . . . -25 

Lieutenant au 36 regiment d'infanterie, 6 novembre 1791 . 39 

Adjudant-major au 36 s , 30 novembre 1792 . . . -55 

Capitaine (par election), 18 juillet r 793 . . . .66 

Chef de bataillon (elu par 660 voix le 8 aout 1793, confirme le 8 

fevrier 1794) . . . . . . .68 

Chef de brigade commandant la 71 6 demi-brigade d'infanterie de 

bataille, 4 avril 1794 . . . . . -74 

General de brigade (nomme a titre provisoire par les representants 

dupeuple a l'armee de Sambre-et-Meuse), 29 juin 1794 . 95 

General de division, 22 octobre 1 794 . . . .110 

Employe a l'armee d'ltalie, 5 fevrier 1797 . . .182 

En mission a Paris pour porter les drapeaux au Directoire, 9 aout 

1797 ....... 243 

Ambassadeur de France a Vienne, fevrier-14 avril 1798 . . 293 

Commandant la 5 e division militaire a Strasbourg, 13 mai 1798 . 324 
Nomme ambassadeur en Batavia, juin 1798 (refuse) . . 325 

Employe a l'armee de Mayence, 20 octobre 1798 . . . 348 

General en chef de l'armee d'observation, 5 fevrier 1799 . . 359 

Commandant l'aile gauche de l'armee du Danube (general en chef 

Jourdan), 28 mars-14 avril 1799 .... 364 

Ministre de la guerre, 2 juillet-14 septembre 1799 . , . 375 



In 1805 Bernadotte was Marshal of the Empire and Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Army of Hanover, where, as usual, 
he succeeded in winning the gratitude and affection of the 
inhabitants. He does not appear to have been always over- 
scrupulous in his method of doing so. A gasconade of his 
is related in different forms (e.g. by Sarrans, i. 55). It ap- 
pears that some incident of the following kind occurred. At 
a levee an old German officer, General Von Gonheim, being 
aware that the Marshal had served in the ranks of the Royal- 
la-Marine Regiment, recalled the fact that in India at the 
siege of Cuddalore he had nursed in his tent a French prisoner, 
a young sergeant of the Royal-la-Marine Regiment, and 
expressed his disappointment at never having heard from 
him since. The Marshal without hesitation assumed the 
character of the young sergeant, apologised for his forgetful- 
ness, and overwhelmed the old general with marks of grati- 
tude and of favour. The incident created a favourable 
impression among the Germans, and the story of Marshal 
Bernadotte having been nursed by General Von Gonheim 
at Cuddalore was repeated everywhere, and passed into 
history. It is related as a true event in Wilks' Sketches of 
Southern India, in Lord Cornwallis' correspondence, in the 
Quarterly Review of October 1817, p. 62, and elsewhere. It 
has transpired, however, that when the Marshal retired after 
the lev£e, his staff officers remarked that they had heard for 
the first time that he had served in India. Bernadotte 
appears to have admitted that it was the first time that he 
himself had heard of it, and to have explained his gasconade 
by saying that he wished to rescue his old regiment from the 
imputation of ingratitude, and to discharge the obligation, 
which his fellow - sergeant of the Royal-la-Marine owed to 
Von Gonheim. This story reminds us of Sieyes' mot that 
Bernadotte est du pays d' Henri iv. et tin mentewr comme le bon 
roi. Several writers have said, in extenuation of such 
Gascon mendacities, that they were usually prompted by 
an impulsive good feeling, and that they were always quite 

NOTES 489 


The following is a translation of the passage in Michelet's 
History of France, which represents Bernadotte as a principal 
actor in the riot of the Day of the Tiles. The writer was 
hostile to Bernadotte : — 

" The troops were unable to regain the gates. They formed 
themselves in order of battle in the principal city square. 
Two companies of the Royal-la-Marine Regiment were in 
advance and became engaged with the people in a neighbouring 
street. It was two o'clock. The people, with the women in 
front, cast angry looks at the soldiers of the Royal Marine 
Regiment, who were as insolent and provocative as that royal 
regiment itself. Many of them were Basques or Bretons, and 
had a strange appearance. The one, who was in command, 
a non-commissioned adjutant, a Bearnais, with the hooked 
nose of a vulture, — bird of prey, bird of night, — with black eyes 
full of darkness and cunning, wounded at the first glance their 
rude instincts of loyalty. One of the women, unable to contain 
herself, crossed the road, and, in the presence of his men, 
administered to him a box in the ears. So says an eye-witness. 
The Bearnais was Bernadotte, afterwards King of Sweden. The 
blow was worth the sorceress's salute — ' Thou shalt be King.' 
He saw the flash of his fortune, and gave the order to fire." 

A large number of books and pamphlets are to be found 
in the Library of the British Museum dealing with La Journ6e 
des Tuiles. Very few of these books adopt Michelet's story. 
In the majority of them — including Revue Historique (Dufu- 
yard), vol. xxxviii. p. 312 ; Chroniques Dauphinoises 
(Champollion-Figuer), and Audience Solennelle de la Cour 
d'Appel de Grenoble (Piollet), p. 25 — the tradition that Berna- 
dotte was prominently concerned in the events of La Journee 
des Tuiles is either not noticed or is discredited. M. L6once 
Pingaud (p. 3) refers to it cautiously. A bibliography on the 
subject of the Day of the Tiles will be found in the Audience 
Solennelle, etc., mentioned above. See note (16) infra. 


The Governor of Grenoble was the Marquis de Marcieu. A 
poem, addressed to him on the occasion of a dinner which he 
gave to the Royal-la-Marine Regiment, has been attributed 


to Bernadotte. As the tradition is unsupported by evidence, 
and the poem is not in the least characteristic of him, it 
has not been thought worth printing. 


An entry has been discovered in the departmental archives 
of the department of the Lower Pyrenees. It appears in the 
registered list of the correspondence addressed to the Intendant 
of Pau, M. de Bucheparn, under the date 1787-1789. The 
entry is as follows : "La veuve Bernadotte de Pau presente 
une requete pour faire enfermer son fils." It has been 
assumed that this entry refers to Madame Henri Bernadotte ; 
but there is nothing to indicate to which of her sons the entry 
refers. It has been suggested to the present writer that it 
may be an inaccurate memorandum of a letter relating to the 
imprisonment of Bernadotte after the Day of the Tiles at 
Grenoble in June 1788. If the word were " elargir " instead 
of " enfermer," this would seem a plausible suggestion, having 
regard to the date. The point seems to be worthy of further 
investigation. See note (14) supra. 

The following eye-witness's description of Bernadotte in 
1794 is given in Le Chateau de Pau, par Basele de Lagreze, 
p. 296 : " The place to see him was in the midst of his troops. 
His features were finely outlined, and expressed a sublime 
animation. Sparks of fire seemed to flash from his eyes. 
His black hair was uncovered, and floated in the breeze. To 
see him towering head and shoulders above his soldiers, you 
would say that the God of armies had come down on earth, 
and had entered the lists in order to inspire the courage of the 

General Sarrazin, after his first meeting with Bernadotte 
in May 1794, served with him in Germany in 1795 and 1796 ; 
in Italy in 1797. In 1798 Sarrazin took part in Humbert's 
expedition to Ireland, fought at Castlebar, and was taken 
prisoner at Ballinamuck. He again served with Bernadotte 
on the Rhine, and at the War Office in 1799, and in the west 

NOTES 49i 

of France under the Consulate ; but not after 1804. In 1810 
Sarrazin, while holding a command at Boulogne, deserted, 
and escaped to London. This occurred about two months 
before Bernadotte's election as Crown Prince of Sweden ; 
but there was no connection between the two events. Sarrazin, 
disappointed at his reception in England, sailed for Sweden, 
expecting a welcome from the Crown Prince, but was not 
allowed to land in that country. He wrote memoirs and 
histories of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. In his 
references to Bernadotte there is an obvious struggle be- 
tween the personal liking, which he had entertained for his 
former chief while serving under him, and his bitter resent- 
ment at his deportation from Sweden. After the Restoration 
he returned to France, where he was arrested on charges of 
desertion and of bigamy ; and was in prison at the time of 
the return from Elba of Napoleon, who said at St. Helena 
that, if he had not forgotten his existence, he would have 
had Sarrazin shot during the hundred days. After the 
second Restoration he was tried and convicted, and became 
a disgraced and ruined man. Bernadotte in later years took 
pity on him, and made him an allowance. His judgment 
was by no means sound, and he sometimes formed estimates 
and entertained suspicions in reference to his contemporaries, 
which history has not confirmed. For example, he suspected 
Bonaparte of having conspired to get Pichegru out of his 
way by banishment, and Hoche by poison (Histoire des 
guerres civiles, p. 404). He suspected that he was himself 
sent away to Paris in May 1796 (see Chapter XXIV. supra) 
in order to enable some treacherous compact with the 
Austrians to be carried out in his absence (Histoire des guerres 
civiles, p. 524 ; Histoire des guerres de 24 ans, p. 483). In 
several places he suggests that Bernadotte's opposition to 
Bonaparte's coup d'etat of Brumaire was arranged between 
them in order to delude the Jacobins. He wrote about events, 
in which he took part, and about persons, with whom he 
mixed ; but he wrote many years after the events which he 
described ; and his evidence has to be scanned with caution, 
especially where he purports to quote the precise words 
used in conversations at which he was present, and also 
where he steps aside from his narrative and attempts to 
draw inferences, impute motives, or give rein to his sus- 



The christening of the Army of Sambre and Meuse came about 
in the following way. Barr6re announced the victory of 
Fleurus to the National Convention on 29th June 1794, and 
added : " See the happy result of the combination of the three 
armies of Moselle, Ardennes, and the North. Is not that com- 
bination, which is to be known in future as the Army of Sambre 
and Meuse, a match for the coalition of Pilnitz, and for the 
conspiracy of all the brigands of Europe?" He then pre- 
sented a report from the Committee of Public Safety ; upon 
reading which the National Convention passed the following 
decree : " The National Convention, having heard the report 
of the Committee of Public Safety, makes the following decree : 
The Armies of the North, of the Ardennes, and of the Moselle, 
which are now united, shall be known in future as the Army 
of Sambre and Meuse. They continue to deserve the gratitude 
of their country." — See Moniteur, 30th June 1794. 


The following passage from the Memoirs of Count Philippe 
de Segur represents that writer's opinion about the egoistic 
side of Bernadotte's character. The charge is exaggerated, 
but not wholly untrue. It relates to an incident (his absence 
from the battle of Auerstadt in 1806) which does not come 
within the scope of this volume. " It was not fear of re- 
sponsibility or any other kind of fear that influenced him. 
His friends say that he would have been a hero in his own 
cause. But he was by nature altogether self-centred. It was 
only when he could attribute everything to himself, that his 
heart opened, and that he displayed ardour, generosity, de- 
votion to those about him, every attractive quality, and all 
the enthusiasm of lofty souls. But to endure an equal or a 
superior — such an effort was for him always impossible or 
unendurable. "—Histoire et Memoir es, par Le General C te 
PE Segur, vol. hi. p. 36. 

NOTES 493 


To-day, the 30th Thermidor, in the sixth year of the French 
Republic," at seven o'clock in the evening, there appeared 
before me Etienne Bouvet, municipal agent of the commune 
of Sceaux l'Unit6, . . . Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, aged 35 
years, Divisional General of the armies of the Republic, now 
residing in this commune . . . and Bernardine Eugenie 
Decree Clary, aged 18 years, 4 youngest daughter of the 
late Francois Clary, merchant of Marseilles, and of Francoise 
Rose Clary . . . now residing at Genoa. The said bride and 
bridegroom were accompanied by Auguste Morin/ aged 26 
years, captain in the 10th Regiment of Chasseurs of Cavalry ; 
Francois Desgranges, Notary Public ; Joseph Bonaparte, aged 
30 years, member of the Council of 500, who was furnished 
with full power to act for Francoise Rose Sonis ; Justicienne 
Victor Sonis, aged 50 years, landed proprietor ; Lucien 
Bonaparte, aged 26 years, member of the Council of 500, 
residing with his brother Joseph at Paris, in the Rue du Roche. 


Albert Vandal, in the passage quoted at p. 438 (Chapter 
LXX. supra), says of Bernadotte : " His popularity remained 
a real one ; his striking appearance, his eloquence, his cordial 
manners, something grand and sumptuous in his greeting, 
gave him influence and hold over men." In the following 
passage, General Thiebault, who had met Bernadotte at 
Udine in 1797 (see Chapter XL. pp. 235, 236 supra), gives 
an account of a visit which he paid to Bernadotte at the 
Ministry of War. In the meantime, Thiebault had risen from 
the rank of Captain to that of Adjutant-General. 

" One of my first visits was to the Ministry of War, that is 
to say, to General Bernadotte. I was curious to know whether, 
in the eminent position to which he had attained, I should 
find him as kindly as he had showed himself at Leoben and 
Udine ; and also whether I should find in him anything that 

« August 17, 1798. 

* Desiree Clary is said by several writers to have been born on 
November 8, 1777. If so, she was in her twenty-first year at her marriage. 
c Probably Maurin, Bernadotte 's A.D.C., acting as his best man. 


would remind me of our last interview, when, in speaking to 
me of the situation of France, he gave way to emotion and 
even to tears. As soon as he perceived who I was, he came 
forward and embraced me, and said, ' My dear Thiebault, as 
you find me Minister of War, please ask some favour of me.' 
' I only come,' I said, ' to thank you for your past kindnesses, 
to which you now wish to add ; and I come with all the 
greater alacrity, because there is no favour that I wish to ask 
of you.' ' But, my dear fellow,' he said, ' every officer has 
some favour to ask of the Minister of War.' ' There are,' I 
replied, ' some occasions, upon which it would be indiscreet to 
ask for anything, and that is my present position. How can 
I ask for anything, when I have risen in two years from the 
rank of Captain to that of Adjutant-General ? ' ' Very well,' 
he said, ' since you will not ask me for anything, I hope that 
at all events you will allow me to ask the pleasure of your 
company at dinner.' " — Memoires de Thiebault, vol. iii. p. 29. 


The Memoirs of Bourrienne are to be received with caution, 
but are no longer regarded as apocryphal. They contain 
several references to Bernadotte's proceedings before and 
during the revolution of Brumaire. The only serious question 
of fact, as regards which the accuracy of these references is 
challenged in Bourrienne et ses erreurs, is the account of the 
conversation between Bonaparte and Bernadotte at the 
Rue Chantereine on the morning of the 18th Brumaire. It is 
suggested in Bourrienne et ses erreurs that Bernadotte did 
not go beyond the courtyard of Bonaparte's house, and had 
no conversation with him ; and authority is lent to this 
denial by the circumstance that Joseph Bonaparte, who 
brought Bernadotte to the Rue Chantereine, was one of the 
compilers of Les Erreurs. But Joseph was not everywhere, 
and did not see everything on that morning, and, even if 
he was responsible for this denial, there seems to be a decided 
balance of probability in favour of the substantial accuracy 
of Bourrienne's narrative of a scene, of which he claimed to 
have been a witness. There is Bernadotte's own account 
embodied in the Note Historique sur le 18' Brumaire, 
which has been adopted by his French, German, and Swedish 

NOTES 495 

biographers — Lafosse, Sarrans, Hans Kloeber, Blomberg, 
and others. The general effect of the conversation is alluded 
to by several well-informed contemporaries such as Barras, 
Gohier (whose wife breakfasted at the Rue Chantereine on 
the morning in question), and Thibaudeau. The fact of 
such an interview having taken place is accepted by some of 
the most careful students of the period, e.g. Sorel, Vandal, 
and Pingaud. It fits in with the admitted facts both ante- 
cedent and subsequent. It is possible that Bourrienne or 
his editors made use of the Note Historique sur le 18' Bru- 
maire ; but, even if it was used to refresh his recollection 
or to supplement their information, the fact remains that 
the story of the interview, as related by Bourrienne, receives 
weighty confirmation from other sources, and has been 
adopted by trustworthy historians. 


A. September 17, 1794 

B. June 17, 1796. 

C. September 27, 1797 . 

D. February 24, 1798 

E. February 13, 1799 

F. March 1, 1799 

G. March 18, 1799 

H. July to September 1799 

To General Kleber. 

,, General Jourdan. 

,, Barras. 

,, Barras. 

, , General Scherer, Minister of 

„ General Ney. 
,, Chiappe. 
Letters and Circulars from the 

Ministry of War. 

Of these letters, two (A and G) are holographs. The 
others are signed. D is written on the official paper of the 
French Embassy at Vienna. The letters referred to at H 
are all written on the official paper of the French Ministry of 


Letter from General Bernadotte to General Kleber 
[See Chapter XVIII. p. 102] 

" Bilsen le 1" des Sansculottides " 
a p heures du soir. 

" Je rentre a Y instant, mon cher g6n6ral, J 'ay era devoir 
rester plus tard que tu ne l'avais ordonne parce que l'ennemy 

" September 17, 1794. 


au moment ou j'allais me retirer a fait un mouvement sur 
moy. J'ay rassemble ma cavalerie, et je l'ay charge^ a mon 
tour et oblige de fuir. La journee a et€ heureuse ; quoy que la 
colonne de Bounamir n'ait pu faire ce que tu projettais je 
n'en ay pas moins rempli ton objet. Le village de Welvesert 
celuy de Lonaken avec les redoutes qui les deffendaient ont 
ete emportees avec la rapidite de l'eclair. La cavalerie a fait 
les preuves de valeur elle s'est vu prise en flanc par sa gauche, 
elle a tenu ferme et l'ennemy a ete deconcerte deux fois. J'ay 
chasse l'ennemy de Welvesert, et je luy ay massacre' impitoy- 
ablement une compagnie de chasseurs de [word illegible] qui 
s'etait obstinee d'y rester. Le i er Bataillon de la ji" £ Brigade 
s'est charge de ce soin et n'a pas voulu faire de prisonniers — 
les chevaux legers de Carakien ont perdu beaucoup de Monde 
Jay eu a luter contre une colonne considerable qui 6toit sortie 
de Mastrict. Demain Je te fairai un rapport plus circon- 
stancid Jay perdu quelques homines entre autres l'adjutant 
major de la 71". Je suis bien content de l'artillerie quoi que 
envelopped par l'ennemy elle ne s'est pas deconcertee. — 
Salut estime et amitie, J. B. Bernadotte. 

" L'infanterie a resiste aujourd hui a la charge de la 

(Remainder of postscript only partly legible.) 

The letter is addressed — " Au GeneralK16ber, Commandant 
l'aile gauche a [place illegible]. — Bernadotte." " 

Letter from General Bernadotte to General Jourdan 

[See Chapter XXV. p. 137] 

" Du Camp de Rottenau 
le 29 Prairial.* 
" Je suis en position sud des hauteurs de V. Toute la 
Division y est rassemblee. . . . 

« This letter, which is all in Bernadotte's handwriting, appears 
to have been written hurriedly, and is full of curious spelling and 
punctuation. A letter from the same place from Bernadotte to 
Jourdan, dated two days later (19th September), is mentioned in the 
catalogue of the Morrison collection of autograph letters, but the 
contents are not given in the catalogue, and the present writer has 
not seen it. It would be interesting to compare its contents with 
this letter. 

* June 17, 1796. 

NOTES 497 

" Je vous prie mon General de m'envoyer les ordres le 
plus tot qu'il vous sera possible car je vous avoue franche- 
ment que je crains de laisser une partie de l'infanterie legere. 
Elle est si epparpille' qu'il faut que je mette tous les officiers 
de mon etat-major en course pour les retrouver. 

" L'adjoint Maison qui commandait un corps des flan- 
queurs et qui devait rester a Nassau jusqu'a cinq heures me 
rends compte que l'ennemi a 6tabli un pont a Nassau. . . . 
Salut et respect, 

"Le General de Division, 

" J. B. Bernadotte." 
Address on back page — 

" Au General-en-chef Jourdan 
a Montabaur. 

" Bernadotte." 

Letter from General Bernadotte to B arras 

[See Chapter XLV. pp. 265, 266] 
" Paris, le 2 im * jour complementaire 

5 Jnie annee de la Republique Francaise." 

" Au Citoyen Barras, Membre du 
Directoire Executif. 

" Le General de Division, Bernadotte. 

" Citoyen Directeur, — Vous m'avez engage a reflechir sur 
le commandement que Le Directoire desire me Conner, je me 
suis de nouveau interroge et j'ai examine Fensemble des 
devoirs que j'allais m'imposer avec les mo yens qu'il fallait 
pour les remplir. Quelque penible que soit pour moy l'obliga- 
tion de convenir de mon insuffisance a soutenir un tel poids, 
je vous dois cet aveu, car je deviendrai fortement coupable 
si j'avais l'ambition assez temeraire pour oser accepter un 
emploi qui demande des connaissances profondes, 1' etude 
parfaite du ceur humain, un caractere conciliant et ferme tout 
a la fois. Mon honneur, le cri de ma conscience, ma zele que 
je desire rendre utile a ma patrie m'ordonnent de refuser. 

<• September 27, 1797. 



Ne persistez pas a. faire d'un bon soldat un mauvais chef, 
recevez, je vous prie, les regrets qui accompagment ce refus 
et veuillez le faire connaitre au Directoire aupres duquel 
j'aurai l'honneur de me rendre pour lui temoigner ma grati- 
tude. — Salut et respect, J. B. Bernadotte. 

" P.S. — S'il fallait abattre une faction, je ne consulterais 
que mon courage et mon ardent republicanisme, mais dans un 
moment ou les crises sout passees, je dois au gouvernement le 
resultat du calcul de mes moyens." 

Letter from General Bernadotte to Barras 

[See Chapter XLIX. pp. 298, 299] 

" Vienne, le 6 Ventose an 6 hme 

de la Republique Francaise." 


" L'Ambassadeur de la Republique Francaise, 

Pres la Cour de Vienne, 

"Au Citoyen Barras. 

" Citoyen Directeur, — En demandant au Directoire Ex6- 
cutif l'agrement de conserver pres de moi, en activity de 
service, mais sans titre diplomatique, mes deux aides de 
camp et le citoyen Gerard Capitaine a la 30™ e J brigade de 
l'infanterie, je ne vous dissimule pas que j'ai eu l'espoir, 
pour ne pas dire la certitude, que vos bontes pour moi vous 
feraient appuyer ma demande aupres du gouvernment — les 
officiers servent avec moi depuis tres longtemps, ils se sont 
dans des [situations] * difnciles developees d'une maniere 
tellement evidente en faveur de la Republique que je regarde 
comme utile leur sejour a Vienne. Je ne vous parlerai pas 
de l'amitie qui me lie a eux, et je me bornerai a vous observer 
que je regarderai comme un desagrement pour moi leur 
eloignement de l'ambassade. — Salut et respect, 

"J. B. Bernadotte." 

" February 24, 1798. * Word written " uations." 

NOTES 499 


Letter from General Bernadotte to General 
Scherer, Minister of War 

[See Chapter LVII. p. 358] 

" Paris, le 25 Pluviose an 7 

de la R6publique Francaise." 

"Le General Bernadotte, 
" Au Citoyen Scherer, Ministre de la Guerre. 

" Je vous envoie, Citoyen Ministre, copie des notes que j'ai 
remis hier au Directeur Rewbel et au President du Directoire. 
Je vous prie de prendre ses ordres sur les observations que 
je fais. Si une migraine violente ne me retenait pas chez moi, 
J'aurais eu l'honneur de vous voir ce matin, mais j'espere le 
pouvoir, dans l'apr^s midi. 

" Je tiens beaucoup, citoyen Ministre, a ne pas avoir de 
commissaire civil en Italie ; je hais les tracassaries, et ces 
sortes de gens eblouis par leur puissance en suscitent presque 
toujours aux militaires. 

" Si je joignais l'armee d'Observation, je n'aurais pas la 
meme repugnance ; parceque etant pres de vous et du gouvern- 
ment, je pourrais etre eclaire par tous les deux. 

" Je respecte trop tout ce qui porte au caractere civil pour 
ne permettre jamais envers ces sortes d'agents le moindre 
abus de pouvoir ; mais dans la crainte d'y etre force' par leurs 
pretentions, je crois qu'il est necessaire, ou qu'il n'y en ait 
pas du tout, ou qu'il soient dans un etat de nullite telle qu'ils 
ne puissent pas donner la plus legere inquietude aux hommes 
qui aiment le gouvernment et la republique. Le temps ou 
ces sortes d'agents n'acceptaient des missions que pour 
venir d6sorganiser les armees, m'est trop present pour que 
je desire le voir renouveller. — Aimitie et respect, 

" J. B. Bernadotte." 

" February 13, 1799. 


Letter from General Bernadotte to General Ney 

[See Chapter LVIII. pp. 363, 366.] 

" Quartier General de Landau, 
le 11 Ventose an 7 de la Rep e ." 


" Bernadotte, General-en-chef 
de l'armee d' Observation, 
" Au General Ney. 
" Je viens mon cher Ney de recevoir a l'instant votre lettre, 
je vous remercie de tous les details que vous me donnez ; ils 
m'ont para ynterresants. 

" Au recu de celle ci et sans perdre un seul ynstant vous 
vous emparerez de tous les bateaux qui se trouvent a Mann- 
heim. Vous vous 6tablirez dans la ville de la maniere la plus 
convenable aux faibles moyens que vous avez et en meme 
temps la plus militaire. Je suis parfaitement tranquille sur 
vos dispositions, je ne vous en trace meme. Vous avez 
reconnu la localite et consequemment vous etes a cet egard 
beaucoup plus instruit que moi. 

" Vous aurez soin de declarer aux Magistrats de Mannheim 
que vous entrez pas dans leur ville comme ennemi ; que vous 
regardez la paix comme terminee avec l'Empire et que c'est 
pour assurer son independance que l'armee francaise veut 
mettre accidentellement garnison dans Mannheim. 

" Vous ne manquerez pas d'assurer les habitants qu'aucune 
contribution ne leur sera imposee (Ceci cependant ne doit etre 
dit que verbalement) et vous leur direz de meme que la 
moindre obstination de leur part serait punie par l'incendie 
de la ville et que ceux qui auraient provoque cette vengeance 
le [illegible] encore d'une maniere terrible et exemplaire. 

" J'attache mon cher Ney, la plus haute importance a ce 
que nous nous etablissons a Mannheim parce que je regarde 
comme excessivement difficile, pour ne pas dire impossible, 
d'entrer dans Philipsburg par surprise. II y a deux jours, 
qu'il y a eu une fausse alerte, elle a ete occasionee par . . . des 
gardes qui etaient sur la rive du Rhin qui ont annonces que 
les Francais se portaient vers la Place. L'alarme a ete 
formee, l'epouvante a la verite a frappe tous les esprits. . . . 
Le commandant a donne des ordres tres precis et tres severes 


pour recommander la plus active surveillance. Aujourd'hui 
les villages sur le bord du Rhin sont gardes et il n'a pas d'espoir 
de les surprendre . . . avant de parvenir j usque a la place. 

" II vous arrivera ce soir a Oggersheim une piece de 12, une 
de 8 et un obusier escorte par 60 hommes d'infanterie.* Je 
fais partir a l'instant de Landau 600 hommes. ... lis 
arriveront demain dans la matinee a Oggersheim. 

" Independanment de l'ordre qui a ete envoye au General 
Laborde le 6 au soir, j'ai expedie avant hier un courier au 
general Freytag avec injunction de faire partir de suite et 
diriger a marche forcee sur Frankenthal le 8" me Regt de 
Dragons/ je pense qu'en meme temps que vous recevez ma 
lettre vous aurez des nouvelles de ce Regt II est vraisemblable 
encore que les deux regts de grosse Cavalerie arriveront dans 
la Journee de demain. 

" Le Gl. Sorbier va se rendre a Frankental ; * il donnera 
les ordres necessaires pour faire construire le pont ; ne 
negligez pas neanmoins de faire rassembler promptemment 
tous les Bateliers et tous les ouvriers necessaires pour y 
travailler. — Je vous embrasse, J. B. Bernadotte." 

"March 1, 1799. 

* See Ney, par Bonnal, p. 131, where it is stated that the 8th 
regiment of Dragoons and three pieces of ordnance reached their 
destination on 1st March, as promised in this letter. The answer to 
this letter is given by Bonnal on p. 132, in which Ney writes: " Je 
suis charme que Sorbier arrive." 


[See Chapter LVIII. p. 364] 
" Je prie l'amy Chiappe de remettre a Bonnel douze cent 
livres que je lui remettrai. Je pars a l'instant pour la cam- 
pagne. — Jel'embrasse, J. B. Bernadotte. 

" Paris, le 28 Ventose an 7 
la somme en a ete rendue. 
Address — " Pour le Citoyen " Chiappe." b 

Chiappe a Paris." 

« March 18, 1799. 

* Chiappe, to whom this letter is addressed, is referred to in Chapter 
LXVI. p. 408. He was a friend not only of Bernadotte but also of 
Madame Bernadotte. This letter is a holograph. In another hand- 
writing are the words, " La somme en a ete rendue," signed " Chiappe." 
There is an endorsement stating that the letter was given as an auto- 
graph by Charles Jean Roi de Suede tp a cousin, whose name is illegible. 



Some of Bernadotte's Letters and Circulars when 
Minister of War 

[See Part IX. Chapters LX. to LXIX.] 
The following thirteen documents, in the author's possession, 
bear the official headings and devices of the Ministry of War. 
Four of them (Nos. i, 2, 4, and 13) are official printed copies 
of circulars issued by the Minister with the printed signature, 
" Salut et Fraternite, J. Bernadotte." Three of them 
(Nos. 8, 10, and 11) are letters signed by Bernadotte, which 
bear his signature, and, on the back sheet, the address and 
the official frank and postmarks, showing that they had 
passed through the post. Nos. 3, 5, 6, and 7 are ordinary 
official letters signed by the Minister. Nine is a verified 
copy. Twelve is in the nature of an official File signed by 
Bernadotte and endorsed by Les Commissaires de la Tresorerie 
Nationale, and by Le Controleur des Depenses. These docu- 
ments have not been thought worth printing in extenso ; 
but the list, with the subject-matter, will give the reader a 
glimpse of the Minister's official correspondence. 

1. July 11 (23 Messidor). — Official Print of a Circular 

(issued from Bureau des Invalides) dealing with 
complaints from pensioners about arrears of pay, and 
referring complainants for payment to the Treasury. 

2. July 12 (24 Messidor). — Official Print of a Circular 

(issued from Bureau de 1' Inspection) addressed to 
the Commander-in-Chief of the armies of the Re- 
public referring to an amnesty which had been 
accorded to deserters and recruits who had failed to 
join the Colours, and giving directions on the subject. 

3. July 22 (4 Thermidor). — Letter (written from Bureau 

des Hopitaux) retaining a doctor (name illegible) 
in his functions at the island of Rhe and extending 
his sick-leave for four weeks, with a P.S. in Berna- 
dotte's handwriting giving a further extension for 
three weeks. 

4. July 24 (6 Thermidor). — Official Print of a Circular to 

the Central and Municipal administration and to 
the Military Commissaries (issued from Bureau de 
ITnspection) upon the same subject as No. 2 supra, 

NOTES 503 

with a special direction to observe and report if 
any emigres should try to avail themselves of the 
amnesty, which had been accorded to deserters and 
recruits who had failed to join the Colours. 

5. July 26 (8 Thermidor). — Letter to Citizen Jacques 

Maurin appointing him Controller-General of 
Military Establishments and Services in the Army 
of the Alps — (Jacques Maurin was probably a 
relative of Bernadotte's A.D.C. Maurin). 

6. August 1 (14 Thermidor). — Letter addressed to General 

Dalbignac appointing him to the command of the 
10th Military Division with head-quarters at Per- 

7. August 1 (14 Thermidor). — Letter addressed to the 

Inspector-General of Cavalry in the Army of Danube, 
at Colmar, with reference to the establishment of 
cavalry depots. 

8. August 22 (5 Fructidor). — Letter (written from Bureau 

de la Comptabilite Generale) addressed to the General 
commanding the 8th Division at Marseilles, sending 
him 3000 francs, secret service money, to be applied 
in discovering emigres, and in counteracting Royalist 

9. September 3 (17 Fructidor). — Official verified copy of 

a letter (written from Bureau du Personnel l'ln- 
fanterie) addressed to Lt.-Col. Souppe, detailing 
him for service in the Army of the Danube under 
General Massena. 

10. September 5 (19 Fructidor). — Letter (written from 

Bureau des Vivres) addressed to the General com- 
manding the 8th Division at Marseilles, approving 
of the steps which he had taken for the relief of the 
Army of Italy by sending grain to Genoa. The 
following passage expresses Bernadotte's concern 
about the reverses which had been recently sus- 
tained in Italy. " Je ressens la grandeur de la 
perte que la Republique a faite ; elle exige de 
puissantes ressources, et ma constante sollicitude 
attache sans cesse mes regards sur lTtalie, pour 
attenuer nos revers et les reparer." 

11. September 9 (23 Fructidor). — Letter (written from 

Bureau de la Conscription) addressed to the 



Municipal Commissary of the nth Arrondissement, 
authorising the acceptance of a substitute for 
Citizen Oudin who, on account of his infirmities, is 
excused from military service. 

12. September 9 (23 Fructidor).- — Order, headed Depenses 

Extraordinaires, for 100,000 francs on account of 
the organisation and equipment of the Conscripts, 
presented by Bernadotte on 23 Fructidor, and 
endorsed by the Commissaries of the Treasury, 
Defermon, Dubois, and another (name illegible), 
on 25 Fructidor, also by the Financial Controller- 

13. September 15 (29 Fructidor). — Official Print of a 

Circular upon the subject of the amnesty which 
had been accorded to deserters and recruits who 
had not joined the Colours. Special direction as 
to the case of emigres who may avail themselves 
of the amnesty. This must have been one of the last 
official acts of the Minister, for he received on this 
day the letter dated 28 Fructidor which ended his 
career as Minister. 

Signature of Bernadotte to Letter D. 

Some Headings from Bernadotte's Letters. 


6 *r^,^.^/^,,' 

^/v /',//, 



^Z./ r\J ff/ ( (*/// Or' //sV/S/t 

an Ministre , doiveiit relat 
icnt la dace des Icier 
eu'on en a regies, et parte t 
tnmargt Vindication ei-destui 
d-.i Bureau, afnd'evitf tout 
retard dans ['expedition ties 


'py ait/ 3e (j tEn.evu&Uqu<j 
^futifrtiJc f auej uJ- luditHdimc* 

Cjtccs C^-cS&e&ees z**^e £5yy*t_Uc-*-£_. i ^y j.^ 

'2)wldion. £& &~/2t~,i~^6 — J{ 

Noil! LrS reponses a fa'ire 
uu AJinistre, doiuent relater 
exartetnrnt la dale dei 
lettrei qifon en a rtfiiei , 
ft porttr en marge ['indication 
<i- distill da Bureau, afin 
d'rviter tout retard dam 
I' expedition del affaru 

"I 6cfaliio. 


^tcatfaidcj , uuej ec iadliildi6tL>. 

e (lAbiniatre de la Querne , 

To face page 504 




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(1799), 400. 
Abcmkir, 436. 
Acton, Lord, 6, 480. 
Adelsberg (Carniola), Bernadotte's 

entry into, 215. 
" Affair of the Mist," the (June 

1794). 91- 

Ajaccio, 17. 

AUson, Sir A., quoted, 185, 202. 

Aldenhoven. See battle of the 

d'Allaux, M. Ricard, 33. 

Almen, 478, 505. 

Altdorf, Bernadotte's interview 
with the Nuremberg pro- 
fessors at, 143. 

Altenkirchen, Kleber wins the 
battle of (June 1796), 136. 

dAmbert, Colonel [Marquis], 27 ; 
his peril at Marseilles (1790), 
31 ; his case discussed in the 
Assembly in Paris, 35 ; his 
ultimate fate (1798), 36, 331 
et seq. 

Ami des Lois, 332. 

Ancien regime and promotion in 
the army, 13, 15. 

Ancients, the Council of, 121, 122, 
449, 451. 453. 457. 459, 4 61 . 

Andreossy, General, 204. 

d'Antraigues, Count, diplomat and 
spy, 228 ; arrested at Trieste, 
229 et seq. ; his portfolio and 
his escape, 232 ; acknowledges 
his wife, 232. 

d'Arces, Morard, 27. 

Archduke Charles, the, his 
military memoirs cited, 142, 
146, 154 ; opposes Berna- 
dotte's advance on Ratisbon, 
146 ; attacks Bernadotte at 
Teining, 148 et seq. ; fails to 
annihilate him, ibid. ; his 
chivalrous conduct on Mar- 
ceau's death, 167 ; in the 

campaign of Italy. (1797), 
218; fails to see Bernadotte 
at Vienna, 310 ; bluffed by 
Bernadotte in Sept. 1799,396. 

Areola, 181. 

d'Artagnan, 3, 4 ; resemblance to 
Bernadotte, 15, 16. 

" Army of England," the, 280. 

" Army of Sambre and Meuse," 
the, 95, 96 ; invades the 
Netherlands, 101 ; fights ab- 
action on the field of Waterloo 
(6 July 1794), ibid. ; occupa- 
tion of Brussels, ibid. ; 
battle of Ourthe, 102 ; siege 
of Maestricht, 107 et seq. ; 
its clanship, 113; its evil 
plight, 115 ; invades Germany 
(Sept. 1795), 116, 117 ; re- 
treat from Mainz (Oct. 1795), 
119 ; second invasion of 
Germany by, 136 et seq. ; 
the third invasion by, 139 ; 
the raid on Ratisbon and 
battle of Teining, 145 et seq. ; 
the retreat to Schweinfurt 
and battle of Wiirzburg, 155 
et seq. ; the retreat from 
Wiirzburg and Jourdan's 
recall, 168 et seq. ; Berna- 
dotte terminates bis service 
with, 171 ; origin of its name, 

Augereau, General (afterwards 
Marshal and Duke of Castig- 
lione), 195, 223; his violent 
address to the Directory, 240 ; 
mission to Paris, 244 ; letter 
to Bonaparte, 251 ; carries out 
the coup d'etat of 4 Sept. 1797, 
259 ; succeeds Hoche on the 
Rhine, 267, 269 ; Bonaparte's 
opinion of, 274, 278 ; relations 
with the Jacobin Club, 402 ; 
his attitude before and after 
Brumaire, 454, 456, 459, 465, 



Aulard, A., cited, 84, 124, 159, 417, 

479, 4 8 °- 

Austria, invasion of, by Bonaparte 
(Mar. 1797), 199, 201 et seq. ; 
Bonaparte reaches Leoben, 
217 ; peace concluded there, 
218; French army evacuates, 
219; Bernadotte is appointed 
ambassador to, 289 ; hatred 
of the French. Revolution 
by, 293 ; the history of Berna- 
dotte's ambassadorship, 293- 
312 ; the emeute at Vienna and 
its sequel, 316 et seq. ; urged 
by Russia and England to 
renew the war, 349. 

Austria, Francis of (Holy Roman 
Emperor), protests against 
Bernadotte as ambassador, 
300 ; his speech to Berna- 
dotte, 303, 316, 317; his 
wife, the Empress, gives 
special audience to Berna- 
dotte, 310, 311. 

Austrian plenipotentiaries at Leo- 
ben, 217 ; their esteem for 
Bernadotte, 218. 

Autommarchi, Doctor, cited, 79. 

Bamberg, 155. 

Baraguay d'Hilliers, General, 280, 

Barbaroux, 29 ; his prediction, 


Barras (one of the original Direc- 
tors, and the only one who 
retained office throughout the 
continuance of the Directory) , 
27, 123, 215, 243, 252, 254, 
259, 260, 264, 265, 267, 270; 
compares Bernadotte to Xeno- 
phon, 153 ; calls Bernadotte 
the pupil of Kleber, 285 ; 
on Bonaparte's intrigues 
against Bernadotte, 288 ; on 
Bernadotte's efforts to save 
Colonel d'Ambert, 334 ; offers 
Bernadotte the Italian com- 
mand, 354 et seq. ; on the 
failure of the " Army of 
Observation," 365; joins 
Sieyes in the coup d'etat of 
the 30th Prairial, 371 ; re- 
commends Bernadotte for 
Minister of War, 376 ; inter- 
venes between Sieyes and 
Bernadotte, 421 et seq. ; 
persuades Bernadotte to re- 
sign, 423 ; his appreciation of 
Bernadotte's administration, 

428 ; his attitude before 

Brumaire, 440, 448. 
Bartheiemy appointed one of the 

Directory, 238 ; arrested and 

transported, 259. 
Batavian Republic, the, in, 325. 
Beam (principality of), 3, 4. 
Bearnais, characteristics of the, 

3. 4. 5> 

Beauharnais, General Alexandre 
de (first husband of the 
Empress Josephine), succeeds 
Custine, 62 ; fails to relieve 
Mainz, 63 ; arrested during 
the Terror, 66 ; executed, ibid.; 
the fortunes of his family, ibid. 

— Eugene, 66. 

— Hortense, 66. 

— Josephine. See Josephine, Em- 


— Josephine. See Sweden, Queen 

Josephine of. 
Beaumont, General de, 236. 
Belgium, conquest of (1794), 101 

et seq. 
" Belle-jambe, Sergent," 25. 
Bergen, victory of General Brune 

at, 399, 436. 
Bernadotte, Henri (Bernadotte's 

father), 8, n. 

— Jean (aine~), 8, 10, 133, 177. 

— Madame Henri (Bernadotte's 

mother), 3, 8, 10, n, 177, 485 ; 
her death, 486. 

— Madame (Bernadotte's wife). 

See Clary, D6siree. 

— Marie, 8, 177. 
— ■ Oscar, 435, 471. 

— Titou, saved by his cousin from 

the galleys, 130 et seq. 

— Jean Baptiste, birth at Pau, 3, 

483, 484 ; " un vrai Gascon," 
3, 5, 483 ; compared with 
Henri iv., 7 ; his ancestry, 8, 
485 ; boyhood and home life, 
9, 10 ; death of his father, II ; 
enlists, ibid. ; official de- 
scription of , 1 5 ; resemblance 
to d'Artagnan, ibid. ; joins 
his regiment at Bastia, 
15 ; his meeting with the 
Governor of Corsica, 16'; 
promoted grenadier, 17 ( 12 ), 
fights a duel, ibid. ; his bio- 
graphical studies, 18 ; bad 
prospect of promotion, 19 ; 
quartered at Grenoble, 21 ; 
his escape from death, 22 ; 
promoted corporal and ser- 
geant, 22 ; and serg. -major, 



23 ; " the Day of the 
Tiles," 24, 489 ; billeted at 
Marseilles at the house of M. 
Clary, ibid. ; becomes adju- 
tant, 26 ; outbreak of the 
Revolution, 28 et seq. ; saves 
Col. d'Ambert's life, 31 ; his 
letter to the National Assem- 
bly. 35 ! represses a revolt in 
the regiment, 36 ; quartered 
at Oleron and the Isle of Re, 
38 ; promoted lieut. in the 
36th Regiment, 39 ; his long 
apprenticeship, 41 ; joins 
his new regiment at St. 
Servan in Brittany, 45 ; on 
General Dillon's assassina- 
tion, 48 ; on his new rank 
and prospects, 49 ; sent to 
the front (July 1792), 50 ; 
reaches Cambrai, 51 ; pre- 
sent at the taking of Spires 
and Mainz under Custine, 54 ; 
promoted adjutant -major 
and garrison adjutant at 
Bingen, 55 ; in the retreat to 
Weissenburg, 56 ; applies for 
It.-colonelcy in the army of 
the Pyrenees, 58, 66 ; checks 
a panic in Custine's attack 
upon Riilzheim, May 1793, 
59 ; serves under Beauharnais, 
62 et seq. ; elected captain, 
66 ; elected lt.-colonel by 
his regiment, 69 ; serves 
under Houchard on the Bel- 
gian frontier, 68, 69, 70 ; and 
under Jourdan, 70 ; election 
as lt.-colonel confirmed, 73 ; 
appointed colonel of the 71st 
half -brigade (April 1794), 74 ; 
in command of Premont 
under Gen. Goguet, 75 ; his 
defence of Premont, ibid. ; 
puts down insubordination, 

76 ; " Le Dieu des armees," 

77 ; his friendship with Kleber 
and Marceau, 80 ; order 
for his arrest by the " Repre- 
sentatives of the People " is 
cancelled, 83 ; meetings with 
St. Just, 85 ; declines promo- 
tion to general, 86, 87 ; Sar- 
razin's account of, 87 ; had no 
responsibility for the Terror, 
88 ; in the Sambre campaign 
(1794), 89 ; at the battle 
of Fleurus, 93 ; promoted 
general of brigade, 95 ; at 
the battle of Ourthe, 102 ; 

meets Ney, 103 ; at Alden- 
hoven and the Roer, 105 ; 
recommended for general of 
division, 106 ; at the siege 
and surrender of Maestricht, 
107 ; appointed governor 
and general of division, no ; 
returns to the army of the 
Sambre and Meuse, 112 ; in 
the three invasions of Ger- 
many during 1795-96, 117 et 
seq. ; at Nassau and Biebrich, 
118 ; his skilful action at 
Caudenbach, 119 ; and the 
Directory, 123, 124 ; at the 
storming of Creuznach, 127 ; 
saves his cousin from the 
galleys, 130 et seq. ; his 
quarrel with Sarrazin, 133 ; 
in Jourdan's second invasion 
of Germany, 136 ; gains a 
rear-guard action, retiring 
across the Rhine at Neuwied, 
138 ; in Jourdan's third in- 
vasion, 139 ; surprises the 
Austrians at Bendorf, 140 ; 
his reflections on the faults 
of the Directory, 141 ; his 
victories in Hesse - Darm- 
stadt, 141 ; captures Nurem- 
berg and occupies Altdorf 
(Aug. 1796), 142 ; his inter- 
view with the professors of 
Nuremberg, 143, 173 ; or- 
dered by Jourdan to advance 
on Ratisbon, 145 et seq. ; 
fails to persuade Moreau to 
co-operate, 147 ; outnum- 
bered and attacked by the 
Archduke Charles at Teining, 
149 ; Sarrazin's account of 
the battles, 150, 151 ; falls 
back on Jourdan's main army, 
152 ; Barras compares him to 
Xenophon, 153 ; the remarks 
of Thiers, 154 ; sent to open 
the road to Wiirzburg, 156 ; 
his fight at Burg Ebrach, 156 ; 
his absence from the battle 
of Wiirzburg, 159 et seq. ; 
co-operates with Marceau in 
the retreat from Wiirzburg, 
163 et seq. ; present at the 
death of Marceau, 166 ; his 
attitude towards Jourdan on 
the latter's recall, 169 ; ter- 
minates his service with the 
army of the Sambre and 
Meuse, 171 ; in winter quar- 
ters at Coblentz (Oct.-Dec. 



1796), 172 et seq. ; libelled by 
Duperron in the Messager du 
Soir, 173 ; threatens to re- 
tire, 174 ; Kleber dissuades 
him, 175 ; his career com- 
pared to Strafford's, 177 ; 
is transferred to the army of 
Italy (Jan. 1797), 182 ; his 
march with 20,000 reinforce- 
ments from the Rhine to 
Italy, 183, 277 ; his crossing 
of the Alps, 185 ; his arrival 
at Milan, 186 ; his letter to 
Kellermann, 187 ; his quarrel 
with Colonel Dupuy, 189 ; 
quells a mutiny by his elo- 
quence, 191 ; his good dis- 
cipline in Piedmont, 192 ; 
first meeting with Bonaparte, 
194 ; mutual impressions of 
each other, 194, 195 ; germs 
of distrust, 195 ; quarrels 
with Berthier, 196, 197 ; the 
opinions of Caffarelli and 
Desaix, 197 ; is given com- 
mand of a vanguard in the 
Austrian invasion (1797), 
200 ; his speech at the 
passage of the Tagliamento, 

202 ; his military speeches 
compared with Bonaparte's, 

203 ; ordered laconically by 
Bonaparte to " take Gra- 
disca," 206 ; he storms the 
town, which surrenders, 208 ; 
subsequent scene with Bona- 
parte, 209, 210 ; occupies 
Goritz, invades Carniola, and 
enters Laybach (April 1797), 
212, 213 ; on Murat's 
plunder of Trieste, 214 ; his 
share in the plunder of the 
mines of Idria, 215 ; his 
entry into Adelsberg, 215 ; 
follows Bonaparte to Klagen- 
furt, 217 ; and to Leoben, 
217 ; recognition of his ser- 
vices by the Directory, 218 ; 
quarrels between his troops 
and Massena's, 219 et seq. ; 
estrangement from Massena, 
222 ; the rivalry between the 
armies of the Rhine and of 
Italy, 223 ; appointed Gover- 
nor of Friuli with head- 
quarters at Udine, 227 ; his 
arrest of Count d'Antraigues 
at Trieste, 230, 231 ; his 
administration of Friuli, 
233 ; his scene with General 

Friant, 235 ; Thiebault's 
esteem for, 236, 344 ; shows 
his independence of Bona- 
parte's politics, 239 ; his 
mission to the Directory 
(with flags taken at Rivoli), 
243 ; arrives in Paris, 249 ; 
his reception by the Directors 
252 et seq. ; rapprochement 
with Augereau, 255 ; refuses 
to take part in the coup 
d'Hat of 4 Sept. 1797, 260 ; 
his account of it to Bona- 
parte, 261 ; Barras' sneers, 
264, 267 ; refuses the 
Southern command, 265 
et seq. ; attends Hoche's 
funeral, 269, 280 ; returns to 
Udine, 271 ; his remarkable 
conversations with Napoleon, 
272 et seq. ; improves his 
mind, 276 ; meets Josephine, 
277 ; ordered to join the 
army of England, 280 ; fare- 
well addresses, 283 ; discon- 
tented at Treviso, 285 ; nomi- 
nated to command of the 
Ionian Islands, 286 ; then 
of the army of Italy, 287 ; 
finally appointed ambassador 
to Austria, Jan. 1798, 288 ; 
seeks counsel from Talley- 
rand, 295 ; composition of 
his staff, 298, 299 ; Austrian 
protest against the Embassy, 
300 ; bis unexpected arrival 
in Vienna, 301 ; his recep- 
tion by the Emperor, 303 ; 
his embarrassing instruc- 
tions, 304, 306 ; his Gascon 
outbursts, 307 ; his sensitive- 
ness to any slight, 310 ; his 
republicanism questioned in 
the French press, 313 ; the 
attack on the Embassy and 
tricolour flag burnt, 316 ; 
demands his passport and 
leaves Vienna, 318 ; Bona- 
parte censures him to the 
Directory, 322 ; the Direc- 
tory's dilemma and repara- 
tion to, 323 et seq. ; tries to 
save Colonel d'Ambert, 334, 
335J engaged to Desiree Clary, 
342 ; who prefers him because 
she hears he " can hold his 
own with Napoleon," 345 ; 
his likeness to Conde, 343, 344 ; 
his marriage (17 Aug. 1797), 
345 ; his subsequent relations 



with Napoleon, 346, 347, 349 ; 
letter to Joseph urging sup- 
port to Napoleon in Egypt, 
350 ; the Italian command 
offered to and refused by, 
354 et seq. ; his reasons, 356 ; 
Jomini and Barras on the 
correctness of his forecast, 
358 ; appointed to command 
the " Army of Observation " 
on the Rhine, 359 ; his rela- 
tions to Jourdan and Massena, 
ibid. ; summons Philipps- 
burg to surrender, 361 ; 
retires on sick leave, 365 ; 
Jourdan's tribute, 365 ; his 
advice to Ney, 366 ; declines 
to take part in the coup d'ttat 
of the 30th Prairial, 370 ; 
becomes Minister of War 
(2 July 1 799) , 377 ; his passion- 
ate proclamations, 378, 380 ; 
his circulars, 502 ; Barras' 
account of him as Minister, 
379 ; reinstates Vandamme 
and Championnet, 381 ; 
obtains money for the army, 
385, 386 ; on the death of 
Joubert, 389 ; and the fall of 
Mantua, 391 ; his strained 
relations with Massena, 392 
et seq. ; the battle of Zurich, 
396 ; his proclamation to 
General Brune, 397 ; on the 
requirements of the army in 
Holland, 399 ; his relations 
to the Jacobin Club, 402, 405, 
435 ; and to Fouche, 405 ; 
the d'Enghien's Royalist plot, 
408 ; Jourdan's invitation to 
overthrow the directors, 409 ; 
Sieyds suggests the recall of 
Bonaparte from Egypt, 410 ; 
refuses to be a conspirator, 
412 ; his address to the 
young conscripts, 415 ; 
Sieyds alarm at his growing 
popularity, ibid. ; and takes 
steps to remove him, 420 et 
seq. ; his two letters of resig- 
nation, 424, 425 ; " demis- 
sionnaire malgre lui," 427, 
468 ; Napoleon's and Barras' 
estimates of his administra- 
tion, 428, 430 ; Napoleon's 
attitude towards him (on the 
return from Egypt), 438; dis- 
trusts the " deserter of Egypt," 
441 ; his interview with 
Napoleon, 442 ; Josephine's 

account of the scene, 443 ; 
subsequent scenes, 444, 445 ; 
observes the conspiracy of 
Brumaire brewing, 446 ; his 
interview with Napoleon on 
the 18th Brumaire, 450 et seq., 
494 ; and with Moreau, 455 ; 
his attitude on the morning 
of the 19th, 459, 460 ; loses 
his opportunity, 464, 465 ; 
his flight from Paris, 470 ; 
an estimate of his career, 472 
et seq. ; le tatouage de Berna- 
dotte, 481 ; his religion, 484 ; 
his official record of services, 
487 ; a selection from his 
letters, collected by the 
author, 495 et seq. 

Berthier, General (afterwards 
Marshal), 195 ; his early 
quarrel with Bernadotte, 196, 
207 ; at Leoben 217 ; urges 
Bernadotte to accept the 
Austrian Embassy, 289 ; his 
part in the coup d'etat of the 
19th Brumaire, 458. 

Bethisy, Marquis de, one of Berna- 
dotte's old colonels, 27, 309. 

Beurnonville, General, 274, 275. 

Biebrich, Bernadotte's conduct at, 

Bingen, Bernadotte's regiment at, 

Blomberg, 430, 478, 495, 506. 
Bonaparte, Caroline, 17, 346. 

— Christine (wife of Lucien), 345, 

352( c )- 

— Eliza, 346. 

— Joseph, 17 ; ambassador at 

Rome, 287 ; member of the 
Council of 500, 336 ; marries 
Julie Clary, 338 ; at Berna- 
dotte's wedding, 345 ; Berna- 
dotte's letter to (about 
Napoleon in Egypt), 350 ; 
predicts Napoleon's early 
return, 410 ; his relations with 
Bernadotte before Brumaire, 
435, 446, 447 ; on the 18th 
Brumaire, 450, 451, 494 ; after 
Brumaire, 471. 

— Julie (wife of Joseph), 345, 

352, 442- 

— Louis, 346. 

— Lucien, 336, 345, 346, 411, 435, 

465, 466. 

— Madame. See Josephine, Em- 


— Napoleon. See Napoleon. 

— Pauline, 346, 352 (*), 442. 



Bonnaud, General, fails to join 
Bernadotte at Teining, 147. 

Boos, Count, 172. 

" Booty of war " in the army of 
Italy, 215. 

Boudet, General, in Holland, 400. 

Boulard, Comte de, 27 ; on Berna- 
dotte's promotion to lieut., 40. 

Boundaries, the policy of Natural, 
46, 123. 

Bourrienne, 244, 251, 260, 262, 263, 
269, 271, 278, 441-451, 457, 
468, 494. 

Boutilliers, Marquis de, 26. 

Brinkmann, Baron, his apprecia- 
tion of Bernadotte, 431. 

Briot, Jacobin deputy, demands 
d'Ambert's death, 333. 

Brumaire (Nov. 1799), the coup 
d'itat of, 461 et seq., 494. 

Brune, General, 220, 221 ; in com- 
mand of the army of Holland 
( I 799). 397 ; wins Bergen and 
Castricum, 399. 

Burg Ebrach, Bernadotte's fight 
at (29 Aug. 1796), 156 ; 
Jomini's opinion of, 157. 

Caffarelli, General, his description 
of Bernadotte, 197. 

Campo Formio, Treaty of, 277 ; 
its secret causes, 278. 

Calendar, the Revolutionary, 65. 

Carinthia, Bonaparte's invasion 
of (1797), 216, 227. 

Carlyle, on promotion in the Royal 
Army, 19 ; on Barbaroux, 33 ; 
on St. Just, 84. 

Carniola, invaded by Bernadotte's 
division (Mar. 1797), 212 ; 
his protection of the inhabi- 
tants, 215 ; new Government 
formed, 216. 

Carnot, 115, 123, 124, 244, 259, 
260, 375, 384, 425. 

Castamg fights a duel with Berna- 
dotte, 17. 

Castallanet, M. de (deputy of 
Marseilles), 34. 

Castelverd, General, 165. 

Castiglione, 181. 

Castricum, 399, 436. 

Catinat, Marshal, 17. 

Chambery, 23, 183, 185, 248. 

Championnet, General, 91, 113, 
152, 158; reinstated by Berna- 
dotte, 381 ; succeeds Joubert 
in command of the army of 
Italy, 390. 

Charleroi, captured by 

Chastenay, Madame de, on Ber- 
nadotte, 335. 

Chateaubriand on Bonaparte's 
Italian campaigns, 179 ; on 
Bernadotte's opposition to 
Napoleon, 448. 

Chelard, Raoul, on Bernadotte's 
conduct in Carniola, 216. 

Chiappe invites Bernadotte to 
restore the Bourbons, 407, 
408; letter to, 501. 

" Citoyen " and " Monsieur," 220. 

Clary, Mile Julie. See Bona- 
parte, Julie. 

— M. Francois, 25, 336 ; his death 

at Marseilles, 337. 

— M. Etienne (son of Francois), 


— Mile Eugenie D6siree, 25 ; 

Napoleon a suitor of, 116, 
338 ; also Junot and Mar- 
mont, 339 ; death of her 
fiance. General Duphot, 287, 
339 ; marries Bernadotte, 
288, 342 et seq. ; her person- 
ality, 340 ; her sympathy with 
the projects of the Bonaparte 
family, 444 ; entertains Bona- 
parte, 445 ; refused to change 
her religion, 484. 

Clef du Cabinet, La, quoted, 255, 
264, 265, 291. 

Cobentzel (Austrian plenipoten- 
tiary), 300; succeeds Thugut, 
318, 321. 

Coblentz, Bernadotte in winter 
quarters at (1796), 172. 

Colaud, General, 113 ; supports 
Kleber against Jourdan, 158, 

Colloredo, Count, 317. 

Committee of Public Safety, 83. 

Constant, Benjamin, 405 ; on Ber- 
nadotte's eloquent conversa- 
tion, 412. 

Consulate (provisional) created, 

Corsica in 1768, 15, 16, 17, 21. 

Cortes, Bernadotte studies the 
life of, 17. 

Council of Ancients, the. See 

— of 500, the, 122, 458, 461, 

463 ; broken up by Napoleon's 
coup d'itat, 466. 
Coup d'Stat of the 18th Fructidor 
(4 Sept. 1797), 256 et seq. 

— of Brumaire (Nov. 1799). See 

Creuznach, storming of, 126, 127. 



Cuddalore, origin of the fable 
that Bernadotte was present 
at, 21, 488. 

Custine, General, his early career, 

53 ; " General Moustache," 

54 ; his first campaign, ibid. ; 
takes Spires, Worms, and 
Mainz (Oct. 1793), ibid. • 
repulsed from Frankfort, 
ibid. ; failure of his second 
campaign, 56, 59 ; his trial 
and execution, 61. 

— Marquise de (Delphine de 
Sabran, Custine's daughter- 
in-law) defends her father-in- 
law at his trial, 61. 

Danton defines the boundaries 
of France, 47 ; defies Prus- 
sia, 52 ; " toujours de 
l'audace," ibid. ; protects 
Custine, 54, 57 ; his fall, 61. 

Darmstadt, Hesse-, invasion of 
(July 1796), 141. 

Dauphiny, 21. 

"Day of the Tiles, The" [at 
Grenoble], 24, 489. 

Degelmann, Baron von, 304, 316. 

Desaix, General, his high opinion 
of Bernadotte, 179, 197 ; 
one of the single - minded 
soldiers of the first Republic, 
177 ; mentioned for the 
command of the guard of the 
Council of 500, 251. 

Desiree, daughter of M. Francois 
Clary, 25, 336 et seq. See also 
Clary, Mile Desiree. 

Directory, the, its Constitution, 121 
et seq. ; the five directors, 
123, 124 ; their instructions to 
Jourdan, 125 ; their neglect 
of military requirements, 141; 
their advice to Bernadotte 
about Duperron's libels, 174 ; 
Kleber's opinion of, 175 ; 
their recognition of Berna- 
dotte's services at the peace 
of Leoben, 218 ; constitutional 
crisis in May 1797, 237 ; the 
Triumvirs, 238 ; Bonaparte 
and his generals support them, 
239 ; Bernadotte dissociates 
himself from the generals, 241; 
they offer several commands 
to Bernadotte, 282 ; their in- 
structions to Bernadotte on 
appointment as ambassador 
to Austria, 304, 305, 306 ; their 
hesitation to vindicate his 

action in resigning, 321 et seq. ; 
they favour the expedition 
to Egypt, 322, 323 ; they are 
persuaded by Barras to offer 
Bernadotte the Italian com- 
mand, 354 et seq. ; Sieyes 
replaces Rewbell, 367 ; Sieyes 
plots the overthrow of the, 
368 ; reconstituted after the 
30th Prairial (June 1799), 367 
el seq.; overthrown by the coup 
d'Mat of Brumaire, 449 et seq. 

Dry, A., author of Soldats Am- 
bassadeurs sous le Directoire, 
cited, 239, 252, 260, 264, 265, 
285, 286, 291-327 passim, 342. 

Dubois Crance succeeds Berna- 
dotte as War Minister, 436. 

Ducos, Roger, one of the directors, 


Dugua, General, at Trieste (March 
1797), 214. 

Dumouriez, General, 64. 

Dundas, General, in Holland 
(1799), 400. 

Duperron, his libel on Bernadotte 
in the Messager du Soir, 173. 

Duphot, General, at the passage of 
the Tagliamento, 202, 204 ; 
quarrels with one of Berna- 
dotte's officers, 220 ; becomes 
engaged to Desiree Clary, and 
is killed in the imeute at Rome 
(Dec. 1797). 2 8 7> 339- 

Dupuy, Colonel, 189, 196. 

Duquesnoy, a " Representative 
of the People " with Kleber's 
army, 85. 

Diisseldorf, 112, 113, 117, 136. 

Egypt, Bonaparte embarks for 
(May 1798), 324 ; returns from 
(Oct. 1 799), 43 7; Bernadotte on 
the campaign of, 360, 41 1, 443. 

Elisee, Doctor (afterwards phy- 
sician to Louis xviii.), 22. 

Emigre's, the French, in Germany, 
46 ; condemned to death by 
the Revolutionary Govern- 
ment if taken prisoners under 
arms, 128 ; received in 
Vienna with distinction, 293 ; 
Bernadotte's instructions as 
to, 304, 306 ; the law against 
(of Sept. 1797). 33 1 ; put in 
force against d'Ambert, 332 
et seq. 

d'Enghien, Due, plots a Royalist 
restoration, 408. 

Ernouf, General, 158, 296, 299. 



Fabert, Marshal, Bernadotte 
studies the life of, 17. 

Finances, state of the national 
(in 1799), 385. 4 J 7- 

Fiorelli, General, 201. 

Fleurus, battle of (26 June 1794), 
92 et seq. 

Forchheim, 152, 155. 

Fouche, 256 ; appointed Minister 
of Police (1799), 403 ; deals 
with the Jacobin Club, 404 ; 
his personal relations with 
Bernadotte, 405. 

Francais, Capitaine, 126, 152 ; on 
the crossing of the Alps by 
Bernadotte's force, 185 ; on 
the passage of the Taglia- 
mento, 205. 

France, outbreak of the Revolu- 
tion, 28 ; causes of the war 
of 1792, 45 et seq. ; Danton 
defines the " Natural Bound- 
aries," 46 ; assassination of 
General Dillon, 47 ; state of 
the finances in 1799, 385. 

— ■ Royal Family of, 305, 306. 

Frankfort, capitulates to Jourdan 
(July 1796), 142. 

Friant, General, 201 ; at Gradisca, 
211 ; his revenge on Berna- 
dotte, 235. 

Friuli (frontier province of 
Venetian States), Bernadotte 
appointed governor of, 227 ; 
his administration and mili- 
tary activity, 233 et seq. ; his 
treatment of General Friant 
at, 235 ; farewell address on 
leaving, 283. 

Froissac-Latour, General, sur- 
renders Mantua, 391. 

Garat, ambassador to Naples, 

276, 311. 
Gardanne, General, 458. 
Gascons, characteristics of the, 

4 et seq., 483. 
Gascony, 3, 4. 
Gaudin, secretary to Bernadotte 

at Vienna, 299, 302, 303. 
Gavrelle, camp at, 68, 73. 
Gazette de France, La, quoted, 367, 

"General Moustache" (Custine),54. 
de Genlis, Madame, on Berna- 
dotte's personality, 343. 
Gerard, Captain (afterwards 

Marshal), 104, 298, 317. 
Germany, invasion of (Sept.-Oct. 

1795), 117 et seq. 

Giessen (Hesse- Darmstadt), Berna- 
dotte's headquarters (Nov. 
1798-Feb. 1799), 348 et seq. 

Gillet (Representative of the 
People) recommends Berna- 
dotte for rank of general, 106. 

Girondists, fall of the, 64 ; exe- 
cution of, 71. 

Godoy, 305. 

Goguet, General, 75 ; his assassina- 
tion, 76. 

Gohier (Director), 371 ; supports 
Bernadotte as War Minister, 
376, 419, 429 ; protests 
against Bernadotte's removal 
from War Ministry, 425, 426; 
his memoirs cited, 376, 377, 
380, 420, 421, 424-428, 468. 

Goritz occupied by Bernadotte 
(21 Mar. 1797), 212. 

Gradisca, the storming of (17 Mar. 
1797), 206 et seq., 355. 

Grenoble, 21 ; " Day of the 
Tiles " at, 24. 

Guerin paints portraits of 
Kleber and Lefdbvre, 267. 

Hardy, General, at the siege of 
Maestricht, 107, 109. 

Hedouville, General, 269. 

Heidelberg, Bernadotte member 
of the University of, 353. 

Henri iv., 3 ; his home at Pau, 
5 (*) ; his character, 6 ; com- 
pared with Bernadotte, 7, 
376, 424, 488. 

Hesse-Darmstadt concludes peace 
with France, 353. 

Hessians, Bernadotte conciliates 
the, 348, 352. 

Hoche, General, 123, 244 ; his 
early death, 267, 354 ; 
Bonaparte's disparagement 
of him to Bernadotte, 274 ; 
Bernadotte at his funeral 
ceremonies, 269, 279, 280. 

Holland, position of the army in, 


Hondschoote, battle of, 69. 

Houchard, General, Bernadotte 
serves in his brigade in 
Custine's second campaign, 
56 ; commands the army of 
the North, 68 ; wins battle 
of Hondschoote (Sept. 1793), 
69 ; but loses three fortresses, 
ibid. ; arrested, tried by the 
Revolutionary Tribunal, and 
executed ibid. 

Houssaye, H., 336. 



Ionian Islands, Bernadotte ac- 
cepts command of, 286. 

Ireland, references to. The Clarys 
of Marseilles were of Irish 
descent, 25 ; death of the 
Irish general, Theobald 
Dillon, 47 ; the Irish generals 
O'Meara and O'Moran, 84 ; 
the Irish general Kilmaine, 
84, 275 ; Desiree Clary's 
Irish extraction, 340, 341 
(sec Chapters LIV. and LV.). 

Isonzo, river, 201, 206. 

Italy, army of, Bernadotte trans- 
ferred to the, 183 ; jealousy 
between his reinforcements 
and the old, 186, 219, 223; 
invades Austria, 212 et seq. ; 
command of the, offered to 
Bernadotte in Jan. 1798, 286 ; 
again in Feb. 1799, 354 et seq. 

Jacobin Club, revival and closing 
of the, 401 . 

Josephine (afterwards Empress) , 
67,277, 443, 444, 445, 45 8, 467. 

Jomini, on the Sambre campaign 
and Fleurus (June 1794), 90, 
Q i ■ 93 ; on the campaigns of 
the army of Sambre and 
Meuse (July 1794-Oct. 1796), 
101, 126, 138, 145, 148, 157, 
164 ; on the campaign of Italy 
(March 1797), 185, 199; his 
opinion confirmed Berna- 
dotte's reasons for refusing 
the Italian command in Feb. 
I 799. 358 ; on Massena's Swiss 
campaign during Bernadotte 's 
Ministry of War (Aug. -Sept. 
1799), 393-396. 

Joubert, General, his command 
in the invasion of Austria 
(1797), 199 ; Napoleon's 
opinion of, 275 ; retires from 
his command, 354 ; his share 
in the coup d'itat of 30th 
Prairial, 370 ; appointed 
commander-in-chief in Italy, 
388 ; his marriage, ibid. ; is 
killed at the battle of Novi 
(Aug. 1799), 389 ; Berna- 
dotte's eulogy, ibid. 

Joubert de l'Herault, Representa- 
tive of the People, urges 
General Jourdan to give 
battle at Wiirzburg, and is 
opposed by Kleber and Ber- 
nadotte, 158, 159; his report to 
the Directory on Jourdan, 1 70. 

Jourdan, General (afterwards Mar- 
shal), 41 ; succeeds Houchard, 
70 ; wins battle of Wattignies 
(Oct. 1793), 71 ; in the Sambre 
campaign (May- June 1794), 
89 et seq. ; repulsed before 
Charleroi, 91 ; gains the battle 
of Fleurus (June 1794), and 
captures Charleroi, 92 ; sends 
Kleber and Bernadotte to 
besiege Maestricht, 106 ; his 
distinguished officers, 113 ; 
their clanship, ibid. ; decides 
to cross the Rhine and in- 
vade Germany (Sept. 1795), 
115, 116 ; invests Mainz, 118 ; 
Pichegru deserts him, and he 
has to retreat across the 
Rhine, 119 ; the Directory 
give him a free hand, 125 ; his 
winter campaign in the Huns- 
driick (1795), 125 ; accepts an 
armistice with the Austrians 
(Dec. 1795), 129 ; his second 
invasion of Germany (May- 
June 1796), 136 ; defeated at 
Wetzlar and retreats, 137 ; 
his third invasion (July-Aug. 
1796), 139 et seq. ; captures 
Frankfort and sends Berna- 
dotte to Nuremberg, 142 ; 
orders Bernadotte to advance 
on Ratisbon,i45; the criticism 
of Thiers on these operations, 
154 ; arrives at Schweinfurt, 
158 ; resolves to give battle 
at Wurzburg, ibid. ; his dis- 
agreement with Kleber, 157 ; 
loses the battle of Wurzburg, 
160 ; his mistakes in the 
retreat, 163 ; his recall, 168 ; 
its effect on the army of the 
Sambre and Meuse, 183 ; 
Bernadotte's attitude to- 
wards him, 169 ; candidate 
for the Presidency of the 
Council of 500, 237 ; com- 
mander-in-chief of the army 
of Mainz, 348 ; and of the 
" Army of the Danube," 359 ; 
his relations to Bernadotte 
and MassSna, 360 ; defeated 
at Stockach, 364 ; relinquishes 
his command, ibid. ; his con- 
nection with the Jacobin Club 
(1799). 4°5 ; invites Berna- 
dotte to overthrow Barras and 
Siey&s, 409; his attitude on the 
1 8th Brumaire, 454, 456 ; con- 
demned to deportation, 469. 



Juliers, battle of. See the Roer. 
Junot, Marshal, 339, 340. 
— Madame, describes Desiree 
Clary, 345. 

Kellermann, General (afterwards 
Marshal and Duke of Valmy) , 
in command at Chambery, 
185 ; Bernadotte's letter to 
him from Padua, 187 ; Berna- 
dotte's second visit on his way 
to Paris, 248, 249. 

Kilmaine, General, Irish cavalry 
leader, suspended by Com- 
mittee of Public Safety, 84 ; 
Bonaparte's praise of, 275. 

Klagenfurt (Carinthia) , Bona- 
parte's arrival at, 216 ; Ber- 
nadotte ordered to, 217. 

Kleber, testifies for Custine before 
the Revolutionary Tribunal, 
61 ; his early service in the 
Austrian army, 79 ; given 
command in La Vendee for 
his services at Mainz, ibid. ; 
is sent from La Vendee to 
the army of the Ardennes 
on the Belgian frontier (April 
!794). 78 > Napoleon's de- 
scription of him, 79 ; his 
liking for Marceau and Ber- 
nadotte, 80, 81 ; his army 
visited by St. Just and 
Duquesnoy, 85 ; they thank 
him in the name of the Con- 
vention, ibid. ; had no re- 
sponsibility for the Reign of 
Terror, 88 ; in the Sambre 
campaign (May 1794), 89 ; 
at the battle of Fleurus, 93 
et seq. ; in the conquest of 
Belgium, 101 et seq. ; praises 
Bernadotte for his services 
at the battle of the Roer, 105 ; 
besieges Maestricht, 107 ; its 
surrender, 109; his instructions 
as to the demeanour of the 
French troops at the sur- 
render, ibid. ; rejoins Jour- 
dan's army, 113 ; asks that 
Bernadotte may be sent to 
his command, 114; invades 
Germany from Diisseldorf, 
117 ; retreats across the 
Rhine, 119, 120 ; in 
the second invasion (May 
1796) wins the battle of 
Altenkirchen, 136 ; is de- 
feated retiring to Diisseldorf, 
138 ; in the third invasion 

of Germany (July-August 
I 79 6 ). I 39 ! ms disagree- 
ment with Jourdan, 157, 
158 ; takes no part in the 
battle of Wiirzburg, 159, 160; 
his attitude towards Jourdan 
on the latter's recall, 169 ; 
he dissuades Bernadotte from 
retiring (about the Duperron 
libels), 175 ; his opinion of 
the Directory, ibid. ; resi- 
dence in Paris, 251 ; letter 
to Guerin the painter, 267 ; 
Bonaparte's opinion of, 274 ; 
Barras describes Bernadotte 
as the " pupil of Kleber," 

Kloeber, Hans, German biographer 
of Bernadotte, cited, 15, 16, 
17, 21,25, 50, 142. 143. 144. 
172. 352. 353. 47 8 - 

Kray, Austrian general, 171. 

Lafayette, 21. 

Lafosse, Touchard, biographer 
of Bernadotte ; an apologist ; 
his picture all light and no 
shade ; but, as a rule, not 
inaccurate in matters of fact ; 
cited, 3, 10, 17, 26, 29-33, 75. 
76, 81, 83, 104, 116, 119, 126, 
128, 140, 144, 147, 184, 190, 
193, 218, 243, 273, 277, 283, 
285, 310, 314, 357, 398, 409, 
411, 416, 421, 426, 440-443, 

447. 45°. 453. 455. 459, 460. 

Lahure, Colonel, of the 13th Regi- 
ment, 187 ; on Murat, 201 ; at 
the storming of Gradisca, 208, 
210 ; Bernadotte's farewell 
to, 282 ; his memoirs cited, 
47, 183, 184, 187, 20i, 205, 
207, 208, 282, 283. 

Lannes, Marshal, 277. 

LarevelliSre-Lepeaux (Director) , 
124, 238, 243 ; his violent 
manifesto in reply to Berna- 
dotte's address, 253 ; on the 
execution of Colonel d'Am- 
berr . 335 (°) ; Barras forces 
him to resign, 368, 371. 

Latourneur de la Manche, member 
of the Directory, 124, 131, 132. 

Lavalette, 182, 185 ; on Berna- 
dotte at the passage of the 
Tagliamento, 204 ; his mis- 
sion to the Directory, 244 ; 
on the cause of the Treaty 
of Campo Formio, 278 ; on 
the 19th Brumaire, 457, 464. 



Lay bach, entered by Bernadotte's 
division, 213; duels and affrays 
between Bernadotte's and 
Massena's officers at, 220, 221. 

Leclerc, General, 352, 466. 

— Madame. See Bonaparte, 


Lecourbe, General, 394. 

LefSbvre, Marshal, serves sixteen 
years in the ranks, 41 ; in 
the Sambre campaign (1794), 
91 ; services at the battle of 
Fleurus (26 June 1794), 94 ; 
and subsequently, 113; under 
Kleber at Altenkirchen, 136 ; 
succeeds Marbot as Com- 
mandant of Paris (1799), 404; 
on the 18th Brumaire, 450, 


Le Grandeur, newspaper, Berna- 
dotte's letter to, 241. 

Leoben, Bonaparte at (April 
1797), 217; the negotiations 
at, ibid. ; the peace of 
(26 April 1797), 218; really 
only an armistice, 227. 

Lindet, Robert, Minister of 
Finance (1799), 384. 

Lodi, 181. 

Lons, Comte de, 27. 

Louis xv., 12. 

— xvi., 12, 37, 49 ; downfall of, 

52 ; his execution, 55. 

— xvlll., 191. 

MacDonald, General, and the 
crimes of the Terror, 88. 

Mack, Austrian general, 284. 

Madelin, Louis, quoted, 84, 257, 

Maestricht, siege of, 107 et seq. 

Mainz, captured by Custine, 54 ; 
retaken by the Austrians, 
63 ; invested by Jourdan 
(Sept. 1795), 118; its principal 
suburb occupied by Berna- 
dotte (July 1796), 141. 

Maison (afterwards Marshal), Ber- 
nadotte's A.D.C., 137, 140, 
365, 370. 

Malechuski, Polish emigrant, 
attached to Bernadotte's 
suite, 299, 322. 

Mantua surrendered to Austria 
(Aug. 1799), 39i- 

de Marbceuf, Governor of Corsica, 

Marbot, General (the elder) 296, 
377 ; Commandant of Paris, 

Marbot (the younger) on the 
Reign of Terror, 88. 

Marceau, General, sent from La 
Vendee to the army of the 
Ardennes, 78 ; his chivalrous 
character, 79 ; his friendship 
with Kleber, 80 ; his early 
death, 81 ; in the Sambre 
campaign, 85, 88, 89, 91, 
94, 113 ; in the retreat from 
Mainz and critical recrossing of 
the Rhine, 120 ; in command 
in the Hunsriick, 125, 127 ; 
in the retreat from Wiirzburg, 
163 ; his friendship with 
Bernadotte, 80, 165 ; his 
death, 166 ; its effect on the 
army of the Sambre and 
Meuse, 183 ; Bonaparte's dis- 
paragement of, 274. 

Marfeldt, General (Austrian 
plenipotentiary), 276. 

Marie Antoinette, 49 ; her execu- 
tion, 71 ; effect on British 
public opinion, 71 ; and on 
the relations of Austria to 
France, 293. 

Marmont, 339. 

Marriage of Bernadotte and 
Desiree Clary (17 Aug. 1798), 
342 et seq. 

Marseilles, arrival of the Regiment 
Royal-la-Marine at, 25 ; fer- 
ment in (1790), 29, 336 ; 
the Clary family at, 337. 

Massena, Marshal, serves fourteen 
years in the ranks, 19, 41 ; 
on the " Representatives of 
the People," 82 ; jealousy 
between his troops and 
Bernadotte's, 186, 219 ; his 
command in the invasion of 
Austria, 199 ; at Leoben, 
217 ; les rixes de Laybach, 
219 ; refuses to take part 
in the 18th Fructidor, 
244 ; Bonaparte's opinion 
of, 275 ; commander of the 
" Army of Helvetia," 359 ; 
on Bernadotte as Minister 
of War, 377 ; " the spoiled 
child of Victory," 392 ; 
strained relations with Berna- 
dotte in 1799, 393 et seq. ; 
wins the battle of Zurich, 
396, 429 ; reference to his 
action at Wagram, 161. 

Masson, Frederic, author of Les 
Diplomates de la Revolution, 
cited passim 291-327. 



Maurin, Captain (afterwards 
General), A.D.C. to Berna- 
dotte, 140, 298, 370. 

Merlin (one of the Directorate), 
368 ; Barras forces him to 
resign, 371. 

Metternich, 302, 320, 321. 

Milan, arrival of Bernadotte's 
army in, 185, 186 ; quarrel 
with Col. Dupuy, 188 ; mutiny 
of the 30th Regiment at, 189. 

Milet - Mureau, interim War 
Minister, 423, 425. 

Millars, Doctor, saves Berna- 
dotte's life, 22. 

Minister of War, Bernadotte as 
(2 July to 14 Sept. 1799), 
377 et seq. 

— of Finance, Robert Lindet, 384. 

Miot de Melito, Count, on the 
jealousies between Massena's 
and Bernadotte's troops, 222. 

Mirabeau, intervenes in the affaire 
d'Ambert, 35 ; Hoche com- 
pared to him, 274. 

Mireur, General, at Bendorf, 140 ; 
at Gradisca, 211. 

Moniteur, Le, quoted, 31, 34, 35, 
36, 56, 118, 141, 142, 145, 151, 
163, 174, 208, 210, 212, 240, 
241, 253, 269, 291, 318, 326, 
333. 363, 380. 389, 390, 391, 
401, 402, 403, 414, 417, 423, 


Mons, defeat of the French at, 49. 

" Monsieur " and " Citoyen," 220. 

Montholon, 358. 

Mordninov, Russian Minister at 
Venice, 228. 

Moreau, General, 123 ; succeeds 
Pichegru on the Upper 
Rhine, 139 ; fails to send 
help to Bernadotte at Tein- 
ing, 148 ; ineligible for the 
Italian command, 354 ; Bona- 
parte's attitude towards 
(on his return from Egypt), 
437, 442 ; his share in Bru- 
maire, 438, 442, 446, 448, 451, 
453. 455. 467. 470. 

Morley, Lord, 18 ; on the fall of 
St. Just, 97 ; " the State is 
force," 231 ; on diplomacy, 
320, 480. 

Moulins, General, one of the 
directors, 371 ; protests 
against Bernadotte's removal 
from War Office, 426. 

Murat, Joachim (afterwards Mar- 
shal and King of Naples), 41, 

195 ; first meeting with Berna- 
dotte, 200 ; Lahure's opinion 
of, 201 ; at the passage of 
the Tagliamento, 202 ; at 
Gradisca, 210, 211 ; he 
' ' reconnoitres ' ' Trieste, 214; 
his part on the 19th Brumaire, 

Naples, Queen Marie Caroline of, 


Napoleon on Bernadotte's ex- 
cuses for having fought 
against France, xiii ; his 
relations with Bernadotte " a 
tangled skein," xiv ; de- 
scribes Bernadotte as " un 
vrai Gascon," 3 ; condemned 
the exclusive military system 
of the ancien rbgime, 19 ; his 
position and prospects in 
Sept. 1795 compared with 
Bernadotte's, 116 ; the coup 
d'itat of the 13th Ven- 
demiaire [3 Oct. 1795], 122 ; 
his cold conciseness con- 
trasted with Bernadotte's 
high-flown rhetoric, 174 ; his 
demands for reinforcements 
after Rivoli (Nov. 1796), 181, 
355 ; Bernadotte sent to him 
with reinforcements, 182, 355 ; 
he writes friendly letters wel- 
coming Bernadotte to his 
army, 192 ; makes the treaty 
of Tolentino, ibid. ; meeting 
of Bernadotte and, 193; first 
impressions, ibid. ; his first 
review of Bernadotte's troops, 
196 ; their careers strangely 
related, 198 ; gives Berna- 
dotte command of his van- 
guard in the Austrian cam- 
paign (1797), 200 ; at the 
passage of the Tagliamento, 
202 ; orders Bernadotte la- 
conically to " take Gradisca," 
206 ; orders Bernadotte 
to Lay bach, 213 ; reaches 
Klagenfurt, 216 ; and ad- 
vances on Vienna, 217 ; the 
peace of Leoben, 218 ; is said 
by Miot to have encouraged 
rivalry between the armies of 
the Rhine and of Italy, 222 ; 
appoints Bernadotte Gover- 
nor of Friuli, 227, 233 ; 
allows Count d'Antraigues, 
to escape 232 ; supports 
the Triumvirs, 239 ; sends 



Bemadotte to Paris with 
flags taken at Rivoli, 243 et 
seq. ; Bernadotte's letters to 
him, 249, 257, 261 ; his joy 
at the success of the coup 
d'Stat of 4 Sept. 1797, 262 ; 
the Directory instruct him 
to recommence the war, 269 ; 
his uneasiness about Berna- 
dotte's remaining in Paris, 
270 ; visits Bemadotte at 
Udine, 271 ; their remark- 
able conversations, 2 72 et seq.]; 
his opinion of Augereau, 
Massena, etc., 275 ; his power 
of improving his subordinates, 
277 ; his intrigues to have 
Bemadotte deprived of the 
command of the army of 
Italy, and sent to Vienna as 
ambassador, 288 ; censures 
Bemadotte about the Vienna 
emeute, 322 ; his hesitation 
about starting on the expedi- 
tion to Egypt, 322 ; embarks 
at Toulon (May 1798), 324; a 
suitor of Desiree Clary, 116, 
338 ; Bemadotte after his 
marriage becomes the friend 
of Napoleon's brothers and 
sisters, which creates a strange 
situation, 346 ; his opinion of 
Bernadotte's War Ministry, 
428 ; announces a victory 
over the Turks at Aboukir, 

436 ; his return from Egypt, 

437 ; he contrasts Moreau and 
Bemadotte, 437, 438, 441 ; 
his interviews with Bema- 
dotte before Brumaire, 442, 
444, 445, 446, 447 ; his inter- 
view with Bemadotte on the 
1 8th Brumaire, 450 ; his coup 
d'ttat on the 19th Brumaire, 
465 et seq. ; in the evening he 
discusses Bernadotte's atti- 
tude, 467 ; when France be- 
came centred in him, the 
passion died out of Berna- 
dotte's patriotism, 472. 

Napoleon, correspondence of, 
quoted, 182, 192, 204, 210, 
211, 213, 217, 227, 233, 244, 
245, 246, 247, 251, 255, 258, 
260, 262, 265, 269, 271, 279, 
280, 286, 287, 339, 364. 

Nassau taken by Bemadotte 
(Sept. 1795), 118. 

National Convention, the, attaches 
" Representatives of the 


People " to their armies, 82, 
83 ; superseded by the " Ex- 
ecutive Directory " (Oct. 
1795), 121. 

" Natural Boundaries," the policy 
of, 46, 123. 

Necker, 12. 

Neuwied, passage of the Rhine 
at, 137. 

Ney (afterwards Marshal, Duke, 
and Prince), 41 ; meets Bema- 
dotte, 102, 103 ; ordered by 
Kleber to reconnoitre the 
Roer, 104 ; ordered by 
Bemadotte to cut off an 
Austrian supply train, 105 ; 
serves under Kleber at 
Altenkirchen, 136 ; occupies 
Mannheim (Mar. 1799), 363 ; 
Bernadotte's advice to, 366, 

Novi, battle of (Aug. 1799), 389. 

Nuremberg, Bemadotte occupies 
(Aug. 1796), 142 ; his alter- 
cation with the University 
dons, 143, 144. 

Oleron, 36. 

O'Meara, General, imprisoned by 

the Committee of Public 

Safety, 84. 
O'Moran, General, guillotined 

(March 1794), 84. 
Oudinot, Marshal, 19, 41. 
Ourthe, battle of (17 Sept. 1794), 

Paine, Thomas, 71. 

Passariano, 273, 276, 277. 

Pau, 3, 5, 17. 

Pechant, French defeat at, 3rd 
June 1794, 91. 

Philippe Egalite, 71. 

Philippsburg, Bernadotte's sum- 
mons to surrender, 364. 

Piave, river, 201. 

Pichegru, General, 75, 123 ; con- 
quers Holland, 112 ; plots a 
Bourbon restoration, 119 ; 
superseded by Moreau, 139 ; 
evidence of his intriguing 
with the Bourbons, 232, 244 ; 
elected President of the 
Council of 500, 237, 243 ; 
Bernadotte's opinion of him, 
250 ; arrested (4 Sept. 1797) 
and transported, 259. 

Poland, Bernadotte's threatening 
language at Vienna about, 

530 INDEX 

Potgeisser family, the (of Cob- 

Royal-la-Marine Regiment, the, 

lenz), 172. 

15 ; at Grenoble, 21 ; " The 

Proclamations, Bernadotte's (as 

Day of the Tiles," 24 ; 

Minister of War), 378, 380. 

arrival at Marseilles, 25 ; the 

Promotion of officers under 

affaire d'Ambert, 31 et seq. ; 

Louis xvi., 19 ; new rules 

Revolution exhibits itself in. 

under the Revolution, 38. 

36 ; in the Isle of Oleron and 

Provence, Comte de. See Louis 

Isle of Re (1790-92), ibid. ; 

xviii., 191. 

becomes the 60th Regiment 

of Infantry, 38 ; Bernadotte's 

Queen of France. See Marie 

message to Colonel de B6thisy 


at Vienna, 310 ; Colonel 

— of Sweden. See Sweden. 

d'Ambert's trial and execu- 

tion, 331 et seq.; list of officers 

Ratisbon, Bernadotte's advance 

of, 486. 

on, 145 et seq. ; Jourdan's in- 

Rue Cisalpine (Paris), Berna- 

structions, ibid. 

dotte's home in the, 379 ; 

Re, island of, 36 et seq. 

birthplace of his son, ibid. ; 

Recamier, Madame, liked and 

his home life in the, 435 ; 

admired Berndotte, 343 ; 

Bonaparte at the, 245. 

brings Bernadotte and Mas- 

Russia, Bernadotte's gasconade at 

sena together, 393. 

Vienna against, 307. 

Record of service to 1799 (Berna- 

dotte's official), 487. 

St. Albin, Rousselin de, Berna- 

Regiment of Anjou, 39 ; becomes 

dotte's secretary at the War 

the 36th Regiment, ibid. ; Ber- 

Office, 444 ; editor of Barras' 

nadotte promoted lieutenant 

Memoirs, 479. 

in the, 40 ; takes part in 

St. Cloud on the 19th Brumaire 

Custine's first campaign, 54. 


Reiset, Vicomte de, 158 ; on the 

St. Just, 77 ; the most powerful 

differences between the 

and pitiless of the "Re- 

armies of Italy and of the 

presentatives of the People " 

Rhine, 222. 

with the army, 84, 85 ; offers 

Religion of the Bernadottes, 484. 

to promote Bernadotte to 

" Representatives of the People," 

rank of general, 85 et seq. ; 

delegated by the Convention 

forces on the campaign on the 

to the Republican armies, 

Sambre, 89 et seq. ; his con- 

82 ; order the arrest of 

tribution to the victory of 

Bernadotte, 83 ; St. Just and 

Fleurus, 91, 96 ; his fall and 

his victims, 84 ; he demands 

execution, 97, 114. 

a victory for the Republic, 

Salicetti, 456. 


Salm, Rhinegrave of, defends 

Revolution, outbreak of the, 28 ; 

Philippsburg, 362. 

at Marseilles, 29. 

Sambre, campaign on the (May- 

Rewbell, member of the Directory, 

June 1794), 89 et seq. 

124, 238, 243, 254 ; replaced 

Sambre and Meuse, the army 

by Sieyds, 367. 

of the. See Army of the 

Robespierre becomes Master of 

Sambre and Meuse. 

France, 77; fall of, 96, 97, 114. 

Sardinia, King of , 185. 

Rochambeau, General, 21. 

Sarrans, biographer of Bernadotte, 

Rochechouart, Count de, describes 

cited, 10, 22, 75, 76, 81, 95, 

Bernadotte, 344. 

116, 119, 128, 140, 202, 218, 

Rochefort, 36. 

273. 398, 408, 488. 

Roederer on the eve of Brumaire, 

Sarrazin, General, 490 ; his de- 


scriptions of Bernadotte and 

Roer, battle of the, 104, 105. 

account of his declining the 

Roland, Madame, execution of, 71. 

rank of general, 86 et seq. ; on 

Rome, imeute at (Dec. 1797), 287. 

Bernadotte's conduct in the 

Rostand, quoted, 1, 4, 161, 313. 

trenches before Maestricht, 

Rousseau, 16, 19. 

1 108 ; goes to Paris on a 



mission for Bernadotte, 132 ; 
the mission succeeds but has 
an unpleasant finale, 132 ; 
he challenges Bernadotte, 
135 ; his account of the 
battle of Teining, 149 ; on 
Bernadotte's absence from 
Wiirzburg, 161 ; on Berna- 
dotte's conduct towards Jour- 
dan, 169 ; serves in the Aus- 
trian campaign (1797), 201 ; 
left in command of Berna- 
-dotte's troops on the evacua- 
tion, 220 ; offers to fight 
General Brune, 221 ; in the 
Rue Cisalpine, 435 ; used 
by Napoleon to try and win 
over Bernadotte, 454 ; the 
Bernadottes hide at his 
country house after Bru- 
maire, 470; account of him, 
490, 491 ; his military memoirs 
and histories cited, 9, 85-87, 
109, 115, 118, 126, 130-135, 
149, 151, 157, 160-163, 169, 
T72, 176, 184, 189, 190, 196, 
200, 204, 206, 209, 213-215, 
218-221, 234, 241, 245, 246, 
261, 272-282, 361, 396, 399, 
413-424, 435, 445, 452, 455, 

-Savary, 438, 456 (<). 

Schefer, 344, and see Introduction. 

Scherer, General (Minister of War, 
1797), 252, 358. 

Schweinfurt, 155 ; arrival of 
Jourdan at, 158 ; Council 
of War at, ibid. 

-Scott, Sir Walter, received from 
Bernadotte materials for his 
life of Napoleon, 479. 

Segur, Marquis de, his military 
ordinances of 1781, 19. 

— Count Philippe de, 4, 162, 404, 
474. 480, 492. 

Selingstadt, the inhabitants of, 
wish to present two chargers 
to Bernadotte, 134. 

Seltz, the conference of, 326, 327. 

"" Sergent Belle-jambe," 25. 

Serrurier, General, 200, 206, 209, 
210, 251, 275. 

Servan, General, 63, 64, 429. 

SieySs, the ex-abbe, replaces Rew- 
bell as a director, 367 ; de- 
termines to destroy the Direc- 
tory, 368 ; opposes Bernadotte 
for Minister of War, 376 ; 
supports Bernadotte about 
Holland, 399 ; suggests the 

recall of Bonaparte from 
Egypt, 410, 411 ; takes 
umbrage at Bernadotte's 
popularity, 413, 415; deter- 
mines to get rid of him, 418 
et seq. ; on the eve of the coup 
d'Uat 450 ; on the 19th Bru- 
maire, 464 ; compares Berna- 
dotte to Henri iv., 376, 488. 

Sjogren, 478, 514. 

Sorel, Albert, 4. 

Soult, Marshal, 41 ; serves under 
Kleber at Altenkirchen, 136. 

Spinola, Marquis de (Spanish 
admiral) , visits Bernadotte 
at Udine, 235. 

Stael, Madame de, 249, 412 ; on 
Colonel d'Ambert's trial and 
death, 335 ; on Bernadotte's 
personality, 343, 405. 

Strafford, Lord, turning point in 
Bernadotte's career compared 
with that of, 177. 

Sweden, Josephine, Queen of, 
Bernadotte's daughter -in- 
law, 67. 

— Charles xiii., King of, 343. 

— Queen of, 343. 

— Queen - Dowager (widow of 

Gustavus m.), 343. 

Tagliamento, river, 201 ; Berna- 
dotte's address to his troops 
before crossing, 202 ; the 
passage effected (16 March 
1797), 204, 355. 

Taine, 381, 413. 

Talleyrand, his euphemistic de- 
scription of the coup d'itat 
of the 1 8th Fructidor (4 Sept. 
!797). 263 ; Bernadotte seeks 
his advice about his embassy 
to Austria, 295 ; his objec- 
tions to the military com- 
position of the ambassador's 
staff, 298 ; supports Bona- 
parte against Bernadotte, 
322, 323, 354 ; makes repara- 
tion to Bernadotte, 324, 325 ; 
his " halting " diplomacy, 
352 ; on the eve of the coup 
d'itat of Brumaire, 446 ; his 
picnic-party on the 19th Bru- 
maire, 458. 

Tatouage de Bernadotte, he, 481, 

Teining, battle of (22 Aug. 1796), 

149, I5°- 
Terror, the Reign of, 88, 96 ; end 
of the, 97, 114. 



Thiebault, his account of the 
jealousy between Berna- 
dotte's and Massena's corps, 
1 86, 221 ; visits Berna- 
dotte at Udine, 235 ; his 
tribute to Bernadotte's 
charm, 236 ; his account of 
Hoche's funeral ceremony, 
280 ; visits Bernadotte at 
the Ministry of War, 493. 

Thiers, his criticisms of Jourdan, 
154; on Robert Lindet, 384; 
on Massena's Swiss campaign, 


Thugut, Baron von, Austrian 
Foreign Minister, 304 ; his 
early career, 305 ; " Baron 
of the War," ibid. ; on the 
treatment of the tmigre's, 
306, 308 ; on Poland, 307 ; 
Bernadotte procures his re- 
moval from the Foreign Office, 
318, 321, 324. 

" Tiles, The Day of the," 24, 489. 

Tilley, General, 269. 

Times, the, on Bernadotte's 
Viennese ambassadorship, 

Tolentino, Treaty of (Feb. 1797), 

Toussaint, General, 298. 

Treilhard (one of the directors), 

35°. 368. 37i- 

Tricolour, the, at Marseilles (1790), 
29 ; at Vienna, 313 et seq. 

Trieste, " reconnoitred " by Murat 
(Mar. 1797), 214 ; Berna- 
dotte at, 227. 

Tuileries, storming of the (1792), 

Turgot, 12. 

Udine (capital of Friuli), Berna- 
dotte's head-quarters at, 227 
et seq., 233, 282, 283. 

Vandal, Albert, author of L'Avine- 
ment de Bonaparte, cited, 371, 
373. 379, 388, 389, 419, 425, 
427, 429, 433, 436-439, 447, 

449, 45°, 452, 453, 456-458, 

460-467, 469, 480. 
Vandamme, General, 381 ; in 

Holland (1799), 400. 
Venice, 227, 228, 234, 306. 

Victoires, ConquStes, etc., des Fran- 
cais, military history, cited, 
47, 102, 115, 120, 126, 138, 
171, 240, 241. 

Victor, Marshal (Duke of Belluno),. 
41, 278. 

Vienna, Bernadotte appointed 
ambassador at, January 1798, 
288 ; his appointment op- 
posed by Austria, 300 ; his 
arrival in, 301 ; his address 
to the Austrian Emperor 
a t, 303 ; the attack on the 
Embassy at, 316 ; Berna- 
dotte's action, 318 et seq. ; 
the sequel, 326, 327. 

Villate, Captain, A.D.C. to Berna- 
dotte, 29S. 

Villet-Freville, secretary to Berna- 
dotte's Vienna Embassy, 299, 

Vitrolles, M. de, 26. 

de Vogue, E. M., 3. 

Voltaire, 19. 

Wars of the Revolution, outbreak 
of (Apr. 1792), 45; causes of, 

Waterloo, an engagement fought 
here in Sept. 1794, 101. 

Weiniger [curt of Adelsberg), 
describes the good conduct 
of Bernadotte's division in 
Carniola, 215. 

Weissenburg, Custine concen- 
trates at, for his first cam- 
paign, 54 ; is driven back to,. 
56, 59- 

Werneck, Austrian field-marshal, 

White cockade and tricolour at 
Marseilles, 28. 

Wrangel, Swedish writer, cited, 1 1 , 
I5- 1 ?, 23, 35, 39, 4°, 48, 5°, 
55, 57, 58, 60, 64, 66, 478, 

Wiirzburg, 155 ; Jourdan decides 
to give battle at, 158 ; the 
result, 160 ; absence of 
Kleber and Bernadotte, 159 
et seq. 

Zurich, battle of, 396, 436. 
Zurlinden, General, on Berna- 
dotte, 171, 343, 344. 

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