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cessity of offspring. France, he well knew, would have tolerated none of his brothers in his place; on the contrary, he used to say, as first consul, that unless he lived thirty years, his principal generals would contend for the supreme authority and involve the country in civil commotion. "It is a pity," said the fatal Fouché in confidence to Bourrienne," that his wife does not die; for sooner or later he must take a wife who will bear children. His brothers are revoltingly incapable; his death will be a signal of dissolution, and the Bourbon party will make head." During his life, however, Bonaparte put an end to the hopes of that family by the death of the Duc d'Enghien; he effectually put an end to the entreaties of the women. It is remarkable, and we have it on the authority of Josephine, as reported by Bourrienne, that he could not bear to speak of this catastrophe, and that when he did so, it was in a vague and uneasy manner, which showed his dislike of the subject.
Bourrienne did not remain with Bonaparte until he assumed the imperial purple. It is possible that he did not find his old schoolfellow duly penetrated with respectful awe. Bourrienne gives us to understand that he was no flatterer; he appears to have been independent in his manner of thinking, and fond of putting his master in what he thought the right road. A general may bear this, and even a consul approve; but when the temples begin to ache for the diadem, it is a signal of a great change from the man to more than mortal. It is felt, that no equal even in independence of thought ought to be tolerated, much less admitted into familiar intercourse. We are told that Bonaparte himself assigned as a reason why he could not keep Bourrienne in his service, that people began to say that he could not do without him; a saying the falsehood whereof he thought proper to prove. It is more probable, however, that the true reason of Bourrienne's quitting, was the one indicated above, namely, that he had become spoiled by power, and could no longer suffer near him a kind of comrade and friend rather than a servant. He had made attempts to subdue the pride and self-esteem of his old school-fellow. One morning Bourrienne entered the cabinet and found a workman placing a bell over his chair; the object of which was, that when Bonaparte wanted Bourrienne in his room of audience for a fact, or a date, or a paper, as often happened, he might ring for him. Bourrienne made the bell-hanger descend and leave his task; he then went up to Napoleon, not yet risen, and told him what he had done. The First Consul had the meanness to shelter himself under a subterfuge; he pretended that the keeper of the cabinet had misunderstood him, that he had only intended to have the bell mended which ran through the cabinet, and which
served to call the attendant in waiting. This was not a circumstance to escape the memory of Napoleon: he always made men pay for degrading him even in his own estimation and by his own act. It is a remark of Bourrienne, that no man ever suffered himself to be entreated by Bonaparte, or consented to any proposal with reluctance, who was not made to pay for it. The quarrel which ultimately led to Bourrienne's dismissal is an illustration of this unamiable trait in his character. Some note from Napoleon had not duly reached Talleyrand: irritable and impetuous, he taxed Bourrienne with neglect, passionately and erroneously: Bourrienne had caused it to be placed in the hands of the proper officer, but Talleyrand was not to be found. In ringing for the garçon de bureau, to ascertain the fact, the First Consul broke the bell-rope and wounded his finger against the marble chimney-piece, a small circumstance, which gave additional fuel to his wrath; he lost all sense of decency-shut the door violently in Bourrienne's face-and permitted himself to apply to his secretary one of the grossest expressions of a language which abounds in terms of abuse. The secretary, in his turn, forgot himself, and opened the door only to repeat the phrase with interest: he then ascended to his chamber, and penned a note to the Consul, in which he begged to be permitted to retire from the performance of his arduous duties. During this scene Talleyrand was present, and looked on with his ordinary sang-froid. When Napoleon read the note, Duroc was with him: the comment was brief-il boude, said the master,-accepté. And until his passion had subsided, he permitted Bourrienne's preparations for departure to go on, and only interfered in them to show a disposition to brutal unkindness. But Bonaparte had no one to supply the place of Bourrienne. Duroc attempted it, and fairly declared he neither would nor could fulfil the duties of the post. For the moment, therefore, Bourrienne was to be retained, and his master employed those little arts of cajolery which succeeded with him in so many instances. Bourrienne was leaving the Tuileries, when he was told Napoleon wished to see him: he entered the cabinet
"The First Consul met me smiling, and pulling me by the ear, said, 'Are you still in a pet?' and he led me in this manner to my ordinary place. Come, place yourself there.' It is necessary to have known the man, to judge of my position: he had, when he liked, a seducing charm which carried you along with him. I did not feel the power of resisting him. I could answer nothing, and I resumed my ordinary occupation."
Napoleon, however, quickly placed M. de Menneval under the instruction of Bourrienne, under pretence of assisting him:
as soon as he conceived that M. de Menneval was equal to the task, Bourrienne was dismissed with little ceremony, on the ground of some false charge of gambling in the funds; and, by Napoleon's subsequent meanness regarding him, made to pay dear for a moment of excusable loss of temper. This, it must be remarked, is Bourrienne's own account of the story: his enemies have doubtless another version of it. We must, however, declare that the complexion of Bourrienne's narrative, both in this and other instances, is that of truth and sincerity. It would be idle to say that he was an exception to the universal rule of mankind: he has his own manner of viewing events; and his manner of telling them is coloured at least by that self-love and that desire to stand well with the world, which is inseparable from our nature. In the midst of his most elaborate efforts at candour, and it is true that he is laboriously candid, we can, we imagine, perceive some little self-seeking. It is only just, however, to say, that his work bears innumerable marks of being written chiefly for the propagation of truth; and that all the tests of internal and external evidence that we have been able to apply, go to confirm the fairness, the accuracy, and the intelligence of the writer.
The position of Bourrienne, in the cabinet of Napoleon, necessarily proves the possession of no ordinary talents-no small acquirements. Even after their rupture, Bourrienne was selected for the embassy to Hamburg, at that time a post of difficulty. And if there were any doubt of his capability to appreciate the character and powers of Napoleon, the Memoirs themselves will abundantly satisfy the most fastidious reader. They are in every respect the work of an able man, and we have given our opinion that they are also the production of an honest one. Napoleon is not represented in an amiable light: the question is- is it a true one? We may say of it, as is often observed of portraits of persons whom we have not seen--it looks a likeness-it bears all the strong marks of reality.
Like most French books, the Memoirs of De Bourrienne appear in livraisons, and they are not yet concluded: all that portion, however, has appeared, to which, in the narrative of the secretary, the greatest interest is necessarily attached; namely, that which relates Bourrienne's experience in the actual service of his master. When he leaves the cabinet, he becomes an ordinary observer; and though able and acute in his remarks on passing events, he is no longer freely admitted behind the scenes. With the parts that have appeared, the work must, therefore, in a great measure, lose the character of a revelation.
ART. II.-Walstein. Tragédie en cinq Actes.
cinq_Actes. Par P. Ch. Liadières; representée sur le Théâtre Français le 22 Octobre, 1828. Paris, 1829. 8vo.
"THEY certainly do not manage these matters better in France," Sterne would have said, if he had lived to read Schiller's Wallenstein, and then to "assist" at a representation of M. Liadières' Walstein, at the Théâtre Français. This is the second time that this great subject has fallen into French hands. The first who ventured to grapple with it, twenty years ago, was one perhaps as well qualified as any man in France for the task. With a vigorous and masculine intellect, an extensive acquaintance with the literature of other countries, and those enlarged and tolerant principles of taste and criticism which that acquaintance infallibly bestows; peculiarly conversant with the literature of Germany, himself a German in many matters of sentiment and opinion;-it would have been difficult to name a Frenchman more likely to convey to his countrymen a correct idea of the Trilogie of Schiller than Benjamin Constant.* Yet even he, though with a protest against the dramatic necessity which binds his free-will, and compels him, even while perceiving and admiring the better course, to take the worse, is forced to sacrifice to the Moloch of French criticism, and to take unwarrantable liberties with the original, which his better judgment condemned, as he has himself, in a late essay on the subject, most candidly admitted. Still with all its defects, and they are numerous, his play is both dramatic and poetical, for it is in substance Schiller's: Wallenstein, in his strength or in his weakness, is still shadowed out before us, though with a dimmer colouring and a more faltering hand; and as much is done for the poetry of the original as is consistent with the wretched medium through which it must be conveyed, and the unavoidable mutilation which ensues, when a dramatic poem of three separate parts is cut down to the dimensions of a single five-act play.
In M. Liadières' hand the subject takes a different form. Evidently incapable of appreciating in the slightest degree the great work, the name of which he has borrowed, or of understanding the principles upon which Shakspeare and Schiller have constructed their dramas, he makes it his boast that he has created a Wallenstein for himself, in which Schiller has neither part nor lot, and which in fact bears no more resemblance to the Wallenstein of history than M. Liadières' Alexandrines do to poetry.
Wallstein, Tragédie en cinq actes et en vers, précédée de quelques réflexions sur le Théatre Allemand, et suivie de notes historiques, par Benjamin Constant de Rebecque. Paris et Genève, chez Paschoud. 1809. 8vo.
According to his view, the Wallenstein of Schiller and of history was a poor undignified, undramatic personage, not capable of being produced on a respectable stage; but M. Liadières, with a truly Samaritan spirit, has " clothed" the nakedness of the original character" with a dramatic colouring," given him " a little of a chivalrous physiognomy," and fitted him with a decent French garment for the Parisian boards. True, some ill-natured people may be more struck with M. Liadières' intrepidity than with the success of his handiwork, and may be inclined to say, the new dress, after all, looks rather like a suit of shabby-genteel tinsel. But what of that? Has not his Tragédie been" accueillie avec faveur par le public," and does not all the world know that from the judgment of a Parisian public there is no appeal?
And yet we think most people in M. Liadières' situation would have paused a little before risking the experiment of an improved Wallenstein. He has read the play, for he has done Schiller the honour of immortalizing some passages of his drama, by transferring them to his own. He is also perhaps traditionally aware, that Schiller is in his own country admitted to be at the head of modern dramatic literature; that the verdict of his countrymen has been confirmed by the voice of Europe; and that even in France there may be found clever persons who go the length of admitting him to be a man of genius. We suppose too he may be aware at least the information is accessible enough—that this great work was most patiently and elaborately considered by its author; that he had studied the character of Wallenstein and the aspect of his time while engaged in the composition of the Thirty Years War," long before the idea of applying it to dramatic purposes occurred to him; that nearly seven years were spent upon its composition, during which his views underwent many modifications, and the work itself great alterations; and that it was only after the subject had been tried in every possible light, both as to its main features and its accessories, that it was finally given to the public in its present form. Most persons, we say, who were aware of these particulars, would have paused a little to consider whether Schiller might not have the best reasons for treating the subject as he did, and whether after all the aspect which nature and the German poet had given to Wallenstein was not more appropriate than the "chivalrous physiognomy" which M. Liadières proposed to substitute in its stead. They would have endeavoured, by a similar course of study, to make themselves masters of that process of thought by which Schiller had ultimately been guided to his choice, and would have been certain at least that his views were wrong, before they set about mending them. For a Wallenstein, whatever M. Liadières