« ForrigeFortsæt »
of Louis XVIII., to insist on the departure of the illustrious exiles. Forced to seek another refuge, Hortense and her children sojourned for a time in Switzerland, and then withdrew to Rome. After a time, however, circumstances permitted them to return to the north of the Alps, and they established themselves at the castle of Arenenberg, in Switzerland, where, on the heights which look down on the Lake of Constance, Hortense, like a loving and tender mother, devoted herself to the education of her children. From the plain and simple people among whom their lot was cast, the noble qualities of the ex-queen, and the manly and generous, though somewhat reserved character of her sons, attracted general esteem. That Louis Napoleon's studies at this time, under his mother's guidance and superintendence, were solid and useful, and such as would fit him for whatever state of life it should be his destiny to hold hereafter, be it the highest or lowest, is proved by the fruits which his after-years disclosed, but the seeds of which must have been sown in that early and somewhat unpromising spring-time of adversity. As a boy, Louis Napoleon became a proficient in mathematics and fortification, and especially in the science of government, of political and military organisation; he read much, and thought more, upon all subjects connected with the material and social happiness of nations ; he had studied history, both ancient and modern, and with a watchful eye as to the true application of its lessons and warnings; and on reaching manhood, though deficient in that practical experience which is learned in the busy world alone, he was probably better versed in the politics of Europe than many a gray-haired statesman.
But at Arenenberg he learned more than this. It was the aim and study of Hortense to train up her son so as to serve his country either as its sovereign-if such should be the will of Providence-or as a simple soldier in the ranks; and so it was that her son took advantage of the military camp at Thun to make himself practically acquainted with the duties of a private soldier. Every summer he carried the knapsack on his back, ate the soldier's fare, handled the shovel, the pickaxe, and the wheelbarrow; learned to scale the heights of the mountains, and followed the marches of the soldiers, and returned at night to repose under a soldier's tent.
Such were the lessons of self-command, of willing submission to hardship and discipline, which the prince, at his mother's wish, imposed on himself, in pursuit of that practical experience which, in every path of life, is the secret of success, and without which even the highest scientific attainments are so often valueless. It is well that those who aspire to command should first learn to obey; that those who look forward to administering the discipline of an army or a nation, should first submit to discipline in their own persons. Had the Bourbons known, or been taught to follow such a course, it is possible that the French Revolution, the Consulate, and the Empire would never have arisen, and that the line of Capet would still have been seated in the court of the Tuileries.
Louis XVIII., who had been placed by England and the allies on the throne, after the fall of the great Napoleon, was a pedant; he died in 1824, and was succeeded by his brother, Charles X., a man of very ordinary qualities, lethargic temperament, and great bigotry in matters of religion. Of neither of those sovereigns could it be said that, though their right to the hereditary throne of France was beyond question, they were at all men after the hearts of the French people. The French, as a nation, love enterprise, display, ambition, glory, war; and they have but little reverence for a sovereign who lags behind in the race for military distinction. The tame and dull routine of affairs contrasted sadly in their minds with the memories of the glory and greatness of the Empire; at all events they were dissatisfied with the Bourbon rule; and so, when a revolution in 1830 broke out at Brussels, it was a matter of little or no wonder that the uproar spread to Paris, and that the populace threw up barricades in the streets, and resolved on a change of government. They were not ripe, it is true, for a return to the imperial régime, at the present at least ; but they determined that the elder Bourbons should no longer reign. And England, which, fifteen years before, had taken, at so heavy a cost of lives and of money, so active a part in imposing the Bourbons upon France, resolved to act a wiser part, and left the French people free to choose and to change their own dynasty, as England had changed its own a century and a half before. As our readers are aware, a younger branch of the House of Bourbon was now substituted for the elder, in the person of Louis, Duc d'Orleans, who now ascended the throne as Louis Philippe, * King of the French.'
The news of the revolution of 1830 broke suddenly in upon the retired life which Louis Napoleon had been leading at Arenenberg, and changed his studies, and fired the aspirations which he had always cherished of returning to France, and being of service to the land and country of his birth. The prince and his mother too, very naturally imagined that, together with the nominal abolition of the anti-national system of 1815, such accompaniments of it as the exile and proscription of the Bonapartes might be removed. But it was their fate to be disappointed-at present. A meeting of some members of the imperial family took place at Rome; the government now in power took alarm; and in obedience to a strong wish expressed from the Tuileries, the prince was conducted under a military escort beyond the pale of the papal territory. It was not long before a revolution broke out in Italy; and in this Louis Napoleon and his elder brother took part, forming á moving column, and otherwise promoting the popular efforts. Assisted by General Sercognani, they defeated the papal troops, and alarm and confusion filled the Vatican. But soon the policy of France and Austria prevailed against the people : the two princes were deprived of their command, and banished from the soil of Italy. The elder of the brothers died shortly afterwards of fever, at Faenza, March 27, 1831 ; and so Louis Napoleon became the only surviving child of his parents.
The prince was now in a critical position. In the territory of his enemies, and hemmed in by Austrian soldiers, who never relaxed their vigilance and their efforts to capture him, he was only rescued by the address of his mother, who helped him to escape in the livery of a servant. Hortense and her son landed at Cannes; and though in danger of arrest--for the proscription of the Bonaparte family still held good—they made their way to Paris; the prince resolved to throw himself at the feet of Louis Philippe, requesting only that he might be allowed to serve France in the capacity of a private soldier; while his mother desired only leave to live and die upon French soil. It was hoped, and not without good reason, that if the king would not listen to the request of the young prince, at all events he would not turn a deaf ear to his mother, the ex-queen, to whom he was, or ought to have been personally bound by the strongest ties of gratitude.*
But Louis Philippe was not remarkable for generosity or gratitude. Besides, when a ruling power sees danger to its stability, state necessity is held to supersede all personal considerations; and the only reply vouchsafed to the appeal of the mother and son was an order to leave the French territory forthwith.
Returning to the land of his adoption, Switzerland, the prince was formally admitted to the rights of citizenship by the canton of Thurgau, within which Arenenberg is situated. This was in the year 1832; and towards the close of the year, the death of his cousin, the Duc de Reichstadt (only son of the emperor by Marie Louise), drew the prince into closer relationship to the rights and traditions inherited from the Empire, as the nearest representative of his uncle, the great Napoleon. He consequently became an object of proportionally greater fear, and therefore of greater dislike, to the Bourbonist and Orleanist parties.
While still very young, Louis Napoleon had composed a work on Artillery, which obtained warm encomiums from high authorities on the subject ; but it was only in 1832–3 that his name became at all widely known as an author. In the former year he published his Rêveries Politiques, to which he appended the outline of a constitution in many respects greatly resembling that which he was afterwards mainly instrumental in bestowing on France, and in the course of which, after declaring that the end of the Republic was to establish the reign of equality and liberty;' that 'the nature of the Empire was to consolidate a throne based on the principles of the Revolution, to heal the wounds of France, and to regenerate the people ;' while its passions were love of country, love of glory, love of honour;' he goes on to avow his strong conviction that the secret of the regeneration of France is to be found in a 're-combination of the two popular causes of the day—that of the Empire and that of the Republic.' He adds—and it must be remembered that when he wrote, the king of Rome still lived—the son of the first Napoleon is the sole representative of the highest amount of glory ; just as the Republic is the embodiment of the greatest amount of natural liberty.'
* It was mainly at her request that the emperor had allowed the mother and aunt of Louis Philippe to reside in France, at a time when all the Bourbon branches were conspiring against the Empire ; and it was in a great measure her intercession which procured for them annuities sufficient to maintain them in comfort, and in a position to some extent suited
to their rank.
This constant reference to the restoration of the Empire as the great national object of aspiration to all patriotic Frenchmen, is remarkable ; and so far is personal ambition, in the vulgar sense of the term, from being the ruling passion of Louis Napoleon, that in this work he perpetually dwells on his cousin's claims as the 'sole representative of the Empire-a title to which he never presumed to assert any claim, on his own part, until death had removed the brother and the cousin who stood between himself and the imperial line of succession. Asserting plainly that his own 'principles' are • republican,' he gives the preference' to 'the monarchical form of government, because he considers such a form the best adapted to France, as 'giving more and greater guarantees of strength and liberty than any other.'
The prince followed up this work by another, which appeared in 1833, entitled Considérations Politiques et Militaires sur la Suisse. In this book—the result, it need hardly be said, of a close study and constant observation of the people among whom his lot was cast, he analyses the social, political, and industrial position of Switzerland, pointing out those portions of the Helvetic system which, in his opinion, called for amendment or abolition, and offering those suggestions which appeared to him calculated to increase the happiness of the people of Switzerland, and to promote the stability of the Confederation. He reminded the Swiss of the extent to which they were indebted for the improvement which had taken place in their position to the good offices of the great Napoleon, whose general system of finance, and of including in his views the good of all classes of the community, instead of legislating for the benefit of the privileged classes alone, he holds up as models to be admired and followed by statesmen. Proceeding from these to other subjects, he goes on to treat of his favourite topic of military organisation, and of the measures necessary in order to create an effectual system of armed national defence which shall be readily available in emergencies. In these sections of his book the prince shewed an intimate acquaintance with all the various branches of the science of war, bestowing particular attention on the arm of artillery. And it is only fair to add that, whatever their feelings may be towards the writer, the military section of these Considérations has always been
regarded by competent judges as a valuable addition to that class of literature.
About this time, it was suggested in more quarters than one that Louis Napoleon would be a most suitable husband for the young queen of Portugal, Donna Maria, who had lately been left a widow. There were many competitors for her hand ; but few were thought more eligible partners than a prince who, whilst free of all engagements which could create any political complications, was closely related to an imperial House and heir to its honours. The queen herself, it was confidently stated at the time, was not averse to the proposal ; but Louis Napoleon took pains to make known not merely the fact that he declined the proffered honour, but the reason why he had resolved to refuse to share a foreign throne. He wrote: *The noble conduct of my father, who abdicated a throne, in 1810, because he could not unite the interests of France with those of Holland, has not left my memory. My father, by his example, proved to me how far the claims of one's native land are to be preferred even to a throne in a foreign country. I feel in fact that, trained as I have been from infancy to cherish the thought of my own country above every other consideration, I should not be able to hold anything in higher esteem than the interests of France. Persuaded as I am that the great name which I bear, and which must ever recall the memory of fifteen years of glory, will not always be proscribed by my countrymen, I wait with patience in a free and hospitable land the arrival of the day when the French nation will call back to its bosom those who, in 1815, were driven into exile by the will of 200,000 strangers. This hope of being able to serve France even yet as a citizen and a soldier, is that which gives strength to my soul, and, in my opinion, is worth all the thrones in the world.'
When six years had passed after the revolution of 1830, it is not too much to say that the government of Louis Philippe had made itself most distasteful to the French people, and that the feelings of hope which had helped to seat the Duc d'Orleans on the throne of France had been thoroughly disappointed. In proportion to the wide spread of this feeling of disgust was the insecurity of the throne to which Louis Philippe had—not succeeded by right, but—been Selected ;' and the weakness of the reigning king was obviously the strength of all who wished to see a restoration of either the Republic or the Empire. Especially did it tend to increase the strength of the party who, more or less in secret, attached themselves to the cause of the House of Bonaparte. Prince Louis Napoleon, though exiled from France, still resided near the borders of his native land,' whose fair fields he could almost see before him from the Swiss heights near Arenenberg. The curt and ungracious refusal of his own and his mother's request by “the Citizen King' had sunk deep in his heart; and he considered himself quite at liberty