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CHAPTER XXXVIII. - Gouverneur Morris, The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, vol. 2 
The Diary and Letters of Gouverneur Morris, Minister of the United States to France; Member of the Constitutional Convention, ed. Anne Cary Morris (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1888). 2 vols. Vol. 2.
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Morris goes to Hamburg. An armistice signed, April, 1797. Letter to Lord Grenville. Letter to Lady Sutherland. Prince Zubow. Information about Russia. Lafayette released. Dines at Neusteden. Lafayette means to avoid all interference in French affairs. Intends to go to America. Conversation with Duchess of Cumberland at Frankfort. Prince de Reusse. Fête at Offenbach. Mr. Crauford. The Duchess of Cumberland in a contradictory mood. Baron de Beaulieu. Mr. Wickham. Leaves Frankfort for Ratisbon. En petite société at the Princesse de Tour et Taxis’s. General Werneck. Dinner at the Prince Bishop’s. Communications of M. Aujard.
Morris left Brunswick the 27th of March and travelling directly to Hamburg, reached there on the 31st. “Last night,” he says, “at the inn I had two plagues—one a hare locked up over my head, who would have persuaded some people that the house was haunted, for he made no small racket; another was the company of mosquitoes, which, to my astonishment, were as busy as in July. Go after dinner to Altona to see Madame de Flahaut, and in the evening go to the French theatre at Hamburg to see a most miserable ballet, made up of shreds and patches of music and history vilely assorted. Madame de Flahaut tells me a little anecdote of the Princess of Lorraine, who has lost her friend of fifteen years’ standing for the pleasure of young Caraman’s society. There is nothing in this to surprise me, for I never thought well of her. I saw her last evening at the play, and her inquiries after Mr. Livingston proved an interest which, if it be not of the sincerest kind, the fault must lie with him.”
“Advices have arrived [April 3d] of the taking of Trinidad by the English, and the destruction of the Spanish fleet—one ship taken and the rest of the squadron burned by them. The conduct of the French has, it seems, excited great disgust in America. My poor friend, Robert Morris, is ruined. A heavy stroke upon my bosom, and I fear the account is but too true. The Archduke has been beaten, and the French, it is said, are in possession of Trieste.”
“It is said [April 14th] that the Austrian Cabinet have declared officially that they are treating with France. Their affairs are very bad, and M. de Thugut will, I fancy, be overset.”
“The Emperor has made [April 15th] a kind of official declaration that he is in treaty for peace; an estafette is arrived, it is said, which announces a mob at Vienna clamorous for peace and the dismission of Thugut. The Emperor addressed them and promised peace, on which they dispersed.”
“The Prince of Waldeck tells me [April 16th] he is persuaded the preliminaries of a general peace are signed; that they have been already for some time treating.”
An armistice had been signed on the 7th of April, 1797, within sight of the spires of Vienna; but it was not until October 17th that the treaty of Campo Formio was made. The terms dictated by Bonaparte were that Austria should cede Belgium to the French Republic, and agree to the cession of the German provinces on the left bank of the Rhine; and she also consented that Lombardy and several adjoining States should become dependencies of the French Republic. Austria was given, in return for her immense losses, Venice as a spoil. This Bonaparte flung to her, notwithstanding a protest from the Directory.”
“It appears from the papers to-day [April 18th] that Bonaparte is still rapidly advancing, and that the Austrians have gained advantages in Tyrol which, followed up, will enable them to get into his rear and perhaps hem him up in the mountains of Styria. Should this happen, the affairs of the world may take a turn entirely new.”
“Accounts have arrived [April 23d] by the last French mail that the Directory have ordered the several officers to pay no attention to passports or certificates given by American ministers or consuls. This is curious enough; but if, as is far from impossible, Bonaparte receives a severe check, they will grow less arrogant.”
Bonaparte seemed at this moment to the lookers-on “to be,” as Morris expressed it in a letter to Lord Grenville on April 25th, “completely in air; and, on the whole, my lord,” he continues, “I consider the situation of the Allies as being just now much better than it has been at any period since the commencement of the war. I repeat to you again, my lord, that the game seems to me to be in your hands, provided you have patience to play out the cards. If it is possible to send a strong naval force into the Mediterranean, it will perhaps prove of very great importance.”
“To-day [May 3d], while I am in a shop choosing some chintz for Madame de Nadaillac, Mr. Parish comes in, and tells me that the French Directory have issued letters of marque to capture American vessels going to and coming from Great Britain, and that Admiral Jarvis has blocked up the Spanish fleet at Cadiz.”
“M. Talon breakfasts with me [May 5th]. He gives a strange account of affairs in America, so far as regards the land speculations. He says the conduct of France towards America must be, in some measure, attributed to the Bishop of Autun, who, in a conference with the Directory and Minister for Foreign Affairs, told them America was to be considered in no other light than Geneva, and must follow implicitly the orders of France.”
“It is so long since I had the pleasure of conversing with you,” Mr. Morris wrote to the Countess of Sutherland on May 16th, “that I would seek the opportunity for novelty’s sake, were there no other charms but those of novelty to be found in your society. But, as things are, I find these last unnecessary. You will have seen that Austria has made peace in the critical moment, when her enemy was in the greatest danger. So Great Britain will save a subsidy; and now, unless they force America into the war, you will stand alone, for I do not count Portugal for anything. They will only, I presume, furnish some money to France and shut their ports against you by way of purchasing peace and what is called independence. The state of your finances, also, is far from encouraging, but yet I am convinced that (unless panic-struck) you will get through well. In effect, your enemy cannot employ against you that force in which she excels, and she cannot, I think, in some considerable time attack you on your own element. The return of her armies will not a little perplex her counsels, and if she succeeds in disbanding the greater part of them, she will thereby be reduced to the necessity of listening to the necessities of her own citizens and the friendly interposition of that power who must now begin to view her with a jealous eye. Do send me some good news from Cadiz. Tell me to an ounce how much silver you have taken in the Spanish galleons; but, above all, tell me that I still hold a place in your esteem. Such information is a treasure more precious than silver, for I love you very much. God bless you, dear lady. Remember me to your lord, and remember me.”
“Dumouriez tells me, in a long conversation we have [May 26th], several things of the past, but one of the present which astonishes me. He says that to his knowledge Thugut is in the pay of France. He has the same opinion which I had of Bonaparte’s situation when he made peace with the Emperor. Dining with a large company to-day, I mentioned publicly what I had previously suggested in private conversation to Mr. Parish, that the city of Hamburg would do well to send an agent to the Congress for a general peace, with the view to obtain an article in it for the free navigation of the Elbe. This would naturally be suggested by the Emperor and Elector of Saxony; France would also be glad of the opportunity to interfere, with decided effect, in the affairs of Southern Germany. As Mr. Sieveking sits opposite to me, I conclude that my conversation will be written to Paris (a thing which was done on a former occasion), and that part of it, which relates to the interior, will not be offensive to them; for it contained my serious opinion that, barring the case of civil war, their late experience of anarchy will enforce the observation of law.”
“Dine at M. P. Godefroy’s [June 5th]; a company of four dozen in an elegant house, and good wine, but the smallest dinner for such a company that I ever saw. A tureen of soup, and one of curds and cream, succeeded by a ham and five boiled chickens; then a turbot, four dishes of vegetables, finally a leg of chevreuil, and half a dozen roasted pigeons. The last advices from England announce a continuance of riots among seamen, also that the affairs of Ireland are very alarming. The Baron Grum tells me a part of his history. The Empress, in sending him hither announced to him the march of sixty thousand men under Suwarrow, through Holstein to the Elbe. I think I know from this hint the whole plan. He agrees with me in opinion that the present Emperor of Russia goes too fast in his plans of reform. He thinks it probable that Austria may, by and by, enter into bonds of alliance with France. I question only as to the by and by.”
“I meet at dinner [June 18th] the Prince Zubow, late bosom friend of the Empress of Russia. He gives me much curious information. He says the Russian army, had the Empress lived, would have been early in March on the way to Lintz. I had thought they were to come through Holstein. He tells me that the Comte d’Artois, when he went first to England, was bearer of an offer of fifteen thousand men from the Empress, to act for restoration of the monarchy in France. He says that his brother, during his late campaigns in Mount Caucasus and Hyrcania, has discovered the plain which bounded the march of Pompey’s army, being filled with serpents of enormous size; that the ancient Guebres still exist there, and preserve the sacred fire, fed with a bitumen in which the earth there abounds; that the nations and the rivers bear yet the same names which distinguished them in the time of the Greeks and Romans, the people of those countries having never yet been changed by conquest, emigration, or other great moral phenomenon. He mentions the melons of a province bordering on Cashmere as being brought to Petersburg, to Delhi, and to Ispahan. He says it is not true that the Empress had formed a good opinion of the present King of Sweden, but the contrary. He is, of course, no friend to the present Czar. He says that he must adopt the conduct of his mother, as most consistent with the interior prosperity and exterior consequence of Russia, but that the same measures will no longer produce the same effect. Even the army will no longer perform the same things, because that spirit which animated the whole is fled. In this there is, I think, some exaggeration and some truth. As to Poland, he says it would be cruel to re-establish that kingdom. They are (according to him) incapable of governing themselves, and should be deprived of power, as men take knives from children lest they cut themselves. The peasants, he says, detest the lords by whom they are enslaved, and these again never know what they are about. Kosciusko, he says, is below his reputation: a good leader of ten to fifteen thousand men, but that is all; an enthusiast who, but for his ignorance of his own countrymen, would never have been led into the measures he pursued. He speaks of Prussia as owing everything to Russia, so that the latter, in possessing herself of the Prussias, would only, as it were, take back her own.”
Morris left Altona on June 19th for a short trip in Denmark; stopping en route for a day at a town near Ploen, to see his old friend Madame de Tessé; “with whom,” he says, “I have a conversation on the subject of M. and Madame de Lafayette. She finds that Louis XVIII. has behaved very foolishly, more especially in his conduct towards his nephew, M. de Poix. This is characteristic of the Noailles. Impartial people consider it as a foolish affair merely because he did not wait till he was restored to the throne, where he might have shown his resentment at what he considers as the ingratitude of that family with more effect; but nobody, I believe, except the members of that family, will put in comparison the proclamation and M. de Poix.”
On the return journey, at a small town, Morris was not a little surprised to find a servant of the Duchess of Cumberland waiting for him; “which,” he says, “gives an air of importance very improperly to a most trifling circumstance. She, by blunders, is at Leipsic without money, and asks me to raise some for her; so I send an order for it to Freis & Co. We have had again a rainy day, which makes the welcome of my friend Parish doubly welcome. On my return to Hamburg I call on Madame de Flahaut, and converse with Souza, who has returned from Berlin. He mentions having heard there, with surprise, that I was a great democrat, in the French sense of the word. He gives me some French gazettes, by which it appears that the Legislature are determined to force the Directory into a peace.”
“I learn with great pleasure to-day [July 4th] that the Duchess of Orleans has been restored to the possession of her father’s property. The two Houses in France have concurred in taking the command of the treasury out of the hands of the Directory, and the milliard for the army is brought on the carpet. This is, I believe, the rock which the Republic must split upon. A person from America brings a list of new diplomatic appointments which prove to me that our system is less nervous than it was. I fear we shall not gain much reputation by it. He says, however, that the spirit and resentments of the nation are high.
“Dine at Mr. Haynes’s [July 10th], where I meet Lord Wycombe. He comes home with me after dinner, and, chemin faisant, expresses himself with much warmth against his quondam friend, Madame de Flahaut. She had a design upon him, viz., to marry him; and he thinks she did much mischief to effectuate it. He is of those men who go far in the way which they once travel, and believes more than is just. At the time when I suspected their connection to be what I now find it was, and on his arrival in Paris, she sent her servant to him, with a letter full of all sorts of tenderness and dying sensibility. I find she had nearly catched him in the matrimonial noose, and he seems to be very angry at it, though, in fact, he has nothing to complain of. He seemed a proper subject to work upon, and therefore she exerted herself to get hold of him. We have a pretty long conversation on matters of a public nature, and his lordship begins to doubt some things which appeared to him to be certain.”
From Altona, July 11th, Morris despatched another letter to Lady Sutherland, acknowledging her letters, and, just touching on the all-absorbing political subject, he announced to her his intended departure for home.
“It has for some time been my opinion,” he wrote, “that you would have peace this year, and the negotiators being now met, I presume you will soon know the happy issues of their labors. As to the conditions, I think them of little consequence, for the state of Europe seems to me similar to what it was previous to the Grand Alliance, and, if so, you will have only an armed truce whose duration must depend on contingencies; unless, indeed, the internal commotions of France should give to neighboring nations a security they could not derive from their arms. Quand on se trouve au parterre il faut attendre le dénoῦment de la pièce, quelque mauvaise qu’elle soit. Ainsi, quoiqu’en route pour mon foyer, je reste ici encore quelques jours. But for trifles not worth mentioning, I should have been by this time in America; and I think it wisest to go without visiting England, because I shall leave this hemisphere with less reluctance than if I saw you at the moment of my departure. Still, there is something which tells me I shall see you again, and the idea is so pleasant that I can’t find it in my heart to drive it away. Wouldn’t it be whimsical if, in the shufflings of time and chance, we should meet under the auspices of a bonnet rouge at Paris? You ask my plan of operations. I float, dear lady, like all light substances, on the stream of time, too indolent to row, too ignorant to steer, and trusting fate for a future haven. You, more provident, are buying and repairing a house, on which I felicitate you, because it will (till finished) give you the pleasure of employment, and then you must seek some other object. Whatever may be your pursuit and with whatever success, my warmest wishes will still attend you—still like
Adieu. My best remembrances await his lordship. Tell him so, and believe me ever and truly yours.”
Morris never lost his keen interest in the sufferings of the émigrés, and always held himself ready to supply a deficiency in money, or to send them a word of hope or of advice. In a letter to the Maréchal de Castries, then living at Wolfenbüttel, under date of August 2d, he says:
“Les événements en vérité ont été si rapides et extraordinaires que les calculs sur le passé ne peuvent plus s’appliquer au présent; et, quant à l’avenir, il est couvert d’un nuage impénétrable. Si j’osais me permettre de hasarder un conseil, ce serait de ne rien faire, absolument rien, puisqu’ alors on a des chances pour soi. D’ailleurs, on peut choisir librement quand on ne s’est engagé envers personne. Je marque bien ce que vous me faites l’honneur de me dire sur le changement du ministère français. Il ne me paraît être qu’un symptôme dans une maladie où il faut s’attendre encore à des crises multipliées. Je n’en tire, donc, aucun indice. En général, je persiste à croire que le despotisme d’un usurpateur doit être le précurseur d’une autorité légitime. Je ne suis pas même persuadé qu’il ne soit pas nécessaire à l’établissement solide d’une pareille autorité. L’homme, animal raisonnant mais non pas raisonnable, ne s’instruit que par l’expérience et ne se corrige que par le malheur. Il faut donc que le cercle soit complet, afin de démontrer à chaque novateur l’ineptie de son système. Mille pardons pour ce galimatias. Croyez toujours à mon respect et à mon sincère attachement.”∗
“This afternoon [August 11th] I see Dumouriez. Hatred of England seems the order of the day here. He says he has no doubt of being able to make a successful descent on England. He has much commonplace on that subject, but the particulars of his plan are a secret. This secret must consist in the knowledge of a convenient landing-place and the means of eluding British cruisers. In a word, it must be a coup de main, and supposing (gratis) the safe landing of a considerable force with needful artillery, etc. A further postulatum is that the English will not fight to defend their country. He says he has offered the Directory to communicate his plans to any affidé of theirs, but they have not asked anything from him. They have formed plans to act in concert with the revolution societies of England. I give him some hints, which I am sure he will seize, because he wants to bring himself forward again on the French theatre. As they will, if brought to effect, tend to the general good of mankind, I shall not be sorry to see them acted upon. It seems that Mantua is to be delivered up to the Emperor, so that Bonaparte’s transalpine schemes are a little lamed.”
“Advices from England [August 13th] show that the disputes between the legislative and executive bodies at Paris are not yet settled. The military are excited against the former.”
“To-day [August 15th] the post from Holland brings accounts that the definitive treaty is concluded with the Emperor, but the conditions are yet secret.
“By every account [August 20th] from France it would seem as if trouble were preparing again there. The Directory have the army in their favor for the moment. There seems to be a contest between them and the Legislature for fixing on each other the blame that hostilities continue, and that the finances are deranged. As taxation is the right of the latter, they will probably succumb.”
“The Baron Buol de Schauenstein, the Imperial minister, with his lady, dine at Neusteden with Mr. Parish today [September 3d]. After dinner, speaking of the English diplomacy, he mentions a trait of the famous Lord Auckland, which is curious. After the treaty of Reichenbach, by which Prussia, England, and Holland had agreed to aid in bringing back the Flemish and Brabanters to their ancient submission, he, being then minister from the Emperor there, was informed of Vanderhoot’s plan (called afterwards his crusade, which cost the lives of more than fifteen thousand men, wantonly thrown away) and went immediately to Lord Auckland to request that he would interfere to prevent attempts which must have bad consequences, without at all affecting the great object fixed by the treaty. His lordship told him that he could not, for that if Vanderhoot and Van Eupen were to ask his advice he could not in conscience recommend it to them to lay down their arms, seeing that they would then obtain unfavorable terms. ‘My lord, if you suppose I come to hold a friendly and confidential conversation you are mistaken. I speak to you as a minister, and I beg you will give me such an answer as I may transmit to Court in your official character.’ ‘Why, really, sir, my instructions from the British Cabinet will not permit me to comply with your request.’ The Baron remarks properly that this is the first time, perhaps, that the minister of a country has openly avowed the patronage of revolt.”
“The French mail brings advices this day [September 15th] of an attack made under the auspices of three Directors against the other two, and the majority of the two councils. The consequence is that several members are arrested and condemned to banishment. The pretext is a conspiracy to establish the throne on the ruins of the present glorious fabric of Gallican freedom. It seems as if the definitive treaty with the Emperor is near to a conclusion. I presume that the victorious Directors will make peace by way of proving that the continuance of the war is to be attributed to their opponents. They have taken the estate of the Duchess of Orleans and banished her.”
To his friend, Baron de Groshlaer, at Vienna, Morris wrote, on Tuesday, the 19th of September, to felicitate him on the dangers they had safely passed through, as follows:
“En effet, votre danger a été extrême; vous jouissez à présent de la lumière, car il n’y a rien de si beau que de voir le soleil quand on revient des bords du tombeau. Dans l’ignorance absolue de votre sort, je n’osais écrire, ni à vous ni à madame la baronne, mais je me persuadais toujours que vous vous en tireriez. On croit facilement ce qu’on désire avec ardeur. Je m’imagine que la paix sera conclue avant que cette lettre-ci n’ait l’honneur de vous être présentée. L’Empereur aura reçu le territoire de Venise en échange de Mantoue, et la France se sera créée une voisine formidable dans la soi-disante République Cisalpine. Je ne vous parle pas de la dernière révolution parisienne, puisqu’il leur en faudra encore et encore, jusqu’à ce qu’ils retombent sous le gouvernment d’un seul. C’est leur dernier espoir, c’est leur unique azazel; après de longs transports, c’est un sommeil tranquille. En attendant leur rêve, je fais celui d’un voyage à Francfort, car je suis retenu dans votre maudite Europe par des circonstances triviales, qui me fâcheraient moins si je pouvais espérer vous revoir.”∗
“The news from Paris [September 20th] go to a confirmation of the conspiracy, of course; they go also to the establishment of dictatorial power in the Directory, which is also of course. The Rump Parliament deliberates under the bayonet. Qu.: How long before the army shall dismiss the Directors?”
“The Imperial minister [September 21st] has announced that the prisoners of Olmütz are at liberty.”
In a letter (September 22d) to Lord Elgin, Morris mentioned his intention of making the journey to Frankfort if the proposed peace should afford him the opportunity, the season being rather late to cross the Atlantic.
“We hear constantly and with great pleasure that the King’s health mends daily. As I know the interest you take in it, I cannot omit to offer my congratulations. The French Revolution has taken one step more towards a conclusion. In a little time they will, I think, have completed the circle. Meanwhile they go on generating young republics, which, like puppies, are born blind, yet can yelp, and if not strangled will not fail to bite when the season comes. So let those look to it whose legs may be in the way.”
“Mr. Parish calls [September 27th]. He has adjusted with the Imperial minister how Lafayette is to be delivered over. The minister communicated M. de Thugut’s letter, which says expressly that M. de Lafayette is not liberated at the instance of France, but merely to show the Emperor’s consideration for the United States of America. This looks very like a continuation of the war.”
“Every account [September 29th] seems to confirm the idea that hostilities are to recommence, and the Imperial minister tells me that there is every probability the war will continue.”
“The officer accompanying the Olmütz prisoners [October 3d] left them on the way to Hamburg and called on Mr. Parish yesterday. He comes by the worst road, and to-morrow these unfortunate people are to cross the Elbe in an open boat, be the weather what it may; now it is very fine.”
“Dine to-day [October 14th] with M. le Baron Buol Schauenstein, the Imperial minister, who gives me some letters of introduction and a passport. Madame also gives me some letters, and very politely wishes that, by determining to stay here, I may render them useless. The minister is vexed that M. de Lafayette and his companions do not arrive. It is not till after five that Mr. Parish sends us word that they are come, and then I take the Baron down to perform the ceremony of delivering them over. His expressions are très mesurées, and he goes through his part with dignity. The prisoners, instead of coming to town in the ferry-boat, in which case they would have arrived between nine and ten o’clock in the morning, embarked on board the boat of an American ship, dined on the ship, and so wasted their own time and everybody else’s. Of course they cannot go to the lodgings provided for them, etc. I find also that visits are to be paid to the French minister, to Archenholz, etc. In short, Horace is perfectly right: Cœlum non animam mutant qui trans mare currunt. Mr. Parish takes tea with me, and I accompany him to Neusteden, his country-seat, and spend the night. The next day the whole society of prisoners dine at Neusteden. There seems no intention of going to America. Lafayette assures me that he means to avoid all intrigue and every interference in the affairs of France; but, if I judge right, he is mistaken. I applaud his resolution, tell him that he can do France no good and may do himself much mischief; that a perfect nullity is the safer game for him and leaves him the choice of what side he will take afterwards, etc. He professes much gratitude for my services, but this I do not expect, and shall indeed be disappointed if it ever goes beyond profession. The young gentleman who went from the French army in Italy to Vienna in order to procure M. de Lafayette’s release tells me he doubts still whether hostilities will be recommenced. He seems to think that the French armies are too powerful to be resisted, and also that the practice of making young republics behind them will give security to their conquests. This must, in my opinion, depend merely on the success of their advancing armies, for, if driven back, the conquered countries will certainly rise against their oppressors.”
“Mr. Parish and I have some conversation to-day [October 6th] on the subject of Messrs. Lafayette & Co. He sees with concern that they are running into great and useless expense, according to all appearances, by going foolishly to an inn at Hamburg instead of coming out to lodgings prepared for them at Altona. They have run out fifty guineas in two days. I prepare for my journey to-day, and say farewell to my friends. Go to Poppenbüttel to see M. and Madame de Lafayette, and bid them adieu. As he mentions to me his intention of going to America, I urge him to decide on it seriously and to mention it now to Mr. Adams, the President. I tell him that neither the present Directory nor the Constitutionalists, as they call themselves, wish to see him in France; that I believe America will make a proper provision for him. I think they ought to offer, and he to accept, what will put him in easy circumstances. He says that if his wife can sell her property in France she will, after paying her debts, have some little left, and very little will satisfy him. Here I think he is much mistaken.
Mr. Parish comes this afternoon while I am writing, and brings me the letter Lafayette has written stating the impracticability of going out this autumn to America. Mr. Parish, to whom it is addressed, finds it well enough, so I don’t object, though the style is not just what it ought to be, and I think will not be so pleasing or satisfactory to the Imperial Cabinet as Mr. Parish might wish and of right expect. I fancy M. Archenholz will come out with a smart philippic against the Emperor, for I saw him out at Poppenbüttel, and, as I suppose, for the purpose of collecting materials. The late prisoners will not be unwilling to furnish all they can. They were, in my opinion, confined unjustly; no wonder that the loss of liberty should, coupled with the sense of wrong, have greatly exasperated them, but I am persuaded that nothing has happened which can bear a comparison with the cruelties inflicted on many innocent persons in France. Being now at liberty the public commiseration will be much diminished, and it would, I think, be prudent to preserve a profound silence. If, leaving the prudential path, he wishes to act a heroic part, it would, I think, consist in a silence prononcé. On an application to him to tell his story he might say: ‘While so many nations suffer, the past miseries of an individual can find no place in the public attention; mine are already obliterated from my memory by the view of those which my poor country is doomed to undergo.’”
“I leave Altona to-day [October 8th], and am detained at the Hamburg gate five and twenty minutes by the ridiculous practice of shutting the gates during the time of divine service. I suppose it is to prevent an enemy from surprising them.”
“At Esche Mr. Möller, my compagnon de voyage, and I meet a gentleman and lady [October 10th] who come from the baths of Schwalbach and Wiesbaden. They tell us that the people, who are much disturbed by the war, prefer the company of the French to that of the Austrians, which last are sulky and will do nothing but smoke their pipes, while the French lend a hand to assist in whatever business may be going forward.”
“On the way from Cassel to Friedenwalde, at an inn [October 22d], I meet in the landlord an old Hessian soldier who served in America, and who speaks very good English. He tells me he worked very hard at cutting down the wood at Morrisania, and he is very sorry he did not stay in America. I make a détour to see the Duchess of Cumberland, but find that she is gone to live at Frankfort, which town we reach on Thursday, October 26th. Walk first to the post-office and then call on the Duchess of Cumberland, with whom I sit awhile. She gives me information of various sorts. Says that the Prince Royal of Prussia,∗ who is probably by this time King, his father’s death having been expected daily for some weeks, is a man of very moderate abilities, pacific temper, and avaricious disposition; that he hates the émigrés, fears the French, and, so far from entering into a coalition against them, will pay court to the Directory. She says that at Pyrmont they were endeavoring to take in Prince Adolphus to marry the Princess Louis, sister to the Princess Royal, who is the mistress of Louis Ferdinand. The Duchess describes her as a woman of very loose deportment who was coquetting in the style of a courtesan with Adolphus, and the King of Prussia prayed him to ménager his belle-fille, qui était éperdument amoureuse de lui. At the same time, he could not think of agreeing to the marriage, without the previous consent of the King of England. The Duchess thinks that if, on the King’s death, Louis can get the survivance of his father’s place on condition that he marry his mistress, he will readily do it. She mentions the marriage of the Prince of Würtemberg with the Princess Royal of England as a thing which the latter would never have consented to but to get out of the Queen’s clutches. The Duchess of Brunswick, mother to his former wife, had done everything in her power to prepossess the King against him. The Duke of Brunswick said publicly that he had poisoned his daughter. ‘But,’ says the Duchess of Brunswick, ‘this I do not believe, because the Empress of Russia had the exclusive privilege of poisoning everybody in her dominions, and as the Duchess of Würtemberg was her favorite, from having betrayed her husband’s secrets, and those of his sister the present Empress of Russia, it is improbable that she would have suffered anybody to poison her.’ The Prince of Würtemberg, she says, beat his wife two days after their marriage, because she persisted in wearing a cap which he did not like. Notwithstanding all these things, the Duke of Brunswick went over from his residence to Hanover to invite the Prince and Princess to his Court, which invitation they accepted. This, says my informant, is in the hope that his grandson, future Duke of Würtemberg, will be made an elector. She says they live in a miserable style at Stuttgart; see nobody, etc.; her husband of such violent temper that he beats his chamberlains and, in particular, the Count Zippelin.”
“Estafettes have arrived in the night which announce the news of peace [October 27th]. There is much joy among the Austrians on account of the peace. The Prince de Reusse breakfasts with me. He tells me that in the great battle which Alvinzi lost, his brother had carried the posts on the left, had got round in the rear of Bonaparte, and was marching up in order of battle. It would have been fortunate if he had fired a few shots to alarm the French troops. Alvinzi had carried the Montebello by storm, with eight and twenty battalions, in the most splendid manner. Nothing remains but to range them again in order of battle, and Bonaparte was not beat but destroyed. Nothing could have escaped. In this moment fifty to a hundred French horse, in their fright and not knowing what they did, came galloping round the right of the Austrians; some twenty men took fright and cried ‘Tournirt, tournirt,’ we are turned, i.e., surrounded, and instantly the cry became general; the victorious battalions were panic-struck and ran down the mountain, throwing away their arms. In their rout down the steep which they had just ascended, above eight hundred were killed and wounded without any molestation whatever from the enemy. Thus a trivial incident (humanly speaking) changed the face of Europe. Had this not happened, the Austrians would have marched victorious into the country of Nice in all probability. The Prince tells me he is apprehensive that the Emperor has made a bad peace.
“I dine at the Duchess of Cumberland’s. The Prince de Reusse takes me in the evening to Madame Sullivan’s. Here are the Baron de Deuxpont, Comte de Fersen, Mr. Crauford, and M. de Simolin—all people whom I have formerly known. M. de Deuxpont tells me he has learnt from the secretary of Barthélemi that he constantly betrayed the French Republic. He has received advices from Paris that Barras and Reubell are at enmity, each wishing to be chief. The Prince de Reusse tells me, also, that persons lately arrived mention great discontents among the people. Simolin says he has received a very civil message from the Bishop d’Autun, and he tells me a thing which surprises me; viz., that the Bishop used to beat Madame de Staël. He says St. Foix, having heard it, asked the Bishop, who acknowledged it. He says that Talon and Semonville had obtained large sums from Louis XIV., under pretext of serving him, and had applied it to their own use. Simolin does not believe in the articles given out, which are, in brief, that the Emperor gets Dalmatia, Istria, etc., to the Piave, and from the upper part of the Piave along round by Peschiera to the Lago d’Iseo, so as to keep the communication open with Tyrol; also that the Emperor gets Bavaria in exchange for the Low Countries, including Liège, but exclusive of Flanders and Hainault, which are to be given to the Elector of Bavaria or Elector Palatine.”
“To-day [October 29th] we dine at a tavern with a large society of the first people of this place. A merchant here has just received a letter from Udine, which informs him that on the 17th the conferences were so warm that the negotiators were heard disputing by people out of doors. At length Cobenzel stated his ultimatum and the negotiators separated, war being concluded on, but after a little time Bonaparte wrote a note to Cobenzel telling him that on further consideration he had determined to accede, and accordingly the business was settled.”
“This morning (or, rather, noon) [November 2d] I go off to Offenbach to breakfast with the Prince de Reusse. The fête is given to the Duchess of Cumberland. There are here the Prince d’Yessemburg with his wife (sister to the Prince de Reusse), Prince and Princess de Wirt, a brother of the Landgrave de Hesse; a Baron Lupel, who reminds me that we dined together at Mr. Hope’s at Amsterdam; the Baron and Baroness Vrinz and M. Gazeyn, conseiller intime to the Prince de Wirt. There is nothing here beyond the chit-chat of good company. Go to the play. There is an actor here of the name of Schmidt, formerly Möller, who was the lover of the King of Prussia’s first wife, and father, as she said, of the Duchess of York. Whether this affects my imagination or not I cannot say, but I think he looks very like the Duchess of York. When I see the Duchess of Cumberland I mention to her the M. Möller, alias Schmidt, whom I saw last night. She tells me that the King of Prussia well knew that the Duchess of York was not his daughter, and had an intrigue with her; that the Duke of York knew it, and married her on that account, hoping to get with her the means of paying his debts, in which he was disappointed; that the Duchess is a diseased woman; that the Prince of Wales treats all these things as bagatelles, and used to laugh at what he called her prudery.”
“M. Henri arrives from Liège [November 7th], and says the inhabitants of Limbourg and Luxembourg are in the deepest distress at being abandoned by the Emperor. A great number are literally sick. This is an overcharged picture, though the groundwork may be exact. Call on the Duchess of Cumberland. In the course of a conversation resulting from her cross-grained observations, the Prince de Reusse mentions interrupted letters from the Directory to Bonaparte in which they state the improbability of reuniting their armies. Mr. Crauford∗ mentions to me as having learned it at the time from the Prussian minister that the siege of Mayence was delayed six weeks because the Austrian Cabinet would not specify their objects in the war and the Cabinet of Prussia was determined not to aggrandize Austria without receiving more than their rival should acquire. The British ministers were apprised of this, he says, very early, and if so they ought, I think, to have brought about the needful explanations, or retired in season from the coalition. Mr. Crauford tells me that he, in retiring from the Low Countries, travelled with Thugut in the same post-chaise, and was told by him that he had given it as his opinion the Low Countries should be retained as long as the revenue or a little more would suffice to defend them, but from the moment that they called for great expense and exertions they should be abandoned. This opinion was, I think, sound, but it was not, perhaps, very wise to declare it. Certain it was that the Low Countries were abandoned voluntarily by the Imperial armies; but this, I believe, was owing in some degree to ill-humor. The British Cabinet had insisted on the Dunkirk expedition, which was indisputably unwise, otherwise than by a diversion of a coup de main, which would, I am sure, have been successful. It failed because the movements towards it alarmed the French, who, by throwing in a re-enforcement, disconcerted the plan of the inhabitants and others for surrendering it. This expedition, by extending too much the line and weakening the impressive force of the Allies, frustrated entirely the grand object of the campaign. The retreat from the Low Countries was made also in the view to alarm Britain and Holland, and bring them forward to greater exertion.”
“The Duchess of Cumberland, when I call on her today [November 18th], is, as usual, mighty in the spirit of contradiction. I believe that, if Pitt should gravely found an argument of state policy on the position that two and two make four, rather than not controvert his conclusion she would deny his premises.”
“It seems to-day [November 19th] as if the French Government meant really to extend their territory to the Rhine. The Major Baron de Beaulieu calls, and says he is persuaded that a war will break out between the Emperor and Prussia. He begins to give me a history of the campaigns in Italy, beginning with the year 1795, when the Austrian General—, by not following up his successes against Scherer and possessing himself of Nice, the true point of defence against France, left the road open to invasion; the subsequent action, in which the Austrian army was beaten by the French, re-enforced with the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, because the Austrian general, unable to command, had not the good sense to invest his inferior with the authority and consequent responsibility. This last, M. Wallis, was not unwilling, according to the Major, to lose a battle which must ruin his chief and thereby pave the way to his own advancement. Scherer, however, did not improve his victory, and the Austrians were permitted to go into winter-quarters in the end of November. M. de Beaulieu, first sent to Italy as a kind of counsellor, and then in the spring appointed to the command of an army quite out of condition, but with orders to act immediately, advanced to the river of Genoa and took possession of the shortest line of defence now remaining, from which he drove the French, leaving the Piedmontese, under the command of General Colli, to defend the passes on his right. Attacked by Bonaparte and beaten, from causes which he has not time to go into, he retired, and the Piedmontese, after defending themselves bravely, and repelling the enemy, were ordered back, and the whole course of the Po left open. In this state of things, Beaulieu requested the King to throw garrisons into his fortresses, particularly Turin, so as to gain time, and promised to come to his assistance. The King, with profuse expressions of gratitude, requested him to advance, and while he was on his march concluded the treaty with Bonaparte. Beaulieu, informed of this by a spy in time to escape the snare, retired precipitately to Alessandria, but not in season to possess this place, whose gates were already shut against him, and he had the mortification to defile under the Piedmontese cannon. Here the Major is obliged to conclude, being pressed for time. The next morning, however, he comes, and proceeds with his history. General Beaulieu might by stratagem have made himself master of Alessandria, but in so doing he would only have justified the conduct of Sardinia and precipitated the alliance with France; but he must have diminished his small army by a garrison which could not be relieved, and Tortona, a post of equal consequence, would be neglected; or else he must garrison both, and then his whole remaining force would not have been sufficient to defend Mantua. He determined therefore, wisely, to retire across the Po. This was effected at Valenza, and he had still a bridge of boats at Rotto. Bonaparte took the road to Piacenza, where he had no bridge, but only a large ferry-boat. In this situation it was proposed to the General by the Major to cross at Rotto and attack Bonaparte, who, if beaten, must be totally destroyed. But the General, an old man having not the sufficient bodily vigor (and, I presume, deficient also in strength of mind), observed that a defeat would be nearly as fatal to him as to Bonaparte, that his troops were discouraged, and that he must, above all things, not lose sight of Mantua. I think the counsel was as wise as vigorous, and as Beaulieu could have brought a superiority of force against the part of the French army, besides the advantage of the attack, and that unexpected, I cannot but believe that the success would have been complete, and then the defensive would have been changed into offensive, with every probability of a glorious campaign. Beaulieu retired over the Ticino, and here fortune seems, in my opinion, to have presented him again a glorious opportunity. He might have suffered the French vanguard to cross the Po, and then have fallen upon them between that river and the Adda. Instead of that, a small force was detached towards Piacenza, and the timid, negligent officers ran away at the first appearance of the enemy, whom they might have cut to pieces, as not more than two hundred men at a time could cross the river. The General then determined to cross the Adda, and the Major, who was left with General Zebuttendorf, who commanded on the right, and had the care of the artillery and baggage, retired also over the Adda, having made forced marches for the purpose. The Major, who covers as much as possible the faults of his chief, attributing them either to the misconduct of his inferior officers or to false intelligence transmitted to him, leaves it, however, very evident that he had crossed the Adda without giving any due information or orders to the troops under Zebuttendorf, which formed, however, a large third of his army. These effected their tumultuary retreat through Lodi, and then a party was detached, at the instance of the Major, to reconnoitre and annoy the enemy in his advance to that place from Piacenza. This party ran away at the first appearance of the French, their commander setting them the example. The little time which remained was employed in putting the troops into some sort of order, to oppose the passage over the Bridge of Lodi, and in sending off the train of artillery and the baggage. A few pieces were kept to enfilade the bridge, and their fire kept back the enemy till the cartridges, being nearly spent, the Major ordered the fire to cease for a moment. This moment was seized, and the column of French rushed forward, and being once on the bridge, which was very long, and pressed forward continually by those behind, their passage became unavoidable, though the few discharges of artillery which could be made in the five or six minutes of their crossing made a terrible havoc. The Austrian force consisted chiefly of Croats, who ran off immediately, and two battalions of Austrians, who did their duty, were overpowered and nearly destroyed. The rout was now complete. General Beaulieu in consequence abandoned Pizzighettone and took post, after crossing the Oglio, at Rivalta, where he threw bridges over the Mincio to secure his retreat to Mantua, and began to take measures for throwing in provisions, etc. Bonaparte here committed a capital fault. Instead of pushing forward after Beaulieu, he turned off to his left, and went to enjoy at Milan the incense of his victories, gained, in effect, not by the skill of the general, nor even by the vigor of his troops, but by the feebleness and poltroonery of his opponents. As he had above fifty thousand men to oppose against less than five and twenty, and as his troops were in general far better than those of his adversary, there can be no doubt that he would, by well-concerted manœuvres, have reached at length the point proposed, of driving Beaulieu out of Italy. But this general might certainly have prolonged his stay, and made much more effectual opposition to such manœuvres; or, if Bonaparte had persisted in those adventurous steps which left everything to fortune, he might have been made to pay dear for his rashness and thrown far back from his object. In the mean time, Mantua might have been so well provided as to render the taking of it impossible. The Austrians would have had time to collect a force sufficient to relieve it and drive the French back into Piedmont, when, collecting the whole force of Italy against them, they would have been completely destroyed. But if these ideas be just, if Beaulieu was so much in fault, what shall be said of the Minister who appointed a feeble old man to so important a post? Prince de Reusse comes in, and they stay with me till dinner-time.”
“I call on Mr. Wickham, late Minister of England to the Swiss Cantons [November 22d]. He tells me the people of Switzerland, in consequence of the various revolutions in France, have returned to their former fondness for their own institutions, but the government is weaker than ever. He has reason to complain of this weakness. He thinks they mean, by attentions to Bonaparte, and money to him or some of the Directors, to purchase peace. He says the discontents in France are universal. He thinks the Austrian Cabinet have not acted fairly to Sardinia, nor, indeed, to England; says that the employment given to Pellin necessarily made him acquainted with the secrets of the Austrian Government, and enabled him, of course, to betray them. I mention to Mr. Wickham an idea which has struck me as to their negotiations with France; viz., that they might have offered to return all their conquests made as well upon Holland as upon France, provided France would, by surrendering Flanders to the Dutch, give them the means of becoming an independent power; that in this case it should be stipulated that neither France nor England would interfere in the affairs of Holland, but the people be left to choose a government for themselves, etc. He thinks this plan would have been very beneficial, and seems as if he wished to communicate it to the Cabinet.”
Having made his adieus at Frankfort, Morris left, on Friday the 24th, for Ratisbon, provided with letters to various persons of importance there; among them, the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis.
“My horses have suffered by the rain through which they were driven, so I determine to stay at Anspach a day, and rest my servants and horses,” says the diary on November 29th. “Dine at the table d’hôte, where I learn that the new King of Prussia∗ has put the Countess of Lichtenau in prison, and conferred on Bischofswerder the Order of the Black Eagle. This is curious enough. It is said that the Prince Henri is in a very low condition. A young man mentions to a Brabançon, who is here, as a general opinion, that the weakness which the Margrave of Anspach was reduced to was brought about by his surgeon, at the instigation of old Fritz. The Margrave is supposed to have wished, by way of revenge, that his Margravine should take other hands to her assistance, but, notwithstanding his direct wish, and the indirect attempts of others, her virtue and religion stood in the way of his wishes. Perhaps it was a disgust at the obstacles raised by a wife of virtue which threw him, after her death, into the arms of one devoid of it. As far as I can judge from light symptoms, the people of this country regret their subjection to Prussia.”
“Leave Anspach to-day [November 30th], and push on to Nuremberg, where, at the gate, stands a Prussian sentry, to show the extent of jurisdiction claimed by his Prussian Majesty. The question is yet to be decided whether this claim will be admitted. The view of the valley in which Nuremberg stands is very fine—encircled by distant hills of moderate height crowned with firs, and filled with villages which lie scattered about in abundance. The people of the Anspach territory seem everywhere displeased with the Prussian Government. At the table d’hôte of the Red Horse (which, by the way, has been the noted inn of this place for more than half a century) we have but an indifferent dinner; but last night I was well provided in my chamber, and not dear. During my walk I met a little procession for the conducting of an imperial commissary, who is come hither to settle the affairs of the town. It seems that the council, consisting of patricians, have not rendered any accounts for the last hundred years, during which time the debt of the city has gone on accumulating and threatens them now with bankruptcy. They expect some reform. The King of Prussia has offered to take the debt on his shoulders if they would submit to his dominion, but this they don’t like; and they are in hopes of being soon relieved from what they call his usurpation of their dominion.”
“We jog on to Ratisbon, which place we reach December 3d. Our road lies over a high hill, and then along the Danube under the hill to where we cross that river on an excellent bridge. The road is execrable. In looking from the tops of hills I see, every way, mountains piled up in abundance on the frontiers of Bohemia and Bavaria—a country little inhabited, and through which as yet there are no high-roads; perhaps there never will be. I think, as far as appearances go, the inhabitants of the Upper Palatinate are worse off than those of Bohemia. The hovels are poor, even at the door of Ratisbon, and the peasantry are ragged and filthy. This part of Germany is a long century behind Saxony. If the government would introduce some Saxons it would enhance the value of their possessions; but then the Lutheran religion must be tolerated, which does not suit the present ideas. I do not recollect to have noted in Bohemia what I remark again, viz., that on the hovels, covered with shingles without nails, stones are laid to keep them from blowing away. This, in a country full of iron, is a sad object, and proves the almost savage state of the inhabitants in a striking degree. They are in the first stage from savage life, or a state of nature, towards civilization. Driven to labor from fear and necessity, their exertions stop at the point to which they are driven by those motives. If freedom were given to these people they would, I think, sink back to the level of our American copper-colored brethren, unless, indeed, they were subdued by their more civilized neighbors, which would indeed certainly happen. A further degree of oppression, viz., heavier taxes, would draw forth more efforts of body and mind, and such taxes, spent among them in establishments of various manufactures, by holding forth new objects of desire, and consequently exciting the desires which they create, would probably introduce industry, upon permanent principles, provided a security of property were firmly established by law. Then on these two pillars, property and luxury, or, to call them by apposite but not gentle names, avarice and sensuality, firmly fixed, the arch of national wealth would be reared high by the hand of labor; it would be polished by science, decorated by the arts, and fitted for the footstool of freedom. To speak in plain language, this seems to be the natural course of human affairs.”
“This morning [December 4th] I deliver some of my letters; but everybody is at the Diet. In the evening M. le Chanoine Comte Sternberg calls, and takes me to the assemblée at Madame de Diede’s, lady of the Danish minister who has been handsome and has yet good remains. Her daughter is pretty well, and seems to have beaucoup d’esprit et d’instruction. I asked the Count Sternberg why the people here are so near to savages, and he tells me the fault is in the government, which has taken no measures to mend them. The country, he says, is not half peopled, and it requires vigor of mind to bring in subjects from Saxony and Suabia, and to protect them in the enjoyment of their religion against the prejudices of the people. He says that Bischofswerder is dismissed; even his regiment taken away. Madame de Lichtenau is arrested because she plundered the King’s cassette, and even possessed herself of his papers while he was in the last agony. Her husband—Rietz—fearful that he should be rendered accountable, went and denounced her, on which the King put the business into the hands of the Minister of Justice. A M. — is also arrested. He is said to have been concerned with her in sundry tripotages, and is also suspected of having, in the King’s life, betrayed to foreign courts many things which he became possessed of by undue means. He was an imperial chamberlain, but had behaved oddly in the Low Countries, and lately resigned his key and was noticed by the King of Prussia.”
“Go this evening [December 5th] to the assemblée of the Count de Hohenthäl. A report that the Genevans have come to blows, in order to determine whether they should pay honors or not to Bonaparte.”
“Dine to-day [December 7th] with the Princesse de la Tour et Taxis, en petite société. We hear that Napoleon has quitted the congress at Rastadt and gone off suddenly to Paris, in consequence of advices received from there. Three couriers in one day.”
“A Mr. Howe calls on me [December 8th]. He is a Scotch priest. Has been employed by Mr. Walpole in some sort of capacity—as secretary, I suppose—and is possessed of several facts respecting the conduct of Austria and Prussia during the war, which he communicates. Among other things, he says that Möllendorf, pressed by Lord Cornwallis, who was sent to review his army, acknowledged that he had but forty odd thousand instead of eighty-two thousand effectives. He says that Lord Cornwallis immedately stopped the subsidy, and thereupon Möllendorf, being in great distress, the house of Bethman, in Frankfort, undertook to supply him with the needful money, and twenty-one millions of livres passed through his hands. He mentions the Pitt diamond, sent to Berlin, under the pretext of borrowing money on it, as a present to the King. We have fine weather to-day. Spend the evening at the Princess’s, and stay till one o’clock. We have a petit souper, a little music, and pleasant society. The Prince, I am told, lives with the Scotch priests, and amuses himself shooting at a mark.”
“General Werneck∗ comes to see me this morning [December 9th], and sits a long time. He speaks of Beaulieu as a man who never had talents to command four thousand men; considers the conduct of the war on the part of the Austrian Cabinet as very bad; says they are very deficient in generals—few have the needful instruction. He says the French speak contemptuously of the Prussians; that the Austrians would gladly engage in a war against Prussia.
“I hear a report that Barras is to mount the throne of France by the aid of his friend Bonaparte. I take tea with the Princess, who gives us music, and, when the company are gone, I read her a scene out of Julius Cæsar.”
“General Werneck comes to see me to-day [December 12th]. He tells me that if the Duke of York had given him timely support they would, on the 24th of—, have been masters of Dunkirk. He had several grenadiers killed in the covered way. Flanders (that is, the Low Countries) was not abandoned, he says, by order of the Emperor, but lost through the incapacity of the officers he employed to command his armies. The Prince de Coburg, acknowledgedly unfit, had, for his grand faiseur, the Prince de Waldeck, the most irresolute creature on earth, of which he gives two instances: the first when he, Werneck, was posted to the westward of Tirlemont, and the army along by that in a good position, and it was not only agreed to hazard a battle, but the Prince declared publicly that whoever thought of abandoning it was a scoundrel; and yet, upon the first appearance of the enemy, moving towards his left, he fell back to Maestricht. In like manner he quitted Maestricht, to take post behind the river, in order to cover his magazine at Cologne and secure his retreat. In this situation Claerfayt took the command, with Beaulieu as his quartermaster—two mortal enemies; the latter stupid, the former undecided, from a want of military knowledge. It was here determined to take post, with the right at Reevemonde, and to fall back with the left to opposite Düsseldorf, with a vast plain in front. They had then ninety thousand men, the enemy about eighty-four; but the Austrians were far superior in cavalry. The consequence seems clear, especially as the species of cavalry was also far superior. But here again, after having communicated this plan to the Elector of Cologne, who had gone off to make his arrangements in consequence, the resolution was suddenly taken to retreat, and he, Werneck, received at five in the morning orders to march at midnight. Luckily he had, as on former occasions, foreseen, from his knowledge of those to whom he owed his obedience, that such orders would come, and had made his dispositions in consequence. Still, however, he was exposed in that plain of Juliers to the repeated charge of superior numbers of cavalry, and two columns of the French army, which were sent to cut him off, but from the superiority of his horse, got off with scarce any loss. A victory in that position would not only have saved Flanders, but proved, in all human probability, destructive to the French army. If these did not attack, then the Austrians effectually covered Holland, and rendered it impracticable for the French to cross the Rhine.”
“Learn to-day [December 15th] that the congress at Rastadt is in great confusion. The Emperor has declared that he can no longer carry on the war; so, if the Empire means to persist, he will send his contingent, saving the rights of his family, which saving, say the commentators, amounts to nearly as much as the contingent. The ecclesiastical Electors and Princes are, it is said, throwing themselves into the arms of Prussia. It seems understood that Bavaria, or at least an important part of it, the Bishoprics of Salzburg and Passau, are to go to Austria. I go to see the Princess, and assist her in the recitation of a song she is to act to-morrow evening, in celebration of Madame de Hohenthäl’s birthday. General Werneck is of the party, and we take a petit souper there, which is very pleasant.”
“This morning [December 16th] go with the General to attend the recitation of the Princess. He is to take to Madame de Hohenthäl a bouquet of flowers. The Princess performs her part well in the concert which succeeds the recitation. After supper there is dancing, so that I do not get to bed till one o’clock. In bringing General Werneck home, his vanity lets me into the secret of his intimacy with the Princess. She has confided to him that she has little to do with her husband, being disgusted with his filthiness. Luckily, as Marmontel says, she has a grande maîtresse who gives her but little opportunity to gratify her feeling for General Werneck.”
“I take General Werneck to dine [December 19th] at the Prince Bishop’s, where we have a large dinner, at which the Prince and Princesse de la Tour assist. During the dinner the Count Sternberg, who sits next me, takes occasion to say that he should not feel easy if he saw me next to his friend, Madame de Diede. Though this is a compliment, it smells of a foreign conclusion; so I reply by assuring him that he would be perfectly safe, as I am by no means disposed to begin now the trade of an homme à bonnes fortunes, which I never liked in my younger days. In the evening, at Madame Görtz’s, Madame de Diede comes in, and I perceive why the Count made this observation. I think also that my friend General Werneck would be as well content that I were away, but he is wrong.”
“Having only two of her confidential officers and grande maîtresse present to-night [December 22d], the Princesse de la Tour expresses in strong terms her resentment at the conduct of the Imperial Cabinet, which she attributes to M. de Thugut. There is certainly no small degree of perfidy in the declaration that the Emperor had stipulated with France for the integrity of the Empire, inviting afterwards the deputation to go and treat on that subject at Rastadt, and then all at once leaving the poor Empire in its present condition. At Madame de Seckendorf’s assembly, the Marquis de Vérac mentions to me the great hauteur of the French, which is, indeed, sufficiently evident, but the particular instance which he cites to prove it is whimsical enough. The deputies of the Directory at Rastadt, to whom Monseigneur de Cobenzel had paid a visit in grand gala, returned it on foot, and in complete déshabille. But M. de Vérac has grown gray in the Corps Diplomatique.
“M. Aujard told me he wished to see me and communicate many things respecting the Court of France with which I must be unacquainted, and which it may be useful to me to know. I told him that I am at home always in the mornings.”
“This morning [December 24th] M. Aujard calls on me. I hear his story, which is, in a great measure, his own history. M. de Maurepas had offered him the direction of the finances, which he had declined because M. de Maurepas was old, and he had no confidence in the abilities, while he saw also the corruption, of the Court. M. Necker was appointed, and in a great measure on his report, but he soon said that M. Necker was incapable, apprised M. de Maurepas of it, gave him the proofs, and M. Necker was dismissed. He was in a chamber adjoining the Queen’s cabinet when the Baron de Breteuil and the Polignacs labored with Her Majesty for two hours to prevail on her to recommend M. de Calonne. At length she promised to bring the King to an interview with them the next day, and then, after above two hours, they wrung from him his consent to that appointment—source, says M. Aujard, of all the evils which France groans under. This Minister squandered vast sums among the courtiers. M. de Breteuil broke with the Polignacs on his account, perceiving that he had been their dupe in that appointment. The Queen, apprised of his malversation, ordered Augard to collect the proofs and give them to the Bishop of Nancy, her confessor, who was member of the Notables. When Calonne was dismissed, and notoriously by the Queen’s agency, the Comte d’Artois, to whose profusions he had administered, became her mortal enemy. The Duke of Orleans was also her enemy, first, because of his exile, which was, in fact, says Augard, unjust, because he had properly represented to the King that the voies should, on a certain occasion, be publicly given. But the chief cause of enmity arose from having broken the marriage agreed on between the Comte d’Artois’s eldest son and the Duke’s daughter. M. de Lafayette says he was at the head of the republican faction, which considered the Queen also as their greatest enemy. He speaks of him as of a card-cut figure moved by the strings which others pull. He gave the Queen advice, shortly before the attack on the Château at Versailles, to quit it and go to Compiègne, because she was exposed to the rage of three different factions; namely, the Princes, the Orleanists, and the Republicans. She told him M. de Lafayette had told them they had nothing to fear, for he would place some cannon so as to command the bridge of Sèvres, and, by destroying a couple of the arches, prevent the populace of Paris from crossing the Seine. After the horrid scenes which passed at Versailles, and which terminated by bringing the royal family prisoners to Paris, Aujard advised the Queen to leave the kingdom, which she agreed to but afterwards declined, assigning as a reason that the voyage of the Duke of Orleans to London removed the principal danger by which she was threatened, and that it was her duty to stay with the King, and perish, if needful, at his feet. The Queen of Naples, he says, told him afterwards that the Queen was afraid she should be divorced, the King married to the Duke of Orleans’s daughter, and her children declared bastards. This seems to have been a strange fear.
“Aujard, having emigrated, saw the Elector of Cologne, who told him that, in his opinion, no sovereign had a right to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation, and dictate a form of government. The Emperor Leopold, whom he saw at Frankfort, repeated the same thing, and added, if she adopts a good government so much the better for her, and if not, her neighbors will profit by it. He declared he would not make war on France; that the King was, by his weakness, the cause of the mischiefs which had happened; that he had no notion of proclaiming revolutionary principles in his own dominions by a manifesto against France, but to prevent their extending themselves to him by a mild and parental administration; that he could not conceive nor pardon the conduct of the French Princes, who had taken into their confidence M. de Calonne, a person stigmatized by the tribunals of their country, and reprobated by their King and brother. Leopold refused to see them or him. Yet the Comte d’Artois went with Calonne to Vienna. He arrived at seven o’clock. The Emperor heard it at ten, and before twelve they had received his orders to depart immediately. He tells me the Emperor Francis assured him he cared nothing about the Low Countries; that the English had never supported him, and he would, by abandoning the Low Countries to France, punish them. He says Calonne intrigued with the Court of Berlin, who told him they would do nothing but in concert with England; that he afterwards suggested the plan, which was adopted, of sending an army of fifty thousand men against France, taking twenty thousand Austrians as auxiliaries, in all which M. Aujard gives me, I think, his dreams for realities. After he is gone the Marquis de Vérac comes; seems to think that a war will break out between Prussia, supported by Russia, and France. This might be if there were time for those powers to concert their measures, but they are caught so much on the sudden that I much doubt of their action.
At a little supper at her table ronde, to-night, the Princess begged me not to mention her sortie of last evening, and I truly assure her that the caution is unnecessary.”
“This morning [December 25th] M. Aujard comes again. Interrogating him about M. Necker’s appointment, I find I am mistaken. He says it was a M. de Pesey who got him up, and who received for it 300,000£ He says that, though he has been invited by the Emperor Francis to come to Vienna, he has not been able to obtain a passport from M. de Thugut, and mentions as a fact that M. de Thugut, who had received a pension of 30,000£ from France by the Queen’s bounty, had placed money in the French funds to the amount of 12,000£ annual income, and receives regularly the interest and pension in coin, all which I disbelieve; because that, if we admit his being corrupted by the Directory, they would certainly avoid such manifest grounds of suspicion, and if we doubt, as we should, the charge of corruption, there can be no reason for believing in a preference so uncommon of M. Thugut. M. Aujard’s conversation this day is a repetition of what he said yesterday, for the most part; he reads a part of his memoirs, in which are some circumstances of little moment. I had asked him to bring me the proof of Calonne’s dilapidations of which he spoke with such certitude, and of which he had made a collection for the Queen’s use and by Her Majesty’s order; observing to him that, as the present French Government were possessed of all the accounts of the late King’s reign, including the red book where His Majesty entered the sums for which he gave general warrants on the treasury, it followed that, the whole of the receipts into the public treasury being accounted for, no such dilapidations could have existed, and if M. de Calonne made largesses to the hungry courtiers, it must have been from his own funds. He promised me these proofs, but, instead of them, brings me the sketch of discourses from the King to the Assembly which he had prepared, and whose object was to propose an emission of three hundred millions of paper money, to be redeemed by an annual payment of fifteen millions for twenty years. Had these discourses been adopted, the King would have been brought forward on the stage of Europe to maintain a polemic controversy with M. Necker on the details of finance. The attitude would not be majestic, though M. Aujard’s remarks are not void of weight. He gives me a history of his interviews with the Emperor and Prince Charles, in which I think I can see the desire to get rid of him decently, but from which he deduces the Emperor’s determination to abandon the Low Countries because he had found out that the British Cabinet was resolved to sacrifice him to their views, and the Duke of York refused, in consequence, to second his operations. This, he says, was directly communicated to him. That such communication was made I cannot believe, though I am well-disposed to believe that the Emperor left the Low Countries to their fate partly with a view to draw forth more vigorous exertions from Britain and Holland, partly to avenge the revolt in the time of his uncle Joseph. Dine at the Court, take tea with Madame de Görtz. She tells me that France had offered to Prussia the cities of Hamburg, Lübeck, and Bremen; but the King, communicating this information to those cities, has assured them that he would not invade their liberties. She says she does not believe the French will march to Hanover. She thinks the King will not submit to it. I tell her that if they possess themselves of that electorate they will be in a position to render his efforts unavailing, and may perhaps dispose of it in his favor as they had done of the Venetian dominions, to compensate the Emperor for what he had lost. The forced marches of the Austrian army towards Bavaria prove to me that, in concert with his new ally, the Emperor is determined to awe Prussia into a compliance with the terms which have been agreed on at Udine.”
“M. Aujard calls this morning [December 26th], and brings me his history of Favras’s conspiracy. Being confined in the same prison, he found means to communicate with Favras and his wife, through the key-holes of their apartments, and to carry on a correspondence between them, as also to transmit to their friends the needful information from them. Among other things, Madame de Favras had hid behind a pier-glass some papers the evening her husband was taken, being alarmed at his staying abroad beyond his usual hour. Her sister was informed of this, and had the good fortune to burn them. Both Favras and his wife, separately, assured him that they had been offered 48,000£ to accuse Monsieur, the King’s brother. They both told him the plot had been betrayed by M. de Luxembourg; but I prove the contrary to him, for it had fallen in my way to know that the scheme was discovered early, and I had urged Luxembourg to keep himself clear of the intrigues he was engaged in, lest they might prove fatal to him. I recollect Madame Talon told me that her husband had been possessed of several pieces tending to convict Monsieur, and was urged by M. de Lafayette to institute a criminal procedure against him, but had, instead, thrown them in the fire, telling the General he would never be guilty of traducing before a criminal tribunal the brother of his sovereign. M. Aujard certainly was useful to Monsieur on this occasion, for Favras might have been induced to save himself by declaring what he knew. After leaving France he went to Coblentz, and there he was received by the royal brothers, and particularly the elder, with all the coldness of ingratitude. Madame gave him a long interview, and told him of the follies they were daily committing; that they were determined to ruin the Queen, which she prayed him to tell, or write rather, to His Majesty; that they had formed a council in which M. de Calonne was First Minister and Minister of the Finances, the Bishop d’Arras Chancellor, M. de Vaudreuil Minister of War; and they had resolved then, when their brother should be by them reestablished on the throne, no important measure of administration should be adopted without their consent. This wild, and—according to their own principles, if they had any—this treasonable conduct seems almost too extravagant for belief; but many reasons concur to render it probable. Aujard tells me several facts respecting their pecuniary transactions which would in England be called swindling. Among others, the Marshal de Broglio, having some property in Piedmont, his agents sent him a sum of money by the stage, which the servant of the stage was bringing to him; and M. de Calonne undertook to deliver it, but some days after mentioned the affair to his friend De Broglio, and, as the thing must be quite indifferent to him, paid the sum in assignats which were counterfeit of the princely manufacture.”
[∗]Translation: Events have been so rapid and so extraordinary that the calculations of the past no more apply to the present; as for the future, it is hidden behind impenetrable clouds. If I dared proffer advice, it would be to do nothing, absolutely nothing, keeping thus all chances in one’s favor. One can choose freely, when no engagements have been entered into. I take due notice of what you do me the honor of stating concerning the change of ministry in France. This change appears to me but one symptom in a disease which will go through many more crises. I draw no augury from it. In a general way, I think the despotism of a usurper is bound to become the precursor of the re-establishment of legitimate authority; I even think that it might be a necessary preliminary to such a re-establishment. That reasoning but not reasonable animal, man, is only taught by experience, and misfortune is his sole corrector. The whole circle must therefore have been gone over before the innovator can find out the inanity of his system. A thousand excuses for this twaddle, and believe in my sincere attachment.
[∗]Translation: Certainly your danger was extreme; now you enjoy light, and there is nothing more lovely than the sun when one returns from the borders of the tomb. In total ignorance of your fate, I dared not to write either to you nor to Madame la Baronne, but I kept up a stubborn hope that you would get out somehow. I imagine that peace will have been concluded before this letter reaches you. The Emperor will have received Venice in exchange for Mantua, and France will have thus, by its own doing, a formidable neighbor in the so-called Cis-Alpine Republic. I do not mention to you the latest Parisian revolution; they will need many more before they are united under the government of one man. It is their final hope; their only scapegoat. After such a long, feverish fit, it will be a quiet slumber. Until their dream is realized mine is to travel as far as Frankfort, for I am still kept in your accursed Europe by trivial circumstances, against which I would feel less aggrieved if I had any hope seeing you again.
[∗]The King of Prussia did not die until November, 1797.
[∗]Quentin Crauford, an English author who, after spending his youth in India, lived at Paris until his death, with the exception of the ten years preceding the Peace of Amiens. He was a friend of Marie Antoinette, on whom he wrote a Notice, and afterward of Josephine.
[∗]Frederick William III, succeeded his father Frederick William II, in November, 1797.
[∗]The Baron de Werneck, an Austrian general, who, entering the army at seventeen years of age and distinguishing himself in many ways, merited the cross of the Order of Maria Theresa at Belgrade. At the battle of Wetzlar, in June, 1796, he commanded the right wing of the army under the Archduke Charles, but was denounced by Kray, tried before a council of war and forced to resign. Later he was allowed to re-enter the army, but again his actions were questioned by his Court, and, for the second time, he was to be tried, when he suddenly died. He was born at Louisbourg, October 15, 1748, and died, January 16, 1806. His actions are diversely judged by historians.