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A SWEDISH VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD. TRANSLATED BY MRS. BUSHBY
51, 216, 313, 428
V.-THE“ PAT ALLUSION".
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE, .
MARMONT, DUC DE RAGUSE.* The first portion of this long-expected work has made its appearance, , and justifies the anticipations formed of its value. The reminiscences of a man who has spent his youth on the battle-field, his middle the labyrinth of diplomacy, and profitably employs the last years of a long and well-spent life in meditating over all the chances and changes which he has experienced in his chequered career, are invaluable to the historian. An added charm in these volumes is the tinge of senility and propensity to garrulousness which testify to their innate veracity. If fault must be found, we may mention that there is more than a soupçon of Napoleonism, which, however, cannot be avoided in the present day by any author desiring success for his work. With these slight prefatory remarks we will no longer attempt to stay our readers' curiosity, but proceed at once to the subject.
VIESSE DE MARMONT was born at Châtillon-sur-Seine on the 20th of July, 1774. His family, which was originally from the Low Countries, had been settled for more than three centuries in Burgundy, and had always been distinguished in military annals. His father retired from the army at an early age, and devoted his life to the education of his son, whom he intended for the law; but the hot blood of the youth recoiled from any other employment than that which his ancestors had chosen, and at last he gained his father's permission to enter the army. The only regret our author has to make about his education, was that his father omitted to have him instructed in modern languages-a loss which he deeply lamented his life through. At the age of fifteen, Marmont received his commission as sub-lieutenant in a militia regiment, his duties being confined to wearing the uniform. But his father would not allow the young
officer to kick his heels about in idleness, or seek refuge in the ordinary resources of a garrison town. He sent him off very quickly to Dijon to finish his education, and get ready for the artillery examination, which he passed at the beginning of 1792. During his stay at Dijon he formed his first acquaintance with Bonaparte, who was quartered at Auxonne, and to this accidental circumstance may be ascribed Marmont's eventual success. He also formed an intimate acquaintance with Foy and Duroc.
With the first outbreak of the revolutionary storm, Marmont was transferred to Châlons, where he was for a time in some danger of the
* Mémoires du Duc de Raguse, de 1792 à 1832, imprimés sur le Manuscrit Original de l'Auteur. Vols. I. and II. Paris : Perrotin.
Jan.-VOL. CIX. NO. ccccXXXIII.
lantern. The remaining pupils went home, but Marmont, who tasted here the sweet intoxication of love for the first time, could not be induced to leave until his father came to fetch him away, and persuade him to join his regiment then quartered at Metz. But all thoughts of love were soon dissipated by the exciting drama of war. Marmont joined the army before Toulon, and was present through the whole siege, displaying a great degree of energy under the eye of Napoleon, which eventually met with its reward. He was allowed to follow Bonaparte to the army of Italy, although his regiment was stationed in the Pyrenees; but the success of Bonaparte had aroused the jealousy of the representatives, and the fear entertained about the Corsicans led to his sudden removal from the army
of Italy, and his appointment to the command of the artillery of the army
of the West. Marmont ran the risk of desertion sooner than leave his friend, and together they decided on going to Paris and protesting. On the road they remained four days at Châtillon, and this delay was fatal. Napoleon's name was erased from the artillery. In this position of affairs, Napoleon came across Bourrienne, who persuaded him to enter into speculations in which he soon lost the few assignats he had left. Marmont, feeling a disinclination for commerce, decided on rejoining the army, and was appointed to the artillery before Mayence. Napoleon approved of this step, and uttered the prophetic words on parting : “ You are right to join the army: you have experience to gain, promotion to deserve, and your military fortune to make. I am momentarily arrested in my career, but I trust the obstacles will not endure long. More favourable circumstances must intervene before I reappear on the scene in a proper manner. We shall meet again hereafter: so, increase your knowledge, and it will be of advantage to the future career of both.” The success of the operations was not very brilliant, and the army was in a most deplorable state :
The assignats being no longer current, each officer, from the sub-lieutenant to the general officer, was allowed eight francs a month in money, or just five sous a day. Youth has great energy and power to endure misery and suffering, and I cannot call to mind that this state of things cost me half an hour's regret; but as I had lost the whole of my kit, and had not a farthing, I was obliged to ask for some clothes out of store, and, with an order which I was obliged to get Pichegru, the general-in-chief, to countersign, I received two soldier's shirts and a pair of boots. It was the only time I ever spoke to this general, whose life has been branded by so many infamous actions.
At this period Napoleon was offered an appointment to proceed to Turkey to instruct the troops and reform the artillery. He accepted the offer gladly, and Marmont was among those whom he proposed to accompany him. Fortunately for him he had not a farthing to start with, and the public treasury was suffering equally from impecuniosity. While waiting for an improvement in financial matters, time slipped away, and the 13th Vendémiaire arrived on which Napoleon could display himself in his new colours. On being appointed general-in-chief of the army of the interior, he remembered Marmont, and appointed him his aide-decamp, so he was obliged to return to Paris. The account he gives of society at that epoch fully bears out what has been already made known :
A circumstance which history will consecrate, and in which we find the image
of the manners of the day, is the ball known by the name of le Bal des Victimes. No one was in a position to give parties or balls, still it was necessary that amusements should be recalled, and so they hit on the strange notion of getting up subscription balls, at which only those persons could be present who had lost. relations on the scaffold, so that in order to make merry and enjoy the privilege of dancing, they had to produce the death certificate of father, mother, sister, or brother. We cannot understand now how the mind and heart ald have fallen into such a state of aberration, and I do not know whether this spectacle, regarded from a moral point of view, is not more fearful than the measures themselves : the latter were terrible, the result of unbridled passions, of the intoxication and fury of the populace; but in the other case they are persons belonging to the upper classes, people of gentle manners, who sport with the reminiscences of crime.
The winter passed pleasantly enough at Paris, what with soirées at the Luxembourg and dinners at Madame Tallien's Chaumière, the name she had given to a thatched house she lived in at the corner of the Allée des Veuves. Still they were anxious for war again, and were soon satisfied. General Scherer was continually sending dismal accounts of the state of the army in Italy, and Bonaparte was employed by the Directory to refute his arguments. At length Scherer declared that the person
who found fault had better come and carry on the campaign. Bonaparte took him at his word, and, after marrying Josephine, with whom he had fallen madly in love, although our author cannot give the reason why, for she was passée, and five years the elder, Bonaparte started for Italy. Among those who accompanied him was Murat :
There was an officer of the 21st regiment of Chasseurs, stationed at Vincennes, to whom Junot and myself were much attached. It was Murat. Promoted provisionally to the rank of chef de brigade in the affair of Vendémiaire, his appointment had not been confirmed; and though wearing the distinctive mark of his step, he only performed the duties of major in his regiment. Junot had also been appointed major in the same way; so both wore distinctions to which they had no right. Murat heard of Bonaparte's departure for Italy, and expressed a desire to join us. I do not know whether men were better in those days than now, but this desire did not offend us, and we paved the way
for him with our general. Murat presented himself to Bonaparte with that confidence peculiar to the Gascon alone, and said to him, “Mon général, you have aide-de-camp colonel. You require one, and I offer myself to accompany, you in that rank.” Murat's appearance pleased Bonaparte: we spoke well of him, and he accepted his offer.
At the time of Bonaparte joining the army of Italy it was composed of four divisions, commanded by Generals Masséna, Augereau, Serrurier, and La Harpe, all of whom our author contrives to damn with faint praise, that he may add to the glorification of his own bright particular star. We must confess that this is the first time we have ever found anybody speak out so plainly on the subject of the French marshals. Our impression has hitherto been that the reason why Napoleon was so successful in his campaigns was, that he infused his generals with that degree of confidence he felt himself, and had a species of prescience when he came across any man likely to be of use to him. To believe the Duc de Raguse, the great difficulty Napoleon had to contend with was repairing the faults committed by his subordinates ; we only trust Marmont was never guilty of any mistake himself. To justify these remarks, we cannot do better than quote Marmont's account of Masséna: