“I have suppressed your address, as it was incendiary. Eleven-twelfths of the Corps Legislatif are composed of good citizens whom I know and for whom I have much regard; the other twelfth is composed of seditious persons who are devoted to England. Your Commission and its chairman, M. Laine, are of this number. He corresponds with the Prince Regent, through the lawyer Deseze. I know it, and have proof of it. The other four are of the same faction. If there are abuses to be remedied, is this a time for remonstrances, when two hundred thousand Cossacks are crossing our frontiers? Is this the moment to dispute as to individual liberty and safety, when the question is the preservation of political liberty and national independence? The enemy must be resisted; you must follow the example of the Alsatians, Vosges, and inhabitants of Franche-Comte, who wish to march against them, and have applied to me—for arms. You endeavor in your address to separate the sovereign from the nation. It is I who here represent the people, who have given me four million of their suffrages. If I believed you I should cede to the enemy more than he demands. You shall have peace in three months or I shall perish. Your address was an insult to me and to the Corps Legislatif.”
Although the journals were forbidden to repeat the details of this scene, the rumors of it spread through Paris with the rapidity of lightning. The Emperor’s words were repeated and commented on; the dismissed deputies sounded them through all the departments. I remember seeing the prime arch-chancellor next day come to the Emperor and request an audience; it was in favor of M. Deseze, whose protector he then was. In spite of the threatening words of his Majesty, he found him not disposed to take severe measures; for his anger had already exhausted itself, as was always the case with the Emperor when he had abandoned himself to his first emotions of fury. However, the fatal misunderstanding between the Corps Legislatif and the Emperor, caused by the report of the committee of that body, produced the most grievous effects; and it is easy to conceive how much the enemy must have rejoiced over this, as they never failed to be promptly informed by the numerous agents whom they employed in France. It was under these sad circumstances that the year 1813 closed. We will see in future what were the consequences of it, and in fact the history, until now unwritten, of the Emperor’s inner life at Fontainebleau; that is to say, of the most painful period of my life.