The expenses of Bonaparte’s journey to Milan, and his coronation there (including also those of his attendants from France), amounted to no less a sum than fifteen millions of livres—of which one hundred and fifty thousand livres—was laid out in fireworks, double that sum in decorations of the Royal Palace and the cathedral, and three millions of livres—in presents to different generals, grand officers, deputations, etc. The poor also shared his bounty; medals to the value of fifty thousand livres—were thrown out among them on the day of the ceremony, besides an equal sum given by Madame Napoleon to the hospitals and orphan-houses. These last have a kind of hereditary or family claim on the purse of our Sovereign; their parents were the victims of the Emperor’s first step towards glory and grandeur.
Another three millions of livres was expended for the march of troops from France to form pleasure camps in Italy, and four millions more was requisite for the forming and support of these encampments during two months, and the Emperor distributed among the officers and men composing them two million livres’ worth of rings, watches, snuff-boxes, portraits set with diamonds, stars, and other trinkets, as evidences of His Majesty’s satisfaction with their behaviour, presence, and performances.
These troops were under the command of Bonaparte’s Field-marshal, Jourdan, a general often mentioned in the military annals of our revolutionary war. During the latter part of the American war, he served under General Rochambeau as a common soldier, and obtained in 1783, after the peace, his discharge. He then turned a pedlar, in which situation the Revolution found him. He had also married, for her fortune, a lame daughter of a tailor, who brought him a fortune of two thousand livres—from whom he has since been divorced, leaving her to shift for herself as she can, in a small milliner’s shop at Limoges, where her husband was born in 1763.
Jourdan was among the first members and pillars of the Jacobin Club organized in his native town, which procured him rapid promotion in the National Guards, of whom, in 1792, he was already a colonel. His known love of liberty and equality induced the Committee of Public Safety, in 1793, to appoint him to the chief command of the armies of Ardennes and of the North, instead of Lamarche and Houchard. On the 17th