Paris, September, 1805.
My lord:—I am told that it was the want of pecuniary resources that made Bonaparte so ill-tempered on his last levee day. He would not have come here at all, but preceded his army to Strasburg, had his Minister of Finances, Gaudin, and his Minister of the Public Treasury, Marbois, been able to procure forty-four millions of livres—to pay a part of the arrears of the troops; and for the speedy conveyance of ammunition and artillery towards the Rhine.
Immediately after his arrival here, Bonaparte sent for the directors of the Bank of France, informing them that within twenty-four hours they must advance him thirty-six millions of livres—upon the revenue of the last quarter of 1808. The president of the bank, Senator Garrat, demanded two hours to lay before the Emperor the situation of the bank, that His Majesty might judge what sum it was possible to spare without ruining the credit of an establishment hitherto so useful to the commerce of the Empire. To this Bonaparte replied that he was not ignorant of the resources, or of the credit of the bank, any more than of its public utility; but that the affairs of State suffered from every hour’s delay, and that, therefore, he insisted upon having the sum demanded even within two hours, partly in paper and partly in cash; and were they to show any more opposition, he would order the bank and all its effects to be seized that moment. The directors bowed and returned to the bank; whither they were followed by four waggons escorted by hussars, and belonging to the financial department of the army of England. In these were placed eight millions of livres in cash; and twenty-eight millions in bank-notes were delivered to M. Lefevre, the Secretary-General of Marbois, who presented, in exchange, Bonaparte’s bond and security for the amount, bearing an interest of five per cent. yearly.