Memoirs of the Court of St. Cloud (Being secret letters from a gentleman at Paris to a nobleman in London) — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 453 pages of information about Memoirs of the Court of St. Cloud (Being secret letters from a gentleman at Paris to a nobleman in London) — Complete.
and servility.  When an aide-de-camp with Bonaparte in Egypt, he served him as a spy on his comrades and on the officers of the staff, and was so much detested that, near Aboukir, several shots were fired at him in his tent by his own countrymen.  He is supposed still to continue the same espionage; and as a colonel of the Gendarmes d’Elite, he is charged with the secret execution of all proscribed persons or State prisoners, who have been secretly condemned,—­a commission that a despot gives to a man he trusts, but dares not offer to a man he esteems.  He is so well known that the instant he enters a society silence follows, and he has the whole conversation to himself.  This he is stupid enough to take for a compliment, or for a mark of respect, or an acknowledgment of his superior parts and intelligence, when, in fact, it is a direct reproach with which prudence arms itself against suspected or known dishonesty.  Besides his wife, he has to support six other women whom he has seduced and ruined; and, notwithstanding the numerous opportunities his master has procured him of pillaging and enriching himself, he is still much in debt; but woe to his creditors were they indiscreet enough to ask for their payments!  The Secret Tribunal would soon seize them and transport them, or deliver them over to the hands of their debtor, to be shot as traitors or conspirators.

LETTER II.

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.

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Memoirs of the Court of St. Cloud (Being secret letters from a gentleman at Paris to a nobleman in London) — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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