An anecdote is related of Pichegru, which does honour to the memory of that unfortunate general. Fouche paid him a visit in prison the day before his death, and offered him “Bonaparte’s commission as a Field-marshal, and a diploma as a grand officer of the Legion of Honour, provided he would turn informer against Moreau, of whose treachery against himself in 1797 he was reminded. On the other hand, he was informed that, in consequence of his former denials, if he persisted in his refractory conduct, he should never more appear before any judge, but that the affairs of State and the safety of the country required that he should be privately despatched in his gaol.”
“So,” answered this virtuous and indignant warrior, “you will spare my life only upon condition that I prove myself unworthy to live. As this is the case, my choice is made without hesitation; I am prepared to become your victim, but I will never be numbered among your accomplices. Call in your executioners; I am ready to die as I have lived, a man of honour, and an irreproachable citizen.”
Within twenty-four hours after this answer, Pichegru was no more.
That the Duc d’Enghien was shot on the night of the 21st of March, 1804, in the wood or in the ditch of the castle at Vincennes, is admitted even by Government; but who really were his assassins is still unknown. Some assert that he was shot by the grenadiers of Bonaparte’s Italian guard; others say, by a detachment of the Gendarmes d’Elite; and others again, that the men of both these corps refused to fire, and that General Murat, hearing the troops murmur, and fearing their mutiny, was himself the executioner of this young and innocent Prince of the House of Bourbon, by riding up to him and blowing out his brains with a pistol. Certain it is that Murat was the first, and Louis Bonaparte the second in command, on this dreadful occasion.
Paris, August, 1805.
My lord:—Thanks to Talleyrand’s political emigration, our Government has never been in ignorance of the characters and foibles of the leading members among the emigrants in England. Otto, however, finished their picture, but added, some new groups to those delineated by his predecessor. It was according to his plan that the expedition of Mehee de la Touche was undertaken, and it was in following his instructions that the campaign of this traitor succeeded so well in Great Britain.