Before the Revolution a secretary to the Prince of Conde, Grouvelle was trusted and rewarded by His Serene Highness, and in return betrayed his confidence, and repaid benefactions and generosity with calumny and persecution, when his patron was obliged to seek safety in emigration against the assassins of successful rebellion. When the national seals were put on the estates of the Prince, he appropriated to himself not only the whole of His Highness’s library, but a part of his plate. Even the wardrobe and the cellar were laid under contributions by this domestic marauder.
With natural genius and acquired experience, Grouvelle unites impudence and immorality; and those on whom he fixes for his prey are, therefore, easily duped, and irremediably undone. He has furnished disciples to all factions, and to all sects, assassins to the revolutionary tribunals, as well as victims for the revolutionary guillotine; sans-culottes to Robespierre, Septembrizers to Marat, republicans to the Directory, spies to Talleyrand, and slaves to Bonaparte, who, in 1800, nominated him a tribune, but in 1804 disgraced him, because he wished that the Duc d’ Enghien had rather been secretly poisoned in Baden than publicly condemned and privately executed in France.
Our present Minister at the Court of Copenhagen, D’ Aguesseau, has no virtues to boast of, but also no crimes to blush for. With inferior capacity, he is only considered by Talleyrand as an inferior intriguer, employed in a country ruled by an inferior policy, neither feared nor esteemed by our Government. His secretary, Desaugiers the elder, is our real and confidential firebrand in the North, commissioned to keep burning those materials of combustion which Grouvelle and others of our incendiaries have lighted and illuminated in Holstein, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
Paris, October, 1805.
My lord:—The insatiable avarice of all the members of the Bonaparte family has already and frequently been mentioned; some of our philosophers, however, pretend that ambition and vanity exclude from the mind of Napoleon Bonaparte the passion of covetousness; that he pillages only to get money to pay his military plunderers, and hoards treasures only to purchase slaves, or to recompense the associates and instruments of his authority.
Whether their assertions be just or not, I will not take upon myself to decide; but to judge from the great number of Imperial and royal palaces, from the great augmentation of the Imperial and royal domains; from the immense and valuable quantity of diamonds, jewels, pictures, statues, libraries, museums, etc., disinterestedness and self-denial are certainly not among Napoleon’s virtues.