Upon a complaint made by His Eminence to Bonaparte, the Police Minister, Fouche, received orders to have those who had dared thus to violate the sacred character of the representative of the Holy Pontiff immediately, and without further ceremony, transported to Cayenne. The Cardinal demanded, and obtained, a process verbal of what had occurred, and of the sentence on the culprits, to be laid before his Sovereign. As Eugene de Beauharnais interested himself so much for the individuals involved in this affair as both to implore Bonaparte’s pardon and the Cardinal’s interference for them, many were inclined to believe that he was in the secret, if not the contriver of this unfortunate joke. This supposition gained credit when, after all his endeavours to save them proved vain, he sent them seventy-two livres L 3,000—to Rochefort, that they might, on their arrival at Cayenne, be able to buy a plantation. He procured them also letters to the Governor, Victor Hughes, recommending that they should be treated differently from other transported persons.
Paris, August, 1805.
My lord:—I was particularly attentive in observing the countenances and demeanour of the company at the last levee which Madame Napoleon Bonaparte held, previous to her departure with her husband to meet the Pope at Fontainebleau. I had heard from good authority that “to those whose propensities were known, Duroc’s information that the Empress was visible was accompanied with a kind of admonitory or courtly hint, that the strictest decency in dress and manners, and a conversation chaste, and rather of an unusually modest turn, would be highly agreeable to their Sovereigns, in consideration of the solemn occasion of a Sovereign Pontiff’s arrival in France,—an occurrence that had not happened for centuries, and probably would not happen for centuries to come.” I went early, and was well rewarded for my punctuality.
There came the Senator Fouche, handing his amiable and chaste spouse, walking with as much gravity as formerly, when a friar, he marched in a procession. Then presented themselves the Senators Sieyes and Roederer, with an air as composed as if the former had still been an Abbe and the confessor of the latter. Next came Madame Murat, whom three hours before I had seen in the Bois de Boulogne in all the disgusting display of fashionable nakedness, now clothed and covered to her chin. She was followed by the pious Madame Le Clerc, now Princesse Borghese, who was sighing deeply and loudly. After her came limping the godly Talleyrand, dragging his pure moiety by his side, both with downcast and edifying looks. The Christian patriots, Gravina and Lima, Dreyer and Beust, Dalberg and Cetto, Malsburgh and Pappenheim, with the Catholic Schimmelpenninck and Mohammed Said Halel Effendi,—all presented themselves as penitent sinners imploring absolutions, after undergoing mortifications.