« ZurückWeiter »
aides du camp of the Emperor, and of the Prince de Neufchatel, to Generals Mathieu Dumas, and Mouthion, and to General Sebastian, who may recollect that when he was wounded at Austerlitz, I went myself to see him from the Emperor, to enquire after the severe wound he had received.
Marshal Oudinot, who is at present employed about the King, will recollect that I carried him two or three private messages from the Emperor on the field of Austerlitz during the battle. I could bring forward thirty thousand witnesses did I stand in need of them, from the army, who could attest that I was with them at the very time when the Advocate D'Hénout wishes to make it appear that I was taking upon myself the office of an assassin at Paris.
I recollect perfectly that when I returned to Paris I tra velled in the same carriage with Messrs. De Thiard, and De Courtammer, who belonged to the Emperor's household; and who, as well as myself, assisted at Munich at the marriage ceremonies of Prince Eugene.
D'Hénout pretends that I searched the Temple without the concurrence of Fouché. He may have meant to compliment him by this, but he is not less incorrect in this point than on others, which I shall proceed to demonstrate.
If any other person than the Minister of the Police had had power to open the doors of the Temple, it would of necessity have given rise to continual intrigues. The Mi nister in order to gain his own ends would have connived at the escape of any criminal whom he chose to favour, and have thrown the blame of the transaction on his colleague in the office of superintending the prison; who might in like manner favour an escape whenever it suited his purpose, and return the compliment to the Minister.
No person whatsoever had the power of opening the gates of the Temple, without an express order from, the
Minister of the Police, and I defy M. Fouché to give me à single: instance to the contrary. Any other regulation would have compromised the responsibility of the Minister every day.
: When I was myself invested with this office, I found this kind of severity so rigorously established that I was obliged whenever circumstances required it, to give express leave to those employed by different ministers, to execute the commissions with which they were charged from the Minister of War, Secretary of State, &c. &c.
I perfectly recollect all the circumstances under which I have ever been obliged to go to the Temple; as they were not more than three or four in all, and those cases of absolute necessity, I shall mention them, because, in showing what means I was obliged to make use of to gain admittance, it will be easily concluded that if the gates of this mansion would open before me, unknown to M. Fouché, I should not have found them closed when I went to them on errands of consolation.
During the trial of George Cadoudal, which was conducted publicly in the Temple itself, such crowds were attracted by curiosity, that it was deemed necessary to encrease the strength of the guard beyond what the soldiers of that department could supply; and it was on this occasion that the corps d'élite received orders to send a guard of thirty men to the Temple, commanded by an officer, This guard was relieved every day, was stationed in the first court, and not suffered to leave it.
It was not till night when the turnkey had locked up every prisoner, that this guard of thirty men furnished centinels for the interior of the prison, so that no person could obtain admittance to any one confined within the walls, without the turnkey's assistance."
The first time of my going there was to see this very
Captain Wright; he had just been brought in there, and had claimed me as an acquaintance, having known me on board the Tiger where he was lieutenant under the command of Sir Sydney Smith; I was at that time aide du camp to General Desaix, who negociated with that officer the treaty for the return of the army of Egypt.
As I was not permitted to enter the prison of the Temple, I prevailed on the keeper to let Wright come to the grate, where I saw him, and conversed with him where I was, being desirous to hear what he had to say to me. A few days after, the Minister of the Marine, who was inflamed with curiosity to see George, of whom the most remarkable stories were related, came to me and begged me to take him to the Temple. He disguised himself and I accompanied him; my pretext to gain admittance was to inspect the guard, which belonged to the regiment of which I was colonel: we chose the moment when they were taking dinner to the prisoners, so that the door of the pri son where George was confined was just opened, (it was on the ground floor, and facing the guard that furnished the sentries for the interior.) The Minister of the Marine entered, for the keeper of the prison recognized him; I did not go in, but remained near the guard with whom I pretended to have something to say.
The whole of this business occupied less than ten minutes, and every body in France knows the difference there must be between the inspection of a guard and that of a prison.
Since this period I have been three times to the Temple. The first was when General Moreau was brought there. After the judgment pronounced against George and his companions, he had, as is well known, been found implicated in the same affair, and was condemned to two years' imprisonment; he had just written to the Emperor to re
quest his permission to retire to America: I was on duty that day at St. Cloud. The Emperor, no doubt, not chusing to reply to him, wrote to the Grand Judge to grant him it, and directed me to go to General Moreau with the information, and to arrange matters with him for his setting off that very night for Spain, whence he would be able to embark.
The Grand Judge, Regnier, since Duke of Massa, united at that time the two functions of Minister of Justice and Minister of Police; and from him I received permission to go to the Temple and see General Moreau alone. It was night when I went to acquaint him that the Emperor had received his letter, and had sent me to tell him, that, concerning the desire he had expressed to go to America, he had given me orders to consult with him respecting his departure and his journey to the Spanish frontiers, whither he should be conducted, and that this matter would be put in execution as soon as the General should have concluded certain arrangements with the Grand Judge, of which he would be informed in the letter that I brought from the minister.
General Moreau after having read it, expressed his satisfaction, and signed the paper enclosed in it, which was sent back immediately to the Grand Judge, and I then entered into conversation with him respecting his departure. He had no travelling carriage ready: I gave him my own: he wished to take leave of Madame Moreau, but had no means of acquainting her with his departure. I offered to go. in search of her; he was grateful for it, and gave me a note to her, in which he begged her to place confidence in whatever I might tell her. I ran with it to her house, and brought her back with me to the Temple.
The doors of this mansion opened with so much reluctance, that, notwithstanding scarcely an hour had elapsed
since I passed through them, I was obliged to leave Madame Moreau at the grate, and hasten myself to the Grand Judge to request his permission for Madame Moreau to have an interview with her husband, not having expected there would be any difficulty in the matter.
. I then remained with General Moreau, and did not urge his departure until I saw the day began to approach, when I ordered my own horses to conduct him to the first gate.
This distressing interview forms too considerable an event in the life of Madame Moreau, to admit of her for getting it. She is now at Paris, and can speak decidedly as to the truth of what I advance. It was about this time that M. Fouché assumed the administration of the police, which was now again separated from that of justice.
The Marquis de Rivière, the same who is at present ambassador at Constantinople, was in the Temple; he had petitioned the Empress Josephine, and she had obtained his pardon, (he had been condemned to death at the same time with George.) The Empress, desirous to add a new mark of her favour, commissioned me to deliver him a verbal message, and as I did not chuse for M. Fouché to partici pate in my commission, I had once more recourse to the keeper, who conducted the Marquis from the prison to his own apartment, which was in the first court, the only place where admittance was practicable.
On the next, or the following day, I was obliged to prac. tise the same means to see General La Tolais, whom I had known in the army, and to whom I was desirous to offer my services; he had likewise been condemned by the same tribunal, and the Empress Josephine had likewise obtained his pardon. These were about the only times I ever visited the Temple, I was always dressed in coloured cloaths, and it will appear reasonable to suppose, that if admittance had been as easy to me as my enemies pretend, I should not