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afraid to put a Bourbon to death. No, Réal was not sent to Vincennes to act as a brake on the proceedings, but for the very oppoHe was to show the judge-advocate his business and help him over any questions or difficulties that might arise unexpectedly; and he was to convince the other judges, by his greater knowledge of the affair and his experience in politics, that they must speedily find the accused guilty for the sake of the safety of the That this was Bonaparte's intention in sending Réal is further confirmed by the closing words of his letter: "You are to guide the public prosecutor and instruct him of the necessity of expediting the proceedings." Réal's mission was not for the sake of clemency.
Did Bonaparte recognize afterwards that he had made a fasse step, and committed an unnecessary wrong? Undoubtedly, yes. When the fact of the Duc's innocence became more clearly established from the examination of his papers, from the other good reports of him that came from Baden after the execution, from the knowledge that Dumouriez had not left England, and from the circumstance that there were no hundreds of émigrés on the right bank of the Rhine, it would be doing injustice to Bonaparte's mental qualities to say that he still thought his own safety or that of the state had demanded such a victim. He must, moreover, have seen that it had hurt him in the estimation of the French people; for the moral sense of the nineteenth century was different from that of the eighteenth, and the same men who a few years before had looked with consenting approval on the events of the Reign of Terror were now alarmed at the possibility of its renewal. in Bonaparte they had found a ruler who peace and justice to France, and they feared that they were to be disappointed in this hope. Many of those nearest the First Consul had opposed his course from the outset, and did not hesitate to express their disapproval of the deed. The only remedy was arbitrary prohibition of all discussion and to this Bonaparte had recourse. It
They had hoped that would secure internal
Century, January, 1897, p. 142. The statement quoted above from Cockburn's diary is exactly confirmed by the diary of John R. Glover, Secretary to Rear-Admiral Cockburn, published in Napoleon's Last Voyages (London, 1895), p. 184.
"Il sera nécessaire que vous conduisiez l'accusateur public, qui doit être le major de la gendarmerie d'élite, et que vous l'instruisiez de la suite rapide à donner à la procédure." Corr. de Nap., 7639.
2 See Bonaparte to Melzi, March 6, 1804, Corr. de Nap., 7591.
3 For the gloom and disapproval which the Duc's death caused in France see Chateaubriand, Mém. d'Outre-tombe, II. 431-434, Bourrienne, II. 268, 272–279, and Doris, pp. 116-118. It is in striking contrast with the exuberant joy of the people of Paris two weeks before when Georges Cadoudal was captured and prevented from injuring the First Consul.
was clear that he was disappointed in the way in which France received the news; he had intended to produce a result diametrically. opposite to fix the blame of the Duc's death on England and the Bourbons;1 instead the people of France laid the blame on him.
Outside of France the effect of the Duc's death was still worse. The news sent a shudder through all Europe; the ruler of France, soon to make himself Emperor, was looked upon as little less than a murderer, with whom the other sovereigns could have nothing in common. For the moment, to be sure, the rest of Europe was unable to take any steps to retaliate seriously upon the First Consul. The Czar of Russia showed his strong disapproval by putting his court into mourning and sending a note to the German Diet urging that the same action be taken on account of the recent violation of the territory of Baden. But he had to content himself for the present with breaking off diplomatic relations with France; he could find no one on the continent to join with him in declaring war. Prussia remained neutral and her king silent. Austria withdrew her troops from Suabia in accordance with Talleyrand's demand, and sent a courier to Paris to say that "she could understand certain political necessities." Dynastic politics had therefore, for the moment, rendered the public expression of opinion impossible. But in the autumn Russia and Austria began to draw together against the common enemy. The European cabinets never forgot the reckless neglect of the rights secured by international law, which Bonaparte showed in the case of the Duc d'Enghien; a man who had acted thus would do worse; there could be no peace nor safety for Europe while he ruled in France; he must be continually fought against till expelled. At this disapproval on the part of France and increased hatred from the rest of Europe, Bonaparte was mortified and angry; he saw that he had made a mistake, he had put to death a man who was not guilty, and it had done him harm instead of good; he was expressing his true thoughts when he dictated to Méneval the statement that the death of the Duc d'Enghien "hurt Napoleon in public opinion and politically was of no use to him." 3 It was this same feeling of angry mortification at what he had done that led him to reproach Talleyrand so bitterly in 1809, and later
1 Bonaparte expressly asserted that "the death of the Duc d'Enghien must be attributed to the Comte d'Artois, who directed and commanded from London the assassination of Napoleon." Méneval, I. 270.
2 Gustavus Adolphus was only expressing the universal feeling when he sent back to the King of Prussia the Order of the Black Eagle, saying "he could not consent to be the brother-in-arms of the assassin of the Duc d'Enghien." Chateaubriand, Mém. d'Outre-tombe, II. 438 seq.
3 Méneval, I. 267.
at St. Helena to try to lay the blame of the Duc's death on him and his other overzealous advisers.1
But at other times his pride and self-possession mastered his real feelings; he would not admit that he had done a wrong which was of no use; he must not let the people of France know that Napoleon Bonaparte had made a false step; so he boldly and frequently declared in public that the Duc was guilty of sharing in the conspiracy against his life; that he had him put to death for his own safety and that of the state. The law of nature, he said to Las Cases, justified him in taking measures for self-defense: "I was assailed on all sides by enemies whom the Bourbons had raised up against me. Threatened with air-guns, infernal machines, and treacherous plots of all kinds, I seized the occasion to strike terror even as far as London."2 And, finally, on his death-bed at St. Helena, when a maladroit attendant read from an English review a scathing account of the Duc's murder, the dying man's pride and obstinate persistency in trying to make the deed seem less odious by declaring that it was a measure necessary to the safety of the state, gave him strength to rise from his bed, catch up his will, and insert, in a narrow space between the lines, a defiant justification which should stand forever before the world as his last word on the subject: "I had the Duc d'Enghien arrested and tried, because it was necessary to do so for the safety, the interests, and the honor of the French people, at a time when the Comte d'Artois openly admitted that he had sixty paid assassins in Paris. In like circumstances, I should do so again."'3
In spite of these declarations, dictated by a feeling of pride and unwillingness to admit a mistake, there can be no doubt that the execution of the Duc d'Enghien was one of Bonaparte's greatest political mistakes and was one of many causes that led subsequently to his downfall. There is much truth in the remark that Fouché is reported to have made on this sad affair,-" It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder."
SIDNEY B. FAY.
1 Las Cases, VII. 310-337; see also in Pasquier, I. 211, an anecdote which shows the anger that was aroused in Napoleon when reminded of this blot on his character. 2 Cf. also his statement to Admiral Cockburn, supra.
3 Catastrophe du Duc d' Enghien, 299.
4 Méneval (III. 474), who puts things in the most favorable light for Napoleon, in summing up the half-dozen most important causes of his overthrow, names first, the hatred of the European dynasties for the new régime in France; second, England's command of the sea; and third, "the condemnation of the Duc d'Enghien, a painful event, a fatal episode in Napoleon's reign, of which the enemies of our country, in their bad faith and animosity, did not fail to take advantage in their campaigns against France and her chief."
THE OUTCOME OF THE CABOT QUATER
IT cannot be said that the four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the American continent by John Cabot was celebrated with as much enthusiasm as that of the West Indies by Columbus. A good test is the number of historical and literary productions published on those two occasions. For the achievement of the great Genoese, we know of six hundred and fifty books and pamphlets printed in 1891 and 1892, in nearly all the languages of Europe, in prose and verse. Concerning Cabot's discovery, we have heard of only two or three volumes, a dozen review and newspaper articles, three memoirs, an address, four speeches, two medleys of barefaced plagiarism, the one fabricated in Bristol, the other, quite recently, in London, and no poem at all. The indifference of the public, at home and abroad, was further shown by the utter failure of the subscription which Americans residing in England started for the purpose of arranging a plan whereby adequate notice might be taken of the event in Bristol. Yet John Cabot is certainly more to the people of England and of the United States than Christopher Columbus is in many respects, although he cannot be justly credited with greater forecast in the accomplishment of his famous deed.
Scanty as those publications may be, they nevertheless afford a certain interest. Three or four of them are curious on different accounts. One shows original investigations, and although based upon positive errors, with conclusions quite as erroneous, it does credit to its author. Another exhibits honest recantations, indicating that conscientious historians now generally adopt notions concerning the Cabots, particularly Sebastian, which a few years ago were almost hooted at. A third and fourth afford fair samples of the historical erudition of distinguished orators, lay and clerical. We only propose to examine the questions alleged to have been solved in all these Cabotian effusions, and especially the intrinsic worth of the statements brought forward to bolster delusions regarding the memorable transatlantic voyage of 1497.
We first notice a paper of Dr. Samuel Edward Dawson inserted in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada. It is called in that country "an admirable monograph, incomparably the best thing ever written on the subject, and to the author of which we must all doff our caps." That paper is also represented, in certain academic quarters, "to have settled the long-disputed question of Cabot's landfall."
The problem has been mooted by Dr. Dawson, we confess, with skill and an adequate knowledge of the subject. To us, personally, it is a positive relief to see at last a critic who answers facts, arguments and documents, not with shallow and puerile reasons, betraying an incredible ignorance of the matter, as is so often the case, but by resorting to objections which deserve to be seriously discussed, however erroneous they may prove to be in important particulars.
Dr. Dawson is convinced that the landfall of John Cabot in 1497 is the easternmost point of Cape Breton; and he has endeavored to prove it by a theory of his own concerning the magnetic variations, at first as follows:
If Columbus on a direct western course dropped two hundred and forty miles from Gomera his point of departure to his landfall in the Antilles in 1492 with a variation of one point west, it is altogether probable that John Cabot with a variation of a point and a half would have dropped, in 1497, three hundred and sixty miles to the south on his western course across the Atlantic; and, again, if John Cabot laid his course to the west by compass from latitude 53° north the variation, so much greater than that observed by Columbus, would have carried him clear of Cape Race and to the next probable landfall, Cape Breton."3
If language means anything, it is plain that, according to the above extract, Dr. Dawson's premises were Columbus's course from Gomera and Cabot's course from latitude 53° north. It likewise sets forth as the basis for measuring the length of the line of divergence the length of the course from Gomera to Guanahani. For what can be clearer than the phrase which we underscore? Nor is the wording corrected or contradicted anywhere in Dr. Dawson's memoir.
At the outset it must be said that even admitting, for the sake of argument, Dr. Dawson's hypothesis that John Cabot experienced a magnetic variation of a point and a half, he nevertheless would
1 Vol. XII., Sec. II., 1894, and Vol. II., Sec. II., 1896.
2 Dr. Harvey's remarks in op. cit, 1896, Vol. II., Sec. II., p. 3.
3 Op. cit., 1894, p. 58.