not his, while others declared that he was the son of Admiral Verhuel, the Hollander. Subsequently, when Louis quitted Holland and went to live in Italy, he took with him his son Napoleon Louis-an elder child had died in infancy-leaving the youngest with his mother in Switzerland, where, in due time, the lad entered the Swiss civil service (1824 to 1830). In the latter year he went to Italy to join his brother, who had engaged in a carbonaro insurrection against the pope. The young men could do little. The elder (married to his cousin) died of fever, at Forli, in 1831, and the younger went back to Switzerland, where he remained, watchful of the signs of the times. In 1836, he tried, at Strasburg, to raise an insurrection against Louis Philippe, but was arrested and sent off to Brazil. Thence he went northward to New York, where he is still remembered. He next resided in London, chiefly in the society of Count D'Orsay and Lady Blessington, and there published his Idées Napoléoniennes. In 1840, he made another wild attempt against Louis Philippe, landing at Boulogne with a few companions, among whom were Count de Montholon and a large tame eagle.* This imperial fancy cost him an imprisonment of over five years in the fortress of Ham, whence he contrived to make his escape in 1846.

[ocr errors]

In 1848, Prince Louis Napoleon was returned to the French Legislative Assembly by several constituencies, including Paris; and, in spite of some protests, took his place in the Chamber, where, from the first, he seemed to hold himself aloof and in reserve, with a certain taciturnity which many mistook for genius, but which was simply cunning. With his cold and reticent manner, he had no personal popularity—and it was significantly noted that he was wanting in that vivacity of tone and address which belonged to all other members of the Napoleonic family. His few speeches in the

A feeling for omens and symbols was very strong in the Bonaparte family-as, in fact, it has been, more or less, in all families of men. Louis Napoleon meant to hoist his bird on a staff and carry it aloft to Paris, charming the minds of all Frenchmen along the route. The obsequies of the late Prince Imperial observed in England offered to the spectators a device of a similar character. A bronze eagle was raised over the catafalque, with a living dove perched on its back--the bird having been trained to expect a supply of grain on that place. Sorrow has its own fantasies, like pleasure.

2d Series: VOL. VI.-NO. I.


Chamber were feeble and affected, and Thiers declared he was a tête de bois-an epithet something like that bestowed by Lord Byron on the Duke of Wellington.

A majority of five millions of French votes in 1849 raised the heir of Napoleon to the presidency of the French republic; and he began his government with a firm reliance on the principle of universal suffrage. The later history of France had assured him it could be as friendly to a strong government, as any agency of kingly sovereignty in other countries. The souvenirs du peuple were on his side, and the powerful influences of the clergy were exerted in favor of the chief who, in 1849, sent General Oudinot to guard the pontiff against the insurrectionists of Rome; so that when, in 1851, the president broke with the Assembly, dissolving it in Brumaire fashion, and violently arresting its most refractory members, the plébiscite to which he appealed not only sustained the act with seven millions of votes against one million, but also (1852) accepted him as Emperor of the French, successor of Charlemagne and Napoleon.

Most people remember his career. In 1853, he made a democratic virtue of necessity, by marrying Eugenie de Montijo instead of seeking a royal alliance-such as would, probably, have rejected him. His war-alliances of the Crimea and China, together with his visits to the queen of England

and the czar (1857), gave his reign an éclat which was not diminished when, in 1859, he went with a strong army to drive the Austrians from northern Italy. In a year (of Magenta and Solferino) he had transferred Lombardy to Victor

*Eugenie Marie de Montijo, born at Granada, in Spain, in 1826, was daughter of Count de Montijo, a grandee. Her mother, Maria Manuela Kirkpatrick, was descended of a Scottish Catholic family exiled on the fall of the Stuarts. Eugenie travelled much with her mother and met Prince Louis Napoleon in London. Her marriage in 1853 raised her to the highest social level. She visited, and was visited by, Queen Victoria. She was a friend of the church party called "ultramontane," and the recognized leader of the European world of fashion. In 1869, she made a grand tour, during which, accompanied by her son, she inaugurated the statue of Napoleon, at Ajaccio; presided at the opening of the Suez Canal, and then astonished all the "harems" of the East by her visit to the sultan at Constantinople. Her suffering, on the death of her only son, has won for her more kindly regard and sympathy than all the splendors of her reign.

Emmanuel and obtained in return the territories of Nice and Savoy.

The downward course of Napoleon III began with his recognition of the American Confederacy and his attempt to restore the empire of Montezuma under the rule of Maximilian,—an unlucky potentate who, having been supported for three years by French bayonets, met his fate in 1867 from the bullets of a Mexican platoon. By degrees the intelligence of the French educated classes grew weary of the imperial strategy, and the emperor and his ministry made liberal concessions which were "like the letting out of water." By a law of 1868, the press was freed from its restrictions, and the elections of next year were consequently disputed in a very tumultuous manner, in the great cities-Paris, Lyons, Marseilles-where Thiers, Favre, Simon, Gambetta, Bancel, Raspail, Rochefort, Crémieux, Arago and others were elected in opposition, the result exhibiting a decline of the imperial suffrage from eight millions to less than five. Arrests were made, and then concessions; the latter including the return of a number of exasperated political exiles. In the beginning of 1870, the Napoleonic tide was ebbing rapidly, darkened by a peculiar omen-the shooting of Victor Noir, the journalist, by Pierre Bonaparte, son of Lucien, Prince of Canino; and then came the unexpected sound of arms, the cry of à Berlin! in the streets of Paris, and the march against the Prussians— as wild and wilful a fatality as that of Napoleon I against the czar in 1812.

The catastrophe of Sedan was as astounding as that of Moscow-and more decisive. The French army was unprepared to act with vigor-the money voted to support it having been diverted from its purpose in a fraudulent manneras the Emperor discovered when it was too late. He made a feeble show of going, with his son, to the front where he was bewildered in the confusion of marches and countermarches, broken by sanguinary defeats. Saarbrück, Worth and Gravelotte, were followed by Sedan-where another French empire was fated to sink before the military onset of Prussia.

On the 2d of September, 1870, Napoleon III drove to the

head-quarters of King William, and, unbuckling his sword-in the demonstrative style to which he was always partial-placed it in the hands of his vanquisher; after which he proceeded to the king's castle of Wilhelmshöe; while Eugenie, escaping from the Tuileries in disguise, made her way to England, and William marched forward to Versailles, where, in the midst of his princes, generals and counsellors, he assumed the style of Emperor of Germany. His revenge for Jena was as ample as it was astonishing.

After an imprisonment of six months, the ex-emperor, broken in health and hope, joined his wife and son at Chiselhurst, and there awaited the end-which came on the 9th of January, 1873. He had lived ten years longer than his great uncle.

Among the many ambitions of Louis Napoleon's life was that of authorship. He published several works: Les Euvres de Napoléon III (1854-1869), Euvres Militaires (1856), and his unfinished Vie de Jules Cæsar.

The fate of the Prince Imperial, Louis Eugene, was in keeping with the history of his family, so full of change and disaster. He was born in 1856; and at the age of two years spoke English better than he did French. His father, for many reasons of kindly feeling, or policy, showed a liking for the English and had the child nursed by a healthy young Briton. At the age of three the boy was a petit caporal, and subsequently a colonel in a regiment of Chasseurs. In the dark days of 1870, he accompanied his father to the scene of the military struggle, and was present at the battles of Saarbrück and Metz. That was an unfortunate "baptism of fire" for the poor lad―ominous of the later baptism of blood in Kaffirland.

From Chiselhurst the prince was sent to King's College, London; and, on the breaking out of the Zulu war, proposed to serve for a time with Lord Chelmsford,-guided, of course, by the wishes of the Empress Eugenie and his Bonapartist adherents, who counted much on the friendship of England. At the parting visit to Queen Victoria, she gave him a ring, for remembrance; and on the 27th of February, 1879, his

mother accompanied him to Southampton and took leave of him on board his ship, bound for Natal-looking forward to the day of his happy return. In Africa he became one of the aides-de-camp of Lord Chelmsford, and proceeded inland to meet the impi of king Cetewayo, a little beyond the ridge of Isandula, where the English had suffered such a shameful defeat some weeks before. The district was swarming with Kaffirs; and the prince went forward on several reconnaissances, accompanied by other officers. On the day of his death (June 1st) he reached a place ten miles from camp, attended by Lieut. Cary, of the 98th Regiment, and five troopers, and dismounting, made a sketch of the surrounding country. As they were about to return, the party saw a number of dark faces among the cornstalks, and hastening to their horses, were attacked by the Zulus. The prince was overtaken and killed with two of the troopers, Lieut. Cary and the rest escaping. The body of the prince was found next day, speared in seventeen places and stripped. * It was brought to England, where at Chiselhurst it rests beside the remains of Napoleon III.

The death of the Prince Imperial, last male descendant of King Louis, has weakened the pretensions and hopes of the Bonapartes, eight of whom, at least, are now living-descendants of Lucien and Jerome, brothers of Napoleon I-for Joseph, who died in 1847, left no male heirs. Lucien, who died in 1840 at Viterbo, had four sons and six daughters. Of the latter, two were by his first wife, Christine Boyer. One of them married Prince Gabrielli, and the other became Lady Dudley Stuart. One of his daughters by the second wife was married to Sir Thomas Wyse, British Ambassador at Athens. The eldest of his sons, Charles Lucien, born in 1803, became a man of literary pursuits with a strong leaning to the Italian

* The prince, adopting the curious custom of his family, usually wore a talisman, enclosing a gem, suspended from his neck-the gift of his father, who had received it from Napoleon I, who, himself, was taught to believe it came, in some way, from the Emperor Charlemagne. Napoleon Eugene carried it on the day of his death; and the superstition that had transmitted it so far still preserved it. The Zulus who stripped him would not meddle with it. It was the fetish of an enemy which might injure them; and when the owner was taken up, it was found resting in its customary place.

« VorigeDoorgaan »