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would have been glad to keep out of view — the mode of life and sentiments of the Royal Family, and the King in particular. His popularity, however, was confined to no class or party. He was named by common consent Lieutenant-General of Corsica; and, invested with this honour, the veteran of sixty-four touched, and once more kissed with enthusiasm, the earth of his native island, where he landed in the summer of the same year.
His progress through the island, it need hardly be said, was a continued jubilee. The description of it may be read in the memoirs of the son of his old secretary, Lucien Buonaparte, who, with his two brothers and the other young zealots of modern liberty, vied with the old soldiers of independence in saluting one whose presence was the symbol at once of so many memories and so many hopes. The Electoral Assembly of Corsica, no longer the Consulta,' was met at Orezza ; thither Paoli proceeded; he was hailed by orations of an eloquence savouring of Rousseau, especially one from Joseph Buonaparte, who seems to have aimed at representing the patriotism of the country di là de monti; and he was named commander of the civic guard of the island by 387 voices against 1 --- an adjoint in command being given him, on his own urgent plea of ill-health. Thus he was left, with powers and popular confidence almost as great as in 1768, to work out the problem of the Revolution in Corsica,he, the man of a former generation.
That he felt himself unfitted for the task, that a spirit of lassitude and disappointment soon came over him, is in no degree matter of surprise. There was truth in some of the young Napoleon's remarks on the romantic side of Paoli's character, remarks uttered in 1791, in that fiery and confused • letter to Count Buttafuoco,' which bears date, as if of imperial augury, ' from my cabinet at Milelli'—the cabinet'in question being a garden-house in a little vineyard of the Buonapartes, –
Constantly surrounded with enthusiasts and dreamers, he cannot imagine that men are actuated by any other passion • than the fanaticism of liberty and independence.' The newer cosmopolitan notions, those of 1790, he but imperfectly realised, and distasted. “I found,' he wrote to one of his correspondents, that Corsica had not altered its place. The Tavignano and the Liamone still flow in their old beds;
Monte Rotondo stands where he did, towering over the other * mountains; but in manners and sentiments, what a change!
I soon discovered that between 1769 and 1790 there was the • distance of a century. Patriotism had ceased to be a vulgar * virtue, and become a superhuman exertion.' The exaltation of national feeling had no doubt disappeared with that Genoese
oppression which excited it. Under the mild reign of Louis XVI. Corsica had been on the whole indulgently governed, and had derived at least the advantage of considerable French expenditure from the connexion. Independence, under these changed circumstances, was at best a doubtful prize to the sober-minded, while the zeal of the noisier patriots had taken quite another direction. And it must be added that Paoli, whatever expressions he may have let fall in his disappointment, was in reality fully aware of the position of things; that he laboured honestly and loyally to preserve the connexion with the French monarchy, so long as that monarchy existed. With its bloody overthrow in August, 1792, began a new era for him. And, about the same time, he began to admit especially to his councils an influence which Corsicans agree in deeming singularly fatal both to himself and his country, - the influence of one whose remarkable destinies deserve a page apart in our rapid narrative.
Whoever has visited Ajaccio, and performed the usual pilgrimage to the birthplace of Napoleon, will have noticed, only a few doors from the modest little Casa Buonaparte, a fresh-looking, respectable imitation of a Genoese palazzo, with painted façade and ponderous armorial bearings; seeming to look down purposely on its humble neighbour. This house was built, in the days of his prosperity, by one who owned a name then almost as widely known as that of Napoleon himself, --Carlo Andrea, Count Pozzo-di-borgo. His family was of ancient and (for Corsica) distinguished nobility; a branch, apparently, of the wide-spreading Italian house of Montecchi, which took its own special name from a mountain overlooking Ajaccio. Carlo Andrea was one year older than Napoleon, and brought up on terms of early intimacy with him and his brother Joseph. He signalised himself, together with the latter, at the meeting of Orezza, - got himself named, in November, 1790, one of the extraordinary deputies sent by Corsica to Paris, with the report of that meeting, – and led for some time a restless life of patriotic missions between the island and the metropolis. In 1792, on his return after the dissolution of the . Constituante,' he found matters widely changed. His former friends had advanced far on the road to Republicanism. Paoli and the conservative part of the people were holding back. His own family had quarrelled with the Buonapartes and the Club of Ajaccio. He now threw all his weight and theirs into the scale of the Paolists, and became, at twenty-four, ProcureurGeneral of Corsica and Syndic. Those were the days for enterprising youth.
It was, indeed, a critical time. The party of the Mountain were daily increasing in audacity and power. They numbered, not only the advanced liberals, but all those who were attached to the connexion with France à tout prir, and believed the policy of Paoli likely to end in submission to England; and, in addition, not a few of the old Genoese and aristocratic party, who hated the practical equality of Paoli's administration, and were impelled by the usual vertigo to join the other extreme against the juste milieu. The two exasperated fractions of the community could not long remain in peaceful opposition. The Republican Club of Toulon formally accused Paoli before the Convention of various acts of incivism; and that Assembly, on the report of one Escudier, issued on the 3rd of April, 1793 a mandate to him and Pozzo-di-borgo to appear at its bar, and a decree of prise de corps' to enforce their attendance.
Even the most violent Republicans were a little alarmed, on reflection, at having precipitated this rupture with the Corsican leader, whose influence was now so high, that, according to a passage in King Joseph's memoirs (but which we have not found corroborated elsewhere), the Convention had offered him the command of the army of Italy, in order to secure or neutralise him. The Committee of Public Safety endeavoured to impede
the execution of the decree against him, but it was too late. The commissaries of the Convention at their head the notorious Christopher Saliceti— had already departed for Corsica. They performed their errand bravely, although they found, as themselves reported, four-fifths of the people on the side of the General. Saliceti threatened him with the thousands of troops, and millions of money, at the command of the Convention. Paoli answered (says Arrighi), ' qu'il n'avait en son
pouvoir qu'un écu de trois francs, et une poignée de mouches ; • mais qu'avec ces deux moyens, il mettrait bientôt en déroute
les commissaires et leurs bataillons. He refused to go to Paris, and appealed for protection, not to the authorities of the new Republic, but to the old institutions of his island. A thousand and nine deputies met in consulta in the little irregular
Place' before the Franciscan convent at Corte. Paoli himself opened the proceedings. The Procureur-Général harangued the meeting, — from the branches of a tree, says tradition, and bis eloquence, or the authority of his chief, carried all before it. Troops, authorities, and citizens were forbidden to obey the commissaries, who shook off the dust of their feet against the rebel capital, and made the best of their way to Bastia. The General's old supporters — the armed mountaineers of the interior — soon assembled in multitudes to pro
tect his person, and execute revenge on his enemies. The two families of Buonaparte of Ajaccio and Arena of Isola Rossa were declared traitors, but left expressly to the punishment of their own infamia ! --a mercy, as the result showed, like that of calling 'mad dog!' and leaving the animal under the imputation.
The Convention, in return, denounced Paoli and Pozzodi-borgo.
It has been said that the early importance of the Buonaparte family and Napoleon himself in Corsica, has been exaggerated by their own vanity and the partisanship of others. The decree above referred to, and the testimonies of Corsican writers, show that this was by no means the case. Of the young Napoleon's relations with Paoli many different stories have been told. We take the narrative as given by himself in his conversation with his physician Antommarchi, and which agrees in the main with other accounts, although somewhat disfigured by his own failures of recollection, or the stupidity of the dottoraccio. Napoleon had been nourished by his father in enthusiastic admiration of the veteran hero. At sixteen he wrote a history of Corsica --as we are informed by himself - full of republican and classical hero-worship. At twenty-one, he welcomed home the idol of his youthful enthusiasm; he accompanied Paoli in his ovation, visiting with him among other places the fatal field of Pontenuovo. His decided and energetic character soon gave the young officer the lead in his native town. We have noticed, in reviewing the memoirs of King Joseph, his famous contested election for the command of a battalion of the National Guard, against the Pozzo-di-borgos and other wealthy families. When Napoleon returned from Paris in September, 1792, he was forced to choose his part between the French and Paolist interest. Family partisanship, and a mind brimful of obscure but far-reaching political ideas, determined his choice of the former; yet his veneration for Paoli himself remained so strong ---and the fact does him honour—that although deeply engaged on the Republican side, he wrote an address to the Convention, vindicating the General from the charge of treason. He had long conferences with Paoli at Corte, in which the latter strove, in vain, to detach the young man from his political views. They parted enemies. Napoleon remained some time in Corte after the breach with France ; then, finding his personal security menaced, he made for Ajaccio. Paoli's mountaineers were on his track. In the Alpine village of Bocognano, at the entrance of the great forest of Vizzavona, they beset the house in which he was lodged; and he is said to have escaped by descending
from a window on the shoulders of some faithful partisans.* He got away from Ajaccio with difficulty, after hiding a night in a cave near the Cappella de Grechi. The family followed in a day or two, taking bye paths across the mountain torrents and through the macchie. • Madame Letitia held the pretty little · Pauline by the hand; Fesch took care of Eliza and Louis. • Before them marched a troop of partisans from Bastelica • (Costa, their leader, is mentioned in Napoleon's will), behind them the men of Bocognano, armed with musket and pistol.' They embarked at Capitello on the Gulf; and Madame Mère landed her young brood of future sovereigns safely in France. Napoleon assisted a short time longer in the last struggle of the Republicans, and then followed his mother to the Continent, to pursue his destiny. The property of his family was sacked and plundered by the reactionist mob.
Napoleon and Paoli had thus mutual wrongs to dwell on; but the Emperor seen!s soon to have forgotten his old Corsican enmities. It was only in the last decline of life that the memories of these early days rose vividly before him, as the dust and smoke of many an intervening battle-field subsided. His boyish admiration for the single hero of his little country then revived. He felt the reality of that lofty virtue, the visionary nothingness of those political quarrels, once so warmly embraced, which had risen like shadows between him and its possessor. His eulogies of Paoli are well known, and as discriminating as sincere. Paoli, on the other hand, when in his second retreat in England, could not disguise the interest which he took in the fortunes of his young compatriot; and is said to have offended the Allies by his enthusiasm for the First Consul. If he entertained a spite against any of the family, it was Lucien - quel bricconcello, as he called him; and Lucien paid him off in his Memoirs, which contain nearly all the ill-natured things which could be said on his account.
The Republicans held out against the Paolists but a short time in the field, and were soon confined within the walls of Bastia and Calvi. Their defeat was signalised by the usual excesses of revolutionary crises ; and Paoli was accused, seemingly not without reason, of looking on too passively. In the meantime, it became necessary to take a decided part between France and England. Independence was now out of
* Arrighi, whom we have chiefly followed in this part of our narrative, says that this adventure at Bocognano occurred in an unsuccessful attempt of Napoleon's to join the republicans at Bastia ; otherwise the circumstances are the same.