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M. Savary would make it appear, according to his usual method of reasoning on Napoleon's actions, that the divorce was thought of and prosecuted out of a pure patriotism; that it was an entire self-devotion of the Emperor's feelings to the public good; and that he thought of nothing but the stability of the state. Few men, we believe, will be inclined to go so far as M. Savary in these opinions, however ready to agree with him in his belief of the good policy on which the determination of the Emperor was founded. Josephine had two children; one of whom, the Viceroy, had succeeded in gaining Napoleon's perfect confidence and esteem, and on whom it seems he had at one period some idea of conferring the imperial crown. From this, however, he was deterred by the dread of causing dissentions in his own family after his death, and by the necessity he saw of confirming his power, by uniting it with that of an older established monarchy. The Viceroy was the first person who spoke to his mother decidedly upon the subject. According to the custom which prevailed at the time of his marriage,' says the author, there existed between him and the Empress no other bond than a civil act.' The cere
mony of the divorce was a very summary one. A few persons of state were called together in the Emperor's apartments; he deelared aloud that the marriage between him and Josephine was dissolved; and the latter, with many tears, declaring the same, the ceremony was completed by the Arch-Chancellor reading the article of the law on the subject, and sanctioning the proceeding by his authority. In little better than a month after this event, Napoleon directed his attention to the formation of his alliance with Maria Louisa. It was shortly after his marriage with that princess that our author was appointed to the situation of minister of police. Information was given the Emperor that Fouché had been in correspondence with the English court, and that M. Ouvrard had been the negotiator. Our author was ordered to arrest the latter immediately, which he succeeded in doing; and is so excessively angry at Fouché's having shown himself annoyed at his zeal, that he says he determined from the instant he should suffer for it. This is another indication of that littleness of mind which is so constantly showing itself throughout Savary's Memoirs, and which is quite sufficient to explain all his servile flatteries of Napoleon, and his blind devotion to his will. The reward, however, of all this, was his preferment to the office of minister of police. Every particular respecting his appointment is given with admirable precision. Whom he saw, whom he dined with, what he said, thought, and felt on the occasion, and even his having silk stockings on, is told with an air of the most ludicrous importance. His appointment caused considerable sensation in the French capital. It was looked upon as one of the worst omens, that a general officer should be appointed to such a situation; and if he was hated in Russia on account of his nation,
he was now both hated and dreaded because of his office. Savary suffered the ex-minister to remain in his hotel for three weeks after his dismissal, under the expectation of receiving some important instructions from him; but he was disappointed, and another occasion is thus given him for further observations on his predecessor's character. The instructions which Napoleon gave the new minister are distinguished for good sense and ability. Although expressing, at first, some disgust at the nature of his office, Savary appears very soon to have entered with great spirit into all the processes and secret intrigues which it required. The whole system of spying and information seems to have developed itself in a most extraordinary manner to his mind, and we find him in a little time as au fait at the business, as if he had been born to it. The following will give a tolerably clear notion of what were the duties of a minister of police in the time of the Emperor, and what methods the then head of the department employed in the exercise of his functions. We could hardly find a more curious passage in the whole of these Memoirs. It will be remembered, that Fouché had left his successor without giving any information which could serve him in his new functions, and that he was, therefore, left entirely to the exercise of his ingenuity, to discover the wheels of the machinery under his control:
'In all extensive branches of administration there is to be found a register of addresses, in order that the letter-carriers employed ad hoc, may know from what point they are to set out, in order to shorten their rounds. The register of the ministry of police presented an ample display of that nature. It was kept by the office messengers; and, as I felt desirous of disguising my plan, I selected a particular night when I could dismiss the people about me; and I gave a long errand to the messenger whose turn it was to be on duty, allowing him afterwards to retire to rest, instead of waiting upon me. He was no sooner gone than I took away the register, as well as the bundle of receipts which the police commissioners carefully preserve, in the event of any demand being made respecting the nondelivery of letters.
I shut myself up in my study for the purpose of making a statement of those addresses, which, in some cases, pointed out the professions of the parties. I passed the night in taking a copy of the register, and in selecting from the bundle of receipts all those which bore the same date, and that date corresponding with the day on which M. Fouché drew up the lists of the guests invited to his official dinners, which took place on Wednesdays, and during the winter only: these attracted my curiosity much less than the names of those for whose visits to the ministry of police I was at a loss to account. When this work was gone through, I returned the papers to the place from whence I had taken them.
'I had a long legend of names and addresses, some of them not unknown to me, though I should as soon have sought for them in China as upon this catalogue.
The description of several names was only given by a capital letter; I
readily treasured them up as being the most valuable, and succeeded in discovering the parties by the stratagem I shall have to relate, and which the embarrassment of my situation rendered the more excusable, as it originated in another motive than mere idle curiosity.
I divided my catalogue of addresses into districts, or twelve portions, and desired an agent in each district to furnish me a detailed note of the rank of each individual set down, his country, the time he had been in Paris, his means of existence, his occupations, and character; without alleging any motive for my inquiries, they fully answered my object; for there is no city in Europe where a person can be so easily found out in Paris, if once known there. It required no conjurer to discover the utility of that information, and I felt no apprehension of considering some individuals as being well calculated to serve my views, who had been the very agents of my predecessor. I summoned them to appear by notes, written in the third person, and without fixing any hour for giving them audience; merely taking care to send for them on different days. They were exact to the appointment, and naturally fell into their old habits of coming at night. The door-keeper of my closet, when he announced them, handed me the notes I had written to them, and which had been their means of admission into my hotel. Previously, however, to receiving them, I detained the messenger for a moment, and asked him if such a gentleman or lady often came to see the Duke of Otranto, and at what hour they visited him. He was in general well acquainted with every one. I thus contrived to discover what kind of reception I ought to give the person whose name was announced to me, and who came with the impression that every thing had been repeated to me by my predecessor, as otherwise they could not have been found out. I always pretended as if my information was derived from M. Fouché himself; and by the promise of perfect secresy, I soon procured the renewal of their intercourse with my departinent.'-vol. ii. pp. 250-252.
Means equally skilful were employed to discover the other agents of Fouché, and the minister soon found that by the plentiful distribution of bribes, all the mystery and difficulties of his office would vanish. The manner in which he distributed the legion of spies, the co-operation of which he had thus obtained, is still more illustrative of the character of a government which is once obliged to have recource to such means for its defence.
"The information, however limited, which I thus acquired, gave me the courage to seek the means of extending it. I soon discovered that I had been frightened at a mere shadow. I had carried my inquiries so far, that I could hardly trust to my success. After having thus furnished my oratory with votaries, it became my object to find employment for them. The higher society, as well as the society composed of commercial people and citizens, is divided into coteries. I was not long in making the requisite classification, and did it in so effectual a manner, as to be rarely mistaken in the names of those who had attended an assembly, a ball, or what was then termed a bouillotte, whenever I came to be apprised of the existence of one in any private house. It is not to be inferred from this, that great importance was attached to all that was said at such parties; it would have been as difficult to collect, on those occasions, any
matter really useful to my purpose, as to count the grains of sand on the sea shore. The utmost degree of watchfulness was, however, exerted to discover if those meetings were not taken advantage of to spread evil reports, or unfavourable intelligence, such as projects of war, or fresh financial schemes. The mischievous hawkers of bad news generally took especial care to disseminate them in those societies which they knew to be composed of persons, whose interests were more likely to suffer from the events reported to them. When an opportunity presented itself, the official looker-on would listen to the news-bearer, and, by engaging to (in) conversation with him, seldom failed to discover where he had picked up the news with which he took so much pains to alarm the peaceful part of the community. This is the manner in which a list was eventually formed of all the reporters of idle stories; and when they exposed themselves to punishment by their conduct, they were called to a very severe account for all their past indiscreet language.
There is to be found in Paris a certain class of people who subsist upon the credulousness and good nature of others; they have a decided interest in being apprised of every thing, whether true or false; they put down in their account-current, if I may use this figurative expression, every thing they happen to learn. These trifles are the coin in which they pay for their dinner, or their admission to the theatre; they bring for their stock some piece of news which they exchange for another. These are truly valuable men for a minister of police; he makes sure of their aid, in return for helping them out of some scrape in which they never fail to involve themselves. Their employment is to give publicity to whatever news it is wished to spread abroad, and to find out the source from whence has emanated any news which it is desirable to suppress. The progress of intrigue never slackens, because there are never-ending wants which compel its promoters to have their minds incessantly at work. An intriguer who is inactive soon finds his way to the hospital; an active one, on the contrary, would reap an harvest from an egg-shell.
'An intriguer is thoroughly informed of the tender connexions of all his friends; always ready to advise either lover, he sets them by the ears in order to bring about a reconciliation between them; he watches every feeling of animosity and passion; he invites some to partake in his own unbridled pleasures, and watches on those occasions the looseness of their morals, for his vigilance is particularly directed to places of improper resort. If in the night time you desire to find out a man of pleasure, he instinctively knows at what rendezvous of gallantry he is to be found, the restorateur he may have patronized, the theatre he has frequented. If a giddy woman is the object of inquiry, the mere description is enough for him to point her out.
In no town in the world, however small, can a person be found out more quickly than in Paris.
In summer time, when the higher society have retired to their country residences, there are less facilities for discovering what it is wished to find out; but even then an infallible resource presents itself. Country parties possess attractions in very great variety. A little familiarity with good company is sufficient to procure, before the close of the season, a correct knowledge of all country parties intended to be given, from the end of June until the month of November. It is known that such a company is to
assemble at a certain residence, in such a month; it proceeds to another residence in the succeeding month, and is replaced by other company. They thus travel the round of a province, and those visiters seldom omit, on their return, to report all they have seen or heard in their excursions; and if it be particularly desired to obtain information of what has occurred at every one of those country houses, it generally happens that what is thus innocently related, will lead you into the track of what it is of much greater importance for you to discover.'-vol. ii., pp. 254–257.
M. Savary, soon after his appointment, determined upon a reorganization of the police. For this purpose, he took upon himself the nomination of the inferior officers in the department, and the appointment of the commissaries of police in large and small towns. He also formed what he terms a police of servants, introduced a system of laws, extremely strict, among the hackneycoach drivers, and raised a legion of horse and foot gendarmes, to be placed under the Prefect of Police. After a few months, the system was found to work so well, that the author of it says, not a person could arrive by the public coaches, or take his departure, without his receiving instant information. Several interesting details follow, respecting persons under sentence of banishment and state prisoners, which will well reward the reader for the trouble of perusal, as they give very striking ideas of the Imperial government, both during and before this period. But the watchfulness of the minister was not confined to Paris or the surrounding towns; it extended itself to the bathing places of Bohemia, and Italy even. By dint of perseverance, he became acquainted with all the characters and secrets of the societies which frequented them. From these places he extended his system to the German universities. M. Martin was the great assistant of Savary in respect to England. It is said that he helped prisoners to escape who were fifty leagues inland, and that scarcely an event occurred in this country which was unknown to him, however secret its nature. This active agent discovered, from his watching place at Boulogne, that an intercourse was carried on between persons in that place and in England. Another correspondence was also discovered between Bordeaux and Lisbon. One of the principal means by which Savary secured his information from England was, his giving full protection to those who carried on the trade in guineas. Whenever any neglect occurred on the part of his commercial friends, he punished them by retarding their letters, while, as a reward for diligence, he gave them such early information in return, as enabled them to anticipate the rising or falling of the funds. Another method he employed, was to obtain the names of all foreigners at the principal hotels in London; and so perfect and unfailing was his information, that scarcely a person of distinction could arrive from any part of the continent without his becoming acquainted with the circumstance. So true is what he says, that he was tolerably well acquainted with his chess-board, both in the provinces and beyond the frontier.