see the context of his charcter, I always have to read this when discussions about Boney come up
New Letters of Napoleon I (omitted from the Napoleon 3 edition) Trans Lady Mary Lloyd, London 1898.
This is a one vol selection from Lecestre’s 2 vol collection.
I selected those that seemed of most interest when I had the book out of the library. These are extracts selected in relation to Napoleon's attitude to liberty, which seemed to be the starting point on this occasion, so they are extracts from several layers of selection. I have left out his dealings with his brothers, with the Spanish royal family, with the Pope or anything of a purely military nature.
Before anyone raises the question, I haven't checked on the outcomes, my point is only to show Napoleon's preferred methods of maintaining control.
To Gen Lagrange, Governor of Cassel, Warsaw 13.01.07
….”The inhabitants of Hersfeld appear to be guilty. You will send a flying column of 4k men, and have the town thoroughly sacked, to punish the insult offered to the sixty men of my troops… The town of Wacht is guilty. Either it will give up the four principal authors of the revolt, or it must be burnt…..
Issue a proclamation… Indicate the men each town must give up on pain of being burnt….Visible traces must be left, to frighten the evil–intentioned in Germany. It was thus, by burning the big village of Binasco, that I kept Italy quiet, in the year IV. …”
To Marshal Berthier, Rambouillet, 7.9.07
"You must be sure to inform Marshal Soult, by special messenger, of the incident at Konigsberg, where two actors, appearing on the stage as French officers, were hissed by the audience. you will tell Marshal Soult that I have demanded satisfaction from the King of Prussia for this insult, and that I have required that the two chief culprits shall be shot....."
To M de Champagny, Min for Foreign Affairs. Rambouillet, 7.9.07
“… I shall refuse all evacuation until the two ringleaders have been shot…”
To M. Fouche, Min of Police Rambouillet, 7.9.07
“ …..Give orders to have Mr. Kuhn, the American Consul at Genoa, put under arrest, for wearing a Cross of Malta given him by the English, and as being an English agent. His papers will be seized, and an abstract of them made, and he will be kept in secret confinement until you have made your report to me….”
“ …to the effect that the nobility did not attend the ball given by M. Lamartiniere, Senator. (he asks for details and as to whether they were actually in Bordeaux at the time, since they might have been in the country.) If, on the contrary, any of these lordlings have ventured to fail in the respect due to the Senator, it will be well for me to know the fuglemen, so that the police may remove them from Bordeaux.”
To M. Fouche, Min of Police Bayonne 25.4.08
“The Journal de l’Empire still goes on badly…..If he does not change his ways, I shall change the editor…Mons Etienne is the cause of the present agitation in France, about Roman affairs. Pray have all the old editors, who are so hot against the present Administration, turned away. … I had also forbidden the newspapers to refer to priests, sermons, or religion…”
To M. Fouche, min of Police Bayonne 11.7.08
“Have young St Aignan placed in the military school at St Cyr. You will let him know that it is my will. You will also let him know that I do not intend him to marry, till he has fought two campaigns. You will have him taken there bodily…”
To Gen Menou, Governor of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Aranda 28.11.08
“Maret sends you a decree which is not to be published till after its execution. Have the valley disarmed. Have 30-40 persons – those best known as having always taken part in former revolts – arrested, whatever their present behaviour may be…”
To M. Fouche, min of Police Benevente 31.12.08
“I am informed that the émigré families screen their children from the conscription, and keep them in grievous and guilty idleness….I intend to publish an edict which will send all youths of these families, over sixteen, and under eighteen, to the Military School at St Cyr. If any objection is made, the only answer you will give is, that such is my good pleasure…”
To M. Bigot de Preamenu, Min of Public Worship. Benavente, 1.1.09
“Let the Archbishop of Bordeaux know of my extreme displeasure at the sermon preached by the Abbe Langlade,….As to this Langlade, I have ordered the Minister of Police to have him arrested, and I will punish him in such a way as will serve to warn others.”
To Comte Fouche, Min of Police Rambouillet, 14.3.09
“Arrest the Vicar of Noyon, who has ventured to make improper allusions to the conscription, in one of his sermons. You will have him brought to Paris, and examined by one of the Councillors of State.”
To Comte Fouche, Min of Police Paris.3.4.09
“There is a work on Suwaroff, many of the notes to which are very objectionable. This book is said to have been written by an Abbe. You must put the seals on that Abbe’s papers, you must have all the notes cancelled, and you must even stop the publication of the work, which is anti-national.”
To Comte Fouche, Min of Police Schonbrunn, 26.7 1809
“I send you a copy of the Gazette de France, in which you will find another article about Berlin. Give orders, on receiving this letter, to have the editor arrested, and put in prison, for having caused several articles from Berlin to be inserted in his newspaper, the object of which is to cast doubt on the alliance of France with Russia and to offend our allies. You will keep the editor in prison for a month, and you will appoint somebody else in his place…”
To M. Bigot de Preameneu, Min of Public Worship. Schonbrunn. 2.8.09
“You will let the Bishop of Ghent know that am displeased with the manner in which he manages his diocese, with his weakness, and the small amount of personal attachment he shows me…I order his Vicar general to resign and proceed to Paris…. Because if once I put my hand to the matter, I shall punish them severely.”
To Comte Fouche, Min of Police Schonbrunn, 2.8. 1809
“Have the editor of the Brussels Oracle arrested. If it is true that two Saxon women ventured to make a scene in the theatre at Aix-la-Chapelle, have them arrested and taken to prison, where they are to remain for three months.”
As above, same date
“It appears complaint is being made of the bad feeling in Belgium. Send reliable men to collect information. The authorities must be weeded out, bad characters must be arrested, and 500 or 600 suspected persons must be sent to live in Burgundy and Champagne. ..”
To M. Fouche, Duc d’Otrante, Min of Police Paris 27.12.09
“.. those persons (Belgians) who might do harm to the Government by their fortune, or their connections, are to be obliged to come and live in Paris, and the children are to be sent to St Cyr, or to St Germain. Have the same thing drawn up for all the conquered countries which have lately been added to France.”
To M. Fouche, Duc d’Otrante, Min of Police Paris 21.1.10
A more detailed order for sundry individual Belgians to be removed.
“You will be careful not to have more than two of these people sent for from their Departments, at a time, and to leave an interval of a fortnight or three weeks between the dates of their departure, so that this measure may not appear forced and extraordinary, but merely a regular administrative step.
A person who has been described to me as being rich does not appear on your list. Let me have a report about this.”
To M. Fouche, Duc d’Otrante, Min of Police Compiegne 24.4.10
“Is it true that engravings are being published with the title of ‘Josephine Beauharnais nee La pagerie’? If this is true, have the prints seized, and let the engravers be punished.”
To Prince Lebrun, Grand Treasurer of the Empire, the Emps Lt gen in Holland. Paris. 25.9.10
There is a FN which states that this is the letter as originally drafted but that N cut the end. It does not say where the cut was made.
“You speak of the complaints of the inhabitants of Amsterdam; of their alarm and discontent. Do these Dutchmen take me for their Grand Pensionary Barnevelt? I do not understand such language. I shall do what is best for the good of my Empire, and the clamour of the madmen who will insist on knowing what is right better than I do, only fills me with scorn….. I have not undertaken the government of Holland to consult the populace of Amsterdam, and do as other people like. French nation has been willing, at various times, to put its trust in me. …I hope the Dutch will be good enough to show me the same respect…..etc”
To Gen Savary, Duc de Rovigo, Min of Police Fontainebleau 25.10.10
“I see by your police report, that the blocks of a will of Louis XVI, which was being printed for a certain Bonneville, a dealer in engravings, have been seized in the house of one Farge. Have these two persons arrested. Write to the Director of the Censure Department to have their charter revoked, and that they are never to be allowed either to print books, or sell engravings again ; then you will have them shut up in a State prison, until the millennium. When the Censorship was instituted, provision was made for depriving any handful of wretches who might attempt to disturb the public peace, of all right either to print or to sell books. Send me a statement of the booksellers and printers who are known to be evilly inclined, and cannot be depended upon, so that I may revoke their licence. Follow this up vigorously; it is time to make an end of it. There can be no greater crime than that committed by these people.”
To Gen Savary, Duc de Rovigo, Min of Police Paris 14.4.11
“I send you a letter from Gen Molitor, let the grand Treasurer know that the measures taken are too feeble, that the students and townsmen of Utrecht, who have insulted the patrols, must be arrested forthwith, and tried by a military court.”
To Gen Savary, Duc de Rovigo, Min of Police Paris 18.3.11
Concerning several priests, reported to be “dissidents and enemies of the Government.”
“I should wish all these people to be arrested at once, the seals put upon their papers, and they themselves brought, without any one knowing where they are, either to Vincennes, or to some other State prison. All their papers should be sent to Paris, where they must be examined.
…You must not trust either the Prefects, or the Justices of the Peace, nor the local gendarmes, but you must employ Paris police agents, and good picked non-commissioned officers of the Gendarmerie, who will proceed simultaneously to all the places where these priests are to be found, and seize their persons.”
To Pr Lebrun, Grand Treasurer of the Empire, the Emps Lt gen in Holland. St cloud, 3.5.11
“It is my intention that the 500 men who formed the mob which beat the Prefect, shall all be sent to France, and forced to serve in my ports….The houses of the persons who have taken flight must be burnt, their relations arrested, their goods confiscated, and they themselves condemned to death by default, in a military court. It is necessary to have several of the most guilty shot….Blood and chastisement alone can wash out the insult offered to the government.”
To Savary on the same dates he specifies: “…their fathers, mothers, wives, brothers and sisters imprisoned…”
To Pr Le brun, Grand Treasurer of the Empire, the Emps Lt gen in Holland. St cloud, 12.5.11
“I hear you have altered your late decision, on the occasion of the riots in Amsterdam, and that you brought the persons implicated in the affair before the civil courts. … You may have taken the initiative in a momenty of confusion, but this particular course having been approved by me, you cannot return to it without my consent…”
As above, same subject, 20.5.11
“It is indispensable that honest and well intentioned people should be protected, and led by kindly treatment; but the rabble must be driven by terror….Sedition mongers go unpunished, and in the end, they will have to be suppressed by fire and the sword. And further, I cannot leave my armies in the interior of the country for ever.
…The rioters at Amstrdam and Rotterdam must therefore be sentenced by military court.”
As above, same subject, 22.6.11
“I have been interested in seeing the result of the military inquiries, and that three men have been sentenced to death and executed. There is no other way of overawing the mob.”
To Comte de Montalivet, min of the Interior. Trianon 19.7.11
“It is necessary for you to give the Director-general of the Department of Literature orders not to allow any work on ecclesiastical affairs to be printed. The great art in such matters is never to mention them. I have been distressed by the pamphlets which have appeared on such subjects.”
To M Maret, Duc de bassano, min for Foreign Affairs Paris, 29.2.12
“…My Minister at Cassel must let it be known, that I am exceedingly displeased with the town of Brunswick, and that the very next time the town is guilty of an offence, I shall put it beyond the pale of my protection, and have so severe an example made of it, that the posterity of the inhabitants will remember it, a hundred years hence.”
To Gen Savary, Duc de Rovigo, Min of Police Paris 30.3.13
“I confess I could not help being very much astonished by the play yesterday…I had a right to expect that the Minister of Police would not have allowed the Court to be handled in so dull and silly a fashion….Never have people been allowed, in any country, so to depreciate the Court. If it had not been for its clumsiness, and lack of talent, the play would have had a most mischievous effect on public opinion…Put a stop to the performances of this wretched comedy, and alter the composition of your Board of Censors.”
To Gen Savary, Duc de Rovigo, Min of Police Dresden,6.8.13
“You will have the Director of the Seminary (Ghent) who professes such bad principles, arrested and confined in a State prison, without anyone being aware of his whereabouts.”
To prince Cambaceres, Grand chancellor of the Empire. Dresden, 14.8.13.
Relating to “the verdict of the the Brussels Court of Assizes.” “You will also send for the Min of Police, so that before my intention is made public, the accused persons may have been re arrested, and the jurymen who are implicated, seized. My letter will not be inserted into the Moniteur, and the decree submitted to the Senate, until three or four days afterwards…the Minisrtr of Police will be one of the members of the Secret Council, and take the intitiative in the whole of this business. Extraordinary circumstances necessitate extraordinary measures, and they are provided for in our Constitution.”
Didn't he even order to get book sellers executed? He reigned by sheer terror.