...and a bit of a wrestle about Napoleon being or not being a nice chap.
I don't believe anyone here is saying that Napoleon was 'a nice chap.' He was a hard man, though generally a fair one. He would have been interesting to work for.
Most leaders wishing reform and I have no reason to doubt that Napoleon did not wish it, usually fall foul to pleasing their supporters and keeping themselves in power. This is common to all kinds of leaders, elected or unelected throughout history and the world.
Are you saying here that Napoleon did not wish for reform? I certainly hope that I have read that incorrectly because his reforms after he took over as head of state completely remade France and had a lasting positive impact on the country.
...though the French did not flog, they did beat...
The French army did not use corporal punishment.
...I would have to say that Ney and Bedoyere were tried fairly for treason against the Bourbons. Such is the tragedy of civil war I suppose...
I believe that the trials of both Ney and Labedoyere were grossly unfair. And that is the reason the Moncey refused to preside over Ney's trial and he was punished for it. The Bourbons wanted blood and if they didn't use a show trial, they did it by mob action, as in the case of Brune. I have seen numbers as high as 7,000 murdered during the White Terror and that doesn't include those who were unfairly imprisoned or had to go into exile. You can't equate, logically, what happened to d'Engien and what happened to Ney, Labedoyere and the others.
What 'civil war' are you referring to?