Ramblings & ephemera

Fouche’s blackmail of Napoleon

From Napoleonic Literature’s “The Court and Camp of Buonaparte: The Ministers: Fouche“:

[Fouche,] who was so profoundly versed in the state of parties, — who was obeyed by one, courted by another, and feared by all; who, by means of his countless agents, could at any time congregate the scattered elements of resistance to the authority of government, was too formidable to be allowed to continue for ever in so dangerous a post. To this we may add that Buonaparte well knew the channel through which the knowledge of his amours passed to Josephine. Of the extent to which the head of the state was subjected to this galling system of espionage, Fouché furnishes us with an amusing proof:–

One day Buonaparte observed that, considering my acknowledged ability, he was astonished I did not perform my functions better, — that there were several things of which I was ignorant. ‘Yes,’ replied I, ‘there certainly are things of which I was ignorant, but which I now know well enough. For instance, a little man muffled up in a grey cloak, and accompanied by a single servant, often steals out on a dark evening from a secret door of the Tuileries, enters a closed carriage, and drives off to Signora G—-. This little man is yourself; and yet this fanciful songstress jilts you continually out of love for Rode the fiddler.’ The Consul answered not a word: he turned his back, rung, and I immediately withdrew.”Memoires, tom. i. p. 233.

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