April 19 1814: Hobhouse in Paris

On April 19 1814, John Cam Hobhouse, now in Paris, describes his day in his diary.

Tuesday April 19th 1814: Breakfasted – as in Germany, breakfast is not a
meal you have. What you order from a traiteur’s – tea green and good, sugar
bad, butter good, bread bad. Read the Journal des Debats, ci-devant Journal
de l’Empire – the advice of the provisional government to forbear abusing
Napoleon and his government begins to be neglected – the Journal contains
anecdotes of the lying and imposture of Napoleon Bounaparte. We had a carriage for twenty-five francs a day, and at four set out in it and visited Lord Castlereagh, with whom I left a letter of introduction from my father, and called at Cathcart’s to enquire about Wherry, and there saw the Crown Prince of Sweden getting into his carriage after paying a visit to Marshall Berthier, who has taken up the new government, and is employed by Alexander in negotiating with Napoleon, who is sick at Fontainebleau. Continue reading

April 19 1814: Lord Byron’s Journal

On April 19 1814, Lord Byron writes in his journal:

There is ice at both poles, north and south—all extremes are the same—misery belongs to the highest and the lowest only, to the emperor and the beggar, when unsixpenced and unthroned. There is, to be sure, a damned insipid medium—an equinoctial line—no one knows where, except upon maps and measurement.

“And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.”

I will keep no further journal of that same hesternal torch-light; and, to prevent me from returning, like a dog, to the vomit of memory, I tear out the remaining leaves of this volume, and write, in Ipecacuanha,—”that the Bourbons are restored!!!”—”Hang up philosophy.”To be sure, I have long despised myself and man, but I never spat in the face of my species before—”O fool! I shall go mad.”

April 18 1814: Hobhouse in France

On April 18 1814, John Cam Hobhouse is in France and traveling to Paris. He writes in his diary:

… sur-mer to Abbeville, where we arrive by half-past nine. The country open chiefly, treeless and corn land. At Abbeville, a town of 18 to 19,000 inhabitants, we saw part of a Prussian corps – the first we saw in France. We went to the Gothic cathedral, a finely-worked edifice built by the English, who left it unfinished. In it they were performing [a] funeral service for a Baron de ——, [a] Colonel killed in the battle of Paris Continue reading

April 17 1814: Kick for Kick

British Museum   Image gallery  The affectionate farewell or kick for kick.

On April 17 1814, Thomas Rowlandson’s cartoon “The affectionate farewell or kick for kick” is published. It shows Talleyrand trying to kick and hit Napoleon with his crutch.

“Votre tres humble Serviteur Monsieur Tally,” Napoleon cries.

“Va ten Cocquin I’ll crack your Crown you pitiful Vagabond,” Talleyrand responds.

“What let him sneak of without a Mark or a Scratch No No I’ll darken his Day Lights for him,” a British sailor adds.

“Bone him my Tight little Tally,” a French soldier joins in. .

(The image and quotes are from the British Museum)

April 16 1814: Napoleon Writes to Josephine


On April 16, 1814, Napoleon writes to his former wife Josephine. This letter is found in many of the biographies of Josephine.

FONTAINEBLEAU, April 16, 1814.

Dear Josephine—I wrote to you on the 8th of this month (it was a Friday), and perhaps you have not received my letter. Hostilities still continued; possibly it may have been intercepted. At present, communications must be re-established. I have formed, my resolution. I have no doubt that this billet will reach you. I will not repeat what I said to you. There I lamented my situation ; now I congratulate myself thereon. My head and spirit are freed from an enormous weight. My fall is great, but at least it is useful, as men say. In my retreat, I shall substitute the pen for the sword. The history of my reign will be curious. The world has yet seen me only in profile ; I shall show myself in full. Continue reading

April 16 1814: Hobhouse Leaves for Paris

On April 16 1814, John Cam Hobhouse decides to go with Henry Grattan to Paris, to witness the fall of Napoleon. Byron is invited to come but decides to stay in London. Hobhouse writes in his diary:

Saturday April 16th 1814: Grattan says he will go. I call with Kinnaird upon the Count de Chartres, Minister to Louis XVIII.  I got from him passports for Grattan and myself. Coming home I find a note from Lord  Sidmouth, and go to the Home Office where he very kindly gives me despatches for Lord Castlereagh, and a courier’s pass. I break up my lodgings, pay off Maurice who treats me with unaccountable fierté, and go to the Angel Inn Catherine Street, where after taking cold meal I set off at eight in the Dover Mail with my companion. At Dartford a black-looking, dirty young fellow came into the coach and without any preface, in two minutes told us “Yo soy principe in Catalunea.” I brushed up my bad Spanish. The Prince was addressed by one on the outside, who asked him, “How goes it?” and other familiar questions. I talked to him of his friend without – he said, “Es mi criado.”

April 15 1814: John Adams Explains Everything

On April 15 1814, John Adams writes a mammoth size letter to John Taylor discussing his political and philosophical views in great detail. It is quintessential Adams: wise, prejudiced, learned and incoherent.

Quincy, 15 April, 1814.
Sir,— I have received your Inquiry in a large volume neatly bound. Though I have not read it in course, yet, upon an application to it of the Sortes Virgiliancæ, scarce a page has been found in which my name is not mentioned, and some public sentiment or expression of mine examined. Revived as these subjects are, in this manner, in the recollection of the public, after an oblivion of so many years, by a gentleman of your high rank, ample fortune, learned education, and powerful connections, I flatter myself it will not be thought improper in me to solicit your attention to a few explanations and justifications of a book that has been misunderstood, misrepresented, and abused, more than any other, except the Bible, that I have ever read.
In the first words of the first section, you say, “Mr. Adams’s political system deduces government from a natural fate; the policy of the United States deduces it from moral liberty.” Continue reading