April 27 1815: State of Uncertainty

On April 28 1815, John Cam Hobhouse writes to Byron, from Paris.

My dear Byron, It is not all together off the cards that your ode with some little alteration may go through twenty more editions – Dreadful alarms prevail amongst the friends of the Court, and one or two English admirers think of formally denouncing a suspicious character or <two> so close to the Imperial person from whom in their wisdom they apprehend great danger – I have done my utmost to learn the truth from all parties, and assure you that such is the present state of uncertainty about every thing, that I defy Solomon himself in all his glory to make a probable prophecy.

One dreadful truth appears daily more evident, that blood will be spilt at least in the capital but do not mistake – , not one drop for the Bourbons – on the contrary their partizans will be the first to fall – The Imperialists may sacrifice them to the vengeance of the republicans or the republicans to the fears of the Imperialists – The Imperial guard is still at Paris – and the Emperor also – They talk of his taking the field directly but I believe it not – first because he has declared and all here declare that the French will not strike the first blow – and secondly because Bertrand100 Grand Marshall of the Palace is to send to day five or six tickets for some English to see Napoleon at Mass on Sunday next – I have seen this Micromegas twice since I wrote to you – All cry out for Peace with England – Peace with England – The politicians may think this the very time for making war, and wading through slaughter a second time to the French capital – I feel secure that half a million of Frenchmen would at this moment willingly resign their lives under the hands of the executioner for the sake of securing the man of their choice – What will they not do in the field of battle? I do not say they may not be beaten – on the contrary I rather think they will –

The republic however is the cry even of his partizans, for the sake of union against the general enemy, and even of many royalists for the same reason – I know several who have entered into the Imperial Guard merely because they think it their duty to defend their country under Cromwell as well as Charles –

A most unfavorable change has taken place for the Imperialists since the publication of the new constitution on Sunday – they let fly a joke at it on Monday in a <XxXxXx> paper – A man goes to a bookseller’s shop asks for the constitution of 1815. The shopman replies – “Very sorry Sir! but we don’t sell periodical publications – The good people here really expected that the Emperor would say that he waited for the meeting of the Electoral colleges on the 26th of May to receive his crown from the hands of the people – Instead of that – he confirms every one of the old constitutions of the Empire which his abdication & the constitutional charter of Louis had annulled –

The hereditary nobles, and the personal representation of the army, shock every body. It is grown mauvais ton to say a word in his defence – but the soldiers will not fight a bit the worse, and barring domestic treason, the allies are not a whit advanced by these faults, for faults they are, and so great that I think Napoleon had better have declared at once that the army had given him his throne & by the army he would keep it – Not that the people will rise against him if the allies enter France – I hope our stupid bloodthirsty ministers do not expect that – There will never I think be a French sword drawn for the Bourbons again except perhaps by the shop keepers of Marseilles –

Farewell. I beg my respects to My Lady and am
very truly your’s – J C H

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