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FrRevol_451-500.indd 8 3/16/12 1:11 PM CHAPTER VII M. Neckers Last Work Under the Consulship ofBonaparte. M. Necker had a conversation with Bonaparte as he passed into Italy by Mount St. Bernard a little time before the battle of Marengo; during this conversation, which lasted two hours, the First Consul made a rather agreeable impression on my father by the confidential way in which he spoke to him of his future plans. No personal resentment therefore animated M. Necker against Bonaparte when he published his book entitled Last Political and Financial Views.1 The death of the Due d'Enghien had not yet occurred; many people hoped for much benefit from the government of Bonaparte; and M. Necker was in two respects dependent upon him: both because he was desirous that I should not be banished from Paris, where I loved to live, and because his deposit of two million was still in the hands of the government, in other words, of the First Consul. But M. Necker, in his retirement, had imposed the propagation of truth as an official duty upon himself, the obligations ofwhich no motive could induce him to neglect. He wished order and freedom, monarchy and a representative government to be given to France; and as often as any deviation from this line occurred, he thought it his duty to employ his talent as a writer, and his knowledge as a statesman, to endeavor to bring back men's minds toward this goal. At that time, however, regarding Bonaparte as the defender of order and the preserver of France from anarchy, he called him the necessary man,2 and in several passages of his books r. The book was published in 1802. 2. The phrase "necessary man" is from Necker's Dernieres vues de politique et definance, 7· After calling Napoleon "a necessary man," however, Necker went on (in sec. VIII) to FrRevol_451-500.indd 9 3/16/12 1:11 PM cHAPTER vI I. Necker's Last Work praised his abilities again and again with the highest expressions ofesteem. But this praise did not pacify the First Consul. M. Necker had touched upon the point which his ambition felt most acutely by discussing the project he had formed of establishing a monarchy in France ofwhich he was to be the head, and ofsurrounding himselfwith a nobility ofhis own creation. Bonaparte did not wish that his design should be announced before it was accomplished; still less was he disposed to allow its faults to be pointed out. Accordingly, as soon as this work appeared, the journalists received orders to attack it with the greatest fury. Bonaparte distinguished M. Necker as the principal author of the Revolution: for if he loved this Revolution because it had set him on the throne, he hated it by his instinct ofdespotism: he would have wished to have the effect without the cause. Besides, his genius in hatred sagaciously suggested to him that M. Necker, who suffered more than anyone from the misfortunes which had struck so many respectable people in France, would be deeply wounded by being designated, though in the most unjust manner, as the man who had prepared them. No claim for the restoration ofmy father's deposit was admitted after the publication of his book in I 8o2; and the First Consul declared, in the circle ofhis court, that he would not permit me to return to Paris anymore because, he said, I had given my father such false information on the state of France. Assuredly my father had no need of me for anything in this world, except, I hope, for my affection; and when I arrived at Coppet, his manuscript was already in the press.3 It is curious to observe what it was in this book that could excite so keenly the resentment ofthe First Consul. In the first part of his work,4 M. Necker analyzed the consular constitution as it then existed, and examined also the hypothesis of the royalty established by Bonaparte as it might then be foreseen. He laid it down as draw attention to the highly complex and difficult task faced by the First Consul. For more information, see ibid., 272. 3· In Ten Years ofExile, Madame de Stael acknowledged that she encouraged her father to write and publish the book. For more information, see Ten Years ofExile, pt. I, chap. viii, 38. Also see Haussonville, Madame de Staid et M. Necker d'apre'.s...


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