Memoirs of Napoleon - Volume 12

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[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, at the end of several of the files for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making an entire meal of them. D.W.]



His Private Secretary

Edited by R. W. Phipps Colonel, Late Royal Artillery





Riots in Hamburg and Lubeck--Attempted suicide of M. Konning-- Evacuation of Hamburg--Dissatisfaction at the conduct of General St. Cyr--The Cabinets of Vienna and the Tuileries--First appearance of the Cossacks--Colonel Tettenborn invited to occupy Hamburg--Cordial reception of the Russians--Depredations--Levies of troops-- Testimonials of gratitude to Tettenborn--Napoleon's new army--Death of General Morand--Remarks of Napoleon on Vandamme--Bonaparte and Gustavus Adolphus--Junction of the corps of Davoust and Vandamme-- Reoccupation of Hamburg by the French--General Hogendorff appointed Governor of Hamburg--Exactions and vexatious contributions levied upon Hamburg and Lubeck--Hostages.

A considerable time before Napoleon left Paris to join the army, the bulk of which was in Saxony, partial insurrections occurred in many places. The interior of France proper was indeed still in a state of tranquillity, but it was not so in the provinces annexed by force to the extremities of the Empire, especially in the north, and in the unfortunate Hanse Towns, for which, since my residence at Hamburg, I have always felt the greatest interest. The intelligence I received was derived from such unquestionable sources that I can pledge myself for the truth of what I have to state respecting the events which occurred in those provinces at the commencement of 1813; and subsequently I obtained a confirmation of all the facts communicated by my correspondence when I was sent to Hamburg by Louis XVIII. in 1815.

M. Steuve, agent from the Court of Russia, who lived at Altona apparently as a private individual, profited by the irritation produced by the measures adopted at Hamburg. His plans were so well arranged that he was promptly informed of the route of the Grand Army from Moscow, and the approach of the Allied troops. Aided by the knowledge and activity of Sieur Hanft of Hamburg, M. Steuve profited by the discontent of a people so tyrannically governed, and seized the opportunity for producing an explosion. Between eight and nine o'clock on the morning of the 24th of February 1813 an occurrence in which the people were concerned was the signal for a revolt. An individual returning to Hamburg by the Altona gate would not submit to be searched by a fiscal agent, who in consequence maltreated him and wounded him severely. The populace instantly rose, drove away the revenue guard, and set fire to the guard- house. The people also, excited by secret agents, attacked other French posts, where they committed the same excesses. Surprised at this unexpected movement, the French authorities retired to the houses in which they resided. All the respectable inhabitants who were unconnected with the tumult likewise returned to their homes, and no person appeared out of doors.

General Carry St. Cyr had the command of Hamburg after the Prince of Eckmuhl's departure for the Russian campaign.

--[General Carry St. Cyr is not to be contused with the Marshal Gonvion de St. Cyr; he fell into disgrace for his conduct at Hamburg at this time, and was not again employed by Napoleon. Under the Restoration he became Governor of French Guiana.]--

At the first news of the revolt he set about packing up his papers, and Comte de Chaban, M. Konning, the Prefect of Hamburg, and M. Daubignosc, the Director of Police, followed his example. It was not till about four o'clock in the afternoon that a detachment of Danish hussars arrived at Hamburg, and the populace: was then speedily dispersed. All the respectable citizens and men of property assembled the next morning and adopted means for securing internal tranquillity, so that the Danish troops were enabled to return to Altona. Search was then made for the ringleaders of the disturbance. Many persons were arrested, and a military commission, ad hoc; was appointed to try them. The commission, however, condemned only one individual, who, being convicted of being one of the most active voters, was sentenced to be shot, and the sentence was carried into execution.

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