MEMOIRS of DR. THOMAS W. EVANS

The

SECOND FRENCH EMPIRE

EDITED BY
EDWARD A. CRANE, M.D.

NAPOLEON THE THIRD
THE EMPRESS EUGÉNIE
THE PRINCE IMPERIAL

THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON III
From an engraving of the portrait by Cabanel.

NEW YORK
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

1905

 

THIS volume, entitled "Memoirs of Dr. Thomas W. Evans---The Second French Empire-Napoleon III---The Empress Eugénie --- The Prince Imperial," contains a portion of the "Memoirs and Unpublished Works" of the late Dr. Thomas W. Evans; and its publication is approved and authorized by his Executors, as directed by the writer in his last will and Testament.

CHARLES F. MULLER,
ARTHUR E. VALOIS,
EDWARD A. CRANE,
WILLIAM W. HEBERTON,

NEW YORK, 1905.

(Executors under the will of Thomas W. Evans, deceased.)

 

PREFACE

ON account of my friendly connection for more than thirty years with the late Dr. Thomas W. Evans and in compliance also with his frequently expressed desire that I should be the editor of his "Memoirs" and manuscript remains, these writings were placed in my hands soon after his death; and I have, since, been requested by his executors to prepare for publication that portion of them which gives the sub-title, and forms the subject-matter of this volume.

Dr. Evans's long and close attachment to Napoleon III and his family, the confidential relations he maintained with other sovereigns and princely houses and his large and intimate acquaintance among the men and women who, from 1848 to 1870, were the governing powers in Europe, afforded him unusual opportunities of observing the evolution of political ideas and institutions in France, and the conditions and the causes that immediately preceded and determined the fall of the Second French Empire as seen from within; and supplied him also with facts and very valuable information concerning the same subjects as seen, or gathered in, from without. No man, moreover, was better acquainted than he with what may be termed the moral atmosphere of the several Courts to which, for so many years, he was professionally attached. In a word, he had acquired an unusual amount of that kind of knowledge which is derived from frequent and informal intercourse with persons filling the highest official and social positions in widely separated political communities, and which especially qualified him to form and pronounce correct judgments, with respect to the significance of the events that were the most remarkable, and the character of the rulers and of the men who were the most prominent, during a very interesting period of French and European history.

Although Dr. Evans could make very little pretension to literary ability, he possessed the gift of saying what he had to say with such evident sincerity, that it is greatly to be regretted he has placed on record so little, when he might have told us so much, concerning the personal qualities, opinions, habits, and manner of life of the great personages with whom it was his privilege to become acquainted. Indeed, I am quite sure that whoever reads this book---whatever defects he may find in it---will sometimes feel that he is a very near and sympathetic witness of events and incidents which the writer himself saw and has with such distinctness and soulfulness described.

The writings entitled "Memoirs," by Dr. Evans were, as left by him, in two parts. The first contained a sketch of the political and military situation in France and Germany that immediately preceded the Franco-German War, together with a very full account of the escape of the Empress Eugénie from Paris, and the establishment of the Imperial family at Chislehurst, in England. This formal narrative was prepared in 1884, but remained unpublished---principally from a sentiment of delicacy on the part of the writer. Twelve years later, in 1896---the year before his death---Dr. Evans began to make a record of his reminiscences in an autobiographical form, but composed in substance of occurrences and experiences personal to himself during his life as a court dentist, together with numerous character sketches of the distinguished people it had been his good fortune to meet and to know. This record was the second part of the "Memoirs." Unfortunately no attempt had been made, while preparing it, to give to it a literary form. The subjects were treated separately and with little regard to their proper order. Many of the pages contained merely notes or memoranda; and, as was inevitable under the circumstances, incidents were re-told, and there were numerous minor repetitions, especially with respect to matters that had already been set forth in the first part. The work of coordinating and assimilating the materials had been left for a more convenient season---and, as it has proved, for another hand to do.

In preparing the contents of the present volume I have selected from the two parts the portions in which, in my opinion, the public is most likely to be interested, and which at the same time are of the greatest value historically. They tell the story of the flight of the Empress from her capital, of which no complete and authentic account has ever before been published, and include practically everything in the "Memoirs," that relates to the Second French Empire.

The greatest difficulty that I have encountered, in the course of my editorial work has arisen from the necessity of suppressing one or the other of the repetitions, or very similar statements in the parts referred to, and then, so fusing or, rather, stitching the paragraphs and sections together as to give to the whole sufficient continuity and unity to be acceptable to myself without doing violence to the original text. The plan adopted, and which I believe to be the best in view of the facts above mentioned, has been to keep together, and in the body of this book, what relates directly to the Fall of the Empire, and to include in the opening and closing chapters most of the author's more strictly personal reminiscences and appreciations of the Emperor Napoleon III. and the Empress Eugénie.

I certainly should feel, however, that I had altogether failed to accomplish what I have sought to do, were I not aware that it is the generally conceded privilege of the writer of memoirs and reminiscences to remember only what he chooses to remember, and to say it just when it pleases him to say it. And in according with me this liberty to the author, I trust the reader may be equally generous toward the editor of this book, so far as he may be disposed to hold him responsible for an arrangement of its contents that may occasionally seem wanting in sequence, or for a style of writing that is perhaps, at times, a little too décousu.

But there is one point of more importance than any question of form with respect to which I have no desire to disclaim my responsibility. For the accuracy of the narrative where it relates to matters of which I have a personal knowledge---and they are many---I hold myself equally responsible with the author. And I may also say that I have felt it to be a part of my editorial duty to verify his statements. where errors of fact seemed possible, whenever I could do so conveniently; to compare with the originals the passages he has cited from various writings and reports; to name his authorities, when they were not given by him; and to contribute a few appendices and foot notes, in one or two of which I have not hesitated to express my own opinion of persons with some freedom.

EDWARD A. CRANE.
22 Rue ST. AUGUSTIN, PARIS.

 

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I
THE BEGINNINGS OF A FRIENDSHIP

How my acquaintance with Prince Louis Napoleon began---His life at the Élysée---The day before the coup d'État---Dr. Conneau and Charles Thélin---The Emperor's way of bestowing favors---A cross of the Legion of Honor---A diamond pin---My professional relations with the Emperor---Dentistry in France in 1847---The wife of a dentist---My position at Court---"Have you nothing to ask?"---The courage of the Emperor---The bombs of Orsini---The Emperor's generous nature---A debt of Honor---A Dreyfus case---François Arago---The Emperor's philanthropy---"L'Empereur des Ouvriers"---The Emperor's amiability---Abd-el-Kader

CHAPTER II
CHARACTER OF THE EMPEROR

The mother of Louis Napoleon---The personal appearance of the Emperor---His love of the country---"He was a wonderful landscape gardener"---He cared nothing for art for art's sake ---His utilitarianism---His domestic habits---He was an able writer---He despised flattery---M. Duruy---The Emperor disliked circumlocution---He was tenacious of his opinions, but slow to form them---The sources of his information---The Burlingame Mission---The Emperor's extreme caution---An illustration---The Emperor's wit and humor---He was a peacemaker---His imperturbability no mask---He was a forcible speaker---His religion---His pride---His qualities the opposite of our faults

CHAPTER III
THE MARRIAGE OF THE EMPEROR

Louis Napoleon is advised to marry---The Princess Caroline---The Duchess of Hamilton---Ancient and modern Knights---The Duke of Hamilton---A great surprise---Eugénie de Montijo; her character, her person---The Emperor announces his engagement---How the announcement was received---The marriage ceremony---My first visit to the Empress at the Tuileries---A little incident---The Empress does not forget her old friends---Pepa----The character of Eugénie de Montijo unchanged by her elevation to a throne---Criticism---The fortune of the Imperial family---The demands upon the privy purse---The generosity of the Empress---Her first act after her engagement---Her visits to the cholera hospitals---"Pious, but not bigoted "---Her public liberalities---The house parties at Compiègne---The Empress a lover of the things of the mind---The Suez Canal---The character of the Empress described by the Emperor---The Empress not exempt from the defects of her qualities

CHAPTER IV
THE IMPERIAL COURT---THE WAR OF THE REBELLION

The Imperial Court---"Paris the heaven of Americans"---The banquet to Gen. John A. Dix---The American colony---How things have changed---Parisian society in those days---Causes of its decadence---Its "exoticism "---Sunt lacrim rerum--The War of the Rebellion---The Emperor not unfriendly to our Government---Mr. William M. Dayton---How I kept the Emperor informed with respect to the progress of the war---The Roebuck incident---The Emperor is urged to recognize the Southern Confederacy---How he came to suggest friendly mediation---He sends for me to come to Compiègne---The interview and what came of it---My visit to America---Interviews with Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward---Visit to City Point---Conversations with General Grant---His opinion of "political generals"---The Emperor's first words on my return---Why the Imperial Government did not recognize the Southern Confederacy---The Mexican Expedition---The assassination of Mr. Lincoln---The United States Sanitary Commission---The Empress's letter to me

CHAPTER V
THE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT OF FRANCE

The importance of the works of Napoleon III.---He created modern Paris; its parks and water-works; its public buildings---Provincial cities reconstructed---Roads and railways extended---Credit institutions founded---Commercial treaties made---The increase of capital; of trade---The interest of the Emperor in the lodgings of artisans and the sanitation of cities---What the Emperor did for agriculture---His interest in the welfare of the industrial classes---How he came to the relief of the people at the time of the great inundations---The Exposition of 1867---A dreadful picture of moral corruption ---The greatest work of Napoleon III

CHAPTER VI
THE FRANCO-GERMAN WAR OF 1870-71

A visit to St. Cloud---The candidature of Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern---The Duke de Gramont---The Emperor not inclined to war---The opinion of the Empress---The Emperor's bad counselors---General Leboeuf---An incident---Public feeling---I propose to establish an ambulance---The service it subsequently rendered---The declaration of war---Enthusiasm of the people---The excitement in Paris---The anxiety of the Emperor---He felt that France was not prepared for the war---His interest in the army---The condition sine quâ non---Words not to be forgotten---The departure of the troops---The Empress is appointed Regent---The Emperor leaves St. Cloud for Metz---Misgivings

CHAPTER VII
THE FRENCH ARMY---SEDAN AND BISMARCK

The efforts of the Emperor to increase the strength of the army---His proposals are denounced by the Opposition---Favre---Thiers---Magnin---Jules Simon---State of the army when war was declared---On arriving at Metz the Emperor finds nothing ready---Misled by incorrect reports---A fair example---The situation becomes more and more difficult---A change of commanders---Sedan---A vivid account of the battle written by the Emperor---Further resistance impossible---The flag of truce---The letter of the Emperor to the King of Prussia---De Wimpfen meets Von Moltke and Bismarck at Donchéry---Interview between the Emperor and Bismarck described by Bismarck in a letter to the King of Prussia---Two letters---"Conneau"

CHAPTER VIII
THE FALL OF THE SECOND EMPIRE

Effects in Paris of the news of the first reverses---"Nous sommes trahis"---The resignation of the Ministry---General de Palikao ---A new Ministry is formed---General Trochu is appointed Military Governor---An unsuccessful mission---The announcement of the disaster of Sedan---A Cabinet Council is convoked---General Trochu is requested to come to the Palace---The night of September 3d at the Tuileries---The morning of September 4th---The council of Ministers---A deputation is sent to the Empress---Her Majesty is advised to resign---Her reply---The proposition of M. Thiers---The Palais-Bourbon is invaded by the mob---The conduct of General Trochu---The Emperor pronounces it "flagrant treason"---The simple facts---A pandemonium---The last session of the Senate---"I yield to force "

CHAPTER IX
DEPARTURE OF THE EMPRESS FROM THE TUILERIES

The invasion of the Tuileries---General Mellinet parleys with the invaders--How the palace was protected---The interior of the Tuileries---The Empress waits in the palace to hear from the Assembly---She is advised to leave---She hesitates---Prince de Metternich and Signor Nigra---M. Piétri---The Empress bids adieu to her friends---She leaves the Tuileries---She is forced to return---Quite by chance---"The Wreck of the Medusa"---"Are you afraid?"---"Not a bit"---A curious coincidence---"Il faut de l'audace"---" Voilà l'Impératrice"---No one at home---The Empress comes to my house

CHAPTER X
THE REVOLUTION-THE EMPRESS AT MY HOUSE

The calm before the storm---Paris in revolution---The Champs Élysées---The Place de la Concorde---The street scenes---Some reflections---How certain things came to pass without a hitch ---The funeral of Victor Noir---A paradox---Concerning the "Républic" ---A race, and the winners---A strange letter---A mystery explained---I return to my house---Two ladies wish to see me---My interview with the Empress---An awkward situation---Planning to escape from Paris---Questions to be considered---The plan finally agreed upon---Our passports---The safety of the Empress left to chance---The Empress no pessimist---Paris at midnight---I make a reconnaissance

CHAPTER XI
THE FLIGHT OF THE EMPRESS FROM PARIS

The departure from my house---How we passed through the Porte Maillot---A little history---The Empress talks freely---The French people---Saint-Germain-en-Laye---On the road to Poissy---We stop at the wine-shop of Madame Fontaine---A la bonne franquette---We stop again near Mantes---O fortunatos agricolas---I procure another carriage and fresh horses---The formation of the new Government is reported to her Majesty---Her astonishment on hearing that General Trochu was the President of this Government---Her comments---Could she no longer rely on any one?---The consequences of the Revolution in Paris not fully apprehended at the time---The Empress discusses the situation---Her courage---Her patriotism

CHAPTER XII
ON THE ROAD TO THE COAST

Pacy-sur-Eure--A change of conveyances---The "outfit"---A professional opinion---Evreux---"Vive la Republique"---A tragic story---La Commandérie---Horses but no carriage---An accident---La Rivière de Thibouville---A serious question---"Le Soleil d'Or"---Diplomacy---"Too funny for anything!"---French peasants---A night alarm---Madame Desrats and her "cabriolet"---"My carriage is at your disposal "---A railway trip---A miserable morning---I go for a carriage---A polite clerk ---A striking contrast---The last stage of our journey---Pont l'Evêque---Another coincidence

CHAPTER XIII
DEAUVILLE---THE EMBARKATION

Deauville---Precautions---Looking for a boat in which to cross the Channel---Interview with Sir John Burgoyne-Lady Burgoyne---Dinner at the Hôtel du Casino---A small gold locket---I meet Sir John Burgoyne on the quay---Her Majesty leaves the Hôtel du Casino---A wild night---The strangeness of the situation---Contrasts---On board the Gazelle---Dr. Crane returns to Paris

CHAPTER XIV
THE MEETING BETWEEN MOTHER AND SON

We leave the harbor---Rough weather---In a gale---We reach Ryde Roads---The landing---At the York Hotel---News of the Prince Imperial---The Empress and the Bible---We go to Brighton---The Empress hears that the Prince Imperial is at Hastings---She insists on going there---A vain device---We arrive at Hastings---I go to the Marine Hotel and find the Prince---My plan for a meeting between mother and son---The Empress cannot wait---The way barred---The Prince in the presence of his mother---Tears of joy and of sorrow---The Empress and the Prince Imperial remain in Hastings---House-hunting---Mrs. Evans comes to England---Miss Shaw---Camden Place---Negotiations---Camden Place is rented---"A spirited horse, perfectly safe"---Her Majesty leaves Hastings---She takes possession of her new home---The first night at Chislehurst---The first act of the Empress next day---A tragic story---Conversations with the Empress

CHAPTER XV
I VISIT THE EMPEROR---DIPLOMACY

I leave England---Queen Augusta---The prison and the prisoner---"The courtesy of the age"---My visit to the Emperor at Wilhelmshöhe---I visit the prison camps and hospitals---My return to England---France now isolated---The promise of the Czar---The Empress endeavors to limit the consequences of the French military disasters---She writes to the Emperor Alexander---She intercedes on behalf of the Republican Minister for Foreign Affairs---Count Bismarck is embarrassed-Diplomatic notes

CHAPTER XVI
INTRIGUES AND MORE DIPLOMACY

The mysterious M. Régnier---His interviews with Bismarck---The situation at Metz---M. Régnier is received by Marshal Bazaine---General Bourbaki leaves for Chislehurst---The Empress is astonished---She tries once more to obtain peace on favorable terms---She writes to her friend Francis Joseph---The memorandum of the Emperor---General Boyer is sent to the German headquarters---His interviews with Count Bismarck---The French army makes no "pronunciamentos"---A council of war at Metz---"The only means of salvation"---General Boyer goes to Chislehurst---The Council at Camden Place---The Empress declares that she will never sign a treaty of peace in ignorance of its terms---Her letter to General Boyer---A lesson never forgotten---The Alliance with Italy---The political ideas and sympathies of the Empress---An interesting incident----Her letters to the Emperor, written in October, 1869---A letter written in October, 1896---Justice will be done

CHAPTER XVII
THE END OF THE WAR---THE COMMUNE

I return to France---The suffering among the French prisoners---The Clothing Society---I engage in relief work---Hostes dum vulnerati fratres---The fellow-feeling produced by suffering shared in common---The end of the war---A National Assembly ---The humiliating peace---The Emperor arrives in England---The Sedan of the Government of the National Defense---Mrs. Evans and I visit the Emperor and Empress at Camden Place---The admirable resignation of the Emperor---His interest in the education of the Prince Imperial---Mrs. Evans and I return to Paris---The aspect of the city

CHAPTER XVIII
DEATH OF THE EMPEROR

The visitors to Camden Place---November 15, 1871---The Emperor's health---His last photograph---Surgical advice is sought---A consultation is held---A statement contradicted---The operation---The death of the Emperor---The impression it produced in Paris and in London---Messages of condolence--- The immediate cause of the Emperor's death---His funeral---"Vive Napoléon IV!"

APPENDICES

I. A LETTER FROM THE PRINCESS JOSEPHINE TO NAPOLEON III.
II. THE FAMILY OF THE EMPRESS
III. THE EMPEROR'S FORTUNE
IV. SPEECH OF LORD BROUGHAM
V. THE FALSIFIED DESPATCH
VI. CONCERNING THE REORGANIZATION OF THE ARMY
VII. THE LOYALTY OF GENERAL TROCHU
VIII. EXTRACTS FROM OFFICIAL REPORTS OF THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT
IX. THE EMPEROR'S RESPONSIBILITY

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


Chapter 1