21 SEPTEMBER 1912, Page 18


M. Esaareaatatrs book deals with the -relations between Napoleon and Murat :from the Treaty of Bayonne in 1808 till the latter's defeat at Nolentino by-the Austrians ie. 1815. It is every capible piece-of biography, full of fresh and inter- esting matter, and undoubtedly throws a new light on what has hitherto been a somewhat stegleeted by-way of history. The bola is exceedingly avell written, and while the text suffers occasionally-from an embarrassing wealth of detail, the anther's. light touch and gift of -picturesque-expression' carry tierearler along and keep the interest sustained.

Joachim Murat received the -Kingdom of Naples from Napoleon in 1808, and was mot 'satisfied. He was ambitious, and whenaild dynasties are crumbling the ruins afford ready feudal:1s 'for the climber. Born in 1767, the son of the inn- keeper -at Cahors, he was already, through his courage and daring as a cavalry leader, the Grand Duke of Cleves and Berg, a Marshal of France and Grand Admiral of the Empire. In addition he had married the Emperor's sister,-Caroline.. And he was not satisfied with the petty kingdom of Naples. He had expected Spain. Bat Napoleon, while; he . was ever ready to reward those who fought well for him, was a profound judge of human nature. He admired Murat's prowess in the field, but he was fully conscious at-the same time that he was no, statesman. His conduct of the affairs of his duchy had demonstrated this fact twthe full. Murat 'lacked the:qualities. which audi a ale; demands. He was restless and impetuous, and Napoleon's attitude towards him grew harsh and unsympathetic. It was tohis -wife that-he owed his kingdom, and in order that there should be no dubiety about that fact the Emperor caused the foltewiag to be inserted in the treaty :---" This Princess (Caroline), who-by virtue of the present cession, made chiefly inher favour, establishes her descendants upon the throile. . . ." The kingdom thus grudgingly bestowed was fated to -be a cause of enmity between the two men. It is probable that Napoleon, knowing, as he did, Murat's disposition, foresaw the effortshe would 'probably make to rid himself of the galling yoke of France, and hence it is that the Treaty of Bayonne was drawn up in terms- of such great precision that every possible contingency seemed to be provided for. At the very outset we find Murat on tennis of hostility with the Emperor on questions of policy and administration. His vanity was such that he would not admit that any- one was his superior inability. He oweeLeverything,to Napoleon, and in his letters he never lines of 'telling his feelings of devotion and love. But it was tin more, after all, than a servile allegiance-to one mho Watt the arbiter of men's fortunes and the dispenser of dignities:and kingdoms. When the evil days dawned for the Empire, Mural's loyalty waned rapidly- " Murat, In liAbe ! " as the Emperor said. He strove to play the part of autocrat in hialittle 'kingdom. His hungry gaze was ever directed to fresh 'fields• of conqueet. He took Capri, and when he Sailed in his. Sicilian 'expedition nothing would - contest him but the conquest of the Papal States and the crown of Italy. The natural and inevitable result was that he fell into the hands of the Nationalists. " The leaven of haired," *aye M NlapiEslisr, " that these men contrived to instilinto Murat'a wind was-the ultimate cause of the betrayal of 1814." The change was soon marked. His policy became andieguisedly " Separatist." He was no longer a French prince seated an the throne. of Naples, but "Il Gioaechino," as fervent a Neapolitan ,as any of his subjects. Napoleon became angry and issued stern warnings. But the Russian crisis was approaching, and Napoleon .could not afford to dispense with his great cavalry leader. If it, had not been for this fact, there is little doubt but that Murat would have lost'his kingdom. As it was, fattens favoured him.. Napoleon had-to-withdraw hisaorps d'observation- from Italy to join the Grande Annie, although he knew well that this meant the extinction of his authonity at Naples.

After the Russian campaign Murat's troubles began again. lire had incurred the Emperor's strong displeasure through his:leaving the Army and harming -back to Naples after he .coramand. "Yon are a goad: soldier in the field," qvrote./gapoleab, "lilt:anywhere else you have no firm- ness, no force of-character. I.suppeee you -are not one of those • Napoleon and Ring 'Murat. By Albert -Bspitalier. Translated from the French by J. Louis May. London: John Lane. [1ee. 6d.-net.] •

paapitawhoithagineethat the lion is dead. If that is what you are counting on- you are making a mistake. You have done me all the harm you possibly could since 1-left Vilna. But no mere • of 'that. The-title-of King has completely tamed your head. If you wish to retain it conduct yourself properly." Murat became desperately afraid that the -negotiations for peace that were in progress would leave him without a erown.

He endeavoured to come to an agreement with Metternich and failed. He was no more successful with Bentinok, the

British representative. "Never cease to trustee," he wrote to the Emperor; "my heart is better than.my head!" The.

Imperial Army claimed his services at Dresden, and while he was there negotiations were again opened with Austria, and this time they were powerfully advanced owing to the attitude taken up by Queen Caroline, who had been left as Regent at Naples during liurat's absence. Murat's falling away was a gradual process; Caroline's was a sudden resolve ; and the memory of past benefits and the love due from .a 'sister to a brother were alike unavailing to restrain her.

-"It was Leipzig [says M. Espitalier], and Leipzig only, that .decided Murat to turn traitor. after all, whatever strictures we may pass npon his conduct, it needed a battle to bring him to make up his mind, and he knew 'better than any one how fiercely the conflict had raged. With Caroline, Napoleon's on sister, it was different. The mere possibility of what might come was sufficient to send her over to the-enemy.'

Everything goes' well for a little. Treaties and armisticea are arranged with Austria and Britain. Murat is to be

guaranteed in his ikingdom, and the Papal States-are in his grasp. While the Emperor who had made him was fighting

against overwhelming odds on the frontiers of Franee, and desperately disputing every inch of ground with the 'Allies, Murat in the ecstasy of triumph is dreaming. of brilliant days to come. But the awakening came swiftly. It was no part af the policy of the. Allies that Murat should assume the crown of Italy, and to his dismay he saw all his plans of aggression frustrated. In his despair he turned once more to France, but it was too late. Paris had fallen, and Napoleon was on his way to Elba. Murat.looked in vain for a friend among the Allies. The ground was gradually failing beneath, his feet.

At the Congress of Vienna the counsels- of Talleyrand pre- vailed. Austria was hostile. Britain refused to interfere. In his extremity one more chance came to him. Napoleon escaped from Elba and returned to France. With character- istic recklessness Murat makes his last bid for Italian sovereignty. In his selfishness he considered only his own chances, and endeavoured to carry out his plash before Napoleon was in a position to assist him. The tesult was- a foregone conclusion. The defeat-at Tolentino by the Austrians

was crushing, and. Murat fled to France for refuge. He wrote to the Emperor that, having lost his crown, he should. deem himself happy if he might shed his last drop of blood in his service. But Napoleon, his heart filled with bitterness at

Murat's fothy, heel-no patience left, and en kept him relentlessly iat a distance.

"Meanwhile the fates were working their will; the-destiny of each was being accomplished. The Imperial -sun was slowly sinking, soon to be quenched in the hopeless night of Waterloo. Of all the Emperes mighty power, of all his European domination, of the sway which Murat had once wielded over Naples of the splendid dreams of Italian sovereignty which had once been his, nothing now remained but two lonely fallen men, and while the one was holding on his way to his long exile at St. Helena, the other was setting forth to meet his doom at Pizzo."

In after years, at St. Helena, Napoleon sometimes regretted his harshness to Murat. That incomparable sobreur would

'have-been of great service in the cavalry charge at Waterloo. "It is veryprobable," he confessed to O'Meara, "-the French

would have gained 'the victory if Murat had -commanded the cavalry. . . . Murat was the best cavalry officer in the world.

He would have given more impetuosity to the charge. There wanted -but very little; I assure aarato-gain the day for me. Enfoncer dews ou trois bataillons, and in all probability-Murat would have effected that." But he continues : "I cannot conceive how-so brave-a- man 'could be so ldehe."