HORTENSE de BEAUHARNAIS

DAUGHTER OF AN EMPRESS
QUEEN OF HOLLAND
MOTHER OF AN EMPEROR

dinsdag 6 maart 2012

Hortense in Exile

After Waterloo, Hortense, suspected by the Bourbons of having arranged the return from Elba, had to go into exile. The ex king Louis, who now lived at Florence, had compelled her by a scandalous law-suit to give up to him the elder of her two children. With her remaining child she wandered, under the name of duchesse de Saint-Leu, from Geneva to Aix, Carlsruhe and Augsburg. In 1817 she bought the castle of Arenenberg, in the canton of Turgau, on a wooded hill looking over the Lake of Constance. theodora/napoleon

Upon the departure of Napoleon, Hortense, with her children, returned to Paris. She was entreated by her friends to seek refuge in the interior of France, as the Royalists were much exasperated against her in consequence of her reception of the Emperor. They assured her 
that the army and the people would rally around her and her children as the representatives of the Empire. But Hortense replied:
"I must now undergo whatever fortune has in store for me. I am nothing now. I can not pretend to make the people think that I rally the troops around me. If I had been Empress of France, I would have done every thing to prolong the defense. But now it does not become me to mingle my destinies with such great interests, and I must be resigned."
In a few days the allied armies were again in possession of Paris. The Royalists assumed so threatening an attitude towards her, that she felt great solicitude for the safety of her children. Many persons kindly offered to give them shelter. But she was unwilling to compromise her friends by receiving from them such marks of attention. A kind-hearted woman, by the name of , kept a hose establishment on the Boulevard Montmartre. The children were intrusted to her care, where they would be concealed from observation, and where they would still be perfectly comfortable.
Hortense had her residence in a hotel on the Rue Cerutti. The Austrian Prince Schwartzenberg [Pg 228]occupied the same hotel, and Hortense hoped that this circumstance would add to her security. But the Allies were now greatly exasperated against the French people, who had so cordially received the Emperor on his return from Elba. Even the Emperor Alexander treated Hortense with marked coldness. He called upon Prince Schwartzenberg without making any inquiries for her.
Karl von Müffling
The hostility of the Allies towards this unfortunate lady was so great, that on the 19th of July Baron de Muffling, who commanded Paris for the Allies, received an order to notify the Duchess of St. Leu that she must leave Paris within two hours. An escort of troops was offered her, which amounted merely to an armed guard, to secure her departure and to mark her retreat. As Hortense left Paris for exile, she wrote a few hurried lines to a friend, in which she said:
Driven into exile.
"I have been obliged to quit Paris, having been positively expelled from it by the allied armies. So greatly am I, a feeble woman, with her two children, dreaded, that the enemy's troops are posted all along our route, as they say, to protect our passage, but in reality to insure our departure."
Prince Schwartzenberg, who felt much sympathy for Hortense, accompanied her, as a companion and a protector, on her journey to the frontiers of France. Little Louis Napoleon, though then but seven years of age, seemed fully to comprehend the disaster which had overwhelmed them, and that they were banished from their native land. With intelligence far above his years he conversed with his mother, and she found great difficulty in consoling him. It was through the influence of such terrible scenes as these that the character of that remarkable man has been formed.
Chateau de Bercy
It was nine o'clock in the evening when Hortense and her two little boys, accompanied by Prince Schwartzenberg, reached the Chateau de Bercy, where they passed the night. The next morning the journey was resumed towards the frontiers. It was the intention of Hortense to take refuge in a very retired country-seat which she owned at Pregny, in Switzerland, near Geneva. At some points on her journey the Royalists assailed her with reproaches. Again she was cheered by loudly-expressed manifestations of the sympathy and affection of the people. At Dijon the multitude crowding around her carriage, supposing [Pg 230]that she was being conveyed into captivity, gallantly attempted a rescue. They were only appeased by the assurance of Hortense that she was under the protection of a friend.
Takes refuge at Aix.
Scarcely had this melancholy wanderer entered upon her residence at Pregny, with the title of the Duchess of St. Leu, ere the French minister in Switzerland commanded the Swiss government to issue an order expelling her from the Swiss territory. Switzerland could not safely disregard the mandate of the Bourbons of France, who were sustained in their enthronement by allied Europe. Thus pursued by the foes of the Empire, Hortense repaired to Aix, in Savoy. Here she met a cordial welcome. The people remembered her frequent visits to those celebrated springs, her multiplied charities, and here still stood, as an ever-during memorial of her kindness of heart, the hospital which she had founded and so munificently endowed. The magistrates at Aix formally invited her to remain at Aix so long as the Allied powers would allow her to make that place her residence.
Separation of the princes.
It seemed as though Hortense were destined to drain the cup of sorrow to its dregs. Aix was the scene of the dreadful death of Madame [Pg 231]Broc, which we have above described. Every thing around her reminded her of that terrible calamity, and oppressed her spirits with the deepest gloom. And, to add unutterably to her anguish, an agent arrived at Aix from her husband, Louis Bonaparte, furnished with all competent legal powers to take custody of the eldest child and convey him to his father in Italy. It will be remembered that the court had decided that the father should have the eldest and the mother the youngest child. The stormy events of the "Hundred Days" had interrupted all proceedings upon this matter.
This separation was a terrible trial not only to the mother, but to the two boys. The peculiarities of their dispositions and temperaments fitted them to assimilate admirably together. Napoleon Louis, the elder, was bold, resolute, high-spirited. Louis Napoleon, the younger, was gentle, thoughtful, and pensive. The parting was very affecting—Louis Napoleon throwing his arms around his elder brother, and weeping as though his heart would break. The thoughtful child, thus companionless, now turned to his mother with the full flow of his affectionate nature. A French writer, speaking of these scenes, says:
"The soul of Hortense had been already steeped in misfortune, but her power of endurance seemed at length exhausted. When she had embraced her son for the last time, and beheld the carriage depart which bore him away, a deep despondency overwhelmed her spirits. Her very existence became a dream; and it seemed a matter of indifference to her whether her lot was to enjoy or to suffer, to be persecuted, respected, or forgotten."
Continued persecutions.
And now came another blow upon the bewildered brain and throbbing heart of Hortense. The Allies did not deem it safe to allow Hortense and her child to reside so near the frontiers of France. They knew that the French people detested the Bourbons. They knew that all France, upon the first favorable opportunity, would rise in the attempt to re-establish the Empire. The Sardinian government was accordingly ordered to expel Hortense from Savoy. Where should she go? It seemed as though all Europe would refuse a home to this bereaved, heart-broken lady and her child. She remembered her cousin, Stephanie Beauharnais, her schoolmate, whom her mother and Napoleon had so kindly sheltered and provided for in the days when the Royalists [Pg 233]were in exile. Stephanie was the lady to whom her father had been so tenderly attached. She was now in prosperity and power, the wife of the Grand Duke of Baden. Hortense decided to seek a residence at Constance, in the territory of Baden, persuaded that the duke and duchess would not drive her, homeless and friendless, from their soil, out again into the stormy world.
Hospitality of the Swiss.
To reach Baden it was necessary to pass through Switzerland. The Swiss government, awed by France, at first refused to give her permission to traverse their territory. But the Duke of Richelieu intervened in her favor, and, by remonstrating against such cruelty, obtained the necessary passport. It was now the month of November. Cold storms swept the snow-clad hills and the valleys. Hortense departed from Aix, taking with her her son Louis Napoleon, his private tutor, the Abbé Bertrand, her reader, Mademoiselle Cochelet, and an attendant. She wished to spend the first night at her own house, at Pregny; but even this slight gratification was forbidden her.



The police were instructed to watch her carefully all the way. At Morat she was even arrested, and detained a prisoner two days, until 

instructions should be received from the distant authorities. At last she reached the city of Constance. But even here she found that her sorrows had not yet terminated. Neither the Duke of Baden nor the Duchess ventured to welcome her. On the contrary, immediately upon her arrival, she received an official notification that, however anxious the grand duke and duchess might be to afford her hospitable shelter, they were under the control of higher powers, and they must therefore request her to leave the duchy without delay. It was now intimated that the only countries in Europe which would be allowed to afford her a shelter were Austria, Prussia, or Russia.
Grand Duchess Stephanie de Beauharnais
The storms of winter were sweeping those northern latitudes. The health of Hortense was extremely frail. She was fatherless and motherless, alienated from her husband, bereaved of one of her children, and all her family friends dispersed by the ban of exile. She had no kind friends to consult, and she knew not which way to turn. Thus distracted and crushed, she wrote an imploring letter to her cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Baden, stating the feeble condition of her health, the inclement weather, her utter friendlessness, and [Pg 235]exhaustion from fatigue and sorrow, and begging permission to remain in Constance until the ensuing spring.
In reply she received a private letter from the grand duchess, her cousin Stephanie, assuring her of her sympathy, and of the cordiality with which she would openly receive and welcome her, if she did but dare to do so. In conclusion, the duchess wrote: "Have patience, and do not be uneasy. Perhaps all will be right by spring. By that time passions will be calmed, and many things will have been forgotten."
Retires to the Lake of Constance.
Prince Eugene.
Though this letter did not give any positive permission to remain, it seemed at least to imply that soldiers would not be sent to transport her, by violence, out of the territory. Somewhat cheered by this assurance, she rented a small house, in a very retired situation upon the western shore of the Lake of Constance. Though in the disasters of the times she had lost much property, she still had an ample competence. Her beloved brother, Eugene, it will be remembered, had married a daughter of the King of Bavaria. He was one of the noblest of men and the best of brothers. As soon as possible, he took up his residence near [Pg 236]his sister. He also was in the enjoyment of an ample fortune. Thus there seemed to be for a short time a lull in those angry storms which for so long had risen dark over the way of Hortense.
In this distant and secluded home, upon the borders of the lake, Hortense and her small harmonious household passed the winter of 1815. Though she mourned over the absence of her elder child, little Louis Napoleon cheered her by his bright intelligence and his intense affectionateness. Prince Eugene often visited his sister; and many of the illustrious generals and civilians, who during the glories of the Empire had filled Europe with their renown, were allured as occasional guests to the home of this lovely woman, who had shared with them in the favors and the rebuffs of fortune.
Hortense devoted herself assiduously to the education of her son. She understood thoroughly the political position of France. Foreigners, with immense armies, had invaded the kingdom, and forced upon the reluctant people a detested dynasty. Napoleon was Emperor by popular election. The people still, with almost entire unanimity, desired the Empire. [Pg 237]And Hortense knew full well that, so soon as the French people could get strength to break the chains with which foreign armies had bound them, they would again drive out the Bourbons and re-establish the Empire.
Hortense consequently never allowed her son to forget the name he bore, or the political principles which his uncle, the Emperor, had borne upon his banners throughout Europe. The subsequent life of this child has proved how deep was the impression produced upon his mind, as pensively, silently he listened to the conversation of the statesmen and the generals who often visited his mother's parlor. Gutenberg
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Read also: beauharnais
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Murten (FrenchMorat) is a municipality in the See district of the canton of Fribourg inSwitzerland.
It is located on the southern shores of Lake Morat. Morat is situated between Bern andLausanne and is the capital of the See/Lac District of the canton of Fribourg. 
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Aix-les-Bains est une commune française, située dans le département de laSavoie et la région Rhône-Alpes. Importante ville thermale française, elle est dotée du plus grand port de plaisance en eau douce de France2.
Hortense de Beauharnais(vient régulièrement avec son fils de 1811 à 1815 fonde en 1813 un hôpital en souvenir de son amie Adèle de Broc, noyée dans les gorges du Sierroz savoie--les-gorges-du-sierroz-a-l-abandon-)
 

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