Joseph Bonaparte - John S. C. Abbott

The Spanish Princes

Toward the close of the year 1807 brigandage was entirely suppressed, all traces of insurrection had disappeared, and tranquillity and prosperity reigned throughout the kingdom of Naples. In July Joseph wrote from Capo di Monte to Queen Julie, who was then at Mortfontaine, as follows:

"MY DEAR JULIE,,—I have received your letter of the 15th from Mortfontaine. The sentiment which you have experienced in returning to that beautiful place; where we have been so happy for so long a time, and at so little expense, needs not the explanation of any supernatural causes. You perceive that there you have been happier than you are now, than you will be for a long time. The happiness which you have there enjoyed is sure as the past; that which is destined for you here is as uncertain as the future. Life at Mortfontaine is that of innocence and peace; it is that of the patriarchs. The life at Naples is that of kings. It is a voyage over a sea, often calm, but sometimes stormy. The life at Mortfontaine was a promenade as placid as its waters. It flowed noiselessly like the light skiff which a slight effort of the oars of Zénaide sufficed to push forward around the isle of Molton.

"But after all these regrets of a good heart, gentle and reasonable, there come the results of the reflections of a strong mind and an elevated soul which owes itself entirely to the will of Providence, manifested by the spontaneous coming, and not desired by us, of grandeurs which point us to other duties. I console myself, in this new career, by seeing it traversed by my wife and my children. The most unpleasant part of the voyage is over, that which I have taken without them. Now peace will reunite us. And if you do not find here your own country, our reunion will give us the illusion of it. As we shall be the same to each other, I believe that, come what may, you will find Mortfontaine, where you see me happy in the love of my family, and in the happiness which I shall be able to confer, and in that still greater happiness of which I shall dream. Adieu, my dear Julie. I embrace you tenderly."

The victories of the Emperor, the peace of Tilsit, the Russian alliance, had greatly diminished the influence of the British Cabinet upon the Continent, and, in the same proportion, had increased that of France. Still the Cabinet of St. James was unrelenting in opposition to Napoleon. The British cruisers ran along the coast of Italy, landing here and there Sicilian or Calabrian brigands, who were under the pay of Ferdinand and Caroline. It was also proved that assassins were in the employ of Ferdinand and his queen.

Toward the end of November Napoleon visited Venice, and, by appointment, met his brother Joseph there. It has generally been affirmed that there was a secret article in the treaty of Tilsit authorizing Napoleon to dethrone the Bourbons of Spain, who had treacherously endeavored to strike him in the back when, in the campaigns of Jena, Auerstadt, and Austerlitz, he was contending against England, France, and Russia. But that secret article, if there were such, has been kept so secret, that no sufficient evidence has yet been adduced that it existed. Joseph, however, wrote, when an exile in America:

"At the time of my interview with the Emperor at Venice, he spoke to me of troubles in the royal family of Spain as probably leading to events which he dreaded, 'I have enough work marked out,' he said. 'The troubles in Spain will only aid the English to impair the resources, which I find in this alliance, to continue the war against them.'"

On the 16th of December Joseph returned. to Naples, and the next day presided at the council of ministers. He did not make any communication of importance. "It is only known," writes the Count of Melito, "that he sent one of his aides on a mission to the Emperor Alexander. It was hence concluded that arrangements of some nature had been entered into at Venice in harmony with the views of the Emperor of Russia." Joseph, however, writes, in reference to this mission, "General Marie took letters to Russia and congratulations, and brought me back letters, affectionate even, from the Emperor Alexander, and his compliments; that was all."

Lucien Bonaparte, a very independent and impulsive young man, was not disposed to submit to the dictation of his elder brother Napoleon. He had entered into a second marriage, which displeased Napoleon, as it very seriously interfered with his plans of forming a dynasty. Joseph was sent to meet the refractory brother at Modena, and to endeavor to promote reconciliation. The following letter from Eliza, written to her brother Lucien upon this subject will be read with interest. It was dated Marlia, June 20th, 1807:

"MY DEAR LUCIEN,,—I have received your letter. Permit, to my friendship, a few reflections upon the present state of things. I hope that you will not be annoyed by my observations.

"Propositions were made to you, a year ago, which you should have found seasonable, and which you should immediately have accepted, for the happiness of your family and of your wife. You now refuse them. Do you not see, my dear friend, that the only means of placing obstacles in the way of adoption is, that his Majesty should have a family of which he can dispose? In remaining near Napoleon, or in receiving from him a throne, you will be useful to him. He will marry your daughters and so long as he can find, in the members of his family, the instruments for executing his projects and his policy, he will not choose strangers. We must not treat with the master of the world as with an equal. Nature made us the children of the same father, and his prodigies have rendered us his subjects. Although sovereigns, we hold every thing from him. It is a noble pride to acknowledge this; and it seems to me that our only glory should be to prove by our manner of governing that we are worthy of him and of our family.

"Reflect then anew upon the propositions which are made to you. Mamma and we all should be so happy to be reunited, and to make only one political family. Dear Lucien, do that for us, who love you, for the people whom my brother has given for you to govern, and to whom you will bring happiness.

"Adieu. I embrace you. Do not feel unkindly to me for this; and believe that my tenderness will always be the same for you. Embrace your wife and your amiable family. Chevalier Angelino, who has come to see me, has often spoken to me of you and of your wife. My little one is charming. I have weaned her, I shall be very happy if she is soon able to play with all the family. Adieu. "Your sister and friend, ELIZA."

The letters of the Emperor were sometimes severe in reproof of the policy of his brother. It is evident that Joseph was, at times, quite wounded by these reproaches. At the conclusion of a long letter, written on the 19th of October, 1807, Joseph says:

"I am far from complaining of any one. The people and the enemy are what they must be. But it would be pleasant to me, could your Majesty truly know my position, and render some justice to the efforts and to the privations of every kind which I impose upon myself to do the best I can. Although the present state of affairs may not be good, still I hope for better times. No person desires it more than I do. When I have a thousand ducats I give them; and I can assure your Majesty that I have never in my life, which has been composed of so many different shades, found less opportunity to gratify my private inclinations. I have no expenses but for the public wants. I occupy myself day and night in the administration. I think the administration as good as possible; but it has no more the power than have I to correct the times, and to create that which does not exist and can not exist, except where there is interior tranquillity and external peace."

On the 13th of August, 1806, Joseph wrote to his brother, "I remain here till your Majesty's birthday, on which I wish you joy. I hope that you may receive with some little pleasure this expression of my affection. The glorious Emperor will never replace to me the Napoleon whom I so much loved, and whom I hope to find again, as I knew him twenty years ago, if we are to meet in the Elysian Fields."

Napoleon replied from Rambouillet, on the 23rd of August,

"MY BROTHER,—I have received your letter of the 13th of August. I am sorry that you think that you will find your brother again only in the Elysian Fields. It is natural that at forty he should not feel toward you as he did at twelve. But his feelings toward you are more true and strong. His friendship has the features of his mind."

In December. Napoleon had a personal interview with Lucien, and he gives the following account of it, in a letter to Joseph, dated Mantua, 17th December, 1807:

"MY BROTHER,—I have seen Lucien at Mantua. I talked with him several hours. He undoubtedly will inform you of the disposition in which he left. His thoughts and his language are so different from mine that I found it difficult to get an idea of what he wished. I think that he told me that he wished to send his eldest daughter to Paris, to be near her grandmother. If he continue in that disposition, I desire to be immediately informed of it. And it is necessary that that young person should be in Paris in the course of January, either accompanied by Lucien, or intrusted by him to the charge of a governess, who will convey her to Madame. [Madame Letitia, Napoleon's Mother] Lucien seems to be agitated by contrary sentiments, and not to have sufficient strength to come to a decision.

"I have exhausted all the means in my power to recall Lucien, who is still in his early youth, to the employment of his talents for me and for the country. If he wish to send his daughter, she should leave without delay, and he should send a declaration by which he places her entirely at my disposal, for there is not a moment to be lost; events hurry onward, and I must accomplish my destiny. If he has changed his opinion, let me immediately be informed of it, for then I must make other arrangements.

"Say to Lucien that his grief and the parting sentiments which he manifested moved me; that I regret the more that he will not be reasonable, and contribute to his own repose and to mine. I await with impatience a reply clear and decisive, particularly in that which relates to Charlotte."

On the 31st of January, 1808, a fiend-like attempt was made to blow up the palace of Salicetti, Joseph's minister of police. About one o'clock in the morning, just as the minister was entering his chamber, there was a terrific explosion. An infernal machine had been placed in the cellar. The whole palace was shattered and rent, while large portions were thrown into utter ruin. Salicetti, severely wounded, heard the shrieks of his daughter, the Duchess of Lavello, and rushed to her aid. He found her buried five or six feet deep in the debris which had been thrown upon her, It was more than a quarter of an hour before her agonized father, aided by the domestics, could succeed in extricating her. Though alive, she was sadly maimed. Two of the inmates of the palace were killed, and others were severely injured.

Napoleon, when informed of the event, wrote to Joseph, under date of February 11th, 1808: "The terrible misfortune which has happened to Salicetti seems to me to have been the result of over-indulgence. When were traitors ever before allowed to live free in a capital—wretches who had plotted against the State? Their lives ought not to be spared; but if that is done, at least you ought to send them sixty leagues from the capital or shut them up in a fortress. Any other conduct is madness."

Napoleon, having gained a glorious peace upon the plains of Poland, which disarmed the nations of the north, now turned his special attention to the south—to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Rome, and Naples. The possession of the kingdom of Naples, instead of being a source of profit to the Emperor, occasioned him continued and heavy expense. Joseph was ever calling for money to meet the innumerable demands involved in carrying on war with the English, and in urging forward those reforms which were essential to the regeneration of a realm which former misgovernment had plunged to a very low abyss of poverty and ruin. The Emperor, bearing the burden of the exhaustive wars ever waged against him, while continually aiding Joseph, still often and severely reproached him with the manner in which his finances were conducted. On the 11th of February, 1808, he wrote:

"MY BROTHER,—The administration of the realm of Naples is very bad. Roederer makes brilliant projects, ruins the country, and pays no money into your treasury. This is the opinion of all the French who come from Naples. Roederer is upright, and has good intentions, but he has no experience."

Again, on the 26th of February, he wrote: "Roederer is of the race of men who always ruin those to whom they are attached. Is it "want of tact, is it misfortune? No matter which; there is not one of your friends who does not detest Roederer. He is at Naples as at Paris, without credit with any party; a man of no sagacity, of no tact, whom, however, I esteem for many good qualities, but whom, as a statesman, I can make nothing of."

Joseph, however, earnestly defended his financial agent as an able and an honest man, who made enemies only of those who wished to plunder the treasury. This led Joseph, whose constant effort it was to promote the happiness of his people, to whose interests he was entirely devoted, to order a minute statement to be drawn up of the condition of the realm in all respects. This remarkable document was written by Count Melito, the Minister of the Interior. It gave an accurate narrative of all the ameliorations which had been introduced by Joseph, and will ever remain a monument of his goodness and tireless energies as a sovereign. As none of the statements could be doubted, the document at the time produced a profound impression throughout Europe.

Queen Julie now came to Naples with her children to join her husband. She was received with great enthusiasm. There has seldom been found, in the history of the world, a worse woman than Caroline, the wife of Ferdinand, the former King of Naples. And his. Cory records the name perhaps of no better woman than Julie, the wife of Joseph. The King met the Queen on the 4th of April at Saint Lucie, and conducted her, greeted by the acclamations of their rejoicing subjects, into their beautiful capital.

The treachery of the Court of Spain, which, like an assassin, endeavored to strike the Empire of France stealthily, with a poisoned dagger, in the back, was known throughout Europe. These proud dynasties regarded Napoleon, because he was an elected, not a legitimate sovereign, as an outlaw, with whom no treaties were binding, and whom they could betray, entrap, and shoot at pleasure.

When Napoleon was far away, in his winter campaign, bivouacking upon the cold summit of the Landgrafenberg, the evening before the battle of Jena he received information that the Bourbons of Spain, then professing friendship, and bound to him by a treaty of alliance, were secretly entering into a contract with England to assail him in the rear. Napoleon had neither done nor meditated aught to injure Spain. His crime was that he had accepted the crown from the people, and was ruling in behalf of their interests, and not in the interests of the nobles alone.

"A convention," says Alison, "was secretly concluded at Madrid between the Spanish Government and the Russian ambassador, to which the Court of Lisbon was also a party, by which it was agreed that, as soon as the favorable opportunity was arrived, by the French armies being far advanced on their road to Berlin, the Spanish Government should commence hostilities in the Pyrenees, and invite the English to co-operate."

Napoleon, by his camp-fire, upon the eve of a terrible battle, read the account of this perfidy. As be folded the dispatches, he said calmly, but firmly, "The Bourbons of Spain shall be replaced by princes of my own family

"The Spanish Bourbons," says Napier, "could never have been sincere friends to France while Bonaparte held the sceptre; and the moment that the fear of his power ceased to operate, it was quite certain that their apparent friendship would change to active hostility."

"When I made peace on the Niemen," said Napoleon, "I stipulated that if England did not accept the mediation of Alexander, Russia should unite her arms with ours, and compel that power to peace. I should be indeed weak if, having obtained that single advantage from those whom I have vanquished, I should permit the Spaniards to embroil me afresh on my weak side. Should I permit Spain to form an alliance with England, it would give that hostile power greater advantages than it has lost by the rupture with Russia. I wish, above all things, to avoid war with Spain. Such a contest would be a species of sacrilege. If I can not arrange with either the father or the son, I will make a clean sweep of them both."

Rumor was busy throughout Europe in discussing the plans of Napoleon. The report soon became general that the crown of Spain was to be offered to Joseph. His kindness of heart, his nobleness of character, and the immense benefits which he had conferred upon the Neapolitan realm, had secured for him al-most universal respect and affection. The Neapolitans were greatly alarmed from fears that he would be transferred to Spain.

"The King," writes his very able biographer, A. du Casse, "was universally beloved, because he began to be appreciated at his true value. His good qualities, the love with which he cherished his subjects, had won all hearts. His departure was dreaded. Joseph, however, did not slacken the reins of government. The Councils of State and the ministers, presided over by him, continued their labors to ameliorate the administration of the realm, to embellish Naples, to encourage discoveries, to unite the learned in a literary corps. The King wished that, even after his departure, the impulse which he had given should continue uninterrupted."

It was at Naples, under the encouragement of Joseph, that the art of lithography was discovered. On the 23rd of May, 1808, the King, by the request of Napoleon, left Naples for France. He left his family behind him, and hastened through Turin and Lyons to meet his brother at Bayonne. His departure caused great anxiety and sadness throughout the kingdom of Naples. Who would wear the crown about to be vacated? Would the Two Sicilies be annexed to the kingdom of Italy under Eugene? Would Louis, Lucien, or one of Napoleon's marshals succeed Joseph?

On the journey Joseph met the Bishop of Grenoble, formerly the abbé Simon, his ancient professor of mathematics and philosophy in the College of Autun. Joseph had ever cherished the memory of his teacher with great affection, and, upon meeting, threw his arms around him in a tender embrace. As the bishop complimented him upon his high destiny, and congratulated him upon the probability of his immediate elevation to the throne of Spain, Joseph replied sadly,

"May your felicitations, Monsieur the Bishop, prove of happy augury to your former pupil. May your prayers avert the calamities which I foresee. As for me, ambition does not blind me. The joys of the crown of Spain do not dazzle my eyes. I leave a country in which I think that I have done some good, where I flatter myself to have been beloved, and that I leave behind me some regrets. Will it be the same in the new realm which awaits me?

"The Neapolitans have, so to speak, never known nationality. By turns conquered by the Normans, the Spaniards, the French, it was little matter to them who their masters were, provided that these masters left them their blue skies, their azure sea, their spot in the sunshine, and a few pence for their macaroni.

"Arriving among them, I found every thing to do. I stimulated their natural apathy, gave nerve to the administration, introduced some order everywhere. They were pleased with my good intentions, with my efforts. They loved me with the same fervor with which they hated the King of Sicily and his odious ministers. In Spain, on the contrary, I shall labor in vain; I can not so completely lay aside my title of a foreigner that I can escape the hatred of a people proud and sensitive upon the point of honor; of a people who have known no other wars but wars of independence, and who abhor, above all things, the French name.

"The Peninsula contains at this moment, under arms, nearly one hundred thousand national soldiers, who will excite, at the same time, against my government, the monks, the clergy, the friends (and they are still numerous) of legitimacy, the ancient and faithful servants of old Charles IV., the gold and the intrigues of England. Every thing will prove an obstacle to my plans of amelioration. They will be misrepresented, calumniated, disowned.

"In view of the insurrection of which the Prince of Asturias has recently given an example against his own father, in the midst of license and anarchy, the natural consequence of long demoralization and the disorders of a dissolute court, of a dynasty used up, will not all wise and well-moderated liberty be regarded as the equal of tyranny? Monsieur the Bishop, I see a horizon charged with very black clouds. They contain in their bosom a future which terrifies me. The star of my brother, will it always shine luminous and brilliant in the skies? I do not know; but sad presentiments oppress me in spite of myself. They besiege me; they govern me. I greatly fear that, in giving me a crown more illustrious than that which I lay aside, the Emperor will place upon my brow a burden heavier than it can bear. Pity me, then, my dear teacher, pity me; do not felicitate me."

The brigands in the kingdom of Naples, and the eternal and natural enemies of repose which are to be found in all countries, availing themselves of the absence of King Joseph, and encouraged by the presence of the British fleet and the gold of the British Cabinet, redoubled their efforts in local insurrections, and committed cowardly assassinations. The bandits would land here and there, and perpetrate the most atrocious crimes, burning, plundering, murdering.

Joseph was anxious, before leaving Naples, to establish institutions of liberty which might be permanent. On the 21st of July, the Council of State received from the King a constitution, which he had drawn up with the aid of his ministers. It contained the clear announcement of the principles which had animated him during his reign, and was founded upon the constitutions in France and in the kingdom of Italy. Though the constitution was not perfect—for the world is ever making progress—it was greatly in advance of any thing which had been known in the kingdom of Sicily before, and conferred immense advantages upon the realm. There was but one legislative body. It consisted of five sections, equal in number: the clergy, the nobility, the landed proprietors, the philosophers, and the merchants. The Council of State chose five of the most distinguished persons, of the various classes, to convey to Joseph their thanks for the constitution he had conferred upon the realm.

Queen Julie in Naples


On the 6th of July, Queen Julie, with her children, left Naples to join her husband in Spain. A numerous cortége escorted her from the city with every testimonial of regret. On the 8th Joseph abdicated the crown, which was subsequently transferred to the brow of Napoleon's cavalry leader, Murat, who had married Caroline Bonaparte.

"Here terminates," writes M. Casse, "our task relative to the short reign of Joseph in Naples. That prince had rendered to that beautiful country services which, long after his departure, conferred blessings upon the realm, which had been surrendered until then to the sad regime of a feudalism crushing to the people. His successor found the ground clear, war extinct almost everywhere, the conquest assured, tranquillity established, abuses reformed, civil administration organized, the monks suppressed, the finances restored, credit consolidated, public instruction and legislation founded upon liberal bases, and wisely adapted to the manners of the inhabitants.

"The army was formed under the shade of the flag of France; the marine commenced to be regenerated. The sciences and the arts, encouraged, were beginning to diffuse themselves; brigandage was breathing its last sigh. There remained for Murat only to reap the fruits of the wise and paternal conduct of the older brother of the Emperor. He inherited a country of rich and fertile soil, with a delightful climate, inhabited by a population blessing the guardian hand which had delivered them from the ignorance into which the ancient Government seemed to have plunged them by design. The task of the new sovereign seemed to be only to complete the work of the philosophic King."

It was the implacable hostility of the British Government, ever ready to avail itself of the treachery of Spain, which in the view of Napoleon rendered it necessary for him, as an act of self-preservation, to place the government of the Spanish Peninsula in friendly hands. On the 18th of April, 1808, Napoleon had written to Joseph, "England begins to suffer. Peace with that power alone will enable me to sheathe the sword and restore tranquillity to Europe."

Before we accompany Joseph to Spain, let us briefly review the condition of Europe at this time. By the peace of Tilsit, the Emperor Alexander had recognized all the changes which the sword of Napoleon had effected upon the Continent of Europe. The Czar was on terms of personal friendship with Napoleon, and it was understood that he had given his consent to Napoleon's design to dethrone the Bourbons of Spain. The infamous British expedition to Copenhagen, with the bombardment of the city and the destruction of the Danish fleet, had created general indignation throughout the European world. England had but one single ally left, the half-mad King of Sweden. The ships of England, excluded from every port upon the Continent, wandered idly over the seas.

Austria, humiliated by the treaty of Presburg, was sullen and silent, watching for an opportunity to regain its former ascendency and military prestige. In Prussia the House of Brandenburg had been terribly punished. Though it still reigned, it was with diminished territory, with its military strength nearly destroyed, and with all its strong places held by French troops. The Cabinet at Berlin could not venture in any way to oppose the will of Napoleon. All the kings and princes of the Confederation of the Rhine were united to France by the closest alliance.

Jerome, Napoleon's youngest brother, was king of Westphalia. Louis reigned in Holland. French influence was supreme in Switzerland. The Emperor Napoleon was king of Italy, and Joseph, reigning at Naples, was about to be transferred to Spain. Turkey was allied with France, seeking from the Emperor protection from the encroachments of Russia. Consequently England was at war with the Porte.

Spain occupied a peculiar position. The King, Charles IV., a near relative of Louis XVI., had united with allied Europe in the war against the French Republic. Terribly punished by the French armies, Spain had made peace at the treaty of Basle in July, 1795. Soon after, the two powers entered into an alliance, offensive and defensive, engaging to assist each other with both land and sea forces.

This brought down upon Spain the vengeance of the British Government, which, with its invincible fleet, swept all seas. Spanish commerce at once became the prey of English privateers. Cadiz was bombarded, and the Spanish naval fleet encountered very severe loss. The peace of Amiens, to which the British Government had been very reluctantly compelled to assent by the pressure of English public opinion, gave peace to Spain. But when the Court of Saint James, by the rupture of the peace of Amiens, renewed its assault upon France, the Spanish Court, anxious to avoid a war with England, proposed to Napoleon that, instead of aiding him directly by fleet and army, according to the terms of the alliance, Spain should pay France an annual subsidy of six million francs. The proposition was accepted.

The English minister, ascertaining this, without any declaration of war, seized every thing belonging to Spain which could be found afloat. As Spain, supposing that her assumed neutrality would be respected, had her fleet and merchandise everywhere exposed, her loss was very severe.

When the Bourbons of Spain saw that the British Government had succeeded in forming a new alliance against Napoleon, which would compel the French Emperor to take his armies hundreds of leagues north to struggle against the united armies of Prussia and Russia, it was thought that Napoleon must inevitably fall. Spain decided again to make common cause with the Allies, as we have before mentioned. A vehement proclamation was issued, calling the Spaniards to arms. The utter crushing of Prussia on the fields of Jena and Auerstadt literally frightened Spain out of her wits. She sent an ambassador extraordinary to congratulate Napoleon upon his victory, and to assure him of the continued friendship of the Spanish Government. Napoleon concealed his just resentment, The time to rectify the wrong had not yet come.

Queen Caroline, the wife of Charles IV. of Spain, was one of the most infamous of women; still she could not be worse than her husband. There was a very handsome young fellow in the body-guard, named Godoy. Caroline fell in love with him, made him her intimate friend, lavished upon him titles and wealth and posts of responsibility. He was called the Prince of Peace, in consequence of the agency he had in effecting the treaty of Basle. He was in all respects a very weak and worthless creature, but he had become in reality the sovereign of Spain, governing with unlimited power. This man, in his anxiety to disarm the anger of Napoleon, sent an ambassador to the Emperor to renew his pledges of friendship, and to give assurance of his entire submission in all things to Napoleon's will. A secret treaty was accordingly made on the 27th of October, 1807, which enabled Napoleon, among other concessions, to station large bodies of French troops within the Spanish territory.

The King's eldest son, Ferdinand, the heir to the throne, was then twenty-five years of age, and bore the title of the Prince of Asturias. His mother had truly characterized him as having "a mule's head and a tiger's heart." He hated Godoy, and was accused of attempting to poison his father and mother, that he might get the crown. His arrest and threatened execution by his father roused the masses of Madrid to a fury of insurrection. Much as they detested Ferdinand, they hated still more implacably the King and Queen, and the Queen's infamous paramour, Godoy. A raging insurrection swept the streets of Madrid. The King was terror-stricken, and implored help from Napoleon. He wrote:

"SIRE, MY BROTHER,—I have discovered with horror that my eldest son, the heir presumptive to the throne, has not only formed the design to dethrone me, but even to attempt the life of myself and his mother. Such an atrocious attempt merits the most exemplary punishment. I pray your Majesty to aid me by your light and council."

Ferdinand also appealed to the Emperor. He wrote, "The world more and more daily admires the greatness and goodness of Napoleon. Rest assured that the Emperor shall ever find in Ferdinand the most faithful and devoted son. Ferdinand implores, therefore, his powerful protection, and prays that he will grant him the honor of an alliance with some august princess of his family."

Thus Napoleon suddenly and unexpectedly found the King of Spain, Godoy, and the Ferdinands, all kneeling at his feet. Speaking upon this subject at Saint Helena, he said:

"The fact is, that had it not been for their broils and quarrels among themselves, I should never have thought of dispossessing them. When I saw those imbeciles quarrelling and trying to dethrone each other, I thought I might as well take advantage of it, and dispossess an inimical family. Had I known at first that the transaction would have given me so much trouble, or that even it would have cost the lives of two hundred men, I would never have attempted it. But being once embarked, it was necessary to go forward."