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Not receiving the satisfaction due to him for this outrage, the Minister withdrew and proceeded to Paris, where the government fully sanctioned his conduct, and offered him the embassy of Prussia. But Joseph had been recently named a member of the Council of Five Hundred, and he preferred showing his gratitude for the confidence of his fellow-citizens by entering the legislative body. He was there soon distinguished for sound sense and moderation. Upon one occasion, when, in a joint committee of the two councils, the Directory made an attack upon his brother, General Bonaparte, who was absent in Egypt, Joseph addressed the body with so much energy and conclusive argument that his accusers were confounded, and an unanimous yote obtained in his favour. A few days after this occurrence he was appointed secretary of the Council of Five Hundred.
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Under the consulate, he was a member of the council of state. Being nominated with Messieurs Roederer and De Fleurien to discuss and terminate the differences which existed between France and the United States of America, he was one of the negotiators of the treaty of the thirtieth of September, 1800, which was signed at his estate of Mortefontaine.
On the ninth of February, 1801, he signed, with the Count de Cobenzel, at Luneville, the treaty between France and Austria; and it has been remarked as a singular circumstance during that negotiation, that although Mantua had been left in the hands of the Austrians by virtue of an armistice agreed upon between the commanders in chief in Italy, a convention concluded at Luneville by the plenipotentiaries put the French army in possession of that important post.
The treaty of Amiens, which was signed on the twenty-fifth of March, 1802, was also conducted under his
management and direction. The instructions of the British plenipotentiary required that each government should discharge the expenses of its own prisoners. A balance of several millions of francs appeared against France, and this circumstance threatened to arrest the progress of the negotiation, when Lord Cornwallis assured Joseph confidentially, that the question of a few millions should not prevent the conclusion of peace. But some days after, the British government had changed its views, and the plenipotentiary received orders to insist upon the payment
of this balance as a condition sine qua non. Lord Cornwallis, however, not choosing to be put to the blush before a man whose character and conduct had inspired him with esteem, openly declared that his word had been given, and should not be forfeited for the sum in dispute. Whilst engaged in diplomatic pursuits, Joseph was the first to suggest a plan of concert among the contracting parties, France, England, Spain, and Holland, for the suppression of that system of rapine and piracy, whereby, to the disgrace of the Great Powers of Christendom
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the smaller states were annoyed by the corsairs of Barbary. This liberal project was communicated in a letter to his brother, then First Consul, by whom it was adopted. In the year 1903, he was created a senator, and member of the grand council of the legion of honour. : The concordat with the Court of Rome was signed by Joseph, by the Abbe Besnier, since Bishop of Orleans, and by the Minister of the Interior, Cretet; the Cardinals Caselli, Spina, and Gonsalvi, signed on behalf of the Holy See. By this important measure the peace of the Church was consolidated, the liberties and immunities of its Gallican branch were secured, and a fearful volcano which had been lighted up by fanaticism in the departments of the west was extinguished. Nearly at the same time the treaty of guarantee was signed with Austria, Russia, Prussia, and Bavaria, which recognized and confirmed the various political changes which had taken place in the Germanic empire. In this negotiation also, Joseph was invested with the full powers of France.
The camp at Boulogne was formed in 1804. Napoleon invited his brother to take part in that expedition. He accepted the command of the fourth regiment, and repaired to the camp, where he contributed his full share to the spirit of concord and union which so remarkably distinguished that large body of officers, whose opinions and prejudices upon most subjects were far from harmonious. But Joseph was now summoned to a more exalted sphere of action, and the residue of his public life was passed in the midst of those striking revolutions which so remarkably characterized the early part of the present century.
The senate and people of France, on calling Napoleon to the empire, declared Joseph and his children heirs of the throne, on failure of issue of Napoleon. In the same year, the crown of Lombardy was offered to him. Not choosing, however, to renounce the new political bonds which attached him to France, nor to enter into engagements which appeared to him to press hard upon Lombardy, he refused it. During the campaign of Austerlitz, he remained in the direction of affairs at Paris. A few days after that battle he received an order from the Emperor to proceed to Italy, and assume the command of the army destined to invade the kingdom of Naples, whose sovereigns had violated the treaty which bound them to France. The Neapolitan forces had been augmented hy fourteen thousand Russian, and twelve thousand English auxiliaries. On the eighth of February, 1806, forty thousand French troops entered that kingdom. Joseph, at the head of the corps of the centre, arrived before Capua, which, after making a show of resistance, opened its gates. Eight thousand men were there made prisoners of war. The English and Russians effected their retreat, and king Ferdinand embarked for
Sicily, after creating a Regency at Naples, by whom commissioners were immediately despatched to the French head quarters. They entered into stipulations for the surrender of the capital and all the fortified posts, and this agreement was carried into effect; with the exception of the fortress of Gaeta, under the command of the Prince of Hesse-Philipstadt, who disavowed the authority of the commissioners. The siege of that place was accordingly directed. General Regnier had orders to pursue the Neapolitan army, which was directing its retreat on Calabria. He overtook and defeated them at San Lorenzo, Lago Negro, and Campo Tenese.
Joseph made his entry into Naples on the fifteenth of February, 1806, and was received with open arms by the people as their deliverer. He availed himself of these favourable indications by retaining in public stations the greater part of those who then occupied them. No sooner had he organized a provisional administration in the capital, than he determined to make a personal examination into the state of the kingdom generally, and also to satisfy himself, by actual inspection on the spot, of the feasibility of an attempt upon Sicily. With these views, he commenced a tour, attended by a corps d'élite under the command of General Lamarque. The course adopted as he advanced, was eminently calculated to afford him accurate and practical information of the character, peculiarities, and wants of the country and its inhabitants. He halted in all the villages entered the principal churches, where the clergy were in the habit of assembling the people. The condition to which the country was reduced, favoured his views in this investigation. Beneath the most enchanting sky, in the shade of the orange and the myrtle, it was not uncommon to find an entire population covered with rags and worn down by poverty and starvation, prostrated on the luxuriant soil, from which moderate industry might with ease obtain an ample support—uttering the most abject supplications for charity and compassion. Nor was it difficult to perceive that these unhappy beings entertained the most absolute indifference as to political changes, resulting from the conviction that whatever the result of the new order of things then announced to them might be, their own situation could by no possibility be rendered worse. So far had their former rulers been successful in desolating and destroying the fair work of nature!
It was during this journey, that Joseph first received intelligence that the emperor had recognised him as king of Naples, and that the other sovereigns of the European continent were disposed to do the same within a short period. On his arrival at Palma, at the entrance of the Straits of Messina, he was forced to admit the impossibility of an expedition against Sicily. The enemy had concentrated his forces there, and carried off with him
all means of transportation, even the smallest skiffs. Thus compelled to postpone the attempt, he continued his journey across that Magna Græcia, once so celebrated and flourishing, then so humbled and degraded. His course led him along the shores of the Ionian sea, passing through Catanzaro, Cotroni, and Cassano. It was during this progress that he caused an examination to be made by competent officers, into the character and practicability of a project long since conceived, of uniting the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas by a canal, and ordered surveys to be made and plans drawn, which might serve hereafter for the direction of that magnificent enterprise. He visited Tarentum, traversed the Basilicate and a part of Apulia, and returned to his capital, where he was awaited by a deputation of the French senate, appointed to offer the felicitations of that body on his accession to the throne of Naples, and express the hope of still preserving him as grand elector and a prince of France. This deputation consisted of Marshal Perignon, General Ferino, and Count Ræderer. The last accepted the department of finance at Naples, and skilfully availing himself of the aid and support afforded by the king in reorganizing the fiscal affairs of the kingdom on new bases, established a public credit which has maintained itself under all the changes that have subsequently occurred. Marshal Jourdan, who had been appointed governor of Naples by the emperor before the accession of the king, was retained in the same station.
Congratulations were tendered by all classes of his subjects. The clergy led by Cardinal Ruffo, the nobility, and the people, vied with each other in celebrating the arrival of the new monarch. The capital and the provinces united in expressing their satisfaction in the result.
In the formation of his government, Joseph appointed a council of state, composed of a large number of individuals, in the choice of whom he was guided by public opinion, without distinction of birth or party. It was a ministry in which the most celebrated lawyers found themselves associated with barons of the loftiest birth. The French whom he admitted to his council or to his court, were generally men who had been most distinguished for their abilities in the national assemblies of France; Ræderer, Salicetti, Mathieu Dumas, Miot, Cavagnac, Stanislas Girardin, Jancourt, Arcambal, Dedon, Maurice Mathieu, Saligny, Ferri, Hugo, Blagnjac, &c. &c.
Such modifications and improvements as had been suggested by his unreserved conversations with men of all classes of his subjects in the long progress he had then completed, were marked out for accomplishment in proper time, and in a calm and deliberate manner. His council of state he divided into sections, and gave in charge to each committee the task of digesting all practicable reforms pertaining to its peculiar department, holding
up to them as a-model, the French Revolution, but at the same time earnestly cautioning them to avoid its evils, whilst they imitated and improved upon the fortunate changes it had introduced. Upon all he enjoined strict justice and moderation---the only true guides to the happiness of nations.
The war, however, was not at an end. Gaeta kept a portion of the army employed the English squadron was on the coastthe Neapolitan troops, although beaten and dispersed, had formed themselves into numerous private bands, which infested and pillaged the country. The Sicilian Court had instigated the landing of an English army in the Gulf of St. Euphemia, where four thousand Poles and a handful of French soldiers were beaten, an occurrence which for the moment fomented partial insurrections. Earnestly engaged in concentrating the requisite means for reducing Gaeta, Joseph proceeded in person to that fortress, and at the same time ordered thither a flotilla of gun-boats, which he had caused to be built, armed, and equipped-he visited the trenches and the most advanced batteries-he reconnoitred the post where the brave Vallongue, general of engineers, had been recently killed, and ordered the immediate erection of a monument
to his memory
On the seventh of July the king was again under Gaeta, accompanied by Generals Campredon of the Engineers, and Dulauloy of the Artillery, and in his presence a battery of eighty pieces of cannon opened its fire with such effect, that on the eighteenth two breaches were practicable, and Marshal Massena was making his dispositions for the assault, when the garrison of seven thousand men proposed a capitulation which was signed the same day. Massena and his corps d'armée were then directed on Calabria, whence the English retired, on his approach, to Sicily-Joseph himself moved on Lago Negro with a reserve. The marshal having received orders to rejoin the Army of Germany, the king substituted General Regnier in the government of Calabria. This officer effectually destroyed a body of troops, consisting of about six thousand men, which had been landed from Sicily under the command of the Prince of Hesse-Philipstadt. The post of Amantea was captured, that of Marathea had been taken some days before by General Lamarque. On the side of the Adriatic, General St. Cyr, commanding the Italian divisions, had quieted those provinces and taken Civitella del Tronto. Af fairs began to assume a more settled aspect. The chiefs of the most active bands had fallen, all attempts at the assassination of the new king had proved abortive, and the national guards which had been organized in all the provinces under the command of the wealthiest proprietors, (who had all espoused the new régime,) contributed greatly to extinguish the flame of revolt and preserve