In 1814, Napoleon, having lost the war of the sixth coalition, was not just banished to the Elbe - he was given sovereignty over this Mediterranean island of 223 sq. Km and three small cities. Bonaparte took up there, breaking down vineyards and building a theater, reorganized the extraction of ore. He settled in the palace of Mulini, where he had about 600 courtiers and soldiers. Their leader was followed by Generals Bertrand, Drouot and Kmbronn. The overthrown emperor was going to write the history of his stormy reign, but soon changed his plans and established a secret connection with the continent, where he had loyal agents.
In France at this time the power of the Bourbon dynasty was restored. Opponents of the Restoration were found in all social strata: the bourgeoisie, the peasantry, the army. Anonymous satirical sheets already agitated with might and main for Bonaparte, not forgetting to criticize the environment of Louis XVIII. Talleyrand said about the old-new government: "They have not forgotten anything and have learned nothing." Alexander I said in a similar way: "The Bourbons have not been corrected, and are incorrigible." After the Restoration in France, an attempt was made to abandon the institutions that emerged under Napoleon (code, new taxation system, the organization of ministries).
In addition to news from the homeland, Bonaparte closely followed the news from the Congress of Vienna, where the victorious powers continued to divide his legacy. Territories, detached from the empire, quarreled allies. The Austrians and the British did not want to strengthen Russia and Prussia. Subjects of disputes remained Saxony and Poland. Even from the Elbe, it was noticeable that in the coalition there was no former unity, which had previously rallied the European monarchs before a common threat.
Congress of Vienna
In Vienna, Napoleon was still afraid. But even the most vigilant diplomats and military lulled themselves with soothing rumors about the ruler of a lonely island, who locked himself in his chambers and did not undertake anything dangerous. According to another legend, in December 1814, Napoleon spoke to a soldier who voluntarily went into exile after his emperor, and promised the faithful grenadier that they would not have long to miss on the Elbe. And on March 7, a courier arrived at the Viennese palace, where the congress was held, at the height of the next ball, who said that the emperor had landed in France and was moving to Paris.
“The Corsican monster landed in the Juan Bay”, “The cannibal goes to the Track”, “The Usurper enters Grenoble”, “Bonaparte occupied Lyon”, “Napoleon approaches Fontainebleau”, “His imperial majesty enters Paris in his faith” newspapers in those days, the code Bonaparte approached the capital. With the swiftness of the approach, only a surprise landing could be compared. Neither then, nor later did Napoleon tell anyone how he came to this decision (he first told the mother about the decision: “I cannot die on this island and finish my career alone”).
Shortly before his return, Bonaparte received an official sent to the island by the former Napoleonic foreign minister, Duke Bassano. The essence of the message conveyed to them was as follows: the noblemen were outraged, the king caused general discontent, the army grumbled. It is obvious that the exiled commander would not have left the Elbe if he were not sure that not only the guard, but also the army would support his return to France.
Napoleon leaves the Elbe
Napoleon was not going to conquer the country, but to free her — that was how he declared his goal. Nevertheless, the commander rightly feared the assassination. Therefore, the landing was prepared secretly. The sea besides the French ships was patrolled by the English, but the emperor reached the mainland unnoticed. The Napoleonic Flotilla moored to the coast on March 1, 1815. The customs guard, located in Juan Bay, was supposed to arrest an unexpected guest, but when he saw him, she took off her hats and joined her commander-in-chief. Began 100 days of Napoleon.
Bonaparte’s twenty-day trip to Paris is the most striking adventure in his biography. The soldiers refused to shoot the sovereign, the peasants greeted him with jubilant chanting. On the night of the 20th, Louis left the Tuileries, and in the evening Napoleon was carried in his arms.