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THE CORRESPONDENCE OF

NAPOLEON.

CHAPTER I.

THE YEAR 1810.

The principal event of 1810 was undoubtedly the marriage of Napoleon with the Archduchess Marie Louise, and it is a curious fact that nearly all the documents connected with this brilliant matrimonial alliance have disappeared from the national archives. While reading the few letters bearing upon this remarkable event it will be well to bear in mind the following facts. Napoleon had long contemplated putting Josephine away: she had borne him no children, and he wished to found a dynasty. He would have been contented to leave the throne to the eldest son of Louis, but the "little Napoleon” died while the Emperor was campaigning in Poland. Shortly afterwards, at Erfurth, Napoleon sounded the Czar with regard to his sister the Grand Duchess Catherine. Alexander, while showing himself favourable to an alliance, said that his father Paul had left the Empress Mother absolute control in such matters, and that in all probability it would be difficult to vanquish her resistance. The Czar expressed himself highly flattered, and hoped that one day it might be possible to arrange this union. As for the Empress, she

VOL. III.

B

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