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The volumes here presented to the public contain a faithful record of Conversations which the author had the happiness to enjoy with the distinguished personages whose names authenticate the extraordinary facts they related.
The evening parties, to which Prince Cambacérès had the kindness to admit me, were composed of the e old friends of the Ex-Chancellor of the Empire. In
summer in his garden, and in winter in his saloon or his cabinet, Prince Cambacérès was the soul of an interesting circle, presenting an intellectual feast-to which, each visitor contributed his contingent.
The old and the new systems, the Republic, the Directory, the Consulate, the Empire and the incipient Restoration, furnished the texts of these Conversations. The most important events often formed subjects of narration and discussion; as for example—the death of the Duke d'Enghien; the cabal which gave birth to the imperial government; the misunderstandings with the Pope; the invasion of Spain; Napoleon's divorce; scenes in the Tuileries, Saint-Cloud, Malmaison, Fon
tainebleau; and finally, as it were by way of episodes, came the marvels of the campaigns of Italy and Egypt.
It was my good fortune to hear events of the most deep and stirring interest described by persons who had witnessed them, and, in many instances, by those who had acted conspicuous parts in them. These descriptions, instead of being introduced by the dull common-place preliminary-It is said, or, I have heard, rivetted the attention of the listener by such words as:- One day, when the Emperor sent for me, or, Robespierre, addressing me, said, &c. &c. The distinguished visitors of Prince Cambacérès could truly say, in reference to the scenes they described:“J'étais là quand telle chose advint."
In the arrangement of my materials, I have not observed any chronological regularity. I present them to the reader nearly in the order, or, to speak more correctly, the disorder, in which I find them collected
I give the Conversations as they occurred, and, consequently, without regard to unity of time, place, or subject. The merit of the work rests solely on the value of the materials of which it is composed; and, in submitting those materials to the press, I have been actuated by the spirit of truth, and not by the vanity of authorship.
L. L. L.
in my notes.