The Last Days of Absolute Monarchy - The French Revolution
The reductions in the emigrant lists brought back many royalists to their homes, and the favor shown to them made them courteous and pliant in the service of the new court. Madame de Stael (daughter of Necker) collected, as in the old time, a circle of accomplished and illustrious men in her saloon. The vanity of the French favored Napoleon's efforts; when he instituted the Order of the Legion of Honor, republicans and royalists grasped eagerly at the new plaything of human weakness.
One of the first cares of the Consul was the restoration of Christian worship in the French churches. After he had abolished the republican festivals (10th August, 21st January), and introduced the observance of the Sabbath, negotiations were opened with the Roman court, which at length led to the conclusion of the Concordat. No less attention did Napoleon devote to the affairs of education; but he particularly patronized the establishments for practical science, as the Polytechnic School in Paris.
Repeated conspiracies against the life of the First Consul, sometimes undertaken by the republicans and sometimes by the royalists, were always followed by fresh restrictions and a more rigorous system of espionage. The most desperate undertaking of this kind was the attempt, by means of the so-called infernal machine, a cask filled with gunpowder, bullets, and inflammable materials, to blow up Bonaparte on his way to the operahouse, - an attempt which he escaped by the rapidity with which his coachman was driving, but which destroyed many houses and killed several people. In consequence of this atrocious deed, a great number of Jacobins were condemned to deportation, though it afterwards turned out that the plot was undertaken by the royalists. Still more dangerous and extensive were the conspiracies against Napoleon, when the office of Consul was conferred upon him for life by the voice of the people, with the privilege of naming his successor, (August 2, 1802). By this means, the Bourbons were cut off from the last hopes of a return, and the emigrants accordingly left no means untried of destroying him. The desperate George Cadoudal, and Pichegru, who were residing in England, allowed themselves to be employed as tools. They conveyed themselves secretly to France, but were discovered and arrested, with about forty confederates. Before their fate was decided, Napoleon allowed himself to be hurried into the commission of a revolting crime. It had been represented to him that the duke d'Enghien, the chivalrous grandson of the prince of Condé, was the soul of all the royalist conspiracies. Accordingly, this young nobleman, who was residing at Ettenheim, a small town of Baden, was seized at Napoleon's command, by a troop of armed men, conducted with the greatest haste through Strasburg to Paris, condemned to death by a hurried court-martial, and, despite a magnanimous defense, shot in the trenches of Vincennes.
The fate of the conspirators was shortly after decided upon. Pichegru had already died a violent death in prison, whether by his own hand or that of another is uncertain. George Cadoudal, with eleven confederates, ascended the guillotine. General Moreau, who was implicated, retired into voluntary banishment in America.