“The fate of my children… outweighs all.”

Source: Revue Retrospective, ou Bibliotheque Historique, Contenant Des Mémoires et Documens Authentiques, Inédits et Originaux; Tome III. Paris: H. Fournier Ainé, 1834. Pages 145-6.


Joachim Murat to Princess Pauline
Bologna, 15 February 1814

My dear sister, I don’t know how to express to you the happiness I felt from your letter of the 9th from Nice, which the Grand Duchess of Tuscany just sent me. When will I be able to express to you in person all the feelings that agitate me at this moment? How to paint to you my torments and the horror of my situation? I leave it to your sensitive soul, to your constant friendship for me, to judge them. It will never be supposed as dreadful as it really is. The Emperor is struggling  with the Allies, France is unhappy, and everything makes it my duty to not go and die to defend them. Everything attaches me to my new country; the fate of my children and that of my subjects outweighs all; I’ve stayed for them, and in appearance against the man whom I revere, and whom I love still more. Yet I’m still not an enemy, and I hope that peace will come before the King of Naples must decide to act. Ah! My sister, pity me; you love me, and you know how much I love the Emperor! I proposed to him to save Italy by making it independent; he never responded, when, from the other side, the Allies asked me to explain myself, and threatened to overthrow me from the throne of Naples.

I have fulfilled towards France, towards the Emperor, the duties of gratitude; I had to fulfill those of king, those of father; I had to save my children, when I would have been lost without result and for them and for France. Ah! My dear sister, pity me; I am the most unfortunate of men! How many tears I shed!

You will want to know if there will be a ship to Sicily; it must be at sea; in any event, you would do well to leave Nice.

If you want to come to Naples, I will send a frigate, or in the manner that you desire; order it. How happy Caroline and my children will be to embrace you! Adieu, my good and tender sister; remember that you have and will always have in me an unfailing friend, a friend who will love you his whole life. Don’t stop being good to me; don’t be like Camille*. I wrote him in Turin, he has not deigned to respond to me. Adieu, I embrace the most beautiful, the best of sisters.

Your brother,
J. Napoleon**


*Camille Borghese, Pauline’s husband

**Murat, upon assuming the throne of Naples, took the name Joachim Napoleon.

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