Cambaceres (1753-1824) To contact me


“When a historian undertakes to write the life of an unspecified character, it is necessary never that his feather is led by reasons for interest, or that it is sold with a party; he must weigh, in his wisdom, the actions of his hero, and trace them without make-up: is needed, in a word, that he is a faithful painter; that in his colors one finds those of nature; that it does not embellish, but that he represents his subject such as if the spectators still had it under the eyes. I know extremely well that a historian, like a painter, can be mistaken in his painting, but at least he must seek, more than it is in his capacity, to approach the truth; he must recall as he sees, as he feels, like he judges; and so sometimes he deviates from the truth, one can only show he not not to have seized nature well on the fact.
I am unaware of if me this reproach will be made; at least, if I wandered in some parts of this work, gall there will not be found that many historians nowadays put in their writings: I said the truth, and I wrote with impartiality.
This work, I think it, cannot miss interesting the public, if not by the way in which he is written, at least by the importance of the character, of which I undertake to give the history.
He appeared in our civil disorders in a rather remarkable way; under the Empire he arrived at the ridge of the sizes, and since the restoration, forced to keep away, he was satisfied philosophically with a considerable fortune, which he had the good spirit to pile up during its size. Often he taken a false road; but during the course of his authority one can reproach him the abuse of them. His character did not shine by this force of courage which carries that which is gifted to resist all that is unjust, to break, never not to fold. Often in our political storms he wavered and was let involve, with the majority, in excesses; but one can charge to him none of these abuses of power which very often characterize those which have it.
During the Empire, he folded under the iron rod of the chief of the government, and went ahead of of the wishes of this last all the times that he asked men and money. In these great circumstances, Napoleon always found the Prince-Archchancellor been willing to lend the support of his eloquence to him; I will quote even some fragments of the remarkable speeches which he made in this circumstances, and by there the reader will be more capable to judge Cambaceres, which all reflexions that I could make on him; because it is always in the actions that one must judge the men.
Cambaceres had the best table of Paris; his cook was quoted with the greatest praises. We very often saw, and we see still nowadays which use one can make of a good table. In a word, I will try to return this work pricking by the exactitude of the facts, the very simple truth, and the account of some anecdotes which I believe little known. I will not deviate from the most strict impartiality, than I chose for epigraph. Can my efforts being of success.“
(Aubriet A., Life of Cambaceres)

20/08/06 - Emmanuel Prunaux