When Salicetti, with his secretary, Milhaud, had arranged this honourable affair, they set out from Genoa to announce to Bonaparte, at Milan, their success. Not above a league from the former city their carriage was stopped, their persons stripped, and their papers and effects seized by a gang, called in the country the gang of PATRIOTIC ROBBERS, commanded by Mulieno.
Salicetti had granted what Paoli would not: Buonaparte was free to strike his blow for Corsican leadership. With swift and decisive measures the last scene in his Corsican adventures was arranged. Several great guns which had been saved from a war-ship wrecked in the harbor were lying on the shore unmounted.
"If three men were to declare that I have committed a crime, I could not complain if the jury should declare me guilty. "Salicetti, you know me. Have you, during the five years of our acquaintance, found in my conduct any thing which could be suspected as against the revolution? "Albitte, you know me not. No one can have given you convincing evidence against me.
Iung looks on Salicetti as acting as the protector of the Bonapartes; but Napoleon does not seem to have regarded him in that light; see the letter given in Tunot, vol. i. p. 106, where in 1795 he takes credit for not returning the ill done to him; see also the same volume, p. 89.
It was therefore suggested in the Assembly that a blow should be struck at the house of Savoy, in order to awe both that and the other courts of Italy into inactivity. The idea of an attack on Sardinia for this purpose originated in Corsica, but among the friends of Salicetti, and it was he who urged the scheme successfully.
The 9th Thermidor arrived, and the deputies, called Terrorists, were superseded by Albitte and Salicetti. In the disorder which then prevailed they were either ignorant of the orders given to General Bonaparte, or persons envious of the rising glory of the young general of artillery inspired Albitte and Salicetti with suspicions prejudicial to him.
They styled the place Fort Mulgrave. It was speedily flanked by three redoubts. To Buonaparte this contemptuous defiance was insufferable: he spoke and Salicetti wrote of the siege as destitute both of brains and means. Thereupon the Paris legates began to represent Carteaux as an incapable and demand his recall.
Their conduct has procured them many friends among the low and the poor, and, though frequently pursued by our gendarmes, they have hitherto always escaped. The papers captured by them on this occasion from Salicetti are said to be of a most curious nature, and throw great light on Bonaparte's future views of Italy.
In all Bonaparte's writings posterity will probably trace the profound politician rather than the enthusiastic revolutionist. Some documents relative to Bonaparte's suspension and arrest, by order of the representatives Albitte and Salicetti, serve to place in their true light circumstances which have hitherto been misrepresented.
This Salicetti is a Corsican of a respectable family, born at Bastia, in 1758, and it was he who, during the siege of Toulon in 1793, introduced his countryman, Napoleon Bonaparte, his present Sovereign, to the acquaintance of Barras, an occurrence which has since produced consequences so terribly notorious.