Savary, Anne Jean Marie
napoleon duke june
SAVARY, ANNE JEAN MARIE B,EN (1774-1833), duke of Rovigo, was born at Marcq, in the canton of Grandpre and department of Ardennes, on 26th April 1774. He was educated at the college of St Louis in Metz, where he gained a scholarship. When a youth of sixteen he became a volunteer in a cavalry regiment. His first military experiences were with the army of the Rhine under Custine ; he distinguished himself under Moreau and Ferino, and by 1797 had reached the rank of major. In the next year, under Desaix, he took part in the Egyptian expedition, and he followed the same general in the second Italian campaign, and at the great battle of Marengo (14th June 1800). He had by this time attracted the favourable notice of Napoleon, who detected not only his soldierly powers but his singular gifts in the region of diplomacy and intrigue. For Savary the plans and will of Napoleon formed a law which obliterated every other, and in presence of which political and moral scruple had no place. So early as 1800, while only twenty-six years of age, he was appointed a colonel and the commander of that legion which was afterwards to form the picked bodyguard of the emperor. In 1803 he was general of brigade, and in 1804 he was charged with the execution of the Due d'Enghien. Savary in his Memoirs (published in Paris in 1828, 8 vols. 8vo) avows that all he did was to convey to Vincennes a letter whose contents he did not know, and early next morning, in obedience to the orders of a superior officer, to have the duke shot. The other side of the story is that he knew all about it, - that of set purpose, and in order to prevent an appeal to Napoleon's clemency, he hastened the execution ; and it is certain that, unlike a man merely under orders, he himself went straight to Bonaparte to report the death. Savary was the hand which Napoleon employed in the delicate negotiations with the emperor Alexander about the time of the battle of Austerlitz in 1805. At Jena in 1806 he distinguished himself by his successful pursuit of the retreating Prussians ; he rendered signal service by the siege of Hameln, which he forced to capitulate on 20th November ; and, finally, the severe defeat which he inflicted upon the Russian forces at Ostrolenka, on 16th February 1807, was his crowning victory. Among other honours and rewards, he received a pension of 20,000 francs. After the peace of Tilsit he was despatched to St Petersburg ; but shortly thereafter - the Napoleonic scheme for the crown of Spain being now apparently complete - he was recalled, was created duke of Rovigo, and started for Madrid. His deceitful intrigue was soon successful, and Joseph Bonaparte ascended the Spanish throne. From 1808 to 1810 he was again beside Napoleon in the many and changing scenes of his exploits ; but on the 8th of June of the latter year France itself, now fully alive to the vast and mysterious power he had learned to wield, was startled by his appointment as successor to Fouche in the ministry of police. His administration, however, was not a success. After the overthrow of Napoleon, he desired to accompany his master to St Helena, but this was refused, and he was imprisoned at Malta. He escaped thence to Smyrna, thereafter wandered about the east of Europe, and finally embarked for England, which he reached in 1819. Three years before he had been condemned to death by default ; and, learning this, he proceeded to Paris to clear himself of the sentence, in which he succeeded, being also reinvested with his rank and dignities. He retired to Rome, where he remained till 1831, when he was appointed commander-in-chief of the African army, and entrusted with the administration of Algeria. His duties were successfully performed, but he returned in March 1833 in weak health to Paris, where he died on the 2d of June.