That the son of a Corsican notary should have been able to dispose of the Spanish Bourbons in this contemptuously easy way is one of the marvels of history.
The incident reawakened the interest which had early been aroused in the young Corsican by converse with the savant Volney, author of Les Ruines, ou meditation sur les revolutions des empires.
It is more important to observe that under Joseph and his ministers or advisers, including the Frenchmen Roederer, Dumas, Miot de Melito and the Corsican Saliceti, great progress was made in abolishing feudal laws and customs, in reforming the judicial procedure and criminal laws on the model of the Code Napoleon, and in attempting the beginnings of elementary education.
In September 1793 a British squadron of three ships of the line and two frigates was ordered to support the Corsican insurgents.
The enthusiasm of the Italians for the young Corsican liberator greatly helped his progress.
Louis XIV.s pride caused the first struggle, which turned exclusively upon questions of form, as in the affair of the Corsican Guard in 1662.
But before referring to this last proof of the Machiavellian skill of the great Corsican in dealing with plots, it is needful to notice the events which brought him into collision with the British nation.
Dumouriez then visited Italy and Corsica, Spain and Portugal, and his memorials to the duc de Choiseul on Corsican affairs led to his re-employment on the staff of the French expeditionary corps sent to the island, for which he gained the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
From 1631 to 1702 the office of Bey was hereditary in the descendants of Mural, a Corsican renegade, and their rivalry with the Deys and internal dissensions kept the country in constant disorder.
The plea of the last named on behalf of Corsica served to enlist the sympathy of Napoleon in his wider speculations, and so helped to bring about that mental transformation which merged Buonaparte the Corsican in Bonaparte the Jacobin and Napoleon the First Consul and Emperor.