The Duc was the first cousin to Louis, and seemed more vibrant and able than the other relations. Moreau was a hard man to remove – he was loved by the army – so Napoleon, advised by Talleyrand, decide to arrest the Duc, even though he was living in the independent state of Baden. Talleyrand issued a note to Baden’s ambassador asking for the Duc’s arrest, then a second note informing him French troops were doing the arrest themselves. On March 14th 1804 the Duc was arrested, taken to France, passed before a military tribunal, and shot, all in one night. The Conde line of aristocracy was extinct.
International opinion was outraged, and swiftly turned against France and Napoleon. While the great conqueror’s reputation had plenty else to assail it over the next decade, Talleyrand’s was always stained by what had happened. Napoleon showed a weakness when it came to closer betrayers, but the Duc was sufficiently distant to allow a moment of calculation. Napoleon also managed to leverage the threat – real or imagined – into being emperor. But Russia had also begun to turn against him. More war would follow.