Victories in the field were not more effective in consolidating Napoleon's power than were his own coups d'etat and the supremely skilful use which he made of conspiracies directed against him.
He intended that Spain should very soon have ready twenty-eight sail of the line - "ce qui est certes bien peu de chose" - so as to drive away the British squadrons, and then he would strike "de grands coups" in the autumn.
After a short mission in the western provinces he returned to Paris, and took an active part in the coups d'etat of the 31st of May and the 2nd of June, which resulted in the overthrow of the Girondists.
He was one of the promoters of the constitutional club of Salm, formed to counterbalance the royalist club of Clichy, and he supported Barras in 1797 and 17 9 9 in the coups d'etat of 18 Fructidor, and of 18 Brumaire.
The men of the 14th century, who commanded armies and executed coups detat at eighteen, were often worn out by sixty.