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.
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.
Shortly before returning to his regiment in the early weeks of 1791 he indited a letter inveighing in violent terms against Matteo Buttafuoco, deputy for the Corsican noblesse in the National Assembly of France, as having betrayed the cause of insular liberty in 1768 and as plotting against it again.
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 purported to be an undertaking entered into by a few Jacobins, among them Arena, a Corsican, for the murder of Bonaparte at the opera.